I originally wrote this story for the Fandom for Ovarian Cancer Appeal a few months ago. Thank you if you donated to this worthy cause.
I am posting it now as my birthday gift to all of my friends and readers as a thank you for all your good wishes and support since I started writing fan fiction.
Summary/Disclaimer: Jasper returns home two years after their split to find Edward settled down and married. A story set to the lyrics of Adele's 'Someone Like You'.
All copyright and trademarked items mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. The Twilight characters belong to SM and the song belongs to Adele (Adele 21 CD). The remaining content is mine. Please do not copy or reproduce this work without my written permission.
Many thanks to my marvellous pre-readers: dragontattoo75, mw138 and Maureen Thomas for your advice and encouragement, and to harrytwifan for the original beta. I have since edited and revised the story.
Thanks also to JA Mash for the fabulous banner.
I heard that you're settled down
My mouth feels parched and my damp palms grip hold of the steering wheel as I pull up outside his house. I should be feeling proud in my newly purchased car, yet I feel nothing but nerves. Turning off the engine, I look towards Edward's house and wonder what I really expect from today's visit. I have not spoken to him since our split over two years ago and, as far as I know, he hasn't attempted to contact me during this time either.
My eyes scan over the impressive house, which lies in the grounds of his parents' house. The long tree-lined drive curves up to a glass and wooden-framed structure overlooking an expanse of short, well-kept grass.
I sit there for several minutes trying to summon up the courage to open the car door. I have been back in Forks for just over a week now after working abroad for a children's charity for nearly two years. I wanted to visit my family for a few weeks before I started again elsewhere. I knew I would not be able to stay in the same town for very long, knowing that Edward was living nearby.
I am used to keeping myself busy during the day, trying not to think about him. The nighttime is always the worst, however, when I feel so alone and empty. I have tried to find love with other men, but nothing seems to last more than a week or two.
I'm not entirely sure what I am going to say or do if I see Edward today as I have no real plan of action. All I know is that I want to see him one more time before I move on again, to see if he is truly happy with the decisions he had made.
That you found a girl and you're married now.
I shudder as I clearly remember the day when my brother, Emmett, phoned me with the news of our family's invitation to Edward's forthcoming wedding and asking whether I would be coming home for the celebrations. My stomach still lurches as I recall rushing to the bathroom to vomit after I ended the call with him, and my heart physically aches when I think about the hours I spent in tears on the day of Edward's wedding and the many months since.
What hurts the most is that in such a short time, Edward had moved on from me. Deciding he couldn't possibly be gay, that he didn't want to disappoint his powerful and influential family. Edward had a calculated business plan to work in his father's established company and he didn't think Carlisle would accept him if he admitted he had a boyfriend. Edward had always kept our relationship a secret; no one ever knew about us, not even our closest friends. He quickly decided he wanted to act straight and marry Bella, the respectable daughter of the local chief of police.
Throughout the time when they were away on their honeymoon, I desperately longed for me to be the one in her place. The thought of him making love to her twisted the knife deeper and made my heart hurt for everything about him that I missed. All I could see in my mind was the two of them rolling around in bed, laughing and kissing and touching. Even now, my eyes fill up with tears when I think about them being together so intimately.
I heard that your dreams came true.
Life has worked out exceptionally well for Edward. According to my mother, he already has a leading position in his father's company, with a high salary and popularity amongst his staff. He's often in the local news and gives lectures to small groups as well. He is an example to show that hard work brings success, and is hailed as a role model in his business world.
Edward has achieved all he had ever dreamed of in just two years - a large house, with two expensive cars on his drive and a pool in the backyard. Whereas I have drifted in life, making no real decisions about my future career while I have been working abroad and pining for him.
After blinking away the tears and taking several calming breaths, I finally summon up the courage to pull the handle and open the car door. Starting to walk along the long driveway, I will myself not to turn around and go back home again.
Guess she gave you things I didn't give to you.
Edward probably made the right decision for his family life when he ended our relationship, as he and Bella have given Carlisle and Esme the granddaughter they had always longed for. Edward had said he wanted to have kids one day, though I didn't think he ever planned for it to be this early in his life. According to Emmett, Bella became pregnant with their child while they were away on their honeymoon.
As I approach the front door, I see a stroller on the front deck and I wonder how Edward will respond to seeing me again after all this time. I hope to see his gorgeous and welcoming smile but, considering our last time together, I doubt that very much.
At that moment, Edward opens the door with a baby cradled in his arms. He obviously doesn't realize I am standing there and puts her into the stroller and straps her in, lovingly tucking a blanket around her. I smile at the care and attention he entirely focuses on her. He is completely engrossed in his fatherly duties, and I can't help wishing that we had been given the chance to raise a child together.
The sight of him makes me feel relieved yet anxious at the same time. I almost can't believe he is actually there standing in front of me. My heart pounds against my chest and tingles of anticipation sweep over my body. I drag a sweaty palm through my hair as I take in his appearance.
Edward hasn't changed much since the last time I saw him. He looks a little more sophisticated in his expensive clothes and shoes, compared to the casual wear of our college days. He is still handsome, his copper hair unruly despite it being shorter than I remembered. His angular, square jaw is clean-shaven, just how I had always preferred it.
Edward starts to walk towards me and when our eyes finally meet, he freezes on the spot, as do I.
Old friend, why are you so shy?
I am close enough now to see his features more clearly. Edward looks tired and his skin looks dull and drawn, probably the result of many broken nights with a young baby.
Edward shifts uncomfortably as he draws in a deep breath. His jaw tenses and his lips appear to quiver. He doesn't quite know what to say and seems a little embarrassed as his eyes flit to his daughter and back to me.
"Jasper..." he finally says, his soft emerald eyes glaring sadly into mine.
"Hello, Edward," I respond with equal discomfort.
My breathing is erratic now as I try to assess his reaction to my sudden appearance. He doesn't seem surprised to see me, so someone must have told him I was back in town. I know Emmett still keeps in regular contact with him, so I assume it was him. There's no embrace or even a warm handshake. We both hold back and any observer would never know there had once been any sort of intimacy between the two of us. I have not received his trademark smile, but at least he hasn't told me to get off his property yet.
Surprisingly, he does not appear to be the confident and outgoing Edward I recall from our college days together either. Surely, he can't be this shy when addressing his business colleagues.
Ain't like you to hold back or hide from the light.
"Walk with me?" he asks softly, as he starts to push the stroller along his driveway. We fall into a natural slow pace, side by side. He seems to be avoiding making eye contact with me as we both consider what to say next.
When we were together at college, we had shared so much – our thoughts, our fantasies, our kisses, our bodies. He was always the self-assured and bold one. He never seemed to hold back from me then. He was easygoing and talkative in front of our friends and other students. I had always been quiet and reserved, holding back when we were out in public. When we were alone however, we were equals and shared so much more. Sadly, I acknowledge that things can never be the same between us, especially now that he is married with a family.
I can't help wondering what had happened over the past two years to make him so subdued. Perhaps his new family commitments have sapped his energy and he saves his gregarious side for his business life.
We head out of the driveway and pass my newly purchased vehicle. "Nice car, Jasper," he comments, raising his eyebrow in the way he always knew I loved.
"Thanks, I saved up for it over the past two years. Didn't have anything else to spend my money on," I respond cruelly. If he gets my meaning, he doesn't show it.
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited
I had been unsettled ever since we split up, wishing we could be friends again in the future, and secretly holding on to the hope of there being a chance of us getting back together. However, after hearing Edward was dating Bella within weeks of our break-up, I decided to go abroad for a while in an attempt to forget him. I've had little contact with my family or remaining friends because I had been working in remote places with poor mobile phone reception. In a way, I was glad, as I may have tried to contact Edward before today to tell him how I feel. I have been trying not to think about him, without success, for way too long now. I still miss him so much. I knew I would have to see him again one day and it got to the point where I couldn't wait any longer. I certainly didn't expect to receive an invitation from him, so I had to be the one making this move today.
"I'm sorry, Edward. I should have called you first rather than just turning up on your doorstep," I offer, in an attempt to explain my sudden appearance.
If I had given him a telephone warning beforehand, I could have gauged whether my visit would have been welcome or not. Then again, he may not have wanted to see me and we would never have met.
Edward's response to me still appears cool, his eyes flick away from mine, scanning the surrounding trees. I wonder what he is thinking and struggle for words to start a proper conversation with him. His eyes return to the already sleeping baby in front of him. She is beautiful, but then you wouldn't expect any other being the offspring of his gorgeous loins.
"She looks like you," I suggest, although I know she doesn't really, not yet anyway.
"Her name's Renesmee," he informs me with pride in his voice. "It's a blend of her two grandmother's names."
I nod, but decide I don't particularly like the name. "Was that your idea?" I ask doubtfully.
Edward shakes his head. "No, Bella came up with it."
I feel a sadness wash over me as he says her name.
"I'm sorry I missed your wedding," I apologize once more and changing the subject. "But I was out of the country at the time."
He nods and I know my mother or Emmett would have explained my absence to him.
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
I want to explain to him why I have not attempted to contact him before today, but feel I can't do this without telling him how much he still means to me, how he occupies my every waking thought.
As we walk, I continue to debate what to say to Edward. I want to say that I needed to see him again. My heart was calling out that I still loved him and that even though I tried to stay away, I had to see him one more time just to see his reaction to me and to discern whether he is truly happy.
I foolishly kidded myself that I'd just visit my family and stay away from him. I have been back in Forks for just over a week now, vainly hoping that Edward would want to get in contact with me. But I was too impatient to wait any longer and I just had to see him once more. His draw to me even now is still far too strong.
I had decided to leave again next week, as I couldn't live in the same place and have my heart broken on a daily basis. In a small town like Forks, I would often see him at social events or hear what he was doing.
I had hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded that for me, it isn't over.
Even after two years apart and no contact, I wanted to remind Edward of the good times we had shared. I hoped I'd see some affection or remembrance of the feelings he once had for me, even though he was married now with a baby.
I want Edward to know my feelings have not changed in the slightest and that I would continue to love him for the rest of my life. I selfishly want him to know that I have not moved on and that I was still hurting so badly.
I can see Edward has a settled life and a family now. Why would he ever want to change that? Certainly not for me - I probably meant nothing to him any more and he never even thought about all our good times together. I wouldn't want to jeopardize Edward's happiness or embarrass him in front of his family.
Never mind, I'll find someone like you
There are billions of people in the world so there's bound to be someone with the same qualities as Edward somewhere. One day I'll find another man to make me laugh and feel good about myself once again. I may even find someone who looks similar to him. I would find someone who would look at me and kiss me in the same way, someone to make me feel loved and happy.
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
"I'm happy for you, Edward. You seem to have everything you ever wished for," I say because I truly love him. "I bet you make a lovely father and husband. You deserve the best after all your hard work over the past few years."
Edward closes his eyes for a few seconds and then looks at his daughter before glancing my way again. His eyes look tired and so sad.
Don't forget me, I beg
"Do you remember the time you said you'd be a millionaire by the time you were thirty and all our friends laughed at you?"
He offers me a gentle smile as he nods. I'm pleased because I want him to remember the good times we shared together in the past.
"Promise me you'll spend some time thinking of me," I want to say to him in the hope that he will never forget me, but I hold back from speaking these words.
I remember you said,
"Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead."
I didn't see the end of our relationship coming at all, even though afterwards I could pick out the telltale signs that should have set the alarm bells ringing in my head. Edward had never said he loved me in actual words. Yes, he would make love to me, or so I thought. We still spent a lot of our time together, but looking back, I could see how he was trying to distance himself from me in those last few months at college.
Edward tried to let me go as gently as possible. He sat me down after our final exams and explained how things would be between us in the future. He said he was now a responsible adult and was going to work for his father's business, where he could not be seen to be gay. He was going to find a girl and settle down. In fact, his parents had already set up a dinner date for him with Police Chief Swan's daughter who had recently moved back to Forks.
He started to say that we could not see each other for few months so he could establish his professional life but, by this point, I was a blubbering wreck. I tried to beg through my crying even wrapping my arms around his neck, clinging on for dear life and saying I did not want to let him go. I didn't care that I was making a fool of myself. I remember most clearly, Edward peeling my arms off his shoulders and saying he didn't love me and that he never really had. He was willing for us to remain friends in the future when his career was established. His words flipped me over the edge. I screamed at him that if that was what he thought, I never wanted to see him again. I left that night without even packing my belongings, sending Emmett to collect them the following week.
I sigh heavily and my heart hurts as I recall the night of our split for the umpteenth time.
You know how the time flies
"You didn't say goodbye before you left," Edward almost whispers. "You just seemed to disappear. We haven't spoken for two years now, Jasper. I tried calling you, but you changed your mobile number and email address. I asked Emmett several times for your new contact details, but he said you didn't want to speak to me. You know I still wanted us to be friends."
I shake my head because I had told Emmett I wanted a clean break from Edward and asked him not to give him my new details.I never told him why and Emmett never asked me the reason either. Perhaps he put two and two together after seeing the state I was in.
I think Edward's words seem genuine and I wonder if we could ever truly be just good friends again.
"All Emmett told me was that you decided to move abroad and had started working for some charity. Where have you been all this time, Jasper?" he asks with interest.
I start to explain what I'd been doing over the past two years. I tell him I'd sometimes been teaching underprivileged children or working in an orphanage. I don't tell him the reason why I stayed away so long, but he's probably guessed that I was heartbroken and that I did not want to see Edward with someone else. I originally signed a contract for one year, but when I heard about his forthcoming wedding, I decided to stay away for longer. I had nothing for which to come home.
Only yesterday was the time of our lives,
I want to jog Edward's memory in the hope that he would remember how good we had been together, even before we became lovers.
I want to remember the happy times when we were growing up, too, and I desperately want to forget about my heartbreaking split with Edward. Those were the best days of my life and I could not envisage such happiness again in my future. I seemed to be destined to living in the past and dwelling on my memories of Edward.
We were born and raised
Growing up as boys, we were friends from the moment my family moved to Forks. We did our homework in each other's bedrooms and played together, often lying side by side, touching without embarrassment. We did everything together; we were inseparable and it just seemed so natural from the very start.
Our families became good friends, too, even spending some holidays together, much to our delight. There were shared dinners, barbeques and pool parties. Even though my family was not as well off as the Cullens, we were accepted and made to feel very welcome. I only found out recently from Emmett that the Cullens had helped my mother with my school fees and our bills after my father passed away. I swore to myself that I would pay back every cent, even if it took me the rest of my life.
In a summer haze,
Some of my fondest memories are of our summer holidays as teenagers, when we would spend the long days camping and fishing together. Hiking to and from our special meadow, we would laze around or swim in the nearby lake, spending happy and uncomplicated times together. Edward even said once that we didn't need other people's company. We were fine by ourselves.
Bound by the surprise of our glory days.
During all the times we spent alone, we had never once kissed or hinted that we had anything other than platonic feelings for each other. Deep down I knew it was something more for me. I knew I loved him, but never dreamed I would ever dare act upon those desires. It wasn't until our graduation party that we finally made our true feelings known.
Edward's family had planned to give a party for us at their spacious house. It was going to be the last time our friends would hang out together before we all went our separate ways. Even Edward and I were even heading to different colleges, which in itself just didn't feel right.
His parents tactfully left us for a few hours but said they would be returning after a meal at a restaurant. Beer and spirits flowed quite freely and we all became a little worse for wear. As the evening wore on, our friends started pairing up and dancing, or even sneaking off to quieter areas of the house for a bit of loving.
Edward surprised me by taking my hand and leading me out into the wooded area that surrounded his house. We were giggling and leaning on each other just as we usually did when we were messing about. When we were out of view from the house and our friends, Edward suddenly pulled me by my shirt and pushed me up against a tree. His breathing was shallow and rapid as he closed the gap between us. I didn't care that our first kiss was probably going to be beer-fuelled. All I knew was that I wanted him to kiss me more than anything else in this world.
The moonlight reflected off his eyes and the look of determination in them made my knees weaken instantly. Without a word, his lips brushed over mine several times. As his hands roamed over my torso, he deepened the kiss and I responded with an unashamedly loud moan. He sniggered and tentatively lapped against my tongue with his. Our mouths and lips became one as we relished our first very wet and noisy kiss. With hands exploring and hips starting to grind, our breathing became labored and desperate, too.
I vaguely remember wondering if it was the alcohol talking rather than Edward's true feelings coming across and making him brave. My heart did a flip when Edward pulled away and told me that he couldn't bear to be apart from me and had switched colleges so we could be together for the next three years. We kissed passionately until our lips were swollen and our bodies were truly heated with desire. The sound of his parents' car sweeping up the driveway temporarily doused our ardor that evening.
A few weeks later, we were sharing a room together at college and spending much of our time getting to know each other in a new and different way. We fumbled, groped and experimented with our bodies; we kissed and devoured each other over the following months until Edward finally made love to me.
Those three years at college passed by so quickly and were wonderful, happy and so easy. We were best friends. We were lovers. We were almost perfect. The only niggling doubt in all that time was that Edward wanted to keep our intimate relationship a secret from our friends and families. We would only make out in our room and, even then, Edward insisted I was quiet. He silenced my moans with his mouth and for most of the time, I did not complain. Perhaps I should have done.
I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited,
We both seem to be absorbed in our own thoughts and I hope Edward is at least recalling some of our happier moments as we wander down the road. He still seems lost for words and I begin to worry that he is concerned about his father seeing us together. I'm sure my love for him is written all over my face and anyone would be able to see how much he still means to me by the adoring way I keep gazing at him.
"Sorry to surprise you, Edward," I apologize again. "I should have called beforehand to let you know I was coming, but I didn't know if you would agree to see me considering our last time together. It never felt the right time to call you until now."
"Hey, it's okay, Jasper," he says gently, "I was thinking of calling you, too. I thought it would be great to catch up... for old time's sake." His eyes capture mine for just a few seconds and I see his face flush a little.
But I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it.
"I deliberately kept away from you after you broke up with me, but I had to see you once more to tell you I forgive you, Edward," I finally admit to myself and say aloud to him the reason why I am here. "I needed to see you to say that I hope we can be friends again. I'm happy that you are feeling the same way, too."
I'd hoped you'd see my face and that you'd be reminded that for me it isn't over.
Even though he promised in his final words to me that I would forget him and that it would be as if he had never existed, I had never gotten over him. I wanted him to know this.I wanted us to be more than friends, but deep down I knew that this could never be the case now that he was married.
"I am still in love with you, Edward. Nothing has changed for me except you are no longer in my life," I confess earnestly, as I would probably never get this chance ever again. "Please look at me and say you don't feel anything for me anymore," I utter, closing my eyes. "Then perhaps I can finally let you go."
Edward appears reluctant to confirm or deny anything, but there's a slight pause and, dare I say, a slight flicker of hope begins inside of me. I hope beyond words that his feelings for me are still as deep as I thought they once were and pray he's just hidden them behind a mask.
He looks at me sadly and just shakes his head slowly from side to side and all my hope diminishes.
Never mind, I'll find someone like you,
I wish nothing but the best for you, too,
Don't forget me, I beg
I remember you said,
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead."
I had tried several times to get Edward out of my system. Since leaving college, I attempted to start new friendships and had been on several dates. I even tried Edward's approach and went out with a girl once or twice. But nothing worked out or lasted for more than a couple of dates. I always thought of what I'd had with Edward, and when I compared everyone to him, no one came close. Nothing compares nor ever will.
No worries or cares
Whenever I was in someone else's company, my mind would drift to times I'd spent with Edward or I would recall something he had said. I would see his gorgeous face in my mind, or his smile, his hair, his body.
Despite the stress of lectures and essays, our college days were carefree and so happy. I saw Edward every day; we practically lived in each other's pockets as we did everything together. Thinking back, I'm surprised none of our friends said anything or tried to get us to go out on other dates. Perhaps they knew there was something more between us after all. We were always happiest when we were by ourselves.
An image crosses my mind of me moaning loudly as Edward's lips graze across my hipbone and his tongue slips out to taste me. I shake my head in an attempt to remove this heavenly vision.
Regrets and mistakes
Have you ever wished you could go back and relive a time in your life in the hope that the future would change? During my hours of wakefulness at night, I've often contemplated which event could have changed the outcome for us so that we would still be together today. It's not the time when Edward broke up with me –no, as he had already made up his mind by then and I doubt if I could have persuaded him to stay with me.
If I could change one thing, I would have made sure we told our families and friends about our relationship. We even talked about doing this during our first year at college. One weekend, Edward decided he was going to tell his parents about us and I agreed to tell my mother and Emmett, too, but he never went through with it. Edward happened to be ill that weekend and we didn't get home. For some reason or other, he never had the courage to offer to do this again, despite me encouraging him to come out. If we had been able to display our affection openly for each other, then perhaps we would still have been together today.
They are memories made.
The morning's air is fresh, heralding the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, and the sky is cloudless and a beautiful deep shade of blue. As the cool breeze blows through my hair, I remember a time strolling across the college campus early one morning. I had left Edward in bed after we had made love and was walking almost on air to my first lecture of the day. I was beaming because I had never felt so happy in all my life and the world around me now seemed to be echoing those very feelings. An air of expectation breezes through and around me.
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?
Walking beside Edward and reliving the times I had spent with him made my heart soar and hurt at the same time. It was amazing being in his presence again, yet I was preparing for the heartache that would certainly return later.
I can still remember the wonderful feeling of waking up in his arms, being cuddled and caressed by his strong hands, yet I feel sad that I will never experience this again.
Once I had foolishly thought that love was supposed to last forever. It broke my heart that forever was so much shorter than I ever imagined.
Memories of our sweet times together would bring pain and anguish as they made me long to be with Edward.
Never mind, I'll find someone like you
We had not spoken again by the time we turn around and head back to his house. Our eyes keep meeting in awkward glances as we walk in companionable silence.
He was probably thinking of a way to let me down gently again so that I wouldn't repeat the embarrassing scene from two years ago.
"Would you like to come in for coffee so we can talk a little longer?" Edward surprisingly offers as we approach his house, but as he hasn't opened up to me yet, I decide to decline. I can't bear to be in his happy family home where he spends time with Bella and see where they eat, sleep and no doubt fuck, too.
"No, it's okay. I should be going home. Ijust wanted to see you one more time before I move on again," I admit sadly.
I stop walking as I think it best if I leave now before I start to become too emotional. I can feel a lump forming in my throat, as I know this will probably be the last time I will see Edward for a long while.
"I've decided to move to Jacksonville. I'm going to try to get a job teaching history there. I plan to start my life afresh as it's time for me to move on now, Edward," I tell him, and try to convince myself with my own words, too.
I wish nothing but the best for you
"It was nice seeing you again," I say as bravely as possible, trying not to break down, at least not until I get back to my car. "Good luck for the future, Edward - not that you need it." I offer him a faint smile. I realize this visit is going to make the coming weeks and months so difficult and lonely for me.
Don't forget me, I beg
"Jasper... I hope you don't ever forget me completely," he says looking at me, his emerald eyes shimmering in the sunlight. "Keep in touch and let me know what you're doing or come back to visit so we can chat again."
I feel my eyes tear up because if I had my way, I would call and talk to him every day. I would not leave Forks if I knew we had any chance to be together.
I can't bear the thought of saying goodbye to Edward, so I turn to walk away as I feel treacherous tears roll down my cheeks.
"I remember," you said,
Edward quietly continues speaking, but it's enough to make me stop walking away from him. "I want you to know I still feel the same about you, Jasper," he admits at last. "I haven't forgotten any of the times we spent together. The day I said goodbye to you, was the biggest mistake of my life and I realize that now. I tried to persuade Emmett to give me your number several times but he said you wanted to move on. I hope it's not too late for me to put things right between us."
I sense my jaw drop and feel my heart pounding in my chest as I wait for him to explain himself at last.
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead."
I turn to face him and take a few steps closer again. His eyes appear to be pleading for me to hear him out.
"I thought I could live without you and make a go of my relationship with Bella. Don't get me wrong, we got on well from the start. I loved her and I still do in a way, but I love you so much more, Jasper. I always have. I regret not having the courage to stay with you and own up to my true feelings. I think Bella knew she was competing with you for my affections as apparently I talked about you all the time and I eventually told her about us. She's kept our secret, but things have obviously deteriorated between the two of us. We haven't slept in the same bed since the birth of Renesmee and Bella often spends several nights a week with her new boyfriend. My mother and Renee usually care for Renesmee during the day while Bella is at work. They were the first to work out that things weren't right between the two of us."
Edward pauses and he looks drawn and older than his years. It's not only the sleepless nights that have aged him, perhaps he has been missing me after all. My heart and mind are whirring with the possibilities of what he has just told me
"My father is not entirely happy about our split but he wants what's best for his granddaughter. A few weeks ago, I finally found the courage to tell my parents that I am gay and my father actually thanked me for being honest with him. I was amazed when they accepted what I told them, but it hurt so much when I realized I could have been with you all this time, Jasper."
Edward stops walking and takes in a long, slow breath. He looks relieved that he's finally told me all. Wondering why he has taken so long to tell me this today, I seem to be frozen on the spot and unable to move or voice a response.
"I need to tell you that I've had one or two dates with guys who looked like you, but nothing compares to you, Jasper, nothing. I don't know why I even thought someone else would take your place. I thought only yesterday, why do I need someone like you when I could have you?" He looks at me imploringly as he says these words.
"Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead."
"My love for you has lasted and it has hurt so much being apart from you, despite having my daughter. I know I don't deserve to be with you after the way I treated you, but I'm asking you to give me another chance, please, Jasper. I can't bear being away from you any longer." Edward's voice is filled with emotion and I want to believe every word he is saying to me. He lets go of the stroller and steps towards me.
"Forgive me, Jasper, and please take me back," he says, taking hold of my hands.
I have dreamed so many times of a moment like this over the past two years and wonder if this is really happening to me. I can hardly breathe with the thought that Edward and I could be together once again. I have so many questions to ask him, but what I want most is to kiss him and have him hold me in his arms again. Releasing his fingers, I notice his face drop as if he expects me to say it's too late.
"No," I say, meaning 'No, I'm not letting you go', but his face crumples as he misunderstands my intention.
I quickly clarify with a smile on my face, "I mean, yes, I'll take you back and no, I'm not going anywhere." And before he can misunderstand any more of my words, I pull on his expensive shirt and shuffle forward to close the gap between us.
Realizing my intention now, his lips part just as mine connect to his. I sag with relief as Edward takes me in his arms, wrapping me up tightly in his embrace. Our mouths move as one as we reconnect and relinquish all the frustration and misery of our two-year separation.
Edward whispers into my mouth as he kisses me, "Jasper, I love you and have missed you so much. I can't tell you how sorry I am."
I pull away so he can finish talking, but he just swoops in for more kisses and then pulls back to say how gorgeous I look. His long fingers soothe me with gentle strokes as I become aware that I am shivering and crying in his arms. "Shh... I never want to see you unhappy or make you cry again. I'm here for you now and always will be, I promise," he assures me. "Just give me the chance to start again with you."
I watch his face as he talks to me and see nothing but happiness, desire, trust and love in his eyes. My heart pounds in my chest with joy as I look at him and see him smiling back at me. He looks like my Edward once again.
We kiss some more and then, holding hands, we push his daughter back to the house to start our new life together.
Author's note: Many thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for 'Happy Anniversary, Jasper' in the Best Tear Jerker category in the Non-Canon Awards. I can't tell you how much it meant to win this award.
Hope this story hasn't caused too many tears – I thought I'd better write a happy ending for this one, as 'Sometimes it lasts in love...' and my boys deserve to be together.
I hope to finish Always and I Could Always Make You as well as adding an epilogue to Oxford Blues over the next few months. I also have rough outlines for at least three OF I plan to write and I have already been asked to continue this story as well.