"How much longer do you think you will be, Princess?" Michael asked.
"As long as I want to be," I said turning back to the shelf. I was in one of my favorite places, a book store, with almost the whole afternoon to myself and he wanted to leave just minutes after we'd arrived. Times like this I hated being so important that I needed a guard; actually I hated more that I really didn't need the guard but had to keep up the pretense of needing one. It was one of the pitfalls of being a Vampire who lived among humans that didn't know Vampires existed. In the Vamp world not only was I a member of the most powerful covens in the world, the Volturi, but I was also one of the strongest vampires, if not the strongest in existence. In my world the Volturi were in charge. They made the rules and they enforced them; I did both. Not only did I sit in judgment but I also made sure the rules were followed.
In the real or human world I am know as many different identities. Today I was Princess Iseabail Voltura of Italy and I needed to be protected as heiress to the throne. Now normally when I went out into public I was protected by part of the Volturi guard, a guard that I command and are all Vampires too, but today was sunny so my "protection" went to humans that were in on our secret. I am one of the lucky few that can mask the effects the sun has on our kind, so going out today was no problem for me.
"Are you scanning the area?" Michael asked.
"Of course I am," I snapped at him. "I do not detect any threats in anyone's mind! Do you actually think that I would be calmly looking for books if I did?"
"I am sorry Princess." Michael cringed at my anger. "I thought I saw a cold one and it is not one I know," he whispered. It was customary to use other names for vampires when in public.
"If there is another here I don't see a problem with that." I sighed. "But if it will make you feel better I will strengthen my scan and see."
"Thank you," Michael muttered as I closed my eyes to scan.
'It's a beautiful day out!'
'I can't believe that Princess Iseabail shops here!'
'This is a really good sale on CD's!'
'That scent,' thought someone behind me. 'I would know that scent anywhere. But it can't be...' Just as they would know my scent anywhere, I would know that mind anywhere.
"Andrew!" I called softly to one of my guards. "You two," I looked at Michael and Andrew. "There is a Cold One six aisles behind me. He is not a threat." I sighed and closed my eyes, searching him again just to make sure I was right. "He is actually a very old friend of mine."
"What would you like us to do?" Andrew asked, looking expectant.
"I am going," I started to dig in my bag for paper and pen, "to pay for my books and then go sit by the fire in the coffee shop." I scribbled a note quickly on the paper. "I would like you to give this to our visitor." I handed the paper to Michael.
"You didn't sign it Princess," said Michael, trying to hand me back the note.
"Trust me, he will know who it is from." I smiled and walked away toward the registers. After a short conversation with the cashier I walked to the coffee shop flanked by Hannah and Tristan, who were two more of my human guard.
"Wait by the door please." I said as I walked in; they just nodded and stopped. I walked to the two comfy over stuffed leather chairs and waited. I was not sure when or if this visitor was going to come or not so I started to read one of my books. I raised my head when Michael and Andrew walked around my chair to stand behind me. With a nod I went back to my book and continued to wait.
"Excuse me," came a southern drawl about five minutes later. "Is this seat taken?"
"No, it isn't." I closed my book to look to the visitor as he looked over me.
"Bella? Is that really you?" he asked, practically falling into the chair.
"Yes, it's me." I smiled at him. "It's good to see you Jasper."
It was very rare to see a vampire surprised. Jasper sat there for nearly three minutes, fighting between jumping up to hug me and falling to his knees. It really looked as if we were not going to talk at all; instead we were just going to stare at each other.
"Jasper please say or do something!" I exclaimed, unable to take the silence or the waiting any longer. Still I waited but at least I could tell that his mouth was starting to work again because he closed his mouth and swallowed. I heard a small snicker behind me and turned around and threw a glare toward the culprit… Michael.
"How… but you… We thought... When..." Jasper stuttered finally.
"How else does one become like us?" I asked with a giggle, getting a smile from him. "And roughly six months after you and your family left." That left him stunned. Again I had to wait for him to recover.
"Who?" he asked.
"Laurent" I sighed. "I was hiking with..." I paused, "friends and got separated. As he said I interrupted his hunt and he could not pass me up." I watched Jasper carefully as I said the next part. "Although he knew killing me was going to make Victoria very angry, he knew it was better that he killed me because it would be fast and almost painless where as if it were Victoria…" I trailed off as he started to growl.
"I will kill him for biting you and then her for even thinking about hurting you!" He continued with a growl.
"Easy Jasper." I patted his arm trying to calm him. "I wouldn't worry about it." I smiled as I remembered they were already ash in the win. One met their end by my friends, the other by my hand. "They have already been taken care of. Would you like to hear the rest or are you going to continue to growl at something from the past?"
"Sorry," he muttered. "Please continue."
"Well, as I told you before that Laurent decided that I would satisfy his thirst" I shrugged a little. "He bit me but was interrupted by some local guys from the reservation." Jasper raised his eyebrow. "Tell me Jasper, were you there when Carlisle made the treaty with the tribe?" I took a sip from my coffee mug causing a gasp from Jasper. "Sorry," I smiled slightly. "This," I shook the cup a little, "is one of my little quirks. Those are for another time."
"No I was not, but of course I know all about it," replied Jasper. "What does that have to do with how Laurent was stopped?"
"Do you remember their legends?" I waited, and finally Jasper nodded. "Come to find out that the story was true. Four giant wolves stopped Laurent, the start of their new pack. They were too late to save me but were able to catch and kill Laurent"
"How did you live afterward?" Jasper asked.
"Another one of my quirks is that I don't have any thirst for all things red," I said at vampire speed. "I made up an excuse to miss some time off school, and then when I was ready I returned. Since I was a loner after you guys left, no one really noticed anything different," I finished back at human level.
"What about Charlie? He was a cop. I am sure that he saw something."
"I spent all of my free time at the reservation." I shrugged. "I am sure he saw something but he was better off not knowing. I think he was more afraid that if he said anything or did something that I would..." I trailed off again.
"You would what?"
"Nothing" I bowed my head unable to look him in the eyes. "Anyway." I continued quickly with my story. "After I finished school I moved onto the reservation and became part of the..."
"You mean you lived with werewolves?" Jasper interrupted me with a hiss so low I nearly missed it. I knew that this was not going to go well seeing that I had this type of conversation once already. I was able to handle that one because the other participants did not know me well enough to know when I was hiding something. Jasper was going to be a little harder.
"Yes I did Jasper," I tried to stay calm. "I might not be normal but I still needed to know how to hunt and take care of myself."
"But they are dangerous! They could have hurt you, or even killed you! What were you thinking?" Jasper hissed.
"Jasper, you either need to calm yourself or I am leaving." I started to stand. "I am sure we will meet again eventually, and I will be happy to continue then."
"No!" he said loudly and grabbed my arm. "Please don't go," he begged, moderating his voice again. I took a glance at Andrew, and noticed him stepping my way. I caught his eye, shook my head and waited until he stepped back. I sat down and pulled my arm from his grasp. Crossing my arms I waited. "I am sorry, I will try to stay calm." I just continued to stare at him. "I promise I will try."
"Alright," I sighed sitting back down. "I became part of the pack. I was treated like a sister." I continued to watch him. "Even though Laurent never made it back to Victoria, she did come back. She wanted revenge on me for killing James and she figured a mate for a mate would work." I tried to hide the pain at the thought of Edward and I still being mates. "I tried to tell her that she was misinformed, let her go her own way." I skimmed over the mate part. Seeing the look Jasper gave me, I realized he noticed, but said nothing. "But she continued with her plan to destroy me." I shrugged. "Needless to say she failed and was destroyed herself. Yes, we did have injuries on our side but no one was killed except for her."
"What did you do after that?" asked Jasper
"I stayed at the res." I shrugged my shoulders letting us lapse into silence. "Not sure if you guys stayed up on the news from Washington wherever you went but four years after Victoria, Charlie was shot on duty and was killed," I said after a while.
"I am so sorry Bella," he sighed. "I didn't know. Did they catch the person?"
"Yes." I grimaced at the memory. "But not until after an 'anonymous' call telling the police where he was hiding."
"Please tell me you didn't hunt your father's killer?" asked Jasper looking straight in my eyes.
"I did not hunt him alone." I dropped my eyes unable to handle his gaze. "I was the one who kept him alive for the police to find. If it was up to the pack and Jacob they would have handled it themselves."
"Oh Bella," he tried to send me calming waves as I wiped at a tear that started to fall, but my shield held and they just bounced away. He looked strangely at me as he continued, "No one should have to do that no matter who they have with them." I just nodded while I tried to get my emotions under control.
"I still stayed there at the res afterward. I set up a scholarship in Charlie's name with some of the benefit money. I wanted to make sure that after I left Charlie would still be remembered." I smiled a little. "Then 10 years later Renee and Phil were killed in a car crash on their way home from one of Phil's High School baseball games. After taking care of everything there I realized that there was nothing left holding me to Washington but the pack. I no longer needed to play the human for anyone; I had nothing left.
"I decided to go out on my own, travel to the places I always wanted to go, do something for myself for a change. The pack agreed as long as I continued not to change my eating habits and that I came back for visits." I smiled to myself, "actually I am due for a visit soon. If I don't go there is no telling what mischief they will cause." I shook my head at some of the stupid things those mutts had done. "I'm sorry Jasper," I said pulling out my cell phone from my pocket, looking at the time. "I am monopolizing your time. I am sure there is something else you needed to do besides hear my story." I smiled at him as I again started to gather my things.
"No, it's fine." He glanced at his watch. "I am meeting some of Carlisle's old friends in a few hours." I cocked my head at him. He couldn't be the four o'clock meeting. Oh how those three were going to get it when I got home for not telling me! "I would rather spend time with you than wandering around waiting for my meeting," he continued, never noticing my spacing. "That is if you don't mind?"
I smiled taking the last sip of my coffee.
"Of course I would love to spend more time with you." I shook my coffee, "but let me get a refill first."
"Let me get that for you," said Jasper rising. "What were you having?"
"Always the gentleman," I smiled up at him "Peppermint White Mocha." I handed him my cup. His hand just barely brushed mine but in that instant there was such a jolt of electricity that I nearly dropped the cup.
"I will be right back," said Jasper, looking as confused as I was. He quickly turned and headed for the counter.
I was so confused. What the hell was that? I had never felt anything like that before. I thought I felt electricity from Edward but that was nothing compared to what just happened between Jasper and I. In my research I knew that Vampire soul mates know they are meant for each other when they touch. They feel electricity flow through them. In humans it has been described as something very similar. I came to the conclusion many years ago that Edward was my HUMAN soul mate, but that now that I am a Vampire I have a different mate that was meant for me. Edward was what I needed when I was human, but I am different than I once was and now I needed someone different. I no longer needed a protector; I needed someone to stand at my side. I think I will always love Edward in a way but I am no longer in love with him. What was this with Jasper? He had his mate in Alice, didn't he? Did Jasper feel it too? What did this mean? Did he know what the electricity meant?
"There you go." Jasper pulled me from my thoughts. "One fresh coffee." He placed my cup on the table and sat down.
"Thank you," I reached for the cup and cradled it in my hands. "Now it is your turn." I took a sip as he started to protest. "Oh, I insist. I cannot do all the talking, it's not fair."
"Fine," he sighed in resignation. "What do you want to know?"
"Anything." I smiled "Anything at all."
"Well," he settled back in the chair, "when we left Forks we spent time in Alaska staying near some friends of ours."
"The Denali family?"
"Yes, they are the closest to family that we have although the only thing that we really have in common is their eating habits. We only stayed there for a few months; Carlisle did not like being idle. We then moved to a small town in Illinois where the hospital was in desperate need of a good doctor." He shrugged. "That was about it really. We would settle for awhile then move before we got attached too the area or we drew to much attention to ourselves." I knew he was covering things up, most of it probably for my benefit.
"Jasper I know there was more. I know that you are trying to spare my feelings." He looked at me sheepishly, "Let me let you in on a secret." I leaned closer to him. "I already know that Edward and Tanya are together. The last thing that I heard they were very happy." I leaned back in my chair sipping my coffee.
"I am sorry Bella" said Jasper. "The family and I only suspected something was going on a few weeks before they left together to get married. I am sure you're hurt." His eyes narrowed "How did you find out?"
"I have my ways." I waved him off with a free hand. Eventually he would find out everything anyway. "Believe it or not Jasper I was not hurt that bad when I heard. I had already cried my last tear for him so there was nothing left for the news. I am happy that he has found his equal and I hope they stay happy together."
"When did you get so thoughtful?" asked Jasper still watching me.
"Oh, I have always been this way." I grinned taking another sip from my cup. "But you could say that experience has made a difference."
"Is that a nice way to say that you matured more as you got older?" laughed Jasper.
"Yes." I laughed with him. "But no matter the situation every lady hates being called old" I threw my book at him, which he easily caught. "So," I said, recovering from my giggles, "what about you and Alice?" I regretted asking as soon as I saw his face fall.
"Well," he sighed placing my book on the table "I am sure you have noticed that we are not together?" I nodded. "Well about six years after leaving she started to become very distant with me. I thought that she blamed me for snapping at you causing Edward to push to leave. I thought that if I gave her some time she would come back to me, but still she continued to pull away. Finally after about a month of this I had enough and just left, telling her that no matter what was going on I could handle it and when she was ready to tell me all she had to do was call."
"What was it Jasper?"
"Something that I knew would happen eventually but was hopping wouldn't," he slumped more into the chair. "I will never bet against Alice again," he said to himself, then looked to me "Years before we met you Bella, Alice had a vision of her finding her true soul mate and it wasn't me. She told me that I was what she and her heart needed at the time but I was not her true mate." I gasped and Jasper just nodded. "I loved her anyway, knowing that eventually I would step aside let her go to another."
"So she found her true mate?"
"When she started to pull away she had another vision of him and he was getting closer. She was hoping that by pulling away little by little that when she did leave me it would not hurt so bad."
"Let me tell you from experience, that just makes it worse." Jasper just nodded. We sat there in silence for awhile before he spoke again.
"You know it hurt for a while, but now that she is with him and she is happy, I get hope there is someone for me."
You know there is," I patted his leg. "I have always believed that there is someone for everyone, it just takes some longer to find them."
"I guess it really is not that bad. I am still part of her life as a brother now and William is not that bad of a guy. He takes really good care of her, so doting on her." Then he looked to me. "You know when I left to go on my own she said that I would find you. Made me promise to give you a letter when I did. I keep it with my things at each hotel I stay at just incase. She just kept saying that 'when you find Bella you will find what you are looking for.'," he smiled.
"So when do I get my letter?" I teased him.
"We could go and get it now if you wish?" he looked at his watch. "It's only a little before 3:30. My hotel is not that far from here."
"As much as I would like to I really can't. I too have a meeting at four o'clock and I would rather spend my last few minutes just talking." I grinned and leaned back still working on my coffee. "So you said you were meeting friends of Carlisle's today?"
"Yes I am sure you know that the Volturi live near here?" I nodded fighting a smile, although I did hear a snort behind me. "Well the leaders are very old friends of Carlisle's, you know he stayed with them for a while?" Again I nodded, fighting the urge to laugh. "The last time I talked with Carlisle I told him that I becoming bored just traveling, that I wanted to do something with myself. I wanted to feel useful again." He shrugged "When I told him I was in Italy he told me to look them up, that maybe they could find me a job."
"I am sure they could find you something." I smiled slightly, starting to think. "What if they offered you a spot on the guard?"
"I don't know. I know that it is kind of extreme. That once you are part of the guard there is no turning back. I think as long as they allow me to keep my eating habits then I think I could handle whatever they throw at me."
"The guard is much different then you think." I said, smiling to myself. "Well Jasper," I stood up before he could say something, "I really need to get going. I have a few people I need to talk to before my own meeting." I turned to gather my things and to signal Michael and Andrew to start walking.
"Wait!" Jasper grabbed my book off the table before I could take it, "how am I to contact you to be able to see you again?" he held out my book.
"You'd be surprised where I pop up at Jasper." I smiled, shoving my book in my bag. "But hand me your phone." I turned around for his phone. "I will put my number in your contact list." He handed me his phone. "You can call me when you want. If I don't answer just leave a message," I said handing him back the phone.
"Thank you Bella," he quickly hugged me to him. "It was great to see you again. I sure have missed you." He slightly pushed me away his hands on my shoulders. "You know it is nice to spend time with you and not worry about killing you."
"Thanks Jasper" I shoved him playfully. "Every lady wants to hear that, too." I grabbed my bag and started walking away. "I am sure we will see each other soon."