I was fidgeting. In all my time as a vampire I had never had a problem staying still when I had to. It was kind off an requirement. Someone that needed to keep moving and do something all the time would quickly run out of stuff to do. But here I was; fucking fidgeting.
The Danvers library had impressed me when I first saw it. Books from the floor to the roof. Bookcase after bookcase. And a comfortable and homey reading place in one corner with sofas and chairs around a fireplace. I had looked forward to looking through the books and read some of them. I'd got the chance last night when Bella slept to read a few, but the library was massive and I could probably stay for months without reading the same one twice. But here I now sat, and I just couldn't manage to concentrate enough to absorb the words on the pages. My brain was too busy worrying about Bella and what she would be going through.
I looked at the clock on the wall for what seemed to be the thousand time this evening and saw that it was ten minutes to midnight. Ten minutes, according to Bell, until she and her brother ascended.
I switch my gaze from the watch to the window and the dark emptiness outside. Bella was out there somewhere and I longed to be there to make sure she was okay.
«She'll be fine. The brothers will be there for her.» Bailey said kindly from my side. My concern had obviously been transparent. I hadn't projected, I think.
«I know Mrs D. It's just...» I smiled at Bella's beautiful mother. Both she and Caleb had tried to get Jacob and me to call them Caleb and Bailey, but it didn't seem to be respectfully enough so we had settled with Mrs and Mr D.
«She is your friend. The one that were there for you when you needed her and you want to be there for her in case she needs you.» Bailey smiled at me knowingly and her insight surprised me slightly, but then I reminded my self that this was Bella's mother and Bella had to have gotten her observation skills and insight from someone. Why not her mother that had been created as a genetically enhanced super-soldier? The scientist wouldn't blow it by overlooking something like that, but since we had arrived here I kept being taken by surprise by all the transgenics. They all seemed and acted so ordinary that when they did some crazy stunt that no human would have been capable of my dead heart would jump up my throat, and I would be a hair's breath away from trying to prevent the 'disaster'. Was it possible for a vampire to get a stroke?
But time and time again they proved to me that I had nothing to worry about. Speeding down a trail on a bike, sparring with each other, jumping off rooftops or just walking down a hallway, they were as graceful as vampires. Bella had confessed that it probably was the cat in them, the instinct to always land on their feet. I had then asked her why she always was so clumsy in Forks. She had laughed at me before asking me if I had ever tried to keep up a conversation, often some kind of quiz in some weird subject, in my head at the same time as I kept oriented on my surroundings. And that the greater distance between each participant in the conversation, the more they had to concentrate. Looking at it like that I understood her problem. She had also told me that when she was in Forks she couldn't 'talk' to her siblings here, but because of her twin connection with Sebastian they could feel strong emotions and that was why he had known that something had happened at the Cullens that night. It could be compared with a early warning system. One would know if something was wrong with the other and come to the rescue if it was needed. I had to admit it was quite ingenious.
«I wish I could be out there too, it's hard to see my kids grow up. But they need to go through it alone and the rest of the 'sons' will be there for them afterward. All we can do is stay here and wait for them to return in the morning. Personally I try to keep busy with the preparations for the party tomorrow.» Bailey spoke up again, and brought me out of my thoughts. She was looking out the window wistfully.
«Do you need any help?» I asked hesitantly. I knew that the best option was to keep busy and it didn't look like the books would manage to do that tonight.
«That would be lovely. Thank you Jasper.» She smiled at me gratefully and I had to think that she was more happy about the company that could distract her than the actual helping hand I was offering.
«Try not to poison anything will ya?» Jacob asked from sofa where he sat with the twins, but I could neither feel or hear any heat coming from him. We no longer looked at each other as enemies with a truce, and the by-play was more like a game between us.
«I'll make sure to only do that to what I know you'll eat.» I answered back as I followed Bailey out of the magnificent room. I heard him snort behind me and I could feel his amusement mixed in with his worry for Bella. Right then it hit me what she had actually managed to do, and with just a few days to work with too.
«What?» Bailey asked seeing my facial expression. Amusement and curiosity practically radiating of her.
«Your daughter.» I chuckled. «She's done something I never thought was possible; she changed two mortal enemies that normally couldn't stand the sight of each other, into... friends.» The Wolf had actually agreed to let me live with Charlie and Bella when we got back. Sure he had told us he would come often to visit, but still.
«That's not that weird.» Bailey grinned as she started taking out different pots and ingredients. «You both wanted to please her, and she wanted you to both to be with her. In doing that you had to put your differences to the side. In the process your blinders were taken off and you saw each other for what you were; people with feelings and opinions like anyone else. It probably helped that Jacob didn't have to bear the burden of sole protector, or share his mind with the rest of the pack every time he changed.» She offered me her opinion on what had happened.
«When you put it like that.» I smiled and followed her directions as I started on one of the cakes. «But I also believe the rest of the family have been a great influence. Especially your other daughter.» They had all taken us both in with open arms, knowing what we were. No prejudice or fear. As Bella had told us; we were adopted our first day here. And I believe that was partially responsible why I took my other family's betrayal so well.
«Leo?» Bailey asked surprised. I am sure she had influenced Jake somewhat being his imprint and all, but that could easily have gone the other way as well.
«Sorry Mrs D, but at this instance I was thinking more about our little princess.» I smiled fondly thinking about the little spitfire. «Tea-parties can be a real bonding experience.» I confessed conspiratorially.
«Oh my! Bella told me about that. I am so sorry you had to go through that.» Bailey laughed so hard that tears threatened to fall and she needed to support herself by the counter.
«It's funny.» I agreed chuckling. «Not so much at the time when it happened, and I am grateful Bella will do so that no one can read my mind and the pack can only hear what Jake wants them to. It's enough everyone here knows about it. Nobody in Forks needs to know.» I swear I would have blushed if it was possible. Just thinking about Emmett or one of the other finding out... they would never stop teasing me!
«I can't believe how frustrating it must be for you all to live together with someone that can read your mind. No privacy.» Bailey shuddered.
«At least it seems like you transgenics have some sort of automatic defense against his power. Edward can't read Bella's thoughts and Charlie's is blurred. Something he has never experienced before. Believe me it drives him mad and it will be even worse when we gets back.» I couldn't help but snicker by the thought. Edward wouldn't be able to read our thoughts and if Alice tried to see us without Jacob there to block her vision, we would be very blurry. Those two would drive each other insane, an probably the rest of the family too.
«If you don't mind me asking Mrs D, you wouldn't know how this whole deputy thing is going to work?»
«I don't mind at all Jasper, you should know that. You can always come to me if you need someone to speak to. I don't know everything Charlie has been planing, but I know you have to fake something so that it looks like you have gone to the Academy. You will not do that of course. Instead he will give you some books for you to read and take you under his wing at the station. There shouldn't be any need for you to go the bloody call-ins, not there is many in Forks. I hear from Bella that you're taking back your old last name?» Bailey looked over at me.
«Yes Ma'am. Jasper Whitlock. I thought I would tell people that asked that I decided to take my real father's last name after the I left the Cullens, and that Hale came from my mother's side.» I explained my reasoning.
«Sounds perfectly understandable. I know I wouldn't have wanted a name that belonged to them after what they did.» Bailey stated and I could feel her anger at them. Some times it was a blessing to be empathic, knowing when others cared about what happened to me was one of those.
Together Bailey and I managed to make the night pass relatively quickly, but we were both anxious when we joined the rest of the family at the entrance that morning. I sent her a small wave of calm unsure if I was breaking her privacy. Many that I've met have felt like that, but she, like her daughter, responded with a grateful smile in my direction.
The vision that met us made me glad breathing was optional for me. Bella was simply breathtaking. The male population of the Forks High and probably a good portion of the girls, as well as both my brothers, would have been drooling if they were here, I was pretty close myself. Dark jeans that made her legs seem like they went on forever. Burgundy turtleneck that enhanced her curves. Her hair curly and blowing loosely in the wind. A sexy smirk gracing her lips and eyes that were shinning with joy and love.
But that was far from it. Not that it wasn't enough in itself, but Bella was also radiating confidence and a joy for life. Combining those combinations and the result was deadly. Bella was hotter in her everyday cloths than my ex-wife had ever managed to accomplish with her designer crap. At that exact moment he wanted nothing more than to...
No! Down boy! Bella is your friend. Your best friend. Nothing more. 'I know that. But who is saying that it is illegal to enjoy the view? Any male would have to be gay, closely related or dead... deader than me, to not appreciate it.' You sure that is all you are doing? 'Of course! She is my best friend, no way in hell I'll ever do anything to endanger that!' As long as we are on the same page here. Now snap out of it before any of the highly perceptive humans that surrounds you notice that something is up.
I mentally shock myself. A quick stealthy reconnaissance told me that no one had noticed anything, or if they had they hadn't thought anything about it. Lucky me. I don't know what I would have answered if anyone had taken notice, maybe all the emotions had made me zone out for a moment? That might have worked as long as Bella wasn't near by. That woman had a uncanny ability to tell when I was lying or not telling her the full truth. It was almost scary. Not even Edward could do that if I blocked him from my mind.
After everyone wishing them both a happy birthday, the older twins disappeared into their rooms so that they could freshen up before the gift exchange and cake. All the other families had arrived and mysteriously enough the blazing fire I had expected with that many humans close to me, did not appear. Sure there were a spark in the back of my throat, but that was always present, so I was positive that there would not be a repeat performance of the last birthday party. Well, almost positive. All of the transgenics' blood smelled delicious and I don't think I could promise anything if they all started to bleed heavily. But in the unlikely scenario that something like that happened, there were nine people that I knew could take me down, plus a wolf, so I was pretty sure all the humans were safe.
Damn. If I thought casual Bella was hot, dressed up Bella was drop dead gorgeous. She had gathered most of her hair on the back of her head, but curly, loose strands was encircling her face. Her make-up wasn't thick or too much; just smokey eyes and a light lip gloss. Most of the girls at school had much they could have learned from Bella. She was dressed in a strap-less black dress with split in the side that showed off the majority of her left leg, and to top it all; sexy high healed black shoes. She still radiated confidence, but it was now also joined with sin and sex. He was definitely starting to see what had drawn his brother's attention.
This time he wasn't the only one gawking. Jacob and one of the sons, Nick, was also watching intensely as the Goddess descended the stair case. Nick quickly walked the four steps that separated him and the beauty before scoping her up and hugging her tightly.
«Izzy, you look as beautiful as ever. Happy Birthday.» he whispered intimately into her ear before setting her down on her feet again and I felt a flare of jealousy. Jealousy? She is just a friend, you've got no reason to be jealous.. the little voice in the back of my head whispered to me, but I ignored it, just as I pushed these confusing feelings away.
«Thanks Nicky. Starting to regret that we ended things?» Bella teased, I could see the glint in her eyes.
«Every second of the day.» Nick answered dramatically with a wink.
«Leave my sister alone Garwin.» Sebastian mock growled and gave Nick a light slap to the back of the head. Nick in return aimed his best puppy dog eyes at his 'brother', and damn was those eyes impressive. I would give almost anything to be able to copy them next time Esme was mad at me.
After a few more congratulations from various people the twins started to open their presents and noticed that I started to get more and more nervous the closer Bella came to the present from me. One of the days we had been here we had all gone into the town. I was in need of some more cloths and since we had withdrawn money on the road to Ipswich I had enough cash to get what I wanted and more. We was just about to go back home for the day when I saw it; an old chess set carved out of wood. I had thought that it was beautiful at the time and I hoped that Bella would think so too. The soft gasp that escaped her and the elated smile she sent me calmed down my fears noticeable.
«Happy birthday Bells.» I congratulated her.
«Thank you so much Jazz!» Bella said as she hugged me. «I hope you know that this means that you have to participate in a few matches.»
«I'll love to.» I promised her and looked her directly into her eyes. With her high heals we were almost at the same height.
«Okay you two, before we starts on the cake, there is one more present for you each. Outside.» Bailey stated and she was almost jumping up and down with excitement. Curiously we all moved outside and took in the sight of the two shiny new cars that stood in the drive way. One blood red and the other pitch black.
There were no argument between the twins. Bella went to the red and Sebastian to the black.
«Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster» Caleb informed those of us not that knowledgeable when it came to cars and nodded to the black convertible. «And a V8 Vantage Special Edition.» This time he smiled to Bella where she stood beside the red beauty with the tinted windows. «Both with all the extra options off course.»
«We figured with you special friends, this would be the best option for you.» Bailey spoke to Bella from her place beside her husband.
«I love it! It's perfect! Thank you so much!» Bella beamed and threw herself at her parents. As soon as she released them Sebastian took over.
«We figured that if you got a new car, maybe you'd let your siblings have the truck.»
«Huh?» Bella looked at them confused as Leo and Cade walked up to them.
«You really thought we would let you go back to Uncle Charlie alone?» Cade teased.
«Great!» Bella hugged them too enthusiastically then she looked at them thoughtful. «You can have the truck, and if you are nice I might let you borrow my bike.»
Bike? Bella owns a bike? For a moment I forgot what I had learned about Bella and was floored. But just as quickly I accepted it and berated myself for not getting it sooner.
«What kind of bike?» I asked curiously.
«Green 2009 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.» she told me proudly and I was impressed, it was a good bike.
«May I borrow it? Please Bells?» Jacob begged from my side, I hadn't noticed him walking up.
«Maybe. But remember if something happens to it, you'll be the one buying me a new one.» Bella smiled sweetly and you could see the werewolf rethinking the request.
«Maybe I'll just stick with the Rabbit.» Jake finally admitted defeat.
«Yeah, I think that's best too.» I laughed and patted his back.
«And now-» Bailey started, but her kids interrupted her.
«Good to know some things never change no matter how old they get.» Caleb chuckled as he hand his wife watched their children's retreating backs.
It was fascinating to watch the humans devour the different cakes. Their emotion of delight clearly visible on their faces, the sounds they made as their savored the taste.
«Is it good?» I inquired as I studied the piece of chocolate cake on Bella's plate, that just happened to be from one that I had made.
«Good? Good doesn't describe it. It's marvelous.» Bella moaned and I had to swallow excess venom. «Here, try a little.» She scooped some on her finger and brought it up to my lips.
Should I? Most likely it would taste like shit, but such a small amount as she was offering me wouldn't do any other harm, so after a short hesitation I opened my mouth. And truthfully? It wasn't all that bad. I wouldn't consider tasting it on a regular basis, but at the same time I had tasted blood from certain animals that tasted fouler. And that was what I answered when Bella repeated my question.
As I broke eye contact with Bella I saw that Jacob was staring at us incredulously. I have no idea if it was because I actually tasted human food, or because Bella's hand had been so close to my sharp teeth, maybe a combination. But he hadn't made a move to come closer and he hadn't protested when we found out that Leo and Cade would come back to Forks with us. That had to mean something, right? Secretly I was afraid that he would realize that his imprint would be living in the same house as a vampire and when he started protesting Charlie would listen and throw me out. Not that I believed Bella would let them do that, but was still like a burning stone in the pit of my stomach.
A stone that burned fiercer by my realization that I needed to tell her about my past; about what kind of monster she had invited into her home. After hearing what I had to say I was terrified that she wouldn't stand up for me when Jacob would voice his opinion.
But not today. Today I would bask in the feelings she projected of love and friendship. Today I would still have her as my friend.
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