The Summer It All Began Contest
Title: How to Catch fYreflies
Word Count: 8,478
Summary: Jasper dreams of finding "the one." Can a combining of summer camps make his hopes reality?
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.
How to Catch fYreflies
At age fourteen, I made my big announcement to Momma and out of the closet I came. Momma had spent hours researchin' resources to help me. By helpin', I mean makin' me comfortable with who I am. She was never one to judge, and she almost seemed to already know what I was goin' to tell her before I had even rambled it out.
Well, anyway, back on track. Momma wanted me to be around like-minded people and good role models. Finally, she found Camp fYrefly and, at first, I was not thrilled. This summer retreat was for gay teens to meet up and do different activities. All of the councilors were gay, out, and proud, as it were. They came from many backgrounds and a lot of them were once attendees themselves.
I'm actually quite outgoin' but, when it comes to my sexuality, I tend to blush, even at the idea of kissin' a fella. It turned out to be the best time of my life and I couldn't thank Momma enough when I got back.
This place was like any other camp, really. There were nature hikes, kayakin', swimmin', and even rock climbin'. Along with it though, there were some counselin' sessions and workshops on how we viewed ourselves in society.
I never realized just how many gay kids there were until I got there. I thought I was a freak until then. I mean, reasonably, you know it's not just you, but when you grow up in a small town down in south Texas, where the favorite phrase used is "that's so gay", you don't exactly feel normal or welcome.
It was amazin' to just be myself and to talk to some of the adults who'd walked in my shoes. It put a lot into perspective for me. People are always goin' to find a reason to hate, and if it's not because of who you love, then it will be over somethin' else. The trick was not to let them define me as a man. I am who I am, and some jackass isn't goin' to change that or make me feel wrong about it.
So, every summer, I went back and looked forward to it each season.
The second time I went there, I was comfortable in my skin, and helped as much as I could with the newbies. Of course, it did help that I had the biggest crush on my section leader, James. He just had this "fuck everybody and what they thought" mentality that went straight to my cock. He was the center of all my fantasies and jerk off sessions. Although, findin' time alone to do so was a bit of a challenge. I'm sure he knew I had a thing for him, but he never made me feel silly for it.
We'd stay up late by the fire, talkin', and I'd sit there wishin' the whole time that he'd kiss me. I didn't want to get him in trouble, though. Councilors weren't allowed to fraternize with the kids. It was a good rule and I agreed with it. The problem was explainin' it to Jasper Junior. He practically jumped out of my shorts at James any chance he got.
Let me tell you, it wasn't easy hidin' a stiffy in soccer type shorts. The material did nothin' but draw a bullseye to it. He'd seen a few times and would quietly clear his throat and hand me somethin' to set in my lap. If I wasn't blushin' before, I surely was then.
Luckily, by my third visit at the ripe old age of sixteen, I'd gotten over my infatuation with James. He was still there, mind you, but by then he was datin' a guy by the name of Jake. He was another hottie, and sweet too. They were crazy for each other and it made me long to have someone look at me like that.
I was embarrassed as hell, but I wanted a damn boyfriend already. I had no idea what I'd do with him if I had him, though; still, I wanted one. Mainly, I think I just wanted someone to cuddle by the fire with and maybe hold my hand. As silly as it sounds, I'm an old fashioned sort. I wasn't lookin' for hot and heavy, like the rest of the guys seemed to be.
Many a night, I'd hear somebody sneakin' outta bed and goin' to anothers. There'd be soft moans and kisses and it was somethin' to listen to. It sure as hell turned me on, even if I wasn't ready for all that.
Summer of 2011
The fourth year was the summer that changed me. I'm not sure if it was good or not, though. I'd gotten there early so I could settle in and make the most of my time. There was a good amount of hangin' out and yakkin' with the other guys. They'd told me there was a new camp that was combined with ours, since the owners couldn't afford to keep it up. So, those kids were goin' to be joinin' us.
This left me really excited, because there'd be tons of new people to get to know. These camps were a great place to make lastin' friends. Many of them I kept in contact with year round. With email, Skype, and unlimited textin', it was a breeze.
Two of my best friends at the camp were Emmett and Carlisle. Actually, Carlisle was the newest of our trio at the retreat.
Emmett and I hit it off with him instantly.
Carlisle had been a cocky little shit from the moment he stepped off the bus. He grabbed his bag, glanced around, and eyed up the resident snob of our section, Embry. Without a bit of hesitation, he went right up to him and handed the teen his pack. In a self-assured manner, he said, "If you carry this to my cabin, I'll let you watch my ass the whole way there."
Embry'd looked at him like the boy'd done lost his mind and, if I'm not mistaken, a whole shit load of lust.
In amazed silence, we observed Embry take the tote from him and smirk while following a sashaying Carlisle down the path. His eyes never left that ass.
Emmett and I stared on for a moment then peeked over at each other before bustin' a gut.
In between chuckles, Emmett stated, "We have to get to know him. After all, he's my hero now." After a nod and knuckle bump, we trailed after them on a mission - to find out more about the boy who'd made the snootiest guy here drool and act like a lost puppy.
So there we were, the three musketeers, waitin' on the bus to arrive like it was Christmas mornin' or somethin'.
Carlisle sat there, pickin' at his cuticles and appearin' bored stiff. He huffed. "When are they going to get here already? I want some new toys to play with and standing in this humidity is making my hair frizz. If I'd known how bad it would be this year, I would've brought more product, dang it."
Emmett laughed at that and warned, "I had no idea you were so delusional, Peaches. Once they see me, you don't stand a chance anyway. So go fix your hair."
"Emmett McCarty! Just because you are jealous of my creamy complexion gives you no right to call me 'Peaches.' I work hard to look this damn good. I'm sorry it would take you ten times longer to, but deal. Don't take it out on me."
Emmett started to reply, but I put my hand up to stop him. "That's enough you two, before I start thinkin' you want to get it on. I swear you both have some sorta verbal foreplay goin'."
They both went quiet immediately. I always knew exactly what to say to quiet those little tantrums between them. They always liked to snipe at each other and, usually, I found it funny, but I was wound tighter than a spring right then.
The sound of the bus comin' up the path jangled my nerves a little more. I had no idea why, but I knew these new campers were goin' to have an affect on me. Momma always taught me to go with my gut. I'd told Emmett my feelins on this. I just knew that the guy I was supposed to meet was on that bus. He'd laughed and said I was makin' a mountain out of a mole hill, but whatever. I was tired of bein' alone and even if it was just for the summer, I wanted to have some sorta boyfriend.
The vehicle came to a full stop close to where we were standin', and I just waited on baited breath as the doors opened and some girls got off first. Definitely not what I was lookin' for. Then some really young kids piled out. They were maybe thirteen or fourteen at most. Lastly, some older teens got off the bus and that was that. No magic boy or moment for me. I couldn't believe I'd been so off with my intuition.
You're seriously pathetic. You acted like some guy was gonna come and sweep you off your feet or some shit. I mean, come on. You'd never get that lucky.
As if readin' my mind, Emmett stepped up behind me and clasped my shoulder in a comfortin' manner and gave it a squeeze.
"Dude, you never know. Maybe your guy is waiting for you back home when you go back to school. Have you ever thought of that? Aren't you interested in anyone in your hometown?"
Sulkin' for a moment, I just stood there. "You gotta understand somethin', Emmett. I live in fuckin' Texas. Not only is it the man's man capital of the US, but I also live in a tiny bigoted town. If I was lucky enough to be attracted to anyone and they returned my feelins, we'd both be beat to death. These camps are all I got, man - all I have to look forward to."
Carlisle stepped up with his signature hand on his hip. "Well, that's not true. I call you every day when we're away from here, so you have my sexy voice. That's something, right?"
His ridiculousness hit me and I snorted, which then made me laugh. Just that little bit of lightness was what I needed. My funk started to lift as quickly as it had set on me.
They both gazed at me knowingly. "Yeah, yeah, I'm dramatic. So what? I gotta balance you two out, don't I? I mean, we have queen-for-a-day right here and a meathead on the other side of me. I gotta have my niche, right?"
Carlisle slipped his arm around my shoulders and sighed. "Of course you do, sugar, and we love you for it."
Emmett piped in then. "Yeah, so stop moping and if you call me meathead again, I'll kick your little country boy ass. Although, I must say, you pinned Carlisle with a new nickname. High five!"
Carlisle groaned in disgust as we did just that and exchanged our high fives. "Why do I even hang out with you losers? You have no style and barely any manners. It's yet another of life's great mysteries, I suppose."
I just couldn't help myself. "Ain't no 'mystery' to it. We're awesome and you'd be lost without us."
Carlisle bumped my shoulder with his. "True, but you have to admit you two are Neanderthals in comparison to me. I've made it my life's mission to civilize you both so you're suitable for an actual relationship."
I couldn't help laughin' straight out. Mister 'player' planned on makin' us boyfriend material. It was irony at it's finest.
Emmett just shook his head at us and suggested, "I guess we should see if any of the noobs need help settling in, huh?"
"Yeah, 'spose that'd be the neighborly thing to do. I know we have one new member in our cabin per James. Wonder which of 'em it is."
"All I can say is they better stay out of my bath accessories. That shit isn't cheap, you know," Carlisle huffed.
Of course, Emmett couldn't leave that one alone, so he threw out his snide comment as we headed to the cabin area. "Hell, of course it costs a lot. Have you looked in the mirror lately?"
Carlisle just rolled his eyes and didn't dignify that with a comment.
Emmett seemed put out by not havin' somethin' said back, but we were quickly distracted by two girls tryin' desperately to pull a huge tote up the lodgin' steps. We hurried up to them and picked it up. It was no small feat, considerin' it felt like there had to have been three dead bodies in the thing.
We eventually found out that the two girls were named Rose and Leah. Both seemed really nice in a feisty sorta way. I think we stepped on their "we are women and can do anything a man can" thing, but whatever. Momma woulda had my hide if she'd known I didn't help a lady. Of course, they weren't too lady-like when fightin' with the bag, but I digress.
Rose and Carlisle hit it off instantly, as soon as she started unloadin' her beauty products. He was beaming like he was at Liz Claiborne's on an all expenses paid spa day. 'Fore I knew it, they were sittin' there exchangin' tips for smaller pores or some shit.
Emmett and I were lost, so we turned our attention to Leah. She was the real athletic type, so Emmett and her had lots to talk about. She played soccer and he participated in rugby.
For the first time in a while, I felt like the odd man out. Well, I always felt it at home, but not at fYrefly. Leah, having a mini freak out at one of her duffels not bein' there, broke me outta my morose thoughts.
"Are you sure ya got it off the bus?"
"Yes, Jasper, I'm almost positive. I guess it couldn't hurt to have another look, right?"
"I'd be happy to go back and see what I can find for ya. It's no problem."
Leah was relieved. "That would be so sweet of you. Thanks."
I felt relieved knowin' I was gettin' out of there. Those four were makin' my manhood want to retreat inside of me. Between Carlisle squealin' over somethin' in Rose's stuff and Emmett and Leah bonding over what team would make whatever where, I'd had enough.
After searchin' the whole transport, I didn't find anythin'. I started to head back, but was stalled when I saw a taxi pullin' in.
I stood there and watched as the most gorgeous boy I'd ever seen stepped out of the cab. He had beautiful bronze colored hair, pale skin, sharp, strikin' features, and full sexy lips. My tongue was practically hangin' out of my mouth. I couldn't wait to get a closer look. I headed straight toward him without further thought. I had to be welcomin' and all, right?
He was unloadin' the trunk of the cab when I got close enough to him to speak. I took a moment while he was distracted to ogle him some more. He had broad shoulders and a narrow waist that led to an ass so perfect, my dick jumped. I groaned and adjusted myself just in time for him to turn around.
To say I was embarrassed would have been the understatement of the century. His sharp, green eyes caught my movement with a hint of humor and lust in 'em. He gave me a brilliant, crooked smile that lit up his face and he stuck out his hand.
"Hi, I'm Edward. Nice to meet you..."
I wasted no time in grasping his hand. "Jasper. Same here, Edward." There it was, that tinglin' sensation, or spark, as Momma called it; the same thing she'd felt when she'd met Daddy. It went all the way from the tips of my fingers, worked its way up my arm, and into my chest.
I didn't think I could've smiled any bigger if I tried. This was him, the one. I just knew it in that moment.
Our hands, which had been holdin' each other's a little longer than necessary, finally let go when the driver suddenly slammed the trunk shut. He just shook his head and got in the car, takin' off at a clip. I paid him no mind as I turned my attention to the gorgeous man in front of me.
"So, Edward, why so late?"
He answered as we both picked up his bags. "Well, Mom got the time wrong, so she had to get a late plane ticket for me. I was supposed to go to the other camp and with all the craziness, our info got screwed somehow. The important thing is I'm here now. I've never been to one of these camps before and I'm excited. Have you?"
Without really knowing where we were going, we started walking off on one of the paths. "Oh, yes. I've come here since I was fourteen. It's great, actually. I thought it was goin' to be really stupid and childish, or some glorified counselin', but it's been a good place to just meet friends and stuff. It's darn cool not to have to hide yourself and have fun." I stopped when I realized I was ramblin'. Chancin' a glance at Edward, he just had this little smile on his face while listenin' to everythin' I was talkin' about.
Don't screw this up with nerves, moron. He could be that boyfriend you've been moonin' over.
Blushin' a little, I apologized for my chatter.
"Pfft, I love hearing you talk. Your accent is magnificent." Then, leanin' over conspiratorially, he whispered, "I think it's sexy as hell and I could listen to you talk all day long." He had a smirk that could only be described as flirty. My breath caught when the realization hit me that he was just as attracted to me as I was him. My heart was in my throat.
What do you do now? You finally got your wish. You have no clue, do you?
I had no idea what my next move was goin' to be. The only thing that I knew was to just do one thing at a time, like Momma had always told me, when I tended to get overwhelmed. So, takin' a deep breath, I started at the beginnin' and made sure he was taken care of.
Soon, I found out that he was the fourth person assigned to our cabin. I was elated and scared as hell at the same time.
After Edward was settled into the last bunk, which was right across from mine, and after his clothes were put away, I went about introducin' him to the fellas. Our trio grew to include not only Edward, but Rose and Leah.
The followin' couple of weeks were some of the best of my life. Edward and I couldn't seem to stop talkin'. There was always somethin' we wanted to share with each other. We liked a lot of the same stuff. What the other didn't know, we felt the need to show and tell them about every part of it.
His sense of humor killed me and he was a bit of a trickster. I still get the giggles when I think about the time he replaced Carlisle's face cream, with some sort of kitchen concoction. I thought Edward was done for, but Carlisle, always the queen, just admonished him haughtily and then asked for the recipe since his "pores had never been smaller".
Then there were the touches and the flirts. Edward would touch my hand or I would brush the hair out of his eyes. The glances became longer and the innuendo became hotter. I was near crazy with wantin' to kiss him. I'd never tried to before, though, and I was afraid I'd be bad at it.
Of course Emmett and Liz Claiborne, AKA Carlisle, thought that it was hilarious to watch.
"Dude, seriously. Just go grab your hunka hunka burnin' love and lay one on him. He's looking like he's about to pop his cream filling every time you walk past. If you don't, someone else is gonna help him with his problem; the problem you created."
"What if I'm bad at it, Emmett? I don't want to be known as the camp's worst kisser."
Carlisle put his two cents worth in then. "Look. Tonight is the big bonfire. I'm going to give you some relaxing aroma therapy stuff to take a shower with. After that, I want you to go take a nap and keep yourself calm. Then, when the campfire begins, I want you to just be with Edward. Don't focus on expectations and just go with it. Do what feels right, no matter if that's kissing him or just holding his hand."
"I don't know what I'm doin', though. Carl, he's probably not even interested in me. Maybe he's just havin' fun with the virgin, making him blush and all."
"Trust me, as the greatest lover that has ever hit this camp, I can tell you that you won't be rejected. He's probably afraid to push you. Edward and you are close and I can see in his eyes that he wants more. You just have to show him you're ready for it."
Emmett popped me none too gently on the shoulder. "Right. Now, let's get you smelling fruity for your man."
Carlisle just snorted and rolled his eyes at Emmett, as usual. "Come on, darling. We'll be there the whole time, so there's nothing to worry about."
Chuckling, I grunted, "You ever think that might be part of what I'm afraid of?"
"Oooh, and there's our lovely Jasper back to his normal asshole self. You had us worried for a second or two."
That night, a weird calm came over me. I was determined that I was goin' to make this happen - that I was goin' to let him know I wanted more. I just hoped I didn't make an ass of myself in the process. Carlisle gave great advice and he was right; I just needed to enjoy our time together and stop overthinkin' shit.
The fire had been fun and someone broke out the makins for s'mores. I could see Edward's eyes light up. My boy, well, hopefully after tonight my boy, had a sweet tooth.
"I've never had s'mores over a real camp fire! How does this work exactly?"
He looked so dang cute, all lit up like a kid at Christmas.
"Well first, we gotta get us some sticks and I'll show you."
I guided him through the process, my hand graspin' his over the poker, to help him keep it in just the right spot in the fire. My body was as close to his as I could get without moldin' myself to him. Both of our breathin' had picked up its pace a little, and I knew that he wanted me too.
When our treats had finished cookin', we found a more secluded place to eat and talk at one of the small side fires with logs around it.
There was a bit of tension in the air as we both felt things were about to shift in our friendship. Instead of sayin' anythin' though, I wimped out and focused on my food and so did Edward. His little moans of pleasure over the chocolate had me hard in seconds.
"Fuck, Jasper. This is delicious, but it's quite messy though." As if to prove the point, he stuck up his hand and moved is fingers about. The sight of his lips and fingers smeared with white substance did me in, and I leaned over and took one of his fingers into my mouth to suck it clean.
Edward groaned, keepin' his eyes locked with mine, and whispered, "Finally."
Hearin' him say that gave me the green light and I released his then clean digit and kissed those pretty lips. The taste of the sweet treat melded with Edward's own taste, making the lust run rampant in me. I deepened the kiss when Edward's lips parted for my tongue. My hands gripped his soft hair. I'd never imagined that this simple act could feel this way. Surely not every time felt like this or there'd be nothin' else anybody'd do.
We were so lost in each other, we didn't hear Emmett come up until it was too late. "Awww, look! Free porn!"
We both parted, gaspin' and lookin' embarrassed as hell.
"Fuck you, Emmett. Go find someone that thinks you're funny."
"Oh, now Jasper, I was just coming to get you guys because the group is going swimming. Wanna come?" Of course, he wiggled his eyebrow at the word "come".
Edward strategically removed my very sticky fingers from his hair. "Jasper, it might not be a bad idea. We're both a mess," he said, gigglin'.
Laughin' at just how gross we'd become, thanks to the s'mores, I couldn't help but agree.
As the summer wore on, when we weren't doin' camp activities, Edward and I were spendin' all of our free time gettin' to know every detail of each other.
Several of our make out sessions had left me wantin' more, but I was scared shitless to do anythin'. Momma always taught me to be respectful and Edward, I found out, was just as inexperienced as I was. Only he had a better bravado to hide behind.
I knew that most guys my age were in a big hurry to lose their V card, but for some reason, I wasn't. It would happen when the time was right. It was more important to me that it be with the person I cared deeply for. The more time I spent with Edward, talkin' and cuddlin', the more I hoped Edward would be the one. My only real worry was when the summer ended. Edward lived all the way in Washington and I lived down South in Texas. That was a hell of a distance and we hadn't talked about what we were goin' to do when camp finished for the year.
I had no idea how to talk to him about it and had said as much to Carlisle. For some odd reason, even though he was a player of sorts, he was also like a guru for wooing men. It was the damnedest thing to watch him work his magic.
"Honey, you and Edward are adorable together. You need to stop over thinking everything and just go for it." Sighin' heavily, he put his arm around my shoulders as we sat on my cot, and continued, "I swear, baby boy, you spend half your life in your head, mulling over this and that. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith, you know? You can't always know the answers to everything. You're smart, darling, but not even you are that smart."
Chucklin', I leaned my head on his shoulder. "I know, I just want it to be perfect and not fuck everythin' up. What would I say? How would I even start that conversation? I mean, I think I love him. No, I know I do."
"Ah, sweetheart, that's what you have to realize. Love is never perfect. Some of the best romances of all are the most horrifyingly beautiful things you've ever heard of. The point is, love when done right, is worth any amount of grief. Babe, we're just talking about distance here, not two warring families. Well, unless I missed something when you were gushing about him one of those numerous times."
I smacked his belly, making him laugh. "I do not gush! Fine, maybe I do a little...okay, a lot. Have you seen the boy? He's perfection."
I heard a snort from the doorway and Edward came through. "So, just who is this boy that's perfection? You better warn him. I fight dirty when it comes to someone trying to steal my Jasper."
I was shocked and nervous that I'd just made an ass of myself by spillin' my guts unknowingly. "How long have you been standin' there?"
"Just long enough to hear you've already got a roving eye. I'm shocked, Jasper. I would've never pegged you the type."
The thought of me bein' anythin' like Carlisle and the relief about my feelins not bein' overheard had me gigglin' like a school girl.
I'd forgotten Carlisle was there, until his voice broke me out of my hysterics. "Right, Well, take care of this idiot for me, Edward. I believe I'm going to see if Emmett is done playing ball. He may be an ass, but he's fun to watch sweat."
Carlisle had barely cleared the exit before Edward was in front of me, lookin' concerned. "What has you so jittery, babe?"
We'd known each other for two months and he could already read me so well.
"Actually, I was goin' to ask if you weren't doin' any of the activities tonight, if you'd like to go out on a sorta date with me."
His crooked smile lit up the room. "Really? A date? I'd love to. Are you sure it's okay with James that we take off by ourselves?"
Excitement charged through me at the thought that a date with me made him happy. The boys had helped me plan out a little somethin' that I hoped would suffice as a date. Carl, of course, was in charge of wardrobe.
"Yeah, I checked with him. He understands that we need a little alone time and he said 'as long as we behave ourselves' he wouldn't make a stink about it."
He leaned in and gave me a soft, lingerin', kiss. With his lips still brushin' mine, he breathed, "I hope you know I'd rather be with you than anywhere else. I can't wait to see what we're doing. Are you going to tell me?"
I pushed forward a little to take his mouth in a deeper kiss, before pullin' back slightly. "Not a chance," I answered a little mischievously.
Separatin' soon after, we prepared for our evenin' together. When the time came, I was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.
We arrived at the dock at dusk, and I revealed my plans for a candlelit picnic by the water on the wharf. Rose and Leah had been sweet enough to set up the scene for me when they'd seen me freakin' to the boys over how I should place everythin'.
The spectacle that greeted us was more than I could've hoped for. Lanterns had been strewn about in what appeared to be a carefree manner. Knowin' the girls, it was anythin' but. Some were in the trees, and the rest lit a small path to the dock and down it. At the end, there was a soft blanket and a cooler waitin' for us.
Edward's eyes were huge as he took everythin' in. He turned to me in shock. "You did all this for me? Jasper, how? when did you..."
Blushin' furiously at his obvious approval, I butted in. "Oh, well, I had a little help. I'm definitely not this slick. I'm glad you like it."
Both of us smiled like morons as we made our way down the illuminated path to the blanket and food.
With our sandwiches and Cokes in hand, we sat on the edge of the landing with our pants rolled to our knees and bare feet in the water. Our bodies were as close as we could get. I was edgy and hadn't had the nerve to bring up the topic at the forefront of my mind. We only had a week left before it was time to go home.
Just as I was about to start in, Edward cleared his throat. "So, um, did James ask you about coming back next year as a section leader?"
I was so relieved I could postpone making an idiot of myself for just a few more minutes. "Yeah, actually, he did. I'm definitely goin' to do it. This place has helped me so much that I want to help any way I can. Are you goin' to?"
Please say yes. Well, unless he doesn't want to see you more. Then it might be awkward.
"Of course I did. It sounds fun and exciting. My moms sent me here with the intention of me having some gay male role models, since I'm always surrounded by them and their friends. They're very active in the lesbian community so there are always female couples around and not too many males."
"That must be cool and awkward at the same time. I don't really know anyone that's gay outside of these camps," I commented as I began tensely packin' away the food.
I wasn't sure what to do and it must have shown because Edward grabbed my fidgetin' hands and whispered my name.
"Have you realized that we only have a week left?"
"Oh, yeah. That's been on my mind a lot. I'm not lookin' forward to it."
"I'm not either." He stopped and rubbed small circles into the back of my hand. "I would really like to keep in contact over the year...you know, by phone and stuff?"
Caught off guard by him voicin' the very thing I'd hoped for, my mind blanked. So, instead of sayin' anythin', I just stared into those beautiful green eyes.
His face started to look uncertain suddenly, and I realized that I'd stayed lost for a bit too long.
Say somethin'. You have to spit it out.
"I'd love to!" I answered over excitedly, causin' my cheeks to redden at the quiet echo it caused.
Edward chuckled and then let out a long breath. "I was so nervous to bring that up, but I feel a connection with you Jasper - a deep one. I've never felt anything like it." With that, he leaned forward and claimed my lips in a searin' kiss.
As I tried to twist my fingers into his fuck-hot hair, we both wobbled a little and nearly went into the lake. We separated and scooted back onto the blanket, laughin' like crazy people at our almost tumble.
Settled back on the blanket, I laid my head on his chest and just enjoyed the moment. His fingers were lazily combin' my hair, givin' me chills, as we gazed at the millions of stars. The soft thrummin' of Edward's voice through his chest as he hummed some unknown tune was makin' me boneless.
In my relaxed state, knowin' he wanted to continue things outside of this summer, it made me bold and I asked a question that I'd been wonderin' 'bout.
"Um, does it bother you that we haven't done more than kiss? I mean, I know we're both inexperienced from our talks and stuff, but are you wantin' more?"
Gettin' a serious expression on his face, he answered, "Honestly, as a man and having you being the most attractive guy I've ever met, I'd be lying if I said I don't want more at times. At the same time though, I like the pace we're taking. It's making this much more real to me. Sex is just sex and can be with anyone. I want more than that, you know?"
Lettin' a breath out I hadn't known I'd been holdin', I sighed. "I feel the same. Edward, I think I might be fallin' in love with you and I don't wanna mess things up by goin' too far."
"Exactly. I'm falling hard and fast for you, southern boy." He trailed his fingertips down my cheek and brushed his thumb over my lips. I kissed it and then, feelin' adventurous, sucked it into my mouth, causin' him to gasp.
"You have the most delicious, sexy mouth. One day, I hope to explore it in every way possible." I groaned at the images that statement sent flyin' through my head.
"Although, I think we better be getting back before I take back everything I just said earlier and have my wicked way with you." His smile was in full effect, but there was a feral look in his eyes that told me he wasn't jokin'.
Noddin' my agreement, we packed everythin' up and headed back. Our alone time ended almost immediately as we were inundated by the group.
The last week flew by and before either of us wanted, the day had finally arrived where we had to say our goodbyes.
I had been a mess most of the day and felt like cryin', but Edward kept remindin' me that it was only physically we wouldn't be together. We would be talkin' and video chattin' all the time.
"Just think, Jasper. Next summer, we'll be back here and we won't be considered kids. We'll be staff. So, there will be more free time for us. Keep your eye on the prize, babe. That's what I'm going to be doing, just waiting for the next summer to get here so I can hold you in these arms again, and hopefully never let you go."
His words sent a jolt of happiness and even excitement through me. With one more gentle kiss, he released me and got into the cab. It may sound cheesy, but I think my heart went with him, since I felt numb when the vehicle pulled away.
Present Day Summer 2012
I really don't want to fuckin' do this. Just the thought of goin' back there to that stupid camp is pissin' me off. The only reason I'm goin', besides gettin' to see my friends again, is that I promised James.
Daddy always taught me a man's only as good as his word. Too fuckin' bad Edward's parents didn't instill the same values.
It's a good thing that asshole isn't goin', or this will be one hellish trip. Emmett and Carlisle said that Edward had cancelled and for that, I was thankful. It was bad enough that I'd have to remember how damn stupid and idealistic I was last year.
As I pull my suitcase into the section leaders' accommodations, I realize just how hard this is going to be. Edward is everywhere I look. It's almost like watchin' a home movie play in my head and it hurts badly.
I throw my bag on the bed and let the pain flood me. It's almost too much to bear.
The boisterous laugh of Emmett jars me from my thoughts.
"There's the cowboy! Come here." Suddenly, I'm being picked up in a tight hug and swung from side to side.
"Emmett, you big lug, put the boy down before you snap something vital!" Carlisle shouted.
Then I'm dropped to the floor as the black spots, caused from lack of air, start to go away.
Slightly out of breath, I greet them. "Hey, guys! Long time, no see!" I give each a man hug.
Carlisle stares me down. "Let me have a look at you. Turn around." As I do, he gasps. "Baby boy, I told you to take better care of yourself. You've lost at least fifteen pounds!"
"I'm fine, Carl, really. So, do we know who our fourth is?"
Emmett gets a guilty look about him and the butterflies are released in my stomach.
Before either of them can reply, my worst nightmare enters the room, duffle in tow. My chest tightens at the sight of Edward.
He isn't supposed to be here, damn it.
Even though I don't want to, my eyes have a mind of their own and drink in every inch of him like a man dyin' of thirst. He is a bit thinner and there is a certain somethin' different in his carriage but, for the life of me, I can't figure out what.
He stiffens for a brief moment as he sees me, then trudges past all of us, barely noddin' his acknowledgement to the guys. With his back to us, as if we don't exist, he starts unpackin'.
I turn and glare at both of them, givin' them the "what the fuck" look.
Carlisle clears his throat loudly and says, "Well...um, Jasper, James wanted to see us as soon as you were in. Why don't we go do that?"
Takin' his lead, I follow them outside, leavin' Edward behind.
Just out of earshot, I start in. "Explain to me why the fuck you would lie about Edward bein' here? Do you have any idea how hurtful it is to see that man? Did you see how he treated me like I was gum on his shoe?"
Carl holds his hands up defensively and Emmett just crosses his arms protectively over his chest. They both know I'm pissed.
"Now, darling, I admit we did tell a little white lie to get you here. We were only doing what we thought was best for you. We're both sorry for putting you in this position and the last thing we want is for you to be in pain."
"Then why? Why bring me here?"
"You need to have a chance at closure, and because you need and deserve answers from Edward. You've turned into a bitter asshole this year, who refuses to think about dating anyone. We won't let you stay that way forever. You're too sweet of a guy for that."
Hearin' the sincerity in Carl's voice, I can't help but relent. How can I be angry at them when they are just tryin' to help?
"Fine, but no more tricks, understood?"
They glance at each other for a second longer than I'm comfortable with, and then nod.
"Okay, then. Let's go see what James wants us to start on first."
The next several weeks are torturous as Edward and I turn up everywhere at the same time. It never fails. If I have kitchen duty, so does he. If I'm supposed to lead an activity with some of the younger kids, Edward is scheduled as my partner.
We never really speak, besides what's required to get the task done. Each interaction leaves me more confused than the last. He always seems as if he wants to say somethin' more, but stops short.
Every once in a while when he thinks I'm not lookin', I see him starin' almost longingly at me.
Part of me wants nothin' more than to talk to him, but the louder, more hurt part, tells me to stay away.
Then, one evenin', Carlisle asks me to grab one of his facial kits from the closet in our room. He's decided to teach some of the younger girls the "proper technique" for a facial.
As I'm diggin' around tryin' to find the correct one, Edward stumbles in behind me, followed by the slammin' of the door.
"What the fuck is goin' on?" I try to open it, but it won't budge and I realize the door is locked.
Edward joins me, and begins poundin' on the door. "Anybody? Can you hear me? Let us out."
I hear snickerin' from the other side. Then Emmett hollers, "Not until you two talk. We've had enough. Now stop yapping at us and talk to each other."
They can't be fuckin' serious! How could they do this?
I turn to see Edward in the dimly lit closet, lookin' just as uncomfortable with this situation as I am.
"Why did you even come in here?" I ask him.
"Carlisle asked me to get his bag for him. The next thing I knew, I was shoved in here and you know the rest."
" I can't believe they did this. Edward, I'm sorry. I know you don't want to talk to me or even have anythin' to do with me for some reason."
Sighin', he paces in the small space. "Jasper, you have this all wrong. I have nothing against you." After he says that, he looks at me with a heated glance that brings back quite a few memories.
As if noticin' his eyes on me, he turns and messes with somethin' random in the closet.
I've had enough of this and I want answers. Most of the year has been spent doubtin' myself and everythin' I thought I understood about people and relationships. If he doesn't want to give me any responses, then I'll just unload my anger on him and tell him to fuck off.
"Okay, Edward. You say you 'have nothin' against me'. Then explain why, after you left me last summer with all these promises about contactin' me as soon as you could, there was nothin'? Not a God damn word from you! While you're at it, explain why when I called you, I got a 'this number is not in service' message."
Edward flinches at each of my demands, but makes no move to answer, so I continue.
"Do you have any idea how humiliatin' it was to know I was nothin' but a joke to you? Here, I'd declared my feelins to you and even made hopes for a future for us together at college. To think, the whole time you were just laughin' at me, probably thinkin' I'm just a silly, stupid hick. What kind of person does that?"
Now he's shakin' his head emphatically at me. "No, Jasper, no! It was nothing like that, I swear. I'd never laugh at you, babe."
"Don't you call me that! You don't ever get to call me that. What kind of explanation can you possibly give me that would make me think otherwise?"
"Don't you get it? You deserve better than me. Besides, you'd never want me now. You want 'perfection' and I'm certainly not that anymore."
He's confusin' me more and more instead of clearin' things up and my frustration gets the better of me. "Argh! What the fuck are you talkin' about? 'Perfection?' When have I ever talked about wantin' perfection? I knew you last summer and fell for you. Why do you suddenly think you're not good enough? Talk to me. I don't understand."
"This is what I'm talking about," he answers, as he raises his shirt to bare his chest to me. I can't help the gasp that leaves me. Where once smooth, beautiful skin was, is now marred with horrible scars, almost no part left unmarked. He'd been burned severely.
I'm stunned into silence and Edward apparently takes that as confirmation that I'm appalled by his appearance. "See? I remember you telling Carlisle how you thought I was perfection. I'm not that guy anymore."
Reeling, I mumble, "Edward, how did this happen?"
Puttin' his shirt down, he looks almost defeated. "When I got back, Momma Esme was excited to show me the progress she'd made on the renovations. They'd just gotten the electrical done on the addition. It'd been her mission to have that part done before I got home so the drywall could go up. Apparently, in their rush, they didn't get the best electrician. That night, a fire broke out while we were all in bed. We were lucky to survive, but all of us had severe burns. Mine were the worst."
I reach out to touch him, but he shies away from me. "Don't."
"When I woke up, my first thoughts after my parents, were of you. I so badly wanted to hear your voice, but then I realized I didn't have any of your numbers or contact info. We lost everything in that fire, including my phone and laptop."
Well, that explains the no calls and disconnected numbers. I suddenly feel buried in guilt. I'd jumped to all these conclusions and Edward had been sufferin' this whole time.
"It actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Once I got a good look at myself in a mirror, I knew you'd never want me. So, I let it go and just gave up the dream of us being together. It took everything in me to come here and see you. To know that I was this close to having the guy of my dreams and that now, it would never happen."
My guilt gives way to anger again. "How dare you make that decision for me? I said you were perfection because of who you are, not your appearance." Steppin' up to him, I force him to look me in the eyes. "I loved you. I love you still. I don't give a shit about any scars. I thought you knew me better than that." With that last statement, a tear trickles down Edward's cheek and quickly, I wipe it away.
Snifflin', Edward gasps, "I'm sorry. I just couldn't bear to see the disgust in your eyes. I should have trusted you."
My hands slide from his cheeks to his hair as I kiss him, relishin' the feel of him again. Breathless, I pant against his lips. "Me too. I should have known there was a reason." As I start to deepen the kiss, we're startled by Carlisle's voice.
"You see, Emmett? I told you your schemes were duds. You have to leave it to a master. This is how you catch fYreflies."