Disclaimer: Still don't own the Twilight Saga or any of its characters. I will one day, though, after I you know, take over the world.

Chapter 8

"How about this one, Bells? Do you like it?" Alice asked as she twirled back into my room for the tenth time that evening. Apparently what you wear to your first party actually means something.

"Yeah, sure. That one looks nice. I think you should wear it," I replied, actually taking in what she was wearing this time. She had on skin tight, dark blue jeans that complimented her legs and butt. She was also wearing a pale blue, button-up, plaid shirt with enough buttons undone that gave a clear view of her cleavage. To finish off her outfit, a pair of black stilettos graced her tiny feet. "Do you think that heels are the most appropriate thing to wear on the last day of December, though?"

"Finally! I've gotten a decent response out of you including constructive criticism! I'm so proud right now," she remarked, her eyes twinkling from her teasing. "Might I remind you, though, that I'm Alice Brandon and not even snow and ice will stop me from wearing these babies."

"Whatever. If you fall on your ass I'm going to laugh at you."

"Shush, Bella. Toss me my gel, please? I need to fix my hair." I chucked the bottle of goop at her, which she caught graciously and smoothly exited the room in her death traps.

I lay back on my bed, sighing as I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. Flipping it open, a message from Edward popped up, reading, I miss you, Bells. Can't wait to see you after. :) I replied with a quick "See you," before putting my phone on silent. That boy was getting on my last nerve.

Things between Edward and I had grown tense since that conversation in the cafeteria two weeks. He grew much more clingy as I became increasingly distant. Every time we were together, which was to my dismay, a lot over the holidays, there was a giant elephant in the room that both of us were avoiding. He read me too well and sure as Hell knew why I had blushed that day, but he was leaving it alone just to keep our relationship together.

On Christmas, Edward showed up at my door, a thin rectangular box wrapped in golden paper with a white bow overflowing it in his hand. It turned out to be an obviously expensive necklace from Kay Jewelers that had a golden heart pendant. I smiled brightly, or as brightly as a false smile could be, like a good girlfriend should at receiving jewelry, and thanked him halfheartedly meanwhile growing more and more frustrated on the inside. I had lost count of how many times I had told him that I hated receiving gifts in general, let alone something as expensive as jewelry. I gave him a couple new games for his Xbox, and he looked as though it was genuinely the best present in the world, even though I knew it probably didn't even cost half as much as my necklace.

Alice had shown up that day while Edward was still there. As she entered the living room along with me, I introduced her to Charlie, who fell for her cute charm as instantly as I had. I was scared that Edward's glare would burn a hole through her skull, but Alice ignored him as if he wasn't even in the room.

When Alice presented me with a gift, Edward became observant, dropping his hate-filled demeanor instantly. I tried to avoid opening it, but everyone, including my boyfriend, insisted which left me with no other option. I couldn't fight the genuine smile that broke across my face. Alice had gotten me the entire collection of John Carpenter's Halloween movies, which had been a long time favorite of mine. I gave her a tight hug, which she held for longer than appropriate under the gaze of my boyfriend.

I presented her with a gift card that gladly was worth nearly the same amount as the movie set for a little Italian boutique in Port Angeles, which was ran by the wife of the owner of La Bella Italia, called Ama La Mode. Alice had mentioned that she loved it there, so I thought a gift card was a good idea.

After Alice left, Edward followed suit shortly after, his jaw tight as if he wanted to rip someone's throat out. He still, however, managed to tell me he loved me and mumble sweet nothings into my ear like he did every other day, not a sign of anger anywhere in his voice. He had always been a talented actor.

When we hung out after Christmas, he seemed to be fine, but I could tell that something was eating him alive, especially if Alice was ever brought into conversation. It seemed like ignorance had become his best friend, and I wasn't sure if that was better than him usually being straight to the point.

Alice waltzed back into my room, breaking me out of my reverie. "Are you going to get ready now, Bella?" she asked, stuffing her gel back into her duffel bag.

"I guess so," I replied, yanking my only white shirt out of my closet, which happened to be an A Day To Remember t-shirt, a pair of skinny jeans, and a black beanie, and went into the bathroom to get changed.

"Not to be rude or anything," Alice said as I returned to my room, "but aren't you going to dress up a little more than that?"

I looked down at my clothes. I thought I looked fine. It wasn't as if we were going to a formal party or anything. "No, I don't have to, so I won't."

Alice rolled her eyes and all but pushed me out of the the room, eager to get to the party. We grabbed jackets and headed out into the biting cold. She navigated the ice and snow smoothly in her heels, not even slipping an inch, while I stumbled and slid until I reached the safety of the Cullen's porch.

Edward answered the door, a goofy grin plastering his face while he pulled me in for a tight, uncomfortable hug. "Hey, beautiful. I'm happy you're here," he whispered in my ear, to which I returned a simple greeting. When he finally let me go, I entered his house and wasn't surprised by what I saw. The Cullen family was obviously filthy rich, so the living room being gutted out and practically changed into a night club would seem normal even if this didn't happen every year.

Edward captured my lips in a sloppy kiss, and I could faintly smell alcohol coming from him. As his tongue forced its way into my mouth, my eyes opened to meet Alice's, and smiled at the amused twinkle in her eye from the discomfort I was feeling. Edward, pleased with the fact that I was smiling mid-kiss, released me from his arms.

Since we were early like I had promised Edward we would be, I went over and sat with Emmett, who was sitting atop the bar, a new addition for the special occasion, and made him get me a Coke seeing as I knew he would be the one serving people their drinks tonight. As far as I knew, he wanted to be a "mixologist" and jumped at any opportunity to make a drink, even something as simple as pouring soda.

Alice came and sat by me, stealing my glass of pop and took a sip from it. Her eyebrow rose as she asked, "Not even a little alcohol, Bells?"

I snorted and shot back, "I'm shocked that with an uptight father like you have that you even know what alcohol smells like, let alone its taste. But no, I'm not drinking because I have to drive us home, and driving under the influence is illegal and I don't want to get arrested."

She chuckled in response and agreed, as the house began to fill up with people. Edward had decided to DJ the party on his own after all, and I thanked whatever God was listening to me for the blessing. I was finding it hard to put up with him when he was sober, and I knew I would get pissed off by his drunken attempts to make me sleep with him that he would rarely bring up if he didn't have alcohol in his system. They do say that your true intentions come out when you're drunk, don't they? I silently hoped that he wouldn't drink anymore tonight, so then he would be almost ninety percent normal.

By the time the second song came on, almost everyone, which was almost the entire population of Forks High, was dancing, and Alice didn't want to be one of the few who wasn't. "Do you want to dance with me, Bella?"

At this point I froze, partially because I didn't know how to dance, and partially because it was Alice who wanted me to dance with her. My voice box could only churn out an, "Uh..."

"Oh, come on, Bells! It'll be fun!" she screeched as she grabbed my hand and dragged me to the floor.

As More by Usher sounded through the house, causing the floor to shake, Alice turned around and slid her leg in between mine and started to, for lack of a better word, grind on me like girls usually do to their boyfriend. I attempted to move in the same way as she did, and soon got comfortable even though my body was alight with tingles and my center was throbbing.

I leaned into her, and said, "I thought you've never been to a party before? You seem to be pretty comfortable."

"Just because I've never been to a party before doesn't mean I've never been to a club," she answered, and even over the thundering music I could tell that her voice was breathy. Her arms wrapped around my neck as we continued to dance, and my hands sought out a place on her waist. Her shirt had ridden up and so my right hand was on the bare skin of her back, which grew increasingly more sticky with sweat. It was strange how comfortable we were together when we only knew each other for three weeks. It was as if she was my best friend.

The song changed into one that I didn't recognize, and as I glanced around, I caught sight of Edward at his booth, his eyes glued on me. It was evident that his emotions were a mixture of anger and lust. Anger because of my close proximity with Alice, and lust because, lets face it, straight boys love seeing even the smallest acts of lesbianism.

I averted my gaze as Alice shifted closer, her breasts pressing against mine, making my body erupt in a fresh wave of tingles. We danced for a few more songs until Alice's skin was slick under my hands, and her breath was coating my neck as she rested her head on my shoulder.

She let go of me, but kept a firm grip on my hand as she steered us through the crowd. Just as I was wondering where we were going, we stopped at the bar and she got Emmett to grab her a cooler. We sat at the bar while I got another glass of Coke and we both guzzled down our drinks.

A slow song started emitting from the speakers, and I was positive that it was Only One by Yellowcard. I felt a tap on my arm and turned around to see Edward with his hand outstretched. "May I have this dance?" he asked. I glanced at Alice to see her shoo me away and yell at Emmett to bring her another cooler.

I put my hand in his and we walked to the floor, and once we stopped, my hands entwined behind his head and his hands found their place on my ass. We twirled slowly in circles in time with the song, and he leaned down and whispered an "I love you" in my ear. I rested my head on his shoulder instead of responding. Edward's hand brushed some of my hair out of the way and placed a gently kiss on my neck.

Once the song ended, we parted ways, Edward going back to the booth, and me going over to Alice who was eying me the entire way over.

"Can I talk to you somewhere, you know, quiet?" she questioned as soon as I got into hearing range. I nodded and wrapped my hand around hers, leading her up the stairs and to a room that I knew would be empty: Carlisle's study.

We entered the room lined with books and art, and I turned on the light. Alice looked a little dazed by the office, much like I was when I first stepped in here. However, her daze broke quickly, and she looked me in the eyes with determination burning in them, but also sympathy.

"You don't love Edward, do you?" she asked quietly, leaving me dumbfounded.


"Bella, you don't have to worry. I won't say anything about this conversation," she promised. I felt like I could trust her with my answer.

"No, I don't," I confirmed. She nodded to herself.

"Do you mind me asking why?"

"Um," I said, clearing my throat. "You see... it's just, you know... the feelings are not there. I love him, but it's more of the brotherly sort," I stopped, cleared my throat again and scratched the back of my neck. "It's awkward and annoying to kiss him, and it's irritating to hear him call me beautiful all the damn time."

"If you love him like a brother, then why are you still with him romantically?" she asked, true curiosity in her eyes. Again, she stumped me.

"I... don't know, to be honest. I don't want to hurt him."

"But you're willing to be miserable just to salvage his happiness? That doesn't make sense, Bella," she said bluntly. I guess I could see her point. I'm not happy in a relationship with him, and sometimes its good to be selfish, so why am I worried about his happiness more than my own?

"You're right. It doesn't. It's just me being selfless again." She nodded in agreement.

"And, I mean, there are a lot of different options for you, different people to pursue a relationship with who could make you happy, you know, seeing as things aren't working out with Edward. I'm just looking out for your well-being, Bella," she said as she smiled at me. She was right, as usual. There was one person that I wanted to be with that I knew would make me happy, and it definitely wasn't Edward. In order to even attempt to have a relationship with the one person would mean that I had to break up with Edward, sooner better than later.

"Thank you, Alice. It means a lot and this talk cleared my head," I said, enveloping her in a hug that lasted a few moments.

"You're welcome, Bella," she whispered in my ear, and I had to restrain myself from shivering. When she pulled back, she smiled and said, "Wanna go dance again?" I followed her willingly down the stairs.

After everyone brought in the New Year with rounds of shots, incredible amounts of alcohol, and boisterous singing, it was two in the morning before the majority of people had cleared out. Alice had her share of shots and proved to be less of a lightweight than I had originally thought, but she had enough to drink that I knew she was drunk. Although she wasn't passed out yet, she stumbled around a lot and her words started to slur, and she was guaranteed to have a hangover in the morning.

I took this as my sign to bring her home, so I wrapped my arms around her waist and guided her out to my truck. The trip on the ice covered driveway would have been difficult even if I was flying solo, but an intoxicated Alice made it ten times harder.

Once I got her to my truck, I decided that I needed to talk to Edward. Alice laid down on my truck seat, so I grabbed an extra sweater I always had stored in there and put it under her head as a makeshift pillow.

I reached over and brushed some hair out of Alice's face. "I'll be back in a few minutes, okay? Just stay there." She mumbled a groggy "okay" and her eyes fluttered shut. I closed the door and locked it, just to be on the safe side, and ventured back into the Cullen's home.

I found Edward eating chips and laughing with Emmett and a drunk Rosalie at the bar while she told a lame joke that wasn't funny but was so stupid that you had to laugh hysterically. My boyfriend looked over at me and his eyes glowed with love. They weren't glossy, though, so I knew that the alcohol he consumed earlier had worn off a little, and he was almost completely sober and would remember our conversation.

"Babe! You're back!" he said loudly. "Are the roads too bad? Do you and what's her name need to stay over?"

I scratched my neck, standing there awkwardly with Edward, Emmett, and Rosalie's eyes on me. "No, Alice and I are fine to make it back to my house."

"Oh, well did you forget something? Like a good-bye kiss, because I know you definitely forgot that."

"Uh, no, that's not why I'm back either," I replied. I took a deep breath and realized that it was time to get this over with. "Listen, Edward, can I talk to you for a few minutes? Alone?" I asked uncomfortably.

I looked up to meet his eyes just in time to see worry flash before them, but he nodded and led me into another room where he was unaware that heartbreak was waiting for him.

A/N: It's been a while, huh? I didn't intend to not upload anything in this long, because my original intent was to have it up for New Years' Eve, but it ended up happening anyway. I just didn't have the courage to do anything like this, and I was feeling really empty, and I couldn't write like that. Plus I had some personal things to get over.

I had tried my damnedest to finish this on Monday night, and did finish it, but the site wasn't allowing me to upload anything. I tried again and again, but no luck until now. :P

Anyway. I guess this turned out okay. I'd like to hear your opinions and whatnot, but it's up to you to drop a review or not.

No promises on when Chapter Nine will be up, but it should be soon. If any of you are following The Ward, a new chapter is in the works and should be up soon.

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, and Spring Break. Wow. It has been a while.

Adios amigos!