AN Preread and beta'd by IamTheAlleyCat.

Disclaimer Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. All things Golden Moon, including Jasper's cabin in Canada, belong to NusiainForks. The last scene of this chapter was inspired by the Ann Wilson/Mike Reno song, Almost Paradise.


Chapter 21

Bella POV

Faces of family and friends that once beamed whenever they gathered together were now worn with grief. Within the past few days, three of their own were taken away from them. They stood in a circle, surrounding their loved ones' headstones. Some prayed, others cried, but all leaned on each other for support.

In the circle, there were those that mourned the loss, thinking that it was because of a fatal car accident, or in Sam's case, a broken heart that lead him to drive a little too fast around a curve that sent his motorcycle to skid across the highway and off of a cliff. Others, who knew the truth, glanced periodically toward the dense trees, where in the shadows, the Cullens and I paid our respects to Paul, Sam, and Emily.

Jacob gave the Cullens permission to cross the reservation boundary, knowing that it was something both Emily and I would have wanted. As much as I wanted to join him in his time of grief, I couldn't bear to leave Jasper's side. I also couldn't bear to face the pack. Guilt overwhelmed me whenever I looked them in the eye. If I had known any of this would happen, Jasper and I would have left Forks right after Maria had escaped from him, hoping that she, and the trouble that always seemed to be a part of my life, would follow.

So I waited in the shadows with my hand in Jasper's, watching the ceremony until I could say my goodbye alone.

After the ceremony was over and everyone, including the Cullens, had disappeared, Jasper and I walked to where Emily and Sam were buried.

The smell of freshly dug earth and the sight of two mounds in front of their headstones overwhelmed me, making me dizzy. I began to sway, and Jasper caught me before I fell.

"Oh, Emily." I sobbed into Jasper's shoulder as he held me close.

She and Sam deserved better than this. Why must it be the end for them when it was the beginning for Jasper and me? Was there something in the universe that only allowed for a certain amount of happiness that it must take from one in order to give to another?

Thoughts like these continued to swirl in my mind as I tried in vain to find answers. Through it all, Jasper rubbed my back, trying to soothe me, but at the same time, giving me the space to grieve.

When I was beginning to calm down, he growled, and I stiffened with fear. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I heard someone coming. It's only Seth."

Seth was almost unrecognizable without the sparkle that was a constant on his cheerful face. Instead, there was an eerie emptiness, making him look beyond his years.

"Emily asked me to give this letter to you as soon as I saw you. I . . ." He paused, as he appeared to choke on his words. "I had no idea at the time that we would be here." He glanced over at Emily and Sam's headstones.

He handed me an envelope, and when I opened it, I was surprised to find a car key attached to a "Hello Kitty" keychain. I glanced over at Jasper, quizzically, and he shrugged. I pulled out the letter and began to read.

My Dearest Bella,

Do me a favor, hon. I know Seth is still standing there. Hand him the Hello Kitty keychain and read the next section to him.

I lifted my head and said, "Um . . . Seth, Emily wanted me to read some of this letter to you."

I skimmed over the section and balked at what it said. I looked apologetically at him and began:

"Seth, you rat. I know you were eyeballing my Honda ever since Jake fixed it up. Well, it's yours now, but with one condition: you have to keep Hello Kitty. I bet you thought I would never find out about the time you dared Paul to eat her while he was in wolf form just so you could see if he could pass it as human. Well, that was just gross. Sam found her and cleaned her up for me. So, here you go. (Bella, dear, toss it to him and there is wet-nap for you in the envelope . . . sorry)."

I quickly tossed the Hello Kitty to Seth, and it hit him in the chest when he didn't even attempt to catch it. I pulled out the wet-nap and rubbed my hands with it until they were squeaky-clean before I continued reading the letter to him.

"Pick it up, Seth. Be careful with my car, and keep Hello Kitty close or else I'll come back and haunt you. Okay, you can leave now. I need to talk to Bella alone."

Seth bent down and picked up the keychain. When he lifted his head, misty eyes met mine. For a moment, I thought he was going to break down, but instead, his eyes crinkled up, and he busted out with a laughter that was so contagious that I found myself joining him.

When we finally calmed down, his smile disappeared and his face turned somber. "Bella, how did she know this would happen? She must have known or else she would have never given her car to me. She loves her Honda."

"I'm not sure." I briefly thought that Alice may have had her hand in this, but I wasn't ready to share this information yet. "I'll tell you if I find out."

"Thanks, Bella. Well, I'll leave you two alone. Uh, if you ever need a ride somewhere, just let me know." Seth smiled as he dangled Hello Kitty in front of me.

After he left, I placed my hand in Jasper's and continued to read Emily's letter.

I know by now that Alice and Edward have joined the Volturi coven. Don't be surprised, Bella. She saw it coming. When we were in "Club Bite Me", she had a vision of Maria and the two Volturi warriors coming back to get you. In her vision, Jasper was able to save you, but Maria returned with greater numbers. From there, her vision went blank for a moment until she saw herself, Jasper, and your father looking at a mass of graves that included all the Cullens, the pack, and me.

She searched through different scenarios, trying to find a way that we could get out of this with everyone alive. It was difficult for her because there were gaps where the pack was involved. She finally found one, but it included you being captured and taken to Texas. In the end, you would be okay, but she and Edward would have to live with the Volturi.

Even with this specific vision, she saw you standing here by Sam's and my headstone, and she wanted me to leave. Bella, I just couldn't. I don't know if you can ever understand why I made the decision I made, but know this: I, too, am a warrior. If Alice's original vision had come to fruition, Sam would have died, and I couldn't bear losing him without trying to see if I could change it. I hope you can understand that.

I glanced at Jasper and squeezed his hand. Yes, Emily, I can understand.

He smiled at me as if sensing the feeling of love that I felt for him at that moment.

I shifted to the second page of Emily's letter and continued.

The one regret I have in all of this was not being able to tell you. I didn't want to risk anyone finding out about our plan. Any deviation from the vision's path would have led back to the Volturi coming back to Forks and slaughtering the pack. Forgive me for being selfish in wanting to make sure that my tribe was protected.

By now, I'm probably half way to the underworld. I wanted to wait for Sam to join me so that we could togetherby the way, did you know that Quileute souls can do that? I guess we are just cool that way.

There is one more thing that I want to ask of you—please forgive Alice.

You have every reason to hold a grudge against her. Yes, it was her fault that she reached out to Maria, hoping that Maria would take Jasper away from you. But you need to know that this was something she did right after she found out about you and Jasper. It was one of those irrational actions we tend to do when we are hurt and then comes back to bite us in the butt. She told me that she regretted what she did and would do anything to make it right again.

When she saw that you and Jasper could be saved if she and Edward joined the Volturi, she never hesitated. She sees it as penance for the hell she put you two through. She also wanted to stay with them so that she can keep an eye on them and make sure that they didn't ever come after the pack, as well as to look after Edward. I thought you should know this because I have never known anyone to carry such a heavy burden alone. In many ways, she is like Leah, willing to be alone in the world, but Leah is alone to take care of herself. Alice is doing it to take care of those she loves. I know someday, when you are ready, you, too, will see the Alice that I know and love.

I'm sorry I couldn't tell you this before. I wasn't sure if you were ready to hear it. I hope you can forgive me. I love you, and I'll miss you.

Your sister, even in the afterlife,

Emily

"Jasper, I think you need to read this." I handed him the second page of the letter.

As his eyes skimmed over the paper, I felt a wave of mixed emotions that intermingled with my own.

"Jasper, you're projecting."

"What? Oh, sorry." He handed the letter back to me. "This is not what I had expected."

"I know. I'm not sure how to feel about this." I paused, reflecting on Emily's words. I tried putting a context to Alice's behaviors the past few weeks, and slowly, the pieces started to connect. "Maybe the situation is not as simple as whether she is bad or good. Maybe the human frailties of making mistakes still carry forward even after you change."

"I don't know."

"Well, this we do know: you are here with me, and it is partially because of her."

Jasper sighed. "Yes, I guess I can admit to that much." He pulled me close to him. "As long as I have you, that is all that matters."

o.O.o

Three months after the funeral, we drove to Jasper's home just outside of Prince Albert National Park in Canada. It was almost a year ago to this day that he had first brought me here, to his—or rather our—cabin. This was the place where we would live during my newborn year. At the time, I wasn't yet ready to be changed. So much had happened within a year's time. I had a newfound confidence in myself and worked through past heart ache. I was ready to move to the future without any ties to hold me back, so I told Jasper he was free to change me at any time as long as he didn't tell me when he was going to do it. I had to admit I was a little scared. Who wasn't afraid of pain?

We had been at the cabin for a few days, hiking, reading, and just enjoying each other's company. We never left each other's side, except when Jasper was hunting or when I had to take a human moment. I was washing my hands after one of those human moments when I glanced into the mirror and was surprised at what I saw. I was . . . different.

Gone was the naïve, young girl that trusted everyone but herself. Vanished was the glint in her eyes that held anger toward the boy who thwarted her and the friend who she thought betrayed her. In its place was a woman who was confident, strong, and . . . happy.

The woman who stood staring back at me in the mirror was not too unfamiliar. Before I ever went to Forks, the necessity to take care of my loving, but harebrained mother made me confident in decisions I had to make for us. The work ethic I learned from my father made me strong and proud that I can earn my own way. My life was good, and I was happy. Somewhere along the way, I lost it, but now, I found it again. With Jasper's help, I came full circle.

I smiled at my reflection before I walked out to find the center of my happiness. He was staring at the flames dancing in the fireplace, his own face looking content. He turned to look at me, and his eyes glowed with a look of desire that he wore since the day we arrived at the cabin, intensifying with each day that passed.

A flutter of movement caught my eye, and I looked out the ceiling-to-floor window. Jasper, noticing the surprised look in my eyes, ran to the window and emitted a low growl.

"What is it?" I asked, fearful that whatever was out there would hurt us.

"Lunch." He licked his lips as he continued to stare out.

I looked out to see what he was staring at so intently, and my breath hitched in awe of the sight.

Snowflakes drifted slowly, powdering the trees and the ground, and in the midst of it was a small doe and its mother, nibbling on a small bush.

"It's beautiful," I said softly, pressing my nose against the cool glass, my breath steaming a small spot on the window.

"Yes," Jasper said as draped his arm around my shoulders. "Beautiful."

I tilted my head slightly to find his eyes gazing intently at me. I smiled coyly. "Don't mess with my little friends, Mr. Whitlock."

"You might stop thinking about them as friends in the near future."

"That may be true." I turned to him, stood on my toes, and pecked him on the nose. "But not at this moment."

His eyes widened with surprise as I leaped out of his arms, giggling as I grabbed my parka and ran outside into the snow.

I walked carefully when I got close to the deer, not wanting to scare them away. They looked so innocent; their tanned fur gleamed against the backdrop of the crisp white snow. When I was only a few feet away, Jasper's hand stopped me from stepping any closer.

"The mother is getting anxious," he whispered.

"You can feel them?" I was amazed at this new development, well, at least new to me. There was so much to learn about Jasper, and I was looking forward to spending an eternity doing it.

"Their emotions are not as complex as a human's, so they are easier to read." He paused, and then he chuckled softly. "Not that I take the time to listen to my food too often."

I never really thought about animals having emotions. I looked into the mother deer's eyes, and for a moment, I felt bad that sometime in the near future, I would rely on their blood to give me sustenance.

"Promise me, that you won't let me hunt these two." I knew it might be impossible to pick them out, but I had to try.

I could feel Jasper's body shaking, and I glance over at him. His face looked like it was about to explode with laughter.

I scowled.

He must have thought the look on my face was funny because he laughed so loudly it echoed through the air, sending the deer scurrying away from us.

"Now, looked what you did. You scared them away!" I tried to be mad at him but his laughter was like music to my ears. It had been such a long time since I'd seen him so carefree. I grabbed a handful of snow and threw it at him with pretended anger.

"Now, now, my dear, you don't know who you are messing with." His eyes twinkled with mischief as he wagged his finger at me. "I am the master of the snowball fight." In a blink, he was juggling four perfectly round snowballs.

I giggled. He was being so silly, and I loved it. This was a side of him I hoped to see more of.

I scooped up some snow, formed a ball, and tossed it from one hand to the other. "Well, Major Whitlock, I think you may be underestimating me. You haven't seen—" I looked over his shoulder, "Emmett?"

Jasper dropped his balls and turned around in the direction I was looking at, and I took his momentary distraction to jump on his back, smashing the snowball into his hair.

Realizing that he had been duped, Jasper growled. "Why, you little minx."

I was laughing so hard that when I jumped off of him, I slipped in the snow and landed flat on my back.

Jasper was immediately on his knees by my side, his eyes glowing with happiness. "Darlin', I sure am going to miss the clumsy human side of you. What am I going to do with myself when you are a graceful vampire? You won't need me to save you anymore."

It was at that moment that I felt it. His eyes reflected all the emotions that he was projecting: love and admiration. Lying on the cold ground, I should have felt frigid; instead, warmth spread through my body. My laughter died away and was replaced with the rapid beat of my heart as his eyes darkened with yearning. I reached out, drawing him down to me.

His lips melded with mine, sending my heart into a wild frenzy. I wrapped my legs and arms around him, trying to pull him closer to me. His body pressed down against mine, making me sink deeper into the snow.

I felt myself being lifted, and with a white blur and a rush of wind, I suddenly found myself back in the cabin in front of the fireplace.

The flames of the fire flickered and crackled, warming my back, but it was when I gazed into Jasper's eyes, darkened with desire, that my body burst into flames hotter than any fire.

He watched me carefully, not making a move. I could feel that he wanted me just as badly as I wanted him, but he held himself back as if waiting.

The last time we were together, he took the lead because I was so timid, unsure of what to do and unsure of myself. It had only been three months since then, but I had grown so much. I was no longer unsure of myself and who I was. There was nothing holding me back from accepting the love that he had to give to me.

My hand slowly reached out to caress his wind-blown hair. His eyes closed, and he smiled as my hand slowly glided down his cheek to his perfect mouth. His lips parted slightly as if in anticipation.

I closed in the distance between us and leaned in, inhaling his musky scent and taking my time to delight in the nearness of him. Mimicking his moves from when we were last together, my fingers taunted him as they glided over his chest and then his arms and back as I circled him. My fingers outlined every curved muscle on his body as I reveled in awe of his magnificence.

By the time I came full circle and was facing him once again, my face felt flushed. I took off my parka just as Jasper opened his eyes. His eyebrows arched upward as if amused. "Are you feeling a little warm, darlin'?"

"You could say that."

"My apologies, ma'am. Let me help you cool off." He pressed the palms of his hands on both sides of my cheeks. "How does that feel?"

The coolness of his touch and the blaze of desire in his eyes made me so weak in the knees that I almost couldn't answer him. "Much . . . better."

"Hmm . . . I think there is more we can do to make you more . . . comfortable." His hands worked their way down the buttons of my blouse, and before I knew it, it dropped to the floor.

"I think you may need some warming up. You feel a little too . . . cool," I said as my hands lifted his sweater.

His lips curved into that lopsided grin that never failed to make me swoon like a sixteen year-old girl meeting Robert Pattinson for the first time, and with one swoop, he threw off his sweater and wrapped me in his arms. "Yes, I feel much warmer now."

We chuckled at our flirtatious banter.

And then, the room grew still, and his face shifted to a more serious expression.

"Bella, I need you."

"I'm yours," I said thickly.

His lips crashed down onto mine, leaving me senseless of time and place. It could have been minutes, hours, or even days that passed, and I wouldn't have known—and I didn't care. The only thing that mattered was him. His arms, his chest, his lips, his scent were the only things that filled my consciousness. I was so lost in the ecstasy of his touch that I wasn't even aware of how the rest of our clothes came off. It wasn't until I pulled back to take a much needed breath that I realized that we were lying on the thick carpet in front of the fireplace completely naked.

The first time I was with him like this, I was too self-conscious to appreciate the magnificence of his body. Now, my eyes took in every inch of him. The flickering light from the fireplace caused his skin to gleam as my eyes drank him in. He was glorious.

"I feel like I'm dreaming," I said as my hand stroked his firm biceps.

I was hoping that by touching him it would make the unearthly vision that he was seem more solid, more real.

He leaned in closer, his eyes staring intently into mine. "After I was changed, I thought I would never be able to dream, that I would always be alone in the darkness. But then, you came into my life, showing me the way out of the dark and into the light and giving me the chance to dream again . . . a dream of a future with you."

"Then if we're dreaming, let's not ever wake up," I murmured softly.

His lips met mine, reigniting our passion. I pressed myself into his chest, desperately trying to be close to him, to become one with him. With every move I made, the low rumble in his chest grew louder, making me moan with desire. I was throbbing, and I ached to have him . . . all of him.

Just when I thought I couldn't stand another moment, he pressed himself inside me. My gasp quickly followed my calling out his name over and over again. As our bodies moved to the rhythm of my pounding heart, he whispered words of undying love into my ear. I couldn't ask for anything more than him.

I felt myself go higher and higher until I was near the edge. His moans grew loader, and I knew that he, too, was almost at his end. I opened my eyes, and I took in all the emotions reflected in his face: love, desire, happiness. Our eyes locked, and it was at that moment that I saw forever in his eyes.

My hands suddenly reached out for his arms, feeling myself at the brink of an explosion. I cried out as I arched my back and closed my eyes, surrendering to the tidal wave of sensations that washed over me.

As my body continued to shudder, he lifted me and held me close against his chest.

"You are my forever," he whispered. His cool lips then pressed against my neck in a gentle kiss, and I quivered as his teeth pressed down, breaking through my skin and sending me one step closer to the light of eternity.

~finis~


AN: Thank you for reading Searching for Daylight.

If you've enjoyed my fan fiction, check out my original fiction, the Broken Angel series.

Book 1, Lash (Broken Angel) is a New Adult Paranormal Romance and is now available.

You can find it at:

US Amazon - bit . ly / buylash

UK Amazon - www . amazon . co . uk / dp / B00CM18MAK

Book Description:

Decades after being banished from Heaven for saving a life he shouldn't have, Lash is given a chance to redeem himself. His mission: protect Naomi Duran, a young woman who has lost her faith. The assignment proves to be anything but simple when his superiors, the Archangels, withhold key information about Naomi and refuse to restore Lash's powers. When an unexpected source reveals centuries-old secrets, his trust is shaken to the core, and he begins to doubt those whom he had once considered to be his greatest allies.

Determined to avoid anything that would risk his chances of returning to Heaven, Lash struggles with the greatest obstacle of all—his growing feelings for Naomi. But when her life is threatened by an unknown source, Lash questions the wisdom of the Archangels and his ability to keep her safe.

Soon, Lash will have to choose where to place his faith—in the home he has fought so hard to regain or in the forbidden love he can't bear to lose.