A/N: This story was inspired by the song Breathe by Anna Nalick and it's been flip-flopping around in my brain for a while now. I have approximately 3 chapters plotted out in my head, but it might end up being 4 depending on the response I get.
As always, the recognizable characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. No infringement is intended.
My plan is to have a new chapter up next Monday. If you want Twitter updates, follow me: straberwine.
"Breathe (2 AM)"
2 AM and she calls me 'cause I'm still awake,
"Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?,
I don't love him. Winter just wasn't my season"
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize,
Hypocrites. You're all here for the very same reason
When my phone rang at two o'clock in the morning, I immediately thought somebody had died. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the fact that my friend, Alice, has a deep lack of respect for personal boundaries, especially where I'm concerned. Imagine my consternation to find that, indeed, nobody was bleeding to death on her living room rug when I answered her call.
"Oh my God, Bella!" She's sobbing into the phone when I answer; I'm instantly tense, awaiting the horrible news that must be about to follow.
"Calm down, Alice. Take a breath and tell me what's wrong."
"I just don't know what to do! What am I going to do, Bella? My life is over! I can't handle this right now! What will Morty and Betty think? I can't disappoint them like this! And Jasper! Oh my God! What is Jasper going to say? What if he never talks to me again? How could I do this?" This entire string of questions ran together and out of Alice's mouth in a matter of seconds, leaving me quiet for a minute after she stopped talking to try to make sense of her mutterings. "Help me, Bells! I need you to tell me what to do!"
"Alice, I'll be glad to help, but I don't even know what's going on!" I'm trying to process everything she had told me in her outburst. One, Morty and Betty (her adopted parents) must be ok if she's worried about disappointing them. And Jasper must be alright, as well, but not there with her as has been their custom lately. What would disappoint her parents and make Jasper not talk to her again? Only one thing came to mind.
"Alice, are you pregnant?" The renewed bout of sobbing confirmed my suspicions. Heaven help us. Alice is pregnant. She is the last person on this earth that should be a mother. Don't get me wrong…I love the girl like my own sister and would move mountains to help her, but she is the most scatterbrained person I know and is in no way capable of taking care of herself, let alone a baby. No wonder she's panicking.
"Alice, sweetie, calm down. Let me throw some clothes on and I'll be over in a minute, ok? Just sit tight for me, alright?" Alice and I shared a duplex, and it has been both a blessing and a curse. Times like this, I'm thankful that I only have to go a few steps to her door.
I throw on an old pair of sweats and a t-shirt to cover my normal sleep attire of my birthday suit and slip a pair of flip-flops on as I head out the door. Alice has at least had the foresight to unlock her door for me and I walk in quietly to find her curled up on her couch, her head resting atop her knees, rocking back and forth with the rhythm of her sobs. I go to her and sit, pulling her into my arms to give her what little comfort I can.
"Sweetie, can you talk now? Tell me what happened and we'll figure something out."
"Oh, Bella. I'm so stupid sometimes! I wasn't feeling well and a girl at work made a snide comment about me being pregnant. It got me to thinking about it, and I realized that I hadn't started yet, even though I was should have a few days ago. You know how I am…I'm never late! So I ran by Walgreens on the way home from work and got a couple of different tests. I was going to wait until I got up for work in the morning to test, but then I woke up a little while ago and had to pee, so I figured, why not, you know? I never expected it to be positive! What am I going to do? I can't be a mother! My life is fucked up enough, without bringing a kid into it!" She shrunk even more, if possible, and started a whole new round of crying. I rubbed her back while she cried; knowing that until she was done there would be no talking to her.
After some time – it could have been minutes or an hour – she finally quit crying and pulled herself up. I followed her to the bathroom when she announced she needed to go wash her face. The sight that greeted me shocked the hell out of me. Her entire vanity top was covered in countless used pregnancy tests. There must have been at least five different varieties of tests, some with multiple used sticks.
"Alice, isn't this going overboard a little bit, Hon?" I wasn't about to pick any of them up, but the ones I could see well all showed bright pink lines and plus signs. You would think that one or two would have been enough.
"I had to be sure, Bella. I bought one of each kind they had at the drug store. No need to take chances when you don't have to." I bit back the smart ass comment that popped in my head about having already taken unnecessary chances if she needed to be buying pregnancy tests in the first place. My smart mouth wouldn't help this situation at all.
"So, what do you think you're going to do? Who's the father?" I hated to ask, but I knew Alice well enough to know that her sexual partners were many. I assumed that it was Jasper considering the amount of time that he'd been spending at her place, but I also knew she'd been with at least one other guy during the time they'd been hanging out.
"It's Jasper's. I know the day it happened. I'm always so careful, but we just got carried away one night. You remember that night he came over in those tight-ass jeans and cowboy boots? Girl, I jumped him the second you walked out the door. I didn't even think about protection until after the fact. I can't believe I was so stupid!"
I gritted my teeth to keep from saying something wholly inappropriate at this point in time. Alice doesn't know that I'm in love with Jasper. I've tried desperately to hide it from both of them, and sometimes it's all that I can take just to be around them. Alice, Jasper and I have been friends since our junior year of high school. I moved to Washington from Arizona and was feeling completely lost and out of place during the first day of school. Alice took me under her wing and we were instant friends. Jasper moved up from Texas a month or two later and he gravitated towards us – Alice's boisterous personality and my being the 'new kid' as well, we just seemed to click. Never had any of us been anything but friends until this past fall when Alice and Jasper got drunk together and ended up in bed. After that first time, they couldn't keep their hands off each other. What really got to me, though, was that I knew that it was only physical, for Alice at least. She had made it perfectly clear on several occasions that they were just friends with benefits. Unfortunately for me, I was subjected to her day-after glow and lengthy ramblings about how good he was in bed, how much stamina he had, how hot his body was underneath the jeans and t-shirts he always wore. I kept my mouth shut about him and tried to ignore my friend, but it had gotten to the point that I would tune her out just so I wouldn't have the fodder to fuel my pity parties that always followed Alice/Jasper nights. Right now, I just wanted to grab her by the throat and strangle the life out of her.
"So, are you going to tell him? I think Jasper has a right to know." I'm pretty sure the contempt in my voice wasn't as well controlled as I had hoped. Alice glared at me as she responded.
"No, I'm not going to tell him, and neither are you. You are going to take me to the family planning clinic tomorrow and I'm going to get an abortion. There is no reason for him to ever know. He's doesn't need this kind of stress right now, and there is no way I can quit school to raise a kid."
"Just promise me you'll think about this some more before you decide to throw away a life. I'll take you because you are my oldest friend, but you know my stance on abortion. I think you'll regret it in the long run if you make a rash decision, and I also think Jasper should be a part of the decision. Think about it for the rest of the night, at least."
I left her sitting on the edge of the tub, surrounded by used pregnancy tests. I made my way back to my apartment and collapsed into a sobbing fit of my own when I landed back in bed. It tore my heart up to see how easily she could throw away this life, this little being that she had created with the most wonderful man in existence. No way would I ever give up any piece of Jasper if he gave it to me willingly. I cried for the baby that would never be, the regret that Alice would eventually have, for Jasper's ignorance in the whole matter and for me. Mostly for me and the fact that he would never be mine to love.