Jasper and Rosalie Hale live a simple life in Forks with Carlisle and Esme. Both of their lives are rocked, however, by the appearances of love in their lives. JasperBella, RosalieEmmett.
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A week had passed. My brief, intense encounter with Bella in the lunchroom had been engraved into my memory, scalded my every thought. For five days now, I’ve had to endure watching her sit through her friends’ inane chat, her pull lips rarely parting to speak, next to her boyfriend.
Edward was his name. I loathed him to the core of my existence; he never paid Bella any mind. He was Student Council president, president of the Honor Society, star track runner – in short, Mr. Popularity. He was almost perfect, aside from his lack of understanding of Bella’s loveliness, and it made me sick. How could I compare?
Rosalie was sitting away from me today, with a curly-haired girl named Jessica. Jessica had looked very bewildered when Rosalie had plopped her tray down at her table, not far from where Bella sat, immediately launching into a discussion of shoes, attractive young celebrities, and clothing.
I had laughed when Jessica retorted quietly that she didn’t know what ‘Dolce and Gabbana was, but it sounded nice’. Rosalie’s face had stiffened, but she had kept her tone of voice quite natural. I was impressed she didn’t go into a tirade on whether she preferred Italian to French designers.
And there was Bella, all the day long. Even after lunch, her scent lingered in my nostrils, tormenting me, teasing me. It challenged me to seek her out after class was over, convince her to take a walk with me in the dense, green forest behind the school. When I wasn’t thinking about her scent, her pure beauty was a thorn in my side. The way she was quiet, but not a loner like me haunted me. The way she was never quite sure of herself, vulnerable and fragile in an appealed to me deeply.
I listened devotedly to her friends’ chatter on Friday, hoping to learn of any weekend plans she had. It was tortuous to listen to them talk for so long about such petty matters, but it was necessary.
“So, Bella,” Mike Newton said, carefully. He was almost as obsessed with Bella as I, yet he let his feelings show despite valiant efforts. “What are you doing tonight?”
She glanced to Edward, who was talking to another boy named Tyler about a paper due in English. “I don’t think we’re doing anything,” she said. Mike cringed at the word we. “But I’ll ask.”
She turned to Edward. “Edward?” she said softly, laying her hand lightly on his arm. He ignored her for a moment, before facing her reluctantly.
“What?” he said.
“What do you want to do this weekend?” I hoped I wasn’t imagining the feelings of regret coming from her.
He sighed. “How about a movie? The whole gang should come.” Why would he say that? Wouldn’t he relish any opportunity to be alone with her?
“OK,” she said, turning back to Mike. “Do you want to go?”
Mike was angry, but he didn’t let Bella see; he didn’t blame her, after all, I supposed. “Sure. And Jessica and Lauren should come, too. How about we see Love From Afar?” I recognized the title of the latest romantic comedy, and snickered sardonically; the title reflected sadly the feelings I had for Bella.
“Well,” she said, coming around to Mike’s reasoning behind the movie choice. “I was thinking more along the lines of action. How about Crossfire?”
“OK,” he mumbled, resigned. He was destined to forever be the platonic male friend, if Bella had her way.
“Are you in?” Mike asked, directing his attention now to Lauren, who had been watching the scene play out with malicious interest.
“Oh, yes,” she said, her pale eyes practically dancing with excitement. She was sure to be eager for some gossip to pass on, and I was equally as sure of the fact that the gossip would center around Mike’s admiring behavior towards Bella.
“By the way,” she added. “Jasper Hale is staring at you, Bella. He’s been looking over here for like, five minutes.” Bella started to turn her head, but Lauren snapped. “No! Don’t look! At least use a mirror or something, jeez.”
Blushing, Bella pulled out her mirror and pretended to adjust her minimal makeup. I directed my gaze to the table next to hers, at Rosalie. “He’s looking at his sister,” Bella said, a little forcefully. Was she abject to the idea of me looking at her?
“Whatever,” Lauren said. “I could have sworn he was looking over here for the longest time…” Her bitter voice trailed off; she was disappointed she now had no story to pass along to the rest of the student body.
The bell rang, once again, and the students rose from their seats and navigated their way out of the cafeteria, talking to friends and walking slowly. I pushed past them to talk to Rosalie.
“Rosalie,” I said, stopping to talk to her with my back to Bella; I didn’t think I could focus on what I was saying to Rose if Bella’s deep chocolate eyes were locked on me at all. “Have you decided to talk to me yet?” Jessica was standing completely still, all her attention on me. I didn’t look at her directly; lust and awe were rolling off her in waves, and I didn’t want to encourage her.
“Yes,” she said softly. Her eyes glazed over a little as she smiled. Her eyes trailed upwards until she was looking at the ceiling, and she sighed contentedly. “We can talk again.”
I snapped my fingers in her face. “Hello? Earth to Rose?” She blinked languidly and focused back on me.
“I’ll see you in the parking lot,” she said dreamily. “Don’t be late, after school. I won’t wait for you.” She left the cafeteria without a backward glance, apparently lost in her thoughts.
I was left standing alone with Jessica, contemplating Rosalie’s strange behavior. I wouldn’t have even noticed the girl, Jessica, had she not whimpered slightly. I looked up, and she ran from the cafeteria, her eyes like a deer’s in the headlights of a car.
Chuckling, I began to leave. I would have gotten to class without a hitch, too, had Bella not entered my line of sight. She tripped over a pushed-out chair in front of me; I caught her in my arms in a lightening-fast movement, almost regretting it as I did. What if she noticed the speed?
“Oh,” she said, as her lovely porcelain cheeks stained easily with blood. “I’m so sorry.”
Laughing and looking away from her, to distract myself from her intoxicating scent, I set her upright. “Don’t worry about it, Bella.” When I glanced covertly at her face, she looked surprised at my use of her name.
“Thank you so much,” she said, entranced. “I… don’t know how to repay you, Jasper.” An electric charge jolted through me as she used my name. “Are you doing anything tonight? A group of friends and I are going to the movies…” I was delighted she had neglected to mention that her boyfriend was part of this ‘group of friends’.
“I couldn’t possibly,” I said, reluctantly. “I wouldn’t want to intrude. The truth was, I didn’t think I could control myself next to her in a darkened theater with her for two hours; I needed to hunt badly.
“Oh,” she said again, embarrassed even more this time.
“How about a rain check?” I said casually, smiling for her. She brightened considerably.
“That sounds great,” she said, grinning broadly. Her smile faded a little as she looked over her shoulder. I turned too, and saw Edward still chatting with Tyler and Ben Cheney.
“Doesn’t he mind you talking to me? I know that if you were mine, I wouldn’t let you out of my sight,” I said, winking. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, though, I was mortified. Did I really just say that to Isabella Swan? This girl was an angel, but she was the bane of my existence; I didn’t know myself in her presence.
She blushed and looked down. “I guess he’s not the envious type.” She looked wistful as she spoke. “I’d better get to class, I guess,” she added.
Oh, how badly I longed to reach out and frame her heart-shaped face with my hand… “Yes, I suppose I should go too.” I opened my mouth to say goodbye, but hesitated. I wanted to at least hug her, but it felt too forward. My biological mother wouldn’t have approved, if she were still alive to see me now; Esme would, of course, have been delighted, though, to see me getting on with Bella.
Bella closed the awkward moment for me. “Goodbye,” she said, in a half-whisper. She was out of the cafeteria before I could say anything else, her small frame lost in the crowd. Her scent, however, remained in a haze in the space in front of me.
Edward walked out behind her, casting yet another suspicious glare at me. I walked swiftly behind him, only to him catch up with Bella and grab her hand possessively. She looked surprised, but didn’t protest. She was too gentle, like a lamb.
That night, I didn’t know what to wear. I had skipped class after lunch to go hunting, so that I could go to the movies that night. I didn’t plan on going with Bella, however; I was going simply to watch her. Rosalie had scoffed at my plan, telling me scathingly that I was a weirdo and that I should find something more productive to do with my time.
“What if she sees you there, Jasper, watching her? She’s going to think you’re a stalker.” She wrinkled her nose in disdain. “You are a stalker, actually. You know, if you’re going to be with that wretched girl, at least make an actual move on her. Don’t be odd, OK?” I tried to tune out her jealously and spite as I looked through my closet for something suitable to wear, in case she did see me.
I sighed and threw down an old pair of khaki cargo pants – from 1999 – on the bed. “I have no idea what to wear.”
Rosalie was not sympathetic in the slightest. “Well, maybe you should buy new clothes more frequently, instead of once a decade.”
“It’s not once a decade,” I said. “More like once every year or so. What’s wrong with that?” She didn’t respond, only taking a heaving sigh of exasperation.
“Never mind, then. Leave it all to me, as usual. I’ll pick out your outfit, now you go take a shower. You look like you’ve been rolling around in the mud.” I looked down at my wrinkled clothes.
“Hardly,” I said. “You just don’t know how difficult it is to take down an irritable bear.” Her manicured hand froze on one of my dress shirts. “Rose?” I said. “What’s wrong? Is it something I said?” An odd mixture of fear, worry, and… love was coming from her; I was confused.
“It’s nothing,” she lied fluently, continuing her search through my clothes. “Now, go get ready. I’m going to have to run to Nordstrom’s in Port Angeles to pick you up something. How shameful, you have absolutely nothing to wear…” I wanted to press for an answer, but she had already left my room.
What was wrong with the women in my life?
I darted from the front door as quickly as I could, heading straight for the forest. It was not in the direction of Port Angeles, which might cause suspicion should anyone be watching me from the window, but I didn’t care. I had to see him. I was glad for the excuse of shopping, so I could go to Emmett.
My thoughts strayed back to the fateful night we’d met, in some tiny town in the Appalachians. He had been so sweet and good-natured; he didn’t once question what kind of creature I was when we spoke. If only things had not turned out so badly… But no, I wouldn’t think of that, like he said. He said it was important not to think of the past as anything but the past, that it wasn’t relevant to the present or the future.
I had hidden him a few miles from the house, once I realized what he was; he didn’t share the more refined diet my family adhered too. He had been shocked, once I explained to him how we fed.
“But why, then, did you…” His question had died in his throat when he saw the pain flash across my face; he hadn’t broached the subject since then. I was eager to see him today, like a child. He made my heart ache with regret, but also with longing – here was the one I had thought I had made a fatal mistake with, so long ago. It had turned out far better than I ever anticipated.
I was afraid he would be gone when I arrived at the little cave by the glen, where I had hidden him. But, faithful as always, he was there. He was seated, his legs crossed despite his bulk of muscle, on a large, flat rock.
He smiled when he saw me. “I was starting to miss you,” he said. I beamed. “But,” he said hesitantly. “I need to hunt.” I didn’t like what he implied.
“I can’t let you do that,” I said evenly. “Not here, at least. I would really prefer if you didn’t hunt… them, at all.” I tried not to sound like I was bossing him around.
“It’s hard to believe something like what you guys do is even possible. How does it taste?” he said frankly.
“It tastes fine to me,” I said airily. “Of course,” I amended, “I’ve never tasted human blood, so I wouldn’t be able to compare the taste.” I thought quietly for a moment. “You could ask Jasper.”
He stiffened, and growled lowly. “Who’s he?” I laughed, and then laughed harder at the wounded look on Emmett’s face.
“Jasper is my brother, my twin when we were still human. He wasn’t around when I… met you; he was going through a bit of a rebellious stage.” Rebellious didn’t exactly cover it. We had met Carlisle shortly after Jasper changed me, in the 1860’s. A vampire named Maria had changed him only a few weeks before; I could only begin to understand the kind of tolerance possible to bite me without killing me. I supposed that, because I was his sister, he had mustered the strength not to kill me. In the thirties, Jasper left Carlisle, Esme, and I to hunt humans for a brief period of time.
“Oh,” he said, relieved “When will I meet them?” I was surprised that he didn’t say he wanted to meet Jasper; he wanted to meet them, implying he meant everyone. I gulped.
“Whenever you want,” I said, my voice a little too high-pitched. “The thing is, they don’t…” I trailed off, searching for a way to tell him about his precarious situation and status.
“They don’t know about me, do they?” He didn’t sound angry, just curious and a little confused.
“No, but they will. I just don’t know how to explain myself. I thought you were dead for so long…” I spoke rapidly to explain myself, choking back tears that wouldn’t come.
“Please, Rose,” he said, pulling me softly to him. “Don’t cry. It’s alright now. I’m here, see? And I’m not going anywhere unless you want me to.” He chuckled. “It’s so strange, to be here with you. I’ve been on the edge of society for so long now, never talking to anyone. I felt guilty sometimes, you know, feeding on humans. But I never knew there was another way.” I was glad, in a twisted sort of way, that he was admitting all his secrets to me.
“I don’t want you to leave,” I said. “Ever. In fact,” I said, smiling to myself. “What would you say to a little shopping trip?”
He cringed. “Actually, you know, I was going to try out the whole animal hunting thing…”
I laughed and slapped his arm lightly. “Yeah, right. Anyway, I’ll come back later. You’ll be here?” I was embarrassed at the desperate note in my voice.
“Of course,” he said, “eagerly awaiting your return.” He smiled. “Don’t be too long. I was thinking I could maybe meet your family tonight… if that’s OK with you.”
“Of course,” I said, leaning in and kissing Emmett on the cheek as I spoke. With that, I turned and danced away in the general direction of Port Angeles, humming as I went.
Rosalie was back before I got out of the shower. I didn’t know how she did it, since I’d been in there for less than twenty minutes to wash my hair, but she did it.
She had laid a simple dark grey button-up shirt, with three-quarter length sleeves, on my bed, along with dark jeans and some familiar-looking sneakers; I recognized them after a moment as Chuck Taylor-inspired footwear.
She smiled triumphantly. “It’s so you, but more fashionable.” I picked up the tag and glanced over it.
“And so expensive. Couldn’t you just run to Wal-Mart, or something?” Her smile evaporated.
“Look, Jasper. If you’re not going to be thankful for the semi-cute outfit I have so generously bestowed on you, forget it.” She started to snatch up the clothes hastily. “And Wal-Mart? Ugh. Don’t make me gag.”
“No, Rose, I like them just fine.” I let my dormant Southern accent creep into my voice, to cheer her up. “Please, ma’am, I would kindly appreciate if you let me keep these clothes.”
She smiled, grudgingly. “OK, whatever. But hurry up! There’s only one showing of Crossfire at the theater in Port Angeles, so I know they’ll be there. And it’s in half an hour!” She shoved me back into the bathroom to change. “Hurry up!” she called from outside the door.
When I finally got past Esme, who was convinced, despite what I told her, that I was actually going on a date with Bella, I had less than a quarter of an hour to spare. I borrowed Carlisle’s Mercedes, fearing that Rosalie’s BMW would be too flashy and attract too much unwanted attention.
The girl at the ticket booth had frizzy hair and braces. “One ticket for Crosshairs, please,” I said, despite the girl’s gawking.
“Uh… OK.” She took the credit card I handed under the glass and slid it awkwardly through the machine. When she handed me the ticket, her hand shook. “Enjoy your movie,” she whispered. She made me uncomfortable; I could feel her ripe teenage lust seeping through the glass like it was paper. Her and Jessica should start a fan club, I thought bitterly.
I froze once I entered the theater complex; Bella and her friends were at the concession stand, laughing and talking loudly as they ordered. I ducked into the arcade, praying none of them would see me or make my presence known to Bella.
I waited nervously for ten minutes, than went back outside into the lobby. Bella was gone, as were her friends, but I stopped needlessly by the concession stand to buy a drink, anyway, in case they were taking an abnormally long time to reach the theater.
I passed through the ticket taker’s stand without so much as looking in the eyes of the acne-ridden boy who ripped my ticket in half and gave me the stub. Quickly, with my face down, I jogged up the stairs to the very top row and took a seat in the center, so I could see Bella no matter where she sat.
Predictably, Mike and Jessica led the gang eagerly to the very front row, presumably so they could goof around and dance in front of the screen, or something ridiculous like that.
Bella’s friends calmed considerably once the film started. The male ones hooted and jeered when cars exploded or when scantily clad girls came on screen, naturally, while the girls, not including Bella, talked amongst themselves off to the side. I assumed they were gossiping, considering that Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory were the main contributors to the conversation.
Edward, to my extreme consternation, didn’t act like a complete idiot. He sat next to Bella, holding her hand, but not paying attention to her. The sight gave me an elated feeling, like my heart was swelling. I was sure Rosalie would laugh at me if I told her that.
The first half of the movie passed without event. But, as the hero and heroine of the film encountered their biggest obstacle – they were spies trying to stop a mad scientist trying to take over the world, or something like that – Bella leaned on Edward’s shoulder for a moment. She let her head rest there for a moment, and pulled away after Edward made no reaction. I could feel the deep feelings of rejection and depression seep through Bella; I wanted to rip Edward Mason to shreds. He didn’t know what he had in front of him.
When the movie was over, they all left immediately. From their general conversation, I gathered that they were going to a late-night bonfire down in La Push, and that they were all rather excited about it. I could tell from Bella’s feelings of dread that she had no desire to attend any kind of a party.
I left soon after they did, swiftly leaving the theater and striding across the parking lot with uncontrollable speed, slamming the door after I got in Carlisle’s car. I thought I had made it through the evening without incident when someone tapped softly on my window. I rolled it down reluctantly, already knowing who it was from the scent.
“Hello, Bella,” I said pleasantly, trying to keep my voice even. “How did the movie go?”
“Fine,” she said. “But I thought you couldn’t go. Why did you come?” She wasn’t being nonchalant; she genuinely cared what I did with my evenings.
“I was thinking of catching up to you guys, but I changed my mind.” I hoped the fabrication wasn’t too far-fetched to sound plausible.
“Oh, well I’m sorry to hear that.” She smiled sweetly. “It would have fun for you to be there.”
My responding smile was nowhere near as sweet; it was forced, unnatural. “Yes, I’m sure it would have been. Next time, you’ll see, we’ll have tons of fun.” She didn’t look very convinced.
“I’ll see you Monday, at lunch,” she said. I was surprised she acknowledged we shared a period; of course, there was only one lunch period at Forks High School.
“Yes,” I said, my grip on the steering wheel tightening. “See you then.”