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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.


7. Determination

Rating 3/5   Word Count 3334   Review this Chapter

Bella’s POV

My first week back at school went exactly as I had expected it to: Mike and Tyler goofing off, Angela pretending not to be upset if Mike didn’t give her every bit of his attention, and a few dozen conversations to update me on everything I had missed during my recovery. Today was almost the same, with one exception. During lunch, Mike asked me if Edward was back in town. Before I had a chance to respond, Angela dug her elbow into his ribs and cut her eyes at him. Everyone at the table was equally uncomfortable with the mention of Edward’s name. I shouldn’t have been surprised; Edward wasn’t a topic that was open for discussion, well, not around me anyway. I tried over and over again to come up with some memory of him, even a fuzzy one would suffice. Nothing ever came and I was beyond irritated. Everyone was treating me like a fractured piece of glass, doomed to shatter into a thousand pieces at the slightest tremor. I don’t know what bothered me more: the fact that everyone I trusted was hiding something from me or that not too long ago I was a part of their big secret. Any memories I had of Edward were locked away in the darkest part of my mind and no amount of force was going to free them. There was only one person that I could turn to for answers…Jasper. I grabbed my coat and hurried down the stairs.

“Where are you off to in such a rush?” Charlie asked. His eyes were fixed on the TV.

“I need to talk to Jasper.”

“You can’t do that on the phone?”

“Why, so you can monitor my conversation?” I hissed. Charlie glared at me.

“In case you haven’t noticed, it’s storming pretty badly. What is so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow?”

“I just need to get out of the house for a while,” I sighed, waiting for him to come up with yet another reason as to why I should stay home. It wouldn’t work; I would fight him all night if I had to.

“Drive slow, the roads are slick,” he mumbled. He crossed his arms and returned his attention to the TV.

“I’ll be careful,” I promised and rushed out the door before Charlie had a chance to change his mind.

The wind scattered the heavy rain in all directions, adding to my lingering fear of being in a vehicle. I was glad that Charlie hadn’t noticed my tension each time I got into his new cruiser. If he had even the slightest suspicion of my fear he would never let me go anywhere. I drove slowly, as promised, keeping both of my hands wrapped tightly around the steering wheel. When I reached the turn to the Cullens’ house, I let off the gas and eased my foot down on the brake pedal. Halfway into the turn my rear tires hit a muddy puddle of water, sending my truck into a fish-tail. I tried desperately to remember the correct way to regain control; apparently I missed that day of driver’s education. The tires squealed against the road as the truck slid out of control. The engine stalled making it nearly impossible to steer. My knuckles were bone-white from the firm grip I had on the steering wheel and my stomach was now in my throat. The truck slid to a stop with the rear tires in a ditch. I closed my eyes and waited for my heart to slow down. Once the feeling in my legs returned, I jumped out into the fury of the storm to check the damage to my truck. Luckily, there didn’t seem to be any visible signs of damage, other than my shot nerves. I forced myself to get back into the truck and started it up. The engine howled each time I hit the gas, but it refused to budge as the tires spun freely in the mud. I had no choice; I was going to have to walk the rest of the way.

The rain was falling so hard that I couldn’t see more than a few steps ahead. I pulled my hood up but it was pointless. The gusts of wind and pounding rain forced it off my head seconds after I put it on. After only a few minutes I was no longer able to see my truck, or anything else for that matter. I could only hope I wasn’t too far from the house.

“Bella?” I could hear Jasper’s voice faintly in the distance but couldn’t see him. I turned in circles, trying to find him.

“Jasper, where are you?”

“Right here,” he whispered in my ear, “odd time to go for a walk, don’t you think?” I turned quickly to see him standing behind me. The roaring of the downpour made it difficult to hear him.

“My truck is hung up,” I yelled, forgetting that he can hear me easier than I could hear him. He pulled his jacket off and held it over my head.

“Are you hurt?” he yelled for my benefit while he looked me over.

“I’m fine, just a little wet!”

“Take my jacket.” He scooped me up into his arms and ran. Seconds later, we were at my truck. He opened the driver’s side door and set me on the dry seat.

“Start the engine and try to drive out of the ditch,” he instructed, as he shut the door and disappeared. I pulled the keys out of my pocket and started the engine. Like before, the tires spun freely. I glanced up at the rearview mirror and saw Jasper drop down into the bed of the truck with a loud thud. The tires struggled but finally gripped the ground enough to allow me to drive out of the ditch. Once I was completely on the road, I shifted into neutral. Jasper opened the door, his hair dripping and his clothes splattered with mud.

“Do you want me to drive?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” I sighed in relief, sliding over to the passenger’s side, “how did you know I was here?”

“I felt your fear,” he explained, shifting the truck into drive. I closed my eyes as we drove to his house, trying my hardest to push back my discomfort at being back in the truck. Jasper unrolled his window and leaned into the open air. I hated the difficulty he had to endure because of my scent. I unrolled my window and pulled his jacket over my chest.

“You don’t have to do that,” he mumbled, glancing at my window with a look of shame etched on his face.

“I don’t mind. You can only get so wet before you stop feeling it.”

“I suppose you’re right,” he replied while reaching down to turn the heater to its highest setting. I scooted closer to the middle of the truck in order to avoid the stinging rain and to take full advantage of the heater. Jasper stiffened in his seat when my knee accidently brushed against his leg.

“Sorry,”

“It’s okay,” he replied through gritted teeth.

We pulled up to the house and dashed for the front door. Once we were inside, I pulled Jasper’s jacket off of my head. The house was unusually quiet.

“Where is everyone?” I asked, looking around.

“Esme and Carlisle are out hunting tonight. They won’t be back for a while.”

Jasper kicked his muddy boots off at the front door and waited for me to follow his example. I pulled my shoes off and stared down at my drenched socks that were twisted around my toes.

“Esme has some clothes that should fit you,” Jasper laughed as he looked me over. He started towards the staircase but paused when I didn’t follow.

“I don’t feel right borrowing her clothes without asking first.”

“Well, I am not going to let you catch a cold. I guess you’ll have to borrow some clothes from me,” he laughed.

I knew arguing with him on the subject was pointless. Although his clothes would be too big on me, I preferred it to borrowing Esme’s clothes without her permission.

“Fine by me,” I responded. Jasper shrugged his shoulders and sprinted down the hall. It took a minute for me to realize that he had moved into a room downstairs. It made sense that he and Alice weren’t sharing a room anymore but it was still going to take some getting used to. He came back holding a stack of neatly folded clothes.

“Do you remember where the bathroom is?”

“Yes. Thanks, Jasper.”

I took the clothes and ran upstairs, trying my best not to dirty too much more of the floor. The bathroom was just as I remembered it. The smell of lilac and freesia filled the room. The walls were painted a dusty gold and displayed a large mirror with framed landscapes on either side. I set the clothes on the marble sink and quickly removed my damp garments, shivering when my bare feet touched the cold, tiled floor. I grabbed the socks from the stack and rushed my feet into them. The jeans weren’t too big but I definitely needed a belt. When I pulled the long sleeved shirt over my head I could smell Jasper’s scent imbedded deep in the fibers. The sleeves hung over my hands, leaving only my fingers exposed beneath the cuffs. I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw myself in the mirror. My hair clung to my face in the front, and stuck out in the back. I ran my fingers through my damp locks of hair until it was tangle-free. After a final inspection, I grabbed my wet clothes and headed back downstairs to find Jasper. The light was on in his room and, without thinking, I moved towards his partially opened door. He was standing by the window, wearing nothing but a pair of tan khakis. A gasp escaped my lips when I noticed the hundreds of silver, crescent-shaped scars that covered his back. He spun around, shocked to find me at the door. His chest was just as badly scarred as his back. Jasper pulled a shirt on, a mask of pain covering his face. I didn’t know what to say. It was obvious that he was self-conscious of the scars and I felt horrible for embarrassing him. My borrowed jeans started slipping down my hips, reminding me why I had intruded on his privacy.

“You need a belt.” His voice was tainted with humiliation and yet, he forced a smile. I watched in silence as he dug through the chest of drawers, the image of his scarred body fresh in my mind. His unique scars were familiar and I knew exactly what caused them….vampires. I pulled my sleeve up and stared at the crescent mark on my wrist. The image of James biting down on my flesh flooded through my mind. The details of the event were still a blur but, the memory of the pain I felt from the venom was crystal clear. When I tried to imagine the pain Jasper experienced from so many bites, I felt sick.

“Here you go.” He handed me a belt in exchange for my wet clothes. My bra fell to the floor, landing draped over his bare foot. The humiliation burned my face as I stared at my black, satin undergarment. Oh God! Breathe! Just breathe! Jasper reached down and retrieved my bra, tucking it into the pile of damp clothes without the slightest trace of embarrassment on his face.

“So, are you going to tell me what brought you out here on a night like this?” he called out on his way to the laundry room.

“I wanted to talk to you about something that has been bothering me.”

“Uh oh. It must be something serious if it had to be asked in person,” he teased.

“I’m sorry. I should have called.”

“It’s okay, Bella. I’m just giving you a hard time.” He reappeared and ushered me into the living room. I dropped down onto the sofa but he remained standing.

“I know you are indifferent either way, but it would make me feel better if you sat down.”

He settled into the chair across from me. “Are you okay?”

“Not really.”

“What happened?”

“I’m not sure; maybe I’m losing my mind. I feel like everyone is hiding something from me. First Charlie, then your family, and now everyone at school,” I sighed. The frustration was overwhelming.

“May I?” he asked, leaning forward.

“Sure.” I felt the calming sensation course through my body.

“What is it that makes you feel like everyone is hiding something from you?”

“It’s the way no one ever talks about Edward. Whenever his name is mentioned all eyes are on the floor and the one that dared to speak his name has this odd reaction, like they gave away a government secret!”

“Bella, have you regained any memories of Edward?”

“No. Does that make a difference?”

“Well, in a way it does.”

“Jasper, you are the only person I trust to not treat me like a child. Please, I have to know. What is the big secret?”

He was uncomfortable, pacing the length of the living room. Something was weighing on his mind and I could only hope that he trusted me enough to share his concerns with me.

“Bella, I think you should talk to Carlisle about this.”

“He is being just as protective as everyone else. You said I could come to you for anything. Please, Jasper.”

“I don’t want to be the reason you get upset,” he sighed, torn by his loyalty to so many.

“I’ll be fine, I promise.”

He thought for a moment before sitting beside me on the couch.

“You and Edward dated for a while, but after everything that happened with James…” his voice faded.

“Did we break up?” I asked. He nodded, reluctant to say anything else. “People break up all the time. What is the big deal about our break up?” I tried to remember being in a relationship, even if I couldn’t remember Edward.

“Bella, the two of you were in love. When Edward left, you didn’t take it well.”

I thought about this new information for a few minutes. It was, I suppose, understandable why everyone was so concerned about me. If I took it as bad as Jasper said I did, maybe this whole memory loss was a good thing. It did, however, produce a whole new set of complications for me. Since Edward and I dated, it put Jasper off limits. I could never let him know how I feel about him. My heart crashed into the pit of my stomach.

“Bella, what’s wrong?” Jasper slid a little closer but left plenty of space between us.

“I’m fine,” I lied.

“Are you really okay? The emotions I am feeling from you don’t seem fine.”

“Don’t worry; I’m not upset about Edward. It’s hard to get emotional over something you can’t remember.”

“Then what’s bothering you? Bella, you can tell me anything.”

I pulled at the cuffs of my loaned shirt. His scent grew stronger with each agitation of the fabric. How was I supposed to tell him that I wanted to be with him romantically? That I dreamt of him at night and felt empty when he wasn’t around? It was wrong for me to feel that way about Jasper, despite the fact that I had no memory of Edward. Everyone else remembered the relationship and would surely look down on me if I dared to pursue a relationship with Jasper. They were afraid that I would be upset if I knew that Edward had left me, they were half right. I was upset that I couldn’t remember, but, more than that, I was upset because I was falling in love with Jasper. I didn’t even know if he shared my feelings. Knowing that he was single didn’t make it any easier.

“Some things are best left unsaid.”

“I’ll never force you to confide in me, Bella. I just want to make sure that you know that there isn’t anything you can’t tell me, no matter how embarrassing or silly it may seem to you.” He patted my knee and rushed off to put the laundry in the dryer. I dropped my face into my hands, choking back the urge to scream as the tears started to fall.

“I can’t tell you that I am falling in love with you,” I whispered to myself.

“Yes, Bella, you can tell me that.” His voice was soft and serious. I jolted my head up and saw him standing across the room, staring at me with compassionate eyes. How could I forget that he can hear everything, even a whisper!

“I’m sorry, Jasper. I shouldn’t have said that,” my voice cracked as I bolted for the door. Jasper caught my waist before I could make my escape and pulled me into him, my back pressed against his chest. My heart raced with fear and desire combined in one twisted, aching knot.

“Don’t be afraid,” he whispered in my ear, his voice husky and strained. I wanted to give into the part of me that longed for his touch. He turned me to face him and froze. I glanced up at him with hesitation, afraid that he would see right into my soul. His eyes were closed and his jaw was clenched shut.

“Jasper?” I wiped the tears from my cheeks. He didn’t respond. A deep rumbling growl rolled through his chest, like an animal warning its enemy to keep a safe distance. I didn’t know what to do. He was in pain but I couldn’t see anything that could possibly be hurting him.

“Do you want me to call Carlisle?”

“No,” he huffed, lowering his forehead to mine.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m sorry, Bella. I haven’t been this close to human blood in a long time.”

“Oh,” I whispered. He opened his eyes, his forehead still pressed against mine as he held me close.

“Please don’t be afraid of me, I would never hurt you.”

“I know you won’t hurt me.”

He stared deep into my eyes, pulling my body closer to his.

“Say it again for me, Bella. Tell me how you feel,” he groaned in pain as he tested his self restraint. His cool breath was relief to the heat building in my skin.

“I’m falling in love with you, Jasper,” I moaned with pleasure when he brushed his icy lips across my forehead. I felt dizzy. He moved his mouth to my ear and then down my neck, being careful not to allow his teeth to come into contact with my skin. My legs turned to liquid and I started to fall. He quickly whisked me up into his arms and carried me to his room. Any doubts I had before about giving into my desires for Jasper were forgotten.

“I want you so badly,” he said with lust-filled urgency as he set me on the edge of his bed. He kneeled before me, resting his forehead on my knees while taking my hands in his. He lingered for a moment in silence. “Damn it,” he growled.

“Maybe we should open a window to help with my scent.”

“It’s not that.”

“It’s not?”

“Bella, this isn’t a good idea,” he sighed.

“I understand.”

“You understand what?”

“Why you don’t want me. I am nothing compared to Alice.”

Guilt tore through my heart, leaving me the regret of exposing my heart to him. I was foolish to think that someone as beautiful as him could ever love a simple human like me. I could feel my heart break as he stared up at me with an odd expression on his face. I braced myself for the rejection that I knew was coming.