Disclaimer: Stephenie is the queen of all things Twilight. I only own this little plot.
Thanks so much for your lovely reviews. It means a lot after having not posted for a long while. I'll try and be better! Note: There are probably 3-5 chapters left then the Clete and Ed Senior saga…Springsteen, Madonna, way before Nirvana…
No more than an hour must have passed before I was startled awake by the insistent shriek of my phone. I fumbled for it on the nightstand to check who was calling at this hour. It was Ed Senior. I sat up abruptly as did Jasper and answered. Dad rattled on for a minute until I was wide awake; stunned at his words.
"Say it again Dad so Jasper can hear."
Edward hit the speaker button. Ed Senior's voice blared uncomfortably loud into the early morning but his words were the sweetest sound I'd heard in a while.
"I heard unofficially from the court that that Newton and his cohorts are going to plead to felony battery." I couldn't resist breaking out into a full grin. Edward and I smiled at each other. I resisted the urge to grab him and bounce on the bed like a teenage girl.
The sense of relief that flooded me put into perspective the intense struggle I'd undergone to come to terms with the attack. I still bore the bruises and tenderness on my ribs as well as my psyche.
To think I nearly walked away from Edward. He represents everything good that has happened to me in recent months and yet I was still so fearful I almost let him go and gave in to the insistent pressures of Rosalie and Alice. It would have been easier in many ways to give up, much less stress but oh, the heartache I would have caused. Edward would have let me go, I see clearly, because he cares that much for me. He would have lived with a broken heart to keep me happy.
So my relief is not only that the assault case will end and that I won't have to testify and I still have my man, this gorgeous creature sitting next to me in our bed…naked…on the phone…
"The plea deal means that the defendants won't spend much time in jail, Mike especially as a first time offender. We still have the option to go forward with the case if you feel strongly about going for a tougher sentence." Ed Senior droned on.
"No, I want to agree to the plea deal. I want this over and behind us." I leaned into Edward holding onto his hand as we talked. Our connection was strong but I needed his touch.
"We'll make sure that the terms of his probation all parties, in fact, include an order to stay far from you and your loved ones. It's just an added security for you, Jasper."
"Thanks, Ed." I shouted towards the phone. I flopped back on the bed, wide awake and exhilarated feeling freer than I had in a while. Edward ended the call and lay on me pressing our bodies close. I circled my arms around his neck and drew him to me giving him soft lingering kisses unable to stop smiling at the same time.
"I'm happy Sethie, maybe we can finally leave this thing behind us."
"Sleep, baby." He murmured into my shoulder snapping the light off. Shortly, we drifted off once again.
The hiss of the shower was the first sound that broke through my consciousness as I awoke. Edward was up and it was still fairly early. I pushed the comforter aside and arose slightly confused. Was it a weekday? I had lost all sense of time being out of the office since my attack.
I picked up a pair of discarded sleep pants tugging them on pondering why I suddenly felt so unsettled.
Work beckoned to me for certain. I'm sure a full slate of cases awaited my return. My stomach churned at the thought. Was I ready to return? Did I want to? What would Edward want me to do?
Of course knowing him he'd never push me to return if I really wasn't ready to face the day-to-day pressures of the office.
I brushed the hair off my face roughly not liking the unsettled feeling that tugged at me.
The shower shut off and I just stood there staring at the bathroom door unable to move.
A light puff of steam emanated from the bathroom preceding Edward clad only in a towel shoulders glinting from the water droplets that clung to him like little diamonds.
He pulled the towel off to dry his hair revealing his exquisite form to me unaware at first that I stood in the middle of the room frozen with anxiety. His eyes finally caught mine. He let the towel drop from his hand and moved quickly to my side.
"What's the matter Jasper?" His shower-warmed body enveloped me and long graceful fingers caressed my cheek, as I feared I might break down. Edward pulled me towards the bed and I sat heavily rubbing at my eyes trying to clear my head. He crouched before me cradling my face forcing me to meet his eyes. I began to cry unable to hold back the torrent of emotion. It was as if I was watching myself cry but I couldn't stop it. I could see Edward was frantic with worry but I couldn't stop. I felt so out of control.
Edward pulled me close. I sunk into his lap and he held me tight not questioning my actions, just rocking me and whispering comforting words as I fell apart. I'm not sure how long I continued this way, no more than minutes I suppose but I slowly felt the tears ebb and a sense of heavy calm pervade my senses. I could easily have drifted off to sleep again were it not for Edward.
"Baby, talk to me." His worried velvet voice purred.
What do I say? I had no idea why I had reacted so strongly to the thought of returning to a job that up to now I loved. The stress released by the plea deal seemed to be a valve opening all sorts of other feelings.
"I...I'm not sure I want to go back to Cullen. I don't think I want that any more." This revelation surprised me as much as Edward.
"You don't have to go back Jasper, you never have to work there again if it will make you happy but please tell me you still want us." He was pleading. Oh I scared him, how could I be so careless. That is not okay. We both sank down on the carpet still entwined.
"The one thing I know for sure is that I want us. It's what is keeping me sane. I'm not sure why I became so emotional probably just the confluence of events. I love you Edward. You have no idea how much." We curled into each other holding on as we let the waves of emotion recede.
After a while Edward spoke.
"Have you given any thought to what you might want to do?" In reality I hadn't. All of this was spontaneous but necessary.
"Not in any detail." I pondered for a moment. "I like the idea of opening a legal aid clinic, you know, helping people in my situation but without the resources to fight back."
"Whatever you decide is fine with me as long as we're together." Edward kissed my sorry looking face and laughed at my grimace before growing serious.
"I love you Jasper. You are everything to me."
His utter confidence in me was inspiring. While I hadn't given the idea a full vetting the more I thought about it the better it sounded.
"I could probably rent a small office to start." I could feel my enthusiasm growing.
"That's the spirit!" Edward chucked me under the chin then rose up and pulled me to my feet.
"I, on the other hand still have a strong affinity for Cullen & Cullen and need to get my ass to the office." With that sweeping declaration he disappeared into his closet to pick his clothes for the day. Once he emerged he set about getting ready for the day. As ever, he was a vision in a suit. Here I stood by comparison bare-chested in only a pair of black sleep pants. My hair was a tangled mess. Despite that Edward gripped a handful and pulled me close.
His fingers drifted over my chest and he gave my nipple a quick tweak setting my core on fire. He then layed one hell of a kiss on me, leaving me breathless.
"See you tonight baby." He was off with a wink and a swagger. I couldn't help but laugh at his silly happiness, waving him off to his day.
Therapy. Edward hadn't mentioned it in a while. I clearly was still reacting to the trauma from the attack and it dawned on me that if I didn't deal with how it has affected my daily life and Edward's as well it could damage our relationship. I peered out the window watching my lover depart. I would be better for us, for me.
I sat hunched in front of my laptop considering the reality of opening my own law office. I was excited by the thought. In many ways I was better suited as a sole practitioner given my independent nature.
First, though was how to break the news to the firm that I would not be returning. Edward would leave that to me. In the office we were professional colleagues, nothing more despite the well-known fact that we were seeing each other. This was business not personal.
Given my reputation as a litigator I'm sure Ed Senior and Carlisle would not be pleased given the effort they put forth to entice me from Texas. Damn, I felt guilty! They provided me the opportunity that freed me from the shackles of my old firm and my past with Peter. How do I leave without seeming ungrateful?
I had money to start up on my own, tons of it. That was not an issue. Key to moving forward was to leave the firm on a high note reputation intact. The repercussions of the assault surely reverberated through the firm. Certainly there were those who would welcome my departure.
I realized the only way for me to leave on my terms was to return to Cullen & Cullen and resume my duties for the time being. Edward should also be protected from any fall out of any implied connection between my departure and the assault. I could then formulate my long-term plan to open an advocacy practice.
Emotionally I was shaky following the attack that was certain. I committed to Edward that I would seek counseling and I would. Despite that now that I had made a decision I was convinced I could do this for a little while. I was strong enough to return to work. Determined, I picked up the phone and dialed Carlisle.
"Carlisle Cullen speaking."
"Good afternoon Carlisle it's Jasper." I heard him clear his throat in surprise. His chair squeaked presumably as he sat up.
"I heard the good news from Ed Senior. You won't have to testify. I'm sure that's a relief." His tone was odd, hesitant.
"I'm glad to get it behind me as well. I also wanted to let you know I'll be returning to the office full time next week."
"Good to know…good to know. Say Jasper on another subject Esme is having family dinner this Sunday and she is anxious for Edward to join us once again. Can you boys make it a point to be there?"
I was taken aback by his direct comment. I was tired of their manipulations but I knew that Edward had to mend fences with his mother to move forward.
"I'll mention it to Edward and he'll get back to you. It will be his decision."
"Okay then Jasper, I suppose that's all that can be done. In any case, I look forward to having you back at the firm next week. Goodbye."
I ended the call thinking about how Edward would react to Carlisle's request. Edward does not like being pressured not that I can blame him having observed how not only his family, mine also had great designs on how he should live his life and with whom.
Once Edward came out and declared himself some of those selfish souls could not accept his choice and to this day continue to cause him grief.
Edward has surprised me with his strength of character. He chose me and has not looked back. Tonight after he's had a chance to relax we'll discuss dinner with his mother and Carlisle. It will be on his terms not theirs.
I thought about my return to the firm. After this morning's mini-meltdown I'm sure he will have questions. As always true to his nature he won't think about the impact to himself just how I will fare. Once I explain my reasoning I hope he'll understand.
While I enjoyed to time to recover from the assault, as I healed I became increasingly anxious to resume a higher level of activity. Honestly today I for the first time felt like a housewife sending his husband off to work! Given that, I should focus on something for dinner no, I am not going to cook but my man needs to be fed!
I checked the clock and it was just after 3:00 in the afternoon. I hadn't heard from Edward all day, likely he was tied up and knowing what it was like at the firm I certainly wasn't going to annoy him with needy calls. I did however want to welcome him home warmly. We had a lot to discuss tonight.
I am posting this now because I don't want to take so freakishly long to post! Next up Edward and Jasper's conversation and dinner with the folks.