Summary: AU Jasper never meets Alice or the Cullens. His life remains a raging storm where nothing remains constant. But when he meets a simple human girl, the violent ripples in his life begin to calm. Jasper/ Bella

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight

AN: Two-shot. Two parts of a love story, from when they met to their last moment.

Quick Note: For my story, for convenience's sake, vampires don't sparkle in the sun.

Part One:

Almost Perfect

***&***&***&***&***

I. Jasper: Before

Pain. Desire flew through the veins of my body. The back of my throat felt coarse and dry.

Hunger. There was that too. I was always hungry and no matter what ever happened, I was always hungry. It coursed through me like a river, streams and streams of irritation whacking away my sanity until soon, I feared there would be none left. Even now, the sensation of needles pricking away at my throat was normal along with the feeling that I'd sooner kill than go without drinking much longer.

I grabbed at my throat with my nails. It was useless, and stupid, but mostly stupid. It was a fundamental fact that the pain would remain and that I was no closer to fulfilling that never-ending thirst. You couldn't blame me for trying. It's a freaking annoying thirst. Definitely not a fault on my part, just what I freaking am.

For an instance, static filled the scene before my eyes. Was that a sign that I was hungry? I don't know. Freaking, I'm always hungry. I wouldn't be surprised if I went at those high school students now. They walked down the streets, happily frolicking like the children they were. Children to my eyes at least; I was nearly a few hundred years ahead of them in age. But I shook my head. They weren't exactly little things that ran around, proclaiming that Sesame Street was the best show on earth. Too old to be children, I told myself. Prey then. No. They weren't prey either. No. I was disguising as one of them, for now.

Jasper Whitlock was a simple high school student now. I couldn't kill my own classmates, right? There would be no killing, because I'm a freaking ordinary high school student now and now a blood-sucking freak bent on killing humans that get in my path.

Why'd I care about stupid humans anyways? They were insignificant ants. You hug them a little too tight, and they'd probably die in your arms. Yes. I reckoned if I tried hard enough, if I wanted to, I could maybe snatch one of them while they weren't noticing…they were so weak after all…

No!

Freaking. I dropped to the ground at that point. I dug my nails into the cement and even though I was a stupid ordinary high school student, the cement was like dirt. A bit got stuck in my nails. I clenched my fist, my head to the ground. I was getting a freaking breakdown? Right now, of all places? I was so messed up it was even funny.

"Look, should we go talk to him? He looks depressed."

Even with my stupid ability to hear so well, (Yeah, vampires can hear well, woohoo.) the voice of that human girl, Emily, no, I think it was Ember, whatever, her voice barely reached the surface of my soul. Of course, that was assuming I actually had a soul. But for the sake of my sanity, I assume I have one, not that it was taken long away from me.

Being a vampire so long makes you like that. You start thinking about life in a million ways you'd never expect you would as a human. At one time in Virginia near the turn of the century back in 1900s, I wondered what would have happened everybody turned into a vampire. I mean, surely, those who drank blood would have croaked first. But vampires are freaking immortal. Stupid.

It's getting harder for me to concentrate. The sounds of that girl, Ember, were barely comprehensible.

"He doesn't want anybody to talk to though. Didn't he tell us that?"

"And I had quite a crush on him for a time but I didn't…"

"Isn't he an outcast? Remember what she said about…"

"Suppose so…"

Gradually, the words became mush, and I figured my ears went numb, in a twisted way. Although practically speaking, a vampire's ears can't go numb. We're near invincible compared to humans, but I supposed if some human actually managed to cut off my ears, I wouldn't be able to hear. But humans are weak, so I'd doubt that would happen.

The thirst cracked the skin of my throat again. It was like my whole body was on fire and the flames were ripe, constantly biting into my skin. I let out a hiss, though the pain failed to release itself into the air. I could feel it, my pupils growing into that disgusting hue of red. I hated that reminder. It was enough that my throat was always burning. I didn't need red eyes to show to others that I was hungry.

You know, I think I would cry if I was able to. Screw that stuff about males not crying. You try being a vampire for a few centuries. We'll see how that works out.

Freaking. I'm talking to myself. Figures that I'm crazy. It even took me a while to realize that I was talking to myself. I don't know how long I sat at that stupid square of cement. I never took the pains to lift my head. I figured it was better to stare at nothing than humans.

I stopped breathing for a while. It was too hard to resist the smell of blood. Stupid humans. They had too much of it. I swear, if you poke a hole through them, the liquid would squirt out like some kind of fountain. But that only meant that they were full of life. I always liked to think of blood as life. It was perfect symbolism for something I always desired, but could never have.

I'm still sitting. I never felt tired. That, I suppose, was a perk to becoming a vampire, but I've never cared much for advantages.

After all, life was so much more boring without goals or dreams.

Hm, there really was a lot of scratch marks and gum on the cement.

Useless, said my mind. I supposed I was. There was nothing I could find to compliment myself, and I wondered if anybody else could.

Worthless and full of rubbish, continued my mind. I nodded. I was that, too. I still couldn't find anything good to associate myself with. In fact, I wouldn't have minded if someone chose to rip me into shreds and throw those parts into a fire. I might have thanked them, even. You know, for finishing a dirty task that I was too cowardly to commit. I clamped my eyes shut. The grey world of concrete disappeared from my eyes, replaced by a world of black where everything was dead.

So I was separated from the world. Not a single passed through my ears. Nothing smelled. I stopped my lungs. Everything was black; because I saw nothing except for a twisting black void conjured by the insanity in me. And even if I couldn't block out all my senses, I liked to imagine my hands were numb and couldn't feel anything anymore. You know why?

Because it would mean that I was still a freaking human. I don't even think I can remember what it feels to have my hand numb anymore. We don't really feel pain, if you ignore the part where my throat feels like its being burned by hellfire. Life's like that. You ignore all the bad stuff, and bring out the good stuff, but at one point or another, all the bad stuff comes back to get you.

I did not belong to this world anymore, and I have a pretty guess that the world did not want me.

So that was crazy old Jasper talking to himself and wondering why he was not six feet under.

I still wondered what would have happened to me if that had not occurred. Perhaps, the negativity of my mind would have finally reached that still heart of mines, and it would have been enough to end my pitiful existence. You know, I wouldn't have minded. Being alive is not all that fun.

But then, my world was penetrated. Despite all the locks and chains I freaking placed around that world of mines, she managed to barge through the gates like she was the owner of the place or something, leaving her dirty footprints all over.

Stupid Bella Swan and her enchanting voice. It was something I found eternally irritating, and it almost always managed to get through my world. Because, you know what, beneath that sick sugary tone, there was this sweet kindness.

It wasn't like I loved or desired it.

No way.

But she really was different, in her own clumsy way. She never knew when something was dangerous or not. Like me. I'm a blaring example.

"The floor is dirty, you know?"

It was probably her voice that made me listen to her words that day. Or it might have been because she was standing so close to me.

"Don't you know that millions of shoes have trampled all over that spot? Come, let me help you up." Then, I felt the fingers of a hand rest upon my shoulder, touching ever so slight on the surface of my shirt. It was like she was timid, but that wasn't correct. A timid person doesn't walk up to a complete stranger and tell them that the floor is dirty. I glared at her for that. Humans weren't exactly my best buddies.

But I was greeted with a blaring smile that almost burned out my eyes. The corners of her mouth were too high and the grin was definitely too wide. I remained quiet, but I didn't look away. Slowly, she extended her other hand, her right one, in an open gesture. My gaze moved over to that hand, but I didn't do anything. My hands limped by my sides. Why couldn't she leave me alone?

She didn't get the hint. She waited instead, the ugly smile on her face never fading. Her fingers remained in midair, poised and ready.

I've never figured exactly what had prompted me to do whatever I did that afternoon. It might have been loneliness, or maybe it was because I didn't care anymore.

Regardless of what I thought, I lifted my right hand from the ground. It was covered with dust and dirt, but she didn't seem to mind because her fingers closed upon my hand within seconds. With the grace of a vampire, I stood up on my own two feet as if the girl had never helped me.

"Bella Swan," said the girl, the smile on her face lifting several inches.

I nodded dumbly, still refusing to speak. I sensed no fear in her, and I wondered if my skills were decaying. She never even noticed that I did not give my name. Instead, she started walking and it was only when she realized that I had not followed that she walked back to me. Except a slight accident occurred along the way. Her left leg stepped into a puddle. A fraction of her smile slipped as she fell towards the hard ground, her arms flailing.

But it was probably predictable and obvious that she did not fall to the ground. Despite what my mouth claimed, and what I believed to be true, some of my human instincts remained. Like manners, except that they weren't really what I would call instinct.

I caught her by the wrist of her left arm, releasing my grip as soon as I touched her. My eyes flickered to the other side of the sidewalk so I wouldn't have to stare at her face. But I looked back. There might have been some sort of concern floating around in my eyes, but I doubted that she would have noticed. I only sensed relief in her.

"Why, yes, I think I'm alright." As if the accident had not been a fault on her part, she dusted off her jeans with both hands. Then she looked at her left hand, gently rubbing her wrist with her right hand. "You have a strong grip there." She embodied grace, despite the fact that she tripped on her own two feet.

Her eyes roamed to the other side of the street, to the high school students. A part of me wanted her to leave, but something else wanted her to stay.

She didn't walk away however, because it would have gone against her principles of always landing herself in danger.

"I think I saw you somewhere before at the school…"

That would have been a big positive considering that we were only a few streets away from the old school.

"Some people told me your name was…Jasper Whitely?" There was uncertainty in her voice.

"Jasper Whitlock," I corrected, though I didn't have to.

"Oh," her eyes widened and the blush in her cheeks seemed to grow livelier. I tensed at that. Humans. Told you they had a lot of blood. "I'm sorry. I thought I would remember…"

"You never met me before," I pointed out, a key flaw in her previous statement.

"Until today," she stubbornly replied. Once again, she held out her right hand. To my discomfort, I noticed the red marks around her wrist. She seemed to realize that, this clumsy girl. "Don't mind it."

When I didn't accept her hand this time, she became bolder and grabbed my hand, shaking it weakly."Nice to meet you Jasper Whitlock."

"Nice to meet you too," I nodded, pulling back my hand before she could realize. I turned my head a bit, staring out into the distance. It was still early, only around three, but I didn't think I could stand the presence of a human much longer. There was too much blood in this one. You could practically see the blood flow through her veins with that pale skin of hers. "I have to get home now."

"Okay," she smiled. "See you again at school tomorrow."

"Goodbye," I said, nearly fleeing from her. I was eager to return to that secret world of mines, the island uninhabited, never knowing that someone had stepped in already.

***&***&***&***&***

I didn't arrive at school the next day, or the next.

***&***&***&***&***

But I went on Friday, because I figured I would be forgotten by now, by her, Bella Swan. Classes went on normally in the morning, with everybody else too scared to actually converse with me. Their fear slid off me. It didn't hurt me, but it could have been because my mind wasn't thinking straight again. But when was I ever thinking straight? At least there was enough sense in me to know that it was a danger to make friends with any of them. It was like a lion making friends with a lamb. It simply did not happen.

But by lunch, my illusions were sourly gone. She approached me again, the little fool of a human girl. She went up to me, to where I sat during lunch. She went up to me, her smile still in place. I wondered if it was real or not, but it was near impossible. Her feelings were all over the place. One second, she was thinking of something that brought tears to her chest and in the other, she was thinking of something more akin to someone winning the Nobel Prize award. In her clumsy way, she dropped her tray onto the lunch table, slipping her legs through the bench. She was next to me, too close; I realized that a moment too late. What happened to the super reflects of a vampire?

The thirst in my throat pricked away again. The prospect of a nice drink stirred the beast in my mind. My fingers curled in my hands; they were clenched, as was my teeth. I drank in her almond scent, so much that I had to stop breathing once more. I hated it. It was another reminder that I was dead. Those little things—they're enough to drive someone crazy. And even worse, the scent as so sweet and alluring that even when my lungs had ceased their function the aroma stayed with me. Punishment, I suppose.

It was retribution for my previous diet. See, I use to drink human blood. That was a stupid mistake. A blaring mistake. It happened so long ago, I shouldn't have been thinking of it. But that was enough to make me stand up from the table. My hands laid flat on the wooden surface. I grabbed my trays with my both hands, walking away without a second glance at Bella. Just out of the corner of my eyes, I could see that I used too much strength. The sides of the tray were slightly shattering. The plastic didn't seem to like the display of strength I showed it. Whatever. I needed to get out. Fast.

It was to my relief that Bella remained at the table. Her head was slightly arched forward towards her tray, so I couldn't read her eyes. Her hair was awfully long, and it allowed her to cover part of her face when I looked at her from a certain distance. But still, emotions weren't like images. They stayed. But mixed in with the sea of emotions that stemmed from the cafeteria, hers was merely a fraction of a whole picture. I could sense little from her, besides a pang of pain here or there.

I almost allowed myself to breath, but I stopped. It would be unwise. Edging over the trash can, I discarded my lunch and piled the chipped tray on top of the others and stalked out of the cafeteria.

School was officially over for Jasper Whitlock. Time to call it a day.

***&***&***&***&***

If Bella was a fool, I must be the king of idiots. I continued to go to school, determined that Bella wasn't going to be the reason I had to move away to another area. That was when I made a mistake. I didn't make one, and I didn't attend to make one. She wasn't going to make me move. Everywhere was the same, really. When you've lived around as long as me, you start to see the world in black and white. There's nothing interesting about humans, though literature always speaks differently. Recently, there's been a spread of Harry Potter fanatics throughout the school. A new book came out, so everybody's freaking crazy about it. You see everybody with a book in the hands and their reading it wherever they go. I even saw some of the males bring their books into the restroom. That was how crazy they were. And worst of all, I didn't even like the book. It was some fantasy book, about a wizard. Imagine my surprise when I saw Isabella taking the same book everybody was reading. I nearly fainted right there and then, if that was possible for a vampire. The dead don't faint.

She was reading it and her nose was stuck on the pages. Just because it was popular didn't mean that it was a good book. I certainly wasn't going to read it just because everybody was crazy. But to my displeasure, like always, she would stumble across the cafeteria, her legs dangling oddly as if she would fall any moment. Bella Swan would pass a smile, not glittering and extravagant like it had been so long ago, but timid and warm. It would always affect me somehow, even if she had that weird book snug in arms. Maybe it would have rid the ice in my heart it she smiled long enough. Or it might have burned in me alive. Weren't vampires suppose to be afraid of the sun or something? That was funny. Humans make the funniest things up. I wondered who the crackpot that invented that stupid rumor was.

But then I would get distracted because Bella would swing her legs over the bench once again and plop her tray of food on the table as if she owned the place. I had to admit though, she did look like royalty. Her name, Isabella, belonged to a few Queens. But then, she kept insisting her name was Bella, to the other people anyways. I never called her by any name. I barely talked to her. But she would still come over to my table and smile, as if we were best buddies ever since the American Civil War and all.

I always escaped at first. I would get up and walk. But gradually, it was getting troublesome. There were only so many days I could walk away and throw my uneaten lunch in the trash before someone would realize that I had not eaten a single bite out of that human trash. I hated being near her. I could never smell correctly, not without going berserk with her scent. I had a few outbursts in the past, and it never ended well for the humans that had been around me at the time. But darn it, I couldn't get myself discovered.

And she started talking to me about that stupid book, and why she thought it was a good book. That was the weirdest thing. She usually never spoke to me. That was fine with me. Why'd she have to change that routine? It was all because of that stupid Harry Potter book.

She claimed she liked the whole mystical feel surrounding the coming-of-age tale. I wanted to tell her that there were more stories to read if she wanted a coming-of-age tale, but I didn't. You didn't do that with Bella. Bella was always off reading the next chapter of the book—she was a slow reader. It took her a few days to just get to the next chapter, and even then, she might have insisted upon rereading the chapter for emphasis. You'd be an idiot to not notice that she loved the book. There were so many tears on the cover and on the pages; you would have thought that the book was years old and not only a month old.

The only good thing was that when she read, she kept her mouth shut about the goodness of the book. I had enough of that crap to last me a long while. That was vulgar slang, I supposed. My mother might have been heavily disapproving if she heard that, but there was nothing she could say right now. She was a bag of bone dust under six feet of dirt.

The Harry Potter craze ended in our school, but not for her. She continued to read through her book, flipping through pages and pages of text. I bet it probably wasn't even that exciting. But slowly, I began to notice the little things about her. Regardless if it was the way her eyes sparkled when she reached a new plot point of it was the way she dipped her spoon in a cup of pudding, there was always different about the way she carried her tasks. There was just that sense of serenity that surrounded the girl. It made you want to stick to her and never let go.

I swear, I must have been crazy to think something like that. If I stuck to her that long she probably would have died. Vampires don't make good friends. Though, it wasn't as if she had any real ones. She rarely hung out or talked with any on campus. In passing periods, she walked alone, without anyone to ever comfort her. But her head faced forward, with that sense of nobility I talked about early. And when she finally finished that new Harry Potter novel, she moved on to other books. Recently, she began reading the Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. From the little she talked about the book, it took place in New York, around the 1870s. Some rich heir gets engaged with another wealthy person. But then, he falls in love with his fiancée's cousin, some care free woman. I've never found those books interesting, but Bella did. Her face was practically glued to the pages.

Maturity. I wanted to use that word to describe her. But, it didn't seem appropriate to describe her as such. It was true that she spent her time differently from the others. She wasn't a fan of shopping and on the contrary, seemed to dislike it greatly. After a while, I noticed that she wore the same clothes once a week. But, still, I disagreed with the term "mature." There was still a spark of innocence within her eyes that sparkled brightly even under that adult mask she took on.

There were times when she turned a childish eye towards situations. From what I gathered from gossip, she dreadfully hated PE and took much effort to escape from it. And supposedly, she was a weakling when it came to dealing with blood. I smirked. Her body was full with it, and she seemed particularly delicious. Yet, she was rumored to be squeamish.

Let her be scared, my mind told me. And right my mind was. It should matter little to me whether or not some insignificant child was scared of her own blood. I was not really her friend, especially when I could rip her apart with my hands at any point in time.

But something happened one day. I should have expected it. The girl was always tripping on her own two feet, as if she had never learned the basics of walking. She had been jogging along the track, slightly panting. I was walking pass, supposedly sick from the flu. My teacher was convinced enough to send me to the nurse's office, where I would have managed to fool the nurse to thinking that I really was sick. But seeing Bella run stopped me. She continued her run, never noticing my ghostly presence. While turning a corner that wasn't even sharp, she slipped. She fell towards the concrete wall positioned south of the track field. The smell of her blood immediately flooded my nose. My entire body tensed. I willed my lungs to stop, but it was too late. The smell remained in my mind. I was hungry.

Delicious, my mind licked its lips at the prospect of a wondrous meal. It was then she turned her head, coincidentally, towards me.

My body tensed. There was an undeniable urge to move forward and swallow all her blood. She stumbled, her leg caked with a red delicious drink. Her arm was extended towards my direction, like when we first met. With horror, I realized she was pleading me for help. She was helplessly falling to the ground, and me and my hunger realized that.

The wooden pencil I held in my hand snapped into two, the shards of wood dropping to the ground. I tried hard, but I found myself unable to move away from her sad gaze. I swear, if I had a heart, it would have pounded so hard, it might have fallen out of my chest.

I felt the other side of me take over. The weak side retreated to the fortress of my mind.

But, something snapped deep within. I remembered the bright smile that Bella Swan liked to wear, the frown when she heard of something horrible, and suddenly, my legs and arms were mine again. Like a coward, I fled the scene, never once meeting the eyes of the girl lying helplessly on the ground.

***&***&***&***&***

I didn't come back to school for the next few days. The smell lingered strongly in the crevasses of my mind. I was afraid of it resurfacing. And though I doubted that Bella Swan would be at school after her nasty fall, I wouldn't have wanted to harm anybody else.

And there was a new twang of hurt that attacked my already wounded body. Her sad smile wouldn't go away, and it hunted me, in that empty house of mine. The walls and ceilings, if possible, were gloomier than before, tainted with a scent of melancholy. The couches, unused and new, sat idly against the walls, staring at me accusingly. Perhaps the lonely girl had considered you a friend, they seemed to say.

I would shake my head, and at that moment, I would realize it and doubt my sanity.

But after a week, I knew that I would have to attend school once more. With a heavy heart (still heart, I corrected myself), I set towards entering that dreaded place with blood and sad smiles.

She wasn't there at lunch.

It brought me unease, to my surprise. The bench was awfully quiet and empty, despite the fact that Bella had never muttered as much a word to me when she sat there. She read books and was not much a conversationalist. Though, when I stared closely enough, I could see the faint silhouette of a girl clumsily walking across the plastic flooring, holding a couple of textbooks in her arms. I felt something pull at the muscles at my lips, and perhaps then, I smiled.

To my displeasure, I did not ask anyone about her condition. I told myself that I didn't care, and I didn't.

And besides, she came back the day after I returned.

In her cast, she wobbled her way to school. I, though socially awkward, remembered well enough the manners taught to me by the Southern society of my time when I was human. That was why I did it. Like a fool, I arrived at school extra early the day after, waiting for her return. I stood behind a wall at the corner of a hallway. I had asked around. A couple of girls had managed to point out that Bella Swan's first period class was history.

Clumsily walking along, she saw me. I wondered if she saw the uncomfortable glance on my look that almost revealed the guiltiness in my eyes.

"Good morning, Bella."

She nodded. "You're finally speaking to me." It stung me, those words, but I kept my demeanor. Her eyes gazed to the left side of me, to the wall filled with posters and papers. "Was I…I really annoying to you?"

Yes, I wanted to say yes so she would understand that she was not wanted, that I despised her company everyday at lunch, that it was not the time of day that I looked most forward to.

"You're not," I breathed out, and this stupid relief spread through my body.

She looked up at me, her chocolate eyes burning with new hope. The human girl tilted her head and the corner of her lips rose, just a bit. "You're not saying that to please me, right?"

I felt a part of me fight back still. This would be the time to state my dislike for her.

"Does that mean Jasper Whitlock is my first friend in this school?" Then she laughed a hearty chuckle that filled the atmosphere with sprinkles of more warmth that she so easily created. I found myself unable to speak those cruel words anymore.

"Look, I'm sorry that I left so suddenly that day—

"It's alright," she said, the lips on her face fidgeting, "I've found out from a couple of people that you have a fear of blood."

I nodded once more, as if it was some forbidden secret.

"You know," she said, her voice growing distant, "I have a fear of blood too."

I nodded again.

"But, I don't think my parents are afraid of blood. Which, I still think is weird," her words were soft, as if she was mumbling them to herself. "Though, I don't suppose it would not be practical to ask the dead if they are afraid of blood." She turned back to me, as if only realizing that I had arrived. I didn't reply to her words, because I felt that they were not meant for him. But then the bell rang, and the next words she was about to say were lost in the sound.

"I'll see you at lunch, Jasper," she said, waving one of her arms.

"See you then," I said quietly, my voice no louder than a whisper.

And that was how she stepped further into my world, never even struggling despite the clumsy person she was. Class seemed a bit more bearable that day, even if all the gossip was centered upon me.

"Jasper actually spoke to her."

"That's so…weird. He didn't look the type to like those kinds of girls."

"Yeah, she's such a weirdo. It's a wonder that anybody would choose to talk to her out of their free will."

"Think she blackmailed him?"

The murmurs' incessant drone nearly made me snap right then and there. However, I reminded myself that Bella Swan's reputation was not something I cared about or was remotely concerned with. It'd be better for her to deal with it. But I still could not prevent the glares that I passed off to that crowd.

Lunch was nearly the same as all the other days. Almost. After seeing Bella limp to the lunch lines, I grabbed her by the arm and dragged her to the lunch tables. She protested against eating someone else's lunch, but I insisted that she eat mines. It wasn't as if I was going to eat to today, I remarked, claiming that I ate too much during breakfast. She eyed me suspiciously, but in the end, bit into the cold slice of pizza.

"It's cold," she remarked, wiping her mouth on a napkin. She took another bite. "Still good to eat though."

"Excuse me, but who are you?"

"…What?" Her head whipped towards his direction, the bitten pizza still in her hand. The wetness of her chocolate eyes intensified, as if something odd had been passed through her ears. "You mean, you've just handed a stranger your meal?"

I shook my head, a slight frown appearing on my face. "No, I know who you are. I meant what kind of person you are?"

"But you just admitted that you know who I am. Doesn't that mean you know then?" she pointed out.

"Yes, but only from rumors around here," I said a little too late. I promptly shut my mouth.

"Really?" she said, the pizza limp in her hand. She placed a hand to her chin, as if some thought had come and claimed her mind. "I guess I could talk more about myself…What do you want to know?"

"Anything's fine," I stated.

Bella laughed at this, her voice quiet and warm. "Well Jasper, I'm a city-dweller. I've been living in the big cities for a while."

I raised an eyebrow, my arms crossed across my chest. "This town is anything but big."

"Yeah," she smiled, though it didn't quite reach her eyes like the many times in the past. "We've moved, again. My aunt has to travel for her work. Wherever she finds a job, we pack up and leave."

"You don't sound happy," I remarked.

"I don't have a choice," she said simply. "So, tell me one thing about yourself."

"Why?"

"Because I said one thing about myself," she pointed out. "It's equal trade."

There was no reason for me to reveal anything. I had never promised the girl. Yet, I leaned my cheek against my hand, as if to look as if a conspiracy was occurring between Bella and me. "I've noticed that many people feel comfortable around me." The words were true to an extent. My ability could also cause fear.

She pouted, "That's not fair. I knew that already. Tell me another one."

Then to my astonishment (and perhaps to everybody else's), I, Jasper Whitlock laughed. Her facial expression added with her tone of voice was so childish that it happened so abruptly. It almost made Bella drop her pizza. But, then I noticed my actions and stopped.

"Sorry, I forgot that I had to get back earlier to class today. I have to talk to the teacher." It was a lie, and I could only hope that she would not notice. Though a bit perplexed, Bella nodded and I gladly took my leave.

"He laughed…"

"Yeah…"

"Think he finally went crazy hanging to have out with that girl?"

***&***&***&***&***

Like Halcyon

The days gradually came to pass, slowly. I would mark off each day on a calendar, staring anxiously at the last day of school. There would be no need to pretend anymore. Just a few more days, I would tell myself.

The weeks passed too, but at a much quicker rate. I realized that when last day of school came, I would have to say good-bye to that clumsy girl. Still a few more weeks, I would tell myself. Then I would head off to school, the pen laying forgotten on the surface of the wooden floor. Once, when I slammed the door hard enough, the little pen that marked the calendar rolled discretely under the sofa, until it could no longer be seen.

"Did you happen to catch the announcements today?" asked Bella, peeling an orange. Her nails dug messily into the skin, allowing the acid to squirt all over her hands. She didn't notice. Then of course, she never noticed the little things about herself, I realized. She was selfless, and only noticed the little actions of the people around her. I knew this to be true. Or else, she wouldn't have been able to notice that I liked to lean towards the left more than the right, or that my stride was much too polite to belong to a teenager's.

"Jasper?"

"Yes?" I snapped out of his daze, staring straight into her warm brown eyes.

"Did you catch my last question?" she asked.

"O-Oh, yes. I heard. What about them?"

It was when Bella did something un-Bella. She twirled the curls of her hair around her index finger, staring down into the tray.

"…Is something the matter?"

She shook her head, "No. Nothing at all." She continued to poke away at her lunch. She turned to him, "You don't eat lunch here, do you?" She pointed to the uneaten food on his tray, "You only touch it when I notice you're not eating."

"Really?" I feigned surprise. Grudgingly, I picked up a slice of bread and brought it to my lips. Bella's hand flew to my wrist, grabbing it lightly. She shook her head.

"It's alright. I shouldn't have said that. Now I've forced you to eat."

"I just don't like the food here," I said, feeling my stomach twist at the lie. The idea of lying to Bella brought me discomfort.

She nodded lightly, and I couldn't tell if she believed me or not. "Hey, remember when we first met Jasper?"

I nodded. I still liked to answer in the least words possible.

Bella tipped her head, allowing the hair on her head to fall pass her shoulders. She brought a finger close to my forehead and poked me lightly. With a smile, she laughed. "I thought something terrible had happened to you. I was so afraid. I put on such a stupid smile to look happy. I didn't want to cause anymore damage. You probably saw through me huh?"

"Stupid smile?"

"Yeah," she shrugged, "I imagined my smile must have looked ugly. Compared to yours, it's nothing."

"It's not stupid."

Bella blinked, "Pardon?"

"It's not stupid," I repeated, in an even firmer voice. "It…It made me feel better."

As soon as I said that, the familiar smile appeared on her face again, and she turned back to her lunch. "I'm glad."

Silence fell between us. I was never the one to start a conversation. That had been once upon a time, when I was still mortal and alive. My world had grown too dark.

"Jasper?" Her light voice seemed to pierce the darkness in my world.

"Yes?"

Stillness passed. She left her food untouched, her arms folded neatly in her lap. I frowned. Bella was already too thin a girl. She needed to eat more.

"I—

Her voice was apparently caught, for she stopped and remained quiet for a few more minutes. I was not sure what to do so I sat in silence. Bella was slightly huddled, no longer smiling.

"I wanted to say—

Another pause.

"Thanks for being my friend," she said finally. I could sense the discomfort surrounding her. Those were not her original words, but I couldn't bring myself to say it to her. She seemed as if she would break, fragile and tiny.

Instead I said, "Thanks too."

It brought me a shy glance from Bella. I shivered when I noticed the faint blush of her cheeks. It reminded me too much of blood, and the image of a dead Bella did not bode well with my mind.

The bell rang. Bella got up from the bench. "Chem test today for me. I hope it's not too hard."

"Mr. Chambly, right? His tests are nothing but hard," I said, my voice slight cracking.

She glared at me, though there was nothing threatening about her aura. "Well, thanks for the moral support, friend." With that, she stalked away.

***&***&***&***&***

There was bound to be another accident, but I never figured it would happen so soon.

It was on an afternoon. I vaguely remembered that Bella had bought a ham sandwich that day. It was always the unimportant details I remembered.

The school had organized a sports rally that day.

"I really have no interest in these things," she said.

"Because you have two left feet?"

"Yes," she admitted, "and I'd be a fool to think differently."

"You're not that bad," I laughed, patting her hair with my hand. It had been a recent habit.

"Says you," said Bella, though there was a smile on her lips.

We stopped talking when one of the coaches blew the school horn, a yellow obnoxious thing.

From the corner of my eyes, I could see Bella settle into a comfortable position, leaning her cheek against the palm of her hand. She blinked slowly, yawning once. I nudged her.

"What?" she whispered. She was clearly annoyed at the little basketball players running down the field all the way at the bottom of the bleachers.

"You okay?" I asked.

"Why?" she asked. She was always the curious one. I sometimes wondered if she found out my secret yet.

"You seem…tired," I said finally, hesitating at the end.

"Can we go somewhere else?"

I nodded my head, and together we left the gym. We sat outside the school, on the benches.

"You still look tired," I said.

She shook her head, but it was a weak attempt. She closed her eyes and this time, rested her head upon my shoulders,
Let me use you as a pillow, okay?"

"S-Sure." The close proximity unnerved me and I showed that by fidgeting, slightly, against natural vampire instinct to stay still.

I felt her move restlessly and perhaps, there was a frown on her face.

"You feel cold," she said.

That was an obvious statement, but it caused the tension in my shoulders to stay. There was an undeniable urge to simply rip her head off and drink all her blood. Then finally, the thirst in my throat painfully intensified.

"No."

"Jasper?" asked Bella. "No?"

I shook his head, a forced smile on my face. "I was thinking of something."

"Oh," she said, but not sounding like she meant it. "If you say so."

Again, the silence commenced. I felt her breath slowing down. She was asleep. Once, when her head almost fell, I readjusted her position. I felt as if she was a fragile creature, so easily destroyed. And I might have left it like that.

But then, it happened. The metal railing on top of us suddenly slid off its support, which was so old and rusty I was amazed it didn't simply break years ago. It was dropping towards Bella. There was a weird instance when I was unable to move, as if something was holding me in place. The metal bar dropped towards Bella, hitting a bit of her head and a lot of her right shoulder. Her eyes shot open immediately.

"Bella!"

She clutched her shoulders with both hands and winced, as if she was in great pain. Then as she did so, I could smell a familiar scent in the air.

Blood.

Despite her attempts, the blood spilled from her wound, coating her hands in a thick layer of crimson. Her breathes grew heavy and she huddled herself.

But, I barely noticed any of that. All I could focus on was the vivid color of her fresh blood, and the lovely smell that arose from that metallic liquid. The urge to simply gobble her up was almost impossible to resist for the thirst in my throat was reaching its limits. Too long had I drank the blood of animals. Bella's blood was surprisingly sweet-smelling, so sweet that I would possibly kill my only friend. I knew that we had sat further away from the rest of the people—Bella didn't want to sit too close because she was annoyed. We were so far away no one would even be able to hear us.

My hands reached out, slowly, towards the wounded girl. I lowered my lips to her neck, my fangs out and ready to drink whatever blood was left in her. It smelled so nice, her blood.

"I-It hurts."

My hands stopped midway. My fingers curled until my hand formed a fist. It was then I noticed the look of pure pain that was present on Bella's face. Noticeable sweat formed on her forehead and beads of them rolled down on cheeks. The side of her head was wounded as well, apparent by the new wetness of her hair.

Breathing, I realized. I stopped the flow of air to my lungs, but it helped little. Vampires had good memory.

"A—

I clenched my teeth. It hurt even to talk. My throat was surprisingly hoarse and I wondered how I managed to ignore the pain so long.

"Can you stand, Bella?"

She whimpered, trembling as she did.

"Come on, try and wrap your hands around my neck," I whispered. Cold hands wrapped around my neck. "Okay, keep your hands tight, and we'll go to the nurse's office." I was careful to not move around too fast, for fear of further opening her wound.

Everything was a blur and it appeared as if the trip took an eternity, but I finally arrived at the door. I tried my best to ignore the blood smeared around my neck and the blood that was dripping off her shoulder. It was then I realized that I had neglected to tell her to press on her wound. But, to my relief, her hands automatically slid from my neck and moved to her wound.

The rest was vague. I remembered a nurse coming out and how I kept my hold on Bella until the nurse personally pried the girl out of my arms. I also remembered standing there, hours after Bella was in the nurse's office and transferred to a more professional hospital.

It was when I escaped back home that I nearly destroyed everything in sight. The thirst was beyond imaginable. It scared me, that I could have harmed her. She was so important to me, I realized. What would have happened if I hadn't stopped?

Without cleaning the remains of my house, I left for the hospital. It was with a stinging realization that I found out that I could not risk going in, with all the births and deaths. The feelings would overwhelm me completely.

But the look on Bella Swan's face refused to disappear from my mind. It was like a stain, one that would not be wiped away. Coolly, I walked through the glass sliding doors, strolling straight to the counter.

"Would you be able to pinpoint where Isabella Swan's room is?"

"Just a minute, sir," said the nurse, without ever looking at me. There were a couple of taps on the keyboard. "B269. Visits end at 5:30. No exceptions."

"Thank you," I said, before fleeing to the designated force. The taps and clicks continued on, in a never-ending world of surgeries and needles.

The feelings flowed through my undead veins, of the lives that were so quickly departing. Stab of pain and fear nearly numbed my joints, so much that I wanted to leave and never come back. But, I stood up, and in time for a new sensation. It was on the tips of my fingers, this new feeling. It rolled on the tip of my tongue, until I was certain of its identity. With realization, I discovered that it was the emotion was buried within my heart. And I knew that I would not whisper it.

The rest of the trip was spent in silence for me, as I quickly scanned through the rooms. It was only when I spotted the messily place plaque labeled "E269" that I found relief.

"…stupid clumsy girl who is always falling off stairs. You should have died earlier. Just like your clumsy parents…"

My body froze at the words that were so sharp and menacing.

Wrinkled skin turned a brass doorknob, allowing the wooden door to open with a low creak. She was wearing a colorful dress consisting of pinks, reds, and yellows. However, her hair remained a dull brown and the shade of brown present in her eyes was too different from Bella's.

It was then I remembered that she said her parents were dead and that she lived with her aunt. I stood by the wall, my back lying against the smooth surface. The smell of new paint rose to my nose, intoxicating me. New paint, I thought.

It took me a few minutes to realize that my words made little sense. I adjusted my body, even if there was no apparent ache. It would look too weird to humans if I stood still, my mind justified. There was a clock above my head, ticking away. It echoed softly in my ear, like a sweet lullaby. But, it couldn't really be considered a lullaby, not really. Time meant nothing to someone with immortality.

I was on the ground, my legs crossed and my hands on my face. I closed my eyes, listening to the loud tick of the clock. I didn't know when time started to matter to me anymore. Footsteps found their way around me. Once, a shoe nudged me by the side. Someone apologized; I didn't care.

The clock's continued to tick obnoxiously, and I wondered if it would be better if I destroyed it. I was no longer sitting, but standing. Taking one last glance at the door to Bella's room, I strolled over to a wooden bench. Careful of my strength, I sat at the edge of the bench.

I stared at the passing humans, watching them as they walked. So slow, I mused. But my mind reasoned that Bella was just as slow as the human ants and perhaps even clumsier.

I told my mind to shut up.

With my feet planted on the floor, I continued to sit on the wooden bench. The clock ticked away; time passed by me, elusive.

Finally, when the lights had dimmed and the people had faded, the door opened with a resounding click. My head snapped to the direction, my eyes naturally blinking. Bella's aunt stalked away, with a big bag over her arms, her heels clacking against the floor.

When I saw that she had gone a certain distance, I got up from the bench. I heard my loud footsteps, my boots pounding against the plastic floor. My shoes stopped inches away from the door, which seemed to have manifested into something unbreakable. I reached for the doorknob, really tried. In fact, I tried with both hands, despite the looks I garnered from such an action.

It's just Bella, I told myself. Taking a calming thought of a serene lake, I twisted the knob lightly, pulling the door towards me. It opened with a creak, but to me, the sound was monstrously loud.

My honey-colored eyes gazed into the small room, filled with wires of different colors, all extending from a towering white bed. A television lay on the side of the room, the screen blank. There was a small window on the east wall, thought it was wrapped around a drape. None of the light penetrated the room, and the lighting from the light bulbs was the only reason there was a light radiance surrounding the objects of the room.

And, as I lingered longer, I realized that the room smelled like her. It was sweet, innocent, and something entirely familiar, but foreign at the same time.

"Aunt Fanny?" Her voice was soft, but it lacked the energetic tone.

"Did you come back?" she asked. The bed creaked; she was trying to lift herself up, and despite the door serving as a barrier, I could hear the pillows shuffle beneath her.

I wanted to move then; I wanted to move my legs and escape from that stupid place and never see her again. But she had to go and do that.

Stupid girl.

Her voice was hoarse. But after going through that, no one could blame her. "J-Jasper, is that you?"

I didn't answer her. The doorknob remained in my hand. I could feel the metal bend under my pressure. I could not stop myself.

"Please come in if it is you."

Her voice sounded so weak. I found myself pushing opening the door widely. I walked in, my lungs dangerously filled to their capacity of bloody air.

Her lips formed a weak smile. Her hand gestured me to come closer. I obeyed, finding a chair next to her bed. When I sat, I noticed that my eyes were only upon her. I didn't blink nor did I talk.

"I'm glad that you came," she said and smiled again.

I didn't smile back. She didn't notice, like she usually did. Perhaps she was tired.

"I wanted to tell you something Jasper. I was going to tell it to you today, but then this happened…" She let her voice trail off, but not for too long. "I—I love—

"Stop," I spoke, not quietly, but not loudly.

"Jasper?"

I took a breath, as to sigh. Huge mistake. The smell of blood entered my mind once more. I gripped the handle on the chair. I tried my best to look at her face. I noticed her eyes looked wet now. Because of me.

"You still want to live out your life, graduate, get a job, get married, have children, don't you?"

"Yes…"

My eyes softened, "Then don't say this, not to me."

"Jasper, why not? Do you not like me?"

I opened my mouth, but couldn't find the will to speak.

She grabbed one of my hands, "Why not, Jasper?"

Then she looked at me, with those soft brown eyes of her.

"Are you willing to do anything?" I asked. "A life with me is different than you would have with anybody else."

She nodded her head sadly. "I don't have anybody else."

"Your aunt," I reminded her, "You still have your aunt."

"She would be happier off without me," she insisted. Her hold tightened on my hands. "I really do love you, Jasper."

I think I might have fallen in love with Bella the first time she rescued me from the dark, but I never realized it and wouldn't have if she hadn't so insistently met with me every single day.

I took her hand this time. "Your life really will be different. I couldn't stand it if you died before me. It really would be different." I wanted to warn her but I was so greedy myself. I wondered if my words were too vague.

She shook her head and I thought she was going to change her mind, but it wasn't like that. "I don't mind, Jasper. I already told you."

It was her last chance and she blew it.

I brought my face closer and kissed her. She didn't struggle. It was slow and more than enough for a first kiss. She tasted like I thought she would, sweet and kind.

But the blood overwhelmed me, and even if it wasn't the blood, I knew I would have done the same. I was a greedy person. I stopped kissing her and instead, hugged her tightly as I could. She wrapped her arms around me as well. I wondered what would have happened if I had escaped that day.

"Jas—

That was all she said when my fangs pierced into her neck and ended her life.

And we would be together.

Forever.


Next up is Bella's POV. How did you think of this chapter so far?