Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. The Twilight Saga and all characters, recognizable settings, etc. involved within are the property of Stephenie Meyer.
Just to be safe, this has been rated M.
A/N: Beta'd by my ff-wifey duskri123 and pre-read by juliangelus and My Duke (one of my RL sisters, you know who you are ;) ). Thank you so much ladies!
This is a drabble-esque one-shot, written entirely from Alice's POV. I hope you enjoy.
Fate. Destiny. Kismet. Fortune.
It's the idea that the future will unavoidably befall a person; the idea by which the future is inevitably predetermined. At least, that's how it's all defined.
Fate. It's a tricky issue to be sure. Do I believe in it? Honestly, I don't think so. Some would assume that because my gift allows me to see the future; that I would automatically place my faith in fate, however, that is far from the truth. Most sorely misunderstand my gift and egregiously assume that what I see is some sort of prophetic declaration of what must, and will be. Well…they're wrong. You see, what my gift shows me are the potential outcomes of choices. And because choices are a mixture of voluntary and unconscious responses to a plethora of stimuli, these choices are constantly in flux, meaning that the potential outcomes of a choice are dynamic—they can change, they shift, they adjust, and they meld.
A popular American saying is that the only things you can depend upon are death and taxes. Well, that simply isn't true. As a vampire, I can testify that not all living things die, and taxes are easily evaded. No, the only things that anyone—any living thing—can depend upon are choices.
She was my best friend. The only friend I had outside of my family, really. I loved her and it was killing me to let her go. Edward had made a really good point, though, and with his adamant refusal to change her, there was no life for her, at least not one with us in it. However, with us gone, she could really live. She could have a family, or not. She could marry, or not. She could do so many things that our existence would hold her back from, or not. See, our presence in her life automatically restricted the choices in her life, and the freedom to actually live instead of merely exist. While I'd love nothing more than for her to remain near me being my friend and confidant eternally, this way we live really isn't a life; at least not as much of a life as she could—should—have. I knew Edward would never change her. There was a possibility for a short while that Emmett, Carlisle, or I would do it, but after this disaster of a birthday, those possibilities are gone. That choice and fate has vanished.
I know I was too pushy with her birthday. I just got so caught up in actually celebrating a life that it all got away from me. There is so little celebration of life in this static existence we lead as vampires, and for the first time, there was something to celebrate—I got carried away. Far too carried away… God do I regret it now.
After Edward left, we gathered in the dining room and waited for his return. I was so torn—debilitated by my need to comfort Jasper while at the same time almost dizzy with the sheer amount of varying visions of Edward and Bella's future.
Bella alone, Edward fleeing. Edward buried in snowdrifts, Tanya stroking his arms and grinning. Bella catatonic. Bella laughing. Bella and a baby. A wedding; Edward is there, I think. Bella isn't. God, I can't get a handle on these right now; all the choices and potential futures whirling and swirling at maddening rates until I swear I feel nauseous.
Finally, there is stability…heart-wrenching stability.
I looked at my husband, and saw the concern on his face as he looked me, silently imploring me for answers to my sudden heartbreak, and overwhelming longing.
"We're going to Alaska…"
I hadn't seen or heard from Edward in nearly eight months. Not since the blow-up that irrevocably shifted our family. We had all reluctantly agreed with Edward. Bella was safer and would have a better life far from our interference. And though it killed me, I left without saying goodbye, knowing if I even tried to do so, that I wouldn't—couldn't. But what I didn't agree to, what none of us agreed with, was how Edward went about doing it. Taking her into the woods and leading her out to the middle of nowhere; the middle of nowhere that he had repeatedly warned her against? Where, using such cruel words, he proceeded to break her? Leaving a false note for her father? No, I didn't agree with any of that at all, and I hadn't seen it in time, or I damn well would have stopped it from happening.
He originally decided to meet her after school and tell her the truth in her kitchen. Bella would cry, beg, and fight for him…but she would eventually relent when she realized that he would never change her. She wouldn't choose a stagnant life. Bella would be heartbroken and eventually move on, but this…this bullshit? No. This was split-second, brought on only by God knows what.
I could feel Jasper's gaze upon me again, knowing that the rage he felt coursing through my veins was troubling him. I couldn't talk to him about it yet; I needed to get my answers from my brother first and I wouldn't get those if he knew that I saw everything. Edward would see that I knew what he had done in Jasper's mind and leave before I could even open my mouth. Well, no sir, brother of mine, that's not happening…
I waited patiently for him to come to the house in Denali, placating Jasper and everyone else that I was just upset by losing Bella's friendship, which wasn't a complete lie.
"Edward, oh my dear," I heard Esme whisper as she quickly flitted to his side to comfort my brother—the jerk.
"Edward," Carlisle greeted him somberly.
There wasn't a peep coming from Emmett or Rose. Emmett had vehemently fought against leaving Bella; he loved her dearly and didn't want to lose her. He had even attempted to leave and change her that very night, but Edward read it in his mind beforehand, and stopped him every time Emmett tried to leave. Rose, on the other hand, agreed with Edward, but was doing her best to comfort and soothe her husband's heartbreak at the same time.
"Brother…" I said, walking slowly down the stairs. "…how are you?"
"I'm not we—"
"I mean," I quickly interrupted, "I didn't think it would take two days for you to break her heart and get up here."
He immediately stilled in shock, while I fought against every instinct I had to keep my mind clear.
"Tell me, Edward, did you know that it took thirteen hours for the search-party to find her?"
"Alice?" Carlisle asked, his hesitation clear, "What do you mean thirteen hours? And whom exactly where they looking for?"
"Yes, Bella. After Edward tore her already fragile psyche apart, he then abandoned her in the woods. The very woods that the little shit-bucket told her to stay out of." I snarled, my anger was increasing to the point where I could literally see red.
"What do you mean, Alice?" I heard Jasper ask quietly. "Edward, tell me you didn't hurt her anymore than what was absolutely necessary. I've told you time and time again just how insecure that sweet girl is. Please, Edward, tell me you didn't do that."
"You're not good for me, Bella," I mocked. "I'm tired of pretending to be something I'm not, Bella. The human-mind is a sieve…my kind is easily distracted…need I go on, brother?"
"You son-of-a-bitch!" Emmett hollered as he flashed down the stairs and pushed Edward through the glass-door, before pummeling him hard into the snow covered ground.
The fight eventually pulled Jasper into the fray, and it later took Carlisle and Rosalie to pull them off of each other. More insults were thrown, disappointments were expressed, and Edward left. It seems to be a talent of his.
He expressly asked me not to look for him, or Bella in my visions. But what he or seemingly everyone else can't seem to grasp, is that I don't have full control over what I do and do not see. I still couldn't stop seeing Edward's cruel breakup with Bella even though I wanted to.
There is something familiar about him that I can't quite put my finger on, but there's just that something about him that seems…too familiar, really. His dimples, maybe. Perhaps it's the mop of unruly blonde curls. He's so familiar to me this boy, this young man. He's in one of Bella's classes, as usual, and has wanted to approach her for almost a year now. I've seen little snippets of his decisions to finally ask her on a date, and while she accepts every time, his courage falters and he never asks.
"What's wrong, Ally-Cat?"
"Nothing." I sigh. "Grant, that boy I've told you about? He's going to ask Bella on a date. I just hope he actually does it this time. His indecision is giving me whiplash."
Jasper just smiles gently at me and laughs. "Honey, it's never easy to approach the woman of your dreams. He's what…been wanting this for almost a year? How many classes is it now that he's registered for at the last minute just because she's taking them, too? It's not easy approaching that woman, my darling. Believe me, I know," he says, chuckling softly.
"Besides, sweetheart. We have more important things to worry about at the moment." Jasper pauses, a more serious expression coming across his features. "When do you see Victoria arriving?"
"Will you? Will you marry me, Bella? Will you be mine forever?" Grant asks as he chews the inside of his cheek nervously while peering up at Bella, and kneels in front of her. The black velvet box opens; a simple band and small solitaire twinkles in the candlelight.
"Oh, Grant…"she breaths, with tears streaming down her face.
"Those are some pretty strong feelings you're pumping out there, Ally-Cat."
"Oh, Jasper! He proposed! She said yes!" I squealed. "Now, I need your help. I saw the perfect wedding dress for Bella in last month's Vogue Paris. Oh! And the shoes! Next season's Manolo's will perfectly compliment the dress." Whether I was there or not, my best friend was going to have the most beautiful, fairy-tale wedding that anyone could ask for. She deserved it. As Jasper once told her, she was worth it.
"And we can't forget about the veil!"
"And then of course I'll have to find a way to get someone to do something with that hair!"
"Oh, and the flowers, Jasper! We have to find a florist and—"
"Yes, my darling husband?"
"I love you, baby."
"And I lo—"
A vision interrupts me.
"Do you, Grant Jasper Whitlock, take Isabella Marie Swan to be yo—"
"Oh, my. Jasper, how much do you know about your family?"
"So let me get this straight. You're telling me that Bella is marrying Jasper's great-however-many-grandson?"
"Hold on. Jasper's grandson, however-many-greats, is marrying Isabella Swan…our Bella?"
"Baby, you're sitting down and resting while going through all those old boxes aren't you?"
"Yes, Grant," Bella replies with sarcastic patience. "I'm pregnant, not handicapped."
"I don't know why this couldn't wait a few more months, Bella. Is this that nest—"
"I'd stop before you say something really stupid, Grant," she mutters tersely. Her eyes narrow, daring him to continue.
"Yes, my love," he says chuckling, before placing a kiss to her cheek and then leaving the room.
The wedding had been perfect, of course. And Bella being Bella, when she received the wedding dress that she'd 'won' through a Vogue Bride sweepstakes, she immediately knew it was me.
"I miss you, Alice. I miss you so, so very much," she whispered while lightly fingering the ivory silk of her 'won' gown.
Though being without my friend—my very best friend—hurt so much, seeing her happy and glowing like she was, was so well worth it. Grant worshipped her, and even Edward never made her blush and smile the way he does. She still has no idea that he is Jasper's rather distant grandson, but she'll find out soon enough. Oh, sooner than I thought actually…
Bella was sitting in their living room, sorting through all of the musty boxes that had been collecting dust in Grant's grandmother's attic for years. Generation upon generation of Whitlock history was packed away neatly, but sadly forgotten about in the dank, old attic.
Neither of Bella's parents really kept much their families past, well, she assumed that Renee more than likely lost anything she had in one of her many moves. As a history teacher, these things fascinated Bella. Worn receipts slip through her fingers. There were assessed property-deeds, recipes, old Baptismal gowns, report cards, hand-made crafts, and Christmas ornaments. The pictures were beautiful—ambro-types and black and whites, more clear through the advancement of Technicolor and digital photography.
She had always noticed similarities in the Whitlock's—the unruly curls, lean forms, impish grins, a dimple on every single Whitlock cheek, and these pictures just showed the continued trend. Even this old tintype showed a Whitlock with deep dimples and mischievous eyes, no matter the serious pose…
Ann impish grin…And Wild blonde curls…
It was a face she'd seen before; a face Bella knew.
"Holy shit," she whispered.
She quickly flipped the card over and noted the old ink-stains across the back and the faded letters that stated: Major Jasper Whitlock. 1861. Missing in Action, 1863. Texas. U.S. Confederate Army.
"You've got to be fucking with me."
"Yes, my dearest Ally-Cat?" he replies, hanging up from another rather strained satellite call with Edward from whatever cave the brooding, drama-queen was hiding in now.
"She knows what?"
"She knows about Grant…and you."
"Oh! Well, how'd she take it?" He asks, the nervousness and giddiness coming off of him in waves.
"Ah-hum," I cleared my throat and attempted to don a shocked and stunned expression. "You've got to be fucking with me, end quote."
"You're doing great, baby—
"Don't…patronize me…you son-of-a-bitch," she growls out, the statements separated by pants of heavy breaths, Her face is red with strain, hair sticking to her forehead, and neck is drenched in sweat.
"I-I'm sorry, Bella. I just wanted—"
"Oh, God. I'm…sorry, Grant…I love you."
"Has she had the baby yet, Alice?" Rosalie asks softly. We all gathered in Alaska to celebrate the birth of Bella's yet-to-be named child. The little witch knew I was looking and kept changing her mind, ranging from names like Horace—ugh—to Meathead.
Grrr…I'm gonna kill her.
"She still hasn't decided on the name, has she?" Edward snickers softly.
"No." I growl in frustration, much to everyone else's amusement.
"She just called Grant a patronizing son-of-a-bitch, and if she grips his hand any tighter, I think it might break."
"Oh! Oh, gross!" I shudder. "No offense, but childbirth is pretty nasty. Oh! I think the baby is about to come, her doctor just said something about crowning."
"Well it's about damn time," Emmett says, huffing. "She's only been in labor for what, almost twenty-hours now?"
"Just one more push now, Mrs. Whitlock, you're doing great."
"Just one more push now, Mrs. Whitlock," I repeat softly for the others' benefit.
"Oh my God, he's beautiful. It's a boy, Jasper! A beautiful baby boy!" I squeal, hopping into the waiting arms of my husband.
"Well, how does it feel to be a grandfather, Jasper?" Carlisle asks and chuckles while distributing cigars.
"Oh, Bella." I sigh, interrupting whatever Jasper was going to respond with, stunned by the vision before me and completely blown away by her name choice.
"What's wrong, Alice?"
"The baby. His name ," I reply, chocking up by emotions and tears that would never fall. "She named him Jasper. She said all the Jaspers she knew were worth it."
"All the Jaspers she knows?" Rosalie asks, confusion twisting her usually apathetic features.
"Jasper is a family name," my emotional husband explains softly. "But if I had to guess, and knowing Bella, this was her way of getting a message across."
"Finally! A girl this time! Oh, she looks just like Bella, but with Grant's eyes. She is so beautiful," I coo ridiculously.
This was the third time we'd gathered in Alaska for Bella. The first was for little Jasper, the second was three years later for Charles, and now for….dammit, she pulled that name stunt on me, again!
"Withholding the name again, dear sister?" Edward snickers.
"Shut up," I growl out.
"By the way, how many 'giveaways' did Bella enter this time?" Emmett asks while the rest of the family looks on, smirking at me.
"Enough. Shut up. Don't judge me!" I pout at their howling laughter.
Bella and Grant were teachers. I knew that their budgets were pretty tight, and well, I couldn't have that. My best friend deserved everything; she was worth it. Besides, the baby was my rather distant grandchild, my first distant grandchild, so I was justified in all my shopping. I just rigged it so that it looked to everyone, but Bella that is, like she had entered into a few baby sweepstakes, and won…a lot of them. Furniture, bottles, diapers, toys; you name it, she 'won' it. I did it with Charles and the yet-to-be named baby, too. Grant's family had asked her a few times if she had a mystical rabbit's foot or something to explain her luck, but she just laughs softly and says she has a fairy-godmother.
"Well, Mama, what are we naming our first little girl?" Grant asks, tucking sweaty bits of hair behind Bella's ear.
"I think, what do you think of Alicia? Alicia Mary Whitlock. We can call her Ally."
"I like that," Grant replies, smiling. "My little Ally-Cat."
"Mama, are you sure you wanna go out there alone? Let me come with you, please."
"Jasper, my precious boy," she murmurs softly, cupping his cheek. No, Jasper Grant Whitlock VI was no longer a boy. He was nearly sixty years old and expecting his second grandchild. He also buried his father today.
"I need a few minutes alone with your father. I won't be gone very long, I promise, sweetie."
"I'm damn-near ninety years old, Jasper, and the person I spent most of my life with is not here with me right now. I just need to make sure everything is okay. I spent far too many years checking up after that man to let something fall through the cracks now."
"It's okay, Mama. We understand," Alicia says softly with tears coursing down her red cheeks. She'd always been sensitive to the emotions of others, and as usual was able to soften the matter at hand. "Jasper, I think Junior needs your help with something, anyway."
Jasper and I waited for her at Grant's grave. Dusk had fallen, the soft light of twilight easing the lines and tears on Bella's face. Her body was so frail now, it always had been, but now…
"Alice," she breathed as I stepped forward to where she could see me. "I have missed you so much."
"I've missed you too, Bella," I choke out, holding my friend, my best friend, in my arms for the first time in seventy-one years. She still smelled the same, freesias, and I inhaled her greedily not ever wanting to let her go again. "God, how I've missed you."
"And, Jasper," she says clutching him tightly. "I've missed you, too, my friend. Or should I say, grandfather?" Bella chuckles lightly.
I felt the strong arms of my husband—my faithful companion, the quietly devoted, and secretly doting grandfather—wrap around Bella and I. His love and comfort washes over both of us in warm, soothing waves. We stand there for what feels like hours, just holding each other. We laugh at her memories and my visions. We smile at our oddly shared history. It helps to calm the tears of loss and the pangs of longing.
Her longing…I knew what she wanted. I knew what she was asking for. And she knew I knew this, too.
"Are you-are you asking to die, Bella?" I ask hesitantly, stuttering over my own words.
"No," she said quietly, shaking her head. "Not die, per se. I don't see this as asking for death, or the cease of my existence. This is my asking for your help, just one last time. I want to be with my husband, Alice. My Grant, my children, my father, Jacob…" she trails off when tears begin streaking her softly creased cheeks, again. "They're waiting for me, Alice. I know they are."
Oh, her children. About a year after Alicia was born, Bella suffered a late-term miscarriage, essentially delivering a stillborn child. A tiny, tiny little girl. The complications of which rendered Bella unable to have another child. Jasper and I rented properties throughout their neighborhood, while Jasper moved from house to house, rarely leaving her vicinity to monitor her all-consuming depression for two years.
Nineteen years later, Charles was killed in the Third Korean War. Jasper and I rushed to Texas as soon as the vision hit. We were visiting the Cullens in Denmark, where Edward was living with his mate—Alec—when I got the vision. Edward interpreted everything and before I even cleared the vision, Jasper had us packed and back in the car rushing for the airport—rushing headlong into the hardest, most heart-wrenching years of my entire existence. Bella and Grant's devastation was so utter, so complete, that even I, the one not gifted with empathy, was leveled by it. To this day, I shudder at the memories of the potential fates, the potential choices of those years: infidelity, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, or even suicide. Between Jasper's pain, and my ever-swirling visions, even our marriage was being held together tenuously at that point.
But there were far more good times than bad in her life and marriage. Bella's life was so beautiful. Bella did a brief stint in school administration, however, her true calling was to teach and she stepped down a few years after being named principle to the local elementary school and got back into her classroom. Grant had collaborated and authored numerous sociological texts, then was named a professor emeritus, and published more articles than even I can remember. Their children were happy and successful. Alicia merged her love of art and counseling into art therapy, whereas Jasper took after his mother; loving his kindergarten classroom.
When Little Jasper, as Emmett had dubbed him, was about two weeks old, Bella and Grant set up a YouTube account, for Charlie she had said, but we knew it was for more than just him. I knew it was for me. For Jasper. For Carlisle and Esme. For Rose and Emmett. And even for Edward. We were all able to watch the children's first steps, and the beginnings of their babbling. There were crawls and wobbly dances, squeals and hysterical laughter, fake sneezes, funny faces, little league games, getting ready for first dances, proms, weddings, kindergarten, and college graduations. It was all there…and though some of it was beyond heartbreaking, it was all so beautiful.
She and Grant shared family vacations, anniversaries in Paris, mischievous children, and became doting grandparents. They suffered through colicky babies, the night-long screams of teething-misery, and teenage-angst. They flourished with first words, macaroni art, hand-made Valentine's Day cards, graduations, dating, broken hearts, engagements, marriages, and babies…so many babies.
They had lived. She had lived. And it was full, and hard, and beautiful, and so very, very worth it.
"I'm ready, Jasper," Bella whispers, smiling warmly as Jasper opened his arms to her.
"I know," he responds. "Bella, do you remember what I told you seventy-one years ago?"
"Of course I do."
He gently takes her in his arms while pressing his lips against the warm, wrinkled flesh of her cheek.
"I was right, you know. You were worth it. So very, very worth it," he tells her as she smiles once more at him, and runs her hand lovingly across his cheek.
"You look so much like him—like all of them," she murmurs as he rests his head gently on her shoulder. Her fingers comb through his hair. But, before his lips could meet the warm and wrinkled skin of her neck, she whispers to him, her heart staggers in its final battle before his teeth would pierce the skin.
"Love. Love makes everything worth it, Jasper."
A/N: I'm currently working on updates for Alter Bound and Preternatural Alliance along with fleshing out an outline for another story. I am so sorry for the delay, I hit a bit of a wall and am currently on my third rewrite. Thank you for reading, sharing, and reviewing! :)