Chapter Title:  A Beautiful Lie
Summary: Jasper comes a little closer to Bella than he is supposed to be, and makes a discovery. 'Alice gave Jasper hope... But Bella gave him humanity.' Will he keep his distance? Js/B
Disclaimer: Everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
A/N: This chapter isn't really a chapter. It was originally written for Niceiceedward, as a one-shot that just happened to be a sequel to Closer. But since some of my amazing reviewers requested more, here it is.
A BEAUTIFUL LIE
I am Isabella Marie Swan, or rather Bella Swan, soon to be Bella Cullen. He is Jasper Hale, formerly Jasper Whitlock, my fiancé's brother, and my soon-to-be brother-in-law. We get along, he makes me feel comfortable, and he's easy to talk to. I like spending time with him.
If only it were that simple.
However, personally, I feel that everyone is entitled to one lie. This was my lie. The problem with one lie, though, is that it will inevitably lead to another, and then another, and again to another, and so on. So maybe it wasn't my one lie. At least it was a beautiful lie.
It has been four weeks since my last… encounter with Jasper. Remembering it now still makes me shiver. And not from cold, or fear. Though I had been afraid at one point that day. When Edward and Alice came walking through that door, my heart sank at the looks on their faces. Alice looked confused, surprised, and a little lost. Edward wore his poker face. Never a good sign.
Without a word, Alice took Jasper's hand, and led him upstairs to their room. Edward walked towards me slowly, and I'd never been more afraid of him. Yet, he kissed the top of my head as he wrapped his arms around me briefly, before leading me to his room. I didn't dare to say anything at that point.
We had a long conversation then, in which Edward apologized many times to me, for not warning me about Jasper. It confused me at first, because I was entirely sure of my being at fault here, not Edward. Shouldn't I have been the one apologizing?
He explained then that it wasn't my fault, really. It was Jasper's ability. One small incentive, and you'll be spiraling down a vicious circle, and there's nothing you can do about it. Edward said he'd experienced it only once, when he and Jasper had fought. At the moment, I was too intrigued by what he was telling me to be surprised by the fact that Edward and Jasper had apparently got into a serious fight once.
Edward recounted the fight for me though, saying that they actually weren't all that mad at each other. But anger is a passionate emotion, so even the most fragile stirring of it would be enough. Jasper easily lost control of his ability, and soon Edward was feeling not only his own emotions, but also Jasper's. Jasper, in turn, received this doubled anger from Edward, and, now angered himself, sent out even more fury to Edward. And thus, they fought. They fought until they were separated. Edward even showed me the scar Jasper had given him. It was in his neck, and I wondered why I'd never noticed it before.
Neither Jasper or Edward had ever held any grudges about the fight, because, Edward told me, they both knew that it was out of their control. And so, Jasper and I were forgiven for our little fallout. Because neither of us could help Jasper's ability getting out of hand.
It was another beautiful lie.
Unlike the other lie, this lie had never convinced me. From the beginning I knew that, whatever I'd felt that night, it had all been real, mine. Jasper's empathy had absolutely nothing to do with it. I didn't tell that to Edward though.
But I suppose, after last night, he'd know anyway.
Last night, I was sleeping alone in Edward's bed. Edward and Alice had gone hunting. In fact, the whole family was gone, except for Jasper. It was the first time in four weeks that we were left alone.
Unlike most nights I spent without Edward, I didn't have any nightmares. I did have another dream though. The kind of dream that you're allowed to have about some movie star, or your boyfriend, or your fiancé. Definitely not the kind of dream you were supposed to have about your boyfriend's brother.
So, when I woke up, I briefly felt very guilty, but the guilt was soon drowned by the panic, and the fear. Because that was not Edward! I thought it was, I really thought he was the one pushing me against the counter. It should have been! But Edward isn't that tall. And he isn't blond either. No, that was definitely not Edward.
I sat up then. I'd been sweating, and trashing. I suddenly had a very dry mouth. I'd dreamed of Jasper… How had this happened?
It was a stupid question, I told myself as I went to get a glass of water. I knew exactly how this had happened. This is what I got for telling myself these lies. For thinking about it so often. For thinking about Jasper far too much.
I panicked again as I thought about the following morning. Edward would ask me if I'd had sweet dreams. I already dreaded that moment, because I knew I'd blush. I'd blush, and Edward would ask me what was wrong. And then I'd stumble over my words. Stumble and fall probably, knowing me. I turned the tap off, and meticulously sipped my water.
Breathe out, breathe in. Drink. Breathe out, breathe in. Drink.
I walked out of the bathroom, taking my water with me. When I entered the bedroom, I considered turning back.
Jasper was sitting on my bed.
I inwardly groaned once, and then again when I realized he'd know of my dread and desperation anyway.
"Bella, are you alright?" Jasper's soft voice rung in my ear, and it took me some time to register his meaning. Why was he asking this? I could've sworn I looked like hell in my grey tank top and pajama shorts, and besides, didn't he already know exactly how I was feeling?
"I'm fine." I knew that it was no use lying to Jasper, but I wanted him to just say what he wanted to say, because 'are you alright' wasn't it. "Why?" Jasper smiled at my question.
"You panicked. I thought you had another nightmare. Did you?"
"No." Dammit! Why couldn't I lie to Jasper now? Jasper's lack of response told me he was already waiting for an answer to the unspoken question. "No, no, I ehm… I was just thinking." That was not a lie.
I looked down at my hands, hoping that Jasper would say something. When I looked up again, he was still gazing back at me, looking conflicted. I thought I knew what he was thinking. If he'd ask what I had been thinking about that left me in such a panic, he'd lead the conversation into the one direction neither of us wanted to explore, but staying quiet was awkward too.
"You should go back to sleep," he then said. I could tell that he was only concerned for my well-being, but I couldn't help but feel annoyed. Jasper was being evasive. In fact, I had hardly seen him at all that day. I frowned.
"Fine," I said. Of course Jasper had noticed my irritation, but he ignored it. Instead he got up from the bed, took the glass of water from my hands, and put it on my nightstand. I suppose that was my cue. I crawled back into the bed, and Jasper wished me 'good night', before walking out, smiling slightly at me. A wave of calm washed over me. It took me a moment to register it, but the bed was still cold where Jasper had sat. A very inappropriate excitement rushed through me.
I had to stop that.
I didn't want to be calm at that moment, so I shook myself out of the fake docile state of my thoughts. I needed to think. With a clear mind. The thing is, I liked Jasper. He was easy to talk to. And I used to feel comfortable around him. But then four weeks ago, we'd gotten a little too close, and now everything was awkward. Why?
I didn't understand, because in the past month, everything was fine. Edward and I had spent more time with Alice and Jasper than ever before, and I had enjoyed every minute of it. I had had no problem whatsoever ignoring our fallout (much like Edward and Alice and Jasper). I hadn't felt the need to avoid Jasper, and I didn't think he deliberately stayed away from me either.
Until yesterday, that is. Yesterday Alice and Edward left to go hunting, leaving Jasper and me alone. I hadn't seen him for longer than one second until I found him sitting on my bed. And even then, he was standoffish. Jasper was avoiding me. And I didn't like it.
What if he'd always be like that whenever we're left alone? Would we always be this awkward around each other? I really didn't want that. I'd finally made some sort of connection with Jasper, be it a repressed one, and I didn't want to lose that because of… Because of what? Why was Jasper suddenly avoiding me?
I knew it would have something to do with that night, but I didn't know what. In the past four weeks, lies aside, the situation had been almost forgotten. It was in the past, anyway, right where we left it. Wasn't it?
I realized I needed to talk to him. Alone. I sighed as the implication of that realization dawned on me. I was going to have to talk to him right away, because it was the only chance I'd get. In the morning, Edward and Alice would be back, and I knew I wasn't going to bring this up with them around.
I took one last deep breath before getting up, and making my way to Jasper's room. The hallway seems much longer than usual, and yet Jasper's door came too close, far too quickly. I could hear my own speeding heartbeat, and, knocking on the door, realized I was afraid to have this conversation.
I knew that what happened was just a mistake. We made a mistake, but I wasn't ready to hear him say that out loud. To me, Jasper was still Edward's brother who calmed me when I couldn't do that myself, who talked to me when I didn't want to talk to Edward or Alice, who sat with me in Carlisle's study discussing books Edward disliked, and who told me I was worth the trouble I was putting the whole family through. I didn't want him to tell me that anything had changed, but I was afraid he would.
When he called that I could come in, I opened the door very quietly, as if I was trying not to wake someone. I had to stop myself from tip-toeing into the room. I was being ridiculously silly, and in my attempt to compose myself, and look normal again, I accidentally slammed the door shut. Jasper's head shot up from his book, and I blushed.
"Sorry," I mumbled, not looking him in the eyes. The room suddenly felt very light, which usually meant that Jasper was amused by something. Great, I thought, I was already being a clown.
I took a deep breath, again trying to get a grip on myself and the situation (being intimidated by Jasper had been something from the past, until that moment). When I finally cast my glance at Jasper, he was still looking at me wonderingly, his book now closed on his lap. Robert Kennedy's biography, I noticed.
"Bella, it's okay. Just say what's on your mind." I wasn't sure if it were his soft words, or his ability that calmed me down, but I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding.
"You've been trying to avoid me, haven't you?" I asked, resisting the urge to break eye contact and look down. Instead, Jasper was the one to avert his eyes. He stood up then, still not looking at me. He put his book on the side table, and let out a deep breath. Though Jasper stood with his back to me, I could imagine him closing his eyes when he did that. And indeed, when he turned around, he slowly opened his eyes.
"I'm sorry, Bella."
"Why were you trying to avoid me?" I realized I felt as hurt as I sounded. Jasper looked at me guiltily.
"If it makes you feel any better, I failed." Jasper was never one for lying, but he was amazingly skilled at dodging questions. Luckily, I was expecting it this time.
"Stop ignoring my question."
"I'd rather not answer it." His honesty was disarming, and it took me a moment to realize it was affecting my resolution. I folded my arms across my ribs, stood up straight, and decided to try a more direct approach.
"Does it have to do with that night?" I asked, already knowing what his answer would be. He nodded, and kept quiet, as if he knew that that wasn't the question I really wanted to ask. "Your ability," I continued, "it didn't have anything to do with it, did it?"
My question must've surprised him, because he squinted his eyes, before looking down again. I hadn't noticed until then that he had been standing inhumanly still.
"No. I'm afraid it was all us." When he spoke, Jasper looked up at me again, through the stray strands of hair that had fallen in front of his eyes. He looked guilty, and I'd never seen Jasper so conflicted before. He looked exactly as I felt.
Nothing that had been said so far was news to me, but hearing Jasper say out loud that that night wasn't half as innocent as Alice and Edward had been trying to believe, made me feel worse than before. It was as if saying it made it real. I'd felt guilty about enjoying such closeness with Jasper before, but it was never this bad. And yet, I still didn't know what exactly had transpired between us. Why had he kissed me?
"Jasper?" I asked. "What happened that night?" Jasper shook his head, and it made him look more human than I'd ever seen him.
"I don't know, Bella, but I do know that you should never have let me get so close to you, and I should never have come so close in the first place."
"I should've said no…" It was a remark more to myself than to Jasper. Saying no hadn't even occurred to me that night, and thinking about it now made me feel uneasy.
"Or you should just have avoided me," Jasper said. My head shot up at this, because it sounded like an accusation to me.
"Why should I avoid you? Would you avoid me?" I asked, the indignation shaking my voice.
"No." His voice was quiet, but determined.
"Because I don't want— Because that's obviously not working." Jasper slipped, and I heard it.
"Because you don't want what?" Jasper sighed at my question, and shook his head, letting me know he wasn't going to answer. He clearly didn't want to have this conversation. "Why can't you avoid me?"
"I really shouldn't answer that question."
"Because I don't want to."
"Why not?" I'd started raising my voice.
"You don't want to know." Jasper stayed calm.
"Maybe I do."
"Why can't you stay away from me, Jasper? Tell me." I was annoyed, and all the more determined to get some answers.
"I can't tell you, Bella, because that would be wrong."
"Telling the truth is never wrong." Jasper remained quiet. He was looking me straight in the eye, pleading with me to stop. I stopped, but I didn't walk away, and I still wanted my answers. We stood like that for a long time, neither of us moving, neither of us giving in.
At one point, something in the air changed, the mood shifted. Jasper gave in. "You want the truth, Bella?" His voice was soft, and sincere. I nodded, and for a while, he said nothing.
Suddenly, Jasper moved towards me faster than my eyes could follow, and before I knew what was happening, I was pushed against a wall, my arms pinned to my side. Jasper's face was less than an inch away from mine, and when he spoke, his breath washed over my lips, and made them tingle.
"This is what you do to me, Bella. You pin me down. I don't know how you do it, but when I'm around you, you make me feel powerless. Around you, I don't make my own choices anymore, I don't control my own thoughts." His words rung in my ear, long after he had finished, and even I could hear my own heart speed up. I was feeling those feelings that Edward scarcely allowed me to feel. And I wanted more.
"Bella, you're not supposed to like this truth…" Jasper whispered. He was right, I was supposed to tell him to stop, I was supposed to feel guilty for enjoying this. Instead, I was hyperaware of Jasper's cold body pushing mine against the wall, his lips almost touching mine, his hands on my wrists, his thumbs on my veins, his eyes piercing mine. His charcoal black eyes.
"What if I do?" My voice was shaky, and I blushed. Jasper released one of my wrists and moved his hand up to my face. His cold fingers brushed my cheek, and then my neck. His eyes slid down to my lips, and back up to my eyes, before they closed, and he leaned in. I felt his cold, silk lips on mine, and a wave of lust washed over me. He broke this kiss then.
"Then we have a problem," he answered my long-forgotten question. His voice was husky, unlike I'd ever heard, and a new warmth spread through my body. Jasper leaned in again, and this time he wasn't so gentle. He sucked my upper lip before slowly dragging his tongue across it. I made a whimpering sound I'd never heard myself make before as I kissed him back. Jasper let go of my other wrist and brought his hand up to the other side of my face.
His body was pushing harder against mine, and I didn't know how long my knees would hold. I was breathless when Jasper broke the kiss again. He moved his lips to my neck, just below my earlobe. My hands shot up into his hair then, and I moaned. Jasper was smiling against my neck. I pushed our bodies closer, and a barely audible growl escaped Jasper's throat. I could feel him pressing against my abdomen, and it made me blush again. Jasper grazed his teeth over my skin.
One of his hands was on my waist then, pulling me even closer. He was trailing his lips over my jaw, back to my lips. He kissed me once, and then locked his eyes on mine. I pulled his head down, and kissed him. My hands were making their way down his chest, unbuttoning his shirt, while his fingers traced the waistband of my pajama shorts. I made another sound, and Jasper let his shirt fall off his shoulders then.
His shoulders were muscled, and his chest was lean and smooth. I ran my hands across his back, as Jasper tugged at my shorts, and finally pulled them down. Once more, he pushed me into the wall, kissing me, and ran his hands down the sides of my body. I wanted him to touch more of me, to touch that one place that was burning for more friction. I pushed myself against him, and we both moaned. Jasper brought one of his hands down to my inner thigh, and slowly moved upwards to my center.
He dragged his palm over my panties, before slipping his hand in. I gasped as his cold finger touched me, and rubbed me slowly. I broke our kiss, and moved my lips over his jaw, under his jaw, and finally to his neck. My breathing was becoming uneven, and again, I wanted more. "Jasper," I whispered. He pulled my head back to look at me, and then I felt his fingers at my entrance. I whimpered when he slowly pushed one finger inside me while he held my gaze.
It wasn't long before my breathing became erratic, my knees gave in, and an impossibly amazing sensation spread through my body. Jasper held me tight against him as I fell apart. He held me until I'd caught my breath again, and then he kissed me once, before carrying me to his bed.
I was on my back, and Jasper was leaning over me when he kissed me again. I moved my hands to the button of his jeans, but then Jasper froze. I stopped too, knowing all too well what this meant.
"Bella, you don't want to do this, not tonight." I was confused, and didn't understand why he wouldn't let me do for him what he did for me. Jasper sensed my confusion, and, taking my hands in his, explained himself. "At least now, you can say it was all my fault. Please."
Reality dawned on me again, and when I realized what he was saying, I wanted to protest. I'd already opened my mouth, but then Jasper kissed me, if possible even more passionately than before. I was about to lose my sanity and my reason when he broke the kiss. "Please," he whispered again. He laid down beside me, and pulled a cover over me.
For the second time that night, unreal emotions washed over me, but this time, I welcomed the serenity.
Slowly, my mind started processing what had happened. I was in bed with Jasper, both of us only half-clad, and Edward—Oh God, Edward—would be back in the morning. I wanted to get up, and move to Edward's bed, but Jasper held me down. "I'll carry you to Edward's bed when you're asleep, I promise." His voice sounded constricted, and I knew he was trying to keep his emotions from seeping through.
The thought of Edward had my heart sinking, because I knew I'd hurt him. I didn't want to hurt Edward at all. I felt immensely guilty, and I knew Jasper felt the same. I thought of Alice, who had probably seen this as soon as I'd felt the change in the air. Again, I felt nauseous just thinking of her and Edward.
I knew Jasper and I had made a mistake, and that what happened was so very wrong. But I couldn't help but wonder…
Why didn't it feel wrong?
Even through all the guilt and the nausea, there was a part of me that felt peaceful, lying here next to Jasper. I looked at him then, and he was studying my face intensely. When he met my eyes, a small smile played at his lips, a small but genuine smile, and I couldn't help but smile back.
I must've fallen asleep not long after, because I don't remember much else. I do remember waking up in Edward's bed, just like Jasper promised. I remember getting dressed, feeling nervous about seeing Edward and Alice, brushing my hair, feeling nervous, going downstairs, feeling nervous. I remember finding Jasper in the kitchen, face expressionless, and I remember finding the house still empty apart from us. I remember Jasper coming up to me, saying, "I'm sorry," and I remember crying.
Edward and Alice hadn't returned.