Chapter One

Set In Stone

Jasper Hale watched her from where he stood on the campus. Two years after his brother Edward left her she had attended college. He expected her to change as any human would, but what he didn't expect was how much she remained the same.

She still had the same long, dark chestnut hair, her wide, oddly deep brown eyes, her mannerisms. All of it was the same. He adored how she tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear, a shy and nervous habit she had. She blushed as a boy winked at her as she walked out of the double-wide doors of the music hall. The heated blood contained in her cheeks sent a fire ripping through his throat. He snapped his teeth down, clenched his hands into fists and stayed where he was. He would control himself. He focused on her, not her blood.

The differences he expected were not the differences he hoped for. They were frightening. She didn't smile or laugh. She walked numbly. A zombie. There were dark circles under her eyes, paler than he'd ever seen her with his perfect vision. She was almost as pale as him, and he was colorless.

From where she sat on the bench bent over a notebook, the wind caught her hair. It swirled around her, and led her undeniably delicious fragrance to him. He swallowed his mouth full of venom at the Jasmine that filled him, but he restrained himself. He worked hard on dominating his vampire urges, just for the moment to be in her presence. To watch her and be sure that she was okay and she was happy.

He had every intention of leaving, but he couldn't, not when there wasn't a smile. She was unhappy, a longing set in stone washing towards him. He felt it crashing into him. He held onto the tree he hid behind, keeping his posture upright.

She scrawled on her paper fast and hard. She brought her watch up to her face and suddenly stood to leave. She tripped over the leg of the bench and he fought not to go and help her. Her calf scraped the side of the seat, but she didn't bother to look down to see if she did any damage. There was no aroma of blood and so he figured himself safe. He still wasn't strong enough to resist the fresh life force.

Hurried to make it to her next class she raced off, though not quite running. She was being careful at least, but he gazed after her, telling himself that it was to be sure she didn't injure herself. The truth was that he was memorizing each of her movements. The sway of her hips, her clumsy steps, and her emotionless face.

There was a reason he stared at her expression, because he didn't need to. He could feel emotions of everyone around him, and he could manipulate them. With Bella though, he didn't like what he felt, it was worse than those of teenagers who were psychological roller coasters. She was... Dead.

If only she smiled or gave some contentment and not the numbness she was giving off. It was the only thing he wanted to see or feel, it would give him the excuse to leave, but he couldn't. Not without what he looked for.

Jasper didn't say much to Edward when he announced to the family that they had to leave. He told him that he was sorry for attacking her. That day haunted him; everyone knew, but it didn't matter. Nothing anyone said helped, Edward was going to leave her and for that the rest of them were forced to as well. Esme had shook with tears she couldn't shed, Alice yelled at him, Emmett shoved him through the wall. Rosalie was the only one happy about it, going on about how it was the best thing to do. Who was she to decide?

He tried not to be bothered by it, but being around her during the time him and Alice were hiding her from James, he knew he would miss her deeply. Not her scent - that was something he couldn't miss, but her. Her selfless feelings, her love and beauty. He would never forgive himself for attacking her on her birthday, he had been the cause of all of it, the pain that was in her then as he watched her. She suffered more than if Edward hadn't blocked him. He flinched at what the outcome of that would've been. He'd never forgive himself. He'd taken many lives, more than he cared to count, but if he took hers... He'd never live with himself.

It wasn't to say that Edward was innocent. He put the final nail in the coffin, as inappropriate as that was to even think under the circumstances, it was true. Jasper was sorry, so sorry and agonized and appalled but not surprised that Bella forgave him immediately. It was her, and he knew her, knowing her emotions and knowing how good she was. Edward's actions didn't promote him to deserve her. He wished he could've told her that. She deserved someone that made her undeniably happy because her misery was more than anyone should have had to stand.

He thought back to what his sister Alice told him, the image of her standing in front of him in their house in New York, hands on her hips. He hated the furious look she gave, it was nearly impossible to resist.

"You better go and see her," she said in her threatening tone. She genuinely was a frightening monster, being a vampire not included. Her glare was more murderous than her razor sharp teeth. "She's at Peninsula College," she continued on. "I have your plan ticket ready, your clothes are packed. All you have to do is go. You have to leave in an hour."

He repeated himself for the fifth time. "We shouldn't interfere. We promised Edward."

"That doesn't matter! I've seen her, Jazz. Bella's unhappy. It hurts to see, and I can't do it anymore! Please? I know you care for her -"

"She's a human as any other."

"This is Bella."

"And since Edward refused to change her, it makes her human. Don't get me wrong, she's different, a breath of fresh air, actually. That doesn't change anything. We have to honor the promise we made."

"He's being stubborn and stupid!"

"We're in agreement."

"She's my best friend, and she's sad..."

He sighed. "What do you know that I don't, Alice?"

"I know this is the way it has to be. The way it was always meant to be."

Alice had done all the things she said she would, which he'd never questioned. She always kept her promises, no matter how extravagant. The more exuberant the better, and because of that he carried five unnecessary suitcases with him. He thought it was superfluous as he was certain it was just a short trip. He would see that Bella was alive and happy, and he would leave content.

Alice's visions had never been wrong before, but he hoped. For some reason, for the first time, he wanted more than anything for her to be wrong, not because he could go home, but because he wanted to see Bella happy.

It was a good thing he could shatter stones with ease, because he was going to shatter the stone that Bella had become.

***

For her father, for her mother, Bella Swan would live. Some didn't choose happiness, happiness didn't choose them. Some didn't get a chance. She lived for others, for their happiness. Hers no longer mattered, it didn't exist.

Two years ago the man she lived for left her in the woods. It was for her own good, somewhere along the way she saw that. He was constantly trying to make her see how dangerous he was for her, and she did see that. No one could have ever hurt her the way he did. He proved his point, but he wasn't coming back to see that she saw. He would never understand that she knew the dangers, and she didn't care. Somewhere along the way, she accepted that it wasn't him she missed, that broke her heart. It was the family she wanted to be with. They all left her.

She attended college and had a part time job at a local coffee shop within walking distance from her studio apartment. She refused all the money that Edward had tried to send her, she was determined to make it on her own. It wasn't true that she didn't need the money but it was true that she was too stubborn to take it. He had done too much for her as it was. The little time they had together was worth more than any words could describe and taking his money would've been overkill.

It felt as though they were trying to kill her. Forgoing drinking her blood, they decided to kill her with the kindness that were a trademark of the Cullen's (as was their vegetarian nature). Instead she chose to keep all the dignity she had left and apply for financial aid, and from the little money she made a the coffee shop she applied for an apartment. It was better than sharing a dorm with someone that would only irritate her.

The place only consisted of one room, not including the bathroom. She made the limited space into a bedroom, adding only a desk in the corner for her studies. It was all that she needed.

She made her way across the neatly mowed lawn to her next class. History. She had yet to decide on a major. She took any class that seemed to interest her. What did a person decide to be when a vampire was out of the question?

She walked into the massive white building and up the two flights to go inside of a large room. She sat in the back corner as was her usual. As far away from all contact as she could get. She gazed out of the window overlooking where she had just came from.

The professor had begun his lecture on medieval tactics but it faded as background noise. She leaned further to the window, seeing a familiar pale, blond man walking to the bench where she had sat at only earlier. He reclined back, his elbows on the table, his hands limp. He raised his face to the darkening sky, the wind ruffling his wavy hair.

She had leaned so far her nose was nearly pressed against the window. Then, her chair tipped over, and she toppled to the cold linoleum.

"Miss Swan? Are you okay?" The professor had paused while turning a page, ignoring the laughter of the rest of the class.

"I'm fine, sir." She brushed herself off, and looked back out the window hoping that it wasn't her imagination. She had worked too hard to start seeing things, but chagrin descended on her as she saw that the man she thought she saw, wasn't there.

"Miss Swan?"

She shook her head and took her seat. "Sorry, sir," she mumbled, not taking her eyes off the window, waiting, hoping, that he would return. It didn't have to be him, it could have been anyone, just as long as something happened to stand as evidence that she was not dreaming.

Her professor continued his lecture, but she didn't listen. She wouldn't stop waiting for the whole lesson. Just in case, but she knew better. It couldn't have been him. It was too good to be true. The Cullen's were gone, every one of them. They weren't coming back, her fairytale was over and she should have known. The originals didn't have happy endings.


A/N: If you like my style of writing you may want to read my young adult fantasy novel. The link can be found in my profile.