A/N: Hello, Everyone! Wow! Two whole updates in one month - I'm on a roll now! ;) No, but seriously, I am trying to make up for going AWOL for so long after the holidays, and you guys have been so incredibly awesome and supportive of the story, and I just can't thank you enough for that! :) I really appreciate all the lovely reviews and PMs and those who have added the story to your alerts and faves - thank you!! :D Also, for those of you who may have your PMs turned off, please know that while I can't drop you a reply to your reviews, I do want you to know I so appreciate them :) and you! Thank you *all* for being just so absolutely amazing! You make writing this story a complete pleasure! :)

I currently have company staying with me so my writing time this week has been scattershot. In fact, this chapter I am posting without running it first by my super-talented, sweet and utterly wonderful beta Val, Touchstone67 (Love ya, BB!) because I am pressed for computer time and I needed a super-quick turnaround which I felt was unfair to drop on her at such late notice, even though knowing Val's sweet nature, she probably would have tried to accommodate me anyway, but I just felt bad doing that to her. So, with that in mind, any and all mistakes in this chapter are solely mine and I apologize for them.

I want to also give special thanks to Liz, the lovely, brilliant and incredibly-gifted Oh Jasper My Jasper, for her friendship and her wise, writerly advice on this chapter, especially one key part of it! :) Thanks so much, Liz! You really made it better and I so appreciate it!

Okay, so now for Chapter 12 - usual disclaimers: Twilight and the characters therein, as well as the sexy menz I'm borrowing for my little story, belong to Stephanie Meyer.



Chapter 12 - Sweetest Surrender


Jasper POV


Cigarette smoke curls lazily above my head as I breathe out another hazy stream and stretch against the couch, the leather sticking to the bare skin of my back. Feeling over-heated and sticky and far too pensive, I lose myself in a musing reverie on fiery copper-leaf hair, the cool elegance of dark bronze lashes curling over sylvan-sparked eyes and lips lush and red as Washington apples.

Curling one arm behind my head, I scratch at the damp curls at my nape with a gusty sigh as I reach up to take the cigarette from my mouth.

Man, oh man...

I lick my lips that feel full, hot, needful of a kiss, needful of his kiss, and I feel them spreading into an easy smile - a physical tangibility of the phantom hope that flickers inside me.

Damn, I feel restless, though... just all tangled up and quivery inside, bucking against the reins that have held me back for years - a twining knot of fear and uncertainty. With a grunt of frustration, I slide my body against the warm leather, trying desperately to relax, my feet knocking against the arm rest as I take another long drag on my cigarette. I know I'm tearing my lungs up to hell and back with the cancer sticks, but after this day, shit, I'm dying for a smoke.

Okay... maybe not the best word choice, but smoking helps when I'm all twitchy like this. Mind you, nothing works to relax a body half as well as sex. A deep, firm, sultry fuck - that'll send you into the sweetest nirvana faster than anything under heaven. I smile at the thought, musing on the fact that now, maybe, a little sexin' with my man isn't completely out of the question. Eyebrow arching at the promise of that seductive possibility, I give in to a hot vision of Edward spread hot and beautiful and wanting, all supple and straining, below me - nothing but sleek, sweat-sheened skin and sex. And then another image - those amazing jeweled eyes staring up into mine flashing like a summer storm as those ripe crimson lips wrap tight and wet and so fucking gorgeous around me.

Perfection, those lips...

Of course, for the moment, I'll have to settle for smoking, my other oral obsession, because I'm probably too keyed up for anything else right now anyhow. My mind is spinning like a wicked whirligig, and I keep wondering if I did the right thing.

Truthfully, I feel like the world's biggest asshat leaving Edward behind at his house with Bella with all the tension between them, but, all guilt aside, I feel like it had to be done, for me, for Edward and for Bella.

That was heavy shit to throw at the poor girl all at once, and though Bella says she wants time alone to think it over (and believe me, I know how she feels because that's why I tucked tail and hauled ass home, too), I imagine she's going to realize after she's simmered down and the emotions aren't running rough-shod over her, that she and E still have some big-time talking to do. They've got a lot of things to work through and to try to sort out between them... and I don't envy them for that.

I felt like I had to go, because, come on, how would that look if E and I had taken off together, leaving Bella to feel totally abandoned? That's just not right, and I was raised better than to do something shitty like that, and especially to a sweet girl that Edward and I have already hurt in uncountable ways. It's unfortunate, but when love wages a war for the hearts and minds of men, there are always victims left raw and bleeding along the way. Sooner or later, we all suffer those wounds, but if we're lucky, we heal and are stronger for what we have endured. I've been through the heartache of Edward Cullen's leaving and now, seeing Bella suffer through it as I did years ago, I've no desire to make her pain worse.

And, truth is, too, like I told E, I just needed some time to myself to get my head wrapped around all this. It's happening so fast, and I just need to sort it all out before I see Edward again. It's a crazy stew of emotions bubbling inside me, and the overriding emotion I'm feeling is, well, love, obviously, but hope as well, and even gladness, because finally, things seem to be...

Oh good lord... there I go again...

The thing is, it's too soon to say, really how things are between me and E. I'm getting ahead of myself, because, as always, there's that little niggling fear eating away at my scarred psyche -- the nagging insecurity that aches inside me despite all my cool assurances to myself that I'm doing okay, that everything is going to be fine.

Even so... you bet I'm preparing for whatever eventuality unfolds.

Believe me, this here renegade is not gonna pull the stupid shit like I have in the past, jumping into things heart first and damn-near braining myself in the process. You see, I have this theory that the heart and the head battle it out your whole life, so if you ignore your head and go with your heart like I did, the head retaliates and you get punished with one mother of a headache - literally or figuratively - for your rash actions, and if you ignore your heart and go with your head - like E did, then you get punished by your heart and emotions going all trip-wire on you and making you feel like you're heading for a breakdown like my man is feeling right now.

If you ask me, all you can really do is try to find some compromise - go with the heart - trust what you feel, but think things through carefully, too. Use a little common sense, don't just go balls-out for what you want without a little contingency plan in place in case it all goes to shit.

So, yeah, that's what I'm trying to do - gonna make myself a little contingency plan so that I don't drown in the quicksand in case this thing falls through.

Funny thing, though, even though I'm sitting here sucking on my fourth cigarette and musing on all this and dulling my thoughts with the bottle of beer sweating on the table beside me, I can not for the life of me let my mind really dwell on my fears of what will happen should E decide to crawl back into the comfortable, closeted life he's been living for the past several years. My mind just won't go there, or... okay, yeah, my mind will go there but, my heart is a brave little solider and is fighting the good fight. It won't let me give up one drop of the precious hope that I can feel swirling through me like golden, life-giving light - warming me through and through.

You see, crazy as it sounds, I have this feeling and, god I hope I'm right, but I just feel like... it might just work this time around. I see something in Edward's eyes that I never thought to see again glittering in those gorgeous emerald depths. I see fire there - determination, courage, and most of all, I see the love and passion I feel for him, that I've always felt for him, reflected back at me. I believe him when he tells me he loves me because he tells me, not only with those lush lips of his, but with his heart, his actions and his conviction.

See, the Edward Cullen I saw today is the man I fell in love with years ago. I have fucking mourned his disappearance and never did I think I'd see that gorgeous creature again. I never dared to hope I'd see that powerful prince striding and striving to reassert his purpose in the world and in my life again, taking up the mantle of responsibility and pledging his desire to prove his strength, his love and his bravery... to me.

Fuck, that's amazing, but that's my man - my autumn prince - all velvet-wrapped, elegant steel, and god, how I've missed him.

I know some would call me a romantic fool for trusting the man who broke my heart into ruby shards of pain, but if you lose trust, you lose it all. I have to trust him, and he has to trust me, and I have to believe we're going to earn and damn well deserve that trust we've placed in each other. I know things aren't perfect, and hell, they never will be because life in general isn't perfect, but the closest thing I've ever felt to perfection in this lifetime is loving and being loved by Edward Cullen. That's my heaven, and I'm galloping hard toward it, and I'll be damned if I let anything get in my way.

We lost so much when we lost each other -- a lifetime of memories compressed into a few short, sweet years together. I want to make memories with Edward again, I want to know that sublime joy and that fulfillment of love again.

I want to slide behind him on the couch, my hands over his, Scarlet steady in his lap as I try to teach him how to play the guitar, his face lit bright and beautiful as dawning day as he coaxes shining silver notes, a few sweet bars of music, from the strings. I want to feel my rough fingers lace with the tapered elegance of his fingers again, guiding him over the strings, his soft, tousled, copper locks warm against the side of my face. I want to enfold him, feeling the vibration of his laughter against me as he plays, leaning back into me, his laughter more beautiful than any note Scarlet can sing.

I want so much. I want it all. I want him.

God, just to see that disarming, amused smile spread over the juicy apple crimson of his lips again, his verdant eyes glittering like they did that time he tried to teach me how to use chopsticks when he brought home sushi for dinner. Now, me, I'm all about the steak and potatoes. I'm not a fan of rolled, raw fish, but hell, I'd eat slimy, rice-coated eel every damn day of the week if it meant seeing my man glow luminous back at me like a harvest moon, his gaze loving, laughing warm and cinnamon-sweet against my face as he leaned forward, folding my uncooperative fingers around the chopsticks. I never did get the hang of it, and Edward laughed, bemused at the fact that my fingers, so agile on the guitar strings, were completely useless with chopsticks. I joked with a wide, cavalier grin that the chopsticks were too small, that these fingers of mine preferred a *stick* of more substantial girth to grip and guide into my mouth, and Edward, who had just slid a bite of rice-coated, slimy-something in his mouth, nearly choked with laughter, spitting his bite into his napkin, his eyes dancing with amusement as he reached over and playfully popped me on the side of the head for my teasing. I smiled a toothy grin back at him and he twined his hand in a hank of my hair, pulling me into a hot kiss that tasted of laughter and love... and maybe a little bit of nasty eel, too.

Stretching again, I gaze up at the ceiling, watching the afternoon sun chase the shadows from the corners of the room, and I smile like an idiot around the cigarette in my mouth, before exhaling pearly smoke with a low laugh, shaking my head a little in stunned amazement at everything that has unfolded in the past several hours, wondering if perhaps Edward and I might be able, after all, to recapture some of the resplendence of what we had once known together.

Normally about this time of day, I feel weariness sinking like lead into these long bones of mine, but not today, nope... not today, because right now, all I feel is restless energy in me and I recognize it for what it is - sparks of hope zipping around inside me like lightning bugs in my soul.

Even so, though, I keep thinking about Edward, wondering what happened after I left, seeing in my mind that tense face as I stood at his door, preparing to leave. When I held his hand, I felt it tremble in my own and all I wanted to do was pull him into my arms and pepper his face with kisses, whispering my love with every slide of my lips against his warm skin. I wanted to bury my hand in that copper crown of soft hair, and breathe him in, the autumnal-sweet smell of him surrounding me again. I wanted to kiss him hot and slow and deep and feel him sliding against me, his arousal pulsing against my thigh.

Of course, out of respect for Bella, that was out of the question. Still, I couldn't resist one little soft-as-satin kiss because I wanted Edward to feel my love and know how proud I am of him.


My musing is interrupted by the shrill ringing of the phone then and I flop over, batting for it on the table beside me, grinning when I see Edward's name on the call screen.

I hear the lazy drawl in my voice as I answer, "Hey, darlin'. You get settled in a room or are you still at the house?"

I can't bring myself to say 'with Bella.'

I smile at the sound of that soft, mellifluous voice as he answers that he's at the Fairmont Olympia hotel now.

So he really is staying alone at a hotel. I can just see him there, brooding like an evening storm.

"You okay, E? After I left, did... everything go alright?"

Edward doesn't say anything but I can hear him take a shaky breath and my heart catches.

"Edward," I murmur, wanting to reassure him... or myself, I'm not sure who needs reassuring the most. "I know you feel like hell right now, and I'm not gonna patronize you by saying all kinds of warm and fuzzy bullshit because I know you don't want to hear it, but I just want you to know that I can't begin to tell you how much it meant to me today for you to be the man you were always meant to be, the man I know you are. You're so much stronger than you give yourself credit for, E. I know today was a hard thing for you, but you did it, baby."

"Jasper," he gasps then, and I can hear the soft aching tears and vulnerability that saturates his quiet voice, "I don't feel very strong. I feel tired and I feel horrible about hurting Bella. It kills me, Jasper, to know I've hurt her so badly. She doesn't deserve it, and I do love her... and I don't know how to make it better."

My chest tightens at his words, and I can feel the familiar, but loathed, strangle-grasp of fear-ridden anxiety creeping up on me. Sitting up again, I rub my eyes, a weary sigh fighting its way past my lips.

"I know, E. That's some heavy shit for you and Bella (and me) to have to deal with. It's a fucking mess but... well, that's the way of love, yeah? Like they say - the course of true love never did run smooth, and all that, right?"

I laugh softly, but my fluttering heart isn't in it, and I know I'm panicking a little. I'm hearing his fear begin to shade his words and I'm so damn terrified that he's going to slide backward again, back into that dark closet, ease back into what's easy and comfortable, and leave me broken again, and all I can do is sit here spouting cliches at him like a gawping fool.

I hear his breath catch and I shake my head, muttering to myself, mad at myself. Stupid, stupid! Come on, Jasper, you idiot, don't fuck this up!

"No, it doesn't run smooth at all," Edward murmurs then, his voice barely above a whisper and I feel a desperate longing for him so powerful that it feels like my heart is being squeezed to liquid pulp.

I want to beg him to please not give into the demons of fear howling in his heart because I hear them, too, and I swear to god, I will fight to ignore the fuckers. I want to reassure him, to make him see that, bad as it hurts now and even as guilty as he feels, that he did the right thing, that he couldn't continue living a lie. I want to make him see that the love we can share again is worth it - worth all the heartache and pain - all of it - if we really work at it ...but my stubborn pride stays my tongue.

I growl in frustration, and Edward hears me and seems to mistake that growl for annoyance at him.

"Jasper, I'm sorry," he stammers, his normally smooth voice roughened with pain. "I know we needed to talk, that you and Bella deserved the truth, and I don't regret that, but I hate that I've hurt you because I love you so much," he sobs quietly then, and my heart swells with love and breaks at his agony, tears tightening my own throat.

"Edward, baby, please don't cry. It kills me to hear you cry. I love you, too. Christ, Edward, I love you so much."

Another muffled gasp breaks from him and I rub the heel of my hand against my eyes, rubbing at the tears burning there as I get up from the couch, pacing restless and worried, my hand clenching and unclenching, needing the warm pressure of his hand in mine.

"I've always loved you, Jasper, my own wild angel. I love you more than you know... and I always will," he murmurs in a ragged whisper.

I don't know why his words scare me instead of soothing me, but to me, something about them – it sounds like finality and I close my eyes, leaning my head against the wall, my hand doubled in a fist against my heart that jumps like a jackrabbit inside my chest. My voice is raw with anguish as I ask him if he's going back home to Bella.

"What? Going home?" he asks.

I nod, the mad staccato of my heart pounding through me so hard I can feel the pulse of it behind my closed eyes. I can fucking feel the fear demons beating their mad drums inside me.

"Are you going back to her, Edward?"

He sucks in a breath, then his words rush through the line with breathless urgency. "Jasper, no! Of course not. No, baby. I want to be with you, Jasper... that's why I did everything I did today. It was for you, for us, Jazz. I want to be with you again... if you'll have me."

Relief courses through me like a hot, sweet wave, rolling through me so thick and fierce that my damn knees near buckle and I press my hand against the wall, steadying myself as I feel a gasp of relieved, almost giddy laughter burst from me.

"Jesus, Edward... you scared the shit out of me. Of course I'll have you, you dumb bastard!" I smile to hear the unmistakable sound of a sniffled chuckle on the other end of the line as I continue, "Believe you me, darlin', there is no way on God's green earth I would have gone through what we did today if I didn't think you or our relationship wasn't worth it. Babe, I'd crawl through hell on my hands and knees for you - you know that."

It's like I can hear him smiling over the phone and in my head, I see that sweet, sincere, beautifully-crooked grin spreading over his face as he laughs again softly and answers, "I feel like I did crawl through hell on my hands and knees for you today, Jazz."

Chuckling softly, I smile, feeling almost buoyant with relief, cradling the phone against my ear as my heart slows it's frantic cantering and I murmur, "Yeah, I know it feels that way, baby, and I'm sorry it was so hard, but... thank you."

"Thank you for being there for me, Jasper. I couldn't have gone through it without you."

He pauses for a moment, then his voice lightens and he sounds almost boyish as he asks me, "So, you're proud of me?"

I laugh. "Yeah, I'm proud of you, babe."

"And does that earn me any brownie points," he asks and I grin.

"Brownies?" I laugh. "That's all you want from me? Well, hell, darlin', you're easily satisfied."

Edward groans and I can imagine him rolling those forest-green eyes and I grin as he laughs, calling me an asshole.

"Now, don't be callin' me names, Sweet Thing, or there'll be no sweet treats for you. Besides, I thought you liked that part of my anatomy."

I'm rewarded with another warm laugh as he agrees, saying he's very fond of all parts of my anatomy, and I can't help the stupid grin that dimples over my cheeks at that.

"Same here, E. Love every inch of you, my man."

Cradling the phone between my neck and shoulder, I stretch my arms above my head with a yawn, releasing the lingering tension coiled there, as I ask him, "Alright, so you really want brownies? Well, I bet Betty and I can whip you up some brownies so good they'll make you wanna slap your grandma!"

Edward laughs vibrantly again and the sound warms me straight through to my toes. I smile again feeling the muscles stretch happy creases on my face.

"Betty?" Edward asks, his voice light with teasing. "Should I be worried? Who is this Betty person?"

"Oh, that's right. You haven't had the pleasure of meetin' the esteemed Miss Crocker, huh?"

"No, I have not. Is she beautiful? Should I be worried?"

"Well, darlin', as they say, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and let me tell you, that woman knows how to cook up a storm, so I love me some Betty, but no, babe, she's nowhere near as beautiful as you," I answer with a rumbling laugh.

"I am very glad to hear it because I would hate to have to teach Miss Crocker what happens to those who try to steal my cowboy away from me," Edward replies, his voice smooth and warm as melted caramel now.

Chuckling, I shake my head. "No worries, my man. I'm all yours."

Edward laughs again, then I hear him yawn softly and I imagine him lying back against the hotel room bed, his hair shining against the whiteness of crisp sheets like autumn leaves against the pristine white of first snowfall.

I feel a hot throb of desire roll through me at the vision.

"Play for me, Jasper," he murmurs then, his voice low, almost purring.

"What, baby?"

"Play Scarlet for me. I haven't heard my Orpheus play in far too long, and I miss the sound of your voice and the music of your fingers on the strings."

I smile at his request. "Your wish is my command. I'll have to put you on speaker though."

I set the phone down on the coffee table, pressing the speaker button. Leaning over then, I pick up my stringed girl, smiling at the familiar weight of her in my hands and I caress my fingers over her strings, hearing Edward hum in pleasure. Smiling, I coax from Scarlet an earthy song for my airy prince of the sky, singing soft and husky.

When I finish, Edward sighs, his breath catching softly, and I smile, asking him if he likes the song.

"Yes," he breathes, his voice low and velvety and I hear desire in that word which causes my cock to throb with aching warmth.

"I love it, Jazz," he murmurs then. "It's beautiful, Angel. You have such a gift. Why aren't you sharing it, Jasper? It's wrong for you to hide that talent away from everyone."

I still my fingers on the strings, worrying at my bottom lip as I reach for the bottle of beer and take a swallow of it, rubbing my thumb against the moisture on the outside of the bottle.

"Jasper?" Edward asks again and I sigh, setting the beer back down, cradling Scarlet to me like a shield.

"I'm here. Just thinking, darlin'."

Music sings in my blood, beats in my heart, strums in my soul, and it's always been a huge part of who I am.


When I was 11, my Papaw gave me the guitar that had once belonged to my daddy. It looked a little worse for the wear but I polished it up and Papaw helped me re-string it and it was good as new. My grandfather taught me to play it... and I was in love.

Th guitar was almost too big for me, and I remember looking up once and seeing myself reflected in the mirror in my grandparents' front parlor - all long, skinny, coltish limbs and gangly arms, big eyes, a mop of sun-bleached curls, sunburned shoulders and freckles across my nose. Awkward as I surely looked, though, I felt anything but, because even though those hands of mine were small and dirty from tending to the horses, they were graceful and agile on the strings even then. Seemed to me even then that I'd found my calling. I wanted to be a musician when I grew up.

Well, as it happened, one day, I'd skipped mucking out the barn to spend some time on my music. It was one of those gorgeous spring mornings when the air tastes sweet and caresses over you, and it was a good day to be an 11-year old boy with a guitar and a dream.

I sat down by the lake and started playing, and before I knew it, some of the guys who worked the ranch ambled down to the lakeside to join me. They were a friendly, fun-loving group of guys and they were good to me and never treated me like 'just a kid'. They appreciated my music and before long, some of them were calling out requests for songs and even singing along as I played.

Now, my father had been gone the three days previous - supposedly doing business in San Antonio, but I'd heard him stumble drunkenly through the door the night before, and I heard Momma yelling and Rosie crying and I knew El Diablo had returned. I hated it when Daddy was home. He made it hard on everyone.

Considering my father's drunken state the night before, you'd think he would have been in bed sleeping off the bender, but no such luck. Nope. Instead, he was on the damn war path. The screen-door flew open with such force it hit the side of the porch and my daddy lurched out of the house, bellowing, his eyes red as fire, spitting anger like a dragon spitting flame. I stopped playing and got real still as he approached.

Daddy yelled at the guys, calling them 'lazy sons of bitches' and said he didn't pay them to 'sit on their asses listening to music the whole damn day'. One of the guys, Javier, tried to edge in a little in front of me, and while I appreciated his protectiveness, I knew Daddy would just as soon punch him as look at him, so I peered around Javier's legs, shaking like a leaf. Daddy pointed at me and I froze, fingers stilling on the guitar seeing the drink-fueled fury on his face as he jerked the guitar from my hands, yelling that no son of his was going to be a 'sissy musician' playing for the entertainment of others like a 'performing monkey."

He then brought his leg up and smashed the back of the guitar against his dirty, denim-clad knee, shattering and destroying the instrument - and me - in the process. I went numb inside as he hauled me up, nearly jerking my arm from the socket, rank spittle flying against my face as he bellowed at me to grow up and do my duties and act like a man.

A man? I was fucking 11 years old. I wasn't even a teenager yet, and I certainly didn't feel like much of a man right then with my lip trembling and tears burning in my eyes as I shook in my father's angry grasp. I was just a scared boy whose mean drunk of a bastarding father had taken something beautiful and twisted it into something humiliating and painful.

I stopped playing music that day. I didn't have a guitar to strum, anyway, nor the desire anymore to play. My father had stolen the song from my soul.

On my 16th birthday, however, my Papaw returned to me the gift of song, and the guitar my granddad gifted me with that day was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen (until Edward). Her strings glittered like gold and her wood was a deep mahogany color that gleamed in the sunlight with all the dusky red of autumn cherries. I named her Scarlet, and of course, she's still with me.

Scarlet brought joy and love back into my life, but even so, even to this day, a part of me has to almost psyche myself up any time I play live solo because I still hear the hateful words of my father ringing in my ear, but... once I actually start to play, then I relax back into the music and I'm in my own little world, lost to the music.


It worries Edward that I don't try to make a go of my musical career on my own terms as a solo artist, and I've never told him about what happened with my father and the resulting mindfuck it did to me, how for years I almost felt ashamed to be a 'sissy musician', instead of doing a 'real job' using my hands, my back, the strength of my muscles, not the strumming of my fingers or the timbre of my voice.

And... Edward doesn't know this but a couple of years ago I did try to make a go of it, and I failed miserably.


After Edward and I parted, I needed something to pull me up out of the grave of loneliness and self-pity I'd dug for myself. I finally decided I was tired of being a session guitarist, spending all my time in some darkened studio playing behind other musicians. I wanted to start my life over again. I wanted to face my fears and insecurities and make my own music and sing my own songs, so I decided to start small by playing a few sets down at Finnegan's, the Irish pub not far from my apartment.

It went well, and I struck up a friendship with another musician who sometimes played at the pub. His name was Eamon and he was from Rosslare, Ireland but he was currently living in Seattle. Eamon lived a double life - quality control analyst for a software company by day and musician by night. He was talented and lively and quick to smile and laugh and he was a great guy to jam around with and with whom to toss back a beer.

It was apparently fated, too, that Eamon and I become friends because it turned out his ex-girlfriend's sister was a music producer and ran a Seattle recording studio. Of course, because of the tense relationship between him and his ex, it was out of the question for him to try to cut a record there but he gave me the woman's name and told me I should check into it.

Honestly, I was scared as fuck, but I thought I should at least give it a shot - why the hell not? What's the worst that could happen? I wouldn't make it? Well, I'd just be back at square one - no harm, no foul, so I called for an appointment and the very next day I showed up at the woman's office.

Her name was Maria Riveira, and though I didn't know what I expected to see walking in that door, it sure as hell wasn't the sight that met my eyes. Maria was maybe in her late 30's, early 40s, and was a damn fine-looking woman with thick, shining ebony hair and a sultry smile. I'm gay but I'm not blind so even I could recognize her smoldering appeal. I walked in, guitar in hand, and she smirked - literally fucking smirked at me - her eyes raking slow up and down me as she leaned forward across her desk.

"Jasper Whitlock?" she purred. I nodded, blushing as she smiled and tucked a lock of dark hair behind her ear, arching her eyebrow. "You're not quite what I expected, Mr. Whitlock."

I started to reply that she wasn't quite what I expected either, but I wasn't sure how that would sound so I stayed my tongue and instead just smiled a lazy smile, bowing my head slightly with a polite, "Ma'am. Thank you for seeing me."

"Of course I wanted to see you. A real-life singing cowboy from Texas! What a treat!"

She laughed and her laughter was as husky as her low, sultry voice, as she added, "I hope the music is as gorgeous as the musician."

I felt heat rising to my cheeks and I cleared my voice, stammering, "Uh, thank you, Ma'am."

"Please, none of that 'Ma'am' business," she smiled, waving her hand airily. "It makes me feel old which is the last thing I want to feel around a young, strapping thing like you."

Then she winked at me. Oh yeah, she was laying it on thick, and I wanted to tell her that, while I appreciated the effort and was flattered, her seductive wiles were wasted on the likes of me, but I kept thinking that, maybe, if I went along with her, just flirted with her some, that I might just get a little something out of this... like a contract.

It was bold and wrong of me, but I flirted the hell out of her - pulling out all the damn stops - laying the accent on thick, flashing deep dimples and a wink and all the southern charm I could muster. It was shameless... and so was I, and I felt a little like a whore but I kept reminding myself that this might be my one and only chance to really make a go of my music as a solo artist - none of this backing studio musician crap - so I had to do it.

"Well, Cowboy," Maria said then, crossing one leg over the other, her skirt riding up her thigh so high I could see the black lace garter of her stockings. "Show me what you got."

I grinned widely and nodded, sitting down on the couch across from her to pull out Scarlet.

"No, Jasper," she murmured then, rising from her chair. She walked past me to close and lock the office door and I smelled the scent of her perfume as she brushed by me - rich and exotic and vaguely cinnamon-sweetened. She joined me on the couch then, her eyes dark pools of long-lashed lust, as she smiled, pulling Scarlet from my arms.

I could feel fear pumping adrenaline through my cantering heart as she picked up my slack arms, wrapping them around her as she straddled my lap. Gasping, I gazed wild-eyed and shocked up at her as she smiled, pushing the hair back from my face.

"Show me how you play, my pretty cowboy," she murmured huskily, her breath as sweet and sultry-cinnamon as her perfume and I closed my eyes, something hot and hard and sharp twisting inside me as I realized that with my eyes closed, just breathing her in, I could almost imagine Edward's crisp autumn scent.

She reached behind her to push one of my hands down over her backside and brought the other one around to cup her breast. I know she could feel my hands trembling against her and she laughed throatily, mistaking my nerves and anxiety for the quiver of anticipation, excitement and desire.

I remember thinking: 'Oh god, what is wrong with me?'

I had to tell her the truth.

"Ma'am... uhm, Maria, wait, just... hang on, please. I... look, I think you might have the wrong idea. You're a damn gorgeous woman, but... well, the long and short of it is... I'm gay."

Her dark eyes narrowed and she gazed at me for a long moment, musing, before a slow catlike smile spread over her ripe lips and she shook her head, purring, "Are you sure about that, Jasper?"

What? Was I sure about that? Hell, yes, I was sure about that, but then, leaning in, she took my mouth in a long, full kiss that was too slick, too hot, too soft, entirely too wrong, and I was near frozen for a moment, shocked stupid and silent, but then my betraying body took over and I started kissing her back, my mind filled with visions of Edward, torn between a longing, lusting love for him and a desire to punish him - if only in my own mind - by kissing and fucking this wanton woman on my lap.

If you ask me now why and how I did it, I can give you excuses and pseudo-sexual psychological explanations, but the hard, ugly truth of the matter was I did it for my own personal gain and to punish Edward. I'm not proud of it. In fact, I'm ashamed, and that shame has stayed with me, affecting every level of life and my musical career.

I whored myself out for a fucking contract... literally.

So... yeah, I got the contract and Maria tried to come on to me again several days later. The woman was voracious, but this time, I stuck to my guns and I told her I couldn't do it. She cooled her jets after that, and I assumed she had accepted the fact that I really was gay. Anyway, we cut the record, and it was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I soothed my shame with the thought that the record made up for all the... hard work to make it. I remember thinking that I still owed Edward everything for that record, though, because even though I was only ever with Maria that one time, the whole time I had closed my eyes, replacing her soft, wet heat with his firm, hard, supple strength.

After the record came out, Maria and I celebrated. She brought a bottle of Dom Perignon into the studio one night and we shared it. Turns out, she was trying to soften me up. Maria was an influential person in the Seattle music and cultural scene and was always having to attend various black tie events and the like. She 'strongly suggested' that I consider pretending to be straight so I could escort her to said events. She wanted 'a handsome man' at her side and she called it a 'win-win' situation.

Maybe it was stupid of me, but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't live that lie and pretend to be someone I wasn't, and so I apologized but explained that it just wasn't going to happen. Maria was unable to understand what my opposition was to it, and even though I explained to her that it just didn't feel right for me to pretend to be straight, she was having none of it. She was pissed as all hell.

From that point on, you could pretty much say my solo recording career was done. I was black-balled. To hear Maria tell it, I had humiliated and made a fool of her and she was determined I wouldn't soon forget it. She had friends in the industry, and soon it seemed the whole of Seattle's music community knew about the 'gay cowboy who'd knock boots with the suits, so long as he was paid handsomely for it.'

I disappeared for a while after that, until Charlotte and Pete coaxed me back into the studio to play backup for a friend of theirs who had a golden voice but no guitarist. I'd missed making music and it was good to be back. I tried to ignore the pointed and lascivious stares I sometimes received when someone recognized me from looks or reputation alone, and I concentrated on the music. Music was my mistress, and in her I could lose myself, forgetting the humiliation and shame, forgetting Edward and my lonely pain, just sinking back into the sweet strains of the chords, letting them soothe me, love me and keep me sane.


I've never told Edward about Maria, choosing to let him think that, as before when we were together, it was my own fears of failure holding me back. Now I feel like a huge fucking hypocrite after practically demanding honesty from him about everything, when all the while, I've carried the burden of shame and guilt and unconfessed secrets, too.

"Jasper?" Edward asks then and I hear a small note of worry in his voice.

"Yeah? Oh, I'm sorry, baby, just kinda lost in my thoughts there for a moment. You know what music does to me," I intone quietly, wondering if he can hear the catch in my voice.

"Will you play another song for me?" he asks, and I do. I play another song for him, this one without words - just music - but every note is meant for him, my man, my muse, who inspires the gift of song in my soul.

Edward sounds calmer now and though I still worry about him sitting up in that cold hotel room alone, I hope that I've given him enough love and reassurance to stem the tide of the storm-ravaged seas of guilt and fear in which Edward and I are prone to swimming.

We hang up with fresh assurances of love, and I walk over to gaze out my window at the orange and purple evening sky. Damn, it's a gorgeous sunset and I realize what I want more than anything is to be with Edward - right the hell then. I want to stand behind him, my arms wrapped around his waist, smoldering slow kisses up his neck as we watch the sunset over the distant mountains.

I have an issue with self-control, meaning I have precious little of it. If I want something, I grab it. I go for it...with the notable exception of a solo musical career, but otherwise, determination has always been one of the driving forces in my life, and I've learned never to ignore that wise little voice inside that tells you what you should do.

And right now what I need to do is be with Edward. I can't get him out of my mind. I have to see him. I have to know he is alright.

So I leave for the hotel.

Ignoring the wind that whips redness across my cheeks and tears a banshee streak through my hair, I ride Mae like the hounds of hell themselves are after me. I think I might be breaking a land speed record, and I laugh at the exhilaration I feel pumping blood and hot adrenaline through my system.

When I reach the hotel, I pull into a spot near the back of the parking lot and try to finger-comb some order in my wind-tangled hair. I glance up at the hotel and smile then, rubbing my chin, musing and wryly amused that I'm actually here and soon to be with my man again.

Loping toward the lobby of the hotel, I chew on a stick of Trident before tossing it into the trash bin on my way inside. I nod at the desk clerk, glancing down at the hastily-scrawled room number written on my hand as I board the elevator, singing along with the bad BeeGees music pouring through the speakers.

Damn. I should be shot for knowing the lyrics to "How Deep is Your Love", much less singing it.

Edward's room is down at the end of the hall - just as he likes it - high up, quiet, private - an aerie fitting for a prince of the sky.

When I reach his room, I knock on the door, feeling my heart speed up a bit, knocking inside my chest, as I hear Edward shuffling around inside the room. As he throws open the door, his eyes wide and round, I smile at the sight of him. He's dressed in nothing but a button-down shirt, currently unbuttoned, over a pair of sexy jeans and he's such a sight for sore eyes - barefoot, bare-chested perfection - and he looks good enough to eat and... well, I'm sex-starved.

And, oh fuck. I mean, look at him in those jeans, or better yet, look what is inside those jeans.

Damn... excited to see me are you, Sweet Thing?

I wonder if I'm interrupting a wank session? That must be it. Brooding and musing, my ass. More like musing on my ass! I grin at the thought, feeling my smile stretching, eyes crinkling at the sight of him, even as he flushes and turns slightly, trying to hide his obvious erection from me. I listen for the sounds of porn pouring from the TV - the tell-tale groans and bad music, but I don't hear anything from the room as Edward steps aside, holding the door open and I lean down, sliding my lips against his strong jaw, murmuring against his skin, "Hey, Edward. Mmm... I'm happy to see you, too, my man."

The words seem to undo him, and he turns to me, his gaze beseeching and he looks so lost suddenly, so forlorn, that all my sexual bravado fades in the face of the pain written on his.

"E? Baby... hey, hey, come here. I got you..." I whisper, kicking the door closed behind me as I enfold him and he slumps against me with a harsh gasping breath, his arms wrapping around me almost desperately. I hold him tightly, sliding my hand under his shirt, to stroke the smooth, warm skin of his back in slow, soothing circles, my other hand sliding up into his hair, stroking through it as he nuzzles behind my ear and I feel the glide of his tears slide warm and wet against my neck.

I knew this was coming - the storm breaking before the dawn, and I'm glad that I can be here with him to weather the howling winds and rains of guilt and loss and pain. Pressing kisses against his temple, I pull back a bit to look into those hurricane eyes... my gorgeous stormbringer.

He swallows and closes his eyes, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose.

"I'm sorry," he whispers.

Such simple words, but I hear the sweet sincerity in them and I stroke my thumb over the sweeping curve of his cheek, catching a tear as he looks up at me again. I wipe the tear from his face, then lean forward to press my lips to his cheek, lapping soft and slow, at the salty wetness there. I feel him release another shaky breath, his arms sliding up, his hands gliding around my hips and his thumbs stroking me through my jeans, caressing over the dip of my pelvis.

"It's okay, darlin'," I whisper, scratching my blunt nails gently against his spine, smiling as he shivers, easing into my embrace a little deeper.

"No," he murmurs, shaking his head, his hair brushing a silken stroke against my face and the side of my neck, catching a little on the stubbled whiskers there with a soft rasping sound. "It's not okay, Jasper. What I've done is not okay."

"None of that now," I answer him with a soft, low growl. "You've apologized, Edward. You're doing everything you can to make things right again. That's all you can do, baby... and it's enough for now."

He doesn't answer me but I feel his arms tighten as he nestles closer, and as he does, I feel the hard heat of his arousal beating steady through his jeans, echoing the pulse of his heart against my chest.

"Mmm..." I bite my lip, rolling my head against his, the scent of him, the feel of him, the sound of his deep breaths, all playing havoc on me and my hard-won self-control. I'm trying to be good, to just be here for him, to love him and support him, but my body is wanting to love him in another way altogether, and I know Edward must sense the battle within me because I feel his hand slide over my ass, stroking, kneading just a little.

"Jasper," he breathes, and the sound of that soft, low voice sends fire licking through my veins as I pull back to look into his eyes again.

"Yeah, baby?"

I watch his gaze caress over my face with a soft, heated look as he slides his hands up, his thumbs stroking over the stubble on my jaw, then over my lips. I open my mouth, sliding my lips over his thumb, sucking slow and steady on it as he groans, feathery lashes fluttering over the sylvan splendor of those incredible eyes of his that make me think of the dappled greyish-gold-green of a forest floor. Playfully, I bite down on his thumb, smiling around it as I watch an echoing smile spread over his face before I release his thumb with a slow slurp that causes him to groan, shivering again.

"Jasper, I..."

His words are interrupted by a brisk rap on the door and I frown.

"Oh, it's my dinner," Edward explains, opening the door. I move to sit on the side of the bed as the dreadlocked, French-accented room service waiter politely greets Edward, introducing himself as Laurent as he rolls a white-draped cart of covered dishes, coffee and ice water into the room.

The waiter sees me sitting there and I feel so fucking out of place suddenly in this fancy hotel room. He's probably wondering what the hell someone like me is doing with a wealthy, well-known, well-heeled writer like Edward. I look like some trick Edward picked up in my old jeans, scuffed boots, worn leather jacket and faded T-shirt. I look like a 21st century, wavy-haired version of John Voight's Midnight Cowboy.

Anxiously, I pat my jacket pocket and Edward turns to me with a crooked smile, shaking his bright, tousled head. "You can't smoke in here, Jasper. The hotel is non-smoking, baby."

I nod, a quick smile settling over my lips and into my heart as I realize, watching the waiter set the dishes out neatly on the table in the corner of the room, that Edward has acknowledged me right in front of the waiter who, if he even noticed, doesn't seem to give a flying fuck,... but I noticed. And I am grateful.

Edward thanks Laurent and tips him and, as the waiter leaves us, he nods, smiling at me on his way out the door.

"Are you hungry, Jazz?" Edward asks with a gusty sigh then, his hands on his hips as he gazes at the food before him. "I ordered all this and I don't know why I did. I'm not even remotely hungry."

Sauntering up behind him, I wrap my arms around him - just as I did in my vision earlier - pressing soft sucking kisses along the warm, ivory column of his neck. He groans, leaning back into me as I nuzzle behind his ear, my breath washing over the shell of it as I murmur huskily, "All I want right now is you, Edward."

I feel him grow taut in my arms, his strong back tightening as he turns to face me then, a battle raging in his eyes and a sound erupts from deep in his throat, deep in his soul - a soft, almost anguished sound - heavy with meaning.

"Oh god, Jasper..."

I grip him, sliding my hands up to cup his face, my eyes wild as I stare into his, my aching want meeting his primal need too-long-denied, the love and lust coupled with near-crippling guilt and a dagger-silvered sliver of fear - all reflected in those swimming, stormy emerald depths blazing back at me.

He shakes his head and groans and I can't tell if it's a sound of desire or surrender, perhaps both. He grasps my biceps then in a bruising grip and I answer back with a low growl and give in to the full rush of love and desire that builds inside me, blazing, burning from my very pores. I quiver with the need to rip the shirt away from him and revel in the feel of his hot, satin nakedness against my skin, to feel that strong chest and hard, sleek belly pressing into mine, and I feel my nostrils flare like a Mustang's, breathing in the musky scent of him. I can't resist. I don't fucking want to resist. I've resisted for far too damn long... fucking years...

I lean in and take his mouth in a hard, bruising kiss, my whole body trembling with heated urgency at the much-missed taste of him and groan at the heated pumping against my lips and tongue. Licking in firm, deliberate, wet swirls against his ripe lips, I shiver at the taste of him as he parts that sweet mouth for me and I slide my tongue inside, working at that soft, lush mouth like a drowning man, like a desperate man, and I suppose that's what I am.

Heart pounding, cock throbbing, I feel like six foot two inches of pure lust. His tongue meets mine, coiling sinuous around my own as he buries his long fingers in my hair, fisting his hands in the tangled waves, kissing me back just as hard, just as hungry and crushing and wet, our breaths sliding with every hot glide of our lips and tongues against one another, and it feels so good and he tastes so good that I nearly lose myself to him as he milks a husky whimper from my chest that he swallows with a triumphant moan.

He pulls back from my lips with a gasp then and I growl, shaking my head before pressing my mouth to his again, unwilling to give up this pleasure just yet. Rolling my hips against his, I nudge him backward until the back of his legs touch the bed. Sliding my knee onto the bed, my hand massages the smooth muscles of Edward's lower back as I put my weight on my knee, pressing him down against the wide, white bed.

Pulling from our kiss, I smile slowly - a lazy, lusty smile at him - as I brace my hands on the bed on either side of Edward as he gazes up at me, a 'come hither' gleam in those darkened eyes, soft, heavy breaths panting from those kiss-swollen, crimson lips and I groan throatily as he reclines backward, resting on his elbows - my adored Adonis....

"God... baby, you are so fucking beautiful," I say to him then, my voice husky and drawling, whisky-honey pouring over the vowels, softening them, relaxing him so that he gifts me with another one of those sexy-sweet smiles that makes my heart dance the two-step. Grinning down at him, he chuckles softly and leans up, kissing hotly at my neck, laving his tongue over it.

His voice is low, muffled by my flesh as he sucks at my skin. "So are you, Jasper, so gorgeous, my angel."

Near purring at his words, I slide into a predatory crouch over him as I bend to taste that warm, lush-lipped mouth again, sliding my hand up to thumb over the ripe bud of one of his nipples, causing Edward to groan, arching into me, hot breath rushing sweet into my mouth as I feel that firm peak rising under my touch.

"Jasper," he groans, arching supple below me and I growl, pressing my weight down atop him, snapping my hips against him before grinding them hot and tight, in a sensual roll against his hips and heat and hardness, hot fire scorching through me with every rolling movement.

"Fuck..." I groan, my arms trembling as I brace them against the bed and lean down to slide my tongue in a wet caress over the smooth skin of his collarbone, mouthing over it, biting, claiming, possessing that which I love and lost before and never want to lose again. I'm so damn hungry for him, salivating to taste all this hot salt skin. He gasps and his hands grip at my back and my backside, hauling me down closer and I grunt, thrusting hard against him before leaning in to kiss him again, crushing my mouth to his before the kiss melts into something smoother and sweeter.

As we part from our kiss, Edward growls, the primal sound vibrating against my chest as he pulls at my jacket, his beautiful face twisted into a near snarl of impatience and need, and I smile, grabbing his wrists as I push them back against the bed.

"Shhh, E, it's okay, darlin'. I'm not goin' anywhere," I murmur with a smile, thrusting slow and sensual against him.

His face relaxes then and I feel his body spread out all nice and loose below me as I sit up, straddling his waist, holding my weight on my knees as I slide off my jacket and pull my T-shirt over my head.

The appreciative sound Edward makes evokes a vibration inside me - making me quiver, as does his touch, as he slides his hands up the corded muscles of my back. That gorgeous gaze of his is almost reverent and I can't help but remember all the times I've seen him look at me like this, and loved it, and never forgot it, and never thought I'd ever see it again. A thousand words are pulsing in my heart but I'm afraid to say them, afraid to break this moment because it's too perfect, too fragile, too easily shattered, and Edward and I still have some ways to go before things are completely right between us.

The physical part of our relationship is right, but then again, that was never a problem for us.

Edward's face softens, his eyes glazing over with a gleam as he slides his hand around my waist to tenderly trace over my tattoo, and with only the smallest tremble in his chin, the tiniest wrinkle in his brow, he sighs, sliding his hand up then to cup my face, long gentle fingers stroking over the skin and scruff and I turn my head, pressing a hot kiss to his palm.

"I love you, Jasper."

The words are so soft but stir in my soul like a song. I've promised myself not to go too far with this, that tonight is just about connecting together again on a strictly physical level because we both need it, and I've vowed that we're going to take this slow this time around, that we're not going to make the same mistakes we did before Edward left for Italy, but even so, I feel myself giving in to the love and passion that still pounds so pretty between us.

I nod, my throat tight as I answer him. "I love you, too, Edward..."

My voice catches then. "I fucking missed you, baby..."

I hear the husky tremor in my voice and before I have a chance to feel embarrassed about it, Edward is surging up from the bed, his arms sliding around my back, his knees drawing up behind me and we tangle tender and tight together as we always used to do, as we were made to do.

His heart beats fast and strong against my chest as I push the shirt off his shoulders, needing the entirety of his skin against mine. Edward shrugs it off impatiently, his gaze heated and loving as I palm, heavy and warm, down his satin-skinned back and he squeezes my denim-clad thigh and, for a moment, we just look at each other, remembering and reveling with eyes and touch, stroking and soothing.

Having Edward in my arms again, around me, beneath me, with me, I feel an overwhelming desire to be with him in every way and the tenderness of the moment burns into something more erotic and primal. His hands slide down to cup under me and I ease down lower against him, sliding my erection against his, smiling as he moans, kneading up my back when I curl my hips in and roll slow and hot and lazy against him, letting him feel the pulse and throb of my need for him. The feeling is so incredible that I groan in his ear.

"Jazz," he pants, laying his head against my shoulder as I rock hot and hard against him, wanting to feel that gorgeous friction again and again.

"What, baby?" I pant huskily.


So fucking pretty to hear him beg. Growling lustily, I roll forward, pressing him back against the bed, biting into my bottom lip as my thighs slide between his, spreading out and spreading him so that I can get in there just right. I gaze down at him, my heart stuttering in my chest as I practically fuck him through my jeans, my cock straining hard against the punishing layers of denim between us.

"Mmm..." Groaning, my breath escapes me and I want to close my eyes to really 'feel' this moment, but I want to see him even more. I have to see him.

"Please, what, E?" I ask him then, my voice rough with desire as I brace my hands against the bed and thrust firmly, causing Edward to groan. "What do you want, Sexy?"

I gaze heatedly at him, thrusting smooth and languid as I lean in to kiss him again. Edward groans against my mouth and I lap at his swollen lips with a wicked tongue, whispering against them as I rock slow and firm against him, "Do you want my hard, throbbing cock, baby?"

He whimpers and I grin, and ask him with low growl that thrums against his chest, "Or do you want my hot, wet mouth? Want me to suck off this gorgeous, aching cock of yours or maybe you want me to slide inside your tight, lush ass and fuck you so deep and sweet and slow, yeah? Or take you hard and primal?"

He groans and it's the sweetest damn sound. Edward has always loved the dirty talk. "All of it, Jasper, baby, please...I just need you. Oh god, I need you so much."

"You've got me," I smile, nuzzling under his jaw, pressing soft, biting kisses at the warm skin there as I grind into him again, pleasure thrumming molasses-smooth and warm through me. "Can't you feel me? You've got me - all of me, E."

And he does. The sweetest surrender.

He swallows and I lap at his Adam's apple, causing him to laugh - that much-missed velvety rumble - the sound warm and sultry as a Louisiana sunset, and he slides his hand through my hair, tangling in the unruly blond locks. I lean up to smile dimpled and devilish down at him and he laughs softly again, smiling as he cups the back of my neck, pulling me down to rub his cheek and jaw against mine.

Edward's breath roughens and he slides his legs up, his bare feet sliding against the back of my jeans-clad calves as he sucks at my bottom lip, gliding the tips of his warm fingers into the back of my jeans to caress the top of my ass.

Shivering at the feeling, I groan, "Damn, E....god, baby, you're so volcano hot." I chuckle huskily against his neck, nipping at his earlobe as I playfully purr with a flick of my tongue against the lobe of his ear and tease, "I wanna make you spew like lava."

Edward laughs at that, pulling a face. "Ugh, Jasper! God, sweetheart, that's not hot. Spew is not a sexy word. Pick another."

Laughing, I grin down at him, sliding one hand down to knead his thigh, groaning as he tightens his legs around me. "Uhm... okay, Wordsmith, well then, darlin', how about... cream? Is that better? I wanna make you melt all over this bed, Edward. I wanna slide so deep inside you, work you open so sweet, fuck you deep and firm just like you like it, feel your gorgeous cock throbbing and creaming against my belly as I rock inside you in sensual, rolling thrusts in that wild rhythm like we used to share. Remember, Sweetheart?"

"God, Jasper," Edward pants, a leering smile spreading over his face as he grabs my backside hard and bucks up against me. "I remember, my wicked, wanton angel," he murmurs low and velvety and I growl, nuzzling into his gorgeous, copper-bronze hair, scenting him, my whole body seeming to hum and vibrate with the nearness of him, my hands greedy and grasping at his smooth, warm skin and the ivory curves of his hard muscles.

The slow burn of lust throbs inside me at the feel of all that hot, taut skin beneath me, my heart thumping like a bass drum against Edward, and though I'm trying to take this nice and slow, I'm having a hard time of it, especially when he growls a little, reaching between us to tug at my jeans.

"Nah, babe. This is my show tonight," I laugh, grabbing his wrists and arching my eyebrow as I push his hands back onto the bed. Rising slightly over him, I arch my back, rolling the full heat of my erection against his, grinning roguishly at the guttural moan he makes in response, arching up toward me, the veins in his pale neck pulsing beneath his pale satin skin. Just for a moment, I almost wish I was a vampire so I could sup at the fount of all that rich, succulent, crimson life and love. In fact... I can't resist a little nip, just enough to keep things interesting. I just need a little taste of my man.

"Oh fuck, Jasper, please..." Edward begs, velvet voice roughened and sweeping over me with a sexy ticklish rasp like the tongue of a kitten.

"You're going to fuck Jasper?" I ask him with a teasing grin. "What if I'd rather fuck Edward?"

Edward groans, arching up against me, his body sliding like warm satin against me, smooth and sleek under my chest as I lean down, flicking my tongue against those kiss-swollen lips. His hands are warm and solid palming and kneading down my back as I nuzzle against his face, my nose brushing his for a moment before I catch his lips in another hungry kiss, the passion surging, cresting inside me as I nearly kiss the breath from him. Reaching back for his hands, I press them against the bed again, grinding my pelvis down against Edward's, before running my fingers in a teasing caress against his sides, groaning into his mouth at the familiar, sweet taste of that wet, lush mouth and tongue.

Edward pulls panting from the kiss, his warm breath huffing soft against my lips as he bucks up against me, arching aching and hot into me, and slides his arms around me, his hands sliding down into the waistband of my jeans once more and I groan at the feel of the hot kneading pressure of his fingers against the top curve of my ass. Unable to keep from sliding against him, my hips rock forward as Edward makes a low groaning sound that sends fire dancing through my veins to stiffen my cock all the more against him.

And then... he all but ruins it.

"Is this wrong, Jasper?" he whispers against my ear, pain tightening his voice even as his arms tighten around me, his finger dipping into the cleft of my ass. "I mean, because... Bella..."

"Shh..." I shake my head, swallowing, even as the guilt throbs inside me like an ache. "Edward, baby... just... please... don't."

My body trembles as the passions crest inside me with the bruising force of years of pent-up desire and frustration and hunger and longing and loneliness, and sparked by his words, I feel nearly overwhelmed with the power of their punishing force. Love and desire and need wars with anger, resentment and bitterness for all the lost years and heartache.

Edward turns his head, his fingers still caressing and stroking my skin, and though his gaze is averted, I still see the guilt carving sadness into those fine features, dulling the green of those jeweled eyes.

"Edward, look at me."

Tear-shimmering eyes gaze up at me again and I feel the fire building inside me. "I love you. I love you so much, but, goddamn it, E, don't turn away from me. Don't you ever fucking leave again! Don't you ever fucking hurt me again, baby... never again...."

My voice is raw, choking on a near sob that embarrasses me and halts my husky words.

Edward's eyes widen, and instead of pulling away, he pulls me down to him, a soft gasping breath escaping him as his arms slide up my back, holding me tight. I feel his heart pounding, racing in his chest, his hair brushing feathery against my face and neck as he shakes his head, his body trembling, too, hard as mine, and I feel the bite of his nails in my skin as he breathes, "I'll never leave you, Jasper. I love you. I love you so much, and I swear, baby, I'll never leave you again."

I pull back to look in his face and he reaches up with a trembling hand to brush his fingers against my face with the most gentle and reverent of touches, his eyes green and wet as a new sapling - new growth, new life, my man returned to me with new hope burning in those amazing eyes of his. I brush my thumb against his ebony-bronze lashes grown spiky with tears and he sighs, shivering as I lean in and kiss him gently, tracing the curve of his lips with my tongue, lapping at the salt tears and sweetness.

Edward swallows and takes a deep breath, his hands sliding down my back and below my jeans again, stroking, kneading, gentling me, and I groan a little, rocking against him, calming under his soothing, loving touch, my movements slow and firm as I kiss his hair, his temple, the corner of his eye. Outside this room, the guilt and pain may await us, but here, in the sweet sanctuary of our love, we're safe. Right now, it's just the two of us and we can just forget the rest of the whole damn world for a little while and reclaim what we've lost.

"Jasper... my Jasper," he whispers against me neck, kissing me. "Nothing feels as right as this. Nothing ever has... save this, only this. The only heaven I've ever known is what I've known with you, my wild angel."

The words work wonders to soothe my soul, as do the gentle strokes, and I gently suckle his earlobe, drawling, "Pretty words, my prince."

Edward slides his fingers up to stroke the small of my back, murmuring. "True words, Jazz."

My man and I have a lot to discuss and I know things are still up in the air with us, but we've been through hell and back today, and damn it, we deserve this time together. We've waited fucking years, and truthfully, I feel like I'm gonna die if I don't get to touch him in every intimate way possible and enjoy a proper reunion with my lover.

All I want is to love him and love him again, to sink deep inside the surging strength of that tight heat and know the pure bone-melting bliss of his gorgeous body. I can't wait a moment longer. I've waited long enough. We've waited long enough.

With a lusty growl and a wildcat smile to match, I push him gently onto his back again and slide down the bed, letting my smoldering gaze blaze a heated path down his long, pale neck to the broad, strong shoulders, over the strong curves of his chest and down the taut lines of his abdomen, stroking my hand down the center of his chest to his navel, grinning with a low, rumbling chuckle as I feel him quiver. "Mmm... that's it, baby, just relax. Gonna play you like Scarlet. Make you sing for me..."

He stretches languidly against the bed, relaxing into the pleasure about to come as I lick my fingers, then roll them over his nipple, smiling as it hardens under my ministrations, and I pluck it, remembering well how much Edward enjoys that. He groans and sighs, stretching, toes flexing as I lean over to lap at his nipple, swirling my tongue over it soft and smooth, before gently nipping him, making him cry out before soothing the sting with another velvety swipe of my tongue, my fingers gently rolling and plucking at his other nipple as I press my cock against his thigh, rocking into him with a husky moan that is muffled by his sweet, warm flesh.

"Jasper, " he breathes, his hand sliding into my hair, massaging and stroking it as his other hand traces over my forearm.

"What, baby?" I whisper, my breath humid and soft against him, kissing and sucking and nibbling until I feel him near trembling below me.

"Unnhh... please... oh god.." he breathes.

"No, not enough sweet sounds yet," I whisper in reply and I shake my head, resting my chin against his saliva-dampened chest, never stopping the rolling and light pinching of his nipple, even as I slide down him further. "Told you, E, gonna make you sing, my man..."

"You're the singer, baby, not me," Edward smiles, tracing his finger over my nose.

"Au contraire, mon cher!" I grin, causing Edward to laugh, his thumb dipping into the dimple beside my mouth.

"You sing in bed, mon bel ami," I continue.

"Jasper!" Edward laughs, his gorgeous face alight with humor. "Oh, mon dieu! Please stop it with the bad French. You are butchering one of the most beautiful languages on the planet."

"Shut up, you!" I chuckle in response, tickling up his ribs. "Take me to Paris, then, so I can improve my foreign language skills."

"Gladly," he smiles, curling his fingers in my hair.

"Really? Oh, alright then, Cheri! I've always wanted to see Europe." I purse my lips for a moment, pausing. "Well... except for fucking Italy."

Edward's eyes widen at that probably in fear that I'm going to bring up the past between us and ruin our intimacy, but then he sees the teasing glint in my eyes and he just loses it, and I love the sound of that laughter as it washes over me like sunshine. He smacks me on the ass hard and we both start laughing.

"Wicked, wicked rogue," he laughs, slapping my ass again. "God, I've missed you, J."

Sliding up against him, I wrap my arms around my mirthful man - weak with the warm catharsis of laughter - my fingers sliding down to unbutton and unzip his jeans. Our laughter fades at that whisper of sound and I lock my gaze on his, feeling him tremble at the sound of the zipper being lowered. He swallows, his hands sliding around to the front of my already unbuttoned jeans and tugs the zipper down lower on them as well. I sit up some then, my heart pounding in my throat as I gaze down at him lying there - flushed with desire, high color blooming like desert flowers on his cheeks.

I rise from the bed then and Edward watches me, those flashing verdant eyes tracing over me and I swear to god, I can feel the heat of that gaze scorching over me as I reach down to tug off my boots, then shimmy out of my jeans.

"Commando?" Edward asks, arching his eyebrow and I shrug.

"Yeah, well, hope springs eternal, my man."

He grins at that and then his eyes sweep hungrily over me again as he groans, "Oh god, Jasper, you're still so beautiful - all lean muscle, rangy limbs, sleek skin, heavy cock and..."

I flush at the heated praise. "And all yours, darlin'."

Smiling, he nods and holds his hand out for me but I shake my head, easing down into the chair across from him where I sit with my legs sprawled, dick stiff and strong between them, watching him.

"Jasper?" he asks, confusion evident in his malachite eyes.

"Your turn."

He arches his eyebrow with seeming impatient frustration but, even so, he rises to his knees on the bed, tucking his thumbs into his jeans and boxers, lowering them, and oh sweet Jesus, the beauty of him. I groan, watching him slither out of his jeans, revealing those long, strong legs and that gorgeous, thick, weeping cock that rises proudly from a nest of soft, dark curls.

"Mmm... so fuckin' fine. God, Edward..."

Those ripe lips curl into a smirking smile, his eyes hooded with desire even as they spark with dark emerald glitter and I feel the hard, thick evidence of my appreciation of his body throbbing almost painfully now. With a husky sigh, I lean back in the plush chair, my eager eyes drinking in the sight of Edward's sleek physique before bending down to retrieve my jeans, pulling out a condom and a small tube of lube from the pocket.

Edward quirks his eyebrow. "Hope springs eternal?"

"That's me, Sweetheart. The eternal optimist."

Shaking his head, he laughs softly and motions for me to come to him but I shake my head, smirking lazily, wanting to watch him a moment longer and to give him a little show, remind him of what he gave up years ago, but he could have again... if he plays his cards right.

Never breaking eye contact with the lightning eyes that pierce into my own, I wet my fingers and slide my hand down around myself, fingers wrapping around my shaft as I begin to slowly stroke my erection nice and firm and... just right. Yeah, I'm putting on a show for Edward, and judging from the laser-beam heat in those bright eyes and his soft, deep breathing, and the flush of color in those sculpted cheeks of his, I think it's safe to assume he's enjoying the show.

With a low moan, I run my palm over the sticky head of my cock, thumbing over the slit, smoothing the pearly juices that glisten there with a smooth, gliding motion of my wrist and I watch Edward bite his lip with a low groan as his desire deepens and he slides his hand down to stroke his own pulsing arousal.

"That's it, baby," I murmur with a wink as I slip my thumb over and over the slick head of my cock, swirling over it nice and slow and easy, watching as Edward's eyes widen and he swallows heavily, slowly pumping his hand up and down his own straining, gorgeous length.

"Jasper... fuck..."

"Soon, darlin'..."

Watching Edward, I wrap my fingers tighter around my shaft, feeling it throb against my hand. Pumping full, long strokes now, hips arching, I curl my wet fingers around the head again and stroke downward, causing Edward to groan.

"Please, Jasper..."

I can't resist that sweet pleading.

Rising from the chair, I go to him, tossing the lube and condom down on the bed beside him as I slide my arms around him and he pulls me into a lush, long kiss. Moaning huskily against the warm, yielding softness of his mouth, I feel his hot, satin tongue stroke against my lips before slipping inside to glide again with my own, and groaning, I slide onto the bed, pulling Edward atop me as he deepens his kiss.

Green eyes dark-dazed, Edward pulls panting from the kiss and smiles down at me as I wrap my arms around him, basking for a long moment in just the closeness of Edward, the feel of his skin against mine, the heightened intimacy, and I let my eyes sweep caressingly over him again, tracing a hungry path down that beautiful face to his elegant neck - now baring the mark of my desire, and I swear to god, I am fucking throbbing, aching to burrow inside this exquisite man again.

Groaning softly, Edward moves with almost liquid grace atop me, his erection tight and pulsing like warm, satin-swathed steel against mine as he presses full and hard to me - skin to skin, cock to cock - rocking his pelvis against my length as I lean up to latch onto his throat, suckling and kissing, gently biting the warm, sweat-salted flesh.

"Jasper..." Edward moans as I twist below him, undulating and bucking beneath him until he gasps, his face flushed as he reaches down to slide his hands into my hair, pulling it, tilting my face up to his and I smile up into those desire-darkened green eyes above me, my hands sliding and smoothing down his back slowly, tickling along the sensitive skin and the smooth line of his spine, feeling every delicious tremor as Edward trembles with want and need over me, his arousal as hard and ready as my own.

Reaching up, I slide fingers, wet from my own juices, across Edward's glossy-moist, parted lips and I ask him, "So, baby, are we just gonna lay here and look at each other and kiss and grind off together all night, or are we gonna have sex?"

Edward smiles and leans down to capture my lips again in another heated, soulful kiss of tangled tongues and mingled breath, and when we part, he glances down at me, flashing a diamond grin. "I vote for the latter, though, the former is nice as well."

Tossing him a coy smile, I can't help but laugh softly. "I agree, darlin', and I vote for the latter as well."

Moaning deep in his chest, Edward pulls me closer, kissing me as we roll over in the bed so that I'm laying atop him again now. Edward groans, his hips twisting and damp with a fine sheen of sweat as they press tight to mine, his full arousal throbbing hot and hard between us and rolling across my own pulsing, aching length. I growl at the feel of him, rolling my hips down against his as I feel his strong, hot hands grasp my back and I thrust with a languid, sensual roll of my hips against him.

"Jasper..." Edward pants, pressing his hips up into mine, the slick of his sweat-shiny skin gliding beneath me. "Please, Jasper, I need you. I need to feel you..."

"Oh, fuck yes, baby..." I mutter, my voice raw with lust as Edward slides his foot up my leg, writhing below me, and I feel like I'm going frantic with need and hot desire, my body aflame at the feel of that long, toned body spread delectably below me, the hot cock stroking so deliciously against my own, and I reach for the tube of slick as Edward pulls me into another wet, deep kiss and it feels like I'm drowning, just sinking in hot waves of sensation and love, and I'm making these guttural sounds that hardly sound human, groaning against Edward's mouth, my hands reaching up to tangle in the skeins of soft copper-bronze hair that spread across the pillow, light dancing across the shining strands.

We kiss for long, succulently-sweet moments until I finally have to pull back, panting and smiling down at my flushed lover as I open the lubricant and wet my fingers with the slick fluid. Leaning down, I mouth one of his nipples again, sucking it hard, sliding the flat of my tongue over the pebbled, tightened surface, biting gently, then rubbing my lips against the abraded flesh, soothing him and I feel his belly tighten and quiver in response below mine.

I slide down the bed then and Edward whimpers.

"Be patient, Edward. I'm not going anywhere, babe. We have all night."

His body taut with need, he groans and arches as I slide between his thighs, nuzzling and scenting, letting that heady, sweet, much-missed musky scent work its seductive spell over me. I lay my head on his thigh for a moment, reaching out to grasp his cock with my slick fingers as Edward groans, twitching in my hand and I moan at the feel of him - so hard and hot and fucking perfect, throbbing against my palm as I press hot, open-mouth kisses against his thigh, my own cock pressing tight to Edward's leg, leaking warm and silky against it.

I gaze up at him and breathe softly, blowing a warm huff of breath over his straining cock before swirling my tongue against the satiny head of it. Groaning, my eyes close in bliss as that familiar bright flavor bursts over my tongue and I lap at the head, dipping my tongue into the slit to gather more of the tangy fluid before suckling just the head softly, sensually, pulsing my tongue over him as Edward cries out, his body taut and straining below me.

I stroke his thigh gently, pulling back off him, whispering soft "shhhs" against him, caressing my cheek against his cock, my lashes brushing his sensitive flesh with a whisper-soft stroke that makes Edward gasp, his hand fisting tight in my hair. Smiling, I take him into the wet heat of my mouth again, humming around him, suckling soft kisses against that silk-skinned shaft, tracing the curving line of a pulsing vein with my tongue.

I take my time slowly, luxuriantly, reacquainting myself with my lover.

Edward cries out with soft, husky pleading breaths as I lick along the thick vein, teasing my tongue in slow circles around him until I reach the head of his cock again, my warm breath bathing over him, tongue flicking and teasing and dipping into the slit again to tongue away the silky juices. Groaning, my own cock pulsing at the taste and feel of him, I take him deeper into the wet heat of my mouth, my lips sealing tight around him as I suckle him, my tongue fluttering against him. He cries out almost piteously again, stroking and kneading at my head, murmuring hotly about my 'fucking beautiful mouth'.

Moaning, I slide my hand down to stroke his heavy, velvety balls, thumbing over the fullness of them, gently stroking and pulling the sac, before rolling my fingers against the warm flesh. He gasps as I swirl my tongue against him again, sucking him slow and sensual, sliding him deeper into my mouth and down my throat as I groan a rumbly-wet purr around him, bobbing over him now, gliding him in and out of the wet heat.

I know the signs when Edward is about to come, the way his thighs tighten, the way his breathing deepens as he slides his hand down to my shoulder, grasping it hard as I moan around him, my cheeks sucking in slowly, strongly, easing him down until the head of his cock presses at the back of my throat. I pause a moment, breathing deeply through my nose as I relax, easing that smooth cockhead down, down, swallowing around it, tears pricking at my eyes as the smooth walls of my throat take Edward in, caressing him with the swallowing motion.

Edward keens, crying out as he grabs at me, and desperate for tenderness with him, even during this most sexual and primal of acts, I reach up to grasp his hand, lacing my fingers with his as that beautiful body bows off the bed. I gently press him down against it again, sucking hard, sliding him in and out of my mouth and throat, bobbing with familiar, graceful ease over him. The sensuality is intoxicating - the taste of him honeyed and pooling on my tongue, the rosy-gold heat of the sunset warm against my back, the smell of him - musky and sweet in my nose and I groan, the sound muffled by his delicious flesh throbbing inside me, shivering, my back rolling even as I take Edward deeper. I peer up at him then from beneath tear-glossy lashes with another swallowing satin embrace as he howls, watching me, crying out my name, shuddering and stiffening, his cock seeming to swell as he slides deeper into my throat and the hot, salty fluids pulse from him, flooding in delicious, hot, creamy spurts down my throat.

Oh fuck, yes...

I'm moaning then, swallowing down all he has to give as he whimpers, his hands kneading and stroking through my sweaty hair as he pants my name, whispering his love. Tears heavy in my lashes, I draw back slowly, pressing my lips against him, milking the juices fully from him as he shudders, and I work him gently through the intensity of his climax, swallowing again before drawing completely off him with a soft, slurping, adoring kiss to the head of his cock.

"Jasper..." he pants. "Oh god, baby, thank you. That was incredible. Come here, love."

I crawl up him then, my hard, jutting cock sliding over Edward's belly and leaving a silky trail of warm, milky fluid in its wake as I lean down to kiss him, sharing the tangy taste of himself with Edward who groans, swirling his sweet tongue deep inside my mouth.

When we part from the kiss, I suck softly at his strong chin. "Feel good, baby?" I drawl, my words a husky caress against his skin as I stroke his hip, feeling the tight, sweet ache in my loins as I press into the hard muscles of his abdomen.

"Exquisite, Jazz, oh god, yes. I've missed you so much and I've missed this incredible, gorgeous mouth of yours," he moans, stroking his thumb over the swollen curves of my lips, his other hand threading through my thoroughly sex-tangled hair. Edward smiles, sliding both hands into my long, unruly waves, tugging at the mass of it. "Jasper Lustlocks," he chuckles and I roll my eyes, causing him to laugh deeper, the warm tremor of that laughter thrumming against me.

"Yeah, well, speaking of lust..." I waggle my eyebrow at him, earning me another warm chuckle from my man as he rises up on his elbow to kiss me again, his hand sliding down to grip my pulsing length, causing me to inhale sharply against his mouth, the aching fire that beats inside his hand now echoing with the pounding of my heart.

"Don't tease, E," I warn him, my mouth parting in a low moan as he thumbs over the head of my cock slowly, before sheathing it in the tight grip of his warm, strong hand, fingers sliding the heated moisture seeping from me down the pulsing length.

"I'm not a cock-tease, Jasper," he says, smiling that crooked smile that always makes my heart tumble about in my chest like a drunk acrobat. "Besides," he breathes, kissing slowly - soft, wet, suckling kisses - down my jaw and under my chin, rasping his tongue over the late afternoon whiskers there, "I want you, Jasper. All of you - your brave beating heart..." and saying that, he slides down the bed, pressing a kiss to my chest, flickering his tongue wicked and wet over my nipple.

"...and your sweet soul..." Now he peers up at me, sliding his hands up to stroke his thumbs over the curve of my cheeks under my eyes.

I swallow, rocking my cock against him languidly, my gaze heavy on his - fiery jade meeting smoldering emerald.

"...and your beautiful body..." he whispers, drawing his legs up as I melt down atop him, his hands sliding in a stroking caress down the seam of my spine.

Then smiling, he arches up in the bed, driving up into me with his spent cock that, it would seem, is beginning to swell again. "....and your gorgeous cock, my carnal cowboy."

I grin down at the beautiful and seductive incubus curled sinuously around me and, reaching for the lube again, I slick my fingers as Edward avidly watches me. With slightly shaking hands, I gently press on his thighs, nudging his legs up higher in the bed as I slide my hand down to stroke soft, hot and tender across the tight ring of puckered muscle nestled between the taut cheeks of his gorgeous ass, groaning at the feel of that warm, fleshy entrance, the gates of heaven as far as I'm concerned.

Edward's eyes close and he whines softly, relaxing against my long, gently-invading fingers.

"That's it, darlin', just relax for me, just let me work you open....mmm... yeah, that's it, Edward," I murmur, whispering kisses across his bent knee as I carefully slide one slick finger inside him, revolving it slowly inside that tight, velvety heat, groaning at the feel of Edward's body grasping at my finger causing my cock to twitch, wet and aching with anticipation, against the formerly pristine white sheets.

Edward sighs then, relaxing against me and I smile, kissing down his thigh as I slowly ease more of my finger inside him, stroking the ringed entrance softly with another finger, smiling as he whines at the sensation. "That's it, E, baby. Love makin' my man sing when I play your body like this... god, Edward, you feel so fuckin' fine, so hot and tight... can't wait to slide my cock inside you and really love you open."

I smile as Edward arches up into my stroking hand and I feel it's probably safe for me to slide in another finger, so I ease another wet finger inside him, slowly massaging those tight, warm, velvety walls. He whimpers softly as I draw my fingers out some, before sinking them back inside him again and I press my thumb to the outside of the tight ringed muscle, smoothing the delicate, puckered flesh, wanting to ease him open from the outside as well as the inside.

"How long has it been, Edward?" I ask him softly and I'm careful to keep my voice neutral.

Panting, he strokes his hand over his chest and licks his lips, "Years, Sweetheart. There's been no one with me like this since you, Jasper."

I close my eyes, his words like a gift, a benediction to my soul and I lean over to kiss his lips, suckling his lips gently, nibbling and lapping my tongue over them as I continue to slowly work my fingers in and out of that hot, sleek channel. Edward cries out softly as I stretch him out slowly, opening my fingers inside him in an intimately-familiar scissoring motion. I kiss him again, swallowing his gasping cries as I move my fingers inside him in a deep, circular caress seeking that small, sweet spot I know will make Edward ache with longing for me to stroke it with my cock.

Curving my fingers, I find the small, sensitive, raised gland within Edward's hot depths and I brush my fingers so gently over it, but even that gentle stroke causes Edward to howl, bowing up gracefully as he reaches to grab me by my hair again.

"Now... god, please, Jasper, now, baby...…" he begs huskily, green eyes dark with heavy desire that resounds in an echoing throb in my own lust-heavy loins.

"Christ, Edward,..." I pant, sliding my fingers out, smoothing my hands along his taut, warm thighs, as I slide between his legs, trembling with desire. "I need you, baby. Need you so much..."

Edward swallows, grabbing for the condom packet. He attempts to open it with his shaking hands but then growls in impatience, biting into it.

"Careful, darlin', I only brought three. Don't rip it," I chuckle warmly, bending to kiss the hollow of his neck, lapping at the bead of sweat there before sitting up again.

"Three?" Edward laughs.

"Hey," I grin, shrugging. "The night is young, my man, as are we, so hell yeah, I brought three. Like I said, eternal optimist, that's me."

The green eyes dance, sparking with unmistakable desire and love and my heart pounds to see it. Oh, I well remember that gorgeous look. God, how I've missed it. God, how I've missed him.

A/N 2: Okay, terrible cliffhanger I know! Gah! Sorry, sorry, but, really, it's already one monstrously-long chapter so I had to stop it somewhere. Don't worry, though, next chapter will pick up from here from Edward's perspective of their *reunion* ;). Plus, after the citrussy-sweetness, it'll be time for a little pillow-talk. They have a lot to discuss and work through still. It's not all hearts and flowers for these boys yet, folks! :) Sorry! Still have a little angst to work through!

One more thing... Jasper's song to Edward is inspired by "Control" by MuteMath - slightly modified, though:


Take me far away from here
There is no better loss than to lose myself in you
My falcon, I am captive in your sky
Surrender has somehow become so beautiful
Such a beautiful surrender

You move me through the darkest clouds
Till I've lost, in your sun, every shadow of my doubt
There is no better find than to find myself with you
In a fog you're all I see
Inviting you closer each time I breathe
Surrender has somehow become so beautiful


Thanks, Everyone! *HUGS*