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Fate in Philadelphia

Summary:
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p220/GinnyGirl333/FateinPhiladelphia2.jpg The bell tinkled again, announcing that the door had opened and a potential costumer had stepped through. His footsteps were utterly silent. I turned quickly - too quickly. And there he was.


Notes:
This is an Alice/Jasper piece that one of my Twilight Friends (you know who you are, fabulous!) requested. I tried to write a realistic story depicting Alice and Jasper's first meeting, from Alice's point of view. I hope everybody (especially YOU, my Twilight friend) enjoys it! :)


1. Fate in Philadelphia

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3405   Review this Chapter

Fate in Philadelphia

"Miss, if you've waited this long, he probably ain't showin' up," an elderly man advised me as he rubbed the grime around in a chipped coffee mug using a greasy rag.

I had been sitting in this shabby diner for the past two weeks, arriving every morning and sticking around until the variable closing time. Naturally the people who owned the place - a kind old couple who told me to call them Jack and Betsy - had noticed my presence. I was slightly unforgettable. But, no matter how many times they told me ‘he' wasn't worth it, I stayed. I knew that the golden-haired, southern gentleman from my visions would arrive.

He had too.

My entire existence as a vampire had centered on finding him, the man who gracefully walked through my visions, a slight smile turning up the corners of his lips. I knew that I was predestined to find him. I didn't know why, all I knew was that my heart throbbed with joy and my lips twisted up into a smile whenever his face appeared in my thoughts.

"I'm serious honey," Jack persisted, using the rag to spread dirt on the scratched counter, "you should just go back home to your folks. They're probably missin' you."

I glanced at him. His skin was yellow and patchy, and sank unappealingly beneath his eyes and at the corners of his mouth. The scent of his blood was distastefully oily, as though the greasy mess underneath the stove in the back room had somehow managed to find its way into his veins. Although I thought him a rather unsightly creature, I could not deny that he was kind. The fact that I did not want to drink his blood made it easier to listen to his helpful advice.

"I'll see them in a few days," I promised smoothly to Jack, "my parents are holding a barbeque down in the city."

He eyes me skeptically; his watery brown irises looking like dirty dish water. "Alright miss," he finally sighed, "stay here long as you like. But mark my words, if he ain't showin' up yet, then he'll be no good in the end."

Although I knew this man didn't have a clue of what he was talking about, I couldn't help but hope he was wrong. Would this handsome, tall stranger only end up as trouble? He better not.

"Jack!" his rotund wife, Betsy, called from the kitchen, "git in here! The fryer's stuck again!"

Grumbling to himself, the spindly old man threw his greasy rag on the counter and stomped off, disappearing through a cracked red door.

I watched him go, absentmindedly listening as his wife yelled and the cook spluttered indignantly. Such trivial human dramas.

Behind me there were eight humans that sat in the dark, gloomy diner. A middle-aged, spiteful couple had been arguing in the booth for the past ten minutes. A young man enthusiastically ate a meat-filled sandwich - the smell of which revolted me - while his mother stiffly poked at an unappetizing salad. Three shady businessmen were grouped around a table piled high with dirty dishes. Next to them, at a little two-person table, a very old woman sat drinking something alcoholic and reading a newspaper.

Out of all of them, the old women smelled the most appallingly delightful. I shoved those thoughts to the back of my mind. In my haste to spend every moment possible at the diner, I had neglected my own needs. I needed to hunt.

Sighing, I glanced again at the large clock that was mounted on the wall behind the counter. Four hours, give or take, until closing time.

I closed my eyes, willing myself to picture the golden-haired man I wanted to meet. My sight was useless though. The only image I could force to the front of my mind was that of him ducking into this diner in the rain. Unfortunately I did not know if it would be this week, or this year, or even this decade. There were no clues to aid me in my fruitless searching.

"Fine," Jack grunted, "I'll git up front, and you can fix this damn contraption."

The corners of my lips twitched. Jack came stomping around the corner, his face set in a fearsome scowl.

I made my voice quieter, and lower than my usual ear-piercing trill, "Rough day?"

He snorted as he yanked the rag off the counter and began scrubbing furiously at a food-smeared plate, "Half our equipment's broke. Can't get the funds to fix it, and it bothers Betsy to no end. Course she blames me for it. But I can't help that the costumers are more interested in that fancy place up the road. Johnson's or whatnot. What's she ‘spect me to do ‘bout it?"

"I've no idea," I murmured sympathetically.

Of course, after spending three weeks in close proximity with Jack and Betsy, I had quickly learned all about Johnson's, the supposed flashier place a few blocks east. Both of them resented their new neighbor, but neither was willing to work together to make their own diner a better place.

I sighed, and listened with half an ear as Jack continued ranting about his less-than-satisfactory life. I stored everything he said to memory, but gave the larger part of my concentration to the set of footsteps sloshing through the rain outside.

The bell at the door rang, and Jack glared at the tinkling sound. I turned swiftly in my chair, hoping against all hope that it was my southern gentleman . . .

No such luck. A newsboy came in, wringing out his stash of ink-smudged papers. He sighed unhappily, and then dumped them all in the trash and went to sit with the elderly woman.

"Afternoon, Grandmother," he greeted her, sliding into the seat across from hers.

Jack groaned, "Miss, I hate for you to have to hear all this fightin'. Why don't you just go home, or find a better diner with contraptions that work?"

Inexperienced with humans as I was, even I could see the plea for reassurance that lingered in his tone.

"Nonsense," I smiled at him, "your diner is the best of the lot. I couldn't ask for a more delightful place, Jack. Really."

He smiled, much happier, "Well, thanks young miss. That's a nice thing to say."

"Nice, and true," I added.

He smiled, and scrubbed at the plate with more enthusiasm. The rag made a strange, squelching sound against the pewter iron that bothered me.

I turned in my stool so that I was facing the door. Although I liked Jack, I didn't enjoy watching him dirty the dishes even more than they already were. The smear of old food, dirt, grime, and bacteria that coated that rag made my cold, immovable stomach turn.

Of course, watching the door wasn't very helpful to my current state of mind either. What was the human phrase? ‘A watched pot never boils.' In my case, it was ‘a watched door never opens to reveal the man of my future.'

I looked away. Superstition was fairly trivial and childish, but still I adhered to it.

Although I continued monitoring the diner and everyone inside it, I allowed my attention to shift to the street outside. Empty, it sounded, except for the constant pitter-patter of the rain splashing onto the road.

"Have we come to an agreement?" one of the suspicious, cheaply dressed businessman muttered.

Obviously I had heard their entire conversation. The whole aura of shady behavior and dark deals was a hoax. Their ‘agreement' was on nothing more than a meeting place for the exchange of money and the right to a lot of land farther north. Entirely legal. And utterly boring.

The three men stood up, shook hands, and then one-by-one exited the diner. I looked eagerly over their shoulders out into the rainy Philadelphia street, but there was nothing but trees and the empty sidewalk.

My shoulders must have slumped, or my face dropped because Jack suddenly reassured me, "If he don't show, you'll find someone else. You're a pretty girl."

I smiled vaguely, "He'll show up."

"I reckon you should just go find somebody else," Jack nodded at the paperboy, "he's a nice young fellow. Tim Devonson. Why don't you go talk to him?"

I was about to open my mouth to reply, yet again, that I wasn't looking for anyone but the honey-blonde man, but I didn't have the time.

The bell tinkled again, announcing that the door had opened and a potential costumer had stepped through. His footsteps were utterly silent.

I turned quickly - too quickly.

And there he was.

He was so, so much more handsome then I could ever have imagined. His frame was tall, lean, with a strange sort of catlike grace and smooth muscles. His face, with a strong jaw and bright, burning eyes, was so perfectly built that I could hardly bear it. A brush of honey-gold hair fell into his lashes. Even the terrifying, painful scars that layered all across his face, throat, and hands could not take away from his beauty. Rather, they enhanced it. Each tiny flaw was a mark of a life experience, of something that had happened to him. They made him who he was - strong, quiet, and dangerous.

It took every scrap of my strength not to jump up, blur over to where he was, and wrap my arms around him. I wanted to hug him and Jack and Betsy, and pat everyone on the back. I wanted to congratulate myself on finding him, and demand why he was here. Most of all, I wanted to talk to him.

So I slid off my stool, ignored Jack's humph of disapproval, and skipped over to where he stood.

His eyes - a dark burgundy - appraised me as I danced over. His muscles were tense, his hands clenched into fists, but he didn't move. He simply watched.

"I've been waiting for you a long time," I said. I half wanted to scold him, and half wanted to simply dance and clap because he was finally here.

In a move that made me smile, he ducked his head and murmured, "I'm sorry, ma'am."

In those three words I heard the lingering remnants of a deep, beautiful southern accent. I felt a tingling sensation somewhere deep in my stomach.

I wanted to touch him, to know him and speak with him and love him more than anyone could possibly love another being. I yearned to embrace him with my thin arms, and tell him over and over that I loved him.

Carefully, I held out my small white hand. I heard Jack grumble, and the newsboy remark something cheekily to his grandmother, and the cook in the kitchen snap angrily at Betsy. But, clearer than any other noise, I heard his intake of breath.

And then his large, cool white hand enfolded mine.

I pulled him gently out into the rain, refusing to spend another minute in that dark, dissatisfying place with an angry Jack. He followed.

"What is your name?" I asked curiously, excitedly, walking in stride with him down the wet sidewalk.

"Jasper," he replied in a very deep, southern-tinted voice, "Jasper Whitlock."

"Hello Jasper Whitlock, I'm Alice," I grinned. I loved the sound of that - our names, in harmony. He had a beautiful name.

He looked at me curiously, his eyes burning with some emotion or thought I did not recognize, "Just Alice?"

I nodded, and pulled the familiar slip of plastic out of my jacket pocket. Without thinking twice, I handed the only piece of my past to him.

He held the tiny hospital bracelet delicately, and read the single name, ALICE, stamped across it. After a few moments, he slipped it back into my jacket pocket, "You do not know your past?"

I threaded my fingers through his more casually; wanting to permanently weave our fingers together and never let go, "No. I remember nothing of being a human, and when I woke up I was alone. That was about thirty years ago."

"So young," he said, startled.

"And you?" I asked happily, dancing a little ahead of him as the rain drops fell on my skin, "what is your story? I have seen you with other vampires, but I have never quite understood."

Instantly he was guarded. His fingers clenched, "What do you mean, seen?"

I giggled, "I see visions. Flashes of the future. I've been seeing you ever since I woke up, but I could never find you."

"Ah," he relaxed, "you are gifted."

"Are you?"

"Yes," he said.

I waited for him to elaborate.

"I . . ." he hesitated, "I feel emotions. And, if I please, I can . . . change emotions."

I felt my jaw drop. I paused, and then continued moving with a bounce in my step, "That's incredible! What am I feeling right now?"

Jasper smiled, his eyes twinkling, "You're extraordinarily happy. And excited. And there is something else . . . but I am not familiar with it."

My poor, golden-haired vampire was unfamiliar with affection and love. How heartbreaking.

I pulled him off the sidewalk, into a small, wet park. Without asking his opinion or thoughts on the matter, I seated us both on a small stone bench that rested underneath a wide, many-limbed tree. We were protected from most of the rain.

"You'll learn my emotions soon enough," I said confidently. I knew I could never allow him to leave, "but first, can I know yours? Where are you from? Who are you? I'm very curious about why I have always seen you."

He rested his back against the tree, his hand still intertwined with mine, "I do not have a happy story, Alice. It is not something I am proud of."

"There is little you can do or say to get rid of me at this point," I grinned impishly, "I've been waiting for you all my life. I'm . . . attached."

This seemed to sadden him. His eyes turned brooding, and his face tilted fractionally downward, "Wait until you know who I am before you make decisions regarding your opinion of me."

I rested my head on his shoulder, and rubbed comforting circles on his hand with my tiny thumb, "Please, Jasper. I need to know you."

I was certain, due to his body language and behavior, that he had never been touched in such an affectionate way before. He was slightly awkward, and hesitant, but he did not seem to dislike it. Rather he shifted slightly so that my head was better positioned.

Then he heaved a sigh, "Alice, I'm afraid you'll run screaming. You hardly know me."

"Not a chance," I promised, "you're stuck with me, for at least a good while."

Jasper chuckled darkly, "I won't blame you if you change your mind."

I rested my other hand on top of both our clasped hands, "Please."

After a few silent, reluctant moments, he began quietly telling me his story. His voice was stilted, as he revealed things he was deeply ashamed of, but I simply held his hand in both of mine and listened.

It was a bloody, violent painting of death and depression, but somehow it fit him. His truly moral essence existed in the fact that throughout everything he had suffered, he still had the desire to be good. I loved him all the more for it.

"I left Peter and Charlotte a few years ago," he finished quietly, "I've been wandering, growing accustomed to humans. I found it is difficult to act human when you are utterly unaware of their habits and customs, or the current styles. It's very . . . hard for me to coexist. After so many years of instantaneous satisfaction, my self-restraint is practically nonexistent. I have to hunt frequently."

I stiffened fractionally at the word hunt. His shoulders drooped, as he took my involuntary movement the wrong way.

"You see, Alice?" he shook his head sadly, "I am not a person worth waiting for."

I berated myself for being so stupid, and then straightened and looked directly into his eyes, "Jasper, I don't think you're a bad person."

His liquid, burgundy eyes were confused, and sorrowful.

"I think you are an amazing person," I said fiercely, "here you are, a product of a bloody upbringing, trying to change and be good! If you were truly a monster, you never would have left Maria."

Jasper flinched at the name. I continued on, "Jasper, I've been waiting for you for over thirty years now. If you think that I could ever leave you now," I shook my head in amusement, "you're crazy."

"You're not . . . repulsed by me?" he furrowed his eyebrows.

"Not one bit," I beamed at him, "and I have a solution to your depression. Actually, two solutions."

His eyes were filled with cautious wonder.

"Okay, first solution," I sucked in a deep, courage-building breath, "me. I'm an annoyingly happy person, and I want to be with you. I know that I can help your state of mind, if you let me. I'm willing to beg."

Jasper started opening his mouth to say something, but I cut him off, "Second solution; have you wondered at all why my eyes aren't red?"

"They're black. You're thirsty," he answered.

"Well, yes," I sighed impatiently, "but what's the hint of color? Its not red."

"Gold?" he guessed after staring deep into my eyes.

I pushed away the bubbly feelings that his intense stare invoked, and nodded, "Yes. My eyes are gold. Do you know why?"

He shook his head.

"I don't drink from humans," I smiled tentatively, "at all. I abstain, and drink from animals instead."

Jasper opened his mouth in shock.

"I know it sounds gross," I giggled, "but I've seen visions of a family who do the same thing. There are five of them, and every single one of them has the same gold eyes. They don't believe in killing humans, and because I've seen them so much, I figured I'm supposed to do the same thing."

He was still stunned, his eyes wide and his hands slack.

"Its not difficult," I continued, "I've been doing it since I first opened my eyes as a vampire. I can teach you . . . I you'd like."

"I've never heard of such a thing," he breathed.

"Yes, well," I shrugged happily, "vampires aren't meant to be merciful."

"You really are an angel, aren't you?" he exhaled, dazed.

I wrapped both my arms around him, "Not quite."

He moved his arm, and held me close. His body was perfectly hard, and sculpted, and comforting. I reveled in the closeness.

After a few minutes, he cleared his throat, "I like your solutions. Both of them. I'm not sure I could cope well if you left me now, Alice."

"Good," I tightened my hold on him, "my whole life I have been waiting for you, trying to guess your whereabouts and finally meet you. I know we're meant to be - you're never getting away from me now."

Jasper chuckled, "You couldn't stop me . . . but I could never leave you."

We held each other close on that stone bench that rainy, Philadelphia afternoon. And we stayed there for hours, all through the night, murmuring to each other. By the time we were finished speaking, he knew every single aspect of me, and I knew him. And I knew that we were utterly perfect for each other, like two parts of a single whole. I realized, as he whispered to me in the night, that I hadn't truly been whole before Jasper. I had been a wandering soul, without a home.

Jasper was that home.

We never left each other.