Begins in an AU of New Moon after Edward leaves; Jasper does not leave with the rest of the Cullens. He is wrecked by the guilt of what he has done, so he stays behind to watch after Bella.
2. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3055 Review this Chapter
Weak. I was so weak. Yet even as the thoughts formed in my head, Bella’s warm blood continued to flow down my throat. Two strong hands attempted to pull me off, but to no avail. It was Bella’s soft murmur that broke the trance I was in.
“Jasper? What…” she started, but trailed off. Her heart raced faster, pushing the venom – my venom – through her blood stream, making us one, making her mine. She pushed my hair back from my face, and when I saw her eyes, felt her emotions – even as I drank her blood, there was no sign of the hate, the fear that I deserved – I was strong enough to pull away.
As I looked down at her half-naked body, the realization of what I’d done hit me. I sickened myself. I should have stayed away. How could I have deluded myself into believing I was strong enough to be near her, to kiss her, to have her as I wanted since the first moment I laid eyes on her?
“Bella,” I whispered as I searched for right words to say, but nothing came.
It was then that I remembered the voice behind me, the hands attempting to pull me back. Bella finally moved her eyes away from mine towards the window where Alice and Emmett stood, too shocked to move or speak. Her face flushed, and she covered herself with the pillow next to her. Ashamed, I turned around to face them, their emotions suffocating me in this small room – Emmett’s confusion, anger, disbelief, Alice’s hurt, betrayal, and impatience.
We looked at one another for what felt like hours, but surely was only seconds.
“We have to leave,” Alice said the pain palpable in her voice. “If we do not leave now, Charlie will hear.”
I nodded in agreement. I could feel the pain Bella was beginning to feel. Casting the pillow aside, I picked her up and cradled her body to my chest, basking in the warmth I felt. I jumped out the window and ran into the woods, my wife and my brother behind me.
Bella whimpered against my chest as the venom began to burn her from the inside out. I tried to ease the pain as much as I could, but even with my abilities, the pain would be inescapable. I slowed my pace to a walk as we neared the house. I could feel emotions radiating from the house; we were not alone.
“Why has everyone come back to Forks?” I asked, speaking to them for the first time since we parted ways all those months before.
“Edward is coming home,” Alice said.
Bella’s body stiffened at the mention of Edward’s name. The pain she felt increased, but this was not the physical pain my venom caused, but the emotional torture that she’d felt since he left her. Bella let out the first of many screams to come as we walked up the long driveway. Emmett was at my side immediately.
“Let her go, Jasper,” he growled. He was no longer the jovial brother I had known for years. His hand was on Bella, ready to spirit her away from me, but she only increased her hold on my chest.
“Its okay, Emmett,” Bella whispered.
“No, it’s not!” he said, louder this time. “Give her to me, Jasper, you have done enough.”
"Just let me get her in the house, Emmett. She's partially undressed, remember? Then, I'll leave," I said, the shame flowing freely off of me. Emmett was right, I had done enough, but the thought of leaving her was unbearable. I felt dizzy, breathless, though I needed no air. No, I could not leave.
We walked in silence up the drive way. Bella’s screams pierced the air, pierced my soul. I gritted my teeth against the pain she was feeling - pain that I had caused. Over the last century and a half that I walked this earth as a vampire, I've killed countless people, done so many terrible things, but nothing as heinous as this. I’d stayed behind to protect her, to look after her, to help her, to make amends for the part I played in Edward’s departure and what had happened? In a moment of supreme stupidity, I’d taken what I wanted without any thought of the consequences.
Before we reached the door, Carlisle and Esme came outside. I looked down at Bella so that I didn’t have to see the disappointment on their faces.
“Jasper?” Carlisle asked. “What happened?”
“Oh my…” Esme started.
I ignored them and continued on into the house. I had to put her down soon, blood still flowed from the wound and every second that passed where she remained in my arms was another second she was in danger. I carried her into the room Alice and I once shared and placed her on the bed. I quickly removed my shirt and put it on her. She was quiet and still – for now – but the pain would be back, I knew. I pressed my lips gently against hers one last time.
“Bella, I’m so sorry. Perhaps one day you’ll be able to forgive me.”
Emmett was standing in the doorway, the muscles in his arms tense as he clenched his hands into fists. Alice was behind him, her eyes glistening with tears that would never fall.
“Get away from her,” Emmett said.
I allowed myself to look down at her once again and moved towards the door. Alice rushed to Bella’s side once I left the room. Emmett followed me downstairs.
“What were you thinking, Jasper?” he asked when we reached the living room. Carlisle, Esme, and Rosalie were waiting for the answer as well; their curiosity
and anxiety filled the room.
I sat on the couch and put my head in my hands. I sighed and looked up at the members of my family.
“He obviously wasn’t thinking. He’s seriously lost it.” Rosalie spat out. “Why are you in Forks anyway? Come back to finish what you started in September?”
“Rose,” Carlisle warned. “Let Jasper speak. I’m sure he has an explanation, and we owe it to him to listen.”
“Explanation?” Emmett thundered. “Whatever his explanation is, I don’t want to hear it.” He turned to face me. “Didn’t you do enough in September? You have no idea what Edward has gone through these last four months! This is going to kill him.”
Anger boiled beneath my skin. “I stayed to help her because he left, to protect her, to do what I could to try and make up for my mistakes as best I could. You have no idea what she has gone through. He left her in the woods, did you know that? By the time I found her, she was being carried out by a werewolf.”
“The wolves are back?” Carlisle asked, his mouth dropping open.
“Too bad you couldn’t protect her from yourself,” Emmett snarled.
“I didn’t mean for it to happen…” I trailed off, Bella’s scream drowning out my words.
“Why else would you be in her room in the middle of the night, Jasper, if not to feed on her? Unless you were perhaps hoping for a bit of action, although I can’t really imagine you going for Edward’s leftovers. I thought you had better tastes than that,” Rosalie said, a smug smile on her face.
“Rosalie,” Esme said her soft voice harsher than normal. “Why don’t we go upstairs and see if Alice needs any help with Bella?”
“Absolutely not! I don’t care what happens to that girl. She should never have become involved with our family. This is Jasper’s doing; he should take care of it,” she said each word carefully, so that I understood what she meant. “Besides, Emmett and I are leaving; I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of this house when Edward gets here.”
“I’m not leaving, Rose.” Emmett said.
“Oh yes, you are Emmett Cullen!” she screeched.
“No way, Rose. Bella needs us, and Edward is definitely going to need us when he gets back here. I’m not leaving.”
Rosalie turned around and glared at me, the anger rolling off of her in waves. “Well, I hope you’re happy. Once again this family is being torn apart because of you. Once again we have to pay for your mistake.” Esme opened her mouth to speak, but Rosalie continued, cutting her off. “Don’t even bother, Esme, I’m leaving.”
“You don’t care about this family, Rosalie, you only care about yourself.” I told her pointedly.
“Don’t even try to make this about me, Jasper. I just don’t understand why the rest of us have to suffer because you can’t seem to control yourself! I care about this family more than you do; if you cared a little more we would not be in this position,” she shrieked and went upstairs, slamming the door as she entered her room.
Emmett glared at me once more before following his wife up the stairs.
Carlisle sighed, and Esme put her hand on his shoulder. “I’ll go check on the girls,” she said.
When Esme was out of the room, Carlisle sat next to me on the couch. He rubbed the circles under his eyes, a wary look on his face. “I’ve considered you a son these past few decades, Jasper. If you say you were not attempting to kill her, I believe you, but Emmett is right; this is going to hurt Edward tremendously. I understand if you do not wish to stay here, but you should stay until Edward arrives. You owe him an explanation at the very least.”
I ran my hands through my hair. “I know,” I said after a minute. “I’m not going to leave. I want to make things right – as right as I can. I was only trying to look after her, Carlisle. Things just got out of control – I got out of control.”
“Even those of us with the best intentions make mistakes, Jasper. No one is perfect, not one of us, even though some forget that. We do the best we can, but we are still not perfect.”
“It was a mistake to think that I could be anything other than what I am – a cold-blooded killer. I’ve struggled more than any other member of this family – killed more than any other member of this family. I’ve put everyone through so much, Carlisle. How can I make this right? How can I ever make this right?”
Carlisle sighed heavily and stood up. “I don’t know, Jasper. You are the only one who can determine what is right for you, but we are a family – and families do not abandon one another when a member is in need. I trust that you will do the right thing. I should go check on Bella now,” he said. He rested his hand on my shoulder before going upstairs; his unconditional love and understanding stunned me. “You may struggle, but the fact that Bella still lives is a testament to your strength.”
As I watched Carlisle walk up the stairs, I thought about what he said. The fact that Bella was still alive was not a testament to my strength, only a testament to the love I felt for her. Love that started the moment she walked through the cafeteria doors although I did not recognize it at first. A love that was doomed from the start because I knew Bella would never love me as she loved Edward. I loved Alice yet as time went on, I could no longer deny my feelings for Bella.
There is no right anymore. I crossed the line between right and wrong the minute I decided to take what was never mine to begin with.
I turned down the road that would lea me to Bella's house, feeling like my actions had purpose for the first time in months. Since I had left her in September, I had been a shell of what I used to be when I was with her. Leaving her was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do, and I had left the essence of myself in Forks with her that horrible day. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel, impatient to finally see her again and try and make things right. If she would only agree to take me back, I would spend the rest of my life – no, the rest of my existence – trying to make it up to her. I was a fool to leave her. Alice was right, though it pained me to admit that, but I had to try. I had to try and protect her from what I was.
The moon was high in the sky; I knew Bella would be asleep, but I could not wait until the morning. I could not stand to be separated from her a moment longer, I could only hope she still felt the same way. I would respect her wishes – even if she no longer wanted me that way. I would go – if that’s what she wanted – but I would not go far.
My cell phone rang from where it lay in the passenger seat. I only picked it up to silence the ringer. I would not be interrupted tonight. Except that it was Carlisle calling. He would only be calling if it were an emergency. Surely Alice must have informed the family as soon as she saw my decision. I sighed and flipped open the phone.
“Yes?” I asked. “I’m on my way to Bella’s as we speak. Is something wrong, Carlisle?”
“I think you should come here first,” a familiar voice said. Alice. Not Carlisle.
“Alice,” I growled. “Why are you calling me on Carlisle’s phone?”
“Because I knew you would not answer if I called you on my phone.”
“You know me too well, Alice. Goodbye,” I said.
“Look, I don’t have the time or the patience to argue with you right now. Just come home, Edward. Come straight home. Trust me; you do not want to go to Bella’s house right now.”
Normally, I would have ignored Alice and simply went on to Bella’s house, but something about her tone of voice told me she was being serious. I sighed and spun the car around.
“I’m on my way,” I told her and hung up.
The quiet stillness of the night was marred by someone screaming. The closer I got to the house, the louder the screaming became. Whoever – or whatever – was creating that noise was inside my house, yet besides the screaming, it was eerily quiet. I could not even hear a single thought from any of my family members.
A feeling of dread settled in the pit of my stomach as I pulled the Volvo into the garage. The screaming was loud, frantic, familiar…
“We are leaving, Emmett! I cannot stand another second of this screaming, let alone another two days of it.” Rosalie was yelling.
“Rose, be quiet! Edward is going to be here any minute,” Alice said reproachfully.
“I will not be quiet! If it weren’t for your husband, none of us would be in this position. I will not edit my thoughts either,” Rosalie snarled. Edward deserves to know.
I turned off the car and walked into the house as calmly as I could given all that had transpired in the last thirty seconds.
“Edward deserves to know what?” I asked warily as I entered the house to find Rosalie, Alice, and Emmett waiting for me at the door.
I took a deep breath during the pregnant pause that followed my question. Freesias… Bella was here. The familiar screams, I had heard them before. I didn’t wait for an answer from my family but sprinted up the stairs. I found her in Alice and Jasper’s room. She was on the bed, screaming and thrashing about. Carlisle and Esme were standing next to her, but no one was making any attempt to help her.
“Oh no, Bella!” I cried when I saw her, her beautiful face contorted with pain. “Why are you just standing there? What happened? Why haven’t you helped her?”
“I’m afraid I’ve done as much as I could. I gave her some morphine, but there’s nothing more I can do.”
I looked at my father and tried to make sense of what he’d just said. “If you can’t help her, we should take her to the hospital then. She’s obviously in pain. What happened?” I asked again.
I’m sorry, Edward, I’m afraid…
But Carlisle’s thought was interrupted by a sentence that would have made my blood run cold – had I any blood.
“The fire! Why won’t you put the fire out?” she screamed and clawed at her skin. I quickly ran to her side and grabbed her hands so that she could not further injure herself. She’s said that once before… when James bit her, but that could not be possible. Who could have bitten her?
As my hands touched hers, she screamed louder. “Don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!”
I recoiled as if she’d physically struck me. “Bella? It’s me, love, it’s Edward.”
I brushed the hair out of her face. She opened her eyes then, but they were no longer a chocolate brown, red was beginning to creep into them. My breath caught in my throat. I turned to look at Carlisle and Esme. “Someone better explain to me exactly what happened, and soon,” I growled.
“I think it’s obvious, dear brother,” Rosalie said, entering the room. Someone snuck into her room for a little snack.
I looked at her. “What?” I asked.
She rolled her eyes. “For someone who is supposed to have the ability to read minds, you can be incredibly dense sometimes.” Do I need to spell it out for you, Edward? She was bitten –
“That’s absurd. None of us have been in town, who could have bitten her?”
I looked back over at Bella who was now curled into a ball in the middle of the bed.
“Jasper,” she moaned. “Where’s Jasper?”