Sorry this took so long - classes and work are consuming my life. I appreciate all the compliments and the gentle criticisms I've received in my reviews so thanks to everyone! My beta suspenceme gets a big loud "Thank you!" for finding the time in her own hectic life to make sure that I'm not writing with 4th grade grammar skills. :D
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns.
She sat stone still, afraid to start the conversation that could either tear apart or liberate her dead heart.
Minutes went by. Neither moved to say anything. Bella shifted restlessly in nervousness, an action carried over from her previous life.
Alice was content to ignore that the conversation was going to happen until Bella said something. She had foreseen it in a vision weeks ago but it had hung on Renesmee's decision to push Bella into action. Last night she had purposely looked into the future and saw that Bella had reluctantly chose to come to confess.
She had spent the entire night in silent contemplation. Jasper being gone had put her in a sour mood but it was entirely her fault that he had left her and she knew it.
She had, over the past two decades, realized that Bella was more of a friend to her than any other being she had known. She could open up to Bella about things she hadn't told anyone, including Jasper. Bella, with her naturally quiet demeanor, always stayed and listened to whatever she had to say regardless of the topic. It always seemed that Bella was content to sit with her and listen to the sound of her voice.
Then one day she had a vision of Bella and herself kissing on the front porch in the morning sunlight. The image hadn't so much as scared her as it had surprised her. She hadn't expected that Bella had those feelings toward anyone, let alone her, and she considered them to be best friends.
Instead of the idea scaring her, the thought of Bella having feelings toward her had flattered her. She was with Jasper and that was enough for her…or so she had thought.
It was only a few years ago that she had started to detect that those feelings of intense friendship for Bella had taken a subtle turn down a different path.
Her hands had begun to touch Bella's arm more often. She found herself hugging Bella at odd moments just to feel close to the woman and to smell the soft tangerine of her shampoo. This, for Alice, was the time period she would say it had started. But if she were honest to herself she would say that it had started long before then.
Initially Alice had ignored the feelings she had labeled as a flitting crush and instead threw herself vivaciously into her lackluster marriage with her husband. They traveled the world together for years and only came back home to spend time with their family during the holidays. This allowed her to avoid both Bella and Edward without admitting anything to anyone.
However, as time went on things only got worse. She and Bella talked over the phone every week or so and Alice was pulled further into the inevitable gravity that was known as Isabella Cullen. She had tried to keep her feelings inside but when they leaked out Jasper had shrugged and assumed for a time that they were directed at him.
It took him almost three full years before he had figured it out and by that time Alice had fallen for Bella in such a way that she doubted she would ever come back from the descent. When she had the vision of Bella confessing her feelings Jasper had asked what had her emotions going crazy. She was unable to lie to him and had told him the nature of the vision. It was during that conversation that he had finally gotten angry about the whole situation.
When Jasper confronted Alice about her feelings they had argued about it, much in the fashion that Bella and Edward had, but their roles were reversed. Jasper had only wanted to leave her but Alice was desperate to try to start over and stay together. They too had decided to try and save their relationship. In the end Jasper couldn't take it any longer and had walked out on her.
That had been a week ago.
She was so miserable from losing her long time partner that she had arrived on Carlisle and Esme's steps with slouched shoulders and a morose face, unable to form words. She stayed in her room alone the entire week contemplating what to do about Bella, what to do about Jasper, and the situation as a whole. She never left her room, opting to sit in her quiet deliberation on the same couch she sat now. She had eaten a week before she arrived at Carlisle and Esme's and refused to feed until after the meeting with Bella. In a way Alice supposed she was punishing herself for the treacherous feelings within her.
And now here they were: Bella trying to control her obvious nerves and Alice still trying to think of ways to convince Jasper to take her back.
Bella cleared her throat softly and Alice was jerked out of her reverie. This was playing out like the vision so she barely had to pay attention to know what was going to be said.
"Um, so you obviously know how this is going to go, but please just let me say what I need to say and then I'll leave you alone forever."
That last part threw Alice off, if just for a moment since it hadn't been part of her vision. If Bella had already known the outcome, then why bother confessing in the first place? Sure, she didn't know that Alice felt a similar way but was she so beyond hope that she had accepted the inevitability of Alice's rejection?
This thought made Alice's depression slip even further. Bella knew that Alice wouldn't stop trying to get back with Jasper any time soon, but she was still was being forced to confront her because of that stubborn niece of hers.
Oh, when she next saw Renesmee she was going to throttle that girl…
Alice just nodded her head, trying to give Bella the silence she had asked for.
If possible Bella just looked more frightened. She laughed nervously.
"I've been thinking about how to even start talking, but then I decided to just come out with it." She took a calming breath to steady her shaky voice and placed her hands on the tops of her thighs, gripping them so hard that Alice figured that her nails might tear through the fabric.
Alice now turned to face Bella, crossing her legs in an Indian style on the couch. The least she could do was look Bella in the eyes as she turned her down.
Bella took a deep breath of air; her whole body lifted a bit to reflect the oxygen in her lungs.
This was it, Alice knew. This was the moment.
"I'm in love with you." Bella's voice was soft in its declaration, almost as if by keeping her voice smooth and low it would lessen the supposed blow she thought it was going to be.
Alice made no move to speak. She knew that there was more to be said. She just stared into immense pools of gold and tried to focus on the conversation at hand. Bella looked back with such a sad gaze that Alice's steady breathing caught in her throat.
"I won't tell you the whole story because I know you want this over with so you can get on with whatever it is you were doing. I'll just tell you the short version."
Bella took another breath and exhaled while she attempted to control her whirlwind emotions and calm her racing mind. Alice remained stoic.
"We've always been close, especially after that vacation to Canada everyone took. But it wasn't until after Edward and I came home from our 'marriage camp' that I realized I was in love with you. To say that you were beautiful standing on those steps waiting for us wouldn't do you justice. I've kept my mouth shut about my feelings so it wouldn't make things weird between us or between you and Jasper. I had figured on just keeping it a secret forever but my meddling daughter pretty much blackmailed me into coming here and talking to you."
This time a sigh slipped from Bella's lips. Alice looked down and noted that the woman's hands still held a vice-like grip on her legs and hadn't torn through the fabric. This was hurting Bella beyond measure and Alice felt a wave of sadness hit her over that fact. Her eyes kept traveling up the brunette's body but she averted them and made herself look into swirling gold again. She didn't know what else was coming; her vision had already played itself out but she wasn't going to miss the words coming next just because she was admiring the view.
"That's all I'm going to say about it since I know you probably want me out of here as soon as possible. But I will say that I promise to stay away from you for as long as you want me away so I won't mess up your life any more than I already have."
Alice's face formed a frown as she spoke up for the first time since Bella started talking.
"You're leaving? When?"
Bella shrugged, as if to make it seem like it wasn't the big deal for her that it was. "Today's Wednesday, so I'll probably leave Saturday. I want to spend some time with the kids before I go."
Alice's frown deepened. She had seen that Bella was leaving after the school year was over. What had changed her mind to make it so much sooner?
Bella felt terrible to leave Ren and the kids but if it was the only way to make Alice happy then she would do it. She had long ago figured out that she would do anything to make Alice smile, even if she wasn't around to see it or be the cause of it.
Alice just stared at her again and Bella felt as if those charcoal eyes were seeing the very bottom of her soul. She forced a calm expression on her face and stared back, determined not to look away from the scrutinizing, yet confused, gaze.
Bella was the first to break eye contact. Her eyes instead shifted down to her hands, which she was wringing together. Again her voice echoed through the room softly. It held a nervous tone.
"I was just wondering…I mean you don't have to if you don't want to…but I was hoping maybe I could see you smile before I leave? I mean like I said you don't want to but I was just hoping maybe because I won't see you after I go…" Her rambling died off.
Alice's voice was soft to mirror that of her guest.
The woman in question turned her head up to look at the pixie-like vampire and Alice couldn't help but smile softly. Golden orbs swirling with mixed emotions stared her down, drinking her in. Eyes found their way to her chest and Alice unknowingly licked her lips in reaction to the desire she found in the other woman's expression.
The way Bella's eyes continued their slow descent down her body made Alice almost visibly shiver with want.
Bella had to reel in the lust that was rushing through her body as her eyes raked over Alice's lean form but she was only slightly successful in her attempt before her eyes settled at the pixie's hips. What she would give to hold down those hips while they made love…
Get a grip on yourself, Cullen, her conscience reprimanded. She squeezed her legs together in an effort to quell her racing hormones.
She continued her inspection, and her eyes roamed further down to seemingly soft legs that appeared to go on for miles before they ended to attach to dainty bare feet. This was how she wanted to remember Alice: smiling, and so beautiful that it made her heart sing with rapture.
She sighed again. "I should get going before I say anything else stupid," she muttered. She got up from her sitting position.
"Thank you for letting me get all of that off my chest without saying anything. It meant a lot to me for you to listen and not just kick me out. I'm sorry I ruined your relationship with Jasper. I hope you get back together with him if it makes you happy again."
Alice just stared up at her, depression so deep within her eyes that it hurt Bella just to look at her. Jasper must have truly broken her heart for she had never seen Alice so miserable. Her own heart wailed inside at the obvious pain reflected in her Alice's eyes.
No, Bella corrected herself mentally. Alice was not hers and never would be.
On that depressing thought, she made herself look Alice square in the eye. "I promise I won't bother you again, Alice. Goodbye."
After saying goodbye Bella walked out of the room, down the stairs and into the kitchen where she knew Esme could be found. It took all of her inner strength to keep from breaking down right then and there. But no, she would do that later. When she was alone.
Shakily she took in another breath and faced her surrogate mother.
"Esme I'm going to be leaving for a long time. I don't know if I'll be coming back."
Confusion swept through matching golden eyes. "What's going on, dear? Is everything all right?"
Bella's face wore a mask of sadness. "No it's not okay. But I'm going to try to make everything right again."
"And how is your leaving going to do that?"
She paused before she responded. She knew that Esme would have heard everything she said so there was no use denying it.
"It will give Alice and Jasper a chance to be together again."
The confusion was present even more. "You're going to have to give me more information than that because I am failing to see the connection. Their split had nothing to do with you."
Bella looked sadly on at the woman she had come to love like her own mother, God bless her soul.
"Their break up had everything to do with me. I'm in love with Alice. It's because of me that they're not together. I'm leaving so that they can have a shot of getting back together and Alice can be happy again." She hung her head, afraid to see disappointment in her mother's eyes. It was her fault almost the entire family was broken. First Edward, now Alice and Jasper.
Arms encircled her waist. "Oh, Bella…darling I'm so sorry." Bella hugged back, resting her head on Esme's shoulder. This was not expected. She had figured Esme would tell her to leave and hope things would smooth over in time. Instead the words that came out of her mother's mouth gave her comfort.
"Do you really have to go? Can't you just stay close enough for a visit every once in a while?"
Bella shook her head on Esme's shoulder. "I can't. It's too painful. Besides, the further away I am from them the better chance they have to salvage their relationship."
Esme just tightened her embrace, putting her hand at the back of Bella's head in a show of comforting affection and sympathy. The two pulled apart with Esme holding her daughter at arms length, acceptance laced in honey colored eyes.
"If you ever need someone to talk to, call me. Don't be afraid to come home if you want or need to. Our door is always open for you."
Bella just nodded. Words would never be enough for what she felt for Esme at that moment. Her mother understood and accepted that she had to leave and would do nothing to stop her.
Esme wrapped Bella up in another hug in a sudden show of emotion.
"I love you, dear."
Her voice caught in her throat and she had to clear it before she was able to speak.
"I love you too, Mom."
With that being said Bella walked out of the kitchen and got in Jacob's car. She sat in the driveway for a moment, unable to will her hand into putting the key in the ignition. Absently she looked up at the window she knew was Alice's. It was empty but for the drapes that hung loosely inside the window frame.
Her heart was threatening to fall apart in the car and she fought ruthlessly to keep it together until she left. Wearily she started the car and drove back to Renesmee's.
She walked into the house, dropped the keys off on the kitchen table, and greeted her grandchildren drearily. Renesmee, who was washing dishes in the kitchen, knew by the look on her mother's face that the confrontation didn't go well and opted not to ask questions yet. She would get the story later.
Bella forced a smile and played with the children for the rest of the morning and afternoon before it was time for dinner and bed.
When all the children had been put to sleep Renesmee, Jacob, and Bella sat in the living room. Silence reigned until Renesmee spoke out.
"I take that it didn't go well." It wasn't a statement. She was merely pushing for details.
Bella sighed again. It seemed she had been sighing a lot lately.
"No, it didn't. I told her the short version of everything and after that I said goodbye. I walked downstairs, said goodbye to Esme, and left. And here I am."
Jacob was the next to speak up. "Well Bells, if you ever need somewhere to stay you know you're always welcome to stay with us." Renesmee stated her agreement as well. She also noticed that her mother seemed unwilling to talk anymore on the subject of what happened.
Bella nodded in understanding. "I'd like to stay a few days. Spend some time with the kids before I leave and all."
Renesmee and Jacob both agreed that it would be good for them to spend time with her before she left.
No one spoke again for half an hour. The couple enjoyed the silence brought on by sleeping children and Bella was still trying to keep herself together. Finally she couldn't take it anymore.
"I'm going for a walk. I'll be back sometime tomorrow."
The couple only nodded in understanding before she took off outside, running as if her life depended on it.
She ran out of wolf territory and into the Cullens'. She sprinted as fast as she could until she was no longer in the hiking part of the forest. She stopped when she noticed some old hunting grounds that she and Edward used to visit about an hour's jog away from the Cullen residence. She hoped that the distance was enough because she couldn't hold it in anymore.
She screamed until she had no more breath in her lungs and then she fell to the ground, her knees hitting the dirt roughly as she held her head in her hands. Dry sobs racked her body. Her hands tore away from her face and clawed at the earth underneath her. She screamed some more. Once she was out of breath once again she fell to a sitting position and just sat, unmoving. Her body could no longer take the agony she had just put it through.
Bella's heart had broken for the last time.
Alice sat in the same position that Bella had found her in earlier, contemplating the words the brunette had said.
"But it wasn't until after Edward and I came home from our 'marriage camp' that I realized I was in love with you. To say that you were beautiful standing on those steps waiting for us wouldn't do you justice."
That would mean that Bella had been in love with her for over 10 years. How could she have missed it in all that time? Granted, Bella had been staying away from the rest of the family and rooming with Renesmee whenever she was in town but that was no excuse for Alice to miss the indicators early on.
At some point, Esme cracked her door open and begged her to come out to feed. She stared blankly at her mother and asked her to leave. She would eat when she figured out everything in her head.
However, her focus had strayed with Esme's interruption and she heard rustling in the forest. Something was tearing through the woods at a breakneck speed only her kind possessed. Her curiosity got the best of her and her head turned toward the open window to her side. She could hear a female screaming for a time. Bella. Finally there was silence. She physically hurt to hear the usually reserved and introverted woman break down.
Bella lied on the forest floor for some time. How long, she didn't know. The whole scene seemed eerily similar to her time in the woods after Edward left her. Oh, how the deities seemed to enjoy playing with her heart…
She finally gathered enough composure and energy to get up and walk home.
When she arrived home, it was nearly noon on Thursday. She put herself through the motions of cleaning herself up and forced a smile on her face when the children wanted to play. She brought out her digital camera and took hundreds of pictures of the children while they all played together, she and her daughter, she with Jake, and the whole family together. This would be the last time they saw her for God knows how long.
Saturday afternoon finally arrived and Bella was almost glad to leave. She was sick of putting on a smile and enjoying herself when all she wanted to do was be miserable away from prying eyes.
Looking over her room to make sure all her things were packed, she picked up her luggage and loaded it into Jake's car. The family was waiting outside. It was time, and before she left she had something to say.
"Do you really havta go, Gramma?" Rose said, a pout on her face.
She looked down sadly at the children. "I do dear. I've got to help little boys and girls that don't have mommies and daddies like you do. But I promise to write to you and call you when I get settled down, okay?"
The three children nodded in unison. She hugged each one for a long moment before turning to her daughter with harsh eyes. Renesmee was surprised to see the resentment reflecting back in her mother's honey eyes.
Bella lowered her voice to a decibel only she and her daughter could hear.
"This is entirely your fault Renesmee, and I don't know that I can forgive you. As your mother I'm disappointed to know you would blackmail someone into doing something so life altering against his or her wishes. As your best friend I can't believe you forced me into doing something we both knew was going to hurt me. I want you to think about what your arm-twisting has cost the members of your family because now your children will have to live with the web you've weaved."
Her daughter just stood there, mouth open in shock. Jake somberly reached over and clasped her jaw shut before shooing the kids back into the house before he climbed in the car, giving the two women a moment alone.
Bella continued to stare at her daughter in pained rage. The way she was blackmailed was cruel. Renesmee knew the way Edward's abandonment had affected her so long ago. To willingly push her into such a similar position for heartbreak was downright abuse. The betrayal she felt ran deep. She saw from her daughter's expression of shame that the younger woman understood.
Bella's daughter hung her head. Renesmee knew that something in her mother had broken and it would take time to fix it again. She had taken a chance in holding the threat over her mother's head but she knew that the risk was minor compared to the life Bella would have had if she hadn't confronted Aunt Alice. At least now her mother could move on from the loss and hope to recover.
But at the same time she could appreciate how her mother felt. To anyone else it would have seemed as if she were forcing her mother into doing something she didn't want to do. However, Renesmee had watched the gradual change in her mother over the years. Smiles were harder to come by and visits were shorter and shorter each year.
Upon her visit to Esme Island she knew that her mother was in love and by the way that she flinched at every Cullen function it had to be someone in the family. While visiting she had also figured out that her mother's secret love was her Aunt Alice and had threatened to tell her aunt if Bella didn't say something by the end of the year. It had motivated her mother to confront her love after her vacation ended that very month.
Now, with her mother running away from the source of her heartache, Renesmee found herself feeling guilty of ever saying anything in the first place. It was because of her that Bella was now a hollow shell of her former self. She sighed.
"You're right, but at least now you've gotten it off your chest and can move on."
Bella just shook her head sadly and looked back at her daughter with sorrow that sunk to Bella's very soul.
"You don't get it, Ren. This is the one I won't be able to get over. She was my life boat, and you made me put a hole in the bottom."
Bella turned around and started toward the passenger side of the car. Without turning around, she spoke one last time.
"I hope you're happy, Ren. You got what you wanted; your curiosity has been satisfied. I hope it was worth it to you."
Renesmee clenched her teeth together in an effort to halt the words trying to come loose. She wanted to beg her mother's forgiveness, to plead and cry to absolve her of her horrible action, but she didn't. It would be useless in this moment. Instead she just swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded silently as her mother got in the car and she watched her husband drive them toward the airport.
Bella and Jacob were both silent on the drive to the airport. Upon their arrival, Jacob parked in the drop-off station and turned to Bella.
"Do you know where you're going?"
She shrugged. "Not really. Somewhere out of the States. I'll text you when I'm on the plane there."
He nodded in response and the two got out in unison. He grabbed her bags for her and placed them on a trolley so she could trek them to the check-in station. The two were facing each other. His eyes shone their understanding; he too had once known heartbreak, however short it was. In usual Jacob fashion he wrapped her up in his arms and hugged her tightly to him. Words were not needed in this exchange.
She left the comfort of his arms and emotionlessly walked to the check-in area, trolley dragging behind her. The attendant called for the next person and she walked up, glancing at the list of departing flights. The smiling mortal looked at her brightly after a moment of shock at her beauty. Humans were like that sometimes.
"How can I help you, ma'am?" The employee asked politely.
Bella, still looking at the monitors, thought pensively. The decision was between two locations. She replied slowly. "Yes, I need to purchase a plane ticket."
The attendant smiled even wider. "Okay, ma'am. Where would you like to go?"
This time she actually looked at the woman while she replied. The lifelessness displayed in darkening honey eyes startled the woman once again.
She paid quickly and received her ticket. Checking it to be sure, she checked her luggage in and boarded her plane. Not once did she look back.
The pain she felt after hearing Bella's breakdown in the woods hadn't faded. It only served to add to the already existing guilt built up in her stomach.
Bella was normally an open book with Alice when it came to her feelings but not to anyone else. She knew why now. Sometimes she confided in Alice about the loneliness and jealousy she felt whenever she was around the Cullen family because everyone had paired off. When Alice would comfort her in those conversations, Bella would simply shake her head and mutter that she didn't understand. Nevertheless she would always accept the hugs and reassuring words in silence.
"I've kept my mouth shut about my feelings so it wouldn't make things weird between us or between you and Jasper. I had figured on just keeping it a secret forever but my meddling daughter pretty much blackmailed me into coming here and talking to you."
Poor Bella. How long had she lived with this inside of her without talking to anyone about it? Alice guessed almost the entire 11 years. Her insides ached with sympathy for the weight Bella had no doubt carried for longer than a decade just to ensure Alice's happiness with Jasper. And now Jasper had left her, making Bella's sacrifice worth nothing. This made her thoughts drift back to Jasper.
Losing Jasper could have been compared to if she had lost her legs; she could still function without him but everything in her life had to be readjusted around the loss. She didn't want to adjust. She was a creature of comforting habit. Her relationship with Jasper was secure and certain, whereas her love for Bella was new, unsure, and scary. She knew everything about Alice and Jasper, but nothing of Alice and Bella. It was easier to crave something she knew she lost than to yearn for something she never encountered before.
Looking out the window she idly noticed that the sun was setting. Or was it rising? How long had she been sitting? Her throat burned painfully and the beast inside of her finally made itself known again, its presence magnified ten times what it normally was. She was hungry. Starving. It didn't matter at the moment. She had to talk to Jasper. She had to explain again.
Silently and swiftly Alice shifted from her sitting position to a standing one and searched the room with her eyes for the object she needed. Finally noticing it she darted towards it and picked it up in a single fluid motion. She held the cell phone in front of her for a moment as she sped dialed "2" before she placed the receiver next to her ear.
After 4 rings, she sighed and brought the phone away from her head intent on hanging up when a resigned Southern drawl assaulted her hearing.
She had to put the phone back to her ear quickly as she tried to come up with the right words to say.
"Hey, cowboy." She almost smacked herself. That wasn't the best way to greet him but it was how she always had before.
A small sigh erupted through the speaker and she knew she had hurt him again with the nickname.
"To what do I owe the pleasure?" He was clearly trying to restrain his sarcasm but Alice could hear that it was difficult for him to be on the phone with her now.
She tried to think of how to ask him to come back. Coming up empty, she decided to improvise.
"I miss you." Alice blurted out suddenly, her voice rising slightly at the end of the sentence.
Another sigh came through the speaker.
"I miss you too, darlin', but I don't think it's in the same way you do. Tell me, what do you miss about me?"
She didn't even need to think about it.
"I miss our walks in the forest, or on the beach, talking about the fashion trends and books we've read, and I really miss you being here next to me at night."
"I thought as much. That's not what I meant but it answered my question all the same, I suppose."
Now she was confused. "What did you mean then?"
"I meant what about me did you miss? Not about what we did together. What about me, Jasper Whitlock, have you missed?"
She still didn't understand fully and asked him to elaborate.
He seemed patient in his readiness to explain.
"When I say that I miss you, Alice, I mean that I miss your laugh, your smile, the way you can make a room light up. I mean that I can't forget the way you sigh after an especially good bath or the way your eyes sparkle when you're designing something. It's those little things that I'm talking about. Do you miss anything like that about me?"
She was silent for a moment. Then another moment. And another. Finally he spoke up again.
"You don't, and that's okay. I sort of expected it after this whole Bella issue. It's taken me some time alone but I think that I've discovered that we were never really in love like everyone else, but rather loving each other as much as two vampires could without being each other's true mates."
Alice's hold on the cell phone was loosening and she had to shake her head to get a grip on it again. How could he say something like that?
"How could you say that? We've been together for over a century! Look at all the things we've experienced together. Did all of that mean nothing to you?" She was almost angry now. The way he was describing their relationship made it seem as if they were just playing house until the real homeowners got back.
When she stated just as much to him, he actually managed a laugh.
"My dear Alice, that's exactly what I'm saying and not in the same breath. Of course our time together meant something to me, but it's taken me until now to realize that we've never been a perfect fit together. We've always argued much worse than any other couple and it's always taken us twice as long to get back to good terms. But in the sense that we were playing house, you are right. We just didn't know we were doing it until your feelings for Bella finally emerged."
The way he was explaining it made her contemplate their relationship in a light she had never looked at it in before. They had fought more so than anyone she knew, and it always took them weeks, sometimes months to stop fighting. She would never admit to it but there were times at night when Jasper was holding her after a session of lovemaking that Alice wished he were more curve and less bone. Her feelings for Bella had just crept up on her, swept her up, and never let her feet touch the ground again. After they had appeared, Alice had noticed that things with Jasper weren't so in sync as she had thought them to be.
"I can't believe I didn't see it…" She whispered into the receiver, barely able to conceive that she hadn't thought of the theory before.
There was a small pause in the conversation.
"So you finally get it too. It took me much longer that you since I had no one to show it to me and had to figure it out on my own." She could hear the smile in his voice.
"God, how could we have not known? We were lovers for 100 years!"
Jasper's tone became more playful. "Are you actually agreeing with me, Ms. Cullen?"
She put on a reluctant air. "I suppose so, Mr. Whitlock. I must concede that once every decade or so you are right. This just happens to be that phenomenon."
He laughed outright. "Well, glad to hear it's up to once every 10 years now."
She sobered up. "So…are we okay now? Can you stop avoiding me and come home?"
He too returned to his somber state. "I think I'm going to stay abroad for a little while longer. It's doing me some good to be away from everyone and start over fresh. I'll be sure to keep in touch every so often though, I promise."
Her hopes dropped before lifting. If she could at least stay in contact somewhat she would feel better about their separation.
"Okay," she said reluctantly. "I guess that works for me. I'll relay the information to the family."
He expressed his gratitude to her.
"It's not a problem. After what I did to you it's the least I can do."
"That's true. So, has your vision played out yet?"
He was asking if Bella had expressed her feelings yet. This time it was Alice's turn to sigh.
"Yes. It played out almost exactly like my vision but with a little bit added on. I guess she wasn't going to say it until she got here and started talking. She said she was going to leave Saturday."
He took a deep breath and exhaled in a barely contained sigh. "Well, I was going to say you should go get her before she leaves but it's too late for that now."
Now she was a mix of confusion and curiosity. Just how long HAD she been sitting in her room? She voiced her curiosity out loud.
"Jasper, what day is it?"
He seemed genuinely worried. "You don't know what day it is? Alice, it's Tuesday."
Alice stiffened. She hadn't fed in over three weeks. No wonder the beast was raging so violently inside of her. But then a thought suddenly came to her mind. Bella was gone.
Bella had left. Forever. And she didn't even need to because she and Jasper weren't getting back together.
"Alice, are you okay? You're not talking. Hello? Are you there?"
She quickly regained her composure. "I'm here. But I have to go. I have to find Bella and set things right."
She could hear his smile return in the next words he spoke.
"That's my girl. About time you wise up. I hope things go well for you, darlin'."
She smiled again at the indirect blessing he was giving her.
"Thanks, Jasper. I'll talk to you later."
She hung up the phone, the realization of what she was about to do suddenly clearing her head of the fog it had been in for the last few weeks. She hurriedly rushed downstairs to find Esme and Carlisle curled up together on the couch watching a movie. The light filtering through the windows told her it was nearing evening.
"Mom, Dad…" She began. Both in question turned to look at her curiously. When Esme saw the look on her daughter's face, she signaled Carlisle to turn the T.V. off.
"Yes, dear?" Her mother said.
She stood up straight. "I'm going to find Bella. I have some important things to tell her."
Comprehension washed over Esme's features as Carlisle's face reflected the same emotion.
"Have you finally figured out what your heart truly wants?" Carlisle said cryptically.
Alice nodded. "It's her. Always has been. Jasper was the one to finally make me see everything."
Both of her parents nodded almost as if they had figured it out already, which they probably had.
"Do you know where she is?" Carlisle asked.
She closed her eyes and searched for Bella within the confines of her decisions and their visions. The brunette was jumping between choices of hotels like mad, but Alice was able to discern that she was somewhere in London.
"I have a general idea."
Her father nodded. It was her mother who spoke next, her voice taking on a softly scolding tone.
"Alice, she's been through enough. Please don't hurt her any more…I don't think she could take any more heartache and go on living…"
Their daughter's face was now laced with sorrow. "I know. That's why I've got to go to her, to see if I can fix what I've already broken."
This time Esme studied her daughter carefully. If Alice went to Bella and Bella was hurt again, Esme was sure she'd have to intervene to keep Bella alive. Bella was her child now and she knew the quiet brunette couldn't take another hit to her already shattered heart and try to live through it.
"Okay," Esme said. "But I want you to call or text us as soon as you've found her."
Alice only nodded her recognition as she suddenly sprinted back upstairs and packed a couple of suitcases. Once that was finished she raced back downstairs with her luggage and out the door to her Porsche. In moments her trunk was packed and she was off to the airport.
She only hoped that Bella would listen to what she had to say.