A/N: The third and final chapter. I've been swamped with homework and had hoped to get this up sooner... Oh, well. Ta-da!
When we got home, Bella surprised me. She dumped her bag on the sofa, turned round and hurled herself at me. After the initial shock, I realised that she was hugging me. So I hugged her back, albiet awkwardly. It was weird, hugging the human I had tried to kill a year ago. Alice had helped me work through that, and I thought of Bella as nothing but my baby sister, but it was weird nonetheless.
When she finally let go, Bella took a tiny step back and smiled at me. "Thank you, Jasper." Her smile was so bright it seemed to light up the room.
I'd never seen her so happy.
I looked around, suddenly feeling rather sheepish and noticed the time on the clock. Oh, crap! My brothers were going to be home any minute and I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to tell Edward.
I had already decided I wouldn't mention any of the stuff we'd done with the guys. Strange that I managed to think that so easily - the guys. Huh. I wasn't too bad with werewolves. They hadn't seemed too uncomfortable around me either, once the initial 'Oh my God, it's a vampire!' thing had worn off. We'd actually been able to laugh and joke a bit.
So that didn't leave me with an awful lot. But I had to tell him something, or he'd know something was up - then again, he'd probably think it odd that I was keeping my thoughts so masked. Either way, I could sense an argument.
I went into the kitchen and asked Bella. Her reaction was definitely not what I expected.
"Don't tell him anything!" she all but shouted, slamming her glass of water down on the kitchen counter. "Don't even think anything. What we did today has nothing, nothing to do with him!" Regaining her composure, she added, "He would only complain."
I nodded in agreement. She was probably spot on. That didn't make it any easier though.
"So if he asks, which he will, I just... blank him?"
She frowned. "I guess. Oh, Jasper," she sighed, coming over and resting her head on my shoulder, "I'm not making it easy for you, am I?"
"Not really, no. But I'll manage."
She stroked my arm gently, tracing the scars visible on my pale skin. It was a nice feeling. "Sorry," she murmured. "I swear I don't mean to."
I turned her round to face me. "Bella, hon', it's okay. It's not the first time I've hidden something from my brother and it won't be the last. Besides, I'm not about to tell him that I had fun today, am I? What would he think?"
Her face lit up, like I knew it would. "You had fun?"
"Yeah, I did. Surprisingly."
"Yes. The wolves aren't that bad, once you spend a couple of hours with them."
"Yes," I laughed. She was like a broken record!
Bella grinned and hugged me again. This time, I hugged her back properly. "My big brother," she whispered, sending a surge of affection whizzing through me. My emotions and hers combined, I guess. Whatever it was, it was powerful.
I hugged her harder. "My little sister."
I couldn't wait to get home. Emmett had insisted on stopping several times to fool about and by the fourth time it was getting on my nerves. I had managed to partially convince myself that Bella would be fine with Jasper, but now that my mind wasn't mainly focused on one thing I found it hard to keep my thoughts away from her.
My Bella. My whole existance. My whole reason for living - if you could call it that.
I just wanted to get home to her. To wrap her in my arms and never let her go. She would hug me back and then break free, and I would have to fight the posessive urge to keep her there, safe from any possible harm.
But that was unnecessary. And a slight overreaction on my part, to say the least.
I know I tend to overreact when it comes to Bella. But I can't help it. I honestly can't. I just... if something threatens her, the red haze just comes down. I can't stop it easily. It's never happened with anyone else. It's like I'm stumbling round in the dark; I don't know what to do.
Emmett's just stopped again. This time to race up a tree. Seriously, he's like a little child. Running away every few minutes.
"Em," I called quietly. He would hear. He'd better. "Come down. It's nearly five. I want to go home. Come on."
A few seconds later, his head appeared, upside down.
"Bells' fine. Have some fun, Eddie!"
He flipped up and landed in front of me, still grinning.
I resisted sighing. He was toying with me. I didn't want to play - I wanted to go home! I wanted to make sure she was alright...
Emmett stared up me through his lashes. Ha, that only worked on Rosalie and Esme. Well, I suppose if it got me back to Bella -
"Ok. I'll race you."
Before he could respond, I took off, flying past the trees either side of me. Of course he followed. I knew he would.
I would see her soon.
I would see her soon.
Five, four, three, two, one...
I heard the door bang just before Edward all but dived into the room.
Nice. Composure at all times. I saw Em slip into the room (an impressive feat for him, actually) and skirted round the Edward-Bella thing to join him.
"You did well. You held him up a whole half hour this time."
Emmett winked conspiritorially. "Yep, I did do well," he agreed. "So where's that jeep you promised me? I checked in the garage - it's not there."
I widened my eyes. "I never said anything about a jeep! What are you talking about?"
He laughed under his breath. "Ha. Ha ha. See, that's funny, 'cause I remember every single word. 'I'll buy you a new jeep, Emmett, if you try and keep Edward from coming home early. As late as possible. I promise. A new jeep.' "
I glanced at Edward, who had gone still. "Now you've done it," I muttered. My brother; always the smart one. Come to think of it, why did I think Edward wouldn't have noticed? Vampire. Duh.
It took about two minutes for Ed to completely blow his top.
"How could you- No, I don't care! I don't care! Why did you think that keeping me from Bella would be a good idea? Do you enjoy seeing me in pain? You sadists!"
Bella was nearly in tears. Her head was pressed into the hollow of my collarbone. I knew how she felt. (drum crash, laugh, applause!)
I'm finally going insane.
Oh, why won't he just leave it? He's still going on and on, except now he's having a go at Bella. Which is not on. No way.
"Edward. Bella has done nothing wrong - she wanted to see her friend. You told me to stay with her. I did. Why are you overreacting?"
"You - "
"Yes! Ok! I did tell Emmett to hold you up, but only because Bella deserves to have some time to herself," I said, wishing that Bella didn't have to hear this. But no way was Edward about to let her go, that much I knew.
"Bella." She didn't raise her head from my shoulder. "Bella look at me." Edward's tone had softened considerably. "Bella, sweetheart."
Her hand clenched. It was resting on my back, so only I felt it.
"Hon', look at him," I whispered. Edward looked so upset. So pained. His emotions were all over the place. Now was not the time for her to be stubborn.
She stepped away from me and turned.
The gasp was loud in the silent room as she raced into Edward's arms.
"Oh, geez," Emmett muttered. "Lets get out of here."
We were at the edge of the trees when we heard a bang and the shouting start.
"Just leave them," I told Emmett, who was looking at me for guidance. He nodded and we ran to Denali, taking our time. I had a feeling that Edward wasn't going to back down from this easily. And I liked my life.
When we got to the house, Alice and Rose were there. They had decided to stop by before all three of them went home apparently.
"What's wrong?" Alice asked, appearing beside me.
I smiled and sent her a wave of reassurance. "Nothing. You ready to go now?"
Esme gave Carmen a hug and promised more visits while Rosalie blew kisses at Tanya and Kate.
We got to the house an hour later and Edward flew out of the house.
His emotions were haywire and he looked livid. And he was coming at me.
I panicked and ran.
I got halfway across Canada before he caught up with me and ripped my arm off.
"I hate you," he spat, stalking off back in the direction of home.
I licked the edges of the torn flesh and held them together. "Why?"
He stopped and walked back. "Why," he repeated, inches from me. I was treading on thin ground here. "Why? Because I nearly hurt Bella! I could have killed her and you left! You just left! I was scared," he whispered, surprising me with the swift change from angry predator to the most desperate creature I'd ever seen.
"I'm sorry," I said, feeling ashamed. I had left. I had ran away because I didn't want to hear the accusations and see the tearful girl pleading with someone who was meant to be in control. But I didn't think he would hurt her. Not really. He was making a mountain out of a molehill, the more I thought about it...
"Whatever," he snapped, back to good old Edward. Grouchiest thing on the planet.
I took his grunt for forgiveness.
Ever the contrite vampire, I followed at a respectful distance as we raced back to Forks.
Um... that wasn't very good, was it? Sorry, but I think I had writer's block or something, 'cause the words just weren't coming when I finally found time to write. But please tell me what you think - good, bad, ugly? Thank you! xx