"It's time, sleeping beauty," Jasper murmured into my ear, his breath causing shivers to ripple down my neck, down the front of my chest and, well, what do you know, right straight to my nipples, which perked up and wanted to say good morning right back.
"Mmmm," was the best answer I could muster as I stretched my entire body until it felt like my bones would pop out of place.
A soft chuckle caused me to open one eye, which was met with a gorgeous gaze from the most amazing male to have ever walked the earth. Nope, no bias here. I opened the other eye to gauge the time of day. The sun was cascading through the window, fine dust particles danced along the ray, sliding down toward the end of the bed where the beam of light ended.
"What are you laughing at?" I asked him as I looked up, my eyes drinking in his face as if it had been weeks since I'd last seen him.
"You do the exact same thing every morning. Why is that?" he asked as I continued my stretch.
Jasper had been using his incredible talent on me every night since the day I had turned. With his assistance, I was able to slip into an almost comatose state, one that, as Jasper said, would make you think I was sound asleep. It had become a ritual for us, one that I cherished. We would end our day by crawling into bed, curling up with one another and he would relax me into a state where I felt like I was floating. Since sleep was no longer within my reach, this was the best substitute. I knew it was silly to hold onto a human trait that I no longer required, but it helped me feel normal, helped me feel like me and remember times before the change.
"Well, you see…when I stretch out like this…" I lifted my arms above my head again, pulling them as far up as I could which caused my back to arch and my breasts to rub against Jasper's chest. And, as with every other morning, he reached up to cup one with his hand, gently teasing the nipple between his thumb and finger.
"Yes…?" Jasper urged me to continue.
"Well, you do that," I smiled as he then fully cupped my breast and bent over to pay proper attention to it with his extremely talented tongue.
"Are you saying I'm becoming predictable in bed?" He pretended to look insulted as he pushed me over onto my back and moved his warm lips across to the other breast.
"Hardly. However, can you really blame me if I exploit certain actions knowing what the outcome will be?"
"I'm not sure how I feel about you being so manipulative," he teased as he worked his way up to nibble on my neck, causing me to momentarily forget just exactly what we were talking about.
"I wouldn't say I'm manipulative, just more of an outcome engineer." I ran my fingers through his thick blond hair, pulling his head up to meet mine.
"Well, I won't argue with you on that, as I do like the outcome." He smiled down at me and he brushed his lips over mine.
"Ok, less talking, more doing." I arched up to him, his breath hissing as I spread my legs, cradling him deep between my thighs.
Realistically, there wasn't much that needed to be done to put Jasper and I in the mood. Since the change, our sexual appetite had only continued to increase. It was actually getting a bit ridiculous. If I thought sex with Jasper before the change was amazing, it was nothing compared to what it was like now. Words couldn't even begin to describe what it was like to make love to Jasper as his equal. Just his knowing that there was nothing he could do to hurt me opened him up in ways that I would have never imagined. Though I would never admit this to him, but in some ways, I was glad he had so much experience, it just meant that I was now the benefactor of someone that knew every single possible way to please a female and I was lucky enough to be that female. And holy hell was I lucky. Jasper could love me in ways I never imagined were even possible and some which I was pretty sure were illegal in some states back in the U.S.
My lack of experience and awkwardness at times never seemed to bother him. He was more than willing to teach me everything and I was more than a willing student. As with everything, I could sometimes be a bit clumsy when trying out new things, but Jasper had his way of making me feel so comfortable, and this was without the use of his extraordinary talent. Anytime we tried something new, it was always fun and relaxed and, no matter what, turned out amazing. Even with me asking my inevitable questions along the way. Does this go here? Should I move like this? Does this feel good to you? Am I doing it right? Jasper would just smile and let me do whatever I wanted until I felt I got it just right. And since practice makes perfect, I made sure we practiced, a lot.
Jasper was like that in all areas of our life. Patient and relaxed. He was willing to spend however long it took with me until I felt completely comfortable doing whatever it was I was learning. He never rushed me or helped until I ask him or until I reached the point that I was in over my head. He knew exactly when to step in and exactly when to stay back, never taking over or becoming controlling. He allowed me to stumble and fall and that meant the world to me, because no matter what, I knew he would be there to pick me up and that gave me the courage to be fearless. It took a while for Jasper to get to that point. In the beginning, he did have the inclination to want to catch me before I fell but now, he waited and when I needed him, he was always, always there.
He was completely the opposite of my first impression of him at the Cullens, what now felt like a lifetime ago. Even when on the run from James, he kept himself at a distance, ever the unemotional protector, never letting his guard down, never showing the real person inside. Alice was the only one who knew Jasper's inner turmoil had little to do with his fear of making me his next meal. Little did I or any of the others in his family know he was struggling with his feelings of affection toward me that he didn't understand, yet could not deny. And wow, was I ever glad that he no longer denied himself of those feelings.
He lowered his mouth to mine and ravished me with a good-morning kiss that woke every fiber of my being. I wrapped my legs tighter around his waist and easily flipped him to his back so that I was now lying atop of him. He softly chuckled as I moved to straddle his thighs, my hands lightly tracing his numerous scars that sparkled as the sunlight trickled in through the window.
My vampire eyesight saw his scars much clearer than they did when I was human. At first, I was shocked at how many there were, how many were undetectable to the human eye. Not only did they cover his torso and arms but they were on his neck and a few were even on his face. On his beautiful, perfect, amazing face. Though they did nothing to deter from his beauty, I hated knowing that there had been a time when he was tortured like an animal. It bothered me that he had suffered so needlessly and it made me hate this Maria person with an intensity I had only ever felt toward one other being, Victoria. If I should ever be so lucky as to run into Maria, I would ensure that she suffered the same as that red-headed bitch. But then again, a quick death, no matter how painful, was too good for both Victoria and Maria.
I gasped as I caught a glimpse of the clock on the bedside table. "Is that really the time?"
"Jasper! You know what day today is. How could you let me rest for so long?" I chastised him as I attempted to hop off of him.
He grabbed my hips to keep me in place, one hand moved and anchored to my waist as the other slid up my back to my neck. "I can't help myself, you know that. You'll never cease to amaze me. If I didn't know better, I would swear you were resting." He pulled me back down to his lips and I was immediately distracted once again.
"Well, it's not something I manage on my own. Let's just say that I love that particular talent of yours," our lips brushed as I spoke.
"I hope that's not the only reason you love me or the only talent you enjoy," he teased as his tongue snaked out and lightly traced my bottom lip. I sighed as the sweet taste of him invaded my senses.
As his words finally registered through the haze his kisses typically put me, I paused, looking up at him and frowned. "Are you actually fishing for some reassurance? That's not like you."
"No, I'm not fishing," he said quietly, not making eye contact.
"What's going on? Seriously," I asked. He kept his eyes downcast, so I cupped the side of his face and rubbed my thumb along the top of his cheekbone. "Are you worried about today?"
"Jasper, don't make me continue to guess or try and pull it out of you. This isn't like you and you're starting to freak me out."
"I'm fine. I'm more worried about you today."
"Don't you worry about me. Today is a big day for you and we agreed, we're going to tackle it, get it over with, and before we know it, it'll be over." I cupped the other side of his face and kissed him; a soft lingering kiss that had him wrapping his arms tightly around me as his hand moved to my bottom, pressing me into him so that I felt another part of his body that was up and ready for action.
I knew what he was doing. We'd had several conversations about today and while Jasper was torn about what he really wanted, we came to an agreement that I would stay with him, no matter where he had to be. At first he wanted to leave me behind at the villa, but then, he had second thoughts since I'd be alone. Though the past year had passed without any run-ins with Demitri, Jasper still did not like the thought of me being left alone, at any point in time.
"Hey!" I smiled as he continued to grind his erection into me. "That's not going to distract me!" I jumped off the bed and pulled him by the arms. "Come on."
"We have plenty of time. Let's finish what we started." He reached out and pinched a nipple as incentive.
I slapped his hand away. "Stop that. Quit trying to distract me. We can't be late. You need to get your butt in the shower."
"How about we finish what we started in the shower? Save water? I know how much you care about the environment," he smiled as he grabbed my hands and let me pull him to the edge of the bed where I stepped into the cradle of his legs.
"That I can do, but as you well know, when we shower together, it isn't about saving water." I turned from him and started walking toward the bathroom. When I noticed that he hadn't moved, I looked back at him, tossing my hair over my shoulder so I could see him. And what a sight it was. He sat, completely naked, on the edge of the bed, his eyes tracking my every movement. His nostrils flared slightly as my hair cascaded over my back and I was sure his extremely erect penis even twitched. I knew how much he loved the smell of my hair and that the motion would have sent my scent his way in waves.
"Do you know how sexy you are?" His voice husky, sending shivers down my back as I stopped and turned toward him. His gaze seared into mine, his molten golden eyes devouring me with their heat. He leaned over and pressed a button on the speakers located beside our bed. The slow rhythmic beat of our favorite song started and I couldn't help myself but start to sway to the beat. We had listened to this song so many times that it was ingrained in our systems. It held so many memories for us. From the first moment our eyes met when I was dancing with Logan and knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was Jasper I wanted to be with, to our trip to Martha's Vineyard when I sang it out loud in the car, and so many other precious moments since.
"No, why don't you tell me?" I smiled as I continued to move my hips to the music.
"Better yet, why don't you show me?" My eyebrow rose as I placed my hands under my breasts and cupped them, squeezing the nipples between my fingers, causing me to bite on my lower lip and moan slightly.
Jasper always made me feel sexy. Whether it was when I was sitting reading a book, cleaning our little villa or riding him with wild abandonment...he made me feel like I was the only woman in the world for him, the only woman he would ever love and that, in and of itself, was enough to make me feel like the sexiest woman in the world. The fact that this incredibly sexy male, who could have anyone he wanted, wanted me. Me! That made me feel invincible, like I could conquer the world.
I ran my hands down over my breasts, across my stomach and down my inner thighs. Jasper's eyes tracked every movement, his fingers twitching as if they had a mind of their own, mimicking exactly what I was doing to myself.
Not much had changed physically with me once I was turned. I was in really good physical condition due to all my gym workouts so my body was in great shape to start with, but my breasts did become firmer and a bit more pert and I so wasn't complaining about that. My hair was thicker and shinier, but all in all, I looked pretty much the same. My lips may have become a smidgen fuller, but no extreme makeover for me.
The main change was my eyes, which I had to admit, I had a really tough time dealing with. They were the eyes of a killer. I could barely stand to look at myself. I hated looking in the mirror and seeing my red eyes. It made me sick to my stomach every time that red gaze stared back at me. All I could see was Victoria. Her sneering face as she bragged about the pain and suffering she had caused every member of my family. It didn't matter that those red eyes sat in my familiar face, I felt like I was looking at a stranger. It took weeks before I was comfortable even holding eye contact with Jasper. He said my eye color didn't matter, that I was beautiful to him no matter what, but I couldn't help myself. I was extremely self-conscious about them. Even now, a year after the change, they still held a tinge of redness, but the golden color was finally becoming more apparent than the red.
Jasper leaned back on his elbows, as if he were settling in for a while. "Why don't you show me?" he challenged.
"I'm afraid we don't have enough time, darling," I smiled as I used his term of endearment for me.
"I guess I'm just going to have to shower all by my lonesome," I pouted as I continued to run my hands over my body, each caress awakening every cell, teasing them into awareness so that every inch of my body was crying out for Jasper. I slowly made my way back up to my chest, tweaking my nipples tightly between my fingers, causing my thighs to clench together. Jasper's reaction was to abruptly sit up as I continued to pinch and pull at the tight buds that had formed. Slowly rocking to the beat, I started to hum as I worked each bud until they tingled, each one hardening to the point where any further touch and I was ready to cry out. I was already wet and ready for Jasper to make his move but he was content to sit and wait. The man had amazing patience. My thighs were beginning to quiver at the thought of what Jasper would do when I finally broke him and he left the bed.
"It's just such a crying shame that I'm going to have to shower all by myself, because I feel so very dirty this morning." One hand slowly traced its way down over my abdomen, snaking its way through the hair at the apex of my thighs.
My eyes rolled back slightly as my finger found home. "Ah, yes," I sighed. "I'm definitely feeling very dirty," I moaned as I worked my finger through the wet swollen folds.
"Bellaaaaa," Jasper slowly rose from the bed. "For someone who was trying to rush me into starting the day, you sure seem determined to drive me to distraction."
I ignored him as I continued to work myself. I dipped my finger in slightly, just enough to gather some of the moisture and bring it to my lips. A moan escaped my throat as I sucked my finger deep into my mouth. That was all Jasper could take. He growled loudly as he sprang from the bed, I anticipated his move and darted into the shower, quickly closing the door behind me. Keeping my foot against the heavy glass, I reached back and turned the water on full blast and at full heat.
"Bella, move your foot please," Jasper asked nicely. Though he could have easily overpowered me and opened the door, Jasper always liked to wait. I could tell he was eager to see where I was going to take this so he kept his self control in check.
"I don't know, you should have moved a bit faster. Now I guess I'll just have to play all by myself." I gave him a wicked smile as I lowered myself onto the bench that he had built so we could sit under the spray of the water. Pressing my back against the tile, I spread my legs wide enough in order to move one foot to the side of the door and the other up on the bench, and faced him. Jasper leaned forward, his arms braced on either side of the door, his forehead slightly touching the glass as he remained motionless and waited for my next move.
I ran my hands up the sides of my inner thighs and back down again, stopping when they met in the middle. His eyes tracked every movement I made. Nothing escaped his notice, his teeth bit down on his lower lip as his hands gripped the doorframe as if it were the only thing holding him back. The warm water beat on my breasts, traveling down my flat stomach to pool at the top of my mound and then spill over each of my thighs. A thousand tiny droplets of water provided me with a very erotic massage on my incredibly sensitive skin.
I bit my lower lip, a mirror image of what Jasper was doing, as I spread myself open for him to see. His nostrils flared and I knew the scent of my arousal had hit him through the thick glass of the shower door. He leaned forward until his fully erect penis pressed directly against the glass. His tongue flicked out to his bottom lip and he watched as my fingers dance through my folds and inserted my finger. With great delight, I slowly moved back and forth, riding my own finger as I added another. God this felt so good. Having Jasper watch me made it incredibly hotter, so much sexier and indescribably erotic than I would have ever imagined it could be. He was on the brink, the tip of erection weeping venom, straining to explode, but he still managed his control. He needed that extra push to pounce and I was more than ready to provide the incentive.
I spread my legs even further, held myself open and used the forefinger of my other hand with my thumb and pinched my clit. Immediately, he let loose his emotions. His arousal slammed into me, catapulting me directly into an orgasm. "Jasper," I moaned as I closed my eyes and arched my back completely away from the wall.
That was it; that was all Jasper could stand. Cool air rushed into the stall when Jasper wrenched open the shower door. I indulged in a self-satisfying giggle as my hands were pushed out of the way and replaced with his tongue before I even had a chance to land from my climax. He pulled my legs over his shoulders, cupped my bottom and pulled me closer to him. His magical tongue darted in and out of my folds, his long elegant finger quickly joining the rhythm. It wasn't going to take long, as a tightening in my lower abdomen started. I could feel another climax approaching already. There was nothing more sensual than watching Jasper make love to me with his mouth. His tongue lapped at my juices that were only for him. Another finger made its way deep into the mix and he began the back and forth dance with his tongue and both fingers, as if he were having actual sex. I closed my eyes as the tightness in my belly exploded, every nerve ending firing like pistons as I screamed out loud with my release. My hands fisted in his hair, holding him in place, although I was in no danger of him going anywhere.
Though breathing was no longer necessary, every time we made love, I wanted to experience it all, not only the feel and taste of Jasper's skin, the sight of us moving together as one, the wondrous sounds that came from between Jasper's lips, but also the scent of his body. It was the main reason I had never given up the habit. Heightened senses; all part of the vampire package. Therefore, I sat on the bench, the hot steaming water pounding down on me, panting as I recovered.
Jasper sat back on his haunches with a very sly smile on his face; the smile of a man that had done a good job and knew it.
"Now, isn't it more fun to play with someone else?" he asked.
"Definitely." I smiled down at him as my eyes drank in his naked body. The water was cascading over him; rivulets of water parted at his pert nipples, ran over his rippled stomach and then divided yet again around his impressive erection, which now was begging for its own release. I licked my lips as I leaned forward, grabbed his hands and pulled him up to the bench. He looked at me quizzically as I knelt on the floor in front of him and pulled his butt forward as he had just done to me.
That shiny bead of venom pooling at the tip of his erection taunted me. I leaned forward and flicked my tongue over the tip of his rod. A purr quietly starting to rumble in his chest as I cupped his sack with one hand, tracing my tongue around the entire tip treating it as my own personal lollypop. Vampire venom had a sweet taste to it which, coupled with Jasper's reaction every time I did this, meant that I really, really enjoyed doing this with him. Though, I would enjoy it for his reaction alone, the treat at the end was always a nice bonus.
Jasper stretched his arms out, grasping the edge of the ceramic tile bench, causing me to stop what I was doing and raise an eyebrow, casting a look at his hands. Jasper and I had shattered numerous tiles in our adventures in the shower to the point where we had now replaced almost every one. He lifted his hands and placed them on his thighs and smiled guiltily down at me.
Slowly I lowered my head and picked up where I had left off, circling the tip of his penis with my tongue. The purr started again and I picked up the pace. There was nothing more erotic than hearing Jasper purr and I had made it my mission to make sure he made that sound frequently and as loudly as possible. Without further preamble, I took him into my mouth as far as I could and used my hand to stroke the area that was left exposed. Jasper's hips began to rock with the motion of my mouth while his hands found their way into my wet hair.
"Bella. God, what you do to me," he moaned as I lightly ran my teeth down the length of him before taking him back into my mouth. Continuing with the use of one hand on his shaft, the other manipulating his sac combined with my mouth, it was not long before Jasper hit his climax, his hands fisting in my hair, every tendon in his body became taught as his orgasm rocketed through his body and into my mouth. After licking away the last sweet drop, I couldn't help but sit back on my heels in the exact same fashion as he had done to me and smile up at him. Another job well done.
He pulled me up into his lap. His hands ran down my back as he scooted me closer to him. "I love you, Bella."
"I love you, too, Jasper, so very much," I replied as I leaned forward and gave him a soft lingering kiss, wishing that today was like every other day. A day where we could linger in the shower until there was no hot water left, at which point we would continue on to the bed, or the bathroom counter, depending on the franticness of the moment.
I broke off the kiss and pushed his wet hair back from his gorgeous face. "But, as much as I'd like to do this for the rest of the day, we really do have to get moving. Today's your first day and we don't want to be late."
Today was the day that we had been dreading for the past several months. Jasper's first day training the guard. It was a day that I tried to ignore for the longest time. The guilt over Jasper having to serve this so called sentence made me ill every time I thought about it. I feared for his safety, I fretted over Aro's real motives for having Jasper remain here for so long, I worried over Jasper being surrounded by newborns, by human blood sucking vampires. Though his control never faltered, he was not around others that partook in that particular diet very often. Now it would be on a daily basis. It was silly, though I knew he couldn't be seriously hurt, I still thought about every scenario that might happen. These were newborns for crying out loud! What if he couldn't control them? He bore the scars of what they could do. Jasper constantly reassured me not to be so upset over these things but I just couldn't help myself. If I were to lose him now, after everything…I felt sick to my stomach every time I even thought of the hypothetical. I couldn't live without him. I wouldn't.
Jasper was concerned for totally different reasons. He had no worries about the newborns and keeping them under control. I certainly had given him enough practice over the last year to shake any cobwebs off his past experiences and bring them all to the forefront of his memory. No, he worried about me witnessing him as he fought, training others how to kill, perhaps even destroying one of them. As if seeing him like that would change my opinion of him, make me think of him as a monster, a killing machine. I reassured him that it wouldn't. There was nothing he could do to make me love him any less but I understood how those doubts lingered and couldn't fault him for them. I continued to have doubts myself, and no amount of reassuring by Jasper could chase them away. I, as did he, needed to work through them, live with them and see that neither one of us were going anywhere. We were here together, forever.
So, as Jasper calmed my fears, I would do the same for him. I knew that, without a shadow of a doubt, absolutely nothing he had to do while working for the Volturi would ever change my opinion of him. As far as I was concerned, the more newborns that ended up being destroyed, the better. I knew that didn't sound like me, but after my experiences with Victoria, James, Laurent, Jane, Demitri, and though not me directly, Maria, I really didn't have any allegiance to my new race. One less newborn meant several thousand humans that would live to see another day, since they didn't end up on the menu of some out of control monster. It just tore at my heart that it had to be Jasper that would do the killing.
This past year had been the greatest year of my life. It was without a doubt the absolute greatest, but, also one of the most difficult. While every minute had been completely filled with nothing but love and joy, all because of Jasper, there was still the bloodlust that I had to overcome, the absence of Jacob in my new life, the awkwardness of having to deal with the Cullens and our relationship, which I'd managed to put off thus far, and then there was the big white elephant in the room, the inevitability of having to deal with Edward, the…well, the list was pretty much endless.
Even though Jasper assured me that the Cullens were thrilled with our relationship, I couldn't help but not want to cross that particular bridge. Honestly, I felt it a bit bizarre that no one would have a problem with it or would accept it just like that. It made me feel like everyone was interchangeable. Jasper explained that because the split with Alice was amicable and they were still close, everything would be okay. Carlisle and Esme just wanted everyone to be happy.
And happy I was, that was undisputable. I awoke from the change immediately surrounded by Jasper's love and that feeling never left. Jasper made me feel like I could do anything, accomplish anything that I set my mind to. We quickly discovered that once I awoke I did not have any special powers or abilities like Jasper, Alice or Edward. Though Jasper was quick to point out that I already had one, as my ability to be blocked from the powers of vampires like Aro and Jane was a very unique talent itself, but still, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed that I didn't gain a new one.
It was so hard to believe that a year had gone by. The time really did fly. Jasper and I had not been apart for a moment over the past year. He stood by me and got me through the early days of my bloodlust, which were horrendous, and that was putting it mildly. There were many days where I knew I treated him horribly but I couldn't help myself. No matter how many times during my periods of lucidity that I told myself to behave, when the bloodlust kicked in, I was uncontrollable. I became possessed, my mind, my body, only wanting one thing. Blood. I was unprepared for just how horrible it was going to be. The burn I felt through every part of my body was excruciating. The first week, we were still with the Volturi, and I never left the room, but I could still smell the humans that were in the building, that lingered outside in the courtyards, and that traveled the roads outside the complex. It was as if they were right outside my door. Ugh, if they were in Italy, they were too damn close for my liking. It nearly drove me insane. Jasper had to restrain me several times. He easily manipulated my bloodlust into a lust of other sorts and as amazing as it was and as distracting as it was, I would immediately revert back to the bloodlust.
So, Jasper took immediate steps and purchased a beautiful villa in a very, very remote part of the mountains, just as he promised. There was no way that I was going to inadvertently kill a human, not while on his watch. For that, I would be eternally grateful. I would never forgive myself if I harmed another and Jasper knew that.
Jasper had spent hours upon hours with me, exposing me to human blood, graciously supplied by Gianna, who apparently had connections at a blood bank and a pressing need to do whatever Felix asked of her. Whether it be a pin drop on a cloth, an ounce spilled on the floor, a cup sitting on the table, or whatever he could come up with in order to help me learn control, it was hard. So unbelievably hard. There was no waking up from the change and gaining control within days. I woke up and almost immediately felt the razor sharp burn in my throat, the hunger pangs in my stomach. The insatiable thirst took me over so quickly I was nearly delirious from it. Blood was all I wanted. Thank goodness Jasper had so much experience with newborns. He was fully prepared for it and able to keep me from sprinting from the room and making a smorgasbord out of Gianna or whatever delectable human happened to be nearby.
That first week was definitely a lesson in humility. Felix came through for us in so many ways and earned a place in my life forever. It took months before I was able to look him in the eye and be comfortable around him after the behavior he had witnessed in me during that first week. Jasper had enlisted him to find some large animals so I could feed. Quite a few times during that week I had to be held down and blood forced down my throat. I was so out of my mind with thirst that I couldn't even feed myself. It was embarrassing. Really, really, embarrassing. No romantic switch over for me. Nope, I was one step away from the padded room and the required uniform of a straightjacket. But, I got through it. We got through it. Together.
We quickly finished our shower and wrapped towels around each other. Jasper kissed me on the forehead as he headed out to the bedroom and began rummaging in the closet just outside the door. I stood in front of the mirror and began blow-drying my hair and, as per usual, avoided my own gaze.
"Are you ready for today?" he asked.
"I guess so. Ready as I'm ever going to be, at least."
His head popped around the corner. "Are you sure you want to come? You can stay here."
"We've had this discussion a hundred times, Jasper. I'm going with you and that's final. I need to go. Besides, there won't be any humans, so it's not like it's going to be difficult for me in that respect."
His eyebrows popped up at my comment. "What do you think will be difficult?"
I inwardly cringed as he picked up on my slip. He moved into the bathroom and stepped behind me, his hands wrapping around my waist as he rested his chin on my shoulder. I placed my blow dryer on the counter and leaned back to rest my head against him and sighed.
"I just feel like…today is going to change everything." My face scrunched at my ineptitude at getting my thoughts out. I turned to face him. Reaching up, I cupped his face in my hands. "It's just been the two of us for this past year, Felix aside. I don't want to share you. I know it's silly, and I know we can't be alone forever, but I just…I don't know…I just…" I sighed again and rested my forehead against his chest.
"I'm ready to go with you, I am. But, I haven't seen Demitri or anyone other than Felix or you for the past year and I feel like I'm going to be judged. I know Aro is disappointed that I don't have superhero powers or whatever, and I know Demitri is forever going to be looking for a way to pick a fight with you, and what better way than to use me. And that's just going to cause tension with Felix, who has been nothing but super supportive toward us. And god, don't get me started on having to see Jane again. I think I could go the rest of my immortal life without ever having to lay eyes on her again. And what about…" Jasper stopped me with a kiss on the lips. "I'm rambling."
"You must think I'm crazy."
"Why do you put up with me?"
"I love you."
"You certainly have a way with words."
"Yes," he chuckled lightly.
"I'm just nervous."
"I can tell."
Yes, of course he could. I had to laugh. There was no doubt my nerves were probably driving him crazy. "I'll get a grip, I promise."
"No need. Feel how you feel. That's what makes you who you are and that's who I love. If you want to talk this out for the next week until you feel better, I can start then. I'm ready when you're ready. No sooner, no later. I'll wait for you to be comfortable. You're driving this, Bella. No one but you. Don't feel pressured just because a date has arrived. The Volturi Guard has existed for centuries without me and will be just fine if we decide to wait a bit longer. I'll talk to Aro."
"Really? You would do that for me? But, it just means that we're stuck here for longer and I'm just prolonging the inevitable."
"Stuck? I wasn't aware that this place was so bad." His eyebrows puckered slightly and I knew I had hurt his feelings. God, I'm such an ass. He had done everything possible to make this place a home for me, to make me as comfortable as possible and what did I do? I made him feel bad. He was here because of me. Only because of me. Remember that, stupid.
"Jasper, I'm so sorry. That's not what I meant. I love it here. I've loved every minute - well, when I'm not trying to tear your head off because of bloodlust, I mean. You've made this better than I could have ever wished for and I'm sorry for using the word stuck. I don't mean it. I just hate today and I'm being irrational. I'm just so worried about you going out and working with Demitri and training the newborns. I hate what it stands for, and seeing so many others going through what I went through, and then to actually have to teach them how to fight. Well, I'm just so scared of you getting hurt and…it's just been the two of us for the past year. Well, except for Felix's occasional visits. I just don't like the idea of anyone else invading our lives just yet." I realized I was rambling and repeating myself yet again, so I started to reach up to kiss him when the phone rang.
"Fuck," I whispered. I dropped my hands from Jasper and stepped away from him. I didn't look him in the eye as I turned away and picked up my blow dryer to resume drying my hair. "You'd better get it. She obviously wants to tell you something."
"Bella, you know she only means well." Jasper placed his hands on my shoulders. "Look at me," he whispered as he squeezed my shoulders.
I slowly raised my eyes to meet his in the mirror, and then raised my eyebrows to ask 'what?'
"She's excited for us. She loves you and can't wait to see you. She's just looking out for our best interest."
"I know, Jasper, but just once, I'd like to have a conversation with you without her calling to say she saw something in our future relating to the very conversation that we're having. It's creepy. I don't want a fortune teller! I know, I know. I owe her a huge debt because if it weren't for her, you would've never found me, but that doesn't mean I have to be her best friend again. Jasper, she's your ex-wife. You spent decades, decades, with her as her lover, her husband, her best friend. I'm sorry if it makes me insecure, but I'm not ready to have her in my life again. It's awkward. She sees too much. I'm having a hard time getting a grip on my thirst and all these overwhelming feelings that I don't want the added pressure of having to work on a friendship with Alice right now. Do you know how intimidating it is to know that she has visions of us having sex? Holy performance anxiety! I just don't know how you can be so comfortable with it."
Jasper rubbed circles along the back of my neck with his thumbs, kneading out knots of tension that had decided to take up camp. As per usual, he remained silent until he was absolutely sure I had finished my rant. The phone finally stopped ringing and the voice mail kicked in. Silence now filled the room, heavy and stifling. And, once again, I hated myself for having these feelings. I felt like a whiny child. I couldn't stand it, but I couldn't stop myself from feeling that way or from the words tumbling out of my mouth.
"Bella, you don't have to explain. I understand. Please try to remember, the first few years are the toughest, but this will get easier. I've been where you are now. Not only do I know what you're going through, I feel it along with you. This newborn state will not last forever. You will have complete control over your thirst."
"What about my emotions?" I interrupted. "I'm a raving lunatic!"
"You. Are. Not. A lunatic," he turned me to face him once again.
"Jasper, it feels like my nerve endings are exposed. I'm raw and everything is amplified. I don't know how to handle the littlest things anymore. I'm the estrogen antichrist! Everything is so intense." I pressed my face into his chest in a lame attempt to hide the emotions that were clearly displayed on my face even though I knew he felt everything I was going through. My face might be an open book; I just did want him to read it. "I love you so much I feel I could die from it. One minute I want to hold you and whisper sweet words of love and the next I want to ravish you and fuck you senseless." A soft laugh caused me to look up at him and grin at my last admission. "I miss Jacob so much that I physically ache because of it. I'm so uncomfortable and terrified of seeing Carlisle and Esme and Alice that I feel ill because of it. I just…Jasper…I just still feel so out of control and I hate it."
It was a damn good thing vampires didn't have heart attacks because I felt like I was on the edge of having one.
"Just breathe, baby. All you need to do it take it one day at a time. I don't care how long it takes for you to work out your emotions. Just breathe. Deep breaths will make you feel better." He pushed back my damp hair and placed a gentle kiss to my forehead. "I wish you would let me help you with this, Bella. It doesn't have to be so hard."
"I'll never learn to handle my own emotions if I let you do it for me. No, while I appreciate the offer and love you all the more for it, I need to work through this myself. I know I'm being silly and irrational at times. I know it. I feel that I'm being unreasonable, yet I can't help myself. It's as if I'm on a runaway train and I don't know how to get back control. As if…as if I'm watching it all happen on a movie screen. I know I'm the director of the movie, but I'm still an audience member, not knowing what's going to happen next. I feel…well, I feel as if I'm just waiting to crash."
"Time, Bella, all you need is time. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Everything is so much more intense after you've changed. It won't be so hard all the time. I promise. And, no matter what, I'm always here for you; with you, loving you for every emotion you have."
I looked up into his eyes and my heart turned over at his expression. Pure love looked back at me. Every word he said was the honest truth and if it took me a decade to get my act together, he would stand beside me every step of the way. "I love you, Jasper."
"I know," he winked down at me and placed a soft, lingering kiss on my lips. "Now, I think that I might need to use my special talent to take your mind off of things so we can start out on our new adventure."
"No, Jasper, please don't. You know I don't want you to manipulate my emotions unless it's absolutely necessary. Thank you, but no. I'll get a grip, I promise."
He chuckled as he pushed me back toward the counter, placing his hands on my waist and lifted me to sit on the countertop. "Ah, you misunderstand me. That's not the particular talent I was thinking of."
"No?" I squeaked out as his tongue snaked out and ran along the outside of my earlobe. His warm hands spread my legs and he fit himself between them as he pulled me to the very edge until I was on the cusp of the ledge. He undid the towel I still had wrapped around me and stepped as close to me as he could.
"No. It's this particular diversion I was hoping would work." He entered me slowly and pressed our bodies together. My breath caught as pleasure immediately washed away all my earlier anxieties.
"Ah, yessss. You're right, this is most relaxing and makes me very glad I hadn't bothered to get dressed yet," I teased as he leisurely withdrew and pushed forward again. He ran his arms up the length of my legs and then wrapped them around my waist. He leaned forward and nipped my collarbone as he wrapped his arm around my back, providing me with leverage as he started to pick up speed.
With his magic lips working their wonders on my neck, his talented body moving so in sync with mine, I instantly forgot all my earlier worries and was transported to a place where only pleasure existed. There absolutely could not be anything on earth that could feel as good as making love to Jasper. Every stroke pushed me closer and closer to the brink of yet another climax. Jasper's thumb hit home as he worked circles on my clit, immediately causing my orgasm to rocket through me. His pace sped up, the veins in his neck bulged, as he threw his head back from the force of his pleasure.
He pulled me tightly into his chest, his chin resting on the top of my head as he waited for me to catch my breath. Again, not necessary, but I still did it. Breathing; it was such an awesome little sensory thing – before, during and after sex. Ah, yes, it was wonderful.
"Much, thank you."
He laughed as he separated our bodies and grabbed a hand towel from the hook behind me, which he ran under the faucet. "Absolutely no need to thank me. Ever. As you can tell, I enjoyed it just as much as you did." Quickly cleaning me off, he wiggled his eyebrows at me as I smiled back at him. It was such an intimate gesture that used to embarrass the hell out of me before, but now, I appreciated how thoughtful it was.
I watched as he cleaned up and threw the towel into the laundry basket across the bathroom. He pulled me back into his arms, lowered his face and rubbed his nose against mine.
"I do love you, so much," he whispered, melting my heart.
"And I you, Jasper." I stood on my tiptoes and gave him a long, slow kiss. He pulled me even closer and a low growl rippled through his chest.
"While I'd love to take the quickie we just had and extend it into the bedroom, you need to get your sexy butt in gear and get ready. I can hear Felix coming up the walk." He gave me a light slap on the butt as he winked at me and quickly gave me a peck on the lips.
I smiled at him as I watched him exit the bedroom and quickly get dressed. He managed to reach the front door before Felix could knock. I turned back toward the mirror and forced myself to meet my own gaze. I leaned forward and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. There was only a tiny tinge of red left around my pupils, which immediately put me in even better spirits. Sighing, I decided to give up on my hair and just tie it back. I shook my head for being so emotional. It was the last thing I wanted to do and the last thing Jasper needed, today of all days, though he would never, ever say so.
I replayed the conversation I just had with Jasper as I continued to look at myself in the mirror. I truly couldn't help having such a strong reaction when Alice called and I hated it. Jasper explained that I had these emotions because I still retained most of my humanity, most of my human feelings and behaviors. He said it would take a while before the mood swings went away. That was why the Volturi, and even Maria, liked to use newborns in their armies. They were volatile and were easily manipulated into rage-like states.
The whole Alice situation had me tied up in knots. She wanted so desperately to be in our lives, but I just couldn't deal with her yet. Jasper and Alice both agreed that she shouldn't visit while we were in Italy. The less attention paid to her by the Volturi, the better. Though, it didn't stop Alice from wanting to talk on the phone, to text, to email. God, I was surprised the woman hadn't tried messenger pigeons yet. In the real world, would it be normal for exes to be such good friends? Perhaps. But would it be normal for the new partner to be so readily accepted by the ex? Most likely not. And, would it be normal for the ex to be able to see her former lover with his new one, having sex! Ah, no, unless she were spying via the window or camera surveillance. So, it was way too weird for me to try and deal with that right now. And yes, her heart was in the right place, wanting to provide me with reassurance, but it just added fuel to my already insecure fire that she was watching me go through my insane emotions. She was witness to some very personal moments between Jasper and I. Moments that I wished she would just keep her nose out of, thank you.
Plus, childish as it may be, I couldn't help but still harbor a bit of resentment toward Alice. She left me, too. She hurt me. She didn't have to listen to Edward, she decided to go along with his decision and walked away from me as well, and for that, well, I just couldn't say 'all's well that ends well and welcome back into my life'. It was going to take time. What if she had stayed? Would Victoria have been able to get to Charlie? Would my mom still be alive? These questions drove me crazy. She was able to walk away from me and not look back when I needed her the most. Sure, it could also be argued that Jasper left me as well, but he was nowhere near as close to me as Alice was, so I didn't have any problems in that respect with him. We'd worked through all that baggage; checked it and sent it to another destination.
But, there were times in the last year when I'd found myself not riding the crazy emotion train, and all the reasons Alice wanted to be part of our lives seemed to make sense. She had been my best friend, and besides Felix, she was the most understanding and supportive friend Jasper and I had. Why she didn't want to gouge my eyes out was beyond me. Come on! I took her husband from her in every way possible! Still, according to Jasper, she loved me and would never stop. He said it was a vampire thing. I was a bit more convinced it had to do with some kind of vision she'd had about the three of us and, God, I hoped it wasn't a vision of us having a three-some, because that was never going to happen. Everything was just too new and too sensitive for me to be able to sit in a room with both Jasper and Alice and have it feel normal that he was with me, and not her. She was okay with us. She knew it was going to happen. She saved me with her visions so Jasper could rescue me. I could never thank her enough, but I couldn't help my own silly emotions. It was going to take time. A long time.
I left the bathroom and quickly jumped into my jeans and a shirt. I walked out to the living room and stopped dead in my tracks. Jasper and Felix were in a deep conversation, Jasper was leaning against the side of the couch, his arms folded across his chest, his black long sleeved shirt hugging every curve of his muscular arms, his tight black jeans showcasing those long luscious legs of his which were crossed at the ankle. Every time I saw him, I just couldn't believe my luck and immediately hated myself yet again for being such an emotional moron all the time. For probably the millionth time, I asked myself why on earth he tolerated me.
Without looking at me, Jasper extended his arm in my direction and waved me to him with a flick of his fingers. I happily walked over and settled myself directly against him as his arm curled around me. No matter what happened, no matter how irrational I was, this was where I belonged. Beside Jasper.
I would master these emotions, but today, today was about Jasper and getting through serving with the Volturi. Today was just another day in our new life together and that was how I had to look at it.
Just another day. I would worry about everything else tomorrow. Or the day after. Or maybe next week. Damn, I had eternity! But – I sure as hell wasn't going to spend it worrying. I needed to go forward and with Jasper beside me, I would.
Jasper pulled me closer, hugging me tightly against him. I knew he sensed my decision, felt my resolve as clearly as if he had read it from my mind.
"I think you're ready," he whispered into my ear, his lips softly brushing my earlobe.
I smiled up at him. "You?"
He smiled back at me and nodded, pushing himself off the couch and placing my hand in his. We walked out the front door and stood on the front step side by side as Felix came up behind us. Jasper placed his arm around my shoulders as Felix walked past us and began his way down the front path. I wrapped my arm around Jasper's waist as we followed Felix.
You bet I was ready. Ready for the next big adventure.