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The Dreams of the Boy In the Nighttime

Bella Swan has had a tragic and abusive childhood; everyone knew it. But not everyone knew of the bronze-haired boy who visited her in her dreams. He was the only one who knew the true Bella. But Edward wasn't real, was he? Banner made by Anne Cullen :)

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended. Twilighted Supervisory Beta: qjmom Twilighted Validation Beta: Twilightzoner

9. Gift or Curse?

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1783   Review this Chapter

"Bella?" Jasper called through the seemingly empty rooms. It was early evening and all the lights were switched off, bathing the front room in darkness except for a sliver of moonlight escaping from underneath the drapes. When he'd knocked on the door there had been no answer but, instead of turning on his heel like any normal person would have, he felt a sudden curiosity to try the doorknob. The door had fallen open and, knowing that Bella was too responsible to leave the door unlocked or let Alice forget to secure it, he'd concluded that one of the two must be inside.

"Bella?" he called out again. He fumbled for the light switched and, once finding it, couldn't restrain a smile spreading across his face at the utter contrast of the room.

Whereas one side of it was covered all in bright colors, seeming to emanate their own light, the other seemed bland in comparison. The side that must've been Bella's was all neutral: creams, blues, and greens adorned the furniture. Alice's side was almost painful to look at after resting your eyes on Bella's for too long.

Remembering his purpose, his hand tightened around the keys in his pocket. He had found them on the floor beside Bella's chair the night before; they must've fallen out her purse when he was fumbling for her cell. He would've given them to Alice, but, once they'd revealed themselves, she had already left. He hadn't felt like running through the streets after her, and so decided to come and deliver them the following morning. Getting caught up in classes and other responsibilities, his visit had been delayed, which is how he found himself in the girls' seemingly empty dorm.

He didn't really mind the inconvenience; he'd been trying to find an excuse to see how his cousin was settling in, anyway, and there had been something about Alice that had enraptured him the night before. Bella was a strong character - something told him that she'd be able to survive through just about anything - but there was also a side of her that he only saw when she thought she was alone, when her guard was let down. Bella was vulnerable.

He knew that, though she was a pro at keeping together a tough exterior, even hers couldn't be completely invincible.

"Alice?" he called, thinking that perhaps it wasn't Bella in the apartment. He made his way across the small hallway to just outside the bathroom where a light was streaming out from underneath the door.

"Bella?" a voice spoke from within.

"No, Alice, it's Jasper."

"Bella?!" The voice was suddenly frantic, and Jasper was sure that she'd have realized that it wasn't Bella outside the door right now if there wasn't a problem.

"Alice, are you okay?" he asked, his hand twitching toward the doorknob. He had a very bad feeling about this.

"Bella!" Alice's voice was no longer asking, it sounded more like a demand. Jasper wasted no time in deliberating. The hand which had already been about to open the door did so without him even realizing. The light was unleashed into the hallway and his eyes squinted to adjust.

He strode into the room and immediately saw her curled into the fetal position on the ground to his right. It looked as if she'd just come out of the shower. A towel was scrunched up underneath her figure and trembles were shaking up her spine.

"Alice!" he called out, trying to evoke some type of response. He kneeled down next to her, cautiously placing one of his hands on her quivering back. Her head was tucked into her knees and, from closer observation, he could see that silent sobs were shaking her.

"Stop!" He stilled his hand from rubbing circles into her skin, thinking that it must be something he was doing. "Stop!" she shrieked again, and he removed his hand completely, feeling suddenly helpless. But, as he just stayed motionless by her side, she screamed the word out once again, and he knew it couldn't be him.

"Stop what, Alice? Stop what?" His voice was raised as if he thought that somehow by speaking louder, he would get her to respond.

"Stop them!" Both his hands returned to her back, rubbing larger circles, trying to bring her back from whatever was troubling her so badly. Her sobs suddenly became vocalized and the sound of her crying made his heart clench. In the next moment she was sitting up and he had crushed her to him, rocking them both softly to-and-fro.

"Shhh, Alice, shhh," he pleaded with her, his voice cracking at seeing another human being like that. He could feel his shirt dampening from her tears, but it only made him hold her tighter to him.

"Stop them..."

He almost couldn't hear her voice, it was quieter than before and muffled against him. "Stop who?" he spoke closer to her ear, his voice rough with emotion. He didn't expect an answer; she'd given no sign that she'd even noticed he was there.

"The voices," she said even more quietly than before. He was at a loss for how to help her, but decided to go with his gut.

Jasper's hand ran up and down her bare back in earnest, futilely trying to stop the violent convulsions rocking through her body. Words of comfort escaped through his lips to no avail. He pulled her tighter to his chest, her briny tears soaking through his shirt. He felt an immense sorrow for the girl in his arms, the girl he hardly knew, but still felt some connection toward. And, with each of her agonized sobs, his heart clenched just a little more painfully.

"Come on, Alice," he muttered, though he doubted she heard him. The hand holding her head to him clenched around her wet strands of her hair, intertwining them in between his fingers. "Please."

He could feel an aching sadness, and some part of him was surprised when he felt wetness around his own eyes, but for the most part he was too concentrated on the girl in his arms to feel anything but anguish. She's so small, he thought. Her frame was almost half the side of his.

"Jasper?" Her voice cracked through his name, but he barely noticed. It was some kind of response. He had started to think that she would be trapped in that state. He'd felt so helpless.

"Yes, Alice, It's me, Jasper," he said hurriedly. A painful surge of relief struck him in the chest and his heart throbbed.

"Stop them..." she spoke, barely in a whisper. He almost asked, "Stop what?" again, forgetting about the previous time he'd asked, but it came to him almost immediately

"How do I stop them, Alice, how?" He pulled her face up from his chest, cupping it with his hands. He ran his thumbs over her cheekbones as he stared into her shut eyes, willing them to open. He pulled one hand away, and raised it to pull her hair out of her face, but then she sensed some movement.

It was her arm, tremors still running through it. She raised it to his hand, willing it across her forehead and to her temple. He understood what she was trying to do, and in response, hesitantly lifted his other hand to mirror the other.

"Cold..." she muttered, but it was more to herself.

They stayed like that for a long moment - it could've been hours - he had no way of knowing. His eyes floated over every contour of her face, up from her dimpled chin, to her presently clenched but plump lips. Her nose curved upward towards the tip and was dotted sporadically in light freckles.

Her eyes suddenly seemed like the greatest mystery, and he wanted more than anything for them to reveal her secrets to him. "Jasper?" she said in that same strained whisper.

"Yes?" his eyes still memorizing her face.

"Thank you." Her eyes opened gradually, and though they were bloodshot from her crying, he couldn't help but be mesmerized by their black intensity, almost the exact color of her hair.

"It's okay," he said in a tired voice, not wanting to discuss what had just happened. Cautiously, he pressed his lips against her forehead, and she leaned into the gesture, letting out a contented sigh.

"Could you..." she led off, averting her gaze as he pulled away to see her face.

"Could I, what?" he asked, curiosity plain in his expression.

"It's kinda stupid... but... could you take me to bed? It's just that I'm so exhausted and-" But she was stopped from being able to continue as Jasper pressed his hand over her lips. Realizing that the other was still pressed against her temple, he lowered it into his lap. He was unsure, but he thought he saw her wince. It was gone in a second, so he couldn't be certain.

Her eyes turned to his, and in her gaze it came clear to him that he'd never be able to deny her anything.

"Of course," he said. He stood up, grabbing a dry towel from close by. Her face flushed softly, and he restrained a smile as she realized her nakedness. He covered her with it, before putting one arm under her knees and one behind her back, pulling her into his arms as if she weighed little more than a feather.

She rested her head against his shoulder and, even though it was only a couple of yards from the bathroom to her bed, her eyes were drooping by the time he rested her down. Drawing the comforter over her limp form, he heard her breathing even out. He bent down over her and pressed his lips against her forehead as he had done earlier, and whispered, "Goodnight, Alice," as he drew back.

She gave some sort of mumbled, incomprehensible response that he could barely hear. He stayed for a moment, watching the peaceful expression on her face before turning toward the door. Putting his hand in his pocket, he once again remembered the keys and placed them on a table close to the door on his way out.

He looked over his shoulder as he was closing the door, catching one last glimpse of her before his view of the room was replaced with the peeling paint of a wooden door.