Author's Note: Surprise! I'm back! I know it's been a long time and you all have every right to hate me and to riot against me and refuse to read anything I write ever again! I wouldn't blame you if you did! But... I wrote you a JPOV outtake that shows what he was up to in Liverpool during the four years that he and Edward spent apart. What's the occasion you might ask? You remember in all the author's notes from the original story how the dedication was for Jack? Well his birthday is coming up on the 13th of July and I thought this would be a good way to remember him. I got it done early and wanted to give it to you all soon! Especially in light of the huge step forward that was taken in the pursuit of equality for all! Jack would've been so incredibly happy and proud to be an American today so here it is.
My two lovely friends MizzH and mw138 did the pre-reads/edits on this for me! It took me a bit to get back into the writing headspace and a lot of time to match up the things going on with Jasper to the things that happened in Edward's timeline but I hope I don't let you guys down with this! There is some overlap when they finally meet up at the concert in Chicago but you see Jasper's side this time. Feel free to go back and re-read Segment 5 & 6 in EPOV if you need a refresher before Jasper's side is revealed! I love you all and try to be gentle!
Time Apart Outtake
Have you ever been in that place where you can't decide between pissed off beyond belief and devastated to the core, so you are all over the place, ready to go ballistic on anyone who gets in your way or cry at the drop of a hat?
Yeah, that's how I felt as I boarded the plane to Liverpool. I realized that it couldn't have been easy for Edward to walk in when he did, but I'd only gotten the call an hour before and he was in class. In a perfect world, I would have had more time to explain to Edward what was going on and, yeah, maybe I could have been a little less cheerful in my approach, but if I hadn't have put on that brave face, I would have been crying my eyes out and ended up staying.
The thought of leaving Edward for an entire year made my stomach lurch and my heart crack, but I knew it would be the best thing for us in the end. I couldn't let this opportunity pass and Edward would come to understand that; he just needed some space to figure it out. At least that's what I tried to convince myself over and over again as I stared blankly out my window during the eight and a half hour flight across the ocean.
When I landed in Liverpool, it was bright and sunny which was a total contradiction to my mood. Four o'clock in the afternoon and I was exhausted but instantly glad that I'd left early enough Friday morning to be sure that I could begin to acclimate myself to the time change before I started classes on Monday.
I made my way through the airport to baggage claim, following the signs and sending up a silent thank you that I wasn't alone in a country where they spoke a different language. My heart was aching; I missed Edward so badly that I considered hopping on a plane and flying back to him. If I'd left soon enough, I could've been in his arms by bedtime but I knew that wouldn't be the right solution.
After I gathered up my luggage, I caught a cab and headed to the university to get checked in and find my room.
A couple of hours later, I was sitting on my bed in the room I shared with a guy named Felix. He was nice overall and didn't have a problem with me being gay; I figured it was a good idea to get that information out there right away because I was planning on talking to or Skyping with Edward whenever I could and didn't want any problems.
I kept obsessively checking my phone, knowing that Edward had to have found my letter by that point and was hoping that by some miracle he wasn't mad and would call me early. I had promised to give him a week and was mentally kicking my own ass for making that promise but I knew that it was best to give him a cool down period.
Felix took me out to a welcome dinner and introduced me to a couple of his friends, Caius and Jane. They were also music majors and had been in the program that I was there for the previous year and they were happy to tell me how great it was and how much they learned under Dr. Volturi. I was excited to start the program knowing how much the students learned under someone so gifted and knowledgeable and yet there was a pit of despair lodged in my stomach. I couldn't get Edward off of my mind.
Later that night, as I lay in bed, my mind wouldn't stop thinking even though I should have been sleeping. I was exhausted but my resolve was wearing thin and before I knew what I was doing, I picked up my phone and called Edward. The phone rang until his voice mail picked up and I left him a message asking him to please call me.
He never did.
I called him three or four times a day for a month but his voice mail had long since filled up and it seemed as though he hadn't bothered to listen to the messages. I tried to e-mail him but my messages bounced back to me which indicated that he had blocked me. I tried setting up different accounts and reaching him that way but I never got a response. It was no use trying to Skype him because his name had disappeared off of my list and I was spiraling into depression fast.
I called Alice and Bella and they both told me that Edward was good. He told them we were just on a break while I was gone but at that point I had gotten the message loud and clear, Edward didn't love me anymore. I asked them to please let me know how he was doing if they noticed anything strange but once a month or so they reported back and said he was doing okay, a little anti-social, but mostly just focusing on his school work.
That little piece of information shattered what was left of my already broken heart. He was so okay with breaking up with me that he had cut me out of his life completely and was adjusting well to life on his own. I wasn't adjusting quite so well but being in Liverpool with a bunch of people who didn't really know me, it didn't seem to matter much. They all saw me as the introverted musician who kept to himself and spent most of his time writing in his notebook.
I was constantly writing down lyrics to songs when I wasn't involved with work for the music program. Most of them referred to my situation with Edward, and I thought that would make me feel better, but it didn't. It just kept everything so close to the surface that I had a hard time trying to move on. My heart just wasn't in it, whatever was left of it anyway.
Working with Dr. Volturi was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I knew I that I had to be a little more than okay before I got there or they wouldn't have chosen me, but boy did I have no clue just how much I had to learn. The whole time I tried to soak up as much new information as I could, whether it was from Dr. Volturi himself or one of the advanced music students that always volunteered to help with practice sessions and one-on-one time.
I mastered the guitar with the help of Caius, Felix's friend from dinner the first night and Jane helped me with my keyboard and piano skills. I learned how to play the drums, but decided it just wasn't my thing, so I went back to my beloved stringed instruments and figured out the bass guitar with a little help from Chelsea, who was Jane's girlfriend.
During the middle of the first semester, Dr. Volturi gave us our first performance assignment. We were to go out and find a place to do a public performance with a minimum of twenty people watching, then either play or sing for an hour and record it.
I asked around and found a place called Hemingways Coffee House that was willing to let me set up my performance in the corner and play during the afternoon rush. On a Friday afternoon in March, I played some of my songs for the customers while Felix recorded me. The reaction to my music was incredible. It was during that hour that a spark lit deep inside of me and I realized just how much I loved performing.
The one downfall was that all of my music was about Edward and by the end of the set, my heart was once again flayed down to a sliver of nothing, but then something incredible happened. I was packing up my guitar after I had profusely thanked the audience for sitting through my performance when two guys approached me.
"Hey, that was pretty good, mate," one of them, the tall dark haired boy, said to me. "Do you do this often?"
"Nah, that was my cherry popper there..." I replied, giving them a small smile.
"Cherry popper?" the shorter blond laughed. "That's a good one, you're funny!
"Thanks, I try. Name's Jasper, by the way." I offered my hand to them.
The tall guy shook my hand first. "I'm Demitri and this is Alec." Blondie shook my hand next.
"We're starting a band and after seeing you play up there, we'd like you to consider practicing with us. We need a good lead singer who can play guitar and we think your style just might fit with ours," Demitri explained.
"That's an interesting proposition." A band? Was that something I wanted to do? Would it even be fair to join a band when I wouldn't be staying in Liverpool for very long? A million questions were racing through my mind but all I could really think about was that I felt more alive up on that stage performing than I had in the three months prior. "Can we sit down and talk about it a bit more?"
They nodded and we sat down in a corner booth where we discussed our musical goals. I explained to them that I was only in the country for the music program, and that when it was over I'd be going back to the States because I'd be out of the dorms and have no where else to go.
"I think we can cross that bridge when we get to it," Alec told me as he stood up. "Let's go find out if we are even any good together!"
We left the coffee shop and headed over to Demitri's garage where we sat around and jammed. We played some really well known stuff together and the sound just flowed. It didn't take much to convince any of us that we should definitely give the band a chance and before long I was juggling band practice with all my music homework. I barely had time to think, let alone be depressed about Edward.
About six weeks after we started practicing together, Demitri came bounding into the practice space practically vibrating with excitement. "I got us a gig!" he shouted and then jumped, fist pumping the air.
"What? Are you serious?" Demitri asked as he tackled Alec to the ground laughing in the process. I joined in the little group huddle on the floor adding, "That's fucking awesome, man! Where?"
"Hemingways Coffee House!"
"For real?" We picked ourselves up off the floor and sat on the couch in the corner where we had our band discussions.
"Yeah, for real! I was in there today with my mate and we were having a chat about the band when Aro overheard us and asked if we'd like to play for the crowd. He said he'd been wanting to bring in more live entertainment ever since Jasper played his set there and that he was willing to pay us to play this Friday afternoon!"
"That's incredible," Demitri told him. "We should seriously start talking about band names! We'll need something really cool, something that fits our style!"
"What about something like Inspired Broken Hearts? I mean, not trying to point out the obvious but Jasper's songs are all inspired by his break up..." Alec suggested.
"I'd rather not," I told him immediately. "I don't want a band name that reminds me of the heart break; living it through the songs is bad enough, man."
"What about Clockwork Destruction?" Demitri and Alec just looked at me like I was crazy and shook their heads no. "Well, what have you got to suggest?" I asked Demitri.
"Dead Imagination!" he shouted. We laughed our asses off as we threw out the most random things we could come up with, from names like Consolidated Death and Death Balls to Feather of Fire or Explicit Crisis.
"What about Exposed of the Heroic?" I threw it out there suddenly, seriously considering it. It was edgy and different, not like anything I knew was out there at the time. The guys stopped laughing and thought about it.
Alec was the first to answer. "I like it; it's edgy..."
"Yeah, that's bloody brilliant!" Demitri added. "I mean, it's different and it's pretty rockin'!"
"So, is that it? Did we actually just come up with the name of our band?" I asked, almost completely in disbelief. It was finally setting in that it was a real band, with a live gig and everything.
"Yeah, mate, we did. Now, let's get some practice in so we can rock it out on Friday!" That was Alec's way of motivating us to get up and get shit done.
When Friday finally rolled around, the coffee house was packed with all of our friends, Alec and Demitri's family, a bunch of people we didn't know, and to my surprise, Dr. Volturi had shown up. The whole thing was supposed to be really exciting, but all I kept thinking about was how I was about to play with my band for the first time and Edward didn't even know about it.
I had still tried randomly to get a hold of him but none of my messages were being returned. I asked Bella and Alice to give him the message because, come on, that was the biggest thing that had happened to me since the scholarship and they both told me that they thought it was best not to rock the boat and drag Edward back into it, so they didn't tell him.
It definitely put a damper on my mood but I had to be a professional about it. Alec and Demitri were counting on me. We started off by playing a couple covers of popular rock tunes that the crowd seemed to really enjoy and then we threw in one of my original songs and the crowd seemed to enjoy that even more. So we mixed it up with originals and covers, and by the end of the hour and fifteen minute slot, the adrenaline running through my veins was at least four times as crazy as I had felt after I finished my solo performance in the same place. It was amazing!
Over the next several months, the band really took off in Liverpool and we moved from Hemingways to some of the bigger coffee shops. One of the coordinators of the Liverpool International Music Festival invited us to participate due to the reputation we were gaining as a viable up and coming rock band. It was the biggest thing to happen to us as a band and we were hoping to gain even more fans from being exposed to such a large number of people.
Dr. Volturi was a huge supporter of the band and even offered to get us in contact with a friend of his who owned a small music studio so we could go in and record a demo CD to sell at the festival.
Things happened so fast for Exposed of the Heroic after that. We were a huge hit even though we weren't a headlining act, and we sold all 500 copies of the demo we brought with us. A talent scout from London talked to us about coming to London to play for his record label's CEO and the Executive Producer, which we did in October during my fall break from school. I only had a couple more months of school after that to get through which flew by since we were still doing gigs on the side in Liverpool and traveling to London every other weekend to work on recording our first album.
I spent any free time I had writing new material and trying not to think about how lonely I really was because I was lucky to be getting the break with my music and the band. Nighttime, right before I went to sleep, was the worst for me because it was the only real downtime I had. All my memories of Edward would come flooding back and every single night I could feel my heart breaking all over again. It was pure agony.
I had decided to stay in Britain with the band because I figured I had nothing to look forward to back home since Edward was no longer willing to be a part of my life and things were as good as they were going to be for me at that point.
I graduated the music program with honors and made what I hoped to be a life-long friend in Felix, who was someone I could talk to about anything, even the stuff I didn't want to share with Alec and Demitri. It was hard to leave Liverpool after the year was up, but we made the move to London because it was the best thing for the band. It was so much closer to our record label and we started doing gigs at bigger events than we'd had in Liverpool. We were no longer playing coffee houses, but doing actual shows in much bigger venues all over London and the surrounding cities.
When our album finally dropped we weren't expecting to it to be as successful as it was, but it was pleasantly surprising. We were invited to be guests on several talk shows and radio morning shows to promote Exposed of the Heroic. It was crazy, but Alec, Demitri and I were having the time of our lives with the music, huge performances and the crazy fans who we owed everything to.
Life was good.
During the next three years, Exposed of the Heroic really hit the big time: sold out shows, outrageous merchandise sales, we had three albums out at that point, each one went platinum at least once and finally after playing everywhere we could in Britain, we made the decision to expand our horizons and do a world tour, starting with the U.S.
Once I was back on home soil, it was great. I mean, it's true what they say, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. I missed my family and friends more than I could describe, even though I had been home to visit a couple of times during those years. I was aware that Edward no longer lived in Washington. They tell me he moved to Chicago for a job, but I suspected he moved to get away from my memory. I'm pretty sure I would've done the same thing.
So that's why when I found out we were going to be playing a gig in Chicago my heart began to race, my stomach twisted up in knots and I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. I didn't know what I was more afraid of, that Edward was going to turn up at the show to see me or that he wasn't.
The anticipation leading up to that particular show was enough to make a person go insane. It was bad enough that my emotional state began to waver from night after night of going on stage and wearing my heart on my sleeve, performing songs that did nothing but remind me of broken hearts, love lost, and the anger and bitterness that had settled into the core of my being from losing Edward. It was tiresome and seriously wearing me down, but I couldn't let the guys down. They were counting on me just as much as I counted on them, so I endured what I had to for the sake of the band.
Doomsday, as I had started to call it, arrived far too soon and not quite soon enough for my liking. I felt like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with all my mood swings leading up to that day. One minute I was hoping to see him and the next I was fearing for my sanity if I did. During one of my hopeful times I made sure that his name was on the list to get backstage in case he did show up, not that I had a way to let him know that he could if he wanted to, but hey, I did what I could.
I had to give Alec and Demitri credit for putting up with me in all my moody glory during that time, but with Felix not around for me to talk to, I'd finally told the guys the whole story one night when I was feeling sorry for myself (and had drank a quarter bottle of bourbon by myself), so they cut me some slack.
I was in my dressing room getting ready for the show when I felt it, that strange connection that Edward and I had always had. I know some people would tell me I was crazy for thinking so but I knew he was there, I could just feel him and when we finally took the stage, my eyes sought him out frantically.
There he was in the second row staring back at me. My soul felt complete momentarily before it shattered again as I remembered why it had been over four years since I'd seen him. I went through the show on auto-pilot as everything ran through my head. No matter how involved with the audience I was, I couldn't get Edward off my mind. I was hyper-aware of his presence as I sang the songs I had written about him directly to him, which just emotionally drained me even faster than the music usually did.
The show was nearly over when Edward got up and walked out. I honestly wanted to break down right then and there because no matter how much I wanted to be angry with him, my heart needed him and he was walking away from me again. We ended the show with a bang as we always did and as soon as the curtain was pulled for the final time, I just dropped to the ground, put my head on my knees and folded my hands behind my head. I needed a moment and the guys must have sensed that because they didn't ask me what was wrong, they just grabbed my guitar from where it was lying on the floor beside me and left the stage.
I can't tell you how long I stayed that way, but soon my legs and back couldn't handle the distorted position I was in and I forced myself to get up. I took my time wandering back to my dressing room, not wanting to face the emptiness of my life anymore. The weight of it all was killing me.
The closer I got to my dressing room the angrier I got. Edward had given up on me once and that nearly broke me, but knowing that he was able to walk away from me again threatened to destroy any semblance of sanity I had remaining.
As soon as I entered my dressing room, I walked straight to the chair by my vanity mirror and stripped out of my sweat soaked shirt. I looked into the mirror and that's when my eyes met Edward's in the mirror. "Edward..." I whispered.
"Jasper..." I tried to put a clamp on the river of emotions flowing through me at that moment and when Edward touched my shoulder, it was almost too much. There was no way that one touch should have evoked such a sense of rightness in me, but I had to get away before I forgot how mad I was.
I sat down on the couch and lit a cigarette. Something I didn't do often but my nerves were beyond shot and I needed something to do with my hands. "I thought you'd left..." I told him, trying to keep my voice neutral.
"When did you start smoking?" Really? He hadn't spoken to me in four years and he leads off with a question like that?
I couldn't keep the irritation out of my voice as I answered him. "There are a lot of things you don't know about me, Edward."
He looked uncomfortable and hurt by my words, but he'd hurt me more than I could ever begin to explain, so maybe I was lashing out a bit and I didn't feel too bad about it. "Can I sit?" He was treating me like a skittish little kid which was amusing.
"Yeah... whatever." He sat next to me, too close and yet not close enough. I could feel his body heat but he wasn't touching me which I couldn't decide if that was a good thing or not.
"Listen, Jasper, I know we've got a lot to talk about but I don't really wanna do it here. Will you come back to my place with me?"
Now that threw me for a loop. I wanted to go back to his place like nobody's business, but then again, I knew if I did I wouldn't end up leaving until we were both naked which was not a place we needed to be at that moment. "I've got to leave in the morning."
Edward considered my excuse for about half a second before deflecting. "I know and I swear to have you back on time, I just really need to spend some time with you and if I know you at all, you want the same." He reached for my hand and when his fingers threaded through mine, my heart began to race wildly. I didn't pull away. "Please, Jas, I miss you."
I couldn't make up my mind, the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing again. Could my heart handle one night with Edward and then force itself to leave in the morning? I wasn't sure. I knew I wanted him more than I was willing to admit, but my sanity was wearing thin. In the end, my want outweighed the potential downfall. "Alright," I answered, "But I need to shower first."
"You can shower at my place if you want; I'm sure it's cleaner."
With my mind made up, I stood and pulled Edward up with me, trying not to let go of him since I felt right again for the first time in four years, but our feet got tangled and he slipped. I instinctively wrapped my arms around his waist to keep him from falling and when he was upright again he leaned into me and my resolve nearly broke right there. "Thanks," he whispered after I let go to grab the stuff I would need for an overnight with him.
The ride back to his place was quiet, but I couldn't force myself to stop touching him, so I kept my hand on his thigh the whole time and he didn't stop me.
Once we got into his apartment, he led me to the bathroom and I showered the sweat and stink off of me. I never felt human after a show until I washed the night away, which meant letting go of all the emotions and vulnerability that seeped from my pores while I sang my heart out for the audience. I dressed in my flannel pants, foregoing a t-shirt, and walked out to sit on one end of the couch.
Edward sat at the other end and offered me a beer. I accepted and took several drinks, trying to work up the courage to ask the most important question I needed answered. Finally, when I couldn't take the awkward silence any longer, I blurted out, "Why did you give up on me?" I knew Edward could see right through me in that moment.
He didn't hesitate, as though he'd been waiting for the chance to explain. "I was so mad when I woke up and you were gone. I kept expecting you to show back up but you never did."
"You were supposed to be supportive and happy for me but you couldn't do that. I needed you and you let me down." I swallowed the last drink of beer and set it down on the coffee table harder than I meant to.
"I realize that now, Jas, but back then all I could see was the one person who was always there for me abandoning me. I ended up shattering my phone and didn't bother getting a new one for a month because I felt like if you weren't there then what was the point?"
I was debating whether or not to start drinking the bourbon when Edward reached out and poured two glasses and handed one to me. "I tried to call you, email you, text you, anything to get you to talk to me and I failed miserably..." I downed the bourbon in one gulp. "Then I got a hold of Alice a few months later and she said you seemed fine, a bit withdrawn but overall okay, and that was the point when I realized that I must've meant nothing to you and that was the final blow that smashed my heart."
Edward scooted over to my end of the couch, our legs pressed against each other. "Jasper, you're the only person who has ever meant anything to me. Do you know how hard it was for me to pretend that everything was okay? It was all an act and once I realized how absolutely selfish I was being, I knew you deserved better than that, than me."
That angered me beyond belief and I kind of lost it. "Maybe I did, Edward, but you're the only person I've ever wanted... that I've ever loved, and you gave up on us. How am I supposed to get past that? I fucking need you so desperately and I don't know how to move on."
Edward looked so desperate as he looked me in the eye. "I'm so sorry, Jas, so fucking sorry, but I still need you too. What do you need from me? What can I do to make this up to you? Please give me a second chance to prove that you're all I've ever needed."
I knew what I needed to say and I knew what I needed to know but I grabbed the bottle of bourbon off the table and took a long drink from it. "There's just one thing I need to know tonight and we can work the rest of it out later because, fuck, Edward, I can't live without you anymore if there's the option of being with you."
"What is it, Jasper? What do you need to know? I'll tell you anything... just please?"
My heart about popped out of my chest as I whispered the question I didn't know if I could handle the answer to. "Has there been anyone else?"
"No one..." he immediately answered without hesitation. "There was a boy in a club once, one of Bella's friends, but once he touched me I couldn't go through with it; I couldn't stand the thought of anyone else touching me. It's always been you and only you."
I could feel every ounce of sincerity and honesty in his answer and it touched me in a way I hadn't expected and before I realized what I'd done, I had him pinned up against the arm of the couch. I could feel all of him against me and it was indescribable, way better than getting up on stage and performing. "You've spent four years celibate because of me?" I asked him, completely touched at the show of love and faith.
"No, I've spent four years celibate because of me, because of my own stupidity... has there been anyone else for you?" he asked me, uncertainty lacing his voice.
I leaned in close to his ear and whispered, "No one... I just didn't expect that from you. I always had hope; I just thought you'd given up."
Edward pulled me closer to him, holding me so tight that no part of us wasn't touching the other. "I could never give up... I've always wanted you." He ground his pelvis against mine for the first time in far, far too long. "I love you, Jasper."
We thrust against each other frantically, chasing the first of what I was hoping to be many orgasms for the night. Lord knows we had years of lost time to make up for before I realized I didn't want our first time back together to be like that. I had something better in mind. "Edward... stop... STOP!"
The sheer look of terror and shame in his eyes broke my heart again. He was doubting me again and I had to explain as he turned to hide his face from me. "No, don't... That's not... I just meant... I don't want to do it like this. Not our first time together again, I mean."
There were tears in his eyes when he finally gathered the courage to look at me again and I couldn't help but brush them away as they fell down his cheek. "Jasper, I need to know something, too..."
"Can you ever forgive me for what I did? For the time we lost because of my selfishness? Because if you can't, then this is never going to work..."
I leaned in and cut him off before he could continue to doubt what we had. When our lips met for the first time it was quite possibly the most passionate, emotionally driven kiss that we'd ever shared and nothing in my life had ever felt so right and I'd hoped he could tell that I had let it all go. "Take me to bed..." I pleaded.
We made our way to Edward's bedroom where we finally, FINALLY reconnected our love for each other in the most primal and intimate way. There were no more doubts left in my mind, Edward and I were going to make it. He was my soul mate, and if we could endure everything that had happened and come out on this side of if stronger than before, then nothing could tear us apart.