A/N: Hello... I did it again. I started another story. *sigh* Can't help it.
No, really. I couldn't. You'll have to either blame or thank Chicklette for this story, depending on how you feel about it once you get on down there and start reading. Her neighbors are the inspiration: One's a cowboy, one's a ho. (The cowboy connection is obvious, but the ho, you ask? Rose.) They both live on either side of her and tend to have fights on her lawn. Doesn't that scream, "fic me!" ???
It does, you know it. Don't lie.
This is a Jasper and Bella tale. Their respective canon spouses are not mentioned for the most part, and their individual circumstances are rather troublesome. Jasper has decided to spend his time wallowing in the bottom of a bottle, while Bella, a somewhat reclusive introvert, attempts to battle her need to help him and not get sucked into another situation where she becomes the victim of an alcoholic. (Her mother was a horrid drunk.)
I realize that doesn't sound like the happiest of stories, but I promise that this is about the two of them inadvertently helping each other exercise their demons, whatever those may be. Plus, it's me, Zigs writing. You know I don't do dark well. I prefer writing happy.
That's enough set up I think. I hope whoever is nice enough to take the time to read this enjoys it. Please give Gallathea hugs and foozling for beta'ing. She's my hero and friend.
The lights were out for the night, and the radio's dial had been turned down so that the constant ramble of NPR—my only company—now hummed quietly in the background. The radio sat in the corner, atop the TV I never used, next to the overgrown spider plant that just wouldn't die. Its long leaves spilled over the old television, blocking it from view, a constant reminder that it had fallen into disrepair, along with most of my life.
I preferred it that way. The less I had, the less I had to take care of, stress over, worry about. My mother had filled our home with tchotchkes, knickknacks... things. Frivolous things. They didn't even have names. Dust piled around them, and bugs hid behind their bright colors. My skin would crawl just staring at our crammed book shelves that held anything and everything except books. Still, their presence was an odd comfort back then. They represented her, and their all too obvious absence made hers all the more final.
Nighttime was the hardest. Right after the sun dipped below the horizon, and the inky violet sky took over the calm of dusk, I felt my world close in. I didn't have the vibrant colors of my home surrounding me, nor my mother's effervescent, if not addictive, personality. I had my bungalow. Small, simple, and sad. The things in my new world consisted of the radio, the spider plant, my goldfish Loretta, and the sole remaining possession of my mother's that I dared to keep: her guitar.
Her guitar was like her. The curves of its body mirrored her own, and the mother of pearl inlays along the neck reflected the light and added whimsy to the dark wood, much like my mother would add to any room. It was also imperfect, like she was. There were a few dings along the sides and scratches on the underbelly—the effects of her belt moving against it as she played.
I could feel those scratches now, as the weight of the guitar pressed into the soft skin of my stomach where my tank had ridden up. Their existence helped me to remember the little things more clearly, and those were exactly the details I wanted to hold onto when I tortured myself like this. I closed my eyes and let my head fall back against the couch, exhausted but unable to sleep. Inadvertently, I started to strum.
Jolene, Jolene... Jolene, Jo-lene... I'm begging of you, please don't take my man.
I sang softly into the dark, melancholy and sweet, letting my fingers pluck and strum the chords to one of my mother's favorite songs. I didn't get very far... I heard the unmistakable sound of my neighbor's screen door slamming shut before I even reached the second line.
"Shit," I cursed into the disrupted quiet. "Not again." I slapped my hand against the strings, silencing their soothing hum.
"Jasper!" Rose shouted into the night, oblivious to any other living organism except herself, and her cock of the week, or month in this case.
"Jasper!!" she called again, her voice closer now, shriller. She was on my front lawn. Dammit.
I opened my eyes and laid my mother's guitar gently at my side on the couch cushions before I crept towards the front window on all fours. I was going for stealth, but I probably just looked like a fool. Random perk of living by yourself: you can pretend to act like a ninja and no one will know. Then again, the real reason for my behavior was probably a mixture of paranoia and lack of sleep.
When I reached the window, I opted for staying inconspicuous and peeked out from the bottom of the sheers, as opposed to just throwing open the curtains in a fit of frustration like I wanted to. The sparring match would be their fifth in the past month. This shit was getting old.
"JASPER!" Rose bellowed one last time.
Finally, the screen door belonging to my other next door neighbor was pushed open with extra force, its hinges squeaking in protest before it slammed itself shut in defiance.
Silence. Save for the crickets and the drone of NPR in the background, there was one full minute of dead silence...
Of course, it didn't last. "Woman," I heard Jasper grumble in a tone one step up from passive.
"Jasper." Rose sounded saccharine sweet. "So good of you to come say hi."
"You were screaming down my door, not to mention Bella's." I cringed at the sound of my name. I didn't approve of his behavior; he didn't get to worry about my door, or whoever the hell was screeching down it.
Rose was nonplussed. "You didn't answer my calls."
"I turned off my phone."
"It was ringing off the hook. Harshed my buzz."
"Then you should have picked it up!"
"Obviously you can't take a hint; I'm trying to be subtle here."
"Fuck subtle, Jas."
"You don't get to call me that!" he shouted, his calm demeanor finally slipping. It was rare for Jasper to raise his voice above much more than a commanding tone in these fights. Rose stumbled on her next retort.
"Then, then... why... come see me again, dammit!"
"No." His voice was barely above a whisper, yet still audible.
"Yes!" Rose screamed, desperate and wanting. It was pathetic.
"No, Rose, I made a mistake."
"The hell you did! I could have any guy I want. LOOK at this body!"
"No, Rose. Go sleep."
"Come with me," she purred, switching gears from bitch to seductress.
Rose screamed then, feral and unnatural. I heard, rather than saw, the thumping of weight on wet grass and knew she was about to pounce. These altercations always ended in the same way, with Rose literally throwing herself at Jasper. She was that fucking desperate for attention that physical fights were now enough to get her off.
It disgusted me.
It was very rare for me to actually reach a point where I despised a situation or person enough to hate them, but right then, I hated it all. I hated Jasper's slurred speech and Rose's shrill whines. Her desperation and his resigned attitude. Most of all, I hated... hated when Rose would try and fight-fuck Jasper on my front lawn. That's just plain rude.
Tossing stealth aside, I opened the curtains all the way, amazed at the crazy occurring right in front of me. Rose was on top of Jasper, having successfully tackled him to the ground—his drunken state no doubt aiding her cause. She was attempting to unfasten his obnoxiously large belt buckle, while he, in turn, was trying to secure her hands at her sides. Her red nails dug into his skin with malicious intent, and he hissed. This seemed to excite her further as she threw her head back with a triumphant cackle into the night, and my stomach churned. My body officially voiced what my brain couldn't seem to process fast enough: I was done. This twisted freak show would not be taking place on my doorstep any longer if I could help it. Fuck no.
"Ugh!" I huffed as I got to my feet and stomped towards the door, psyching myself up. I had to, or I'd never grow the pair I so badly needed to do what I wanted to do next...
Which was throw open the door, grab the garden hose off the front porch, and spray the ever-living shit out of the assholes on my front lawn.
"Ahhh!" I shouted the entire time I squeezed the nozzle, reveling in the catharsis it gave me.
"The fuck!" Jasper choked, while Rose screeched, springing off of Jasper and darting back towards her own front porch—thank Christ—as her mascara ran, and the joke of a nightie she had been wearing clung to her body in a pathetic way.
"You bitch!" she screamed, before scrambling back into her own damn house. I smiled at her reaction and offhandedly wondered if she'd melt from the water like her big-screen counterpart, but knew that deep down, that was probably just wishful thinking.
After she left, I released the nozzle and let the hose fall at my feet. I glared at Jasper as he wiped the water from his eyes and the hair out of his face, cursing him for looking that good while being drunk and disorderly on my property. And just cursing him in general for being my neighbor in the first place. I didn't like living so close to someone like him—someone who was so cavalier with his own life.
Jasper tried to escape whatever pain was chasing him through whiskey, it seemed, and I despised on principle anyone who'd hide behind a bottle rather than seek help. It was a stigma I'd unfortunately developed while living with my mother. She'd lost her battle with the bottle, and I didn't want to watch anyone else waste away, like she had, again. Yet, here I was, staring down my alcoholic neighbor, who was looking like a Calvin Klein clad drowned rat on my lawn.
His black tank had been ripped by Rose's talons, and his jeans were soaked through. They clung to his legs, enhancing the lean muscles beneath the denim, and I stared for a bit too long at the effect it had caused. Shit.
He was leaning on his elbows in the grass, trying to catch his breath. His chest heaved from having taken on his attacker, and his wet skin prickled from the chill of the night air. Clearly, I was paying him too much attention if I could see the goosebumps on his arms. I shook my head, wanting to tear my eyes away from his form, but suddenly his eyes locked with mine, and I was trapped. I realized then that his breathing mirrored my own.
I begrudgingly allowed the staring contest to last for the time it took me to steel my nerves. With a final deep breath I tore my eyes away from Jasper's, turned on my heel and ran inside. I slammed the door shut behind me, only to spin around and peer back out the window at Jasper, still sprawled on the lawn. He was staring at where I'd been standing on the porch; he looked stunned.
Good, I thought. Maybe next time he'll decide to keep his dick in check, and save us all a whole lot of trouble. Damn, cocky bastard.
A/N: There now, the first installment of my first ever multi-chapter Twi fic.
Did we like? Hope so.
I have about ten chapters already written, so I'm pretty sure I'll be able to post updates weekly. I'm thinking sundays. Those of you who know my lazy ass style of updating should find that refreshing. I hope. lol.
I have to give love to the girls who encouraged this story and urged me on when I teased pieces of it in WCs or discussed the plot on gchat. :-) *foozles to y'all*
Thank you again for reading.