Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Alice's visions
(Jacob's assessment of Jasper)

Their minds were filled with our challenge, our assignment. We remembered together the nights we'd watched the Cullens practicing for the fight with the newborns. Emmett Cullen was strongest, but Jasper would be the bigger problem. He moved like a lightning strike — power and speed and death rolled into one. How many centuries' experience did he have? Enough that all the other Cullens looked to him for guidance.

(Showing Bella his scars)

Jasper stared at Edward, who looked up to meet his gaze.

“No,” Edward answered his thought. “I’m sure you can understand why I haven’t told her that story. But I suppose she needs to hear it now.”

Jasper nodded thoughtfully, and then started to roll up the arm of his ivory sweater.

I watched, curious and confused, trying to figure out what he was doing. He held his wrist under the edge of the lampshade beside him, close to the light of the naked bulb, and traced his finger across a raised crescent mark on the pale skin.

It took me a minute to understand why the shape looked strangely familiar.

“Oh,” I breathed as realization hit. “Jasper, you have a scar exactly like mine.”

I held out my hand, the silvery crescent more prominent against my cream skin than against his alabaster.

Jasper smiled faintly. “I have a lot of scars like yours, Bella.”

Jasper’s face was unreadable as he pushed the sleeve of his thin sweater higher up his arm. At first my eyes could not make sense of the texture that was layered thickly across the skin. Curved half-moons crisscrossed in a feathery pattern that was only visible, white on white as it was, because the bright glow of the lamp beside him threw the slightly raised design into relief, with shallow shadows outlining the shapes. And then I grasped that the pattern was made of individual crescents like the one on his wrist . . . the one on my hand.

I looked back at my own small, solitary scar — and remembered how I’d received it. I stared at the shape of James’s teeth, embossed forever on my skin.

And then I gasped, staring up at him. “Jasper, what happened to you?”

“The same thing that happened to your hand,” Jasper answered in a quiet voice. “Repeated a thousand times.” He laughed a little ruefully and brushed at his arm. “Our venom is the only thing that leaves a scar.”

“Why?” I breathed in horror, feeling rude but unable to stop staring at his subtly ravaged skin.

“I didn’t have quite the same . . . upbringing as my adopted siblings here. My beginning was something else entirely.” His voice turned hard as he finished.

(Bella sees Jasper through her new vampire's eyes)

But Alice was already back, carrying the huge, gilt-framed mirror from Rosalie's room, which was nearly twice as tall as she was, and several times as wide.

Jasper had been so still and silent that I'd taken no notice of him since he'd followed behind Carlisle. Now he moved again, to hover over Alice, his eyes locked on my expression. Because I was the danger here.

I knew he would be tasting the mood around me, too, and so he must have felt my jolt of shock as I studied his face, looking at it closely for the first time.

Through my sightless human eyes, the scars left from his former life with the newborn armies in the South had been mostly invisible. Only with a bright light to throw their slightly raised shapes into definition could I even make out their existence.

Now that I could see, the scars were Jasper's most dominant feature. It was hard to take my eyes off his ravaged neck and jaw — hard to believe that even a vampire could have survived so many sets of teeth ripping into his throat.

Instinctively, I tensed to defend myself. Any vampire who saw Jasper would have had the same reaction. The scars were like a lighted billboard. Dangerous, they screamed. How many vampires had tried to kill Jasper? Hundreds? Thousands? The same number that had died in the attempt.

Jasper both saw and felt my assessment, my caution, and he smiled wryly.


Log in