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There is no Bella. Alice is married to Edward. What would happen if I met Jasper? The sparks will fly and stuff will most definitely hit the fan! AU. Read and review! Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

I do not own anything from the Twilight Saga; it's all Stephenie's genius. I also don't any of the music used in this story.

2. Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

After nearly losing my mind because of Jasper’s “dazzling,” I couldn’t find my tongue long enough to speak. So, we finished our ride in silence. As he pulled onto a rough dirt road canopied by a zillion trees, I began to worry that he was some sort of kidnapper or serial rapist that finds his victims in public venues. My nerves must have shown on my face.

“Our house is just up this road. It’s wild, but we like to stay as far away from civilization as we can.”

I turned back to him, confused but silent. Jasper raised an eyebrow, as if daring me to voice my question and alleviate my curiosity. You know what they say about the cat…curiosity killed it and satisfaction brought it back. What is the worst he could do? Yell at you? Taking a steadying breath, I blurted out my question.

“Why on Earth would you want to live out here?”

That damn smirk came back as he glanced at me. It was really starting to be aggravating…maybe…a little bit.

“We like our privacy, of course. Living away from others tends to keep one’s secrets to one’s self, don’t you think?”

I had to admit that it made sense. There were times I wished to be invisible myself. This type of isolation afforded Jasper and his family that invisibility. Nodding, I accepted this. When I turned to look again at the surrounding scenery, I think my jaw dropped and hit the floor. Ahead of us in the middle of a clearing was the most gorgeous house I had ever seen in my 22 years of life. It was gigantic, more like a mansion, with walls of glass.

I was so mesmerized by the sight I did not realize we had stopped until the door next to me opened. Since I was lightly leaning against it, I nearly toppled headfirst out the door. Luckily, Jasper was fast enough to see my klutz moment coming and caught me before I hit the ground.

“Steady, there. You’ll end up on your behind again, darlin’.”

Irritated by the amusement in his voice, I pulled my arm from his grasp and walked forward toward the house. I was thankful that he’d stopped me from falling again and making my head worse, but I wouldn’t let him know that.

In the hush, I could hear the nearby rushing of water. I suppressed a shudder at the thought. I really hate water. Thanks for that one, Daddy. I shook my head and turned my head, trying to take in everything about my surroundings. I was shaken from my observations by Jasper’s quiet voice beside me calling my name.

“Hmmm? Did you say something?”

His amusement was clear in his eyes as I spared him a glance. I rolled my eyes.

“Yes, I did. I said that my father is home and in his office. Would you like to have him check your head now?”

I was reminded of the whole reason for this trip with Jasper. The throbbing suddenly reared its ugly head. I winced and nodded, allowing him to take my arm and lead my up the stairs of the porch. He opened the door and began moving away from me and toward the stairs.

“I’m going to talk to Carlisle, tell him you need help. I’ll be right back, so don’t you move.”

His stern attitude annoyed me. I rolled my eyes and made a show of sitting on the floor. Seemingly satisfied, he nodded and began up the stairs. When he was out of sight, I looked down at my hands and began scrutinizing my fingernails. It was really nice of him to leave me sit here with a finger up my—

“Hello. Can I help you?”

I yelped at the unexpected voice. My head snapped up, embarrassed my immensely. The pale woman in front of me shared Jasper’s ethereal beauty. Her caramel-colored locks framed a kind, heart-shaped face.

“I’m sorry to have scared you, but…who exactly are you?”

With a wry grin at my klutziness, I stood to tell this woman my story. At the end, my embarrassment had grown tenfold. However, the woman did not seem to think my situation was amusing in the least.

“Oh, you poor thing. Come here and sit down. We need to get you some help. I’ll go get my husband.”

“That’s all right, ma’am, Jasper already went up to his office to get him.”

“I see. Call me Esme, honey. May I ask your name?”

I smiled at her, pleased with her maternal nature. She reminded me so much of my mother.

“My name is Samantha, but most people just call me Sam.”

“Well, Sam, it is very nice to meet you.”

At that moment, a horrendous crashing came from just outside the house. I nearly jumped out of my skin, looking at Esme with fear in my eyes.

“It’s all right, dear. That would be my son Emmett.”

Suddenly, I heard a smooth voice from behind me.

“Yes, it would seem that my dear brother has sensed a guest in the house and has made up his mind to scare her off as soon as possible.”

I turned to Jasper, smirking at his comment.

“Sorry, Jasper. It takes a bit more than that to scare me away.”

His appraising gaze bothered me for reasons I couldn’t fathom. I squirmed, looking away from his intense gaze.

“I know. You put up a good front, don’t you.”

Esme reached over and hit her son in the back of the head. I had to stifle a chuckle when he glared at me behind her back.

“Jasper Whitlock Hale! Stop being so rude.”

He had the grace to look at his mother and myself apologetically.

“Sorry, Mom.”

Another glare in my direction had me biting my cheek to stop my laughter. After a few more seconds of mock anger from Jasper, he spoke.

“Samantha, please come with me. Carlisle will see you in his office.”

I rose, preparing to follow Jasper up the stairs. Pausing, I turned back to Esme.

“It was very nice to meet you. Thank you for letting me into your home.”

“No thanks are necessary, Sam. I’m just glad that we are able to help you.”

I smiled and turned back to Jasper. He gestured me ahead of him, so I started to climb the stairs. When I reached the top, I realized I had no clue where I was going. I heard chuckling behind me and turned to glare at the source.

“Carlisle is in the room to your left, Samantha. I’ll leave you to it.”

He turned to go, but I put a staying hand on his arm. He looked at it, then curiously at me.

“I just wanted to thank you again for your help, Jasper. You have been really nice and I appreciate it more than you’d know.”

He smiled at me…not his normal smirk, but a genuine smile. My heart stuttered.

“I’d know more than you think. In any case, you’re very welcome, Samantha. Now, go. Tend to your head. I know it’s bothering you. When you’re through, I can give you a ride to wherever it is you may be going.”

“Thanks, I would really appreciate that, Jasper. See you later.”

With that, I turned and knocked on the door Jasper had told me was Carlisle’s. I knocked once and was bid enter. I opened the door and spotted the young man seated behind the solid desk. He is already a father? Even if he adopted, he’s still so young to take on the responsibility of five children. I was pulled from my observations by his voice.

“Hello, Sam. My name is Carlisle Cullen.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Dr. Cullen.”

He reached out to shake the hand I offered with a gentle smile.

“Carlisle, please.”

I couldn’t help my responding grin.

“All right. Carlisle.”

He was suddenly all doctor, eyes cool and focused and mouth set at a determined slant. I was impressed with the quick change.

“Now, Sam, what is it I can do for you today?”

I explained to him what had happened and what I’d been feeling.

“Hmmm…I think you may be right in your diagnosis. I’ll do a quick check for symptoms now. Please, let me know if I hurt you, Sam.”

I smiled weakly at him, trying to focus on his slight British accent rather than his actual words. The fixing part of injuries was always the worst to me, so I was not looking forward to this examination. At my nod, Carlisle gently instructed me while he checked my eyes for dilation. His hands were icy as he reached back and gingerly felt my head. He finally found the sore spot and I jumped, gritting my teeth.

“I’m terribly sorry to have hurt you. I do know now that you do not have a concussion. You are, I’m sorry to say, going to have a bit of a sore spot there for a while.”

I internally sighed, thanking God that it wasn’t worse.

“I do want to check that spot over in a few days to make sure it’s healed properly, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course. I’ll make an appointment first thing in the morning. Thanks again, Carlisle.”

“It was nothing. Sam, it was a pleasure to have met you today. You’ll have to excuse me. I have to be at the hospital in a half hour and need to prepare.”

“I’ll leave you, then. See you in a few days!”

I quickly crossed the office and exited, closing the door softly behind myself. I turned to see Jasper leaning against the wall across the hall.

“Are you ready to leave?”

“Yes, please.”

I just realized how hungry I am.No need to mention I am starving because I forgot to eat today…again. I really needed to get to my apartment, then walk to the grocery store and get some food before I passed out. Felling pretty dizzy already, I knew I was close to that. Hopefully he attributed my wobbly descent of the stairs to my clumsiness, but by the knowing look he shot me on our way out the door, I’d say he knew exactly what I was feeling. Damn it! How the hell does he always know? Weird… Filing this observation in the back of my mind along with the other oddities of Dr. Cullen’s family, I situated myself in the passenger seat of the Volvo. Jasper did the same in the driver’s side and we were off.

Before I knew what was happening, we were entering Forks’ city limits. How did that happen? I must have really zoned out during the ride…maybe I fell asleep. Damn jet lag. I forced myself to pay attention to the town that would now be my home for God knew how long. I thought the town I came from was small…Forks was an infinitesimal speck in comparison. There seemed to be only a gathering of buildings along the “highway” that went through town. I knew it…civilization as I’ve experienced is now gone.

“Where exactly am I supposed to be taking you, Samantha?”

I pulled out the slip of paper my boss had given me containing the information for my apartment complex and the building that would house his place of business. Rambling off the address, I turned to look at the man next to me. My first day here and I’d probably met the kindest family in the whole town. Everything will be down hill from here, I’d bet. At least I’ve met someone today. That makes me feel a bit less isolated. Jasper must have sensed my gaze on his face. He turned to grin at me and my heart skipped a beat.

“I’m sure this is not what you were expecting to happen on your first day here.”

“No, not quite. Surprisingly, I think this town might not be the isolated Hellhole I expected it to be.”

“I’m glad. Do you…mind if I ask you a question?”

I smiled, thinking back to the twenty questions session we had had on the car ride to his home.

“Of course, it’s only fair.”

He drummed his hands on the wheel impatiently, probably thinking of the best way to phrase…oh, crap, it’s going to be really bad. When he turned to me, my anxiety was rapidly growing, my heart racing.

“What exactly decided to make you move to Forks? You obviously disliked it before you arrived, so…”

I heaved a mental sigh of relief. This one is easy.

“Well, it was my boss’s idea to move his company here. I was one of his first employees, and he wanted to show his loyalty by offering to let me transfer with the company. So…here I am, exiled to – I’m sorry, you don’t need to hear my twenty-minute rant about this.”

He grinned at me, reaching over without looking to flip on the windshield wipers. I was a little impressed. My driving skills would’ve taken us to the ditch if I had so much as thought about doing what he had done with a thoughtless flick of his finger.

“You avoided a rant nicely, so no foul. What exactly is it the business claims to do and what’s your place in it?”

Trying to avoid sounding like an infomercial, I explained.

“We buy and sell music. This includes sheet and recorded music, instruments, supplies, and memorabilia. We have varying genres, techniques, and styles of each. I am in charge of finding and acquiring inventory on Tuesday, Thursday and weekends. I also work the register from open to close Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This does not include volunteer work I do organizing and participating in the shop’s once-per-month karaoke night. The profits benefit a different local charity each month.”

His chuckle sent up a flare of irritation, but I quickly tamped it and waited for him to say something in response.

“My my, you are a busy little thing, aren’t you? When do you ever find time for yourself, for a personal life?”

I felt the color drain out of my face. Oh, shit. The one question I want to avoid…

“I…um, I don’t have much of a personal life. I—“

Sensing my hesitation, he gave me an out.

“Samantha, I understand. There are some things that…one can’t tell another, no matter how much one would like to.”

His grasp of the situation had me feeling instantly grateful.

“That’s exactly it. I just can’t. I really am sorry, Jasper.”

“We all have our secrets, Samantha. Be assured that I am not telling you my deepest and darkest, either. Please, don’t feel obligated to do that for me.”

The quick shot of hurt that went through me was unexpected and totally confusing. I quickly pasted a fake smile on my face to hide this from him, but I had the feeling that he knew what I was feeling anyway. I quickly averted my eyes and noticed that we were parked outside my apartment building.

“Oh…we’re already here. That was fast. How the hell did—never mind. I hate to ask you for anything else, but I live on the gazillionth floor and with headache dizziness on top of my normal balance issues…”

“Since it was my fault in the first place, I would be a terrible person if I left you to drag that monstrosity up by yourself. What on Earth do you have in this thing anyway? Bricks?”

I smirked, reaching for the door handle and spoke over my shoulder.

“Close enough. Shoes, clothing, grooming supplies, and all of the chargers for my portable electronics.”

I made my exit as quick as possible and shut the door behind me, standing on the curb to wait. As Jasper did the same, he was shaking his head. While he ducked into the back seat to grab my bag, I heard him grumbling. I chuckled to myself, happy to aggravate him for once. His sudden departure from the car startled me and I swear I saw him smirk.

“You are almost as bad as my sister, Alice. Except, I’m sure she would have packed about four bags to your one.”

“I would have, but all of my other stuff is supposed to be here tomorrow. This stuff is just for emergencies.”

He rolled his eyes and hefted the bag over the curb and onto the sidewalk with one hand.

“I’ll never understand you ladies. Now, to which apartment might I be foisting this luggage?”

That night, I lay in my bed thinking about the day. Jasper’s entrance into my life had been a splashy and loud one, and I wasn’t sure yet if it would benefit him or me, or just ruin us both. Knowing my past track record in this arena, I was going for the ‘ruin us both’ option. Regardless of what I knew would probably happen, I hoped in the deepest recesses of my heart that it wouldn’t be me to screw this up, whatever it turned out to be.