They'd been at the mall for two hours when Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie walked into yet another store. Jasper was beginning to tire from the walking and seemingly endless number of shops targeted toward teenage girls. He honestly wondered just how many variations of the same concept needed to be produced and just why his sister seemed to need so damn many. However, the teen did keep his mouth shut, very much aware of the hypocrisy of his thoughts. If Jasper had taken this trip with Alice he wouldn't have taken a single issue in watching as the girl skipped throughout the shopping center delighting in the wide variety of clothing, makeup, and accessories available to customers. Rosalie knew this was the case, and he preferred not to have that fact audibly pointed out by his twin.
Rosalie had been planning the trip for a few days now, being the type of girl who changed interests weekly their parents had long ago decided it was better for all parties to gift her cash as Christmas and birthday gifts. Her brother's inclusion, however, had been a last-minute decision. While Jasper very much enjoyed his new video games, three days straight of playing was a little much even for him.
Most of his friends were otherwise occupied that day. Peter and Riley working as their respective places of employment were taking advantage of the winter break. Edward had whisked Bella away for what he surely believed was a romantic outing- only time would tell if his long-suffering girlfriend would agree. Alice, who was sharing regular updates on the group Snapchat, was spending a few days in Seattle with her father and step-mother.
Apparently, after their run-in with Edgar on Black Friday, the man had started treating his daughter much better... at least, in public. Alice, however, felt the attention was insincere and hollow. More for show than anything else. The majority of her messages consisted of the girl lamenting about how she couldn't wait to return to Forks at the end of the week.
So, with no other options available and desperately needing to socialize, Jasper had agreed to accompany Emmett and Rosalie on their trip to blow through the latter's Christmas cash.
Currently, the trio were in Rue 21. Emmett was modeling an array of hats strutting up and down the aisle like a runway, likely providing some much-needed amusement to the unfortunate retail worker's suffering through a shift in the busy weeks post Christmas. Rosalie was pretending to find the antics bothersome, making an off-handed comment about her boyfriend's maturity level. Yet, even from across the shop, Jasper could see the smile she was trying to hide.
As he turned away from his friend's shenanigans, a thin silver headband with faux gems adorning the surface caught Jasper's eye. The jewels glittered lightly under the harsh fluorescent lighting as he approached, almost as if in a trance. The hair accessory was the epitome of Alice, almost like it had been made exclusively for the girl. Jasper knew, nearly instinctually, that she needed to own this. So, he plucked the item from its place and eagerly made his way to the checkout counter.
While he knew, logically, Alice had been sincere when she'd told him it was okay that he hadn't gotten her a physical gift for Christmas. That his willingness to partake in an activity she loved despite it being something that bored him had been gift enough. Logic, however, hadn't stopped him from feeling guilty for the past week. Jasper genuinely cared for the girl. He wasn't quite there yet, but he did know he was falling in love with her fast. Someone as special to him as Alice deserved better than a boyfriend who couldn't even get her a Christmas present. That being said, at this point, wrapping the headband and just handing it over to her didn't feel like enough. He needed a bigger gesture.
As the three friends left the store, Rosalie parted ways with the boys. She'd made an appointment at the mall salon to do something about her hair. The girl's locks were still stained silver from a dye mishap on Halloween. She'd gone along with the look for a while, leaning hard into the aesthetic. Her roots were beginning to grow out though, and the girl had made it clear she was ready to do something about it. Her brother was curious about her plans, and the way she dodged his questions had him mildly concerned. Rosalie loved theatrics. That being said, he wasn't invested enough in the saga of Rosalie's hair to put much effort into the mystery, accepting that her plans would be made clear in due time. So he and Emmett headed down to the food court to get some lunch while they waited for the girl.
"So," Emmett asked through a mouthful of fries as they sat down with their respective orders at one of the few empty tables in the food court. "What's in the bag?"
"I finally found a Christmas present for Alice," Jasper replied as he set down the soda he'd been sipping on the table in between the two friends. He handed the shopping bag to Emmett, who pulled out the slips of paper sprayed with perfume the cashier had placed inside the plastic sack. The boy sniffed them before making a comment about how they weren't really Jasper's scent as he tossed them into a nearby trash can.
Finally, Emmett pulled the headband out of the bag; he turned it over in his hands examining it closely before placing it on his head, careful not to stretch it out. He leaned forward on one hand as he blinked at his friend in a flirty manner. "Whatcha' think, Jas? Does it match my eyes?"
Jasper rolled his eyes in response as both boys laughed. "In all seriousness though," Emmet spoke, taking off the accessory and handing it back to his friend. "It's perfect for Alice. She's going to love it."
"I really hope your right..."
"Dude, I'm always right." The other boy laughed and threw a french fry at this friend. "So, when are you going to give it to her?"
One of the things Jasper liked about having Emmett as a friend was just how observant the guy was. Most of their classmates never really looked past the surface of his fun-loving, class clown persona. But the teen was also smart, caring, and a genuinely good friend to have on your side. So, as Jasper told the boy about his worries, guilt, and half-formed plans for a grand gesture, Emmett was more than happy to join in on the brainstorming. After all, even though his idea for Halloween hadn't gone quite as planned, it had still worked out in Jasper's favor. By the time Rosalie returned, they'd formed what Jasper thought was a pretty solid plan.
Rosalie had a yearly tradition of throwing a New Year's Eve party. What had started as a sleepover back when the twins were in middle school was now a huge bash the students of Forks High looked forward to every winter. Currently, the girl was standing in the foyer greeting her guests and basking in their compliments on her hair freshly dyed a light denim shade of blue. In the living room, Bella and Emmett were chatting with an overly tense Jasper. He sat on the new setee his parents bought during Black Friday, jumping slightly every time the doorbell rang in anticipation of his girlfriend's arrival.
When the doorbell chimed, indicating yet another guest had arrived, Jasper startled once again prompting Emmett to chide him good-naturedly. His heart began to race as Alice's voice carried into the room from the foyer. He could hear her excitedly awing over Rosalie's hair, rapidly detailing all the outfits that would compliment the look. As she excused herself by telling the blue-haired teen that they just had to go shopping soon, but she needed to find Jasper, the man in question figured he must have looked as though he'd seen a ghost judging by the way Bella looked at him in sympathy as she reassured that it was going to be Okay.
"Hey, you guys," Alice beamed as she entered the room. The teen gracefully took a seat next to Jasper on the couch, lifting one of his arms to drape around her shoulders. "Sorry I'm so late. Mom got called into the hospital last minute again. I actually wasn't going to come, but Esme insisted on watching Cynthia so I could be here."
"Well, we're sure glad you could make it," Emmett smirked, turning to look at his very pale friend. "Aren't we, Jasper." Afraid that were he to speak, he may throw up, the teen simply nodded in response as he gently squeezed his girlfriend's shoulder.
Alice looked between the two with a raised eyebrow, clearly suspicious of the pair. The hardest part of surprising the girl was just how intuitive she was, seeming to know everything before it happened. Jasper could practically see the gears turning in her head as Alice glanced back and forth between the boys. She had eventually either given up or settled on a conclusion as she settled into Jasper's side and picked up a conversation with Bella about She-Ra on Netflix.
Jasper tried to focus on his conversation with Emmett and now Peter, who joined their group in the living room. With Alice snuggled into his side, however, it was difficult to focus. His eyes kept drifting over to the old clock hanging on the wall watching as the hands moved slowly but surely, ticking closer and closer to midnight. A weight settled in his stomach as he began to overthink his plan. What if Alice thought it was too much. What if she didn't feel the same way about him? It was entirely possible his profound feelings weren't reciprocated.
By the time Charlotte peeked her head into the room, giving all the gathered teenagers a ten-minute warning that it was nearly time for the countdown, Jasper was absolutely second-guessing himself. Frozen in place, staring at the clock still ticking closer to the new year, he was vaguely aware of his friends standing up and heading over to the other side of the room where the TV where they gathered around the screen in anticipation. Emmett, on his way over to join the crowd, nudged him in the shoulder causing Jasper to look up. His friend gave him an expressive reassuring look, communicating that everything was going to be alright.
With a deep breath, Jasper rose from his seat holding out a hand to Alice in feigned confidence as he asked the girl if she would care to join him on the patio. The concerned look she'd been giving him quickly morphed into one of curiosity as she gladly intertwined her fingers with his allowing him to lead her outside.
The patio had been decorated with fairy lights, and sitting on a white iron outdoor table sat the headband wrapped neatly in a slightly shimmery deep blue paper that sparkled subtly in the moonlight. The package had been decorated with a ribbon of the same shade tied into a bow. Jasper silently thanked his sister for her handiwork in wrapping the gift, fully aware he wouldn't have been able to make it look anywhere near as perfect.
Jasper strode over to the table picking up the package and handing it to Alice as he spoke. "So, I uh... I saw this the other day when I was shopping with Rose. And, I thought of you and how much you'd love it. And you know... I feel like an asshole for not getting you anything for Christmas and..."
"Jas," She cut off his rambling speech, "Stop beating yourself up. I mean what I said on Christmas Eve."
"Just open it, Alice."
The girl shook her head as she proceeded to slide the bow off the package, placing it neatly onto the table next to her, doing the same with the paper. When she pulled the lid off of the cardboard box Rosalie had placed the accessory in, Alice gasped as she gazed down at the headband. "It's beautiful." She commented, prying her eyes away from the gift to stare at her boyfriend.
Jasper, feeling reassured by her reaction, stepped into her space, taking the accessory from her hands, and placed it gently on her head. "A queen deserves to wear a crown."
"How do I look?" She asked, staring up at him.
"Perfect." He looked back down at the girl, not backing away as he gazed into her blue eyes, trying to wordlessly communicate just how much he truly cared for the girl standing before him.
From inside the house, the couple could hear their friends shouting as they began to count down from ten to one. Jasper had timed this out perfectly as everything was lining up according to plan. The count down reached five and he leaned down, asking her if this was okay. The action elicited a nervous smile from Alice, something he'd rarely ever seen on the confident girl. At two, she responded with a clear yes, and as their friends cheered out the number one from the living room, their lips met for the first time.
Inside, their friends were excitedly ringing in the new year, but for the two outside time seemed to stop stuck in that split second between one year ending and another beginning.