As I wordlessly called out my adoptive brother’s name, my gratitude over his telepathy surged through me. Edward’s ability to read minds was incredibly convenient, especially in desperate times such as this. It also diminished how overbearing my own gift of foresight seemed to my new family, though it did me no good now when literal catastrophe was hinged on a split-second decision I couldn’t see. These evident holes in my vision were the bane of my existence.
How is he holding up?
Twenty-six seconds ago, Jazz stopped feigning any human movement, appearing like an inanimate statue next to the rest of us. It had been two weeks since our last hunting trip, and it didn’t take a well-trained eye to see the obvious strain he was experiencing. I glanced down at my manicured nails, pretending to admire its fresh pink coating to both appear human as well as give Jazz the space he craved, no doubt feeling suffocated by my worry. Of course, he would feel my anxiety from across the room with his own supernatural gift – to feel and modulate emotions around him. I so desperately wanted to reach out and stroke his golden hair, tell him it would be alright, but this was the opposite of what he needed right now. Like all males raised prior pre-20th century, he was nothing if not proud.
I tried to distract myself with the rhythmic tapping of my feet against the cafeteria linoleum, maintaining a consistent 240 beats per minute. Coincidentally, it also displayed my very real anxiety in a very human way, despite my non-humanness. This would normally make me smile, proud of how far I’ve come since starting this life, but not today. I could see the left side of Edward’s mouth stoop downwards along the side of his face. Not good!
Is there any danger? I thought frantically. I dove straight into Jazz’s immediate future, seeing nothing but him sitting in his current position and getting to his 5th period class when lunch was over. The worst outcome I could see only took place if I caved into my inner desire to reach out to my mate. He would not like that.
Alright, not that then. I leaned forward to tuck both my fists underneath my chin to prevent the least desirable future from happening.
Still, Jazz hadn’t shifted at all. I could see Edward decide to give me a semblance of a head shake to negate the idea of any danger. Immediately, my feet ceased their tapping and I leaned further forward on my hands, blinking a few times in relief. Thanks for doing this. I thought towards my brother in gratitude.
I looked down at the table, looking at the patterns in the synthetic wood and drawing shapes out of the outlines in the material. This sort of exercise has previously given me design ideas that I brought to actuality when I worked in my post-high school days, and might provide a much needed distraction now. Those were my favourite times, when I could flaunt my avant-garde nature and make a lasting impact in the fashion and design scene.
Still, I did love playing human in the high school. It provided a unique opportunity to practice integrating into human society under close scrutiny of people who saw me every single day for 2-4 years at a time. Suddenly, with so much practice, I wouldn’t have to think so hard about acting human in later stages when I relied on close client contacts to push my vision forward. It also took up only six hours of the day, which left excessive amounts of time to participate in other hobbies.
With that thought I eyed Jazz, a slight smile forming on my lips at the memories from two nights ago. I did have to admit while the self-inflicted exercise in self-control causes us all major discomfort and was - if it weren’t for Carlisle’s teaching - beyond careless, I did love what it did for our love life. Slightly more … animalistic urges came out, and everything Jazz did to me was entirely spontaneous, electrifying the experience. Now those holes in my vision, I didn’t mind so much.
I shifted in my seat, turning my gaze more directly to Jazz as I reminisced. He immediately noticed the shift in atmosphere exuding from me and smiled. I knew my new disposition was rather refreshing after all the anxiety of the past four hours. Tasting the mood around him, he began to inhale, welcoming in my scent that would inevitably fill his nose. When your sense of smell was so exceptional, the scent of your mate could almost become… erotic. Without moving, I was taken out of the present.
Jazz’s head shot up, turning his gaze towards the North end of the cafeteria where a small girl stood with her friend. Noiselessly he got up and glided towards her, almost seductively. Her attention was immediately drawn to her new admirer’s approach, eyes both awestruck and terrified at the prospect of Jasper Hale singling her out of all the girls at Forks, even his own stunning girlfriend. Wordlessly, he leaned down, as if to whisper a sweet secret into her ear, only to divert his course to the arch of her neck where he could access the ultimate respite from the burning in his throat.
Suddenly, the vision restarted and changed.
As Jazz lifted himself from the table, I stood with him and linked my arms through his, gripping tightly. “Do you want to take a walk with me?” I asked cheerfully.
I began to see through my own eyes again, to see Jasper’s head shoot up. The start of my vision. Traces of new futures flitted through my head as Emmett noticed the shift and began working through his own plans of intervention. Almost instantly, everything evaporated once Edward decided to kick Jazz’s chair under the table.
“Sorry.” Jazz mumbled. I frowned. I hated to see him like this.
“You weren’t going to do anything; I could see that.” I murmured at him soothingly, leaning into his space and exuding the confidence I felt over his ability to not harm the human. In all futures his resolve was never strong enough to persist over a helpful nudge from any one of his siblings. But I knew he resented that a nudge was needed at all.
“It helps a little if you think of them as people,” I began. “Her name is Whitney. She has a baby sister she adores. Her mother invited Esme to that garden party, do you remember?” These were the sorts of exercises we practiced before. Though it didn’t seem to help Jazz at all, it was what I used to maintain my self-control, and I didn’t know another way. Previously I had tried searching for all possible things I could say to help to give my Jazz the most carefree future possible, but nothing seemed to stick.
“I know who she is.” Jazz retorted curtly. He was clearly dejected by the lack of progress they had made of late, with the reminder of my go-to strategy causing him further strain.
I felt a wave of reassurance fall over me, which no doubt came from Jasper. Of course even after all this, he still felt the need to console me. I looked into his charcoal eyes and I realized he could feel the mental exhaustion that was beginning to overtake me. With an unhelpful glance into his future, I stood up and skipped out of the still crowded cafeteria, pausing only to drop my untouched food into the garbage.
I needed a break from looking so vehemently into a single future, especially the future of a vampire who could go through thousands of decisions in just a few seconds. Multiply that by four, and you had a recipe for the only thing that could give someone of my kind a headache. I headed over to my locker and opened it to take stock of my books.
Algebra next. I thought with a sigh as I pulled out the books for the cursed subject. With it I snuck out my design book, slipping it through the pages exactly where we would begin today. Drawing would help alleviate my headache. It always did.
I closed my locker and leaned on its door as I rubbed my temples. Soon my mind was 4943 miles away in Paris, following the progress of my last student Bellatrix Ricci. It had only been five years since I left my tenure track position at the International Fashion Academy, and Ricci was by far my most promising student in nearly a decade. Making designs myself was entertaining, but the closest I could feel to a what might be called an “fulfilled life” for a human was most felt when I could inspire and instill my teachings for someone else to create. Of course, passing on inspiration through my own works of art were by far the best way to do it.
While lunchtime here meant evening for her in Europe, her day still had a lot in store. Paris Fashion week might have just ended, but she was hard at work on a new dress design. Tomorrow she would be getting coffee with an old classmate. I watched as her final decision on the dress sporadically changed, smiling widely as some of the changes were evidently inspired by my own teaching. Some of her choices were pretty outrageous, causing me to outwardly giggle. I could just imagine standing behind her saying “Take more risks, that could be the next trend. ”
“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” An all too familiar voice rumbled in my ear. I opened my eyes and turned my head to be face-to-face with Jasper, who leaned down towards my petite figure. He gave me a light smolder as we both registered the close proximity of our faces. I smiled sweetly as I saw our future a second from now. Before he could begin to lean in for the kiss he planned, I rushed in to meet his lips. I only afforded us a small peck, for now.
“Got you!” I giggled. “You’ve got to be faster than that next time.”
“My apologies ma’am.” He smiled, dipping his head in the slightest of nods. I jutted my chin out at him, the mischief I felt reflecting back at me in his own eyes. Suddenly his lips had found their way to mine, the speed bordering on inhumanly fast. Thankfully with our family’s reputation coupled with the overt intimacy of the moment we shared, no one so much as glanced in our direction. We created our own personal haven in the high school hallway.
“I hope that was more to your satisfaction.” Jasper whispered in my ear. He maintained just a two-inch distance between us as he brushed a strand of my short black hair out of my face. My vision and sense of smell was all consumed by his lion-like regality and musky pine aroma. Happiness danced all over my face and body and I revelled in our lives. How lucky was I to have this man as my own?
“Lovely!” I breathed. I could feel Jazz enveloping us in his own little bubble of emotion, unremarkable to the outsider but extraordinarily potent to any who dared enter. He leaned forward and breathed in every facet and dimension of my scent. As this happened, I started to see some of the options he was considering, most of which involved he and I exiting the school grounds prematurely and finding a place more private. Despite how enticing each one appeared to me (I mean one missed afternoon of school wasn’t going to kill anybody. In the case of our absence, it likely increased the survivability of the student body), the future which opted to show our siblings that he didn’t need to cop out of school early quickly resolved as the most likely option.
Now at the end of his deep breath, Jazz leaned away and straightened up, now towering at his full height, eight inches above me. I looked up and fluttered my eyelashes.
“For the road?” I asked innocently, though we both knew the feelings drifting around us were anything but innocent. Despite his rigid stance, his eyes remained soft and admiring on my face. He leaned down once more to where I tapped my cheek for a final goodbye peck, only for me to twist my head and meet his lips with my own. “Now we’re even again.” I trilled triumphantly, hugging my books tighter to my chest and skipping down the hallway to algebra.
Sitting in class, I passively looked over Jasper’s future again. He was in chemistry, getting a brief introduction to quantum mechanics. How this information is taught to 18 year old’s when just 20 years ago it was knowledge held exclusively for university students was mystifying. The world was changing at an exponential rate. I myself never went to school for a technical degree, opting for fashion or business as my life’s calling and contribution to the family’s already exuberant wealth, respectively. Not that going to college was at all necessary for me to be successful in either field, but Jazz’s growing interest in experimental physics kept us coming back. He liked to know the latest and greatest.
Suddenly, I was jolted out of the present.
A forest sprouted around me, with no one in sight other than Jasper, who pulled me forward with my hand in his. I flashed my teeth at him in a bright smile and laughed at the exhilaration of flying across the forest floor. “There’s a flock of deer 500 meters to our right up ahead.” I informed, slowing down, pulling him back. “Unless you want to head farther out and look for something more predatory.” It’d certainly taste better and we both deserved a treat after the longer than usual fast.
Jasper let go of my hand and whirled around, dropping into a hunting crouch. The air around us crackled with electricity. Instinctively I crouched down too, expecting to begin the hunt forward to the closest meal possible to satiate our thirst. As I moved forward, Jazz maintained his position, even widening his arms as if to corral me. He coiled his muscles and sprang towards me, but even my vision self had a sense of foresight and was prepared. I gripped onto his broad shoulders and vaulted on top of him, twisting my body to land neatly on his back.
My lips dropped to his collarbone and began to kiss it with urgent intensity. The spark between us ignited into an inferno as he twisted underneath my hold to face me. My hands which had a secure grip on his light gray v-neck had ripped in the process and left his torso bare. I leaned back momentarily to take the in the sight and threw the tattered shirt off to the side. Jazz took this opportunity to engulf me in his embrace and pull me in for a deep kiss. As his tongue explored my mouth, as though he was just returning home from extended leave, he hiked my dress up above my waist and over my head.
As this happened, the underwear I had on for the earlier school day disappeared, my present self anticipating this very moment. I deepened the kiss, feeling the energy Jazz exuded from his being, the atmosphere urging us forward. One hand remained around me while the second went down to get rid of the only piece of fabric that kept us apart. I used my feet to hook into his pants and rip them off.
“Beat me again” Jazz whispered. He feigned a glare at me, but the elated smile on his face never left.
“Oops.” I giggled. “Maybe I should’ve let you have that one.”
A growl emanated from deep within his chest right before he plunged his face on my chest, toppling both of us over onto the forest floor.
“Ms. Cullen?” Mr. Varner called out, thrusting me out of my vision. My head shot up, searching for the teacher who called out my name.
“Oh!” I mouthed, just barely audible to the humans sitting around me, but enough to force an amused reaction out of them. Very few times was a Cullen caught off guard. I settled further into my chair and composed myself. I saw a question was sitting on the electronic board behind him, with 4 possible answers laid out, assuming he requested an answer. “Sorry for the delay Mr. Varner, the answer is B.”
I watched his reply to my words as the sentence spilled out, realizing I assumed wrong. “Very good, but getting a little ahead of ourselves. I wanted you to indicate the order of polynomial it was.”
“It’s a cubic polynomial sir. We can tell by power of the variable x.” I quickly corrected. Mr. Varner broadened his stance, inevitably attributing my quick answer to his fine teaching ability.
“And now since you already told the class the correct answer, why don’t you come up and show us how you got there.” He instructed, raising his hand up to offer me the chalk. I lightly stood up and gingerly accepted the white drawing tool, noticing how akin the colour was to my own skin. I let myself get lost in my newly cherished memories as I presented my answer.
Now the end of the school day, Jazz had continuously made more and more elaborate plans for when we left the school. Some were as simple as letting me completely overhaul his closet, giving me simply a theme of light blue. Others gave way to a more primal desire we shared. As I put my books into my locker, I knew Jasper waited for me when I closed the door. Despite his actions, he maintained his composure with the sweetest, most innocent smile etched on his face known to man. I pushed myself back into the present to experience his angel-like face firsthand. He almost looked relaxed despite his pitch-black eyes and the inevitable burning which scorched its way down his throat. I smiled back, relieved that at the end of the day I could help him get through the thirst, no matter how unconventional the method.
“Doesn’t look like we are going to be eating tonight.” I mused, grabbing his hand tightly. I squeezed it so firmly that anything other than his hand would have been crushed to dust.
“Why would you say that?” He said, our gazes remaining locked as we strolled down the hallway like it was a Sunday afternoon in a park in Mississippi. He shifted to link arms with me, as if to escort me through the busy hallway. “It’s an awfully long and beautiful evening ahead of us.” I smiled knowingly, relishing the next few hours and replaying my recent visions in my head. Perhaps we would take tomorrow off too.
“Well I suppose I can arrange for you to eat something.” I giggled, beaming at him. We had just entered the parking lot and entered within earshot of Rosalie and Emmett who waited by the Volvo. Jazz chuckled lightly and supressed his next comment, though he had sufficiently settled on it for a split-second so that I could practically hear it spoken out loud. We exchanged a last glance at each other, and I turned toward Emmett who was about to speak.
“Come on Jasper! So you beat me out last night, I still say you cheated.” He began, eyeing me. Though my gift certainly could not give Jasper the edge in an arm-wrestling match, it was never forgotten as one of the first and most primary reasons Emmett came up with for losing a match. “Nothing can really be declared without best 2/3 on three separate nights. We need to try it every night to really flesh it out!”
Rose reached over Emmett and stroked his bicep, pulling him closer to her body. “But Emmy, you said we’d go hunting tonight together and look for a cougar to share.” She nuzzled closer into him. “You both should pick up your strength before a rematch.”
“Alright, we hunt and then at 2am it’s rematch time!” Emmett clasped his hands together, sending a miniature shockwave which rattled the glass of nearby cars. Rose and I eyed the glass of the Volvo, which inevitably suffered the worst rippling effect and was clearly close to shattering. She gritted her teeth as it settled back, unscathed. She loved cars but resented the idea of needing to wait for a new shipment of their extra dark tinted glass to replace it. She much preferred to work on the engine. Nearby students glanced at the glass, briefly looking around for the source of the ripple before carrying on with their day.
“I’m afraid I’ve been booked for the entirety of the evening Em.” Jazz looked down at me with such utter devotion if I had a beating heart, I’m sure it would’ve stopped just then. “Maybe some other time.” Emmett pouted and furrowed his eyebrows so deep into his forehead they practically bore into his skull. Jazz then opened the car door for me and I slipped into the middle seat. Emmett took the cue to enter in on my other side and Rosalie sat in the passenger seat. Jazz took his place next to me. I leaned into him.
“Where is Edward anyways? We all won’t have an evening if he decides to condemn us to this car for much longer.” Rose darted her eyes around the parking lot, crossing her arms in annoyance. I continued to just sit back, relaxing into Jazz’s firm arm, and let my thoughts wander. Little did I know these would be the last truly serene moment we would have for the foreseeable future.