Nyx: I really hope I don't regret starting this...this idea has been festering in my brain for such a long time that it's begun to grow a weird purple fungus!

Puff: *facepalm* Oh my God, you are so weird. Why the hell am I still living with you?

Nyx: I ask myself the same thing every damn day...


It's easier to run
Replacing this pain with something numb
It's so much easier to go
Than face all this pain here all alone

Sometimes I remember the darkness of my past
Bringing back these memories I wish I didn't have
Sometimes I think of letting go and never looking back
And never moving forward so there'd never be a past

-Easier to Run, Linkin Park


Chapter 1. In Chordus

It was so overcast that you couldn't even tell that it was two in the afternoon with the clouds overpowering the sunlight, keeping it trapped behind a wall of cottony gray. The restaurant and bar was sparsely filled with guests, the noon rush having died less than half an hour ago.

His eyes, a bit cloudy from the contacts that hid his eyes from the patrons, scanned the room before resting on who he was looking for. She was at the bar, setting down her tray and notepad, stretching her arms above her head. Her long dark hair tumbled down her back messily, accentuating the curve of her back.

Venom pooled his mouth but he shook off the carnal desire that rose up in his abdomen, chanting that he was here to apologize and plead to make up for what had happened three years ago. "Bella," he said. Her head turned, her eyes flashing crimson for such a brief second that he barely caught it. He could see her walls go up as her facial expression hardened and the smile on her face died, her body language becoming closed off. "Bella," he repeated as she walked away. He ducked around the greeter's podium and gave easy chase. "Bella, will you just talk to me?" he pleaded. She stopped abruptly, not turning to face him as she spoke.

"I'm working, Jasper," she said coldly. "Make it quick." He sighed, already concluding that this wouldn't be easy.

"What time do you get off?" He longed for a chance for retribution. What had been a visit to see his personal crooked lawyer had become a quest for atonement. So weighed down by the depression that lingered thickly in the atmosphere of the old family house in Ithaca, he had made his excuses and left.

Since Edward's return to the family less than a month ago, he'd been feeling more suffocated than he had before, especially with his moodiness. He was so introverted, he should have stayed at that damned shack in Brazil instead of imposing his hurt and devastation on everyone else.

Jasper had left, rather than rip his hair out by the roots, to get away from everything. Organizing his affairs and keeping up with the old Texan estate he still had his name to was something he'd neglected for nearly a decade.

And then, a week into his stay in Seattle, he'd been roaming the streets for a time, to clear his thoughts when he'd gotten attacked by something. A horrid creature that had sucked at his skin with a barbed tongue and teeth like crooked, broken daggers.

He had a new, completely foreign scar on his left arm, right about his elbow where the creature had attempted to rip his flesh from his steel bones. He had never imagined he'd be rescued by the likes of one Isabella Swan, her hair pulled back into a strict French braid, and wearing all black.

Now that she was standing before him, her white-shirt more translucent than the solid black one, he could see the blocked letter 'R', just beneath her collar bone, barely through her shirt.

She looked indecisive, going through an internal battle with herself before coming to terms with whatever it was that she had yet to decide. "I get off at four thirty," she said.

"I'll wait," he said, sitting himself at a clean empty booth. He was immediately approached by a short blonde waitress, her hair arranged to get him to notice any assets and possibly give her a set of numbers.

He gave her a wan smile as she asked for his order, the question charged with sexual overtones and her lust seeped through her pores with no sign of stopping. He asked for a cup of coffee and a glass of water, though the caffeinated drink would do nothing for him but provide a pleasant aroma and the water just because he could easily bring it back up later.

For the first time in his unnaturally long life, Jasper felt time drag as he waited those seemingly agonizing two and a half hours for Bella's shift to end. The ebb and flow of customers was like the rising and falling of the tide, often he got stares from the females and offhanded glances from the men.

The atmosphere here was calm, not too convoluted with negative emotions except for the one waitress who's past and nocturnal occupation kept her different from the rest. She would walk past him from time to time, replacing the mugs of coffee that had gone cold, his hands sucking the heat from the beverage.

At exactly four thirty, he left a fifty on the table he stood and waited for her to clock out. When her scent began to grow more tangible, and she walked towards him, her footsteps light on the hardwood floor.

She brushed past him, leaving him room to follow. He kept pace with her easily, and they walked in silence on the busy streets of Seattle. They turned a corner, onto a much quieter road and the wind began to pick up slightly.

He chose to speak first, knowing that she wouldn't offer an in to conversation if he didn't take the initiative. "I want to thank you," he said. She kept walking, never breaking stride, her face stony as she looked ahead.

"For what?" she asked.

"For saving my life...and for giving me a chance," he said. His hearing caught the small stumble, her toe catching on the pavement briefly before she righted herself.

"Your welcome," she said stiffly, her face still a hardened mask. Even her eyes were cold, heartless gems set into her lovely visage. It was such a contrast to the warm human girl they'd all met and fallen in love with nearly three years ago.

"What have you been up to?" he asked, knowing it was completely lame, but it was all he had in his arsenal. She let out a low laugh, absent of mirth but full to the brim of bitterness.

"I've been here and there," she said. "Working odd jobs and killing the monstrosities that roam the streets." he winced, knowing it was a particularly harsh jab at not only himself and his family, but his entire species as well.

"How long are you in Seattle?" he asked.

"I could ask you the same thing," she said monotonously. He stepped in front of her, impeding her path and staring down at her with curious inquiring eyes.

"What happened to you?" he asked. "You used to be so...warm, happy-"

"Weak," she corrected. "I was weak." his golden eyes didn't judge, and he remained silent, letting her go on her tirade. The heat of anger bled through her emotional aura, tainting the cool, humid atmosphere around them, "I let him treat me like a broken doll, like I was so fucking fragile!" she said, "I let Alice push me around, pull me into this shape and that. I let her mold me. I was weak then..." she trailed off, her eyes focusing on something distant before they snapped back to his. "I'm stronger now." She didn't say anything further, stepping around him and walking up the road. He caught up with her swiftly, falling into stride beside her.

"Bella...I wish we'd been smarter," he said.

"Yeah, well Jasper, we can't change the past," she said, flatly.

"No, but we can come to terms with it," he replied. "You must realize, we never meant to hurt you."

"Oh that's rich," she laughed, again, never breaking her pace. "You meant to pack up and leave without telling me but it was never your intention to break my poor little heart. After all, I'm only human."

"That wasn't meant to be an insult," he said, beginning to get exasperated.

"Of course it wasn't," she said. "Face it Jasper, you don't know me. You never did. You never bothered. And I'd appreciate it if I was just left alone."

"Bella," he said. "I've been waiting for a chance to see you, to tell you in person for such a long long time how sorry I was. I still am, so terribly, dreadfully sorry." she stopped abruptly, looking at him with such an intense gaze that only his military training, permanently etched into him kept him from squirming.

"I never blamed you," she said.


Nyx: Hmm...so what do you think? This is my first attempt at something remotely close to angst so...*shrug*

Puff: I don't know, I think the second RA is pretty angsty.

Nyx: Only because you don't know what angst is. To my readers, I think you know what to do by now ;)