Disclaimer: Still don't own Jasper…how typical.
AN: I'm overjoyed after all the great reviews I got after the last chapter – thanks! It sure puts a huge grin on my face every time.
I wanted to repay you with a super-quick update, but with spending one work-related week in France and the one before that to prepare for it, this was as fast as I could possibly manage.
I'm letting out the science geek in me just a little, sorry for that, but I hope you're eager to find out what got Jasper's knickers in a twist. Enjoy! ;)
Chapter 8 – Singularity
Dictionary entry; singularity:
1. the state of being singular, distinct, peculiar, uncommon or unusual
2: a point where all parallel lines meet
3: a point where a variable reaches an immeasurable or infinite value
4: (physics) a point or region of infinite mass density at which space and time are infinitely distorted by gravitational forces and which is held to be the final state of matter falling into a black hole,
i.e the center or source of the black hole.
"He did what?"
I watched Bella shrink back against her seat to increase the distance between us, genuine fear clinging to her as she bravely met my relentless stare. She feared, yet trusted me – a mixture of emotions I'd never actually experienced from anyone else besides her, neither human nor vampire. I wanted to deserve that trust, damn it - I knew I deserved it, especially this time as I knew I wouldn't hurt her. Of course, there was still the slight risk I'd accidentally want to drain her if her blood spilled while I was unprepared, but that chance was minuscule if not entirely absent at the moment.
I was just so relentlessly furious that for a suspended moment I could do nothing but stare into those deep brown eyes and try to discern from them whether or not the bottomless agony I'd just felt dripping from her harsh words really could be traced back to just one unbelievably selfish vampire and sorry excuse for a man.
The image from last night of her broken body lying bloody on the bed invaded my mind and I could now connect every line, every shadow on her still, haunted features back to those blunt words; werewolf…Edward spied on us…obliterating my boyfriend…Leaving me all alone…Just like Edward planned.
Oh yes he had planned.
I knew all of his impulsive, stupid plans when he left her behind. We argued over and over with him, explaining the foolishness of his decision, that they were meant for each other and that he would hurt her immensely by leaving. I had been one of the strongest voices, insisting even though he angrily tried to use me as his excuse. I knew how he felt about her, how she loved him, and tried to convince him that it would take Bella a long, long time if it even was achievable for her to move on from this. But he'd assured us it was what he wanted; for her to move on – for her to live and be happy with someone else. So we finally, begrudgingly, accepted his decision.
And now it seemed as if his plan had worked after all, despite my misgivings, as he had found her in bed with a boyfriend when he returned to check on her. But Edward's response to his success had been to destroy him, the man who'd made her happy? To destroy the happiness he'd sacrificed so much for her to obtain? I knew Edward, knew how volatile he could be and sure; he was a selfish, possessive bastard but this was extreme – even for him. Although I had to admit that the nature of these emotions was within his range, his actions in response to them were not. Such vengeance for someone he himself had made room for by stepping down was uncalled for - from a Cullen, someone raised to abide by Carlisle's morals it was simply baffling.
The Edward I thought I knew, would never have hurt someone he cared about, loved, this way. It was bad enough that he'd killed that innocent girl and the ones after that, but to knowingly destroy someone he knew Bella cared about, only to see him destroyed…? It was just too cruel. Sadistic even.
He knew her. He knew she would blame herself for his death when she found out, knew it would break her.
Knew and didn't care.
"Please -" I forced out through clenched teeth as soon as I gathered my senses. "Could you perhaps elaborate on that?"
My words came out harsh, but successfully broke the tension between us and I tore my eyes away from hers and backed away, relieved as my extra sense showed me that she was now neither scared nor angry. I felt my own anger dissipate with each second and a rare need for knowledge taking its place while I waited for her response. I wasn't usually a curious person, in part due to the fact that I found out much more information than bargained for in most situations, but now I felt the rare emotion seer eagerly within, begging me to ask her again. I truly wanted to understand this, wanted to figure out the logic behind Edward's actions in the hope that my own now hastily drafted conclusions were wrong.
I didn't want to accept that I'd been so wrong about him. That we'd all been.
Bella appraised me for a moment, biting her lower lip in worry before completely ignoring my request.
"I'm so sorry Jasper, I don't know what came over me and I'm sorry I lashed out like that! I wish I could have explained this to you differently."
The guilt was first and foremost in her, as I recognized was rather common when concerning Bella. If this companionship lasted further I had to do something about that. Lasted further? What was I thinking? And then I realized warily that I had no idea what the time frame on this collaboration was and that I might not have been that far off with that stray thought. Oh hell.
"That's not it" I breathed, suddenly feeling exhausted even though it was impossible. "To be a typical male here, I'd say it's what you said – not how you said it that disturbed me." I managed a joyless smile.
That was not entirely true though, depending on how you looked at it. It wasn't how she'd said it, but the way she'd felt when saying it… Thinking of it almost made me shudder. Bella had always been a very strong emotional broadcaster, but her deep-lying rage and despair when shouting those blunt words had nearly overwhelmed me - almost as if her emotions had been strong enough to push my own out of the way and take residence within me. When she retracted, the sudden rush of my own senses returning to full power felt like a jolt of electricity passing through me and my response was greatly amplified. I'd never experienced anything like it – another thing that sparked the unfamiliar curiosity inside me.
My sudden change in temperament didn't seem to confuse Bella however, and I supposed she of all people would accept it as normal behavior.
"And I'm not mad at you, shout all you want, you sure have cause to – I'm just furious with that selfish, fucking asshole –"
"So am I" she responded with fervor.
"I'm glad. No wonder you've been riding the rage wave all day."
She winced a little at my reference and I could hardly blame her; it always took people some time to get used to interacting with me more closely. Bella and I had never spent this much time together before and then no more than a few minutes alone - the transparency she now identified in my presence must seem unsettling.
"So…can you – elaborate?" I tried again with a weak smile.
"Of course, and I'll tell you the right way this time… should I start with you guys leaving Forks?" She raised one eyebrow at her repetitive words and I chuckled in response to her anticipated switch in temperament. We sure were quite the pair going back and forth like this.
"Sure, why not? Have you gotten the worst out with that rant of yours or should we exit the car right away just to be safe?" I teased her.
"Well-" she mused, a hard wicked glint in her eyes.
"That depends on whether or not you know that both Laurent and Victoria returned to kill me last year?"
I paused for only a second as her words sunk in before replying, my body already in a fluid motion.
I was only half serious with that remark, surprised - hell yes, but furious – definitely not. She stood alive before me so neither vampire had obviously succeeded. Regardless, I thought it prudent to have Mother Nature as an escape or buffer if her emotions took over me again like earlier – though I wowed to never be caught off guard like that again – or my own responses to her words were too strong, clearly I had no way of guessing the outline of this story.
Behind me I heard the distinct sound of a car door slamming shut followed by a soft crunching of hesitant steps on the gravel. She stopped a few feet away from me and as I turned around and faced her I noticed with a slight frown that the trepidation and guilt emanating from her was mirrored in her tense stance, both her arms crossed protectively in front of her and her eyes flickering between the ground and me. Oh Bella.
I met her eyes with an apologetic grin. "You really are an easy tease…do you know that?"
She gasped. "And you are cruel." Her eyes shot daggers at me but she couldn't hide her amusement.
"And you were not?" I countered. "Besides, I think the fresh air could do us both some good at this point…Anyway, you now have my undivided attention, I believe you were about to elaborate?" I added in a softer tone.
She was suddenly very hesitant, unsure of how to phrase this properly the second time around I suspected. I suggestively patted the hood of the car, satisfied that she complied and scrambled herself ungracefully on top of it. Once seated, she swayed her legs hanging down the side casually back and forth, her gaze lost thoughtfully into the nothingness of the landscape.
"I promise I won't freak."
I was rewarded with a weak smile. "I know, it's just…hard."
"If it bothers you that much, you don't have to –" I started.
"No - I want to." She assured me, meeting my eyes with a determined look. "I need to get this out…I think. Talking to you might help me understand how he could have done this, how I could've been so wrong about him." She swallowed and watched her hands while I was momentarily stunned by hearing my own thoughts mirrored like that.
"But there's more than that… I'm terrified. Don't get me wrong, I feel perfectly safe with you and though you seem the same as I remembered…I can't help fearing that I was wrong about everything – That I was wrong about all of you." Her deep eyes were anxious as she awaited my reply.
If Alice or Esme had been here they would have pulled her into a deep hug, whispering reassuring words in her ear, a soothing hand caressing her shoulders. Emmett would have lifted her up and barked out what a silly little human she was, laughing her worries away and Carlisle would have known the absolute perfect thing to say. I was unable to channel any of them because I knew, I felt, how important this was to her and I had nothing to offer her as reassurance. This wasn't some silly notion or worry from a naïve girl. And questioning the motives and morals of vampires – even vegetarian ones – was not silly, it was smart.
In loss of a better plan, I went with honesty.
"I don't know if I have any answers to give you… but I don't think you were wrong about everything." I said quietly, looking deeply into her pleading eyes.
"Of course –" I added, "that would depend on what you believed before, but I think you understood us even better than we did ourselves at times… Although some may say you quenched your natural fears and instincts when trusting us, I believe that you acknowledged them but weighed it against everything else you found out. Bella - I know your feelings for our family, just as I know they are greatly returned."
I hesitated for a second – I never liked doing this – before sending a mixed selection of our collective feelings towards her to back up my point and watched her brown eyes widened in surprise as she sensed them inside her. The dark depths warmed to a deep chocolate color when she felt the soft of caress of Esme's motherly love and I noticed her lips twitch at the corner of her mouth with the flavor of Alice's bubbly excitement.
"That was for you" I stated unnecessarily.
"And this is from when Alice told us about Edward," I continued, sending a brief flash of the family's response to his dark choice her way that put a frown on her pale face. I felt a weird impulse to reach out and smooth out the shallow wrinkle that didn't belong there but quenched it quickly in surprise. Where the hell did that come from?
She was silent for a moment before responding.
"Jasper - that was…amazing. I could actually feel them, almost smell them and hear their voices… how did you do that?"
"Secrets of the trade" I smirked.
She laughed. "I'm really dense, aren't I? Of course it's because of your power - I just didn't know you could do something like that, I mean, it was their emotions."
"I don't do it very often. It is just one facet of the power… I've picked up those emotions from them once and it is like the moment is preserved within me, and I can pull out a perfect copy of it… Only it's more of an imprint or a shadow of the real thing that I have to expand and add to…" I sighed. This sounded absolutely stupid, even to me. "I'm sorry I can't explain it better."
"You don't have to – and really Jasper, thank you!" She was almost teary-eyed but warming joy overrun it and the worry slowly ebbed away from her. "That was exactly what I needed." Her words were amplified with the sincerity she projected at me and I had to swallow, trying to dislodge the sudden lump formed in my throat. I wasn't used to this type of…gratefulness.
And then, like pressing a switch the feeling was suddenly gone.
"So then… that means you have an imprint or whatever of my freak-out earlier and could repeat that to someone?" she realized, looking horror-struck.
"Yes…I could, but I wouldn't. For one, I wouldn't share such things with someone else without the person's consent – ever. Second, I try my hardest to keep all 'imprints' – I really wish I had a better word for them – locked away in some remote part of my brain as I for the most part have no intention of ever reliving them."
And now, she was curious. "So they had given their consent?"
"Well... more or less. Right before we left for Phoenix, I was asked – if I believed you needed the reminder – to show you how important you were to all of – us. I just figured that request was still valid."
"That was –" she swallowed, "really nice of them – eh…you. So if you don't want to relive them, is there any way for you to stop it?"
"The power?" She nodded, "no…I can shield myself somewhat, but not completely – I always get the general scope."
She was ready to ask something else so I intervened. "Are you really this curious or are you just stalling?"
"Actually…" She looked embarrassed. "I really am this curious…but, I may also be stalling just a little." She sighed. "You're right – I should just get it over with–"
And after a long deep breath and a stretching of back and limbs, Bella launched into her full story.
Through some parts of it, I couldn't help but stare at her disbelievingly; at other times I took up pacing back and front of her hunched form outlined against the horizon to distract myself from the intensity of her emotions. Classifying Bella Swan as a strong broadcaster had been a clear understatement; she was an inferno, an inverted singularity – projecting with a power stronger than gravity instead of pulling things in. My fixation with her happy emotions before made much more sense now when I received the other end of the spectra undiluted like this.
The strength of it almost distracted me from my own reaction to her words.
I'd already been furious with Edward for stepping of the vegetarian path by choice alone, but now I was starting to actually hate him. Hearing that Edward had left her in a fashion that made her believe for years that he hadn't loved her at all and that she wasn't good enough for him made me want to tear his arrogant head from his body and grind it to powder in my palms.
Jacob seemed like a good kid, werewolf or not, and had done all in his power to make her happy and keep her safe and for the most part, he had succeeded. It looked like Edward's plan was starting to work on a day by day basis and I wondered whether his actions that day would've been different had he known that Jacob was the sole reason that she was not only alive at all, but beyond that; that she was living.
The sad part was, I didn't think so.
Surely, the fact that the man was a werewolf could hardly have helped the situation when Edward found them, but wouldn't he have done the same had she chosen a human – or even another vampire? His behavior clearly stated that he wouldn't respect her choice in the matter - he hadn't when she'd chosen him and neither when she chose this Jacob.
The only plausible conclusion I could unwillingly come to were that he had left – not for her, not to protect her – but for himself. His self-loathing had been a very strong second after love when it came to his feelings around her and perhaps he couldn't stomach it any longer? Either that or he had not expected her to move on and that she would patiently await his return - in which case his actions were even more unsettling. His reasoning remained clouded in confusion.
Bella's fury spiked to unmanageable levels when I tried to decipher his behavior, and after that I took to not reacting much to her story unless I couldn't stop myself.
The part about Victoria just disappearing one day surprised me and I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something off about the situation. Vampires never gave up and hardly ever changed their minds….maybe it was like Bella believed, that she had found out that killing Bella wouldn't be the revenge on Edward Victoria had envisioned…or perhaps she'd decided to go after Edward instead as Bella was so well protected? Possibly the off feeling originated from the uncertainty of her motives, not knowing the enemy's agenda always annoyed me.
And then – she told me about Charlie, and I couldn't help thinking that everything bad that possibly could, seemed to happen to this girl; seek her out like the danger magnet Edward used to name her as. Maybe she wasn't an inverted singularity but that there were two sides to it, one sucking everything bad in and the other throwing her responding emotions and reactions out with equal power.
"How did he die." I asked when she lost her train of thought.
"He…drowned, or at least that's what we think – He was fishing of course." Tears had been running freely down her pale cheeks for a while now, but when referring to her father's persistent hobby her eyes warmed lovingly and her lips shaped into the ghost of a smile.
"What do you mean, that's what you think?"
"Yes, well…he was out by himself in Billy's old boat and when he wasn't home in time for dinner I got worried and went out with Jake and the guys to look for him. We found the boat empty, his fishing rod had drifted away and tangled in some trees by the shore. The official investigation concluded that he had been taken off guard by some big fish suddenly biting and fallen over the railing, hitting his head on the way down - they found some blood smeared there. So we think he drowned…but it could have been the hit to his head that killed him too." She put her head in her hands, making her next words almost inaudible. "I should never have let him go out by himself!" The guilt was so strong it was like a shot of acid in my veins.
"Bella…" Unable to stop myself I braved closer and put a tentative hand on her jean-clad knee. "It wasn't your fault. Accidents happen all the time and there was nothing you could have done. Nothing. Death is a part of life...or at least it should be."
"I know…I do, really –" Her tear-streamed eyes met mine. "I just feel so bad for him dying out there all alone and for not realizing something was wrong sooner…maybe–"
"It takes just a few minutes, doesn't it? You had no way of getting there in time, even if you'd known."
The next words out of my mouth shocked both of us. "And he wasn't truly alone…right? He had the forest, the river, the fish…"
Why had I said that? She must think I was a completely heartless bastard.
Bella stared at me for a second before she chuckled hoarsely. "That's an odd way to look at it but I guess you're right…he sure liked his fish for company." She let out a pained laugh.
"I'm sorry Bella, I shouldn't have said–"
"No. You should! I kind of like the idea actually. I'm just, I feel…relieved - sort of…lighter." She pondered. "This is the first time I've talked about this and I'm surprised at how much it…helps."
I nodded, "It usually does. People who keep their emotions locked up never really move forward, it just builds and tear them down from within. I know you're not that type."
She shot me an odd look, the curiosity building by the second-
"Thanks for telling me this." I intervened to throw her of the trail; I really didn't want her to begin investigating my too extensive knowledge of her emotions. I sighed in relief as my diversion exchanged curiosity with self-consciousness.
"Yeah well…don't worry about it." she muttered.
"Anyway, shortly after that Jake moved into the house–" and just like that she jumped right back into her narrating as if nothing had interrupted her.
No words were spoken after she'd finished and we'd returned to the car, both lost in our own thoughts. She didn't even flinch when I brought the car to maximum speed and I had to call her name twice to make her place her order at the fast-food stop I made. I was a bit embarrassed for not thinking of her need to feed before I felt the hunger rumble inside her, but kind of glad I had my power to prod me in the right direction. Traveling with a human was complicated to say the least.
The day had started to drift into evening and the sun was just a few hours from setting when I finally reached my destination, confident that we'd been able to shake of the pursuing vampires with the massive detour I'd taken to get to this spot. I felt like I could finally let down my guard a bit now that we'd arrived, relived that I would be able to share some of the responsibility of this whole mess with others.
I pulled up the drive and stopped the car in front of the familiar large white structure. As the car stilled completely, Bella startled and shook her head for a moment to clear it. Sleepy eyes focused and glanced out the window, her gaze locking on the woman standing just outside the welcoming doors and she gasped in shock and turned around to face me, recognition bursting from their livid black depths.
"I-" She begun, disbelievingly, but then her eyes hardened and I felt her disappointment and betrayal wash over me.
I didn't back down. "Yes? We should go in, she's already seen us."
She inhaled deeply, as if to calm herself enough to get the words out or maybe keep herself from punching me. "I can't believe you just brought me here without – without my consent!"
As always I appreciate your comments; it's what keeps me going!
This chapter could have gone on forever (almost did!). I hadn't originally planned for her whole story to be dissected this much, but by popular request I decided to delve deeper into it. :)
Jasper's power truly fascinates me and the tidbit given here is just one of many attempts to come at exploring it. I want to keep that part at least compatible with canon, so if you think I'm off the realm of possibility – please let me know.
As of now on I plan to write a few chapters ahead before posting the next one, though I'm hoping you won't notice it as I have a lot more time available now. But if not, any wait now will be rewarded with quicker updates later.