I've been meaning to get this up for a while now, and just never remembered. :D Oops.
So, this is the 'pretty' version, BETA'd by the amazingly fabulous qjmom! If you haven't read any of her stories, like, oh I don't know…Passion Fish or Indivisible or her co-written story with the equally amazing vjgm and shabby apple Shadow Guardians, then get out from under your rock and read them! (Gotta love plugs. ;D)
Anyway, I wish you all a happy reading!
Disclaimer: The wonderful characters of Twilight belong to the fabulously amazing Stephenie Meyer. Let us all praise her miraculous mind.
I think this time I have truly lost my mind.
I mean, I started to think I was crazy when I began to realize killing humans for sustenance was wrong. I thought I was crazy to leave the two people who cared enough about me to come back to some place they hated just to take me away with them. But, no, that's nothing compared to what I'm doing now. I have definitely crossed the crazy line this time.
When this bizarre, yet incredibly intriguing, woman greeted me at that diner and held out her hand for me to take, which I did without a second thought mind you, I knew I had to be crazy.
Where did all this carelessness come from? That's not me at all!
So, now, I was walking. In a forest. A few steps behind this strange woman, whom I have come to know as Alice.
Alice. What a pretty name…
I shook my head slightly to rid it of that thought. I've been having many foreign thoughts about Alice for the past couple hours…
I brought myself from my musings at the right moment, for she had stopped her skipping and turned around to face me. I could feel the concern and worry coming from her; not that my ability was necessary. I found I could discern a lot of her emotion from her golden eyes. I stopped, standing a couple feet from her tiny stature, and tilted my head in confusion.
"Are you all right, Jasper? You've been awfully quiet." I found myself become more and more enthralled with her beautiful, soprano voice. It reminded me faintly of wind chimes blowing.
I smiled tentatively, sending a few calming vibes to her. "I'm fine, Alice. Just thinking."
The calm worked, for her worry and concern vanished instantly. She herself smiled, obviously more confident and comfortable with the simple action than I was. "Care to share what about?" She attempted to make it sound casual, but I could feel the curiosity.
Truthfully, I had been thinking about many things. However, the prominent subject of my thoughts was Alice. I had been thinking about the feeling of her delicate hand in mine, about what her seemingly fragile body would feel like in my arms, the smell of her hair that attacked my nose when the wind blew, what it would feel like to kiss her.
Things that were in no way appropriate for me to think about someone I just met.
Considering I couldn't tell her what I was really pondering, for that would be too embarrassing, I decided lying was my best option. "Just what you told me. About that family."
"The Cullens," she provided.
She nodded in understanding. "I see. Was there anything specific you were thinking about in regards to the Cullens? Anything you were wondering? I could elaborate further on them if you'd like me to."
I shook my head. "No, that won't be necessary."
"Very well." She held her hand out to me. "C'mon. Let's keep going. And don't stray too far behind, all right? I didn't wait twenty-eight years for you to show up just to lose you in the forest."
I narrowed my eyes. "Ha ha." I pocketed my hands, afraid at what might happen if I took her hand now, and continued the trek forward. I watched as her outstretched hand fell back to her side as she waited for me to get at a close enough relative position so that she could begin skipping.
I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Must you?"
Alice didn't miss a beat. "Yes. Yes I must." She glanced up at me, took in the fact that I was frowning, then scoffed. "Oh, come on now. My skipping can't possibly bother you that much."
The look I shot her said 'Wanna bet?'
She huffed in slight frustration, though I could feel her amusement, as she stopped skipping and walked gracefully at my side, crossing her arms over her chest. "Happy?"
Ignoring the fact that she didn't care, I replied, "Exceptionally. Thank you."
We kept going in silence…for a moment.
"Walking is boring!" She's cute when she whines.
I smirked. "I'm sorry?"
She huffed, her arms still crossed over her chest like a child denied a toy. "Are not." Her steps took a detour to a nearby stump, on which she sat gracefully, crossing one of her legs over the other.
I paused, staring down at her. "I'll assume sitting isn't boring, then?"
Her aggravated expression broke into the beautiful, smiling face I had come to appreciate over these past few hours. "No, it is, but I believe now is as good a time as any for you and I to discuss something important." She motioned to a fallen tree a few feet away from her stump with her hand, obviously meaning for me to sit down as well. I obeyed silently, intrigued with this 'important' matter she wanted to discuss.
She angled herself slightly to face me and took a deep breath. "Jasper, we need to talk about…feeding habits. As I've told you, the Cullens don't feed like normal vampires. Vampires like you. And, I think the sooner we start to…wean you from human blood, the better." She tarried there, obviously wanting my blank expression to change into something she could read.
My eyes softened, and I did my best to calm her erratic nerves. "Go on, Alice."
Her small smile showed me her gratitude, and she resumed. "Because of the time, I think it'd be best if we started the transfer of bloods tomorrow. It won't be difficult to find a herd of deer or something; you'll have to start small before you can move on to the bigger and more satisfying animals." She stopped again and I felt her concern. "Jasper…? Are you alright? What's the matter?"
Tch. What's the matter? The matter was that I still wasn't sure I could do it. Sure, I was ecstatic when Alice first told me of this strange, animal-blood feeding family. I had never been more hopeful in my entire life...death…whatever. But, now…hearing her say I'd have to be weaned…it made me realize how different this breathtaking, black-haired angel and myself really were.
She could change. I couldn't. Old habits die too hard.
The apprehension in the air was heavy and hurting my head. I sighed heavily, gazing solemnly at the unfeeling, hard ground. "I'm not so sure if this is a good idea anymore, Alice," I responded, my voice a quiet murmur. "Perhaps it would have been better if you had just left me at that diner."
I'm not sure what I expected Alice's reaction to my statement to be, but what she did, I definitely didn't expect.
I heard her move from the stump to come and stand before me. When she gently slid her fingers under my chin, I lifted my gaze from the ground to her soft eyes. She brushed a few strands of hair from my forehead, leaving a pleasurable, tingling sensation, and smiled tenderly. "Jasper."
If I had a fully functioning heart, it would have been going crazy right then. Never before had my own name sounded so…enticing.
"I know you're not particularly proud of your past, what with all the blood and fighting and killing. Mine's not all that great, either, you know. But, regardless, you're not a soldier anymore; not a slave to a power-hungry bitch. You've freed yourself from that type of life and are here, getting ready to begin a new one. You'll do fine with the Cullens. With me." She softly grasped my hands in hers and proceeded to pull me up from the tree to stand in front of her. I used the few moments of silence to take in how beautiful, warm, and, not to mention, how short she truly was. "I have faith in you," she continued. "Plus this little gift I have comes in handy, too." She giggled, winking slyly. "We better keep moving. I'd rather not have to face any company, human or vampire." She released my hands, much to my dismay, and continued on with our journey to locate the ever-elusive Cullen family.
It was at that moment I realized the reason behind my foreign thoughts the entirety of the afternoon. The reason I took her hand so willingly back at the diner. And the reason her touch and voice had sent a thrill of excitement though my body.
I was in love with Alice.
Now, how should one go about telling someone that they are in love with them? And, moreover, how does one say that considering this person and the one they are in love with met about seven, eight hours ago?
Ah, if only I knew the answer.
The sky was clear and the moon was full. The little forest animals had gone off to sleep. The air was cool and the wind wasn't helping any; not that Alice or I noticed. It was, without a doubt, a lovely September evening.
Alice had now taken up humming to replace that infernal skipping, which I, personally, liked a hell of a lot better. She would occasionally spin around, still humming, causing her knee-length, white skirt to flow around her. It was at those moments that I wished I had met her in the '20s. The attire would've been much more…apt.
Again, thoughts nowhere near appropriate for someone I had just met this afternoon.
Yet, what can I say? I was simply a man in love.
She twirled ahead a little bit, humming the last note of her song, and stopped to face me. "Hey, Jazz?"
She had also taken up to calling me 'Jazz'. She said it made me seem much more approachable. According to my traveling companion, I could be rather intimidating.
I stopped as well, my hands in my pockets and eyebrows raised. "Yes, Alice?"
"There's a river up ahead. Would you like to stop and rest for a little while?"
In all my years of travel, I had never had the desire to just stop at some watery landmark and rest. It didn't seem logical seeing as vampires don't need rest. Usually, I'd be suspicious at this sudden suggestion, but Alice never had any ill intents and I knew I could trust her, so I smiled as best I could (it was still new to me) and nodded. "Sure."
She clapped her small hands together excitedly, jumping up and down. Grabbing my arm, she led the way to the previously mentioned tributary.
It was a small river that ran alongside a little meadow area. The meadow appeared to be a product of visitors that had been here some time ago, little stumps and such all around. I sat down on one, noting the overall calm and quiet that was the forest at night, and watched as Alice knelt down next to the, presumably, cold water. She dipped her hands in and ran them over her face, closing her eyes. The droplets ran down, falling from the end of her nose and chin. She then shook her hands over the water, expelling the excess. When her eyes reopened, she caught sight of the reflected moon and took in all the beauty of it. And as this spiky-haired seraph stared at the mirrored, glowing heavenly body, I came to a dire conclusion.
Now was the perfect time to tell her.
I glanced up at the clear, starry sky, probably looking like a fool to whatever deity was up there, and cleared my throat loud enough so that Alice could hear.
She stood up from the river and spun around to meet my gaze. She smiled warmly, her feeling of peacefulness enveloping me, and the moonlight bouncing off her skin- sparkling like it would in the sun.
I had opened my mouth to tell her how I felt about her, but, somewhere between my brain and my mouth, something changed and I instead pointed up at the sky. "Look. Cygnus."
She averted her attention to where my finger pointed and giggled. "That it is." She scanned the dark firmament for a fraction of a second and pointed at something herself. "Vulpecula."
I took note of the challenging smirk she wore and scanned the dark void again, trying to be faster in my findings than her. "Delphinus."
We continued on like that until we ran out of constellations to locate. And, during the whole ordeal, I could only think one thought:
I am such a coward.
Alice asked no questions of my star-finding game. In fact, she seemed rather delighted that I would engage in such an activity. Her enthusiasm, however, did not do much to pull me from my disappointment. I could hardly believe that I lost my nerve so easily. Me; the guy that annihilated hordes of newborn vampires with only a few scars to show for it! How could someone with such bravado be afraid to tell a woman that he was in love with her?
How it could happen, I don't know. But, it doesn't really matter how, because it did.
Our trek continued. I took no real notice of my surroundings, and, instead, followed behind Alice, blindly, lost in my reverie. Had our positions been reversed, I probably wouldn't have been too concerned with the lingering silence, but Alice wasn't me. And she was very concerned.
I heard her exhale heavily as she turned around abruptly, worry and confusion etched on her exquisite, elfin face.
I stopped as well. Though I'm not sure why, I knew now was the moment. I had to tell her now.
This time around, I held my hand out to her, waiting patiently as she took slow, human-paced steps to my extended hand. I felt a strange, yet oddly satisfying, electric shock flow through me the moment her hand met mine, and, subconsciously, pulled her closer to me. I could feel her emotions turn wary, seeing as we had never been as close to each other as we were then. Staring into those topaz eyes, I sensed my confidence slipping away, so I pitched my gaze to the side, away from Alice's questioning stare.
Worry thickened the atmosphere again. It was quite obvious my silence was not comforting to her. I reveled at the feeling of the soft hand that had reached up to cup my cheek and allowed my face to rest against the palm.. "Jasper," she whispered, "what's wrong?"
Once again, my subconscious forced my body to act on its own accord while my conscious was busy with thinking of a way to tell Alice of my feelings. I felt my fingers lace themselves with hers and I watched her eyes widen slightly as she looked at our intertwined hands.
What came over me at that moment, to this day, I still can't explain.
I felt as though I was no longer in control of my body. It was like I was on the outside looking in as I watched my free hand lift up to tilt Alice's face toward mine. Like I was watching as she cocked her head to the side in perplexity. And like I was watching when my lips descended upon hers and my eyes closed.
When I, finally, came to the reality of the situation a few seconds later, let's just say I had a hard time believing what I was doing. I was reluctantly ready to pull away and apologize profusely for what I was doing when she gave me a reason not to.
Her hand trailed from my cheek to the back of my neck as she pressed her soft lips against mine, shutting her eyes (I'll assume) and sighing in contentment. My fingers disentangled from hers, finding their way around her petite waist while her hand joined its counterpart on the other side of my nape.
My mind became hazy and I slowly became intoxicated with everything that was Alice: her heavenly scent that invaded my nose; her soft touch that sent shivers down my spine; the enjoyment I got when I heard her sharp intake of breath as a result of my hand sliding down to the small of her back. The only thing missing was the taste.
I knew I was pushing my luck, but it never hurts to try.
I slid my tongue slowly along her bottom lip, causing her to shiver slightly and wrap her arms tighter around my neck, crushing her small body closer to mine. Then, I felt her slowly, hesitantly, part her lips, and I took full advantage of the action.
I first felt the familiar, razor-sharpness of vampire teeth barely grazing over the top of my tongue as I deftly slipped it into her mouth, leaving no room for second thoughts. Soon after, my taste buds were assaulted with the sweetest of flavors; second only to the taste of blood. It was unlike anything I had ever encountered before and I craved more. With new determination, I tightened my hold, straining Alice against me even more (if that was even possible). My mouth became more persistent on hers, a low growl finding residence deep in my throat, as I explored more. I heard her moan a little at my sudden ferocity and felt her small hands entwine themselves with my golden locks.
I knew this was getting out of hand, so, afraid of what I might do if I let it continue, I retracted my tongue back into my mouth. I let my lips stay on hers a few milliseconds longer before pulling away, keeping my forehead pressed to hers. We were both panting lightly, for neither of us had stopped to breathe during this ordeal. She let out a shaky breath and let her hands fall from my hair, moving to take a small step back. My hands fell away from her waist as she did and I was already missing the contact.
Her beautiful topaz eyes were alight with desire, surprise, and confusion. I guess it was safe to assume she hadn't seen anything like this coming with that special sight of hers. She opened her mouth to say something, but I silenced her quickly with a finger to her lips.
"Please," I murmured, not even trying to hide my pleading. "Just listen."
It was easy to see the burning questions in her eyes, but she nodded, silently encouraging me to continue.
I took a deep, much unneeded breath, tucking some choppy, stray hair behind her ear before gently clasping her hands in mine. "Alice," I began slowly. "For a long time, I lived in an environment of turmoil and hate and vengeance. There was no such thing as happiness. I never wished for anything better because I never knew it existed. And, after all that time, I had not only become depressed and hopeless, but I became disgusted. With killing, with this life, and especially with myself." I paused to take in her reaction so far. Her usually happy face had been turned down. I could see the pain- pain for me- in her eyes. "And, then, I met you." I squeezed her hands lightly, assuring I had her attention for this part. "You filled me with emotions I hadn't felt in ages. Being with you, I found my long-lost happiness and hope. Never, in the century I've been on this planet, have I ever felt this completed; this whole. Alice, I…I love you."
The lengthy silence following my confession made me nervous. What if she didn't feel the same way? What if I just poured my soul out to someone who saw me as a friend and nothing more? I wouldn't be able to handle, not only the utter embarrassment, but the disappointment and hurt. I could sense a lot of emotions coming off of Alice: understanding, confusion, shock, joy (that one was promising); but these meant nothing if I didn't know what she was thinking.
I was having trouble standing- my own anxiety making me weak. I closed my eyes, focusing on breathing, and let my body fall to a sitting position on the cold, damp grass, weaving my fingers into my hair.
"Alice, please." I was practically groveling at her feet. "Please say something. Anything."
She stayed silent a few moments longer. Then I felt her move from her position and straddle my lap. I snapped my eyes open, meeting her golden stare. She still looked like she was contemplating something unfathomable until a small smile spread across her face. "I told you, back in the diner, that I had been waiting for you a long time. Well, I've also waited a long time for you to say something like that." Her arms snaked around my neck, her lips softly pressing to mine. She then buried her face in the juncture of my shoulder, nuzzling, and inhaled deeply. My arms wrapped around her in a loving embrace, my cheek resting against the top of her head so I could secretly take in the magnolia blossom scent from her hair. Needless to say, I never wanted the moment to end.
"I love you, too."
So maybe I have lost my mind. If getting my Alice was a product of doing so, then, by all means, call me crazy.
Well, that's it.
Hope you enjoyed it!