The day that it all began was just like the day before. The sun rose and quickly fell behind the clouds. Then came the rain. People worked, laughed, cried, lived and died. Just like every other day. Until there was her. I am nothing. I am no one. I am just a mirage...
2. If I Walk Away Right Now
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If I Walk Away Right Now
I saw it too late. I could hear the commotion begin inside just as I saw it begin to unfold in my mind. Edward leaping from his piano bench and landing in front of Esme. The bloodlust was evident on his face as he took her hand in his and brought it up to his face. He opened his mouth and showed his venom soaked teeth. "Edward!" I shouted, hoping to pull him out of his frenzy. It only half worked. He paused but just for a moment but I could still see the resolve on his face. I had never seen Edward like this before. He was always composed and rarely tempted by human blood. I know he had his difficulties in the past but he got over that and has been strictly vegetarian for at least 80 years now. I had never had a vision of him hurting anyone. This was not my Edward. "Jazz, stop him before…" but the vision ended. Crisis averted. Edward was himself again.
My visions were both a blessing and a curse. I love being able to see what happens (even if it is slightly inaccurate at times). But sometimes there are things I never wanted to see. The moments where Jasper’s willpower would lessen and he would begin to have thoughts of straying from our vegetarian diet were always hard. And the visions that were now invading my mind were even worse. All my visions of Jasper straying were simple. The scent of human blood became too tempting for him and he was overcome with the urge to feed. He would struggle for a few minutes first before quickly devouring his prey. But every time I saw it, I knew that all it would take is a little help from me to put him on the right track again. And in the end, every time we stopped Jasper he always regretted his actions (even if he never did act on them). The visions I had of Edward now were very troubling. He fantasized millions of ways to quench his thirst for the mystery girl’s blood. I moved into a protective stance in front of her as the visions kept coming.
My visions showed him running out to us and him draining her blood before she would even realize he had walked out the door. And if I stepped in and tried to stop him, we would fight. The others would come out and restrain him. And for the moment the battle would be won but in time he would try again. Because at the end of every single vision that flitted through my mind, her eyes were a deep crimson (or worse, in the case of the one vision in which we were unable to stop him before he drained all of her blood, where her eyes were glazed over in death). And unlike Jasper, the only regret Edward would have would be that her blood was no longer there for him to thrive off of.
I sighed heavily and tried to ignore the visions. For now, Edward was restrained and there was no danger. And right now my biggest concern was for the girl. I returned my attention to her and offered her a warm smile. "Hey, are you alright?" I asked softly, against my better judgement I brought my hands up and cradled her face in them. I gently rubbed her cheeks and she shivered from the coldness of my fingers. It was the first time I had seen her react at all. "I’m sorry," I apologized, pulling my hands away. She still wasn’t really acknowledging my presence so I let out another sigh and closed my eyes, trying to concentrate on her future again. And again all I saw were the million and one ways that Edward wanted to kill her. I tuned them out again, releasing a low rumbling growl that I’m sure she wasn’t even able to hear. "What’s your name?" I asked, already knowing that she wouldn’t respond. "Are you hurt?" I kept asking questions, anything that came to mind. Her favorite color? Where she came from? How she got all of those scars? But she just kept staring blankly ahead.
I was becoming bored. Partly because I hated doing things at a human pace. I was not fond of waiting. Or of mystery. And partly because of Jasper’s calming effects directed towards me and the girl. I strained to listen to what was unfolding in the house. For the moment it was pretty quiet. I knew there was talking but I couldn’t quite make out anything. Have I mentioned just how much I hate a mystery? What was the aftermath of Edward almost attacking Esme? Did I even want to know? What a silly question, of course I did! I love being able to know everything.
I heard the door close behind me quietly and turned to see Esme. She took a few steps towards us then paused. I watched her put her hands out in front of her, palms up and let the rain pool then disappear through her fingers. Then she brought her hands up to her nose and winced. She repeated the process but this time she rubbed her hands together, trying to erase the scent of the girl. It was like Lady Macbeth and her damned spot.
I turned my attention back to the girl and was suddenly hit by a very curious urge. What was it about her that had sent Edward into a frenzy? To me she seemed like a normal human girl. She looked normal enough (once you got past all the scars). And she smelled…delicious. But so did every human I pass. I leaned in closer to her, her heart rate quickened slightly but she didn’t flinch as I pressed my nose to her jugular and inhaled. My throat ached and burned with the breath but it wasn’t anything unmanageable. She smelled sweet and delicate, with a hint of flowers. Not extraordinary. Nothing to make a trained vegetarian vampire lose control over. I pulled myself away and sighed. La tua cantante. A blood so delicious that you can’t resist. A blood so wonderfully appetizing it sang to you. A blood so powerfully palatable it stripped you of your control. I always just thought that was just a myth. I have never experienced it first hand before. And those two women many years (or has it been decades) ago when Emmett had broken down and feed off of them, I thought it was just a lie of convenience. But now I am becoming a believer. It is really the only thing that makes sense. Edward can’t resist her, no matter how hard he tries. Her blood will keep calling out to him until he finally has every last drop of it.
I heard muffled sounds from behind me and I turned to look at Esme, still wringing her hands. I knew that if she were able to produce tears, she would be crying right now. "Esme," I called, trying to offer her comfort and sympathy like she would for any of us. She ignored me and sniffed her hands. "Stay right here," I told the girl, knowing that it wouldn’t make a difference. She hadn’t moved since this whole thing started. Why would she start now? I quickly made my way over to Esme and rested my hands on hers, keeping them still. I looked into her amber eyes as I spoke, "Will all great Neptune’s ocean was this blood clean from my hand?" I quoted, hoping she would understand just what I was saying. Sure it wasn’t blood she was trying to wash from her hands, but it may as well have been. And just like Lady Macbeth her hands were already clean. It was her guilt that kept her there. Guilt that she had no reason to feel.
"I’m sorry," she apologized.
"You do that far too much," I offered taking her hand and leading her back towards the girl, who was still rooted in the same place. "Apologize when you have no need to."
"As soon as things are settled inside Carlisle will be here to help with the girl," Esme spoke softly.
"I shouldn’t have gone in," Esme ranted. "It was stupid. I touched her and…"
"No," I stopped her. "Its much better that you did. Can you imagine what would have happened if we took her inside and Edward came face to face with her?"
"Maybe we should just take her to the hospital now. Drop her off outside and they can deal with her," Esme blurted out without a second thought. That wasn’t something Esme would normally say. She was always calm and cool and collected. She never wanted to abandon anyone, even a perfect stranger.
But I guess she did have a point. There was no reason to keep her here any longer than necessary especially if she really is Edward’s singer. The more distance we can put between them, the better. But before I could open my mouth to speak I was stopped by a very strong vision. It started off hazy. Figures. And blood. And screaming. But slowly it began to focus. The outside shadows were still blurred but my main focus was the mystery girl. Her blood. Her screaming. "No!" I shouted. "It’s not safe." Hands tore at her scarred flesh. Teeth sunk into her torn and tattered flesh. Her body writhed in agony before finally slumping and conceding to death.
"Edward?" Esme breathed.
"No," I shook my head and allowed the vision to clear from my memory. "Something worse. It wasn’t all clear. Vampire for sure. But it wasn’t Edward. It was a group. A pack. Two of them, maybe three, four even. They’ll kill her."
"We’ll wait for Carlisle." Esme said flatly. We paused for a few minutes before Esme spoke again. "We can’t take her inside but we need to get her out of the rain. The poor thing must be freezing. How is the garage?" She asked. I closed my eyes and focused.
"The garage is a wonderful idea." I smiled at Esme. We tried to lead the girl but she refused to move. And since she seemed to be in a catatonic state I didn’t think that she would even notice if I picked her up and ran her in there. And of course, I was right. "I’m going to get her some dry clothes."
"Alice, no!" Esme shouted at me. "You can’t go inside. You carried her. You’re covered in her scent."
I gave Esme a smile and a wink. "It’ll be fine. I promise." I opened my mind for another vision, letting the scenario play out. "I have a plan. It should work out splendidly." I didn’t look back as I dashed into the house.
My clothes were soaked with rain and the scent of the girl. She really did need a name. I feel horrible just calling her ‘girl’ all the time. She was so much more to our entire family at this point than just any other ‘girl’. I made my way to the living room quickly and stood in the doorway. "You’re leaving," I announced softly not moving forward at all.
Edward, who was still being restrained against the wall turned to focus on me. His eyes blackened as took in a deep breath. "I cant- It’s the only way," he spoke roughly through a clenched jaw.
"Alice, you should probably go," Emmett said, noticing the girl’s scent hanging around me.
"Did something happen?" Carlisle questioned. "Is the girl alright?"
"She’s fine," I nodded slowly. "And Edward is fine. Aren’t you?" I asked him as I stepped closer to him.
His breathing hitched and he struggled under his restraint. "Alice," he whimpered. "Stop." But I kept my slow pace, closing the distance between Edward and myself. With each step I watched him struggle to keep his composure. And with great effort, he did.
There was a short pause before Carlisle spoke, "Edward, it’s easy to slip up and make mistakes. Most of us have been there. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t need to run away."
"I’ll kill her," Edward grunted.
"She’ll be gone as soon as you know it…" Carlisle argued.
"No!" Edward interjected. "They’ll kill her! Alice, tell them!"
Everyone turned to me with questioning glances. I nodded. "They’re out there looking for her. Vampires. If she leaves us they’ll kill her." I was now right in front of Edward. His focus was on solely on me. He struggled to hold his breath to keep the girl’s scent from burning his throat, but he just couldn’t seem to resist himself.
Rosalie snorted from her position on the couch. She still looked bored and annoyed. "So let them. We’re not keeping her. There’s a reason we don’t keep pets, Edward. Human or otherwise. If it has a pulse someone will eat it. My money was on Jasper. Maybe even Emmett. I must say, you were a surprise."
"Carlisle," Edward begged ignoring Rosalie. "Please."
"You thought I would kill her?" Emmett questioned his wife and she only shrugged.
"Carlisle, Alice has seen it. She won’t be safe out there," Edward continued to implore. His only focus was now on Carlisle.
"We’ll protect her," Carlisle insisted.
I smiled and stepped even closer to Edward, he didn’t even seem to notice. "It’s getting easier isn’t it?"
"What?" Edward snapped his attention back to me.
"You’re forgetting all about how wonderful she smells. You’re getting used to it," I shrugged.
"Ha!" Rosalie laughed. "Let that girl in here and he will tear her apart in one second."
"Rosalie is right," Edward spoke. "I’m still leaving."
I shrugged. "I know. I just know that you’ll also be back."
"When she’s safe," Edward explained.
"She will be." I focused my attention back to my last vision so he could see exactly what I could. Edward seated at his piano, the mystery girl seated beside him. "I know it. And now you do too."
Edward looked away from me, not wanting to accept the truth of my vision. "You've been wrong before," he reminded me bitterly. I rolled my eyes and continued to let visions of him and the very much alive human flash through both my mind and his. He sighed and ignored them. "You’ll keep her safe?"
"I promise." He nodded and the conversation was over. "She’s in the garage. So I’ll bring your car." Edward again nodded. "I’ll come and get you when it’s ready."
As I ran up the stairs I could hear Carlisle giving his protest. I ignored the argument and raided Rosalie’s closet. She’s going to be pissed but she’ll get over it. She always does. The girl needed some dry clothes and mine would be too small so Rosalie’s would have to do until I could go shopping for her. I made a quick selection and ran out to the garage.
"Edward’s leaving. He’s going to Alaska for awhile," I told Esme as we undressed the shivering girl.
"No," she protested. "He doesn’t have to. Carlisle will figure this out."
"He’s going. But he’ll be back. It’s for the best. Trust me. I've seen how it ends and it's perfect." We finished dressing the girl in silence. I bagged her wet clothes and held onto them tightly as I made my way to Edward’s car. "This will be okay." I reassured Esme before I pulled the car out of the garage. I walked back into the house and smiled at Edward. "It’s time," I nodded to Jasper and Emmett and they released him warily. I know they were still worried that Edward would be sent into another frenzy about the scent that still clung to me. But I knew better. He was adjusting. It would just take time.
"Don’t forget to call us," Carlisle called after him. Edward nodded and offered a smile as a goodbye before we walked out the door.
"Thank you," he said to me as I walked him to the car.
"Thank me when you come back." I smiled at him.
"Alice…" he began to protest but he stopped after reading my thoughts. "You’re visions are wrong all the time."
I shrugged knowing that this time my vision will be right. I’ve been wrong all day, I’m bound to get this one right. I pulled him into a hug and he quickly stiffened. Her scent was transferring from me to him in that embrace. I knew that it burned his throat but the frenzy never came. He held me a second longer than he should have. He was testing his strength of willpower. And he was passing with flying colors. "You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for." I smiled at him as he entered his car. "See you soon, brother." I offered him another peak at my vision. This time he was alone with the girl in our guest bedroom and his lips were on hers. He rolled his eyes and pulled away.
I stood in the driveway watching his car speed away and disappear. I was left to wonder how far he would make it before he realized I left the bag of her wet clothes hidden under the backseat of his car. Then I wondered how long it would take him to figure out that I did it on purpose. I smiled as my question was answered with another vision.