"Bella why are you up so early? I usually don't see you up until at least noon."
Yes, nine o'clock was early for me. I used to be up a lot earlier when I was younger but then life happened and sleeping just seemed like a lot more fulfilling choice as opposed to going outside or actually talking to people. Why talk to real people when you could have an intellectual conversation with Stan Lee in your sleep?
"Well Alice and I are-"
"Leave it to Alice to be the reason you're up so early." Mom smiled at me knowingly. "What are you two doing today?" She wondered.
"Well, we may or may not, possibly have a time scheduled in which we will use to socialize and feel out the possibility of becoming acquainted on a higher level."
"You're going on a date?!"
Leave it to my mom to decipher that.
"Yes mom, we're going on a date." I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose. She tended to gush over most things people would find meaningless or alarming. When I had broken a bone for the first time, she had cried so much at the hospital that the doctor had to ask her to leave the room while he examined me. Needless to say, she was a wee bit overdramatic about first moments. True, this was my first date but I really didn't need her playing cheerleader. I needed my mom, who would assure me that everything would turn out perfectly and I was freaking out over nothing.
Sensing my anxiety, which she always seemed to have a knack for, she steered me toward the couch, the both of us taking a seat beside one another.
"What's bothering you sweetie?"
What was bothering me? There was no doubt in my mind that I liked Alice and wanted to go on that date with her, but I was scared because of my swirling insecurities. I wish I could have just slapped myself and hopped up from that couch, shouting "I can do this!" at the top of my lungs, but instead I was rooted to the spot, filled to the brim with anxiety. I wasn't new to liking someone, but I was certainly new to liking them back. Never had I allowed myself to dream of a relationship but it seemed to be what Alice and my friendship was evolving into.
"I don't know, Mom." I finally decided to say. Vocalizing my feelings was never my strong point, just like my father. You could hand us a sheet listed with emotions and it would take us thirty minutes to choose and even then we wouldn't be sure because we hardly acknowledged how we felt. We were more known for our disappearing acts when things became too much for us. There was no fight in the fight-or-flight option. It was always flight and probably why our last name was Swan. We were born to be cowards.
"Well… let's try to make this easy then. Alice likes you back right?" I nodded. "She agreed to go on a date with you right?" I nodded again. "And by the sounds of it, she seems pretty invested in you. So why are you worrying?" I shrugged. I liked those yes or no questions. They were easy, simple. Just like the multiple choice answers on a test, but the last one was more like the questions that required paragraphs and it was a question I had no idea how to answer. There seemed to be so many reasons yet I knew absolutely none of them mattered.
"I don't know." I repeated.
"Then it's nothing."
I tried to protest, but one look from my mother had me nodding. Odds are, these feelings would vanish the second I saw Alice.
At 10:55 I was ready and everything was packed for our date. The word 'date' would probably get some getting used to, but overall I was pretty excited. Monday morning, I had a dream of a place I used to visit. That place had been very special to me, my true sanctuary and I had decided in that moment after waking up that I wanted Alice to have the privilege of seeing it as well. What better place to take her for our first date than the spot I loved most?
And a minute later the doorbell rung and I quickly pulled the backpack on my shoulders, glancing at myself in the mirror to make sure I looked presentable before grabbing my keys and phone off the dresser and made my way out of the room and down the stairs. Alice stood in front of the door, in the attire I had instructed her to wear, talking to my mother as they sent whispers back and forth. I would've been alarmed if they weren't smiling brightly at one another and once Alice caught sight of me approaching, she turned that smile to me which I returned gleefully.
"It was nice talking to you Mrs. Swan," Alice said after turning to my mother once more.
"Please, just call me Renee," my mother said dismissively.
I had to resist the urge to scoff. I realized I was her daughter, which meant I had to call her 'mom' by default, but still. Alice and I were practically the same age. It just seemed kind of weird.
"Okay Renee," Alice grinned, visibly excited with this new development.
When my mother looked like she wanted to say more, I quickly hurried over to interrupt whatever she had to say. "Well mom, I guess we'll see you later then, okay?"
"But what about pict-" I glared hard at her, effectively shutting her up. "Fine, fine, but I'm getting pictures later." She said firmly, pointing a finger at me. I did a fake salute. I'd just barricade myself in my room before she could even get her camera out anyway.
Turning to a smirking Alice, I asked," Are you ready to go?"
"I don't know… those pictures do sound kind of fu-"
"Yeah you're ready." I rolled my eyes, tugging her out the door with me and we headed over to her car parked in front of my motorcycle.
"Are you sure you don't want a ride on my bike?" I asked, somewhat whiny. I hadn't been able to ride anywhere except from La Push and to and from school.
"I'm sure," she affirmed.
With a pout, I slipped into the passenger side when she slid into the driver's, the radio coming on when she started the engine and began speeding down the street as per usual. 'Drove Me Wild' by Tegan and Sara was playing on the radio and the corner of my lips pulled up as I watched Alice sing along softly to the music. If I had thought her voice was amazing when she merely spoke, her singing was about a dozen times better.
"Why don't you just take a picture?" Alice asked teasingly, glancing over at me before returning her gaze to the picture. Oh I had considered it, but you can't really appreciate a moment as great as that when you're too busy trying to preserve it. That's why they're called moments.
When we made it out of town limits, Alice's questions of where we were going became more and more persistent but I'd just dismiss them, telling her when she'd have to turn instead.
"Alright now go until the pavement ends," I instructed and Alice nodded, tight lipped as she continued driving. After the hundredth time I ignored her questions she had resorted to pouting, but I didn't mind. It was kind of cute.
When the pavement ended we rolled to a stop, Alice's eyebrows scrunching in confusion when she spotted the make shift trail ahead.
"What did you think the hiking gear was for?" I asked as we got out of the car, shrugging my backpack back on my shoulders as we met in front of the hood of the car.
"I don't know… maybe a chance to see my ass in these tights?" she teased, walking slightly ahead though she peered back at me.
Feeling a bit brave, I let my eyes scope her body, nodding appreciatively. "I think it's just one of the perks." I said smoothly.
Alice, who seemed a bit shocked by my boldness, blushed at the comment, rounding on her heels. It was safe to say that Alice enjoyed being the tease, but if you teased her right back, the roles could easily be switched.
Alice's outfit actually was one of the perks to this hiking trip though. She was wearing tight, black running capris and a white fitness tank top that showed off particular assets I appreciated greatly along with a pair of white tennis shoes with a baby blue half-zip, long sleeve tied around her waist. She reminded me of the women from those fitness magazines.
I, on the other hand, was not dressed like a model; opting for a pair of black cargo pants that cut off just below the knee, a plain black tank top with a red hoodie over and my favorite black 'Superboy' hat. Needless to say, it seemed she got a different memo.
"Bella, where are we going?" Alice's enchanting voice reached my ears from ahead, commanding me to look up again. Somehow, I managed to keep my mouth shut when she shot me the most adorable set of puppy dog eyes. Trust me though, it wasn't easy. It never is with Alice.
Shrugging, I smirked and resumed my focus ahead, which consumed a lot considering I was nearly tripping over every single fallen branch. You'd think being a Swan would make me graceful, but go figure.
The overly dramatic groan to escape Alice's lips demanded my attention once more and I knew I couldn't look at her again. Those puppy dog eyes would be on full force now. But thankfully, the hike soon came to an end when I entered the clearing. A place I held so dearly and now decided to share with Alice.
"Now we're here." I beamed, spinning on my heels to look at Alice, but her attention was elsewhere, flickering around the meadow with awe and wonder. It was a look rarely seen, but I loved it when it was. It was the one time those walls came down.
"This place is so beautiful." She whispered, her eyes finally meeting mine.
"I know. That's why I figured this place suited you best." I replied with a dorky smile and she playfully swatted at my arm, which I somehow managed to dodge.
"You're so cheesy." She smiled back, incapable of fighting an infectious smile like mine.
After we finished the picnic, we cleaned up and then sat in a comfortable silence, beside one another with our backs pressed against an old oak tree and a blanket beneath us. Alice was looking up at the sky while I looked down at her clasped hands, the corner of my lips threatening to pull up into a wide smile. The only reason they weren't was for the fact that my cheeks throbbed from already smiling too much.
"Why did you choose this place?"
The questioned caused me to look up to find Alice already staring. I blushed, wondering if she had been watching me for a while. I hesitated at a response, but the anxiety that held me back vanished a lot quicker than I would have thought.
"Well, when Lauren-"I cringed when Alice's eyes hardened. "-exposed my secret. I ran away. Not for long of course, but I needed to get away, you know? I had no idea where I was going, but somehow I stumbled across this place and it was what I needed. It was quiet… and beautiful. I remember sitting in this exact spot and just feeling a thousand times lighter, like all the pain had been left behind when I entered this clearing and it did in a way. So now, every time I feel small or things get too overwhelming, I come here and I just sit here for a few hours, finally relaxed for once. As far as I know, this place is mine and… I wanted to share it with you."
A variety of emotions spread across Alice's face, some I couldn't even interpret. She never gave me the chance to either because before I knew it, her lips crushed against mine in a tender kiss, her hand finding its way to the back of my neck to pull me closer. Our lips began to move against one another in perfect sync, our cravings for one another equal.
When she finally drew back, the only sound we could hear was the soft panting of one another as we fought to catch our breath, which I was pretty sure wouldn't happen any time soon.
"Bella, if you ever say anything like that again, just know that I might fall harder than I already am." Her tone was completely serious, but a smirk still spread on her lips.
"I'll keep that in mind."
Then we were kissing again, oblivious to anything but each other.