So lately I've had trouble writing.
A few weeks back I asked folks on twitter for prompts so I could try to write some drabbles and, I don't know, fix my brain. I wrote a bunch of smut, and then grrlinterrupted asked for "Any pairing, just a really gorgeous kiss." I wrote this first bit for her then, blatantly pandering to her love of Jasper and historical romance, and I kind of enjoyed doing something a little different. Anyway, this is just an exercise in writing, and is not beta'd, but I thought I'd share with the class anyway. Let me know if you have thoughts.
Her Mama told her to give up hope, but Bella sat on the front porch every day, waiting.
She sewed, mended socks and pants for the men working on the farm, but always with one eye on the road, hoping to see one particular soldier walking down it.
When it finally happened, she couldn't believe her eyes. She stood and squinted, trying to get a closer look, and then the clouds parted just enough for a ray of sunshine to hit a lock of his golden hair, and she knew.
She burst down the steps, hitching up her dress so she could run, and started running down towards the road. She saw her Jasper speed up too, limping a little but hustling to get to her as fast as he could.
He stopped, braced himself for what he knew was coming, and opened his arms just in time for her to fly into them.
"Jasper," she breathed, a weight lifting from her chest now that she was in his arms again.
"Miss Swan," he said, ever formal, always a gentleman.
She pulled back just enough to see his face-a little older, with a scar down his left cheek-but still her Jasper. "Yes," she whispered, answering a question asked long ago.
He laughed and spun her around there, in the middle of the yard, and then set her on her feet again. His arms tightened around her waist and he pressed his lips to hers, kissing her like he'd been dreaming about for eight hundred and seventy-two days. With no regard for decorum, he crushed her body to his and traced her lips with his tongue, begging entrance.
Bella heard her mama yelling from the front porch, but she didn't care. She gave just as good as she got, trying hard to pour all her love for Jasper into this one kiss. When they finally broke apart he was gasping and grinning-her smile, the one she loved the most.
"My Bella," he whispered. "it sure is good to be home."
Jasper didn't talk about the war. No one asked, not after that first day when the young man's face turned ghostly white at the mere mention of fighting.
Instead of talking, Jasper wanted to listen. He asked Bella about every detail of her life since he'd been gone. They sat on the porch at the farm, or in the living room of Jasper's parents house in town, and Bella told him everything she could remember.
Occasionally they would steal a kiss, but both of their mothers tended to hover nearby. "Nosy old busybodies," Bella would whisper under her breath, earning a smile from Jasper every time.
His leg healed slowly, but the town doctor told Jasper he needed exercise to strengthen it. He and Bella spent their time walking instead of sitting after that-slowly at first, gradually working up to a normal pace.
It was their long walks together that finally gave them an excuse to be alone. They'd start out by circling the edge of the farm, staying in sight of the house, but eventually they'd find themselves on the far side of the barn, away from Mama's prying eyes.
The first time they realized they were alone-really and truly alone-Bella pushed Jasper up against the faded red wall of the barn and kissed him until they were both dizzy. He held her tight, then smoothed his palms up her sides, enjoying the way his tough, wild girl shivered under his touch.
They kissed and kissed, until Bella started to understand why her mama didn't want them alone-the urge to press up against Jasper, to touch him, to do something to relieve the awful want in her body was overwhelming.
Mama's voice made her jump back, and Jasper tried not to laugh when she stumbled a little.
"Where are you? Bella! Jasper!" Mama called.
Jasper took Bella's hand and they ran back towards the house. When they reached the front porch they found Bella's mother waiting. She stood with her arms crossed, taking in the flush of her daughter's cheeks and the wide smile stretched across Jasper's face.
"Lord," Mama said, shaking her head. "We'd better start working on your wedding dress."
A week later, Jasper came by and asked to speak to Mama and Daddy alone.
He'd already asked permission to marry Bella, years ago, and her daddy had said smirked and said "As soon as you convince her to get married, you have our blessing."
So that cool autumn morning, Bella had no idea what Jasper was up to. He emerged from the kitchen smiling, though, and grabbed Bella's hand to pull her up from the rocking chair.
"Come on, I have something to show you," he said, tucking her hand in the crook of his elbow. He walked her down the path to the main road, and turned so they were walking away from town. "I got permission to take you away away for an hour or so, Miss Swan, but I promised your mama I'd be a gentleman."
"Oh?" Bella asked, pressing her side closer to Jasper's. "Well, what Mama doesn't know..."
"Behave," Jasper teased, although he tilted his head down for a quick kiss.
They walked past the Gardener's and the Wilson's, down to James Snyder's little cabin. Jasper stopped abruptly, then led Bella halfway up the walkway to the front door.
"What are we going to see James for?" Bella asked.
"We're not," Jasper replied, dropping her hand. "We're here to see his house."
"He's leaving town next month, Bella. Moving to Norfolk to be work for his brother. I was thinking... well, I don't have a lot, but with the money I got saved up, I reckon we could buy this place."
Bella examined the cabin more closely now, picturing herself living there. She could hang up some curtains, maybe, or plant some flowers around the porch. More importantly, she could be with Jasper. Start a life together, start a family.
"What do you think?" he asked, suddenly nervous.
"Jasper," she said, eyes wide with visions of their future together, "I think it's perfect."
"Daddy," Bella hissed, tucking a last strand of hair into the pretty braids Mama had done. "Daddy, we need to go."
"I can't believe it," Charlie said, shaking his head slowly. "My little girl."
"I'm gonna be an old maid if you don't walk me down that aisle already," she argued, tugging at Charlie's hand.
Their parents wanted Bella and Jasper to get married at the little church in town, but it quickly became apparent that the building itself was too small to hold all of the friends and family planning to attend. Bella argued for a few weeks, but all it took to settle the argument was a quiet speech from Jasper about how he'd spent two years praying out on the battlefields. "I'm here today," he said, "God seemed to be able to hear me just fine."
Bella peeked out the back door of the farmhouse, taking a deep breath as Charlie took her hand. The whole town was there, along with friends and family who had traveled just for the occasion.
"You nervous?" Charlie asked.
"Nope." Bella pushed open the door, regretting her words when the whole crowd turned to face her at once. She hated being the center of attention, and to make things worse she was wearing a delicate white dress that made her feel more exposed than usual. She had the urge to go back inside, slam the door shut, and hide.
But there was one face in the crowd-tanned, a little scarred, framed by the golden waves she'd loved since she was a child. She smiled wide when her eyes met Jasper's, and the rest of the crowd seemed to melt away.
"C'mon, Daddy," she murmured, pulling Charlie down the steps. The crowd laughed as he stumbled after her, but settled down as he caught up and walked her slowly, surely down the aisle.
She thought she caught a tear in his eye as he transferred her hand to Jasper's, but she chalked it up to the bright sun-Daddy never cried.
Bella thought it was an awful lot of fuss, since their new house was just a mile down the road, but Mama and Daddy insisted that she and Jasper take the carriage.
The wedding party was winding down, everyone exhausted from laughing and dancing and eating good food. Bella had fun, enjoying that she could touch Jasper freely now, dance closely with him without getting a dirty look from her mother.
In fact, when she noticed Mama watch Jasper twirl Bella around the yard, her face was glowing with pride.
When the sun started to dip low in the sky, the newlyweds said their goodbyes and drove the carriage down to their new cabin. Jasper had moved in a week before, and Bella had been allowed to come by with her mother to measure the windows for curtains and help set up the kitchen, but she had never been there alone with Jasper.
Alone, with Jasper.
She shivered in the evening air and scooted closer to her husband.
"Tired, Mrs. Whitlock?" he asked, wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
"No, not really," she said honestly. She would have been tired, if not for the nervous energy coursing through her veins.
When they reached the cabin, Jasper jumped down and tied the horses before circling around to Bella's side of the carriage. Normally she would jump down on her own, but she was afraid of ruining the pretty dress Mama had worked so hard on. Jasper reached up and wrapped his long fingers around her waist, then lowered her down slowly, keeping her body close as she slid to the ground.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his jaw, pleased to be really, truly, finally alone with him.
"Jasper, my husband," she said, brushing her lips over his jaw. "Let's go inside."
All of the kisses she'd ever had in her whole life belonged to Jasper Whitlock.
They were thirteen the first time, and it was just a quick press of their lips to see what the fuss was all about. Bella declared kissing "gross," and Jasper didn't try again for three more years.
The next time they kissed, Bella found it a little less gross and a little more intriguing. She liked the way her lips tingled and Jasper's voice got low and hoarse when he spoke to her afterwards. Their kisses stayed relatively innocent, though, until it became clear that Jasper would have to go off to war.
The few nights before he left, their kisses took on a desperate quality. Their passion was tempered, though, by fear and dread, coloring those kisses with sadness.
When Jasper came back from the war and Bella knew he would be hers forever? Those were the best kisses she could imagine. They were happy, playful kisses, with the promise of more lying just beneath the surface.
On her wedding night, when Jasper clutched her hand and led her into their new bedroom, pausing only to light a gas lamp to augment the moonlight, Bella was convinced that no kiss would ever exceed the one they shared that afternoon, sealing their union.
"Bella," Jasper whispered, dropping her hand to cup her cheeks in his palms, "my love. My wild girl. I've dreamed about this since... well, since before I knew what I was dreamin' about."
Bella giggled and felt her cheeks flush red-she hadn't really known exactly what to expect herself until Mama sat her down the week before and gave her an awkward, rushed overview.
"I've heard that it might hurt the girl," Jasper admitted, dropping his forehead to Bella's. "The woman, I mean. The first time."
"Don't worry." Bella stroked his hair, then tugged playfully at a too-long strand. "If you hurt me, I'll just thump you on the back of the head like I did that time you pushed me into Miller's creek."
Jasper howled with laughter, and the tension between them broke just enough for them to relax. He picked Bella up and whirled her around, then wrapped her up in his arms and kissed her passionately. Bella's body responded without any input from her brain, bowing against Jasper's and trembling with excitement.
Her heart fluttered as she realized that this kiss was even better than their last, and the thought crossed her mind that maybe, if she was lucky, it would be like that for the rest of their lives.
Lately I've been writing in third person/past tense for some reason. Mostly to see if I could. Did you notice? Does it make a difference to you?
Thanks for reading. :)