He wasn't sure when it changed for her but he knew when it changed for him.
It was the night of the baseball game. It pained Jasper to feel Bella's sense of worthlessness. She didn't think she was worthy of love or affection or attention.
He meant what he said to her. She was worth it—in every way.
They became friends shortly after the family returned after Edward abandoned Bella in the woods (Jasper still wanted to rip his brother's throat out for the pain he had caused). Jasper was surprised to find that, when he apologized to her, Bella had forgiven him the moment after it happened. He thought for sure that she resented him—after all, he was the reason the family left in the first place.
But for whatever reason, Bella still liked and respected him—and so a friendship was born. Of course Edward never let her be alone in the same room as his brother at first (even though Bella insisted), but they finally had opportunities to talk to one another and it turned out they had quite a bit in common.
Jasper savored these times he had with Bella—when the family was out hunting. He always conveniently went hunting the day before, leaving him in charge of babysitting the human.
He smiled and looked down at her sleeping form. She had her head on his chest and an arm draped across his waist.
He traced his finger lightly across her bare shoulder and back—smirking as he remembered the pleasant activities they had engaged in only hours before.
She shifted in her sleep and he heard her mumble, "I love you, Jasper."
He knew she loved him—just as much as he loved her. But he remembered, with a pang in his dead heart, that Bella was still with Edward.
They had talked a few times around the rest of the family and knew they had a lot of things in common—but the deeper conversations and subsequent friendship came about when Jasper ended up being the one to babysit Bella.
He found himself purposely hunting before the family went in a group, which resulted in him staying home with Bella more often.
They would talk for hours about anything and everything. He had mentioned to Bella that he had fought in the Civil War and he couldn't help the happiness he felt when she would ask him questions about it. She was interested in his past and he didn't hide anything from her or mince words the way Edward did. Of course she still didn't know about the scars.
Jasper could tell that Bella felt something for him that was deeper than lust. He knew she wasn't quite sure about those feelings though.
Bella also liked to talk to Jasper when she wanted to vent about something. He never interrupted or told her what to do—he just listened. He was good at that.
On this particular day, Bella's rant was about Edward.
"Why is he so overly cautious with me? I know he would never hurt me but he still refuses to go any further than chaste kisses and ugh, it's driving me crazy! I mean, is it me? Does he not find me desirable?" She stopped ranting and then said quietly, "Maybe if I changed my hair or clothes..."
That just plain pissed Jasper off and even though he had refrained in the past, he couldn't help but ask, "Why do you let him do this to you?"
She was taken aback. Clearly she hadn't expected him to actually say anything—he never did. He just listened. "W-what do you mean?"
He stood up. "Hurt you!" He was angry now—not at her but at his brother. "Every time you're with him you feel inadequate!"
Now she was angry too. "That's not true!"
"I'm an empath, remember?"
"Well... it's just because all of you are so perfect!"
Jasper almost laughed. If only she could see just how imperfect he actually was. "Bella, a minute ago you were telling me that maybe Edward would find you more attractive if you changed something about yourself and that's fucking bullshit!" He was practically yelling now and he was right up in her face.
"What the hell, Jasper?"
"Don't you get it? Bella, you are beautiful and my brother is a fucking idiot if he can't see that!" He was breathing heavy now even though he didn't need to. The lust between the two of them was becoming unbearable and before he could talk himself out of it, he crushed his lips to Bella's and kissed her hard. He poured every ounce of his feelings into that kiss and after a few seconds, she began to kiss back.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer to him as he deepened the kiss. It was a proper kiss—one filled with passion, something his brother never dared show.
Bella wrapped her arms around his neck and moaned into his mouth.
He knew that she needed to breathe so he broke the kiss and turned his attention to her neck, pressing kisses down to her collar bone.
She was breathing hard and once she could speak again, she asked, "W-what about Alice?"
He looked up at for a mere second before turning his attention back to her neck. "What about Alice?" He pressed a soft kiss to her shoulder and then explained, "Alice and I were never together. We told the family we were married mostly to avoid questions. She's my best friend and I love her but there have never been romantic feelings from either of us. She'll keep the secret, if that's what you're wondering."
Bella seemed to finally acknowledge Edward and she tore herself out of Jasper's arms. "We can't be doing this!" She was starting to panic now.
You shouldn't be with Edward to begin with, Jasper thought angrily. He said nothing though. He knew she would be feeling guilty about cheating on Edward.
"Jasper, what just happened?" Bella demanded.
He sighed. "Bella, do you realize how heartbreaking it is to feel your insecurity every single time you're with my brother? He doesn't treat you the way you deserve to be treated." It went without saying that Jasper would treat her right, if given the opportunity.
She stared at him, mouth agape before shaking her head and saying, "I'm sorry. I need to get out of here."
Jasper didn't stop her as she ran up the stairs to Edward's room.
He was convinced that he had fucked up in the few weeks after the kiss. Bella was clearly avoiding him and it pained him to think that he had lost the friendship they had built.
He wasn't the one to babysit her anymore and as much as he wanted to talk to her, he respected her decision and said nothing.
Four weeks after the kiss, Jasper ended up having to be the one to watch the human. He stood there with his hands in his pockets as she said goodbye to Edward and everyone else and then she just stood there.
After a few seconds, she asked, "Are they gone?"
"Yeah, they are." He was confused by her question.
As soon as the words left his mouth, Bella was running towards him and had he not had vampire reflexes, the two of them would have ended up on the floor.
He caught her as she wrapped her legs around his waist and kissed him urgently—the same way he'd kissed her four weeks ago.
Bella opened her eyes slowly. She felt so relaxed at the moment.
She felt a kiss on her forehead and looked up to see Jasper's gorgeous face. "Good morning, beautiful," he said softly.
She smiled and kissed his chest, right over a particularly dense patch of scars. "Good morning. Whatcha thinking about?" She always asked him this when she woke up.
"You." He smirked. "More specifically, that first time you jumped on me as soon as the rest of the family left."
Bella blushed a deep shade of red. She remembered that day very vividly.
The first time Jasper kissed her had left her conflicted. She loved Edward but he never kissed her with so much passion—or any passion. After that day, she found that his kisses no longer made her heart race. She could only think of Jasper and that amazing kiss her gave her.
It wasn't a secret that Bella thought Jasper was attractive. He was taller and more muscular than Edward but not nearly as muscular as Emmett. Jasper was tall and lean and Bella often had to fight the urge to run her fingers through his honey blond hair every time it would fall in front of his eyes.
He was also much, much easier to spend time with than anyone else in the family. He let her do her own thing, didn't hover or even worry about her. Any time she tripped, he caught her with a gentle laugh (it happened a lot, obviously). He was there to talk to when she wanted to talk to and if she wanted space, he gave it to her.
He also made her feel wanted and desired. It didn't matter how many times Edward called her beautiful, he never seemed to believe his own words. He never so much as thought of her inappropriately. He was so perfect and she felt inadequate and ugly every time she was with him (it took a while for her to admit it to herself). The day of the kiss wasn't the first time she had contemplated changing her clothing or hair to make him want her more.
But she didn't have to do that with Jasper—he wanted her just the way she was. Even though she originally felt guilty about kissing him back, four weeks of chaste kisses from Edward made her realize she wanted to kiss Jasper again. She wanted that passion and the feeling that someone found her attractive and desirable.
So before she could talk herself out of it, the second Jasper told her the family was gone, she ran at him—jumping into his arms and kissing him the same way he had kissed her a month ago.
He was stunned for all of two seconds before kissing back just as eagerly.
She only broke the kiss when the need to breathe became too much. Jasper chuckled. "Wow. What was that about?"
She felt herself blush. "I didn't want to give myself the chance to talk myself out of it."
She was suddenly extremely aware of how close they were. She had her legs wrapped tightly around his waist and his hands were on her lower back, holding her up.
She could see every individual fleck of gold in his eyes and two crescent shaped marks right above his left eyebrow. She had noticed them before and asked about them but he had brushed it off like it was no big deal.
She felt him move and before she could blink, he was sitting on the couch and she was straddling him—and he was kissing her again.
Her hands immediately went to the buttons of his shirt and she had gotten it halfway undone before he stopped her. He placed his hand gently over hers. "Wait."
"I... I should probably warn you before you do that."
Her eyes drifted up to those two crescent shaped marks that marred his perfect face.
He knew where she was looking. "There are more where those came from."
She reached out tentatively and touched one of the marks. "What are they?"
"Look at your hand."
Bella looked down at her wrist where James had bitten her. It was barely noticeable but it was a clear crescent shaped scar. She looked back at Jasper. "Those are vampire bites?"
He nodded. "It's the only thing that can leave a mark on our skin." He looked away from her. "If you run away screaming, I won't blame you."
"It can't be that bad, Jasper."
He still wouldn't look at her. "See for yourself."
She turned her attention back to his shirt and unbuttoned it the rest of the way. She could see millions of tiny scars that crisscrossed and overlapped and they were everywhere. His chest. His stomach. His neck. She had no doubt that it was the same story on his back.
"Jasper, what happened to you?" She asked quietly.
He finally looked back at her. "You're not disgusted." It was a statement, rather than a question.
"Why would I be disgusted?" Bella reached out and touched a cluster of scars on his shoulder—gently, since she wasn't sure how he would react.
"Because everyone else is. I never show them to anyone if I can avoid it. I know they look horrible and they're a very painful reminder of my past."
He eyed her warily. "Are you sure you're ready to hear this?"
It took a lot of coaxing on her part but Jasper eventually told her his whole story—being changed by Maria, training the newborns, escaping with Peter and Charlotte, meeting Alice in that diner.
"Alice saved me from probably killing myself," he admitted.
It broke Bella's heart to know that he had been that depressed.
He bowed his head in shame during his entire story. When he was done, she shocked the hell out of him by saying, "I'm really proud of you, Jasper."
He looked up at her. "How can you possibly be proud of me? I'm a monster!"
"You know what those scars tell me? That you're a survivor. You survived the vampire wars and got out when it became too much. You made a conscious effort to switch to the vegetarian diet. That's why I'm proud of you."
It was clear to her that Jasper had rarely heard this from anyone. She knew Edward saw him as the weakest link and had almost no faith in him. He was always telling her how dangerous Jasper was and how much he struggled with the vegetarian diet. From what Jasper had just told her, she knew that even if he struggled, he would never willingly go back to hunting humans. He was too compassionate to do it.
She leaned down and pressed a gentle kiss among a cluster of scars right over where his heart used to beat.
"Bella?" He whispered. "What are you doing?"
She didn't answer. Instead, she kissed another patch of scars on his chest and she repeated the action all the way up to his neck.
She pulled back to look at his face and repeated what she had said earlier. "I am really proud of you. You're amazing." Then she pressed her lips to his.
The kiss quickly became heated as Jasper deepened it.
The last thing Bella heard—hours later, curled up next to him in his bed—before falling asleep was his whispered "I love you."
"That was a pretty great night," Bella said fondly.
Jasper was about to reply when his cell phone started buzzing from inside his jeans, which were crumpled on the floor. He sighed and reached down, already knowing who it would be.
"Hey Alice," he said. He knew what she was about to say.
"As adorable and cozy as you two are, we're gonna be back in approximately two hours so do what you gotta do."
He thanked Alice for the warning, hung up, and looked down at Bella. She also knew what Alice had just told him. "Already?" She asked with a frown.
Jasper leaned down and kissed her temple. "Unfortunately, yes. Already."
It was routine for them at this point—get out of bed, shower (which they took as long as possible on), get dressed, and then pretend like they meant nothing to one another. It appeared to be easy for Bella but it was getting much harder for Jasper the longer this went on.
He pulled a gray long-sleeved thermal over his head after taking a shower. Bella looked over from where she was pulling on a clean pair of jeans. She frowned and marched over to him, in just a bra and jeans. She grabbed Jasper's left hand and pushed the sleeve up his forearm, so the scars there were visible. She did the same thing with the other sleeve and brought his hand to her lips to press a kiss to the scars on his wrist. "Don't hide them," she reminded him.
He smiled and couldn't help but lean down and kiss her. She was always insisting that he not hide his scars from anyone but Jasper was still cautious—aware that no one ever reacted to his scars the way Bella did. All they saw was a monster. So he kept them hidden—except with Bella.
Slowly but surely, he had started wearing short-sleeved shirts whenever he was with Bella. She always smiled when she saw him like that. Whenever they watched a movie together—which was often—she would sit on his lap and trace the scars on his arms that were wrapped around her, holding her close to him. She hadn't even realized she did it until he pointed it out to her. He wasn't sure if she knew it or not but the way that she saw his scars meant the world to him.
He pulled away from her reluctantly as he heard the crunch of wheels on gravel—signalling the family's arrival. Bella took that as her signal to go greet Edward and walked out of the room to the front door. Jasper sat on the bed and sighed heavily. As he heard Edward and Bella downstairs, his heart broke a little bit more—he wasn't sure how much longer he could deal with this. Bella made him happier than he'd ever been and he didn't want to lose that happiness but it was getting harder and harder to see her with his brother as time went on.
Alice ran through the door and immediately wrapped her arms around Jasper comfortingly. She knew how much he was hurting and it pained her to see it but she knew everything would work out.
Jasper rested his head on her shoulder. "Thanks."
She rubbed his back soothingly. "I'm always here for you. You know that, right?" There may have never been romantic feelings from either of them but Alice considered Jasper her best friend and she was fiercely protective of him.
She pulled back and grabbed his hand, pulling him to his feet. "Come on, let's go hunting."
For what seemed like the thousandth time, Bella was grateful that Edward couldn't read her thoughts. She was still thinking about her weekend with Jasper—it hadn't been nearly long enough.
They got to Edward's room and he closed the door and turned towards her. He sighed. "Glad to see you didn't get hurt."
Bella narrowed her eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"I think you already know."
She let out a sigh of frustration. "Is this about how 'dangerous' Jasper is?"
"Bella, you know about his past. I don't usually say anything because everyone sides with Alice but I do not feel comfortable with you spending so much time alone with him. What if he ends up biting you? What if you get another paper cut?"
Now Bella was just plain pissed off. "Edward, what the hell?"
He was shocked by her outburst but she wasn't done. "It's not like this is the first time I've been alone with him! He is so much stronger than you've ever given him credit for! You're judging him for his past? Who's the one who chose to hunt humans?"
Edward sighed. "That was—"
"What? Different? You're right Edward, it was different. Unlike you, Jasper made the conscious decision to switch to this diet because of his past!" She was practically shouting. "Out of anyone in this family, he has the most motivation to not slip up or go back to hunting humans and I am sick and tired of you judging him for something that happened so long ago!"
She was furious. How dare Edward judge Jasper! Jasper was so much stronger than Edward had ever been and she admired his determination to stick to the animal diet. After hearing about his past, she knew just how devestating it would be for him if he were to slip up. She didn't miss the way he was still trying to cover his scars, even with her encouragement. He was ashamed of them—ashamed of his past and it broke her heart to see how vulnerable it left him.
She walked towards the door—intending to hop in her truck and drive home until she was calm enough to have a civilized conversation with Edward again. Of course—she knew he would stop her.
He grabbed her hand gently. "Bella, love, I'm sorry."
She glared at him but got distracted by his eyes. He gave her that look and she found herself begrudgingly forgiving him. Damn him and his dazzling.
"Why don't we go to our meadow?"
She stared into his golden eyes and found herself nodding. Before she knew it, Edward had picked her up and they were in the car heading to their meadow.
She hated herself for always being sucked in again with Edward. Logically she knew the relationship was unhealthy but he always managed to dazzle her into forgiving him.
A few hours later, Bella was lying down in the grass with her head on Edward's chest. They were in their meadow and she was reminiscing about the first time he'd taken her here. She couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to be lying there with Jasper instead of his younger brother.
Edward cleared his throat and said quietly, "Bella, I'd like to ask you something."
She picked her head up off his chest and waited for him to speak. Her eyes widened when she saw him kneel down on the ground on one knee.
Her hands flew to her mouth to stop the string of expletives she wanted to let out. She had talked to Edward about this already! He didn't seem deterred by her reaction—he probably thought she was reacting positively.
Edward paused for the briefest moment, tilting his head in order to hear better. Then he shook his head and pulled a tiny box out of his pocket and asked, "Isabella Marie Swan, will you marry me?"
She stared at him in horror for a few seconds. His face fell as he took in her expression. Eventually, she managed to choke out, "I... don't know."
He stood up while she remained sitting—knees curled up to her chest.
"Why?" Edward demanded as he paced back and forth.
"Because I already talked to you about this, Edward!"
"I figured you would have changed your mind by now." He was angry.
"Edward, I told you I don't believe in marriage. I'm not ready to even think about getting married! I told you that." She was fighting hard not to cry.
He took a deep breath and sighed. "You're right, love. I'm sorry. I'll give you some time to think about it."
Bella was relieved when Edward dropped her off at her house and didn't make an attempt to follow her inside. She didn't regret what she told him—she was definitely not ready for marriage and after what happened with Charlie and Renee, she wasn't even sure she ever wanted to get married. And if she did, it wouldn't be to Edward.
She trudged up the steps to her room and almost screamed when she saw the figure sitting on her bed.
"Alice?" She choked out.
Alice had a grim expression on her face. "Bella, Jasper just ran away."
It took several moments for that to sink in. "W-what... why?"
"He heard Edward propose to you."
Jasper and Alice had finished their hunt a few hours ago and were just having fun talking and running through the forest.
They approached a clearing and Jasper motioned for her to stay still. She could hear it now—Edward was with Bella in that clearing and he was saying something to her.
Alice heard Edward propose and watched as Jasper slowly pulled his shirt sleeves down before sprinting off in the direction they'd come from. She could see in her head what he was planning to do and she knew she had to work fast in order to keep it from happening.
She ran off in the direction of the Swan residence and climbed through Bella's window. She glanced at the rocking chair in the corner before opting to sit on the bed while she waited.
Alice didn't waste any time telling Bella what had just happened, once the human girl walked through her bedroom door.
"Didn't he hear my response?" Bella asked.
Alice shrugged. "He probably did but you didn't give Edward a definite 'no'. How do you think Jasper feels about that?"
She saw Bella frown as she moved to sit next to Alice on the bed. The shorter girl told her bluntly, "You've been a selfish little shit about all of this, you know that?"
"You heard me. Look, I haven't said anything yet because you make Jasper happy and I promised not to intervene other than to help keep the secret, but this has gone on for far too long."
Bella stiffened. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that you have to choose. Jasper never forced you to choose between him and Edward because he wanted the decision to be yours entirely. He didn't want to give you any reason to resent him later, because you've made him happier than I've ever seen him. Bella, you know what Jasper's past was like and you know what the scars represent to him. He needs you in his life and he wasn't going to risk losing his source of happiness even if it meant that he had to watch you go back to my asshat brother over and over again."
She could see that her words were sinking in when Bella started crying. "You're right!" She choked out between sobs.
Alice wrapped her arms around her friend in a tight hug. "I know it's difficult, but you need to choose."
Bella didn't even think about it. "I choose Jasper. I chose him a really long time ago and was just too selfish to let him know that. Staying with Edward was safe but I love Jasper.
Alice smiled. She knew Bella just needed that extra push.
Bella let Alice's words sink in and she knew they were true. She had been very selfish. She had told herself that Jasper could feel how much she loved him and that staying with Edward was more because she didn't want to face what she'd done.
The fact was that she had broken Jasper's heart—and she felt horrible about it.
Choosing between Edward and Jasper wasn't even an option for her. She chose Jasper and she knew that she should have chosen him a long time ago.
"I have to talk to Edward," Bella realized. She was scared of what he might do or say once she told him the truth.
Alice grabbed her friend's hand and squeezed it gently. "I'll be right there, Bella."
Bella's foot tapped nervously as she sat on one of the couches in the living room, next to Edward. Alice was sitting on her other side—ready to intervene if things got out of hand.
Edward grabbed her hand and smiled. He was certain that she was about to accept his marriage proposal—she could tell. She took a deep breath and said, "No."
He looked confused. "Love, what are you talking about?"
She looked down at her hands. "My answer to your proposal is no."
He leapt up and started pacing. "Why?" he demanded.
She looked at Alice for encouragement before squeezing her eyes shut and admitting, "Because I don't love you anymore."
He stopped his pacing. "What do you mean?"
She couldn't look at him. "I'm not in love with you anymore, Edward. I—I fell in love with someone else. I don't know how to explain it but it just happened."
His eyes were almost black with anger and he had his fist clenched tightly. "Who? Who is it?"
Bella was scared now. "I—I can't tell you that."
"Who?" he shouted.
"I can't tell you!" she shouted back.
Alice grabbed Bella's hand and hurried them to the front door—Edward demanding an answer the entire time. Finally, right before she shut the door, Bella turned to him and said, "It's Jasper, okay?"
Her heart broke a little when she saw the shocked expression on Edward's face. She closed the door and hurried to one of the many cars in the driveway with Alice. A part of her was relieved because she was pretty sure Edward wouldn't follow her—but she wasn't sure how he'd react once he got over the shock.
Alice seemed to know what she was thinking. She side-eyed Bella. "I'll deal with Edward later. Don't worry. Right now, we need to get you to where Jasper is."
"And where is Jasper?" Bella asked as she nervously watched the speedometer needle climb higher and higher as Alice pushed the car to its limits.
Alice closed her eyes for a second, which almost gave Bella a heart attack. "He's headed towards La Push."
"But... the treaty..." The implications of what Alice said dawned on her. "We cannot let him step over that line!" If he did that, the wolves would destroy him. Maybe that's what he was hoping for. Bella closed her eyes to try to fight the tears that were forming. Why had she been so selfish?
There came a point when Alice had to stop the car and carry Bella on foot. It was a little weird getting a piggy back ride from Alice since Bella was so much taller but she didn't say anything. She just hoped they got to Jasper in time.
She saw smoke in the distance and before long, she saw him. He had his back turned to her and was sitting on the ground—staring into the fire's light. They were still a few miles away from the treaty line.
She jumped to the ground and ran right towards him. She knew he could hear her but he didn't turn his head.
She got to him and threw her arms around his neck and started sobbing into his shoulder. "Jasper, I'm so sorry!" she managed to say between tears.
She felt him move and before she knew it, she was sitting in his lap and he was giving her a small smile. She smiled back through her tears and leaned up to touch his cheek. "I missed you."
He turned his head and kissed the palm of her hand. "I missed you too, Bella."
She wiped her tears away with her sleeve. "Alice helped me see how selfish I'd been." She buried her face in his neck, unable to look him in the eye at that moment.
"You weren't selfish," he told her quietly. "I know it was a hard decision but thank you."
"I chose you a long time ago," she whispered against his neck before placing a gentle kiss there. "I want you to know that, Jasper."
His arms tightened around her and she picked her head up. He was smiling at her and she could feel the happiness he was projecting. She giggled and wrapped her arms around his neck. His happiness was contageous. She planted a kiss on his cheek before capturing his lips in a desperate kiss.
He deepened it. She would have kissed him for hours if she didn't need to breathe. She pulled away but didn't move back very far. She whispered against his lips, "I love you so much, Jasper."
"I love you too, Bella," he responded, before kissing her again.
A/N: Well... this was intense. It's been a while since I've written Twilight fanfiction so hopefully I did it justice. The song that inspired this fic is called "Dear Lover" by an amazing band called Social Distortion, and you should all check it out! Also, for anyone who's reading my other Twilight fics... sad to say that those are being put on hiatus. I won't say I've abandoned them completely because I may come back to them but we'll see. Btw, reviews make my day and I would love some feedback!
Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns the characters. Social Distortion owns the song "Dear Lover".