Disclaimer: Still don't own it, though if I did I'd be a heck of a lot richer. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 53

Bella would have thought that seeing Jasper show so much "weakness", that he would have retreated back to his asshole ways just to prove something to himself. But he didn't. After Rose left that night, he explained to Bella what he'd told Rosalie. She sat curled up in his lap and listened as he spoke, spilling the details that he was sure would make her run. But she deserved to know.

He thought Maria had understood what she was getting with him, but look how that had turned out.

So he told Bella everything. Everything from the time he was a child and his father up to the day of the accident that almost took him away from her. He told her how he knew he would never be enough for her. He hadn't been for Maria, so why would he have been for Bella. He thought he didn't deserve love.

So he was a dick. He pushed and pushed until he gave Bella no choice but to leave him and not look back. He questioned why she was still there after everything he'd put her through.

There were no more tears on his part, but there were plenty from Bella as she explained just why she stayed.

"Jasper, yes, you've been an asshole at times. But you are very capable of love. You've shown me so much love and care, and I'm so proud of how far you've come. You are so different from the angry man that I wanted so badly to heal. Do I understand that you're never going to be overly touchy feely all the time? Yes. But I don't need that. I've never been very touchy feely myself. But you show me that you love me in other ways. In the way you've come to put me before you, even when you're frustrated and in pain. Even when you're scared. I don't need constant affection or attention. I just need you. Because I love you, Jasper. Asshole tendencies and all."

She gave him a small smile and kissed his lips sweetly.

"I love you too, Darlin'. I worry sometimes that I don't tell you that enough, but I really do. And I want to be with you always. I don't think either of us are ready for a walk down the aisle. I want to be more deserving before I ask you that question. But I want to sleep next to you every night and wake up next to you every morning. I want us to live together. Will you move in with me?"

"Can I be honest?" Bella asked.

"Of course." Jasper swallowed the lump in his throat, fearing her rejection.

"This place doesn't hold really great memories for me. Yes, we've had a few good times here, but we also had a really rough start here. My place is a little small, so maybe, if you really want to do this, we could find something else. Together. We could choose where to spend our lives together. Does that sound all right?"

Jasper let his breath come out in a relieved whoosh.

"Baby, I'd live in a cardboard box with you if you asked. So yes, that sounds all right. Maybe we could find something with a nice yard for the mutt over there."

As if Chuck knew they were talking about him he huffed and turned his head.

"Would you like that, Chuck?" Bella asked and Chuck moved from his laying position so that she could reach him easier to pet him.

He made a sound that was somewhere between a howl and a growl. Bella swore that when he did that he was talking to her. More than once she'd said he told her "no", and Jasper had to admit that there were times that those noises sounded a little like words. This time he watched as the dog excitedly shuffled his feet and "spoke" to Bella who ate it up.

Jasper could only smile at the display. He was completely spent from the release of emotions, but he needed to make sure his girl ate before he passed out for the evening. They worked together in the kitchen to make a simple dinner, and then they got ready for bed. It felt so domesticated. So normal.

For the first time since Bella had met Jasper, she wasn't waiting for the other shoe to drop. She felt horrible for all the things that Jasper had been forced to endure, and as much as she hated that he'd just relived it twice in one day, she was glad that he'd gotten it out there. That he no longer carried that burden alone. It wasn't a quick fix, she knew that, but it was a start. And she could definitely work with that.

A/N: Sorry this took so long! I have had some serious writer's block with this story! But things are coming to an end and so maybe they have just decided not to cooperate with me. Not to mention getting ready to move cross-country while taking classes has made things hectic. It doesn't help that I've decided I'm a hoarder and we're trying to get rid of stuff. Yep, I totally have old notes from high school. Yeah, so…. Sorry again. Hopefully the next chapter won't take this long!

Thanks to all my readers and reviewers! You guys are amazing! I love you all!