A thick mist lay over the forest, leaving miniscule droplets of cool moisture wherever it touched. In the distance a lone frog croaked, revelling in the dreary weather. Occasionally a breath of wind would disturb the pine branches, sending water pattering down onto the ground like rain.
You sat on a fallen log a few yards off the trail. It was covered almost entirely in moss, and the exposed wood was spongy, crumbling away easily when you poked at it. Lost in thought, you didn’t hear the sound of someone approaching behind you.
“Are you alright?”
You gasped, jumping to your feet and whirling around. “Wh- oh, Jasper.” You smiled sheepishly. “Yeah.”
His amber eyes met yours, and you knew that he was sensing your emotions. “You’re upset. What happened?"
You looked down at the ground, then back up at the rough bark of the trees surrounding you. "I was remembering what life was like before I…," you licked your lips nervously, "was like this." You sat back down on the log, leaving room for him to sit beside you. A sudden wave of calmness washed over you, and the sadness and anxiety you'd been feeling disappeared. You quickly realized that it was Jasper's doing. "I'm not upset about being a vampire, but sometimes the memories come back."
Jasper nodded, sitting next to you. He was close enough that his arm brushed against yours. "Do you want some time alone?"
A lopsided smile pulled at the corners of your mouth. "You ask after you sit down with me." Seeing the look on his face you continued, "No, I don't mind if you stay." You shrugged, absently pulling at the cuffs of your coat. "I enjoy talking with you."
A small smile was on his lips, and for a moment he seemed to be lost in thought before he turned back to you. "I'm flattered."
You met his eyes again with an embarrassed chuckle. A sliver of anxiety forced itself into your mind. What if he sensed how you felt before you were ready to tell him?
"Hey," Jasper reached out and lightly put a hand on your arm, feeling only your worry, "it's going to be alright."
"I hope so," you answered with weak humor.
He squeezed your arm firmly but gently. "Whatever it is, don't dwell on it. That only makes it worse."
"Yeah." You grimaced.
A bird cheeped nearby, evidently braving the threat of rain. You drew in a deep breath through your nose, smelling the rich scent of pine needles and soil.
"Actually Jazz, since we're here can we talk about something?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Of course."
"I know that I haven't been living with you all for that long - relatively - but you know I love all of you like family. Except, Jasper, I- love you in a different way, just as deeply." You met his eyes, unsure of what you'd find there.
Jasper was sitting very still, as unmoving as a marble statue. He looked shocked, relieved, and something else all at once. His hand was still on your arm.
A moment that seemed very long, but probably wasn't, passed. Jasper slowly took your hand in his. He looked down at your entwined fingers, smiling.
"I had a suspicion," he began, rubbing the back of your hand with his thumb, "and I've never been so glad to be right." Releasing your hand, he tenderly ran his fingers along your cheek.
"So I can assume you feel the same?" You laughed breathlessly.
"You can." He cupped your cheek with his palm, eyes widening slightly in surprise when you turned your head and kissed the alabaster skin.
You moved closer to him, leaning into his touch as his hand returned to your cheek.
Jasper's lips parted ever so slightly.
"You know I thought I might have to kill Edward," your voice had sunk to a murmur, "since he could read minds he knew how I felt, and I was worried he'd say something."
Jasper looked pensive and vaguely amused. "He was having the time of his life, I'm sure."
You rolled your eyes. "Probably." You tentatively wrapped your arms around his waist, bringing him closer. You could feel his breath against your lips.
"May I?" Jasper's half-smirk somehow made him even more attractive.
"Please do," you whispered before he pressed his lips to yours in a gentle kiss. Your eyes closed, and all you were aware of was him.
Jasper pulled away first, holding your chin delicately between his thumb and forefinger. "You're beautiful."
"Thank you." A beat of comfortable silence. "I love you."
Jasper smiled, gathering you in his arms, letting you rest your head on his shoulder. "And I love you."