"Carlisle, can vampires even get sick?" I asked, in a strained voice. All this anger and despair was rubbing off on me, even though I was trying my hardest to stay afloat. Jasper's head was firmly in my lap, his golden eyes closed tight – my hands gently stroking the sides of his stone cheeks. "I doubt it, Bella." Carlisle shook his head slowly. "Well why is he like this?" I snapped back, immediately feeling guilty but knowing that I both did and didn't mean to. Carlisle smiled slightly at the effect that had obviously gotten to me. Everyone else had left the house already; Rosalie was the first to crack after the initial bombardment of shame – it was my fault Alice had left without saying goodbye to Jasper, as Rosalie had told her not to hurt him – she had done the right thing in everyone else's eyes but not in her own. Emmett left shortly after, as the shame turned rapidly to embarrassment. "He's trying to heal himself…" Carlisle muttered, as Jasper's eyes flickered open for a millisecond and then closed almost immediately. "He's broken inside; you should know this more than all of us. "It isn't the same." I dismissed. "But he's lost his mate, Bella." Carlisle said, touching Jasper's forehead in a display of uncontrolled affection. "Losing a mate is the worst thing that could happen – to both humans and vampires "Edward died. Alice still exists, she is still alive." I laughed, trying to shake it off as opposite ends of the spectrum. "It isn't the same." "Bella, at least you know that Edward loves you." He said calmly. It was the sympathetic note in his voice that cracked me. The old wound opened. All the depression that was bottled up inside my frozen heart began to leak out. It was crippling. My lithe hands moved from Jasper's face and onto my own arms, gripping tightly – trying to hold myself together. Dry-sobs racked my body but no tears escaped my eyes, not since he died, not since i was doomed to a lonely existence. Jasper's eyes snapped back open, those typically golden eyes (although they hadn't always been) were black as coal. Waves of uncontrolled sadness, fury and desperation swept off of him, sucking me and himself further into their personal tornado of emotions. "Bella. Jasper – stop now!" Carlisle commanded his hands balled tightly into fists, straining to keep a grip on his own emotions. Jasper's eyes flickered to Carlisle, his adopted father. His mouth opened apologetically, but it was obvious that he couldn't stop all the output while i was fuelling his fire. "Just… leave…" Jasper moaned to Carlisle, protecting him from the bigger wave about to engulf them. He left within the length of a human's heartbeat. Jasper wrapped his arms around himself, holding tighter than he'd ever held anything in his existence. His knees pulled to his chin as his head still lay in my lap. "Bella… He loved you…" Jasper struggled out. "Remember… he loved you…"
"Bella, Bella… Listen to me." I gasped raggedly. If i was a human, bruises would already be swelling over my muscled arms, i was holding so tightly. All these emotions – both my own and hers were overwhelming. I was stuck in a state of paralyzing depression, unable to escape. I forcefully pulled my hands from my arms and placed them around Bella's waist, trying not to squeeze her too tightly. Her face was covered by her hair, hazelnut brown locks trailing across her eyes. I pulled myself up to sit against Bella, my hands still pulling me close to the distraught figure next to me the first time i really moved in the 5 days since she had left me. The hole in my heart swelled suddenly. I couldn't stop, my arms locked, pulling my whole body next to her. "Bella, look at me, please…"I gasped again. There was no way that i would regain control without some help. I wished Carlisle was here, to carry me away. I wished Esme was here, so i could tap into her love, to dilute the entire negative. But most of all, i wished Alice was here and that she loved me and that she didn't leave me– but she would never come back, i was alone and I hated it – my grip grew tighter. "You're hurting me." Bella said, her voice not showing the emotional and physical hurt. Even though she was a vampire, she could feel the vice like grip I had on her, but she didn't care enough to make me stop. "Bella… help me…" i groaned. "I can't do this…"
I head nuzzled into her neck, she could feel my eyes pressed shut against her neck. She could feel my soft but stone lips stuck firm in a pained line. Her breathless sobs had ceased but she knew that wasn't what was making me feel so paralyzed. She needed to escape, so I would be okay.
Her hands moved to mine, placing her tender fingers on top of mine. She slowly and gently pried my fingers from her hips. I flexed them again, keeping her next to me, something to hold on to.
"Jasper, loosen them and I'll help you." Bella whispered softly, her hurt dissolving and hiding as best as she knew how to. "You don't have to let me go, I just need the phone."
My head remained pushed into her neck, and my steel arms caged her tightly to my side. But infinitely slowly my grip loosened on her.
In a quick fluid movement Bella grabbed the mobile from the table and dialed Carlisle's number in less than 2 seconds. The dial tone rang once before he answered it immediately.
Carlisle, please come back." She hissed quickly. "I'm hurting him and I don't know how to stop. Please. Bring Emmett, so you get him away from me. I don't want to hurt him anymore. Please."
The forest floor felt soft against my back, the moss clinging to my silk shirt. My knees pulled tight into my chest and my arms wrapped around them, hiding my face from my "brother" and "father". They couldn't feel the uncontrolled pain anymore; i was holding it all inside, trying to help my family. But Emmett's face was still blank with worry and Carlisle's hands held me firmly to the floor, although the struggles and fight had died away.
"Son, please talk to me." Carlisle tried again. Silence met me. I didn't move or acknowledge Carlisle had spoken, like he hadn't for the last 4 hours. Carlisle knew that he would react badly to Alice leaving him – but Bella had recovered so quickly, returning to "normality" within 3 days of his death. Well, "normality" being a controlled state of existence, rather than uncontrolled sobbing and running. But i didn't run initially, I didn't even fight when they had told me Alice had left.
The sun had long set, leaving the darkness to envelop them.
"Emmett, you can go and see Bella if you wish." Carlisle said, turning his face to his other adopted son. Vampires didn't get tired, but he could feel the almost washed-out state of emotional strain affect him, so he would spare Emmett from it. "I don't want to leave Jasper alone." Emmett said
"But I'll be with him, he won't be alone." Carlisle said, but knowing that Emmett was just as concerned about his brother as Carlisle was. "Get some rest, son."
I growled deep in my chest without warning. Carlisle's hands pressed me further into the dirt, fearing that the struggles would start again. "Jazz, what is it?" Emmett said, moving to kneel at my head. No response. No thrashing. "Jasper, brother…" Emmett said concerned. No response. No struggle.
"I know what you're going through, Jasper." Emmett tried again, trying desperately to get any kind of further reaction from me. "I won't leave you alone, I promise."
My head snapped up. My shoulders pushing against Carlisle's hands as I thrashed wildly on the dirt. Emmett grabbed hold of my arms; his strength coupled with Carlisle's was enough to stop the danger of escape. "Get off of me!" I snarled. "We can't let you go, bro" Emmett said calmly.
"Just let me go!" I snarled again, this time snapping my teeth together threateningly. "Jasper, stop fighting us please." Carlisle said soothingly. "If you stop fighting, we can release you…" My fighting ceased immediately. "Listen Jasper, we need you to talk. Can you do that?" Carlisle asked. I nodded my head strongly against the forest floor. "Will you promise not to run?" Carlisle asked clearly. I nodded again.
Emmett cautiously released his hold on my arms, letting me shake them. Carlisle's hold slackened from my shoulders but he didn't release me fully, taking no chances until he knew I was under complete control. "Can you let me go now?" I questioned my voice rough with emotion.
"Do you promise not to leave us?" Carlisle asked, getting the feeling that I was likely to take back his word and flee from the family, away from the ones i loved when i needed them most.
My face burned, my lips twitching, a silent sign of regret that Carlisle had caught me out, i wanted to run and leave everyone far behind.
"Jazz, we don't want you to leave." Emmett said quietly. "This is the time you need us most, and we love you, your family loves you… Please just stay with us, we can help you. It may not feel like it now but you will regret leaving us… It's hurting you, bro."
"He's talking the truth." Carlisle simply added. "I don't want it to hurt…" I moaned, turning my face against Carlisle's shoulder and closing my eyes against the invisible tears.
"We know, son." Carlisle said, his hands rubbing my back as i gently and tearlessly sobbed into his shoulder.
"I'm sorry Emmett. I'm sorry… dad." I whimpered. The emotion in Carlisle's heart swelled – pride. I had never called him dad, not even to keep up their human façade – but now, in my neediest moment, I had reverted to it. The silent look exchanged between Carlisle and Emmett showed everything that it needed to, Emmett was gone from the clearing and was sprinting towards the house.
"Bella?" I asked as soon as she stepped into the clearing. Carlisle could remember the fuss her scent had caused when she was human, and then again when she was a new-born. Generally, a vampire's scent is irrelative to their human scent – but Bella's scent was more alluring, but in a different way, she was no longer edible. Even now, as she stepped into the circle of trees, her unique scent caught my attention first – honey, lavender and honeydew melon.
"Yes, Jasper." Bella said cautiously. "I can…"I bleated into Carlisle's shoulder. My unruly blonde hair shaking as my body trembled. Carlisle grimaced, as a small cloud of pain blossomed from his son.
"Continue, son" Carlisle said softly, encouraging me to share whatever i was feeling. "I can… feel your pain…" I groaned. "Do you want me to go, Jasper?" Bella asked, unsure whether she was hurting me. Suddenly, a low groan escaped my lips. Carlisle grabbed me to his chest, pinning me against himself. Bella reacted immediately, moving towards them, as I began to thrash wildly again. Carlisle's arms couldn't contain my full outburst of hysteria without help, and I flew towards Bella. "Bella!" Carlisle shouted
"Jasper!" Bella screamed
I tackled her to the floor, her unnecessary breath caught in her throat. On instinct, she tried to push me off, baring her teeth and growling. Her arms fought against me, but she knew it was a losing battle. I was decades older than her. I was a killer, i had killed thousands to be here – to be the survivor – she stood no chance. Bella's eyes closed in acceptance of her fate. "Bella?" I choked out.
"Jasper?" Bella gasped.
"I don't want to let you go…" I said, into her neck.
"I'm here." She said, as softly as she could.