The Cullen house was in full festive preparation mode.
It was September 13th, Bella's eighteenth birthday. The last time they had celebrated a real birthday had been Emmett's in 1935 and now that they had another birthday to celebrate, they were going all out.
Esme was in the kitchen humming to herself as she happily decorated Bella's birthday cake. It was pink and crafted out of several tiers, which personally, made no sense to Jasper considering only two people attending the party would be able to eat it.
Of course he wasn't going to point that out to Alice. Nor was he going to wrinkle his nose at the disgusting scent the cake emitted. It was still a beautiful concoction.
Currently, he was helping his wife with the flowers. Or attempting to. Every single surface was covered in beautiful crystal vases that held flawless pink roses. Around the vases, pink rose petals were scattered, filling in the blank spaces. There were even some sprinkled on the floor.
"I'll take this!" the vase Jasper held, was plucked from his fingers and he smiled a little, watching his wife flit around the room.
Her emotions matched the cause of the crease between her brow: determination and concentration. Alice was determined to make this party perfect. Each rose petal had to be positioned just the right way. Not a centimeter could be off.
Right then, Emmett bounded through the front door, grinning widely.
"Lanterns all done, boss!" he declared proudly. He was as excited about Bella's birthday party as Alice was.
Despite Emmett's cheerful tone, Alice sighed, "Thank you, Emmett. I'll fix them."
"Oh, come on!" Emmett rolled his eyes, "I hung them up exactly how you told me to," he pointed towards the door.
"I doubt that," Alice shook her head, "Never trust an amateur to do the work of a professional," she grumbled, then disappeared.
Jasper laughed at the irritation coming from Emmett. He would think that his brother would be used to this. How could he expect anything less from Alice?
"Whatever," Emmett waved a dismissing hand, "Ma, you need help with anything?"
"No, no," Esme trilled from the kitchen, "I'll be finished soon. Rosalie needs to set out the plates and I'll move the cake to the table."
Immediately at the mention of Rosalie's name, Emmett's emotions depleted down into wariness and dislike.
"I don't know why we're doing this," Rosalie spoke in a syrupy sweet tone, "Bella, ungrateful as always, is just going to hate it. All of it."
After what had…happened, Rosalie was trying to be nice and to her, that meant saying mean things in a nice tone.
"She's only going to turn eighteen once," Alice appeared in front of Rosalie, "It's a big human milestone and very important! Besides, it gives Esme an excuse to use the kitchen and we never get to celebrate and Bella will have fun! Trust me."
Rosalie rolled her eyes dramatically and stomped forward to place the stack of plates on the present table, where Bella's cake would go.
Again, realistically, they would only need two plates, but Jasper supposed it was all for this 'Special, Important Human Experience' that Alice kept talking about.
His pretend twin had returned from her summer in Africa a couple weeks ago. She had spent the summer months there on her own and returned with stories to tell. Obviously, she was bitter that Emmett hadn't gotten together with her like they had planned, but Jasper knew that she understood. At least, to some extent.
"Thank you for helping out," Alice said sincerely, "I appreciate it, Rose," she smiled gently.
"Mhm," Rosalie hummed, tossing her hair, "So appreciative, that I can't even be in my own house!"
Here we go…
"You can be in the house," Carlisle interjected, leaving Esme's side to speak to Rosalie, "But—Rose," he sighed sadly, "Rose, we've talked about this."
Jasper nodded, silently adding his two cents. It was not wise to have Rosalie around Kit. Whether Rosalie wanted to admit it to herself or not, she had been very, very cruel to Kit and it didn't help her case that Kit had taken the pills the same day Rosalie had confronted her outside the school bathroom.
But nobody liked to think about that.
Rosalie growled loudly and flashed upstairs, slamming her room door so hard, Jasper heard the wood crack.
Carlisle simply shook his head and Emmett rolled his eyes.
Jasper knew—could feel that Emmett and Rosalie's relationship would never be the same. Even, if one day she got the opportunity to apologize to Kit, the damage had been inflicted and it was something that Emmett was never going to forget or forgive Rosalie for, no matter how easy going and forgiving he was. When it came to his mate, none of that mattered.
"Focus, people," Alice said, breaking the tension with her bubbly demeanor, "Emmett, you're going to get Kit at 6:30PM, yes?"
"Yeah," Emmett nodded, "She's still coming, right?"
"I—" Alice's eyes went blank and a knit formed between her brow, "I…yes!" she gasped, "Yes, I'm pretty sure."
Jasper smiled, soaking up Emmett's giddiness. Pretty sure was a whole lot better than Alice not ever being able to see Kit. It was blurry, occasionally flashes, but it was something.
It meant that Kit had a future.
"Great," Emmett was grinning from ear to ear, "6:30 it is, then."
"Great," Alice parroted, then clapped her hands, "Okay, back to work, everyone!"
Kit spat into the sink, trying not to gag. She shuddered, then straightened up, going to reclaim her seat on the closed toilet as she stuck her toothbrush back into her mouth.
This was the fifth time she had brushed her teeth and to her, it didn't appear to be helping.
She glanced at the mouthwash, waiting for her on the bathroom sink. That would probably help, but she wanted to make sure.
"Kit?" there was a knock on the door. Her father, "Are you okay?"
"Mmphmm," she hummed through her toothbrush.
Blake didn't hear her and she rolled her eyes, sighing through the foam of toothpaste when her dad opened the door.
At first, he looked worried and a little scared, but that quickly morphed into a look that resembled pity.
"You're still brushing your teeth?" he asked and Kit nodded, "Kit, Emmett's going to be here in twenty minutes. Come on, spit."
Clamping her mouth around her toothbrush, Kit accepted her father's hand and let him pull her to her feet. She was steadied with a hand on her waist and led to the sink.
"Spit," he said again, cranking on the tap.
Kit did as she was told and spat into the sink. With her dad keeping her in place, she was able to lean down and stick her mouth under the faucet, rinsing the toothpaste out of her mouth.
When she was finished, she straightened up and her dad had handed her a paper towel. She wiped her mouth off and reached for the mouthwash.
"M'not going to the stupid party," she grumbled. Her face screwed up as she tried to remove the top with one hand.
"Why not?" Blake asked, "You look so cute."
Kit flicked her eyebrows up. So cute? She wore black leggings and one of Carlisle's old button-up shirts. It was peach colored and her mom had tied it in front to keep it from looking too baggy. On her feet, she wore a pair of her mom's shoes. A simple pair of black slip-on sneakers.
When she finally got the cap off, she placed it on the sink and gently tipped the bottle, pouring a generous amount of mouthwash into the little cup. Her hand shook while she did so.
Before she tossed it back, she said, "My mouth tastes gross."
She winced, the mouthwash burning as she swished it around. After awhile, she spat it out, the minty, cool aftermath made her cough.
She buried her coughs in the crook of her arm and cleared her throat to recover her breath.
"Look, Kit," Blake said, "If you just brushed your teeth, I think you'll be fine."
"No, my breath!" Kit complained.
"You're breath doesn't smell bad. You just used half of the mouthwash."
Kit was beginning to stress and ran her hand through her ponytail, "It won't last forever."
"That's okay," Blake quipped, "It's not like you're planning on kissing anyone."
Kit knew that her father was trying to make her laugh by cracking jokes, but it didn't help and she felt herself starting to tear up. What if she did plan on kissing someone? Then what?
"It's gross," she whimpered, rubbing her eye.
"Kit Kat," Blake's hand that was still on her back, and began to rub soothing circles, "It's not gross—okay, well, yes, being sick and having symptoms and side affects—sometimes, it can be gross, but honey…" he sighed, "It's just something we have to learn to live with. I know it sucks and I wish I could fix it for you, but I can't."
This did not help Kit in making herself feel better. She didn't want to learn to live with it. How was she supposed to talk or hug anyone or kiss anyone when her breath smelled like this? Why would anyone want to be around her?
"You can keep the Listerine mint strips and use those," Blake suggested, "You used to carry them around all the time. You're supposed to be carrying a purse, anyway."
Kit didn't respond. She was supposed to be carrying a bag or purse with a few things in it. She knew her glucose monitor was in there as well as some candy, but she couldn't remember what else.
"Go to the party, have fun," Blake said gently, "Jackson and Alexandra have no problem with your breath or anything else. If they can accept it, then so can the Cullens. If not, then they're people that shouldn't be in your life. I know it's still hard, but it's okay to put yourself first, even if it's painful."
She took a moment to process her father's words, then nodded and quickly wiped away the tears that had yet to fall.
"You sound like my therapist," she accused through her clogged voice.
Her father laughed, "Yes. Well, I've been given a few pointers."
She looked at herself in the mirror, turning her face left, then right. The bags under her eyes looked particularly darker than usual and her lips looked dry. She thought her hair looked okay pulled back in its ponytail. Her mom had placed a wide black fabric headband in her hair, laying down any frizz or stray hairs.
It was only a medicine cabinet mirror, so, she was unable to see her stomach or her thighs.
"Okay, that's enough."
Blake's voice was gentle, but his hands were firm as he pulled her away from the mirror and into the hallway.
She took slow steps, looking down to make sure she didn't trip or drag her left foot too much. She had to pick it up, just like she did with her right foot.
"Go to the party," he said again, in a much lighter tone, "You'll have fun and once you get into the swing of it and start laughing, you'll forget about your breath."
"I guess," was all she said to that, placing her hand on her father's shoulder to steady herself.
"Let's go downstairs," Blake prompted and Kit's face turned passive, "Indi's down there with your mom and Sparkles cooking. Come on, I don't want you holed up in your room."
She wanted to protest, but her father was leading her towards the stairs, making her exhale softly.
"I could sleep until Emmett gets here," she wheedled, glancing towards her room, "I'm still kinda tired."
"You'll wake up when you eat something," he retorted, "You haven't eaten much, today."
"But I'm not hungry."
"That's not acceptable."
Kit suppressed a mournful sigh as Blake's arm came to wrap tight around her waist, his other hand gripping her shoulder while she held on tightly to the banister with her good hand.
"I just brushed my teeth," she muttered under her breath, "Nobody eats after they brush their teeth."
"Focus, Kit," Blake said firmly, "Step down. Step, step."
In Kit's opinion, going downstairs was harder than upstairs. It scared her more than upstairs. When she went upstairs, she got really tired and sometimes, felt sick, but she never had to worry about falling.
She paused on the fourth step from the bottom, wobbling where she stood.
"It's okay," her father was quick to say, "We're almost there."
Kit closed her eyes for only a brief second before she prepared to take another step. She absolutely loathed it when her father spoke to her like that. She knew he was trying to sound soothing, but it didn't sound like that.
'I'm not a baby,' she thought bitterly, 'He doesn't even talk to Indi like that anymore.'
When she and her father made it successfully down the steps, Blake took her right hand that had clutched the banister only second ago.
She repeated, "I just brushed my teeth."
"Some juice, then, at least," Blake suggested, but again, it didn't sound like one.
Despite her resentful thoughts, she panicked a little when she felt her father's hands begin to release her. Her kidney was bugging her and she felt a little breathless or maybe the breathlessness was anxiety. Either way, she didn't want her father to let go.
"No," she mumbled, "Not yet."
"You can do—
"No!" she hadn't meant to be so loud, "Daddy."
"Okay, okay," Blake said, "I'm not going to let go."
They began to walk towards the island where Everly and Indigo were bustling about, cooking dinner while Sparkles wagged his tail and nipped at their heels.
"Sparkles, quit it!" Everly scolded, "This isn't for you."
"No, Sparkles!" Indigo scolded her pup, "Bad dog, no chicken for you!"
Kit exhaled softly, irritated. Great. She had one moment of panic and now, there was going to be a whole conversation about whether or not they needed to start carrying her walker back up and down the stairs. She hoped that she wouldn't have to use it full time again.
"Hey, honey," Everly greeted with a smile, "Are you hungry?"
"We're making dinner!" Indigo chimed as if Kit couldn't see that, "We're making chicken, but there's salad, too. Want some?"
Kit gripped the island with her right hand, leaning heavily against it for balance while Blake ran to get her a chair from the dining room table.
"No thank you," Kit declined with a smile, "I'm not hungry."
"You don't want to eat before Emmett comes?" Everly asked, stirring something in a pot.
"I can get you juice," Indigo offered, shooing Sparkles away, "Sparkles, sit!"
The dog complied and Kit bit her lip. Indigo was always offering to do stuff like that and it bothered her, but she wasn't going to say that.
"I'm okay, right now," she said, "Thanks, sweetheart."
"Here, Kit Kat," Blake came up behind her and set the chair down, "Sit down and rest while I get you some juice."
"Hey!" Indigo cried, "I said that and you said no," she scowled at Kit who found it adorable.
Kit opened her mouth, but she was unable to think of anything to say. She sat down, watching her parents and Indigo do what they needed to do in the kitchen. Even her father, who was supposed to be getting juice, handed Everly the sour cream when she asked.
'I should be helping,' she thought sadly, resting her elbow on the island.
She scrunched up her nose when Blake placed a cup of orange juice in front of her. He had poured it in one of the really small cups. She hated those cups…
"Thank you," she said, picking up the cup.
"Are you excited for the birthday party?" Everly asked hopefully. She had taken what she had been stirring off the stove.
"I guess, Kit mumbled. She took a small sip from the cup.
"I bet Bella will love her present," Everly continued optimistically, "Do you remember where I put it?" she looked at Kit expectantly.
Kit looked behind her, then twisted back around. She couldn't recall her mother ever having the present and Kit hadn't brought it downstairs with her, but maybe she had.
She looked back at her mother and shook her head, then shrugged.
Everly nodded towards the front door, "It's right by the door, you can't miss it."
"Okay," Kit said, "Thanks, mom."
"Drink more of your juice," Everly pointed to the cup, "All of it. Small sips, okay?"
Exhaling, Kit flicked her eyebrows up, bringing the cup to her lips. She was very aware that if she took too big of a drink, she could choke. She knew she was forgetful, but she hated being reminded of things like that. It was embarrassing.
Her father joined in helping Indigo and Everly prepare dinner and Kit watched, envious and a little sad. She was sure there was something she could have done.
'Soon,' she thought, clearing her throat, 'I'll be able to help soon. Hopefully, next month or something.'
She finished off the last of her juice when there was a knock at the door.
"Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!" Sparkles took off and got to the door first, jumping up and down eagerly.
Indigo was giggling, but Kit could see that her mother wasn't amused. Sparkles was a hyper little thing. He was like Indigo, but in dog form.
"I'll get the door," Everly offered, wiping her hands on a paper towel, "Blake, help Kit, please."
Kit scrunched up her nose, "I can get down fine," she said, holding onto the island while she turned around and scooted to the edge of the chair.
"Are you gonna be gone all night?" Indigo asked, "Is it a slumber party?"
"No!" Blake said before Kit could open her mouth, "No slumber party."
"Daddy, oh my gosh," Kit managed to stand and released the counter to hold her father's shoulder, "Please be nice."
"I am nice," Blake defended himself quietly.
Kit said nothing in return and remained silent as her father helped her to the door where Emmett stood, conversing with her mother.
'I hope I look okay,' she thought anxiously, but lit up when she saw Emmett.
He looked nice. Dressed in black slacks and a dark gray button-up. Dark colors suited him.
'All colors suit him, really,' Kit could feel pink color her cheeks and she couldn't hold back the smile that broke out on her face, when Emmett pulled her into a hug. Her heart stuttered in her chest.
"Hey, babe," he mumbled into her hair, rocking her slightly.
Kit giggled into his chest. She moved, trying to shake off her dad's hand, but he didn't move. Emmett would never let her fall and she was nothing but steady in his broad arms.
"Hi," she replied, slowly releasing him, letting her right arm drop down to her side.
"So," Blake cleared his throat loudly, "How long will the party last?"
"Not long," Emmett promised, "It should only be a couple hours. Three tops. Bella's not much for parties," he grinned.
Kit widened her eyes at Blake, trying to send him a look when he didn't smile back.
"I see," Blake said curtly, "A couple hours? Maybe three? That's kind of late—
"But fine," Everly interrupted, "Perfectly fine."
"I didn't think the party would be that long," Blake argued, "It's a school night and she has di—
"Well, the school will make an exception," Everly said through her teeth, glaring at her husband and Kit turned her head to stifle a giggle.
Blake sighed loudly through his nose and this time, Kit did giggle, a soft sound. It did worry her a bit, though. She had night meds to take.
"Go, get going," Everly shooed them off towards the door, "And don't forget the present. Oh, here, Emmett, you take it," she handed him the bag, "Bye, Kit. I love you."
"I love you too, mom. Love you, daddy," Kit said, "Bye, Indi!" she called, "Goodnight."
"Bye, Kit!" Indigo called from the kitchen, "Bye, Emmy!"
"See ya', kiddo," Emmett beamed at her, "Goodbye, Everly, bye, Blake. Thank you."
"Have fun," Everly said, "Be careful and call if you need anything."
"We will," Emmett promised and Kit took a small step forward, trying to make it one step out the door.
"Bye," she said again, "Don't wait up."
"We will be," Blake mumbled, but Kit pretended she hadn't heard.
Emmett had come alone this time and Kit occupied the passenger seat, Emmett beside her in the driver's seat.
At first, Kit had felt awkward—she was always awkward and that was one thing that hadn't changed about her, but she felt a lot better when Emmett released one hand off the steering wheel and took her hand in his.
She smiled, elated by this.
His skin was so cold, colder than ice and if she held onto him for too long, she got a little chilly, but she could tolerate it.
"Want to know what I got Bella for her birthday?" Emmett asked excitedly, grinning.
Kit nodded. She couldn't remember what she had gotten Bella, but still, she was hoping the brunette liked it.
"I chipped in and we got her a new stereo for her truck," he said, "She's gonna love it!"
Kit's eyes widened, "Really? Oh my gosh, that's so nice!"
"Well, it is her eighteenth," Emmett shrugged, "Apparently, that's a big thing for you guys."
An odd feeling crept through Kit's skin. Emmett's statement threw her off for some reason, but before she could dwell on the feeling and sort out her thoughts, he pulled up to the house. That's right, they all lived much closer, now.
Kit was in awe at the decorations. Bright light shone from every window on the first two floors. A long line of glowing Japanese lanterns hung from the porch eaves, reflecting a soft radiance on the huge cedars that surrounded the house. Big bowls of flowers—pink roses—lined the wide stairs up to the front doors.
The house was so beautiful and big. It was like a castle.
She startled when she heard a clicking sound and she looked over to see Emmett staring at her with quite the amusement on his face. He was smiling, showing off his dimples and had unbuckled her seatbelt.
"Are you okay?" he asked. His eyes shone with worry.
"Yes," she nodded and looked at the house again, "Um, well—I…I…came here often?" she looked back at him and he shrugged.
"Not often," he said with forced ease, "A few times."
"Oh," was all she said, "Okay—ahh!"
She let out a startled yelp when her door was yanked open. An excited, high-pitched voice began speaking before she recovered.
"I don't know why you guys always do this, you're taking forever!" Alice complained, "You and Emmett still need to change, we don't have that much time until Edward brings Bella by…"
She was talking way too fast and Kit couldn't keep up. It made her uneasy and she squirmed in her seat, biting her lip amongst the onslaught of panic she felt. She kind of wanted to cry because she felt so lost—she felt like an idiot. Alice and Emmett had these perfect brains that could remember everything and she could barely remember what she had for breakfast the day before.
Suddenly, Alice came to a complete stop and she smiled a wide, tight smile.
"Anyway, I can't wait for you to see everything," she said, much slower, "See you inside!"
Kit blinked and Alice was gone. She took a breath and rubbed at her eyes, releasing her lip from her teeth.
"Jasper was giving her a hard time," Emmett lightly tapped her shoulder, making her look at him, "She needs to relax. You wouldn't believe how crazy she gets when she organizes a party."
"I guess," Kit whispered. She took a deep breath. This wasn't about her and she wasn't going to have a meltdown. She was fine and she was normal. Nobody would want to be her friend if she was having these crying fits and anxiety attacks over stupid things like someone talking too fast. Who did that? Plenty of people talked too fast.
'I don't want to be too much to handle,' she scolded herself, 'And it's Bella's birthday.'
She fixed a smile on her face and grinned at Emmett, "Can we go in now?" she asked, "I want to see the rest of the decorations!"
"Yeah, we can go in!" Emmett opened his door, "I'll get the present, for you."
"Thanks," Kit said and had barely gotten the word out before Emmett was opening her door.
He held out a hand for her, her gift tucked underneath his other arm. He was flashing brilliant teeth in a wide grin and he looked so happy.
Shyly, she lowered her gaze and she turned herself until she sat sideways, her legs dangling out of the car.
She accepted his hand and let him pull her slowly to her feet. He let go of her hand and in a flash, his arm was around her waist, pulling her firm against his side to keep her steady.
"All right?" he asked her, shutting the door with his free hand.
Kit tilted her head back and nodded. Without her heels, he was much, much taller than her and she had to crane her neck all the way up just to look into his bright gold eyes.
"Let's go inside, then," he murmured.
Walking with Emmett was a lot different than when she walked with her parents or Carlisle. With them, it was practiced and easy, but with Emmett—
She didn't want to get into that, right now. This was supposed to be a fun and happy time and she would have time later to gather her thoughts. Her next session with Rachel was in two days and she hoped that she would remember to tell her about this.
When they made it inside, Kit looked around the huge white living room.
Covering every flat surface were pink candles and dozens of crystal bowls filled with hundreds of roses.
There was a table with a white cloth draped over it next to a grand piano, holding a pink birthday cake, more roses, a stack of glass plates, and a small pile of silver-wrapped presents.
In front of her, Alice appeared again.
"What do you think?" Alice asked, watching Kit take it all in.
"It's really pretty," Kit replied honestly.
"Really?" Alice bounced on her toes, "And you think Bella will like it?"
Kit nodded and Alice grinned, her teeth sparkling under the bright lights. She looked like a fairy, dressed in a purple silk dress and black ballet flats. It looked great against her pale skin and clung to her tiny frame.
"I'm so glad you could make it!" Alice hugged her gently and Kit wrapped her arm around Alice.
"Thanks for inviting me," she said and Emmett left her side to place her present on the table.
"Hello, sweetheart," Carlisle greeted her with a very warm smile and a light kiss on her forehead, "It's good to see you."
"It is," Esme chimed, hugging Kit gently. She smelled nice, just like the others and her soft caramel hair brushed Kit's cheek when Esme kissed it.
Still in Esme's arm, Kit felt Emmett's hand on her back. She pulled away from the hug, leaning heavily against him.
"Do you need anything?" Esme asked.
"Oh, um, no," Kit declined politely, "No thank you."
In the next second, Jasper was next to Alice, his arm thrown around her shoulder, an easy smile on his face.
"I finished with the other lanterns," he said, then greeted Kit, "Hey, sugar."
"Hi," Kit smiled, feeling more at ease. Jasper had always been so kind to her.
"You'll need to change," Alice informed Kit, "We're all going to wear purple. Emmett, you need to change too."
"Right," Emmett said, but he didn't move.
"Oh," Kit looked down at herself, feeling very under dressed, "I didn't—
"I have something for you upstairs, don't worry," Alice beamed, "And you finally get to see my room!"
"Our room," Jasper interjected, but no one acknowledged him.
In her haste and excitement, Alice had grabbed Kit's right wrist and pulled her out of Emmett's hold. Gentle, but it was not practiced.
A loud gasp left Kit's mouth. Without the extra support, she stumbled dangerously, her head spinning. If not for Alice's quick reflexes, she would have fallen.
Faintly, she could hear cries of "Alice!" all in different tones. Esme, Carlisle and Emmett all rushed to help her, but she needed a moment to gather her wits.
She clung to Alice tightly and pressed her lips together, an automatic reflex. Her stomach felt tight and she feared she would vomit all over the floor. Something that occurred more often than she cared to admit.
'Please, no,' she begged her insides to cooperate and if possible, held onto Alice even tighter. Cold hands gripped the tops of her arm and pressed against her back, keeping her grounded.
"It's fine, M'fine," she breathed.
"I'm so sorry, Kit," Alice said, her eyes wide, "I really didn't know…"
"It's fine," Kit promised. She kept her grip on Alice, "M'fine."
"Alice," still with her reassurance, Carlisle scolded Alice with a frown, "Be careful with your sister."
Before Kit could defend Alice or apologize, Esme was fretting over her.
"Are you okay, Kit?" Esme asked worriedly. She had let go, but kept her hands fluttering as if she was scared to touch her.
"M'fine," Kit said again, nodding. She put more confidence into her mousy voice, "I just tripped."
"Are you sure you're not dizzy?" Emmett asked and Kit could feel herself start to become irritated, "You don't feel sick?"
She tried to not let it show and nodded again, glancing down.
"I tripped," she said again, "M'fine," in truth, she did feel better.
"Very well," Carlisle said after a long moment of silence, "Why don't you bring the clothes downstairs, Alice?" he suggested lightly, "There's a bathroom down here."
Kit bit her lip. Upstairs was fine, but she didn't want to say that. She had caused enough trouble in the five minutes she had been here.
Alice pouted at Carlisle, "Well, I can carry her upstairs. It's more comfortable in my room."
Kit was starting to feel anxious. If she was honest, she would probably be more comfortable in Alice's room than the bathroom.
But, again, why should she feel anxious? Everything was going to get figured out and would probably be fine. Who cared where she got dressed as long as she got dressed? Gosh, why had she been so anxious in the first place? She was excited for Bella's party!
"God, Jazz, pull it back a bit," Emmett's voice interrupted her thoughts.
"Hmm?" Kit blinked, looking up at Emmett, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," Emmett wore a cool smile.
"Oh," she blinked again and looked down at her shoes, "Um, I mean…I can walk upstairs…"
"She can walk upstairs," Alice repeated to Carlisle, "Well, no, it's okay," she muttered to herself, "I'll just—"
All Kit knew, was that she had been standing there with everyone and then she felt cold all over, then a slight breeze. Her head felt funny again and then it all went away.
"There," Alice said cheerfully, "Isn't that better? You'll be more comfortable in here. This is my bathroom."
Kit blinked a few times. It took a moment for her head to clear and when it did, she looked around. The bathroom was bedroom-sized and she sat in a low pink chair in front of a vanity. She couldn't count the amount of products and tools littering the long counter.
"Thanks," she murmured to Alice, "It's nice."
"Isn't it?" Alice beamed, "Get dressed first," she instructed, "And then I'll do your hair."
Kit began to feel that familiar feeling of panic and she couldn't recall if her mom had given Emmett the Ativan. She might need it. She didn't know what to do and started to feel like an idiot just sitting there.
How was she supposed to tell Alice that she couldn't get dressed by herself?
And even if she could get dressed by herself—her heart began to speed up just thinking about it.
'What do I do?' she felt like she might start crying and desperately wished her mom or dad were there. She felt alone.
"Everything all right in here?"
Kit startled, jumping in her chair and she turned her head towards the door and saw Esme standing there with a warm smile on her face.
Seeing her, Kit felt a lot better, but she still couldn't figure out how to ask for help.
"I forgot some things," Alice said, "Will you stay with Kit?"
"Of course," Esme said immediately, "Go ahead."
Alice had lied, even Kit was aware of the fact, but she greatly appreciated it. She didn't want to be mean, but she felt more at ease with Esme in the room.
Esme shut the door with a soft click, "Would you like some help getting dressed?"
She had asked this so kindly, it warmed Kit's heart. She remembered speaking to Esme on the phone a couple of times and Esme had always wished her well and sent her love.
Still unable to find her words, Kit nodded slowly. With her right hand, she began to take her time and slowly pop the buttons on her shirt. That was the easy part as the shirt was so big on her, she managed to shimmy out of it until she was free, sitting there in a black tank top and her leggings.
"Look how pretty this dress is," Esme said to Kit, "It's such a nice color."
Kit spun around in the chair, trying to keep her left arm hidden.
The garment was dark purple with a strapless bodice lining and sheer lace. It had a scoop neckline with a fit-and-flare silhouette.
'It's been awhile,' Kit thought, biting her lip. She didn't know that she would have to wear a dress. She was sure that in the bags of clothes Alice had brought her, there was a purple shirt in there somewhere.
"It's a pretty dress," she finally agreed.
Esme seemed to sense her apprehension and her face softened, "Do you want to try?"
Kit didn't want to try, not really, but at the same time…Alice had put in effort to finding clothes for her and this was supposed to be a special night for Bella.
It was only a dress.
Slowly, Kit nodded, "It's pretty," she said again, forcing more enthusiasm into her tone.
The dress was pullover style which made things a little more difficult when trying to get it on. It was hard getting her left arm through and a little painful, but Kit tried not to panic about it.
"There we are," Esme said, adjusting the dress, "And here's this."
Kit was ecstatic when she saw the plain black long-sleeved cardigan top. The sleeves of the dress were only elbow-length.
The cardigan was much easier to get on and once Esme had tied it for her, she gave Kit a pair of black ballet flats to slip onto her feet.
"Thank you," Kit said sincerely, accepting the hand Esme held out to her.
"You're welcome, honey," Esme smiled at her, turning Kit around to look at the mirror, "What do you think?"
Kit looked herself up and down. She looked okay. The dress hit at her thighs and she was glad she still got to wear her leggings. The cardigan had enough room, but she felt like the dress fit her awkwardly and was baggy in places where it shouldn't have been.
Peeking out from under the cardigan, she could see the faint outline of her collarbones.
She smiled faintly, "It's nice," she mumbled, "Thanks, Esme. Really."
An understanding silence settled between them and the cold hand on her shoulder, squeezed gently.
"You're welcome, honey," Esme whispered. She pressed a kiss to her hair, "You're very welcome. Sit tight," she lowered Kit back into the pink chair, "And Alice will come finish up, okay?"
Immediately, Alice appeared with a bright smile, her arms full of things, "I heard my name! Kit, you look great," she said, coming into the bathroom and setting things down, "And it fits perfectly, I knew it would."
The door shut with a soft click and Alice went behind Kit, pulling the hair tie from her hair.
Kit watched her hair tumble from its ponytail. She never wore it down, anymore and she didn't cut her hair, either. It had grown out from its bob and barely brushed her shoulders.
"Your hair's grown," Alice said, spritzing water into Kit's hair, "Is the water too cold?"
"It's fine," Kit closed her eyes and Alice began running a comb through her hair.
'This isn't so bad,' she thought, Despite the hardness of Alice's skin, her touch was somehow soft and gentle, 'I might fall asleep.'
She sighed contently, her body relaxed.
"I've really missed you, Kit," Alice said softly.
Kit's eyes fluttered open, "I missed you too. You've really outdone yourself. Everything looks great."
"Thank you!" Alice beamed with appreciation, "Are you sure Bella will like it? It's not too much?"
"She'll love it," Kit promised, "Don't worry."
"Perfect," the smile remained on Alice's face, "I'm going to leave your hair down," she decided, "It frames your face so nicely."
"Okay," Kit easily agreed, "Sure."
She watched Alice work over her head. Separating strands of hair and applying a sweet smelling product from a pretty glass jar before she ran the comb through her hair again.
Her eyes fell to the many products on the counter. It looked like Alice owned an entire makeup store.
"Can I look at this?" she asked as she reached for a product. It was a tube of mascara.
"Go ahead," Alice nodded, "I love makeup. I wear it all the time, but it's hard. It falls off so easily. You know, we don't have pores or anything like that."
"Right," Kit mumbled, turning the mascara in her hand. The tube claimed to be both volumizing and lengthening.
"Sooo," Alice wheedled, her eyes shining, "I was hoping I could do your makeup."
"Oh," Kit simpered, placing the mascara back where it belonged, "Um…"
"Just a little!" Alice promised quickly, "Some concealer, powder and some blush. That's it. I won't cover your freckles."
Kit gnawed at her lower lip. It sounded like a lot and she wasn't keen on the idea, but she didn't want to be rude.
She opened her mouth to say something, but closed it, looking anywhere but at Alice. She found her words stuck again.
"Um," she managed to choke out, "I-if you…want."
She tried to take a deep breath and keep herself calm. It was only makeup and how embarrassing would it be to cry over something like that? It was just a lot for her.
'Everything is a lot for me,' she thought bitterly. The stairs, getting dressed, the makeup. Heck, even breathing.
"Kit, relax," Alice pulled the comb through her hair, tugging to get her attention, "Next time."
"Okay," Kit whispered, not wanting to nod and disturb Alice's task.
With that, Alice continued her work in silence, no more words were said between them.
Kit didn't mind and closed her eyes again. It was nice having company. Just because you were with someone, it didn't mean that you had to be talking and Kit didn't like to do too much talking, these days.
"All finis—oh," Alice suddenly gasped and Kit turned to look at her, worried, but Alice was smiling.
"Oh, good!" Alice grinned, "Bella and Edward are here."
Author's Note: Hellooooo all my lovely readers! I know, I know, it's been SO long, but I've been extremely busy, I haven't had the time to sit down and write until recently and it's a shock that it's been five months.
Anyway, I'm back and I hope you enjoyed this chapter and more peeks into Kit's anxious mind. Don't forget to review and hopefully, I'll see you soon.