"Uncle Jasper!!" The little girl screamed laughing and running. The man I watched chase and then tickle her was the one I was sure I would one day, hopefully one day soon, marry. I couldn't help but watch him, watch his blonde waves toss in the wind; watch the way his blue eyes sparkled with mischief and amusement.
"Alright little Miss Jeanie, go get cleaned up for dinner. We are all going over to Aunt Sarah's for dinner." I hadn't noticed until then that they had stopped playing and Jasper was only about 10 feet from me. He watched his niece go into the house before turning to me. "Hello my beautiful Isabella." He then took my hand and gently kissed the back of it before helping me up.
"Oh Jasper." I smiled.
"You are joining us for dinner at my aunt's tonight I hope?" He still had that mischievous glint in his eyes. Jasper and I had known each other since we were just 2. Now at 17 we had been courting for nearly 3 years. He knew I hated when he was so formal with me when it was just the two of us and did it just to rile me up.
"You know I will Jasper, I love dinner at Aunt Sarah's." This was typical Friday evening. His parents went out with friends to some Black Tie dinner while the kids, which now included far more than it had when Jasper and I were much younger. Jasper's older sister had married and now had a young daughter, Jeanie. His older sister Joan and her husband Riley now joined his parents at the black tie events. It had always been expected of Jasper and I to join too once we had become older, we however always opted for dinner at Aunt Sarah's. His aunt was like few others. She was relaxed, quite laid back, and still a lady, which was why I loved her. Jasper's family was like my own. My parents had died when I was just 6 and so I had come to live with them, having no other family of my own. Even though the circumstances had been horrible, Jasper and I had been elated. We always got to be together and play and neither of us ever had to leave.
"Good, I'm glad it's not changed." He smirked at me.
"As if it ever would Jazzy," I replied using the childhood nickname I had given him.
"I'm back Uncle Jasper!" Jeanie came bounding out the door. She had washed up and had quickly changed from the dirty play dress to a clean normal every day one. Normally dinner time was reserved for something a little more formal than the everyday but at Aunt Sarah's she insisted on what was out of the ordinary, this included dinner. 'Why dress up over something as silly as one meal?!? It is just so incredibly preposterous 'she would exclaim and then laugh.
"Very good Miss Jeanie! I will have Drew bring the carriages around." Jasper stepped away go have a word with one of the groundskeepers but not before giving me a quick chaste kiss on the cheek and a small wink. I sighed near silently with my hands folded in front of me. Life was amazing, simply amazing. I looked around me; the Whitlock plantation was bordering on enormous, at the same time however it employed many people and paid them well. Jasper's parents, if nothing else, were very generous and kind people. I loved it here; I closed my eyes and took deep breath smelling the air. It smelled amazing; lightly of rain from the early afternoon storm that had hit, magnolias from the huge magnolia tree that sat in the front yard with wildflowers that grew at its base and ivy that wound its way up the trunk, and peaches from the orchard that was behind the house. The smell was amazing. I took another deep my eyes still closed but this time something else lingered in the mix, My Jasper. I opened my eyes and turned around finding him standing a few feet behind me, just watching me.
"I love when you are so at peace," he smiled at me. I blushed lightly and smiled back. Jasper could make me blush so easily. "Aw my Bell, you are even more beautiful and tempting when you blush." He laid one hand on my cheek and leaned forward to kiss me and just before his lips could touch mine his parents walked out of the door. Quickly he pulled back and stood next to me like the perfect gentleman.
"You know Jasper, you really should be going with us instead of to your Aunt Sarah's" His father Duke chastised. As sweet and generous as his parents were they also held a standard, a high one, they were people of society and expected their children to be the same.
"Yes sir I know, maybe next time," Jasper replied and lightly squeezed my hand. His parents, Duke and Olivia, loved that we were together, they however looked down upon us for our still somewhat childish ways, or that maybe the money didn't matter to us and we still wouldn't go with them.
"Very well then son, have a good night," he paused and turned to me, "have a good night too Isabella."
"Thank you sir, you too," I replied with a small curtsy. As much as Jazz and I could act like children we had been brought up strict, with manners and with money, you looked down on none but were still act the way you were raised. Duke, Olivia, Joan, and Riley all climbed into the first carriage and then the driver shook the reigns making horses take off into a slow trot, pulling the carriage down the lane.
"Are we ready then?" Jasper looked down on me with a smile.
"I believe we are," I replied and returned his smile.
"Let's go!" Jasper ushered me down the front stairs while Jeanie bounded down them. At 4 that child was always bouncing off the walls, full of energy, and smiling. First he lifted Jeanie into the carriage and then offered me his hand to help me in. I started to take it and then paused.
"Jeanie?" I questioned getting the small girl's attention.
"Yes Miss Bella?"
"Would you be alright in the carriage by yourself?"
"Of course," She giggled and went back to playing with her doll. Jasper gently shut the door and led me to the driver's bench.
"My beautiful Bell," he said and held out his hand once again to help me up. I grabbed his hand and started to step up, grabbing my dress so I didn't fall, however, I hadn't pulled my dress high enough so when I stepped down on the platform I immediately tripped and fell backwards. I let out a small squeak before I landed his Jasper's muscular waiting arms. His chest was shaking with laughter as he looked at my shocked face. "Beautiful Belle, so accident prone," He laughed and then safely set both of my feet on the platform so I could simply turn and sit. I glared at him trying to keep the smile off my face when he sat next to me and urged the horses forward.
"That was not funny Jasper," I said doing my best to look serious.
"Isabella," I scowled lightly when he used my full name, "You do that almost every time you ride up here with me, I can't help but laugh my love." After a moment I joined in his laughter, he was after all right. These were the best moments in my life, my arm twined with my love's and not a care in the world. I was dazed, just enjoying the well known ride when something different caught my attention. It was dark as it always was but there was an outline of…something on the side of the road. I leaned forward, squinting my eyes, and trying to make it out. It looked like people but yet at the same time it didn't.
"What is it my Bell?" Jasper asked barely above a whisper, slowing the horses down. There was something in the air, an almost foreboding feeling. The outlines, the shadows I could see were so still, I almost had to think they were statues but then in a blink of an eye they were all in different positions, all looking as if they were stalking towards us.
"Jazzy," I whispered gripping his hand tightly. He had pulled the horses to a complete stop but now even they were getting antsy.
"I see them," He whispered back. Before I could make another sound I was ripped from Jasper's arms, I let out one terrified scream and then there was pain, nothing but pain it seared through my neck, my arms, my legs, all I could hear were screams, the screams of Jeanie, of my Jasper. These, these people, no things were biting me I realized, sucking my blood, I was quickly becoming weak, so very weak, things were going fuzzy, it was hard to breathe. My head lolled to the side and I saw Jasper, on the ground, by himself, writhing and screaming in agony. He was in pure pain. The last thing I heard was my name on Jasper's lips in a soul wrenching scream while he looked at me. I whispered a mostly silent 'I love you' and then all went dark and silent. We never did make it to Aunt Sarah's that night. That was the night my world and my life, ended.