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worth the pain
Set about 6 months after the fateful 18th Birthday party from New Moon, the Cullens have left. A horrible tragedy strikes the Cullens. Can Bella help the remaining members heal? Bella/Jasper, Rosalie/Emmett.
7. chapter 7
Word Count 1277
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It was only 6am when Rose knocked on my door in the morning. Good grief, did she really think the shops opened this early? I groaned and she laughed and poked her head in the room. "OK sleepyhead, we have to drive this morning, so hurry up. You've got 30 minutes and we're pulling out!"she called. I rolled over and buried my head in my soft pillow and muttered something about 5 more minutes. "I heard that! Get up, Bella!" she laughed from the hallway. Damn stupid vampire hearing. So, grumbling the whole way, I grabbed my stuff and dashed to the bathroom. I threw open the door and to my embarrassment walked right in on Jasper wearing nothing but a towel. "Good morning, Bella." he said mildly, a smile in his voice. I blushed and mumbled "Sorry" before hauling tail out of there and back to my room. I threw myself face down on the bed and hoped I would suffocate so I'd be spared the embarrassment of facing Jasper later. A few minutes passed as I waited for the bathroom to be open. "Bella, darlin', what's wrong?" Jasper whispered right next to me. I yelped and jumped a foot in the air. "You scared me to death, Jasper Whitlock!" I panted. He chuckled and I realized I was all but straddling him on the bed in my fright. I raised my head and was suddenly dizzy at how close his lips were to mine from this angle. I couldn't help it as a tiny moan escaped my lips. "Bella" Jasper sighed huskily. Just as his cool perfect lips grazed mine, Emmett hollered "Bella, aren't you ready yet? Let's go!" In the blink of an eye, Jasper was gone and my head was reeling. Had I just imagined that? What the hell was that?? No time to analyze it now though, so I headed to the shower and hauled ass to Rose's BMW waiting outside.
Rose and Emmett were in the front seat, so that left Jasper & I in the back. Well, crap! Awkward much? I slid in the seat and pretended to be very interested in the trees whizzing by the window.
What was I doing? What were we doing? Bella slid quietly into the car, without as much as a glance my way. She was radiating confusion, embarrassment, and, hmm this was interesting, could that be lust? For me? I knew the last few months had forged an incredible bond between us, but I had no idea she had been feeling this way. Well, Whitlock, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I reached across the seat and gently took her small warm hand in mine. I gave her a gentle smile when she looked over at me. I felt a quick brush of embarrassment and a much stronger flash of attraction. I noticed Rose glance at me in the rearview mirror then, so I reigned myself in a little, must have been shooting out a little too much information there for a minute. This car ride to Seattle was going to be much too short.
My whole hand was tingling. Every single point of contact between Jasper and I was aflame with sensation. I tried to sneak a peak through my lashes at him, but he was staring at me, too. I quickly resumed my study of the scenery outside the car windows. Rose & Emmett were singing at the top of their lungs to a song on the radio, so Jasper took advantage of their disinterest to squeeze my hand gently and whisper, "You OK, darlin'?" I nodded at him and gave his hand a squeeze back. I didn't dare to hope that he felt anything more than a brotherly affection for me, so I silently cursed my stupid heart for yet again thinking I was worth loving. From that point on in the ride, every time I glanced at Jasper, he was looking at me and frowning lightly as if he couldn't quite figure out what to say to me.
Finally, Rose pulled into the mall parking lot and we all piled out. "OK, folks, here's our plan." she declared, handing Emmett a long list and keeping one for herself. "Jasper & Emmett, you guys need to handle the electronics and other things on your list. Bella and I are getting clothing, linens, and other household stuff. The house in New Hampshire should be partially stocked, but it's been awhile since anyone stayed there, so better to be prepared!" she commanded. Snapping a jaunty salute at Rose and a quick wink at me, Jasper disappeared with Emmett in tow. Rose grabbed my hand and we headed into the trenches.
Our first stop was Abercrombie & Fitch. I loved Rose in that moment. I knew I would be OK shopping there. It was just my style. She caught the look on my face and grinned. "Bella, honey, you are beautiful just as you are. Buy what you like, you're the one who has to wear it." I thought I would like shopping with Rose. The store was busy, so we had to share a large dressing room. As soon as we were behind the closed door, she grinned evilly and said "OK, Bella, dish, what is up with you and Jasper? You guys looked pretty cozy back there!" With a sigh, I figured honesty was the best policy, so I dished. "Well, Rose, I'm not really sure. I think we might be a little closer that siblings." "Do you want more with him, Bella?" she interrupted. "I don't know, Rose. How could he want that with me? And, I really want it to be because he feels the same way I do and not because he feels obligated or, I don't know, whatever." I finished lamely. She turned to me and gently grasped my cheeks in her hands, "Bella, Jasper feels things very deeply, but he doesn't act on his feelings lightly. If he's giving you signs that he wants more with you, then it's because he does and not for any other reason. Do you know much about his past?" I shook my head no. "Well, it's not for me to tell, but Jasper has had a very hard existence. He loved Alice, but he was also indebted to her for showing him a better life. Go slow with him. He'll need you to be gentle. Don't hold back your feelings around him; he needs to know you're OK." And with that, she spun in a small circle and asked, "Well, what do you think of this outfit?"
An hour later, we were leaving Abercrombie loaded down with bags. As we stepped out into the mall, I tripped over a loose floor tile. I was just getting ready to land on my face, when a pair of cool marble arms caught me. "Careful, Darlin'" Jasper breathed in my ear "I can't have you getting hurt." The double entendre was very clear in his voice and eyes. "I'll be fine as long as you catch me." I murmured.
After a few more hours of shopping, we had checked off all the items on our lists and were heading back to Forks. I was dead on my feet and couldn't wait to climb back into the car. As soon as we started moving, I could feel myself beginning to doze. Jasper noticed and pulled me gently over so I could lay my head in his lap. The last thing I remembered, before falling asleep, was the love shining in his eyes and the feel of his fingers stroking my hair gently.