Disclaimer: not mine!
Here it is! This is the alternate to One More Taste. You don't have to read that one to understand this one-in fact I'm starting from the very beginning. So for those of you who have read One More Taste you can bypass this chapter and the next, and skip right to chapter 3!
The room was filled with candles and flowers. A large cake sat on a table in the middle of the room, surrounded by plates. I rolled my eyes. Surely Alice realized that only one person here would be eating cake. She couldn't do anything half way! I listened to Edward practically pull Bella out of the truck, pleading with her. Something about not having celebrated a birthday since Emmett's last in 1935, and to please let Alice have her fun. Bella sighed. When she entered, everyone, besides myself, moved in for congratulations and birthday wishes. Even though she'd been over here a thousand times, Edward still wished for me to keep my distance. I didn't really see the point-surely, if I was going to harm her, I would have done so by now.
I watched Alice jump and dance around Bella, eagerly pulling her over to the table with presents on it. "I thought I told you guys you didn't have to get me anything!" Bella said, blushing. Always blushing.
"I know, I know, but we couldn't help it! It's not every day you turn 18, Bella!" Alice trilled, still tugging on her arm. Bella cocked an eyebrow.
"How many times have you celebrating turning 18, Alice?" She laughed.
"That's different. You only really turn 18 once. I promise at your first pretend birthday I won't get you a thing." Edward cringed behind Bella's back. I could feel the anxiety, albeit a small bit, radiate from him in that instance. He didn't want Bella to become one of us. Quite frankly I couldn't see why. Wouldn't it be easier for everyone? No worries about blood, or hugging too hard, or breaking? And it's what she wanted, after all. Alice thrust a small silver package into her hand, grinning wildly. I couldn't help but smile-the joy pouring from my wife was almost intoxicating. She loved Bella like a little sister. Someone to dress up, and play with, and love. Bella rolled her eyes and started pulling on the package. I believe it was a CD from Alice, Edward and myself. Bella had forbid Edward from spending any money on her, so this was what he came up with. She didn't say anything to Carlisle and Esme, though. They got her plane tickets.
"Oops," Bella said, cringing. I hadn't realized that I crept closer until now. I smelled it before I saw it-blood. Bella had cut her finger.
I couldn't remember who I was, or why I wasn't allowed to harm this girl. After all, wasn't she our natural food source? The smell…oh God…it made my head swim. I had to have it. And if no one else was going to take it, it was their loss. I lunged.
"NO!" Edward roared, throwing himself in front of Bella. She tumbled into the table with the cake, smashing it to pieces and landing in glass. Her whole arm was open and bleeding. I rolled my eyes to her and tried to push my way past Edward. I could hear it pulsing from her arm. Her heartbeat was frantic. She looked at me, and fear clouded her vision. She should be afraid. As soon as I could get around these people, she was mine. Edward turned to call to Carlisle-his fatal mistake. I only needed a moment without his eyes on me-I spun through his arms and past Emmett before he could turn around. Closer. I knew I had precious little time.
"Jasper, NO!" Alice shrieked, trying to make her way to me. Sorry wife, not in time! I grabbed Bella's arm and raised it to my mouth. It was sweeter than anything should be allowed to be. I hadn't tasted human blood in so long…it was glorious. I let it flow, hot and sweet, as Bella struggled beneath me. Edward recovered in record time. I could feel him grabbing my shoulders, but I didn't care. The taste was magnificent-better than I had ever tasted. Emmett's arms locked around mine, finally breaking me free. Bella moved as quickly as she could to the other side of the room where Carlisle waited. I was being dragged outside. Why?!
Edwards face was brutal anger. He had me by the shoulders, gripping and snarling. I growled back in response. It was his fault-he brought her to me!
"Jasper, get a handle on yourself, man, or Edward's gonna rip you to pieces." Emmett said, still clutching my hands. Let him try.
"Don't tempt me, Jasper," Edward replied to my thoughts. My sanity was creeping back in, and I could feel his anger. It didn't help me. "You need to clear your head right now. Go for a run with Emmett. I can't talk to you like this." A run was probably a good idea. I needed to be away from the blood and the anger. It was too much like my past. I nodded. I could hear Bella in the kitchen, talking to Alice and Carlisle. I could still smell her. I felt Emmett tugging on my arm, sensing my reluctance.
"Come on, bro. We got to get you out of here. What were you thinking?" What a question. I thought about it as we picked up the pace, trying to phrase it just right. I loved running with Emmett-his emotions were always so…neutral. He wasn't angry, just bewildered.
"I wasn't. Thinking, that is. It just happened so fast. The funny thing is, I was actually thinking about how it was silly that Edward made me keep my distance from Bella. But when I smelled her blood…I couldn't stop myself." I shrugged. He would understand.
"I get that. I mean, don't take this the wrong way or anything, but how was it?" I chuckled. Leave it to Emmett.
"You have no idea. I haven't had it in so long it was like…nothing I'd ever experienced. And Bella…is sweet. Very sweet. God, she probably hates me now!" I didn't want that. I actually kind of liked her. She was kind, and smart, and trusting-that was her flaw. And Alice adored her. We stopped running and sat down on a bluff above the river. Emmett didn't say anything. I heard something in the woods.
"How could you, Jasper?" It was Alice. I could feel her before I could see her. Grief, anger, disappointment. Always disappointed in me. I slumped. "She's part of our family, and you try and…and…eat her?"
"I didn't want to! It just happened so fast, and she was bleeding a lot, and oh, God I wanted it…is she okay?" I didn't know if it was my emotions or hers, but I was really starting to feel what I had done. I was feeling something else, something beyond remorse. I felt pity for Bella, but…I wanted more.
"She's fine. You didn't do much damage. Edward is taking her home right now. She needed a few stitches, but there was no venom." She was still radiating grief.
"I'll have to apologize to her as soon as she's well. I really am sorry." Alice's face softened. Apologize I will do-and then I'll finish what I started. I couldn't believe I was having these thoughts! But I had never wanted anyone more than her at this moment.
"That won't be happening any time soon." Alice stated simply, pacing back and forth.
"What do you mean?"
"I saw it. Edward is going to leave her, to keep her out of danger. He thinks it's for the best. He'll stay behind a few days with her, but the rest of us will be leaving tonight." She sighed, still pacing. That wasn't good for my plan. Or maybe it was.
"I'm not leaving. You all can go as you like, but I'm staying behind. I need time to think." I said bluntly. Alice scrunched up her face in pain.
"What do you mean? You can't stay! What will I do without you?"
"I won't be long, I promise. Get everyone packed up, and go ahead and take off. I swear I won't leave the house. I just…need to reflect for a bit, you know?" I hoped she would buy that. I hated lying to her, but I had no other option. She nodded.
"Okay, I get it. Just don't leave the house, and come join us in a few days. Okay?" she ran to me and hugged me. I patted her on the head, and bent down to kiss her.
"Of course. I just need to get over this alone, I think. And then I'll be up-a week tops. Let everyone know I'll miss them and see them soon." I'd only have to deal with Edward for a few days, and he'd be so preoccupied with Bella that he wouldn't even be paying attention to me. And once he was gone, I would make my move. I had been to Bella's house before-witnessed Edward climbing her window. If I could promise her anything, I would make it quick.