Tears & Heartbreak
Author: Lacey Raine

Chapter 23

 I noticed in the morning that Xander's shirt was smeared with blood. He explained that it was from comforting Jazz and I chucked it in the washing machine. I sighed. "What did Jazzy say, exactly?"

"That his dad's a pyscho who's trying to kill him," He said. "And he's worried about his mum because she's been gone for weeks and hasn't been in touch. I was thinking... maybe I should get Damon to talk to him."

"Damon?" I repeated. "As in your brother, Damon?"

"Yeah," He replied. "See, he was abused by his stepdad. Like... sexually. But he told me that the beatings were just as bad. Maybe it would do Jasper some good to talk to someone who's been through more or less the same thing?"

"Maybe," I agreed. "But won't Damon tell somebody?"

"Probably not," He said. "He'll know what it's like, being so scared, what makes him keep it to himself. He'll understand."

"Well... you can try, I guess," I shrugged. Xander pulled me in for a cuddle and kissed the top of my head. He was a couple of inches taller than me now - not so much that I had to stretch to kiss him, but so that I had to tilt my head back a little bit. He teased me relentlessly for it.

"You're my baby tiger," He said, rocking me slightly on the spot. "My tiny baby tiger."

"Shut up you, or I swear to God, AJ Tiger will eat your head," I replied, tickling him. He squirmed away and giggled.

"Okay, okay! I'll stop teasing your shortness," He said, catching my wrists. "But I think it's cute. I love you."

"I love you too," I kissed him. And I meant it.

I loved him with all my heart and a bit more.

Jasper came upstairs later on, after Xander had gone home. He smiled wanly at me. He had a black eye and I could see the bruises on his arms because of his short sleeves. "Jazz? Are you okay?"

"Yep, fine," He said, sourly.

"Come in," I stepped aside to let him into the flat and he entered. He walked into the living room and I followed him. He sighed.

"What's up?"

"I fucking hate my dad and all his stupid fucking mates," He said, sitting in the chair opposite where I was sitting. "Why don't they all just go fucking die and do me a favour?"

"What happened?"

"My Nan and Granda decided to have sex and produce a fucking fuckhead, that's what happened," He put his elbows on his knees and his hands on his forehead. "Am I a bad person, Axel?"

"No. Of course you aren't. Why?"

"I dunno. I just thought maybe all this shit was karma or something," He shrugged. "I mean... like... if I'd done something to deserve it, I'd take it gladly. But I haven't. Have I?"

"No, you haven't," I said, walking over and patting him on the shoulder.

"Yes I have," He disagreed. "I slept with you. I kissed you. I fell in love with you." He sniffed. "I tried to seduce another man's boyfriend and that was wrong of me."

"Well... I kissed you back. I let you sleep with me. I started it, in fact," I said. He looked up at me. I knew what he wanted me to say. I fell in love with you too. But I couldn't lie to him. Plus I couldn't do that to Xander. He sighed defeatedly.

"I'm sorry," I said, giving him a quick hug.

"No, don't be," He said, biting his thumbnail. "It's my fault. I fall in love too hard and too fast. But it's hard to get out of. I love you, Axel, and I think you know that. But... I'm trying to get over you. I'm trying to love Kris."

"Well. That's good. How're things with Kris?"

"Okay," He shrugged. Then he sighed again. "Just 'okay.' He can't ever be content with just a kiss or a cuddle. Everytime I see him it has to involve sex at some point."

"Have you talked to him about it?"

"I've tried," He shrugged. "But he won't listen. I thought about saying no, but I got scared he'd dump me. Or rape me."

"Oh, Jazzy. C'mere," I gave him a proper cuddle. "You know that your my best friend, don't you? And that I think you're beautiful and amazing and so special and I'll always love you. Just..."

"Not in the same way you love Xander, I know," He sighed.

"I'm sorry, Jazzy. But he's my fiance,"


"I proposed," I forgot I hadn't told him. "He said yes."

"Congratulations," He smiled at me. A genuine smile. I nearly cried then; Jasper was in love with me, but he was happy that I was marrying someone else?

God, was he the sweetest best friend in the world or what?


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