A/N I'd like to thank LittleFairyMaiden for the idea when she suggested exploring Jasper and Alice's first meeting and for being a wonderful collaborator/co-author with this story and for beta-ing it for me. The story title came from the song by Savage Garden..it just seemed to fit Alice and Jasper perfectly....
Disclaimer: All the characters belong to Stephenie Meyers. The song belongs to Savage Garden.
I was running through an area populated by dense oak trees when I smelled two distinct scents, a pine or cedar scent and a more feminine lily scent. I slowed my pace and saw a young couple on a checkered picnic blanket, wrapped in a passionate embrace. The female was petite with blazing red hair while the guy was muscular. His shiny black hair moved in the breeze. The moment I passed them I paused, images filling my mind.
A honey blonde haired, crimsoned eyed vampire sat in a half empty diner. There were formica tables and white vinyl covered chairs. Booths sat by the window. A sign saying "Philly's Finest Burgers and Beer" hung on the wall behind the bar. The vampire sat at an empty booth farthest from the other customers. Even with the diner being at half capacity he tensed as the smell of blood pervaded his nostrils. He struggled with control as his eyes searched his surroundings. Even though the air was slightly cool, he opened the window and breathed in the fresh air, relaxing a little.
Before I could move much further I had to stop again.
Five vampires stood together in a large wooded area. There were peaks visible in background, both had large summits and lots of greenery on them. One male with light blonde hair had a white shirt and nice pants like he had just come from the office. A female with chestnut brown hair stood besides him. Another female with long blonde tresses was next to her followed by two males; one with dark brown hair and the other with unruly bronze colored hair. There was a herd of deer nearby and they each took off after it. The dark brown haired male veered off from the others after a bear. He fed on it and buried the body before returning to the others, who were finishing off their meals. They then turned around so I could see their faces.
I gasped as I got a closer look at all of their eyes; they were a deep amber color. It must have been from drinking animal blood.
They returned to their house. It was hidden amongst large trees and far from the road. It was large with two stories and white paint.
As they entered the house in my vision, I felt the sense that I seen the area before. I ran back to the room I was renting and flipped through my travel books. My book on London had a picture of the exact peaks from my vision. The author mentioned that they had been around for hundreds of years. Since Philadelphia was the location of my first vision I decided to go there first. I packed the clothes that I had and left. With my speed I knew it wouldn't take long until I reached the Pennsylvania line.
It would be a few days until he would be at that diner so I checked into a low key motel and went to a small boutique that I had seen. I also spent the days searching for the diner. When I came upon the Melrose Diner I saw the same sign I had seen in my vision. The moment I saw the sign I saw the same vampire from the vision except this time he was standing near the door instead of sitting at the booth. I had to wait a few days more until it was time to go. During the wait I had scoured the forests around the city and fed on the deer and elk that I found. I wanted to prepare myself for the London coven.
When the day came I put on my best yellow dress and matching heels wanting to look presentable. At the diner I sat at the counter awaiting his arrival. Some of the guys that were at tables were staring at me; one stood and winked as he caught my eye. He was a little under six feet tall and quite handsome with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He seemed to have some charm since the others at his table were captivated when he turned and spoke to them. Rain began to pelt the windows and I knew he would arrive soon. When he came in I hopped down off of my stool and went straight over to him, smiling. His six foot frame tensed as I got closer.
"You've kept me waiting a long time," I told him.
He ducked his head. "I'm sorry ma'am." He had a southern drawl when he spoke.
Still smiling, I reached out my hand and he took it. I was so relieved that he was there. "My name is Alice," I told him.
"I'm sure you have about a million questions," I told him.
He smiled. If my heart was still working I think it would have skipped a beat or two. "Just a few," he told me.
I tugged on his hand and was surprised as he easily followed me out of the diner without hesitation. I led him deep into the woods so we could talk privately. The rain had all but stopped when we reached our destination.
"I'm psychic and I saw a vision or you in that diner two weeks ago," I told him before he could ask a question.
"You saw me?" he asked.
I nodded. "You were sitting as far away from the humans as you could be and you were so tense. Yet there was something about you."
He raised an eyebrow. "Something about me," he repeated.
"You've had a difficult past; one filled with conflict," I answered.
He gasped. I squeezed his hand and he closed his mouth. "But then I saw that you changed your mind. You were standing instead of sitting," I continued.
"I was rethinking my original plan of sitting in the diner, you saw that?" he inquired curiously.
"My visions are subjective. They change with the decisions a person makes."
He nodded and I wondered how he could be so calm about all of this. He must have seen my expression because he said, "Alice, I too have a gift. I can manipulate the emotions of those around me."
Of course, I knew he had a gift; I was surprised when he didn't think another vampire having a gift was strange.
"I know you have a gift." His eyes went wide for a second then returned to normal when he felt that I was being truthful. "Ah, psychic," he mused.
"Have you ever met a psychic vampire before?" I asked, delighting myself in the idea that there may be others out there that share the same gift.
My emotions must have been affecting him too, because he chuckled. "None quite like you."
I saw that he had decided that he didn't want to share anymore and I didn't want to press him, so I settled on telling him about my other vision. "Shortly after the vision of you I had another of five vampires who live together."
"I've never heard of that many in one coven before," he murmured.
"They all had golden eyes and hunted animals."
"Animals? I've heard of some vampires living off animal blood before but I've never met any."
"Me neither, though I've been adapting myself to their way of life," I told him.
"Why?" he asked.
"We are supposed to go meet them." Some light wind brushed past me and my nostrils were filled with a delectable leather scent that reminded me of a pair of cute cowboy boots I had seen on my way up here, in Tennessee. There was no one else around, so it had to be Jasper's. I never imagined that I could be so attracted to another vampire's smell like this. Before I could say anything about that to him he said, "Meet them, why?" He looked incredulous.
"To live with them," I stated.
He raised an eyebrow at me. "And they are just going to allow us to join their coven?"
I used my right index finger to tap my temple and he understood. "I guess you saw that too?" he asked.
"They call themselves the Cullens and they live like a family. The father, I guess you can call him, sired the rest of them."
I could see his mind turning as he paced back and forth with his hands behind his back, absorbing this information. He reminded me of the soldiers I had seen in the war films they showed on the televisions I would pass by in various electronic stores in the towns I've visited. I wanted to ask what he was thinking since I couldn't read his mind but I just watched him. So, instead to break up the silence, I stated, "You were a soldier once weren't you?"
He stopped mid pace and turned to meet my eyes. "Yes ma'am I was."
"Why'd you join the army?"
"I joined because I felt it I was a great strategist and I could assist in planning the Confederate's next move."
"Will you tell me more about the army?"
"You know all you need to," he answered.
"But I don't know everything there is to know about you," I pressed.
He smirked. "Well people used to say that I got my charisma, my charm as it may, from my mother." His eyes glistened as he found himself caught in the memory.
"What did she look like?" I was genuinely curious since I couldn't remember anything about either of my parents.
He came out of his reverie and grinned. "She had long blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes. Mine were the same color before I was turned." He frowned slightly and I wondered why his countenance changed. Before I could ask, he spoke again. "Where are my manners? Here I am talking about myself and not asking anything about you."
"Well there's not much to tell really, I don't remember anything about my past," I told him.
"Nothing?" he said. I shook my head. I shifted, uncomfortable about where this conversation was headed. Jasper picked up on my emotions and said, "This has been quite a day, why don't we retire for the evening."
"That sounds like a good idea. Want to meet up here tomorrow?"
"Why don't I escort you home and we can meet there tomorrow and head someplace quiet," he suggested, holding out his arm for me.
I smiled and took his proffered arm. We made small talk about the woods as we headed to my door. As he turned to leave, he glanced back at me, slightly perturbed. "If we are to live with the Cullens, as you've seen, does that mean I'd have to convert to animals as well?"
"Yes, I can help you."
He nodded, but I could see doubt in his eyes as he pondered my answer. I wanted to reassure him, but before I could say anything, he left.