A/N This is my contribution to the first ever Taylight Fanfiction Forums Challenge. Unfortunately, I own neither Japer Hale nor Taylor Hanson, nor any of the other associated characters or songs. They all belong to either Stephenie Meyer or Hanson…two of my favorite things! This was fun to write…I hope it is also fun to read!
Jasper: Where's the Love?
"You've gotta make those plays! Come on now! That should've been a routine out!" Emmett heckled the near life-sized shortstop on the new TV in our living room. The television was even larger and had better clarity than the one Edward destroyed a few weeks ago, but Emmett was clearly too busy couch-coaching the players to admire the quality of the set.
"They can't hear you, ya know." I teased him. "But we can."
Emmett whipped his head around and fixed me with an annoyance-filled glare. His eyes were significantly darker than they had been only yesterday.
"You need to hunt, man. You get cranky when you wait too long."
"I'm not cranky." Emmett retorted. "I just wish these guys would get their crap straight! That's the third time in one inning they've blown an easy out, and now the Rangers are gonna score again!"
"I'm sure they're going to score. I told you the Rangers were going to beat the Mariners, didn't I?"
"Wait, you're sure they're gonna score? Did Alice tell you that? 'Cause that's cheating, Jazz. You can't use your woman's hocus pocus when we're betting on sports!" The irritation radiating from Emmett was so strong that I felt sure that even those who did not share my particular ability would be able to feel it.
Alice's ringing laughter entered the room before she did. "As if I have nothing better to do than try to get visions of the outcome of some boring game." She lowered herself onto the cushion beside me and gave me a sly wink before turning to look at Emmett. "Although, now that you mention it, you might want to turn that game off. I know how you hate to lose, and I am assuming you bet against Texas."
Emmett groaned and reached for the remote. "Cheaters." He mumbled.
Alice rolled her eyes. "You really need to hunt soon, Emmett. You get grumpy when you're thirsty."
"Whatever." He stood up and chunked the remote at my head on his way out the door. I caught it smoothly and set it on the couch cushion beside me.
"The Rangers are really going to win?" I asked Alice quietly. "I'm surprised; they are the much weaker team this season."
"I have no idea if they will win or lose."
"But you told Emmett…"
"I told him that he might want to stop watching the game, not that I knew who would win."
I laughed. Even after all the years that Alice and I had been together, she was still able to constantly surprise me in little ways.
"And really, who would bet against Texas?" Alice coated her voice in a thick Texan accent. "They sure know how to grow them boys down there"
"That they do." I agreed, pouring the accent of my native Texas into my own voice. I had lost the accent even before I met Alice, but this conversation called for the revival of the twang.
"Happy Trails, Cowboy." Edward greeted me sarcastically as he entered the living room with his arm around Bella's waist.
Bella had a cell phone pressed against her ear. She waved at Alice and me, before pointing to the little blue phone and rolling her eyes. The phone had been a major point of conflict over the last few weeks between Edward and Bella. He purchased it for her shortly after they returned from Italy and insisted that she keep it with her at all times. She refused it, of course, not wanting anyone to spend any money on her. But Edward had conveniently left it in her truck or in her room every time he was forced to leave her alone, which was almost never. Now that her grounding had been lifted, Charlie had agreed with Edward on the necessity of Bella having a phone (in case she decided to make any more unannounced trips to 'California'), and she had reluctantly accepted it, although she insisted on paying for her own bill. Bella never worried about the right things. She felt no qualms about asking Edward to take her mortality; her humanity away from her, but she fretted over wasting the minutes on his cell phone account.
"That's great, Mom." Bella said into the phone with another roll of her eyes.
With my exceptional hearing, I, of course, was able to hear every word of her mother's response. "Honey, I'm serious. I'll have Phil mail the package to you tomorrow. You are going to love their newer stuff! They've come a long way since MMMBop."
That caught my attention. I turned my body to face Bella, simultaneously reading both her face and her emotions.
"I'm sure they have. I can't wait. But I had better let you go, Mom, I'm at…" she hesitated, "um…Alice's house. We've got an assignment due in English tomorrow that I need to work on."
The change of her emotional state led me to believe that she was not being completely honest with her mother, but I was too absorbed in Renee's comment about MMMBop to wonder about it.
"Sure thing. Talk to you later. Bye." Bella flipped the phone closed, sighed, and plopped down next to Alice on the sofa.
"Is everything alright with Renee?" Alice questioned her.
"I guess she's fine. She left me two voicemails today saying that it was urgent that I call her back immediately. Do you know what was so urgent? She couldn't find a CD that we bought forever ago."
"Well, music is urgent, Bella. You should have seen Edward when he thought he lost his Beatles album." Alice teased.
"I didn't lose it, Emmett 'borrowed' it, and that was different, it was autographed by all four band members.
Bella smirked at him. "This was actually autographed, too…but NOT by the Beatles."
"Who?" Alice asked.
Bella laughed easily. "Hanson."
Edward and I exchanged a quick look. We would have to be careful…these were dangerous waters.
Emmett walked back into the room and gave Bella a big smile. His grumpy mood never carried while Bella was around. "MMMBop Hanson?" He chuckled and poked her in the side as he walked past the couch and lowered his body onto the living room floor.
"The one and only. Or, no, I guess the three and only, technically." Bella smiled. "Yeah, Renee and I were big fans back in the day. We even went to a concert."
"Her urgent messages were about a missing HANSON CD?" Alice was openly laughing now.
"They were. Apparently, a friend of hers made her listen to some CD they've made more recently, and Renee loved it, and so she decided she had to find the old CD we already had." Bella shook her head. "And what's more, she is having Phil send me a package tomorrow of all of their CDs."
"Your mother is sending you Hanson CDs?" Emmett stared, disbelieving.
"Don't sound so surprised. She's always had a thing for younger guys, just look at Phil."
"No way. She has a thing for them? But they're like… twelve!" Emmett was shaking with laughter.
I don't know what made me do it—watching Emmett laugh like an idiot, or sensing the hilarity that he, Bella, and even Alice were all feeling at the situation—but whatever it was, I betrayed a nearly decade old secret with one misspoken sentence.
"Ike is twenty-five."
For a moment no one spoke. Edward shot me an exasperated look.
I know. I'll keep your name out of it. I thought to him.
Slowly Alice turned to look at me and raised one eyebrow. "Come again?"
"They aren't twelve. The oldest is twenty-five now."
"And you know this because…"
"Because they are actually really good."
Emmett was laughing so hard he was barely understandable. "The…the…. Mmm…MMMBop boys? Really… good?"
"Yes." I replied curtly.
"Hold on a minute." Alice said and jumped up off the couch. She returned a moment later with her laptop under her arm. She sat back down between Bella and me on the couch. "If Jasper says they are good, then I am inclined to believe him."
Emmett snorted. "Of course you are. But I don't listen to cheaters."
Alice just rolled her eyes and began typing away on the keyboard.
"Wow." Bella said. "I wish I could type that quickly. I would already have that English essay finished."
"You already do have it finished, Bella. You just keep editing it and re-editing it. You're going to get an A, so you should just leave it alone."
"You don't know that…" Bella started, but when Alice looked at her with a raised eyebrow, she stopped short. "Oh, I suppose maybe you do. Well, good. I guess I'm done with my essay, then." She laughed.
"Here we are." Alice stated as a page began to load on her computer. Suddenly the screen was filled with a close up shot of Taylor Hanson: his head thrown back, his messy locks framing his face, and his mouth open wide in song.
"Well..." Alice said. "He certainly isn't twelve."
"Wow!" Bella exclaimed. "Is that Taylor? He sure has grown up."
I was beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable. I was trying to block out Bella and Alice's emotions, but it was difficult to do. I had never felt this particular feeling rising off Alice for anyone other than myself, and it was, at the very least, distinctly unsettling.
"Dude. He's so SKINNY!" Emmett laughed. "Jasper is a fan of skinny pretty boys. Who knew?"
"I'm a fan of the music." I snarled. "Not of his pant size."
I realized the implied meaning of my statement seconds after it danced off my tongue.
Emmett's laugh gained new fervor as he rolled onto his back on the floor, and even Bella and Alice began to giggle.
Rosalie entered the living room then on her way out to the garage to work on her M3. She stopped when she saw the image on the screen. "Taylor Hanson?" she breathed. "You were talking about Taylor Hanson? Well, then Jazz, I will have to disagree with you. I am a fan of his pant size. The boy wears them rather tight; it makes for a nice view."
Emmett stopped laughing abruptly. "Oh, no. Not you, too."
"What?" Rosalie asked. "You like them, too."
Emmett eyed Rosalie curiously. "What? I don't like MMMBop. I mean, it was okay when it came out and all, but I'm not an over the top fan of MMMBop or anything."
Rosalie laughed. "I don't have time for this. Play him some of the music, Alice. I've got to get to work on this engine." She was out the door before she finished her sentence.
Alice looked up questioningly at me. "Any particular song you think we should hear?"
I mentally ran through the roster of my favorite songs, and narrowed it down to those that I thought would have the most impact on those in the room. I knew well that Edward's favorite was "A Song to Sing." I knew it because he was, before now, the lone soul that knew my secret. He was my coconspirator. For nearly a decade he and I had made excuses for why we'd left together on hunting trips—just the two of us— for days at a time: we had been attending Hanson shows.
Edward had gone begrudgingly to the first concert with me. He hadn't shown any interest in the band, but I had been enamored with the music from the very first time I heard them on the radio. I hadn't planned on telling anyone about my idea to go to the concert, and hoped that Alice wouldn't see what I was up to—but Edward had read my thoughts. He cornered me, and asked how wise I thought it was to attend a stadium crowded with young girls whose blood would be pumping at twice the normal rate, and whose emotions would be tipping the Richter scale. I argued halfheartedly, but deep down I knew Edward was right. Sensing how disappointed I was, he offered to come with me to help me out of any situations that proved too much to handle.
Halfway into the first song Edward had become as big a fan as I was, and from that point on, we had secretly attended dozens of shows together. It had been disconcerting to both of us to watch the Hanson Brothers and their fans grow and mature while we remained unchanged. It eventually became necessary for us to show up in disguise, as so many of the same fans seemed to be at every concert we attended. Sometimes the emotions of the fans were so intense that I thought I might go mad, but when that happened I would tune them out and focus on the band—particularly on Taylor. When he was onstage it was pure joy that radiated from him, and being able to read the emotions of those around me, I can tell you that pure joy is a rare commodity. That, along with their talent and passion for the music, had hooked both Edward and I into the world of Hanson Fandom.
Initially 'Weird" had been his favorite. It had been mine, too. The lyrics spoke volumes about our existence of a self-imposed semi exile from the world around us. But with the second album had come "A Song to Sing" and I knew that it had been Edward's favorite from that point on. I had promised him I would keep his name out of this conversation—that I would keep his secret, even if I had unthinkingly betrayed my own— but no one would know that he even knew this song.
"A Song to Sing." I finally answered Alice's question.
Her fingers danced over the keyboard briefly before a familiar voice began to fill the room. For over a minute we all sat silently, listening.
Bella was the first to speak. "This is really pretty. I've heard it before, though, I think."
Alice's eyes lit up and seemed to smile as broadly as her lips. I knew in that instant that she knew exactly what was going on, and what's more, I realized that she must have known all along.
"Edward!" Bella turned her face towards him. "I've heard you play this on the piano! It's on the CD that you made for me, even."
Emmet laughed again. "I've heard him play it, too. Wow. Edward and Jasper are both MMMBoppers, who knew?"
Edward had yet to speak, but he was emitting toxic levels of embarrassment.
Bella lightly brushed the hair out of Edward's eyes. "It is a beautiful song."
"It is." He agreed, all traces of his earlier embarrassment disappeared. I knew that as long as he had Bella's approval, he wouldn't care what anyone else thought anymore, or about the levels of teasing that we were both sure to endure from Emmett over the next century or two.
The next twenty minutes were spent listening to more of my favorite songs. Bella and Alice both really enjoyed them, and Emmett continued to poke fun at each and every song that was played. It was grudgingly that Bella admitted she needed to be returning home before Charlie reinstated her grounded status for being late. She and Edward both stood to leave, but Alice raised her hand to stop them.
"One more." She said, and clicked the mouse of her computer again. The first two words of 'Save Me' were not even finished before Emmett leapt from the floor and ran to the garage.
"What just happened?" Bella questioned.
Edward was mildly embarrassed again, but Alice was clearly gleeful.
"You remember Rosalie told him that he liked their music? Well, that song is kind of a personal favorite of theirs."
Bella scrunched her eyebrows together, clearly not understanding the implication of what Alice was saying.
"Mood music." Alice said, and laughed. "He had no idea who was singing, before. But clearly, Emmett and Rosalie have been making memories to Hanson for years now."
The four of us laughed at the absurdity of what this evening had unveiled: a house full of unsuspecting Hanson fans.
After Edward left to take Bella home, I followed Alice up the stairs and into the room that we shared. She headed to the closet to remove the clothing she had worn for the day.
"You knew all along, didn't you?" I called to her.
"Of course I knew. I see everything you do, Jasper. You know that."
"I suppose I should have." I replied honestly and sat down on the edge of the plush sofa. "But why didn't you ever say anything."
Alice exited the closet then, wearing a striking black silk negligee that took my breath away. "Because it made you boys happy to think that you had your little secret. And I like to make you happy…"
She sat down on my lap then, her beautiful lips forming a smile that I had memorized ages ago. She leaned in to kiss me, but before her lips met mine she sighed "because you're crazy beautiful."