I am disappointed daily to wake and find that my dreams of owning Jasper are just that. I don't own the other characters either. It makes me sad. Stephenie Meyer, however, DOES own them. Lucky, brilliant woman.

Bella has always thought her brown eyes were boring.

Jasper knows she's wrong. In her eyes, he sees shades of cinnamon, chocolate, and the faintest edge of deepest gold. When she cries [as she does often now, her tears washing away traces of Edward's touch] the molten flecks glow and shimmer and for a moment, Jasper feels human again, his breath catching as he gazes at her from across the room.

Time passes. Seasons change. It is clearer to her every day that Edward [damn him] isn't coming back.

Jasper hasn't left. Even now, he sits in her rocking chair with his headphones and closed eyes and she thinks that maybe Alice was right to not tell her this was coming. Would she have let herself love him if she'd been warned? Alice calls regularly and everything is fine or so she says but Bella feels guilty anyway. She hopes there is someone out there for her friend, if only so she will stop worrying that he will leave her, too.

Rain falls, and the sound is soothing now. She has become accustomed to the soft drumming on the roof and the drip outside her window. These days, the sun is her enemy and she can't help but breathe a sigh of relief when she wakes to wet drapes and chilled breezes. He'll be here today. Sunny days are the longest and even Charlie is pleased to see him come nightfall.

The rules are different now, because, clearly, this boy is not going anywhere. Privately, Charlie thinks he sees a little of himself in this one as Jasper watches his daughter cook. He used to look at Renee this way and this gives him hope that perhaps she will not be as broken as he himself was. Bella is not her mother, and Jasper, he thinks, will be smart enough to follow her if she leaves.

He knows she's not going anywhere, either.

The storm tonight is a bad one. Thunder shakes the house, lightning flashes across the angry sky. Bella doesn't flinch, or even notice. They lay together on her narrow bed, he with his headphones, she with her book, the only real contact her head on his shoulder. She can hear the faintest beat of his music and she smiles, content in this perfect moment.

They have both begun to contemplate her death.

He doesn't think she'd like a traditional ring. He recalls vividly, [his vampire memory is nearly photographic] the heirloom Edward presented her with and doesn't want to remind her that he is not the first to ask this question. He remembers her original plans for that union and so he finds himself at her feet with a sapphire and two round trip tickets to Vegas in hand. He has never been more afraid.

She is shocked to find a familiar dark haired pixie waiting at the airport. She is chastised and bullied but she is stronger this time. All she wants is Jasper and Vegas and someone to say he can kiss the bride. The rest is for after. Right now, this is everything.

Dying is infinitely more painful than she expected. Perhaps it is because they have become so inextricably linked that her pain is his and his is hers so that in the midst of this agony, they are sharing and multiplying and both are desperate to make it stop. He thinks he might kill her so she'll stop hurting but he loves her and he's feeling selfish and it's just a little bit longer.

Then it does stop. She opens her eyes and really sees him for the first time and he can feel the wonder and joy and love as she traces his features with eyes and fingertips and he knows.

This is what he has been waiting for.