**Before anything else, I want to tell you all that I'm NOT abandoning Bella's Dirty Notebook or Dodgeball. There have been a lot of stressful things going on lately, but it looks like thing are on the up & up. Yay! I'll get back to writing very, very soon. *pinky promise*

This was my entry for the Love Actually Contest and I won Judge's Choice First Place! W00t-W00t! This idea actually popped in my head one night while I was falling asleep and I could NOT shake it. The story kept building in my head until I finally gave in and started writing... at 4 in the morning with eye boogers and drool all over my face! LOL! I hope you all enjoy it, it's pretty different from what I usually write. : )

Disclaimer: *looks at license* Nope, still not SMeyer. That means I don't own Jasper. Drats.

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She walks into the cafeteria surrounded by my easily excitable peers and the expression on her face is one I know well— one that I wore just two years ago: New kid desperation.

Her eyes quickly scan the sea of faces, no doubt trying to find an escape from the endless barrage of questions and idle chatter. She's frantically looking and looking and when those wide brown eyes meet mine, her silent plea is clear as day.

And because I know that I'm not the one to save her, I look away.

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We have Chemistry together. She comes into the classroom and is all flushed cheeks when the teacher lamely asks her to introduce herself.

Bella, she says, no Isa.

I smile at the way she fumbles over the simplest of words— the way she wiggles her nose when she's thinking of the next thing to come out of her mouth.

I can't remember the last time I smiled.

She takes a seat in front of the class and Mr. Banner wastes no time in starting the day's lesson.

He calls on me, like the bastard he is. Everyone knows that I'm not gonna answer the question, so I sit back in my seat, slump a little, shrug and go back to pretend-reading the assigned book laying in front of me.

Bella no Isa timidly raises her hand and answers the question herself, rather impressively, I might add. And Banner is satiated— but by the way she turns and stares with pursed lips and curious eyes, I know that she isn't.

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She looks at me different now. Someone must have told her one of the many fabled stories of Jasper Whitlock... and I guess she believes them.

I tell myself that I don't care.

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I'm late for class on the one day that being late might mean my passing or failing. And it's also the day that everyone has decided to congregate in the hall to block my way. I bump into someone, feel the momentum almost throw them to the ground, but I have no time to stop.

"Hey! Damn it!"

I look back and see her— and she's pissed.

And she's waiting for me to apologize. I guess everyone but her knows that that won't happen. I shrug half-heartedly and don't wait for her reaction.

I have a class to get to.

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I try avoiding her and am mostly successful.

She asks too many questions— questions that I can't answer. She makes me uncomfortable with that unrelenting stare.

No one's ever looked at me the way she does.

I tell myself that I don't like it.

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"What the hell is wrong with you?"

She's slamming her books down on the desk next to mine and there's no escaping the fire in her eyes. But I try anyway, raising the hood of my sweater to shield my skin from the searing burn.

"Seriously. What the hell?"

The past month and a half has proven to me that the girl is relentless, so when she opens her mouth right as Mr. Banner chooses to walk through the door, the sight of his scowl is very welcome.

She shuts her mouth and turns her attention to the teacher.

Bella no Isa is studious, and for that, I'm thankful.

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"You're giving me a ride today. My truck broke down."

Call the chief. Not my problem.

The words are damn near burning my tongue, they want to escape so bad.

But I swallow them down, silently sighing in resignation.

We're the last students in the building and I wanna kick myself for staying after class to get that extra credit.

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She doesn't even ask for rides anymore, just stands next to my car at the end of school and gets in when I unlock the doors.

The girl never stops asking questions, despite my never answering her.

Her name should end in a question mark. Bella no Isa Swan?

I chuckle to myself and almost choke on my Pepsi in the process.

She looks at me and rolls her narrowed eyes. The girl knows that asking me what's funny is futile, so she grunts and goes back to munching on the burrito I bought her.

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"Green?"

I shake my head.

"Black?"

Another head shake.

She's been trying to guess my favorite color for two days now, but she'll never get it right.

The flush of her cheeks is my favorite color.

Pink.

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"Why do you always wear these hot sweaters?"

She's turned in her seat, her entire body facing me. I shrug, keeping my eyes on the road. Just a few blocks to go until I'm dropping her off at the chief's house. Only a few more minutes before the questions stop.

"I mean, I know you're hot. You have to be. I'm hot just looking at you."

Her hand creeps to the collar of my hoodie and I think about stopping her— almost move to do just that.

But I don't.

I pretend that I'm intent on watching the road, but I'm watching her. Maybe even testing her a little.

I tell myself that I don't care whether she passes this test or not.

Graceful fingers carefully trace my exposed skin before she pulls my collar back up and fingers the thick fabric for a few lingering seconds.

"Sky blue?" She lowers her hand, but doesn't turn away from me.

My head shaking back and forth answers her question.

I fake-cough and bring a hand to my mouth to hide my smile.

I guess she passes.

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She sits next to me now, right where Lauren Mallory used to sit before Bella no Isa decided that she wanted the desk for herself.

Girl is relentless.

My fingers are mindlessly tangled in the ends of her long hair as I take notes and listen to Mr. Banner drone on and on. She says she wears her hair down because I like it. I smile when she says that.

I smile a lot when Bella no Isa is around... and the fingers of my right hand always smell like key lime pie after Chemistry class.

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I nudge her with my arm and she rolls her eyes. "Nope. Get your own, moocher."

Resistance is futile, Bella no Isa. I bump my shoulder against hers until she huffs and finally gives in. Her last, shiny new pencil is now in my hands. My smile is victorious.

Her eyes are little slits. She's trying to be scary, but ends up looking like she needs bifocals. Silly girl. "You'd better not chew on it. I'm tired of you chewing up my Lisa Frank pencils."

This isn't the first time she's mentioned Lisa Frank, like I'm supposed to know who in the hell that is.

Bella no Isa pulls out another pencil and I recognize it as the one that I chewed on two days ago.

No matter how mangled I make them and no matter how much she complains, the girl never gets rid of the things.

She glares at me from the corner of her eye, but we both know that she isn't mad.

I stick my new pencil in my mouth and gnaw away. It's the only way to hide my smile.

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The girl is all wide eyes and gleaming smiles when she sits next to me at lunch.

I tell myself that it's only for me. No one else has seen this smile.

"Today's my birthday."

It doesn't surprise me that Friday the thirteenth is her birthday. It fits.

Judging by the look she gives me, I don't think she appreciates my snort. Bella no Isa almost always knows exactly what I'm thinking.

The girl looks like she's waiting for something, so I slide her foil-wrapped burrito across the table before it gets cold. She ignores it and tells me that she knows what she wants for her birthday— wants me to guess.

Well, that ain't gonna happen.

She playfully kicks my leg under the table when I stay quiet, laughs all light and breezy and tells me to guess again.

She waits. I don't guess. And after a few seconds, that light and breezy smile fades.

I pretend that I don't notice and look down at my tray of food.

No more words are spoken.

I know she's pissed when she leaves without touching her burrito.

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"Talk to me. Just one word, I don't care what it is."

My focus is on the road— her asking all of these questions and trying to distract me is careless. Lives are at stake, here, little girl.

I can feel her frustration. It's damn near assaulting me when she goes back to pretending that I don't exist. But I don't dwell on it— I have safe driving to do.

Besides, I tell myself, I like the quiet.

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She's quiet for a change... and I don't like it.

No nosy questions, no non-stop badgering and something about her is... off.

Banner starts his boring lecture and Bella no Isa is all business. More than she usually is. She's concentrating a little too hard on what she's writing.

I know that she knows I'm looking at her. Still, she doesn't acknowledge me.

I thump the girl's hand to make her mess up her notes and it works. A dark scribble drawn across precise handwriting.

Still nothing.

Look at me, Bella no Isa. Smile.

My hand moves to tug the ends of her key lime pie hair, but it meets nothing.

And I now realize what's different about the girl.

Her hair is pulled up.

Away from me.

I swallow my surprise... and the lump forming in my throat.

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The silence...

Not hearing her voice makes my days almost unbearable.

I tell myself it'll be better after school. It'll all be better when I drive her home. She'll go back to being her nosy, demanding little self and I'll go back to not answering any of her questions.

Just like old times.

All I have to do is get through a few more classes before she's talking to me again. Just a few more hours.

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Sheisn't waiting by my car after school.

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She isn't coming.

It's been two hours since the last bell rang and I finally come to this conclusion when mine is the only car left in the school's parking lot.

She's already gone.

I tell myself that the quiet ride home is a welcome change, but end up turning on the radio to fill the void.

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She doesn't sit next to me during lunch.

She bought her own burrito.

Her hair is still up in a bun and I haven't seen her smile for days.

I can't keep telling myself that I don't care.

I do.

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My hands are sweating when I put down my pencil— the last pencil Bella no Isa gave me.

She's still ignoring me, still not waiting by my car after school and I've reached my limit. I need to see her smile. See my smile— that smile that's only for me.

I hold my breath and slide the piece of paper across our desk. Watch as she looks down— as her eyes read those two words over and over again. Slow, then fast and slow again.

And finally— finally, she looks at me.

I don't know what I was expecting to see in those eyes, but what I'm looking at sure as hell isn't it.

No pity.

She scoots closer to me— all the way close, until her chair bangs into mine. And her eyes are on me when she reaches up to release the hair I've been needing to touch.

So I do. And all is right again.

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"Come to my house today, I wanna show you something."

I turn my head in her direction a little and go back to watching the road.

"If you don't say anything, that means your answer is 'yes'."

I look at her again and she's smiling all evil villain-like. Girl thinks she's slick.

"Plus, if you don't come, I'm telling my dad about you driving with one hand off the wheel. I don't think the chief of police would appreciate such dangerous habits. Especially when his only child is in the car."

I snatch my hand out of her hair like it burned me, suck on my teeth until my tongue hurts.

Guess I'm meeting the chief today.

Damn tattle-tell.

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"Dad, this is my... Jasper."

His eyebrows scrunch. "'Your Jasper,' huh?"

She blushes and I have to look away. Look at anything but that flushed skin because daddy probably wouldn't appreciate my reaction to it.

I move to shake his hand and it's kind of like a measuring of dicks. He's squeezing the hell out of my hand. You'd better do right by my little girl. I will shoot you.

And I give it right back, tightening my fingers around his. I have no intention of getting shot, Chief. Your girl is in good hands.

He grunts and narrows his eyes, something that the girl must have picked up from him, and tells us that he'll be watching a game.

I don't hear which game was mentioned. I'm too focused on the fact that Bella no Isa has grabbed my hand and is leading me upstairs to her room.

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She tells me to sit on the bed and I probably move a little faster than necessary.

"You don't mind if I take my pants off, do you?"

I shake my head.

Fuck no, I don't mind.

Take off all the pants you want.

"It's just this thing I do. I can't wear pants in the house. I have to be comfortable, you know?"

I nod, but really, I don't hear a word she's saying.

I tell myself to look away before I embarrass myself...

But I don't.

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When Bella no Isa dragged me to her room and took off her pants, the last thing on my mind was looking at a book. But here I am. Looking at a damn book.

"Do you know what this is?" She sets it down in front of me and I shake my head, wondering where this conversation is going.

"It's ASL..."

Great. ASL. Got it.

I nod with gusto to prove that I'm listening and wait to see if she'll take any more clothes off.

"It's um... ASL is an acronym for American Sign Language."

Blank stare.

"I just thought," she says, "that it would be fun to learn together."

Learning and fun should never be in the same sentence. It's an oxymoron and I feel bamboozled.

But when she looks at me like that— all hope and misty brown eyes, I can't find it in me to tell her no.

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"Are you embarrassed?"

I shake my head.

"Then why doesn't anyone else in town know?"

Because I don't want their pity or stares or gossip.

She knows everything. Things that I swore no one in this town would ever know about.

My dad.

My mom.

The explosion.

The scars...

Everything.

And still no pity.

I tell myself not to fall for her.

But I think I may be too late.

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"Quit looking hungry and make yourself a sandwich, son. You damn near live here, might as well feed yourself."

And just like that, I am no longer a guest in the Swan household.

It feels good to belong somewhere.

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"Do you miss her? Your mom?"

I nod.

"What about your dad?"

No.

"Have you ever been to visit him?"

Fuck no.

She runs her fingertips over the scars marring my throat. "Do they hurt?"

I shake my head. Not since you.

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My Jasper.

That's what she refers to me as nowadays.

Her Jasper.

Makes me smile every time.

I think that's why she does it.

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She's ignoring me again. She knows it drives me fucking crazy and she knows that I'll cave soon.

She's right.

I motion for her to get in the car and she does. But not before giving me a smug smile.

It's always annoying when she's right.

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"Stop looking so emo, sheesh. I'll be on my best behavior. Honest." She does the girl-scout hand thing, then crosses her heart.

I roll my eyes. Bella no Isa is never on her best behavior. There is no such thing.

While she tries to guess what my room will look like, I'm hoping that I put my notebook somewhere her nosy eyes won't pry.

We step through the front door and the girl's fingernail automatically goes between her teeth. She's nervous. "Is anyone home?"

She's loud-whispering and it's the most quiet she's ever been in her life... even though it's not that quiet.

After a few seconds of silence, we both figure out that we're alone and in true Bella no Isa fashion, the girl walks straight to my room and barges in like she owns the place.

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"Hey, I didn't know you could draw."

She found it.

She found my notebook.

The one thing I didn't want her to see.

She sits next to me at the foot of my bed and I could snatch the thing out of her hands so easily. I want to.

But I don't.

And she keeps looking, slowly taking in each sketch before moving to the next page.

"Wow, you're really good."

I stare at the wall in front of me, counting down.

"Is this your mom?" I look at the drawing, nod. "She was beautiful."

Just a few more seconds.

My fingers are on my thighs, anxiously tapping their own rhythm.

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"What…?"

She looks at me, then looks back at the paper in front of her. Turns the page, turns another one.

They're all her.

All I ever think about.

Everything I want.

I turn to her, look in those curious eyes, rub my thumb across her flushed cheek.

My favorite color.

I bury my hand in her key lime pie hair and do what I've wanted to do since the first time I saw her.

I kiss my girl.

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A/N:

Thank you all for sticking with me. I appreciate and love the hell out of every one of you, I really do! *massive hug*