Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters... and I'm okay with that.
A/N: My mushy, love-filled babbling will be at the end... because this is the end. *sniffles*
I was going to be a college graduate.
My mom insisted that Alice and I attend the graduation ceremony. So, that's how I find myself up at the asscrack of dawn on a Saturday morning, putting on a graduation robe and waiting to sit through a boring commencement address just so my family could see my and Alice's names appear in print. We didn't even get our diplomas at the ceremony. They would mail them to us later in the summer.
I was attempting to fix my hair in such a way that the mortarboard would actually stay on my head, when another robed figure appeared in the mirror behind me. I tilted my head so he could reach my neck.
After swatting him away before I wound up with a huge, highly visible hickey, he decided instead to slide his hands tortuously slow down my body.
"Are you wearing anything under those robes?" Jasper teased me with another kiss to my neck..
"Mmm... are you wearing anything under yours?"
He pulled away from me and unzipped the robe, letting the sides fall away to reveal, well, a fully-clothed Jasper.
"This is Hugo Boss and Prada, babe. Got a good deal on markdowns."
"I love you," I blurted out. "I love you and your snooty clothes."
"My clothes are not snooty. I look damn good, and you know it."
I broke out in a grin and threw my arms around him.
He did look damn good, but that's not why I was so happy. After all of the problems Jasper went through adjusting to college and figuring out what he wanted to do, he had managed to catch up and graduate on time, with a solid GPA and graduate school on the horizon.
"I'm so proud of you, Jazz," I murmured into his ear.
"I love you, Ed," he whispered back. "Couldn't have done it without you."
So, as I sat next to Chelsea during the – surprise, surprise – positively boring ceremony, I let my mind wander back to the past few months.
I had been a wreck for most of the Spring semester while waiting to hear from med schools. Jasper was also nervous about his applications, but he tried to be the calm one. He did his best to soothe me, and he seemed to be the only one who could. We had a lot of stress relieving sex, which became Jasper's go-to method for getting me to shut up, stop wringing my hands or pacing.
The day I found out that Chelsea got into UPenn, I burst into the door of our apartment, ready to lament to Jasper about how Chelsea was constantly asking me and Stefan for help, when he covered my mouth with his hand and said,
"Unless the next words out of your mouth are 'Fuck me, Jasper,' I don't want to hear it."
Despite my desire to rant about the injustice of the world, suddenly the idea of my world instead revolving around Jasper's dick was much more appealing.
As much as Jasper did his best to distract me, well, distract us, my self-confidence was still shot with every passing day. I checked my email obsessively, and on days when I didn't have class, I waited around by the mailboxes at the apartment complex for the mailwoman. One day, Bella found me hovering around outside during the beginning of a late winter snowfall and dragged me back to her and Alice's apartment to force feed me hot cocoa.
Then, one day it happened.
I got an email from the graduate coordinator of the MD-PhD program at UCLA, offering me admittance with an assistantship. I called Jasper immediately, but it went to voicemail. I didn't want to tell him my news in a voicemail, so I called Alice to share the news with her. She squealed and gave her patented, "I knew it!" I knew she would call Mom, so I called Dad at work and he told me how proud of me he was. I knew both of my parents were proud of me, but to hear the words coming from my dad when I was hoping to follow somewhat in his footsteps just made me feel elated.
I was beaming so much, I could barely concentrate on my work, so I left the lab early and nearly skipped home.
I beat Jasper home and started making a saffron risotto to calm myself down. Stirring the rice while slowly adding broth was relaxing and forced me to focus on something other than the anticipation parading through my mind.
When I heard the key turn in the lock, I shut the burner off and raced to the front door. Jasper had barely gotten through the door before I jumped on him. He caught my weight and helped me wrap my legs around his waist as he carried me to the couch. He pressed me down into the cushions and started to kiss me with excited fervor.
Suddenly, he pulled back.
"Wait, why are you so excited? Did Alice squeal?"
"Wait, why are you so excited?" I asked.
"Did you?" We asked at the same time.
"I got into UCLA," I blurted out.
The smile that ignited Jasper's face was mesmerizing. Before I could get lost in his positively sparkling gray-blue gaze, he leaned back down and kissed me until I was breathless and gasping for air.
"Wha-?" I asked as he pulled away.
He grinned at me for a second and then finally spoke, "I got into UCLA today, too."
I let out a shriek of Alice proportions and pulled Jasper back down to me, squeezing him as tightly as I could.
"I knew you could do it, love," I whispered into his ear.
He pulled back from me and lit up the entire room with another grin.
That smile didn't leave his face for the next week.
Over the course of the next couple weeks, I got into a few other programs and put on the waiting list of a couple others. Jasper got into a couple other of his schools as well, but they weren't programs he was all that interested in. But, getting into UCLA made the number of rejection letters easier to take.
We went to visit UCLA's campus together. Los Angeles was a little intimidating to a boy from Forks, even after living in Seattle for almost four years, but I loved the campus. Jasper and I were separated for most of the visit, talking to professors, other grad students already along in the program and learning about the ins and outs. I managed to bow out of the last few scheduled events to meet up with Jasper. We walked around campus together and explored Westwood Village a little, talking about what we had done the previous day.
"All right, Ed, out with it," Jasper finally said.
I took a deep breath.
"I like it here, Jazz. I really like it," I said, biting my lip.
"Me too," he responded almost immediately, the excitement clear in his voice.
So, in the end, for all the trouble we went through being terrified about our future, the decision wasn't that difficult.
Even so, truth be told, I was a little nervous about the whole thing. Okay, scratch that, I was terrified.
I wasn't just scared of moving to L.A. I was just afraid of everything changing.
Rosalie and Emmett were firmly established in Seattle. Bella had gotten a job teaching at the same school as Emmett while Jake finished his final year of art school. He pretty much had a job lined up at an advertising firm where he had interned for the past two summers as soon as he graduated. They were going to get married later in the summer, before Bella started showing, but it wasn't a shotgun wedding by any means. Bella had just found out that she was pregnant, a few weeks prior to graduation, and the wedding had already been planned for July.
This time the pregnancy scare was real, but it didn't result in a fight between her and Jake. I knew she was apprehensive about it, because Jake was still in school and she was just starting a new job. But, at the same time, Bella always wanted to have a big family. She grew up as an only child to parents who divorced when she was young. For years it was just her and Charlie, until he and Sue got together, and despite all her fears, she was thrilled about motherhood itself.
We all seemed to be growing up.
The only thing that was saving me from completely freaking out, other than the fact that Jasper would be by my side, was that Alice was moving to California, too. Her degree was in marketing, and she wanted to put it to use in the fashion world. The best place to do that without going to New York was L.A. So, my twin would not be far away. In a move that surprised both the Clearwaters and my family, Seth had decided to transfer to UC Santa Barbara, so he wouldn't be so far away from Alice. They had been together for awhile, but the idea of them being so serious was still sometimes shocking to me.
Having Ali nearby would help. She was always better than me at adjusting to new situations, so I was thrilled she was relocating. But, I was still scared about what the future held.
All of these thoughts put my stomach in knots as I sat in the uncomfortable folding chair pretending to pay attention. Eventually, the torturous ceremony ended. I had shaken hands with the Dean and tossed my cap along with everyone else, immediately seeking out Jasper afterward.
Of course, Alice wanted to throw a big graduation party for us, and my mom couldn't deny her. Since the graduation ceremony was on Saturday in Seattle, Alice and my mom decided to throw the party on Sunday back in Forks. It seemed a little over the top to me, but even my mom's brother Randall had flown in for the ceremony and the party.
The party was a typical Cullen affair. Alice went overboard on decorating and the house was soon filled with a lot of people who I didn't really know but that had been familiar faces at events throughout my childhood. They congratulated both Alice and me, and I repeated my plans to move to L.A. for medical school about fifty times.
After getting caught in the middle of a long reminiscing session between my dad and one of his co-workers at the hospital about their experiences at med school, I managed to break free.
I dodged well-wishers and went out to the porch where I found a contingent of my friends, including Alice and Seth, Bella and Jake, and Emmett. They were all giggling like girls at a slumber party, and I wondered just how many beers in they were. However, there weren't an excessive amount of bottles on the table, and Seth was holding a can of coke but still laughing as hard as anyone else. And, of course, Bella wasn't drinking.
"Eddie," Alice's voice was strained from laughter. "You'll settle this."
Emmett pointed his finger at me and said in a very serious voice, "Kill, fuck, or marry. The Police, go."
Oh no, they were playing the game that Emmett had been using to tease me about being gay since I was a teenager. Ever since the time I said that I would fuck Whoopi Goldberg over Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who I would kill after marrying Joy Behar, he used it to make fun of both my taste in men and my non-existent taste in women.
"Uh, kill Stuart, fuck Sting, marry Andy," I rattled off.
"No way! Your damn twin voodoo. It's kill Andy, fuck Sting, marry Stuart," Emmett protested with vehemence. I had no idea why this could possibly matter so much to him, but he seemed quite sure that there was a correct answer to the silly prompt.
"If you're fucking Sting, you won't have time to kill or marry anyone anyway," I offered.
Emmett's booming laugh transformed his face back from disbelief.
"What started this?" I asked. "You don't even like the Police."
"I may have brought up Emmy's crush on the blond from the Dixie Chicks."
Jake snickered, clearly trying not to laugh as Emmett glared at him.
"And, it got us started, but we're running out of trios," Alice finished.
"I know!" Seth broke in. "The Cullen kids!'
"What? No!" I blurted out.
"Oh, come on, it's just a game." Alice playfully smacked my arm.
I resigned and slid down in the remaining chair.
"All right, then. You go first Mr. Clearwater," I insisted.
"You can't get mad at me Alibaby," Seth began, turning to his girlfriend.
"Of course not."
"Um..." he paused for a long time before finally saying, "Kill Emmett, no offense, dude. Fuck Edward. Marry Alice."
My face turned red as the room started filling with laughter. My expression must have been less than amused, because Seth offered an explanation.
"Well, of course I'd marry Alice." He made a show of putting his arm around her shoulders. "And, between you and Emmett, you're the one who knows what to do with a man."
"I can't argue with that logic," Emmett said. "Definitely kill me, fuck Edward and marry Alice."
"I don't know. As Alice's roommate, and the one who has to hear what goes on in her bedroom, I'd definitely reconsider," Bella broke in. "Obviously, it's kill Emmett, sorry, fuck Alice and marry Edward. He's the best cook."
"Wait a minute," I broke in. "How many of us have walked in on Emmett and Rosalie in some state of coitus over the years? If anything, it's kill Alice, fuck Emmett and marry me."
"Hey!" Alice protested. "You and Jazz are so much worse than Em and Rose. You can't even keep it in your pants in public."
"That's true, you guys do have a laundry list of public sex acts," Emmett added, not hiding the gentle jealousy in his tone.
I buried my face in my hands. My family and friends should not know so much about my sex life.
"There's the airplane, at the wedding chapel, the art museum-" Alice started.
"That was just a blow job," I said weakly.
"Oh, I say both blow jobs and hand jobs count," Bella added. "So, there's at least a couple dance clubs – bathrooms and dance floors."
"There's also Safeco Field." I felt his hands slide down my chest as Jasper spoke from behind me, leaning forward to capture a kiss.
"Hey, love," he whispered against my lips. He and Rosalie had both entered the porch without my notice, back from the family dinner they had in celebration of Jasper's graduation.
"What!" Alice shrieked.
"I didn't know about that one!" Bella exclaimed.
"Well, not the field itself, obviously, but the ball park," Jasper rationalized weakly.
"When was this?" Rosalie demanded.
"Mariners game this summer," I said with a grin, finally giving in to the disturbing conversation. "We took the seven inning stretch into the bottom of the ninth."
Both Emmett and Jake snorted at the word "bottom," earning matching smacks to the head from Rosalie and Bella.
Seth shook his head, and Alice was just staring at us with her mouth open.
"All right, I'm impressed. Details?"
"Found an unlocked skybox," I said with a shrug. I neglected to mention the security cameras we noticed only after I had stood behind Jasper and drilled into him with his hands pressed up against the glass. Luckily, we didn't get caught, but I had a feeling our pictures were on a list somewhere of security risks.
"Why are you talking about this?" Jasper asked as he looked around for a place to sit
"We were playing Kill, Fuck and Marry with the three Cullen siblings," Seth broke in.
Jasper eventually grew too lazy to bring out a chair from inside and just plopped down on my lap. Even though he was a touch taller than me, and a little broader, over the years, my lap always seemed his favorite place to sit. I wrapped my arms around his waist and shifted to adjust for the added weight.
"Oh, well then, kill Alice, definitely. Fuck Edward. Marry Emmett." My boyfriend blew a kiss to my older brother with a wink. Em pretended to catch it and put it in his front shirt pocket.
"You wouldn't marry Edward?" Alice balked.
"Well, of course, I'd marry Edward in real life, but, no offense, there's no way I could get it up for either of you two, and I doubt that after we got hitched Em would mind me keeping Ed on the side."
Alice pretended to pout. "Why hasn't anyone wanted to kill Edward?" She asked suddenly.
"Oh, I'd kill Edward!" Rosalie burst in. "Kill Edward, fuck Alice, and marry Emmett."
"You'd marry me?" Emmett scoffed to his wife.
"I already did marry you, you idiot," Rosalie said. "But, been there, done that on the fucking. I'd like a shot at Alice. She seems feisty."
The three heterosexual men in the room all had matching expressions of discomfort on their faces. Jasper, the girls and I just laughed.
I would miss this. Nights when just sat around and joked and laughed. I would even miss the way Emmett teased me. I would miss being so familiar with a group of people that I thought of them all as family.
Everyone was moving or already moved on. Emmett and Rosalie were buying a house out in suburbia. Bella was going to be a mom and a wife. Even my parents had been talking about moving. I didn't know if they were completely serious, but my dad was still young enough that he could advance into an administrative position at a hospital practically anywhere he wanted with little trouble.
Nothing would ever be the same again.
Jasper leaned back against me and his lips brushed my ear.
"You okay? You got quiet all of a sudden."
"Yeah," I whispered back. "Just a little overwhelmed with everything."
"Want to get some air?"
"Sure, my legs are starting to fall asleep anyway."
"You calling me fat?" He asked me jokingly, as he stood up in an exaggerated huff.
I gave his butt a playful slap.
"You're perfect," I said, unable to come up with a witty retort.
He grabbed my hand and helped me up. We gave our excuses to our friends, then Jasper pulled me out of the porch and back into the house. We escaped the party by taking the back way through the kitchen and out the front door.
We started walking down the sidewalk, hands still laced together.
"Talk to me, babe," Jasper prodded gently.
"There won't be any more nights like this, you know?" I began. "Everybody is moving on and we'll never be all together again."
He squeezed my hand, "We'll all be together less often, but it's not going to be never."
"I know. It just feels like it."
"We're moving on, too, you know," Jasper replied as he nudged me gently with his shoulder.
We walked a few blocks before I responded.
"I know. I'm just feeling... nostalgic, I guess, because I'm afraid of what's going to happen this fall."
"The unknown is always scary," Jasper reasoned.
"I know that, too."
"At least we'll be facing it together."
I stopped walking then and turned to Jasper, throwing my arms around his neck. He held onto me silently until I finally loosened my grip, turning my head to rest it on his shoulder.
I chuckled when I realized we were standing right in front of the Forks Elementary playground. It reminded me of that first night.
"I think they forgot one," I said, breaking the quietude.
"One what?" Jasper asked.
"This is the place where Edward and Jasper's record of deviant public sex acts first started."
He laughed and then grabbed me for a kiss.
He pulled away suddenly and grabbed my hand, practically running to the fort structure he had climbed four years before. He climbed the ladder quickly, and I followed after him, ducking into the lookout tower. He sat down and leaned against a wall with his legs splayed.
He looked up at me with his shy smile, and so I joined him, leaning back against his chest between his legs just like I had done before.
He wrapped his arms around my waist and pressed his lips against the back of my neck. Then, he unbuttoned my shirt slowly, tracing his fingertips down the front of my chest in circular patterns along the way. He nibbled on my neck some more, not increasing the fervor of his movements but showing me without words how much he loved me.
I wanted to show him back.
I turned until I was kneeling between his legs. It hurt my knees, but I ignored that feeling as I unbuttoned his shirt, revealing the fantastic chest I knew was waiting underneath.
"Your chest is still the sexiest thing I've ever seen," I said as I bent forward to drag his right nipple lightly between my teeth.
"More scars now, though," Jasper hissed.
It was true. He had acquired a few new scars over the past four years. Only, now I knew how he earned them. There was a long scar across the front of his shoulder from doing some kind of work on the cattle ranch. His right hand was peppered with scars from when he drunkenly shattered the mirror after our first major fight. His knee had been torn up from a fall when working the docks after high school.
I licked the scar across his shoulder, then traced down to his other nipple. But, I wasn't close enough. So, I shifted until I was straddling his lap, my thighs resting on his. We were chest to chest now, and I could feel every inch of his hard torso pressed against mine all at once. I reveled in the sensation for a moment before leaning back to take a look at my beautiful man.
I couldn't remember him looking more stunning.
I took my hand up to brush a stray wave back behind his ear.
"I remember the first time I saw you," he whispered. "My first day at Forks High, you were leaning against your Volvo with your earbuds in – what were you listening to?"
"What makes you think I remember?"
"Babe, you remember everything," Jasper insisted.
"The Cure. Friday I'm in Love," I said immediately, because I did remember. I remembered everything about that day. "But, I don't remember everything. I just remember everything about you."
"You were wearing skinny jeans, Levi's, a black Clash t-shirt, and scuffed up Vans that I'm sure Alice didn't approve of," he responded with a smile.
Of course Jasper noticed what I had been wearing.
"You looked nervous," I recalled. "But, you were trying to play it off like you were taking in everything around you."
He pulled me forward again and kissed me hard. I needed to tell him one more thing, so I forced myself to pull myself away.
"I've been in love with you since I was 16 years old," I breathed against his lips. "And, I love you more every day."
"Always, Edward. Always more," he whispered back.
We didn't speak anymore for a long while. We didn't grope each other or really get past first base, but it was romantic.
It was just the two of us and nothing else in the world.
The thing about life, and growing up, is that it's always happening, always changing. What started as a silly teenage game one night in my parents' basement, turned into real life love story. It wasn't always perfect, but that isn't the point.
We had both grown so much in four years, and it was true, if you don't keep growing, then you aren't really living.
I was practical to a fault sometimes and often disbelieving about my relationship with Jasper. I always figured that we'd either grow together or grow apart, and I told myself to savor every moment I had with him.
I didn't know exactly what the future would hold, but I now knew that we would always grow together.
And that was enough.
A/N: And there you have it, dear readers - the end of Seven Minutes in Heaven.
I want to thank each and every one of you for reading, alerting, reviewing, and most of all for sticking with this story and continuing to read it after what was supposed to be a one-shot morphed into over 100,000 words. Thank you especially to those of you who have been here since the beginning. I probably wouldn't have continued without getting those first reviews! A special thank you to OnTheTurningAway, who pimped this story almost from the get go (and who, along with my darling rmhale, keeps me in porn and "picspiration"), and, of course, to PerfectlyPersuasive for coming onto beta the better part of this story. She is my comma queen.
This is not the end of these boys, as I will still update Jasper's side of the story, Seven More Minutes, when I can. There is no further epilogue to this story, but I have not ruled out the possibility of returning to their lives in the future. Otherwise, I have a couple new E/J stories in the wings. One is a much, much different kind of story... ;)