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Forget Me Not

Summary:
The Cullens have left Forks, leaving Bella broken hearted and alone until a near-fatal car accident temporarily erases her memories. What happens when the one person she finds comfort with happens to be the brother of the man she can't remember? Will she regain her memories of Edward or will she find a new love with Jasper?


Notes:
This story starts around the beginning of New Moon. Rated NR-17. B/E and B/J. DISCLAIMER: All characters are the sole property of Stephanie Meyers but the story is my own.


6. Matters of the Heart

Rating 3/5   Word Count 2082   Review this Chapter

Jasper’s POV

Finding Bella at the house was a pleasant surprise…almost. I had forgotten how alluring her blood smelled, even trapped beneath her beautiful ivory skin, it tempted me. When Carlisle suggested that I keep Bella company I thought he had lost his mind. He knew that it had taken all the strength I had to sit alone with her while he prepared dinner. I was grateful that Bella couldn’t hear the conversations we had, she probably would have run out, screaming in terror at the fears I shared with Carlisle. The guilt still weighed heavy on my mind whenever I though back to the horrific night when we hosted Bella’s birthday party. The look of fright on her face when I lunged for her would forever be burned in my memory. I didn’t care how selfish it was, I didn’t want her to ever remember that night.

We sat on the far embankment of the lake in total silence. The emotions coming from Bella were varying and strong, hitting me in repetitive cycles. First it was nervousness, then confusion, sadness, frustration, and at the end of each cycle, anxiety. Once in a while the pattern would be disrupted with a burst of lust which took me by surprise each time it hit me. I couldn’t deny that I too had an unexpected attraction that tore through my heart like a red hot poker. The run here didn’t make things any easier. When she buried her face in my neck out of fear, it drove me crazy. To my relief, she had her eyes closed when I nearly ran into a tree from the distraction. The wind had helped dilute the scent of her blood but nothing could drown out the loud pounding of her heart when it beat profusely against my back. She made it difficult to pretend that my feelings for her weren’t overpowering my self-control. Even now, with the breeze dancing through her hair, tossing loose strands over her shoulder, I felt the burning desire. She bit down on her bottom lip while she pulled tuffs of grass from the earth. I couldn’t take my eyes off her mouth, recalling the way her lips felt against the back of my neck, so soft and warm. I would never understand how Edward could ever willingly separate himself from Bella. Her love for him was so strong that she was willing to give up her mortality to be with him and, like a fool, he threw her away.

“Jasper,” Bella whispered, pulling me out of my thoughts. I glanced at her and noticed the heavy concern lingering in her eyes.

“Yeah?”

“Why didn’t you go on vacation with Alice?” she asked.

“Things change, Bella.”

“You are still married, right?”

“No.” It killed me to voice the truth. Saying it out loud somehow made it feel permanent. Bella’s sadness hit me like a shockwave, adding more weight to the depression that was already eating its way through my soul.

“I’m sorry,” she whimpered as tears streamed down her face.

“It’s okay. Like I said, things change.” Ordinarily I would have retreated to the darkest corner of my room to grieve my broken heart but, right now, all I wanted to do was kiss away the tears that stained Bella’s cheeks. I never wanted to see her cry, much less be the cause of her sorrow. With caution, I scooted closer to her and dared to reach for her face. A light gust of wind scattered her scent in my direction, forcing me to back away.

“Jasper.”

“Yeah?”

“Do I bother you?” she sniffled. I was surprised at first by her accusation but, thinking back on my behavior, I could see how she would get the wrong impression.

“Not at all, it’s just…” how do I put this delicately? “Well, you have to keep in mind that I am still working on the whole human-interaction thing.”

“Ah yes, the most recent addition to the vegetarian clan!” she laughed softly.

“That’s right.”

“Do you think it will take long for you to get used to my smell?” She crinkled her nose as if to smell an unpleasant scent. I had to laugh.

“It’ll get easier if I spend more time around you.”

“I’m up for it if you are.”

“Sounds good to me. You are always welcome to come over whenever you want,” I said, glad that she wanted to be near me. Bella smiled in response until a look of shock swept over her features.

“What is that?” she asked, pointing over my shoulder. I spun around on all fours, ready to attack but saw nothing. Was she hallucinating? I felt a thump on the back of my head and looked down to see a clump of up-rooted grass lying in front of me. Bella laughed hysterically as I turned to look at her.

“Oh so it’s like that, huh!” I picked up the grass, repeatedly tossing it in the air and catching it.

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“You better start running! I’ll give you a ten second head start,” I laughed, pretending to take aim at her. She jumped to her feet, still laughing uncontrollably and took off.

“One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”

“Don’t you dare, Jasper!” she called back to me, still running aimlessly.

“Eight, nine, ten! Here I come, Bella!”

“Ahhhhh! That wasn’t ten!” she squealed with excitement. I jumped up and started chasing her, running as close to human speed as I could manage. Her laughter drifted on the breeze as I closed in on her.

“I’m going to get you!”

“Nu uh!” she panted, running slower by the second. I was almost on her heels when she tripped over a small rock. Fear took over my senses when she started to fall. I lunged through the air, pulling her against my chest as my back slammed into the ground. We slid a short distance before coming to a stop near the water.

“I’m so sorry, Bella. Are you okay?” my voice quaked. I didn’t dare move a muscle.

“Can’t….breath!” she laughed through strained breaths. I loosened my embrace, sliding my hands down from her back to her waist. Her hair was hanging over her face, concealing any damage I may have caused. With a shaking hand, I pushed the locks back, tucking them behind her ears to reveal her beautiful, unscathed face. Our eyes locked while her lips lingered inches from mine. The warmth of her breath teased my senses. I wanted to kiss her, to taste her lips. I was losing the will power to stay true to my promise to Carlisle. I didn’t want to take advantage of her, but I was running out of reasons as to why I should stop this from happening. Her lust was overwhelming as our bodies pressed into each other – I was ready to give in. The smell of her blood was growing stronger by the second, turning this situation in a dangerous direction.

“We should head back, Esme will be home any minute now,” I groaned in frustration. Bella nodded, hurt by the rejection. We dusted ourselves off and once again, I pulled her onto my back.

The run back to the house was just as intense with Bella’s chin nestled on my shoulder. The warmth of her breath against my ear, the pounding of her heart against my back – this was going to be a difficult friendship.

Once we reached the house, I eased her off my back and escorted her through the back door

“Bella,” Esme chirped, throwing her arms around Bella, “It is so good to see you again!” The rapid beating of Bella’s heart slowed until it was nothing more than a peaceful humming in my ear. I didn’t have to ask, it was obvious that she remembered Esme and the bond they shared remained unbroken.

“We’ll let the two of you catch up,” Carlisle said as Bella and Esme moved over to the couch which was covered with a variety of shopping bags. I followed him into the kitchen and slumped down onto one of the barstools. Carlisle stood across from me, much like he did any time he felt the need to have a heart to heart.

“What’s on your mind?” I asked.

“I found some information on Bella’s condition.” He didn’t sound hopeful.

“Is it that bad?”

“There is a reason why Bella can’t remember certain events with our family.”

I thought for a moment, making a mental list of the memories that were either blurry or non-existent to Bella. It didn’t take long to find the consistent factor for each. “Edward?”

“It would seem that every memory she had that was connected to Edward is being suppressed. In cases like these, the mind blocks out memories that were traumatizing.”

I clenched my hands into fists as a growl rumbled deep within my chest.

“All of this is happening because he abandoned her!” I hissed.

“I’m not sure what traumatized her, Son,” he ran his hand through his hair. “Ever since Bella was introduced to our family she has been exposed to many stressful situations.”

“She was fine until he abandoned her!”

“Edward did what he thought was best for Bella. He had no way of knowing that she and Charlie would be involved in a car accident. It took a lot of love to do what he did.”

“Don’t make excuses for him! It takes a hell of a lot more love to stay,” I snapped. In anger, I jumped to my feet, knocking the barstool over with a loud thud. I stormed out the back door and broke into a run. I could hear Bella and Esme shuffle into the kitchen before I got too far from the house. Carlisle would make an excuse for my abrupt departure, should one be needed. I didn’t go far; a few laps around the lake would be enough to calm the rage that was digging its claws into my heart.

Once I reached the water I ran the perimeter roughly fifty times before dropping down onto the grass. It was hopeless. Nothing was going to clear my mind. I had never looked down on Edward before, and now, I couldn’t shake the urge to shred him into little pieces. Deep down, I knew Carlisle was right. It must have been excruciating for Edward to turn his back on Bella. It wasn’t even the fact that he discarded her like a blood-drained carcass from one of his meals that enraged me. I was angry because, after everything Bella has gone through; he refused to come back to Forks. If someone told me that Alice had been hurt I wouldn’t think twice about going to her, married or not. I could never turn my back on her, especially in a time of need. There was no excusing Edward’s selfish behavior; I don’t care how much he claimed to love Bella! The image of her lying in the hospital, covered from head to toe with black and purple bruises, was still fresh in my mind. It wasn’t unusual to see a bruise or two on her body, but never had I seen her look so broken. I had to give her credit for enduring so much pain without a single complaint.

A pair of headlights in the driveway reminded me of the late hour. I made it back to the house just in time to catch Bella before she drove away.

“Are you leaving?” I asked, feeling horrible when she jumped almost high enough to hit her head on the roof.

“Jasper!” she gasped, pressing her hand into her chest.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“It’s okay. Yes, I am heading home before Charlie loses his mind.”

“In that case, I won’t hold you up. It was really nice seeing you again.”

“I’m glad I came and if you, you know, ever need someone to talk to…” She was embarrassed but I couldn’t understand why.

“Thanks. The same goes for you.”

She smiled, mouthed a goodbye, and then drove away. I lingered outside for a moment, her scent still floating in the air, beckoning me to follow. I cringed when the urge to feed crept over me. This newborn appetite was getting old – fast! It had been years since I adopted Carlisle’s vegetarian lifestyle and yet I still craved the taste of human blood, worse than that – I craved Bella’s blood.