Author: LaViePastiche PM
Summer of ’76, American Bicentennial. Bella Swan finds herself intrigued by a handsome landscaper with a curious reputation. The bad guys don’t always wear black. Example entry for "For the Love of Jasper" Contest. J/B, AH One Shot.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Mystery - Jasper & Bella - Words: 8,871 - Reviews: 124 - Favs: 209 - Follows: 52 - Published: 08-23-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5325748
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
~ Example Entry ~
"For the Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest
Title: Pine Lake
Pen name: LaViePastiche
Existing work: N/A
Primary Players: Jasper & Bella
Disclaimer: I wish I owned Jasper, but unfortunately SM already does
To see other entries in the "For the Love of Jasper" contest, please visit the C2:
Thanks to the Pinball Wizard, Legna989 for betaing.
Pine Lake, Georgia. July 1976
My motto's always been; when it's right, it's right. Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night? When everything's a little clearer in the light of day, and you know the night is always gonna be there any way….
Rosalie and I sat on the steps of the front porch eating Popsicles and watching the painters put the finishing touches on my house. We had an extension cord running into the house through the hall window so that we could play the radio outside.
"It's hot enough to melt a furnace," Rosalie groaned, tilting her head back to finish her Popsicle before it melted all over her fingers.
One of the painters, a young burly guy with curly black hair named Emmett, cut between us to grab some supplies of the porch. He took the steps two at a time and flashed Rosalie a bright grin as he passed. The painters had been here for a week now and every time Rosalie was over he always seemed to be close at hand, finding reasons to walk by or work near her. Not that it really mattered to me, but I couldn't help but feel a little jealous of all the male attention Rosie got. I didn't consider myself an ugly duckling, but I certainly couldn't work a halter top and short-shorts like she could.
We had moved to Pine Lake from Washington less than a month ago. My parents did a lot of the fixing up before we moved in, while I hung back in Forks, staying with my grandparents. My father's friend and formed boss, Billy, offered him a job in Pine Lake as Chief of Police and surprisingly both my mom and I were really enthusiastic about the idea of moving. After 20 years, I had finally had my fill of the rainy Pacific Northwest. My best friend Angela had moved to New York a year ago to go to university so it wasn't so hard for me pick up and go. My life in Forks had been decent if not a little boring, so even though we found ourselves in yet another tiny town, it felt like an adventure to me.
I met Rosalie two weeks after moving here when I applied for a job at a small grocery store in town. She worked there as head cashier and we hit it off immediately. I guess new people were a rarity around here and we'd hung out pretty much everyday since.
I stared blankly at a bustling anthill, thinking about all the stuff that led me here to this big old house and my new best friend, when I felt cool liquid dripping between my knuckles and down my hand.
"Shit!" I exclaimed as a large drop of grape Popsicle splashed onto my dress. I licked the juice off my hands and sucked the last chunk of flavored ice off the wooden stick. The pale pink smocked-top sundress I was wearing was my favorite and I frowned, fanning it out to look at the stain.
"You'll be fine," Rosalie said, "it's mostly water."
She grabbed a rag off the porch and dunked it in her water glass before dabbing the stain with it. When "Magic Man" came on the radio she dropped the rag and squealed, leaning over to turn it up.
Cold late night so long ago, when I was not so strong you know. A pretty man came to me, never seen eyes so blue…
I laughed as she jumped up and swayed on the porch to the music, using her Popsicle stick as a microphone. The show was not lost on Emmett who was conspicuously watching while pretending to busy himself with a roller brush and tray.
The loud noise of a chainsaw revving briefly drowned out the music. I turned towards the sound coming from the edge of the lot to see a tall, blonde man emerge from the trees. He cleared a bit of the brush from where he came and then turned the chainsaw off, setting it down on the ground. The music again flooded back into my ears as I watched him approach.
…Never think of never. Let this spell last forever. Summer lover passed to fall, tried to realize it all. Mama says she's worried, growing up in a hurry…
I don't think my jaw dropped, but it may have. He had long blonde hair that appeared to have a bit of a wave though it was wet and stuck closely to his head and neck. It was an even prettier shade of blonde than Rosalie's, with honeyish streaks that refracted the sunlight like a prism. He was wearing a faded gray t-shirt that was soaked with sweat, a pair of worn and faded 501s and dirty work boots. My eyes raked over him and I felt my underarms start to perspire and my leg start to bounce up and down nervously. When he peeled off his shirt and used it as a rag to wipe his brow, I nearly fainted. My brain started to overheat as it processed the sight of his muscles flexing and glistening, and then something else altogether began to overheat as my gaze zeroed in on his nipples and I briefly fantasized about what it might feel like to graze my fingers over them.
Ew, God, Bella, you are gross. Where did that come from? I quickly looked away, inexplicably terrified that he could read my thoughts.
Just as quickly as I had averted my eyes, they darted back to him. He was standing in the center of the lawn, looking right at me. A fire ripped through me and I was certain that every inch of me blushed. For a moment his expression was blank, if not a little surly, and then a small smirk tugged at the side of his mouth. It wasn't exactly friendly; in fact, it seemed almost mocking. I was mortified to be making eye contact with him and yet I couldn't look away. On the contrary, I somehow managed to both maintain eye contact and visually molest every inch of him. He threw his t-shirt over his shoulder and I wanted to run over, grab it, and bury my face into it. Ew, again.
I was mildly annoyed when I felt Rosalie tug my arm, ripping my concentration from the optical playground that was Chainsaw Guy's naked upper body.
"Let's go inside, Bella," Rosalie murmured, her voice tense.
She tugged my arm harder and I begrudgingly got up and followed, stealing embarrassingly obvious glances back at the shirtless man on my lawn.
As soon as we were inside, the screen door slamming shut behind us, I forcefully shook my arm from Rosalie's grip.
"What the heck, Rosie?" I snapped.
"I was about to say the same thing. What was that all about?"
"What was what?" I said, playing dumb.
"Pshhh," she said, flipping her ponytail. "You were drooling like a dog in front of a juicy steak."
"Well, ummmm, did you see that guy? Do I make fun of you when you bat your eyelashes and shake your behind in front of Emmett all day?"
She frowned. "That's different."
"How?" I asked, resting my hands on my hips.
"You don't get it. You're new here. That guy…that's Jasper Whitlock, and just…stay away from him, okay?"
"Why?" I asked. I really didn't think there was any danger of me getting anywhere near that guy, but I didn't like to be bossed around.
"Because he's weird, that's why. Just trust me."
I was about to protest and to demand elaboration when my father burst through the back door and into the hallway carrying a large box full of lawn care accessories. He was at the tail end of a three-week vacation and as such his hair was shaggy and he had grown a bushy Fu Manchu mustache.
"Hi Charlie!" Rosalie said brightly. "Niiiiice shorts," she teased, referring to his hunter green Jantzens.
My dad laughed sheepishly, as he was wont to do around my female friends. "Hello, Rosie! Bella, do me a favor and bring these outside to Jasper. He's the fella with the chainsaw in case you were wondering."
I blushed hard at even the suggestion of going near him. Rosalie smirked.
"Oh, she knows who he is."
My dad frowned a little but still extended the box to me. "I have to run out and pick your mother up at the school."
My mom, Renee, was going to be teaching the 7th grade at a school in Stone Mountain, and she went there that afternoon to check out the new digs.
He practically shoved the box against me so I took it and frowned. "Fine. Can you pick up some blueberries on the way home? I want to bake a pie later."
He nodded. "I'll be back in a bit," he said, slapping the box before heading back out the way he came in.
"Well, looks like you're going to get to talk to him after all. Just give him the box and come back. Don't go drooling all over him."
"I want to know why he's so weird Rosie," I said, walking slowly towards the front door.
"I'll tell you later," she said, looking not at me but out the front window. "I've gotta go home now."
I followed her gaze and saw Emmett walking up the dirt driveway towards the road, knapsack in hand.
I rolled my eyes. "You want to offer him a ride home, don't you?"
She winked at me as she opened the screen door. "I'll talk to you later!"
I stood at the door and watched her bound up the path towards Emmett, and her car, before stepping onto the porch. My dad drove up behind them and I shifted the box and balanced it on my knee so that I could wave goodbye to him.
I hoisted the awkward overflowing box back into my arms and walked down the porch steps and across the lawn. Jasper was at the edge staring at a row of gnarly bushes. His back was nearly as glorious as his chest and his backside was just…it was good.
When I was a few yards from him he turned around and squinted at me. He stood still for a moment before jogging towards me. I could hear the distant strains of Peter Frampton wafting from the front porch and I was tempted to just drop the box and lunge myself at him. Instead I stopped dead and waited for him to catch up.
"Let me get that," he said. He's voice was surprisingly quiet, and not-so-surprisingly masculine and gravelly.
"My dad asked me to bring this to you," I said, nearly moaning when his hand grazed mine as he pulled the box from me.
"Thanks," he responded, depositing the box next to him on the ground.
For some reason I felt annoyed that he didn't offer more conversation. He wasn't very friendly.
"Do you want something to drink?" I asked, my voice all high and awkward and embarrassing.
"No thanks, I'm fine." He stood and stared for just another moment before kneeling down to rifle though the supplies.
I hesitated for a moment before turning and heading back up the lawn. Gee, what a friendly, warm guy.
He didn't call after me when I turned to leave. I don't know why he should have; I just wanted him to. I wanted him to say something other than "thanks." When I got back to the porch I glanced quickly back at him to find that he was merely going about his business, trimming the hedges with a pair of clippers. I rolled my eyes at both him and myself. At him because I was annoyed he didn't even flirt with me, and at me because, really, he was Robert Redford-hot so that probably explained why he didn't.
I picked the radio up and brought it in the house and busied myself until my parents returned. My mom stormed in the door first, wearing a stylish yellow pantsuit.
"Too hot for polyester today!" she moaned, ripping the jacket off. "Alright, hon, I am going to put my housecoat on and then we can bake this pie!" She gave me a quick peck on the forehead before heading upstairs.
After she changed she came back downstairs and we assembled the pie and popped it in the oven to bake. I hung around the kitchen, sweating and waiting for it to finish. We just started making pies when we moved here because we thought it was a very southern thing to do, and I had become obsessed with it. Pies were really tasty.
When it was golden brown on top and finished baking I pulled it from the oven and grabbed a clean dishcloth. I headed towards the porch with the pie, intending to set it down to cool out there. Not like it was much cooler outside, but it was the southern thing to do.
I stepped on to the porch only to be greeted with the sight of Jasper bent over on the front lawn hosing down the upper half of his body. You've got to be kidding me. I told myself not to gawk, but suddenly I heard a thud and then Jasper was walking over to me all dripping wet and stuff.
"You dropped your pie," he said, gesturing to the floorboards.
I suddenly snapped out of it and felt the burning hot blueberry goo on my foot. "Shit! Shit!" I spat, squatting down to inspect the overturned dessert on the porch floor.
I flipped the pie plate over and picked it up with the rag wrapped around my hand, but most of the contents remained on the ground. I picked up what I could and dumped it back in the plate, but there was still blueberry goo everywhere.
"Hold on," Jasper said. He walked back to where he was previously showering and grabbed the garden hose. "Step back." He was a man of few words and many orders.
I did as I was told and he hosed the mess off the porch and then he hosed my feet. I had put the pie plate on the arm of the porch swing so that I could deal with my messy hands. He gestured for me to hold them out so I did and he rinsed them off as well. He tossed the hose out on the lawn and then stood there staring at me for a minute before stepping closer. I stood there, hands dripping at my sides, waiting for something. Anything.
Finally he reached out and swiped a glob of blueberry off my arm and then popped his finger in his mouth.
"Too bad, it was good pie," he said matter-of-factly before turning and walking back down the steps.
I wanted to scream but my whole body seemed to be frozen in place. Jasper didn't even turn around again, he just walked to the side of the house, turned the hose off and then walked up the driveway towards the road.
Eventually I regained feeling in my legs and walked back into the house to dump the decimated pie into the garbage. I cleaned the pie plate and then sulked into the family room.
"I dropped the pie," I said.
My mother and father both looked at me. "Why?" my dad asked.
"Well, obviously it was an accident."
My mom frowned sympathetically. "Aw, we'll make another one tomorrow, hon. And hey – Welcome Back Kotter is on soon!"
I stared at the clock above the bread shelf, willing the minute hand to move. Thirty minutes until my shift was over.
Mrs. Cope came up to my till, and as I rang her purchases through I called over to Rosalie, who was stocking candy on the endcap next to mine. "You didn't tell me what was up with that Jasper Whitlock guy."
Mrs. Cope frowned at the mention of his name and Rosalie gave me a look. As soon as she exited the store I asked Rosalie again to explain herself.
"First of all, his parents died when he was in high school. Both, in a car accident. Apparently he was some golden boy football star in high school, and then after his parents died he got weird, which I guess is understandable. He was offered all kinds of football scholarships but he didn't take them, and he didn't even go to college. He started doing landscaping for Mike Newton's dad after he graduated and then a year later he started dating this crazy girl, Alice Brandon. She was a total nut and ended up killing herself two years ago-"
"Oh my God! That's horrible!" I interjected.
"Yeah, so then after that he retreated from society for awhile or something and got even weirder. He barely talked to anybody, just did his landscaping stuff, and I guess he's still doing that. He owns his own company now, though, which was doing really well, but then last summer two high school girls were murdered and found in the woods. They never found out who did it, but most people think it was probably him. They were hacked up pretty bad and some hedge clippers and an axe were buried in the woods, but they were totally clean and there was really no other useful evidence. He hangs out a lot at Lawson's point, which is where everyone goes to party and make-out and stuff, and that's where the girls were last seen. For awhile no one went there but nothing has happened since then, so people have started to go back."
"Do you really think he did that? I mean how does he still get work if everyone thinks he's a murderer."
"I definitely think it, but I guess some people still give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean he's never said anything to deny it either, which is weird. He lost a lot of work after that all went down, but I think lots of people just feel bad for him, and he does a lot of work in other towns too. Everyone knows about it, but I guess some people just let it go when no charges were pressed. The police have questioned him a lot, but they've never been able to hold him."
An uneasy feeling blanketed me, but it was tinged more with sadness than fear. I couldn't imagine experiencing the horrible things he had, and if the murder thing wasn't true, well, how must it feel to be ostracized from society for something you didn't even do? I wondered why he didn't just pick up and leave the state.
"Anyway, so obviously your dad didn't know that stuff when he hired him. I know he's really cute and stuff, but believe me, it's better to steer clear, Bella."
"How old is he?"
"I think he's 26," she said, opening a box of Boston Baked Beans and dumping the contents in her mouth.
My heart sank. He was so young to have had so much heartache in his life. I don't know why the possibility of him being a murder didn't bother me more. It just seemed like losing several of your loved ones wasn't really enough to turn you into a murderer, but it certainly made it easier for the world to point fingers at you.
I jumped a bit when the door jingled and Mike Newton walked in.
"Hello lovely ladies," he said, winking at me. He grabbed some Necco wafers off the candy shelf plopped them down in front of me. "Hey, Bella," he said, his eyes all a-twinkle.
Rosalie came around and stood next to him. "Hi to you too, Mike," she said in an exaggerated voice.
"Are you ladies planning on going to the Bicentennial Jubilee tomorrow?" he asked, looking at me.
"Hell yes we are, and that reminds me, Bella; Emmett asked me to go," she said, smiling brightly.
"Oh wow, what a surprise," I replied sarcastically.
"And do you have a date?" Mike asked, his voice hopeful.
"No, Mike, I don't," I responded, already anticipating his next words.
"How about you and me and Emmett and Rosalie go together?"
I wasn't really interested in Mike, at least not romantically, but I figured we'd have fun and it seemed like having a date to these things was almost mandatory, so I agreed. We made plans for Mike to pick me up and then for all of us to meet at the park where the festivities were.
The following day my mother tasked me with sorting through the last of the boxes we had in the garage, so I spent most of it in the garage. I put on Queen and tried to make it fun rather than annoying and sweat-inducing. Half an hour later and four boxes in, I was dancing to "Killer Queen" when I spun around and saw Jasper standing at the edge of the driveway watching me. I could have died. He didn't break eye contact but after a moment he smiled lazily and crossed the driveway to head back to the front yard. Later, I was on the porch tinkering with my bike when Jasper came up the steps and asked for a drink of water. I got all flustered and offered him 97 other beverage choices as well.
He laughed and responded that, "Water would be just fine."
When I brought him a glass, I swear I felt his fingers linger over mine as he accepted it and then when he finished he thanked me and winked. I had to go lay down after that and pretty much swooned the rest of the day.
That evening I waited for Mike on the porch and I was a little disappointed that Jasper left only a short while before. It was stupid, but I kind of wanted him to see me going on a date. I was wearing my best dress, a deep blue halter mini dress that my mom bought for me on a trip to New York City, and wedge sandals, and I wanted him to see me all gussied up instead of, well, sweaty or covered in pie, like I usually was. Funny how seeing him all sweaty didn't bother me one bit, and seeing him covered in pie would be just…oh my.
The sound of Mike's Valiant rolling down the drive pulled me from my pie-covered Jasper fantasies. As I got up to meet him he stepped out of the car and let out a low whistle.
"Hubba hubba! You look great," he said, walking around the car to open my door.
"Thanks, you too!" I said to be polite. He did look good, but unfortunately for him I couldn't help but compare him to what I had been staring at all afternoon.
He helped me into the car, his hand lingering too long and too low on the small of my back. His touch made me uncomfortable, but I figured I was just being overly sensitive.
On the ride to the park we chatted mostly about our plans for the rest of the summer as well as Mike's plans to return to the University of Georgia in the fall. When we arrived we found Rosalie and Emmett standing right by the bumper cars where we planned to meet up.
We got some food and went on some of the rides but it was barely even dusk when Mike suggested we all go to Lawson's Point. I knew what that meant and I was not enthusiastic about the idea.
"Wait, Rosie, didn't you say that's where those girls were murdered?" I asked.
While her tone was so ominous and foreboding in the grocery store, she now rolled her eyes at me like I was a big baby. "That was last year, nothing has happened since. Everyone goes there again."
Either she had been seriously exaggerating before, or she wanted to make out with Emmett so badly that she was willing to risk her own safety. The latter was actually not that hard to believe.
My concern with going there actually had nothing to do with the murders and everything to do with not wanting to be alone with Mike in his car at some make-out spot. However, I was outnumbered so I begrudgingly agreed to go along.
We followed Emmett and Rosalie there and on the way I thought of another argument. I protested that we would miss the fireworks, but of course, Mike claimed that Lawson's Point had the best view of them.
We pulled into the clearing and Mike parked next to Emmett. I looked over and saw that they were already all over each other in the car. I began to feel increasingly more uncomfortable. To the left of us there was a beat up old pick-up parked at the far end of the clearing. Mike moved closer and put his arm around me.
"Mike, I feel a little weird. There's someone else here too."
"Oh, yeah, that's just that creep Jasper Whitlock. Don't worry about him. And soon there will be a lot more people here but it's no big deal…I mean it's a popular spot."
That didn't really make me feel much better. "So, he still hangs out here? I mean even with all the murder accusations?"
"Yeah. He's here a lot. Probably stalking for new victims. He's obviously a pretty dumb criminal."
He leaned over and nuzzled his nose against my ear. I tilted my head forward and glanced over at the truck, but I couldn't see Jasper. All of a sudden I felt Mike's gross warm, wet tongue in my ear, and his hand clench over my neck.
"Mike!" I yelped, trying to pull away.
He shifted a bit and then practically lunged across the seat, pinning me against the door.
"Oh, Bella," he groaned, his hand moving roughly over my breast.
"Mike! Stop! Get off me," I squirmed beneath him but I couldn't seem to find my way out of his grip.
"Come on, you obviously knew what you were coming here for," he snarled.
I felt his hand on my inner thigh and I lost it. I tried to scream but it came out like a pained whine. I thrashed beneath him but no matter where I moved or what I did he would still end up over top of me. He was everywhere. The door was digging into my back and my panic level was rising rapidly. Finally, just as his hand reached the edge of my underwear I managed to knee him in the balls. It wasn't as hard as I would have liked, but he jumped back and clutched himself. I fiddled with the door lock but my hands were shaking so hard I was having a hard time getting them to do anything. My heart dropped into my stomach when I felt his hand close tight around my shoulder. He yanked me back into his arms and held me tight. I felt his spit against the side of my face when he hissed in my ear.
"You're not going anywhere." The malice in his voice set off even louder alarm bells in my head. I immediately thought of the two girls killed last summer.
He turned me around roughly and pushed me back against the door. "Try to fight me and you'll lose," he growled. "Just fucking relax and everything will be fine."
His hands moved to his belt and he began to loosen it. Thankfully my brain kicked into high gear and took ownership of my limbs again. I raised my leg, and naturally since Mike's dick ran the show, he allowed himself to get distracted by the view, giving me the opportunity to kick him hard in the face. He fell back against the door and clutched his face. I lingered only for a minute to see the blood leak out between his fingers.
I quickly unlocked the door and got out of the car. I saw only Emmett lying down in the backseat of Rosie's car and I assumed she was underneath. I didn't want to waste the time getting them up and mobilized. I knew they'd be all right, but I felt like I would burst if I didn't just start moving. I hesitated for only a moment and then I just ran.
I ran out of the clearing and down the road and then I heard a car behind me. I didn't turn around fearing that it was Mike following me. I quickly ducked into the woods and kept on running. I didn't know where I was but at least I knew the direction I was running in. I kept going and going and I was amazed that I could run so fast, for so long without getting tired or falling down. I had been running parallel to the road and I knew if I wanted to get closer to my house I needed to go west. I turned and kept going until a hit a narrow river. The water moved rapidly but it wouldn't be much to cross.
My stomach lurched again when I heard twigs cracking behind me. Without thinking I ran straight into the river. I made it in about a foot when I slipped on a rock and fell hard onto my back, against a cluster of rocks and branches. I immediately lost my breath. I brought my hands to my throat and tried to take in a breath but nothing came and the only sound I could make was strained gasp. I rolled onto my stomach and tried to get up, but I just flopped in the shallow water like a dying fish.
Suddenly, I felt two hands grasp both my upper-arms. I closed my eyes and everything just turned off. That was it, it was over, he found me and I was going to die in the woods. As I was being pulled from the water all I could think of were hedge clippers and axes and poor Jasper Whitlock.
My breath came rushing back as the hands lifted me out of the water and towards the bank. I choked and gasped and cursed because I wanted to just pass out before the massacre started.
"Jesus Christ you're fast," came a voice that was not Mike's at all.
My head shot up and my eyes focused in on Jasper, frowning and straining to drag my dead weight to safety. I instantly felt safe, though I knew that was not what I was supposed to feel.
"You got the wind knocked out of you," he said, his voice calm and flat.
My breathing stabilized a little bit and I probably could have spoken, but I had no idea what to say.
"What got you running like that?" he asked, setting me down on the ground. He sat down next to me and propped his elbows on his knees. His jeans and boots were all wet and I felt bad.
"Did you follow me?" I winced at how rude I must have sounded. He pretty much saved my life and I start with accusatory questions?
"No. Well, yes. You ran from the car in the clearing, and that Newton kid got out and he was bleeding. I was going to kick his ass but I figured you already did, and you probably shouldn't have been running in the road."
"Thank you, for saving me."
"That water was pretty shallow. You probably wouldn't have drowned."
"Your name is Bella, right?" he asked.
"Yeah, how did you know?"
"I heard your dad call you that. I'm Jasper," he said, offering his hand.
I took it and didn't want to let go. "I know," I said.
He nodded slowly, looking a little disappointed. "Yeah, I figured," he said. He sat quietly for a moment, twirling a twig in his hand. "I live about a half mile down the road. I have a clothes dryer. Did you want to go back there and dry your clothes?"
I nodded, unsure if I was more stunned by everything that had just happened, or by the fact that he was actually talking to me, and offering to take me to his house. "Thanks. If it's not too much trouble."
He shook his head and stood up, offering me his hand. His jeans were soaked at the bottom and wet all the way up the front and his t-shirt was too.
"Sorry, I got you all wet," I apologized, taking his hand and getting up off the ground.
"Don't worry about it. You're worse off, I reckon."
We walked silently back to the road. When we got in his truck he turned to me.
"You alright? You never said why you were running."
For the first time I felt comfortable looking right at him, into his eyes. He seemed genuinely concerned, though his tone didn't really convey it. His eyes were big and bright blue and so sad and self-conscious that I wondered how anyone could ever think he would be capable of killing people. I was the one who just got attacked and almost drowned and yet I wanted to hold him and comfort him.
"That guy, Mike…he…"
"Wait," he waved his hand in the air. "Never mind, you don't have to talk about it. I can imagine. Did you punch him?"
"No, I kicked him in the face."
He chuckled. "Nice." He stared ahead for a moment and then turned to me, again wearing an expression of concern. "Are you okay?"
"I think so," I said, surveying myself.
"No, I mean, are you okay?" he repeated himself, stressing the you.
I didn't really have time to think about it, but I responded anyway. "Yes. I'm okay."
He started up the truck and we drove to his house in silence. We pulled off the main road and headed down a long dirt path. It was dark and I could barely see his place through the trees until we got out of the truck.
It was a tiny little house with a kind of dilapidated porch. He led me wordlessly to the front door and before opening it he said. "It's messy. I don't usually have company. It's clean though, just cluttered."
I nodded and reassured him that I wasn't fussy. He opened the door and flicked on the lights, revealing a large sitting area backing on to a small galley kitchen. There were books everywhere. On the couch, on the chairs, the coffee table, the kitchen counter.
I kicked my sandals off and walked right in. I walked past the coffee table to the small dining table in the back of the room near the kitchen area. There were stacks of books covering most of it except for one place setting. I picked a tattered copy of To Kill a Mockingbird off the top of the pile and absentmindedly flipped through it.
"Alice, my…ex-girlfriend, she read a lot. She could speed read and sometimes she read a couple books a day. I've read most of them now, but it took me a hell of a lot longer."
I nodded and felt my eyes well a little, remembering the story of his girlfriend. "I love to read as well. I was thinking about maybe going to school to study English Literature."
"You're not in college?" he asked.
"Not yet, no. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do."
"You should go," he said. "Study anything, just go."
I placed the book gently back on the top of the pile and adjusted my wet dress.
"Oh, hold on," he said, disappearing into a room on the other side of the front door. He returned a minute later with a t-shirt and a towel in his hand. He had changed into similar pair of jeans, only dry, and a white t-shirt.
He extended the shirt and towel to me. "Here. I, uh, I don't really have anything for…your lower half. You could just use the towel maybe.'
I accepted the pile and smiled. "That's fine, thanks."
He showed me to the bathroom and true to his word it was quite clean and the only room not littered with books. I quickly removed my clothes and bunched them into a pile and then slipped on the dry t-shirt and wrapped the towel tightly around my waist.
I exited the bathroom and handed him the pile of clothes. He went into the kitchen and then through a screen door to where I assumed the washer and dryer were. I stood at the kitchen counter, my back to him, perusing a book called The Decameron.
I heard him in the sitting room and then a moment later I heard the radio come on.
The disc jockey was describing various bicentennial events happening around the state, and then he dedicated a song to the whole country.
I closed my eyes as "Strange Magic" filled the room.
I felt a hand on my elbow. I flinched, not having heard Jasper approach.
He asked if I would like a drink but then immediately his jaw tightened, in response to my reaction.
He stepped closer. Too close. "Are you scared? Are you uncomfortable here?" he asked.
I was uncomfortable, but not because I was scared. "No. I'm not scared," I responded, maintaining eye contact.
"But you've heard, right? You should be scared."
"I'm not," I said again, my voice not betraying my sentiment. "You won't hurt me."
He tried to maintain a stern expression, but I could see that he was suppressing a smile. He looked down at his bare feet, his hair falling forward, slightly wavy from the humidity.
"Stop trying to push me away," I said. "I don't believe any of it." I knew what he was doing. I knew he was trying to become a self-fulfilling prophecy and I hated that.
I straightened out and placed my hand on his shoulder. "I love this song. Dance with me?"
He looked up again and squinted at me. I reached down and grabbed his hand, lifting it and lacing my fingers through his. He stood completely still, so I moved closer and rested my head against his chest. I had never been so forward with a boy in all my life, but I told myself it was just an innocent dance. I knew it was a lie when I felt his hand slide over the small of my back. I wanted to melt into him completely. I wanted both arms around me and all over me.
We swayed almost imperceptibly and then I felt his face press against the top of my head. As the song ended I pulled back and looked up at him. I could see the conflict in his eyes as his hand slid to my hip and his grip tightened. I reached up and laced my fingers around his neck, pulling gently. I closed my eyes and a moment later I felt his lips against mine. They were softer than I expected and the kiss was chaste. I opened my mouth slightly and ran my tongue between his lips. They parted and the taste of his mouth sent a ripple of pleasure and anticipation through my whole body.
His hand moved gently along my back. The song had ended though we continued to sway gently, kissing passionately. The DJ spoke of fireworks and forgiveness and new beginnings. Jasper's grip tightened a bit and his kisses became more desperate. He dragged his lips from mine and pressed them against my ear.
"I don't want you to be scared," he whispered, pressing himself against me.
I smiled as a new song came on, reflecting a shift in my mood. As Heart played "Crazy on You," I backed away from Jasper and looked him in the eye, repeating myself once more, with feeling.
"You won't hurt me," I said. Jasper was hurting and misunderstood, but the real monsters were the Mike Newtons of the world, who hid behind smiles and family and money and pointed fingers to cover their own deviance. I wasn't being irresponsible because I knew Jasper would never hurt me. Just as I knew I didn't want to be in that car with Mike.
No more than a second after my statement, I felt my lower back hit the kitchen counter and then I felt his mouth, all over my throat and collarbone. I gripped the edge of the counter with both hands as I felt his slide over my stomach and then under my t-shirt.
I moaned loudly when I felt his hands on my breasts, my already hard nipples tightening almost painfully under his touch. He groaned and pushed his hips roughly into me. He brought his mouth back up to kiss me and I dove into him as if searching for the end of his tongue; the way it moved in my mouth made my imagination run wild.
He pushed my shirt up and we both reluctantly broke the kiss so he could pull it over my head. Immediately after it landed on floor he leaned forward to kiss me, but I clawed at his shirt, pushing it up his chest until he removed that too. His body was like nothing I had ever seen before; so lean and strong at the same time.
I grabbed the waist of his jeans but he pushed me back again and when I felt his tongue glide over my nipple, my hands dropped to my side.
"Oh!" I exclaimed, reaching up again to grab a handful of his hair.
My heart fluttered when I felt his hands curl around the towel at my waist. I moved my hands down his shoulders and down his arms to his wrists.
"Take it off," I whispered.
He stood back a bit and then pulled the towel from my waist. He exhaled heavily as he surveyed my lower body.
"Beautiful," he mumbled, before gently pushing my legs apart a bit. When I felt his fingers searching, my head flew back, nearly hitting the cupboard and I gasped along with his groan when I felt them push inside me.
His two fingers and thumb did more to me than anyone ever had before, including myself. It was all I could do to keep myself standing as they deftly moved in and out and back and forth. I felt like a pinball machine and he was hitting all sorts of spots that set lights flashing and bells ringing. I felt my control slip as my lower half came to life, clenching around Jasper's fingers.
"Come on," he demanded, his gravelly voice only adding to the tightening feeling in my stomach. "Scream, Bella. Scream for me."
My fingernails dug into his shoulder and I did as he commanded, screaming his name as I climaxed. He wrapped his fingers around the back of my neck and watched me intently as I tried to recover from my orgasm.
"Fuck," he hissed through clenched teeth, watching his fingers move in and out a few more times before withdrawing. "Where did you come from? You're so perfect," he whispered as he moved his hands over my stomach.
I didn't give myself time to recover, but instead immediately went for his jeans again. I yanked them down and we both groaned as I cupped him roughly. I shoved my hand in the waistband and quickly found his erection, wrapping my fingers around it as his teeth clamped down on my earlobe.
I pushed the underwear down and then it was my turn to leer. His body, every inch of him, was magnificent. I was desperate with the kind of need and desire that could only be sated by one thing, but I fully intended to spend hours kissing and touching him everywhere, in the near future.
He pushed me back against the counter again and reached down to lift me, setting me back down on the edge. He pulled my leg around his waist and then kissed me for a painfully long time.
"It's been a long time," he whispered, his lips not leaving mine. "I'm not going to…"
"I don't care. I need you." I dug my heels into his ass to push him forward.
His hands gripped my hips as he pushed into me. He leaned forward to kiss me and we moaned into each other's mouths as he picked up the pace. My head hit the cupboard a few times until he slipped his hands beneath my ass and pulled me off the counter. He held me tight against him and carried me into the sitting room. The moment he sat on the couch I braced myself against his chest and began move again, slowly and sensually. He gripped my waist and then ran his hands along my stomach and lower abdomen, watching my hips undulate against him.
"Look at you," he whispered. Watching his eyes roam hungrily over my body only intensified my pleasure.
He watched me move above him for just a little bit longer before swiping a bunch of books off the couch and laying me down on my back. He lifted my legs over his thighs and began to move faster, his breathing becoming shallow.
Everything about Jasper, his looks, his voice, his demeanor, his scent; all of it gave me certain expectations about what kind of lover he would be, and he was living up to, if not exceeding the hell out of them. He brought me over the edge with just his fingers and now he was doing it again, watching me writhe and moan and plead as he pushed me to the brink of ecstasy. He squeezed my hips and moved faster and faster and just when I was about to come for the second time he pulled me up against his chest and slammed me hard against him so that he was completely inside me.
"Oh fuck. Bella, Jesus," he moaned as he came.
"Jasper, oh, yes, yes, yes," I gasped, kissing his face and neck as I, too, found my release.
He held me tight against him for a little longer, until we both caught our breath. Eventually, he withdrew and lay back on the couch, pulling me down with him. I nuzzled my face into his neck and he drew soft circles on my back with his knuckles.
"Did you want to sleep here tonight?" he asked.
I moved up a bit so that I could look into his eyes. I kissed his jaw and pushed his damp hair away from his face.
"My parents probably wouldn't be so thrilled about that. My dad will flip if I don't come home."
He nodded and I rested my head again in the crook of his neck. I couldn't believe I was here or that everything that had just happened and yet I had never felt more comfortable in my life.
We lay there in silence for a little while and then I felt him shift beneath me.
"Your clothes are probably dry enough," he said, gently nudging me to sit up with him. "I don't want to get you in trouble with your folks."
He got up and walked back into the kitchen, grabbing his clothes off the floor before going out to the dryer. He re-emerged dressed, with my things. I slipped my underwear and bra back on and then he helped me slip my dress on over my head. He smoothed the skirt down and then wrapped his arm around my waist and pressed his face into my neck.
"Jasper, why did you stay here in this town after everything?"
He shrugged. "It's home."
I turned and wrapped my arms around his waist, kissing his chest over and over again. I had so many more questions, but for now I just wanted to hold him.
He kissed the top of my head. "So, I'll need to deal with the Newton kid tomorrow."
"No. He'll get what's coming to him. I don't want you to be a part of it," I said, looking up at him.
Jasper frowned but didn't argue.
He led me back out to the truck and helped me inside. We didn't speak much as we drove home. The windows were rolled down and a warm breeze blew against my face. I rested my head against the door frame and sleep finally caught up with me as I hummed along with "Fernando", which played quietly on the radio. I slept only for a few minutes and awoke when the car came to a stop. I looked around to find that we had stopped just before the turn into my driveway.
"Why did you stop?" I asked, sleepily.
Jasper put the truck in park and turned to me.
"I wanted to kiss you goodnight, but I figured maybe it would be better to do it here."
I smiled and slid across the seat. He put his arm around my shoulder and then brought the opposite hand to my face. He ran his thumb over my lower lip before leaning in to kiss me. It was a rather passionate, rather lengthy goodnight kiss, but eventually he released me.
"I'm sorry if this was all a little fast for you. I don't usually…it's just ever since I saw you with that pie…"
I laughed and moved my hands up his chest. "Tonight was perfect."
He smiled and started the truck again, continuing down the driveway.
"Can I see you again soon?" he asked, putting the car in park in front of the house. "I mean, outside of work?"
He had the sexiest smirk.
"Yes, please," I responded, running my finger along his forearm. "Come by tomorrow. I'll bake you a pie."
I winked and gave him a quick peck on the cheek, exiting the truck before I was tempted to do more. As I was heading for the front door he called out to me, so I walked around to the driver's side window. He reached out to grab my hand. He threaded my fingers through his and then turned my hand up to kiss my fingertips.
"Thank you," he said.
I smiled when I saw that his eyes reflected the happiness I felt.
"I should be thanking you," I said, "for saving me and…"
He shook his head and squeezed my hand tighter.
"I'll see you tomorrow," I said, leaning in to kiss him again. I didn't care anymore if my parents saw.
Reluctantly, we both let go, and I walked backwards to the porch, waving. As he pulled out of the driveway, I resolved to make sure that someday, everyone in this town would see the real Jasper Whitlock, as I had seen him that night.
I know I said this would be a SoaPM outtake, but the inspo did not flow, so I did something new instead. Hope ya'll liked it.
More thanks are owed to: ElleCC and her mom, for research, help, counsel, and laughs, LolaShoes' dad for inspiring the twist on Charlie's 'stache., RedVelvetCupcakeFace for her pom-poms and blipping the sweet 70s tune-age, sensecoalition and her uterus, just because.
Big fat thanks to our judges. AngstGoddess003, Legna989, MsKathy, and SorceressCirce!
Ok people, we led by example. Now get to writing. Please review the entries you read as well, it really helps!