Burying the deer carcass, Jasper did not think he could drink anymore. Ever since Bella's birthday party the night before he had been hunting, filling up on animal blood to quench his thirst and in the hopes of preventing another almost-attack. Throughout the course of his hunt Jasper had received visits from most of his family members; well, everyone except for Edward had spoken to Jasper at some point. Alice would check in with Jasper every so often, but for the most part she and everyone had stayed at home, trying to figure out what to do next. Edward, prior to leaving for school, had emphatically voted for the family relocating immediately. While his wishes were taken into consideration, the majority clearly favored staying in Forks, staying with Bella, and at the very least not making a hasty decision.
After he finished with the deer, Jasper wandered through the forest at a human pace, his mind replaying the events of the past 24 hours. What stuck out for him the most, at least during that contemplative moment, was the conversation that he and Alice had during her last visit.
"I just don't understand how you didn't see it." An exasperated Jasper said after sitting down on the soft soil and leaning back against a tree.
Standing in front of her husband, Alice tried to explain to Jasper what she was still working out. "My visions are always changing, but Bella getting a paper cut, that I should have seen. Nothing could have changed that from occurring. I understand not seeing her falling against the table and cutting her arm, that was purely an instinctual response by Edward, but I still should have seen something."
"You see everything I do, but somehow this, of all things, got through." Jasper merely stated.
"I'm so sorry that it did." Alice replied before she sat down across from Jasper. For a long time the two merely sat there, their minds preoccupied with understanding just what happened and how and why. While the two sat there Jasper was so consumed by his regret and guilt over what occurred that he did not notice Alice slip into one of her visions.
Finally, the silence was broken when Jasper spoke, which jolted Alice from her vision. "Have Carlisle and Esme made any decisions yet?"
"Carlisle is leaning towards leaving since you, Emmett, and Rosalie are supposed to be off at college anyway. He was going to place a few calls, look for a job opening to determine where we should go next. Esme is still torn between respecting Edward's wishes and staying here with Bella." Alice supplied, but a part of her mind was busy working over the flashes that she had seen in her latest vision.
"We should stay. Or at least everyone else should. If anyone should leave it's me. I was the one who tried to attack Bella yesterday. We already move so much that we shouldn't leave sooner than we planned because I slipped, or almost slipped. Bella loves Edward; she needs to be with him. I can't be the one responsible for those two being apart."
"Jazz…" Alice started, but was cut off by Jasper.
"Their relationship is still too new, too delicate, to separate them. I'll leave and we'll see each other once you graduate or we can figure something out so you can go with me. What have you seen us do?" Jasper asked, hoping that his wife would have the answers that she so typically had.
Unfortunately Jasper's expectations for Alice were not met that afternoon when she responded with a shake of her head. When he saw his pixie's head move, Jasper gained a whole new appreciation for the situation that the family was now in. For the first time since he joined the Cullen's the future was a great unknown. Alice, despite her best efforts, had nothing to offer in regards to their future path.
"I'm sorry." Alice said as she stood up.
Seeing Alice stand, Jasper quickly rose to his feet as well. "Don't leave."
"I have to. I need to try and figure this out. I'll be back later." Alice quickly explained. After a quick kiss she was gone, leaving Jasper alone to hunt, think, toss around tree limbs, whatever he needed to do at that moment to figure out his thoughts, which would then lead to, potentially, a clearer picture of the future.
Once Alice was gone, Jasper did try to determine what would be the best course of action for himself, the family, but still could not reach a conclusive decision as to what he should do, where he should be. The only times that he was at peace was when hunting and feeding and when the indecision and confusion became too frustrating, too difficult, Jasper gave up on thinking and gave in to what came natural to him.
Now, with an almost overly full sensation spreading through his being, Jasper could only wander the familiar landscape. Eyes unfocused, Jasper contemplated the spur of the moment idea that he had presented to Alice. All of Forks already believed that Jasper was off at school, thus making it unnecessary for an explanation to be provided for his moving away so suddenly. However, that would mean leaving Alice behind. Ever since that fateful day in Philadelphia Jasper had not been separated from Alice for more than a few days; considering a period of months away from her made Jasper's heart scream in protest. The only other option, at least in Jasper's mind, was for Alice to accompany him wherever they opted to go, but that would necessitate an explanation for not only Alice being removed from school so suddenly, but Edward staying behind. What could possibly be a satisfactory story for the ever-curious population of Forks? Family reasons were out of the question…Alice simply missed me? As pathetic as that suggestion was, it was one of the only plausible storylines to formulate within Jasper's mind.
Then there were the far more likely options, the ones that would only increase Jasper's guilt over the previous day's events, because those ended with the whole family leaving. Again, only Carlisle, Esme, Alice, and Edward technically needed to have a reason for leaving, but that did not mean a move would not affect everyone. Carlisle could state that a job opportunity had proven irresistible. Hell, they had used that excuse before. But, if Jasper was going to be truly honest with himself he had to admit that he was comfortable in Forks, he had finally grown accustomed to life in the rainy town. The whole family had figured out their roles and developed at least one great attachment to the community – Bella.
Bella could not be left alone. The thought was unfathomable to Jasper. Every time that he was around Bella and his brother Jasper could feel the love rolling off of them. At times he was actually jealous of how intense their feelings were after such a short time together. Immediately Alice had made an impression on Jasper, but it took time for him to fall in love with her. Yes, there was an instant attraction to the curious, beautiful young woman, but his time with Maria had challenged Jasper's emotions so much that it was nearly impossible to freely experience anything resembling love. Edward and Bella were the polar opposite of him and Alice. Alice knew what their future was, but Jasper had had to work through his issues and Alice was right there as he did, evolving from stranger to companion, confidante to lover. Jasper had cautiously entered his relationship with Alice, but Edward and Bella were following their hearts and deserved the opportunity to continue their relationship, to figure out just where it was going, to attempt to solve the question of what their future would look like.
Every scenario that Jasper envisioned and considered had positives and negatives. Regardless of the option a relationship would suffer, a love would be tested. Given the circumstances, the only option that Jasper could fathom living with was leaving with Alice. But then he would be taking Bella's best friend away from her. Just when things would start to clear up something would pop up and muddy the waters once again.
Giving up, Jasper stopped his wandering through the woods and lied down on the forest floor. Placing his hands underneath his head, Jasper looked up at the trees, through the minute openings in the upper layers. Focusing on his surroundings, Jasper tried to forget what he had been thinking about and hoped to just lie there in peace.
Time passed and Jasper only noticed as the scenery would subtly change, the sky gradually darkened as the seconds, minutes, hours passed. As Jasper reconsidered his and the family's options he was struck by a wave of emotion. Out of nowhere a feeling of confusion, shock, and heartbreak completely overwhelmed Jasper. Stunned, it took him a moment to recover from the feelings that were thrust upon him. Quickly getting to his feet, Jasper tried to follow the emotions back to the source. As the already strong currents of emotion intensified, Jasper knew he was on the right track and picked up his pace that much more.
But then, Jasper stopped. He was on the right path, he knew it, but he also recognized two scents – Edward and Bella. What were they doing out there? Was he feeling what Edward or Bella was feeling at that moment? With those questions in mind Jasper opted to follow his nose as he ran through the woods. Hearing a heartbeat, Jasper knew of at least one of the people that he was going to encounter in just moments – Bella.
"Bella!" Jasper yelled as he moved closer to the young girl.
Hearing no response, Jasper continued on his path and soon he could see her. There was Bella, walking around, no discernable path, no regard for the obstacles that Mother Nature had set in front of her. On more than one occasion nature had defeated Bella since Jasper could smell the blood coming from her scrapes and cuts. Immediately, Jasper stopped breathing and closed the distance between himself and Bella, standing right in front of her. It is then that Jasper saw the single worst thing he had ever seen during his life – there was absolutely no life left in Bella's eyes. Bella's typically light skin was pale enough to resemble a vampire's, silent tears were steadily falling, providing the only color to Bella's features were her bloodshot eyes and red nose. While he was standing right in front of Bella, looking into her eyes, Jasper knew that she did not see him.
Instinct took over for Jasper at that point as he wrapped his arms around Bella, pulling her against him. Throwing everything he could at Bella in an effort to calm her, Jasper felt nothing in response. The utter devastation that Bella was enduring at the moment did not fade, not even a little bit. Her arms limply hung at her side, not reacting to Jasper's embrace.
Unlocking his arms, Jasper moved his hands to Bella's shoulders, hoping to jolt her from what world she was lost in at the moment. "Bella, look at me. Tell me what happened." When there was no response, Jasper carefully shook Bella a little bit. "Bella, where is Edward?"
At that Jasper finally got a response, but not the one that he was expecting. The moment Edward's name left Jasper's lips a cry that came from deep within Bella's soul escaped her. Hearing Bella's reaction, Jasper hugged her once again, but this time he cradled Bella's head on his shoulder and kissed the top of her head. This time, Bella did respond to Jasper as she not only hugged him, she clutched onto him.
Feeling Bella's hold on him, Jasper immediately knew what he had to do. Breaking her grip for a moment, Jasper moved his arms so that he was now carrying Bella, who had wrapped her arms around Jasper's neck once she was cradled in his strong grip. Running through the forest, Jasper was soon approaching the Cullen home. Not letting up his pace until he was in front of the home, Jasper carefully opened the front door and went inside, moving quickly to the living room.
Just as Jasper sat down on the couch with Bella he heard a gasp. Looking up, he saw Esme standing in the entryway.
"I have no idea what happened." Jasper immediately explained, hoping to dispel any concerns over his involvement with Bella's current state.
Esme flitted over to the couch and sat next to Jasper. Running her hands through Bella's hair, Esme was able to see just hurt Bella was. Taking in her state and the fact that Bella had not responded to her, Esme took Jasper's cell phone and dialed Carlisle's number, quickly explaining that he needed to come home and check over Bella.
"Where did you find her?" Esme asked quickly so her conversation with Jasper would not be heard by Bella.
"I was still out in the forest, thinking about everything when I just felt an intense sadness and hurt. She's truly heartbroken Esme."
Jasper shook his head in immediate response. "I could smell his scent around Bella, but that was it. He just left her alone in the forest like this."
Looking back at Bella's face, Esme could not believe that her son had not only caused Bella's state, but had left her completely vulnerable in the forest. Silent, Esme stewed with her thoughts and Jasper knew each time she felt a surge of emotion past the love, concern, and anger that were continually radiating from her.
"And she's said nothing at all?"
"The only response I've gotten is why she cried out after I asked her where he was." Jasper explained, unable to bring himself to even say Edward's name, even though Bella would not have been able to hear it. "But what else could have caused this?"
Esme knew what Jasper was saying and her sensible side agreed that there most likely was only one explanation for the situation – Edward had ended his relationship with Bella. But Esme just couldn't completely convince herself.
"I just don't understand how he could do this to her. He loves her so much, has already fought to be with her time and again, but suddenly he gives up?"
"Who's given up?" Emmett called out as he approached the house with Rosalie.
Looking to each other, Esme and Jasper had no idea how to respond to Emmett's question. Their silence was broken by Emmett a moment later when he stormed into the living room. "What the hell happened here?"
Hoping she would have better success in reaching Emmett at the moment, Esme spoke just a moment before Jasper. "We're not sure. Jasper found Bella alone in the forest, wandering aimlessly. He only found her because he followed the feelings of devastation that he had been overwhelmed by."
"He left her." Rosalie simply stated, the pieces falling into place much faster for her than for Emmett.
Esme nodded. "That's what it looks like."
While Rosalie bit back a growl, Emmett lost it. "How could Edward do that to her?"
Immediately Jasper and Esme cringed in preparation for what was to come. Since Emmett was so furious, he had not only said Edward's name clearly enough for Bella to hear, but had shouted it right in front of her. Once the name registered in Bella's mind she cried out; the tortured sound that emerged from Bella once again unnerved and infuriated Jasper, while the other three were stunned. Seeing Bella was one thing, but to hear her cry out, to hear her convey just a degree of the pain that she was in, it struck each and every one of them.
Jolting out of the moment first, Emmett paced around the room until he grabbed a table and threw it against the wall. "I'm gonna kill 'im. I am going to tear him apart, but not give him the satisfaction of burning the pieces. That fucker has to pay for this."
"Emmett." Esme cautioned, needing for her son to calm down.
"He's right Esme." Rosalie cut in. "Look at what he did to Bella. You heard her just now and I saw the look on your face when you did. That cry is going to haunt you and as hard as it is to hear it, he is the one that caused it and he should pay for that. Leaving Bella out in the forest like that – he was just asking for her to get hurt or killed."
"He did what?" Carlisle asked, stunned by what he heard Rosalie say as he approached and entered the home.
Turning their attention to Carlisle, it was soon explained to him just how Jasper came to find Bella and bring her back to the house. Once Carlisle heard the story he focused his attention on Jasper. "Is it purely emotional pain?"
Jasper quickly nodded in response. "She has a few cuts, but that's it." When Jasper saw the surprised expressions he sighed. "I am capable of controlling myself."
"We know you are." Carlisle replied. "It's just quite a contrast to yesterday. Granted the circumstances are different…"
"I've barely noticed her blood." Jasper revealed, which truly surprised everyone.
The first to respond was Esme, who carefully hugged Jasper since he was still cradling Bella. After that, no one felt the need to say anything, for Esme was able to convey their reaction to Jasper. Well, he could also feel their response.
Taking a few moments to compose himself, Carlisle spoke once again. "Has anyone tried to contact him?" There were immediate negative responses to the question, prompting Carlisle to sigh. "I know none of you want to do this, but the only way that we will be able to deal with this situation is with him."
"If you want him to live, you'll have to speak to him." Jasper quickly replied because he felt the anger rolling off of Rosalie and Emmett, which barely matched what he was feeling toward Edward.
"How about we wait, just for a little while, let everyone calm down a little, and then we can consider what to do next." Esme suggested, not wanting anyone else to get hurt. For the moment logic won out and everyone was left to their thoughts.
A few minutes after the silence had settled over the group they heard the front door open and close. The light footsteps were unmistakable - Alice had finally arrived. Once she was in the room everyone sent her an expectant look, wanting to know what she had to offer them.
"Oh, it's even worse than I saw." Alice blurted out once she took in the sight of everyone gathered in the room around Bella and Jasper.
"What else have you seen?" Jasper pleaded, beating everyone else to asking the million dollar question.
Alice shook her head. "You don't want to know." When she took in the look that Jasper levied her, Alice explained herself. "It isn't good for Bella. Heartbreak is never easy to overcome and she is going to struggle. It will be a while before she's back to the Bella that we know and love, but even then it won't be the same person."
"What about him?" Jasper asked, the contempt more than evident.
Looking at everyone, Alice carefully responded. "We'll see him soon enough."
"And Charlie?" Esme asked, concerned for Bella's father.
"As soon as I saw it I went to their house and wrote him a note explaining that Bella was going to be spending the weekend with us as a continuation of her birthday celebration. He had left a note for Charlie, posing as Bella." Alice revealed, holding out the note, which was soon in Emmett's hands.
Jasper felt it when Emmett's anger grew as he read Edward's note for Charlie. "He really did leave her alone in the woods. 'I went for a walk through the woods behind the house to think. I'll be back later.' How the hell could he do that?"
Taking the note out of Emmett's hands, Carlisle quickly read it over, needing to read the words himself. When he crumpled the note in his hand, everyone knew that it was as bad as Emmett had made it out to be.
"Thank you Alice." Carlisle managed to grind out through his anger and disappointment.
"I know this is tough, but can everyone at least try to control what they're feeling? It's enough to feel Bella right now, but all of you at once is getting to be too much." Jasper confessed, revealing just how difficult the situation was for him. Almost immediately everyone tried to refocus their thoughts and feelings, which relieved the strain that Jasper was under. Feeling the change in emotion, Jasper nodded his appreciation to everyone.
After everyone calmed down a bit they were left with their thoughts. Jasper was particularly amused when he would feel a surge of excitement from Emmett because he knew what thoughts would cause that emotion in his brother.
Looking from Bella to Emmett, Jasper couldn't help but laugh at the expression on his face. The sound immediately caught everyone's attention.
"Just look at him. He's all but getting off on the thought of attacking Edward." Jasper quickly replied, which elicited a short laugh from Rosalie.
"Can we please think about options that leave him in one piece?" Esme asked, knowing that would be difficult for her family.
"Emmett!" Carlisle yelled, cutting him off.
The silence resumed once again, with Bella's heartbeat and breathing the only sounds in the room. Eventually those sounds evened out as Bella fell asleep. While Jasper noticed he made no effort to move since he did not want to disrupt Bella, who was now in a semi-peaceful state. Looking down at Bella, seeing her asleep in his arms, Jasper finally let himself relax for the first time that day. Unfortunately, Jasper's relaxed state prevented him from noticing the new emotions that came within his range.
When the front door opened and shut, everyone stilled and looked to the entryway. The tension and excitement in the room was palpable to all. Holding Bella just a little closer to his chest, Jasper was glad to see Emmett, Rosalie, and Alice move to stand in front of him while Carlisle moved closer to Esme. Just after everyone was in their new spot Edward entered the room, but froze just inside of it.
Looking at everyone, Edward's eyes focused on what he could see of Jasper and Bella. Jasper immediately noticed the anger and fear that Edward felt. "What did you do to her?" Edward asked accusingly.
"That is a question you need to answer, not Jasper." Carlisle said, staring at his son.
"I ended the relationship. Bella's better off without me, us, in her life. Ever since we met her she's been hurt and almost killed numerous times. I won't have her be in danger anymore." Edward explained.
"The only true danger that Bella has been in was when she was left alone, completely broken, in the woods by you. What were you thinking?" Esme asked, demanding a better explanation.
"I was thinking that I love Bella and the only way she'll be safe is if we're out of her life."
All while this was occurring Bella started to wake up. Once Edward's voice registered with her mind Bella started to tremble. Opening her eyes, Bella looked up into Jasper's face and almost immediately met his gaze. For the first time that day Jasper was able to recognize life in Bella's eyes and the look that she was sending him was a plea – her begging Jasper to get her out of the room, away from Edward. Jasper nodded, showing Bella he understood and felt her squeeze one of the hands that was holding onto him in response.
Standing up, Jasper brought everyone's attention to him and Bella. After his first step Jasper was halted by Edward, who had used his speed to block Jasper. However, Emmett and Carlisle quickly appeared at Edward's shoulders, ready to intervene if necessary.
"What are you doing?" Edward asked, keeping his gaze locked on Jasper.
"Protecting Bella from the piece of shit that hurt her." Jasper explained as he pulled Bella just a little closer to his body.
"You didn't what? Mean to hurt her? If you had considered Bella for just one minute you would have known that she would not handle this well. Congratulations Edward, you're so self-centered that you managed to destroy the girl that you claim to love so much. If you really loved Bella you would know how to treat her."
"Of course I love Bella!" Edward immediately replied.
"You have a great way of showing it." Jasper said, frustrated with his brother and wanting to get Bella out of the room.
When Edward stepped closer to Jasper and Bella, Carlisle and Emmett immediately grabbed him and restrained him. Stepping to the side, Jasper sent a cold look to Edward that gave new meaning to the phrase "if looks could kill."
"Don't even think about getting close to Bella right now." With that Jasper left, running out of the room and upstairs to his and Alice's bedroom, which, thankfully, was on the opposite end of the hallway from Edward's.
Kicking the door shut behind him, Jasper carried Bella over to the bed. Carefully setting Bella down, Jasper watched as she grabbed one of the many pillows that Alice had put on the bed and hugged it as she curled up in a ball.
Sighing and mentally cursing Edward once again, Jasper sat on the bed next to Bella. Lying back against the headboard, Jasper pulled Bella closer to him, resting her head on his lap. With one arm around Bella, the other hand ran through her hair. Responding to Jasper's actions, Bella tossed away the pillow and curled against Jasper's body, all but hugging his leg as she kept her head in his lap.
Whether it was the comfort of the bed or the relaxing effect of Jasper running his hands through her hair as he sent out wave after wave of calm, Bella soon drifted off to sleep once again. This time Jasper felt a difference in Bella's state, as her thoughts and feelings faded away while she slept. Continuing his actions, Jasper lost all track of time as he lied on the bed with Bella.
What must have been at least an hour later Jasper heard a soft knock on the door. "Come in Alice." He replied quickly and quietly.
A moment after Jasper spoke Alice was in the room and sitting on the bed next to him and Bella. "She's going to be asleep for a long time." Alice revealed, to which Jasper simply nodded his head.
"What happened with Edward?" Jasper asked, curious about what played out after he had left with Bella.
"Carlisle and Emmett carried him outside and Esme explained to him that for the time being he wasn't welcome in the house. 'If you love Bella, truly love her, then you will give her space and allow her a chance to cope with what you did to her.'" Alice replied, including a nearly perfect imitation of Esme at the end.
"Where's he going to go?"
"Denali. The story is he transferred to a music academy in California." Alice quickly supplied, to which Jasper nodded, knowing that that story would suffice to explain not just Edward's absence, but Bella's state.
After a few minutes of silence, Jasper turned his head to face Alice and spoke. "Tell me more about what you've seen."
Alice shook her head. "It's what I told everyone earlier – it's not good. Bella stays like this for a few days and slowly starts to come around. It's going to be one person at a time for her. Prepare yourself for a lot of days and nights like this."
At that Jasper was confused. Sure, they would be able to take care of Bella that weekend because Alice had told Charlie that Bella was sleeping over, but after that, she would be back at Charlie's, in school, and forced back into her life. "On Monday I'll be changing my schedule so it matches Bella's. Everyone will see that she's not doing well and since I get such great grades and behave there's no problem with making the switch. When Bella's not in school she'll be here because even Charlie sees that Bella is just a little better when she's with me or you. He will hate that he can't do anything to help Bella, but is relieved that at least we are able to get through to her and take care of her."
"Wait, you and I? What about Esme, or Emmett?"
Smiling at her husband, Alice ran a hand through his unruly hair and down the side of his face before she replied. "Jasper, you're the one who found her, took her back home. If there is one thing that she is aware of right now it is what you've done for her."
Blinking a few times, Jasper processed what Alice just told him. "And nothing happens?"
Jasper could feel the disappointment from Alice after he asked that question. "No, you don't hurt her. You, more than anyone else, will be the one that puts Bella back together. Welcome to the world of truly controlling your thirst."
Jasper had to shake his head in response to Alice's last comment. "If this is what it takes to finally gain control I don't want it."
"Jazz, look at Bella right now, feel what she's feeling. She is finally resting and at peace all because of you. You were the one who took care of her and didn't attack her when you easily could have. It was you who took her away from Edward once she started to panic. We all heard her heartbeat pick-up, but you were the one to really take action and try to shield her from any more hurt. You're already doing an amazing job of caring for her, protecting her right now and she is going to need you to continue to do that."
"I don't know if I can. I don't know if I can handle feeling what she's experiencing all of the time."
"You will be able to. I know that this is uncharted territory for you, but you're going to have to open yourself up to Bella. Once you do she'll be open up to you and turn to you when she needs help. It won't be easy, but in the end it will be worth it. Trust me." Alice replied with a smile, all but telling Jasper of a much better future.
Offering a small smile to his wife, Jasper nodded. "You know I do."
The two continued to talk quietly well into the night as Bella continued to sleep. Eventually everyone stopped in check and see how Bella was doing and the sight of her curled up against Jasper as he held her eased their worries a little bit. While Carlisle, Emmett, and Rosalie left just minutes after stopping by Jasper and Alice's room, Esme stayed with the small group. Sitting at the edge of the bed, Esme put Bella's feet in her lap and gently rubbed them as she spoke with Alice and Jasper about what was to come for not just Bella but the whole family.
Early the next morning Bella slowly woke up. At first she was confused, not recognizing the scent of the vampire that she was lying on or the décor of the room that she was in. Only when Bella sat up and really looked around and saw Jasper and Alice did she remember where she was and why. Just after Bella remembered she was pulled against Jasper's chest since he had recognized the change from confusion to great sadness and rejection. All too quickly the emotions in the room resembled those that Jasper had felt in the woods when he first discovered Bella the previous day.
Running a hand up and down Bella's back as he hugged her, Jasper was so focused on trying to calm her that he did not notice when Alice flitted out of the room. Jasper knew that there was nothing he could say that would ease Bella's pain, change the path that her thoughts were dragging her down. In time the pain would lessen, that he knew, but until then he would do not only what Alice told him to but what just felt right at that moment – hold Bella and try to keep her together as she fell to pieces before his eyes.
Occasionally Bella would sniffle in an effort to keep her tears at bay. However, Bella's determination to not break down only made things worse. None of her thoughts or feelings were being processed, they were just kept inside of her, tearing her apart even more. Unable to handle what he was feeling from Bella, Jasper moved his hand from her back to her head, cradling it against his chest. Idly rubbing his thumb against the back of Bella's head, Jasper calmly and carefully spoke.
"Don't fight what you're feeling. Give in, let yourself be mad and upset. Just know that you are not alone, I am not going to leave you."
Almost immediately the floodgates opened as Bella let out a sob and all of the tears that she had been holding in started to flow out of her eyes, soaking through Jasper's shirt. As the material absorbed Bella's tears Jasper could feel nothing but disdain for Edward. How could he have done this to Bella? Why would Edward even believe that leaving Bella, breaking up with her would be a good idea? The love she felt for him was so intense that one need not be an empath to be able to feel it. Despite everything that happened with James and the fact that danger surrounded Bella whenever she was with a Cullen she stayed with Edward, giving him all the love that she could possibly give.
As Jasper's mind wandered to thoughts of Edward and Bella it was brought back to reality when he felt a shift in Bella's emotions. Initially devastation was the primary emotion that Jasper felt but now it was shifting to confusion and there were traces of self-loathing and inferiority. When those emotions registered with Jasper he was shocked.
How could Bella possibly beat herself up over this? Edward was the only one at fault; Bella had done absolutely nothing to deserve the hurt that she was experiencing.
"Bella, you cannot blame yourself for this. I know you can't help what you're feeling right now, but you must know that none of this is your fault. Edward was confused and scared and just downright idiotic when he did what he did.
Everything that happened is his fault, not yours. Do not hate yourself and start thinking that you weren't good enough for Edward."
"No. Bella, all you did was fall in love. No one can control love, no one."
Relaxing slightly in Jasper's hold, Bella absorbed his words and let them take priority in her thoughts for a few minutes. Sighing, she made a quiet confession that Jasper likely would not have heard if he was not a vampire. "It hurts so much."
Jasper was not the only one to hear Bella at that moment. From the bedroom Jasper could feel the reactions of his family members. Alice, while sad, was reassured by the knowledge that her visions provided her. Emmett was immediately consumed with the desire to go up to Alaska and kick Edward's ass. Rosalie felt sorry for Bella, overcoming her previous feelings for the human girl. Disappointment was the primary emotion coming from Carlisle, but there was also love and concern for Bella.
However, no one's feelings came close to Esme, who was actually a combination of intense love and desire to protect Bella from any and all forms of pain but there was also a wish that Edward pay for the suffering that he had inflicted upon Bella.
"I'm taking care of her mom." Jasper quickly and quietly said so Esme would hear it, but Bella barely noticed the rise and fall of his chest as he spoke.
Turning his attention back to Bella, Jasper shifted her across his lap, holding her in a manner similar to how Esme had cradled Bella against her the other day as she sat on the couch. Tucking Bella's head on his shoulder next to his neck, Jasper sent out waves of calm and love, courtesy of what he and the rest of his family was experiencing at that moment.
Sighing as she felt the effects of Jasper's ability, Bella relaxed against him and soon the manufactured emotions prompted Bella to fall asleep once again. Feeling Bella relax against him, Jasper was relieved when her breathing evened out and signaled that she was in a deep sleep. In fact, Bella was so lost in sleep that she was completely blank to Jasper at the moment. Sleep had completely overtaken Bella and pulled her away from her pain.
Recognizing just how deep in sleep Bella was Jasper carefully moved off of the bed. Setting Bella onto the soft mattress, Jasper covered her with a blanket before he left the room and went downstairs to his family.
"How is she?" Carlisle asked once he saw his son in the doorway.
"Sleeping again. I calmed her down and after she fell asleep everything I had been getting from her faded away. It's like her mind just went blank."
"Hm." Carlisle commented, curious but relieved that Bella was resting.
"When she wakes up Bella needs to eat, it's been too long for her to go without anything. She needs the most strength she can get right now to heal." Esme remarked, thinking of all of the food that she had purchased and stocked the kitchen with since Alice had told her what Bella's living arrangements were going to be for the coming days.
Jasper nodded in response, having completely forgotten about Bella's basic needs and agreeing with Esme's assessment – if Bella had any chance of making it through this ordeal she needed to be as healthy and strong as possible. Going a day without food certainly was not going to help her.
"What do we do next?" Rosalie asked, walking into the room and sitting on the couch, the very one that she had held Bella on just hours earlier.
"All we can do is wait." Jasper replied.
"No, what about us? The three of us? We aren't supposed to even be in Forks. We all want to help Bella, but we're pretty limited in what we can do, where we can go." Rosalie pointed out, prompting everyone, well everyone except for Alice, to think about the obvious issue that she had just raised.
Motioning over to his wife, Jasper replied. "Care to explain to us what will happen?"
"Bella is not going to be much in the mood to do anything but lie in bed for some time, so we don't have to worry about you three being seen when you shouldn't be. When she goes out, I'll be there or Esme will be." Alice supplied, easing everyone's concern a little bit.
"What about Edward? We can't just let him get away with this." Emmett said, pacing behind the couch that his wife was sitting on.
Looking at his brother, Jasper couldn't help but agree. Edward's intentions may have been honorable, but what he did to Bella was far from it. His mind flickering back to when he discovered Bella, Jasper couldn't help but cringe.
"What is it?" Esme asked, concerned that Jasper had felt something in regards to Bella.
"Just remembering yesterday. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with Emmett. I can't let Edward just sit in Alaska while Bella's here and in the fractured state she's in right now."
Sighing, Carlisle looked at his two sons. "I know you want to avenge what happened to Bella, protect her the best you two know how, but what you think is best right now is not the right choice. We cannot act out of impulse and emotion right now, the situation is far too delicate to do that. In time we will deal with Edward and his actions, but until that time comes we must all focus on Bella and helping her heal."
While Carlisle's words were meant to calm his sons they hardly had the desired effect. Jasper grew frustrated with Carlisle's logic and he could feel Emmett becoming angry as well. Even Rosalie was itching for revenge on behalf of Bella.
"Your father's right." Esme said, seeing how three of her children reacted. "Edward and Bella are both a part of this family and we must never forget that. No matter how upset we may be with Edward right now he is still a Cullen and must be treated with the respect that we have always shown one another."
"But mom…" Emmett started but was cut off when Esme directed her gaze at him, leveling him with a sharp look that ended whatever protest was on the tip of Emmett's tongue.
"Can you teach me how to do that?" Rosalie asked, breaking the tension of the moment a little bit, to which Jasper most of all was particularly grateful. However, the change in the room's emotional atmosphere did not alter Jasper's own thoughts regarding his brother and Bella.
The group continued to sit or stand in the living room, talking about what they were going to do to help Bella and occasionally sharing an idea of what to do to Edward, since thoughts regarding his future had quickly spiraled into a joke for the group, particularly Emmett who had the most creative suggestions for what to do with Edward and parts of his body.
Jasper was mid-laugh after one of Emmett's particularly inventive suggestions, part of which involved breaking off each of Edward's fingers and scattering them, when he suddenly stopped. Standing up, Jasper ran upstairs just as Bella started to toss and turn on the bed.
"No, don't do this. Please don't leave me. Edward, don't! I love you!" Bella mumbled and then yelled out in her sleep.
Sitting down next to Bella, Jasper tried to wake the whimpering young woman and jolt her from the dream that she was having. Gently, Jasper shook Bella as he spoke. "Wake up Bella, it's all just a dream."
Feeling cold hands on her body, Bella's eyes shot open, expecting to see Edward looking down at her. When she saw Jasper, Bella started to cry. "It was real. It was all real."
"I'm sorry Bella, I'm so sorry." Jasper cooed over and over again as he held Bella, hugging her close to him.