Summary: Edward comes home to visit Bella before starting the next chapter of his life. When he meet's Bella's roommate Rosalie's brother Jasper, a professional surfer. Edward want to learn how to surf, but is that all he'll learn?
A/N: This is my first shot at writing FanFiction. I thought an anonymous contest would be a great way to stick my toes in the water. I went to the TwilightAwards site, closed my eyes and picked. I landed on TwiSlash Unveiled SLASH Contest! I wasn't sure if I could do it, but I had recently read MsKathy's A Trip Home and I read prior contest entries and found them quite moving. Love is Love...
I ended up winning Runner Up, which was such an honor because there were some AMAZING entries. Let me know if you like it.
Disclaimer: Oh, what tangled webs we weave when we twist Stephanie Meyers' characters into things that please (me at least, I LOVE these boys!)
I walked over to the patio table at Schooner or Later, seeing her look out at the boats on the water. "So Bells, what's new?" It was so good to see Bella.
"Edward! You're here! Oh my god, have I missed you, you have no idea!" She said, throwing her arms around me.
We grew up in a small town called Forks, Washington. Everybody knew everybody else, but my Irish Catholic parents did their share to increase the population. I am one of fifteen children, lucky number 13. There are 9 boys and 6 girls. My dad Edward is a doctor, and while we weren't what you would call "rich", but every single one of the Masen Clan went through St. Anne's Catholic School. My mom, Esme, was the best mom in the world. I would watch other frazzled moms in stores or school with only one or two children, but my mom reveled in it.
I met Isabella Swan when she moved to Forks in the 6th grade. She was Police Chief Charlie Swan's only daughter. Charlie and Renee had been divorced since Bella was three and Bella lived with her mom in Arizona until a terrible car accident took Renee's life. Charlie lived a bachelor's life for a lot of years, so when a hormonal twelve year-old girl who just lost her mother came to live with him, Charlie opted for Catholic school over public school, even though he wasn't a very religious man. My sister, Alice, was the first person to reach out to her and, soon enough, Bella and Alice were inseparable best friends.
Alice was force of nature whilst Bella was quiet and contemplative. They were the perfect ying and yang. Our house had constant excitement and was overflowing with people and love, whereas Bella's house was quiet and peaceful, but sometimes lonely. The girls bounced from house to house as their needs required. Sometimes Bella needed the hustle and bustle of the Masen house and other times Alice needed the quiet of the Swan household. They were always together, it just depended where.
"Well, school still takes up most of my time, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This. Is. It! Can you believe it? It feels like I've been in school for-fucking-ever and now I think I'm a little sad it's almost over." Bella continued without taking a breath, "of course, the best part is that you're here. So, are you drinking? I know it's 9:00 am on a Wednesday, but I don't have a class until 1:00 and you're here! You can drink still, can't you? Is there a rule for that?"
I smirked and rolled eyes, in part for the word vomit I was just subjected to and then for the questions. It never occurred to me that we would drink this early in the morning. I was in my final year of seminary and this was my "final" break before ordination.
When Fr. Carlisle, my mentor and good friend, told me I had to take a two week vacation before he would sign off on the final paperwork, I balked and told him I was ready and two weeks wouldn't make a difference. I couldn't think of anywhere I wanted to be except within the peaceful walls of the seminary and told him so. Fr. Carlisle just quietly smiled and told me to go home. Forks hadn't been my home in years and the only thing that came to mind when he said home was Bella.
The waitress came over and after Bella ordered coffee and yoghurt, I ordered something called "Schultzie's Mess" and a schooner of Blue Moon. Bella cocked an eyebrow at me and quickly changed her coffee the same.
"Well," she said smiling, "it looks like Edward's come to play! I love it!"
"Drama much, Bella?" I countered with a bigger smile, cocking my head slightly to the side.
"I'm sorry, but won't Fr. Ken over there be concerned when he sees the Church's brightest star drinking this early in the morning?" Bella questioned.
I turned my head a little too quickly before Bella busted up laughing. She laughed so hard tears were streaming down her face. I couldn't help smiling while my face grew brighter and brighter. This was not the kind of interaction I was used to at seminary, but it was pure Bella and … home.
"Ha, ha, you know, I'm closer to God than you are, and he doesn't like it when his brightest stars are messed with," I teased her.
She saw it for the empty threat it was and just smiled back at me while gently placing her hand on my forearm. I exhaled and quietly relaxed with her simple touch. It had been like this with us since Alice died.
Bella looked up at me, squeezed my arm a little tighter and whispered, "Alice would be so proud of you, you know."
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, "I hope so," and then I looked her straight in the eyes and smiled, "but I rather think she'd be hassling me and trying get me into trouble during my time off!"
Alice died in her junior year of high school. She was dating Riley at the time and "in love". Riley was a senior like me and cherished my sister. We were all at a party at James' house, drinking and celebrating our homecoming win. We were on top of the world. James took the party to a different level, sharing some LSD he'd gotten a hold of. If I had had any idea Riley or Alice tried it I would have never let them drive, but I didn't.
No one ever found out what really happened that night, all we know is that Riley's car missed a hairpin turn and the car went over a cliff. Neither Riley nor Alice were wearing seatbelts and both died on impact. That night will forever be ingrained in my mind like a horrific looping nightmare I can't wake up from. Chief Swan knocking on our front door with a tear streaked Bella, wide-eyed, standing next to him. I couldn't register what Chief Swan was trying to say because I was focused on Bella and her pleading eyes. Chief Swan put both of his hands on my shoulders and gently shook me, "Edward, I need you to get your parents, I know your dad is here because I called the hospital first." I crinkled my forehead, processing that something was wrong and my eyes shot back to Bella, who just looked pained and started to sob. Chief Swan held his daughter and looked at me softly and said, "Now, Edward, please go get them and then you and Bella can talk." I nodded and woke up Mom and Dad. Once Chief Swan walked to the family room to talk to my parents, I turned to Bella.
"What kind of trouble did you and Alice get yourself into?" I teasingly inquired. Bella just crumbled to the floor as I heard my mother screaming in the other room. I didn't know where to go, but soon the house was filled with crying Masens. My life, as I knew it, imploded. Alice was our family's sun and, even though most of our brothers and sisters had left the house and started families of their own, we were all still planets that revolved around her pure energy.
Alice's death had a profound effect on our family. We rarely saw Dad because he worked almost non-stop and my older brothers and sisters seemed to cling to their own families because it was just too hard to come home to the one we were brought up in. If Alice was our sun, Mom was our heart, and Mom's heart was irreparably shattered.
I never questioned my crazy large family, but after Alice died I realized just what being child 13 of 15 meant. Mom was old, tired, and now broken. My younger brother, Seth, took the brunt of the loss as far as my mom went. He was ten when it happened, a surprise if you will. (If you can call child number 15 a surprise.) I tried to be there for mom after, but I guess I reminded her too much of Alice. To be honest, I'm still not sure if it's that or because she blames me for being at the party and not saving Alice.
In a house full of people and their schedules, there was very little consistency, but church was the one exception for us. Every Sunday we plodded our way to mass. There were Masens everywhere! Seth and I were altar boys. My sisters, Leah, Siobhan and Maggie ran the children's choir while my brothers, Liam, Paul, Garrett and Peter ran the youth groups and taught SRE religious education classes to kids.
I never questioned my family's faith before Alice died, it was just a part of who I was, so following Mom to 6am mass every day after she passed away wasn't something I questioned either. It started out to be the one place everything went quiet and mom let me sit next to her, but somehow all routine of the mass became its own comfort. I needed it and it allowed it to comfort me in a way my mom couldn't…or wouldn't.
Bella, squeezed my arm again, and asked quietly "Hey, where did you go just now?" As a looked up, a tear fell from my eyes.
"Oh, you know, just thinking about Alice," I replied as I wiped the tear away and stared at the sailboats that surrounded us.
"I think about her all the time," she smiled. "You know, she'd be kicking our ass, if she knew we were crying over her in our beer."
"You're right," I answered, "and God help us, she would tease us relentlessly over it."
Suddenly, I felt lighter. didn't know if it was the sailboats on the water, talking about Alice, the schooner of beer, being with Bella, or the combination of everything, but for the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt like me again.
"How come we don't talk about her more?" I asked.
"I don't know," Bella replied. "I actually do talk about her a lot. Rose almost kicked me out because of it when we first starting living together."
I had to laugh. Over the years I had gotten to know Rose through Bella and I could see that Rosalie Hale took second place to no one, especially the ghost of a best friend.
"What made her understand?"
That surprised me. "Me?"
Bella looked up from her plate, where she was stirring her food. "Do you remember when we spent that Thanksgiving together my sophomore year of college?"
I raised my eyebrows. "Yeah…?"
"It was the first time we all met Emmett, remember?"
I smiled again and mused to myself. Who knew with eight brothers, the man I'd be the closest to, with the exception of Fr. Carlisle, would be Emmett McCarty. "Yeah, that was a fun night, I was so grateful you called. I didn't want to go home, but staying in the dorms at Loyola Marymount had no appeal either."
"Rose knew you were from Forks, but put it together that night that ythat hh ou were Alice's brother, so when we talked later sr he actually listened. I think Emmett coming into her life allowed her to take a minute and see other people's lives for what they were instead of just how they related to her own life." Bella took a deep breath. "You probably never realized it, but Rose spent the next year trying to set us up together."
I jerked my head up and looked at a very embarrassed Bella. I knew I had to come clean. "I actually did, Rose isn't known for her subtly. It didn't matter how many times I tried to explain that we weren't like that, Rose pushed and pushed. I prayed over it. I loved hanging out with you guys, but Rose is relentless, so much like Alice at times." I wasn't sure if it was the beer talking, but I continued. "I finally pulled away; I had already decided to go to seminary, so I just put my energy there."
I was surprised when two more schooners of Blue Moon arrived at our table, but grateful it was in front of me. This was not the conversation I expected to be having this morning.
Bella took a sip of beer, waiting out the uncomfortable silence, then finally spoke. "It was hard, you know. I knew what it was like to lose the person who meant the most to you; I was so alone when my mom died." She took a long sip of beer. "I really tried to be there for you, like Alice was there for me when I moved to Forks." She smiled sadly. "Alice was my lifeline back then. When we lost her, in a car accident of all things, I felt like I couldn't breathe, it was all too much, but then there was you, Alice's brother. Somewhere along the way I decided that I would be your Alice. I tried to be there for you in any way you needed me."
I tried to process all this information, but it felt a little like I was somehow underwater. I wondered what Bella was telling me and how I missed everything. I am going to be a priest, I've taken more psychology and grieving classes than anyone I know. I've been told I'm so effective at comforting people, it's almost like I can read their minds. This is what I do, who I am, how is it possible that I missed the cues of one of the most important people in my life?
All I could manage to get out was, "I didn't know, Bella."
Bella smiled again. "I know, I never expected you to. It was the way I wanted to honor Alice and along the way I got a new best friend - I got you."
I just sat there. In seminary we're taught how fill the uncomfortable silences, but God forgive me, I had no words. She was absolutely my best friend. I couldn't have been happier when she came got into Cal State Long Beach because Loyola Marymount was only 45 minutes away. Wait…
"Bella, why did you come to school down here?"
I stared into her eyes and knew the answer before she spoke. "I wanted to be close, in case you needed me."
How did I not know this? I never questioned why she went to school in California, I was only ever glad she did.
I looked up as Bella spoke again, "Rose cornered me after that Thanksgiving and found out I followed you down here. That's when she decided to set us up," she said as she fell quiet again, but added, "I want you to know I never expected anything, but I think I did get caught up in Rose's fantasy for us a little bit, so when you avoided me, it was even harder for me."
"I really had no idea, Bells," I said softly.
Bella smiled softly with more wisdom and caring than I had ever seen before, looked me straight in the eye said, "I know Edward, it's really okay. I just want you happy, that was always my priority. Do you remember when you decided to go on to seminary? I told you the same thing I'm telling you now, your happiness is what matters most to me. Are you happy, Edward?"
"I love helping people, it gives my life meaning and I'm really good at it," I answered truthfully.
Bella took my other hand and squeezed both of them simultaneously, "Edward, that's not what I asked, and Alice would demand no less. Edward, are YOU happy? Is becoming a priest everything you want out of life?" she took a breath and continued, "Because This. Is. It. And I really need to know."
I don't know why, but I was pissed. "Bella, I shouldn't have to explain this to you, of all people. You know how important my faith is to me and becoming a priest is the ultimate gift I can give my church and God. Bella, YOU were the one who told me to follow my dreams, YOU were the one who told me to go to seminary, why the hell are you questioning me now?" Suddenly, I realized that drinking two schooners of beer might not have been the best idea I've ever had.
Bella cocked an eyebrow, squared her shoulders, dropped my hands from hers and answered me in the same tone I had just given her. "Because Edward, I owe you this, I owe Alice this and God damn it, you owe Alice this. What exactly are these two weeks for, anyway? Isn't this the Church's way of asking if you're sure? Have you even questioned whether or not this is what's right for you, or are you just being Edward and excelling at everything you do without questioning why you're doing it?"
Bella softened both her tone and expression grabbing both of my hands again, before going on. "Because if you tell me this is it for you and you're happy, then I am too."
I didn't take a second before answering, "I am."
"Okay, that's what I needed to know." She picked up the bill and said teasingly, "My treat, because I missed Mass this Sunday and this is kinda like supporting the church." Then she winked at me.
I rolled my eyes, glad to be back to normal. "Whatever." Then I added, "thanks Bella, thanks breakfast, for talking to me… for everything."
"It just came to me, I know how to honor Alice!" she said mysteriously as she pulled me out of the restaurant and into the parking lot. "I've been thinking about it since you made that comment about her wanting to get you into trouble. Edward, do you trust me?" she asked, trying to appear more innocent than her tone was implying.
"In theory," I hedged. "I'm certainly not afraid of you or anything you've got planned though," I added cockily.
Bella smirked while shaking her head, "You really shouldn't have said that."
When we got to her house, Bella left me to ponder what she was up to while she went to class. I was camping out on the couch because Rosalie's brother was also visiting and he arrived first, so he got the guest bedroom. It didn't really matter to me anyway. Bella, Emmett and Rose lived in a great house one block from Second Street, which is a great area of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and stores and about two blocks from the beach. I wasn't sure which way to go, but opted for the beach.
The beach was relatively, empty except for a few surfers on the water. I took the opportunity to call Fr. Carlisle.
"Hi Edward, I take it you arrived safely? he asked.
I smiled, "yeah, Father, it's beautiful here. I can see God in the sun and the waves, you'd love it." He had told me on many occasions that I could just call him Carlisle, but he had been more of a father to me than my own lately and I liked calling him Father.
"Have you figured out how you're going to spend your time? I know you're hesitant about it, but it's important, son. Use it wisely, you're taking a big step." Carlisle said.
"Well, was planning on helping Fr. Ken at St. Matthews and possibly work on my homily skills," I responded. "And then again, there's Bella's plan…"
"What's Bella's plan?" He inquired curiously.
"I actually am not sure," I chuckled.
"Do you think that she'd ever want you to do anything that would hurt you in anyway?" he asked.
"No, of course not, I'm just not sure she's not looking to get me into a little trouble though," I answered honestly.
"Edward, you have always put the other people in your life first, son. I want you to consider what Bella wants to do. I've seen her heart and I agree with you, she'd never hurt you. You have one of the purest hearts I've come across. You work so hard at the process but very rarely let yourself just be. Take this time, enjoy it, push your boundaries a little, you'll be a better priest because of it."
I didn't know what to say. "I'll think about it."
"Edward, I'm going to go, call me whenever you want or need to, but I won't be expecting a call for two weeks," he said, before abefore abbb dding, "Son, I'm so proud of you and the man of God you've become."
I teared up listening to his words and simply said, "good-bye."
I don't know how long I sat on the beach watching the surfers, but as the sky turned pink and orange, I decided that for the next two weeks my life was in Bella's hands. I hoped Bella's plan included beach time, because all of the sudden surfing looked really good to me.
When I finally walked back to the house, it was dinner time. "Hey man, you're here! I got all excited when I saw your stuff in the living room. I can't believe we get you for two weeks," Emmett said while giving me the one-arm man hug.
"Ready for me to kick your ass on the PS3? I'm assuming they don't have Grand Theft Auto in the seminary?"
I rolled my eyes. "That's a safe assumption, but watch your back when it comes to Wii Sports."
"You're on brother," Emmett called out, turning his back to me as he checked on the steak.
Rosalie walked in with a candle for the table. "Awww, what do we having going on here, a little bromance?" she asked as she kissed my cheek hello. "Doesn't the church employ some sort of "don't ask don't tell" policy about that shit?"
"Uhhhh, no, Rose, that's the military, we love all of God's children," I responded. I knew she wasn't sure how I took it and there was an uncomfortable silence as I stared at her. Emmett turned around to watch this play out and I quickly winked at him without Rosalie seeing.
"What the fuck, Rose? Why are you dissing my boy here, he's gonna be a goddamn priest for fucks sake, show some respect will ya?"
Now Rosalie was really uncomfortable. I couldn't take it anymore and broke a smile.
"Fuck dude, we're gonna have to keep you around. No one, I mean no one, makes my girl speechless, that shit was priceless!"
"Thanks man, I'm not sure we need to use "goddamn" as an adjective for me becoming a servant of God, but that was funniest thing I've done in a long time," I said rather proudly, then turning to Rose, "Sorry, Rose."
Rosalie looked at me with a twinkle of respect in her eyes as she said, "Damn Priest Boy, I didn't know you had it in you, but you're right, you'll be sorry."
We were all enjoying a nice bottle of red wine as Bella laughed with Emmett's recount of what had happened earlier when a blonde man in Quicksilver board shorts a surfboard under his arm walked into the front courtyard.
"'Bout time dumbass, we were getting ready to eat without you." As the blonde man went to hug Rosalie, she backed up and said "You, will NOT touch this outfit with your sandy, salty body."
"Hey Em," the man said as he nodded his head, "Hey Bells, Jake's not gonna make it tonight, he got called into work, but he says he'll text later."
Bella lowered her head slightly, blushing a little. "Thanks Jazz. Jazz, this is my friend Edward, Edward, this is Rosalie's brother, Jasper Hale."
"Hey man, nice to meet you," he said as he reached over the table to shake my hand. A spark of electricity shot up my arm.
Not knowing what to say I just said, "yeah, me too."
Still feeling the tingling in my arm, I got lost in my thoughts when Bella's question brought me back.
"Edward…Edward, are you going to fill me in on your plans for the next two weeks?"
"Actually, I had planned on calling Fr. Ken at St. Matthews and follow him around."
Emmett coughed the words "kiss ass", as I cocked my eyebrow and continued, "However, believe it or not Fr. Carlisle encouraged me to walk on the wild side and follow the Bella Plan of Debauchery."
Bella broke into the widest smile. "I knew I loved that man for a reason! How is Carlisle?"
"He's fine, he asked about you too."
"You know it won't work, don't you?" she asked.
'What won't?" I asked, having no idea where this was going. I looked around, suddenly wondering where Jasper went, because he wasn't in the courtyard.
"Saying that FATHER Carlisle gave you permission. First of all, I don't need permission and secondly this is going to be fffor Alice and for you," she said, giving me an evil grin.
All the sudden we had Emmett's full attention. "Okay you two, what the fuck is up?"
Bella was quick to answer. "I've decided that we are going to make the most of Edward's last two weeks of being a free man filled with everything he won't be able to do after he becomes married to God."
Emmett whipped his head around. "No shit man? Hell Yeah! I've gotta get on this action! Let see, we're going to strip clubs, nah, fuck strippers, hookers! We're gonna get d-r-u-n-k! Hey dude what drugs have you done?"
Both Bella and I visibly stiffened at the last comment as Rosalie smacked Emmett in the back of the head and mouthed "Alice".
"Shit, I'm sorry, I just got caught up in all the excitement, " Emmett said, as he gulped the rest of his wine.
"What excitement?" Jasper asked, sitting down across from me.
"We were just going over how to fill Edward's next two weeks," Rose answered and I smiled a grateful thanks for her compassion. "What were you thinking, Edward?"
"Actually, the only thing I can think of at the moment is I'd like to learn how to surf." And then turning to Emmett, "and Em pretty much listed all the stuff I'm NOT gonna do."
"I'm not sure what all Em mentioned, but I could help with the surfing. I'll be out on the water all week. You okay with getting up-early?"Jasper asked.
I thought about how my arm tingled earlier and said, "Uh, thanks man, I don't want to put you out. I was just watching some surfers on the beach earlier and it looked very… serene."
"It is kinda Zen, especially in the early morning, but it's also such a thrill catching that perfect wave and battling it out with nature and gravity. There are moments when everything lines up and you feel such at one with the world and God."
I was mesmerized by Jasper's words. "You make it seem pretty fantastic, I'm not sure it's going to be like that for me," I replied.
"That's crazy Edward. I've never seen a sport you haven't excelled at," Bella retorted.
"Okay, I'm in. What time?"
"Five am. Do you need board shorts or a wet suit?" he asked. "You're about my size."
"No, I can go and buy one." I answered.
"That's ridiculous. Thanks to Jake I have more shit than I know what to do with. I'll just pull something out for you," Jasper said.
"Um, okay, thanks again, man."
"You know you're really lucky to have Jazz teaching you. Some people would consider him quite an expert," Rosalie said mysteriously.
"Knock it off Rose, I'm just a guy who likes to surf."
"Yeah and gets paid a fuckload of money to do it," Emmett threw out. "Not to mention all the beach bunny fans that are wasted on your sorry ass."
"What am I missing?" I question.
"Jasper is a professional surfer," Bella explains.
"Really? So Jake is your team mate?"
"Um, no Jake works for Quicksilver. They're my main sponsor, but he is a surfer," Jasper responded.
"Oh, that's cool, and you must be friends too, because you invited him to dinner." I said, happy to figure the mystery of Jake out.
Then I saw a look pass between Rose and Bella as Jazz looked over to them both and Em poured himself another glass of wine.
Bella broke the silence. "Jake and I are dating, Edward." She took a sip of wine and continued, "it's actually pretty serious."
My eyes went directly to hers, "Just how serious Bella?"
I waited, and all she said was, "Serious."
"Well, good Bella, I'm happy for you," I said smiling, but feeling confused, lost and pissed all at the same time.
Somehow, the mention of "Jake" sucked all the energy out of the dinner conversation and I excused myself to go to bed, forgetting that I was sleeping on the couch.
"Hey dude, why don't you take the guest room tonight, you're probably jet lagged," Jasper asked seeming to understand I needed some space.
"No, that's okay, but could I crash on the floor in there?" I asked. Emmett seemed to want to say something, but instead took another sip of wine.
"No problem, I think they're a blow up mattress in the hall closet. Are you sure you don't want me to sleep on the couch?" Jasper asked.
"Nope, let's get the mattress. I've got an early morning tomorrow."
I texted Fr. Carlisle before I went to sleep. Going to learn to surf and become one with God. Thanks for our talk this afternoon. – E
Then I closed my eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
I got up with the alarm at 5am wondering if I should wake up Jasper and was surprised to see him already awake. He had laid out a towel and some swim trucks at the end on the bed for me.
"How long is it gonna take you to get ready?" he asked.
I ran my fingers through my unruly hair and responded, "give me ten?"
"No prob, I'll be out front waiting for you," he said as he walked out the door.
We didn't drive far and I wondered if it was Jasper I saw surfing yesterday. Jasper met up with five guys, whom he introduced me to as Embry, Quil, Jake, Tyler and Laurent.
"Hey, you're Edward. Bella's been talking about you non-stop for weeks now. She's so excited you're here. Welcome man!" Jake said, shaking my hand.
He was nice enough, but I just didn't like . Frankly, I was a little pissed that Bella could take the time to talk to him about me but never once mentioned him to me. What was that about?
Jasper stayed back with me while the other's slipped on their wetsuits and paddled out to hit the waves.
"Okay, how much about surfing do you know?" he asked.
"Honestly, nothing, other that I had a compulsion to try it while watching it yesterday," I answered.
Jasper placed a surfboard on the sand and demonstrated how to balance and walk up and down the board. When it was my turn, I mimicked his movements exactly. I knew I was a great student and smiled widely at him. We put on our wetsuits, and even though it took me twice as long as him. He ran in the water and as I got about three feet in, I stopped. It. Was. Cold.
I was contemplating getting out when I heard Jake yell, "Oh look! Guess Eddie can't handle a little cold water."
I was sure I hated him at this point and ran into the water after Jasper. Fuck, it's cold. I made a mental note to spend less time with Emmett before I leave to go back.
The other guys kept catching waves when I saw Jasper finally catch one. It was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen. His motions were fluid-like, as he balanced, anticipating the motion of the wave, made corrections and caught the barrel. I suddenly knew what he meant when he said he felt one with God, because at that moment, I did too.
I was still watching the other surfers when Jasper swam up and startled me. "You know Edward, the whole point to surfing is actually getting on the board and riding it in to the shore," he teased.
"I just haven't found my wave yet," I said lamely.
"It's like that at first, you're just gonna have to get on the board and do it. Here comes a wave, now paddle!" he exclaimed.
I didn't get up on that wave or any other that morning. I spent a lot of time watching the other guys, especially Jasper, and was surprised when it was time to go. We all peeled off our wet suits, when a group of girls practically tackled Jasper, before Jake backed them off. Jasper smiled apologetically and signed some autographs.
I quietly stepped away and sat on the sand looking over the ocean. This was not was I had expected to be doing, but it somehow felt all together right. I don't know how long I was sitting there when Jasper walked up with two cups of coffee.
"I didn't know how you took it, so if you need to doctor it, we can go back."
"No, its fine, thanks," I said as I took a sip, "It's perfect."
"It's peaceful out here, isn't it?" he asked as he sat down in the sand alongside me. "I love to come out here and just think."
"It's funny, my life is so regimented that I rarely take the time to do this, but as it turns out it's exactly what I need."
"Care to share?" Jasper asked.
"Oh, I was just thinking about my sister, Alice, and Bella and where my life is now," I answered.
"So just the light stuff, huh?" he nudged me with his shoulder and smiled.
I felt the same electricity I felt the other day, except this time it was where his shoulder touched me.
I didn't have enough time to think about it when Jasper said, "Hey, I'm really sorry I was the one to tell you about Jake. I really put my foot in my mouth."
"No worries, I'm sure she has her reasons for not telling me about him. We haven't actually talked all that much in the past six months or so," I told him.
"How long were you guys together?" he asked.
"What? Um, you have the wrong idea. Bella and I were never together like that, she's my best friend and before that she was Alice's best friend."
"Yeah, but you two seem closer than that. You've never thought about her that way?" he asked as I stared into his blue eyes. He then added, "You know, feel free to tell me it's none of my business, by the way."
I smiled. "no, it's okay, you're easy to talk to. We are closer, we bonded in a way I've never been able to describe after my sister died. My family, my whole life really, disintegrated. Bella was my lifeline." I remembered that Bella had used those same words to describe what Alice was to her after her mom died. "It has never been like that, for me anyway. Your sister tried to set us up, but that was just awkward. I pulled away and ended up hurting Bella."
"So nothing in college, but what about high school?" he pushed. It must be a family trait, I mused.
"Well, nothing there either. Neither one of us dated much. I was just starting to see Jessica Stanley when my sister died and I never dated after that."
"Really, never again?" he asked surprised, "That was a long time ago."
"I don't know what to tell you. Maybe Bella and I would be together in a different time and place, but I've never felt that way about her, or any other girl really." As soon as I said it, it even surprised me, so I continued to explain. "When Alice died, something in me died with her. I didn't have anything to give anyone else. I found my comfort in church and God and dedicated myself to being the best servant of God I could be. When I focus on something I can't allow distractions. For a lot of my fellow seminarians, 'distractions' were the hardest thing about becoming a priest. I just never let it enter my mind as a possibility."
I looked over to see Jasper staring intently at me. I held his stare for a moment before he asked, "Hey, you want to get breakfast?"
"Sure, that would be great."
For the couple of days, Jasper and I would take off early in the mornings to surf. By the third day, I could actually get up on the board. Jasper told me I was doing great, but Jake constantly reminded me how awkward I was and joked I was giving his company a bad name by wearing his logo. Jasper and I spent the late mornings at breakfast and would sometimes try to catch a set in the afternoon. We always made it back to Bella's before dinner.
Jasper and I were becoming close friends and I was so grateful for it. We managed to talk about everything - his life growing up with Rose, why surfing was so important to him, what it was like to travel around the world and how it could be lonely sometimes. We talked about what my life was like before Alice died and the contrast to what it became afterward. We talked extensively about Bella and why she was so important to me and also about Fr. Carlisle and how he became not only my mentor, but my pseudo-dad as well.
We were having lunch at Hof's Hut on 2nd Street when Jasper asked, "Hey, do you want to help me make dinner tonight? I kinda volunteered since Bella and Rose have been making dinner every night."
"Sure," I offered. "What are we making?"
"Well, that's what I kinda need help with or we're gonna end up ordering pizza, which is what I think they're expecting," he replied shyly.
"Oh, I see how it is." I gently pushed his shoulder back a little and chuckled. "I guess I owe you for the surf lessons. How about lasagna? It's easy and always a crowd pleaser. We could do garlic bread and a salad too."
"Are you kidding me?" Jasper looked at me with what seemed to be awe in his eyes. "Let's go shopping."
We worked in perfect synchronicity in the kitchen. I was so happy I didn't even balk when I found out Jake was coming to dinner. Jasper opened the bottle of wine he picked out and surprised us with a toast before dinner. "To Alice, for bringing us all together. I'm sorry I never got a chance to know her, but I'm sure grateful to her."
"To Alice" everyone declared at we all raised and clinked our glasses. … I looked to Bella and she was smiling as she mouthed "thank you" to Jazz. I smiled at him as well. My heart was so full at that moment as I looked over this family of friends.
Jake interrupted my moment of bliss my saying, "So Eddie, Bella tells me you've got a bucket list of things to go through before taking the final plunge." Jake fist bumping Emmett. "So, what's on the list?"
"I don't know, it's actually Bella's list. I just wanted to learn how to surf," I answered back, coldly.
"Well hell, it's Friday night. Let's go down to 2nd Street," Emmett said, diffusing our conversation.
We walked into a dive bar they called AI and Jake asked, "Hey Eddie, do they let you play pool in church school?"
I shot Bella a look, and she shrugged her shoulders. I said flatly, "No one's stopped me so far."
"Doubles then? Jazz and you against me and Em?" Jake asked.
I looked to Jazz. "Playing? It's either you or Bella." I saw Jake stiffen on the other side of the table.
"I'll play if Bella and Rose will get the beer; girls get served in here much faster," he answered. Then he looked to Jake, "We break."
I cleared the table in the first round without giving anyone else a shot. After I sunk the eight ball,,, I walked past Jake and said, "Sometimes its good to have God on your side."
I poured myself a glass of beer and looked right into Jasper's eyes, who was staring at me again. I smiled back and raised my glass.
It was a fun night, even though we almost got into a bar fight because some guy kept hitting on Rose and neither Emmett nor Jazz were happy about it. I lost track of how many pitchers we had. I was thankful we were walking, because I was certain no one could drive.
When we got home, I wanted to take a shower because I smelled like smoke and beer. When I came back from the shower, Jazz was passed out, face up in his boxer briefs. He was truly beautiful, like a work of art. God did make perfection and it was lying in front of me. I stared down at his squared off jaw line and chiseled abs. I ran my hands through my hair and knew it was time for me to go to bed. I walked by the bed and saw Jasper turn to his stomach. I wondered if he saw me watching him, but I doubted it. He was out cold… wasn't he?
Jazz and I found out we were on our own the next night because iit was "date night." After dinner we settled on a movie. Bella left out the movie "Hangover" before she left on her date with Jake. I had never seen it, and she thought it was something I "had" to see. I found myself watching Jazz as much as the movie, laughing when he laughed and loving the sound of our laughter together. We laughed a lot that that night; the movie was hilarious.
When the movie was over, , Jazz said he was going to bed and then added, "I don't usually surf on Sundays, is that all right?"
"Yeah, absolutely. Gonna sleep in, huh?" I asked, teasing him a bit.
"No, actually I go to church on Sundays,…no matter where I am."
It was my turn to stare now. "We never talked about religion; you go to church?" I asked.
He smiled, "Altar boy from fourth grade on."
"Me too." I answered back.
We spent the next two hours discussing Mass stories.
I told him, as I yawned, "I can't believe we have so much in common Jazz, I really think I could tell you anything. I'm so glad we're friends." I reached over and touched his shoulder feeling that tingle again.
Jasper pulled away a bit and turned to look at me, "Edward, I have to tell you something. I didn't before because it didn't matter, but now I think you should, or rather, deserve to know."
JJJasper took a deep breath and said, "Edward, I'm gay and I'm starting to have feelings for you. I know you're going to be a priest, which is making it worse for me, honestly. You are the most amazing guy I've ever met and I have to say a big part of my feelings come from the pure way you love God."
I didn't know what to say. This isn't what I wanted… was it? I knew he was waiting for me to say something and all I could think of was that I needed to talk to Fr. Carlisle. So I told him what I could. "Jazz, you being gay isn't an issue for me. You're the same guy you were yesterday at dinner, the same one that taught me to surf and the same one who laughed with me through that movie we're gonna have to go to confession over."
He seemed to know it was all I could give him. He said good night leaving me on the couch to ponder our conversation.
Not being about to wrap my head around all the events that happened, I walked outside towards the beach and pulled out my cell phone to call Carlisle.
"Edward, what's wrong, son?" he asked sleepily.
"Hi Father, I'm sorry for calling late, but I just needed to hear your voice." I said quietly.
"Okay, what have you been up to, is Bella okay?" he inquired.
"Yeah, everything is fine and Bella is great. I finally got up on a surf board, and I beat Bella's new boyfriend in pool." I said, filling up the dead space with conversation.
"Edward, is this what you really called me about?"
"Father, something happened tonight. Jasper, the guy who's been teaching me to surf, told me he was gay and attracted to me," I admitted to him.
"Edward, that happens to us all the time, you've taken classes about this. Did he do something inappropriate?"
"No, nothing like that, Jasper has become a really good friend. We've been talking a lot the last couple of days. He's a good man; he goes to church."
"Edward, what is the problem, son, did he make you uncomfortable?"
"No… yes..I don't know, Father." I paused then continued in a whisper, "Maybe that I'm attracted to him too?"
"We've never talked about your attraction to another person, how have you dealt with this in the past?"
"Father, I've never been attracted to another person. I don't know how to deal with this."
I heard him take a deep breath. "Edward, is this something you feel like you need to explore?"
"I don't know Father. I'm so confused," I cried out.
"Edward, I need you to hear me. I am so proud of you and the man you have become; you're going to have to be the one who decides what to do next." He paused and took another breath." I promise, whatever you decide will be the right choice, son."
I felt someone come up behind me and knew it was Jazz before I turned around. "Father, I'm going to go now. Thanks for listening."
"Good night, son."
"Hey," Jazz said, speculatively.
"Look, I know I threw a lot out at you tonight, and I'm really sorry. I've never felt like this before. I am so drawn to you and it's like a weird electric current shocks me every time I touch you."
I looked at him, relieved I was the only one that felt it. "I'm a little overwhelmed by all this too, Jazz. My life has been on one track since college; really since Alice died. I've never allowed myself to feel anything for anyone, but I can't seem to stop my feelings for you, let alone reconcile what the church would have to say about the feelings I'm having."
Jazz put his hand over mine as we sat watching the waves crashing over the sand. He didn't say anything, not moving, just quietly putting me at ease. I eventually turned to look at him, needing some sort of reassurance. I put my forehead to his, trying to come up with words to explain what I was feeling. "I don't know where to go with this. I'm scared, Jazz."
Suddenly it wasn't just our foreheads touching, it was our mouths. His lips were soft and tender. Soon the feelings morphed and I pulled him closer. This kiss evolved into needy and lust filled as I felt his tongue ghost over my lower lip. I opened my mouth to deepen the kiss. I've lost all sense of reason and gasped as he pulled away.
"Edward, I need you to know I care about you, more than I've ever cared about anyone else, so know this question is coming from a good place in my heart. Jazz says, and then added, "Are you sure? Because I really want this."
"I don't know, but I can tell you I've never felt like I just felt a minute ago. I'm not sure what just happened, I just know I want, no, need it to happen again." I could hear my breathing pick up as I turned to him. "" Jazz, I feel that tingle too. I didn't know what it was and tried to ignore it, but it never went away. I still feel it even now and the thought of it going away scares me more than anything."
He nodded and moved towards me achingly slow. I thought he was going to kiss me again, but he turned, his nose ghosted my jaw line and I strained to feel his breath on my neck. He pulled away just a bit to look in my eyes and tickle my arms. He repeated the light touches over my arms and down to my hands. I watched him watching me. It was like I was feeling my body for the first time through him with every electric touch. I felt…worshipped.
I pulled his face towards mine, with a touch that mirrored his own tenderness. My fingers traced his beautiful face and perfect jaw line and then I kissed him. It was as soft and tender as our touches, each of us languidly seeking out each other.
"I have a confession," he said, which, even though he didn't mean it to, brought me back to real life in an instant. "I saw you watching me the other night. I don't think I would have ever had the courage to talk to you tonight if I hadn't."
I didn't have words to offer back. Jasper seemed to sense my thoughts and said, "It's time to go back in." I nodded and grabbed his hand as we turned around to go back to Bella's. We walked back in silence but I could feel Jasper's thumbs making tiny reassuring circles on the back of my hand and knuckles. When we got to the door, we both realized neither one of us had a key and was surprised the door was unlocked. Bella was sitting in the living room, watching a late night infomercial.
"Hey, night owls, I was kinda worried about you. I was getting ready to call since you didn't text me back," She said, as I pulled out my phone.
"I'm sorry I didn't hear it; we were down at the beach talking." I scrolled through the texts I missed.
We've ended up at AI again – Meet us here? – B
Dude, get your ass down here, let's find some unsuspecting punk and play pool – Em
I'm so proud of you. Thank you for trusting me enough to call me. I'll always be there for you. Know that I trust you and you'll do the right thing, whatever that is for you – Carlisle
Where R U, Jazz is gone 2– R U 2gether? Getting worried, sending Jake home – B
"You sent Jake home?" I asked trepidly, as Jazz said good night, leaving Bella and me in the living room.
"Yeah, we talked before he left. What's going on Edward, are you okay? It's 3:30 in the morning." I sat down beside her and pulled her feet onto my lap. "I'm fine, silly girl."
She pulled her feet back. "If I didn't know you as well as I do, I wouldn't see that as the diversionary tactic that it is. Now spill, what's up?"
I smiled tiredly. "Bells, I love you and I'm okay, but I'm not ready to talk right now. Can I just sit here with you?"
She covered us with the blanket, put her head on my shoulder and just nodded. I needed time to think, but I must have been wiped out because the next thing I remember was the sounds of dishes in the kitchen as my phone buzzed next to me.
I stretched and checked the messages. I was stunned to find out it was 11:30 in the morning.
Everything seems clearer after a good night's sleep, tell Ken Hi for me - Carlisle
Gone to church, waiting for two masses, this is the last one, didn't want to wake you. – J
"What do you know, Priest Boy awakes!" Rose muttered
"Good Morning Rose, I'm late. When's the last mass at St. Matthew's start?" I ask.
"Noon" Bella yelled from the other room, before Rose could get in what I was sure to be a snarky comment.
I jumped in the shower and raced to church. I had NEVER been late to church and slipped in, in the back. I scanned St. Matthew's and found Jazz on the end of a middle pew.
I watched him, knowing he had no idea I was here. He was like an angel and as sure of his movements in church as he was on a surfboard. I let the familiar routine of mass comfort me as I watched over Jazz. I knew in that moment that taking time to figuring out what this was between us was the right choice for me. I still had a week left, and that's how I was going to spend it.
As I went to communion, he turned back to me when I was about three rows away; he felt our connection too. He smiled as I passed him in the aisle. When I got through the line, he was standing in the back, waiting for me. We just stood together, arms touching every once in a while.
I felt whole in a way I had never felt before and somehow closer to God. Relief washed over me and I felt at home.
Jazz and I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the house with Bella, Jake, Emmett and Rose. Rose surprised us all by beating everyone at Wii Resort. At dinner, Jazz touched my fingertips passing wine and food; it never failed to electrify both of us. It was exciting and I was practically giddy that we had this secret that no one seemed to notice.
Jazz announced he was tired and went to bed first. I got incredibly nervous and stayed out in the living room for another hour before retiring as well. He was shirtless, reading a surfer magazine when I came in our room. I locked the door as he looked up and smiled at me.
"Sit down and talk to me?" he asked, patting the other side of the bed. I climbed in, drawn to him like a magnet.
"We didn't get to talk much after church, but I want to figure this out with you," I said, holding his hand.
Jasper's other hand traced the muscles up my arm, over my shoulder as his hand flattened out over my pecs and down my abs. I was spellbound; afraid to move, not wanting him to stop, frightened where this was going as a small groan escaped from my chest.
I allowed my own hands to explore Jasper's work of at of a body, spurred on by his whimpers and jerks of pleasure. I was amazed I was making this arm feel this way and I had no intention of stopping.
Our lips crashed together in a combustible mixture of desperate need and want as he rolled over on me. I could feel all of him and I was sure he could feel all of me. I couldn't get enough of the delicious friction that was setting my insides on fire. I needed more…
Jazz pulled away as both of us panted. He smiled the sexiest lazy smile I had ever seen and reached over and placed his iPod on the alarm clock. "We're getting kinda loud and I need a minute."
"I'm sorry Jazz," I said and looked down.
Jazz placed his finger under my chin and pulled it up so we were looking into each other's eyes. "Hey, don't be. You're amazing, but this is intense and I just don't want to step over the line with you. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop."
I paused and whispered, "Jazz, I don't want you to stop."
I watched his eyes go from blue to black as my breathing picked up. "Edward, do you know what you're saying?"
I nodded and kissed him. "Show me how to love you."
He guided my hand over his cock and started to caress it. I wanted to feel it and dipped my hand underneath his waistband of his boxer briefs, pulling them off. He was just as beautiful there too. I stroked it slowly at first and more urgently as his groans spurred me on. I rubbed the pre-cum with my thumb, into the head as he gripped the sheets and came all over my hands. It was the most erotic thing I had ever seen.
I kissed him in adoration of the moment he had just given to me as he rolled me on my back. He looked at me, silently asking for permission. I nodded, then he pulled my boxers and sleep pants down. I was uncomfortably hard, so when he touched me, I nearly jumped off the bed.
He laughed. "Let me worship you the way I've been dreaming about since the first night I met you."
He kissed me as his hands explored my body, teasing me with his electric touches, waking up senses I never knew I had. He looked at me again before touching my cock.
He kissed me some more and grabbed my shaft. I almost came right then and there. He kissed my neck and down my chest as he continued to stroke me. I couldn't think. So when I felt his mouth around the tip of my cock, I jerked back. I looked down as he looked up at me and I saw nothing but love. It was the most intimate moment of my life. I closed my eyes and felt him swallow me, pulling out only to slide my cock in his mouth again. He sucked and kissed and licked up and down my shaft as I felt the warmth in my belly expand.
"Jazz, I'm close," I said. I started to pull his head away; instead he took me deeper into his mouth and stroked my balls. It threw me over, and I called out his name, pulsing into his mouth. He swallowed everything I gave him and licked me clean. I had no words for what just happened. I laid back and pulled him to the crook of my arm.
We must have fallen asleep, because I woke up wrapped up beside him and knew what I needed to do. I reached for my phone and texted Fr. Carlisle.
I need more time, will talk soon – E.
A/N If you had read the earlier posted version of this chapter or the o/s on TwiSlash Unveiled, they were un-beta'ed. Thanks to the WONDERFUL and oh-so-much-smarter-than-me peeps at Project Team Beta, this is the cleaned up version.
Let me know what you think, what worked for you what didn't. Thanks for reading!