A/N: As always, we'd like to thank our wonderful betas and pre-readers, EchoesOfTwilight, kimberlycullen10, and theladyingrey42. You all keep us sane and help make our words prettier - we love you!

Our apologies for the wait, we hope you'll find it worth it.

We don't own Twilight, but these boys own us.


The jolt of the landing gear on the tarmac was more welcome than I could remember it being in a long time. I knew it was still several hours before I would see Jasper, but being back in Boston brought a sense of peace. I smiled as I pulled out my phone, turning it back on and looking at the latest picture of Jasper as I waited for us to be ready to get off the plane.

And waited.

And waited.

The flight attendants finally let us know that there was some sort of problem on the runway and that it might be some time before we were allowed to leave. I sighed, letting my head drop back against the chair as I ran my finger along the screen of my phone.

Finally, I sent a text to Jasper, letting him know I'd landed at least and that I was looking forward to seeing him. He didn't answer, and as the minutes stretched on, I found myself frowning at the phone more and more.

When it buzzed at last, a smile flitted across my face until I saw that the text wasn't from Jasper – it was from Mike.

You owe me big time. Tell J his ass better stay home sick tomorrow – or else.

"What the hell?" I muttered under my breath. I sent a message back, asking what he was talking about, but all I got was a cryptic:

You'll see.

Clearly, I wasn't getting anything else out of him, so I just grumbled to myself as I sent a text to my family members instead, letting them know I'd gotten home okay. They were all at work, so I didn't expect a response, and I was left with nothing to do but think.

My thoughts, naturally, drifted between Jasper and the past two weeks. The rest of my trip had been fun. It was great to spend some time with my family, and I was really happy to be able to help Tanya. We'd finished her nursery, and I'd surprised her with a set of stuffed animals for the shelf we'd installed. Seeing her there, surrounded by all those things for the baby, finally made it real for me. She'd cried, and I'd gotten a little emotional myself. Something about this trip had made me understand at last what she'd been trying to say all along.

In between bouts of working with her, I'd spent time with Aunt Livy, helping her sort through some things in the attic. The trip down memory lane was both fun and painful, making me thankful that it was broken up by visits from Emmett and Rosalie. Rose and I had bought the new car for her to work on, and I'd helped her with the initial overhaul. It needed a lot more work than the last one, so I was hopeful that it would keep her busy for a while.

Several of my friends had called throughout the week as well, and I had an invitation to a Christmas party that I had yet to discuss with Jasper. After the Halloween party disaster, I wanted to be able to see his face when I asked him. I knew it was kind of ridiculous – after all, our relationship had changed drastically since then – but I wasn't taking any chances.

Jasper himself dominated most of my thoughts, though, both sitting on the plane and throughout the entire trip. I'd been relieved beyond belief that we talked every day. He seemed much more comfortable with expressing his thoughts and feelings than he ever had been with me before, and I couldn't wait to be able to see and hold him and hear him say he loved me again.

It was so strange, leaving right after he'd said those three words for the first time. He'd only said them that one time in person, and we hadn't even had a chance to do anything afterward. Between that frustration and the two weeks apart… well, I definitely had some plans for Mr. Whitlock. It was a good thing Mike was making him take tomorrow off.

With him on my mind, I glanced down at my phone, only to find that he still hadn't answered my text. I sighed, fighting off the slight pang I felt that he was still working – and hard, apparently. When he'd offered to pick me up, it had made more sense at the time to tell him no. I knew it would mean working overtime for him on the days leading up to my arrival, and I thought the few hours alone would give me time to get ready for him.

It was just a few hours anyway… right?

That was before I'd gotten here. It was frustrating to be so close yet unable to see him – about as frustrating as being stuck on that damn plane. Just as I was about to demand to know when the hell we were going to be able to get off, the flight attendants began giving their final instructions.

This time, my sigh was of relief as I stood and stretched as much as I could in the tiny cabin. I waited until the initial rush had passed before gathering my carry on, so I was one of the last off the plane. I wasn't in any particular hurry, and I hated the push of bodies from those people who were.

When I got to baggage claim, I was left cooling my heels with everyone else because our bags weren't ready. I pulled out my phone out of habit, but Jasper still hadn't answered. I was just about to send Mike a text instead to ask if Jasper was okay, when I heard someone call, "Edward!"

I turned around, searching blindly until I saw familiar blond hair just over the top of a woman's head. I smiled as I watched Jasper edge his way through, and suddenly he was just… there – striding toward me with a huge grin on his face.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, stunned.

He didn't answer. He swept me up, crushing me against his chest as he placed a searing kiss on my lips. I didn't pay attention to where we were or who was around us – I just put everything I had into kissing him in return. His lips parted, his tongue brushed mine, and we were both breathing heavily when we finally separated with a soft hum.

"I missed you," he said softly, the corners of his eyes crinkling as he smiled.

"God, I missed you," I answered simply, reaching up to brush blond waves from his forehead.

His smile broadened as he kissed me once more, softly and sweetly, and then he leaned over to murmur, "Come on… let's grab your bags. I think we need to get you home, Dr. Masen."

"Yes, sir," I answered playfully. He slipped his hand into mine, and suddenly I was aware of our audience. Most people wore slightly amused smiles, though one or two looked at us with disgust. I fought the urge to address them and instead focused on the man beside me.

He was beaming and beautiful, and I couldn't believe he was there. His thumb was rubbing the back of my hand as we watched the suitcases begin appearing. He kept glancing at me, catching my eye, and my excitement grew as I watched the hunger on his face. We didn't really speak; there was too much to say to talk about trivial things in the middle of the airport.

The minutes seemed interminable, but finally my bags appeared. When I reached toward them, Jasper grabbed one and barely gave me time to get the other before he was pulling me away.

As we were making our way outside, I finally found my voice. "What are you doing here?"

He glanced at me over his shoulder with a grin. "Mike kicked me out of my office."


He nodded, and I chuckled. "I guess that explains his text…"

"What text?" he asked, peering around as we stepped outside. Deciding which direction we needed to go, he led the way while we talked.

"He told me we owed him."

Jasper laughed and shook his head, pausing to kiss me. I hummed quietly and drew him closer, needing to taste him once more. He responded enthusiastically until he pulled away at last.

"We should go home," he murmured. His eyes were smoldering, and I could feel his excitement in the way his fingers squeezed my hip. It mirrored my own, making me curse the distance we still had to travel.

As we started toward his car once more, I cleared my throat. "Oh, he also said you better stay home tomorrow."

Jasper frowned at me. "He said what?"

I shrugged but couldn't stop my grin as I pulled my phone from my pocket and scrolled through to find Mike's message. "He said, 'Tell J his ass better stay home sick tomorrow – or else.'"

When I raised my eyebrows at him, he grinned wickedly. "He did, huh? Looks like I'm going to owe Mike for more than just today…"

As he trailed off, he smacked my ass lightly, making me jump. We didn't talk much more as we finished our trek to his car. He took my bags and put them in his trunk, arranging them carefully even though I could sense his impatience – or maybe I was just projecting my own onto him.

When we slid into the seats, he took a moment to watch me in silence, and then he leaned across the console. He threaded his fingers into my hair and stroked my cheekbone with his thumb before saying gently, "I love you."

It was all I could do not to attack him then and there, location be damned. He looked so vulnerable, and his words were so clearly heartfelt that I swallowed hard. "I love you, too, Jasper," I whispered, smiling when his smile grew.

He wet his bottom lip as his eyes roamed my face, and then he pulled me to him. His lips captured mine in a soft kiss that grew in intensity, becoming more insistent as the moments passed. I didn't want it to end – ever. I wanted to stay there, kissing him and hearing those sweet words from him, but he eventually pulled away.

His grin was impish as he said, "Come on. I have other plans for you."

Just that quickly, I was ready to go as well. I shifted in my seat, pulling uncomfortably at my jeans as Jasper started the car, chuckling lowly. The next few minutes were spent trying to make our way through the airport traffic until we finally found ourselves on the road, moving a little more smoothly.

He reached over then, resting his hand on my thigh, which he squeezed and rubbed as if convincing himself that I was really there. After two weeks apart, I knew the feeling. I couldn't stop watching him and touching him, running my fingers along his hand and up his arm. When he let his hand drift up, brushing my crotch teasingly, I inhaled sharply.

"Better watch that," I muttered. He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye, and I added, "It's been way too long since you touched me… unless you want this to be over before it starts, you might want to go easy."

With a cheeky grin, he said, "I know you too well, Princess. Even if it's over soon, you'll be ready to go again in a little while."

We laughed together, teasing each other as he drove. When he pulled to a stop in front of my house, I felt a strange, almost nervous fluttering that I couldn't explain. I knew it was probably from being gone for so long, and I had a feeling Jasper felt it, too.

He stared at my house before killing the engine, and then he turned to look at me. After studying my face for just a moment, though, he growled softly and said, "Get your sweet ass inside."

I grinned, loving the way his playful side was emerging. It was so unlike the Jasper I'd returned to find last time that my heart soared, feeling lighter than it had in a very long time. Unfortunately, we had to deal with the mundane things like getting my luggage inside, but as soon as it had been dropped in my empty foyer, Jasper hung his keys on a hook and turned to me.

He didn't say a word as his hands went to my hips, his fingers hooking into my belt loops as he pulled me to him roughly. He ravaged my mouth, all lips and teeth and tongues until I was breathless and having to pull away.

I put just enough space between us so I could kick off my shoes, and he did the same while his hands went to work on my pants. His hand slipped down, palming my cock through my jeans, and I groaned loudly as I pressed forward, encouraging him.

I reached up to loosen his tie but then thought better of it, holding onto it as I walked backwards toward the stairs. Jasper had no choice but to follow, but if he minded, it didn't show in his panting breath and needy moans.

We stumbled up the stairs, our hands roaming and our lips meeting skin again and again. By the time we reached my bedroom door, Jasper had my pants unfastened and hanging around my thighs. His hand wrapped around my cock, and we both moaned. His kisses became frenzied as he pushed me toward my bed while I tried to unbuckle his belt.

We stopped when my calves hit the mattress, and we hurried to finish undressing each other. Jasper's tie was tossed to the floor as he ripped it over his head, and his pants followed soon after. I pushed them over his hips and followed them down, kissing and licking along his abs. I'd nearly forgotten how delicious his salty skin tasted, and I moaned as I pulled him closer, biting him hard enough to make him hiss.

He cursed, his fingers tightening roughly in my hair. "God, please…" he mumbled, and I smiled, licking my lips in anticipation.

I trailed my tongue up his cock, my tongue ring stuttering along the way. He moaned, "Fuck!" and thrust his hips, his hand moving to cup the back of my head. When I swirled my tongue around his head, his nails scratched my scalp.

My hands slipped up his legs to grip his thighs, my fingertips caressing his ass as I took him deeply. I relished the way he filled my mouth and his bitter flavor at the back of my throat. Swallowing, I sucked lightly, and he moaned so loudly I felt the vibrations. Smiling to myself, I began to move, building from a slow rhythm to the quicker cadence I knew he loved. His hands fell away, his knees trembled, and the satisfaction of doing that to him just spurred me on.

Before long, he was tugging at my hair, begging me to stop between curses and gasps. With one last, long lick, I pulled away and grinned up at him, my hand moving to stroke him soothingly. His blue eyes gazed down at me, smoky and burning as he urged me to my feet.

Once I stood, he wrapped his arms low around my waist, pulling me to him roughly. His lips met mine in a passionate kiss, and before I even registered what was happening, my back was hitting the sheets as Jasper settled over me.

He rocked his hips, his rigid cock wetting my stomach as it brushed against mine. My knees spread, my feet moving to wrap behind his thighs as I tried everything I could to bring him closer.

So many times, I'd thought about my homecoming, imagined having a few hours to clean up, light some candles, maybe even fix a little fruit and wine. Then, once I'd pampered Jasper and teased him, then I would bring him to bed.

This was so much better.

There was something so real, so visceral in his intensity, something that was just him and the way he loved. He quickened my own desire, making me feel a feral passion that had been sorely lacking with Alistair.

He pressed himself up, panting as he scattered kisses and nibbles along my jaw. I rolled my hips into his, my hands slipping down his back to grab his ass. I wanted to pout when his hips moved away from mine, but then I realized that he was only making room for his hand to slide between our bodies, wrapping around both our cocks.

He stroked us fluidly, our silky skin moving together as his fingers teased our heads before sliding all the way to the bases and back again. His rhythm faltered as he reached out with his other hand, fumbling for the drawer until I brushed his hand away. Then, he focused his attention on me, lowering his head to kiss my neck, licking at the sweat beading there as his hand squeezed and glided along our lengths.

I pulled condoms from the drawer and muttered as they tried to be difficult. Nudging Jasper so he would lift his head, I tore one off with my teeth, and he grinned before leaning down to take it from me.

He sat up that way, condom between his lips as he reclined on his heels. My eyes were trained on him as he stroked himself before tearing the wrapper open and rolling the condom down his length. I reached out blindly, feeling for the lube.

And then cursed when I realized it was still in my suitcase.

"Mother fucker!" I muttered, sitting up to peer into the drawer.

"What's wrong?" Jasper asked breathlessly, but I was too busy shuffling things around to answer. I knew I had to have more in there somewhere.

Jasper chuckled as he reached past me and plucked out a tiny, travel-sized pouch of lube.

"Thank god," I breathed, and he laughed outright.

He tore the top off the packet and poured it into his hand, lubing himself before slipping his hand between my thighs. He lowered his body over mine, groaning as his fingertips met my sensitive flesh. "Thank god indeed," he growled, biting my earlobe.

I gasped, loving the hell out of the exquisite sting I felt as his fingers entered me. It just wasn't the same alone, no matter what the situation. Jasper murmured, keeping up a steady stream of cursing and encouragement, and in very little time at all, his head was stretching me to perfection.

He entered me halfway and then shifted, his palms pressing into the mattress as he looked down at me from only a few inches away. He kissed me softly, and then his eyes rolled back as he inched his way in fully. My thighs quivered as I struggled to keep still, and Jasper's kisses became deeper, more insistent, telling me he felt everything I did.

For long minutes, I knew nothing but him. My world was the salty sweet taste of Jasper's lips and his musky fragrance. It was his hard body rocking with mine in the darkness behind my closed eyelids. I panted and moaned and called out without a thought as to what I was saying or how loudly I was saying it. It wasn't until Jasper murmured, "God, I love you, too," that I opened my eyes, trying desperately to see him.

He met my gaze and then rested his forehead against mine, his breathing growing more erratic with his rhythm. I focused then on the feeling, on the exquisite places he was hitting deep inside of me, and I reached between us to grasp my cock. My hand stroked with his beat, following the motion of our abdomens, and it took only a few strokes before I felt that tingling in my hips that made me dig my heels into the mattress. My hand sped along my length as I prayed for that final little push that would send me over the edge, and then I heard Jasper call out, his voice raspy and hoarse and delicious.

I felt him spasm, his entire body shuddering, and that was all it took for me. Warmth spread over my chest, stickiness coating both of us, and I just pulled him closer. My arms wrapped around him, my palms pressing against his shoulder blades as I kissed him deeply. He was laughing and panting and kissing me all at once, and when we finally parted, it was with smiles on both our faces.

He slipped away, making me mutter at the feeling of loss, but he quickly disposed of the condom in my bedside trashcan and then wrapped me in his arms. He held onto me so tightly, leaving me warm and content as he kissed me languidly.

Which is why I was utterly confused at the first words he spoke.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled between kisses.

"What the hell are you talking about?" I whispered, barely pausing.

"I didn't mean to… ahh… well, basically force you to give me a blow job…"

"What?" I asked, confusion finally breaking through my blissful fog. When I shifted back slightly to look at him, he was watching me with a quiet, sheepish smile. "I think I'm the one that started that."

He caressed my cheek with the back of his hand. "Yeah, but I meant for this to be about you."

"Jazz? Is everything okay?" I felt a surge of fear as thoughts of my last trip resurfaced. Memories of his frantic kisses and what they had hidden threatened to overwhelm my happiness, but I forced them back. My eyes searched his face for any sign of the same despair he'd worn then, but I couldn't find any.

"Everything's fine, Princess. I swear," he reassured me, peppering my face with kisses. "I just wanted to treat you right."

"You did, Jasper," I said softly, earnestly. "This wasn't about me or you, baby. This was about us." I emphasized my words by taking his hand, lacing my fingers through his between us.

He smiled at me then and swallowed, his eyes darting between mine before studying the lines of my face. "I like the sound of 'us,'" he mumbled.

There was something nervous in his manner – just a slight quickening in his words, a tension around his eyes. My chest tightened, but before I could ask him what he meant, he cleared his throat.

"Edward, I know this is stupid… but after… well, everything… I just want to know. For sure."

What the fuck is going on..?

"You want to know what?" I asked quietly, proud of the way my voice held steady.

"You're my boyfriend, right?" he answered shyly, his cheeks flaming red the instant he realized the words were out of his mouth.

I knew I shouldn't laugh, but he looked so goddamn adorable and unsure that a chuckle escaped me. "Hell, yes, I'm your boyfriend. What brought that on?"

He shook his head. "I'll explain everything later. I just… fuck, I just… I fucked up so badly before." He glanced over my shoulder and sighed before looking back into my eyes. "I argued semantics, even with myself. I don't want to be able to do that anymore. I don't want you to be able to do that… not that you would."

I put my finger over his lips. "You're babbling, beautiful."

He smiled and kissed my finger before taking a deep breath. "Edward, I want to be with you. Only you. And I want you to be with just me."

"That's all I want, too," I managed to say, even though my heart was suddenly beating so rapidly that I worried for my health.

His smile spread slowly and completely on his lips, lighting up his whole face. He rolled me onto my back, straddling my waist as he kissed me thoroughly. His fingers tangled in my hair, pulling me closer as he bit my bottom lip with a grin. "You're mine," he growled.

"Oh, hell, yes," I answered, my hands splaying on his back as I held him tightly.

Long minutes were lost in kissing him, connecting again after being apart for so long. Eventually, he kissed me softly, lifting up slightly to look at me. "Welcome home," he murmured.

Riding the high of being with him again and having him feel so much more confident, I took a chance. "Home's where you are, baby."

I watched his eyes closely, but there was no fear that I could find. He bit his bottom lip and smiled shyly. "You're too good to me, you know."

"Not a chance," I argued, sitting up to hug him. He shifted so he was sitting in my lap, his legs wrapped around my waist and his arms around my shoulders.

We sat that way for a while, talking about everything and nothing at all, until my legs began to fall asleep. Laughing, he slid away, and needles of pain immediately shot up and down my legs.

"Fuck!" I cursed, shifting to let my legs dangle over the side of my bed.

Grimacing, I forced myself to stand, while Jasper watched and chuckled. When I shot him a dirty look, he grinned wryly. "You're cute when that cool reserve cracks."

I couldn't help but smile. "You know this is your fault, right?"

He shrugged nonchalantly, but then he stood and slipped his arm around my waist, helping me walk around the room until the feeling was back in my toes. "Thanks," I muttered.

"Any time," he said, kissing my cheek. "Now, what did you want to do today?"

I glanced at the clock to find it was still relatively early in the afternoon. "Food, maybe? You hungry?"

"Starving," he answered promptly. "Come on." He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the bathroom, where he reached in the shower and started the water. Watching him move so freely and confidently around my house made me smile, and I hoped that this was the start of something permanent – that he wouldn't be scared away again.

Sated for the time being, we took our time in the shower to just enjoy each other. Jasper washed my back, scratching his nails lightly along skin that hadn't been touched in too long. He wrapped his arms around my waist from behind to clean me thoroughly, his lips teasing the skin of my neck. The steam surrounded us, enclosing us in warmth that made the whole experience almost surreal.

When I washed his hair, he nearly purred in appreciation, his lips parting to emit a loud groan. He tilted his head back, and I helped him wash away the suds before sliding my hands down his back. They came to rest on his hips, and I pulled him closer, kissing him softly. He responded with a smile and nibbled my bottom lip, his hands moving to grasp my ass.

As if in mutual understanding, we parted with a few caresses before we finished cleaning up and stepped out of the shower. I reached for the towels and handed him one before drying myself off. The entire time we'd been beneath the spray, we hadn't spoken, and there was an air of reverence in the bathroom that I was hesitant to break.

Jasper apparently felt the same way, because it wasn't until we dropped the towels into my hamper and walked into the bedroom that he spoke again. "You feel like Indian?" he asked.

Just that quickly, we were back to normal - to just an afternoon hanging out together. I told him that sounded good, and then we walked into my closet to pick out clothes for both of us, since Jasper hadn't brought anything. We decided that we'd stop by his place while we were out, and I smiled as he told me he knew the perfect place for us to eat.

We dressed relatively casually, in jeans and button downs with the sleeves rolled up. Jasper looked damn good in my charcoal gray shirt, and I made a mental note to pick him up something similar for Christmas. I wasn't sure what else to get him, but I'd been on the lookout.

As we walked downstairs, he asked me about my family, and I told him about the things we'd done all week. He asked questions here and there, and I was happy to learn that there were several similarities between our trips. We'd talked while we were apart, of course - a lot, actually - but it was different with him here, where I could see him and really be open without fear of anyone else listening in.

It was with that in mind that I told him about Tanya, about how I just finally got it. As foreign as it was for me, she really did want a child more than a husband. "I guess I just had a hard time because, for me, it's always been the opposite, you know?"

He made a noncommittal noise, glancing out the window of my Mustang at the cityscape passing by. I frowned slightly, wondering what the hell that might mean, but I didn't have to ask. "What do you mean?" he murmured.

I wasn't sure at first that he was talking to me - though, who else could it have been? It just seemed like his attention was elsewhere, but I half-wondered if that was some sort of defense mechanism. I knew this was a touchy subject for him. Hell, only an hour or so ago, he'd actually declared he had a boyfriend for the first time in his adult life. So I didn't make any comment, keeping my voice light as I answered his question.

"Well, for me... it's always been the companionship. Someone I can talk to, someone who listens... someone I can make love to."

He flashed a smile at that, his hand reaching over to rest on my thigh, even though he still didn't look at me. I reached down, taking his hand and moving them both to the seat between us.

"Kids are great, and it's definitely something I've thought about, but it's not what what I'm necessarily looking for. I just need a man who gets me. You know?"

I squeezed his hand and glanced at him out of the corner of my eye. He was nodding thoughtfully, chewing the inside of his cheek as his attention was still entirely focused on the the scene outside his window. The silence stretched on indefinitely, and I thought maybe our conversation was at an end as I wound through the streets of downtown Boston.

We were getting close to the restaurant, which was near his apartment, when he said, "I guess I just never thought I needed anybody."

I didn't know what to say to that. I took his tactic, sitting in silence as I rubbed the back of his hand with my thumb. Silence descended again, lasting until I had to drop his hand to turn into the restaurant's parking lot.

It wasn't until I'd put the car in park and was unbuckling my seat belt that Jasper shifted. He turned toward me and reached for my hand. I turned to face him, trying to mask the confusion I felt. When I met his gaze, he smiled softly. "I was wrong," he said simply.

I knew what those words cost him. At least, I knew as well as anyone who hadn't lived his past was able to understand. I tried to swallow past the lump in my throat, but it was no use. I couldn't speak, so I smiled the best I could and then pulled him close, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. His slipped around my waist, and I buried my face in the crook of his neck. We sat that way for a time, simply holding each other, until I placed a kiss on his neck and lifted my head.

"Thank you," I whispered.

He shook his head. "Thank you."

We watched each other, mutual understanding passing between us, and then I smiled again, more steadily this time. "Come on," I said, nodding my head toward the restaurant.

He grinned, nodding. We climbed out of the car, and as we walked toward the front door, Jasper said, "You're gonna love this place."

The outside wasn't very promising, but I'd been with Jasper long enough to know he typically had great taste. He didn't disappoint this time either. As soon as we stepped inside, I couldn't believe it was the same building. The place looked like a palace, all rich wood and carvings and statues, and the smell was heavenly.

My mouth began to water as they led us to a table secluded by a screen. Jasper winked as he sat down across from me. "Told you."

Chuckling, I opened my menu and began debating, talking through options with Jasper. We settled on our choices and were ready when the waitress returned with our water. She took our order and left us alone, where we fell into easy conversation again.

It wasn't long before we worked around to Jasper's trip. I thought I knew most of it, but he started fiddling with his napkin, folding and unfolding it, playing with the corner. I frowned at him, unsure if I should ask or not. In the end, I decided to test our new boundaries and see if he really was as confident - as changed - as he seemed. "What's wrong, sweetheart?" I asked.

A smile flitted across his lips before he shook his head. "Nothing. I just... I was remembering a conversation I had with Chuck."

He was interrupted when our food arrived. The waitress dished up fragrant rice with tandoori chicken for us both and left plates of onion bhaji, saag aloo, and korma. A platter of naan completed the spread, and I had to chuckle as I surveyed our meal.

"Think our eyes were bigger than our stomachs," Jasper teased.

I nodded in agreement, but my eyes drifted shut as I inhaled deeply, savoring the spicy scents. When I opened my eyes again, Jasper was watching me with a quiet smile. There was something almost… proud in that look, and I returned his smile before picking up my fork. "So, what were you saying?"

"Oh," he said, frowning slightly as he glanced down at his plate. He picked up his fork and took a bite of rice, chewing slowly before sighing. "You remember that first night? When I told you I was pissed off at Chuck?"

I swallowed my chicken and took a sip of water before nodding.

"I was upset because… well, because he said something about you," he said cryptically.

I frowned. "Something about me?" I didn't even know the man. What the hell could he have said?

"Yeah. He..." Jasper coughed and took a sip of his water before grimacing. "Well, Emily sort of asked why you weren't there." I felt a smile flit across my lips at the thought that she'd been thinking of me, but it faded as I focused on what Jasper was clearly struggling to say. "And Chuck asked why you would be there - why I'd want to bring home a 'piece of tail' because Thanksgiving is for family."

The way he said it left me hanging, wondering what he'd said in return. It was such a contrast to the way my family knew everything about Jasper that it drove home again that he'd been hiding me from his family.

Jasper met my gaze then, and one corner of his mouth lifted into a crooked smile. "I lost it, I guess. I kind of went off on him at the dinner table, and..." He trailed off, shaking his head. "Well, I didn't say everything I wanted to say because Mama would've killed me, but he got the point."

I nodded slowly, eating without really tasting anything as I waited to hear the rest of Jasper's story. I reminded myself that these were all steps in the right direction - that he'd told his family about me, that he was telling me about Chuck. There was a time not long ago when that wouldn't have been the case.

"Anyway, he came up to me a few days later and asked me if we could talk. We went out on the porch, and it was..." Jasper shook his head, staring down at his plate with a slightly amazed smile. "I don't think we've ever really talked. Not like that. Not since we were little anyway. Even when I came out, he just didn't believe it. I guess he's been living in denial this whole time, and he finally just... listened."

I smiled and reached across the table to squeeze Jasper's hand. "I'm really glad to hear that." I didn't say it, but I couldn't imagine if Emmett had just dismissed me that way. It made me ache to know that Jasper had been living for so long without any support from some of the most important people in his life.

"He asked a lot of questions and apologized for calling you that. He wanted to know everything." Jasper paused then, looking across the restaurant with a pensive frown. "I didn't tell him about Paul," he muttered.

I sat there with him in silence until I'd counted ten breaths, and then I said, "It's okay, Jazz. It sounds like that was a lot for him to take in anyway. I know you'll get there someday."

He gave me a grateful smile and nodded again, mostly to himself. "He told me he loved me. I think it's the first time..." He glanced up, his brow furrowing. "Shit, maybe ever."

I hurt for him to know that Chuck was so distant. It was obvious from the look on Jasper's face and the tone of his voice that his brother meant the world to him. I couldn't imagine never knowing where I stood with someone I looked up to like that. It made me even more thankful that Emmett had always been open with his feelings - sometimes to a fault.

We resumed eating as the conversation turned to lighter topics, now that what sounded like the roughest part of Jasper's trip was out in the open. He told me he'd also talked to his mother - several times, apparently. She seemed to be as quietly stubborn as Jasper could be, and I chuckled at the thought of her going head-to-head with him, or Emily, for that matter.

He was telling me that she'd meant it when she said that Jasper was going to leave her my number. My eyes widened slightly at that, and he said, "Oh, yeah. You better be expecting a call, Princess. Part of the family now."

It was a casual, offhand comment, but my chest felt tighter and I knew my smile had to look utterly ridiculous. Jasper looked a little startled in turn, but he didn't say anything. His jaw worked for a second before he took a bite of korma, and a hush fell over the table.

He was the one to break the silence at last, clearing his throat before he said, "Hey... you're supposed to go back for Christmas. Right?"

I nodded, sighing at the thought of being apart from him again so soon. "Yeah, not as long, though. Just going down for a few days. Tanya's going to have her ultrasound. She wants me with her when she finds out what she's having."

"Oh." The disappointment in his voice was plain, and I looked up to study his face.

"What's wrong?"

He shook his head, taking another bite and swallowing before he finally answered. "Nothing. Mom just asked…" He bit the inside of his cheek and studied me for a moment, pink climbing up his neck to his cheeks. "She and Dad always buy tickets for Emily and me to come home for Christmas. It's part of our present. She asked if she should buy another one this year."

My eyes widened. "Oh wow… I had no idea…"

Jasper shook his head again, reaching across to squeeze my hand. "No, Princess, it's fine. I told her I'd have to talk to you, and I knew you were planning to go home, too."

When he didn't say anything else, I frowned, studying his face. In truth, I wanted to say, "Fuck it," and tell him I'd absolutely go. I was incredibly touched that he'd even want me there, plus I was very curious about Jasper's family, especially Chuck. The only thing holding me back was my promise to Tanya, and it was a very tenuous hold at best.

"Let me talk to Tanya, and-"

"No, baby. It's okay. Really. It'll only be for a few days…"

I stared down at my plate, my mind suddenly in turmoil as I wondered if maybe he really didn't want me there at all. Did he seem relieved that I couldn't go? Was this just some sort of ploy so he could have time alone and still look good?

I felt sick as soon as the treacherous thoughts entered my head. The last thing I felt like doing was eating, but I couldn't look at him just then, so I stuffed a bite of chicken into my mouth and chewed slowly.

"Hey…" he murmured, nudging my leg with his. I looked up without really deciding to, and he was watching me closely with a worried expression. When I tried to look back down, he reached across the table and caught my chin. "Listen to me, Edward," he said sternly, taking some of the sting out of his words by brushing his thumb along my cheekbone. "I want you there. I want you to meet them and have them love you just like I do."

I couldn't help but smile at that, and he smiled softly in return.

"But this is just a few days, and I don't want you to miss out on your family. Tanya especially needs you. Besides, Christmas is always crazy, and you wouldn't get much time with them."

I made a noncommittal noise, unconvinced. His words were pretty, and I wanted desperately to believe them – which is exactly why I didn't. Kate was right. I had grown skeptical.

The silence stretched between us as his hand fell away. He smiled timidly and nearly whispered, "I was kind of hoping… that is… I mean…" Grumbling under his breath, he inhaled deeply and then said, "Maybe we could plan a trip and take her up on the offer then?"

I absorbed his words, weighing his expression before I answered. His eyes were earnest - and even a little nervous - and it was that fear that made my decision. "That would be great, baby," I said, reaching across the table.

He slipped his hand into mine and squeezed my fingers with a smile. "Perfect," he said simply.

We went back to our meal then, talking more about Christmas plans and gifts. I was asking his advice on Emily when, suddenly, it hit me. "Hey, why don't we see if we can sign all of us up for more pottery classes or something?"

He was in the middle of chewing, and he paused thoughtfully, furrowing his brow. I wondered if maybe it was a stupid idea, but he took a drink of water and nodded, grinning broadly. "She would love that."

I couldn't help asking, "What about you?"

"What do you mean?"

"Would you mind that? Taking more classes with both of us, I mean?"

He looked at me strangely. "Are you really asking if I mind spending more time with you and my sister?"

"Well... yeah," I answered, feeling a little stupid. I couldn't shake the residual fear from early in our relationship, though - the one that warned me that Jasper might bolt if I crowded him.

The rueful expression on his face told me he understood at last. He shook his head, wiped his fingers on his napkin, and said, "No, I think it'll be a lot of fun."

He didn't directly answer my implied question, but I could tell that he'd understood and answered it in his own way. I let it go at that, trying to enjoy the assurances he'd given me without reading too much into everything.

We finished our lunch not long after, and Jasper grabbed the check before I could. I let my hand drop back on the table and simply said, "Thanks, baby."

"Of course," he answered. Then he winked and leaned across the table to brush a soft kiss against my lips. "That's what boyfriends do, right?" he breathed.

I had never felt more like a fourteen-year-old girl than I did just then, grinning like a fool at that phrase rolling off Jasper's tongue. "It is," I agreed.

After Jasper had settled the bill, we walked across the parking lot hand-in-hand. At my car, he stopped, pulling me close and wrapping his arms around my waist. We kissed leisurely, enjoying the afternoon sun despite the chill in the air. Every moment that we'd spent together since my plane landed had made it more and more apparent that I didn't feel whole without him there. In the relatively short time that we'd been together, my life had changed completely.

I hoped it was the same for him.

We stepped apart at last and climbed into the car to make our way to Jasper's apartment. We didn't spend much time there, just long enough for Jasper to throw some clothes into his duffel bag. Soon, we were back at my house, where we decided to settle in for a long, lazy afternoon in front of the fireplace.

He wanted to see my pictures, so I went into my office to start them downloading while he opened a bottle of wine in the kitchen. By the time I made it to the den, Jasper was sprawled on the floor, propped on one elbow with a glass of wine in his hand. His feet were bare, his hair in disarray, and he looked absolutely... perfect.

The rest of the day was spent talking, kissing, and caressing. We polished off the bottle of wine and dropped off the glasses in the kitchen on the way to the office to look at the pictures.

Jasper took Kate's desk chair while I sat in my own, and we gathered around the screen so I could show him pictures from this trip. He'd seen a lot of the area before, of course, so he was most interested in the pictures of my family. He smiled at the shots I'd taken of Tanya in the nursery, and he reached over to put his hand on my knee.

"You really need to go for Christmas," he said softly.

I glanced at him, and he gave a half-sheepish, half-mischievous grin. "I might've been arguing with myself," he added.

"You know if you want me there, I'll be there," I answered.

"I know," he said with a quiet smile. "And that's why it's okay if you aren't."

I watched him for a moment, working to understand what he wasn't saying. At last, I nodded and reached over, putting my hand on the back of his neck. I slid him closer, shifting so our legs were tangled, and I kissed him tenderly. I hoped he understood how much it meant to me that he wanted me there – and how much I wished like hell I hadn't promised Tanya I'd be with her.

When we finished going through the countless pictures I'd taken again, we debated what we wanted to do for the night. We tossed around the idea of going out dancing, but as much as I loved the way Jasper looked and felt when he danced, I was tired and selfish and really just wanted to be with him. I told him so, and he said, "Well, that sounds just about perfect to me…"

He took my hand and led me to the den, where he sat me on the couch and went over to my entertainment center. I watched in amusement as he rifled through my DVD collection, picked out the Stargate Atlantis disc we were on, and popped it into the player.

He wandered back to the couch and stretched out, resting his head in my lap. I chuckled as I ran my fingers through his hair. "You really don't mind staying in?"

"Nope," he answered, turning his head to peek up at me. "Been waiting all week to hang out with you. Besides… you just give me a little bit longer, and we might be trying out that little toy of yours."

I laughed and leaned down to kiss him. He turned to face me more fully, reaching up to tangle his fingers in my hair as his lips parted mine. He moaned softly, but before I could take things any further, my phone rang in my pocket. I was all set to ignore it, but Jasper pulled away. "Said to give me a little bit," he teased. "Might as well answer that."

I pouted at him, but he just laughed, so I sighed and pulled the phone out. It rang again as I stared at the name on the display.


My first instinct was to send it to voicemail and put the phone to the side, but I wondered what Jasper would make of that. He'd been so confident since I got back… would it last if he thought I was hiding something from him?

I licked my lips. "It's Alistair."

"Oh?" Jasper sat up, sliding to his end of the couch. He didn't look upset, exactly, but there was a slight hunch to his shoulders that I didn't like. "Aren't you going to answer it?"

I bit back a sigh.

Damned if I do… damned if I don't.

What decided it for me was that I knew Alistair would just call again if I didn't answer. I didn't want him to ruin our night, so I slid down to Jasper's end of the couch and rested my hand on his knee as I answered. "Hello?"

"Edward, love! How are you?"

"Hey, Alistair… I'm doing great. How are you?"

I was intensely aware of the way Jasper was tensed beside me. His eyes were trained on the TV, but everything about him spoke of his discomfort. I wished I could find out what, exactly, was on his mind. So often before, he'd surprised me with what he was thinking. Unfortunately, I couldn't really find out until I was finished with this phone call.

I only half-listened as Alistair mentioned his recent tour of Italy, going on about the places he'd visited. His words conjured memories of the time the two of us had spent there, which was certainly something I didn't want to think about just then. It had been a happier time for us, but it was long since past.

It wasn't until he said, "So I was hoping I could see you. Maybe next Friday?" that I tuned in again.

"I'm sorry?" I said, sitting up straighter. "You cut out there for a minute…"

I squeezed Jasper's knee when he shifted, and he finally acknowledged me, reaching down to take my hand. I chanced a glance at him, and he gave a half-hearted smile.

"I said they're sending me to Boston next week. I was really hoping to see you."

Alistair's annoyance that my attention wasn't fully focused on him was apparent. "Oh," I said dumbly, glancing at Jasper again. "Well, we can probably do that. Let me talk to Jasper, and I'll call you back?"

"Jasper? That the bloke you were dating?"

I felt heat rising: anger, at both him and myself. I'd told him about Jasper many times, but he just never seemed to get it. At the same time, we'd been through so much together that I'd never really been able to just cut Alistair out of my life. Not completely. It was something I didn't fully understand myself. Kate, on the other hand, had made her opinion clear.

"Yes," I said simply, unwilling to get into an argument with him while Jasper was sitting right beside me – especially an argument that would make it sound as though I'd been hiding Jasper.

Then Alistair proved me wrong. He had been listening – he just didn't like what he'd heard. "Are you two doing better, then?"

"Yes," I said once more, leaning over to kiss the top of Jasper's head. He settled against me, resting his head on my shoulder with his arm thrown across my lap. I smiled at the feeling even as I listened to the silence on the other end of the line.

"I'm happy to hear that," he said at last, sounding anything but. "You deserve to be happy." That last sounded more sincere, but I knew him well enough to hear the disappointment and hurt in his voice.

It was that vulnerability, so rarely shown, that had always gotten me. "Thank you," I said at last. "Let me talk to him, and I'll call you back?"

"Yeah, okay," he answered, slightly confused. I could understand – I'd never brought someone else to lunch. This was a first in a lot of ways, and I knew it wasn't at all what Alistair had had in mind when he'd called to ask. If anything, he was hoping for dinner, dancing, and fucking, even though I'd told him there was no way in hell I was going to be his friend with benefits – and I'd stuck to that.

It didn't stop him from trying, though.

Still, he'd called and extended the invitation, and I intended to use it to show him that we were over. Completely. Whatever feelings I'd had for him had long since changed, and even the loneliness and yearning that had left him with a fighting chance were gone.

We exchanged goodbyes and hung up the phone. I tossed it onto the coffee table and then turned to face Jasper. "You okay, baby?"

He nodded but didn't look at me, so I reached out and turned his face to mine. He sighed and then leaned in, kissing me softly.

I wasn't going to let him get away with not answering, so I kissed him back but then gently pulled away. "Talk to me."

Don't let something build up until you explode again.

He swallowed and then took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "Yeah, I'm okay. Sorry. I know it's stupid…"

"I get it, Jasper. Al and I dated for a long time… it's normal to be a little upset."

"Yeah?" he asked with an endearing innocence.

"Yeah." I smiled. "There's no reason to be, though. I promise. So, I don't know how much you heard, but he's coming into town next week. He wanted to get together for lunch." Jasper frowned, and it took me a moment to figure out why. "I want you to go," I added quickly.

"You do?"

"Yeah, I do." I reached up to cup his cheek, wanting to make sure he was looking at me when I said, "I want to introduce him to my boyfriend."

Jasper's cheeks blushed a light pink, and he glanced down, but when he looked up again, he was smiling. "Okay," he said, "I think I can do that. When?"

"Alistair mentioned next Friday... could you maybe do lunch or something?"

He glanced up and to the right, apparently going over his mental calendar. "Yeah, that should work. I don't have any meetings scheduled then." He hesitated, and I squeezed his hand, silently encouraging him to speak up. "Would you go if I couldn't?"

I shook my head. "I don't think so."

"Why not?"

"Because... I don't know, Jazz. I know I wouldn't be happy if you went out with a guy you used to date, especially someone you dated as long as Alistair and I did. It's just... probably not a good idea." I shrugged. "Nothing would happen either way, but I wouldn't want you to worry that it would. Does that make sense?"

He nodded slowly, frowning down at his hands on his knees. I knew where his mind had gone - back to Jason, to the worries and doubts that I carried. Unfortunately, it was a very real part of our history. I never wanted Jasper to have to feel that way, not with me.

Apparently, Jasper's mind wasn't exactly where mine was, though, because his next statement caught me off guard.

"I used to sit at home and worry," Jasper said cryptically. He still wouldn't look up, but something told me to leave him alone this time. "About Paul, I mean. He'd go out with his... friends... and I always wondered if there was something else going on." Finally, he raised his eyes to mine. "There was. With a few of them."

I swallowed against the angry lump in my throat. "You won't have to worry about that with me. Ever. I promise you that."

A smile flitted across his lips as he nodded, letting me know he understood. He didn't make mention of it again, though. He just said, "Call him back and let him know that's okay?" When I reached toward the table to pick up my phone, he added mischievously, "And tell him I said hi."

I chuckled, but all I said was, "You got it, baby." I hit the button to call Alistair back, and it rang several times before he answered. He still sounded a little down, but I was surprised - and happy - to realize that the happiness of the man beside me was more important. The problem with a lot of the guys I'd tried to date since Alistair was that they... weren't. He'd always trumped them, but now he'd been completely eclipsed by Jasper.

The thought put a smile on my face as I told him that we'd be there next Friday. He said, "No chance I can see just you? I miss you, Ed."

I paused for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to answer that. Finally, I said, "I want you to meet Jasper. I think you'll like him... it's important to me."

He made the little exasperated, indulgent sigh I'd heard too often while we were together. "Very well. I'll see you and this Jasper on the twelfth. Call me if you change your mind?"

I rolled my eyes, frustrated by his complete refusal to hear what I was saying. "Yeah, okay. Have a safe trip."

I knew I was being a little short with him, but I couldn't make myself care enough to apologize. I was more than a little pissed off with the way he seemed to refuse to understand that I'd moved on.

Just like so often before, Alistair caught my mood and hurried to change it. I used to think he did it out of caring, but I'd learned - with Kate's help - that there was more than a little manipulation in it. He told me he was looking forward to meeting Jasper and asked if there was anything he should bring. I told him no, that we would meet him at the restaurant, and he gave me his travel plans, which included a stay at his favorite hotel in town.

As the conversation was winding down, he said, "If you get a chance, I'd love to take you to the Museum of Fine Arts while I'm in town. The Japanese ink paintings so remind me of you and your tattoos. I'd be delighted to hear your thoughts."

I bit the inside of my cheek, both annoyed and distantly impressed that he'd taken the time to look up the exhibits in Boston. The one he mentioned was one I wanted to take Jasper to see because it was definitely something I thought we'd both enjoy. To Alistair, though, I said, "We can talk about it over lunch, okay?"

He sighed, and I could sense he was devising his next argument, so I took the opportunity to say, "Jasper says hi, by the way."

At last, he seemed to admit defeat and said a little stuffily, "Tell him I said hello. Take care of yourself, Edward. I'll see you soon."

I hung up the phone and threw it onto the coffee table a little harder than I meant to. Jasper put his hand on my knee as I sat back.

"You okay over there, Princess?" he asked gruffly.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Sorry. Sometimes he really knows how to piss me off."

"What'd he do?"

I sighed and tried to think of how to explain, but everything I came up with sounded stupid. "Nothing, really," I said at last. "I remembered something, though."

I turned to Jasper, forcing a smile that became more genuine as I looked at him. "Some friends of mine are having a Christmas party next Saturday. Will you go with me?"

He thought about it for a moment before he nodded. "Should be fun."

I couldn't tell if he was nervous or not, so I said, "You already know some of them. Seth and Embry will be there, and so will Garrett and Kate."

From Jasper's thoughtful pause, I could tell he was thinking. I gave him some time, and finally he said, "Does she hate me?"

"Kate?" I asked, surprised. "No, not at all."

Jasper raised one eyebrow skeptically.

"She was pissed..." I admitted slowly. "For a while. But she knows I love you and you love me."

His smile seemed a little sad, and I reached over to turn his face more toward mine. "I think showing up before dawn in the freezing cold went a long way with her."

He grinned at last, blushing slightly as he looked down and nodded. I shifted to my knees, pressing my fists into the couch as I kissed him. It was soft at first, sweet, but as our lips met, he moaned quietly and reached up, fisting the collar of my shirt. I laughed as I sat back, loving the silly grin on his face.

"We still have an episode to finish," I reminded him playfully, nodding to the screen.

He made a face at me but turned and hit the play button. As the scene jumped into action again, he settled half into my lap, reclining against my chest. He idly stroked my thigh as we watched, talking occasionally about what was on the screen. It felt great to be with him that way again, and I grew relaxed and a little tired from the long day.

When it ended, he turned the TV off instead of starting the next episode. He turned in my arms to kiss me gently. "You hungry?"

I shook my head immediately, still full from the earlier ridiculous meal. "You?"

He said, "Nah... I'm a little tired, though. How about you? You look kinda beat."

He ran his fingers through my hair, and something about the concerned look on his face got to me. I smiled broadly and leaned down, kissing him thoroughly. When I pulled away, I whispered, "How about a shower, Cuddles? Or a bath?"

"Mmm... shower..." he murmured. "Got plans for you, and a bath'll just put me to sleep."

That was all I needed to hear. I stood up, pulling him to his feet, and he was laughing as he followed behind me up the stairs. We turned off lights on the way; I fully intended to spend the rest of the night in my bedroom, even if it was still a little early.

We walked into the bathroom with both of us knowing where this was heading. I turned on the water and then leaned against the counter, pulling Jasper to stand between my legs. We kissed languidly, our hands slowly removing clothing as palms skimmed bare flesh. He felt so goddamn good, even better than I remembered, and I just wanted more.

Always more.

My shirt hit the floor as Jasper's hands slid down, forcing me to stand as he cupped my ass. His kisses grew harder, more forceful, and I hissed as he caught my tongue ring between his teeth. He grinned, keeping me pinned as he finished undressing me. He let me go at last, only to shed his clothes and take my hand, leading me to the shower.

As soon as we stepped beneath the warm spray, his hands were on me again. They caressed my ass, my back, slipping down my arms. His fingers tangled with mine only to let go again and tease their way up my thighs. The whole time, his lips were tasting me, peppering my skin with delicious bursts of heat heightened by the sting of his teeth.

Reaching behind him, he blindly grabbed my soap and lathered his hands. My eyes rolled back when the slippery warmth of his hands closed around my hardening cock. I leaned back against the cold shower wall and straightened quickly again.

"Fuck," I whispered, laughing softly as I worked to relax again. Jasper gave me no time to recover, slipping his hand beneath my balls. No inch of my skin was left untouched, and he massaged my aching muscles as he cleaned me thoroughly. I couldn't help laughing again when he cleaned between my toes, tickling me inadvertently. He smiled up at me, and the sight of him on his knees made my breath catch.

He licked his lips, his hand drifting up to stroke my cock. I couldn't stifle my groan when he murmured, "Not yet."

He just laughed at my pout and stood up, kissing along my jaw. "Oh, I'll be taking very good care of you. I swear it." His hands traced my ribs before coming to rest on my hips. "For now, though... turn around."

He ignored my questioning look, turning me forcefully when I didn't move fast enough. He kissed along my shoulders, biting as he raised my hands and put them flat against the shower wall. I felt a slight breeze as he knelt again, and then his slick fingers were slipping down my ass, pressing against my entrance.

Every brush of his tongue told me he was focused entirely on me. There was something sensual and commanding and submissive all at once in the attention he paid to me. His hands reached around my hips, touching every sensitive place on my body as he urged me on.

When my hips began rocking and I was breathlessly begging for some sort of release, Jasper shifted away instead, making me want to cry in frustration. He bit my ass hard enough to make me jump and then stood up, turning me around quickly. He pressed me against the wall, kissing me passionately, and I couldn't get enough of the feeling of his hard body against mine.

I could tell he had to be just as frustrated, just as close, as I was, so I reached out blindly, shutting off the water and opening the door. We didn't break our kiss as we stepped out, and we dried off hastily before stumbling toward my bed. When we got there, Jasper stopped me suddenly and whispered, "Can you do something for me?"

"Anything you want, baby." My voice was breathless and gruff as I pulled back to look at him.

He grinned impishly. "Show me that little toy of yours?"

My eyes widened, and I took a small step back. "Which one?"

He chuckled lowly, his eyes smoldering. "You know which one."

I did. Without answering, I went to my suitcase and unzipped it, pulling out the wooden case and bringing it back to him. Jasper took it from me and opened it slowly, his eyes widening at the weight when he lifted the stainless steel arch. "Show me," he whispered.

"I love you," I answered. If he thought it was odd, he didn't comment. He just kissed me with a smile and then stepped back, sliding onto the bed and resting on my pillow. He'd told me he'd never done anything like this before, and a strange reverence lingered in the air. This was another step for him, albeit a much more erotic one.

Just as he had with me in the shower, I took my time with him. Once the toy was slicked with lube, I moved to kneel between his knees, kissing my way up his calves to his thighs. He reached down, threading his fingers in my hair, and I could feel a slight tension in his touch.

"It's okay, baby," I whispered softly. "I would never hurt you."

"I know," he said simply.

His trust touched me and made me more determined to make this amazing for him. I lowered myself, moving to all fours as I rested on my elbows. I pressed the cool metal ball against his beautiful ass, tempting him with it and letting him know what was coming. I took his cock in one hand, humming in appreciation at how stiff he was already.

As I stroked him, I pressed against his entrance, penetrating him ever-so-slowly. He inhaled sharply, pressing his heels into the mattress as his hips lifted slightly. I murmured wordlessly, making soothing sounds as I flatted my hand against his abdomen. He relaxed at my touch, and I leaned down to reward him with a kiss on the head of his cock.

He moaned then, his grip on my hair tightening, and I smiled at the silent encouragement. I eased the toy further before pulling it out, only to return again. He whispered, "Holy fuck, that feels good..."

I glanced up at him, enjoying the blissful surprise on his face. His eyes were open, focused on me, and I held his gaze as I began to pump the steel arch into him rhythmically. His lips parted as he adjusted to the unusual intrusion, and then he nodded. "More..."

"Whatever you want, babe," I answered softly, lowering my mouth to his cock as I sheathed the toy fully. I heard his head fall back on the pillow, and his hands fell away from my hair. My lips hit the base of his shaft as I flatted my tongue and swallowed around his head.

His moan was loud and low. "It's so fucking hard."

"Mmhmm," I hummed, teasing him with my teeth. I knew what he was feeling - the strange smoothness, the absolutely unrelenting hardness. It was beyond anything natural, and while it wasn't necessarily better, the difference made it unbelievable. Especially the first time.

He began panting, calling out my name amid curses and moans. His excitement was palpable, a force that infused the room with something close to euphoria. I wanted to taste it, to push him over the edge and feel him fall apart at my hands - and lips.

With that desire in mind, I intensified my attentions, quickening my rhythm and teasing the head of his cock with my tongue ring. He whimpered as the sensation of smooth steel against so many places sent him into overload, and I decided to add one more. I reached up with my left hand, pulling the barbell through his nipple as my right hand rocked the steel arch into him again and again.

My mouth never slowed, licking and sucking and praying wordlessly that I could bring him to those heights before he stopped me. As much as I loved making love to Jasper, I wanted this right now.

His mumblings became incoherent. His hips thrust quickly, erratically, tiny movements that forced the steel ball deeper, hitting him just so. I found myself chanting in time with his whimpers, wordlessly begging him to let go.

When he began panting, "Oh god, oh god, oh god," I wrapped my hand back around the base of his cock, pumping him quickly as I let his head batter my lips. I felt his ass clench, his knees tightening around my chest, and then he called out, nearly screaming, "Fuck!"

His entire body was tensed before he suddenly collapsed, falling back on the mattress. I hummed as I swallowed everything he offered, relishing the salty taste of his release. It had been too long.

He was breathing heavily, his arms and legs splayed around me as I stroked him down gently. He looked utterly spent, and he groaned pitifully when I slipped the toy away from him. I couldn't help grinning with pride as I looked down at him, sated and beautiful.

As I watched, the fingers of his right hand twitched feebly and then again more forcefully. I realized he was beckoning to me, even with his eyes closed. I chuckled lowly and moved to lie beside him, resting my hand on his chest as I kissed a line along his jaw. He stirred then, turning to face me. He kissed me softly with lips dry from panting before he licked them and opened his eyes.

"No words," he mumbled, smiling stupidly when I grinned at him.

"Good," I answered. He heard the satisfaction in my voice and laughed softly. He wrapped his arms around me a little awkwardly and ran his hand up and down my side, caressing me sweetly.

I could tell it wouldn't be long before he was out completely, so I sat up and did a quick job of clearing away the remnants of our activity. I slipped back beside him and tossed the covers over us, trying to will away my own erection. I was too happy to see him so completely relaxed and spent at my hands to want to disturb him.

I planned to just fall asleep beside him, but I'd no sooner settled in than he rolled away, tossing back the covers as he fumbled around on the floor. I couldn't figure out what he was doing, but then he stumbled to the bathroom, presumably to take a leak. I heard the water running and the sound of the toilet flushing, so I lay there with my eyes closed, working on relaxing.

I heard him come back in the room, but when he didn't crawl back into bed, I opened my eyes. I found him standing beside the bed, naked, with his tie in one hand and the sex toy in the other. "What's the matter, Jazz?"

"You don't really think you're going to sleep right now, do you?" he asked.

I frowned up at him. "What are you doing with your tie?"

He grinned at me then, mischievous and sexy as hell. "Doing something about those goddamn wicked, tempting hands of yours..."

"What are you talking about?"

He didn't answer. He just tossed the covers off of me and then climbed onto the bed, straddling my thighs as he reached for my hands. He moved them up over my head as he kissed me passionately, moaning at the taste of himself on my lips. He teased my barbell with the tip of his tongue, reigniting every feeling I'd tried to suppress. I lifted my shoulders, craning my neck to deepen our kiss, and he chuckled as he pulled away.

I felt him begin wrapping his tie around my wrists and moaned in anticipation. "Oh hell, Jazz..."

He tied my wrists together, but when I slid my arms around his shoulders and kissed him, he clucked his tongue and teased, "I said we had to do something about those hands."

Before I could ask, he leaned over, searching on the floor for something. I heard the clink of his belt buckle, and then he sat up with a triumphant smirk on his face. He stretched over me, looping the belt around my joined wrists before securing it to the headboard. I tugged against my bonds experimentally, feeling a surge of excitement when I realized I truly was stuck.

And at his mercy.

"Now," he said, and I saw him reach to his right to pick up the steel arch. "Let's see if I can use this thing as well as you can, hmm?" I raised both eyebrows, and he leaned down, biting my bottom lip. "Don't worry, Princess. I'm a quick study."

The cool metal brushed against my wrist, and I felt droplets of water as he shifted to move down my body. I remembered the sound of the water running in the bathroom, and it all came together for me. "You planned this," I accused.

"Actually, I'd planned to ask you to fuck me... but you and that sexy mouth and fucking amazing hands... well, you make it too damn hard to think straight. Not this time, though. This time, you're all mine."

I bit back a smile, enjoying this confident, commanding side of his personality. I gave in and let him develop our roles as he kissed all over my body, ordering me to stay still, to turn this way, to bend my legs. His teeth stung my nipple, making me hiss in the best way. When his hand drifted over my ribs, he sat back, staring down at me as his fingertips traced the Escher inked into my skin. I watched as he lowered his body to reverently brush his lips along the tattoo.

He never spoke, but I heard his thoughts all the same.

The regret and love were perfectly clear on his face. Without thinking, I tried to reach out to cup his cheek, and my arms jerked against my bonds. The movement drew his eye, and his smile became deliciously wicked. Just that quickly, he was back in the mood, and he set about much the same way I had, teasing me with the lubed toy. He played with me a little more, heightening the anticipation by slipping the arch between my cock and my abdomen and slipping it up and down, brushing me from head to base with the cool metal.

I made a small noise of discontent, nearly pouting as I shifted my hips and whispered, "Please, Jasper."

His eyes flickered to mine, and one corner of his mouth lifted. "You want this?" he asked, letting the steel ball slide between my ass cheeks, just brushing the place I wanted it most. When I nodded, he leaned down and kissed the crease between my thigh and balls. "You sure?"

"Fuck, Jazz, please," I begged, making his smile widen.

He relented, penetrating me at the same time he bit my thigh. I groaned loudly, pleading and encouraging as he worked his way deeper, inch by inch. I knew the feeling intimately, of course, but it was different not being the one in control. I found I really liked it - never knowing which way it would move or when that movement would come. Jasper played with me, setting a stuttering rhythm that left me guessing... and panting.

At first, he didn't touch my cock. Instead, his free hand brushed my thighs and played along my abdomen, tracing muscle and finding creases. It wasn't until I began rocking my hips, finding my own rhythm, that he took me deeply in his mouth without warning.

"Oh holy fuck," I breathed, my head falling back on the pillow with my mouth gaping as my eyes closed. I couldn't think. Not at all, not anymore. Instead, I just felt: heat and pressure and perfection. There was the abrasion of teeth and the silk of tongue and lips, the rigidity of metal and the suppleness of skin.

Jasper knew how to touch me like no one else ever had. He paid attention to every sound I made, adjusting when he heard the hiss bordering on pain or the moan nearing ecstasy. In a matter of moments, I felt myself spiraling out of control, and a part of me wanted to slow down, just to enjoy the feeling for a while longer.

Forever, if I could.

But there was no stopping it, no slowing down the growing tide of sensations. My arms strained against my bonds, the fabric tightening against my wrists as I tried desperately to touch Jasper. Since I couldn't feel him that way, I spread my legs wider, bending my knees so my feet were resting on his ass as he was sprawled on the bed between my legs.

His mouth was working furiously, licking my balls, sucking my shaft, teasing my head. I couldn't even give a warning before I felt my hot release spilling into his mouth, my cock pulsing and my thighs quivering. He swallowed around me, making me jerk and call out wordlessly at the unexpected feeling on my sensitive skin.

When he pulled away, he licked every last drop and sat back on his heels, his hands massaging my thighs. I hadn't even noticed when he slipped the toy away, so lost was I in the moment.

Finally, I opened my eyes, lifting my head as I tried to find him. He laughed breathlessly and shifted forward, straddling my waist as he untied me. When my arms were free again, I grabbed him by the hips and flipped him onto his back, lying between his legs as I kissed him senseless.

He hummed as we parted, and I whispered gruffly, "You're amazing."

He smiled up at me, wrapping his arms tightly around my waist, "So are you."


A/N: Due to Real Life playing interference, we decided to take a break and have a tentative posting date for July 3rd. Barring any further crisis, we hope to be back on track then. If anything changes, we will be sure to post to the blog and on twitter, so be sure to follow both.

In the mean time, The Twilight No Stress Love Fest is happening again. Check out the prompts and dive in. Think Summer; think Love.

http:/ twi-love-fest (dot) livejournal (dot) com/ 12432 (dot) html

You have until June 30th to submit your fics or artwork. Have fun!