I am overwhelmed by the love and support I have gotten for this story. It means so much to me that you all, who have read, reviewed, and placed on alert this story, have been touched by it in such a way! That fact that I brought some of you to tears, is so hummbeling and I am forever greatful! This next chapter took me quiet awhile to finish. I wanted to convey the same emotion's as the frist but with more happiness and closure. I'm not sure if it is as good, but I certainly tried!
This Story is dedicated to three people who have made an impact on my writing and my heart.
MistyHaze is an amazing writer and friend. She has given me so much inspiration, held long Facebook conversations into the night, and indulges me in my love for Geekward and Ghettosper!
Tina, you are such a sweetheart! I love helping you discover new words and hearing about your life! You have such a bright future!
And lastly this is dedicated to Alex and Mike. Both were young gay men only 18 years old. They had met in highschool at 15 and had been together for 3 years. The tragicly Alex got into a car accident, and died instantly. Mike was never the same. He might have been ok had his family not kicked him out of his house for being gay. This past month he couldnt take it anymore and hung himself. His parting letter simply read I'm sorry for having to go. I'm not sorry for being gay. I'm with my Sam now. This tragic story is sadly too common, and I hope more than anything it will never happen again.
So Alex and Mike, this is for you guys!
He had been walking for such a long time it seemed. Hours…days…weeks…months…years.
Time had faded into a blur of faces, of towns and cities. Of forests and hills and lakes.
Jasper wasn't sure how long it was he'd been searching for Edward. A heart doesn't keep time, nor did it measure distance. It simply knew it had someplace to go, and someone to be with.
A deep wood surrounded him now. Its foliage encased him, in greens and browns sunlight piercing through the leaves, sparkling in the morning. It looked so dense and untouched by man.
It was certainly beautiful though. If Edward would be in any place it would be one like this. A realm of quiet splendor and wonder which only those of true goodness would get to inhabit. Was this place the end of his journey? Jasper could only hope so…after the war he had been looking for Edward for such a long time, searching with his eyes and heart to find his missing half. It felt as if he had been trudging through a lifetime to get to him.
Something inside told him that this was the end. That here and now just a little further in was his destination.
Breathing deeply Jasper hiked his way through the brush.
The sunlight blinded him for a moment and he blinked rapidly at the shadowed form that stood calmly a few feet away. His eyes adjusted and all breath left his lips.
He looked exactly as he remembered him. Tall and lean, red hair a peculiar mess, his eyes more brilliant than the surrounding flora. Those lips, those soft lips smiled in an affectionate welcome that made him feel warmth dip down his spine. It was as if they never had parted, as if the world hadn't kept them apart.
What did one say after such a long time? After the way they had left one another?
Edward, never at a loss for words, smirked said softly, "You've kept me waiting a long time Jasper Whitlock."
His voice still made him weak. Jasper smiled back and ever the gentleman nodded his head, "My apologies sir."
Edwards's chuckle filled the clearing, musical as if the tinkling of piano keys made up his voice box. He wanted to make him laugh like that for forever.
They stared at one another for the longest time…soaking the other in.
"You've come to stay right?" it was a whisper on Edwards's voice. Jasper could almost detect a hint of fear…as if he would refuse now.
"Why wouldn't I?" he answered. Edward took a few steps toward him shaking his head.
"You have every right to not stay. After all I gave you no reason to the first time…"
Jasper smirked sadly, "Yes, if I remember correctly it was ME asking if you would stay...begging you to at least give it a chance…" He looked down and sighed.
"I was such a fool Edward. I was asking you to do something, be someone that I wasn't even ready to be myself. Where would we have gone? What would we have told people? A life together…no matter how much we wanted it was impossible."
He expected Edward to agree with him. After all it was his justification. What he didn't expect was for the look of frustration and fury that stole over his handsome face.
"You think I was right? After all this time you believe that after everything we faced that eve, in that tent while the world around us crumbled into death from a war that robbed so many, that we were wrong?" He took a deep breath as if calming himself. "You know what I thought every day since that moment Jasper? I regretted nothing that happened but the choice I made, to not find out where our life could have gone. I loath that I turned my back one the first time I ever felt alive," Edwards hands crept outwards as he spoke. Jasper could feel their heat and he sighed softly as they wrapped around his shoulders. That calloused touch still sent him reeling and made his passionate words all the more powerful. It felt good, even as he shook him slightly.
"You were so courageous to want to face this, Jasper. You were willing to explore and try and just see where it led. Men of our time have always foraged there own paths… going against the will of propriety, and the stand of tradition. Perhaps it was a new journey presented to us, to pioneer a way for others. I failed once but now that I have a second chance…not again Jasper not again…"
Edward took a deep breath and looked him straight in the eye, green clashing with blue.
The air left his lungs…
His heart stopped beating…
"I waited too long to tell you this I…" But Jasper held a finger to his lips halting his words.
"I know." His smile was glorious. "I read your letter."
Edward's head tilted to the side. "Then you know. You know everything."
Exhaling deeply Jasper reached his own fingers up, cupping either of his checks. He looked into the face of a man who had tormented him for far too long.
"I think I always knew Edward. I doubted for so long that you even held any sort of affection for me, but even now…looking back I believe that that belief was born out of the necessity to bury any regret at a life lost…a love lost." He smoothed his hands over the red locks. "But I hope YOU knew Edward that I wanted nothing more than every day every hour to hold you…hear your voice…"
A blush fell over his checks and he whispered timidly, "To kiss the one I loved."
Edwards's soft laughter filled him with warmth. "I wanted to kiss the one I loved too." He grinned, "God we sound like such women."
Jasper chuckled, "Do you really care?"
This time Edward stepped closer to him his face inches from the other man. This was it…the moment that both had been waiting for…
"No." he answered and his lips ghosted over Jaspers in the lightest of touches. A tease…a test.
Jasper ran his finger tips over the stubbly jaw mesmerized by the soul of this man. He eyes grew heavy and his breathing labored…it felt as if life was leaving his lungs replaced by nothing but Edward.
"I love you for always Edward Cullen."
Edward smiled and finally breached the small space between them.
"And I love you too for always Jasper Whitlock."
And they sealed their vows with a kiss.
The wind whipped Bella's long skirt about her legs as she trudged through the sea of monolithic stones. She cut quiet an image amongst all the green and gray. Small and clothed in black a look of fierce determination stamped on her young face. And a box, a small cedar box was cradled in her arms.
The mound of freshly turned earth ahead was her destination. There was no rock marker as of yet, the ground being too soft to place a headstone for its occupant. Only a simple wooden cross with the name "Whitlock" burned into it adorned the head of the dirt pile.
Even though it was only temporary, Bella couldn't help but think this was such a sad memoriam for the man who lay sleeping beneath. For the short time she had known him, Jasper Whitlock had made an impression on her heart and mind. It was the reason she had come today…to perform a finale duty.
In her heart he deserved something grand to let the world know of his recent passing.
As she approached the burial, Bella felt a lumping sadness taking hold. An odd choking sensation. It was such a strange thing to feel pain and loss for a man who had never existed to her before a week ago. What was the etiquette for morning the death of your father's secret estranged lover…who was a man? Emily Post hardly gave instructions for such an event.
So as her father had always taught her…go with your heart. Its how she had made most of the decisions in her life so far. She even remembered when he had told her that bit of advice. 4 years ago, one evening she had just informed her horrified mother and silent father that she was going to be marrying Jacob Black… a poor mechanic for the new Ford Automobiles and worse than that…an Indian. Her mother had been unreachable and had firmly told Bella that if she went ahead and married this Savage, that she would not stand for such an unnatural union. The pain she had felt in that moment had been consuming. She loved Jacob. Loved him with all her soul. Never once had the color of his skin been anything to her. How could she explain to her furious mother that the heart did not see such outward details? She couldn't. The prejudice had been too engrained, societies hate too deep for Rosalie to ever see her daughters love of this man as anything but abnormal.
Yet, just as she was about to leave, hanging her head in hurt, her father, who had been silent up until this moment spoke up. He told her to wait, told his wife to be silent and stood. Bella as long as she lived would never forget the look Edward gave her. The fire, the conviction that danced in his eyes, the firmness of his voice made the hairs on her arms stand on end.
"Do not make the mistake Bella of not following your heart. No matter what society tells you, or those close to you say…even if the whole of the world, which has so often been proven wrong before, believes you are crazy. If you love him, if he loves you…then all else will fall into place, and you will be happy. But follow you heart Bella and love him. Don't be afraid."
She was married 3 months later. And her mother never spoke another word on the matter.
Now knowing what she did, Bella wondered exactly who her father had been speaking to at that time. Was it her? Or a ghost from long ago?
The dirt was cool on her knees as she knelt next to the grave, and she heaved a sigh. It had certainly been a trying week. The next day after her visit to the rest home, Bella had gone back to say goodbye to Jasper. But instead she found an empty room and a quiet nurse who said that sadly Mr. Whitlock had passed in his sleep that morning.
Bella had supposed that a heart free of burdens needed its rest.
Later that afternoon, as she sat on the veranda of the hotel, her tea chilling in the autumn breeze, a sudden idea struck her. It had come when she had been pondering a way to honor her father and Mr. Whitlock in their deaths. Since this world wouldn't allow it in their existence, ever the romantic type, Bella wanted a way for them to be able to psychically spend eternity together.
Which was what brought her here this day.
Her father had insisted on not being buried in the ground while whole. Edward had always stated that he wanted a piece of himself sitting in the place he loved most. She had thought his piano would be a perfect spot.
So after he had died, Bella had cremated his remains and had his ashes enclosed in his favorite cedar cigar box. For two months now it had perched lonely and forlorn on the closed piano that would never make music again. However, even though it had seemed like a wonderful idea at the time, Bella had gotten a feeling every time she passed her fathers remains that something wasn't right. Even then, it had looked strange and out of place.
Now she knew why.
Her father was meant to rest with the thing he loved most. But it wasn't a thing: it was a person.
"Is this it?" Her husband called from behind her. She turned and nodded watching Jacob cross the lawn, small shovel in hand.
He stopped at her side and stared around at the scenery before silently sticking his spade in the ground next to the gravestone. Bella smiled at her husband. He was such a good man, hadn't even complained when she had wired for him to come 4 states away with her fathers ashes to burry him with his estranged lover. He never said she was crazy, or thought the whole ordeal was disgusting or foolish. He just serenely followed her wishes.
"You are so good to me Jacob Black." Bella said aloud. He paused in his digging and turned to her with a sweet smile.
"You're my Bells. I would do anything for you."
"No, it's just…this whole thing Jake. Most men would have either run screaming or dragged me back home and told me never to think of this again. You've put up with so much these past few weeks…I just want you to know how much I love you and appreciate it."
Dropping his shovel, Jacob walked over to her and put his arms around his wife.
"Bella, I'm not JUST doing this for you," he looked down at the box that contained her fathers remains. "Your father…He was a good man. He was the only one who fought for us to be together, when everyone else thought we were crazy. He looked at me as a human being, never seeing my skin color or my race. He treated me with respect and wanted me to be with the person who I loved more than life itself. After all that he did to make that happen, the least I could do was give him the same honor."
Bella kissed him at that and they stayed still for a moment listening to the breeze and calmness of the afternoon. After a beat, she pulled away and retrieved the box.
Bending down she ran her hands over its carved wooden surface. How many times her father had touched this lid? She could still feel his presence even now. His love, his laughter, his smile. She would have to say goodbye now but he would always be with her. Now it was time for her father to rest in peace. For him to be with the other half of his soul. Though on her mothers tombstone there was Edward Cullen's name his spirit did not belong there.
Gingerly Bella lowered the box into the earth, and then on the top of the container she placed the piece of paper that had set these two hearts free. It was their letter and it belonged with them. Slowly she moved the dirt back overtop of the hole, sealing it from the world above. After all was patted in place, Bella stood and wiped her dirty hands absently on her skirt, then trailed them over the face of the wooden cross
"He's with you now Jasper…" She whispered, smiling. "Take good care of him."
With one final prayer, Bella linked arms with her husband and turned back towards the entrance.
Please read and review! I have one more possible chapter on the burner so if your interested let me know! Love you all!