AN: Hi all! Thanks so much to those of you who have reviewed! It means so much to me to know that you're out there and enjoying my words, so please take the time to leave some love.
This chapter is from the original one-shot, but there are a few tweaks here and there. Some happy fluff for you instead of impending angst.
Special thanks to Kitty_Cullen03 for her ideas and beta skills…I'd be lost without you, dear!
July 25, 2001
Charm # 5 - "Swimming with the Fishes"
Five years since that very first charm and Jasper and I were still joined at the hip. We did everything and went everywhere together. He barged into my house at all hours of the day or night, and I was always welcomed into his home with open arms.
The doctor's visits and hospital tests were becoming a more regular occurrence in the last year. Jasper hated going alone, so I went with him to every appointment. I could tell he was afraid, even if he tried to hide it. To make him feel better, I asked that the nurses put me through the same tests that he had to endure. Well, every one that didn't involve a needle. I hated needles. But every time a needle pierced my best friend's skin, I was at least there to hold his hand.
Despite their son's continually changing condition, Jasper's family had religiously taken a vacation every summer, which inevitably left me and my best friend miserable for the duration of his absence. But this year would be different.
Because this year - the year we both turned eleven - I was invited.
I jumped at the chance, practically begging Renee and Charlie on my hands and knees, promising offerings of multiple household chores and good grades if they would just let me go along with my best friend and his family. After several phone calls and reassurances from the Whitlock's, they finally caved, and one week later I was in their car and on my way to Malibu, California.
I'd met Jasper's older sister Rosalie a few times, and she seemed nice enough. I didn't know much about her other than the fact that she was some kind of TV soap opera actress with a producer boyfriend named Emmett. Apparently it was his beach house we were commandeering for the week, so they were both aces in my book.
The first few days spent in Malibu were mind-blowing. Jasper and I took advantage of the private beach from dawn until dusk - boogie boarding, surfing attempts, picking seashells, and a constant celebrity watch (I swear we saw Mel Gibson in all his hairy-chested glory) were our main activities.
At sunset on the second day, we spotted a pod of dolphins just off shore. I was mesmerized by their beauty, by the way the seemed to slip so gracefully in and out of the water. Neither Jasper nor I spoke and we barely moved a muscle – toes buried in the sand at the edge of the water by the retreating waves – like we were afraid we would scare them away if we stirred too much. Our only movement was to entwine our fingers as we watched, an unconscious and familiar adjustment that our bodies seemed to do automatically. Like the two of us, the dolphins hadn't a care in the world at that moment, and we stayed there, watching and listening to them splash and play until we lost their shapes to the darkness.
One lazy and hazy afternoon, the two of us were lounging on the deck overlooking the ocean. The air was hot and sticky, and the weather man was actually calling for a thunderstorm to roll through later in the day. The waves were increasing in size, and from the look on Jasper's face, this was the most fantastic development of the day.
"Come on, Bella," he said decidedly. "Those look like killer waves out there, and we're going to surf them."
I quirked my eyebrow at him. "We are?"
"Sure. I bet it'll be easier to get up on the board because the waves are bigger," he decided.
His adolescent logic sounded good to me. So, we grabbed our boards and began paddling out into the rising swells.
After a few failed attempts, Jasper managed to ride a medium sized wave all the way into shore. He looked gloriously happy with his blond locks beaded with salt water and stuck to his face where he stood in the shallows.
Determined now – because anything Jasper could do, I could do better – I turned around to look for my big break.
My head hadn't even fully rotated around before a massive wave came out of nowhere, knocking me from my board and sweeping me under the water. When I finally made it up for air, I found myself disoriented and way too far from the beach without a board. I tried swimming back to shore, but the current was pulling me farther and farther out to sea no matter how hard I swam.
Jasper called for his mother, ditched his board and swam out after me.
"Bella! Bella, hold on, I'm coming!"
"Jazz," I coughed as the sea water was starting to seep into my lungs.
He made it out to me easily, the current helping to push him right up to me. He wrapped his lean arm around my chest and began swimming slow and steady, towing us parallel to the beach. We finally reached the sand and his frantic parents a few minutes later.
I coughed and sputtered, Jasper coughed and sputtered, but we assured them that we were alright.
"Jasper!" Charlotte was in protective mommy mode. "What were you thinking going out there with waves that big? You should have told us what you were doing. And if you're ever in this kind of situation again, you let an adult go out to rescue whoever needs help. You got that? And what about the strain on your heart? You should know better…"
"Mom, are you kidding? You should've seen Bella out there, sinking like a darn stone. I wasn't going to let her be shark bait, so I went out and got her. We're both fine, honest."
I was still sprawled out on the sand and coughing next to Peter. My continuous regurgitation of sea water didn't help Jasper's case. I was sure the beach was bigger considering how much ocean I seemed to have inhaled.
At their insistence and without my protest, I spent the rest of the day inside the house wrapped in a blanket. I decided that the ocean must only have kryptonite-like over me because Jasper was bouncing around less than an hour after my near death experience, but he willingly stayed by my side nearly the entire time. We watched old movies on AMC and made fun of the funny hairstyles on all the actors. He only left me once so he could go with his mother to pick up the take-out she'd ordered for dinner.
When he got back, he jogged through the door and hurdled the back of the huge white couch, bouncing on his butt right beside me and thrusting a small red box into my lap. I had to giggle as I opened it.
Inside was another silver charm for my bracelet, this time in the shape of a dolphin.
"I wanted you to remember the good stuff about this trip, not all the bad stuff, like you almost drowning. And those dolphins yesterday were pretty cool," he explained, his voice squeaking a little from his prepubescent vocal chords.
"Thank you, Jazz! Those dolphins were really awesome, weren't they?"
"Yeah," he said as he threaded his hand in mine. "Just don't go almost dying on me again. I'd be really bored and sad if you weren't here."
His words struck a familiar chord as I remembered the little swan and the image of him that day on the soccer field, both of them pale and gaunt. I squeezed his hand to reassure us both.
"Me too, Jazz. Me, too."
AN: Please make my pathetic little day and review!
Here are some rec's for those of you who might be interested. If you haven't been reading these, please remove the rock, crawl out from the hole and get crackin'! You can find these on my faves list:
For tear-inducing times (from utter hilarity to major angst) and some Jasper/Bella love, read: "The Last Mile" by catonspeed http://www (.) fanfiction (.) net/s/5419318/1/
For the best use of POV's I've EVER read (including a Volvo POV!!) and some fabulous crackfic, (was an entry in The Most Shitteous Craptastic Cuddlecock Crack Contest 2009) read: "I Wanna Eff You Like a Masochistic Lion Because of Your Pools of Brown Diarrhea Eyes: The Worst Story Ever Told" by Feisty Y. Beden, Philadelphic and NelsonSmandela. http://www (.) fanfiction (.) net/s/5623917/1/