Disclaimer: S. Myer owns all, but what I wouldn't give for a Jasper of my very own-sigh.
A/N- Here it is, the epilogue for S&S. I can't believe it's been a year since I started writing it and almost a year since I started posting. It's been quite the ride, I never expected to become what it has, I must say that J/B fans are wonderful, devoted, passionate, and supportive. Thank you all! This has not been preread, i am totally winging it, and yes, that scares me. A lot. I hope i did them justice, that the end is satisfying, that i stayed true to J/B and Perfectward, and my vision that i had for them all.
My poor beta has been working her fingers to the bone, so this chapter is once again unbeta'd, so all mistakes, grammatical and otherwise, are my own.
As always, many thanks and lots of hugs to Dannie, this wouldn't be here without her.
Location: Heaven (Adored)
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright
I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I've been prayin for
It's gonna be a bright, bright
Look all around, there's nothing but blue skies
The light streamed through the windows, the early morning Texas sun already heating up the small bedroom. Even before my eyes opened, I was acutely aware of my surroundings. I heard the whir of the fan on the dresser, I smelled the stale, musky scent of sex as it hung in the humid air, and I felt the warmth of her naked body pressed against mine, her back to my chest, our arms entwined around her waist, my leg flung over her. We were touching almost head to toe.
It had been like that almost every morning since we had been reunited.
Nuzzling my nose deep into her thick hair, I inhaled her scent, my body craving the life she breathed into me every day just by existing. Instinctively, her body responded to mine, her ass caressing my morning erection while her fingers weaved through my own and she emitted the most beautiful contented sigh.
She was happy. Even in her sleep, she was happy. It was still hard for me to believe that I did that, I put that joy in her life, that not only did she fulfill my dreams by being with me but that somehow, by some miracle, I returned the favor.
"Mmm," I moaned, thrusting my hips forward a bit to encourage her to wake from her slumber and make love to me…if she wasn't exhausted from the two times the night before.
She really was insatiable.
My fingers stroked hers, lightly brushing up and down her soft, heated skin, and I felt it. My heart halted for a beat or two, it never failed to skip when I felt it, when I realized it was real.
And I had the matching band on my left hand to prove it.
Laying there in the warm sun, my eyes still closed, her body pressed comfortably to mine, I thought back on the previous three years.
So much had changed, and so much had remained the same.
Bella and I had returned to Seattle after they had come to get me. We talked a lot on the way home, about our past and our futures. There was laughter, tears, a shitload of kissing, and even some yelling, but we arrived back in Seattle in just under three days after driving almost straight through. I had only about week at the house before I needed to pack the truck and head to Austin.
As soon as we walked into the house, Edward greeted us both with huge hugs. He helped us unpack and then ordered some Chinese takeout. As we sat around the kitchen table, I looked at Bella, she nodded and reached for my hand.
"Edward," I began, putting my chopsticks in my lo mein. "We need to tell you something." He raised his eyebrows, but kept shoveling his fried rice into his mouth. "You know how I got into the University of Texas?"
He nodded and then looked up, he was starting to understand.
"You're leaving us?" he asked, putting his chopsticks down too. "You're going to go?"
Biting my lip, I nodded. "I was able to get the scholarship reinstated, I start in a few weeks," I admitted quietly.
"Wow," he whistled. "I mean I guess I should have thought you might but…wow," he sighed. Suddenly, his eyes darted up to meet Bella's. He saw the sympathy in her brown eyes as she gave him a small smile. "You're going too, aren't you?"
"I have to," she replied wistfully. "I can't be without him, Edward."
He grinned and reached for our hands, coving them with both of his own. I remembered his comforting touch. "Then I am too," he said simply, shrugging, as if he had just decided to go for a jog with us, not move two thousand miles away.
"You're what?" Bella and I asked him simultaneously.
"I'll go too. Well, I can't go to Austin, they don't have a med program, but Houston does. I've looked into it already and…" he looked down, a faint blush coating his cheeks as he admitted he had considered the school already. Bella gave him questioning look and he explained. "After I found out about Jasper being accepted, I checked out the school and found the program at Houston. I even called and got some information on it."
"And?" I asked.
"Well, I think I can get in, not for September of course, but for next semester or next year. I assume you are doing the same thing?" he asked Bella.
"I'm hoping for January," she squeezed my hand. "Not sure I can make it four months, but hopefully it'll go by quick."
"Then it's done. I won't be with you guys of course, I'll be a few hours away but it's a hell of a lot closer than here."
And that is exactly what happened.
That week Bella and I had spent every waking, and sleeping, moment together. She had pretty much moved into my room, spending every night in my bed, we had sex, we kissed, slept, and even fought. I wanted to come home on a few weekends before Thanksgiving, but she insisted I go see Peter instead. A week later, I packed my things and left for Texas…again. The night before I had left, Bella and I lay in our bed together, completely naked, facing each other. We talked a little bit but we were mostly silent and just held each other, our bodies pleasantly sated from making love.
We dozed occasionally, often waking up to pull the other one closer or kiss. Time seemed to stand still for us that one night, granting us the time we needed to say goodbye, to make the promises of love. When we talked, it was about our futures, bright and together, it was about what we had already overcome and how much stronger we were together than apart.
Early the next morning, I hugged Edward with a promise to call daily. When it was Bella's turn, Edward turned and headed inside. Bella had baked me cookies and brownies for the trip, told me to avoid that truck stop and say hi to Peter and Charlotte for her. We kissed for a long time, our tears mingling as we tilted our heads back and forth. Fisting the ends of her hair, I kept her close to me, not wanting to let her go.
"Be careful, Hale, and call me at every stop," she instructed me.
"I'll see you at Thanksgiving," I promised, though I would see her long before that via our webcams.
"It'll be here before you know it." Standing on her toes, she cupped my face with her hands. "I love you, Jasper."
"I love you too, baby," I whispered just before kissing her one last time and then climbing into the truck. Wiping a few tears from my eyes, I pulled away, waving. Smiling, she waved back, her hair shining in the light of the early dawn.
In Texas, I poured all my effort and time into studying. Bella and I spent four months of emailing, phone calls, chatting, texting, and webcaming. I had even gone to see Peter and Charlotte few weekends, eager to be away from the books. The first time was one weekend in late October, I had made the three hour drive to see them and when I knocked on the door he answered and greeted with a hug and a 'how the fuck are ya'. We spent the weekend sitting on the deck and drinking.
Right after Thanksgiving, Bella received her acceptance letter to Austin. Unfortunately, Edward didn't make it into Houston for January, but they accepted him for September of the following year. As sad as Bella and I were, we kept reminding ourselves it was only few more months, as he planned on moving down as soon as he was done with his last semester at University of Washington. We spent Christmas break in Forks. Bella spent a lot of time with her father, I stayed with Edward at his house, but spent some time at my own home with the Major and my mother. They had been thrilled about my returning to Texas, my father claiming all along he knew Texas was in my blood and that I would eventually return. Christmas Eve, Bella was with her father for dinner and Edward and I were in his kitchen cleaning up after the Cullen dinner. I washed, he dried.
"Edward, can I ask you something?"
"Anything," he said as he grabbed the plate from me to dry.
"When did you know you were gay?" I blurted out before I had lost my nerve. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him restrain a smile.
"I think I've always known I was…different, but the first day we were looking at the porn magazines it really hit me. They did nothing for me but they…"
"Well, they excited you," he chuckled. My cheeks heated up at the memory, and then even more when I realized Edward had noticed the erection I had been trying to hide that day.
"Oh. Sorry," I apologized, although I wasn't sure what for.
"Don't be. It was just a defining moment for me. Up until then, I wasn't absolutely sure about me…or you. But when I saw how the nude girls affected you, well, that pretty much confirmed you were straight. And when I realized I was more affected by you being excited, I knew for certain I was gay."
I kept my eyes on the dishes as I transferred them from dirty water to rinsing water. "Edward, if there's anyone I'd be gay for, it would be you," I said, only half joking.
"Thanks, Jasper," he smiled before nudging my side with his elbow. "If you ever decide to switch teams, I'm here."
We both broke out into laughter and I splashed water at him as he twisted the towel tight and snapped it at my ass, or as he had put it, my 'fine specimen of an ass that Bella better appreciate'.
I supposed some guys might have felt uncomfortable with their gay best friend saying such things but for me, it was as it always had been, only more honest. Edward hadn't changed, his thoughts and feelings about me and our friendship hadn't changed-the only thing that had changed was he was more vocal and open about his thoughts. Even if they embarrassed the shit out of me, I was glad he felt comfortable enough to say them. I wanted nothing more than for him to live the life he was meant to.
At the end of the holiday break, Bella was packed and we were ready to leave for Texas. We said a long goodbye to Edward in his driveway, he hugged Bella tight, whispering in her ear before letting her go with soft kiss to her forehead. Then he turned to me and opened his arms. I stepped into them and enjoyed the feeling of his solid embrace as he held me tight.
"Please take care of her, Jasper. Keep her safe and sound," he murmured in my ear, only releasing me after I promised to do as he asked. The drive to Texas was long, but when we pulled into the driveway of the small house I had rented for us, Bella's eyes lit up with excitement, the realization of what we were doing finally hitting her.
We were going to be living together…alone.
Even before all our boxes were unpacked, we christened every room over the next few days.
Though my favorite was the kitchen.
After kneeling before a naked Bella as she sat on the counter with her legs spread wide while I flicked my tongue over her clit, her hands buried in my hair until she trembled and cried out, my most feared room had suddenly became my favorite.
Our classes started and after a short adjustment period, Bella and I settled into our simple lives. The house we rented was a small one bedroom but it was light and airy and filled with us. Pictures of Edward, Bella and I were everywhere. We both studied a lot and in our downtime did chores around the house or took walks around the neighborhood. Bella still handled almost all of the cooking, though she had showed me how to cook a few simple things like scrambled eggs and bacon. The toaster, however, sat in the far corner of the counter, untouched by me.
One late spring night, there was a heavy rain falling as Bella and I lay in our bed. I was straddling her, my balls brushing over her flat abdomen with each thrust of my hips into her fist, each one propelling me closer to release. Trembling, I fell forward, flattening my palms against the headboard as I wantonly fucked her hand.
My shaky breath escaped in gasps as I tried to speak. "Please don't stop, baby, feels so fucking good...in your hands like this..."
"You're so beautiful, Jasper," she whispered reverently, her hand never ceasing movement on my cock. "Fucking my hand like this."
I wanted to smile at her bold statement, but she flicked her wrist over the head of my cock and I lost what little concentration I had.
All I could do was feel. Feel her hands on my body, touching me, stroking me...loving me.
"Come here," she said, her hand leaving my cock and moving to my hips, encouraging me to slide up. Confused, I hesitated but her fingers dug into my flesh as she lifted her hips under me to force me forward until I was straddling her chest, my cock bobbing in front of her mouth. "I want to taste you."
I had learned that Bella was quite good at giving head, her skill never failing to bring me to orgasm quickly, but I avoided thinking about where she had developed the talent. Just as her tongue darted out to swirl around the ridge on the head of my cock, I swallowed hard, anticipating her touch. Plump lips readied to take me in, her eyes watching me through her long eyelashes and I reached down and brushed her hair off her sweaty forehead. There was a pleasant ache in my chest, one that had increasingly grown since we had moved into together as a couple. I felt it at the oddest times, like when I woke up the sound of the shower running, or when I called home and heard her voice on the answering machine, or when she was across a room studying and just looked at up me and grinned.
All those moments, the small and the momentous, added up to define us and our lives together. Then my life, our life, flashed before me and my heart skipped.
Her in a black gown at graduation.
Her with a belly swollen with life.
Her with gray hair and sitting on porch.
There was one image missing, one I suddenly wanted to see more than anything in the world.
Her in a wedding dress.
"Marry me, Bella," I whispered down to her just as my cock passed between her parted lips. Her movements halted and she looked up at me with wide eyes.
"Jasper," she began, her voice already shaking, "I know I give good head, but babe, you don't have to marry me to get it," she joked. At first I was hurt by her reaction, then I realized it was a defense mechanism, she returned with a joke because she thought had been joking.
But I had never been more serious in my life.
Nervously, I climbed off her and she scrambled up, pulling the sheet up to cover herself. I dropped to one knee beside the bed and took her hands in mine. Taking a deep breath, I looked up at her and smiled when I saw her flushed cheeks. In the darkness of our bedroom, kneeling naked with an erection, I proposed to her.
"Baby, I don't have a ring to offer you right now, but I do have my love and devotion. That day you walked into the cafeteria, I knew my life had changed, but I had no idea how much until later. I'm nothing without you by my side. I loved you then, I love you now and I will love you always," I took a deep breath. "Bella Swan, will you be my wife?" I asked confidently.
She said all I needed to hear. "Yes."
Throwing her arms around my neck, she pulled me to her and we fell back onto the bed together. My hips began to move against hers, the thin material of the sheet the only barrier between our naked bodies. Pressing her lips to mine, we kissed, our tongues lazily meeting and twisting. Resting on my elbows by her shoulders, I let my lips travel down to her neck and lower to her collarbone, lavishing each before moving the sheet lower, exposing her breasts. Arching her back, she offered herself to me, her hands in my hair, tugging on the waves encouragingly.
"You're so beautiful," I mumbled against the soft skin of her breast. When she giggled, I looked up to see what was so funny, my tongue lapping her nipple as my eyes went to hers.
"You don't have to seduce me, Jasper, I'm kind of a sure thing now that I'm your fiancée," she smiled down at me before spreading her leg and letting me fall between them. Reaching down, I pulled the sheet off her and rocked forward in the cradle of her hips, my cock slipping into her warmth. Releasing a long moan, I rested my head on her breast as my body began to overload on the sensations of her. It happened almost every time we made love, my heart raced and I went lightheaded for those first few seconds of entering her. It was like I still couldn't believe it was really happening.
Regaining control, I began a rhythm as she lifter her hips and wrapped her legs around me, allowing me deeper penetration. Pressing her head back into the mattress, she dug her nails into my back and my mouth returned to her dark nipple, feeling it pebble under my tongue. We continued like that, my pace steadily increasing as my need for release grew, until I knew it wasn't much longer. With my mouth on hers, I reached between us, my fingers quickly finding her clit and I slowed my pace as I began to stroke it fervently. She let out a guttural moan, her hips going against mine, moving rather in time with my fingers. Pushing up with my other hand, I rested my weight on it, leaning to the side a bit as I watched her near her orgasm. One of her hands was buried in the hair at the nape of my neck, her other stretched out beside her, fisting the sheet. Her head thrashed side to side, her cheeks flushed with ecstasy.
"So beautiful," I whispered reverently. Her lips parted as her hips bucked up violently against my hand.
"More," she groaned.
So I gave her more. With what energy I had left, I began to thrust into her franticly, hitting deeper each time, never letting my thumb stop its frenzied rubbing. The second her body tensed, right before she gave into her orgasm, mine hit me. The stirring lasting only seconds before it engulfed me completely, my cock erupting side her, releasing long bursts of cum as my body hovered and convulsed above her. Around my cock, I felt the spasms of her muscles as her own climax gathered inside of her, a tight coil springing free as she emitted strangled cry and forced me down to kiss her. Collapsing on top of her, I caught my breath, a smile plastered on my face as I felt her breasts heave under me.
Just like that we fell asleep, my body half on top of hers, my cheek on her breasts, my cock inside her, her hand in my hair, our bodies sated and satisfied together.
We weren't married right away of course. We both wanted to finished school, but our lives took a more definite turn than before. The proposal made us more official, everything had become us as a couple, not Jasper or Bella but Jasper and Bella.
However, we were still missing an important part of us.
Edward finished out the year in Seattle and made arrangements to move to Houston at the end of June after we had all finished our second year. We hadn't seen him since Christmas except for webcam chats, but we had decided to tell him about the engagement in person when he arrived to stay with us for a few weeks before moving to Houston. He arrived on a Friday, Bella was practically jumping for joy in the doorway while she waited for the sound of the Volvo, bursting through the door when she heard him coming around the corner. I stood in the doorway and watched as she dragged him from the car and threw herself at him, and I laughed when Edward rolled his eyes at me over her shoulder.
We set him up on our couch and showed him around Austin. Later that night, we were sitting on the patio and I served them steak I had cooked on the grill. After dinner, Bella reached for my hand, Edward saw it and stopped chewing.
"The last time you did that, you told me you were moving to Texas," he recalled. Bella glanced at me and grinned. "You have news?" he assumed correctly. She nodded, her hair ponytail bouncing around her shoulders.
"Can I tell him?" she asked me.
"Of course," I smiled.
Edward swallowed nervously.
"Jasper asked me to marry him and I said yes," she spewed out, bouncing in the seat. Shocked, Edward dragged his eyes from her to me for confirmation, which I gave with a nod. Then he was crushing her to him so tight I thought he might leave bruises.
"I'm so happy for you both," he said after he had finally let her go. "When?"
Bella spoke up. "We haven't decided on an exact date, but we're thinking the summer after graduation."
"Congratulations," he smiled and shook his head. "Who would have thought that when I walked into the cafeteria with you that you would end up marrying my best friend?"
"There is something we need to ask you," I said seriously, leaning forward.
"I want you to be my best man," I said, almost quietly, even a bit nervously. Then he smiled, warm and soothing, just as he always been.
"It would be my honor," he replied, and I swear his eyes glistened in the dim light of dusk.
"There's more," Bella spoke up, glancing at me before continuing.
"More?" he asked, overwhelmed with what we had told him already.
"I want you to walk me down the aisle," she asked, but he was already shaking his head.
"No, I can't do that. Charlie should."
"Edward, I love Charlie and he's important to me. But so are you. You're the one that has been there for me since I moved to Forks. You helped me adjust, supported me, held me, and when Jasper was gone…well, I don't know what I would have done without you."
"Bella…I don't know," he sighed, guilt seeping into his tone.
"Think about it?" she asked and he nodded. "Think about this too, I want you to be my maid of honor."
"What?" he laughed and looked at me. Shrugging, I held up my hands.
"You're my best friend," she began, taking his hand in hers. "I want you by my side up there."
"But best man and maid of honor?"
"Yep," she confirmed. "It's only fitting, don't you think?"
"I suppose," he actually began to consider her request. The corner of his lips curled up. "No dress though."
Laughing, she brought his hand to her mouth and kissed it. "No dress," she promised.
The next two years went by faster than I ever could have imagined. Edward moved to Houston and graduated a few weeks before we did. He had worked hard, earning good scores on his MCATS and earning a spot at the University of Texas at Houston Medical School. We had seen him about once a month, either he made the trip to Austin or we went to Houston. We talked almost daily, and webcamed on most weekends. Shortly after he earned his degree, Bella and I found ourselves standing on a stage receiving our own degrees, hers in English, mine in history. Like Edward, we had both worked hard with many late nights of studying or writing. I received my certifications to teach and was going to begin teaching history at a high school in Austin that September. After a few tough interviews, Bella was offered an entry level editing position at a small publishing company.
What had also kept us busy was planning the wedding. After discussing our options and wanting to save money, Bella had suggested that we get married at Charlotte's ranch, as it wasn't too far away, simple, and certainly big enough. After a call to Peter, it was settled.
The date set was July seventeenth.
And it approached faster than any day in history.
We had arrived at the ranch a few days before, Charlotte immediately kidnapping my fiancée for a girl's day out in preparation for the wedding. While they were out, Edward, Peter and I drank quite heavily as we sat at on the porch of the large farmhouse.
I hadn't remembered ever seeing Edward drunk.
He was quite flirty when he was drunk.
I blushed at his comments and winks, but Peter just basked in the attention. Telling Edward he was cute and he'd 'totally do him' if he was gay, but Charlotte would have his ass. We laughed until we cried as we joked about marriage, Peter attempting to alleviate my worries by telling me horrors stories of marriages gone bad.
It didn't work.
Edward sensed my rising fear and held up a hand. "Wait, wait…" he began, before having to think about what he was going to say. "Their marriage will be perfect, because…well, just because," he finished confidently.
Peter raised his bottled and clicked it against Edward's. "Well said, Edward," he smirked. "Jasper never mentioned you were so eloquent," he teased. "So, Mr. Maid of Honor, what color is your dress?"
Edward almost spewed the sip of beer from his mouth. Shaking his head vehemently, he replied, "I'm not wearing a dress."
"But he does look great in red," I winked to Peter.
Not missing a beat, Edward lolled his head toward me. "And you look great in nothing."
"Whoa," Peter chuckled. "You boys need a room? Is Edward going to be your last fling?" he asked me with a grin. Giggling from the effects of the beer, I blushed and nudged Edward's side.
"Whaddya say, Eddie? You, me, getting it on in the hayloft," I wiggled my eyebrows at him and he grinned before standing up, swaying back and forth a bit.
"Let's go, I bet I can make you scream my name," he challenged before laughing so hard at my expression of shock that he had to sit back down. "Seriously though," he began after plopping his ass in the wicker chair. "You and Bella are forever, you did good, Jasper. Made me proud," he said.
"Thanks," I smiled, laying my head on his shoulder and taking a swig of beer. "I'd still do ya," I laughed.
We continued through most of day intoxicated, Bella and Charlotte joining us for swim in the pool when they returned home. As much as tickled her, Bella refused to spill the details on what they had done all day together in the small town. Peter came up behind me, dragging Charlotte behind him.
"I think they went to a strip club," he said. "Although I don't know why they would pay for a show when they can see our fine bodies for free?" he wondered out loud. Charlotte put her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist and smiled at him.
"Aw, sweetheart, we wanted to see some real men," she replied. Peter lifted her off him and promptly tossed her in the pool. It was midnight before we finally got out of the pool and headed inside to bed.
The next day was a blur.
Charlie, the Major and my mother arrived, along with the Cullens, including Alice. She greeted me with a tight hug and I thanked her for coming.
Telling Alice about Bella and I had been difficult at best, but she took the news slightly better than I had expected, claiming she had known all along that something was going on between Bella and I. I am sure she wondered if when she and I were together, if hadn't felt something for Bella and honestly, I would be lying if I said I hadn't. That didn't mean I didn't love Alice, but rather that I knew there was something between Bella and I that was hard to deny. She seemed satisfied with that and wished me, and Bella, all the best.
Edward and I did some last minute arrangements for a surprise for Bella, and then we had a small rehearsal outside near the barn before settling in for the rehearsal dinner, which for Jack and Betty was a small version of their barbeques. They had erected a stage and dance floor, along with several circular tables, all set up under a large, white tent big enough for the reception the next day. At dinner, we sat around a few huge picnic tables, all our fingers sticky from barbeque sauce. I had a hard time keeping my eyes off Bella's lips as her tongue would repeatedly come out to lick the sauce from her lips.
"Betty, no ribs tomorrow, this sauce will get all over my dress," Bella complained with a smile as she wiped her mouth again.
"Only neat to eat foods tomorrow," Betty promised.
After dinner, and several bottles of wine, we all headed in side. Bella was dragged down the hallway by Charlotte, who had insisted Bella not spend the night with me.
"Charlotte, if you're worried about her virtue, it's a moot point by now," I whispered in the darkened hallway, holding Bella's hand tightly desperate to keep her with me. Charlotte eyed us both.
"Fine, you can say good night but then she goes with me," she announced and headed down the hall. When she entered her room, I pressed Bella against the wall, my hands cupping her face as my lips quickly descended onto hers. My lips made soft, languid passes over hers before my tongue traced her bottom lip, begging for entrance. With a small moan, she let me in, her arms around my neck as her hands curled around my hair. Breaking the kiss, I laid my forehead to hers and smiled.
"This time tomorrow you will be Mrs. Whitlock," I sighed happily.
"And you will be Mr. Swan," she countered. We had debated, sometimes heatedly, over her last name- to change it or not, to hyphenate or not. Of course, I wanted her to take my last name in some way, and was willing to compromise with a hyphen, but she wanted to keep her own identity. "Names don't matter, Jasper, the fact that you will be my husband is the only thing I care about," she said.
"And you my wife." The word still sounded for foreign. Sometimes I hardly felt like an adult, much less one responsible enough to get married.
But there we were, on the cusp of starting our lives together.
"Ahem," Charlotte called out from the room. Rolling my eyes, I kissed Bella one more time before letting her off the wall.
"Run away with me," I joked suggestively. "I promise to make an honest woman of ya."
"My Confederate rebel," she sighed. "No, it's better this way, we will both get sleep instead of…well, you know," she finished, a blush painting her cheeks. I laughed at how she didn't blush when I we talked dirty in bed or when she had my cock in her hand, but when we were dressed and sex was mentioned, she always turned a delicate shade of pink.
"You might sleep, but I've got Edward in my room, he will keep me up all night," I smiled.
"At least he doesn't snore," she teased.
"Until tomorrow, baby." I hugged her. "I love you."
"Love you too," she grinned before pulling away and running down the hall and turning into Charlotte's room. Resigned I would be without her, I turned and headed for our room and found Edward laying on the bed on his back in his shorts and no shirt, arms folded behind his head and his bare feet crossed at the ankles. I pulled off my shirt and tossed it on the floor before toeing off my sneakers.
"Took you long enough, lover," he winked at me. "She finally gone? Are you all mine yet?"
I plopped onto the bed on my stomach next to him, lifting myself up on my elbows. "Yeah, she's gone," I sighed sadly. It was the first night since she had moved to Texas that we had spent apart. Studying the bedspread, I traced the design with my fingers and without looking at Edward, I spoke. "Am I doing the right thing?"
"Without a doubt," he replied quickly, turning his head toward me. "Don't doubt your love, Jasper. It's strong, it's lifelong."
"So is marriage," I glanced at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah, it is. Which is why it's a damn good thing you're marrying the woman you love." He rolled onto his side to face me, propping himself up on an elbow. "Are you scared?" he asked seriously.
"No, I know it's the right thing for me. I just hope it's the right thing for her," I reasoned. "Sometimes I just wonder…why is she with me?"
"Because she loves you."
"No one can explain why people are attracted to certain people. I mean why am I attracted to men and not women?" he shrugged. "Jasper, she's been by your side for three years now, she is going to be your wife tomorrow. It doesn't matter why she loves you, it only matters that she does."
Relieved at his words, I turned to my side and mirrored his pose. "Do you think you'll ever get married?"
He let out a heavy sigh. "Honestly? Probably not. There aren't many states where I can, and I just don't see it in the future for me."
"Do you want to?" I asked thoughtfully.
"Maybe? I don't know. I know I love my schoolwork, I love where I'm heading and right now, that's enough in my life." He reached out and ruffled my hair. "Besides, Bella promised me a threesome with you some night," he winked.
Blushing, I looked away.
"Only if you don't steal the blankets when you sleep," I offered.
"Blankets? Oh, Jasper, the things I would do to you don't require sleeping…or blankets."
"Shut the fuck up," I laughed and pushed his shoulder so he fell onto his back. Staying there, he looked at me.
"You know I love you, right?" he asked, any hint of joking and flirting completely absent in his voice. Holding his dark green gaze, I nodded.
"I love you too," I whispered. Even though I knew my words held a different meaning than his, I wanted to say them, let him know how much he meant to me. He had saved me, in so many ways he had saved me, and while he and I would never be what he wanted, he knew he had a piece of my heart forever. There was nothing I wouldn't do for him, and nothing I wouldn't tell him.
"Sleep…" he sighed. "We need sleep. Big day tomorrow." My eyes fluttered closed at his soothing voice. "Jasper?" he asked quietly.
"Keep your hands to yourself tonight," he chuckled.
"I'll try, but I can't take responsibility for when I'm asleep," I promised. He reached over and turned out the light on the table and I think I was asleep before he rolled back over.
"But I don't understand," I heard Bella in the hallway talking with Edward the next morning. "What do you mean I have to meet you at the barn at seven? I'm supposed to be getting married at seven!" There was a bit of panic in her voice.
Edward's returning voice was calm. "Yes, I know, but plans have been altered a bit." She sighed and I could almost see the worried look on her face.
"What have you two been up to?" she asked, her voice a bit lighter. She trusted Edward, she knew he would do nothing to ruin our day.
"The barn at seven," was all he said as he began to walk down the hall and I heard him stop."Oh and Bella? Be wearing a white dress," he reminded her.
Bella and I spent the day apart, which wasn't difficult on the huge ranch. Edward and I helped Peter and Jack unload some hay into the loft and mend a fence on the south side. We rode out there, Edward getting more confident on a horse, and it was good practice for him for later. After the fence was done, I went over the details with Edward and showed him exactly what he needed to do and where everything was. Charlotte and Bella and Betty spent most of the day relaxing and swimming in the pool.
At four, Edward, Peter and I took a quick swim in the pool to cool off after the girls had left and then got something to eat, although I was so nervous I barely ate. I wasn't nervous about marrying Bella-that I was completely certain about- I was nervous about the plans Edward and I had made and if they would go smoothly…and not piss Bella off that we had messed with her wedding day.
I was standing in my room, buttoning up the black shirt when there was a knock on my door.
"Come in," I said, not turning from the full length mirror in front of me. Edward appeared in the reflection behind me, his eyes shining and his hair sticking up in every known direction. "Hey," I smiled, suddenly much less nervous than I had been a few minutes before.
"Hey," he smiled, his eyes roaming over my reflection. "You look very handsome. Going to sweep Bella off her feet."
"Thanks," I returned his smile and turned to him. "You do too. I think these suits were the way to go."
"Me too," he agreed, glancing down at his own linen suit. It was ecru, a few shades lighter than my own, with a slighter darker button down shirt under it. There was no tie, no cummerbund, and the first two buttons of his shirt were undone. My suit was a dark tan, lightweight, with a black shirt under the jacket, also with a few buttons undone. I had attempted to style my hair, but it ended up in long, tamed waves, which I tucked behind my ears. "Are you ready? Peter has everything ready to go, he's been out there for an hour now, calling me every five minutes. I think he's more excited than you." Edward turned toward the door but I put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. Spinning him, I pulled him into a tight hug.
"Thank you," I whispered in his ear. "For everything you've done. I can't thank you enough." I felt him pat my back with one hand.
"No need to thank me, Jasper. I'd do anything for you," he replied, his voice choking up with emotion. We held the embrace for a few long seconds before he released me and pulled away. "Now let's go get you hitched."
"Yes, sir," I grinned and let him lead me out of the room.
It was hot out, the sun hung low in the sky as I hopped on the golf cart with Jack and he drove me out to the hill where I met up with Peter, Charlotte, Betty, my parents and all the guests. Jack had been chauffeuring them out for the better part of an hour. I walked over to my parents and hugged my mother before hugging my father.
"Proud of you, son" he smiled.
"Thanks, Dad," I responded with the little used title.
There was a trellis, garnished with yellow and red roses weaved throughout the panels at the very top of the hill. In front of it were rows of white chairs filled with guests, and a long white strip of fabric in between the two sections. A justice of the peace stood by the trellis and shook my hand when I arrived. Taking a deep breath, I took my spot under the archway, Peter right behind me in his linen suit that matched Edward's. Across from me was Charlotte in a beautiful, lightweight, lavender sundress with her twisted up on her head. In her hand was a small bouquet of the same flowers that were on the trellis. There was no music, the only sounds were that of nature and the guests as they whispered and chatted with each other. My heartbeat was steady as I waited for my Bella.
I heard the horse snort and looked up to see the horse's head crest the top of hill, and then a second later, I saw Edward with Bella behind him. The guests all stood and turned to watch their entrance. The horse was white, his reins laced with flowers, his back covered with a white satin blanket to keep Edward and Bella clean. Bella sat behind Edward, her arms wrapped around him for support as he urged the horse up the hill and stopped behind the chairs. Peter walked over and reached up for Bella, and she slid down into his arms, thanking him with a quick kiss to his cheek. Then Edward slipped off and Jack came over to hold the horse. After straightening his suit, Edward held his arm out for Bella, who took it with a grin and together, my best friend and my soon-to-be wife walked down the aisle toward me.
There had never been a more breathtaking sight then Bella right at that moment. With barely any make up on, she smiled at me, her eyes glistening with tears that sat in their corners. Her long, wavy hair flowed over her bare shoulders with a few small pieces pulled back, tiny white flowers were braided in them and tied at the back with more of the same flowers in a train down the back of her head. Her off-the-shoulders white dress was embroidered with pearls leading to an off-white bow tied softly around her waist. The bottom half was a loose satin covered with a layer of sheer gauze that barely brushed the top of her feet. It was so Bella to refuse heels for fear of tripping, instead she had on ballet flats. In her hands was a small bouquet, not much bigger than Charlotte's, of red and yellow roses with the same white flowers from her hair mixed in.
As she walked toward me the past years of our relationship all flashed before my eyes- from the moment I saw her in the cafeteria, to our first kiss, to moving to Seattle together, to being reunited, to making love on that very hill for the first time, to proposing, graduating…it all mixed and melded together to make up the collage of our lives, only a large part was left blank. That part would be filled in by our future together, long and happy and forever.
Proudly, Edward led her to me, where he kissed her cheek before holding out her hand to me.
"She's all yours," he winked to me before moving off to the side to stand behind me next to Peter. I gripped her hand for dear life and smiled down at her.
"You look beautiful," I whispered.
"So do you," she smiled, giving her flowers to Charlotte before we both turned to face the justice of the peace. He began to address everyone.
"Through marriage, Jasper and Isabella make a commitment together to face their disappointments, embrace their dreams, realize their hopes, and accept each other's failures. Jasper and Isabella will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together through mutual understanding, openness, and sensitivity to each other. By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for Jasper and Isabella from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. These moments are so meaningful to all of us, for what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together, to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness. This relationship stands for love, loyalty, honesty and trust, but most of all for friendship. Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny. Do not think that you can direct the course of love – for love, if it finds you worthy, shall direct you."
Before him we stood, our hands clasped tightly while we listened to him and glanced at each other.
"Our couple has prepared their own vows," he announced to everyone. "Jasper?"
Turning to her, I held both her hands in mine. "My Bella, where do I begin? You have changed my life in so many ways. You have given me courage, support, happiness and most of all, love. The day you walked into the cafeteria, my life was irrevocably changed. When I was lost, you showed me the way. Whatever I become is better because of you by my side. My love, my endless love, is yours for the rest of my days and beyond. I love you with everything that I am, forever I am yours."
She reached up with a smile and wiped the tear that had rolled down my cheek. When I saw a few of her own fall from her eyes, I wiped them with the pad of my thumb, then left my hand there to cup her face as she looked up at me and spoke.
"My Jasper, I knew the first time I saw you and my heart raced that I would forever be yours. I tried to deny it, the pull I felt for you, but the more we were together, the stronger it became. We were slaves to our attraction and I've never regretted it. We have been together as friends for years, but my life wasn't complete until we were together as lovers." I smiled at the blush on her cheeks as she said the word lovers. "I have always been in love with Jasper the man, but Texas is where I fell in love Jasper the boy. With you by my side, I can see clearly, my world not obscured by your absence. My love, and my body, are yours eternally. With all that I am, I am your Bella."
Taking her hand back in mine, we turned to the justice of the peace again.
"Do you Jasper take Isabella to be your wife to live together in matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?"
"I will," I smiled down at her.
"Do you Isabella take Jasper to be your husband to live together in matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?"
"I will," she said confidently.
"What token of your love do you offer?"
Edward leaned over and handed both gold bands to the justice of the peace.
"These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go, may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women aspire. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place that many will find a friend. May these rings on their fingers symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts."
He then handed me Bella's ring. I took her left hand, and poised the band at the tip of her ring finger, sliding it on as I began to speak.
"Bella, you are now bound to me as my wife from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed," I promised.
The justice of the peace handed Bella my ring and then she took my left hand into hers, pushing the thick gold band down my finger.
"Jasper, you are now bound to me as my husband from this day forward and I give you this ring as the pledge of my love and as the symbol of our unity and with this ring, I thee wed," she vowed.
"May you always share with each other the gifts of love, be one in heart and in mind, may you always create a home together that puts in your hearts, love, generosity and kindness. In as much as Jasper and Isabella have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family and have pledged their faith and declared their unity by giving and receiving a ring are now joined. You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife but remember to always be each other's best friend."
I stared at Bella as he spoke, my heart racing as he neared the words I had longed to hear. And there, on a summer Texas evening, as the sun set over the horizon, the last rays giving the gift of light and warmth, we were wed.
"And so, by the power vested in me by the State of Texas, I now pronounce you husband and wife, and may your days be good and long upon the earth. You may now kiss the bride."
Taking her beautiful face in my hands, I leaned down and pressed my lips to hers, the cheers from our guests loud and happy. Smiling into the kiss, I pulled back and rested my forehead to hers.
"Mrs. Whitlock, this very spot where we were just wed is where we made love for the first time," I whispered for her ears only. Blushing, she glanced around us quickly.
"Think we can do it again, husband?" she asked shyly.
"I'm game if you are, wife," I laughed. Pulling away, I took her hand in mine and we walked down the aisle together between our friends and family, for the first time as husband and wife. I took the reins from Jack and he helped Bella up. Once she was settled, I swung up behind her and wrapped my arms around her. Turning her head, she captured my lips with hers and the cheers grew louder.
"See ya'll back at the ranch," I waved as I turned the horse and at a slow canter, Bella and I rode off into the sunset.
I slowed the horse to a walk and put my chin on Bella's bare shoulder. "Was it okay?" I asked, hoping she would understand. The plan had been to get married at the ranch, but when I had told Edward about the hill, what it meant to me, and my desire to marry her there, he encouraged me to change it and surprise Bella. And with Peter's help, we were able to pull it off.
"It was wonderful," she sighed. "I admit I was a bit surprised when Edward met me at the barn, of course I was panicking because there were all these cars around but no guests, no nothing. I can't believe you were able to it."
"Well, Edward and Peter helped a lot. They were out there very early this morning getting everything set up. Peter took care of getting the horse ready. I just wanted it to be special."
She turned her face to mine and lightly kissed me. "I couldn't have dreamed of anything more perfect, Jasper. Thank you."
"I can't believe we're married," I giggled. "What were we thinking?"
"I have no fucking idea," she agreed, laughing. She laid her head on my shoulder, occasionally turning it to steal a kiss from me as the horse ambled through the field and back toward the barn.
Back at the ranch, I slid off and then helped Bella down. Jack was already back, as were all the guests, and he grabbed the horse from me.
"You go, I will take care of Willow," he said.
"Thanks," I said and taking Bella's hands, we walked through the barn and around the corner. Guests were mingling everywhere; the were grills going, food already set out on buffet tables, drinks were being liberally poured, and beers were in the hands of almost all the men. When we were spotted, everyone clapped and congratulated us. After Bella and I posed alone under a giant oak tree for some wedding portraits, we gathered our parents, Peter, Charlotte, and Edward and took some more. Then we asked for some of just Edward, Bella and me. The photographer was patient as the three of us laughed and joked our way through the pictures. In the end, Bella stood between us, our arms around her shoulders, hers around our backs, all of us grinning.
It would be a picture that sat on our mantel, next to our prom picture, for years.
The music began and Bella and I worked our way around the groups of people, greeting and thanking them. We came to the Cullen's, Esme stood and hugged us both, wiping tears from her eyes. Dr. C shook my hand.
"You make a beautiful bride," he said to Bella with a kiss to her cheek. Alice gave us both a hug, and whispered congratulations in my ear before releasing me. She seemed more comfortable around us than she had been before; her boyfriend shook my hand and congratulated us both as well.
When it was time to eat, we all went through a buffet line and gathered what we wanted before finding seats. Sitting at the main table, Edward and Peter to my right, Bella and Charlotte to my left, we ate and laughed. When I looked over at Edward, I saw him staring intently at someone. Following his gaze, I found what had caught his attention. A guy our age sat at a table with Jack and Betty. He was smiling and laughing, his black hair was long, but shorter than mine, and hung in loose waves around his face. Dark, almost midnight blue, eyes were bright and intelligent as he replied to something Jack had said. A tan cowboy hat sat on the table next to him, and he was dressed in a gray suit with a white shirt and no tie.
"See something you like?" I asked Edward. He blushed at being caught, while it wasn't the first time I had caught him admiring a man, I usually didn't call him out on it.
"Maybe," he admitted, regretfully tearing his eyes from the man and back to his food.
"Want me to introduce you?"
He looked up at me. "You know him?"
"Sure do, grew up with him. It's Peter's best friend."
"Riley," Edward recalled from the night he had come out to Peter. Whenever Edward had visited Peter Riley had always been away at school. Swallowing hard, he glanced up at Riley.
"Edward, it's okay. It's just an introduction, it not marriage," I joked.
"Yeah, introduce me," he said with conviction. Just then Betty went up to the stage and announced the band, the same one that performed at my birthday barbeque, and then invited Bella and me up to the dance floor for our first dance. Standing, I held out my hand to Bella.
"Dance with me, wife?"
"Always," she replied. Standing up, she gathered her gown in one hand and let me lead her to the center of the floor. There, I turned and wrapped my arms around her waist and hers went around my neck, her fingers burying themselves into my hair. My thumbs stroked her through the silky material of her dress as we began to sway back and forth. The band began to play and as soon as Bella heard the first few notes, she tossed her head back and laughed. Stepping up to the microphone, the singer began.
"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It's gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day. I think I can make it now, the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is the rainbow I've been prayin' for."
Bella looked up at me, and I fell in love with her all over again. Each time she blessed me with a smile, a glance, or a laugh, I fell harder than the day before, my love and adoration for her knowing no limits.
"Did you choose this?" she asked with raised eyebrow.
"Maybe," I said, stealing Edward's answer from earlier. "I thought it was appropriate."
"Absolutely," she agreed. Standing on her toes, she pulled me down to her, her lips meeting mine in a long, languid kiss. As my tongue habitually asked for entrance, she pulled away and put her forehead to mine. "I'm so incredibly happy right now I could burst."
"I know, me too."
"I love you, Jasper."
"I love you too, Bella."
The song ended and we found ourselves pressed tightly together, and in our own world, having completely forgotten there were dozens of eyes watching us. Betty reappeared on the stage and invited Charlie and my mother to the floor.
Unwillingly, I released Bella to Charlie and turned to take my mother into my arms. The band began to sing "What a Wonderful World" as my mother and I waltzed around the dance floor, just like she had taught me our kitchen at the Base so many years ago.
"You're a wonderful dancer," she complimented as I lead us around.
"Thank you, ma'am," I smiled, tipping my head. She glanced over at Bella in Charlie's arms, tears shining on Bella's cheeks as she looked up proudly at her father.
"You did good, Jasper. I'm so proud of you. We both are."
"Thanks," I smiled, trying not to let my eyes remain on Bella for too long.
"Not sure I've ever seen two people more in love."
"She's everything to me," I sighed. The song ended and the band began a faster song. I hugged my mother before letting her go and turning to Bella. Charlie kissed her cheek and then she spun to face me.
"Well, fancy meeting you here, a handsome," she smiled and then looked around warily. "Don't tell my husband though, he's the jealous type." I laughed and leaned down to kiss her.
"Your secret it safe with me, ma'am,"
Just as I went to take her in my arms, I saw Edward sitting alone the table sipping his beer and I bit my lip. "Bella, I have to go to do something, I'll be right back," I said with a kiss to her cheek and was gone before she could protest. Scanning the small crowd, I found Riley standing next to Peter, laughing at something he had said. Walking over, I stood next to Peter and waited for him to finish before pointedly looking at Riley.
"Hey," he said to me, a bit suspicious.
"Hey, Riley. Um…" I glanced behind me. "There's someone I want you to meet."
"Sure," he shrugged. "Excuse me, ma'am," he nodded to Charlotte and then followed me to the main table where Edward sat alone. With dark, almost anxious eyes, he watched us approach, and I laughed when he took a long sip of his liquid courage.
"Riley, his is Edward Cullen, my best friend. Edward, this is Riley Biers, Peter's friend." Edward stood and put out his right hand. Taking it, Riley shook it, his eyes never leaving Edward's face.
"Nice to meet you, Edward," he said in a heavy drawl, giving Edward a flirty crooked smile. "I've heard a lot about you. Med school, right?"
"Yes, in the fall," Edward replied, his voice not betraying the nervousness I know he felt.
"I just graduated from Texas A&M with an English degree. Still looking for a job though," Riley explained with a roll of his eyes. I glanced at Edward, silently asking if he was alright and he gave me a nod. With one last look at my best friend, I walked off.
When I returned to Bella, she raised an eyebrow at me. She had, of course, watched me the entire time.
"What?" I asked innocently, taking her in my arms again. It had only been minutes, but it still had been too long since I had felt her close to me. She tilted her head and glanced around me to Edward and Riley, now engaged in a conversation as they stood close to each other.
"Are you playing matchmaker?"
"Umm, maybe. I saw Edward admiring Riley earlier, so I offered to introduce them."I glanced over my shoulder and saw Riley put a hand on Edward's arm as he laughed. "Now, I'm just letting chemistry take over."
I nodded. "I swear I felt sparks when I was standing with them. They both definitely liked what they saw."
We danced for a few more songs, sometimes in a tight embrace, other times we two-stepped our way around the floor. We were dancing with Edward, Peter and Riley when Edward suddenly left, grabbed a glass of champagne and went on stage. When he stepped up the microphone, everyone stilled and watched him.
Looking down at Bella and me, he smiled. "As the best man, and the maid of honor," he laughed, "I'd like to say a few words. I've known Jasper since I was fifteen and Bella only a year less. I knew from the moment they laid eyes on each other that I was watching a love story unfold, one of a slow seduction that took years to develop and nurture from friendship to lovers. Witnessing it all has been a blessing, although perhaps frustrating at times," he rolled his eyes and everyone laughed. "But through it all, they prevailed, their love endured and I got to see my two best friends begin a life together. Jasper, you will always be my best friend and you are one lucky man. Not only did you find the love of your life, but you found someone that loves you back with as much passion and desire as you. Bella, you are so beautiful and sweet and wonderful, and I know you will take care of Jasper for me. Keep him out of the kitchen," he laughed, as did everyone at my expense. "Seriously, I love you both, congratulations and may you have a long life of love and friendship together." He raised his glass in a toast and everyone did the same.
Looking up at Edward, I mouthed 'thank you' before leaning down and kissing Bella on her damp cheek.
"I wanted to give you something special for you gift, and well…this is what I came up with," he announced before turning and walking to the keyboard. After talking with a band member for a minute, he sat down and pulled the microphone closer. "I composed this for you both."
With grace, his hands began to move over the keys, seducing everyone as the notes flowed around us. The music was an upbeat cadence, light and carefree. Enthralled, we watched, my arm around Bella. I glanced around and found everyone entranced with his talent, including Riley. His eyes were wide and I saw him lick his lips as he stared at my best friend.
When Edward was done, the place erupted in cheers, Peter hooting and hollering louder than anyone. Edward stood up and took a small bow before practically running off the stage. Bella ripped herself from me and went to Edward, almost jumping into his arms. He put her down and gave me a hug as well.
"Thanks, it was beautiful," I murmured to him before I let him go. Riley was by his side when we parted.
"Edward that was…amazing. You're very talented," he said with a hint of awe. "I don't know if I told you that my minor in college was music?"
Edward shook his head, grinning. "No, you didn't. Do you play?"
"Since I was eight, but I can't compose anything like what you just did." Bella grabbed my hand and dragged me away from them.
"What?" I said frowning down at her.
"Let them have some privacy, get to know each other," she said in a hushed tone.
"Oh, so now it's okay that I played matchmaker?"
"Well…yeah. They seem to be getting alone quite well." She said leading me to the edge of the dance floor where she took me in her arms again. The band had returned and began to play. Night had long since fallen, but the tent was lit up with lights strung around the top and sides. Romance wasn't in the air for just Bella and I because when I looked up from her eyes, I saw Edward with his arms around Riley's neck while Riley's hands rested loosely on Edward's waist as they danced slowly. Staring at each other as they talked quietly, they were not pressed together, but they were close. They made a striking couple.
I had never seen Edward with another man before and while I felt satisfied, admittedly I also felt a pang of envy. I had always been number one in Edward's life and at that moment I realized that someday, maybe sooner than I expected, I would not be number one anymore.
When Betty approached, I released Bella and followed Betty to the stage. Up there, I got my guitar, which had been resting by the amp, and put it on. At the microphone, I smiled as Bella stared up at me with wide eyes. Riley and Edward stopped dancing and had turned to face me, along with all of the other guests.
I looked down at my beautiful bride. "Bella, coming up with a gift was not easy, and I still don't know what to get you, so until I figure it out, I give you this." I began to play, my eyes never leaving hers as I started to sing.
"The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath.
And emeralds from mountains thrust toward the sky
Never revealing their depth.
Tell me that we belong together,
Dress it up with the trappings of love.
I'll be captivated,
I'll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.
I'll be your crying shoulder,
I'll be love's suicide
I'll be better when I'm older,
I'll be the greatest fan of your life.
And rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed.
You're my survival, you're my living proof.
My love is alive - not dead.
Tell me that we belong together.
Dress it up with the trappings of love.
I'll be captivated,
I'll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above
And I've dropped out, I've burned up, I've fought my way back from the dead.
I've tuned in, turned on, remembered the things that you said."
The last word had barely left my lips and she was running up on the stage, and I barely got the guitar off before she was throwing herself at me, her arms tied around my neck as she pulled me into a deep kiss. Gasping, I pulled away and whispered in her ear.
"Love you, baby."
The night continued with dancing, cake eating, and lots of laughing until the guests started to leave and it was eventually down to the families, Edward, Riley, Peter, Charlotte and us. For hours we sat around the big table, telling stories, teasing and laughing. Betty and Jack shared stories of Peter and Charlotte dating, and the Major and Riley shared a few Jasper and Peter stories. I noticed Riley had sat next to Edward and they looked comfortable with each other. Edward blushed when Riley reached up and wiped some frosting from the corner of Edward's lips. Bella laid her head on my shoulder and yawned.
"Ready to call it a night," I asked, my fingers brushing her cheek and she nodded. Standing, I took her hand. "We're going to head inside everyone. Thank you Jack and Betty for the beautiful wedding, it was perfect. We'll see you all in the morning."
Everyone stood and gave us hugs and kisses. When Edward hugged me, I whispered in his ear, "Go get him. Have fun," I winked, glancing at Riley. Edward rolled his eyes and then sat back down.
"Try to keep it down tonight, eh?" Peter requested.
"I think we're too tired anyway," Bella replied and I pouted at her.
Taking Bella's hand, we walked toward the house.
Inside, we undressed and crawled into bed. Exhausted, I opened my arms and she nestled into them, her nose pressed against my chest, her breath washing over my bare skin.
"Today was perfect," she yawned.
Returning her yawn, I nodded. "Would be more perfect if I had the energy to have sex."
She laughed, her body shaking next to me, stirring my cock awake. "There's always morning sex," she suggested, leaning back a bit to look up at me.
"And that is why I love you," I said, kissing the tip of her nose, "wife."
"I love you too, husband."
Seconds later, we were both soundly asleep.
Rolling over in my arms, she opened her eyes and smiled at me.
"How long have you been awake?" she asked.
Shrugging, I ran a hand through her tangled hair. "Awhile."
"Watching you sleep and thinking about how fucking lucky I am," I admitted.
"Mmm, you are lucky, aren't you?" she agreed. I took her left hand in mine and lifted it to my lips.
"I still can't believe you're mine." I sighed happily, kissing the gold band on her finger.
"Yep, for the past six months…and forever after." She pulled her hand away to brush my hair off my face. "Breakfast? We've got a big day today."
I nodded and we got out of bed and headed for the shower, which would have been quicker if she hadn't looked so fucking sexy all lathered up, but I couldn't resist lifting her up and wrapping her legs around my waist while I held her against the tile and thrust into her until we both came in a rhythm of grunts and moans.
After finally getting dressed, we got into the truck and headed out.
"I can't believe we're doing this," Bella said, shaking her head.
"Me either," I replied as we pulled into the small parking lot in front of the nondescript brick building. "Ready?" I asked her as I turned the truck off and opened my door.
"Yep, let's do it," she said, taking my hand and walking by my side into the building.
Later that night, we were in the kitchen cooking dinner, the counter was covered with pots, spices, a cutting board. Safely, off to the side was a picture of Edward, Bella and I taken at the wedding. We had music onand we were bumping hips and twirling when the phone rang. I saw it was Edward and put him on speakerphone.
"So, tell me, how did it go?" Edward asked without even a hello.
"We're great, thank you very much, how are you?" I retorted. The pain in my shoulder from Bella's whack wouldn't last long.
"He's just excited," Bella defended him to me.
"Yeah, Jasper," he said to me in a mocking tone. "I'm just excited." As if he could see me, I rolled my eyes. "Don't roll your eyes at me," he laughed.
He never ceased to amaze me.
"It went perfectly," she replied to his original question excitedly. "We are now the proud owners a new two story house on five acres of land with a small barn!"
"Congratulations!" Edward cheered. I went to move a pot from one of the burners, but the handle was hot and I burned my hand.
"Shit!" I cried out. Bella grabbed my hand and let me over the sink, where she turned on the cold water faucet and put my hand under it.
"What's wrong?" Edward asked.
"Oh, I just fucking burnt my finger," I sighed. "Some things never change," I growled to myself.
"Bella, you let him in the kitchen?" he sighed. "Did you not learn anything by living with him in college?"
She laughed loudly as I frowned at the phone. "Yes…well he is only allowed in here under strict supervision, "she informed Edward before kissing my burnt fingers.
"Bella, why'd you tell him that, that was between us," I scolded her. We had had an agreement that I was only allowed in the kitchen to cook when she was home. The grill, however, was my territory.
Edward chuckled. "Not exactly a secret, Jas…you and the kitchen have never been a good combination. Oh, I have some news too."
"Yes?" Bella and I prompted.
"I'm spending the weekend in Galveston with Riley. We're heading out tomorrow after my classes and coming back late Monday."
"That's awesome, Edward," I smiled. They had begun seeing each other shortly after our wedding, Riley had made a few trips to Houston to visit Edward for a day here and there, Edward had headed to Abilene to see Riley. After they had spent their first night together, Edward had called me, gushing about how wonderful it had been, but sparing me the details. I had never heard him happier. There was a joy, a spark, to his voice I hadn't ever heard and it made my heart swell for him. He deserved so much, and I hoped that he could find what I had. While Bella and I continued to cook dinner, he began to give details on their last date and what they had planned in Galveston. Bella even offered a few places to visit that I had taken her to when we had stayed there.
I leaned in and kissed her cheek as she stirred the rice. She smiled at me and then reached behind me and pinched my ass and I yelped.
"Stop that," Edward warned. "Not while I'm on the phone please."
We all laughed.
That was how it always would be together. No matter the miles between us, or who was in our lives, we would never change.
We would always been the same.
We were just Edward, Bella and Jasper.
But always…safe and sound.
Thanks for reading~
God i hope that was okay~! *bites nails*
Pictures of Bella's dress and Jasper's suit in my profile.
Chapter title translates to "What Comes After". Well, there is it, I hope it was worth the wait, the angst, and the long chapters. I do have a few outtakes planned (one e/b/j and one e/riley and perhaps a few more), so keep the story on alert if either of those interest you. Also, I've got at least one j/b one shot planned, so stick me on author alert for that if you'd like (and the non slash readers just ignore those pesky slash fics that I write!)
Thank you to everyone that read, reviewed, supported and recommended this story, seriously.. we hit nearly 1k... amazing. I truly appreciate each and every one of you. I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I have. I admit, I teared up when I wrote Edward's toast. *sniff* Perfectward…i didn't want it to end.