What I own: several pairs of amazingly awesome stripper heels, a meager book collection and a bunch of Twilight DVD's
What I don't: Twilight itself. That belongs to SMeyer and, despite a strong physical resemblance, I'm not her. If Twilight were mine, there would be lots more…fun to be had. I'm making nothing off of this and no copyright infringement is intended.
This has yet to be beta'd so any mistakes are mine all mine…..I'll fix them eventually.
There'll be a bump and there will be a bruise,There'll be alarms and there will be a snooze, There'll be a path that you will have to choose, There'll be a win and there will be a lose.
~Blue October, Jump Rope
"Charleigh? Charleigh!" I felt my voice catch as I spun around, taking in the children surrounding me. Where the hell was she? I looked around frantically, searching for any sight of the small, ringlet haired little girl who held such a large part of my heart. My eyes ran over the swings, the climbing structure and the merry-go-round all to no avail. Where did she go?
"Charl-"My voice caught in my throat as I caught sight of the familiar tiny form, seated in the sand box across from a small boy with curly blonde hair. Exhaling deeply I ran over to the sand box jumping over the side and crouching down next to the little girl. I felt her warm breath on my cheek as I gathered her in my arms.
"Charleigh, you know you know you can't wander away from me like that." I pulled back and took in the sight of my tiny niece; her curly dark hair, streaked liberally with the same auburn that was her father's signature, was in crooked ponytails, the blue ribbon that was fastened around the left one was long gone, sand was stuck to her blue patterned dress and striped leggings and her feet were bare, her blue flowered clogs and striped socks laying by the corner of the sandbox.
"I was playin with Jackson." She gestured towards the other occupant of the sand box, where a boy who looked no more than six, tall for his age with a mess of golden curls on top of his head, a Johnny Cash t-shirt and sparkling hazel eyes grinned up at her and stood.
"Hi" the child said as he stood and reached a hand out to her" I'm Jackson Whitlock" There was a tinge of a southern accent to his voice and I smiled and crouched a bit lower, down to his level and reached out my own hand to his
"Hi there Jackson, I'm Bella." I grasped his tiny hand in my own and bit back a grin at the strength of his grasp.
"Pleased to meet you Miss Bella" He smiled again and sat down again, Charleigh plopping in the box across from him and the two resumed their play.
Keeping an eye on the two children I moved backwards towards the bench that I had noticed behind me earlier, my knees shaking slightly, as the gravity of the situation that I was in began to wash over me. I couldn't even bring myself to turn my back to the children. This decision proved to be a my undoing a moment later as I lowered myself the bench and was met not with the hard wood of the bench but instead with a warm, hard body beneath my own. I tensed and jumped back up, stumbling slightly and stiffening slightly as a pair of large hands wrapped around my waist holding me steady.
I felt the heat rise into my cheeks as I turned and faced the person holding me ''I'm so sor-" My words died in my chest as I looked up into a pair of twinkling hazel eyes. Fuck me, this man was beautiful. Dark blond hair haphazardly framed a face that was highlighted by the twinkling hazel eyes and full lips that played into a slight smirk and I felt his hands move off of my waist. I mourned momentarily at the loss of contact before realizing that I was standing here in front this man whose lap I had just sat on staring at him like an idiot and I felt further heat rush into my cheeks and was greeted with a small chuckle.
"Miss Bella" the words were slow and warm, the southern accent wrapping around my name like honey and I swallowed hard.
"I'm Jasper Whitlock" A small smile formed on his face as he reached out a hand to me and I accepted it, his large rough hand wrapping round my own small one.
"Isabella Swan, ah- Bella" I stuttered smiling lightly at him as I withdrew my hand, unconsciously twisting my fingers in the hem of my sweater. And glancing up through lowered lids to take in the rest of my new companion: a simple black cord necklace hug around his neck, his torso was wrapped in a black leather vest that left his muscular tattooed arms exposed, long legs were encased in snug fitting dark denim and a pair of scuffed cowboy boots peeked out from underneath his jeans.
"Pleased to meet you Bella" Jasper took a step back and gestured for me to sit on the bench and I complied smiling as he sat back down next to me.
"Ah-likewise" I muttered, pulling my eyes away from him for a moment to glace back at the sandbox where Charleigh sat playing with her new friend. Her new friend with curly blond hair, hazel eyes and a southern accent...just like his dad. I swallowed as the realization that I had been ogling Charleigh's new friend's father hit me and I felt a fresh round of blood rush to my face.
"You okay there Miss Bella?" His voice was concerned.
"Ah-yeah, I'm fine. Sorry" The words were mumbled as I forced myself to keep an eye on Charleigh and stop staring at the man next to me.
"How old is she?" Jasper's slow drawl broke the silence a moment later.
"Charleigh? She's five and a half."I replied with a proud smile."How about Jackson?"
"He'll be six next week" Jasper's voice was filled with pride and I could tell how much he adored his son.
We sat in companionable silence for awhile and watched the children playing in the sandbox. They were carefree and innocent and I had to smile as I observed them building a sandcastle and I found myself longing to feel that again.
"Daddy!" Jackson's small voice floated over to us from the sand box moments before the little boy ran over to us, Charleigh following close behind.
Jasper looked down at his son as the boy stood in front of him.
"Daddy I was just tellin' Char that you brought your guitar. Can you play a song dad? Please? For my new friend?" His voice was pleading and his lower lip pouted slightly and Jasper chuckled.
"I suppose I can. Is this your friend?" Jasper crouched down in front of the bench and gestured towards Charleigh.
"Yes sir." My niece's voice was serious as she approached him. "My name is Charleigh Marie Swan" Her voice was very serious and she held out a tiny hand to Jasper who shook it in turn.
"Pleased to meet you Miss Charleigh I'm Jasper, Jackson's dad." Jasper grinned at my niece and she smiled back before returning his attention to Jackson. "Okay bud, what did you want me to play?" He asked, lowering himself to the ground and pulling a guitar case from its hiding place under the bench. Jackson plopped down on the ground next to Charleigh before looking up at me and patting the ground between him and his dad.
"Come on down Miss Bella! It's more fun in the grass." I laughed at the little boy and glanced at his father who nodded slightly at me as he fiddled with his guitar strings, coaxing the instrument into tune, before gathering my skirt and settling in the grass next to him.
"Can you play Jump rope dad?" Jackson asked the question with barely contained glee.
Jasper nodded at his son and began to play a song that I didn't recognize….
Remember how you used to say
You couldn't wait till tomorrow for a brand new day
no fuss when you had to ride the bus
You just add a little blush
To paralyze your school crush
I watched, fascinated as he continued to play, Jackson's small voice joining in on the choruses. Jasper's eyes drifted closed as he sang and I took the opportunity to, once again, ogle the man sitting in front of me. Fuck all he was gorgeous. My long ignored hormones were getting up and dancing as I watched him play, his nimble fingers seemingly gliding over the strings. I shuddered slightly at the memory of those same strong fingers wrapped around my waist and I held back a soft moan. Jesus fuck Isabella, get a hold of yourself, this is someone's father. And that someone is sitting right in front of you. I blushed slightly at the thought and realized that while I was daydreaming the song had ended and I had three pairs of eyes looking at me intently. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks.
"So can she Miss Bella?" Jackson's voice was pleading, "Please?" My head spun slightly s I tried to figure out what exactly I was being asked. My thoughts were broken as the strains of La Clair De Lune rang out from my cell phone and Charleigh jumped up and ran over to me, hands out stretched and I handed her the phone with a smile.
"Hi Daddy!" Charleigh voice was full of laughter as she greeted her dad.
"Yeah, we're at the park. I made a new friend daddy! His name is Jackson and his daddy plays guitar. His birthday party is next Saturday and he wants me to go. Can I go dad? PLEASE" her voice was pleading and I thanked heaven for the little girl. She had unwittingly gotten me out of my predicament. I gave a meek smile to Jackson as Jasper was putting his guitar away.
Charleigh squealed with joy and handed me the phone before jumping up and running back towards Jackson. I laughed softly and brought the phone to my ear.
"Hey Bells. You havin fun with my little girl?" My brother's voice was teasing
"You know I am. I am assuming that you told her yes about the party?" I shot Jasper a small smile as I felt his gaze return to me.
"I told her I would need to talk to you since you are there. What do you think Bells?"
"I think it would be fine Edward. Jackson seems like a nice little boy. They clicked quickly" I watched the two head back to the sandbox to continue their game.
"And the father?"
"He seems very nice. Charleigh likes him." I could feel myself flushing at the words and looked down, studying my shoes intently.
"I know that tone Isabella."Edward's voice was teasing," so tell me sister dear, do you want to go to the party with Char?"
"Of course I will." My answer was clipped and I looked up at Jasper through lowered lashes, surprised to meet his eyes as he gave me a small grin.
"Of course you two can go." Edward was chuckling at me, "Just make sure you get me all of the-"
"I know Edward" I cut him off, "Believe me. I'll give you the details when we get home okay?" I was not looking forward to Edwards taunting and I quickly diverted him.
"There's something you are not telling me sis. You know I'll find out sooner or later right?"
"I have no doubt" I was already tired of his teasing. I glanced over at Charleigh and she was motioning for me to come over. Thank god for the little angel. I grinned."Charleigh is calling me. We'll see you in bit?"
"That's fine Bells, Alice will be home. Chances are I'll still be at the hospital. Give my baby girl a hug for me."
"Of course Edward. I'll see you soon."
"Of course. Love you Izzy"I smiled slightly at the childhood nickname.
"I love you too Edward." I gave a quick smile before hanging up the phone and tossing it in my purse before going to see Charleigh's sandcastle. Once I returned to the bench I sat back down next to Jasper. He seemed…..distant almost. It was strange.
The two children played well together and Jasper and I sat watching them. Our conversation was easy, varied and light. We covered topics ranging from food to the movies and the time passed quickly. Jasper was filling me in on the details of Jackson's birthday party the next weekend just as the sun was beginning to set. I smiled at Jasper as I reluctantly stood to get Charleigh, gathering my belongings with a sigh, waving Charleigh to me. She came running towards me, long curly hair streaming out behind her as she threw her arms around my knees followed by Jackson knocking me off balance and sending me careening, for the second time today, into Jasper. I gasped as I felt his strong arms wrap around my waist yet again and willed myself not to moan.
"I've got you Miss Bella" his arms tightened for a brief moment and then quickly released me."Jackson?" Jasper's voice was firm, "What do you say?"
"Sorry Miss Bella." The young man's apology was sincere and I knelt down to his level.
"That's alright Jackson." I smiled at him" It was very nice meeting you. We'll see you at your party next week?" As soon as the words were out of my mouth Charleigh squealed with delight.
"Daddy said I could go?" Her brown eyes were wide with delight and I laughed softly.
"Yes monkey, "I used the pet name I had for her since she was a baby, "Daddy said you could go." My niece and her friend were jumping up and down in circles. "Alright Char, honey, we need to get going. Start saying goodbye." The two kids spoke softly and I turned towards Jasper.
"It was very nice meeting you Jasper." I smiled slightly up at him and tried not to stare, "I know she can't wait for next weekend" I gestured at my niece who was putting her shoes and socks back on.
"I'm looking forward to it myself" Jasper drawled giving me a lopsided smile as Charleigh ran back up to me and grabbed my hand. "It was nice to meet you Bella." He called as Charleigh pulled me towards the truck. I gave a glance back at him, standing with his son and waved. Fuck. I'm in trouble.