This is the last chapter. Yes, I am planning to continue it (my beta won't let me hear the end of it if I don't). However, the song ended here and since I am basing the story on the song, it needed to end here. Don't hate me.
2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to
- 2am by Anna Nalick
Once again I woke up with an empty couch and a folded afghan. No note, though, which made me rather sad. I hoped that Jasper wasn't embarrassed by his breakdown last night, but knowing what a private person he normally was, I suspected that was the case. Right then I made a decision.
I took my time getting ready that morning. I showered slowly, making sure to condition my hair and shave my legs. I dressed in my most comfortable pair of jeans and the nicest t-shirt I owned, then painstakingly applied the multiple makeup items that Alice insisted should be in every woman's bathroom cabinet. I dried my hair and pulled a chi iron through it until it shined, curling the ends. When I was through, I surveyed my appearance. I knew that this conversation was going to take considerable confidence on my part and I knew a sloppy pony tail and sweats wasn't going to cut it. I looked as good as I could get without significant outside interference, so I threw on my Chucks and grabbed my purse heading out.
When I pulled up at Jasper's house, it didn't surprise me to see him passed out on the porch swing still wearing the same outfit from the day before. I picked his feet up and slid under them, situating myself on the swing beside him. He grumbled something unrecognizable under his breath and stirred slightly before falling back into a deep sleep. I'm not sure how long I sat there, swinging lightly with his feet in my lap, but by the time he started to wake the sun was high in the sky and my stomach was aching from lack of food.
He sat up slowly, looking wary and unsure of his surroundings. His eyes, when he finally peeled them open to stay, were bloodshot. Even rumpled and clearly hung over, the sight of him made my breath catch in my throat. How could someone be that beautiful without even trying? He smiled brightly when he registered my presence and the sight made my heart skip and do a little tap dance in my chest.
"Bella! What are you doing here, Sweets?" His voice betrayed the bright smile on his face. I knew he was trying to act as if nothing had changed between us last night.
"Jasper, we're friends right? I mean, I'm more that just Alice's neighbor to you, am I correct?"
"Of course, Bells. You know I consider you a friend." His brow furrowed in confusion. "Where are you going with this?"
"Honey, last night I saw someone I never want to have to see again. I saw my friend hurting and unable to cope with the pain by himself. I want to help you, but I can't...at least not alone. I came over here today to, hopefully, help you get into Alcoholics Anonymous. Would you be willing to do that?"
I knew as soon as the words left my mouth that I was on the right track. Jasper's formerly pleasant expression broke instantly as sorrow and embarrassment clouded his features. He didn't look as if he were going to fight me on the suggestion; rather that he didn't want me to have to be the one to advocate it.
"Jazz, honey, I can all but see what is going through your mind right now. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I am your friend. If you can't talk to me, what good am I to you?" I looked deep into his sad green eyes and tried to convey the sincerity of my words. Granted it takes everything in me not to climb in his lap and grind on him, but if he needs a friend, I'll be a friend.
"Sweets, I..." his brow furrows in thought as he struggles for the words "I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I think this is something that I need to get through on my own." He scrubs his hands across his face, the stubble from his unshaved face making a light scratching sound.
"Jasper Whitlock! You will NOT argue with me about this! You are not going to, and I quote, get through this on your own!" The anger wells up in me at his stubbornness and the fact that he seems unwilling to accept my assistance. Why had I not paid closer attention to him lately? I should've seen his struggle before now and done something to help before it got to this point. And why hadn't Alice said anything? Has she really been that wrapped up in herself that she didn't notice how he had been coping?
"You are going to get your ass of this porch swing, go in the house, get showered and dressed and we are going to find an AA meeting. I am not going to argue with you about how well you're coping and I don't want to hear any complaints about me wasting time taking care of you." Jasper started to interrupt me, but I cut him off. "Shush! I am doing this because I am your friend and I love you. Now, get! You do NOT want me to have to scrub you myself."
He looked bewildered from my sudden outburst, but did as instructed. He was freshly showered and dressed in less that a half hour and we were walking out the door, heading to the address I had found prior, when my cell phone rang. I almost ignored the call, and now wish that I had. That whole chaos theory thing? I believe it now. Who would've guessed that an answered phone would change my life forever?
"Hey, girl!" I halted on the porch to take the call and glanced at Jasper and nodded for him to have a seat. "I'm kinda in the middle of something right now. Can I call you back?"
"Hell no, you can not call me back! What the hell is the matter with you? And what is so important that you would blow your best friend off when she needs you?"
I grimaced and turned my back to Jasper, hoping that he wouldn't be able to hear my conversation. "Alice..." I hissed her name through gritted teeth. "I am with Jasper right now and I can't talk about this with you. Do you understand?" I try to talk low enough that Jasper won't be able to tell what I'm saying but loud enough for her to hear me.
I needed not waste my efforts at being quiet because I was certain that the neighbors could have heard her response, even through the tiny electronic device. Alice was screaming into the phone and I dropped it from the sudden attack on my ear drum. When I had it back in my hand again, I could her her tinny voice coming from the speaker without the phone being near my ear.
"Bella! Tell me you didn't tell him! How could you? You promised me that you would keep that to yourself! Some friend you are. I TRUSTED you and you betrayed me. I know you're in love with Jasper and want him all to yourself, but get over it. You know he doesn't think of you like that but you just HAD to take this opportunity to make him hate me!"
Alice stopped her rant to take a ragged breath and I took the opportunity to tell her to shut the hell up. "Alice, calm down." I put the phone back up to my ear, preparing for another outburst. "I didn't tell him anything, although I'm pretty sure he is suspicious now that he's heard that entire outburst you just had."
The silence on the other end of the line was deafening. Add to that the fact that Jasper now had a very suspicious look on his face and I was feeling like a referee caught between two boxers preparing for a fight.
"Alice, I need to go. And just so you know, from the look on Jasper's face he will be expecting a phone call from you to explain. I love you, sweetie."
"I'm sorry for yelling at you, Bella." I could hear her sniffle and I knew she was crying...again. "Tell him I'll call him tonight."
I closed my phone and looked sheepishly over to Jasper. I knew he wasn't going to let me off without at least some explanation, and I also had a feeling our unscheduled trip was about to be rescheduled for another day.
"Bella, why was Alice yelling at you like a banshee? And what is it you haven't told me?" I could tell by the intense look on his face that he was not going to let me off the hook.
"Look, Jazz. You and Alice are both my friends. She asked me not to tell you and I can't break that promise, even though I very much want to. This is something that she is going to have to tell you herself." I took a deep breath as the realization that the outcome of this conversation would likely determine if I still had two friends or just one. "That's not to say that I agree with her decision, nor with her trying to keep it from you. Remember that when you talk to her."
Jasper glared at me then, turned around and walked back into his house heading straight for the bottle of whiskey on the kitchen counter. Before I had a chance to register what he was doing, he had it uncapped and upturned, chugging it like I do spring water.
"Jazz, babe, this is not good for you. Tell me what you're thinking, but don't try to drown it. You have to let yourself feel."
Jasper answered me with a mumbled 'humph' and all but pushed me toward the front door. I found myself back on the porch, with his door shut firmly in my face.
Now, sitting in the middle of my bed, wide awake at two a.m., I am more confused that I was before. I know Jasper needs somebody that can love him and help him through the recovery of his addiction, but Alice is obviously not going to be that person. She is too wrapped up in herself to be that person for anybody right now. It'll be interesting to find out whether she ever called him back and what was said if she did. The look on Jasper's face just before he downed the whiskey would stick with me forever. He looked utterly alone, even though I was standing right there with him.
I am writing this down now, hopefully to be able to close this part of my life. I am closing the book on my obsession with a man that will never love me back as anything more than a friend and leaving it behind. I will be a friend to him and Alice, but with no expectations. That's it. The end.
Chapter End Notes:
As always, thanks to my awesome beta, Jazzella. Without her this would have been much more confusing.