Notes: I can't thank Sunflower3759 and Ashes Ashes for beta-ing and Content1 for validating enough. This story wouldn't have been the same without them and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for their hard work.
Here's the final installment of LWP, I hope you enjoy Alice and Jasper's first meeting and how they got together. I ended up doing a split POV, so you could see how both of them felt.
Alice and Jasper Outtake – Nipples of the Virgin
I shoved another book on the shelf, huffing in frustration at the idiots who couldn't fucking manage to get a damn book on the right shelf. How difficult was it to just file things in the proper place? There were tags everywhere with course numbers, and everything was arranged according to course code. The problem was, half of the students who came into the bookstore I worked at were selfish assholes.
They hadn't worked a day in their lives, and they didn't care who they dicked over as long as they got what they wanted. Those of us who had to scrape by, struggling to make ends meet as we paid for school, didn't even register to them. The rich kids left piles of books lying around, or worse, shoved onto the wrong shelves. They messed up displays and trashed the stores through their carelessness, never realizing there were people who had to scramble to pick up after them. I hated them all.
I shoved the last book in place and glanced over at the register, making sure a line hadn't formed while I was away. A clear, sweet voice to my right spoke, startling me.
"Excuse me. Do you carry the book "In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food?"
I whipped around, my eyes dropping to land on a pretty girl beside me. "I'm sorry, what?"
"I'm looking for the book, "In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food." She blinked her long lashes, her mouth curving up at the corner. "I want to make nipples of the virgin."
I choked on the air in my lungs, my eyes widening in shock. The tiny girl in front of me was batting her eyelashes as she talked about virgin's nipples, and I barely managed to sputter out a response. "I … I don't know anything about virgin's nipples."
Her mouth quirked up at the corner again before she spoke, "well, that's a shame; I was hoping you'd be the man to help me out."
I felt like my brain had just been delivered a jolt of electricity as I struggled to answer her. "I'm sorry, I don't understand."
Her voice was patient, like she was dealing with someone feeble-minded, and by this point, I pretty much was. "I want to make Minni di Virgini. They're an Italian pastry filled with custard and topped with a cherry." She winked at me. "And that book has the best recipe. I need to know if you carry it."
"Virgin's nipples," I exhaled. "Right … um, the book." She nodded, staring at me expectantly. "Fuck, um, yes. Let me go look that up for you."
I gestured her toward the counter and she walked ahead of me, shooting a teasing little glance over her shoulder. She was incredibly cute; probably no more than 5'2" or so, with a curvy little body and short dark hair. She was dressed casually, in jeans and a sweater, looking nothing like the rest of the girls on campus. Most of them were either horribly over-dressed and caked with makeup, or dressed down in sweats and those hideously ugly boots that were so trendy. This girl looked cute and comfortable, not high-maintenance at all. I flushed when she looked back again and caught me staring at her ass. For her small frame, it was surprisingly full, and I could picture my hands on it.
Her grey-blue eyes danced with amusement as she stopped at the counter labeled "Returns," and I nearly slammed into her. "Sorry," I muttered, side-stepping my way around the corner so I could get to the computer. What was wrong with me? Why the fuck was I so flustered by this girl?
It had been way too long since I'd gone on a date, I decided. With school and work, I hardly had the time. Plus, I avoided most of the girls on campus. I never had the money to take them to the places they wanted to go. I'd been called a loser more times than I could count by girls who had never worked at anything but maxing out their father's credit cards.
"So … Jasper," the girl said and my eyes widened again.
"You know my name?" I asked hoarsely.
She giggled, but it sounded friendly and teasing, not cruel. She leaned forward and tapped the nametag pinned to my blue work polo. "I do now."
"Shit. Right. Um, so what was the name of the book you need again?"
"In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food," she repeated. "Virgin's nipples, remember."
I typed the book title in on the computer and nodded dumbly. "Yeah, I got that part." I muttered under my breath. "Probably never going to forget it."
She smiled at me, and I wondered if maybe she'd heard me. I looked at the screen and clicked through the list before I found the book she was looking for. "Um, it looks like we do carry that book," I said, surprised. It seemed very obscure.
"Oh, excellent. I've been absolutely craving that pastry." She licked her lips. "The custard and the cherry are just delicious."
I gulped and pictured her breasts, covered in custard and topped with bright red cherries. "Yeah, I bet."
My dick pushed against the fly of my khakis, and I was suddenly grateful that I was behind the counter. I cleared my throat and looked away from her. "Let me see what shelf it's on, and I'll help you find it."
"You're a lifesaver."
"A pastry-saver, maybe," I said, clicking on the book title to bring up the shelf location. My heart sank when I realized we were out of stock. We did carry it, but we were all out of copies. "Shit, maybe not."
She pouted prettily. "Is there a problem?"
"Yeah, I spoke too soon." I looked over at her. "We did carry it, but we only had one copy and it was bought yesterday."
"Damn it, I should have come over after class yesterday," she muttered, a look of disappointment crossing her face. "It looks like someone else from class got to it first."
"I can order it for you," I offered, eager to make her pretty little smile come back. I was rewarded when it spread across her face.
"I would be eternally grateful if you did." She fluttered her lashes at me. "I might even let you sample my nipples."
I choked on air again, my face flaming as my dick twitched. It took an inordinate amount of time for me to realize that she was talking about the pastries, and not her own body. I turned away from her, trying to settle the thumping of my heart with a few deep breaths. "Let me put that order in," I said, my voice coming out high and strained. "What's your name?
She smiled at me. "Alice. Alice Brandon."
"Can I have your number?" I blurted out. She raised an eyebrow at me. "For the book order! I just need your number for the order."
She smiled at me, but I wondered if I was just imagining the look of disappointment behind her eyes. She rattled it off and I was a complete wreck by the time I finished placing her order. My hands were shaking and I had to re-enter half of the information because I kept hitting the wrong keys. I told her I'd call her when her book arrived and she batted her eyelashes at me one more time.
"I look forward to hearing from you."
Her fingertips grazed over my hand as she turned to leave, and I stood staring after her until an irate customer finally snapped me out of my stupor.
Nipples of the Virgin. Christ, I was fucked.
Three days later, I was cleaning the store windows when my manager walked up to me. "Hey, Jasper, can you come in my office for a sec? I need to talk to you."
I gulped as I put down the cleaner and paper towels, following him numbly into the back of the store where his office was located. I was just praying I wasn't going to get fired. If I only ate PB&J for the rest of the week, I'd have enough to pay this semester's tuition. If I got fired, I was SOL.
Peter, my manager, took a seat as his desk and shoved an invoice across it towards me. I looked at it, and my eyes widened when I realized what he was showing me. Alice's book was in, but instead of ordering one copy, I'd accidentally ordered seventeen.
"Shit," I muttered, and he cracked a smile.
"Yeah, I didn't think you ordered that many on purpose."
"No, I'm sorry, I got flustered."
Peter shook his head. "How hot was she?"
"Hot," I answered promptly. "And just … ugh, I can't even describe it." I scrubbed my hands across my face and sighed. "Please tell me I'm not getting fired for this."
Peter shook his head. "I'm not happy about it; I have to find some way to get rid of sixteen copies of the most obscure cookbook ever, but you're not fired."
"Thank you, sir," I said with an exhale of relief.
"Just don't do it again," he warned me sternly. "And call this Alice Brandon and let her know her book is in."
"Will do!" I said, bolting out of my chair. My boss's laugh followed me out the door.
My palms were sweaty when I dialed her number, and I wiped them on my khakis. When she answered with a cheerful hello, I stuttered out a reply. "Hi … um, hello. Is this Alice Brandon?"
She laughed softly. "It is. Who are you?"
"Jasper Whitlock, ma'am. I mean, miss. I mean … It's Jasper from Gibson's bookstore."
"Oh! Jasper. Hi."
"Hi." I paused for a moment, and then realized I hadn't told her the reason for my call. I blurted it out like a moron. "Your book is in."
"Oh! Wonderful! I am so excited." She giggled. "You caught me at a bad time though, Jasper; I was just about to get in the shower."
"You were?" I bit my lip to keep from groaning as I imagined her wet and naked.
"Mmhmm." She sighed. "Once I take care of that and get dressed, I'll come pick the book up."
"Um, well, have fun in the shower."
"Oh trust me, I will," she said flirtatiously. "I'll see you later, Jasper."
"Oh … oh, okay," I stammered.
I stared at the phone for a couple of minutes before I finally hung up. Thankfully, a line of impatient customers finally made their presence known and I stayed busy until she arrived.
She finally emerged from the end of the line, leaning on the counter and looking up at me through those damn eyelashes. "Hey, Jasper."
"Um, hey, Alice, what are you doing here?" The moment the words slipped out of my mouth, I winced, realizing how idiotic it was.
She merely grinned. "To see you of course! And, you know, pick up the book I ordered."
"Right." I cleared my throat and bent down to look under the counter at the stacks of orders waiting to be picked up. I found her book and set it on the counter between us. "Is that the correct one?"
"Oh, yes." She smiled happily and began thumbing through it. "It is. See, nipples of the virgin."
She thrust the book out toward me and showed me the picture. It was a very suggestive pastry especially with the red cherries on top. I gulped, once again picturing Alice's breasts instead.
"Yep, I see."
She licked her lips. "I can't wait to try them!"
"Me either," I groaned. Someone behind her cleared their throat, and I hurried to ring up her order. "That will be thirteen sixty-two," I said, trying to at least pretend to be somewhat professional around her.
She slipped a credit card out of her wallet and handed it to me, but the minute her soft fingers brushed mine, I dropped it. We both fumbled for it, and it fell onto the counter several more times before I finally grasped it. I swiped the card and dropped it two more times before I got it back to her. I awkwardly thrust the receipt toward her to sign and she handed it back, letting her fingers graze across mine again.
To my surprise, rather than leave immediately, she just stepped aside and let me help the next few customers. When the line cleared, she sidled back up to me and batted her lashes again. "Thanks a million, Jasper. You really are a lifesaver."
I cleared my throat. "Oh, it was no problem. I'm happy to help."
She asked me a few questions about how long I'd worked at the store, and we talked for a little while. I helped customers in between, and was so flustered by her that I made far more errors than I'd ever made before.
She seemed to take pity on me after a while, and toned things down. When she wasn't making deliberately suggestive comments, I found it a little easier to have a conversation with her without stammering or saying something stupid.
I was disappointed when she finally left that afternoon, but happy that she continued to come in every few days. She always bought something, but it was small and inconsequential, like a notebook or a pack of pens.
I thought maybe she liked me—I couldn't imagine why she kept coming back, unless it was to see me. I even managed to stop getting so flustered by her that I was able to flirt back a little. But I still didn't have the balls to ask her out. And every time she left, I stood there staring after her, wondering how I was going to ever survive knowing Alice Brandon.
One afternoon, I finally mustered up the courage to ask her out on a date. I'd been scrimping and saving, and had enough money to take her to a decent restaurant and a movie. We were mid-conversation when I blurted it out. "Do you want to go out with me sometime?"
She abruptly stopped talking about her class and looked at me, wide-eyed.
"On a date?"
"Uhm, yeah." I tugged at my hair, nervous about her response. My hair was getting long, curling around my ears, and I really needed a trim but couldn't afford it.
Her expression was strange, and I couldn't quite place it. All I knew was that my heart plummeted when she shook her head no.
"You're a nice guy, Jasper. But it's taken you months to ask me out. I think I need a guy who is a little bit bolder." Her tone was teasing, and there was nothing malicious in what she said, but I was crushed at the rejection, and I nodded once, tersely.
"Right, missed my window," I muttered, and turned away. It stung, and I couldn't quite stand to look her in the face right then.
I hurried toward the employee break room in the back of the store and I heard her call out, "Sorry, Jasper," as I disappeared through the door.
"Damn it, damn it, damn it," I muttered to myself as I left the bookstore. I was such a coward. Jasper had finally worked up the nerve to ask me out, and I'd turned him down. I liked Jasper, I really did. But he scared me. I'd been crushing on him since the moment I saw him stacking books at Gibson's. When his biceps flexed in that blue polo, it made me a little weak in the knees.
His light brown hair was a little curly, and when he turned his blue, blue eyes on me, I thought I'd keel over. He was so sweet, so shy, and so flustered around me. I couldn't help but tease him a little. The nipples of the virgin bit just kept growing, and I always knew exactly when he was picturing my nipples instead. He would stare directly at my chest and his eyes would glaze over. One time he even licked his lips. He had deliciously soft-looking, full lips, and I had a feeling they would taste much better than any of the pastries in that book.
His earnest sweetness was disarming; he made me feel completely out of my element. I looked at Jasper and saw marriage and babies and all of my dreams of someday opening a bed and breakfast slip away; the idea of tying myself down to one person while I was still in college seemed crazy. But that's what I saw when I looked at Jasper.
I loved my mom, but she'd settled down at a young age, and it had ended up with a broken marriage and with her having to go back to school and start a career in her forties. She had a respectable job at the chamber of commerce in our small town but never did realize her dream of owning a business.
I feared that if I let Jasper in, I'd wind up just like my mom. But the look on his face when I turned him down just about broke my heart. I kind of hated myself right then.
It took me two weeks to show my face at the bookstore again, and I expected the worst from Jasper. I thought he'd never talk to me again, but he did. And, although I knew it was cruel, I kept flirting. He doggedly kept asking me out, and I still said no every time. But as the weeks passed, I found myself weakening a little.
We got to know each other better, and I learned that he was studying business and accounting. I told him about my dream to open up a bed and breakfast here in Seattle and his eyes lit up. Suddenly, I could see us owning one together—Jasper handling the business side of things while I took care of the hospitality. I was still scared, but I finally realized how little it had to do with my dreams of the future and how much it had to do with the fact that I didn't think I deserved a guy like him.
He was the sweetest, shyest guy I'd ever met. I was afraid I'd break his heart, and then mine in the process.
On my way out of my Principles of Tourism class one afternoon, I stumbled across him. He was sitting on a bench just outside the building, softly strumming a guitar. I stopped dead in my tracks, just watching him. His eyes flicked up to meet mine and he held my gaze, his cheeks filling with color. Even so, he didn't stop playing the beautiful song.
I sank onto the low cement wedge across the sidewalk from him with his eyes boring into mine. He played a couple more songs, one flowing into the next, and it felt as if he were revealing a part of his soul to me. Before I realized he'd even finished, Jasper stood up, kissed the top of my head, and walked away. I stared after him, simply too stunned to move.
He repeated the gesture a number of times over the next few weeks. Sometimes singing, and sometimes bringing me little bouquets of flowers. He didn't always leave right after; often times he stayed and talked, or we would have lunch together.
I knew Jasper was a struggling student. When I noticed him bringing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch day after day, it made my heart hurt. He was working so hard to better himself, fighting to just get by and pay the bills while he went to school. I admired him for that.
Every wall I'd tried so hard to build began to disintegrate, and his kisses moved from the top of my head, to my forehead, to my cheek, and finally to the corner of my mouth.
I didn't stop the kiss at the corner of my mouth, or push him away. When he pulled back, I swallowed hard, really wanting to feel his soft lips on mine. His eyes were as blue as the sky as they looked into mine.
"Go out with me, Alice," he asked quietly.
"I can't." My voice broke and he sighed. I licked my lips, tasting the nuttiness of the peanut butter and the sweetness of the grape jelly at the corner of my mouth.
He nodded and turned away to go. I wondered how many more times I could say no to Jasper before he stopped asking. That night, I poured my heart out to my roommate and best friend, Bella. A couple hours later, I finally admitted to myself that I did care about Jasper, and she coaxed me to take the plunge.
The next day, I packed a huge lunch and offered some of it to Jasper. He was hesitant at first, but he eventually caved when I lied and told him I needed him to test food I was making for one of my classes. The groans of appreciation he made as he tasted the food drove me half-crazy. Afterwards, he sprawled out on the grass and his shirt slid up to reveal his flat stomach, which had a dusting of fine, golden brown hairs. His eyes were closed and his lips were parted with one arm flung over his head. I couldn't take it anymore.
I climbed on top of him, and his eyes flew open. He stared up at me, bewildered. "What are you doing, Alice?"
"I'm going to kiss you."
His hands landed lightly on my hips, wariness lurking in his otherwise hopeful expression. "I can't just do some casual thing, Alice. I'm … I'm falling really hard for you."
I swallowed past the lump in my throat. "I think I've already fallen for you."
I leaned down and brushed my lips against his. He was hesitant at first, but as the kiss grew deeper, his hand moved to the back of my head. I moaned against his mouth and he sat up abruptly … panting. "I've gotta stop," he groaned.
"Can we just change the location?" I asked breathlessly. "My apartment's just a few blocks away."
"Yeah, okay," he agreed, his cheeks flushing.
I scrambled off him, hastily throwing the remnants of our lunch in my bag and grabbing his hand. I couldn't tell what Jasper was thinking as we walked quickly to my apartment. I didn't even know what I was thinking. I only knew one thing for sure; I was already half in love with this man, and I was tired of running in the opposite direction of something that felt so right.
Thankful that Bella was gone for the day, I dragged Jasper into my bedroom and locked the door. His kisses were tender at first, and his fingers trembled as he lifted my shirt and discarded it behind him. The intensity grew quickly, and by the time we were half naked and making out on the bed, his cheeks were flushed and he was panting. Breathless, I paused and touched his face softly as a thought crossed my mind. All the jokes we'd made about virgin's nipples, and I was starting to wonder if maybe he was one.
"Jasper?" I asked. "Are you a virgin?"
He laughed and shook his head, looking down at me with a surprised look. "What on earth would make you say that?"
"You just seem so … nervous," I said.
He laughed and leaned down to kiss me. "It's 'cause I can't believe this is really happening. Actually, it's funny you say that. It's been a really long time for me, and for all intents and purposes, I do kind of feel like a virgin all over again. I'm nervous I won't last more than three seconds."
I shrugged and reached for his boxers, sliding them down his hips and gently pushing him onto the bed. "I can take care of that."
He groaned when I kissed my way over his chest and down his stomach. I took his cock in my mouth, licking and sucking at it. True to his word, he didn't last long, but I didn't mind. He reciprocated, using his mouth to drive me wild. After we were finished, I begged him to stay in bed while I ran to get something. I slipped on his shirt and saw his eyes soften. He snagged my hand and tugged me to him for another kiss.
"Thanks for saying yes this time," he said softly.
I grinned. "Well, technically I didn't."
He rolled his eyes at me. "Will you go out with me, Alice Brandon?"
"I'd love to," I replied cheekily.
I left the bedroom and went into the kitchen, filching a bowl of custard and some cherries from the fridge. I hummed to myself as I turned to head back to the bedroom and called out "you better still be naked, Jasper."
I was met with the wide-eyed stare of my roommate as I rounded the corner. "Shit!" I yelped. "I didn't think you were home."
"I forgot a book." Bella shook her head and said teasingly, "I guess you got over your fear of commitment."
I grinned. "Yeah, you could say that."
"That's my cue to leave. You two can get back to whatever it is you were doing."
"Thanks!" I leaned forward and spoke more quietly. "And thanks for kicking my butt and telling me to go for it."
"You're welcome. Have fun."
"Oh, we will," I assured her.
I walked back to the bedroom and heard the slam of the front door closing just a few moments later. I looked at Jasper lying comfortably on my bed and smiled at him. "You look pretty good there, you know?"
He flushed. "I do?"
"Yeah, I like having you here," I admitted.
"Your place is nicer than mine," he said with a frown. "I have no money, Alice. We aren't going to be able to go on a lot of dates."
I shrugged. "I like watching movies at home, and I'd rather cook at home than eat out anyway."
"My apartment is really shitty and I share it with three other guys," he said apologetically.
"Why are you trying to talk me out of dating you?" I asked, setting the custard and cherries down on the dresser.
"I'm not, I just want you to know what you're getting into, Alice. You deserve so much … I just want to be honest with you."
"Well, how's this for honest? I don't give a shit how much money is in your bank account, or what your apartment's like. You're the sweetest, most hard-working guy I've ever met." I looked down at the floor for a moment. "I've been a real bitch to you, and I'm sorry. I want to be honest, too, and honestly, I'm fucking terrified of being in a relationship. I have no idea what I'm doing, but I like you, Jasper."
"I like you, too." He smiled and tugged me toward him. "Now, what's that you have there?"
I glanced at the custard and cherries. "Ingredients for Minni di Virgini. You can taste my virgin's nipples."
He chuckled. "You're a weird girl, you know that?"
"Yeah, but you have to admit, we have a great story about how we met."
Jasper pinned me to the bed and smiled down at me. "I'm just glad you didn't ask any of the other guys at the bookstore about nipple pastries."
I shook my head, pushing the wild mop of hair away of his face. "Nah, it was only you, Jasper."
Notes: I hope you enjoyed hearing from A&J. I really had fun writing their story. Thank you all for being a part of "The Life of a Wedding Photographer". I was really nervous about continuing an o/s that so many people loved, but your reviews have all been so sweet and supportive.
So thank you to my team of pre-readers, betas, and validation betas, they have been fabulous. And thank you for all of your wonderful reviews, and recs, and love. I am going to miss this story, and all of you reviewers.
I have more stories coming though, so please put me on alert if you'd like to read more. I promise, there is a lot more to come!
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