It was love at first sight…
As her body twisted around on the cold cement floor, as she writhed in the blackness, Mary Alice thought that she should be feeling something. Anything.
After all, her heartbeat was speeding up, racing at a frightening speed. Every muscle in her body seemed to be contracting and reacting of its own free will. The force of everything was so extreme that her jaw had clenched to the point where she was sure her teeth would crack under the pressure.
But still, she felt nothing.
There was no pain. No agony.
Her back was twisting more violently than before, fighting against itself worse than ever, and it was then that Mary Alice decided her lack of feeling made sense in some sick way.
For the past few years she'd been poked and prodded by a vast array of terrifying instruments on a daily basis. And she'd been forced to swallow huge pills that stuck in her throat, as orderlies stuck her with syringes of mystery medications. She would try to refuse, or hide the pills under her tongue, but the orderlies would always threaten her or force open her mouth to make sure she'd swallowed them. And because of her small size, Mary Alice had no chance of escaping the shots. The huge doctors barely had to exert any force to hold her down.
Whenever she'd asked about the medicine she was being forced to take, the doctors and nurses had evaded her. Instead, they'd say things like, "This will help you relax." Or, "Don't worry, it's going to make you feel lots better."
The medication never once did what the doctors said it would do.
And then there was the unspeakable, unimaginable pain of the shock treatments. So terrifying and awful that once they'd begun, they'd infected her dreams and corrupted her body. For hours after the "treatments," Mary Alice would still be able to feel the electricity coursing through her nervous system. And her sleep was constantly interrupted by memories of being strapped down and having the jolts of energy jump through her body as a doctor stood by, promising that this would make her better.
Because of all the needles, pills, shocks, and all of the other tortures she'd suffered in the asylum, Mary Alice Brandon hadn't felt like herself in a very long time.
So really, it didn't surprise her that, despite what was happening to her body, she couldn't feel anything. And she wished, not for the first time, that she could experience some feeling. Even unimaginable, unendurable pain would be better than nothing.
She'd long ago decided that anything would be preferable to the nothingness she'd come to call her life.
Her thundering heart began racing faster than ever, the noise deafening to her ears. Mary Alice didn't know much about anatomy, but she knew that the violent beating of her heart couldn't be good. And as she lay on the cold, wet ground, all she could think was, "This must be death." With a great lurching thud, her heart beat one final time before falling silent in her chest.
But instead of losing consciousness, instead of simply ceasing to exist, Mary Alice found herself very much alive. Or so she thought. The memory of her thundering heart still coursing through her mind, Alice raised a milky white hand to her chest and pressed it to the place where her heart should have been beating. Instead of a steady of thudding that meant she was alive, there was nothing. She hadn't had a chance to consider what that meant when it happened.
Out of nowhere, a ravaged face appeared in her mind's eye. The stranger's eyes were a dull red, and she could read the pain in them instantly. It was as if the weight of the world were reflected in his gaze. When his eyes fell shut, Mary Alice scanned the scarred face, taking in the jagged ridges and lines that marred his features. Even though his face was covered in deep gouges, he was the most beautiful being she'd ever seen.
But just as quickly as it began, the vision was over, and Mary Alice was alone again.
She'd had visions before but never so vivid, so real. They'd always been brief glimpses of things she could never quite explain. More than once, she'd try and explain what she was experiencing to her parents. They'd ended up thinking she was delusional and crazy, and they'd turned her over to the asylum. But now, in her new, heart beat-less body, she understood what she was seeing, what the visions were. And after seeing that ravaged face with the broken eyes, she felt something for the first time in years.
Instead of feeling numb, Alice felt complete. As soon as the feeling filled her, every memory she had prior to seeing the scarred face was gone.
Jasper's face and the wonderful sense of being whole were all she knew.
At last sight…
Alice's tiny hands were wrapped tightly around the steaming mug of coffee in front of her. Watching the steam curl up in tendrils, she realized that the cream-colored ceramic would most likely be too hot for humans to hold onto for long periods of time. And the confused look the waitress was giving her confirmed as much. But she didn't care.
Because today felt different.
Different from the past two hundred and thirteen days. Different from all of those other times she'd sat in Delores's Diner, pretending to sip her coffee while reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle. She couldn't quite explain why today felt special, but it did.
Every day she'd gone to the diner at noon, claiming it was her lunch hour at work. But in reality, she was waiting for the man she'd seen in her very first vision so many years ago. She was waiting for Jasper.
Whenever she saw them meeting for the first time, it was in Delores's, and the clock always read 12:23 pm. She would arrive at noon and wait for an hour, and only an hour, before leaving, just in case he showed up earlier or later than he was supposed to. Despite the accuracy of her visions, Alice knew that things could change if the subject of her promotion changed their course. And so, she'd made sure to wait long, just in case.
But never once, in those two hundred and thirteen hours, did she ever feel the way she did now. It was 12:21, and every nerve in her body felt… wired. Expectant. Not realizing it, Alice's grasp was becoming tighter and tighter on the mug in her hands as the minutes ticked by. It was so close to the time she always saw in her visions. Just as the ceramic in her hands began to creak in protest, her eyes widened and glazed over. Anyone watching her would have thought she'd just remembered something important. But in her mind's eye, she was watching Jasper Whitlock walk into the diner behind her.
Reluctantly, Alice tore her attention from Jasper walking through the door and herself sitting at the counter so that she could look at other things in the vision. The clock, as always, read 12:23. After checking that, Alice's eyes flickered to the front of the diner. Outside the large windows, the sky was a murky gray, and rain was pouring down in thick sheets. It looked exactly as it had when she'd walked into the diner earlier that day.
Today was the day. She knew it.
The vision faded as quickly as it began. The moment she could really think again, Alice realized that that was it. That was the last vision she would ever have before meeting the stranger she'd come to know and love.
Very soon, he would be real, be solid. No longer would he just be a recurring face in her mind.
From the first time since Alice had seen Jasper's face in her mind, she'd known that they were two halves of the same whole, that they belonged with one another. And she knew that they would never truly be complete without one another. But soon they would finally be together, forever. And not just in her mind.
The moment the little bell over the door began to tinkle, announcing the presence of someone new, Alice's golden eyes flickered up to the clock on the wall.
It was 12:23 exactly.
At ever and ever sight…
Neither one of them spoke. There were no words for what they were both feeling. Jasper was finally there, standing before her, and it was simply enough for her to twine her fingers through his for the very first time.
And as a wave of contentment radiated through her body, Alice knew that Jasper felt the same way.
Throughout the years, Alice had had many visions where she learned about Jasper's empathic abilities. She'd learned that, as much as he was able to control others' emotions, he was just as affected by theirs. She'd marveled at his gift, wondering just how it would feel to have her emotions moved and touched by his.
Her thoughts on how it would feel had run the gamut from wonderful to violated. After all, his power had the ability to affect her emotional state, to take her free will. But never once, in all of her visions, had she seen Jasper use his gift in such a way. In fact, in her visions, she rarely saw him use his power at all.
She'd pondered that time and again, and Alice had come up with many theories about why that would be. The most logical had been that it was possible that he was using his ability and that she just couldn't sense it. After all, her visions were visions. She could hear them and see them, but she couldn't feel them.
And so, that was one aspect of him that she couldn't figure out based on what she saw.
Other than that, however, Alice felt like she knew Jasper better than she knew herself. But it wasn't until the moment that she slipped her fingers between his and felt his emotions flow into hers for the first time that she felt as if she knew him completely.
As his hope flowed through her body, Alice was bombarded with visions of what was to come. Before, whenever she saw Jasper, she rarely saw them together. Normally, he was alone, wandering around, searching for something. It had taken her a long time to figure out why she was seeing him. After all, she didn't know him. The only explanation Alice could come up with was that he was looking for her.
Jasper might not have known it, but he was searching for his other half. There was no other explanation. After years of learning about her power, she'd learned that she only saw the path that people were on at the time. And so, his path was leading him to her.
Overtaken by the power of his emotions, Alice allowed a wave of visions to flit through her mind. She saw their first kiss and his first taste of vegetarianism. She also saw them searching for the mysterious Cullen family together. Mixed into the deluge of images were dancing and laughing. She even caught a glimpse of herself in a white dress so ornate that it could only be a wedding dress.
As the rapid cascade of visions continued, Alice knew that she was seeing their life unfold before her eyes. The pictures began to rush by more quickly than before, and instead of trying to interpret them, Alice was content to just watch. It was confirmation of what she'd known all along. Their love would go on forever and ever.
Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- "It was love at first sight, at last sight, at ever and ever sight," is taken from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. (Which just happens to be my favorite book. :))
-"sirenprincess": Thank you so much for your constant support, it means more to me than you could possibly know.
- This was originally written for the lj community "twilight20" (Prompt: Belong).
- Quack: Thank you so much for your constant help. I really appreciate it. :duck:
- As always, reviews are love.