A/N: These drabbles were written for TwistedforTwilight as part of the Fandom Gives Back auction. She generously donated money for a ten-drabble arc and gave us our choice of several different settings. The one that spoke to us the most was a little different from the type of thing we normally write - we hope you enjoy what we came up with!
Thank you so much, TwistedforTwilight, for your donation and support!
I stare dispassionately out my window, watching for my caretaker as I have every day for the last two months.
Taking a pull from my cigarette, I exhale slowly, smoke swirling around me. I shouldn't smoke; my parents hate it - which is why I do it.
When Edward hasn't shown up by the time I stub it out, I feel a glimmer of satisfaction.
He's not coming.
I huff. "Who needs him anyway? I don't. I can take care of myself..."
His Volvo pulls up.
I don't understand why he's still around, when no one else stayed.
I watch as he bustles around the kitchen.
His hands rake his hair as he apologizes for being late. His explanation of being stuck behind a bad car accident means nothing to me.
He'll get his paycheck - that's all he cares about anyway.
All any of them cared about - the money they got from my loving parents...all the way back in Texas.
"All you are is a meal ticket. You're nothing."
Edward looks up from the sink, startled at my outburst. "Jasper?"
His concern - and the voice in my head - sends me into a tirade.
Finally calm again, I look away, avoiding the look of fear, pity, curiosity in his eyes. I hate being seen as the freak.
It's all anyone seems to think I am.
I know I'm not the same, but damnit...
Breathing deeply, I fight the anger bubbling up, though Edward's words nearly make me lose it again.
"Jasper, did you take your medication?"
Shaking my head, I watch him - puzzled.
He leans against the counter. "Have you talked to your doctor? There's this new shot..."
I listen, fascinated.
His words sound like freedom - independence I've not known my whole adult life.
Edward's driving me to my second appointment. Things haven't changed much, and I'm unsure this new medication is helping, but they tell me to go on. "It may take some time," the doctor'd said.
He parks the car. I feel his gaze on me.
Turning to look at him, I'm startled by the brightness as I fall into emerald.
He smiles softly. "You ready?"
I hate needles, but a shot once a month versus pills I keep forgetting...I can handle it.
He comes with me to the waiting room. When my name's called, he reassures me. "I'll be here."
"Here." He smiles, handing me my cup.
I'm curled up on my chair, for once not minding the company. Inhaling deeply, I close my eyes; the scent of chocolate and cinnamon reaches my nose.
Edward sits down on the couch, holding his own hot cocoa in both hands.
Taking a sip, it hits me. Glancing at him, I wonder again.
It's been five months, the longest anyone's stayed.
"Can I ask you something?"
He looks at me, nodding before taking a sip.
"Why are you still here?"
My voice holds only curiosity.
He frowns, clearing his throat.
I don't have to explain what I mean. He seems to get it.
His eyes are sorrowful as he tells me about his sister.
"Alice had schizophrenia. It was just us - no other family - so I took care of her. She..."
He swallows hard, his face tightening with emotion.
"She did okay...mostly. She'd forget her pills sometimes, like you."
His smile is sad.
"We tried...so hard...so many treatments."
His brow knits together, his shoulders hunch, his voice lowers - laced with pain.
"In the end, she couldn't take any more. She killed herself."
"I found her."
"I'm sorry," I whisper.
He shakes his head. "It's okay...well, it's not, but..."
He waves his hand, as if to say, "You know what I mean."
Raking his fingers through his hair, he sighs.
"Anyway...I promised I'd do what I could to help. I couldn't do more for her, but I can try for others."
His eyes meet mine as he gives a small smile.
This time, I frown.
Since he's come into my life, I've gotten better. Not better, but...
"That's why you're working for my parents?"
I feel vulnerable.
"I don't get paid, Jasper."
I look up sharply, confused and intrigued.
"What do you mean?"
He leans forward, setting his cup down. His hands clasped together, he explains that he gets by on his inheritance. It's not much, but it's enough.
He puts everything else into the charity he created in her name. It funds research for schizophrenia and other conditions like it.
"But... why?" I stammer.
He understands. "Because I've grown to like you, Jasper."
My eyes search his.
Feelings I'd all but forgotten come to life again as something shifts.
My question is the same, the meaning different. "What do you mean?"
It's been five months since I started the shots. I feel like I remember being before.
Thanks to Edward, I'm going out again - not often, but still.
Today's one of those times.
It's my birthday, and I want to celebrate it for once. I feel alive.
Edward's taking me to a museum of living history.
He knows it's the one thing that's held my attention through it all.
It's cold outside, but the sun is shining brightly.
I smile at him as we get in the car.
I squeeze his hand.
"Happy birthday, Jasper."
His fingers brush across my cheek.
The exhibit is fun. Afterward, he takes me to a park, just to walk.
I stop him as we reach the lake. He watches me, puzzled.
We've taken things slowly. We both know I'll always have this, that life'll never be easy for me. He knows it better than anyone.
But he sees me.
I step up to him, heart fluttering. "Edward?"
He quirks a brow.
I hand him my last pack of cigarettes.
His eyes widen.
A fresh start at life.
He smiles, nodding in understanding.
Cupping his cheek, I lean in and our lips meet.
Our first kiss.
A/N: to our Marked readers (and Wish), we apologize for the delay. Life seems hellbent on making it difficult for us to write, but we're steadily working on the next chapter.
Trust us when we say the wait will be well worth it. We thank you for your patience and support.