I had a lot of fun writing this chapter, which is why it's four times longer then the previous two.
I still wasn't buying it.
Alice had told me all about 'our family' – these Cullens. She was so excited to finally meet them; so I wasn't going to say anything against it. I could never do anything that would make her unhappy.
But when she'd first told me about them I just hadn't bought it.
A vampire doctor? Pull the other one.
Now we sat in their living room, having told them an abridged version of our back history, and I still wasn't buying it. Something about them – it just didn't seem right.
It had taken me long enough to get my head round the whole 'vegetarian' thing, though I would be eternally thankful to my Alice for showing me a way of existence that didn't involve murder. Even if it meant I would always struggle to overcome my instincts –it was better then actually following them. Already I had failed several times. After each kill I would be consoled by Alice, as I told myself that I not worthy of her.
But I got the 'vegetarian' lifestyle now – it was their particular take on it I didn't get.
Vampires who lived among humans and pretended to be them? Vampires who worked in hospitals? Vampires who attended high school? Ridiculous!
I had learnt within the first few weeks never to doubt what Alice said. But some things you have to see to believe and even now, seeing them with my own eyes, I struggled to comprehend their lifestyle.
Don't get me wrong Carlisle Cullen seemed genuine. His reaction to our sudden arrival had been cautious but curious – understandable. He had welcomed us into his home, introduced us to his wife and daughter (the two sons were apparently out hunting), and listened while Alice explained who we were and why we were here.
Meanwhile, I let Alice do all the talking while I carefully assessed 'my new family members', all while being fully prepared to calm things down if needed. Like I said, Carlisle seemed genuine enough, he had felt pity for us as Alice explained our back-stories (leaving out some of the more grisly details of mine), and as Alice told of our desire to stay with them I felt a surge of hope and excitement from him. It made sense to me, judging by what Alice had told me, for him to react like that to the news of more vampires converting to his 'vegetarian' lifestyle.
So far I could find only one fault with Carlisle Cullen – his mate appeared to be an idiot.
Esme Cullen had been over the top happy since the minute we arrived on her doorstep. It made no sense what so ever to me.
Seriously lady? Two strange vampires appear on your doorstep, one laden with battle scars and the other excitedly calling everyone by name and knowing everything about them, and your reaction is not cautious or worried or defensive or protective but pure happiness? Seriously?
Now maybe it's just me, maybe I'm just a paranoid battle-scarred freak, but I don't think so. Nearly every vampire in the world gets defensive when the first met others of our kind – it's part of our instinct.
But all it took was one excited garbled sentence from Alice, 'Hi! I'm Alice, this is Jasper and we've come to join you,' for Esme Cullen to not only drop her guard down but become unbelievably happy. The other two were confused and still very wary (especially the daughter) but no, Esme was just absolutely one hundred percent delighted at the sight of two strangers on her doorstep claiming they wanted to instantly become part of her family. Now call me a cynic, but because of that I couldn't help but view her as an idiot.
Her daughter's reaction was much more normal, in my opinion anyway. Rosalie Cullen didn't trust us, simple as. Everything about her since we arrived had screamed that message at us: her emotions, her posture, her face and her words.
Our explanation finished, Carlisle, after a happy smile of encouragement from Esme, was telling Alice we were welcome to stay with them. I felt the thrill of excitement, joy, happiness and contentment that radiated through Alice, matched only by that of our new 'mother'. Alice turned to look at me and positively beamed, I couldn't help but smile back, her smile was infectious and how I adored seeing my Alice this happy. That was way I was here, with a vampire doctor, his idiot wife and their snob daughter, because Alice wanted to be.
To be honest, I would have been perfectly content for it to be just the two of us for all eternity. She had pulled me from my depression, shown me a way of life I could never have imagined (though admittedly I was still adjusting). But Alice had wanted us to be a part of this family, had wanted to be ever since she woke up alone with her strange visions of them and me, and who was I to deny Alice what she wanted?
"We'll take Edward's room!" My wife chimed happily. Then before anybody could say anything, she grabbed my arm and started pulling me towards the hallway, I followed her touch happily. Behind us I could hear the quiet laughter of Dr. Cullen and his wife, followed by a slightly vindictive sounding comment from Rosalie.
"That'll make Edward's day!" She didn't sound in the slightest bit upset about it though, in fact it sounded like the idea of her brother's annoyance made her happy. What a bitch! If this was how she treated her brother I had a feeling her frostiness towards us wasn't going to change anytime soon. Again I found myself wondering what I had let myself in for.
"Help me move Edward's things into the garage," my wife ordered chirpily as we arrived in Edward's room, or should I say our new room.
"Should we really be …" I started to ask but she cut me off again, clearly predicting the sentence I was about to say.
"Edward will see the funny side," she said, pausing before adding, "eventually. Plus this room has the best view!" She flashed me another one of her beaming smiles – how could I argue with her when she did that?
We begin to gather up Edward's boxes and boxes of music. How much music could one man have?
"Do you need some help?" a kind voice asked, the first time I'd heard her speak since we arrived. I didn't need to turn round to know it was Esme, the cloud of happiness and contentment circling around her give it away.
Seriously why was this woman so happy? What did she have to gain from our arrival? That was the only thing that made sense, she most think she can gain something from us being here. But only somebody who has just gained his or her heart's desire should be this happy. Alice had finally gained her family hence her happiness. So what was making Esme so goddamn happy? It was really beginning to annoy me. She seemed nice enough – but her happiness couldn't simply be because she was happy for us to be here. No one was that nice.
"Sure, thanks Esme," my wife replied happily, smiling at her. Between the three of us we got all of Edward's stuff moved into the garage. Alice declared we would go get all our stuff from our current lodgings tomorrow, as her new brothers were going to return home for their hunting trip soon. Then she left with Esme discussing fashion – my wife's favourite topic. I think she was glad to have another female around to talk about it with since my knowledge of the subject was minimum.
However this left me stood alone in a stranger's garage unsure of what to do next. I was just about to follow my wife and Esme through the door into the main house, when Rosalie appeared there.
"Can I help you?" she said icily, shooting me a dirty look. Never has the saying 'if looks could kill' rung truer. Even if her emotions hadn't already been telling me so, the way she spoke and looked at me made it crystal clear her feelings towards us hadn't changed a bit.
"I was just leaving. I'll get out of your way, Miss. Cullen," I said politely, no need to rise to the bait. However apparently I had said the wrong thing.
"It's Miss. Hale!" she spat at me. "Didn't your freak wife tell you that?" That did it – nobody insults my Alice! I let out a furious hiss and would have ripped her blonde head off, but suddenly Alice was in front of me.
"Jasper, no!" she pleaded with me; her hands against my chest pushing me back, away from Rosalie. "Don't attack my new sister!" There was another furious hiss – this time from Rosalie.
"I'm not your sister!"
I pushed Alice behind me – this blonde-haired bitch was getting nowhere near her. I was surprised when Alice didn't protest; did she not mind I was about to rip her 'new sister' to shreds?
"Rosalie. Jasper. Stop!" Carlisle spoke in a voice that was calm but authoritative. He and Esme were standing in the doorway looking in with dismay at the scene in front of them. Surprisingly I couldn't feel any anger coming off of Carlisle – just worry. It was the same with his wife, though I noticed with grim satisfaction that meant her happy bubble had burst, so maybe she wasn't such an idiot after all.
Rosalie straightened herself up with great dignity. I also got out of my defensive crouch – feeling slightly ashamed now. Alice came to my side, the smile on her face matching the smugness she was emitting. She was like she always was when a vision had come true. Remembering her compliance earlier on I realised she had known Carlisle and Esme would arrive in time to break us up, and that there would be no fight.
We all stood there awkwardly for a few seconds. I decided I might as well try to help things go along smoother from here on in and apologise.
"Sorry I got your name wrong, Miss. Hale,"I said, heavily emphasising the last two words. I felt a moment of annoyance from the doorway.
"That's what all this was about, Rosalie?" Esme said disbelievingly.
"Yes," Rosalie replied stonily.
"I think you owe Jasper an apology as well then," Esme reprimanded her daughter. With that tone of voice and the way she stood with her hands on her hips, she looked and sounded, in that moment, just like a real mother.
I was suddenly hit with a blurry, nearly forgotten memory of a woman giving me the exact same treatment. My mother. I shook my head to shake away the disconcerting memory. None of the others noticed my second of distraction.
Rosalie shot daggers at her mother, crossed her arms and pointedly said nothing. An uncomfortable silence dragged on for what could have only been ten seconds, but felt like eternity (and God knows I was beginning to understand what eternity felt like).
"Do as your mother says please, Rosalie," Carlisle said tiredly and I noticed the growing annoyance coming from him again. So the good calm doctor's façade could be shattered, I noted.
"Sorry," she said stonily. I felt a shot of weariness from Carlisle and Esme, which told me that was all I was going to get in way of an apology. Rosalie shoved past Alice and me to the nearest car and opened its bonnet.
I looked at Alice, wondering what we were going to do now.
"Edward and Emmett will be home in 2 minutes and 38 seconds. Let's wait here from them – they'll be bringing the car in," she announced proudly.
"I think it would be best if you let me go ahead and explain what's happened here first," Carlisle said. I saw Alice's face briefly glaze over as Carlisle's decision affected the future.
"Sure – that's work out just as well. It turns out best if you set off now and met them by the road about four miles away," Alice replied smiling. Carlisle nodded his consent and disappeared from the doorway and a second later I heard the gentle tap of the front door closing behind him.
"Let's go back in the house, Jasper," Alice said with a smile to me. We flitted together back into the main living room and Alice made herself comfy on one of their sofas while I stood besides her, feeling out of place in the middle of a strange house.
"You know you can sit down, Jasper," Alice joked.
"Why? It's not like I need to," I joked back. It was true; physically I was just as comfortable standing up as sitting down. Alice, of course, saw through my joke.
"We live here now Jazz, no need to stand around like you don't belong. They're happy to have us here," she told me and with a smile she added, "And you know it."
Remembering Esme's reaction it seemed slightly pointless to argue, but I felt a point had to be made.
"Oh really? Did you miss the part where I nearly ripped our 'new sister's' head off?" I asked her sarcastically.
"Rosalie gets used to us in the end – it's just going to take a while. She's definitely stubborn." We both paused to listen to the just audible pleas to 'give us a chance' we could hear Esme whispering to Rosalie in the garage. Judging by the contempt I could sense coming off Rosalie 'it's just going to take a while' was an understatement.
"Oh! Carlisle, Edward and Emmett are home. We'll get to meet our new brothers!" Alice squealed excitedly. A few seconds later I heard a car pull into the garage.
"Don't forget Edward can read minds," Alice whispered to me. I felt like making a comment about the chances of a vampire forgetting, but had to admit, while I remembered her telling me about him now, up until then I hadn't been thinking about it.
So what exactly do you think about in front of a mind reader?
I heard the noise of three people getting out of a car in the garage and some mumbled conversation.
The next thing I knew all five Cullens were in the living room with us. Carlisle and Esme sat together on the vacant sofa opposite me and Alice. Carlisle was still worried (I assume about how Edward and Emmett would react to us) and Esme was back in her happy bubble. Rosalie sat besides them with her arms crossed and her face stony. In fact the seating arrangements were exactly the same as they had been as Alice had explained who we were to them an hour earlier, with the exception of the two extra vampires. A large muscular vampire sat on the arm of the sofa next to Rosalie, one arm draped around her neck. Going off of Alice's descriptions, I assumed him to be Emmett. He felt excited and curious. The other new male vampire, Edward I assumed, was stood at the other end of the sofa beside his parents. He felt cautious but mainly confused. Confused? Hadn't Carlisle explained everything to him? Plus he was a mind reader after all; surely he of all people could work out what was going on!
"I'm trying to work out how your talents work," Edward said, seemingly in response to nobody. I waited for someone to reply before it dawned on me he was speaking to me, answering the questions in my thoughts.
Meanwhile Carlisle had begun the introductions. "This is Emmett and this is Edward." He pointed to them both in turn. "And this is Alice and Jasper." He pointed to the two of us. Why thank you Dr. Point-Out-The-Obvious! Edward gave a little snort of laughter then. Crap! Had he heard that?
"Yes!" Edward said with a smirk, he was feeling amused as well, the smug little … I caught myself in time to remember he could hear that as well. This mind-reader thing was going to grow old quick. "Tell me about it," Edward said darkly. Carlisle and Esme both frowned at their son.
"Edward can," Carlisle began but was cut off by Alice.
"Read minds, yes we know!"
"Of course you do," Carlisle replied with a smile. "Got to try and remember that." Alice smiled and then there was a long stretch of silence. I waited for Alice to say something but she was being uncharacteristically quiet. I looked at her – she had a look of concentration on her face she usually wore during her visions.
"Alice, honey, you seeing something?" I asked her quietly, fully aware of our listening audience. She smiled at me then.
"Nope just trying something out for the future," she replied happily.
"It's a good plan," Edward agreed. I had to admit I was confused, along with the rest of the Cullens.
"Will someone please telling us what's going on," Emmett said in a half-joking, half-annoyed voice.
"Alice just has a good plan for how we can communicate silently," Edward informed him.
"Well that's just great!" Emmett said sarcastically. "Because you're not annoying enough now – lets just give you a partner in crime."
"That's the plan!" Alice said jokingly. In fact, I knew it was – Alice had told me that she and Edward would be close. The psychic and the mind reader. The freaks among the freaks.
"Because you're so normal yourself," Edward shot back at me jokingly. He even cracked a smile. He was clearly responding to my thoughts again – I was getting more used to that now.
"Edward!" Esme chastised. Edward seemingly ignored her.
Alice however clapped her hands happily. "Look at you two already acting like brothers!" She sang. I couldn't help but crack a smile as well. I guess we were.
Another blurry memory hit me – the second of the day. I was winding up a boy a few years younger then me, but it was all in jest. A joke between siblings. Between my younger brother and me. I usually didn't think back to my human days and yet now I'd done it twice in one day.
They really are like a family, I thought to myself, the first time I'd used their word for themselves without sarcasm. Why else would they cause these memories from my human past to resurface? Could being around these people really help to make me more like the human I once had been and less like the monster I had become? I suddenly realised that maybe I had a reason besides from Alice to stay here.
I realised my new younger brother was staring at me intently, clearly having heard my new epiphany.
"I guess we are," I agreed with Alice, the happiness that radiated off her was so tangible I think everyone in the room must have noticed it.
"You know what brothers do?" Emmett asked excitedly. "Brothers wrestle." He smiled at me condescendingly. I couldn't help but smirk back; he clearly thought his strength would give him an edge over me. But I had decades of experience over him.
"Bring it," I replied. After all I wasn't one to refuse a challenge.
"Excellent!" I could both sense and see Emmett's enthusiasm as well as sensing the competitiveness coming off him. Now I wasn't Alice, but even I could see him and me having a lot of these wrestles in the future. To start with, he'd want to prove him self after getting his butt kicked by me first time round. "I've been wanting to take on someone who doesn't cheat," Emmett continued, glaring at Edward.
"I can't help it," Edward said fake-innocently, smiling smugly at his older (or was it younger?) brother. "I'm the older one," Edward said, answering my question.
"Na-huh!" This was Emmett's very constructive response.
"Who was born first, Emmett?" Edward asked
"Who made it out of their teens before dieing?" Emmett shot back.
"Who's heard this argument a million times?" Esme added jokingly. All three laughed then, with Alice and Carlisle joining in, even I gave a low chuckle. Only Rosalie remained unsmiling.
"If we're quite finished here I'm going back to the garage," the ice queen announced huffily, completely spoiling the moment (I literally felt everyone's happiness get squashed). She stalked off out of the room. Carlisle and Esme both looked towards Emmett with a pleading look in their eyes.
"I'll go talk to her," Emmett said, feeling resigned. "Hey, Rose, babe, wait up!" he called after his wife, following her out of the room.
"I need to start getting ready for my shift anyway," Carlisle said, kissing Esme on the cheek before disappearing upstairs. Wordlessly Edward drifted off to the grand piano in the corner of the room and begun to play. Esme followed him, sitting beside him on the bench listening.
"So, what do we do now?" I whispered in Alice's ear.
She shrugged and replied, "Whatever you want - we're finally home." She positively beamed at me.
"Home," I repeated unbelievingly, as what she was saying impacted on me. This wasn't some ridiculous over the top idea of hers. We really were going to become a part of this family.
"Yes – home," she confirmed.
"She's right. This is your home now." I hadn't noticed Esme reappear beside us, she'd clearly been listening to our conversation from over in the corner. "Welcome to the family!" she said with an ear-splitting grin, still as happy as a kid on Christmas day.
"Thanks mom!" Alice said as she hugged Esme. The unbelievable happened – Esme became even happier. As I suddenly recalled some of her back-story that Alice had told me, I understood it was in reaction to the word 'mom'. It finally clicked into place. She really was just happy we were here – happy to have two extra children. She really was just that nice. A kind, loving vampire. Something that just three years ago I would have thought impossible and now I'd found six of them (well five, since I couldn't in all sincerity count Rosalie).
"Thanks Esme," I said with a smile, I wouldn't call her 'mom' quite yet, but, since I had finally accepted she really was just happy because we were here, I would take back my 'she's a complete and utter idiot' theory. I felt an aura of amusement from the corner as I thought that – the mind reader thing really was annoying. There was more amusement in reaction to that thought.
I sat down on the sofa besides my Alice - the first of my kind, loving vampires. The one who had saved me when I thought I was not saveable. I put my arm around her and watched our new family happily, amazed by how much alike to a human family they really were.
Edward was still playing the piano. Carlisle came downstairs in his scrubs for his shift at the hospital. (I may have got my head round the family thing, but I admit I was still struggling to comprehend the vampire doctor thing.) He left after kissing Esme goodbye, who was now sat on the sofa opposite us with her sketchbook and pencil in hand. From the garage I could hear the sound of Emmett and Rosalie laughing together, I could even feel love and happiness radiating of Rosalie, (maybe I would have to apprehend it back to six kind, loving vampires after all, well, maybe not kind.)
I was amazed at the love, happiness and contentment that surrounded me, especially from the amazing pixie-like woman next to me.
One thing was certain – I wasn't all alone anymore.
Well this is the end of my little look through Jasper's eyes.
Reviews would be greatly appreciated.