return my heart before I fall.
Jasper sees her on her first morning at Forks High School trying, unsuccessfully, to blend with the crowd as every male in the vicinity turns to stare. She's beautiful (for a human) and he finds himself watching her as she sits in the only spare table two rows in front of his, letting her long hair drop over her face like a mask, and sinking down as far as she can in the uncomfortable plastic chair.
He can feel the anxiety and annoyance rolling off her in waves; she's clearly not used to all the attention, and it's obvious that she really doesn't want to be here in Forks at all. He doesn't blame her.
She turns in her seat, aware of someone watching her, and he averts his eyes quickly, looking at his textbook but watching her reaction from under his lashes. Her gaze pauses on him only briefly before continuing her sweep. He's not sure why he's disappointed.
When class ends he holds back, packing his books away slowly, all the while watching her. She pulls a map out of her pocket as she goes to leave, looking confusedly between it and her timetable, and he almost asks if she needs any help before forcing his mouth shut. He doesn't do that. He's supposed to keep his distance.
She's obviously made some friends by lunch time, sitting at a table with a group of girls Jasper thinks he should probably know the names of but doesn't. Every human male in the room eyes her with lust and awe and he barely contains the bubble of laughter in his throat. He's pretty certain she has no idea of the effect she's having.
His head almost snaps up when he hears her asking about them. The girl next to her (Jessica, he remembers) fills her in on their names and family situation but he stops listening because he's just noticed the emotions rolling his way. She's not scared or intimidated or any of the things that every other human they've ever met has initially felt in their presence. In fact, she seems sort of...calm. It confuses him enough that he looks up briefly.
As he does he notices Edward watching her, and there's something in the other boys' eyes that cause Jasper to do a double take. The indifference on his brothers' face is so obviously fake and Jasper isn't sure what to make of it because Edward doesn't do this, he doesn't make a point of showing interest in girls (especially human girls) and he definitely doesn't need to stare when he can just read their minds.
Jasper knows, in that moment, that she belongs to Edward.
Her induction into their family isn't a sudden thing, not really, but he's a vampire and time moves differently for them and so it feels too fast and too slow all at once. He doesn't choose to spend time with her, and even if he wanted to he doubts he could (his family tries not to leave him alone with her for fear that he'll do something stupid – they're right, he probably will, but it won't be what they're expecting).
And so his un-life continues as it always has; he focuses his attentions on Alice who he has loved as long as he can remember (he's beginning to think that maybe there was never a time when he didn't love her) and it's easy to forget that he once saw something different, something wonderful, in someone else. Especially when that someone else is so utterly in love with his brother.
Alice is perfect; she's small and delicate and fierce, and he finds himself drowning in just her, and it's exactly as it's supposed to be.
He forgets that he ever felt anything but vague intrigue towards Bella Swan.
And then, one night when he's become agitated from sitting alone in his room and has headed in search of company, she goes and kisses him.
It's amazing how much effect a kiss that's not really a kiss at all can have on someone.
He doesn't mention it, and she doesn't act as though anything has changed. He trains his thoughts so that they're buried away from Edward, only bringing them out when he knows that he's alone, and she continues to treat him casually as someone who could, potentially be a friend.
Yet something's changed.
Jasper knows it's only a matter of time before everyone else realizes it too.