Yeey! A new chapter, and a really hard fought one! Hope you'll enjoy it!
Thank you, Harrytwifan for the beta! And Loopylou992 for prereading this chapter for me!
I do not own Twilight!
"So," Rose said at the breakfast table. "Checking out medical programs. Any idea how you wish to do this?"
"Uhm," I said, taking the envelope Dr. Jones gave me and spilling the pamphlets and brochures over the kitchen counter. "Read these, I guess? Google them and see which one is the best? Write letters to my top five and see which one will have me?"
My sister just cocked an eyebrow and shook her head, making me cringe. Maybe she was right; I shouldn't aim too high. I wasn't a talented up and coming intern they could shape and perfect. I was more of a dog crawling back with its tail between its legs, admitting I made a mistake the first time around.
I sifted through the pile of paper, noticing the little notebook I shoved inside the envelope when I got home after the beach last night. It was mocking me. Telling me I should be doing the Doctor's assignment and write down the things I filled in between the lines.
What had I been filling in between the lines? Edward's comment yesterday that he couldn't make me happy hurt like hell at first. I thought he didn't want to make me happy, that my happiness would cost him more than he was willing to put into our relationship. Before I could act on those feelings, both Rose and Edward had explained.
Once again, I had been turning them into monsters. What had Edward told me the other day in the car? "I hope you trust yourself to be worthy of me loving you enough to not run away."
I'd lain awake in bed for a while that night, trying to understand what that even meant. I came to the conclusion that it was similar to a thing Dr. Jones asked me; "Tell me, Jasper. Do you think you deserve to be loved?"
He made me see I was projecting my self hatred onto other people, twisting the truth and turning others into people who hated me and kicked me while I was down. And even though I realized it in my head, it was hard to recognize when it was happening. It was hard to rhyme that knowledge with what I felt in my heart.
I decided to make an exercise out of it, making myself go over the past hour once or twice a day, and searching for times where I was drawing conclusions from things that weren't said. Maybe I could even get myself to test out my theories and ask the person in question what they meant.
If it were Rose, or Claudia, of course. Maybe even Dr. Jones.
Not Edward, not yet. I couldn't bare the thought that my insecurities, if they were insecurities, would be confirmed.
So, the past hour. I'd only really talked to Rose, and I didn't think I drew conclusions without proof, did I? We had breakfast and talked about cereal. She'd asked if I had any honey oats, and I'd mentally put it on my shopping list as I told her I didn't. Well, that was technically a moment where I filled something in between the lines, thinking she'd actually want me to buy them, but it wasn't the kind of situation I was looking for.
"Jasper?" Rose asked from across the kitchen.
"Shhh." This was important, and I needed to concentrate.
Okay, so after breakfast, I went and got dressed, while Edward was still passed out on my bed. Maybe it was all the sun and salty air at the ocean, but he'd been dead to the world since three last night.
"What are you thinking about?" Rose asked curiously, as images of last night's rounds of sexual discovery ran, danced, and skipped around in my head.
Edward really did look good with his eyes closed and his knuckles white with strain while grasping the covers as I slid two fingers in and out of his body, with my lips alternating fluttery kisses up and down his shaft, and sliding over his cock, taking in as much as I c-
"Jasper!" she snapped, drawing me from my self- inflicted haze of lust.
I was supposed to be finding an example of my twisting and bending other people's meanings. "Shhh," I said again, and got back to my task.
Right, checked on Edward and came back to the kitchen. Rose asked me about researching medical programs, and then she cocked her eyebrow and shook her head, and I-
"Oh!" I sighed and turned around to face her. "Just now," I said, "I told you how I was going to research the medical programs, and you raised your eyebrow and shook your head. Why?"
Rose looked at me with a serious expression, before the corner of her mouth twitched and her eyes started twinkling in amusement.
"I was thinking that you were putting yourself down again," she said. "See who will have me. Are you completely insane? From what I understood from Claudia, you've got talent, perseverance, and skill. Not to mention a cum laude diploma from Stanford University and extensive experience, even if it's not in your recently discovered field of choice."
She smiled. "Why? What did you think I was thinking?"
I blushed, possibly more furiously than before. "That I was aiming too high, writing to my top five choices."
"Hey," Edward whispered, walking into the kitchen with a sleepy smirk on his face.
"Look who's finally joined the land of the living!" Rose snickered.
"Don't blame me," he responded, throwing me a wicked smirk. "Loverboy here tired me out last night."
I punched his shoulder lightly and opened my mouth to stop any further commentary on my current sex life, but Rose beat me to it.
"Oh, look at you, all grown up and lascivious," she said, laughing when I looked at her, horrified.
What did she think Edward and I were up to? Sure, I was enjoying sex with him, but it wasn't like I was reigning in the desire to jump him constantly. What the hell did she take me for? I liked more about Edward than just that.
He wrapped his arm around my waist and kissed the side of my head, before he leaned in close to my ear and whispered, "She's just teasing, Jay."
I glared at my sister for a second, but then she laughed out loud and I couldn't keep a straight face. Bitch! I secretly thought, and responded the only way a responsible adult should; I snapped a towel against her ass and stuck out my tongue.
"Ow!" she yelped and tried to grab the towel when I snapped it a second time, ending up with both of us completely absorbed in a tug-of-war. Edward rolled his eyes at us while preparing himself a cup of tea.
Researching medical programs was more boring than Rose thought it would be. She thought we'd be driving around the state visiting hospitals, where she could find herself some cute, single, and more importantly, straight surgeon.
She sat at the table looking at me encouragingly for the first hour and a half, before she slouched down on the couch and sighed heavily. Edward was fully engrossed in the brochures, having a little more knowledge on the topic through his own profession.
An hour later had her flipping on the television and laughing at some cartoon in a way that annoyed me to distraction.
"Rose!" I called from the kitchen. "Turn that down, will you?"
I let it go, because honestly, she was bored because I was doing something boring. She didn't come all the way across the Atlantic to watch me sift through brochures and search the internet.
Half an hour later, I was so frustrated, I couldn't concentrate at all anymore. I'd just started reading the same paragraph again for the fourth time, because I had a hard time taking in what the text was actually saying, when she had the nerve to actually turn up the volume of the TV.
I shoved back my chair and quietly made my way to the living room.
"Rosalie, dear?" I asked.
She turned her head towards me without her eyes leaving the screen. "Hmmm?"
"The sooner I'm finished, the faster we can go and do something you want to do, right?"
Her eyes flicked briefly towards me before turning back to the screen. "Sure, Jay."
I crossed my arms over my chest and watched the cartoon with her for a few seconds. It was about two naked looking dogs, and one seemed to be a lot more intelligent than the other one. I never really understood the entertainment value of badly drawn cartoons.
"So whatever helps me finish faster is better for you, agreed?"
"Your point?" she asked, her brow furrowed in annoyance over my interruption.
"Could you please turn the volume down by a lot? I'm finding it very hard to concentrate."
She looked up at me and smiled. "Oh, well, alright. How's it going?"
I smiled easily once she proved not to be angry with me for asking. "It's going. I think I have my top five ready. Now I just need to write them e-mails to further inquire about the possibilities, and then I'll be able to write my applications next week, or the week after that."
"Go, Team Whitlock!"
"You think maybe I could change my last name?" I asked.
She turned off the television and looked at me with a serious expression, folding her hands in her lap. "I haven't the faintest. Maybe you could ask Claudia."
I shifted my weight from my right to my left foot and leaned against the doorframe.
"Doesn't feel right to use their name when they've never really been my parents. Not in blood, and not really in intention. I wouldn't know what to change it to, though. Using Hale seems a bit presumptuous."
"Why? The only people who would object are our grandparents, and as far as I know, they're long dead."
"Maybe," I answered a little absentmindedly. Returning to the kitchen, I found Edward slouching over my laptop with a cup of that damned tea of his.
"Slowly back away," I growled.
I barely kept from laughing as I saw him take a step back with wide eyes.
"New rule," I continued with a nod. "There's no liquids to be used within six feet of my laptop, understood?"
He chuckled, shook his head, and returned to his own seat. "Six feet is a bit much, considering we're sitting at the kitchen table."
"Yes, well, deal with it," I said darkly, before returning to the text on my screen.
From the corner of my eyes, I could see him take a sip of tea and smile to himself. What's he so smug about?
I asked, but he only kissed my cheek and continued smiling.
Half an hour later saw Rose stick her head around the corner. "I was thinking I could run and buy some groceries while you boys are busy. Anything in particular you need?"
I shook my head and continued typing, while Edward listed some things he wanted from the store. I wasn't completely aware of what she actually proposed until I saw her snatch my car keys from the corner of my eye.
"No! Rose! Get back here!" I said, and stood up to go after her. Too late. The door already slammed after her, and I sat back down with a sigh.
The corner of Edward's mouth lifted and his eyes squinted slightly.
"It's not funny! She's got me wrapped around that perfectly manicured pinky of hers."
He replied with a wink and rested his hand on my back.
It was still strange how the slightest touch could make me lose my concentration. My breath would hitch slightly, and my heart would beat just that tiny bit faster. The nervous tension flying through my body partially annoying, and partially pleasurable.
I couldn't really imagine this feeling would ever lessen, and if it would, I would miss it. I didn't ever want to take his touches for granted. To take him for granted.
I turned my head to face him and smiled.
I shook my head and returned my focus to the screen, all the while sporting that smile.
"What is it?" he pressed.
"Nothing, just a thought."
"You're adorable," he whispered, and leaned in to kiss the side of my head.
I leaned into the touch and stuttered a little sigh. 'And you're lovely,' I thought, and returned to my emails.
The door opened and then slammed shut, The now familiar clicking of high heels made its way down my hallway floor.
"Sorry!" Rose shouted. I could hear bags being set on the side table just inside the living room. "Edward, a hand?"
He rolled his eyes and stood up.
"Bloody hell!" he said as soon as he disappeared through the door. "What on earth happened to you?"
Rose didn't reply, but her heels clicked closer to the kitchen. A second later, I understood what his words were all about.
Her white dress was stained with what looked like Coca Cola, a colorful display against the slight bruise forming on her collarbone. Her hair, while still being held back by a stylish clip, was in disarray. She looked a bit pale, and her bottom lip was being firmly held by her teeth as she looked at me through guilty eyes.
"No!" I said, dreading the next thing out of her mouth.
"Well," she started hesitantly. "The good news is that your airbags are in perfect working order."
"Rose," I whined, knowing she wouldn't be standing in my kitchen if she were honestly hurt.
"I couldn't help it! The fuckwit came out of nowhere! It honestly wasn't my fault I hit that tree!"
Edward walked back in and shook his head.
"Rose," I said again, by now sure there was probably nothing to save of my beautiful car.
"Honestly! You say I'm an awful driver, but you Americans are far worse! I turned onto this street and only had about a second to turn the wheel and not be hit by that useless tosser that came up behind me!"
"He came up behind you?" Edward asked, a little irritation shining through in his voice. "How many times have I told you the shiny reflective surfaces are there for a reason, and that reason is not 'for applying lipstick'!"
"I did use the rear-view mirror, Edward, I'm not an idiot!"
I covered my face with my hand and groaned.
"Are you at least alright?"
They both turned to stare at me, Rose's face softening and Edward's jaw setting. "I'm fine, mostly shaken, thank you for asking."
"Good, I can buy another car, but I can't buy another sister," I said softly, and pulled her into a hug.
Edward breathed heavily through his nose and walked out of the kitchen, coming back a minute later with a couple of disheveled grocery bags. I pushed Rose into a chair and turned to pour her a glass of water.
"I can't believe you're going to let this go," he said through his teeth, only barely loud enough for me to hear it. "I know you're scared of us leaving you, but you can't let her do something like this and let it go."
I turned my head and stared at him, unable to utter a word. That's how shocked I was at his comment.
He started unpacking the bags and ignored me.
"The fuck?" I said incredulously.
Rose looked up. "Jasper?"
I ignored her.
Edward brought down a bottle of wine on the counter with a little too much force. "She just took your car without asking, drove it into a bloody tree, and you're going to just give her a hug and pretend you don't care about the car! She didn't even apologize! I know you've got self-worth issues, but this is taking it too far!"
I glared at him as best as I could.
"I was planning to sit her down, give her a glass of water to calm down, and ask what actually happened before I unleashed the fires of hell on my sister, possibly undeserved."
Edward opened his mouth, but I cut him off.
"I'll thank you not to throw my insecurities in my face when you disagree with the way I handle something. My sister drove my car into a tree. I don't even think this has anything to do with you."
He opened his mouth again. I narrowed my eyes and he pressed his lips together, stalking out of the kitchen as I picked up the glass and sat down with my sister at the kitchen table.
My heart was beating in my chest, adrenaline coursing through my veins in equal parts shock, fear and anger. Fuck!
"It honestly wasn't my fault, Jasper. I'm sorry I took your car without asking, but even the police said it wasn't my fault."
I mentally shook my head and focussed on Rose's face. "Why don't you just explain what happened?"
She took a big gulp of water and fumbled with her hands. "I'm not an idiot. The fact that Edward doesn't see me turn my head doesn't mean I don't use my mirrors. I signalled I was turning left, the truck behind me stopped, and there was nothing coming from the opposite direction. I mirrored and turned and then the other car came from behind the truck. He just barely made the turn, and I swerved to the right, hitting the tree. The police said the other driver was high, and that he was driving too fast."
"It's okay, Rose," I said, glad to see her lift her eyes to meet mine. "I'm still pissed you took my car without asking, but I can't blame you for being in an accident. Besides, I have pretty decent insurance, so it'll be just fine. Were you checked over? Are you hurting anywhere?"
"Just very, very sore. I'll probably be stiff as hell tomorrow."
"Maybe you should take a hot shower, and we'll spend the afternoon on the couch, watching 'As the World Turns'.
"Here," Edward said softly, handing Rose a steaming wet towel, probably soaked in hot water.
I hadn't noticed him coming back in. I gazed at him, uncertain of the mood between us. He'd not only expressed his disagreement with my actions; I'd yelled at him on top of that. I wasn't really sure if we were okay.
"I'm sorry for going off at you," he continued, before he turned to look me in my eyes. "At both of you."
I said nothing, and Rose switched her gaze between us a couple of times.
"I-," he started, and looked away.
"Edward?" Rose asked, and he faced her with tears in his eyes.
"You scared the hell out of me, Rosy!" His voice sounded broken. "Don't you ever do that to me again! I can't lose you, okay?"
I sighed in relief. That wasn't me being unable to live up to his standards. That was Edward lashing out because he was scared himself.
He looked at me, and I smiled at him in understanding. He smiled back hesitantly.
We were good.