I seek you out, flay you alive.
Walk my way, and you won't survive.
Eyes on Fire / Blue Foundation
. . .
It was a Monday, a day like any other day. Bella awoke at 7:30 to the sound of her own personal alarm, Edward's silky smooth voice in her ear.
"Love," he murmured, his lips tickling her ear softly. "Time to wake up."
A large yawn passed her lips, and she reached blindly up, burying her head further into the pillows, her hand finding purchase on his frigid face. Her fingers moved across his half-amused, half-confused expression before they came to a stop on his lips.
"Shh," she coaxed incoherently. "Sleep."
"Love, Alice wants you at the house bright and early," Edward responded with his typical crooked smile, taking her fingers gently in his and giving the back of her warm hand a soft kiss. "My apologies."
"Alice can just…," she responded in petulant defiance, the end of her sentence lost to herself, and even to Edward as she yawned, her head burrowing further into the pillows.
A mischievous grin turning at his lips, Edward gently gripped Bella's slender waist, his fingers digging softly into her skin. Almost instantly, Bella burst out into laughter, starting to squirm away from the cold fingers that tickled her. Edward couldn't help but laugh, too; the laugh that bubbled from his human's lips was infectious. It lit up the room.
Finally, Bella was up, fully on her feet, pointing a slender finger at the vampire who was grinning broadly on the bed, eyes bright with adoration as he gazed at her. "You," she gasped. "You are a terrible person."
Pretending to be hurt, Edward pouted, his golden eyes growing wide, his brows pulling up and together. "That hurt," he said, putting a hand to his chest.
Growling at him quietly, Bella threw a pillow at his face, which he caught mid-air. Making a face, Bella grabbed the bag she kept for the bathroom and padded out of the room, rubbing her eyes, trying to stop the blurriness that clouded her vision. Edward smiled happily, tossing himself back fully on the bed and reaching into his pocket. As the shower started in the room next to him, Edward pulled out the slender, oval ring that was his mother's. When he arrived at the house, Alice would be expecting him to have proposed to Bella; she would be expecting the ring to be on Bella's finger. Ugh. She was going to bite his head off.
Soon, Bella came walking back into the room, her hair pulled up into a towel, tired circles under her eyes, her outfit already on, a simple pair of sweatpants and a tank top. As of late, Bella had been waking up earlier - per Alice request - so that she could be dressed "properly" as Alice said. Obviously, it was taking a toll on her. A large yawn passing her lips, Bella pulled her hair from the towel, running her fingers through her locks. Although she felt Edward's worrying gaze on her, she didn't say much, just running her pick through her hair before silently heading down the stairs.
He was only half a step behind her, his arms snagging around her waist. "You look tired."
"I don't think you're supposed to say that to a woman," Bella warned, giving him a disapproving glance over her shoulder, pulling on a black zip-up sweater and sliding her feet into a pair of slippers.
"I didn't mean it negatively. You're always gorgeous. I just mea-"
Bella rose a hand, effectively cutting him off. She was so tired of him not wanting to step on her toes. He was the perfect man. Literally. He was kind and caring and protective. He loved her; he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He wanted to give her everything; he showered her in gifts. But there was still something, something missing. It was too perfect, and Bella was always very weary, almost like she was waiting for him to snap.
The question wasn't if. It was when. And it was coming. Soon.
x x x
But who Bella really should have been worried about was not Edward, but his brother, Jasper, which became apparent as the pair approached the Cullen house to quite the spectacle. Eyes growing wide, Bella pulled her truck to a stuttering stop. The only thing that she could hear was her heartbeat thudding in her ears. Edward, at her side, was stiff, his eyes intent on the spectacle in front of them.
Jasper was at the center of this commotion; his arms were pinned behind by Emmett, whose mouth was moving rapidly, obviously speaking at speed that Bella wouldn't be able to hear, even if she could register anything auditory. Although commotion swirled around the lean, blonde vampire, Bella seemed incapable of tearing her wide eyes from him.
Blood, deep red and obviously fresh covered him almost completely; it dripped from his mouth, covered his shirt, splashed through his messy locks of hair. While he struggled violently against Emmett, she could see flashes of his face. His teeth were bared, his lips pulled back in a wicked snarl. And then his eyes flashed up, catching Bella's with ease, his lips curling into a smirk, his struggles stopping. Her breath caught in her throat, her eyes widening slightly.
Red. His eyes were red. They were not the dark color that she saw with James, Victoria, Laurent, or the Volturi, the dull red of hunger. They were a vivid red, the color of rich blood. The eyes of satisfaction. Jasper had recently fed on a human.
Slowly, Bella exhaled, her eyes not once wavering from Jasper's, her teeth taking purchase on her bottom lip. Strangely, Bella felt no fear, simply curiosity and shock. There was no doubt that Jasper could sense that, her lack of fear. It made her easy prey. She trusted him. But then again, he might like them scared, begging to stay alive. This thought snapped her out of her reverie, her eyes looking, startled, to where Edward was.
What the hell was the thinking?
Edward's mouth moved, speaking to her, but Bella heard nothing. Instead of asking him to repeat - she knew that she wouldn't hear - she simply nodded her head, staying in her place as he launched himself out of the car. Hesitantly, feeling a burning gaze on her, Bella shifted her eyes back to Jasper, finding his vivid orbs glued to her, the sinister, wicked smirk still twisted onto his lips. Curiously, Bella tipped her head to the side, her eyes studying Jasper. And then it wasn't just Jasper's eyes on her. It was everyone.
While it was still obvious that Jasper was out of control, he held himself like a lion ready to pounce. (Bella had no doubt that fearsome snarls that would instill fear in even the bravest of people were ripping from that smirk on his face.) Tensed, not fighting as he had been. No one knew how to take that.
Was it a sign of surrender or was it a sign of what was to come?
Everyone waited in breathless anticipation for the answer.
Bella wasn't sure how long she sat like that, everyone's eyes flicking back and forth between Jasper and her, her dark brown eyes intent on his blood red ones. Seconds could have been minutes. Minutes could have hours. There was no time in the tunnel vision that she had developed around Jasper. The tension in the air was palpable. No one could fathom whyJasper had calmed - for lack of a better word - at the sight of Bella, let alone what was going to happen next.
Before Bella could realize what she was doing, her fingers wrapped around the door handle of her truck. Everyone tensed further and shifted toward Jasper, ready to put a wall between Bella and him. Bella hopped from her truck, flicking a lock of hair behind her ears. Placing her hands on her hips, she raked her eyes over Jasper.
"You look like shit," she informed the loose cannon of a vampire, leaning against her truck.
Confusion colored the air. No one was sure where that had come from or how Bella was being so casual about this. Edward's brows set into a frown as he studied Bella, trying to figure out what she was thinking. She was crazy. He had told her to stay in the truck, not get out and taunt Jasper. She was crazy.
To everyone's surprise, Jasper's laughed throatily, his smirk lessening slightly in wickedness, becoming more amused as his body relaxed slightly.
"Look who's talking," he shot back, his voice quiet and low as usual, the undertone of a growl in his words. He was still out of control. There was no doubt.
"Why thank you." Bella's brown eyes rolled, her tone coloring her words sarcastically. What was it with men and telling her that she looked like shit today?
The wind trembled through softly, and every once of relaxation that had taken over the party in front of the Cullen house was sucked out with it. Tension laid heavy across the expansive driveway they all stood, and Jasper tipped his head up, inhaling deeply, his eyes lulling closed.
"You smell exquisite," he rumbled, his eyes flicking open suddenly, zeroing back on her. Despite the fact that he had just fed, they were slowly darkening again, hunger taking them over. More. He wanted more.
A lazy laugh fell from Bella's lips, and she pushed a lock of still-damp hair back from her eyes. "So I've been told."
Jasper was becoming frustrated; she still wasn't scared. He wanted her scared; he wanted to smell the fear in her scent. Mm. Sweet, sweet fear. "I'd love to sink my teeth into that pretty throat of yours."
Unable to help herself, in response to his words, a shiver rolled down Bella's spine. It wasn't out of fear, though; she didn't know what emotion was from. And although she knew it was sick to like it, she did; she loved the raw, unadulterated darkness that was radiating from him. At the same time Bella shuddered, Edward had growled at Jasper, who had simply laughed in response.
"She loves that, Edward. That I want to kill her."
A dark laugh fell from his lips, his eyes turning black as they moved up Bella's slender frame. His mind was blank. That was probably the scariest thing. He had no thought. Everything he did was pure, raw instinct, pure vampirism. No self control; no sense of humanity. Iciness settled across the Cullen family, eyes turning to Bella, who stayed impassive, a smirk on her lips, a brow arched.
"You really think a lot of yourself, don't you?" she shot right back. Everything in her body, her rational mind was telling her to shut up, to run, that he was going to kill her, but the curious part of her brain kept her calm, kept her rooted in place, kept sassy comments coming out of her mouth.
Rather than commenting on what she had said, Jasper continued with his thought, his eyes rolling to Edward. "You really don't satisfy her do you?" he taunted, a broad smirk pulling at his lips as Edward growled and Carlisle and Esme gasped. "I always figured that you did, but that you're too much of a damn gentleman to admit it, but you honestly don't." He barked out a loud laugh. "If I was fucking her...mmm, man, everyone would know. I'd have her screaming m-"
Before Jasper could get the rest of his statement out, Edward had lunged at him, his teeth snapping inches from his brother's neck. The only thing that prevented Edward's deadly sharp from sinking into Jasper's neck was Carlisle, who had jumped into action, grabbing Edward and yanking him back sharply.
"Son," he said quietly, pulling his struggling son along. "Bella is here. You have to calm down."
Seeming to just remember that Bella was, in fact, there, Edward turned his eyes to her. Before Bella had a chance to blink, to part her lips in question, Edward was next to her, opening the door for her. "Bella, we have to go," he said lowly, his fingers wrapping around her upper arm.
Frowning slightly, Bella shook him off. "And what are you going to do with Jasper?" she asked, placing her hands on her hips, giving the wayward vampire a sideways glance, so which he smirk-smiled back.
"Don't worry about it. We'll get him in check."
Bella went to question further, but Jasper chimed in. "Yeah, Bella. They'll take real good care of me. Don't worry a bit, sugar. I'll be all fine and dandy and whole in the morning, as son as they get me back in check."
Slowly, Bella got into the truck, her eyes never leaving Jasper's. Edward leaned in, reassuring her quietly that he would be back. With that, Emmett heaved Jasper straight again, starting to walk backwards with him; Jasper complied easily, keeping his eyes on Bella, a smirk on his lips.
As soon as Jasper was out of her eyesight, it was like the barrier that blocked her curiosity from her rational mind was broken. All the fear, all the panic, the healthy emotions that she should have been feeling while interacting with Jasper, came flooding into her. The wind knocked out of her, Bella rested her forehead weakly on the steering wheel, trying to take in deep, measured breaths. She had taunted a vampire, a vampire who had just fed on a human whose blood still dripped from his clothes. She had responded with nothing but curiosity, rabid and difficult to control, when he had said that he wanted to kill her. Almost like she wanted it, like she wanted him to sink his teeth into her. That would be so hot.
What the hell was she thinking?
Banging her head against the steering wheel to try and clear her mind, Bella flinched when the door opened, and Edward slid in. Gently, he pulled her into his lap, gently running his fingers through her now-dry hair. He murmured soothingly into her hair, gently shifting her so that he could tuck her head under his chin and easily drive.
Starting the car, Edward gently smoothed his fingers through her hair, murmuring incoherently, reassuring her that it would be all right. Surprising both of them, Bella was not crying. Once she had gotten ahold of her breathing, her thoughts had consumed her as she stared out the window, numbly bumping along with Edward beside her.
She had a feeling. It spidered from her heart, through her veins, turning her cold; it settled in a hard lump at the pit of her stomach. Change was coming. For the better, for the worse, she did not know. But it would not come without struggle, without pain.
A/N: *crawls out from under the rock I've been living under for the past...six months or so.* Hi. *waves*
So, this is the rewrite/AU of Angels Show Up In the Strangest of Places. I did not like where it went, and I felt the need for some adjustments. I hope that you all will like it.
I have taken a liking to darker, more dominant characters, in my absence, so I've decided to inflict that upon Jasper.
x x x
Thank you so much,