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Change: A Journey of Struggle

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Chapter One: Rare Change

Three weeks was too long a time for any vampire to go without feeding.  I was starting to feel like I was losing my mind, but the very thought of taking another human life is something that I can’t stomach.  I am also an empathy, which makes taking human life much more difficult for me.  I know that if I don’t feed soon that I will lose my mind completely and turn feral.  This outcome would be far worse then taking another life.  It would expose me to the humans, and in my weaken state I’d leave a trail of dead behind me.

Curse my empathic abilities.  I had to feel them dying in my arms as I drank their life-giving essence.  I didn’t want this life, but I as good at it.  I had survived the odds and had lived through many battles.  I had the scars to prove it; they covered my body completely in crescent shapes that crisscrossed my skin.  I hated looking at my body in a mirror, and I especially did not like the look of my red eyes.  Thankfully my red eyes were the only unappealing feature of my face, other then two small scars.  One scar was located on my jaw near the right side of my chin and the other above my left eye.

The humans found me ‘beautiful’ and were drawn to me.  It made me feel sick to think that this beauty they saw would lead to their death.  Each time I hunted I fell into a deep depression that would take several days to a week, sometimes longer, to pull myself out.  I had hoped when I left Maria a year ago that my depression would pass, but it had not changed.  Each and every time I hunted I fell into this accursed depression.  I knew it was because I could feel my prey dying in my arms.  Feel the fear, the terror as they felt their life drain from their body.

‘This was all Maria’s fault,’ my thoughts screamed.

If she had not changed me, I would not be this monster.  I started thinking of ways to kill her and make it painful if I should ever cross her path again.

‘Maybe I will just leave her scarred instead of’ - my thoughts were interrupted as the air was violently expelled from my body and I was tackled to the ground.  I was about to retaliate when my attacker stopped.

He was suddenly very confused, why I don’t know.  He looked to be in his late teens with an unusual bronze colored hair; his eyes were black with thirst but filled with confusion.

‘Why was he confused, and why did he stop attacking me?  He had to know that I was a vampire like him.’

“I thought you were human,” He said. It was as if he were answering the question in my thoughts.  He nodded and then I was confused.

“I can read minds.  I thought you were human before I attacked you.  I heard your thoughts about killing Maria.  I don’t feed on the innocent ones,” He said.

I was furious now; this child had been listening in on my private thoughts.  I throw him off of me and pounce on him in the same second.

“Please, I’m sorry.  It’s not something I can control,” He begged.

I stopped my own attack and sighed.  I wasn’t that monster anymore, and he did not have the ability to control whose thoughts he heard; just like I did not have the control over whose emotions I felt.  I stood and extended my hand to help him up, he hesitated to take it.

“I’m sorry.  I should not have reacted that way.  It’s been three weeks since I last hunted and I’m lacking in control at the moment,” I said.

“It’s been two for me,” He said grimly as he extended his hand to take mine.

I was about to ask why he was suddenly feeling disgust, anguish and guilt when I felt an electric shock shot through my hand and up my arm from his touch.  Both of us quickly released each other’s hand and just stared at one another.

‘Did he just do that?  It was quite obvious that he at least felt it.’

“That... that was not me.  At least I do not think that was not me,” He said to answer my thoughts.

‘Okay that is going to get annoying.’

“Sorry, I can’t help it when I’m this hungry.” he replied.

I ran a hand through my blond curly hair and sighed.  We both stood there and stared at each other for a moment.

“Edward.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“My name,” he clarified.

“Oh, Jasper,” I said.

“Nice to meet you Jasper, and um… sorry about the tackle,” Edward smiled. He had a very alluring crooked smile that I couldn’t help by admire.

“Its fine, but I would advise against doing that again.  You might end up with a missing limb or two,” I replied.

“I like my limbs attach, so you need not worry it won’t happen again,” Edward replied seriously.

“Are you on your own?” I asked.  I felt a wave of sadness roll off of him but when I looked at his face he was stoic.

“I’ve been on my own for almost four years,” he finally answered.

I felt his deep pain.  ‘Was he sad to be alone?  Why was he alone?’

Edward did not answer this time, but turned to leave.  I’m not sure why but I suddenly felt the urge to comfort him.  I place a hand on his shoulder, the electricity from earlier was back but I did not remove my hand.

“Edward, are you alright?  I can feel your sadness and pain.”

“I’m fine,” he said sharply and shrugged off my hand.

“No, you are not,” I countered.

Edward spun around to face me and I was shocked by the sudden anger in his eyes, but his most dominate feeling was helplessness and a feeling of being alone.  The emotion was so raw and intense that it took me a moment to keep from falling to my knees.  I had felt intense emotions before, but never this sudden.

Edward must have read my thoughts because he took an unneeded deep breath to calm himself.  “I’m sorry.  It’s just a long and sad story that you do not need to trouble yourself with.  I may not look it but I am old enough to take care of myself.”

“I am not disputing that you can take care of yourself Edward.  I am just offering to help . . .  to listen,” I replied.

Edward sighed, “Fine, but not here.  We should also probably hunt first.”

I nodded.   I did not know how much control I would need to make it through his story if all his emotions were going to be so intense.

“Sorry about that, I’ll try to keep better control of them,” Edward replied.

“It’s fine; after I feed I’ll be better able to control my reactions,” I said.

Edward was quiet for a moment, “Do you mind if I pick out the prey?  I don’t feed on the innocent ones; I prefer to go after the ‘human monsters’.” Edwards chuckled darkly.

I nodded.

Edward closed his eyes and I assumed he was listening to the human minds around us; he was looking for a specific type of mind.

Edward opened his eyes, and they were burning with rage.

“Two men,” He said through clenched teeth.

I nodded.

“They are following a young lady who just left the restaurant across the street and two blocks over,” He continued to speak through his teeth.

 I could also feel the rage rolling off of Edward as he read their minds.  He had quite the temper.

“They are going to…” - I interrupted him, “We will stop them before they can do anything to her,” I said.

“We need to get across the street.  We can move faster in the back alleys,” Edward said.  He had slightly more control of his voice.

He must be planning the hunt, which took his mind’s focus away from our intended prey.  Edward nodded at this and I followed him as we walked quickly at human speed out of the alley we were in and across the street to another.

“Edward, we need to do this before they get to her if you want her to live,” I said.  We couldn’t take the change that she would see us in our true nature, and I couldn’t guarantee that when the bloodlust took over that I could keep myself from feeding on her as well.

“We will not make it; they are nearly to her.” Edward voice was urgent, almost desperate.

“I do not have a lot of control when I hunt,” I said.

Edward suddenly changed course and scaled a nearby building, I followed after him.

“They are going to take her down an alley a block over.  You will drop down behind them so that the street light will just catch you slightly from the side.  One of the men should challenge you; he’s yours.  I’ll drop down beside the other man and the girl.  I’ll tell her to run and make sure she understands to run quickly and not look back,” Edward explained his plan.

 “Edward if she sees us kill them…,” -- Edward interrupted, -- “I know, but we will need to pull them deeper into the alley.”

“Fine, but if she sees or suspects anything Edward I want you to tell me.  Do I make myself clear?” I said sternly.

Edward hesitated, but then nodded.  He would tell me, I could tell from his emotions.

“There.” Edward said as point them out.

We had raced across the roof tops until we had reached the intended alley.  They had just grabbed the girl and were pulling her down the alley.  The man who was holding her was whispering in her ear that she was going to enjoy this just as much as they would.  It made me sick to hear the things this sadistic bastard was saying.  I could feel Edward’s temper flaring again; he could also hear them.

“Now,” Edward said when they reached the middle of the alley.  I dropped down behind them without a sound.

“Let her go,” I nearly growled.  I realized now why Edward wanted me to drop down in this location.  The light from the street lamps spread a slight glow around my body, giving me an almost ethereal appearance.

The men were startled but quickly recovered.

“You should leave before you get hurt boy,” The bigger man said.  I smiled at that useless threat, but he had no idea that he was facing a vampire and his death.

I laughed, “Are you going to be the one to hurt me?”

The man pulled out a knife and flicked it open.  “I’m going to enjoy gutting you.”

I just smirked, but I was anxious to see the look on his face when that knife broke on impact with my hard indestructible body.  Edward dropped down a moment later beside the other man and woman.

“You really should have listened,” Edward growled at the man.

He then grabbed the arm the man had around the woman and pulled it off of her.  Turning to the woman Edward spoke sternly and clearly, “Run, do not look back…”  The woman nodded, “Thank you,” She said and ran quickly past me and back on the street, she did not look back.

I leapt the distance between my prey and me, grabbing him.  He thrust the knife to my chest and the blade broken and shattered.  I laughed quietly as I pulled him into the dark and bit into his neck.  I heard Edward do the same.  At first the man whom I was feeding upon felt angry that the girl had gotten away and toward me for helping her escape, but those shift suddenly to pure terror as he watched the knife break and then it heightened when he felt my teeth sink into his flesh.  It took all my control to hold on to him and drain him completely.  I felt disgusted with myself afterward, though the man was a criminal and deserved death. I still had to feel his emotions while he died.

I was shocked to feel disgust and guilt coming from Edward moments later.

Why would he have such feelings?’

“I can hear their last thoughts,” Edward replied to my unspoken question.

I think I now understood why he had felt so much guilt earlier in the night.

“I should never have left.  Carlisle was right,” Edward whispered to himself.  There was pain in his voice.

“Edward?”

Edward shook his head, “We need to dispose of the bodies.  I will explain later.”

I nodded and we set about disposed of the bodies.

“It will be dawn soon.  I know a place we can go to keep out of the sun,” Edward offered.

“Lead the way,” I replied.

We ran part of the way through the back alleys at vampire speed, but had to slow when we got to a nicer part of the city.  After a dozen blocks Edward led us around back of a modest sized two story red brick house.  I could not be sure but I thought I saw Edward pull a key from his pocket and unlock the door.  I was not paying attention to him at the time, but admiring the turn of the century house.  Edward ushered me in and then closed and locked the door behind him.

“I assume the owners will not be back anytime soon?” I asked, but Edward did not answer.

He led us to a sitting room that was nicely furnished, but had a fine layer of dust, but most of the furniture was cover with white sheets to protect it.  Whoever the owners were, they had been gone for sometime.  Edward drew the curtains and then took a seat on an uncovered sofa.  I sat across from him on another uncovered chair.

“This is…” Edward began, but changed his mind about what he was going to say.

“This was the home of my human parents before they died.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

Edward’s emotions changed from calm to pain, sorrow, hurt, lost and finally acceptance.  They were a jumbled mess and their intensity was also varied.  For the second time in less then a day I felt the urge to comfort Edward. To take away his pain and tell him that everything would be alright, even thought I didn’t know what the cause was of his pain or how to fix it.  I moved to sit beside Edward and tentatively place an arm around his shoulder.  Edward leaned into me and rested his head on my shoulder and began to sob quietly.

I was at a lost for what to do or how to comfort him. I had never been in this type of situation before.  I may be an empath but my emotional experiences have been very limited.  I was not sure if he would be angry if I used my gift to calm him or if this emotional release is what he needed.  My mind debating the thought for several seconds before I finally decided that maybe Edward needed to get this out of his system on his own and that I should just hold him and listen when he was ready to speak.

I was not paying attention to the passage of time.  However, during that time the light outside grows brighter until the yellow rays of the sun streamed through the edges of the curtains.

“I miss them so much,” Edward whispered quietly.  His sobbing had stopped and he gently lifted his head off my shoulder.

“Thank you.”

“I am not sure I have done anything to deserve thanks,” I replied tentatively.

“I have needed to get that out of my system for a long time, Jasper.  You let me do that and you offered your support.  I want to tell you my story; that is if you are still willing to listen,” Edward said softly.

“I am listening.” I answered, and with that Edward began to speak.

In 1918 the influenza hit here in Chicago.  My father was among the first wave of people to get sick.  At the time no one knew how deadly this illness would turn out.  He had a very high fever when he was admitted to the hospital.  He went to sleep and never woke up again.

 

It was September when I became sick with the influenza, and my mother became sick with it at the same time; but it had not hit her as badly as it had me.  We were admitted to the hospital together.  There were not enough nurses or doctors to care for all the patients and so my mother nursed me herself.  In her vain attempt to save me it cost her, her life.

 

There was a doctor who had become attached to my mother and me.  I remembered that he had treated my father and had tried unsuccessfully to save him.  During his shifts he made sure that my mother and I were looked after and spent a little extra time with us.

 

He was very handsome, with blond hair and golden eyes.  His name was Carlisle Cullen.  Dr. Cullen was constantly trying to persuade my mother to rest, so that she would not put her own health in jeopardy.  She adamantly refused and would not leave my side unless he took over nursing me, which he did on many occasions.

 

The fever and sickness were raging through my body and making me slip in and out of consciousness.  I was barely aware of what was going on around me much of the time.  My mother was fully aware of what was going on around us and she was very perceptive.  She knew that the majority of patients in my current state did not survive the illness and she refused to let me die.   Her efforts most likely kept me alive longer then other patients in a similar state.

 

Dr. Cullen always worked the night shift and I remember vaguely my last night in the hospital.  He had come to see my mother and I immediately upon his arrival.  We were always the first and last patients he saw during his shifts.

 

I remember him coming in and my mother speaking in a firm voice telling him to save me.  My own memory of the event is very vague, but from what I learned later my mother must have figured out that Dr. Cullen was not human.

 

Her dying wish was that he save me the only way he could.  ‘What others cannot do, this is what you must do for my Edward.’  I remember waking for a brief movement and having the sensation of traveling at a very fast speed and the air around me was very cold.

 

I awoke with a loud scream as a burning pain course through my body; it was the most excruciating pain I ever felt.  I thought I was being burned alive and was screaming for someone to kill me.  I remember clearly hearing Dr. Cullen’s voice telling me that it would be over soon and that I would not be sick anymore.  He said it was her dying wish and he was sorry for the pain that I was going through.  The pain was so intense that I did not care what he was saying.  I just wanted the pain, the burning, to stop.

 

Edward was still leaning into me, but lifted his gaze from the floor to my face.  Edward was calm, which surprised me.  I looked into his eyes and could see deep inside that he had accepted what had happened.

“I don’t know if she knew that Carlisle was a vampire or if she just knew he was not human and that he could some how save me.”

Edward looked back to the floor and continued his story.

I was angry with Carlisle at first, and I did not understand what happened.  I was confused and to make matters worse I could hear his thoughts.  I did not know yet that I could read minds and his thoughts only made me angrier as he tried to figure out how to explain everything to me, keep me calm, and analysis my behavior.

 

After a lot of yelling, mostly from me, Carlisle figured out I could read minds.  He promised to explain everything if I would try to remain calm.  When he told me he had turned me into a vampire I nearly lost all control.  I was furious that he had turned me into a monster and damned me to an eternity of hell.  Carlisle told me I did not have to be a monster, I doubted him at first, but I let him continue his explanation.

 

He told me that he had never once feed on or hunted humans and that he survived on the blood of animals.  That was why his eyes were gold and not red.  It was also why he was able to be a doctor and help humans instead of killing them.  Carlisle is a truly compassionate being and believes in his ideals of not hunting humans, even the criminals.

Edward turned to look at me again and I was shocked.  My mind was filled with dozens of questions that I wanted to ask.

‘Do animals have emotions when they die?  Could he teach me how to hunt animals? What does animal blood taste like? What...’

Edward chuckled lightly, “I’ll answer your questions when I’m done with my story.”

I nodded, pleased that he would humor me.

I followed Carlisle and his ideals.  It was hard to disagree with him.  After all he had over two-hundred years of experience and knowledge to counter each of my arguments.  I did not want to kill humans at first that came much later.  At first our discussions, or debates you might call them, centered on being a monster or our lack of a soul.  Carlisle of course disagreed with all my arguments but I did not give in on some of my beliefs.

 

Carlisle told me his story and why he practiced medicine, why he did not kill humans and why he changed me.  You see Carlisle had been alone for most of his life as a vampire with the exception of a brief stay with the Volturi.  Aro had been quite fond of Carlisle and considers him a friend, even to this day.

I was now very intrigued and was curious to meet Carlisle.  He seemed like an extraordinary vampire.  I had never met any vampire, or human that compared to what Edward was telling me about him.  I had heard stories of the Volturi, the vampire royal family who enforced our laws, but I had never met any vampire from their coven.  I had a dozen more questions fill my now very active mind.  Edward sensing my growing curiosity said he was nearly finished with his story.

As I said Carlisle was alone and part of why he changed me was because he wanted a companion.  Someone who he could talk to and discuss ideas with and who would know his true nature.  He at first looked for a companion who shared his ideals and his lifestyle of not feeding on humans among our kind.  When he found no one who shared those ideals he decide that he would create a companion, but he was loathsome to steal a life such as the way his had been stolen.

 

He knew after my mother had died that I was alone and that is why he chose me.  My mother helped him decide with her dying wish, but Carlisle also said he acted out of selfishness and a desire to have a friend.  I viewed Carlisle as my father and he came to view me as his son.  He did tell me that if he could have ever had a son he would have wanted him to be like me.

“I doubt he feels that way now, not after what happened when I left.”  Edward said.

Edward paused and I felt so much pain, guilt, sorrow, and loneliness flow from him it was almost crippling.  I had the need to pull Edward tightly against me and I did so.  Edward leaned into me more and rested his head on my shoulder again.

“Sorry...  I really hurt Carlisle with my words.  I told him that it was his fault that I had this thirst that I could not sedate.  I told him it was his fault I was this monster, that I had lost my soul and that I would never see my human parents in the next life because there was no afterlife for me,” Edward said.

“Now it is too late to take it back,” Edward sighed.

In 1921 Carlisle found Esme barely alive in the morgue at the hospital he was working at in Ashland Wisconsin.  We had moved there after leaving Chicago behind.  Carlisle had met Esme once before in 1911 while he was working in a small clinic in Columbus Ohio.  She had fallen out of a tree and broken her leg.  He had felt a connection to her then, but she was only sixteen at the time and Carlisle was confused by his feelings for her.  He was moving in a month and did not see her again until he found her in the morgue.

 

She had fallen from a cliff and they left her for dead when she was brought to the hospital.  Carlisle raced home with her and changed her.  I was angry with him for not having asked me if I was ok with him changing her.  I was being selfish at the time and was afraid that I would lose my ‘time’ with Carlisle because of her.

 

I could not stay angry with Carlisle for having saved the woman he loved.  It turned out that Esme was probably the best thing to happen to Carlisle and me.  She took on the role of a loving mother for me.  It was a role that I did not know I needed filled until she stepped into it.  We became a family, or as close to a real family as is possible for our kind.  To the outside world I was Carlisle’s brother, but at home I was their son and they were my parents.

 

Carlisle never treated us like a coven of vampires.  He treated us like a family and we each had an equal say in important decisions.  We moved to St. Paul Minnesota shortly after Esme joined the family.  Carlisle got a job at the hospital and I started taking correspondence studies in medicine.  I had thought of following in Carlisle foot steps and becoming a doctor like him.

Edward paused again and his pain spike for a moment before ebbing again slowly.  I held him tighter against me until he started speaking again.

Esme eventually told us about her past after having met Carlisle in 1911.  He was always on her mind and she wondered what had happened to him after he had left Columbus.  There had been a connection there on her side as well.  She eventually married a man by the name of Charles Evenson.

I was shocked to feel Edward’s emotions changed to rage and anger.  I was about to question this when Edward continued speaking.

Charles was a horrible husband and he would beat Esme.  Her own family turned a blind eye to it and told her she needed to be a better wife.  Charles had gone off to war and Esme was under the impression he had died.  She had moved to Ashland Wisconsin to stay with a cousin.  She was also pregnant with his child and was due soon.  She had a son, but he died shortly after he was born.  It was a few days later that Carlisle found her.

I suddenly realized that Esme did not ‘fall’ from a cliff as Edward had said, but had most likely thrown herself from the cliff.  Edward stiffened for just a moment beside me, which confirmed my thoughts.  Edward sighed, but decided to continue his story.

It was at this time that I starting having thoughts of using my gift of reading minds to hunt the human monsters who commit such horrible acts.  The truth was that I was annoyed with Carlisle for curbing my appetite and I was just looking for an excuse to sedate my thirst that no matter how much animal blood I drank never went away.

 

I tried to reason with Carlisle at first explaining why I thought I could do this and that my gift would be important in passing over the innocent ones and only hunting those who were only slightly less worse monsters then I.  I thought that I would be free of the guilt.  If I followed a man down a dark alley where he was going to rape and murder a young girl then surely I was doing something good by saving her life.

 

Sadly my human arrogance was one of my many traits that became amplified with my change; that and my temper seem to get the better of me at times and of course it happened during that conversation with Carlisle.

The pain from earlier filled the room with crippling intensity that I found it difficult to breathe. I hugged Edward tighter to my body and sent him an intense wave of calm.  He settled against me and continued his story.

I said some very horrible things to Carlisle, thing that I regret and wish I could take back.  I saw the hurt on his face and in his eyes; the pain I caused by my words.  Carlisle did not stop me from leaving after that, but Esme tried and I told that it was best for me to leave.  I told her I needed to do this and left.

 

Carlisle was right, and I was wrong.  Every life is precious and should not be taken away no matter what a person has done.  There will be a time for them to answer for their actions and it is not my place to play God.

Edward pulled away from me and then he stood before leaving the room.  Part of me wanted to follow after him, but I was frozen in place.  I just sat there staring off into space.  I was absorbing everything Edward had shared with me.  It was the sound of a piano being played in another room that woke me from my daze.  I stood and followed the sound down the hallways and to another room.

Edward was seated at the piano and was playing a song that I’d never heard before; not that my knowledge of music was very vast to begin.

“It’s Pachelbel’s Cannon.  It was composed pre-1700 hundreds and published in 1919 after having been lost for centuries,” Edward said.

The music was relaxing.  I continued to listen as Edward played the song to its finish.  I was impressed that he knew how to play the piano.

“My mother taught me how to play.  I of course protested at first, but grew to love playing.  This piece is one of Esme’s favorites. I think my mother would have enjoyed it as well,” Edward said softly.

“Do you know any others?” I asked.

I felt stupid for asking that question after hearing Edward play several more songs that seemed to be far more complex.  I just sat and listed to him play several pieces.

“Do you think me a fool for having left them?” Edward finally asked.  He sat on the piano bench facing me.

‘Did I think him a fool?  No not a fool,’ I thought.

Edward raised an eyebrow questioning my thoughts.

“Sometimes people do not know what they have until it is gone,” I began to explain.

Edward made to speak, but stopped as if contemplating what I had said.  “That maybe true, but does that not make me a fool for having decided to leave it behind?”  He finally asked.

“No, because you did not know what you had until you left it.  You are only a fool if, now that you have this knowledge, you do not go back and try to regain what you once had,” I answered.

 

“It is not that easy,” Edward replied simply.

‘It is too that easy, stop being so stubborn!’  I thought, but did not give him time to reply as I launched into my explanation.

“I heard a story once of a man who had two sons.  The younger of which demanded his inheritance while his father was still living.  He goes off on his own and wastes his inheritance on riotous living.  Eventually the son has to take on a job that is the worse of the worse.  There he comes to his senses and decides to return home and throw himself on his father’s mercy, thinking that even if his father disowns him that being one of his servants is a far better left then the one he now leads.  When he returns home, his father greets him with open arms and hardly gives him a chance to repent.  He celebrates his return by killing the fattest calf.  The older brother resents the favored treatment and complains of the lack of reward for his faithfulness to which the father replies: ‘My son, you are always with me and everything I have is yours.  But we have to celebrate and be glad for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ (- Luke 15:31-32)" I said.

It was the story of the prodigal son returned home to his father.  Edward sat there and stares at me, most likely trying to find a way to argue against what I was suggesting.

“What if he does not forgive me,” Edward finally said.

“You said in your story that Carlisle was a very compassionate being.  I think that even though what you said to him was hurtful that he has forgiven you already.  Forever is a long time to hold a grudge, Edward.  From what little you have told me of Carlisle I do not think he is the type to withhold his forgiveness.  In fact I would wager he would be much more willing to give it then you seem to think,” I replied.

Edward stayed silent.  I think he knew I had made my point and that only his stubbornness was holding him back from making the journey.  “If it will help, I will go with you.  If he turns you away then you are welcome to stay with me,” I offered.

“What will you do if they let me stay?” Edward asked.

This was one thing I had not full thought out yet, but it did lead me back to the dozen or so questions I had from earlier.

“Which question do you want me to answer first?” Edward asked.

“I think I need to tell you a bit about myself first,” I said.

Edward moved from the piano bench to sit beside me on the sofa I had taken a seat on while he was playing earlier.  “You first need to understand that I am not the person I once was, in more ways then one,” I said.

Edward nodded, “I will keep an open mind.”

I was born in 1843 in Houston Texas.  When I was sixteen I joined the Confederate Army.  I lied about my age and said I was twenty, they did not question me because I was tall for my age.  When I spoke people listened to me, my father said it was charisma; but now I know it was something different.

 

I can sense and manipulate the emotions of others.  It was likely that I had this ability as a human, but it was probably passive at the time and not active like it is now.

 

I rose through the ranks of the army quickly and soon I was the youngest Major in all of Texas, not even admitting my true age.  I had a very promising career ahead of me.  It was the late part of 1862 by this time and it was also the year I was changed.  I was place in charge of evacuating the women and children from Galveston to Houston.  It had taken the whole day to get everyone organized and the first group conveyed to Houston.  It was dark by the time we got there and I did not want to wait around.  I trade my horse for a fresh one and headed back to Galveston to prepare the next group to leave at first light.  I came upon three women on my way back.  At first I thought they were stragglers.  They were the three most beautiful women I had ever seen and I am sure if they had been part of the first group I would have remembered them.  Their names were Maria, Lucy and Nette; Maria was the leader of the group.

 

I was awestruck by them and pretty much frozen in place by their beauty.  I awoke three days later; Maria had changed me.  She was building an army of vampires to take back her territory and she was looking for specific men, mostly soldiers.

 

You see in the south it is war, constant war.  The vampires constantly fight over the human population centers.  Maria had lost her territory of Monterrey and she wanted it back.

I spent the next hour recounting my time with Maria to Edward.  I decide to show Edward the reminders of my many battles.

I slowly began to unbutton my shirt, “I wear long sleeve shirts for a reason,” I said as I finished unfastening my shirt.  I slowly pulled my shirt open while watching Edwards face.

It took a moment for Edward to make out the crescent shapes.  I felt the fury rising within him as he asked, “Who did this to you, Jasper?”

“It doesn’t matter they are all dead,” I replied.  ‘Well almost all, Maria was still alive and responsible for one of the marks on my neck,’ I added as an after thought.

Edward hesitantly reached out and traced one of the scars on my chest.  The electricity from our earlier encounter had returned and seemed even more intense.

“I’m sorry, they make me look disgusting,” I said.

Edward shook his head.  “I disagree.  I think they show your strength, determination and courage.” He continued to tracing the scars one by one.  I shivered from the touch and the electrical charge flowing through his hand into my chest was becoming overwhelming.

“Sorry,” Edward said pulling his hand away.

“You have no reason to be sorry.  I am not sure if I can explain it properly, but that felt amazing.  No one has ever done that before,” I said.

“I am not sure if I can explain what I am feeling right now, but I feel drawn to you,” Edward said.

“I feel drawn to you too, Edward.  I am not sure why, and I have never felt this way before.  I have reached out several times in less then a day to comfort you and I have never done that for anyone before,” I said.

“Maybe Carlisle could explain it,” Edward said.

“Maybe, but that would require you being willing to go see him,” I said pointedly.

Edward frowns at that comment.  “You were going to tell me about why you left Maria,” he said changing the subject.

I thought about protesting for a minute, but figured I should finish my story.  I still had my questions I wanted to ask and the sooner I finish my story, the sooner I may get my answers.

 

The last few months before I left Maria I had been slipping into a deep depression.  At the time I was not sure what was causing it, but I was not a good person to be around and it was upsetting Maria.  Before I left her, I started getting feelings from her like those I had from Nette and Lucy before they betray Maria and me.  I had to make a decision on whether I was willing to kill Maria if it came down to it.  No matter how much I hate her for what happened to me I did not think I could kill her.  I decide instead it would be better to leave.

 

I waited until she went away with most of the newborns to check on the southern border of our territory.  I left the following night taking what few possessions I had and ran as far north as I could before dawn.  I spent the next month looking over my shoulder waiting for her to show up.  Thankfully she never did and I avoid the south now.  I am sure that one day she will probably come looking for me, but until then I will not worry about it.

 

I have been away from her for a year.  I had hoped that the separation would ease my depression but it seemed to get worse, especially after I have hunted.  I have tried hunting less, but I get too hungry.  After a life of ‘rewards’ it is very hard to go without for any significant length of time.  I realized that my depression was caused by feeling my prey dying in my arms.  Hunting less made things worse because then I needed to kill more to sedate the thirst.


I looked over at Edward who was now holding my right hand and running circles on the back of it with his thumb; it had an amazing calming effect on me.

“I felt the same emotions I feel after feeding come from you tonight,” I said.

“I can hear their thoughts.  I have tried to block them out, but I have not been able too,” Edward said grimly.

“I am not able to block their feelings or change them.  They are so intense, especially the feeling of terror,” I replied.

“Have you ever tired to feed off of animals?” Edward asked.

“No, until you mentioned it today I had never heard of such an idea,” I replied.

“I have never felt the way I do after hunting human when I use to hunt animals.  They do not have any dying thoughts,” Edward said.

“I wonder if I would feel the same or not,” I said.

“This is something that we need to seriously discuss.  If I am going to go back to Carlisle begging for forgiveness and asking him to take me back, then I want you to come with me.  I also would like it if you stayed if he is willing to accept me back,” Edward said.

“I do not think they would want me around Edward, not with my past,” I said.

“I thought you were the one arguing that Carlisle’s compassion would win out?  Beside I think that you and he would have some interesting debates and discussions,” Edward argued.

I frowned at him.  “There is a difference here, Edward.  Carlisle did not create me and has no ties to me.  He would be less likely to trust me or that I would follow his ways,” I argued back.

“I thought about that.  I no longer want to be that monster that I so feared when I was first changed.  I thought when I started this that I could be different.  Tonight’s hunt finally made me realize that even with this gift I am no better then any other killer.  I think it is time for a change and I also think that you too are ready for a change,” Edward said.

“I am sick of the killing and the depression,” I paused, took a deep breath and then continued.  “I am willing to try, but Edward you have to understand that I have killed thousands of people and not just the guilty ones.  I have been that monster that you loath for more than sixty years.”

“That may all be true, but I have seen in less the twenty-four hours a different side of you,” Edward disagreed.

“I am not disputing any of that Edward. I am ready for a change but I am worried about what happens when I slip up,” I said.

“What do you mean?” Edward asked.  I could feel his confusion.

“I mean that when I slipped up, and I will slip up Edward.  You have said that animal blood does not sedate your thirst.  I gather that means it will take time to learn control.  I fear that after being allowed to stay that they would ask me to leave when I do slip up,” I confessed.

Edward opened his mouth to protest, but I held up my hand.  “Edward, today was the first day that I have not felt depressed after hunting,  at least not until I just started to think about it.  I have been on this emotional roller coaster ride with you all day.  I have felt everything from your pain to your pride and happiness.  All my life as a vampire I have been surrounded by nothing but feelings of bloodlust, anger, greed, sexual lust and many other feelings and rarely have any of them ever been happiness, joy, calm... love, or anything at all that is uplifting,” I said.

I took an unneeded deep breath.  “The way you speak of your life with Carlisle and Esme makes me think that it would be a joyful, happy and wonderful place to be emotionally.  To have that ripped away if I slipped up would be devastating to me,” I said.

“Carlisle would not send you away.  Esme has slipped up in the past and he has never sent her away or punished her for slipping up,” Edward argued.

“Esme is Carlisle’s mate, and there is a major difference there,” I stated.

“I disagree.  I have already told you that we were… are, a family and family does not abandon each other because we make a mistake,” Edward said.

“Here I thought you were the one that needed convincing to go back to your family,” I smirked.

“Stop changing the subject.  I am willing to go back, but only if you come with me and if you agree to stay.  If they are willing to forgive me,” Edward replied.  I could tell by his tone that he was skeptical about those prospects.

“I told you I would be willing to go,” I replied.

“Yes, but you have not agreed to stay yet,” Edward replied giving me a pointed looked.

I took a deep breath and sighed.  “Alright, I will stay but if this does not work out.” - Edward interrupted me “Then I will leave with you.”

“I cannot ask you to do that,” I said.

“I was not expecting you too.  I do not like the thought of being separated from you.  Every time I think about you being away from you it makes me feel empty, like part of me is missing.  I know that should probably scare the crap out of me or make me feel disgusted because you are a man, and society say that is wrong, but it does not.  I can also tell from your thoughts you are having the same internal struggle with this draw we are both feeling,” Edward said.

Edward’s little gift was starting to become very annoying.  Edward smirks at that, “So is your ability to feel my emotions.”

Touche!’ I thought and laughed.

“Alright, Edward I will agree to your request,” I said.

“Good, I was afraid I might have to drag you there kicking and screaming,” Edward joked.  This was a side of Edward I was hoping I’d get to see a lot more often.