Title: All I Need

Pairing: Jasper/Alice (AH)

Rating: R

Summary: Jasper is a bodyguard for a prominent politician and he's forced to spend the summer with the senator's wife Alice and her two daughters.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. Mat Kearney owns "All I Need". Listen here: www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=ppOgVesIWW8

Author's Note: Well, here we go…. This is a little terrifying, gotta say. Let me know what you think? Big thanks to luckyj525 for her assistance and to MDealsWithIt for her encouragement. And if you aren't reading their J/A stories, you should be!

"Here it comes it's all blowing in tonight
I woke up this morning to a blood red sky
They're burning on the bridge turning off the lights
We're on the run I can see it in your eyes..."

"Jasper! Get in here!" a familiar male voice yelled.

Jasper Hale sighed softly, startled from his thoughts as he turned and hurried into the office. "Yes Mr. Brandon?" Jasper asked, standing in front of the large oak desk James Brandon sat behind.

James Brandon was a powerful rich politician who was quickly becoming one of the most important people in Washington D.C. He was young and charismatic and he had convinced the entire state of Virginia and now the entire country that he was going to make real changes in the US political system. However, since he been started working for James two years ago, Jasper had discovered that James Brandon was a manipulative, cruel, ruthless man who did whatever he could to make sure he got exactly what he wanted. The person James Brandon pretended to be and the person he really was were two vastly different personas.

Jasper had been his bodyguard for almost two years now and he had grown to hate James Brandon. And yet, Jasper remained because really, he had no place else to go. He couldn't go back to his old life, that much he knew, and he didn't want to start over again, wasn't even really sure if he could start over again after working for a man like James, and so he was stuck defending a man he hated.

"Jasper," James said, smiling at Jasper. "I have an important job for you."

Jasper tried not to groan. He hated when James had 'important jobs' for him. They usually entailed something Jasper dreaded doing. "What is it sir?" Jasper asked.

"You remember my wife don't you?" James asked, smiling in a manner that gave Jasper the chills.

Jasper stiffened. Of course he remembered James's wife, Alice. They had met a few times over the past two years at various events and parties in Washington but the last time Jasper had seen Alice was at the Christmas party a mere five months ago.

Japer remembered the evening clearly—he had been sticking close to James's side as he always did until James had disappeared behind closed doors for a "meeting" as he told Jasper. Jasper knew that really meant he was fucking one of the pretty girls who was helping cater the party and so Jasper had stepped outside to the balcony to get some air.

That was where Jasper found Alice—leaning against the railing and shivering in her thin dress in the December cold. She had been crying and when he had asked her what was wrong, she had shrugged it off and quickly wiped her eyes, turning away from him to hide her tears. Jasper had draped his coat over her shoulders and she had looked up, smiling her thanks with a sad smile that didn't reach her eyes.

Jasper had been a bit taken back. He had always known Alice to be a ball of energy—a happy, sweet woman who was never without a smile. When they had met in the past, she had always taken the time to ask him how he was and she seemed to actually care about the answer. Jasper found her smile to be slightly infectious and whenever Alice was around, he felt happy and content, as if he was channeling her perpetual good mood. The Alice that stood in front of him that night was an Alice he had never seen before.

As Alice had moved to walk past him, Jasper had reached out for her hand without even thinking about it, wanting nothing more than to comfort her. "I'm sorry Alice," Jasper had whispered, unsure of what exactly he was apologizing for.

Alice had looked at him for a moment and Jasper was startled by the intensity in her eyes, by the feelings that coursed through his body at her simple gaze. And then she had kissed him; it was a soft, gentle, almost chaste kiss and Jasper had been able to taste the saltiness of her tears on her lips. When she pulled away, Alice walked off without a word, leaving Jasper staring after her. By the time he finally came to his senses and followed after her, she was holding onto James's hand in the center of the room, talking with another couple, the sadness still evident in her grey eyes.

Since that night, Jasper had not been able to stop thinking about Alice. He dreamt about her and he thought about her constantly, praying that she would drop in and visit James so he could see her but knowing that was unlikely. There was something about her that Jasper couldn't forget and he replayed the kiss over and over in his mind. It was probably the most innocent kiss Jasper had ever received and yet he felt more from the simple brushing of her lips over his than he had with any other woman. However, Jasper also was slightly afraid that James would find out about the stolen kiss with Alice somehow and Jasper feared his reaction.

"Well, there have been a few threats lately that extend to my wife and my daughters," James said, drawing Jasper back to the present. "And I'd like you to spend the summer with them rather than staying here in Washington with me."

"Really sir?" Jasper asked. Jasper knew exactly how the relationship between James and Alice worked. James spent most of his time in DC and Alice showed up when she needed to be on his arm, otherwise they had very little to do with each other. Jasper was pretty sure they only had children because it's what was expected of them. Jasper knew of course that James had two daughters—sweet, gorgeous little girls who were 8 and 5 and who James hardly ever saw. He had wanted a son and somehow he blamed Alice for their two daughters.

"Yes, Jasper," James said. "Alice and the girls just arrived at our summer home. They'll be there for the next three months," James said. "You'll meet them up there tomorrow and spend the summer there. And I'll expect daily reports of course."

"What about you sir?" Jasper asked. "You won't be needing me here?"

"Well, Jasper, I've got a few new guys I'd like to train and work with for the summer and I think your talents will be better put to use with my wife," James said.

Jasper cringed. The thought of spending an entire summer with Alice was not unappealing but Jasper wasn't sure if it was a good idea. He didn't know how much self-control he possessed when it came to Alice.

"Besides Jasper, you work far too hard," James said. "I figured you could use a vacation." James smiled in his unsettling way again and Jasper shifted uncomfortably in front of him.

Jasper nodded. "Right sir," he said, turning to leave the office.

"Oh, and Jasper?" James said and Jasper turned around to face him once again. "I'm a bit concerned with my wife's behavior lately. She's been upset with me, I can tell and I can't have her leaving or anything like that."

James paused and looked up at Jasper. "She knows too much Jasper. She's too smart for her own good," James said. "You need to make sure she's not going anywhere. Understand?" James asked.

Jasper nodded. He suddenly understood why he was being sent to baby-sit James's wife and daughters for the summer. It wasn't that James was necessarily concerned for their safety; he was concerned with what Alice was going to do to him, to his career, if she left.

"Sir, I really don't know if I'm the best person for this job," Jasper started to say but he stopped when James looked up with an expression Jasper had come to know meant he wanted no arguments

"Have a good summer Jasper," James said with a dismissive wave.

The next afternoon, Jasper pulled into the driveway of a gorgeous house that sat looking out on a nearly private lake. It was an old house that had been remodeled without losing any of its antique charm. Jasper didn't expect anything less than the best with James of course but Jasper also knew that James very rarely showed up at the lake house, which meant it was mostly Alice's. It had a large wrap around porch that reminded Jasper of the home he had grown up in and instantly the face of the only woman he had ever known as a mother popped into his head. There was a large deck on the back of the house and Jasper could see children's toys scattered across the front yard.

Jasper got out of the car and looked down towards the lake where there was a stretch of sandy shore that led out to the sparkling blue of the water. He could just make out the form of Alice sitting on the beach, close to the water and two heads bobbing in and out of the water.

Jasper glanced back towards the house, wondering why James would ever choose the busyness of Washington to the peace and the stillness of this place. Thoughts of his own childhood, of summers spent at the beach with his parents and his twin sister and his cousin Edward crowded his mind and Jasper closed his eyes for a moment, trying to think of something, anything else.

Opening his eyes again, Jasper walked towards Alice, watching as the two little girls laughed and played together. It was a gorgeous day that hinted at the many warm summer days ahead and Jasper was warm in his long sleeved button up shirt. He had ditched his usual suit and tie for jeans but he still felt out of place standing here in an environment so different from the stuffiness of Washington.

Jasper's shoes hit the sand and he was about to call out Alice's name when she turned and looked at him as if she had known he was coming. Alice pushed her sunglasses up away from eyes so they were resting on top of her head and raised her eyebrows slightly when she saw Jasper standing there.

Alice stood up and for a moment, Jasper watched her carefully. Alice was gorgeous—tiny and short with small almost pixie-like features. Her hair was dark and cut short and close to her scalp and her eyes were a light grey color that Jasper found rather appealing.

Alice regarded him curiously and Jasper struggled to keep his eyes on hers even though seeing Alice standing there in a black bikini was spurning all kinds of thoughts he shouldn't be having.

"Jasper," Alice said softly. "Is James sending his bodyguards to fill in for him on summer vacation now?" she asked, her voice slightly amused but with an edge to it that Jasper didn't miss.

"Um, no ma'am," Jasper answered.

"I take it he's not joining us any time soon?" Alice said, crossing her arms.

"No, he's not ma'am," Jasper replied. "He's quite busy in Washington. He's concerned about your safety though and he's sent me."

Alice snorted in laughter and Jasper bit back a smile of his own. "There have been an increase in threats recently that go past just your husband and so he's asked me to stay with you for the summer," Jasper explained when Alice's laughter faded away. "Just to make sure everything is okay with you and your daughters."

"What did you do?" Alice asked, grinning slightly.

"What?" Jasper asked. "What do you mean?"

"You must have done something to piss him off if he's sending you to baby-sit for the summer," Alice said.

Before Jasper could answer, one of the girls from the water was tugging on Alice's hand. "Mommy, I stepped on a rock," she said, holding up her foot so Alice could see the scrape that ran across the bottom. Her lip quivered and her eyes were wet with unshed tears as Alice examined her injury.

Jasper glanced down at the little girl and moved back slightly—children made him nervous. She had blonde hair that fell around her shoulders in curls and the same grey eyes as her mother set in a face that was clearly James's. She eyed Jasper curiously and then she grinned. "Who's that Mommy?" she asked.

"This is Jasper," Alice explained. "He works for your dad."

"Oh," the girl said, making a face. "What's he doing here?" she asked.

Jasper glanced at Alice's other daughter who was still in the water but watching them from the corner of her eye, glaring at Jasper.

"We'll talk about that later," Alice said. "I think your foot will be okay, don't you?" Alice asked. "Or do we have to cut it off?"

The little girl giggled and pulled her foot away. "It'll be okay," she said, looking over at Jasper again. "I'm Lucy," she said, grinning suddenly at him.

"Um, hi Lucy," Jasper replied.

"Go play," Alice said, taking Lucy's face between her hands and kissing her lightly. "It'll be time to go in soon."

Lucy nodded and splashed back into the water with her sister. "So, are you going to tell me what you did?" Alice asked, turning back to Jasper.

"I didn't do anything," Jasper said. "James asked me to come so I did," Jasper said with a small shrug. "It's not a punishment or anything like that."

"Hmm," Alice said, crossing her arms again and moving her sunglasses from the top of her head to cover her eyes once again. "So we're stuck with you all summer than Mr. Hale?" Alice asked.

"Yes, ma'am, you are," Jasper answered.

"Well, then please stop calling me ma'am," Alice said.

"Sorry," Jasper said, nodding slightly. "Only if you never call me Mr. Hale again."

"Deal," Alice said, her lips twitching with a smile. She turned back to the water and watched for a moment as the two little girls splashed around. "Come on girls," Alice said. "It's time to go inside."

"Aww, Mommy, do we have to?" Lucy asked, looking up at Alice.

"Well, I was going to order pizza but I guess I'll just have to eat it all myself," Alice said grinning.

"We'll help you!" Lucy said, scrambling out of the water and hurrying over to Alice.

"I thought so," Alice said, wrapping Lucy up in a towel and kissing her. The other girl walked slowly to Alice and Lucy, eyeing Jasper once again.

Alice handed her a towel and she said, "Who's that Mom?"

"That's Jasper," Lucy answered for Alice. "He works for Dad."

The little girl narrowed her eyes at Jasper as Alice turned to Lucy. "Thanks Lucy," she said looking back over at Jasper. "Jasper, this is Norah, my oldest daughter," Alice said.

"Hi Norah," Jasper said, smiling awkwardly at the girl, her intense glare making him squirm. Norah had the same dark hair as her mother that curled around her face and the same grey eyes but while Alice's eyes had a playful glint, Norah's were cold as they regarded Jasper.

Norah opened her mouth but Alice said, "We'll talk about it at dinner, okay?" Norah and her mother shared a glance and Norah looked as if she was going to say something but then she nodded and kept her mouth closed.

Alice, Lucy, and Norah began to walk towards the house without another word to Jasper and he followed awkwardly behind them. They walked into the house and Alice picked Lucy up. "Let's go get you two cleaned up," Alice said, tickling Lucy who giggled.

Alice grabbed her purse from the kitchen and pulled some cash out of it, handing it to Jasper. "I'll order pizza," she said. "Will you answer the door when it gets here?"

Jasper nodded and watched as the three of them headed up the stairs.

"Mom, I don't like him," Jasper heard Norah hiss as they walked.

"Norah, you don't know him baby," Alice said softly but Jasper didn't hear Norah's response because the water in the bathroom started to run, drowning out the little girl's voice.

Jasper glanced around the kitchen, taking in the understated elegance of the house. The refrigerator door was covered in drawings and pictures of Alice and the girls. As Jasper looked around the house, he realized most of the pictures were only of Alice, Norah, and Lucy—James was noticeably absent from them.

Jasper sat down in the kitchen and listened to the sounds of Alice and the girls upstairs in the bathroom, thinking about how much he would rather be anywhere but in this house. After awhile, the doorbell rang and Jasper grabbed the cash Alice had given him and pulled the door open. A young boy stood there, holding two boxes of pizza. He looked disappointed to see Jasper.

"Dude, what happened to the hot mom?" the pizza boy asked, looking around Jasper as if Alice was hiding just behind him.

"She's busy," Jasper said gruffly, feeling oddly protective of Alice as he took the pizza boxes and handed the boy the money.

"You her husband or something?" the boy asked, sticking the money in his back pocket.

"Something," Jasper muttered.

"Lucky," the boy said, trying to see around Jasper again as Jasper shut the door firmly in the boy's face. Jasper carried the pizza to the kitchen, setting it down on the counter as Alice, Norah, and Lucy came into the kitchen.

Both the girls were dressed in pajamas and their hair was wet. Alice had changed into a pair of shorts that hardly covered much of anything and a plaid button up shirt and Jasper looked away from her, struggling not to think about how nice her tanned legs looked.

"Here," Alice said, handing Jasper a brush and pushing Lucy towards him. "Norah, can you help me with plates?" she asked and Norah nodded.

Lucy smiled shyly at Jasper who looked at the brush as if it was a foreign object. For a second, Jasper thought of his sister and her own long blonde hair that he had painstakingly brushed from her when they were young and it got too tangled so no one would ask questions about their slightly ruffled appearances.

"You're supposed to use it on my hair," Lucy whispered to him, giggling a little.

"Right, yes," Jasper said, bending down behind Lucy and gently running the brush through her hair.

Lucy stood still as Jasper pulled the brush through her curls. "How's that?" Jasper asked standing up after a moment when Lucy's blonde hair hung straight and neat against her back.

"Good," Lucy said grinning. "Mommy, Jasper brushed my hair without pulling it at all," Lucy announced and Alice raised her eyebrows.

"Good for him," Alice said, helping Lucy into a chair at the table. She handed out plates and helped both girls pull slices of pizza from the box.

Jasper stood off to the side of the kitchen, watching as Alice poured glasses of milk for both girls. Alice glanced over at him. "Are you going to eat?" Alice asked.

"Um, you don't have to--," Jasper started to say.

"Don't be ridiculous," Alice said. "Sit down," she told him, nodding towards an open chair. Jasper slid into it and helped himself to a few slices of pizza when Alice pushed the box towards him.

"Are you going to tell us what he's doing here now?" Norah asked, shooting a glare at Jasper.

Alice locked eyes with Jasper briefly and her look seemed to tell him she would handle all explanations for Jasper's presence in their lives. "Well, you two know that your dad has an important job," Alice said.

Norah laughed and Alice gave her a look. "Sometimes people don't like the decisions that he makes," Alice continued. "Jasper makes sure no one can hurt your dad and he's going to spend the summer here with us."

"Does someone want to hurt us Mommy?" Lucy asked, her eyes growing wide.

"No one wants to hurt you," Jasper cut in. "Your dad just wants to make sure you're all safe and that's why I'm here."

"Yeah right," Norah muttered.

"Norah," Alice said sharply. "You don't get to take out your anger at your dad on Jasper, alright?" Alice said softly. "He's just doing his job."

Norah sighed and nodded after a moment, picking at her pizza. Alice brushed her hair away from her face and kissed her forehead lightly.

"Now, I don't necessarily like this arrangement either but we're still going to be nice to Jasper while he's here, okay?" Alice said, looking at both girls.

Norah nodded again and Lucy grinned. "I like Jasper Mommy," she said somewhat shyly, looking over at Jasper who smiled slightly.

"Good," Alice said smiling at Lucy as well. When they had finished their pizza, Alice stood up and began to clean up the table. Jasper stood as well and helped Alice load the dishwasher.

"You don't have to do that Jasper," Alice said, watching as he carefully rinsed their dinner plates.

"My mother would have a fit if she knew you fed me dinner and I didn't do the dishes," Jasper said, smiling slightly.

"I like your mother," Alice answered after a moment, handing Jasper the dishtowel. Jasper finished cleaning up from dinner and Alice said, "So who's going to give Jasper a tour of our house?"

"Me! Me! I want to!" Lucy answered, waving her hand excitedly in the air.

Alice laughed. "Okay baby, you be our tour guide," Alice said.

Lucy nodded and took Jasper's hand. Jasper held her tiny hand lightly in his, marveling over how delicate it felt. "This is the kitchen," Lucy said grandly.

Norah laughed. "Like he didn't figure that out already," she said.

Lucy's smile faded for a moment and Alice pulled Norah into her side. "Let Lucy do it," Alice said.

"Sorry Luc," Norah said and Lucy's smile returned.

"Okay, this is our living room," Lucy said, pulling Jasper into the large airy room just past the kitchen. Norah and Alice followed behind them. The furniture was black and stylish yet looked comfortable as well. A few random toys were scattered across the floor and a pink Disney princess blanket was draped over the couch.

"Sorry it's kind of a mess," Alice said, following Jasper's gaze around the room. "We didn't know we'd be having company."

"It's fine, really," Jasper answered, deciding that he liked that the house looked lived in.

"Mama, is Jasper staying upstairs or downstairs?" Lucy asked, pulling Jasper's attention back to her.

"I think we'll give him the room down here," Alice said. "It's a little bigger. And then he doesn't have to listen to you two rug rats giggling all night."

Lucy nodded and pulled Jasper towards a small hallway just off the living room. She pushed open the door of a bedroom and led them inside. "This is your room Jasper," she said.

Jasper looked around the room, which had a great view of the water out one window and a door that lead to the large deck in the back of the house. The room was decorated in shades of blue and looked clean, pristine almost as if it was rarely used. "This is great," Jasper told Lucy who grinned proudly.

She took his hand again and pulled him back to the hallway. "There's a bathroom right here," Lucy said, nodding at the door at the end of the hallway. "And now do you want to see my room?" she asked excitedly.

"Sure," Jasper answered as Lucy began tugging him up the stairs. She opened a door at the end of the hall and Jasper entered a room that seemed drenched in pink.

"This is my room," Lucy told him. "And that's my bed and all my dolls are over there," Lucy said, pointing towards the window seat where doll after doll was lined up. "And my closet is over there and all my toys are in there," Lucy said, pointing to a toy box that had her name painted in pink letters across the front.

"Do you want to play Barbies with me Jasper?" Lucy asked. "I have lots and lots of them—you can be Ken if you want to."

"Lucy, honey, why don't you finish showing Jasper around and then we'll let him get settled in, alright?" Alice said.

"Okay," Lucy said a little glumly.

Jasper wasn't really sure what possessed him to say what he said next but he found himself wanting to make the little girl smile and so he said, "Maybe we can play tomorrow?"

Lucy's face lit up and Alice raised her eyebrows. "Really?" Lucy asked excitedly.

"Well yeah, if it's alright with your Mom," Jasper said, glancing up at Alice.

Alice nodded, her eyes focused on Jasper as if trying to figure out if he was being sincere or not. Lucy grinned and took Jasper's hand again, pulling him back to the hallway. "That's Norah and me's bathroom," she told him pointing towards the small bathroom at the end of the hall.

"And this is Norah's room," Lucy said, starting to push the door open.

Norah stepped in front of her. "I don't want to show him my room," she said, crossing her arms.

"Mom said you have to be nice Norah," Lucy hissed at her sister.

"It's okay," Jasper said. "It's her room, she doesn't have to show me."

Lucy made a face at Norah and pulled Jasper down the hallway again. "This is Dad's office," Lucy said, nodding towards a room with a desk and a computer and a small bed pushed to one side of room. "But he never uses it because he's never here." Lucy said this matter-of-factly and yet it still caught Jasper off guard even though he knew James had been largely absent for most of the young girl's life.

"And this is Mommy's room," Lucy told him, stopping just inside the door to Alice's bedroom. Jasper breathed in deeply, the unique smell of Alice filling his senses as he looked around at the slightly messy room. The bed was unmade and a pile of books and magazines sat on the bedside table. The closet door was open and Jasper could see various shirts and jeans and dresses strewn about the floor of the closet, as if Alice hadn't been able to decide what to wear that morning. Pairs and pairs of shoes were lined up neatly in the closet and it was such a contrast to the rest of the room that Jasper found himself laughing a little.

"What are you laughing about?" Alice asked him, looking over with a slightly amused expression.

"Your closet is a disaster," Jasper said. "But your shoes are perfect."

Alice grinned. "Shoes are important Jasper," she told him, trying to be serious but Jasper could see the smile in her eyes. He nodded, grinning as well and turned back to Alice's bedroom. Just past the closet, Jasper could see a bathroom with two sinks, the counter covered in a variety of creams and lotions and make-up products Jasper knew nothing about. The house was just such a girl's house that Jasper couldn't help but feel a little out of place.

"That's our whole house," Lucy announced. "Well, and there's the deck in the back and the porch and the lake but you already saw that."

"Thanks for the tour," Jasper said, smiling a little at Lucy.

"You're welcome," Lucy said proudly.

"Alright ladies, I think it's time to get ready for bed," Alice said.

Both Norah and Lucy whined slightly, begging Alice to stay up just a little longer but they both agreed to get ready for bed when Alice promised to read to them. Jasper slipped downstairs and out to his car, grabbing his few small bags and carrying them to his room. He unpacked quickly since he didn't have much to begin with and then he went out to the deck, sitting down in one of the large chairs. Leaning back, Jasper closed his eyes for a moment, listening to the quiet of the evening, so different from the city noises of DC that he had grown used to.

Voices floated down to him and Jasper opened his eyes, looking up. He was right below Lucy's window and through the open screen he could hear the soft voices of Alice, Norah, and Lucy.

"I just don't know why he has to be here," Norah was saying. "Can't he just go back to Dad?"

"Norah," Alice said softly. "I don't like it either, I told you that. But we're going to make the best of it."

"I like him. I think he's nice," Lucy said.

"You like everyone Lucy," Norah said.

"Well you hate everyone," Lucy replied.

"Girls," Alice said with a small laugh. "Norah, you don't have to talk to him if you don't want but I won't tolerate you being mean to him, okay?"

Jasper didn't hear an answer. There was a giggle and Jasper wondered if Alice was tickling the little girl. "Okay, okay," Norah finally said, laughing.

"Good," Alice said, laughing as well. Jasper heard the soft murmur of Alice's voice as she began to read and he closed his eyes again, propping his feet on the railing of the desk and leaning back in the chair, letting Alice's voice wash over him.

Jasper wasn't sure how long he sat there before he heard the sound of a throat clearing behind him. Turning around in the chair, Jasper saw Alice standing in front of him.

"Sorry," she said softly sitting down in the chair next to him. "I was just going to make sure you got settled in alright," Alice said.

"Yes," Jasper answered. "You have a really gorgeous house," Jasper said, saying the first words that came to his head.

Alice smiled but it looked a bit forced. "One of the perks of being a senator's wife," she said softly.

There was a moment of quiet before Alice said, "I'm sorry about Norah. She's a good kid, she really is. She's just not very happy with her father lately and she's taking that out on you because you work for him," Alice explained. "I told her she couldn't be mean but don't be offended if she's not overly friendly.

Jasper nodded. "It's okay. I understand, trust me," he said.

"I also," Alice started to say. "I mean, at Christmas, I wanted to apologize," Alice paused and looked away, fiddling with the fabric on the armrest of her chair and not meeting Jasper's eyes. "I don't know what I was thinking and I wasn't acting like myself."

Jasper watched her carefully. He wanted her to say she couldn't stop thinking about him either, she felt more in that simple kiss than she had in all the other kisses with anyone else ever before. He wanted Alice to put a voice to everything he was feeling but of course she didn't.

"It's okay," Jasper said after a long pause. "Don't mention it."

Alice nodded. "Good," she said softly. Alice stood up and brushed the seat of her shorts off slightly. "Do you need anything else?" she asked, finally meeting his gaze once again.

"No ma'am, I should be just fine," Jasper said.

Alice raised her eyebrows and Jasper realized his mistake. "Alice," he corrected himself and Alice smiled.

"Good night Jasper," she said.

"Good night Alice," Jasper replied as Alice walked back through his room to the house. Jasper stood up and walked into the bedroom that was now his. He lay down on the bed and picked up his cell phone, dialing James's familiar number.

"Jasper, good to hear from you," James said answering the phone. "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Jasper replied.

"And my family?" James asked.

"They're great," Jasper answered. "You have wonderful children."

James laughed slightly. "Alice hasn't been too hard on you?" he asked.

"No sir," Jasper answered. "I still think I'm not needed here," Jasper said. "I'm intruding and they're obviously fine without me."

"Jasper, your job is to do what I tell you and I am telling you you're needed there," James said. "Understand?"

"Yes sir," Jasper said, biting back a sigh.

"Good," James said. "I just need you to keep an eye on her for me. Feel her out and make sure she's not going anywhere." James paused and Jasper bit his lip to keep from saying something he knew he would regret. "Now, we'll talk again tomorrow. Have a good evening Jasper," James said.

Jasper heard a female giggle in the background and he grimaced. "You too sir," he said but the line had already gone dead.

Jasper heard water running upstairs and he groaned to himself when he thought about Alice getting into the shower, peeling off that bikini that left little to the imagination anyway. Jasper forced himself to think about something else, starting to run through the American presidents in order starting with George Washington in his head, thinking that if anything would keep his mind off of Alice naked in the shower, it would be thoughts of old dead guys who had never been all that attractive.

Alice had apologized for kissing him; it had obviously meant nothing to her. She probably hadn't given it a second thought since that night until she saw Jasper again today. She had been upset, that was it. Sighing Jasper kicked off his boots and rolled over, suddenly feeling exhausted. He fell asleep instantly, still wearing all of his clothes.

A/N: Well, thoughts?