It was always a weird feeling going back to the place you've come from. Feelings of nostalgia twisting and turning all through your mind. The good and bad meshing into what we call memories. Jasper ran through them all as he walked the invisible path through the grassy desert. His advanced brain able to remember each and every detail of his time spent here. His beginning, his end, his triumphs, his failures, everything. The very things that shaped him and made him the strong, capable man he is today. Everything he learned he learned right here. All thanks to one person..
He hadn't seen her in years now, decades even, and believe it or not, he was nervous. Not because he was worried about his safety or anything. His anxiousness was mostly due to her reaction to his unexpected visit. He didn't know how she'd feel about it, what'd she'd say, what she'd do. Last time they spoke wasn't horrible, but it wasn't absolutely wonderful either. It was.. neutral, mutual even. They considered themselves on friendly terms with each other but he didn't know if that extended to random unannounced arrivals. He wondered if Peter and Charlotte had ran into her since he'd last seen them and passed on his message wishing her well. He hoped they have but he wasn't sure, oh well, perhaps he'd find out soon enough.
If anyone asked him why he was even down here making his way toward where he knew she'd be, he wouldn't be able to give a straightforward answer. He didn't know why, but he just felt the need to see her. Check in on an old friend. It wasn't like he had much to do back in forks, what with Victoria dead, the newborn army handled and the Volturi placated. Things were finally back to normal. There were no longer any threats around that anyone knew of, but who knows how long that’ll last. He decided that he wanted to get away and travel, however he didn't know exactly where to go. Until it popped into his mind.. until she popped into his mind.
He figured a simple visit and some time to catch up wouldn't hurt and that's how he found himself walking through her territory. Only a couple familiar faces stood out to him. "There doesn't seem to be many people here" he noted mentally. He knew the wars had died down significantly and that María only had a few soldiers around just to defend her piece of territory and ward off anyone looking to take it from her. He smiled at the thought. No matter what happened, María would never let anyone take her piece of Monterrey away from her. It is her home, she may have wanted to and succeeded in expanding before; but she never let anyone touch the place most dear to her. The place where she grew from the newborn vampire to who she is now, the place her vampire family held and left to her after being ruthlessly murdered in cold blood. Stubborn thing she is, she keeps fighting and has fought her entire life. However there doesn't seem to be many interlopers coming to take her land from her much nowadays, giving her a little more free time, which he hopes she has now.
Walking up the steps of the house that seemed to be the only structure within miles of the spacious land besides the barn that stood a few feet away. He knocked on the door and waited. After several minutes pass, he knocked again feeling a little disgruntled and anxious when nobody answered. He knocked a third and final time and waited. When nothing happened he stepped away from the door and turned to walk away thinking she may be gone somewhere out of town leaving the others in charge for the time being. He made his way to the end of the pathway that led to the house before he hears a familiar voice shout his name.
"Jasper!" His ears follow the sound of a soft, musical voice and turns just in time to her walking around from the side of the huge house. He begins to make his way toward her, taking in her appearance as he nears. Her hair was all over the place, framing her face and body in spiraling dark curls. Her eyes were a bright red and seemed to be gleaming in the light, as if she's surprised but a bit happy to see him, this is confirmed when he gets a feel on her emotional state. Her skin glittering in the sun as it shines brightly over the hot area. She seemed to be dressed appropriately for the weather, she wore a hot pink off-shoulder top with a beautiful floral embroidery around the borders, light wash denim shorts and white shoes. They are face to face in no time. Him looking down to her, a grin forming his lips.
"María, it's a pleasure seeing you. I was beginning the think you were off on one of your little expeditions again." He greeted, amusement coloring his face.
"aye, no, I was at the far back of the house, I was lucky the wind carried your scent, otherwise I'd have never known you were here till after you'd gone..." she paused looking him in the eye.
"Why are you here anyway?" she gave him an inquisitive look as she waited for his response. Jasper shifts his weight between his feet as he thought of his reply and then shrugged.
"I was bored, there wasn't much to do round' the house up north so I decided to visit an old acquaintance." María looked at him, her eyes squinting. Her penetrative gaze trying to see through him.
"Is that all?" She asked cautiously. Jasper chuckled.
"Yes that's all. I haven't seen you in years María and we're supposed to be friends. 'On good terms' as you say."
His last line made María shift uncomfortably. "Why do you think we're friends? What makes you think I trust you?" Her demeanor seemed to have changed in a split second, her stance was tight and her face hard, it was as if she put up some sort of guard but Jasper wasn't having it.
"Well our last conversation consisted of us talking about everything, we seemed.. alright." He stated, confusion in his tone.
"You told me to 'keep my distance' if I recall correctly. I was just honoring your request, because that is what people on good terms do. Doesn't mean we're friends." She spoke, eyeing him cautiously.
"I told you to keep your distance because it currently wasn't safe at the time, I never said to cease all contact and never speak to me ever again." He corrected seeing through the false wall of cold protection she'd thrown up. She turned away from him, not comfortable under his soul-piercing gaze. Walking a couple paces she spoke lowly.
"It felt that way..." she mumbled. He smirked watching as the sun shone down on her shiny dark curls, bringing them to life in the way he used to love.
"Seems like you trust me quite a bit if you're so willing to turn your back to me.." he chided playfully making her stop cold in her tracks. He could feel the embarrassment rolling off her after she realized her mistake. She turns back to him. The anger plastered over her face quickly replaced by a look of longing washing over her as she watched him laugh softly to himself.
"So what if I do?" She says crossing her arms defiantly.
"Well then maybe that means we are friends." He answers walking closer to her. His large hands enclosing over hers. He looked at her.
"How have you been María?” The question fell from his mouth smoothly. He watched the tight defiance in her eyes morph into something unreadable.
"I've been okay.." she says, her face now devoid of expression. She continues in a bored tone.
"Why don't you come to the back of the house with me. I am tired of standing right out front." She turned and began to walk toward where she'd originally came. Her hand leaving his as he followed.
As they walked Jasper took the time to look around the place. The sun was shining bright high in the sky, bearing its insatiable heat down onto the land, illuminating the vibrant greens, and browns that surrounded the area. The wind blew the leaves of the trees and flowed through the grass. It was a really beautiful day and it seemed as if María had been outside enjoying it before his arrival. As he rounded the corner into the back yard of the house he saw a half finished garden to the left sitting near a birdbath, a shed at the far right which he assumed housed a bunch of different tools and a gravel path leading up to the back porch. He watched her as she strolled all the way to the two seats perched on back porch and motioned for Jasper to sit with her. He smiled making his way over to the chair closest to the back door and sat down getting comfortable.
"Now will you talk to me about how you are? How you really are?" He asked his eyebrows raising in wait for her response.
"I don't follow.." She answered coyly.
"Don't play with me María. I saw the look on your face before you gave me that vague, sorry excuse for an answer." He chided his eyes squinting. She looked him in the eyes.
"Well what do you want me to say? I'm great, just been living life, defending my territory every week from assholes who come lurking and then relaxing on the weekends?" She asked sitting back against her seat. Jasper continued to stare at her compellingly, trying to coax more information out of her.
"I want more than that María.." he pressed softly. His honey blonde curls flowing in the wind.
Unable to resist his penetrating stare she sighed and began to speak, a softer tone in her voice.
"I don't know.. things have been kinda boring around here lately, I've been spending a lot of my time gardening! Can you believe that?! Sometimes I have my people help around a bit but they have their own things to do.. they only really spring into action when a threat appears and they actually seem to like me. I guess you can say we're.. associates?.. friends?" She shied away at the word, as if it was foreign to her. Jasper watched and waited until she was done before speaking.
"Well I understand them liking you.. I happened to admire you myself when I was head of the army." He said a grin appearing on his face at the memory. María scoffed.
"I don't see how.." she said solemnly looking out towards the wide expanse of her backyard. The wind also stirring her coffee-black tresses as she began to play in them.
"It was pretty easy really. I mean you were amazing in practically everything you did. You were strong, witty, commanding, tough, playful, I watched you handle nearly 20 newborns who were bigger, faster, and stronger than you were, and you never broke a sweat. You stood up to them and looked at them as if they didn't tower over you considering your... diminutive stature-"
"Shut it." María interjected throwing the twig she'd picked out of her hair at him. She never liked him bringing up her tiny frame, having always seen it as a hindrance.
"I mean it. You were doing what I've only seen my superiors in my human army doing; but in much more dangerous circumstances. With much more formidable opponents." He recalled, smiling. She rolled her eyes.
"You paint me as some kind of superwoman." She muttered, her eyes cast downward. Jasper watched as she fiddled with her feet.
"In my eyes, you were..." his admittance causing her to look at him. His smile never faltered as their eyes met. He watched her face morph into that same expression of longing, exactly as it had been earlier... she seemed to be deep in thought.
"Why do you keep looking at me like that?" He blurted the question without thinking.
"Why do you keep smiling at me?" came her quick-witted retort. They both stared at each other a little longer before Jasper began to laugh. María couldn't stop the grin that eventually formed as she watched him laugh nor could she help the giggles that burst forth after. Their laughter coming together in a perfect harmony. A certain peace settling between them.
"I guess the reason behind my smiling is due to my reunion with an old friend, an old love... Someone I'd cared for intensely." Jasper finally spoke.
"Very funny." María scoffed rolling her eyes.
"I wasn't joking." Jasper responded seriously.
She looked at him then. Her eyes narrowing. Her face once again going cold and devoid of emotion.
"And why would you be happy to see me again?" She asked crossing her arms in disbelief. Jasper straightened himself a little in his seat.
"Well, María, we were together for nearly a century. We spent majority of our time together, either planning battles, strategizing expansion, feeding, keeping low profile from the Volturi and rival covens, and then our free time doing anything we wanted. Like that time you took me dancing during Guelaguetza in Oaxaca." He gently reminded her, a wistful vibe lacing his tone as he recalled the memories. Maria's face softened, her own mind reminiscent on such memories of their lifetime together. The good, the bad, the affection, the fights, the hate, and the love. Even though they had their ups and downs there was always something underneath holding them together, something they both have a hard time letting go.
"I guess I know what you mean.." she responded, not elaborating further and quite clearly looking as if she was trying to hide her feelings on the matter. Jasper was going to press her about the yearning emotions he's been sensing on and off since they'd laid eyes on each other but he decided to drop it for the time being.
”I spoke to Peter and Charlotte recently..” He spoke starting up a new topic. A laugh sounded from Marías lips. “So you’re reuniting with all your old friends I see.” She joked donning a wide grin, Jasper laughed, “They came to visit me actually.” He noted, María nodded.
“How did it go?” She asked, leaning forward curiously. “It went as usual, you know, the typical greeting, catching up, messing around... the topic of you came up eventually.” he mentioned last, watching as she stiffened, he could see the worry on her face, wondering what he was going to say next. “It’s okay.” he reassured. “I was the one who brought you up.. Nothing malicious, I’d simply asked them to... pass on a message.” He admitted becoming a bit nervous. María’s eyes narrowed. “What message?” She asked. Jasper looked at her. “So they haven’t seen you..” he concluded out loud.
María’s eyes narrowed further. “What message?” She repeated her question, anxious with curiosity. Jasper gave a light sigh, “I told them.. that if they were to ever see you again. To tell you that I wish you well... I guess they no longer need to now.” He finished, his eyes averting from her intense stare.
When he didn’t hear anything from her he looked to her again. She seemed confused and surprised. María didn’t know what to think of his admittance. She sat back in her seat, keeping silent for a moment before she spoke.
“What did they say?” She asked abruptly. Jasper watched her for a moment, he thought she would have said something else, but he answered her anyway.
“Well Peter said he didn’t think he’d be running into you anytime soon, however if he did so happen to see you, he most certainly would pass it on. They didn’t seem too bothered by my request actually, which kind of surprised me. Perhaps you should see them some time.” Jasper suggested, smiling as he watched the surprise take María’s face. “You think they’d want to see me?” She questioned, eyeing him warily.
“If my last visit is anything to go on, I don’t think they would mind too much.” He answered truthfully. María thought it over before she looked him in the eyes. “Would you come with me to see them, if I do?” Her question caught Jasper by surprise, but he already knew her reason for asking him. She thought it’d go over much better if he were with her instead of just her alone. He smiled softly “Of course I would María, it’d be a nicer reunion with the three people I’ve known longest. My war family as I like to say..”
The term made María giggle before her face softened into an unreadable expression. “Thank you.”
Jasper’s eyebrows scrunched close. “For what?” He asked. María sighed and looked down. “For wishing me well.” She responded, dropping her voice even lower before she continued, “You didn’t have to do that, and I don’t know why you did but.. I won’t drive myself mad questioning it. Instead I will just accept it.” She gave light smile at him. It warmed him inside to see such a smile spreading across her face. They sat in silence for a while, simply basking in the others presence. Jasper feeding off the warmth that had sprung between them.
"I didn't take you as the gardening type.." He poked, changing the subject as he looked out to her unfinished project.
"But it looks as if you care for it well." He added, eyeing the beautiful array of reds, violets, yellows and pinks.
"It was something I used to do with mí abuelita as a human. She taught me everything I know and I've never forgotten.. I do this for her.." María explained. Jasper could hear the nostalgia and pain in her voice. He stood and held his hand out.
"Mind if I take a closer look?" He asked. She stood, shaking her head. "Not at all."
She lightly placed her tiny hand in his as she led him off the porch and to the small garden. Jasper could hear the water sloshing around in the birdbath that sat near the edge of the garden. A mockingbird had just flown from it as they grew near. The garden was separated into four small sections with a small pathway between them that is not visible from a distance, giving the illusion that the four sections of flowers blend colorfully without any significant spacial separation. The first quadrant consisted of bright yellow Marigolds. María watched as Jasper lightly roved his fingers over the petals.
"I have not completed this garden. However, every section represents someone I've loved and cared for. The flowers you are looking at now represent my grandmother. Cempasúchitl were her favorites. She said they made her feel light.. happy.." María's voice trailed off, a far away look in her eyes. Taking a moment before she stepped a few paces to the right coming to the second section.. Jasper following along silently, listening closely.
"These are called Dahlia pinnata." María continued as they gazed upon the round, hot pink flowers. "They represent my immortal family.. specifically the two who were considered my parents. Their names were Alváro and Teresa. Like this flower, they had many layers to them. Even when I thought I'd known them well enough, there was always a layer to them that would come to me as a surprise. Always a part of them that they kept hidden.."
Jasper smirked. "Reminds me a lot of someone I know.." he joked, laughing as she lightly shoved him not bothering to hide the soft laugh escaping past her own lips as she turned him around to continue to the bottom right division of the incomplete garden. She paused shortly. Jasper suddenly experienced an onslaught of deep dread and grief. He watched María as she stood stock still. Staring at the deep blue-violet flowers swaying vibrantly in front of her. There was complete and eerie silence for a moment before she spoke.
"These are Gentians... they are for Javier, my long dead love." María stopped, taking a breath. Jasper could tell this was painful for her, he gave her hand a small squeeze, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb, giving a subtle reassurance of his support. She gave a light sigh. "When I saw this flower in town, I knew I had to plant them in my garden. The deep but vibrant indigo of this flower reminded me of him the most of any others I'd seen. The deep dark color gives me a cool feeling inside, but the sharp richness of it also gives me a sense of alertness, of being wildly alive. Javi always had two sides of him like that. A side that was mellow and profoundly passionate, and another that was loud... fierce. He would get into any and everything he could find. He used to show me the most beautiful things..." María stopped herself again, becoming a little choked up, Jasper stayed silent, allowing her some time to gather herself. His comforting hand moved from her hand up to her shoulder, massaging lightly, and then to her back, rubbing softly. María closed her eyes and heaved a deep sigh before opening them again.
"You remind me of him sometimes Jasper..." she spoke softly, finally looking up at him. Jasper knew she meant it, whenever she spoke his name like that, whenever she looked him directly in the eyes as she was doing, he knew that she was not only opening up and sharing some deep seeded feelings but also showing her sincerity in every word she said to him. He gave a gentle smile.
"I am glad to remind you of someone you loved so much." His positive words prompting her lips to form a gentle smile that mirrored his own. Once again, he began to feel longing. That strong sense of yearning. His eyes found hers then. Staring down into them, searching and confirming exactly what he'd been feeling in the emotional atmosphere. Her eyes held a certain vulnerability that he'd only seen on rare occasions before. Suddenly that vulnerability vanished and in its place came a cold look of apathy. Realizing she'd been staring too long, María moved along, taking him to last but not final section of her undeveloped garden.
"And finally, these are my Tropaeolum. They're generally referred to as Nasturtiums. These are a bit different from the rest in the garden as they have the least amount of petals, however they are still supremely beautiful and.. endearing." María explained, a wider smile splaying across her features. A smile that reached her eyes. He turned his attention to the flowers. They had five petals and possessed a brilliant red-orange hue. He liked them. They reminded him of the beautiful sunsets in Texas when he was human and the sunsets he'd watch with María in the desert before battle. He used to find himself wishing he could watch the sunset with her forever; but there had been work to do.
He noticed she'd been silent and didn't seem to be preparing to talk any more. A glaring question popped into his mind and he simply had to ask.
"What, or should I say, who do these remind you of?" His curiosity at her failure to elaborate as she'd done with the other flowers poking through the air. She looked up, startled from her deep trance of thoughts. It took her a minute to process his question, but when she did, her face took on a somewhat pained expression. She looked as if she did not want -or was too embarrassed- to answer, but she spoke anyway.
"They're... very intense flowers, but also very charming, especially in full bloom. The lady I'd bought the seeds from told me a bit about them.." She began to caress the flowers. ”The lady said that they come in a variety of colors, and those colors have meanings.. a red nasturtium can mean courage, strength, or passion. Orange nasturtium are related to being energetic and creative. Of course there are other colors like yellow but I thought these red-ish orange ones would fit well in my garden." She trailed on, walking around the borders of the flower bed, touching nearly every flower as she went.
"I also learned that Nasturtiums represent victory in battle and conquest. This flower seemed to have strong ties to combat and war, perhaps because of its shocking color of orange and red or maybe because the shape of the foliage resembles the appearance of a shield, a form of protection. It has such a simple look, yet it is so complicated and it means so much.. I got them because I'd known of someone who had ultimately fit this description. It was almost perfect really.." María finished her eyes focused on the flowers. Jasper could feel the slight uncertainty coming from her as she thought over her words. He knew and understood exactly who she was referring to and what she meant and he grinned. Reaching for a flower, he picked one of the more vibrant ones off its stem and walked over to her. She looked up as she saw his tall form coming towards her. In just a few short strides he was towering above her, flower in hand, reaching towards her head. She tensed as a natural reflex before relaxing as his gentle fingers worked over her until the luminous flower sat perfectly sturdy in her hair. The flower mingled well with her voluminous curls as they both shimmered vividly under the blazing sun.
"I can think of a certain someone that these flowers remind me of as well." He added, an adoring accent in his voice as he admired the flower. He felt the uncertainty and tension leave her body and a potent amity appear, in what he thought was a much better substitute. She laughed and it was the most genuine and kindest laugh he'd ever heard bellowing from her throat.
"That is enough flowers for today. Come along, there are some new things I'd love to show you inside mí flor brillante."
Jasper, smirked at the new nickname, following as she directed him towards the entryway into the house from the back door. Jasper's eyes quickly adjusted to the light difference from outside as he looked around. Things definitely looked a lot different since that last time he'd seen it. He spent the rest of the day being shown around the house, and making small talk about what he'd been up to over time. They talked about everything. It was like two old friends catching up after years of separation.
Jasper did not fail to notice how excitedly she spoke when she came across something she had obviously been wanting to talk about but never had anyone around to discuss it with. He'd see the way her eyes would light up, the louder and more prominent her voice and accent became, the way she paid so much attention to detail and seemed as if she could go on and on for hours. It gave him a bittersweet feeling. He was glad to see her so happy and expressive but a bit saddened that she didn't have many confidants around to tell and enthuse about these things as she was doing with him right now. She seemed, lonely. Surely she would deny this if he brought it up but he could tell. Even though he had not been around her for a while, he still knew her fairly well. "Perhaps she wouldn't be comfortable with too many people around right now anyway." He concluded in his head. As the day grew late, he began to bid his farewell.
"It was a great pleasure seeing you again María, I am happy to have stayed here for the day and I have learned so much more about you than I already knew. I should probably begin my travels back north as I'm sure you have other, more important things to tend to but I will keep in contact should I ever need you or vice versa. Gracías, mi morena."
As he neared the door a small "Wait!" Slipped past Maria's lips before she could think twice about it. Jasper turned to look at her and caught the look of distress on her face before she could cover it up.
"Is there something you need?" He asked eyeing her curiously. She looked down at her feet, a forlorn expression overtaking her features.
"I was wondering maybe.. if... Nevermind." She finished quickly. Turning about and beginning to walk away. A strong embarrassment evident in her emotional state.
"No, It's okay, you can tell me.." he called out after her.
"No, it's stupid.." She expressed, turning around to face him. Jasper stepped away from the door walking closer in her direction. "If it was important enough for you to stop me from leaving, how stupid could it be?" He asked softly. She took a few steps closer and began to pace a bit, something he knew she always did when she was nervous. Her eyes were still stuck to the floor. "It's... very stupid." She admitted dreadfully. Jasper gave her a look.
"It's not stupid.. Talk to me." He patiently waited, stepping a bit closer to her anxious form. He slowly soothed her to help lessen her nervousness and give her a bit more confidence to speak up about whatever's on her mind. Her pacing slowed and she opened her mouth.
"I was wondering.. if you'd like to stick around.. just a little longer..?" She finally looked up at him, her eyes holding that same vulnerability that he'd seen outside by the flowers. It tore at something in him to see her like that. He would have done anything she'd asked in that moment. María grew more dejected by his silence and her eyes went cold and flew towards a vacant wall. Avoiding his gaze.
"You don't have to stay if you don't want to. I don't care either way." Her voice took on a hard but clearly affected tone. Trying to hide her resentment at her display of openness. Even after all this time, María still struggled with exposing her emotions.
Jasper walked closer to her. Taking her hands in his. "I would love to stay a little longer.. if that would make you happy.." He answered cracking a smile. She looked up at him in surprise. "You would?" Her big round eyes were wide as saucers. He nodded.
"Why wouldn’t I?" He asked, paying close attention to her. The confusion on her face looked as if she were wracking through her brain for reasons why he wouldn't want to stay. When it seemed as if she couldn't find any, she simply remained silent. His smile grew and he continued.
“I must ask though.. what made you ask me to stay?" He questioned, watching her face morph back into the nervous, uncertain expression she'd held moments ago. María's eyes returned their interest back down to the hardwood oak floors beneath them.
“We just. We seemed to have a nice time today and, well there's still some things I'd like to show you! Before you have to leave.." she finished quickly. He'd never seen her this jittery before. He knew she was leaving something out.
"Is that all?" He asked eyebrows raising in suspicion. She remained silent her eyes trained on the floor. Jasper, grew tired of her ignoring his face and of her hesitance to share what was going on. He hooked his arm around her waist, raising her head with his fingers under her chin, forcing her to look him in the eyes. Knowing it would make it easier for him to get the full truth from her, he relaxed her a bit.
"Háblame mí cariñita." He commanded, Maria shivered in his embrace, her eyes locked in his.
"I guess I... I’ve missed you..." She finally confessed her voice squeaking. It was Jaspers turn to be shocked. His eyes widened as he realized what the feelings of longing he'd been feeling the entire day really meant. He grinned then, his long awaited question finally answered. He'd originally thought the longing had been a result of something else that was on her mind. He never would have thought that she missed him.
"How could you miss me?.." he asked, eyebrows scrunching together in confusion as if that concept was truly unheard of. María wasn't known for truly missing anyone. Anyone besides her late family anyway. María sighed.
"It's just like you said Jasper, we had been together for nearly a century. We spent all of our time together, planning, strategizing, feeding, keeping a low profile, and doing anything we wanted. The times danced, watching the sunsets, all of it. I only miss it because it was with you... I miss you." She declared quietly. Jasper felt something fluttering inside at her profession. It made him feel light.. happy.
"I've missed you too María." He responded, realizing that their feelings were mutual. The warmth between them increased tenfold, a result of his emotions, yet again, mingling with hers. María laid her head against his chest closing her eyes.
"I don't think I've ever felt like this before... not in a very long time at least." She acknowledged, a content smile beaming across her face. Jasper rested his chin atop her head and closed his eyes inhaling the sweet scent of cherimoya from her hair.
"I suggest getting used to this feeling, because I believe you're going to be experiencing it and more for the next few days." María giggled, her fingers playing with the fabric of his shirt.
"I believe I could also say the same to you.."