Epilogue: The Man with the Red Eyes
"Finding my way back to sanity, again,
Though I don't really know what I'm gonna do when I get there,
Take a breath and hold on tight,
Spin around one more time,
And gracefully fall back to the arms of grace.
'Cause I am hanging on every word you say,
Even if you don't want to speak tonight,
That's all right all right with me,
'Cause I want nothing more than to sit outside heavens door and listen to you breathing,
It's where I want to be.
Looking past the shadows in my mind into the truth and,
I'm trying to identify the voices in my head God which one's you?
Let me feel one more time what it feels like be alive,
And break these calluses off me one more time."
-"Breathing" by Lifehouse
I played with the hem of my button-up as I waited for Alice, she would be home soon. Back to the Cullen's house.
I would forever be grateful to them for their openness to Alice and me. They are our family. Truly.
I thought I'd left my family behind over a century ago, but Alice and the Cullens were my family. They were everything to me. And now, as Edward and I waited on the porch for Alice to arrive home safely—I was sure of that.
She'd spent the last few months in the South, chasing around her past. I would have loved to have gone with her. But my blood lust was at an all time high—and I couldn't restrain myself as easily as she.
So she went alone to face the darkness.
"Don't feel so bad about staying in Washington," Edward murmured, moving to sit beside me on Esme's porch swing.
"I should've been able to go with her," I said, staring blackly into the night sky.
"No, she needed to go alone," Edward said.
I nodded, slightly mollified.
What would Alice learn from her past? I wondered, sure that Edward could hear but not entirely caring. Would she seem any different once that void in her memories was filled?
I wish I knew the answer.
Suddenly Carlisle's Mercedes pulled up the long drive—and I would have my answer.
She stepped out of the car with a smile on her face, and her spirit apprehensive. Cautious. Her eyes had a deeper quality to them that I didn't remember—something ancient and knowing.
Her plastered smile softened around the edges when she saw me. She ran forward, at a human speed, and wrapped her arms around my waist. Her face buried in my chest.
"Ask me my name," she said, her voice muffled by my shirt.
"What?" I inquired, pulling away and running my fingers over her cheekbone.
"Ask me my name, Jasper," she said again, this time staring straight into my eyes.
"What's your name?" I asked, playing along.
"I'm Mary Alice Brandon from Biloxi, Mississippi," she declared, partially frightened and partially so happy that it made my fingertips tingle from the sheer potency of the emotion.
She continued, "I was born in 1901, I have a little sister named Cynthia and I have one living relative, a niece, who still lives in Mississippi."
I smiled for her, so overwhelmed by the flood of emotions coming from her. I bent and gathered her little body into my arms, burying my face in her hair as we shared each other's joy, our sorrows our curiosity and our apprehension.
I felt those all mix together into one singular bond between the two of us—stronger than diamonds, more unbreakable than steel.
We broke apart, breathless and smiling.
"I love you, Mary Alice Brandon-Whitlock," I said as I bent my head to press my lips against hers.
She giggled, and then a sob choked in the back of her throat, "Mary Alice Brandon-Whitlock-Cullen."
"Such a big name for such a little lady," I teased, running my fingers over the small of her back.
She laughed then, truly happy again not a trace of sorrow coming from her.
She smiled and danced over to Edward. He grinned teasingly at her and picked her up like a child.
Suddenly a memory danced before my eyes.
Finally at dusk, her harried mother came outside and scooped her up. Though she appeared to be older, she was still small enough to be carried like a toddler. She wrapped her tiny arms around her mother's shoulders and buried her head into the crook of her mother's neck.
Her mother cooed softly to her, and placated her wild hair. I frowned, suddenly missing my own mother and craving companionship.
The little girl sighed, and started to speak in incoherent sentences. She was mumbling, so I couldn't understand her.
The mother's emotions spiked to fear and disdain. She hated the fact that her firstborn was incompetent. I wouldn't necessarily have called that little girl incompetent. She was beautiful and different, even for a human.
The mother sighed and hugged her little girl closer to her chest, and her emotions turned to disappointment. "Don't talk nonsense, Mary Alice. You know real people don't have red eyes."
I could feel my jaw drop as I stared at Alice, still nestled in Edward's arms.
Edward stiffened and stared at me over her head, his eyes wide like saucers and his mouth forming an 'o'.
I shook my head, venturing a hesitant glance at Alice and then frantically meeting Edward's worried eyes.
Please, Edward, don't tell her. Please don't tell her. I thought. He nodded and I could feel myself become less tense.
I knew her.
I could have killed the woman I had grown to love. I could have had her blood. I would have lost her.
Mary Alice with her sad blue eyes and her curly dark hair, Alice with her butter-coloured eyes and shorn black locks. Two completely different people from two different times; but, she was always my Alice.
She kissed Edwards cheek and then gave me a light peck on the lips before going in search of Rosalie and Emmett.
"You knew her," Edward said quietly staring at the front door of the house, where Alice had just disappeared.
"Oh my God," I muttered falling onto the front step and burying my head in my hands, "I saw her once—when she was very small. I wanted to kill her. I was going to drink her blood."
"What made you stop?" He asked, putting his hands in his pockets.
"She looked right through me, through the blood in my eyes to my soul, to my dead heart."
Edward chuckled, "She was always meant to be yours, Jasper. Always."
"I'm glad she doesn't remember me the way I was then," I murmured, "I want her to know how she reformed me. Not that I met her in a time she doesn't really even know."
"I won't tell her," Edward averred.
"I can't tell you how grateful I am for that, Edward," I sighed, "I want her to know everything about her past—I want her to know so much she grows bored of it; but I want her to know the man she saved. Not the man that wanted her in a way so despicable that I can't even bring myself to say the words."
"As I said," he nodded, "she'll never know."
I stared at Edward for a long time after that, gathering the reassurance he made himself feel and making myself believe it.
I would come to think about Mary Alice and her mother many times in the centuries to follow—and I tried to tell Alice several times; but the words never came. I think she knew, though. I hoped without my having to tell her she would just by some miracle know.
And maybe, she did.
Maybe through the darkness and the veil of her humanity she could see the man with the red eyes that had haunted her that balmy Southern, summer day. Maybe she knew the man with the red eyes.
That's all there is, there isn't any more.
So, that's the end to Red Eyes. I'm sad to see it end--but I've enjoyed writing it. I like the story the way it is. Short, sweet and full of Jasper-goodness.
I know a lot of you guys are going to be frustrated that Jasper didn't tell Alice. But I'd planned that from the beginning. He has his motives. He wants her to know him the way he is now--not the way he was. And he feels kind of guilty about being able to remember her as a human and yet she can't. If you don't like that, don't like it quietly; because I really don't care.
My sister actually suggested the song at the beginning of this chapter. We both agree that the lead singer of Lifehouse sounds like how we would imagine Jasper to sound. And my sister is also convinced "Breathing" is about Jasper. And I'd have to agree. If you haven't heard the song, YouTube or Project Playlist--they're your friends. Use them.
So, I'm done with all of my exams and the SATs and everything. I'm officially on SUMMER VACATION!! So, expect lots of silly one-shots from me and I'll be wrapping up 7F47F soon, too.
I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this story as much as I have writing it. Please leave a review and tell me what you think!