With a flourish, Jasper signed his name to the bottom of his essay. Jasper Whitlock Hale Cullen. How silly is it that I like the sound of that? He grinned at the thought as he listened to the ruckus going on outside. It appeared that Rosalie was not pleased to find out that Carlisle expected them to forgo their vampire speed when it came to the cleanup. The idea of slow tedious work was not in keeping with Rose's sensibilities and she was none too shy about sharing her thoughts on the matter.
After some idle threats from Carlisle and a "Welp, it is supposed to be punishment, Babe." from Emmett, Rosalie seemed to fall in line and the cleanup had gotten on the way. In his mind Jasper could just picture the look on Rose's face and seriously found himself wishing that he had been down there instead of shut in his father's office alone. He had a hand in the damage, he should be held responsible for the cleanup. He gave a little nod as he quickly scanned his paper then groaned softly as he stood.
His sore hind end was reason enough as to why he should simply have accepted his father's forgiveness and moved on, but no, he just had to be stubborn. At first he felt rather insulted by Carlisle's scholarly form of punishment, however as he worked on it Jasper began to see the practical side. This wasn't really punishment but it sure as hell was discipline. Carlisle was bound and determined to teach his son a lesson and that is just what he had accomplished.
Walking over towards the window he called out, "Papa, I'm done with my essay."
"Are you sure, Son?"
"Right sure as I'm gonna be."
Carlisle gave him a slight nod. "Then come on outside and bring it with you so I can take a look at it."
Jasper had just walked out the front door when he heard Carlisle quietly reprimanding one of his siblings. It didn't long for him to figure out the target of his father's frustration.
"Emmett, Son, if I said that I want this work done in a human manner, what does that mean?"
"To work slowly?"
"It also means not to throw panels across the yard towards the trash pile. You walk them over there."
"But, Pops, it's not like anyone would see me do it and humans throw things all the time. I'm just trying to save a little time."
"Emmy, this is supposed to be punishment, remember," came Rose's voice in the most sugary sweet tone she could muster.
Emmett glared at his mate for a second then let his shoulders sink as he nodded in agreement. "Sorry, Pops. Do you want me to go get it and bring it back so I can do it right?"
"No Em, that won't be necessary. Just don't do it again, okay?"
A firm slap to the muscular boy's shoulder sent him on his way to collect more debris for disposal.
Jasper stepped up next to Carlisle and handed over his paperwork. "Looks like the door frame needs a little help."
"Well, you know how it is. I'll get him onto fixing that soon." The elder sighed softly before he began to read over his son's report.
"I can knock that out while you're checking my essay. Been working my mind all this time, it will be good to do some work with my hands."
Looking up from the papers, Carlisle gave his son a knowing smile. "Oh, no Sir, it's not that easy. You'll be putting your hands to work soon enough. Come on. Let's go over there in the shade so we can discuss what you've learned."
Alice caught her mate's eye and smiled brightly giving him a thumbs up before returning to her work. At least someone thinks I managed a passing grade.
Carlisle's arm wrapped around his son's shoulders, leading Jasper towards the shade beneath the towering pines. When his father slipped down onto the forest floor and leaned his back against a tree, Jasper groaned, but followed suit. He grunted as his behind touched down on the hard ground before managing to settle into a reasonably comfortable position.
"Jasper, you may stand if you wish or you might find it a little more agreeable to be on your knees," Carlisle offered, his eyes never leaving the page.
"Thank you. I'm fine though."
"As you wish."
Jasper tried to distract himself by listening to his family joking around as they cleaned up the remains of last night's fiasco, but inevitably his eyes would return to his father's quiet reading. The boy began to feel nervous and found the need to continue to remind himself to keep his nervousness in check so as not to project it. Why is it taking him so long to read it? I bet I screwed it up. His eyes closed as he tilted his head back and moaned internally. If I have to redo this... He growled softly before glancing back to his father.
Finally, Carlisle looked up from the essay to stare deep into his son's eyes. "You did very well, Jasper. If you find a way to put these theories into practice, I believe you will find it becomes much easier to handle your mistakes." With a smile he added, "It will make things much easier on me, I know that for a fact."
Jasper sighed in relief, feeling the tension that had coiled up within his body slowly release.
The boy's eyes suddenly shut tightly. Too good to be true. Aint that always the case?
"I would like to share a few words with you; four things that you can do, or should be mindful of when seeking forgiveness. These actions come very naturaly to you, Jasper, which is why I have never had any issue with granting you forgiveness for any misdeed. Maybe recognizing them in yourself can help you learn to forgive your mistakes."
Jasper swallowed as he watched Carlisle closely.
"This is just a guide but it does give you a starting point and you may find it useful when you are in the position where you are having difficulty granting forgiveness to another. There are four "Rs" to look for within your actions or the actions of someone who has wronged you. Regret. Repentance. Restitution. Rehabilitation." Carlisle counted out the four points on his fingers as he held his son's gaze.
Jasper's brow furrowed as he tried to understand the lesson his father was offering. "How can you know that someone really regrets what they did or that they are truly repentant?"
"It's not easy, but when it happens you will know. You have an advantage over the rest of us because you can tap into the emotional state of another person allowing you to tell if they feel regret for what they have done. For the rest of us, we have to rely on our knowledge of each other. We recognize regret in tone and body language more than through the actual words."
"Easy. That can be something as simple as offering an honest apology. Being willing to admit your mistake and just say you're sorry goes a long way. As long as the words carry meaning that is repentance."
"Restitution I get." Jasper rubbed his aching behind bringing a smile to his father's face. "I think I paid for those mistakes pretty well."
"I agree that the debt has been paid and your rehabilitation will show if it was enough to correct your behavior. Rehabilitation is ongoing. It is a serious genuine effort on your part to never repeat your mistakes again. I know there will be times when you may backslide a bit, but as long as you keep working to avoid making that same mistake, then we can say that you have been rehabilitated."
Jasper averted his eyes as he thought about what his father had just shared with him. "And this is what you look for in us when we screw up."
Carlisle nodded, "Among other things, but yes."
"Isn't it ... I don't know... risky to be telling me this? What is to keep me from using this knowledge to try to manipulate you when I get in trouble in the future?"
"Not a thing except for the knowledge that you won't sit for several weeks once I find out, and I always do find out eventually." Carlisle cocked a brow as he studied his son waiting to see if he would challenge that statement. When Jasper looked away, his father chuckled softly as he caught the boy's chin and brought his head back until they were eye to eye. Taking a light breath, Carlisle spoke softly, "Jasper, you are a good man. It is not in your nature to be less than honest with me. Once shown the error in your ways, I have little doubt that you will regret your actions and be truly repentant. "
"Thank you again for the faith you show in me."
"It is well earned." Carlisle clapped his son on the back then with a serious expression he looked Jasper in the eyes. "I gave you these tools because I know you won't abuse them and I believe that at times they can help you see through your self doubt. If I have forgiven some transgression you can rest assured that I have witnessed these traits in you and have faith in them, but you can also reflect on them yourself. Ask yourself if you have displayed those four thoughts or actions. If not then rectify it. If you have then forgive yourself for your error and work on not compounding it."
"Yes, Sir. I'll try."
"Good." A warm smile formed on Carlisle's lips. "Did you at least learn something?"
"He learned that he's a slacker!"
"Emmett, private conversations are just that; private." Carlisle rebuked rather sharply. "I'm beginning to think that you didn't learn anything from our earlier conversation; perhaps it needs repeating?"
"Oh, no Sir. I was just walking this panel over to the trash pile and happened to overhear. Won't happen again. Sorry, Jazz."
Jasper grinned at Emmett knowing that if it were possible for his bearish brother to blush he would have been bright red by now. "No worries, Bro. I know how it is sometimes."
Emmy gave his brother a little tilt of the head in thanks. "Sorry, Pops, " he whispered as he scuttled by.
Carlisle sighed as he silently watched Emmett's retreat. "Now that is one that sometimes takes a bit of effort in bring to the regret and repentant state."
Jasper chuckled at his father's comment.
"Did I say that out loud? Darn it, but I really do need to work on my inside voice." Giving his son a wink he got to his feet and extended his hand.
Taking the proffered hand, Jasper soon stood next to his father. "Yes. That is something that I think you could use a bit of work on."
"You weren't supposed to agree so readily, boy." Carlisle growled as he caught his son in a headlock, but Jasper proved a bit too slick and soon slipped from his father's hold. Folding the essay, Carlisle tucked it in his back pocket before facing off with his son. "So you think you're clever do you?"
"Something like that, old man."
"I can't believe you actually just went there."
Carlisle and Jasper grappled until they were once again down on the ground snarling challenges while trying to pin one another. A yelp from Jasper as his rear collided too roughly with the ground brought his father up short in concern. That concern would prove to be Carlisle's undoing as the tables swiftly turned and the patriarch soon found his shoulders pinned to the ground by his southern son.
Alice counted off the pin then pulled her mate up holding his hand high in the air. "The undisputed champion! Give it up for Jasper Whitlock!"
"Jasper Cullen." He grinned broadly and noticed the smile spread across his father's face. Reaching down Jasper hauled Carlisle back to his feet. "Sorry, Papa, but when you're good, you're good."
Carlisle laughed as he ruffled Jasper's hair. Suddenly a football slammed into the elder's chest knocking the wind out of him.
"Oops. Sorry, Pops."
"It's okay, Em. I take it the glass is all cleaned up?"
"Yes, Sir!" Emmett gave his father a salute as his boyish face lit up.
Carlisle caught Rosalie's eye. "Are you playing, Kitty?"
"I don't think so, Daddy. I'm going to sit this one out if it's all the same to you."
He gave his daughter a slight nod and watched her move back towards the house. "Alice, how about you?"
"Of course I'm playing." His dark haired pixyish daughter danced a little ways over towards her mate as she giggled happily.
"Alright, then I think we'll be going with touch football. It won't do for Alice to get tack…." Carlisle's breath rushed out of his lungs as he hit the ground hard. Looking up he was greeted by the sight of his tiny daughter holding the football while she bounced on her toes smiling sweetly.
"What was that about touch, Daddy?"
From wall sized window, Esme watched her mate and their children enjoying themselves in the late autumn afternoon; laughter and squeals filled the air causing her to sigh contently. A feeling of peace came over her at the knowledge that no matter what the trials the love that they all shared would always pull her family through.
Esme turned to find Rose standing in the archway behind her holding a potted orchid in full bloom.
"Alice and I stopped at the nursery on the way home from school. Dad said that it would be okay. We wanted to get you started with replacing your plants and I know that you had several species, but this was the only one that they had so…well…" She placed the plant down on the table. "I suppose it is a bit of a peace offering as well." Rosalie looked up at her mother and Esme noted the tears of venom that threatened to spill from her daughter's dark amber eyes. "I am so sorry about last night. I had no right to say those things. I don't expect you to be able to forgive me, but still needed to let you know how sorry I am."
Esme closed the distance in a breath and held her daughter tightly to her breast as tears fell from her own eyes. "Of course I forgive you, Rose. I told you that I always will and I meant it. What kind of a mother would I be if I didn't forgive my daughter? I love you, Rosalie and nothing will ever change that."
"I love you, Momma." Rosalie sniffled quietly as her tears found release. "I didn't mean anything that I said."
"I know, honey. Come on. Let's sit down and talk for a little while. It's going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay. You'll see."
Esme led Rosalie over to the couch as the sounds of Edward's piano filled the house and seemed to reinforce her words. Things were slowly getting back to normal, lessons had been learned and everything would indeed be alright once again thanks to the strong bonds of love that her family shared.
"You know, Rose. Thanksgiving is coming up. I think we should plan on doing something special since we have so much to be thankful for."
"I think Dad would be thankful if he could figure out some way to fix your cedar chest."
Esme nodded. "Yes, I'm sure that he…. Wait a minute. My cedar chest? What happened to my cedar chest?"
"Oh, I thought you knew."
Rose looked away nervously.
"Never mind, Rose. It's alright, sweetheart, I'm not upset with you. I'll find out on my own." She gave her daughter a squeeze before getting up and wandering over to the window. "Carlisle Cullen, I would like a word with you!"
"Sure thing, love. I'll be there in just a few minutes."
Alice raced to her father and whispered in his ear.
"Oh shit! I forgot all about that." Carlisle glanced around quickly. "What time do they close?" Alice whispered again and her father nodded. "Emmett, do you have your keys on you?"
"Let me borrow them, please."
"Sure thing, Pops." Emmett tossed Carlisle the keys to the jeep then stepped back out of the way as Carlisle and Alice raced towards the garage.
"Carlisle! Carlisle where are you going? I said that I wanted to see you." Esme called out, but it was too late. The jeep's engine roared to life and tires squealed as it sped out of the yard and towards the road into the dusky darkness. The family matriarch growled low as she stalked back towards the couch. "Just wait until I get my hands on that man."
"It was an accident, Mom. Accidents just happen."
"Yes they do." She settled down on the couch and curled up with her daughter once again. "But do they always have to happen around here?"
"Someone has to keep the home improvement store in business."
Esme laughed softly as she kissed the top of Rose's head. "We do that, don't we?"
She sighed as she tried to let her son's music ease her frustration while she waited for her husband's return. There go the plans for a peaceful night at the Cullen house. Just once; is that really too much to ask? Really? Carlisle Cullen, my sweet love, just you wait until you get home.
AN:And that ends another one. YAY! Thanks to everyone for hanging in there with me and for all the support. Y'all really do keep me going and I truly can't thank you enough. Special thanks to Splinter for her awesome beta skills and for all she has done to also keep me focused. Love all of you guys. I never thought anyone would like my strange ramblings so... yeah. *hugs*