I don't own anything besides the plot and Emma and Spencer and my fantastic beta! Hope you guys like! More hopefully soon. Let me know what you think. Also for all of the follows, favorites, and reviews warm my heart sorry I didn't reply to all of them! On with the story...
The reunited couple sat side by side, their legs dangling off the edge as they spoke. The girl's legs swung casually, both of them speaking in rapid vampire tongue, both of them catching up on the moments they had been missed. They felt out each other's wounds, learning the hardships they had faced in their time apart. Jasper spoke of guilt, the burn of the hunger, the pain of separation. Bella spoke of the years she had spent on the edge of sanity, just barely hanging onto herself, of the ghost of her past come back to life.
Neither spoke of their child.
"So tell me about this Spencer," Jasper asked quietly, her legs still swinging to match the rhythm of Bella's.
Bella cocked an eyebrow; a tight smile touched her lips. "He is . . . was . . . my best friend. I don't know where I would be in this 'life' if I hadn't . . . if he hadn't found me. I don't know how much of 'me' would be left." Bella's fingers formed air quotations around the word me. Jasper smiled at the cute mannerism.
"He became the protective older brother that, no matter how long I went without talking to him, he never left me. He didn't leave when I was moody with him and he didn't leave when God forbid I tell him his dirty jokes weren't funny." She said with a slight laugh, her eyes far away. "He was the most important thing in my life. He kept me goin', made me hunt when needed it, he didn't let me lose this." She tapped her temple. "He kept me safe when I refused to feed." She smiled fondly. "Dragged my useless carcass all over this damn country."
Jasper felt a pang of jealously echo deep inside him, but he kept quiet, smiled, encouraging her to continue.
"But anyway, then Emma came into our lives," the corner's of her smile turned down ever so slightly. "Spencer instantly fell for her." She dropped her eyes, her chin following, her posture defensive. "I think that's the one time Spencer actually hurt me. He didn't mean to. The hurt stemmed much more from my own problems than the fact that he had found happiness. I was just jealous that they were happy with each other and, once again, I was alone." Bella's body was rigid as old feelings began to stir, she had stopped breathing, her stillness surreal.
Jasper took her hand again into both of his. She jerked at the touch, instinctively drawing away.
Jasper swallowed the hurt and let go of her hand. "He sounds like a great person, I'm glad you he found you. I'm glad you weren't alone the whole time. I'm sorry you have been broken for so long." Bella's gaze stayed locked on the landscape below. She folded her hands in her lap and stayed quiet. "But you know you're not alone anymore." A beat. "Isabella?"
"It remains to be seen," she replied softly.
Jasper frowned. "You shouldn't beat yourself up for feeling what you did. Our emotions are so much more vivid now. Sometimes they just get away from us." He thought of the years he had spent dwelling in his guilt over leaving her behind. "Sometimes they even consume us."
"It doesn't really matter. In the end it was me who ruined our friendship. It was, is, hard to see people happy together. All I could see in them is what you and I were supposed to have been. Spencer and I would fight over the most trivial of things. Maybe it was for the attention? I mean, was I jealous of Emma? I guess so. It had been just me and Spens' for so long. I was acting like a child in the beginnin' of their relationship but I got over it, or learned to live with it. And in time, Emma became a good friend, too."
"It can all be different now though, Isabella. We can start a whole new life. I can give you what you need! I can give you what you want—"
"Do not presume to know what I want, Jasper."
Jasper sighed. "We can give you love, Isabella. We can give you family."
Bella gave him a sidelong look. "I don't think I'm cut out for family. I told you, I'm not a people person."
"Can I ask you something, Bella?"
"That was kind of the point of coming out here," she responded, sarcasm weighing heavily on her words. It was wearing her down, his determination to integrate her into his little group. She truly had no desire.
Jasper smiled."What did he look like?"
Her expression changed in a flash. A pit formed in her gut as she pictured her child's small form in her arms. She could picture him, his soft brown curls, the brilliant blue of his eyes, his little nose, his chubby little fingers. She could still see him in her mind as if she had just laid him down to sleep, could still smell the cloying smell of babies, could still feel his little hand squeeze her pinky finger in that brief moment they had shared.
Her ruby eyes glazed over with tears that would never touch her cheeks. Jasper carefully took her still form into his arms. She didn't lean into the embrace, but neither did she move away. Perhaps that terrible sadness was the strongest tether they had to one another. After so many years apart, the people they were simply didn't exist anymore. It felt like they were meeting again for the first time. But that child, and the loss of that child, was as fresh and as sharp as the day it had manifested in the wake of his death. Bella lifted her eyes to his, met a pair of golden eyes that bore the same heaviness that hers did. Exhausted from the effort of holding herself together, she dropped her head, and her shield, the sadness seeping out of her like a poison into his skin. She buried her face in the crook of his neck as she leaned weakly against him, pushing every agonizing memory through his veins.
Jasper sat silently, his heart shattering with each new flavor of pain that fluxed through his heart. The loss of a loved one, a child, the fear, and the acceptance of death, the misery of abandonment, the depression, the hatred, mistrust, suffering, and at last, the bitter hardening of her heart. Some of the feelings were familiar, pain he himself had tasted throughout the years. But hers, hers were so much more intense. He cradled tight to him, her form like a ragdoll in his strong arms. He whispered in her ear, desperate to comfort her, and maybe himself, to ease his own pain, his own guilt, to know he had left a strong woman, a capable woman. She had pulled through; they were here now, together.
"It wasn't your fault," he whispered fiercely, tightening his embrace. "You were an amazing mother. You showed him love. We're together now, Bella. I'll never let you go again, Isabella. You'll never have to be alone like that again. Ever, I promise, on my life I swear I won't ever leave you like that again."
Jasper could hear his shirt tearing a little from the hold she had on it but it didn't matter. That shirt didn't matter, what they had had all those years ago before he had left her didn't matter, was putting back the pieces of the girl he loved so dearly. To take away the pain of the child he felt they had lost only the day before. He felt awful for bringing him up but he couldn't help it. He had felt a right to know, at least in memory, his little boy. Carefully he ran his fingers through her hair, massaging the nape of her neck.
She hated feeling vulnerable, open. She was climbing the walls in her mind but being in Jasper's arms felt so right, felt like home.
Home, like where he left you to go play war.
Bella's eyes shot open, she jerked out of his arms. Jasper frowned, taking her face into his hands. "I promise, Bella. I'll never make you feel like that again."
Jasper could feel her doubt clouding his sincerity, but he didn't press any further. It would take time for her to come back from what she had been through. Maybe she saw the hurt he was trying to hide from her, maybe she was just tired of pretending like she didn't care, but whatever the reason she leaned her head forward until their noses just barely brushed. Both eyes, crimson and gold, shone with the ghosts, the mistakes, the pains of their past, and yet, a new hope dared to flicker. Perhaps they could pull through this.
"Tell me more about him," Jasper asked quietly. "Please."
Bella's smile was ever so slight, her eyes downcast in remembrance. "The resemblance was uncanny. He had your eyes, you nose, your lips." Her fingers traced along his face. "He had my hair color, but even that had a little bit of you in it." Her hand carefully lifted to play with the curls at the base of his neck.
Jasper smiled softly.
"I remember it amazed me how somethin' so small could weigh so much, how well he fit into my arms, how perfect he was. It was the best feelin', you know, how good it felt to feel such love again. He was the only reason I survived those nine long months and that he was finally here, that he was so small his little hand couldn't even wrap around my finger." Her eyes closed her eyes tight against the memory. She buzzed with emotion. "It was minutes Jasper . . . minutes and he was gone. His big blue eyes just faded into this dark gray color. His hand left my finger, his little chest was so still. At first I didn't understand. Then . . . then Carlisle took him out of my arms." Her arms formed a cradle as if he was still there, still pressed to her heart.
"I was in such a shock I couldn't . . . I couldn't move! Everything was moving in slow-motion. I was so confused. Then Carlisle came back . . .he came back without him. He didn't say anything, he was just shaking his head. Shaking his head like . . . like shit happens." Bella shot back, her eyes dark. Jasper leaned away, giving her space. "I screamed and cried—I begged him to bring him back to me. And, he did."
Jasper's brow knit. "I don't understand . . . I thought . . .?"
"I held my dead baby for over an hour," she continued as if he hadn't spoken, her eyes far away. "I couldn't let him go. I couldn't I just couldn't he was all I had left and he was gone he was just gone. I, I , I, he was just, Jasper he was all I had!" The desperation in her voice cut him deep. "The midwife finally had to take him away. They just took him. They buried him next to you." Bella's voice dropped off as if she had just walked off a ledge. Her arms wrapped around herself, her posture again defensive, eyes closed to the world.
"I'm so sorry I wasn't there, Bella," he said softly, reaching for her.
Bella eyes snapped open. They were bright, aggressive. "I don't need your pity, Jasper."
Jasper leaned back. "Of course you don't."
Bell stayed silent.
"Why don't we go see him?"
"I haven't been back there since I turned. I'm not going back."
"—I want to see my son."
"You won't see your son, Jasper. All that's there is some dirt and a rock."
Jasper frowned, his chest tight. "Bella, please."
"I've been okay, Jasper. I've been okay for a long time, and if I go back . . ." he voice trailed.
"I'll be right there, Bella. You won't be alone."
You won't be alone.
"So you keep tellin' me."
"Maybe it was for the best, Bella," he said pushing back a piece of hair that was falling.
Bella scowled, her gaze sharp.
"You did say that you felt someone was watching you, yes? What if he got to our little one before he even touched you? Maybe it was a blessing. Now we both know he's up in heaven keeping his eye on us. And he didn't suffer at all right?"
"No. No he didn't."
"Then let's be happy that he didn't suffer and now he's safe and happy."
Be happy, Bella. Be happy without him, like you were supposed to be happy without me.
Bella tensed and pushed the voice away. He was here now, she pressed her nails into her palms.
For now, the voice taunted.
Jasper tucked her into his arms. "We will get through all of this, Bella. Together."
Bella laid her head on Jasper's shoulder, his chin resting on top of her head as his fingers worked their way through her hair. She felt herself relaxing into him, getting somewhat used to his touch, his closeness, the comfort of friendship.
Someone was coming. The brief moment of comfort shattered in an instant as she leapt to her feet, her eyes dark, her body tense, listening as the footsteps drew closer and closer. The bushes shook as the couple stepped through the foliage, their hands clasped together. Edward and Alice. A hiss tore through her throat. What are they doing here? Had they followed them?
"What are you doin' here?" Bella snarled.
Bella stood, her entire body wired, ready to launch in an instant. Jasper was beside her in an instant, wary, prepared to stop her, his finger tips just barely brushing the small of his back.
"We're here to talk." Alice's said, her hand outstretched as if to wave a white flag.
"We don't want you here!" Bella's response was razor edged. "Remember, we left."
"Bella," Jasper said softly.
"Shut up," Bella hissed, swatting his hand away.
Edward and Jasper exchanged looks.
"I know," Alice said carefully. "We've come to say that we apologize for the way Rose treated you. She's just protective of us, she doesn't like anyone new."
"I don't need an apology. She wasn't anythin' I couldn't handle myself." Bella gave them a tight lipped smile, slowly beginning to stand straighter, her body defensive but at ease. Jasper's hand pressed more firmly on her lower back. Bella glared. Stepped away from the contact.
Alice bit her lip. A nervous habit. Something so human, something Bella used to do, something Jasper used to love. Anger spiked through her.
"We, Edward and I, are happy that you found Jasper. Hopefully he'll be bearable to be around," Alice joked, letting out a light giggle.
"Who said he was comin' back?" Bella asked her, one perfect eyebrow raised in question, arms crossed.
Alice tapped her temple with a slim finger. "I know a lot more than you do."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Bella snapped, reflexively throwing a shield around herself and Jasper. Jasper and Alice gasped, feeling their abilities slip away.
Edward pulled Alice back, wrapping his arms around her protectively. "Bella, we're just trying to be civil here. There's no need to strip them of their abilities. Alice is just trying to help bring you into—"
"I never asked to be a part of your family! I don't care what that girl thinks she knows. I don't want her, or you, or you," she snapped, whirling on Jasper, "in my head messin' with my thoughts and feelin's!"
Jasper felt like he'd been slapped. "Bella, I'm not trying to manipulate your emotions."
Bella just glared
Jasper stood. What more was there to say? How could he make her understand? These other vampires, they weren't the enemy. They were here to keep her safe. But God only knew if she even remembered what it was like to feel that way. To know what it was to have a friend, somebody she could lean on, someone she could . . . trust. Jasper sighed. He wanted to reach out to her, he wanted to tell her how proud he was, how much he wanted to help her. But the girl who stood before him—the vampire—she didn't need his help. She had lived on her own, fought, crawled, scraped, and dragged herself through the years without anyone. She was true to her nature, and why wouldn't she be?
Jasper turned to Edward and Alice and said very quietly. "You two knew not to come, I'm sure whatever needs to be said can wait until later. You both knew she needed space." He put his hand on Bella's shoulder, his grip firm. "Bella will lift her shield," he smirked when he heard her scoff, "when she's ready."
Bella opened her mouth to protest, but Jasper's grip on her shoulder tightened, and she didn't need his ability to understand the message. Quiet.
"But Jazz!" Alice complained. Edward squeezed her hand. Even without being able to hear his brother's or his mate's thoughts, he knew he and Alice wouldn't win.
"Let's go, Alice. They'll come back when they're ready. Let's go back and let the family know."
With a pout Alice turned on her heel. It wasn't her way, but many paths lead to the same place. It didn't matter, she knew their futures. Bella just needed more time, and that they could spare.
"Really, Jasper? 'Jazz'?"
"Something she's called me since we met. No matter how many times I tell her I don't like it."
Neither did she. "How did they know we were here?"
Jasper shrugged. "As soon as you said you wanted to talk I thought of this place. I can't believe they actually found it with just that glimpse."
Her body relaxed a little knowing he hadn't lied about this spot being a secret. In which case, they had had even less of a right to come barging in. Nosey ass fuckers. Bella, wrapped her arms around herself sitting at the base of a tall old tree. She folded her hands in her lap as Jasper came to join her.
A hawk hovered above, floating draft high above them. Bella watched, her eyes fixed on the beautiful creature. "Tell me more about Peter and Charlotte?" She asked quietly.