Alice had been decorating the house for hours. She was really into it and wanted to make Bella happy on her eighteenth birthday. There were candles everywhere, as well as an abundance of pink flower petals. I imagine those were there to compliment Bella’s natural blush.
Everyone was so excited; after all, this would be the first real birthday party we would attend, let alone host, in quite a long time. I came down the stairs to find Emmett waiting impatiently for Edward to bring Bella. It was almost seven.
“Emmett, do you think you could calm down just a little? It’s difficult with everyone being so excited, especially since I am, so it’s like it’s doubled.” He looked at me. “Jasper, I can’t. I can’t wait to see the look on Bella’s face!” I rolled my eyes at him and made my way over to Alice.
She flashed a grin at me. “They’re almost here.” She turned to the rest of the family as we heard Bella’s truck pull up. We stood in the living room quietly, waiting for them to reach the doorstep.
As the door opened and Edward stepped in with Bella, we greeted them with a loud chorus of “Happy birthday, Bella!” Naturally, she blushed and looked down at the ground in embarrassment. That’s Bella for you. Edward kissed Bella on the top of her head and wrapped a comforting arm around her waist. Carlisle and Esme were the closest to the door and went to greet her first. Esme hugged Bella, careful not to use too much strength, and kissed her forehead, followed by Carlisle who put his arm around her shoulders.
Behind him were Emmett and Rosalie. I was grateful tonight that Rosalie wasn’t giving Bella dirty looks; she doesn’t deserve them, especially not on her birthday. Emmett’s face was spread into a huge grin. “You haven’t changed at all,” he said with mock disappointment. “I expected a perceptible difference, but here you are, red-faced just like always.”
“Thanks a lot, Emmett,” she said blushing deeper. It baffles me how one human could blush so much. She’s always on the verge of becoming a violet color, and if she did, I wouldn’t be surprised. Emmett laughed, “I have to step out for a second,”—he paused to wink conspicuously at Alice—“Don’t do anything funny while I’m gone.”
“I’ll try.” Alice let go of my hand and skipped forward, a huge smile on her angelic face. I also smiled, but I kept my distance. I was also fond of Bella, just like the rest of my family. She practically was part of the family, except for the fact of her being human. I didn’t want to put her in danger by being too close, not while I was still struggling so hard to keep in control around humans. So I just stayed where I was, leaning against the post at the foot of the stairs.
“Time to open presents,” Alice declared. She then put her hand under Bella’s elbow, leading her to the stack of presents waiting to be opened. The presents were right next to a small pink birthday cake on the table next to Edward’s piano. Bella made a face and looked at Alice. “Alice, I know I told you I didn’t want anything—”
“But I didn’t listen,” she interrupted smugly. “Open it.” She took the camera from Bella’s hands and replaced it with a big, square silver box. That present was from Emmett, Rosalie, and I, a surprise waiting to be discovered. She tore off the paper and just stared at the box. We all waited for a response. She opened the box, hoping for more of an explanation I imagine, and found that it was empty.
She looked up at us. “Um….thanks.” I laughed and Rosalie smiled at Bella. “It’s a stereo for your truck,” I explained. “Emmett’s installing it right now so you can’t return it.” “Thanks, Jasper, Rosalie,” she told us, grinning. Then she called a little louder, “Thanks, Emmett!” We all hear his booming laugh from her truck, and she laughed as well.
“Open mine and Edward’s next,” Alice said, so excited her voice was a high-pitched trill. She took a small, flat square off the table and handed it to Bella. “You promised,” she said glaring at Edward. At that moment Emmett bounded through the door, “just in time!” He pushed in behind me as I moved close to get a better look. It wasn’t the safest move, but how much could happen in two minutes?
“I didn’t spend a dime,” Edward informed her. She took a deep breath and turned to Alice. “Give it to me,” she sighed. Emmett chuckled with delight. Bella took the little package and slid her finger under the edge of the paper, while rolling her eyes at Edward, and jerked it under the tape.
“Shoot,” was all Bella muttered, as she looked down at her hand. As a single drop of blood fell from her finger I tensed. A second was all it took. I could feel myself lost in my vampire instincts, in the need for the human blood flowing from the girl standing near me. “No!” I heard Edward roar as he threw himself at Bella to protect her, throwing her back across the table. The table fell with Bella and she landed in the scattered mess of shattered crystal, making more blood pour from her body.
The smell was overpowering, so alluring. I went forward with the intention of sucking her dry and quenching my thirst. As I did, I slammed into Edward making the sound of boulders colliding. By this time I was snarling and I couldn’t gain control. All I knew, all I wanted was to get to Bella and her blood. That was all I needed. I tried to shove past Edward, teeth barred and snapping inches from his face.
I felt Emmett grab me from behind, locking me into his strong grip, but I kept struggling, trying to get to Bella. I can’t even imagine the fear that Bella must have felt, seeing me with empty wild eyes, trying to get to her to suck the life from her. As she looked up from the mess, she met the eyes of my family, all affected by the scent of her blood.
Carlisle was the only one who remained calm, unaffected by her blood as he was, and took control. Centuries of spending time around people in the emergency room had somewhat desensitized him. “Emmett, Rose, get Jasper outside.” Emmett nodded, “Come on, Jasper.” I struggled against his grasp the entire way. Edward was paler than usual as he crouched over Bella protectively, a low warning growl coming from between his clenched teeth. Rosalie helped Emmett to get me outside, always staying clear of my teeth, as Esme held the door open for them.
When we got outside, it was a little easier and I began to gain control of myself. The farther we got from the house, the less I struggled against Emmett. Finally we stopped and he let go of me. I stood there, realizing what I had just done. I had just tried to kill Bella, the love of Edward’s life. She was like a sister to Alice, to all of us, and I had just tried to kill her, all for her blood. I felt so ashamed. I didn’t know what I could do to make it better, if I could make it any better.
Every time Bella looks at me now, will she only see the part of me that wanted to eat her for dinner? Will there be a fear in her eyes of what I might do if I were near her? I looked at Emmett, Esme, and Rosalie. They were also tempted by Bella’s blood just as I was, but none of them lost control. They were able to keep their thirst under control, so why couldn’t I? Alice was also tempted but she’s still in the house, helping Carlisle and Edward tend to Bella. And Edward, he’s even more drawn to her blood than the rest of us, yet he too was able to protect Bella from me, his own brother.
I wanted so badly to run back into the house and apologize to Bella. But how could I? Knowing what I had tried to do, how could she accept my apology, how could I face her? Besides, I’m sure no one had cleaned up the mess of blood that had come from her when she fell on the crystal pieces. As I turned I saw Edward making his way toward me. I didn’t know what to say to him. This is the worst thing that could have happened; I tried to attack his girlfriend for God’s sake!
He stopped in front of me and I looked pleadingly at him. I’m so sorry Edward, I didn’t mean for that to happen. I should have kept more of a distance; I should have been more in control.
Edward looked at me and shook his head. “Jasper, Bella will be fine, just a few stitches is all. It’s not your fault. I know you didn’t mean to.” I looked down at the ground. “I wish I could have been stronger. I wish I weren’t as weak as I am, unable to withstand the scent of blood as well as you and the others.”
Alice appeared by my side and took my hand. “Jasper, you’re not weak. None of us could have known what was to happen. Granted, I should have seen that coming, but everything is fine. Bella is fine, you don’t have to worry. She’s not mad at you either.” I could feel the sincerity coming from her and the conflict raging inside of Edward, the fear of what could have happened. He was worried for Bella’s safety, and this time it wasn’t a threat from the outside, it came from inside our own home. I couldn’t even blame him.
Bella was in danger around me because of my inability to control myself as well as the others, because of my weakness. Edward was watching me as I looked up at him. I really am sorry Edward. I know I need to work on controlling myself better and I will try. Maybe it’s better that I don’t go near Bella for a little bit. Besides, I don’t think I could deal very well if every time I saw her she would tense up and worry about whether or not I would lose control again.
“I understand Jasper, but you know Bella, she won’t react that way. But it may be best if you were to stay clear of her for a while.” I nodded sullenly. I can understand that, after all this was my fault. I had caused this because of my weakness.
Alice put a comforting hand on my arm and looked at me. “Don’t blame yourself for this Jasper. No one is at fault here, it was just a mistake,” she said quietly. “Edward, this isn’t your fault or Bella’s. It’s just something that happened, that’s all.” Edward looked at all of us, a calm and unreadable expression on his face, but his feelings would always betray him to me. He felt guilt because he had put Bella in such danger. “I know this isn’t Bella’s or Jasper’s fault,” he replied quietly. No of course not….he though it was his.
“Carlisle should be done fixing Bella up.” He looked at me. “Are you going to be okay?” I nodded quietly. He glanced at all of us before returning to the house to take Bella home. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I could only imagine. He would blame himself for tonight, and he might end up doing something that would hurt both him and Bella. And no matter what anyone said, if something happens between Bella and Edward that would ruin their relationship, it would be all my fault.
Alice gripped my hand firmly before brushing my cheek with her lips and following Edward into the house. Esme had gone in to clean up the blood and get the scent off the floor. Emmett and Rosalie stayed outside with me. None of use looked at each other, nor did we say anything. When Bella and Edward had left, we went back into the house to find Alice, Esme, and Carlisle standing in the living room. We knew it would be a long night waiting for Edward’s return, and what his return would bring. We stood there for a few more minutes before taking places among the furniture in front of the TV never turning it on, a grim silence settling in among us.