I own nothing related to Twilight.
Alternative Universe. Characters are OOC. Not an All Human fic.
Like my other stories, Bella's POV will be limited to what she sees and hears. There are always other events going on that she and the reader are unaware of.
The physical rules of the vampire world remain, but I have taken liberties with history and other details to fit them to my story. Some of these will be made clear early on. Others will be revealed as the story plays out.
Enough with my chatter. I hope you enjoy the story, and thanks for reading.
Conversations With My Killer
Chapter 1 - Camel Spit
My life was mapped out for me. It was simple and basic and exactly what I wanted it to be. I would marry Edward Cullen. He would change me into a vampire. We would live happily ever after. My nights were spent dreaming of the day I would become his forever. My days were spent wishing forever didn't require a wedding. It was his stipulation. It was my first real complaint about us.
I had met the Cullens in the winter of my junior year in high school. Falling in love with Edward was easy. Believing he loved me was difficult. It had all happened very fast. My life was ordinary one day, and on the next, I tripped and fell into a world of myth and magic. I hoped to continue to live in that world for the rest of my existence.
Edward's family was an anomaly in the world of vampires. They fed on animals. It wasn't something that happened naturally. Their instincts and their bodies thirsted for humans, but their souls demanded they abstain. It was a choice they made. They may have lost their humanity, but they maintained their love for the human race. I admired their strength and commitment. I knew it was difficult living the way they did, but somehow they found it in themselves to make it work.
His family was comprised of six other vampires. Esme and Carlisle were the parental figures. Carlisle was a well respected doctor in the small community of Forks, and Esme was his loyal companion who ran the Cullen household. Edward had two brothers and two sisters. No one in the family was actually related, but the bonds were there. Blood, or in their case venom, didn't make the family. Love did. It was something they had in abundance.
Edward was closest with his brother Emmett, who was married to Rosalie Hale. Rosalie had saved Emmett after he was mauled by a bear. Once he was turned, love bloomed between the two of them, but it did take time. Rosalie was not what one would call the friendliest of creatures. She hated me, which was fine. The feeling was mutual.
The final two members of the family were Alice Cullen and Jasper Hale. His history was a blood spree that only ended when he met Alice. They became fast friends before finding the Cullen family a few years later. After a century of taking human life, Jasper's transition to a vegetarian diet was almost impossible for him. Had it not been for his deep friendship with Alice, he would not have been able to do so. She was what held him to the diet. Hearing how close they were made me wonder why it was that they were not a couple.
Jasper was easily the most mysterious member of the family. I knew next to nothing about him, and no one volunteered any information. My only window into who he was came from a day that occurred over a year ago.
I joined the family for a baseball game, and we were interrupted by three vampires. After a tense confrontation where one of them decided I was a snack, they agreed to leave. They need not have bothered.
As soon as they turned their backs on us, Jasper attacked the male named James. The fight lasted all of a minute, and in that time, Emmett, Rosalie, Esme, and Edward paired up and took out the remaining two vampires while Carlisle stayed close to me.
The fight happened so quickly, and they all moved with such speed that I couldn't make out what happened. The noise was what struck me most. The tearing of limbs and the accompanying pain ridden screams still buzzed violently in my ears. Some small part of me enjoyed the symphony of death, or maybe it was just relief that I hadn't died.
The parts of the three vampires were thrown into a neat pile before being set on fire. Edward didn't help with the clean up. After the fight ended, he traded places with Carlisle and tried to block me from seeing anything else. When I struggled against him, he picked me up. The last thing I saw before he ran off with me was Jasper.
He had his face turned up into the rain that had started to fall. He didn't look wild or crazed. There was a look of intense pleasure on his face as he breathed in the smell of the strange purple fire. His eyes opened as he slowly turned his head in my direction. The pleasure left and was replaced by what appeared to be curiosity.
Edward was furious over what he considered a reckless act that put me in far too much danger. For days, he complained about his brother's decision.
After days of listening to him whine, I finally spoke up. "What was so wrong about what he did? That one would have hunted me. You said so yourself."
"We should have handled it a different way. What if one of them killed you?"
"All that matters is they didn't."
I was starting to believe there was more to Edward's complaints than what he showed on the surface. "What is really bothering you about what he did?"
"Killing our own is not something we do lightly. Out of all of us, Jasper knows this better than anyone."
"Are you saying he could get in trouble?"
Edward almost looked disappointed when he answered. "He's not like us. The rules we follow do not always apply to him."
"They just don't. Can we drop it?"
In the many months that followed that day, I spent more time with the Cullen family. They quickly became my family, with the exception of Jasper. He kept a significant amount of distance between us. We rarely spoke, and on most days, he left the house as soon as I arrived.
When I questioned Edward about this, he said he asked his brother to stay away from me. I didn't argue against this. Edward ruled my world, and I let him. If he wanted Jasper on the other side of the world, I would wave goodbye to the man and wish him the best of luck.
None of us could have predicted how this would change my relationship with Edward, but we should have. Whenever something was kept out of reach, it always became more desirable. Where before my fascination with Edward ruled my days, I now felt myself growing more and more curious about the one person I was denied.
Spending five minutes in Jasper's company was like giving me candy. It was a treat I looked forward to, but was rarely allowed to enjoy. Without fail, he would exit the room after a few words were exchanged, or Edward would interrupt us and pull me away. When that happened, Jasper's mood would change. I could feel a twisted sense of amusement at the situation. It was like someone told him a joke, and only he understood it.
My other favorite treats were the rare occasions I talked to Alice, the missing member of the family. She had left town in the weeks prior to my arrival for reasons she refused to divulge. She called often and relayed warnings based on visions she received. Eventually, she began calling me just so we could get to know one another. It didn't take long before we were friends. She was so energized over the phone I knew living with her would be a whirlwind of fun. I couldn't wait until she returned.
The family dynamic had suffered mightily due to her absence. Edward and Jasper had always had a strained relationship. It grew worse when Edward blamed his brother for his favorite sister's departure. According to Emmett, Alice and Jasper had been arguing just before she took off. Edward was out hunting, and returned to a house in turmoil as well as news of a missing sibling.
Jasper wouldn't reveal what the argument was about, and Emmett only caught the very end of it when Alice was begging her brother to be patient. He yelled back that he had already waited over a century. Emmett broke up the argument, and Alice left.
No one knew what Jasper was waiting for. Then again, no one knew much about him at all. He came and went more than any other member of the family, and maintained a level of independence that set him even further apart from the others. Edward could, of course, read his mind, but he still felt like Jasper was a stranger.
Outside of his history and the thoughts Edward picked up, Jasper was a mystery. His opinions were kept quiet. His mind was usually filled with music being replayed from his memory. I think this was his way of torturing Edward, whose own taste in music covered a wide range but did not match Jasper's at all. It also kept Edward from scoping out his thoughts too much. Considering the two of them were like oil and water, this was probably a good thing.
This wasn't the case with the rest of the family. Emmett and Rosalie both had a relationship with Jasper that was easy and free. Esme and Carlisle looked upon him as a son. Alice was the closest to him, but she was still missing in action. No one knew when she would return. It was now May of my senior year in high school, and she still said we had a few months to go. Her suggestion was for us to focus on our own lives and so we did.
My senior year of high school was winding down. Many changes occurred in the last few weeks. The biggest being my engagement to Edward.
Fortunately, he agreed to take on the duties of arranging our wedding. I was less than interested. I knew it bothered him, but I wasn't going to pretend to be excited about the formalities. I was excited about the man. The marriage was a weight around my shoulders I was dying to throw off. This weight took on the form of some serious dislike for my engagement ring. I hated the thing.
My whole system blanched at the thought of making us official. It wasn't that I didn't love Edward. It was that I didn't love marriage. I only agreed because he refused to change me or sleep with me unless I went through with it. It was emotional blackmail in my book and completely unfair. He was the turn of the century vampire with morals that were appropriate for his time. I was not. It was one of the few things we disagreed on.
All total, I was a lucky girl. I had the man of my dreams, a family that would love and support me, and an eternity to enjoy them both.
This should have made me happy, but I wasn't. Something inside of me had shifted in the last few weeks, and I only took notice of it after becoming engaged. When had I stopped looking forward to a brand new day? Where did that feeling of exhilaration run off to?
I had no answer to either question. What I did have was a newfound urgency to change. So much of what I felt before was fading, and I knew that becoming a vampire would set things in stone. If it didn't happen soon, I feared there wouldn't be anything left of my feelings.
I was a girl in a hurry to die. I was a girl who thought nothing of how my decisions would affect others. I was a girl whose future wasn't quite as set as she thought it was.
Changes were coming, and they began on the day I started having conversations with my killer.
There was little to complain about in the scene before me. It was a Cullen picnic. Blankets protected our clothing from the dirt and grass. Laughter echoed around the clearing. The day was sunny, and a light breeze had the trees dancing to a beat I knew would match the song in Edward's head. Nature molded itself around this man.
His clothes were never wrinkled. His hair was never mussed. His smile was bright and toothy, and his eyes were always loving and attentive. A wrong word never crossed his lips. A missed note never tarnished the music that came from his fingertips.
Polished. Unerring. Flawless.
On my best day, I lagged behind him by a mile. This was a bad day. It was the latest in a series of bad days.
A picnic. Six vampires. One human. Food for a dozen people. I was the only human here to eat any of it.
I always felt so much pressure when I ate around the family. It was the same every time. I overate because it was the only way I knew to show enough appreciation for the effort they went to for me.
I gained weight. Ten pounds. I took to wearing over-sized shirts to hide my flaws. If I didn't, they would glare out at the individuals around me. I couldn't let that happen. All of them were copies of Edward. All but one.
He was sitting on the ground reclined up against a tree with his feet propped up on a rock. He looked comfortable. A book was in his hands, but he wasn't reading it. His eyes were on the edge of the tree line where the light stopped and the shadows began. Like usual, he stayed in the trees, avoiding the sun.
Someone handed me a piece of chicken. It was still warm. Of course it was.
I ate quietly, paying little attention to my actions. Bite. Chew. Swallow. Rinse and repeat. All I ever did was go through the motions.
When I finished, I admired the bones. I cleaned this leg up nicely, but it was ugly to me. I achieved some level of perfection, and all I wanted was to throw this chicken bone at the nearest vampire and see if it magically stuck.
It wouldn't. They were Teflon. I hated that about them. Stupid, perfect beings. They made me feel less than whole. He made me feel less than whole. A growl rumbled through my head. I was so angry over nothing. The chicken bone flew from my hand. It made a beeline for Edward's shirt, but he caught it just before it struck gold.
My apology was insincere. "It slipped. Sorry."
Edward shook his head and tossed the projectile into the plastic container marked for trash. He didn't seem to care that I threw something at him. This upset me more than anything else. Shouldn't throwing food at him be a big damn sign that something wasn't right?
I looked down at my hands. My irritated feelings left when I saw my greasy fingers. A few crumbs here and there only added to the mess. This was beautiful. Grease would never stick to my companions. If she could eat, Rosalie would probably scare her food so much she wouldn't even need a napkin.
Ah. There we go. Napkins.
Esme never packed any. Why would she think to do so? When she and the others took down an animal, I doubted they had so much as a stray drop of blood or a misplaced hair from the animal. They never needed cleaning up. I did.
Pitch perfect voices surrounded me while I continued to mentally pick apart perfection. These people were always talking. Awkward silence only came from me. They knew just what to say.
Edward handed me something else. I didn't know what it was. I just ate it.
When I got to the last bite, I finally looked up from the patch of grass I didn't even know I was staring at. Jasper had his head cocked to the side and was watching me. This wasn't even watching. He was studying me. I was a slide on his microscope. He was the scientist. The murderer. The glacier.
Unlike the rest of the family, he never paid me much attention. Emmett was always joking with me and tossing me up onto his shoulders. Rosalie was openly hostile. Carlisle was the perfect father figure. He asked after my day, and was genuinely interested in the answer. It was the same with Esme.
Then there was Edward. He was constantly with me. His presence made the air around him thinner. It was getting to the point where I couldn't breathe. I felt like he was suffocating me, which wasn't even fair. I knew I was suffocating myself. He was just the oblivious god at my side.
Jasper wasn't oblivious, but he also wasn't usually interested. Something about today made him sit up and take notice. Ordinarily, this would have pleased me. I wanted his attention and was desperate to get to know him. That desire like so many other things had changed in the last few weeks. I blamed it on the engagement, which still wasn't sitting well with me.
I tried ignoring Jasper. My discomfort grew. I fidgeted. I talked too much but didn't say anything. I laughed but nothing was funny. I stood out from them. Awkward, bumbling Bella.
Edward ironed my shirts again. It was a new thing he started a month ago. They hung in my closet organized by sleeve length and color. I stood in front of the rack every morning before I dressed and wondered why it pissed me off so much. Being neat and orderly was supposed to be good, but instead, it felt like a noose around my neck. The rope kept tightening, and still, I couldn't figure out what the problem was.
In hindsight, the connection was pretty easy to make, just as so many others were as well. Rather than open my eyes, I held tight to my blindness and let Edward lead me around by the ever tightening rope.
The noose was absent today. The vampire who tied it was on a hunting trip with Emmett. It was a welcome change.
I picked a shirt and threw it on. The only thing that mattered was it wasn't blue. Edward loved seeing me in blue. I stopped wearing it.
This shirt was white, which was completely impractical for a girl like me to wear. Sure enough, I was eating cereal and dribbled milk down my blouse. The liquid was white, but it still stood out like a stain. Seeing the splotch made me feel warmer than the sun. My skin even hummed with a new life.
This would be a good day. I already dropped food on myself, and I hoped to add a grass stain or two. I found a book and headed out the back door. A quick walk had me surrounded by trees and solitude.
Making my day even better was a fallen tree I found. I imitated Jasper's comfortable position from the day before. He had the right idea. This was nice. I could stay here for hours.
Because this wasn't a Cullen day out, it started raining an hour after I found my reading spot. I breathed in the smell of heaven and tossed my book aside. No adventure in it could compare to the feeling of the big drops falling on my face. I blinked rapidly when they hit my eyes but still kept my face tilted up.
I loved this weather. When I first came to Forks, there was too much of it. My clothes always felt like they stuck to me, and my feet usually slipped on the wet ground. Things changed. Over time, I grew to love the wet. It happened when I realized how much my hair frizzed up from the damp air.
Frizzy hair and tangles shouldn't make a girl feel good, but they did. Like so many other changes in my attitude, I couldn't explain why this was.
I sat up and ran a wet finger through the dirt next to me. It was already turning to mud. I traced the letters of my name.
B E L L A
I liked my name and had recently started making a point of saying it in my head several times throughout the day. These little moments allowed me to hold on to the person I was or at least the person I thought I was.
Each mirror I ran across held a stranger. My reflection didn't match my memories of what I should look like. My skin was paler and dark circles stood out like a badge of sleepless honor. Even my eyes seemed to have changed color. I thought of them as brown, but they were more than that. Reds and gold were tangled together with rich browns to create a color that was far too complex to be referred to as simply brown. These eyes didn't belong to me months ago, but they must have. I just never took the time to truly look at them.
Even my name sounded foreign to me. This wasn't always the case. Like everything else, the odd feeling only began a few weeks ago. I had been sitting on my bed waiting for Edward to come to my window when my eyes caught on a picture I drew as a child.
My name was spelled out in a crazy scrawl with purple crayon. I read the simple name out loud. It was jarring to me when I realized I couldn't remember the last time I heard it. I was sure others must have said it, but I couldn't remember them doing so. My entire focus was on Edward. He was central to all my thoughts and my words. I was an afterthought even in my own mind.
My favorite color changed with the color of his eyes. The sound of him playing piano provided the soundtrack to my life. His smell swirled around me in a fog that left me dazed.
For whatever reason, hearing my name that night made the smell dissipate, and afterwards, my mind opened up to a world that wasn't so bright anymore. Color was muted. All sounds were set at a lower volume. The air around me seemed almost stale. The world wasn't ugly without him polluting it with his beauty. It was just less but also more at the same time.
For days, I pondered why this was. I never came to any sort of conclusion I found satisfying, but I did notice that each day that passed made the not so bright world come to life around me.
I heard birds singing for the first time in months. I didn't know where they had gone, but they were back again. The color green that was so plentiful around me now held a depth I never fully appreciated. These were just two examples. There was a wealth of new elements to this slowly evolving world. I saw them all as individual revelations, and I guarded them like secrets.
I couldn't tell Edward about my observations. He always told me I was ridiculous or silly. In the beginning, I agreed and wasn't bothered. Now I was. Why should my thoughts be silly just because he didn't share them? And did he not know that ridiculous meant I was deserving of ridicule? It was the very definition of the word. I knew this but never paid much mind to it. All words from his lips were beauty, and at the time, I loved them. I just didn't love them anymore.
I didn't accept those labels. I wasn't silly just because I occasionally behaved foolishly. I wasn't ridiculous. I was sometimes unreasonable and oftentimes different from others. If he truly respected me, he wouldn't laugh at those differences. He would embrace them. I did, or at least, I was going to try to do that now.
And so I did. I allowed myself new pleasures I never fully appreciated before. I read a book that was pure candy. It was an adventure novel with no meaning, symbolism, or depth. I adored it. I watched a horror movie on television and laughed at the fake blood and the manufactured fear. Edward changed the channel. He didn't want me to have a bad dream. I reclaimed the remote control and told him he didn't want to end up missing a hand.
Ah. Good times.
Today offered more good times in the arrival of an unexpected visitor.
My eyes may have been opened, but I was still at a disadvantage when it came to a vampire appearing seemingly out of nowhere. I was enjoying the weather and scribbling in the mud when someone sat down next to me. I didn't have to look at my guest to know it was Jasper. The others would have avoided the mud.
On any other day, I would have loved that he was here. For months, I wished for a real conversation between us. Today, I didn't want anything from a Cullen except to be left alone. This was my place. He was an interloper. Why couldn't he go away? He had to know he was unwanted, but he still remained. I almost growled at him when he spelled out his name next to mine.
After several minutes of quiet, he spoke up. "You're wearing a black bra under a white shirt that is soaked. This would never happen to Alice or Rosalie."
I looked down and saw he was right. What did I care? It was just one more detail to add to the millions setting me apart from those two. "They also wouldn't play in the mud."
"Why are you?"
"Is there some rule saying I shouldn't?" I asked defiantly.
Jasper took a handful of the wet soil and made a tight fist. It squeezed out between his fingers and oozed down his hand. This was what made my attitude change. He wasn't put off by the dirt and the wet. He played with it like I did. He was like me.
My lips started moving with words from a story I never told Edward. "When I was little, I liked to make mud cookies and try to sell them to the neighbors. I only ever sold one batch. I was always disappointed when people failed to reward my efforts."
"Is that why you eat too much of the food Esme makes for you?"
Good question. I was surprised he even noticed. "Maybe. I never put the two together."
He reached over and used the bottom of my shirt to clean off his hands. "Tell me the story that explains why you like dirty clothes."
I didn't have one, but this didn't stop my imagination from creating something just for the sake of amusing him. "I went to a zoo when I was eight, and the best part of the day was when a camel spit on me. I felt special because he didn't spit on any of the other girls. I never did wash the shirt."
Jasper saw through my crap. "Why use a camel for your lie? Bird droppings are more believable and much more likely to occur."
Because birds were boring. "A camel is something I only see on television or at the zoo. I'm actually more curious about why I would feel special about being spit on. What do you think that means?"
"Given your explanation about the camel, this part is easy."
"As much as you might like to lie to yourself and say otherwise, a part of you feels special because you've drawn the attention of a creature you find exotic and intriguing. Edward is your camel. He won't spit on you, but he would love to bite you."
This actually made sense in a bizarre kind of way.
Jasper wasn't finished. "This brings us to the shirt. The child inside you wouldn't have washed it. Does this still hold true for who you are today?"
"I would definitely wash it. I don't need camel spit to set me apart from people."
I turned my head and looked at him for the first time since he arrived. He was wearing a thin metal headband of all things. On most men, this would look strange. Somehow he managed to pull it off. I liked seeing it on him.
"Why are you here, Jasper?"
"Edward requested that I apologize to you. He believes I offended you in some way, which resulted in your attitude at the picnic."
We both knew that wasn't the case. "If you had offended me, would you apologize?"
"Good. I wouldn't want you to."
Jasper took his headband off and placed it on my head, pushing my hair back. I always used my hair like a shield. Edward never commented on it. No one did. Not until today.
"Why do you hide so much? Your face behind your hair. Your feelings behind a smile. Your opinions behind an agreeable nod. Is there any truth in you?"
The last part hit me hard. Mostly because it hit home. I knew I was evolving into someone I didn't know. Her truths were not mine anymore and nothing made sense to me.
I punched at the mud with my fists and him with my words. "Are you calling me a liar?"
"Don't be offended. It's not a bad thing to lie."
Of course it was, and I was the biggest liar of all. I wanted to run away and hide until I could figure out what was wrong with me. I felt like an impostor in a Bella body.
"Lying is always wrong," I said more to myself than Jasper.
He didn't comment. He was much more interested in his hair, which had fallen in his eyes. He ran his muddy hands through it, and the sticky mess kept everything slicked back. I couldn't believe he did that.
When he saw me staring at him, Jasper reached out and traced a line of mud across my forehead. "You can't pick and choose dirt, Bella. You either dive in or stay clean."
A mud prophet. This was new and way above my head.
"So what's the deal with you?" I asked. "Do you really believe lying isn't a bad thing?"
"Why would it be? What gives the people in our lives the right to any truth other than what we want them to have? Our thoughts and feelings belong to us exclusively."
"And yet, you spied on me hoping for some hidden information."
He shrugged. "I may not have a right to the knowledge, but it won't keep me from trying to acquire it. Call me a thief. I am one."
"I was thinking hypocrite."
"Hypocrisy is inevitable. I find it hilarious when people are so put off by it."
This man made no sense whatsoever. "It's because of the lack of sincerity. Hypocrisy is dishonesty at the highest level."
"No. It is the very breath of honesty. When a man believes himself one way but reveals himself as another, he either recognizes it or he doesn't. That can tell you more about someone than anything else."
"I don't know that I agree with that. Regardless, hypocrisy is still wrong."
"No. It is a consequence of a world where beliefs evolve faster than people. Most will spend their entire lives playing catch up. Why judge them for it when we are all guilty of the same crime?"
According to him, we were all hypocrites, and it was okay. I had never heard anyone with opinions like his. "Jasper, do you even believe in right and wrong?"
"I believe in being flexible. It makes life easier."
He stood up and took his jacket off before tossing it down to me. "You shouldn't hide your face, and that dirt looks good on you."
It was the last thing he said before leaving. When I was sure he wouldn't return, I peeled off my wet shirt and put on his jacket. I pulled it close around me. I hadn't even realized I was cold.
A new chapter should be posted next Wednesday. I'll try to send out an excerpt from the next chapter to those who review. If you have any questions, shoot me a PM or a review. I'll try to answer what I can.
Thanks for reading,