Disclaimer: The lyrics are by Heart, the characters belong to Stephanie Meyer, I just have a good imagination and a lot of free time. I own nothing.
A/N: I love Heart, but I call this song 'The Porn Song', its truly truly smutty, so naturally my mind went to Jasper and Alice, and oh how those plot bunnies ran wild. Big huge hugs to the most awesome beta ever Dean'sAngel17, she blows my mind with her super quick chapter betafying *loves*
The dull, repetitive swish-thump of the windscreen wipers and the relentless hiss of the rain were starting to making Alice drowsy since she was already exhausted after a long, rough and stressful afternoon. The headlights cast a dim light in the downpour that was gradually turning the golden landscape into a red brown haze that passed steadily into her rear view mirror. The pregnant bruise-coloured clouds hung in the sky for miles around. The little light that was left in the early evening sky was rapidly disappearing behind the mountains with the coming storm tripping it on the way past. She sighed heavily as heaven splitting bursts of lightning crackled through the air a few miles away to the west followed by a booming roll of thunder. She ought to be heading home before the weather got too bad.
She cracked the window open a tiny bit, lighting a cigarette hoping that the rain wouldn't run in too much. She had given up on giving them up, it was just too hard to do by herself and she didn't think she'd get much support at home right now.
When she thought of home it made her jaw tense in anticipation of either the stony silence that seemed to echo around the house, or the crash of angry voices reworking the same old themes over and over until she had forgotten the real reason they were fighting.
She didn't care where she was heading, just driving in general, not minding which turns took her which way; she knew she'd end up back on her doorstep. She knew that all around her were acres of open fields that held huddled clumps of livestock trying to shelter from the rain. She felt sorry for them, out in the cold with no way of escaping the elements; it seemed like an adequate summation of her life right now, out here in the open, huddling, but finding no respite from the cold.
She twisted the dial on her radio, a soft crooning country song came pouring into the small space; always songs about heartbreak and love lost. It was just right for the mood that she was in.
She reached across into the glove compartment for a cloth to clear the windscreen, but she couldn't find one, so turning around slightly, she reached into the back seat for the laundry she'd just picked up, hoping to find a towel. The car started to glide to the right and she turned back quickly to correct her swerve, pulling back up straight she caught in the headlights the shape of a person walking along the side of the road a few hundred yards up ahead.
Using her hand to wipe the condensation off the windscreen she could see it was a man wearing only a white shirt and blue jeans. It was raining heavily now and the sepia light had leeched out of the sky altogether, dark night sweeping down and enveloping him, the collar was the only white part she could see on his shirt, the rest had turned transparent and was clinging to his skin. For a split second she wondered if he was out there all alone and lonely, stranded and desperate, or if he were free of all the baggage that she had; his only possessions the clothes on his back and the back pack that was slung over his shoulder, no cares in the world but the choice of destination and route. The latter to her sounded so romantic and exciting, so beyond the scope of her own mundane little life which was overwrought and saturated with personal crisis and minor dilemmas day after day.
She saw him glance at the car and move over, going further into the low scrub undergrowth, the headlights illuminating the wet jeans that moulded to his limbs. Without hesitation or any regard for her safety she pulled up alongside him and slid the car to a stop. As she lowered the passenger side window it looked as if he may keep walking right past her and carry on into the wet and wild night, but he leaned gracefully against the doorframe, bending down and peering at her through a curtain of jaw length wet curls.
"Need a ride?" She sounded bright, cheerful even; the total opposite of how she really felt deep inside.
He smiled at her, revealing a row of even white teeth and making her stomach flip. He was exquisite; his body lithe and graceful as he walked to the rear of the car. She reached back into the bag of laundry, finding now that the car was stopped she could find what she wanted easier. She heard him throw his pack into the trunk and then as she was rooting around in the bag the interior light flicked on and the young, wet body flopped down on the seat beside her. She found two towels, she handed one to the boy and rubbed the glass with the other. She heard a self depreciating giggle.
"Sorry ma'am. I'm soaking your seat."
She turned and watched him as he shook droplets of water from his hair and eyes, scrubbing his face with the towel and then pushing it back over his golden hair before lifting himself up slightly and smoothing the towel out across the seat. He smiled bashfully at her but gazed at her blue eyes with an honest and charming gaze, causing her to smile back.
"It'll dry, sure as you will. Where you headed?"
"I'm not sure I was headed in any direction, ma'am. I was just out walking when the rain started, and me out without a jacket and all. It's real nice of you to stop."
"Where you headed?"
"Drop me anywhere you have a mind to ma'am. I'm just glad of the ride, its awful weather right now and I don't think I'd last much longer in the rain before catching my death."
Alice laughed a deep, full laugh. It surprised her, she hadn't thought that laughter was still in her, but there it was. His way of talking seemed very innocent, very childlike, but she could see it in his eyes that he was neither as young nor naive as she thought. His doe eyes were still trained on her as she looked him over.
He had really long legs that filled so much space in the small foot well she was surprised that he could fit in at all. His hands were fluttering on his jeans, tapping out a rhythm along with the music, which had turned from lovelorn to soft country rock. His body seemed to expand now that he was confined, and she noticed how close he really was to her. Just then the interior light dimmed and went out. She fumbled in the dashboard light for the switch to turn the heating on, pushing it all the way up to FULL.
"You must be freezing and here I am just gawping like a fool. Lets jut take a drive and get you warm and we'll see where we are then."
"That sounds like a plan ma'am."
He was still watching her as she put the car back into drive and headed off down the road. Now that he was in the car she thought maybe it wasn't such a great idea to have picked him up, not because of fear for herself (although that was lurking deep in the back of her mind - horror stories, urban legends) but because she was still so upset, she didn't actually want to talk too much.
She needn't have worried, as the boy seemed content to just sit and softly hum along with the music. She could feel his eyes on her as she drove and strangely she felt comfortable, though normally she would have freaked out that someone was staring so intently at her. The silence itself seemed like a soft blanket draped over them both, and his gaze was like the comfortable warmth that went along with it. Eventually though she thought that she ought to make some sort of conversation, or it may seem she was being ignorant or in bad humour.
"You know there are places in this world that never see the rain for years and years. There are places where no man has ever stepped foot and there are creatures that no one has ever seen and could never imagine and yet we're more interested in exploring the universe. It's such a waste when here on this tiny planet there are still so many wonders to be discovered, so many amazing secrets to find."
She didn't know what she was going to say and what she did say just sort of tripped off of her tongue. She hadn't even really thought about it before saying it. It felt odd to think she was saying such abstract things to a stranger, but she pushed on with the thought.
"I wish I could go to places where you can see colours in the night sky so bright that you'd think someone had strung little bulbs in the vast darkness to light the way for lost travellers. I wish I could see the rainforests with their exotic colours and textures. I wish I could go somewhere that isn't here, somewhere that I could be fearless and exciting and vibrant."
He reached out and placed a gentle, warm hand on her arm, gave a little squeeze and then returned it back to his knee. She turned to him for the first time since she pulled the car back into the middle of the wet, dark back road and saw that he was smiling again.
"If you don't mind me sayin' ma'am, but I think you're plenty exotic. I ain't ever heard of a person who wanted to see rainforests and deserts. We got plenty of wide-open plains right here and that's enough for the folks I know."
"Sorry, I don't know where that came from, I just..."
"I think you're real interesting though; you talk like someone who reads a lot of books, has seen a lot of things, knows a lot of stuff about life and the way people live it."
She kept on driving, peering through the windscreen at the shiny road within the semi circle of light cast ahead of her in the dark. She self consciously ran a hand through her hair, yanking at the ends, making sure the textured layers of her short, cute, pixie-like hairstyle were still ruffled yet smooth. She was trying to hide behind the movements, perhaps. She didn't know if she wanted to take back the words that had so freely flown from her; just pretend that she hadn't said a thing. She thought he would hear the desperation in her words, the deep longing to run away and never come back.
"I've been watching you drive; you know you fidget a lot." His deep voice was soporific and soothing to her. Glancing quickly toward him, she quirked an eyebrow at him as if to say 'Oh?'
"You've got wheel drummin', hair twitchin', jeans pickin', and the only time your left hand is on the wheel is when you're taking a drag off that cigarette there in your right."
She had given up looking at the road when he said this and was staring unabashed at his mouth as it formed these words, silently realising that what he said was the truth, and that it was because she was nervously grooming.
She was still staring at him, but her eyes drifted lower to the hand he was now using to point out of the windscreen and she heard him chuckle as she started suddenly, realising that she hadn't been concentrating on the road, being more fascinated by the man beside her.
Smiling sheepishly, she turned her attentions back to the rain soaked road. The cigarette that he had so nicely reminded her of was burning away steadily, she offered it over to him, he accepted it and took a deep pull, breathing out smoke through his nose. He smiled at her, took another puff and handed the cigarette back. She took a final drag and stubbed it out on the ashtray. The bright glow of halogen streetlights was visible in the distance and she knew that a mile or so down the road the next right would take her back onto residential streets.
"You know, you're really very attractive, ma'am, if you don't mind my sayin'."
"Sorry, ma'am, I'm just saying is all, s'just that you don't see too many pretty ladies who're real friendly and kind with it."
"Look, you don't have to say these things just because I gave you a ride." She glanced at him with a disbelieving look; he just held his hands up in defeat and smiled as if to say 'I'm not just blowing smoke up your ass'.
"So do you go out looking for rain soaked strangers to chauffeur around a lot?"
"Ha! No, mostly they're dry."
"You're a funny one, ma'am."
"Please stop calling me ma'am; you make me sound like someone's mother."
"No I'm not." A small wistful smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.
"What should I call you then?"
"My name is Alice, but most people call me Missy."
"Pleased to meet you Alice, I'm Jasper, most folks call me Jazz."He said this with such cordiality that she had to smile; it made her think he was much older than he was, perhaps ages with her father.
"So why'd they call you Missy?"
"When I was a kid I was a real diva and my Grandpa always called me Miss Mouth. My daddy would shorten it to Missy."
"That's real cute."
"I didn't think so; I hated it. I just so happened that my daddy would call me Missy in front of my friends when they were over and they started using it too. Just kinda stuck after that."
"I can see you as a little 'un, all bows and frills." She shot him a horrified look.
"Ugh! No I wasn't really a girly girl. I could give the boys a good thrashing when it was called for."
"I bet you could."
She looked at him, gauging if he was being sarcastic or not, but he looked serious enough. He looked at her curiously; his eyes seemed to bore through her skin into her secret heart. He was still soaking, drying very slowly, the white of his shirt becoming more apparent, but it was surprising to her that he wasn't shivering. She thought maybe it would be a good idea to stop for a coffee somewhere, it would be a lot warmer indoors and he'd dry a lot faster. She knew a small place on the outskirts of town that served a really good slice of pie with a cup.
"You're still soaking wet. You'll end up with a chill."
Maybe she was imagining the look in his eyes; the look that was finishing that sentence the same way that she was. A bloom of colour blossomed in her cheeks as she thought about it and a long forgotten heat kindled in her. She imagined the feel of his skin, all damp and cold, heating under her hands. The thought of the simple task of drying his hair took on a delicious air of exquisite longing in her mind as she pictured the flex and release of his biceps, and how his back muscles rippled with the easy movements. The extrication of his long legs from yards of wet denim was like a revelation of dreamlike desire for her. She felt her heart speeding up with the images flitting across her vision and felt the low thrum of possibility spreading between her legs.
She could see peripherally that he was staring. Keeping her eyes firmly on the road ahead of her, she didn't even glance in his direction in case the new urgency burning in them would betray her as she spoke.
"We could stop for a coffee somewhere."
"Sure Ma'a... Missy."
"I know a place, just a few minutes away."
She stole a quick glance at him, and saw that his eyes were still fixed on her. She felt like he hadn't looked away from her once the whole journey. Flustered a little by the thought that maybe he could read on her face the thoughts she was having and by the way he was still looking directly at her she smiled shyly and pulled her hair out of her face, nervously.
His eyes lit up with a small smile as he nodded to himself, as if her reaction was exactly what he'd expected.
They drove on quietly with only the soft music and the hiss of rain for distraction. Under her calm exterior the fire that had sparked to life was threatening to consume her, and she could feel electricity in the small space left between their nearly touching knees. He seemed perfectly sedate, but she hoped he was feeling the same as she was.
She went to tap another cigarette out of its pack then decided she didn't want it, threw them onto the dashboard and started drumming her fingers along to the music instead. She realised what she was doing when she heard a soft 'hmph' and she giggled just a little.
They flew through the night, the fluorescent overhead glow and the fast passing streets, cars and shops took on an iridescence that was almost surreal as she headed for the highway. At the last stop light in town she turned left and the highway spread out before her. After about half a mile a gas station and all night cafe came into view. She looked at him then, relieved to find his piercing gaze was directed elsewhere; she saw him looking at the small roadside inn opposite.
"Let's get you warmed up."
She groaned inwardly thinking she sounded very motherly, as she opened the car door and got out. She heard the passenger door close and looked over the roof at him, so tall and handsome. She saw a mischievous grin on his face and she realised that what she had said didn't sound motherly at all.