When Jasper finds an old basswood guitar at a rummage sale, will he rediscover an old passion in himself?
5. Chapter 5
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Carlisle ignored me completely when he got home. I’ll admit, I was surprised. There was no was he could have missed my scent in the hospital, no way he could have mistaken it for anyone else’s. I was sitting on the landing of the stairs, Alice lying in my lap, when he returned. He nodded to us, but no more. No significant look, nothing.
Less than an hour later, we were the only two in the house. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. I didn’t let him to come to me. I wouldn’t cower from it. He was sitting at the head of the dining room table, waiting. I sat at the opposite end, as far from him as I could because I knew it was what he, and everyone else expected of me. Sometimes it was just easier that way.
“It may not be of my concern,” he began quietly, “and I want you to know that I know that. I’ll also respect that if that’s what is necessary. But I’d like to know what you were doing at the hospital today.”
He paused, and I filled the silence with a heavy sigh. I wanted to explain, but didn’t think I could.
“I’m not chastising you Jasper,” Carlisle said. “God knows, I have no right to. I know so little of you.” His face was almost wistful. “But I do know that this isn’t like you at all.”
“I know,” I replied. “I know its not.”
I stood abruptly, no longer able to maintain the false calm. I pushed in the chair beneath the edge of the table, a strange, domestic action before I began to pace erratically in front of Carlisle.
“He gave me the guitar a while back,” I said. “I don’t know what that means. I know that we have shared experiences, that we have a past…”
“The war?” he asked quietly.
“Yes. Not the same ones obviously, but… there’s something there. I don’t know why I went Carlisle, don’t sit there expecting me to tell you why.”
He raised his hands, palms out to me, and I slowed my pacing. I tossed him a wave of regret, almost an afterthought of an apology for my sharp tone.
“I don’t know why I went,” I repeated. “But I told him I’d go back, and I think I will. I wasn’t bothered when I was there, all the blood, the people. No of it mattered.” I laughed softly. “Stupid, really. He didn’t even know who I was.”
“Jasper, if this is helping you, you know I can only be glad of it. I won’t remind you to be careful, warn you. It isn’t fair. I trust you Jasper, and your decisions are your own to make. I only hold onto you so tight because I worry. Because I… care.”
“I know,” I said.
And I did. I knew how hard it must have been for him to put those things in words. There was nothing I could do to prove to him how much that mattered to me. Any honest emotion I gave, no one trusted it. I was a master manipulator after all. All I could offer him was my hand.
Surely he felt the raised scars under his fingers as he shook it, but I don’t think it really mattered. Not this time. This was perhaps as close as we would ever get to thanking each other, and I committed the moment to memory. I didn’t get many of them.
Later when I’d settled myself down I was able to appreciate the true significance of it, and thank Hank Jones for bringing me the chance to say something I wouldn’t normally have said.