Title: Unconditional

Rating: M

PostSecret Used: I want you to want to hang out with me at 1 PM, not 1 AM.

Summary: After running away from an abusive relationship, Edward has difficulty accepting Jasper's unconditional love.

PostSecret concept created by Frank Warren. Recognizable characters and story elements are the property of Stephenie Meyer•

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My phone beeps, waking me out of a dreamless sleep. I don't need to look at the now glowing screen to know who it is. Rubbing my eyes, I blindly reach for the phone and grab it off the nightstand.

Can I come over?

I type out a short reply before getting up and trudging to the bathroom to brush my teeth. There's no point in changing out of my boxers, we'll just end up back in bed anyway. That's where he always wants to go

We've been seeing each other for a few months and things have been progressing more slowly than what I'm used to. This whole situation is foreign for me and sometimes I wish it were easier. Sometimes I wish I had met him before the bastard who broke him.

But my mama always said that anything you want won't come easy, and I've never wanted anyone or anything more than I want him. He's it for me and I wouldn't change a damn thing about him, no matter how hard shit may get.

I'd go through it a hundred times if I got to hear that cute-ass snort when he laughs too hard, or see the way his eyes sparkle when he smiles that wide, goofy smile.

I just wanted to make him happy... and the fact that I couldn't always do that made me feel pretty damn helpless.

There's a soft knock on my door and he's staring at the ground when I open it. "I'm sorry." His voice is low, almost a whisper.

"You know it's okay. I want you here."

"I just—I didn't want to wake you. I'm sorry."

I grab his hand and gently pull him into my house. "Stop apologizing."

"Sorry."

He smiles halfheartedly when I give him a playfully annoyed look. "Sorry. I mean... well... sorry for saying 'sorry,' I guess."

Always apologizing, always sorry when he had no need to be.

I grin and lift his chin with my fingers, slowly pressing my lips to his. He pulls away after a few seconds. Always pulling away.

It hurts every time, but I've learned to mask that. "There's no reason to be sorry, okay? I don't mind getting up for you. Any time is fine. Any time, got it?"

He nods and shoves his hands into his pockets. "Can we go to bed? I mean, if you don't mind."

"Whatever you want."

We walk to the back to my room and I lie in bed, covering my eyes while he strips out of his clothes. He doesn't like to be looked at, even though he always keeps a tee shirt and boxers on.

When I feel the bed shift, I turn on my side and wrap an arm around him, immediately rubbing my nose into the soft hairs on his neck.

He always smells so good.

I let my fingers travel a little, slowly tracing over the lines of his stomach. "You're beautiful, you know that?"

His back stiffens against my front. "Don't say that. Please."

I kiss his shoulder, breathe him in.

"I can't help how I feel, Edward."

"Just... don't." His voice is shaky. "Please, don't."

"Okay."

I relent. I agree to stop because he might leave if I don't. He can't deal with compliments— doesn't believe them.

Maybe before that bastard he did. But now...

Now it's constant apologies and shame and guilt.

Shame for who he is, that he can do nothing about it, that he's too weak to fight it or openly admit it.

He's told me bits and pieces of his past, always reluctant to reveal too much, afraid I'd look at him differently.

Nothing could make me see him for anything other than what he is: beautiful.

Nothing can change that.

As his breathing slowly deepens, I open my eyes and take him in. He never likes when I stare at him for too long, but I always look when he's asleep.

I smile when I notice that his hair is more wild than usual, the defiant strands shooting in every possible direction. I want to kiss each of the tiny moles sprinkled around the nape of his neck. I want to caress his stubbled jaw and kiss him the way he deserves to be kissed.

My chest constricts as I pull him tighter against me.

He doesn't deserve what happened to him. He was too good for that bastard. Hell, he's too good for me.

"Edward?"

He doesn't answer, his chest expanding with each deep breath he takes. He always falls asleep fast—at least he does when he's with me. It makes me feel good... that he can relax so completely and trust me enough to fall asleep in my arms.

Even though it doesn't feel like it at times, we've come a long way, but we still have a helluva long way to go. Sometimes I fear that he'll never fully heal. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

"I love you."

I always tell him how I feel after he's fallen asleep, hoping that his subconscious will somehow absorb and accept my words of affection.

"What?" He sits up and faces me, eyes wide and manic. "What did you say?"

"I—" I start to apologize, my own eyes matching his because I didn't know that he'd hear me. But I'm not sorry. Not sorry for being with him. Not sorry for loving him. So I sit up and look him in the eye. "I said I love you."

"No." He looks horrified and jumps off the bed, reaching for his clothes. "No. No, don't say that. Please. I can't..."

I follow after him, grab his trembling hands, taking them in mine. "Don't run from me, Edward. Please stay. You need to hear these things. You need to believe them. I'm in love with you. Nothing will change that."

He tries to break free of my grasp but I don't let him go. I can't.

"You're everything to me."

His body is shaking violently and I pull him into my arms. "I'm not him." I'm murmuring into his hair, my fingers desperately clinging to his shirt. "I never will be him. I'll never hurt you, Edward. Never."

"I can't—"

"I'm here. I'm staying."

He struggles against me, trying to pull away. "Please. I need to go. Please."

I pull him closer, wishing I could breathe him in and consume him. "I can't take your leaving again, Edward. It kills me. I want you to wanna hang out with me at one p.m. not one a.m. I want you to wanna be with me the way I wanna be with you. But that'll take time and I know that. I'll wait, Edward, for however long it takes."

He pulls his face away from my shoulder and looks at me with anguished eyes. "I can't... I'm not worth it. Can't you see that? Why can't you see that I'm nothing?"

My hand lifts to his face, fingers caressing the soft skin of his cheeks. "You're everything."

His lips tremble a little, eyes dropping to the floor. "What do you want from me?"

"All I want is for you to let me love you, Edward. And I want you to love me."

Eyes meet mine, wide and watery. "I—I don't know how."

"You'll learn."

He takes a shaky breath and lays his head on my shoulder. "I'm so—"

"Don't. No more apologies, okay?"

He doesn't answer, just nods against me as we hold each other in the dim bedroom.

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He's gotten better. I know he's really trying and I tell him how proud I am of him for everything he's been through and everything he's overcome.

He's shared more of his past and it helped piece together why he's so ashamed of who he is. What that bastard did to him, said to him. It makes me fuckin' sick, thinking about the years of pain Edward endured at the hands of that bastard.

That day, I swore on everything holy that I would kill the son of a bitch if I ever caught sight of him. And there would be no hesitation.

Edward comes over earlier now, it isn't always in the middle of the night, and that's progress. He's come such a long way.

"Jasper?" He turns over in my arms, faces me and tangles up the sheets a little.

"Yeah?"

He's so beautiful. I can never tire of looking at him.

His fingers find mine, twisting them together. The fact that he made the first move to touch me makes my heart swell.

"Teach me."

"What do you mean?" I tighten my fingers around his, silently encouraging him to explain.

"Teach me how to love."

I'm speechless. Words are jumbled together in my brain, but they won't come out. I'm overwhelmed with... everything.

Instead of responding, I cup his face in my hand, my thumb grazing the pinkening apple of his cheek, and I slowly inch toward him.

His chest is heaving and when our lips touch, he doesn't pull away. I hope he never does again. I kiss him the way I've always wanted to kiss him and he kisses me back, hesitantly placing a hand on my waist.

I unhurriedly make my way to his jaw, his neck, his shoulder, placing lingering kisses on each inch of skin that I can see, basking in his scent, his taste, his feel.

My hands lift his shirt, ghosting over the exposed and trembling skin. "You're beautiful, Edward."

He tries to cover himself back up, but I stop him, kissing his knuckles before gently moving his hands out of the way.

He has scars, mental, physical... and I take my time kissing each one with my words, with my lips.

"I love that you need glasses and that you're in denial about it."

Kiss.

"I love that you can't dance to save your life."

Kiss.

"I love that your second toe is longer than your first."

Kiss.

"Everything about you is beautiful to me."

Kiss.

"You deserve to be loved."

Kiss.

"You deserve to feel good."

I work my way back up to his lips. "Let me make you feel good, Edward."

His eyes squeeze shut and he quickly nods.

He lets me love him, lets me touch him and lets me lick every spot that I've dreamt about licking, kiss places that I never imagined I'd ever kiss. He lets me take him between my lips, stutters, begs, cries my name, digs his fingers into my scalp and lets go. He finally lets go, and I take it all, amazed as I watch the beauty of it. The corded neck, the arched back, the lips parted as if in disbelief.

And I can't believe how lucky I am. That this man is mine and nothing can take that away from me.

He lays on my chest, kisses me there, whispering his love, how grateful he is for me. He falls asleep and his snoring keeps me up, it always does. But I don't mind. Never did.

I kiss the top of his head, the satin-like strands tickling my lips as I rub my palm over his back.

We've come a long way from where we started, but he's worth it and I'll spend the rest of my life telling him so.

My love is unconditional.