The style in this part will be slightly different to that of About A Soldier and Pixie Dust & Premonitions. I think it may not skip as much time in between parts, and I have a very strong feeling it'll be longer than ten chapters, but I can't be certain until it's finished.
I hope you all enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. To all of my readers: thank you all so very, very much. The only thing that made me happier than writing this series was reading your thoughts on it.
Thank you. ^_^
Because You Loved Me
A Rocky Start
Finding Jasper Whitlock has been an adventure and a half for Alice. Nearly thirty years she's searched for him. Nearly thirty years she travelled the world looking for the man, quite literally, of her dreams. Now, he's here with her and, though she's expected him, though she knew he was coming, nothing could have fully prepared her for the way she feels now.
Complete, she thinks. Whole.
She's found him. The trick now? Getting him to talk to her.
They've been together almost two days know, and he's barely said more than a few sentences to her. They're staying in a little shack a few miles from town; Alice found it and adopted it to stay in while she waits for her visions. For two days, he's been almost completely silent.
Tonight, he's sitting on a moth-eaten sofa, his face partially hidden by a book that looks as though it's been around even longer than Jasper himself. The black leather spine is clinging to the pages, and Alice thinks that if it were dropped or handled just a bit too roughly it'd fall to pieces.
"Whatcha doin'?" she asks curiously, standing a few feet from him with her hands behind her back.
He glances up at her. "Just reading."
Silence. At loss for anything else to say when he directs his attention to the book again, she sucks her lips back into her mouth, and then pushes them out again with a little pop. He looks at her.
When he doesn't answer, Alice frowns and looks at her shoes. They're torn near the toe; she needs new ones. Looking back up at Jasper from underneath her lashes, she studies him carefully. His military coat is muddy, torn at the elbows and shoulders. His boots are in worse shape than her shoes, and she can see a set of scars near the left side of his jawbone that look fresh.
She bites her bottom lip, ignoring the itch in her fingers that makes her want to go sit with him and love the scars away. Locking her hands together, she inches her way over and sits on the very edge of the sofa, as far away as she can without actually sitting on the arm of it.
He doesn't acknowledge her.
Alice scoots closer to him and leans over, peering at the open pages of the book. She reads a random line silently to herself:
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, When—"
Jasper snaps the book shut without warning, causing Alice to flinch slightly. "I'm sorry," she says quietly. "What book is that?"
He frowns at her, his stern expression softening a bit. "You don't know?"
"Well, I—no. I don't know it. Is it good?"
"The Bible?" he chuckles. "It's…complicated. This one belonged to my father."
"Oh, I've heard of that. I've seen people reading it, too, and I always meant to get myself a copy, but I never had the time... too busy looking for you. I think I must've been religious at some point," she rambles, reaching into the collar of her blouse and pulling out a small silver cross on a thin chain. "I don't know where this comes from, but I see the cross at churches all the time, so…"
Jasper stares at her. "You think you must've been religious?"
Frowning, Alice chews on the inside of her cheek nervously. She hasn't told him this part; only that she can see the future, and that she's been searching for him for nearly two decades.
"Jasper, I…" she sighs. "Promise you won't get upset and leave?"
The nervousness seems to melt out of her system, and she smiles slightly. It wasn't the first time he's used his gift on her. He'd done this in the diner, too, when she was rambling so quickly that even he couldn't understand her.
"Okay," she says, taking a deep breath that she doesn't need and fiddling with her skirt. "I don't know who I am, Jasper. I only remember waking up one day surrounded by trees, being chased by men and dogs. I don't know why, and I don't know where I was. I didn't even know my name; I learned it from visions of you talking to me. Calling me Alice. But I don't know my last name. I don't even know if I have a family."
Jasper's silent, his eyes fixed on her face as she speaks. When she's quiet again, he frowns and looks away.
"You're not mad at me, are you…?"
"Why would I be? It's not a crime to have no memories, Alice. I wish I didn't, sometimes."
Alice feels a bit awkward now, and she isn't sure if it's her own emotion or something he's letting slip by accident. She gestures to the Bible still in his hands. "What's it about…?"
"Oh," he says, looking down at it. "Maybe you should read it for yourself. I'm not so good at explaining things like this."
"Do you like it?"
After a few moments of silence, he says quietly, "I used to. I'm not so sure, now. I used to live my life by this thing and, now I just – Alice?"
She's staring at him, unblinking, but her mind and vision are far, far away. Her mouth is open, as though she were about to say something, and her hand is frozen in the air. He thinks she might've been reaching out for him.
As if someone had come up and shoved her from behind, her body jumps forward slightly, and she blinks. "Please don't go," she whispers.
Jasper doesn't make any effort to keep his confusion from her. "What are you talking about?"
"You're about to go hunting," she informs him. "Please don't."
"…I don't understand, Alice."
The tremble in her voice wouldn't be enough for human ears to hear. Jasper does, though. "Please, just stay with me."
He stands. "Alice, I need to go. Especially if you're wanting to travel tomorrow. It's not as easy for me –"
"No, but that's why I want you to stay. Or let me go with you, please."
Jasper shakes his head. "You're being silly. I'll be back in just a few minutes."
There's no time for Alice to object before he's out the door. She holds her head in her hands for a moment. He's quick, and she has no idea exactly where the girl in her vision will be.
Still, she has to try.
* * *
Alice is wandering the night streets of the city, desperately searching for the young woman she saw. The one who, if she isn't quick enough, will die at Jasper's hand.
"It's not his fault," she mumbles to himself. "It's all he knows."
She, on the other hand, had seen visions of the Cullens; she knows that humans do not have to be on her diet plan. And they haven't been. In fact, she'd only killed one single time. Not that it's easy for her…
"Where are you, Jasper?" she whispers, inhaling deeply several times, searching for his scent.
Then, just as she's about to give up, the wind blows in the right direction. She takes off in a sprint towards the opposite edge of the city, ignoring the blaring car horns as she crosses the street without looking.
Give him a good chase, she begs the girl that she knows is being stalked right now. Please, just give me time to get there.
She reaches the outer limits of town within two minutes, and skids to a halt at the edge of some woods. She sniffs.
"Jasper?" He's here, she knows… but where? Secluding herself behind a big old oak, she scans the empty street. She tries to catch a scent, any scent, in the wind.
She doesn't need to go by smell, she realises, when she catches movement at the far end of the road. The girl. She's walking along the sidewalk on her own, and Alice can't imagine why she'd do such a thing in a place like this. Especially at night. Silently, she leaps up into the tree and watches as the girl approaches.
Alice holds her breath, listening for anything, any sound to indicate that Jasper --
The girl's passed already, but she's only a few yards away. Alice turns and swiftly slips out of the tree. She drops to the ground, just in time to catch a glimpse of that dark military coat. Sprinting after him, she catches up in a matter of seconds and cuts in front of him.
A deep, rumbling growl escapes his throat and he glares down at her, his black eyes furious. She stares up at him, her feet frozen to the ground.
"Jasper, you don't have to... just let her go, huh? She's got a family somewhere and - wait!" He tries to step around her, but she plants her hands firmly on his chest. She manages to keep her ground for a moment, even begin pushing him backwards, but Alice has forgotten the life he came from. She's forgotten how strong the lust for human blood can be when one is so used to having it right at their fingertips...
She gasps; the decision he'd made was so quick that she didn't have time to see it and defend herself. Her feet are dangling inches above the ground; Jasper's fingers are wrapped around her neck, and his grip is crushing. She stares at him, wide-eyed, looking for a way out.
"Jasper," she whispers, curling her hand around his wrist gently. "Jasper, it's me..." He growls again, his lip curled, his onyx eyes empty, thirsty. Emotionless. "Jasper, it's Alice..."
Very faintly, almost so faint that it was barely detectable, his grip on her throat loosened and his expression softened. His eyes moved across her face, settled on the veins in her forehead that were protruding out; a result of his too tight grip. "Alice..."
She felt her feet touch the ground again, and her hands immediately went to her throat when he finally released her. She sunk to her knees, trembling as she felt unneeded oxygen flood back into her burning lungs. When her head stopped pounding, she looked up to find that Jasper had retreated several yards away.
He's kneeling, his arms over his head and his face hidden.
She stands and takes several slow, cautious steps towards him. "You didn't mean it... I'm not mad at you, Jasper."
"I just came inches from killing you, Alice."
He doesn't sound angry, just shameful. She makes her way to his side and kneels next to him, carefully placing her hands on his arms and pulling them away from his face. "But you didn't."
Jasper stares at her. "I could have. I was going to."
"But you didn't," she repeats. "You chose not to, Jasper, even though you could've sent my head rolling with a simple flick of your wrist, and went on about your hunting without a second thought. But you didn't. I'm not going to run away from you, Jasper. I see myself with you, no matter which path you choose. I will always be right here, and nothing's going to change that."
He studies her face; her calming golden eyes, the soft smile on her lips... he hangs his head again. "I'm sorry, Alice."
"I know," she says, seemingly unphased by everything that had just happened. "It won't happen again."
"How can you be so sure?"
Alice smiles, and pushes a blonde curl away from his forehead. "I see the future, Jasper," she whispers. "I see a very, very happy place."