Disclaimer: © Forever by Stephenie Meyer.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY xx-twilight7-xx! Here, finally, is the story you've been awaiting for so long, written just for you. I'm proud for getting this out on your birthday in YOUR time zone. Well, not that it's that hard to do. :)
My name is Jasper Whitlock, and I was born in Germany. All my life I was raised to believe that my family and I were of a superior race and that Christianity was the dominant religion; therefore, Jews and people of other races were scum.
When Adolf Hitler took reign, I was what he considered an Aryan—blond hair, blue eyes, and of pure German blood—characteristics that defined Hitler's master race. I didn't believe I was completely German though.
My parents urged me to join the Gestapo once I had turned eighteen. The problem was, my life took several twists and turns before I could join.
I had a best friend named Maria. On her seventeenth birthday, she had gone to the forest for reasons unknown to all but herself. She never returned. After much fruitless searching, we were forced to believe that she was gone for good; not dead, but gone. Disappeared.
Not long after my eighteenth birthday, I went to that very same forest to gather firewood and brush. Before I could head back home, I saw her again.
At first I thought I was dreaming. Her burgundy eyes shone in a way that made me want to run in the opposite direction. Her deathly white skin was unnatural. My senses alerted me to the fact that she could not possibly be human. As much as I had missed her, I was frightened for my life.
"Hello, Jasper," she said in a voice as smooth as silk. "Long time no see, wouldn't you agree?"
Then out of nowhere, a man appeared beside her. He too was excruciatingly beautiful, and his features confirmed that he was of the same…species…as Maria.
"So you're Jasper," he said in a musical tenor. "Maria has told me much about you." He held out his hand, which I stared at in mistrust. He finally withdrew it when it was evident that I was not going to take it.
"No matter." He smiled. "I'm here because Maria has requested me to give you the most precious gift a human could ever receive." Maria smiled, then turned around and fled deeper into the woods.
I stiffened at that. I knew I did not want whatever he was going to give.
"Why can't she give me it then? Why you?" I asked suspiciously.
"Well…let's just say that she tends to be a bit…ah, animalistic…about it." With those words, he had suddenly disappeared. Before I could turn my head to see where he had gone, I experienced pure agony as something cut and sank into the side my throat. I couldn't restrain the scream that came out gutturally.
I felt the male thing pick me up and run into the heart of the forest. I struggled uselessly in his arms; he could not be thrown off balance or anything of the sort. I instantly stopped as I felt a scalding pain travel down from my throat. Looking up at my kidnapper, I could see his eyes gleam triumphantly. This time, I let loose a cry that sounded like nothing short of death. I instinctively squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as I could.
For the next era (that was what it felt like), I did nothing but suffer through hell ten times over. I screamed myself hoarse many times until I could scream no more.
When the pain had finally begun to fade, I found everything bearable again. I was even aware of a presence near me, but I never opened my eyes to see whom it was; I didn't really care. By the time the discomfort had completely disappeared, I was aware of my burning in my throat.
After I was sure the pain had faded away completely and that it wouldn't return, I opened my eyes to see Maria perched next to me, smiling.
"How do you feel?" she asked. She seemed to look even lovelier in my sharp eyes.
"What am I?"
Her smile grew wider. "A vampire. You are now immortal, graced with supreme beauty as well as acute senses, and we are ensured the position of the uppermost level in dominance in the food chain. Is it not the perfect gift?"
I felt anger consume me. "I'm supposed to feed on humans?"
"Why, yes, you are." I didn't know how I knew, but she was smug as she said this.
I remember feeling confused at how I could tell what she was feeling at the time. However, it did not take me long to figure it all out…the special ability I had, that is.
As for my…diet…I was surprised that I was very picky when it came to humans. I had feared that I would ravage the first person in sight. Therefore, I would say that I had quite a lot of restraint. I was also given all the details and precautions about my existence. However, I was able to join the SS, and I did just that at the first opportunity I got.
As conscienceless as I was, I soon regretted joining. Death and the dying constantly confronted me. Not long after a group of people had been ordered to be executed, another group took its place. Of course, with this developing conscience of mine, I had stopped being so selective about my prey; I now targeted the dying, killing them first before drinking them dry. I considered it as doing them a favor; they would have to suffer no longer; their horrid life did not have to be dragged out even more.
However, I did not care enough to leave the camp.
A batch of prisoners were all marching dully in a straight line, with officers scattered about, keeping them in formation and in pace. Their heads were all down, and it looked like they were in great pain every time they dragged a foot forward. I observed them without interest. I felt their pain. Every now and then an officer would kick a prisoner to hurry the person up.
I first saw her then.
She was horrifically slim, and she looked so delicate…almost as if she were going to snap in two if any form of pressure were to be placed on her. She was also quite short, like a girl before she hit puberty.
She didn't show any form of deterioration yet, so I assumed she had just arrived at the camp. That thought was immediately erased when she finally raised her face a little. Only slightly, but enough for me to see her. Even though her eyes were sharp and aware, she looked haunted and lifeless.
But other than that, she was easily the most beautiful human I had ever seen.
And even in the harsh winds of the blizzard, I could smell her blood perfectly. It was so enticing. I could already feel the excess of venom flow. I envisioned biting into her throat and feeling her warm blood spill all over me. My animalistic senses started to take over.
No! I cried to myself. You cannot give in to temptation!
As if she could read my thoughts, she suddenly lifted her face and met my stare head-on. Even though I was a vampire and she was a human, I felt as if our roles had been reversed. My appearance had nothing on hers. I could not tear away from her magnetic eyes. No one else existed. It was just me and her.
Her gaze was so mesmerizing and I lost track of all time until she let out a small yelp and broke eye contact. A Gestapo officer had just shoved her forward roughly.
"Don't hold up the line," he commanded harshly. As she turned to walk away I looked for the identification tag on her arm. It read 'A68592'.
I had to refrain from ripping that man to shreds. It would most certainly reveal me, and I did not—could not—kill thousands and thousands of innocent people simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He then turned to me. "Sir, what are your orders?"
I listed instructions for him. As he left to carry out his task, I walked away. I was not going to forget about her. Never had anyone had this much of an impact on me before.
It was nearly midnight. After checking again to make sure all the men in my quarters were all asleep, I quietly snuck out, my blanket in hand. I disappeared into the forest, found a small rocky outcropping that was mercifully treeless, and I began to dig out a cave. After that, I returned to the camp.
Earlier in the day I had seen where the mysterious girl was assigned to sleep at, and that was where I was now swiftly running to. I was not worried about being sighted; after all, most of the prisoners here were so delirious they would believe they had imagined the flash that was me running.
I had arrived at her barrack, and although it was not necessary, I checked the prisoners' breathing to ensure that they were really asleep. The breaths were all even. All except for one.
I crept silently into the brick building, and I saw her. She was lying on the second of the three tiers of one of the bunk beds. Her back was facing me, and she was shivering violently. Her heart beat irregularly, and her breaths were short of even. The strange thing was, she was not scared. She was radiating…anticipation. She was waiting for something.
I silently closed the difference between us, and before she could turn I clamped my hand firmly over her mouth before she could acknowledge my presence and cry out. She turned her head slowly and met my gaze before nodding.
I sat her up and wrapped her tightly in the two blankets before lifting her in my arms bridal style and running outside. It wasn't like it was any warmer inside than it was outside; in fact, the cave would be warmer than the two.
"Close your eyes," I commanded. She obeyed, and I ran full-out, anxious to get her into the shelter of the cave as soon as possible.
We arrived at the temporary lodging in no time. With her closed eyes, she shouldn't be able to know just exactly how fast I ran.
After setting her down to the very back of the almost depthless cave, I sat with my own back plugging the entrance. I felt many emotions coming from her, but fear was not one of them. We stared at each other, much like we had earlier.
"Thank you, Jasper Whitlock."
My mile-a-minute thoughts instantly screeched to a stop. The first reason was obvious—she knew my name. The second: her voice sounded so musical and beautiful…but of course, words like that were understatements. Could she truly be human? She stunned me more than I could stun any human.
"How…do you know my name?"
"How I knew your name is the reason I'm here, at Poland."
But then she smiled, and everything in my world appeared a bit brighter. "But at least I finally found what I was looking for."
"What were you looking for?" I questioned.
She looked up at me from under her eyelashes, suddenly shy. "I was looking for you."
"I…wh-what?" I stuttered. The amazing effects she could have on me.
"It's hard to believe, isn't it? And that's exactly what got me in trouble. But that is a tale for another day…" I was incapable of doing anything but staring.
"Anyway, my name is Mary Alice Brandon," she introduced, "but I would rather you call me Alice because I despise the name Mary."
A week later, and our cave inhabitations were now habitual. I sneaked Alice out as soon as I was sure all the officers and the wardens were asleep. I sneaked her back in just before the brutes woke up. I did not want to lose a single moment with her.
Over that short span of time, I had grown to love her. I had been entranced with her ever since that first meeting. She had transformed me into a completely different person, and I felt whole when I was with her. She was the part that I had never realized I lacked. My assessment was confirmed, especially since she told me that she had been looking for me before she had even met me. There was really no true way to describe our relationship. At least, not in words.
Every day in the cave, we would spend the majority of the time learning about each other. At other times, we were content to communicate simply by looking at each other's eyes. Sometimes it got slightly intense, but it felt so right.
It didn't matter to me that we had to spent our nights in a snow cave. My home was wherever Alice was. And she was lying here in my arms, slowly drifting to sleep.
She was currently fighting a losing battle with her eyelids. She blinked futilely, trying to keep her eyes open for as long as she could, but finally, they drifted shut completely.
I leaned down to kiss her forehead and I brought her closer to my heart.
"I love you," I whispered, completing the perfect, blissful moment.
Almost two months had passed, and although Alice tried to remain strong, it did not take long for anyone to cave. She was now rapidly weakening, and that, combined with her natural delicacy, meant that she…the thought was too painful for me to finish.
Yet, I knew I was going to subject myself to pain by even starting anything with her. I was a vampire. She was a human. And she was slowly dying.
And we could never be.
She snuggled up to me. My stone heart soared. But even so, her welfare came first. I discreetly put some distance between us by wrapping the two thin blankets around her even more tightly.
She looked at me with a heartbreakingly somber face. Her sadness came rushing all at once. She was sharing her feelings with me, literally.
"Why?" she only whispered. The look on her face and the tone of her voice as she asked the question were enough to shatter my resolve into a million pieces. I could not deny her anything.
"I will only make you colder," I answered, but I did not sound very sure at all.
She shook her head. "Look." She took my hand and put it to my own cheek, which, of course, felt warm to me. She then put it to her own and I was extremely alarmed that it was cold compared to mine.
"Alice!" I couldn't refrain from panicking.
"No, it's your uniform. It's much thicker than my clothes."
I didn't object to her erratic reasoning. There was no way I could explain without exposing what I was. Therefore I gathered her up in my arms and held her as tightly as I dared. She emanated contentment almost immediately, which caused me to emit my own waves of my more powerful emotions.
"How are you doing that?" she asked.
"What are you referring to?" I asked back, feigning ignorance.
"People's feelings can't change that quickly. I felt mine change that way. No normal person should have been able to do that."
"Maybe I'm not normal…" I murmured.
"I know you're not, Jasper."
A silence fell between us. Neither was going to give in. Instead, she fingered the swastika on the arm of my uniform.
"It's such a twisted object…" she commented. "It was a good thing before he got to it."
I stared at the Star of David pinned on her scant garments, and I could have said the same thing about her ornament.
"I want to know everything about you," I said suddenly. She nodded trustingly and began spilling out her life story.
"…the head of the asylum must have been a collaborator. He turned all of us in; I mean, we were all considered freaks, so now was the perfect opportunity to get rid of us. Just like the gypsies and others considered 'outcasts'." She said it in an offhanded way, as if it did not matter to her.
"Alice, you are not a freak," I very nearly yelled at her. "If you're a freak, then I am one too. And that means I should die along with you."
"No!" she protested so strongly that I flinched. She was now suddenly furious, and I immediately started calming her down. "I refuse to let you throw your life away like that!"
"A bit selfish, don't you think?" I asked her sardonically. "Especially since I will be stuck here alone for the rest of my exis—life, drowning in grief."
She bit her lip, and that simple little action affected me more than I thought was possible. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to kiss her, and so I leaned in and pressed my lips very, very gently to hers. When I pulled back she was wide-eyed.
"I've been waiting for a while now for you to do that." She smiled, and if my heart could jump it would have done that.
"But please," she implored me. "Please promise me that you won't find a way to take yourself out of this world, and if someone tries to, that you'll do everything in your power to prevent that."
"I…" I was at a loss for words. Her eyes were so earnest, so pleading, and I found it so hard to say no to her.
All resistance shattered. "Okay," I promised her helplessly.
I was determined to honor the one thing she required of me even if it meant eternal pain.
The time had come when Alice was so weak that she was soon to be subjected to disposal. Many times before I had tried to take her away with me, where we could live an actual life, but for reasons of her own, she had always refused.
This morning, she was huddled with a group of others who looked just as wasted as she did. She still looked lovely in my eyes though.
"You all!" The crude voice of an officer yelled to Alice and the invalids. "You are all going to take a shower now." He kicked several violently. "Get up! We do not have time!" I felt my insides freeze. Taking a shower meant that…
"See you in hell," I heard my love whisper to the officer as the prisoners slowly dragged themselves to the gas chambers. My heart wrenched. They filed inside. I still made no move to stop them, or even the officer.
I did not know why I was not able to move. My feet were glued to the ground. I did not know how I was able to just stand there and not run in and save her. All I knew was that my mind, my entire body, had involuntarily shut down and I could do nothing but take in the scene before my eyes. I watched the officer lead the prisoners in, then come out himself. I lost all track of time as I remained inanimate. I was agonized. I instantly contemplated trying various methods to take myself out of this world. It took me everything I had to remember what I had promised her.
It was like my transformation all over again. Except, this time, it was all in my heart. And it hurt more than any physical pain could. I was numb all over, if vampires could be that.
Finally, the officer ordered newly arrived, healthy prisoners to drag out the deceased and to burn them.
No. No. My Alice could not be burned. Ever.
Nevertheless, I stayed in my spot and observed the scene. I waited until I finally saw a young man dragging Alice's corpse away from the pile of bodies. I dismissed the waiting officer, and I approached the boy.
"Excuse me," I said. He was startled so badly that he dropped her. That caused me further pain.
"If you leave her for me, I will give you my portion of dinner tonight." He nodded desperately and uttered a quick word of thanks and bowed before moving back to take up another body.
I carried her away and laid her down gently just on the outskirts of the camp, in a hidden place. I was fairly certain there would be no animals left to ravage her.
The rest of the day was spent meaninglessly. I kept the promise I had made to the boy, but that was it. I succumbed to insanity as I kept begging for the time to pass faster.
That night, I returned to Alice and brought her to our cave, the cave that I had had to dig out every night. I laid her down and stared into her once beautiful eyes. They were open and empty now. That image would forever be engraved in my mind. I closed them gently and proceeded to remove her Star of David.
"I'm sorry you had to live a life like this. I'm sorry your parents did not treat you the way you deserve to be treated. You should not have been treated differently just because of your ability, and most importantly, you should not have been labeled this way.
"I hope you were thinking happy thoughts during your last moments. I hope you do not hate me for not being able to save you. I don't know why I couldn't," I whispered. "I'm not sure if I tried hard enough. Did I? Tell me I didn't, so that I can have someone to blame for your death.
"As much as I hate the star since you were categorized under it, I will treasure it because it is the only tangible remnant I have of you. I have something for you as well." I took out my pocket watch and tucked it into one of her hands before clasping both of them over her heart.
"I'm sorry I do not have a better object for you, but it has a significance of its own. You see, without you, time has no meaning for me anymore. Therefore, there is no use in keeping time.
"Thank you," I said softly. "Thank you for correcting my views, for making me a better person, for showing me what a love outside of family and friends could be like. You have changed me in so many ways, in more ways than you can imagine. Thank you for everything.
"I know I don't need to tell you this, but my heart is yours. It has been ever since our first night together. Nobody has ever impacted me the way you have.
"I also want you to know that your love will always be with me. It will stay with me for eternity, as you should know. I'm glad I told you what I am. There should never be secrets between us.
"This separation truly hurts. But it's okay, because my heart is with you, in a safe place, where nothing can touch you now. Guard it well, Mary Alice Brandon, my love, my only."
I finally collapsed the cave, letting the snow fall and cover the most important thing to me. I then evened it out, so that all that existed was a simple mound of whiteness. I approached the nearest tree, and with my finger, carved her name and the dates of her birth and death into it. I then added a short epitaph consisting of three simple words:
It's not over. It wasn't. Nor will it ever be. Love was timeless.
I ripped off the part of the sleeve of my uniform that contained the swastika. I balled it up and hurled it as forcefully as I could in the direction of the camp. After taking one last look at Alice's grave, I began my journey forward. I had the memories of Alice with me. And her spirit to guide me.
I was finally making the decision I had been too weak to make before: I was leaving for good.
A/N: Hehe, liked it? Hated it? This was a good seven pages of angst on Microsoft Word :) Please drop a small review telling me your opinion of the story. You can also answer this question in your review: What does true love mean to you?
I was listening to Daughtry's It's Not Over when I was writing the end, and I feel that it kind of suited the story…but only just kind of.
As for the actual title of the story: I was stuck on one, and dear forever yours, my ilyforlife beta, suggested the song Every Second. I still haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, but the lyrics sound good. She wanted me to stick in three lines that would fit well with the story:
And I remember every second
This can't last forever
Totally fits, no? :X
Once again, HAVE A GREAT SWEET SIXTEEN xx-twilight7-xx !