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The Sunshine Train

Summary:
Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!John F. Kennedy said once that the courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy. A man does what he must, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all morality.
I couldn't agree more.
Courage was the reason I was here. Courage and love. We know Edward and Bellas story during Twilight, but what if it was different? What if Alice was the new girl, and Bella was already a vampire? Would Jaspers self-control hold out when he meets a girl whos blood smells so intoxicating to him? Mostly AxJ, all canon pairings. Thank you so much to MoonSpinner for the amazing banner!!


Notes:
Read on and enjoy. Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, and i never ever ever will :(


12. Balancing

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3009   Review this Chapter

"How oft when men are at the point of death
Have they been merry! which their keepers call
A lightning before death"

APOV

I did my best to keep things from getting awkward - a gift of mine. I could talk forever if people didn’t keep shushing me. I did my best to keep the conversation flowing – talking twice as much as Jacob did, Billy keeping up with only a few grunts. I heard him heave a sigh of relief as Isaacs car pulled up in the drive, nearly an hour after their arrival.


“Billy Black!” I heard Isaac announce as he opened the door, “I’d recognise that old car anywhere!”
I beckoned to Jacob, calling over my shoulder as I walked to the kitchen, “I’ll get started on dinner, Ok?”


I heard a murmur of agreement, amidst the sudden avid conversation from his direction, and opened the fridge. I heard Jacob lean against the worktop behind me, as I pulled out vegetables and chicken, “Turn the oven on Jacob?”


He did so, and I piled the ingredients for a complicated chicken stew on the counter – glad of anything to keep me busy.
“So how’ve you been?” I asked him, as I chopped carrots haphazardly,

“I’ve been alright…why do I get the feeling I shouldn’t trust you with a knife?”

I laughed, and swept the chopped carrots into a saucepan, tossing the peelings over my shoulder into the bin, “Why? I’m hardly clumsy!”

“No…you’re just so - bouncy! I’m worried I’ll end up with a knife in my foot if you gesticulate too hard!”
I elbowed his arm hard, as I started on the peppers, “What have you been up to since you were last down La Push? Are you planning another trip anytime soon?”

I grinned, “Haven’t planned one, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely ruling it out.”

We chatted companionably as I chopped, diced and stirred. It was impossible to not like Jacob. “Who was that driving away from your house as we arrived?” He asked me, as I collected plates from the cupboard. I froze, my arms filled with china,

“That was…Jasper Hale. He gave me a lift”

“Aah. That explains it, it wondered why my dad was acting so strange.”

“Oh yeah, he doesn’t like the Cullens does he?”
Jacob rolled his eyes, “He believes the stories.”

“Oh. Do you want some of this?” I asked, desperate to change the subject.

We made our way to the front room, laden with steaming plates of curry. I gave one to Isaac and Billy, with a smile – anything to keep the judgement out of his eyes. His return smile was tight, but genuine.

“Alices chicken curry is like food from heaven. She defiantly got her mothers knack for cooking!” Isaac said, as he turned his attention back to the game on the flat screen.

I smiled, and took my plate from Jacob, settling on the sofa next to him.
It was a long night, and I had an essay to finish, so I was almost glad when the game ended, and Jacob was pushing Billy over the threshold.

“Bye Jake, I’ll drop by the reservation and see you some time”

“See you, Alice. Bye Isaac”

I didn’t stay to hear the rest of the goodbyes, and bounded up the stairs, taking them two at a time. I meant to get started on my English essay, but when I sat on my bed, I was overwhelmed with a sudden exhaustion, and fell almost unconscious as soon as I laid down.

I was too tired to even dream, and woke early, earlier than my alarm. I sat in front of my window, watching the deep grey sky lighten as the sun rose. I heard Isaac leave around dawn, and saluted him as he left.

My mood was blissful – today was Friday. Which meant tomorrow was Saturday, and that meant a whole day with Jasper. My smile was making my cheeks hurt.

I put on a CD loudly, meaning to listen to it as I got dressed, but the catchy beat caught my attention, and soon I was spinning and dancing in wild circles round my room, getting dressed at the back of my mind.

‘Cause I can’t help it if you look like an angel,
Can’t help it if I wanna kiss you in the rain so,
Come feel this magic I’ve been feeling since I met you,
Can’t help it if there’s no one else,
Mmm, I can’t help myself.

The high trilling of my alarm didn’t even distract me, and I ignored it as I sang loudly, kicking my legs high in the air.

As I span, I caught sight of the clock on the wall, and came to an abrupt stop. I ran to my open window, leaning out, catching sight of a yellow car parked in front of the car.

“Oh no, no. Please no!”

But apparently there was no higher power listening to me today, because I became all to aware of a figure sitting in the front of the car – shaking visibly with laughter. Great – Jasper had seen me dancing round my room like a complete idiot. Could life get worse than this?

“Dammit” I cursed, snatching a red blouse from the floor, and pulling on my black jeans and red heels. I was halfway down the stairs, fumbling with my buttons, when I realised with a grin, that I was wearing red again.

I pulled the door closed behind me, and danced down the drive. I jumped into the front seat with a bright smile, “Good morning Mr Hale. Don’t you dare say a word.”

“Good morning Miss Brandon. And say a word about what? I have nothing of note to talk about.”

He smiled, swallowing hard as he looked at my clothes. My smile widened, and I leant back in the seat, propping my legs up on the dashboard.
“How did you sleep?” he asked over the revving of the engine,

“Like a log – which is a saying I never understood, but I use it anyway.”

He grinned sideways at me, “Ready for my next set of questions?”

“As I’ll ever be.”

He wanted to know about people today. I told him about my uncle, about what we did when he wasn’t working, about his hobbies and how he was the only person in my family – save my mother – I had been close to. He delicately skirted the issue of my parents, something I nearly hugged him for. I told him about my old friends, the people I missed from Phoenix, the full sets of Grandparents I had, cousins I had grown up with.

He asked me about boys I’d dated – and I kept it vague. They had all been immature idiots with only one thing on their minds. He raised an eyebrow at this, “So you never met anyone you really liked”

“Never. Until recently.”

He smiled slightly, scrutinizing my face as I took a long drink of water, “I shouldn’t have driven you to school today.”

I swallowed my mouthful, “Why not?”

“Me and Edward are going hunting after lunch. If I’m going to be alone with you tomorrow, I can’t…I want to be careful.”

I nodded thoughtfully, “That’s Ok, I’ll walk” I said, wincing slightly as I pictured the heels I was wearing.

His thoughts seemed to be along the same lines, “No you won’t!” he said vehemently, “I’ll get Bella and Rosalie to drop you home Ok?”

I looked over his shoulder at his siblings. They were staring in different directions as usual; completely ignoring everyone around them, “Do your…family like me?”

“Bella does. Rosalie doesn’t like anyone, but she likes that you like shoes. They just need to get to know you…and they need to understand. I don’t think they trust me with you. I don’t trust me with you. Rosalie and Bella still want to do something with you tomorrow – if you want to, they said. Boycotting the school dance or something.”
I grinned at the memory, “Oh yeah. Ok. So tomorrow…”

“I want us to be…where we’re going at midday. So If I get to your house at normal time, would that be Ok?”

I nodded, “Isaac still thinks I’m going to Seattle, so he won’t be a problem”

He nodded, and I started slightly. Edward had appeared at Jaspers shoulder, his face completely blank and unreadable. I smiled slightly, deciding to try something.
Hello Edward I thought, in my most polite inside-voice, How are you today?

He looked at me, his lips twitching slightly, “Hello to you too Alice. I’m fine, how are you?”

“Stop reading her mind, Edward” Jasper growled at him, “I’ll meet you by the car”

“You didn’t have to do that,” I rolled my eyes, “I didn’t really mind.”

“I just…don’t like him invading your privacy”

“Thank you for the consideration. Now should I say ‘Have fun’, or is that not quite the right sentiment?”

“Have fun works just as well as anything else. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He reached across the table, his cold fingers wrapping themselves around mine for a moment, his thumb brushing against the pulse on the inside of my wrist. My breath caught in my throat.
“Bye” I managed to whisper.

English dragged by without Jasper by my side. Even though we were watching the final, death scene of Romeo and Juliet, I couldn’t concentrate. Jasper was all I could think of, his face swimming around my mind. I wondered what he was doing, if he was thinking of me. I spent a long time wondering if I wanted him to think of me – would it be strange if I was on his mind while he was hunting?

Bella and Rosalie were waiting for me as I came out of school, sitting in Rosalies red car. I made my way over to them slowly, wondering just how awkward this was going to be. I decided to just act normal – to show them that I still wanted to be friends, despite what they were.

“Hey guys” I trilled, bounding over to them, and swinging myself into the back seat of the car, “God English is dull. I mean I love Romeo and Juliet and all, but there’s only so many times you can watch two young lovers die, isn’t there?”

They stared at me incredulously for a split second before, “You like Romeo and Juliet?”

“Well yeah it’s my favourite Shakespeare book!”

“Have you read the Merchant Of Venice?” Bella said, and Rosalie started the car.

“Yes! I hated it! How about you?”

JPOV


I didn’t want to leave her, but I had to take precautions for tomorrow. I couldn’t risk anything. I didn’t want to even think about putting either one of us in that position tomorrow. I was going to be using every last ounce of self-control anyway.
I checked the clock, wondering what she was doing right now – it was a little past midnight, so I guessed she was asleep. I could picture her, tiny and curled up on her side, burrowed deep under the covers.

I missed her. I missed her face, and her smile. I could still feel the warmth of her hand in mine, even though it had been hours since I last touched her. I loved how she didn’t seem to mind the icy touch of my skin. I loved how we could stare each other in the eyes for hours, without saying anything, without needing to say anything.
I loved how she didn’t need to be an empathy, to be able to tell exactly what I was feeling.

Bella and Rosalie had got home a few hours after me, having stayed for a while with Alice. They told me their plans of having a ‘girly sleep-over’ at Alices house tomorrow night, and even though neither of them would be sleeping, it was apparently their idea.

“We wanted her to know that we’re still girls, and we still like her” they’d said, when they told me.
It was times like this I wished I could sleep, wished I could dream.

I was at Alices house a few minutes early than normal in the morning. I’d set off running, unable to be away from her any longer, and had found myself at her door in a matter of minutes. I paused by her door, raising my hand, but not knocking yet. I listened hard, hearing her humming to herself as she made breakfast in the kitchen. I could hear her light steps as she danced across the floor, hear her sitting down at the table.

Before I could realise what I was doing, I was knocking on the door. I heard her freeze, mid-chew. Heard her heart skip a few beats, heard her chair push itself back from the table.
I took a deep breath, clearing my lungs, preparing myself for her scent, as the door swung open. I stared at her for a moment. Her hair was extra spiky, like she’d run her fingers through it several times, her feet were bare, revealing her tiny toes painted with pink nail polish. She was wearing blue jeans and a white lacy top – and she looked absolutely beautiful.

I smiled at her, realising I had been staring, “Ready to go?”

“Not…not quite” she said, her eyes fixed on mine, “I was eating breakfast. Do you…want to come in?”

I took a deep breath of the clean air, nodding, and stepping inside the door. Her scent was everywhere, filling the air around me, burning my throat.
She danced down the corridor, to where I presumed was the kitchen, and I followed her, leaning against the doorframe as she finished her cereal. Her scent was getting easier to be around, but harder to resist. I was constantly fighting an internal battle, between what I wanted to do, and what I needed to do.

I couldn’t tell what side was winning – and that worried me.

Her soft hand on my arm roused me from my thoughts, “I’m done, lets go” she said, taking her hand off me, and walking towards the door, hopping as she put her feet into shoes, one at a time.

“I’m driving yes? You’ll have to direct me”

We were out by her car at this point, the sky above us a very rare blue, covered with fluffy white clouds. I prayed to whoever was listening that the sun wouldn’t come out early, and ruin my… ‘surprise’.

“Pick…something, to listen to” she gestured at the CD’s, putting the key in the ignition, and revving the car into life.

I flicked through her CD’s, thankful that she’d left the roof down, and that she drove fast. I didn’t know how long I could last in her car, with only her scent.

I directed her through the roads, telling her when and where to turn. She sang along to the songs that I played, jiggling her head or feet in time with the music, I was almost worried about her driving skills.

“Stop here,” I said, pointing to a lay-by, which she pulled up into, next to a muddy track leading up through trees, into the mountains.

“We’re hiking?”

I nodded, pulling off my jumper, and dropping it into the car, as the air grew hotter., “Is that Ok?”

“I guess, I’m not really the best hiker.”

She wasn’t kidding. It wasn’t that she walked slowly, because she didn’t. She didn’t trip and fall, she didn’t get lost, she didn’t stumble over loose rocks and logs.

But, she did get very easily distracted.
Every single time I turned around, she was examining a new flower, attempting to climb a tree, cooing over a squirrel.

She bounced like there were springs stuck to the bottoms of her sneakers, flitting between bushes and paths like a fairy.

After nearly an hour of this, I turned around to find her sitting crossed legged on a log, with her arms filled with wild flowers. I rolled my eyes, and backtracked to her.

“Alice?”

“Sorry Jasper, it’s just wow

“Alice darlin’, I’ll spend the rest of my existence, finding you as many pretty flowers as you ever want. But right now, we’re a little pushed for time.”

Her face fell slightly as her eyes met mine,
“I’m sorry” she said quietly, and I could feel her embarrassment.

I picked up a purple flower she had just dropped, and tucked it behind her ear, putting a finger under her chin, and pulling her head up, to meet her gaze.

“Come on” I smiled, and took her hand, pulling her gently after me.

I tried not to pull her hard, and she kept up with my pace easily, skipping alongside me as I strode up the mountain. She kept up a constant chatter, talking about anything and everything that seemed to pop into her head. I smiled at her, glad the wind was blowing her scent away from me, and stroked her fingers with mine, keeping our hands intertwined.

It took us almost not time at all to get to where I wanted to be, now that she was moving quickly. I stopped, and pushed her in front of me, taking a deep breath, and placing one arm around her stomach, the other over her eyes.

She gave a slight gasp, “Sorry darlin’” I whispered in her ear, “It’s a surprise, and I have to make sure you don’t peek”

I felt her smile against my fingers, and took that as confirmation that she was Ok. I lifted her, carrying her a few feet, up onto a huge flat rock in the centre of a clearing. I took my fingers away from her eyes, and watched her reaction.

Her eyes went wide as she took in the sight in front of her, standing on the huge glittering rock, over a sparkling lake, fed by a small mountain spring, trickling through the rocks.

Bright flowers grew at the waters edge, dragonflies skimmed over the surface of the water, “Oh Jasper, it’s beautiful” she breathed, and I knew she wasn’t lying. I didn’t need to feel her emotions to feel the excitement radiating off her.

“That’s not all” I said, checking my watch. It was exactly one minute to midday, and if I was right, the sun would shine down on us in exactly 57 seconds.

I unbuttoned my shirt, exposing my chest, and took a deep breath, closing my eyes. I felt her hand tighten around mine in encouragement, and I smiled, as the clouds drifted from the sun, and it beamed down around us.