The People In Question
"Hurry up, Bells!" Jasper called.
Another small stone hit my bedroom window.
It was indescribable to say how annoying he was right now: it was six in the morning, and he was expecting me to be up and ready so that he could be a bad influence on me. It was the 6am thing that bugged me.
"Bella, come on! I'm not shimmying up the drainpipe again!"
I threw back my blankets and stormed over to my window, pushing it wide open. "Jasper, get lost. And when did you shimmy up my drainpipe?"
"A few weeks ago, when you were out. And you can shimmy around on my drainpipe whenever you want. Also, I'm getting a great view down your shirt right now."
I readjusted my tank top. "Get lost, or I'll start throwing things."
Even up here, I could see his green eyes twinkle. "I'll dodge them, and steal them. Now, hurry up!"
"Jasper, I'm tired!" I complained.
His face fell. "I'll just go off with Pete and Charlotte, then…" he muttered, turning to walk away.
Annoying guilt trip person. "OK, OK! Wait up!" I turned around to find clothes.
"Wear skinny jeans!" he called.
I rolled my eyes as I searched around on my floor for my black jeans.
I mean, Jasper was my best friend, no contest, but we were rather different: eye colour, hair colour, sex, personality, interests, health… Jasper wasn't exactly a model citizen, and Charlie highly disapproved of him. He was perfectly nice to his friends, and very protective, especially of girls, but he spoke his mind, usually with thick sarcasm and dark humour, and was physically capable of taking care of himself, so was reckless. His criminal record wasn't exactly clean.
The man in question was currently climbing up the drainpipe. I quickly shut my window so that I could finish getting dresses, but then I heard a muted thud outside. I threw open my window and looked down.
"You nearly took off my finger!" Jasper accused me, from where he lay flat on his back on the ground.
"You OK?" I called.
He shrugged. "I'm Jasper." He stood up.
I rolled my eyes, pulled on my jeans, a plain black halter neck, and boots. It was lucky that I remembered to pick up my bag – I usually forgot it if Jasper decided that he was going to drag me out of bed at an unholy hour.
"Juliet!" Jasper yelled, impatiently.
"You know, you're rather impatient to be my star-crossed lover," I called back, scrubbing off my teeth fuzz.
"Romeo and Juliet are star-crossed lovers," I said: it was obvious.
"You're lucky that I remembered her name."
"The play's called 'Romeo and Juliet', fool."
"Meh. You ready?"
I opened my door and all but skipped down the stairs.
Jasper's beloved Harley was resting against the house, expertly restored by him and Jacob Black.
"Rah," said Jasper, as he walked up to me. "Good sleep?"
I narrowed my eyes at him.
Seemingly oblivious, he bent down as though to tackle me, but then threw me over his shoulder in a fireman's lift.
"Oi!" shouted a voice: Charlie.
"Hey, Chief Swan!" Jasper called back, turning to face him. Great.
"Oh, it's you. Put my daughter down, yeah?"
"But she's so pick-up-able," Jasper whined.
"Stop whinging," I muttered, trying to wriggle free.
"Oh, I'm the whinger?" he challenged, holding me firmly.
"Why are you up so early?" Charlie inquired. Damn.
"I'm taking Bella out for breakfast, seeing as it's such a lovely morning," said Jasper, with not even a hint of sarcasm or mischief.
Charlie didn't quite believe him, I sensed, despite not being able to see him. "You're taking Bella out for breakfast?"
"Problem?" asked Jasper, with just the right amount of innocence.
"Are you two dating?" Charlie inquired.
I kicked Jasper in the stomach to signify that he was to put me down immediately. He reacted as though a fly had collided with him, but took the hint. The fact that it had been a good kick from me did nothing for my ego.
"Nope," I assured my father.
He didn't look convinced.
"Dad, it's Jasper."
Great: Charlie still didn't look convinced, and now Jasper looked offended.
"Jasper, we've been friends forever: you know what I mean."
He shrugged. "Ah, you love me really. Let's go and have breakfast before they start serving lunch, yeah?"
"I like the sound of that," I agreed.
"Get to school on time, kids!" Charlie called after us, as we walked off.
"Where are we really going?" I inquired of Jasper.
"La Push: the guys are going cliff-diving."
"We're just watching, right?" I checked.
"I was thinking of having a go."
"Stop whinging." He pulled me into my garage so that we could sneak back to get his bike once Charlie had gone.
Sure enough, within a few minutes, the police cruiser reversed out of the drive, and Charlie was gone.
Jasper walked off briskly to fetch his bike, almost instantly returning. I retrieved my leather jacket and helmet – Christmas presents for Jasper and Jacob – from one of the old cupboards in the garage, and put them on, before sliding onto the Harley behind Jasper.
He laughed as I slipped my arms around his waist. "You know I like that, right?"
He just laughed as he kicked the bike into life.
I knew I was going to be late for school.