Title: Sketchbook Revelations
Summary: Jasper makes a confession to Edward that changes their lives forever. When words fail they rely on their sketches and more to reveal their inner most secrets. Their unique friendship grows and transforms. Can it endure the sketchbook revelations?
Rating: M, NC-17
Warnings: Angst, slash, hate speech, violence
Genre: Angst, Romance
Word Count: ~289,000
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyers owns these boys. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. As for my fan fiction, it is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0. Unported License. Share it, attribute it to me, but please don't try to profit.
Betas: mcsc08 and Touchstone67. All remaining mistakes are my own.
Notes: This story was started in July 2009 and completed just over a year later. It was the first fictional piece I had written in ages and my writing style greatly improved as I worked on this story. Because of that, I recently edited Sketchbook Revelations. However, I didn't want to lose all the raw, naïve moments I put in the story as I found my voice, but I just couldn't allow some things to remain. If this is your first time reading, no worries. If this is a repeat read, and I know there are a lot of you out there, *waves* you may see some differences. Edit dates are posted at the end of each chapter. If you notice any mistakes and want to let me know, I'd love a PM so I can make the changes. I'm sure I've missed a ton with a story this long.
Thank you. Enjoy!
***If you want to read this with all drabbles and outtakes combined in the proper places, or if you easily want to download SR to read on your e-reader, computer, or phone, go to http:/archiveofourown .org/works/361004/chapters/585474 to download the entire SR universe.
I was on my third cup of coffee and he still hadn't said a word. As hard as it was, I was trying to give him time to work up to the conversation he obviously wanted to have, but it needed to be on his terms. During my wait, I had memorized the design on the table, the photographs on the wall, and the placement of the barista's numerous piercings. I could see fifteen on her head alone, and I suspected she had more.
Jasper had been acting really weird for the last month or so. I had tried to dismiss it as his stress over not receiving the financial aid he had expected and needed. Some of his grants and scholarships ended up not coming through so he was stuck with a huge amount of debt he had had to pay with his credit card, and Jasper was freaked out by credit. When I had tried loaning him the money he refused, telling me, "I don't want your fucking charity." He had always insisted on paying his way, even back in high school, and I had to respect that.
Jasper and I became friends when he moved from Texas to my small town of Forks, Washington. We were both fifteen and really into art. Being a small town, Forks had a lot of jocks and some nerds, but very few artistic types like us. We were kind of the freaks of Forks; at least that's what we thought because we were often ridiculed about our need to draw. When Jasper first arrived, I saw him carrying around a large, black sketchbook everywhere he went, his eyes always on the ground as he walked, like that would keep others from noticing the new kid. I carried around my art as well, but in the form of a small Moleskine® journal that easily fit in my back pocket.
I was curious about what he drew. When he sat at my lunch table that first week, I thought I would get the chance to see, but he guarded it with his life. Pulling my journal out, I had started to sketch as soon as my food was gone, drawing for the rest of lunch period, peeking over at his work whenever he looked away. That was my pattern for the next two weeks.
Eat. Draw. Peek.
Occasionally, I'd see him glance over at my Moleskine® journal, quickly returning his eyes to his own. Then he came to me, curious about my work. When I showed him my latest piece, he reciprocated. After becoming fast friends, we have been practically inseparable for the last seven years. We double dated for Prom, went to the same university, hell, we even lost our virginity with the same girl. And just in case you were wondering, yes, it was on the same night.
Things haven't always been great between us. Remember, I said practically inseparable. There was a time Jasper stopped talking to me for a month or two. When we first started at the University of Washington, we finally met people who got us. Our weird, artistic selves were accepted, appreciated, and even revered by some. We were no longer scorned for being quirky guys, not even realizing how stifled we had felt until we were allowed to fully express ourselves in our dress, music, and of course, our art. The freedom I felt, gave me the strength to admit what I had hidden and denied for years.
On our drive home for Christmas, I came out to Jasper. We had barely left the Seattle city limits when I told him. Perhaps I should have waited, but Jasper was my best friend, and it just didn't feel right to lie to him like I had lied to myself for so many years. I told my family that week as well. I guess my parents already knew. Well, they had suspected as much. My mom told me she started to suspect it not long after Jasper moved to town, telling me I acted differently around him than my other guy friends. I guess I did, but I thought that was because he was my best friend and we knew things about each other no one else knew. Of course, I would act differently around him. That night my mom and dad told me they loved me and how proud they were I was able to be honest with myself. I knew I was lucky to have them.
Jasper's reaction to my revelation came as a surprise to me, refusing to talk to me the rest of our journey home. I had to keep my eyes on the road, but whenever I could spare to look away, I tried to read the emotions on his face, which was difficult when he didn't want you to. Most of the time his face was an open book, but as soon as the words "I'm gay" left my lips, that book slammed shut. Although our families got together during the holidays, he managed to be busy with his sister or excuse himself to go do homework.
It hurt, I won't lie, but my family was very supportive. My cousin Alice suspected that Jasper probably thought I had sexual feelings for him and my outing just freaked him out. The truth was, I did have feelings for Jasper. After the discussion with my parents, I realized they were right. I'd felt something for him since that first day in the cafeteria. He was fascinating to me, especially the intensity of his blue eyes. Over the years I had tried to deny my attraction to him, throwing myself into a few intense relationships, but they never fully satisfied me.
I had been nervous about driving back to college after Christmas break. He was still quiet, but no longer silent. Arriving in our apartment that first night back, I was expecting Jasper to be more guarded with his body. He had always been sort of an exhibitionist, but I thought my disclosure would make him think twice about how much skin he showed around me. That night, to my shock, he walked across the apartment to the shower in all his naked glory, as usual. Apparently he was comfortable, at least with me seeing his body. The situation in my pants was something else entirely, so I quickly rubbed one out while he showered, fantasizing about what he was doing in there the entire time.
The next several weeks he had concentrated solely on schoolwork, claiming to have a very heavy workload. Doing my best to not feel hurt by the strain in our relationship, I reminded myself he was working to process everything, so I just tried to be myself, treated him the same as I always had, and gave him space. I started to sketch more and spent many evenings in the on-campus art studio painting and drawing. One day I walked back into our apartment and the old Jasper seemed to be back. Nothing was ever really discussed, we were just best friends again, which was a relief because I didn't think I could handle his near-silent treatment for the rest of the year.
Through that experience, more than any other, I learned Jasper just needed time to adjust to things, and I've always tried to give that to him. Which was why I was still sitting on the bench that had made my ass numb despite the cushion. Getting up, I gave him a reassuring smile and a quick squeeze on the shoulder as I went to refill my coffee cup. When I got back to the table he was leaning forward, hands folded in front of him with his eyes blazing. He wasn't angry; he was just very intense and thoughtful. It looked like he was about to talk, so I simply looked into his eyes, trying to convey the message he could talk to me about anything.
"I have some questions for you," he finally got out, voice cracking a bit.
"Okay, what sort of questions? I mean, did I do something? Am I in trouble? Did Jessica tell you I kicked her out of the house a few weeks ago, because I'm sorry about that, man," I rambled. "I'm just so sick of waking up to that girl in the house. You know I like to sleep nude. Walking out to her drinking coffee was just a bit of a shock that morning, because I didn't know she was there. Sorry, man." I wasn't really sorry. She was getting annoying and it was my damn house so I should be able to walk around naked as a jaybird whenever I wanted. Full disclosure, she was always annoying, but Jess was Jasper's girlfriend. I had no idea why though. She was insecure, whiney, and did I say fucking annoying yet?
"No. That's not it. We aren't even together anymore, thank God." News to me. He rung his hands together and then rubbed them on his thighs. Whatever this was, it was really getting to him.
"Do you remember going to the bar about six weeks ago with Emmett, Ben, and Mike?" Jasper asked and I nodded. We hadn't been out together as a group for a long time. Our senior year didn't afford us much down time, so it had been a good break, most of our time there had been spent catching up on our lives and the rest of the guys deciding which chick they wanted to take home.
"I remember. Why? What's up?"
"I don't know if you saw it, but Mike and I talked." I had sat across from Jasper and noticed he and Mike had gotten into a serious conversation. It hadn't been heated so I hadn't thought anything about it and tried to give them their privacy. That had been the only thing out of the ordinary that night.
"Yeah, I saw. What did you guys talk about in your quiet conversation? Your whispers?" I laughed, trying to lighten the mood. He was so damn serious he was making me sweat.
"We were talking about my failed financial aid. He has struggles with money too so he gets it, you know? Well, I guess he heard about what happened and we were talking about some ways to make money. He's done a few things like selling his plasma and … other stuff." His entire face flushed. I didn't see what was so embarrassing about selling plasma.
"Okay," I replied limply. He took a few breaths and ran his fingers through his blonde curls. I wanted to reach across the table and smooth my thumb across his cheekbone to help him relax, but I didn't think that would go over too well.
"So he told me about this modeling job. Basically you go to a casting call and well …." His whole face was red and the flush was starting to creep onto his chest.
What ever he had to say was really freaking him out. "Hey, you don't have to be afraid to tell me. I'm your best friend. We've been through thick and thin together. Just take it slow." I hoped he felt the calming waves I was trying to send his way.
"Okay, man. Just promise me you won't hate me."
"No problem." This was getting weird.
"So I went to this 'modeling' job. It wasn't really a modeling job at all, but I kind of knew that before I went."
I wasn't really following, but the use of air quotes made one of my eyebrows rise. Jasper had modeled for agencies and art studios, so I didn't see how this job would be so different to warrant finger quotes.
"Basically," he continued, "I sat down on a couch while this guy was video taping me. He told me I could make two hundred dollars if I jerked off while he taped me." He paused, looking at his folded hands on the table. "Well … I did it."
I used every ounce of strength to keep my face neutral. This was very different from being a nude art model and it surprised me. Yet, he needed to confess, get this off his chest, and it was my job to listen without judgment.
"A week or so later, the director guy called me to come back. He wanted me to jerk off in the same room as another guy. He called it a duo. I'm used to walking around naked in front of you at home and posing at the studio, so I figured this wouldn't be that much different. So I go and meet this other guy I'm supposed to do the duo with, James. He and I sit on the same couch, and the guy asks us to undress and start jerking off. They had a porn video running to help us along, because you can imagine it's a bit nerve wracking."
"I bet it was," I offered.
"So I'm stroking away next to James and as soon as my soldier is saluting, the director guy starts upping the ante. He offers us another hundred if we jerk each other off. So, now it's up to three hundred bucks—I didn't have to think long—I reached over to James and took over for him, and he did the same to me. So in less than two weeks I had five hundred dollars. Easy money, right? Well, that's what I kept telling myself."
I opened my mouth to ask a question but was met by his hand, stopping me cold.
"Let me finish. I can't stop now or I'll never get through to the most important part. Anyway, they post these videos on their website and my videos got a lot of hits. Pretty soon people were requesting to see me again. Some people were hoping I'd become one of their regulars. I didn't know if I should be flattered or disgusted, but I needed the money so I went back. They put me with James again, gladly, because that way, at least I knew the guy. We were both new to this and nervous. So we start the same way, stripping, stroking, and helping each other. Then the director—his name is Jake by the way—well, he tells James to suck my cock. I told him no way in hell is a man going to suck my cock. No offense Edward."
"I protested until he brought up the money again." Jasper nervously bit his lip. "So we sucked each other's cocks, and I ended up with another five hundred bucks."
Jasper's eyes were full of worry. They darted around the coffeehouse making sure our semi-private booth in the corner hadn't been infiltrated. I felt bad for him. I wished he had just come to me for money or accepted it when I had offered. This could have all been avoided. I took his hand in mine and he grabbed onto it tightly, holding onto me like he had fallen off a cliff and I was his savior. We hadn't even gotten to the questions he mentioned he wanted to ask at the start of this conversation, so I knew there must be more.
"Then Jake offers a grand if I would top or fifteen hundred to bottom." His resolve broke and a sob escaped. I got up from my seat and slid in next to him, putting my arm around his shoulder. I pulled him close to me and gently shushed in his ear.
"Jasper, it's okay. I don't think any less of you because of this. I would never think less of you." Trying to lighten the mood I said, "I've never once been offered that kind of money to bottom. And believe me, there were times I should have been paid" I deadpanned.
He laughed in spite of himself, eyes reddening, and pulled back a bit from my embrace, still allowing me to keep my hand on his shoulder.
"The thing is, Edward, I liked it," he whispered. "It felt good. I mean … all of it."
"Well, of course it feels good. You don't fuck because it feels bad. It feels great, amazing even. Gay men aren't gluttons for punishment, you know." He smiled at me with teary eyes. I grabbed a napkin and handed it to him, giving him a minute to recover. "Can I ask, did you do it then? Top or bottom? Only if you want to share," I backpedaled.
"Christ, Edward. If you wanted you could go online and see the entire video. It's not really a secret. The site is Broke Straight Dudes. But to answer your question, I bottomed." His eyes suddenly were very interested in the sugar packets on the table.
"Well, I won't go and watch anything." Not that I wasn't curious as hell. I could only imagine the fantasy fodder that would be. "I'll respect your privacy, Jasper." The last thing he needed was to think I was going to go and watch something he was clearly conflicted about.
"This explains your pensive moods lately. I thought it was simply a money problem, but now I see there was more going on. I'm glad you finally felt like you could come to me about this. But you said you had questions, and so far I think I'm the only one who has asked any."
"Okay, Edward. This is hard. Maybe you should be on the other side of the booth so I can see you better." Slipping out, I made my way back to my original seat. He reached out and grabbed my hand. His tense eyes met mine and he smiled. "Let me just get some of my main questions out of my head right away and you can answer them how you see fit, okay?" He continued without waiting for an answer.
"How old were you when you knew you were gay? Were you ever attracted to women? How did you know you were gay? Did you ever wonder if you were bi? Have you ever been attracted to me?" He blushed furiously again. The last question was mumbled, but I understood.
"That was a lot of questions. I'll try to answer them all. Let's see … I think I always knew I was different. Hindsight tells me I knew I was gay when I was fifteen, but I wasn't able to really admit it to myself until right before I came out. I appreciated a woman's beauty but not in a sexual way. I can appreciate the curve of a woman's breast and see she is beautiful, but it's more like looking at a preliminary sketch of a masterpiece. When I see a beautiful man it's more like listening to a symphony live, feeling the music deep in my soul. Because of that I never thought I was bi. Things were pretty cut and dried for me. I knew I was gay because I didn't fit the mold of the people around me, you know, the heterosexual mold. I didn't know where I did fit in, except for as your friend. But when I got to college, I saw there were other molds that did fit me. It was refreshing and empowering. I discovered more things about myself my first quarter than I probably learned prior to that in my life." I purposefully avoided answering his last question.
Jasper's words poured out of his mouth with passion and spirit. "I've done nothing but discover new things about myself this last month. I've realized I like to suck another man's dick, for God's sake. I like it! Now, that was a shocker. I can understand getting off on someone sucking my rocks off, but the fact that I like to suck cock scared the shit out of me. The sex felt good, but I was in a strange place with a camera pointed at me, taking close-ups of my ass and everything. That was just weird."
I couldn't imagine having such a sacred moment being taped up-close. My heart broke for Jasper for having to experience something that could be so wonderful in such a creepy and vile way.
Japers took in a shaky breath. "I've found myself looking at men in a different way."
I was stunned into silence, barely breathing. I thought he was simply asking about my experience for curiosity's sake, to help make sense of his unique and impersonal experience. What was he implying? Was this more than him trying to work through a strange, public sexual encounter? Was he questioning his sexuality?
He lowered his gaze, his voice barely above a whisper. "I look at you differently, Edward."
I leaned forward and took his hand in both of mine, looking over his entire face, trying to read what his heart was feeling. "Jasper, I can see you're questioning yourself. I'm not sure if answering your last question will help or hinder your self-discovery. But I want to be here for you and help you if I can."
He swallowed thickly, studying our joined hands, seemingly lost in their detail. An unsteady breath was drawn in and his shoulders rose and fell, but the intake did nothing to calm him as his hand began to shake when he drew it away.
"Jasper, look at me." He slowly looked in my eyes with apprehension and I could see how conflicted he was. I knew I needed to be honest with him, especially after the deceit he had recently experienced.
"I have been in love with you for years. I have mourned again and again over the loss of what could have been if only you weren't straight. I want to help you through this Jasper, but my heart can't be neutral. My desire to be with you as a partner is just too strong. I wish I had the answers you're seeking so you could know. Then I could know. But please, do not fuck with me. If you are serious about exploring these new feelings I would love to be there for you as your friend, to help you better understand yourself, and to see if maybe we could ever be more. But if you're just experimenting, I need to know right now. I cannot weep another night over the loss of the possibility of your love." My head felt heavy. All I wanted to do was lay it down on the table and rest. I finally admitted what had been hidden in my heart for seven years, and now I was absolutely terrified I would be hurt and rejected, possibly even lose my friend. The weight on my soul pushed my eyes closed and I hung my head, awaiting his response.
Feeling him slide in next to me, his hand gently touched my cheek as he moved my face toward his. I opened my eyes at his touch and saw his eyes burning, smoldering. His tongue gently touched his lower lip as he leaned close to me, maintaining eye contact, until his lips met mine in a tender embrace. Opening his mouth, his tongue swept across my lips until I let him in. Our tongues met, searching, exploring, trying to find answers.
Without a thought, my fingers grasped his golden curls, realizing fantasy was being blown away by reality. His hair was so soft. As I tightened my fingers into his thick mane pulling him closer, our kiss deepened, open and passionate, our breaths quickening, but neither of us was willing to pull away just yet. His hand trailed down my chest, resting on my heart, which thundered, trying to keep up with my mind. Deeper and more passionate yet, our tongues entwined content to play and dance across each other, sensing subtle texture and distinctive taste. His teeth gently gripped my bottom lip, pulling it into his mouth where he sucked tenderly. Slowly pulling away he began kissing across my jaw to just below my ear.
"I think we should leave. Now," he whispered in a low, husky voice.
"Are you sure about this, Jasper?" I wanted to give him an out, just in case.
"Are you kidding? I've never been more sure of anything in my life."