A/N: My wholehearted thanks to my beta, TwilightMundi, who got this back to me with super speed. Thank you, bb. I couldn't do this without you. My thanks also to my pre-reader, afeistyginger, who didn't have time to pre-read this week because I slack and barely finished writing it!
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After tossing some laundry into the dryer and texting Jasper to say goodnight, I crawled into bed and closed my eyes. I'm pretty sure I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
The next week was busy with work. I had dinner with Alice at my place on Monday and we talked about her lunch with Rose and Bella, and what had happened with Emmett and Rose. There was really no excuse for his behavior, and although I knew it came from a place of deep hurt, it just wasn't okay. When Alice was in the bathroom, I sent a few texts back and forth with Em and we made plans for basketball after work Thursday. I wanted to make more time to spend with him and put more effort into our friendship.
Of course, we also talked about how things were going in our relationships. There wasn't really much new I had to say or talk about, so I relaxed and let Alice take the lead with the talking. When she talked about how she was waiting for her letter from Brandon's adoptive parents that she usually got at his birthday, her voice wavered.
We lamented the fact that we'd need to find someplace permanent to live, but neither of us really were in a hurry. Thankfully, we had plenty of time to figure things out. After we made plans to go car shopping for her on the following day and said goodnight, she went back to her apartment.
Even though I was sure he was asleep, I sent a text to Jasper letting him know how much I was thinking about him.
The buzz of my phone against my nightstand was what woke me up in the morning.
Sorry I missed your text last night. Good morning.
A smile spread across my face and my cock hardened as I texted him back, even though my words were an innocent return greeting.
We traded teasing, flirty texts until I had to get ready for work. During my shower, I took matters into my own hands and ensured I'd have a little shred of sanity for the day. Though it was Tuesday and I knew he had plans with Bella post-volunteering, I still planned to call him when he got home, and I kept imagining what we'd talk about. There'd be the usual catching up, but ung. There'd be more, I was almost sure. Even with the shower wank, that line of thinking led to a string of inappropriate thoughts.
By the time I left the office, I was keeping my laptop bag in front of my lower half to shield my erection from Bella.
My cock bobbed in my boxers once I was home and partially undressed, making dinner. The pepper I'd sliced and popped into my mouth suddenly became a piece of food from Jasper's fingers, teasing my mouth and sliding against my lips on the way out. The glass of red I had while I ate didn't help. By the time Jasper texted me after dinner and before his drive home, I'd had three more generous glasses and was in bed.
Still awake? he'd asked via text, and I didn't bother to reply. Pressing a few buttons, I sank into my pillows as the phone rang.
"Hey," he said.
He sounded tired. Exhausted, really.
"Hi," I said. "How was your day?"
What I really wanted to say was, hi, come over so we can fuck.
"Brutal." A huge gust of air from him caused me to pull the phone away from my ear just a bit.
"Sorry, Jasper. Want to talk about it, or do you want me to distract you?"
Please pick distraction.
His voice was full of ache, and not any sort of innuendo when he said, "Distract me, please."
I hesitated; he needed something more than my perpetually horny thoughts, but what better way to distract and relax him? I decided to just go for it.
"I've been hard all fucking day."
The answering laugh from Jasper eased my fears and lightened the tone and mood of the conversation.
"Yep," I said.
Jasper groaned. "Now I'm hard, too, and stuck in my car."
Even though he was in his car, I could hear fabric rustle and shift, and I smiled imagining him palming his cock practically in public.
"Poor baby," I said. "Whatever shall we do? How close to home are you?"
"Not close enough," he mumbled. "Ten minutes, maybe."
"Ten minutes until your cock is in your hand. Fuck."
"Why don't you live closer? I'd much rather my cock was in your hand," he said.
I laughed. "Me too. I guess my own will just have to suffice for now."
"You gonna torture me while I drive?"
"I just might," I said. "How do you feel about desks?"
"Desks?" he half-laughed. "I like mine well enough, Mr. Random. You in the market for a new desk?"
If only he knew.
"No, but today at work, I kept thinking about what it might be like for you to visit me at lunch someday. How I'd take you to the sushi place I love around the corner, then bring you back and bend you over on the cold wood."
As I spoke, my hand wrapped around my shaft; slow and careful pulls were followed by a release and return to the base.
"Can I fuck you on my desk, Jasper?"
"You can fuck me anywhere you want," he breathed.
"Anytime, anywhere, any way you want."
"Well, today at least, it was my desk. Your ass."
"Is this like a deviant version of Clue?" Jasper asked, laughing. "My cock, your ass, the library!"
"You do have an ass I'd like to do illegal things to," I said. "Round, perfect for biting or fucking, not too hairy."
"You have a thing for biting."
"I kinda do," I confessed. "Does that bug you?"
"Nope. We all have our own things."
"That's true. What are your things?"
"I dunno. I like to slap your ass, does that count?" he asked.
"Sure, of course," I said, laughing. "I like it when you slap my ass."
A beat passed between us and I realized we'd diverted from our original dirty conversation. That was fine; if Jasper really needed to talk and be distracted in non-sexual ways, I could do that too. In an effort to focus on him, I moved my hand to rest on my chest.
"I like to do more than just slap your ass," he said quietly. He clearly wasn't ashamed, it wasn't that kind of quiet; it was more of a deep, low, sexy-as-fuck quiet.
"I like to do lots of things to your ass. Though I haven't gotten to do them nearly enough."
"You could come over tonight," I suggested.
"I wish I could," he said with a sigh. "The phone will have to suffice until I can have your ass in person again."
My hand had gone back to stroking my cock. "I like the sound of that."
"You want me to fuck you? I thought this was your fantasy and I was bent over your desk, you fucking me?"
I was a very lucky guy.
Grabbing my lube, I let a few drops fall onto my palm.
"Mhm," I said. "I definitely do want to bend you over my desk. Put my fingers inside you and get you nice and ready."
My breathing escalated as my orgasm drew closer, and I sucked in a large breath.
"Thank fuck I'm home," Jasper mumbled. "Give me two more minutes. Don't get too far without me."
As I heard the garage door closing behind him, I imagined him stripping away the layers of his day. Finally, a soft thud and he was clearly in bed, undressed, ready for me.
"Now, I believe you were telling me about how you wanted to get me ready for that beautiful cock of yours."
I could hear the smile on his face as he spoke and I settled into my spot a little more comfortably.
"Well, I wouldn't want to hurt you. I'd take my time, get you good and relaxed and ready. Then I'd tease you a little, I think," I said. "Slide just the tip in and out a few times."
Stroking my cock in exactly the way I described as I spoke, my hips lifted on their own. I could close my eyes and imagine it was his body I was moving in, not my fingers tightened around the tip.
"I like that," he said softly. "I like it when you tease me."
"I know you do. I can't tease you much, though. I want to be buried all the way inside you when I come, so I'd push in. Stop and let you adjust. Push farther. When I was all the way in, I'd reach around your hips and lift you just a little, position you exactly how I want you with your ass up so I can watch."
Jasper groaned and I could tell my attention to detail had paid off. I must've been getting good at the phone sex thing, I noted.
"I don't want to pound into you, not this time. I want to go slow and watch every centimeter of my cock disappear into you, then pull out and do it again. And again. And again."
I didn't speak again; the line was mostly quiet, save for our noises now and then. I knew we were both filling in the blanks of the fantasy in our heads, and just hearing him work his body to a frenzy was enough.
Not surprisingly, I came first, spilling into my hand as I grunted. Hearing his breathing halt, I assumed he was coming too, and got up to wash my hands. I flopped back into bed, under the covers this time, and not for the first time that night, wished he was there with me.
"Edward?" he asked, pulling me from my mini internal pity party.
"That was the best distraction I've had in weeks."
We laughed together again. "You're welcome," I said.
"I think you phone fucked me stupid," he said, his voice all dreamy and airy. "Time for sleep."
Tapping the end call button, I plugged my phone in to charge and rolled over after a quick drink of water.
Helping Alice car shop on Wednesday was more fun than chore. I loved talking to her about all the different cars and test driving them with her. She finally settled on a WV bug and we made plans to have dinner Friday, then went our separate ways.
On Thursday, I packed a bag with my basketball shorts, shoes, and shirt, ready for my game with Emmett directly after work. I changed in my office and when I said goodbye to Bella, she raised an eyebrow.
"You and Jas playing some ball tonight?" she asked.
"Uh," I said, shifting awkwardly at the potential double entendre. "No. I'm hanging out with Emmett."
"Ooh! Have fun."
We met at the indoor court at my parents' house since the weather was gross, greeting each other with the traditional guy handshake/shoulder check movement.
"Sup, bro?" he asked.
"Not much, but lots, know what I mean?"
"Not really," he said, shaking his head.
As we dribbled, shot, and sweated, we talked.
"He's good," I said with a smile. "What this I hear about you having a date with Rose on Friday?"
Emmett shrugged and the tiniest smile crossed his face. "Least I can do, you know?"
"Where are you taking her?"
Emmett named an upscale restaurant downtown.
"Nice. I'm impressed."
"Keep your skirt on, it's just an apology date," he said.
"Oh, trust me, Emmett, I don't expect you to shape up and behave like a normal human anytime soon."
The tension was thick as we finished our game, Emmett having handed me my ass. Whatever.
"Shower and food?" he asked.
I was surprised; I expected him to just leave, like always. I was such an asshole – I would certainly have left, had someone said something like that to me. Emmett from two years ago would have left.
Agreeing to the dinner plan, we both walked inside. Emmett went to his domain and I used the guest bathroom and got changed. Dinner was less tense and stressful, thankfully, and we talked about work and Jasper. That made me smile, and Em seemed to genuinely be happy for me. We'd driven to the restaurant separately, and after another weird man hug, we said goodnight.
During my drive back to my apartment, I called Jasper and we made plans to hang out at my place Saturday afternoon. I hinted that he could pack a bag and make it a sleepover and he said he'd think about it. I was pretty sure he was just teasing and planned to definitely stay the night, but I wasn't one hundred percent sure. Not knowing, I decided, would just make it a lovely surprise if he did stay.
Thankfully, work on Friday went by quickly and I was eating with Alice before I knew it. We'd agreed to go out to a fancy dinner, then see a movie together. I wanted her to know that even though she had Bella, she could still count on me.
"So," I said, sipping my wine. "How are things going? Did you decide if you want to work with Mom or open a studio? How's Bella? Has she sent you any more flowers or poems? How are you feeling these days?"
"Slow down, weirdo," she said, laughing. "First, I'm feeling … surprisingly okay. I've had some sad days, but mostly just even, thankfully. I think I'm going to tell Bella. Do you think that's a good idea?"
"I'm not sure. Do you think it's a good idea?" I wasn't deflecting, I just wanted to talk more about it, explore the idea, and see if we could come to an answer together.
"Yeah, I really do. I trust her, and I don't want to get too far into this without telling her. It's important, you know?"
I nodded. "Yeah, I do. I just worry for you."
"I think it'll be fine, E. I trust her not to judge me based on my past. I think she gets it."
"How was working with Mom?" I asked, trying to delicately change the topic.
"It was good," Alice said, her voice lightening. "You know how she is."
I couldn't imagine working with Mom every day, but I always knew how close she and Alice were, and when they worked together, it was amazing to see.
The rest of the meal passed easily, and we sat together on my couch to watch a movie. Both of us were attached to our phones, texting back and forth with Jasper and Bella. After a few minutes, we agreed to set our phones aside. I was glad Jasper and I had made plans to hang out the next day; I couldn't wait to see him.
I must've fallen asleep and startled awake when I felt Alice lift away from me.
"What time is it?" I said, sleep voice in full effect.
We stood up together, her arms wrapping around my waist.
"I don't know, but time for me to go. Thanks for everything, Edward. Love you."
"Love you too, Alice."
I watched her walk out to the elevator, then disappear into it. After I crawled into bed, I let a few thoughts swirl in my mind about my life. I thought about what I wanted and needed; where I saw myself heading. Where I saw Jasper and me heading.
When I fell asleep, my dreams were a swirl of court cases I'd been working on and things I knew I wanted. A house. Children. Someone's hand in mine forever.
Saturday morning, I went to the gym and got in a good workout. I spent some time in the sauna, still deep in thought. Everything with Jasper was so new, and some small part of me worried things would go in the wrong direction again, as they had with Adam.
I didn't know how to build that trust with someone again, once it had been so completely shattered. Was it even possible? The heat and oppression of the room surrounded me almost like a blanket, and I enjoyed watching my skin turn pink and then red. The sweat beading and falling down my skin was somehow comforting to me.
Finally, after what was probably too long in the little box of heat, I decided it would all work out. Worrying wouldn't change anything and I couldn't prevent Jasper from doing shitty things, if that's what he wanted to do. I could hope, though.
By the time I got back home, Jasper was there and waiting. He looked haggard, almost. More disheveled than I'd ever seen him.
"Yes. No. I don't know. It's been an amazingly terrible day."
Jasper sat and I could see his hand reach for mine, then pull back. He'd never seemed so uncertain of himself before, and it scared me a little.
"Want to talk about it? We can go, we don't have to-"
"Not yet, and no, we're not leaving."
That time, he did take my hand. When he squeezed, I looked up into his eyes and saw them soften a little.
"Sorry," he mumbled. "I'll be okay. I just want to grab a beer and eat a bit. We'll talk about it when we get back."
His smile filled my heart with warmth and made my pants tighten. For the walk to my car, we held hands and spoke no words. The silence continued on the drive, and I began to panic that something was very wrong with Jasper. Obviously, whatever it happened to be was weighing on him heavily.
We ordered and ate, sitting across the table from each other. I took in every detail of his shirt, his face, and memorized everything.
Food gone, beer drained, Jasper sat back and slumped a bit. "Ready to go?" he asked once the bill had been paid.
Nodding, I stood and began to walk back to my car. When he was walking beside me, I took his hand in mine, my thumb rubbing over the space between his thumb and forefinger softly. I cursed when I had to let him go, and smiled again when he took my hand back in his as I drove.
At my place, I saw him walk to his car and worried briefly he was leaving. He hadn't said goodbye, though, or indicated he wanted to cut the afternoon short, so I was confused until he opened his trunk and grabbed a duffel bag.
The grin that spread across his face as he walked back to me made my heart beat faster. It was nice to see him almost back to his usual self.
As I slid my key in the door lock, Jasper pressed against me. I was pinned and trapped, but not in a bad way. In a get this fucking door open already sort of way.
"Hurry the fuck up, Edward," he growled.
"Trying," I rasped. "You're crushing me, Hulk."
Jasper let out a small laugh, but pulled back ever so slightly. His stubbly facial hair scraped along the skin on my neck and he bit harder than he'd ever bitten before. The door finally opened and my breathing picked up; I was half scared at his aggression and half turned on.
Through what turned out to be a spectacular fuck, Jasper held onto the slight edge of anger and assertiveness. There was nothing I didn't want, and he never crossed any lines, but it wasn't the loving, emotional connection we'd shared before.
By the time we made it to my bed, we were exhausted. Portions of my back stung from fingernail scratches. My mind was a mess.
Somehow, we managed to fall asleep. When I woke up, the sun was gone and Jasper had pulled me close to his body. His chest surrounded me, shoulders and arms seeming to swallow me whole in a protective covering. This small thing eased my fears immensely, though I couldn't pinpoint why. Maybe it was the balance of sweet caring from the disconnection of earlier.
"Hi," he said quietly.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to fall asleep," I responded. "Did you sleep too?"
Turning, I moved to face him so I could look at him while we talked. Okay, and kiss.
"No. Too much going on upstairs. I just needed to be close to you, although I have to take a wicked piss, so I'm glad you're up."
A few more kisses slid between our mouths and he got up. I followed; just the suggestion provoked the urge in me, too.
"Yeah, that sounds good actually," Jasper said. "I didn't get one this morning."
While we waited for the water to warm, Jasper pulled me into his arms again. Once it was hot, we climbed in and I decided my new place would need a bigger shower for sure, although I enjoyed that there wasn't enough room to be too far apart.
I wanted to ease whatever pain he had pent up, and washed his body carefully. Soap slithered between us, chest-to-chest and mouth-to-mouth as our hands roamed. The intent wasn't to excite, but just to feel. This was the reconnection I'd sought and missed.
"Things are falling apart with two of my kids," he said quietly. His forehead rested on mine, and I took a deep breath. Before I could speak to ask questions, he continued. "He loves her so much. I can't figure it all out. Why would she do that?"
His half-sentences were all I could coax out.
"You'll figure it out, Jasper. I know you will."
His cryptic words ended there, and we rinsed off, climbing out together and planning the rest of our night. We watched a movie, ate popcorn, and fell asleep together.
Sunday morning, we ran. We sweated. We loved. I was no closer to figuring out what Jasper was going through at work, but that was okay. When the day drew to a close, he drove away after a kiss and a promise to see each other that week.
Monday after work, I got a text from Jasper asking about a double date that Saturday with Alice and Bella. The thought delighted me, so of course I said yes.
Jasper and I talked several times over the course of the week, and I was glad to notice a slight ease sneak into his demeanor each day. By the time it was Saturday and we were eating with Alice and Bella, he seemed back to his old self.
When Alice invited us to Vegas, I jumped at the chance. It seemed like a great, stress-free way to spend a few days together and see how things would be outside of work and real life, just together.
That night, we stayed at Jasper's house. His bed was huge and comfortable, and I really wanted to spend more time in it.
Sunday was casual and easy. We made breakfast together, touching and bumping into each other, and kissing. I'd never just allowed myself to sink into a kiss, like I had with Jasper. His lips were so soft and the way he used them... it was unlike anything else I'd experienced. My entire body relaxed when his mouth was pressed against mine.
I could tell he was nervous when it was time to go to the family dinner my mom had requested we attend.
"It'll be okay," I reassured. "You already met them. It's easy with them."
"I know," he said, smiling at me.
Still, his muscles were tensed as he pulled his slacks on. I had to laugh; he was getting far more dressed up than any of us ever did, but he said it made him feel more comfortable. He wanted to show my parents respect, and for that, I couldn't be anything but overwhelmingly glad and grateful.
As usual, Mom made too much food, but it was all so good we couldn't help but stuff ourselves. The after-dinner coffee and dessert didn't help. I liked that my parents' house was a safe place for all of us. Bella and Alice sat together snuggled on the oversized chair, and Jasper and I held hands on the love seat.
Emmett excused himself after a bit to get Hannah ready for bed, and I knew it was just a flimsy justification to leave.
Not wanting the night to end, we stayed way too late. By the time I got home, I was exhausted but happier than ever.
My usual routine of lying in bed and thinking about the week caught up with me, and I smiled when I thought about Alice and her life, how it was morphing and growing into what she deserved.
Over the next few weeks, I met with Alice several times to discuss her studio and the details of running it. We usually spent Tuesday nights having dinner, since Jasper and Bella were busy. It was so nice to be around her again; I'd truly forgotten just how much I enjoyed her.
Even Emmett seemed to make more time for me, playing basketball when he could, or just hanging out over burgers and beer at my parents' house. I could feel his weight lifting, see the bags and dark circles under his eyes diminish just the tiniest bit. I suspected it had something to do with Rose, but didn't dare ask. The topic had become somewhat taboo, mostly because she was my boss and somewhat because I didn't want to lose this kinship I had with my brother, now that I'd found it again. He wasn't always quite the asshole I imagined him to be, which surprised me.
Jasper and I usually saw each other on Wednesdays for lunch, and then spent Friday nights together. His attendance at Sunday dinner wasn't constant, but I knew he tried when he could. Something was still brewing at work, and he'd finally told me more about the situation. As Thanksgiving loomed, he became uncertain he could even go to Vegas, which disappointed me.
My bags were packed, and the night before our flight, he called me to talk.
"I don't know if I should go. I don't know if I can go. It's so fucked up around here."
"Slow down, J. What's going on now?"
"She told him she didn't want him to go home with her for Thanksgiving. He's devastated. All of his drawings have taken a turn. I'm afraid for him."
As the sharper details of what was going on came out, I ached for Jasper. The reality, though, was that he couldn't save anyone who didn't want to be saved. He couldn't sleep in this kid's room with him, or be there twenty-four hours a day – he just couldn't.
Thankfully, he saw things my way and agreed. We talked as he packed, and the mood lightened considerably when he realized he was going on vacation. Then he confessed he hadn't been on a bona fide away-from-work vacation in several years. I was surprised, but even more determined to make our time together amazing.