Summary: So it has happened, the unthinkable: Edward has fallen in love, and with a human. Monologue, Jasper POV. Pre-Edward/Bella, all other canon pairings.
Warnings: Talk of killing
Author's Note: Posted as an entry for the LiveJournal community Part Of Him's Take a Chance challenge! Prompts were Wild Card, and the lyrics I don't want to be your friend/I just want to be your lover/No matter how it ends/No matter how it starts ("House of Cards," by Radiohead). Set during Twilight on the day all the boys ask Bella to prom. This was written before Breaking Dawn was released. I hope you enjoy it!
In high school a person can fall in "love" every day. Most of these children think they do. They are convinced that each acute, desperate passion tops the last one and certainly trumps anyone else's. Everyone thinks he or she is the only person alive who has ever felt this deeply, this truly. Every single day, with each tick of the schoolroom clock, the inward longing and silent begging of a hundred strangers embed themselves in me like tiny splinters of glass. No matter how it starts, and no matter how many times, it's always new, so very new, to them. And so old to me.
It's all equivalent ugliness. Their passions are stultifying, too similar in flavor to be interesting, or real. The flares-ups are self-generated, having next to nothing to do with the object of desire. It's thrilling to them, this ritualized and scheduled obsession; and, to them, rejection feels almost as thrilling as conquest. It's self-loathing skirmishing with self-love, and it's impossible to tell the two apart in the melee. Which will win? Which should I shoot in the leg to stop the fight?
I've thrown a wet blanket on dozens of these infatuations, and I've done it happily, with no shame or guilt. I merely hastened the inevitable, and it was too easy to do so. After all, three weeks from now it would be someone else, some new "beloved" for each and every one of them. Alice always says it's cruel, that I'm interfering. No, I reply, no. I'm merely saving my sanity, and their lives. I cannot refrain from killing these people when all they do is torment me with their daily manic-depressive ravings. They are madmen, every last one of them.
Every once in a while …
Something is interesting.
Lately, and shockingly, Edward, for instance. And her.
Although interesting is probably the wrong word. Terrifying would be a better one. His idiotic heroics have set a chain of events in motion, and this isn't over. Not by a long shot. On that count Alice is only too right.
He sits in his Volvo as silent and as brooding as ever; but he pastes a smile on his face for us just before we climb in, though no one really looks at him but me as I open the rear driver's side door and slide in behind him. A smile on him seems odd, because he hardly ever wears one. He's trying not to look into the rear view mirror and he's gripping the steering wheel too hard. For a split second I hear the groan of protesting metal until he loosens his fingers.
Though inwardly Edward seethes with jealousy – and I don't know why he should be jealous, or of whom – he wants to give the impression he is calm, perhaps even cheerful. Hence the smile in the rear view mirror. By all outward appearances he is fine; nothing has changed.
But everything has changed. Every single thing.
She sits behind us, sequestered inside that jalopy of hers.
I am appalled that it's a girl, a human girl, who's got him in such a tizzy, making him act the superhero in front of everyone, forcing him to lose his famous self-control. In a way, it's a relief to me that something can crack that perfect shell and cause him to act out. But the consequences will be disastrous if something else happens, so something else mustn't happen. I'd rather he remain perfectly restrained forever than expose us now.
As Rosalie finally climbs in next to Emmett, I feel the girl behind us impatient for us to move. That girl. Her. The human he wanted to kill. The one he should have killed. Emmett, Rosalie, and I had advised him to go ahead and take her after that outrageous and very public rescue, but he swore she wouldn't tell anyone what she'd seen. Astoundingly, he was livid that we'd even suggest that he take her rather than risk our exposure. I've never felt him angrier, even though our house of cards could collapse at any second on her whim. It's been difficult with him since then, so I try to keep my thoughts to myself.
Who could have known that an urge to kill would turn into this? He still wants her blood; the need screams through his body even now, makes me sympathetically thirsty. But no matter how all this started, and against all laws of nature, he wants something else, too – something more. And I've got no sympathy for that.
Why is he smiling now, when he is so ruined inside? What does he hear? He is a maelstrom of desperation, hope, and terror. He agitates me. I wish I could switch him off.
No one else knows about the change in him but Alice and me. The minute he heard me realize, the second he saw what Alice had seen, Edward made us promise not to tell the others; but he knows good and well they suspect. It's as if he thinks our not telling would make it not so, as if our silence could keep the tornado from ripping the town apart. He forgets that tornados don't get over it; they devastate everything in their path until they use themselves up.
So it has happened, the unthinkable: Edward has fallen in love, and with a human. And his love is not a brightly burning flame that will burn itself out within a few days or weeks or months. Even if he would allow it, I could not smother that emotion for long. I don't even think anymore that his killing her would destroy the longing. However unadvisedly Edward's feelings arrived, they are here to stay; and he is ecstatic and miserable and – for once – he doesn't know what to do.
I should be pleased for him, that he's feeling something. I should be the last person to begrudge him happiness. But this happiness unsettles me. Alice says it will be all right, after he turns the girl, the only other option in this whole bizarre situation. She's convinced that's what will happen. We cannot talk about that, though, with Edward around. But the longer he waits, the worse it gets.
After our classes, before we came to the car, Alice whispered to me that Edward decided he is going hunting by himself; and then, later tonight, he will go alone to the girl's house to figure something out. She laughed when I asked if he was finally going to do it, to kill her. But of course not; why would he hunt first? She shook her head and smiled as though I should already know what was happening; and I suppose, in my own way, I do. Alice is taking all this far, far too well.
Edward runs a hand through his hair, a nervous gesture I don't remember seeing before. He steals another furtive glance at the girl in the rear view mirror. He is anxious. Fearful. Insecure.
In the side mirror I see a boy rush to her window, taking advantage of our roadblock. He's another one of the high school throng, another child wallowing in his hormones and cheerfully blaming her, that girl, for the torture. He's stymied, but only for a moment, when she does not return his feelings. He's not giving up; he likes the pain. I roll my eyes.
Edward laughs silently, and I realize he must have planned this. He'd hoped the boy would fall on his face, and he wanted to witness it. Edward's jealousy and dread collapse into relief that his girl refused that boy. Hope ripples through him endlessly like water.
From the front seat, Alice shoots a grin back at me as if this is all very cute.
Edward laughs again. There is hysteria underneath. I can practically hear the gears turning in his mind. I cannot keep up with him. Something very wrong is happening here.
I don't want to feel this, but the girl behind us is confused and angry and she wants him. She wants Edward, badly. It is real, but he doesn't know it. I'm not even sure she knows it yet.
Edward, still laughing, still hiding, chooses this moment to drive away.
As I watch the trees of Forks blur past my window, I realize that there is one thing I will not tell him, one thing I must try to keep from him at all costs, and that is that she loves him, too. It's more than a schoolgirl crush, more than something I could squelch permanently with a little manipulation. It is obsession and need, deep and churning and ludicrously similar to Edward's. Their connection is palpable to me, almost visible in its intensity. It shouldn't be that way. It's too old, too permanent. They haven't even started.
But if she remains silent about it, then so will I. As long as she's human, that love is dangerous – to her and to us. But she has fallen in love with Edward. Something in her recognizes him. Something in her needs him to be her sanctuary, in spite of the fact that she doesn't even know who – or what – he is.
I guard the knowledge carefully, because it would take far less than that revelation to make him run to her. No matter how it ends.