A/N- So this is it, the very last chapter. The reason I say that this is an alternate ending, is because I never actually intended to end it like this. I'm the first to admit that given the foundation I've given you, it's completely unrealistic, but with your overwhelming reviews begging to bring Jasper back, I couldn't not write this! I hope you enjoy it!
Long Walk Home
"Last night I stood at your doorstep
Trying to figure out what went wrong
You just slipped something into my palm and you were gone
I could smell the same deep green of summer
'Bove me the same night sky was glowin'
In the distance I could see the town where I was born
It's gonna be a long walk home
Hey pretty darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
A long walk home…"
From Long Walk Home, by Bruce Springsteen, off Magic, 2007
Somewhere along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, a man awoke, alone. His clothes were torn, and one of his shoes was missing. He couldn't remember his name, or anything about himself. All he knew was that he was cold, even under the bright sun. He was soaked to the bone and his pockets were empty. With no memory to go on, three were only two certainties- he had seaweed between his toes and a headache from hell.
Alice awoke with a happy gasp, having just had the happiest dream she could recall in her life.
"He's not dead!" she squealed to herself with a wide smile. Even better than the realization that her soul mate was out there, she had seen his face so clearly in her dream. Even though he was older now, there was no mistaking it. She'd seen the same light blue eyes, dozens of times, in the framed picture that Bella displayed near the door of the apartment she shared with Edward.
Her soul mate- the one she was so sure that she'd lost- was Bella's Jasper. She was sure of it. But she knew she couldn't share that with Bella, not just yet. She needed to find him first.
She laughed aloud, thinking that fate had a damn funny sense of humor.
The euphoria of her realization started to fade when she realized her new predicament.
How was she going to find him?
It wasn't until a while later, while she was in the bathroom brushing her teeth, that she remembered one very important bit of information. In her dream, she saw him, sitting at a diner, wearing a cowboy hat, stirring sugar into a mug of coffee.
And that very mug of coffee had the diner's name printed on the side.
"Google!" she sputtered, spraying toothpaste on the mirror. Ignoring the mess she made, she rinsed her mouth hastily and ran back to her bedroom for her laptop. "I need Google!"
"No, Alice, you've completely lost your mind!" Bella shrieked. "I'm getting married tomorrow! You're my maid of honor! You can't go to Texas!"
"I'll be back in time for the wedding," Alice assured her, zipping her suitcase closed.
Bella frowned, her forehead creased in worry. "I need to ask you a question, and I need you to be honest with me."
"What is it?" Alice asked, hearing the serious tone in her voice.
"Are you off your medication?"
"No," she said firmly, looking directly into her eyes. "Bella, you're my best friend. I wouldn't lie to you."
"But you told me that your soul mate died. You were sure of it. Now you're acting hyper and crazy again, and I'm worried about you. I think you might be having an episode."
Alice wasn't offended by Bella's concern. She was all too aware of how her sudden mood changes affected her family. But Bella and Edward never looked down on her, and they supported her unconditionally through all her highs and lows.
"I understand what you're saying," Alice admitted. "I know I've given you cause to be concerned for me, but I promise you that this isn't a manic episode."
"You said he died," Bella insisted again, bordering on hysterics. "What changed?"
"I don't know. I've been thinking about it all day. Maybe he didn't die, but lost some part of himself. Maybe he's getting it back now. All I know is that he was gone and now he's back. I can't ignore this. I have to go. I promise you that I will be back tomorrow in time for the wedding."
Bella sighed in defeat, knowing that there wasn't going to be any changing Alice's mind. "You're brother's going to kill me when he finds out."
Alice shrugged. "Just tell him I overpowered you," she said with a wink. "I love you."
"Love you too."
It had been less than a week since Jasper Whitlock started to remember his life. Some of the memories were so painful, he almost wished he was still living without them.
Bella… he remembered. He was ashamed of himself that he could ever forget her. She was his best friend- his only friend. He wondered how she was doing.
Since waking up on the beach over a year ago, he only had flashes of his old life. Her brown eyes haunted him in his dreams, and he couldn't remember who she was, or even her name. But the depths of her eyes were always trying to call out to him, begging him to remember.
Then he did.
He had no idea how to contact her, or if she even wanted to be contacted. Was she alive? Or had James gotten to her? Had she forgiven him for his stupidity?
The memories replayed in his mind like a broken record, so painful, yet impossible to forget. Would she ever forgive him?
Since waking up on the beach, he had become a drifter, living on the street, wandering from place to place. He was always shocked with himself at how easily he seemed to adapt to his new situations. But it was a tired life, and after a few months he was already growing weary. Until one day, a man named Billy Black saved him.
He'd managed to wander his way all the way to Texas, hitching rides from people or stowing away in the back of trucks. He never meant to go to Texas, but somehow he ended up there. Maybe it was fate.
He was walking down the road one day when a truck pulled up alongside him. Two elderly men were riding in it, both with concerned, friendly expressions. They asked him if he wanted a ride. Jasper told him that he was looking for work. They helped him.
Billy was in his seventies, his skin a dark bronze and leathery from working in the sun for years. He was in a wheelchair now, and he said he needed a hand on his farm. Jasper was more than willing to help. Billy gave him a home, and a comfortable life. It never bothered him that Jasper couldn't remember his own name, or that he had never worked on a farm in his life. Billy was a good soul, and told Jasper that he could see a man in need of help. Over the months, Billy became a surrogate father to him.
Slowly, his memories were coming back, until the other morning when he woke up in a panic. Something must have triggered his memory, because he remembered everything.
On the day that changed his life forever, he was on his way to pick up some groceries for Billy. He decided to stop at the local diner. He wasn't sure why- he so seldom stopped there. But he felt a pull, unlike he had ever felt before, urging him to go inside. He stepped in and stomped the dust from his boots from the welcome mat, then made his way to the counter.
He ordered a cup of coffee, the pull he felt only growing stronger by the minute. He could feel eyes on him, but it wasn't an unwelcome sensation. In fact, he felt comfortable for the first time in a long time, completely content. Maybe it was the satisfaction of at least knowing who he was and where he came from. He was starting to come to terms with the knowledge.
"Hi," a voice said from behind him. It sounded like an angel's voice, high-pitched and almost childlike, but warm and comforting at the same time.
"Hello," he answered, turning around. He tipped his hat in greeting, but froze as he stared at the face of the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen.
The world around him ceased to exist as he took in her flawless ivory skin, striking black hair, and piercing green eyes.
"You kept me waiting a long time," she said with a smile, showing off her perfect white teeth and ruby red lips.
"I'm sorry ma'am," he stuttered, completely in awe of her.
"I'm Alice," she introduced herself, offering him her hand.
"Jasper Whitlock," he answered. As he shook her hand gently, he felt a spark so powerful he thought for a moment he'd been electrocuted.
"I know," she said with a knowing smile. "You may think I'm crazy, but I really need you to come with me."
"Oh? And where are we headed?" Jasper asked, knowing full well that he was already in over his head. He'd follow that woman anywhere.
"Las Vegas," she answered.
He couldn't help but crack at joke. "Proposing so soon?"
She laughed, her voice sounding like tinkling bells all around him. "Not quite, but there's somebody there that I'm sure is anxious to see you. She just doesn't know it yet."
There was only one woman ever in his life. "Bella?" he asked with a gasp.
"Come on," Alice said, offering him her hand. "I'll tell you all about it on the way there."
Jasper stopped to say goodbye to Billy, promising him that he would be back. Billy had given him a knowing smile when he caught sight of Alice, and he wished him luck. Before he even realized what was happening, he was on a plane to Vegas, the woman of his dreams at his side.
"Honey, the minister just said he can't wait any longer. We have to start now," Esme said sadly.
"I can't believe she's going to miss our wedding!" Bella cried. "She promised me."
"I know, sweetheart, but if you want to get married today, we need to start now."
"Is Edward out there?" Bella asked.
Esme laughed. "Yes, and he looks like he's about to have an aneurysm waiting for you. Come on, let's go."
Edward and Bella's wedding was to be a small affair. They reserved a tiny chapel in Las Vegas, and only Edward's parents, Alice, and Rosalie and Emmett were to be in attendance. They wanted it to be a small, intimate, affair, and now it had gotten even smaller with the absence of Bella's maid of honor.
She tried to shake away the feelings of disappointment as she stood, waiting to walk down the short aisle. When the music started, and she took her first step, she caught sight of Edward, waiting anxiously for her with Emmett at his side. All her feelings of disappointment vanished and she remembered why she was there.
Edward… he was her life now.
She had to stop herself from running down the aisle towards him. They'd waited long enough, over a year since they officially became engaged. It was time; he was it for her.
It seemed like hours before she finally reached him, and the music stopped. The minister was speaking, but she was so lost in the depths of Edward's green eyes she could barely make out what he was saying, until he asked the question she was dying to answer.
"Do you, Isabella, take Edward to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
With tears in her eyes, she said, "I…"
"Stop the wedding!" A voice screeched from behind them.
"What the…" the minister asked annoyed, as Bella and Edward turned sharply. Alice was running towards them, completely disheveled, in jeans and a t-shirt.
Bella didn't care.
"Alice! You made it!" she gasped, throwing her arms around her sister-to-be.
"Stop everything!" Alice said, panting, out of breath. "Our flight was delayed. I'm so sorry. Bella, we need a… a… do-over!"
"A do-over?" the minister asked, with a roll of his eyes. "Honestly."
"Please. We'll pay you double," Alice said. Without waiting for a response, she was dragging Bella back down the aisle, leaving a stunned Edward gaping after them.
"Alice, what the hell?" Bella asked, as soon as the door to the chapel was closed. Alice didn't have time to respond before Bella caught sight of the man looming in the shadows, hanging back and fidgeting nervously.
"Jasper," she gasped, her voice barely a whisper. "How…?"
"He'll explain later!" Alice insisted. "Let's get you married."
Bella ignored her, taking a step closer to Jasper. "Bella…" he said trailing off. "I…"
"How is this possible?" she asked in wonder.
"It's a long story," he said.
"Fuck it. It doesn't matter. I'm so glad that you're here!" she exclaimed, launching herself into his arms.
With immense relief, Jasper returned her embrace, so comforted to finally be reunited with his best friend. "I missed you so much," he whispered.
"I missed you too," Bella answered with a sob. "I thought you were dead!"
"Don't cry," he murmured into her hair, not letting her go. "I'm here now."
Bella froze as she remembered the sordid details of their last encounter, reliving the painful memory of Jasper's broken expression as he walked out their hotel room door for the last time.
"Jasper, I've met someone. I'm so sorry…"
"Do you love him?" he interrupted.
"More than anything," she answered solemnly.
"Then I'm so happy for you," he said, kissing the crown of her head.
"Jasper… will you walk me down the aisle?" she asked him.
His answering smile warmed her heart. "It'd be an honor."
A/N- okay, I'm crying now. That's officially the last chapter. I'll miss you guys! Thank you everyone for your kind words and for sticking with me through this story!