Pairings: Alice/Jasper, Edward/Bella Main Characters: Jasper and Bella friendship Summary: Set after the events of New Moon at the very beginning of Eclipse, Jasper feels the need to apologize to Bella.
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 2877 Review this Chapter
Rating: Teen (about the same as the books)
Pairings: Alice/Jasper, Edward/Bella
Main Characters: Jasper and Bella friendship
Word Count: 2,843
Summary: Set after the events of New Moon at the very beginning of Eclipse, Jasper feels the need to apologize to Bella.
Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is designed to increase fan appreciation of her work. No money is earned from the writing of this story.
I nervously watched Bella sitting at the piano with Edward. I’d kept my distance but given a polite ‘hello’ after she’d received welcome back hugs from most of my relatives. She’d only been here a few hours, but it seemed like a good segment of eternity as I sat uncomfortably in her presence. The problem wasn’t her; it was all me. Every time I looked at her I was filled with shame for what I had almost done and guilt for the harm I had caused. Of course, I could have gone to another room or out into the forest to clear my head, but I kept trying to work up the nerve to talk to her. I knew I had to set things right with her, but I filled with despair every time I thought about it. Words couldn’t make up for what I’d done.
Still, if she was going to be around all of the time, which she certainly would be if for no other reason than it pleased Alice, I had to try. I couldn’t go through this every time she came over. One way or another, we had to move past this. It comforted me somewhat to know that if this was going to end badly, surely Alice would stop me. My love was perfectly content sitting at my side. There was no trace of apprehension in her emotions. That was enough to finally push me into motion. As I glided across the room toward the piano, I reminded myself that Alice had said that Bella had forgiven me from the beginning. Of course, Alice wasn’t above lying to me if she thought it was for the best. I nearly lost my nerve again right there. Unfortunately, another problem with being a vampire was that you got places too quickly. I was already beside the human. She noticed me as Edward ended his song.
“Bella . . .” I began slowly. I was suddenly acutely aware of my audience as tension filled the room. All eyes were on me. Everyone had stopped their previous activities to see what I was going to do. The shame was instantly a million times worse. My own family couldn’t trust me. I couldn’t do this in front of them. It was too much. “May I . . .” I cut the sentence off with a sigh. She’d never agree. It was ridiculous for me to even ask, but . . . I had to try. I was too embarrassed to say what needed to be said in front of my family. “Would it frighten you too much to talk to me in private?”
I regretted the words the moment I spoke them. Of course it would frighten her to be alone with me; it should terrify her. However, it was too late to back out. If she refused, when she refused, I’d say my well-rehearsed speech in front of everyone. It wasn’t like it really mattered anyway. Edward would hear the whole conversation through my head, and Alice would see it all before it ever even happened. There were no secrets in a family such as ours. Still, there was quite a difference between displaying your humiliation openly in front of everyone and knowing that they would find out about it eventually.
It absolutely shocked me when Bella said, “No, of course not, Jasper,” and stood to follow me. She was confused, but not afraid. A sudden surge in emotions reminded me that she wasn’t the only one who would object to my being alone with her. The warning look on Edward’s face was a clear indication that he wasn’t about to go along with this. Of course, Edward already knew my intentions. That was one of the good things about having a mind reader for a brother. You never needed to explain yourself. My intentions did nothing to assure her safety, though. Wasn’t that the whole problem? I hoped that he realized that if this decision was putting Bella in danger, Alice would have already stopped it. I concentrated on that thought for him. It was unnecessary—as soon as it occurred to me, he’d already heard it—but it was a hard instinct to break. It was the sort of thing that usually made him roll his eyes at me, but this time he slowly nodded his assent. His eyes remained wary. Perhaps he understood that patching this rift between us would make things more comfortable for everyone, Bella included. That thought earned me another unexpected nod.
“Thank you,” I said to both of them, although I was certain that Bella had missed the silent exchange I’d had with her boyfriend. I wasn’t really sure where I should take her. Anywhere inside the house would be too close to prevent prying ears from hearing, and even I didn’t trust myself alone with her far enough away to prevent that. I soon found that my body had taken me to Alice’s room with Bella right behind me. Subconsciously I’d chosen somewhere I felt safe.
“I’ve always wondered, why do you two have a bed and Edward doesn’t?” she asked. She was talking out of nervousness. I intimidated her, but she still didn’t feel afraid as I shut the door. She flopped herself onto the bed. She felt at home here, and why shouldn’t she? This was technically Alice’s room. I was too absorbed in my thoughts to laugh at what she’d obviously missed, the actual purpose of our bed.
I took a slow breath to steady myself. It was a human habit I’d never really let go of. My mind raced through the words I’d practiced over and over again in my head all evening. It got all jumbled around and none of it seemed adequate anymore. How did you say “Sorry I nearly killed you, Bella” or “Sorry I destroyed your life”? I paced the room as I tried to organize what I wanted to say. I started to begin, but the guilt I felt was suddenly so great, I was only able to suck in another ragged breath. The back of my eyes stung horribly as I recalled the day I wanted to discuss, but I refused to lose myself to my emotions.
Bella’s voice broke through my misery. “Jasper, are you alright? No offense, but I’ve never seen a vampire look like he’s about ready to pass out before,” she joked. When I didn’t reply, she began to worry. “What’s wrong?” she whispered.
She was concerned about me? It was too much, but it was the catalyst I needed to start the flood of words. “Bella, I wanted to formally apologize for my behavior on your last birthday. I . . .”
She cut me off with a sigh of relief. “Is that all? Jasper, you had me so worried! Didn’t Alice tell you that I forgave you the day that it happened?”
I frowned. I had been certain that Bella would get angry with me once I broached the subject. Didn’t she realize that everything that had happened since that moment had been my fault? It was my fault she nearly died. It was because of me that Edward had left her. Even the Volturi wouldn’t be coming for her if it weren’t for me. “She did, but . . . what I did . . . it’s unforgivable.”
“Jasper, you were acting on instinct. Honestly, it’s my fault for being so clumsy. If I hadn’t cut myself . . .” She shook her head as she trailed off. “I don’t blame you. I know that giving up human blood is extremely hard for you. You’re the newest at it. You can’t expect to be perfect at it to start with. With more practice you’ll be better able to resist those urges, like Carlisle or Edward. It’s understandable why you reacted like that.”
“It’s inexcusable,” I growled. She probably didn’t know that I’d been a murderer well before my siblings were even born, but that guilt sat heavy in my heart. It was my own fault that I truly craved human blood more than any of the others.
“Jasper, have you been beating yourself up over this since it happened?” Genuine concern touched her voice again.
I couldn’t understand her reaction, but I could feel that she really was worried about me. Was my need to castigate myself really a question to debate? She was like a baby sister to me, and I’d been so close to ending her life. “Bella, I nearly killed you. Yes, the thought of what I did tortures me.”
“You do realize that I was never in any real danger don’t you?” she asked.
So that’s how she could forgive me. She didn’t truly understand. I hated that I needed to explain it to her, but she needed to know. “Bella, I was frenzied from the blood. I tried, believe me, I did try, but I couldn’t control myself. I was going to bleed you dry.” I closed my eyes. I couldn’t look at her as she realized that I was a killer.
“I don’t believe that you really would have, but that wasn’t my point. My point was that I was never in danger. Do you really think that you could have fought past Edward to hurt me? And Alice? She wouldn’t have stopped you? Even if you had managed to bite me, one of them would have pulled you off of me before I was dead. I’d be a vampire now, but that’s what I want anyway. There’s no way your family would have let you kill me. I was never in any danger.”
Of course she was right. Despite my family’s common affliction, I was the only one capable of murdering my sister. Everyone else would have protected her from me. It was suddenly too much. Carlisle and the Cullens, they were all vampires, but I was the only real monster here. I didn’t belong here with any of them, these peaceful and gentle beings, not even with Alice. She was too good for me. Why hadn’t she left me? “I don’t know how you, or any of my family for that matter, can stand to be around me now,” I gasped. “Not now that you know what a real monster I truly am.” I put my hand over my eyes so that she couldn’t see the tremors overtake me.
I cried in silence for a minute, unable to focus on anything but my own self-hatred. I shook uncontrollably as I tried to blink away the tears that could never come. I’d given up any pretense of holding myself together. My body shuddered with sobs like it actually depended upon the ineffective gasps of breath for air.
A warm hand on my shoulder made me jerk from shock. “Shh, stop that,” she whispered firmly. “Stop. Please stop punishing yourself.”
I dropped the hand from my eyes to stare at her in disbelief. Was she insane? She was inches away from me and touching me. Did she truly not realize how dangerous it was for her to put her pulsating carotid artery so close to my salivating mouth? Her arms were suddenly around me in a hug. She put her head gently on my shoulder. “No one here thinks you’re a monster, Jasper. I know I don’t.”
Then something inexplicable happened. The craving didn’t take control like it always did. Her calmness washed over me, and it calmed me. My breathing slowed to match hers. Despite the throbbing of her heartbeat, the flow of venom lessened somewhat. The urge to drink her blood just vanished. I looked into her eyes, confused by this new sensation. I could tell that she trusted me completely. She felt safe, so I felt safe. I wasn’t going to hurt her. I was confident of that. It occurred to me that maybe she wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t sure how much Edward had told her about my power, but perhaps she had known this would happen. Was she doing this on purpose?
I realized extremely belatedly that Alice had always done this for me naturally. Since the moment I’d met her, I’d known that her hopefulness had influenced me, but I’d never really realized the extent of it. Alice’s visions allowed her to be calm and confident whenever I feared harming a human. She was able to tell me with certainty that I wasn’t going to hurt someone, and then the strength to overcome the hunger would come out of nowhere. I’d always thought that it was amazing that she could see the future like that, but what if it wasn’t just her predicting my fate? What if Alice’s faith in me had influenced her emotions such that she was the cause of any self-control I ever experienced?
The striking contrast between the absolute calmness I felt with Bella pressed to my shoulder and the horrible agitation I’d felt that awful day made me reexamine my emotions from that episode. Hunger had flooded me. It had increased exponentially as more and more of it had washed over me. Then I’d been overcome with aggression. What if not all of those feelings had been my own? What if not all of the hunger I’d felt had been mine? Of course I knew that I felt the emotions of others, but I’d never really thought about the effects of my siblings’ hunger on my own self-control. That day I’d been surrounded by vampires nearly overwhelmed by their urges. Had I absorbed their desire for blood? Now that I recognized what had occurred, was it possible for me to separate myself from their hunger the way I had learned to with their emotions? Had Edward’s immediate surge in aggression caused that same feeling inside me? What would have happened if I’d had someone calm and relaxed next to me that day like I did now? I carefully stored those thoughts for later reflection.
The most important thing was my future actions. I knew now that I wasn’t a danger to Bella. There was no way that I could hurt her if she could stay composed like this. Her tranquility was enough to overcome my natural reaction. “Thank you, Bella,” I breathed with amazement. I’d have to discuss this new theory with Alice. Perhaps she already understood it; perhaps she’d been using this strategy on me for years. Regardless, I knew she’d be able to trust me and stay calm for me when I needed. “Bella, do you think that you can keep your emotions like that, even when I start to act scary?” I asked.
“You won’t hurt me,” she said confidently.
“I won’t,” I instantly agreed. She was safe to be around me, at least to hang out in our house until Edward finally decided to turn her. And I felt that I had a deep new insight into my deplorable behavior in the past. What kind of effect had being surrounded by dozens of starving newborns had on me in my early days? It was a lot to think about, but I saved it for later. “I think we’ve probably kept Edward and Alice on edge enough for one day, don’t you think? Maybe we should go back downstairs?”
Bella hugged me tighter for a brief second before she released me. I headed back down the stairs, still contemplating my new view on things. I was not surprised to find Alice at the bottom waiting for me. She leaped into my arms the moment I hit the main floor. “I knew you wouldn’t hurt her,” she said proudly.
“Of course not,” I said with a smile I genuinely felt. Alice was happy, so I was happy.
“Edward and I are going to play a game of chess. We waited because Bella’s going to want to watch,” she informed me. I was used to her telling me people’s opinions on things they hadn’t even been asked yet. It still made my grin widen. Her enthusiasm was infectious.
“Good, can Bella and I play after that? I’m very curious to see how good a strategist she really is.”
Edward laughed at my thoughts. “Bella a strategist? No, she had no idea. Luckily for all of us, Bella doesn’t seem to have any sense of what’s dangerous.”
Bella pretended to shove him. “I’d love to play you at chess, Jasper.” She was excited about it, and so was I.
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