Late Morning Lullaby

She wasn't quite sure what to think of him. He was new, sure, but did that give him any reason to be so mean to everyone else? He was tall, with big green eyes, and blond hair. He walked around tight lipped, almost grimacing. Like Alice had already admitted to her two closest friends, Rosalie and Bella, she didn't know what to think, because it felt like she knew him from somewhere. Not like they had ever been friends, but she knew that he was important to her.

Alice got up from the floor, she hadn't heard any of the teacher's lecture. Probably something about feeling every move that you made when you danced. Something about lines and perfection and hardwood being your canvas. She started walking back toward the locker room, when her teacher approached her.

"Ms. Cullen?"

Alice turned to look at her. The signature half smile that her brother usually wore tilting her lips to the side. "Hey, Mrs. Stuart." She smiled for a moment.... only until she noticed who was behind her teacher. "Uh..."

"I want you two to dance in the contest thats coming up." She said quickly. There was no pretense to her request. Alice's full lips parted in shock, and his green eyes tightened. Not that Alice knew how that was possible. "This will be a part of your grade, so I expect you to put everything you have into it." She looked from the shocked girl with blue eyes, to the tight lipped man with green eyes. "You're rehearsal time is everyday right after school to four." Great, Alice thought glumly, an hour and a half alone with him.

He was the first to recover from the initial shock. "Alright, Mrs. Stuart. Thank you." His words, without being mean, seemed to dismiss her.

Alice didn't want him to stop talking, as velvety as the quality of his voice was. She blinked at her teacher for a minute... Then, as her teacher was walking away, she pulled a small smile from somewhere inside of her.

His eyes turned soft for a moment, but he didn't say anything, he just walked away.

Alice waited for as long as she could after school. She procrastinated, saw her friends off to their cars, watched Edward and Bella make eyes for about ten minutes, then was sprinting toward the rehearsal room.

Upon arriving on the hardwood, she dropped off her shoes and her sweatshirt in record time. "I'm sorry I'm la--." Her simple dress floated out around her calves. She pulled self consciously on the purple material that was stretched tight around her arms.
"Don't bother." He stood in the center of the floor, eyes tight.

She looked down at what he was wearing. Some black sweatpants and... Nothing, her mind echoed reverently. His chest was bare. "No, really. I'm sorry." Alice tried again. She was insisting this time, something pleading in the tone of her voice. Her eyes fell to the floor in apology. "I didn't mea--."
"Really." And he was insisting this time. His green eyes looking at the floor as Alice looked up. "You don't have to apologize for nothing." Alice couldn't place the quiet desperation in his voice.

She blinked, her lips twisting into a thoughtful smile. "Okay. Thanks."

He turned to the mirror. His hands went over his head, he spread his legs, sinking smoothly into a lunge. He didn't look at her for the longest time.

Alice went to the back of the room, prancing and leaping for a moment. She liked the freedom that dancing offered her in that moment. She didn't have to pretend anything or feel anything. She had to leap through the air and measure the practical movements of her legs and arms. Out of the corner of her eyes, she was watching him though. He was graceful, strong, for his size. She liked how solid his movements looked. He reminded her, she almost laughed, of a horse. Graceful and large.

"Ready?" He turned to look at her.

She looked at him for a moment, brushing her long hair behind her ear. She bit her lip. "Yeah."

After that, everyday after that, they met faithfully.

When they rehearsed there was never a lot of chatter. They talked when they needed to exchange ideas. She talked to say hello, he said goodbye. They smiled, were cordial, until the dancing part had to happen.

Something hung between them, something stubbornly trying to keep them apart. It would begin awkward, but it would always crescendo with a strange electricity that hung in the air. He liked to dance without the lights on. She liked to dance in the rain. So they compromised.

It was a Friday, rainy and dreary. The perfect day for them. He was outside, shirtless, waiting on the curb like usual. Thoughts swirled thickly in his head, like they always did around her. He liked her. Obviously. He would've done anything for her, even at this point. He would have asked her to be with him, to go out with him, if his dad wasn't in such big trouble with the company he was partnered with. The company wasn't the greatest, it had a shadowy history that Jasper knew all about.

"I'm sorry!" Her voice cracked. He looked at her for a long moment, noticing how red and puffy her eyes were. How swollen her lips looked. She had interrupted him, but he didn't care. "I didn't mean to be so late. I tried--."

"Are you okay?" It was the most personal question either had dared to ask so far. She looked taken aback for a long moment, her small frame shivering in the rain. He liked how fragile she looked. She crossed her hands across her chest.

Alice's eyes closed down. Jasper wondered what she was thinking about him as he rose, walking toward her. He could feel the warm rain water drip down his chest, slide down the valley between his abs. "No." Alice whispered.

Jasper looked up at her, his green eyes following the wet curves of her body. She really was beautiful. Longer, brown hair, soft, blue eyes, porcelain skin. She was petite and perfect and Jasper trusted her. The words that slid next from his lips he immediately regretted. "Want to talk about it?"

"No." Alice said. And he could read it in the set of her lips. She really didn't want to talk about it.

She dropped her bag in the front seat of his car, pressing a few buttons before she reemerged. She turned away from him for a moment, squaring her shoulders.

She walked across the grass from him, her small feet taking small steps. When she turned back, he couldn't tell if it was her tears or the rain, water was running over her smooth cheeks. She bent back, rolling her hands easily over her head. It was how she started the routine. Jasper took his spot on the ground, preparing to roll up when the music started. He liked the pull of his muscles. It felt good, releasing aches and sore spots.

The music started.

Jasper rolled out, enjoying the warm friction of his muscles and the cold of the rain intermingling on his skin. The rain had gotten colder. He waited for her, waited for her to move, but when it didn't come, he stood there, across from her.

When she moved, her small feet carried her forward again. She pushed a small hand against his thrumming heart. He gasped in a breath of air. He lifted her into a neat leap, not prepared for her to fall so limply from his hands. She hit the ground and promptly rolled over, jumping back up. She turned slowly, inviting him to pick her up by the waist.

His large hands wrapped around her small waist, his green eyes locking with her blue eyes. She stretched her neck, spread her arms. Jasper could feel the rain cascading over her body and hitting his. Secretly, he wished no one was watching. He didn't want people to see how unguarded they were being with each other.

He lowered her slowly, sighing when her warm hands wrapped around his neck. She leaned forward, just enough, and he leaned forward. Jasper looked deep into her blue eyes, finding nothing but trust. He bent forward. "Do you trust me?"

She bit her lip, just like the first day, then she nodded.

Jasper kissed her softly.

And the rain fell.

She was working at the Bar, her second job of the night, when it happened. See, Alice's family wasn't like other families. Her little brother, James, was sick. So so sick. Her mom was a single parent and couldn't pay the bills alone, so Alice and Edward had taken it upon themselves to work as well. At the school they went to, both on full scholarships, they didn't ever get homework. So working was relatively easy to fit into her schedule.

It was her turn for a break. Alice slid off her apron, smiled at Bella, who also worked the bar, and walked down the back hall. When she got to the back door, she swung it open, breathing in deeply. The one thing that Alice hated more than anything about the bar, was the smell of smoke. She liked nature and organic things.

The rain was softly falling at this point. She usually didn't go outside during her break, but the rain reminded her of Jasper. And she had, over their first month of rehearsal, begun to really like him. She found something trusting in the way his eyes softened, something sweet in how he smalled like rainwater and some cologne. She closed the door and leaned against the wall next to the door, enjoying the silence that rain seemed to bring to the city. Her eyes closed.

"No! I said--."

"Who gives a shit!"

"I do! Do--!" Then there was a cry of surprise.

Alice was scared for a moment. She stayed leaning against the wall, fighting against her resolve. Then, she was running. Her small feet hit the ground rhythmically. Her feet carried her out to the opening of the alley... and what she saw, had her knees hitting the sidewalk, her hands coming to rest on a pair of broad shoulders. Had her barely breathing, her heart pounding. Anyone but him, her mind pleaded.

"Taxi!" She got up, immediately yelling for a car, a ride, a way out for him. She waved frantically, finally calling over a driver. "Help me!" She yanked open the back door, her mind not functioning clearly. She just wanted him in the car. He moaned quietly when the driver grabbed him by the waist, hauling his muscular frame into the back seat of the taxi. "The hospital!" She yelled.

But his strong hand holding hers stopped her. She gasped, remembering all too clearly the kiss they had shared not a week ago. "No." He groaned. "No, not the hospital." He leaned back, breathing raggedly. "The Villa Bed and Breakfast. Its out--." He coughed weakly. "Take me there."
Alice was taken aback, she leaned up to the driver. "Close the divider." The window between the passengers and drivers was closed. "No. I'm not going--." She didn't know why he didn't want medical help. It was obvious she had no medical training. She could put on band aids, clean cuts, but she couldn't put stitches in the cut in his... Where ever the cut was.

"Alice." His voice was weak. "The cut... Its not that--."

"Don't talk." Alice whispered. She, hesitantly, put her hands out to cup his face. His green eyes fluttered closed, and Alice watched as he became open and scared. His eyes opened. She looked into his deep green eyes. "Fine. We're going to the Villas." Alice put down the screen to talk to the driver. "The Villas." The screen closed again.

He coughed. "Just tell the man at the desk that its me. Its Jasper. You'll get a suite." He closed his eyes, turning his head to the side.

Alice wasn't done with him yet. "Hey." She whispered. "Where is...?" He held up an arm without her having to finish. There was a cut. It was a clean incision. Straight, down and bloody, from his shoulder to about halfway to his elbow. She grimaced for a moment, before reaching out to touch the edge of the--.

"Ow." He murmured. He reached up, grabbing her hand between his. "Don't touch it." He winced slightly as his bicep bent. His eyes went back to the window. "We're here."

Later, in the room, Alice tried hard not to panic. She ran into the bathroom, shutting the door quietly. She leaned over the sink, breathing hard. Please, she begged quietly, help me.

She pulled a towel from the bathroom, grabbing the bowl full of water she had run.

He was sitting in a chair and grimacing.

Alice set the water on the floor. "I'm sorry." She whispered. "Its going to hurt."

He winced, his green eyes deep and smooth. "I trust you." He whispered faintly.

She stopped, looking into his green eyes. She knew he must feel something for her, you don't kiss someone you hate. "Really?"

"Alice, --." She leaned forward, pushing her lips softly against his. It was the only comfort she could offer him. The only anything she could offer him.

When she pulled back, she knew she had to hurt him. His fingers twisted between hers and Alice leaned her cheek against his arm. She pressed the wet cloth to his cut quickly, trying however vainly to minimize his pain. He sucked in a small breath of air. Alice felt weak and small and helpless. She, honestly, wanted to cry. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

This time, he leaned down, pressing a sweet kiss to her forehead. "Relax." He whispered. Alice, somewhere vaguely, knew that she should be the one doing the comforting. She drew in a deep breath, gathering courage to do it again. To hurt him again. She didn't want to hurt him though. She wanted to help him, to kiss him senseless. Anything but hurt him. Alice knew, somewhere in some part of her mind, that it wasn't the right time, but then her lips were making the words. She was putting the last month and a half into words. "I think I love you."

He blinked down at her, green eyes so soft that Alice looked away from him. She felt his injured hand brush against her cheek. "I think I love you too." Alice blinked, drawing his lips back down for a kiss.

Because it was the only thing she could give to him.

Alice couldn't sleep that night. She didn't know how to put up with what she was feeling, what she had said, how she knew he was in pain but could do nothing for him. She had given him some Advil, wrapped a wet cloth around the cut, kissed him and told him to sleep.

That was all her shocked brain had been able to do. Then she had retreated to the deck. The rain had begun to fall just as the world fell into its darkest time. The night is always darkest before the dawn, rang sleepily in her ears. Maybe she could sleep for a little while. Maybe she could leave him a note and leave. Maybe--.

"You all right?" His deep voice shocks her out of her thinking. She turns around, her lips turning down at seeing him awake and not wearing a shirt.

She smiles at him though, so he can't see how scared and helpless she feels. "You shouldn't be asking me that. I should be asking you." She walks over to him, slowly laying a hand on his beating heart. She is cold in the rain. She shivers.

"Are you cold?" He wraps his good arm around her pulling her softly against his chest.

She nods. "How do you feel?"

He blinks down at her for a long moment, his green eyes honest and wide. "I feel dirty."

Alice looks up at him for a long moment. Then, she slides her dress over her head, revealing the black bra and thong she is wearing underneath. His eyes travel down her body before he can stop himself. She reaches behind herself, shedding her bra, then she pushes her hands over her hips, letting her underwear fall to the ground. She steps forward, not willing to meet his gaze until she has his clothing off as well. Alice pulls his jeans and boxer briefs to the knees, then he steps out.

She, hesitantly, scared to put her naked body next to his, steps into his embrace. "Thank you." He whispers. She can feel his hands slide down to her waist...

Alice isn't used to how naked and scared she feels of rejection. He shouldn't reject her, he couldn't reject her, but she didn't know that. As she bites her bottom lip, looking up at him, he slowly pushes his lips against hers. She responds in kind this time, her small hands rubbing insistently against the muscles on his chest. Her fingers enjoy the smooth skin and wet rain. Hot and cold as the feelings are. Alice breaks his kiss, pressing sweet kisses to his chest and neck.

His hands are strong as he lifts her, as he takes her into his arms. "Alice, stop." He whispers.

She stops, her small body wrapping around his as if he is a tree trunk. He enters her slowly. Alice mewls. "Jazz--." She doesn't know what shes saying. Shes never called him Jazz before. She doesn't care.

And the rain falls.

Alice can feel the eyes of people looking at them. They had won the contest. With a dance that was never choreographed. She smiles up at him, trying to downplay that emotions that are flying across her eyes. He stops her by his locker, tilting her chin up to look at him. "Talk to me."

Alice smiles weakly. "Why does everyone have to know everything?"

Jasper looks down at her, silently pressing a kiss to her forehead. "They don't have to know everything." He wraps his arms around her waist. "Don't worry, alright?" He is breathing in her smell. Dance and love and himself. He smiles. "You can stay with me tonight, right?"

Alice blinks. "Yeah." She smiles, not willing to wreck his day with the news that will ruin his life. "I can."

"Can't you just accept that I'm not feeling the greatest?"

"Can't you just accept that I care?"

"No!" Alice winces at how cruel she sounds, even to herself. She sighs, running a hand through her long hair. "Everyone who's ever cared about me, leaves me." Her blue eyes bore into his. "I'm about to bring this sweet little reality of yours crashing down around you. I dare you to say you love me, Jasper." She steps forward, bringing his hand down to her stomach. "There is a baby in there. And its yours."

His breathing is going faster.

"And you don't want me now." She looks up at him, preparing to walk away. "Bye." She whispers, leaning up to press a kiss to his cheek. She heads to the door, tears streaming down her cheeks. She feels so betrayed and hurt and... cold, that his words are shocking.

"I love you." She turns around slowly. To see a pair of smiling green eyes.

It was the most intimate thing he had ever done. With anyone. There was so much trust, so many feelings, that had to go into having a child with someone. He had to deal with her mood swings, with her cravings, with the girls at school that wished they were her. But what Jasper found the weirdest, was how he thought it was all worth it. Everything was worth it when they finally got to the dancing and the loving and the talking.

This night, he had her shirt pulled up over the small bump on her stomach, his hands cradling where the baby was inside of her. He spoke quietly to the baby on the other side of Alice's skin.

"Hello baby." He murmured.

Alice smiled, reaching down to play with his hair.

"I love you... Both of you." Jasper whispered to the small child he and Alice had created. Her hand stilled in his hair. "Tell your mommy to relax."

He could feel her relax.

It happened on a rainy day. Alice was sitting on Jasper's bed when her water broke.

Predictably, Jasper panicked. Alice stopped him, gasping as she bent at the waist, her stomach protesting horribly. She sighed, reaching out a hand to grasp his hand in hers.

"Breathe." She commanded quietly, her voice weakened and thin. "For me."

He hauled in a deep breath. "Are you--?"

She laughed. "Call your car. Lets go."

After six hours, lots of medicine, and an emergency C section, a baby sat in Alice's tired arms. Jasper had her curled into his lap. He couldn't quite explain the perfection of the moment. Couldn't quite put his finger on what about this moment made it one of the best in his life. But it was.

The baby, predictably with Alice's large blue eyes, made Jasper feel whole. Made him love Alice so much more. He clutched her tighter to his chest. She smiled.

They backed out of the spotlight for a while. They stopped dancing, started getting to know each other. They moved out of the city, farther into the rural county side. They got a big stone front house, by a stream, where there was always rain.

They moved to a little town called Forks.

She wanted to dance. Just like old times.

He grabbed her hand, hauling her slowly into the cloudy atmosphere off of their deck. Aiden was three now. Jasper worked for a company, Alice had a small company where she taught little girls all about dance and art.

She followed, chewing on her lip.

It wasn't raining yet.

Jasper spun her sweetly from under his arm, watching as her dress fluttered in the wind around her smooth calves. She was with his second child. He smiled as he saw her hand touch her stomach. She smiled back at him.

He touched her shoulder, just as the first raindrop hit her shoulder. He watched it roll down her back. "Do you trust me?" He whispered. Scared, for all of these years of loving her, of a rejection.

She nodded. "Always."

He lifted her under the arms, willing the rain to come now. Because she loved the rain. He lowered her slowly, feeling her small fingers slide over pale skin on his neck. When she was at level with his neck, she wrapped her arms around his neck. Her legs coming to slide around his waist. "I love you." He whispered.

"I love you too." She whispers back.

His lips close over hers. She lets his hands slide under her dress where she wears nothing because they just got done swimming. He touches her belly, murmuring how beautiful she is. She pulls her lips from his, letting him lift her again. She looks down, immediately meeting his green gaze.

He smiles at her. The skies open in that instant.

And the rain falls.