A/N: Hey guys! It's been ages, I know. Apologies, as always. There's been various things stopping me from writing - motivation being one of them. Thanks so much those that messaged me and asked me about the story coz that is actually what gave me the kick up the arse to start writing again. Thanks for the reviews, faves, alerts, as well! On to the chapter. Hope you like! :)
It's a quick kiss – five seconds, at most.
And not a proper one, really. I mean, I barely open my mouth and there're definitely no tongues or anything.
But, still, it's a kiss.
And it's a kiss that shows people we're two guys who aren't just friends.
I'm breathing hard when I stop kissing him, take my hand off the back of his neck, and lean away from his mouth. But it's out of excitement and fear rather than breathlessness.
The excitement is because I kissed him out in public and I'm glad I did.
The fear is because I don't know if he feels the same.
And… he doesn't react, at first. He just stands and stares at me – still and stoic.
So I don't do anything, either. I just stand and stare back as if any sudden movement might set him off.
The stare-off only lasts about six seconds.
And then he blinks.
And suddenly, his eyes are darting all around us – like he's just remembered where we are.
So mine do too.
I make eye contact with about five people openly gaping at us. I see a few more people sneaking glances. There's a guy walking on the other side of the street who keeps turning back to look at us.
I look at Edward again.
To find that he's now bright red: his flush beginning at his hairline and disappearing into the collar of his shirt.
Before I have time to do anything else he's brushing past me, going in the opposite direction of the one we were headed.
I follow him, half running trying to keep up. Call his name a few times but he doesn't respond.
He doesn't slow down until he's all the way back to the spot where I parked my car.
His hands are shaking when he takes my keys out of his pocket. He pushes the button that unlocks the door. Gets into the passenger side.
I get into the driver side.
His heaving chest is the only part of him that moves as he sits and stares out of the windshield. Even his blinks are far apart.
And that fear at not knowing how he was gonna react was nothing compared to the anxiety that actually seeing his reaction brings.
Because now I'm thinking that maybe the kiss was too much, too soon. That maybe I overestimated how well he was dealing.
"Edward." My whisper is amplified by the silence. "Are you ok?"
His lack of response is expected.
And I don't know what to do. Touching him when he's like this is out of the question, talking to him is pointless.
So I just sit there next to him, in the dead silence of the car, anxiety gnawing at me so I can't sit still, and wait.
I count how many minutes go past, just to have something to do.
And I'm at six minutes and forty two seconds when he startles me as he says:
"Why'd you do that?"
I'm surprised he doesn't sound mad but not relieved by it.
I look over at him. "Cos, like you said, I was being a hypocrite, and –"
"You wanted to prove you're not," he states.
I shake my head. "No." Sigh. "I wanted to try to stop being one."
He turns his head to look at me now and I can't figure out his expression. Probably because there is no expression on his face. "So you kissed me right there on the sidewalk," he says. His matter-of-fact tone doesn't tell me anything, either. It just confuses me.
I half shrug. "It's Port Angeles," I say, using his words against him. "No one knows us here."
He frowns, his dark eyebrows hooding his eyes, a crease forming between them, and I know this expression well:
But I can deal with his anger better than I can deal with him being impassive.
"Right there on the fucking sidewalk, though, Jasper?" he repeats.
I ask him, "Why does it matter where it was if they don't know us?"
He doesn't reply. He just looks away from me and back out of the windshield.
So I sigh, resigned now. Tip my head back against the headrest and stare out of the windshield, too.
"I don't know what you want, man," I say. "One minute it's, 'let's make out, who gives a shit if people see, they don't know us.' Then I kiss you and it's…" – I bang the heel of my hand against the steering wheel – "this. I mean, seriously, what the fuck do you want from me, Edward?"
The question is rhetorical but I wait to see if he'll answer it anyway.
He doesn't answer it.
So I shake my head, strap on my seatbelt, switch on the engine and start maneuvering out of the parking space.
He doesn't say anything during the drive out of Port Angeles and back into Forks. Doesn't even look in my direction. I don't waste my breath trying to talk to him. But I can't help glancing at him every once in a while, trying to decipher what the hell is going on in his head. But his face gives away nothing.
When I park up outside his house I wordlessly wait for him to get out.
For about a minute he makes no attempt to leave, gives no indication that he's even aware we've stopped moving.
But then he takes off his seatbelt and he reaches for the door handle and I feel him looking at me.
I hear him intake a deep breath like he wants to say something.
Out of the corner of my eye I see his mouth open and close a few times like he wants to say something.
He starts with: "I just –" like he wants to say something.
But then he stops.
I see him shake his head a little.
And he opens the door and gets out of the car without saying anything.
"You haven't seen or spoken to him in three weeks now?" Rosalie asks.
"God, you two areannoying." She tosses a pillow at me. I make no attempt to block it. Pick it up and put it under my head after it hits me. "You're both so – such guys. It's like… like pulling teeth to get you to talk to each other. Why aren't you talking, again? Remind me."
"I kissed him in Port Angeles. In public."
"Right. And that was a dumbass move on your part."
I frown. "I know. Seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Really, Jasper? Kissing Edward Cullen in front of a bunch of people seemed like a good idea? I mean, how'd you think he was gonna take it?"
"I didn't think about it."
"I figured. But you can't really be surprised at him reacting the way he did."
I sit up in my bed now. "I'm not surprised but I don't get it, Rosalie. He wanted to make out in that alleyway, but I kiss him for, what, five seconds and it's a big deal?"
"Yeah, but an alleyway's different, Jasper. You're still kind of hidden," she says. "People walking past can only really catch a glimpse of you and a lot of people probably won't even notice you're there. I mean, it's public, but nowhere near as public as right there on the sidewalk. Not to mention the fact thatyou just sprung the kiss on him when he wasn't expecting it."
She's right, as usual.
I sigh, looking up at the tiny cracks in the paint on my ceiling. "It felt good to kiss him like that, you know? Not having to hide. The looks we got didn't even bother me."
"That's good," she says. "Cos it means you're getting more comfortable. And if he didn't freak out about it it would have been some serious progress." She grins. "You basically came out to Port Angeles."
I muster up a smile. "True." Lose the smile. "But what I do? About him, I mean."
"Have you tried calling him?"
"A couple of times, about a week ago. He didn't pick up."
Rosalie purses her lips in thought. She shrugs a shoulder. "Then go see him."
"I don't even know if he's in Forks."
"Em'll probably know. I'll ask him for you."
She puts Emmet on speakerphone when she calls.
"Hey, Baby," he answers.
"Hey. Where are you?"
"At work, still. I'm working a little late. Paul's off sick so I gotta finish working on the car he was fixing before the client comes to pick it up. Where're you?"
"Ok. What's up?"
"Do you know if Edward's in Forks?"
"Edward? Yeah, spoke to him earlier. He wanted to hang after work. Why?"
"Jasper wants to know."
"Right," Emmett says. "They're not talking?"
Rosalie glances over at me as she asks him, "How'd you know? Did Edward say something to you?"
He snorts. "Like he'd ever talk to me about that kinda stuff. Nah, I just figured, seeing as he's been hanging out with me a lot these past few weekends. Want me to tell him I can't hang tonight?"
Rosalie looks over at me, in question.
I just shrug.
"Yeah," she says anyway. "Jasper wants to go talk to him. Thanks, Baby."
"No problem. I gotta get back to work now though, Babe. Say hi to Jazz for me."
"Alright. Bye, Em."
Rosalie hangs up the phone and looks over at me with eyebrows raised.
I don't move, though. I stay sitting on my bed and avoiding her gaze like her conversation with Emmett doesn't mean anything to me. Like I'm not aching to rush over to his place right this minute now that I know he's there.
Like I don't miss him.
I'm not fooling Rosalie.
She rolls her eyes at me but doesn't comment. Then she gets up and stretches. "I'm gonna go now, anyway. I got a ton of homework this weekend that I need to start." She picks up a pillow and throws it at me again. Winks. "Lemme know how it goes with him."
I don't know why, but I wait until I hear her car pulling out of the driveway and driving away.
And then I'm picking up my car keys.
And running down the stairs and out of the front door.
And driving over to his house.
I slow down on the drive over, when I realize I don't even know what to say to him, and the nerves start kicking at my insides, until I've slowed to practically a crawl by the time I turn into the road that leads up to their house.
And when Alice answers the door I get an uneasy sense of déjà vu that makes my heart start thudding a fast, irregular beat.
Because last time she answered I found a girl in his bed.
Alice's smile is friendly, it shows teeth, but it doesn't touch her eyes. It's the smile she always gives me these days. "Hi, Jasper."
There's an awkward silence.
It's awkward because things are always awkward with Alice now.
Awkward because I'm not sure whether I even want to know if he's home.
Awkward because I have to ask her if he is.
She makes it easier for both of us.
"He's in his room."
I avoid her eyes as she steps back to let me in. "Thanks, Alice."
Again, walking down the hall to his bedroom gives me déjà vu. And although I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna find Tanya in his bed again…
The nerves have gotten to my head too, so I can't stop myself from wondering who I'll find instead.
I pause outside his bedroom door and I can hear the TV but nothing else.
So I knock.
There's no answer.
I knock again.
Still, no answer.
And the nerves have intensified into a voice in my head telling me: 'there's someone in there with him'. And my heart starts doing a tap dance in my chest. And that sense of déjà vu is screaming at me.
But I open the door anyway.
Partly because I'm curious. Partly because I'm masochistic.
He's in there.
On his bed.
I walk into the room and shut the door behind me. Lean against it for a bit while my heart adjusts into its regular beat, while the voice in my head shuts up.
He's lying on top of the comforter on his back, fully clothed. His TV's on. There's an open soda can on the table next to his bed. He's got his cell phone in a loose grip in his hand.
I move closer to the bed and just look at him.
Partly because I haven't seen his face in three weeks. Partly because I'm so relieved he's alone.
Partly because it's weird how different he looks when he's asleep.
Well, he doesn't look different, really. I mean, he's still gorgeous – maybe even more so right now.
But his face isn't impassive.
It isn't angry.
He looks different because when he's asleep his face shows a side to him he rarely shows to anyone when he's awake, a side he's only given me a glimpse of:
I'm crouched down in front of him now, my hand involuntarily hovering about an inch above his cheek –
When I notice his phone.
He must have pressed a button on it by mistake and illuminated the screen.
And when I see what's on the screen my palm closes that inch of space and touches the side of his face. I brush my thumb back and forth across his cheekbone.
On his phone there's an unsent text open – an unsent text addressed to me.
And the text says three words:
I miss you.
His eyes open after about thirty seconds of me stroking his face.
He stares at me, confused, for about thirty seconds more.
I take my hand away. Swallow. "Hey."
He continues staring at me for a little longer – green eyes unnerving, as always. Then, in a rough, low voice: "What're you doing here?"
I half shrug. "Wanted to see you."
He doesn't say anything.
"I missed you." Too, I almost add.
His eyes flicker down to the phone in his hand for just a second. Then he shoves it into his pocket.
He starts shifting to a sitting position on his bed.
"I'm sorry," I blurt out, meeting his eyes. "About… Port Angeles."
Still no word from him.
I give him a rueful half smile. "The kiss… seemed like a good idea at the time."
So I stand up. Push my hands into my pockets. "So, yeah… Just wanted you to know," I mutter.
I'm taking a step back from his bed, about to turn around and leave –
When his fingers wrap around my wrist.
And he doesn't quite meet my eyes when he says:
"I just… wasn't ready. I'm not ready for that… yet. Alright?"
It takes me a few seconds to get what he means.
I nod. "Alright."
He lets go of my wrist. Looks me right in the eyes now. "Got any plans for tonight?"
"Not really. You?"
He shakes his head. "Nah. Was just gonna go hang with Em."
There's an awkward silence.
It's awkward because we both have more we need to say to each other but we hold back.
Awkward because I don't wanna leave but I'm not sure if he wants me to stay.
Awkward because I really wanna kiss him right now.
He makes it easier for both of us.
He reaches for something on his bedside table and holds it up. Grins.
It's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
"Looking forward to kicking your ass at this one, too," he says. "Wanna play?"
He's at my house Saturday afternoon, a week later.
We're in the living room, playing on the PS3. Mom's in the kitchen making dinner.
He shakes his head when he wins again. Chuckles. "Face it, Whitlock," he says. "You can't beat me at anything."
"Bullshit. I kick your ass at FIFA all the time."
He snorts. "Yeah, but FIFA doesn't count."
I raise an eyebrow. "Why not?"
"Cos it's easy."
"Oh yeah? If it's so easy why do I always win?"
He smirks. "Cos I let you."
I roll my eyes. "Sure you do."
He glances at me – still smirking – but doesn't say anything else.
We carry on playing. He carries on winning at the game.
After a while, he nudges me with his elbow. "Hey."
"I liked it," he says.
I frown, confused. "Liked what?"
"Port Angeles. When you kissed me."
I pause the game and turn to look at him – still confused. He's already looking at me when I do.
He takes a deep breath through his nose. "I liked it," he repeats. "But, like I said… I wasn't ready."
I hold his eyes. "Ok."
"And… when I saw people looking at us, I freaked."
There's a long silence between us as I think about what he's saying.
Then I ask him, "Why didn't you tell me this before?"
He shrugs a little. "I'm telling you now."
We stare at each other, the PS3 game completely forgotten.
And his eyes are like an eclipse. They're so intense and intent and captivating it's hard to look away – but simultaneously, I can't look at them directly for long periods of time.
So, eventually, I look down at the controller in my hand.
"Hey," he whispers. "Look at me."
So I look back up –
And my dad is standing in the doorway of the living room, looking at us.
Edward's head whips around, following the direction of my gaze – and his eyes end up meeting my dad's.
So Dad's eyes are on him as he answers, "Hi, Jay."
"Hi." I try to sound as nonchalant as I can manage when I ask him, "How come you're home already?" but the waver in my voice gives me away.
Dad doesn't seem to notice, though. He breaks eye contact with Edward to glance at me. "One of our clients couldn't make it so a few meetings got cancelled."
My dad's away on business most weekends. And the times when he is home… I keep Edward away from my house.
So they've never met.
There's ten seconds of tense silence.
And Dad's looking at Edward again – frowning now. "I don't think I've seen you here before?"
Edward's eyes flicker to mine for a split second before going back to Dad's. "Nah, I don't think we've met. I'm Edward," he answers, holding my dad's eyes. "Sir."
Dad's frown deepens.
"Edward," he mutters. "Where do I know that name from?"
And Edward freezes.
It's like the air around him suddenly halts too, smacking into the brick wall that his body has become, because it looks like he's even stopped breathing.
I'm pretty sure Dad doesn't know the rumors still floating around about Edward because he's away from Forks too much to hear them. And even if he wasn't, he and Mom don't pay attention to town gossip anyway.
But Edward doesn't know this.
And, honestly, with the way my dad's looking at him? I might be wrong.
But after another long, uncomfortable pause, realization wipes the frown off Dad's face. He grins instead. "You're Carlisle's son."
Edward's still not moving as he answers, "Yes, sir."
Dad nods. "Knew I recognized that face as soon as I saw it. It's crazy how much you look like your old man."
Edward's returning smile is stiff, but the rest of his body seems to be thawing. "I get that a lot."
"Your dad and I used to go fishing together, years back," Dad says. "How is Carlisle anyway?"
"He's good, sir."
"That's great. Tell him I said hi."
The air around Edward starts flowing again. And his smile is genuine when he says, "I will."
Dad turns to me now. "Where's your mom, Jay?"
"In the kitchen."
He nods again. Starts making his way to the kitchen. "If you'll excuse me, boys. Nice meeting you, Edward."
Edward slumps back against the couch when my dad disappears into the kitchen. Tips his head back and looks up at the ceiling. "Holy shit."
"I thought he…" He doesn't finish but I know what he means.
He sits like that for a while, just staring at the ceiling. Then he turns his head to look at me.
"How come he didn't know? About…" He doesn't finish but I know what he means.
I shrug. "I guess he's not here enough to hear all the rumors."
He nods. Looks back up at the ceiling when he asks me, "What do you think he'll say when he finds out?"
"About you? Or about us?"
I shrug again but don't say anything.
Because I don't really wanna think about it. Especially not after I've just gotten over the fear of thinking he caught us staring at each other like that.
Edward seems to read my mind. He looks at me from the corner of his eye. "You think he saw us?"
I shake my head. "He would have said something."
"Good." He half smirks, like it's no big deal, but I can see the anxiety hiding out in his eyes. "Cos there's no fucking way he wouldn't have figured shit out if he had." Another half smirk – like it's no big deal. "I mean, you're not exactly subtle, Whitlock."
I scoff. "What? And you are?
He just smirks again and doesn't respond.
We don't say anything else for a long while.
And my silence is due to relief. Relief that my dad still doesn't know I prefer guys – well, that I prefer one particular guy.
I don't know why Edward's silent.
But eventually he says, "Your dad's got an accent, doesn't he."
I nod. "Yeah, he's from Austin. Moved here before I was born."
He snorts. "Makes sense."
"That you've got a surname like Whitlock."
Garrett comes down to Forks with him one weekend, a few weeks later.
So on the Saturday we hang out: me, him, Garrett, and Emmett.
Mom's out all day, Dad's away on business, so we hang at my house.
We take shots of my dad's alcohol so we're all half drunk by the time it gets to evening.
"That idiot, Newton's been running his mouth about you, Ed," Emmett says.
He sits up a little straighter on the couch. "Oh yeah? What's he been saying?"
Garrett takes a sip of some JD. Shudders. "Who's Newton?" He asks.
"Mike Newton," Emmett answers him. "Some guy from school. Let's just say me and Ed didn't exactly get along with him –"
Edward snorts. "Hated him, more like."
Emmett snorts too. "Yeah. And it kinda stuck after we finished school."
Garrett nods. Grimaces as he takes another sip.
Emmett leans back in the recliner opposite us so he has to look at us through low eyelids. "Anyway, I heard Newton talking to Paul. He came in to fix that piece of shit car of his again the other day." Emmett shakes his head. "We told the guy it'd be cheaper if he just bought a new fuckin' car, but he won't listen. I mean, seriously, the thing's a pile of junk. I won't waste my time on it anymore so Paul fixes it. Anyway, Newton was saying some bullshit about how he saw you in Port Angeles kissing some dude."
Edward's gaze touches mine for a fraction of a second.
"That's all I heard, though. He shut the fuck up when he saw me," Emmett continues. He grins a lazy grin. Takes a sip of Courvoisier.
Edward just stares at the bottle of Jagermeister now clenched tightly in his fist. Says nothing.
I think back to that day in Port Angeles. Remember the 'guy walking on the other side of the street who keeps turning back to look at us.' And say nothing.
Garrett looks at Edward, then at me, then back to Edward.
"Hey," he says.
And his voice cuts through the tension that has suddenly surrounded us, like a beam of light cuts through a fog.
We all look over at him.
"Let's play a drinking game."
"Which one?" Emmett asks.
"I've Never," Garrett replies. "Everyone knows how to play, right?"
We all nod.
"Ok," Garrett says. "I'll start. I've never…" He glances around at the rest of us. "Been in love."
Emmett takes a gulp of Courvoisier.
I take a gulp of Remy Martin.
Edward avoids everyone's eyes as he takes a sip of Jagermeister.
"Ok, I'll go next," Emmett says. He smirks. "I've never… kissed a dude."
I take a drink.
Edward takes a drink.
Garrett takes a drink.
"You've kissed a guy?" Edward asks him. "Who?"
Garrett takes another drink. "A friend, back home."
"So, what, you're into guys too?" Emmett says.
Garrett shakes his head. "Nah. We were drunk and he made a pass at me. I told him I wasn't interested." He grins, sheepish. "Made shit really awkward between us, though."
Emmett raises his eyebrows. "I bet it did."
We carry on playing the game until we're all smashed.
Until Emmett's passed out on the recliner and Garrett's throwing up in the bathroom.
Me and Edward end up in my bedroom.
And Mom's still not home so I lock the door.
I kiss him along his jaw line, trailing my lips over his stubble and his perfect sideburns, and up to his ear where I whisper, "Let's fuck."
I'm not serious about it – well, only half serious. I mostly just wanna see how he reacts.
And he doesn't, at first.
He just tries to shut me up with a kiss on the mouth and a hand down my pants.
But I persist. Slurring my words when I say: "I bet it'll feel fucking awesome, riding your ass."
He groans but it's not a groan of pleasure – I think?
His hands start unbuttoning my jeans.
"C'mon, let's do it. I've got lube and –"
Abruptly, he stops moving his hips against me. Takes his hand off my cock. Rolls off me and onto his back.
"I was kidding," I lie.
He glances at me sideways, still breathing hard. "No you weren't."
I ask him, "Aren't you even just a little curious?"
He doesn't answer me.
We lay on our backs on my bed for what feels like a long time. The ceiling ripples above my head whenever I look at it. The bed feels like its frame is made of jello.
His voice sounds far away when he calls my name.
I turn my head in his direction but I can't see him. "What?"
"Open your eyes," he says. "Don't pass out yet."
I open my eyes and he appears – green eyes about an inch in front of me. "Why?"
"Cos you're gonna feel like shit when you wake up. You need to drink some water."
He starts getting swallowed up by a black mist again –
My eyes snap open. "I'm awake."
"Jesus fucking Christ," he mutters. "Sit up."
A few seconds? Minutes? Hours? later I'm sitting up with my back propped against the headboard and a cold glass hitting my teeth.
He materializes in front of me again. "Open your mouth."
So I do.
After I've taken a few sips I look at him properly.
He just stares back.
"How come you're not drinking any water?" I ask him.
"I don't need it."
"Cos I'm not wasted, like you."
"Oh." There's a long pause. Then I say, "You didn't answer my question."
He knows what question I'm talking about because he ignores me.
I repeat: "You didn't answer my question."
"Shut up, Jasper."
"Cos you're fucking annoying when you're drunk."
"Just answer the question and I'll shut up."
He doesn't answer.
So I don't shut up.
"I think about fucking you all the time, you know. Makes me so fucking horny."
His voice is a rough murmur when he says, "Jasper…"
"Kiss me and I'll shut up."
"You're fucking wasted."
"So what?" I put the glass down on the bedside drawer. Attempt to reach out and touch his face.
But he gets up from the bed and starts wandering around the room.
My eyes follow his movements. His ass.
"I need to jerk off," I say.
He scoffs. "You're not even hard. And you're not gonna be able to get hard."
I glance down at his crotch. "No, but you are."
He doesn't say anything.
"Wanna watch some porn with me?" I ask him.
More time passes.
And I think I pass out because when I open my eyes I'm lying on my back again.
He's lying next to me. Eyes wide open.
"What time is it?"
He shrugs. "Around four, I think."
"Why're you still awake?"
"Where's Emmett and Garrett?"
"Guest room. Your mom's home, by the way."
I prop myself up on one elbow and my head spins a little. So I gulp down the rest of the water. Then I get up and go to the bathroom to take a piss. Come back and start taking off my clothes.
He just watches me.
I turn off the light and get back into bed but I don't fall asleep.
And I can tell that he's still awake, too, by the way he's breathing.
"I am a little curious," he says – out of the blue.
"I'm answering your question."
"But," he says. I hear him inhale a deep breath. Breathe out again. "When we do it? I'm fucking you."