3-15 Forks, Washington

“I can’t stand it,” Edward whined. “I don’t know! I don’t know what she’s thinking.” He pummeled the lintel of the door so hard that it cracked.

“Careful. Esme put a lot of work into this house.”

His jaw flexed, but he put his hand back in his pocket. Then he sat down.

I dropped into the same posture and slung an arm over his shoulder. He slumped a little to make it easier. For a long time, he didn’t say anything, just sat there and shook.

We’d moved to Ithaca. Then back to Forks, with Edward making what was very nearly his final stop in Italy along the way. And still, he came home to find that the thing he’d always longed for wasn’t as simple as he wanted it to be.

He shoved his head into his hands and clawed at his hair, so that little tufts of it appeared between his fingers.

“She kissed him. Does she love him? Is that what that means?”

I shrugged. “Does Jasper love Maria?”

Often, Edward’s gift annoys people; they don’t like the invasion of privacy. It’s uncomfortable to them that he can see everything, even if they don’t mean for him to. But I find it useful, because you don’t have to explain. Show, don’t tell, like our English teachers say year after year, decade after decade, high school after college after high school.

So I showed him.

Me, picking the pine needles out of Jasper’s hair that night as he just sat there, shaking.

The three weeks of him not looking at me.

The way he would cover his eyes when he walked too near a mirror.

And of course, all that sadness and shame he projected onto the rest of us; the way even Carlisle and Esme snapped at each other for weeks. That we all knew it was Jasper, but no one would dare ask him to leave. We just put up with it.

The other four thought it was just because of the accident and the thirteen dead bodies.

We three are the gifted ones, Jasper, Edward, and I. You can’t keep a secret from any one of us.

But we can keep one for one another.

Edward pressed himself against the wall. When he spoke, it was the voice of a child, curious about something he doesn’t have the capacity yet to understand.

“How did you forgive him?”

I shrugged. “I love him, E. That’s how it works, loving someone. There’s give and take. And there are things which will break you a lot more than they’ll ever break him…or her.”

He grunted. “So you’re weak.”

I actually chuckled. It was a very Edward response. My brother sees things in black and white. Weakness and strength. He doesn’t see all the possible permutations, the way one thing folds into another, how fragile any one decision is.

“Forgiving Jasper is the hardest thing I hope I’ll ever have to do,” I told him. “It took everything I had.”

For a long time, he didn’t answer. “So…forgive and forget? ” he said at last. “Is that what you’re advising me?”

I laughed and ruffled his hair. He yanked himself away as fast as possible. Edward doesn’t like having his hair ruffled, and I know it, but I do it anyway sometimes.

A sister has to be annoying at least a little, as far as I’m concerned.

“Vampires don’t forget anything,” I said.


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