A Reason To Exist Chapter 2
***Thanks to Jasper’s Darlin Kathy and TwiCarol for agreeing to take this ride with me, too!
***Disclaimer – Original characters and plot belong to Stephenie Meyer. I just enhance and tweak!
Jasper left to go hunting, and meet up with Alice upon her arrival home. He needed to explain to her what had happened between the two of us, but I wasn’t sure how he was going to do that, since I didn’t even understand it. Even if Alice saw it coming, Jasper still felt he owed her a proper apology and explanation. I agreed, and I knew that I would have to answer to her for my part in all of this.
As I stripped the sheets from my bed, trying to hide it from Edward, I realized just how wrong last night was. I didn’t regret sleeping with Jasper, but we may have rushed things. Our feelings for one another were going to hurt so many, and were going to tear apart the Cullen family. I was going to lose my best friend, and I’d come between two brothers.
Edward? How was I ever going to make him understand what I had done? I loved him, truly I did, but that no longer seemed to be enough. After experiencing what I had done with Jasper, I now knew how two people in love were supposed to be with each other. I knew it wasn’t completely Edward’s fault. I had been pulling away from him for a few weeks now, and my heart had never fully recovered from when he left me. I hadn’t felt anything in such a long time. I hadn’t felt anything until last night. My need for Jasper came rushing to the forefront, and I let my desire for him take over. I never expected it and I never would have acted on it, but it couldn’t be helped. I would do it all again, if given the chance.
Was that selfish? How were Edward and Alice ever going to get over this? Could I live with this guilt? How was I ever going to be able to hide it from Jasper?
Just as I started to cry, my phone began to ring. Edward! I knew I had to pick it up, or he would be here in minutes. I took a deep breath and weakly said,
“How are you today, love,” he asked, and he seemed too happy to hear my voice.
“Fine,” I lied. “How was your trip?”
“It was good,” he said. “But, Alice was a bit preoccupied. Jasper decided to stay home, and I think that upset her.”
“Oh,” What else could I say?
“No need for you to worry,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll be just fine.”
I don’t think so.
“Bella?” he called my name.
“Yes,” I said.
“Are you okay?” he asked. “You seem distant.”
“I’m just not feeling well,” I said, and I wasn’t lying this time.
“I can be there in a few minutes,” he said, and I imagined him running toward the Volvo to get to me as fast as he could.
“No!” I wasn’t ready to face him. He would know exactly what I had done, as soon as he saw my face. I was sure of it. “I mean, I’m okay. I’m just not feeling myself.”
“How about you rest for a bit and then I’ll pick you up, and we could come back here and watch a movie?”
Maybe that wasn’t such a bad idea. I’d get to see Jasper again. Stop it, Bella!
“Bella?” Edward said.
“Would you like to come over?” He asked again.
“Yes,” I said. “Would you come and pick me up?”
“Of course,” he said, and I could hear his excitement. “I’ll be there in a couple of hours.”
“Okay,” I said.
“I love you,” he said.
I choked back a sob. “I love you, too,” I managed to get out. I hung up the phone and crawled into my bed. I started to sob uncontrollably. How was this ever going to work out?
I hated leaving Bella so soon after we were together, but I knew I had to hunt and be home when Alice got back. I owed her that much. I never meant to hurt her. I wished she didn’t have to see what occurred between Bella and me last night. Even if my feelings had changed for Alice over the past few months, I still wouldn’t want to watch her become intimate with another man.
I stepped into the shower, and hated that I was washing her off of my skin. She smelled so good, and I longed for the day when I never had to leave her. I thought back to how innocent and trusting she was with me. I felt her giving herself to me in every way possible. No one had ever put that much faith in me before.
I wrapped the towel around my body and as soon as I walked into the bedroom, I could feel her hurt and anger. It was enough to bring me to my knees. I looked into her eyes, and they were filled with fury. She didn’t deserve this.
Alice,” I said, as I walked toward her. She put her hand up to stop me.
“Shower didn’t work. I can still smell her all over you,” she said.
“No, you can’t,” I said. “Please, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”
“Did you wait more than five minutes after I left, before you slept with my best friend?” she hissed.
“If you knew what I was going to do, then why did you leave me here alone?” I asked.
“Because I had hoped that you wouldn’t act on your feelings,” she said, as she sat on the edge of the bed. “I knew better.”
“Alice,” I said, but didn’t dare sit next to her. “I never wanted to hurt you. I don’t know what happened.”
“I know, Jazz,” she said. “It’s not entirely your fault. We’ve all had a hand in this. Edward and Bella have their own issues, even if Edward doesn’t know it, and you and I have been staying together out of comfort and routine.”
“I wouldn’t exactly say that,” I said, but I knew on some level it was true.
“It’s true and you know it. When was the last time we had sex? “
“Months,” I admitted.
“And it didn’t seem to bother either one of us,” she said.
“No,” I said. “I guess it didn’t.”
“I just wish that you would have gone about this a different way,” she said. “And, I wish that Bella would have been stronger, and resisted your particular charms.”
“This isn’t her fault. Blame me. She feels guilty enough.”
“It’s going to take me time to get over this, but it will take Edward even longer. He’ll never understand this,” I said.
“Bella will tell him, and I will make him understand.”
She shook her head. “Bella isn’t going to tell him tonight,” she said. “She is going to have an extremely difficult time with her choice. You’ll have your work cut out for you.”
“You’ve seen it?” I asked.
”I’ve seen more than I wanted to see,” she said, and I wanted to apologize again. “She’s going to need help getting through this. Bella never wanted to hurt Edward. She loves him.”
“I know, but I’ll do whatever I have to do, to get her through this,” I said. “I won’t rush her.”
“She’ll have to tell him,” Alice said. “Or, the two of you will never be at peace.”
“You haven’t seen her do it?”
“No,” she said. “They are coming here tonight to watch a movie, and she’ll need us to keep Edward out of our heads.” She got up and headed for the door.
“You would do that for her?” I asked.
“I’m doing it for all of us,” she said. “It will be the right thing to do in the long run.”
“Alice,” I said, as she started to walk out. “I’ll move out of our room tonight.”
“No,” she said, and I was confused. “Don’t worry. I’m not holding out any hope. I just don’t want to alarm Edward, and give him a reason to snoop around in our heads.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I know that you won’t easily forgive me, but I do love you.”
“I know,” she said, as she walked down the hall.
I quickly got dressed and called Bella.
“Hello,” she said, but sounded so down.
“Bella, are you okay?” I asked.
“I spoke to Edward,” she said, and I could hear her trying to hold back a sob.
“Did you tell him?”
“No,” she said. “Not over the phone. We’re coming to your house tonight to watch a movie, but I don’t think I can do it there.”
“Bella, we’ll do it however you want to. I’ll do whatever you need,” I said.
“Jasper,” she said, and I could feel her hesitation.
“Yes, sweetheart,” I said.
“Tonight, when Edward brings me home, I’m going to tell him I don’t feel well, and tell him not to spend the night with me.”
“And, when he leaves you want me to climb through your window?” I asked.
“If you’d rather wait until I tell him, for us to be together,” she said. “I understand.”
“No, Bella,” I said. “I need to be close to you.”
“Thank you,” she said. “I just need some time to let him go.”
“I understand,” I said, and I knew it would be extremely difficult to watch the two of them together, but if this was what she needed, I could do it. “Bella, I love you.”
“I love you, too,” she said. “See you tonight.”
What were we doing? I could hear how conflicted and sad she was. Maybe I should have left her alone last night. She was building a life with Edward, but she could never fully be happy with him. If she really wanted to spend eternity with him, she never would have slept with me. But, those kinds of actions had consequences. I hoped that we could overcome them.
I sat in my chair and tried to focus on the book I was reading, but it was no use. She was all I thought about. As soon as I heard the Volvo pull into the driveway, I jumped up and headed for the door. I had to get a hold of myself. I couldn’t exactly go running down the stairs and take her in my arms. I didn’t even know how to casually go about this. Bella and I had never spent any time alone together, and I really tried to distance myself from her. I couldn’t all of a sudden show an interest in her. Edward would be inside my head within seconds. How were we going to pull this off? It would be difficult, even if we didn’t have a mind-reading vampire in the house.
I started down the stairs, but Alice was by my side in an instant. I looked at her.
“We need to pretend that we are okay,” she said. “Edward will try to fix it for us, if not.”
I nodded. I still wasn’t sure why she was helping me. Did she see something that indicated that Bella wouldn’t leave Edward? Maybe that’s why she didn’t want me to move out of our room. Maybe she saw things going back to the way they were, before Bella and I fell in love. No! I refused to believe that. I was drawn to Bella, like I had been to no other. It was more than physical, and I needed an opportunity to explore this further.
Bella and Edward came through the door, and he took her jacket. He leaned down and gently kissed her cheek. She blushed and she looked like an angel. I had to push back the rage and jealously that was building up in my chest. It was a good thing I was the empath, because if Edward could get a lock on my emotions, this whole charade would be over. Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing. But, that wasn’t what Bella wanted it, and I had to respect that.
Alice and I made our way to the bottom of the staircase, and as soon as my eyes locked with Bella’s, I could feel her love for me. I was afraid it wouldn’t be the same as this morning, but it was even stronger. I smiled at her, but then I felt her fear and despair. What the hell?
She was no longer looking at me. She was staring at Alice, and I could see the tears threatening to expose her. Her emotions were all over the place. She was completely overwhelmed, and because I was so enthralled with her, those erratic emotions were overtaking me.
Before I could manipulate the climate, Edward spoke.
“Bella, love?” He took her face in his hands. “Are you okay? You look like you’re going to be sick.”
She didn’t take her eyes off of Alice. “I…I don’t,” she was overcome with grief, sorrow, and desperation. She collapsed into Edward’s arms. I started toward her, but Alice grabbed my arm and held me back. It wasn’t my place.
“Bella?” Edward said. He carried her into the living room, and placed her on the couch. We quickly followed. I wanted to take her in my arms and tell her it was going to be okay, but that was Edward’s job for now.
“Carlisle!” Alice yelled.
Edward kneeled down in front of Bella, and I stood at the foot of the couch. I wanted her to see my face when she opened her eyes. I knew that her guilt had gotten the better of her, and seeing Alice was too much. I should have advised her against coming here, until she had a chance to speak to Alice.
Carlisle came downstairs and moved into Edward’s spot. I could feel how worried and concerned Edward was for Bella. It matched my own.
“What happened?” Carlisle asked.
“She just collapsed,” Edward said. “She wasn’t feeling well. She wasn’t herself. She barely spoke in the car on the way here.”
“Bella, dear,” Carlisle gently shook her. “Can you hear me?”
Her eyes began to flutter, and then she slowly opened them and stared at me.
“Jasper,” she smiled.
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