First Love Lost
Jasper POV – Chapters 20 and 21
Tuesday. Day three of disaster.
James must have told her because Bella and Emmett were living with Edward. No one was talking about why. Rose didn't know the story. Alice didn't know the story.
It went against all of our rules. My rules. No secrets unless they were mine. No decisions unless they were mine. It wasn't something that was said. It was something that was understood. They knew that. It mattered little that I knew what was going on and had helped orchestrate it. Edward and Emmett should have told me. It pissed me off that they didn't.
Pissing me off more was that Bella was hurting more today than she was on Monday. Emmett was watching her carefully, which helped but not much.
I hated that she was in pain and wanted to fix it, but I knew that I couldn't. I had to tell myself multiple times that she would recover from this. She would be happy again. Any other option was unacceptable.
When that failed to work, I started repeating the three phrases that put my head in the right place. She doesn't matter. I hate her. She is nothing.
The day ran out, and I was at home. My real home. Dad summoned me. What a joke.
Cigarette smoke filled the study. He was making my house stink. Bastard.
"You have a drug test tomorrow," he warned me. "Can you pass it?"
That shit was funny. "Can I ever?"
"What am I going to do with you?"
The same thing you always have. Nothing. "You take care of the piss test. It is your job. We made a deal."
My dad wasn't a dad. He was a dick. "The deal was that you would try to stop."
I did stop. Mostly.
He kept at it. "You know you're only good at this one thing. Don't blow it. You could be great someday."
Can you be great if you're only good at one thing? I don't think so. "Are we done here?"
His right hand waved dismissively. "Go."
That hand was going to be the death of him someday.
Today was good.
I walked up and grabbed his hand twisting it to an unnatural angle. "Don't wave me off anymore. That shit pisses me off. And quit smoking in my house."
I ignored the howling. He would heal. It wasn't like I broke it. Dr. Cullen could fix that shit just fine. Look what the good doc did for his nose. You could hardly tell that I broke it for him last year. Besides, the dumb bastard hit me first.
The cabin was my destination. Peace. Quiet. Home.
She was gone.
The place felt empty. The peace was gone and the quiet too loud. It wasn't a home. It was four walls and a roof.
An extra key.
A useless phone.
Key and phone. Those were gifts. A person wasn't supposed to give back gifts. This was our cabin. She needed to know that. This was our home. She needed to feel that. If she did, maybe I could again.
What does it matter? She's gone, and you can't have her back.
I put the key, the phone, and the last apple in a shoe box. Edward was meeting me at the clearing.
The wait was forever. I needed him to do this for me. It wasn't like I asked for much.
Unwaveringly loyalty, drunken antics, and a distraction for Alice. It wasn't much.
Someone pissed him off. Edward was walking up to me like I fucked his mom.
"What do you want?" The boy grew some balls. He asked me a question.
I handed him the box. "Give this to Bella."
The asshole opened her box right in front of me. "I didn't say open it. I told you to give it to her."
He dropped the box on the ground.
"What the fuck, Cullen?"
"Do you know what she's been through the last few days? Do you even care? I'm not giving her some box of shit that's going to make her feel worse."
You don't care. She doesn't matter. I hate her. She is nothing.
"You're really not going to ask." Edward walked off.
He was disgusted with me. I couldn't blame him.
I was alone. Again.
He was gone, or at least, he would be soon.
Good for him. I knew he could do it.
The apple had rolled out of the box and was laying in some mud.
Her apple was dirty. He got her fuckin' apple dirty. That little prick.
I was furious. I hated him for getting wise when I still needed him stupid. I hated me for letting him get away with it. I hated that apple for rolling out of her box and daring to get shit on itself, and I hated her for liking apples.
I picked it up and threw it against a tree. Pieces of it flew everywhere.
Great. I broke her apple.
The rest of the week was a blur. I didn't feel anything. I didn't hear anything. People talked to me, but all I heard was a buzzing noise. They weren't there. Not really. I laughed when it seemed right. I frowned when it felt appropriate. I didn't know what I was doing. Nothing made sense. Nothing was right.
The body still worked. The brain still told me to do shit, but the heart failed. It didn't work anymore. The bitch was broke.
Only one thing made it tick again.
Lunch was the only hour of the day that I felt anything. She stared at food. I stared at her. I still thought about the things I wanted to do with her.
I wanted to buy her books and read them over her shoulder. The castle tour was still on. We could name the cow, Daisy. She could have her elephant, but he better shit outside. She could have whatever she wanted if she would just look at me.
No eye contact. No sign that she knew I was alive. No sign that she might love me. I had nothing.
She was gone.
I started calling her. I felt like a stalker. Hell, I probably was one. I watched for her everywhere. I couldn't breathe right until I saw her. My heart didn't work until I knew she made it to school in one piece.
The pain in my chest only released its hold on me when I was sharing a room with her. It left me, and I could feel all the pieces of me come back together. All it took was having her close to me. When she left, they fell back down and shattered into even more pieces. Each time, it took longer to put them back together.
Bella was different. She was weakening in front of me. If I kept my distance, she seemed better. When I was closer, she faded. I was draining her with my presence so that I could find the strength to pick through my own shit. I was a leech. I was a blood sucker. I was taking her life even as I tried to stop. If she didn't leave soon, there would be nothing left of her.
She has to leave.
Things got worse. I got much worse. I felt like hell. My eyes were bloodshot, and my heart was gone. I was staying with Alice. She was yapping at me and wouldn't stop. I was trying to make the pain disappear. Her pills and my booze helped but not much. Nothing helped except for seeing Bella or hearing her breathing on the other end of the phone.
I needed to hear that sound. It was the only thing that stopped the madness in my head. It was everything.
She tried to talk to me this week, but she wouldn't look at me. My favorite lines came back. She doesn't matter. I hate her. She is nothing.
If she had looked at me, I would have faltered, but she didn't. I was glad.
I fucked up today.
My eyes were on my girl, and some piece of shit kid blocked my view. I told him to move, but he didn't hear me.
The chair was supposed to take the brunt of my anger. It didn't. The kid did.
He was so light. He didn't weigh any more than a chick.
I picked him up so easy. I wanted to throw him but stopped. Breaking people physically wasn't usually my style. It was over too quick and left me unsatisfied.
I ignored Emmett's growling. What was he going to do? I owned his ass. If he fucked with me, I would ruin him. He knew it.
My request for the kid was simple. "Stay the fuck away from my table."
Being piss scared must have rendered him mute. "Do you understand? Nod your head or say something."
Then, he was gone. Fuckin' Edward. He was always sticking his nose where it didn't belong.
Cock blocking bitch. This was all his fault. If he didn't interrupt us, I would have stayed with Bella.
Then it would be too late. I would never have let her go. I would have wrecked her because it was all I ever did. She deserved better. She was better.
Someone pushed me. Emmett. He was the last person who should be pushing me, and I told him so. He didn't get it. He demanded that I stop.
"I already did."
I left. It was over.
Bella - gone
Edward - gone
Emmett - gone
Everyone was leaving me. They always did. Bella would go unpunished. I wanted her to leave.
Edward and Emmett would have been safe, but they broke the most important rule.
We keep our shit to ourselves.
The whole school saw the crash. It was a matter of pride to get a little back. I couldn't let them slap at me in public. It made me look weak, and I wasn't weak.
It would have to wait until after football was over. I still needed them for something. Once that was over, I could do what I wanted to them.
No more staying with Alice. They would be there. That left the cold, empty cabin. I used to love that place, but she destroyed it when she left.
This was her fault.
Midnight meant another call. She wouldn't speak. She never did. I didn't either.
An angel said my name. "Jasper. Talk to me."
My throat closed up. I wanted to speak but couldn't. No air. No words. Nothing.
I was scaring her. She still loved me. Not good. Not good at all.
Texas. Lake. Little boy. Strawberries.
I wanted to be that little boy, but I wasn't. My mom smelled like citrus. Her eyes were green. She never braided her hair. I wanted to be that little boy. He could have Bella, and I never could.
Bella. I could smell her now. Strawberries. The best smell in the world. It was bliss. Nothing was better.
Absurd. Who played with cold flour? Did she leave any here?
I kept the phone at my ear as I checked. It was there.
It did feel nice. It was like touching her. Smooth and soft.
Clouds. Being with her was like touching the clouds. My feet were never on the ground.
It wasn't stupid like she thought. It was simple and honest. It was Bella.
She jumped in a pile of smoldering ashes. Fucking typical. Only her.
Renee was a dumbass, and Charlie was a coward. Who was I? I was the devil tempting angelic girls into dancing within the flames. Who was she? She was just Bella. Always Bella.
I would do whatever it took to make sure she didn't dance. This devil was putting her firmly on the shelf. If she hurt, I hurt. If she lived, I lived. If she died, I died.
No little girl. You stay out of the fire. I won't let you play.
I couldn't talk to anyone. The words were gone. The need to speak just wasn't there. I had nothing to say. No one would listen, anyway. I was the walking dead. No one saw me. No one heard me. I was gone. A faded ghost of a once bright star. I finally had what I wanted, but it mattered little because she was gone.
You get what you want, but you lose what you need.
Alice was starting to figure it out. She pulled me aside. "It's Bella, isn't it? She did this."
No words. Just a look was all that was needed to confirm her suspicions.
She stomped her tiny foot, and thunder rattled the windows. Pissy pixies could fuck up the world. I needed to stop her, but the energy wasn't there. Too many pills. Too much liquor. Too much of everything. I was drowning in my vices. It would take a lot to wake me out of this coma.
I couldn't look at Alice anymore. I walked away.
Lunch was a private affair. Alice and Rose left. Edward and Emmett were off doing whatever it was that former friends did. I didn't care.
And then there was My Bella.
She looked angry. Angela was giving her the daily play-by-play and wouldn't shut up. Bella wanted to punch her. I could see it in her eyes.
Do it. Hit her. Be like me. You can stay if you just hit her.
She didn't, and I was disappointed.
And then the world stopped turning. Whichever god controlled the volume turned the sound down completely. A few others must have gotten in on the action because all I saw was a pair of chocolate eyes and a sad girl who loved me.
There was my eye contact. There was my girl. I needed her. It was over. I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't care that being with her would destroy her. I didn't care that it was wrong. I was going to keep her. I was going to make her stay with me.
She left the room. I followed. People got in my way, but I pushed past them. My name was a whisper on everyone's lips, but I ignored the sound. I had to get to her before she disappeared. She could leave, but she had to take me with her. Simple solution to an impossible situation. I should have thought of it before.
I rounded a corner, and she was gone. No trace. Nothing.
Let her go. If you can't change, let her go.
The words were right, but I didn't care. I couldn't change, and I couldn't let her go either. I was a selfish bastard, but I was keeping her. She was mine.
It hit me. Our room. It started there. It could continue there.
Defy their expectations, just like you do mine. She thought I was better than I was. Someday, she would be right but not today.
My legs dragged, and a voice sounded in my head. It wanted me to stop, but I ignored it. Another told me to go and take what was mine. It sounded smarter, so I listened to it.
I locked the door behind me. Interruptions were not welcome. This was between me and my girl.
We exchanged words. They didn't matter. I didn't hear them. I didn't even know what I said in return. My attention was elsewhere. All I did was watch her. She was here. I could see her and smell her and hold her. She was here.
And then a pause broke me out of my trance.
Why did she stop talking? I needed to hear her voice. The pain came back when I couldn't hear her.
Why wasn't she looking at me? I needed her to see me. I faded when her eyes were not on me.
None of it was right, and all of it was making me fail. The pieces started to crumble. I had to get them back. I grasped at them desperately, but they kept falling.
Words. Use your words. Wake her up again.
"Why aren't you talking to me?"
Make her mad.
"Good call, sweetheart. I wouldn't want you to talk. You'll just change your mind in five minutes anyway."
Hurt her. Break her down. She'll need you to pick up the pieces.
"You're really not going to say anything. How is that possible? You never seem to run out of that self-righteous bullshit you like to throw at me. When are you going to realize that you're not morally superior to me? Hell, you're just as fucked up as I am. You just hide it better."
It's not working. Challenge her. She loves a challenge.
"Do you know what is so disappointing about you, Bella? You can't decide what the hell you want. From one day to the next, I don't know whether you're going to pull me in or push me away. You say you're concerned, but you won't help me. You answer my phone calls, but you won't look at me. Last night, you tell me a story that encourages me to risk everything to be with you, but then you don't hold up your end of the bargain. So, do you think you could make up your goddamn mind before you drive me crazy?"
Un-fucking-acceptable. I jerked her around roughly.
Nothing. She was giving me nothing.
Then, I felt it. The fire. It was there. She was awake. She would bring me back to life. I could feel the power starting to come back.
Her eyes met mine, and the power evaporated. It was like smoke on the wind. I could smell it, but I couldn't catch it. Bella kept her power, and I was shut off.
"You could have left the act outside the door. You're friends aren't here, and neither is the rest of the school. I know who you are, and it's not the prick standing in front of me. So, if you want to talk to me, cut the crap."
It was a slap to the face.
I woke up a tiny bit. Somewhere inside me a familiar feeling rose up. I hadn't felt it since that night I left her. I didn't want to feel it now. I laughed thinking that would push it away.
It worked. I felt nothing.
Ouch. The girl just shoved her index finger through my chest cavity. Like my heart didn't hurt enough.
"You act so pissed off and damaged by this town and the things these people expect of you. The whole time you play your little games and never let anybody see you. Who are you, Jasper? Do you even know, or have you gotten so lost in your own bullshit that you can't find your way out?"
Somewhere in the middle of her speech, the feeling came back. I wanted to tear my hair out. I wanted to yell in frustration. The feeling needed to stop.
I had to make her understand. She needed to know the truth. "Do you think I want to be like this? Do you think I want to hurt you? It's who I am. I can't change, Bella. I can't be good."
You could be, but you won't.
Tears. When did she start crying? And why did I only see it now?
I was hurting her. I was killing more of those beautiful parts of her that I cherished. I wanted to pick up the pieces of myself that littered the room and offer them to her in exchange for the ones I killed, but they would only fester inside her and die. All parts of me did that because unlike her I was made of shards of a broken mirror that didn't even start out beautiful. They were even less beautiful when they were broken. I was ugly and bad and nothing good lived in me except for her love.
She punched me this time. It was a hard shot to the face. "So, you think I'm the disappointment. Well, do you know what is so disappointing about you, Jasper? You have the whole world at your fingertips, and you're going to just throw it all away because you're scared of letting someone care about you."
I wasn't scared. I didn't get scared. Who the fuck did she think she was? This was the Bella I hated, the one who threatened to rip my soul out.
I had to shut her up. I stepped forward trying to intimidate her. It didn't work.
This time she stabbed me. "In ten years, you're going to look around and realize that what you have isn't even a fraction of what you could have had. You'll regret all of the stupid shit you've done, but it will be too late for you to do anything about it. A beer in your hand and a random girl on your arm will provide little comfort in place of all that could have been. Your life could be so great, but it won't be. It will be a cold bed and an empty heart."
Until you came and wrecked my world, my bed was very warm. "At least, I'll let my bed have a little warmth in it. Your bed will be a freezer with sheets."
I shouldn't have said that. It wasn't true. Any bed with Bella in it would be warm. It would be home.
Not home. You don't care. She doesn't matter. I hate her. She is nothing.
Bella wasn't stopping. "Do you know what all of this makes you, Jasper? It makes you stupid and careless, but worst of all it makes you weak. The tight control you maintain over your little world is because you're too scared to let anyone in who challenges you. Your weaknesses built this fantasy land that you live in, and they will be your undoing. Because you never learned the skills to survive in the real world, and you won't let anyone in who can help you."
I stepped forward again. The words took root in my body. I felt like they were eating away at me from the inside. I was bleeding out on the floor and nothing would stop it.
She slid the knife in and twisted it coldly. "You may be strong enough to take what you want, but you're too damned weak to allow yourself to keep it."
"Goddammit, shut up."
She kissed me.
It was sweet and honest, two things I was missing in my life. But most of all, it was love. I could feel her love for me. It was there in her touch. It was in her tears. It was in her, and she was giving it to me. No one had ever given me anything except her. She gave all of herself to me, and I stomped her into the ground. I didn't deserve her. She was too good.
I pressed my forehead to hers and tried to stay still. My emotions were everywhere. Hate mixed with love. Want mixed with need. Anger mixed with joy. She brought all things out of me and held them in her hand.
I was going to beg. "You have to take me back. I can't survive without you. Please, Bella. I need you."
I was offering her my soul. She could have it and do what she wanted with it. All parts of me belonged to her now.
"I'm sorry. I can't."
It was all I heard. I said something back and hit the wall, but none of it mattered. She had just taken my heart and squeezed all the life out of it. I watched it fall to the floor as she walked away from me. She was gone and so was I.
You don't care. She doesn't matter. I hate her. She is nothing.
You do care.
She does matter.
I love her.
She is everything.