The game had been intense. I knew that the team we were playing wasn’t as good as we were, but still. We won, and I had made the final goal. I was proud of the team. Every one of them had played well, and poor Felix had even gotten injured in the process. We had just finished shaking hands with the other team when I saw Jasper’s sister walking up to us.
“Congratulations, brother mine! You guys did good.”
He turned around and made as if to hug Rosalie. She glared at him as she stepped back with a hiss. “Don’t you dare, Jazz!”
He chuckled and held his hands up in surrender. He glanced at Emmett, who stood frozen next to him, his eyes fixed on Rose. I could tell that she was trying hard not to look at him. This should prove interesting….
He introduced her to everyone, and she nodded at each in turn, coming across as though she was above it all. When he got around to introducing me, though, she flashed her eyes to Jasper before putting her hand out to greet me. “Edward, pleased to meet you. I’m Rosalie, Jazzie’s big sister.”
I saw him cringe at the use of the nickname, and I had to stifle a chuckle when he whined a little. “Rose..!”
Oh Jazz, I feel for you, baby. Even if only in my head, the term ‘baby’ made me pause briefly, but I quickly recovered. I liked it. I shook her hand and smiled at her. “Nice to meet you, as well; I’ve heard a great deal about you.”
I heard Jasper let out a sigh of relief as he turned to Emmett. “And this is Emmett.”
That seems to have gone well enough. Please Emmett, for once, try to behave yourself.
He quickly held his hand out to her, which she slowly took. He surprised everyone by bringing it to his lips and kissing it, rather than shaking it. Rose and Jazz looked at each other with matching raised brows. I started to snicker, which earned me an elbow in my side from Jasper. I stopped at once and cleared my throat. Neither Emmett nor Rose had uttered a word yet. Jasper tried to get her attention and let her know to meet us out in the hall, but it was difficult. Once that was taken care of, we walked to the locker room, and I couldn’t help but snicker softly again.
Emmett was getting a good ribbing from all the guys. Everyone had noticed his enrapture with Jasper’s sister as well as the hand kiss. I never thought I’d see the day when Emmett McCarty blushed. But the day had indeed arrived. The man was red as a lobster for the first few seconds, which was all the time it took for him to regain his usual confidant facade, and begin cracking jokes. Who knew..?
I sat behind my piano, my fingers moving of their own accord. Playing had always allowed me to relax and think things through. I sighed softly as my mind wandered. Emmett and I had gone to my place after the game, as Jasper and Rosalie had to go to dinner with their parents. I longed for a day when Jasper and I could be together, without all the song and dance, but I knew I had to allow him more time.
The music shifted with my mood as my thoughts turned to the conversation with Emmett earlier.
We’d ordered a pizza and were having a few beers, just talking about stuff that was going on at work and the pool. We were sitting on the couch, much in the same way Bella and I had sat a few nights ago. And then he brought up Jasper.
“Eddie, what’s going on with you and Jasper, anyway?”
He watched me as he took a pull from his beer. I frowned, taking a bite of pizza in order to give myself some time before having to answer. I sighed. “I don’t know, Emmett. It’s…complicated.”
I leaned forward, rested my elbows on my knees as I looked down at the bottle of beer in my hands.
“Complicated?” I could almost hear the frown I knew to be on his forehead right now.
I took a deep breath and looked up at him. I told him about camp, about what had happened between us and about Jasper showing up here now, ten years later.
“Emmett, I need to ask you to not…” I paused and looked at him. “Please don’t make this harder for him, for us?”
I knew Emmett. Had known him almost as long as I’d known Bella. He had a big heart, but he could be intimidating at times, and he was usually anything but bashful. I held my breath as I waited for his reaction. He watched me for a while, and I knew he was thinking things through.
“You love him.”
It wasn’t a question. Leave it to Emmett to not beat around the bush. I nodded, smiling softly. Having him put it into words made it more real, somehow. If he saw it, then I couldn’t be imagining it. That thought warmed me, and it felt as if someone let loose a swarm of butterflies in my stomach. “Yeah, I think so. Even back then…I don’t think that it ever really went away, you know? It’s not something you forget.”
He nodded. “He walked away last time… “
“I know, Emmett. I know.” I frowned as I took another pull from my beer. The thought of Jasper walking away killed me. I didn’t think I’d be able to handle that again.
And then Emmett voiced my fears. “What happens if he does this time, bro?”
I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t.
I looked up at him, but I remained quiet.
He sighed. “What happens if he decides to not go through with… whatever it is you’ve got going here? I remember what happened when Alec broke things off with you. You were a mess.”
I put my beer down so I could put my hands over my face. Alec. I’d tried not to think of him, and of course Emmett had to bring it up.
It’d been almost a year since he left, and in retrospect, I was glad he was gone, but it still hurt at the time. Alec had made life at the club hell for me after he broke things off between us. Everyone had been affected by his behavior.
Before we got together, he had not come out to anyone. He finally told his dad after we had been together for three months, and it hadn’t gone well. Alec was crushed by his dad’s rejection and had taken it out on everyone else, especially me. It was my fault. At least, if you were to ask him, it was.
He had been on the team with us, and things were really strained for a while. Finally, after almost a month of him making everything hell for me – for all of us – he left. He moved away from Seattle, not leaving a forwarding address. Not that I had wanted it at that point. I had liked Alec a lot, but in the end, he had managed to make me question just about everything I thought I knew about myself. And about those around me. What had started out as affection became poison.
It was because of him that I never pursued anyone at the swimming club, since that was where we had met. I did not want a repeat of that. But Jasper was different. Jasper was not Alec. No matter how similar their situations might be, I had to believe that. It wasn’t fair to him to compare him to Alec.
“Emmett.” I looked up at him, and though I was slightly nauseous at the thought of history possibly repeating itself, I was certain of this. “Jasper is not Alec. That won’t happen again.”
“Alright, bro. Just remember we’re all here for you, okay?” He started grinning. “And if you and Jasper stick it out, maybe I can make some moves on Rosalie.”
He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, and I couldn’t help myself. I started laughing.
I looked at the clock and decided to stop playing for now. I wanted to see if Jasper was online; I needed to talk to him. Talking with Emmett had been good, but it left me feeling a little restless. I needed Jasper. I wished he were here, so I could hold him, feel him. Since that wasn’t possible, I logged on to my IM instead. The program had barely finished loading when he popped up.
Jazzman: Edward! 😀 I’m glad you got online.
I smiled, a feeling of warmth and comfort settling over me at his greeting. Some of the restlessness dissipated as soon as we started talking.
EACullen: Hey Jazz :-D. I’m glad you’re on, too. How was dinner?
Jazzman: *chuckles* I think Rosalie was impressed with Emmett. She wouldn’t shut up about this afternoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her like this before. Scratch that. I know I’ve never seen her like this before. Emmett had better be careful 😉
EACullen: lol! Yeah, I think Emmett’s a bit smitten, too. He mentioned something about wanting to make a move on her, this afternoon 😉
We talked back and forth about Emmett and Rosalie for a while. Then I told him about the talk Emmett and I had that afternoon including the details about Alec. He was quiet for a while, and I started to get nervous.
I shouldn’t have told him. Damn it, please say something, Jasper. Anything…
I looked at the little clock on my screen; it felt like hours since he’d said anything. In reality, it had been three minutes of silence. Not for the first time, I found myself wishing I could read his mind. Not knowing what he was thinking was agony right now.
Jazzman: Edward… I think maybe we should talk…
I swallowed hard, trying to dislodge the lump that had appeared in my throat. This can’t be good… I messed up…
Jazzman: Do you think you could pick me up? Maybe go for a drive? I don’t want to do this over IM. I need to see you…
“I need to see you…” That’s good, right? That can’t be all bad… My pulse was racing, and I tried to get my nerves under control.
EACullen: Okay… I can be there in about 15 minutes. I’ll park where I usually drop you off.
Jazzman: See you in a few…
I logged off, not sure what to make of his wanting to meet face-to-face at this hour. Then again, it was Saturday, so I didn’t have to worry about work the next day. I quickly changed into my faded jeans and navy blue button down shirt, in case he wanted to go somewhere specific. My stomach was clenching with nerves. I shouldn’t have told him about this afternoon…
I pulled up to his street, making sure to park out of sight, and waited for him to walk out. My hands were cold and clammy with nerves. I turned the radio on, hoping that the music would help calm me. I watched as Jasper walked across the street and got in the car. He gave me a tentative smile as he buckled up. “Hey…thanks for picking me up.”
“Anytime. Where did you want to go?” I swallowed hard, still feeling unsure and anxious, but trying hard not to show him.
“Nowhere in particular, I guess.”
I thought for a moment before putting the car into drive. “Have you been to the Waterfront yet?”
He shook his head. We drove in silence until we reached our destination, the only sounds coming from the radio, which was still playing softly in the background. I parked the car and turned the engine off. I hesitated before turning to Jasper, fearing what I might see in his eyes when I looked at him. I heard him shift in his seat. I took a calming breath as my eyes met his. I wasn’t sure what to say or do, so I waited for him to start.
He looked straight in my eyes, as if searching for something. What, I wasn’t sure, but he must have found something. I could almost see something slip into place for him.
“Edward, I don’t know what’s going to happen, how things will play out…but I’m not Alec.” He took a deep breath before continuing, “I know I’m not making things easy for you. I’m sorry…”
I cringed a little at his last words. “Jazz….we’re not sixteen anymore.” I reached for his hand and held it in both of mine as I continued, gently rubbing my thumbs over the back of it. “I know this is…new, for you. I get that it scares you a little and that you’re worried.”
My nerves seemed to calm the longer we touched. I could tell that it was like that for him, too. His shoulders relaxed visibly, and the tension from before ebbed away. A new kind of tension started to arise in its stead, however, spreading from our joined hands up through the rest of my body. I was fairly sure he could feel it, too. I linked my fingers through his and smiled softly at him, trying to keep my lust at bay. I pulled our hands to my lips and placed a soft kiss on the back of his hand. My voice was slightly huskier when I continued, “I don’t want to push you. I’m sorry I brought up Alec. I know you’re not him. Just talking with Emmett…. “
“I understand, Edward. Really, I do.”
My voice was barely above a whisper now. I felt my stomach clench a little as my nerves made another appearance. “I want us to work, Jazz, but for that to happen, we are both going to have to be honest. And you are going to have to set the pace…”
I squeezed his hand slightly before pressing my lips against it again, lingering a little this time. He closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. The radio was still playing softly in the background, but I wasn’t really paying attention to it. I frowned as I saw his lips twitch. He opened his eyes and smiled. I didn’t understand what was going on as he gave my hand a squeeze before letting it go. The corner of his mouth lifted further as he watched me, his eyes showing both amusement and determination. What on earth is going through his mind?
He slowly lifted his hand and placed it on my cheek, stroking it gently as his eyes searched mine. He began pulling me forward at the same time as he leaned in. I hesitated, hardly believing what was going on, while fervently hoping he was going to kiss me. Everything drowned out around me, except for him.
Ever so slowly, he closed the distance between us, tilting his head a little as his lips brushed against mine. My breathing hitched, and my heart started beating faster as he pressed his lips against mine a second time. I opened my mouth slightly, inviting him in. I slid my hands up his chest to his head and pulled him closer, tugging a little at his hair. He moaned into my mouth before pulling away from the kiss. His breathing was irregular, but the smile on his face made my heart stutter.
“I knew there was a reason I liked Cher…” He chuckled softly, his thumb caressing my cheek again as he looked into my eyes.
I frowned, confused. “What are you..?”
He tilted his head to the radio with a smirk. I could hear the tail end of the “Shoop Shoop Song” by Cher. “It’s in his kiss…” I leaned my forehead against his and chuckled.
“So, was she right?” I planted a soft kiss on his lips.
“Mmhmm.” He put both hands on my face and pulled me away, so he could look me straight in the eye. “I’m not going anywhere. With you, I feel things I’ve never felt with anyone else.”
He pulled me to him again, his kiss more urgent this time. I let my hands roam over his back as I kissed him, pouring everything I felt into it. I tilted my head to deepen the kiss, mentally cursing the console between us. I shifted slightly in my seat, hoping to ease the pressure that was building rapidly in my groin. I moaned into the kiss. God, Jasper… I want you. I traced his lips with my tongue, asking for entry to his mouth. He sucked in my tongue in response, causing me to moan again. Stop…have to stop soon…too fast.
Everything in me was screaming for more, but I pulled away slowly. My breathing was heavy, and I struggled for a moment to get it back under control enough to speak.