Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Summary: It's the first time I realize that for all of the significance boy-Edward holds in my past, man-Edward is a stranger to me. The thought is at once liberating and heartbreaking, and I don't know what to do with it: how do you forgive someone who no longer exists? How do you hold a man accountable for a boy's carelessness?

Rating: M

Acknowledgement: I'm so thankful to the wide world of fic for a lot of things, but perhaps chief among them is that it made my path cross with that of HollettLA, who has gone from a kind lady out there in cyberspace who fixes my comma placement to a genuine friend (who still fixes my comma placement). Thanks, lovely, for all of it. xoxo

A/N: This story is crafted around the WitFit prompts from February and March 2013. In this story, Edward is very much a high school boy and twentysomething almost-man – he isn't perfect. Bella is very much a high school girl and twentysomething almost-woman – she's not perfect, either. I hope you can like them anyway. Chapters will be short, and a new one will be posted every day, as the story is already complete.

It's a little different from my normal style, in that I didn't really go back and rework after I wrote; in keeping with the exercise, it is more a stream-of-consciousness, creating-the-story-as-you-go type of deal. Which is to say, sentence fragments galore!

February 1, 2013 – Word Prompt: Sway. Plot Generator – Phrase Catch: Take it to the limit.

. . .

"Would you like to dance?"

I glance up from the glowing screen of my phone, certain that I've hallucinated the dulcet tones of the voice posing that question. When I confirm that I haven't, confirm that it is, in fact, Edward Cullen standing before me, I glance around. Surely I've incorrectly assumed his question is intended for me; certainly I'm sitting beside a Rosalie or a Jessica or some other brighter star in the Forks galaxy. Again, no.

"What?" I say finally, stupidly.

"Would you like to dance?" he repeats, and I might have expected cockiness, arrogance, amusement, but all I see is uncertainty. Wearing slacks and a gray sweater.


Uncertainty morphs into a sad approximation of surprise. "No?"

I shake my head again. "No." Feel rude, so I add, "But thank you." Feel stupid for feeling rude, so I look back down, losing myself in Twitter. I promised I'd come; I didn't promise I'd participate.

"Why not?"

Another glance up, and the background soundtrack registers. "How does one even dance to Imagine Dragons?"

A frown. "I didn't necessarily mean to this song."

"Hm." More tweets. Rob Delaney is one funny motherfucker.

"Dance with me." Not a request, this time.

"Dance with me." A younger, bright-eyed Edward, hand held out in expectation; a younger me places her own corsage-adorned hand in his. He leads me to the middle of the gymnasium floor. Silver and black balloons only partly obscure the motivational posters around the cavernous space: "Take it to the limit!" "Push yourself!" "You can do it!"

"No," I say again in the here-and-now.

"Why not?"

A beleaguered sigh, and I switch off the screen to my phone. "There are two types of women who dance in public." I hold up a finger, not the same one I figuratively held up in Edward Cullen's general direction the last time I saw him. "The first are women who get paid to do so, and in this group I'm including professional ballerinas, strippers, and the Radio City Rockettes." I hold up a second finger. "The second are attention-hungry party sluts who cluster in the middle of a makeshift dance floor in a bar that lets women over eighteen in for free, and they drape themselves all over each other and have the gall to act affronted when random, sleazy dudes step in and grind their junk all over their asses." I drop my fingers and his eyebrows are near his hairline despite the amusement on his lips. I don't need to cast a look beyond him, to where the attention-hungry women of this particular corner of the world are illustrating my point rather perfectly by swaying awkwardly and in varying degrees of drunkenness to the somewhat confusing musical selections of the evidently amateur deejay.

"So that's a no, then."

"That's a hell no."

"You don't dance." Not a question, but I answer anyway.

"I dance. At weddings. Like a normal person."

"That's it? Weddings?"

"Sometimes around my own apartment when I'm getting ready for work in the morning." This admission slips out and I purse my lips against any further confessions. My days of confessing to Edward Cullen, after all, are long gone. Perhaps I underestimated what being in his general vicinity might do to my defenses.

"So what you're saying is that in order to see you dance, I'm going to have to spend the night."

That he opts for levity makes my blood boil. "We're done here." I turn to walk away from him, but he catches my elbow.

"One dance."

I pretend to mishear him. "You had your one chance."

I walk away.

. . .