A/N: It's a MIRACLE! An update! Someone rouse the press ;) Chach2990, thanks for kicking my ass about updating. Repeatedly. Without your urging, there would be even fewer updates, if possible.
Recap: Outside of our house, Edward and I parted with a few brief words and a not-so-quick kiss. Though he did need to hunt soon, we had decided that it would be better if we hunted apart, as our passions always broke free when we exposed our innate nature. Tonight, I would hunt … and maybe, tomorrow, we would talk.
He held me close, and I felt the words he was withholding. They burned between us, unvoiced and yet still heard. But how could we say them, even hint at them, when we were so unsure of the future? It would only cause distress.
Months ago, we sped past the idea of friendship, but now we dared not push our still-fragile relationship too far; kisses and conversations were fine, but those words …
I ached to hear them. I wanted to; even though I knew it would shatter me when he left.
Thursday, July 14, 1954
Jasper's laughter was nothing less than beautiful. There was … abandon within it, a sense of barely-reigned freedom in it. I could always fall into a hazy half-awareness listening to him, knowing that he trusted me alone with his laughter; he gave himself to me, speaking without words.
And I heard. And I knew.
He tapped me on the shoulder, drawing me from my thoughts. "Are you in there, Edward?"
"No, of course not."I grinned, splashing lake water onto him.
Jasper huffed, pouting. To be honest, it was rather unbecoming on him; he stuck his lip out humorously too far, appearing ready to have a bluebird perch on it. He glowered at me.
"Laugh all you want, but someday, somehow, I will have my revenge." You can count on it.
Leaning into the sand, I chuckled. "Surely you will."
And then, images—hot and racy—bombarded my mind: us, tearing off each other's shirts; him, mouthing my pulse point; us, unclothed, rutting like wild beasts. Blood-covered and wanton, like after the hunt. Do you like that? I know I do. A carcass lay at our knees. We shared the blood between kisses, feeding off one another's venom and blood and semen, like cannibals.
I sucked in a quick breath, shuttering my eyes briefly. Fuck. Jasper laughed at that, lowly. I luxuriated in the sound, replaying the images in my mind. My arousal had leapt to attention, and Jasper nuzzled my neck.
"You fight dirty."
"That I do, Edward. That I do."
As much as my human-side mourns Chicago, I loved Seattle for the rain. There is something so—so cleansing, so forgiving about the rain; as a child, I viewed it as a new Baptism, God's given tears to wash away my transgressions, the ills of the earth. I would cradle raindrops in the cup of my palms, feeling the water trickle between the crevice, cool and sweet and bitter-fresh. I would taste it, taking the worst parts of myself into my body, sins shed like another skin, leaving me as new as a babe. It tasted like wanting, or maybe spiraling trepidation.
And then, I grew up. I stopped tasting the rain, stopped believing. The change, so sudden, wiped the last traces of faith from my weary bones.
In my rebirth, I was Baptized in death, christened with blood. And I raged, a crazed, maddened animal; everything was wrong, so very wrong! I … I couldn't comprehend it. I didn't want to.
So I made my way through the brimstone path, killing and pillaging in my hometown, trying to sanctify it for others, trying to justify my own actions, which caused others ill. And I remembered. And I would try to forget, but I cannot forget anything - because my brain wasn't made that way. Everything hazy was illuminated, everything human banished.
When I returned home, I was sequestered in the wilderness for many years. South, where the rain rarely falls. Carlisle worked nights at the hospital, and Esme attempted to bond with me. Then we moved to Seattle, after Rose and Emmett joined our family, and all was well. I was … happy enough there. But then … it rained. And I remembered the hazier times. I smiled then, and all was well.
You see, in the rain, though I did no longer believed, I could forget.
Before me, the raindrops glanced off the window pane, coagulating and sliding down the glass. It was cool against my hand. I relished the sensation.
I did not turn. His footsteps were light and swift, bare feet lilting on the steps. I heard him at the door.
Edward? Jasper touched the doorknob. I saw the room through his eyes: dark, lightning crashing beyond the window. A figure lit only by momentary brightness. What are you doing?
Answering him now, I sighed. "Nothing. Just watching the storm."
He made a noncommittal sound. I felt him at my shoulder, felt his eyes on my face. Searching.
"How was your run?"
He said nothing now. My fingers itched to touch him, to pull him close and simply feel him breathe beside me, while I still could feel his presence … Jane was outside. Listening. I felt her eyes blaze across my skin, marking me with her brand.
Be very careful, Edward. You wouldn't want your lover to go missing, would you? Would you prefer that we never allow you to return to him? He will be dead, nothing more than a pile of ashes, and you will never fully realize his state.
I nodded slightly. She would see.
"Edward …" Jasper's hand was a welcome weight on my shoulder. I leaned into his warmth, cementing him to my side through sheer will; his powers would catch upon my needs: his words, his company, his kisses, his flesh.
I turned, caught in the echoes of his desires. "Yes?"
His eyes were steely, a heavy, blistering dun fueled by both ire and arousal. I swallowed. My eyes ducked.
Jasper's palm captured my chin as I began to turn away from him, back to the window where Jane—where my true life—stood. His mouth curled, displeased.
"Look at me." Don't you try and hide away now. I know that you don't really want that, and neither do I.
I sighed. "Just leave me be, Jasper. I need some time to myself." To consider, to weigh the remainder of my time. I would not be returning to my family after this, that much was certain. Aro's task must never be fulfilled.
Lips thinning, his brow crinkled in thought. Raindrops drizzled from his hair, his clothes. His fingers were unusually warm against my cheek.
Then: "No." Softly, as though fearing rebuke, he hissed the word. I tasted it upon the tense air, knowing his commitment through the words-within-words. I heard his declaration (I love you), and I responded with one of my own.
"Jasper, I-I can't … I care … deeply for you, but …" Briefly, I closed my eyes, unable to bear his gaze. It was far too intense, smoldering with too many unspoken promises. And I knew that, if I asked him to voice the words, he would give body and being to them, tainting the air with their sorrowful intentions. And I knew that I would never be able to let him go, as I should, if he did.
His palm was smooth against the nape of my neck. He pulled me close, and I tumbled against him, pressed up against his chest. I breathed in his scent, laying my head against his shoulder. My breath beat a cadence. I tested my words, and finding them worthy, spoke.
"You are everything to me," I said, embarrassed at my first admission of love. "Jasper …" My fingertips brushed his damp hair, fluffing the drying curls. His forehead bent low to press against my neck; his words tickled, lips brushing against my skin.
"I know." I can feel it.
I dragged him closer, pressing against his chest. He had hunted while I was gone; I smelled the elk's blood, a potent cologne. "No," I persisted, kissing him gently. "No. You really don't know."
He made a soft sound of protest, but thankfully allowed the matter to be suspended, if only for the night. Urgently, his palm moved across the plane of my back, crossing the joints of my spine, caressing the mountains of my shoulder blades. He tasted slightly bitter from the blood, but underneath that, his venom was deliciously sweet.
Moving quickly, I straddled his thighs. Between kisses, I murmured, "How quiet do you think we can be?"
Jasper groaned. I swallowed his sounds, half-remembered gasps and harsh breathing. "Not quiet enough." But if you dare stop, I'll kill you.
"Will you?" I rolled my hip against his, biting his lip cruelly when our erections brushed. The pressure was exquisite. "Really?"
Yes. Now shut up; I can't think much anymore.
Well, I couldn't either. I suppose it didn't matter how quiet we were any longer, but how quickly we could divest ourselves of our clothing.
In the end, we were far too loud (God, do you two really need to get into it when I'm gossiping with Alice? Rose had protested) and it was far too quick. We lay lax against the bedspread, Jasper sprawled across my body. I relished his weight, the measure of security it provided my worrisome mentality.
When he kissed me afterwards, whispering sweet nothings into my ear, it was like a sort of benediction. It was even better than the rain.
Friday, July 15, 1954. 1:56 A.M.
"Tell me about Chicago, Edward. Tell me more, about your family, your city and life." He touched my hand. Please. I want to know.
I glanced up at him from beneath my lashes. Smirking, I queried, "Why?"
Jasper sighed. "You know why."
I huffed. "How about we have sex instead?" I was ravenous for his lean body and heated touches. Nothing warmed me like his afterglow kisses, lazy and still needy. They made me feel desirable, like Jasper could never have his fill of me.
"As much as I prefer your idea," And how sexy you are all disheveled, "I'm not letting you escape two nights in a row." You can't always have your way, Edward.
Lifting an eyebrow, I frowned. "I know this. I'm not a child, Jasper. I've already told you about my life, though."
He chewed his lip. His gaze darted away. Then, quietly, he said, "No, you haven't."
I said nothing. I bit the inside of my cheek, holding my tongue against the threatening torrent of words. What had I ever hidden from him?
You … you never told me about your fiancée.
Inhaling sharply, I stood, striding away. The door slammed behind me.
Jasper did not follow.
"Jasper is worried about you." I ignored the uneasy voice. It was easy enough; her wind chime tones fell hushed beneath the babble of the stream. I steeped my fingers in the cool water, puncturing a hole in the summer ice.
She moved closer. Then, she sat beside me. "He thinks he said something wrong. He thinks you're angry at him."
She shook her head, and her boyish curls swayed. "Edward, I know you're lying." Stop being an idiot. Don't lose what I already have; already he has given himself to you.
"I'm not lying, Alice." I had not lied about any anger towards Jasper. I resented only that he learned of a useless, doomed truth that may, ultimately, cause problems. I hurled a chunk of slick ice at her head. She chuckled darkly and flitted away.
I growled. I bombarded her mental barriers, and with little effort, broke through her walls.
And I saw: Jasper, his head cradled in his palms, fingers outstretched, waiting. For what, I could not discern, but he was alone in a pale room. The light filtered through the frothy curtains. I heard a bird somewhere off in the distance. Everything was hazy, as though concealed with fog.
Suddenly, Jasper leapt from his settlement. I tasted his anxiety, and his fear, and his emotions were bitter-tart, curdling in my mind like sour milk. I entered the room—a small bedroom, isolated; I heard nothing but the shrieking of wild pigs—and crossed to meet him.
He turned aside.
"Where is she?"
My mouth moved, unbidden, spilling the deliciously curdled words between us. They tainted the air. "With Alice. After all she has been through …" I shook my head. "She would be better off without me."
My lover tilted his head predatorily, mimicking hoary avians."Will you leave her?"
A beat passed.
"I should. It would be the best for her.Belladoesn't realize how much danger she attracts." My lips quirked. "I should know. I should have killed her ages ago." My throat rippled. "She would be better off with that wolf, Jasper. At least he doesn't dread tearing her throat out. She could have a normal life, a family …"
Pivoting, Jasper drew close, but retained his distance. Enough to disparage our current relationship. He ran a hand through his messy curls and sighed. It was the sigh of Atlas, of Heracles, of Aeneas. I shivered at the sound.
"Will you do me a favor?" I nodded. "Don't leave her." It hurts too much to go on. Then, he locked away his thoughts behind a solid barrier of sports statistics and little-known historical facts. But his eyes belied his inner turmoil, his smile always sad-tainted, his motions and words too practiced to be honest. Both of us, barely getting by, surviving with substitutes a pack of ravenous terrors and regrets separating us. They need each other
No! This would not happen! I ground my teeth and refused to believe it, digging deeper.
And then a second vision rolled across the first, like a film. I saw it as though a movie: Aro called me forward. I approached then, hearing the rasp of chains behind me. The haze was still there, obscuring all but Aro's face.
"Ah, dearest Edward! I see that you have returned with a pet. I must confess that I am rather surprised at this outcome, despite Jane's forewarning."He grinned manically.
I tugged the chained man forward; his hand rested against the small of my back, trying to sooth me. I felt a clam drape over me, and I knew it was Jasper at my side.
It's fine, Edward, he thought to me. Now, offer up my services under Aro's rule. He will never turn me away when I was so useful to Maria.
And I spoke those words: elegantly, fluently, heavily practiced. I knew that I should have felt anything other than a detached calm, but Jasper locked my emotions away, lest I allow them to overwhelm me.
It was all we could do.
No, Jasper could—would—never enter my world. There was another way to protect Jasper. There had to be!
And then another: "Do you remember when Alice snuck us away into the barn?"
I laughed, my entire body shaking at the memory. I shook my head. "You were so nervous, like a virgin."
"A virgin, was I?" He flipped me beneath him, nudging my thighs apart with his firm knee. "And what about you?"
Coyly, I kissed the corner of his mouth. "Perfectly composed, of course. You couldn't have expected anything less, Jazz."
My lover snorted. "'Of course' says he." His fingertips drew invisible circles on my inner thighs, slowly inching upward. My breath hitched.
It was then that I abruptly realized that in this vision, I was naked, pressed against Jasper's marble body. The phantomcontrolling me smirked and cunningly spread my thighs. My eyes beckoned him.
"Aw, fuck, Edward!" Jasper swooped down to kiss me deeply, hungrily. I twined my tongue with his and arched forward, eager for more. He tasted of mountain lion. I grew ever more pliant beneath him, twining our fingers together, curling my leg over his, and drawing him closer.
And then his finger strayed, brushing against my nipples and, bypassing my cock and balls, he—I gasped, arching into the feeling—
I tore myself away from the vision, breathless and aroused.
Alice watched me, her face a blank mask. "There is more," she said.
"I'm sure that I needn't see that." I hunched and wrapped my arms around myself. I didn't know what to make of the visions, especially the last. Though my body ached for it (oddly enough), my long-ingrained beliefs, my mind, rebelled against it.
"That will happen, you know. Maybe not now, but someday."
"Even with the first vision?"
Alice sighed, resting daintily on a boulder. Her skirts bunched up in the tall grasses, and her hemline was streaked with mud.
"Of course. What do you think drove you and Jasper together again? Bella was able to do only so much for you. If you will choose her, one day, know that it will last only a short time; subsists never last long when one's real mate is known." Like me.
I hummed. There was nothing to say.
"Go to him, Edward. You will be happiest together, despite the current circumstances. And tell him; he won't care about the truth. He will love you all the same." She glanced away, unwilling to meet my gaze.
Rising, I thanked her. She ignored my farewell, only advising, "Let whatever happens, happen."
I confessed that I didn't like the sound of that.
Jasper was in the forest, near our burnished lake. A deer carcass lay at his feet, and I smelled the blood on his lips, in every puff of breath. Venom pooled in my mouth. I swallowed it down.
"Jasper," I called out.
He did not turn. Edward, he thought, more out of courtesy than desire to greet me.
I sat beside him, folding my legs beneath me. This close, I sensed the nearly imperceptible tensing in his muscles, a trait from is soldiering days. I waited.
And he said nothing, too stubborn to speak first, too concerned to say the wrong thing. He wouldn't address me, I was sure, until I had brought forth the answers he desired.
So, I told him.
"Long ago," I began, weaving my fingers together, "when I was younger and dreamed only of joining in combat against fellow men and was blind to others' wishes, I was engaged. Her name was Charlotte. She was thirteen, and I was nearly fifteen; and we were both children who wanted nothing to do with one another.
"My mother feared that, on account of the war, there would be few eligible ladies whose fathers would consent to marriage, so she arranged for her friend's daughter to marry me just after my eighteenth birthday, if the war was not finished. The friend heartily consented, worrying for her own daughter's fate if the young men all went to war by the time she was sixteen. And so the date was set.
"We could not stand one another." I grimaced at the memory. "It was hate at first sight: she was the obnoxious brat and I was the conceited, good-for-nothing boy. Until one January, when she was fifteen.
I drew in a long breath. Jasper said nothing, listening attentively to my tale. I—this part was always the most difficult, the reason why I drew away from Rose when she first joined our family. She reminded me wholly of Charlotte: a lovely, hearty creature, broken.
Jasper leaned against my side. I took in his silent support and finished my tale. Alice's confident words resonated through my mind, granting me much needed courage.
"I was on the way home. It was almost ten at night and the snowfall was great that evening, so great that it would have been dangerous to drive, had I owned a car. I passed by an alleyway and I … I heard some noises …"
A girl, crying out, her skirts tossed over her face. A man, thrusting into her. Another two, knives held aloft. The statacco of flesh pounding into flesh. I stumbled, the cold snow chilling my fingers. The skirtsyanked down, and there was Charlotte, sobbing, begging me to helphelphelp please!
"And it was Charlotte. A man was raping her, his companions eager beside him. They had knives. And … I fell, slipped on a patch of ice. They heard me and threatened me''.
The men approaching. Their blades glittering in the dim moonlight; their menacing grins stretched thin over their faces. Unable to move when they drew closer, unable to fight when they struck out. Unable to do anything but run, to escape. The cease of gunfire.
"And I left. I left her."
"No, Edward! Please, please don't leave me! Please!"
"I left her, Jasper. I … I wasn't a good man—I'm still not—"
Warm arms surrounded me, choking me of my words. I dared not meet his gilded gaze, leaning into his embrace. He kissed my temple, and a wave of calm swept through me. I relaxed.
"Shh, Edward," he crooned, peppering my face with soft kisses, "it's all right. You made a mistake; you were scared. It's okay, Edward—"
Shaking him off, I buried my face in my palms. "No. It's not fine."
Jasper said nothing for a moment. Then, he moved to straddle my lap and lifted my chin, cradling my cheek in his hand. His eyes flared brilliantly. Flushing, my eyes darted away. Thanking whatever entities existing that I was not human, I bit my lip. Surely, if I were, my heartbeat and anxiety would betray me.
Already, I felt him prodding at my barriers, twisting and slanting my emotions. "Jasper," I warned.
You need this. Shut up and let me work. Embossing a venom-kiss on my pulse point, he broke through my frail boundaries; he bolstered me with false courage and empty jubilance. With my power, I was able to sense the subtle difference.
Jazz settled heavily into my lap. When he kissed me, his passion carefully reigned, it was more a sign of comforting support than anything else.
He sighed against my jaw. "You know that I would never hold you accountable for past mistakes, Edward. You were only a child. Those men could have killed you had you interfered … I—it was your self-preservation, that's all. It wasn't your fault."
"Don't lie to me!" I cried out, shoving him aside. "I don't need your false pity."
"I'm not lying. I would never lie to you, Edward!"
I pushed him off my lap. He tumbled to the floor. For a span, we both were still. He did not speak, and neither did I.
When I finally parted my lips, my voice hissed with spiteful implications. I … I wasn't pleased with my words, but they raged inside my chest, battering organs and crushing heart-held hope, and escaped without my consent. "Wouldn't you, if it was necessary? About Alice? About us?"
Jasper flinched. He stared at me as if he did not recognize me.
Then: "Being spiteful and releasing your anger on me will not help the situation. You made a mistake, one that you must accept and learn from." And I am sorry for you, that you had to witness it, but … "I am not yours to condescend and question. I love you, but I will not stand for it."
I shot across the room, snatching his hand from the doorknob. "No." Please, Jasper. Please.
He would not look at me then, and I knew that his decision would not bend; his will was of iron. Perhaps you need a moment to make sense of things. I shall return soon enough.
Friday, July 15, 1954. 5:41 P.M.
Edward pressed his knee between my thighs, urging me closer.
It was not the most orthodox method of solving our issues, but sometimes one just needed to be shoved up against the wall and have another's tongue thrust into his mouth, losing all inhibitions and remembering only that one is desired and possessed.
One very valuable thing I had learned in these past fifty-some years: make-up sex is the best. Those who do not realize that I pity.
Maria, whose scheming nature ruled any natural impulses, knew which buttons to push, which practiced movements made me lose control; Alice catered to my repressed desires, gently coaxing them out and breathing life back into them. Edward made me weak-kneed, starved, with his innocent advances.
He was, undoubtedly, the most talented and least experienced of all my lovers (including the stray mortals I used to catch, back when I was under Maria's sway and their blood was lust-rich on my tongue). Yet, he bewitched me. Though I didn't quite understand it, I eagerly embraced his shy appeal.
"You're a fucking coward," I muttered, nipping at his earlobe. He gasped, hips rocking forward. "What did you hope to accomplish?"
He shook his head, lips parted and wet and swollen. Christ. "I-I don't know. O-oh!"
Before he registered it, I had him on the floor, straddling my hips; his child-like palms, artist fingers spread, were splayed across my chest. I felt his cock against my thigh, and I shivered in delight.
"Tell me." I caressed the bulge in his trousers, and he jerked against me. I smirked. "Why?"
"Because I was … afraid. And jealous."
My hands trailed around his body, one stopping at his hip, the other grasping his tight ass. Truly, the gods did no wrong when they made this man; his unruly hair was mussed, and, as he bit his lip to hold in his cries, I felt his acute pain when the venom burned. It edged the pleasure in razor forms, like stalactites or blistering icicles.
"Of?" Now he was beneath me, hastily yanking his shirt over his head, and I followed suit. The slacks were next to go, a tumble of discarded cloth and shed inhibitions. I loved him best like this, when Edward surrendered his naïve side to the animalistic creature lurking within, unsated and wanton.
"Alice," he breathed, and then we were on the bed, and we were bare and rutting like wild beasts.
"You shouldn't be. You're mine. She's not." I punctuated each curt sentence with a thrust, sending him against the headboard. He thrashed, moaning and gasping and giving one long, loud caterwaul, and it was quick and sudden and then he was coming, and a moment later, I was, and the seed coated our stomachs, and then we collapsed against one another.
And for now, all was well.
Saturday, July 16, 1954
I sighed. "I know." Too soon day had come.
"I should leave."
His hand remained tight on my hip, latching us together. "I want to stay." I need to, Edward. When will I see you again?
Once more, my chest heaved regretfully. I couldn't chase away thoughts of Jasper, but at least I knew that he would be safe from the Volturi; it would be worth it in the end.
Twisting, I squirmed in his embrace until my forehead was pressed against his chest. Softly, I kissed the bare skin.
I hate good-byes.
"I … I don't know. Hopefully it will be relatively soon." How would I know what Jane had planned? The perverse child was beyond understanding. "Until then …"
I'll miss you. The words hung suspended between us, and neither of us dared to broach the phrase, terrified of its implications. Like Jasper's slip in his thoughts (I love him-love, love, love him, love me? …) I was still unsure of the emotions swirling within me. Though Jasper may have known his true course, I was still stranded by these unfamiliar feelings.
Leaning forward, he brushed his lips over my forehead, smoothing back my tangled hair. Sex didn't do much for its tidiness, apparently.
Then, he huffed, shoving me away. "Go. Get out." Perhaps Jane will pity you. The sooner you leave, the sooner you will return.
My lips quirked at the saccharine sentiment; I gathered up my clothes and, casting him straying glances when I could not control myself, dressed. His eyes were shuttered, his face forcibly relaxed as though feigning sleep, and his muscles tense. Though I knew the others would smell me and know of my activities, it wasn't as though they were unaware, and I didn't have time to bathe-instead, I had spent the morn lounging with my lover. And then some, after the resting.
It really was a wonder to be forever seventeen.
But before I left, there was one more ritual to complete. A small one, really, but one that had struck a chord within me, reminiscent of newlywed couples. The note was already hidden within my palm, and I carefully slipped it into the folds of Jasper's slacks. I tossed his clothes onto the bed.
"Get up already. Stop being lazy, Jasper."
Imitating a roused mortal, he cast me a sleepy smile. His hand clutched at the bundle of fabric, fingers already seeking my short letter.
I swallowed. Never before had I been in his presence when he discovered them. Apparently, I wasn't as crafty as I had believed myself to be.
But I couldn't remain now. I wasn't yet ready to hear the intimate thoughts I knew Jasper had, wasn't prepared to face my own truth. Though he and I both knew our standing, neither of us had voiced it-I would not until he already had, and he refused to until I was ready. It made for an unusual standoff.
Pivoting sharply on my heel, I wrapped the Volturi cape about me.
I dared not turn to see Jasper's expression.
A/N: Okay, so I figured I out to clarify a couple of things:
1). Jasper and Edward HAVE NOT had sex yet. In the vision, they begin to, but then Edward pulls away from Alice's mind. There will be a sexing scene when they finally do the dirty.
2). I'm assuming that, since the Volturi clean up vampire armies, either Aro or one of his henchmen would have come across Jasper. They would have known of his talents and reported to Aro accordingly. Also, I've increased Jasper's talents so that he can cause a fake adrenaline rush. This would result in increased strength, speed, and honed senses. Who wouldn't want a cooperating, power-charged army under their command?
3). Yes, that was Bella in one of the visions. And no, she will never, ever show up in this story again. I promise you guys that.
Reviews = love!