I'm not sure when it happened, but when I realised I loved Alice Cullen it didn't feel knew, I didn't feel surprised by it, I wasn't even afraid nor did I try and fight it. I embraced it, welcomed it, and accepted it without doubt or hesitation. There was no question in my mind that I, Isabella Swan, was born to love her.
I tried to think back to when I had still been human, wondering why I hadn't noticed it then, but I had a lot of drama going on with Edward, Jacob, James, Victoria, the Volturi… Perhaps I chose to ignore it, as a means of holding on to my sanity. In hindsight, there were many signs, clear definitive signs that I just seemed to have overlooked. Like the emails I had written her for months and months on end. Why did I choose to write to her and not him? Was I just missing my best friend and confidant? When she came back after that horrible cliff-diving fiasco and I saw her standing in my living room I didn't think of Edward straightaway, I was happy to see her. And when I hugged her petite, cold hard body to mine, I was content that it was just her there. It felt as though she was all that I needed. All that I had ever needed.
But then the drama had started again. Edward was going to kill himself because he thought he had lost me. I was flattered, I felt loved. I felt that I needed to save him too; give my life if I had to just as he clearly would've done the same for me. It was a grand gesture, and I never doubted his love when we got married, I actually fell more in love with him then. When Renesme was born it sealed our little family unit, I never thought there could be more to life than what I had. It felt greedy to want more.
And then the drama had started again. The Volturi were coming and Alice disappeared with Jasper. Unlike a few of my family members, I never thought she had run away. Alice wasn't a coward. Alice was brave and strong, loyal and kind. When I had finally found the clues she had left in her goodbye note, clues to a means to ensure Renesme's safety, I wasn't surprised. It was so like her, putting the safety of others first. She knew that Aro was coming for her, that he wanted her to join his guard. I thought then that her plan was to leave us as to not provoke him into an attack just to claim her.
But as I stood that day, in that beautiful snow covered meadow with my family and the wolf pack ready to die to protect my daughter, the strangest feeling overwhelmed me. I felt an indescribable pull in my chest, a longing ache, an indescribable need. Then I realised what it felt like. It felt like she was there with me.
"Alice." I heard Edward whisper her name with a crooked smile on his handsome face.
I saw her gliding through the snow with the grace of a prima ballerina. Jasper was upright and stoic at her side, like he always had been. She marched up to the large number of Volturi guard, fearless and proud, and extended her dainty hand for Aro to read. I had wished I was still human then, so I could hyperventilate or something and just faint and not deal with the absolute terror that overcame me seeing Alice so close to danger. My shield spread out toward her then, more powerful than it had ever been. Determined to protect her, but I had stopped it then. I had trusted that she knew what she was doing. She had seen all this, she had come back to save us, and she needed Aro to read her.
We had suffered no losses that day, save the untimely death of the Denali sister who unintentionally started it all. My daughter was safe, my family was safe. Alice had saved us all without throwing a single punch.
As the Volturi retreated back into the woods, back to Volterra, she had turned to me a quirky smile on her lips like she hadn't just single-handedly prevented a horrific bloodbath. It was as though I was seeing her for the first time. She stood there, dressed in her black skin tight outfit, little white snowflakes dusted in her spiky hair and I felt my entire world changing. How had I not realised this before?
The excitement around me was instantly muted as her stunning golden eyes locked on mine. Later I was told there had been some scuffle between Carlisle and the Romanian brothers who had joined us in hopes of a fight. I didn't notice any of this as I made my way toward Alice. I didn't notice Jasper a few feet away, closely observing the scene unfold.
Alice had started to glide to me as well, meeting me half way as our bodies collided into a tight embrace. It was different then when I had hugged her when I was still human. It was different than when I had held her before she had left. She wasn't cold or hard to my touch anymore. She felt soft and delicate. She felt like a woman.
I was overwhelmed by the emotions surging through me. Had I still been human I would have cried. I pulled away from her to look at her beautiful face, frantically searching those mesmerizing amber orbs for reciprocation. Did she this happening? Did she know? I had to bite down on my tongue not to tell that I loved her right then and there.
"Bella." She sang my name in greeting as we stood with our hands clasped together.
She was really here, she was back. I hadn't realised how much I had missed her, the stress of protecting Renesme had overshadowed the longing, but it was unmistakably there throughout her absence. Like when she had left me when I was still a human. I found myself tilting my head closer to hers; the pull of her full strawberry lips had me in trance.
At the sound of Edward's excited voice, my head had wound back instantly, snapping back to reality. Alice disengaged our hands and skipped into her brothers' embrace. He hugged her with so much joy and love the flood of guilt I experienced, had physically hurt me. I looked around then at the vampires celebrating and hugging all around us, none seemed to have noticed that I had almost kissed Alice. Save for one of course.
He stood rigid in his familiar military stance, scrutinizing me with a blank expression. I knew he could feel what I was feeling, but he had said nothing that day. He allowed me to walk back hand in hand with my dear husband, and he allowed me my shy glances toward his wife as she seemingly obliviously recounted their trip to Brazil and the guests they had brought back to serve as witnesses. He even allowed it when Ali said that she was going hunting that night and I immediately shot up to say that I would join her. A slight lift to his eyebrow was the only reaction to my statement. I couldn't care, I should've, but I just couldn't in that moment. I had needed to be alone with her.
"Race you!" she giggled with a twinkle in her eye as she sped off into the trees.
Smiling like an idiot I had run off after her chasing her through the forest, her laughter made me feel like I was floating on air. I was still a Newborn so I had been faster than her, and I still seemed to lack some control over my instincts as I suddenly felt myself leaping through the air and tackling her before pinning her back to the ground.
She had looked up into my face her eyes a myriad of emotions. Curiosity, happiness and fear were most prominent. Like some savage I had bent down and placed my nose in the crook off her neck and inhaled her mouth-watering scent. I remembered then how I had sat with that page of the Merchant of Venice because it had faintly still smelled of her. My eyes had rolled into the back of my head and I was left dazed by the sudden concentration of her scent after being deprived of it for so long.
Alice had started to purr then, a soft vibrating sound emanating from her chest and too my surprise I had responded the same only with much more velocity. My eyes were wide and excited when I looked to her again, confused at the sounds I was making. I had never purred before. She had only grinned at me then, before she placed her dainty hand behind my neck and pulled me down to press her lips to mine.
It had felt like the world around me had turned to black as her soft lips caressed my own. Never had a kiss felt like that. I could only feel her and smell her. I was kissing Alice. I could hear her soft moans and taste her sweet tongue exploring my mouth. She had been delicious.
Suddenly she pulled away and was up from underneath me in a split second. It felt like I had been woken up from a pleasant dream by someone pouring a bucket of ice water over my head.
"Alice?" I had asked her, unable to keep the hurt from my voice.
I was sure she had regretted it. After all, we were both married and making out in the dirt in the woods with each other instead of our husbands. Adultery was hardly something I had pictured Alice capable of.
She turned to me then, her face covered in sorrow and apology.
"Alice-"I had started to object to her objections put she kissed me again, so passionately I lost my ability to form a coherent thought. She had pulled away again soon after and placed two delicate fingers on my lips.
"I need you to make me a promise." She beseeched me with glistening eyes. I nodded mechanically knowing that I would give her anything she wanted.
She smiled a smile so sad and hopeless that I felt myself break inside.
"You're becoming the woman I used to see hiding inside when you were still human." She had told me. "So brave and smart…" she trailed off like she was reminiscing. "I need you to promise me that you'll work on your ability." She requested sternly.
I had nodded again not sure what my ability had to do with us cheating on our husbands.
"I need you to promise to stay with the family, no matter what. They need you."
I was confused, it had been hard to think with her so close and the remnants of that kiss still sparking through my body, so I had nodded again. Making that second promise had been easy at the time. They had been my intentions too. She smiled a little again looking pleased with herself.
"One day you'll understand Bella. Please don't hate me." Her voice broke at the end.
I had wanted to tell her that I could never hate her but her lips made contact with my own again. She had tangled her fingers in my hair pulling me into her as close as she could, kissing me so fervently it left me gasping in surprise and completely delirious.
A cool breeze on my face had alerted me to the fact that she had gone. I touched my fingers to my lips absently. My body was trembling with need for more, shaking with the realization of how much I needed her, pulsating with the comprehension that I loved her. I was in love with Alice Cullen.
Had I known in that moment that she would leave Forks that same night I wouldn't have stood their basking in my epiphany for that long. When I had returned home, she had left already. Had I known it would be another fifty years until I would see her again I would've held on to her tightly and never let her go.