"For the Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest
Title: Selfish Surrender
Pen name: four-letter-word
Existing work: N/A
Primary Players: Edward & Jasper
Disclaimer: I own nothing, with the exception of the pen I made notes with. All recognisable characters belong to Stephanie Meyer
To see other entries in the "For the Love of Jasper" contest, please visit the C2: www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/community/For_the_Love_of_Jasper_Contest/72564/
just a note - the whole thing is JPOV
I was pretty sure I was going to throw up – or start bawling my eyes out like a bitch with a skinned knee.
When I'd finally crawled into bed at 4AM and Edward had molded his sleep-warm body to mine, murmuring contentedly, everything came into sharp focus.
With everything so clear, the only option left to me was glaringly obvious.
My epiphany-like realization hadn't done anything to quiet my internal struggle; if it was possible, it had made everything so much worse. Needless to say, with all the angry, confused self-flagellation going on in my head, I hadn't managed to find sleep.
Of course, the sleep deprivation and self-loathing wasn't helping my already fragile state of mind, and the clarity of last night had dissolved into a garbled mess of desperate rationalization and pathetic attempts at compromise.
It was a perfectly normal, lazy Saturday afternoon – on our bed, Edward's head in my lap, both of us with our noses buried in a book. For me, it was Choke, for Edward, Death's Jest Book. His face was obscured behind the garish hard-cover, but I could picture his soft green eyes, his forehead wrinkled in concentration as he tried to sift through the antiquated prose.
I should be happy. I should be the picture of fucking contentment.
– but my heart was aching.
I'd been staring at the same page for what felt like hours, not really seeing the words, not really caring. I was feeling cynical and pathetic enough as is, without the help of Chuck and his acerbic opinions on humanity.
"No matter how much you love someone, you'll step back when the pool of their blood edges too close…
"What are you thinking about?"
I started at the sound of that velvet voice, and the gaping hole in my chest where I'm sure my heart used to be felt both scorched and soothed at the same time. It was a sick, bittersweet feeling.
My answering smile felt weak and forced, and I hoped he wouldn't call me on it. I knew that I would have to speak to him – soon – but I was hoping to put it off as long as humanly possible. I didn't know how I was going to start, what I was going to say, how I was going to explain. I just wanted a few more hours that I could be with him like this; see that warm glow in his eyes whenever he looked at me – not the anger and pain and confusion that I knew would cloud them after today.
– and heartache was turning me into a fucking pansy.
"Nothing," I said, stroking his messy bronze hair away from his face. His eyes drifted shut, and I was glad. Today I just felt like they were looking straight through me. "You look stressed," he murmured, eyes still closed, stretching his arms behind him to rub my back. It felt so, so good.
"I'm just…" I trailed off. I didn't want to have this conversation right now. Just a few more hours.
"It's nothing," I mumbled finally, unable to stop the frown. He noticed, but like he always did, he knew not to press the issue. Silently, he pushed himself up, turning to encircle me in his arms. I snaked my arms around him and pulled him even closer, burying my face in his hair. I could never get close enough – I wanted to crawl inside him.
I heard him sigh softly, and felt his lips press against the side of my face. I tilted my head – desperately, aggressively capturing his mouth with my own.
For a few blissful seconds, he responded, matching my desperation with equal fervor, as I tried to pour all my love, all my confusion, all my distress into that one kiss – vainly hoping that I could tell him with my actions what I was too afraid to actually say.
But as I lay back, dragging him down with me, he pulled away slightly, his face hovering a few inches above my own, eyes concerned.
"Jas, what's wrong?" he murmured, using the hand he wasn't leaning on to stroke my face tenderly.
He'd always been able to read me like an open book. I suppose it came with the territory; we'd known each other for so long, we'd grown up together. He understood everything about me – every nuance of every expression, how I reacted, how I thought – just like I understood him.
Suddenly, I couldn't breath. How the fuck was I supposed to do this? He was more than just my lover; he was, and always had been, my best friend.
Now, faced with its possibly explosive end, I could remember every single, minute detail of our entire relationship – years, months, weeks, days, single seconds; all of those memories tinted with the rosy hue of nostalgia. My mouth was dry and my heart was pounding so hard, I was surprised he didn't hear it.
How was I supposed to give him up?
How was I supposed to walk away from him – away from everything I've ever known?
"Would you believe me if I told you it really is nothing?" I asked, smiling even though it was the last thing I felt like doing. He grinned back, a crooked little smirk that tugged at my already aching heart.
"No, probably not," he said, his expression turning serious again. "Babe, you can tell me anything, you know that."
No, I couldn't. I couldn't tell him this. I couldn't tell him what was going on in my head. I didn't understand it myself – how the fuck was I supposed to explain it to him?
And that was the other side of the double-edged blade that was this fucked up situation. How could I not tell him? How could I lie to him and pretend that everything was still alright?
Reaching over to the nightstand, I grabbed my pack of cigarettes. "Come outside with me," I said, trying not to look at his concerned, confused eyes. I slid out from underneath him and headed for the door, not waiting to see if he was following me. He would. He always did.
I sat down on the tiny patch of grass that masqueraded as our back garden, in a pool of sunlight that seemed perversely out of place with the darkness of my mood. He sat down next to me a few seconds later, resting his head on my shoulder. I almost choked.
Instead, I squeezed my eyes shut and lit a cigarette, inhaling deeply.
"Jasper, what's going on?" he asked, and I could hear the anxiety in his voice. He wasn't stupid – he knew that something was wrong. My detachment today, and my hesitance to discuss anything must have made that painfully obvious.
The tears that I'd been dreading finally welled up, and I squeezed my eyes shut even tighter, willing them not to fall. Edward made a startled little sound and wrapped his arms firmly around my shoulders and pulled me towards him, holding me tightly. I was fucked then, and the tears slipped down my face. I didn't make a sound – I just let them flow while Edward rubbed soothing circles on my back.
"Sshh, baby. Everything's gonna be okay. Ssshh." His voice was rough and watery, and I could hear that he was fighting back tears too. Finally, the tears stopped and I inhaled deeply, looking up into his breathtaking, red-rimmed eyes.
"Babe," I took another deep breath. "We need to talk, a bit."
I sat up, pulling myself out of his arms, and he didn't try to hold on to me. Sitting face to face now, knees almost touching, I watched the emotions play out over his face, but he still hadn't said anything. When he did, his voice was totally controlled and impassive, and I winced at the sound of it.
"About what," he said, and it wasn't a question. I couldn't meet his eyes, so I just stared at the ground between us.
What the fuck was I supposed to say?
I took a last drag from my cigarette before stubbing it out and reaching immediately for another one. I needed to do something with my hands. I inhaled deeply again before looking up. This was the first time in almost 3 years that I didn't know what to say to him. The last time had been when he asked me to kiss him…
I probably should have realized back then that maybe I was destined to hurt everyone I care about. I'd hurt Maria, because I loved Edward. I was about to hurt Edward, because now I was in love with someone else.
There was something wrong with me. I hadn't cheated on Edward like I'd done to Maria, but it felt like this was so much worse.
"About us," I said, running my free hand through my hair, "or… me… you and me... This." I gestured between us.
Pain flashed in his eyes, but he composed himself quickly, sitting up straighter.
"What do you mean?" he asked, still in that dead, emotionless voice.
I closed my eyes again, tipping my head backwards and praying to all the deities that I didn't believe in to make this easier. After a moment, I lowered my head and locked eyes with him.
"I love you," I said finally. "You know that, right? You know that, no matter what happens, I'll always love you." I sighed. "I never loved anyone until you."
His eyes looked glassy with tears and his jaw was tense. I could see the muscles moving as he clenched his teeth together, trying to keep himself composed, but he didn't say anything.
"Fuck," I hissed, raking my hands through my hair again and stubbing out my cigarette.
"Jasper, just say…" He swallowed, and closed his eyes, squeezing them shut as he choked out the rest. "Just say what you want to say."
I needed a new word besides fuck, but it seemed to be the extent of my vocabulary.
This was too difficult. I wanted to be selfish – I wanted to cling to him and tell him I'd never love anyone else and that I'd never let him go.
– but I couldn't, because I didn't deserve him.
A tear rolled down his cheek, and I couldn't not comfort him. I reached forward and pulled him into my arms, but he stayed stiff, not moving, not making a sound. I could feel his tears soaking into the front of my shirt and in that moment, I hated myself more than I thought possible. Nothing I'd ever done in my life was as horrifying as what I was doing right now – making Edward cry – breaking his heart. He didn't deserve any of this. It wasn't right – it wasn't fair.
I came so close to flaking out and just writing today off as an anomaly – going on with our lives and pretending that nothing had ever happened, but I couldn't do that. This was a small hurt – me leaving him. He would move on and eventually, he would be happy. If he stayed with me…
He deserved the world – I couldn't even give him my whole heart. And I didn't even know how to tell him. It was fucking pathetic.
"I want to be the best for you," I said, and my voice sounded shaky, even to me. "I want to be the kind of guy that deserves you, but I'm not."
He pulled away suddenly and he looked taken aback, eyes wide, tear tracks drying on his face, but he stayed silent.
I ran my fingers through my hair again, dropping my head into my hands. "I can't do this anymore, Edward. I can't… I can't be… with you." I almost choked on those words, and I couldn't bring myself to look at him.
I didn't even realize I'd been holding my breath, waiting for him to speak, until he did.
"Jas…" his voice still sounded dead, but there was a broken note to it now that hurt worse than anything else. "Jas, what are you talking about? Why are you doing this?"
I sighed, gripping my head tighter. "I just can't…" I said. "I don't know what to say to you."
"You could explain," he choked, hysteria bleeding through in his tone. "I don't understand." He sounded like he was about to start laughing.
I felt the same urge. I wanted to start laughing like a maniac, even though nothing about this situation was funny – why was I doing this? What the fuck was I thinking?
"I'm in love with someone else," I blurted out, before I could change my mind, before I had the chance to convince myself that this was a mistake. He deserved better than me. I needed to make him understand that.
He was silent for a long moment, and when I worked up the courage to look at him again, he was staring off into the distance, and his expression was totally blank, only the pain flashing in eyes betraying his emotions.
"Please say something," I choked out. Every fiber of my being wanted to reach out to him again and wrap him in my arms, but I didn't.
"Oh my God," he whispered, mirroring my earlier posture and burying his face in his hands. "Oh my God… What am I supposed to say, Jasper?" He looked up again, and his eyes were shining with tears.
I dug my fingers into the grass on either side of me in a vain effort to restrain myself from reaching out to him, but when the tears fell, I couldn't keep still anymore. Crawling forward slightly, I kneeled in front of him and wiped them away with my thumb, caressing his cheek like I'd done so many other times.
"I'm sorry, Edward," I whispered through the lump in my throat and the pain in my chest. "I'm sorry. I didn't want this to happen. I'm sorry." Leaning forward, I peppered his forehead with soft kisses, whispering a continuous stream of apologies as though they actually meant anything.
His eyes were closed, and his forehead was creased, almost as if he was in pain. I was. There were no words for the gaping, all-consuming fucking ache in my chest.
"Who?" he whispered, eyes still closed, voice rough.
I couldn't tell him. I couldn't.
When I'd left Maria, I'd told her exactly what was going on; she made me happy, but Edward made me happier. She'd accepted that with a slightly knowing smile and we'd stayed friends.
Edward and I had always been close – I spent more time with him than I did with her anyway, so she must have seen it coming.
– but this was different.
How could I explain destroying something we'd shared for 15 years, because of someone I'd known for less than 5 months? There's no justification for something like that. Fuck. It's just not logical.
– but it was happening, and I needed to say something.
I didn't even noticed that I'd been shaking my head, but Edward put his hands on either side of my face to still it's movements, locking his eyes to mine.
"Jasper, you're leaving me so that you can be with someone else. The least you can do is tell me who it is…"
He dropped his hands as my eyes widened with shock at the implications of his words.
"No!" I said, louder than I'd intended, and he flinched away. "No, no, no." Now it was me that held onto his face, forcing him to look at me. "Baby, no. It's not like that. I swear."
He scrunched up his forehead, squeezing his eyes shut again. I knew I wasn't making this any easier, on either of us, but I couldn't let him think that I would do something like that. I wanted to be angry at him, for thinking so little of me, but I knew that if I was in his position, I would be thinking the same thing.
"Then why are you doing this?" he whispered, his broken, confused voice raking like broken glass, shredding my resolve.
"Fuck," I hissed, dropping my hands from his face and slumping backwards onto the grass again. "Edward, I just can't anymore." I looked up at him, pleading with my eyes for him to just understand.
He just looked so shattered. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I could do anything.
I was so used to protecting him, making sure he was never hurt. Everything was wrong, like the world no longer made sense.
"I don't understand…" he whispered, shaking his head. "I don't-" he cut himself off mid-sentence, squeezing his eyes shut again. "How long, Jasper?" he asked, fixing me with a penetrating stare, "How long have you been planning this? Why now?"
"It's not like that, Edward." How the fuck could I make him understand this? I wasn't trying to hurt him. I was trying to protect him.
I would never be able to make him happy, because all my thoughts were tainted with her.
Every time I saw her, it was a struggle. She was heaven and hell, and heartbreak and obsession, and perfect and poison, and she owned a part of me that Edward could never touch. And, oh God, I wanted to hate her for that. I wanted to hate her for being so beautiful, and for turning my entire life upside down and being everything that I wanted, when what I wanted should have been Edward.
I wanted to hate Alice for bringing her into my life and destroying everything.
I wanted to hate Edward for not noticing what was happening and calling me out on it.
– but I could only hate myself.
"You never answered my question… Who?"
I lowered my head, closing my eyes, bracing myself. I had to tell him. He had a right to know.
"Bella…" I whispered, barely loud enough for him to hear, but his choked sob told me that he had.
"No…" he whispered. "No no no." When I looked up again, he was staring at me with something akin to horror on his face. "No, no, no." It was like a mantra, almost as though, if he denied it enough, it would stop being true.
I wished like hell that I'd never met her. I wished it wasn't true
– but then I remembered the first time I saw her. She was fucking beautiful – long legs, pale skin and big brown eyes. Shy and awkward, totally at odds with everyone I was used to. The polar opposite of Edward.
I wanted to scream. It was a sick joke that I could even be thinking about her now, when Edward was right in front of me, looking as though his heart was being ripped out of his chest. But, I never stopped thinking about her.
They say that the person you love and the person that loves you are never the same. That was fucking bullshit. I loved Edward. I loved him so much it hurt – but I loved Bella too.
I couldn't be that selfish. Both of them deserved someone that would love them, totally and without reservation. I couldn't give that to either of them.
"Fuck, Edward. I'm so sorry," I whispered.
He was just staring at me, his body shaking imperceptibly. "No," he said, and his voice had taken on that dead, emotionless tone again. "No, I can't."
He pushed himself off the ground, and fixing me with one last, unreadable, penetrating stare, he turned and walked towards the house. His shoulders were shaking as he slammed the door.
I wanted to go after him. I wanted to hold him, and kiss him, and love him, and tell him that everything would be okay.
– but I didn't, because if he hated me, he wouldn't miss me as much. Hatred was easier to deal with than heartbreak.
So, instead, I stood up slowly, my eyes lingering on the door, before pulling my cellphone out, dialing as I walked towards my bike. I didn't care that my helmet was inside. It was a short drive anyway.
She answered on the second ring.
All I managed was a choking sob.
"Jasper? What's wrong?"
Somehow, I managed to find my voice. "Do you mind if I crash at your place tonight?"
"Of course! What's going on?
I didn't answer. I couldn't.
"Do you want me to come pick you up?"
"No, I'm taking the bike. I'll be there soon…"
"…. Okay. I'll see you soon. Be safe, okay?
"Yeah. Thanks, Alice."
I hung up before she could reply and started the bike, throwing one last glance at the house.
Fuck. I was a fucking idiot.
...and now, I'm going to go sit in a corner and cry.
SweetDulcinea, DeliciousIntent & are saints for not telling me to stfu while I tried to write this, and for correcting all my hideous mistakes – and Jo, really, coz she puts up with my shit all the time.