For the woman I worship, FarDareisMai2, Happy Birthday!!!
Prompts: Ghost, Scrooge, and laptop…
Please go read the rest of the wonderful stories written for FDM: http:// www . fanfiction . net/s/5596037/1/Happy_Birthday_FDM (remove the spaces)
A Birthday Carol
Disclaimer: I, in no way, am Stephenie Meyer or Charles Dickens. :o)
I sat and stared at my laptop for what seemed like an interminable amount of time. I had debated sending Jasper an email, wondering what his reaction would be hearing from me after all of these years. Three years to be exact. The last time I saw him was when his wife and my best friend, Alice had passed away from pancreatic cancer. A few years before then, my own wife had died. I couldn't cope with all of the loss around me and I retreated into myself, essentially become a hermit. A pissed off hermit at that.
I scared off anyone that came knocking on my door. I just didn't want to deal with any nosy neighbors or bratty children. During holidays, I was nicknamed Scrooge because I would scream at everybody. I didn't give out candy on Halloween and, being the pianist that I was, I couldn't bear to hear the off-key singing of the Christmas carolers. Could you really blame me though? I lost my wife and best friend, the two most important people in my life within years of each other. I was a living mess. Jasper had tried to help me deal, but I shrugged him off. He was too good for me, I loved him…like a brother…but I never wanted him to see me like this.
That was until a few days ago.
I was staring into oblivion, into nothingness. Oh sure, the television was on and some stupid reality program was playing, but ask me if I knew what was going on, and I couldn't tell you shit. I heard the familiar sound of an incoming email come from my laptop. I got up from my comfortable spot on the couch, a well-worn spot mind you, and dragged my ass to the office. I sat down in my rolling chair and pulled up to my desk.
The screensaver was on display, showing pictures of a much happier time. I wasn't sure why I tortured myself with the pictures, but I did. There was the photo of me and Bella at our wedding, giving way to the photo of Alice and Jasper after the birth of their son, Peter. Then there was a picture of me and Jasper. I never noticed the picture before. It was from one of his birthdays. Our arms were around the other's shoulder and we were looking at each other, smiling. The next picture came up, but I pressed the arrow key to go back to the previous picture.
I had always felt a connection to Jasper, just never knew what it was. I was looking into his blue eyes, giving him a genuine smile. Goodness, I haven't smiled like that in ages. He was a good man, a great man. I loved him…like a brother.
The new photo came up, taking me out of my mind and back to the present. I moved the mouse to inactivate the screensaver and clicked through the open tabs on the browser until I found my email. There was a new email waiting in my inbox from user ThisIsYourLife. I didn't know this person, so deleted it. I hated getting spam.
I stood up and started to walk away when another beep indicated a new email message. I checked the laptop and there was another message from ThisIsYourLife. This time there was a subject heading: "Please do not delete. You must read this."
I rolled my eyes. "You have got to be kidding me," I said to no one. I deleted the new message and stood up once more. Another beep sounded, another message.
ThisIsYourLife sent me another message. The subject this time was, "God, Edward you are so thick. Stop deleting and read."
"What the fuck?" I looked around my office. This had to be some kind of joke. Someone could see in and see me deleting the messages. But that was entirely impossible because there were no windows in my office. I was thoroughly confused, and admittedly, scared. It was just a little too freaky that as soon as I deleted a new message would appear with messages directed right at me.
I took the gamble and opened the message.
Thank you for finally opening the email. You don't know how difficult it is to communicate with you like this. Well, for starters. I miss you. I know it's weird for me to say that, considering how much I used to hate you. So, let me rephrase that, I missed fighting with you. Is that better?
Now, before you think it… you're not going crazy.
"Right, and I'm reading an email from a dead guy…" I said aloud.
And you really should stop talking to yourself. I'm not dead, I'm changed. You know how it is on the reservation. Our spirits never die, just our physical forms.
I looked around my room again. This had to be a prank.
No this isn't a prank.
"Get out of my head."
I'm not in your head, but you are predictable. Now, listen carefully… or read carefully as it were. You're going to be visited by three ghosts.
Ghosts? What the fuck was this? A Christmas Carol.
Yes, just like a Christmas Carol, except, it's not really Christmas, and you're on your laptop as opposed to seeing me in person. Which would you have preferred? Anyway, it's not Christmas, but it will be Jasper's birthday soon and apparently you need a swift kick in the ass to get you moving and with Jasper.
"With Jasper? He's like a brother."
Yeah, we get he's like a brother, but we all know there's more to it than that and you guys need each other? Need proof. Then pay attention to the three ladies that'll you see. You should recognize them.
Later, sucker… and take a bath. If I didn't know better, you smell like a wet dog. ;)
I couldn't believe what I had just read. Jacob had been dead for as long as Bella. They were actually together, heading to see Billy, Jake's father, when their car was hit by an eighteen-wheeler that ran a red light. Bella died instantly, Jacob was in a coma for a few days before his father pulled the plug.
I shook my head when I realized I was about to take this seriously. I didn't believe in ghosts and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jasper wouldn't want to hear from me. Why would he? I abandoned him when he needed me the most.
I went back into the living room and sprawled out on my couch again. I fluffed the pillow and wrapped the blanket around me. I gazed at the television until I finally fell asleep.
An hour later, or what felt like an hour later, as I had lost track of time a long time ago, I woke up to the sound of giggling.
"Edward, sweetie, you're going to get crumbs all over yourself."
Huh? It was my mother's voice, but my mother died when I was ten years old. I looked around the room and saw the old fireplace in my parents' home along with some of my old Legos and my microscope set that I had been given as a birthday gift. I must still be dreaming.
A moment later, a young me ran in front of me and dropped to the floor. He was holding a cookie in his hand and had no napkin. I was about to yell at him, or myself, for making a mess. I hated getting crumbs on anything; they were always a pain in the ass to clean up later. My mother followed behind with napkins. She was in a pair of off-white slacks and a similar colored v-neck sweater. It was what we had buried her in.
"Here, use this to wipe your hands." She handed the young me the napkins then turned to the current me and winked.
"Mom?" I questioned.
"I was wondering when you'd see me and say something," she responded taking a seat next to me.
"You're talking to me. This is a dream then," I reasoned. "It has to be," I added more to myself.
"No, you're not dreaming. I'm here, in the flesh… or rather undead flesh? An apparition? A ghost? Oh whatever I'm called, but I'm here." She snapped her finger and in a flash we were transported back to my home and my couch.
"What is going on?" I asked.
"You did read the email Jacob sent, didn't you?" she quirked a brow a me.
"Umm…yes, I just assumed-"
"Yes, you do that often. He was right. I'm here and you obviously recognize me. I never did thank you for the outfit. I'm glad I can look good for eternity now," she mused straightening her top. "Now, do you know why I'm here?" I shook my head. "Of course not. I love you, darling, but you always did have your head stuck up your ass, or Bella's or Jasper's," she smirked.
My eyes went wide at the mention of Jasper. "What do you mean, Jasper?"
"I remember the first time you met Jasper. You looked at him with such disdain; I really thought you were going to rip his head off. At first I thought you were jealous of him because he was taking Alice away from you, then I took another look…"
I blinked and instantaneously we were back at my parents' home. My fifteen year old self was in the kitchen grabbing the carton of milk from the refrigerator. There was a knock on the door and my mother called out that she would answer. I could hear my mother talking to our new guests and informing them I was in the kitchen.
A moment later, Alice and Jasper appeared. I was about to take a sip of the milk when I noticed Jasper.
"What were you really thinking, Edward?" my mother asked me.
I thought back to that day, watching my reaction to Jasper's presence. I remembered thinking how gorgeous he was and how Alice would never leave his side. I couldn't blame her, he was stunning. His blond hair was shaggy and you can see his piercing blue eyes through the long locks falling over his face. I followed his hand as he swept his hair back, giving me a better view of his rosy cheeks and his small, but pouty lips. I watched as my younger self closed his eyes, wanting to remember Jasper exactly like that.
Then I was angry. It was wrong of me to think about Jasper in any way other than as Alice's boyfriend. I was angry that he chose her instead of me. I was angry at Alice for dangling him in front of me like the sweetest candy, but not letting me taste. My face grew hard and I ran out of the room.
"Edward! Come back!" Alice called to me. She turned to Jasper. "I don't get it. He's never reacted like to this to any of my previous boyfriends. Can you wait here? I'm going to talk to him. Feel free to look around, his parents are cool and won't mind."
Alice disappeared to follow teenage me to my bedroom. I looked at my mom. "Should we follow, too?" She shook her head and pointed to Jasper.
Jasper glanced around the kitchen, but there wasn't much to see. With his hands in his jeans pockets, he sauntered out into the living room. My mother followed and motioned to go along with her. There was Jasper in all his teenage glory with a framed picture of me in his hand. It was a picture of me taken during the summer. I was wearing nothing but my swim trunks and I was carrying a surfboard. I watched as Jasper's free hand came up and his thumb slowly grazed the picture.
"Looks like someone had similar feelings," my mother mused.
"How could that be, he was totally in love with Alice?"
"He loved her with all of his heart, there's no doubt about that. But, he always had a place for you, too. You just never realized it."
"No. No. NO NO NO NO NO!" I screamed. I backed away from the vision. "Mom, he's not… I'm not… It couldn't be…" My mind was having trouble reconciling the truth. "NO!" I closed my eyes tight not wanting to believe what I was seeing.
When I opened them again, I was back in my home. The television was on and…
I fell off the couch. I hadn't noticed that I was hanging onto the edge. My mother had disappeared. I was alone again. It was all a dream. I lifted myself off the floor, shook my legs and arms out. It was all a dream. Just a dream. Jasper never felt that way for me. My mind was just playing tricks on me. That was all.
I went into the kitchen and poured myself a glass of water. I needed something stronger. I was hallucinating. My mother hadn't been here, it was all a dream. Right? I looked around the cabinets where I kept most of my medication. I had been put on anti-depressants and sleep aids after Bella's death and I knew I still had some tablets lying around.
"Aha! Found you," I exclaimed to no one. As I raised my arm to grab the pill bottle, I caught a scent of my underarm. "Whoa, Jacob was right; I do smell like wet dog."
I popped open the bottle of sleeping pills and took two out. They were a bit old so much of the potency was gone. I tossed the pills down and followed them with a deep swig of water.
I climbed upstairs to my bedroom. I only ever came in here for a change of clothes. After Bella died, I couldn't find it in myself to sleep in the bed we shared without her. I slept on the couch most days or in the guest bedroom if my back became too stiff. I grabbed a new set of pajamas from the dresser and sauntered to bathroom.
I turned all the hot water on and just a tad of the cold so the water was just barely scalding. I let the steam rise as I undressed and tossed my dirty clothes into the hamper. I had to admit that I was letting myself go too much. I had always been meticulous with my body. Bella used to joke that I was such a girl because I took longer to get ready. Everything had to be perfect. Jasper understood that…
Jasper. Yes, we had a conversation once where we spoke about our primping habits. The four of us were going out to dinner and Alice was complaining that Jasper was taking too long in the bathroom.
"I have no idea why he takes forever, he always comes out looking the same way he did going in," she whined. "I thought I was bad, but he's worse. Maybe you can talk some sense into him, Edward. You speak guy."
"Good luck," Bella scoffed. I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or Alice. Bella had her share of complaints as well.
"What's guy speak?" I inquired, totally amused at Alice's whining.
"I don't know. You're a guy, he's a guy. You can communicate with other. Now go up there and talk to him." She shooed me out and I waltzed to the bathroom.
I rapped on the door twice. Jasper called out, "I'll be out in a minute, Alice."
"It's not Alice."
"Oh." A few seconds later, the door was opened and Jasper was standing there with only a towel wrapped around his waist. "Hey Edward. Did Alice send you up to rush me out of here?" I nodded, not taking my eyes off of his well-chiseled chest and abs. "Edward?"
"Huh?" I was brought back, by Jasper's snapping fingers. I wiped my mouth to be sure I wasn't drooling.
"I was asking what Alice was saying. Was she complaining that I don't look any different after spending an hour in the bathroom?" he chuckled.
"Yeah, she was," I replied with a small smile.
"Yes, well the shaggy look doesn't come naturally, but it has to look natural, right?" As Jasper spoke, he scooped some pomade into his hand and proceeded to make his hair naturally shaggy. I couldn't help but watch as the muscles in his arms moved as he applied the substance to his hair. The way the muscles contracted and released. The way his fingers stroked through his hair. I felt a stirring in my groin and knew I had to leave before things got messy.
I rubbed the back of my neck, wishing for a moment I could rub something else. "I…umm…I'm going to head back down." I shifted on my feet before turning and exiting.
"Hey, Edward?" Jasper called out. I turned back. "Thanks for coming up," he joked and then he winked. Fuck.
I came back to the present. The bathroom was nice and steamy as I stepped into the tub. The water felt delicious running down my body. The pills were starting to kick in and I was relaxing under the stream of the water. I leaned my forehead against the tiled wall and took deep breaths. The day was getting stranger by the minute and I had hoped the pills would work and I could sleep until the next day. That was all I needed. A good night's sleep and all the craziness would be gone.
"You always did have a gorgeous ass," Bella sighed.
"You're very welcome," she whispered close to me. I opened my eyes and jumped back almost slipping on the wet floor as I saw Bella standing in front of me.
"Jesus Fucking Christ!" I screamed trying to cover myself up with my hands.
"Why are you hiding from me? It's not like I haven't seen your dick before or felt it inside of me," she winked.
I closed my eyes and counted to ten. "Please let this be a figment of my imagination."
"No figment. I'm here."
I opened my eyes and sure enough she still stood in front of me. I raised my hand and tried to touch her, but it went right through her only grasping air.
"I know. I wish you could touch me, too. You don't know how much I miss you, Edward." She took a step closer to me and wrapped her arms around me. I felt a shiver pass through my body, but no flesh. Bella sighed again. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't even bother. There's no need to give you a false sense of hope."
"Am I dead? Were the pills poisoned after all of this time?" I stammered.
Bella shook her head. "No, you're alive and well and wasting water, by the way."
"You're a ghost, then?" She nodded. "You're the second ghost that Jacob mentioned?" She nodded again. I wanted to cry. It wasn't fair that of all the people who could have visited me, Bella would come back. Taunting me, showing me how alone I was.
"You're not alone, Edward." Great, she could read my mine. "Yes and I will repeat. You're not alone. Come on, the water is going to get cold and there's something I want to show you. I'll wait for you in your office." And just like that, she disappeared.
"Can't any of these ghosts make normal appearances?" I asked out loud.
"Nope!" I heard Bella call from downstairs. I rolled my eyes.
I finished up in the shower and shut the water off. I stepped out, grabbed the towel and dried myself. I looked at the mirror and noticed a message scrawled through the steam in Bella's handwriting.
I love you always, no matter what happens.
I smiled, reminded by how Bella used to leave me notes like that when she was alive.
I got dressed and headed down to my office. As promised, Bella was there, standing, or more accurately floating, by the desk.
"Sit," she commanded. I sat down in my chair as directed. "Go to your pictures folder and open up the folder labeled July 24, 2000." Our wedding day. I opened the folder and all the pictures and videos displayed in chronological order.
"What do you want me to see?" I asked looking up at her.
"Open the video clip of our first dance." I did as told and waited for the video to begin playing.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen for their first dance," Emmett announced.
My beautiful bride and I appeared on the screen. I pulled her to the middle of the dance floor and placed one hand on her hip and took her other in my hand. I held her close as we danced. I was a proud husband and I wanted everyone to know she was mine.
The camera spanned the room, gauging people's reaction. Our parents were crying, as well as several friends. There was a close up of Jasper. His eyes were watery, but he looked upset.
"I don't understand. Why is he upset?" I asked. Bella shushed me and pointed at the screen to keep watching.
The camera zoomed back to us. Bella and I were engaged in a deep kiss and the crowd was whooping and hollering, egging us on. Bella pulled away embarrassed, her cheeks flushed from both the kiss and the attention. I gave her another peck on the lips and soon after we were joined by the rest of the couples on the dance floor.
The camera scanned the room again and stopped at Jasper and Alice. They appeared to be arguing and Alice kept gesturing to us, me specifically. Jasper shook his head. He walked out of the reception hall.
"I don't get it." I didn't remember Jasper leaving, then again I didn't remember much of anything that day except that I got married to the woman I loved.
"Do you remember anything you said to him the night before the wedding?" Bella asked.
"Nope, but I was too drunk to really think about it. Your brother did a good job of keeping me hammered all night."
"Well, it seems you and Jasper had a little heartfelt one-to-one and you made a promise to him…after you kissed him."
I blinked a few times. "What? I kissed Jasper?" That couldn't be. I would remember having another man's lips on mine, especially Jasper's.
"Yeah, this is exactly what he was upset about. The argument with Alice was in regards to the kiss. Jasper came clean to her about his feelings towards you because you apparently made it clear to him that you liked him way more than just as a best buddy."
"Shit," I shook my head.
"There's an old proverb that says 'a drunk man's words are a sober man's thoughts.' So…was there something you needed to tell me?" Bella smirked, raising an eyebrow.
I opened and closed my mouth several times, not knowing what to say. "Umm…I do love Jasper. He's like-"
"A brother… Yes we know. That is your favorite line, but your words and actions say otherwise. So what do you really feel for him?" She crossed her arms waiting for an answer.
I had to smile at the look on her face. She was still so beautiful, even when dead. I hated that she was taken from me so suddenly…
"I'm waiting for an answer, stop thinking about me. We're talking about Jasper here."
I snickered at her petulance. "Jasper…Yes, I can honestly say I find him attractive. I've always found him attractive really. I had these urgings for him, but he was with Alice, my best friend. I couldn't take him away from her, she would have been devastated. Then you came along. You were perfect for me. You completed me in ways I never thought imaginable…" I paused. I stood up from the chair and begin pacing the room.
"But…" she urged, her eyes following me.
"But, there was still something missing."
I looked at Bella, taken by surprise. "When did you become so crass?"
"Since I died," she shrugged. "There's no point in beating around the bush and it's not like anyone can strike me dead for saying something outrageous," she snickered.
"Right. Well, I won't go that far to say that I was missing a…cock. Hell, I've never been with a man before and I can't even remember kissing Jasper." I leaned against my desk, my arms at either side of me and stared directly at Bella. "But yes, I felt like I was missing him. He always knew when I need to be calmed; he was always there for me whenever you and I argued. He was the one that comforted me when you passed. His presence was just…right for me."
It felt strange, but liberating to speak about my feelings towards Jasper to Bella. I married her, she was my life, my confidant and here I was telling her about someone else, another man no less.
"Edward, don't feel weird about talking to me. I want you to be happy; I don't want you to be alone anymore. It's not healthy and really, you're scaring the kids in the neighborhood. The rumors about you are starting to get out of control."
"Rumors?" True, I was in my own little bubble here, but in keeping to myself, I didn't think anyone would have anything to say about me.
"Yes, there's one rumor that you have some weird disease that doesn't allow you to be outside. I'm not sure what they're talking about there, but my favorite? You're a vampire that sparkles in the sunlight and that is why you never go out."
We both started laughing at that. A sparkly vampire? Where did these kids come up with these ideas?
"Anyway, Edward, you need to get out. Have fun, see the world again. More importantly, go see Jasper. He needs you. So does Peter." If ghosts could cry, I was sure Bella would be crying. We had been trying for children and I had found out she was pregnant the day she died. Not only did I lose Bella, but I lost my child.
"Bel-" I reached out to comfort her but she just shook her head.
"It's okay, Edward, but, please, take care of them. For Alice. For me." With those final words, she floated away in a mist and disappeared.
I rubbed my eyes with the heels of hands. I didn't know what to do. I was totally confused and honestly, still felt as though I was imagining everything that was happening to me. If I felt like I was hallucinating then my feelings for Jasper weren't real either.
No…I knew I was lying to myself. My feelings for Jasper always lay dormant. I never acted on them – well except for the one time I apparently kissed him. As I told Bella, she was my everything; I had no reason to ruin that over a little crush I had with my best friend's boyfriend and future husband.
Besides, I was shell of myself. I was void and empty inside and incapable of love anymore. After the deaths of Alice and Bella, I made sure to keep my distance from people. I never wanted to get close to anyone and have my heart shattered again. It just hurt too much. Jasper wouldn't want me like this. I wouldn't want me like this.
I couldn't do this to myself and I wasn't going to do it to Jasper. End of story. I hoped my ghostly friends heard me.
I walked out to the living room only to stop short as I saw Alice in all her four foot ten glory standing in the middle of the room glaring at me. Her hands were on her hips and she was tapping her foot.
"You know, Edward, you could be so selfish sometimes."
I let out a deep breath that I hadn't realized I was holding in. "Alice…"
"Don't 'Alice' me. You know it isn't always about you. I didn't want to have to go this route, but it looks like I'll have to."
Before I could question her on what she meant, Alice was directly in front of me and the house began spinning rapidly.
"No talking, just watch." The room slowed down and when it completely stopped, I noticed that we were in Jasper's home. Everything looked the same, only worn. We were standing in his living room.
A young man who looked like a male version of Alice came into the room.
"Peter?" I asked. Alice nodded. "So this is the future then?" She nodded again.
Peter appeared to be about twenty-five years old or so. He had his mother's black hair, but his father's eyes and, luckily, his father's height.
"Humph… good things come in small packages you know," Alice stated. "He looks so handsome. I can't believe that grown man came out of my tiny-"
I cut her off quickly. "Right, don't need to hear that. He does look great, but where's Jasper?"
As if on cue, Jasper walked in with a worried look on his face. He was much older than I remembered. His hair was highlighted with grays and he had a small belly, but he was still the handsome man I fell in love with all those years ago.
Wait…what? Fell in love?
"Yeah, that's what I thought. You can't deny it, Edward."
"I…" I was interrupted by a loud, shrieking woman.
"JASPER!!!!!! I NEED YOU! DON'T WALK AWAY FROM ME! DO YOU HEAR ME?!?!"
"Who the hell is that screaming like a banshee?"
Alice sighed. "That would be Maria."
Alice pointed and in walked a short olive-skinned woman. She was pretty, but no Alice. She had long brown hair and strolled around the room as though she was queen of the castle.
"God, Peter, what are you doing here? Mooching off your father again? You know you're not going to get any of the money. I made sure of that, so just run along to your little wife."
"Maria, that's enough," Jasper demanded. "Do not talk to my son like that."
"Or what?" Maria challenged. "Are you going to turn into a big bad wolf and eat me alive?" she taunted.
"Dad, she's bleeding you dry like a vampire. She's ruining mom's memory by even being in the house. I've had enough of this and I came to tell you that if you don't get rid of her, Charlotte and I won't come back to visit. Charlotte is pregnant and she can't afford to be around this…this gold-digger you call a wife," Peter spat out.
Bleeding dry? What was going on? I remember Jasper's family came from money, just like mine did. He couldn't be struggling, could he?
Alice answered my unspoken question. "As my wonderful son stated, Maria is a gold-digger. Since you refused to man up and be there for Jasper, he sought solace in that thing. He wasn't in his right mind and she convinced him to marry her without a pre-nup. He was in the hospital sick for a while too and she wrote up a new will, essentially cutting off Peter from his inheritance," she explained. "She's taken him to the bank, literally. There isn't much left, they are just scraping by, but Maria still insists on living the high life." Alice gestured towards Maria and I took a good look at her again.
Everything Maria had on was designer. Manolo Blahnik shoes, Dolce and Gabbana dress, and heavens forbid, she was holding a Chihuahua. I was positive even her underwear was designer brand. Alice nodded enthusiastically.
"Down to the weave," Alice added.
I couldn't believe my eyes. Jasper was allowing this woman to walk all over him. It seemed I wasn't the only one that had become a shell of a man. In his case, he needed a companion and found the first available one. She almost reminded me of that Heather Mills bitch who took advantage of Paul McCartney's grief.
I felt Alice's eyes on me and I turned to her. "What?"
"It's sad isn't it? The man I loved withering away over a woman, instead of thriving with the man he should be with..."
"No, enough of this. There's something else I want you to see." She snapped her fingers and we were outside.
It was beyond freezing and I was shivering. My teeth were chattering as I spoke. "A….li…lice… Why… a…are…we…out…side…" I stuttered.
"Follow me." She turned and floated away from me. I ran to catch up…and to keep warm.
She stopped short, but being that she was transparent, I walked through her and tripped over a stone. I looked down and almost vomited.
I was looking at my headstone.
Here lies Edward Cullen
a man, a mystery, a hermit
I took a few steps back and realized it was a fresh grave. I had just died, but there was no one there to mourn me.
"Of course not, Edward. You secluded yourself so much and pushed everyone who cared about you away, that no one knew you died," Alice stated.
"No, someone has to come. Anyone…."
"What did you expect? Did you notice the date on the tombstone?"
My eyes went back to the epitaph. I re-read the words and underneath was the date.
December 19, 2045
Jasper's birthday. I died on his birthday.
"You can remedy this, you know."
"How? Tell me," I pleaded.
Alice held up a finger. "Let's get you someplace warm first." She snapped her finger again and we were back in my home. "Are you ready to listen now?"
I nodded. I took a seat on my couch and Alice sort of flitted about.
"Good, because I'm only going to say this once," she started. "Jasper loves you. He always has. Why? I have no idea. You hurt him on your wedding day. I didn't think you would leave Bella, but he didn't think you would ignore him the way you did either. I understand now that you don't remember the incident the night before, but he took everything you said to heart. He really believed you loved him too but that you also loved Bella. He was willing to share you."
I interrupted Alice. "But, what about you? I thought he loved you. He was going to throw that all away?"
"At first he considered it. Trust me. It killed me when I learned the truth. I wanted to slap you and beat him, but I saw the look in his eyes. The way he would stare at you, it was pure love. Sure he loved me and he grew to love me more over the years, but his heart really belonged to you. I provided the warmth for him at night and, believe me, the sex was great regardless, but I knew it wasn't enough for him.
"When I died, he was devastated, but I knew a small part of him felt free; free to pursue you. Instead you abandoned him. He was alone with a toddler and no one to help him. He had his family, but most of them were in Texas, so they could do little for him. He needed you. He still needs you. It's not too late."
I was quiet for a while, taking in everything Alice just told me. All these wasted years, but would he really receive me with open arms?
"What do I do?" I asked my pixie friend.
"Go to him. Talk to him. Tell him you're sorry for deserting him. He'll understand. You know he will, he always did. Don't leave him alone, protect him from evil, gold-digging banshees. Watch over my son. Love Jasper. Love him with all of your heart. It was never a crush for you, you just never realized it."
Alice started fading away.
"You know what to do," she said, her voice almost a whisper. Then she was gone.
I ran my hand through my hair. I had to think of what I was going to do next. Jasper needed me as much as I needed him. I couldn't believe it had taken me this long and three ghosts, no, four ghosts, to make me see it.
I loved him. I loved Jasper. Not as a brother, but as another man, as a companion. My mother, Bella and Alice were all correct. I always loved him, but never saw past my own ignorance or arrogance. You could say I had an image to uphold perhaps. I had a beautiful girlfriend who became my wife, but I was only alive when Jasper was around. He was my light.
I hadn't realized how over the years I would call Jasper instead of Alice whenever I had problems and Jasper would always come running. I played it off as brotherly love. What a friend would do for another, but, no…he really helped me because he loved me. I was so stupid and blind.
So I ran to my laptop and sat…for three days. I couldn't figure out what to say to him.
"Hey, Jasper, remember me? The one who abandoned you?" Yeah, that wasn't going to fly.
Then it hit me. Jasper never moved out of the house he shared with Alice. When we visited him in the future, he was still there. I knew what I had to do.
I took a shower, shaved, and made myself presentable again. I cleaned the living room and sprayed it with some air freshener. Taking a sniff earlier, I noticed the house smelled stale. I suppose that happened when one hardly ever left the house.
I made a few phone calls to charitable organizations, setting up scholarships and trust funds to the children in the neighborhood. I had loads of money I didn't need, might as well do something good with it.
After everything was settled, I put on my best outfit – a pair of charcoal gray pants, a pale green shirt to match my eyes, and a dark v-neck sweater vest. I grabbed my coat and car keys and made my way to the garage, stopping briefly to look at the date on the calendar.
There she was, my beauty, still in pristine condition. The Aston Martin was by far my favorite car and I was worried it wouldn't start from not being used, but true to form, it purred to life when I turned the ignition.
I drove through the streets smoothly, my mind remembering the way even after all of these years. I came upon the house and I felt myself get nervous. What if he shut the door on my face? What if he yelled and screamed and told me to never come back? Could I handle that?
There was only one way of knowing.
I climbed out of the car, locking it behind me and waltzed up to the front door of the mini-mansion. I stared at the door, my finger poised over the doorbell. It was now or never. I pressed the bell before I could lose my nerve.
I waited some more.
He wasn't home. I turned back to my car dejectedly. I knew this wouldn't work. Who knew if I would have the courage again to come back. As I approached the car, the door to the house opened and there stood Jasper. One hand was on the doorknob, the other holding little Peter.
"Edward? Is that you?"
"Ummm… yeah," I answered, running my hand through my hair. It was a nervous habit of mine.
"What are you doing here?"
"Ummm…I came to apologize and…talk…I guess."
Jasper's brows furrowed in confusion. "Come in, then. Are those for me?" I was stupidly holding a bouquet of flowers that I had picked up on the way.
"Happy Birthday, Jasper," I said, handing over the flowers sheepishly.
"You remembered," he muttered.
"I…God, Jasper, I'm so sorry. Please…"
"Shhhh...It's okay. I understand." He closed the door and still holding Peter with one hand, he pulled me by the back of the neck with his free hand so we were forehead to forehead. "I've missed you, but I knew you would come around eventually." He tilted his head forward and brushed his lips gently against mine. "Come on, let's talk."
He picked up Peter and led me to the kitchen.
"My god, he's gotten so big. He's four now right?"
Jasper nodded. "Yep, four years old. I still remember when he was born, like it was yesterday. I just gave him a bath, I was about to feed him." He placed Peter in the booster seat attached to one of the chairs. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Sure, water would be fine." I pulled out another seat, sitting across from Peter.
"Dad, who's that?" Peter asked, pointing to me.
"That's your Uncle Edward," Jasper answered. He spooned some food into a bowl for Peter and placed it in front of his soon with a spoon. "Eat up so you can grow into a big boy like me and your uncle." Jasper looked at me and winked.
"Uncle Edward?" Peter questioned, no doubt confused that he now has an uncle that he never met before. "Hmmm… I don't know you. Are you here to stay?"
My eyes met Jasper's and we both smiled. In that one look, I knew we would be okay. We could make this work and we would live happily together.
"Yes. I am here to stay."