Just a little something that popped into my head again…between working on my other stories (which by the way you should take a look at!)

I only own the girl in this story…Jasper & the song "Downtown" belong to someone else. Lol.

Enjoy!

When I returned back home that afternoon, I found a note from my family saying they had all went various places. Some on the hunt, some just off doing whatever they so well pleased. I frowned slightly. I knew exactly why they had left, I wasn't stupid. But, I knew their intentions were well and for that, I smiled slightly.

I heard music flowing from upstairs. So, she hadn't left apparently. I knew she wouldn't. Why would she? Today was just as important to her as it was supposed to be to me.

I crept as silently as I could until I reached her room. Her door was wide open and I just leaned against her doorway, looking on in her, as she danced around in her own little world. I knew that in her mind, she wasn't in present time. She was back to another place. She had another one of those dresses. You know, the ones that stopped above your knees and had really odd patterns on them. Where she kept finding these original pieces was beyond me. I'm sure Alice had given her this one today…something special. When she turned to the side, I could see the flowers she had in her hands. How ironic as I heard her start singing.

"If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear to some flowers in your hair…if you're going to San Francisco, you're going to meet some gentle people there…" she sang slightly and I scoffed at that last bit. The part about meeting "gentle people." She quickly turned to face me and just laughed.

"You really miss that place don't you?" I spoke, now that my presence was known.

"Oh yes." She smiled "what does that one song say?" she tapped her chin lightly before it came to her "aw, yes…I left my heart in San Francisco." She said and I rolled my eyes.

"Very funny."

"What's in your hand?" she changed the subject as she continued to sing.

"Oh this?" I waved the package in front of her "just a little something…"

"For me? Oh Jasper what is it?" she beamed, coming closer to me.

"Being as it's your birthday and all.." I sighed and handed her the package and she eagerly opened it. Her eyes widened in excited as she pulled out the record I had bought her.

"Where did you find this??" she jumped up and flung her arms around me.

"Some little old store in the city…I know you've worn out your original one so I wanted to get you a new one." It was true. She had played that old record so much that it literally fell to pieces and she was devastated when it broke. I had been on the hunt the past two months looking for a new one for her, knowing it would make her smile brightly again. She took off the record she was listening to and put on the new one. Everyone had tried to convince her to get rid of it but she wouldn't dare allow it. With all the new technology out there, she still wanted to hold on to her old record player. It was a miracle it was still working. The day it no longer worked would be a tragedy for her. She didn't even know how to use any of the stereos that we had.

But, she had a reason for her love of the record player. According to her, it was the one thing she had left that reminded her of her human life. A life that had been taken from her at such a young age. A life that I…

"Jasper!" she snapped me out of my thoughts. She knew all too well what I was thinking. And, she wasn't about to allow that.

"You're sad…" she stated rather than asking. Odd. I was the one who could feel emotions yet, she always seemed to know what I was feeling when no one else could. We weren't really sure what her talent or gift was, even though she's lived with us for quite some time now. Emmett seems to think her talent is that she can just make anyone smile, even when they do want to. I don't know if that's exactly a gift but, he is right.

"Today isn't exactly a happy day." I reminded her.

"Oh now let's not go there." She eyed me. I was about to open my mouth when she cut me off "here, I think this song's perfect for you right now." She grabbed my hand and looked at me. Oh, she was going to start singing to me again…I tried to pretend that I didn't like it. But, in fact, I loved her singing…maybe that was her true gift? The gift of song…as she started singing with the song, I thought back to that day…the day we first met. The day that changed everything.

When you're alone
And life is making you lonely,
You can always go downtown

How I ever ended up in San Francisco is beyond me. I had been running that day, apparently further than I ever had. Alice had just let me go. I still wonder sometime if she knew where I was going, what would transpire. I stumbled upon this city, a city I had heard about but never really given second thought about. Little did I know the city was about to be the background for something I have never fully forgiven myself for.


When you've got worries,
All the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown

I stumbled upon a park that overlooked the ocean. Even today, I still remembered how beautiful the water had looked. The weather had been oddly cloudy that summer afternoon. Which, that was perfect for me but disappointing to the mass group of people who were there. What did they call that summer? I quickly looked at her and I remembered. Aw, yes the Summer of Love. I remember looking at everyone's peaceful faces and wished that I could look as happy as they were. I wish I could actually embrace their feelings for tranquility rather than just feel it from them. It was then that I saw her…while she was wearing the same peaceful smile on her face, there seemed to be something sad behind her eyes…a truth she didn't want to share with anyone. She caught onto my staring at her and she smiled back at me. She clearly thought I was flirting or something with her…and she sauntered over. I will never forget those first two words she said to me.

"Help me." She smiled brightly, but her eyes sent off waves of fear and uncertainty.

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

I don't know what possessed me to do it but, I agreed to help this stranger. She slipped her arm through my mine as we walked away from the crowds of people. People didn't seem to notice…we probably looked like we were a couple of something. She took me towards a more secluded area, more towards where the water was. We were the only ones there and as we sat, I noticed she was shaking somewhat.

"Are you okay?" I asked her.

"I just got out of the hospital…" she whispered, looking around "but I shouldn't have been put in there…they lied. They said I was sick, but I'm not." She looked out towards the water, her eyes trying to focus on something else.

"Who lied?"

"My parents…you see, my dad…he isn't the nicest guy. He's got a pretty bad temper. But, no one believed me when I said her hurt me, worse than any of the other times…see?" she lifted the side of her shirt and exposed a huge bruise where here ribs were.

"Why didn't they believe you?"

"Because he's a big shot here in the city…too much on the line if they found he hurt his teenage daughter almost on a daily basis. So, he convinced my mother that I was sick…that I was hurting myself, doing drugs and who knows what else…so, they stuck me in the psych ward at the hospital. I've been in there for two weeks."

"But…that isn't fair…" I hissed slightly.

"Life isn't fair man." She sighed.

"And what do you need me to help you with?"

"I needed someone to believe me…I didn't want to be alone…today's my birthday." She sighed, her voice trembling a bit. I had stared at her…her birthday? She needed me?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go
Downtown, things'll be great when you're

Downtown, no finer place for sure,

It was June 14th, 1967. It was her birthday….Ironically enough, it was my birthday. It wasn't something I liked remembering though. So much so, Alice had stopped acknowledging it quite some time ago. She just had small moment of sadness in the morning when she would realize that I wasn't going to let anyone do any celebrating for my sake but then, she'd act like everything was fine. It wasn't.

"It's my birthday today too." I said and it was my turn to look out towards the water.

"How old are you?" I thought for a quick moment. 124 was my real age but she wouldn't believe me even if I told her.

"Twenty. And you?"

"Sixteen. Well, at least we can be together on our birthdays. What's your name by the way?" she looked over at me.

"Jasper…" I took my hand out for her to take.

"Maria…well, it's Maria Carmen.." she sighed and she noticed how my eyes got a funny look.

"What's wrong? You don't like my name?" She frowned.

"No." I whispered "I just um…I had an ex girlfriend you can say and her name was Maria. She and I didn't part on good terms."

"Oh, that's too bad Jasper…well, hopefully I will be a better friend to you and you'll forget all about the other Maria." She laughed.

It was all too much. We had the same birthdates, a day that I personally loathed. Her name was Maria. The person who had put me into this life was named Maria…she needed my help, Maria had needed my help. Or, so she said.

I had a sudden moment of hatred towards this poor young girl.

I had a sudden thought about how I wanted this girl to feel what I was feeling…what I went thru every day.

"Would you like to take a walk?" I stood and offered my hand. Of course she took it, she was curious. I had drawn her in…she wanted to go wherever I wanted to. It was all too perfect. I led her down streets, until it was getting dark. We eventually ended up someplace dark, an alley no less.

"What are we doing in here?" she looked scared. Good, she should be scared…I looked into her big brown eyes before smiling at her and she smiled nervously back…

I leaned down, as if I was going to kiss her. Which, I gently kissed her cheek. Why not give her something nice before I was about to destroy her life?

"Maria…" I whispered in her ear before I….before I bit her. Because when I did it, I didn't see the young girl…I only saw her. The woman who had done this to me.I was expecting her to scream out in pain…but the only thing that came out was a small gasp as her eyes shut closed.

"Jasper?" she looked at me…tears streaming down her face.

It was then I knew I had made a terrible mistake. But, there was nothing I could do at the time…trying to take the venom out of her would've surely killed her. I didn't have the strength back then…

Downtown, everything's waiting for you
(Downtown)

Don't hang around
And let your problems surround you
There are movie shows downtown

I had wanted to take her to her home, to a hospital or something. But, no one would be able to help her. I knew I needed to get her to Carlisle.

I had no choice, I grabbed her in my arms and ran. Running through streets, making sure no one saw me. I ran faster than I ever had before. I don't know why though. The change was already happening…but, after what I had just done, I wasn't about to leave her alone. By the time I reached our current residence, she was already unconscious. She had not said a word to me as I ran. She was awake for a part of it thou. Her eyes had just looked at me. I begged with Carlisle to help me…he said I was too late. She was already becoming one of us.


Maybe you know
Some little places to go to
Where they never close downtown

When she awoke five days later, she didn't scream or panic. She had just sat up and stared at me, demanding I tell her everything that had happened. I had to tell her everything as she just sat there and listened. She grew frustrated when she realized she couldn't cry…but she found satisfaction in the fact that she was able to knock me to the ground. All newborns have the capability…to be stronger than the rest of us. Amazingly, she wasn't upset that I had done to his her…she didn't even look disgusted with me. She looked…well, she had looked intrigued. These flower children, they sure were strange.

After she had knocked me down again, her legs on either side of me, she whispered to me.

"Can I at least have my record player? I cannot live an eternity without it."

And so, I went back to her home and in the middle of the night, I took it from her home. When I brought it back, she kissed my cheek. It was then I had to tell her I was married…again, she merely accepted it and went to her new room and stayed in there for a few days, getting used to this whole new lifestyle.

Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossanova
You'll be dancing with 'em too before the night is over
Happy again

When we first went hunting, she didn't complain. I could sense she didn't like it but she did what she had to. While I had a free moment with her, I asked her how she was handling this so well.

"Because I know that one day, I will be happy again…things take time Jasper." She shrugged and we were on our way. That day, she became my best friend.

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go
Downtown where all the lights are bright,
Downtown, waiting for you tonight,
Downtown, you're gonna be alright now

I told her everything about my life…both human and vampire. She wanted to know it all.

"I see now why you bit me." She laughed. I still don't get why she ever found that funny.

"Maria changed you on your birthday, on our birthday. She said she needed you Jasper. I told you I needed your help that day. And then there's the face we have the same name…it makes sense to me now…"

"But how…" she cut me off, placing a finger on my lips. She told me that she accepted it and nothing was going to change her mind.

That day, I knew I could trust her more than I trusted even myself.

And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you,
Someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to
Guide them along

"Jasper?" Maria's voice pulled me back into present time. I looked over at her, she was still singing…but she took notice of my sadness.

"Don't be sad Jasper…I'm here remember? I understand." She whispered, wrapping her arms around me as I pulled her into my lap. There was nothing romantic about it and we both knew it.

"But I did this to you….you may have forgiven me, but I never have completely forgiven myself. I took your life away from you Maria. In one selfish moment…something I can never take back." I sighed.

"You took me away from a life of pain Jasper…I remember what my human life was like before you rolled into town…who knows if I would've ever been able to get away. You saved me." She took my hand in hers and held them together.

"You & me okay? We'll always have one another…the others may not understand us, but that's okay. We're best friends Jasper…so, whether you like it or not, you're stuck with me." She laughed lightly.

She was right. I had brought her into this existence…she was bound to me…forever.

She started singing again and I just closed my eyes and listened, not letting her hand let go of mine.


So, maybe I'll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares and go
Downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown, don't wait a minute more,
Downtown, everything's waiting for you
As the song faded, I slowly opened my eyes to find her staring at me. She had a slightly smug smile on her face.

"I knew you liked my singing…you were just pretending Jasper!" she laughed suddenly and for a moment, she looked like a small child, living a moment of innocence.

"Yes, just don't tell anyone…" I frowned.

"Are you feeling better?"

"Yes, and I'm being quite honest. You're right." I turned and looked at her more "I am stuck with you. I think though, I am slowly starting to accept the fact that you are happy in this life I brought you into. And, if you can be happy, then so can I?" I questioned her.

"Yes of course Jasper!" she squeezed me tighter.

"Happy Birthday Maria." I kissed her forehead, getting up from the bed.

"Happy Birthday Jasper." She smiled as she replayed the song again.

As I walked down the hallway to my room, I couldn't help but smile. A true smile at that.

Later on that night, Alice walked into our bedroom and looked at me. I waved her over to join me and she was at my side in an instant.

"Did you enjoy your afternoon?" she smiled.

"You knew that was going to happen didn't you?" I smirked.

"Part of it. I did not know how you were going to react…I owe Maria much more credit than I originally thought."

"That would seem to be the case today. I don't know…something about what we talked about today, made me finally realize that yes, I can be happy…that what I did to her was horrible but she doesn't regret me doing it…and as hard as it is, I have to learn to just accept the fact that I did it. Focusing on the positive that I gained a best friend…someone who I can rely on, when I cannot rely on myself sometimes."

"She truly is a peaceful one that girl…" my wife looked up at me and smiled. "And, I'm glad that I was finally able to give you a birthday present you actually enjoyed."

That night, I silently thanked Maria for everything she had given me in these past decades since I changed her. She had taken her new life with such grace and gratitude, never once complaining. She never judged me, never hated me…she just accepted.

When you told her something, she didn't ask why or how, she just smiled and took it in.

And I think, by her singing to me…I began to accept myself.

Wherever we went to, she was always going to be there for me. Not as a reminder of my moment of weakness, but as a ray of light in my once dark life.

It was a happy birthday indeed…for once.

How was it?? I'd love to know what you thought

~Chel