Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight and because I don't, I have a measly ten cents to my name.
Author: DV's Kah-chan.
Notes: If you want to get an email alert for when this story is updated, leave your email address in your review—note, this is for the adult fan-fiction people, not the fan-fiction folks. FF has a very nice email alert system that needs me not. Sigh.
Bella let Edward collect food for their lunch, walking along side him as she tried to keep up with the questions he flung her way. They'd moved on from easy things, to stuff she wasn't exactly happy about answering. It was embarrassing; letting him hear her deepest, darkest thoughts and she tried to evade questions purposefully aimed at them. Edward was relentless, prodding her from every angle until she caved in.
"What did you like most about Arizona?" he finally relented, giving up his pursuit about what traits she liked best in the opposite sex (she was so not telling him 'everything you have').
She considered it for a moment. Simply saying "the heat" wasn't really an answer. "The way the sun feels against your skin when it's at its highest point—like you could burn away at any moment." She blushed, because that just sounded like the plot for some low budget horror movie. "I can't explain it, I guess. I just like…the feeling you get when you feel the warmth."
Edward was smiling bemusedly, but not mockingly. "I see. What about your house? What color was your room?"
Bella answered his question readily, her eyes drifting away from his face. There was a pressure at the back of her skull; one she was getting used to in Forks. Someone was staring—glaring, actually, if the unease that rolled down her spine was anything to go on. Her eyes were drawn, as they always were, to the Cullen family.
They seemed like Gods, so far away from the rest of the students that it was impossible not to stare. The woman, Rosalie, cast her a dark look when she realized Bella had glanced over, but that wasn't who was staring for once…It was the other blonde—Jasper, Alice's mate.
He was as beautiful as the rest of the family, but darker; more withdrawn. There was a sorrow in his eyes that clenched her chest. He stared back at her, his dark gold eyes burning. Bella hurriedly looked away, swallowing tightly, her throat all at once dry.
She reached for her soda, taking a long drag. Edward was watching her carefully; he'd obviously noticed her distraction and seemed worried. "Bella?"
"Jasper…" She was stunned by the thrill his name sent through her. She squashed the little part of her that was so easily wooed by the man's beauty. She was not the kind of girl to moon over a guy when she already had someone as wonderful as Edward. "Does he hate me?" she finished, trying to ignore the long pause between her words.
"Jasper?" Edward frowned. "Not…exactly. He just worries, Bella." The vampire shifted on the bench, keeping up his human charade flawlessly. "He fears that you'll slip up and give away our secret. Or that I will."
Bella felt a spasm of unease, wishing that Edward's family had more trust in her. She loved Edward! She would never give away his secret so carelessly.
"He's just very protective of Alice." Bella turned back to Edward, taking another drink of her soda. "He would do anything to make sure she was safe. He worries too much," he added this in a dark tone. Obviously he didn't approve of Jasper's distrust for Bella.
Bella rolled the bottle cap between her fingers, eyes drifting back to Jasper. He was staring again, brows low over his eyes. She felt momentarily lost in his eyes; but it was not anger, nor distrust that reflected there. It was something else…something she didn't understand; it made the blood rise to her face. Her pulse raced. It was almost…desire. For her blood? For her?
Her hands trembled. Heat pooled low in her stomach; she bit her bottom lip, feeling like she might moan or something even stupider than that. He was just looking at her, for god's sake!
Edward growled darkly and Bella stiffened, guilt thickening in her chest. Good god, what was she thinking? She looked up to the boy hurriedly, worried he was going to jump to conclusions and feeling the need to explain herself somehow. But he wasn't looking at her—he was glaring at Jasper accusingly.
"Just ignore him, Bella."
She jumped, the bottle cap falling from her tight fingers to the floor. "W-What?"
"I'm sure he didn't mean to scare you." Edward ground his teeth together. "I'll talk to him about this."
"No." Bella urged, breathlessly. It felt like the air had been knocked from her lungs. Relief poured through her. "It's fine, Edward. I understand."
He took her hand and squeezed it gently.
Jasper listened in on their conversation, feeling sick at his stalker-ish behavior. This couldn't go on. It was amazing he hadn't been found out yet. As it were, Alice was leaning over, her intense eyes focused on his face; waiting for the vision to come that would undoubtedly damn him. But Jasper wasn't going to let his overactive imagination get the best of him today.
But it was hard—there should have been fear in her eyes, in her emotions. But there was…almost longing. And lust. For Edward? He wanted to believe, but didn't let himself dare to, that it might be him who made her heart thrum so wildly.
Edward was speaking to her darkly, trying to reassure her that Jasper wasn't dangerous. But she was still staring her teeth digging into that full lower lip. The vampire clenched his hand into a tight fist, the need to touch her, to run his fingers gently against those lips…His eyes burned with heat and she took an unsteady gasp, the lust pooling once again into his senses.
What did it mean? Blood flooded into Bella's cheeks and she hurriedly looked down, but even from across the crowded lunchroom Jasper could smell it; could taste to perfect tang of her blood, of her kisses on his tongue. Heavy and rich, he closed his eyes, breathing it in deeply. Alice touched his arm, her touch restraining.
"Its okay, Bella," he could hear Edward murmur, tone silken and comforting. "Just ignore him."
"Oh…I, Edward." She stuttered. He could feel the lurching of her emotions, so jumbled and confused.
The vampire stood, unable to bear more. Bella looked over, noticing the gleam of his hair as he stood. Her guilt swept over him as he left the cafeteria and it took all his will to fend off the desire to hurry to her side; to touch her cheeks and assure her that it wasn't her fault. It was his lack of control that was digging this hole.
Jasper left the school and, the moment his feet touched the moist forest floor, he was running with reckless speed, his designer sweater slapping against his sides. Branches whispered against his skin as he slid past, never quite touching him. When he stopped at a clearing over-looking a broad, clear lake, he was not surprised to find Alice mere steps behind him.
"Jasper," she murmured, not moving any closer to him. He touched at her emotions, feeling her concern and sympathy. "Why didn't you tell me it was so bad? I would have hunted with you sooner."
"I'm not thirsty, Alice." Stung by her lack of confidence in him, even after such a clean streak, the vampire lashed out. "My problems are not so simplistic. You needn't worry about me slaughtering the children."
She wrapped her small arms around his waist, her face pressed against his stomach. "I'm sorry, Jasper. I didn't understand and I just assumed…" She leaned back to touch his face, tracing a scar above his eyebrow. "Forgive me."
The man closed his eyes, a sick stone falling into the pit of his stomach. He didn't deserve this love.
Their world was shifting in ways he was sure it wasn't meant to. He was supposed to love Alice forever—Bella was to be Edward's life mate. She was to be the last puzzle piece that would complete their family. There never could be a Jasper and Bella; it didn't work like that. Touching Alice's face carefully, the man lifted her face, the press of his lips loving against hers.
Jasper closed off his thoughts, focusing on the smooth slide of her marble lips against his. This was how it was meant to be. This was how his world fell into place. Isabella Swan had no place in that world, except that of a much beloved sister.