Impotence

for Bells. Just Bells who wanted some Jasper.

"Sugar," he says to Bells, "I tried for something sweet because I know you like it, but you know LJ. Always out to share the dark side."


"Did you see her? Jackie? Did you?" Alice was bouncing up and down on her tiny toes. "That look is going to be so classic. Just you wait."

Jasper grinned and lazily stretched his arm over his mate's shoulders. "Want me to hoist you up on my shoulders like that fella and his kid? You'll see better."

With a slight laugh, she said she'd like that. She was wearing pedal pushers and a long-sleeved blouse—seeing women in trousers still made him do a double-take on occasion—so he all but tossed her to his shoulders, gripping one thigh with his broad palms.

All around him, hearts were pulsing, pushing living blood through living bodies. He was only here because he wanted to see the parade. The cavalcade.

Since he'd found Alice in that tiny diner back in 1948, he'd done his best to adhere to the diet that the Cullen family claimed but it was hard. Hard enough that he had to get away, once in a while. Hard enough that he couldn't take the temptations anymore and "slipped" as the family said.

Hard enough that even being indoors with a human was too much to take. Out here in Dealey Plaza at noon in late November was about as much humanity as he could stand. Even so, he and Alice had hunted west of this huge city the night before.

"We'll need it," she had said, her eyes narrowed into the night.

As she settled herself on his shoulders, he could feel her slender fingers comb through his hair, soothing him somewhat. "Jasper?"

"Yes, sugar?" Anticipation rose in a crest from the humans around them. Rising like the sea at high tide. Building, rolling, as the first police motorcycles were spotted.

"Remember, we can't interfere."

He froze, his fingers digging into her for a moment before he caught himself and resumed his former hold. "What?"

"He's going to do it. And we can't do anything. We can't."

"Do what, Alice?" he hissed.

Her hands stilled. "Up there. In the book depository."

The cheers began, and a sense of adulation rolled over the crowd who were out here on this mild day. "Mr. President!"

"Mr. President! Welcome!"

"Oh, look, doesn't Jackie look fabulous?"

But the words flew by him, as inconsequential as a breath. For he could see, up there across the square. He could see the man. And the rifle.

"Alice," he whispered, "we have to. I can't stand by and—"

"We'll get caught."

They were under a tree, just now, and he wore long sleeves while she had a parasol for when they had to re-enter the sunlight. He swore, loudly enough to garner attention they didn't need. "Dammit, Alice. He's the President!"

A man in a dark suit and sunglasses glanced his way and Jasper inhaled quick and tried to look harmless. Meanwhile, his far-too-agile mind was racing. He could run fast. Faster than any of the Secret Service men could possibly hope to catch even if they saw him. He could reach the man with the rifle.

But he'd be shining like that cartoon pixie from Peter Pan if he tried it. And Maria wasn't far from Dallas; this much he knew. He'd just as soon not be noticed by any of her spies.

If he had a functioning heart, it would have been racing at that moment. There was President Kennedy and his pretty little wife. Alice was over the moon about the First Lady. Right now, though, his little spitfire was choking on sobs...

"Alice, sugar. C'mon. We shouldn't see—you don't need to see this."

Her voice broke when she said, "I do. I have to. I just do."

He tried projecting caution toward President Kennedy. He tried projecting anything to the man in the window. Hilarity. Woe. Terror. But that man up there was impervious to his gift. And the man in the topless car seemed not to notice anything save the people that were waving to him.

There was a shot. The report of a rifle. And then all Hell broke loose there in Dallas, Texas.


Later, they'd catch the repeated viewings of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. They'd see pictures of how his little boy saluted the horse-drawn carriage that bore the body of his father. Jasper mourned for the loss of that father. That president.

He mourned and raged and tore trees out of the earth and broke rocks in his fury. For all of his strength and speed and skill at battle, he had been able to do nothing.

At last, feeling drained and more impotent than he had ever felt even dismembered at Maria's feet, he dragged himself back to Alice. She drew him into her embrace and he clung to her, his body shaking and his own voice erupting in gasping sobs.

Alice held him, strong enough to bear his weakness, until he mastered himself and then he held his little psychic, his love, his wife as she wept for the death of something that could have been beautiful.

"It was going to be so splendid," she whispered. "But it's all changed, now."