Sometimes Goodbye Is A Second Chance
After 5 years of rebuilding his life and putting the pieces back together, everything falls apart once again when she comes storming back into his life. Alice/Jasper - AU and AH
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. I am not, will never be and never was Stephenie Meyer. This is an Alice Jasper AU and AH story. And also my first Twilight story.
21. Chapter 21
Rating 5/5 Word Count 4889 Review this Chapter
CHAPTER 21: A Blast From The Past
Breathe in, breathe out
Tell me all of your doubts
Everybody bleeds this way, just the same
Breathe in, breathe out
Move on and break down
If everyone goes away, I will stay
- Breathe In, Breathe Out by Mat Kearney
I panicked. I really panicked. Seeing Lauren on our front steps suddenly brought my past back to life and right to me. I didn’t want her here; I wanted her gone and to never see her again. We didn’t part on the best terms, but more importantly than that; she reminder me of my biggest mistake. And she was here, disrupting this perfection I had been living in the past few months.
My hands were shaking uncontrollably. I didn’t know what she wanted, but it couldn’t be anything good. Why couldn’t she have stayed away, why did she need to come here? What could she possibly want? No, no, no, no.
I started gasping for air. She was here to ruin things. I knew things were too good to be true, now it would all fall apart. I meant what I said to Jasper the previous night, I had hurt him too much and he took me back; that wasn’t right. I should have stayed as far away from him as possible, I was never good enough for him.
I could feel the sweat on my forehead. There has always been a voice in the back of my mind that someday I would hurt him again. Or that he’d come to his senses and realize this has been a mistake. I wanted him so much; I would trade anything and everything for being able to have him and Amber.
I was feeling cold one second and unbelievably hot the next. My parents showed me a long time ago I didn’t deserve to be happy. I didn’t deserve to have anything or to be with anyone. I was fated to be alone, unloved and unhappy. There was no riding into the sunset for me, no happily ever after. I was a nobody. And I had forgotten my place.
All I could see was darkness. The past had caught up with me and my little piece of heaven was over. I experienced what could have been, would I not be Alice. I saw how happy someone can be, but never me. No one could protect me from my fate, from being alone and miserable. The short lived fairy tale was dissolving into pieces.
“Alice,” I heard Jasper’s voice. I tried to focus on his face, but it was hard. “Come back to me, darlin’.”
“What?” I asked confused.
“You scared me,” he said relieved. “I’m sorry I slapped you, but you were gone and I couldn’t reach you. I called your name, but you didn’t answer, I shook you, but nothing.”
I looked around me, noticed we were still in the car, only now it was parked in the driveway. I turned around to look at the front stairs, but Lauren was still there. It was real. I started shaking again.
“Hey, hey,” Jasper said and grabbed my hands. “Easy now, calm down, Alice.”
I felt like I have just awoken from a deep slumber and everything was still foggy and confusing.
“Don’t panic, everything is alright, ok?” Jasper tried to calm me down.
I nodded slowly and then looked back at her and terrified, whispered “She’s here to ruin everything.”
“No, no, she won’t ruin anything, ok. We’ll just send her back where she came from, alright?” he said.
But I couldn’t look away. I knew he was wrong, she was going to ruin everything. She was going to persuade Jasper I wasn’t worth the effort, she would plant little seeds of doubt into his mind; she would.
“Hey, Alice, look at me,” Jasper turned my head back to him. “Now listen carefully, ok?”
He was silent for a few second, before continuing, “She is here, there is nothing we can do about it. But she won’t be here for long, ok? You and Amber are here and you are safe. You’re not going anywhere, and most importantly, I’m not going anywhere, ok? I love you and I’m not letting go. Never again, ok?”
My breathing slowly returned back to normal and although I was still scared and nervous, his words have calmed me down.
“Ok?” Jasper asked me again, not letting go of my hands.
“Ok,” I breathed out slowly.
“Ok,” Jasper confirmed, leaned closer and quickly gave me a peck on the nose. “Take Amber, while I go and say hi to the troublemaker.”
“No,” I stopped him terrified, “I’ll go with you.”
He looked at me, contemplating. “Please,” I pleaded. And he nodded.
I checked on Amber, she was still sleeping, so I let her be. She didn’t need to be part of this. I slowly got out of the car and joined Jasper, and we walked toward the house together.
“I though you’d hide in the car forever,” Lauren snickered.
I almost took a step back, but Jasper took my hand, looking pissed at Lauren. He said seriously, “What do you want?”
“That is not a nice way to greet an old friend,” she mocked back.
“Hi Lauren,” I spoke up, firmly gripping Jasper’s hand. Even though Lauren offered me a place to stay all those years back, and got me a job, I didn’t have fond memories of her. We were roommates, but we weren’t friends. We were both damaged and we both wanted to escape reality. And we got along amicably, talking to each other and partying together day after day or better to say night after night. But all that changed when I got pregnant.
I quit my job, when I found out I was pregnant and Lauren was pissed. She offered to make the best out of the situation, after I told her I wasn’t even considering abortion; and that was to make extra money as a pregnant dancer. Men were supposedly crazy about pregnant chicks, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted a fresh start, a good life for my baby. And when I tried to explain that to Lauren, she threw me out, said I was useless and stupid. I didn’t mind, I wanted to leave anyway. I haven’t seen her or spoken to her since.
“How have you been?” I asked her.
“Busy as always,” she answered. “Anyway, I was just in the neighborhood and decided to drop by and say hi.”
Then she turned to Jasper, who still looked pissed as hell, and gave him a good look-over, smiled huskily and said, “Hi.”
“Well, now you’ve seen us,” Jasper said.
“Why so much hostility?” Lauren protested. “I’ve just came to visit a dear friend.”
“Right,” Jasper snorted, doubt evident in his voice.
Amber chose that moment to wake up and started to cry. “I’ll get her,” Jasper said, although he looked uncertain.
“I see you’ve actually kept the brat,” Lauren started, “I guess it was useful and smart to keep it after all.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked annoyed.
“Well, playing the damsel in distress so that he would take you back and do the responsible thing, dummy,” Lauren accused me.
“I kept my baby, cause I wanted it, not to use it in any way,” I defended myself.
“Yeah, right, and that is why you came to Jasper, huh?” Lauren snickered.
“I don’t even need to answer this, but I’m going to anyway. I came here, cause I didn’t have anywhere else to go.” All previous fear and nervousness were gone, at the moment I was only annoyed and angry with her.
“Sure.” She didn’t believe me. And I didn’t care.
“Look,” she started, “I only came here to ask you to be able to spend the night. I won’t bother you anymore then. Some friends are picking me up tomorrow, and I kind of ran out of money and couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel. And I don’t know anyone else in the city.”
“No clients?” I mocked her and myself at the same time. Although I always only danced.
“Not here. Oh, come on, Alice, I’m not asking for much. And you owe me.” She persisted.
I sighed; she knew very well how to play her hand. She needed a place to stay and I did owe her, since she helped me all those years ago. Maybe not in the way a normal person would need it, but I wasn’t normal then.
“I’m done with that life,” I said to her, “I never intend to return to it.”
“Yeah, you never fit in anyway,” Lauren admitted, seriously this time. “So, can I stay? Just this night.”
It was against my better judgment, but I nodded. “I’ll have to ask Jasper first.”
“Oh, I’m sure he won’t mind, it’s not as if you don’t have him wrapped around your finger.”
I wanted to protest, but didn’t. I wanted to return her the favor, help her out and then be done with her. Once and for always. I intended to cut all the ties with my previous life and work on the one I was leading now. No more stupid mistakes, no more crazy stuff. Just a peaceful, normal life.
Jasper returned and handed me Amber, who was now quiet but kept brushing her tired eyes. Lauren took one look at her and wriggled her nose in annoyance.
If looks could kill, she would be dead by now. “Can I talk to you?” I asked Jasper, hoping to prevent a murder.
He nodded and we stepped away. “What is it, darlin’?” he asked, rubbing my arms.
“Well, I don’t know how to say this, but Lauren asked me if she could stay the night,” I explained.
“Like hell,” Jasper spat and was about to return to Lauren and give her a piece of his mind, when I stopped him.
“I told her she could.” I said and then closed my eyes.
“Now why would you do that?” he asked with a strong southern drawl, curious and taken aback.
“Because I owe her,” I whispered.
“I’m sure you don’t owe her shit,” Jasper protested.
“No, no, hear me out,” I pleaded. “She gave me a way out and got me a job, when I was at the bottom and I need to return the favor in order to make closure. I don’t want to owe her anything, I don’t want any ties with her anymore. I want to burry the past.”
“You don’t need to do this, Ali.” Jasper insisted. “And I don’t trust her.”
“I don’t either, but at the same time I do.” I looked down, trying to come up with a way to explain.
“It’s not as if I care for her, it’s just ... I don’t expect you to understand.” I tried, when he stopped me.
Jasper sighed. “Fine, but just till morning, then she’s gone.”
“Ok,” I nodded relieved. Jasper had never liked Lauren, even in high school. And I knew he blamed her for getting me to work in the club, too. Although that was mostly my fault, she just offered me an opportunity; I was the one who took it.
“Let’s get you inside then; I don’t want Amber to catch a fucking cold.” He took my hand, and I could see how angry he was.
“I’m going to go and bring the bags in,” he said. “If she gives you any trouble, let me know, and she is out. And do keep an eye on her, I don’t want her out of our sight.”
I nodded and went back to Lauren. “Come on inside,” I invited her.
She followed me inside and I put Amber in her table baby chair, while putting on water from some tea.
“Don’t you have anything stronger,” Lauren said.
I sighed but decided to be patient for the next couple of hours. She would be gone soon. I opened the cabinet with liquor, pushing Jack Daniels aside and grabbing something cheaper. I poured her a glass, “Here you go.”
“Can I have a double,” she persisted. I wanted to roll my eyes, but poured her a double instead. Just till morning, I reminded myself. And suddenly I didn’t know how I had been able to live with her all that time. She was impossible to reason with, rude and annoying. I guess I just didn’t care.
“So, how is your life going?” she asked me with a mocking gaze.
“Just fine,” I answered, not really wanting to talk about it. She eyed Amber curiously, but with a hint of despise.
“She doesn’t bite, you know,” I said, while handing Amber a grizzly bear Emmett had given her.
“Yeah, babies and I don’t get along too well,” she said. “Never saw anything interesting in them.”
She wanted me to say something back, but I just nodded. I didn’t want to fight with her; I just wanted this evening to be over and her to be gone in the morning.
“When are your friends picking you up?” I asked and sipped on my tea. “And how did you get here anyway? How did you know where I’d be?”
“In the morning,” she said and poured herself another drink. “Someone drove me. I figured you’d be here; you’ve always been way too predictable. And with the brat, where else could you go. Perfect weapon.” She grinned teasingly and I rolled my eyes, not knowing what she meant.
“Right,” I said, taking a good look at her. She was extremely thin, although she has always been curvy. It was probably the partying and the alcohol. Maybe even drugs.
I started wondering where I would be now, had I stayed with her. What would have become of me and my baby? Would there even be a baby? A sharp pain went through me, when I imagined my life without Amber. But before I could go further down that road, Jasper came in and our gazes met, depressing thoughts went out the window immediately. I was here and I was safe. That was all that mattered.
Jasper put the basket on the counter, took out a few sandwiches and put them on the table.
“Here are some sandwiches Rose made.” He looked at Lauren, “you can take one if you want.”
“Aww,” Lauren sang, “you went to see the rest of the gang. How pretty. And how are they doing?”
“They’re fine,” Jasper said and turned around, not wanting to continue the conversation. He poured himself a cup of tea and stood beside Amber.
Amber gooed and reached towards Jasper. He took her in his arms, where she snuggled contently. Lauren raised an eyebrow and took a sandwich.
“And how are you enjoying being a daddy?” she prodded Jasper. “She definitely turned your life upside down, huh.”
“We’re fine, so just mind your own business.” Jasper groaned.
“So defensive and private,” Lauren laughed.
Before Jasper could answer her, I said, “I’ll make the couch ready. It’s getting late and we’re all tired from the drive.” I tried not to push, but I didn’t want to talk and catch up, I just wanted to get this behind me.
Alice went to get the couch ready and left us alone.
“Don’t you even try to play us, Lauren.” I threatened her, fiercely protective of my family. I saw how Alice reacted, when she saw Lauren. She just kept shaking, her gaze was completely unfocused and she was sweating and gasping for air. I have never seen her like that, and I didn’t know whether it was because of Lauren herself or the threat Alice thought she represented.
What I did know, however, was that I didn’t want her to go through anything like that again, and I wanted Lauren out of the house and our lives as soon as possible. When Alice first asked if she could stay, I thought I didn’t hear right. But I saw the pleading look in her eyes and knew she had to do it. I didn’t understand it, it wasn’t reasonable to me; especially since I saw her first reaction. But if she needed to do it, she needed to do it.
She was part of her past and if she needed closure, I could understand that. I could relate to that, it was what I had to do with Maria. I just had to see her and say goodbye to her as a person and as the threat and nuisance in my life. I felt better afterwards and knew that chapter of my life was behind me. And now Alice needed to do the same, and I wouldn’t stand in her way.
Lauren was another thing. I despised her, always had. She was never a nice person, even as a student she was manipulative, cunning and just a brat. She always looked down at Alice, and even thought Alice didn’t mind, probably because she, herself, thought Lauren was right, I did. And I let her know that and kept her in check. In high school, Lauren was afraid of me and was at the same time attracted to me. I wouldn’t look at her twice, but that never stopped her. And in an attempt to get on my good side, she didn’t bother Alice anymore. But I always knew what she really thought and how she felt.
I let her stay the night, but she would be back on her way first thing in the morning. She was never up to any good and I knew this time was no different. Whether she was here purely out of her curiosity or with some other intentions, I wouldn’t give her the chance to do anything stupid.
“Don’t worry, cowboy, I’m a good girl,” Lauren purred. I couldn’t believe she still kept trying to seduce me. She never learned.
“Sure you are,” I said and kissed Amber on her head.
“Tell me one thing,” Lauren looked at Amber, “why did you take her back? Because of the brat? Did she manipulate you or did she use emotional blackmail?”
“She’s not you, Lauren, she doesn’t work that way,” I spat back. “Now, the bathroom is across the hall, behind the stairs. I think your bed is ready.”
I walked into the living room, trying to avoid further argument and her insults, where Alice was just finishing up making the bed.
Lauren popped down on the freshly made bed and closed her eyes.
“Good night,” Alice said and moved towards me.
“Night,” Lauren answered.
I looked at her closely for a few more seconds, but then Alice grabbed my hand and we went upstairs.
“How are you feeling?” I asked Alice. I was still a little worried; her mini breakdown put me on edge.
“I’m ok, I’m just happy this will soon be over,” she took Amber from me and laid her on the bed. She wasn’t sleepy yet. “I have to do it, but it doesn’t mean I like it.”
I handed her some toys and sat down on the other side. Amber gooed happily and kept kicking with her legs.
Alice looked at Amber, “She doesn’t like her.”
“She’s stupid,” I said. “Don’t get upset cause of her.”
“I won’t, I’m not. It just seems so ridiculous to not like a baby. They are all so innocent and harmless.” She played with Amber’s hair.
“I know. Some people have issues,” I let out a deep breath.
“Can we keep Amber here for tonight?” Alice looked up at me. “Or can we sleep in the other room with her? I’m just not comfortable leaving her all alone in the room. It’s not that I’m afraid for her, I’ll just feel better.”
“Sure,” I agreed, not because I actually thought Lauren would do something to her, but because Alice would be more relaxed and would actually sleep a little.
“Thank you, you’re amazing,” she leaned forward and kissed me.
“That’s what I’m always told,” I grinned.
“Cocky much?” Alice giggled.
“Come on; let’s move to the other room. She has all her things there.” I took Amber and we went to her room.
“I need to feed her and change her,” Alice went to the changing table and put Amber on it.
“I’ll be back in a minute; I have to brush my teeth.” She nodded.
While I let Alice do her thing, I stood on the top of the stairs for a few minutes and listened carefully. Everything was quite downstairs, so I went to the bathroom and got ready for bed. On the way back I checked again, but no sound came from downstairs. When I returned to the room, Alice was already putting Amber to sleep. I went to the cradle and kissed my baby girl goodnight.
“Sleep tight. You’ve had a long day and a busy weekend.”
I went into the bed to make it warm and cozy for Alice, while she sang a lullaby to Amber. She had a lovely voice.
After Amber had fallen asleep, she joined me in bed. I put my arms around her and she snuggled closer. We didn’t talk, we were both tired, and so I just pulled the covers up and turned off the light. And tried to fall asleep.
“I love you,” Alice said.
“And I you,” I answered her and kissed the top of her head. She was still feeling insecure, but there was nothing I could do at that moment. I could just hope it would pass once Lauren was gone again and things returned back to normal. She didn’t feel very secure in general, but this visit had shaken her confidence up even more.
I didn’t sleep much. Alice kept tossing and turning, mumbling things in her sleep I couldn’t understand. She was having nightmares, which didn’t come as a surprise, since she was prone to them. I didn’t try to wake her, but instead did my best to calm her down, kissed her and held her close. It usually helped for a while, but then the nightmares soon returned.
Amber woke up at four and Alice fed her. She came back to bed then, looking exhausted.
“Don’t worry, Alice, everything is ok. You are safe and you are loved,” I whispered to her and hoped it would calm her down.
I gently kissed her and she returned the kiss drowsily. I chuckled and kissed her nose.
“Her visit doesn’t change anything, you are still my everything.” I tried to make it clear. “Try to sleep now.”
She nodded and drifted back to sleep, this time into a more peaceful slumber. But I couldn’t. I was worried over Alice and I kept listening if everything was quiet downstairs. About two hours later, something disturbed my light sleep. I carefully disentangled myself from Alice and put my pants and shirt on.
I listened closely for a few more minutes, but everything was quiet. I went to check on Amber and saw that she was sleeping peacefully. Then I noticed a movement in front of house and saw Lauren walking away.
I exited a room and ran after her. This wasn’t like her to just walk away and not throw anything more in our faces.
“Wait up,” I yelled, when I reached outside.
Lauren turned around, but quickened her pace, when she saw me.
“Oh no, you don’t,” I muttered. She had no chance; I caught up with her in a matter of seconds.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked annoyed after I grabbed her arm.
“Let me go.” She snatched her hand away. “I didn’t want to disturb you and my ride is coming in a few minutes,” she defended herself.
“Yeah, and why did you run then?” I lifted my brows.
“Sure you did,” I would let it go. She wore the same clothes as the night before. And when I looked at her closer, I noticed that she was trying to find a way out of this. She kept averting her gaze, trying not to look me in the eyes and stay calm. But she was doing a terrible job.
I snatched her backpack, “Let me see that.”
“No,” she reached for it, but I was taller, so she couldn’t get it.
I opened it and saw what she had inside – silverware, CDs, toiletries, food and some money. I wasn’t sure if I should pity her or be pissed at her for stealing.
“Why did you take these things, Lauren?” I asked.
She was silent for a moment, but then burst out, “Because I don’t live in a fairy tale, I don’t have anything I want. My bed is not made of roses, I have nothing.”
“That doesn’t give you the right to steal,” I stopped her. “And even though I don’t have to defend myself to you, I worked for these things and didn’t always have it easy.”
“Well, look at you now. You have a house, many beautiful things, Alice and a kid. You have everything.” Lauren accused me.
“I do, but I went through a lot to get all that. And you can have it, too if you want it.” I tried to reason.
“I just want to have pretty things too and money to buy them,” she cried.
“And what’s stopping you?” I asked annoyed. “You can have all those things; you just have to work hard for them and really try.”
“Like you worked hard for it? You screwed up big time, cheated on Alice and then, when she started getting better, you had to come back and knock her up; so she had to come back to you. How does it feel when you know she is back, cause you manipulated her into it? Do you label that hard work?” Lauren mocked me. But she had all the facts wrong.
I sighed, “I never cheated on Alice, she just misunderstood things.”
“Right,” Lauren snorted.
“And I am not Amber’s father,” I said, wishing that things would be different. Somewhere in the back of my head was a constant threat that her real father would come back one day and want her back. It’s like I was having them both in foster care until their real family comes back. I didn’t think about it often, but the threat was always there. I was hoping it would never happen, but I could never be sure.
“Did you hit yourself in the head?” Lauren snickered. “First you didn’t cheat on Alice and now you aren’t her brat’s sweet daddy?”
“What are you talking about? I haven’t seen Alice in 5 years,” I had had enough of this nonsense. “Keep the things but never come back again, I don’t want to see you here ever again, you hear me,” I threatened Lauren.
I turned around and started walking back towards the house.
“You really don’t remember, do you?” Lauren persisted. “Oh, this is just priceless.”
“For the last time, what the hell are you talking about?” I was losing my patience.
“Why do you think Alice came back to you? Really, think for a while, where were you about, I don’t know, a year ago?” Lauren smiled wickedly.
“In Washington,” I answered automatically.
“As was Alice,” she pointed out.
”But I never saw Alice,” I said and rolled my eyes.
“Sure you did. Don’t you remember the party you and James crashed? You were drunk; I give you that, but not passed out. Do you really not remember?” Lauren asked.
I suddenly felt dizzy, I didn’t remember anything, but this was beginning to be too much. “No.” She was talking nonsense.
“You ran into Alice at that party and you two ended up sleeping together, I saw you myself. Hell, I even had some fun with James.” Lauren laughed.
I suddenly felt weak and cold and hot at the same time. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing; I had no knowledge of a night like that.
I could hear a car in the distance. “Ah, my ride. Well, I would love to stay, I really would, but I have to go.” Lauren turned around, but then looked back once more. “Ask Alice about it, she knows well why she came back to you.”
She walked away, but I just kept standing there, trying to grasp what Lauren just said. It couldn’t be true, right? There is no way Amber was really my daughter. I knew I drank a lot, but I never forgot an entire night before and I would have remembered Alice. I had no recollection at all about what happened. Nah, Lauren was just making things up to be a pain in the ass. I know we had a few drinks, but I would have remembered going to a party.
I started to walk back to the house, but her words still haunted me.
I stopped. Could it be true? Could it really have happened on a bizarre level? And if so, did Alice really know? But she would have told me, wouldn’t she? A cold dread suddenly washed over me and I fell to my knees. I cupped my face into my hands, shaking uncontrollably. I was lost.
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