A/N: Well folks, here is the collaboration between Totteacher and I. We have had a great time writing this and bouncing ideas off each other to create a story that gives us an insight into how Alice came to be a vampire. She had the concept swirling around in my head and we decided to co-write this story.
I would like to thank my co-writer Totteacher and she will be posting this story in her profile as well. This story has been amazing for me to do with Totteacher because we both like similar stories, and we care about trying to write stories that our readers will find truly captivating.
Disclaimer: We don't own Twilight, or any characters, however we've only used one or two in this story and made up the rest! (so we do own them!..lol)
This chapter is dedicated to mouse555. She has been our most supportive reviewer, taking the time to leave reviews for both Totteacher and myself. This chapter is going to be a bit heavier into the Jasper connection. Hope you love it!
My life fell into a routine that left me saddened and reclusive. I would hide away from humanity, dwelling in the depths of forests, surrounded by little more than the silence of nature to keep me company.
I would do this for weeks, sometimes even months until the intense burning in my throat sent me searching for relief that from what I knew only came in one form. Human blood. I was sickened with my need for blood from humans. I felt their life slipping away under my grasp, and each time I hated myself for being the one to have been the cause.
I moved along from town to town, not caring where I was, only caring that I was gradually moving closer to the singular destination that kept me focused...Philadelphia. I kept moving towards it, town by town, city by city, state by state. Though nothing else had any meaning to me, that one thing did, for my future awaited me there in the form of Jasper.
As I moved and fed, I would discard the clothing I had been wearing, disgusted with the fact that I had not only taken another life, but that I had soiled my pretty garb. Then I would have to find myself new clothes to wear, revelling in the soft touch of the fine fabrics as they caressed my skin. I would seek out stores, and steal into them, choosing the most expensive garment to cloth myself in, from the feminine undergarments, to the classy apparel and shoes. I was always dressed impeccably.
I often wondered if I had gone mad. I could hear every small sound in the forest, from the smallest twig snapping, to the fluttering wings of the insects as they flew through the air, beating their small wings tirelessly to carry themselves to their destination. I discovered numerous things about myself. My skin glowed in the sunlight like the most precious of jewels as the rays of sun danced across its surface, but on days when it was foggy or overcast my skin appeared pale, but almost like any other human.
I did not need to breathe...ever. The realization alarmed me, but I was thankful, since holding my breath for elongated lengths of time had saved more humans than I care to recall. I could swim tirelessly for hours, diving like a dolphin into the deepest of waters, and no matter what I did, I always looked the same. My nails, my hair, my skin, my shape, it always stayed the way it was when I first opened my eyes, never changing in its appearance.
My eyes, it seemed, were the one thing that did change on my exterior. MY eyes were predominantly red, varying from a vivid crimson when I had just eaten to a muddy brown when I was far gone with hunger. The only colour I had ever seen them aside from red, was a deep onyx black when I was angry with myself to the point of rage.
I spent a great deal of time in silent contemplation, wondering how I had come to be who I was, and thinking did anyone miss me? Did I have a family who searched for me? Did I have a friend? I found myself craving the company of others more and more, my throat burning with sadness and anger when I knew that it wasn't possible for me to have anyone else.
When I was overcome with emotions during those times, I would focus on the memories I had of Jasper. I know that it seemed silly to depend so much on something so small, but it seemed that every time I focused on Jasper I would find myself falling away from where ever I happened to be, to find myself sitting on that same cushioned bench of that busy diner.
I would turn and watch the doorway, waiting for him to arrive, and he never failed me. He was my constant, the one thing I could depend on. I found myself studying the smallest details of his countenance, admiring his bone structure, or the way his throat moved when he spoke to me, which he always did with that rich timbered voice, sending shivers down my spine with pleasure.
It didn't matter how many times I watched him ease his way through the door, or how often he dragged his hand through his wild blonde hair, I never tired of watching him. I knew what I would say to him, and I knew what he would say to me. Each time I got to see him only made me more determined to be there in that diner, awaiting his arrival to start my future.
It was through these interludes that I came to realize that I loved Jasper, and for some reason I knew that he would love me too. He would see me for who I was, and he wouldn't care that I had no past. And I...I would see him for the beautiful creature that he was, knowing that he would be unlike any other being I had ever met.
Years passed in this manner...or was it decades? I found myself drifting further into the recesses of my mind. Sometimes thinking about a specific thing would take me away from where I was, opening up glimpses of other people and places. I found myself willing these visions to come, for somehow I knew they were there to guide me, to answer the questions that I had.
The more I pushed for them, the more they came, cradling me in their comfort, showing me what I wanted to know. I started pushing to know more things. When would it be safe to travel? Where would I find myself shelter the next day? How could I obtain my pretty clothes without having to steal? Every time I asked a question, I was given an answer, and it rarely, if ever...failed me.
I found myself getting closer to my destination, and while I waited, I experimented. I found myself searching for answers to questions that plagued me. Was this the only way to live? Was there another way to exist? Could anyone show me? I found myself rewarded with more frequent visions of the golden eyed man, and eventually of other golden eyed beings that surrounded him.
My visions allowed me to learn a small amount about them. I knew that they had answers for me, and that even though they were like me, they were different, more controlled than I was. I couldn't wait to find them so they could answer all of the questions I had for them in person.
Finding them would have to wait though, for I could not miss Jasper, and while I knew the year that he would come, I didn't know then location of the diner, or the month or day. I did, however, come to one startling realization. I was going to have to start being closer to humans, and to do it more often if I was going to be able to sit inside a busy diner without attacking the humans who were patrons there.
With this realization in mind, I put my talent to work trying to find places that were populated, but not so overly populated that they would overload my senses causing the burn to ignite in my throat. I made choices and was often granted visions when I did. I set my mind to find a better way to live.
I found myself lounging one afternoon on the wide branch of an ancient pine tree. I sat, curled against the trunk of the massive tree as the sunlight beat down upon me, soaking up its warmth as a cat might. I had already made the decision that I would not seek out a new method of existing until after I had found Jasper. I couldn't explain why I refused to be distracted from my vigil, but I just felt that the need to find him was so intense, so overbearing, that the thought of deterring from my plan made me feel physically ill.
I had been wondering how I could do both, find Jasper and meet this golden eyed group of strangers that could guide me towards a new way of living when I felt myself being lifted away from my surroundings, and I gave myself over to the familiar feelings that accompanied my visions.
My body became so light that I practically floated and the rough texture of the bark beneath my fingers faded to smooth nothingness as my surroundings gave way to new images.
The first thing about this vision that struck me as different is that I could feel something wrapped around my hand. I often smelled, heard and touched things in my visions, but never had I found something touching me before. I glanced downward and saw finely tapered fingers intertwined with my own. In the light of twilight I looked at those digits, taking in their smooth lines, the way they held my hands as if giving my own fingers a gentle caress.
I could feel the silky warmth of them against my skin, and it sent tingles from my fingertips, through my arm, and right through my entire body. I allowed my gaze to drift upward, along the planes of the skin, admiring the way that the light reflected off the ivory hued flesh, so like my own, and yet so much more striking in its appearance.
My eyes skimmed along the toned flesh stopping as they encountered a silver, crescent shaped scar that disappeared under a deep blue cuff. I glanced upwards, my eyes meeting those of the man who had already stolen my heart, though we hadn't yet met face to face.
Jasper's shining red eyes greeted my own as a deep, soulful smile spread across his face. My breath caught in my throat as his amazing voice broke the silence. "Alice, my love, I know that I have already asked you this, but are you sure that they will accept us...that they won't mind showing up unannounced?" His words tumbled out quickly, and his smile, as breathtaking as it was, gave way to a worried frown that was so sorrowful that it made my chest ache with sadness for him.
I knew that I was only an observer in these visions, but never had I been so happy to watch a vision as I was at this moment. I saw my hand reach out to caress his ruggedly handsome face, smoothing out the creases of his brow with my lithe fingers. His worried face gave way as he surrendered to my touch, turning his face into my hand as he kissed my palm with a movement so tender that I was temporarily speechless.
I heard my singsong voice reply, "Jasper darling, you should know by now, never to bet against me." I said, my voice breaking into a giggle. I wished I could watch him forever, but the me in my vision turned away, though not before I felt my fingers tighten around his in a gesture of reassurance, and the fact pleased me deeply.
"I can't wait to meet them!" I replied, my voice chirping in excitement as I felt my body in the vision shifting from foot to foot. I didn't miss the deep chuckle that emanated from his chest at my excitement. "Tell me about them again, love." He said, his voice tender and affectionate, its timbre making my chest fill with warmth.
"Well," I heard my bell-like voice respond. "Carlisle is the father of the family...he is kind and wise beyond his years, and he has made each member of the family. He is the first of his kind, the first to find a way to live on something besides the blood of humans. He has blonde hair like you, Jasper. But he is nowhere near as handsome as you are," I told him, turning my face to his, watching his countenance for a reaction to my words.
Jasper's eyes met mine in a piercing glance, his mouth drawn downward into a frown, and suddenly his lips met mine before I was able to comprehend the expression on his face. Both my vision self and my real self moaned as his lips claimed mine in a kiss so intense that any and all thoughts temporarily left my mind.
When he pulled back I was panting for breath...and knowing that I did not need to breathe only made me smile at him widely in response. His lips spread into a smug grin, and his pleasant smile had returned. "You were saying, love?" he said with a chortle.
I shook my head to gather my thoughts before continuing what I had been saying, and though I wanted to kiss him again, I wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of disrupting my train of thought. "Aaaassss I was saaayyying," I said, emphasizing my words to pester him, "Carlisle is the patriarch, and father of the family. Esme is the mother. You are just going to adore her, Jazzy. She is beautiful too, and she is Carlisle's mate and wife. There is Edward, and he is going to be my closest big brother, only because he will understand my gift as well as you," I added before continuing, "Emmett is a huge teddy bear, and he is married to Rosalie."
I paused for a moment before continuing. "Everyone is paired up except Edward. He is lonely and we are going to be able to help him Jasper. We will help one another. He will help teach us the ways of our new life, and we will help make him happier."
Jasper nodded silently. I pulled his arm trying to hurry him along. "Let's go...I want to hear Edward play the piano for real for a change instead of just in my visions. Jasper groaned beside me, but picked up his pace for me so we could go faster.
As the trees flew past us, and animals raced away from our rapid approach, the sounds of music began to float delicately across the air. I could tell that we were still a fair distance from our destination, but it didn't make the music any less haunting or beautiful. The notes drifted tremulously across the darkening sky, its evocative melody putting the twittering songbirds to shame.
The composition lured me forward, egging me onward to reach my goal. We were so close. We paced along, our feet barely touching the ground as we moved. The music became our guide in the night. We followed the cacophony of notes as they rang out ensnaring us in their sadness. Jasper pulled me back for a moment, his steps faltering until he came to a full stop.
My vision self turned to him, the pained look on his face caused me to worry that he was hurt or upset. "Jazz...?" I whispered carefully. "What's wrong?" He turned his eyes from me from a moment, composing his face before turning back to me.
"Pain...," he said sadly. "So much sadness." Jasper's eyes were wide with compassion. "Someone is hurting...very deeply, Alice," he said sorrowfully.
"That must be Edward," I responded, somehow my vision self expecting this fact. "We are going to help change his life for the better Jazz. Why don't we go and start right now?" I asked, my eyebrow raised at him in question.
Jasper regarded me then nodded his head. "For sure, the sooner we help him the better," he said quickly. I bobbed my head at his words, and we headed out once more following the music. As we neared our destination the music cut off abruptly, and ahead we could see a house and hear the movement of multiple bodies.
I didn't even slow my pace as we reached the large yard of the spaciously built house. I flew forward, my excitement lending speed to my feet, even more so than normal, while my mind chanted a mantra of I'm home, I'm home, I'm home. Over and over again. I could hear voices raised in alarm, and I didn't even stop to focus on what they were saying. Instead, I flew up the stairs to the front door, and opened it as I ran through it with Jasper, stopping when we were face to face with the inhabitants of the house.
There gathered in a large room, with natural hewn log walls that gleamed in the warm light of the house, and comfy couches, stood five golden eyed vampires. They were standing in defensive stances, protectively positioned around one another and looking at us in alarm. Jasper clenched my hands, showing me his discomfort at the situation, but I already knew what to say and so I simply blurted it out. "Which room is ours?"
With those words, I found myself falling backwards, slipping away from the vision in front of me, and crashing back to reality. I had to blink my eyes several times before I could realize where and when I was, for my location had changed somewhat since the beginning of my vision. I had been sitting at the top of an ancient pine tree, but now found myself about a foot underground, looking up at a pile of broken branches.
I pushed myself onto my feet, shoving away the mass of tangled branches before realizing that I must have fallen a good eighty feet from the top of the tree while I was swept up by what had to be one of the longest visions I had had to date.
I was immediately squealing, elated by this vision, and for the first time since I had come to be, glad that I existed. This half-life now held more promise than I could ever have imagined. I knew that I could now live a fulfilling happy existence, and that I would be loved by my...FAMILY! I was fated to have a family! Lately, I had come to drift through time, as it held little relevance. These visions were telling me to journey towards my new future. I knew it more than anything I had known before, their length and detail coming through so strongly that I had to move quickly.
"There's no time to spare!" I exclaimed, my gleaming smile unable to be stopped. "I must find Jasper and take him to my family."
I was spent. Fed up. After a century of this hellish existence I'd had enough of death, of blood, of feeling the emotions of every one of the thousands of victims that I'd murdered. The endless cycle of changing them, chewing them up and spitting them out was wearing me to the bone. Even though I could influence their emotions, I couldn't get away from what they felt just before they died. That, more than anything, had haunted me for more than more than a hundred years now. I shouldn't be here, living this way any longer. I was meant to die on the battlefields, proud, my life ending defending the right. Instead I languished here, this span of time containing nothing more than blood and death, and eternal sadness. I'd had more than my share of that to last a hundred lifetimes.
I will never forget the vision of her that night. How she seemed so frightening, but at the same time so compelling. How her dark hair shone silver in the moonlight, haunting me, drawing me in. She knew I had the potential to give her what she craved. I had no chance when she made the decision to change me. Once she did, and I came out of my newborn haze after days of pain, feelings that I didn't know how to handle overcame me. Every vampire around me, Maria, Lucy and Nettie as well as a few more she'd changed, fought among themselves, the newborns killing each other as Maria tried to form her army of disciples. I was existing amongst chaos, and though Maria tried to rule everyone that she'd changed, newborn volatility hampered her efforts. That is, until I saved the day. Once I realised my gifts and learned to use them to my advantage, my life improved somewhat. Even the three women began to work well together and I came into my own, achieving far beyond my potential as a human, and at the same time catching the eye of Maria. She was right to choose me. I was the catalyst behind her getting whatever she wanted.
I loved Maria in my own way, but also resented her for the life she had enslaved me in. For decades, I continued to do her bidding. I knew I was a manipulator, my gifts enabling me to change the mood of all who surrounded me, but she was the queen of them. I was tangled within her web, drawn in when she rewarded me for work well done, obligated to do her bidding when ordered to kill again and again.
This life had to stop before I went mad. I knew that I had probably already gone mad anyway, with the control Maria had over me, and the way she was towards every other vampire. She never let up, that one, and because she expected so much of me and I never failed to give her what she wanted, I was trapped. Trapped to live in the eternal hell that she had created with her own delusions of grandeur. Committed to feed her hunger for power. Damned forever to help her satisfy her eternal thirst to shed as much blood as possible, destroying as many newborn vampires as it took for her to claim victory. Even when she took Monterrey in the north-east, she didn't stop there. Taking back her lost territory only gave her a taste of what she desired more than anything. Nothing but total domination of the entire territory of Mexico and the southern US would satisfy her hunger, as she attempted to spread her dominance like a plague.
I was living in an eternal vacuum, with no chance of escape. That was until Peter came and joined the ranks which were burgeoning thanks to my ability to control, to train. He became the closest thing I had to a friend, and I didn't have many of them. He was more human, more civilised than any other vampire I knew. He was introduced as quite a strong fighter and I kept him to assist me with the newborns at the height of our war in Monterrey. Much human blood was shed, and many pyres were constructed during that particular year as territories were claimed, then lost again just as quickly. The smell of blood was everywhere, inescapable. The accompanying emotions were slowly but surely destroying me, and depression finally took hold. As much as I was no longer human, their emotions stuck with me like a heavy mantle, weighing me down and threatening to drag me under.
The endless, futile search for power was always on Maria's mind. I was certain that as a human she would have been a most evil dictator. She had no care for anyone we changed, and discarded them just as quickly when their newborn strength waned. Or rather, she ordered me to do it for her. She was the devil incarnate, feared by many. Loved by few. I was rewarded many times by Maria, being the only vampire who had survived after she'd changed me when I was in Galveston. If I hadn't lied, I wouldn't be here. Lying about my age was what got me in the Confederate Army, and my two years with them had seen me promoted quicker than any other young recruit had ever been. My stupidity had cursed me to this life, if that's what one could call it.
Things went along the same for a while after Peter came along. Then, he met her. Everything changed, shifted, after that. She was a powerful vampire, that Charlotte, and had more strength and skill than many of them. Peter and I trained her, and she responded better than most of the out of control feral vampires that we had to deal with most of the time. I knew they were slated to be mates from the day they met.
I saw how he watched her, and felt his lust for her every time she was near, and gradually felt that lust turn to love. She felt the same for him, but I didn't say a word to Maria. It would've been the end of them both if she sniffed out his weakness for her. Not that Maria didn't take liberties for herself. She just wanted her own selfish desires to be at the sacrifice of everyone else's. It was her way of keeping absolute control over everything in her world. She craved the comfort of another's arms just as the rest of us did, but she saw lust as a weakness and love as the worst flaw of all. Love was something that would impact on the strength, focus and agility of those we trained. Mating was simply not permitted. It usually didn't have time to occur, with the constant turnover and destruction of the newborns.
Then, as all newborns do around the first anniversary of their creation, their strength would wane, and again I would be ordered to kill them. In a way, I envied them. They got to experience what it was like to be stronger than they ever imagined, fought to the death against the enemy, and fell with pride into the arms of death for the greater good. Death sounded so much more inviting than the existence I dwelt in, decade after decade, and though I knew I lacked a soul, it was still a tempting alternative.
On this particular occasion, things were different. I had had my fill of killing, and Peter was behaving strangely, what we were doing seemed to be taking its toll on him. He did as he was asked, but about halfway through our arduous task, Peter became incensed as we called for our next victim. It was Charlotte. Peter reacted as I knew he would, and I allowed the two of them to run off together. I'd never shown weakness like that before, and Maria showed me her irritation in response. I didn't care. Nothing she did could make me feel worse than I already did. I felt somehow better that I let them go, but weak at the same time for allowing their feelings to invade me so much that it influenced my response. Things were never the same with Maria after that. She was mystified by my ever-deteriorating frame of mind. She did not understand my depression, as she had never suffered such a human emotion. Because of this, I began to feel her malice, her fear, her wrath, and became wary of her. These feelings were exactly what Nettie and Lucy had felt before they attacked Maria and failed.
I needed to be away from this situation before I lost my mind, or was driven to destroy Maria. She was the core of my existence and my only ally. That was when Peter returned to take me with him and had me convinced of a better life. Those in the north were more civilized and there was war and mayhem that had become such a part of life here in the south. That was what gave me the impetus to follow and join Peter and Charlotte.
For a few years, we slowly headed north and though being away from the carnage along with Peter's civilised ways helped alleviate my sadness, the depression was still there, festering within me, rotting me from the inside out. I tried with everything I had not to kill more than I had to, allowing myself to become weak and vulnerable to attack by doing so. I was wallowing in self-hatred as we travelled, and I felt that my life had become meaningless and lacked a sense of purpose. At least I had a job to do with Maria, and did it well. Now, I was just a nomad, wandering aimlessly around the countryside with my two companions and reluctantly feeding by night, while finding places to stay and keep out of the relentless sun by day.
Then, there came the day when I decided to go it alone. Peter knew my pain and pointed out how I seemed much worse after I hunted. I knew he was right, but also knew there was nothing I could do about it. Their emotions fed into me, and caused me to feel nothing but a combination of lust and grief, and I could not survive with them any longer. I grieved for the life that though I knew I didn't deserve, but craved for nonetheless. I would find this life in a new frontier, a new part of the country, and make a fresh start. I had decided to head further north alone, to the protection of the clouds and rain, and leave the two of them behind. They had told me that vampires who lived in the north were different, as the weather patterns allowed them more freedom to move among humans. The wars of the south did not exist there.
As I made my way north, feeding as little as possible as I travelled, I relished the freedom of travelling by day. I wanted more. I wanted to feel the sun on my skin, and to feel as close to being a human as possible. I had witnessed so much of their emotions when I took their lives that I wanted to feel emotions other than the horror that they experienced before I took their last breath away from them. I also desired to settle somewhere and make a life for myself that had meaning and purpose again, though I did not know whether such a life existed, or how to achieve it if it did.
In my determined quest to achieve my goal, I began to conduct little experiments, pushing my resolve to the limit. The first time it happened, it was quite by accident. One rainy day, I came upon a few humans after I had just fed. They had been camping in the wilderness and were searching for the one that I had just taken. I watched them as they searched for their friend, my body clenching as I battled with my instincts as I crouched, concealed by the surrounding brush. I did not attack. In that one experiment, I realised that I had somehow gained enough control to leave them be, and had found the inner strength to stop myself from killing them all. All I would need to do to walk among them with relative safety would be to feed first.
So I started to lead a half life of sorts, walking amongst humans when I was fully sated, staying hidden during the sunny days as I drifted from place to place, never settling for long. I was still fighting with my control, trying to learn my limitations. Yet I was still restless, and felt like I was missing something fundamental in my life.
After being a part of Maria's army for so long, being forced to feel so much from those around me to keep them in control, the silence that came with my new lifestyle was welcoming. I was able to spend hours trying to sort through my thoughts, only letting my inner being be assaulted with the emotions of others when I chose to.
I learned more about humans than I ever had during this time. Their feelings flitted from place to place as did their fancies. They were capable of so many emotions, and of disregarding almost quickly as they felt them. In some ways they reminded me of the newborns I had worked with, their moods changing recklessly from moment to moment.
I learned more about my own limitations at this time as well, finding that I could maintain control of my thirst, but that I was just as often prone to failure. Every situation was different. The only consistent through it all was my inability to prevent the emotions of my victims from flooding through me as their life force flooded my mouth, soothing the insatiable burning in my throat.
I found myself slowly moving more North, city by city, and state by state. The further I went, the more the weather seemed to facilitate my lifestyle. The overcast skies allowed me to travel by day and to study the amazing history of the places I visited. Studying history was became a hobby of mine, and I found it intriguing. It allowed me to focus on something other than myself for a time.
However soon that too became insipid, unable to draw my interest as I withdrew further into myself, retreating from my past, my present, and detesting my future. I wallowed in the dreariness that became my life. I was a part of nothing.
I had lost my family. Maria had stolen them from me. I had no friends except for Peter and Charlotte and as much as I hated to admit it, I could not stand to be around them. Being alone and on my own was hard, but being an outsider to witness to their happiness was reaffirm the fact that I had nothing was indescribable. I was too weak to do anything but to wallow in my own self-pity.
I didn't focus on time. What was time to an immortal vampire? Instead I simply lived in the now, trying to close out my mind from everything around me. I lived like a ghost...slipping in and out of towns, feeding when I needed to, changing clothes at each new place to stay presentable, and therefore blending in with humanity.
Currently I was preparing to hunt. I was not thirsty per say, but I needed to feel alive for a time, to not feel the pain that I lived with almost each and every moment, even if I was only able to staunch the pain when I became the predator that I was. I had shed the clothes I had been travelling in, changing into dark slack and a dark shirt that I had procured for such a time.
I noted the weather was windy with a brewing storm, the air heavy with moisture and the clouds gathered. I slipped into a long, dark trench coat, and covered my wayward blond hair with a dark hat to appear more human in the face of the oncoming gale.
I walked along the sidewalks, eyeing the humans who moved about, scanning for potential prey. Days like today, with such inclement weather were ideal for hunting. Not only did my senses come alive even more than usual due to the electric currents from the sky, but humans tended to stay inside, making it easier to hunt one and dispose of them without much worry of being seen.
I hunched my shoulders, pretending to brace my lanky frame against the gusts of wind, and I moved steadily along, scenting out a human whose blood would be tempting enough to convince me to hunt, even when I was not truly thirsty. I needed something to make me feel alive, even if just for a fleeting instant.
I turned a corner and suddenly felt shivers go down my spine. My mind went blank as I felt an overwhelming surge of emotions. Excitement...Hope...Longing...Desire? They were faint, and not even meaning to I moved forward, turning my head to focus on where they were strongest.
I continued along, no longer bothering with the facade of being cold. I walked quickly, changing directions as the emotions flicked more clearly into focus. These were vital and strong...effervescent...almost palatable. Unlike anything I had ever felt from any human, but they were so light-hearted and positive that I followed them like a moth to a flame.
My feet moved without contemplation, moving along streets that I couldn't name. With each step I felt more buoyant...almost weightless as the emotions pummelled me like waves. Anticipation...Yearning...Adoration...Hope...Trust...I had never felt anything of this magnitude before.
I followed along, suddenly finding myself standing across from a diner. I could hear a cacophony of voices inside as people sat out the rising storm, and though I could not gather why I should feel such emotions from a single source at such an absurd local. I moved forward wanting...needing to know more about these phenomena.
I crossed the street, and gently pushed open the weathered glass door, almost cringing at the harsh sound of bells that chimed from above. Before the door had even had a chance to swing closed I was almost brought to my knees as all the whirling emotions I had been feeling combined into a single one...love.
Thunder crashed outside the cafe window, the heavens seemingly acquiescing with the feelings that now coursed through me as I stood at the door...and on the precipice of my new fate. I felt it. I knew it. I never wanted these frightening feelings to end.
Fear of losing control suddenly took over as the door closed, sealing me away from the outside world, enriching the sounds and scents that now hung heavily around me. Before I had the opportunity to look up, the most delectable scent of roses hit me with such brutality that every nerve in my body hummed. My body tensed. Here, in amongst these humans, was the scent of a vampire, but no other vampire's scent could compare with what I smelt now, even with the human overtones. The attractive and powerful scent, drawing me in instinctually, coupled with the emotional climate that I was now immersed in caused me to hesitate at the door. I held my breath for a moment. I needed to steel myself and remain focused. Attacking here would not do, and even if it were warranted, I felt helpless to follow through anyway. Finding out what drew me here overtook every other instinct. More than anything, I needed to find the source of the fire that now burned within me, a fire which had nothing to do with my normally insatiable thirst for blood. This was a different thirst. A hunger. One that drinking from a thousand humans at once would not quench. One that I now knew I had craved my entire existence, in an instant filling the void that I had felt up until now. One that I felt compelled to bathe myself in, in its entirety, forevermore.
Still standing at the doorway, I felt several sets of eyes fix themselves on me as the room fell silent for a brief moment, and I realised that I was behaving anything but human. I had to compose myself, make some sort of attempt to behave like any other human would who was escaping the storm outside. I knew that common courtesy dictated that I should remove my hat. I did so with a slow and deliberate movement so as not to startle anyone, as the emotional tidal wave threatened to sweep me away, battering me again and again. I felt nothing more powerful than the urge to tear through every human to find my way to that scent, that feeling, as if it was the best drug in the universe, a drug made just for me.
Finally, heads turned away from me and voices recommenced their inane chatter as I raised my eyes and turned towards the source of the fire, my fate. Then, I saw her. My world tilted on its axis in that one brief moment as our eyes met, the accompanying lightning to the thunder outside striking me where I stood, the shock of locking eyes with her burning me from the inside out. She arose from the stool in front of the counter, walking towards me as would a gazelle. Beautiful. Graceful. Angelic. My eyes scanned over her beauty, the emotions rolling off her now overwhelming my senses to unattainably dizzying heights. She was, in a word, breathtaking! She was petite, with the face of an angel, her jagged, raven hair shining like a moonlit pond, cascading in sharp contrast over her delicate features and translucent skin. Her rose red lips were pouty, full and I knew, soft and entirely kissable. And her eyes! Never had I seen such soulful eyes within one of my own kind. They had a knowing to them that I did not recognise or understand, yet they drew me in like a lamb to the slaughter nonetheless. Now, I could truly die a happy man. I had discovered my utopia. My reason for existing in this cold, cruel world.
She had barely taken three steps towards me when her emotions hit me even harder. Elation, desire, excitement, sympathy, caring, lust...love. I felt the sudden urge to pick her up, throw her over my shoulder and spirit her away from this place, but instead stood fast, the presence of humans suppressing me acting on my every wayward desire. I knew she could pose potential danger, but as my wary eyes took her in, her face reflected my confusion. Never had I responded this way to a vampire, nor had one to me. Normally others of my kind, who did not want to attack me, expressed selfish and dark desires, which was what had drawn me into my depths of depression. These new feelings were foreign to me, and up until this moment I had only ever experienced them second hand, and with far less intensity and frequency. Though I did not understand what I was experiencing, I craved it more than anything. I could feel my depression bleeding out of me as she drew near, my body now feeling feather-light and free.
Then, her glorious lips drew into the most perfect smile that I had ever seen, causing my heart to melt, fall to ash. She had taken it, and I did not protest its loss. Instead, I was a willing victim. Willing to go to the ends of the earth to stay with her. From the moment I saw her, I knew. She was my mate. For life. The other half to my whole. The very air I breathed. My little Texas Rose.
I shifted my stance, my feelings near causing me to flee as her smiling, crimson eyes drew me in to their depths and she opened her beautiful mouth to speak. "You've kept me waiting a long time," she said. I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven, her musical voice like a thousand angels singing at once in chorus, her tone dripping with sincerity, love and a little impatience.
For the slightest of moments I felt unable to speak as my mouth fell open slightly in response to the warm timbre of her voice, and the euphoria of her emotions. Everything about her soothed me like nothing in this world ever could, and I felt myself slipping into her world.
Finally, I inclined my head reverently in response and I heard myself greet her, respectfully saying, "I'm sorry, ma'am. Jasper's the name...and you are?"
I watched as she extended her hand towards me, and with all my years of training and killing newborns, I was powerless against her.
"Alice," she responded immediately. My Alice. My beautiful Alice. What a wonderful name! Without another thought I moved closer and took her hand in mind, her touch sending waves of elation zinging through my body. I felt my lips give her a little smile, and I hoped she noticed my silent thank you for existing. For waiting for me. For changing my life forever.
Not wanting to let her go but ever curious to find out everything about her, I put my hat back on my head and whispered through my ever-widening smiling lips, "May I escort you somewhere?"
She nodded once, her eyes filled with a new sense of purpose and excitement. I could get used to feeling this way. Forever. Her feelings uplifted me unlike anything I had ever experienced before. "Yes. We have a long way to travel, Jazz," she said with affection as I opened the door and she led me outside.
We walked at human pace in the rain, hand in hand, not caring that the rain had soaked us to the bone. I was oblivious to everything else but this beauty whose hand I held in mine now. I wanted to know everything about her, and hoped that she would want the same from me and still accept me once she had discovered my past.
I told her of my history, of joining the army and my human life, and of Maria changing me and recruiting me into her self-made army. As I told her my tales of woe, of victory, of endless battles and relentless pain, she was unsurprised by everything I said. Not only unsurprised, but entirely accepting to the point of elation.
She, on the other hand, was but a babe-in-arms, her life as a human shrouded under a cloak of mystery. She had no memory of her human life, and knew nothing of who changed her. The poor girl had to endure her change and newborn year by herself, and my heart ached in sympathy for her. I knew that we were fated to rescue one another. She needed me as much as I needed her. I was surprised that she had not become some sort of feral animal. I concluded that she must have had amazing resilience and will to endure her newborn years alone and without guidance. Yes, this particular vampire was special.
After strolling through the streets of Philadelphia for the rest of the day and talking of our travels and how we came to be here, night suddenly fell, and my thirst began to nag at me, the burn in my throat reminding me of the creature that I was. I never wanted this waking dream to end, and yet I also knew I needed to hunt and once again become and horrible monster that I was trying to run away from.
"Alice. The reason I came to town today was to hunt," I stated with a sense of shame as we reached a corner which backed onto a dark alleyway. We could speak freely here. Not a soul was around, and that was a good thing. For them.
"Of course you did. I'm sorry I distracted you from your hunt, Jazz," she replied sweetly as I stopped and released her hand, propping my body against the dark brick wall of the alleyway, searching for support from the bricks and mortar. Though she was like me and I felt bound to her unlike any other vampire, I still felt ashamed of my weakness.
"Don't apologise for that darlin'," I whispered to her, "If you hadn't distracted me, we wouldn't be standing here together." My eyes took hers in and I watched as they filled with sadness, her feelings reflecting mine and in turn flooding me. She felt as I did. I knew it. She was suffering with the pain and guilt of taking innocent lives just as I was. "I can sense you feel the same as me, Alice. How do you deal with it?" I asked, hoping against all hope that she had somehow found a way to deal with the accompanying feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.
"I don't deal with it at all, really. That's why I knew I needed to find you...to find them," she replied as her head dropped and she stared at the ground for a moment.
"Who, Alice?" I asked in question, ducking my head to capture her gaze once more.
Her eyes turned to mine, tinged with pain but at the same time their knowledge deeper than the deepest ocean. "Jazz, you and I are going to take a trip and meet with a family. This family is going to help us, and we are going to help them. They can offer us a different way of life. I've seen it. We will be so happy!" she said with a tiny smile, her feelings suddenly surging with joy and filled with certainty.
"You've seen it?" I asked, her feelings of near-delirium now suddenly invading me, exorcising her negative feelings in a flash.
"Yes. I can, well, see things. Visions. They predict the future. I can see vampires most clearly, but if my vision involves any humans, it becomes harder to decipher." She watched and waited for my reaction, nearly cringing as I thought through what she had just said.
This woman was amazing! Not only did her emotional tenor suit me down to the ground, she also possessed a gift just as I did. We were meant to be. I had no doubt about it now. "Visions? Well, darlin', that is impressive. And if you can find a way of life better than this, I'm all for it. So, did you have a vision of me by any chance?" I asked with curiosity, excited by her abilities.
She nodded her head and smiled, the longing in her eyes unmistakable, the relief of my acceptance of her undeniable. "Yes. I knew the place to find you and the year, but not much else. I've been waiting every stormy day for ages to meet you. But, I would have waited for you forever, Jasper," she murmured, shrugging her beautiful shoulders.
"And I, you," I replied. "I may not have visions, Alice, but I know this. You've already changed my world for the better, and I can feel it more than you know," I confessed freely, wanting more than anything for her to accept me for the man I was, warts and all. "I, more than anyone else, know how difficult it is. I feel their pain all the time, and you must see when you will take your next victim. Our gifts have given us extra crosses to bear," I said mournfully as her sadness began to sweep its way through me, but then a steely determination lay just beneath her sadness and seeped through me as well. I was pleased. I didn't really want to use my gift on her, not after having only just met. This girl, even when sad, had other emotions ready and waiting. Waiting to rescue her in her times of desperate need. This girl was made for me. Just for me. I was saved!
"Yes, Jazz, I know of your gift. That's so impressive. To experience the feelings of those around you and be able to change them with your will..."
"Don't speak further," I interrupted, placing my finger on her plump lips. "The reason I became this monster is because of my so-called gift. Experiencing the pain and suffering of others has not been easy," I warned, sighing heavily as I felt the heavy burden begin to weigh me down once more.
She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes for a brief moment before taking my hand from her lips and guiding my arm around her waist. "Well, I know it must be hard for you, but I'm glad you have your gift. It's what brought you to me, Jasper Whitlock!" she said, claiming me, as she leaned in closer, her desire overwhelming me as she opened her startling, pretty eyes.
"That it did, darlin'," I replied, slowly nodding in agreement, her lips now inches from mine. "That it did," I whispered once more as I wrapped my other arm around her curved waist and crushed her lips to mine. The feeling of her lips on mine was nothing like I had ever experienced, her skin soft and sweet against mine. Our venom mixed within our mouths as my tongue traced silken lines over her rosebud lips. She parted them willingly and allowed me to release hundreds of years of pent-up passion within that one moment of intensity as I held her tightly and kissed her with abandon. I groaned her name as our mouths and tongues danced together, mouths that were made by design to kiss each other.
After a few moments we released our kiss and she looked at me with such love and adoration that if I could cry, tears would be dripping from my eyes like the Mississippi during a flood. "I love you Jazz," she whispered, her declaration causing me to gasp. "I know we've just met, but you've been in my visions for years, and I already know everything about you. I love you so much!"
I reached up and ran my fingers through her raven hair and confessed, "I love you too darlin'. I knew it the moment I laid eyes on you." I kissed her lips gently once more, and closed my eyes as I worked my way down her throat and inhaled her heavenly scent. My body greedily soaked up her feelings of need, lust and...love. "But my guess is that you've seen me say that, now ain't that right?" I whispered as my tongue grazed up and down the source of my desire.
She giggled and released herself from my embrace, her outpouring of love and elation flooding my every cell now. "Come on Jazz...let's hunt," she said, taking my hand in hers and pulling me towards the end of the alleyway and on to our new destiny. I somehow felt a sense of reassurance, and a sense of...hope. I knew that on this night we would hunt humans, but I had the feeling that our days of hunting humans with guilt and fear were numbered. That gave me cause to rejoice. We would find this family and they would help us. Her feelings were genuine and so very certain when she spoke of them. I longed to be part of a coven once more and if this family could offer us a better way of life...I was all for it.
"Race you!" I howled as I let go of her hand and took flight, causing her to shriek with laughter as she chased after me to the end of the alleyway. With that, we slipped into the night...my little Texas Rose and I...Forever bound. Forever fated to be together.
A/N: This has been such a joy for us to write. We thank you for reading.