"For The Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest
Title: The Cop and the Addict
Pen Name: tuesdaymidnight
Existing Work: Just a couple one-shots
Primary Players: Jasper and Charlie
Disclaimer: I own nothing having to do with Twilight... other than a minor Jasper obsession and fondness for Billy Burke's cop 'stache.
To see other entries in the "For the Love of Jasper" contest, please visit the C2:
A/N: The contest rules teased me with the possibility of a Jasper/Charlie pairing, so of course I had to try. This story is rated M for both implied drug use and sex.
Drug addiction and its causes are serious issues; my aim through Jasper's story is to provide a glimpse at hope.
"Get out! Just get out!" he screamed at me.
"Babe, it's not what you think. If you'd just let me—
"Don't 'babe' me. I don't want to hear it. You promised me that you were clean, Jasper. You looked me square in the eye and you lied to me. I'm not going down this road again."
"It was just a slip up. I swear. Work was—
"Excuses, excuses," Tyler spat out at me, pinching the bridge of his nose, unable to look into my lying eyes any longer. "This isn't going to work. I care for you. Shit. You know I do. But I can't fix you. I can't help you if you don't help yourself. I've tried everything I can think of. I just- I just- can't. I'm done."
I could see his lower lip start to quiver and the red begin to rim around his eyes. That was the last thing I saw before he slammed the door in my face, ripping free the last string that was holding my heart in place.
I stumbled down his front stairs, as strangled sobs that started from somewhere deep in my gut escaped my lips. Somehow I managed to get into my Tahoe and pull out of his driveway. I don't remember driving. It was like I was stuck in a K-hole, except the usual disconnected bliss was replaced with stifling pain. I wanted to be angry at Tyler. I wanted to fight for him, be deserving of his love. But the truth of the matter was that I wasn't.
I knew I was complete screw up.
It was bound to happen. I was mixing martinis for my mother at age 10 - extra dry, two olives. I did my first line with my father. In his office. On the glass of a picture frame that contained a picture of me and my sister Rose on a ski trip when we were kids. I wasn't trying to make excuses. But I couldn't help that I was the product of my environment. In my family we showed our affection for one another with bottles of single malt scotch and pharmaceutical cocktails of Adderall and Xanax. We put on plastic smiles and used chemicals for avoidance, to run away from the lies and all the pain. I got through four years of college in a Ritalin and coke induced blur. Until I became a speed ball artist, eventually replacing the mixture with 100% skid. I did a stint at rehab; it was mandatory before I started working as a junior executive at Whitco, the family-run investment firm, and it gave me a chance to sober up for the first time in god knows how long.
And I really had been doing better. I was getting along at work. I started dating Tyler, my former secretary. My own father picked him out for me. My being gay was never an issue for my family. Oddly enough, I think somehow in my dad's twisted mind it gave him some kind of leverage to use against all of his conservative businessmen friends - all terrified of their bigotry being exposed, causing them to lose face with the public.
I thought that living in the small town of Forks, where the central offices of Whitco were located, would help. But you would be surprised at how far the web of narcotics reaches. I could probably score dope from a hermit living on top of a glacier on Mt. Rainer.
I certainly wasn't using all the time anymore. The one thing I'll give rehab was that my body felt a whole lot better when I ate regular meals and exercised. But I had some slip ups now and then. I just didn't like how sobriety felt. Plain and simple. It was hard for me to understand how people could deal with feeling so... raw. Being with Tyler had helped, but I was a burden on him. I was broken. And the guilt of knowing how much I hurt him, of the evil I was capable of, only drove me further toward the bliss of escape.
And now he was gone.
I couldn't deal with this. Every time I blinked, I could see Tyler's face twisting into sobs.
Did everyone feel things so strongly?
Surely not. They couldn't. Or we'd all be strung out.
I could feel the hole starting in the pit of my stomach get bigger and bigger. My chest tightened. And I tensed for the onslaught of pain that was going to strike me. The memories. The lying. The lacking. The needing. The disappointment. The failure. Always the failure, gnawing at me, taunting me. Never enough. Never good enough. Worth nothing. Nothing.
And the familiar darkness swallowed me once again.
I remember fumbling in the glove box and finding my emergency bag...
I remember pulling over....
I remember tightening the makeshift tourniquet...
I remember heating the spoon...
I remember finding my vein...
And the next thing I remember is waking up in a jail cell. There's nothing like the smell of prison. If you've never been there it's hard to describe. There's a starkness to it, a sterility, but it's more than that. It's like a mix of generic cleaning supplies, bodily fluids, guilt and shame.
This wasn't the first time I woke up here.
Before I knew it I was being dragged into a tiny room, my hands cuffed behind my back. And then I was shoved down into a plastic chair, facing one J. Jenks - the Whitlock family's personal attorney. He spent every holiday at our house.
No wonder I was so fucked up.
"They didn't find anything on you, other than the paraphernalia. So they've got you on a misdemeanor. Well, two misdemeanors since technically you were loitering on state property. But because of your priors, they may try to bump it up to a felony. Don't worry, kid. I'm hammering out a plea deal right now."
I only nodded. Jenks was the master at this. He was a shyster, played the game like no other. I suspected that he only got into law so he could find ways to break it. Hell, he's the one who set me up with my dealer here in the first place.
* * *
Apparently Jenks had met his match with Judge Aro. Instead of a fine that would be nothing but a drop in the proverbial bucket that was the Whitlock family fortune, he was only able keep me out of the pokey if I agreed to a probation consisting of weekly drug tests and six months of drug counseling.
I cut back my hours at work.
And now here I sat.
In a dingy, cinder block-walled room in a fucking Community Center, in a metal folding chair, in a circle with seven other drugs addicts and one former Boy Scout turned police officer turned drug counselor.
Mr. Charles fucking Swan.
He asked us to call him Charlie.
He was wearing a fucking Mariners jersey, faded blue jeans and beat-up Nikes.
And apparently the first step on the road to recovery was to introduce ourselves to the group.
I wasn't paying attention to anyone else. I just knew it was my turn to talk when eight pairs of pseudo-sympathetic eyes were on me.
"Well Chuck, I'm not sure what you want me to say here. Hi, my name is Jasper. The alcohol content of my mother's breast milk was at least 0.08. And I've been known to shoot up smack and go through 8-balls like they're candy."
He nodded. He just fucking nodded.
"Thank you, Jasper."
And then he moved on to the lost soul to my left.
* * *
After my dismal review from the group sessions, the judge added one-on-one counseling sessions to my punishment.
The center had a list of counselors, but I told them I was fine with Charlie. My new goal in life was to crack his calm demeanor, shake his upper middle class, law-abiding, former cop, infinitely patient façade.
I walked into the little office he had at the Community Center, and immediately I noticed that something was different. It took me a moment until I realized that he wasn't wearing jeans and a shirt that related in some obvious way to a Seattle-based professional sports team. His back was to me as he was replacing some books on his packed-to-the-gills bookshelf. Slim dark gray pin-striped slacks curved over his ass and fit closely to his legs, a crisp white shirt was tucked into his belted waistband, and as he turned around I noticed the top two buttons were left undone, as if to solidify his maddeningly cool demeanor.
He looked, well, he looked hot.
It almost made me forget that I was set on despising him.
"Looking sharp, Chuck."
"I do more at this place than babysit you twice a week," he responded not missing a beat.
I slouched down on the vinyl couch across from his desk.
"Why are you so fucking calm all the time?"
"Why do you always have your finger on the trigger?"
"Don't do that responding to my questions with questions psychiatrist bullshit. Not you."
Not you? Jeez, where the hell did that come from?
"I'll keep your suggestion in mind. But I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm a substance abuse counselor."
"So, why the Mother Teresa act?"
"It's not an act Jasper, I want to help people like us."
"Like us? What the fuck do you know about me?"
"Ever wonder why a police officer in perfect health and, if I do say so myself, peak physical condition would get a medical discharge from the force?"
"I hadn't thought about it."
"I'm not surprised."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're a smart guy, Jasper. What do you think it means?"
"Stop fucking doing that! You fucking asshole!"
I was a second away from exploding until my eyes met his. He smirked. And then I realized what he was doing.
"Not so fast you little control freak," I said. "Your voodoo isn't gonna work on me. We're talking about you here. I asked you first."
He didn't say anything.
I was about to protest when I realized that he was rolling up his sleeves.
At first I didn't understand what he was doing, but then he turned slightly and the light caught the tell-tale signs of a junkie. The underside of his right arm was peppered with raised whitish needle scars. His left arm was worse.
I exhaled loudly.
"Jesus, man. And I thought I had it bad."
"They're better than fresh track marks," he said softly.
"You were an addict? How can that be? Are you lying about being a cop?"
"No, I was definitely a cop. Worked the narcotics division in Seattle. The evidence room was like one-stop shopping for a schmecker."
"You stole evidence from drug hauls?"
To say I was shocked would be a gross understatement.
"I never said I wasn't a dirty cop."
"So then why are you not in prison right now!?"
"Well, one, it's hard to get a police officer thrown in prison. Two, I voluntarily went to rehab. Clean for six years now, thank you very much. And three, I threatened to sue their asses for discrimination if they didn't discharge me without incident."
Charlie Swan looked as white bread as I did.
"You? You're- you're gay?"
"Is that going to be a problem?"
His body tensed. I could see him shifting into a defensive position, and for the first time I sensed a little fire in his voice. And unfortunately it was the one and only piece of bait that I couldn't take.
"No man," my voice softened. "Card-carrying member myself."
"Ah, sorry, they never taught me the secret handshake."
"I could never get the hang of it myself, it involves lip-syncing to Cher."
He threw back his head and laughed. His deep laugh resonated through the room, and for some reason I could feel my body start to relax, as if subconsciously resigning itself to the fact that this man had the power to change me.
His laughter seemed to break the ice, because after that he let me take the lead, and I got him to tell me some minimal information about himself and his addiction. I turned it into a game of 20 questions. He was only in his early 30s, not that much older than I. He started using in high school, and admitted that his story was cliché. He was abused as a child, harassed for being gay as a teen, and used drugs as a coping mechanism. He dropped out of college, but somehow stayed clean enough to make it through the Seattle Police Academy, serving for almost five years before he got caught.
"So, why counseling?" My eyes narrowed. "Is this part of your deal with the force?"
"Oh no, not at all. I'm an addict, Jasper. I'll always be an addict. I'll always carry some of the pain and emptiness that lead me there in the first place. But something changed in me when I was in rehab. I learned that there were other ways to channel that pain. And one of those channels was helping other people who were going through the same things I did. That's why after I got clean, I finished college, got my master's in social work and got certified as a drug counselor. No one likes to feel alone, and I realized that drugs weren't the only thing that could fill the void. It sounds so obvious now. Trite even. But it's a truth that all of us have to realize and internalize at some point or we'll never stop getting back on the horse."
It was the most words I had ever heard the man string together without pause. In fact, I wasn't sure I heard him say that many words over the course of an entire group session.
I walked out of his office feeling both lighter and severely pissed off. I wasn't supposed to relate to any of this. I wasn't supposed to like the guy. I wasn't supposed to break his easy demeanor by getting him to laugh at my jokes.
But he wasn't at all how I thought he would be. He was so candid, spoke so matter-of-factly as he revealed the stunning admissions of his own addiction.
Even I could acknowledge that I had kind of been a judgmental prick, couldn't I?
* * *
I could feel myself becoming less of an asshole in group sessions. It wasn't because I thought they were helping or that I gave a shit about the other addicts and misfits who were shoved into the circle of folding chairs. I did it for him. For Charlie.
Because he had climbed out of Hell. And as much as it pained me to admit, I respected him for it.
And if I was really being honest with myself, it was also because I wanted his approval. I wanted him to like me.
Sure I may have made Shelly cry when I told her that her children would probably never really forgive her for abandoning them in favor of her nasty meth habit.
And I may have thrown my chair across the room when I couldn't take Tanya crying over that douche for the umpteenth time.
And I may have even dumped my cup of shitty coffee in Mike's lap when he called me a spoiled rich boy.
I apologized for that one.
But only because no one should have hot coffee anywhere near their dick.
I always apologized for my behavior to Charlie in our one-on-one sessions. But he could tell that I wasn't really sorry. He was observant like that.
He finally called me out on it one day.
"Just because everyone who sits in that circle did drugs at some point doesn't mean we're all the same!" I could feel myself growing defensive.
"No one said you were." He, of course, remained stoic.
"So then what are we doing there every week?"
"You don't think there's anything you can get out of hearing them describe their own demons?"
"No. I don't. I mean, take Tanya. She did cocaine because she thought it would make her skinny. She wanted to be skinny because she wanted some douche to like her."
"Well why'd she want the douche to like her?"
"I don't know."
"You can't think of any reason why she wanted a man to like her."
"Okay fine. I guess because we all want someone to like us, validate us."
Okay, so maybe I had something in common with Tanya.
Charlie could see the realization on my face.
"But it doesn't mean that she knows who I am!" I broke in, refusing to give.
"That's not the point of group therapy. You don't have to share all your secrets and then hold hands and sing."
"So I'm supposed to see myself in Tanya's story. And what? Learn that I shouldn't go after douche bags?"
I could see the corners of his mouth twitch upward for a split second, but he stopped it with an exasperated sigh.
"I shouldn't have to spell this out for you."
I felt a brief wave of guilt come over me. I didn't think I could handle it if he was disappointed in me.
"I'm sorry, Charlie. I just- I don't know. This whole talking things out is still kind of weird for me."
His brown eyes lit up at my admission, and I could feel my heart catch in my chest.
"Ideally group therapy is supposed to create a safe space where you can share your experiences with people who can't judge you. You, of course, have a tendency to make this difficult."
I took a deep breath before I responded.
"I never judged anyone for their drug use. The reasons for it maybe, but- but you have to understand, Charlie, I judge myself far more."
"I know, Jasper. Believe me, I know. There's not a soul in that room who doesn't do the same thing."
"Even you?" I'm not sure why, but at that moment, I really needed to hear his admission.
"I'll try to ease up on the others, but I can't promise that I'll be able to do the same for myself."
"Just start with really listening to everyone else. Maybe if you see their mistakes and understand why they made them, you can use that to take a look at yourself and your own mistakes. Try to put yourself in their place, and decide if you would still make the same judgments on yourself."
"That doesn't sound too terrible. I can try." Even if it didn't work at all, an attempt wouldn't hurt me.
He smiled gently at me, and once again I could feel my heart swell.
"That's all I ask. You're not alone here Jasper."
I understood I guess, but I wasn't sure if the group sessions were really helping.
He did have a point though. I was starting to realize that I felt less alone when Charlie would tell me about the shit that lead him to heroin's comforting embrace. I wasn't even close to sorting out the jumble of feelings that swirled around me in his presence, but I did know that hearing his story made me entertain the idea that I could get better. That it was legitimately possible to pull the hooks of chemical dependency out of me.
And for the first time I realized that there was such a thing as help and that I needed it.
* * *
My biggest slip up came about three months in.
I don't know why that day was any different. I didn't have a session that day - group or individual, and they didn't need me at the office. So I spent the day bumming around Forks. Maybe it left me too much time to think. I don't know. But there it was. The consuming darkness. The ache. The painful reminder that I wasn't okay. That I would never be okay. That no matter how far I climbed, I would always fail. It would always pull me back in.
And the all-consuming need to fill it.
Fuck it all.
A month prior I had Charlie watch me as I deleted the number from my phone, but it didn't matter, I knew it by heart.
"Eric?" my voice was strangled, desperate. I needed relief. I needed something, anything, to take away the pain.
And then by some act of God my call-waiting beeped.
It was Charlie.
I think I told Eric I would call him back.
"He- hello?" I gasped.
"Jasper," the concern in his voice was overwhelming. "Are you okay? Where are you? I'm coming to get you."
"I'm outside the diner," I managed to croak out.
I sat in my Tahoe, shaking, my finger just itching to pull up Eric's number and hit redial. A knock on my window made the final decision for me.
I collapsed in his arms, nearly pulling him down to the hard parking lot. Instead he wrapped an arm around my waist and practically carried me into the diner. His touch shot an electric current through my body as if jump-starting me back to life.
"How- how did you-? How did you know?"
"I just had a really strong feeling that you needed me somehow."
"Thank you, Charlie" I whispered.
"It's okay to ask for help Jasper."
* * *
After that, I doubled my sessions and Charlie and I began to discuss my seeing a psychiatrist once my drug counseling ended. I was starting to accept that the hole wouldn't go away even if I came to terms with my addiction. Drugs were just a symptom. I needed someone with the right expertise to help me sort through my sometimes crippling depression and all the pent up hostility I had toward my parents and their own addictions.
I didn't like the idea of talking to anyone other than Charlie. The group sessions were bad enough. But I supposed that there were certain things that I couldn't talk about with him. Aside from the fact that he wasn't trained to treat depression, I could not very well ask my drug counselor if the ever-growing feelings I had for him were real or some kind of reverse Florence Nightingale bullshit.
Today we had been discussing Charlie's own experience with psychotherapy after he returned to college, when he was used as a research subject for a graduate student's thesis on drug addiction.
Usually it helped me to hear him talk about his own experiences, especially given my reservations about talking to a psychiatrist.
But I couldn't focus on his words. My mind was otherwise occupied. The thermostat in the Center's boiler had malfunctioned and it was positively roasting in his office. He had taken his dress shirt completely off, leaving him in only a thin white t-shirt and khaki pants. He hadn't been lying when he said he was in peak physical condition. He was mere feet from me now, earlier he moved his chair from behind his desk and positioned it closer to the couch so we could hear each other over the intermittent hammering coming up from the boiler room through the vents.
He leaned forward and tilted my chin up with his index finger.
"Earth to Jasper. Where's your head today?"
I couldn't take it anymore. I had to know.
I leaned in and pressed my lips against his in one swift motion. He stiffened at first, out of astonishment, but then his lips moved against mine. His moustache rubbed against my top lip creating a surprisingly arousing sensation. The kiss was fairly chaste. I broke away, bringing my hands up to cup his face, needing to hold him in place so I could see into his chocolate-colored eyes. I broke away, took a deep breath, and looked up to meet his gaze. It was undeniable then.
He wanted me.
I let out a huge sigh of relief and bent forward until my forehead touched his.
"I bet that goes beyond the counselor-counselee relationship, huh?" I whispered.
Smooth move there, Jasper.
"I used to steal confiscated chiva and shoot up in my squad car. I've never been great with following all the rules."
I pulled back to see the smirk I loved appear on his face.
"I'm shocked you would make light of my counseling needs, Charlie."
"Maybe counseling isn't the only thing you need," he lowered his voice about an octave.
And that was it. I was a goner. I pulled him to me and he gave in easily. I turned slightly and backed up against the arm of the couch as he hovered above me, holding himself up with his right arm as his left hand wrapped around the nape of my neck, pulling me in even closer to him.
More. I needed more.
I needed his tongue to move against mine.
I needed his chest to press against mine.
I needed to feel the heat radiating from his groin.
So I wrapped my legs around him, forcing his body down on top of mine. The feeling of his weight pressing against me was indescribable.
I was hard as a rock and I ground up into his pelvis, feeling his own erection press down on me. I strained to get closer to him. But I wasn't looking for friction or for release. I just wanted to be enveloped by him, to be as close as was physically possible for two human beings to be.
It was his damn telephone ringing that put an unhappy end to the mission I had started of letting myself be consumed by Charlie Swan.
It was the repairmen, letting him know that the boiler should be working properly, but that he may want to leave his windows cracked open overnight, to help the building cool off. After he hung up he came back and sat down in the chair across from me.
"Even though I don't care for this particular rule, we probably shouldn't get caught while I am still your court-appointed counselor."
I could only resign myself to nod.
Then he winked.
And my heart rose back up into my chest.
* * *
After that day I knew I wouldn't be able to be a dick at group sessions anymore. Not when I was under the gaze of those deep brown pools. But I also knew that no one would make a big deal about the change in my demeanor. For that I was grateful. They thought I was a dick because of my drug use, my arrests, because of the shitty stories I would tell about my childhood. And maybe those assumptions weren't entirely bullshit, but it still felt like bullshit when it came out of my mouth during our sharing sessions. Still, they'd see my lightened demeanor as a sign of a breakthrough.
Maybe Jasper's finally beat the habit!
But I hadn't. Not even close. I wasn't using heavily anymore when I got arrested. And though I had the one close call, I hadn't used since that day. But that didn't mean I didn't think about it. A lot. It was always there still threatening to consume me.
I was at least aware of it now. I could tell when the hole would start widening, with its dark, numbing allure.
And when it threatened to swallow me, I would call Charlie. When I was with Charlie the darkness never taunted me.
At first it was just to talk about what I was feeling.
But after that session in his office, after the most passionate kiss I ever felt - that I could remember anyway - after that kiss, my need for him increased.
I started to feel dependent on him.
I felt guilty. Like I was replacing drugs with Charlie. Like he had become my own personal brand of heroin.
When I tried to apologize for bothering him, he tried to reassure me.
"It's okay Jasper. You're only four months in. You need a shoulder to lean on sometimes. And if it helps, I enjoy our conversations. I think we can both safely say that this goes beyond your addiction."
And he was right, because I didn't only call him when I needed his distracting calm. I called him to rub it in when my beloved Rangers beat his Mariners, and to ask him to meet me at the diner for coffee. Nor were the phone calls one-sided. He called me for advice on an investment, to recommend books to me, to invite me to go fishing with him and his friend Billy, a recovering alcoholic and Charlie's mentor.
The truth was we had a lot in common apart from our scars.
Eventually I started calling him before I went to bed every night.
One desperate night about two weeks before my sentence was up I even called him for a late night booty call. Of course, it didn't go beyond heavy petting and me falling asleep in his arms, but there was a lingering anticipation of events soon to come as he quietly left my house the next morning.
* * *
At the six month mark, there was a small hearing regarding my progress. Though I knew that I would continue the group therapy sessions regardless, I was hoping to have the restrictions of my plea deal lifted. So I wouldn't have to piss in a cup every week. So I could leave the state if I wanted.
Charlie gave a statement to Judge Aro on my behalf.
"....Jasper has voluntarily started seeing a psychiatrist to seek help for his depression symptoms and residual issues from his childhood that played a strong role in his drug use. I am a social worker so I cannot speak to the severity of those conditions, but I have provided you the contact information for the doctor.
"...As a counselor I can tell you that Jasper has made remarkable progress in six months. He's nowhere close to being rehabilitated, but he has taken that first step of acknowledging that he is an addict. After some initial lashing out, he has become receptive in group sessions, and trusts in the network that the Community Center has provided for him.
"...He'll still have bad days. After over a decade of drug abuse there's no way he cannot. But he now recognizes the feelings that pushed him toward using in the past, the need to replace detrimental thoughts with anything else. And the difference is that he is strong enough now to finally be able to ask for help when he needs it. We're only human, Your Honor. But after counseling Jasper for six months, in my professional opinion, I can tell you that Jasper now understands that part of being human is relying on other people. I cannot say with certainty that he'll never relapse. But I can assure you he's no longer a heightened risk to society or to himself."
The questions the judge was asking didn't even register.
I was too focused on Charlie.
At some point I realized that the line had blurred between him talking about me and him talking about himself. It was only then that I truly understood. He wasn't my drug, because he wasn't an escape. He was a reflection of what I could be. He understood the hollow ache, the pain, and the misery, and strong as he was, even he still needed help, support, and love. He needed me.
It barely registered when Jenks told me that my probation was lifted.
As soon as we were free from the prying eyes of the court house, hidden from view behind my monstrosity of a vehicle, I threw myself at him. Charlie caught me in his arms and held onto me tightly, holding me flush against him.
"I need you," I breathed into his ear. "I need to feel you in me."
"Jasper, I... I... I live just a few blocks from here," he was panting.
I tossed my car keys to him. I don't think I could have waited, even the 10 minutes it would have taken to walk.
We both barreled out of the car as soon as he threw it in park and we met in the middle, a flurry of lips and hands. I don't remember climbing his front steps, or entering his house, or shedding our clothes, or making our way into his bedroom at the top of the stairs.
The only thing I was remotely cognizant of was Charlie.
Sex had never felt like this, even when I was flying on uppers. This was something entirely other worldly. As if when we joined together, when he filled me, there was no clear line where Jasper ended and Charlie began.
Afterward we lay, tangled as one, twisted in his cotton sheets. The cop and the addict.
And for the first time in my life, I felt whole.