Sorry it's been so long since an update! I actually played with the idea of an Alice POV and wrote a chapter of it recapping her waking up in Bella's apartment; but I decided against it.
Starbucks is giving me like a shift every day. Not that I'm complaining about the money; but I do have a life outside of work. My boss doesn't realize that.
It was night time now, coming around to ten o'clock. I wondered if Alice was already dead, or unknowingly awaiting her death. Much to my displeasure, it was a thought I was unable to put out of mind. I imagined her sitting on her couch while they struck; or getting ready for bed, cheerfully oblivious to her impending murder. The thought was discomforting; tormenting, even. She didn't have so much as a chance - especially not with Bear or Sentinel. They would not hesitate as I did; hell, they didn't even like getting their hands dirty. They'd find the easiest way to top her off and then be on with it.
No chance at all.
Cleaning up my brief meal from earlier, I eyed the jacket crumpled on my kitchen chair. I hadn't touched it yet; I didn't want to. It was like an abandoned trophy that I didn't earn. A bad memoir. It was a reminder of my weakness and compromise; a souvenir, so to speak, of a girl that I couldn't save.
I shook my head. Here I was again, going off with silly thoughts. What was done is done. I should just throw it out. Saving wasn't my job anyways.
Going over to the chair and picking it up, took a few seconds to run my thumbs over the beige fabric. Stupid girl and her stupid jacket, disturbing my peace of mind.
Folding it up, I took it over to my kitchen garbage, quickly checking the pockets to see if they were empty. My hand pulled out a small piece of cardboard.
A business card.
It was Aro's business card from one of his Volturi oil lines. What was this doing in Alice's pocket? I flipped it over to examine the back; in unmistakable handwriting was a set of eight numbers.
Aro had written it personally.
I knocked on her door, taking a step back as I waited. Much to my annoyance, I felt an immediate flush of relief as soon as I heard her footsteps come towards the door. She was still alive.
Stop caring. I instructed myself.
The door swung open and Alice stood in her door frame, looking pleasantly surprised.
She beamed at me. "Bella!"
"Alice," I breathed, as I was immediately engulfed in a hug. Again, I didn't reciprocate, my body a rigid statue and my arms more or less flippy-floppy limbs of purposeless indecision. After a short squeeze, Alice's hands moved to my waist and her neck craned back as she narrowed an eye at me.
"Wait a second, how do you know where I live?" She asked, giving me a slight smile.
"And my room number?"
"I asked the front desk." I said. It was an easy enough excuse; she didn't need to know that I picked the lock at the back of her building and knew her apartment number from her file the other day.
Alice laughed, clapping me on the shoulder. "Come in, why are you here?" She asked, beckoning me to come inside.
I waved her off politely. "No thanks, I can't stay long." I said, lifting my arm and holding up her jacket. "Just came to return this."
"Geez, you came all the way here for that? Thanks." She said, scratching the back of her head. "Yeah, I realized I forgot it when I got outside, but I was already so late. I was gonna try to pick it up tomorrow."
"It's fine." I said, handing her the jacket.
"Well, now you have to come inside." She said, grabbing my hand and trying to lead me into her house again.
I chuckled. "No, I really shouldn't be here." I insisted. The last thing I wanted was to get caught mingling with her. I had put my job at risk enough for this woman.
"Well we can't have this conversation in the hallway; I'm not wearing pants." She said, crossing her arms. I looked down to see that she was indeed not wearing pants, just tiny boxer shorts. I averted my gaze, respectfully, choosing to look down at my knees instead. "Come on," She laughed, pulling me into her house. "I'll make you tea."
I allowed myself to be dragged into a quaint apartment with very minimal furniture and decor. Something about her flat made my nose tingle, but I couldn't quite put a finger on it. Before I could give it much thought, Alice turned to me.
"Sorry it's kind of empty, this is a temporary living situation." She said, leading me to her living room. "I'll set up the kettle."
"That's alright, I don't intend to stay. I just had a question." I said, following her into the kitchen. I pulled out the business card from my pocket. "This fell out of your jacket," I said, holding it out to her. She took it between two fingers, having a look. "I was just wondering what your business is with Aro Volturi."
Alice flipped the card in her hand, then stored in it her bra. "Shipgooder has a business arrangement with his company next month." She said casually, moving to take the kettle and fill it up with water.
"And Aro attended to it personally?" I asked.
Alice raised an eyebrow at me. For a split second it seemed as if she was sizing me up, perhaps trying to decide if I was a threat or not. "Aro has representatives that deal with his affairs." She said slowly. "Why would he make it a personal matter?"
"Exactly." I answered. "Which is why I'm curious as to why his handwriting is on the back of that card. What are you shipping for him?"
Alice put the kettle down, eying me cautiously. "You seem very interested in a rather unimportant transaction."
I coughed into my hand, getting ready for my cover up. "My company has been trying to do business with him for a while. He's very hard to reach, however. I was just interested." I put my hands together at my waist, trying to look pleasant. Alice looked unconvinced, still eying me as if I was acting suspicious. Perhaps I was.
"I was handed the card from one of his representatives." She finally answered, rubbing her arms. Spinning to the open kitchen window, the source of the draft, she closed and locked it. "Strange, I thought I just closed this ten minutes ago." She said, furling up her eyebrows at the window sill.
Despite my desire to prod for more answers, her comment immediately shot me into alert. "You thought, or you know?" I demanded, walking up to the sill.
Alice looked offput by my sudden change of posture. "I don't know. I swear I did."
I scanned the room quickly, looking for any signs of entry. My gaze rested upon the stove, which I yanked open. Sticking my head in, I saw the gas valve open and a small, circular device attached to the roof of the oven. It had a timer on it, counting down from 28 seconds. Propane and a sparker; classic. That explained the slight smell; Sentinel must've planted the small explosive beside the gas leak not too long ago. I would've done the same.
"Uhh, Bella, what are you doing?" Alice asked, only to be cut off by my hand jerking her in the direction of the front door.
"We have to leave." I said, whisking her out of the kitchen.
"What th-" She began to protest.
"Now!" I said, ripping open the front door and pulling her out with me. "Trust me."
"Wait a second," Alice said, trying to go back inside. "Stop."
When I wouldn't let her go, all traces of amusement left her face and she started to resist furiously. "Stop, get your hands off me!" She yelled, pushing me away.
"I'm trying to help you." I said, sending her down the hallway. I got a hold on her arm shoulder and started pulling her to the staircase.
"Stop! Where are you taking me? Help! Help!" She screamed, banging on the doors of her neighbors. Getting in a hefty punch to my right eye, Alice tore away from me and started back in the direction of her flat.
I reached my arm out, grabbing the back of her shirt and yanking her backwards. I pinned her up against the wall and clamped a hand over her mouth, our faces eye to eye. "Trust me, Alice. I promise I'm not trying to hurt you." I said, sternly. Her eyes widened and I could feel her trying to say something underneath my hand. I lifted the bottom of my palm, allowing her an air pocket. She spoke immediately.
Her words were cut off as a we were knocked off our feet by the massive explosion down the hall. Somehow in the blast wave I had managed to throw myself over her without a moment's hesitation. Sprays of debris shot around us, and I made sure her head was tucked underneath me. I hadn't been able to get us far enough from the impact, and my hearing had been reduced to a loud whine. I'm sure hers was no different.
Lifting my head, I turned to see the damage; Alice's flat and partial bits of the two neighboring ones had been blown to pieces. Getting up and catching my balance on the wall, I quickly tried to get Alice to her feet.
"Holy shit," Alice said, looking back at the wreckage behind us.
I grabbed her hand and motioned towards the staircase. "Come on, we can't waste time." I said, pulling her to a run.
Very compliant now opposed to before, Alice followed me to the ground level where we left through the back door. Just as we reached outside, we could hear the fire alarm starting up in the building.
"My car's underground," She said, but I shook my head.
"No way; we're taking my car." I responded. "It's just in this alleyway."
Even in the darkness I could make out Alice's features. She seemed more upset than scared, which impressed me. People generally don't take well to having their houses blown up; she, on the other hand, was doing unnaturally marvelous.
"Why should I go with you?" She said, taking a step back.
I almost rolled my eyes. This woman was so stubborn at all the wrong times. "I just saved your life. Now come with me if you want to make it through the night."
"Why are you doing this? What's in it for you?" Alice asked.
I frowned at her before letting my gaze fall to the ground; I could ask myself the same question. "I don't know." I replied, my voice low.
I held my hand out, beckoning her. "Now come on."
After walking for a few minutes, we reached my car. I pulled the brown tarp off of it, stuffing the cover in my trunk. We got into the car and I started driving back to my house. It wasn't until that moment that I realized exactly what I had done.
Having chosen to save her life, I was actively defying the organization.
I had gone rogue.
Squeezing my steering wheel, I weaved through traffic effortlessly, picking up speed along the way. Taking my work phone out of my trench coat pocket, I used one hand to open it up and take out the chip, placing it between my lips. Opening the window, I threw the cellphone out onto the street, not stopping to see where it landed on the concrete. I placed the chip back into my pocket.
Alice was watching me with wide eyes, one hand clutching the passenger door grip with vice force.
"Who are you?" Alice asked.
I kept my eyes on the road, my face hardening at the question. What should I tell her? What could I tell her? I didn't even have a plan, much less a reason to explain my course of actions. This unplanned, irrational turn of events was completely out of my element.
"I told you already," I said.
Alice frowned, her gaze switching between the me and a road. "No, clearly I don't know you at all."
"We were never more than strangers to begin with." I said. It was true; we had met a few times, but that was that. On any normal scale, we were hardly even acquainted.
"Well you're definitely not a salesperson." Alice said.
Well don't you catch on quick.
"And you knew that place was gonna blow." She continued.
"I smelled a gas leak when I came in." I interjected. "It was a fluke that I found it and got us out."
"Bullshit." Alice said, almost scoffing. "You knew something was going to happen. Right when I mentioned the window."
"Fluke." I repeated.
"I don't believe you. Who do you work for?"
I closed my eyes. This girl was so annoying; who was she to interrogate me on today's events? "Log-ex" I droned. "A lumber company."
"I've never heard of it." She said, her tone more than accusing.
"Probably because you're not in that industry." I countered, my voice full of irritation. "Look, Alice; I saved your life. Now drop it."
"Take me to a police station." She demanded.
I shook my head. "No." I didn't mix well with the federal law enforcement; with Alice knowing where I lived they'd definitely show up at my doorstep. Ugh, I'd probably have to move out anyways because of this whole fiasco. "We're staying at my place until it's safe."
"Safe for who?"
"Both of us." I responded.
"Why are you involved?"
"Because I saved your life! Now drop it." I said. I let my gaze fall to the passenger seat, where the look on Alice's face indicated that she wouldn't 'drop it', and that this would be a very long night. I sighed, rubbing my temple. "Listen," I started. "There are people after you. Bad people. I can't give you all the answers right now because I don't even know what the hell I'm doing. But you're gonna have to trust me, Alice. You're gonna have to be honest with me." I said, being careful not to make any promises that I didn't want to keep.
If I could keep her out of the organization's way for a bit, maybe I could use her to get to Aro. Then I wouldn't need the organization at all. I could disappear again; empty my bank accounts and live by the seaside in Canada or something. She already had an 'in' with Aro; if I invested some time in developing a trust between us, then maybe I'd finally get my shot.
Sure, I was using her; but I saved her life. She owed me one.
What else could I do? This was my best lead since I couldn't go back to the organization. No, this was the most logical choice given the circumstances. Keep her close; keep her alive; let her business deal run through. I'd have my hit and she'd have her life. It was a good deal.
I had yet to decide what level of confidentiality to approach her with, but I'd just play it by ear. I just had to be nice to her for a bit; grease her and make it seem like I am the good guy. I wondered what she was thinking. After all, this must all be a strange link of events for her.
Alice ran a hand through her choppy hair, exhaling deeply. Her emerald eyes locked onto mine and I could see the contemplation in them. "Why should I trust you?"
I blinked at her, my answer easy and automatic.
"Because I'm going to protect you."
Sorry, I rushed the ending because I'm going out soon! I was gonna have a little assassin fight, but I decided to save it :)
Tell me what you think!