The Healing Process
Jasmine Butler, a 17 year old with a very painful secret is left on her own after her parents die tragically in a car crash. Jasmine does well by herself until she has to move in with the Cullens following a drastic decline in her vision. How will the Cullens react to the tempting human living upstairs? Will she bring them closer or will their secret be her death sentence?
11. Chapter 11: Stain
Rating 5/5 Word Count 5352 Review this Chapter
Chapter 11: Stain
After watching Jasper and Emmett play each other with a 5-5 outcome, I went upstairs to get ready for my shopping date with the girls. I pent my hair up and took a quick shower. Usually, I take my clothes out the night before, but last night was not my usual night. Not only did I have the best first date with the man of my dreams, but I found out that my new family are vampires. But not the bad, creep-up-on-you-in-the-dark-bite-first-ask-questions-later-vampires, no, they only fed from the blood of animals. I did feel a little bad for Bambi and his family though.
Today would be a simple day of going in and out of dressing rooms so I decided to take it easy on the flash. I settled on a tied-sleeved plum purple blouse and dark denim jeans with black ankle boots. I grabbed my purse and went downstairs. I could smell something with buttermilk cooking in the kitchen.
“Good morning, Esme.”
“Good morning, Jasmine. I thought you might like some breakfast before you head off with the girls. How does waffles, sausage, eggs and orange juice sound?”
“Can we swap the orange juice for milk? I try to have a glass every morning.”
“Sure. I have the feeling you’re going to need to keep your strength up this morning with Alice.”
“So I have heard. I really wish you would come with us.”
“I would, but I was actually going to sleep in this morning.” Esme wiggled her eyebrows suggestively. She looked exactly like Emmett when she did that. Man, in addition to superhuman abilities, your sex drive must get an upgraded V8 engine.
“With six cylinders,” Edward concluded.
“All right, Edward, that is enough,” I said, with a blushing laugh. “I really don’t see how Bella deals with that all the time.”
“Deal with what?” Bella came around the corner dressed in a formfitting long-sleeved white blouse with tied strings at the bust and skinny jeans with black heels.
“You look pretty. What I was saying is that I don’t see how you deal with Edward and his incredibly annoying mindreading thing.”
“Oh, I have an Ace up my sleeve.”
“Really? Do tell, sis.”
“Well, my special ability is to shield my mind and the minds of others from any mental powers, including mind reading.”
“Ok, I will definitely have to borrow that sometime.”
“Oh no, Bella, don’t you dare. The rule is you cannot shield her mind for at least the first year.”
“When did that become a rule?”
Edward looked down at his watch. “About two minutes ago.”
“Good morning, all!” Alice trilled cheerfully. She glided down the stairs with Jasper only a few steps behind her. Alice looked adorably stunning as always. She was dressed in a dark brown halter blouse with a brown miniskirt, tights and knee high black, stiletto boots.
“Alice, didn’t anyone ever tell you it is too early in the morning for glam?” Bella teased.
“Oh, it’s never too early for glam, Bella. Have we taught you nothing all these years?” Rosalie called as she and Emmett descended the stairs. Rosalie was dressed in a bright red mini dress with red high heels. She and Alice were the walking definitions of glam.
Everyone seemed to be accounted for, all except for Carlisle. Oh what the hell, right? Edward, where’s Carlisle? I thought. Edward smiled his crooked grin and said, “He’s upstairs doing some research and my grin is not crooked.” He said, furrowing his eyebrows to show the severity of his disapproval.
“Yes it is,” I said, stuffing the last piece of waffle in my mouth.
“No, it isn’t.”
“Yeah, it kind of is, Edward,” Alice agreed.
“No, it’s not, Alice,” he said firmly.
“Yeah, bro you have a really crooked smile. I’m talking about paralytic crooked!” Emmett bellowed.
“Shut up, Emmett.”
“Well, it’s not like he’s wrong, Edward. So you have a lopsided grin, it’s not the end of the world,” Jasper reasoned.
“Yeah, it brings out that dimple in your chin,” Bella cooed.
“I don’t know, I always thought his chin resembled a butt,” Emmett mused.
At that moment, I had to take three large gulps of my milk because I laughed so hard my waffle went down the wrong pipe.
“Are you all right, Jasmine?” Esme said, rubbing my back in a motherly way.
“Yes, Esme. Just listening to your children bicker over Edward’s lopsided grin.”
“Damn it, my grin is not crooked and it’s not lopsided and my chin most certainly does not resemble a butt, Emmett!” Edward growled.
“Actually, it is,” Bella said, in a low voice.
Edward turned to her as if she had just shattered his faith in her. Dude, it’s just a little observation. Even the Greek Gods were depicted as having tiny wangs. There has to be some flaw in vampires, right? Edward turned to me, narrowing his eyes.
“Ok, I’ll shut up now.”
“I didn’t mean the butt-chin remark. I’m just saying, your crooked smile is one of the main traits of you that continues to knock me breathless day after day,” Bella said, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“I could say the same about the adorable little crease you get between your eyebrows whenever you think about something.”
“Well, I’m going to go outside before all of this sugar sends me into a diabetic coma,” I said as Bella and Edward began to make gross smooching sounds in the kitchen.
“Right behind you,” Alice said, once she said once she said her goodbyes to Jasper.
Just as she said, we were all on the road by five-thirty. Even though I knew Alice and her vampire senses were impeccable, it took everything I had not to look at the speedometer. The last thing any of us needed was me getting carsick. Rosalie sat up front with Alice, throwing quick glances at me in the rearview mirror. Bella sat in the back with me. We mostly talked about my living in Florida and her living in Arizona while she was still a human. Editing over the bad parts, I told her how nice it was in Florida. I told her about the sun warming your skin during the summer, the surprisingly cold and still air in the winter. I told her about the many hurricanes that hit that one year. Even though we lived in Belleair Shore, one of the mid-size wealthy cities in Tampa, we lost power for about two weeks.
“That must have been brutal.”
“Could have been worse. My dad bought three new generators the previous year when storm season ended. They kept the lights on and the water hot. I’m sure the heat there was nothing compared to the Arizona heat.”
“Yes, saying it was hot in Arizona is an understatement. It was baking! And the worse part, no matter how long I stayed outside I could not get a tan.”
“You never got a tan?”
“No, when we met her she was almost as pale as she is now. She fit right in!” Alice exclaimed, smiling widely. It was then that I noticed how brightly the girls’ eyes were shining. That was something else that I wanted to ask.
“Do all vampires’ eyes shine a golden brown like yours?” The one who answered surprised me.
“No. When we’re first…born, our eyes are a bright red. Other vampire’s eyes remain red from drinking human blood. When we drink animal blood, it dilutes it and our eyes slowly began to turn to the golden brown color,” Rosalie concluded.
“Yeah, unlike in the movies, our eyes will not constantly change colors. They do, however, turn black, but that’s only when we’re angry, and when we need to feed or satisfy other appetites.”
I smiled a little as Alice said this. “That explains why I’ve seen your eyes darken suddenly.”
“With you living with us that will be the only time you will see our eyes turn black. We’re all taking extra precautions to ensure that no mistakes are made.”
“Is that what you guys do when you’re not in the house? You go out and…feed?” I hoped I didn’t sound offensive to them.
“Yes, we call it hunting.”
Hunting. That actually sounded much better.
“You really are taking all of this well,” Bella said. “It’s all right if you’re afraid. Who wouldn’t be in your situation?”
“You weren’t when you found out,” Alice said.
“That’s different. I was a special case.”
“Yeah, more like a nutcase,” Rosalie said as they all laughed.
“I guess that first day when I walked into your house, I felt something. I knew something was a little off, but the way you all embraced me…I just couldn’t be scared after that. I know it’s in your nature to want to kill me,” the girls cringed as I said this. “But I know you won’t. I trust all of you.”
Again, just as Alice said we arrived in Seattle at six-thirty. We went to the mall there and immediately submersed ourselves in shopping—well, at least Alice, Rosalie and I did. Bella mostly just sat outside the dressing rooms. Alice and Rosalie literally had to drag her to the racks with us. The only time she showed interest in shopping was when we ventured into the Victoria’s Secret store.
I stood in front of the mirror after Alice handed me this incredibly expensive Royal-Purple off-the-shoulder cashmere knit dress. The dress was stunning and it stopped about two inches above my knees. In the other mirrors, Rosalie was trying on a backless, strapless red dress that was tighter on her body than one of Emmett’s bear hugs!
“That dress looks great on you, Rosalie. You should get it.”
She continued assessing herself in the mirror with a wide smirk. “Thanks. I believe I will.”
I turned back to the mirror trying to decide on the boots or the stiletto heels in front of me. I wanted to ask Alice her opinion since she was the fashion guru in all of this, but she and Bella snuck off somewhere. For some strange reason, I had the feeling that they went off somewhere in the direction of East.
“You should definitely go with the heels,” Rosalie suggested, still staring at her own reflection.
I nodded and stepped back into the dressing room. I removed the dress, refusing to look at the mirror and put my clothes back on. When I came out, Rosalie had changed into a black miniskirt with slits up the sides and a tight blouse that revealed massive cleavage. When she stepped into her red stilettos, I decided now was as good as it was going to get.
“Rosalie, can I ask you something?”
She waited until no one was looking and did a quick 360 twirl in front of the mirror. “I suppose.”
“Why do you hate me so much?”
That morning was a typical morning of shopping despite the human. She knew our secret and it only seemed to strengthen her bonds with Alice and Bella. I, on the other hand, really didn’t have as much to say to her as the others. Emmett tried to get me to talk to her a few times. He said that telling her my pain might help her get through hers. I wanted to help her. I really did, but I was so frustrated with the way things were going. This girl was beginning to turn into another Bella. I mean really, what is it with the humans in this century? Do they care nothing about self-preservation and normal, healthy lives? Despite everything that has happened to her, despite her vision loss, she is a healthy human girl capable of having babies. What woman in her right mind would give that up? Yes, she says she wants to change to avoid spending the rest of her life in darkness, but it’s more than that. We all saw the wonder and awe in her eyes the second Carlisle told her what we were. She wants to be one of us. She wants to be a monster. How can I tell her anything without shaking her to death while screaming, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want to be normal?”
I thought of this as I tried on my miniskirt and blouse. This would definitely work. Maybe I could model it for Emmett tonight.
“Rosalie, can I ask you something?” Jasmine asked me.
I waited until the envious shopkeeper went to help another customer before I did a quick 360-vampire twirl in front of the mirror. “I suppose.”
“Why do you hate me so much?”
I stopped staring at my reflection and turned to her. She looked so sad and helpless, kind of like a small child. I guess in many ways she was a child thrust into a world that forced children, little girls, to grow up sooner than what was expected.
“I keep thinking back to the first day we officially met, but I don’t see it. I don’t see what I did to offend you enough to make you hate me. Whatever it was I’m sorry.”
I sighed and in an instant was at her side. Looking at her big honey brown eyes that started to glisten from unshed tears caused a small prick in my chest. The last time I felt this type of emotion was when I caused Edward to almost commit suicide because of my bruised ego. “I don’t hate you, Jasmine.”
“Then what is it? Out of everyone in the house, I feel the most hostility from you. Sure, Jasper is a bit standoffish, but obviously, that’s because he doesn’t want to risk hurting me. With you, you’re completely controlled in your appetite, yet this is the most interaction we’ve had since I’ve been in the house. What am I doing wrong?”
“Everything!” I yelled, feeling as though I would burst from holding this in., “You’re doing everything wrong, Jasmine. You have a limitless future in front of you, Jasmine. You’re a human. You can go out in the sunlight. You can eat regular food, even though it tastes like crap. You can walk around without having a bunch of perverted guys staring at you for your body and never really seeing you. You have a guy that loves you enough to stand by you in spite of your illness. He may even love you enough to marry you, to give you a child!” My voice trembled a little. My eyes stung from the tears that would never fall.
“But what kind of life could I have as a blind wife, a blind mother? I would never see my child smile or run or look at me like I was the center of their world.” Her tears were falling by then.
“No, you wouldn’t. But you would be able to have that little girl or little boy. You would be able to carry him inside of you and bond with him the way you never bonded with another person. I love the fact that I get to spend forever with Emmett, but I would give anything to have his child. I would trade with you in a instant to have a child and to watch that child grow up and have children of its own, but I can’t do that. I can’t have Emmett’s children and that’s my cross to bear. But it’s not too late for you. You have everything and yet you’re standing here willing to throw it all away for nothing. You don’t want this life, Jasmine. Trust me.” My anger cooled and I found myself pleading with Jasmine.
“I trust you, Rosalie. I trust what you believe and what you’ve experienced for as long as you’ve been this way, but you and I want two completely different things. When I was a little girl, I would play with my baby dolls and my little push crib pretending that I was their mother. I wanted to get married and have a son and then a twin girl and boy. But that all changed for me when...” she trailed off swallowing loudly.
Bella and Alice had drifted back, concerned looks on their faces after having listened to our conversation. I could tell they wanted to come over, but I shook my head and they faded away before Jasmine could notice their scents. I turned back to Jasmine who still sat with her eyes closed and fists clenched in her lap. She pressed her lips together and squeezed her eyes tighter as if she was trying to hold it in.
“It all changed when what, Jasmine?” I said my voice completely edgeless. She needed to say this and as much as it dredged up my own suffering, I had to be the one to hear it.
“It changed when I realized that the world we live in is horrible and evil. A world that should never be allowed to touch a child. Don’t you see, Rosalie? Even if I still wanted a child after that, that child would hate me because I would be its second shadow. Waiting for bad people, bad men to come and steal their innocence.”
“What happened to you, Jasmine?”
She closed her eyes again, willing it away. “You wouldn’t understand. You don’t know what it’s like to have everything ripped away from you in an instant of reckless abandonment. What’s it like to look in the mirror and see that the girl you once were is dead and now there’s only this…this woman that’s a stranger. Your friends see it, your parents see it and they all sit back and wait. They wait for you to be normal again. To go back to the little girl you once were and never seeing the stain that never goes away.”
“You’re wrong,” I whispered, I could hear the faint sounds of Alice and Bella dry sobbing. “I know exactly what you’re going through.”
“How could you possibly?”
“Because it happened to me,” I said, placing my hands on top of hers as she opened her eyes. “Before I met Emmett, before I met the Cullens. It’s the reason I became what I am. I know what you’re feeling, Jasmine, and that’s a pain no one should have to carry alone.”
“It’s what I deserve,” she whispered.
I found myself growling lowly, nearly forgetting our surroundings. I grabbed her arms firmly without really hurting her. “Don’t you ever say that! You did not deserve this. No one does.”
“Rosalie, I can’t…I can’t hold this in anymore. I have to tell someone.”
“Are you sure it’s a good idea leaving Rosalie and Jasmine alone?” I asked Alice after we made our way to the electronics store.
“It will be fine. Rose is starting to warm up to Jasmine a little. Besides, we have to get these gifts for her birthday.”
“And let me guess, you are throwing her an outrageously extravagant party.”
“You know me too well.”
“Just this time, let’s not wrap the gifts. We can put them in boxes instead.”
“Of course, Bella. That’s one disaster we cannot afford to have happen again.”
“Yeah, and you know what they say about history repeating itself.”
“That’s not likely, I will say that you are the only girl I knew who could get a paper cut that deep from a little present.”
“Ha ha, that’s very funny considering that it was your husband who almost slaughtered me. Hey, this is nice. Do you think she’ll like this, Alice?” I said, picking up one of the latest Apple iPods.
I turned to Alice and she was clutching an iron rack of CDs. It gave a low squeal as it buckled in her grasp. I went to her side, prying her hands from the rack. Her eyes were glazed over and distant. I began to panic. Jasper was usually the one who was with Alice when she had her visions.
“Alice? Alice, what do you see?”
A second later, she blinked and took an unnecessary breath. “It’s Jasmine.”
“Oh no. Alice, is she all right?”
“She’s telling Rosalie what happened to her.”
“Oh my god, really? Well, should we call the others?”
“I think they should be warned. Whatever she tells her is going to open up that door she’s tried to keep closed for so long. Edward is going to see it in their minds. Call Edward, he’ll tell everyone else.”
I reached into my pocket pressing the “1” button on my cell. Edward answered on the first ring.
“Where are you?”
“Just finishing up hunting with the guys. What’s wrong?
“Jasmine is telling Rosalie.”
Jasmine stared into the mirror across from her. Not seeing herself, not really seeing anything at all. She was back where it happened.
“When I first saw Noah, it was like love at first sight. He was older than me, about three years. I was fourteen and he was seventeen going on eighteen. When he started talking to me, I thought that I was so lucky. The best-looking guy in school, quarterback of the football team, talking to me! Plain, ordinary Jasmine Butler. He invited me to a party one night and then he gave me my first kiss. It was so beautiful and perfect and I knew I had to go to that party to see him, but my parents would never approve of me going. But it was fortunate that the night of the party was also my parents’ wedding anniversary. They wouldn’t hire a babysitter…because they trusted me. Because I was their perfect, responsible daughter. So when they left, I took the car my parents gave me for driving to school only and went to Noah’s house. He lived in a different neighborhood than me. A place that had a lot of trees and was kind of hidden from the main road. When I got there, there were already a lot of people there. I saw a few of my friends or at least that’s what they liked to call themselves. I looked around, but I didn’t see Noah. Then one of his teammates, Tony, came up to me. He was already drunk. He said, ‘if you’re looking for Noah, he’s right over there.’ I looked to where he was pointing and sure enough, there was Noah. He was on the couch with my supposed best friend sitting in his lap, kissing him. He kissed her the same way he kissed me. I was so angry and hurt. She knew how I felt about him. She knew and she didn’t care!”
Looking at her now, it was obvious she was reliving the betrayal.
“I felt so stupid. There I was coming to him like some little dog, only I came a little too late. Then I felt…I felt Tony pushing himself up against me. Then he, he started whispering in my ear. ‘I don’t see what you wanted Noah for anyway. He’s a little boy playing a grown man’s game. I can make you feel like a woman.’ And then he slipped his hands around me and started grabbing my breasts. I pushed him off me and ran out of the house. I knew I had to leave. It was like I could feel what was coming and I knew I had to do everything I could to stop it. But when I got outside, I couldn’t find my keys. Tony came out and started shaking them with this smile on his face,” Jasmine was gasping as she spoke.
One of the sales representatives inched over to us. She quickly retreated when she caught sight of my death glare. Jasmine had to finish this. If she didn’t do it now, she probably never would.
“I started pleading with him. I said, ‘please, just give me my keys and we can pretend this never happened.’ He smiled and said, ‘if you want these keys, you’re going to have to work for them.’ Then he grabbed me and forced his tongue in my mouth. I could taste the beer on his breath and it made me sick! I started to run. I remember running through a lot of trees and I could hear voices behind me, laughing. I kept running until I reached an open field. I could see the highway through the trees and all I had to do was get there and flag a car from the road. I was so close. But then, someone grabbed me by my waist and threw me down on the ground. I thought it was Tony, but it wasn’t. It was the other voice, my classmate, Robert…Tony’s brother. He said, ‘damn girl, where are you going? The party’s just starting.’ I said, ‘no, please. Please don’t. Don’t do this.’ And Tony, he leaned over me, stroking my face saying, ‘sshh, don’t cry. You don’t have to cry.’ Robert started laughing and said, ‘I think she’s going to faint.’ I wanted to, I wanted to just close my eyes and go away. I wanted to go away from what was happening, but I couldn’t. They wouldn’t let me. Tony smiled and pulled out a large knife and he cut me on my stomach.”
I was sure my eyes were now black with rage. Low growls were coming from Alice and Bella as they listened. Jasmine started running her finger back and forth over her scar, tracing it through her blouse, an action I was not sure she knew she was performing.
“They both stood over me laughing. The rain was coming down harder then. My clothes were soaked and the ground was wet and soggy. I remember being so cold. I was screaming from the pain of the cut, screaming for someone to help me. It only made them enjoy it more. Robert pinned my shoulders down and Tony said, ‘now that we have your attention…’ He tore my shirt open and used the knife to…to cut open my bra. I tried to fight him. I scratched and clawed hoping it was enough to make him stop. It only made it worse. He hit me so hard the whole left side of my face began to throb. Robert started to get impatient. He yelled, ‘hurry up and let’s do this before someone hears her!’ ‘I can’t do shit if you keep letting her fidget like that!’ So Robert grabbed my arms holding them over my head while Tony pulled off my jeans.”
Jasmine began to slowly rock back and forth, clutching her left arm as it trembled in her lap. She was breaking down.
“He hated me so much. He kept saying things like, ‘you think you’re better than us because you live in the white folk’s town! You think you’re better than us, because you got a little money, huh? I’ll show you exactly what you are!’”
She stood up quickly and went to the other mirror. She turned to it, staring at the reflection. She ran her fingers down the face of her reflection and spoke almost in a whisper.
“He pulled my panties down to my ankles, pushing my legs apart. They started arguing over who should go first. Tony said, ‘I’m the oldest, I get the first turn. I’m already in position anyway.’ He unbuttoned his pants and Robert whispered in my ear, ‘this is going to be so good, baby.’ He pulled his pants down and I kept staring up at the sky hoping that God would see this, would see me and save me…but He never did.”
Jasmine turned around. Her eyes stared right through me as she struggled to get the words out. The rest of the family were approaching as quickly as they could. I shook my head to Alice, telling her not to let them come near. Being surrounded by a bunch of hovering males would not appease the situation.
“Edward, you and the others stay back. She’s almost through this. Trust me, please,” I thought. Jasmine’s left arm started trembling violently against the mirror as she brought her right hand up, cupping her throat.
“Tony wr—he wrapped his hand around my throat and then he pushed…he pushed himself inside me!” she screamed.
I was glad that Alice bribed the manager into closing the shop for an early lunch. My throat tightened as I held in my sob. I couldn’t break down. Not now, Jasmine needed me.
“The pain. Oh! The pain was so much. I thought…I thought I was dying. I wished I was dying. He squeezed my throat tighter and tighter and if it had not been for how much pain I was in, I probably would have blacked out.”
Jasmine turned back to the mirror she leaned against, tilting her head. I held myself in place, all of my muscles ached to run to her and to comfort her. To tell her everything was all right. That she was safe now, but she wasn’t. As long as she remembered, as long as that memory stayed in her mind she would never be safe.
“And then he just stopped. He disconnected our bodies and he pulled up his pants. Then he switched places with Robert. It was just as bad with him, if not worse. He turned me over…shoving my face down in the dirt…”
I could hear Esme’s muffled whimpering. She was clinging to Carlisle no doubt. I could feel them all inching closer. I looked at Jasmine. She showed no signs of noticing our family’s presence. She was still twirling her fingers over her reflection in the mirror. She turned around again, leaning against the mirror.
“Robert laughed behind me and I could hear his belt rattling and I could feel his knees spreading my legs further. He sighed and said, ‘mmm, that’s a pretty picture.’ He grabbed my arm, holding it behind my back. Then there was more pain. So much pain. I think I blacked out when Tony got back on top of me because I can’t remember anything after that. I just remember waking up in the hospital unable to move. The doctor kept trying to talk to me, to explain things. She said that they had to use stitches to repair the lining of my…and I couldn’t tell my parents who they were or how it happened. I couldn’t look them in the eyes and tell them that I got myself raped because I didn’t obey them.”
For the first time since she started talking, Jasmine looked at me. “It’s my fault, Rose.”
“No.” I flitted to her side taking her hands. “What those animals, those beasts,” I said spitting venom. “Did to you was not your fault.”
“No, I mean it’s my fault that my parents are dead.”
“What? Jasmine, how can you say that?”
“Don’t you see? They moved me here because I couldn’t handle being in the same school with them. Having them following me down the halls and spreading rumors about me. My parents brought me here and then they died, they died and I lived. It’s my fault. I killed them! I killed them!”
I caught Jasmine in my arms just as she collapsed underneath her grief. The family came in then. I rocked her gently in my arms as her sobs shook her body. They all looked so pained. Jasper looked the worst because he could literally feel her agony. He kneeled beside me as I held her as if she were my own child.
“May I?” Jasper asked me. I looked into his eyes, checking for any sign that he might relapse. His eyes were a brilliant golden brown from having just hunted.
I nodded and Jasper placed his hand on Jasmine’s shoulder. She felt the change in touch and turned to him, placing her arms around his neck. As soon as she touched him, her shaking sobs turned into low whimpers, then finally her heart slowed down and her breathing evened out. She was fast asleep.
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