After she finds out about James, Alice is… diminished, like all the colour had been drained out of her. She’d always had her own theories about her human life and her change, and to find out that the truth was as unhappy as Jess’s or Rosalie’s history had hurt. Jess didn’t need to be an empath to know that Alice was in pain.
She’d always kept her own counsel when it came to Alice’s human life. The oddly-shorn hair, her thinness, her total abandonment… it wasn’t a happy story, whatever it was, Jess had known that from the beginning. But she didn’t press that theory on Alice, who needed so badly to believe that she had been loved and lost, rather than discarded and forgotten.
For the next few weeks, Alice drifts - her thoughts absorbing most of her attention. She’s distracted and quiet and all those things that make Jess worry. Somehow, she’s distant, but always at her side; fingers threaded through Jess’s belt loops, pressing against her with an ankle twisted around Jess’s, settling into Jess’s lap. It wasn’t unwelcome, but it was more than usual, that need for skin-to-skin contact.
And she doesn’t know what to do, how to fix this. Alice won’t let her talk about it, slipping away before Jess can even start the conversation, shaking her head and not making eye-contact. And it scares her; Jess has never been the one that had to fix things before - it was Alice who had to start all the hard conversations with her, who had to break through the walls and the fears and the anger. Alice had always been utterly transparent in her emotions, and the only burdens she carried were the ones that she took from Jess herself, without question or resistance.
It was hard and it hurt. She hurt because Alice hurt, and even telling Alice she loved her felt like hollow platitudes.
And then it is prom season. The Cullens don’t normally ‘do’ school events; they don’t eat or drink, they don’t make friends amongst their classmates, and if they want to go dancing or dress up, there are a million other places they can go. There have been one or two over the years, but mostly they stay away. But as the banners and flyers go up around the school, Alice’s gaze turns to them.
She’s expecting the request, for Alice to slip into her study with big gold eyes and the bounce in her step that she gets when she wants something that she’s not entirely sure Jess will go along with.
“If you’d like to go to prom, of course we can go,” Jess says with a smirk, before Alice even utters a word. And her girl lights up again, and she has a lapful of joyful vampire, pressing kisses to her jaw. That alone is worth spending four hours shuffling around Forks High gym in formal wear. Plus, she still has to convince Rosalie.
“Just… promise me one thing,” Jess says in a soothing voice, as Alice pulls back.
“Anything,” Alice’s delight is sweet, like fresh fruit or ocean breezes. She perches on Jess’s knee like it is her personal throne, and Jess loves that about her; that they fit together so perfectly.
“We need to talk. Soon,” Jess says simply, calmly and Alice visibly flinches.
“After Prom.” Her voice is small, and there’s a streak of pain in her emotions that Jess doesn’t know how to fix.
The prospect of prom puts some of the bounce back in Alice’s step, and she spends days hunched over her sketchbook and her sewing machine, designing. Jess really wants to make sure that she isn’t going to be in some avant-garde gown that throws off her centre of gravity, but she doesn’t want to disappoint Alice. Especially not now.
She’s pleasantly surprised by the tailored black suit pants (slightly tighter than she’d typically wear, but she just smirks and doesn’t say anything) and a crystal-embellished bustier. She’s less impressed with the four-inch heels, but for Alice…
The dress Alice has made for Rosalie is equally as impressive - a rose-red silk-satin slip gown with a plunging v-neckline and open back. Rose is sparing with her compliments, but it’s clear she loves it. Even Bella seems pleasantly surprised by the midi-length dark blue lace dress Alice gave her, with pleated skirt - no risk of Bella tripping over the hem.
She doesn’t show anyone her dress, but she does promise both Esme and Carlisle the school won’t be calling them because of indecency or rule-breaking.
By the afternoon of prom, Alice is positively giddy, and Jess is trailing after her basking in her mate’s emotions. Alice has extracted promises from Rosalie, Bella, and herself into letting her do their hair and makeup without question, and is running around like a madwoman.
And the end result is worth it. Rosalie’s hair is swept up with a silk rose and wears particularly delicate but dramatic diamond chandelier earrings. Her make up is subtle because she’s Rosalie, but the effect is exquisite and Emmett takes several moments to form a compliment as she sweeps down the stairs.
Bella is clearly ill-at-ease when she finally walks down the stairs, trying to hide behind the artful tendrils of hair Alice has left framing her face. Her hair is pinned in a messy style, and her eyes look enormous and deep thanks to Alice’s dab hand with a makeup brush. Her shoes are flat, and Jess suspects that was not Alice’s doing, and Bella must have put her foot down.
And then Alice gets to work on Jess.
Jess loves having Alice play with her hair; it’s so intimate, and Alice is so gentle. It’s not exactly a hardship to agree to that, even though tonight, Alice is slightly more efficient and armed with foul-smelling sprays. The fact that she straddles Jess’s lap to pin her hair just right does make up for that, though, with Jess’s hands on her hips, and her nose brushing Alice’s cheeks intentionally.
“And you’re sure you want to go tonight? We could always stay home,” Jess murmured.
“Hush. I want to go dancing,” Alice twisted a lock of Jess’s hair with the hair straightener.
“We can dance here,” Jess pushed out a ribbon of lust that made Alice aware of precisely what kind of ‘dancing’ Jess had in mind and Alice gave her a Look before smirking at her.
“You know,” she murmured into Jess’s ear, “after prom, there’s prom night. And you know how much of a sucker I am for tradition…”
Jess’s breath is caught in her throat as Alice’s lip grazed her cheek.
“Take me to prom so we can dance, then I’m yours,” Alice pulled away, and slid the last hairpin in.
“Fine.” Jess leant up to snag her in a kiss that made Alice slightly less inclined to climb off her mate, but the smaller girl finally pulled away with a sigh.
“Go change,” Alice hopped up. “I need to do my hair.”
Her ensemble fits her perfectly, and the make-up Alice settled on is all smoky and dangerous around her eyes, with soft pink lipstick that will only last long enough for Esme to get a few photos, but it makes Alice happy for her to wear it for however long it takes their venom and skin to dissolve it.
She’s tempted to swap the heels out for something else but Alice would know the second that she decided to do that, and Alice has never made it a secret how much she likes Jess in heels.
In fact, Alice is the reason that she’s got a couple of miniskirts in the back of the closet; the small girl had bullied her into trying one on and then pounced on her the second she’d seen Jess in it. The original skirt had been shredded but Jess had agreed to wear one every so often. (The first time Emmett had glimpsed Jess in a skirt, he’d gaped, looked her up and down, shaken his head, and then looked her up and down a lot slower until Alice had growled at him, and Rosalie had smacked him. “But she looks… like that!” Emmett gestured as Rosalie dragged him out of the room, and Alice made a very convincing argument for Jess not to immediately burn the skirt.)
Her brothers whistle as she walks down the stairs, and she rolls her eyes at their behaviour; Rosalie raises her eyebrows and shakes her head - “I don’t even want to know how she convinced you to wear that. You look good though. Suits you.”
Esme takes a flood of photos, and coos at Jess, exclaiming over the work Alice has put into the bustier top.
The sight of Alice on the stairs sends her into a stunned silence. Fuck, her girl is good; the black satin cocktail dress is strapless, with a sheer panel over her abdomen, and trimmed in feathers. Her heels are at least as tall as Jess’s, her lips a glossy scarlet, and her eyes outlined in shimmery black.
The possibility of them not leaving the house was getting higher.
Obviously catching Jess’s indecision, Alice gave her a look, and then a smirk.
“Oh, Alice, you’ve outdone yourself!” Esme is doing her very best to break or fry her camera, she’s snapping photographs so fast.
“Thank you, Esme,” she span in a circle, the feathers twirling out from the dress. “Jess?”
“You look gorgeous,” Jess said, in that low intimate voice that she used when they were alone. She slides her hand down Alice’s back; the dress is fitted to her body, and even after years of hearing criticisms about Alice’s body - from both Alice and outside parties - she never saw it. Alice was fucking gorgeous and sexy and Jess loved her body. She hated that Alice had obviously physically suffered in her human life, but there was nothing she would change about her girl. And, frankly, she thinks that this dress was designed entirely to prevent Jess from forming a coherent thought - it fucking clung to Alice like a second skin.
“We going to go, or watch you two eye-fuck awhile longer?” Emmett asked; Jess flipped him off, whilst both Esme and Rosalie smacked him.
“Emmett!” Edward sounded aghast, and Bella was blushing.
“Let’s go,” Rosalie said, sounding done with all of them.
Emmett sidles up to Jess for a moment, and whatever he says to her gets him a punch in the arm and then a nod, and Emmett heads off with Rosalie, grinning.
Jess escorts her to the Audi Rose is lending them for tonight - no way were the Cullens arriving in the same car for something as important as prom; in fact, Edward had to be talked out of taking the Vanquish.
“What was Emmett grinning about?” Alice asks as Jess snags the keys from her.
“Bet,” Jess murmurs.
“Uh-huh,” Alice slides into the car. “For what?”
“Edward and Bella,” Jess isn’t making eye contact.
“Jessie,” Alice’s voice was low.
“How long it would take to get into your underwear tonight,” Jess looked up as she started the car.
“He said before 9.” Alice’s hand is sliding up her knee.
“After prom, around midnight,” Jess looks at her mate.
“You’re both going to lose,” Alice is feeling positively devious right now.
“As if I would risk ruining the line of the dress,” Alice pulls her hand away and Jess swallows hard when she realises what Alice is saying.
“You’re a cruel woman.”
“You love it. And me,” Alice is laughing at her now, and Jess just glares at her because she’s right.
The high school is full of cars and teenagers clad in formalwear; nothing as striking as what Alice has created, and it’s always visually interesting to see the trends and preferences of each small town. More than a few male students appear to be wearing hand-me-down suits that are far enough out of date that they are clearly borrowed from fathers or uncles. A couple of girls wear vintage dresses, but more ironically than the boys.
The Cullens - and Bella, of course - cut a striking figure as they move towards the gym; and whilst the official party line is that it’s all Rosalie that they’re staring at, Jess gets the uncomfortable feeling that her ensemble is drawing more gazes - Jessamine Hale isn’t known for eye-catching fashion, or for being seen outside of jeans and a tshirt. The beautifully tailored jacket Alice provided makes her feel a little more secure, but ultimately she does feel exposed.
It’s Alice’s hand in hers, tracing her fingers on the back of her hand that stops her from outright hissing at the people who are staring, or turning right around and going home.
The gym is festooned with garlands and balloons; a backdrop of crepe-paper flowers and glittery letters spelling out, “Forks High School Prom” has been painstakingly assembled, with couples posing in front of it as a photographer snaps their photos.
It’s every small-town prom Jess has ever been exposed to, right down to the punch bowl filled with red liquid and plastic cups. Alice seems happy though, and that’s all the matters.
First there are the photos that Esme expects, without question - even Rosalie poses without resistance because it’s one of those things that Esme always prizes; she has an entire album of their ‘normal’ photos tucked away somewhere.
Then Alice is pulling her towards the dance floor with both hands, and that look on her face that is just… joy. Just perfect joy to be here, with Jess and their family, in this moment. And she loves her for that, loves her for those emotions she shares so easily.
They’ve always been good dancers; they know each other’s bodies perfectly, and Jess has always loved dancing with Alice. And Alice has made a dress to dance in, with the feathers spinning out every time Jess spins her.
They stay on the dance floor, and they get a few stares because whilst it’s not exactly a secret that Alice Cullen and Jessamine Hale are a thing, for a lot of the students and the chaperones, it’s entirely another thing to witness both girls in a lovers clinch, to see Jess’s hand slide over Alice’s ass. Even just the way Alice looks at her makes some of the teachers frown.
She loves that look.
Edward sweeps past with a dazzled-looking Bella, and gives Jess his own Look - the patented Cullen warning that Jess and Alice have pushed the tolerance to the limit and are going to be called out.
But instead of sweeping Alice off the dance floor, Jess twirls her girl one more time. She’s tempted to scoop her up in a bridal carry, but Alice giggles and drags her off the dance floor.
“Don’t press our luck,” she murmurs, as they hover by the punch table. Her eyes are bright and dancing. And for a little while they watch their siblings on the dance floor, Jess’s eyes narrowing when the chaperone’s overlook Emmett’s blatant groping of Rosalie, and the couples dotted around the room. But it was Jess and Alice who had to be broken up, who were considered indecent.
Alice senses the dip in Jess’s mood and drags her towards some chairs in the corner; Jess finds herself in the chair, and Alice perches on her lap, one hand on her shoulder. For a while, Alice just chatters away about the dresses the other girls have picked, about Bella and Edward, about what she’d change about the dresses she’d designed, and contemplating new suits for both Emmett and Edward. She leans back against Jess’s shoulder, and Jess wraps her hands around her middle.
A comment, a joke, Alice’s sweet giggle, and somehow they end up kissing. These aren’t playful kisses, but the precursor to something else, and neither of them care they’re in the middle of prom, with potential for an audience.
Alice twists around so she’s facing Jess, deepening the kiss to something that she normally wouldn’t encourage with an audience. Jess palms Alice’s breast through her dress and Alice lets out a soft sigh at the contact, her arms around Jess’s neck and Jess wishes Alice hadn’t made her dress so goddamn tight so she could get her girl closer, could slide her hand up Alice’s leg…
“Mmm, Jessie,” Alice pulls back, her eyes dark. “We’re going to get into trouble.
“Who cares?” Jess murmurs back, and leans forward for another kiss, this one filthy and reminding Alice of her promises for after prom.
Alice shivers and she presses right up against Jess, returning the kiss enthusiastically, even if they do end up causing a scene. Wouldn’t be the first time her soldier reamed out someone for being intolerant and judgemental. Jess has never had any time or patience for that kind of behaviour.
It’s only a few moments later; Jess’s jacket is off, and she vaguely registers a wolf-whistle in the background, and Alice has her hand against her bare waist, and somehow that particular, innocent gesture has made Jess feel punch-drunk and hot.
“Miss Hale, Miss Cullen, you need to separate.”
Alice pulls away, looking utterly debauched and Jess decides based on that look alone, they’re done at prom. She’s going to get her somewhere along, get her out of that dress, and, well, the possibilities from there are endless.
“Why?” Alice demands of the teacher standing over them, scanning the room. “We’re hardly the worst offenders here.” Alice frowns, a gorgeous little pout that makes Jess more eager to get the hell out.
But Alice has a point - there are other couples scattered around, and several are in various stages of undress.
“You know why, Alice,” Jess says darkly, shooting a glare at the teacher as she and Alice both stand.
“It’s not fair and very rude,” Alice says sulkily, but she’s just playing games. Neither of them have ever done well with requests or demands to separate.
“Miss Cullen!” the teacher is aghast, but they’re both done for more than one reason. Grabbing her jacket and Alice’s clutch, both leave without acknowledging the teacher again.
There is a certain temptation in simply taking to the backseat of the car, but that’s just a fast-track to suspension or getting Carlisle and Esme called, especially with the plans in Jess’s mind. Instead, they take the car the long way home, through the back access that’s for emergencies.
They go on foot further into the forest, barefoot and hands entwined. By the time they arrive at the little glade, they’ve stopped multiple times to push each other up against trees, and Jess has had to resist ripping through Alice’s dress numerous times; Alice has definitely ripped a seam of her pants open, but she’s not complaining.
She’s planning on stripping Alice, and bending her over the nearest rock. She’s almost sorry that they left the shoes back in the car, because she loves fucking her girl in nothing but black heels. But she’s set on the idea of making Alice scream, for the skin-tight dress, for her total lack of undergarments, for making her leave the house tonight.
Alice whimpers as Jess’s definitive plans fill her visions, and Jess can feel her arousal in the air, and smirks as Alice grips her arm.
“Show me how to undo your dress, Alice,” Jess practically purrs and Alice nods dumbly, the tiny zipper hidden between seams. And Alice wasn’t lying, she’s totally bare underneath, and Jess groans as she hurls Alice into her arms; Alice loops her legs around her waist, kissing Jess hard. It’s the kind of kiss that is a little bit inhuman, a little bit other - the kind of kiss, if witnessed, would tell any onlookers of their kind to move on, leave them in peace, or suffer consequences.
Alice pulls back, her hands fumbling around Jess’s back for the hook-and-eye of the bustier. “Tonight was going to be my show,” she grumbles, already knowing that trying to wrestle control away from Jess now will be … pleasurable but utterly futile.
Jess smiles down at her, one hand at the back of Alice’s head. “No, baby, I think maybe tonight, I need to take care of you,” she murmurs, and Alice turns her face away, knowing exactly what the blonde is talking about.
“Not tonight, you promised,” Alice says, finally loosening the bustier and flinging it away. The slide of skin on skin is enough to make Jess hiss.
“No talking tonight. Never promised anything else,” Jess retorts, setting Alice down and slipping out of the pants, a seam already torn open from hip to thigh because Alice has never been patient.
“Cheat.” Alice’s eyes are pitch-black, and her gaze is focused on Jess’s body, her fingers grazing her own body as visions of what’s coming flicker in her mind.
“You love a good loophole,” the words are nearly lewd, as Jess pushes Alice up on the rock behind them, her hands pushing apart thin knees. “It’s been a while, anyway.”
It has, Alice can admit that. Once or twice since … James. She’s been distracted and time moves in an odd manner for her anyway, with the visions and the lack of sleep and then her train of thought disappears because Jess isn’t even trying to be slow tonight, her mouth sudden and eager between Alice’s legs. And tonight, she doesn’t have to be quiet, doesn’t have to put a hand over her mouth because they’re properly alone, and she moans loudly as Jess’s tongue flicks against her. Jess’s own groans answer her because her Jessie has always loved pleasuring her, loved their feedback loop that means Jess will probably come just as hard as Alice does - and as Jess slips her fingers inside her, starting a rhythm that is intoxicating and a little too fast, she realises that’s going to be soon. Very soon.
“Jessie!” she whines, grinding against Jess’s face and fingers. “Fuck!”
Jess ignores her entirely, changing the pace so suddenly Alice jerks against her, biting her lip and arching against Jess.
It’s one of those nights where they’re caught up in each other, where it’s going to be hard and fast, because it’s been too long, because they’ve been teasing each other all night, and because it’s the first time in so long that Alice doesn’t have that grim cloud of despair colouring her every thought - one that she knows Jess was aware of, was feeling, and she still feels guilty that Jess had to suffer because of her.
She can feel all the stress and worry fading now; really, what’s there to worry about when Jessie is making her feel like this? When Jess is here with her, and they are together, and they will always be together? When she’s had Jess with her, in some way, for every moment she can remember?
Her orgasm hits her suddenly as Jess decides to sink her teeth into the flesh of her thigh, and she shrieks, barely aware of Jess following a minute later, all loose-limbed and panting.
“Good?” Jess looks far too smug, as Alice slides off the rock to the ground into Jess’s lap, pale limbs entwining.
“Of course,” Alice presses a kiss to Jess’s mouth, her arms around her neck. “I love you, so, so much. So much, Jessamine.”
“What’s brought this on, baby?” Jess is watching her carefully, like she’s waiting for the smaller girl to break. It’s how she’s been watching Alice since Phoenix.
“Just… everything. Every single day. Thank you.” It’s always hard to put into words what Jess means to her, what she makes her feel. Jess says she feels it, but it still doesn’t feel like enough, especially on nights like this, when Jess is happy to go along with her plans, dress up and dance with her, even when she’s done nothing to deserve it for months.
“I love too, Alice. Forever,” Jess holds her tight. “You know that.”
“I do,” Alice nuzzles into Jess’s neck, breathing in that scent that is just pure Jess, the one that settles her nerves and grounds her.
“What can I do?” They both know that it’s a loaded, two-sided question, but it’s not even midnight, and Alice is always a stickler when it comes to their promises; especially when what comes next will be… unhappy. She sits up on Jess’s lap, a sly smile on her lips - one that Jess likes, even if it isn’t entirely the direction she was hoping for.
But they’d get to that later.
“Well, it’s still prom night,” Alice said teasingly, pushing on Jess’s shoulders so that the taller girl fell back into the dirt, her mate perched on top of her. “We’re alone without any nosy brothers, and we’re both totally naked…”
Jess was laughing at her now.
“Come here,” Jess reached for her, and Alice let her pull her down to join her.