DISCLAIMER: These characters and anything Twilight related are the property of Stephenie Meyer!

A/N: This drabble was inspired by my favorite Muse song and my 2nd favorite Cullen boy : ) Enjoy!

It's holding me, morphing me
And forcing me to strive
To be endlessly cold within
And dreaming I'm alive

- Muse - Hysteria

Venom flowed freely through my mouth, snaking its way between my gleaming white teeth, saturating my gums. I could practically feel her heartbeat thumping through my veins, triggering the impulse to feed in my brain. It was like an electric current had opened between us, traveling off her body in a sickly sweet wave. I gripped the edge of the counter in protest against my instinct. My conscience was screaming at me, hurling common sense and Carlisle's words at my brain. Normally my conscience had backup; Edward, there to read my mind disapprovingly, or Alice, my sweet Alice, there to lay a calming hand on my arm.

But my family wasn't here now; they couldn't monitor me every hour of the day. I had to make these choices alone. I had to practice my self control. And it was moments like these that truly tested my limits. I probably would have been fine, but then she had to go and turn her neck like that, exposing her beautiful pale neck, her heartbeat transmitting pulses in my direction. One more beat and-


She spoke, startling me out of my thirsty haze. I held my breath, hoping that abandoning her scent would help with my control. It didn't, not with her heart pounding away in my head like that.

"Jasper are you ok?" She spoke again, concerned.

This time I focused my eyes on her. She looked actually frightened of me, in a way I had never seen her looking at Edward or Alice. No, this fear was reserved only for me, the weak one. I could feel it now, her fear sliding in waves across the room, her skin growing goose bumps by my mere presence.

"Sorry Bella, I was distracted for a moment. Did you need something?" I asked, still resisting the urge to breathe.

Bella hesitated and I suspected that she was aware of my thirst. Was I so obvious? "You just seem… well, hungry," she said quietly, embarrassed by bringing up her simple observation. Oh no- with the embarrassment came a rush of blood to her face, assaulting my senses. I quickly looked away.

"It's not a problem. I'll go out when the others get back," I reasoned for her. I turned my gaze back at her for a moment, directing a bit of calm towards her. "You don't have to worry Bella," I said, trying to assure her, convince myself perhaps.

"Oh, ok," she responded calmly, allowing me to manipulate her emotions so easily. She returned her attention to the book she was reading, unaware that my gaze still lingered on her neck.

Oh what a dangerous and fearsome monster I could be if I tried. Here is Bella, my brother's fiancé, and the sweetest temptation Forks had to offer. Here am I, the lone Cullen left to protect her, keep an eye on her while the rest of the family hunted, preparing themselves for the big wedding, just days away. Alice had politely suggested that I hold off my hunt until the day before. "Just to be safe," she had said delicately, aware of my feelings.

But how could they have left me here alone with Bella? Me? I know I am the weakest of my family when it comes to resisting a human meal, a fact that shames me only in the presence of Alice. I wanted to lick my lips as I watched Bella, turning the pages slowly, torturing me right here in my own kitchen. It wasn't fair, for this human girl to sit here and tease me with her flushed skin and her melodious heartbeat. It wasn't fair that she belonged to Edward, when it would be so easy for me to claim her now, in a state of calm that I had inflicted upon her.

I stood up quickly, bringing myself around the counter in only a second. Bella looked at me then, a smile on her face.

"What is it Jasper?" She was almost laughing, how sad for her. So unaware of what was about to happen… "Seriously, what has gotten into you?"

I opened my mouth to answer her, closing the distance between us in two short strides. Her heartbeat was pounding in my brain now, the venom in my mouth was flowing to its beat. I could smell her hair, her lips, her breath- just within my grasp.

Her eyes were widened now, fear trickling out despite the calm that I had set upon her. I could tell she was confused; she felt calm but her brain was trying to refuse it, to alert her body to this dangerous monster that was about to attack.

And just then, in that fraction of a second that I hesitated over her body, the cell phone in my pocket buzzed. Ah, Alice, you've saved me again. I stepped back from Bella quickly, pulling my phone out and flipping it open as I moved.

"I'm on my way home," Alice said quietly on the other end. I could hear the disappointment in her voice; I could feel the shame that was pooling in my veins now, replacing my instinctive thirst.

"Alice…" I began but found that there were no words to convey my apology, no way to express the depth of my sadness.

"I know, Jasp…" I could hear her sigh, imagined her shaking her tiny head as she kept one hand on the wheel. There was a long pause; I was afraid to hang up and lose this connection, this focus with her. Without it I would surely return to my previous impromptu feeding time. Finally she spoke again. "Bella will be fine for the next twenty minutes, just leave her reading. Go take a walk. I'll be home by then."

I wanted to say something again, apologize perhaps, but I knew Alice wouldn't want, or need, to hear it. "Thank you," was all I managed to say. She would appreciate that much.

"Jasper… I know sometimes you think you don't deserve it," she started and already I could feel my shame and remorse deepen, "but I love you. Now go walk this off."

I was already out the back door, evading Bella's confused stare as I left, not answering her call when she asked where I was going. She could figure it out, I'm sure… she was smart enough. In the clear air of the backyard I hastened my pace towards the woods. Slipping my phone back into my pocket I whispered, "I love you too Alice."