Jasper's Point of View
Hunt. Wander. Wonder what I'm wandering for. That's my life. I know there has to be more to eternity than this. For now I'm wandering the woods, but that changes. Some days I have to be close to a town to feed. The days pass, months, years. Sometimes I run into other nomads, most of the time I'm just alone.
Today is a lucky day. I meet a nomad named Garrett. He tells me fairy stories of a family of vampires that live on animals and socialize with humans. I almost believe him. He seems so sincere. Maybe I'll look for them. Get their help switching diets.
I hate feeling the pain of those I kill to live. Everyone thinks that humans are just our food source, good for nothing but feeding us until we need to feed again. I know differently. They have strong emotions. They love, they hate, they feel fear... I hate their fear and their pain. I hate watching as the light leaves their eyes. If Garrett is right then there is a different way to live.
Bella's Point of View
Jake couldn't come with me today. It doesn't seem like Jake can come with me any day anymore. He's always so busy with his new friends. I worry about him. I'm going to find Edward's meadow. It's here somewhere and I think I can read the map. I have to see it's real, that they were real and not some fantasy that I made up. I take each step carefully. I can't afford to injure myself out here alone.
I know this is stupid. I know it's unhealthy. I know they are never coming back. I can't make them and I'd never force them to be where they didn't want to anyway, but they left me alone. They didn't even say goodbye. At times like this, I feel closer to them, like their out here with me. They'd definitely not leave me in the forest if they were still here, well except for Edward. He left me in the forest once already.
Despite everything, I feel a little more hopeful today. I don't know why. I have no reason to be, but if I can at least find the meadow, maybe I can see his face.
Against luck and reason, I stumble out into the meadow. It's not the same. The flowers are gone and the long grasses look like they could be dried for hay. He isn't here. Still, this is the last time I'll be here. I'll sit and try to remember. It makes me mad that he was right. Their faces are fading. Someday they'll be just a story I tell to no one.
"Hello," he says.
I jump to my feet. Standing in front of me is a man. Well, he's a vampire. A human eating vampire. He has sandy tousled blonde hair, the beauty that can break your heart and the grace that has faded from my mind. My instincts tell me to run. My mind, knowing the uselessness of such a gesture tells me to stay still.
"Hello, What are you doing here?"
"I should ask you that. You aren't the normal hiker."
"So you feed on the hikers, then?" I asked.
"I know what you are. It's okay. Better anyone else finds me than Victoria."
"Who is Victoria?"
"A vampire who is trying to kill me. She'll get me someday if I live long enough."
"You don't sound afraid."
"Is there anything to be afraid of when you lose everything that matters to you? I admit I don't want to die, but I know it will happen."
"Why is there a vampire looking for you? You're just a girl."
"Her mate was killed when he tried to kill me. She wants revenge."
"What revenge can she get against you? Shouldn't she go after the vampire?"
"I'd prefer it personally, but she's focused on me. What's your name?"
"I'm Jasper. And you?"
"Hi, Jasper, I'm Bella."
"You were so sad. You drew me to you."
"This used to be a special place for me. Now it's just grass. Did you come here for the Cullens?"
"The vegetarian vampires who used to live here."
The family was real and they used to live here. I even found their human pet but her emotions are wrong. She wasn't scared of me. She was sad about them but she wasn't afraid to die. What could these Cullens have done to her?"
"No, I'm just passing through. Are they the ones who left you so unhappy?"
"You could say that. They all disappeared one night leaving me here without so much as a goodbye."
"You know it's dangerous to be friends with vampires, right?"
"They were my family."
"Why don't I walk you out of the forest Bella?"
"Does that mean you aren't going to eat me today?"
Jasper barked a laugh, "I'm not hungry."
"You're eyes are dark."
"Okay, I am hungry but I don't think you're food."
"Sounds good to me. I'm afraid I walk very slow compared to you."
"I can pretend to be human. I'll keep your pace."
The Cullens broke this girl and left her to live on the outskirts of two worlds but belonging in neither. Why didn't they change her, or kill her? This is crueler than both fates, especially with a revenge-driven vampire stalking her.
"So where did you park?"
"Where the 110 ends. There's a good place to park there."
"We'll find it. So how did these Cullens become your family?"
"I dated one of them. Um, Edward. They took care of me. They said they loved me. I was friends with all but one of them. She thought I'd tell their secret I think. I loved them anyway. I guess I was their family but they weren't mine or they could have never left."
We talked more as I walked carefully over the trail to what I hope was my truck.
"You shouldn't hunt here. There's a guardian tribe of wolves. If they catch you they'll kill you if they catch you hunting."
"Thank you for the warning Bella, but I don't think guardians would be a problem for me."
"The pack is large. Trust me. There are about ten of them. You don't want to feed around here. Go out of the area first."
"I've never heard of a pack so large."
"That's why I warned you. They take vampires around here seriously."
"So the Cullens did eat only animals?"
"So you have heard of them."
"Yes, but I didn't believe it."
"My um... one of their favorites was mountain lion. Another preferred irritated grizzly bear. I don't know about the rest."
"And you felt safe around them?"
"Yes, I believed every word they said about me being one of the family. It almost killed me when he... when they left."
"I may try a mountain lion tonight. They may be gone but if their diet works it might be worth trying."
"I was told it wasn't easy. Not compared to human blood, but I hope you can do it. You did come looking for them didn't you."
"I met a man in my travels who told me about them. I wanted to meet them."
"Then I'm sorry I chased them off about five months ago. Perhaps your friend can tell you where they went. Don't worry, I won't ask you."
"Would you like to know?"
"No, they didn't want me. They left me to die."
"Maybe they didn't know."
"They knew I would die sometime. They might not know about Victoria but I'm never going to be one of them now. You know I'm glad I met you today. You remind me of the world I wanted to be in. You remind me of so much. You're quiet like Carlisle, but I bet you've lived to see so much. I'd love to hear your story sometime if you want to share."
"It's more of a horror story, Bella. I didn't have it easy. I'm dangerous and I've killed."
"I know. I see your eyes."
He'd never been ashamed of his eyes before but in that moment he wished he could show her eyes that never hurt a human being. He wished he could take the place of her precious Cullens in her heart. That sort of dedication was a rare treasure. They were fools to leave her behind."
"Do you mind if I ask you a question?"
"Of course not."
"Why aren't you afraid of me?"
"You aren't trying to hurt me. In fact, you're trying to help me find my truck. I would have never made my way back alone. Why be afraid?"
"You're a strange little human."
"I've been told something like that before," I admitted.
"So, what were they like, the Cullens?"
"Esme, the mother was kind. Carlisle, the father was compassionate to a fault. Alice, one of the sisters, acted like she was hyped up on caffeine all the time. She loved to shop. She was my best friend. Emmett was like a big bear. He was my brother. He was always teasing me and waiting for me to do something funny, like fall on my face. Rose didn't like me. She was Emmett's mate, but she was nicknamed the ice-queen at the high school because she always seemed so unapproachable. She was beautiful. Ed...Edward was my boyfriend. He was musical, talented, and at the end at least very cruel to me. I miss them all."
I walked on as I thought of them, keeping my eyes on Jasper intermittently. Where I walked grass and rocks crunched under my feet, but his footsteps were silent.
"They all hunted animals to survive. They said it never got completely rid of the burn but it made it manageable."
"They went to high school with you?" he asked incredulously.
"All but Carlisle and Esme. Carlisle was a doctor."
"Hm, I wonder how hard it could be."
"You aren't a tracker by any chance are you?"
"No, but why do you ask?"
"Their house is still here, I was thinking if you were a tracker you could get their scent and find them somehow."
"How do you know about trackers at all?"
"The nomad who tried to kill me was a tracker. His name was James. Then there was Victoria who helped him. She was his mate I guess. There was also Laurent. He went... Wait! There is another coven of animal drinkers up in Denali, Alaska. If you really need to learn maybe they can help you, or they could help you find the Cullens."
"What about you, little one?"
"What about me?"
"You have an angry vampire after you trying to avenge her mate's death with yours."
"Yes, I do."
"Don't you want help with that?"
"I don't expect you to put your life on hold for me, I'm only human after all."
"I think you're worth it."