Chapter 1: Meeting
We stood unnoticed in the fringe of the forest, watching the enormous white house in the clearing.
"Are you sure about this?" I asked Alice as I surveyed our surroundings.
Alice sighed. "Yes, of course I'm sure about this, Jazz. I've been watching them for three decades."
Alice had told me about these strange golden-eyed vampires who chose to kill animals instead of humans. I still couldn't quite wrap my head around the notion. Humans were our natural food source. I had tried to hunt animals when Alice had first introduced the concept to me. The animal blood had tasted disgusting, but at least it was better than dealing with the emotions of my human prey after I hunted.
Right now, Alive was practically bursting with excitement and anticipation. I attempted to calm her down, but it was like trying to drain the ocean with a straw. Unable to restrain herself any longer, she took my hand and all but dragged me to the door. She reached up and knocked.
A second passed, and then a woman opened the door. Her hair was a beautiful caramel brown and her eyes were the same strange shade of amber as ours, marking her for a 'vegetarian' vampire. She looked at us in confusion, then surprise and fear as she recognized us for what we were.
"Esme!" Alice squealed, pulling the female into a hug. The woman called Esme stiffened. Suddenly, another female, this one a blond, appeared next to her. She bared her teeth at Alice, sliding forward into an aggressive crouch.
In an instant, I wrenched Alice away from Esme and behind my back, viciously snarling back at the blond. She looked at me properly for the first time, and I felt her revulsion and fear as she assessed the multitude of scars that adorned my face and neck. Despite my efforts to conceal some of them with a long sleeved turtleneck, the scars on my face couldn't be obscured. She took a step back, her eyes wide.
Alice struggled out of my restraining arms with an adorable pout on her face. "Calm down, Jazz. Rosalie won't hurt us."
Rosalie, the blond female, lurched backward another step in shock. "How do you know our names?" she hissed.
"I've been watching you all for a very long time," Alice chirped. Just then, a blond male appeared next to Rosalie.
"Who do we have the pleasure of meeting?" he asked in a pleasant voice. Rosalie growled in response, her eyes still locked on my battle scars.
"Hi, Carlisle!" Alice greeted him enthusiastically. I watched him closely. From Alice's description, this must have been the leader of the Cullen coven.
He appeared mildly surprised at Alice's rather anticlimactic greeting. "May I ask how you know our names?" he asked carefully.
I gave Alice's hand a little squeeze as a warning and a reminder. Before we came to the Cullens, I had warned her to not divulge too much information about us. Alice had not been happy when I gave her my condition, but she had eventually agreed. She may have been having visions of the Cullens all her existence and already felt accepted, but I did not give my trust as easily. Over a century in Maria's army had ensured that.
Alice scowled at me, but didn't argue. "Carlisle, may we come inside?"
Curiosity was now Carlisle's strongest emotion. "Of course! How thoughtless of me. Please, come in."
As we entered the house, I immediately took stock of our surroundings, noting all the possible routes for escape. Door. Window. Window. Back door. I positioned myself in a spot where there were three easily accessible escape routes, pulling Alice closer to me as I did so.
Evidently, these strange vampires did not know how to fight. No sane vampire would openly invite one such as I into his or her home. Only Rosalie was showing signs of her sanity- she was watching me closely, growling threateningly every once in a while. Carlisle and Esme seated themselves on a sofa.
"Please, sit." Carlisle gestured to a couch beside us. I blinked in surprise. Alice had informed me about how this coven tried to blend in with the humans, even going out of their way to attend school, of all things. Carlisle's invitation to sit even though our kind clearly did not need to rest was unnerving. It made him seem almost human himself.
"We'll stand," I answered tersely. Carlisle glanced at me curiously, but said nothing.
"I would normally introduce us, but as you already seem to know who we are, it would seem rather redundant, wouldn't it?" Carlisle stated with a small smile. "However, I'd still like to know who you are, and how you know so much about us."
Alice and I exchanged a glace. I saw the resolve form in her eyes, but before I could protest, Alice turned back to Carlisle. "I'm Alice, and this is my mate, Jasper. As for how I knew about you, I have…visions, visions of the future. I've known about your family ever since I was created, and I knew that you were going to be in my future. We're here because we want to join your family."
Carlisle pursed his lips as he studied us, noting my battle scars as well as our golden eyes. I could sense the doubt and acceptance warring in him. Eventually, the turmoil of emotions in him was calmed, and acceptance won out. He opened his mouth to speak, but Alice beat him to the punch. "Thank you thank you thank you Carlisle!" she squealed.
Rosalie snarled in protest. "Carlisle! What are you thinking? Can't you see his scars? He's dangerous!"
"Rosalie, as you can see, Jasper has already made the decision to abstain from human blood," Carlisle answered, gesturing toward my topaz eyes. "When Edward and Emmett come home, they can decide whether or not to accept them for themselves."
Ah, yes. The mind reader. I glanced at Alice, conveying my question with a glance.
"Edward and Emmett are out hunting. They'll be back tomorrow at two in the morning," she answered my unspoken question confidently.
I noticed Carlisle's surprise at Alice's statement. "Alice, can you tell me more about your visions? I must admit, in my two hundred years, that I have never seen a talent such as yours." He confessed.
"My visions are based on people's decisions. I can see the path they're on and the outcomes of their decisions, but my visions are subjective. There's always the chance that the person will change his or her mind, and because of that, the outcome will change as well. I can also see things like the weather lot more clearly, because they aren't influenced by a conscious choice." Alice said.
"Can you control them?" Carlisle was fascinated.
"Yes, and no. I can choose to see what I want, but sometimes visions just come to me, without me consciously choosing to see them. That's how I learned about your family, and how I found Jasper." Alice wrapped her tiny fingers tighter against mine as she said my name.
"Amazing," Carlisle breathed. "What Aro would do to obtain someone so gifted…" he shook his head.
"Alice, Jasper…would you mind telling us a bit about your pasts?" Esme asked tentatively.
"What do you want to know?" Alice replied with a reassuring smile.
"When were you created?" she inquired.
"I don't know when, and I don't know who created me. I don't remember anything about my human life." Alice said sadly. She looked down, twisting the cloth of her dress between her fingers. Sensing her distress, I put my arm around her shoulder, sending her a wave of calmness. She glanced at me gratefully.
"Wait a minute," Rosalie interrupted. "You're saying that you don't remember anything about your human life at all? Not even your transformation?"
"No," Alice answered mournfully. But then her expression brightened. "But I do know that you and I are going to be great friends, Rose."
Rosalie stiffened at the nickname, but seemed to accept it. She relaxed very slightly.
"What about you, Jasper?" Esme asked softly.
"I was created in 1862." I answered bluntly. Esme sensed my unwillingness to disclose any more personal information, and she didn't press me for more. Rosalie, however, was another matter.
"How did you get all those freaky scars?" Rosalie demanded. I tensed and growled deep in my throat.
"You don't have to tell us if you're not ready, Jasper." Carlisle said kindly. He reached over and touched my arm reassuringly.
Acting on instinct, I jerked back, snarling loudly and baring my teeth. Within moments, I had pinned Carlisle to the wall by his neck. An instant later, Rosalie leaped beside us, tensed and ready for a fight. Behind me, I felt Esme and Alice's fear. Recognizing with a sense of dread what I had just done, I immediately let go of his neck and flinched away from Rosalie and Carlisle.
What had I been thinking? Attacking the coven leader? I lowered my head and let my hands go limp at my sides in a very non-aggressive posture, preparing myself for my punishment. "Ah'm sorry, sir," I apologized stiffly; my accent slipping out as it usually did when I became stressed.
"He's from the south!" Rosalie screeched, sinking lower into her crouch. Carlisle and Esme's expressions and emotions were almost identical combinations of realization and sympathy.
I ducked my head shamefully. I was not proud of my past, when I had slaughtered so many of our kind. I tried not to dwell on it, but occasionally, the memories would resurface.
"Jasper." Carlisle said gently. "Jasper, I know what you did was an accident. You have apologized for your actions, and that is what matters. We are a family, Jasper, and we forgive each other.
My head snapped back up. "Aren't you going to punish me?" I asked in disbelief.
Carlisle was genuinely surprised. "No. I do not hold with corporal punishment in my family."
"Esme," Alice interrupted. "Yes, I would very much like to see the rest of the house, and if you keep on debating whether to show me around or not, you're going to give me migraines!"
Esme smiled, a tad guiltily. I was sure that if she had been human, she would have blushed. "Sorry, Alice. Jasper, Rosalie, would you like to come as well?"
"No, thanks," Rosalie hissed, stalking back up the stairs. A second later, a door upstairs slammed shut.
"I'm sorry about Rosalie's behavior," Carlisle apologized. "She wouldn't have chosen this life if she had had a choice, you see, and she doesn't adapt well to change."
"Oh, she'll come around," Alice said cheerfully. "Coming, Jazz?"
I nodded and followed them up the sweeping, mahogany staircase. Esme paused at a comfortably decorated bedroom that gave off an aura of peace. "This is our room," she said, and then gestured to the room next to it. "Carlisle's study."
We continued along the hallway. "Rosalie and Emmett's room," Esme murmured, rather apologetically, as she pointed at the closed door. "And this is Edward's room."
As we entered, Alice gave a small, delighted gasp. It was not a large room, but the wall facing the west was entirely made of glass. I could clearly see the forest stretching out for miles.
"I want this room!" she squealed. Esme looked slightly uncomfortable.
"This is Edward's room, dear," she reminded her. "I don't think that Edward would take kindly to you kicking him out of his own room."
"Yes, I know," Alice replied impatiently. "But he's going to forgive me. For now, we can move his stuff to the garage." As she spoke, she pranced over to a shelf overflowing with music and lifted it. She looked positively comical as she hefted it into the air, her tiny face peeping out from the side of the shelf.
Suddenly, Rosalie appeared beside us. "Did I hear something about kicking Edward out of his own room?" she asked, a devilish glint in her eye.
"Yep!" Alice chirped. "Can you help me move the sofa? Thanks!" Esme and I quickly stepped out of her way as she dashed past us to the stairs. I shrugged and entered the room, heading towards yet another shelf of music to help.