A/N: Thank you to my beta, TwilightMundi. She is awesome and amazing. Thank you to stephk0525 for the pre-read. Thank you to kimpy0464 for the nursey info, and to DrTammy for offering help.
Thank you for each and every one of your reviews. You should have gotten a review reply (unless you have PMs turned off). I can't tell you what it means to get reviews — they are everything.
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When the sun was up and we'd managed to sleep a longer stretch than normal, Emma's cry came through the monitor.
"Merry Christmas," I said, smiling.
We got up and I changed Emma's diaper and relaxed on the couch to nurse her. Edward brought me some toast, a mug of coffee fixed exactly the way I loved it, and a glass of water while the breakfast casserole we'd made together the night before was in the oven.
"You first," Edward said, handing me a beautifully wrapped box. The tag said it was from Santa, which made me laugh.
"I can't open with one hand," I said. "You guys go first and once she's done I'll open mine."
Edward opened his Xbox, then the games that went with it. He was definitely excited, and that made me so happy. He could be so difficult to buy gifts for.
"Thank you, love," he said, leaning over to kiss me. "This is perfect."
Jasper opened his gifts from me next, his mouth forming that beautiful pouty smile when he saw the whiskey.
"It's wrong to drink at nine AM, right?"
"Sorry, babe," I said. "You can indulge tonight, though."
He waggled his eyebrows at me and Edward and we all giggled. I had a feeling we'd all be indulging later.
I'd made them set aside the boxes from me that I knew had naughty things in them, wanting to open the other gifts first. As they tore into their dirty gifts, they opened the lids and dumped out the contents. I had to laugh at the way we treated sex kind of casually — that wouldn't be able to go on much longer, not with a curious baby getting ready to crawl and explore.
There were a few vibrators, some lube - regular and flavored, and some stainless steel toys. I'd bought an egg vibrator just like the one they'd given me on our very first Christmas, to replace it since it had long ago broken. By the time they had everything unwrapped and ready to wash, Emma was finished. Jasper took her and it was my turn to unwrap my gifts.
The box Edward had handed me earlier was first, and inside was a gorgeous bracelet. It had emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds. Each gem reminded me of us, something I'd said to Edward more than once, so it touched me that he remembered. Once I had it clasped around my wrist, I opened the other gift, also labeled from Santa. When the paper had been torn away, I could feel the lump in my throat. It was a gorgeous black and white photo of me nursing Emma. Edward must've taken it without me noticing him, and I wrapped my arms around him.
"Actually, Jasper took this one. I gave him a few hints, but it was his idea. He shot it and had it printed and framed."
"Well, thank you too, then," I said, leaning into Jasper as much as I could without squishing poor Em.
Jasper put Emma in to the bouncy chair and we all went into the kitchen to eat. The entire day was a whole lot of nothing, and I was excited about putting our new gifts to use that night. When Emma was in bed for what I knew would be a bit of a stretch, I dragged Jasper and Edward to the bedroom. Once we were free of our clothes, Edward and I laid Jasper on the bed, and I grabbed the bottle of lube, a smaller vibrator, and a towel. Without words or a plan, Edward moved up to Jasper's head, kissing him. I watched from between Jasper's legs as I touched and stroked him.
Uncapping the bottle, I let the silky liquid drip down onto the base of Jasper's cock, then slide to where he needed it. My fingers followed, teasing and tracing circles before pushing in slightly. His hips bucked when I lapped at the head of his cock then took him inside my mouth. I sucked and snaked my tongue out, licking while my lips surrounded him. After a few moments, I grabbed the vibrator I'd brought over and pressed the head inside of him.
His grunt was muffled, and I looked up at them to see what they were doing. I watched Edward's ass flexing and pushing forward, then retreating. Once I figured out Edward's rhythm and had the vibrator well-lubed and all the way inside of Jasper, I did my best to match the pace and timing. Jasper began to move, pushing into my hand holding the toy, then lifting up against my lips. I could imagine Edward looking down into his eyes and whispering sweet and dirty things to him as he held on to his hair.
My body reacted to the sight of them and the room suddenly got hotter. I tried to figure out a way to touch myself while I was pleasuring Jasper, but I could barely think beyond what I was busy doing. I gave up, knowing my turn would come. I focused on them, watching them together, and watching Jasper react to my movements. His body was like a piece of art, sculpted and smooth. Edward's was too, but in different ways and areas.
Jasper grunted and groaned, and I could tell they were close to their orgasms. I switched the vibrator on, then pressed harder, faster, deeper, and paid closer attention to moving my other hand and mouth against Jasper's cock. He came seconds later, and I quickly swallowed. While he came down, I continued to lick and kiss him, carefully pulling out the now turned off vibrator. I set it on the towel and moved up Jasper's body, kissing and touching. Edward had already moved off to the side, so I straddled both of them, one of my legs surrounding one of each of theirs.
I gave them a minute to recover and enjoyed their roaming hands, my need ramping higher with each passing second. For half a second, I was worried they'd fall asleep. When Edward rolled me over to the other side of Jasper, I smiled. He grabbed my legs and settled himself between them. As he kissed me, his hands moved through my hair. My hips flexed, pressing myself against his body, and I moaned softly.
"Poor baby," he teased. "Did we leave you frustrated?"
Edward plucked at my nipple as he continued to with his words.
"I promise to make it up to you," he said, working his way lower, kissing and licking.
Jasper moved to my mouth, taking Edward's place and pressing his lips against mine. His hands moved to my breasts, teasing me in much the same ways Edward had.
Edward slowly pushed his fingers inside of me, pulling them back out at the same torturous pace. He lowered his mouth and although I couldn't watch since Jasper was blocking the view, I could imagine what he was doing. I let go of thinking about it and soaked in the sensations. I held on as long as I could, prolonging the inevitable as Edward flicked my clit with his tongue and Jasper continued to bite and suck at my breasts and skin. When I came, I was panting and sweating, every ounce of focus and concentration spent.
I slept soundly, something that hadn't happened since Em was born. I didn't wake up worried, I just slept and slept and slept. When she woke up the next morning and I heard her crying, I rolled over and realized Jasper had already gotten up. I waited in bed, ready to lazily nurse her as we all woke up.
We weren't due at Charlie and Sue's house until later in the afternoon, so we spent the morning being lazy in bed, watching TV. Edward was reading a medical journal and Jasper kept looking at his phone.
"Nothing, sweetness," he said, leaning over to kiss me. He didn't put his phone away, though, and I saw him texting several times throughout the day, which was unusual for him.
When we got to Charlie's house, Jasper left his phone in his pocket, but he had an unsettled air around him. I felt anxious and nervous; was he having second thought s about being a dad or husband? Had I done something to upset him? There was a pit in my stomach at the thought that he was withholding information.
Despite my anxiety, I managed to make the most of the day.
I took eleventy billion pictures of Charlie holding Emma. She was already so different from her newborn days and I wanted to be able to show her these moments. The way he held her, awkward and uncomfortable but sure he wanted to be holding her, made my heart melt.
"You're such an awesome grandpa," I said, poking him in the ribs.
"I have some ground to make up for, being a not-so-awesome dad." His voice was sad and soft, and I wanted to hug him.
"Hey, you did what you could."
His head bobbed and his lips twitched in a barely-there smile. I could feel his guilt, thick like a blanket over us, with no way for me to ease it.
I put my hand over his, thin skin and veins cold against my warmth, and squeezed.
"Okay baby hog," Sue interrupted. "It's my turn. These kids are going to take off soon, and I want to hold her."
Watching them transfer her was comical, but when she was settled in Sue's arms, I snapped a few more pictures. Charlie sat next to them, one of his arms around Sue's shoulders, and it was something magical. He looked at Sue almost the same way he looked at Emma. Of course his love for each of them was different, but the depth of it was profound. I was glad he'd found Sue, and that together, they'd found their way out of sadness.
For a brief moment, I wondered what it would have been like to have Sue as my mother, but quickly banished the thought. My life would have been so vastly different, and I wanted nothing to do with anything that could possibly have altered my path.
"Ready?" Edward whispered to me.
"Yeah. Let's give them a few minutes while we pack up."
We carried all the stuff that goes along with traveling with a baby back out to the car and did what we could to stall.
"It's that time, guys," I said. "Sorry."
"Just means you have to come back sooner," Sue said, handing Emma to Edward.
"Or you can come visit again," I said. "It's not that far…"
Everyone nodded and smiled, but Charlie gripped me so tightly when he said goodbye, I worried something was wrong with him.
"You okay?" I whispered.
"Yeah, kid, I just miss ya. You get old, you realize all the time you lost. Don't waste any of it."
I tried to keep his advice in mind over the next few weeks. I could feel the tides turning — Emma was sleeping longer, I felt better than I had in months, and our routine settled down into something manageable. I'd even brought Emma into the office to see Edward, Esme, and Carlisle.
Soccer season was in full swing and we'd talked about taking Em to a game once the weather had warmed up a bit. I looked forward to that, but also wondered how awkward it would be to not talk to her the entire game about Daddy out on the field. It was one thing when it was just Edward and me, but what would we do when Emma could point and say "Daddy"? There was so much we hadn't thought about, I realized.
Jasper's behavior had settled down a bit, but I could still feel the tension rolling off him some days after practice or a game. We'd gone to dinner the night before the game we were all going to and he was texting like mad on his phone again. I gave him The Look a few times, but he just shook his head and I could tell he didn't want me to ask about it.
When we got home, though, I couldn't let it go. Emma was in her crib, and Edward was on the other side of Jasper. With him in the middle, I curled my body to his, and turned my head, resting my cheek on his chest.
"What aren't you telling me?" I asked quietly. "And did you tell him, or are you keeping a secret from both of us?"
Edward's Kindle slowly lowered until he was looking at us in expectation.
"It's not a big deal, Bella," he said, his voice tight. "And no, I haven't told either of you. I didn't want to tell you. It'll go away. It's nothing."
"It's clearly not nothing. I just want to help. Or talk about it." I could feel my throat closing as I again contemplated all the reasons he might be keeping secrets. "Are you unhappy?" I asked, watching helplessly as a tear slipped from my eye and landed on his bare chest.
"No! Jesus," he muttered, running a hand through his hair. "It has nothing to do with my feelings for you guys."
His thumb reached out and wiped another tear away.
"I can't promise it will go away and not tell you?"
"No," Edward and I said at the same time.
"The woman from the restaurant knows who I am."
There were several moments of silence where no one really knew what to say.
"So?" I finally asked.
"She's just trying to stir up drama. She has no evidence, thank god, but she contacted Coach. He made it sound like she was considering going to the gossip magazines. We've been working with my PR people to figure out how to deal with her."
"Do you have a plan? Does that mean we should skip your game?" I asked. I could feel my anxiety level creepy up.
"We're still trying to put together a whole plan, but no, you should absolutely not skip the game. This is what I didn't want," he said, clearly frustrated. "I don't want to alter how we behave. Even if she does go to the press, it's not that big of a deal. It might mean I lose some fans, but people are more open-minded these days, I think. I doubt it would get much play outside the rags."
No one said anything more about it, in a moment of denial from all of us. It was as if the incident would magically go away if we didn't acknowledge the seriousness of it.
I barely slept that night. I held Emma close, rocking her and talking to her quietly as she nursed. When she fell asleep, I didn't put her down. I could feel the storm clouds rolling in, but I had no idea what this would mean for us — I just knew it wasn't going to be good. Jasper was so casual and optimistic about it. I couldn't find that strength inside to believe it would all be okay.
The next day, Jasper left early in the morning to practice, then met us for lunch at the cafe by Edward and Carlisle's office. We agreed that Edward, Em, and I would wait for him after to grab ice cream together and celebrate Emma's first official game. It sounded like the perfect idea, and I couldn't wait. I hadn't been able to attend many games since I'd given birth, but Edward had; it would be nice to go together, like we used to.
When it was time, we sat in our usual seats, decked out in all our team gear, and I held Emma on my lap — she was wearing her team onesie and had her stuffed mascot. Edward and I bought beer and hot dogs and I was glad the weather had finally cooperated. I was excited to see my man in action, and I could tell Edward felt the same.
Watching Jasper sign autographs before the game made me smile. He interacted with children and adults in such an easy way that I envied. He looked up at one point and gave us a huge smile, which made me feel slightly more at ease.
The game got underway and I was clapping Emma's little hands together.
"Does he seem distracted to you?" I asked Edward quietly.
"No. Stop worrying."
"He doesn't have his game face on."
"I'm sure he's fine."
My hot dog sat in my stomach like lead, and I gulped at my beer. During halftime, Jasper looked up at our section again, and I tried to calm myself down. I was just over-reacting. Everything was fine. Jasper was smiling and although the score was still 0-0, everyone seemed to be doing their best.
The players filtered back on to the field, and I started to nurse Emma. I got her settled and covered, then looked up and started to watch the game again. It was like a moment of time in slow motion. I could see Jasper and a teammate running toward the ball, which the other team had control of. Everyone was so focused on the ball, though, that they all collided. It was four people smashing together like bowling pins.
I'd seen incidents like that happen — people crashed into each other all the time, then shook it off and walked away.
Jasper didn't keep going, though. In fact, he fell to the ground, dropping like a stone. Everything went silent for the briefest moment, and then I could hear his teammates calling out for help and an ambulance.
I hadn't anticipated all of the noise that seemed to flood in. People began to surround him and the entire stadium was buzzing with panic. I couldn't see him, couldn't hear him, and had no idea if he was okay. Edward must have felt the same way because we both shot out of our seats, forgetting to even grab our diaper bag, and ran.
As fast as we could, we ran down to the inner stadium area. Security wouldn't let us in, though — we weren't seated there and he had no idea who we were. I knew if we could get in touch with Jasper's coach he'd let us back, but he was already on the field and likely wouldn't hear his phone, or want the distraction. I considered going back to our seats, but we still wouldn't really be able to see much. If we stayed where we were, I prayed one of Jasper's teammates would come talk to us or let us back.
I paced, putting my clothes back together and trying my best to soothe Emma, who had obviously been bounced around during the run.
"Oh, God. Shit. Jesus. Edward, did you see how bad it was?"
"No, but… No," he said, shaking his head and tugging at his hair.
The sirens of an ambulance stabbed my ears with their deafening tone. Would they bring him out through this area, or someplace else? Maybe it was just a pulled muscle, I tried to tell myself. But I knew, deep in the pit of my stomach, I knew it was bad.
Tears flooded my eyes and I had to remind myself to take slow, measured breaths. I didn't need to pass out; I needed to be strong.
"Edward, where are they going to bring him out?"
"I have no idea."
"Should we wait here?"
"I don't know."
He was upset and angry, but not with me.
"Around back," the security guy said, finally taking pity on us.
We ran together, and sure enough, the ambulance was parked, doors open and ready. Hand-in-hand, we waited. When the stretcher appeared, I was shocked at the amount of blood beneath Jasper's legs. He seemed to be unconscious, too. I gasped, turning away from the sight.
"Oh fuck," I said into Edward's chest. Emma was in the sling, pressed between us.
Edward whispered something and I could tell he was surprised, too. Coach came over and told us we needed to head to the hospital. I felt sick when he described to Edward what kind of injuries Jasper had, the description of bones sticking out and blood making my stomach churn.
"That explains all the blood… Thank you," Edward said to the coach. "We'll keep you updated."
"I'll be at the hospital the second the game is over," Coach said.
"Come on," Edward said, pulling my hand and helping me walk to the car. I still felt dizzy and nauseated, grateful he was driving and not me.
There was a lot of medical jargon kicked back and forth once we got to the hospital, only about half of which I understood. They'd done x-rays and taken Jasper back for immediate surgery with the best orthopedic surgeon on staff. Once Edward had time to explain to me, he told me Jasper's tibia and fibula had several extensive compound fractures. He'd likely passed out from the pain on the field.
Carlisle and Esme came as quickly as they could close down the office and reschedule people. Thankfully, they'd also stopped at our house and grabbed baby essentials.
True to his word, Coach showed up, white as a ghost. I tried to avoid listening when he was talking to Edward, Carlisle, and Esme about what he saw on the field. Edward already knew how bad it was from the medical reports and had told me — I didn't want another replay of what I'd seen.
It felt like Jasper was in surgery forever. When they were finally finished, the surgeon came out to talk to us.
"This is going to be a long recovery," the surgeon had said.
"Is he going to fully recover?" Coach asked.
"I can't speculate about that. I have no reason to believe he won't, but if you're asking me if he'll play again? I just don't know. It's bad. Really bad."
"When can we see him?" I asked.
"Soon," he said. "We're just getting him awake and extubated. We'll get him assigned to a room and you can see him there."
Edward squeezed my hand and I knew all we could do was wait. Coach decided to go home, asking us to update him when we could, and gave Edward his cell phone number. He left after hugging all of us, and I was grateful he was so supportive. When they finally had a room for Jasper, we all walked over. I was exhausted and every part of my body hurt. I wanted to curl up in bed with both of them and forget this day had ever happened. If I could just rewind a little bit…
Inside the empty room, we sat and waited more. Esme held my hand and we huddled together. When the edge of his gurney turned the corner to the room, everyone stood, anxious and excited to see Jasper awake. I needed to see his face, touch his skin, remind myself that it was only a broken leg. Jasper was still there, still okay and with us.
Once his bed was in place, wheels locked, we surrounded him.
"Hi baby," I said, tears falling onto the white blankets covering him.
"Hi," he croaked, reaching for my hand. His other hand reached for Edward's, and relief washed over me.
I didn't know what else to say. I wanted to take all of his pain away.
"What'd they say, Doc?" he asked Edward.
"Your surgeon will be back in a few minutes to update you."
Edward lifted their joined hands, IV snaking into Jasper's, and kissed his skin.
"I'm going to guess from the looks on all of your faces that it's not good," Jasper said, sighing and closing his eyes. "Wake me up when he gets back, 'kay?"
His words slurred and he fell back asleep before I could tell him how much I loved him. Edward and I stayed by his side, though, and when the doctor showed up again, I leaned in and kissed Jasper's forehead, stroking his hair and trying to carefully wake him.
The surgeon rehashed everything, answering Jasper's questions and crafting his words in such a way to give Jasper hope, but also to be realistic. Recovery would be a matter of months, not weeks, due to the nature and degree of his injuries. Jasper looked exhausted while he listened and shortly after the doctor left, went back to sleep.
"Sweetie, why don't you let me take Emma so you can get as much rest as possible?" Esme said, rubbing my back.
"I don't know, Es," I said, unconsciously pulling Em closer to my body.
"You're going to be useless if you have to nurse and sleep in a chair all night, plus she needs to get some sleep. The last thing you need is a cranky baby tomorrow."
She had a point there.
"Okay," I said, sighing. "Thank you. You know where the milk is in the freezer?"
"Yep, I remember."
Carlisle took the spare diaper bag they'd grabbed at our house from me and I strapped Emma into her carseat, then kissed her before Esme picked her up.
"I promise I'll take good care of her, Mama," Esme said. "And we'll handle Edward's appointments for tomorrow. Try to rest. When Jasper wakes up, tell him we love him and we'll be back tomorrow."
The nurse came in to check Jasper's vitals several times, and before I even realized it, the sun was rising. I'd dozed on and off in the chair next to Jasper's bed all night, and I felt gross — clearly in need of a shower. It seemed unfair to complain about being exhausted when Jasper was lying in front of us, broken. Thankfully, we'd gotten a snack from the cafeteria sometime in the middle of the night. Edward went off in search of coffee and a loaner hospital breast pump, both of which were desperately needed.
"Good morning, sweetness," Jasper said, startling me. I'd closed my eyes for just a quick second.
"You're awake! How are you feeling?"
"Like shit. But I'm so glad to see you," he said. "Where's Edward?"
"Coffee run," I said, smiling. "Can I get you anything? Are you in pain? Do you want me to call the nurse?"
I stood up, running my fingers through his hair and generally fussing over him.
"Nope, I'm good for a minute. I'm sure she'll be in here any second anyway to take my vitals again."
"True, true." I sat back down, my eyes never leaving his. "I'm glad you're okay. I was really freaked out."
I took his hands in mine.
"Don't you know how tough I am?" he asked, winking at me. "A little break isn't going to keep me down long."
Edward came into the room, huge smile on his face. "You're up!"
"Barely," Jasper said. He let go of one of my hands and reached for Edward, who was setting my coffee on the side table closest to me. "Did you stay here all night?"
Edward and I nodded.
"That's not good," Jasper said, frowning. "Do you want to go shower and nap?"
"No way," I said.
"You can't stay here tonight," he said. "I need you to be well-rested so you can kick my ass when I come home and start trying to do things I shouldn't."
"I'll go home to sleep for a few hours and shower, I promise."
Jasper turned from me to Edward. "You too," he said.
"No argument. I'll be here every minute I can be, though. I'll try and get a short day tomorrow."
We worked it out so that Jasper was never alone, except for a few hours each night when he insisted. After seven long days and nights, the doctor released him. He had a brace on his leg with pins sticking out of it, and crutches, with strict instructions to put absolutely no weight on his leg. No one was sure if Jasper would ever play again, least of all Jasper, but he was home and I don't think Edward or I stopped doting on him the entire first night.
I'd run to the drugstore to get his prescriptions and a candy bar, when I saw it. Nestled in the rack, there was an infamous gossip magazine with a giant headline that read Soccer Star in Scandalous Gay Threeway Alleges Fan.
The bag of medicine I had in my hands fell to the floor and I reached for the glossy paper. I found the page and read the article as fast as I could. There were so many lies, my head began to spin… but there were also truths. Private truths about us that only some of our closest friends had known about. I quickly picked up the meds, then paid for my trashy magazine. The moment my ass hit the seat in my car, I began to sob.