A/N: This future-take occurs about one year after the end of Ready For You, and was originally written for the Fandom Against Domestic Violence compilation. Thank you to all who donated to that cause.
As keeping with the pattern of the entire story, this starts with a drabble from Jasper, then the remainder of the tale from Edward's point of view. Also as before, the title is from a song, "The Promise" by New Found Glory.
Big thanks to my beta and BFF, theladyingrey42, who had a hell of a time getting me to use commas this time...bastards. Edward's British-isms come care of Conversed who made sure I used the words 'blokes' and 'flannels' correctly. Thank you, dearie. Also for those that don't know (including me), consultants are the attending physicians in hospitals, and are referred to as 'Mr' not 'Dr'. Learn something new every day.
As so often is the case lately, I'm alone.
Midnight has come and gone and the space next to me in our bed is still cold.
I stand and pace the small area between our bed and the closet, debating if I could leave like this. Wondering if he would even notice that I had left.
That thought brings me up short, and I tilt my head back to stare at the ceiling, breathing through the painful clenching in my chest that was becoming a daily thing.
Is this what heartbreak feels like? Is this how passion fizzles?
Is this what we've come to?
"Okay, Cullen, time to go home," comes a stern voice from behind me as a warm hand rests on my shoulder.
"I know, I know, Mr. Stuart. I'm just finishing this last chart and then I'm leaving."
I hear the doctor, my consultant, huff behind me, and I swivel my chair around to find his steady gaze locked on mine and his arms crossed in front of his chest. He raises an eyebrow at me, and I lay my pen and the chart down on the desk.
"Or I'm going right now," I state as I stand and move past him, understanding that if I don't leave I will get another of his lectures about working too hard.
He catches my arm as I pass and I pause, looking up into his concerned eyes. "It's not that I don't appreciate the effort, Edward," he begins, and I flinch at the use of my first name, preparing for the talking to I know is coming. He glances at his watch, and his eyes widen minutely before returning to mine. "It's just that it's after 4am and I know you have a shift tomorrow, too. When you have time off, I expect you to take it. Do not put my patients in danger."
I bite my tongue to keep in the excuses that are threatening to spill. I have had time off, at least a good ten hours in the last 48, which is more than most weeks. And these reports will still need to be done tomorrow.
I open my mouth to speak.
"Go home, Edward," Mr. Stuart says gently but firmly, squeezing my arm before releasing me in the direction opposite of where I was sitting. "And tell Jasper hello!" he calls as I walk down the hall toward the locker room. I wave my hand over my head and continue on my way, the reminder of what waits for me at home making me quicken my pace.
After I shower quickly and change into jeans and a t-shirt, I pull on my leather jacket before shoving some papers in my messenger bag and slinging it over my shoulder. I actually didn't intend to stay as late tonight, hoping to have some time in bed with Jasper before he had to go in to school. But, as often happens, something came up. A recurrent patient of mine was brought in by ambulance, and I felt an obligation to see that she was stabilized and to take a look over her charts.
Then again, my shift ended four hours ago.
I sigh as I step onto the train, running my hands through my hair before standing near the door and gripping onto a pole. I know if I sit, the rocking and rumbling of the train will lull me to sleep and I'll miss my stop. It's happened before.
Soon, my station comes into view, and I exit, running up the steps to the street and walking swiftly to our flat a few blocks away.
I still get chills when I remember how Jasper and I found this place not six months ago. He had asked me to move in almost a year ago, but the logistics of getting out of our leases and Maggie finding a new flatmate had slowed down the process. Not that we didn't spend every night together, but this was finally ours, our space together. The perfect distance from the hospital and the school in this quiet neighborhood still relatively close to the tube. I jump as a car blares its horn as it passes. Well, relatively quiet.
I finally make it to the building and enter, taking the narrow steps as quickly as possible to our flat on the second floor. Opening the door, I'm greeted by dark and quiet, although I suspect that Jasper is still sleeping as it is only about 5:30 now.
Entering our bedroom, I quietly remove my clothing before crawling into my side of the bed, automatically stretching out my arms for his warmth, but I find nothing.
Cold sheets and blankets twist in my arms as I fling the covers aside, confused and alarmed. I switch on the light to confirm that Jasper is gone and then look around the room, taking in the open closet, the suitcase on the floor, his notebook gone from its ever present location on the dresser.
I jump up from the bed and race to the bathroom, finding his toothbrush and all his personal effects also missing.
What the hell happened? Where the fuck did he go?
What did I do?
I know I haven't been around as much as I've hoped, but the first year of the hospital specialty training is always difficult. The next couple years will be better, I had promised him.
Yes, but didn't you also promise that your intern year would be the hardest?
I wince, realizing my nagging voice, the one that sounds so much like Alice, is right. But this is temporary, it's all temporary. And then Jasper and I will have the rest of our lives.
Not if he leaves first, the voice says again.
I stride swiftly through the flat, noticing a few other things missing: his favorite book from the armchair, his jacket and shoes.
I run through the rooms wondering what I missed, why I didn't see this coming. In my panic I almost miss the ringing of my phone, but the annoying chime finally cuts through the haze, and I race to the bed, grabbing it on the fourth ring.
I open it without looking at the caller-ID, hoping to hear the one voice I can't live without. "Hello?"
"Edward, calm down," comes the answer, the composed voice of my sister doing nothing to quash my fears. I sit heavily on the bed and sigh, bending over to rest my elbows on my knees.
"I can't, Alice. It's Jasper. He's... He's..." I can't even finish the sentence let alone the thought. What if he's truly gone?
"It's okay, Edward. He's in France for a conference, which I'm sure he told you about and put on your calendar. So, you need to calm down and breathe, Edward. Breathe," she urges, and I can feel my chest begin to expand again.
Conference. He has a conference.
"That's better. You scared me there for a moment," she continues, and I wonder again why she's calling me this early in the morning.
"How did you know I would be panicking?" I finally ask, confusion and fear still clutching at my heart.
"Well, when you didn't show this morning, I had to give Jasper a lift to the airport," she replies, as if that explains all her actions.
"Fuck!" I curse. "I was supposed to go with him!"
"Well, now that you seem to okay, I'm going to let you get some sleep." She ends the call before I have a chance to reply and I flop back onto the bed, hearing a rustle under me. Reaching behind my head I pull a folded scrap of paper with my name across it in Jasper's scrawl.
Opening it slowly, I immediately sigh in relief, reading his opening lines.
I waited as long as I could, but I couldn't miss my plane. I thought you wanted to see me off, but I know something probably came up at the hospital.
My sigh of relief becomes one of regret as I, once again, feel like I've been punched in the stomach. I could have been back in time. Glancing at the clock, I know that half an hour would have made the difference, and instead I didn't get to kiss him farewell before he went to a four day conference in France. I slam my hand on the bed next to me in frustration and growl into the empty space.
I read the rest of the note quickly as he says where he will be staying and when he will be returning. His last lines make me pause, though, my frustration returning.
Below is the schedule for the conference. If you can get away from your patients, maybe you could give me a call.
Translation: he's hoping that I can make time for him.
I am such an ass.
Leaning against the headboard, Jasper's words replay in my head over and over, what he wrote in his note and our interactions of late. We just don't have the time together that we used to have, but we've both been busy.
No, I can't use that as an excuse. I should never be too busy for Jasper.
He has proven to me time and again that nothing can separate him from me, even when the obstacles seem insurmountable. He has been the one with the first moves and the grand gestures, even moving across the bloody Atlantic to be with me. And what have I done but followed his lead at every turn, never going beyond the expected for him.
I realize I must have been sitting in the same position for hours when my thoughts are interrupted by the alarm on my phone, my last warning before I need to get ready for my next shift.
Sitting up and rubbing my eyes before stretching, I realize that I completely ignored Dr. Stuart's advice. I hope that a cold shower and some strong coffee can get me through my shift without him noticing. It's a short one, only eight hours, and then I'll have a full day off to recoup.
And think of my own grand gesture.
Somewhere around hour five of my shift, I'm desperately trying to stay focused, but caffeine doesn't seem to keep the images of Jasper away no matter how much I consume. As I'm shuffling my charts and drinking coffee number too-many-to-count, I stumble into Mr. Stuart, literally. I manage to salvage my paperwork and my caffeine, but his face almost makes me drop everything and run.
"Cullen, what's this I hear about you ordering a pelvic exam for room 403?" he immediately lays into me, and I fumble through my charts, trying to remember the case but knowing I fucked up somehow.
"The woman with the stomach cramps?" I try, my cases blurring together from my lack of sleep.
"Actually, room 403 is a very considerate gentleman by the name of Fred Tanner, and he is none too pleased with the implication that he may actually have a vagina. He is also wondering, as am I, what this has to do with the fungal infection in his foot."
"Um, I'm sorry, Mr. Stuart. I'll get right on that and fix everything," I begin, knowing I will have to review all of my orders to make sure I haven't made other errors. Luckily, none of my cases tonight have been life-threatening, but I will have to triple-check everything for the rest of my shift.
"Don't bother, Cullen, I've already put Williams on your cases. You are going home," he states firmly, crossing his arms in front of him. At some movement behind him, I see the Williams in question come around the corner, and his face morphs into one of concern when he sees me.
"I can do this, sir. I don't need to go home," I respond through gritted teeth. I just need a little more caffeine. I glance at my watch quickly. "It's only three-"
"No, Cullen," he cuts me off. By this time, Williams has joined the conversation, and Mr. Stuart nods at me before I hand the charts to my replacement.
"Don't worry, mate," Williams reassures me. "I've got this all under control."
"I had it under control," I mutter as I turn to leave, and Mr. Stuart pulls me back around.
"Cullen, I was hoping to do this privately, but you're forcing my hand. I don't know what kind of game you're playing here, but you absolutely do not have it under control. You will not endanger my patients or this hospital's standard of medical care because you are having an off day. Now, go home and get some sleep, or do whatever you need to do, to get your focus back. I expect you back here Monday for your normal shift."
"Monday? But my next shift is Saturday! Why are you sending me off for three days? What am I going to do with myself?" I can tell my voice is rising, but I can't stop myself. This hospital and my work is everything.
"I don't care what you do, but whatever is troubling you, fix it. I'm giving you three days to do so. If you have your act together by then, I may consider forgetting that you have been unfocused and insubordinate today and let you back into the urgent care. Have I made myself clear?"
I just nod, dejected and defeated, returning to the locker room and grabbing my things without even bothering to change or shower. I half-jog to the train station, just wanting to get home and forget this day ever happened. I need to talk to Jasper and...
I step on the train and collapse into a seat, knowing I won't doze off as I feel as if cold water has just been poured over my head. I need Jasper so desperately, and want him near me always.
Suddenly I have a moment of clarity, and realize I was wrong earlier. The hospital, my career, is not my life.
"Are you sure, Edward?"
"For the last time, I'm sure. Thanks to you, I have everything I could possibly need to make this work, and I'll be back in a couple days."
"This isn't like you, Edward, running off like this."
"I know," I answer, watching the concern in Alice's eyes change into something else as the edges of her eyes crinkle.
"I like it," she confides, pulling me into a tight embrace. "And I think Jasper will, too," she adds, looking up at me before stretching up to kiss me on the cheek.
"I hope so," I respond with a blush, zipping up my over-stuffed bag to avoid her stare. "My holiday fund is definitely a little worse off."
"Don't worry. I know he'll be thrilled. I can feel it," she says, patting me on the cheek before stepping back.
I lift the strap over my shoulder and look up to find Alice beaming at me and bouncing slightly on her toes. She throws herself at me and I catch her with my one arm, trying to keep my balance with the other.
"I'm so proud of you," she mumbles into my shirt, and I squeeze her tightly once more.
"Thanks, Alice, for everything," I return, patting her back awkwardly with my one hand, but her grip only tightens. "I have to leave now," I remind her as I try to pry her off of me. She holds me for another few seconds and then finally lets me go. I adjust my bag on my shoulder and mock-salute her as I walk out the door.
"Go get him, Tiger!" she calls after me and I roll my eyes at the evidence that she definitely watches too much American telly.
Sometimes I wonder how Alice and I are even related.
I board the train with only seconds to spare, climbing the few stairs as the whistle blows. I quickly find my seat, stowing my bag on the overhead rack and settling in for the two-hour ride. The familiar rolling hills of the English landscape seem to glow in the morning light but soon disappear into blackness as we enter the tunnel below the English channel.
Using the train's wifi, I check and recheck my reservations for tonight, message Alice's contacts and make sure everything is in place. Glancing at my watch, I notice I will be arriving before lunch and should have plenty of time to set everything up before five. I spend the remaining time trying to distract myself with the newspaper, but my plans and the many potential ways that it could all go wrong keep distracting me.
What if I'm too late? What if he's decided that I'm not worth all of this waiting? I would understand. Jasper is the most amazing person I have ever met, surviving so much in his life. Why would he settle for me?
I gasp aloud at the thought of him leaving me, of him not being in my life anymore. The pain in my chest eclipses all the other fears I may have. No matter how unworthy I feel of his love, I need him, and I want him in my life forever.
I take a couple of deep calming breaths and remind myself that this is what today is all about, reminding him that I love him and I always will.
When I arrive at Gare du Nord, I quickly find the car rental area and pick up my choice for the weekend. I wanted something a little classier and only had the options of a not-very-classy- economy vehicle or a BMW Z4 Roadster convertible. Really, I had no other choice but to take the Beemer.
After remembering which side of the road I need to be on, I drive quickly to my hotel, happy that the Parisian driving style fits so well with my own. When I arrive, I have just enough time to shower and change into the tailored black suit that Alice insisted I wear tonight. I struggle with the silk tie and curse my sister's incredibly expensive taste. Once I seem presentable, I stand back and look in the full-length mirror. Maybe I should give her some credit on this one.
My mobile alarm alerts me that I need to leave quickly, and I shove the remaining items I will need for tonight into my pockets and hurry out of the room. Racing through the streets of Paris, I barely have enough time to stop at the shop that Alice recommended without being late for the first part of my surprise.
After parking the car along the road in front of the L'Universite Paris Diderot building, I hope I am not too late. Placards on the front of the doors announce the Seven Year's War conference being held inside, and I suddenly feel ashamed that I didn't realize that this was why he is here. Jasper's thesis is focused on the British and French influence on the American colonial landscape and specifically deals with this war in the colonies, the French-Indian War. He is uniquely poised to work on this project, being an American in England with references in both countries. I just hadn't known how important this trip would be for him and his work.
Again, I am filled with a sense of loss, wondering how many things I have missed with my busy work schedule and spending so much extra time at the hospital. I hope that I can make it up to him and make him understand that I never meant to lose us or lose him along the way.
I sit for a few more minutes inside the car and then decide to wait outside, needing the fresh air. Standing on the passenger side of the car, I anxiously scan the people exiting the building for Jasper.
When I first see him, he is with a few other blokes, all laughing as they descend the stone steps. I am leaning back against the rented car, staring at him and willing him to see me. I am about to call out, but then one of his companions nudges Jasper in the side and points at me.
Jasper stops in midstride, and time seems to stop as his eyes meet mine. All at once, time hurtles on as he runs down the remaining steps to stop directly in front of me, his eyes wide in disbelief. As I reach up my hand to cup his cheek, he closes his eyes and leans into my touch. I push off the car to close the distance between us, our lips connecting in a intense and passionate kiss. His fingers thread into my hair as he leans into me, pressing me back against the car once more.
"Edward," he murmurs against my lips. "You're here." He stares intently up at me, and I nod once, not daring to speak yet.
Cat calls and whistles behind him make us break apart, and he glances over his shoulder without letting go of me. "Looks like I might have plans, boys," he calls to them before looking back at me with a questioning look. I just nod and his mouth forms a brilliant smile.
They continue to shout and wave their goodbyes, but neither of us acknowledge them. "What are you doing here? Don't you have to work?" he asks finally, stepping back to look me up and down, and I hope my extra effort and Alice's fashion sense are working. From the way Jasper is biting his lower lip, I think they are. "And how have I never seen you looking so delicious?"
I laugh, enjoying his reaction. "Well, I had a few unexpected nights off, and I thought I'd take you to dinner," I answer nonchalantly, and his eyes snap back to mine.
He smirks at me and leans in closer. "'Cause you just happened to be in the neighborhood?" he whispers in my ear.
"Something like that," I reply before reluctantly pulling us both away from the car so I can open the door for him. "Your chariot awaits, my love," I say with a flourish of my arm.
Jasper smiles and places a small kiss on my cheek as he settled into the car, running his hands along the plush leather seats. I close his door and practically jog around the car to the driver's side, sliding into the seat. I barely get the door closed before Jasper pulls me into a passionate kiss, our tongues sliding against each other, the warmth of his mouth causing me to groan.
"Don't think I didn't catch that part about the unexpected time off, and I want a full explanation. But, God, you look amazing, Edward," he growls as he nips along my chin, his teeth grazing my skin perfectly.
"Jasper, love," I pant, trying to break away even though I desperately don't want to, but for this perfect night to work, we need to go. I look up at his slightly disappointed face, and I kiss him on the nose before turning forward in my seat to decrease my temptation. "I have plans for us tonight, and as much as I want to just fucking ravage you right now, we have a schedule."
"Of course we do," Jasper says with a smirk. "Okay then, where to?"
"Did you bring a suit with you?" I ask, although I am prepared if he hasn't got one after my stop here at the suit rental shop. Definitely one of the advantages to having Alice help you plan something, especially an evening like this.
"No, not really," he admits, looking a little disappointed. "Just a couple jackets, but all I brought were khakis and jeans."
"Not a problem," I respond, and gesture to the trunk as I explain. "I have a suit for you already."
"Really?" he asks, his eyebrows quirking in disbelief.
"Ahh, should've known," he responds with a smile and a nod as I start the car.
We stop briefly at the hotel he's staying in so he can shower and change, and I pack a small bag of clothes for him while he is still in the bathroom. After a few curse words and a lot of banging around that makes me chuckle, he emerges looking like a model in the dark grey pinstriped suit that accentuates his long legs and lean frame. I don't hide the longing in my eyes as I look him up and down, and he turns teasingly, shifting his hips and sticking out his ass.
"You look good enough to eat, but we need to go," I say with a sigh, holding up the bag. "Is there anything else you'll need if you're not coming back here tonight?"
"And why am I not returning to my room, Dr. Cullen?" he teases, practically purring while slowly stalking towards me.
"I.. I mean..." I close my eyes so that I can finish my sentence without being distracted by the sight in front of me. "We have plans tonight. All night," I finally manage to say, opening his eyes to see a playful smirk on his face.
"Well, alright, don't tell me then. Just need to grab my toothbrush and few things, and I'll be ready."
He disappears into the bathroom once again and returns with his toiletries that he puts in the bag that I'm still holding. He leans into me and kisses me briefly, pressing all of his hard planes against me. All too soon, we have to break apart, and I try to muffle my disappointed groan in the shoulder of his jacket. He chuckles at me, and I know he knows what he does to me, but I can't be distracted. Yet.
I twine my fingers with his, bringing his knuckles to my mouth for one more taste before I open the door and we walk back to the car to begin our evening together.
First, we have dinner at Le Jules Verne, the restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, 150 meters above ground. The large glass walls allow a spectacular view of Paris, and the dark blacks and purples of the restaurant walls minimize any glare as the sunlight begins to fade. We are given a small table against the glass, and Jasper's eyes widen as he looks down at the buildings below.
"Wow, Edward. Just wow," he breathes, fogging the glass slightly.
He had practically been beside himself when I pulled up near the Tower and had the car parked by the valet for the restaurant. When he finally figured out that the restaurant was in the Eiffel Tower, he almost dragged me the rest of the way in his excitement.
He turns back to me as the waiter approaches with menus and I can't tear my eyes from Jasper as the waiter continues to drone on. I ask for a few minutes to decide, and the waiter leaves without another word. Candlelight is playing off of Jasper's blond hair as it falls in lazy waves around his face, and I reach out to tuck some of the strands behind his ear. Leaving my hand against his head, I pull him forward gently, leaning across the table for a chaste kiss. As he leans back, his eyes are still closed, and he licks his lips before opening them.
"Thank you, Edward. This is spectacular," he murmurs, reaching across the table for my hand.
"This is just the beginning," I respond, enjoying the way his face lights up at the prospect of more.
Over dinner and a bottle of fantastic red wine, we talk about our lives, catching up on all the little things that I had been missing since life became busy. As always, the conversation is easy, and I am reminded of all the reasons we got together in the first place. Even when we first met each other in Tasmania, we had no problems talking about our pasts and our fears and our hopes. We've always had an amazing connection that I can't explain but I know is there and wouldn't ever change.
Eventually, I ask him about the conference he is attending, and his face brightens for a few moments before it falls again.
"Jasper, what is it?" I ask, concerned about his sudden change of mood.
"The conference is great, actually, and I think I've made some great connections for some continued research," he starts but then looks up at me uneasily.
"But?" I prompt, hoping this isn't as bad as I fear.
"But," he stresses before averting his eyes, looking anywhere but at me. "I almost called off the whole thing when you didn't come home."
"Oh, Jasper," I start, but then he cuts me off.
"I just, well, I feel like I don't matter to you anymore," he confesses, the words hanging heavily in the air between us.
"Listen," I begin, reaching across to lift his chin gently and waiting until his eyes meet mine. "I'm so sorry, Jasper. I never meant to make you ever think that." I glance around the room at the intimate setting, the other tables and couples so close, and decide that we should move to the next venue to continue this conversation. "Can we discuss this a little later?" I ask and watch his brow furrow. Shit. "Love, I really want to talk about this, but somewhere a little more private if that's okay?" I try again, and this time he just nods slightly his gaze unwavering.
I quickly settle the bill and we walk back to the lift. I slip my hand into his and squeeze it slightly, not getting a response, but he doesn't remove his hand either. As we enter the lift, I hand the attendant a card and he nods at me before turning back to the control panel. When we begin to rise instead of descend, Jasper starts and turns to me, and I just smile hoping to show that this is part of the plan.
As we exit at the top, the attendant hands me a woolen blanket and bids us a good night. The wind is brisk at this height, and I watch it whip through Jasper's hair as I walk behind him to the railing. He stops as he notices the small bistro table with champagne and candle lanterns and a small bench with another blanket draped over it.
"You did this?" he asks, taking in the setting in front of him, but not turning to me.
"Yes," I answer, a slight nervous shake to my voice.
He face me then, a glistening around his eyes. "For me?" he whispers.
"Yes," I repeat, holding out my arms to him and silently thanking Alice for her string pulling once again. "Everything is for you, love. Always."
He walks into my arms, and I just hold him, wrapping the blanket around us both and relishing in his heat as the wind winds around us.
"Edward, why does it take Paris for you to be with me? Where have you been?" he says into my chest. "Why have you left me alone so many nights?"
"I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you or let you think that I didn't want to be there with you just as much," I murmur into his hair as I move us toward the bench. I settle us onto seat and pull Jasper as close as possible. "The last couple days have opened my eyes."
He looks up at me then, curiosity shining through the hurt in his face. "What happened?"
So, I tell him everything as he leans against me at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I tell him about my late night and how it wasn't necessary, how I had missed him by minutes, and it was entirely my fault. I recall my reaction when I saw the packed suitcases and how I physically ached to think I might have lost him forever.
"I knew at that moment that I had messed up, Jasper. More than messed up, actually. I didn't sleep at all before my next shift and most likely shouldn't have gone in. I made an error in my orders for a patient. Luckily, my mistake wasn't a big deal, but it could have been. Dr. Stuart told me to find my focus and threw me out until I did."
Jasper gasps at this, and I take a deep breath to continue. "I think I needed it, needed a push of this kind. It made me realize that while the hospital and my residency are important to me, they aren't everything. They aren't my life."
I squeeze him tightly before gently pulling his face up from my shoulder, making sure that I do not miss anything about his reaction. "You are my life, Jasper. I love you."
He gives me a small smile and presses his lips against mine once. "I love you too, Edward. But how are things going to change for me? I can't... I won't be second to your career."
"I know, and I hate that I made you feel that way," I try again, hoping my next words will make him understand. "I love you with everything that I am, and I know I can't be parted from you. You are what's most important to me from almost the moment I first saw you smile. This is my apology, my inadequate attempt to make up for all my blunders."
He smiles at me and twists to look over the brilliantly lit city below us. "Don't say it's inadequate. This is beautiful. I can't believe you did all this for me."
"Of course I did, but it in no way compares to all you've done for me. You moved across the Atlantic, leaving everything you knew and your family and friends. Setting up dinner and some champagne is easy enough," I answer, hoping he understands how much I owe him, how much I realize he sacrificed for me, for us.
"Moving here to be with you was the only reasonable option," he responds, shaking his head slightly. "I couldn't stay away, and we both know we needed more."
"But you left your home," I insist.
"My home is with you," Jasper counters, his hands reaching up to my face, one cupping my jaw while the other holds the back of my neck firmly. Our gazes lock and I can see passion and love blazing in his eyes. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Neither am I," I swear and kiss him with all the love I have for him, pulling him into me. I can feel his chest heaving with mine, our breaths mingling in our mouths. Jasper moves to straddle me, the blanket tangling around us both, but I can still feel his hard length pressing into mine as he grinds his hips forward.
I force myself to pull back, wanting to either continue our evening as I had planned or to get him naked as soon as possible, but also wanting to leave it up to him. "So, bubbles?" I ask, nodding toward the untouched bistro table. "Or should we retire for the evening?"
He smirks at me from his position on my lap, face delightfully flushed and his eyes shining. "I vote for taking the champagne with us, to wherever you want me to have my wicked way with you."
I nod and help him to stand. He grabs the blanket as I grab the champagne, and we hold hands while waiting for the lift. The attendant tries to hide his smirk as we enter, but I just smile at him, knowing that Jasper's and my intentions for the evening are clear. When the doors open, the BMW is already waiting by the valet, and I thank whoever happens to be listening that this part of the evening is going smoothly. We climb in, Jasper setting the champagne bottle on the floor before leaning across the center console to kiss me once more. I growl at him, nipping at his lips, and he laughs but sits back in his seat once more. Racing through the streets of Paris as Jasper's hand massages my thigh, I am very thankful I booked a hotel so close to the Tower and for the valet service there as well.
Handing the second valet my keys, I grab Jasper's hand and we stumble and laugh through the lobby and up the stairs to my suite. Unlocking the door with Jasper pressed against my back and mouthing the nape of my neck proves to be difficult, and I miss the lock with the key many times. Finally, the door is open and he pushes me through. I hear the distinct click of the lock seconds before I am shoved face first against the wall, Jasper's strong hand clasping both of mine above my head as his hard length presses against my ass, and his mouth is once again on my neck.
"My God, Edward. I want you so badly," he murmurs, tonguing my ear and nipping slightly.
"Need you," I whimper, pushing back against him as his other hand reaches around to grip my cock through my trousers. He releases his hold on my arms and my cock, turning me around and quickly unbuttoning the jacket, pushing it over my shoulders to fall to the ground. I move to do the same for him, and then we're both fumbling with buttons and belts, a mutual race to get as much skin exposed as possible. The entire time, mouths and fingers are exploring the revealed flesh, sucking and kissing and caressing everything they can touch.
I moan into his mouth as he lifts my leg, placing my foot on the luggage rack next to us and fitting himself perfectly between my thighs.
"Shit, Edward, I don't have anything with me," he pants into my mouth, running his hands up and down my thighs.
"Inside. Jacket pocket," I manage, as his mouth travels down my jaw. He smiles at me and drops to his knees quickly to rummage through the pile of clothes around us, finding the condom and small packet of lube I had shoved in there.
He stands, handing me the condom as he wets his fingers and teases me, circling my entrance with nimble fingers before finally pressing one inside, claiming my mouth and my sounds as he begins to stretch me, using his other hand to fist my straining cock.
"I'm so close... Too long, Jasper. It's been too long since I've felt you inside me," I acknowledge, knowing this is part of our problem.
"I know, baby. But we're going to fix that right now."
He grabs the condom from my hand, sheathing and lubricating himself quickly. Suddenly, with strength hidden in his lean frame, he lifts me against the wall, pinning my hands with his as his arms and legs support my weight. My gasp turns into a grunt as he slams his torso into mine and attacks my mouth. He shifts his hips, aligning us perfectly before relaxing slightly, lowering me slowly onto him, the stretch and burn both welcome. He presses further, his hips hitting my ass and then he pauses, both of us panting with the effort.
"Fuck, Edward. You feel so tight, so perfect," he murmurs, shifting to another angle before thrusting inside of me once again. He releases my hands and I hold onto his shoulders, leaning against the wall for more support and wrapping my legs around his. He grabs my hips, thrusting hard and fast, both of us knowing we won't last long. At least not this round.
My words are reduced to unintelligible mutterings as I feel my groin tightening, my legs starting to shake and my toes curling. I arch my back off the wall as my orgasm rips through me, my mouth open in a silent scream.
"God, you are... so beautiful," Jasper groans, increasing his pace as he chases his own release. I come back to my senses just in time to see his eyes widen and then scrunch closed. His hips thrust once more, and I can feel him pulsing inside of me, sending new shivers through my already sensitive body.
As soon as he opens his eyes, his legs give out, and we fall on top of our clothes, laughing and sighing.
"I think I broke the record," he says, brushing the hair from my eyes as we lie there, waiting for our breathing to regulate and our muscles to function.
"What do you mean?" I ask, knowing that it's definitely not my stamina that broke any records.
"We barely made it two feet into the room this time. That has to be some kind of shortest distance record or something," he explains, kissing me softly and pulling me against him. The cooling come on our chests sticks between us, and Jasper pulls away quickly, looking apologetic.
"Stay here, I'll be right back." He stands quickly, removing the condom on the way to the bathroom and returning moments later with a warm flannel that he uses to wipe away the mess.
He helps me stand, and we fall into the bed together, exhaustion weighing heavily on my limbs. After lost sleep and planning and the excitement of tonight, I curl against Jasper's skin, feeling his lips press against my forehead and hearing a whispered command to sleep before I'm drifting into darkness.
I wake to a still dark room and warm Jasper draped across me, his head on my shoulder. Wrapping my arms around him, I pull him closer to press a kiss against his hair, inhaling the fresh, clean scent that is all him.
His breath hitches and he stretches against me before placing a wet kiss against my throat and mumbling something.
"It's still dark, baby. Go back to sleep," I murmur, squeezing him a little tighter and feeling him snuggle closer.
"Don't leave me, Edward," he mumbles, the words almost too quiet for me to hear.
My heart aches with his sleep-filled worries, and I kiss him again softly on his head. "I'm not going anywhere, love."
His breathing evens out quickly, but sleep seems to have evaded me completely. I stare at the ceiling, wondering how to ease Jasper's unconscious fears, how to make him certain of me, of us. My gesture was grand, but it's a one-time event, and he needs reassurance for every day. While I bask in his warmth and relish in the feel of his body next to mine, so relaxed and comfortable and safe, I watch the room lighten with the coming morning.
Soon, he will have to return to the conference, and I will return to London. And I will start setting my priorities aright. Home no later than an hour after my shift and completing my extra studying at home to make sure I can see him as much as feasible. I want to say that I can see him every day, but my 30 hour shifts would make that impossible.
Jasper stirs again, shifting against me, and soon his mouth is leaving a warm trail of kisses across my neck and jaw. He shifts his leg, half-straddling me, pressing his arousal against mine, the smooth heat matched by my own.
"Jasper," I whisper, running my fingers through his hair as he continues to lick and kiss me, rolling his hips slightly against mine.
"Morning, sunshine," he says, finally moving so I can see his face and kiss him properly. Our mouths continue to claim each other, our tongues slick against one another. Reaching down, I dig my fingers into his ass, pulling him roughly against me, increasing the pressure and the pleasure. He grunts and rolls his hips again and again, and I can feel my orgasm already approaching.
I shift him to a slightly better angle and then lift my hips into his, increasing the friction between us exponentially.
"Fuck, babe," he gasps before his rhythm stutters and he tenses, his length pulsing against mine. The feel of his orgasm hitting my stomach sends me over the edge as well, and I growl into his shoulder as my come mixes with his.
He collapses on top of me, and I hold him close, kissing him languidly. Soon he pulls away, offering his hand to help me up so we can shower and clean off the mess we've made of each other. Our shower is fairly chaste, some kissing, but I enjoy cleaning Jasper, caring for the man that I love.
After our shower, we wrap ourselves in the luxuriant robes and order room service. I decide to wait for the food to arrive before I begin talking, not wanting to be interrupted once we start. As the deliverer exits the room, I bring the food over to the bed, and we sit on the edge, nibbling on the assortment of foods that we ordered.
"Jasper," I begin, but then I am at a loss for words, knowing that these may be some of the most important ones I ever say. "I'm horrible at this," I confess.
"Whatever you need to say, Edward, just say it," he responds in a soft, encouraging voice. He grabs my hand in his and gives it a squeeze as he turns and gives me his full attention.
"I know we talked a little last night, but I want to make sure you know that my commitment to you and to change won't stop once we get back to London. This isn't just one date with nothing to follow."
"Don't say anything you can't back up, Edward," he responds warily. "I know how busy you are and you'll still have the same schedule when you return."
"Yes, I'll have the same schedule, but I will change what I do with my time around my scheduled shifts. I want to spend it with you."
"Can you promise that to me?" he asks, his voice rising and his hand tensing in mine. "No after-hours emergencies? No late-night study groups? No last minute surgeries?"
I nod, knowing that this is the biggest fear he has, that I will once again place everything ahead of him. I also realize that my word about how much time I will spend away from him hasn't meant much in the past. "I can't promise that I'll have normal hours or that I'll see you every day. You know my schedule won't permit that. But I can study at home, and if my paperwork is done, I can leave the hospital at any time after my shift is done."
I move closer, wrapping both his hands in mine. "I know that I've been taking advantage of you, that I've been putting more of my spare time into my work and studies than is reasonable. Dr. Stuart basically instructed me to find my focus or to find a new job, and I know my focus is you. Without you, I'm lost and I cannot do my best by my patients or myself. I love you and I need you, Jasper. And I promise you I will never forget that again."
"That's all I've wanted to hear, Edward. I just didn't want you to leave me behind."
"I could never. I want to spend time with you, and I'm going to find ways to do it more often."
I pull him into me, kissing him thoroughly and reveling in the taste of syrup and orange on his tongue. Our mouths slow, and we gaze at each other for long moments before I bring my hand to his cheek, running my fingers through the stubble there.
"In fact, I'll pick you up from the airport when you return."
"Really?" he asks, his eyes filled with hope.
"I promise," I respond, knowing that this is just the beginning of many vows I will make, and keep, for this man.