All main characters belong to Stephanie Meyer; I just enjoy their company.
A romanticized revision of a true story
I broke the kiss and took a deep look into his beautiful eyes, the same ones. I'd dreamt of night after night since he'd left my home. It hadn't been long apart, but it had been far too long. Had I realised how much the days would drag without him in my home, I would have insisted he stay. Knowing his slim body wouldn't conduct heat well and worried about the cold night air against his bare feet and throat, I lifted him back onto the doorstep.
He whined lightly, ensuring me that my kiss had sufficiently warmed him. Shuffling forward, I kept us pressed together, the step of the door making him as tall as me. I bowed my head and pressed it against his chest, inhaling his scent. After taking a moment to enjoy his scent I raised my head and licked my lips, smiling when his eyes darted to them and followed the track.
"Can I come in?" I asked unsure where to go from here. I hadn't thought much past arriving on his doorstep and kissing until our lips grew numb.
He pretended to think about it, showing himself up with his poor acting skills. His pretense broke in seconds, a dazzling smile spreading across his lips as my answer.
"Can I stay?" I pressed. Again uncertain what his reply would be, I mentally prepared myself to sleep in the car or get a late booking in a nearby hotel.
"As long as you want," he answered, filling me with relief.
Knowing I had a place to stay, seeing the joy on his face at the prospect of having me here and feeling his hard on as our bodies pressed together in the doorway allowed me to relax. I peered around him into his living area, my eyes drawn first to the faux fireplace that consisted of an electric heater with a hand painted illusion of a chimney and a centered shelf acting as a mantel with photos and trinkets arranged along it.
Holding out his hand, he led me into the house and closed the door behind us. I took off my coat knowing I would warm much faster if the heat had better access to my skin, not having to penetrate an extra layer of clothing. The warmth of the room gradually renewed sensation to my cold skin.
He was different. It probably wasn't noticeable to most, but I saw an air about him that he didn't have at my house, a confidence he wore in his own environment that aroused me further. Scanning the room, my gaze found a small arm poking over the edge of his leather futon, bent at the wrist with an even smaller hand attached.
"Is that her?" I breathed, my heart swelling from the smallest glimpse.
He nodded and grinned, biting his lip at the same time, his fatherly pride evident in every feature. His hand back in mine, he walked me around the other side of the sofa and stood over her.
She was tiny, striking, the spitting image of Jasper. Her hair looked softer, wilder, her eye lids were closed but they cast a shadow a mile across her cheeks, as did his. Covered with a purple blanket, she lay on her stomach with knees pulled up under her and bum raised in the air. Her right cheek was pressed to the sofa, and her lips puckered.
I took a moment to watch him watch her, protective and adoring, the unconditional love I only dreamt of sharing with him apparent in his eyes.
"Get your things from the car and lock the door on your way back in, I will take her up to bed and meet you back here," he directed in a hushed tone.
Kissing his cheek, I followed his orders, enjoying this new side to him as he commanded the situation.
Instead of putting my coat back on I simply grabbed my car keys from my pocket and rushed to my car, my pace slipping from a fast walk into an excited jog. I pulled my leather duffel bag from the back seat and slammed the car door, looking around nervously when the sound reached my ears before dashing back to the house.
Once inside, I turned and secured the house with the keys still dangling from the lock and set my bag on the floor by the sofa. While I waited for him to settle his daughter to sleep on the second floor, I took a look around, recognising the building to be refurbished accommodated living. The style of house they created for students, a shared home that would house three or four people usually with locks on each bedroom door. Although it was clear from the décor it had been a while since it had been used for that.
The mantel was hand painted a bare brick wall effect, each unique, never the same detailing twice. It was stunning and I longed to see more of his work. My fingers slipped from the wall and wrapped around a framed photo. With Jasper at her side, his sister Rosalie smiled back at me, holding a new born baby I now recognised as Pepper. The photo of him was stunning, but he looked gaunt and frail, much thinner than he was now and it confirmed everything I'd suspected. From the eating habits I'd witnessed, I had already internally diagnosed him, a curse that bled from my work life into my personal one.
He had clearly put on weight the last two years, which was a good sign. My clinical mind went through various treatments, deciding on not pressing the matter and keeping a watch on what he ate throughout the weeks ahead.
Hearing the stairs creak, I returned the framed photo to the mantel and waited for him. The door opened and we walked towards each other. I'd had the best intentions to talk to him, ask him the questions on my mind, find out what he was comfortable with physically while other people were in the house, but by the time there were only two strides between us, I was wavering, and as we met in the middle, all resolve was lost.
Lips pressed together, soon giving way to tongues swirling. Eager to get the upper hand, get closer, get lost in each other. Hands gripped hair desperately and pulled at clothes. Spinning him around, I walked him backwards toward the sofa, falling on top of him when his knees buckled against the edge.
His shirt was off and his jeans were unzipped before we even parted for air, breaking the kiss I roamed his chest, kissing, nipping and then salving with my tongue. Sitting back on my knees I yanked at his jeans as he pressed his shoulders into the sofa, lifting his ass.
The moment suddenly slowed and I took my time, keeping eye contact with him while I peeled back his jeans from his legs, kissing fresh skin as I exposed it. When his pants were off, I leaned over him for a deep kiss before settling between his legs and taking my time to further stimulate him. I teased him with kisses to his thighs and stomach before allowing him to desperately direct my mouth to where he wanted to feel it the most. After torturing him with the kisses I didn't waste time, taking the head of his cock into my mouth and sucking while my tongue danced through the slit and tapped the sensitive underside. He writhed beneath me, moaning quietly, clenching the muscles in his ass to try and thrust up against my hands that held him down.
Looking up at him through my eyelashes, I winked before removing my hands from his hips in the middle of one of his stronger attempts and letting his dick slide deep into the back of my throat. Gagging, my throat contracted against the intrusion, attempting to push him back out. He groaned at the sensation before slipping back out again. He swiped at my watering eyes before twisting his fingers with mine. He set a pace that quickly brought him toward the brink of his orgasm. Gripping my hair in warning, but not slowing down, I squeezed his hand giving him the go ahead to have at. He sped up, tapping the back of my throat with each thrust while fighting against his desire to moan. Just before he reached his end, I unwound his hand from my hair and slipped his dick from my mouth, smiling at his whining. Moving up his body and then lowering my head to his, I nudged it to one side, letting my moist breath tickle his ear before sucking the lobe into my mouth and nibbling.
"I want you to come while I'm inside you, feel your ass tighten and grip me while you shake with pleasure."
His whine quickly turned to a pleading moan and his lips sought mine as we devoured each other. When he wrapped his legs around me, I adjusted until my dick slid behind his tightened balls. Deciding to tease him further, I lifted my head.
"Do you want me to fuck you?" I asked as if I didn't already know. He bit back a moan but didn't reply. Rocking forward, my erection rubbed roughly against his hole. "Do you want my dick inside you?" I continued, breathing on his lips and kissing jaw.
"Fuck me," he begged bluntly.
That was a request I could fill.
Eager to get started, we both reached for the lube in my holdall at the same time and lost our balance, tumbling onto the floor and landing in a tangle of limbs. Not letting it distract us for long, I swiftly retrieved the lube from my bag while smothering our laughter with a kiss. Sucking his tongue into my mouth and nipping at his lips until we were grinding relentlessly. Holding me close, he gripped my shoulder with one hand, his other digging into my hair. I rested my forearm on the floor by his head, my fingers sliding into his silky locks and tugging while my other hand flipped the cap on the lube, squeezing a pool of it onto his abdomen. Coating my dick first, I stroked it to relieve some of the pressure before dragging the lube from his stomach over his balls and down to his hole.
Unlocking my lips from his, I pushed against him. "I think about fingering you all the time," I confessed in a murmur as I slid one in and felt him push against my hand, moaning his plead.
Enjoying the way he gripped me, I quickly added a second, my brain and dick both recalling how good he felt, how good it would feel to be that tightly surrounded inside him. Before I managed to add a third, he was pulling my hand away and groping my ass.
"We have to be quiet," he whispered, his own moan immediately breaking the rules.
I laughed against his throat and placed my hand over his mouth to quiet him, receiving a seductive buck of his hips in response. Moving my hand to my dick, I lined it up with his entrance and pushed forward slowly until I reached the resistant muscle before breaching it and penetrating him deeply. He groaned into my hand, his breath heating my palm. Replacing my hand with my lips, I kissed him while thrusting at a steady pace, rocking us both toward our orgasms.
I'd known the first time we'd had sex, but being with him then, surrounded by not only his body but in his home, only made certain what I already knew…that I could never have enough of him, his brilliant creative mind, his generous caring heart, or his beautiful body and tight ass.
Our bodies in perfect sync, just as he bit my bottom lip and grabbed my ass, I sped up, giving him what he needed to crash over the edge. Sweat slickened bodies glided together, hands gripped and held, muscles strained in effort, lips fused together in searing kisses between gasps of breath. I could think of nothing but how good he felt, how complete he made me.
He came between us, his hot seed spilling onto his stomach and lubricating mine as I slid against him. His body shuddered and his ass clenched together, trying to draw me in deeper, the tight grip pulled my orgasm from me in a steady stream and he moaned into the kiss as my warmth filled him and I slipped out. Exhausted, I fell onto the floor next to him.
We lay in silence for a while, our breaths slowly returning to normal. Eventually he rolled onto his side and tucked himself under my arm, his head resting on my chest. A few seconds later he lifted his head, and moved the chin length waves, dampened by our love making, away from his ear and placed it back on my chest. I smiled to myself as he listened to my heartbeat. It was a simple, tender gesture. Overwhelmed by love, I breached the silence, feeling I owed him my bared soul.
"I wasn't sure how much you meant to me until I watched you backing out of my drive," I confessed honestly.
"Is that a euphemism?" he giggled, reading my mind
My body shook with laughter momentarily before I took a deep breath and continued, stroking his back with my thumb as I spoke. "Work has been the most important thing in the world to me for a long time. I love helping people, people that aren't equipped to help themselves." Taking a deep breath, I finished a sentence that I wasn't sure should be spoken aloud. "You're a person, I think you might even be the person I trained all those years to help. Will you let me help you?"
It was silent while he thought about what I said, no doubt panicking that I had seen through his wall and knew he needed help. Tightening my grip on his back I silently told him not to run from this.
"I'd like that," he finally answered, and I let the breath I'd been holding escape. "How long can you stay?" he added, not giving me a chance to take that topic further.
"I've never taken a day off before," I replied, reassuring him my visit wasn't going to impact my career.
"I didn't even know how to go about it. It took a while to arrange and transfer patients but I made it in time for New Year."
He smiled at me, enjoying the romantic notion of my timing and stretched up to kiss me. I watched as a thought entered his head and he processed how to deal with it.
"You can't come to my room tonight," he said cautiously, examining my face for my reaction.
"Of course, I completely understand," I returned, knowing immediately his thought had been concerning his child who slept in her room above us.
"I've no problem with that eventually," he reassured. "She just needs to meet you under more appropriate circumstances before she sees you sleeping next to me."
I moaned lightly, letting him know sleeping in his bed was what I desired and would be worth the wait.
"Set your fancy smart phone to wake me at ten to six, I will slip upstairs for our morning routine and prepare Pepper for an introduction over breakfast," he suggested.
"Then," he sighed, "it's nursery for Pepper and dinner at my parents for us."
There was no asking me if I wanted to go, he knew full well I wanted to see where he grew up, meet his parents. "That sounds perfect," I agreed. "I hope she likes me."
"She will love you," he promised, his eyes drifting closed. Yawning, he added, "You should sleep. She will take a lot out of you tomorrow."
I chuckled to myself. How much could a toddler take out of a full grown man? With Jasper's sated body snug in my arms, I fell into a blissful sleep, the first since he'd left weeks before.
Hours later my phone alarm rang, but Jasper hit snooze before I fully returned to consciousness. I felt his lips rub over my cheek before he stood up and moved upstairs.
Ten minutes later the alarm went off again and I got up, dressing myself in clean clothes and running my fingers through my hair. Going into the kitchen, I filled the kettle and flicked the on switch, leaning against the countertop while I waited for them to descend.
Making his coffee just how he liked it, black with two sugars, I set it on the countertop and then snooped around the kitchen, smiling at the wine rack filled with squash and baby powder. Bending over I looked at the magnets on his fridge, smirking at his dark humour.
A loud whisper that could only belong to a child, sounded from the stairwell. "I see him, Dad."
"That's my boyfriend," he giggled to her childishly. "Want to meet him?"
I turned in time to see her nod vigorously. "Hello," I greeted her.
He put her down and she walked over to me slowly. Crouching, I held out my hand, introducing myself while I shook her hand, sending waves up her arm and making her laugh.
"Pepper," she returned, her chin dipped, looking up through lashes a mile long.
She introduced herself the same way her father had the day we met. She bit her lip, her tiny square teeth poking out. For a second I mistook her for a shy girl before she launched into an interrogation with an intelligence level way beyond her years. Taking her hand out of mine she crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes, her weight resting on one leg caused her hip to jut out as far as her attitude.
I'd worked with many children, often tragic circumstances had led them to my office, her precociousness was something I was used to.
"Are you love?" she started, the first and most important question to a girl with a sad parent. She was as protective of him as I was.
Covering my heart with my hand, I told her the truth, "I'm in love."
Shrugging her shoulders up to her ears she relaxed and pointed at the lights that twinkled in the kitchen window. "Christmas," she announced, "Are you presents?"
Catching his eye to be sure he was okay with me spoiling her, he rolled his eyes and nodded.
"Of course I brought presents, Pepper, I had planned to bribe you," I said truthfully. Her eyebrows creased and her head tilted quizzically. "Bribe means give you treats so that you like me."
"Ohhh," she exaggerated with her lips, understanding before giggling at my honesty, almost bouncing with excitement at the thought of gifts.
"I will be right back," I promised with a wink. I nipped out the car for their presents.
When I returned, he'd lifted her into her chair for breakfast. Her eyes shot to the bag as I entered the kitchen and she kicked her feet wildly. Eyeing the large bag wearily, Jasper walked over to me and peered inside.
"Don't worry, half are for you," I teased, restraining myself from kissing him, his proximity burning across my skin.
"Ohhh," he mocked, imitating his daughter's response.
I leaned in closer, my lips almost touching his ear. "Although you might want to open them in private," I murmured low enough so only he could hear, licking my lip as I finished and flicking it over his lobe, enticing a light moan from him.
Even though squeals of excitement had filled the room around us, the sexual tension had masked them and it took a second for us focus on the task at hand. I handed presents to her one by one and she fumbled with the paper, her chubby hands occasionally losing grip as she tore at it to reveal her prize. Delighted with each, she pulled them in to her chest and politely uttered her thanks before showing them to her dad and pointing at the features on them, beginning each babbled sentence with an eager 'look, look'. After a short while of humouring her with mock fascination, he pried them from her grip, instructing her to eat up.
While Pepper munched on her toast, Jasper left the room only to return with a pair of red wellies, holding them out to me. Pleased that he involved me, I took them and sat in a chair next to her and put them on. Knowing the drill well, she pointed her toes helpfully. Once they were on, I checked that her jeans were tucked in so her little ankles wouldn't get cold.
When she finished, she held her arms up to me and I lifted her from her high chair before setting her down on the floor. Jasper knelt in front of her covering her with layer after layer of warm clothing, a jumper, a coat, a scarf and some mittens. He then stood and handed her a cup. Watching how well they functioned as a team, their lines and actions well-rehearsed, I added my own layers.
As we left the house, he grabbed her diaper bag and I grabbed his coat and scarf from the banister, chiding him for forgetting to dress himself and wondering just how often he went without to provide for her.
In the car, I sat with my legs sticking out of the car door and turned to watch him strap her in. Noticing my interest, he talked me through each step and I memorised his moves, hoping to be more useful the next time we went out. Once we were seated and buckled in, I turned my attention more fully to him and watched how he operated, analysing his movements. Taking a deep breath for resolve, he glanced in the rearview mirror at his daughter one last night time.
"Ready, Pepper?" he asked with a cheer that didn't reach past his voice.
She nodded energetically, unlike her daddy, she was ready for her adventure. Looking behind him, Jasper backed the car out of the driveway and headed down the street. His focus was on the task at hand, his eyes constantly glancing in his mirror at Pepper and around the street. With both hands on the wheel, his seatbelt on and concentrating, he was the epitome of a safe driver. I wondered if he always had been, or if it was because of his precious cargo. As much as I felt I'd known him for years, as much as I'd learned simply from observing, I longed to know more about his past.
A past I was soon to meet.
An Irish Christmas song played on the radio, filtering through the speakers. Before I could ask Jasper about it, Pepper began to sing it in her native language. Jasper joined, coaxing her along as I remained quiet, listening to them.
One thing was clearer, more powerful, than anything else, and that was that he loved his little girl. He put her before himself, her needs and wants and safety were more important to him than his own. Even in the short time I'd seen them interacting, I knew without a doubt there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for her. From the simple things, such as not letting her see us in bed together and making sure she was bundled in coat when he almost forgot his own to buying her food on the grocery list and then seeing if he had enough money for his own.
They continued to sing, occasionally interrupted by giggles bubbling from her mid verse. For the first time, there was no glancing around the countryside or the town as we entered it, they enraptured my attention completely. Just as the second song ended, Jasper put on the turn signal, something I tended to forget, and pulled into the small car park in front of a building with the sign "Little Leprechauns".
"We're here," he said as he put the car into park and turned off the ignition.
Slouching, I looked out the windscreen at the nursery. "Has she gone here before?" I asked, attempting turn my concern into curiosity. Since he had told me he was dropping her off at nursery instead of bringing her to his parents I had wondered why.
"Yes," he replied, resisting the urge to roll his eyes and assuring me, "many times."
Twisting my upper body, I watched as he unbuckled Pepper from the car seat. His fingers moved deftly, efficiently, while he spoke to her, asking her what kinds of projects she would do at nursery. She answered 'art', putting a smile on her father's face. With a practiced skill, he lifted her from the seat and grabbed her nappy bag sitting next to it. Resting her on his hip, he kicked the door closed with his foot.
"Be right back," he said as he turned for the building.
Reaching down between my legs, I lifted the lever and pushed the seat back, almost moaning when I was able to stretch my legs out. Alone in the car, I took the opportunity to look around but it took great effort to resist the urge to pilfer through the compartments. It wasn't the typical car of a bachelor, not sporty in the slightest, it was economical and safe. Evidence of his fatherhood was everywhere from the baby bottle in the back seat among the scattered lolly wrappers to the spare pacifier sitting in the cup holder. The only resemblance of Jasper in the car was the coins collected in a spot between the seats and the air freshener hanging from the mirror. My hands were just about to wander when his door opened and he climbed inside.
"Is she all settled?" I asked as he inserted the keys.
He nodded, a hint of sadness on his face. He already missed her. It was then I realised just how much he sacrificed to visit me for days at a time. Pulling the belt across his chest, he buckled it, his glance to my legs not unnoticed. I knew better than to kiss him there, in public where he had just dropped off his daughter. I might have known how he liked to be touched, but I knew nothing about his life there.
Without Pepper, I was able to put my attention entirely on him, and I did as he pulled out of the car park and onto the street. Unable to hold off my professional and personal curiosity, I turned in my seat as much as it would allow and studied him freely. His eyes dulled in her absence, her mirth replaced by dread. Driving was merely perfunctory for him now, even with me in the car to distract him. Gestures became nervous habits he'd never outgrown and I knew he wanted a cigarette just to keep his mind focused on a simple task.
"How come you aren't bringing Pepper?" I asked.
Keeping his eyes on the road, he replied quietly, "Their house is really clean, she'll mess it up."
It was a weak excuse, one I didn't believe for a second. The little girl I'd met was well behaved and doted on her father. If he told her to not make a mess, she wouldn't make a mess.
"Is it hard for them because her mother died?" I pressed, and he shook his head. "Is it hard for them because she looks a lot like her mother?"
Another shake of his head.
There were questions I had already assumed the answers to, but it was my training to work through all the possibilities to reach the truth. He was clearly protecting her by not taking her to his parent's house. Since the moment we'd met, I'd felt the need to protect him from any harm. In part it was that need that had led to me arriving on his doorstep in a country I'd never been to. I was very familiar with the feeling, and I saw it in him, in everything he did for his daughter. I'd been through years of schooling, and more years of training and was good at my job. I'd seen and treated many children, and a fair amount of adults, in similar situations, but I didn't ask the next question because of my professional experience.
It was personal.
"Is it because they mistreated you?"
There was no shake of his head.
The tensing of his jaw and flicker in his eyes confirmed what I suspected. I no longer wondered why he lived two hours from his parents. Putting my hand on his knee, I squeezed it, reassuring him no further questions or answers needed to happen. The day was going to be difficult enough for him.
Seeking to relieve his stress and distract him even if only a few minutes, I boldly opened his glove box. He glanced at me sideways, but remained silent. There were receipts, a few papers pertaining to the car, a pair of mittens, and a cd wallet. Pulling out the wallet, I closed the glove box.
"Let's see what kind of music taste you have," I said, "besides Irish Christmas songs." Unzipping the wallet, I flipped to the first one and chuckled. "Really?" I asked with a raised brow, holding it up for him to see.
"The Rolling Stones? I had you pegged as a Beatles fan," I teased.
"We all had to pick a side…you?" he quipped.
"Beatles. I'm a dreamer," I chuckled.
His body visibly relaxed slightly. My teasing didn't irritate him, it distracted him to a point where I became his focus again and not memories or where he was driving. He easily returned my banter, and for the remainder of the trip, we talked about bands and music. We passed mile after mile of snow covered fields spotted by the occasional farmhouse. Coming to a stop sign, he turned left, swallowing and biting his lip.
We were close.
We might not have spent much time together, but I knew everything about his body, I'd memorised and recalled it every night since he'd left. I knew every muscle, every twitch, every scar. Gradually, the tension he'd lost returned. When he no longer laughed at my jokes and his eyes filled with sadness, I knew we'd arrived. Slowly he pulled into the driveway of a farmhouse.
From the frugal way Jasper lived, I'd assumed he had been raised in a poor household, learning to clip coupons and conserve and reuse, but when I saw the two-story stone house on many acres with several barns and buildings surrounding it I realised his poverty didn't stem from his childhood.
Shifting into neutral, he turned the car off and closed his eyes, gathering his strength before opening them. Without a word, he opened his door and got out. Unfolding myself from the compact car, I followed. The urge to take his hand and tell him it was going to be okay was strong, but I resisted and let him lead me to the front door. With each step he took, I could see his demeanor changing, morphing into the frightened boy I suspected to be inside him.
Opening the door, his mother greeted us silently with a small smile, eyeing me warily as we entered the kitchen. Jasper quietly said hello to her, but there was no affectionate hug or kiss to his cheek. She was slender and pretty with brown hair, and while her attempt to cover the yellowing bruise under eye had failed, there had been no attempt to hide the bandage wrapped around her wrist.
His father stood next to her, intimidating to most at about six feet tall and bulky with graying hair cut close to his head. Instinctively, my guard went up. Widening my shoulders, I stood next to Jasper, preparing for the battle I felt might be coming. Habitually, I glanced around my new surroundings, familiarizing myself as much as I could. A saying I had learned on the streets replaying in my ears as I entered any room, 'know your exits', and within a few seconds I did, the door we'd just walked through and a back door through dining area.
With his head dropped, his chin almost resting on his chest and his eyes obediently downcast to the floor, Jasper introduced me.
"This is my friend Edward," he said meekly. I placed my hand on his on his shoulder, leaving it there supportively. He was tense, his body anticipating a fight or flight response at any second.
His mother merely nodded at me while his father eyed me suspiciously through cold eyes. "Are you fucking him?" he asked rudely, his eyes never glancing to Jasper, not even calling him by name.
"No," I answered with more authority than he'd asked.
Then he took in my appearance, expensive clothing and shoes, and I watched as it registered in his mind. He thought I was too good for his son, that Jasper couldn't possibly be involved with someone as well off as myself. Accepting my lie, he relaxed slightly and in a mock attempt at politeness, he held his hand out for me to shake.
My hand never budged from Jasper's shoulder.
His father let his hand fall awkwardly and he finally looked at his son. The cold glare he'd given me was replaced by amusement, like Jasper was nothing more than a thing to be toyed and played with, manipulated into exactly what he desired, a child to be seen and not heard. In those few minutes, I knew what had truly happened to Jasper. The abuse hadn't stopped at bruises and arm twisting, it'd gone much further.
After giving me a weak smile that didn't reach past her lips, his mother turned to focus on cooking. Giving Jasper a reassuring squeeze, I silently told him I could handle whatever was coming and he moved to help his mother. Joining her at her side, he immediately tried to engage her in conversation, asking something about her horse.
When his father left the room, I felt confident enough he was safe with his mother and I took the chance to look around. The house was as nice on the inside as the outside. Tidy and organised and nicely furnished, it resembled any older couple's home. It wasn't the grandest I'd been in, but it certainly wasn't what I had expected.
Leaving the kitchen, I wandered into the living room, drawn to the mantel over the fireplace and the framed photos sitting on it. They were of a typical family, some taken by a professional photographer, some candid shots. Stepping closer, I examined each one, especially a baby picture of Jasper. Even as an infant, I knew it was him, but I didn't know the mirror image propped up next to him, identical in every way right down to the same shade of blue eyes. Intrigued, I moved to the next picture, it was of a little girl, a toddler. I knew from Jasper's pictures it wasn't Rosalie, but she heavily resembled her. Jasper had another sister and a brother he hadn't mentioned. My mind reeled, quickly deducing all possibilities on where his other siblings were and settling on the worst case scenario.
While I continued to study the pictures, I listened for the return of his father's footsteps, not wanting to leave Jasper to face him alone. I could hear his mother and him chatting, the conversation ranging from church to the farm animals they raised. He didn't need to ask her about her wrist, she had a lied readily prepared about falling off her horse and spraining it.
When I heard the heavy footfalls in the hall, I quickly returned to the kitchen, stepping by Jasper's side and creating a barrier between him and his father when he entered. His father was clearly used to intimidating those around him, but I wasn't one to be easily intimidated and I was up for any challenge he was going to provide. His body seemed relaxed, but the side glances at Jasper's back were anything but. He never made a move toward him, especially not with me standing there, but I couldn't shake the feeling that he wanted to strike Jasper at any minute, and might have had I not been there.
The table was already set with place settings and his father sat down, leaning back in his chair and watching me intently. His mother said dinner was ready and Jasper walked solemnly to the table, his head still down but his eyes meeting mine briefly. There was a sense of relief in them, he knew he was safe with me there but it didn't stop the conditioned fear that lived deep inside him from years of suffering. Jasper sat down, his shoulders slumped, elbows off the table, chin down while he waited for his mother to serve the dinner they'd made. I sat next to him, across from his father. Plates of the roast dinner of chicken and vegetables placed in front of his father and me and herself.
Jasper's placemat remained empty.
Resisting the urge to say something and antagonize them for the next time he was there alone, I moved my plate toward him, my fork on it. Giving me a grateful glance, he took a few bites before placing the fork down and pushing it back toward me. He asked his mother more questions, the conversation always about herself and the horses. Never once did they ask about his life or their beautiful, sweet granddaughter. I could tell Jasper was bored by the topic but he persisted.
Completely ignoring his son's presence and unable to hide his curiosity any longer, his father finally spoke up. "What do you do, Edward?" he asked with fake pleasantry.
It was a question I was often asked, and an answer I enjoyed giving. I'd worked hard for my career and I enjoyed the respect that came with it, but telling Jasper's father my profession was going to be about more than getting respect.
It was going to scare him.
Meeting his steady glare with one of my own, I smirked. "I'm a psychologist."
"He needs one," he laughed, still not calling Jasper by name even when he directly insulted him.
"I wonder why," I challenged calmly.
That got the reaction I'd been searching for. His father shifted in his seat, his eyes leaving mine as his mind raced with worried thoughts. Instantly he went from thinking I was harmless to wondering if I was treating his son, and what his son might have already told me.
Next to me, Jasper stiffened, his hands wringing anxiously in his lap. Under the table, I moved my foot against his, assuring him I was fine, everything was fine.
"Wow," his father replied, completely disregarding my challenge, "I wish Jasper had done something worthwhile like that."
Not only were his words to bribe me with a compliment, but they were to hurt Jasper. "I think his profession is highly admirable."
The jabs to Jasper masked as compliments to me continued. Defending Jasper at every turn, I answered his father's questions evenly, not hesitating to use words beyond his vocabulary to make him feel as inferior as he made Jasper feel.
Not once did Jasper raise his eyes from the wood table we sat at.
Dinner was done and his mother stood to clear the dishes. As soon as Jasper pushed his chair back, I mimicked his movements, his body not even an arm's length from mine.
Leading me from the kitchen without another word, Jasper walked up a flight of stairs and down a short hallway to a door. Biting his lip, he opened it. Stepping inside, I glanced around the small, dingy windowless room with a cot in the corner. Instead of a closet or dresser there was a railing installed to hang clothes on. There was no evidence it had been the room of a little boy, there were no toys or books stacked in corners, no blankets covered in cartoon characters or trophies on shelves. In fact, it was a room barely fit for an animal much less a child.
Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Jasper hadn't moved past the doorway, biting his lip and his eyes down. The embarrassment of his room etched onto his face. He needed a distraction.
Walking the few steps to him, I took his hand off the door knob and closed it. Keeping my fingers wrapped around his wrist, I put my other on his hip and backed up against the door. Lowering my head, I captured his lips with mine, my tongue shoving inside and working him into a quick frenzy. Grinding my erection against his, I pressed my weight to him and moved both hands to his hips. Moaning, he fisted my shirt, returning the kiss with the same fervor. When I took a step backwards, tugging him with me, he broke the kiss and shook his head.
"Not here," he mumbled.
Gasping for breath, I nodded as he straightened his clothes and opened the door. I followed him down the stairs, desperately trying to ignore my hard on and listen for his father.
"I'm going to show Edward the property," Jasper told his mother as he walked out the kitchen door with me right behind him.
Side by side we walked past a few a barns, around the back and up to a field well hidden from the house. Taking off my coat, I spread it on the snowy ground and laid him on it, my hands going to the button of his pants before our bodies met in a fury of touches. Each kiss, each thrust was a fuck you to his father.
We returned to his house, the colour on both our cheeks easily caused by the cold air. Goodbyes were said to me, but Jasper's leaving was blatantly unnoticed. In the car, Jasper did up his seatbelt, his body truly relaxing for the first time since leaving his flat earlier. The drive home was mostly silent, my mind processing and cataloguing all I'd seen, all that had happened. From the subtle injuries his mother had, to the unmentioned siblings, to the stark bedroom, and finally focusing on his father, the head of the family who apparently ruled with an iron fist.
But for Jasper it has been worse than being slapped around.
I wondered about Rosalie, has she suffered the same fate as Jasper had, or had she escaped unscathed? I couldn't help but think that in her death she had saved his life. By giving him Pepper to care for, she had given him a reason to move away, a reason to live. My hand rested on his thigh, my thumb stroking it as I thought about how grateful I was to his sister.
She'd unknowingly saved me too.
Jasper pulled into the nursery, exiting the car hastily in his eagerness to see Pepper. When he carried her out, her little arms wrapped around his neck as he balanced her on his hip, I noticed he held her a little tighter. There was something else in his hands, a project she'd created. Opening the door, I got out and went to him, taking her from his arms. He opened the boot of the car and placed the project inside while I sat Pepper in her seat and pulled the straps tightly around her to buckle her in. When I stepped aside, Jasper leaned in to check my work. Placing a kiss on her temple, his eyes closed and he nuzzled her hair for a second before closing her door.
"How was your day, Pepper?" he asked as he started the car again.
Pepper launched into a long description of everything she'd done from the minute we'd dropped her off until we'd arrived to pick her up. Jasper replied with questions and appropriates ohs and ahs.
He was going to try harder to an even more wonderful dad than he already was.
His smile was contagious, but when he flashed it at me, inviting me to join him, I shook my head. Rolling his eyes at my rejection, he fell back into the snow, the flakes swirling around him as he swung his arms wide in the first of what I knew would be many snow angels. Next to him was a smaller angel, his angel. Her tiny laughter at her father's antics filled the crisp air and I couldn't help but smile.
Stuffing my gloved hands in my pockets, I chuckled when his beautiful girl moved her arms so fast that the snow sprayed up and onto my lover. His normally pale cheeks were cherry red from the cold, his lips even darker. Suddenly, he jumped up, as fast as his body would allow, and he reached for our girl. Laughter spewed from her as he picked her up, the pain I knew he was in absent on his face as he swung her around. She was bundled in her snowsuit, the red hat on her head flattened her hair, her curly wisps sticking out from underneath it.
Setting her down on the ground, his body already doing more than he could comfortably handle, she darted away from him, her laughter trailing behind her like her footprints in the snow. She dared him to catch her, giggling loudly every time she looked behind her and saw him catching up. He looked cold and I chided him silently for not wearing the hat I'd told him too. His coat was done up, and there was a scarf around his neck and mittens on his hands. Mittens, not gloves.
"Fingers were meant to be together," he had said to me.
"Hands were meant to be useful," I teased in return.
"DADDY!" his daughter squealed when he reached for her, missing on purpose. With more laughter, she continued to run and he pretended to try to catch her.
The grey day had brightened with the sight before me. The snow still fell steadily from the sky, coating every surface in a blanket of heavenly white. Small flakes were in his hair, stuck to his long lashes and melting on his lips. He didn't know it and he would never believe me if I told him, but he was as beautiful and angelic as she was. I listened to him tease her, his voice light and fun, so different from the his true voice.
Pulling my collar up, I adjusted my scarf to stop the snow from landing on my neck. She was finally caught by her daddy and she squirmed as he lifted her and held her too him. He spoke his language to her and she instantly calmed, listening to his unique words and soothing voice. His features were animated as he told her something I couldn't understand. When she glanced at me, I suspected I was involved in whatever plan he had concocted. Sure enough, he set her down and she raced over to me, her tiny arms not even wrapping completely around my legs as she hugged them. Taking a hand out of my pocket, I rubbed her hat.
Wide-eyed with wonder, she looked up and nodded. "Daddy says you read me bedtime story."
I glanced up at her daddy, meeting his pleading eyes. "Oh, he did, did he?"
"Yep," she nodded eagerly. "Can you?"
"I'd love to," I answered, accepting his grateful smile.
Releasing me, she returned to her daddy, more excited than she had been before. I laughed as they both fell into the snow again, his tall body next to her tiny one, both of them spreading their arms and legs in the snow. It was silly and childish and it looked like fun. Pepper sat up and looked at her messy snow angel, delight bubbling from her before she moved to another spot to try again. My lover stilled, his arms and legs ceasing movement as his eyes closed for a few long seconds. Flakes gathered on him and I wondered if he was all right. Just as I started to move toward him, his eyes snapped opened and he sat up. Gingerly, he stood and dusted the snow off his jeans before trudging through the drifts to me. The air was silent except for his movement and our girl's happiness. Neighbors were inside, warm and safe and cars didn't dare travel on the slippery roads, leaving a tranquility in the air.
He never shook his head to rid the snow, he left it there for me to reach out and brush off when he stopped in front of me. Holding my gaze, he nibbled on his lower lip while I cleaned his hair and shoulders of snow.
"Are you cold?" I asked. I knew he was, I knew he would lie.
"No," he answered as I suspected.
"We should go in soon, she will get cold," I said and he nodded. We both knew she was perfectly warm and dry.
Lifting his hand, he took mine from his hair. "Come play with us," he pleaded softly.
My eyes drifted from his to his girl working on another snow angel. It was freezing and snowing quite heavily. I wanted nothing more than to go inside, have some tea and thaw out. Squeezing his hand, I nodded and let him lead me over to her.
With them was where I belonged.
This wouldn't be here without my dear friend and beta Touchstone 67, thank you for all your encouragement. Remember everybody, all mistakes are hers.