Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. I'm just having a little fun with them.

The Twilight Twenty-Five
Prompt: Dark
Pen name: LightStarDusting
Character POV: Bella
Rating: M

Chapter 1 - Blackbird

"Hey Bella, do you ever wonder…" his blue eyes caught my brown ones.

"Sometimes," I replied softly.

"And do you ever think about that night?" he asked.

"More than I should," I whispered.

We stared at each other for a moment, our breath visible in the cold night air. The unsaid words hung in the air, swirling around us. Who knows what things would have been like if we had zigged instead of zagged. We were where we were and who we were because of the choices we had made. We didn't need to find the answers to those questions, the unspoken words.

I broke the gaze and looked down at the mixture of dirt, pebbles, and tufts of grass on the ground. Avoiding the conversation, I pushed my legs forward and back until I gained enough momentum to take flight.

Silently Jasper reached into his coat pocket, taking his pack of Black and Milds. Removing the filter, he smoked while I swung higher and higher.

After about five minutes, he asked quietly, "Are you ready?"

I stopped pumping and dragged my feet on the ground, pebbles flying up in protest of the sudden stop. Resting my head on the chain links holding the swing, I didn't say anything. Couldn't say anything.

"Let's get you home… to Edward."

We rode in crackling silence; radio static yet the radio wasn't playing. The dead air was heavy between us and I kept glancing at him out of the corner of my eye. In the dark I was able to catch quick glimpses, the lights from other cars and streetlamps illuminating him. When I could see him, his expression looked pained, then once again his silhouette would fall back into the shadows. So many times I nearly opened my mouth, nearly started to speak, only to hold myself back.

I had a million things that I wanted to say to Jasper and none that were appropriate to the situation. Ridiculous things like asking whether he and Demetri, from our dorm freshman year, had ever streaked through the McDonalds near campus like they always threatened they would. Or if he had a scar from when the stereo fell off the dresser and onto his head while he was wrestling with Emmett and needed to get stitches. And I suggested we go talk to the RA before going to the hospital, only to find out that Emmett was the RA. Or if he remembered when we played the huge game of manhunt in the dorm and we hid in the shower together until he accidentally leaned on the knob, soaking us both.

Instead, I looked out into the dark and said nothing.

Of course, there were so many small trivial things I wondered about that we never got to really discuss, let alone the big things that we didn't talk about because we were too afraid of what might come from opening that can of worms. The words that we couldn't say in fear that it might lead to something more, a conversation that neither of us was ready to have. I didn't think we ever would be. Our actions so long ago robbed us of the familiarity we once had with each other. Time cemented the distance between us, and other relationships filled the void. I seriously doubted that we'd ever close the gap again, since our friendship had languished for so long. That was truly unfortunate, because, for a brief time, we had been the best.

The quiet blanketed us, surrounded us, and smothered us.

Forcing myself to focus on the shapes outside the window so I wouldn't look at him, I watched house after house go by, as the car returned me to the home that Edward and I shared. The home in suburbia, where everything looked the same and the same seven house structures repeated themselves over and over. The same seven days repeated themselves over and over. When had life become so predictable? Perhaps that's why my world was rocked when Jasper mentioned the past; it had been unpredictable on his part.

He stopped the car in front of my house. I didn't see the glow of the television coming from the family room. The porch light had burned out months ago and we hadn't remembered to replace it yet. It was dark and the street was quiet, with only the sounds of the occasional neighborhood dog barking and the rumble of the car engine. Thankfully, there was a streetlight near our home and Jasper pulled the car into its soft glow. I moved slowly to get out of the car.

We didn't speak our goodbyes. Rather he took his hand off the steering wheel and squeezed mine. Still he didn't look over at me, he just found my hand with his. Eye contact would have been too difficult. Squeezing my eyes shut, I choked out a quick thank you before gently sliding my hand out of his. He moved to get out of the car, to walk me to the door, but I told him I was fine.

I wasn't fine.

He murmured something under his breath about waiting until I got inside. I slid out of the seat, waving the hand that had just touched his in a small goodbye. It was a sad, pathetic gesture and I felt it wasn't enough in the way of goodbye. It was a silly thought; I would probably see him within the next few weeks. But it would always be with our others and they were quite significant.

Shuffling to the steps of the porch, I noticed that Jasper had not yet pulled away from the front of the curb. The overhead light in the car was starting to dim yet I could still see him. His arm was slung over the back of the passenger seat and he sat there, watching as I made my way from him. More than once, my subconscious urged me to turn back and go back to the car. My tricky mind even thought about going to the diner just a few blocks over with him. So we could just be "Bella and Jasper" a little bit longer. An attempt to hold on to that feeling we had caught at the beginning of the evening.

But our time had run out and the proverbial magical carriage had turned into a pumpkin once more. Our night together had ended and we returned to our regular lives. Not that our regular lives were bad but they weren't… us.

When I got to the top step of the porch, I paused and looked back, waving him along. My motion was intended to indicate to him that he no longer had to wait for me. He frowned while he shook his head and gestured similarly to me, shooing me toward the door. He obviously had not planned on leaving until I was inside the house. Flashing a quick, somewhat forced smile, I turned back to the door while fishing my keys out of my jacket pocket. I wasn't fully paying attention when I got to the door and ended up attempting to use the wrong key.

My thoughts weren't on the keys in my hand. My thoughts weren't on the man waiting inside for me. My thoughts were solely focused on the man in the car behind me. Shaking my head, I found the right key and entered the house before turning to look out to his car one last time. Our eyes met despite the distance the front yard put between us. Ducking behind the door for a moment, I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to leak out. Once more, I looked out toward the car sitting under the streetlight.

I miss you. I miss us.

I had spent the entire night with him and it gave me a glimpse of what once was and what might have been. It scared me. He raised his hand up from the back of the seat and gave a short wave before inching away from the curb. I watched the taillights of his car disappear down the street. Only when I could no longer see them did I close and lock the door on our evening together.

Leaning my forehead against the door, I took a moment to collect myself before turning and walking further into the house. I wasn't sure where I would find Edward and I didn't want him to think anything of my morose attitude, especially considering what an amazing time I had at the concert. My current state wasn't congruent with how I should be behaving. I walked further toward the kitchen. The stove light glowed softly, but otherwise the house was dark.

"Edward?" I called out softly, wondering if he had fallen asleep on the couch while waiting up for me. I placed my keys in the bowl we used for that purpose and shrugged out of my jacket, hanging it in the hall closet. Slipping out of my shoes, I quietly padded into the living room but didn't find him there. I looked around the entire downstairs, thinking he might be in the den on the computer or elsewhere. Instead, I realized that he had already gone to bed.

It hurt.

I don't know why it bothered me as much as it did. It was obviously late, although not much later than we normally stayed up on Saturday nights. He hadn't said that he'd wait up for me prior to me leaving for the evening. In fact, any other night I probably would not have minded it all. But this particular night, I needed him. I knew it was selfish, but I needed the reassurance that we belonged to each other and we were right.

Grasping the banister so that I wouldn't trip up the steps, as I had been known to do, I crept up the stairs to our bedroom. There, I found him. He was sound asleep, curled around my pillow, on his side of the bed. I shed the clothes that held on to varying odors from dinner and the concert and got dressed for bed. Admittedly, I banged the dresser drawers a bit, in hopes that I might "accidentally" wake him with the noise.

He didn't wake, only shifted and held my pillow to his body a bit tighter. I weighed my options, thinking about whether I should try waking him or if I should just let him be. I climbed into bed next to him, gently removing my pillow from his grasp and replacing it with my body. His arm snaked around my torso, his body spooning mine and his face pressing into my hair.

"Didja have a good time?" he mumbled.

"Yes," I whispered back. "It was amazing, Edward. So incred…" I trailed off as I heard him snore lightly. "…ible," I finished lamely, speaking only to myself.

I laid there, in the dark, wrapped in Edward's arms and unable to sleep. Spending the night out with Jasper had put my mind into overdrive and I couldn't stop thinking about our lives prior... Prior to Edward. Prior to Alice. Prior to our fated mistake that changed our relationship.

I was wrapped in the arms of the most incredible man, yet my mind was on rewind and I had no way of stopping it. The memories of college came rushing back, to that life BC: Before Cullens. Playing the tapes over and over again of my time with another man.

With Jasper.

A/N - My first chapter fic written all by my lonesome. Somebody hold me!

The first part of this chapter is from "Chasing Paper" - the platonic prompt from the first Twilight 25. I decided to expand on the ideas I started in the o/s. Feel free to check it out!

A huge thank you to KrisBCullen for beta loving me and just plain ol' loving me and dealing with my comma splices and dealing with my verb tense issues (haven't had much issues with run-ons but I figured now would be a good time to start).

TheHeartofLifeIsGood (Snuggle Noodle), LoreliD (Squish), Miztrezboo, and ElleCC – thank you very much for everything (yes, I think that about covers it).

Into the light of the dark black night – The Beatles

If you're joining me for the ride, please review and let me know your thoughts.