The recording had been disturbing. Bella's screams were etched into my brain, the sight of her being tortured burned into my lids. I have to admit, I was a little proud of her in a way… He was torturing her and all she could think about was protecting Edward.
Alice was troubled by the movie and I knew her distress was caused by more than the abuse Bella had been forced to endure. It was the information relating to her past that had caused her the most damage.
"It happened once, oh, ages ago. The one and only time my prey escaped me…" James had spoke slowly, casually, completely indifferent to the terror on Bella's face as she realized the slow death that was coming for her.
"When the old one realized I was after his little friend he stole her from the asylum where he worked… She didn't even seem to notice the pain… She'd been stuck in that black hole of a cell for so long. A hundred years earlier she would have been burned at the stake for her visions. In the nineteen-twenties it was the asylum and shock treatments… I destroyed the old one in vengeance…"
"Alice," Bella whispered, the terror slipping from her face to be replaced with surprise at the revelation and acceptance at her situation.
"Yes, your little friend…" He confirmed. "I get you but they get her. The one victim who escaped me… I still regret that I never got a taste…"
So that's what happened in Alice's mysterious past.
It saddened and unnerved her. It infuriated me.
She had had visions as a human and her parents had her locked up.
Did they know? How could they not… How could they put her in that place knowing what would happen to her?
"Black hole of a cell…"
Those people tried to fry the visions from her brain and then proceeded to lock her up. They tortured her and then they shut her away from the light… They didn't understand so they tried to destroy. This new knowledge had me itching to hunt down her tormentors if they were still among the living and hunt down their descendents if they weren't. I would never, of course not, but the idea was tempting…
When a vampire is made, their body changes but their personality remains the same. That should be true for Alice as well. The thought that anyone could be so cruel as to ignore the miracles that made up Alice -- the bubbly laughter, her never-ending good cheer, her ability to love (an ability that transformed me from monster to man), the light that shined constantly from those eyes, and yes, even the visions -- was horrifying to me.
"When the old one realized I was after his little friend he stole her… I destroyed the old one in vengeance…"
Whoever the "old one" was, I would forever be grateful to him. I would be grateful for his kindness to her, when she was captive in a world that treated her so cruelly, I would be grateful that he had had the courage to steal her away from that awful place and save her life. If it wasn't for his actions I wouldn't have her now and that thought was unacceptable. It did raise questions though. Who was he, this vampire that worked in an asylum? Could he have been a vegetarian vampire too? Or merely just looking for a way to not spend his life alone? And whoever he was, who was Alice to him?
The unanswered questions and his punishment for his kindness made me hate James even more and I had never been so happy in the aftermath of taking a life as I had been after I watched his home movie.
"The one victim who escaped me… I still regret that I never got a taste…"
Alice. My Alice. Just how close had she come to being somebody else's meal? I could have lost her before she was even mine to lose. She was the only one for me, the only one who could ever have claim on my unbeating heart, how close had I come to spending eternity alone? This last questioned burned me.
I couldn't understand how Edward could do it. Spending time with Bella when her presence caused him so much discomfort. Now I knew. The physical pain of being with her was nothing compared to the emotional pain of being without her. If Alice were human, could I have abstained? I don't know, but I'm glad I never had to find out.
Alice was disturbed by more than just the factors of her unremembered past being told by a sadist. Her best friend had been tortured after all. She blamed herself for not seeing James' plan. For not seeing Bella's plan. She was now trying to make up for it by taking care of Bella's every want and need. Edward was beyond irritated about that, he views that as his job. However, her logic was undeniable on at least one aspect of the argument. Charlie Swan would not have been pleased with the idea of his teenaged daughter's boyfriend helping her take a shower and Charlie had access to an extensive gun collection.
What really crawled under my skin though, was Victoria. We had gotten the call from Tanya that Laurent had located their coven and was staying with them, but Victoria was in the wind. Once we had gotten Bella home to Forks, that vampire had fled, realizing that James plan had gone south, but every molecule of my being ached to go after her. The humanity in me begged to unleash retribution for my sister's suffering. The monster in me just wanted any threat -- past, present, and future -- annihilated.
Emmett had been in agreement with me and Edward remained on the fence. His desire to protect Bella warred with his desire to not be a monster in her eyes. He honestly didn't think Victoria would cause anymore problems now that James was destroyed and he was afraid that going after her would be nothing but vengeance. Carlisle, always striving to be the pacifist, overruled Emmett and I, and Alice backed him saying she saw no future attack on the horizon.
Emmett was disappointed and I, unnerved. There was a little voice in the back of my head urging me to seek and destroy and, God help me, it was tempting. But I had faith in Carlisle's wisdom and Alice's vision and I began the painstaking process of suppressing the warrior I had tried to bury decades earlier. She was gone. I would not go looking for trouble.
Spring break ended and before we realized what was happening, graduation and prom were upon us. Emmett, Rosalie and I were seniors this year so we would be leaving Forks High behind us. There had been talk between Emmett and Rosalie of taking a trip to Africa. Emmett was sad and excited about the situation at the same time. Sad because he enjoyed getting to know Bella. Emmett was excited because he had gotten into his head the notion of riding a wild elephant. Personally, I didn't see that activity ending well. Rosalie was happy to be going and nobody pretended not to know why. She had made no attempt at getting to know the newest member of the Cullen family and very clearly didn't plan to in the near future.
Me, I wasn't going anywhere. Alice still had another year to go at school and I wasn't going away from Alice. I kind of wished I had failed my exams, an excuse to be held back from graduating senior year, an excuse to accompany Alice to her classes. What the hell am I going to do while she's at school?
I smirked as remembered our graduation day. I had been heading to the living room, passing by Em and Rose's room, when I felt a copious amount of panic…
I knocked politely on the door and the panic behind it spiked.
"Not now!" Emmett barked.
"Are you okay?" I asked through the door.
"Fine! Where's Alice? I need Alice!"
He needed Alice?
"She went with Edward to pick up Bella…" I heard him curse.
I couldn't resist and shoved the door open.
Emmett stood in front of the full length mirror looking horrorstruck as his eyes flicked between his own reflection and the reflection of me standing in the door way.
"Emmett…" I breathed.
"Shut. Up." He growled through his clenched teeth.
Well, now I knew why he needed Alice. I believe in today's pop culture what Emmett was now experiencing was called a wardrobe malfunction. He had tried on his gown and it was too small. The hem was at his knees and the fabric was skin tight. How he got it on over his dress clothes, I'll never know. But I couldn't help myself. He looked ridiculous.
I started laughing.
"Shut up, its not funny!"
"You l-look… like… th-the… Incred-ible Hulk." I choked out.
I could even hear that line in my head, "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
"Argh! What am I gonna do? I can't walk across the stage in this!"
Instead of answering, I walked over to the shipping box and took out the copy of the tag Emmett had filled out for the school a couple months prior.
"You idiot." I chuckled as my eyes scanned the order form. "You are 6'5 not 5'6, and your weight is off by at least thirty pounds. What were you doing when you filled this?"
"Um," Emmett averted his eyes, "Rose was…well, her hands were…um…"
"At a school assembly?" I rolled my eyes. "Well, Lou Ferrigno, you better practice shuffling, because its too late to send it back."
I had then gone back to my room and breathed a sigh of relief when I found out my gown was a perfect fit.
Unlike Emmett, Rosalie had tried on her gown earlier in the week and had made some minor modifications to it. She had taken in the top so it was form fitting and now resembled a dress as opposed to a robe.
The ceremony itself had been relatively uneventful. Emmett was indeed forced to shuffle up on to stage to get his diploma, causing him to look like a giant blue penguin. None of the other graduates dared laugh at someone Emmett's size but I knew they would talk about it later. I certainly wasn't going to let him forget. When I had gone up I couldn't help but smirk a little when the principle cringed away from me. I had to hold back more laughter as Rosalie went up and he practically drooled when he caught a glimpse of her with that robe pulled tight across her chest.
Humans. I'm starting to like them. Emmett's right. They are funny.
Now Alice was insisting everyone go to prom. Everyone. Poor Bella had no idea that's why she had been shanghaied out of bed at eight o'clock this morning. Personally, how she could have ignored the bright posters announcing the special occasion is beyond me, but I suppose the pain medications and the fact that Edward and Alice clung to her sides like blinkers on a racehorse might have something to do with it.
We -- Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, and I -- beat Edward and Bella to the now tacky gymnasium. He had to drive at a slower speed to appease her, much to his disgust. Anyway, the décor job on the gym… Wow. It was like that movie Carrie. I had to stop and suck in a scorching breath just to make sure there was no bucket of pig's blood lying in wait.
I lost myself in Alice's embrace, twirling around the dance floor. It was easy to ignore the humans tonight and just concentrate on her and I wondered if it had something to do with the fact that Bella's scent was becoming a permanent fixture in our house or if I was too absorbed in the relief that my family was, for the moment, safe. I studied Alice's face, a picture of bliss, and basked in her love. I wasn't dancing to the music anymore, I was dancing to our love, and nothing else mattered in that moment. Not the DJ blaring Flo Rida's Low, not the burning human scents tormenting my thirst, not my past nor Alice's, and neither James nor Victoria. I had Alice in my arms and all was well.
Alice giggled. "Jasper, you're projecting!"
I glanced around the room and noticed that the teenagers had indeed been overcome with love. They were holding each other closer than normal, some were staring deep into each other's eyes while others ground against each other trying to physically express their feelings. I grinned and reined in the emotion, laughing at the blush on Lauren Mallory's face as she removed her tongue from the ear of a boy named Conner.
"Shameless," Alice whispered at me, but grinned humorously all the while.
Edward and Bella finally came in, Bella looking disgruntled and Edward amused. I knew right away the amusement had nothing to do with my slip up, it was Bella that had him in good spirits. He only had eyes for her. The annoyance from her disappeared as she returned his gaze and the love flowed between them like an electrical current.
I was worried about them. I knew love like theirs was strong, one of a kind, and eternal. I hadn't known much of love before Alice, and even less before Peter and Charlotte, but these days it seemed that I was surrounded by it, and I was learning quickly. Part of me wished that Edward had just let Bella finish the conversion that day, finish it while we had the upper hand. I wished this because I was afraid for them. How long could this go on? Them existing together, but separated by the worlds they belonged to... Her so fragile and impermanent, him forever a slave to his own immortality. Everyday Edward would have to worry if the day had come when he would lose her, to disease, to old age, to someone else's violence, or to her own bad luck. The two were dancing on thin ice and it wouldn't take much to melt the surface and drown them both.
I shook my head and shoved those thoughts away for a later date. Tonight was a night for celebrations.
At some point Alice and Rosalie headed off to the restrooms to fix their hair or whatever it is female vampires do in bathrooms, leaving me and Emmett standing inconspicuously by the refreshment table.
"So, Jazz, I heard Newton's throwing an after party." Emmett grinned mischievously at me. "Normally, we don't attend those, but I figure since this year is so special, we should commemorate it by crashing… What do you think?"
I debated in my mind the pros and cons of going to the party. On the one hand I didn't feel crazy about the idea of being in a stuffy house with the humans, it felt like I would be asking to much of my luck and restraint. On the other hand it would be fun to see the look on Mike's face when our family walked through the door.
"Maybe we should ask Edward first," I suggested.
Edward had done a lot of complaining about Mike Newton's thoughts as they applied to Bella, and I knew Emmett planned to leave an impression if we did crash the party. Edward should have say in this decision. I knew he might enjoy the opportunity to antagonize Mike in his own home.
"Well, go," Emmett said gesturing with his hand. "I saw Edward take Bella outside."
I nodded and made my way to the door.
I opened it and froze.
I could see the two of them sitting on a bench near the edge of the encroaching woods. Bella was bent backwards, Edward's hands supporting her, his lips pressed firmly to her neck, just above her carotid artery. The love was still there, as I was sure it always would be from now on, but now she had an undercurrent of anxiety and he had one of annoyance. I closed the doors quickly and made my way back to Emmett before I could be discovered.
"Well? Are we going or not?" Emmett asked.
I grinned widely at the test of wills going on outside and answered, "Don't know. I didn't get the chance to ask."
"Why not?" He was disappointed more than curious.
"They were busy." I told him and chuckled.
Surprisingly he let the matter drop.
Yes, I was worried about Bella and Edward. But as the image of them entwined in the moonlight -- her nervous but not fighting, him fighting but not nervous -- flashed before my eyes, I couldn't help but grin in amusement. This fragile, stubborn, human girl had changed everything and she didn't even know it. And poor, unsuspecting Edward had been swept off his feet by her, not the other way around.
All worries aside, things were bound to get interesting.
Yes, its finished!
First I'd like to thank everyone of my readers. I know I don't always respond to your reviews, but I do appreciate them, and I love that you leave them and I love that you've been reading my story and I just love you all in general.
I know a lot of you are curious, will there be a sequel? The answer is YES. Originally I wasn't planning on having a sequel, but I have been missing writing from Jasper's pov, so I allowed myself to cave in to demands. Jaspers New Moon will be title Storm Front. Be sure to follow my blog at http://equivampsnotebook(dot)blogspot(dot)com (link on profile) for updates on this story.
Thirdly, I made a few pop culture references and I'd like to explain (I know younger readers might not know).
I am sure you all recognize the name the Incredible Hulk from the movies and comic books. I have not seen the movies, I was referring to the TV show. In the TV show the Hulk had this famous line :"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." I do not know if he says that in the movie but I do know that Jacob says a similar line in New Moon movie. I did not steal from New Moon. They stole from Hulk in my opinion. Lou Ferrigno is a famous body builder who, you might have guessed this already, portrayed the Hulk in the TV series. Apparently Jasper likes the Hulk. Who knew?
The movie Carrie is about a girl whose telekinetic powers are triggered by stress and she's bullied for having a super religious mom and goes crazy when the popular kids dump pigs blood on her at prom.
Thanks again to everyone who has read this and supported me. I hope I did Jaspers epilogue justice!