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Daylilies

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Alice knows things most people don’t.

That’s typically because Alice sees things no one else can. With her sight, comes knowledge. With her sight, she navigates the world with an expert eye. With her sight, she sees things.

It’s difficult to keep a secret with a mind-reader in the house. It’s impossible to keep one from Alice.

She knows that if you only stop to enjoy the view twice you can make it from Spokane to Clearwater in only five and a half hours. And if it takes you longer it means something’s keeping you from home.

She knows how close they are to losing Edward every day. His mind changes with every ring of the chimes that adjourn Esme’s garden. His loneliness is like a cage, and she does not wonder, she knows that unless they end up in Washington within the next decade, he’ll disappear.

She knows that despite their fragility, the human body can withstand incredible conditions. She knows that it takes about five minutes after the heart stops before the brain follows suit, and she knows that once she takes three or four deep gulps, humans usually stop fighting.

She knows that despite his supposedly clean record, Carlisle has caused more death than any of them, except maybe Jasper. (It’s a close call.) She sees the death of his patients before he does, and she knows how often he is at fault, even when he is unaware. He saves more than his human colleagues, but Alice sees that some still slip by the blind spots in his perfect senses.

She knows that humans are more likely to die in a car accident than a natural disaster and can’t help but marvel when they scatter like animals at the sight of mother nature’s wrath. She can’t quite predict the weather more than two months out, but if she thinks about it long enough, she can usually figure it out.

She knows that sometimes Jasper plans his slip ups. Tedium wears away at a patchwork of willpower and distracted daydreams morph into decisions. They aren’t made on purpose; not always . But Alice usually sees it before it happens. Usually, she lets it.

She knows that people can usually justify anything to themselves. She knows that cognitive dissonance isn’t a genetic trait and none of them are really related to begin with but it seems to run in their misfit family.

She knows that Emmett, more than anything, wants to see more of the world. Sometimes she sees him travelling. He’s usually alone. His eyes are always red.

She knows that a wildfire can spread as fast as a human can run and she knows that usually they fall victim to the fumes before they can get very far. A biological mercy, Alice thinks of it, as they usually are rendered unconscious before the flames eat away at their delicate flesh.

She knows that the South Canyon fires that ravaged Colorado two years ago weren’t caused by lightning. Esme lights the place full of candles every night, and sometimes Alice worries.

She knows that daylilies are the easiest flower to grow, nearly relentless despite their environment. She knows Rosalie doesn’t hate them like she claims, but despises the memories they haunt her with. They’re perennials, meaning they grow back every year, but Rosalie digs them up and replants them along with everything else either way.

Alice knows its a way to control something. That nurturing and cultivating the life of these plants is a balm for the misery she feels at her own mortality being beyond her control.

Rosalie always disposes of the weeds, messily, in the trash can of Carlisle’s office. He never once says anything about it. He considers telling her to stop once, after a long, miserable shift, before deciding against it.

It nearly saves his damn life. But Alice keeps that to herself.

Alice plants roses in the garden one year.

They’re the only plant Rosalie doesn’t destroy for the five years they live there.

She knows that, like most insects, butterflies have no heart. Just an open circulatory system of blood and guts. And she knows just how much weight the butterfly effect has on the world around them, how their entire existence has been left up to chance. How their reality is a concept nearly out of their control.

But Alice was gifted a way to cheat reality. A way to control what others will never see.

So she collects things. Visions. Knowledge. Secrets. Until she’s sure that she knows these people this checkered family she found herself better than they know themselves. But their secrets are for her to keep, not to share.

And Alice has her secrets as well.

She keeps to herself how, in her opinion, Jasper’s red eyes look better on him. She never talks about how often she sees glimpses of Edward, kneeling before a trio of thrones, begging for death. She is sure to look away when Esme stares too long at the fireplace and every year she gifts Emmett plane tickets for him and Rosalie. She let’s Carlisle think he’s doing his best and is sympathetic when his methods are inadequate.

Alice leaves daylilies on Carlisle’s desk when he loses patients sometimes. She doesn’t need to wonder if he knows how she only does it when his failed patients are young, blonde women. She knows he recognizes the pattern. He never says anything.

She keeps to herself the way she knows how Rosalie’s anger is not a one-way path. Alice sees the complexities that lie in the blonde woman’s rage and knows that there is so much she wishes she could do.

Alice sees herself kissed and killed in equal amounts in Rosalie’s future. Alice knows the way the woman’s lips taste and feels the smoothness of the expanse of her bare back, despite only seeing it in her mind. Glimpses of possibilities she knows will never come to fruition.

She also knows the way Rosalie’s hands feel around her neck, and the pain of torn limbs and fresh bites across her own small body. Venom swapped by rage, not by lust.

Alice sees thousands of possibilities between Rosalie and herself, always cut cold by the rage of shame and misery of reality.

Alice ignores the gazes that linger, the daydreams that edge a bit close to decisions, and the casual, affectionate, yet rare, embraces she’s gifted with and Rosalie’s hugs are always a precious gift.

Winter is the hardest of months when it comes around. The garden dies, Rosalie’s distraction ends, and the visions where Alice is kissed are traded for the ones where she’s hurt. It’s a fine line that she travels as she witnesses the future flicker between the two. Passion is the line and it’s usually shame or want that tips it one way or the other.

There is one moment in ‘92 when Rosalie almost acts. It is summer and they travel north for a hunt and there is snow and Rosalie is actually laughing and genuinely happy and they throw snow and chase one another and relish in the joy of their own momentary childishness and suddenly Alice sees it.

A kiss. Stripped clothing. Fast actions. Faster regret. Cold shoulders. They return. Rose disappears two days later.

Alice turns and runs the moment that vision comes to her, leaving Rosalie in the snow, her laughter dying the moment she sees Alice’s abandonment, realizing what she must’ve seen, knowing the rejection instantly.

But even though Alice knows more than most, Alice still knows fear. And when she sees the family she searched decades for the one she stitched together with promises of happiness and the guarantee of eventual ease falling apart at the seams, she panics.

A world of possibilities lay in her mind and at her feet, but Alice’s secret is that she is a coward, and Alice cherishes the comfort of the routine her fake family has fallen into, so Alice ignores the hollow ache of her heart that doesn’t even beat at the distance that solidly roots itself in her mind that she fears will last for decades.

Rosalie comes home three days later with a story that Edward will see right through and Alice will never refute.

So Alice keeps herself busy. Content. She draws and designs and shops and celebrates. Her joy is organic and her optimism is real. And it’s perhaps the fact that there is nearly nothing she can not figure out that she’s allowed the capacity to feel the way she does.

But Rosalie is there, and often Alice lets her mind wander, and lets the visions flow, and hates herself for entertaining the idea of a future that can never be.

Because Alice can have Rosalie. It would be easy. But if Alice has Rosalie, she loses everything else.

And Alice is coward.

When spring arrives, Rosalie plants her garden, visions continue to dance through her mind, and Alice simply exists.

Ten years later, Rosalie lets Alice play with her hair again. She weaves daylilies through the braids and their futures intertwine once more.