Thank you, one last time for this story, to Naelany for her fantastic support as a beta, pre-reader, and friend. I look forward to working with you on the next one. :D
More notes at the end.
Labor Day, 2019
Ten years after Jasper arrived in Forks for the first time, he found himself, and his family, back at the Cullen home to celebrate Labor Day and the beginning of the school year. "Tony, slow down!" He called as their not-quite-four year old son tore through the house on his way to the backyard, seeking out his cousins who were more than likely around the pool.
"Did I see my grandbaby run through here?" Esme asked, emerging from down the hall.
"Of course," Edward said dryly, smiling as he kissed her cheek. "Who else?"
"Well, with that hair," Bella teased, hugging her (all but legally) mother-in-law, then taking a couple of the bags that Jasper carried so he could do the same. "He's really not inconspicuous."
Anthony Dale Swan was obviously Edward's biological son, with his hair and nose, but his eyes were all Bella's, deep brown and expressive.
"Well if he's anything like Edward was at that age, you all certainly have your hands full," Esme teased as she folded Jasper into a hug. She'd been cancer free for ten years after her surgery and radiation, and since then, the family had participated in many of the local events geared toward raising money for research as well as treatment options for low-income women.
"And it's not like his Uncle Em is a great influence, either," Jasper teased as Carlisle appeared from his study.
Both in their mid-sixties, Carlisle and Esme were still active. Esme had retired a couple of months before Rose had her and Emmett's first, Bree, so that she was available for babysitting. She still tinkered with interior design, her career before she'd started taking up administrative duties at the school, but primarily if asked she told everyone she was 'just a proud grand-mama to four beautiful kids.' Briana (or Bree as she preferred), a very precocious nine (and had clearly been a honeymoon baby), had two younger brothers, Noah, five, and the toddler Sam, who had turned three back in March. All the grandchildren were spoiled rotten.
Once they'd said their hellos to Carlisle, they trailed Esme through the kitchen, dropping off the brownies and salad Bella had made and followed the noise pollution out to the back yard. Bella made a happy sounding squeal and walked quickly around the deck to embrace Alice. "You didn't say you were coming!"
"We didn't know if we'd be able to make it," Charlotte admitted, accepting Bella's hug with a bright smile as Jasper and Edward made their way more sedately around the pool, waving at Emmett and Rosalie who were sitting on the edge of the pool, feet in the water as they watched the kids play. After Charlotte had finished her doctorate, she and Alice had, after several rough patches due to their long distance relationship, relocated to the East coast. Charlotte was a lobbyist for several health organizations and Alice took a position teaching kindergarten and maintained a small art studio.
"We thought it'd be better to surprise you, so you wouldn't be disappointed if it fell through," Alice said, hugging each of them. "It feels like it's been so long," she complained; they hadn't gotten together since Easter.
"It's so good to see you," Jasper said quietly as he hugged Alice. "Did Tony say hi, or go straight into the pool?" he asked.
Everyone laughed. "He waved," Charlotte admitted.
Charlotte had offered to be a surrogate for them, after the three of them had decided it wasn't a good idea to keep trying to have children. Before Bella had gotten pregnant with Tony she'd miscarried once and they'd lost one baby, a girl they'd named Abigail, who had been born too early and hadn't lived more than a few days in the NICU. It had been a really rough time for them, and Bella had really struggled with depression, guilt, and her self-esteem plummeted for awhile at her perceived failure at being able to bring a child into the world and be a mother. Edward and Jasper had of course been nothing but supportive, but Jasper had eventually drawn a line and forced her and Edward to come with him to see Dr. Jones when it became clear that Dr. Stevens wasn't helping (or Bella wasn't being honest with her). It had taken time, but eventually Bella realized it hadn't been her fault, and a couple of years later, she went back off the pill, deciding that she was ready to get pregnant again.
When Bella had conceived Tony, she'd been placed on almost immediate bed rest, and Tony had still been born premature. When they'd decided they were ready for a second child (the most recent time only a year behind them), they were unsuccessful. Bella had miscarried twice more, and Jasper couldn't put them through another loss like that again. He and Edward had gone and gotten vasectomies, Bella went back on the pill (for health reasons as much as a backup contraception), and they discussed their options for adoption.
With the family attorney they'd hired to put together trusts and wills, and medical proxies for each other, they'd worked out their options. They could have adopted privately, or, rather, Bella could have, but the attorney, a Mr. Jenks, had advised them that even a private adoption would be rough, given Bella's relationship status. They had looked further into it, made some contacts within the growing poly-relationship community in Seattle and online, and had ultimately decided that Tony would be an only child; but with his cousins, he never lacked for childhood companions.
They had thanked Charlotte for her thoughtfulness but had ultimately, gently, turned her down, even after they'd pretty much exhausted their chances for adoption. As much as they loved her and Alice, they hadn't wanted to put someone through that just so they could have a bigger family. They had come to terms with the hand they'd been dealt, through many sessions with Dr. Jones, who had taken on all three of them as a family counselor, and a lot of journaling, talking, and tears.
Instead of increasing their own family they mentored and kept active in the community. Bella had gone on sabbatical to comply with the doctor's order of bed rest when she got pregnant, and continued the time off for the remainder of the academic year after Tony was born. Once he'd started daycare shortly before his 1st birthday, Bella went back to teaching at the Academy, mornings only. In the afternoons she looked after Tony and tutored students in their neighborhood, or wrote while Esme got quality time with Tony. Jasper and Edward had kept up their monthly visits with the children at the hospital, taking Tony once he was old enough to understand what they were doing. Jasper was looking forward to getting their son into Cub Scouts in a couple years and being active in that group. So they maintained a pretty active role in the community and had been surprised to find that their relationship hadn't created as big a stir as they'd expected. But then, they'd become a lot more practiced at being discrete over the last decade.
Edward had gone far beyond the Master's Degree that the school had required of him and had managed to complete his PhD after a lot of support from the family. He was the third Dr. Cullen, and Bree liked to go around and inform everyone that she would be the fourth, since her mama didn't count, much to Rosalie's amusement. There had been some touch and go times while he was working on his dissertation with a baby in the house and two working partners, but somehow they always managed to work things out, even if one of them ended up in the guest room for a few days.
But otherwise, they had easily settled into life with each other. They'd been able to move into their new home before school had resumed after their first summer together, which no doubt made the chances of their making a relationship work that much better. By moving into their own home they'd prevented any more trouble with the school, and as much as it pained them, when Edward went on trips with the students, they took the dean's advice and Jasper and Bella didn't accompany him (at least not together, especially once Tony arrived).
Esme and Carlisle carried a tray of drinks and snacks out onto the patio and called for the grandbabies to take a break. Jasper would be in charge of the grill a bit later in the afternoon, when everyone was ready for dinner of burgers for the kids (and Emmett), steaks or chicken.
"Tía Char, tía Char!" Tony chirped as he climbed from the pool, his toddler's body already displaying traits that marked him as being Edward's son, and he was clearly going to take after his father's height.
Charlotte laughed as his dripping body slammed into hers for a hug. "Hóla, chico," Charlotte answered, hugging him back. "You're so much bigger than the last time I saw you," she commented. "How old are you now, ten?"
"No, tía Char I'm almost four!" Tony insisted, holding up three fingers and wiggling his pinky to show the 'almost.' "Rember? You and Aunty Ali gived me the drums for my birfday!"
"Oh, that's right. Have you been practicing lots for mama and your daddies?"
Jasper shot her a dark look. He had never been so thankful for their well insulated basement as when Tony had opened that box with a happy squeal at his last birthday and insisted that his daddies get it set up "right now!" But his happiness had been worth setting aside room in the large family room/craft area they'd set up, even though Tony had pouted that it couldn't be set up next to daddy Edward's piano in the first floor formal living room.
He nodded enthusiastically. "But Daddy Edward says hafta to use practice pads first," he said with a frown. "They're not loud."
"That's the point," Edward grumbled beside Jasper while everyone else laughed.
"Well, Daddy Edward will be able to get his revenge soon enough," Charlotte announced.
Esme looked up in surprise, a bright smile on her face and Jasper heard a happy sounding noise from Bella.
"You're going to have a baby?" Rosalie asked, excited. Her three were a handful, but if it were up to her, she'd have three more. Emmett had, for once, kind of put his foot down and they'd agreed to hold off for awhile.
"Well, not just yet," Alice answered as Tony looked confused about what was happening. "Honey, go play with Bree, Noah, and Sam. We brought you some new toys," she said to Tony.
"Yay! Thanks Aunt Ali!" he hugged her quickly and scampered off to the shady corner where the other three kids were playing on a blanket. Esme had already dropped off sippy cups of lemonade for the little ones, and Bree had her own red cup with her name scrawled on it.
Jasper and Edward sat and Bella perched on both of their laps. "What do you mean not yet?" Bella asked.
Alice and Charlotte sat close together on one of the other chairs, and Alice leaned against Charlotte, taking her hand. "Char's going to get inseminated when we get back to Virginia," she said. "We've got an appointment in two weeks. The doctors don't think I'd be a good candidate for pregnancy, since I'm so small," she said sadly, "But fortunately, Charlotte's built for making babies," she teased as she pinched her partner's hip.
"We found an anonymous donor through a service, and have a full medical history and all that," Charlotte explained, slapping away Alice's hand with a playful smile. "We'd been thinking about it for awhile now, and it's just time."
"Congrats you two," Bella said, sliding from Jasper and Edward's knees to hug them. "You're gonna be great parents."
"Have you told your families yet?" Esme asked, probably thinking of Emma.
"Nope," Alice said with a grin. "We're waiting to get pregnant first," she explained.
"Emma's going to be thrilled," Esme said.
"I'm putting you in charge of keeping her from spilling the beans, Carlisle," Charlotte said playfully, pointing between the two of them as everyone else laughed. "You know she can't keep a secret from her sister. At least I know where Alice gets it."
"Hey!" Alice protested. "I just like to share!"
Jasper choked on the drink of lemonade he'd just taken and spluttered.
"Not like that, you perv," Alice said, throwing a piece of carrot at him. "Not all of us are so greedy."
That set everyone laughing again. It had taken awhile, but eventually the playful teasing of Edward, Bella, and Jasper's life had become normal. Fortunately, they'd been able to keep their life pretty quiet and out of the gossip mill at school, and their family supported them wholeheartedly.
"Daddy Jasper?" Tony appeared and Bella slipped into mommy mode, wiping smears of chocolate chip cookie from his face.
"Can I have more lemade?" He held out his empty cup.
"Why don't you go ask Nana Esme," Jasper suggested. "I think she's sad because you didn't stop to give her a hug when we got here."
"Oops?" He flashed Jasper the smile that was all Edward's.
"Yeah, oops, little man. Go on," Bella chided him, kissing his cheek.
"Ew," Tony groaned, wiping his cheek with his hand before bee-lining for Esme and the pitcher of lemonade. "Nana Esme!"
"You know," Edward said softly as they watched their son interact with his grandmother. "I don't think she'll ever get tired of hearing that."
"And she'll have Alice and Char's kid calling her the same thing," Jasper responded.
They spent the day around the pool, playing and talking. Jasper fired up the grill in the late afternoon and got the kids (and Emmett) fed first before throwing on the meat for the adults.
In the evening, Carlisle started a fire in the pit and Esme presented the kids with skewers and marshmallows and helped them make s'mores, giving the monsters one last sugar high. Fortunately, she helped to clean them up before they crashed.
Their family nights had gotten shorter when they'd all started having children, so it wasn't that late when Carlisle helped Emmett and Rose bundle their three into the newly acquired mini-van, and Jasper carried Tony to the car and fastened him into his booster seat in the backseat of the Volvo.
When it came time to start getting ready for bed, Tony argued that he didn't need a bath since he'd spent all day in the pool. He lost, and Edward drew bath duty, while Jasper got some laundry going, and Bella threw together Tony's lunch for daycare the next day. Laughter and happy squeals drifted down from the upstairs bathroom while Jasper joined Bella in the kitchen once the washer was running.
"Hey," Jasper greeted her, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind. "Did you have a good day?"
"Yeah. It was good to see Alice and Charlotte," she said. They still got together with the rest of the family every couple of weeks, so seeing them had made the day special. "I miss them."
Jasper kissed her temple. "Me too. But they're happy. And it's not like you don't talk to them almost every day," he teased, pinching her side. "And they'll be here for Christmas in a few months."
"I know," she sighed, turning in Jasper's arms. "But it's not the same." She rested her head on his chest.
Jasper tipped her face up and kissed her softly. Bella hummed softly and hugged him around his waist. She smiled softly when she pulled away, and turned back around to finish packing up Tony's lunch of pb&j, grapes, and a handful of animal crackers with a frozen juice box. She also added a small bag of baby carrots and another of yogurt raisins for snacks. Another thing that had thankfully not been a problem with their boy had been getting him to eat.
Jasper reached over her shoulder and swiped a carrot from the larger bag, earning him a swat to the forearm.
"Esme's going to pick up Tony tomorrow," Bella reminded him as she started cleaning up the fixings for lunch. "I've got that conference call thing with my editor."
"Yup, we'll pick him up from their house after school," Jasper responded. "Should we grab something for dinner?"
Bella shook her head. "I've got something defrosting; I'll throw it on the crockpot when I get home."
"Okay." Jasper helped her finish cleaning up and move everything to the fridge, before wrapping his arms around her again. They swayed quietly together to unheard music for a few minutes.
The sound of little feet and an awkward gait carried down the stairs, and Jasper released Bella. They met Edward and Tony at the bottom of the stairs. Anthony had picked out the blue camo shorts and t-shirt pajamas for the night, and Edward had changed into a t-shirt and flannel pants.
"Mama, mama!" Tony said, jumping off the last step. "I gets to go back to school tomorrow!"
"Yes you do, baby," Bella agreed with a smile. It had been somewhat of a relief to all of them that he had taken so well to pre-school and daycare. Though they could have easily afforded for one of them to stay home, it was great for Tony's development to be around kids his age a little each day. "Are you excited?" she asked.
"Yup!" he cried as they moved into the family room. Tony drug out the mats they used for their evening routine of stretches and yoga as he babbled about his friends and teachers. They'd incorporated Edward's need to maintain his flexibility and Bella's yoga into their before-bedtime routine with Tony. He benefited from the yoga too, and the quiet time to relax and focus helped him get settled before stories and bedtime.
Jasper popped in one of the family yoga DVDs they'd accumulated while Tony settled on to his child-sized mat between Edward and Bella, wiggling a little as he waited for the video to start. When he had it queued up, Jasper took his place on the orange mat next to Edward's green. For twenty minutes they were mostly quiet as they followed the video, ending with a few minutes of quiet breathing accompanied by soft music.
"Okay, Ant," Jasper said quietly. "Upstairs to brush your teeth and pick out a story. Mama and Daddy Edward will be up in a minute." Jasper pulled himself to his feet, then reached a hand down to Tony, who grabbed it and gave a happy giggle-squeal as Jasper jerked him upright.
Jasper followed the toddler upstairs and into the bathroom, leaning against the door as his son flittered through brushing his teeth, using the toilet and washing up after. By the time Tony had crawled into bed, Edward and Bella had joined them, Bella with a sippy cup of water in her hand. Tony picked out a story and a reader (Edward read Goodnight Moon, and Jasper and Bella rotated through Richard Scarry's Bedtime Stories), and his eyes were heavy by the time they finished. Hugs and kisses were exchanged, and the nightlight in the corner barely illuminated their son's room after Jasper turned out the light and closed the door most of the way behind him.
Once they'd double checked that the doors were locked and the lights were out, Edward, Bella, and Jasper headed for their bedroom. Bella closed, but didn't lock, their bedroom door behind them. The small chain of bells they'd attached to the door knob gave them enough warning if Tony came wandering downstairs in the night.
Edward sat on the edge of their king-sized bed, tugging Bella between his legs with a soft smile. Jasper laughed quietly as Bella stumbled, wrapping his arms around her waist once more as he stood behind her, brushing her hair off her neck and pressing his lips against the soft skin. Bella sighed softly and leaned back into Jasper, as Edward's hands slipped under the hem of the tank top she was wearing under one of Jasper's ruined dress shirts, unbuttoned with the sleeves rolled up.
Bella's curves had softened somewhat through the years and with pregnancies, but Jasper knew he wasn't in the exact same shape he'd been in ten years earlier, either, though he still ran every morning. Though she'd been self conscious about her body, Edward and Jasper had both made sure to reassure her at every opportunity that she was still beautiful and that they loved her.
She still squirmed when Edward found just the right places to tease with his fingertips, and Jasper focused on the places on her neck, shoulders, and collarbone that made her breathless. Throughout their years together they had more than intimately learned each other's bodies, but that hardly kept them from exploring. More often than not, with a young child in the house, it was rushed, stolen moments long after his bedtime, when they weren't exhausted from chasing him around.
Bella ran her fingers through Edward's hair as he kissed her deeply. He kept it shorter than he used to, and the grey at his temples made him look distinguished, whereas Bella's dark hair sill kept its color, and Jasper's hair had started to darken, leaving it more 'dirty' than blonde, though he still wore it longish.
"Hold that thought," Bella breathed, kissing Edward again quickly. She stepped out of their embrace and crossed to the bathroom, and Jasper sat next to Edward on the bed, kissing him passionately in her absence. Edward moaned softly into the kiss, his hand curled around Jasper's neck as they leaned into each other. Edward's undershirt was soft under Jasper's hands, pressed flat against Edward's still lean body.
The fingers of Edward's other hand plucked at Jasper's dress shirt, where it was still tucked into his jeans; he was the only one of them that hadn't changed after returning home from the barbecue other than taking of his shoes and socks. Jasper broke the kiss and leaned back slightly, easily untucking his shirt and lifting it over his head, leaving himself in jeans and a 'wife beater,' as Bella called them. With an "oomph," Jasper fell back onto the bed as Edward pushed him over with a smile.
Jasper used his position under Edward to tug his t-shirt loose and toss it over the side of the bed, then run his fingers up and down Edward's spine. The scars from Edward's accident had faded, visually, but Jasper could still feel the raised flesh against the sensitive pads of his fingers. There had been a time, about five years previous, when Edward had faced another setback, which had made them seriously consider another surgery. Edward had fought against it and had endured another round of physical therapy, but in the end he'd had to have the surgery anyway. It had been another rough road for them, but they'd pulled through. Edward walked a bit better, though still relied on his cane for his balance most days.
"I thought I told you to hold that thought," Bella said with a bit of a pout as she came back into the room, a bit of light from the bathroom spilling into the bedroom. She'd changed into a small nightgown, a deep blue something that emphasized her bustline and left little to the imagination.
Edward sat up and turned around, causing Jasper's fingers to trail along his skin until Jasper's hands dropped onto the bed, and he used them to push himself up slightly. "I did," Edward said, and Jasper could hear the smile in his voice. "I had a different thought for Jas."
Bella rolled her eyes, but smiled, and joined them on the bed, climbing up at the foot and crawling her way over to them. Jasper took the opportunity to roll off the bed and quickly shed his jeans into a pile on the floor, quickly removing his undershirt as well. When he returned to the bed, Bella was posed over Edward, her knees on the outside of his thighs, his hands lightly on her hips as he kissed her deeply.
Jasper slid up behind Edward, the bedcovers bunching up around them as he pressed his chest to Edward's back, and twined his arms around him and Bella. Jasper nuzzled at Edward's neck as his fingers skimmed over Bella's thighs. When Edward broke the kiss, Jasper leaned over his shoulder to claim Bella's lip for himself, hearing Edward's contented groan at being smushed between the two of them. When Edward wriggled, Jasper backed off, sitting back on his haunches, his hands still on Bella's thighs.
Edward turned to kiss Jasper before his attentions returned to Bella. They kept on with the kissing and touches; making out with his partners never ever got old to Jasper. They fumbled around with each other a bit, trying to keep in contact, though Bella certainly remained at the center that evening. In part of their rougher times, she'd been worried that he and Edward would decide that she was just a fling, and they often sought to reassure her that it wasn't true, that she and Tony were the center of their world, and that just because Edward and Jasper had been first didn't mean that they didn't love her any less or differently.
"Tell me what you want, love?" Edward asked, his lips red and shiny against the stained pink column of Bella's throat.
"I want you both," Bella said softly, her breathing heavy.
Jasper nodded, scraping his teeth lightly over the pulse point in her neck. Edward reached for the drawer in the nightstand where they kept the smaller supplies for their intimate moments. Their foreplay continued as they situated themselves, hands wandering over skin, soft noises carrying through the room as they were conscious of the small being living on the upper floor.
The rest of their clothes quickly joined the others on the floor, and they continued their insistent teasing of each other's bodies. Jasper accepted the lube from Edward with a heated kiss and he focused on making sure Bella was well prepared for him. In front of Bella, Edward's face was buried between her breasts as his hands curled around her thighs, thumbs circling closer and closer to her core. Her entire body flushed pink with her arousal, Edward and Jasper's responding eagerly as well.
"Ready darlin?" Jasper breathed against her ear. She nodded tightly, and Jasper held her hips as she rose up slightly on her knees. Jasper centered himself beneath her, and guided her down gently, one hand wrapped around the base of his cock as she settled, causing them both to moan softly.
They shifted position carefully, and Bella gasped, a slight whimper on the sound as Edward entered her from the other side.
"So good," Bella gasped quietly, her hands locked on Edward's shoulders for stability.
Jasper could feel Edward moving in counterpoint to his own rhythm, separated only by a thin wall of flesh. Bella's head tipped back against Jasper's shoulder and she kissed his jaw and collarbone before lifting her head and kissing Edward deeply. Her quiet mewl of pleasure was swallowed by the kiss.
They moved together in a synchronicity borne of long familiarity. Jasper held to Bella's hip with one hand, his other circling around in front to tease at her clit, his knuckles brushing Edward's cock as they moved together. Bella pushed her hips back against Jasper, meeting his thrusts from behind before she rocked forward to meet Edward.
Bella came with a quiet gasp, her head slumping forward onto Edward's shoulder. Jasper's fingers continued to move in her, prolonging her release as Edward's motions became slightly less controlled. Jasper was close, Bella's body tightening around him in the wake of her own orgasm triggering his, and then Edward's in short order.
They lay together for a few minutes, their breathing ragged, tender touches and kisses exchanged between the three of them as their hearts calmed.
Bella groaned softly as she shifted, stretching her limbs. Jasper laughed softly, kissing her forehead as he also shifted, rolling onto his side before tugging her back against his chest as he nuzzled against her. Edward joined them, scooting down slightly in the bed to place his cheek against Bella's chest, throwing his leg over both of theirs, his arm draped over their waists.
They snuggled together for a few minutes until Bella wiggled to get up. She crossed back to the bathroom, naked and unselfconscious, and closed the door behind her. Jasper heard water running as Edward moved over to fill the void she'd left in the bed. Jasper smiled and kissed him softly, running his fingers lightly through his hair.
Edward heaved a sigh. "It's still early," he muttered. "I should go finish up a few things for tomorrow," he said.
Jasper nodded. He also had work he could finish, and he doubted that Bella would be coming straight back to bed after she cleaned up. "Yeah," he echoed, kissing Edward again. "Or, we could just blow it off and stay here," he suggested.
Edward laughed softly and tilted his face up to kiss Jasper. The kiss lingered for a moment. "Tempting as that sounds," he said regretfully.
"I know, babe," Jasper agreed. They remained for a few more moments, until the water shut off in the bathroom. Jasper kissed Edward again and they pulled apart, rolling off opposite sides of the bed. Edward pulled on his same pair of pajama pants while Jasper pulled clean ones from the bureau.
Bella emerged from the bathroom, her hair twisted up in a bun on top of her head, tendrils lose around her face, her robe belted around her waist. She pouted at them.
"What?" Jasper asked.
"I kinda hoped you'd talk me into staying in bed," she said, crossing to him and bumping his hip with her own as she fished out a pair of cotton capris pajama pants and a matching tank top.
Jasper kissed her. "Later," he said in her ear and swatted her backside.
She giggled and dressed, tossing her robe onto the foot of the bed, and once he was dressed, Jasper followed her and Edward out of their bedroom. Bella disappeared into the kitchen, while Edward and Jasper made their way down to the hall to the office space they shared. It was cramped, but cozy, with three desks, a couch and a small play area set up for Tony in the corner.
Bella joined them after a few minutes, her regular evening cup of tea in her hands as she took her desk and started working on her computer. Jasper checked his email then put the finishing touches on the things he needed for class the next day while Edward, Jasper presumed, did the same.
A couple of hours later, Bella sat up a bit straighter and stretched with a yawn, pulling Jasper out of the textbook he was reviewing . "Bedtime?" he asked.
"Mm," she acknowledged.
Edward looked up from a score, tugging the headphones from his ears. "What?"
"We're going to bed. You almost done?" Jasper asked, setting his computer to sleep mode for the night.
Edward nodded. "Half-hour or so."
Bella rose and crossed to Edward's desk, kissing him softly. Edward returned it and smiled, slipping his headphones back on as Bella and Jasper slipped out of the office.
Jasper went through the bathroom as Bella crawled into bed, curling up around her pillow in the middle. Jasper joined her, after turning on the bedside lamps and making sure the baby monitor was still turned on (they'd been careful, but there were a few times where their love making had gotten a bit – rigorous). Bella shifted and curled up against him as he pulled on his newly prescribed reading glasses and the novel he was half-way through. He read as he waited for Edward to come to bed, idly stroking through the hair Bella had let down for bed.
After half an hour, Edward still hadn't come to bed, and Jasper's eyes were heavy. He shut off his light and slid down in the bed after putting aside his glasses and book. Bella sighed happily against him as he curled toward her, prepared for sleep, the light on Edward's side of the bed still on. It wasn't unusual for one of them to linger over work in the evenings.
Jasper was dozing when he felt the bed dip, and the light against his eyelids went out. "'Ward?"
"Yeah, lost track of time. Go back to sleep," Edward said softly.
Jasper felt lips against his and smiled as Bella murmured something in response to probably her own kiss. Warm and content, Jasper let himself slip deeper into sleep, feeling Edward's hand lightly on his hip, Bella's easy breathing against his own.
Jasper was home.
Thank you all so very much for riding this train with me. I know it's been a long journey; I've been writing these characters for close to a year and a half, and they're based somewhat on original characters I began developing in 2003. Posting the story has taken just over a year. I'm so glad that you've all found as much love for these characters as I have.
Fandom Gives Back: Eclipse kicks off in a couple of weeks - if there's an outtake you'd particularly like to see, why not think about making a donation to a great cause and make me write it? ;) I'll also have a few hand-crafted items up for bid.