A/N:

Okay...this is my first fic...so I'm jumping right on in to the deep end.

I'd like to thank the marvelous withthevampsofcourse who not only strongly suggested I do this story but also volunteered to be my beta extraordinar. She's found all my missing commas and made me laugh while doing it...love ya!

I'd also like to thank VJGM who has helped me not only with my plot but also with finding the voice. She has unofficially officially become my go to girl!

Lastly, I'd like to thank all the wonderful women I've met here that have supported this crazy effort of mine. Smellyia, upthedownside, JandCo, HaloJones, Gustariana and my daughter Heavens Immortal. Without them this would have stayed in my head...or I would have made Ally write it with me over her shoulder...she thanks you also for not making her live through that!

I appreciate each and every one of you!

Twilight is owned by Stephenie Meyer…

Chapter 1 – Never Think

Bella

It was 9:30 before everyone left and I could lock up the library. Another day gone, another night to try to make it through.

I decided I didn't want to take the train tonight; being alone with my thoughts may not be the best idea. I needed a diversion. My nightly ritual would give me too much time to dwell on things and I couldn't dwell. Not tonight.

As I walked the Chicago streets, I remembered my mother's face. Her smile. The warm sound of her laughter washed over me, the memory making me shiver with its familiarity.

A cool breeze swept over me and I wrapped my bulky knit scarf around my neck. Familiarity…I was familiar with the guilt…the loneliness…even the date.

I lowered my head and continued on. I noticed a bar up ahead. Definitely not the typical Chicago U campus hangout. It had a darkened exterior and soothing, melodic music pouring out of the door.

What the hell…why not?

The bar wasn't packed but it wasn't empty either. I could see a group of obvious regulars sitting at what I'm sure was their usual table, gazing at a small stage that was slightly hidden by the bar. There was a group of girls hanging out at the table nearest to the small stage where the piano music I'd heard from outside was coming from. They definitely looked like college girls; short skirts, high heels, too high maintenance for a small little blues bar.

I sat at the bar and the bartender slowly walked over while drying a glass. "What can I get for you tonight?"

"Double scotch on the rocks, please."

He nodded his head "Coming right up."

I turned to look toward the stage when three of the college girls approached the bar. A tall strawberry blonde leaned over and seductively called to the barkeep. "Hey Teddy. It looks like we're all out over here. Can you hook us up?"

Before Teddy turned to look at her he rolled his eyes at me. "Sure thing, Tanya. I'll be right there."

I didn't mean to stare, but this Tanya was beautiful. Dressed a little provocatively for my taste, but if it worked for you, then by all means.

Teddy brought me my drink and winked, "Here ya go." Instead of turning away, he stood in front of me staring as he asked, "You've never been here before, have you?"

I shook my head "no" and picked up my drink. He sighed and continued, "You okay? You look like you could use a friend…what's the matter, someone kick your puppy?"

I smiled a little as I put my drink down. "No…I'm good. Don't even own a puppy. And to be honest, Teddy, friends are overrated."

He chuckled, as he waived to a small group of guys who were entering the bar. "Boy, you sure sound like someone else I know."

Just then the beautiful girl at the end of the bar yelled, "Hey Teddy, can we get our drinks or what?"

He turned from me. "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming."

I sat and drank my drink staring mindlessly in the mirror behind the bar. Before I knew it, I had drained it and Teddy was in front of me again. "How you doing?"

I raised my eyebrows at him and tapped my glass. "I'll be better if I can have another one of these." I've never been much of a drinker, but tonight…tonight was a special occasion.

I couldn't help but notice the hauntingly beautiful piano music in the background as I sat and tried to remember everything I could about my parents. The music was soothing; between that and the scotch I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time.

Maybe I should drink more often…

I looked over and noticed the college girl, Tanya, was talking to Teddy again, I couldn't help but overhear that she was talking about the piano player.

"Aw…come on Teddy, we've been coming here for weeks. Can't you tell us anything?"

Teddy laughed while eyeing the girl and her friends, then he shook his head. "Nope"

Tanya pouted and said "Come on…I can't even get him to acknowledge me and hell…I'm throwing out my best stuff here…have you looked at this skirt?"

Teddy shook his head, the smile still plastered on his face, "Maybe you're not his type."

Tanya looked aghast; "Don't even tell me he's gay…"

Teddy laughed louder this time. "I wouldn't know…but I doubt it. Look, he doesn't really talk to anyone when he's here. He comes, plays, occasionally sings, and leaves. Maybe he doesn't like blondes…"

"Strawberry blonde Teddy, and not even bottled strawberry blonde. Au natural all over…come on; gimme something to work with here."

Teddy gave a beer to the guy at the end of the bar then turned back to Tanya. "Sorry toots, ain't got nuthin' for ya."

The piano player ended his song and people clapped. I asked Teddy for another refill.

Then I heard it…

"Thank you for coming out tonight." The smoothest, sexiest voice I'd ever heard in my life…like velvet.

Everyone was focused on the man behind the piano; he leaned to his side and picked up an old acoustic guitar. "This is an original song. I hope you like it."

He began strumming the guitar without looking at anyone. In fact, his eyes were closed as he hovered over his guitar, playing a reminiscent melody that mirrored the pain in my heart. I felt it in my soul; I think my heart actually skipped a beat.

I should never think
What's in your heart
What's in our home
So I won't

You'll learn to hate me
But still call me baby
Oh love
So call me by my name

He was singing to my soul, exposing me bare for everyone to see. It was as if he knew what I was feeling, the guilt, the anguish, and I couldn't look away. His voice was deep and alluring; pulling me in. There wasn't a set of eyes that weren't trained on him singing.

And save your soul
Save your soul
Before your to far gone
Before nothing can be done

I watched, enraptured, as his fingers strummed the guitar. His eyes never opened. I watched the muscles in his forearm twitch and contract with each chord change.

His face as he sang…it was hauntingly beautiful. His auburn hair fluttered into his eyes as he shook his head to the tune and sang with the voice of a fallen angel.

Girl save your soul
Go on save your soul
Before you're to far gone
And before nothing can be done

I listened as he sang and I couldn't look away. He was baring his soul. His face, his song, his body-they all showed the depth of despair coming from him. He was raw and pure and lost…


Cause without me
You got it all
So hold on
Without me you got it all

As he finished, the crowd erupted into cheers and the angel opened his eyes.

Jade…the deepest shade of jade I'd ever seen.

But they were empty. Devoid of the raw emotion he exuded with his word, the passion of his music didn't meet his eyes.

I knew this look…I saw its feminine counterpart everyday as I looked in the mirror.

There was more to this angel than a pretty face and an angelic voice.

He uttered his thanks and left the stage.

My trance was broken and I decided it was time to go home. The music, the scotch, the memories - they had taken me where I needed to go tonight. It was safe to go home now; I'd be able to sleep through the pain.

I tossed some money on the bar and turned to leave. Teddy yelled out, "Hey, I hope to see you again sometime."

I simply raised my hand and left the bar.

It was still cold outside and I tied the scarf back around my neck, beginning the five-mile walk home.

As I opened the door to my apartment, I saw the light on my answering machine blinking. I hesitated before pushing the button. I couldn't deal with talking to Jake or Billy today. I didn't need their pity.

I pushed the button and heard Jasper's voice instead, "Hey Bells, just checking in to see how you're doing. Give me a call tomorrow, we can go get coffee. My treat."

Jasper.

If I had to say I had a friend, I guess you could say it was Jasper Whitlock. He was as close as I had let anyone get since Jake. Jasper and his fiancée, Alice, were good people and I guess you could say I appreciated their company.

But damn, that man was like a built in emotion detector…no mood ring needed with him. The minute I started wallowing, he'd be on my phone, trying to pull me back to the land of the living.

I met Jasper two years ago, a year after I left Forks. I had been in my first Masters class, The Impact of Revolutionary Literature on Modern America. I'd been in Chicago for a year. I went to school and I worked at the library. I had no need for anything else. If you don't put yourself out there you have less of a chance of getting hurt.

I was sitting in class staring at the board when this beautiful blonde came up to me. In a sweet slow southern drawl he motioned to the empty desk next to me. "Is this seat taken?"

I looked away from him and back toward the board. "Nope."

He sat down and took out his books. He turned and stuck his hand out to me, "I'm Jasper Whitlock, pleased to meet you."

"Bella Swan, nice to meet you too."

He smiled a brilliant smile at me, "and how are you this fine evening Ms. Bella Swan."

I shook my head slightly at him and snickered. "Oh I'm just fine thanks." As miserable as I felt I couldn't help but chuckle a little. His mood was infectious.

He turned a little more in his seat, "If you don't mind my saying, you don't look so fine. You look like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Care to talk about it?"

I looked at him with as much effrontery as I could…what the hell… "No, thank you…nothing to talk about."

He put his hands up in surrender. "Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you…you just look like you could use a friend."

"Sorry, really; I didn't mean to snap at you. It's a handicap, haven't found a cure yet"

"No problem, Bella. Really."

We sat through class and Jasper participated a hell of a lot more than I cared to. He was smart. Smart and good-looking…wasn't that always the way? Too good to be true.

After class he turned to me and said "Bella, I'm really sorry if I offended you. I'm heading over to the coffee shop across campus to meet my girlfriend, Alice. Would you like to join us?"

He really did seem like a nice guy and he had a girl friend, so it's not like I had to worry about him showing any interest. It was pretty cold out…I guess I could go for a hot chocolate. "Sure. Why not."

Alice was the polar opposite of Jasper. His 6'1" frame to her 4'11". His blonde hair and sky blue eyes to her black hair and emerald green eyes. But they fit…like they were made for each other. Alice was excitable and full of energy while Jasper was calm and collected. Opposite ends of the spectrum, but matching in every way that mattered.

We spent the evening talking about school and I avoided any subject that concerned my past, including where I was from, my family, or anything that wasn't related to school. They didn't push…I didn't offer.

I learned a lot about them that night. Alice was a photographer for a fashion magazine and she thoroughly enjoyed her job. She was always up on the latest trends before anyone else, she "knew people" and she loved taking pictures of the famous and beautiful in the world.

More often than not she tried to get me to see the finer points of Dolce or Armani…but really…I couldn't care less. She didn't push and I appreciated that she accepted me for what I was.

Jasper and Alice were my circle…my only circle. They were as close as I'd let them get, which was still an arms length away…I'd never put myself back out there again. I'd never risk the pain or the humiliation. I could survive on my own. I had for so long now, and I felt it was the only way.

I grabbed some water from the sink and went to my room. As I undressed, I congratulated myself on making it through another day. Another anniversary. I climbed into bed and closed my eyes as my mind drifted.

Auburn hair and jade green eyes and the smoothest velvet voice I'd ever heard. God shouldn't let angels mingle with us mortals…ad it was a sin for someone that beautiful to be pained.

A smooth guitar and velvet voice wove their way through my head…

Girl save your soul
Go on save your soul
Before you're to far gone
And before nothing can be done

I fell asleep to the words of a melancholy angel.

The song in this chapter is Never Think by Robert Pattinson. If you haven't heard it you must...along with all of his other stuff...it's spectacular.

Okay, I'm all about constructive criticism. If you like it or not...let me know.

Thanks for reading!