Disclaimer: I don't own it, SM does. I'm open to all arrangements that involve me borrowing Jasper for a while though.
Chapter 1 – A Fledgling Alliance
She was usually so... normal. Her emotions ran the gamut every few minutes but they were strong, simple and predictable. Contentment. Love. Determination. Doubt. The occasional spike of lust. Happiness. Comfort. Curiosity. Bella's human limitations made it easy for me to be near her because unlike the vampires I was surrounded with daily, she was capable of only one emotion at a time. Focusing on her emotions gave me a break from the onslaught I felt from the family every day and left me feeling refreshed. It was one of the main reasons I was often found loitering in the background when she visited. I could stand in a corner and quietly absorb one emotion at a time, whilst maintaining a safe enough distance for Edward to feel comfortable.
Today however, was not refreshing or predictable. She was barely through the door when her emotions started racing. Her face betrayed nothing as she continued to speak to Edward and the rest of the family but the myriad of feelings she was putting forth caught my attention immediately. Hurt. Boredom. Fear. Excitement. Despair. Boredom again. Nausea. Apprehension. Sincerity. Hope. This was not the Bella cocktail I was used to and she was speeding through them at a rate that was starting to make me feel a little dizzy.
Apparently getting my attention was the whole point because she smiled at me and dug around in her bag for a moment before walking towards me and handing me a book on the Civil War.
"Thanks for loaning me this book Jasper. You were right, it was a really interesting read." She continued to smile, pushing more sincerity at me.
"You're welcome Bella. By all means, borrow any others from my study that interest you." I returned her smile, tucking the book under my arm.
She hesitated momentarily then continued. "Oh, feel free to recommend something else. I've seen how many books you have. I wouldn't know where to start. Besides, I'm sure you'd rather I read something with as few historical inaccuracies as possible."
Edward threw her an sharp look but she had already turned her attention towards Emmett, flopping down onto the floor beside him as she swiped the spare controller and proceeded to lose the first round squarely to her second favourite Cullen. Edward momentarily cocked his head in my direction, no doubt listening in to my thoughts, but I was already feigning boredom by then, translating the sonnets of Shakespeare into Mandarin. He frowned, huffed slightly, then returned his attention to Bella, leaving me to slip away to my study unhindered.
I was keen to work out why Bella had returned a book to me that wasn't mine.
I tried to concentrate on the game so as not to give myself away and it paid off when I actually won the third round against Emmett. He immediately swooped me up and began spinning me around the room as I cheered for myself and Edward shook his head at us, trying to contain the crooked smile that was creeping across his face. I was glad I had managed to finally beat Emmett at something, no matter how small, but even more so I was hugely relieved that his antics diverted the attention of the others away from the exchange between Jasper and myself just a short while before.
I was fairly certain that no one would think it was anything out of the ordinary but had been cautious just in case. We were both bookworms, so I hoped my borrowing a book from the silent Hale twin would not be seen as unusual and I had known Jasper would own books about the civil war from a heated discussion that followed a recent movie night. I had insisted we watch 'Gone With the Wind' and had been made aware of Jasper's interest in the period when Emmett began making fun of him for muttering under his breath about various historical inaccuracies. I had been unsure how to give the book to him until right before I walked in the door, when it had occurred to me that sending my emotions into over drive would probably get his attention. If he hadn't played along and pretended the book was his, I would have had to play it off as being a forgetful human moment, but he had taken the hint and followed my lead.
All I had to do now was wait patiently to see whether the answer was yes or no.
I was mildly disappointed that solving the riddle of Bella's strange behaviour took no time at all. As soon as I opened the book a piece of paper floated to the ground. When I unfolded it however, the simple question spiked my curiosity again and left me wondering what the human was up to that required such subterfuge.
I really need some help with a history project set around the time of the First World War. Could you help me with some research?
Between my military training and my general observations of Bella I was absolutely sure there was more to the simple question than met the eye. The early 1900s was Edward's era, not mine and I failed to see why she couldn't simply ask this question aloud rather than sneak it to me in such a manner. Even Edward wasn't so over protective as to refuse to let her borrow a book from me. If she had aimed to intrigue me, she had certainly found her target. I would play this game and see where it lead.
I scribbled a reply on the back of the paper and quickly found a general book that fit the purpose. I figured I could play a generic book off as being 'useful regardless of the project'. Tucking the note into the flap at the front of the book I wandered back downstairs.
The majority of the family was gathered in the kitchen watching the human eat, a pastime in which I could not see the fascination. Edward was playing the piano at the far end of the room as he often did while Bella was eating. As I approached the breakfast bar Bella spotted the book in my hand and immediately I felt a rush of hope from her.
"Did you find a book that will help with my history project Jasper?" She had provided me the way in I needed.
"Try this one" I said, handing it to her. "I'm not sure how much use it will be, but if anything catches your interest I'm sure I will be able to find something more specific for you." I kept my voice even so as not to spark any unwarranted interest from the others, who were standing around making general conversation.
"Great, thanks." Bella replied in a slightly dismissive tone, but threw me a fleeting smile and was sending a surge of gratitude my way. "All the decent books were gone from the library by the time I got there." She got up and popped the book into her school bag by the stairs, then turned back to finish her meal.
Before she was half way back to the table I had already disappeared out the back door and was running into the forest.
I managed to put the book and Jasper to the back of my mind for the next hour or two. Edward drove me home and I told him I had a lot of work to do and I needed a good night's sleep because of a test in the morning, so could he please not come by tonight? He agreed of course, though he looked a little sulky and I ran upstairs to my room, locking the window just in case.
I pulled the book out of my bag and opened it. A sliver of my yellow notepaper peeked out from behind the cover and I tugged at it. My heart raced a little as I forcibly reminded myself that I was simply asking for help with a history project. Nothing more. I took a deep breath and unfolded the paper to reveal a neat, but inelegant script.
I'd be happy to help with your history project. Was there any particular topic of research you had in mind?
At the bottom was a phone number. I pulled my mobile from my pocket and dialled the number. It went straight to voice mail and a deep baritone with a slight Southern inflection confirmed that the number was indeed Jasper's mobile. I hung up and sent a text.
* I have a couple of topics in mind. But first, what do you know re the butterfly effect? B *
I hoped he would figure out what I meant. I changed into my pyjamas, intending to put a dent in my homework before bed, and waited for a reply. If his phone was off he was probably hunting and I might not hear back until the morning.
As soon as I turned my phone back on after my hunt it registered a missed call and a text, both from the same number. Scanning the text I saw it was from Bella. I saved the number and frowned. The Butterfly Effect? What could that possibly have to do with the First World War era? It didn't. It had to be a code. My mind went into 'chess mode' as I ran possible ideas.
Butterfly Effect... Chaos Theory... sensitive dependency on initial conditions... the slightest change to the past or present could change the future irrevocably... actions versus outcomes...
'Clever girl' I thought, realising what she was asking and quickly typing in a somewhat cryptic reply, just in case Edward saw the text. I hoped she was as clever as I now believed she was and would figure out what I meant.
Slamming my hand down on top of my alarm clock I yawned, stretched and sat up. My phone was flashing that I had a message and I knew who it would be from. I rarely received texts from anyone.
* I generally find that if all eyes are on the typhoon, no one is looking for the butterfly. J *
I smiled to myself. There was a way around Alice's visions and Jasper knew how to do it. Now I just had to make sure I didn't decide to use (or not use) that little nugget of information just yet.
A/N: Thank you so much to everyone who has offered to beta for me. I'm blown away by such a huge response to my first fanfic. I now have two betas and will be getting chapter 2 sent out to them asap.