ENTRY #74 - AH
Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest
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Title: Love, Loss, and Life Anew
Picture Prompt Number: 43
Rating: M (Language and Alcohol use)
Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 6538
Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation): Can a chance meeting between two strangers lead to letting go of old love, accepting loss and starting anew?
Warnings and Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to S. Meyer, no copyright infringement intended.
Just as he had the previous four nights of his so-called vacation, Emmett walked into the hotel bar with one purpose: to get drunk enough to forget the shitty day he'd had. If being only four months fresh out of a six year relationship wasn't bad enough, the fact the he was stuck being around his ex everyday added to it.
While they were dating, the couple had introduced Emmett's younger brother, Edward, to Rosalie's cousin, Bella. They'd hit it off right away and had never looked back. In fact, the two and a half week Hawaiian trip was for Bella and Edward's wedding.
Unfortunately for Emmett, Rose brought along a constant reminder of the demise of their relationship. Though he had believed she would have more respect for his feelings as well as those of his family, he was sorely mistaken. When the wedding party gathered for dinner the first night in Hawaii, Jacob Black had been clinging to his former lover's hips. And lips. And at one point, when the low-life had known Emmett was watching, her breasts.
It had taken Emmett an extraordinary amount of effort each day to play nice. Edward played a large part in that and was the only reason that Jacob had not gotten his ass kicked. Though the younger Cullen would have loved to throw the home-wrecker off a cliff, he was determined not to let the awkwardness of the situation affect the wedding.
Emmett loved his future sister-in-law and agreed wholeheartedly with Edward, so after dealing with everything during the day, he escaped to the small lobby bar at night. Everyone else was either at the larger, trendier bar across the resort or at a club, so Emmett was free to relax.
After settling onto a high stool, Emmett flagged the bartender down. She was the same one who had been here the previous few nights and she looked at him with concern.
"Emmett," Tia lightly scolded, while popping the top off a beer, "What are you doing back here tonight?"
"Same thing I was doing here last night and the two before that," Emmett replied, then took a large pull from the amber-colored bottle. He and Tia had chatted during his frequent visits. She proved to be one of the best bartenders ever; not only could she make a mean cocktail, but her listening skills were superb.
"What happened today, Dimples?"
"We went on a snorkeling excursion. I saw some interesting things. The sun, sky, water, sea creatures, and my ex's hands down the shorts of the dude she cheated on me with."
"Aww, Em. That's rough," she said before getting called away to fill another drink order.
Emmett took the opportunity to glance around the bar. He noticed a few older couples looking over brochures for local attractions at one table. Some other solo guests were at the bar and some guys in business suits were scattered around the room. But his eyes caught on the only lone female in the room.
She was by far one of the most beautiful women Emmett had ever seen, even if he could only see her profile. She had lightly sun-kissed skin, pouty pink lips and medium length dark brown, almost black hair. There was just something about her that drew Emmett in. He really had no idea what was so fascinating about this woman, but he continued to watch her as she sat staring out the window at the slowly setting sun.
"Hey, Dimples," Tia called out, making Emmett turn away from the woman. Tia immediately smirked; She had seen exactly what her customer had been doing. "Something pretty catch your eye?"
"Just admiring all your beautiful island has to offer." They both laughed at Emmett's silliness, but Tia was secretly pleased. She hadn't seen the big man smile one time since she had met him.
"Well her drink looks low; perhaps I should go see if one of those suits wants to buy her a refill." The words had no sooner left her mouth when Emmett protested.
"No, that won't be necessary. Her next round is on me."
As Tia got busy fixing the drink, Emmett took the opportunity to glance across the room again. What he saw almost made him second guess sending a drink. The woman seemed to be lost in thought, a frown marring her gorgeous face. It was clear something was worrying her mind.
"Here you go, big guy," Tia said, placing the mixed drink and a fresh beer in front of Emmett. "You've got to bring it over to her. Gus is on break and I can't leave the bar."
"What?" Emmett questioned, looking at both drinks. He hadn't planned on bringing the beverage over; He just wanted to observe, from afar. He was hoping to put a smile on the girl's face since he couldn't find a way to do so himself.
"Step up to the plate," Tia told him and then walked down the bar to another patron.
After giving himself a mental pep talk, Emmett stood, grabbing both drinks in hand, and started walking towards the pretty girl's table. As he got closer he noticed she was completely focused on the almost fully set sun, except for her hand that was grasping some type of charm on a chain.
Stepping next to her, Emmett cleared his throat and said hello. He was attempting to introduce himself when she turned to face him, but the words were lost in his throat the moment her blue eyes locked with his.
"Can I help you?" the woman asked.
"Um," Emmett spluttered momentarily, before recovering. "Sorry. I'm Emmett, I was just wondering if you'd like to have a drink with me?" He held out the glass he was towards her. She looked towards Tia for a moment, only answering when the bartender gave her a nod.
"Sure," she said, reaching for the drink. As Emmett sat down in the chair across from her, she stuck out her free hand. "I'm Alice."
"It's a pleasure to meet you."
Alice was taken aback by this handsome man. She had no intentions of socializing when she came down to the lobby bar, simply looking for a quiet place to watch the sun go down. But she couldn't say she was disappointed by the dimpled smile across from her.
"Likewise," she responded, smiling right back. Alice couldn't find the harm in some conversation and a little bit of innocent flirting, so she engaged Emmett right away. "So what brings you to Hawaii, Emmett?"
"My younger brother's wedding."
"Oh, I love weddings! In fact I'm a wedding planner back in Seattle."
"Seattle?" Emmett questioned, before adding, "You're kidding right? I live in Seattle. Small world, huh?"
"It appears so,"
Alice didn't even notice how quickly the time flew by while she and Emmett spoke and sipped on their drinks. They had found their Seattle connection funny, joking that they'd probably crossed paths before and didn't even know. She had also learned that he, like her, would be here for another two weeks.
Alice had played off her real reasons for being on the Island when Emmett asked. She told him that she was simply on a vacation to escape work, which was partially true, but not her sole purpose for being in this specific place, at this specific time. Alice didn't want to open the door to any negative emotions when she was having such a fantastic time with Emmett.
The conversation between them was easy and enjoyable. They flitted between many varying topics from college to work, friends and family, and even their likes and dislikes. What surprised them both was how similar their tastes in movies and music were.
"So the bride's gown had camouflage-print fabric and the groom's tux was hunter green with an orange safety vest." As they both laughed over Alice's story of an eccentric bride, the waiter dropped off the check. Looking around the room for the first time in a while, the couple realized how long they must have been chatting. The bar was empty of all guests except them, and every other table had chair turned over, ready for the floor to be mopped.
"Wow! We've been here all night," Alice exclaimed, still shocked by how easy it had been to lose time chatting with Emmett.
"Well, you know what they say… Time flies when you're having fun." Emmett was surprised by his words, but knew they were true. For the first time since his and Rosalie's spilt he was having a good time and not dwelling in his heartache. Leaning in a little closer, Emmett said softly, "And I was having fun. You're a very easy person to be around, Alice."
"Oh, well you're not so bad yourself," she told him with a smile on her lips.
"How about I pay this," Emmett started, "Then maybe you'd like to continue talking outside? Or if it's too late, I could walk you to your room?"
Alice wanted to say yes. She wanted to spend more time with Emmett and get to know him. Hell, if she was being honest, she had the urge to invite him up to her room and do things she hadn't done in years. But as she tried to answer him, a nagging memory of an eerily similar conversation happening in this bar flooded her mind.
That flash from her past made Alice remember exactly why she was here. She reached up and gently touched the silver guitar pendent hanging from her neck. The feel of the cool metal between her fingertips gave Alice the push to do what she felt she needed to.
"Sure, that'd be great, Emmett." The lie rolled easily off her tongue as she dug around her purse for some money for her half of the tab. When she handed Emmett a few bills he simply waved her off, and told her he would take care of it.
As soon as Emmett started walking towards the bar, Alice stood and picked up her things. While he pulled out his wallet and started talking to the bartender, Alice made her escape. She made a beeline to the door without looking back. Through the lobby she ran and hopped into the first elevator that opened.
By the time she made it too her room, Alice had tears running down her cheeks and her chest felt tight from the harsh and uneven breaths she was taking. Looking around the familiar surroundings, the same suite she'd stayed in this time every year for the past seven, her heart hurt.
There wasn't a one spot in the room where she couldn't recall a happy memory. As bittersweet as they were for her to think of, that had been the reason she came to the resort for the past three years: a time to reflect on all the good times. But she had almost tainted them. Hell, she had already tarnished many from the bar after talking to Emmett.
Not able to tolerate the emotions waging war in her head and heart, Alice stripped out of her sundress and rid herself of her makeup. After she was ready for bed, she opened the bottle of sleeping medication she hadn't had to use in ages and took two before drifting off to sleep.
Emmett walked up to the bar with a bit of a swagger to his step. He never imagined that bringing a beautiful woman a drink could lead to all the things he was feeling. Not only was Alice extremely easy to talk to, but Emmett felt that she understood him in a way no one had in a long while. She was funny, easy going, had a similar sense of humor as him and just made Emmett feel at ease.
Approaching a smirking Tia, Emmett ducked his head and laughed. He was just waiting for her snaky comments. And as soon as he stepped up to the bar, he wasn't disappointed.
"Where ya been all night, big guy? I didn't have anyone to talk to."
"Oh, stop it." Emmett waved her off with a smile and pulled out his wallet.
"So what's the deal? She's a good looking gal. You going to get on that?"
Emmett scoffed, giving his favorite bar-wench a mock look of indignation, and asked, "What kind of man do you take me for?" They shared a laugh before he added, "No, but really… She's great. I could see myself getting to know her. And not just here. We both live in Seattle."
"Wow, you got some good luck there," Tia commented. "Or one really awesome fairy god-bartender."
"Wait! Do you know her or something?"
"Yeah, you could say that. Anyway… Fork over that money, so I can close out the register. And remember, tipping your matchmaker isn't required, but oh, so appreciated." After settling the tab and leaving a hefty and well earned tip for Tia, Emmett bid her a goodnight.
As he turned back to the table they'd shared, Emmett couldn't find Alice anywhere. Walking over he noticed all her things were gone, too. He spotted Gus, the waiter, mopping a few tables down and asked him if he saw the woman head to the restroom, but was told no, he saw her walk out to the lobby.
Moving quick, Emmett left the bar. After scanning the lobby and not spotting Alice, his face fell. He was so sure she had felt something for him; she seemed so genuine. And despite having only known her for a handful of hours, Emmett was sure that the attraction wasn't one sided.
After lingering around lobby for a while, hoping that Alice would turn back up, Emmett finally had to give up and face the fact that she wasn't as into him as he had thought. This frustrated and hurt him more than it should have considering their brief interaction. But as he made his way up to his room, Emmett couldn't shake the frown from his face.
Emmett's somber mood followed him into the next day. He was none too pleased when he boarded the large boat that was set to take the wedding group out on a day-long dolphin and whale watch. As much as being around happy couples and Rose and Jake had bothered him on the other days, today it was grating his nerves raw. He couldn't shake the aggravating thoughts swirling through his mind. He just wanted to know why everyone else, even the lying backstabbers, were able to find happiness but it still eluded him.
With a sour attitude still engulfing him, Emmett barely paid attention as a worker from the excursion company started frantically speaking to Edward and Bella. Evidentially one of his workers forgot that the boat had been chartered out for the day and booked a trip for someone else. The man offered to discount the price if they would be willing to allow this one passenger onto the ship. He even promised she would most likely stay out of the group's way. Bella, being the kindhearted person she was, had no problems and agreed without much thought.
Emmett sat back, getting more agitated by the minute. The longer they waited for this other person to get on the boat, the longer it took till this trip was over and he could hit up the bar. So the surprised look on Emmett's face was a far cry from the one he had just worn when the new passenger boarded.
"Alice?" he asked at the same time Bella exclaimed the girl's name as well and ran to her. Alice looked like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.
When she had woken up that morning, Alice had sworn to herself that she was going to stick to her normal routine in Hawaii. After making plans with the boating company she had gotten ready and headed out. It took a lot of effort on her part, but she was determined to forget about Emm…. No, she mentally berated herself, don't even think his name. She just wanted to pretend that last night and that man never existed.
Alice had not been happy about the snafu with the excursion company. After demanding they make it possible for her to have the trip she paid for, she was angry. She had always stayed on the same schedule here, it kept her feeling connected to her past, and she'd be damned if she couldn't continue her traditions. So when they came to a resolution, she felt a little better. That was until she was on the boat.
As she heard her name being called, Alice froze. She recognized both the voices immediately. Bella had been a good friend in college, but like all things that reminded her of that time of her life, Alice had let their friendship flounder until it disappeared. Though she was sad about losing someone so special, she couldn't handle the memories that were evoked around her friends.
Looking up, Alice tried to ignore the hard stare she could feel coming from Emmett and focused on Bella. With a shy wave, she mumbled, "Hi" before Bella engulfed her in a hug.
"Oh my god! What are you doing here? And how do you know Emmett?" Bella asked, adding the second part in truly quizzical tone.
"Oh, I'm on vacation. I come here every year," Alice explained. "And as for how I know Emmett…." She didn't get to finish, because Emmett took it upon himself to pipe in.
"We shared a drink at the bar last night, was all." His voice was flat, devoid of the happy, carefree lilt from the previous night.
"Yeah," Alice agreed and turned to look at Emmett for the first time. He was in no way, shape or form the same guy she had met. It made her wonder if leaving him had been the cause for his turn about or if it was something else. She doubted it was her. Sure she had felt something for him, but she didn't see how it could have been mutual.
Alice debated getting off the boat, now feeling unsure about imposing on this group. Back in college she never could have imagined not being at Bella's wedding, never mind not being in the bridal party, but things had changed drastically since then. Looking around she noted that some of her other former friends were here as well. Angela, Ben, Kate, Leah and even Tanya were all staring at her. She wasn't sure she'd be able to handle their questions, or worse, looks of pity.
But before she could excuse herself the boat lurched to life and started pulling away from the dock. Much to Alice's dismay, she had no chance for escape now. She would be stuck with this group of people, some who scared her because they knew about her past and one who scared her because he seemed to have the ability to make her forget that same past. Resigned to the fact that that there was no changing things, she decided to make the most of the situation. She preceded to ask Bella all about her fiancé and their relationship.
Emmett was confused. Who the hell was this chick and how did she know his future sister-in-law? He wanted to ask her those questions as well as where she'd just disappeared to last night, but Alice was avoiding him. It was clear in the way she couldn't even glance in his direction. So when she prompted Bella to tell her all about her relationship with Edward, he knew he wouldn't be getting any answers.
With that in mind, Emmett grabbed a few beers and made his way to the top deck of the boat. He didn't want to sit around and see the girl he had wanted to get to know last night act like a completely different person today.
He wasn't alone long before Edward came up and sat beside him. Emmett reached down and popped the top off a beer, handing it to his brother in lieu of a greeting. The two sat in silence for a long while, both just gazing into the endless blue sea.
"So," Edward started, "Want to tell me what really happened with Alice?"
"Not really," Em responded, but added, "But I'll tell you anyway, because I know you won't drop it until I do." So for the next half hour, Emmett laid out how he'd been so down being around Rose and Jake. How he'd gone to the bar every night to lose himself in the numbness booze provided. And to end things, he confessed how different he felt last night as he spent hours chatting with Alice.
"Totally not what I was expecting," Edward confessed. When Emmett gave him an incredulous look, his brother clarified. "I figured maybe you had hooked up with her or something. And I sure as hell didn't know all of that other stuff. For what it's worth I'm really sorry about all this shit with Rose and Jake. If I could I'd… I don't know man. Having Rose in her wedding has always been Bella's dream, it just sucks that it comes at you being hurt."
"Eh." Emmett waved off the apology from his brother. "It sucks, but it's kind of whatever at this point. She did what she did. I just wish I didn't have to see it thrown in my face. But I've been doing a lot of thinking lately."
"Does your head hurt?" the younger Cullen injected, ribbing his big brother good-naturedly.
"Ha ha, asshole," Emmett deadpanned. "No, but really man… I don't think I'm even that hurt anymore. I think it's more of mourning the loss of what could have been. I'm 29 and essentially starting over; I figured I'd be close to settling down by now. I mean you're my younger brother and you're tying the knot before me."
"Em," Edward sighed. "Other than a wife and kids you've got everything else. You'll get it; I know you will. Now come down and have some fun. We can even accidentally throw Jake overboard when the boat stops in a bit."
Emmett felt better after talking with Edward, like he had gotten a weight off his shoulders. Even having Alice there couldn't deter the happiness starting to grow within him. The possibility of throwing Jake off the boat didn't hurt either.
Alice sat next to Bella and listened to her spin a tale of romance and love. It was clear in the way her old friend said his name, that Edward truly was the one Bella was meant for. She was a bit envious that Bella had found someone and was getting her happily ever after. Something Alice, herself, had been denied.
"What about you?" Bella asked cautiously. It had been so long since she'd seen Alice and she had no idea how her old friend was doing. "Are you dating anyone?"
"No. No, I'm not." Alice stated, wishing she could steer the conversation away from herself.
"Really? Maybe I could set you up with Emmett!"
"No, that's not necessary. I—I don't date." Alice said. Bella in turn asked why not. "I just don't, okay?" was the harsh answer she was given.
"Is… Is this about Jasper?" Bella asked, not sure if it was okay to bring him up.
"Jasper? Who's Jasper?" Emmett asked, seemingly popping up from nowhere.
Emmett looked around, but no one seemed to be willing to answer him. It was clear he was missing something big. "Alice?" he prompted, hoping he hadn't been hitting on some other guy's girlfriend last night. "Alice, who's Jasper?"
"Can you guys please excuse me for a moment," Alice pleaded and took off down the stairs to the lower level of the boat.
"What just happened?" Emmett asked the group. "Bella, is she okay? And can someone please tell me who Jasper is?"
"Em…" Bella looked up to him with tears in her eyes.
"Never mind!" Emmett threw his hands in the air. Pointing towards the lower deck, he said, "I'll go ask her myself then."
Bella made to chase after Emmett. She was intent on stopping him and demanding why he found this to be a big deal, but Edward stopped her. Edward knew all about Jasper, but felt it was best that his brother heard about him from Alice. When Bella put up a fight, wanting to get to her friend, Edward held her tight until she stopped struggling. When his fiancée was calm enough, Edward took it upon himself to explain all that Emmett had shared with him about Alice.
Alice had been sitting in a bedroom trying to control her tears. She didn't like to talk about Jasper, so much so that she hadn't said or heard his name in a long while. Having him brought up by their old friends was hard. She realized that she had never thought about anyone but herself losing him. A knock against the door broke her from her thoughts.
"Thought you might need these," Emmett said, holding out a box of tissues.
"Thanks," she replied, grabbing a few white sheets. After a few moments, Alice looked back at him. "I should really apologize for how I left you last night."
"Yeah. Yeah you should," Emmett cut her off before she could continue. "But what I would really like to know is why you left and who this Jasper guy is. I—I'm not the kind of guy who hits on another dude's girl and I'm really hoping that wasn't what happened last night."
"It's not. I promise you that that's not what happened."
"Okay, but I'd still like to know what's going on now. Because, I can't lie to you; last night I felt something for you. Being there, talking and laughing with you; I haven't been able to do that in a long time. I really had hopes that we'd be able to explore that spark between us." His blatantly honest confession stunned Alice.
"Emmett, I…" Alice trailed off. "In order for me to explain last night, I'm going to have to tell you about Jasper and my past."
"Only do it if it's what you want, if you feel the same for me."
"I do feel something for you," Alice confessed, looking into Emmett's blue eyes. Nodding her head, she started her story. "When I was college I met Jasper and we clicked instantly. I can't even lie, we fell hard and fast. I'd be willing to bet our love story would rival the one Bella just told me about her and Edward."
One look at Emmett and Alice knew he was withdrawing emotionally. In order to keep him here, she reached out and took his hand in her own. "I promise telling you all this has a point, do you think you can sit here and hear it all?"
"I can try. If I want answers then I've got no choice, right?"
"Each August we would come to this resort for a vacation. A little getaway, just the two of us, before school started. We even came the year after school ended. On our last night here, Jasper asked me to marry him and I said yes." Alice could feel her eyes starting to tear up, but she didn't feel as overcome with despair like she normally would have while rehashing her tale.
"Things were great when we got back to Seattle. I started working at Twilight Nights, the wedding planning company, and Jasper had gotten hired at Perez Advertising. Both of our apartments only had a few months left on their leases and we had planned to start looking for a place together. But it wasn't all sunshine and daisies." Alice paused, thinking back on all the arguments and fights they'd had during the months following their vacation. "When you go from the college environment and always seeing each other to trying to plan things around new and really demanding jobs… Let's just say that there were more than a few occasions I didn't think we'd make it."
"That must have been rough," Emmett told her and squeezed her hand.
"It was. His boss wasn't making it any easier. Maria Perez had taken a liking to Jasper. Always wanting him to work under her wing and I had my suspicions she would've liked him to be under her in other ways, too." A humorless laugh let left Alice's lips as she recalled the older woman. "Anyway, she'd always make him work crazy long hours and constantly called him at home; I felt like I was the other woman some days with how much they were in contact."
"Three weeks before Christmas my company had their annual holiday party. Jasper had been promising me for weeks that he'd made it clear to Maria he would be unavailable that evening. I should have know that she would pull something, though. I had been waiting at my place for Jazz to pick me up when he called and said to go on ahead of him, that a few last minute changes to a big project had to be made, but he'd be there within an hour or two."
"We got into a huge fight on the phone. It… It was probably one of the worst arguments we'd ever had. I told him I thought his priorities had changed, that he'd changed and that I didn't feel like he cared about me anymore." With the last word out of her mouth, Alice broke down in tears that she couldn't seem to control.
It was breaking Emmett's heart to see this beautiful girl, who he thought had looked so confident and put together the night before, fall to pieces in front of him. Sensing she needed the comfort, Emmett pulled her into his arms and held her tight, whispering calming words and encouraging her to get everything out.
"I t-told him that if he loved me the way he said he did, that he would have been here and that he shouldn't show up that night. I didn't want to have to pretend to be happy with him in front of my friends and colleagues. Before I hung up on him, I told him that he needed to think long and hard about us and if we were still worth the fight, because I wasn't sure anymore."
Sitting up straight and removing herself from Emmett's arms, Alice steeled herself to get through the rest of the story.
"I went to the party on my own and tried to have a good time. It wasn't so bad, although many of my friends had questioned where Jazz was. I played it off, citing his demon of a boss had buried him under paperwork. After I got home and crawled into bed I couldn't fall asleep, something didn't feel right. Somewhere deep in my heart I knew something was wrong."
"I called Jasper's phone. I wanted to apologize and ask if he'd come over. I wanted to talk things out. A man answered and said he was with the Seattle police department and that he couldn't give me much information." Alice stood up and started pacing in front of the bed. Sitting still was only making her anxiety rise. "All he asked for was a way to get in touch with Jazz's next of kin, so I told him the number for his parents. Before the cop ended the call he told me that Jazz was at Seattle General."
"I arrived around the same time as his parents and we were immediately ushered into a private waiting room. This doctor came in and… I can't even tell you what he said exactly, the only words that stuck out to me were 'I'm sorry. We tried everything to revive him, but unfortunately we couldn't save him.'"
Emmett was shocked. He wasn't expecting to hear Jasper had died. He assumed, when Alice had mentioned his boss, that perhaps after their fight, Jasper had cheated. Not knowing what to do, Emmett reached out for Alice's hand.
"No," she shook her head and pulled away. "I don't deserve the comfort you're trying to give me during this. Just… let me finish, okay?" Emmett nodded at her and watched as she stopped her pacing to stand in front of him.
"He got into in accident on the highway. Some asshole was driving drunk; Jasper goy side-swiped and crashed into the guard rail on the driver's side." Alice took a deep breath and closed her eyes, before getting out the last of her story. "We found out later that he had left his office almost right away after our fight. He told Maria that he couldn't stay because he had an obligation and wasn't going to back out. He was on his way to the party, on his way to me."
"You know it's not your fault, right?" Emmett asked, the last word seeming as much like a demand as a question. When he was only met with silence, he knew that Alice really believed she was to blame. "That's bullshit! It wasn't your fault"
"Yes it was! If it wasn't for me arguing with him, he never would have been driving!"
"I don't agree with you, but whatever. What does all that have to do with you running scared last night?"
"I was scared!" Alice yelled, throwing her hands up. "You come walking up to my table, being all charming and good looking and throwing my world upside down. I haven't felt anything for anyone since I lost Jasper. Within hours of meeting you I knew that if I let myself… I could one day feel more for you than I ever had for him."
"And what's wrong with that, Alice? Huh? 'Cause I don't see how that's a bad thing."
"This place meant so much to Jazz and me. I come here every year to spend time with his memory and to feel close to him. I've never even thought about moving on, never mind feeling that way in our special place."
"So that's it? You're content to live your life like this?" Emmett was getting more frustrated by the moment. He didn't see why someone wouldn't want to take the chance on happiness. "You know, I'd be willing to fight for a chance to have happiness. I know heartbreak. My ex is upstairs all over the guy she cheated on me with. Sure it's not the same as having that person ripped from your life, but it hurt."
"I'm sorry you had to go through that, Emmett."
"Yeah? Well I'm not. Not anymore," Emmett's words were strong. He was trying to drive his point home. "I would love nothing more than to explore what's between us, but I can't compete with ghosts of your past."
Alice watched as Emmett stood and started to walk out of the small room. He paused once in the doorframe, but after a second he shook his head and walked away.
Alice wanted to run after him, she wanted to say she'd try, but she was frozen in place. She wasn't even sure how much time passed as she stayed standing, staring at the door. Moving to sit on the bed, Alice thought about what Emmet had said. Her mind was split as she could easily see her future in two different lights.
In one she could see herself living just as she had been for the past four years. Her focus being solely on her work, not thinking much further than a day or two ahead of time. Every August she would come back to the tropical paradise and remember the happiest times of her life. The only problem with that was that she now considered her night chatting with Emmett in the bar to be pretty damn happy.
Being happy with Emmett was the main focal point of her other imagined future. Alice could see it all: romantic dates and cuddling on the couch. Her chest ached as she pictured Emmett on one knee with a ring between his fingers, his eyes watery when she said yes. His smile as he stood at a church altar and waited for her to walk the aisle.
Having not thought about children in years, the look of undeniable joy mixed with fear when she told him he was going to be a daddy made Alice yearn to be a mother. Her throat felt tight imaging him old and grey holding her wrinkly hand, still looking at her like she was the most beautiful thing on earth.
She was so moved by the hypothetical vision that tears started falling from Alice's eyes. Seeing herself so happy had shifted something inside of her. The potential to have a full life was, as Emmett had said, worth fighting for. It took her all of two deep inhales before she was rushing up the deck to look for him.
Emmett headed straight to the back of the boat after leaving Alice. He was craving solitude and this was the best he could get while being stuck on a yacht full of people.
Settling back into a lounge chair, Emmett took the time to reflect on the long day. Things hadn't turned out the way he'd hoped, far from it in fact. He did get one good thing out of the cluster-fuck with Alice. Emmett felt he was over Rosalie and knew that it was possible to open his heart again.
Just as Emmett started to try and convince himself that Alice hadn't been worth it and that what he felt for her was amplified by the tropical setting, he heard his name called. Looking over his shoulder, he spotted the same girl he had just been thinking about walking slowly towards him. Her appearance surprised him, but the words she spoke shocked him more.
"I'm sorry," she whispered before clearing her throat to speak louder. "You were right, Emmett, the life I've been leading hasn't been much of one."
"Al, I wasn't saying that to make you feel bad or to be an asshole. When I saw you, something drew me to you and after talking to you… I was hooked. When you told me about him, I felt bad, but I didn't want to see you sit back and let life pass you by. Especially not when I feel like we could be something great."
"I know that," she told him. "And I agree with you. I think we could be something great."
Emmett raised an eyebrow in Alice's direction. There was something in the tone she was using that was different than the way she'd spoken earlier.
"For the first time since my life was destroyed, I feel hope. And it's because of you. You're making me want things I haven't even thought about in what seems like forever. If you'd have me… I want to try with you, Emmett."
Pulling on Alice's hand, Emmett brought her to sit with her back pressed to his chest and wrapped his arms around her. "That's all I need to know," he whispered before kissing her softly.