Jasper. It was a few nights after Edward had left that he first showed up. I almost shot out of my bed when I noticed someone's presence in my room, full of hope that it would be Edward although deep inside I already knew it wouldn't be him. He must have felt my disappointment as he immediately started to apologize.
"I'm sorry Bella, I shouldn't have come..." He turned back to the window, ready to leave again.
"Don't go..." I found myself saying, my hand reaching out to touch his arm. When he turned back to me, a wave of calm swept over me but it didn't make the hurt go away completely. I longed for him to do something, say something... anything.
A sob escaped my throat when he finally pulled me into a hug and I found my warm body pressed against his cold one, a feeling I had come to love but right then it only brought memories of Edward back. After a moment, I felt him tense a bit and I reluctantly let go of him. He knew he wasn't the one I wanted and so did I.
"I... thanks for coming..." I let myself fall back into bed, another wave of sadness washing over me as once again nothing but memories of Edward came to me instead of the sleep I was craving. I could see Jasper turning back to the window and I expected him to leave so I was surprised when I felt the mattress of my bed dipping under his weight and a cold arm wrapping around my shoulder from behind.
"Hush... try to get some sleep..." His sweet breath, the cold presence and another wave of calm and serenity eventually allowed me to drift off into the first dreamless sleep since Edward had left.
It only dawned on me much later how hard it must have been for him to be so close to me for so long without ripping me into pieces. Not that I would have minded much at that time. But Jasper had helped me. A lot. He'd made the pain more bearable with the calm he was letting wash over me each night. I'd never thought about Jasper as a friend before as for a long time he'd kept his distance from me but in the last weeks he'd become a good friend to me, someone I instantly knew I could trust. He had patiently endured my tears, my sobs, and the pain, everything that had come with the memory of Edward night after night. He wouldn't leave me. He'd come to my room every night to help me sleep and after a few weeks I already anticipated his arrival as soon as I switched off the lights in the late evening.
Imagine my surprise when I turned in bed one night to welcome who I thought was Jasper just to find someone who wasn't the lanky vampire with the blond mob I'd expected. Instead of the understanding eyes and a feeling that I could get through all this, I got... Edward. A brief moment of disappointment followed. Why hadn't Jasper come? Only then the realisation hit me that this was Edward, Edward, the one I'd been longing for all the time. I almost fell out of bed in my hurry to get closer to him, my arms wrapping around his neck as I hid my face in his shoulder. I enjoyed the sound of his soft, velvety voice whispering sweet nothings into my ear. I rested my chin on his shoulder, letting myself get lost in the feeling of his body against mine.
Just when my eyes were about to slide close they caught the movement of Jasper gracefully climbing through the half-open window and when they connected with the blond vampire's it hurt. It hurt to see the disappointment and the pain in his eyes at the sight of Edward and me, the obvious disapproval at the embrace we were sharing. In a flash of a second he was gone again and I couldn't help but gently free myself out of Edward's grip, bringing some distance between us.
"What's wrong, Bella?" I had difficulties to phrase my problem. Instead, he kept asking. "Is this about Jasper?"
For a brief second I wondered if he could read my mind after all but then I understood. Of course he would know. If his reappearance had come as suddenly to the other Cullens as it had come to me, he would have picked up one or another of Jasper's thoughts. Still I was hesitant to answer his question. Was it about Jasper? Why had it suddenly been more important to right Jasper's thoughts about what I was doing than to be happy about Edward's return? Why did it seem that Jasper's disappointment in me had stung more than Edward's absence for a moment?
I had let him down. After all he'd helped me through I'd thrown all caution in the wind as soon as Edward had been available again. I had let both of us down.
After what felt like an eternity, I nodded. Yes, this was about Jasper. About Jasper and me. And the realisation that Jasper had come to mean more to me than I wanted to admit.
Confusion was written all over Edward's beautiful features. "But Bella... I'm back."
"I know..." The unspoken 'but' hung heavily in the air. You weren't there when I needed you, you didn't help me, you left. Jasper hasn't left me. Yet.
With a sigh, Edward eventually widened the distance between us. His eyes met mine for a moment and the sheer intensity took my breath away, something he often managed to do.
"Try to get some sleep, Bella. I will come to see you tomorrow." The feeling of regret mixed with one of relief. Relief that I didn't have to explain myself just yet, regret that he was leaving... but also regret that he probably left to talk to Jasper and re-claim me as his.
I curled up in my bed, pulling the blanket tighter around myself. If only Jasper was there to help me sleep... but I guessed that after tonight I never would have the privilege of his presence in my bedroom again. I shuddered at the light wind that came through the still open window and brushed my cheek.
"Bella?" The tentative whisper was so quiet I almost missed it. I sat up in my bed, relief flooding me. "Jasper! You came back..." His lips curled into a small smile, causing mine to do the same. It was rare to see Jasper smile, most of the time his features had been hardened, his jaw tense. But not that night. He moved closer to me, sitting down on the edge of my bed. My mind began to spin. He had come back. I had let him down and still he'd come back. I couldn't even try to phrase what that meant to me. Nothing I could say or do could ever express the feeling of gratitude overcoming me at the fact that he hadn't given up on me. That he was still here. Good thing he could probably sense the gratitude spilling out of my every pore. His finger softly brushed my cheek. "I'll never leave you."
No, he wouldn't. And I wouldn't let him down again. I'd take all the strength I had built up with his help to not fail him again. I'd never let him go either. When his eyes met mine in an intense gaze, the world seemed to stop revolving for just a second before falling back into line with double the speed. In that moment his lips captured mine in a kiss that was just equally as intense.
I could feel, sense, taste the feeling Jasper was pouring into that kiss, giving me every last bit of himself without any precaution, without any doubt and without any fear. Something Edward had never done. We broke apart breathlessly, our chests heaving, our eyes still locked. Jasper's kiss didn't take my breath away, no, it gave me a reason to want to keep breathing just so that I could, please, feel it again. He carefully brushed a strand of my hair back behind my ear and for a moment he closed his eyes as he breathed in deeply, taking in my scent.
"Jazz..." He slowly re-opened his eyes at my soft voice. He must have felt the air of insecurity radiating off me. "Don't worry, I'm okay..." He gave me that soft smile again as he laid both of us down onto my bed. I felt content when I felt his arm draping lightly over my waist, his lips whispering words of a song I didn't know into my ear. As sleep started to claim me, I couldn't help but smile. This was what I wanted. No drama, but someone I could rely on. This was all I needed. He was all I needed. I would be all he needed. And I didn't need to tell him. Because he knew.