A/N: This fic is dedicated to the lovely AmyMorgan, who won the bidding for us in the Support Stacie Vampire Author Auction. Thank you SO much for your generosity! We hope you enjoy your story!
Thank you to our wonderful betas EchoesofTwilight and kimberlycullen10 - we love you both!
We don't own the character names, but we do own these boys and their story. We hope you love them just as much as we do.
I can't believe how busy it is...it's 9:30, for Christ's sake! On a Saturday night!
Oh...never mind...guess that explains that then...
I shook my head at myself, annoyed at my own moment of cluelessness as I walked as quickly as I could to The Melting Pot, where Jasper was supposed to meet me. I had never had much of a social life, so thinking along the lines of "weekend night life" was still new to me - even though Jasper had been trying to change that a little ever since we started going out.
Tonight we were supposed to be having a nice dinner - a late dinner, but still. Late, because I had just been to BlizzCon for the first time. Well, the first time in any official capacity, anyway. I had been a part of one of the panels this time, and I was stoked about the new features we announced - and how they were received by the people who had attended.
I had lucked out getting a job for Blizzard - I had always been a geek. If I wasn't playing Dungeons & Dragons, I was playing Warcraft or tinkering with code. And now I got to do what I loved doing, and got paid to boot. It was exciting being a part of developing a game I had loved for so long, to help move it forward and expand. It was one of the few things in my life that I felt confident about.
And confidence wasn't something I otherwise had a ton of - especially not in my personal life. To this day, I still didn't understand how I had gotten so lucky as to have landed one of the most gorgeous guys I had ever seen in my life. As I said before, I was a geek, through and through - and I wasn't exactly what one would call eye candy. Sure, I had a lean body and I worked out, but my hair was unruly and this funky coppery shade, and I wore glasses - black, wire-rimmed rectangular ones that set off my eyes.
My eyes were the only thing I had ever really liked about myself. They were a very distinct emerald green - a color that you didn't see too often, and though this set me apart, it also reminded me of Mom. I had inherited her eyes, and whenever I looked in the mirror, part of me always felt she was watching me, too. It was the only resemblance we really shared, and since she had passed away years ago, the only connection I really remembered having with her.
"How the fuck did I get from being excited about work to feeling morose and remembering Mom?" I muttered under my breath, shaking my head again.
I checked to make sure no cars were coming and crossed the street. I glanced at my watch, grimacing when I noticed I was ten minutes late.
Great start for a date there, Cullen.
As I stepped up to the door, I ran my fingers through my hair in a futile attempt to tame it before I loosened my tie a little bit. Some of my colleagues had given me a hard time for showing up in a suit and tie, but I didn't care. I had wanted to do the best possible job I could in representing the company I worked for, and to me that included showing up in more than a t-shirt with a logo. Of course, I had worn my black 'WoW God' tie, which seemed to earn some cool-points with them - or whatever the hell they had called it. Not that I cared what they thought.
As I put my hand on the door to open it, I looked inside to try to find Jasper. I had begun to push it open when my eyes landed on him, and I felt myself smile at the sight of him - he was sitting at the bar, facing mostly away from the door, but he was apparently talking to someone, and I could just see his face. He looked happy and was laughing at whatever the other person had said. It wasn't until my gaze shifted to them that my smile faltered, and I stopped moving - I think I almost stopped breathing, too.
A tall, slender guy with long sandy hair that was tied in a low ponytail stood not a foot away from Jasper. He leaned in to whisper in his ear, effectively blocking my view of Jasper's face. The guy had closed his eyes when Jasper's hand came to rest on the man's biceps. When he drew away, I saw the warm smile on Jasper's lips - it was affectionate; it pierced my heart.
"Excuse me, young man. Are you going to just stand there all night?"
I blinked, turning around to face whoever had spoken as I felt myself blush. An older couple was standing behind me, both holding hands with a young girl between them, and I fleetingly wondered if it was their granddaughter. The woman was looking at me with impatience at first, but the expression quickly changed to one of concern.
"Are you alright, dear?"
I realized I had neither moved to let them pass, nor spoken to them. I stuttered, stepping aside and hurrying to open the door for them. "Oh...I...I'm sorry, here...go on, I'm...waiting...or something..."
I felt my blush deepen, and I had to avert my eyes as they passed me to go inside. I closed the door behind them, staying outside as I continued to look in. I saw the woman cast a worried glance over her shoulder before she leaned in and spoke to her companion. I didn't pay them too much attention, though, as my eyes sought out Jasper again.
It appeared he and the mystery man were still happily conversing - that was the thing with Jasper. He was everything I was not: happy, outgoing, fun-loving, conversational, talented, popular - not to mention absolutely beautiful, both inside and outside.
Shifting my focus a little, I caught my reflection in the glass door and sighed. As I said, he was everything I wasn't. My thin face peered back at me, my eyes drawn to the black rectangular frames of my glasses. My hair was everywhere, an unruly mess that gave me a wild look completely at odds with my stuffy suit. I wasn't one of those guys who could look cool in a suit, like I was comfortable and belonged. I was a geek, a wall flower, if you will, introverted to a fault and shy as all hell. Despite what the reflection showed me, what my mind saw was an awkward, lanky boy who had yet to fill out wearing glasses that hid most of my face. My suit was replaced by a rainbow-colored knit sweater, and my hair was too long to do anything with but constantly brush it out of my face.
What could he ever see in me?
I blinked and turned my attention back to Jasper, who had just thrown his head back and was laughing. The guy leaned in closer again, his hand comfortably on Jasper's shoulder as they continued to talk. They looked good together, complimented each other in appearance and, as far as I could tell, in demeanor.
I swallowed past the lump in my throat, trying to suppress the tightness that was growing in my chest. I really liked Jasper - in truth, I was in love with him - but seeing him with this guy just brought home that I could never be good enough for him. I could never be as carefree as they were, as outgoing.
Before I realized I was doing it, I had already backed up several paces, and it wasn't until a car honked its horn that I was brought to my senses. I turned and walked away, gulping in air as I fought to stay calm. Jasper deserved someone better suited to him than me - someone who loved life as he did, and who wasn't afraid to face it head on and with gusto.
I hailed a cab - for once lucky when one stopped seconds after my first attempt - and gave directions to go home. We were halfway there when my phone started to ring. I glanced at the caller ID, my grip on my phone tightening and my eyes closing when I saw it was Jasper. I let the call go to voicemail, not wanting to risk talking to him right then. I didn't think I would be able to do so without my voice betraying me.
I waited to listen to the message until I was safely behind the closed doors of my own home, where no one would be able to see or hear me.
"Hey babe, it's gettin' late, and I wanted to check in, make sure everything's okay? Did the Con run late or something? I'm at the bar of the restaurant, waiting. Call me?"
He sighed, and there was a pause before the call ended, almost as if he had wanted to say something else but decided against it. Rather than calling him back, I shot him a text message, claiming I wasn't feeling well and I was sorry to keep him waiting for nothing. When he texted back asking if I would be alright and if I needed anything, I told him no and to just go out and have fun with his friend.
I turned my phone off after that, unable to handle the thought of more communication right then. I curled up on the couch, grabbing one of the decorative pillows and hugging it to me tightly. My thoughts were whirling - one minute I was thinking about Jasper and everything he was, and the next my thoughts went back to my last boyfriend, Sam.
Sam had been much like Jasper, in that he was a free spirit, outgoing, and he loved adventure. Of most any kind. At first, things had gone well enough. They say opposites attract, but no one ever mentions anything about how they stay together - probably because a lot of the time, they don't. Sam had tried to change me, to make me become more outgoing and to be open to adventure. I had tried for him, I really had - but that just wasn't who I was, and after a while it became too much. He had broken up with me and had minced no words when he said that I couldn't be what he needed me to be - I wasn't enough.
Just like now...
I would always be Edward - shy, geeky, and awkward. Just me.
I closed my eyes tightly, attempting to control my emotions. If I truly loved Jasper, then I could let him go so he could find happiness. The possibility that I might bring him that never even entered my mind.
I startled at the sound of a knock on the door - I wasn't expecting anyone, especially not at this hour. I briefly considered ignoring the caller, but when they knocked again, I got up and answered the door. To say I was a little shocked to see Jasper standing in front of me - head down, one hand on the doorframe and the other poised to knock again - would be an understatement. His head came up slowly as he realized I was watching him.
"Jasper? What are you doing here?" I knew I sounded as confused as I felt.
He straightened up, running his fingers through his wheat-colored curls as his eyes searched mine. His voice was soft, curious, and perhaps a little hurt when he spoke. "Well, it seems like I got stood up tonight by this guy I really like...I was hoping to find out why."
I didn't know what to say, but I couldn't stand to see the hurt in his eyes, so I quickly lowered my gaze. I could feel my face burning again, and in that moment I wanted nothing more than for the ground to swallow me whole. How could I ever explain myself to him? Admit that I had seen him with another guy and that instead of feeling jealous, I had felt inadequate and in the way?
"I...I'm s-sorry..." I stammered, and my hand lodged itself in my hair as I tugged at the ends in frustration, knocking my glasses askew in the process.
A ghost of a smile flickered across his face, fading just as quickly as it had come. He reached his hands out to my face, righting my glasses before cradling my face in his hands. I felt my cheeks heat even more, my heart rate increasing at the simple gesture. He took a step closer to me, standing on the threshold, and I couldn't help feeling like it was symbolic.
We stood like that for immeasurable moments - I wasn't sure what to say or do, and I was nervous. I started chewing on the inside of my lip at the corner, as I always did when I felt uncertain. It was a habit I had developed over the years, one that had morphed from actually biting my lip - this was less obvious and most people didn't notice it. I felt...safer...that way.
Jasper, however, did notice, and he gently ran the pad of his thumb across my lower lip to get me to stop - it always worked.
"Babe, why did you leave?"
I blinked, my eyes darting up to meet his. "H-how...how did you know?"
His right hand lowered to my neck, his fingers playing idly with the hair at my nape, his eyes never leaving mine. I felt myself drowning in the ocean-blue of his eyes - like I always seemed to do. I couldn't help it; they were so expressive, so alive.
I jumped when he cleared his throat and asked if we could sit down. I felt like a complete fool when I realized that we had been standing in my doorway for the past quarter of an hour, if not longer. I mumbled an apology as I waved him in, holding back a sigh as he let go of me to walk to the living room, where he took a seat on the couch.
I closed the door behind him, feeling as if I were moving in slow motion. I rested my palm flat against it for a moment, taking a deep breath to gather what courage I had before turning around and joining him on the couch - though I sat on the opposite end. As much as I wanted to be close to him, to feel his touch...I didn't feel I should - like I still had the right.
Apparently, Jasper didn't feel the same way, because he scooted over and shifted so that his leg was touching mine as he faced me. He took my hand in his - hooking his thumb over mine - and again I felt my heart rate increase with just this simple touch. His hand felt comfortable, warm, and right in mine. I was focused on our hands, momentarily forgetting he had asked me a question, so when he repeated it, I looked up with a frown.
My mouth opened and closed a few times as I tried to explain, but I couldn't get my voice to work. I lowered my head, my eyes going back to our hands, studying the shape of them individually and together - the small callouses on his fingers from playing guitar, the indentations on his fingers from having gripped his pencils too tightly as he wrote lyrics or notes.
The minor distraction that gave me was enough for me to be able to let the words out - to tell him everything from the moment I had arrived at the restaurant - well, almost everything...I couldn't quite bring myself to mention I'd seen him with another man - to the moment he had knocked on my door. He didn't interrupt me once, just letting me get it all out, knowing that if I was brought out of this stream of consciousness, I wouldn't be able to express myself again - I would be too embarrassed.
I couldn't bring myself to look at him, to see the confirmation of my thoughts, my fears that I was certain I would find there. It was one thing for me to know it of myself...it was quite another to have him express it - for him to tell me I wasn't enough. I was so convinced he would agree and say I was right that I didn't even take into account that he had come here. He had sought me out, had been concerned enough about why I had left to come to my house - that he was sitting on my couch, holding my hand while he put a finger of his free hand under my chin and tilted my head up, forcing my eyes to level with his.
"You mean it, don't you?" he said quietly. For a moment, I was confused, lost as to what he could possibly be asking, and he saw it on my face. "You really think you aren't good enough for me," he clarified.
I turned my eyes away, staring at the back of the couch but not really seeing the familiar stripes. I couldn't answer him. There was nothing to say.
"Baby?" His voice was soft, beseeching. When I didn't acknowledge him - too afraid of what I might see, what I might hear - he tried again. "Edward, look at me, please."
I exhaled a sigh and clenched my jaw, squeezing my eyes shut before I opened them again.
Might as well get this over with.
As soon as my face turned to his, his lips were on mine. His kiss was chaste but hard, needy, and I couldn't help my little whimper of longing. I didn't even stop to wonder what he was doing. I just kissed him back, enjoying the feel of his lips one last time.
Much too soon, his lips left mine, but he didn't go far. His forehead was pressed against mine, his eyes closed as he whispered, "My God, you don't see yourself clearly..."
I swallowed, unsure what he meant, and he opened his eyes, though he didn't move away. His hand cupped my face, his thumb running beneath my glasses, tracing the curve of my cheek. "You don't see how creative you are, what a great imagination you have..." When his lips brushed my forehead, I felt my heart react, speeding as I listened to his impossible words. This wasn't supposed to be happening. He was supposed to be agreeing with me, telling me he deserved more.
He was supposed to be leaving me.
Instead, his low voice murmured, "You don't see that you're caring...you're always looking out for other people, looking out for me." His blue eyes blazed with fervor, pinning me in place the way a cheetah's gaze freezes a gazelle. "You're loving..."
He broke off, biting his bottom lip with a soft "mmm..." as he kissed me again. This time our lips parted, our kiss deepening as my desperation and confusion seeped in. His lips moved hungrily against mine before he reined himself in, letting me feel his struggle to control himself.
I opened my eyes, watching him in awe.
"You're the most loyal person I've ever known. I don't think it would ever enter your head to cheat or be dishonest..." He sat back slightly, his eyes on mine as his hands roamed my arms, my legs, my face, all innocent caresses as if he couldn't touch me enough. A smile flitted across his face as he gave a soft chuckle. "You're incredibly passionate...and not just about me, though I do love that."
I felt a thrill shoot through me at his casual use of the word love.
His fingers played with the hair above my ear, the wild waves that I could never tame. His voice was lower, somehow gravelly when he continued, "I love to watch you when you get involved in a game. You forget the world exists. I think I could dance naked in front of you, and you would never notice."
I snorted, rolling my eyes, and he laughed. When he sensed my embarrassment, he shook his head, smiling at me fondly as he whispered, "Don't. It's adorable." He leaned in, brushing his lips against mine before he sat back once more. "You've got a quick temper, but it's all part of your passion, the way you care so strongly about so many things. Sometimes you're stubborn, and it can be hell to make you listen..."
He grinned at the look on my face. "Like right now. But you always do listen, and you take things to heart, and I know that when I have your attention, there's nothing else in your world right then but me."
He kept talking, heaping praise on me, telling me so many things about myself that I just couldn't believe. Amazingly, I felt my eyes begin to sting, and I swallowed hard, blinking several times. The person he was describing wasn't me...not the way he was saying it. That man might deserve him, but not me...not Edward Cullen.
Even if I had bits and pieces of what he saw in me, there was still the problem of how it was all put together, so to speak. Jasper was beautiful, stunning inside and out. And I was...just...not.
I bit at the corner of my lip again, and I heard him sigh. My eyes were on our hands when he took both of mine in his again and said softly, "Talk to me, Ed."
"Thank you," was all I managed because even if I didn't really believe what he was saying, it was so incredible to hear - and it told me that he at least cared enough that he didn't want me to be miserable.
That was something.
"Babe, what's the matter?" One of his hands left mine, his fingers brushing along my hairline before he cupped my cheek and turned my face to his.
My lips were dry, and I licked them, feeling the chapped ridges with my tongue before I took a small breath. "I saw-" I broke off, clearing my throat when my voice came out strangled. "I saw you with that other man tonight." I was vaguely aware of Jasper's breathing stuttering, but now that I was saying it, I wanted to get it all out. There was no accusation in my voice, only quiet resignation. "His hand was on your arm, and you were laughing, and you looked so damn happy. You looked good together, like you belonged, and I kn-know...I know I..."
I trailed off again with a shrug, unable to finish the thought but also unable to tear my eyes away from him. I was hurt and a little shocked when he began to smile.
"I'm sure Garrett will be very happy to know that we make a great couple." His smile twisted into a wry smirk. "And that he looked like he was hitting on me."
At the sound of Jasper's brother-in-law's name, I groaned and pulled my hands away, burying my face in them. "Fuck," I muttered under my breath.
"None of that, now..." Jasper's hands pulled mine away, and he smiled at me tenderly, a strange sadness in his eyes. "When we finished at the studio today, it was late, so Garrett called Kate, and she decided to meet us at the restaurant...we were hoping you'd finally get to meet G, and then they were going to take off for dinner on their own. Only..."
He let the word linger between us, and I filled in the blanks.
Only I was an idiot and thought you were having an affair with your sister's husband. Awesome.
I was mortified. I just sat there, unable to say anything, and it was Jasper who broke the silence. "Kate was in the restroom when you showed up...when she came back, she said she'd seen you leaving and asked if everything was alright. I was confused...told her I hadn't seen you, and then she wasn't sure it was you." He squeezed my hands. "So I called. When you didn't answer, I got worried...and then your text..."
He sighed, trailing off again as he looked down at our hands. He played with my fingers, and when he spoke next, his voice was slow and deliberate. "I won't lie, Ed..." His eyes lifted then, meeting mine, and I was surprised at the stormy gray hidden behind the blue. "When you told me to have fun with my friend and I realized you thought I was cheating...at the same restaurant and on the same night when I was supposed to meet you, no less...that hurt. A lot."
Shame burned through my chest, and I looked away again like the coward that I was. How could I have had so little faith in him?
But I knew the answer. It wasn't faith in him I was lacking. It was faith in me...in being enough to hold his interest. In being deserving of him.
Again, he sighed, and I looked back up at him. "I can't believe you don't know how I feel." He let go of my hands, running his fingers through his hair as he muttered something I didn't catch under his breath. Apparently coming to a decision, he clapped his hands on his knees and stood up, holding out his hand to me. "Come on," he said, beckoning me with his fingers when I didn't move at first.
I reached out, putting my hand in his, and he tugged me upright. He turned on his heel and led me straight to my bedroom, and I began to feel a faint sense of hope despite the dread that had settled into my stomach the moment I saw him at the restaurant. When we walked in, though, he didn't lead me to my bed. Instead, he went to my closet and opened the door.
I frowned at him, wondering what the hell he was doing, and stopped a few feet away, our arms stretched between us.
"Come here," he requested, pulling at my hand.
I sighed and walked toward him reluctantly, especially when he pushed me in front of the full-length mirror hanging on the back of the door. As always, my eyes slid over my reflection, avoiding really looking as I grimaced.
"Look." I felt his warm lips on the back of my neck as his hands gripped my biceps, holding me in place. "And listen, please."
All was silent in my room until Jasper took a deep breath. His voice was low, a comforting murmur, when he began speaking. "I've seen your yearbooks...I know how you see yourself. What you don't realize is that you were cute, adorable even. You think you were this..." He paused, and his arms encircled my waist, his hands flat against my abdomen before they roamed up my chest, and his fingers loosened my tie, pulling it out from under my collar and tossing it to the side. "Geek."
He said the word with a distaste that I didn't quite understand until he continued, "It bothers me that you think of yourself that way. But it bothers me even more that you think it's a bad thing...you think that being you is something to be ashamed of...and that kills me."
I focused on his fingers, which began unbuttoning my shirt. It was hard to listen to his words, to hear the things he was saying because my instinct was to reject them outright. They weren't true. They couldn't be.
But he had said to listen, so I had to try.
"You have been beautiful since you were born, and you've only grown more so every year." He saw the way my lips pressed into a thin line, my silent sign of protest, and he narrowed his eyes at me in the mirror as he pulled the tail of my shirt out of my pants. "Listen."
The one word was a command, and I sighed, feeling the heat on my cheeks again. He pulled my shirt down my arms, and it went the way of the tie. "Edward, we all have things we don't like about ourselves, and we all had those awkward times when we looked a little worse than others. You've seen me at fourteen."
The crooked grin in his reflection made me smile as I remembered the pictures he was talking about. He was tall and extremely skinny with very short hair so blond it was almost white. He wore glasses and had braces, and I would have died before I could've worked up the courage to talk to him then because he was still so damn cute. When he caught my smile, he said, "See? That's right...you can laugh. I looked like an idiot."
I didn't bother to correct him, but I felt my heart sinking again that he didn't understand.
"But I grew out of it. And even if you think, for some reason, that you were awkward or geeky or whatever the hell you're calling it now..." He tugged on my undershirt, and I lifted my arms so he could pull it over my head. "I can promise you that you outgrew it, too."
His arms slipped around my waist again, and he pressed himself close against my back. He was so warm, and he felt so good wrapped around me. I put my hands over his at my waist and leaned my head back against his shoulder, unwilling to look at myself half-clothed in the mirror. He kissed my neck slowly, sensually, his tongue and teeth teasing, and I moaned before I could stop myself.
He lifted his head and pulled our arms away from my body, lacing his fingers through mine with our hands out beside me so that I was standing there exposed. "Now," he said softly, "what is it you're worried about? What is it that you see when you look in the mirror?"
When I didn't say anything, he kissed just beneath my ear and whispered, "You're going to have to help me, babe...because I sure as hell don't see it."
My mind recoiled at the thought of pointing out my flaws to him. If he really didn't see them, then why would I draw his attention to them?
His eyes met mine in the mirror, and I sighed at his pointed look. "I'm...I'm too skinny," I admitted, self-conscious but feeling the need to answer.
"Well, you know, a lot of people think that's a good thing..." He smiled at me before he lifted our hands and wrapped mine around my sides. "But I disagree with you...you're not too skinny. Here..." He stepped in front of me then, switching our hands to his waist, and my eyes widened when I realized that we were just about the same size. He nodded at my surprised expression, leaning forward to kiss my lips gently. "Am I too skinny?" he asked.
I shook my head, furrowing my brow.
"Good," he said simply, kissing me once more. "Then neither are you."
"Yeah, but..." I trailed off as he let go of my hands and they fell uselessly at my sides. He arched an eyebrow in question, and my hands balled into fists as my eyes lowered. "You're...built..." I told the carpet between our feet, my cheeks on fire. "You're sexy."
I waited to hear him laugh, to hear him call me ridiculous...anything. What I didn't expect was his soft, "Thank you..." followed by, "What is it that makes me sexy, baby?"
My awkward embarrassment made me smile as I murmured, "Your umm...your six-pack?" It somehow turned into a question, though I was anything but uncertain that the sight of Jasper's abdomen was damn hot.
He did chuckle then, and when I peeked up at him, I was surprised to find him blushing, too. He didn't answer, though, instead kissing my neck before he stepped behind me and said, "You mean...like yours?"
I rolled my eyes, and he bit my shoulder, letting out a little of his frustration as he took my hands in his again and said, "Feel, Edward. Look. Really see yourself for once...please."
He guided my fingers, trailing the tips along my abdomen, but instead of the squishy doughboy I expected to feel, I found...muscle. Definition. My eyes flew wide, and I leaned toward the mirror, trying to see if what I felt was real. I'd spent the last several years - since high school, really - taking better care of myself, working out...but I'd never noticed a difference.
Of course, now that Jasper was showing me, I couldn't honestly say I'd ever really looked.
"What the fuck?"
At my astonished exclamation, he laughed, and I caught sight of him biting his lip as he said, "Mmm..." He moved against me, swaying...almost dancing slowly, and I felt the stirring of his arousal against my thigh. "I do have to say I like that about you...I can't believe you've never seen it." I turned my face to his, and he kissed me, his lips parting mine as he pulled me back against him, letting me feel him further.
When we separated, his voice was husky, his eyes dark, as he said, "Now what else is it that bothers you?"
I was a little excited finally, feeling better about myself as Jasper helped erase all the worries and doubts I'd harbored about my body for...well, my whole life. No matter what I mentioned, he showed me that I was wrong, and I was fascinated looking at myself through his eyes. He made me see a whole new me - the Edward that he knew - and by the time he was finished, I was nude and standing dumbfounded in front of the mirror.
I was vaguely aware of him moving behind me, but I couldn't take my eyes off myself and this new body he'd helped me discover. The skinny kid with monstrous glasses that took the focus off his acne was gone, replaced by someone...attractive. I still thought Jasper was wrong - I couldn't hold a candle to him - but I didn't feel quite so much like I didn't belong with him anymore.
When he stepped behind me again, I took a sharp breath that I let out as a low moan. He'd stripped as well, and his body was flush with mine, his hard length nestling in my ass as he kissed along my shoulders. He murmured, "Look at us, baby."
A smile flirted with my lips before settling there firmly as I did as he asked. His face was beside mine, our cheeks pressed together as his arms wrapped around me and his fingers caressed my ribs. We looked...damn good together. I still had glasses, but I could see now - with Jasper's help - how they added definition to my face and brought out my eyes. He'd shown me how my jaw had grown angular, how my shoulders had filled out, and I was stunned to realize we made a good-looking couple.
Beyond that, the care he had taken with me floored me. He hadn't thrown up his hands in
exasperation and walked out, telling me that I was right. He had taken the time to show me instead that he saw something else - someone else - when he looked at me.
And now I saw him, too.
"Thank you," I whispered, my eyes on his in the reflection as my hands settled over his.
He spread his fingers, lacing them through mine as he murmured, "You're welcome." A moment of quiet passed before he said, "Now come here...please..."
He let me go but held on to my hand, leading me to my bed, where he pressed down on my shoulders. I followed his silent request, sitting on the edge of my bed. I watched in confusion as he knelt on the floor between my knees - that wasn't so unusual, but the look on his face was.
He seemed thoughtful...pensive...and I wondered what was on his mind. He rubbed my knees, his thumbs making small circles as his blue eyes stayed focused on mine. "I need to tell you something..." I felt myself tense at his words, instantly sure that whatever he said was going to negate everything he'd just told me. He smiled at me sadly, one of his hands moving to cup my cheek as he whispered, "No..."
His thumb stroked my lower lip as he shook his head. "No, Edward...I need to tell you something that I've been trying to say for a while now, but the time just never..." He trailed off, glancing to his right before his eyes moved straight back to mine. He straightened, kissing me before he pulled away just far enough that I could see him clearly. "I love you."
"Wait...what?" As soon as the words left my mouth, I wanted to smack myself in the forehead for my stupidity, but it was just so incomprehensible.
He loves me?
He licked his lips slowly before they curved into a smile, and he said gently but firmly, "I love you. So much..."
I sat there, my hands beside my hips on my mattress, and blinked at him. I'd known for quite some time that I was in love with him, but I'd never thought that he loved me, too. Wished, yes...hoped, dreamed...but never believed.
He shifted his weight from one knee to the other, and I saw the flash of uncertainty in his eyes. "Say something, please. I..." He swallowed, and that sign of his insecurity jolted me into action.
"Oh, God...I'm sorry. I-I just...I..." I blinked again, shaking my head to clear it.
He loves me!
A stupid, ridiculous smile settled on my lips as I leaned forward and kissed him soundly, trying to smooth away the worry I saw on his face. "I love you, Jasper."
My words were simple, but they were all I could think to say. He didn't respond for a moment, his lips slack against mine, but then he smiled and kissed me with abandon. The taste of him on my tongue was heaven, the new knowledge that he was mine - that he loved me - sweetening our kiss.
When I sucked lightly on his tongue, he moaned, and suddenly he was moving over me, his urgent hands guiding me up toward my headboard as he straddled my hips. His chest was against mine, his heat bathing me as his fingers tangled in my hair. His lips left mine only long enough to say, "I need you," and then they were back.
The words awakened something in me, and I bit his bottom lip as I whispered my own needs in return. He groaned, his hips bucking against mine, and he swallowed my gasp as he kissed me passionately. He pulled away again, and my pleading, "I want you," filled the air between us.
"God damn, Edward," was his breathless answer as his hips started rocking against mine rhythmically. They were circling and writhing, thrusting and grinding, and it was all I could do to gasp out his name.
In response, his lips left mine and traveled over my chin, spreading their warmth along my neck before his tongue swirled around my nipple. My fingers were grasping his hair, my hips never ceasing their movement as I sought relief from his sublime torture.
One place that I'd never worried about us was the bedroom. Jasper's gasps and moans, the way his whole body tensed and his hoarse voice cried out my name...all of it let me know he was more than satisfied. I always paid extra attention to him, making sure he was getting everything he needed...everything he wanted...everything that would keep him from leaving me.
But this time, it was different. This time I knew he felt the same way I did, and it made every little sound he made that much more intense. I wasn't acting out of an impulse to keep his attention...I wanted to show him how I felt, show him how much I loved and wanted him, and I could feel through his touch that he was doing the same.
His mouth lavished attention along my sternum, his tongue teasing my belly button before traveling lower. My teeth stung my bottom lip when his chin brushed my tip, and I felt him smile against my skin as he kissed just inside my hip, tormenting me when he was so close to where I wanted him most. He nibbled on my hipbone, licking my flesh before trailing open mouthed kisses along the V of my hips.
He used just the tip of his tongue to lick a line of fire from my base to my head, and then he blew on it gently, his breath cooling my skin as I squirmed under his touch. "Will you watch me?"
It took a moment for his words to seep through my lust-addled brain, but as soon as they did, I reached for his pillow, stacking it on top of mine so that I could see him more clearly. My glasses were askew, one lens nearly over my forehead, and I righted them, my eyes drawn to the seductive sight of Jasper's full lips hovering over my cock.
When he sensed my eyes on him, he raised his, looking at me through his lashes as he licked his lips slowly and then parted them. His eyes drifted closed as he lowered his head, my cock slipping into the warmth of his welcoming mouth. I groaned, my eyes threatening to close before I forced them wide.
Taking what Jasper had told me in the doorway of my closet to heart, I looked at us - really looked as us - as he licked and sucked, taunted and pleased. My legs were sprawled out on the bed, my thighs - more muscular than I'd realized - pressing against his hips as he leaned over me. The muscles in his back flexed and relaxed, creating tantalizing patterns as his head bobbed with a regular rhythm that was quickly driving me to distraction.
His tongue was swirling, wrapping around me, and I forced my eyes away from Jasper's broad shoulders, letting them drift downward. I watched my shaft, rigid and glistening with the moisture from his mouth, appear and then disappear again, the image heightening the sensation of his heat, his delicious wetness as his teeth grazed my sensitive skin.
"Unbelievable..." I muttered, meaning both the things he was doing to me and just...him - the way he moved, how beautiful he was, the way he played my body as masterfully as he did his guitar.
I ran my fingers through his hair before letting my hand rest on his shoulder. I gripped him tightly, my fingertips slick with the sweat that was beading on his skin. I started to speak, but my breath caught, and I cleared my throat, licking my lips. "God, Jasper…if you-" I sucked in a quick breath and gave a low moan as he sucked harder, taking me deeper. "Baby, if you don't stop, I'm gonna…"
My tip hit the back of his throat one last time before he released me, flattening his tongue and licking along my shaft before he raised his head to smile at me. His lips crashed against mine, his weight settling on me fully as my hands moved to the small of his back. His thigh slipped between mine, and our kisses grew less frenzied, slower, more sensual as our passion smoldered.
He pulled away, his mouth moving to my ear, where he nibbled my earlobe as he whispered, "I want you…"
"I want you, too," I breathed, trying to pull his lips back to mine.
I felt him smile against my cheek. "No, I want you," he said, and my body felt empty and insubstantial as his weight rolled off of me. He stretched out beside me, his hands at my hips pulling me, and I followed at once. As I settled over him, I licked my lips, my anxiety bringing me out of my haze instantly.
I'd topped before, but never with him.
He'd bottomed before, but never with me.
It just…it had just always seemed to make sense the other way around. "Are you sure?" My whisper was barely audible, and I hated the sudden influx of all my insecurities. It had been so freeing to be without them, but it hadn't taken long before I doubted myself again.
"I'm sure of everything with you," was his quiet answer, and his warm hands cupped my cheeks, pulling my face to his so he could kiss me tenderly.
Just like that, he helped my nerves melt away. I took over, kissing him, caressing him, preparing him. We'd been together for a little over half a year, and I used my intimate knowledge of his body to my advantage. I knew that weird little spot just beneath his left rib that made him squirm and gasp – part-ticklish, part-erotic. I knew that if I licked the hollow of his throat, dipping my tongue into that little indentation, he would buck his hips and grab hold of me. And I knew that, above all, he loved it when I bit just under the end of his chin.
I smiled as he proved me right with each little move I made. By the time I raised myself, pulling off my glasses to leave them on the nightstand as I dug in the drawer, his hands were grasping and pulling at the skin on my back, his soft voice muttering unintelligible pleas.
I dropped the condom and lube on the sheets beside him, kissing my way down his body before taking him between my lips. He was hard, his length twitching, and I knew he had to be feeling the same ache – the same driving need I did. He was ready for me, whispering words of encouragement, but I took my time preparing him all the same. I couldn't bear the thought of hurting him, especially not when he'd just given me so much, so I worshipped his body, paying my tithe with attentive touches, singing my hymns with humble lips.
When my slick fingers slipped away from him at last, he murmured, "Please, Edward…just…God, please…"
"Whatever you want, baby…" I answered quietly, my hands pressing into the mattress on either side of his shoulders as I lowered my body to kiss him. "Anything at all."
I balanced on one elbow, reaching out to grab the condom as his hands moved through my hair, roaming my shoulders and back, pulling me closer while his lips tasted the skin of my throat. When I picked it up, my hands were trembling, making it hard to tear open the wrapper. Jasper sat up halfway, his sure hands taking the condom from mine.
He placed a kiss on my lips, and then both of us watched as he tore the wrapper open and pulled the condom out. I moved to my knees, kneeling between his legs, and he leaned forward, stroking me before he rolled the condom down my length and coated it with lube. He looked up at me, his hands moving to my back as he lay down on the bed, pulling me with him.
"I love you." I smiled to hear him say those beautiful words again, and I whispered them in response, kissing him as I reached between us. I pressed into him slowly, my eyes trained on his face as his eyes closed and he bit his bottom lip. His blunt nails dug into my back as I eased my way in, inch by inch.
It had been well over a year since I'd been with anyone this way, and the experience was so much more intense than I remembered it. I could feel Jasper all around me, his body constricting around mine, his scent permeating the air as he panted beneath me.
When I could go no further, I held still for a moment, memorizing the way he felt around me - how hot, how tight. He moaned softly, his eyes still closed as his hips writhed on the mattress, urging me to move. I lowered my face, my cheek pressing against his as I breathed shallowly and slid my hips away before thrusting into him again.
His arms wrapped around me, holding me close. The feeling of him this way - giving himself to me - was nearly too much, especially when his legs lifted from the mattress, his heels digging into the backs of my thighs as he moaned, "Oh, fuck...yes, Edward..."
His face turned to mine, and I felt his panting breath against my cheek before I lifted my head and kissed him. I needed to feel more of him; I felt an urge to crawl inside him, to bury myself in Jasper until he was all I knew - until he was my world. With a hard kiss, I straightened my arms, pushing my upper body away from his, and the new joining of our bodies let me drive myself ever deeper.
My hips rolled rhythmically, some natural instinct taking over as they circled, forcing Jasper's entire body to move on the bed as he rocked with me. His eyes opened, the blue depths of trust and love staring up at me as his left hand cupped my ass, holding me tightly to him. His grip was so strong that I couldn't move away, instead grinding my hips against his as every shortened thrust buried me to the hilt.
Being joined with Jasper was pure bliss, an utter paradise just waiting to be discovered in the wilderness of my blue plaid sheets. He was uninhibited, wanton in his vocalizations, his expressions of both what I was doing to him and what he wanted. The fingertips of his left hand dug into my flesh as his right hand closed around his cock, the motion of his forearm sure and steady as he stroked himself.
He grunted and panted, telling me to take him, whimpering as he asked me to take him harder, faster.
There was nothing I could do but obey.
He lifted his legs further, his knees nearly pressing into the mattress near his shoulders, and he suddenly cried out, my name and curses and pleas tumbling from his lips as I hit that most sensitive place within him. His eyes were tight, his brow furrowed, and the look of pleading on his face was torture. I wanted so badly to give him what he wanted, to push him over the edge and let him fall off into that euphoric oblivion.
He felt so damn good that I wasn't sure how much longer I was going to last, but I focused on my movements, doing everything I could to make him feel good, and it took only a few more passes before his back arched and his hips bucked, his heels two points of pressure just beneath my ass.
"Edward...Edward...Edward..." My name was a rosary on his lips, breathless and reverent, as his body tightened around me almost to the point of pain before he gave a shudder and relaxed.
As I felt his release spill between our bodies, I picked up my pace, thrusting harder as I shifted my focus to exactly what I was doing. I looked between us, feeling awed that I was making love to Jasper that way, that his pleasure had already been too great to contain...that I had done that to him. The sight of his legs wrapped around my body, the fleeting glimpse of my cock before it disappeared into him again drove me to the brink, and it was Jasper's whispered love that gave me the final push I needed.
Twice more my hips thrust against his, and then I was the one calling out his name in an almost inaudible voice, my throat dry and hoarse from exertion.
As I stilled, my arms began to shake, and Jasper smiled, tilting his head to kiss me as he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me close. I resisted for a moment before letting my weight rest on him, and he hummed contentedly, his lips peppering my face with small kisses.
I rolled us to the side, and Jasper kept his body flush with mine despite the mess between us, his hand roaming up and down my back as we kissed languidly. When we parted, he pressed his forehead to mine and murmured, "Do you see what I see now?"
A smile flickered across my face before I answered quietly, "I'm beginning to..."
A/N: Thanks again, AmyMorgan, both for your amazing donation and your prompt that allowed us to write these two. We fell in love with them along the way, and we really hope you enjoyed what we did with them.
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For those of you who have missed the Markedboys, next Sunday is the return of Markeday! Remember that the chapter will go up on our blog and twilighted. Any versions posted to ffnet will be edited for content.