A/N: So first off I just want to thank everyone who has, read, reviewed, or followed this story. Without you guys I wouldn't have had the courage or been inspired to write. Secondly, I know this sequel has taken awhile for me to post, and I just want to express my gratitude for the patience everyone has had with me. I hope this sequel lives up to "My Beautiful Rescue". Happy Reading
IMPORTANT: To understand this story, the prequel "My Beautiful Rescue" should be read first.
"If there's no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I'll follow you into the dark."
–Death Cab for Cutie
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't swans supposed to be graceful?" Peter questioned sarcastically, mocking the irony behind his opponent's last name.
Shooting him a glare, Bella climbed back to her feet and dusted the dirt off her tattered skinny jeans. "I'm glad my lack of balance amuses you." The brunette replied dryly as she slipped into an offensive stance again.
For the past week she had been training in hand to hand combat with the help of Jasper's old friends, Peter and Charlotte. Upon hearing about the Volturi's demands, they were eager to help bring down Maria. After all the hardships she put them through, Bella was not surprised by their desire for her death. Just hearing the horrors they, and many others, endured sent a blaze of rage through her veins.
Jasper had told Bella about his past with Maria before she was turned, and she was horrified to learn about how Maria had used him to further her own goals. Not only had she forcefully changed him, but she then pretended to love him in order to earn his loyalty. He became a pawn in her twisted game. She convinced him to let go of his humanity through viciously training hundreds of newborns, and torturing or killing the ones who were of no use to her. It was only after meeting Peter and Charlotte that Jasper realized her apathy to their relationship, and that she was merely using him. For that, Bella felt indebted Peter and Charlotte. They had saved her mate from Maria's sadistic clutches, leading him to eventually enter her life.
Bella was determined to end her.
Peter feinted to the left, before darting forward quickly. Ducking to avoid his fist, she flipped around and swept her leg out to trip him. Only stumbling slightly, he soon regained balance and landed a blow to Bella's cheek, sending her skidding back a few feet. Hissing in pain, she jumped forward and leapt at the brunette, taking him by surprise. Unfortunately, her newborn speed still was no match for his fighting skills. She soon found herself flipped and pinned to the ground, a gloating vampire hovering above her.
"You're making this too easy." He sighed in mock disappointment, shaking his head at his twelfth consecutive win.
Jasper had thought is would be a good idea for her to improve her fighting skills and spar against other vampires; if you only trained with one you would get accustomed to their fighting style, and be unprepared for going up against unfamiliar opponents. It was imperative that she be able to fight without relying completely on her abilities, especially since they had no idea what to expect upon finding Maria. She could be alone, or have a vast army of newborns ready to rain terror and bloodshed down upon anyone standing in her way.
Rolling her eyes, Bella opened her mouth to respond when she was interrupted.
"You want to get off my woman?"
Immediately, Bella shot her shields up, sending Peter flying off of her and onto the ground a few feet away. Ignoring the brunette's muttered protests, she darted up and turned towards the voice, a beaming smile overcoming her face at the sight that greeted her.
"Jasper." Bella said in relief, running into his embrace. Reigning in her strength, she jumped into his arms, wrapping her legs around his hips. He caught his mate with a grin before she pressed her mouth to his fiercely, slipping her hands into his blonde hair.
The first time she did that had taken him by surprise, and the two went tumbling to the ground… Peter never let her live that down.
Burying her face in his chest, Bella sighed in contentment as one of his hands curved around her waist, while the other tangled in long brown hair.
While basking in his calming presence, she felt him drop a kiss onto her hair. "Well if I get a reception like this every time I return, maybe I should leave more often."
Pulled back, she shot him an intense glare, "Don't even think about it."
As Bella slid back to the ground, she rolled her eyes at the Cheshire grin adorning Peter's face as he witnessed the moment between the two.
"Enjoy the show?" Bella commented wryly, raising an eyebrow at him.
"Geez, I am surprised you guys didn't kill each other while we were gone." Charlotte snorted, a smile adorning her pale face as she slipped her hand into her mate's.
"Did you guys find anything?" Bella asked, turning to Jasper.
He nodded, eyes hardening in anger. "Apparently, there have been an uncommonly large number of teenagers missing in Lubbock and the surrounding towns. I have a feeling that Maria has been targeting them, and is up to her old tricks again."
"Any more leads on where the bitch is?" Peter growled lowly, the scowl on his face prompting Charlotte to tighten her grip on his hand comfortingly.
"I'm going to hang around some of the old spots and see if anyone has any idea as to her exact whereabouts." Jasper answered calmly, his face impassive.
Bella bit her lip anxiously. She knew that Jasper had to do this, but every time he walked away, she was afraid it would be the last time she saw him. Sensing her apprehension, Jasper shot Bella a side-glance. "I'm not leaving until tomorrow. We really could all use a break."
Nodding in agreement, Peter ushered Charlotte back inside the house where they were staying. It was a modestly sized hunting cabin, isolated from others for miles. Peter enjoyed the irony of staying in a hunting lodge, much to everyone's amusement.
Jasper brought her out of her reverie with a soft nudge from his shoulder, "Hey, pretty girl."
Bella brought her eyes to his and was taken aback by the love brewing there, and it was for her. Despite the fact that they had been together for awhile, the sheer rawness of Jasper's emotions surprised Bella sometimes. He felt with everything he was, and she was lucky enough to be able to share that with him. She knew that he made her a better, stronger person; she could only hope to inspire similar changes in him.
Resolution filled every fiber of her being as she turned to face her mate. "You have to find Maria. And then, we kill her."
His mouth loosened in shock those words, as the awe and pride radiated from him. He was pleasantly surprised at the support she was giving him, having expected her to protest his plan to leave again. He was really grateful to have her support in such a difficult time. "Where have you been my whole life?" Jasper murmured quietly, his golden eyes blazing with emotion. Jasper found himself constantly wondering what he had ever done to deserve such a wonderful person at his side. Here she was, giving up everything to simply be with him. She was risking her life to help him put an end to his past mistakes. Sometimes, he wasn't sure what he could even give to her in return.
Unable to speak, Bella simply cupped his face in her left hand and focused on sending him all the love, passion, and confidence she had in him.
He exhaled shakily at the sudden assault of intense emotions, and then Bella was in his arms. Her eyes slipped closed at the feeling of his lips, and she gripped the front of his shirt in her fists. His hands slipped down to her hips, pulling his mate impossibly closer until he could barely tell where he began and she ended. Then he broke away, breathing heavily. "Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been if I had met you while I was human." He admitted roughly, thumbs rubbing absent-minded circles on the skin exposed at her hips.
Her skin heated under his touch, and she felt utterly overwhelmed at his fervent words. Could she have saved him from all the shit Maria put him through? Would it have stopped him from living through the horrors that filled his past?
"Then you wouldn't be the man you are today." Bella answered, finally finding her voice. "The man who is gentle, protective, and compassionate. The man who fights for those he loves, no matter the consequences." She slid her hand up to rest over where his heart was. "My mate."
A grin appeared on his face and he shook his head. "I don't know how in the world I found you…but I never want to let you go."
"Then don't." She breathed, tangling their fingers together. "Come on, you need to hunt if you want to beat that human drinking bitch."
"And if you ever want to stand a chance against Peter you probably should too." Jasper teased, laughing at her outraged look.
"You're going to regret that later when I kick you ass, Whitlock." Bella growled, shoving him lightly.
He laughed loudly, the sound sending a thrill of joy through the vampire next to him. God, she wanted to hear that sound every day for the rest of her life.
A/N: Okay I know this chapter was really sappy, but I just couldn't help myself! Jasper is just so darn cute! Anyways, I would love to hear what everyone thinks! Thanks for reading And the chapters will get longer, I promise.