"Home for the Holidays" One shot contest
Title: The Pearl Earrings
Disclaimer: Not mine. I'll have TwistedforTwilight instead.
Thanks so much to Superbeta mrsalreyami
Fighting Bad Grammar, one comma at a time! – Trufax.
The Pearl Earrings
"Aunt Belly! It's time," My goddaughter Alice squealed directly at my ear as she woke me up from a brief nap on the sofa.
It was 11:55pm, Christmas Eve. Our circle of friends had started a tradition years ago of having our Christmas presents opened at exactly 12am, Christmas day. Our friends include the McCarty's Emmett and Rosalie, along with their 6-year old daughter, Alice, Rose's brother Jasper, Edward, Angela and her fiancé, Ben.
It's a nice tradition to be had; in fact, it's my favourite holiday ever. What could be more perfect than having your closest friends with you when you have your family halfway across the country from you?
Tonight's tradition was different. Jasper was missing from tonight's festivities. Two days before Christmas Eve, he received a call from work that there was a mandatory emergency conference in New York City that he had to attend to.
We were a bit saddened by Jasper's absence, and in lieu of it there was Mike. He and I have been seeing each other for the past three months. He seemed to be taken well by my friends and I'm glad. He was a really nice guy and I liked him a lot, although not enough for us to be considered an exclusive couple. To be honest, we're not exactly certain on where we currently stand. We were just two people very comfortable being around each other that dating just became a part of our normal routine.
Little hands grasped mine and managed to pull me out of the bed. I reluctantly got up and trudged along with her, down to the living room where everyone else was sitting on the floor, waiting for me.
"We have one minute left, Aunt B. Hurry!" Alice insisted.
The entire group was formed in a semi-circle. Emmett and Rose were sitting closest to the tree so they could pass on the presents that were sitting underneath it. I sat beside Mike, who greeted me with a kiss on the forehead.
"Had a nice nap?" he asked, running his fingers through my hair in a failed attempt to fix my messed up bed-head.
I nodded my head and smiled to the rest of the group. "Well, who gets to open their presents first?"
"I do!" Alice shouted, bouncing from Edward's lap in excitement. Rose started passing on the presents to Alice who started ripping the intricate wrapping without even reading the cards.
"Al, it's rude to open your presents without reading the card," Emmett chided. Alice pouted, but took the card anyway and handed it to Edward so he could help her read it.
A mountain full of toys and clothes plus a pony from Uncle Jasper later, it was the grown-up's turn to open their presents. There were electronics for Emmett, tickets to a week-long Caribbean trip for Ang and Ben, a weekend spelunking trip for Mike, clothing gift cards for Rose and some books and an iPod touch for me.
Once we made sure that everyone's presents were opened, we all got up and started cleaning up the pile of wrappers and ribbons scattered all over the living room. I was about to head to the kitchen to grab some garbage bags when I felt Alice's tiny hands tugging the hem of my sweater.
"Aunt Belly, can you please tuck me in? I have something to give you," she asked sleepily.
I took her hand and led her back to where everyone was. "Let's say a quick goodnight to everybody, and then I'll help you freshen up and tuck you in, okay?"
"Goodnight and Merry Christmas. Thank you for all the presents," she mumbled.
I picked her up, and took her to the bathroom adjoining her room. I cleaned her up, brushed her teeth and changed her into her pyjamas. I turned off the lights and turned on her bedside lamp while she went to lie on her bed.
"What would you like me to read, sweetheart?" I asked, while I fixed her blanket and pillow to make her comfortable.
She pointed towards her dresser, where a box wrapped in gold foil and ribbons sat. "That's from Uncle Jasper. He told me to give it to you."
Alice continued, while drifting in and out of sleep. "He said it's a very special gift. I promised that I would take good care of it until I give it to you. It's our little secret." She yawned.
I walked towards the dresser and picked up the box. Underneath laid an envelope with my name written on it. I tore it open and inside was a Christmas card with a drawing of a little blonde boy and a little brunette girl sleeping underneath a Christmas tree. I opened the card and inside was a handwritten poem from Jasper.
"Could you read it to me, please?" she asked in a little voice. I sat beside her and started reading out loud:
by Bilal Anaim
He wrote her name
in the highest heaven
Along came the wind
and blew it away
He wrote it
at the beaches of love
Along came the waves
and washed it away
He prayed for
the power to forget
The Angels whispered
Why did he pray?
He asked wisdom
for her wisdom
But realized that
wisdom had nothing to say
He uttered her love
in his erotic dreams
To wake up and find her
a star in a play
He tried to erase her picture
from his memory
He found it molded
in his mind like clay
He wrote her love a poem
deep in his heart
And forever her love
in his heart will stay
Merry Christmas, Bella.
I quickly wiped the tears that were trailing slowly down my cheek before Alice could see. But when I glanced to my side, I saw that she was fast asleep. I fixed her blanket snugly around her and kissed her forehead. I turned off the bedside lamp and waited for her nightlight to turn on before I left her bedroom, clutching the gold-wrapped box in my hands like it's the most delicate thing in the word.
Was he really saying what I've been dreaming of the whole time? Could it be true? How long? Is the entire group aware of this?
My heart was pounding wildly, my thoughts all over the place. I stumbled through the upstairs hallway, down to the main stairway. As I reached the final steps, my legs gave way and I slumped down on the bottom stairwell.
No one really knew my real feelings for Jasper. When I met him years ago, I was taken aback by his beauty. It was a very unusual phrase to use for a person whose physique was very masculine from head to toe. But with his with his honey-gold locks, his hypnotizing greenish-gray eyes, his tall, swimmer's-like build, he just seemed so perfect. He was simply... beautiful.
And it was not just his physical attributes that had me crazy about him. He was considerate, charming, polite, and he was very well-loved by everyone. He and I had similar tastes in music, books and movies. Just lately he tried to coax me into learning how to play the guitar. I could feel the heat between us as he held my hand while he tried to place my fingers on the right key.
I tried to ignore all those feelings. I didn't want to ruin the friendship. And it's not just our friendship, it may be possible that the entire group would suffer should anything happen between us. Why would I want something more if what we have right now is great? It may not be all that I would hope for, but it enough. It was not worth the risk. Was it?
"Bella, there you are. Are you okay?" Mike asked, obviously worried about my current state.
I couldn't get myself to talk. I was afraid I might burst into tears. I looked down where the box and card lay on my lap, hoping that Mike would understand the sudden mood change.
I felt him wrap his arms around my shoulders. "Hey, come on. Let's get you to the living room. Everyone's been waiting for you," he said quietly. I didn't hear any signs of anger or jealousy from him, just concern and love.
All I remember from then on was sitting on the love seat and Edward handling me a glass of water. I graciously took it from him and drank greedily.
Everyone was waiting for me to say something, so I said the only thing that's been on my mind since Alice showed me the box.
"Jasper," I whispered.
"Did you see what's in it?" Rosalie asked.
I shook my head. "I haven't had the chance to open it. I don't know if I should."
I didn't tell them about the card. I felt like it was something that Jasper and I should talk about before I tell the others about it.
"It will hurt Jasper's feelings if you don't," Mike simply said.
Nothing else was said after that. A few minutes of deafening silence, I slowly ripped the wrapper open. I held my breath as I saw the present.
It was a music box that looked exactly like the one my mother gave me as a child. I opened it, and the familiar tune of "You Light Up My Life" started playing. I gasped when I saw what was inside it.
Jasper and I were out shopping for Christmas presents for the gang one Saturday. We were walking down the street when I saw an antique store that sells old jewellery.
"Jasper, wait! I want to see this," I said excitedly. I peered through the store window and saw a pair of beautiful pearl earring that looked just like my grandmother's.
"What is it?" he asked, resting his chin on my shoulder. I tried to ignore the chills that went down my spine as I felt his breath in my ear.
I pointed to the earrings. "My grandmother used to have a set of earrings just like that. I always admired them as a child. My parents thought I was too young to have one, so on my 7th birthday, my mom gave me a music box. It's the typical one, with the ballerina inside. But what's really special about it was it played a song that my mom claimed I used to sing when I was three-years old."
"What was the song?"He whispered in my ear.
"Um... 'You Light Up My Life' by Debbie Boone. Anyway, inside the box was a set of replica earrings just like my grandmother's. But as a child, I thought it was the real thing. I would always wear them to school and put them back in the box before I go to bed. Unfortunately, I lost both the box and the earring shortly after that because of a house fire."
"Wow," Angela said as soon as I finished relaying the story to them.
"But how... why... I don't know... " I started.
Emmett interrupted my stuttering, "Pssh, you know Jasper." All eyes went to him.
He continued. "Remember that girl back in high school? What's her name... Leah? Anyway, Jasper was so in love with her that he bought her this ridiculously expensive crystal duck... OW, Rose, what the fuck was that for?" He winced in pain when his wife slapped him at the back of the head.
"Wait, what did you say?" I asked loudly. I looked around, and noticed that none of the group seemed to be surprised by the revelation, not even Mike.
"I said high school with Jasper, then that's it!" Emmett said defensively.
"You all knew?" I was getting angry at this point.
How could they have kept this a secret from me? No, I had no right to upset about this. They were doing the right thing. It was not worth risking the friendship.
"Bella," Emmett said. Edward tried to shut him up. "No! This can't go on! We both know these two love each other! Don't you see guys? They were sacrificing their real feelings for each other because they were afraid that it could hurt us. They need each other. How could you all live with yourselves knowing that these two were giving up everything that could be to keep this group happy? We know that they belong together! It's time that we do the same thing for them."
"But I'm not in love with him," I whispered.
"Oh, Bella. Your eyes say it all. The way they light up when he's around and fade away when he's not. Or how you blush when you guys touch. Yeah, your blush can be seen from within a five mile radius and you know that, Bella. Ignore these dimwits. I don't know why the hell they promised Jasper to keep this shit a secret. You deserved better. You deserved him." Emmett finished.
Was I really in love with him? I thought all I ever felt for him was just a silly crush. Hell, I like him, but love?
I thought back to all the time I had known him. Jasper was the last to join our group. We all met during college in New York City, but Jasper was in Texas at the time. I remembered how Rose would talk incessantly about her step-brother, how wonderful, amazing and talented he was. Her constant stories gave Jasper a starring role in my dreams, and even though I hadn't met him, I felt drawn to him. But I always chalked it up to Rose's deep love and admiration for her brother rubbing off on me.
When I finally met him, my heart was beating wildly. He was more than what Rose had described. I almost melted the first time I heard his voice. My knees grew weak when we shook hands. And still, I thought it was nothing.
I remembered the stabbing pain in my heart when he introduced us to Maria, his now ex-girlfriend. At the time, I realized that we might never be more than friends. So I forced all feelings for Jasper to a place deep inside me.
Now, after all these years, all the feelings I had kept hidden decided to break free, and it finally hit me.
I am in love with Jasper.
Suddenly, my friends brought me out of my internal monologue.
"Wow, Emmett's a romantic sap. Who knew?" Ben joked. We all laughed, temporarily breaking the tension in the room.
"What do I do? I can't." I looked to my right, and noticed Mike for the first time since the revelation. "Mike, I'm sorry."
"Can we talk for a minute?" he asked.
I nodded. He glanced subtly at Edward, who gave a slight nod. We got up and walked towards the kitchen, where everyone would be out of earshot.
"Mike, I'm sorry." I began.
He shushed me with his finger. "I have a confession. I knew that you were not that into me, but I like you. I like your friends. And that is why I stayed close to you. Please don't tell me you didn't feel that we weren't really dating. We were at the point that we were just hanging out, as friends."
He pulled an envelope from his jacket pocket. "I'd like to think of you as one of my very best friend. If you still let me. I enjoy your company. And before I give this to you, please say you'll take it."
"Take it," he said firmly.
"Okay, I'll take it," I said. He handed me the envelope, which held a roundtrip ticket to New York City and hotel accommodation.
Tears were brimming from my eyes. "How...?"
"It's from Edward and I. And no, we didn't know that this was going to happen. But instincts win. You and Jasper are in the same hotel. Your room is right across his. Easy access." He winked.
I slapped him playfully then gave him a big hug. "You're amazing, you know that? You'll make someone a very lucky woman."
He pulled away and I noticed a light tint on his cheeks. "Wait, are you? No.... is it?"
"I don't know. I'm new to this. I have no idea what's going on inside me," he mumbled.
I giggled. "I'm happy for you guys. Really. He's a great guy. You hurt each other, though, and I'm going to cut both your dicks off."
He laughed. "Your plane leaves at 5am. Get your stuff ready. We want details when you get back." I kissed his cheek and ran towards the living room.
"I'm going after him," I announced to the entire group. There were cheers and hugs all around. Finally, the mood's getting lighter.
Edward was the last person in line for the hugfest. I kissed him on the cheek.
"He's great isn't he?" I teased. He blushed, and then laughed as I gave him the same threat I gave Mike.
It was 10 am. I arrived in NYC about an hour ago. Rose had already told me that Jasper had a meeting that ran from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. I was still so tired from all of the admissions and realizations of the night before, so I tried to rest while I waited for Jasper, but I couldn't. Instead, I found myself constantly checking the peephole in case I missed him.
I must have fallen asleep at some point, sitting on the floor by the door, because the next thing I knew, I heard shuffling from outside the hallway. I scrambled to my feet and pressed my eye to the peephole. I saw a flash of familiar blonde hair across the hall just before his door closed. I grabbed the card and music box with the earrings still inside, and walked across the hall to his room. I was raising my hand to knock on his door when I froze.
Fuck, what if this all just a misunderstanding?
Okay, deep breaths, Bella. You can do this. Just... say what you want to say, and no matter what happens, you will remain friends in the end. I hope. Shit.
I raised my fist again to knock, but the door opened suddenly, and I ended up hitting Jasper hard on the nose instead.
"FUCK!" he grunted. I must have hit him hard, because the next thing I knew, he was on the floor, clutching his nose.
"Oh shit!" I cried. "Oh my God, Jasper, are you okay?"
I crouched down beside him, trying to pry both his hands away from his face while I clutched the box with my other hand. When I moved his hand, I found myself staring deep into the familiar beautiful green eyes. And then I knew.
Yes, he is worth everything.
"Bella? What are you doing here?" he asked in bewilderment.
"I um..." I looked down at the music box.
I felt him go rigid as he noticed the item in my hands. "Oh," was all he said.
I snorted. "Yeah, oh. Care to explain?" I asked lightly, trying my best to keep the mood casual.
He got off the floor in a hurry and went straight to the bathroom. I was too dumbstruck to move, so I stayed seated on the floor. A few minutes went by before he emerged from the bathroom. I looked up and noticed a slight bruising on his left cheek. I quickly got on my feet, placed the music box on the mantle and walked over to him. I cupped his cheek as I tried to check for any further damage I may have caused.
"Shit, Jasper, I'm so sorry. Does anything else hurt?" I asked, touching his reddened cheek tenderly.
"I'm fine," he mumbled. I noticed that he tried to avoid making eye contact with me, and it hurt. I pulled away and walked towards the mantle where music box lay.
"Thank you," I whispered. "The poem and the present, they're beautiful."
"You're welcome," he said simply.
His nonchalant attitude was getting on my nerves, and my patience was wearing thin. My heart felt like it was dying.
"That's it? Please, tell me this is not important, and I'll leave. We'll forget this ever happened, and we'll be back the way we were. No hard feelings, really," I choked, blinking back the tears that threatened to spill at any moment.
He didn't say anything. He walked towards the loveseat beside the window and stared outside.
Fuck Jasper, just stab me in the heart with a dull knife and twist it, why don't you?
Feeling rather rejected, I grabbed the box and started to head out the door. But then I heard his voice.
"No, wait. I'm sorry. This isn't supposed to be like this," he said quietly.
Stomp my heart into little pieces, and then feed it to the wolves.
"I see. Okay then..."
He stood, and then walked slowly towards me. "No! That's not what I meant." He sighed.
He gently took the box from me and set it back on the mantle. Then he took both my hands in his. "I remember the first time I saw you. You were wearing the ugliest neon pink sweater dress that Rose made you wear for losing a bet."
We both chuckled at the memory. Rose and I had made a bet on how many hotdogs Edward could eat in one sitting. I said it was an impossible task, since Edward was a vegetarian, and wouldn't eat them at all. In the end, Edward ended up eating a whole package, so I lost. It was months later when I found out that Edward had actually eaten tofudogs.
"You stood out in the crowd -not because of the outfit, but because you wore it with such grace and confidence. You were the most beautiful creature that I've ever met. But, at the time, I couldn't give in to my feelings, because we were both with someone else. So I settled in with friendship."
"But the more time I spent with you, the more you consumed me. My thoughts, my dreams...everything. It's all about you. Shit, I don't even know why I wrote you the poem, when you had Mike..."
"Mike's in love with someone else," I interrupted. His eyes narrowed and his hands clenched mine tightly, andI knew had to explain before things got out of hand. "No, don't get upset. He didn't do anything wrong. We were dating, yes. But were we ever a couple? No. He's an amazing friend. In fact, he and Edward were the ones who bought me the ticket to come find you."
His face softened, and for the first time since I came into the room, he smiled.
"They did, huh?" he said softly, he removed one of his hands from mine and caressed my cheek.
I nodded. I sighed with contentment and leaned into his hand.
"Jasper," I whispered.
"Mmmm?" he murmured, gazing into my eyes in a way that made my knees grow weak.
"What happens now?" I asked quietly.
He gazed into my eyes with such intensity it made me weak in the knees.
"Now we kiss," he replied huskily.
He caught my sigh with his open mouth, pressed up against mine, and we tasted each other for the first time. It was heaven. It was the sweetest of all things I have ever experienced and it was better than I ever dreamed of.
The thought of all of those lost years - lost kisses - made our sweet kiss turn demanding...hungry. I frantically grabbed the collar of his shirt, pulling him closer. The passion, the need for each other was almost too strong to bear, that I needed something, anything, to keep me from collapsing to the floor.
As if he could hear my thoughts, he backed me up slowly until I felt my back pressed against the wall. I tilted my head slightly to deepen the kiss, our tongues fervently danced in perfect unison.
His right hand grasped the back of my head while his left cupped my ass. I instinctively reacted, wrapping my legs around his and grounding my palpable heat against his hardened cock. We both groaned at the friction. I fumbled with the buttons of his shirt, and ran my hands along the planes of his sculpted chest. His mouth left mine and started a trail of wet kisses along my neck and shoulder.
"Fuck, Bella. We should stop. You deserve better than this," he whispered against my ear.
"We've waited too long, Jasper. I need you. I want you now. Please," I pleaded.
"Oh God, Bella." He lifted up my skirt and traced his fingers along the waistband of my panties, then tore the lace off of me. His animalistic behaviour made me gasp, and I hungered for more.
"So wet for me, baby," he murmured as he played with my slit and slowly inserted his finger in me. He slowly pumped his finger in and out of me and the sensation I felt was immeasurable. It wasn't that long before I felt my orgasm building. Jasper must've sensed it too, because he slipped another finger in me while his thumb played with my clit.
"Look at me, baby. Cum for me." I stared into his eyes as I came, and then all I could see were stars.
Still recovering from my orgasm, I quickly removed his belt, and easily unbuttoned his trousers. I rubbed my hands over his hardness outside his boxer briefs, causing him to moan my name out loud. I pulled his boxers down, and I almost came when I felt his bare skinn on my hands. I started stroking his cock, playing with the precum that pooled on the tip.
"Bella, stop. I can't last that long if you don't stop," he moaned. I stopped my ministrations and once again ran my hands over his chest. Then I took his dick in my hand, and placed it against my pussy.
"Shit, Bella. Condom..." he panted. I took a foil wrapper from my breast pocket. I tore off the packet, and sheathed his impressive length with the condom.
"Shh. Just fuck me," I groaned.
He slammed his cock inside me and we both screamed with ecstasy. "Oh, fuck, Bella. So good. So tight."
"Harder, Jasper," I cried.
He pumped his dick in and out of me with wild abandon. We were hungry for each other; everything all those years we've've missed we gave into this moment. It was the most incredible feeling in the world.
"Bella, baby. I can't hold on," he panted.
"Cum for me, Jasper. I love you," I whispered.
One final thrust and all he felt was euphoria. He leaned his forehead against mine, our bodies covered with sweat. "I love you, Bella. So much."
I giggled. "This is so romantic."
He removed himself from me and settled my feet on the floor.
"Hey now, you said it first." He laughed.
"I did, didn't I?" I grinned.
"Come on, let's get cleaned up," he said. He took my hand and we walked into the bathroom.
After we got freshened up, Jasper asked, "Um... Bella? Can I ask you a question?"
"You want to know about the condom," I answered and smirked at him through the bathroom mirror.
"Well, yeah. Not that I... um... you know," he stammered.
I sat on the bathroom counter, grinning at him where he stood in between my legs. "Inside the envelope that Mike and Edward gave as a present, along with the plane tickets and hotel info was a long strip of condoms. Cheeky bastards." I giggled.
He raised an eyebrow. "Oh, so there's more?"
"Yeah, and we don't want them to go to waste now, do we?" I winked.
"Of course not. We don't want to disappoint them." He leaned towards me, his nose grazed mine."I love you, Bella."
I kissed him long and lovingly on the lips. "I love you, too, Jasper. Thank you so much for the gift, really. It's wonderful. The fact that it came from you made it all the more special."
"Anytime, babe," he said, pulling me into a hug.
Then, without a warning, he slung me over his shoulder, caveman style. "Come on, woman. Let's make use of the lovely presents our awesome friends gave us." I squealed as he slapped me in the ass as we headed our way to my room.
JaspersDarkAngel: Thanks very much! =)