I love Jasper. I love New Moon. I love Spunk Ransom's ridiculously cute high-pitched "What?!" exclamation in the latest Twilight Tuesday vid.
Life is good.
The first thing I heard was Edward's distinct laugh, and I could feel Bella's embarrassment as the door opened.
"Happy birthday, Bella!" we shouted, and Alice jumped down two stairs, landing next to me and grasping my hand.
A blush climbed to Bella's cheeks, and I felt the thirst inside me pulse painfully once. Edward's eyes didn't turn in my direction, but I felt his split second of alarm. I'm okay, I promised him in my thoughts, and that was when his eyes flickered up to meet mine, an encouraging smile on his lips.
Moment over, I focused on Bella, watching as she survey the entire house. Alice had gone completely insane decorating: it was covered with candles and roses and bowls, and a cloth was draped over a table beside the piano, sporting a pink cake, roses, glass plates, and presents.
Esme hugged Bella and kissed her on the forehead, and Carlisle wrapped an arm around the mortal's small shoulders. "Sorry about this, Bella. We couldn't rein Alice in," he said in a mock-whisper. I smiled.
She surveyed Emmett and Rosalie, stopping when the bigger of the two spoke. "You haven't changed at all. I expected a perceptible difference, but here you are, red-faced as always." A giant smile played on his lips, and Bella blushed again.
"Thanks a lot, Emmett."
He laughed. "I have to step out for a second"—he broke off and winked comically at Alice—"don't do any funny stuff while I'm gone."
"I'll try," she laughed back.
Letting go of my hand, Alice danced forward. I smiled at Bella, staying far enough away, as Edward warned, and leant against the stairs. Her feelings were hurt a bit—I tried to continue smiling reassuringly, hoping not to offend her—but Alice provided a distraction, running beside her and taking her under the elbow. "Time to open presents."
"Alice, I know I told you I didn't want anything—"
Alice was smug when she answered. "But I didn't listen. Open it." The camera in Bella's hands was replaced with a large box, and I knew it was empty.
When the wrapping paper was off, she stared at it dumbly. "Um… thanks."
I let out a loud laugh and grinned at her. "It's a stereo for your truck. Emmett's installing it right now so that you can't return it."
"Thanks Jasper, Rosalie. Thanks, Emmett!" she called louder.
"Open mine and Edward's next," Alice begged over Bella's laughter at Emmett, and the excitement radiating off of her was almost painful.
Bella pivoted to face Edward and glowered. "You promised."
Emmett leapt through the door then, saving Edward. "Just in time!" he yelled, and came to a stop behind me. I took a step closer, wanting to watch her open the gift that Edward had worked so hard in preparing.
"I didn't spend a dime," he promised her, sweeping a lock of hair behind her ear.
"Give it to me," she said, sucking in a breath as she rotated to face Alice.
Bella rolled her eyes at Edward and went to unwrap the gift.
That's when everything fell apart.
The smell of her blood poisoned the air, and I instinctively launched myself in her direction, snarling viciously at her.
Edward's roaring voice was loud in my ear and then he was in my way, protecting his love from my venomous teeth. The smashing noise was surprising as the two of them barreled into the stack of plates. The crystal exploded around them, but I didn't notice—I crashed into Edward, wanting nothing but Bella's blood.
My control had completely evaporated. I growled at her, my teeth clacking as I tried to reach her throat, or even just get through Edward.
Almost as suddenly as it had begun, it ended.
I was being dragged away, the pain in the back of my throat throbbing even worse as the blood gushed out of her arm. Alice was next to me in an instant, whispering in my ear, but I couldn't hear her—I could only hear the human girl's heartbeat, the sound of her gasping breaths.
Carlisle said something then, and then Emmett and Rosalie were pulling me out the door, into the fresh autumn air. Bella's scent remained in my nose, but it wasn't as painful now—bearable, if anything.
Emmett's arms were still locked around me, and he was saying something to Rosalie in an angry voice. I stumbled away from him, gasping for air that didn't reek of her blood. I crouched down and put my hands on the cool grass, facing the ground below me.
"…rude about it," Emmett was suggesting.
"I'm not being rude," Rosalie spat back. "I just knew this was going to happen. Maybe this'll scare her off and she won't feel the need to rip apart this family any longer."
"I don't believe you, Rose!"
"I don't believe you! Befriending a girl who wants nothing more to be a monster?"
"It's what we are! She loves Edward—why can't you see that?"
"I can't see that because it's impossible! How can he love her? Her blood is irresistible to him—it causes him pain to be near her!"
"You're just jealous because it isn't you, Rose," Emmett said in a disappointed tone. "You wish Edward was hung up on you."
"How dare you say that!"
"Stop!" I finally intervened, holding my head in my hands. "Please."
Emmett hustled over to me, crouching next to me and placing a hand on my shoulder. "Sorry, man. Are you okay?"
"You two argue like a married couple," I muttered dryly. "Edward loves Bella, Bella loves Edward. I haven't seen anything like it in the three hundred years that I've been alive. End of story."
"What happened in there?" I asked in a whisper.
Emmett sighed. "She got a paper cut. The tip of her finger got sliced on the wrapping paper."
Someone else came rushing over—concern was rolling off of his or her body in thick waves. "Jasper?" Esme's voice shook as she spoke. She got in front of me and made me kneel, and then she wrapped her arms around me, burying her face into my shoulder. "Oh, honey, are you okay? I was standing by the door in case you ran over, but I know you'd never do that, and I have to just… are you all right? Oh, dear…"
"I'm absolutely fine," I reassured her. "I'm concerned about Bella."
I could only imagine how shaken she was by this—of course, she'd been attacked by James, but she'd expected that. She'd known it was coming. Here, in a place she considered a second home, she simply sliced her finger, and someone she trusted attacked her, full force.
"I can't believe I did that," I growled. "Why can't I control myself? A simple paper cut, and I fling myself at her? Savage," I spat.
"Jasper, don't feel that way," Esme said, pulling me up to my feet and wrapping her arms around me again. "We were all that way once. It's a matter of overcoming it despite the setbacks."
An entirely new string of emotions, ranging from love to anxiety to worry, drifted into the air, and I turned hesitantly to see Edward walk into the front yard. "We're leaving."
That was the last I could take—I turned and ran as fast as I could through the thick forest.
"Jasper!" Alice's perfect voice rang out, but not even she could incline me to turn.
I ran for a bit, never turning around, never attempting to sense if someone was around me. My frustration burned off in thick layers, and yet when something behind me grabbed me by the waist and knocked me onto the ground, it was back as if it had never left.
I jumped up in a millisecond, facing my enemy, and then realized it was Edward.
"Edward," I said calmly.
"Jasper," he sneered. Anger lit the air aflame, and suddenly I was angry as well.
He dove at me, snarls erupting from his throat every time I dodged. Every time we touched, it sounded like rocks smashing against each other, and each time we collided, it sounded like a collapsing building.
When I finally got far enough away from him, he continued to glare at me. "Edward!" I exclaimed, finally getting a hold on my own true emotions. "Edward, I'm so sorry about what happened in there. I wish I had any self-control around human blood, but you know I'm not at that level yet. I'm so very sorry." I pressed my back against a tree and then slid down it, so I was sitting at the bottom.
Edward's anger instantly disappeared and he sat next to me. "I…" he exhaled. "I'm sorry about what just happened." His voice wavered a bit. "Bella is… so important to me," he continued in a soft tone. "She's consumed my world and become every aspect of it. I can't stand putting her in peril like this. And it isn't just you, Jasper. I trust you more than I trust anything else that is putting her in danger."
"Edward, I know I'm part of the problem. What you said back there—that we were leaving—I'll leave. You stay here. You can't do that to her, Edward."
He stood up now, stepping into the clearing. The darkness was starting to consume the town now, twilight over. "Jasper, I can't have her here getting hurt. I'd rather… leave her here, knowing that she's safe, than live another day with putting her in danger."
This brought all the frustration back again. "Edward, if you leave her, you're putting her in danger."
Edward rolled his eyes. "How would that be possible?" His tone was smug, and I didn't like that.
"Do you know how much she cares about you?"
"Not half as much as I care about her," he shot back.
"No. If you leave her, you don't know how much peril you're putting her in. That act alone will leave her alone. Edward, she'll commit suicide. You are her reason for existence. I can't read her thoughts, but I can damn well read her emotions, and what she feels toward you is exactly the same as what you feel toward her. It's a mistake to leave her, Edward, and I know how much you hate to make mistakes."
"Jasper!" he shouted. "This is not up for discussion! Bella is my responsibility—"
"She's her own person!"
"I'm not letting her get hurt again!"
Irritation got the best of me. "THEN DON'T LEAVE!"
Edward let out a vicious roar, something that bounced off the trees and echoed for a long time. He dumped his face into his hands, tenseness and despair leaking out of every pore of his body.
"I can't do it, Jasper," he declared in a broken voice, shaking his head. "I can't. I can't put her through this anymore. I'm sorry if it doesn't make you happy. This is what I have to do. I can't live with myself if she gets hurt, Jasper. What would you do if Alice were killed, and there was a possible way that you could've prevented it?"
My hands tightened into fists and a horrible feeling swept through my entire body.
"Exactly," he sighed. "Carlisle's probably almost done with her, I should go. I'm sorry, Jasper. I have to go with my own instincts… she's safer if we aren't there."
And he turned and disappeared into the night.
BLECH! I personally HATE the way this came out, but I decided to post it anyway. ):
Thanks for reading. That's all for now, folks.