Hello everyone! I'd like to apologize for the long delay between the last chapter and this one. My attention was absolutely required at home and I was unable to concentrate on writing at all. I'm still getting back into the groove of things so please don't expect weekly updates like before. God willing, I won't go for months without updating. I can guarantee that I will finish all of my stories and I have more to post as soon as they are completed. Going forward, I'll only post a maximum of two stories at once though. An important lesson I learned in my time off is that sometimes life brings in unexpected events which can only make us stronger. Thank you all for the encouraging messages, reviews, and especially for your patience. I truly appreciate each and every one of you. Without further ado, I present to you chapter 17 of Dates, Mates, Hate, and Fate.
One more thing, if this story is ever deleted, it can be found on TWCS and Twi-write.
This story is AU/OOC
All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.
Mature readers 18+ only.
Having the Volturi here in Alaska was turning out to be a blessing. We'd all been under an enormous amount of stress with the amount of newborns surrounding us, and we hadn't realized it. The Volturi were a great help in teaching them to relearn human control. Of course, Charlie and Bella were freakish and didn't need any assistance, but the rest of them did. Their presence allowed us older vampires to have a bit more free time instead of constantly being vigilant about the newborns. Scratch that—two newborns is a better alternative word. The two newborns having the worst time adjusting to their new lives were Jessica and Lauren.
Jessica and Lauren were emotional disasters. Jessica was homesick and missed her parents tremendously. She was also terrified and distrustful of everyone around her. She'd shut herself off from everyone, afraid of being hurt. These were actually typical newborn emotions and Carlisle pointed out that Angela was the same way for almost a year.
Of course, there was also Lauren. She loved being a vampire, but was bored with being cooped up in the Denali home. She was used to being out and about and detested the seclusion of being a vampire. She was prone to running away and, more than once, Demetri has had to track her and bring her back home before she wiped out some innocent humans. A few days ago, Lauren actually managed to run to Juneau where Demetri found her standing in front of a donut shop, barefoot, muddy, and salivating at the mouth, contemplating which human to take out. Pete was at his wit's end, but I pointed out that at least she didn't kill any innocent humans, she was just trying to figure out which one to drain which was progress—she's learned some semblance of control. That seemed to make him feel better, but he was still on edge about his mate.
Meanwhile, Emmett was feeling everything from guilt to panic to depression to happiness—making Bella's and my emotions go absolutely haywire. He was happy to have his mate by his side, but felt guilty for having brought her into this life. He also felt panicked whenever Jess would withdraw from society and would become depressed at the thought of her feeling any negative emotions. I felt bad for him, but he needed to understand that Jess came to the decision to be turned into a vampire by herself and she needed to come to terms with that.
The rest of the newborns were really making strides. Pat was making a ton of progress with her human strength by practicing her hairdressing skills. Of course, all of us guys now had buzz cuts due to her several botched attempts with her sheers which she had to repair with clippers, but the area wildlife were now all sporting nicely shorn and styled coats of fur. I'd even venture to say that if we could find a few stray dogs, let Pat work her magic, and trained them to be obedient—they'd be prize winners at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Hey, now that ain't a bad idea.
Back to the topic of newborns, aside from Lauren and Jess, everyone else was doing well. Charlie and Bella, of course, had no bloodlust to speak of and Pat was quickly gaining control over hers. Angela, of course, could no longer be considered a newborn, but she's gained a sense of self. She told Eleazar and Carlisle that she couldn't feed off of animals if she wanted to maintain control. She now hunts criminals along with the Volturi, Bella, and me.
Angela hunting humans actually gave Carmen enough confidence to finally admit that she detested the animal diet. A stunned Eleazar, who had no idea that his mate felt that way and didn't want to force his ideologies upon her, relaxed his staunch views on feeding from animals. Chelsea noticed that their bond to each other actually strengthened after Carmen's frank admission. I can understand why, though, total honesty between couples is a must. It's a recurrent theme in romance novels. Speaking of which, I wonder if Bella's done with the latest Jo Beverley book? I've kind of been itching to read it. Although lately, I've been veering away from historical romances and getting into those supernatural romance books. Those vampires are so much cooler than we are. I don't think it's fair that they don't have to sparkle, but—then again, they can't venture out during the daytime and they have to sleep in coffins. Imagine having to sleep in a coffin. How morbid is that? But, then again, they do get to sleep. I suppose both have their advantages.
"You look like you're deep in thought," Bella noted.
"Hey, baby." I pulled her onto my lap and kissed her soundly on the lips.
"What has you in such a contemplative mood?" She eyed me pensively. "It's written all over your face, never mind the emotions you're emitting."
"Would you sleep in a coffin?"
"Hmm...I don't think coffins were meant for sleeping in. They were meant to be a final resting place for the dead. Why? What brought this up?"
"Okay, say you were dead and walking the earth..."
"I am dead and walking the earth," she interrupted.
"Just work with me here." She huffed and rolled her eyes. I took it as permission for me to continue. "Just say that you died centuries ago and you have to sleep during the daytime to recharge because you're allergic to sunlight. Would you slumber in a coffin or find an alternate place to sleep that's equally dark and enclosed."
"Okay, if I were a fictional vampire from one of the novels you're reading." Bella paused to smirk at me. Okay, so she's caught on, but that's what I like about her. "I would most likely think up of a place other than a coffin to sleep in because, quite frankly, that's pretty morbid."
"That's what I think as well. For example, I don't see any reason why I wouldn't be able to sleep in a sealed room with blackout curtains and one of those memory foam mattresses. Maybe I'd hire an interior decorator to spiff out the room for me. I'd even put a sofa and an easy chair in the room in case I wanted to crash there for the day. After all, why should I sacrifice a good night's sleep?"
"Technically, you'd be sleeping during the day and, if I'm not mistaken, you would be dead rather than sleeping."
"Well, that ain't right! Are you saying that they have to die nightly?"
"Well, who the hell came up with that crock of shit?"
"That would be Marcus Volturi, remember? He's the one that spread those rumors in order to hide the existence of vampires from humans."
"I'm really going to have to discuss his sense of logic with him. I can't understand how dying every morning can ever be construed as productive."
"You do that, honey. After that, consider seeing a therapist. It's fiction for God's sake."
"Hey, you're the one that got me into romance novels in the first place!"
"At least I don't take fiction seriously. Maybe you should concentrate more on the historical romances, they're more realistic."
"Realistic? In every single novel, the female protagonist gets seduced by a rake or a rogue who's either extravagantly wealthy or has a title and they end up getting hitched in the end."
"That's kind of like what happened to me, don't you think, Jasper? You're an extravagantly wealthy rogue vampire who ended up proposing to me then seducing me."
"There's a difference, I went out and bought you cookies after I seduced you."
"That's because you used me as a blood bank and I was feeling a bit wobbly."
"So I lost control for a bit. At least I didn't drain you."
"Besides, what kind of a heroine messes around with a vampire? That's messed up."
"Touche, my dear. You were very convincing."
"Yeah? Like one of the rogues in those novels."
"Absolutely...or possibly a rake." She chuckled then smiled at me before speaking again, "Do you want to run to the Barnes and Noble in Anchorage? They're open until eleven. It's only five o'clock. We can get lost in their jungle of books for hours. It'll be like a date."
"Now, you're talking my language, baby." I gave her a little squeeze then got up to throw my boots on. "Besides, it's Tuesday. All of the new releases are out. We should bring a backpack in case we buy books."
"What do you mean by 'in case'? Of course we're coming home with books."
After letting everyone know that we were going out for a run, we took off for the bookstore. We spent hours perusing the shelves then sitting and reading before we were literally thrown out by the manager because it was well past closing time. We arrived back to our temporary home after a quick hunt and were now snuggled under the covers doing some more reading. I was reading some book about a girl who has to choose between a vampire and a werewolf. Is she stupid or something? It's clear that the werewolf is a better choice, the vampire is a brooding piece of shit. I feel like shaking the crap of her! And why the hell is she so selfish and why can't she make a decision for herself?
"Jasper?" Damned stupid, little... "Jasper!"
"What?" I snapped.
"You're projecting. What's wrong?"
"Ella keeps going back to Ned and stringing Jason along."
"Why the hell are you reading that? That's a teen book."
"It was a bestseller ten years ago!"
"I know, I read it when I was like thirteen, I think."
"Well, what happens in the end?"
"I'm not telling you."
"Tell me, I can't read this anymore. If Ella says, 'Holy Crow' anymore, I'm going to strangle her. And what kind of teenager doesn't have sex?"
"I didn't have sex."
"You had good reasons not to. And that's not the point, Ella isn't normal. She's too much of a good girl, too complacent. I want her to grow a backbone—speak up for herself. I especially want her to tell Ned's sister Allison off. She's too damn annoying and interfering. There's no way that Allison is Ella's best friend."
"Are you done? Because you're disturbing me."
"What can be more important than Ella's well being? And what the heck are you reading?" I glanced at the book that had my mate so engrossed. "'Daily Life During the Civil War?' Why Bella? I can tell you anything you want to know about life during the Civil War."
"I know you can, Jasper. I just felt like reading this book because it's interesting. You can either confirm or debunk the facts for me afterwards. I promise to ask you any questions I migh...are you pouting?"
"Yes, you are."
"No, I'm not!"
"What's wrong with you today?"
"I don't...damn it...I'm trying to keep my mind off of the chaos heading our way. I don't want it! I don't want any of it! And I don't want this," I pointed between the two of us, "to end! Edward, Alice, and the Volturi are threatening our very happiness. And I finally found happiness. Can't you understand that? I finally found happiness with you and I don't want it to end!"
"Oh, Jasper." She put the book down and wrapped her arms around me. "I do. I do understand what you're saying. I don't want to lose all of this either. That's why we have to fight."
"I know why we have to fight. I just wish we didn't have to. I'm so pissed off! I mean, Bella, think about it—the only reason why we're taking down the Volturi is because Alice and Edward got them involved in our lives. It just...why did this have to happen to us?"
"I don't have an answer for you. You know as well as I do that sometimes things in life happen for no good reason. We just have to muddle through it." She cupped my face with her palms and looked me in the eyes. "Just know this—I love you. I love you for better or for worse. I love you with everything I have in me. And I'll never let you go."
"I'm supposed to be the one reassuring you, Bella. I'm the man in the relationship. You're supposed to be able to depend on me."
"Now that is the most chauvinistic statement I've ever heard come out of your mouth."
"Well, it's true. We don't ha..."
"Shh..." She silenced me with a soft kiss on my lips. "You've led a tough life, Jasper. At least, you have since your change. You were used, manipulated, and coerced by both Alice and Maria, but—through it all, you managed to hang on to a piece of yourself. I love that about you. I love how you know right from wrong and fight for what's right. I also know that we're going after Edward, Alice, and the Volturi for that same reason—it's the right thing to do."
"Let me finish. Jasper, you're so brave. You've always been brave and you haven't had anyone that you can rely on for years. But I'm here for you now. You don't always have to be the brave one. I can be brave for you."
"We can be brave together."
"Yeah, we can. You don't have to hold up the fort alone anymore. I'm here for you and that'll never change. I love you."
"I love you, Bella." I put one arm around her to keep her close and we went back to reading. Man, this is a shitty book. "Hey, baby?"
"What happens in the end? I can't read this anymore, but I need to know what happens."
"Are you sure you want to know?"
"Alright, it's a four book series. At the end of the fourth book, Ella finally comes to her senses. She tells Allison off, breaks up with Ned, and tells Jason that she only wants to be friends with him. Oh, and she ends up going off to college where she hooks up with Jackson—Allison's human boyfriend, the one she kept trying to change to her liking. They end up getting married in the end and living happily ever after."
"Oh, for Christ's sake, now I'm going to have to read the whole series."
"I thought you didn't like it."
"Yeah, that was before you told me that she ends up with Jackson! Why'd you have to go and ruin it for me?"
"Um, I'm not getting into this with you." She went back to her book. "I didn't know they had canned deviled ham during the Civil War. What does it taste like anyway?"
"It wasn't bad in a sandwich with cheese. I mean, you're pretty desperate for food as a soldier. The problem was finding cheese and bread. Sometimes, we had to eat deviled ham straight out of the can with a side of pork and beans. It got better after I became an officer though. We always had better food than the enlisted men."
"Huh, this is pretty interesting. You had condensed milk and Worcestershire sauce too."
"Yeah, that condensed milk was kick ass. I used to drink it straight out of the can as a kid. Cook caught me doing that once in the kitchen and told Mama. She made me go out and milk all of the cows every morning for a whole month. I still snuck the condensed milk though, I just didn't get caught."
We alternated between talking, reading, and snuggling after that. For now, life was good. I knew that it wouldn't stay that way for long though, but I needed to take these moments and relish them because these times would become fewer and farther between.
Meanwhile in the Fontainebleau Forest near Paris, France...
"They haven't called yet, Alice. It's been a month."
"Aro told us that it would take a few months since Demetri has never met Bella."
"But I thought as long as he had her essence, he could find her quickly. Should we send them another pair of her panties."
"No, it'll be okay."
"I need her blood, Alice. I'm desperate. Get it for me!" He's beginning to lose control again. What am I going to do?
"Edward, Demetri will find her. I've seen it. And when he does find her, you'll be able to feast to your heart's content on her blood."
"You're questioning my visions?"
"N...N...No...it's just that...I've seen blips in your visions lately. They've been hazy."
"Edward, I told you that I would get you Bella Swan's blood and I meant what I said. You're making me upset with your lack of trust!" I pouted.
"I do trust you. You know how..." He suddenly stopped talking and put his fingers to his lips. At the same time, a vision came to me. Rose and Esme had heard our conversation. No, this wasn't good—not good at all. The problem had to be dealt with immediately.
Edward nodded, agreeing with me. Edward placed me on his back and—with his incredible speed—we were easily able to catch up with their receding footsteps.
Esme stood in front of Rosalie shielding her. "We won't say a word, we promise," she stated.
"Unfortunately, that's not the future that I foresee for you," I stated.
"Don't you hurt my mate," Rosalie sneered.
"You know, I detested you both from the moment you were changed," Edward informed her as he stalked towards Rose and Esme.
Using the fighting skills I learned from Jasper—ugh, I snuck up on Esme from behind and got her into a position to behead her. What I neglected to figure into the equation was Rosalie—she was bigger, stronger and she easily tore off my torso from my legs.
"Alice, my love!" Edward cried in agony.
"Help me, please. Edward, you won't be able to get Bella's blood without me."
Rose took the opportunity to run with Esme. I had no idea where they were headed. No decisions were being made by either of them. In any case, the pain from having my torso and legs separated was searing and I couldn't help but cry out in agony as Edward helped to reassemble me.
Edward finally gave up on fusing me back together. I'd lost too much venom and I was having trouble staying together. He left me in the forest and ran. Where the hell was he going? I wept in fear losing even more venom. Two hours later, my mate returned with brilliant crimson eyes and a screaming child.
"I feasted on her parents, I needed the strength. She's just an orphan now, Alice—an outcast of society."
My eyes widened. This was wrong. So wrong. She was just a child. There was no way I could eat her. Edward pierced her neck with his fingernail, drawing out her blood and dripping it into my mouth. He lowered her neck to me. I fought hard to not take in such innocent blood. "You'll be doing her a favor, her parents are gone."
And with all of my resolve gone, I bit into her flesh and started sucking out her blood. For some reason, I knew that this decision would change everything.
What are your thoughts on Lauren and her feeling stifled? Do you think the Volturi really are a great help considering the amount of newborns residing in Alaska? What about Eleazar's change in attitude on feeding choices? Are you happy Carmen voiced her opinion to him? Can you understand why Jasper had his minor breakdown regarding all of the impending chaos? What were your thoughts on Alice and Edward? Do you think Alice having committed the ultimate sin of feeding off of an innocent child will change things? What will happen to Rose and Esme? Let me know and I'll respond. Thank you for reading and reviewing. XOXO mama4dukes