Chapter 15: Jasper
There she stood; her confidence staggering. How could this be? Where was the bloodlust? Her control confounded me. She had even made eye contact with one of them! I watched as she stopped and I felt her waver. She put her hands to her knees, and as she opened her mouth, venom gushed. There was a feeling of distress in the air, and I followed as Edward pounced to her side. I started focusing on a serene feeling and I pushed it toward her.
Edward, be ready. We may have to restrain her.
He nodded, but Bella raised one hand to us. "I'm alright. I'm not going to do anything."
She continued to spit the venom to the ground. The combination of emotions in the air was confusing to me. There was worry, determination, concern, envy, pride... I couldn't distinguish who was feeling what. Edward put his hand on her back before he spoke.
"Don't worry. This happens. It is your body's natural reaction to the humans. It should stop in a moment."
She stood and I threw out another a wave of calm.
"You can stop, Jasper. I'm fine, really."
As I focused on her, I realized that she was fine. The worry hadn't come from her; it had come from Edward. She was the one exuding a fierce determination. She was totally resolved in her want to resist. I turned and started walking up the trail; Alice was soon by my side wrapping her arm around my waist. What should have felt comforting was having the opposite effect. Alice felt sympathy for me, and I didn't want sympathy. I wanted someone who could share my struggle, just one person who could understand how hard it was for me to endure. I couldn't take the pity from my family. I kissed Alice's cheek and ran from them all into the forest.
I ran fast, tearing down trees and throwing them with all of the strength I had. I crushed a boulder with my hands. I wracked my brain. How could this newborn have such a steadfast resolve? Never have I seen one so in control of their mental state. I thought back to my beginning in this life and of the hundreds of newborns I had dealt with; they didn't stop and consider their consequences, they didn't feel guilt or remorse over killing humans. Our very being thrives on human blood. It's almost impossible to resist.
For me, it wasn't until I was older that I felt shame over taking a life away from someone. When I'd found my conscience, I had simply left Texas. I didn't know where I was going, or what I was going to do, I just knew that I couldn't kill anymore. Then I'd found my Alice. I'd walked into that diner in a daze, since I don't eat food; there had been no reason for me to have gone in there. I had felt something pulling me, like an unknown light, an irrefutable need to go into this place, and there she'd sat. As soon as our eyes had met, everything had come into focus. When she'd told me about the Cullen family, I'd shaken my head in disbelief. Living off the blood of animals? It was unheard of. Only Alice could have convinced me to seek out this coven and to try and change my life forever. Carlisle, Esme, Edward, Rosalie and Emmett... They were all so strong, so practiced, so controlled, and they were also patient and compassionate. These were the first of our kind that I had met that were so caring and accepting. They all showed a respect for human life, and I wanted to be like them. I'd vowed to follow the path of Carlisle Cullen and his family. Although I had been living a life of restraint, it was so much harder for me than the others. I would have strayed if it hadn't been for Alice. She was my rock, and would lead me from temptation, she loved me unconditionally, and that is what always kept me going.
I heard light footsteps in the distance, and then Alice stepped into my view. She said nothing. There just a trace of sympathy left; Alice was giving off what I needed the most, love.
"Thank you," I whispered.
"I love you, Jazz."
"I know you do. I never doubt that. It is your love that keeps me going. It is just so difficult sometimes. I don't want to be the only one that struggles so hard. I looked at Bella today and I could feel her unfaltering conviction. A part of me was in complete awe, but another part of me was filled with jealousy." As I spoke, Alice wrapped her arms around me.
"Jazz, you are not the only one who feels jealous. I think we are all dumbfounded at her ability to control herself. Emmett is so disappointed. He was really looking forward to trying to restrain her. You know he likes to wrestle girls." Alice said, running her fingers through my hair. She knew I loved it when she played with my hair. The smile on her face was infectious, and I laughed.
"I would have loved to have seen Edward's face if Emmett tried to wrestle her." I said, thinking of Edward and his damn his gift. He'd probably heard everything I was thinking. "Did he tell her?"
"Yes, but don't be mad at Edward. She didn't understand why you ran off, so we both explained. She's not going to judge you." Alice replied. "You know, Jazz; I don't think that you are looking at this from her perspective."
I scowled. "What do you mean?"
"Think about when we found her. She starved herself for ten months. What is the longest you have ever gone without feeding?" She asked, but I didn't have to answer. She knew I had never gone more than a week, maybe two. "Anyone who can resist for that long already has the strength. The control becomes an afterthought when you already have the advantage of being strong enough."
"So, you're saying that I need to starve myself?" I was half joking, but curious to see how she would answer me.
"Stop being an idiot. I'm trying to tell you that you are already strong enough- you have proven that you can control yourself. What you lack self-confidence. You said that you could feel Bella's conviction, right?"
She was giving me that look, that I told you so kind of look. I nodded in response.
"She has what you need and I would be willing to bet that she is willing to share."
"And how does one share their self-confidence?" I asked.
"Have you forgotten about her gift?" She replied.
"You think she can put her shield on me and give me confidence? I don't want to be manipulated into feeling anything. I want to feel it for myself." I said.
"It was only a suggestion, but I think you should try." Alice told me. She stopped touching my hair and started looking off into the distance. I knew her well enough to know the look on her face. She was having a vision. After a few moments, I caved in and asked.
"Is it going to work?"
She smiled and jumped on top of me. "Yes, it's going to work."
How could I disagree with her? She had always been right about this sort of thing. I decided that I would ask Bella to help me, but not right now.
During the ride back to Forks, Alice suggested that we play a game and we spent most of the ride arguing over what game we should play. Strategy games were out thanks to Alice and Edward, and just as I thought that, Edward shot me a dirty look.
We finally decided on 'Pass the Hat.' We each wrote down five questions, and then put all of the questions in Emmett's hat. We were going to take turns pulling questions, and then giving answers. It was a simple get-to-know-you game. Edward went first.
"How many languages can you speak? Eight." He smirked.
"Eight?" Bella asked.
"English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Russian, German and Japanese."
"Why Japanese?" You've never even been to Japan." Rose asked.
"I was bored," he replied. He handed the hat to me.
"If you had $50 to spend, what would you buy? That's easy, a new game for the Wii, because I am tired of kicking Emmett's ass at 'House of the Dead' and 'Mario Kart.'"
"Hey, you did not kick my ass in 'Mario Kart.' You beat me by like 3 seconds." Emmett shouted. "We are so having a 'Mario Kart' rematch when we get home. Fifty bucks says I beat you this time, and Alice, don't even think about telling him who is going to win."
I smiled. "You are on."
I handed the hat to Rose.
"Where is your favorite place to live and why? I like Forks because the sun is always hiding behind the clouds. We can go out in public more than anywhere else. We are almost normal there." Rose said. She held the hat out for Emmett.
"If you could have any super power, what you would choose?" She asked.
"I'd totally take the power of flight. Could you see me flying into the air and scaring the shit out of all the birds?" Emmett asked, and we all started laughing, imagining it, it was such an Emmett thing to do. Rose handed the hat to Bella.
"What is your favorite band of all time? No brainer. Radiohead." She said then passed the hat to Alice.
"What is your funniest Edward moment?" She hesitated. You could tell Edward was annoyed, cringing in his seat as Alice tried to think of a funny memory of him. "I'm going to choose the disco." Everyone aside from Bella was laughing.
"UGH! You were the one that dressed me, Alice, and bell bottom were in at the time." Edward whined.
"Bella, just imagine Edward in white bell bottoms, a yellow button down shirt-with the top six buttons down, and let us not forget the matching white vest." Alice could hardly speak she was laughing so hard. "And if the clothes weren't enough, there was his dancing."
"Hey, that is not fair. I can dance." Edward said.
"Just the thought of you doing the hustle is freaking hilarious." Alice squealed.
"Oh, come on, Alice, I would have thought you'd pick that time we told Edward to meet us at that gay bar." Rosalie added and roars of laughter filled the car.
In between laughs Emmett added, "Poor Edward, he only lasted about ten minutes in that bar. He couldn't take all those horny guys thinking about him."
The embarrassment was pouring off Edward. He looked so relieved when we pulled into the drive way.
"Well, I hate to break up this little 'embarrass Edward' session, but we're home."