This was a very recent, sudden brainwave. I often wonder about the first meetings of every individual Cullen. Since I'm in the process of writing a very long-drawn Carlisle/Esme fanfic (Triumph of Love), all the "first meetings" are pretty much covered in that timeline, and I can use my ideas for the same story. But then I realised that this particular rencontre cannot happen in my fanfic at all- which got me thinking, which in turn got me writing.

And so, here is my rendering of Jasper and Alice's first meeting, notwithstanding the fact that they seem to have had no conversation at all in the movie.

And also, Twilight and all these characters(except maybe the grumpy diner owner) belong to Stephenie Meyer. Dang.


Serendipity

"Northeast" Philadelphia, 1948

The night is cold and windy- even I can feel it with my lower-than-is-respectably-human temperature. The sky is overcast, and I can perfectly well see the swollen clouds clumped above me like a giant, woolly rooftop. Even though I seem to be in some sort of neighbourhood- there are some very new houses spread out around me in a half-hearted manner- there are no people out and about. Anyone would be mad to be outside in what promises to be a very harsh spell of bad weather.

But I can smell them, each and every one of them, tucked in cosily in their little houses, blood beating through their veins with warm contentment. Very few people are not happy, all of them seem to feel relief at the fact that they have a roof over their heads at a time like this. I feel the familiar dull thud of jealousy and longing in my mind, a sharper painful twist in my throat, and a heavier feeling of emptiness in my heart.

My name is Jasper Whitlock, and I am a vampire. I have been alive for just about a hundred years and do not find anything even slightly worthwhile I have done in this cursed lifetime. I am an escapee, a wanderer, a refugee, an outcast- even amongst my kind. I detest the wide outdoors for their loneliness, despise the great crawling cities for their stifling inhumanity; I envy the humans for their short, meaningful lives, and am sickened by the vampires by their horribly vicious lifestyles. My whole life is a meaningless conundrum, and I have spent nearly a decade in trying to find something- anything- that would wipe this heavy layer of uncertainty and loneliness away from my heart and balance the chaos in my mind.

The heavens finally open up, and little drops of water begin to assail me, their frequency increasing rapidly. I grimace. The idea of raindrops being dangerous to my armoured skin is laughable, and I am also already colder than the rain itself; but the thought of being swathed in wet, clinging, musty clothes for a long time to come is not a pleasant one.

Lightning flashes as I look around, and I notice a man staring at me as he is entering his front door. I realise that I must look odd, standing in the middle of the street in the pouring rain, unconcerned by the cold and the darkness. I quickly scan my surroundings again, and notice the dull lights of a diner three blocks away. From what I can see through the windows, it is empty, which would suit me very well indeed.

I set off towards the diner briskly, only just so faster than normal, ready to slow down for another flash of revealing lightning. Even from afar I can see the dull door of the diner and conclude that it may not be a very popular place. As I push open the door, my guess is proved correct by the dingy long counter and the dull, stained, tiled floor. There is only a fat, swarthy, grumpy man behind the counter, and a girl with curious short hair at the farthest stool who looks up when I enter. I nearly sigh with relief- there is not much temptation to handle here, with only two people. I automatically stop breathing for a second, and then take a cautious little breath. Though I can still bear the thirst and put off murder for a few more days, it would be ridiculous to take any chances- my eyes are already almost black, any little crimson remaining is dark enough to pass off as brown to the human eye.

Immediately, I smell the man's blood and feel his dismay at having to serve another customer. I step towards the counter to make my unnecessary order when I stop mid-stride.

I cannot smell the girl's blood.

For a moment my mind grapples foolishly with this fact, trying to understand what sort of creature this girl might be for me to be unable to scent her blood. Then the obvious answer pops into my head, and my senses confirm the fact for me. She is a vampire.

She smiles at my obvious stupefaction and beckons me over, gesturing at the seat next to her. Her reaction shocks me. Most of the vampires I met after my escape from hell automatically sensed from my appearance that I was one of the dangerous ones of the never-aging, and, as such, never were quite at ease with me. I always had to, as a rule, use my talent at pacifying them, though I knew they would in no case trust me. She is the first to have reacted so… normally, as though every vampire was walking around covered by horrifying battle scars from head to toe.

I hesitate for the most fleeting moment- the blink of a human eye- and turn towards her abruptly and walk to her. I stop two stools away, keeping my distance from her and observing her warily.

She smells like a whiff of freshness- the smell of rain-soaked earth and of lilies and of inexplicable frankincense. Her structure is very tiny and petite, even more so than my creator. Her short black hair is plastered around her face from the rain, and her small features are perfect, sharp, graceful lines. She looks like a little girl, but I realise from her posture, her nondescript clothes and her figure that she is, in fact, much older than I have imagined her to be- perhaps closer to my age. A playful smile curves her perfect, chiselled pink lips. But what astonishes me most are her eyes. They are a deep golden brown, a colour I have never seen in any vampire's irises in the hundred years of my existence. I already know that every vampire is hauntingly beautiful, even the fiercest of them. But there is something in this little carved statuette of warm ice, some ethereal innocent beauty that lightens my heart.

Then she speaks in a high-pitched voice of bell-like crystal clarity, her words taking me completely by surprise.

"Well, Mr. Whitlock, you kept me waiting long enough." Her voice is half-teasing, half-relieved, and her beautiful slanted eyes twinkle at me.

Startled, I reply with the first thing that pops into my head. "I'm sorry, ma'am," I say, bowing my head, using the polite address at a sudden remembrance of etiquette.

The owner of the diner rumbles towards us behind the counter, staring at us with mute suspicion.

The woman turns to him. "We'll have two coffees. Over there." She hops off her stool in a graceful dancer-like movement, gesturing towards the farthest table. Ignoring his sullen glare, she turns away, beckoning me with an outstretched delicate finger. As I follow her, I watch her confident walk almost bemusedly. I have never seen a more graceful, more endearing creature.

She sits at the seat and beams at me, and I sit opposite her, still too surprised to understand what is happening. Instead I work on identifying her emotions, which is not too difficult. I sense relief, quickly being replaced by a growing sense of happiness- and hope. It is the first time I have sensed hope in a vampire after a long time. The feeling is so different to the emotions I have been experiencing lately that I am more disoriented.

"I suppose you are wondering how I know who you are?"-she asks me in her beautiful ringing voice, words flowing freely in vampiric speed.

"Well, yes, ma'am," I admit.

"You may stop calling me that," she tells me kindly. "My name is Alice."

"Alice," I repeat, feeling it roll off my tongue. I sense a sudden jagged change in her emotions- something I cannot name, something close to elation.

"Well, then, I know who you are because I am psychic." She pauses as if to stress on her words, and then continues. "And before you make nasty rude allusions to my mental condition- oh, you aren't going to." Her smile widens and she looks so pleased that she looks like a little girl who has been given her favourite toy. The expression is strangely endearing and I suddenly want to keep her happy like that forever.

"I was going to explain," she tells me, "that by being psychic, I meant that I can see the future." She pauses again. "You don't find that strange."-she says happily, clapping her hands with delight.

"No," I say solemnly, elated in turn by her elation. "I have seen stranger things."

She cocks her head to one side, gazing at me critically. "You're thinking of yourself," she announces.

"Actually, I am," I admit, surprised. "Do you read minds, too?"

She laughs at that- a short trill of amusement that sends a pleasurable shiver down my spine. Her laugh is beautiful and funny, ethereal and childish at the same time. "No, that's- someone else."-she finishes abruptly, her eyes unfocused with a strange, faraway look. Then she blinks and focuses her honey-coloured eyes on me again with a smile.

I stare at her, wondering for perhaps the hundredth time about the strangeness, the uniqueness of her endearing behaviour.

"There is no point in dilly-dallying. Let me be clear on this. You are searching for something. I think I can help you there. I do not feed on humans. I survive on solely animal blood. It works," she adds, looking at the expression on my face. "I have seen it… I have seen a vampire family- not a coven, a family, living a pure, happy life. I am at present still searching for them. I want to find them because I have seen myself with them, and… I have seen you with me."-she finishes softly.

Then everything she has been saying clicks into place in my mind. Is this it? Is this what I have been searching for, craving for in all these decades? Is she The One?

She takes a deep breath and continues, "However, the future is not set in stone. It is your decision to make." Her deep honey eyes seem to bore into me. I feel her hope crashing into me in huge waves. I don't need to be a mind-reader to realise what she is thinking.

Suddenly, in a blur of movement my enhanced sight can of course perceive, she slips out of her seat and stands next to me, still gazing at me solemnly with her beautiful expressive eyes.

"What say you, Jasper Whitlock?"-she asks softly, extending her hand towards me.

We remain in that position for a long moment, her solemn slanted eyes silently pleading. As to me, it is not doubt which makes me hesitate- it is wonder; wonder and a growing sense of a strange emotion that I have not felt in my entire lifetime.

I feel hope.

I place my hand in her small one, and she clutches it tightly, beaming as I stand up myself. I find myself smiling back at her, liking how the muscles of my jaw work to show my happiness.

Wordlessly, we walk out of the diner- ignoring the incredulous owner who is holding a tray bearing two cups of coffee- still holding hands, not letting go for a long time to come.