Word Count: ~ 12,700
Disclaimer: Twilight, Alice, Bella and all other such characters/locations don’t belong to me. They belong to Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended, no profit being made.
Summary: What if Bella was meant for Alice? But tragedy looms. How will they handle it?
Archive: By permission only
A/N: A special thank you to dhamphir for the beta.
The images flashed before my mind's eye, like snapshots in someone else's life. A For Sale sign outside the front of a simple house, a house I had come to know well, the house belonging to my human. A bright Sold sticker plastered across that same sign, a storage garage, an airport, a flight to a destination I couldn't quite see. What was going on? Where was she going? My human was leaving and somehow I knew I had played a major part in this decision. It was time to change the game. I had been building up my tolerance to the heady scent of musk I had come to love. It was time to introduce myself.
“Hello, Bella.” I said.
My reaction was irresistible to deny, my lips twitching into the beginnings of an amused smile as she sat there, mouth all agog, eyes bugging out of her head in shock. I could literally hear her heart racing beneath her breast, flooding the area with her scent. My throat burned with thirst and I had to hold my breath for a brief moment as I battled to regain control of the animal within me.
It was an interesting first encounter. I could tell that my presence startled Bella, and while I was careful to maintain a reasonable distance between us, I could see her taking me in, assessing me with those imperfect human eyes. I had to be careful, I couldn't afford to dally too long that first time, I was not sure I could withstand her scent for much longer that day. But I had to see her again, I had to change the visions I had seen moments before. I had to make her stay or at least find out where she was planning on going.
Ok, so talking to beautiful women was not something I was very good at. And there I sat, looking at the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I could tell from a distance that she was certainly attractive, but up close she was breathtakingly – almost unreal – perfect. Her honey coloured eyes seemed to dance with enjoyment as I continued to sit there, utterly speechless, her lip twitching in the beginnings of a smile.
“Uh, hi,” I said. Wow, I sounded so stupid.
“I thought I should say hello,” the small woman said.
Her voice was melodic, floating easily from her lips. My eyes fixed on those lips the moment I had thought that. I was sure my face flushed a bright red. I couldn't help it though, I was so aware of every perfect feature. Her body was lean, wispy – kind of like a dancer, and I found myself wondering if she in fact was one. Her short, spiky hair was ruffled into disarray and yet seemed to sit perfectly. I lowered my eyes, trying to calm my thudding pulse. Staring at my own hands, I realised how tanned I seemed, compared to this quiet woman. Her pale skin was a stark contrast to my own complexion, which said a lot considering I was more than a little pale myself. My mind was racing with the effort to think of something intelligent or funny to respond with.
“Want a chip?” I stammered, closing my eyes on a groan. Lame!
“No, thank you,” she politely refused, her lips finally cracking into a smile. I was sure I had stopped breathing the minute my eyes locked on the perfect, plump flesh of her lips as they curved into the most breathtaking smile I had ever witnessed.
“I have to go, but I was wondering if you would be back here tomorrow?” she asked.
I could only nod dumbly, struggling to believe she was actually asking if I would be around to see her. She wanted to see me again? I must be have been dreaming.
“Excellent. I will see you then,” she smiled, turning to leave.
“But I don't even know your name!” I shouted to her departing form. God she moved so gracefully.
“Alice,” she laughed over her shoulder, the musical tinkle dancing across the open grass before she disappeared into the trees.
I returned to the park that following day, and every day that week. Alice and I would meet and talk. At first she maintained her distance from me, sitting down a good 5 feet from me. But as the week wore on, as she got to know more about me, she moved closer. By the end of the week, we were sitting side by side. We talked about a wide range of things – work, music, movies, Hollywood gossip. Alice loved to talk about clothes, and would routinely comment on my serious need for a wardrobe update. The sound of her laughter was mesmerising each time I would respond with a dramatic eye roll.
Bella was such an interesting contradiction. Each day, as was agreed, we would meet at her park where we would talk. Things were slightly strained at first, the distance I kept between the two of us adding to the tension. But as the week wore on, as my tolerance of her scent, her blood, got stronger I moved closer until eventually we sat side by side. I found Bella to be utterly amusing, an intelligent, strong and driven young woman yet fragile and naïve at times.
She answered my questions readily, seeming eager to tell me about herself, her work, her favourite music, movies she loved watching, even celebrity gossip she found particularly amusing. I, on the other hand, was more restrained in answering her questions, keeping the conversations in relatively neutral areas and steering them back to more comfortable topics when the need arose. She was enchanting, beguiling, and thoroughly confounding. More importantly, though she didn't really know it herself, she was mine.
By the end of that first week I had made arrangements with the local real estate office and had some quotes on storage space I was considering. I had a few potential tenants wanting to look at the house the following week. I should have been pleased by that but I felt a little sad. Did I really want to go now? I wasn't so sure anymore. That Friday I met with Alice, she noticed my distracted state.
“Something is on your mind.” It wasn't a question.
I wasn't sure I wanted to talk with Alice about my decision to leave. I wasn't sure I wanted to leave anymore. So instead, I nodded and reached for a piece of fruit from the fruit salad I had brought with me. My hand grazed lightly against Alice's knee and it was like running my hand against an ice block. I couldn't help it, I gasped, my hand hovering just above her knee as my eyes lifted to gaze at her questioningly. I couldn't be certain, but it looked like her eyes darkened right there before me. Her whole posture changed, became distant, as cold as her skin had felt only moments ago beneath my touch.
“Alice?” I could hear the uncertainty in my own voice as my eyes searched the passive face that was now stonewalling me.
I let my hand fall to rest on her knee, again immediately aware of the cold hard feel of her skin beneath my touch. I wanted her to see that it was alright, that whatever it was, it was something I could handle. If I hadn't have been searching her face, I might have missed the slight flicker of emotion cross her features. She looked like she was in pain, but the glimpse was gone so fast I couldn't be sure.
Friday came, and for the first time in centuries, I was excited. I looked forward to meeting with Bella, to engaging in more of our conversations. My excitement irritated some of the members of my family, Rosalie in particular. Jasper, my ever faithful friend, shared my excitement, perhaps in part, because he sensed the moods of those around him, but also in part I was sure, because he, like the rest of my family, realised that I had not been that happy in a long time. Even Rosalie, through her irritation, seemed to show a sense of pleasure at seeing me that happy. Of course, only Jasper knew the full cause of my happiness, for I had not yet disclosed the details of my human to the rest of my family.
Something was different that day. Something was 'off'. Bella was distracted, but when pressed about her obvious state of preoccupation she seemed reluctant to talk. Fleeting images of house inspections and storage units continued to plague me, but they seemed haphazard now, as if Bella herself were struggling with the decision to leave. Did she want to stay? Could I say something that would help her make the decision not to go?
Just as that thought was running through my mind I heard her gasp, feeling the light caress of her hand as it grazed against my knee. I froze, my body stiffening instinctively. My kind did not blend this closely with humans, not only because of our thirst for their blood, but also because of an unspoken rule: to keep our existence a secret. What had I done? I could see the questions in her eyes, she had felt how cold my skin was beneath that simple touch.
The question in her voice was unmistakable as she whispered my name. When she let her hand fall to rest upon my knee once more, it was like dying all over again. I had ached to feel her touch against my flesh ever since I had smelt her scent, yet I had known it was something I would never truly experience, something my nature would not allow me to experience. Yet there I was, sitting in a park, the hand of a human resting lightly upon my knee. I could not hide the look of pain as it crossed my face for those few brief moments as realisation hit me. There would be no more moments like this for us. I had ruined everything.