I used to think we were invincible. I used to think that, I really did. Sometimes I still do.
Sometimes when I look back, I can see that we were invincible: Jasper and Bella, an unstoppable force of every missing piece you spend your life looking for, tied and glued and stuck together; curled-round arms and dirty pillowcases in the cold mornings and the building momentum of us on his bicycle, riding through the streets of Forks and whispering secrets in plain English, in what everyone thought was our own language, inspiring jealousy in even the most contented; the late nights that became early mornings and tired gulps of coffee; the waterfalls of alcohol that I'd never have thought appealing or even appropriate for a school night.
But he made me change my mind about a lot of things.
The faults, the cracks in the floor beneath our feet while we danced when we didn't know how, they broke away and opened up and devoured us whole, and if I want to be honest, it's only in looking back that I'd ever think we were aware of the danger at the time.
The truth is, those memories are solid and the reality is not; it never was.
We never lived a fairy tale. His shitty apartment with the stains on the floor and the broken bathroom door and the porch that was falling apart was no turreted castle or gingerbread house. I hated staying there.
We never bounced on cotton candy clouds or licked the same ice cream cone or had the same dreams at night. I had no fairy godmother or little rodent friends to pretty me up.
We never swam at midnight in a crystal lake and he never wrote songs for me. I was too embarrassed to sing for him, and my hair was too short to throw down for him to climb. My glass slippers were chipped and too small from the very beginning.
We didn't jump on his horse and ride into the sunset and I didn't know how to click my heels twice. We never lived a fairy tale. We only learned how to live each other.
We traded clothes and music and spit. We shared deodorant and jokes and pens, writing across arms and legs, twisting poetry down our limbs, and I always used less pressure when I drew over his bruises from donating blood to pay rent.
If I could eat words I'd swallow your body whole, he whispered when he painted a mural of dreams down my back. I'd eat you alive, digest you before you could even squeak, and his ink dripped and pooled on my back, a tiny pond of everything we were together; together, we were everything.
I showed him my own bruises, the lesions invisible on my naked flesh, and he used everything but his lips to kiss them better, until I forgot they ever existed, until they seemed a childish dream or the infant of the runaway imagination I let myself have when he was gone, with his friends, at work, asleep in the other room. He took a knife to his skin, peeled it back and let me crawl inside, then sewed me in.
He called me his sweetheart and fed me gummy bears when we watched movies. He chose his friends over me then left them early to find me again. He stole me cowboy boots that matched his so we could strut though the streets together and act superior, and we said we weren't, but we knew we were. After enough time went by he made me think I was from some shitty little town in Texas, too, because what was I before I was him?
We danced in the rain that spilled dark and cold from the summer sky and laughed and laughed and laughed. I complained about the sun and he stole sunglasses to gift me. We did anything.
He held my hand and we made each other dinner and shared cigarettes after sex, even though I didn't like to smoke.
We went to parties and pulled each other into corners and bedrooms and bathrooms, and even ignored our best friends.
He got good at taking off my clothes. Sometimes I wore extra layers just so I could enjoy it when he grew impatient and frustrated trying to figure out when they ended, where my skin was, when he'd get there, but it never took him long.
I sat on his handlebars and we raced down the streets on warm nights, tasting the salty-thick air and feeling so alive I thought I would die.
He twisted my hair around his fingers and spoke into my ear, when we turn 18 we should drive down to Vegas and get too drunk to remember and see if we wake up married.
He said it like a joke but I believed it like a truth and I squirmed at the idea of him having that idea.
He scrubbed out the kitchen and vacuumed and cleaned on Valentine's Day, and lit candles for me when I came home from school, too tired to think. He kissed me soft and sweet with his older, stupid, metalhead friends that I couldn't stand watching us because they were there more than I was, and for once I didn't care.
We drank too much, late at night, because I had no parents around and no one could stop me and it felt good and fun. We danced to top 40 songs that we hated, beers in hand, mouths touching, feet bumping, and when I tripped he always fell beneath me and pulled me down before I could even stumble.
He made fun of me when I drank too much, but he clipped back my hair and kissed my shoulder when I threw up, and I didn't have to worry and I never felt embarrassed when it was just us.
I stopped using the mirror in the mornings and used him instead: Bella, you look like shit today, go wash your hair. Bella, you're pretty. Bella, get out of here before I get carried away, before and after and inside of kisses on the porch for his morning cigarettes.
Even his worst compliments made me feel good. Bella, you're not a genius, but you could kick their asses at Trivial Pursuit. Bella, I'd watch any porno you were in. Bella, if you worked with me, I'd just get stoned all day long and watch you.
Bella, read me a story.
Bella, you make me believe things.
We heard the radio playing in the park, and he sang in my ear, the only time I feel alright is by your side, with The Kinks on backup vocals and I couldn't stop giggling. A girl by the swings was charmed by seeing us sitting in the grass by the trees, by seeing him being him on a good day, in a good place.
We made fun of matching tattoos, said we'd get them, purposely misspelled and crooked and tacky to mock them. We'd get each other's names with missing letters, jaspr and bela. We'd get full backs of Chinese symbols that really meant shit, hate, ugly, boring, stale. We'd get the weapons of Zeus to strike along our hipbones, a warning invisible to anyone outside of our delicious sins, and we would call them bolts of thunder, never lightning.
We lied to each other, all the time, and never believed it. I told him that I liked his music, and he stopped playing it. He told me he had plans and I made new ones for us. I told him I didn't hate, I couldn't hate, and then I made that a lie.
He told me he was jealous that I was still in school, that education was important; he wished he hadn't missed out. I skipped school for him, and I lied to his mom every time she called, even when the truth would have made her proud of him for once.
We both made fun of Rosalie Hale when she got pregnant, but when Emmett left her a week later, we both told her we were sorry when no one else was around to know. We both kept making fun of her afterwards when we were alone together, and neither of us really meant it, neither of us really felt anything but bad for her.
I told him I liked cheap beer better than any other kind of booze, and he bought me cheap wine that tasted even worse, just because it wasn't beer. He promised he would never hurt me, and I told myself he wouldn't, tried to convince myself.
We stood ankle-deep in warm water under a moon that shone just for us and held hands, only our fingers were knives and each second cut us open even more, and sent our ichor-blood dripping down into the sea, making it a perfect, wonderful, lethal mix of JasperandBella, ambrosia and poison.
I scrutinized every word that came from his lips, and every "nothing" and "I don't know" and "not really, maybe later" made me feel like a cassette with all the tape pulled out, a broken record trying to patch itself together with shards of a shattered CD. It never fit and it never worked and I couldn't make myself as visible as I wanted to.
On my birthday he made me burnt cupcakes that I wouldn't have wanted anyways and a week later I dreamt that he hurt me. The next day I heard people talking at school, in the halls, in the lounge, in the library, in every place where Jasper hadn't been for two years since he dropped out.
Alice Brandon, Alice Brandon, oh, poor Bella, can you believe it, yes, I saw it coming, knew it all along, Jasper Whitlock, oh, surprised it hasn't happened before, well, I hear it's not the first time, oh, poor Bella.
I planned to forget it, ignore it, pretend it was just another form of his drinking, his irresponsibility, his recklessness, because he wouldn't really do that to me, not when we were best friends and two halves and so much more. I tried to convince myself and I almost had myself believed.
When he slept with her, I dreamt it before he told me, and when I slept with him, I cried and threw up in his bedroom, hating how it all felt and wishing I was ten years old again.
I still dream about him sometimes. Sometimes we have sex in my dreams, and those are the worst. In the mornings I wake up with the taste of him on the tip of my tongue, at the edge of my periphery, sliding down my breasts and stomach, past my hips and slipping away from between my legs. I try to hold on to him and he fades away faster and faster and faster, a ghost melting into my flesh and disappearing before he hits my bloodstream.
He is ice, freezing my flesh and mind and bones until all I can do to keep myself okay is rub against him, start some friction and hope that the steady metronome of heartbeats against my palm will persevere and stop me from twisting up and dying when it's all I want to do.
When I don't dream of him, I dream of nothing. We always slept facing away from each other on his dirty mattress, but I still wake up and run my hands over my body, hug myself, and pretend that those are his arms, his calloused fingers and his twice-broken wrist holding me tight because he had to, and maybe also because he wanted to.
I don't know what we were looking for, or why we couldn't find it in each other. I don't know why it hurts so much if we never even found it, but it does. I hate him and I miss him every day and I know he doesn't think about me. All of his promises were false, and I was foolish to believe him when he promised me three times that he would stay.
I guess I did believe his lies after all.
I never knew what love was or that I had it nestled between me and besides me and within me, kissing me and fucking me, humming to me, ignoring me, giving me worthless plastic gifts and buying extra blankets for me in the winter, leaving notes that didn't make sense but made me smile, holding me, touching me, breathing me, stealing me and sustaining me, until Jasper Whitlock walked away.
He left me, aching and trembling; alone, naked, scared, hurt, betrayed: a hairless newborn kitten just learning to open her eyes when mommycat leaves for good, and he never once looked back.
Maybe I still don't know what love is.
okay this whole run-on sentence thang is...not my thang. but whatever, pushing boundaries and all that shit. thanks to mojopen for giving this a preread. she writes an excellent story called Medication and if you aint reading it yet you need to fix that. :)