My first attempt at fanfic...

Disclaimer: I am not Stephanie Meyer


Jasper is a young man who has a dark secret about his past. No one should have to endure the horror he survived. Now all he wants is a friend but he's about to find something even better than that. A family and love. A Japer/Edward story. Rated M for language/sex and torture. AH/OOC/ non-cannon pairings.


GASPING FOR AIR

CHAPTER ONE

JPOV (Tuesday morning)

"Let me show you how I like to have a good time, precious." I feel his hot breath on my neck and hear the whispered words in my ear as the knife flashes and slices through my skin like butter….

Gasping for air, I bolt upright and cover my face with my hands as the too familiar sobs wrack my body. I'm not sure how long I sit there sobbing in terror, but eventually I pull my knees up to my chest and hug them to me, as I rock myself and try to get my racing heart under control. I'm drenched in sweat and my pajamas are clinging to my body.

I hope I didn't scream. The last time I woke up screaming, my neighbors called the cops thinking I was either being murdered or was murdering someone else. The cops hadn't believed me when I had told them it had just been me screaming from my nightmare. I guess they must have thought I had a body stashed somewhere, I'd had to let them come in and check out my whole apartment before they would leave.

I really didn't blame them. They were just doing their jobs. Hell, nobody looks guiltier than someone shaking and stammering and not being able to look a cop in the eye. I'd had a hell of a panic attack after they left, though. I'd wound up hyperventilating and blacking out, only to wake up the next morning with a headache from hell, confused as to why I was lying on the floor.

Finally getting myself under control, my sobs subside to an occasional hitch as my breathing begins to even out. Looking at my bedside clock, I see its only 4:30 a.m., un-fucking believable. Getting up, I stumble my way into my bathroom, and with shaking hands, get my anti-anxiety pills out of the medicine cabinet. After shaking one out, I look at it and then decide—what the hell—and shake out another. I swallow them both down with a glass of water and close my eyes, taking deep breaths as I try to calm myself down.

Opening my eyes, I look in the mirror and wonder if the man I saw in there would ever be—could ever be—normal. I mean I looked normal as long as I kept on a long sleeved shirt to hide all my scars. And I guess my looks were decent enough. I had blond hair that was just a tad shaggy and slightly curly. My facial features could only be described as delicate, not feminine exactly, but not really the rugged manly man type, that's for sure, even with the shadow of scruff on my face. And right now, my deep blue eyes have dark circles under them from my interrupted sleep.

I work out almost every day, mostly swimming or taking long walks. I'd like to be able to jog but I feel lucky enough to just be able to walk without a limp now, and don't want to risk re-injuring my knee. I also take private kick boxing and self defense classes twice a week, always careful of my knee of course. So, I actually had well defined muscles, but my tall frame was still too thin, no matter how much I ate.

I was too pale as well, just one of the down sides of a having a skin condition that prevented me from tanning and made me avoid bright sunlight. I might as well be a damned vampire as pale as I stay. Overall, I look—fragile. Like I had suffered a long illness, and was just now getting back to good health. Which in a way was true, I'd only been out of the hospital for two years, after a five year stay. I was twenty years old and some days I felt ancient.

Letting out a ragged sigh, I decide to forget about trying to get back to sleep and turn on the hot water in the shower, to let it heat up as I strip out of my sweat soaked clothes. Stepping in front of the full length mirror on the door, I look at my scarred body with disgust. I'm not sure which I hate more, the jagged stitched up knife scars or the mottled purplish burn scar on my right side. You'd think after seven years I'd be used to looking at my scars, but as usual the sight of my own naked body turns my stomach.

My scars are mostly on my chest, back and arms, except for the long one running down the inside of my right thigh, from my groin to my knee and then around across the back of it. That one had been the deepest cut. First it almost killed me from bleeding to death, and then it almost left me a cripple from the damaged muscles and almost severed tendons. Thank God, for the skilled surgeon who saved me.

In my mind, I can still see the knife that made most of my scars. That knife stars in most of my nightmares. Well, that and the sounds of…

No, don't go there Jasper, don't dwell on the past. Look to the future. Ri-i-i-ight, I think, a future living alone like a fucking freak recluse. Sometimes, I think I should have died that night, too. Shaking my head in self-loathing, I get in the shower.

Eventually, the hot water unknots my muscles and I finally start to relax. After shampooing my hair and lathering my body with my body wash, I slowly start stroking myself hoping for a reaction. I try fantasizing about some chic I saw the other day with huge tits, just to see if that helps. As usual, I enjoy the sensations but nothing else happens, still no fucking hard-on. As if it wasn't bad enough to be covered physically with scars, not to mention mentally and emotionally scarred as well. I also had to be impotent at the age of 20. I'm such a fucking freak.

Of course, the Doc tells me that I'm not really impotent. He says my mind is preventing my body from having any physical responses as a safety mechanism, and that my subconscious is protecting me from any reminders of that night—or some psycho-babble, mumbo jumbo bull-shit like that. Supposedly, when my brain and emotions finally comes to terms with things, my body will co-operate and my libido will kick in. I just have to relax, quit worrying about it and give it time. But, damn it! I want to be able to move on. I want to start living like any other normal 20 year old male, along with everything that that entails.

After rinsing off, I get out of the shower and towel dry, before scratching at my chin and wondering if I should I shave. Fuck it, I decide, and go to my closet. I pull out a pair of loose fitting black jeans and my usual long sleeved black t-shirt and black sneakers. I rummage around in my dresser and pull out some loose boxers and a pair of socks, and then get dressed.

I decide to just forget my morning stretches today. I'm just too tired to care and my mind is still too troubled from the nightmare to make the effort. I guess I'll have to tell the Doc the damn nightmares were starting again. I'd actually managed to go six weeks without one and had really hoped the fucking things had gone away forever. Guess I was wrong for hoping. Fucking hell, I really hope it's a one night fluke! I really don't want to start having them every night again.

Sometimes, I wonder if I had someone living with me, someone here with me when I wake up, if the nightmares wouldn't be as scary, or if they would even stop. But then the thought of being that close to someone, to actually trust somebody enough for them to live here with me? Now that is the scariest fucking thing I can think of. I actually feel nauseous just thinking about it. I have severe trust issues, but I am—lonely. I miss my parents.

After getting dressed, I go to my laptop and logon to the internet to check the weather. Hmm, excessive heat warnings out today, expecting a high near 83. Great, I'm going to look like the freak I am, having to wearing long sleeves with it that warm. I hate summer. At least it's supposed to stay cloudy today. Thankfully, it's not usually that warm here in Seattle and it looks like the weather is supposed to start cooling back down by the weekend.

Opening my email, I first delete all the junk mail that pops up, and then write a quick note to the Doc to make a new appointment. We've been lengthening the time between visits, but I know he'll want to know about the nightmare.

After that, I straighten up my bed covers and do some light housekeeping. Not that the place really needs it. I guess I might be a tad OCD. I'm kind of a neat freak.

Glancing at the clock, I see it's nearly 6:00 a.m., and decide it's late enough to head out. After checking my backpack to make sure all my art supplies are inside, I look over at my laptop. Bring it or leave it? Suddenly, I'm actually frozen with indecision. I stare at it transfixed, trying to make up my mind. Bring it or leave it? Bring it or leave it? For fuck's sake Jasper, you'd think it was a life and death decision! Bring it or leave it? Bring it or leave it? Bring it or leave it? Breaking out in a cold sweat, I stare at it and try to come to a decision. Bring it or leave it? Bring it or leave it? Bring it or leave it?

Finally, I tear my eyes away and break out of my trance, leaving it. As I grab my backpack and turn to the door, the clock catches my eyes. Fuck! I'd been standing there frozen, staring at the damn laptop for 20 minutes! What the hell is wrong with me this morning! Shaking my head, I grab my MP3 player and clip it to my belt before heading out.

"~~****~~"

When the Doc had finally agreed that I was doing well enough to try living on my own, away from the hospital, and I first moved into my apartment, I spent the first month just walking around exploring and acquainting myself with Seattle. I guess a car would have been fun, but I never learned to drive—before. My Dad had planned on teaching me how, the summer I turned 13, but fate had other plans for me and my family. So, I walked everywhere, or rode the transit bus, or took a cab.

I had to eat out every meal, since I never learned to cook. But it took me 2 days before I had my first real meal. I was so fucking terrified of having to talk to a waiter or waitress, that I couldn't bring myself to enter any of the restaurants. Finally, sick of the potato chips and sodas that the Doc had stocked my fridge with, hunger won out and I learned how to get through the whole eating out process. I'm quite proud of myself nowadays, I rarely even stammer when the wait-staff asks for my order.

It had taken a lot longer before I was able to make eye contact with people, though. Like I said, I have severe trust issues and people in general scare me. I've really come a long way since those days, but I still have the occasional day where my guts twist in agony and I break out in a cold sweat. At least I haven't had a full blown panic attack in a couple of months. Now that's progress!

One of my favorite places to spend hanging out all day was the Starbucks coffee shop, 2 blocks down from my apartment. I would go in there every day and get my usual coffee and muffins. Then, I'd grab a booth, get out my drawing tablet, and start sketching. I'd sit there for 5 or 6 hours every day watching people.

My favorite booth was actually away from the windows, well away from the sunlight. But I had a great view of all the customers that sat by the windows with the backdrop of Seattle behind them. I'd sketch whatever happened to catch my eye each day. And as I sat there, I would almost feel normal, like I was a part of the community instead of this fucking broken thing that I'd become.

I'd had the same routine for months, and I eventually got to know a couple of the ladies that worked there—Bella and Angela. When I first started going into the shop and they tried chatting with me, I'd barely say one syllable replies to their questions. I just knew they thought I was a stuck up jerk, or a freak, for not talking to them. But they were always so nice to me and they eventually lured me out of my shell.

They are both very pretty, and I never could figure out why I never heard either one talk about dating guys. I was even afraid they were expecting me to ask them out. It had taken me months to figure out they were lesbians and only dated each other. I kind of felt like an idiot that it took me so long to figure that out. But after I did, and I knew they weren't expecting anything from me, I was really able to relax more around them. They've both become the closest things to friends that I have.

Bella is sweet and kind, but she's kind of an airhead sometimes. Angela is much quieter than Bella but her observant eyes never miss anything. While neither of them knows anything about my past, Angela always seems to know when I need space or quiet time alone. I think she suspects something happened to me but she never pries.

The day I came into the shop 6 months ago, and they were both in tears, I really freaked out. Then, when they told me that Starbucks was closing down that particular store, due to the down-turn, I knew what I had to do. I went back to my apartment and called Charlotte. She's my legal guardian/lawyer and had also been my Dad's estate planner and business partner. I'd had to beg her, but I finally arranged to have her buy that building and the one right next to it for me.

After drawing out a bunch of sketches, I got with Bella and Angela and told them not to worry about losing their jobs. I was hiring them to redecorate, enlarge, redesign and create our own independent coffee shop. I wanted it to have more booths and each one would have both wired and wireless internet access, there'd be a small stage for a live band on weekends, and a small deli for quick sandwiches, to go with the different blends of coffees and teas we would be offering. I also told them I wanted them to run it all for me, since I don't have any kind of business sense. It was their turn to freak out, but in a good way.

I guess it's a good thing my Dad was always such a great financial planner, not to mention owning his own company that made money out the ass. Not that I have a clue what it was. Between that and the obscene amounts of life insurance he'd had on him and Mom, I was as rich as a small country. Hell, even after paying what the insurance didn't cover on my 5 years of hospital and surgery bills, I still have enough money that I'll never have to worry about working. Not that I ever would have been able to get a job. Who the fuck would hire someone who can barely speak to you without stammering? Or who can't look you in the eye without breaking out in a sweat? Or someone that just spent 5 years in a mental hospital, half of those in a catatonic state and the other half learning how to walk and talk again? Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I'd had to do all my high school courses 'home schooled' during the last couple of years of my hospital stay. I'm taking a few on-line college courses now. It's just something to keep my mind active and to help pass the lonely hours of my existence. And while I have a shred of hope that someday I can do the real college thing and sit in classes with a room full of complete strangers and interact with them, I'm not holding my breath.

"~~****~~"

I walk the two blocks to the coffee shop and grin as I look at the sign: Jazz 's Cup 'o Joe. Wow that is so cool! My own coffee shop! After going inside, I order my usual coffee and get a half dozen blueberry muffins and then head to my favorite booth, now reserved just for me. My only request from Angela and Bella was for my favorite booth to always be reserved for me, and for no one to ever know I was the owner of the store. I didn't want any of the other workers or customers to treat me as anything other than the strange guy who spends all day in the coffee shop. Other than that, they had free reign on how the shop was run.

I had decided that since they do all the work, that we'd each share one fourth of the profits, with the other quarter going into a special fund for special occasions or emergencies. Naturally, Charlotte handled and set up all the financial details. She thought I was nuts for sharing profits instead of just paying the girls a salary, but I really felt like I owed them even more than that. It was my way of thanking them for accepting me as I am and bringing me out of shell, my way of thanking them for being my friends.

After sitting down, I turn on my MP3 player and put my headset over my ears, and then I pull out my sketchpad and pencils. Taking a sip of my coffee, I relax into my seat, feeling as at home here as in my apartment. Scanning the shop and customers, I people watch while waiting for someone or something to catch my eye to draw.

"Hi, Jasper!" Looking up, I find Bella and Angela standing by my booth.

"Good morning, ladies. What's up this morning?" I ask, as I take off my headset.

"We just wanted to let you know some of the different local talents we're going to have coming in to play on weekends," Bella says.

"Come on, ladies. I already told ya. Whatever y'all want to do, as far the shop is concerned, is fine with me."

Bella smiles saying, "I know you said you wanted us to take care of everything, Jasper. But it just doesn't seem right, to not involve you with something."

Angela nods saying, "Yeah, and we also wanted to ask if you'd like to go and watch a movie with us Saturday night. You don't get out enough, Jasper."

"Y-y-you want m-m-me to go to the movies with y-y-you?" I blush bright red, when I stuttering. Fuck, I hate it when I stutter.

"Yes, we'd both love for you to accompany us to the movies," Angela says, while grinning from ear to ear.

"We won't take no for an answer!" Bella chimes in.

"I d-d-don't know. What are you going to go w-w-watch?" I ask, stalling for time as I try and figure out how to decline without hurting their feelings.

Bella laughs saying, "Oh, we thought about watching that new horror movie that just came out! It's about a family that takes a vacation out in the middle of nowhere, and is terrorized by a bunch of escaped mental patients or convicts or something. It's supposed to be full of blood, guts, and sex!"

I feel the blood literally drain from my face and my ears start roaring. I think I'm either going to pass out or throw up. I'm not sure which. From a distance, I can hear Angela call my name as everything starts to go gray around the edges of my vision.

"Jasper!" Angela yells, as she shakes my shoulder. "Are you ok?"

Swallowing nervously, I slowly nod my head and then lick my lips before saying, "I think I'll pass on the horror movie ladies. I haven't been feeling very well."

"It's ok, Jasper," Angela says gently. "Maybe we can go watch something another time when you're feeling better? If you don't like horror, there's a new Disney movie coming out in a couple of weeks. It's supposed to be really funny."

"Yeah, maybe, that does kind of sound better," I say, with a shaky voice.

Angela is giving me a funny look. "Jasper, are you sure you're alright? You look even paler than usual."

Looking down, I nod and softly say, "Yeah, Ang I'm ok."

Angela quietly asks, "You do know if you ever need to talk about anything, or if you ever need a friend, that Bella and I are here for you, don't you?"

Taking a deep breath, I slowly let it out before saying, "Thanks, Ang. I'll keep that in mind. I really do appreciate the offer. You two are the closest things to friends I have. I haven't had any friends since I was 13 and I'm kind of out of practice in how to have that kind of relationship. Hell, any kind of relationship for that matter."

Angela is still looking at me with a strange look on her face as she asks, "Jasper how old are you?"

"Um, I'm 20, Ang. Why?"

I can see the wheels turning in her ever observant mind as she mumbles. "Something familiar about that movie, so much like… seven years ago… thirteen year old boy…" And then it's her turn to go white as she chokes out, "Oh. My. God. Jasper, did you live in Forks seven years ago?"

My mouth goes dry and I feel like puking again. She knows. She knows. All I wanted was anonymity, and she knows. I can't talk.

Angela quietly asks, "Jasper, did you know that Bella and I both graduated from Forks, five years ago?"

Bella's looking, from Angela to me, with a confused look on her face. Apparently she doesn't know what Angela is talking about, yet.

It's all I can do, to whisper the words, "Please, Angela, um, there's some things I'd really rather not talk about, especially here. I'd like to keep them private, if you don't mind."

Angela's face turns red and she nods her understanding. "I'm sorry, Jasper. That was very rude of me. I wasn't thinking. Are you…are you ok?"

"I'm as good as I can be, Ang. Now if you ladies still want to go see that Disney movie just let me know when and where. I think a night out with friends would be just what the doctor ordered." I give them a weak smile, knowing I'll find some way out of it later. They both smile back and assure me they'll let me know about the movie later. About that time, several customers start coming in, and they head back to the counter to help.

Shuddering, I put my headset back on, and tune in some calming music. Grabbing my sketchpad and pencil, I start doodling, trying not to think of the horror movie Bella just described. There's no way that I want to watch horror after living it first-hand. Hopefully Angela will drop it, I'd really rather not talk about my past, if I can help it. Trying to block everything from my mind, I concentrate on drawing.

Looking at the booth across from me, I sketch the scenery outside the window. Then I sketch the way the early morning light is striking the table, highlighting its surface, showing a dried coffee ring, a couple of torn empty sugar packets with a few scattered grains of sugar. I'm just putting the finishing touches on it when one of the workers cleans off the table and wipes it down clean.

Sighing, I turn to a fresh page to draw something else. A group of people sit down at the booth that was just cleaned. I surreptitiously watch them over my sketchpad and hurriedly do a preliminary sketch of the three people sitting there. It's a man and two women. They look maybe a few years older than me and they seem pretty excited about something.

The man is one of those big, huge, football player types. He's big—like scary big. But I can hear his booming laughter, even over my headphones and music. He has a carefree smile on his face, and his eyes dance with mischief as he interacts with the two women at the table. Usually guys as big as him really intimidates me, but this guy's demeanor seems so easy going and gentle, that he makes me think of a giant teddy bear.

The blond woman, sitting beside the big guy, looks like a model. She's got to be one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, hair is fixed perfectly, make-up perfect, body perfect. I wonder if someone that looks like her would ever be interested in a guy as messed up as me. When the big guy bends down and whispers in her ear, she rolls her eyes while flipping her hair over her shoulder. Then she smiles and looks up into the big guy's eyes with such a look of love on her face that you just know that they are not only together, but also very happy together. I actually feel a little jealous. I wish I could have a relationship like that.

The woman sitting across from them is quite short and petite, she reminds me of an elf or maybe Tinker Bell only with black hair. She's literally bouncing up and down in her seat, like some kind of hyperactive pixie. I snigger quietly; thinking the last thing she needs is caffeine. She's actually a very pretty woman too, and I'm just wondering if she's with anybody, when she really starts hopping around, waving at someone behind me at the counter.

I'm really surprised when Bella and Angela run up to her, giving her and the other two, hugs. Looking down, I try not to watch. I don't want to impose on my friends by spying on them interacting with their other friends. But for some reason, my chest starts to feel tight and my eyes actually start to burn, like I'm on the verge of crying. I realize… I feel left out. How pathetic is that?

Quickly stuffing my sketchpad and pencils in my bag, I hurriedly get up and leave, before anybody can see the tears threatening to run down my face. As if that wasn't bad enough, on my way out the door, I slam into another guy and we both fall on our asses. Now the tears do spill over as my face turns beet red. I'm pissed at myself and I'm so fucking embarrassed I could just die. "I'm s-s-so s-s-s-orry!" I stutter out, which embarrasses me even more.

"Hey, man, don't worry about it. It's not your fault. I wasn't looking where I was going. Oh crap, I didn't hurt you, did I?" He actually sounds worried about me, as he gets up and puts a hand out to help me up.

"N-n-no, really, I'm ok. I apologize for running into you like that." I say as I look up. "I wasn't paying atten…" My voice trails off as I sit there and stare into two of the most incredibly green eyes I've ever seen. I can't take my eyes off him. I've never seen a man who looks so—beautiful. He has an concerned friendly face and kind eyes, and a head full of bronze-colored hair that looks like he's been running his hand though it. His worried frown slowly transforms into a confused, crooked smile, and the hand he's offering to help me up with begins to tremble. I think my heart actually skips a beat, and then my whole body feels like it's throbbing in time to my thundering heart.

I'm not sure how long I sit there staring at him like an idiot, before I finally come to my senses and grab his offered hand to stand up. But when I do, it almost feels like I've grabbed onto a live current. An electric shock shoots from my hand to the very core of my being and I jerk my hand back in surprise. The green eyed man actually looks a little shocked from the contact as well. His eyes widen in surprise and then he has a fleeting look of—lust?—that is quickly replaced by hurt when I jerk my hand away.

Fuck, I am such a loser. I wish the earth would open up and swallow me now. Stuttering again, I say. "S-s-sorry man, b-b-but I really gotta go." With that, I turn and run.

I was running from my complete pathetic-ness, as I ran from my almost friends that had other lives and friends away from me.

I was running from my loneliness, as I ran from the beautiful green-eyed man I had knocked down, whose mere touch had electrified me.

I was running, and sobbing, from the embarrassment and horror, as I ran from the realization that my cock, for the first time in seven fucking years, had got hard from staring at the beautiful green-eyed man.

If only I could keep running and never stop.

I run the two blocks to my apartment building and up the three flights of stairs to my place. I stop just long enough to unlock the door, and then run inside. Slamming the door shut, I frantically fumble with the locks, bolting the door behind me—as if I could lock out the reality of what just happened. Gasping for air, I slowly slide down the door until I'm sitting on the floor. My fucking knee is throbbing, and because of the sobbing and the running, I can't catch my breath. I can feel it coming on—a full blown panic attack. Hyperventilating, I curl up in a ball, wrapping my arms around my knees. Everything slowly goes black.