I took the laptop to my dad’s office after I figured out what was wrong with it. He was on the phone with his back facing me when I arrived, so I waited just inside the door until he was done. He looked a little startled when he turned back to his desk to hang up the phone and saw me standing there.
“Hey, Dad. Laptop’s fixed.” I held it up and smirked at him. “You should know by now not to try and delete anything from the programs, Dad. Really, how many times now? Four?” I chuckled softly, my eyes dancing with mirth, as I watched him slump in his seat and place a hand over his forehead.
“Again? I apologize, Son. I promise you, no more accidentally deleting anything. Next time, I’ll go straight to you.” He chuckled and shook his head. “Really, Edward. Thank you, and I am sorry.”
“Sure thing. Now, if you don’t mind, Dad, I’ve got to be somewhere, and I’m already running late.” I grinned. I think I looked a little too excited, because he got that look on his face again, that knowing look – the look that meant I could expect to hear from my mother in the next couple of days. I mentally groaned.
“Enjoy your evening, Edward.” He smirked a little.
Does he know I have a date? Nah…he can’t. Can he?
I spun around to leave and waved goodbye over my shoulder. “See you in the morning, Dad!”
I hurried over to Pike’s Place, where we’d agreed to meet. I parked my car at the Market Garage, thanking the heavens above that I was able to find an empty place to pull into at this hour. I walked quickly to the information booth to meet Jasper, loosening the knot on my tie and undoing the top two buttons of my shirt as I went.
I grinned as I spotted him, his back to me as he looked at the information board. Stopping right behind him, I cleared my throat and cocked a brow as he turned on his heels. I would have loved to have done a multitude of other things instead, but knew I had to be patient with him. Don’t want to run him off!
“Fancy meeting you here,” I smirked and winked at him. He chuckled.
“Yes, fancy that. Total surprise.” He grinned, rolling his eyes a little.
“So, any preference as to where we eat? I’m starving!”
He shook his head, and I looked at the board for a moment.
“Kells okay with you?” I looked at him questioningly, motioning to the location for Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub on the map. “The food’s pretty good.”
We walked in comfortable silence to the pub and sat down at a table in a quiet corner. The waitress came and took our order: a pint of Guinness on tap each and an Irish cheese plate to share.
Jasper looked around for a while, taking in the surroundings appreciatively. I smiled as I watched him, taking the opportunity to ogle him while his attention was elsewhere. He was wearing a powder blue T-shirt and black jeans, and the black leather jacket he’d worn was already slung over the back of his chair. His hair was still slightly damp, and I briefly let myself entertain the image of Jasper in the shower. Good God, how am I supposed to go through training and classes now? We can’t exactly avoid the whole being naked thing at the swimming hall! I felt myself harden and groaned softly as I tried to surreptitiously adjust myself. He caught me, though, raising an eyebrow in question.
“Nothing.” I mumbled, feeling my face turn red.
He didn’t say anything, but his lips turned up in that impish smile of his, and he had that knowing look in his eyes. What is with that today? Am I that fucking transparent all of a sudden? I rolled my eyes and shrugged. Just then the waitress came back with our beers and the cheese plate. Thank God! I took a long pull off my drink before starting on the food.
“So how was the rest of your day? Anything exciting happen after I logged off?” I grinned at him.
“Oh yes, tons. Reading about the Civil War always gets me excited.”
He snickered and winked at me. I blinked. He… what..?! I frowned slightly for a moment before grinning.
“It does, huh? And why would that be, exactly?”
We talked about his interest in the Civil War for a while; the only interruption came when the waitress asked if we wanted anything else. We got another pint each as well as some water, and I ordered the shepherd’s pie while Jazz went with the Irish stew. We continued talking about his classes until our food came, and then we ate quietly, just enjoying the food and the company.
This feels right. How do I let him know that I want more without scaring him off? Having already finished my food, I looked at Jasper as he ate the last of his. I want to be closer, to touch him, feel him. I stifled a groan. Stop that right now! You have to be patient with him. I smiled at him as he pushed his plate away. “Good?”
“Yeah, I’m glad you suggested the place. Definitely worth coming back to.” He had that impish smile again, making me want to reach over the table and kiss him senseless. Instead, I cleared my throat and nodded.
The waitress came with our bill. I tried to grab it, but he beat me to it this time, scowling at me.
“My turn!” He growled at me.
God, is it bad that that just turned me on? I raised my hands in defeat, smirking. As we waited on the waitress to bring his change, we talked about the rest of the evening. Again, neither of us really wanted it to end. It seemed there just wasn’t enough time, ever.
He mentioned that Rose had dropped him off at the Market, so I offered him a ride home. At least it would give me a little more time with him. When we got to my car, he stopped a few feet away, looking from it to me in apparent confusion. I glanced at him, trying to keep my expression blank. “Something wrong, Jasper?”
I studied his face, seeing a wide range of emotions flicker across it. I had to fight really hard not to start grinning, as I saw him go from shock to awe. His expression softened to a look of tenderness, and it was all I could do not to take the few steps between us, grab him, and kiss him – or do more. I couldn’t remember anyone else ever having that effect on me. He has to understand…
“You… put a bike rack on your car… for me?” His eyes were on me, and his mouth was open a little. I think he was still in shock, and I simply nodded. “Edward…I don’t know what to say…” He ran a hand through his hair.
God, what I wouldn’t give to be able to read your mind right now.
“It’s okay. Come on; let’s get you home.”
I smiled at him as he walked the last few steps to the car and climbed in. He was silent the whole ride home, staring at me. I wished I knew what he was thinking. The silence was comfortable, though, and I hoped that whatever was going through his mind was positive.
After a few directions from him, we arrived at his parents’ house. I parked the car out of sight of the windows, not wanting him to leave. He was still watching me as I turned toward him. He gave me a tentative smile, which I returned.
I needed to touch him, so I lifted my hand to his cheek and brushed my fingers against it softly. You can’t kiss him. If he kisses you, fine, but don’t initiate things yet. “I had a nice time tonight, Jasper. Thank you.” I whispered.
“I did, too. I still can’t believe you got a bike rack on your car.” He chuckled softly as he placed his hand over mine, holding it to his cheek. I felt as if a small charge was running through me, emanating from his touch.
“Anything for you, Jazz.”
I really would do anything for him; I was certain of that. He took my hand then and squeezed it lightly. It seemed like he wanted to say or do something more, but I wasn’t certain. So I just gave him a squeeze back and sighed softly. “I suppose you’d better go. See you at training tomorrow?”
“Yeah…” He frowned. “See you at training then.”
He let go of my hand and got out of the car. He ran to the house. I wasn’t sure why that bothered me, but it made my heart twinge a little. I frowned as I pulled away after having made sure he’d gotten inside. As soon as I returned home, I went straight to bed; I lay there for a while, thinking about Jasper.
The rest of the week was spent in a similar pattern. We’d talk on IM whenever we could, discussing a multitude of things. Sometimes it was memories from camp; other times it was about our families and what was going on in our lives now. It felt great to reconnect again, and the tie I felt to Jasper seemed to grow stronger by the second. I only hoped he felt the same way. Besides work, I had swimming class and training. I was careful to time things so I wouldn’t be in the showers at the same time as Jasper. I don’t think I would have been able to help myself otherwise, and I knew I needed to respect his wishes.
At the last training before Saturday’s game, though, as we were wrapping up the session, I slipped.
“Hey, Jazz…? Give me a hand putting the goal away, would you?”
Emmett, who was standing right next to Jasper, gave me a pointed look as he caught the nickname. Shit.
“Sure.” He walked up and helped me pull the goal from the water and put it back against the wall. I tried to ignore Emmett, but I could feel his eyes on us, and it made me feel nervous. He didn’t say anything as we all headed to shower and change. This can’t last… I sighed, knowing I was in trouble.
I had offered Jasper a ride home, so I put his bike on the bike rack. Just as I secured it, Emmett walked up to me with a shit eating grin on his face. I groaned and glanced at Jasper. Please forgive me for what is sure to transpire.
“So!” Emmett rubbed his hands together as his eyes shifted from the bike rack to me, then to Jasper and back to me again. He wiggled his eyebrows at me, and I just leaned my elbow on the top of my car and rested my temple against my fist.
“Spit it out, Emmett. I know you want to.”
I kept my eyes on Jasper, worried about his reaction.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I just didn’t realize that the doohickey I put on your car was to score points with your boyfriend is all. Nice touch.” He winked at me, and I stifled another groan as I saw Jasper’s face turn all shades of red. He stayed quiet, though, seemingly in shock, if the widened eyes were anything to go by. My stomach clenched with nerves.
I hissed. “Thanks, Emmett…”
He just chuckled and punched Jasper in the arm. “It’s cool, bro.”
He leaned in to whisper loudly in Jasper’s ear, “You could do a lot worse than Copper Top over there.” He stood back and winked at Jasper. Then turned around to smirk at me and walked off without another word.
Jasper just stood there.
I sighed. This is not good…Please, please don’t freak out. I rubbed my face a few times and walked up to him. I am going to kill you, Emmett… I placed my hand on Jasper’s cheek, my eyes on his. He blinked, coming out of the daze he’d been in.
“I’m sorry, Jazz. Emmett can be… a bit much at times. He means well, though. Are you alright?” I whispered, my thumb gently stroking his cheekbone. He nodded, took a deep breath, and smiled shyly. I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding as I heard him answer.
I took him home after that, and the ride was spent in quiet contemplation. I had to admit that I liked hearing Emmett refer to Jazz as my boyfriend. I just wasn’t sure if Jazz was ready for that yet. As soon as I got home, I logged onto my computer again, and we talked for about an hour, mostly about what had happened after training. One message kept me awake for hours after I’d gone to bed.
Jazzman: Don’t be too mad at Emmett. Now that I’ve had some time to process things… I kinda liked that he thought I was your boyfriend…*blush*
The only other real deviation to my routine was lunch on Friday. It was the day before the game. I had known this was coming, but I had hoped it would be a while yet before my mother would show up. Nope, today was the day she came by and asked me to lunch. I knew she and Dad had been talking. I’d caught Dad walking by my office several times, mostly while I was chatting with Jasper. I always blushed, and he always walked off with that smirk on his face.
My inability to hide my reactions was the reason I found myself at the diner across the street from the office, seated opposite my mother. Esme was in her mid-forties, but she didn’t look it. Her eyes were the same green as mine and were currently fixed on me. Her caramel colored hair fell in gentle waves down to her shoulders. She was dressed casually but with class, wearing a dark blue pantsuit that hugged her curves.
I was fidgeting, wishing I could avoid talking about this, but I knew it was inevitable. Mom smiled gently at me as she patted my hand. “Talk to me, Son. Something’s going on with you, and I have a feeling it’s about a boy.”
I cringed slightly but nodded. With a sigh, I gave in and looked at her as I began. “You’re right. Something is going on, and yes, it has to do with a boy.”
“So, tell me about him. Do we know him?”
It never ceased to amaze me how accepting both Mom and Dad were about things. It had never fazed her in the slightest, and after the initial shock, Dad had been great as well. I smiled at her. “No, you don’t know him. He’s fairly new in town. But I’ve known him for a while now.”
She raised an eyebrow at this but remained quiet.
“I suppose I should start at the beginning. Remember camp ten years ago?”
“I do. You were most distraught when you got home, and you never did tell us what happened.”
“Well, let me tell you now, then…” I launched into the story, telling her everything from Laurent’s bottle of whiskey to the Truth or Dare game we played to the kiss and the following weeks, including those last days. She just watched me closely as I spoke. When I told her that Jazz was actually Jasper from the club, her eyes widened.
“So are you telling me that you’re seeing him again? That you still feel the same about him?”
“You could say that. We’re not there yet, Mom, but I want to be, yes.”
“Oh, honey…” She frowned a little. I could understand her worry but didn’t feel the need for it. I explained to her that Jasper had told me why he had acted the way he did back then, and her eyes softened.
“Poor thing. To have to make a choice like that, and so young! How is he now? Do you know?”
“Yeah, I don’t think Jazz is as lucky as I was in that department.” I smiled softly at her. “I’m not sure how he is, to be honest. I can tell he feels the same, but I know he’s still scared. He said he’d like to try, though…so I’m hopeful.” I sighed and looked down at my hands as I folded them, putting them on the table.
She leaned forward and placed her hand over mine, squeezing gently. “I hope things work out for you, my dear. You seem a lot happier than I’ve seen you in a while. Just remember, your father and I are here if you need us; Jasper, too, if it comes to that. If you want him as part of your life, then he is a part of ours, as well. When you’re both ready, I hope you will introduce him to us.”
I looked up at her, smiling. I felt my eyes sting as tears threatened to come forward at her words. “I love you, Mom, so much. Thank you.”
I got up and walked over to her, hugging her tight. She hugged me back, chuckling softly. “I love you, too, Edward. Now I suggest we actually eat something before your lunch is up. I wouldn’t want your father to be upset with me for making you late.”
She winked as she tucked into her sandwich. I sat back down and started eating.
How did I get so lucky?