I'm BA-A-A-CK!! Some of you checked my profile or saw the updated summary of the story and know that I broke my arm. It made it incredibly hard to type and I apologize for the very, very long delay. I hated having to take a break when I was so close to finishing the story.
I still have a soft brace on my arm, but it's much easier to type now. That being said, there will probably be more mistakes than usual but I still tried to catch as many as I could. I'm beta-less! :-)
To those of you who waited so patiently for an update and didn't give up on me, thank you so much. Oh, and just a head's up that there's a bit of 'POV switching' in the middle of the chapter. I know this bothers some, but in my head it was necessary. Also, in a few paragraphs the rating may be closer to M than T. There isn't anything graphic but there are some details.
Okay, okay...on with the story (finally) and sorry for the long A/N.
Hope you enjoy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
All characters from the Twilight Saga belong to Stephenie Meyer.
I am only having a bit of fun and do not own or profit from any of
"Open the door, Bella."
Just as I expected, there was no answer. I'd been trying to get her to let me in for 30 minutes. I was frustrated as hell but I was trying to be patient with her. I knew Bella was upset and I didn't think me yelling at her to open the door would help. My patience was wearing thin though and the fresh bite stinging my shoulder wasn't helping.
Most of my family was scattered around the house, and everyone was tense and some were aggravated. Garrett had received a phone call earlier today and had mentioned that he needed to leave for a few days. I couldn't help wondering if he just needed a break from 'family drama'. I'm sure it would be somewhat of an adjustment after being a nomad for so long.
Carlisle and Alice had Adam in one of the bedrooms and things seemed to be going as well as could be expected.
Adam was quiet. He'd been freaking out but by the time we got him back to the house he'd calmed down. We explained to him what had happened and instead of getting more upset he'd actually relaxed. He was feeling relieved and I couldn't even feel any pain coming from him. He seemed to be in a peaceful sleep now. Everyone was dumbfounded but we'd take what we could get.
I knocked again, "Darlin, no one is upset with you. Everything will work out just fine, but you need to open the door."
Footsteps made me aware that Peter was coming down the hall. He was irritated. I looked up in time to catch his glare before he pushed me out of the way.
"Open the damn door, Isabella!" I'd never heard Peter raise his voice to her like that before.
"Go easy, Peter. She's upset."
Peter rolled his eyes and glared at me again, "I've let you try it your way with the pleading and it's obviously not working. I know she's upset but I'm not going to let her sit in there and wallow in self-pity by herself. This is fucking ridiculous and you know it."
Before I could respond Peter turned back to the door, "I swear Bella, if you don't open this door in three seconds I'm going to knock it down. I know you're upset and I understand this is hard, but I'm not going to let you sit in there and mope."
I didn't even try to stop him because I felt the same way he did. I stepped back and let him play 'Dad'; somebody needed to at this point.
Peter counted to three slowly and when the door wasn't unlocked he swore under his breath, "Damnit! Charlotte is going to kill me. She loves these doors."
"You don't have to shatter it. Just break the hinges and we can easily replace those."
He nodded, "She is seriously pissing me off." Peter stood up straight and pushed his hand against the edge of the door where the top hinge was located. There was a popping noise and then the hinge came loose. He repeated the action with his foot for the bottom hinge and then easily lifted the door into the room.
Bella was sitting on the bed staring out the window with a class 'A' pout on her face. Her arms were folded across her chest and I actually heard a 'humph' from her. It reminded me of how a child would act after getting into trouble and instead of showing remorse they went on the defensive. I half expected her to stick her tongue out at us.
Peter was across the room in an instant and he pulled Bella roughly from the bed and crushed her to his chest. She struggled, but it was a testament to how she feels about Peter because she could easily break his hold if she wanted to do so.
Peter's arms held her still, "Stop it right now, Bella. You fucked up, but you're making it worse by acting this way. Just stop." He lowered his voice to a whisper and pressed his lips to her hair. "We get through stuff as a family, sweetheart. You can't lock us out like this."
I felt her defiance start to melt away and Bella slowly wrapped her arms around him. Her shoulders were shaking and she was feeling despair as she finally broke down into sobs.
I walked over to them but when I brought my hand up to rest it on Bella's back she wrenched away from me and clung tighter to Peter.
"Don't, Jasper. I-I don't want t-to hurt you again."
I hesitated briefly but then Peter rolled his eyes at me again and nodded slightly. I took a deep breath and pulled Bella away from him. She struggled again but as I got my arms around her she finally collapsed against me.
Peter kissed her head before turning to leave the room. "Don't block us out, Short Stuff. It'll all be okay. You'll see." He propped the door back into its frame and I heard his footsteps fading down the hall.
We stood in the middle of the room while I tried to comfort her. It took some time, but it finally seemed to be working as her sobs slowed and then stopped completely. Bella had her arms clutched around me.
She mumbled into my chest, "Did he really break the door?"
"You didn't give us much of a choice, Darlin."
She sighed heavily and whispered, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was acting that way. I am so frustrated with myself."
I pulled her down to sit on the bed with me and tilted her chin up so I could look into her eyes. "Do I need to remind you of all the times I've screwed up? You've heard about my history and you know several of our kind that hunt traditionally, including the people you consider to be your parents."
"But it isn't that I did it, it's that I did it when I'd chosen not to. I don't like feeling weak."
"You're being silly. Don't look at me like that. You are. You're being completely silly. This doesn't mean that you throw in the towel and head off to ravage the townsfolk. It just means that you know your limitations now and we have to be more careful."
Bella 'humphed' again, "You're going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with me for ages. I don't think I'll ever be able to resist human blood if it all smells like that."
I laughed and released her chin, "You know, I'm not in a hurry to return to civilization or anything. Besides, you're very young Bella. It won't always be so hard to resist. I promise."
She smirked at me, "Hell, if you can do it…"
I grabbed at my chest in mock hurt. "Ouch!" I reached out and pulled her back against me. "I know you were joking, but you're exactly right. If I can resist, so can you."
We sat there for a long time and though Bella was still struggling with guilt and frustration she was feeling more stable.
Bella finally whispered, "How's Adam?"
I sighed and laid us down on the bed, pulling Bella back against me. "He seems to be doing amazingly well – Almost too well."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you can hear how quiet he is, and it's not just because he's putting on a brave face. He's not in any pain. He's even happy now that things have been explained to him. Alice is overjoyed."
Bella was quiet before responding, "How can he not be in pain? That doesn't make sense."
"We don't know, but Carlisle insists that things are progressing the way they should. In fact they seem to be progressing faster than normal."
Bella wriggled around until she was facing me. She'd been feeling better but now she was sad.
"I'm sorry I bit you, Jasper."
I reached out and ran my fingers across her forehead and down her cheek. I smiled softly at her and shook my head, "It's not a big deal, Darlin. I'm not angry with you in the slightest."
She frowned, "You should be angry with me. Everyone is being all too nice about what I did."
"Peter knocked your door down," I reminded her.
Bella's frown turned into a scowl, "Only because I was being a brat. Sorry about that too, Jazz."
"I forgive you, but promise me you won't do that again. I don't care what hurdles we have to jump over in our lives but I can't handle it when you won't let me in."
She nodded, "I promise. Sorry, I just felt so overwhelmed and then when I started thinking about it my inner 2 year old came out and I got defensive."
We laid there for a while until Bella started feeling restless.
"I think I should go talk to Alice," She said softly.
Still not able to stop thinking of her as needing my help, I got off the bed and pulled Bella with me. I even steadied her on her feet before moving to take her hand, "Let's go talk to Ali."
Alice was trying to remain subdued but the excitement coming off that girl was thick. When we walked into the bedroom, she jumped up and grabbed Bella in a hug. Bella was surprised, but didn't hesitate to return the embrace when I dropped her hand.
"I'm so sorry, Al…"
"Hush!" Alice pulled back and grinned at Bella, "Everything is going to be fine. AJ isn't even going to be upset. He's relieved."
Bella looked around Alice and cautiously looked over at Adam, "Why is he so quiet?"
"We don't know, but I think it's wonderful!" Alice beamed and led Bella over to the bed.
Adam looked just as calm and was feeling just as peaceful as he was when I'd seen him last.
"He looks like he's sleeping."
"He is sleeping," I confirmed, "There's no pain, and it isn't because I can't feel his emotions. I can feel them and he is completely free from pain. He's…he's happy."
Bella spent a lot of the day sitting in with Alice and Adam. She would talk to him, and continued to apologize over and over for what she had done. As the day went on, Bella was still feeling apprehensive about facing Adam when he woke up. She hadn't gotten defensive again but she was feeling extremely guilty for ending Adam's human life.
We all jumped when the door slammed open. It had been so quiet and we'd all been so caught up in our own thoughts that Emmett's arrival caught us all off guard. Adam is the only one that didn't flinch.
Alice jumped up and though Emmett towered over her, when she shook her finger at him he leaned away, "For the love of Prada, Emmett, do you have to be so loud? Adam is resting!"
Emmett held up his hands in apology, "Sorry, sorry! I forgot I should be quiet, I'm just tired of all the moping around."
Alice smiled and went back to Adam's side, "I'm not moping."
"Okay," Emmett clarified, "I'm tired of the Squirt moping around. I'm putting Operation Emmett into action."
Alice giggled, "Good luck with that."
Bella looked up at Emmett from her place next to the bed, "I'm not going anywhere. I should stay here until he wakes up."
Emmett huffed out an impatient sigh, "He's not waking up anytime soon and we'll only be gone for a little while. Plus, I'm not giving you a choice."
Bella started to glare at him and I noticed Alice look at me and nod her head towards Bella. I took the hint and stood up before holding my hand out, "Come on Darlin. We could both use a little fun to take our minds off things and I promise we'll be back before Adam wakes up."
She started to protest but something must have changed her mind as she reached out to take my hand. Bella stopped and looked back at Adam before speaking quietly to Alice, "Do you promise to call if anything changes?"
"Of course, now go on and have a little fun, silly. We'll be fine here." Alice was altogether way too happy considering the man lying next to her was technically on his death bed.
I had an idea of where we were going but wasn't sure until I saw Emmett's backpack. "Nice Emmett," I complimented him knowing this would at least help for a little while.
Bella noticed and was curious, "What? Where are we going?
Emmett laughed and pointed to the backpack, "Kites, Cullen Style!"
A genuine smile spread across Bella's face as she reached out to take her own kite before we followed Emmett out the door.
It felt so good to let go for a little while, and flying a kite the 'new' way was amazing. I loved it!
The first time I settled myself in a tree and started my mental countdown with my kite string clutched in my hand, I was totally scared. But once I got the hang of it, I seriously felt like I was flying.
Emmett, Rose, Jasper and I each tried to outdo the last in how high we got our kites. I wasn't keeping count, but we were out there for hours, launching our kites over and over again.
As anxious as I had been to get out of the house and as much fun as I'd been having, I was just as anxious to get back. I was so worried about Adam. He seemed to be taking everything so well, but how much could he really understand about what had happened to him? What was he going to do when he woke up?
I was beside myself with worry and it was taking a toll on Jasper. He squeezed my hand as we were nearing the house, "Stop worrying Bella. Alice said everything will turn out fine."
I frowned and kicked a small mound of snow, "He's going to hate me."
Jasper's laugh came out in a short burst, "You're wrong."
I didn't feel like arguing about it so I just shrugged my shoulders. We'd know soon enough.
I didn't have much more time to think about it though because as we came around the corner and could see the house, we both stopped in our tracks. Emmett and Rosalie hadn't been far behind us and their running came to an abrupt halt when they too saw what awaited us.
"Now what the hell are they doing here?" Emmett growled and looked to Jasper for an explanation.
Jasper growled too, "How the fuck should I know? I just got here, remember?"
A large helicopter was in front of the house. Jasper snarled again, "Tanya's family."
I was stunned and even more nervous than before…I wasn't ready to see Irina.
Ever since I'd attacked Adam I'd lost a bit of my 'new vampire attitude'. Biting Adam and even Jasper had shocked away my confidence and I felt so much like I had when I was human. I was scared.
On the other hand, Jasper was angry, "What are they thinking? None of us are ready for this."
He grabbed my hand and started towing me to the house but I tried to dig my heels into the icy snow to stop our progress. When Jasper looked at me I could see most of the anger melt away, however temporarily its absence may have been.
I looked down before meeting his eyes again, "What if they all came? I don't…I can't see her yet."
Jasper leaned down and grasped my shoulders firmly, "I don't know if all of them came or not, but I don't care who's in that house, Isabella. You hold your head high and don't you dare let Irina intimidate you. In fact, you have my permission to kick her ass and I know you could do it."
I scowled back at Jasper, "I don't need your permission."
Instead of arguing with me Jasper gave me a wicked grin, "There's my girl. Let's go.
An hour later I found myself sitting in the den with Carlisle and Eleazar. After Jasper had burst through the door we had realized pretty quickly that Irina wasn't with them. Tanya, Ely, Kate, Carmen and Eleazar had come, but they explained that Irina was spending some time on her own working through everything that had happened.
The atmosphere was tense, but everyone could see how much Esme wanted to keep the peace between our families. That was enough for all of us to try, though I was a little irked to find out Carlisle had asked them to come.
The truth is actually that Carlisle had asked Eleazar to come, and the rest of them had decided to tag along for the ride and attempt to repair the relationship between the families. The others might be playing nice but I don't think Jasper is going to kiss and make up until he's had another shot at Irina.
Carlisle had asked me to join him and Eleazar in the den because he wanted me to be 'analyzed'. As Eleazar's gift is to see the gifts that others possess I reluctantly agreed – I was curious.
So I was sitting in the den watching Carlisle and Eleazar studying the different notes that Carlisle had written about me. While I was curious and was listening carefully, I also had an ear trained down the hall where Alice was still sitting with Adam.
Carlisle looked up at me, "I apologize that I sprung this on you, Bella. I was planning on telling you that Eleazar was coming to see you but with everything that happened I wasn't able to find a good time."
"Bella," I turned to look at Eleazar, "I know tensions are still running high between our families and I can only ask for your forgiveness. I don't expect you to give it, at least not right now, but I hope that we can at least start to rebuild."
I hesitated but then nodded again. I was afraid that if I opened my mouth I'd get myself into trouble. It was probably a good thing that Peter and Jasper weren't in here with me.
Eleazar smiled, but I could see the grief behind his eyes. "Thank you. Now, I've been speaking with Carlisle and it would seem that you are what we call a Shield. This has carried over from your human life where you were able to keep Edward out of your mind subconsciously, and also Kate and Maggie had no affect on you."
Carlisle continued, "We think you will be able to do many things, and eventually you may even be able to shield others not only mentally but physically as well."
"However," Eleazar cut back in, "Your shield is more apart of who you are than an actual gift. I think it will become stronger as you do, without much effort. But there's something else too. May I?" He reached for my hand and I had to stop myself from recoiling. I knew I didn't have anything to fear from him, but I didn't trust him any longer.
I glanced at Carlisle and he nodded in encouragement. I took a deep breath and placed my hand in Eleazar's, trying not to grimace. The three of us were quiet as the second hand made its journey around the clock twice.
Eleazar smiled and I released a breath I didn't realize I'd been holding. "Before I explain further, you need to know that you possess something I haven't seen before. I've seen variations of it, but you are as unique as a snowflake, Bella."
I huffed out another breath, "Weird. You mean that I'm weird."
Both men laughed and Eleazar gently placed my hand back on my lap, "Of course you aren't weird. You are special though. Bella, I think you're a Healer."
"Wait…a what?" I'd heard him of course, but what did he mean by a 'healer'?
"Well, as I mentioned, I haven't seen anything like it before. You have the essence of a healer, but…there's something more to it that I've not seen in the past. I'm afraid I won't be able to give you much more information than that, at least not right now. We'll have to wait and see what happens, but this gift of yours will reveal itself soon enough. It's very strong."
I was stunned into silence and it took a few moments for me to form my thoughts into words. "I guess I really don't understand what you mean. I can heal people?"
Eleazar laughed lightly, "Possibly. I wish I could tell you more, but I just don't know. I can only go off of what I've felt from you up to this point, and of course from what I've seen."
"Seen?" I knew I hadn't 'healed' anyone or anything…quite the opposite really.
"Bella," Carlisle walked around the desk and leaned on the edge in front of me, "Eleazar is referring to Adam."
I quickly jumped to disagree, but it was more like spluttering, "But…what…I…huh?"
Carlisle smiled gently and put his hand up to stop my eloquent poetry, "Think about it Sweetheart. Adam is so quiet, but it isn't just that. You were quiet for a large part of your change as well, but we know that you were in pain."
I cringed at the reminder and focused on what Carlisle was trying to explain to me instead of my memories or my guilt.
"It's true that Adam was in pain at the beginning, but we think that was due to the actual bites. However, as soon as the bites started to heal, which was incredibly fast in itself, he fell into a deep and comfortable sleep. We know from both Edward and Jasper that he isn't in any pain."
"So…you think that my venom is keeping him from hurting at the same time it's changing him? Is that possible?"
Eleazar leaned on the desk next to Carlisle, "Bella, you have to remember that this is something neither of us has ever seen before. Again, we are going off of what I feel from you and what I've witnessed. I can feel that you're a Healer, but not to what extent. The situation with Adam is simply an educated guess."
Carlisle added, "There are also your memories, Bella. You had a hard time remembering your human life when you first woke up, just like the rest of us. But unlike the rest of us, as more time passes you remember more and more instead of less. It's almost as if the memory center of your brain has been healed."
It was quiet while I started to process the information I'd been given. Carlisle was correct about my memories of course. It seemed that each day I could remember my life more clearly than I had the day before. This meant that I remembered things I would have liked to forget, but I'd take the trade-off because there were a lot more good things than bad.
I didn't have many pictures of my life before I met Charlotte and Peter, but when I did see a picture it was like the scene bloomed in my mind. Every detail, from sights and sounds to people and smells, would become clear as I studied the image. The memories weren't dependant on being from pictures though. I could remember all sorts of things, and I knew this made my family a little envious.
Everyone was surprised when I started getting memories back, but as they became more and more numerous the surprise turned into sadness for some of them. Alice couldn't remember any of her life before she was changed, and every single person in my family had wished they could remember their human lives more clearly.
Jasper had been so happy for me, but I had started keeping newly rediscovered memories to myself. It just didn't seem right that I would have so many memories and they would have so few.
I was still trying to understand this new possible healing gift, and Jasper must have felt my stress because when the door opened I knew it was him. He came to join me, but instead of sitting next to me Jasper reached out his hand, which I immediately took. He pulled me to my feet, took my vacated seat and then settled me on his lap. I instantly felt more secure.
Carlisle and Eleazar explained their theories to Jasper, though he had already heard most of it from the living room. We continued to talk about possibilities, but in the end we agreed it would have to be a 'wait and see' situation.
"Bella," Jasper had said as we were finishing the conversation, "I don't want you to worry about any of this right now. It's good to have the information, but there isn't any rush to find definite answers. Any gift you have will develop naturally, and I think there is already enough to deal with."
The other men agreed and not long after that I was thankful to be out of the den. I was certain that Carlisle would be keeping an even closer eye on me now, but I was going to do what Jasper suggested and not worry about my possible gifts.
As I stepped out of the den, I'd been snatched up in a tight hug. I recognized Peter immediately of course, but I still didn't know what he was doing.
When he sat me back on the floor he reached up and tugged on my ponytail, "Are we good, Short Stuff?"
I used one of Peter's signature moves and rolled my eyes at him, "Of course we're good, Pops. It's not like you tried to ground me or something." I laughed and Jasper chuckled quietly, but Peter just raised an eyebrow at me.
"I thought about it," Peter said seriously.
My eyes went wide with shocked surprise, "You can't mean that. Charlotte never would've agreed to it and besides, I'm an adult, Peter!"
He shrugged, "You may be an adult, but you're still my kid." He pulled my ponytail again and then pulled me into a hug, "I wasn't mad at you for what happened to Adam. I wasn't really mad at you at all but I couldn't stand by and let you shut us all out. You know that whole pouting thing might work on me occasionally but when it's mixed with your defiant little glare and huffy attitude it's an entirely different story."
Peter was still hugging me so I pressed my face against his chest and focused my eyes on the ground. Hearing him put it that way made me feel bad all over again, but at the same time I loved it when he called me 'his kid'.
It was easy to infuse my voice with remorse, "I'm sorry, Dad. I still have a hard time with all these crazy emotions sometimes but I'll try really hard not to act that way again." I made myself look up at his loving, amused eyes and said, "Forgive me?"
Peter released me from the tight hug and kissed my forehead, "There was nothing to forgive and I know it's hard to control your emotions. Just don't make me take the door off the hinges next time."
Despite the serious topic I couldn't help but smile at him, "It's a deal. And yes, we're totally good."
Jasper had stepped away to give us 'privacy' but he moved back to my side now and clapped Peter on the shoulder as he walked past us to the living room. Before Peter turned the corner he looked back at me with a mischievous smile, "And just so you know Shorty, the whole grounding thing was Charlotte's idea. I'm the one that talked her out of it so you owe me."
I didn't know if he was kidding or serious but I laughed just the same. The whole idea sounded silly to me, but I know I had acted pretty badly. I hoped that if there was a next time where my emotions got the best of me that I'd be able to deal with it a bit more maturely.
The next morning I'd just finished starting a load of laundry when Jasper unexpectedly grabbed my hand and tugged me toward the front door.
"Where are we going?"
"Are you thirsty?" Jasper quirked an eyebrow at me as he asked.
I checked myself, and though I could feel my throat burning slightly I didn't know if I was ready to go back to animal blood. I started to tell Jasper that I didn't want to go, but he gripped my hand a little tighter and shook his head.
"Bella, I can feel that you're thirsty. We're hunting." When I started to protest he continued, "Darlin, Alice sees Adam waking up this afternoon. We will be back before that happens, but we are going to hunt first."
I briefly considered arguing, but seeing the way Jasper was looking at me changed my mind. However, after hearing that Adam would be waking up soon I was certainly encouraged to hunt quickly.
We did hunt quickly, which unfortunately also meant making a mess of my clothing. Normally I really enjoyed my showers with Jasper after hunting, but…okay, I still enjoyed my shower with Jasper but I was getting more and more anxious by the second.
Jasper squeezed my shoulders tenderly and pulled me back against his chest as he worked along with the hot water to release some of my tension. I could feel the individual soap bubbles flowing down my skin and moaned softly when Jasper's fingers caught some of them and moved them back up my stomach.
I rested the back of my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes, now only able to concentrate on the feel of Jasper's skin on mine. His hands moved back down my stomach and around to my hips where he applied more pressure. I realized I was breathing loudly; a human habit I'd unfortunately not lost.
When Jasper nuzzled into the side of my neck, I pressed against him more firmly, using my body language to beg for more. His nose ran up to the spot behind my ear as he reached around me with one arm to turn the water temperature up even hotter. The shower enclosure filled with billowing steam and I couldn't wait any longer to touch him.
I reached back to tangle a hand in Jasper's hair, but he caught it in his strong grip and in the same movement spun me around. My back slammed into the shower wall and Jasper, still with my hand caught in his, brought his body flush with mine.
I'd been waiting so long for him to touch me like this, and now that he was I felt as if I might spontaneously combust. I looked up and Jasper's hungry eyes locked on mine. He gently pulled my captured hand up between our bodies to hook it around his shoulder before releasing his hold; he never lost contact with my skin though.
I pulled my other hand up and grasped both of Jasper's shoulders, holding myself to him and praying he wouldn't stop. He trailed his fingers down my hand and over my wrist before circling my arm with more pressure. His eyes were still intent on mine as he moved down my arm, around my elbow and back up to my shoulder. I wasn't sure what he was going to do and I couldn't find it in me to care. He could do whatever he wanted to me as long as he kept doing it.
My body felt like it was humming as Jasper ran his palm back down to follow my collarbone. I could see a fire behind his eyes and his slow movements quickened until he had both hands cradled around my neck. His thumbs went to either side of my chin and worked gently to turn and slightly stretch my face up and to the side before he captured me in a searing kiss.
I gasped loudly and my hands automatically found Jasper's hair in an attempt to desperately pull him closer to me. He tilted my head to position my mouth more to his liking and claimed me with his lips and tongue. An arm dropped and wrapped around my waist, pulling me tightly against his body.
I could feel every muscle of Jasper's body as it contracted and rolled against me, and I still wasn't close enough. He trailed a hand, slick with soapy water, from my waist and over my hip before firmly squeezing my thigh. Jasper's hand moved quickly down the back of my leg and as he reached the outside of my knee I understood what his plan was.
I bent my knee and started to lift my leg around Jasper as his hand gripped my ass and pulled me up. I brought both my legs around him as he used the hold he had on my backside to pull me closer. Jasper had still been pressing me against the shower wall with his body and the sensations caused by his pulling and pushing of my body into his were euphoric.
I knew that we didn't have time to get carried away, especially as we hadn't been intimate since I'd been changed and we wouldn't want to be rushed. However this thought was extremely difficult to hold on to; especially when I felt Jasper, long, hard and extremely warm from the hot water, pressing against my aching center.
We both groaned as our most intimate flesh became reacquainted. Jasper's grip on me tightened and I dug into his shoulders, desperate for friction and never wanting to let go. It had been too long of a time since I'd been in his arms, and it was as close to heaven as I ever needed to be.
Jasper's length pressed against me again where I needed him most, and when he suddenly stilled I could feel the strength it was taking for him to hold still. I just didn't understand why he'd stopped.
Vampire or not, I was panting. Jasper's eyes had closed and both of us were trembling when I was finally capable of asking, "What…what's wrong?"
Jasper looked at me, breathed out in frustration, and whispered, "Shit."
I started to ask again when he leaned his forehead against mine and reached over to turn the water off, "Listen, Darlin."
I did what he asked and listened as Jasper slowly lowered me so I could stand. I gasped and shot a look up at him. We both sighed as he took my hand and led me over to the towels.
The sound that filled the bathroom seemed louder than it could be in reality, and I was sure my nerves were causing my ears to play tricks on me. It sounded like we were in the same room with Adam's racing, soon-to-stop heartbeat, though I knew he was on the other side of the house.
When we were dressed, Jasper pulled me into his arms and kissed me firmly, "It almost killed me to stop, but I'm glad we did…at least for now."
I pouted as we walked out of our room to join the family at Adam's bedside. Jasper looked down at me and smiled, "Darlin, we haven't even had any real time to just be 'us' since everything happened over Christmas."
I pulled back and stood on my tip-toes so I could kiss Jasper's neck. "Soon though?" I asked and slowly kissed along his jaw line."
Jasper groaned, "God yes…very, very soon."
I giggled and laced my fingers with his as we walked closer to the racing heartbeat. I quickly lost my smile and became more nervous with each step.
Jasper squeezed my hand before knocking and opening the door.
I had to admit that I was nervous. Alice had insisted everything would be fine, or if I'm using her exact wording it would be 'wonderful, amazing, spectacular'. Despite her optimism I was still tense and ready to step in to help if it was necessary.
I noticed that Tanya's family was no where to be seen, but other than that almost the entire family was lined up along the wall. Peter and Charlotte weren't here, and of course Alice and Carlisle were beside Adam, whose heart was still beating amazingly fast. It wouldn't be long now.
"Dude, it's just weird," Emmett whispered to my left.
Bella leaned across me and though I could feel her nervousness, her voice was clear, "What's weird, Em?"
Emmett nodded toward Adam but didn't explain further than that.
Carlisle had walked over to us and spoke softly, "I know it seems strange, Emmett, but he really isn't in any pain. Even now as the transformation is ending and the pain should be incredibly intense, Adam is comfortable."
Rosalie was holding Emmett's hand and added, "Plus it's only been a little less than two days. Are you sure he's going to be done soon? I know it sounds like it from his heart rate, but it was so short."
Carlisle nodded, "I'm sure. Look at him…Adam is one of us now. Or rather, he will be as soon as his heart stops. The change is very nearly complete."
Rose and Esme exchanged a glance and then both looked between Adam and Bella. They were concerned.
"Darling," Esme stepped forward and placed a hand on Carlisle's arm, "I'm not so sure that all of us should be here when Adam opens his eyes. As much as I want to be here, I'm worried that it will be too overwhelming for him."
Carlisle agreed but before he asked us to leave, Esme continued, "But I think Jasper should stay in case he's needed." She hesitated and gave my Mate a small smile, "And also Bella."
Bella was quick to give her opinion, the words flying out in a jumble, "I don't need to stay. Maybe it would be better if he didn't see me at first. Maybe…"
I squeezed Bella's hand to get her attention, "We'll stand over here so it isn't too much for him, but I think Esme's right. It will be better to address what happened as soon as possible."
"No Darlin, you need to get passed this so both you and Adam can move on. I'll be here with you, and so will Carlisle."
"I'm here too, Bells." Alice's soft voice came from where she was still holding Adam's hand, "And I promise everything will be okay. They're right though, the best option is for you to stay."
Bella was resigned and nodded, but her grip on my hand tightened. I helped her a little by sending reassurance and peace, which she thanked me for by leaning her head against my shoulder.
"We'll stay close if you need us." Edward assured Bella and tapped her nose.
Edward, Emmett, Rosalie and Esme gave encouraging words to both Alice and Bella before leaving the room. Edward was right; they didn't go far though. The four of them lingered in the hallway and I could also hear Peter and Charlotte in the family room now. They must have gone to hunt earlier.
I turned to Carlisle before he walked back over to Adam's bedside and asked, "Tanya's family?"
He sighed and I could feel different emotions warring inside of him – it was very rare for Carlisle not to know what he wanted out of a situation.
"They went back to Denali. Garrett got a ride with them but it planning on being back in a few days. I didn't think they should be here when Adam awoke. There will already be some tension with our own family issues and I didn't want to add to it by making anyone uncomfortable with their presence."
Carlisle looked at me with a clear, 'I don't know what to do' expression on his face.
I shrugged but smiled reassuringly, "You made the right decision. Carlisle, you have to do what's right for your family. I know that sometimes the right thing to do isn't always clear, but all we can do in those situations is our best. I can't tell you how the ordeal with Irina and Tanya's family will work out in the end, but I do know that our family will be together either way."
Carlisle's eyebrows rose in surprise and a moment later he nodded in thanks. Bella, on the other hand, was scowling up at me and feeling a bit betrayed.
Before either of them could become too confused (or angry with me) I added, "That doesn't mean I don't still want to kick some ass, I just think all the family politics bullshit will have to be taken one day at a time."
Bella relaxed and Carlisle chuckled, shaking his head at me with fatherly eyes. Any retorts, smartass or otherwise, would have to be postponed though. At the sound of stuttering heartbeats we all held our breath and turned to meet Alice's bright, excited eyes as one final 'thump' echoed throughout the room.
The activity in the family room had stilled and no one was breathing in the hallway either. I instinctively tightened my hold on Bella, drawing her safely under one of my arms – It didn't matter how adept she'd become at taking care of herself. I would always protect her.
The air was heavy with emotion as we waited for Adam to open his eyes. I could feel his awareness surfacing, and it was exactly like feeling someone wake from a deep, restful sleep.
Carlisle crept closer to Alice's side. He was feeling protective of his daughter and wanted to be near enough to help if Adam freaked out. I wondered what the odds were of having two newborns that weren't completely out of their minds in such a short period of time.
Bella was an exception to almost every newborn rule and I was anxious to see how Adam would react. If Carlisle and Eleazar were right about Bella's gift, perhaps he too would be easy to control – or at least easier than most newborns. It was selfish of me, but I knew I would be expected to help out long term if Adam was a handful and I didn't want more time to be stolen away from Bella. Of course I'd help regardless but I still held hope that Adam would be controlled.
Adam was awake now but he'd yet to open his eyes. I could see his fingers tentatively flexing around Alice's hand. She was speaking softly and reassuringly to him, and I was also trying to help by sending him feelings of calm and comfort. Nothing would spook a newborn faster than feeling threatened – which is why I was also sending the same to Bella.
Bella and I were both still holding our breath as Adam finally opened his eyes. He blinked several times, and I knew he was trying to get used to all the new, unfamiliar sensations he was experiencing. He was still calm, so that was a plus.
I was more excited than I was during Fashion Week! Although it was true that I wouldn't have picked the method with which AJ was changed, I was thrilled to have him nonetheless.
As his heartbeat crashed to its final stand and then lay silent in his chest, I waited with bated breath for AJ to open his eyes. Jasper and Bella were both pretending to be statues for fear of scaring him, but I already knew that wouldn't happen. Carlisle was standing behind me and off to the side. I knew he was nervous having me so close to AJ, but I'd made him promise not to interfere unless he was damn sure I needed help…and I wouldn't need help.
I wanted to giggle and cry and dance all at the same time when AJ's eyes started to flicker open. I'd seen this vision so many times so I already knew how adorable he was.
I remembered everything that had happened, but at the same time I wasn't positive that I hadn't been dreaming. I felt like I'd been sleeping, so maybe it was all a dream.
I'd imagined, daydreamed and fantasized about how I might be reacquainted with Alice Cullen. I didn't know how it was going to happen, but I was determined to make it a reality. There was no use beating around the bush…I wanted that woman. It's just a shame that it took me moving away from her, took me losing her before I even had her, to realize it.
If this wasn't a dream, it was some crazy shit. I was in the state between sleep and awareness when I remembered everything that had happened, or at least had happened in my dream. But now as I was refusing to open my eyes in case I ruined the magic, I was startled at all the things racing through my mind.
I didn't have to pick one thing to think about, I could think about all of it at once. It was…well, it was different. I could think about Alice, and all my dreams, and why I loved Kodiak and especially what had happened with Bella. At least I think it was Bella.
I didn't know her well, but she spent time with Alice so I was at least familiar with who she was and what she looked like. The gorgeous woman that attacked me looked a little like the Bella from Forks, but she didn't sound or act, or eat like I remember the Bella in my memories.
I had thought I was dying. No, at first I had thought I was as good as dead. That the Bella-like creature was going to end my existence. This Bella was terrifying and intriguing and beautiful and scary. I hadn't been sure it was Bella until the horrible pain had subsided and Alice started talking to me.
The pain had been the most horrible thing I'd ever experienced and I thought it would be the last thing I experienced. I was delirious with relief when it faded. After the pain had lessened enough for me to listen to the voices around me, I'd heard about what had happened to me.
Could it be true? I'd been fascinated with the vampire myths for as long as I could remember, but I never expected any of it to exist in reality. If I wasn't dreaming this entire scenario though, it was truly the only explanation for what had happened to me.
I should have been repulsed or terrified or livid – I'm certain those would have been more appropriate emotions to have than relief, happiness and excitement. I'd never imagined an adventure as great as this one might exist. And it wasn't only an adventure, it was also Alice.
There was a part of me still arguing that this must be a dream. I still hadn't opened my eyes but I could feel her holding my hand. She'd talked to me for however long I was floating in that strange mid-consciousness and although I don't think I heard everything, I'd heard enough.
Alice had told me all about her family and explained why Bella had acted the way she did. She told me about her visions and how she'd seen me in them for a long time. Alice told me that she had been planning on visiting me at college soon.
Alice also told me she was sorry that she hadn't been able to stop Bella from hurting me, and she apologized for not being sorry I was stuck with them.
I wanted to tell her that I wasn't sorry either. I wanted to explain to her how even though we'd never had an in-depth conversation that somehow I knew she was mine and I was hers. I wanted to wrap my arms around her, apologize for not having the guts to claim her sooner, and feel like I belonged.
Alice had told me all about her family, and I wanted to meet them…to be apart of them. I wanted to tell Bella that I didn't hate her. In fact, I wanted to hug her and thank her. I wanted to hunt. I wanted to explore the world with the enhanced senses that Alice had explained to me.
But I didn't want to open my eyes and learn that it had all been a dream.
I was completely awake now though, and there were things happening that told me it couldn't have been a dream or make-believe. The first clue had been how I could think about everything at once. It had been only a few seconds since I'd awaken and I'd been thinking through so many things. That was certainly not normal.
There were also the sounds and smells around me – I could distinguish so many. And of course, I felt different. I felt healthy and strong. I felt whole.
'That's enough!' I told myself, and I was certain I heard a faint chuckle. It made me tense before I remembered Alice telling me that when I woke up I'd be safe even if my instincts were telling me otherwise. She said I'd have a family.
The other clue that I wasn't dreaming is what finally convinced me to open my eyes; I could still feel her holding my hand.
I blinked several times trying to become accustomed to the new sensations that came with my new senses. I had also noticed that my throat was burning. Alice had explained so I knew what this meant, but before I could consider it further, a warm hand squeezed mine. I turned my head to find myself staring into the most beautiful topaz eyes I'd ever seen.
I sighed in complete joy, "You're really here."
Yes, even though Alice had seen everything going as smoothly as imaginable, I'd still worried.
I was relieved now that everything had gone exactly the way Alice said it would. I'd never seen her so happy, or so smug.
When Adam opened his eyes he and Alice had spent a few minutes lost in their own bubble. There was only one moment when he tensed and that was when he'd noticed me. I wasn't surprised by this and remained calm when he crouched in front of Alice, protecting her from the scarred stranger in front of him.
Alice talked him down quite easily though, reminding him of who I was and that he'd seen me many times at school the year before. He relaxed quickly and even apologized to me for jumping to conclusions. I explained to him that he should listen to his instincts but that he was safe with us.
The relief flowing through Bella paled in comparison to my own. She'd not only been worried about how Adam would be as a newborn, but more critically, how he would react to what she'd done to him.
And how did he react? Adam hugged her. He freaking hugged her.
Bella had been shocked and didn't hug him back. Adam took a step away from her and had kindly explained that he wasn't mad at her and wouldn't hold a grudge. It took him some time to convince Bella that he was happy, but he succeeded eventually. After that she hugged him back.
Adam spent a few minutes talking to Carlisle after he was introduced and I watched as he met each of my family members. Alice had told me all along, but I was still stunned at how controlled he was. Carlisle was too. He kept looking at me with wide eyes and all I could do was shrug.
If Bella had the gifts he thought she did, I suppose that might explain why he was so adapted already. Maybe if everyone could go through the change with venom from a Healer and no excruciating pain to send them into a panicked frenzy, more vampires would be this controlled.
Tame or not, Adam was thirsty and eventually he grew too uncomfortable to ignore it. I didn't say anything to him about it, but I was feeling that he was already very excited to hunt. I could sense his bloodlust but it was more adventurous than crazed.
With everything going so well, most of the family decided to join Alice and Adam on their hunt. Alice had never cared for a newborn before, so while they were going to allow her to take the lead they would be there for support. She made sure that everyone understood that she wanted some private time with Adam after they'd finished hunting.
I could feel the awe and elation coming from Adam long after they disappeared into the trees.
Bella and I were still standing on the porch, and I was relieved to finally feel some peace coming from her. I ran my thumb over the back of her hand and when she looked up at me I asked, "Are you ready? I thought we could go to our room and just be together while we have the chance."
Peter and Charlotte hadn't gone hunting, but they'd gone off for some private time of their own. I was looking forward to having Bella to myself for awhile.
Bella nodded and smiled when I anxiously pulled her inside. I led her through the house to our room, and sighed happily when we were finally wrapped around each other on our bed.
"Darlin, I found something that I think you'll enjoy."
Bella pulled back from me just far enough to look up into my eyes, and I could feel that she was just as content to be wrapped up together as I was. She was also curious.
"What did you find?" She asked, with a glint in her beautiful, crimson eyes.
I started to untangle myself from her arms, but she only held onto me tighter. I watched as her bottom lip curled into a pronounced pout, "Where are you going? I'm comfortable."
I squeezed her to me again and kissed her forehead, "I know, but I want to show you what I found. I'll come right back here as soon as I grab them."
Bella's pout turned into a small smile, "Promise?"
"Of course I promise."
I went to grab the gift bags and returned to Bella's side quickly, "See, you didn't even have time to miss me."
"Ha," She rolled her eyes and then focused on the bags, "What're those?"
"A lot was happening so I'm not surprised you don't remember yet. These were the gifts we were going to exchange with each other on Christmas. We got sidetracked and then with everything happening after that we never got around to opening them."
"Oh! I remember now!" She was excited, and I was happy that it was giving her something to look forward to.
"Should we open them at the same time?"
Bella nodded and we each took the bag that had our name on it. Our eyes met, and with matching smiles we dug in simultaneously.
The emotion from both of us in that moment was confusion, and it took a few glances for us to make sure that we hadn't just opened the wrong gift.
"They're the same thing!" Bella laughed and I couldn't help but join in. However, my laughter came to an abrupt halt when I realized what was in my hands.
I went to ask, "How did you do this?" But we ended up saying it at the same time. As much as I wanted to open mine, I turned to Bella and pulled her closer to me.
"The girls helped me get some of your pictures when they were looking for the other items they gave you for Christmas. I went through and selected the ones I thought you'd like to keep and arranged them in the book."
Bella leaned into me and started to turn the pages of her picture album. I had put them in the book chronologically, so the first few pages showed a pink cheeked, baby Isabella in her parent's arms. The pictures moved through her infancy, early childhood, time spent in Arizona with Renee and in Forks with Charlie as she was growing up.
There were pictures from different holidays, of her friends in primary school, and even a few pages of her first two years with Peter and Charlotte. The last pages were all pictures that had been taken since she'd met me, and included all of the Cullens.
Bella was running her fingers lovingly over the covered pictures, and she was feeling nostalgic. She turned her face up to mine and kissed me softly before whispering, "Thank you so much, Jasper".
I hugged her tightly, wishing for the millionth time that there was a way to absorb her into my own body just so we could be closer still. I settled for kissing her forehead, "You're welcome. I only wish I could have found more of them for you."
Bella shook her head, "No, this is perfect", she insisted before going back to her pictures. It was in that next moment that I felt her guilt.
"Now what's that for, sweetheart? You know everything turned out with AJ - Both he and Alice and happier than they've ever been. Why are you feeling so guilty?"
She sighed, "I'll always feel guilty for what I did to AJ, no matter how many times he tells me not to. But that isn't what I was thinking about."
"Go on, Darlin. Talk to me."
She looked at the pictures quietly again before answering, "Why is it that I can remember so much of my human life? It's like there's more returning to me everyday, and looking at these pictures is bringing even more back. I can see so much of my life, things I didn't even remember whenI was still human, but everyone else can't. I know how sad it makes most of them, including you, not to be able to remember your family better."
I hesitated before replying because this was something that I had thought about a lot, and had even talked to Carlisle about it.
"It's just the luck of the draw, Bella. There's no rhyme or reason to vampire conversion, and though you remember more clearly than most, some remember more than others. It certainly isn't anything to feel badly about. And don't forget that it seems Adam also remembers quite a bit, though not as clearly as you do." At least not yet, I mentally.
I could feel that Bella wasn't happy with my response and that she would continue to feel badly about her increased memories. I was going to say more when her attention turned to the book I held in my lap.
"Maybe the gift I got you will help." She was hopeful, but also cautious.
By now, even though I hadn't looked at the gift, I had a pretty good idea of what it was and I was anxious to see if I was correct.
I was correct, and as I turned the first page of the album all of my breath whooshed out of me. I was stunned, happy, sad and frustrated all at the same time, but it was a wonderful gift.
Bella had done the same thing I had done. "Where did you find all of these, Bella? They're wonderful." And though I knew the faded, black and white pictures were of me and my family, they weren't familiar.
She was feeling shy, "Well, most of them were in the boxes you saved from your parent's attic. From the look of some of that stuff, you'd never actually opened most of them. Alice and Charlotte helped me with the rest."
There were pictures of a boy I knew was me, with a smaller boy; some in an orchard of some kind, others by the water or on a front porch. There were also pictures of a family of four, and again, though I knew this was my family I just couldn't pull the memories out of the cobwebs.
As I turned the pages I came to pictures of me in a uniform, and while these were more familiar to me, I still couldn't remember any specifics other than the days immediately before I was changed by Maria.
It was like when people are trying to remember a word and they'll say, 'It's on the tip of my tongue". Well, I felt like the memories were just on the tip of my brain, but nonetheless, completely out of my reach.
I didn't want Bella to feel badly, but I couldn't help uttering, "Oh I wish I could remember them. Just one or two clear memories would be wonderful. Memories that I'm certain of, and not just things I've made up in my mind and declared them fact."
I was running my finger over the strangers' faces, similar to the way Bella had done, and I was trying to keep my despair at bay. My mate had been through enough in the last few weeks and she didn't need to think I was unhappy with where I'd ended up.
Before I could speak though, Bella beat me to it, "Jasper I'm so sorry. I don't think the gift was a mistake, but I knew there was a part of it that would make you sad and I put it together for you anyway. I guess I was just hoping that having some of those pictures and…or seeing some of the faces would…Oh, I don't know. I'm sorry thou-"
I stopped her before she could continue, "Stop it, sugar. It's a wonderful gift and I'm very grateful that you put the love and effort into putting it together for me. I completely understand why you gave it to me, and I wouldn't give it up for anything. I suppose I'm just a bit disappointed with how distant my memories have become. I'm sorry if I made you think I didn't like your gift. I love it; you'll just have to be patient with me as I look through it."
Bella reached up and brushed my hair away from my forehead before cupping her hand around my cheek. I leaned into her, taking all the comfort I could in this mixed up moment.
"Perhaps once you've gone through the pictures a few times it will become more enjoyable and less painful to look at them. Maybe you'll even remember a few things."
"Perhaps," I answered without much conviction. I glanced down at the album and my eyes landed on a picture of me and who I guessed was my brother, though I couldn't remember his name or even be certain I had a brother. The other boy was me, and though I was sure of this it was like a dream looking at him.
The two boys were standing in front of a cornfield, each with a stick in their hands. They both wore wide smiles and I wondered if they had been laughing. Even with the worn photo, it was easy to see that their overalls were full of holes and covered in dirt; neither of them wore shirts. I would guess that the boy who was me was probably around 10 and the younger one was about 8.
I sighed and Bella could feel the sadness radiating from me. I thought I'd gotten used to not remembering my past, but apparently I hadn't.
Bella scooted over until she was able to lean her head against my shoulder, "Didn't work?" She sounded as dejected as I felt and I instantly regretted not putting on a better show for her. I didn't want her to think I didn't like her gift.
I looked down at her and shook my head slowly, forcing a smile, "Not yet. I mean, I know which one I am, but that's as much as I've got. I don't remember that it's me though, I only know because it's obvious from looking at the kid." My forced smile didn't fool her and I knew it was silly to even try.
"I'm sorry, Jasper. It seems so unfair."
I was studying the picture, wishing with all I had that I could remember just one small detail about that day…my Brother's name. I'd love to remember all of it, but if I could remember his name it would feel more real. Or maybe even my mother's name. No, I stopped that thought immediately. It was too much to hope for and far too painful knowing it wouldn't happen.
Bella shifted her position and sat up on her knees. I was still looking at the picture but closed my eyes when she placed the sweetest kiss on my temple. My lips twitched up into a smile as I felt the love pouring off of her; it was a small smile, but it was real this time.
I could still feel where Bella's lips had been on my skin; it almost seemed to tingle. I sighed again without as much sorrow and open my eyes. What I saw made me gasp and I almost dropped the picture album.
My eyes grew wide as I watched the boys turn to each other, finally released from posing for the picture. Their grins grew and the older one, me, challenged, "Race ya!"
I could hear them. The boys turned and started racing through the rows of corn; I could feel the heat of a Texas summer, smell the clean air and see it as if I was really there.
"Awww, Jasper wait up! You're going too fast!"
I watched the boy version of me look back over his shoulder and laugh, "Say that I win and I'll slow down."
"Say it, Jesse!" The boy 'me' giggled and with that carefree sound, I remembered everything about that moment in my history.
It was July and my brother, Jesse, and I had gotten up extra early to get all of our chores done so we could play and enjoy the holiday.
I was feeling overwhelmed but I couldn't look away from the moving picture. I didn't really even see the picture anymore; it was as if I was living it again.
Jesse was still chasing me and unsuccessfully trying to catch me. He panted, "Okay, I give Jasper. You win."
I whooped triumphantly but then slowed down so Jesse could run next to me, "Hey Jess, you wanna go swimmin'?"
He nodded excitedly and I turned back toward the house, cupped my hand around my mouth and yelled, "Pa, we're goin' swimmin'."
I thought I might cry when I heard the deep, rich voice of my father, Henry, calling back to the boy I used to be, "Wait for your cousins, Son, and be back before supper."
That's right! My cousins, Billy and Grace had been there that day to celebrate the birth of my baby sister…Abigail. Aunt Rebecca had brought her camera with her and kept making Jesse and I pose for pictures.
I watched as the picture swirled and settled again on the two boys grinning in front of the cornfield, holding their sticks.
I blinked and tried to convince myself of what had just happened. I know I didn't imagine it, because I remember that day perfectly. Everything that had been somehow related to that picture was now crystal clear in my mind.
"Jasper?" I jumped at Bella's soft, concerned voice, "Will you be okay, Jazz? I wish there was something I could do to help."
I turned and looked at her, my eyes still wide before pulling her into a fierce hug. When Bella pulled back she was feeling startled, "What's wrong?"
"What did you do, Darlin? That had to have been you. It was amazing, Bella." I felt more like my 10 year old self as I babbled on and on to her.
"Whoa, Jasper…what are you talking about? Do? I didn't do anything."
My eyebrows furrowed, "Did you see what happened?"
She shook her head, still confused and said, "It was only 2 or 3 seconds without us talking. What happened?"
"I don't know how long it was for me but…" I quickly explained exactly what I'd seen and her eyes grew wide to match mine.
"And now you remember?"
I grinned, "I do. I can remember everything that happened around that picture being taken. I…" I frowned slightly trying to force the memory but it wasn't working, "I still can't remember my mother's name or any other details, but the things I told you about are back. It was like watching it on T.V."
We stared at each other for a moment and the excitement in the air was electrifying. I had to try it again.
"Do you think you can do it again, Bella?"
She opened her mouth but shut it once more. When she tried again she was dazed, "I don't know what I did in the first place though. All I did was kiss you. I wanted…"
"That's it! Bella, you kissed my temple and it felt so good I closed my eyes. It was like I could feel your lips tingling on my skin even after you pulled back from me. When I opened my eyes and looked at the picture it was moving and changing." I was almost frantic with the need to remember more, "Try it again, please Bella."
She hesitated, "But what if I can't do it again? You'll be so disappointed Jasper."
I smiled, "Sweetheart, I remember more from seeing the details around that one picture than I have for more than 100 years. If it never happens again I'll still be forever grateful for what you just gave me, even if you didn't realize you were doing it."
Bella reluctantly agreed and I reached down to turn the page of the album. This picture was of me sitting at the counter in a kitchen with a big bowl in front of me. I was about 5 and there was an elderly woman I didn't recognize standing at a large oven.
"I want to use this one. Okay Bella, just do what you did before."
I waited as she leaned forward and as soon as her lips touched my temple I closed my eyes and tried to only concentrate on the love I could feel from her kiss. I'd never regret any of this, even if it didn't work again.
I slowly opened my eyes, almost afraid to look. When I gathered the courage to peek at the picture, I almost dropped the damn album again.
"Jasper, you're going to ruin your supper, Sugar." The 5 year old 'me' looked down in the bowl to see a bit of leftover icing. There was a cake on the counter. I dipped my finger into the icing and greedily sucked it into my mouth. I could taste it! It was amazing; sweet and chocolaty and oh so good.
In that instant the memories rushed over me. The woman was my grandmother and that day had been my 5th Birthday. I got to help make the cake and when I looked down at my clothes I realized I was covered in flour.
I giggled and my Granny Mable turned around and smiled at me, "Seriously Jasper don't eat any more of the icing. I don't think little boys are free from getting stomach aches just because it's their birthday."
I jumped up from the counter and ran as quickly as I could to fling my arms around my Granny. She smelled like cinnamon and as her arms wrapped around me and pulled me against her bosom I inhaled deeply.
"Jasper," A soft, melodic voice called my name but it wasn't Granny, "You're going to get flour all over your grandmother, Sweetheart." I turned in Granny's arms and sitting at the table, not more than 10 feet away from me and stitching a pair of my father's socks, was my mother.
The 5 year old Jasper just grinned and ran around the kitchen, hyper from the sugary icing. However, the Jasper that was a soldier, a vampire and more than 150 years old couldn't suppress a quiet, but heartfelt sob.
My Mother, Sarah Anne, stopped the 5 year old Jasper's running with a patient hand and gently brushed flour off of his face. Again the boy wrapped his arms as far as they would go around the woman and inhaled.
Her scent could only be described as 'Mom'.
I was going to break this up but thought I owed you a long chapter. However that means we've almost come to the end of Delivered. There will be one more chapter and maybe an epilogue. I also still need to finish the Jasper's POV of their 'first time' together, but other than that this is almost the end of the road.
I've had some ideas for a sequel but I haven't decided if I'm going to write it or not.
I wanted to give a huge THANK YOU to my consistent and very loyal readers. Your reviews encouraged and inspired me and I appreciate your patience over the last few months so much.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter and would love to hear your comments.