Title: something to sleep to
Pairing: Bella/Jasper (Bella/Edward)
Spoilers: all through Eclipse to be safe but not really any passed New Moon.
She knows she loves Edward. She knows that when she thinks about her future, it's always him standing next to her, arms wrapped protectively around her waist and a smile that's meant only for her. And she knows that Edward loves her too.
What she doesn't know is why, when she closes her eyes, it's not Edward she sees. She doesn't know when copper hair became blond or when the tall, solid man became one that seems deceptively vulnerable, but she knows that it's wrong. She tries to shake the images away but it's useless.
She tries not to be alone with him. It's not hard; none of them quite trust him around her after the birthday thing (oh, how long ago that seemed), and he's never had the inclination to spend time with her when the others aren't around anyhow. There's always Edward or Alice or Esme or someone, and Bella isn't sure whether to be grateful or annoyed. She thinks that's a problem in itself.
She can always tell when he's entered a room, not because a spark runs through her like it does every time Edward's in the vicinity, but because she's automatically calm when she thinks she should probably be tense. He must notice the way her emotions go crazy when he's around but probably just puts them down to fear; he did, after all, try to attack her once. That could never be further from her mind.
She sees the way he is with Alice, his gentle touches and soft whispers, not because he thinks she'll break, just his way of telling her, showing her, how he feels. Bella hates that she's jealous.
He barely ever speaks but when he does it's with the same beautiful tone as the rest of them, dripping honey and unintentional seduction, except quieter somehow. It's captivating and glorious and, at night, she replays it over and over in her head like a lullaby, thankful more than ever that Edward can't get inside her mind.
The dreams start shortly afterwards. There's him and her and nothing else, not even the dark. It starts simply, just sitting, no words exchanged. They develop from there. Bella hopes to God that she doesn't wake up screaming his name. Edward never mentions it so she supposes she's safe for now.
The thought of acting on it crosses her mind only once, fleetingly. They're in the kitchen, all of them, laughing as they prepare some exotic dish with a flourish and ease that always laves Bella in awe. Emmett opens a large bag of flour and blows some in Jasper's face with a childish smirk, Jasper glares back in mock irritation before grabbing the bag himself, tackling his brother until the room is smothered in white dust. When Esme scolds them, smile tugging at the corner of her mouth, they both look up at her innocently from their spot on the floor. Everyone roars. Bella feels her heart constrict in her chest and can think of nothing but kissing away the flour on Jasper's face and hands and...she jumps as Edward wraps his arms around her, leaving floury handprints on her top with a chuckle.
She doesn't let herself indulge again until she's safe in bed, the darkness engulfing her.
She wonders, sometimes, whether it will ever go away. It hurts enough now, but for an eternity? She wonders if it's sufficient to make her reconsider her desire for the change and then hates herself for it because the decision should only involve her and Edward and not his brother whom she barely really knows. Even the thought is a betrayal.
When she goes to bed she makes sure she's so tired that sleep comes swiftly, forcing the thoughts away and hoping the dreams follow suit. It becomes easier after a while until there's no imaginary Jasper speaking softly in her ear or touching her body in ways that make her feel so alive.
She tells herself that she doesn't miss him.
She turns her attention solely to Edward, like it used to be, keeping them joined at the hip. Nobody notices the slight change; it's how it's meant to be. She feels the thrill at his touch, his kiss, and she knows that it's right because she loves him, she was made for him. The tiny twinge in her stomach that says otherwise is pushed so far back it might as well not be there at all. Everything is normal.
Bella hates it when Edward goes hunting, she's worried for him, but he's with Emmett and Carlisle and rationally she knows that he'll be okay. Still, she worries and that means she keeps tossing and turning and she really wishes that sleep wouldn't evade her because she needs it to be tomorrow and then Edward will be back. With a frustrated groan, she kicks aside the duvet, wincing as cold air hits her, and leaves the room.
Even though they don't eat conventionally, the kitchen is always fully stocked and Bella uses this to her advantage. She pours some milk and finds a cookie and can't help but laugh at how childish she must seem. Still, it's familiar and comforting and that's what she needs right now.
She doesn't hear him until he's in the doorway and eyeing her with amusement. His blond hair's ruffled and he's barefoot and Bella actually wonders whether this is a dream before deciding that's it too cold; her dreams were never cold. He smiles in greeting before picking up a book from the counter and sitting opposite her, all graceful limbs and casual ease. Bella tries to control her breathing.
Finishing her milk quickly, she clears her things away, hoping Jasper doesn't notice her eager departure. She turns to leave and then stops. She should go upstairs now and wait until morning when Edward would be back and everything would be alright again. She should go before her addled brain began reminding her of things that had never really happened and she did something she would regret for the rest of her existence.
Except she's never been all that sensible.
Leaning down she presses her lips to his, so gently that it's not really a kiss at all, just breath and the slightest of pressure. When she opens her eyes all she can see is his confusion. She expects him to be angry but he's just looking at her with surprise and disbelief and something she likes to think is awe.
'What was that?' he asks, his voice sending a shiver down her spine.
She smiles softly, remembering every detail of his face as she turns to leave. 'Something to sleep to.'