SM Own Twilight
Song: Angel by Sarah McLachlan
"Home for the Holidays" One shot contest
Title: Christmas Angel
December 21 and the snow lay feet high in Denali, though being this far north it was a mild winter.
The past year had been hard for all of us. Edward had run off shortly after leaving Forks, Alice soon had followed. Her declaration to the family had surprised Esme, but neither Rosalie nor I. We both had known for a long time that her heart lied with Edward. He alone in our family understood her and her visions.
For me, I felt no pain or hurt to work through. I'd always known that Alice and I would only be together for a finite time. It was never Alice's nature to stay with one thing for any length of time that we were together for so many years was puzzling.
The knock on the front door was swift and hard. In a flash we all gathered in the living room. Only the Denali coven would call on us, and never this early in the morning. The clock in the entry way chimed 8:00am.
Carlisle opened the door and swirl of snow followed the motion inside. Dressed in an anorak suited for the weather stood Charlie Swan. To say that we it surprised us all, would not be a misjudgement.
"Chief Swan, what brings you up here, especially in this weather?" Carlisle ever the diplomat opened the door and allowed Charlie entrance into our home.
Charlie's face was haggard and his air held forlorn grief and immense worry. "You have to help me find her. I know what you are, what all of you are, you have to find her." His dark eyes were wild.
"What are you talking about Charlie? You're not making any sense." I heard the slight shock in Carlisle's voice and his urgency to suffocate the flames of the situation.
"You're vampires, the whole lot of you. What, I'm just a small town cop so I'd never know the truth, right? Bella is missing, has been for three months, you will help me find her. Your boy is the reason she ran away and by God you'll help me find her." Charlie grabbed Carlisle by his shirt and stood toe to toe staring him in the eye.
A low growl behind me signaled Rosalie's anger at having our home invaded. I held out my arm to not let her pass.
"Esme, would you please put some coffee on for Chief Swan. Charlie, follow me, we'll figure this out, and of course we'll do anything we can to find Bella. Rosalie and Emmett, please go hunting. Jasper, I'm sure the Chief would appreciate your mind for strategy in this matter, please join us in the study." Carlisle's voice was authority and forced Rosalie to bite her retort.
Esme took Charlie's coat then left for the kitchen and Emmett all but hauled Rosalie out of the house. I followed Carlisle and Charlie into the study.
"Please have a seat Charlie, and tell me everything that's happened." Charlie opting not to sit began pacing the space in front of the roaring fireplace. Carlisle took a wingback chair in front of the fire and Charlie. I was content to lean against the closed door.
"Six months after you people left, Bella quit school and ran away from home. I came home to find a note and her room ransacked. I thought she would go to Renee, but she hasn't seen or heard from Bella in well over a year. For those six months before Bella left she was hell on wheels, cliff diving with the La Push boys, and getting in fights at school. A year ago she started hanging out with a rough crowd from Port Angeles and started missing curfews, she even came home drunk or high a few times. I picked her up from the hospital after they found her using forged prescription forms to get painkillers. At some point she'd broken into your old office, stole the forms and forged your signature.'
'For months I didn't hear anything from her. I was finally able to find her in September, just after her birthday. She was living in a rundown motel just outside Boston when I found her. To hell and back would be a good description of her. Over six months she had fallen apart and was addicted to pain killers. When she first saw me, she fell into me crying. In the six months that she'd been missing she'd lost a lot of weight, she couldn't have weighed more than a hundred pounds soaking wet. Track marks lined her arms. When she used my credit card, it told me how bad things were.'
'The girl that stood in front of me in that filthy hotel wasn't the Bella I knew. She looked like every junkie in which I'd ever arrested. I got her to leave and took her to dinner and pleaded with her to come back to Forks with me, she agreed, then asked for money to pay her motel bill. Naively, I gave it to her and went back to my hotel for the night. Early the next morning I went back to the motel, her truck was there so I was hopeful. Her room door was open and empty. In the middle of the night she skipped out, she left behind the credit card and a note saying that she was sorry, that she loved me. I haven't heard from her since. Every day I search the databases for her, hoping for a mug shot, or hell, even a morgue photo, anything that will tell me where she is. I don't even know if she's dead or alive."
Charlie broke at that point, falling into a chair in total despair. I blocked his feelings and went to Carlisle's desk and began making notes. Everything that Charlie had said, any clues that would lead us to her. She obviously had to be found, at least, and Charlie's information gave us a place to start. Unfortunately, Bella was smart, which meant finding her location would be harder. Boston would have to be our first stop.
"Do you know what painkillers she was trying to get in Forks? It might help to let us know what we're dealing with?" Carlisle was leaning forward in his chair and staring at Charlie. Carlisle would not deny his feelings of responsibility toward Bella. In truth we were all responsible for Bella's behavior and disappearance.
"I have a folder in my car, every piece of information I've got is in there. You have to find her, or at least a . . . body, anything just to let me know what's happened to her." Charlie was getting more torn up by the second and I forced calm down his throat when he left to get the folder.
I looked over at Carlisle and his face was registering his shock and concern. He didn't know how Bella could end up this way, but I could. Bella, like me would store the hurt in her soul. If we had known this was the outcome of our leaving, Carlisle would not have left Forks. Edward had assured all of us that he knew Bella, that she would mourn us, but in time she would be fine. Not unlike Charlie, we naively believed the words of a loved one.
Charlie left back for Forks to wait for news. Carlisle and I poured over the folder of information. Bella had started with alcohol and marijuana, then finally found Oxycontin and obviously once they could no longer sate the addiction for that had found other, harder drugs.
"I'll leave in a few hours. The weather is holding so flying should not be a problem. It's the slow season anyway. I'll start in Boston and work from there, if we're lucky she stuck to an area of familiarity, probably even going back to the motel once Charlie was gone." Quickly I memorized my notes, but still stuck them in my back pocket.
"I'm going with you. I can check the hospitals easier with my credentials. Hopefully, between the two of us we can find her, or at least where she would have gone." Carlisle went to the bookshelf, behind the books was a safe. With a flick of his wrist he had it open and was removing documents, credit cards and stacks of cash. Determination was in every pore of him along with inner anger that I never knew. His anger was righteous and I was afraid for anyone that stood in his way. In more ways that one, I had underestimated the love and fatherly devotion that made up everything that Carlisle was.
"I'm going upstairs to pack." I watched as Carlisle slowed and the reality of the situation began settling on him. He needed time alone and I was more than willing to give it to him.
Once in my bedroom I began pulling out jeans, T-shirts and sweaters, anything older and worn looking. To question the people with whom Bella would have associated, I needed to look like one of them. My phone rang just as I was throwing everything in a duffel bag.
"Guess what, Jazzy? Edward and I will be home for Christmas. We have so much to tell all of you. Isn't that wonderful?" Alice's high pitched voice grated across me like nails on a chalkboard. How was it possible that Alice had never seen anything concerning Bella? I didn't believe for one second that she didn't. Edward may know Alice's visions and understand that part of her, but I knew Alice. I alone knew how manipulative and deceitful she could be. Alice never did anything without a purpose or knowing that she would benefit most from the situation. She had manipulated me too often over the years not for me to be aware of her games.
"Jazzy, aren't you happy that we're coming home? This Christmas is going to be the best yet, all of our family will be together again."
"No, Alice, our family will not be together for Christmas and I could give a flying fuck whether you and Edward were coming home, or not." I snapped the phone shut.
Downstairs I heard Carlisle's cell phone ring. The ring tone indicated that it was Alice. Carlisle surprised me when the call went unanswered. I heard his footsteps come up the stairs and enter the opposite hallway toward his and Esme's room. Tension radiated through him along with irritation and disappointment. I wondered if I was not the only one in the family wise to Alice's ways, it was a topic not I would not discuss, unless Carlisle brought it up himself.
My bag was downstairs and I was waiting as Carlisle descended the stairs ten minutes later. Together we entered the kitchen where a silent Charlie and Esme sat. Esme had her hand covering Charlie's trying to give him comfort and strength.
"We're leaving. We will let you know when we find anything, between the two of us we can cover quite a bit of ground, hopefully we'll have information for you within the next day." Carlisle looked as Esme and I could feel her understanding, she would make sure Charlie didn't follow us.
"We'll be fine. Let us know the very minute you find out something." Esme rose and went around the table to stand next to Charlie. I could tell by her posture that she was forcing him to sit in his seat. She smiled at us and pressed down harder on Charlie when he tried to get up.
At the airport we made it through security and to our private hanger quickly. Never had Carlisle been more thankful that I was the only one in the family that had kept up with the flying lesson's after Rosalie and Emmett had quickly become bored. We would have to make two refueling stops and while Carlisle saw to the fuel I registered my flight plan and was giving a number to taxi.
With an hour we were in the air and pushing the family Lear jet as fast as it would go. Carlisle's idea for the jet had made life easier on all of us when it came time to traveling. We didn't need to worry about other human's or an accidental sunbeam reflecting off our skin.
It was nightfall by the time we were landing in Boston. Carlisle's forethought saw that we had two cars waiting for us as the rental station. We picked up the keys and immediately left in separate directions. Going over every possible strategy on the flight had given us enough time to get our mission clear. Get in, get Bella, and get out as quickly as possible.
My first stop was the motel where Bella was staying and Carlisle would start at the hospitals. In the morning we would meet up at our hotel to catch up on joint information. Luckily, both of us had fed the night before, so both of us could easily go a week without hunting.
Taking the picture that Charlie had used out of my wallet, I went to the front counter of the seedy motel. "Got a question, man. Have you seen this girl?" I put the picture up to the bullet place glass and added a fifty-dollar bill to it. Being a Cullen, had definitely taught me one thing, money talked better than anything in the world.
"Yeah, and when you see that bitch, tell her she's a week late on the rent and no taking it out in trade this time. My old lady finds me with her again, and she's going to knife us both." The gangly, greasy man smelled of boiled cabbage and offal. I found it hard to resist the urge to vomit at the thought of Bella taking anything out in trade with this miscreant.
"Know where she hangs out? I'm looking to do a little business with her myself." I added another fifty to the first.
"Look around at any of those Goth clubs man, the girl gets off on the freaky fuckers." His mouth was salivating as I added another fifty.
"You see her, and you give me a call. Don't tell her that I'm looking for her and I'll give you double." I slid the money through the small window along with my business card. Any number found for Whitlock Enterprises would pass straight through to my cell phone.
It was still early so I went to the hotel to check in and change clothes. My instinct had been right, Bella had cleaned out enough to scare Charlie off, then had gone back to the place where she was comfortable. This made my job easier in finding her. Once in my hotel room I changed into a pair of black jeans and a vintage Sex Pistols T-shirt. Quickly I laced up the pair of combat boots I'd brought. The phone directory gave me a listing of three clubs in Boston. I was sure with those I'd could find more. Quickly I ruled out the one on the posh side of town, if Bella was as heavily into drugs as Charlie believed she was then she would stick to areas of easy access. As I was leaving the hotel I ran into Carlisle, he'd gone to the hospital nearest to the motel.
"Did you find anything?" I asked as we passed in the stairwell.
"Someone brought A young woman fitting Bella's description in a month ago with signs of an overdose. They pumped her stomach. By the time they came to take her to a room, she was gone."
I didn't say anything as I began to feel Carlisle's grief, he knew as I did, that if Bella had already overdosed once, it wouldn't be long until it happened again. The next time, and overdose could mean her life. I briefed Carlisle on the motel and the clubs closest to the area.
"Wait for me to change and I'm coming with you. I can scout around outside while you're in."
I nodded my head in agreement and waited. It didn't take long for him to come back, dressed closely to my own style, except Carlisle was still wearing his long black trench coat. The entire air around him appeared deadly and I had never seen my father look dangerous enough to kill.
The first club was within walking distance. As we walked, we kept our eyes peeled for any sight or smell of Bella. The closer we got the air began to change. The smell of freesias hung in the air, if she wasn't here now, she was here at some point tonight. After a brief talk with the outside bouncer, I showed her Bella's picture. When I pressed a couple fifties in his hand, he was quick to remember. Bella was now going by the name of Swan, and we'd just missed her.
It was a good sign, it meant that Bella was in the area, hopefully on foot. Carlisle's talk with some people waiting in line gave us a direction. Following our noses we began to head north, cutting down the alleyway to which Carlisle pointed. Her scent was barely discernible with all the trash and filth lining the alley.
We heard her voice, coming through like a beacon, before we saw her. She was two blocks up one alley over, and not alone. I tuned into the sound, the words making my stomach roll, looking over at Carlisle I saw his hands as they clenched into fists, anger radiated out of him.
"You do have the good stuff, right."
"Have I ever let you down before? Just got this stuff in. It's pretty damn close too pure. Are you sure you can handle it little girl?"
"I can handle anything you've got."
"Now this stuff's going to cost you, none of that nickel and dime shit like before, it's even in a clean needle."
"For one of my best customer's, it's a bargain. A hundred and baby, it's all yours."
"I've only got eighty."
"Then I guess I'll be seeing you when you get the rest."
Passing through traffic on the road we tried to slow our movements to human speed, when Carlisle and I wanted to run. We stood in the opposing alleyway and watched as Bella began making her plea with the drug dealer. They stood in the dark, but with Carlisle's and my eyesight, it might have been day.
"Are you sure we can't work something out in trade?" Bella's hand was on the guy's arm and again I thought I'd be sick.
"Might just be able to do that? I could always use another girl like you, young, innocent looking. You got the skills, girl?"
"How about you give me the needle and I'll show you my skills, then we can talk." She began rubbing up against him, seducing the dealer further into the alley. It wasn't far enough that we couldn't see and as the dealer began unbuckling his pants Bella was sliding the needle into her arm. I had to clamp my hand over Carlisle's mouth before he roared. His eyes were black in the night.
Traffic was heavy as we made our way across the street and into the alley. They were well into their dirty deed against the wall when Carlisle and I ran into the alley. I watched as my father grabbed the drug dealer from behind, by the throat. Carlisle's mouth was almost dripping venom as he held the man up against the wall. I'd never seen my father so angry.
"What did you give her?" Carlisle's voice dripped acid as I bent down to check on Bella. The drugs were already affecting her body. She didn't even recognize me through the daze.
"Simmer down man, give her a few minutes and she can do us all. Swan likes to party and have fun. No harm done. She'll be feeling so good in a minute that we'll all get lucky and she won't remember a thing in the morning."
With an unearthly roar Carlisle threw the dealer away from him, across the alleyway and into the brick wall. Brick and mortar rained down as the dealer crashed with a sickening pop and slid to the ground, lifeless.
The needle was empty and sticking out of Bella's forearm. In moments of the drug in her system her eyes were glassy and her head lolled to the side. Carlisle picked up the needle and sniffed it.
His eyes were still black as he pocketed the syringe and lifted Bella into his arms. I felt no remorse at his actions as he saw me check the pulse of the dealer. He was dead. I searched through his pockets, taking the rest of the drugs he had, then tossed the body into the nearby dumpster. Knowing what drugs the guy had on him, would help Carlisle determine what Bella was taking.
Sticking to the shadows we made it back to the hotel and up to Carlisle's room without incident.
"I need you to sneak into the hospital." Carlisle laid Bella down on the bed and began making a list. He also pulled out a long white coat from his bag and threw it to me. "Use your bluetooth and call me when you're secure, I need other things once I figure out what she's been taking."
Once at the hospital I found them quickly after that and sped back to the hotel with haste. From the moment I walked back into the hotel room and closed the door. Carlisle's trepidation floored me, it hung in the room. He and Bella were no where to be found.
I threw the medical supplies on the sofa just as my phone was ringing. Carlisle was on the other end and by the sound of his voice, he was running.
"I turned to call room service for her, figuring she'd like something to eat. I had closed the door to give her some privacy. She went to the bathroom and I heard the water running. As I was talking, she slipped out through the adjoining room. I tried to follow but lost her, she exited through the staff department and I couldn't follow, without drawing too much attention. I heard noises and figured she was using the bathroom, it didn't dawn on me that she would escape." His voice was wrought with worry and I knew that he wasn't telling me something.
"Tell me Carlisle and then we'll canvas the area, she wouldn't have gone far and if I know Bella, she'll head back to that shitty motel and get out of town until she feels it's safe to come back."
"Dammit, I know what she's on and we don't have much time. The guy gave her a dose of heroin and possibly cocaine. The heroin was pretty pure to if the remnants in the syringe and any indication. Right now her heart is probably speeding out of control and she will be paranoid of everything. If we don't get to her in time, she'll die. I'll keep searching, you get everything ready to go and call the airport on the way. I want the jet ready when we find her. I'll call you if I find her, go by her motel, that's where she's heading if your right." The disconnection with Carlisle's line followed the sounds of honking and cursing.
Grabbing Carlisle's unpacked bag I shoved the medical supplies into it and ran to my room, then out the hotel. It had taken me all of ten seconds. In the car I called the airport and they assured me everything would be ready to go. I floored the rental car, breaking too many laws to count as I sped toward Bella's motel. My phone rang a couple blocks away.
"Yeah, man Swan just got here, I can see her room and she's definitely there. You want me to call her or something?" The clerk's voice was low as if someone else might be listening.
"No, but I'll pay you an extra hundred if you can keep her there for a few more minutes. I'm almost there." I hung up the phone and pressed down harder on the accelerator. Bella had escaped me once before, in Phoenix. I was sure as hell, wasn't going to let her this time.
Quickly I called Carlisle, who immediately said he was on his way. Pulling into the motel parking lot, I blocked Bella's truck in and flew up the steps to her room. The clerk was pounding on the door. I pressed money into his hand and told him to beat it, which he was anxious to do.
"I told you I'd get your money. I just need another week." The door was roughly thrust open and Bella stood in front of me. Instantly her eyes turned to fear and she tried to slam the door in my face. I held it as she pushed.
"Go away and leave me alone!" Her voice screamed at me, sounding nothing like the Bella I once knew. Rapidly she was becoming hysterical and I could feel her drug induced paranoia.
"Bella, let me take you home. Come with me, you don't have to be alone anymore." I could feel her fear and her pain beyond the drugs, the reason she started using in the first place. All the drugs did, was to smother her until she could breathe. "Please, Bella, come with me, darlin'." Holding out my hand I pleaded with her.
I could hear Carlisle's car as it pulled into the drive and the subsequent sound of his door shutting softly. I held up my hand behind me to signal for him to stay where he was. Bella didn't need to be spooked anymore.
Slowly she began opening the door. I could hear her heart begin to pound fast, too fast. "Why are you here?" Her voice was small from behind the door. Slowly she allowed me to push it open. I left it that way so she wouldn't be afraid that I'd block her in.
"I came for you. Carlisle did too. We came to take you home, Bella." I stood in front of her as she looked down. The opiate drug was working its way through her system, and the pain killers were taking their effect, but were also bringing on their depressive properties in a massive dose. Hopefully whatever cocaine had been in the syringe was passing quickly.
"I don't have a home, never did." Her belief in her words astounded me. Truth hit me like a baseball bat to the face. When we left her, we took away the only place she felt at home, the place where she felt loved and family. God, we were such bastards. Quickly I pulled her into my arms just as the sorrow hit her heart. "Come with me, Bella. If you don't want the others, you have me. Please, let me take you away. We'll go wherever you want to go. You don't need this life anymore Bella and you don't have to be alone. Better yet, let me go with you." I stroked her head and pleaded with her. The need to soothe her heart was like a rushing river, consuming. Suddenly nothing was more important than taking care of her for if she would let me, even forever if it came to that.
Bella was just as lost and alone as I had been once, and at times felt still. If she was going to face the darkness then it was going to be with me by her side. "Please, Bella." I pleaded again and was relieved when I felt her answer before she shook her head, yes."
Picking her up I cradled her against my chest and filled her with the truth of my words. She would never be alone again. As long as I lived, I would not leave her side. I owed her that much. Carefully I put her in the car and buckled her seat belt. So far she hadn't moved and was so still that it scared me.
"Settle anything she owes then grab what stuff she has. I'm heading to the airport. Meet us there." I kept my voice low so only Carlisle could hear. He nodding his head and walked to the office as I got in the car.
Pealing out of the motel I shot through the night while holding Bella's small clammy hand in my own, and praying that I could get her out of the blackness that had consumed her life for too long.
She nodded off in her heroin filled haze which made it easier to get her on the plane once we got to the airport. I buckled her into the seat and was beginning a preflight check when Carlisle boarded then latched the door.
He sat beside her, holding her, rocking her while whispering words of comfort in Italian. In these moments I saw how our leaving had not only affected Bella, but Carlisle. His fatherly feelings told me everything. In Bella he saw the daughter he could have had as human.
Halfway through the flight Bella went into distress as her body began convulsing and showing signs of an overdose. Carlisle told me to keep going and not to stop. At one point I could hear the charge of the on board difibrillator and felt Carlisle's fear. Softly her heart began beating again but it was fluttering again. Indecision filled Carlisle as he fought his emotions.
"If you don't do it, she's going to die." Anger reared in me as he faltered. The more he faltered the closer Bella got to death.
"I can't do it. I love her too much to give her this life. Better to let her die in peace." Sobs caught in his chest as he held her.
Quickly I pushed the autopilot button and fled the cockpit. Carlisle was on the floor rocking Bella back and forth. I had never seen him this distraught. Carefully I went to take Bella from his arms and faced his eyes. They were full of sorrow. He wasn't going to change her.
"If you're not going to do it, then I am. I'm not going to let her die when I can save her." As he held her, I brought her limp wrist to my lips and sunk my teeth deep. Her moan was the only indication that she'd felt any pain. Once I'd given the first bite, I felt Carlisle's acceptance at Bella's fate and he helped me with the rest. Together we forced massive amounts of venom in her system, hoping to counteract the cocaine and heroin.
Hours later Carlisle was sitting in the backseat, holding Bella. So far she hadn't moved or shown any indication that the change was taking place. Carlisle believed it was because of the heroin being so close to morphine. If the change was on time, Bella would awaken on Christmas morning a vampire.
A strange car was in the drive as we pulled forward. Leaving the bags in the car, I followed Carlisle into the house as he carried Bella. I knew the sound of laughter as it hit me. Alice and Edward were home. Anger seethed and raged inside me, to hear them so happy while Bella had been hanging on by a thread.
"Oh good, you guys are home, so how was your trip?" Alice danced into the foyer with Edward at her heels.
Instinctively I moved in front, blocking Carlisle in a protective stance. Edward growled low in his throat when he saw Carlisle carrying Bella. Alice stood at his side and wound her arm around his waist and leaned her head against his shoulder. I began remembering my battles with Maria's coven to keep Edward from my head.
"Aren't you guys going to congratulate us? We got married? It was on top of this beautiful little hill in Rio." She flashed her ring, at us, delighted in her torment of me. Like Bella had been at once, I was nothing more than Alice's plaything. Suddenly I sensed a smugness from her as she looked at Bella, she had seen Bella and her turn to drugs.
"Tell me the truth Alice, did you see this happening to Bella? Did you know all along the hell she was living?" I didn't need her smile to tell me the truth. She had.
"Just think, Jazz, you got to run to her rescue and save the day." Bitterness was not unlike the venom that ran in Alice's veins.
"We will discuss this once Bella is comfortable." Carlisle's anger at Alice and Edward was viable, even for them. Carlisle flew up the stairs and out of sight. He was down in a flash after calling for Esme.
"Bella will be staying with us indefinitely."
"What's going on?" Edward looked at both of us and I realized that like me, Carlisle was blocking his thoughts.
Quickly I let down the walls and remembered how Carlisle and I witnessed Bella selling herself for drugs. I would never forget the sight of her living conditions, and especially how she'd looked with a needle sticking out of her arm. Closer I walked until I stood in front of the man I'd once considered my brother.
Alice just stood staring at us. "You knew what was happening with Bella, and you didn't care. She was killing herself because she lost her family." Striking out my hand I grabbed Alice by the throat. Edward jumped to defend her and I pushed my power at him, the power of Bella's pain. He lay on the floor sobbing in heartache and sorrow. I tightened my grip on Alice's neck, threatening to sever it from her body. "Tell me why, why did you do this to her, why did you let her go through that when all it would take was a phone call."
"Because she was weak and she made Edward weak. He should have killed her the moment she showed up in Forks. I'd been waiting for years to get Edward to love me, then she shows up. If I wouldn't have talked Edward into leaving Forks, we never would have gotten together. I saw it, saw them happily married. I hated her and I wanted her dead. When the visions came and I saw the drugs I knew she would take herself out of the picture eventually. If you wouldn't have gone running, trying to play the hero, she'd be dead. Congratulations, hero. The only reason I picked you up in that greasy diner was that I knew you'd help me find Edward." She wriggled out of my grasp.
Grabbing Edward she was out of the door in a flash. I could tell from Edward that he knew none of Alice's plans. Carlisle stared at me. We were both happy that Alice didn't know that Bella was changing into a vampire as we spoke.
For three days after that Bella lay still. Christmas morning dawned bright. Carlisle, Esme and I were in the room as Bella's heart sped up, taking its final beats. For the last three days I held, talked to her, telling her everything I could remember about her and how our family had changed. Repeatedly I told her that I would never leave her that she would never be alone.
I didn't know how it was possible in such a short time but I found myself giving my heart to her. She reminded me so much of me after leaving Maria. Carlisle wondered aloud that is what possible that Bella was meant for me, to be my mate all along and that we both had to go through hell to find each other on the other side. I knew he was proud of me, not only for finding Bella, but for protecting her. How could I not, in so many ways she felt like the other part of me?
Holding her in my arm I felt as her body gave its last surge and Bella's heart lay silently. I was ready for all the regular newborn actions, as was Carlisle and Esme. When she curled into my arms and lay there, it floored me. No sorrow or pain came from her. She lay in peace and calm, her head against my chest.
"Thank you." Hope filled her voice, and I wrapped my arms around her.
"Thank you for what, darlin'?" I rested my chin on her head. Esme and Carlisle sensed her ease and left the room.
"For saving me, I was so lost until you found me. I know you changed me, and I'm grateful." Bella's hand found my face and she sat up. Leaning on her elbows, she looked at me. Her eyes only held a tinge of red. How was it possible that the change did not affect her? It was like she was years old instead of minutes. It had to be the drugs, speeding the venom through her so fully and quickly.
"Let's go hunting." In a flash she was gone, her heart soaring wild and free. Bella's laughter lit not only the house, but all of us. I ran after her, catching her deftly a hundred yards away from the house and lifting her into my arms. She laughed and her small hand, now only slightly colder than it had been originally. Bending in pure instinct, I kissed her palm.
"Jasper, I'm glad it was you. I'm glad you changed me." Such hope shone in her eyes that I found myself pondering forever with her by my side.
"Bella, I know it's soon, and we have a lot to learn about each other, but I want to spend forever with you. I can no longer imagine an existence without you by my side. If you'll have me, I'll be yours forever." Gently I laid her down in the snow and stared into her eyes.
"I've thought about you so much this past year. Do you know that I missed you most of all? Even the night of my birthday, when Edward would have attacked me, you protected me at all costs. I missed how were always there, like my guardian angel. Now, I know you really were. What I went through made me ready for you. No, it's not too soon Jasper. I fell in love with the memory of you a long time ago, the drugs helped ease the pain of never being with you. Forever isn't long enough. I love you, Jasper" Bella leaned forward and pressed her lips to mine.
Leaning forward I pressed into her, surrounding myself in her. I felt Bella's lust like an arrow hitting a bullseye. My tongue found hers and together we moaned. Our hands became frantic as Bella fought with my shirt to find my skin. In a fit of impatience she ripped it down the front. Her lips met my cool skin and I groaned aloud. My hands found their way under her top and across her soft belly. She was heaven. My angel.
"I want you, Jasper. I've wanted you for so long. Love me, please, I need you." Her words were a symphony to my ears as she nibbled my neck. My hands cupped her head and I pressed myself into her as we further sank into the snow. I growled low in my throat as she lightly bit into me. Raising up, I tossed the ruined shirt off and looked down at her. Although rimmed with red her eyes were the same chocolate color they always were, now they glowed with fire. Bella raised up and ran her hand over the scars on my chest causing me to shiver. She alone understood them, understood the pain. One by one she kissed them and I fell more deeply in love.
Her brazenness caught me off guard when she pulled her shirt off over her head and flung it aside. She was beauty personified and I needed her. Pressing her back down I began nibbling on her collar bone and work my way through the valley of her breasts down to her navel. She arched into me and groaned, it was the sweetest sound I'd ever heard. Roughly her fingers began fumbling with my belt. I captured them and held them over her head while taking one succulent nipple in my mouth and sucking hard. Bella's hips ground into me and it was almost my undoing.
"Please, Jasper, I need you. Love me, Jasper, please."
"I do Bella, and I always will, you own not only my heart, but my soul." Again I kissed her deeply then stood and shed my jeans. She pulled off the loose-fitting pants and the scrap of lace she'd been wearing.
Sun shone down on her and her diamond skinned glowed making her every bit the angel I believed her to be. Bella was my angel just as surely as I was hers. Quickly I rejoined her as she held her arms out to me. My fingers quickly found her ready and I wasted no time in joining us as one. She was hot and so tight that I nearly lost my mind. That Bella had retained some of her human warmth would always be a blessing. Inside it's who she really was. Together we clung to each other as I set the pace until Bella was clawing at me for more. Wrapping her legs around me her hips bucked up against me as her hands found my hair and brought my lips to hers.
"I love you, Jasper. It was you I thought about for the past year, you whom I missed most. I want you forever, my love, and that's not even long enough." Bella punctuated the words against my lips and I found my heart soaring. Wrapping my arms around her, together we found release and a beginning at life. Bella was my Christmas miracle, the angel that they sent to save me so that I could save her.
Laying in the snow, now spent, I rose on one arm and looked into her eyes as she placed her hand on my face. My heart was filled with joy, love, and my first real sense of home. It matched her own feelings.
"Marry me." The words flew from my mouth as I pushed a strand of her long hair behind her ear. I wanted her as mine, forever.
"Yes." Her answer was as simple as my question. A handful of snow followed it to my face in play. Bella was then up and dressed in a shot and running for the house. I ran after her, throwing snowballs in her direction and happier than I'd ever been in life.
Together we burst through the back kitchen door, hunting completely forgotten. I would take her later today. First we both wanted to share our news with Carlisle and Esme. We found them in the livingroom sitting by the fire. Bella flew to Carlisle's arms and he held her tight. I heard the quiet words of Italian that he whispered in her ear and smiled. None were truer for him.
"Welcome home my daughter. You have been gone too long."
Esme was next to wrap Bella in a hug, then me. Carlisle wrapped his arms around all of us. Somewhere in the house two bells began to ring and Bella and I looked at each other, knowing our angels had received their wings.
Carlisle and Esme were overjoyed when we told them we were getting married, and since we didn't want to wait. Carlisle performed the simple ceremony right then as we stood under the mistletoe. It was unofficial, but for now it was all we needed. Bella proudly chose the name of Whitlock.
Later the next day we flew to Seattle and drove to Forks so that Bella could see her father, probably for the last time. Their reunion was sweet and I knew it broke Bella's heart to know she had caused him so much pain. She promised him that she would keep in touch and would always know that she was okay.
As we stood on her old front porch holding hands, we found the future in front of us. "So where would you like to go, Mrs. Whitlock?" Mentally I began preparing for anyplace in the world she wished to go.
"Home, let's go home, Jasper."
We did and for the next three years we stayed in Alaska, learning of each other and falling more in love every day. To say we would live happily ever after was just the tip of the iceberg. I'd found my Christmas angel and I was never letting her go.