Disclaimer: I do not own anything Twilight-Saga related. But I wish I own Jasper… *sighs*
AN: I'm posting this chapter without it being beta'd yet so please be kind.:P But I sent my draft to my betas, Natalielynn and 1MrsCullen.:P I will just repost it once they sent me back the chapter. Thanks so much, betas.:P I love you both!
Twistedfortwilight posted another story! Please read it. It's a Jasper/Edward fic. I am not so much for slash, but I know it is good because she is the author.
I also extend my gratitude to Clurrabella too for helping me with The Visitor. By the way, sorry for not posting a chapter yet for my two stories.:( I'm having a hard time doing a particular scene for WBTAF and a particular conversation for TV. So please please be patient.
Aunt B hugged Jasper and could not seem to get over his being in the country already. Jasper could not help but to hug her back with equal enthusiasm. Aunt B is like a second mother to him (she wants him to call her Aunt), plus she is so much like her bouncy daughter Alice. Aunt B is like a child given her favorite candy when she bounced to hug him.
Finally, after a few more seconds, Aunt B released Jasper.
"You are so handsome, Jazz," Aunt B muttered in delight. "Your girl should realize how lucky she is for having you." She stressed the words, your girl. Aunt B does not like Lauren. She had always thought Jasper was too good for Lauren, but she tolerates Lauren for Jasper, who is like a son to her.
Jasper smiled. "I am lucky to have her also, B." Emmett did not notice the slight strain in his voice. Aunt B did, but she did not comment instead she smiled and pulled her son and Jasper towards the living room.
"Have a seat first, boys. The girls are still preparing the food. You got here early."
Jasper took a seat between Emmett and Aunt B. Emmett grinned at his mother. "You mean Bella is delaying in poisoning us?" he asked with his eyebrows wiggling. Jasper shook his head at his best friend. Aunt B smirked.
"Bella's Mushroom and Potatoes are the best and you know it, son. You love it." Aunt B said. Emmett rolled his eyes.
"Mom, I was just kidding. You know very well that teasing each other is mine and Bella's favorite hobby."
Aunt B glared at his son and looked at Jasper. "You know Jazz, just awhile ago, I was persuading your best friend to marry Bella."
Jasper smiled at Emmett, who rolled his eyes, and looked at Aunt B. "Bella is way too beautiful for him, Aunt, that's why he doesn't want to marry her."
Though in his mind, Jasper isn't sure with too beautiful. Not that Bella isn't pretty, but for him, she leans more towards the ordinary beauty than the gorgeous beauty. Nothing extraordinary. Maybe because she acts and dresses so boyishly. "So Aunt, where is Alice? She hasn't greeted her other favorite brother, you know," Jasper said, changing the subject.
"I'll call her," Aunt B said while standing up. "Wait here."
Jasper and Emmett followed her retreating back with their gazes.
"So… too beautiful huh?" Emmett asked with mock anger once his mother was out of ear shot. Jasper smiled at him.
"Well… isn't she?" he asked, teasing Emmett. Jasper expected him to protest, but instead Emmett let out a sigh, which surprised Jasper.
"You are right. She is too beautiful. She'll be a handful for some other guy someday. I have to be more alert now since I have to guide two girls," Emmett declared, looking serious. "You know, Jasper, if it weren't for my already strong feelings for Rosalie, I would have taken Mom's offer. Since I'm head over heels for my Rosalie, I'm more into the 'I'm-an-older-brother' thing," he continued.
Jasper looked incredulous that Emmett had to smile. Jasper knows how beautiful Rosalie is.
Emmett continued seriously. "Don't get me wrong. My Rose is still the most beautiful for me, plus I love her. But Bella had changed, Jasper. You'll be surprised. Sometimes, my teasing even turns to flirting. I just can't help it. But I don't think she takes it seriously. You know her a little. She's kind of naïve. She always thinks I'm playing as usual." Emmett said, while straightening his polo.
"How did she change?" Jasper asked out of curiosity while leaning back at the big sofa. "Physically? Emotionally?" He couldn't picture Bella differently than what he last saw of her. Pretty. Ordinary. Boyish.
Emmett looked at him and was about to answer him, but Aunt B had come back with two girls on his side, catching both their attentions. Jasper's eyes immediately went to Alice since it was hard not to notice the little, bouncing Pixie. He grinned at her. Alice had grown to be a beautiful lady. He just knows that he and Emmett will have to guard her so soon. He stood up and opened his arms for a gesture of a hug. Alice grinned and consented. She run to Jasper and she let him hug her.
"How's my other younger sister?" Jasper asked as he kissed Alice on the forehead. He had always treated Alice like his younger sister. One time, his real younger sister even got jealous. "My, my, you've grown to be a beauty. Someone special already?" he asked as he pulled Alice away from him so he can examine her face. He grinned when Alice blushed. He touched her cheeks. "That blush answered my question."
Alice laughed and jumped away from him. "You don't look bad yourself, Jasper. You are so gorgeous!" she shrieked.
And Alice meant it. Jasper had never looked handsomer than now. He had always been handsome, but this time he's more than just a panty-dropper. His southern features are more highlighted. His accent never failed to do its wonders. "Still enjoying swooning girls, Jazzy?"
Jasper laughed. "Not that much anymore," he answered. "Anyway, I brought you something from London. I'll double it because of your compliment, though I'll just bring it next time. Emmett bugged me into hurrying over to his girls that I forgot it." He looked at Emmett who seemed to not have heard a word he had said. Alice laughed at the look on Jasper's face. Jasper's gaze then went to the other girl beside Alice, who was talking to Emmett, making Emmett a bit busy that he hadn't heard his comment.
Jasper's jaw dropped, but he immediately closed it. Alice had to smile a satisfactory smile when she saw Jasper's eyes become bigger. She cleared her throat. Bella's conversation with Emmett stopped and her gaze fell on Jasper. Alice knows her friend was trying her best to remain calm and composed. She heard Bella give herself enough pep talk before facing Jasper.
Alice went to Bella and held one of her hands. "Jasper, I want you to meet Bella. It's been a long time. But I know you two could still remember each other," she said while beaming. Jasper seemed to get over his shock and already has a smile plastered on his face as he extended a hand. "Hi, Bella. It's been a long time."
Bella tried to smile and shook Jasper's hand. "Hi, Jasper. Yeah, it's been a long time. Nice to meet you again."
They released hands abruptly and avoided each other's gaze.
Then there was silence. Everyone stealing glances at each other including Aunt B. And then for what seemed like a long moment, Alice put a stop to the silence. She dragged Bella towards the dining room and motioned for the others to follow them.
"Come on, Mom, Em, and Jasper. The food will get cold if we don't eat."
Sure enough, the others followed, but with silence following them.
The dinner was quieter than it usually is. It was only Aunt B and Emmett who had talked for the most part of the dinner. Bella was too busy avoiding looking at Jasper. Alice was busy looking out for her mother and brother to make sure they don't notice more than they should. And it seemed Emmett and Aunt B were too busy discussing a few company problems so they did not notice anything unusual. Jasper was busy studying Bella much to his own amusement and Alice's.
Em was right. She is indeed a beauty. He took in Bella's wavy, long, mahogany hair that cascaded down to her back. Her perfect nose, small, full lips, and long eyelashes. And her eyes. When she met his gaze awhile ago, he had seen the most beautiful chocolate brown eyes. He never had a chance to look at her directly before. Not that they had lots of chances to even talk. She avoided him like a plague.
Jasper's daydreaming was bothered by Aunt B's loud voice. Emmett and she had finished with their discussion, so she turned towards the others while helping herself to another heaping plate of angel-hair pasta and the mushroom and potatoes. Emmett did the same, and he winked at Bella letting her know that the dinner is delicious. Bella winked back. Jasper had to smile. She looked cute. She was seated across from him, beside Alice, so he can easily see her.
Jasper did not say anything anymore during dinner except when she complimented Bella's mushroom and potatoes and Alice's ice cream cake. He was quite disappointed when Bella did nothing but to smile a little. And he reprimanded himself for feeling such a disappointment.
"Okay," Bella declared as she stood up from the carpeted floor in the living room and stretched. The four of them—she, Alice, Jasper, and Emmett—had been playing Millionaire's Game for three hours already. Bella had acquired enough properties and was just on the peak of her best Millionaire's Game when she noticed the time. Even Aunt B had already retired after getting tired of watching them tease each other. Emmett bullying Jasper. Jasper fighting back. Bella laughing. Alice going almost bankrupt most of the time. And Emmett and Bella's usual bickering.
"I need to go home. It's eleven. Riley will be looking for me," she said with an apologetic look. "He might tear down every house of my friends just so he can find me."
Alice laughed as she stood up too. "You might as well. We could not let Riley destroy our house, could we?" Bella nodded grimly, which made Alice laugh. Riley is one overprotective brother.
Alice turned towards Emmett, who was still sprawled on the floor with Jasper. "Em, you would be a gentleman and bring Bella home, wouldn't you?" she asked sweetly. But before Emmett could answer, Bella smiled down at him.
"Thanks, Em. You rest. I can perfectly go home safely. I didn't take my martial arts PE classes seriously for nothing." Bella turned to the protesting look on Alice's face. "No dimwit. I can't stand Em's face for another half hour. I can go home alone, okay? There are lots of cabs outside this village so stop that look."
Emmett stood up too and put one arm each around Bella's and Alice's shoulders. "Bella, stand my face for just a few minutes, will you? Come on. You don't want Alice breathing down my neck for the whole night, do you? She'll kill me." He said in mock fear as Alice punched his stomach with his tiny fists.
Bella grinned but shook her head. "Thanks, Em. But I really can go home alone." She said with finality in her tone. Alice and Emmett both opened their mouths at the same, expressing their say on the matter when someone spoke.
"I'll bring her home." The voice interjected. The three of them abruptly turned to the owner of the voice. Obviously, they forgot that there is another person with them. He was looking at the three of them seriously, but amusement was evident in his moss green eyes.
"Bella, I'll bring you home. I'll sleep here anyway. If you can't stand Em's face and I don't blame you for that," he said while darting his gaze to Em, who snorted, then back at Bella, "then you'll allow me to drive you home. Where do you live anyway?"
"Forks." Was all Bella could answer at the moment. The moment Jasper said the words, "I'll bring her home", her heart beat had gone haywire and she couldn't think straight. Jasper nodded and held his palm open for the car keys. Emmett just shrugged and put the keys on his friend's hand.
"Take care of my Fiat, Whitlock." Was all he said. Alice was so surprised she could not utter a single word and just nodded when Bella had kissed her farewell.
Jasper opened the door for her and smiled. Bella smiled back as she got in the passenger seat and then cursed herself for smiling back. But she just could not not smile back with that dimpled smile.
Fuck. You're getting really crazy, Swan. She told herself as she followed Jasper with her gaze until he reached the driver's side and got in.
Fuck, Swan! Remove your eyes!
Damn it, I can't! To hell with him bearing my heart! He's so nice to the eyes. My God, London did him good. He is so freaking yummy… with those eyes plus that ass… Damn me to hell and I'll agree.
Talking to yourself is not a good sign, Bella.
Jasper clearing his throat brought Bella back to reality. She blushed when she realized she had been gawking at him. When Jasper smiled back at her, she knew he had caught her eye fucking him.
It was a quiet trip. Bella was determined not to talk to Jasper after that little show, but she had to talk to Jasper as he decided to become suddenly talkative and asked a series of questions.
"So… is Emmett having a hard time guarding his girls from predatory men?" he asked, his eyes looking ahead. Though Bella can see a smile on his lips when she looked at him.
"Well," she started, "Emmett needs to guard Alice a lot. She has lots of admirers," Bella said truthfully. It was true. She was always having a hard time asking guys to stop hovering over her best friend until Jacob came to Alice's life. Jacob is Alice's boyfriend. The only one who had the guts to court the little evil pixie she calls her best friend.
Bella smiled innocently. "No admirer."
The answer made Jasper look at her with his eyebrows creased. "Are you kidding me?" His tone sounded so surprised that Bella was taken aback for awhile. But she was able to compose herself. She shook her head.
"Nope. Really, it's true."
Jasper looked at her for a second before he nodded and focused his attention back on the road. Bella had kept quiet and Jasper respected her subtle decision of not wanting any further conversation with him. He understands her. They were never really close.
But still he could not believe her when she said she doesn't have an admirer.
Are guys really blind nowadays? He thought.
"Thanks, Jasper." Bella smiled at him. Jasper insisted on accompanying her to their front porch. He was raised as a gentleman by his parents. His mother will hit him at the back of the head if she ever knew he hasn't brought a girl to her door.
Jasper nodded and he tried not to smile. He had been smiling a lot today and that wasn't him. "No problem. See you around, Bella." He turned his back on her almost too immediately that he didn't see Bella's frown. She followed him with her gaze until he got in the car and zoomed away.
See you around. The thought saddened Bella. She realized just now how hard it'll be for her. Jasper is back. And it seemed something else is coming back too. Not that it really went away, Swan. It was kept aside for awhile. Just for awhile and you know it.
She sighed as she went inside and closed the door behind her.
She doesn't want the truth to win.
And the truth was about to reveal itself again. And soon.
Jasper decided to stop at a coffee shop on the way back to the McCartys' residence. It was inside the university. He has his alumni ID so he got inside the campus easily. He wants to be alone for awhile. Emmett will not leave him alone when he gets back. His best friend is still not over from catching up with his life in London. He can't blame him. He rarely sent emails and he rarely called. He'd been busy in London.
Jasper ordered a tall cup of decaffeinated coffee and sat at one of the comfy sofas of the coffee shop. He took a sip of his coffee and studied it. He was not really a coffee addict, but he needs the solitary ambience this almost-empty coffee shop gives. He took in his surroundings. This coffee shop had been here since his college days, but it was renovated and the name was changed.
He let out a long sigh and got his phone to reread the messages Lauren had sent. They were impersonal messages. It hurts him. Lauren's coldness. These past few days, they were not okay. Jasper knows Lauren loves him very much. And he, the same. There was never a doubt on their feelings. He had proposed to her last year. They will get married this year. Ten months from now. Well... supposed to be. He thought bitterly. In fact, the two of them had just found the perfect wedding coordinator two days ago. The two of them were supposed to go to Angels' Haven- the wedding coordinator's office on Fourth Street- tomorrow. It was recommended by a friend.
Lauren hasn't replied to any of his texts messages. He feels there is a problem. He doesn't know what yet. They just seem to run after each other's necks these past few days. Simple things suddenly matter. It was never the love they feel for one another. He was sure that the problems lie on other things. He just couldn't fathom yet where.
Though the problems just started when he got back from London. Emmett doesn't have a clue yet. He was thankful his best friend hasn't asked for updates on his wedding yet.
Or maybe he has a feeling about it and wants you to open it up to him on your own. He thought to himself. Emmett can read him like an open book most of the time that it's scary.
He sighed again as he took another sip of the coffee. Two days after getting back from London, Lauren asked him if they can postpone the wedding. When he asked her directly if she doesn't want to get married, she had insisted she does want to get married. It was just that she just felt ten months are too short-a-time for a wedding preparation. They had talked to their parents and they reluctantly agreed that Jasper and Lauren be married next year.
Jasper will now have to wait for twenty two more months.
He took another sip of his coffee and looked around him. He studied the few people having their late night coffees. The sound of his message alert tone distracted him. It was Lauren.
You have to go alone to the wedding coordinator's office tomorrow. I'll try to go too, but Mom decided to look at the designs for my bridal gown tomorrow. She wants my gown to be designed by her couturier. We'll have the entourage gowns with the coordinator and their designer, okay? Just schedule another meeting with me. See you soon. I'll just text you.
Jasper sighed. What happened to I love you? How about Hon? Jasper finished the last of his coffee and went out of the coffee shop. He badly needs to talk to someone, but he is sure that someone was not the woman behind the counter who had been eyeing him since he ordered his coffee.
While driving back to the McCarty residence, he had the sudden urge to pull back towards Bella's house, but decided against it.
For Christ's sake, Whitlock. You are not even close.
But then, you need an unbiased ears to listen to you, Whitlock.
Shit. Just shut the fuck up! Get your gear in place and get back to Em's house.
And he did. But he can't stop thinking about the sudden pull he feels towards Bella. What he is sure of was, that pull was not present before. It was only now.
Alice is still awake when he got back. In fact, Jasper thinks she was deliberately waiting for him.
Alice was sitting in the living room alone. She smiled at him. He smiled back and sat down beside her.
"Waiting for me, Alice?" he asked. Alice grinned.
"Yeah. Just to check if you brought my best friend back home safely. I guess you have, because if not, you wouldn't be able to get back here in one piece. Riley would have your body parts scattered already."
Jasper laughed. "He is that protective of his sister?"
Alice nodded. "Yeah. Bella's a very nice sister. Very considerate. Very caring. But Riley also knows she is quite stubborn and does things she likes without his permission. That is why he worries over her. The past few years, she gained a lot of new confidence and independence that it scared her brother the most. Riley is quite very protective since there is only the two of them in here."
"Does she always get into trouble?" Jasper asked, with a hint of curiosity in his voice that Alice smiled a little.
"Nope, Jazz. Well… not in serious trouble anyway involving jails and drugs. They are just afraid that Bella would turn rebellious. Though I doubt if she will. She loves her family and won't disappoint them. They just have to accept the new version of Bella." Alice said, sighing a little as she laid her head on Jasper's chest. Jasper pulled her closer.
"She did change. A lot since I last saw her." He said before he can stop his mouth. Fucking verbal filters. He muttered in his thoughts. Alice smiled.
"She's pretty now, isn't she? Not that she isn't pretty before, but it's more evident now, right?"
Jasper nodded his agreement and before he can stop himself, he had answered truthfully. "Yeah. I was a little surprised."
Whitlock! Work on your filters. You'd better. He told himself.
Alice was satisfied in his answer so she just kept quiet.
Until an idea struck her mind.
"You know what brought that change in her?" she asked coyly. Jasper looked down at her, surprise evident on his handsome face.
"What?" he asked, his voice full of curiosity.
"A guy." Alice answered casually. She waited for Jasper's reaction. She was not disappointed. Jasper might not realize it but he looks really curious and a little… angry.
"Oh. A guy? What did that bastard do to break her heart?" There was a slight raise in his tone. Alice knows Jasper was doing it unconsciously, but she was satisfied nevertheless.
If you only knew whom you are calling a bastard. Alice wanted to say, but she just laughed much to Jasper's surprise.
"What?" he asked. Alice just shook her head.
"Nothing Jazz. And to answer your question, the bastard broke her heart. Though he doesn't know he did. It was a one-sided, love-from-afar love." Alice explained. "Though the guy had a fault too. Cause he has shown every girl who likes him that he is just that far to reach."
"And how is that?" Jasper asked.
"That's not for me to tell. It's her story. I just gave you a little story so you will not notice that it is taking Em two hours already talking to Rose and that he seemed to forget you are here for him to entertain."
Jasper laughed. "I thought so. No other woman can hog him using the phone other than his woman." Alice laughed too.
"So… who is your guy, Alice? Care to share?" Jasper asked, changing the subject. "When will I meet him?"
This time, Alice blushed, but she went on telling Jasper about Jacob. Jasper was just too eager to listen. He needs the distraction right now.
AN: So what do you think? And yes, it will be Alice-Jacob. I find that pairing cute. Have you read fiberkitty's lost and found? Alice is good with Jacob too. In fact Alice is good with Seth too. And with Edward. Not just with Jasper.:p Haha. Don't get angry with me! After all most of you know that I am a Jasper and Bella fan.
I know most of you were incredulous when I revealed it was Lauren that Jasper was so much in love with. Well, I am exploring a new Lauren for this one. You'll not hate him for being a bitch, but you'll hate him for being something else. You'll know it soon.
Edward will not be making his presence here. I don't want him to be a part of the love triangle. Let us let Edward rest first for now.:P
Please review!:p Thanks so much.