Rating: M (subject to change)
Disclaimers: The characters are not mine.
Author's Notes: Just a little more silliness from my mind. The idea for this story came from a book by Beverly Sommers called The Meaning of Sisterhood. The story's a bit different but there are definitely a lot of similarities. There may be a bit of OOC-ness but all of our favorites are here and all canon couples are included. As always, thanks to my sis for putting up with me, making suggestions, and just being awesome. Thanks, Lise!
On a Sunday in late September during her junior year of high school, Bella Swan was curled up in her bed with her copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Though Fall had only officially just begun, the weather that weekend had been unseasonably cool and the rain pouring from the gray sky only added to the wintry mood. As far as Bella was concerned, it was a perfect day to be in her room under her quilt rereading one of her favorite books.
A knock on her door pulled her from the world of Dorian and sticking a piece of paper in the book to hold her place, she set the book on her bedside table. "Yeah, dad?"
As her father Charlie opened the door and entered her bedroom, Bella was immediately struck by the expression on Charlie's face. "Dad? What's wrong? Did something happen?"
Charlie wasn't one for wearing his emotions on his sleeve so Bella knew by the look on his face that something was up. He sat down at the foot of her bed and sighed, running his hand over his face. "Bells, your Aunt Anna died," he said without preamble.
Bella froze. She hadn't seen her mother Renee's only sister in more than ten years but still… "What? How?"
"She was hit by a drunk driver while she was crossing the street."
"Oh my God," Bella breathed. "When did it happen? Should I pack? Are we going down for the funeral?"
Charlie winced. "Actually, um, no. See, this happened back in March."
"What?" Bella was astounded. "Why are we only finding out about this now? Is Alice okay? Who's taking care of her?"
"Alice is fine but, well, that's the thing. According to your aunt's will, your mom was Alice's legal guardian and they've been looking for Renee since Anna's death without any luck. She's been staying with some great aunt from her dad's side but apparently that's not really working out. And, uh, there's no one else so, uh, yeah, Alice is going to come live with us."
Bella stared at her father in disbelief. Her cousin Alice was going to live with them? Was this for real? Bella and Alice had been close once, but that had been when they were little kids.
They had all lived in Phoenix together – Anna and her husband Jack only blocks away from Renee and Charlie. Both Alice and Bella were only children and the sisters had thrown their daughters together as often as possible. The girls had gone to nursery school together and taken ballet, gymnastics, art classes, and done about a million other activities together. They had been each other's best friends, sleeping over at each other's house practically from the time they were born and sharing their childhood secrets about having a cookie before dinner or seeing their mom and dad kiss only with each other.
But then, when Alice and Bella were six, Jack was killed in a car wreck and Anna had packed up and moved herself and Alice to Los Angeles. Bella hadn't seen or heard from Alice since. Two years later, Renee, too, had walked out of Bella and Charlie's life forever and the year Bella turned nine, she and Charlie had moved up to Forks and Alice had honestly probably been the last thing on Bella's mind.
"Um, so when is she coming?"
"Wow. That's really, um, that's soon."
"Yeah, well, since the semester just started and all, she doesn't want to miss a lot of class or anything."
Bella nodded, her shocked mind still in overdrive. "So, um, I guess we'll fix up the spare room for her?" It sounded more like a question than a statement and Bella nodded in agreement. "Would you mind getting some, well, stuff for her room? Like sheets and a bedspread and all that? I'll give you my card. I'd do it myself but, well, I figure you'd know better than I would what someone your age would like."
Bella doubted that Alice's tastes were going to be anything like her own but she agreed, telling Charlie she'd head out one day after school to pick up some things. After asking her if she was going to be okay, Charlie left Bella alone in her room. Thankful that her father never hovered, especially when she needed time to herself, Bella tried to process what she had just learned. Alice was about to come live with them. Alice, who she hadn't seen in over ten years. She wondered what her cousin was like now. Would they have anything in common? Would they still be friends? Would they even get along anymore?
Bella sighed, her book long forgotten as these thoughts ran through her head and she pulled her quilt more tightly around her. One thing was certain; her quiet life was about to change in a big way.
On Monday morning, Bella told Angela Weber the news about Alice as they were making their way to History together. Angela was a sweet, friendly girl and the closest thing Bella had to a friend at Forks High School. Sometimes Bella sat with Angela and her friends at lunch, while other times, she preferred to eat by herself. When Charlie started getting that guilty look on his face that Bella knew meant he thought he left her alone too much, she would invite Angela to hang out or she would go to the movies or maybe even a party with Angela and her group.
One of Angela's friends, Jessica Stanley, had the biggest mouth in the school and Bella was counting on her to spread the news of Alice's impending arrival. "Wow," Angela said when Bella finished telling her about Alice. "Your long lost cousin. Are you excited?"
Bella smiled. "Yes," she admitted. "I just wish I had more of an idea what to expect, you know?"
Angela smiled back and gave Bella's arm a reassuring squeeze. "It'll be great, don't worry."
Bella felt better after talking to Angela, but she couldn't help thinking about Alice non-stop for the rest of the week. In a town as small as Forks, new people were big news and Bella was a bit nervous about being, even peripherally, part of the slew of attention that was sure to come Alice's way.
The last new person in their school had been Rosalie Hale the previous spring. Rosalie was a drop dead gorgeous blonde with a killer figure and when she had first arrived, the popular boys and girls had almost hurt themselves trying to get her to hang out with them. But she had remained cold and aloof and even now, Bella didn't see her talking much to anyone. She sat alone at lunch and Bella had never seen her at the few parties and school dances she herself had attended.
Bella had heard some of the girls talking about Rosalie, calling her a bitch and a slut, but Bella figured that was just sour grapes. Not that she believed Rosalie was a nice person – someone who looked like that and didn't hang around with anyone else was really probably just a total snob who thought she was too good for everyone around her.
As their paths rarely crossed, however, Bella didn't spend much time thinking about Rosalie. No, she preferred to spend her time thinking about Jordan. Jordan Rivers had moved to Forks shortly before Rosalie had and to say he fascinated Bella was putting it mildly.
Mysterious, dark haired Jordan and his electric blue eyes had been the subject of every one of Bella's fantasies from the moment she had first laid eyes on him. From what she had observed, he didn't seem to hang out with any one group or have a girlfriend and Bella often found herself wishing that she were a braver person, one who could walk up to Jordan and start a conversation. But she was most definitely not that kind of person and so Jordan and his enigmatic smile remained a mystery to Bella.
This week, however, even her fantasies about Jordan were neglected as all of Bella's time and energy were focused solely on Alice and her impending arrival. After all, Jordan was still only a fantasy. Alice, on the other hand, living right down the hall, was only days away from becoming a reality.
Saturday afternoon, Bella was sitting on the couch in front of the TV, hoping to kill time until that evening when Alice was supposed to arrive. According to Charlie, he had asked Alice when her flight would be coming in but she had assured him she would get a taxi from the airport when she got in Saturday evening. Bella knew Charlie wasn't thrilled with the idea but Alice must have been persuasive since he had agreed to it.
Bella was far too nervous and excited to concentrate on the inane '80s movie playing but she found the background noise soothing so she left it on as she imagined what it would have been like to meet Alice at the airport. It had been more than a decade; would she have even recognized her cousin?
She was just starting to plan dinner in her head – something that would keep well enough to reheat for both Charlie and Alice – when the doorbell rang. Startled, Bella looked at the clock expectantly, disappointed when she saw that it was still far too early for her cousin to be arriving.
Bella opened the front door and found a small dark haired girl standing on the steps with a large grin on her face.
Bella nodded and the girl squealed, throwing her arms around her and almost knocking Bella off her feet; for such a tiny thing, she certainly was strong, Bella noted absently.
"Alice?" she questioned, slightly alarmed.
The small girl laughed and hugged her tighter. "Of course it's me, silly! Oh, it is so good to see you again!"
She eventually released her and Bella finally had a chance to see her cousin properly. Gone was the long black hair that Bella had vaguely remembered, replaced instead by a short, spiky pixie cut.
"I, but, um, you're early," was the only thing Bella could think to say. "Did you get an earlier flight?"
Alice grinned. "Something like that." She reached her hands over her head and stretched quickly. "Whew! I love driving, but it's really good to get out of the car."
"You drove? All the way from LA? But that's got to be, like, 24 hours of driving or something." Bella was amazed. No wonder Alice hadn't wanted to tell Charlie when her flight was arriving.
Alice's grin turned wicked. "Actually, it's supposed to be about 19, I think, but it took me about 16 hours overall. Don't worry, I stopped when I got to Oregon and stayed overnight and then I just left really early this morning."
She stood grinning at Bella and Bella finally came back to herself enough to move aside so Alice could enter the house. Her cousin set down a purse and a large shoulder bag. "I have more stuff in the car, if you wouldn't mind giving me a hand."
"Oh, yeah, sure, of course," Bella stammered, still trying to wrap her head around her cousin's unexpectedly early arrival. She quickly shoved her feet into her Chucks and followed Alice outside.
Alice's car sat in the driveway, a sporty little blue car with a retractable roof, and Bella couldn't help noticing how very old and clumsy her beloved ancient truck looked next to it. Alice hadn't been kidding about having more stuff. Nearly every square inch of her car from the trunk to the passenger seat was crammed with suitcases and boxes of every shape and size and Bella reminded herself that her cousin was moving 17 years of her life in, not just visiting.
While they unloaded Alice's car, Bella snuck surreptitious looks at her cousin. As Bella had already noticed, her cousin was definitely on the small side. Bella was only average height herself but Alice looked like she barely broke five feet. Bella also noted that even after her long car ride, Alice still managed to look like she'd just stepped out of a fashion magazine.
The girls decided to get everything out of the car first and leave it in the living room until they had everything before beginning to transport it upstairs to Alice's new bedroom. After what seemed like at least thirty trips back and forth to Bella, all of Alice's belongings were in the living room and the girls stopped for a moment to take off their coats and shoes before Bella led Alice upstairs to the former guest room.
The room had been left pretty plain since Charlie and Bella had moved in and Bella had done the best she could to make it more like a real room and less impersonal without completely cleaning out Charlie's wallet. All the junk that had accumulated in the room over the years had either gone in the garage or the trash and she had given it a thorough cleaning. She had also bought a large purple, white, and gray woven rug for the hardwood floor to match the comforter and sheet set she had bought for the bed and added gauzy off white curtains to the windows. An old but barely used armchair sat in one corner of the room and a desk, bookshelf, and dresser in a light wood finish completed the room.
"Oooh, it even has an accent wall," Alice said with a smile, as she entered the room and dropped her bags on the bed. "It's perfect, I love it!"
Bella didn't bother to mention that the real reason only one of the formerly off white walls had been painted deep plum was because she had run out of time to get to the rest of the room before Alice's arrival.
The girls carried all of Alice's belongings up to the room and Bella quickly moved out of Alice's way, perching on the edge of the desk chair while her cousin pulled out more clothing than Bella had ever seen in one place. The tiny girl was a whirlwind in the small room, quickly unpacking several of her suitcases and boxes and storing their contents in the closet, dresser, and desk.
"There's some extra room in my closet if you need it," Bella offered when it became clear that Alice was not going to be able to hang anything else in her closet without everything getting crushed and wrinkled.
"Thanks," Alice said with a smile, rezipping the bag on her bed and following Bella to her own room, dragging the massive rolling suitcase behind her. Alice made quick work of the remaining clothing in her bag, filling over half of Bella's closet with her things, and Bella couldn't help but notice how paltry her wardrobe seemed next to her cousin's.
"Feel free to borrow whatever you like," Alice said as if reading Bella's mind. "You're a little taller than I am but that shouldn't matter for most of my stuff."
"Um, thanks," Bella said awkwardly, following Alice back to her room. She flopped onto the bed, exhausted, while Alice began unpacking her remaining suitcases and boxes.
From the final box, Alice pulled a picture frame, smiling at it for a moment before coming over to the bed and handing it to Bella. In the picture, tiny Alice was tucked under the arm of a tall, gorgeous blond guy who was gazing at her adoringly. "Is that your boyfriend?" Bella asked.
"That's Jasper. He's my soul mate," Alice replied matter of factly as Bella handed the picture back to her. Normally, Bella would have laughed at such a declaration but something about Alice's manner told Bella that that was exactly what Jasper was to her.
"I'm sorry you had to leave him behind," Bella said, unable to think of anything else to say in response to Alice's words.
Alice looked slightly sad for a moment. "Yeah, I'm kind of used to seeing him every day," she admitted. "Of course, that was definitely a lot easier before I lived with Aunt Jane. Then at least he could sneak into my room at night. His dad's totally laid back – pretty much a leftover hippie – so he doesn't much care what Jasper does as long as he's happy.
"But of course, Aunt Jane had her rules when it came to Jazz and me. I had to be in for the night or he had to be out of the house by 9:00pm. 10:00 on weekends, because she was such a sport," Alice added, rolling her eyes. "I swear, the woman would have had our dates chaperoned if she could."
Alice looked far away for a moment as she placed the photo on the table next to her bed but the moment passed quickly and she smiled. "But it's all right. We could be on opposite sides of the world, it wouldn't change the way we feel about each other. Besides, he promised to come up and visit once I get settled."
She turned her full attention back to Bella. "What about you? Are you seeing anyone?" Bella shook her head, a faint blush appearing in her cheeks. "But there's someone you're interested in, I can tell," Alice said excitedly. "What's his name? What does he look like? What's he like?"
"His name's Jordan Rivers," Bella said, surprising herself. She was not normally one for sharing such information but something about Alice made her comfortable enough to talk about the subject of her fantasies.
Alice nodded approvingly. "Great name."
"And he's just…different," Bella continued. "He just moved here in January. He keeps to himself mostly and he doesn't act like the other boys at my school. I've never even spoken to him, though. I'm sure he doesn't even know I exist."
Alice smiled. "Well, I can't wait to see your mystery boy. You'll have to point him out to me on Monday."
Bella agreed, secretly hoping her cousin would have forgotten all about it by then, before she changed the subject. "Do you still dance?" Bella asked, bringing up one of their commonalities from childhood. "Ballet, I mean."
Alice laughed. "Oh no, I gave that up ages ago," she told Bella.
"But you were really good at it, weren't you?"
Alice shrugged. "Once the teacher started getting all intense and wanting us to focus only on ballet, it really just wasn't for me anymore. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be my life, so why do it if it's not fun anymore?"
Bella nodded agreeably as Alice stopped and surveyed her room. Seeming satisfied with what she saw, she smiled to herself and then turned her attention back to Bella. "So what do you want to do about dinner? Any good pizza places around here?"
Bella nodded again and the two girls headed downstairs to the kitchen to get the number of the local pizza place. After she had ordered two pizzas, Bella led her cousin into the living room where she gratefully sank down onto the couch. Alice, however, was still wide awake and from her seat on one of the chairs she peppered Bella with questions about Forks, Charlie, school, and herself.
"Well, you picked a good week to start, anyway," Bella told her in response to one of Alice's questions about school. "We're off this Friday for a Teachers' workshop so you won't even have to suffer through a full week."
"Oooh, that means a three day weekend!" Alice said excitedly. "Maybe we can go up to Seattle or something!"
Bella agreed as the doorbell rang, announcing the arrival of their dinner. Bringing one box into the living room, they dug in ravenously, quickly finishing the first one between them. Somehow, Alice managed to keep talking and asking questions even as she polished off five slices. Bella tried to keep up with her cousin's rapid pace of talking and she was still being inundated with questions when the front door opened.
"Uncle Charlie!" Alice squealed, jumping to her feet and running over to throw her arms around her uncle. Bella bit her lip to keep from giggling at the terrified expression on her father's face before he tentatively put his arms around his niece and gently hugged her back.
"It's so good to see you!" Alice exclaimed as she pulled back. "You look just how I remember you!"
"Um, hi, Alice. I'm glad you made it here safely."
"There's pizza in the kitchen, dad," Bella said when he looked over to her for help. "I know you're probably starving."
Charlie excused himself and went into the kitchen while Alice joined Bella on the couch. A few moments later, Charlie rejoined them, a plate with several slices of pizza in one hand and a can of his favorite beer in the other.
"Bells, whose car is that in the driveway?" Charlie asked as he settled into his regular chair.
"That's mine, Uncle Charlie," Alice responded. "I really didn't want to be without my car and it's a pretty nice drive if you divide up into two days like I did."
Bella expected Charlie to at least look a little concerned about Alice's long drive but he didn't really seem to mind. In fact, to Bella's surprise, the three of them easily fell into conversation and Bella was relieved to see how well Charlie and Alice seemed to take to each other. To say Charlie wasn't a social being was a massive understatement and Bella had been a bit worried about how he would adjust to having another person living in their house. But he seemed pretty comfortable already with Alice and Bella smiled to herself as she listened to Alice ask Charlie question after question.
They had been talking for about an hour when Alice yawned and stretched her arms over her head. "I think I'm going to go to bed. I guess it was kind of a long drive after all," she admitted with a sheepish smile. "Plus, I need to call Jasper before I go to bed and let him know I got here safely."
"That your boyfriend?" Charlie asked, surprising Bella. Charlie wasn't usually ones for asking questions, especially not personal questions. It looked like Alice might be rubbing off on him already.
"Love of my life," Alice responded simply.
Charlie nodded as Bella rose to her feet. "Yeah, I think I'm going to head up, too. Night, dad."
"Night, Bells. Nice, Alice."
"Goodnight, Uncle Charlie. And thank you for letting me stay."
Charlie looked caught off guard for a moment but then he smiled at Alice. "You're family, Alice. And we're very glad to have you here."
Alice smiled brilliantly at Charlie as she left the room and Bella couldn't help smiling as well as she followed her cousin up the stairs.
When Bella reached the top of the stairs in front of the bathroom, Alice stopped and turned to face her. "Thank you." Alice's face was suddenly serious and Bella looked at her questioningly.
"For doing this. For letting me stay, letting me invade your life."
"Charlie was right, Alice. You're family and I'm really happy that you're here. And, um, I'm really sorry about your mom," she blurted out. She and Charlie weren't big on emotional displays so she wasn't really sure how to express her feelings on the matter and she hadn't brought it up earlier because she didn't want to upset Alice, but she also wanted her cousin to know that she cared and that she was there for her.
"Thanks, Bella," Alice said quietly. "We barely had any kind of relationship anymore – she was always so busy with work, traveling and everything, that I barely saw her – but it was still sudden and awful and I do miss her. But I also know she's missed my dad every day for the last 11 years; at least now they're together again."
The girls were both quiet a moment and then Alice gave Bella a small smile. "And I'm really glad I'm here, too," she said. "I missed you so much when mom moved us to LA. This is almost like getting my sister back."
She leaned forward and hugged Bella fiercely for a moment and then slipped past her into the bathroom. "I'll be quick, I promise," she said. "I just want to get ready for bed before I talk to Jasper."
Bella smiled. "Take your time. And, um, I can take you around tomorrow, show you school and everything if you want."
Alice smiled back. "That would be great, thanks, Bella. Night," she added as she closed the door.
After Bella took her turn in the bathroom 15 minutes later, she returned to her room, closing the door and climbing into bed. As she turned off her light and snuggled down under her covers, something Alice had said earlier came to mind and Bella smiled to herself. Getting her sister back. She liked the sound of that.