In the Still of the Night

The future changes. There are millions of decisions that you can make that can change your future. Imagine standing in the middle of a forest and many, many paths surround you. You don't know where they lead, but there they are. They are all your possible futures. Decisions, decisions, decisions. You change your mind, then you change it again, and again. The paths shift again, until you make another decision. Nothing is set in stone, until you make that first step on the path you've chosen, and then it begins...

November 20, 1957
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
6:37 PM

A tiny vampire sat at a booth in Melrose diner, located in South Philadelphia. It was pouring rain, just like the last time, and she knew that he would be coming inside the diner to get out of the rain. This time, he wouldn't change his mind. She saw it all in a vision, their mating, becoming one of the Cullens, and living as vegetarian vampires for all of eternity, while he basically worshiped her. It hasn't changed since the last time. She knew he would be easy to manipulate, seeing how depressed he was in her visions. He would comply with her every demand, and give up being the savage, human drinker he is. She would be his world, and he would be her thrall. She couldn't stop bouncing in her seat at the thought.

She saw him about seven years before at the same diner, but a split second decision caused him from coming to Philadelphia and delayed their arrival to the Cullens. She saw it all spelled out for them, and then one day, it just changed. Sometimes she really hated her visions since they were subjective, and could change at an instant. A tiny, tiny decision can change your whole future. So, much to her chagrin, she wandered around the United States as a nomad. Finally, he would come into the diner.

She glanced her dark amber-colored eyes down to her wrist and lifted the pink sleeve of her coat to check the time. She had started on the animal diet, trying to get used to it.

He's almost here...

As she saw in her visions, she knew what he looked like. Tall, blonde, and gorgeous. His only faults were the hideous scars and ghastly accent, but she could make do with that. He would just have to work on getting rid of it. No problem.

She then felt a prickling in her mind and fell into a fuzzy vision, one that made her fists clench on the table.

A beautiful brunette girl and her Mate holding hands, and smiling lovingly at each other. Her brown eyes sparkle with love and happiness, while he brings his hand up to her lips and placed a gentle kiss on the back of it. She fell into another one of them making passionate love, and then cuddling as they professed their unconditional and irrevocable love for one another.

Alice lets loose a low growl, not perceptible to the human ear. This brunette hussy is going to fly in on her Mate... well, that just won't do. She heard the bell on the door and glanced up, letting loose another low growl. There she was.

She couldn't deny that the girl was beautiful, even for a human... and that just pissed her off.

"Bella, baby, what are you doing here?" A blonde waitress asked as she carried a tray over to a table. The woman, Bella, glanced over to her co-worker with a smile. Alice had to bite back a hiss at the menace who would try to take her Jazzy - the nickname she already came up for him - from her.

"Barbara called me about ten minutes ago and said her little boy is sick. Had to take him to the doctor, so I'm filling in for her. She's gonna take one of my shifts next week." Bella explained as she took off her coat and scarf and revealed her blue uniform - a short-sleeved, blue dress that fell to an inch or two above her knee, with white buttons in the front, and a white-collar.

This was Bella's night off, and she was going to sit in her apartment and read a book, while listening to a couple of records. She was looking forward to staying home and just relaxing, since it was her first day off in a month. Her co-worker, and good friend, Barbara, called her and sounded concerned for her son, so Bella knew she needed to help her. She pulled on her uniform and headed to work, thanking her lucky stars that it's not so busy on Monday nights.

Alice had to stop the bile rising in her throat at the lack of fashion sense in her uniform. Yuck! The girl walked behind the counter and took a white apron and tied it around her slim waist, grabbing a pen and paper and went to work, while Alice checked her watch again, fidgeting in her seat.

Jasper Whitlock walked down the sidewalk of Snyder Avenue. He wore a long raincoat, a scarf, and gloves with a pair of slacks and button down shirt underneath, which are now wet from the rainy weather, not that it exactly matters to a vampire. The black fedora on his head kept his blonde curls dry, though he desperately wished he was back in Texas, wearing a Stetson. Eh, he has to play the part, since country attire in the big city would draw some attention. He already has to keep the red eyes hidden under his hat.

He glanced up and saw a red sign - a diner - and decided to walk, just until the rain calmed down... then he could get on to wherever it is that he's going. Life has been monotonous ever since he left his brother and sister, Peter and Charlotte. He's on a vision quest of a sort, his vision - happiness. They understood what the feeding on humans was doing to him, especially with his gift. He wanted to leave about seven years ago, but Peter talked him out of it, saying it wasn't the time to leave. He's learned over the years to just not question Peter anymore, because it doesn't get you anywhere, only a headache, and vampires can't even get headaches! Peter's gift is complex, and isn't subjective. His information is always correct. Then, Peter told him a month ago to follow his instinct, and that lead Jasper to Philadelphia. Peter did give him a cryptic message before he left...

"You'll be back soon... with your heart's desire."

Jasper walked into the diner, shaking some of the rain off of him and happy to have an opportunity to dry his clothes a little. He did a quick once over of the diner and saw that it was practically empty, only a woman sitting in a booth and a couple of men at a the counter, looking like they came from work. "I'll be with you in a moment, sir. You can just take a seat wherever you like. "

As he heard the sweetest voice he's ever heard in his existence, he glanced up to see an angel. Thankfully, with vampire sight, he only had to look at her for a couple of seconds to study her full appearance, and he savored them like a thirsty man drinking water.

She was considerably smaller than him, he would guess 5'3 or 5'4 with a slim build. Her chestnut colored hair was long pulled back by a headband. It tumbled down her back in soft curls and Jasper felt his hands twitch as they begged him to run them through it and feel the softness. Her skin was ivory and flawless, with a slight blush coloring her cheeks as she smiled at him, her teeth white and straight. Her eyes were a deep brown color, beautiful and doe-like, reminding Jasper of a deer. Her lips were the color of a rose and kissably plump, begging him to taste them. He had never seen something so gorgeous before.

What a beauty...

"Thank you, ma'am." he drawled, not able to hold back a smile as she blushes even deeper. His inner beast he has tried to work on silencing, is purring while watching the beautiful female as she walked to a table and placed their food on it with a smile. Jasper took a seat at the counter and lifted his hat up, glancing over to see her as she made her rounds. It was like he had tunnel vision and all he saw was her, everything was her. Her, her, her... and he didn't even know her name yet. You can bet that he was going to find out.

She walked over behind the counter, grabbing the coffee pot, and walked over to him. "Hi, I'm Bella. I'll be your waitress." she said with a gentle smile, Jasper repeating her name in his head like a prayer. Bella... Beautiful... hmm, it definitely fits. "Coffee?" she asked, holding up the coffee pot in her right hand. He inhaled and over the coffee and human food, he could smell strawberries, a treat from his human life that he enjoyed, and it was Bella's scent. His red eyes didn't even concern him at the moment, as he needed to look at her. Jasper usually kept my head down in public places, but he couldn't deny his eyes the beauty of Bella.

My Bella! Mine!

He glanced up to her, pleasantly surprised when she didn't even flinch at the sight of his red eyes, "Yes, please." Jasper drawled again, inwardly roaring in satisfaction as a blush stained her cheeks and her heartbeat stuttered. She grabbed a white mug and poured the coffee in it, before placing the pot back on the coffee maker.

"Would you like anything else, sir?"

Jasper put on a charming grin, looking at the innocent beauty in front of him, "No thank you, Darlin', but please, call me Jasper."

Bella grinned before she asked him, "Texas?"

Jasper looked taken back that she could pick up his accent of the area state that he's from. He was definitely pleasantly surprised, again. "Yes... how'd you know?" he asked, curiously, with an even bigger grin on his face.

"I was born in Alabama. It's easy for me to distinguish accent to state. Unfortunately, I lost mine a long time ago."

A country girl... Jasper raised an eyebrow, taking a sip of his coffee. For some reason, coffee actually tastes appealing to vampires and they can drink it, without making them sick. Mostly, he was drinking it so he could have a reason to stay with Bella. "When did you move to the big city?"

Bella just smiled at him, knowing the cursed blush was staining her cheeks, "When I was twelve, so six years ago. My daddy wanted to come up here and look for better work, since work down south was pretty dead. He passed away a couple of years ago and my mama died a little after my seventeenth birthday."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Darlin'." Jasper said and Bella shrugged, a small smile on her lips.

"They're in a better place. What about you? What's a Texas boy doing in Philly?"

"I'm lookin' for somethin'... but I think I might've found it." Jasper drawled as a large smile spread on his lips. Bella couldn't help but match the smile, her heart skipped a couple of beats in her chest, as she was so drawn to this mysterious and beautiful man. She never really had time to think about romance, considering she had to work and support herself. She always wished for a happily ever after, however. Something that death can't touch and separate, like it did her mama and daddy. Bella always wanted to have a good ole' country boy, with good ole' country values. One that her daddy and mama would be proud of. Who would have known that a good ole' country boy would walk right into this diner...

Meanwhile, at a booth across the diner, a small vampire sat fuming as she watched the brunette woman easily captivate her Mate. Well, he's actually not her Mate any longer, as another fuzzy vision plays out of the woman with red-eyes, living happily ever after with him, and two other red-eyed vampires. Alice wanted to walk over there and wring her neck for taking him away. He's mine!

Alice decided that she'd have to end the problem... the problem being that Mate stealer named Bella. She then snorted, shaking her head. What was she saying? One look at her, and Bella would be wiped from his mind? Yeah, she's pretty, but she's nothing compared to me. She's a pathetic little human, with no fashion sense. It'll be okay...

She stood up and fixed her perfectly styled hair, and walked over to her Mate, "You've kept me waiting long enough." Alice said with a smirk, which caused Jasper to tear his gaze away from Bella, and look over to the tiny vampire, who radiated lust, determination, and jealousy.

"Pardon?" Jasper asked, his eyes trained towards Bella who walked over to a table, to serve some customers.

"I'm Alice. You're Jasper, right? I already knew that, of course." Alice rattled off, catching Jasper off guard as he just frowned at her in confusion, "You see, I have a gift. I have... visions. You're an empath, right?" she said with a whisper, stepping a little too close for comfort near Jasper, who backed up a little. He sat there shocked that she knew what gift he had, and that she had visions of the future. "And I saw that we're Mates..."

Jasper's frown deepened as he looked at the vampire next to him. Mates? Peter once described what finding your Mate and being with her is like. For some reason, he went into incredible detail telling him everything. He didn't leave out a single detail for Jasper. It's an instant attraction to your Mate, because she's your other half. You'll feel a tugging in your chest, exerting pressure when your Mate is not within range, pulling you to her, and her to you. He also described that humans will not feel the full extent of the pull, because they're fragile bodies can't handle it. It would cave in their hearts if they felt it as intensely as vampires do. They will, however, feel the same instant attraction...

Then it all clicked for Jasper and he inwardly laughing as he realizes that his cryptic asshole of a brother helped him out again.

Peter was warning Jasper about Alice, so he wouldn't fall for it, and that's why he described the Mating in detail. Jasper smiles as he realizes that's why he felt a connection towards Bella as soon as he saw her... because she was his Mate. That's why Peter wouldn't let him come to Philadelphia seven years ago, because she wouldn't be here for Jasper, and she would have been too young, until now. He fucking knew! Jasper can already picture the knowing smirk when he returns to Texas... 'with his heart's desire', Bella.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I think you've made a mistake." Jasper drawled as Bella walked back over, Jasper bringing the mug to his lips and chugging the rest of the coffee. Bella lifted the pot and walked over to Jasper, pouring some more in his mug with a smile. "Thank you, Darlin'." he said with a wink, causing Bella to blush and walk over to another table.

Alice glared at the brunette named Bella, which didn't go unnoticed by Jasper. It sent his hackles up as he perceived her as a threat against his Mate, especially from the hostile emotions. "I think your visions might be wrong, Miss Alice. Now, if you'll excuse me." Jasper said, turning back to the counter and bringing the coffee mug to his lips, taking a sip. Alice huffed and slammed change down on the counter for her mug of coffee she didn't drink, before she stormed out of the diner.

Alice vowed that just for that, she would destroy sweet Bella, for messing up her whole future. She was determined that she had to ruin everything for them, and she would. A dark smirk crossed her lips as she planned revenge. She ruined everything for Alice. Going to the Cullens by herself, and living in a house with two Mated couples was not how it what she wanted or what the future held. With Jasper always, the God of War, defending her and influencing them, she would have been the most relied on, and in turn, most catered member of that coven. Now, it's gone. They would second guess her visions, and not trust her. They wouldn't accept her as easily without Major Jasper Whitlock looking to change his diet.

Jasper rolled his eyes before pulling out a pack of Lucky's and matches from his pocket, placing one in his mouth and lighting it. Same with coffee, vampires can smoke cigarettes, and it, obviously, won't damage their lungs because, they're already dead.

"Friend of yours?" Bella asked, as Jasper blew out smoke to the side. He shook his head and placed the pack of smokes back in his pocket. "Seemed kind of angry."

"I turned her down, that's why." Jasper replied, inwardly smirking at the feeling of elation and relief that welled up inside Bella and spilled out. "Bella, what time do you get off work?"

She looked a little shocked at that question, but her emotions showed excitement and anxiety, "Uh...w-well, my shift ends at eleven, but it's usually dead in here on Mondays... so I could probably leave early."

"Would you like to go see a late movie with me?" Jasper asked and Bella bit her lip debating. She can't deny the attraction she feels to Jasper, and he's been nothing but a polite gentleman. Why not take a chance and see where it leads. She doesn't have to work until four pm tomorrow, anyway... You only live once, take a chance!


Jasper stayed for the next three hours at the diner and talked to Bella, between her waiting on customers. He asked her questions about herself, completely fascinated by her and not getting bored with hearing her voice. He learned that her full name was Isabella Swan, she was eighteen and lived on her own in an apartment. He could listen to her talk for hours, while Bella absolutely loved talking to him. He was very sweet and kind, a true southern gentlemen. She learned that his full name was Jasper Whitlock, he was nineteen and primarily lived with a couple of friends back in Texas, but was wandering around. She couldn't believe that this handsome man was that interested in her 'boring' life. All she does is work at the diner in hopes of saving enough money to go back to school.

"Bella, you can head out now." Bella's boss, Frank, called from the kitchen window and her heart leaped in joy and anxiety. She was nervous, because she was going to the movies with this handsome man. Jasper placed a five on the table for the coffee he had which Bella quickly collected and put it in the register, before handing him back his change, which he wouldn't accept.

"Jasper, this is over four dollars for three cups of coffee. I can't accept this tip." Bella started, but Jasper shook his head.

"It's three cups of coffee and your wonderful company." Jasper drawled and she smiled shyly, glancing down to avert his gaze. "Take it, Darlin'."

Bella hated handouts and receiving things she didn't earn, but she could tell Jasper wasn't going to give up. Hell, she could put it to her rainy day fund that she kept in her room. Sighing, she put it in her pocket, along with her other tips from that night. "See you, Frank."

"Be safe, doll!" Frank yelled from the kitchen and Bella pulled on her coat and scarf. Jasper stood up and watched as she walked around the counter and over to him with a smile. Jasper opens the door to the diner for Bella, who blushed and thanked him before walking out the door. The rain had stopped, and the sky was dark, the streetlights illuminating the way. Once they were both outside, Jasper extended his elbow and Bella put her hand in the crook of his elbow, Jasper placing his hand over hers. Bella twitched from the electric shock of his skin on hers, and noticed that he was very cold, but it's probably just the chilled weather. The shock didn't go unnoticed by Jasper, who smiled as he felt it, warmth spreading all over his body, starting at his chest.

"I love Philadelphia this time of year. I love seeing the Christmas lights in the streets. It's beautiful..." Bella murmured, looking up to the streetlights with Christmas lights wrapped around them. Jasper looked over to Bella with a smile, adoring the innocent wonder in her eyes and the happiness that her emotions are radiating. There's so much beauty in the world, but not many people can actually see it. Bella is one of those who can.

"It is. I used to love Christmas as a kid. My parents went all out for me and my brothers." Jasper replied with a smile, happy to think back on one of the human memories that he can remember. Bella smiled at Jasper, liking hearing about his life and just enjoyed the sound of his voice.

"So did my parents. We didn't have much, but they always made sure they made Christmas very special. I remember one Christmas when I was seven, and we were still living in Akron, we couldn't afford a Christmas tree that year, because my mama and daddy had to spend all of our money on bills. They felt really bad and I was upset that we couldn't get a tree, because it was the first year that we didn't get one... Well, my daddy used to paint people's houses for them, to get a little extra money, so he had some spare paint in our garage. He took cans of green and red that he had left over from a job, and painted a Christmas tree right on our living room wall. My mama and I took the red paint and made the decorations." Bella reminisced with a smile, Jasper loving watching her get lost in the memory. He gives her hand a slight squeeze, and she turns her brown orbs to his ruby gaze.

"Your mama and daddy sound like they were good people." Jasper commented, Bella nodded her head.

"They were the best." she then looked over to him, "Jasper, please don't take offense to this, because I don't want to offend you, but-" Jasper cut her off, knowing what she was curious about.

"My eyes?" he asked and she nodded her head, sheepish smile on her face.

"If you don't want to tell me..."

"No, no, it's okay. I was... born like this. It's a medical condition."

"Have they always been like that?" she asked him. There's not any malicious intent in her words, just generally curious.

He smiles wryly, "Ever since I was a newborn." he told her, inwardly chuckling at the 'inside joke'.

She nodded her head, before feeling very nervous. He sent her a little courage, and she cleared her throat. "I think... I think that they make you look handsome, and unique." Bella said with a smile, Jasper looked down to her surprised, but returned the smile just the same. He loved that she accepted his eyes so easily, though his heart is constricting in how he lied to her... even if it was a little fib.

"They're nothing compared to yours, Darlin'." Jasper drawled with a grin, Bella scoffed and shook her head.

"They're just brown... boring brown."

"No, they're not 'boring brown', they're complex. They're full of soul and warmth, but the strength in them is impalpable. They're also not 'just brown', there are greens and golds swirling through them... stunning..." Jasper told her, which caused Bella to stop and look over to Jasper with wide eyes.

"That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me." Bella said and Jasper lifted her hand to his mouth, placing a kiss on the back of it. Bella's heart stuttered again and Jasper smiled, tucking her hand back in his arm and leading her into the movie theatre.

They decided to see 'Jailhouse Rock' since Bella held a fondness for Elvis Presley, though he couldn't compare to Jasper in her eyes. During the movie, Jasper wrapped an arm around Bella's shoulders and she smiled, moving closer to him and leaned into his touch. Jasper was happier than a pig in shit with his arm around his Mate, that hollow hole that he held in his chest vanished without a trace, and he knew it was because of the proximity of her to him.

As they walked home in the empty streets, the temperature dropped significantly, causing Bella to tighten up her scarf and coat, her teeth slightly chattering from the frosty November air. It actually looked like it would start to snow soon. Jasper noticed this and needed to tend to his human Mate's needs, stopping Bella, and turned her to him. She looked at him confused, before he took off his scarf and placed it around her neck. He then took off his coat and she started to protest, "Jasper, you'll be freezing!"

He shook his head, helping her into the large coat, which went over hers easily, "I don't feel the cold, Darlin'."

She sighed and let him help her into his coat, because she felt incredibly warm and the smell of his scent surrounded her like a fuzzy blanket. She also saw that he didn't even flinch as the cold air stung her face, so maybe he wasn't really cold. "Thank you, Jasper." Bella replied with a smile, and Jasper couldn't help but return it.

"No problem, Darlin'. What kind of gentleman would I be if I let a lady freeze?" Jasper joked and Bella laughed, the sound slightly stunned Jasper for a couple of seconds with how it affected him. That warm feeling was back, replacing the years and years of frigid cold. Jasper wrapped an arm across Bella's shoulders and she leaned closer to him, periodically inhaling his masculine scent from his scarf and coat. She noted that he smelled like the country, like home.

Right around the block from her apartment, they heard a radio playing loudly through a cracked window. Jasper glanced up to the window and looked at Bella with a smile, "Would you like to dance?"

"Here?" Bella asked shocked, and Jasper nodded his head with a smile. Bella gnawed on her lip, before looking up at him with a smile, "Okay."

'In the Still of the Night' started to play and Jasper took Bella's hand, placing it on his shoulder. He kept the other one in his hand, and placed his hand on her slim waist, pulling her close to him. "I gotta warn you, I'm not very good..."

Jasper found her embarrassment quite endearing and smiled, "You're perfect, Darlin'." he replied, swaying to the slow music with Bella, enjoying the sweet smell of his Mate. Strawberries and something floral... lilacs, maybe? Gradually, they moved closer and closer, until Bella's head was rested on Jasper's shoulder, and he brought his face to the crook of her neck, inhaling deeply. She let go of his hand, and wrapped both arms around his neck, while he rested his on the small of her back, a daring move, but she didn't mind it one bit.

Bella couldn't believe that she was that close to a guy, and completely serene. There's no discomfort when she's around Jasper, a man she only met earlier that day. She felt at home, for the first time since her mama died. She felt capable and important, and she adored him for making her feel that way.

When the song ended, Bella lifted her head to see Jasper smiling at her. "Thank you."

"Thank you, Bella."

From the shadows, a vengeful vampire watched the scene with envy in her eyes, and a craving for death on her tongue. She hated Bella, she loathed her, she despised her for taking Jasper away. She would get her revenge however, she just had to see what she could do. With that, she disappeared, in fear of throwing up at the romantic scene.

After another dance, Jasper walked Bella up to her apartment, not pleased when he saw that it was in a lower-class neighborhood, and some sketchy looking people loitered outside. This is where his beloved lie? This was unacceptable, and would need to change her, soon. For now, he would just be a guardian angel for her, and make sure no harm came to the most precious thing in his life. "Thank you for the wonderful night, Jasper."

Jasper smiled at her, tucking a stray hair that fell out of her headband behind her ear, "No, thank you, Bella. I had a wonderful time... I would like to do it again, if you would like."

"Yes, that would be great." Bella said, a little shocked that he wanted to spend more time with her. She went to take off his scarf and coat, but he stopped her, shaking his head.

"Keep 'em, Darlin'." Jasper said and she frowned, going to protest, before seeing the finality in his expression, and nodded her head. "Sweet dreams, Bella." he said, trailing the back of his knuckles down her flushed cheek.

"Goodnight." she said, unlocking her door and opening it, before stopping. Jasper watched as she turned to him and stood on her tip-toes, quickly placing her lips against his in a simple, chaste kiss, before disappearing into her apartment, her emotions elated.

A/N: This will be a two-shot. By the way, Christmastime in Philadelphia is absolutely gorgeous My favorite place to be, during my favorite time. The dance scene was inspired by The Notebook. I hate that movie, but that scene was fucking beautiful. This is what I thought about when I always hear how Jasper was approached by Alice in the diner.

"Hi, I have visions and we're Mates. You've kept me waiting long enough."

"Uh, calm down, crazy pixie."

Seriously, does anybody else find that to be the creepiest shit ever? Anyway, I needed to serve some justice for myself and of course, I needed my OTP involved. I can't ship anyone else except Jasper and Bella.

Title is inspired by the song 'In the Still of the Night' by The Five Satins