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Alice has a secret fixation - and it concerns Jasper. She tries to hide it from the everyone else, ashamed. But how long can she keep the secret?

Veleno means 'poison' in Italian.

1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3180   Review this Chapter


Jasper never deviated from his cool, aloof ways even in the most dangerous or intimate moments. Nothing would ever get a rise out of him, seeing that he had already witnessed the cruelest brutality in the world. But strangely, very strangely, she had to admit – no, she would not lie to herself any longer – she almost preferred the sense of cold bestiality that he exuded when she first met him.

Alice rarely saw that in him nowadays, perhaps only a glimmer of that underlying side of him when he was hunting. That wild, fierce glint in his hungry eyes was strangely intriguing. She knew it would be dangerous if that side of him returned. She knew she ought to be worried, but the mere thought never failed to bring on a tinge of unfathomable excitement.

The way his ravaged ocher eyes filled with an emotion with defied analysis after a hunt was thrilling, and always, she tried to suppress her feelings before he could pick them up. Once, before she had the will to force the feelings away, he caught wind of them and swiftly glanced at her, an impassive expression plastered on his handsome face.

Immediately, she swallowed down the torrents of emotions and stared back unguiltily, hoping her brazenness would discourage him from dwelling too much on the emotion he had evoked in her – Thank Heavens she could not blush; as she knew her face would have been burning a crimson red had she still been human.

Thank Heavens, also, that Edward was too intent on bagging his smarter-than-average mountain lion and would not be paying attention to my devious thoughts for the next few minutes until he caught his oh-so-elusive prey. All Alice had to do was to keep her thoughts under control for the next few days – until they went hunting again and the sight of Jasper, gold hair flying in the wind, snarling and beautiful, leaping and pouncing with a wraith-like grace, would penetrate through the mental dam which held back all her thoughts.

Goodness. She would never say it out loud, but there were so many things she could thank the Heavens for. And her ability to shut off her thoughts at will and almost instantaneously was one of them – she had mastered it in the alyssum, where there were things so startlingly painful, far too raw and agonising to remember or to think of; and so she had hid them at the back of her mind, pretending she had ever seen or heard of such a thing in her life. As time passed, the pain, well hidden within her, dulled and no longer was they the mistress of her mind – she was; she was the one in control.

Emmett, surprisingly, could be uncharacteristically intuitive at times – times being when the moon was blue. When Jasper’s eyes eventually relinquished their mesmerising hold on her, she turned away, only to face to face with Emmett, who gave her a cunning smirk and a quick wink. At once, she saw that they would be ‘coincidentally’ meeting along the old oak trees later that night.

“So,” Emmett drawled, eyes on the rising luminous pearl in the dark sky. “What’s going on with you and good ol’ Jazzy?”

Already having foreseen this interrogation, Alice gave her well-rehearsed answer, calmly avoiding the question. “Don’t call him that. You know how much it gets on his nerves.”

“Not as much as your queer looks do,” Emmett grinned, white teeth glinting in the moonlight. “Don’t think I don’t see them.”

“What looks?” Alice feigned ignorance, putting a convincing little crease in her forehead.

That threw him for a minute. “The looks you always give him when we go hunting.”

“Can’t I look at my husband?” She put her hands on her hips, going for the indignant, defensive tone, which Rosalie excelled at when she did not get what she wanted.

It worked. “Of course not, Alice,” he said, frowning slightly himself. “Maybe I was imagining things, y’know? Don’t get upset, Ally.” Emmett gave her a huge grin, repentant.

“Quit with the nicknames, please.” Alice said tiredly, patting his muscular arm. He was just too easy to sway – no wonder Rosalie liked him. “Edward flipped when I accidentally thought of how you labeled him ‘Eddie’. I barely managed to save you.”

“Oh.” Emmett looked positively pleased at the thought of a demented and irritated Edward, and he rubbed his hands together gleefully.

Alice just rolled her eyes, shaking her head disparagingly and walking away. “And it was me they sent to the alyssum.”

Nervously skirting around Jasper and Emmett was not an option, thus she opted for being unusually sullen and ill-tempered that day – which was easy since some girl called Rachel had stolen her speech she wrote for English and denied everything when confronted, demanding for evidence. And Alice had no evidence whatsoever unless you counted seeing it happen in her head.

She rarely ever got angry, unlike Rosalie, but not unlike with Rosalie, everyone avoided her when she did. She knew from experience that anger did not help anything, however, she had to make an exception this time. It kept her mind so occupied, Emmett was thoroughly convinced. Coupled with the fact that he was already half-convinced the nights before, her plan worked marvelously and her secret was safe.

It was selfish to think that of Jasper, she knew. The thoughts were like poison. First appearing so unnoticeable and subtly she did not realise anything, then sneaking and creeping into her veins, ensnaring her into a web of darkness; which, try as she might, she could not get it to lose its hold on her.

She tried not to let the venomous thoughts get to her, tried not to let anyone know, tried to behave as normally and cheerily as possible. It was as if there was something bad hiding inside of her, waiting to claw out at the most opportune moment and only she, only she held the key to the cage, which imprisoned it.

“There you go with your queer looks again,” Emmett informed her promptly, looking more worried than anything else.

“What queer looks?” Jasper interrupted, stopping his chase for the deer and quickly coming over.

Oh dear. She tried not to let her expression reveal her inner turmoil. She had to! Before she could answer, Emmett beat her to it. Why did Emmett have to become so sensitive at the precise moment?

“Look! Alice has gone all funny again. Don’t you see?” He grabbed her by her small shoulders and turned her towards Jasper as gently as he could with his huge hands. “I asked you about this before, haven’t I, Alice? And she said –”

“I am not queer.” Alice protested, trying to inject an insulted tone into her words.

“Remember a few months ago when –” Emmett began.

“This has been going on for a few months?” Jasper asked, arching an eyebrow coolly.

Why, oh, why didn’t she see this coming? Alice could practically see Jasper tasting the air, sensing all their emotions… Emmett’s: curiosity, confusion; hers: panic, fear. She was impervious to her surroundings now, and forced herself not to hyperventilate, keeping her breathing calm and steady. If possible, she felt paler than usual and although she was certain nothing was wrong with her, she could swear her head was spinning around in frantic circles, spinning, spinning… There was nothing she could do now, there was nothing, nothing…

Jasper’s gaze was focused on Emmett and his forehead creased. He was concentrating on Emmett all that while and not her…? There was hope for her now! Joy and relief rushed through her and hastily began altering her emotions, hiding her sinful thoughts under a mental lock and key. By the time Jasper was satisfied with what he had felt from Emmett and turned to her, she was prepared.

“I am not queer.” Alice said quietly. Oddly enough – and though she did not mean for it to come out this way – her words rang with a triumphant sound, one that was not lost on either of them. “I am not queer.” She repeated this wearily.

“Of course, Alice.” Edward silently moved out of the shadows on the forest. “Because in retrospect, a queerer you is plain freaky and would scare the living daylights out of all mankind.”

Just peachy. Now Edward had come to join the fray. Better keep her thoughts well reined in then. “Shut up, Edward.”

Edward laughed, a sound that irritated her all the more. The he turned to Jasper, “You had better keep your wife in check, Jasper. Carlisle will not like it if Rachel Frost was found to be mauled by a bear or something of the likes.” He teased, smirking at her.

“Don’t be preposterous. With your temper, it’s more likely you than Alice,” said Jasper, coming to stand beside Alice and facing his smirking brother with a small smile – his eyes, however, exuded a sense of indifference.

“Edward just has nothing better to do. I can forgive him for that.” She narrowed her eyes at him, speaking in a haughty tone. Don’t let her thoughts stray. Don’t let her thoughts stray.

“We have lots to do, actually,” Emmett added. “Like hunt, for example. Did you know that this place is practically crawling with grizzlies? I can smell one just by the river, near the –”

“I thought,” Jasper interrupted smoothly. “That we were discussing Alice’s welfare?”

“But she just said that she is fine, right?”

“Then don’t you think all the more we should as her about it?” Edward countered, grinning.

Then it dawned onto her. He knew. He knew. Somehow, he had managed to find out from her thoughts. No, wait. She stopped her thoughts from flowing back. It would only make life easier for her if she let her thoughts through now. With considerable effort, she pushed them back into the deep recesses of her mind and kept it on the conversation unveiling before her. He could not have found out. She would have seen it.

“No,” Emmett said stoutly. “We ought to trust her. If there is anything wrong, Alice would definitely tell us. Right, Alice?”

She felt a sudden surge of affection and gratitude towards her bulkily built brother – eliminating all her annoyance whatsoever with him before – also accompanied with a twinge of guilt. “Do you even have to ask?” She replied, forcing a smile, her mouth dry.

“See?” Emmett chuckled, slinging a heavy arm around her slim shoulders, making her feel as fragile as a porcelain doll in his predatory grip.

Jasper’s tepid expression changed, and it faded to one that of thoughtfulness. Edward was quiet.

“Yes, you are right, Emmett.” Jasper said finally. And Alice thought she saw Edward shoot a quick glance at him. “I trust that Alice would tell us if there was anything wrong.”

His tone held no accusation, no demand. Jasper said it lightly, carelessly, but somehow she could feel the undercurrent in his voice, something almost undetectable by anyone else. She had no idea what it meant.

His eyes held hers now. Unlike his dispassionate voice, his stare held an intensity that made it seem as though he was the mind reader and not Edward. It made her squirm a little, as he was delving into all her hidden thoughts with the simplest of glances.

There was a magnetic feel to his gold orbs; she felt she could not bear to look away.

No one queried her about her ‘queer looks’ anymore. And in circumspect, she realised that she rarely ever talked wholeheartedly to Jasper anymore. To everyone else, she was still the same. To Jasper, it was as though there was a glass wall between them. Yes, they talked, they held hands, and they went out together as a couple. But there was no linkage between them anymore; no gossamer thread of connection tied to their hearts, an eternal bond between two souls.

It was not that she did not love Jasper. She did. She loved him with very fibre of her being; all her heart, mind and soul. Out of this, she had learnt something new: Secrets made strangers.

She had no desire to come clean with Jasper, for she was too humiliated to admit to her selfish fixation. Of course, her conscience was something she had to deal with all the time, and it irked her; to have changed so much, she could hardly recognise herself. How could she have turned into such a monster? The answer evaded her.

Perhaps it was because when the first trickle of poison seeped into her mind, she did nothing to stop it, and slowly, it took over her, leaving her helpless and tainted in their wake. She committed the ultimate sin now, she supposed: yearning for one’s true love to be something they were not, something they abhorred.

It was her cross to bear.

Out of nowhere, waves of guilt infused her. Oh, how could she bear to have committed such a crime against Jasper? He was her life all that was left of her world. Not telling him made her all the guiltier. She had to find him and tell him of her guilt right away!

No! It was not his burden to bear. He would –

“Alice?” A clear, melodious voice cut through the ongoing battle in her head. “Everyone is going hunting. Are you coming?”

Hands to her temples, she answered weakly, “No… not tonight…” She hoped they would go away, he would go away. She shut her eyes tightly. She could not let him see her with her emotions and thoughts like that – it would be self-condemnation, not that she was not already one of the dammed. This is killing her mentally.

Heaving herself up from a lying position, she cradled her head in his hands and took deep, steadying breaths till her mind settled, like flakes of snow falling to the ice-covered ground.

She would tell him. It was the least she could do now. And if he was hurt or upset… Her throat constricted tightly.

No. If her stupid fixation were the cause of his anguish, the guilt would kill her then.

But she could not keep the truth from him forever; some day she’d have to spill it out to him anyway.

Alice clutched her throbbing head. And all of a sudden, her whirlwind of thoughts came crashing to a stop. What was going on with her?

No, Jasper could not have… Could he…?

A chill seeped through her body. At the same time, cool hands caressed her face tenderly. Her eyes snapped open. Jasper.

There he was, the golden glittering facet of his eyes unbelievably soft, his marble hands softly brushing her lips; he was kneeling on the floor rigidly and resting his marble body against her legs.

She opened her mouth to speak, and found that she had no voice. She did not bother to mask her emotions from him any longer, drawing strength from her earlier conviction. “Jas – Jasper.” It came out as a whisper, mist blowing away in the gentle breeze.

He gazed into her eyes deeply and she felt all her past pretences fall away like a flame of the candle in the wind. Still, he said nothing.

Silence, Alice found, was more unbearable than noise. It had a whole new meaning of its own, a whole new depth to it.

Guilt burned within her and unbidden, words that she could not speak flowed to her lips. Confessions bubbled in her and she spoke hurriedly and quickly, occasionally pausing to regain her train of thought before plunging on again.

Jasper never said anything; he just listened to her attentively, eyes bright. His hand never left her face and one slipped down to entwine his fingers with hers, an action that was barely noticed by her for she was too absorbed in her declaration of guilt.

Her eyes met his again and her lips parted to say something. Swiftly, he shushed her, smiling slightly. “Hush, love.”

And then she was falling into the warm gold that was his eyes. The glitter swirled around her, embraced her. Like fairy dust, the gold specks danced and leapt gloriously. There was no anger, no hurt; just love, love for her, warm and soothing – a balm of her soul. And she was lost, lost in her love’s eyes.

Alice laughed suddenly, the chill dissipating. She could not believe everything was all right now. Jasper had healed her, soothed and chased away the black poison in her. And he was not hurt. “Everyone knew – you knew all along. Didn’t you?”

Jasper chucked and ducked his head. “I knew it since the first time you felt that way.”

She sighed. So much for going through all the trouble – it was all for naught.

“So?” Jasper demanded.

That caught her by surprise. She blinked.

“So, do you still feel the same way?” Jasper elaborated impatiently, gold eyes scorching like fire.

Understanding what he meant, Alice sniffed and replied snootily, “That’s no way to ask a lady.”

Jasper growled, a thrilling sound. “I beg your pardon, Miss Alice – or should I say, Mrs Jasper Hale. But I was inquiring – pardon me if this sounds too forward, for I am too ardent a lover to retrain my passions any longer – you still harbour the same feelings towards me?” His mellifluous voice was rough.

Her stomach clenched in anticipation and she bit her lip to stop herself from giggling excitedly. “No – no, it is not too forward at all, Mister Jasper.” Alice gasped breathlessly, fanning herself with one hand. “You have utterly swept me off my feet with your ardour.”

“It is good to know I have not made a fool out of myself then,” Jasper grinned, a predatory glint in his eyes. “Thank you, my kind lady, for so graciously accepting my proposal lest I should lose my sanity.”

Jasper took the dainty hand he had been holding and lightly pressed his lips against it, brushing his lips over the inside of her wrist. Slowly, his lips made their journey up Alice’s porcelain arm. A torrent of emotions welled up in her and she was not sure if it were Jasper’s doing or her own. Nonetheless, he flashed her a wicked smirk and continued tracing the contours of her soft neck, leaving her gasping for breath. By now, his hands had trailed down to wrap themselves around her waist as he rubbed his lips against her jaw and delicate cheekbones back and forth till she gave a little whimper. Making a low sound at the back of his throat, he kissed the corner of her lips.

“J – Jas – Jasper…”

A wavering gasp, a husky groan, a loud purr.

And then his lips captured hers hungrily in a searing kiss, a golden storm brewing in his eyes, flashing and wild.