Jasper sat cross-legged on the floor. He watched the wispy girl as she slid into a split and flattened her torso against the floor. God, that had to be painful, but she didn't even flinch.
Jasper wasn't in his own room, but the one next door.
Things had changed so much for Jasper. For one, they had hoped for a bit of sun over summer, but it had been the rainiest July and August in the history of Forks, and that was saying something. It didn't matter, though. Jasper hadn't had time to enjoy it anyway.
During the summer, Jasper had gotten his first taste of freedom and, boy, it was sweet. Months later, all settled in at Berkeley freedom was even better. To be out from under the yoke of his father's iron will was something that Jasper had longed for for years, but he would never have expected the level of liberation he felt. It was like the lungs in his chest had expanded and there was room for his heart to really beat.
Jasper had spoken briefly with his mother once since that fateful day, and that was to let her know that he wasn't coming home and he was going ahead with his plans to attend Berkeley with Edward.
Now, the latter was still a jagged little pill to swallow. He wasn't entirely comfortable taking Edward's money, but inside of him there was a will that couldn't be quelled. He needed to have this experience; he wanted more than anything to go to college. He was aware that money was the best way to drive a wedge in between people, but Jasper was willing to chance it.
So over the summer, while staying with Edward, Jasper had learned to deal with the selfless offer Edward had made and it made him love Edward all the more. So where the boys had imagined a summer with parties, bonfires at La Push, and nights at the movies, they had been more wrong than they ever imagined. Carlisle had pulled some strings and gotten both boys a job at the one of the lumber mills in the area. Edward had taken it seriously when he gave half his tuition away. He knew he needed to work to make up for Jasper's part, and he wanted to spend the summer getting ahead in any way he could. Jasper had felt guilty but swallowed it back when Edward appeared to be happy forgoing a summer of fun to work.
So instead of spending nights at the beach getting drunk, both boys were zonked out, lost to the world around them. Working at the mill was backbreaking. Twelve hour shifts, five days a week, while slaving in the woods left its mark. The first week they barely managed to stay awake during dinner. Esme had to kick them out of bed in the morning or they would sleep through the day. For weeks they merely had energy for work while practically eating Esme out of the house. Long story short—the hard work had left a neat little nest egg for when they started college.
Jasper tapped his fingers against the floor as he watched Alice stretch. There was something about her, the graceful way she moved and the way her dainty little hands flowed weightlessly through the air. She was adorable, almost like a porcelain doll.
"Have you always been so limber?" Jasper asked as she shifted position. This time she leaned over her leg that was stretched out in front of her.
"Comes with the territory." She smiled and put her head against her shin. Jasper's nuts shrunk at the sight. This wasn't natural. "You can't really be a ballet dancer and not be flexible."
"So why aren't you at some ballet school?" Jasper asked.
Alice smiled, though there was a flicker of sadness in her gaze. "I wasn't good enough anymore. I didn't pass my exams." She shrugged as she straightened up. She leaned back on her palms, with her legs out in front of her. "My parents wanted me to go to Europe to find a ballet company over there that would take me, but I decided it was time for a change. They didn't like that much." Her face scrunched up.
Jasper knew that feeling. He understood all too well how his parent's disapproval was like a black hole in his chest. It had the ability to suck the life out of you. "So what did they do when you gave up on ballet?"
"What do you mean?"
"Did they get mad?" he asked cautiously.
"Hell, yes. But I said I was done living out my mom's dream. Now that really pissed her off. The waters haven't settled yet, but they will just have to get over it. I wanted to try something different."
Now why did that always have to be something bad?
"I like different," Jasper murmured.
"Oh, I loooove different." Alice laughed. It was like bells tinkling. It had a soothing effect on him.
Jasper bit his lip. How different, he thought. So far, hardly anyone at school knew about Edward and him. They had chosen to follow Esme's advice to be Edward and Jasper for a while. They weren't roommates either. Edward lived two stories below Jasper, but in the same building. Edward was room mating with a guy named Ben Chaney, who was pretty awesome so far. Jasper's roommate still hadn't shown up, though they were a week into the semester. Jasper doubted that he ever would.
In hindsight Esme had been right; it was nice to have your own space, to be able to go somewhere, shut the door behind you, and be alone. It wasn't that living with Edward was a problem, but being a guest for the summer had put a few things into perspective. Jasper needed to have space that belonged to him and no one else.
Esme had been right about many things, but mostly she had been the one helping Jasper mend after his brutal confrontation with his father. Every day when they got home from work, no matter how dirty he was, she would hug him. Often Esme told him how proud she was of him for no apparent reason. It was a little puzzling. Jasper was used to comments like. Well, an A- is good, son, but why isn't it an A+? No matter how hard Jasper had tried he had never been good enough. When Esme looked at him, hugged him, Jasper felt like he suddenly was good enough. It was daunting.
Jasper turned his attention back to Alice. He felt so comfortable in her presence. She was like the sister he never had, a support he had longed for. "I have someone that I would like for you to meet. Kind of why I've always felt different?" he said.
Alice's brows shot up. "Uh, that sounds so exciting." In one swift feline move she bounced to her feet.
"Just keep an open mind, okay?" Nervous sweat was popping out on his upper lip; he didn't want to lose his new friendship with her, but he wasn't going to pretend to be someone that he wasn't.
"Always, but why are you suddenly acting like you think you're a freak or something?"
Jasper only shrugged, he knew why. It was what his father had imprinted in his brain and it would be a while before he stopped thinking like that.
Taking Alice's hand he dragged her down two flights of stairs and knocked on Edward and Ben's door. He could hear hoots and yelling from inside, but he never went straight in. He always knocked. Alice looked up at him questioningly.
"What are we doing in Edward's room?"
Jasper smirked. Alice had met Edward the day they moved in, they had hung out a few times, but all she knew was that they grew up in the same Podunk town. "You'll see."
"Come in," Ben yelled.
Edward was sitting at the foot of his bed with a waddled up pair of socks in his hand. He was smiling that heartwarming smile where his eyes twinkled and his mouth was a little crooked.
"Uh, I'm glad you came," Ben cheered. "I'm glad we have witnesses that Edward is about to lose and will be washing my dirty socks and gym clothes for the next three weeks. Take your shot, loser."
"Ha!" Edward mocked. "Fucking never. You'll be the one stuck in that stinky laundry room." With that Edward sent the socks flying across the room and missed the small basket mounted on the wall.
"Yes! Yes! Yes! Wooohooo!" Ben shouted. "You lose, sucker." He pulled off his socks and tossed them at Edward's head. He ducked out of the way, cussing as he went.
"This fucking sucks," Edward muttered.
Jasper frowned. "Then why did you gamble? You lost twenty bucks last week."
Edward shrugged and laughed. Edward and Ben were developing a gambling problem it appeared. Edward then looked at Alice. "Hey, Thumbelina."
She narrowed her eyes at him and stuck her tongue out. She sighed frustrated. "I really don't get this, Jasper." Alice stated. "Who is it that you want me to meet?"
Jasper smiled. It felt so good to have these choices in life; he never did before, but now it was all up to him. It was his choice to tell Alice about one of the most important people in his life.
He looked at Edward, knowing he was reading the situation. His mocking smile softened and was now kind and understanding. He was the boy that Jasper was in love with and had been for years. As Edward sat at the end of the bed, he was Jasper's best friend, his lover, his home. Jasper took a deep breath.
"I'd like you to meet Edward—"
Alice cut him off with a groan. "You're so lame, Jasper."
"Hold on, Angel. I want you to meet Edward, who's my boyfriend." Jasper loved how easy it was to say. Jasper put his hands on her shoulder, when Alice just stared blankly at Edward. Ben was suddenly busy studying his phone. He already knew about them, accepted it, as long "the kinky shit" was out of his line of sight. Those were Ben's words.
Alice's gaze finally shifted as she looked up at Jasper. "Is this for real?"
Jasper nodded. It felt so empowering to live his life on his terms, never having to consider that the world around him would judge. "As real as it gets."
Alice giggled. She turned and hugged Jasper around the waist. "This is totally like Christmas. I always wanted a gay best friend."
The room suddenly filled with laughter. "This doesn't mean you get to take me shopping or whatever it is you girls do."
"Ah, come on. You need new clothes once in a while," she whined. Then she waved her hand dismissively. "Can we all go eat, because I have like a gazillion questions and I'm so hungry."
"Sure," Edward agreed. All four of them walked down to the pizza place at the corner and Alice had already asked the first hundred questions. The tiny girl didn't let up with the Spanish Inquisition for the next few hours. She wasn't satisfied until she got the whole story about Jasper and Edward and how they first started dating.
Jasper couldn't get back to sleep. It was Sunday and all he really wanted was to sleep in and not be up at eight in the morning. Edward's incisive snoring wasn't helping either.
Last night after they had dinner they hung out, trying to teach Alice to play Grand Theft Auto. Before midnight Edward had thrown the towel in the ring. Alice was hopeless at computer games. Dance and ballet was her thing, not sitting still, learning to coordinate stolen goods with her thumbs, she had said.
Edward and Jasper had gone back to Jasper's room to sleep. Ben had left for a party at some point and incase he needed to put a sock on the door when he got back, they felt the safest bet was to leave. It had happened before. So, when Jasper's roommate was MIA, they didn't need to mark his door. The world worked perfectly that way.
"Baby," Jasper whispered. If he couldn't sleep, then who said Edward got to? Jasper started grinding himself against Edward's hip. It usually didn't take much effort to get a mood going. Gently, Jasper dragged his tongue along the shell of Edward's ear. "Wake up."
"Mmm," Edward turned his head to the other side.
"Rise and shine." Weaving his fingers into Edward disastrous bed hair, Jasper caught a small telling smile on his boyfriend's mouth. Edward was awake, but playing hard to get. Fun.
Jasper took the challenge and straddled Edward, letting him feel how hard he was already. It was the morning and it was effortless. Jasper kissed along Edward's shoulder, biting gently because he knew how much he loved it. Edward tipped his head back, his hands moving under the sheet down Jasper's sides. Jasper moaned. He loved how Edward's hands were familiar and loving when he touched him.
"Let me feel you," Edward asked, opening his eyes. His face was sleep beaten with crusty bits stuck in the corners of his puffy eyes and his breath wasn't exactly charming, but right now, he was all Jasper wanted. Following Edward's wish, Jasper flattened his body against him, grinding them together. That was when they started kissing, deep opened mouthed kisses, ignoring things like morning breath and fatigue.
Lost against Edward's body, Jasper only felt, felt hands that depicted love and adoration with how they touched and brought pleasure. He would never stop loving Edward, loving this, and loving this new life.
Jasper had realized something over the summer. He did miss the piercings on his face; he had liked them, but he never acquired any of them for the right reasons. Some people did it for the pain, got off on it, others were into the look of them, but for Jasper it had been neither. He had simply turned his face into a pincushion in honor of someone else. His reason was merely to piss his father off. Going away to college, standing on his own two feet, Jasper was done living his life for anyone but himself. He was the one who was most important in his life, he finally got to call all the shots, and he decided what his future should hold.
Edward's hands slipped into his boxers, kneading his ass. Jasper moaned, leaning his forehead against Edward's. Their eyes locked. "I want that wicked mouth on me and then I want you inside of me." His fingers curled into the pillow behind Edward's head. "Fuck, I want you in me."
Edward exhaled sharply. "Anything," he breathed. He dug his fingers into Jasper's flesh, his eyes flaming with need. "You're the best part of my life."
"Mine, too," Jasper echoed. "I love you. I love you forever." He kissed Edward hard, their mouth fusing in a desperate kiss.
The door to the room slammed and they flew apart as much as they could on the small bed. Fumbling with the sheet that was draped around them, Jasper looked up. There was a tall guy standing in his room staring at them with an impish grin on his face.
"Who the hell are you," Jasper spat, "and why the hell are you in my room?"
"My room," the guy corrected. He smirked. "I'm Peter. I take it you're Jasper Whitlock?" He threw a duffle bag to the vacant bed. He ran a hand through his shaggy hair, but he didn't seem to be bothered by the half naked boys in the other bed.
"Yeah," Jasper answered a little too late for it to be polite. He looked at Edward beside him, who was quiet. He looked a little grayish.
"Who's the cute redhead?" Peter asked and nodded towards Edward. There was no venom in his tone, just honest curiosity.
Jasper smiled, feeling his face heat, and it wasn't from the hot make out session. "Edward. Boyfriend," he explained curtly. His heart was like a jackhammer in his chest.
"Cool. Nice to meet you, man."
"Yeah, you, too," Edward answered. His tone was a bit dazed and he pulled the sheet closer to his chest. Peter went over to his bag, unzipping it. He looked up.
"By the way, sorry to interrupt, it looked like you two were getting cozy. I'd be out of your hair in a minute if I could, but to warn you guys in case you are completely naked, my parents are on their way up." He whistled under his breath. "Now that would be really embarrassing."
Like this isn't, Jasper thought. Under the sheet he discreetly managed to pull his boxers back up.
"I'll, uh, be downstairs," Edward murmured. He picked his shirt up from off the floor.
"You don't have to leave. My parents are totally cool," Peter said and kicked off his shoes. He sat down on the bed, taking a studious look around the room. "This isn't bad," he said appreciatively.
Jasper smiled. The room was pretty great. "Yeah." He looked at Edward as he got dressed, buttoning up his pants. Oh, well, they would have to make up for lost times later. Edward leaned over the bed where Jasper was still half-naked and hidden under the sheet.
"Come downstairs when you're ready, okay?"
Jasper nodded, grateful Edward always understood. Ever since Jasper broke away from his family Edward had let him make most of the decisions. Jasper knew if he knocked on Edward's door in five minutes or not at all today, he would understand. He wasn't about to nag or get obsessive. Edward would just kiss him and smile.
"Sure," Jasper answered. Edward kissed him briefly on the mouth. He smiled awkwardly at Peter before he left.
"Uhm," Jasper hedged. Then he realized that his pants were on the side of the room that was now Peter's. He stifled a groan.
"Here you go." His new roommate tossed his sweats across the room. Jasper smiled back timidly, lying back as he wiggled into them. "You know," Peter started and smiled. "I'm kind of glad boys rock your boat, because I just met a couple of cute girls out in the hall, and I really don't want to compete with you."
"Compete?" Jasper asked confused.
Peter threw him an are you kidding me look. Then he laughed. "You're all kinds of gorgeous and you don't even know it. How cute." Jasper narrowed his eyes at Peter's teasing tone, but he couldn't help cracking a small smile. "Well, I figure my chances with the sassy little thing next door just shot through the roof."
Jasper chuckled. "Blonde or brunette?"
"That will be Charlotte," Jasper informed. Both Alice and Charlotte were petite, they looked nothing alike, but they were sweethearts. He moved from the bed while putting on a shirt. "Uhm, do we need to say anything about what just happened?"
"What's there to talk about?" Peter's brows shot up. "Oh, was I supposed to mind that you two were getting your mack on in the morning? Hate to break it to you, bro, all guys are horny in the morning. It's not like you have the corner of that market."
Jasper smiled and shook his head. Why the hell had he put up with his father's abuse for so long when the world was filled with people who were open-minded and apparently understood?
"So the cute redhead, is that a new thing?" Peter asked. There was an innocence to him that Jasper rarely saw. His gaze was honest and inquisitive.
Jasper shook his head, but he was still a little dazed at the situation. It seemed a little absurd. Could life really be this uncomplicated? Had he truly found a place where he could just speak his mind and never edit through all of his thoughts? "No. Edward and I are from the same town. We've been together for more than two years."
"That's nice." Peter rummaged through his bag and pulled a lap top out. He looked up after a moment. "Really, man, I don't care. Love is love." He shrugged.
Jasper smiled. It did appear that he got the long end of the stick this time. Jasper sat back down on the bed and let relief wash over him. He wasn't sad that he didn't have his room all to himself anymore, but he felt a bit like he had won the lottery. He had his freedom and people in his life who weren't going to judge him.
Life really could be sweet.
Flopping back on his bed, Jasper's face split into a huge grin.
"Now why are you smiling like a goofy moron?" Peter asked.
"No reason." Jasper answered. He wasn't about to explain how liberated he felt. "Now, didn't you say your parents were here? Did they get lost?"
"Nu huh, I hear my dad down the hall."
Jasper ran his hand through his hair. He was ready to tackle the world.
Seriously, this is it. The epi, I mean. Several of you asked about it, and yes, it was written.
Thank you so much for the love and support that you have shown these boys, especially Jasper needed it. It saddens me that his story is hardly unique, but he was lucky there was some sort of safety net for him. That's not always the case, especially not for gay teenage boys. I wish we could all just keep an open mind and love and support each other.
Since we're in the slashy business, I really hope that some of you will check out my story called Heart and Soul. It may not be Edward and Jasper, but I promise you, the boys are still hot.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. Let me hear your voice one more time as I hit complete.
Lastly, gigantic hugs for Chartwilightmom, Robfan06 and SaritaDreaming for helping me out.
I'm on Twitter… sometimes. elvirina_nelly