A/N - So here is the next chapter... I still don't own Twilight, but I do own 2 sets of Harry Potter books. I don't own Jasper, but I DO own a green acoustic guitar that I WILL get music out of one day.
The past two weeks had been amazing. Bella and I were getting to know each other better. We had not put a name to whatever was happening between us, but at the same time, we also knew we were not just friends. There was something more between us—a connection I had never felt with anybody else. I could almost feel she was experiencing the same as me.
There was only one thing looming over me. Maria.
She was supposed to have been around last week, but after that midnight call that I ignored, I had not heard from her. I wasn't necessarily scared of her, but I was afraid of what she might do. I had spoken to Emmett about it and he believed I should tell Bella of my past. And I would do it, I just needed some time.
I remember everything as if had happened yesterday. Everything was still fresh in my mind: the fights, the break-ups, the reconciliations and finally, the accident and its fuzzy details.
People say time heals all wounds, but there are some that scar you forever. Both physically and emotionally. Maria had scarred me both ways.
I knew Maria was behind all my past failed attempts at relationships. I knew she was the reason most women ran away from me muttering feeble excuses, even after having some amazing dates. I could not prove it, but my gut told me it was so. My gut had yet to fail me since it told me the best thing for me would be to end things with Maria. Psycho bitch as Emmett referred to her.
Emmett agreed with me, he thought she was behind all the mishaps in my life. And the accident. That damn accident. I wish I could remember how it happened, but apparently, my mind is not ready for that yet. All I remember is waking up in a hospital bed, full of scars, pain and hatred towards myself. She thought I'd come running back to her. That her telling me she still loved me despite my, what did she call it? Ah yes, my disfigurement, she'd still marry me.
Now, there was Bella. I was scared she'd run away as soon as I told her about Maria. I was scared she'd run away as soon as she saw my scars. I was scared she'd fall in love with me and then realize I had too much baggage to carry on with a healthy relationship.
But Emmett was right, I had to talk to her soon. If my assumptions were correct, Maria might turn up at Bella's door any day now. Who knew what this woman was capable of. I couldn't prove it, but I knew she had no limits when it came to what she thought was hers.
My phone rang bringing me out of my thoughts, "Hello," I answered without paying attention to the caller ID.
"Hey Jazz-boy," Emmett's voice boomed almost rendering me deaf.
"Use your inside voice, Em," I replied.
"You, me, Edward. Night out. Boys only," he said.
"Rose going out with the girls?" I asked smirking.
"Yes, but that is not why we are going out, I can do whatever I want, man," he said sounding hurt.
"Sure, sure," I replied. "What time are you picking me up?" I asked. There was no way I'd be driving today. I wanted to have fun.
"Edward and I will pick you up at your place at around 9."
"Sounds like a plan," I said.
When we hung up the phone, I went back to my room and picked up my guitar. Before I knew it, words and melodies were forming in my head. I began to write.
Alice, Rose and I had been dancing for the best part of the last hour. We were not overly drunk despite all we had had to drink. I'm pretty sure we were sweating the alcohol out leaving us with a nice buzz.
We went to sit down and rest our feet for a while. Suddenly, Alice turned to us with a mischievous grin on her face.
"I think I want to go to a strip club," she said.
Rose and I stared at her with our mouths hanging open. "I don't know about that," I say. "I'm not a fan of paying to get a man naked."
"Betcha wouldn't mind if it was Jasper you had to pay," said Rose slyly.
"Jasper would do it for free," Alice said. "Seriously guys, I have a feeling we need to go to this strip club, and don't worry, it's a girl nuddie bar."
After much arguing and grumbling on my part, we agreed to go for a little. Try something new, according to Rose. I did not realize when she switched teams and decided to join Alice's.
We called a cab and headed over to the other side of town. While in the cab, the interrogation begun. I had been expecting it for a few days but somehow it had not happened yet.
"So, spill the beans," Rose said.
"Don't know what you are talking about," I said. I was not going to make this easy on them.
"Bitch, you know what we mean," Rose glared at me.
"If you don't tell us," Alice said, a threat in her voice, "We will get the information from Jasper himself."
"Fine, I spent the night with him but nothing happened," I said fast before they could ask the question. I couldn't help the hint of disappointment that colored my words.
"Nothing at all?" Alice asked shocked.
"Well, we kissed after he played the guitar," I came clean.
"AND?" Both Alice and Rose asked at once.
"How was it?" Rose asked.
"It was…" I was looking for the right words but somehow I knew that I could not do it justice. "It was sweet, and amazing, and romantic, and beautiful," I sighed.
"So why are you disappointed?" Alice questioned me.
"Because there was no dirty spanking," Rose answered her.
"Well, he held me all night," I said not wanting to make it seem like I was desperate to have sex with the god. "It was romantic, I told you. I just don't think he really likes me that way."
"Silly Bella," Alice said patting me on the leg. "The man clearly likes you. He's probably shy."
"Listen Bella," Rose begun. "I'm not supposed to tell you this. If Emmett finds out, he'll kill me…" She paused for dramatic emphasis; we all knew Em was terrified of Rosalie. "Emmett said Jasper really likes you, he has just had bad experiences with women."
"See?" Alice said triumphantly.
"Look guys, if that is true, then I just have to let things play out on their own," I said. "We have seen each other a few times since the kiss, but he hasn't made a move yet. If he really likes me, then I'll wait for him to say it. I'm not gonna beg him," I finished lamely.
"The man needs a little shove," Rose said. "Show him you like him, you need not say anything."
I thought about what Rose said as we got out of the cab. We paid our entrance to the bar and quickly sat down to watch the show. Those women were talented. They had to be in top shape to be able to swirl like that on those poles.
Rose actually got excited and started putting bills on the girls' underwear. I swear, sometimes I think this woman swings both ways.
Alice and I were laughing our heads off when a big bear of a man stood behind Rose. She was swaying to the beat of the music watching the last girl dance on the pole. Alice and I quickly stopped laughing and he brought his index to his lips signaling that we should not say anything.
"Enjoying the show, Rosie?" He asked her.
Rosalie stopped dancing on the spot and slowly turned around. Even in the dim lighting for the bar, I could see how red her face was.
"Emmy bear," she said trying to sound innocent. "I thought you were going out with the guys?" She asked. I could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT A STRIP CLUB EMMETT MCCARTY!" She screamed at him.
"I could ask you the same thing Rosalie Hale," he replied coolly and quickly placing a chaste kiss on his girlfriend's lips.
"Ok, I'll forgive you this time, but don't let me catch you at one of these places again," she said quickly. "Hey, bring the boys over and sit with us!" She said excitedly. Emmett walked away to get his friends.
Uh Oh, I had not realized this might mean Jasper was with them. Why would Emmett not go out with his best friend? To prove me right, Emmett came back a couple of minutes later with Jasper and Edward in tow.
Edward looked like he wanted to dash to the nearest church and confess his sins. Jasper looked relaxed… That is until he saw me. Then the biggest smile graced his face and he walked straight to the empty seat next to me. Ah, now I see why Rose and Alice insisted I sit on the other side.
"Hey Bella," he said.
"Hey to you," I said. Suddenly, I remembered what Rose had said. He just needs a little shove. Quickly, I pecked him on the lips as a way of hello. It must have been the drinks, because I would not have done this sober. He smiled sweetly at me and placed his arm around my shoulders as the group talked, strippers all but forgotten.
The boys had been bar hopping for the best part of the night until they decided to gift Edward with a lap dance. With Alice here though, it appeared the boys had desisted from their plan. Edward seemed grateful for that.
At around 2:00, we decided to call it a night. Emmett was staying at Rosalie's tonight so Emmett decided he'd ditch his friends and ride with us.
"Why don't Bella and Jasper ride with us?" Alice asked Edward-they had decided to spend the night at Alice's. "Their places are on the way," she added.
I was happy with that; it meant a few more minutes with Jasper. The buzz was wearing off since I had not had a drink in a while. "Hey," I whispered to Jasper so that no one else would hear us. "I believe I owe you a song," it sounded like a question. I don't know what made me say it, but it was said and I could not take it back.
"Why miss Swan, I believe you do," he replied with a smile.
We told Edward and Alice to just drop us off at my place. Alice at least had the decency to turn away from Jasper to smile.
All the bravery I had been feeling up until this point blew up in smoke the moment the door to my apartment closed with Jasper on the same side as me. I gave him the quick tour… It didn't even take us two minutes. Living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom.
We were both extremely tired and agreed that the song could wait until the morning. Jasper seemed a little uncomfortable when it was time to go to bed. I asked him if he'd rather sleep in the living room. I know the disappointment showed on my face, but I could not hide it.
In the end, we laid on my bed and talked. He told me of his past and my heart broke for him. His relationship with Maria, his fear that she would keep hurting those he cared about, his accident, the hurt he feels rejection after rejection. With every sentence, I came closer to tears.
He also showed me his body. Not in the we're-having-sex-tonight kind of way, but in the you're-important-to-me-so-I-want-to-show-you kind of way. That the accident left him scarred was an understatement. His arms, his back, his chest. They were covered in scars from a fire and glass. And each one of those scars was beautiful in its own way. But what hurt the most was the fact that I could not change his past. I could not make it go away. I could only try to be there for him from now on.
Sleepiness and tiredness forgotten, we spoke until the sun came up. Realizing we couldn't fall asleep, we got up. I made coffee while he rummaged around my kitchen for breakfast ingredients.
"Really, Bella?" He asked as he pulled a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. "One day I will show you what pancakes made from scratch taste like." He then started making breakfast.
"Not all of us are gifted in the cooking department, Jasper," I said to him as I handed him his cup of coffee. We talked some more while he cooked and we ate.
"I believe you owe me a song," he said to me after he had loaded the dishwasher.
"I believe you are correct," I said as I walked towards my closet and grabbed my baby. "I have to warn you though, I don't take requests," I added as I began tuning her.
"Play what you wish to play, darlin'" he said.
I do not know what possessed me to do it, but I began playing Jack White's version of Your Southern Can is Mine. Jasper kept a smile on his face throughout the whole song. I knew learning this song would pay off in the end. The months of guitar lessons were worth it just to see that look of utter joy on his face.
There was no kissing today. All we did was talk, but somehow, I felt closer to this man than I had felt with Mike during the whole time we were dating. When he left my place a few hours later, I knew there was something there that was more than just two people getting to know each other.
It might be too soon to say it, but I could think it. There was a very strong chance I was falling for this man. Falling hard.
A/N: Yes she is.