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Summary: Jasper and Alice arrive in San Antonio and take in some sites (and some diversions!).
A Journey with Jasper
Our first stop was the downtown hotel we were staying at. I had chosen the Menger Hotel partly for its location, close to the Alamo and the heart of the Paseo del Rio, and partly for its own history. Alice was indulgent as usual with my preoccupation with historical places and events. The Menger had been there since 1859 and had seen its share of famous events and people. Both Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee had been guests there and it was in the lobby bar that Teddy Roosevelt had recruited his Rough Riders in 1898 to fight in the Spanish America war.
My last visit had been quite a while ago; 1861 to be exact. The year I had been promoted to major. The hotel had been practically brand new at that point. As Alice and I walked through the leaded glass doors and into the Victorian style lobby I felt all those years melt away. I felt I had literally stepped back into time. Memories began to flood my consciousness and I had to push them back where they belonged---in the past.
"Jasper, the room is lovely," Alice commented as she pushed aside the drape to peruse the view of the courtyard garden from the window. The day outside was just beginning to dawn but I could make out the lush vegetation and reflecting pool.
Coming up behind her and engulfing her in my arms I whispered huskily, "You are the loveliest thing here, Miss Alice."
"Oh, but Mr. Whitlock, you always say that," she giggled.
"We do have a bit of time before anything is open, you know."
"More than a bit of time, I think," she answered coyly.
"I'm sure you can think of something we can do to pass the time, can't you?" I quipped.
She couldn't finish the sentence because my lips were on hers; my hands holding her face tightly. If Alice had any fault at all it was that she talked too much. I had little patience for it at times like this. I quickly picked her up and carried her to the king sized bed. All those extra pillow were quickly swept to the floor.
"Do you foresee any problems with the sturdiness of this bed, my dear?" I murmured into the skin under her chin.
"No, I don't think so," she replied excitedly. "Of course, that depends on what you plan to do. You're so unpredictable." She deftly pushed me over and perched lightly on top of me.
"I keep trying to be unpredictable," I replied hoarsely.
Her fingers flew down my chest; moving so fast that the buttons seemed to undo themselves. "We do have a few hours, dear. You can take your time," I continued.
"There's never enough time," she answered quickly as her lips found mine.
Then the time for talking was over.
When we left the room Alice insisted on straightening the bed back to its immaculate state. "They do have a maid service to handle that, darling," I drawled, smiling at her as I buttoned up my shirt.
"We're supposed to fit in, Jazz. Most humans don't rip the bed apart in the middle of the morning. I'm a little embarrassed."
"I'm not embarrassed at all," I said, catching her around the waist and swinging her up into my arms so I could steal one more kiss.
"Mr. Whitlock," she scolded, "I do believe the stores are open."
When we stepped outside the day was positively dripping with moisture. The normal humidity of south Texas had reached critical mass so that the air seemed to be a solid that we were moving through. It was oddly comforting to us, being used to the weather in Forks, but I could tell it was bothering the hell out of everyone around us.
We exited the hotel and crossed East Crockett Street and quickly found ourselves face to face with the Alamo. I was struck by the incongruity of it. The façade was of an aging Spanish mission, very recognizable from the Hollywood movies, sitting on a busy downtown intersection. It seemed like a movie set plopped down in the middle of everything. The Alamo had first been built in the 1740's as a Spanish mission and by the time I had first laid eyes on it in the 1860's, it wasn't in too good of shape. The Confederacy had used it at that time but the damage from the battle of 1836 had not really been repaired. Now it looked…well, it definitely looked different. Especially with the line of tourists lining up to enter the front door. That and the raspa sellers set up in the square.
We took our places in line and proceeded to view the exhibits inside. The interior was somber and the usually noisy group of visitors was respectfully quiet. It was, after all, the shrine of Texas liberty and many people had died defending it.
"Alice, honey," I whispered, "I need a little fresh air…" The close quarters and the mass of people were not a good combination for me at that moment. Battle scenes had a strange effect on me to begin with.
We exited the rear doors, through the strategically placed souvenir shop and out into the rear courtyard. Alice was understanding as usual and just looked up into my eyes to make sure I was doing okay. Then she looked behind me and smiled suddenly.
"Those girls over there are staring at you, Jazz," she giggled playfully. "And I can hear what they're saying too---something about a movie star."
"I can hear them too but I'm trying to ignore them, dear," I answered sternly. The last thing I needed was a bunch of young female humans going all fan-girl on me.
"They're coming over; one of them is going to brave a question. Do you want me to beat them off?" Alice asked. She had that mischievous look in her eye.
I was glad Alice trusted me enough to joke about this situation but I was still embarrassed. "No, I think I can handle it." I pretended to be absorbed in reading the inscription on the cannon display.
"Uhh, excuse me…I'm sorry, but I was wondering…" The girl's face was hesitant but expectant. She looked about fifteen or sixteen. The other girls were a few steps behind her and grinning wildly.
I turned to look her full in the face and she came to an abrupt halt. The look on her face changed to one of complete confusion. She turned away from me and back to her friends like she had no idea what she had wanted to do or say. I quickly steered Alice out the rear courtyard entrance and across the street. Alice looked confused as well. When the feeling passed and she realized what I had done she began to laugh.
"Oh Jasper, you scoundrel, what did you do? Those poor girls…" She struggled to control her laughter.
"I thought we were supposed to keep a low profile. I can't have throngs of teenaged girls following me around."
"No, I guess not," Alice agreed. "I'm your biggest fan, after all."
"And besides, didn't you want to go shopping?" I reminded her.
"Yes, I did---I need some dancing clothes for tonight!"
Author's Note: For those fans of the supernatural, the Menger Hotel in downtown San Antonio has been called the "most haunted hotel in Texas" with thirty-two different apparitions. Also, a raspa is a snow cone and if you go there don't be afraid to bargain over the selling price; they're always charging the tourists too much!