This is "Son of a Preacher Man" ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.

If you haven't read SoaPM, but plan to at some point, you should really go read that first and then come back here.

This does not actually happen in the SoaPM world. LaViePastiche wanted me to make that clear :)

In the SoaPM timeline, this would take place shortly after Chapter 22.

So, my first fanficfic... on with the show.

The Book of Peter

Jasper Hale

Two hours after throwing my bag in the back of Pearl, I was still aimlessly driving the streets of Phoenix. It had probably been a big fucking mistake to walk out like that, and I felt marginally bad about leaving Rosalie to the wolves, but there was no way I was enduring one more fucking second of that wreck that tried to pass as a family. I was sure I'd regret it, but for now, I was just happy - or whatever the fuck I was - to be out of that house.

It was already dark and I knew I'd have to find somewhere to sleep for the night. I considered going to Bella's, which was probably the worst idea I'd had in a week, and that was saying something. But the mere thought of the jackass' mom-mobile parked in front of her house made me want to gut-punch the nearest douche bag. I was also pretty fucking sure that trying to sleep anywhere in the same house as her would be a near-impossibility and I wasn't willing to shred either of our hearts anymore than I already had. Well, maybe my own, but not hers.

Going to Rogue West was always an option, but after the weirdness of last time, I wasn't sure what the reception would be like. Maria had reminded me of my open invitation when I'd left, but I didn't know if I was ready to deal with her right then. If I was smart, I'd probably just head down I-10 and not stop until I had crossed the city limits of San Antonio; the Rev and all of his ultimatums could go to hell. But I was not fucking smart, so that was out.

I circled around the west side of town again before realizing I was near Peter's. Peter was a good option. Safe. Probably the best of all the guys for this situation. It was likely he'd try to get me to talk about my feelings or some shit like that, but the last time I'd left his place, I had actually felt a little better. I sure as shit wasn't going to admit that to him, though.

I sent him a quick text and drove slowly through three stoplights while I waited for his response.

Yeah, I'm home. What's up?

Coming over. Be there in 3.

No problem.

I pulled into Peter's complex and hauled my bag to his door. He answered a few seconds after I knocked, smiling and stepping to the side to let me pass.

"So, this is unexpected. What happened?" He eyed my bag where I dropped it near the couch.

I made my way to the kitchen without waiting for an invitation. If ever an evening - or a week, or, hell, a year - called for a beer, it was this one. When I offered Peter a beer from his own fridge, he shook his head and frowned.

"The end-all, be-all of massive fucking blow outs with the Rev. I think we broke up but I'm waiting to see if he gives me back my pin."

Peter snorted but then grew serious again. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Back in the living room, I sprawled on the couch and drained half of my beer in a single go. "Not really, but are you going to pester me until I do?"


"Shit about I'm never going to make anything of myself and am nothing but a bad example for his precious 'Angel.'" Peter nodded but remained silent. "I believe his exact words were, in the voice he usually reserves for the particularly rousing sermons, 'You're toxic, boy - nothing but a poison that is slowly killing this family.'"

"He really said that?" Peter asked quietly.

"Yeah, and he wonders why I am like I am. I hate to break it to him, but if I'm toxic, I fucking learned it at home." We were quiet for a few more minutes as I contemplated the black hole I was steadily circling and Peter had what were sure to be Peter-like thoughts about how I could right my life. I finished my beer and moseyed to the kitchen for another one, wondering why I hadn't just brought the whole six-pack with me in the first place. I offered one to Peter, who waved it off, before resuming my place on the couch.

"I'm sorry, man. That's rough." He was frowning and cocking his head to the side.

"That's it? No big thoughts about how I should straighten out my shit and try to get my obviously very worthwhile life on track?"

Peter ran his hand through his hair and looked the most unsure that I'd ever seen him. "I'm not sure that any advice I can give you will help, Jasper. But I'm sorry you have to deal with that shit. I can't even imagine it."

Fuck. I knew I was totally fucked if even Peter didn't have any advice.

"Yeah, well, it's no big deal. Same shit, different day. In a few days, we'll hug and make up and carry on like we always do. The perfect fucking family." Even though the words dripped with sarcasm, in the past, there would have been some degree of truth behind what I was saying. This time, I wasn't so sure.

Pete flipped through the channels before settling on ESPN. We sat in silence as we listened to how the Diamondbacks had their asses handed to them earlier in the day.

I must have dozed off because the next thing I knew, the room was dim and I was warmer than I had been. I sat up, trying to clear my head, and saw that a blanket with weird ruffle things around the edges had been thrown over me. The TV was off and the only light in the room was filtering in from the kitchen. Peter emerged from the light, a bottle of water in each hand, and looked startled to see me sitting up.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you. I have to get up for work in the morning so I'm heading to bed."

"That's cool." I scrubbed my hand through my hair before reaching for the remote on the coffee table. I could already tell I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. Vestiges of a dream I could barely remember, but that I knew had been about that self-righteous ass who called himself my father, lingered in my head.

"In case you need it." Peter set one of the bottles of water down in front of me.


"Sure." Peter lingered for a minute, looking like he wanted to say something. When he didn't, I spoke up.

"Not to sound ungrateful, but why do you do this shit?"

Peter looked confused. "What shit?"

"This." I picked up the edge of the blanket and pointed at the bottle of water. "Trying to help me even though I'm Asshole Number One? Being nice even though I sure as fuck don't deserve it?"

"Why don't you deserve it? You've never done anything to me."

"Yeah, but all of the shit with Bella, remember? And how I'm a deplorable human being? Maybe my dad is right about everything."

"Jesus, where the hell did the self-loathing emo come from?" Peter sat down on the coffee table. "And, for the record, your dad is not fucking right about any of it." He was looking at me so intensely that it was a little unnerving and I slumped back against the cushion behind me.

"Whatever. You should be spending your time wooing some chick. Not trying to keep me from jumping off the nearest mesa." Fuck. When had I become such an emo asshole? If I were Peter, this would be right about the time I threw my ass out on general principle. I guessed that was what separated Peter and me.

"Yeah." He stood from the table and went to sit in the armchair Felix usually occupied when he was here, flipping on an overhead light on his way. "Not likely," he muttered.


"Nothing." He chuckled and shook his head. "Forget it. I think your web of misery is starting to suck me in."

"What the hell do you have to be miserable about, Mr. Big Shot, with your fancy job and nice apartment and shit? The only thing you're missing is a little lady to make you dinner when you come home from the nine-to-five." As much shit as I gave Peter sometimes, he really did have it all together. When I thought about it, it was admirable. It made me wonder what he was doing hanging out with stupid shits like James and me.

"Yeah, about that..." He took off his glasses and wiped them on his shirt before sliding them back on.


He paused for a few seconds and then said, "I'm gay. So, there's probably no little lady in my future."

I blinked a couple of times and then laughed, waiting for him to join in, but his serious expression didn't crack. There was no hint of the good-natured grimace he'd give me when I'd tease him about how he was... well, fuck me.

"Are you fucking serious, dude?" Where the hell had this come from?


"Why the fuck didn't you say anything?"

"Right, Jasper, like I'm going to say anything to you jackasses?" He sat back in his chair after abandoning his water bottle on the coffee table. "Especially with the way you're always teasing me about being a fag. 'Oh, hey, guys, guess what? I want to take that hot guy over there home tonight and screw him?' Like hell."

I tried to think of what to say, suddenly very aware of every retarded, big-mouthed comment I'd ever made to him. "Christ, Peter, no one's going to care. Sure, James will give you a hard time, but that's just James. And Felix won't give a rat's ass."

"Oh, Felix knows."

"What?" He just shrugged and I slouched back on the couch, feeling even more defeated for some reason.

"What about you?" he asked after a minute.

"What?" I was probably staring at him like he had two heads, but... well, it was sort of like he did and the second one had just sprouted from his shoulder.

"Do you care?" He took off his glasses again to rub his eye and I was suddenly very fucking aware of how I was... just... very fucking aware of everything he was doing. I shifted on the couch, trying to get comfortable again, but it wasn't happening.

"Nah, why would it matter to me?"

He nodded and blew out a breath. We sat in silence for a few minutes with Peter staring at the wall and me staring at the TV, which I hadn't even turned on yet. Once it started to feel like we were trapped under a blanket of awkward, I scrambled, trying to think of something to say.

"So, are you, uh..." I shifted in my seat again. God, this was weird but I had to at least make an attempt after he'd opened up to me, or whatever. Peter raised an eyebrow, waiting. "Are you seeing anyone?"

"Ah, no. I dated a couple of guys in college, but it's been awhile."


"Are we really having this conversation, dude?" I was a little offended at his disbelieving tone. Was I really that much of a prick? I groaned internally when I realized that yeah, I really was.

"Yes. I'm trying to be fucking supportive over here."

"Jasper, it's not a big deal. I don't need your sympathy or whatever you're feeling. I'm gay, I've known for a long time, I don't have a problem with my self-esteem."

Something occurred to me and I sat up straighter on the couch. "What about girls?"


"You know, those of the gender for which you apparently have no love? You're always talking about them and going out and shit."

He smiled half-heartedly. "Am I?"

I stared blankly at Peter while I thought back over the past year. There are had definitely been girls. There had definitely been Peter at bars with us. There had definitely... not been any indication of Peter actually going out with a girl. Christ. I was starting to feel like my head was in a bubble, something I'd been feeling a lot lately. What was with this world that it couldn't just give me a fucking break for like two days? I had basically run away from home after confirmation that I really did have the most screwed up family of all time... and that wasn't even counting the shit with Bella. And now this. I was tempted to just lie down and roll over on the couch and maybe I'd wake up in my own bed in the morning. Maybe little magic fairies could poof away the last eight years of my fucked up life.

"Well, fuck."

"Yeah, well, there you go. Now you can stop always harassing me about finding the perfect girl."

"I guess. Kinda opens a door for new harassing though, no?"

"Oh god. Don't make me regret telling you this shit."

I held up my hands. "Don't worry, don't worry. I swear I'll lay off the jokes. Speaking of... where's that pussy of yours?" I looked around for his damn cat. "Oh, wait... no pussy here, sorry." I moved in time to duck a pillow that nearly hit my head.


I snickered. "Yeah, so, there's no one in Sweet Pete's life? No object of your undying affections?"

"Give it a break, Jasper." He pushed my empty bottles around the table with his toe and I caught a telltale look on his face before he could suppress it.

"Hey, I saw that. There is someone."

"Why do you even care?" he asked, curiously.

I thought for a second and then shrugged. What was I supposed to say? Because you're a nice guy who deserves a nice guy? Don't fucking think so.

"Yeah, maybe there's someone. But it'll never work."

"How do you know?"

"I just know."

"Did you try?"

"Try? You mean like chase him around and be nice to him and then ditch him once I've fucked him? That kind of try?"

"Fuck you, Peter." Fucking Peter, always on top of Project Point Out Jasper's Mistakes.

"Fine, sorry." He pointed to the lukewarm beers at my feet and I handed him one. "To answer your question, no, I haven't tried."

"Well, how the fuck can you preach to me about what an idiot I'm being and how I'm going to regret shit, if you won't even try? Seems like kind of a double-standard, don't you think?"

"Not really."

"And, pray tell, how's that?"

"For one thing, nine times out of ten, when you see a woman, you at least know you have a shot. It's easier for you to put yourself out there if your basic chance of rejection is low. Most of the time, I don't even fucking know if he'll be interested."

"One way to find out."

"Just go up and ask? 'Excuse me. Are you gay?' Have you ever tried that?"

"Can't say that I have. Want me to try the next time we're out? See if I can grease the wheels for you?"

Peter shook his head. "Well, the 'object of my affection,'" he said, drawing ridiculous air quotes, "is decidedly not gay."

"How can you tell? No pink shirts or sweater vests?"

He flipped me off before answering. "I think it's mostly the fact that he dates women. Or girls."

"What does that matter? More people are up for experimentation than you'd think."


"Don't," I said pointing at him, "go gettin' any ideas. That's just what I've heard."

"I don't want experimentation. I want the real thing." He sighed and rubbed his face. "Hell. How did this become about me? I'm going to bed. I'll clear this shit up in the morning." He pointed to the scattered empty bottles to which I'd probably be adding. "Do you need anything?" When I didn't respond, he stood from his chair and stretched before turning off the light.

I watched him retreat for a few seconds before calling to him. "Hey, Peter." I waited until he turned around in the hall. "Thanks for letting me crash. And for talking. Even if it was kinda..."

"Gay?" he supplied.

I laughed, relieved we were already making jokes about his revelation. "Yeah."

"No problem. I'd rather have you here than sleeping under a bridge. Good night, Jasper."

"'Night, Pete." I stripped to my t-shirt and boxers and got myself somewhat comfortable on the couch under the stupid frilly blanket. I realized that Peter had managed to get my mind off the general fuckery of my life and was thankful, but even the realization of that brought all of it crashing back around my head. I would never be able to escape it.

. . . . . . . .

I didn't sleep. I couldn't. I lay on the couch and stared at the ceiling and then the wall until the light around the blinds in front of the balcony was too bright to ignore. At some point, Peter ventured from his room to the bathroom and then the kitchen, presumably getting ready for work, and I just stared at the wall some more.

Peter finally drifted into my view, wearing one of his preppy nerd get-ups and it was tricky to look at him and not see him in a different light.

"Are you going to class today?" He set a mug of coffee on the table next to me.

I groaned. I had certainly not grabbed any books when I'd fled Hale House last night and it wasn't like my head was in any place to be focusing on hours worth of incessant babbling anyway. "It seems unlikely."

"What are you going to do?"

I had thought about this while I'd tried to sleep. I couldn't go home yet. My cell phone had been suspiciously quiet during the night. I wasn't sure they would even let me back in; they'd probably changed the locks and had hung "good riddance" banners on the front porch, surrounded by balloons and streamers. The same options I'd thought about last night came back up.

"I'll just wander today, maybe go harass J. Then I'll probably head to Rogue for the night."

Peter didn't even try to hide his eye roll and accompanying sigh.

"Again with the Maria hate, Peter?"

"I don't hate her. It's just that you sell yourself short every time you go to her."

"What would you have me do? Go to Bella's?"

"No, unless you've changed your mind about how to handle things with her. Have you?" He continued when I didn't answer - what was I supposed to fucking say? "Just stay here. It's no trouble." He waved around vaguely. "Make yourself at home. I'll see you later." He shut the door two minutes later, leaving me to ESPN, a sneaky cat, and my thoughts.

. . . . . . . .

I passed the day like I often did lately: doing a hell of a lot of nothing. I spent the morning with Bob Barker and a bunch of over-enthusiastic women, took a good nap for lunch, and rounded out the afternoon with half of a pack of James' cigarettes I'd found stuffed into the couch.

My phone finally started ringing around noon and I knew that at least the Rev hadn't cancelled my cell plan yet. The call was, surprisingly, from Rosalie, and I let it go to voicemail. The next was from my mother, and I ignored that as well. In fact, I ignored them all until Felix called around 3:00. We made plans for him and to come over later with James so we could all go get beers. Maybe a little sniffing around some of my old hunting grounds was just what the doctor ordered.

After talking to Felix, I finally caved and listened to the collection of voicemails that had piled up. Rosalie's was unsurprisingly annoying with just the tiniest hint of worry thrown in. I couldn't tell if it was for show or if she really cared, so I chose not to think about it. Mom's messages were much less subtle, and by the third, she was openly sniffling and crying and even though I'd had a decent wallow-free day, I was reminded yet again of what terrible offspring I was. I decided to remedy those feelings the second best way I knew, and was well on my way to shitfaced by 5:00.

It did occur to me that cleanliness was next to godliness and I was in the bathroom, post-shower, pawing through my bag for clothes when I heard the front door slam.

"Honey, I'm home," I called.

"Hilarious," Peter muttered, loud enough for me to hear him through the door. I heard bottles clinking in the living room and felt like a jackass for not cleaning up after myself. Peter was being generous by putting up with my ass; I didn't need to take advantage of the situation. Maybe I'd give Dottie a call to see if she could come over while Peter was at work tomorrow - I could provide a little "thank you" cleaning or some such shit.

"I see you had a good day." He was looking at me curiously, probably wondering why, or even how, I'd managed to make it successfully through a shower after polishing off such a significant number of cold beverages.

"I don't know if 'good' is the word I'd use, but both the cat and I are still alive, and beggars can't be choosers."

"Are you going somewhere?" Apparently, I was not expected to be dressed at 5:00 p.m. on a Monday. I told him about the phone call with Felix. "What time are they coming over?"

"8:00ish. He said something about some study session."

"All right. Well, no sense in waiting. I'll grab us something if you left anything." Peter headed for the kitchen and when, a few minutes later, he still wasn't back, I followed him. I was surprised to find him leaning against the counter, beer in hand, head hanging, looking... dejected. I skipped over trying to interpret the emotional shit, still unsure how I felt about Peter's big news last night.

"What's up, man? Recreational warm-up on a weeknight? That's decidedly un-Peter."

He jumped slightly and looked up at my words. "Yeah, well. Sometimes you just need it." He took a long swig of his beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Also decidedly un-Peter.

My brain, not the smartest on a regular day, was surrounded by a thick beer haze. Yet, even through it, I could tell something was up with him. I wondered if it had just been a rough day at work or if it was something more.

"Seriously, man, what's wrong?" He just shook his head and took another sip of beer. He held out to me the extra one he'd been holding and I walked over to him to take it. As he handed it to me, his fingers brushed mine and the warmth of them against the cold of the bottle was startling. I twisted at the lid before I realized it was a Sam Adams and I'd need an opener.

"Here, hold it." I tipped the top of the bottle toward him and he eased off the cap with an opener that had been on the counter behind him. His hand touched mine again as he pulled back and this time the heat was less startling and more... something. Something that almost pushed through my consciousness. Almost.

I became very aware of how close we were standing. How Peter's hand, wrapped around his beer bottle, was only inches from mine. How the two of us - both of us bigger than the average guy - were taking up an awful lot of room in his small kitchen. Peter sipped his beer and I had the impression he was watching me from the corner of his eye but I couldn't be sure because my own eyes were trained, for some un-fucking-known reason, on where his lips were connected to the bottle. Something stirred in me, somewhere in my chest, and my breath hitched as I realized that I was actually, really and truly and fucking unbelievably, contemplating kissing Peter.

What the fuck?

The idea slammed itself to the forefront of my mind and my brain was too confused to register whether or not it thought kissing Peter might not be the right thing to do.

A second later, it had apparently decided it was a good thing to do, and I felt myself leaning, almost imperceptibly, toward him.

Some small part of my messed up head started screaming at me as I moved. I could practically hear, "DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, DANGER," blaring through the fog. But, like all of the stupid fucking shit I did that I knew was terrible, I ignored the warnings and did it anyway.

Peter was close enough that I barely had to move to press my lips against his. I did it fast, not giving myself enough time to change my mind or him any time to react and pull away. I left my eyes open long enough to register complete shock pass across his face when he realized what I was doing. But as soon as I let my eyes droop closed, I pushed away his expression and focused on... fuck, I didn't even know what I was focusing on.

My first thought was that it was pretty fucking weird not to have to bend down to kiss someone. Peter was maybe only an inch shorter than I was - not enough to count as any sort of difference. My second thought was that his lips were very different from those to which I was accustomed. Bella's were full and always soft against mine. Peter's were thinner and drier and my fucked up head took a second to wonder exactly when the fuck I had noticed that Pete had thin lips. My third thought was that it felt I like time had stopped. Both of us were frozen. There were no sounds around us, not even the annoying tap tap of kitty paws on the linoleum.

I almost forgot where I was and what I was doing until Peter exhaled slightly, his breath hot against my lips. At the same time he did that, he very gently opened his mouth and my lips moved with his, born more from years of kissing habits than anything. With the feel of his lips moving against mine, my brain snapped awake long enough to remind me that I had been the one to initiate the kiss, as fucked up as it was.

Time resumed around us as I tentatively moved my mouth against Peter's. For just a few seconds, I was aware of nothing but the sound of my heart pounding in my ears and my lips against his, which was... surprisingly... not as weird as my undrunk brain - had it been present - would have suspected.

I didn't know what to do with my hands or arms - hell, at that point, I was lucky that my brain was functioning well enough to make my mouth move - so I left them dangling at my sides, the nearly forgotten beer bottle loosely gripped in my left hand. I jumped slightly when I felt his hand on my chest, his fingertips scraping hard against me as he gripped a handful of shirt.

"Jasper," he whispered. The word tickled my mouth as his lips vibrated against mine. I felt his hand pulling my shirt tighter and suddenly I was on the other side of the galley kitchen, my ass hitting the edge of the counter hard. My eyes flew open to see Peter, wide-eyed, with shock and something I didn't recognize on his face. His hand was still extended in front of him from shoving me away. The open beer in my hand fell from my grip, spilling all over the floor and splashing my feet.

"What the fuck, man?" I gasped it out, a hundred emotions pouring through me too fast for me to register any of them.

"'What the fuck, man?' What the fuck is right, Jasper! What the hell was that?" His voice was loud in the small kitchen and I just stood there, letting beer pool around my feet as I tried to figure out what the hell had just happened.

"I don't know," I said, lamely, after a moment - very aware that it was the shittiest answer I could have given.

"You think because I'm gay and you're fucking Jasper Hale that I would automatically want to kiss you? Like it would be some sort of honor?" He spat the words, his anger evident. I was immediately really confused and really fucking sober all at once.

"No, I..." I dragged my hands through my hair in frustration, not even sure what to say. I had no idea why I'd done that and wasn't sure how to react in the face of Peter's obvious and surprising ire.

He set his beer down hard on the counter and yanked a paper towel from the wall-mounted roll so hard that the thing spun and released about a dozen sheets.

"Move." He pointed at my feet and I looked down at the puddle in which I was standing. I stepped to the side, trying to not make it worse.

"Look, Pete-" He held up a hand and I stopped speaking. He finished wiping up the mess while I stood by and felt helpless to the whole situation. He slowly threw away the paper towels and turned to me. His face and voice were calmer when he spoke.

"I'm not here for you to experiment with because you're confused or upset or just need to lose yourself. We both deserve better than that."

"I'm not- It's not-" I sputtered and sounded like a fucking idiot.

"What is it, then, Jasper?" Peter sighed and pulled off his glasses. "Huh? What exactly was your motivation there?"

I wanted to give him a good answer but I was seriously lacking any sort of valid explanation. I scanned through what he'd said and settled on the one thing that made any sense to me. "You'd rather I go to Maria?"

"No, I don't want you to go to Maria. I'd rather you didn't need to go anywhere. You're fucked up and don't how to channel it except through your dick. You have to figure this shit out before someone gets hurt, badly. You or someone else."

"You mean like Bella?"

Peter shrugged noncommittally and I was reminded yet again of what a massive asshole I was.

On top of that, he was right, as per usual, about the fuck-lot of it. "Shit," I muttered, and stalked from the kitchen. I collapsed on the couch, eyes closed, and was considering places I could cliff dive to a peaceful death when I felt Peter sit next to me.


I opened my eyes and took the fresh beer he was offering. We were quiet for a couple of awkward minutes while I tried to figure out a way to explain what I'd done in the kitchen. For once in my life, I decided to just keep it simple and honest.

"I'm sorry."

"You don't-"

"You're right," I cut him off, needing to get it all out now that I could feel it brewing beneath the surface, ready to choke me. "I'm fucked up and I don't know to deal with it. I've been like this for so long that I don't even know where normal Jasper ends and fucked up Jasper begins." I put my bottle on the table and leaned forward with my elbows on my knees. "I just... I just don't have a clue."

"I wish I could do something," he said quietly.

"Why? Why bother? I'm a lost cause at this point. Waste of time."

"Bullshit." He stared at his bottle and then back at me. "I care about you. I hate seeing you this messed up and feeling like I can't do anything about it."

"Well, you should save some of that caring for the mysterious object of your affection. Maybe if he's on the edge, a little attention will be what pushes him over."

Peter snorted and put his bottle down next to mine and then leaned back on the couch. His next words were so quiet I almost didn't hear them. "I am." He looked at me as he said it and then quickly focused on something on the wall in front of us.

For the second time in ten minutes, everything around me came to a screeching halt. I stared at Peter's profile as my brain struggled to make sense of what he'd said. Without warning, something he'd said last night floated to the surface of the murky water in which I was drowning.

I think it's mostly the fact that he dates women. Or girls.

Girls. He was always fucking pointing out how I was dating girls.

I remembered how I had asked him if he was jealous of Maria and me.

Well, maybe a little, but no - I just think you two are a little too much alike. There's no way you can be good for each other.

Fuck. Had his problems all along with Maria really been because he had been jealous? Of Maria?

But he'd always been supportive of Bella and me...

Things in my head continued to spiral out of control.

Unable to process it all to come up with anything meaningful to say, I went with the inappropriate. "So, why the hell did you push me away in the kitchen?"

"Of course, it always comes back to the physical shit with you." He laughed, but it was weird and humorless, and he got up from the couch. He stared out the balcony doors for a few moments before turning to face me. "I won't say that I didn't like what you did, but it was for the wrong reasons and you would have regretted it. Probably do already." Glasses off, polished on shirt hem, glasses back on. I was picking up on his nervous habits and this whole thing was becoming more surreal by the second. "So, yeah, no thanks. I'd rather be the gay friend with a crush than nothing..." He looked frustrated and like he had more to say, but that was apparently going to be it. He dropped into the armchair, eyes focused on me.

I tried to think about what I wanted to say and how to say any or all of it without sounding like a total freaking prick.

Of course, I failed.

"So, this crush... How long's that been going on?"

"I don't know," he said, staring at the wall again. "Like a year."

"A year? Since I moved here?"


"What the fuck, man? Me? You do realize what you're dealing with here, right?"

"Yes, Jasper, thanks for pointing out the utter ridiculousness of me having a crush on you, as if I hadn't already contemplated the idiocy of it a million times. You, who fucks everything that walks as long as she's fresh out of Driver's Ed, and makes the most disparaging comments about shit you don't understand, and is generally the biggest possible asshole. The irony is not lost on me, believe me."

I felt the hairs on my neck rise and had to grab my knees to keep from throwing my beer bottle. "Well, thanks for that very clear and brutal assessment of all of the wonderful things about Jasper Hale. How very fucking astute of you, Pete. Anything else to add before I hara-kiri so you don't have to be troubled by your feelings anymore?"

"No, I think that professing my love to my straight friend is just about all I can deal with for the day."

"Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold the fucking phone." I stood up and Peter rose in reaction. The coffee table separated us but the distance seemed both miles and inches at the same time. "Did you say love?" I knew I sounded incredulous but I couldn't help it. I was positive Rod Serling was going to appear at any moment.

Peter's mouth opened and closed a couple of times before he settled on, "Shit." He turned around and was out of the room, bedroom door slamming behind him, before I could blink.

. . . . . . . .

I don't know how long I sat and thought about nothing, since my brain had imploded and the remaining bits of gray matter were useless. When the overly shrill ring of my cell phone sounded, I nearly jumped off the couch.

"What?" I snapped without looking at the caller ID.

"Well, hello to you too, sunshine."

"Not the time, Felix. This is not the time."

"What's up?"

"Let's just say that all is not well at Chez Erlandsen."

"What happened? Is Peter okay?"

"Yeah... no... I don't know." A quick glance at the clock showed it had been almost two hours since Peter had gotten home from work. I couldn't hear any sounds from his room and I really hoped he hadn't jumped out a window. "What's up?"

It turned out that Felix' study group was planning to pull a semi-all-nighter to prepare for an upcoming exam and he wouldn't be joining us for the evening. I was unsure whether I was relieved we wouldn't be going out, or disappointed there wouldn't be the distraction. Because I really fucking needed a distraction.

Peter's door squeaked open just as I was hanging up. "Was that Felix?" Pete was still buttoning a dress shirt as he emerged from his room. "Are they on their way?"

"Yeah, it was Felix, but he cancelled. Study session running late, exams or something."

"James?" Peter finished buttoning his shirt and fiddled with the bottom of it.

"He already told James he wasn't coming over. James is supposed to wait to hear from us."

"Okay. Well, I'm going to change, then." I saw him jerk his thumb toward his room before I closed my eyes. I wasn't sure how a day of doing almost nothing had turned into something so fucking depressing and embarrassing, but it had. "Unless you want to go out with just James?" Peter's voice was closer, now, and I felt the couch cushion next to me move.

"I don't know what I want." I pressed the heels of my hands to my eyes and leaned forward.

"Jasper..." Peter started. I didn't move, unsure whether it would be easier for Peter to talk if I was looking at him or not. "I'm sorry I dumped that shit on you. It's the last thing you need right now, with everything else you have going on."

"Christ, don't apologize, Peter. I already feel like enough of a shithead. I'm sorry I'm such a fuckwad about... everything."

"You're not. I'm trying to imagine how I'd react in the same situation and I can't."

I thought about what it would have been like if I had admitted my love for Bella and she had laughed at me or told me to go to hell. That was exactly why I couldn't have told her. Chance of rejection was too high when it came to something like love. I was too much of a macho ass - or maybe a pussy - to admit it, but the idea of being rejected and shut down scared the shit out of me. I was sure if I had slipped, like Peter had, I would have done far worse than slam my bedroom door.

I tried to loosen myself up and stuff the tension back where it couldn't be seen. I angled my body slightly toward Peter's, hoping he'd know I wasn't angry or upset with him.

"Well, don't fucking worry about it, okay? We'll just... keep on keepin' on, or whatever that shit is."

He smiled and squeezed my arm. I saw his hand moving toward me but I still involuntarily tensed when he did it and immediately felt my stomach tighten uncomfortably when he frowned and started to pull his hand away.

He's just trying to be a friend. It doesn't matter that he feels more than that. It's no different from having a female friend comfort you.

Yeah, except I didn't really hang out with girls in platonic-type situations, did I? I was pretty sure that Bella's little friend Alice didn't count as a friend, regardless of her new relationship with James.

Before I could stop myself, I reached out and grabbed Peter's hand with my own, pulling it back to my arm. I squeezed his hand once before letting go, completely unsure about what the fuck I was doing. I just... didn't want him to look so goddamn sad. I was sick of people being sad around me all of the time. I was even sicker of being the cause of it.

Peter didn't move his hand and when I looked back up at him, a few seconds later, his eyebrows were raised in surprise. He tightened his fingers on my arm and I felt his thumb rubbing softly back and forth. I'd rolled up the sleeves of my shirt and his hand was on bare skin. His fingers felt kind of rough and his hand was about a hundred times bigger than Bella's hand and it felt... nice. Fuck.

"Jasper?" Peter sounded uncertain and I knew I was responsible for that, too. I was apparently the king of mixed signals, and the worst part was that I had absolutely no idea which ones were real and which ones were a product of my own confusion. Was Peter right? Did I really only know how to channel my angst through my dick? If that was the case, what I was doing to Peter right this second was beyond cruel and way worse than anything I had inflicted on Bella.

"Yeah?" I raised the arm Peter wasn't holding and ran my fingers through my hair.

"Look at me." I turned my face to him and watched as he studied me, looking for... something.

When he scooted a bit closer on the couch a few seconds later, I didn't pull back. I didn't do much of anything, really, but watch him. When our knees were touching and he was leaning toward me, he stopped and looked like he was waiting for something. It took me a second to realize he was waiting for me to pull away or push him back or give him some other sign that I had any sort of clear understanding about what I wanted. Which I didn't. So I sat still and didn't give any signals at all, which is apparently what Peter was looking for.

His hand on my arm tightened just as he leaned into me, and, in a reverse of what happened in the kitchen, placed his lips on mine.

We were still for a few seconds, which was all it took me to grow used to the light pressure he was applying. When he started to separate his lips the tiniest bit, I followed suit, tipping my head to create a better angle for us. Peter's hand slid up my arm and I moved my own cautiously toward his leg until just my fingertips were skimming his knee.

Peter opened his mouth wider and I felt his tongue brush the edge of my lip, very softly. The last remnant of sanity fled my body at the small, gentle gesture, and I knew I had lost whatever battle I was fighting with myself.

I met Peter's tongue with my own, twisting it gently to graze against his. His hand gripped my shoulder and I scraped at his knee as the kiss deepened.

At first, in those early seconds, as our tongues and lips tangled, thoughts of how kissing him was different from kissing girls dominated my thoughts. But the closer he got to me physically, leaning toward me until our chests were almost touching, as I shifted on the couch to make room, the dimmer those thoughts grew, until all that was left were thoughts about why kissing Peter was good.

His hand moved from my shoulder to my neck and I realized I'd never had a guy touch me there before in any way. His hand covered so much of my skin, able to rub my jaw and push his fingers into my hair at the same time. I pressed into his touch, not even bothering to deny that it felt good. I held his leg tightly, afraid to move my hand any farther. Kissing was one thing, but touching...

Which was why, when Peter applied gentle pressure to my shoulder, coaxing me backward onto the couch, I balked.

"Sorry, sorry." He broke away from me, panting lightly. His glasses were a little crooked and he pulled them off and tossed them on the coffee table. "Fuck, sorry." He shook his head. "Getting ahead of... whatever."

His lips were red and I stared at them as he spoke, barely able to suppress a groan when he licked his lip unconsciously a second later.

"It's okay. I just..." I shrugged. "I don't know," I said truthfully. "I don't know what the hell I'm doing."

Peter nodded and rubbed my shoulder, his fingers curving around and pushing into the muscle. The pressure was strong and firm, contradicting the uncertain look on his face and, surprisingly, that helped me decide what to do. Decide what I wanted to do. Or what I thought I wanted, at least.

I drew my leg further up onto the couch so that I was facing Peter, my knee bent, my other foot still planted on the ground. He watched as I shifted, his hand never leaving my arm, never letting up its constant pressure. Once I was situated, Peter basically sitting between my legs, I took a deep breath and uttered one simple word that I knew would change abso-fucking-lutely everything. I only hoped it would change it all for the better, because I sure as fuck couldn't handle it if things got worse.


Peter cocked his head and opened his mouth to speak but apparently thought better of it. He nodded once and then his lips were on mine again. The pressure was more firm this time, his tongue immediately in my mouth. I didn't try to fight it or even try to command the kiss, as I usually would have done. I still didn't know what the fuck I was doing. Peter apparently felt the same way because he broke from my mouth and hesitantly at first, and then with more confidence, kissed a line from my jaw up to my ear.

"I know you really fucking hate to not be in control of absolutely everything, but trust me, okay?"

I nodded and his lips brushed over my ear. A shiver ran through me at the touch.

His lips returned to mine and again he pushed at my shoulder. This time, I didn't resist and let him guide me back onto the couch. I landed with my head on the armrest and didn't even have to adjust to be comfortable; well, as comfortable as I thought I was going to be, given the circumstances. Peter was bracing himself above me, some of his weight on my legs, but mostly holding his body away from mine. I wondered if he was worried about freaking me out. I knew full well that if he lay on me, I was going to be able to feel his dick, and I sure as fuck wasn't sure how I felt about that quite yet.

I decided not to think about it until I absolutely had to. His lips were insistent and strong, controlling the speed of our kiss. He was right, I really didn't like not having control, but I let him have this. I was in no place to even attempt to run the situation.

I still didn't know what the hell to do with my hands. One was on my stomach, the other holding the side of the couch, just below where Peter was gripping to hold himself up. We were both starting to breathe more heavily, our breath coming in light pants in the other's mouth.

Peter's lips slowed on mine and then they were gone as he pulled back. "I really want to touch you."

I opened my eyes and looked up at him, hovering above me. With the pleasure of the kissing gone, the stark realization of what was happening came flooding back. I brought my hands to his chest instinctively, almost ready to push him off, when he shifted his weight back a bit. One of his knees was between my legs and he put his weight on it, which freed his hands so that he could place them over mine on his chest.

"Nothing scary," he said. The look on his face wasn't pleading, and neither was the tone of his voice, but I could tell it was there - that hope that I wouldn't say no and back out now. His blue eyes, darker than my own, were lit with something new.

He moved his fingers across the backs of my hands and down my arms. One came to rest in the middle of my chest, the other next to my head on the armrest.

"Okay," I said again. Because... it really seemed like it was.

Peter nodded and leaned back down to kiss me. I could feel myself responding more eagerly with each round. Every time he left and came back, I enjoyed the return a little bit more. I could feel myself losing whatever internal battle the various parts of my personality had been trying to force forward in my head. I would have to stop later to figure that shit out. Right now, a lust haze was replacing the beer haze that had previously been clouding my brain. I was surprised and concerned and confused to find that it didn't appear I was going to try to stop this.

As he slowly lowered himself over me, I finally put my hands into play. I brought one to his lower back, the side of my hand brushing his belt, and pushed the other one into his hair.

I was almost baffled, at first, when my fingers slid right through his hair and kept going. I was so used to masses of long brown hair surrounding me, tangling around my fingers. Peter's dark hair was shorter than mine but still long enough for me to grip, so I tried again and this time tightened my fingers in it, tugging a little. He moaned in my mouth when I did that, and the sound sent an unexpected wave of exhilaration through me. I could feel my toes curling and I did it again, to see how he'd react.

"Fuck, Jasper," he moaned into my mouth. He pulled his mouth from mine as his body settled on top of me, and buried his face in the side of my neck.

"You like that?" I whispered in the ear that was now near my mouth.

The first real words I'd said since he'd kissed me resulted in becoming painfully clear to me exactly how much this was affecting us both, as he thrust his hips against mine and our dicks rubbed together.

I arched back under him, head thrown back over the armrest, chest pressing into his, at the completely foreign sensation. It was one thing having a chick rub my dick with her hand or mouth or foot or what-the-fuck-ever, but it was something different to feel another guy's dick against mine. It was like humping a pole in a bus or... another guy's dick. I almost laughed as my poor, bewildered brain took another turn toward loonyland, but Peter thrust gently against me again and all coherent thought was forgotten.

I dug my fingers into his waist and hair, trying to draw him closer. He turned his head and our lips met again, and his tongue in my mouth slowly took up the rhythm of his hips. Without thinking about what I was doing, I raised one of my legs and hooked it around the back of his thighs, pulling him more tightly to me still. His movements stuttered and then picked up speed as he rocked against me, pressing me into the couch.

The heat between our bodies was intense. My skin felt like it was about to combust anywhere he was pressed against me. I didn't know if it was the friction of our movements or something else, but I wanted to shred all of the fabric between us to release some of the heat that was building. I pushed against him with my hips, moaning into his mouth as the full length of his dick rubbed against mine, up and down, up and down.

Peter pulled his lips away and pressed his forehead to mine.

"Fuck, this is... ugh."

"Christ, is it always like this?" I managed. Did it always feel like being consumed? And we hadn't even taken any clothes off yet.


I turned off that thought just in time to keep my brain from short-circuiting.

"No, and I'm not... ugh... I'm close." He brushed my lips with his and then moved to my neck, his tongue leaving wet trails along my skin.

I was surprised to realize that my own legs were starting to tighten, that familiar feeling building in my stomach and spreading outward. It had been a real fucking long time since I'd come in my pants, but it seemed like tonight was a night full of firsts and I wasn't about to push him away or make him stop. I also didn't think I was ready to suggest that we strip to save messing up our clothes. I was perfectly fucking content letting nature take its course just like this.

"Come on, Pete, come for me," my newly gay... bi?... self whispered into his ear. I licked a line around the outside of his ear and then bit it gently. "Come for me."

With the most masculine groan I'd ever heard above me, Peter froze and then shuddered, his head pressing into the armrest next to me. I kept my mouth on his ear, breathing lightly and pressing my lips against his skin.

"Fuck, Jasper." His words were muffled by the armrest and the side of my head, but his contentment was obvious. I thrust my hips gently against his at the sound and was rewarded with another groan. "Fuuuuck."

The heat from Peter's body was suddenly gone as he pushed himself off me. He held himself above me for a minute, staring intently at me, before shifting himself to lean back on his knees again. I chuckled as he adjusted his jeans, which I was sure had to be as uncomfortable as fuck already. As I watched, he got himself situated, and then, keeping his eyes on mine, slowly ran a finger from my belt down and over my dick. His fingers pressed against me hard, and I pushed back against his hand without thinking, my body looking for the friction that had just vanished.

I closed my eyes and focused on the feel of his hand on me as his moved it, his palm pushing up, his fingers stroking down, as his hand replaced his body. Even through my jeans, I could tell that old line about a guy jerking you off better than a woman was true.

"Jasper." I opened my eyes to find Peter watching my face as his right hand worked me over. His other hand was on my belt, playing with the buckle. "Can I do something? For you?"

My head ran through the possibilities of what he might have in mind and quickly settled on blow job. My stomach flipped slowly, and not from what Peter was doing with his hand, but at the thought of that. Was I really fucking ready for another guy to have his mouth on my dick? I had barely - barely - reconciled being okay with kissing Peter, not more than an hour ago. I wasn't even sure that tomorrow morning I wouldn't regret our high school-dry humping.

I ran my hands over my face, not wanting him to see the uncertainty that was brewing in me and threatening to break free. I knew it would hurt him if I refused... but it would probably hurt him worse if I freaked out in the morning or fled during the night because I regretted what we'd done.

I didn't feel him move, but he was suddenly over me again, his lips on my forehead between my hands. "It's okay. It's way too much, I get it." I removed my hands and looked up at him. He looked apologetic and I felt like shit for being my usual dickhead self. But nobody would blame me if I wasn't ready for that quite yet, right?


He pushed some of my hair out of my face and kissed me again, and everything in me tightened. Not because of any impending orgasm - which wasn't so impending now that his hand was on my cheek instead of my dick - but because he looked sorry and worried and... fuck me... sweet.

"It's okay," I murmured. "I... just... yeah, it's okay. When have I ever turned down... anything?" I chuckled and hoped it didn't sound false. Tension was building in me as I realized I was really, actually concerned about hurting Peter's feelings and about doing everything I could to make sure that didn't happen. Where the hell had this inclination been when I'd watched Bella crying in my driveway? I shivered when I realized that the feeling I had now to keep Peter's from being hurt was stronger than what I'd felt then for the pretty, innocent brunette...

"Fuck," I breathed, realizing I had just crossed an important line in my head. Fuckity fuck fuck.

"What's wrong?" Peter started to pull back from me, looking as if he was about to climb off, and I had to stop him. I raised my hands to grip his shoulders tightly and hold him in place.

"Nothing's wrong. Just... don't go." I tugged on his shoulders to pull him back down to me. He collapsed over me willingly and our lips came together again as we reassured each other that things were... okay.

"Did I hear you say okay?" he asked into my mouth.

I nodded, pushing on his chin so I could kiss the side of his face. "You did."

He pulled off me again and quickly undid my belt. The button and zipper on my jeans followed, and when he pulled my dick from my boxers a few seconds later, I groaned loudly.

"Do you like that?" I opened my eyes to see him smirking down at me, kneeling between my legs. And it was that ridiculous fucking smirk and the light in his eyes that had me hard and ready in his hand in seconds. I could practically feel the tension - which had been hanging in the air since the words "I'm gay" had passed his lips last night - lessen.

"Fuck yes," I groaned, trying not to embarrass myself by just coming in his hand. "What the fuck are you waiting for, anyway?"

He laughed and scooted back, and seconds later, his tongue, hot and wet, was circling the head of my dick.

With my eyes closed, it might have felt like just about any other blow job, but with my hand in his short hair, his large shoulder pressed into my leg, his big hand wrapped around the base of my dick, I knew it was different. Everything about it was different. His tongue made skilled passes over my head, his teeth very carefully scraped up the sides, and his fingers softly brushed my thighs. It was the same and like nothing I'd ever felt before, all at the same time. I moved my hips as slowly as I could and gripped the back of the couch hard. I wanted to thrust into his mouth. I wanted to pull him up to me so I could kiss him. I wanted, I wanted, I just... wanted. Wanted him.

The thought of it, what he was doing to me with his mouth and hands, how he was caressing me both carefully and with force, pushed me over the edge and I arched my back and exploded in his mouth without warning.

I groaned loudly as his mouth moved more slowly and then stopped and I tried to rein in the emotions that were rapidly overtaking me. I lay still as I felt Peter carefully doing my jeans back up and then kneeling over me again.

"You okay?" he asked. I nodded, afraid to open my eyes because I was uncertain what I was going to feel when I looked at him. "You sure?"


His fingers were in my hair again, pushing it off my sweaty forehead. "Okay. Take your time." A brush of his lips against my skin and he was gone - off me, off the couch - and my body was left feeling bereft at the absence of his heat and weight.

I sat up a minute later, and then stood too quickly. I nearly lost my balance as all of the blood rushed from my head, and I would have stumbled if Peter hadn't been there, arm around my waist.

"Hey." His voice was low and reassuring as he tightened his hold on me, keeping me upright as I regained my equilibrium. "I've got you."

I knew then that whatever the fuck came of this Twilight Zone I'd entered, where my family and other life issues were somehow just a backdrop to what was happening in this living room, he did.

He really fucking did.

In SoaPM, Peter is not gay. I am fully responsible for what's been done here. Jasper and Peter won't be hooking up in SoaPM :)

After the last SoaPM update, a couple of the ladies (*cough*nerac&RedVelvetHeaven*cough*) were discussing potential interpretations of goings-on in SoaPM. From there, I wrote a Twi25 entry, "Sour," and then this, which continues "Sour." LaViePastiche was nice enough to allow me to write this and indulge us all. She read and approved all of this.

I tried to do as much justice to LVP's Jasper and Peter as I could while still modifying them a bit, but I could never come close to writing like she does. The stuff going on in Jasper's head is all my own interpretation. Try not to judge me - or Jasper or Peter - too harshly. :) I just want Jasper to be happy. Really, this is just a fantasy to help me cope with the Jasper/Bella heartfail.

Legna989 fixes my messes AND LVP's, so this was probably some sort of weird colliding of universes for her. She was, as always, the most awesome of the awesome.

We'll be posting a pic of SoaPM Peter in LVP's thread on Twilighted. The link is in her profile. The visual is definitely worth your time.

Thanks for reading!