Disclaimer – I don't own any of the characters or anything from Twilight!:)

Chapter 1

I stared out of my window, into the black, nothingness of the night sky. I sighed. The view reminded me of my life now. Ever since my love, Edw- I couldn't think of his name, not yet, - had left me, I felt empty, lost.

Pain was my only relief. I gently stroked my right arm, feeling the thin bumps running up to my elbow. I was lucky the weather was so awful in Forks. Back in Phoenix I wouldn't get away with hiding my cuts for very long. Here I could wear long sleeves constantly and nobody would be any the wiser. I felt guilty for what I was doing, knowing how crushed Charlie would be if he ever found out how I was dealing with my loss. Yes, loss. Break up was the understatement of the century.

A single tear cascaded down my cheek. Another sleepless night, another red line marking my skin, another reminder of the weeks I'd spent alone. I knew my school friends, Mike, Angela and Ben were worried about me but I couldn't quite bring myself to assure them otherwise. And, of course, Jacob. Jake knew I was hiding something from him. He knew that I was putting on a brave face but he didn't know about my 'coping method.' That secret was mine to keep. If anyone found out…. I couldn't bear to hurt them like that.

Moving back from my window I settled into bed, staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep to take me. I eventually succumbed to the nothingness.

When I awoke in the morning I found Charlie sleeping in the chair next to my bed. I instantly felt a surge of guilt. I must have been screaming in my sleep again. I hated doing this to him, I knew he was out of his mind with worry. But, stubborn as ever, I was rejecting all help, assuring everyone I was fine.

It was Saturday, so I padded out of the room and to the kitchen. I stuck some waffles in the toaster and poured some coffee. I soon heard Charlie's footsteps coming down the stairs.

"Breakfast, Dad."

"Thanks, Bells. Rough night again, huh?"

I reddened, and busied myself in the fridge, looking for nothing in particular.

"You're not going to have any?" Charlie asked, indicating his plate.

"No, I've eaten," I lied.

That was another thing. Losing your eternal love sure deadens your appetite. Everyone commented on my weight loss, but I didn't see it as an issue. I would eat when I was hungry.

Charlie was watching me as he chewed. I suddenly felt claustrophobic, as if I was being monitored.

"Dad, I'm going to Angela's," I lied, "I'll be back later."

"Sure, Bells," Charlie smiled, glad to see I was starting to act like a normal human being.

I flashed a weak smile, grabbed my keys and headed for my truck. I had no idea where to go, just anywhere that didn't remind me of him. I found myself heading out of town, toward Seattle. After a little while I saw a large lake, surrounded by trees. It looked nice and secluded. I pulled over, and started to walk, wanting time alone to clear my head. Inhaling deeply, I felt free. No suspicious, worried glances from friends, no sympathy, no awkward questions. Just me.

Half way round the lake I noticed a man, dressed in black, sitting on a bench and staring out over the water. I intended to pass him by, until I drew closer, and saw who was sat there.

"Jasper?" I breathed, shocked.

The blond vampire looked up, as shocked as I was.


I nodded. I didn't know what to do, make my excuses and leave? I knew that's what I should do, but for some reason I found myself rooted to the spot.

"What are you doing here? You … left," I choked, barely holding myself together. His eyes, his skin, all painful reminders of –

"You weren't the only one left behind," he said quietly.

I was confused. Jasper had done nothing wrong. Why would he not be allowed to stay with his family-? He must have sensed my confusion, explaining,

"I almost killed you, Bella. Edward didn't want to know me after that. Alice could never quite forgive me either. Every day I could feel their accusation, their resentment. I can't live like that."

"But Jasper," I choked back my tears, "I forgive you, you did nothing wrong! You're a vampire, it's what you're meant to do!"

I couldn't believe this. They had abandoned Jasper too? I could see the pain in his eyes, the loneliness. I felt the hot tears coursing down my cheeks before I had a chance to stop them.

"Bella? Don't cry! Please!" Jasper was up in a blur, standing two feet away from me. I could see plainly that he wanted to comfort me, but I knew he couldn't. He had more trouble controlling his thirst than the rest of his family. Embarrassed, I quickly wiped the tears away.

"I'm sorry, it's just, I can't believe you've lost your family, because of me!" I sobbed the last word, felt the guilt wash over me like a tidal wave. It was so heavy I felt my knees give. The world tilted at a strange angle, when I suddenly felt ice cold hands on my legs and back. I was scooped up so quickly I hardly knew what had happened. When I turned my head I was staring into Jaspers topaz eyes. I saw worry and concentration in his face. Worry, I guess as I'd almost cracked my skull fainting, concentration with the sheer amount of effort it took him to hold me so close. I had never truly looked at Jasper before. His chiselled jaw, tousled golden hair, soft, caring eyes…. He took my breath away.

"Are you ok?" He asked, clearly uncomfortable.

"Yes! S-sorry!" I stammered. He placed me down, looking at me anxiously.

"Why don't you sit down? That was a close one," he said softly, attempting a lopsided smile.

Obediently I sat on the bench. He stood, looking at me.

"Where are you staying?" I asked.

"At the house. No one will be living there again, so I thought I may as well use it."

This comment brought fresh tears to my eyes, though I was able to fight them well enough to stop them falling.

"Jasper, I really am so sorry," I whispered, unable to comprehend how much damage I'd caused.

"No, Bella, it's me who should apologise."

I violently shook my head. I wasn't the one who had lost everything. Sure, it felt like it, but I still had my parents, my school friends. I'd left Jasper with nothing.

He looked at me warily, probably afraid I was going to faint again.

"Shall I walk you to your truck?"

Mutely, I nodded. As we walked, he, always three or four feet away, watched me. I didn't meet his gaze, terrified I would find hate and anger in his eyes.

When I reached my truck, I turned to say good bye, but he was nowhere to be seen. I climbed into my truck, lay my forehead on the steering wheel, and sobbed. Without thinking I fumbled in the glove-box, till I found a penknife Charlie insisted I kept for emergencies. Well, this was certainly one of those. Pulling up my right sleeve, I drew the blade along my arm, the sting of the cut helping to ease the anger I felt toward myself. I had punished myself for ruining Jaspers life. Feeling a little better, I took a deep breath and headed home.