A/N: The second story in this series is called Change: Journey of Acceptance. You can find a link to it in my Author's Profile. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed this story and to all my readers!
Epilogue: Journey's End
It has been more then forty years since I met Edward that faithful night in Chicago. He's been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I'm certain if it had not been for Edward I probably would have found a way to end my existence. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated our forty-second anniversary of the day we met. I view that day as not only a special day for Edward and me, but also as the day that I started living my life.
Today we are out celebrating the coming of the New Year with the whole family, including the Denali Clan in New York. We were sitting on the roof of One Astor Tower, one of the buildings in the Time Square district. We have a great view of the throngs of people celebrating the New Year, and the building where the ball would drop in a few short hours.
The girls were all, sitting on a few makeshift benches, wrapped up in warm blankets. They were trying to look human in case anyone noticed them, not that anyone else was even close to where we were sitting. I seriously doubt that any humans would be able to see us up here on the roof of a skyscraper.
The adults, Carlisle, Esme, Eleazar and Carmen were sitting off to the side. Edward and I were sitting a bit higher up from the girls on some scaffolding that had been left behind after the construction of the building. We had a slightly better view from our vantage point.
Emmett, Riley and Peter just stepped onto the roof from the access door. They were each carrying a backpack, and laughing. "This is going to be so awesome," Emmett said.
'Famous last words,' I thought which caused Edward to laugh. I'd lost track of how many times I'd heard Emmett say those exact same words. Okay, I really hadn't lost track but it's a lot. I shook my head and noticed Esme giving Emmett a weary look.
"Emmett, what are you doing?" Rosalie asked.
Rosalie gave Emmett the 'I don't believe you' expression. "Don't come crying to me when you get yourself hurt," Rosalie replied.
The boys went off and sat on the left side of the girls, which turned out to be further away from the adults. This seemed to be strategically planned to keep distance from the enforcers. They were still laughing as they started pulling bottles out of their backpack, which is when I heard Edward groaned.
'What?' I asked mentally.
'You'll see,' Edward replied back, also mentally.
I turned my attention back to the boys to see that they had brought over a dozen bottles of alcohol, including 190-proof Everclear. I just shook my head and rolled my eyes. The Everclear they had brought was ninety-five point four percent alcohol. It is also illegally to sell in certain states, of which New York is one of them. I could only assume they had smuggled it.
'You know that those two have corrupted your brother,' I said mentally to Edward.
'I know. He uses to be such a good boy too,.' Edward replied with a sarcastic tone to his thoughts.
"Emmett, you do know that it's not possible for vampires to get drunk?" I asked.
"Do you boys have alcohol?" Esme asked.
"Thanks, Jasper!" Peter whined.
"It's a celebration. We're just having fun," Emmett said.
"If you boys get sick, don't come crying to me," Esme said.
'Esme does know they can't get drunk, right?' I asked Edward.
'Yes, she knows,.' Edward replied. 'Did Carlisle ever tell you about his one and only experience with moonshine?'
'No,' I replied.
"Carlisle, do you mind if I tell Jasper the story about your moonshine patient," Edward asked.
Carlisle laughed, "Go ahead."
Edward turned back to me and we began a silent mental conversation.
'Carlisle was working in the Northeast during the early part of the eighteen hundreds. He had a patient who could only pay him with moonshine. Carlisle was going to just let the guy off the hook on having to pay, but the patient insisted. So Carlisle had this moonshine that he really had no use for, but didn't think it was proper to just throw it out,' Edward began.
'Okay, so what did he do with it?' I asked.
'He was still rather young to this life, and his up bringing had never brought him in contact with alcohol before. He thought 'what the hell' and decided to give it a shot. The moonshine was pretty much tasteless, and it seemed to be having no effect on him.' Edward continued, but there was a humorous tone to his thought.
'Why do I get the feeling that this didn't end well?' I asked.
Edward laughed, and Carlisle looked over at us and I could feel his embarrassment. 'Turns out that it had a delayed reaction, he didn't get drunk, but very sick. Not more then ten minutes after drinking the moonshine his body violently rejected it.'
'Do you think we should tell the boys?' I asked, as I tried to keep from laughing.
'Hell no!' Edward replied while laughing. I couldn't help but join in on his laughter.
"What are you two laughing about?" Riley asked as he down half a bottle of Everclear.
"Just a story about Carlisle's youthful days as a vampire," I replied. I turned to see Carlisle smiling.
"Seems that history shall repeat itself tonight," Carlisle said.
"As the saying goes, 'Those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it.'," I add; and then burst out laughing along with Edward. A few seconds later the girls were all whispering and then snickering.
'It would seem that most everyone, except for boys, knows about what's going to happen shortly,' I remarked mentally to Edward.
'Alice just had a vision of the three of them reacting to the alcohol. I think it's the Everclear that's going to do them in. It's almost hundred-percent alcohol,' Edward explained.
'I noticed that it was quite strong,' I replied.
I thought that it would be very important to save this moment for posterity. I pulled my camera out of my backpack and took a few snapshots of everyone. I made sure to get several of Emmett, Peter and Riley drinking.
"Jazzy, I want a copy of those pictures," Alice snickered.
"Rosalie, do you want any of these pictures?" I asked.
"No, I've got plenty of pictures with Emmett being an idiot," Rosalie replied.
"Alice, how much longer until… well you know?" Kate asked.
"Thirty seconds," Alice replied.
"Thirty seconds, until what?" Peter asked.
"Until history repeats itself," Alice replied.
Everyone's attention was now focused on the night's new entertainment as they finished chugging down another bottle. They were laughing and having a merry time.
"I don't feel so good," Riley said. From their expressions it appeared that Emmett and Peter were feeling about the same.
"Three, two, one . . .". Emmett ran for the edge of the building and spewed over the side just as Alice finished her count down. He was joined by Riley and Peter a few seconds later.
"I told you," Alice said, while shaking her head.
"I still can't believe that just happened," Rosalie replied with a sigh.
"I told you boys to behave, but did you listen? No, of course not," Esme scolded, which caused Edward and me to burst out laughing.
I turned back to see Emmett with a dazed look in his eyes, and Peter still looking a little green around the edges. During all this I was sure to take numerous pictures for the family photo album.
"Jasper, what are you doing?" Riley asked. He had the same dazed expression in his eyes that Emmett had.
"Just making sure that the three of you don't ever forget tonight," I replied with a grin.
"They all look sort of drunk," Carlisle commented as he observed Emmett, Peter and Riley. "What have they been drinking?"
"190-proof Everclear," I said.
"That's almost one hundred-percent alcohol," Carlisle replied. "I wonder if it is possible for us to get drunk when it's that pure?"
"Alcohol only has a mild effect on us, but I've never seen anyone react that way to it. Aro use to indulge with red wine on occasion. Carmen and I will occasionally have a glass when we attend the symphony. It is to my knowledge the only human food that we can ingest," Eleazar replied.
"So wine is okay for a vampire to drink?" I asked.
"So long as it is not drunk in excess then it should be fine. Carmen and I rarely have more then one glass. The effect is a very mild buzz and it does dull the senses a bit," Eleazar answered, "The effect only last for a short time, no more then an hour."
"They actually feel kind of drunk, and sick," I said as I reached out and checked their emotions. I was quick to pull back from their emotions.
"Fascinating," Carlisle said.
"It's not fascinating. It's childish, immature and irresponsible," Rosalie said angrily. I couldn't really blame Rosalie for being angry. Alcohol had played a major role in how her human life had ended. I doubt that Emmett thought through his actions, but he'd face the consequences later.
"Just commenting on the results, not their behavior," Carlisle explained.
"I wonder if the blood from their hunt earlier is mixing with the alcohol to cause this effect." Edward reasoned.
"The blood would help our bodies absorb the alcohol, which could be why the reacted so violently. If our bodies absorbed too much of the alcohol this could be a reaction to remove the offensive substance," Eleazar said, "But much of how our bodies absorb and use blood is still a mystery. I've read several books from Aro's extensive library. They do not go into any details, but plenty of theories on the subject' on the subject of blood, not alcohol."
"It might be possible that with Deoxyribonucleic acid testing we could determine many of the unanswered questions about our species," Carlisle said.
"We'd have to do that kind of research ourselves. You wouldn't want humans getting a hold of this information and comparing it to their own genetic information," Edward said.
"Perhaps we should look at studying genetic research the next time we go to university," I said, while looking at Edward.
"I'll check into what schools would be best for that type of degree when we get back to Calgary," Edward replied.
"I am surprised to learn that wine does not have the same affect," Carlisle commented.
"There is much less alcohol in wine, then in the stuff they are drinking," Eleazar replied.
"The percentage of alcohol is the deciding factor in our reaction to it," Carmen added. "There are some benefits to drinking wine."
Carmen was giving Eleazar a rather intimate expression, and with the lust I felt in her emotions I quickly gathered what she was hinting at.
All this talk about the possibility of learning something new also had Carlisle feeling giddy as a school girl. It was also about this time that the three children were back to normal. Emmett pulled another bottle out of his backpack, which royally pissed off Rosalie.
"Emmett, you've had enough," Rosalie said angrily.
"Rosie, we're just having fun," Emmett replied. It would appear that was the wrong thing to say. Rosalie was out of her seat and standing in front of Emmett a second later. She grabbed the opened bottle out of his hand and started dumping it out on the roof.
"Rosie!" Emmett said as he tried to reach for the bottle to stop her, but she just moved the bottle further out of his reach.
"You know I don't like alcohol, Emmett! I can't believe you'd be so stupid," Rosalie said, her voice raised. After she had finished emptying the bottle she chucked it aside and returned to her seat next to Alice. An awkward silence filled the air for the next several minutes.
"Its times like this that I'm happy I'm not mated," Tanya laughed trying to break the silence.
"You just like the freedom of having any man you want," Kate replied.
"Almost any man," Irina corrected. It was well known that Tanya favored Riley, but that he did not return her feelings. This had not deterred Tanya from pursuing him, but he had politely turned down her every advance.
"I like my men warm and soft," Tanya replied, but she was looking at Riley.
The crowd below began to count down the remaining time to the New Year. We watched as the ball began to drop. Edward and I joined in the count down and on zero we kissed passionately.
"Happy New Year, Edward."
"Happy New Year, Jasper."
The close of one year and the start of another was like closing the book on one chapter of my life and starting another. Edward has been my rock through this long, but rewarding journey. Forty years ago I was lost, struggling and felt like there was no where to go. Life was an existence that seemed determined to break me. Then an angel shows up and leads me out of my depression, and to a life of happiness.
'You helped me too,' Edward projected via his thoughts.
'We helped each other,' I replied, and then wrapped an arm around Edward and we rested our heads together.
"I love you, Jazz."
"Love you too, Edward."