A/N: I'm going to warn you right now – I left this chapter on a cliffhanger. I would apologize, but I'm not sorry ;)
As usual, thank you to my beta TwilightMundi.
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"Bella, that was so fucking hot. I've never seen a woman look so sexy while coming. It literally makes me want do it over and over and over, just to see you go through that again."
Laughing, I nuzzled my face into his neck. I wanted to be closer to him, to feel his body against mine. I needed him to hold me, to reassure me. And he did.
Jasper's arms were wrapped loosely around me when I woke up the next morning. Spooned up against him, I could feel his warm body behind me. I sighed, my body so full of bliss it had to escape somehow.
Knowing I had a 9AM class, a quick glance at his clock told me that I needed to get up soon. Still, I waited a few more minutes before setting about my day, needed to soak up the feeling of being with Jasper. It was almost as if he was healing the years of self-deprivation and replacing them with a wonderful warmth inside my soul.
Suddenly, I had an idea and did my best to crawl out of Jasper's bed undetected. He seemed to be a heavy sleeper, only stirring a little when I unwrapped myself from his embrace and climbed out, still nude.
I quietly dug into my bag and got my camera, checking to make sure the sheets and blankets were covering up all of the necessary parts (but not too much) of Jasper before snapping a photo for my board.
At the camera's beep, one of Jasper's eyes flew open. "What are you up to?"
"Jazz, I have to hop in the shower and get to class, but I can explain later, okay? Actually, I'll show you why I need your photo on Friday... if we're still on for Friday?"
Had things changed between us overnight? Jasper seemed pretty pleased with himself and things had gone well last night, I thought. I was almost positive he wasn't the kind of guy to do that, then give me the boot or something, but a little doubt crept up while I waited for him to answer.
Sitting up, he rubbed his eyes, the blankets and sheets pooling around his hips to expose his nude upper body.
I could skip class, couldn't I?
"Of course we're on, Bella. You don't want to cancel, do you?"
He sounded like he was doubting me, so I moved back over to where he was on the bed and sat next to him.
"Jasper, I have no desire to cancel our date." I kissed his lips softly. "In fact, it's going to take every ounce of restraint I have to leave this room with you sitting here, looking like that."
Running my hand behind his neck and up into his hair, I gently pulled his lips toward mine.
"Thank you for last night, Jasper."
He chuckled. "You're thanking me? Oh, sweetheart, I should be the one to thank you. You truly gave me a gift, don't forget that. Any man that just gets to spend time around you is lucky, but to give a piece of yourself to so someone is special, no matter if it's the first time or the thirty-first time. Don't forget that, Bella."
"Jasper, you sure you're not a psychology major?" I laughed.
Nuzzling my nose into his neck, I smiled when he pulled me into his lap for an embrace. It was slightly uncomfortable to be naked and on his lap, actually. I felt overwhelmed with emotion and hormones, and I still wasn't sure where my comfort zone was... plus that stupid class.
"Nope, I just know a good thing when I see it. You're worth so much more than you know."
"Thank you, Jasper," I whispered into his shoulder, ending with a kiss.
As our chests pressed against each other, I moved my hand from his hair down his back, absorbing as much of the warmth and tenderness from him as I could.
"Jazz, do you have a robe I could borrow? I forgot mine and I don't exactly think the RA would appreciate me walking to the shower in my nightgown from last night."
"You clearly don't know the RA on this floor," he said with a laugh, then started to get up off the bed.
"It's okay. Just tell me where it is, you can stay in bed and relax."
"Somehow I don't think my professor would appreciate that."
He smiled at me and I smiled back. Right, college, that's why we're here…. Thank you, Dartmouth.
He walked to his closet and grabbed a navy and green plaid robe, holding it out for me to slip into. Once I had my arms through and he adjusted the shoulders, he pulled the robe closed from behind me, resting his head on my shoulder as he tied the belt. Giving me a quick kiss on the cheek, he stepped away to rummage through his dresser.
"Alright, well I am going to go hop in the shower. Can I use your room to get ready, or should I do that down in the bathroom area?" I asked.
"Don't be silly, of course you can use my room. I'm gonna head down to the showers myself, then we can get ready and walk to our classes together, okay?"
We did just that, showering at the same time, but not together. You try showering in peace knowing the guy that pleasured you thoroughly the previous night is in the next stall over. It was going to be a long day, especially considering my first class was with Tanya. At least I could look forward to some comic relief with Emmett at lunch, then again during class.
By the time I got back to Jasper's room, he was already half dressed. His naked upper body still had beads of water falling down from his hair. Oh, to be a water drop.
I tried my hardest to not let Jasper distract me as I got dressed, but I could periodically feel his gaze on me. It wasn't that it made me uncomfortable – I mean, I'd basically let him look at and touch every part of my body the night before – it was just a new and different feeling. A good thing for New Bella. New experiences were the goal, right?
Soon enough we were dressed and on our way. It was a nice day outside, but I could feel that crisp Fall air settling in.
We agreed to stop at Jasper's class first, since it was closer. He gave me a soft kiss just outside the door and asked if he could see me later. I apologized, explaining that my Tuesday/Thursday classes were usually much more homework intensive and that I really needed the time to study. We'd see each other in class Wednesday, of course, and we still had our date for Friday night, so we separated on that note.
Thinking back on my coffee with Tanya during the walk to my class, I knew I'd see her there. I hadn't heard from her since the weekend, so maybe she was waiting to make plans with me when she saw me in class, or maybe she changed her mind completely. I certainly hoped she hadn't changed her mind. At the very least, I found her interesting and wanted to get to know her better.
Walking into the room, I quickly took a spot; I didn't see Tanya sitting anywhere. The teacher began to speak and I wondered if she was going to show up. I had intentionally picked a seat toward the back of the room to allow myself a good view of the door.
After fifteen minutes, I gave up hope of seeing her. I tried to focus on what the teacher was saying, but my mind was a million places at once. At the end of class, I packed up my bags, confident I had learned zero over the last two hours.
As I made my way out of the room, I saw Tanya sitting outside under a tree, reading a book. She looked absolutely lost in it, not noticing anyone passing her by. I knew I had to get to lunch, but I also wanted to talk to her.
Retrieving my camera, I snapped a quick photo of her, her back resting against the tree, nose so far into the book that all you could see was her hair cascading around her face and the rest of her body.
She didn't notice me approach and I kicked my shoes off and sat next to her, startling her.
"What is it with you always sneaking up on me?" She laughed and smiled at me.
"Maybe you just spend too much time in that pretty head of yours," I said.
She looked down at the grass and began to pick little patches, letting the blades fall between her fingers.
"Perhaps," she said quietly.
"You weren't in class today. You okay?"
"I just had a lot on my mind. I had an interesting morning, which I guess is why I was so distracted when you came up. I was hoping you'd see me when you came out though. I'm glad you stopped. I wanted to talk to you and see if I could collect on that date?"
She looked over at me and seemed much lighter, her brain and demeanor shifting gears.
"Sure, of course," I said, smiling at her.
Looking down at the grass, it was my turn to toy with the emerald blades, twisting them between my fingers before giving a gentle tug, imagining what it would be like to run my fingers through her hair and do the same. I flushed a little at the thought and looked back up at her as she spoke.
"So, when can I take you on that real date, then, Bella?"
Her hand reached across the grass and grazed the top of mine.
"Well, how about Saturday?" I suggested.
"Perfect," she said, giving me a huge grin. "We can work out the details Thursday, okay? I can't wait to get to know you better and I think we'll have a great time together."
Together. The thought thrilled and terrified me. I smiled at her and let her know I had to get to a lunch date with some friends. Standing up, I slipped my shoes back on and grabbed my bag.
As I walked away, I thought again about the crazy twists and turns my life was taking: I was about to introduce a guy I had been interested in to my roommate and good friend, who'd been trying to hook up with him at a club. I had a Friday night date with Jasper, who I'd already gone further with than someone I'd technically had sex with for years. I had a Saturday date with a woman. And I hadn't even really let the thoughts about Edward sink in yet. When I added his beautiful face to the mix, it was too much, so I was trying my best to keep him on the fringe.
Walking in to the cafe, I spotted Rose and Alice. I could tell from Alice's expression that she hadn't explained to Rose why we were there.
"Hello, ladies!" I greeted, then sat between them, looking at Alice.
"So, Rose. There's a reason why we wanted to have lunch with you. Remember the hottie from the club?" Alice asked.
"Of course," Rose said.
"Bella thinks the hottie is Emmett."
"Emmett? As in, the boy Bella went out with on Sunday?"
"Yeah, but Rose..." I began. "The part I left out when I told you about our date was that he just wanted to be my friend. He confessed that he'd spotted a 'smokin' hot blonde' at a club on Saturday night and couldn't get her out of his head."
It took a second for this information to sink in with Rose. Her eyes got wide and she looked at me almost disbelieving.
"Really?" she half-gasped.
Just then, we heard the tinkle of the bell on the cafe door and turned our heads to see Emmett walking in. Yep, still gorgeous.
Standing, I gave him a hug, then turned to Rose. "Rosalie Hale, this is Emmett..." I scrunched my eyebrows together, realizing I didn't know his last name.
He put his hand out to shake hers. "Emmett McCarty. Very nice to meet you, Rosalie."
She was stunned, to say the least. "Likewise, Emmett."
We all sat down and spent the whole lunch hour talking, laughing, and joking, as if the four of us had been friends our entire lives. Emmett got up and paid for all of our lunches, like the gentleman he is. It was easy, natural, comfortable.
Watching Emmett and Rose together made me realize that it never would have worked with us. They had such a spark and chemistry together, even after only a short while. When it was time to leave, I noticed Emmett take Rose's hand and lead her away from us for a moment. My next class was the same as his, so I assumed we would walk together.
I waited and watched them talking, almost feeling like I was intruding on their moment, but they were outside in the middle of a busy college campus, after all.
Once they were done, I saw Emmett pull out a piece of paper and hand a note to Rose, who was smiling widely. He turned away from her and walked to me with the biggest grin I'd seen on his face yet.
"So, that went well?" I asked.
"Bella, I owe you so big time for this. Man, she is hot!"
I laughed. "Oh, Em, I'm starting to think you say that about all the girls."
He laughed and looked right at me. "I never joke about a girl being hot, Little B. Damn, I guess I can't call you that anymore, because Alice is teeny tiny. I thought you were short, but she's like half of me!"
The rest of the walk was silent. I was happy for Emmett and perhaps a little jealous of Rose.
We made it through English without too much goofing off. Emmett told me that he and Rose made plans to go out Friday night for dinner and a movie, which was fine with me; I was glad to have her out while Jasper and I had our movie night in. In fact, I wasn't sure how to politely sexile Alice.
Once class was over, I gave Em a goodbye hug and nearly ran back to the dorm. I couldn't wait to talk to my girls! Rose and Alice were both there working on their homework when I came in.
"Rose! How amazing was that?" I couldn't hold it in.
Running over to me, she hugged me tightly. "Thank you, Bella. I can't believe you put two and two together. I'm so excited for my date!" She was practically squealing at the end.
"No problem, Rose." I smiled.
"Wait, wait, wait. Where were you last night, missy? I forgot to properly chastise you!"
"Oh, Alice, I was at Jasper's room," I giggled and I'm sure my face betrayed me with emotion.
"Do tell!" she said, dragging Rose and me to the couch.
We had another girl's night, watching bad evening TV and eating popcorn, catching up on the Monday study night with Jasper. I told them most of the details of the night. I even confessed about Jacob and never having had an orgasm, but I kept a few nuggets private, just for Jasper and me.
I also told them that I'd gotten photos of both Jasper and Tanya, so I took the memory card into my room and printed them out.
"Holy shit, Bella!" Alice said. They were both clearly impressed.
"I know, right? Dreamy," I sighed.
"Dreamy is one word," Alice laughed.
"Speaking of dreamy... What are you doing for lunch tomorrow? We're meeting up with our cousin and we want you to meet him."
"Wait, are you trying to set me up with your cousin?" I asked. "Don't you think I'm a little over scheduled as it is?"
"No, silly, he has a girlfriend already and you're definitely over your hot guy quota!" Alice teased. "We're meeting at the cafe, at noon. He has to work but he's going to join us for lunch. Oh, I can't wait for you to meet him, Bella, he's my best friend in the whole world, aside from you and Rose."
"Okay, I'll try to be there. Hey, Alice, how are things going with the cuties in your classes you mentioned?"
"Oh," she sighed. "There aren't any great prospects. A few guys, James, Tyler, and Eric are the best of the bunch, I guess, but no great sparks or anything."
"Well, keep me posted... and, Alice?" I tried to use my sweetest voice, giving her a puppy-dog look as she turned her head to me. She looked at me suspiciously and raised an eyebrow.
"Yes, Bella dear?"
"Is there any way you can not be in the room Friday night? Jasper's coming over for a movie and I was hoping we could maybe spend some time alone?" I batted my eyelashes at her.
"Bella, I would never dream of cockblocking you. What time would you like me gone?"
"Alice, don't be so crass! That certainly isn't going to happen. I'm not ready to go there with anyone just yet. I think he's coming over at seven, but let me double check with him and get back to you."
"Okay, just let me know."
Waving, I bid them goodnight. "Alright, ladies, I am off to bed. Don't stay up too late!"
Adding my photos to the bulletin board, I laid on my bed and read for awhile. I slept well that night. I was happy that Rose and Emmett were actually each other's mystery people and that I could connect them back up. I was excited to see Jasper in the morning and then if I had time, to meet Alice and Rose's cousin.
My morning class was the same old boring-as-usual, and I was very much looking forward to seeing Jasper, so I walked at a quick pace the whole way. Ducking inside, I saw him sitting in a mostly empty row and when he saw me, he smiled and waved me over.
I sat next to him and he had his hand on my leg through the whole class, periodically rubbing along my thigh, doing nothing to help concentration. I shot him a look at one point when his hand trailed a little too high for my comfort; I really did need to pass this class.
When class was over, I realized we hadn't swapped cell phone numbers, so we did that. I wanted to call him on Thursday to talk about Friday and confirm everything. Just as I was getting ready to walk off, he pressed me against the building, hands on either side of my face, and gave me a searing kiss.
"Not that I object, but what was that for?"
"You just look so cute and... pink today. I've wanted to do that since I saw you at the beginning of class. I'm not sure I can wait until Friday to see you again."
"Well, you have my cell phone number now. Call me after your last class of the day, okay?"
"Alright, Bella. Talk to you later."
He gave me a quick peck on the lips and I left him at his classroom, making my way over to the cafe to see if Alice and Rose were still having lunch. It was around 12:30 by that time, and I wasn't sure how long they were going to be there.
Walking in, I spotted Rose and Alice at a table with a guy; I couldn't see his face, as his back was turned to me. Alice hopped up out of her chair, shouting, "Bella!" That's when he turned around, and I saw that it was Edward.
Edward is Alice's cousin?
I hugged Alice and Rose, then turned to Edward.
"We meet again, I see," I said, smirking.
"Indeed we do, Bella," he said. "How are you?"He smiled and I nearly melted on the spot.
"I'm great, Edward. Are you doing better today?"
"Wait, wait, you two know each other? How?" Alice asked, nearly jumping up and down.
Edward and I laughed and as I sat down, he began to explain.
"Well, Bella is quite the caffeine addict. I've seen her in here more than anyone else, I think. I was having a shitty day on Friday and I sort of took it out on her."
He looked at me with a curious expression. He'd left out every detail about his drama with Kate.
"But then he came over to apologize with a scone," I interrupted. "So at least he somewhat made up for it."
"Well, Bella, you're just in time. We barely got our food and sat down. Do you want to share my lunch?"
"Sure, Alice," I said.
"So, Edward, where's Kate? I forgot to ask if she was joining us today," Alice said.
I choked on my food for a moment, remembering our conversation and Edward's bluntness.
"She's busy, Ali. She has classes," he explained.
"That's too bad, I wanted to say hi to her. I haven't seen her around at all. Are you monopolizing all of her time at your apartment, Romeo?"
Edward laughed. "No, Al, I'm not. She's just busy." Again, he shot me a quick look under his lashes, silently pleading with me. I certainly had no intention of blowing his cover, so I mouthed back to him, "It's okay," when no one else was looking. He gave me a relieved, playful grin.
The rest of lunch was spent talking about their childhood together in Chicago, each of them taking turns telling embarrassing stories. It was sweet to see them interacting with each other, teasing and laughing together. It was certainly a side of "Edward the asshole" I hadn't expected to ever see. I admit, it made me re-think turning him down.
As we all got up to leave, the girls to another class and me off to the room, Edward pulled me aside.
"Thank you so much for not telling them about Kate," he whispered.
"You're welcome, Edward, but really, it's not my story to tell," I said. "I would never have done that."
We exchanged smiles and I left with a wave, promising I would see him soon. I'd managed to lower my caffeine consumption over the last week but I could feel the bug itching.
Once I was back at the dorm, I worked on homework until I heard my phone chirp, alerting me to a new text.
Miss you. Can you sneak away?
Well, I was done with my homework, so I texted him back.
Maybe... you in your room?
About sixty seconds later, there was a knock on the door. As soon as I opened it, I started to laugh.
Jasper approached and pressed into me. I didn't back up like my first instinct told me, I reminded New Bella of the rules and stood my ground. He felt so good pressed up against my body, my arms wrapped around his neck as I deepened the kiss. Moving from my lips, he trailed his mouth across to my neck and over to my ear.
"I just had the most wicked craving."
I laughed against him, but what I really wanted to do was throw him down and have my wicked way with him.
"Oh really?" I inquired.
"Yeah, let's go."
He grabbed my hand, but I protested. "Just let me get my purse so I can lock up and bring my phone, okay?"
He smiled and let me do that, then took my hand in his again, leading me down the hall and out of the building. We walked hand-in-hand going toward what I knew was a little shopping and eating strip mall, and when we stopped in front of Ben & Jerry's, I giggled.
"Your craving was for ice cream?" I raised an eyebrow.
"Yep." He smiled. "Come on, let's share a hot fudge sundae. I'll even let you pick the ice cream."
"You're full of surprises, Jasper."
We shared a sundae and talked about our plans for Friday. We agreed on a time and I texted Alice to let her know. She texted me back to ask where I was, so I explained in a short message back, letting her know I would be back at the room soonish.
Being with Jasper was fun. We shared a spoon and made a mess, kissing occasionally between bites. It was sweet and romantic. When we were done, he walked me back to my room and left me at the door, watching me go in as he had previously.
Alice and Rose were sitting on the couch, so I joined them for a bit before going to bed.
When I woke up on Thursday, my eyes were sore and crusty. Had I been crying? I sat up and noticed Alice in bed with me. What the hell?
"Alice?" I shook her gently. "Alice, why are you in bed with me?"
She stirred and looked up at me with worry in her eyes.
"Oh, Bella, I'm so glad you're okay this morning. You had horrible dreams all night and you were screaming so loud. The only thing I could think of was to stay in here with you. It seemed to calm you down. I'm so sorry, I hope you don't mind. I tried to wake up you several times, but every time you'd fall back asleep you were screaming again within a few minutes."
She held me close and I could feel her concern for me.
"Thank you, Alice. I'm not upset that you stayed in here, I'm just sorry I inconvenienced you. I hope you got an okay night of sleep, all things considered?"
Her voice was soft as she replied. "I did, thanks. Do you want to talk about it, Bella?"
"Truth, Alice? I don't really remember what I was dreaming about. Nothing is particularly bothering me this morning. What was I screaming about?"
"Mostly about Jacob, but also you were sobbing the name Renee. Is that your mom?"
"Yeah, it is," I sighed and got out of bed.
"Sorry to keep you up half the night and make you worry, Alice. You're a great friend, and I appreciate you. I have to get up and get to class, I'm sorry."
She got up and hugged me, telling me again that it was no problem.
Throwing on some comfortable clothes, I made my way to my first class. I had my glasses on and felt like such a slouch, but you couldn't be a fashionista every day, could you?
Tanya, on the other hand, looked amazing. She had a white button up collared shirt on with a black cut-out sweater over it, jeans, super high peep toe red pumps, red jewelry pieces, and a red scarf.
I noticed her as soon as I walked in. She was sitting in the last row in the back, and I was grateful I'd worn my glasses when she looked up and smiled at me, motioning to the empty seat next to her. Sliding in, I inhaled her sweet scent.
"Do you wake up looking this good every day?" I teased.
She leaned in slightly before answering me, turning to look right into my eyes."I don't know, maybe you'll find out on Sunday?"
I'm sure I gulped audibly, then nearly choked on my own spit. Holy shit. Did she really just say that?
She was giggling at me as the professor started the class. I managed, once again, to absorb absolutely nothing. So far, college was one big hormone fest for me. I guess I was making up for lost time. A note appeared from her direction.
I don't have your number.Can I get it in case I need to change our plans for Saturday?
Once we left class, we swapped phones to program our numbers in and said goodbye. As I turned to walk away, I felt her hand brush mine and I shivered at the contact. She smiled and I knew she'd done it intentionally. I still wasn't even sure what to make of my attraction to her, but I was doing a better job of just going with it.
My class with Emmett was, as was typical for my time spent around Emmett, hysterical. Thankfully it was one of the classes I could afford to slack off in, so the constant note passing and jokes were a welcome distraction.
When I got home, I double checked all of my date information with Alice, and Rose showed us the outfit she was going to wear for her date on Friday. I wasn't sure yet what I was going to wear for my movie night with Jasper or my Saturday date with Tanya, but I put a little thought into it before going to sleep.
I knew I wanted to be comfortable again Friday, so I picked out a soft, warm sweater dress and some caramel colored boots and left out any jewelry.
Stopping off to see Edward at the cafe, I also got my coffee fix, of course. We chatted for a few minutes, then I was off to my first class. I started to get nervous, knowing that I would see Jasper next. He had a class after our class together, then we wouldn't see each other until around seven for movie time anyway, but there was this anticipation in the air.
I noticed him as he came up from somewhere on the other side of campus; Jasper slid up beside me and put his hand in mine, walking into the room with an ease and familiarity. This had become somewhat of a routine with us – at some point we would find each other, sit next to each other and hold hands or touch discreetly in some way. That day, there was an electricity to it, knowing we would be alone together later.
When class was over, I walked him to his next class and decided to walk back to the cafe before heading to my dorm. Jasper was going to bring the movie, so I sat in my room and worked on some homework I needed to finish up before our date.
Around six-thirty, I went back into the main room, anticipating his arrival at seven. Rose and Alice were gone already, Rose on her date and honestly, I hoped Alice was on a date as well, but I had no idea.
My heart jumped when there was a knock on the door at seven on the dot. Jasper.