A.N. Twilight and its characters belong to the glorious SM. I only borrow them and make them trampyvampies because I'm a fruity bitch.
This is my first attempt at slash or much of anything. I love the concept of E/J and just felt the urge to write this premise that has been nagging me relentlessly. I feel a little intimidated given the awesome caliber of E/J slash fics already present on this site. I hope I'm not stepping on any slashy toes, but if I am, feel free to poke me and slap my wrist. I worked really hard to make things as original and as far away from other popular fics as the premise made possible. I'm really trying to go with something a little darker and angstier with this particular story, but still romance in many ways.
I don't have a beta yet sadly, so there may be minor errors that will make me cringe when I go back and re-read this in the future. So sorry. I hope where they exist, they won't distract you. Thanks so much for reading!
Chapter 1: Amicably Affronted
The smoky bar filled with shrill whistles and loud applause as the small band exited the stage.
I turned back to Jasper with an excited grin and a breathless chuckle. "Impressive." I shouted over the clapping crowd as it faded and grew as close to silence as this bar gets.
"Pretty good shit, didn't I tell ya'?" He asked smugly, clearly pleased with my reaction to his suggestion we come to check out this local indie band tonight.
I nodded enthusiastically and raised my hand to a barmaid, motioning to my empty bottle. "It's so hard to find anything good around here. I don't know how you do it." I offered admiringly. Seattle was an apex of musical talent, but I was picky when it came to live music and Jasper somehow always managed to find the diamonds in the rough. And truthfully, we had been working our asses off for the semester. It was good to let loose a little in this particular way, on this particular night. He was always intuitive like that.
Jasper Hale and I were both seniors at UW Seattle. I was participating in a medical program, and succeeding rather proudly at becoming top of my class, while Jasper studied psychiatry and criminal law – forensic psychiatry to be exact. We met our freshman year in a shared course on Ethics, and ever since then, we'd remained good friends. We both had a lot in common, foremost our over-achieving aspirations and unrealistic goals. Neither of us got out much because of our demanding educations, but we always made an effort to cut loose when we could. We had endless amounts of professors and counselors pushing us to work harder, faster, more, but… sometimes, you need someone to push you to ease up a little.
And that's what Jasper and I were to each other. Reminders that none of it was worth it unless we could get some kind of enjoyment out of the college experience, no matter how minimal it may be. We had a custom on the weekends in which we'd force each other to go out and take pleasure in the Seattle night life. Unfortunately, we both had another thing in common: We were painfully anti-social and solitary to a fault.
A redheaded barmaid delivered our beverages, and I smirked at Jasper's rare expression of interest as his eyes raked over her bare legs hungrily.
"See something you like?" I sniggered after she departed. I'd never seen Jasper with a woman, but he'd never seen me with a woman either. There was no time for stuff like that in either of our lives. We had discussed this in the past, and it was just one more thing we shared in common. Earlier in our college years, we had tried to entertain relationships with girls, only to find that the action of juggling them with all of our responsibility was simply too much of a risk to our studies. It just wasn't realistic to attempt both at the same time. I think we both knew that now was the time for school, and we could do all that other stuff later. Girls weren't going anywhere.
Raising his bottle to his lips, he kept his eyes glued on her ass as she weaved around the tables. "Fuck yes. I haven't had the time lately to even think about anything… like that." He emphasized the last word with a nod in her direction as she leaned over the bar counter and poked her little ass out.
Fuck. She kind of wiggled it a little while speaking to the bartender and I allowed my imagination to run wild for a fraction of a second.
"I know what you mean." I grumbled sympathetically. As usual, everything that wasn't related to the vascular system or complex theorems got sorely neglected – my libido included.
"How long's it been for you?" He asked absently, twirling his bottle cap on the table and still leering at the redhead who was continually swaying her ass casually from side to side over the bar.
I began thinking back to my last sexual encounter and… geez. Had it really been that long? Good grief. "Two years." I confessed quietly while staring at the exact same scene desirously.
Jasper sighed as his eyes remained fixed. "Three here." He shook his head and eventually shifted his gaze back to me. I gave him a sympathetic glance as I drank my beer. Three years was a long time. Not since freshman year. If it hadn't been for Tanya, I'd be in that same boat.
Not that two years was much of an improvement.
Not that Tanya should even be considered a valid sexual encounter.
With a wry smile, he shifted his gaze around the bar and sunk into his seat lazily. "What do you prefer?" He asked curiously while inclining his head at a group of women in the middle of the establishment.
Honestly, we had been drinking for a good while. I was already sporting a really nice buzz, so I didn't hesitate to answer that. I'd been looking at one in particular for the last hour.
"That brunette with the red dick-sucking-lips." I nodded in the direction of a tall girl, around our age, with shoulder length brown hair and… lips. She had those lips, and I licked mine just thinking about them around my dick.
Did I mention that alcohol makes me vulgar and slightly crude?
Well… it does.
Jasper seemed momentarily taken aback by my frank statement, but once his eyes met the brunette's face, he blew out a puff of air. "Here, here." He raised his bottle in agreement and took a quick swig, his adam's apple bobbing with his swift swallows.
It was odd, because Jasper and I never discussed things of this nature. Our conversations were always limited because they always ended up straying to something educational – at times even philosophical. Though we had this routine to seek out easy going fun, we much enjoyed the intellectual stimulation of the other's company. Our good natured debates had been known for keeping us out at all hours.
Tonight, something was different. We weren't talking about Plato or Frued or microorganisms. We were talking about females.
We began scanning the crowd of women, making passing comments on our favorite qualities and being totally crude assholes in the process of this new found dynamic in which we could act like twenty-two-year-old hormonal men and not be awkward about it. It was quite pleasant, and I much enjoyed the deviation from our typically mundane and school-related discussions.
The blonde's petite hips, the short girl's exposed belly ring and matching tramp stamp, and the brunette's lips were all important highlights of the evening. But this time we appreciated her tits too, because really… we didn't want them to feel left out. It was only courteous to make mention of them as well.
"I can think of a thousand things to do to those." Jasper sighed longingly while staring rather unabashedly at her chest. His eyes were heavy with intoxication and lust and darkened in a way that was admittedly unfamiliar to me. I'd never seen him checking out women like this before, and now he was basically… well… eye fucking her.
I, on the other hand, chose the route of polite admiration as I slouched forward, leaning over the table so I could speak in a low voice only audible to my companion. "I'd throw her over that bar, slip her panties down, grab her hips, shove my dick so far inside of her that she screams, and then fuck her so hard that she'd forget her name, address, date of birth, and social security number." I licked my lips excitedly before taking a long pull from my beer bottle. Okay. Maybe I was a tactless bitch too. Whatever. Two years.
Jasper had grown silent while I gazed at the woman and drank my beer. I wasn't sure what reaction I'd expected from him, but I wondered if I had taken it too far as he remained wordless. That buzz was going more toward drunk because we had been drinking for far too long, and I began feeling nervous that I'd made the atmosphere awkward by crossing some invisible line.
When I met his gaze, he'd gone completely rigid in his seat, which… confused me. His eyes were pointed downward to the table, and his jaw was taught, his fingers idly twirling the bottle cap in an oddly aggressive fashion. I eyed his tense expression in bewilderment before clearing my throat and looking away in shame.
I mean, we didn't usually talk about sex… at all, but he just didn't ever strike me as the prude type in the past four years we'd known each other. Now, I felt guilty and ashamed, which annoyed me because I was just blowing off steam. Nothing to get offended over. Before I could apologize or… insult his over-sensitivity – because I was too drunk to make the decision at the moment which he deserved more – the bar made 'last call for alcohol' and it was time to leave.
We left the bar wordlessly, and my steps felt a lot steadier than they likely were. Jasper remained silent at my side as we walked down the sidewalk toward the dorms. The night was cool and breezy and there were a few persons traversing back to their dorms for the night once we reached the campus. I'd close my eyes every now and again and absorb greedy gulps of fresh air, thankful for the lack of stale bar smoke that likely still clung to my clothing, but still grateful for the outing.
When we reached Jasper's dorm building, he halted and turned to me. His eyes shifted around the area without meeting my gaze. "So, I'll uh… I guess…" He faltered dumbly, and I grinned lazily that he was stammering drunk and I wasn't all alone. After clearing his throat and shifting from foot to foot, he simply asked in a mumble, "Tomorrow then?" Shoving his hands into his jean pockets with his gaze fixed on the toes of his black shoes.
"Tomorrow." I said in farewell, and it didn't escape my notice that he stiffened further as my hand met his shoulder with a cordial clap. It seemed odd to me, but I could see the image of my bed in my mind and I wanted it even more than I wanted pussy or my doctorate. So I turned and left him standing in front of his building under a bright security light, a blank and unreadable expression on his face and his blonde hair blowing wildly in the passing gust of chilly wind.
Thanks to the state of my awareness, a long night of sleep, and a slightly stinging hangover, I'd forgotten about the whole awkwardness of the evening by the time he called me the following night.
"I need food before I murder Emmett in a sloppy attempt to inherit that sub he has stashed away in the mini fridge." Jasper's voice intonated over the phone while I stood at my counter island. I shook my head at the mention of his dorm mate and constant annoyance, Emmett McCarty.
"You take criminal law, Jasper. You couldn't possibly be a sloppy homicidal lunatic." I smirked in mention of his chosen profession. I always found it a rather peculiar choice, but he'd always say something about the intricacies of the criminal mind and emotions.
He snorted on the other end before I heard something shuffling around. "Lack of sustenance has been known to affect one's cognitive memory, I'll have you know." He replied distractedly, and then more shuffling. "I'm putting on my shoes. Meet me at Angel's Italian in thirty?" He asked and I gave confirmation before hanging up.
We didn't always go to the bar on weekends. In fact, it was fairly rare for us to get drunk like we did the previous evening. This felt more normal and comfortable and I was glad the incident wasn't causing any friction between us.
When I arrived at Angel's Italian, which was only a short walk from my building, Jasper was already inside and waiting by the hostess area for me. He quickly nodded his head in acknowledgment before allowing the hostess to seat us some place in the back. This was a restaurant we frequented because we both knew and went to school with the owner's daughter, Angela Webber. Our affiliation gave us a discount, which, in all honesty, I didn't really need. Jasper, on the other hand, wasn't as wealthy as me and took full advantage of the opportunity.
Once seated, we both ordered our usual. The little old grey haired waitress who often served us just smiled and shook her head with a comment about how she "shouldn't even bother to take our orders anymore."
She was a kind old lady and we both thanked her profusely before she departed to get our drinks. I never let Jasper know, but I always tipped her an extra twenty before we departed. He'd always wink at her playfully, and I could swear I'd seen the old woman blush before. That was his extra tip.
"So, the ban on stem cell research." Jasper began while taking a swipe at the front of his shirt uselessly. He then raised an eyebrow, his full lips pulling up into a wry grin that revealed a small dimple on each cheek.
I grinned deliberately and immediately plunged him into conversation. I went into the pros and cons and my own personal beliefs regarding the topic while Jasper folded his hands under chin and listened intently. He always got this little groove in his brow whenever he disagreed with something, so I knew by instinct that we both shared similar opinions on the subject when it remained smooth and untainted with thought.
We spoke about the topic until our food arrived, and Jasper's eyes were wide with hunger, though this time, it was much less uncomfortable. I chuckled as he began eating some kind of ravioli with enthusiasm, and I shifted my attention to my delicious plate of linguini. Angel's had the best pasta in the state, of that I was certain.
We ate in silence because we were both too hungry to take a pause in eating to say anything. My only problem was the untidiness in which I always managed to eat my food. Somehow, I'd always end up getting the sauce on my chin or hands or… shoulder. Yes. Shoulder. Don't ask me how I do it. It's like some kind of sick aptitude that has cursed me since birth.
Today it was my wrist, and I glared at the large spot of sauce that stained my flesh right above my sleeve. With an inner sneer at my messiness, I darted out my tongue and took a long lick across my wrist and hand, catching any sauce on my flesh and sweeping it up to my fingertips.
Jasper abruptly made a strangled coughing sound, alerting me as my face jerked up from my hand to assess him. He began sputtering and coughing into his fist while clutching his fork, and at my alarmed expression, raised a hand in a dismissive gesture signaling that he was okay. With a reddened face and glazed eyes, he managed to compose himself and assured me once again that he was fine at my concern. This was good, because I didn't have nearly as much faith or confidence in my knowledge of the Heimlich maneuver as I definitely should have.
I continued eating, but Jasper pushed away his plate. "I think I'm done." He muttered tersely while running his fingers through his hair and fixing his gaze on the table. Immediately, I noticed the air of tension about him. He was entirely rigid in his seat with his jaw locked tightly and his hand balled into a tight fist, much like the previous night in the bar. Only this time I was certain I did nothing wrong, so instead of being annoyed by his behavior, I was merely curious and mildly concerned once again.
"You sure you're okay, man?" I asked in worry, and his curt nod did little to assure me, but I let it drop and ate my meal with haste so as not to bore him. There were further sauce debacles, namely on my lips and chin and I'd dart my tongue out to lick them clean while Jasper remained rigid and stiff and kept his gaze fixed on the wooden grain of the table. I could see a faint shade of pink creep up to his cheeks, but reasoned it must have been from his choking fit.
When I'd finished my meal and paid and tipped the waitress, Jasper remained seated until I stood and turned to approach the doors. He was acting oddly while we exited, and I probably wouldn't have even noticed if I hadn't been paying such close attention.
He refused to walk in front of me or at my side regardless of how much I slowed my steps. Instead, he remained a careful distance behind me, which made me even more curious as to his behavior. After we had walked a good distance, he eventually moved stealthily to my side and fell into my steps silently. It was the same silence as the previous night; tense and a little awkward, but only because of Jasper's shifty gaze. I couldn't understand why he looked so out of sorts.
I fixed my eyes on the ground as we walked, noting the way Jasper and I always managed to conform into a synchronized step – even though I was fairly certain my legs were longer. He led with his left, I led with my left. The sounds of our shoes hitting the pavement were precise and comfortingly in-time. It made everything feel… right and orderly. A grin tugged at my lips before I quickly suppressed it. Something like footsteps simply shouldn't have that effect on a person.
Truthfully, eating had only taken us one hour. On nights we went out to eat, we usually utilized the time spent walking afterwards to make further plans for the night. Sometimes we'd go by the park or my condo, and others we'd go to the bar. So he surprised me as he suddenly halted his steps at the corner that led to the dormitory. I turned to him with an inquiring expression as he shoved his hands into his jean pockets and looked about with an edgy expression.
"I think I'm gonna' call it a night." He informed me softly while nudging a rock with the toe of his shoe. My brows furrowed in confusion and that same mild concern over his behavior. He'd stopped eating and wanted to go home early. There must have been something wrong, I was convinced. He glanced up at me from under his lashes briefly before darting them back down to his shoes and swallowing rather noticeably. "I haven't been feeling well. I think there's a bug going around or something..." He added in an obvious attempt to subdue my visibly concerned expression.
"Oh. " I replied slowly, cocking my head to the side thoughtfully. "Well, what are your symptoms?" I asked in a clinical voice that I'd likely inherited from my father. Symptoms and illnesses intrigued me, and I glowed at the opportunity to use my knowledge to assist someone I cared about. It gave me a fleeting sense of pride that I was likely more advanced than anyone else in the medical program. It made my lack of social life feel a little less pathetic.
Jasper's eyes darted to mine and back down again before he shrugged lightly and furrowed his brows at his shoes. "Uh… well… it's nothing really… you know, explainable. I've just… I-I don't know. Felt off?" His statement emerged as a stammering and broken question as his brows pulled together further. I'd begun arranging a series of questions for him to answer in regards to his condition, but before I had the opportunity to voice them, he quickly spun on his heel.
"See you later!" He called over his shoulder while walking away from me rather briskly.
"Hope you feel better." was my lame reply, though he was much too far away to hear me by the time I managed to recover from the shock of his departure. With a roll of my eyes at my lameness, I began the trek back to my apartment and prepared myself for a long night of complete tedium.
Shit, I need a life.
I spent Sunday and the beginning of the week much like I always did. I immersed myself in work and papers and practically lived at the library and my desk at home. I never saw Jasper around the campus during the beginning of the week, but that wasn't terribly unusual. Our class schedules had been made so askew that we rarely ever crossed paths.
I ate lunch with Angela and Ben on Tuesday, but only did so because Ben was in many of my classes and I wanted to get some insight into his plans for the following semester. There was an undergrad TA position available, and I was playing with the notion of applying for it. It'd look excellent on paper, and even though I had reservations about embracing more responsibility, I was certain it'd be worth the effort and sacrifice. Ben assured me that he was in no position to apply at the moment.
"I think Angela would throw a fit if I took on anything more." He smiled at the attractive brown haired girl at his side. I smiled in understanding and quickly engaged him in a conversation regarding a new medical technique that our professor had been gushing over for the week. Ben didn't look all that pleased to discuss anything school related, so I quickly took my leave.
I didn't really have anything else to talk to him about.
I didn't really have anything else to talk to anyone about.
My mother called on Wednesday, right on schedule, and talked my ear off about my father's practice and how proud they both were of me. It all sounded very sincere. Key word being: sounded. Honestly, I knew they were disappointed that I didn't go to a better school. Edward Anthony Masen Senior was Chicago's finest surgeon and everything a good boy should aspire to. They always envisioned me as Ivy League material, and perhaps I may have been. But at a school like that, I couldn't outshine every student there. It would be nearly impossible to get noticed in an environment where my kind of intellect was simply pedestrian. Here, at a state college, I was top of my program and the competition was far less intimidating, if not altogether non-existent. It would get me farther in the long run. They just couldn't see the benefit of strategy like I could.
That's just how they were. They expected the best, and they gave me an abundance of space while I strived to accomplish it. Sometimes I was grateful for the lack of nagging that most of my peers endured from their overbearing parents. I was also quite grateful for the money that mine invested in my tuition and apartment and every expense, and always without question or hesitation. But… sometimes, I felt much like a family pet – my pricey apartment the doghouse in the backyard. Sometimes their gifts and suggestive praise felt like an unbelievable amount of pressure. Sometimes I felt empty and alone as a result of my various 'sacrifices' made for the benefit of achieving something so demanding of myself and my time.
Mot times, I felt overwhelmingly grateful that I'd never had the opportunity to know any other way of life than this. I'd never know what I was missing.
Early Thursday morning, I went to the campus gym and waited in the locker room until Jasper arrived. We always went to the gym on Thursdays. It was a magnificent stress reducer and a perfect outlet for tension. It also helped us maintain a healthy lifestyle at a time in our lives that made it difficult to do so.
He arrived not long after me, and I regarded him carefully for any signs of illness as he entered the room and dropped his gym bag onto the bench. He didn't appear to have any outwardly obvious signs of physical distress. His eyes were clear, though clouded in a way that suggested he'd just woken up, which was something I'd expected. His movements weren't sluggish and his skin didn't seem pale or sallow in any fashion. He looked just fine. The picture of health in fact, and he grinned at me slightly while placing his bag into a locker and wordlessly exiting the room at my side.
We warmed up for a few minutes before beginning our usual routine on the treadmills. Jasper didn't speak or really even look at me the entire time. I wondered if this 'bug' wasn't actually school or family related troubles because he seemed utterly focused, and as a result, rather distracted from the task at hand.
As we ran on the treadmills, gradually increasing our speeds, I allowed my mind to wander to various inconsequential things. Running was always a great method of distraction and a perfect opportunity to just… think. My body pulsed with energy and adrenaline and I felt refreshing surges of power behind my hard steps. It was my favorite exercise activity, and we remained silent, with only our hard breaths and soft footsteps echoing through the deserted room. No one in their right minds gets up this early on campus. No one but Jasper and I, that is.
After I had begun thoroughly spilling sweat from every pore of my body and my chest burned with my sharp breaths, I stilled the machine and slowly cooled down, Jasper immediately following. As per usual, we went to weights next, and Jasper finally began speaking as he eased himself down onto the weight bench and gripped the bar above him.
"I got laid last night." He revealed in a sharp voice, staring up at me as his hands lingered on the bar and I prepared to spot him. Immediately, a light pink flush covered his cheeks.
I quirked an eyebrow, more than a little staggered by his confession and utterly uncertain as how to respond. "Um… attaboy?" I shrugged timidly and wrapped my hands around the bar between his. I didn't know what he wanted me to say. I tried to imagine what a normal college guy would say, like Emmett, but I lacked the audacity required to ask for details. I actually rather wished he wouldn't have told me at all.
Jasper's eyes slowly slid closed and he took a deep breath before lifting the bar and taking the full weight over his body. I stood diligently at his head while he pressed the weights and allowed my mind to wander about his confession.
Maybe I was a little jealous that he had managed to escape and have fun, and my lips pursed in thought as I watched his chest heave with breaths. I was definitely a little jealous, but also somewhat confused as to why he'd go out… on a school night to accomplish this… whatever. It appalled me. Was he really being so careless? I couldn't fathom him taking that kind of risk because it was just so out of character for him.
Truthfully, I began feeling more and more envious, and the more I watched him exert his energy pressing the weights in a normal and predictable fashion, I forced myself to admit that not all of my envy was directed at Jasper alone. A good portion, but not all.
I began wondering who this girl was. This… quick fuck? I was hoping she'd be a quick fuck. My mind began processing what it'd be like if he really got close to a woman, and the image it provoked made me sour. I could imagine him becoming burdened by some girl and blowing me off on the weekends, or… just entirely as he juggled a relationship with the demand of his studies. He'd have no time for me whatsoever. It was just like a guy to get some pussy and forget about his friends. It made me nervous and apprehensive about encouraging this new relationship of his. But really, I should have just been happy that he was happy.
Was he happy?
I studied his face closely as he lifted and raised the weights, his face reddened from exertion. His lips puffed out with air on every press, and his eyes remained fixed on the ceiling above his head. That crease in his brows was present, as if he were being very thoughtful and preparing a counter-argument to one of our debates. But he didn't look like a man that had just discovered his soul mate or anything. His eyes weren't alight and shining with the excitement of a new relationship. He didn't engage me in light-hearted and witty banter about her. He didn't have any kind of post-coital glow.
He was just… Jasper, but a little… off.
Quieter. Higher-strung. Edgier. Moodier. Huh.
Maybe he did need to get laid.
When he finished, I guided the weights back to the bench, waiting patiently as he remained still and stared at the ceiling, catching his breath and cooling down. He flexed his fists in a way that made his muscular arms ripple and twitch as he slowly rose.
When he emerged from the bench, I took his previous position on my back, resting my hands around the bar, and still thoughtful over this new emergence of "Jasper, The Lady's Man." The notion made my stomach churn. Admittedly, it was slightly disconcerting that it bothered me so much.
I allowed my eyes to drift to his where he stood directly over my head. His light green eyes were fixed on my chin, or… maybe even my lips as I began to raise the bar. His eyes widened minutely and he took hold of the bar with me, guiding it to my front. I lowered the weights, appreciating the ease in which he managed to lift them so easily as I strained to copy him.
Jasper was stronger than me.
This didn't make me envious or feel competitive like it would most men. I wondered again at my reaction to his confession, and came back to my original conclusion when I considered my lack of desire to go out and… match him one. I was in no mood to find a quick fuck. I just didn't want him to get a quick fuck. I wanted him to spend his weekends entertaining me with discussions on stem cell research and state-of-the-art microscopes. I was selfish, and it made a surge of guilt invade my chest as my arms strained under the weight of my presses.
I lifted and lowered, all the while heaving breaths and staring fixedly at the ceiling above me. I counted in my mind to distract myself from weird and possessive thoughts of my best friend that I really shouldn't have been feeling.
When I again allowed my eyes to drift to his, I was perplexed by his expression. He was staring down at me blankly, but his eyes were once again fixed on my lips where my breaths were emerging in loud huffs. His face was still pink from his workout, and his breathing was deep and labored. His hands were resting on the back of the bench and I could just barely discern the minute and slight twitch of his arms with my every lift.
Suddenly, his eyes wandered to mine, oddly darkened and heavy lidded before widening in alarm. He jerked his gaze away and withdrew from the bench until I'd decided that I couldn't endure anymore of either thing.
The weights met the bench with a loud clang. I shot up from my position while whirling on him angrily. He had retreated to a nearby weight bench, angled partially away from me with his head down. "What the fuck is going on with you?" I demanded in irritation. I knew I shouldn't have been angry, but… for some reason, I was. Really pissed off, actually.
Without meeting my gaze he spoke, "Why do you think something's wrong? Because I got laid?" He asked in an arrogant tone while running his hand through his hair, sweeping it off of his dampened forehead.
I huffed and pinched the bridge of my nose in annoyance while squeezing my eyes closed. "Are you fucking kidding me?" I mumbled under my breath, though I knew that he could hear. When I opened my eyes he was staring at me with a blank expression. What the fuck is his deal? "You got laid, Jasper. I get it. Do you want me to jump around and throw confetti for you or something? Because I'm sure I have some handy in my 'Things I Don't Give a Fuck About' celebration stash." I replied sarcastically, entirely annoyed that he had managed to bring it up again.
He chuckled humorlessly and sunk back onto the bench, resting on his elbows while his toe tapped the floor rapidly. "What's wrong, Eddie? Jealous that I got my dick wet while you sat around in your condo and masturbated to textbook anatomical references?" He shot haughtily.
I blanched, and I could feel my face lose all its color as I absorbed his spiteful words. It hurt. I couldn't figure out why it hurt me so badly. Maybe because his insinuation that I had no life was spot on, or maybe it was hearing the words come from someone I considered to be such a close friend, but either way, it hurt.
I shifted my gaze from his and locked my jaw, fighting down the incorrect emotions that emerged. I wanted to be pissed off and furious about it. Not hurt. Hurt was for pussies. I decided that I could find a middle ground between hurt and pissed, and go with offended.
"That's nice, Jasper." I replied, clearing my throat in an attempt to remove the lump that had risen. I met his gaze and shook my head. "I was just worried about how you'd been acting lately because I cared. But I see that caring turns you into a total asshole, so I won't be making that mistake again." I rose from my position and approached the locker room, all but basking in his crumpled expression of remorse.
"Wait!" He called before I reached the door, and I turned slowly to meet his gaze. His eyes were wide and pleading. "You're right, I'm sorry. You were just being considerate and I had to throw it back in your face." He rose from his elbows and propped them on his knees, dropping his head into his hands. "I've been having a weird week." He mumbled into his palms as I crossed my arms over my chest.
I creased my brows and regarded him warily. I wanted to offer help, but doing so obviously bothered him. Instead I went with a sharp and tense, "Do you want to talk about it?" and allowed him an easy out that didn't include using petty – and partially accurate – insults.
I do not masturbate to textbook anatomical references.
I do have broadband internet with conveniently wonderful bandwidth for streaming video.
He sighed into his hands and lifted his head, rubbing his palms on his thighs without meeting my gaze. "I can't talk to… you… about this." He admitted in a strangled whisper that unnerved me.
My face fell a little when I realized that he didn't feel comfortable confiding in me about something so blatantly significant to him. "You can tell me anything, Jasper." I assured him sincerely. My mind began creating the worst scenarios possible, and I couldn't imagine my reactions to anything he told me to be anything less than understanding.
He met my gaze finally and shook his head, wearing an alien expression of shyness as he tucked his blonde hair behind his ear. "I really don't think I could." He whispered before averting his timid gaze to his lap.
I frowned and leaned back against the locker room door while I stared at him. "Is it drugs?" I hedged. He furrowed his brows at his lap and shook his head. "Is it anything illegal?" I asked in concern. He shook his head once more without meeting my gaze. I pursed my lips thoughtfully at my shoes as I recalled his earlier confession. Perhaps... he was being shy, and considering his reaction to my comments at the bar, the next guess was an easy assumption to make. "Is it about the girl from last night? Did you have… issues with performing?" I asked the final portion in a lowly hushed whisper.
His head jolted up and eyes widened in alarm. "God! What? No! Shit, no! Why in the hell would you think that? Did you hear something?" He demanded in a frantic voice, his eyes shifting around the room anxiously.
I grimaced and raked my fingers through my sweat-dampened hair. "Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest… I was just… you know… guessing." I muttered before huffing and banging the back of my head against the door behind me. I really knew how to put my foot in my mouth.
He shook his head and rose from the bench while averting his heated gaze to the floor as he paced it. He began rambling in a swift and frenzied tone, his fists clenched tightly at his sides, "Well, it has nothing to do with that. I performed flawlessly, thank you very much. I'll be surprised if she doesn't start a 'Jasper: The Best Campus Fuck in History' fan club. She'll create alters in devotion to my dick. I've probably ruined all men for her, such high standards and all that. I didn't just 'perform', in fact. I fucked her into oblivion. She chanted my name like Jasper was a goddamn deity, you know? Multiple orgasms. Fucking multiples. She'll be telling her grandkids about the biggest dick she's ever had the pleasure of meeting when she's old and married and bored with the flaccid-"
"OKAY!" I snapped in annoyance while raising my hands. "I get it, man. What the hell? Defensive much?" I asked incredulously.
He might as well have been pounding his fists to his chest with a clichéd "I am man, hear me roar."
He halted his pacing and faced me with wild eyes and loud huffs. I couldn't fathom why it had bothered him so much? I mean, sure. My insinuation was somewhat emasculating, but a simple "No" would have sufficed.
Instead of offering me any explanation, he shifted his gaze from mine and abruptly began sprinting for the exit.
"Jasper!?" I called disbelievingly as he exited the gym and left me standing completely puzzled in front of the locker room.
I expected his call the following evening as I sat at my desk with books spread out in front of me. He always called on Friday nights, and I was ready to apologize or whatever had to be done to remove this bizarre hostility between us.
Unfortunately, he never called.
I waited anxiously and forced back the notion that he was spending the night out with that girl he had fucked. I knew it was a possibility. Given the opportunity to go out with a girl and get laid made spending a night with me look downright dull. Could I blame him? Not exactly. This just made me feel impossibly worse. My foreign envy and possessiveness over Jasper grew, and with that emotion, my confusion grew as well.
I spent the following day aggravated, confused with my emotions, and busy with assignments and paper deadlines. I was certain that he wouldn't ignore me for the entire weekend. It wasn't like Jasper at all. Even on vacations and holidays he managed to contact me on the weekends – if only to complain about his sister or the lack of intellectual stimulation in his hometown circle of friends. Surely, this girl wouldn't be so much of a distraction that he forgot about me all together?
I was not competing with pussy. I really couldn't, and I refused to call him because of this fact. I was frightened that he was becoming more like every other guy on campus, and I'd be left behind while he went out with her friends and had good times getting drunk and fucked into 'oblivion'. Meanwhile, me and my friends – Google, Leno on DVR, broadband, and Totinos Pizza Rolls – were sitting in my condo for the day cursing the slut.
Saturday night, I was lying on my sofa, flipping through pointless television, when the phone finally rang.
A relieved smile tugged at my lips, and momentarily startled me. I supposed I hadn't realized how panicked I'd been during the past two days, but now that I walk toward the phone, I realize that the thought of Jasper avoiding me indefinitely was an impossible notion.
"Hello." I answered the phone, and even I could hear the relief in my voice, though I tried to mask it as a yawn. Surprisingly, I was met with silence. My brows furrowed at the wall in front of me as I listened closely and could discern the faint sound of breathing on the other end. I listened for a moment before repeating myself, but was still met with only barely audible breathing and static. Odd.
"Jasper?" I hedged in a cautious whisper because no one else would be calling me on a Friday night, but the line abruptly clicked and went silent. I stared at the receiver for a moment before softly placing it back in its cradle with a 'click'.
Admittedly… it bewildered me, but I decided to chalk it up to a wrong number, returned to my languid lounging on the sofa, and waited.
I could see my books on the desk across the room, and they beckoned to me. I just couldn't fathom wasting my time away on the sofa when there was still so much to be done. So much to accomplish. But I restrained myself because I didn't want to burn out, and I'd spent all week working my ass off, including my typically carefree Friday night.
I really fucking needed this weekend.
I needed to be far away from those books and the computer and the notes that I doubted I took as thoroughly as I should have. I needed them to be out of reach so I could relax for a little while without thinking about it. And I couldn't do that without Jasper.
So I waited some more, stretching out across the leather sofa and curling my socked toes inward comfortably. There was nothing on TV, and I was getting drowsy by ten. I hadn't eaten dinner, so I popped a frozen pizza into the oven and waited for that to cook. Still, no call from Jasper.
I began wondering where he took this girl of his on the weekend. I wondered if they went to Angel's and the thought infuriated me for some reason I couldn't comprehend. To imagine him sitting across from this girl in our booth when he had basically ditched me for her was staggeringly maddening.
I ate my pizza in solitude on my sofa, sparing my desk the occasional glance and grimacing at my lack of self control.
I waited until midnight before I realized Jasper wasn't going to call. I wondered if he was fucking her right then and if she offered him any kind of compelling conversation, or if she was just there for his shits and giggles. I wondered if they were one of those new and annoying couples that walked with their hands stuffed crudely into each other's back pockets. I wondered if they slept in the same bed and if he even cared that I was here, waiting for his call.
Probably not. Why should he?
With a sigh, I lifted myself off the sofa, passing my cluttered desk and narrowing my eyes sourly as I turned off every light in my apartment. Ever since Jasper's comment on Thursday morning, broadband porn had just lost its luster. One more thing he ruined.
Once I was in bed and under the cool and inviting sheets, the silver moonlight reflected off of the white walls of my room and accentuated… bare.
It looked bare. It felt bare.
I mean, I really only spent eight hours per day in my bedroom, and most of that time was spent sleeping. I never felt the need to get fancy or acquire anything elaborate for it. It seemed so imprudent. Just a dresser, a bedside table, and my bed. Nothing else. The bare minimum.
It made me feel empty and vulnerable like when I walk across the crowded campus alone. It made me feel comfortable and orderly like mine and Jasper's synchronized footfalls. There was no possible reconciliation between the differing emotions, and I had no idea why I even felt the necessity to ponder something so fucking meaningless for an hour as I lay in bed alone.
I eventually shifted my attention to the muffled sound of passing cars on the street below my condo. Passing cars of people who had lives and people to lie in bed with. Passing cars of people who had places to go and people to see and shit to do on a Saturday night. People like Jasper and his stupid fucking girl.
All I had was the straining of my ears as I slipped into slumber, still vaguely listening for the shrill sound of a telephone that never came.
I probably could have called Jasper the following evening on my own, but I was a little pissed off at him. I had no idea why he was suddenly breaking our weekend rituals, but if it had anything to do with my comments at the gym, then he was just being petty and irrational. I couldn't wrap my head around his reaction, and I didn't understand why he refused to just talk to me like the twenty-two-year-old man he was.
My phone remained silent, the gym remained empty, and my nights remained solitary.
The next two weeks passed and I dove even further into my work, determined not to let it bother me. And that was really the problem. It did bother me. Maybe a little more than it should. Maybe much more than it should. I wanted to hang out with Jasper, let loose, and take a break from the shittiness known as my life for a couple nights a week, and this just pissed me off more: That I had somehow managed to become dependent on his companionship and easy going nature.
Then there was this girl, and thoughts of her ran rampant in my mind. It was just like a fucking girl to come into his life and muss everything up. Steal him away from his friends and interests while monopolizing his time for herself. I hated her, and I didn't even know this girl. I just knew that she had somehow managed to ruin our friendship.
I almost considered doing it myself.
One day I'd decided to sit with Ben and Angela again during lunch. I didn't have a reason, aside from a slight need to be in the company of someone else. They were both smiling and polite as they chatted about this and that. I really didn't have much to offer the conversation, so I picked at my muffin and studied my fingernails as I listened.
"So, Edward." Angela began hesitantly, peeking up at me through her lashes. I smiled and returned her gaze warmly. She was such a sweet girl. She cleared her throat and I could see Ben nudging her lightly in the ribs, in an encouragement of some sort. She giggled and rolled her eyes. "Well, I have this friend…" She trailed off with a suggestive grin, peeking at Ben and continuing at his nod. "Her name is Jessica, and she's been asking about you." She raised her eyebrows and I frowned down at my muffin. I could see where this was going. "I'm basically playing matchmaker here, and was wondering if you were… free? I mean, I've never seen you with anyone, but I didn't want to assume… you know?" She asked, seemingly losing her courage as she implied that I was alone.
I chuckled and smiled at her reassuringly. "I'm not dating anyone." I offered, and my stomach churned a bit as I pursed my lips in consideration of her friend's interest. On one hand, it would be good to go out with someone. It would make me feel less pathetic and if Jasper could do it, why couldn't I? On the other hand… the mere thought of having to entertain a girl for an entire evening seemed exhausting to me. I'd have to be considerate and pretend to be interested in her topics of choice. I'd probably spend the whole night anxious to return home to my desk. Then, if by some miracle we did hit it off, she'd become a distraction from my work, and I was too close to the top to risk any such thing. I could wait until after graduation to indulge in anything so committal.
"But," I sighed in resignation. "I'm not really interested. Thanks for keeping me in mind though." I thanked her sincerely, and felt guilty when her hopeful expression faltered. She nodded in understanding and Ben swiftly changed the subject.
Angela spent the remainder of the hour glancing at me sideways in curiosity. I reasoned that perhaps I should have feigned a little more interest before shooting her down. Perhaps I should have inquired as to her appearance or attractiveness to seem less anti-social and awkward.
Thankfully, she never mentioned it again, and the week wore on as tedious as always.
It was a Friday night, and three had passed since Jasper had decided to completely cut me out of his life. I was accepting after so long. Disappointed, hurt, frustrated, and pathetically lonely, but… accepting. Friends come and go all the time, I reasoned. It shouldn't have bothered me so much, so I kept throwing myself into my studies to pass the time and distract myself from the pang of disappointment that consumed me.
Tonight, I was sitting at my desk and typing up a paper on the computer. It was due at the end of the semester and I had gotten an appalling head-start on it. I'd decided to make it double the length of everyone else's so it would stand out. It had been raining heavily all evening, and the rain battered at my living room window in a relaxing patter. I had the television on in the background with Leno softly resounding through the apartment. I sighed and began referencing a nearby textbook, shoving my pencil behind my ear in a common habitual gesture. In an hour, I'd be wondering where the hell I'd put it, and probably wouldn't remember until I caught my reflection in a mirror or window.
To my surprise, I suddenly heard a light thump on my door. I furrowed my brows in thought as I swiveled my chair in the direction of the sound. I hadn't ordered any food, and I couldn't think of anyone that would visit me on a Friday. Unless…
I rose from my seat, too skeptical to even complete that thought as I padded across the carpet in my bare feet. I put my eye to the peephole and peeked through it curiously. And there Jasper stood; running his hands through his soaked hair while he stared at his feet and rocked back on his heels. My lips curled up into a bright smile as I took a moment to simply stare at him. He looked nervous, and his gaze shifted the hall anxiously as he raised his fist and knocked once more.
I considered not answering just to make him feel something similar to what I'd been feeling over the past weeks. But I was bored, curious, anxious, excited, shamefully thrilled, and too damned impatient to draw it out. I unlatched the locks on the door and eased it open, trying desperately to suppress my grin as my gaze landed on him.
"Jasper." I sighed aloofly, leaning sideways into the door frame and crossing my arms over my chest in a completely false show of indifference.
He rubbed the back of his neck while fixing his gaze on his shoes. "Edward." He murmured with a small nod. I suddenly noticed that he was lightly shivering, likely from the fact that he was soaking wet and the temperature was nearly suitable for snow. Droplets of water fell from his hair, and made his trembling more apparent.
I huffed in annoyance as my concern eclipsed my desire for vengeance and I pushed off the door frame. "Come in?" I asked while stepping inside and holding the door open. He hesitated for a moment, glancing sideways down the hall, before shuffling in with his head down. He hadn't looked at me the entire time and it didn't escape my notice as I gently closed the door behind him. I pursed my lips at his back and raked my fingers through my hair in confusion. Maybe he and the girl had experienced a quarrel. I frowned down at my shoes, mirroring his position as the thought simultaneously made me pleased and disappointed.
Without asking, I shuffled past him and traveled down the hall to my linen closet to procure a dry towel. When I returned, he was standing in the middle of the living room, dripping on my carpet and glancing around peculiarly with his hands shoved into his pockets.
In an effort to lighten the mood, I tossed the towel so that it covered his head, and I grinned as he stood motionless with it hanging from him like a drop cloth on a veiled statue. Slowly, he removed his hands from his pockets and pulled off the towel. His eyes finally fell upon me and his throat bobbed with a swallow.
"Thanks." He whispered without breaking my gaze and ran the towel through his hair.
I shrugged and wandered to the sofa, where I sunk deep into the leather and propped my bare foot up on the coffee table in front of it. I could feel his suddenly attentive gaze boring holes into the side of my face as he lowered himself to the position beside me.
There was a charged pause between us as we watched a few minutes of the late night talk show. I tried to keep the attention of my peripheral vision off of him, but I could feel his on me.
"I should probably apologize." He finally began, remorse and apprehension lacing his tone.
I snorted. "Trouble in paradise, huh? 'Jasper: The Best Campus Fuck in History' fan club one member less?" I teased as I met his gaze. His brows wrinkled while his hands were now softly drying his hair and neck with the towel. I simplified, "You and the new girl on the outs?"
Understanding flashed in his eyes and he frowned. "That was just a one-time thing." He mumbled, shifting his gaze to his lap as the towel ruffled his hair.
"Oh." I replied lamely. That certainly threw me for a loop. Of course, he could have been lying, but I saw no reason why he would. Before I could properly process the information he began speaking again.
"I wanted to apologize for the gym and how I've been acting." He whispered in a quieter voice, finally meeting my gaze and resting the towel in his lap. I nodded slowly and watched as he angled his body toward me and stilled with one leg tucked beneath him. "I've just been going through some… personal issues that I've only recently come to terms with." He explained softly and pushed his hair behind his ear, appearing anxious once again.
I groaned in frustration over this "personal issue" that he couldn't talk to me specifically about and raked my fingers through my hair. "Why won't you just fucking tell me? This is ridiculous." I rolled my eyes and shook my head in misunderstanding. It wasn't drugs, and it wasn't illegal. I couldn't comprehend what could be so awful or embarrassing if it wasn't related to performance issues.
His full lips pulled up into a rueful smile. "You'll be so damned repulsed if I told you, Edward." He chuckled darkly and shifted his gaze to his hands where they fidgeted with the fabric of the towel in his lap.
I was slightly offended by his insulation. "I already told you, you can tell me anything. We're supposed to be friends." I narrowed my eyes at him accusingly. He was the one blocking me out, after all. I'd help if he'd only let me.
His face contorted into a grimace and he rested his elbow on the back of the sofa and began biting the fingernail on his middle finger. His gaze shifted around the room uncertainly. His eyes were conflicted and his knee began to jerk up and down anxiously.
He was considering telling me.
I was shamefully eager, having had zero excitement for the entire month, and I pivoted my body towards his to mimic his pose with the most serious expression I could manage. When his gaze once again met mine, the pure and unadulterated fright in his eyes startled me.
He looked downright terrified as he removed his nails from his mouth and used his hand to rub his jaw. "Promise me you won't hate me." He requested in a trembling voice that competed with the fear that emanated from his gaze.
I felt a twinge in my chest, and my anxiety over this confession grew. "I promise, I won't hate you." I reassured him and leaned forward in anticipation. His eyes searched mine for many moments, and the stare grew so intense that it made my pulse accelerate erratically in my chest. I urged him with eyes to just say it and accentuated it with a minor nod of encouragement.
Jasper exhaled a gusty sigh and stilled his knee and fingertips, eyes wide and shining and disturbingly vulnerable. The muscles beneath the stippled flesh of his jaw twitched as it clenched. He lifted his hand to push his hair behind his ear again, but then seemed to reach out to my face, his hand lingering in the air between us uncertainly. I tilted my head quizzically as it came closer, but before I could question him, his fingers were being buried into my hair. The pencil behind my ear tumbled to the carpet unceremoniously; his eyes remaining wide and fearful as he swiftly leaned forward and pulled my face to his.
I was paralyzed as his lips met mine and my mind went entirely and rather inconveniently blank. His lips were firm, cold, dry, and unmoving against mine for a moment. I could only watch as his eyelids fluttered closed, but mine remained open from the stunned paralysis. Leisurely, his lips parted and began moving, gently puckering and drawing mine between his in the most foreign way. The breath from his nose bathed my face in warmth and began gradually increasing into longer exhales as I watched his damp eyelashes twitch. His fingers in my hair wrapped around the back of my head and pulled my face closer, even though I was clearly unresponsive.
If I thought I had reached the maximum level of astonishment possible, I was being proven wrong when Jasper then began shifting his body onto his knees atop the squeaky leather without breaking the contact of our lips, moving closer to me with rigid and indecisive movements. I could feel a cold droplet of water from his wet hair hit my hand where it sat lifeless in my lap as his new position forced his hand to tilt my face upward. It did nothing to stir me from my stupefaction.
His breaths came harder and his lips began moving with more confidence. He brushed his mouth against mine from side to side, nudging my lips with his as I sat motionless and too disoriented to protest. He pulled my bottom lip between his and released it before repeating the action once more.
His breaths grew so labored that he was panting loudly against my nose as it pressed softly against mine. I subsequently began noticing the tremble of his hand against my scalp, the quiver of his breath against my skin, and the quaking of the leather between us that was emanating from his knees. Color stained the flesh of his cheeks when the movement of his lips slowed, and grew doubtful and hesitant.
He stilled his mouth against mine and pulled away infinitesimally. When his eyelids slowly fluttered open, I was bewildered even further by the pure darkness of lust that penetrated them. His eyes gradually rose to meet mine, and the lustful glaze transformed first into dejection, and then fear, and then panic as he jerked his hand away and scrambled off the sofa.
"I'm sorry, I just-" He choked and ran his fingers through his hair before clenching one fist into his blonde tresses and squeezing his eyes closed. "I fucking told you that you'd be repulsed, Edward. Shit." He cursed in a hiss and turned his back on me.
I was still recovering from the numbing paralysis minutes later when I slowly shook my head. "I'm just… surprised." My voice responded in a barely audible breath. I watched his back rise and fall with his heavy huffs. Automatically, my mind made my lips move to add the instinctive caveat, "I'm not… like that." Because, I really wasn't.
He suddenly turned to me without meeting my gaze, and his bottom lip quivered as he withdrew it from between his teeth. "Look, if you still want to hang out, I'll be cool and I promise not to pull any shit like that again. If you don't, then I'll completely understand."
Before I could respond, he was loping to the door and quickly flung it open, shutting it behind him as he exited. I sat on the sofa for so long that the rain had ceased its patter against my window and infomercials began appearing on the television in the background. My mind gradually released me from the blank and numbed state of astonishment, and I was assaulted with a barrage of thoughts.
I was left with many confounding questions as I stared blankly at the spot he once occupied on the sofa in front of me.
Was Jasper gay? How long had he been into guys? Was he interested in me, or was the kiss merely meant for demonstrative purposes? Did sexual orientation matter to me when it came to friends? Would it change things? What did it mean?
But all of those questions were surpassed by the significance of another question that was roaring so loudly inside of my mind that I couldn't hear the television.
If I wasn't 'like that', then why was my dick so excruciatingly hard?
A.N. Thanks so much for reading! Comments, questions, feedback, witty banter, meaningless mockery, humorous rhetoric, slash rants, plot ridicule, criticism of any sort, and anything else you can type into that little review box thingy are oh so greatly appreciated!
As a timid caveat: I do not in any way intend to offend any group of people with this story. I'm aware that sexual orientation is a very sensitive subject, and I plan to treat it with the respect it deserves. I also very much wish to paint this story and characters in a realistic light, so if at any time there are suggestions made against homosexuality over the course of this story, please know that these are far from my personal feelings on the matter, and I'm only attempting to convey the issues that may arise in the process of one discovering his sexuality in the face of adversity. I can only hope to do it justice without offending anyone in the process. My research is limited to psychological digests, personal accounts, medical references, and stories I have read along the way.
Thanks again for taking the time to read!