A/N: Oh my god! Where has the time went?! If you have stuck with me and/or this story, I could kiss you out of gratitude, but I'll refrain from doing so. Honestly, I don't even remember when the last chapter was posted and I'm more than just slightly disgusted with myself! Thank you for being patient with me, you guys are the best!

Bella's POV

I sat staring out of the window, my mind completely blank, simply cataloguing all the minute shifts in the dust particles swirling around. I focused all of my attention on keeping track of multiple disturbances to keep myself occupied. It didn't stop the pain in my chest, however, or the echo of Jasper's pain that I could feel through the bond.

I sighed. I'd been sat here exactly one thousand, eight hundred and forty nine seconds and counting, and it wasn't helping at all. I'd like to be able to say that I've gotten over the fury that pulsed through my dead veins at the thought of Jasper protecting that whore, but I can't. If anything, the pure rage has only gotten worse. The betrayal I felt though was beginning to over-take it. I was beyond repulsed with Jasper right now, and I couldn't really see that changing. I mean, it would, eventually it will have to. But not over this. It might change, but I doubt that it will ever fade.

He can't lie to save his life – not to me. He won't let me, or anyone else for that matter, kill Maria. It was as simple as that. Which means that even when this is over, it isn't. From what I've gathered from the others, Maria isn't the type to just back off and leave well enough alone. She is the type to keep going, killing anyone and everyone that got in her way until she had her hands on whatever, or whomever, she wants. And Jasper was going to let her live.

The revulsion I felt for him at that thought was enough to make me gag, almost as if I could feel the deer blood trying to making an escape. How he could be so, so selfish is beyond me. Yes, he did spend the majority of his undead life with her, but really, with the amount of destruction and despair she has caused over the centuries, I would have thought that it would be a given that she should be permanently put down, saving everyone else from her poison, and those that she has already effected could get some closure. But no! Jasper Whitlock can't give the fucking bitch up!

Growling I spun from the window, wishing for the first time since I'd awoken as a vampire that I could sleep. Unconsciousness would allow me the respite I desperately needed, if even for just a few hours. I hadn't realised that after becoming a vampire, that there would be no way at all to shut off my mind, to just make all the thought processes stop and give myself the space inside my own head that I had previously taken for granted.

"Bells?" I shifted to look at Emmett, before grunting and slumping against the wall, slowly sliding to the floor.

He came in and dropped down beside me, hands on his bent knees, head resting against the wall behind us, eyes shut. He sighed, shifting around before becoming in-humanly still. He didn't breathe, didn't twitch, which was slightly off-putting. I know that we don't have to move or breathe but Emmett has always done it, even after I changed.

"What happened?" I growled lowly at that, jerking my head away from him.

"I asked him if he was going to kill Edward and he accused me of still having feelings for him, saying that I didn't want him to hurt Edward for that reason. I said I didn't, and that I didn't care if Jasper killed him or not, it wasn't like I was bonded to him or anything. He knew, Emmett, he knew exactly what I was talking about, which just shows that he has thought about it. He said it wasn't the same, that we were bonded and that that was all that mattered, but he can't lie for shit. When I asked if he would let me kill her, he said yes, but I could feel the lie. He doesn't want her harmed." My throat was thick, my eyes shining. Did he still love her? Was that part of this, since a mating bond was supposed to be stronger than a sire bond?

"You have to remember Bells that Jasper was with Maria for longer than anyone else. She created him, placed him in an impossible situation and made herself his only option in way of survival. He's bound to be bonded to her more than just the sire bond." I growled cutting him off.

"That's not making this any better. She abused him, turned him into a killing machine, letting him loose on hundreds of innocent people. I know he hates the thought of hurting someone that so glaringly doesn't deserve it. He should hate her, Emmett. Hate her. But he doesn't." I choked on the tears that would never come and had to stop.

Emmett sighed, rubbing my hair before pulling me into him, draping his arm over my shoulders.

"You weren't there, Bells. Logically he should hate her, she used him and to you and me, what she made him do should make him hate her but it just doesn't work that way. He might be able to see it now, that she had him do things that went against every fibre of his being, but at the time he would have seen her as his salvation. To him, she would be guiding him into doing these things because it was his best chance at survival. And that doesn't make sense to us." I sobbed into his side.

"What if he doesn't want her harmed because he still loves her?" Emmett jerked and pulled my head up to look at him, my eyes taking in his incredulous expression, his taking in my deadly serious one.

"You can't actually believe what you just said." I just raised a brow at him. I did believe it, and it was eating me up inside.

"Of course I can Emmett. Our bond, his and mine, is a mating bond. It's the strongest thing out there and yet even when I have been threatened by her, he is willing, no not willing insisting, that she be unharmed and gets away with this. Why else would that be the case? He loves her, you said it yourself, he has spent the most time with her. How could he not still love her?"

Emmett was just staring at me, mouth slightly agape, as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing. But why shouldn't he? Everything I've said is completely plausible. He spent seventy years with the bitch, I'm not stupid. They obviously had a relationship; it would help strengthen her hold over him. Clearly that worked.

"Bella, how can you-? I-I don't-" I shook my head empathically at him.

"Put it this way. If Carlisle threatened Rose this way, would you hesitate in killing him? Would you tell Rose that she couldn't hurt him, that you were going to let him get away with it?" There was a pause before he let his breath out.

"No." I nodded, showing him that that's what I thought.

"Now, we both know about Roses past." He nodded, clearly puzzled as to where I was going with this.

"If she asked you now, after all the time you've spent with Carlisle, to kill him, would you?"

"No." again I nodded.

"Why?" I furrowed his brow, trying to plan out where I was going with this.

"Because I love him too, just not the same way."

"Precisely. You love him too, and you don't think that he is a threat to your mate. So, why are you trying to make it different between Jasper and Maria? Of course he still loves her, and doesn't really see her as a threat, so why not just let her be?" He sighed, tucking me into his side, playing with the ends of my hair.

It was some time later before either of us spoke. It was pitch black outside, not even the moon managing to light the treetops.

"He's coming." Emmett looked down at me, nodding.

"I figured he would. We're only at the other side of town; I didn't want to go too far, just in case." I nodded, actually looking around.

"Is this house Peter's then?" he nodded, cocking his head to the side. I could faintly hear Jasper's footfalls, which probably meant that Emmett couldn't yet.

"He'll be here soon. What do I do Emmett?" I looked up at him, my eyes wide and pleading. I needed guidance; I was so far out of my depth I was on the brink of becoming a fucking fairy.

"I don't know what to tell you Bells, other than to stick to your guns. Don't let him guilt you into agreeing with him, not that I really think he'd pull that shit on you. Just watch yourself. Listen to your instincts. He's the one that always goes on about how our instincts are our best chance at survival, use that against him if need be." I nodded. I could do this.

Emmett could hear Jasper now if the cocking of his head was any indication.

"I'm going to step outside for this sis. This is between the both of you, and he probably won't be best pleased with me right now anyway. I won't go far, if you need me, yell. I'll hear you." With that he kissed the crown of my head and left. I stood looking around until Jasper was right outside. He stopped at the door, and I drew in an unnecessary breath to calm the raging emotions. I didn't need them to reflect off of him before he even got through the door.

"You can come in Jasper." I turned back to the windows, feeling that I'd at least be able to get my point across if I didn't have to look at him. I usually got distracted looking at my mate.

He was at the door to the room now, just standing there. I could feel his eyes rake over my body from head to toe and back again. He let out a small growl, inhaling. Smelling Emmett all over me undoubtedly. Like I gave a fuck.

"What do you want?" I could feel his surprise at the cold note in my voice. Did he expect that him coming after me would make all if this better? Hell. No.

"Bella, Darlin', I came to talk about this." He took a step into the room, closer to me, and as childish as it may seem, I took a step closer to the window, away from him. His hurt at the move quickly flashed through our bond and on his face in the reflection that I was watching him in.

"What is there to talk about? You don't want the bitch hurt, let alone dead, even though she's threatening your supposed mate." My voice was completely flat, which I counted as a small victory. I didn't want to appear weak in front of him. I did that enough already.

"Supposed mate? What the fuck is that about Bella?!" his anger just pissed me off more. Why did he have the right to get on his high horse if something pissed him off, but I didn't?

"You heard." He went to come closer but I snarled at him in warning. Right now I wasn't above busting Peter's window right out it's motherfucking frame to get away from him.

"You're being ridiculous. Why are you so angry at me? It just surprised me that you knew about the sire bond, since it's not something that we've had to discuss." I spun to him, my jaw swinging. Was he serious?

"Bullshit Jasper! You cannot lie to save your fucking life! You don't want her harmed! 'Supposed mate' yeah, because our bond is supposed to be the strongest thing out there and yet even when she's acting on the threats she's made against me, you don't seem to care! Why am I so pissed? Because I was an idiot and believed every goddamn word out you lying mouth! Were you just hoping that no one ever told me about the sire bond in hopes that I wouldn't work out that that's all we have? What about if I met my mate later on, what did you plan on doing? Copying Edward and just leaving? Or was I just a nice distraction, since the love of your life is in the south somewhere, massacring families? What about when she-" I was cut off by him slamming me up against the wall, his hand round my throat.

His eyes were pitch black, the fury rolling off of him in waves, causing fear to bloom in my stomach. I opened my mouth to say something; anything but he beat me to it.

"Shut up."

I wiggled slightly in his grip. He wasn't hurting me, but being suspended a foot off the floor by someone's hand around your throat was not at all pleasant.

"Stay still."

I froze. I was genuinely petrified. He'd never been violent with me, had never purposefully scared me.

"How could you say that? Any of it? Don't you know how much I love you? You are my mate! I love you more than my own life, more than the lives of my family. I thought that would be pretty clear, considering the situation we are in right now. Maria is a bitch that deserves a horror that would take a thousand years to create. I want nothing more than to see her burn, especially for threatening my mate. She will burn for this."

He moved his face closer to mine, rubbing our cheeks together. He licked my neck quickly before pulling away. He rested his forehead on mine, breathing me in.

"When you asked, I panicked. I know what Maria is capable of without any newborns there to protect her. The thought of her getting her hands on you…I panicked because I don't want you anywhere near her." His eyes were wide and filled with sincerity. I believed him.

"Bella, I love you. Only you. How could you even think otherwise?" I shook my head slightly. I didn't believe it, not really.

He kissed me, letting go of my throat and sliding his hand round into my hair, his other hand grasping my waist keeping me suspended mid-air. My arms snaked their way around his neck, pressing more into the kiss.

Pulling back, he smiled gently at me, but his eyes were troubled.

"Don't ever compare me to Edward again." I nodded, touching the side of his face, pleased that he leaned into the touch.

"I'm sorry Jasper. I didn't really mean any of the stuff about us being mates or not. I know we are. I know how much you love me. I just, I don't know. I love you. That's the problem. I guess I just keep thinking that it's too good to be true." I looked up into his face, adoration flowing through me to him.

"You're too good for me Jasper and I don't deserve you, but I'm going to keep you as long as I can." He kissed me lightly, stopping me from saying anything else.

"Darlin', there ain't nothing more precious out there than you; your happiness. I will walk to the ends of the earth for you, but I don't want to unless you're by my side. I promise that that I'll take care of you. I'll give you everything and anything you want. Name it and it's yours." Laughing, I wrapped my arms around him. He was perfect.

"You, Mr Whitlock, are perfect." I grinned up at his sceptical face.

"I promise right here, right now, that I will never again doubt your love for me or our bond. And I promise to never compare you to Edward ever again. Ever. I love you." he grinned, and god was he gorgeous. His eyes sparkled and his dimples came out and just fuck!

"I want you. Right now Jazz." He grinned, kissing me and pulling my shirt over my head.

A/N: Ok kiddies. That's it for this chapter. I know I mentioned it above, but I honestly feel so honoured that such amazing people as yourselves read/follow/favourite my story(s)/myself. My deepest apologies for having kept you waiting so damn long, I promise not to do it again. I love you! xx