I stretched my arms out over my head and rolled my head, trying to get rid of the kinks in my neck. I’d been sitting on the couch, with my laptop on my legs, trying in vain to concentrate. I was still tired from getting up as early as we had. The late night before didn’t help matters either. I grinned to myself as I thought about making love with Edward. I put my head back against the couch and closed my eyes as I let my thoughts drift.
Last night had been amazing. When Edward had made love to me, I didn’t think anything could feel as good as that. I’d wanted him, as well, had fantasized about being with him that way. But no fantasy could compare, and if I were completely honest with myself, no past experience I’d had with any girl, could either. Not because it hadn’t been good, or anything like that. It just wasn’t the same.
And none had been Edward. With him, everything felt so much…more. I couldn’t even begin to try and describe it, even to myself. I just knew, down in my very core, that he was the one for me, the one who made me feel so alive, loved, wanted. Cherished, even. I chuckled softly at that thought. Last night, when he asked me to make love to him, I’d been worried about hurting him, or not being able to make him feel as good as he had done me.
When I thought about it though, I knew what he had said made sense. It’d be good, because it was us. So I decided to do what I could to show him how I felt. That he was loved, wanted, and cherished. He had taken such care with me our first time together, I wanted to do that for him. I knew of course, that he didn’t need to be ‘warmed up’ like I had to be; he’d been with other guys before. But something about that, connected somehow. At least, it had for me, and I thought he felt it, too. Judging from his reactions, at least, he had felt it.
My laptop was still open, and I hadn’t turned the sound down, so I was startled out of my thoughts by the ‘ding’ of a new IM message.
EACullen: Mornin’ Sunshine 🙂 You get settled in okay?
Jazzman: ‘course. Did you make it to work on time?
By the time we’d picked up the few things I’d need for the coming week, we’d been running later than planned. Edward didn’t have time to help get my things up to his apartment, and had to rush off almost as soon as I was out of the car. Though not until after I’d given him a kiss, which may or may not have been the reason for his tardiness this morning. I chuckled softly.
EACullen: No, but that’s okay. My boss told me to make it up during lunch time though 😉
Jazzman: Uh oh, did someone get caught sneaking into the office? *grin*
EACullen: Yeah, I wonder why that would be 😛
We bantered back and forth for a few minutes before he had to log off again. I stared at his last message for a while before closing the IM.
EACullen: I’ll try and get on IM later, but if I don’t see you, I hope you have a good day, baby. Make yourself comfortable, okay? I love you.
P.S. I kind of like the idea of you being at home…
I hadn’t even gotten the chance to reply before he’d logged. I wasn’t sure if he really had to go, or if he was worried about my response. I put my laptop down on the coffee table and looked around the living room. My eyes landed on the guitars hanging on the wall and I smiled, thinking back to the last time we had played together. I got up and walked over to the guitars, picked up the acoustic and made my way back to the couch.
I settled myself down, tuned the guitar and began to idly play, not really having anything in mind but just allowing the music to free my thoughts and emotions. I spent the next forty minutes or so, losing myself in the music. At the end of it, I felt even more at peace than I had before. I had noticed it last night also, that as soon as I was here, things seemed to just melt away. When we had gone to my parents’ house, I started to feel tense again.
It wasn’t home anymore, I realized. Being with Edward felt like home now. My hands had stilled on the guitar, my palm flat on the wooden surface as that thought struck me clearer than it had yet done. Edward is where I belong, where I feel home. I wondered if he felt the same, though I thought he might, if his last IM was anything to go by. I smiled at that.
I got up and put the guitar back in its place on the wall. I looked at the clock, noting that it was getting close to lunchtime. I went to the kitchen to look for something to eat, and while I was putting lunch together for myself – just a plain ham and cheese sandwich and some carrot sticks, as I wasn’t in the mood to do anything elaborate – I checked to see what I could do about dinner. I figured I might as well make myself useful, as I’d be staying here for a while.
I smiled as I checked the fridge and freezer, finding everything I would need for an easy meal. I didn’t really feel like having to go shopping, and I was confident I could do something with the shrimp and parmesan I found. I checked to see if Edward had a bottle of white wine, putting it in the fridge so it’d be chilled for dinner. A search of the cupboards gave up linguini and garlic. Perfect. I smiled, putting everything I’d need later on the counter, so I wouldn’t have to go looking again.
I’d finished eating my lunch as I was perusing the kitchen, so I made quick work of the few dishes I’d used before going back to try working on my schoolwork again. I sat on the couch, opting to keep the laptop on the coffee table, and leaned forward, resting my elbows on my knees as I read the assignment again. It wasn’t due for another two weeks, but I wanted to get a head start, so I wouldn’t have to worry about spending time with Edward later, with that hanging over my head.
Pushing everything else to the back of my mind, I concentrated on my work, after making sure to put an alarm so I would be able to start dinner on time. Edward never made it back to IM, which was fine in the sense that it allowed me to keep working. On the other hand, I missed him. When my alarm went off, I shut everything down and put my laptop away. I’d be all too happy to not see it again until tomorrow. Tonight I just wanted to be able to spend time with my boyfriend, since neither of us had any plans or obligations to worry about.
I walked over to his sound system and after looking through his playlists on the iPod that was plugged in, I hit play. I smiled as ‘Hotel California’ began playing. I turned it up enough so I’d be able to hear it in the kitchen, and began to sing along. I went to the kitchen, and put a pot of water to boil for the linguini. I quickly grabbed the things I needed from the fridge and freezer, measuring and preparing the shrimp, garlic, cheese, salt, pepper, parsley, wine, and butter.
Putting all the ingredients for the sauce in the saucepan, I let it simmer for a while as I put the pasta into the now boiling water. The song had changed as I was working, and I took a moment to listen. I smiled when I realized it was ‘American Pie’ and once again began to sing along. God, I love that song. I was so into the music, that I didn’t hear Edward come in. I turned around to grab the shrimp I had set aside when I noticed him standing in the doorway to the kitchen with a bemused smirk on his lips.
He chuckled as he pushed off and walked toward me, “What’s cookin’, good lookin’?”
His eyes were dancing with mirth as he kissed me lightly on the lips. I rolled my eyes at him, kissing him back before turning my attention back to the stove as I answered, “Garlic shrimp linguini. You’re home a little earlier than I expected you to be, what did you do, skip lunch altogether?”
I turned up the heat for the sauce a little and added the shrimp, stirring it for a moment before checking the pasta. Almost. I turned to look at him and found him leaning against the kitchen island, smiling as he watched me.
“Yeah, I did, actually. And I’m glad I did, as it afforded me the pleasure of finding you at work. A guy could get used to being spoiled like this, you know,” he teased.
I chuckled as I turned to check on the food again. The pasta was done, so I quickly drained the water from it and divided the pasta onto the plates I had set out. I asked Edward to set the table, and he quickly set about the task after giving me a peck on the lips. As soon as the sauce was ready, I spooned it over the pasta and garnished it with some more parmesan and the parsley.
After rinsing the saucepan so the sauce wouldn’t set in it, I grabbed the plates and headed to the table where Edward already sat waiting. He had set the table so we each sat kittycorner of the other. As soon as I’d sat down, he took my hand in his, rubbing his thumb on the back of it, “Thank you for making dinner, baby. It looks wonderful.”
I smiled, “You’re welcome. Now eat. Maybe after dinner we can watch a movie or something, just have a relaxing evening?”
He nodded, squeezing my hand before letting it go and taking his glass and raising it with a smile, “Sounds like a plan to me. Cheers!”
I chuckled as I raised my glass as well, “Cheers, darlin’.”
We ate in relative silence, enjoying the food, wine and each other. It felt so comfortable, so normal, that I found myself wishing we could have this every night. Edward spoke about his day for a bit, explaining why he hadn’t been on IM as much today, and I told him I’d spent most of my time trying to get ahead on school work. After dinner, we made quick work of the dishes before we both decided to go and change into lounge pants, wanting to just be comfortable tonight.
Edward chose the movie this time, opting for ‘The Princess Bride’ with a grin. I chuckled and shook my head in amusement. Looks like we’ll be quoting a lot again tonight. I poured us both another glass of wine before sitting down on the couch, sitting with my back against the armrest and with one leg along the length of the couch. Edward grinned as he snuggled up against me, “This is a change.”
I kissed him just below the ear as I wrapped my arms around his waist, “Not complaining, are you?”
He shook his head with a grin, “Nuh-uh… I kinda like this.”
I chuckled again, pulling him closer to me as the movie started. He leaned his head against my shoulder and we just sat and watched as Grandpa started to read to his grandson. As I’d predicted, we ended up quoting quite a bit of the movie, and laughing. Both at each other as well as at the movie itself. When it was over, Edward turned slightly, placing a kiss on my cheek, as I had been resting it against his head.
I smiled at him before tilting my head so I could capture his lips with mine. I closed my eyes, losing myself in the kiss. Our lips meeting and parting in a slow dance. No frenzy, no urgency, just the pure delight of being together. We sat like that for I don’t know how long, but I was in no hurry to leave my bubble. When we finally parted, we went to bed, where we just held each other and made out some more before finally letting sleep claim us.
When the alarm went off, I gave a grunt and snuggled closer to Edward, neither ready to start my day yet, nor ready to have him leave. I opened my eyes just enough to see him hit snooze, he turned around, wrapping his arms around me and kissing my temple. I thought I heard him murmur something, but only caught “…definitely used to…”. I tilted my head so I could see him, “Hm?”
He ran his fingers through my hair, “Shh, nothing, baby, just sleep some more.”
I felt his lips press against my forehead as I fell asleep again, his arms tightening around me. When the alarm went again, I reluctantly let him get up and stretched, smiling lazily at him, “Good thing it’s Friday today, darlin’. I don’t plan on us getting up early tomorrow.”
He laughed and shook his head, “Well now I definitely have something to look forward to then, don’t I?” He winked as he grabbed some boxer briefs before heading to the bathroom and taking a shower. I chuckled softly and decided to get up and make breakfast.
I started up some toast and a pot of coffee while I was scrambling eggs and frying bacon for the both of us. By the time Edward was dressed and walking into the kitchen, I’d plated the toast, eggs and bacon, and had poured us both a glass of orange juice. He looked at the food and then up at me with a look of surprise on his face. I smirked at him, “What?”
He shook his head as he took a seat at the kitchen island, and started to butter his toast, “Nothing. Just wasn’t expecting all of this, thank you.”
I rolled my eyes as I took a bite of a piece of bacon. I poured myself a cup of coffee before turning to him, “Coffee?”
I chuckled and poured him a cup, handing it to him. I grabbed the sugar and creamer, setting it in front of him before sitting down to eat. After adding some to his coffee, he wrapped both hands around his cup, closed his eyes and hummed softly, “Mm, thank you again, Jazz.” He opened his eyes as he sipped his coffee.
“You’re welcome. By the way, we’ll need to go to the grocery store after swimming, I think. You’re running low on a few things.”
He nodded, as he had just taken a mouthful of eggs. As soon as he’d swallowed his food, he answered, “Yeah, I know. Was going to do that today anyway. Speaking of swimming, how are you getting to the club? Want me to swing by here and pick you up, or are you going on your bike?”
I thought for a moment as I finished my breakfast, and watched him eat the last of his, “You can pick me up if you like. Unless it’s out of your way?”
He shook his head before downing the last of his coffee and getting up, “No, it’s not. I’ll be back around 3.30 then.”
He started to clear the table, but stopped when I stepped up to him, wrapping my arms around his waist and kissed him softly on the lips, “Don’t worry about those, you need to get going or you’ll be late. Again.”
I chuckled softly as he smirked and pulled me closer, murmuring, “Can’t have that now, can we. The boss might not take that well.”
He kissed me tenderly and I hummed with pleasure. He whispered against my lips, “I love you.”
I smiled as I said, “I love you, too. Shouldn’t you be going though?”
He groaned, “Alright, alright, if you’re that anxious to be rid of me.” He winked, and I just rolled my eyes at him.
As soon as he left, I took care of the dishes and went to take a shower. After getting dressed, I decided to do some more work on my assignment, so I grabbed my books and my laptop, opting to take a seat at the dining table this time. I worked through the morning, only catching Edward on IM a couple of times as he checked in. He was too busy to stay and chat though, but it was nice to just touch base.
It was something I’d gotten used to over the last several weeks. I hadn’t thought about it much, but it struck me that in past relationships I’d never had this need to connect before. I smiled and shook my head at myself, muttering under my breath, “Definitely got it bad.”
After a quick lunch, I decided to do some reading, since it was part of my homework as well. I was sick of sitting behind the computer for so long and needed a change of pace. I grabbed one of the books I had to read, got a bottle of water from the fridge before settling myself on the couch. I ended up absorbed in my reading and was startled by my alarm going off, letting me know I had to get ready for swimming. I bookmarked the page I was at, set the book down on the coffee table and went to the bedroom to grab my things.
I heard the front door open right as I was finished packing my bag. I slung it over my shoulder, grabbing Edward’s bag as well, which he had packed before leaving for work, and walked into the living room. Edward stood by the door, going through his mail and turned to me with a smile, “Hey, you ready?”
I tossed him his bag with a grin, “Yup, let’s go.”
As soon as he locked the door, I grabbed his hand in mine, which earned me a raised eyebrow and a grin. I just squeezed his hand and pulled him into the elevator once the doors opened. There was already someone in it, and we both smiled, nodding in greeting at the girl as she watched us appraisingly. I felt a little uncomfortable, but wasn’t sure whether that was due to the fact we were still holding hands and this was someone I didn’t know, or because of the way the girl was checking both of us out.
Edward must have sensed my discomfort and tried to let go of my hand, but I just tightened my grip, shaking my head slightly at him. He tilted his head a little before flicking his eyes to the girl and back at me. I shook my head again and he smiled, squeezing my hand. When the doors finally opened, we got out, the girl continuing down another floor. When we got to the car, he put both our bags in the back before turning to me.
He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and hugged me close as he whispered in my ear, “I know I keep saying it, but thank you.”
I turned my head slightly and kissed his neck, wrapping my arms around his waist as I murmured, “You shouldn’t thank me for that, darlin’. I love you, and it’s about time I was able to show that. I meant what I said the other night, Edward. I don’t want to hurt you anymore, and I know that not being able to show affection was hurting you.”
We stood like that for a few minutes before I pulled away, planting a kiss on his forehead and smiling at him, “Now come on, there’s kids that need to learn to swim, and it just wouldn’t do for their teachers to be late.”
He chuckled, “Well, since you put it that way…”
He pecked my lips before getting into the car. We arrived at the club just in time. We were just going to have a repeat of last lesson, and the aids had already set up the lanes for us, so it was just a matter of dividing the kids and assigning the lanes. The lesson went by quickly, and James had yet again proven to be the one with the most laps done. I smiled as I watched Edward praise him again, and saw James’ face light up. Kid might turn out okay, if he keeps this up.
After the kids were gone, we both changed into our training gear, the fact that we both went at the same time not even picking up on my radar. It wasn’t as big of a thing now that we had the chance to be together more freely. Training was spent doing more stamina training and then we split up into teams again for scrimmage. The hour was up before it felt like it had even started, though it had been anything but light.
We took our time in the locker room, joking around with Emmett and Felix. Felix was giving Emmett a hard time about being head over heels with Rosalie. Apparently, if the ribbing he was getting from Felix and Edward was anything to go by, he had never been as serious over a girl before. Edward had told me that he’d had a few girlfriends before Rosalie, but that most had been more casual. With Rose though, he was definitely more intense, and was at her beck and call. Not that she was overly demanding as a person, but it was nice to know that he would be there for her when she needed him.
Emmett gave me a shrug and a small smirk, “What can I say, man, your sister’s an amazing woman.”
I chuckled, slapping him on the back as we walked out to the hallway, “Just remember that, and we’ll be cool.”
I looked around and to my surprise saw Rose waiting in the hall, “Rose? What brings you…” I caught her eyes going from me to Emmett and back, and I shook my head, not even bothering to finish my sentence, “Never mind.”
She grinned as she walked up to me and hugged me. I chuckled as I hugged her back. She stepped past me and to my surprise gave Edward a hug as well, which he returned after a few stunned seconds. She rolled her eyes at the look of surprise on both our faces and was pulled into a bear of a hug by Emmett, which caused her to squeal. Rosalie never squeals. My eyes widened at this display of girlish behavior, so unlike what I was used to from my sister. Edward looked from the two of them to me with a bemused expression on his face.
Rose slapped Emmett’s arm, “Let me go you big oaf!” But her tone of voice belied any irritation she may have felt, as did the grin she was sporting. Emmett laughed, kissed her neck and let her go, instead draping his arm across her shoulder as she tucked into his side. Rosalie looked happier than I’d ever seen her, and I smiled. Yep, he’s definitely good for her. Edward stepped next to me, not quite touching. He was still being careful with me. I leaned into him a little, as I looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
He smiled softly as he put his hand flat on my lower back, and I grinned at him. I turned to look at Rosalie as she cleared her throat, and saw her grinning widely at us. I pulled a face at her, which made her laugh, “Jazz, Edward… we were wondering what your plans were this weekend?”
I looked at Edward for a moment and he shook his head, so I turned to Rose again, “We have none, why? What were you thinking?”
She smiled at us both as she slipped an arm around Emmett’s back and placed her other hand on his chest, “We thought it might be nice to go on a double date? What do you say? Dinner, maybe catch a movie or something after?”
I felt Edward’s hand gently rub my back, silently telling me this was up to me. I glanced at him and he nodded, confirming my suspicion. I sighed and thought about it for a moment, leaning a little further into his side. Going out, the four of us? I bit my lip, the idea wasn’t wholly unappealing. But a double date, with my sister? And Emmett, who I knew to be quite exuberant. Could I handle that, out in public?
I looked at my sister, and saw the hopeful look in her eyes. I turned to look at Edward, who was watching me carefully. I couldn’t quite determine how he might feel about it, but I knew he’d do whatever I decided on in this case. I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly as I turned back to Rosalie and nodded, “Sure. Where did you have in mind? And when?”
Edward smiled and pressed his lips to my temple briefly, his thumb rubbing soothing circles on my back. Rosalie looked up at Emmett with a bright smile before turning her attention to me again, “Sometime tomorrow? Lunch or dinner, doesn’t matter much either way. And I don’t care where we go and eat, as long as the food is good. The company’s what matters more, and I know that’s already covered.”
She winked at us, and I couldn’t help but laugh, “Well thanks, sis. Why don’t we make it a late lunch, and we can figure out what we do after that while we eat. As for where…” I looked at Edward, “Any thoughts, darlin’?”
He thought for a moment, before looking at Emmett, “McMenamins? Burgers and beer, I don’t think the big guy’d go for anything less.”
He grinned at Emmett before turning back to me. I nodded, “Sounds good to me.” I looked at Emmett and Rosalie, “Meet you at Queen Anne’s McMenamins around two?”
After we were all in agreement, they left together and Edward and I went to go grocery shopping. As mundane a thing it was to do, I felt oddly excited, if that was even the right word for it. We’d agreed to get most of what we’d need for the upcoming week, so we wouldn’t need to go again unless we ran out of perishables, which I’d be able to manage on my bike. The idea of planning for that much time together made me stupidly silly, and I had to work hard to keep the grin off my face by the time we got to the store.
I grabbed a cart as we went into the Whole Foods store, letting Edward lead the way. I hadn’t been to this one, so I figured I’d follow his lead. We went through the store, first getting various fruits and vegetables. Edward was very particular about what he considered to be good quality, which made me smile. It was a trait that he shared with Momma, and for a moment I thought that the two of them might just be able to get along well enough.
Next we went to the meat department, going back and forth over what we would be having for dinner for the next week. He ended up with a variety of meats, from bison to pork, chicken and beef, saying he’d just put it in the freezer and we’d figure it out later. I chuckled and shook my head. We went through the rest of the store at leisure, as we had already come to the conclusion neither of us was in the mood to cook tonight anyway. We’d just grab something to go from the deli.
After we’d gotten everything we thought we might need, we headed to the deli to get some salad, jojo’s and rotisserie chicken. We headed home soon after that, Edward had insisted to pay for everything, which I reluctantly allowed. I figured I could always return the favor later, since I wasn’t exactly smarting for money.
Once we got home, we took the time to put all the groceries away properly before sitting down to eat. Since the chicken was kind of greasy, we opted to eat at the kitchen island. After we finished and had cleaned up, we decided to watch another movie. Neither of us was really up for much else, as training had been relatively hard. After some discussion, we settled on watching ‘Stargate Continuum’.
This time I snuggled up to Edward, sitting next to him on the couch, my head resting on his shoulder. We talked about the movie and the series for a while after the movie was over, discussing who our favorite characters were and why, which basically amounted to us loving all the main characters for different reasons. We found that one favorite episode we shared was ‘Window Of Opportunity’ where Teal’c and Jack were stuck in a time loop.
Before we could get too deep into discussion though, I was yawning and Edward got up, pulling me to him with a smile, “I think we should get some sleep, baby, if we’re going to make it on that double date with your sister and Emmett tomorrow.”
I nodded and slipped my arm around his waist as we walked to the bedroom, making sure to turn off all the lights as we went. Snuggling up to Edward in bed, the last fleeting thought I had was that I couldn’t recall ever being so content in my life, and I drifted off to sleep with a smile.
I woke up to the feeling of Edward’s fingers trailing featherlight across my back, from my shoulders all the way down to my lower back and up again. I was snuggled up against him, laying half on top of him actually. I moaned softly, pressing myself closer to him and nuzzling his neck lightly before placing a soft kiss on his pulse point. I gave a contented sigh as he pulled me to him and kissed the top of my head, “Mornin’, darlin’,” I muttered.
Edward rolled us both over so we were on our sides facing each other, slipping a knee between my legs so we were all tangled. His hand went to the back of my neck, pulling my face to his. His lips found mine and I closed my eyes as we kissed, my hand caressing his side. After a few minutes of languid kisses and touches, he pulled back slightly with a soft “Mmm, good morning, indeed.”
I opened my eyes to see him grinning at me, his hand cupping my cheek. I raised an eyebrow in a silent question and he chuckled softly before pecking me on the lips, “Just remembering what you said yesterday morning, baby. Something about not planning on getting up early today?”
I smirked, “Well, if it weren’t for the double date later today, I’d have happily stayed in bed all day, darlin’,” I wiggled my eyebrows suggestively at him, chuckling.
He growled softly, pushing me onto my back as he lowered himself onto me, “You are a wicked man, Jasper, teasing me like that. What ever shall I do with you?”
I grinned as I slipped my hands around his waist, moving them slowly down and cupping his ass, pushing to me, “I could think of a thing or two…”
I didn’t get the chance to finish my sentence as Edward’s lips crashed to mine, though he appeared to have had much the same thoughts as I’d had. We spent the next several hours in bed making love. I had half a mind to call and cancel our plans, but Edward reminded me that it would not do to alienate Rosalie at this point, so I relented and we got up around eleven, when both of us were too hungry to ignore our grumbling stomachs any longer.
Since we would be showering before going out today, we both decided to just put on our lounge pants until it was time to get ready. It didn’t hurt that it meant being able to enjoy the sight of a bare-chested Edward. I chuckled softly as I walked into the kitchen, grabbing the loaf of bread, peanut butter, a plate, and a banana, not really interested in anything elaborate. Edward walked in right as I was finished putting the peanut butter and banana sandwich together and was taking my first bite.
He pulled a face as he watched me, before pulling the bread and peanut butter to him to prepare himself a quick snack, too. I grinned as I watched him, he was still wearing a grossed out look on his face and I chuckled as I grabbed us both a glass of milk. He shook his head as I took another bite and I raised my eyebrow at him. I held out my half eaten sandwich to him with a grin, “Don’t knock it ’til ya tried it, darlin’.”
He rolled his eyes and huffed, “It just doesn’t sound appealing…at all! Peanut butter and banana?”
I nodded and motioned for him to take a bite, “Try it, Edward, it’s good.” I winked at him.
He stepped to me to grab my hand, and slowly took a bite, keeping his eyes on me as he did. It took a few seconds, before his eyes shot up in surprise and as soon as he’d finished his bite he smirked slightly, “That was actually… good.”
His hand was still holding mine and I grinned at him, “Told ya.”
I took another bite of the sandwich as he shook his head, grinning, “Where ever did you pick up that combo from?”
I frowned, swallowing hard past the lump that had suddenly taken residence in my throat. I put the sandwich down, not hungry anymore as I answered him in a soft whisper, not able to get my voice to work properly, “Brendan…” I looked up at him, my eyes prickling with tears that threatened to spill, “he was my best friend as a kid, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches were his favorite. I guess it’s something that stuck with me over the years.”
I didn’t often think about Brendan anymore. At least, I tried not to, but Edward’s innocent question had suddenly put Brendan to the forefront of my mind again. Even after all these years, thinking about him still hurt. I looked at Edward, who was watching me closely, concern and uncertainty in his eyes. I rubbed my face with both hands and took a deep breath, the sandwich long forgotten.
I felt Edward’s hand rest on my shoulder as he spoke softly, “Tell me about Brendan? What happened to him to have you so upset?”
I lifted my hand to rest it on top of the one he had on my shoulder, “Can we go sit down?”
He nodded and took my hand in his as he led us to the couch, gently pulling me to him as he sat down, wrapping his arms around me comfortingly. I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. I hadn’t spoken about Brendan for years, even Rose and I rarely brought him up anymore. I thought back to the last day I’d spent with him, all those years ago, trying to make sure I would get everything right.
Brendan, my best friend of two years, and I were out by the lake, which was on the far end of his dad’s property. We were there to fish, as we always did on any given Saturday. We knew what we were doing, and our parents let us go out on our own. We were 10 years old and didn’t think about danger, just the fun of a day of fishing with our best friend. We’d already caught and released several fish and Brendan was showing off. I warned him not to get too close to edge where he was at, as we both knew it to be deep right there.
He didn’t listen; instead, he turned around and pointed wildly behind him. Too wildly. He lost his footing and slipped. I don’t know whether he hit his head as he went down, or not, but he didn’t come up. I couldn’t swim very well, and I knew he couldn’t either. I screamed for help and ran to where I’d last seen him. I kept screaming as I jumped stupidly in after him. I didn’t care that I might get hurt, I just wanted to help my friend.
For whatever reason, one of the guys that worked for Brendan’s dad had been working on a fence and heard my screams. He came running, saw me and jumped in after me. He wasn’t aware that Brendan was under the water. He pulled me out, kicking and screaming as I tried to tell him that Brendan was down there and needed my help. When he realized what must have happened, he deposited me on the ground with a firm warning to stay put, dove back under water and after what felt like hours, came up with Brendan.
I’d never in my life seen anyone look as blue as he was. His head hung limply over the man’s arm as he carried him out. He’d been under water for almost 12 minutes by the time he was on land. The man tried to get him to breathe again, but it was no use. Brendan was gone. He carried him back to the house, and I followed after them, shivering and crying.
I ran my fingers through my hair, my voice husky with emotion as I related what happened that day. Edward listened in silence, running his hands slowly over my arms. When I was done, we sat silently for a minute before he put his lips to my temple, whispering softly, “I’m so sorry, Jasper. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for you to go through.”
I nodded quietly as I fidgeted with the fabric of my pants. He hugged me closer to him, murmuring, “Now that makes much more sense.”
I turned to look at him questioningly, “Now what makes more sense?”
He looked into my eyes, cupping my cheek with his hand and caressing my cheekbone with his thumb, “Your reaction back at camp, when Laurent pushed me under water. You were so intense, so worried when I got back up to the surface. And then what happened afterward….” his voice trailed off as we both thought about what had happened after that.
I nodded, “Yeah, it brought everything right back to me,” I rested my head against his shoulder before continuing, “I was so relieved you were okay. I kinda was… impulsive… wasn’t I?”
I chuckled softly as I turned my head enough to be able to see his face. He grinned softly, pecking my lips, “You could say that.” He paused a moment and sighed, “And back at the club, when you saved Jessica?”
I closed my eyes as I thought back to that day. It changed so many things in my life, “Mhmm, I was a little… out of it, after they took her to the hospital. I was afraid we’d lost her after I first pulled her up, and I just…”
I sat up, pulling my knees up and wrapping my arms around them. I felt Edward’s place his hand on my back, he began to rub it soothingly as I spoke, “It took a long time for me to come to grips with what happened. I felt so guilty that he died, that I wasn’t able to help him, to save him. I shut everyone out. The only one who was even remotely able to get through to me was Rosalie.
“When dad got transferred a few weeks after the accident, they put me in counseling, which helped a lot. Another thing that helped was momma putting both Rose and me into swimming lessons. She never wanted to risk a repeat of that day. The more confident I became in the water, the more determined I became to never have it happen again, either. Eventually, I learned to swim well enough to get trained as a life guard at the swimming club I was volunteering at, at the time.
“I also started to help teach kids younger than me to swim. Every child should know how…” my voice trailed off and I rested my forehead on my knees.
I don’t know how long we sat there in silence, but Edward’s hand gently stroking my back reminded me that I wasn’t alone, and that thought was enough to bring me some measure of peace as I thought about the friend I’d lost so long ago. After a moment, he pulled me close, guiding my head to his shoulder as we wrapped our arms around each other. Edward’s touch held a promise of forever – a promise that he would do everything in his power to make sure I was never left alone and helpless again.