A/N, Disclaimer, and warnings: I hope you've read the summary so you know what this is about. Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions. You won't find anything graphic here.
I am not Stephenie Meyer, in case you hadn't noticed.
SO. This is actually a request from my love jfka06. She wanted me to continue Prompt 13 from the Twilight Twenty-Five (which I wrote as a date rape between Bella and James), but she also wanted a J/E story. This is what we settled on. I'm not going to say I hope you enjoy it, because that seems wrong.
If I turn into another,
Dig me up from under what is covering
The better part of me.
Sing this song!
Remind me that we'll always have each other
When everything else is gone.
Edward had a habit of making things look effortless. He was great at any sport he played. He could play any musical instrument he touched. He'd gotten straight A's from kindergarten to senior year of high school without even trying.
Throughout their friendship, Jasper had never been jealous of Edward. There was no need. Jasper was an outgoing kid. He was charismatic, smart, and talented in his own right. No matter how well Edward did or how impressive he got, Jasper was only ever proud of his friend.
College was the first time Jasper ever felt jealous of Edward's ease with everything. Their first year of college, Edward walked into their dorm room the night before winter break with a look on his face Jasper had never seen. His cheeks were a hectic pink; his smile was about to spread right off his face; his eyes danced.
"I just had the best night of my life, and I'm pretty sure I'm in love," Edward said.
Jasper's stomach twisted. He swallowed around the lump in his throat and forced a grin, reminding himself this was Edward. He couldn't be serious about the love thing. Edward had never been very fanciful. He'd always said love was overrated. "Oh, yeah? Tell me all about her."
Edward paused. His happy expression faltered, and his eyes darted to Jasper and away. "Him."
"It's not a her. It's a him. His name is Aro. I'm in love with him."
Jasper's heart and stomach dropped right down to his shoes.
The thing was, Jasper had known for years he was two things - in love and gay. In all that time, he hadn't been able to summon the courage to admit either of those facts. Yet here was Edward, describing how he'd thought for months he might be gay and whatever had happened with Aro had cinched the deal. Coming out to Jasper was as natural and easy as everything else. Admitting he was in love seemed to be second nature. Jasper was horribly jealous because both were ideas he'd agonized over. He'd told no one. Not even Edward. Especially not Edward.
It might have seemed like a good time for Jasper to come out, but Edward's announcement had made that impossible. Jasper had figured out he was gay in high school because he'd realized then he was in love with his best friend.
Jasper did not like Edward's boyfriend. Given he was in love with Edward, Jasper was well aware the likelihood he would approve of Aro was slim to none. Because he was aware of that, he had gone in with an open mind. His dislike had next to nothing to do with the fact Aro got to kiss Edward when he didn't. Jasper had double and triple checked himself, but every time they all went out together, the result was the same. Aro Scarpinato gave Jasper the heebie jeebies. Jasper couldn't quite put his finger on why, but Aro gave off a creeper vibe. Beyond that, the man was plain infuriating.
It wasn't as though Jasper couldn't understand what was so appealing about the man. Aro was twenty-six, handsome in a regal kind of way, and genius level smart, just like Edward. He was a grad student in history, so Jasper should have enjoyed talking to him. But even there, Aro specialized in British history where Jasper tended to be more interested in early American history.
What bothered Jasper the most was how Aro treated Edward. The man was possessive. When they were out, Aro constantly had his arm around Edward's shoulders. He spoke as if he owned him. "My Edward tells me you're minoring in philosophy." When Aro wasn't with them, Edward was constantly texting him. "He's just curious what we're doing." Jasper got the distinct impression Aro would have preferred Edward didn't hang out with any other hot guys. Maybe he should have taken it as a compliment that Aro included him in that category, but Edward was his roommate. It wasn't as though Edward was going out of his way to hang out with him.
There were other disturbing things. Aro was constantly telling Edward what he should and shouldn't be doing.
"You shouldn't eat white bread. There's no nutrition. It's mostly sugar."
"You're so lanky. You should hit the gym more often and work on that muscle tone. Think of how sexy you'd be with just a little more definition in your arms and back."
"You shouldn't take that class. Professor Damon has nothing to offer you."
It all sounded so innocuous on the surface. Jasper had asked himself why it disturbed him. Wasn't Aro just being a concerned boyfriend? But too often he saw Edward change tiny pieces of his personality one by one. Even when Aro wasn't there, Jasper couldn't count the number of times he heard, "Aro says this" or "Aro says I shouldn't that." Then, slowly, Aro's suggestions became commands.
"Don't order waffles; order the egg whites."
"You don't have time to take on that project. Tell him to get another partner."
"I've signed you up at my gym."
As gentle and soft spoken as Aro seemed, Jasper couldn't help but see him as a threat. His protective instinct screamed in his head, but he didn't know what to do. Edward was smitten, and it wasn't as though the man was beating on him or something like that. Edward was a big boy. He could make his own decisions.
Jasper tried to be a supportive friend. He didn't want Edward to think he was weirded out about the fact he was with a guy, so he tried to joke around the same way he joked with his other friends. He joked about their sex life even though the thought of Aro touching Edward made his stomach churn.
Edward was quiet at first. "We haven't… done anything. Not really." He swallowed hard. He seemed embarrassed. "I don't think I'm ready. Is that pathetic?"
"No, man. I know we joke around about it, but sex is, I don't know… Important. To me it is, anyway." Jasper never would have admitted that to anyone else, but he knew Edward wouldn't judge him. He needed Edward to know it went both ways. "I'm a virgin, you know."
"I didn't know. I was curious. You've never talked about anyone, but you joke with the guys."
"Yeah. I joke." Jasper bumped his shoulder. "So how's Aro taking that? He's not pushing you, is he?"
Again, Edward lapsed into silence.
"Edward? He isn't, right?"
"We've been dating for almost two months," Edward said. "He has a right to think things should have progressed beyond getting handsy by now."
Jasper balled his fists at his side as he tried to figure out what he was supposed to say. Though he had rolled his eyes and been embarrassed by his parents' insistence on the topic, he found himself thinking back to the many, many times his parents had had the same conversation with him as he was about to have with Edward. "Sex isn't something you owe anyone, Edward, not even your boyfriend. It's something you both have to want." His cheeks flushed. This was an embarrassing conversation to have.
"I know that. I'm just saying, it's normal he wants to do those things with me." Edward lay on his bed, staring up at the ceiling with a look of consternation on his face. "It has to suck for him, right? He's twenty-six, Jasper. He's had other relationships. He just wants to show me how he feels about me, and I keep getting… scared. It's stupid."
"It's not stupid."
"We're nineteen-year-old virgins. That's pathetic."
"Dude." Jasper sat up on his bed so he could stare at his friend. "Are you even hearing yourself right now? You sound like one of those macho assholes. I don't give a shit if you're nineteen or forty-seven. The only reason you should have sex is if you want to, not because it's some measure of manliness, and definitely not because some asshole is pressuring you."
Edward crossed his arms and rolled so his back was to Jasper. "It's not pressure. He just wants normal things, that's all."
"Okay. I'm sick of this. I can't stay quiet anymore." Jasper crossed the room and pressed on Edward's shoulder so he rolled onto his back. "What the hell kind of power does this guy has over you? Do you realize how much you've changed? You're a cocky bastard, Edward, but lately you're scared of your own shadow and now this? I don't get it. If he makes you feel pathetic for not being ready to have sex yet-"
"Would you shut up?" Edward glared and pushed him away. "You don't know what you're talking about. I love him and he loves me."
"He controls you."
"God, what are you even upset about?" Edward crossed his arms as he got to his feet. "Aro thinks you're jealous. He thinks you want me. I told him he was just being dumb, but I don't know now. You tell me."
Jasper looked away quickly and asked himself not for the first time if he was reacting this way not out of concern but jealousy. Was he overreacting? "Aro thinks everyone wants you. He's the jealous twat. I just don't want him to hurt you."
"He wouldn't. He loves me."
Two weeks passed. Things were strained between Jasper and Edward since their spat. A lot had changed. Edward was frequently gone until late at night and sleeping when Jasper left for class. When they were in the same room and Aro called, Edward would take his phone out in the hall. Jasper hated it. He hated the lack of trust it symbolized. That was the point of best friends. Edward should have been able to trust that he could go to Jasper with anything and not get crap about it.
Jasper vacillated between guilt that he'd overreacted and anger that Edward was taking it all so far. Even if he had been over-zealous, couldn't the prick see it was only because he was concerned?
That Friday night, Jasper decided to go out with some of his other friends. It was easier to shake off his irritation when he was surrounded by other college kids in good moods. He started to relax. Every time his thoughts strayed to the frustrating situation with Edward, he let one of his other friends distract him.
Around midnight, Edward called. A spike of elation and hope went through Jasper with bitterness right on its heels. His heart pounded as he connected the call. "What?" When seconds went by with no reply, Jasper might have thought the call was a mistake except he could hear Edward breathing. "Edward?" Huff. Huff. Huff. "Hey, Edward? Are you there?"
"Where… where are you?"
The sound of Edward's voice closed off Jasper's throat. Dread settled like a stone in his stomach. Something was wrong. He knew it. He knew it to the marrow of his bones. Jasper stood and made for the exit without offering his friends an explanation. "I'm out, man. What is it? What's going on? Where are you?"
"I'm in the room."
His voice was so… other. It was flat. It was Edward, but it wasn't. Jasper had never heard him sound like this. He walked faster. "Are you okay?"
"Are you coming back?"
Jasper felt like throwing up and he didn't know why. "Yeah. I'll be there."
The call disconnected.
He wasn't sure what he was expecting to find when he got back to their room. He opened the door as though he were turning a corner in a haunted house, half expecting something horrifying to jump out at him. What he saw was anticlimactic at first. "Dude?"
Edward sat on the edge of his bed. At first, Jasper thought he'd been an idiot and got all worked up over nothing. Edward was obviously fine. But slowly, other things began to sink in. Edward was all but motionless as he sat on the bed. The look on his face was blank, but his eyes were puffy and red, as though he'd been crying very recently. His hair was disheveled. His usually immaculate bed was rumpled. His knuckles were white where he clutched the blanket.
Jasper shut the door and took several steps toward Edward, unsure of what to do or what was going on. He was missing something here. "Edward?" He snapped his fingers in front of his friend's face just to get a reaction. Edward flinched. He looked up briefly as though he'd just noticed Jasper was there and then he looked away again. "What the fuck is going on? What's wrong? What happened?"
Edward's lips parted and his tongue darted out as he wetted them. He panted and swallowed. "I, um… I had sex. Me and Aro. We had sex."
Jasper's stomach dropped down to his shoes. "Okay." He felt dizzy, his thoughts thick as though they were weighed down. The pieces were beginning to add up. Because he couldn't formulate the words, he reached out. One by one, he began to loosen Edward's fingers from his grip on the blanket around him. Edward's breath picked up and all the blood drained from his face, but he didn't say anything. He didn't so much as move. The blanket fell down enough to reveal Edward's bare shoulders.
There were marks. Red hand marks on his shoulders, spanning his back.
Marks that made it look like someone had gripped him too tight and had to readjust their grip.
Marks dark enough that they would be bruises in the morning.
Fury and horror vied for dominance, but Jasper swallowed both emotions down. "Edward, I'm going to call the police."
Edward sucked in a breath and looked up at Jasper, his eyes wide and scared. "What? No. Why?"
"Because." Jasper's throat was dry and tight. He could scarcely speak for all the rage going through him. "Aro raped you, didn't he?"
Edward looked down. His shoulders rose and fell sharply as his breath became more labored. He shook his head. "You can't call anyone. You can't tell anyone. He didn't… He…" His posture slumped. "He's my boyfriend," he whispered.
At a loss for what to do, Jasper sat next to Edward on the bed, leaving enough space between them so as not to make him uncomfortable. "Him being your boyfriend doesn't give him any rights if this wasn't what you wanted."
Edward began to tremble hard enough the bed shook. "He's my boyfriend. He's my boyfriend."
Jasper scooted closer. He put his hand against Edward's back and while he winced, he didn't pull away.
"He said he loved me. He said he would never hurt me." Edward's eyes were unfocused. His voice was small and confused, childlike. "I said stop. I said no."
Jasper wrapped an arm around Edward's body. His grip was loose. He expected Edward to bolt at any time.
Instead, Edward looked up. The blank expression was gone. The only thing Jasper saw in his eyes was a pain so unfathomable, it stole his breath. "He said he loved me, but he didn't stop. I don't understand why he didn't stop."
He crumpled forward then, into Jasper's arms, and sobbed.
A/N: Thanks to barburella, jessypt, and songster. And of course, jfka06.
How we doing out there, kids?