Chapter 1

Oh Alice, you wicked little thing. It was on Jasper Hale's breath as he walked away from her. "I'm tired of this." He breathed under his breath.

She was a control freak as far as he was concerned. And he hated to argue with her or she just might say he was freaking out. Then the injections would come, and he'd go numb. He shook his head. He just needed to be away from her. He was not her child. It was all beginning to wear him down. Didn't he know why he'd stuck around so long? She had a pretty face and he'd missed valentines and the like over the centuries. He thought she'd do the trick. But maybe he was just trying to trick her all along. It was enough to make him want to scream. Maybe go in a rage. But, she had to see, he had some control. He did. She just needed a little faith in him. Yes, faith.

But it was fate that brought them there by the tree in the fork in the road. There she was. Kind of angst and definitely feeling sorry for herself.

"You..you..." Jasper squinted hard, trying to think what to say before he sounded like a backwater idiot who might sound like a zombie. "You're on the cross country team, right?"

"Cross country team?" She winced back. "I'm not very athletic."

"I see." He introduced himself then as Jas. She barely said she was Bella. But he smiled as if maybe it might compel her, and it did. He bit the very edge of his bottom lip. He smiled more. "Walking is just as good."

"Yeah, its really beautiful here, when its not raining." She shrugged. They walked together then.

"Jas, are you on the cross country team?" Bella asked after awhile when the quiet was just too much and nature was not helping either of them.

"Yes." He said as if that would be the thing to say. He listened for Alice. Maybe she knew this was going to happen, or maybe he messed up what was going to happen. He slightly grinned. All those special powers she talked of ..of the others. What a load shit, he thought. Perhaps he was a bit self centered now, but she'd vexed him. It was time to get on with his life, not some toy Alice left on the shelf half the time. He had needs, too.

"Why are you smiling?" She couldn't help but smile back as if she was impressed with what she saw in him.

"I want to be on the team." He admitted. "But, well, the family I'm staying with, think I'm not ready. I'm amazed I even get to school."

She shot a look at him as if maybe he should go to the police or something about the matter. He didn't want her thinking he'd been kidnapped. But maybe. Slightly.

"They mean well." He was a bit sleepy about it. "I mean, well, you see, Alice found me that one time, when, she ran away. And then she was all, oh, I can't live without him, blah..blah..blah..." His grin was kind of devilish then as if he might be up to no good, and he could slip into his old ways. "And they let me stay."

"But what happened?" Bella seemed concerned.

"God, what didn't happen?" He chuckled, giving way his impish glare. "We had this spread in a Goth magazine, but they didn't think I was quite goth enough because of the blond hair. So they dyed it black, but it turned red. And we didn't get any money out of it, for her college fund. They say I'm not model material." He shook his head as if he could care less. After all, he was just an old cowboy at heart.

"Um, I dunno, Jas. I'd buy a magazine with your picture in it." She shrugged as if he should know. Jasper sighed. The more she used his name..he knew it was working. The compellsion Oh, it was working like a charm.

"Really?" Jasper winced then. "Well, anyway, I don't even care about college." Honestly, there was one thing on his mind at the moment and it was right here. The desire to be with Bella.

She smelled like lilacs of summer. It was a sleepy, but a tantalizing feeling. He'd never been quite this warm in a long time. It was rather intoxicating.

They walked down the dirt road, past the fields as the thickets were turning darker. He took her hand. Perhaps it would help. Something thoughtful like that. Yes, thoughtful. He had to be thoughtful. Perhaps his many charms would find her to turn this, his way. She was a cold one to warm up. But if he could conjure up a bit of old magic and nostalgia of what she might be missing in this world. So be it.

"Could I ask a favor?" He hesitated. It had been a long time since he'd used any southern charm. Maybe he was losing it. Maybe Alice had taken it away. "Could I come home with you?" He stared at her deeply then and willed it.

Just like a fast forward moment. ..Bella invited him in to her home. Jasper, could hardly stand it. This was amazing. He didn't think that sort of power existed. And he had it all along, but Alice kept telling him to never use it. Never. Just like he'd never be her lover, either.

No, it was an intellectual game she was after, when it came to Alice. It was lingo like, "I challenge you to a dual of the mind. Can you tell me the fifty states, backwards." Which left him feeling his brain had gone gooey, and it was impossible to know the answers. He never wanted to spell another word backwards in his life.

No, this..this was much more delectable.

"Thank you." He whispered in Bella's ear. "You'll never know I'm here." So many places he could fade into. The dark pantry for starters. The wallpaper even. Oh, the attic. They could make plans in the attic. He'd found his room, already. Yes, he had it. He was not a newbie at this. He could control it beautifully. No blood yet.

As if this could make him high, already. Not really. He was not a fool. He just had to be a wolf of some sort waiting for little Red Ridinghood. Speaking of that, there was that silly boy toy Jake to worry about.

"You hate him." His little whispers invaded her memories soon enough. She could be reading government or history, but he knew he had to be on her mind. "You know, you only want me." It was quite devilish. When he was alone, he was filled with a sweet pleasure to manipulate what he wanted. "What ever you do...don't let Alice in."

As it was, it was like cat and mouse with Alice. Was it that he was purely evil? No, she never said it, but he could feel it in her restlessness when he was around her. He was her science experiment. So petty, he now thought as he had the pleasure of his own company, and a watchfulness over Bella.

Yes, it was true, he purely needed a companion. And Bella was it because he did know her smile. He did know her wants and it was a delightful notion that he was in her home now.

"See, isn't it brilliant?" He spoke in a British accent. It was funny to him, too. He didn't know he had one. So long forgotten as he peered at Bella in her bed. His finger traced down her shoulder to where something magical might begin. Oh, just a little nibble here. And there. Possibly, like getting under her skin. They'd be one... in no time.

Sure, he'd had his fun in taverns, bars and other drinking establishments with barmaids, show girls and other rowdy bunches. But this was sublime. A slow kill, perhaps. Yet, he couldn't call it that. No. No he couldn't. It would be a new beginning.

"I want you to eat something amazing. Like cheese cake with cherries. Oh, and don't forget the best rib-eye you can find, my love." He could taste it on his tongue, already. Sort of a farewell. Definitely something to savor. He did have to watch that girlish figure of his.

Well, he'd will it. It would be done. There was no stopping him now. His cold heart was growing stronger. It was a beautiful thing. Starve her with his love, and then feast upon it.

"Are you with me, Bella?" His smile grew more of mischief. All she needed was a black bow for her hair. Oh, it was coming. "Are you with me, Bella?" Really, there was no need to answer. She was his puppet now.

Chapter 2

What just happened? OK, so Bella just got here. Practically. Like yesterday. It was going to be boring. She knew. She hated the thought of being the new kid at school. Maybe she just didn't like school.

Honestly, she hated making conversation. She hated being the new girl. Well, hating things came easy for Bella. Not that she was going to go mental and change any of it, but she felt as if she'd been pushed out of the nest. Now she had to talk to a Dad that she could not call Dad. He was just Charlie.

Bella had to face facts, it was going to be lonely. Or was it?

There was Jas like a ray of sunshine. He gave her this happy tingly feeling as if she might be sparkling all over. Except she wasn't. She felt that way because he showed up out of nowhere. And the more they walked and talked, suddenly, she found herself smiling and oozing with sweetness. As if she might be Snow White or something without all those dwarfs. She was drawn to him immediately. Yet, it was so spontaneous. Whatever this was happening, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. Maybe even a part of him.

She looked around. Where am I? Oh, she didn't care what he had to say. It was enough just to be near him. It was as if she couldn't get enough of his essence. She thought she might faint at first. Her heart, all a flutter. Really, she'd never felt this alive before. And then when he asked if he could come home with her. She automatically said sure. There wasn't a thought in her head what her Dad might say if she saw her with a stranger. It filled her up with laughter. A boy..no a man..yes, that's it. ..was coming home with her, and nothing in the hell mattered.

And here they were. Jas took a good look around the kitchen. He pulled her into the dark pantry as she heard her dad's truck pull up.

"What are we doing?" She looked at him. He put his fingertips on her lips. She went mute automatically. And then he kissed her there in the darkest of dark, she thought he took her breath away. It shocked her initially. But she remained still as she felt his hands down her back. One hand lifted the hair off her neck. Her skin felt so chilled and taunt to his touch. She might have screamed if she could. But her voice was gone. Bella's eyes opened wide. What else would he take?

Chapter 3

How long had Manfred Hale been waiting for this moment? He squinted slightly, thinking of the century or so that had gone by. He'd thought the worst now of Jasper, but the poor chap had finally summoned him. Oh, he'd tried to keep him in that radar of a mind of his, from time to time, but it was like a ghost whisper that went blank.

And here he was. Manfred looked at the surroundings of the farmhouse nestled in the woods. He could think of nicer places to dwell, like his old plantation home near New Orleans. But he had always been one who could try his best to cope. After all, it was Jasper who had put him in this condition, after all. As far as Manfred was concerned he would be a warlock first and foremost. His world was full of enchantments, incantations and spells, etc. etc... But of course, his nephew Jas would be in trouble. Always had a way to get mixed up in the worst of it.

He opened the front door just to have a stiff, keeping him from coming in. He pushed the door a little harder, taking a good look at the bloody corpse laying there. He shook his head and looked up the stairway. He supposed he'd have to take care of that, too. He walked up the stairs in his dark coat as if he might be Sherlock Holmes out on a mystery. He looked up at the ceiling at the top of stairs.

"Jasper," he said quietly as he watched the ceiling. 'Its me, Mannie." He sighed as if he knew he'd have to wait. No telling what kind of shape that lass was in. He looked back at the ripped body on the blood stained floor. He could put two and two together, but he'd ask anyway.

"What did you do?" Came out of his mouth automatically as soon as Jas made his appearance.

"Nothing really." Jasper looked over his uncle's shoulder.

"Its never really you, now is it?" Mannie gave him a slight perturbed look. "What do you have to say for yourself? You know how long its been since I've heard from you." Mannie gave him a slap on the shoulder.

"Sorry. It wasn't so easy for me, you know." Jasper gave him a helpless look, almost.

"I see, now it is?" Mannie gave him a glare as he rubbed his slight beard on his chin.

"I was cut off from you all." Jasper became defensive.

"Yes, I suppose that happens when you fall in love with a girl." Mannie gave him no pity.

"I'm fine now." Jasper grinned.

"Well, you will be." He looked back as the massacre on the floor, with a blink of the eye it was gone. "Should I see to her?" He looked as Jasper. All Jasper had to do was ask and he would receive. He followed Jasper to the attic and there was the girl all feverish and pale, except for the blood. All over her in fact. Blood stained T-shirt and the her heart raced so much she'd clawed her arms and face too as if she might find away out of her own skin, but now she was unconscious as if she needed to lose touch of this new painful world. She laid on what looked to be an old cot. It couldn't have been comfortable, Mannie thought. He took a good look at her.

"You and your teenage love." He shook his head. Finally he waved his hand slowly over her, and she was clean and dressed as he would want to see her, a long black dress, the way they wore in in the 1860's. She looked splendid enough to marry.

"I take it, you are no longer one of them. But one us, just as she is, I hope." Mannie looked at Jasper. For the life of him, he couldn't figure out why he went with the Cullen's, anyway. He supposed it must have been sweet on Alice. It made Mannie a little sick to his stomach.

"I think she put a spell on me." Jasper acknowledge then as they let the girl rest now.

"Alice, you mean?" Mannie pondered then as they appeared in the kitchen together. He set out to make a warlock's elixir then.

Jasper nodded as if he watched Mannie find the stainless steel pot on the stove.

"I could have told you that, dear boy, long ago, but would you believe me?" Mannie shook his head and he grabbed Jasper's hand. He punctured Jasper's finger with a sharp tooth then and let the blood droplets fall into the pan. A few drops were needed. Even a little of his own, and a bottle of whiskey to make the whole thing bearable to drink. He heated the mixture then and added a little from his own bag of tricks.

"You're sure, she's special?" Mannie asked Jasper point break.

"I really don't know." Jasper admitted. "I thought Alice was special too, but she could have been the death of me."

"We'll just have to take a hold of her, now won't we?" Mannie gave him a quick smile. "But remember, its up to you. As long as you give her what you want her to give you, all will be sublime." Honestly, Mannie thought then...it had nothing to do with love.