"For the Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest
Pen name: magan bagan
Existing work: N/A
Primary Players: Jasper/Alice
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. all Stephenie Meyer
To see other entries in the "For the Love of Jasper" contest, please visit the C2:
"Mr. Whitlock, its two o'clock," my assistant, Maria, reminded me, coming into the exhibit room. "Here are your bag and car keys." She placed them both on the table I had been using, and then stepped back with her hands behind her back. "Do you need anything else?"
I rubbed the back of my neck, an agitated gesture I had discovered when I returned back to the States. "No, thank you. Just let me know when those Civil War rifles come in. I'm already a week behind."
"Sure thing. Good afternoon." She gave me a quick nod and turned to leave.
"You too, Maria." I glanced over the inventory I had been checking, making a mental note that a few of the Confederate uniforms were missing buttons and belt loops, before I picked up my messenger bag and keys. Taking a deep breath, I also picked up the cane that was leaning against the table not far out of my reach.
I wouldn't be able to get too far without it.
With a slow but steady pace, I made my way out of the exhibit room and locked it up. Polite goodbyes and sympathetic stares were thrown in my direction as I hobbled down the hall. It was a long way to the front doors and with each step I could feel the pressure of their unasked questions weighing down on me.
They were "too polite" to ask, but I knew what they wanted to know. What had the war been like? What did you see?
How do you answer those questions? The war had been hell and I had seen things that no one should ever have to. But, I served my country as a Marine and fought proudly for those who couldn't. I wouldn't change the past seven years of my life, the things I had been taught, the people I met, because I was still alive.
Granted, the main reason I had returned was due to injuries received during an attack, injuries that rendered me useless to my fellow comrades.
Part of me envied my men that could still fight, but I had long since moved on from that. Having Peter, my best friend and right hand man, with me these past six months had really helped with the transition. He and I met during basic and stuck by each other throughout our stint in the military. When I became a higher ranking officer, Peter was the one I brought with me. He considered retiring from his post when the possibility of him getting married became more prominent. Our last tour in Iraq was going to be his final mission.
After our camp had been attacked and I was forced to retire early, Peter and his new wife, Charlotte, offered to move to Seattle and help me out while I recovered. Screws and rebroken and set bones made up my left leg and the healing time had been slow and tortuous. It also would have been next to impossible to maneuver around my house without either one of them there.
Now that I was able to work and move around with a little more ease, Peter and Charlotte decided that it was time they found a home of their own. I'll admit that I was angry when they gave me the news, selfishly wanting them to stay with me as long as possible. Peter and I were bonded by a brotherhood that most would not understand and I wasn't sure if I was ready to lose that connection.
I understood that they needed a fresh start, to move away from the bad memories. It didn't mean that I had to like, but I did understand.
So, that's why I had Maria tell me when it was two. They were leaving today and I wanted to be home to see them off. They were moving halfway across the country.
My car, thankfully, was an automatic, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to drive it. So after driving at a break neck speed, I pulled up to the house and behind the moving van.
Charlotte came out of the house as I shut my car door. With my cane in hand, I walked over to where she was struggling and offered my assistance. "Let me help you."
"Jasper, you do not need to do this. I can carry a few bags," she huffed, a few wisps' of hair flying around her face.
Narrowing my eyes at her, I took a couple of the suitcases that she could barely hold on to and tossed them over my shoulder. "Let me do this for you." Her eyes widened slightly, the look on her face telling me that I didn't need to elaborate further. With a quick nod of her assent, we both made our way to their SUV.
I got one of the passenger doors open and placed both of the bags on the seat.
"You know that I'm going to miss you, right?" Charlotte asked softly, making sure that everything fit in the back seat before closing it. "You guys both need this."
"I know. We're only going to be a phone call away." These types of situations always made me uncomfortable. Goodbyes and talking about emotions, I just wasn't wired to be able to handle all of those feelings. The weight of them managed to bring me down, leaving a hole in their wake.
Charlotte just shook her head at me, wiping a stray tear that began falling down her cheek. "I love you, you grumpy old man." She pulled me into a hug, resting her chin on my shoulder and holding me close.
I couldn't help but to chuckle. "I love you, too."
"A guy could get the wrong idea, if he came outside and heard his wife and best friend talking that way." Peter's gravelly voice filled the air. "I won't, but a guy could."
"Sorry, man. I didn't want you to find out like this." I kept my arms around Charlotte's waist, tightening my grip on her and burying my face in her hair.
"Okay, very funny." She shoved against my chest, not really hurting me, but letting me know that I better release her.
Laughing under my breath, I loosened my hold on her and winked at Peter. "Is there anything else that you need from inside?"
He glanced back at the house for a second, shaking his head. "No, I think we've got it all." He rubbed Charlotte's shoulder and leaned down to kiss the top of her head. Then, without saying a word he turned to me and we hugged. "Don't hesitate to call if you need anything, Jazz. You're family, man."
I nodded quickly, clearing my throat when we finally stepped back. My tear ducts had become like a faucet these past few months and I wasn't in the mood to embarrass myself, so I took a moment to regroup and then held the passenger side door open for Charlotte. "Have a safe trip."
She kissed my cheek and then climbed inside.
They settled into the car, smiling and waving before finally taking off down the street. A piece me felt broken as they finally left the neighborhood. Now I needed to find myself, figure out my place in the world.
Before I could really think it through, I pulled my cell phone out of my jacket pocket and called the first person that came into my mind. After a few rings a timid, sweet voice answered.
"Hello? Jasper, is everything alright?" Bella whispered.
"Do you want to come over for a late lunch?" I asked, ignoring her question.
"Did something happen?" Bella persisted.
Groaning inwardly, I clenched my eyes closed tightly. This was all too much right now, I just wanted to forget. "Bella, do you want to come over or not? I'm going to order some take out and thought that you'd like to join me."
She was quiet at first, but eventually agreed. "I'll be there in fifteen minutes." If there was anyone in the world that I could trust to be there for me beside's Peter or Charlotte, it was Bella. We met in high school when she had been a tiny little rag doll who could barely put one foot in front of the other. Beyond that though, she was beautiful and smart and genuine. I always felt peaceful around her.
I said a quick thank you and then dialed the number for my favorite Greek restaurant. The girl taking my order tried my patience and messed up the repeat twice before finally getting it right. Ignoring the urge to punch something, I slowly walked into the house and found a couch to sprawl across.
With my eyes closed, I tried to ignore the dull ache that had settled in my hip and down to my knee. It seemed to be the worst when I was under stress.
The pain medication I had been trying to wean myself off of was sitting on the coffee table. It was strong and did the job perfectly, but I decided to try and work through the pain. Some days it worked, other days like today were more difficult. I finally gave in when the dull ache became a sharp throbbing and took two of the little blue pills.
"Jazz! Honey I'm home," Bella called, closing the front door with a thud.
"Living room," I answered her.
Bella's petite frame entered the doorway from the front entryway, two bags filled with food in each arm. "Takeout anyone?" A cheeky grin spread across her lips. "The delivery guy was just pulling up when I got here. So next time is on you."
Chuckling, I patted the cushion next to me. "I am starving."
"You're definitely not short on food. Who do you think you're trying to feed, Jasper, a small village in Cambodia?" She settled into the couch beside me.
"First of all, small one, not all of are the size of a toothpick, so we can eat more than a few lettuce leaves." I teased, smirking as she shoved my shoulder in annoyance. "And second, most of this I plan on saving for the rest of the week anyways."
We opened the bags and laid the containers out on the coffee table before digging in. I groaned in pleasure with each bite, ignoring Bella's playful jokes at my expense. The pain medication had also started to kick in, so I was feeling a lot better by that point.
Bella only made it through one helping, sitting back and watching me the rest of the time as I continued to eat the unhealthy, but delicious food.
I reached my fill after a third helping and leaned back against the couch, full and satisfied.
"Do you feel like talking now?" Bella finally asked, a tentative edge to her tone. When I didn't answer she continued. "Jasper, don't slip back into yourself again. I am here for you, Talk to me."
What exactly could I say to her? That I had become so dependent on my best friend and his wife that I wasn't sure what to do now? Or that I had just relapsed and took more pain medication for my leg that was supposed to be healing, progressing? I was a mess.
Thankfully, Bella didn't push me. She sat beside me on the couch, rubbing my arm gently, and waited in the silence until I was ready to talk.
I tried to find the words to say, to express the conflict that was raging inside me, but nothing came. Frustrated, I used my cane for the leverage that I needed and stood up to my feet.
"You know," Bella followed behind me to the kitchen, bringing the containers with her, "if need be, you could always hire a physical therapist to come and help you around here."
"Why would I need that, Bella? I'm perfectly capable of maneuvering my way around this place on my own," I snapped and began shoving the leftovers into the refrigerator. The thought of paying someone to help in and out of the shower did not sound appealing in the slightest.
She held up her hands in surrender before jumping up onto the counter. "There's nothing wrong with needing help, though, Jazz. You have made tremendous progress, but it's only been six months. It would be understandable if you would need someone to lean on still."
I sighed, running my hand along the back of my neck. "I can't keep depending on people to get me through this. At some point I have to do this on my own."
"Okay, then don't think of it as needing someone else. Jasper, you are hurting. I saw the sweat and ache in your eyes when I first got here." She tried to reason with me. "If you can get someone to help ease the pain and possibly help you to heal quicker, why wouldn't you take that chance?"
A growl resonated in my chest. I knew that she was right. Even though I had convinced Peter and Charlotte that I was better, I really could use someone around the house. My joints and hip were becoming stiff again and I was in a near constant state of pain. If there was someone out there that would be willing to help, maybe I should take advantage of it.
"For curiosity's sake- I'm not saying that I'm agreeing to this, but if I was how would I go about finding one?" I kept my back turned to her. I knew that there was a big smile on her face and I wasn't in the mood to see that just yet.
"Well, let's do some research on the internet. I'm sure that we can find the answer to that in no time." A tiny squeal erupted from her as she jumped down from the counter. I was already beginning to regret this decision.
Bella stayed and helped me figure out what I was doing. We ended up finding some agencies that sent out their clients on interviews. Once I found one that sounded like the best option, I called and got a little more information. They explained to me that they worked with home health care workers who basically would help me out around the house and work with my injury to help get me better.
I had them set up a series of interviews for the following day. They told me that the first would start in the afternoon.
The following morning I woke up in a bad mood, my left leg stiff and throbbing. I tried to do what I could to ease that tension and to perk up so that I wasn't grouchy to the interviewees. So after I was showered and dressed I ate a late breakfast.
Just as I was finishing up, the doorbell rang.
One right after the other showed up, every different background and experience imaginable. But, none of them were right. I was beginning to think I'd never find anyone when Felix, a guy with thick bands of muscles all around him, came in. He wouldn't have been that bad, except that he kept referring to me as sugar.
I pressed my forehead against the cool wood of the door after finally showing Felix out. Was it really this difficult to find some decent help? None of the women or men that I had met with today seemed even remotely qualified.
My thoughts were brought back to the present when a light knock sounded on the door.
Steeling myself for another bout of crazy, I slowly turned the knob and slid the front door open. I, however, was not prepared for what was waiting on the other side of it.
A tiny woman stood in front of me. Great care had obviously been taken into her appearance, and the air about her was completely different than anything else I had felt before. Her eyes, a unique shade of gray, were vibrant and bright, but there was something else behind them that I couldn't quite identify. She had spiky black hair that I wanted to run my fingers through and the smoothest pale skin that looked finer than silk. My eyes made their way down to her waist. It was petite with a slight bit of curves, just enough for my hands to fit in perfectly.
The reaction I was having to her shocked me. It felt as though every cell in me was alive and flowing, yet I never felt calmer, more relaxed.
"Hi, I'm Alice." She held out her hand, bouncing slightly on the tips of her toes.
I, on the other hand, could not move. The gentle lilt of her voice, the soft tones mixed with her bright smile, had me completely frozen in place. I couldn't think or speak.
"The agency sent me over about a job. They did tell you I was coming right?" She asked nervously.
Clearing my throat and shaking my head quickly, I tried to find my voice. "Umm, yes they did. Please come in." Stepping back and opening the door a little wider, I waited for her to enter my home.
With a small wink and a shrug of her shoulders, she made her way into the living room.
I shut the door, letting out a deep breath, before joining her in the other room. "My name is Jasper by the way. Jasper Whitlock."
"Nice to meet you, Jasper." She opened her large bag and rifled inside for a moment, immerging with a piece of paper. "Here is my resume. I trained as a classical dancer all through high school and college. I am a certified physical therapist and can cook and clean." A bright smile adorned her face as she placed the thin piece of paper in my hand.
Glancing over her resume quickly, I noticed that her previous work experience as a PT was not listed. A few years at a dance studio and two months as a waitress, but that was it. "How long have you had your certification?" A subtle scent from the paper wafted to my nose. It smelled like her. I couldn't quite place what the scent was, but it was mouth watering.
Her foot began bouncing on the floor. "About four years."
"And how many clients have you had?" I looked up from the sheet of paper to meet her eyes. "Especially ones with hip knee injuries."
"Well, I've… um… I've worked with a few different clients. Elderly, athletes, children." Her leg began jerking faster than before. "But, um, I can't really remember them." I could barely hear the last sentence, her voice growing softer as she spoke.
"Excuse me?" I leaned forward, setting the resume down on the table.
She avoided my eyes, her whole body shaking now. "I can't remember who my clients were. Or anything really, beyond a year ago."
"How is that possible?" I felt rude for being so blunt, but it was quite unusual that she couldn't remember literally her whole life.
"You'd have to ask the doctors where I woke up. Sir, I promise that this will have absolutely no bearing on my ability to care for you." Part of the beautiful smile she had worn earlier graced her features again.
"Listen, Alice, I'm sure that you are good person, but maybe this isn't the right job for you…"
"Jasper," she leaned forward in her seat as well, her hands very close to mine, "I can't remember anything about my life. My childhood, whether or not I had any boyfriends, what college I went to. Everything that I just recited for you was written on a file that my doctors gave me."
Biting her bottom lip, I could see her fighting off a bout of tears. "I can remember facts. My name is Alice Brandon and I am twenty-two years old. I have no memory of who my parents are or where I grew up." A sigh escaped her lips. "This, my being here, this is instinct. I know that I am supposed to be doing this; it's the only time that I feel normal."
That was something that I could understand. The only time I seemed to feel normal anymore was when I was working on the new Civil War exhibit at the museum down town, or when I was working on the book I had decided to write.
It hurt to feel alone, as though you were a drain on others around you.
When had I become such a push-over? With a low groan, I finally gave in. "Alright. You can have the job, on a temporary basis."
Her response was a blur of shrieks and squeals as she jumped off of the couch and hugged me tightly. Her tiny body curved into mine perfectly, fitting just right into my arms.
I was in trouble.
This was probably the first break I had received since waking up. I couldn't believe that he was willing to give me a chance. I squealed and cried, jumping up and hugging him tightly.
Jasper was a wonderful man. I knew that something good would come out of today.
My clearest and first memory was waking up in the hospital. I remember lying in the bed and glancing all around the room, not recognizing my surroundings or anything. The worst part though, was that I felt nothing. Literally, my body was in a constant state of numbness.
I couldn't feel a touch on my hands, a hug, I couldn't even feel the clothes that I wore on my back. The doctors were baffled and ran a series of tests, trying to figure out the underlying cause. After being poked, prodded, and x-rayed, they were still no closer to figuring out why I was unable to physically feel.
Everyone that had helped me, assumed that I would sit around and feel sorry for myself, but I just couldn't do that. So, once I was able to, I left Mississippi and ended up in Seattle. This was where I was supposed to be. I couldn't really explain how I knew it, but I just did. This felt right.
"Thank you so much, Jasper, sir." I hugged him tightly again. "You won't regret this."
He chuckled uncomfortably. "I just might if you keep calling me 'sir'."
I released my grip on him and sat back in my heels. "Sorry. Jasper." I couldn't control the grin that now had my cheeks aching from the strain. "I'll have my things moved in within the next couple of days. Thank you."
I had become no stranger to living with a woman. Charlotte had not been shy about telling me that I needed to clean up after myself or that she would kill me if I left the toilet seat up again. I loved that about her, she didn't take any of my crap.
But with Alice, it was different. She moved in and suddenly there were candles set up everywhere, curtains on the windows, rugs on the floors, even picture frames. She made sure everything was spotless and in the right place. I had never seen my house look so impeccably clean.
That Friday, I had Maria check on the delivery for those rifles again. My great-grandfather had some Civil War rifles and pistols that were beyond any that I had ever seen. I wanted to use them in the display and since they had been passed down to me, I asked my mother to have them shipped. Two weeks later, I still hadn't received them.
Checking the shipping information online was fruitless, all that I was able to find out was that the package was in transit and should arrive any day now.
I decided to just leave it alone when the end of the day began nearing. My leg was stiff and I could feel my stomach growling with hunger. Driving home as quickly as I could, I pulled into the driveway and struggled to get out of the car.
Once inside, I heard some music playing in the stereo. It sounded different than what I normally listened to. Classical, perhaps, maybe an opera. The smell of enchiladas permeated throughout the house. It was delectable.
Tossing my bag down by the stairs, I made my way toward the kitchen. The smell of cheese and peppers assaulted my senses, and I found Alice standing near the sink. Her body was moving in time with the music, hips swaying, head bouncing.
I couldn't help grinning at the sight. She may have technically only been here because she was working for me, but that didn't mean I couldn't look. Just looking at her, she appeared so delicate and fragile. Her small hands and dancers frame were very deceiving.
After that first massage she gave me, I knew better than to assume her weak or incapable of anything.
"It's not polite to stare, you know." Alice's harmonious voice broke through my train of thought.
My ears reddened slightly at being caught. "So sorry, ma'am. Please forgive my rudeness."
She giggled, a luscious sound that went straight to my groin. What was this woman doing to me? Yes, she had an incredible body and I was intrigued by the fact that she couldn't remember anything about her past, but that was it. Having a relationship with anyone, whether it was just physical or something more, was completely out of the question. I was not mentally ready for such a thing, and from what I could tell, neither was Alice.
"Come on, dinner is almost ready." She slid her body underneath my free arm and helped me over to the kitchen table, a subtle hint of orchids making itself known. Without needing to check, Alice brought me a glass of iced tea and two packets of sugar.
The enchiladas she had prepared were amazing. I greedily accepted seconds and even thirds of the spicy masterpiece. I hummed and groaned with each bite; nothing had ever tasted so good to me.
When I offered to help her clean up, she immediately refused, insisting that I needed to get upstairs and stretch out my hip.
I tried to pout, but Alice just ignored me, dragging me up the stairs to my bedroom. "Jasper Whitlock, you are the one who hired me. Quit acting like such a baby."
"Do you have any idea how much this hurts?" I grumbled, narrowing my eyes at her as she had me lay down on the bed. "It's not a pleasant experience."
She settled herself between my legs, a glint in her eyes. My breathing quickened. "Says the big, bad, Marine. I'm sure that you would be whistling a different tune if your buddies were in front of you now."
"How did you know about that?" I winced and shut my eyes tightly as she lifted my left leg, bent it at the knee, and gently pushed it toward my chest.
"The picture from your graduation in the hall. Plus, I found some of your fatigues." She released my leg for a moment and then pushed it back again.
I kept my eyes shut. "A lot has changed since then. I'm not the same man I was in that picture."
Alice, thankfully, didn't ask any more questions. She continued my exercises in silence, trying to be as gentle as possible. Her touch was soft and kept my mind occupied. There was something different about her presence, the look in her eyes. I still couldn't seem to place it.
She was hurting. Whether it was something from her past that her mind was protecting her from, or a secret she wasn't yet ready to share, Alice was hiding.
I wasn't sure where this had come from, why I had thought it, but as it sank in I realized that it was true. Alice needed to be touched.
Jasper was an old soul. He was trying to keep himself together, to hold in everything that he was feeling. It hurt to watch him struggling, warring with himself.
When I first showed up at his door, I knew that I was in the right place. But watching him now, as he fought with the physical and mental pain his body was in, I knew that I was definitely meant to be here.
He needed to be touched.
A special thanks to my master beta hopeful wager for getting this back to me so quickly and for putting up with my somewhat non-writing lately. She truly is the best. I will get my act together.
Thank you to everyone for reading this and if you like please vote, the open votes begin October 5th and end on October 18th.
Be sure to check out my profile if you want to see other stories written by me. Thank you.