Jasper was hesitant as he slowly approached the clearance between the trees where he knew he would find the derelict building he had come looking for. Most people didn't even know of its existence and for some reason Jasper felt it wasn't right for him to be the only one coming here, especially considering his current hesitance.
It was one of those things that unsettled him even further, feeling hesitant. Around his family he never had to, he always knew what they were feeling and what kind of reaction they expected from him. But being alone out here, in front of the small chapel with the broken windows and the crumbling facade that was now covered in moss and ivy, he couldn't help but falter for a moment for his own emotions never allowed him the ease of knowing what to do. Ever.
For a brief moment he considered entering the building but when his foot touched the first of three narrow steps he couldn't. It didn't feel right to set foot in this chapel, a place that was supposed to be a sanctuary, when he couldn't even stand to face himself in the mirror.
He silently took a few steps back before kneeling down in front of the small stairs, his head bowed, like a reverent knight before his king. His eyes were closed and his voice was quiet when he eventually found the courage to do what he had come for.
"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been... quite some time since my last confession and I..."
Jasper fell quiet again when careful footsteps made the dry leaves on the soft ground behind him rustle but still he remained down on one knee, never moving a muscle.
"I have been looking for you." Edward's voice seemed disturbingly loud in the silence Jasper had created for himself. He could feel Edward move closer, their bodies almost touching as he came to a halt only inches from Jasper. "You've found me."
Jasper drew in a shaky breath when Edward's hand came to rest on his shoulder, his attempt to shrug it off futile as Edward tightened his grip a little.
"What are you doing here?" Thankfully Edward lowered his voice this time, blending in with the quiet, almost a whisper to reach Jasper's ears. "Confessing... but I bet you already knew that..."
"It's the why I'm wondering about..."
Jasper took another deep breath, his eyes still closed. "Because I need some guidance." He stopped the protest he felt was about to come from Edward with a sharp movement of his hand. "I need to know that in this world, a world I'm not able to ever leave, a world I'm damned to live in till the end of eternity, that there is something... bigger than me. I need to believe that there's something more, something that can guide me through this darkness."
"But you have our family... you have me."
Jasper shook his head. "You... you have found your guidance in the gi... Bella. She's what's keeping you grounded, her humanity and love are the crash barriers to your road, what makes you stay on track. And I don't blame you."
"But you are on track, there's nothing wrong with the way you live..."
Jasper gave a low laugh. "Don't fool yourself Edward, I'm not on track, I've never been. Lately I'm on an open highway with canyons left and right and I have to pray I'm not falling down when the next turn in the road comes."
Edward lightly threaded his fingers through the tousled strands of Jasper's honey blond hair, his mind whirling. "But why now? What happened to your crash barrier?"
"It fell in love with a girl."
Heavy silence settled between them that gave Jasper the opportunity to begin focussing on his actual reason for coming there again. But all too soon Edward's voice interrupted his thoughts again. "But why are you doing this? Shouldn't you be praying instead of confessing? Why do you do that to yourself? What for?"
"For the life of Laura Taylor, a petite blonde who lost her life to me in Dallas, Texas in 1887 when she was barely 18. For Jonathan Miller who trusted me with his life and lost it in Lexington, Kentucky in 1907. For Elizabeth McCarthy, a 12-year-old school girl from Rockford, Illinois who died through my hand in 1957. For Tracy Zimmermann who never returned from her class trip to Detroit in 2002 because she met me one evening..."
Jasper slightly turned his head, blood-red irises settling on Edward's face as he eventually opened his eyes.
"...and for Eric Petersen who didn't survive his fishing expedition today because of my weakness."
Edward was struggling for words and in the end it was Jasper who broke their awkward silence again. "I need forgiveness for my sins because I need to seek guidance for I won't be able to stay on this road for any longer without help. You've helped me to come this far and I don't blame you for letting your love fall somewhere else. You deserve that. And I'm sure, someday I will find someone to guide me down here again."
Jasper eyes fluttered shut again, his head bowed as it had been before. "Please, don't say it... Could you just leave me alone and let me do this? I really need to do this because..."
Edward hesitated briefly but eventually turned to leave when there was no answer. It was only when he was already back in the thick of the forest again that the soft thought filtered through to him.
Because I'm not ready to stop loving you yet.