September 26, 2010
Somehow, we had all made it through Saturday without any huge fights or last-minute disasters – and, though Edward was eying Emmett and Jacob with suspicion, he still hadn’t found out about their plans for next week. Unfortunately, he had been paying attention to my party plans and had vetoed my favorite idea of them all. According to him, it was not a good idea to have a gigantic wrestling ring custom-built for the vampire/werewolf Olympics I had planned – he claims that Renesmee would become upset if she saw Jacob fighting someone, even in fun. So now a huge portion of that afternoon was blank; the other games wouldn’t fill the whole day … plus, come on, how awesome would that have been?! I was secretly planning to get it built anyway, but I’d have to wait for Emmett’s birthday so I could claim it was for vampire-on-vampire matches only.
Anyway, everything was in place for Renee’s arrival … Charlie had Bella’s old room all ready for his guest, our Volvo was parked in front of his home for Renee’s use during the trip, and our house was arranged down to the very last covered dish of “leftovers” (the bulk of which had been kindly consumed by Jacob, Leah and Seth).
The biggest obstacle now was Bella. First of all, she was so nervous that it was beginning to wear off on me; I was worrying about whether she’d remember how to act, when to change contacts, and what not to say. Secondly, she was flat-out refusing to let me dress her.
“What I wear to pick my mom up at the airport doesn’t matter, Alice,” she insisted, her hair a wild tangle around her face as she twisted her fingers through it in agitation. She was standing just outside her closet, glaring in at me as I tried to show her the options I had selected for her.
“Of course it doesn’t, Bella,” I agreed sweetly, returning a truly fabulous rabbit-fur coat to its hanger. Bella blinked at me a few times as I smiled back innocently. “You’re both going to be so happy to see one another, it’ll be the last thing on your mind. Of course,” I added nonchalantly, “your mother knows that our family has lots of money, and she’ll probably get all concerned that we’re not treating you very well if she sees you slopping around in old jeans and T-shirts with holes in them. Plus, since she’s seen you in them as a human, she has that frame of reference to what you should look like. But, you’re right, the clothes aren’t important -”
“Enough, Alice,” Edward sighed in exasperation, gliding forward to place his arms around Bella’s waist. In a soothing tone, he told her, “Renee would never think such ridiculous things. But …” and he sighed deeply, looking straight at me as he finished, “Alice will not let you out of this room until she’s approved your outfit. So if we want to get to the airport on time …”
“That’s right, there’s no use arguing,” I concurred, making my sister roll her eyes so hard I thought they would pop right out of her head. Taking that as the agreement it was surely intended to be, I turned back to the rows of hanging clothes. “So. We know you’ll need to wear a coat, and definitely jeans too. It’s a shame, but at least your mom will get to see you all dressed up later this week.”
Bella let out a startled yelp/ gasp at that, but I paid no attention. I was busy scanning the shelves and shelves of ballet flats, sandals, and boots that were carefully organized by color. Should I pick them first and match the rest of the outfit to the shoes? Or the other way around?
“Ahem, Alice,” my brother interrupted dryly. I looked up in annoyance. Why was he still here? He folded his arms across his chest and said, “First of all, I’m not going anywhere. I won’t have you telling Bella you have foreseen this or that outfit so she’s forced to go along with your unreasonable demands. And second -” He raised his voice, talking over my protests. “Secondly, I very much doubt that Bella wants to wear twenty-four-hundred-dollar shoes just to run out to the airport.”
Bella gasped for real this time. “There are shoes in here that cost twenty-four hundred dollars?” she squeaked in horror, peering at the neat rows of footwear. I smashed my lips together and scowled ferociously at Edward, who returned my glare with disdain.
“Those sparkly rainbow ones on the left,” he informed Bella, who instantly spotted and grabbed them, turning them over and over in her hands as if she expected to find some label explaining their price … like a price tag. I, however, was smart enough to know that anything I added to Bella’s closet needed to have its price tag removed first. Of course, I hadn’t counted on Edward being here to ruin EVERYTHING!
“Alice, really,” Bella cried, appalled. “Why did you spend so much money on these things?” She was dangling one of them from her pointer finger as if it was covered in slime rather than multi-colored crystals. I decided to take the opportunity to educate her, since Edward had brought up their price anyway.
“These are Christian Louboutins,” I explained helpfully. “They’re made in Italy, and I spent that much on them because it’s how much they cost.”
She was shaking her head vehemently. “No. No, I don’t want these, Alice. Here, why don’t you just take them?” She tried to shove them at me, but I pulled back.
“No, those are yours, we’re not even the same shoe size,” I reminded her. “Plus, I already have those, but in a high heel style! So we can wear them together …” I trailed off at the look on their faces. They were both staring at me as though I had been speaking another language.
“Never mind,” I decided, taking the beautiful flats back from Bella. “You’re right, we’d better wait til I can wear mine to match.” She laughed in disbelief as I carefully replaced them on their shelf.
After some trial and error, we managed to agree on a sweater that was Edward’s favorite deep blue, made of a silk-cashmere blend with elbow-length sleeves and a ruffled tie-neck front. It was quietly stunning, so it would be just right. With very little persuasion needed from me, Bella put on her 7 For All Mankind trouser-style jeans instead of her favorite skinny jeans. We ran into another little snafu when it came to outerwear, because she wanted to wear a “normal” raincoat, and I wanted her to remember that she was a wealthy woman. Finally, she gave in to my lecture about how silly a nylon jacket would look with her designer sweater, and slipped into the camel-colored Chloe hooded coat I wanted her to wear.
But as soon as we came back to shoes, everything went downhill. She was still mad about my confiscation of her old Uggs, and insisted that they would have been “just right” for this type of thing. I went through almost every single pair of shoes and boots in her closet, but she found something offensive to say about all of them. She particularly hated the coyote-fur boots I’d bought to replace her Uggs, which was weird, because they were insanely gorgeous!
I held up a pair of gray suede ankle boots with a flat heel and scrunched top. She shook her head. I pulled out a pair of bubblegum pink patent leather sneakers. She said, “No WAY.” I went back to the shelves again and again, begging, pleading, and finally shouting, but to no avail. We could not agree on any of them.
“If I just had my Uggs …” Bella pouted, coiled into a ball on the floor. “Or some plain old rain boots …” My head snapped up and I gazed hopefully at her.
“Rain boots? You’d wear rain boots?” She stared back at me in confusion, but before Edward could intervene, she nodded her head. Yes!
As Edward groaned and began to explain that she had walked right into a trap, I darted out of the closet and raced back to the main house. I had a stash of miscellaneous gifts in my own apartment-sized closet, and there just so happened to be a pair of rain boots for Bella in there too!
When I returned to their room, I handed the shoebox to Bella with a guileless smile. As she cautiously opened it and pulled the tissue paper out of the way, Edward sighed.
“These … are …” Bella seemed at a loss for words, so I jumped in.
“Leopard-print See by Chloe rain boots with a lace-up front, yes, I know,” I sang gleefully. “You’re welcome!”
Once she was finally dressed appropriately, there were only a few minutes left before they needed to leave for the airport. Luckily, I’d had the wisdom to do her makeup before the clothing fiasco. Now all she needed was to …
“Momma, I don’t want to go,” Nessie fretted, her unhappiness evident in her high voice. Bella was doing her best to hold back her own emotions so Ness wouldn’t worry about her, but the result was pretty awful – her face was pulled into a grimace that in no way resembled the carefree smile I think she was going for.
“It’s just for a little while, honey,” Jacob assured her anxiously, tightening his grip and gazing at her little face in concern. I elbowed Bella, and she nodded hastily just a second late.
“That’s right, sweetheart,” she agreed hollowly. She swallowed hard (a human reflex) before continuing. “Renee will be here during the day this whole week, and you’ll be sleeping at night, so …” She couldn’t go on.
Edward took over, infusing as much love and reassurance into his voice as he possibly could. “We’ll all be together again soon, and besides, you love Jacob and Sue! You’re all going to have so much fun together,” he laughed, tickling Nessie’s ribs. Though I’m pretty sure she wasn’t fooled, she giggled obligingly, then placed her hand on his cheek for a moment.
His face softened. “I know, dearest,” he murmured, pressing his lips to her smooth forehead briefly. Then he straightened and turned to Bella, who stepped forward and cupped Nessie’s perfect face in her hands.
“More than my own life,” she reminded her daughter in a choked voice. Renesmee’s eyes were shimmering with tears as she replied in her own unique way. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to hear it, anyway; the scene already had me fighting back tears that would never come.
Then Bella and Edward, their hands locked together, waved goodbye to Jacob and Nessie as they climbed into his Rabbit. They kept waving until the little car was out of sight, and only then did Bella’s face fall and a tiny whimper escaped her lips. Edward instantly smothered her in kisses, reminding her over and over again that Ness would be safe and happy and close by, and it was only for one week, and Renee would be here soon.
At that, Bella nodded slowly, still gazing toward the highway. “Let’s get going,” she whispered tonelessly.
Because they drove Renee straight to Charlie’s house, none of the rest of us have seen her yet. Bella and Edward didn’t seem to be inclined to chat when they got home around midnight, judging by the speed in which they exited the car and headed to their cottage. But Renee is coming here tomorrow morning for coffee and girl time, so the fun begins …
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