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La Tua Cantante
"Well, thou hast fought for many a year,
Hast fought thy whole life through,
Hast humbled Falsehood, trampled Fear;
What is there left to do?"
-Emily Bronte "Self-Interrogation"
Even in the impenetrable darkness, my super-charged eyes could make out every detail of my surroundings. From the deep green hues of the leaves on ancient trees to the bark-brown owl keenly regarding the small mouse as it scurried across the dense foliage of the forest floor. Knowing instinctively when the owl would dive to catch its prey a second before it even knew itself, I inexplicitly felt the urge to advert my eyes from this lesson in Darwinism.
Safe from human and vampiric emotions here in the wilderness, I tried to savor the rare feeling of aloneness, yet the only emotions I desired to escape from at the moment were my own. I wished fleetingly that I could manipulate my own emotions as I could those around me, as the memory of the very reason for my solitude caused waves of pain to assail my raw psyche.
I began to pace through the forest, feeling the wind rustling my golden hair as I moved blindly fast, fast enough to send any living creature in a three-yard radius fleeing, their instincts telling them I was a threat-the same scents which enticed my natural prey repelled that of which my diet now consisted. Even the owl opened his wings in flight to soar away from my unnatural presence, clutching the lifeless mouse in his deadly talons.
I contemplated hunting myself, both for the reason that I was beyond a comfortable level of thirst and that it would be a welcome distraction, however, my current depression seemed to trump my primal desires. For an instant I imagined giving in to my deepest craving, to find the nearest town, surprise the first unsuspecting human and feed, as my whole being seemed to scream for me to do.
And really, what was keeping me from caving now? There was no one standing by to stare with accusing eyes, no comforting hands to keep me from giving in and no ties to guilt me into a vegetarian diet. And really, the fear and horror I would feel as I revealed myself to my victim would be a thankful reprise from my own torment. My whole body stilled as the intoxicating memories of human blood assaulted my senses. Without thinking I crouched into an attacking stance, the tension in my rock-hard muscles mirroring the tension in my mind.
This doesn't seem like a bad idea, I admitted. Nevertheless, some part of me was still living in a past that no longer existed-and this part could hear the disappointment in Carlisle's voice and see the sadness in Esme's eyes, and this was enough to shake me out of my reverie. My body relaxed and I slumped against the nearest tree, an elegant silver maple which stretched almost sixty feet into the moonless sky and was almost as old as I was. Sitting there, I felt as isolated as I had even been.
An eternity of solitude. That was what I had to look forward to now. For I knew no one could take her place, and nothing could fill me with the joy of existence ever again. Aloneness. That was all.
Self-pity! I felt a flash of rage directed at my own weakness. I was turning into a coward-worse than a murderer, a monster or any other stigma I had worn in the past. Self-pity was never one of my self-indulgences. A soldier's life had erased that emotion from my mind long before my heart ever stopped beating, and like chivalry and my charismatic charm, it was something I carried with me into this new life. I would not hide out in the forests of Pennsylvania for the rest of my existence. From this point on, I would make every attempt to create a new life.
But where would I start? I had only ever been two people, Jasper Whitlock, a vampire legend for my unparalleled fighting in the wars of the South, and Jasper Hale, member of the Cullen family. My entire existence up until this point had been defined by the company I kept. Now that I was truly alone I felt the weight of being a Jasper who lived solely for himself. First things first, I must hunt. I had been running for a long time-nearly a week, running aimlessly without stopping to feed or for any other reason. Hunting now was imperative; I needed all my willpower if I was going to enter town in the morning-weather permitting.
My heart was beating in time to a techno song; skipping a beat more often than I felt was necessarily healthy. The adrenaline coursing through my veins did little to slow my heart, or calm my erratic breathing, and I felt my face flush with embarrassment. I did not appreciate being this out of control, and I knew that I needed to put an end to it.
"Brett, please," I all but hissed, putting a slender hand to his well defined chest in an attempt to distract him from attacking my neck. He did break away, bringing his perfect face so close to mine that every breath I took was filled with air expelled from his seductive mouth.
"What now?" He whined, gazing intently into my eyes, knowing that the deep green of his irises was always enough to turn me into a puddle. I lost the ability to speak, to think and especially to fight as he slowly lowered his lips to mine.
Yet somehow, the kiss did not send me quivering as they had in the past. I had thought until now that loving him was enough, knew that it was all I was able to do, and that the alien emotion had eclipsed all other emotions in my life, but love wasn't the emotion behind the meeting of our lips.
I attempted once again to break free from his hold, but the weight of his body on top of mine left me as helpless as a field mouse caught in the talons of an owl. And even stronger still was the emotional ties which bound us, for I had long ago cut everyone but him from my life, this relationship being the only one I had left.
It was this sad truth which kept me from digging my nails into his skin and bringing my knee in between his legs with all my force: for as distorted as this was, he was all I had left in my life. The only thing for me to cling to as the world spun out of control around me, sights and sounds blurring together so that the only thing recognizable in my helter-skelter world was him.
I realized too late that this wasn't love; the furthest thing from, actually. The emotions I felt were nothing more than a panicked desperation for something familiar in this whirlwind place. This epiphany spurred me to whimper in a voice entirely different from my usually controlled tones.
"Don't," was all I could force my trembling mouth to shape as he slid his hands up my thighs. My pleading only seemed to impel him onward, his only acknowledgement a cruel smirk which seemed wholly out of place on his beautiful face. There was no notice of the tears as they leaked out of my eyes, shut in horror, and streamed undeterred down my cheeks.