So I lied when I said that there would be an epilogue. Sorry. I had planned it, then thought about it and realized I had only thought of one little part for it. So this is it.
Chapter 56: I Wanna Be Free
Two prison guards were with me as we went down the hall. My stomach was twisted in knots that seemed to get tighter with each step. I knew that Jonathan couldn't hurt me, but I was more afraid of how he would try to push my emotions too far. I would only have one chance at this, and if it didn't work, I would be trapped by my own mind for the rest of my life.
I was lead to a plain room with a steel table and a chair on each side, facing each other. I sat on the edge of the one closest to me and waited. The guards would be outside the door watching our conversation, ready to step in at any sign of danger. I didn't know what Jonathan could physically do to me, since they also told me that he would be restrained. It was what he would say that I was most afraid of.
I didn't have to wait long before I heard a large door slam and multiple sets of footsteps growing louder. I glanced at the door to the right of me. It was the only door, so he would have to come in through the same one I had minutes before.
The door started to open, and I forced my face to be blank. I didn't want Jonathan to have the upper hand so soon. I leaned back in my chair and had my arms crossed over my chest when Jonathan and two more guards entered.
I had expected the real Jonathan to be exactly like the Jonathan of my hallucinations, but that wasn't the case. His hair was a mess and had gotten longer so it fell in his eyes like he didn't care about it at all; a few days' stubble had grown along his jaw; he looked bigger and even more menacing than before. Even with all of those differences, he still stood straight and proud, like years of prison hadn't worn him down with guilt and loneliness. But then again, his eyes, which were always alight with a malignant glow when I saw him, were dark twin voids that held no emotion. They did flash with surprise, or maybe it was confusion—would he recognize me after I've grown?—but then they went back to being blank.
The guards at his sides guided him to the chair across the table, and he was put in restraints. I hadn't noticed the shackles that were around his wrists when he came in until he was being tethered to the chair he was sitting on. When he was secure, the guards left the room and disappeared down the hall.
There was a pause where I stared at him and he stared back with seemingly little interest. I kept my facial features hard so the most I could look was angry and the least I could look was disinterested. I thought I would have to start the conversation, but then he said in a voice scratchy with disuse, "You're the boy, aren't you? The last one."
I inclined my head once in a curt nod.
"And the girl didn't come with you?" A glimmer of curiosity might have flared up in his eyes, but I couldn't be sure.
"She has nothing to say to you." My tone, surprisingly, was level and hinted with only the slightest bit of controlled anger. Maybe I could do this.
"And you do?" He was definitely curious now. There couldn't have been much to catch his interest in prison after so long.
"You've been giving me a bit of trouble lately." I looked down at my hand and picked at a nail for an air of little concern on the matter. I didn't know if he bought it or not, but I didn't look up to try and figure that out. "Maybe I can clear that up today."
At his raspy chuckle, I looked back up. "Hopefully," he said. "I'm all about helping people. But I'm sure you knew that." His eyes were back to what they were in my hallucinations: taunting, calculating how I could be hurt next, sorting out what he was dealing with and how he could use it.
"Of course," I replied just as sarcastically. Then, sobering, I continued. "I also know that you like to share."
His mouth twisted slightly into a sort of smile. "Do I? And why do you say that… Jasper Hale? That is your name, if I hadn't forgotten."
"You haven't. I'm flattered." Hopefully what I knew about his past could catch him off guard. That's probably where the self-confidence to talk to this man on the same level came from. He had always been above me, but now we could be leveled out.
I stared at him and waited until he spoke again. "Were you planning on enlightening me as to how I "like to share," as you put it?"
"I know about your family," I explained softly. "Your brother, what your parents did to him. And then what you did to them."
His mouth straightened from its smile, and his eyes were piercing, like he was trying to hurt me with his stare alone. After a moment of fury, his face relaxed. "Who told you? Cops? Or was it on TV or somethin'?"
I shrugged. "I don't know where I heard it first." Now that I knew that the whole story wasn't something of my imagination, I would have had to have heard it somewhere before. I had probably blocked it out or wasn't listening too closely when I heard, because I didn't know who had told me now.
"Don't lie to me," Jonathan snapped.
"You want the truth?" I asked with a bitter smile. He probably wouldn't believe what I told him.
"You told me." Before he could protest, I added, "That trouble I mentioned earlier? Hallucinations. Of you. I don't remember where I heard the story first because I had to have heard it before, but you told me again."
For a minute he just stared. Then his eyes narrowed. "So you're crazy?"
I paused for a second, than answered with, "I suppose so, yes. I am."
He smiled and shrugged a shoulder. "Can't help you there. Get meds or somethin'."
"I did. They haven't been working too well."
"Again," he said with a slightly bigger smile, "not my problem. What did you hope to do by coming here?"
It was my turn to shrug. "I don't know."
"Then you're wasting my time with this. My time's valuable now, you know. They're gonna stick me with the needle in a few days." Jonathan looked over at the door like he was going to call for the guards to come take him away.
Panic made me continue the conversation in any way. I still didn't think I was better. "What's so important that you have to be doing right now instead of talking to me?"
He let out a dry laugh. "Praying?"
"It's a little too late for that," I pointed out with slightly raised eyebrows.
His mouth quirked up again. "So I'm going to hell?" he didn't seem concerned about this, or like he needed me to answer the question. He had thought this over a long time ago.
I shrugged again. "Who am I to say?"
Jonathan surprised me by hitting me with a level and almost patient stare. "Say what you came here to say," he demanded.
"So you killed people to make others feel as alone as you felt?"
"I did it because it wasn't fair to me. What right did God have to make only me suffer?" He shrugged one shoulder again and brought his hands up to the table, his shackles rattling. He tapped his fingers against the shiny surface and said, "So I had a damn good time playing God for awhile," like it was fact and not the bitter statement I expected the words to be.
"And what right did you have picking and choosing who suffers along with you?"
He looked up from his hands. "Like you said, I like to share."
"I think it's also a way to make people as haunted as you are."
"And you know so much about being haunted?" He scoffed. "I think I've had it far worse than you. It wasn't your own family hurting you. Not giving a shit about you. I've been alone for my entire life." He didn't let any vulnerability seep into the words; he kept his emotions safe from being used as weapons against him.
"I know about being haunted. You've been the one haunting me." And suddenly, a burst of recognition came to me. What I recognized was the truth. That realization formed all of the words that I couldn't have before. "And you're right about my family not hurting me. I've been cared for. But it's your own fault that you've been alone for all your life. I could have pushed people away after what happened. Hell, I did for years. But then I took the risk of getting close to people, and it ended up saving me."
"It's a little too late for me." The look in his eyes hinted that he's already thought about this. I know he had. There had to have been too much time alone not to have let the thought cross his mind at all.
"I know it is. But you could have overcome it all, you know. You could have been something other than a killer."
He focused his stare on his hands again—possibly to hide what I was reading from his face. "If you're trying to make me regret everything—"
"No. I can't make you do much of anything, and it wouldn't do me any good if I could." Another tiny burst went off in my chest that let the right words come up. "You could have done it without forgetting. I've been lying to myself for a long time, even though I never knew it myself. I guess you showed me that. If I'm being honest with myself, you helped me. Well, a figment of you. In my head. You showed me that I shouldn't forget, but I don't have to dwell on the past and stay stuck in it. I can move forward with memories."
His jaw worked like he was turning something over in his head. "Huh," he said finally. "I guess I helped someone after all, even if I didn't mean to, and it was in a fucked up way." He looked back up at me. "So did I… what, help you or whatever?"
All that I said to him was like a heavy tumor removed from my body. I've never felt better than I did right then, sitting in a prison across from the man who nearly ruined my life. "I think you did."
He cracked another smile. "So does this make up for killing your parents?"
My eyes narrowed. "Fuck no," I said harshly.
His grin became the more twisted, sick one I was accustomed to. "I figured."
"But," I added, "I guess you made something a little better out of what you destroyed. For that much, I thank you. If this worked like I planned, I can live my life in some kind of peace."
He nodded, taking that in. "Maybe I won't go to right to hell after all." When he smiled that last time, it reached his eyes like a real smile. For the first time, he seemed nearly human to me. Not completely, not even close to that. But it was all he had left for me, and I would take it.
Alice and I used the rest of the time in Texas as a sort of mini-vacation and then headed home early Christmas Eve. We had called ahead to Carlisle and Esme, so they and Rosalie picked us up at the airport (with about twice as much luggage than what we came with). Rosalie decided to spend some time at Alice's house, so I went home with Carlisle and Esme. Once there, I unpacked and wrapped the gifts I had gotten for Rose, Alice, Carlisle, and Esme.
Once everything was taken care of, I got a shower and then decided to take a nap. I hadn't gotten much sleep in Texas because of the stress and then staying up to watch movies with Alice once "business" was taken care of.
I was shaken out of sleep some time later. "Jasper!"
I jerked in surprise and opened my eyes. Rosalie was standing over me. "Esme told me to wake you up. We have the Christmas Eve party at Edward's, remember?"
"Oh," I mumbled groggily, "yeah." I ran a hand over my face. She had mentioned the party before we left for Texas and reminded me coming home. "I'll be ready in a minute."
"You have plenty of time. I have to go get ready myself." With a smile , she left the room. I pushed myself up off the comfortable bed reluctantly and went to my closet to find some dress clothes. I got decent, dreamless sleep, but I wish I could have more to completely catch up on what I missed.
As I dressed in black pants and a red sweater, I woke myself up with the thought of Alice being at the Masen's party. I had planned at the first mention of the party and its guests that I would give her the present in private tonight. Worry tied a knot in my stomach at the thought of Alice not liking the gift. I thought it was a good gift, something that she would like, but I wasn't one hundred percent positive of it. I guess I would just have to wait and see her reaction. She would never tell me that she didn't like it, but I think I could tell if she was lying. If she doesn't like it, well, I would just have to deal with that awkward moment if it came down to it.
I slipped the small wrapped box in my pocket before going to the bathroom to brush my teeth and quickly comb my hair before heading downstairs.
Carlisle was talking to Esme in the kitchen, both of them dressed and ready to go for the party. Esme was putting plastic wrap over a plate of red and green-iced sugar cookies. They both greeted me as I descended to the living room. "You look nice," Esme said.
"Thanks, so do you," I replied. She smiled in thanks as she tucked the last of the plastic wrap under the plate of cookies.
"Jasper," Carlisle said. "I never asked how the… tougher parts of the trip went for you. Are you okay?"
I leaned my hip against the counter and rested my arm on the slick surface. I hadn't been hallucinating at all after I talked to Jonathan in prison, but did that really mean that he was gone? I couldn't be sure, but I thought that I had fixed it.
"I don't know," I answered honestly. "I think only time will tell. I thought it went well when I talked to Jonathan, but I don't know if that guarantees anything."
Carlisle nodded thoughtfully, taking the words in. "I see." The contemplative line of his mouth curved into a fatherly smile. "Well, hopefully tonight goes well for you."
I nodded, hoping the same thing. Rosalie then came down the stairs, dressed up and ready to go. With her arrival, we went out to the garage and got into Carlisle's glossy Mercedes. He drove through a light snowfall down the road about a mile, then turned onto a hidden driveway that was concealed in the woods like the Cullen mansion was. Edward's house was much like that, only painted a robin egg blue instead of white.
More cars were parked near the house. Carlisle parked the car, and we unloaded into the cold snowfall. Once at the door, Carlisle knocked, and a pretty woman who looked very similar to Edward answered. Everyone shared warm greetings with her as they entered the foyer, and to me she said, "You must be Jasper! I'm Elizabeth, Edward's mother. Nice to meet you."
"Hello," I replied.
We went into the living room, where the rest of the guests were. It looked like the party consisted of Alice, Emmett, and Edward's families, along with our own. I was introduced to the parents I hadn't already met, and Emmett pointed out his six younger siblings, stating their names for me.
After some mingling, we all had dinner. The seating arrangements were basically that the parents sat around the dining room table, then me and my friends around a folding table in the basement, and then the younger children around another folding table right next to ours.
After everyone was finished with dinner, it was basically a time to socialize. Questions about Texas were brought up, and Alice provided most of the answers enthusiastically. I liked to watch her talk when she was so excited; she would use her hands to describe things, and her eyes would be alight with animation.
When Emmett and Edward got engaged in a conversation using the names of people I didn't know, I took my chance. "Can we go somewhere private? I have something for you."
She looked up at me and smiled. "Okay." I stood and held out my hand for her to take. She did; it was soft and warm as always. We went upstairs, and Alice said as she looked out the window, "Ooh, let's go outside, it's snowing!" When I nodded, we grabbed out coats and slipped out the front door.
"I didn't bring your present!" Alice cried apologetically.
"It's okay," I replied. We had walked a few paces into the snowfall so we were standing in the driveway. I stopped, and she turned to face me. I pulled the silver package out of my pocket, took her hand, and placed it in her palm. "I hope you like it."
When I let go of her hand, she stared up into my eyes for a second before looking down at the gift. She tore the wrapping paper away eagerly to reveal the velvet box. She glanced up at me with a little gasp and slowly opened the box. Her eyes widened, and this time she let out a louder gasp, which I took as a good sign. The ring with the blue topaz stone that my father gave my mother glittered in the box.
"Oh my God," she breathed. "It's beautiful." She looked up at me in a sort of happy disbelief and then back down at the ring.
"My father gave it to my mother the first time he said that he loved her." I gently took the box back and lifted the ring out of it. After closing the box and slipping it back into my pocket with the torn wrapping paper, I took her hand. "Seeing as I already did that," I went on, "I want this to be a symbol of just how much I love you. You're my first and only love, Alice Brandon, and I'll love you until the day I die. No matter what happens." I slipped the ring onto her finger and brought it to my lips.
She let out a breathy laugh. A tear ran down her face, but she was smiling the most dazzling smile. "I love you too, Jasper," she said shakily. Then she reached up to wipe her face. "Oh God, I'm crying," she laughed.
I caressed the tear she missed with my thumb. She brought my hand down so she could throw her arms around my neck. I wrapped my own arms tight around her, holding her as close as I could, loving the warmth of her against me.
A flash of movement caught my eye. Jonathan stood a little ways away, leaning against Carlisle's Mercedes. His arms were crossed over his chest. He looked like he had the day I visited him: shaggy, unkempt hair, slight facial hair, white uniform. Before I could panic, he smiled. Like the smile he sent my way before I left, this one was genuine and touched his eyes. He nodded in my direction. I smiled slightly back and inclined my head a fraction so Alice didn't feel it. With our sort of truce, Jonathan said, "Have a nice life," void of any sarcasm, and then faded away with a sound like a peaceful wind.
I buried my face in Alice's soft hair and laughed softly. "Everything will be okay now."
Alice pulled back. "You think so?"
I glanced back to where Jonathan had been standing. "I know so. It's nice not to be alone anymore."
"And you never will be again," Alice replied. "I promise."
The promise was sealed with a kiss.
It was really corny, I realize, but I hope you liked it :D
Now I'm gonna be completely lame and advertize: if anyone is a Killjoy (My Chemical Romance), my story for that should be posted.
Have a nice life.