"For the Love of Jasper" One-Shot Contest

Title: Riders on the Storm

Pen name: teacupsNmints

Existing work: N/A

Primary Players: Jasper/Edward

Disclaimer: Everything Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I just like having a little fun with her characters.

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/

A/N: My beta emilyg80 is a serious slash fan. She had been trying to get me to read the man love all summer. I finally gave in and I am now hooked. So, if not for emilyg80, I would never even have attempted this kind of fic. She was much, much more than a beta this time around. She really collaborated with me on this one, but when I suggested entering as a collab her answer was "Shut yer pie hole!" Emily totally rocks and she can rewrite a kick-ass lemon, as you will see!

To my regular readers ---this is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I just had to try it. I hope you like it. Umm---maybe pretend Edward is Bella??? IDK

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~~~ J ~~~

It'd been a long fucking day and it wasn't even noon yet. I woke up late because my alarm clock never went off. I raced into the kitchen to grab a quick bite before heading to work, only to discover that my girlfriend must've eaten the last pop tart. She also left an entire gallon of milk out on the counter and put the empty Tang jar back in the cupboard. She must have been distracted in the midst of packing all her shit, along with my alarm clock, while she was leaving me during the night. Fuck me. Fuck her.

I stomped down the stairs and opened the shop, waiting for Emmett to show up. It wasn't much, but it was mine--"Whitlock Rides Motorcycles and Repair Shop." Emmett and I had purchased the business just out of high school. But when his brother, Carlisle, lost his legs in Vietnam, he needed fast money to pay for the hospital care. I bought him out.

It took everything I had, but Emmett needed the money more than I did.

He showed up early, which meant he was only 15 minutes late...not his usual 30. Em kept late nights with the ladies and early mornings getting his bro settled before he left the house. I couldn't blame him for trying to squeeze some youth in when he could. I'd watched him age damn near twenty years in the past five. So I always let him off without a word.
"Jasper, you hear the latest? They say in New York cops raided a bar full of queers and the bastards fought back. They fucking rioted against the law. Can you fucking believe that shit?"

"That right?" I said.

"Sure's hell is." His mountainous laugh resonated throughout the tiny space. "Just picturing a bunch of faggots trying to take down the fuzz. That's some funny shit."

"Yep, funny." I kept my reply brief, fully aware that all Emmett needed right now was a soapbox.

"But y'know what's fucked up? Carlisle can lose his legs fightin' a war that ain't even ours without ever sayin' a damn word about it. But some pansy motherfucker's fightin' the police just so he can stick his dick up some other dude's ass? Now that. That's fucked up."

Emmett was large, athletic, popular with the ladies; however not exactly what you'd call worldly…or bright. And he seemed to have inherited his father's small-mindedness. I, on the other hand, spent most of my youth traveling the country on the back of my dad's Harley, stopping to help anyone along the way in need. I always thought of my dad as Robin Hood on a Hog.

Emmett was basically a good guy. We'd been friends for years and he did know the shit out of bikes. Normally, I could listen to them ---Emmett's bigoted rants. Today.....today was different. I just needed to friggin' hang loose and there was only one thing I could count on to clear my head.

A ride.

On Route 15.

Once Emmett had the shop under control, I slipped out the backdoor and headed straight for my Bella. I ran my hand along her clean lines of chrome and admired her candy apple paint. Originally a gift from my father, she was a true beauty. That chopper was a mess when I got her, but after hours of sanding and rebuilding and painting and welding and buffing…she was able to make my dick harder than pretty much any woman I'd ever met. And that included Victoria, the most recent girlto have left me. Apparently I was not able to "make them feel appreciated" and I "never seemed completely invested in the relationship." At least that seemed to be the going consensus.

I straddled my Bella, enjoying the feel of her between my thighs; the way the leather seat seemed to have been made for my ass. I cranked her up and something inside me began to purr in tandem with the motor. That's when I knew I had to just cut it loose.

I tore out of the dirt lot, kicking up a cloud of dust behind me, and headed for Route 15. That is where I always found myself when I'd felt the most lost: the canyons overshadowed by the mountains, the weaving blacktop of the highway, the cactuses standing strong and erect out in the midst of desolate land.

I was takin' it fast. The hum of the engine, the steady flapping sound of my jeans, the wind through my hair was exactly what I'd needed. Everything was beginning to feel…copasetic.

Just as I began to unwind my way back to the garage, I noticed something up ahead on

the side of the road. As I got closer, I could tell that someone had broken down. Seeing as we were out in the middle of the desert, it was a good thing I chose to double back. No telling when another soul would travel that deep into Route 15.

"Hey there." I said as I pulled up beside the stranger. He looked to be about my age, give or a take a year or two. His frame towered over his bike, tall and lean. Unruly waves of bronze danced in the breeze above his face. He had the look of a professional; just enough stubble to account for the weekend, before having to shave it off for Monday. He was wearing jeans, a leather jacket and sneakers; definitely not a true biker. He was probably just another pretty boy trying to impress the ladies; looking like a bad boy just to get some tail.

The stranger looked up at me and I noticed his eyes. Green---like the lights at the bottom of a drag tree. I shivered. Odd to shiver in the desert in August.

The stranger spoke. "Thanks for stopping. I'm not sure what happened. I had him full tilt and all of a sudden he started sputtering. I stopped to take a look and I couldn't get him started again."

I got off my Bella and brushed past the stranger to check it out. Maple syrup and vanilla. I breathed deeply. This guy smelled really good--- must have been the result of my skipping breakfast.

Deciding there was nothing I could do without tools to fix his bike, I suggested to the stranger that he ride with me back to my shop where he could call a tow truck. I figured, if he chose to have it brought to my shop, that'd be money in my pocket. I was pleased when he accepted my offer.

I got back onto my Bella and noticed how strangely it felt as I slid further up on the seat to make room. I could feel the weight of the stranger as he slid onto the seat with me. I started the bike with a jolt and his hands flew around my waist. Normally one to ride solo, it felt awkward to have a body behind me, let alone arms around my middle---regardless of who they belonged to.

I called back to the stranger, "I'm gonna rev her up a bit."

I felt him nod against my back. That's when I realized how close he was to me, and I began to feel his breathing on my neck. I scooted further up on my seat, practically straddling the gas tank. Within moments, the stranger was warm against me again, tightening the hold he had on my middle. I slowed down, thinking perhaps I was going too fast. He didn't flinch…or move.

Our bodies in tandem, we moved with my Bella around a tight curve. I breathed deeply the scent of maple syrup and vanilla. God, it smelled so good it actually made me sort of …hard. Fuck. And whether I liked it or not, his warmth---the feel of him behind me ---was kind of …nice?

~~~E~~~

What a beautiful man! His eyes--so green. Not army green. Hell no. Like emeralds, my new favorite stone. They sparkled in the sunlight. His coarse honey colored hair pulled back from his face, tied with an elastic band, showed off the almost reddish stubble that lined his beautiful jaw. When he got off his bike, strolling over, I thought he must be a mirage. But, damn, then he just took charge. I respected that kind of man. I needed that kind of man. His strong shoulders were apparent even under his t-shirt. And his Levis, aw hell. When he knelt down to look at my bike, I thought I might just bust the damn buttons on my fly. I was usually so much better at controlling myself. But this guy---fuck. I didn't even know his name. He's just…he… he smelled like ...like a man. A real man. Not like some pretty boy just trying to get a blow, way too willing to take it deep. This guy was different from anyone I'd ever met. He smelled of hard work and dirt under the fingernails and Norfolk pine. Damn.

I couldn't help myself when he gave me a ride. Thank god he liked it fast. It was a good excuse to hold on tight. And I did.

I suspected he may have felt what he did to me. I'd never been so damn hard in my life. If he went over one more hill, I was afraid I would bust a nut right there against his back. That would be difficult to explain to someone I'd just met, who was kind enough to help me out.

I half expected him to kick my ass the second we got to his garage for making him ride with my dick in his back the whole way. But, I'd be damned if he wasn't sporting some wood, too. By the look of total confusion on his face, this man was straight---or at least he thought he was. If that was true, what a waste! Not that I was in any position for a new relationship. But I figured some fucking hot sex before I left would be nice.

"It seems your bike needs a part that we don't have in stock. I'll have to order it." said the stranger with the nice ass.

"How long will it take?" I asked about the part, my mind wandering to other things.

"Depends on the trucks, but it should be here by the end of the week." I watched his beautiful lips as they formed every word. Impeccable.

"Okay, I should still be here then." Thank God.

My heart flipped when he swiftly asked "You're leaving town?"

His face looked the way I felt about it; which brought me tremendous joy and horrible sadness all at the same time.

"Umm, yea. I'll be out of town for a while." Not exactly a lie.

"Oh. From the sound of your voice, I thought maybe you were moving or something."

"No. I am coming back." Still not a lie, dammit!

"Cool." he smiled. "I can give you a call whenever it's ready, if you leave me your number."

Crap, he actually blushed when asking for my number. And those dimples! I just want to run my tongue in and out of them.

I jotted my number on the inside of a matchbook and tossed it to him. He caught it in one hand, without hesitation. Nice reflexes.

My ride pulled up outside the shop, but I really hated to leave. It was okay, though. I'd be seeing him again. And, maybe, he'd even call.

As I turned to go, I was surprised to feel his hand on shoulder.

"Take it easy. And…ummm…I'll be in touch soon." he offered awkwardly.

Knowing the importance of living for the moment, I took my chances. I wrapped my elbow around his shoulder and squeezed, giving a "manly" one armed hug (just in case).

"Thanks for the lift. I appreciate it. Just hope I can return the favor someday." I sincerely did, too---preferably without clothes on.

As I stepped to the door, I suddenly turned and tossed him my leather jacket. It was my most prized possession, and with that action I even surprised myself. He caught it and instinctively pulled it close to his body, a puzzled look on his face.

"Collateral" I said over my shoulder. And I winked as I walked out the door.

"Your name?" he blurted, his voice sounding desperate. "I never got your name---uh---for the invoice."

I smiled. "Edward. Edward Cullen"

~~~J~~~

I'm not sure how long I'd been standing in that spot, clutching Edward Cullen's jacket before Emmett came in. I had to play it cool, whatever it was.

"Nice jacket. Where'd you get it?" he asked.

"I--- found it ---out on Route 15."

"Damn! All I ever find out there is broken bottles and dead animals." Emmett grabbed his keys and flipped the sign on the door, before turning back to me. "You staying?" he asked.

"Yea. I have a few things I need to do before heading home."

Once Emmett drove off, I slid my back down the wall that had been holding me up ever since the stranger--- er--- Edward Cullen had flashed me a crooked little grin that looked like so much more than goodbye. It was--- sexy?

I sat there on the floor with my head in my hands trying to make sense of all the excitement, confusion and---fuck it---lust that had formed a tight ball of anxiety right in the center of my abdomen.

What the fuck? It all raced through my mind: the stranger, maple syrup and vanilla, drag tree eyes, warmth on my back, breath on my neck, dick hard, wink and that fucking smile.

I tried to shake it off. I had to---I practically lived with the son of fucking Hitler. Whatever the hell it was---it wasn't---it couldn't be. I'd fix the bike, call the man, get my money and be done.

I tossed his jacket on the chair near the door and headed out to where his bike had been parked. I decided I needed to disassemble the motor in order for it to be ready as soon as the part came in. Actually, I just needed to do something. I needed to work.

As my hands became busy, my mind began to wander.

So I became excited today. So what? So it was in response to a man. So what? It's not like I did anything about it. It could all have been a big misunderstanding. My head had been a mess since Victoria walked out. I was just having a bad day. The guy was probably just appreciative that I helped him. There was nothing wrong or strange or different about that.

I stood and looked at all the parts to the motor laid out neatly on the work mat on the floor. Done!

Except, I couldn't deny the excitement I felt knowing I'd see Edward Cullen again sooner now that the bike was ready and waiting for repair.

I turned off the garage work lights and walked back inside the shop. I was exhausted. It had been a very long and stressful day. My mind was full of shit---shit that was probably nothing anyway. I was ready to hit the sack in my newly quiet and empty home. I turned off the overhead lights and headed out the door. At the last second, unable to stop myself, I turned back and grabbed the leather jacket from the chair.

Without over thinking things, I held the jacket close, and climbed the stairs to my apartment over the garage.

Once inside, I closed the blinds and stripped down to my briefs. I adjusted the antenna on the television so that I had my choice of all three channels with fair reception. Channel 5 was showing a baseball game. Channel 9 had the movie of the week: Spartacus. And channel 13 was in the middle of a news update regarding the death toll in 'Nam. Choice number three was out of the question. Too many of my old friends had been sent over there and were either missing, dead or came back completely broken.

I chose the movie even though I'd watched it before. There was something about a slave coming from ruins, facing adversity and helping those less fortunate that made me feel proud to be a man. Plus that chick who played Verinia ...damn! I lay on the couch, pulled a throw over me and slowly dozed to the sounds of the villagers chanting "Spartacus… Spartacus…"

I woke about 3am; hot, sweating, and in possession of one hell of a hard-on. I silently cursed Victoria for not being here to remedy the situation, and quickly began to free myself from my briefs. Images of her sucking my cock flashed before my eyes; which is ironic because her blow jobs were never that great. She made it seem like such a fucking chore.

I began to trace lazy circles on the head, using the slightest amount of pressure from the pad of my thumb to spread the pre-cum. Shuddering from the stimulus, I wrapped my fingers around my shaft and began stroking it. I kept a nice rhythm going--moving in slow methodic movements and occasionally reversing my hold for an added sensation.

Shaking the thoughts of Victoria from my mind, I opened my eyes only to find them land on the leather jacket--his leather jacket. Fuck!

Refocusing on the job at hand, I began to massage my balls with my left hand. This distraction worked for a minute until I soon found my eyes darting over to the damn jacket....again.

Still in my lust-filled trance, I got up and grabbed it--too far gone to even think about what I was doing. With one hand, I held the jacket to my face, inhaling deeply his aroma of maple syrup and vanilla; remembering the feel of his body against mine, his breath on my neck. My other hand tightened around the base of my cock and furiously traveled up and down, up and down, again and again. In no time at all, I was engulfed in a fog of physical and mental pleasure that exploded into euphoric spasms of lust and desire.

I spent the rest of the morning trying to make sense of my first homosexual fantasy.

~~~ E ~~~

It took 4 days to get the call I'd been waiting for. My green eyed savior had fixed my ride. He suggested I wait to come by until after 12. I wasn't sure why. It didn't matter. I'd get to see him today.

I arranged for a buddy to drop me off at the shop around noon. When I arrived, I noticed another man leaving the shop; large build, angry face. He had been there the last time, too. Since there were no other vehicles to be seen, I was hopeful that we'd be alone.

I opened the glass door to the tune of the bells hanging from the hinge. There'd be no sneaking up on him. Within seconds the door from the garage swung open and my handsome stranger strode in to join me in the shop. His face was neatly shaven, though I'd preferred the stubble and his curls were again tied back with an elastic band at the nape of his neck. He was wearing Levi's with a hole just below his left butt cheek. Damn. His Hendrix concert t-shirt fitly snugly to his strong upper body from what I could see. It was merely peeking out at me from under my leather. Just seeing him in my jacket, smiling at me, made my dick so fucking hard.

"Nice jacket. I've missed it." I said, reaching my hand out to him, running it down the arm of the jacket from the shoulder to the wrist. I watched as goose flesh formed on neck.

"Oh" he said with a nervous laugh as he began taking it off. "I guess you want this back."

"Wait. I like how it looks on you." His dimples made a slight appearance, so I took a chance. "Is it okay if I look at you?" Simple enough question, I thought.

He pulled the coat back on. "Yes. It's okay."

I couldn't help but smile as I circled him, my eyes taking it all in---every inch of him--- head to toe. He circled with me, maintaining eye contact. If I hadn't been so sure he was new to this and that he was probably quite nervous, I'd have thought for certain this was foreplay. Oh, there was fire in his sparkling emerald eyes.

I placed my hand on his shoulder. He didn't move. "Is anyone else here?" I asked.

He shook his head. "No."

I took a step closer, close enough to feel the heat radiating from his body. He stood firm.

"I never got your name." I said.

"Jasper. Whitlock." His lips trembled a little. I wanted to cup his sweet face into my chest and hold him there, but I knew to take baby steps. The whole world as he knew it was turning upside-down, I knew too well what that felt like. So, instead, I smiled. It must have been infectious, because Jasper Whitlock smiled back. This time the dimples were in glorious form.

"It's nice to meet you, Jasper."

I took a step closer, so close I could feel his breathing on my cheek. If Jasper Whitlock was completely straight or not interested, he certainly would have punched me by now or, at the very least, stepped away.

But he did neither. In fact, he leaned into my neck, inhaled deeply, closed his eyes and sighed, "You smell so fucking good."

I couldn't resist him any longer. I tangled my fingers in his golden curls and gently pulled him toward me. He didn't resist, he only closed his eyes. I took that as an invitation and watched his face carefully as I laid the gentlest of kisses on his neck and throat. He continued breathing deeply, releasing the sweetest little sighs.

Once he looked up at me, lust weighing heavily on his lids, I tilted my face ever so slightly. Jasper leaned into me and we shared our first kiss.

~~~ J ~~~

Fuck, I'm kissing a dude? Fuck. Fuck. Fuck?

Fuck, I am kissing Edward! Oh my god! It is so fucking gooood!

"You okay?" he asked, each word touching my lips like a feathery caress.

"I think so." I was barely audible.

"You've never done anything like this have you?" he asked me kindly, gently.

I shook my head.

"But you are okay with it?" he asked, obviously very concerned with my comfort.

"Yes, as long as we don't talk about it for too long." I said honestly.

Edward laughed. "Well, then I will be quiet and I'll go slow, and if you are ever uncomfortable just say so. Tell me to stop and I will." he pleaded with me; his eyes deep with intensity

He lowered his lips back to mine and, strangely, it felt so incredibly right---more right than anything I'd ever felt before. Without thinking, I found myself opening my lips just a bit, allowing him entry. Within seconds my tongue toyed with his and my hand was on the back of his neck, caressing the tiny hairs there. As I pulled him in even closer to me, I could feel his obvious arousal and my body froze in response. I'd never been that close to another guy's stuff before. It definitely felt strange.....different, but still nice. Oh hell, it didn't feel nice. It felt unbelievable--it made me want to touch him, feel him, taste him. As I began assaulting his tongue, he abruptly broke our kiss. What the fuck? Confusion and frustration quickly settled into the worry lines on my face until I saw his eyes focus on the glass door.

"Jasper, are we safe here?" he whispered with heavy breaths.

Fuck. The shop. "No, we're not" I muttered just before placing the "Closed" sign on the door.

I suggested we move to my apartment, which was conveniently located above the shop. Edward's hand never left my back as we both took the stairs two at a time, energized with anticipation. We barely got into the apartment before his hands were on me again, his body pressed up against mine even closer than we were before.

I craved his warm touch on me--skin to skin, so I freed myself from the leather jacket. As it slid to the floor, I felt a tug and whipped my head around to see his fingers guiding my shirt above my chest and up over my head. To my surprise, he motioned for me to put the jacket back on. Then, he attacked the exposed skin on my chest. His mouth and tongue worked in harmony with his strong, yet gentle and caressing hands.

God, he knew exactly what would feel good. Of course he did. I thought my heart would bounce out of my chest as our eyes met and he gave me a deliberate smirk. A groan escaped my lips just before he darted down and flicked my nipple with his tongue. Fuck.

That was all it took before I was hard and panting for more. Edward traced his tongue slowly, deliberately around my nipple; and with each pass, I could feel my cock throb.

As much as my chest was enjoying his playful biting and passionate kisses, I knew I needed two things: his talented tongue in my mouth and friction against my massive erection. I pressed harder against him and began grinding as he grabbed my ass to pull me even closer.

More, more......The words kept playing in my head. I desperately needed more, but I knew Edward was moving slowly---all for me, respecting me. The ball was in my court and I knew exactly what I wanted.

With a shaky hand, I moved toward his fly and rubbed him through his jeans. I felt a surge of pride as his head leaned back and his eyes closed. I did that to him.

My lips moved straight for his chiseled jaw. Trailing kisses down the angular perfection, I inhaled deeply and licked the stubble. The short breaths that left his lips in gasps made it even more difficult for me to go slowly--to think at all. My actions, my breathing, my.......everything became erratic.

Edward took my hand and led me to the sofa. His breathing had returned to normal and he was intentional and sure of his actions.

Using a steady hand he cupped my chin and kissed me slowly, with a controlled passion that wasn't there before.

"You sure about this?" he asked while resting his forehead against mine.

I nodded yes as his hands squeezed my shoulders and he subtly pushed me into the couch cushion. With a calming breath, I attempted to relax as he knelt before me--unbuttoning my pants and guiding the zipper down.

Anticipation ran through my body as Edward lowered my jeans and briefs past my knees.

My eyes followed him as he bit his lip and journeyed down into my lap. I fisted the couch cushions as he teased me by tracing his tongue in slow, steady circles around the ridge surrounding my head. Suddenly, his tongue slid up and down my dick, coating it with the wetness from his sultry mouth. I struggled to breathe as he brought me to the brink of ecstasy. Just as I could feel my impending orgasm, he grabbed the base of my cock and began pumping. He gave me another one of his sexy little smirks and sucked the tip of my cock. I watched his cheeks suck in, making a vacuum around me, and felt the most intense orgasm rip through my entire body. After several minutes, he embraced me on the couch and I realized that my body was covered in sweat, my hair soaking wet, and I had a smile spread completely across my face. I lay with my head in Edward's lap, smiling like an imbecile. Things couldn't have been more perfect.

~~~ E ~~~

I looked down at Jasper's sweet flushed face and thought God, I am such an asshole. How could I do that to him? How could I start something under the circumstances? I had no intention of finding someone, possibly beginning a relationship now. I went on a ride that day ---to be alone. But I needed help, and he showed up when I needed him most. He helped me. He saved me. I knew from the moment I saw him, that if I was lucky enough to deserve such a beautiful creature, I'd never let him go. And here I am, his head in my lap, rubbing my thumb gently along his cheek, the luckiest asshole ever to be drafted.

I couldn't help but wonder how he'd react when I told him. Would he be pissed off; angry that I'd become involved without telling him the shitty truth? Maybe he'd be relieved; no longer concerned with the awkwardness of running into me at the grocery or the hardware store. Or, perhaps, he might feel sadness for this beautiful thing we'd begun with no time to nurture it and watch it grow. A bittersweet thought that was. As much as I'd like this Jasper Whitlock to care for me, I couldn't even bear the thought of his precious mouth in a frown or tears in those hypnotic eyes.

I had to tell him. I thought I should just do it quickly, like pulling off a band-aid, go fast to lessen the pain. Once Jasper opened his eyes, I kissed him gently, lovingly. "You are extraordinary." I told him. "I want nothing more than to lay here with you and hold you and just look at you forever."

"That'd be real nice." he said, still breathless. I got the impression those were the only words he was currently capable of forming.

"But, I can't." My words hung in the air for a moment. I watched him closely as it registered and his expression changed. His brow furrowed, creating deep crevices stretching the length of his forehead. The corners of his mouth turned down. He looked away from me.

I didn't give him the chance to speak. "I would trade anything in the entire world to have a lifetime's worth of moments just like this one, but I'm afraid that's impossible."

He brought his gaze up to match mine. "Why?" he asked. I could hear the insecurity and disappointment in his voice.

I leaned down and kissed his swollen lips. I rubbed my face against his already reddened cheek. I ran my fingers through his matted curls. He was breath-taking in the wake of our love-making. I whispered "I wish I'd found you sooner…I wish we had more time…" so he could feel the passion of my words on his lips.

And then, sharp and fast, to lessen the pain, I just said it.

"I leave in 8 days. Vietnam."

~~~ J ~~~

One second I was floating---on a breathless cloud---recovering from the best fucking blowjob I'd ever had, which lead to the most incredible orgasm from the sexiest person I had ever laid eyes on. And the next, it was like all the oxygen in the room had disappeared. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. I couldn't even cry.

I looked up at Edward and all I saw was what I was feeling mirrored in his eyes---in his expression. He kissed me gently, lovingly; his attempt to soften the blow at least for a moment. All my feelings were so new and so sudden, yet it felt as if I'd known Edward always. My every thought, every word, every breath since that day on Route 15, had been affected by his existence. He was a part of me now. It was as if he always had been.

Edward spent the next eight nights at my apartment. I made arrangements with Emmett for him to cover the garage during that time. He just assumed Edward was my visiting cousin, and I didn't tell him any different.

For eight days, I wanted peace, comfort, and quiet for Edward and I. We did our best to press a lifetime of love and togetherness into that short time. Other than the errands Edward had to take care of for the Army, we never left my apartment.

That final day, I took Edward to the train station. I walked beside him as he carried his bag, unable to show any hint of my feelings toward him. He was a soldier now, amongst his fellow soldiers. I looked around at the men, all in green like my Edward. These were the guys who'd be spending their days with him, fighting with him, protecting him.

I silently begged each and every soldier I passed that day to please take extra care to watch over him. They would never know our feelings, they couldn't. With all the hate in the world, Edward would be forced to live a lie with stories of loose women and cheap sex.

When it was time for him to go, I hugged him like a brother, patting his back. I whispered in his ear, "I will be right here when it's over."

He whispered back "I'll try to hurry home."

I stood beside the tracks and watched as the train pulled away from the station. I fought back tears as I stood paralyzed, my hand in an upright position until I could no longer make out the image of the train. Then I got on my Bella, and headed back to the garage where I was certain there was tons of work from my absence to keep my mind occupied.

~~~E~~~

It had been 6 months since I'd left Jasper at the train station. He wrote me 14 letters, I sent him 9. We'd heard rumors that Nixon made arrangements for a possible Vatican envoy that could hasten the end of the war. Everyone in my unit was ecstatic, eager to get home; anxious to leave the sights, the sounds and the smells of war behind. It had been quiet in our camp for a few days, so spirits were high with the news and all. I couldn't wait to get home, to see Jasper again. I went to sleep that night with a smile on my face, thankful for the possibility of an end in sight. Little did I know, a renegade Viet Cong unit had drifted terribly close to our camp.

I would never see the end of that night, let alone the end of the war.

When it was time, my sister Kate and her husband Garrett would head over to Jasper's apartment above the garage. She'd pass Jasper's bike and probably see mine parked at the side of the building. Garrett would be holding Kate's arm, supporting her body as she carried the package I had left with explicit instructions. Her eyes would be red and swollen. Jasper would open the door for these two strangers. He would recognize my eyes behind my sister's tears. He'd know.

Kate would hand him the box and he'd collapse with her in her arms. Garrett would hold them both together. My sister would sit on the couch with him as he opened my gift. He'd realize that they both already knew all about him---about us. Knowing I cared enough to share our relationship with my family would make him smile. Jasper would open the box to find my leather jacket inside. He would put it on, bring the collar to his nose and breathe—inhaling my unique scent he seemed to love so much. Kate and Garrett would stay with him and share stories about me, my childhood ---anything he might need to know.

Once he was alone, Jasper would open the envelope to read the note I'd written a few days before getting on that train; the one I'd hoped he'd never receive.

September 4, 1968

Dear Jasper,

If you're reading this, it can only mean that I won't be making it back to you. I am so sorry. Please know that it must have been a sneak attack or something beyond my ability to control because I would do whatever it took to see you again.

I need you to know that in the short time we had together, you changed my life. Because of you, I experienced a kind of love that I'd never even known existed. My days (and nights) with you were the best moments of my life.

I need you to promise me that you will go on with your life. Please do not mourn for me. Just remember helping a stranger on Route 15, inviting me up to your apartment, our tender embrace on your couch after a night of love making. Please think of me and smile.

Consider me your guardian angel now, Jasper. Any time you see someone broken down on the side of the road, know I am watching out for you as you watched out for me.

I love you---enough to want you to have a full and happy life. You deserve at least that, because that is what you have given to me. You mean more to me than you could ever know.

Forever Yours,

Edward

~~~ J ~~~

Hard to believe Edward's been gone almost 40 years now. I lost decades searching for who I was without him. I never encountered another man who brought out in me what Edward did. I guess that's when I realized what it really was---love. He is in my heart always. And I still shed tears in his memory.

I finally married---Victoria, actually. I guess I figured if I was never going to be truly happy anyway….Nah, I'm kidding. She turned out to be a good girl. And I taught her how to give good head so she could stay. I can't complain of the life we have together. It has been full.

I never did tell her or anyone about Edward and I. Not that I was ashamed. I wasn't. If Edward had returned from Vietnam, we'd probably still be together fighting for the rights of gay marriage. I never said anything to anyone, because as long as I didn't, it belonged to me alone; He was all mine. But if I shared it, then a little piece of "us" would have been given away. And I just couldn't have that.

My mind often drifted back over the years, to that short time we had together. Now and again, I could almost feel his hand brush my shoulder, his body warm against mine, his feathery breaths tickle my neck. Once or twice, I even closed my eyes while making love with my wife, and ---fantasized that I was back in Edward's arms. I am merely human. And, for those moments when my imagination could create the facade of my dreams, it was like having Edward Cullen back where he was supposed to have always been: in my arms.

A few years after we'd been married, Victoria and I had a son. We named him Edward, after a friend who I'd lost in the war. My Edward married his childhood sweetheart. They have a daughter now, my granddaughter. They named her after my bike; which my son wrecked sneaking it out of the garage without my permission at sixteen. I figured it was his way of making it up to me. And that girl---that Bella---she is hell on wheels!

Emmett is still very close with his brother Carlisle, who gets around quite well now with the help of modern prosthetics. About 30 years ago, the two of them married sisters---twins---twin strippers. Only Emmett! They all bought a bar a few years back, a little pub on the outskirts of town. Business was slow---with a recession and all, so Emmett began advertising themed nights, in hopes of getting larger crowds. Emmett advertised in the local paper that his bar would hold an old fashioned stag party. However, due to a misprint, the ad in the local paper read 'Come to an old fashioned drag party'.

Oh, they came. He tried to fight it at first, but they just kept coming. So Emmett is now the, not so much proud, but quite wealthy owner of a very successful gay bar.

How's that for irony?

It's strange how life turns out sometimes. There's no instructions, no real rule book; just every poor schmuck trying to figure it out for himself. Hell, look at my life. I had my ups and downs, but overall I think I did pretty well. It could've been worse. My only real complaint is how damn quickly the time has passed. The laughter and the tears, the joy and the sorrow, the love and the loss have all come and gone in a flash, a mere blink of an eye.

Looking back, who'd have ever guessed the very best days of my life would all have started with one long fucking day?

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