Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight universe. The title of this chapter and opening quote belong to Peter Gabriel.
Synopsis: A shared eternity means repeating everything.
"The book of love is long and boring; no one can lift the damn thing. It's full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing. But I love it when you read to me and you can read me anything." - Book of Love by Peter Gabriel
Book of Love
His lips felt like a caress, like a gentle whisper. He nudged at her smooth skin, tasting and teasing as he found the sensitive spot below her ear. She gasped, unable to stop herself as her fingers threaded though his hair.
Her legs tightened on either side of his, trembled as she raised herself slightly, granting him better access. He nosed the collar of her shirt aside and found a new expanse of skin to explore. She grinned as his hands tightened reflexively at her waist. His fingers and thumbs touched as his hands squeezed, easily spanning the circumference of her.
She had memories that mirrored this moment exactly. They'd been in the same position, in the same state of undress, gasping and smiling and whimpering in exactly the same way. She knew the feel of him, the taste of him, the story that his kisses told. She knew the shape of his lips as they spelled out professions of love in the crook of her neck.
"Darlin'," he growled against her skin. It was a familiar sensation, both the lurch of her heart at the term of endearment and the tiny vibration of his growl against her flesh. Smooth teeth grazed across the white column of her neck, never finding purchase. "Did I ever tell you how much I like it when you wear my shirts?"
She laughed, her head still tilted back, still allowing him access. "A time or two. Or a thousand." Alice had shrugged into his dress shirt as he pulled on his boxer briefs. The shirt hung clear to her knees and she'd been rolling up the sleeves when he pulled her down, settling her onto his lap so that she was straddling him, her legs curled next to his thighs. She smoothed one hand down his chest. "Did I ever tell you how much I like it when you call me 'darlin'?'"
He laughed there, his face buried in her neck, sending shivers down her spine. All familiar, all a sweet homecoming. "A time or two." Jasper pulled back to smile at her, his face as sunny as she'd ever seen it. This was his homecoming, too.
She let her fingers trail over his cheeks. "New school tomorrow."
He groaned but his face was still lit up, the bliss of their uninterrupted time together still written across every part of him. "We should withdraw. Just withdraw and spend a year like this."
It was a common argument, an old plea. They collected conversations like trading cards. School was hard for him; school was important to her. He felt like a monster in the halls; she felt like a stranger. He couldn't stand to have his lost humanity thrown in his face; she couldn't stand the thought of seeing nothing of herself in the sea of faces.
"The town already knows about us," she said with a grin. "What would they think if two of Dr. Cullen's children never showed up?"
Children. They play at being children for eight hours a day and she knew he hated it. She knew because he'd told her, every time they started a new school, the words spilled out. There was no room for secrets or half truths in an infinite lifetime. Every truth was one more thing to collect, one more conversation to repeat again and again until a new truth replaced the old one.
He wagged his eyebrows suggestively. "Wanna find out?"
Alice laughed lightly and shook her head. "Carlisle found a good town. It's quiet and secluded and if we play our cards right, we'll have years of peace."
He nipped at her bottom lip, his smile still stretched across his face, not even the prospect of spending another year in a sea of humans enough to dampen his mood. "I guess that sounds all right."
She braced her hands on his shoulders. "Yeah?" A question always asked and always answered the same way.
Jasper nodded and settled his hands on her thighs. "Years of peace with you? Yeah," he smiled, "yeah, that sounds all right."
"Maybe after this school we could take some time off. We could travel." She let her fingers knead the muscles of his shoulders. It was an old offer that had some merit for once. Surely the family could live without her visions for a spell. Surely Jasper was strong enough to be away from the support of the family. "We could be a young married couple."
He grinned, ignoring the offer for the sake of playing his role. "I think that's the worst of it, taking off our rings before we leave the house, acting like teenagers instead of adults with more than a half-century of marriage behind us."
"You old romantic," she whispered. She leaned forward and kissed the corner of his mouth. "We know how long we've been married. Who cares about the rest of them?"
"You do," he murmured. "Isn't that the worst part for you? Caring what they think but never fitting in?"
She shrugged and said what she always did, expressed her saddest truth, offered it to him in their eternity of repeated admissions and facts. "I don't fit in with the humans. I don't fit in with the vampires."
"You fit in fine." He meant it every time.
"I've never met another vampire that could see the future."
He grinned. "In this family, you fit in fine."
"And in this family, you and I have to go to school tomorrow."
"What's this one called?" He already knew the answer but if they didn't repeat these things, what would they ever talk about?
"Forks High School."
He snorted. "Forks. Strange name."
"The others lived in the area once before. Esme said the hunting is good there."
"Maybe you'll make a friend there." It was another old line. Change out the high school, change out the town, Alice's wish always stayed the same. She no longer believed it, so he believed it for her, hoping she'd find someone to give her whatever it was she was searching for.
She laughed lightly. "I'm sure. And maybe you'll have that peace you love so much."
"Uneventful algebra and half-true history lectures." He grinned slightly, his eyes unseeing as he imagined the simple pleasure of being bored, of being content, of being with Alice. "Nights with you and my books and a grizzly or two." He sighed, a satisfied exhalation.
Alice stared at him, her smile gentle as he contemplated another several years of the same routine, of peace and boredom and repeated stories and facts they both new. Eternity had never frightened her because it had always been her truth, had always been her path. But it wasn't always his, he had a human life and then what was supposed to be a short, violent life as a soldier.
She knew that eternity, infinite time, a forever-life could be a dizzying concept for the young, for the mortal, for those with a finite life. Eternity could mean destruction for those prone to boredom, for those that saw time as an enemy, as something to conquer or drown in.
So she asked another familiar question. "Do you miss anything about being human?"
Once he'd said 'urgency.' Another time, 'control.' The truth was new nearly every time she asked. This time, he simply looked at her, his face still a picture of pleasure, of delighting in this moment, in this iteration of a memory and conversation and truth and intimacy. "No. No, right now, I don't miss anything at all." He kiss her teasingly, pulling away before she could settle in, making her smile again. "Tomorrow, I'll miss you."
"Think of all the new things we'll have to talk about." She grinned easily now, familiar with this joke.
"Is algebra going to be different in Forks High School?" His eyebrows were raised as he met her smile with his own.
"You never know."
He laughed fully, his head thrown back as his arms wrapped around her, his hands bunching in the fabric of her borrowed shirt. "I do know."
"New school tomorrow," she said again, her expression falling, nearly apologetic.
"Eight hours of that." He leaned forward and touched their foreheads together. "Sixteen hours of this. A fair trade."
"Love you." They always ended the conversation the same way. It was her oldest truth, the one she'd brought into their relationship, the one she had given him to hold and mull over until he realized that it was his truth too.
"Love you, too." He grinned, lopsided and charming and exactly the same as always.
And in that moment, she didn't care about new friends or lost memories or a school full of temptation. If she never fit in anywhere else, she knew she'd always fit in right there, right where he always felt the same and tasted the same and smiled the same crooked smile. She fit in where she knew the conversations and all of his truths and stories.
She trailed her fingers over his cheek, pulling herself closer, pressing her body tight to his. "Have I ever told you how much I love your smile?"
Jasper's face lit up, accommodating her musings by letting his smile stretch and grow until it was a mask of pure joy. He nodded, his arms hugging her close, enveloping her familiarly. "A time or two."
Note: I decided to take a work break and post a chapter. I have a big BIG deadline approaching at work, so of course my muses are going nuts. Thanks to everyone who reviewed on the last one. I really appreciate all the feedback. Also, welcome new readers!
For those waiting on SRBS, I have several chapters ready to be sent to the beta readers. I'll probably send them tomorrow or Wednesday so there is a very very good chance that chapter 9 will go up early next week.
Now, about this story. I am going to complete this thing at 50 chapters. I want everyone to review or PM or e-mail me with whatever Alice and Jasper plots you'd like to see in the last ten. I'll either set up a poll to vote on my journal or I'll draw or something but at least five of the last ten will come from whatever you guys suggest. I have received literally hundreds of suggestions since I started this story and some I have written and some I haven't so suggest again if I haven't written your idea. All I ask is that it be something Alice and Jasper related (seriously, do not ask me to write a Nessie chapter of Six Interruptions), and that it be fairly specific (don't say 'something from Breaking Dawn!'). Other than wrapping up SRBS, these last one-shots will probably be the last Twilight writing I do for some time so now is your chance to let me know if there is a scene you always hoped I'd do. I'll discard any suggestions that I have covered either here or in Redefining Words. So be creative! Get to suggesting.