I sat in the cafeteria at Forks High frantically reading an article forwarded to me on my iPhone. One of my favorite fashion designers, Alexander McQueen, had just committed suicide. As the words processed, I sat in utter shock. My best friend, Bella, waved her hand in front of my face.
"Earth to Alice!"
I didn't respond.
"Alice, what's wrong?"
I finally came out of my statue-like state and turned to her.
"Bella, he's dead."
Hearing those three horrifying words, Bella moved closer.
"Alice, who died?!?"
Confused, she pushed further. "Alexander who?"
My eyes glassed over as tears started to form.
I stared at Bella waiting for her to react is much the same way I had, but all I saw was confusion contorting her face.
"Who's Alexander McQueen?"
Frustrated that she was not feeling the same pain, I stood up and said, "Alexander McQueen was only one of the best designers in the world. His garments are true pieces of art, not just some stupid pieces of fabric sewn together. He was one of the most creative fashion minds ever and now he's dead!"
Bella sat dumbfounded. My face immediately became flushed as I noticed dozens of eyes staring at me. I didn't realize I raised my voice to such a noticeable level. I slowly sat back down in my chair and apologized for my outburst.
"I'm sorry, Bella. I didn't mean to shout at you. It's just that Alexander McQueen was one of my idols. He's the reason I love fashion so much and it's just shocking to know he's gone forever."
Bella smiled and patted my shoulder.
"No problem, Alice. I'm sorry I didn't know who he was since I love fashion so much."
I couldn't help but laugh. It's painfully obvious that Bella is a fashion-challenged individual. Don't get me wrong, she's a gorgeous girl, but she always hides her beauty with her long hair and lumberjack attire. I never understood how someone who's been my friend nearly all her life could stray so far from anything fashionable.
"Yeah, you're a regular Anna Wintour, Bella."
Bella laughed to herself then looked at me confused. "Who?"
I laughed and rolled my eyes.
After AP English, Bella and I stopped by our lockers to pick up books for study hall. In actuality, I was picking up my latest issues of Vogue and Glamour. I always get my homework done one way or another, so it's rare for me to do actual schoolwork during study hall. There are more pressing matters at hand, like what the fashion industry is predicting for the spring and summer.
Just as we were about to head off to study hall, my brother, Edward, and his best friend, Emmett, walked up to us. Emmett slung his huge arm over my shoulder and smiled the biggest smile you could ever imagine while Edward lovingly and carefully slipped his arm around Bella's waist. Edward and Bella had been officially dating now for about six months. I really don't know why it took so long because they've always liked each other. I guess they were just too shy to admit it to each other. I can't count the number of times both of them spoke to me on separate occasions declaring their undying love for one another.
Emmett, the star football player of the school, is Bella's big brother. He always has so much confidence, which always seems to elude Bella. Everyone loves Emmett because of his carefree and joyful attitude. He's friends with everyone in the school from the jocks to the goths to the nerds. All the guys like him because he is a guy's guy and all the girls want to be with him because of his sweet personality and, of course, those dimples.
Emmett and I went out on a couple of dates, but it was just too weird. All we did was just sit there and giggle. We grew up together, so we view each other more like brother and sister rather than romantic partners, unlike the lovebirds, Edward and Bella.
"Hey, Half Pint! Where are you two headed," Emmett questioned in his booming voice.
"We're off to study hall, Goliath."
"I heard you had a mini breakdown in the cafeteria this afternoon. What happened this time? Did the fashion magazines say that pea green is new black instead of pink?"
I punched him in the ribs, but he didn't flinched. I doubt he even felt it. He's all muscle and brawn.
"No, one of my favorite designers died."
"Alexander McQueen," Edward interjected.
I nodded my head trying not to get emotional again.
"Aww, Half Pint, don't be sad. You're way too cute to be frowning like this."
I looked up at Emmett's big smile and immediately felt comforted. He always makes me feel better when I'm upset.
Bella looked at her watch, "Guys, we better get to study hall or Mr. Ellerby will be on our cases again about being tardy."
As the four of us headed to study hall, I noticed a tall, dirty blonde guy wearing a simple white J. Crew button down shirt and jeans. He was standing in front of the office talking to who, I assume, is his father. As we rounded the corner, he happened to look in my direction. My heart skipped a beat as his ice blue eyes met mine. On the outside I tried to remain calm, but on the inside I wanted to pull a Bella and run away. I smiled at him as we passed. If his eye contact was enough to make my heart skip a beat, his smile nearly made me fall over. Thank goodness I had Emmett there to hold me up.
Emmett, Bella, and Edward were too engrossed in their own conversation about seeing the new movie, The Wolfman, to pay attention to me. Once past the handsome stranger, I discreetly turned my head to sneak another look at him. I noticed him still looking at me, almost as if he were studying me. I smiled again and went on my way.
As the four of us sat in study hall, my head was flooded with hundreds of thoughts about the handsome stranger I saw in the hallway.
Is he new here?
Where did he come from?
Why did he come to Forks?
Does he have a girlfriend?
Would he ever be interested in me?
I shook my head to clear my mind.
Alice, you don't even know who this guy is. Yes, he's incredibly sexy, but he could be a future serial killer for all you know. It's always the unassuming ones who turn out to be the freaks. But he's so cute and he smiled at me! I wonder what it's like to kiss him? I wonder how it would feel if he...
A light touch on my arm brought me out of my myriad of thoughts. I looked up from my magazine to see Edward staring at me intently. He quickly glanced up at Mr. Ellerby to see if he was looking and leaned in to whisper,
"Alice, are you okay? You seem upset?"
All his life, Edward has had the weird ability to read people. I don't know what it is, but it's almost as if he can read minds. He always seems to know what people around him are thinking, especially me. The ironic part is that he can never read Bella. I guess that's why it took them eons to finally get together.
"Edward, I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I guess I'm still a little shaken up about Alexander McQueen's death."
He stared at me as if he wasn't convinced.
"Okay, but if there's something else that's troubling you, you can always talk to me."
I smiled. "Thank you, but I'm fine. Why don't you go stare at your girlfriend for the rest of the period. I know that's what you really want to do."
Edward smiled his trademark crooked smile, but became serious again and leaned in even closer.
"You know how much I adore Bella, but if there's something upsetting my little sister, I want to know."
"I know. I swear, everything's okay, big overly protective brother. Now get back to your studying of Bella before Mr. Ellerby gives both of us detention."
Edward nodded and looked adoringly at Bella who immediately blushed and looked down at her books.
Just then I heard the door to the classroom shut. I looked up from my magazine, which I had finally started to read instead of stare at blankly, and felt as though my stomach dropped. There stood the handsome stranger from the hallway. He looked around quickly and met my eyes once again. Before either of us could react, Mr. Ellerby walked over to him. The handsome stranger handed the teacher a slip of paper. Not wanting anyone to know I was staring, I pretended to read my magazine while straining to hear the conversation between the two of them. I managed to make out a few things.
"Well, hello, son. Welcome to Forks High."
I put my hand on my forehead to mask my eyes and looked up at the handsome stranger and Mr. Ellerby. The stranger reached out and shook his hand.
"Thanks, sir. I'm Jasper Whitlock."
Jasper. So his name is Jasper, huh? What a completely fitting name.
"Jasper, have a seat anywhere you like. Do you have something to read? Since this is your first day, I doubt you have any sort of homework."
"Uh, no sir. I do have a book though. Thank you kindly."
Thank you kindly? I thought people only said that in westerns? He does have somewhat of a twang when he speaks, so maybe he's from the South.
I discreetly watched Jasper sit down and open his book. I strained to read the cover before he opened it completely. All I could make out were the words "Civil War". He stared down at the book with so much concentration I thought he was trying to make it levitate with his mind. He was completely absorbed in the material.
Just then the bell rang and I literally jumped out of my seat. I quickly recovered, not wanting to embarrass myself in front of Jasper. I felt my face form a smile at the mere thought of his name. I packed up all my things and looked up again to catch one last glimpse, but he was gone.
Feeling a little dejected, I walked out with my friends to our lockers to drop off stuff before going home. Bella is riding home with Edward. He has a special picnic planned for their six month anniversary. He's going to take her up to some meadow he found in the woods. The thought of sitting on the ground makes me cringe, but I'm sure Bella will love anything he does.
Emmett ran off to hang out with some of his football buddies, so I walked myself out to the student parking lot. As I was pulling out my car keys from my purse, I accidentally pulled out my iPhone at the same time. I watched in horror as the fragile device and my keys crashed to the ground.
I bent down to pick up my items and prayed that my iPhone was not cracked or scratched. Before I could reach out, I saw a hand pick up both items at the same time. My eyes scanned from his strong hand, to his arm, shoulder, neck, lips, and finally his ice blue eyes.
"Wow, you have quite a mouth on you," he said with a beaming smile.
Realizing I had just cursed out loud, which I rarely do, I covered my mouth with my hand. Jasper chuckled at my display of embarrassment.
"Don't worry about it, darlin'. Your secret's safe with me."
I stood there dumbfounded as he returned my keys and phone. The world seemed to move in slow motion as I reached out and grazed the tip of my fingers on his. I felt like I wanted to laugh, cry, and scream all at the same time. The current that passed from his hand to mine was jolting and a little overwhelming.
I smiled up at him and said, "Thank you."
"Jasper. My name is Jasper."
"Thank you, Jasper," I said shyly.
"You're very welcome..." He paused waiting for me to reveal my name.
"Oh, I'm Alice."
…and a complete and utter dork.
"Well, it's nice to meet you, Alice."
Hearing my name come out of his lips sent shivers through my body.
"Yeah. You too."
"See you around."
He turned and headed to his car. As I watched him walk away, I noticed his smooth and fluid gate. He walked just like a model.
I don't know what my next move will be, but one thing is for sure, I'm definitely going to get to know Jasper Whitlock better!