Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. (Repeat for future chapters).
A/N: Battling a little writer's block on my original WIP, in need of some stress relief, and this idea just wouldn't get out of my head. This story is going to be very different than anything else I've written. It's gonna be lighthearted and (hopefully) increasingly funny. I am not anticipating any more angst than your average rom-com. It's not beta'ed. New Moon AU. J/B eventually - no love triangle. Bella's cool. Rated M because you know me, I can't resist the temptation to write smut. Oh, and those stories where the updates are 10k+ words and the author apologizes for it being short? Yeah, this isn't one of those. I'm writing this as a series of vignettes, short glimpses of their lives, alternating between Jasper and Bella. I'll leave it up to you - more frequent, shorter updates (say, 400-1500 words) looking at either Jasper or Bella, or less frequent, longer updates that catches up on both. Either way, short enough to be able to read on your lunch break. Lemme know which you prefer when you review!
Jasper stepped out of the humble log cabin onto the wooden porch, took a deep, cleansing breath and surveyed the landscape. A crystal clear lake shimmered in the early morning light down the hill from him, a lone black swan swimming along its edge near the small dock. Behind it, snowcapped mountains glistened white before giving way to the deep green of the mature pines below. Birds chirped in the distance, signaling the arrival of spring. He could almost picture Ansel Adams standing in this very spot, his camera quietly capturing the serenity on film. It was then that he realized what he was feeling.
It was something that he'd not felt before in his long, long life. Not once. He'd sworn for decades that Alice had brought him peace, but it was hard to lie to yourself when you could feel the emotions of those around you and know what you felt paled in comparison. Carlisle and Esme felt true peace whenever they were in the same room as one another. Emmett and Rose felt it in the quiet moments after their sexcapades. Jasper had cherished those times, when he could wrap himself up in the emotions of his companions and pretend they were his own. What he felt now was not exactly what they had felt, but it was close enough, and it was real, and it was his.
He sat down on a creaky rocker with peeling red paint and stretched his legs out, crossing them at the ankle, a book of poetry in his lap. All he needed was a mint julep, he thought with a wry smile as he sat in quiet contemplation. Not that he could drink it. Well, that wasn't all he needed. For a brief moment, his smile faded and he wished he had someone to share it with. But, no. He had finally created a life of his own, a life not dependent on anyone else but him. He was just not used to being alone, without a woman to hold and emotions from others to distract him from his own. Solitude was what he needed, what he craved, and now that he had it, he was going to enjoy it.
He opened his book, but he wasn't really reading it. And it wasn't really his book. He looked at the inside cover, where a large sticker with a picture of a swan was affixed, the words 'Property of Bella Swan' printed across its pearl wings. She had been reading it the day of her ill-fated birthday party, and had begrudgingly put it down when Edward and Alice forced her downstairs. Jasper found it lying where she'd left it, open and face down on Edward's leather couch, when he'd briefly returned to Forks on his way to the cabin to pick up his faded blue jeans, denim shirts, hiking boots – basically all the clothes Alice would whine about for days if he tried to wear – and a few sentimental items before heading back out. He had gone to check on Bella before he left and was going to discretely return it to her, if for no other reason than to thank her. Carlisle had told him that she'd immediately forgiven him, understood the situation better than even the other vampires in the room had. It had gone a long way towards him forgiving himself, and he thought returning her book would be a nice way to express his gratitude. She was long gone, however, and so he'd taken the book with him.
Ah well, he thought with a shrug, opening it back up to where he'd left off and not feeling the least bit guilty about inhaling deeply, savoring the faint remnants of her scent. He'd tried. It was a really good book. Smelled good, too, he thought with a chuckle as his smile returned.
Bella was considered a bit of a quack in the scientific world. After all, who actually attempts to write their master's thesis on the genetics of supernatural beings? Of course, the critics didn't know that she'd used blood samples of shapeshifters – they were sooo disappointed when she informed them that they weren't really werewolves in the technical sense of the term – to back up some of her theories. At least she was a well-liked quack.
After she'd realized that vampires weren't the only supernatural creatures out there, she'd become fascinated with the idea that such beings weren't supernatural at all. They actually existed, which meant there must be a scientific basis for their presence. She became fixated on DNA, evolution, genetic engineering, anything that could get her closer to the truth. Of all the myths out there, which ones had the greatest possibility of actually having basis in fact? Vampires – definitely. Fairies – probably not. Unicorns – likely. The Lock Ness Monster – possibly. Most everyone dismissed her work as fancy; amusing to ponder on a theoretical level but not actually plausible. More than one professor over the years had tactfully suggested she transfer to Creative Writing.
She had done enough quote-unquote legitimate work to not be considered a total loon. After all, she'd discovered a species of winter wolf in the Appalachian Mountains previously considered extinct. People tended to gloss over the fact that she'd been looking for evidence of Bigfoot at the time. She still hadn't given up on that one – as soon as she was finished with the semester, she was heading back out. Winter was better, easier to track, but a spring trip fit into her schedule, not to mention her hatred of the cold. If she was a vampire, that'd be one thing, but as it was, no can do.
Bella sighed. Maybe one day she'd unlock the secret to vampire physiology. The fact that most myths about vampires were just that, myths, didn't help. It's not as though she could go around saying, "no – they don't burn in the sunlight, they sparkle like freaking prisms." So instead she wrote a paper comparing rare skin diseases with vampire mythology, creating a bogus link between the two, sprinkled in a little bullshit about vampire bats and mosquitoes and called it a day. But alone in her apartment, she read stories about golems and immortals, analyzed studies about people with heightened senses or weird, uncontrollable cravings, and tried to record everything she could remember about them. She'd figure it out eventually. She just hoped she wasn't old and grey before she did.
So, whaddya think?