Disclaimer: I don't mind that I don't own Twilight, but could you stop reminding me that I don't own Jasper? It's kinda hurting my heart. Kthanks.
A/N: I definitely couldn't have done this without the help of one lovely beta, Little Miss Masen, and one fantastic lady--KimberlyCullen10.
It's the end of the world as we know it...
[ Jasper ]
I woke up to my fingers moving on their own accord, running across the blanket like they were on fire. I sat up, pushing my hair out of my face. I looked over at the clock—3:32 a.m. The angel sleeping next to me was flat on her stomach, her hand tucked under the pillow and snuggling. I smiled as she exhaled loudly, nuzzling her cheek into the pillow.
I snuck out from under the covers, thankful my socked feet were quiet as they met the cold hardwood floor—it was a chilly night in Texas. I tiptoed out of the bedroom and down the hall. I opened the door to the spare bedroom as quietly as I could and peeked in. I walked over and picked up my guitar, running my fingers down the neck, my heart beating faster. I picked it up and carried it downstairs and outside on the back porch.
I inhaled sharply as the brisk cold met my face. On the exhale I noticed that my breath was visible.
"'Nother cold one," I muttered to myself as I sat down on the bench seat. I looked out over the backyard and into the trees, squinting for any animals.
My fingers began moving as soon as they were touching the strings. It always amazed me how they knew exactly what to do even before I could register it. I tried to strum softly so I wouldn't wake up my girl. I began to hum along with the tune that I was now creating. My eyes closed as my heart began to ache, feeling the burn of something more to come. My fingers danced sensually across the neck of my guitar, sliding, cutting new calluses into the tips.
"I know you haven't…" I began as I hummed, trying to bring the lyrics to life.
I stopped playing and stared out into the forest again. Lately my life had gone from feeling complete and content to lonely and slightly empty. I couldn't begin to explain what started the whole mess, I just knew that out there, beyond those trees and forests; hell, maybe even beyond Texas, there was something waiting for me.
I began playing again and let the music overtake me. "You know there's nothing…"
I almost jumped out of my skin as someone placed a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and there she was, half awake, a blanket curled around her body.
"Hey, darlin', did I wake you?" I asked as she sat beside me on the bench.
She shook her head. "It's awfully late," she said softly.
I nodded. "Couldn't sleep."
"It's cold out," she added.
"You should go back in—don't want you gettin' sick now," I said as my fingers picked a note or two.
"What are you playing?" she asked inquisitively.
I looked over at her and smiled softly. "Just somethin' that's been sittin' in my head, but I can't seem to get it right."
"It's beautiful," she commented as she pulled the blanket tighter around her.
"Liss, go back to bed. I'll be up soon."
She nodded and kissed my forehead. "See you soon."
I waited for her to go back in before I tried to find the song again. After a few unsuccessful tries, I stood up and headed back in the house. I set the guitar down on the couch and hugged my self, shaking off the cold.
I walked back up the creaking stairs, noting that I would need to check them out sometime during the week. I climbed back under the covers. Liss turned over and snuggled against my chest, her hands wrapping around me. I tucked her head under my chin and stared up at the ceiling.
As I drifted off to sleep, I muttered, "to make you feel my love."
[ Alice ]
"Mary Alice, sweetie, can you come down here?"
I poked my head out of my closet where I was moving my summer clothes to the front. "Just a sec, mom!"
I hung up the Marc Jacobs sundress and stuck it back on the rack. In a few weeks the sun would come out…well, somewhat…and I needed to be prepared.
I skipped down the stairs and into the kitchen where my mom was leaning over a bowl, wooden spoon in her hand.
"Mom, are you making brownies?"
She turned and smiled. "Yes, I thought they'd be nice to take to the spring festival down by Queet's River this weekend."
My stomach dropped. "Mom, you only make brownies when you have bad news…"
She sighed and set the spoon down. "Well, I don't think its bad news, but I do have news. Your Aunt Kitty called today. You know, the one in Texas?"
I nodded. "Isn't she really my Grandma?"
Mom laughed. "Yes, but you know how that makes her feel old. Anyway, she and I were talking, and we thought it'd be great if you went to stay with her this summer."
I threw my hands down on the table. "The WHOLE summer?! Moooom!"
"No, Alice, just for three or four weeks."
"But what about Bella?"
"You two can live without each other for a little while. The arrangements have been made. Your flight leaves June 15th. It'll be a great change of scenery for you. You'll see; by the end of it you'll be begging to stay."
I huffed. "Well I doubt that. If you'll excuse me, I need to go pack." I stormed off to my room, pulling on the ends of my hair. I let out a frustrated scream and jumped in place a few times. This couldn't be happening. I looked over at the calendar. June 15—three weeks would put me at July 6th. I was going to miss the Forks on the Fourth celebration this summer.
I felt a traitor tear fall from my eye. I wiped it away briskly and pulled out my suitcase. Today was June 10—I only had five days until I was headed to Texas. I picked up my phone and texted Bella, who told me she was still at work.
I threw on a pair of slip-on shoes, grabbed my purse and sunglasses and headed downstairs.
"Mary Alice Brandon, where do you think you're going?" My mom asked.
I waved her off. "Forks Coffee Shop to see Bella. Back before dinner!"
I didn't wait for an answer. I unlocked the door to my 1990 Mazda Miata—my dad's old gift to himself that I had inherited the summer I got my license. It still looked good for being so old, so I couldn't complain too much.
I took off down Division Street towards Forks Avenue. The traffic wasn't bad for a summer's afternoon. When I pulled up to the coffee shop, I noticed Emmett's white beat-up Jeep was sitting in the parking lot. I turned into the open spot next to it and got out, hustling inside. Bella was behind the counter near the cash register, bent over doing a crossword puzzle. I could hear Emmett bellowing down by the booths, telling some ridiculous story about his trip to Europe from the previous summer.
Bella looked up at me and frowned at my expression. "What's wrong?"
I slumped over the counter placing my head against the glass and banging it softly. "My life is over."
Bella chuckled, nudging me. "Alice, really, what happened?"
I looked up at her with sad eyes. "My mom just told me that she's sending me to Texas for three weeks to spend time with my Aunt Kitty."
"Who has an Aunt Kitty?" she asked, puzzled.
I groaned. "Apparently I do."
"So, how long are you going for?"
"Three, maybe four weeks. Ugh, this is my first summer home since college and I just wanted to spend it here, hanging out with my best friend. Why does she have to be so insane sometimes?!"
Bella sighed. "Well at least you get to go on a summer adventure. I'll be here, in Forks Coffee Shop, serving the locals and listening to more of Emmett's backpacking stories."
"I wish you could come with me."
"Oh, me too. But we lasted a year apart, what's another month?"
I groaned as I heard Emmett calling my name. "There's one person I won't miss while I'm gone."
Emmett came up behind me, tucking his arms around me and lifting me off the ground. "Alice!! It's so good to see you squirt!"
"Emmett Eugene Swan, put me down!"
He dropped me. "No need for the middle name, Alice. What's this I hear you're leaving me for an Aunt Cat?"
"Kitty—Aunt Kitty. Yes, I'm going to visit her in Texas."
He pouted. "But, I haven't seen you in a year! Come sit with me, I brought some pictures from my back—"
"—packing trip from last summer where you fought bears and lived in hostels and had all your other adventures," I finished for him. I patted him on the arm. "I'd love to stay, but I have to get home and pack. I'm leaving in five days." My face turned into a frown as I circled the counter with my finger, leaving fingerprints on the glass.
"It's going to take you five days to pack?" Emmett asked.
Bella rolled her eyes. "Em, how long have you known Alice? You know if she's going on vacation, she needs at least a week."
He smiled sheepishly, tucking me under his arm. "Well, I sure am gonna miss you, squirt. When you coming back?"
"Maybe July 6th, I'm not sure yet."
"But Alice! You're gonna miss Forks on the Fourth!"
I pouted. "I know, Emmett. But there's no way that I can get out of this. I've tried. I'm doomed."
Bella looked at me sympathetically. "It won't be so bad. You can still call me. I'm sure they have great shopping?"
I glared at her. "Great shopping?! In Texas? Bella, be serious! I'm going to have to show them a thing or two about fashion."
"At least you'll have something to do?"
She was trying, but she wasn't really helping. I sighed as my phone beeped--a text message from my mom.
It's time for dinner. Come home, Mary Alice.
I waved the phone in the air. "Gotta run—Mom's on the prowl. Bella, come over when you get off work and help me pack?"
She nodded. "I'll text you when I get out."
Emmett rubbed his fist into my hair and I screeched. "See ya, little B."
I rolled my eyes at his stupid nickname for me—Little Brandon. No matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to escape from under the cloud of my older brother Felix. He and Emmett went to school together, so Bella and I naturally bonded against our big brothers. Emmett had taken up calling me little B because the basketball team called Felix "B".
I tugged my purse up to my shoulder, got back in my car, and headed home. I sulked in the house and left my shoes by the door.
"Mary Alice, is that you?"
I smiled. Daddy was home. I skipped into his office, throwing my arms around his neck and kissed his cheek. "Hi, Daddy."
He smiled. "Hello, princess. It sure is good to have you home."
I pouted. "Not for long."
He frowned. "I know, but it'll be over before you know it. And your Grand—Aunt Kitty—could really use some company." He patted my hand and I let him go. He stood up and stretched, his shirt riding up and exposing some of his growing beer-belly. At 46, he was starting to age, and I started to really see him as "older."
"But Daddy," I whined, hoping if anyone could save me, it would be him.
He shook his head and kissed the top of my head. "Come on, princess, be a good sport about this. It'll mean a lot to your mother—and you might actually have fun."
I grumbled. "I doubt it."
"Do it for me?" He pleaded, giving me the frown that I had perfected and used on so many others.
I sighed. "Fine, I'll go. I won't complain…too much."
He smiled and handed me an envelope. "I figured you would come to your senses. So I got you a little something to help you prepare."
I opened the envelope and saw three, one-hundred dollar bills. I squealed and kissed his cheek. "Thank you, Daddy."
"Now don't spend it all before you leave. It's so you'll have a little extra when you get to Texas."
"Robert? Mary Alice? Dinner's ready," my mom called from the kitchen.
Dad smiled and headed off towards the table. I ran up to my room to put my purse away, and plugged my phone into the charger.
I slipped into my seat at the table just as Mom was setting the green beans down. She lifted the lid off the main course and I saw my Dad's cheshire grin appear.
"Meatloaf?! Caroline, you are Heaven-sent!"
I rolled my eyes, but giggled slightly at Dad's enthusiasm. Mom began dishing out dinner, and I passed my plate over. My mom handed it back to me and smiled.
"So, Mary Alice, how was Bella?"
I picked at the meatloaf with my fork, pushing it around. "She was good. Emmett was there, too."
"Well that's nice. How is he doing? I don't see him much anymore since Felix is off at summer semester."
I took a bite of my vegetables and chewed. "He's good."
My Dad made moans of appreciation as he wolfed down his dinner, and my mom couldn't help but smile.
In the distance I could hear my phone chirping and I looked at the clock—6:37. Bella would be off work by now. "Mom, Bella's coming over to help me pack, okay?"
"Sure, sweetheart. I'm glad you're looking forward to this trip."
I looked over at my Dad who was giving me 'the Brandon eye' which was code for 'don't upset your mother.'
I smiled. "It could be very fun," I tried.
There was a knock at the door and I excused myself to answer it. Bella was there when I opened the door and I smiled. "Thank God you are here!"
She held up a small bag. "I even brought dessert."
My mouth started to water as I snatched for the bag. "Tell me there's a Brownie Delight in there."
She giggled. "Of course, Ali. Give me some credit, will ya?"
Bella and I skipped through the kitchen so she could say hi to my parents before we headed to my room. I flopped down in my papasan chair and Bella sat on my bed. I started digging into the brownie as she flipped through one of my magazines.
"What?" I asked with a spoonful of brownie in my mouth.
"This article—it says that cheetahs, hyenas, and goats perform oral sex."
I choked on the brownie. "What?"
I shuddered. "Wow, um, didn't know that. Now I can be compared to a goat."
Bella dropped the magazine. "Mary Alice Brandon…have you given head?"
I laughed. "Of course I did. Alec Windsor after Junior Prom."
Bella's eyes bugged out. "You never told me that!"
I shrugged. "Well, haven't you?"
She blushed. Oh, of course she hadn't. "Bella, you mean to tell me that you dated Paul Monroe, captain of the wrestling team, for over a year, and you never gave him head?"
She shook her head. "How can you put your mouth on something…something someone pees out of?"
I laughed. "One day you'll change your mind." I put the spoon and container back in the paper bag and flung my suitcase open, standing in front of my closet. "What do people wear in Texas?"
"I don't know. Jeans and cowboy boots?"
I groaned, pulling at the ends of my hair. "Well at least it'll be warm there." I picked a couple sundresses and threw them on my chair. I pulled some tank tops, skirts, and shorts as well, folding them neatly in my suitcase.
Bella hung out for a little while longer before heading home. I changed into my pajamas and was washing my face and brushing my teeth when I took a good look at myself.
"Well, girl, giddy up."
[ Jasper ]
I wiped the sweat off my brow and pushed my matted hair back from my face. The sun was beating down awfully hot and my thin t-shirt was clinging to my body. I tossed the pitchfork aside and walked over to the back of my rusted pick-up truck, pulling a bottle of water out of the cooler. I chugged it slowly, enjoying the feeling of icy condensation dripping off the bottle and down my chin.
I swiped the bottle across my neck, breathing heavily due to the hard work and the midday sun. I sat on the tailgate and pulled my sandwich out of the cooler. I took a bite and closed my eyes, enjoying the moment's break. The wind was rustling through the trees, and when I looked back up I saw dark clouds forming.
"There she blows," I muttered, taking another bite of my sandwich.
I heard a door creak open, and Miss Katherine Brandon poked her head out.
"Jasper? Come on in here, hunny, before you get caught up in that rain."
I looked up at the sky and back at her. "It's not rainin' yet, Miss Brandon."
As soon as I said that, two fat rain drops fell on my nose. How did she always see that stuff coming?
I grabbed my guitar from inside the cab, tossed my cowboy hat on my head, and headed toward the house. Just as I was stepping up on the porch, the clouds opened and rain came flooding down like a thick blanket.
I shook myself like a wet dog and stepped out of my boots before walking in to the house. I hung my hat on the rack and looked around. Miss Brandon always kept a spotless house.
"Jasper? Come get you some lunch," she called in her thick Southern accent.
I stepped into the kitchen to find some sliced turkey and green bean casserole. My eyes must have bugged out of my head. "Miss Brandon, you didn't make all this just for me did you?"
She smiled. "What does that matter? You work so hard, you deserve a good lunch in your belly. Now, sit down and let's eat before it gets cold."
I walked over to the sink and washed my hands before sitting across from Miss Brandon at the table. Before we ate, Miss Brandon said a quick blessing over the food.
"Dear Lord, thank You for this day, and for providing the food before us. Bless Jasper as he works, and watch over Mary Alice as she travels here soon. Amen."
I lifted my head and began spooning casserole. "If I may ask, who is Mary Alice, Miss Brandon?"
She smiled as she put some turkey and gravy on my plate. "She is my granddaughter, and she's coming to stay here for a few weeks."
"You're far too young to be a Grandmother," I teased.
"Oh, Jasper, you little flirt."
"Anyway, she'll be here in a few days, and I've got to go pick her up at the airport. You can take Monday through Wednesday off—the Society girls are coming over for tea on Wednesday and the weatherman says it's going to rain anyway."
I nodded, biting a slice of turkey and moaning in appreciation. "This…this is excellent."
She smiled in satisfaction, and we finished our meal quietly. She cleared the plates and opened the oven, and pulled out a freshly-baked peach cobbler. I had to hold back the moan of excitement as she dished me up a bowl.
"Miss Brandon, you sure know how to spoil a guy."
"Oh, hush, and let me watch you enjoy the cobbler. It was Thomas' favorite recipe," she said wistfully.
I forced myself to eat slow and savor every bite, although inside I wanted to attack the entire plate and eat like a ravenous animal.
Afterwards, I scraped the plate clean and Miss Brandon chuckled. "Alright now, run along and rest a bit before you head home."
"Home? But it's only one o'clock."
She waved a hand at me, shooing me out of the kitchen. "There's nothin' goin' on out there that can't be done tomorrow."
I nodded my head. "Yes, m'am." I grabbed my guitar and sat on the porch in the old wooden swing. I imagined Miss Brandon and her late husband Mister Tom sitting out here on warm summer evenings.
My fingers began picking at the same melody that had awoken me nights before. I closed my eyes and let the music overtake me as the rain continued to trickle slowly, pattering against the wooden porch.
A/N: Oh what is this, another LMW story? Well yes, I wanted to bring you something special for the summer, and since I am a *huge* Jasper fan and have not given him a chance to lead a story yet, I thought "why not?"
A few things:
First, this is a Jasper/Alice story—don't be scared off by his current lady, Liss.
Second, Forks Coffee Shop is real! Forkscoffeeshop[dot]com
Third, the sex facts? True. I got them off Cosmo's review of a book called How Sex Works
Fourth, the song Jasper is writing is "To Make You Feel My Love" only he doesn't know it yet. I don't own it and neither does he, but I can play with it, can't I?
And Fifth, Alice might seem slightly OC, but she's an 18 year old-daddy's girl.
Reviews are about as good as hot and sweaty Jasper with an icy cold water bottle.