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Doubt

Summary:
"I would put up with this twisted, corrupt lifestyle for Alice. Only for Alice." In 1950, Jasper and Alice finally find the Cullens. Alice fits right in, but Jasper has a hard time adapting. This the story of how Jasper came to think of the Cullens as family. Canon. Mostly in Jasper's POV. DIsclaimer: All the original characters and plots belong to Stephenie Meyer. However, the new content in my stories belong to me.


Notes:


4. Chapter 4: Conversations

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Chapter 4: Conversations

Weeks passed.

I didn't leave my room. At first, Alice stayed with me, but when I saw how much she missed her new family, I told her to go. But I think she saw through me a little, because she spent every second with me when she wasn't getting to know the Cullens. Recently, she had been staying with me a lot more; to keep up appearances, Emmett, Rosalie, and Edward had gone to attend school.

A knock sounded on the door. "Hey, Jasper," Emmett called. "You want to play poker?"

"No."

"Chess?"

"No."

"Texas Hold 'Em?"

"No."

A pause. "You sure?"

"Yes."

"Really, really sure?"

"Yes."

"You-"

"Yes."

Emmett hesitated. "Okay, then." He walked away, his disappointment increasing with every step.

I sighed and stared at the ceiling from my place on the bed. I missed Alice. I needed her more than ever now, since I had relinquished, however unintentionally, my best advantage over the coven.

I hated being weak.

I watched the day progressing through the spacious window, the blood-red sunset seeping across the floor- so similar to the color of my eyes the day I had slipped. Eventually, the gruesome colors of the dying sunset faded to a comforting, velvety black.

It was at this time that Alice slipped into the room. I sat up and caught her in my arms.

"Alice," I murmured.

"Jazz, Carlisle wants to see you in his office." Alice whispered in my ear, pulling back to look into my eyes. "He wants to help you, Jasper. They all want to. Please, at least try to accept them." She looked up at me pleadingly. I couldn't resist- I nodded.

Alice slid off my lap and led me to Carlisle's study, where she sent me a wistful look and left.

I had known that this conversation was coming for some time- now that my abilities were no longer a secret, I owed them an explanation for my actions. Reluctantly, I raised my hand and knocked on the door.

"Come in," Carlisle called. I entered the room, my eyes warily flicking to the window, then back to his face. He was sitting behind a solid oak desk, golden eyes appraising me over steepled fingers.

"You sent for me, sir?"

Carlisle gestured to a chair. "Yes, I did. Please, sit." I sat down slowly, testing his emotional state as I did so. He seemed calm, with not an ounce of anger in his aura- he was just exceedingly curious.

One minute, then two passed as I waited, tense, for him to begin.

Finally, he sighed and began the interrogation. "You are an empath?"

"Yes."

"But your power extends beyond simply sensing others' emotions, doesn't it?" Carlisle probed.

"Yes."

"Would you care to elaborate?" He leaned slightly forward, his eyes burning with curiosity.

I spoke slowly, choosing my words with care. "I can…influence the emotions of both vampires and humans. I can't control them, but I could calm a large group of people down or excite them. I can duplicate any emotion that I have felt myself, but I couldn't duplicate the kind of love that I feel for Alice, or that you feel for Esme."

"Would you care to give me a demonstration?" Carlisle asked.

"What would you like me to do?" I answered cautiously.

"Surprise me." Carlisle gripped the arms of his chair in anticipation.

I hesitated, and then unleashed first a wave of anger, then fear and calm in quick succession. When I finished, Carlisle let out a breath and leaned back, shaking his head. "Your gift is powerful indeed."

Gift? A curse, more like. I snorted softly. Carlisle didn't notice- he was deep in thought, his marble brow furrowed. "Have you ever... used your power on us?"

"Yes." I said honestly.

His emotions and tone darkening, Carlisle asked, "When?"

"I've only used it to calm you down, never for a malicious effect." I paused, reconsidering my words. "Intentionally, at least."

"When you slipped… you were projecting your emotions unintentionally?"

"Yes. I can usually keep my emotions under better control, but sometimes, when I'm upset, I involuntarily project them." I explained.

Carlisle nodded thoughtfully. "I see." He suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Jasper, I would like to address another subject while you are here. Esme and I believe that Alice's control has developed enough so that she is able to attend school with Edward, Emmett and Rosalie. However, we would like your opinion on the matter before we decide."

My teeth clenched together with an audible snap. I knew why they had not invited me to attend with Alice- my flighty self-control was too fragile to send me to school. I would massacre the entire student body. But I had felt her longing and wistfulness as she bade the 'students' goodbye. I knew that she would be ecstatic when she saw the news, and I would have to be truly selfish to keep her with me. I could never make her so unhappy.

Unwillingly, I nodded. Relief flooded Carlisle's emotions. "Thank you, Jasper," he said. "You may go." I left, my dead heart heavy in my chest.

The dreaded day came when Alice would go to school. There were only five minutes left before she had to go, and we were making the most of it in our room.

"I don't have to go," she murmured, kissing the scars on my face and neck.

"I'll be fine. Go enjoy yourself."

"Are you positive?" she asked, her eyes full of worry.

"Yes," I promised.

"Hey, little sis! You coming or not?" Emmett called from below.

Alice sighed and sat up. "Geez, Emmett! Get a grip!" she grumbled under her breath. I heard Emmett chuckle.

We flitted downstairs. I took Alice's tiny hands, my large ones easily enveloping them in their grip. Looking deep into her eyes, I sent her waves of comfort and reassurance, hoping to assuage her worry. I felt her relax ever so slightly, but Emmett pulled her out the door before I could send her any more soothing emotions. As she was dragged out the door, Alice sent me one last, anxious look as the door closed behind her. A few minutes later, Carlisle also left to take his shift at the hospital.

I was alone in the house with Esme.

I went back upstairs to get a book, and then settled myself on the living room sofa to endure my nine-hour separation from Alice. I attempted to concentrate on the book, but my mind kept returning to Alice. How was she holding up? Was she in pain? Was she enjoying her first day at school? Was she thinking of me as well? With a sigh, I set down the book.

It was hopeless. There was no way I would be able to concentrate on a book when Alice was gone. I repositioned myself in a place where the driveway was easily visible and stared out the window. So lost in thought was I that I didn't notice Esme's presence until she spoke up.

"The first few days are the worst." She said softly, in a tone that assured me that she knew exactly what I was feeling. I reluctantly tore my gaze from the window to look at her beautiful, kind face. "Having something to do helps, but you never stop missing them." Her soft golden eyes met my pitch-black ones. "Would you like some company?" I shrugged and moved over to make a space for her on the couch.

We sat in a companionable silence. I found a strange comfort from her compassionate emotions, and I reveled in the peace I found in her gentle presence. "It must be terribly confusing, adapting to our way of life," she mused.

I snorted. "You have no idea."

"No, I don't." she sighed.

"Why do you do it?" I whispered. "You're under no obligation to drink the blood of animals. You don't have a gift." I spat out the word.

"That's what's confusing you, isn't it?" Esme guessed. I nodded. "None of us chose this life. I don't want to be a monster, to have to kill others to satiate my own needs. I treasure every human life. We were all once human ourselves, and I don't want to lose that part of myself. Not many of our kind understand that." Esme laughed. "Has Alice ever told you the story of how Carlisle and I met?" I shook my head no.

"I was born in 1895 as Esme Anne Platt. The first time I saw him was when I was sixteen- I had broken my leg falling out of a tree. Carlisle offered his services. I remember wondering at his inhuman beauty, his strange, golden eyes and pale skin- so frigid to the touch. He stayed with me throughout my recovery, though my father left me for his work. Once my leg healed, he disappeared from my life, though I continued to fantasize about him.

"Eventually, in 1917, my parents married me off to another man, Charles Evenson. At first, he seemed like the perfect husband- polite, charming, with a promising future…but I soon discovered that he was very different. He abused me in secret- I didn't tell my parents because I didn't want to disappoint them, and they had raised me to respect my husband. I was greatly relieved when he got drafted into the army in World War I.

"But my happiness could not last. When Charles came back in 1920, he continued abusing me. Eventually, I ran away. A few days later, I discovered that I was carrying Charles' son. I became a teacher, and my son was born in 1921. He died a few days after birth from a lung infection." Esme paused, and I nearly toppled over from the intensity of her emotions. Her love and sadness was nearly overwhelming.

"After my baby's death, I no longer felt that I had any reason to live. I jumped off a cliff, but my heart was still beating when they brought me into the morgue. Coincidentally, Carlisle was working in the very hospital where they brought me. He recognized me as the girl who he had treated a decade earlier, and he changed me." A peaceful smile graced her lips. "I have never regretted my change. Carlisle is everything I have ever hoped for."

I absorbed this new information, and I was surprised to find that I was murderously angry with Charles Evenson. How could he have done so much wrong to one such as Esme? She was one of the kindest people I had ever met. It was utterly inexcusable.

"You're angry?" Esme asked quietly. I hadn't realized that I was projecting. With an effort, I got my emotions under control.

"I'm not angry at you, I'm angry at what he did to you." I hesitated. "I was raised to be polite to women, not to persecute them." Though after my time in the vampire wars of the South, that was all out the window. "You are one of the kindest people I've ever met. I'm angry that he could do such terrible things to you."

A radiant smile lit up Esme's face. "Thank you, Jasper." After a moment's hesitation, she touched my arm.

I tensed, but stifled the muted growls that were bubbling up in my throat. She looked up apologetically, but I shook my head. "It's fine." I mumbled.

Still apologetic, Esme asked, "Would you like to help me out in the garden? I want to plant some violets."

"You have a garden?" I asked, shocked.

"Yes," she answered, smiling. "Would you like to see?" I followed her mechanically out of the room, out into the backyard. Rows and rows of exotic flowers, artfully arranged, covered the enclosure. There was a small, rectangular patch of soil in the corner of the yard, and here we set to work. Esme insisted that we work at human speed, although we would have gotten done much faster if we worked at our regular speed. She kept up a lively chatter as we toiled, and I was soon absorbed in our work.

After in indefinite period of time, Esme said softly, "Alice and the others will be home in a few minutes."

Immediately, I dropped the shovel and started toward the door, but then I hesitated and asked, "Would you like me to help you clean up?"

Esme smiled. "It's okay, Jasper. You go ahead." I hurried around the house to greet Alice at the driveway.

A minute later, I heard the soft purr of the approaching car. It was sleek and silver, with Edward at the wheel. As soon as he parked it in the driveway, Alice hopped out and dashed into my arms.

"I missed you," she murmured.

"And I, you." As we ascended the stairs together, I reflected on my conversation with Esme.

I barely remembered my human family. I couldn't remember if I had any siblings, or the names of my parents. I couldn't remember if I had loved my family, or if they had loved me. I knew that I had sneaked off to join the Confederate army without their permission, and I remember thinking that my father would have been proud of my actions, but further than that, my memory was blank. However, Esme seemed bent on fulfilling the empty hole where my mother had been.

Esme had explained to me that she fed on animals because she wanted to retain some of her humanity- I now sympathized completely.

Whatever vestiges of humanity I had left, I would fight to save them- if only to atone for the monster I was.