This is a new idea that's been bouncing around in my head awhile. It's an Alice/Jasper story…but, certainly not a typical one.

Let me know what you think!

APOV

I don't know how I let this happen.

I just never seem to pick the right guy, and I'm paying for it once again. And, I don't just mean the insane amount of money I'm going to have to shell out for this ambulance ride.

For what seems like the hundredth time in my life, I'm being rushed to the hospital. This time, I've lost a lot of blood—the bulk of which is now probably circling the drain in my bathtub; assuming, of course, the EMTs who dragged my lifeless body out of the tub remembered to unplug the drain.

Or, am I going to have to go back to my apartment and find a tub full of bloody water? That'd be just my luck, having to clean up the mess of my own failed suicide attempt. It would serve me right, wouldn't it?

Now you're all probably wondering, "Alice, what drove you to try and take your own life?"

Well, let me tell you, just five short months ago, I never thought this would happen again. I met a guy who saved me from the asshole who had a vise-grip on me and my life for the past three years. Or, I thought he had saved me.

Let me start at the beginning. I'm Alice Cullen, typical 25-year-old Boulderite, daughter, little sister and friend to all. I'm a graphic designer at a little company my friend Rosalie had started after college. It was me, her and Bella—our other best friend—who created graphics for local ski and snow board manufacturers.

It was an awesome way to make a living, let me tell you. And my parents thought I'd never be able to use my degree in graphic design.

But, I digress; outside of being all of these things, I am also hopeless and unlucky at love. It probably didn't help that I didn't really start to date until I was in college. And then, I mostly just hung out with the guys I dated a few times before our potential romances devolved into simple friendships.

That is, until I met James.

We met during our senior year at CU, and our connection was pretty instantaneous. I fell head over heels for him. I tried to play it cool at first, though, so I didn't seem too desperate.

But, oh my god, that man was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Blue eyes, short, blond hair and a killer smile. And that body? Don't even get me started. He was trained in krav maga, and had a six-pack that would have made a professional UFC fighter jealous.

It's strange, as I look back on it now, that I never took his incredible strength and fighting ability to be something to worry about. Then again, I never believed I'd have to defend myself against him.

I may be short (just south of five feet), but I'm not a weakling by any means. I used to be a gymnast from the age of six until my junior year of high school, when I decided sports just didn't hold any interest for me anymore. But, even being stronger than a woman my size usually is didn't help me from falling victim to an abusive relationship.

Though the signs were all there, the real, physical abuse didn't start until about a year after we became an item. He had always been jealous of the times I spoke to other guys—even my older brothers, Edward and Emmett. But, it wasn't until the day after Valentines Day, two years ago, that he went from being a jealous man, to a full-on brute.

And, it had all started out innocent enough—on Valentines, he took me to the Flagstaff House and treated me to a very expensive dinner (he always was a typical trust fund hippie), then we went back to his place and shared a beautiful, romantic evening together. I had never felt so loved and cherished in all my life.

The next day, however, I received a cute little Valentine gift from an acquaintance. This guy Mike, whom Rosalie had hired temporarily to do some consulting work, gave me and my friends each a rose tied to a cute, little heart lollipop. It didn't mean anything at all, but far be it for James to have realized that.

He found it in my purse when I was busy making dinner that night. As I stirred some pasta into a pot of boiling water, I felt an object come in contact with the back of my head. The force with which I was pushed forward almost earned me a face full of unbelievably hot liquid.

James took me by the arm and whirled me around to face him.

"What the fuck is that? Who the fuck thinks he is allowed to give you a rose?" His face was about an inch away from mine as he screamed at me. I was so scared of him in that very moment, I didn't even wipe the spittle away after it traveled from his mouth to my cheek.

Once I found my voice again, I gave my feeble explanation. "He's a friend, he made gifts for me, Bella and Rosalie. It was nothing."

"Then why did you keep it?" He asked, becoming more menacing by the second. "Why didn't you just throw it away? Do you think so little of me that you would insult me by flaunting the gifts you get from other guys?"

"Wha-?" I couldn't even get the word out before he slapped me.

He walked away in a huff while I stood there in shock. I somehow managed to finish the dinner and get it out on the table for him. We ate in silence—I was too afraid to even look at him.

Later that night, I silently stalked into bed and just before I drifted off to sleep, I felt a pair of strong arms wrap themselves around me.

"I'm sorry, Ali-baby," he whispered into my ear. "I didn't mean any of that. I'm just upset about something else that happened today, and I shouldn't have taken it out on you. Do you forgive me?"

I nodded wordlessly before he placed a sweet, seeming loving kiss on the back of my neck. I was still lost in a numb, lifeless world when he turned me over and made love to me. I don't even remember if I came that night—not that he would have cared if I had or not.

The day after that incident was the first time I had to use concealer in almost two years. And, it wouldn't be the last time I was forced to cover my skin in disgusting liquid to keep my secret hidden.

The worst beating came about two-and-a-half years into our relationship. James had asked me to move in with him. He reasoned that we had been together for so long—and we were probably headed for marriage anyway—so, why deny the obvious, right?

It took me a full five minutes to work up the courage to say no. Of course, I think I was out for well over five minutes after that. I told him I thought it was a bad idea to live together before we were married, that it could potentially break us up and I didn't want that to happen.

He accused me of wanting to, and I quote, "fuck other guys," and gave me a vicious right hook.

When I came to, he was nowhere to be found. I pulled myself up off the floor and went to take a shower. As I stood under the water and attempted to wash the horrible incident out of my hair, I felt a presence behind me.

He pulled me into his arms and fed me the same line as always—how he never means to hurt me, and how he loves me so much it makes him a little crazy sometimes. I just nodded numbly, once again, and let him take me into his room for some make-up sex. In fact, a part of me believed that was why he treated me so badly, so he could make it up to me later.

It was almost as if he got off more with the make-up sex than any other time we were intimate.

Luckily, this last incident happened around the time Rosalie hired on a new graphic designer named Jasper. We had come to the point where I could no longer take on the kind of client base we had accumulated all on my own. Rose walked into my office one day with a tall, lanky young man in tow.

"Alice, this is Jasper, he's the new designer I hired," she explained as she motioned to the guy who stood with his hair hanging in his face.

"Hi," he said shyly.

"It's nice to meet you," I said as I turned to him with my fake, plastic smile in place.

He shook my hand when I offered it to him, but I still couldn't see his face through the curtain of yellow shielding him from me. I blew it off at first, not even thinking he could be anything more than a work acquaintance.

Rose showed him to his work station and I turned back to my screen to finish my current design. For the first two weeks Jasper worked with me, it was very much the same—he showed up about fifteen minutes after I did (I'm an early-bird, and a workaholic...what can I say?) and we'd exchange lame pleasantries before we got down to business for the day.

It wasn't until mid-way through his third week that I saw his face for the first time. He was cute, in a boyish sort of way. He had green eyes and a crooked smile. He turned to ask me a question, and it was the first time I really heard his voice—he had the slightest hint of a Texas accent.

By some act of god, I didn't have a lunch date already determined by James, so I went in on some pizza with Bella and Rosalie. They invited Jasper in on it as well, and we ended up sitting around the break room, talking and eating and just having a good time.

I knew Bella and Rose must have seen my severe change as of late—I had deteriorated more in the last six months of my relationship with James than I had over the course of the first two-and-a-half years. I began to realize what Rosalie might have been up to as I sat and talked with Jasper.

He was sweet, smart and he liked good music and movies. He was beyond easy to talk to, as well. After just a few hours of real conversation, I felt like I had known him for years.

I went home that night feeling better than I had in months, only to have that great feeling doused as soon as James noticed I couldn't stop smiling—and it wasn't him who was making me smile.

"So," he said, his voice cautious yet deadly, "Have a good day at work today?"

"Yeah," I replied as I began dishing out dinner, "I finished a really big project for a big client and Bella, Rose and I ordered some pizza and had a really fun day."

I had become good at lying to him. And besides, I wasn't about to put myself in harm's way by telling James about Jasper. In fact, I didn't even tell him Rosalie was hiring a new graphic designer. Hell, he might take that as a means of making me stay home more often. I could just picture him trying to persuade me to let the new graphic designer take on most of the work while I stayed home and took care of things around the house.

James had pretty much made himself at home in my apartment after my initial refusal to move in with him. He works for his father's advertising firm and gets to work from home a lot. I know he would have loved it if I could have been home to wait on him hand and foot while he spent all day in the makeshift office he made out of my kitchen every day.

His eyes were filled with doubt as I looked up at him now, though. There was something else there, just behind my eyes, that said there was another reason I had had such a great day.

"Hmmm," was all he said, though. He stabbed his fork into a piece of chicken and bit it off a little more aggressively than was necessary. I took a sip of wine and braced myself for the verbal attack I knew must be brewing.

But, he continued to eat angrily and didn't raise so much as a finger against me. I finished my dinner and cleared the table while he sat on the couch and flipped on the TV. I poured myself another glass of wine and sat next to him while he watched some game show.

It was about 10 p.m. before I decided I was tired enough to go to bed. I kissed him on the cheek and walked into the room. I changed into my nice, silk nightgown and turned off the light as I slipped under the sheets.

It was about an hour later before I felt the nightgown being ripped from my body. I weakly tried to push James off of me, but he slapped he twice before putting his lips close to my ear—I could detect the faint hint of tequila on his breath.

"I know you're lying to me, bitch," he said in a low, deadly voice. "And, until you finally decide to be a good girl and tell me what you're up to, you'll take what's coming to you."

With that, he slapped me one more time for good measure and went about having his way with me, despite my pathetic, simpering protests. This was a first for him—there have been times in the past when I really didn't feel like having sex, but let him have his way to avoid an argument. Now, I said over and over again for him to stop, and he blatantly ignored me.

Great, now I wasn't just letting the asshole hit me, I was letting him rape me as well.

I got up the next morning and took the pancake makeup I had been forced to invest in out from under my sink. I applied it liberally to the bruises now forming on my cheeks and, once I was satisfied no purple seeped through, I got dressed and went to work.

I was still there long before anyone else walked in, so I hunkered down at my desk and vowed I'd keep to myself today. Unfortunately, Jasper was feeling very bold since our long conversation the day before.

"Hey," he greeted as I gave him a half-hearted nod. "How's it going?"

"'S fine," I said quietly, trying to focus on a butterfly design for a girl's snowboard.

I could feel him staring at the back of my head awkwardly as I arranged my design on the special software program I had designed when we started the company. After a few seconds, he turned and sat down at his desk. I thought I had successfully deterred his attentions when an hour later he turned back to me suddenly.

"Hey, I made a CD of that band I told you about," he exclaimed as he stood and took something from his messenger bag. "Here."

He handed me the CD in a blue jewel case while I gave him a decidedly unenthusiastic thanks. I tried to turn away again when he put a hand on my shoulder.

"Are you OK?"

"I'm fine...just tired," I said.

I looked up to give him a good, fake smile before realizing that was a big mistake and tried to duck my face down as quickly as possible. He wasn't fooled, however.

"Hey...I don't mean to sound rude, but, is there something wrong with your face? You seem to be wearing a lot of make up."

"Break out," I said quickly. "I woke up and my face was covered in zits."

"Wow, that was fast," he said with a little chuckle. "I mean, yesterday, your face looked perfect—and you didn't seem to be wearing any makeup at all."

"My period's about to start," I replied, hoping that bit of TMI would force my very observant co-worker to take the hint and leave me alone.

"Ah," he said simply—my evil scheme seemed to have worked.

He sat back down and returned to his work. I made sure to set a lunch date with James today to help alleviate any further suspicions he had about me from the night before. He called around 11:30 to let me know he was home and he wanted me to pick up some Chinese food.

I was mid-conversation when Jasper came up behind me.

"Hey Al, do you want to get some pizza again today? I know it's overkill—getting pizza two days in a row—but that was so good. I've never had Abo's before."

I put my hand over the receiver quickly, "Sorry Jasper, I have plans with my boyfriend."

"Oh," he replied, his face dropped noticeably. "Well, some other time then."

I nodded and waited for James to unleash his fury on me. But, once again, it didn't come—and that made me even more scared.

I stopped by the Golden Lotus and picked up the order I had placed before leaving work. I walked into the apartment and was greeted by James sitting on my couch watching TV, as usual. He didn't even acknowledge my presence—and I debated making a run for it. But, of course, he would catch me and make me pay even more for that little stunt, so I set the food on the counter and went about getting out plates and silverware as if nothing was wrong.

I set the table and went back to grab a couple of soda cans from the fridge when I felt myself being pushed into the counter. I cursed myself for wearing a skirt that day as he bent me over the counter top and pushed the flimsy fabric up to my waist.

Once he had finished, he held us both there and grabbed the back of my hair, pulling my ear closer to his lips.

"Who the fuck is Jasper?"

When I didn't answer right away, he tugged my hair, eliciting a tiny squeal from my mouth.

"Answer me!!"

"He works with me," I replied.

"Bullshit," he spat, "I've never heard of any guys working there—it's just been you, Rose and Bella. When did this douche bag start working there?"

"About three weeks ago," I said, my voice strained from the unnatural angle at which he had my neck.

"What does he do?" He continued as he nipped at my earlobe.

I hesitated again and was met with another fierce tug at my hair.

"He's a designer," I finally spat quickly. "Rosalie said we needed another one because we have too many clients now."

His evil laughed filled the air around me as his free hand moved up to get a hold of my neck.

"You've been keeping that from me for three weeks, bitch? Are you fucking crazy."

"It's nothing," I countered. "We just work together."

"Bullshit!!" He screamed again, "You want to fuck him!!"

"NO I DON'T!!!" I was way past desperate at this point. "PLEASE, JAMES!! BABY!!! I LOVE YOU!!! I LOVE ONLY YOU!!!"

"You fucking lying, little whore!!!" He scream as he spun us around and sent me flying into the kitchen table. "I'll fucking kill you!!!!!"

I grabbed for something, anything to defend myself with. My hand found itself wrapped around a fork and I flung it in his direction as he came towards me. My aim was better than it had ever been in my life, as the fork made contact with his left eye. It didn't stick there for very long, but it incapacitated him enough so I could make a run for it.

I was down to my car in what seemed like a nanosecond. Then, I realized my purse was upstairs with my keys inside. Since I knew going back upstairs was suicide, I made use of my nice, sturdy Doc Martens and ran in the direction of work. It was about three miles away, but I knew I could make it—I've run the Bolder Boulder a couple of times; and even then, I didn't have a crazed, brutal asshole of a boyfriend chasing me.

It took me about twenty minutes to reach work, even with traffic lights working against me, and I collapsed in a heap near the reception desk. Karen, the receptionist, ran from behind her desk and stood over me in a blind panic.

"ALICE!! Are you OK, dear? Oh, Rosalie!! Rosalie, there's something wrong with Alice!!"

I heard her heavy footsteps running away from me as I struggled to catch my breath. I rolled over onto my back and stared at the ceiling as footsteps ran back in my direction.

"Alice, what happened?" Rose yelled as she stood over me. "What's wrong? Do you need a doctor? Should we call an ambulance?"

"No," I finally choked out. "I'm fine, really."

"You don't look fine," she said as she felt my forehead. "Jesus, Al, you're on fire! Do you feel like you're going to vomit?"

"Maybe," I said honestly. "But, that's because I ran here."

"Why the hell would you do that for?"

"Can we get out of the open to talk about this?" I asked.

"Sure," she said as she tried to help me up.

I faltered and was caught in a pair of strong, male arms. At first, I screamed, assuming it was James right behind me. But Jasper shushed me gently as he lifted me easily into his arms.

"It's OK," he whispered in his Texas drawl. "Everything is going to be fine."

What do you think? Worth continuing?