Author's Note: Okay no excuses. I was just getting lazy. Not my best chapter, I'm not exactly proficient at writing intense emotional scenes. Let me know how I did yea! Enjoy.
And you got here just in time
To let me know I was worth saving.
If nothing more than for the heart
Too proud to breathe,
But all too scared to say
The things worth saying
-Walk On Water Or Drown, Mayday Parade
"-look, if you ain't going to tell me what the hell you did to my friend here, please get the fuck out of my way!"
I vaguely hear Claude's agitated voice ringing in my ears. I wanted to ask him what was the problem, but I feel so tired. Too tired. Too tired to lift my eyelids or open my mouth. What was going on anyway?
"You should really take her to the hospital."
A different voice spoke this time, calm and to the point. I was curious but not enough to lift myself out of the semi-awake hazy state.
"Mind your own business frat boy. Whatever you did, it's done enough damage."
"If you really care about her, you would take her to somewhere sheltered instead of freezing in the rain."
"Shut up! Just shut up."
Gee, Claude must really be scared or worried to have reacted so snappishly.
"Y-you think she needs mouth to mouth or something?"
"No she didn't drink too much water though it's not to say whether she will die of a cold in this weather. She should be waking up soon."
Sarcasm was thickly laced in the words and Claude surprisingly kept silent. Then again he might be halfway through assaulting the other unidentified guy. That wouldn't be unexpected.
Apparently not the case as someone started slapping my cheeks.
"Bella. Helllloooo Bella! Time to wake up! Wake Up! C'mon open your eyes."
It was Claude alright.
I lifted an arm in an attempt to swat him away, groaning a little at how heavy my arm felt. Opening my eyes, I only see Claude hovering over me.
"Wh-what's going on? Where are we?" I questioned with sleep in my voice.
"Cliff diving remember darling? You fainted or something I'm not sure. Stupid frat boy there refuse to say. It's like one moment you were all ready to jump then the next moment you looked like you saw a ghost or something. I tried to tell you not to jump since the weather was getting worse. You looked freaking terrified up there." He was starting to babble.
I groaned and attempted to sit up, propping my elbows against the muddy sand. I glanced about disoriented, Claude's words not really registering in my semi-functional brain.
A blonde guy was standing a slight distance away, back facing me.
I was halfway through collapsing back on the sand when my brain decided that it was a good time to start processing again. My head snapped up so quickly that I nearly gave myself a whiplash. Images of the day's events flashed at the back of my head with surprising clarity.
I was pretty sure I was still in shock. There was no other explanation why I was taking this in without screaming or freaking out yet.
Then again the shock might have permanently addled my brain and rendered me unable to have any other emotional capacity.
I wanted to say something, anything to Jasper. Make him prove that he was really here. Grind him about the rest of the Cullens. Scream at him. Absolutely anything would have sufficed. But when I opened my mouth, words failed me. I gapped wordlessly at his back long enough for Claude to question me worriedly whether I was really alright.
"Um y-yea…Ju-Just get me out of here Claude."
I sent a furtive glance towards Jasper's direction but he was still unresponsive, head bent down, face away from my view. Whatever his deal was, it was starting to irritate me. First, he comes unannounced back to Forks knowing fully well that I live here and ignoring (or feinting ignorance, I'm not sure) his brother's promise never return. Then, after causing me to nearly die from shock, he proceeds to pretend that he doesn't recognize me.
Leaning heavily on Claude, we made our way back to his bike nearby. After helping me mount, he hopped on and secured my arms around his waist. Just as Claude was about to start the engine, Jasper's voice interrupted.
"Wait!" He hesitated a little before continuing "Let Bella ride with me. It can't be safe riding in this weather and with Bella still so weak."
He trailed off, seemingly unsure of how to proceed, running a hand nervously through his blonde mop.
Hearing Jasper's voice brought back unwanted memories, making my head throb with a dull ache. I averted my eyes, resting my forehead forlornly against Claude's back, breathing uneven. His voice was smooth but with a slightly husky edge. So similar yet so different from his velvet one. I attempted to rein in my emotions but gave up. Being the empath, he would have felt the on slaughter already anyway.
Claude recognized my sudden unease but passed it off as part of the fainting spell. But of course that only helped to strengthen Jasper's case of me not being fit enough to ride a bike.
After a testerone-induced staring contest, Claude finally concedes with a small sigh.
He really didn't like being proven wrong.
Without another word, he clumsily helped me climb off. Just as my face was about to make friends with the muddy sand, a pair of hands grabbed my waist, cold fingers brushing against the side of my stomach.
A chill jolt through my spine and I shuddered.
Lifting me off the floor altogether with ease, Jasper carried me bridal style to his truck that had been driven down from the cliff top some time while I was out.
Claude helped to open the passenger side door while Jasper unceremoniously dumped me onto the springy seat. They converse briefly out of my hearing range and parted ways, Claude returning towards the direction of his scooter and Jasper getting into the truck.
"Your friend is going to meet us back at your place."
It was the only explanation he gave before starting the truck. We settled in an uncomfortable silence, neither willing to even look at each other.
Unlike my monster vehicle, Jasper's was much better maintained with a spacious interior, the faint smell of new leather still present. There were a few canvas boards stuffed haphazardly behind the seats as well as a stained crumpled shirt strewn across his seat. Maps of different states were stacked on the dashboard.
If I didn't know better, I would have thought that he was living in his car.
I took advantage of the quiet to think things through. His sudden appearance had riled up the foundations of my post-vamp life. Feeling more sober now, it made me question really how long I could actually pretend that everything was fine before all that shit hits the fan and blows up in my face.
The situation didn't look too promising.
I was interrupted from my reverie when Jasper removed his jacket and wrapped it around my shoulders.
He didn't try to calm my torrid emotions nor mentioned anything about it. I was thankful for that.
"You're shivering." He observed.
I nodded with a certain degree of surprise.
The corner of his mouth twitched upwards a little and he almost flashed a rueful smile at my apparent confusion.
It was only then that I truly looked at Jasper. His face seemed somewhat more serene, the permanent frown etched on his forehead previously having since disappearing. His hair was no longer slicked back but in casual disarray, partially covering his eyes. And he was actually slouching.
Now, that was something I've never seen any vampire do.
It was glaringly obvious that he had changed much as well since we last each other. His entire demeanor was less tense and somehow he seemed more human. It sudden hit me that he actually looked at ease in my presence without anyone else acting as buffer.
Whatever happened to him must have been huge to have caused such a radical change.
I decided then that I wanted, had to know more about him, about the rest of them. To hell with self-preservation.
We reached my house in record time while Claude lagged behind, far out of sight. I was relieved to see that Charlie's cruiser wasn't in the drive way yet.
I went up to my room to change while Jasper waited in the kitchen area.
Closing the door, I wearily tore of the layers of wet clothing, changing into a clean pair of sweats and tank top.
As I stared absentmindedly at my reflection on the vanity mirror, I felt an overwhelming wave of nostalgia. All the pent up emotion that I have secured tightly and hidden away for the past year seemed to be on the verge of surfacing. Life has fleeted by so quickly and suddenly the person staring back at me from the mirror seemed immensely foreign.
I subconsciously backed away from the mirror, knees buckling against the side of my bed and sunk to the floor
For the longest time, I sat curled up in a heap, wallowing in self-pity.
A gentle knocking on the door forced me out of my trance.
"Come in. The door's not locked."
The knob turned and Jasper hovered cautiously at the threshold, a steaming cup in his hand.
"I made you a cup of hot chocolate. It was the only thing I know ho-"
"Why are you really here Jasper?" I interrupted hollowly.
That stumped him into silence as he noted my fetal position. Finally, he stepped in, placed the mug next to me and sat heavily opposite me.
"I-I don't really know either. I was passing through this area and I just needed to know that you were okay after…after everything that has happened." He replied earnestly.
"Well you can't just do things like that! I won't allow you to. I was alright, getting by and now your presence has messed everything up! Look, I'm done with vampires. I've learnt my lesson if that's what he wants. You can go back and tell him that."
A strange look crossed his face "Bella, I'm here on my own. No one else is coming. Edward didn-"
"Don't say his name!" I raised my voice shrilly.
He was taken aback by my sudden outburst and sent calming waves in my direction instantly. I didn't protest.
"Alright, alright. Just calm down" He raised his palms up in surrender.
Any reminisce of conversation died with my declaration and the only sound heard were my deep breaths.
Finally feeling sufficiently calmed, I offered an apology.
"I'm sorry. It's just…it's just a self-preservation thing."
Comprehension flashed in his eyes and for a second he looked pained.
"I left the Cullens too." He tried to comfort me.
An involuntarily bitter laugh escaped my lips "So they decided that you are not good enough for them as well? Don't worry, that makes the two of us."
Looking mildly surprise and annoyed at my bitterness, he pushed himself off the floor.
"Actually it was purely my decision. You know you've really changed Bella. I would never have pegged you for the type to make such damning assumptions of others."
His comments made me jump up with anger.
"You know what?! Screw you Jasper!" I closed the gap between us and hissed at him "Who are you to talk about me when you yourself haven't been here for the past year! You have no idea what I've been through! NO FUCKING IDEA! So don't you dare judge me for what I am."
I stomped down the stairs, eyes brimming with angry tears threatening to spill over. I haven't felt so this much anger in a long time.
I heard Jasper climbing down the stairs moments later but ignored him, choosing to glance out of the window instead, refusing to let him further witness my sorry state.
"Look um Bella, I'm sor-"
"No Jasper. I'm tired." I whispered hoarsely hoping that it sounded stronger than what I was feeling inside. "I'm not ready to deal with things right now."
I see him give a resigned nod out of the corner of my eye, preparing to leave.
Just at that instant, with his seemingly psychic powers, Claude turned his scooter into my drive way. He busied himself looking for any damage to his precious and thankfully did not catch me standing by the window.
I hastily pulled the curtains shut.
Knowing that Jasper was equally if not more so aware of Claude's presence, I mumbled "Please tell Claude that I'm asleep and to go home first. I want to be alone right now. Thanks."
He paused at the door and questioned softly "I'll talk to you some other time then?"
"Yeah I guess so." I muttered.
If you're still here then.
A/N: Drop a review!