Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight plots, characters, or situations. I own my original characters and my own plots. All else is property of the AMAZING Stephenie Meyer.
Routine was my middle name. I would wake up at 6 in the morning, every morning, take my mile run, come home, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and be in my car by 7:30 to make it to my morning shift at the hospital; eat lunch with my best friend at one, clock out by three, then make my evening classes at University. After class I would hit the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, the rest of my evenings for catching up on homework. My life was... almost boring. There was never any drama because it came with relationships, and I hadn't had one of those in a year. Being a girl who likes girls, I understood the incessant need for attention that my ex-girlfriend exhumed, and I also realized I would not be able to show her that affection, that level of attention due to my already hectic schedule.
So Daphne had left me in our little studio apartment, alone. She had even taken our long-haired tabby cat, Hobbes. That is where I fell into changing my entire identity to Routine, though Routine was not that bad, not with her...
I had friends. I had a lot of friends. Friends that would splay on my living room couch playing video games and smoking pot until they cleaned out my refrigerator, and leave my cabinets sparse. Friends that brought their friends over to drink beer and use the stereo, all the while I would be locked in my bedroom with my nose in a book or in my computer, working, studying.
But I had one friend at school, one friend that had not ever invited herself over, one friend who listened to me rant about Shakespeare and my addiction to Plath. A friend who lived in her own studio apartment with a small garden on the ledge of the window that looked out over the park, and had slipped me a key to said place, bidding me come when I wanted.
It was now, sitting in my car on the street in front of her building, that I will begin this story.
My mouth was dry, my throat on fire. I couldn't believe I was nervous to press the intercom and alert her to my presence. "It's just Alice," I breathed to myself, closing my eyes and trying to calm my erratic heart beat. I never had this problem when it was daylight and we were in the warm performance hall, whispering excitedly to each other while we listened to the school orchestra rehearse. I never had this problem when we were in a dark theater, watching whatever Shakespeare was in town and in full production. I never had a case of the nerves even that night on the beach, before Daphne left me, when Alice's fingers had brushed mine as we wandered down the shore line, making my heart skip a beat. I could have sworn she heard it, the way she tilted her face up and showed me her dimples when it stopped, then threaded her arm through mine. So cold, her skin was, especially in the sultry South Carolina night.
Nearly two years of Alice's friendship, and I was still nervous to walk up to that intercom. It would be just us tonight, her brother would be out on a date, and would surely not be in before late morning. It would be just me and Alice, and the very vivid memory of the almost-kiss we had at the theater two days before. Such an almost-amazing ending to an incredible evening with her, watching her eyes light up as her favorite characters sashayed onto the stage, and watching her mouth every line to The Taming of the Shrew.
And all I could think about when I got out of my car was the disappointment in her amber eyes as I pulled away and placed that kiss on her forehead. I couldn't fall in love with Alice Cullen. Daphne had left me because of my busy life. I wouldn't want that to push Alice away, as well. That was my most prominent thought as I climbed the concrete steps and let my finger hover the call button, knowing that tonight would be a turning point. But I pressed it, anyway.
"Andie?" Alice's bell-like voice tinkled from the speaker.
"Yeah, it's me," I replied thickly, then clearing my throat. "Am I coming up, or are you coming down?"
"You're coming up," she replied, and I heard the buzzer, alerting me that she had unlocked the security door.
I entered the building, shaking the snow from my jacket and my hair, and looked up the winding stairwell that lead straight to her. "Well, Andrea, you've done the hardest part. Now you just have to go up there and explain to your best friend why you can't fall further in love with her," I muttered to myself as I topped the first step. And why it's your own insecurities that won't let you, my brain shot back at me sourly.
She was in her sleep stuff when she swung the door open before I could even knock, but it didn't matter to me because she was still breathtaking: about five feet tall, she had black hair cut very short, pale, pale, pale white skin like snow, and always just as cold. Her eyes were my favorite, the strange yellow-ocher color that held so many different hues on so many different days: honey, amber, sunflower, summer sunshine... and on her bad days would be so dark they looked black. The smile that lit up her face like a lighthouse beacon made forget every reason I had for not wanting this girl to be mine, and before I knew it she was in my arms, wrapped around me completely. I inhaled deeply, taking in the familiar scent of lavender and freesia, and I felt her do the same, running her perfect little nose up my throat, smelling me as if I were a potent wine she wanted to taste. When we were done sniffing like dogs meeting for the first time, I set her down on her feet, and she pulled me further into her apartment, closing the door behind me.
"I was scared you wouldn't come," she whispered to me, eyes searching my face as if to memorize the features.
"How could I not?" I breathed back, lost in her eyes, honey today. "After the other night, I find I can't think of anything else."
She smiled softly at the information, and led me over to the sofa, sitting down and patting a spot near her. She flicked the television off with the remote and tossed it aside as I took the place next to her with a deep sigh. I was so torn: my career, my life? Or Alice? There was something telling me that I could not have both, that if I were going to be with her, I would be utterly hers, and life to me would be my Alice.
After several seconds of silence, she sighed as well and readjusted so that her back was against the arm of her sofa, and she slid her bare feet beneath my ass as if to warm them, but I knew there was no warming for her cold flesh. "It seems we are at a crossroads," Alice began reluctantly, and my eyes slid up from her ankles to her eyes, taking in every inch of her on the way up. "Andie... I... I have these fee– feelings for you. I don't get these feelings for hu– people. I have spent a great deal of time being anti-social so I won't get these feelings for anyone. But you... I had to know more about the girl that stumped the professor with a very interesting hypothesis in Behavioral Science. I had to know what drove you to chew your pen tops until they were plastic toothpicks. I had to know why every time I saw you, you were immersed in Sylvia Plath or William Shakespeare. When I heard you in the bathroom reciting the lines from King Lear, I decided we needed to be friends." She paused at this, and I took in her words the best I could, and I had a fear that she was going to end this monologue with the fact she had fallen for me. "You don't know how nervous I was to approach you in the library one year, ten months, and fourteen days ago," she went on quietly, looking at me with a shy smile. "I knew I was meeting my soul mate when you looked up at me and your blue eyes flashed behind your silver frames. My stomach did a somersault."
"Mine, too," I admitted sheepishly, my mind replaying the moment in great detail. The open book on the table being Romeo and Juliet, and the lines from Juliet I had just absorbed when she called my name the first time: "My only love sprung my only hate! Too early seen unknown and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed enemy." The scene at the party where she meets Romeo the first time, and discovers his identity.
"I know," she replied, smiling crookedly so that only one of her dimples revealed itself, wiggling her toes beneath me so as to push her feet further in. "I heard you swallow, saw you break a sweat, and I'm sure your heart was going crazy, as well." She sighed again, running a tiny, pale hand through her short dark locks, and I watched as her hair fell perfectly back into place as she'd never touched it, like a thousand times before. "Merely judging by my observation of you, I knew you were going to be... right for me."
My heart, already humming in my chest, stopped abruptly at the words "I knew you were going to be... right for me", then picked right back up to the pace it had been beating. As always, it seemed like Alice knew, because she reached over and took my right hand between her icy palms, rubbing my knuckles affectionately.
"Alice..." I bit my lip, thinking of the best way to phrase what I was going to say, so I could state my case with some sort of coherent justice, which was a chore considering it was very hard to think rationally sitting there with this beautiful being, saying those words to me in that tinkling voice. "I feel the same way, only I don't want to be one of these people we pass in the street or talk to in school. I don't want to worship you because you're beautiful. I want to worship you because your soul is even more so. I hate that they become infatuated with you, when they don't even know you." I paused, a dark look crossing my features, and I looked up from our hands back to her eyes, the warmth in the golden depths making up for her freezing grip. "That really bugs me, how people just... drool when you walk past them."
"It's more than that with you! Come on, Andie, just admit it. We were built for each other. You can't deny the magnetism the other night, because I can still feel the vibration pulling us together when I close my eyes!" she hissed in a fast whisper, her eyes flashing with an intensity I'd never seen from her; I blinked rapidly, looking away from eyes that were suddenly animalistic. "That was the closest I'd ever been to the real thing, something natural and innocent, and not premeditated in lust."
When I pulled my eyes away from the fish tank and back to hers, whatever I had seen moments before was gone, replaced by her usual twinkle. "I can't argue with that," I said, my throat tight with emotions I didn't even know I had until then. "It was the most magical night of my life. You don't know how much I wanted to kiss you." How much I needed to kiss you, I corrected myself silently.
"Why didn't you, then?" she whispered painfully, still clutching my hand tightly between hers.
I started to speak, stopped, then took a steadying breath. "Because I don't want to ruin this. I don't want to end up pushing you away. I'm not capable of a relationship, just ask Daphne."
"Daphne?" Alice scoffed, rolling her gorgeous eyes at the name. "What the hell would she know about the real you? Daphne never knew you like I know you, and you know that, too, Andie!" True, painfully true.
Alice shook her head at me, closing her eyes and rubbing the bridge of her little nose in agitation at my weak protests. But I really didn't want to lose her in any way, and would give up our chance at happiness if that's what it meant to have her beside me. If I kept her as my best friend, I should never have to lose her. "Alice, stop that," I scolded her gently, pulling her hand back to me. "How could I be with you, Alice? How could I open my eyes every day to you, and not screw this up somehow? I'm too jealous, I couldn't handle the way people constantly eye rape you! I'd go to jail."
Alice threw up her hands and jumped to her feet, pacing the carpet in front of me. "Excuses!" she snarled, pointing a finger at me. "You're running, Andrea! You are high-tailing in the opposite direction from me, and it's not fair! You trust me, I know you do! You know I would never hurt you. You're still feeling the sting from Daphne, and I think a part of you is waiting on her. News flash, Andie: Daphne is not coming home."
Her words hit hard below the belt, forcing the air from my lungs with a whoosh, my eyes tearing up at the pain of hearing that from Alice's mouth. But if I were honest with her, I'd tell her that our friendship had a lot to do with why Daphne left me. True, my schedule was full, but the reality of it was that whatever free time I had was never spent with Daphne; it was well spent with Alice.
Two summers before I had taken a week to go home to South Carolina, and it was not my girlfriend I chose to accompany me, it was Alice Cullen, and it was much to Daphne's dismay; she left me two months later. What affection I gave Daphne stopped abruptly when I met Alice, because I fell for her, and I fell hard. I was just too stubborn to admit it, I fought against it too hard, not wanting to be like everyone else to her. I wanted to be different. And Alice was wrong. I didn't want Daphne to come home. I could take Daphne leaving me every day for the rest of my life, in comparison to the chance of losing my Alice just once.
I tried to explain this to her, but she just kept shaking her head at my words, as if deflecting them from falling on her ears. "I would never leave you, Andie. Ever. As we stand even now, I will be the one holding your hand when... you die." She lost her voice on the last two words, a terrified look creeping into her feminine features, as if she were just realizing that I would indeed one day die.
"Everyone dies," I said softly, yet dismissively, and she raised her horror struck face to look at me as I said it. "And I selfishly hope you out live me, because I do not think I can go through that."
She stared at me for a solid second longer, then resumed her pacing. "Back to the point, Andie, don't try to distract me," she said heatedly. "All of your reasons are moot because this is the real thing!" The last few words were nearly screeched at me.
"How do you know?" I shot at her.
I never saw her move, she just appeared in my lap, her hands on my face, her nose inches from mine, and her eyes, liquid gold, bored into me. "Because when we're close like this, I can feel your spirit radiating from your pores. I can see me reflected in your eyes, not just my face. I can feel the difference with us that grows every day. We never plateau, we just keep evolving, and damn it, Andie, evolution is forever!"
"Alice..." The tears that has been standing sentry over my irises now spilled silently down my cheeks, and Alice caught them with a frigid finger, wiping them away. "I'm terrified of you, of how you make me feel."
"Don't be scared of me, Andie," she said in a soft, pleading tone, her eyes still searching my soul through my own. "I'm not dangerous to you, not at all. I love you, and I'm yours, whether you want me or not. I would never harm you in any way. Do you believe that?"
"Yes, I do believe that. But Alice–" She cut off my protest with a finger to my lips.
"Bear all I just told you in mind. I want to emphasize the part where I love you, I'm eternally yours, and I'll never hurt you." She paused, allowing me time to let it sink in and wonder where she was going with these points, and I watched as she sucked in a great breath to continue. "Andie, I-I'm a vampire."