My fist came down on the table. "Damn it, Edward!" I growled. "What's going on?"

Edward sighed and avoided my gaze. "It's nothing, love. I just don't want to hurt you."

I snorted. "Yeah, like that's the real reason. Tell me, Edward," I pleaded.

He sighed. "Okay. Well, it's Jasper... he killed a human on our last hunt. And I don't want to hurt you..." his voice trailed off. "I couldn't live with myself if I did."

I gasped. "Jasper? Is he okay?"

Edward sighed again and shook his head. "He's very upset with himself, naturally. But he's coping. He's locked himself up in his room, and won't come down anymore. He doesn't even let Alice in... Alice is sharing my room at the moment."

I grimaced. "Poor Jasper," I whispered. "He tries so hard... hey, here's an idea... why don't I go and visit him? We can have some quality bonding time, and then maybe he can stand to be around humans again."

Edward nodded, his face breaking into a smile. "That's not a bad idea, love," he said, taking my face in his hands.


Edward drove me up to his house, parking, getting out of the car and opening the door for me before I even undid my seatbelt. "Stupid vampire speed," I grumbled to myself. He cracked a smile at that.

Alice came bounding up to greet us. "Hey Bella," she said, serious for once. She took me off to the side, shooting Edward a glance. "Bella, I'm so glad that you're coming to help Jasper. I worry about him so much." her face crumpled up in pain. "Bella, it's Jasper. Please, please, do as much as you can. I can't bear to lose him."

"Sure, Alice," I smiled bravely. She flashed me a grin.

Edward opened the door for us, gentlemanly as ever, and we made our way up the stairs to Jasper's room. "Good luck," Alice and Edward said together, and walked quickly to "their" room, which was right across the corridor.

I took a deep breath and knocked on Jasper's door. "Jasper? It's me, Bella. Can I come in?"

"Come in," he growled.


I stepped inside his room and looked around. It was dark; the curtains were drawn. Things were strewn around the room, it was extremely messy, and it didn't look like he cherished any of these possessions by the way he treated them. Then my gaze fell on Jasper. He looked like he was drowning inside, his eyes, not the golden colour I had come to expect, but a fiery, crimson red, were frenzied and disorientated. He stared at me, without really seeing me.... I took a step back.

Jasper sighed. "See what I have become? I'm a monster. Even the human I'm closest to is scared of me," he said dully, sinking onto the edge of his bed and burying his head in his hands.

"Oh, Jasper," I whispered, sitting beside him on the bed, but not too close. I'd always thought Jasper was shyer and more sensitive than the rest of the Cullens... I'd have to be more careful around him so as to not hurt his feelings... "I'm - I'm sorry. I didn't mean to. I'm not scared of you, I just want to help."

He laughed hollowly. "I'm a monster, Bella," he repeated. "You wouldn't want to get too close to me. I killed an innocent human girl." He turned his magnificent head to look at me, eyes boring into mine.

"Jasper, I want to help." I said firmly. "Stay still," I whispered. I moved closer to him. He was still looking at me, not breathing, his long perfect fingers clenched into fists. Closer... closer still... til I was close enough to feel his breath fanning across my face. "Rest your head on my shoulder," I whispered.

He nodded once and did so, turning his face away from mine. My nose was buried in the back of his head, I could smell the scent of his honey blonde hair... I reached up a hand and pulled my fingers through his thick luscious hair. "Breathe, Jasper," I whispered. "See if you can stand my smell."

I heard a sharp intake of breath.