November 24, 2010
*NOTE TO READERS: This entry picks up right after the last one – so, this would be the Sunday following the last entry.
I’m really going to miss the cabin … I’ve always loved our setup in Washington, but the addition of a lake and some armored jet-skis has made this house even more fantastic than our true home.
I didn’t even mind the lack of bedroom space – or, more specifically, the bedrooms being contaminated by teenage werewolves. Jazz and I had hung out in the forest at night, or swam in the lake, or hunted in a nearby valley; it was a lot like being back at Whitlock Waterfall. I loved it.
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end … at least for now. I’m sure we’ll return to the cabin pretty often in the next few centuries!
We had one last, massive water war yesterday. Esme and Carlisle very kindly offered their jet-skis to Embry and Jacob, and contented themselves with standing on the dock, watching and laughing. My careful game-planning had culminated in, basically, Calvinball; any player could invent, alter, or veto any rule at any time, Calvinball masks had to be worn (easily created with cut-up pillowcases), and penalties involving humiliation and song were assessed about every ten seconds.
Why Calvinball, you ask? Well, I love Calvin and Hobbes, and competition, and games … and really, we’re running out of new games to play!
So, despite the fact that Calvinball is meant to be spontaneous, inconsistent, and never played the same way twice, I had devised a little strategy. Or not so much a strategy as a pointless display of skill that would distract everyone long enough for Jasper to – oops, getting ahead of myself here!
Rose, Bella, Renesmee and I had been zipping around the lake, weaving in and out of each others wake, and I had casually suggested that we choreograph a little synchronized, um, jet-skiing – just for fun, you understand. Then when we were (ferociously, hysterically, and imaginatively) playing Calvinball, I innocently said, “Oh, you guys, remember what we were doing yesterday?”
They took my cue, like I knew they would, and right in the middle of the game we started carving figure eights around each other in the lake – distracting all the boys long enough for Jazz to zoom up between Edward and Emmett, reach an arm out to each side, and tip over their jet-skis.
It worked pretty well, if I do say so myself, especially since Jasper was my only co-conspirator; everyone else present was totally taken by surprise and laughed like crazy!
But, like I said, we couldn’t stay there forever. So today, we very sadly locked up our equipment and headed back to Forks. Leah and Embry opted to run the whole way home, but Jacob snored in the back of the Volvo while Ness attempted to braid his shaggy hair (it really needs a trim).
I will admit that it’s nice to be back in my own bedroom, and to have those guys back in their own houses … I know I’m getting used to them, and trying to be somewhat friendly and all, but ugh, the STENCH!
You know what Carlisle says? He thinks that the reason vampires and werewolves are physically repulsed by each others’ scents is so they won’t be tempted to mate – because, of course, our venom is poisonous to the wolves.
You know what I said to that? EWWW. What self-respecting vampire would be attracted to one of those overgrown mutts?!
Anyway. I’m only speaking of science because I know it’s about time to try getting past my block, again. Edward will try to surprise me with it again, because it’s what worked last time, and I did give him permission … I just shudder to even think about that horrid experiment. But I really do want to be able to see what those sneaky wolves will get up to in the future, so I’ll just have to be strong.
For now, I’m just going to enjoy the luxury of my private, non-dog-scented, bedroom – it shouldn’t take much effort to get Jasper to notice what I’m feeling right now!
I’ve told Jasper I’ll do my best to handle the torture training when Edward decides to kidnap him, but under one condition.
See, when we were doing ETW, we didn’t have a chance to get up to full speed – and Edward still couldn’t handle it. What a wimp!
Anyway, the two biggest weapons had gone unused that week, and I wanted to get back at him for what he was going to put me through again … plus, yeah, I was missing the fun of our cabin. But we’ve always managed to have lots of fun here at home, and everyone but Edward would get a kick out of this game.
Jasper: The mood controller. Me: The psychic. Oh, the possibilities! What a team we make!
However, I am very kindly waiting until after Edward and Carlisle have tortured me to their hearts’ content. Otherwise, it would just be cruel tricks for cruel tricks’ sake. (That was more Emmett’s style.)
In the meantime, I’m just going about my business. Which, right now, being the middle of November, means one thing: shopping!
“And how is that any different from the rest of the year?” Edward sniped as he watched my fingers fly over the keyboard. I was busy ordering the things I couldn’t buy within a 100-mile radius. I could easily go anywhere in the world and come back with gifts, but it would eat into the few weeks left before Christmas.
“Be nice,” Esme admonished gently, since I was too deeply absorbed by the computer screen to dignify Edward’s comment with a response.
“Alice, please tell me you’re not going to go overboard with the presents again,” Bella begged, looking up from the silent, one-way conversation she was having with Renesmee. “We literally just finished finding places for all of Renesmee’s birthday gifts, and plus? I’m pretty sure we now have everything that has ever been available to purchase, own, or create in the last millennium or so -”
“Bella, Bella,” Jacob interrupted, much to my surprise. He doesn’t often come to my defense. How strange. “You know you have more money than Bill Gates, right? Well, with great power comes great responsibility -”
Here Edward smoothly cut him off. “Bella’s not going to buy you a new Harley, Jacob,” were the words that broke Jacob’s heart.
Well, not really. The kid just laughed and went outside with Ness to inspect a hornet’s nest (poor insects don’t know what’s coming to them).
Anyway, my shopping has been coming along pretty well! I had the fantastic idea of giving Esme and Carlisle gifts from the years each was born, the year they met, and the year they married. I mean, gifts that are items that were made – ugh, you get what I mean.
So for Esme, I’ve found some really stunning jewelry. For the year she was born, I bought a Victorian triple-strand pearl necklace with diamond accents, made, of course, in 1895. It will look incredible on her for special occasions. And even though jewelry in 1921 was less extravagant because of the effects of the war, I still managed to find a beautifully designed silver and Marcasite necklace from that year.
Carlisle is a bit trickier; so far I’ve only managed to find him a 1921 pocket watch that I’m certain he’ll love. I’ve got to find more for him, though; the antique stores are really lacking items from 1640. I also haven’t found anything specific to 1911, the year Carlisle and Esme first met. At least I had that Esme perfume made for him … I had a vision of him at the hospital, some night that a bunch of kids were killed in a drunk driving accident, retreating to his office to agonize over what he could have done differently – and catching a whiff of Esme’s scent, and relaxing, and even smiling a little. So that was a good one.
That’s actually what inspired me to have a Renee perfume made for Bella. Ever since Renee’s visit, Jasper has been feeling Bella’s longing to have her mother around (well, that’s what he assumes she’s longing for, and I think he’s right). So I had a Renee scent created – kind of hard to do, since humans’ scent is based so much on their blood for us – and I plan to spritz a bit on that T-shirt quilt of hers and leave it on the couch on Christmas morning. Renesmee is going to sleep with that quilt every day for the next few years, so the Renee scent seems like a total Christmas gift win to me!
Emmett’s easy – I’m just updating his South Park DVD collection with some pirated episodes from this season, too. I’m sure Rosalie won’t thank me for it, but Emmett (… and I, and Jacob, and Seth, and Embry, and Quil) will really enjoy it.
I’m still looking for the perfect gift for everyone else. Of course I will be supplementing their wardrobes with new styles, as always, but I like to find more meaningful gifts as well. Like for Jasper – I found this old book documenting some battles in the Civil War, and “Major Jasper Whitlock” appears in it several times! He’s going to love it, I’m so happy every time I think about it.
There’s an antique store in Bellevue that I haven’t visited yet, and their website is almost never updated, so I think I’ll check them out tomorrow. With any luck, I’ll find something for Carlisle while I’m there.
I have found the culprit.
Edward has been cooperating with me in the investigation of who is blocking the vision of the ballet recital, but we weren’t having much luck still. It was kind of difficult to hear people thinking about a ballet recital that was still a secret from everyone but me, Edward, Jasper, and Jacob.
It was difficult … until Jacob ran into Sam on the reservation. And then it all became clear.
We were at home, relaxing – some of us watching TV, others playing Apples to Apples (best game EVER, if only I was allowed to play), and others (me and Esme) working on Christmas decorations. Suddenly, Edward’s head snapped up and he exhaled in a hiss, meeting my eyes with a shocked, angry look that instantly filled me with tension.
Jasper, probably being bombarded with all kinds of unpleasant emotions, began to push out waves of calm as I stared inquiringly at Edward. Why was he looking straight at me? I couldn’t see anything in the near future to make him look that way …
Thudding footsteps approached the house at a rapid pace, and then we all heard that weird sort of shimmer as Jacob turned back into a human and quickly yanked on his shorts. (I really wish those guys would carry underwear around, too … or wear longer shorts.)
Edward was on his feet with a menacing glare aimed at the door which Jacob came rushing through a second later.
“Who does he think he is?!” Edward spat out, fists balled at his sides.
Jacob slowed a few feet away and held up his hands defensively as we all watched in fascination. “Hey, I swear I had nothing to do with it,” he began to explain nervously.
“No, no, of course,” Edward agreed. “You were only thinking about something that is supposed to be a secret, within the hearing range of the alpha of another pack. How could that possibly be construed as your fault?”
Jacob drew in a deep breath, then exhaled in a loud, smelly sigh, his eyes darting toward me before he turned back to Edward. I was beginning to get a feeling about what was going on.
“You know we don’t normally hear each others thoughts unless we’re trying to ‘speak’ to each other,” Jacob said in a placating tone. “And anyway, how should I know Sam would flip out like that? I mean, if Alice couldn’t see it coming, how -”
“Hey!” I burst out, more sharply than I’d intended. “Leave me out of your excuses. What happened?”
“Yes, I’d like to know that as well,” Carlisle assented in a quiet but authoritative tone.
“Well … I was just heading home to bed, and I guess I was so tired that my mind was kinda just wandering -”
“There’s something new,” Rosalie muttered under her breath.
“So all of a sudden, Sam comes racing over to me out of nowhere, and starts yelling at me in my mind! I mean, it was crazy – one minute I’m almost home, the next, Sam is giving me this death-glare and shouting into my head -”
“Less elaboration, more facts, please,” Jasper politely requested, with a homicidal expression that didn’t quite match his tone, as I stood fuming at his side. I knew where this was going.
“He-doesn’t-want-you-to-have-the-ballet-thing,” Jacob rushed through the words, grimacing as he saw the look on my face.
“And why not?” Jasper pressed, while most of the people in the room stood looking confused. Damn. There goes the surprise …
“Sam thinks we already attract too much attention, evidently,” Edward cut in, sounding absolutely disgusted. “He thinks the birthday party was way too huge and ostentatious …” Here, Bella couldn’t help sending me a pointed look which I ignored in a futile attempt to keep myself from exploding with rage.
“He didn’t know it was going to be such a massive event,” Jacob explained miserably. Renesmee’s eyes were huge, and very expressive. I didn’t need Jasper’s skill to tell me that she felt guilty already. Damn you, Sam Uley!
“So he’s determined to keep you from putting on this recital; he feels it will be too dangerous, knowing your propensity for making things grander than they need to be, and he suspects that people may be talking about that party already,” Edward finished.
All eyes were on me now, as it was evident that this was my idea being trashed. I stood completely motionless, willing myself not to tackle and shred Jacob. That would almost definitely upset Renesmee, and start a war too …
“It isn’t entirely Jacob’s fault, Alice,” Edward murmured, which had Jacob edging backwards away from me. “Really, there was no hint that Sam might feel that way; in fact, it’s most likely my own fault for not detecting his thoughts at the party.”
Esme and I both were shaking our heads at that. No, it wasn’t Edward’s fault. And if I wasn’t allowed to blame Jacob, either, that left me …
“Sam,” I growled, rage drowning out my family’s attempts to soothe me as I pictured his stupid face telling me what I was and was not allowed to do. Are you kidding me?! WHO DOES THIS GUY THINK HE IS?!
“Alice!” Bella cried, shaking me a little harder than necessary. I snapped back to reality and realized that I had been snarling out loud. Oops.
“We’ll take care of this,” Edward assured me grimly. Carlisle nodded thoughtfully, probably already working on his speech.
Between all of them, they managed to keep me from going after that arrogant mutt and ripping out his throat with my bare hands. It was too late for the pinecones, though – I had destroyed several of the best ones in my blind rage.
I’ll let you know what happens.
Sam Uley will be allowed to live – for now.
Edward, Jacob, Bella, and Carlisle met up with him in neutral territory and they all had a cozy little chat. Edward informed Sam that if anyone had heard or noticed anything the day of the party, he would have heard it. Carlisle talked about the importance of compromise in this strange truce of ours. Bella and Jacob appealed to Sam’s cold hard heart by talking about how much Renesmee now wanted to have this dance recital, since the surprise had been ruined and she found out the worst possible way.
I guess, with a minimum of threats, they managed to convince Sam that everything would be fine. Jacob was foolish enough to suggest that I keep things simple just in case, and luckily for him, he was fast enough to avoid my fist.
With that somewhat settled, I could finally see the rehearsals, costumes, and stage in my visions. Since the surprise was already ruined once, I won’t bother keeping you in suspense. It will be the classic Nutcracker, and we will perform on Christmas Eve. This does not give me a whole lot of time to get everything done!
“Over there,” I ordered, pointing to the part of the clearing that would be illuminated by spotlights and the setting sun. Jacob obediently hauled the planks over to where I had traced out the basic shape of the stage.
Esme was consulting her blueprints and directing Emmett and Edward in the first stage we’ve ever built. It’s not that hard, really, except that everything has to be PERFECT! Or else!
I ran a hand through my short spikes of hair, totally overwhelmed by my own list of things to do by Christmas. I still wasn’t even done Christmas shopping, and it was nearly December!
“Practice time,” Bella called out as she ran toward the clearing with Renesmee at her side. I dropped my clipboard and took a few huge leaps toward our designated practice area; a spot where I could still supervise the building, without being so close that their conversation would overpower the music.
Nessie, Rosalie and Bella were lined up on the dance floor from the birthday party – what a practical investment that turned out to be! – patiently awaiting my instructions. I paused to slip out of my Manolos and into my ballet slippers before turning on the stereo.
Today, we were working on some of the candy dances – better known to some as No. 12, Divertissement. The most difficult part about this entire show was that each of us would have to dash offstage and change costumes so often. The dancing itself was not difficult at all.
My attention was diverted, however, by a conversation from the other side of the clearing. The other day, Nessie had been listening to Seth chattering away about Thanksgiving, a holiday that, for obvious reasons, is not fully celebrated in the Cullen household. She had then showed Jacob a scene that involved Esme cooking a massive Thanksgiving feast for all the wolves and their families, right in our house.
Yuck! Can you imagine the stench? That would be it – we’d never get the place smelling normal again! It was hard enough after the Halloween party!
Anyway, Jacob had struggled not to instantly promise Renesmee that he’d make it happen. We all know he finds it impossible to outright deny her things … certain incidents come to mind, but this is not the time or place to reminisce about Jacob’s lack of judgment; at any rate, Jacob had gone home to tentatively feel out his family and friends regarding Thanksgiving at the Cullen house.
Yeah, they weren’t any more excited about it than I was. I could hear Jacob explaining to Edward in a low voice so Nessie wouldn’t hear.
“It would almost be seen as an insult, you know?” he muttered, shooting a furtive glance our way to make sure Renesmee couldn’t hear.
“I see,” Edward replied, accurately as ever. He did see, through Jacob’s thoughts. “However … has it occurred to you that, er, the cost …?”
Jacob shook his head ruefully. “Even if none of us had a single penny to spend, we’d still find a way to do Thanksgiving ourselves,” he explained. “I mean, I’d love to save my dad and Sue that money, but … well, they’re proud, I guess,” he finished.
“That’s all right,” Esme piped up. “I would have loved to have them as our guests” – that makes one of us! – “but I completely understand wanting to be with family in the traditional way.”
“Especially for Seth and Leah,” Edward speculated. “They already will be thinking of the difference between Thanksgiving with their father, and Thanksgiving -”
” – with Charlie,” Jacob laughed. “Hey, it doesn’t seem so bad to me, but yeah. I get it, too.”
Thank heavens. One less thing to plan and decorate for. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like me at all! The holidays are finally getting to me, after so many years of handling them with ease; I think I’m getting way too perfectionistic (is that not a word?) about the ballet recital.
Oh god, Jacob just dropped something heavy. I better go make sure my stage isn’t completely ruined!!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Duh.
In our house, Thanksgiving doesn’t involve turkey, pumpkin pie, or apple cider. But it does involve family togetherness … which will, unfortunately, include Jacob tomorrow night, once his own family’s dinner is over.
I didn’t even bother decorating for Thanksgiving, just skipped straight over it to Christmas. But Esme blithely whipped up a batch of pumpkin-raisin cookies, filling the house with a not unpleasant scent of spices. I have a sinking feeling they’ll be gone before tomorrow, but I won’t spoil her fun; she could make more, anyway.
Renesmee will be going to Thanksgiving at Sue’s, with Charlie, Jacob, Billy, Rachel, and Leah and Seth of course. I don’t envy her, since she won’t enjoy any of the food she’ll have to eat.
But Emmett and I have thrown together a little last-minute Punch and Judy-type skit of The First Thanksgiving for Nessie’s entertainment (I know, I already have my hands full – but now one of them will have a puppet on it). And as usual, we’ll all gather in the living room with a cozy but completely unnecessary fire burning, and just enjoy our blessings.
There really is quite a lot to be thankful for … and not even including material things – “everything that has ever been available to purchase, own, or create in the last millennium,” according to Bella – but just life in general.
We have each other.
We have all of eternity to be with each other.
We each have our true love at our side.
We have good friends, who used to be enemies.
We have protection against the Volturi.
And most importantly of all, we have impeccable fashion sense. Hahaha, just kidding – that’s not the most important one on the list … maybe just #2.
I’ll let you know how Thanksgiving went on Friday.
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