A/N: For anyone who was looking forward to seeing where this story went, I'm extremely sorry for letting you down. When I had started this story I had planned to make it multi-chapter length but that didn't work out. I got caught up with school work, so I apologize for that. I did take a creative writing class a few semesters ago and had to write a short story as an assignment and I used this general idea for it.
I thought that you guys might be interested to see somewhat how I had planned the story to turn out, so here is the version I had completed as my assignment. The names were changed for the class (I changed them back here) and the vampire element had to be taken out as well as some characters were left out because of the reduced length. Since I went through the process of changing things for the class and I had to write it in such a limited amount of time I kind of lost interest in the story.
I'm super sorry to those of you who really wanted me to write this story. I figured that the least I could do was give you the version that I had.
"Hey, Bella?" I heard Alice call out as she stepped into the living room. I looked up from the book I was reading sitting on the couch to see her holding a box.
"What's that?" I asked indicating towards the box.
"I dropped my pencil while I was doing my homework and it rolled under your bed." I stiffened. "When I went to get it I found this."
"Oh." I tried to relax. "Really?" I must not have done a very good job though because she got a suspicious look on her face.
"Yeah," she paused. "Hey, guys?" she called out to the house. "Could you come in here a sec?" Edward, my boyfriend, came in through the kitchen carrying a slice of pizza and stood behind the couch where I was sitting. Jasper, who is dating Alice, came down the stairs to stand beside her.
"Hey, baby," he kissed her on the cheek. "What's up?"
"I don't know. We're about to find out." I sat up as Alice pulled Jasper with her to join me on the couch. "Bella, what is all this stuff?" she asked while sifting through the contents of the box.
"It's nothing." She stopped what she was doing to glance at me with a lifted eyebrow. "Alice, please? Just drop it," I said while trying to take the box from her.
"What's the big deal, Bella?" Edward jumped in.
"Yeah, I thought we were friends…" Jasper pouted playfully. Alice, who had continued to sift through the box, suddenly froze. Slowly, she lifted a red, sparkly piece of fabric from the cluster of stuff.
"Is this what I think it is?" she asked as she unfolded the cloth, stood up, and held it up to herself. It was a rich red colored, sparkly dress that was made up of two parts. The top was similar to a bikini bathing suit while the bottom was just like a skirt that was about mid-thigh length. The two pieces were held together by four straps that crossed over your stomach. The back of the dress was almost completely open, held together by a neutral colored strap so that it's not noticeable against skin. Two straps similar to the ones on the front, cross in the back, only these are very limp, hanging there just for decoration.
"Since when do you wear dresses, Bella?" Edward inquired.
"My thoughts exactly." Alice bundled the dress up and tossed it to me. I flinched slightly as I caught it. "I always thought you hated dresses. You never wear them." She was staring at me with a hurt expression of her face.
"I don't." I looked down at the dress in my lap. "Not anymore at least," I whispered as I ran my fingers fondly over the fabric. Alice sat back down next to me and placed her arm around my shoulders. At the same time Jasper reached for the box Alice had placed on the coffee table.
"What else are you hiding in here?" He plunged his hand into the remains of the tangled mess of my past and pulled out a DVD. He got up from the couch to place the video in the DVD player. I jumped up and grabbed onto his arm to stop him.
"Jasper, don't," I pleaded but he ignored me, shaking off my hand. Alice pulled me back down to the couch and picked my dress up from the ground where it had fallen in my haste to stop Jasper.
"Relax," he said as he stood up after putting in the DVD. "How bad could it be?" he joked as he sat back down on the couch
"You have no idea," I whispered. The TV screen lit up to show a basic play menu. I let out a resigned breath and leaned back into the couch as Jasper pressed play.
The first thing seen on the video was me, only a few years younger, standing in the middle of a large, clear floor, wearing the exact dress Alice was holding in her lap now. Next to the younger me was my partner, my dance partner.
"Is that—" Edward began to ask but I cut him off.
"Are you—" Jasper started to ask.
"Just watch it, Jay." I glanced at him irritated. He turned his focus back to the TV.
I took a deep breath as I closed my eyes, trying to mentally prepare myself for this flash from my past. The opening notes of the song in the video began to play and I didn't need to open my eyes to know what happened next. It was almost as if I was transported back in time. I could see it as clearly in my head as if it was actually happening again.
Devlin and I walked out to the middle of the dance floor for yet another dance competition we entered. This time around we'd be doing a Cha Cha to the remix of "Hush Hush" by the Pussycat Dolls.
As the beginning notes of the song began to play, I stretched my leg out in front of Devlin which he grabbed and used to help flip me up onto his left shoulder. I held my hands out to the sides while Devlin supported me with his hands on my upper arms.
We spun in a circle before he lowered me all the way down his back until I was sitting on the ground. I lifted Devlin's left leg over me and turned with it so that when his foot landed on the floor I was facing him. He reached down to pick me up, spun us in a circle to the left, and ended with me in a dip.
Devlin stood me up and kept his hands placed on my waist. I grabbed his head to make him face me then I tilted his head to the side emphasizing the lyrics, "look at me, listen to me." I pushed Devlin's head as he spun around once. I ran my left hand across my stomach and brought my right hand down behind my head, sliding it down my body as the notes momentarily died down.
After a beat the speed of the music picked up and we really got into the routine. I quickly took a step forward as I extended my arms in front of me and immediately brought them back to my chest. I threw my right arm up in the air then brought it back down around my head again as I turned around to the left facing my back to Devlin.
I shuffled forward twice bringing my arms up then walked a few steps more, swinging my hips and twisting my arms this way and that. I crossed my feet for one step and slid my hands up the right side of my body. After one more step forward, I spun to face Devlin, who had followed me, grabbed his hand, flung one arm out behind me and continued a few steps backwards. I took one step towards Devlin bringing my hand back in, took a step back out pointing my hand above my head, then spun right under our connected hands before letting go.
I stuck my left foot out, hand on my thigh, and looked right toward Devlin. I rolled my body once, grabbed his hand with my right, shifted my weight to my left leg and threw my left arm back. I brought my arm in grabbing his other hand as I spun to his right side keeping our hands joined.
I kicked my right leg up, placed it between Devlin's spread legs, and bent my knees for balance as he slowly leaned me backwards rolling me from one side to the other while I threw my head back. Coming up I stepped to the side and threw one arm back before doing a quick spin in front of Devlin. Placing my right hand on my lower back, I ran my left hand over my head while I shuffled forward twice. I took a few more steps, swinging my hips and twisting my arms out like before. Then I crossed my right foot behind my left as I ran my left hand across my stomach and my right down the side of my head again.
We stopped walking for a moment to shake our hips a couple times before taking a step backwards and turning around. After a couple more steps I did a half-turn placing my right foot behind me, threw my arm back, and stepped backwards once. Then I did another half-turn the opposite way, placing Devlin behind me, and stopped with my head facing to the side. I quickly turned my head to the other side then back and put my right hand on my head. Turning my head straight, I dragged my hand down the side of my neck.
I stepped forward throwing my arm up before turning and grabbing Devlin's right hand with mine. I shuffled forward twice again, took a step forward and threw one arm back. Taking a small step back, I twisted, bringing my arm in towards me. Then I spun around once and stepped out far to the side as Devlin knelt down on one knee. I grabbed Devlin's outstretched hand with both of mine and bent at the waist facing him with my arms stretched out between us. I stood back up, spun once quickly, and sat down on Devlin's leg, my back to his chest and my legs parted on either side of his.
My hands ran down his arms and his hands ran up my legs as the music ended. Cheers erupted from the audience as we stood up, our breathing heavy, and walked off the dance floor. Not entirely surprising, we ended up winning first place in the competition. This wasn't the first time we'd won or the last.
As the music came to an end, I opened my eyes to see my friends starring at me, wide-eyed and slack-jawed. I smiled meekly.
"So … yeah. Gotta go." I stood up quickly and tried to run off, but three pairs of hands stopped me. Together my friends pulled me back down to the couch. Edward kept his hands placed on my shoulders to keep me from leaving. He leaned partially over my left shoulder to talk.
"I distinctly remember you tripping over air a time or two in the past."
"Were you wearing heels in that video, Ms. Clumsy?" Alice asked. "What happened to that?"
"I developed clumsiness later in life?" I tried to pass off as a reasonable excuse.
"Not possible," said Edward, always the voice of reason.
"We'll get back to that in a minute. First, what kind of dance was that?" asked Jasper. Of course he'd want to know, seeing as dance was practically his life.
"Are you shitting me? Don't answer that," he cut me off. I smiled slightly at how well he knew me to be able to anticipate my response. I'm a smart ass when it comes to rhetorical questions. "What else can you do?"
"Does it really matter? I don't do it any more so can we, please, just, drop it?" I practically yelled from frustration.
"Calm down, baby," Edward said as he gently squeezed my shoulders and placed a kiss on the top of my head.
"Well, I'd really like to know why you quit," said Jasper. He placed a hand on my forearm to get me to look at him. "You were amazing, Bells. Why would you give that up?" I couldn't stand the look in his eyes when he said that.
"Because I had to," I said while looking down at my lap. I was playing with my fingers out of nervousness.
"What do you mean?" asked Alice.
"It's hard to explain."
"Try," she encouraged.
"You'll never believe me," I tried to get out of it.
"Of course we will," Edward added. Jasper nodded in agreement. I sighed. I didn't really have much of a choice. I took a deep breath before I began what I knew would be a very long conversation.
"I'm cursed," I blurted out, getting right to the point. The three of them looked at me skeptically.
"Cursed?" Edward questioned for clarification.
"You can't be serious," Jasper said, clearly not liking my excuse for quitting.
"I told you, you wouldn't believe me," I said deflated.
"We just don't understand," Alice reasoned as she glared past me at Jasper. She softened her expression to look at me. "Do you really believe you're cursed?" I paused for a moment to figure out the best way to get them to understand.
"Do you guys remember what I majored in?" I asked trying to steer them in the right direction. I figured that if they made the connection themselves they might be more inclined to believe me. From the confused looks on their faces, I assumed they didn't get it.
"Religion…" Alice supplied. I restrained myself from rolling my eyes.
"More specifically…" I prodded.
"Wicca," Edward said. The tone of his voice proved that he realized what I was getting at.
"Exactly." I looked over my shoulder to smile at him.
"What's Wicca?" asked Jasper.
"Witches, sweetheart," Alice clarified, so clearly she got the message. A look of understanding then crossed his face.
"Oh," he said, "but do witches even really exist?"
"That's what my thesis is focused on. I mean the Salem witch trials, for one. Those people can't have been completely wrong," I said getting worked up. "Though I doubt many of them ever caught an actual witch. Maybe if they were lucky," I started talking more to myself then to them.
"I'd guess that through all of this you've been trying to find a way to get rid of your curse?" Edward asked.
"Well, of course I've been trying. It's basically the only reason I chose to study this subject."
"So have you found anything?" Alice asked.
"Only the tiniest thread of a possibility," I said throwing my hands up. "But even for that to work I have to find Jade. That's the witch who cursed me, by the way," I explained.
"Well, what do you have to do to get rid of the curse?" asked Edward.
"Burn her to ashes, or at least that's what the legend that I found said. I figure it could work. If she's dead the curse must break, but I doubt I'll ever know for sure."
"Baby, you can't give up yet," Edward said as he hugged me around my shoulders from behind.
"I still don't think you're really cursed. Can you prove it?"
"Jasper!" Alice exclaimed incredulous.
"Do you really want proof, Jay?" I asked resigned.
"Do you actually have some?" he asked disbelievingly. I took a deep breath and released it slowly.
"Yeah," I admitted. I grabbed the box off the table and started digging around in it. After only a couple of second, I pulled out an unlabeled DVD that I knew contained the proof Jasper wanted.
Years ago I removed all the labels from my videos, that way if anyone ever found them they wouldn't know what was on the DVD just by looking at it. The reason I could tell that the video I grabbed was the right one was because the case it's in is slightly worn out, mostly from all the times I've held it in my hands, running my fingers over the case and thinking. There are also a couple of scratches and cracks from when I had dropped or thrown it.
I placed the box back on the table, stood up, and walked over to the TV, placing the DVD in the player below it. Then I sat back down on the couch and picked up the remote.
"What's on this?" Jasper asked as I got the video ready to play.
"Another dance. A Rumba, actually," I explained.
"How is this proof?"
"Just watch it," I said. "I'll point things out as I need to so you can see what I mean." Jasper shrugged his shoulders and turned to look at the TV as I pressed play.
As we watched the video, I explained that the Rumba is usually a slow dance with complex footwork and accentuated hip movements. At certain times I would draw their attention to Devlin, making them really see what was going on to help them understand. I made comments about the way he would look at me or touch me; subtle things that normally you wouldn't notice just watching us dance, but that are important details to make my point.
Watching carefully, you would see that Devlin kept his eyes trained on me throughout almost the entire dance. His gaze was intently focused on me in an almost hungry way, as if he was possessed. He held me reverently and his touch constantly lingered unnecessarily like he never wanted to let me go.
I explained to my friends how I remembered it getting progressively worse over the months, but I could never understand why. At the time I didn't believe the curse could be real. Over time he grew more attached to me and because of that he became extremely tired and weak. He seemed to never leave my side if he could help it. Thinking back on it, I suspect he always stayed close in some way, even if I couldn't see him.
Remembering these things got me choked up and tense. Tears formed in my eyes, but I blinked them away before they could fall.
I continued watching the video with Alice, Edward, and Jasper trying to get them to realize that I really was telling the truth. I couldn't make this stuff up and the proof was right in front of their eyes. It was real and a part of my past that I never intended to share with anyone, but it was too late for that now. I hoped that if I could convince them all, maybe I could get them to help me.
Edward squeezed my shoulders as the video ended. He could probably feel how tense watching it made me.
"So, are you trying to say that this curse makes people attracted to you?" Jasper asked incredulously.
"I hate to break it to you, Bells, but people can get attracted to you without some crazy witches curse." Alice smacked him in the stomach with the back of her hand and glared at him. He coughed out a laugh as he continued. "What, do you think Edward is in love with you 'cause of it?"
"No, that's different."
"I don't see how."
"It's not that simple," I said through gritted teeth. I looked down and took a deep breath to calm myself. "Devlin, the guy in that video? He was my dance partner for years." I looked up. "He died seven years ago."
"What does that—"
"He ended up starving himself to death because he wouldn't leave me alone, even to eat or sleep. It was like he was possessed."
"Oh my god," Alice whispered, placing her hand up her mouth.
"Two others were institutionalized before I fully understood what was happening and quit." I paused. "Now do you get it?"
"Okay. I believe you. But how do you know the curse is still even in effect?"
"I'm not willing to chance it and have someone else get hurt."
"Well, I say we test it and find out."
"And how do you suggest we do that?" I asked sarcastically, not thinking he was being serious.
"Let's go to the club. Tonight. Dance with me." My eyes went wide when he said that.
"What?" Alice said flabbergasted.
"Jasper, no," I said.
"I agree, I don't think it's a good idea," Edward added.
"We'll never know unless we try," Jasper tried to persuade.
"I don't want you to get hurt," I reasoned.
"I'm not going—"
"You don't know that!" I practically yelled, almost hysterical. "I'm not going to let you possibly hurt yourself or my best friend." I put my arm around Alice's shoulders. She was looking at Jasper with tears in her eyes that hadn't yet spilled over. Jasper put his hand on her knee.
"Everything's going to be okay," he told her. Then he looked at me. "If anything does happen, we'll work through it together." He glanced at Edward and then at Alice again. "All of us." I hesitated.
"I don't know…" I said, my voice shaky.
"Come on, Bells. One dance." I looked first at Alice but she only had eyes for Jasper, probably afraid of what might happen to him. Then I looked over my left shoulder at Edward, biting my lip. He shrugged his shoulders slightly, as if he was unsure, but nodded his head in acquiescence. The look in his eyes said he was fearful though.
"Okay," I agreed against my better judgment as I looked back at Jasper. "One dance and that's it." He smiled and nodded once.
"I mainly just want to see if you've still got your talent," he said to try and lighten up the mood. I let out a breath like a small laugh.
"I highly doubt it's gone anywhere," I said playing along. "It's just been… on an extended vacation."
"That's what I'm hoping," he smiled wider. The sound of Alice taking a deep breath brought my attention to her. She wiped her eyes quickly and then stood up.
"Well, if we're going out tonight, we need to get you ready," she said while pulling me up, off the couch. I raised my eyebrows at her. "Please tell me you still have some of those dresses," she said pointing at the TV. I smiled at her because we were getting into her element now.
"Yeah, they're in my closet." She practically squealed, grabbed hold of my hand, and shot up the stairs pulling me along. When we got to our room, she let go of my hand and flew towards the closet. She threw open the closet door and then paused. She turned around on her heels slowly and narrowed her eyes at me.
"I've lived in this room with you for two years, and known you for two years before that. I've shared this exact closet with you since we moved in. How have I never seen these dresses before?" she asked.
"It was my deepest, darkest secret, Alice. I wasn't going to leave the evidence just lying around." I went over to her and hugged her. "I'm sorry I kept this from you." I held her at arm's length and smiled at her. "Let's get you to those dresses." She smiled widely at me.
I stepped into our walk-in closet and headed toward the back. I could feel Alice following me close behind. I pushed aside some of my clothes to reveal a small door, the top of which only came up to about mid-chest level.
"Since when has that been there?" Alice asked grabbing on to my arm.
"It's always been here. I'm the one that suggested this house for us to move into, remember?"
"Oh, yeah," she smiled. "Wow. You're really thorough, Bee."
"I told you, it was my only real secret. I made sure people wouldn't be able to find this stuff."
"But what about the box that was under your bed? That's pretty accessible.
"How many people really go looking under other people's beds?" She nodded in agreement. "I kept it there because some things need to be remembered, no matter how unpleasant they are." She slid her hand down my arm and squeezed my hand.
"So… dresses?" she smiled widely up at me. I laughed as I turned around and opened the door to the hide-away space in the closet.
I ducked inside and carefully pulled Alice along with me. Once we were both inside and able to stand up fully, I let go of her hand, walked over to the standing lamp, and turned on the light. I turned around to face Alice and saw her face light up as she looked around the small room.
Her eyes scanned over all the hanging, black garment bags with a look of barely contained excitement on her face. She paused for a second and I saw her take a deep breath before she darted forward to the garment bag hanging closest to her. She yanked down the zipper, parted the two sides, and froze. Her back was to me so I couldn't see her face.
"Alice?" I said as I slowly stepped toward her. When I got to her side I was able to see a blank look on her face, staring at the bag hanging in front of her. "Alice?" I repeated reaching my hand out as if to touch her shoulder. Before I was able to, she moved again.
Slowly, she moved her hands to the top of the garment bag resting on the hanger. She reached her hands into the bag and carefully pushed it over the hanger and let it fall to the floor.
The dress that was revealed was a deep, rich blue. It hung all the way down to the floor, made of a silky textured fabric. The straps of the gown were adorned with jewel-like accents that glittered when the light hit them. I easily remembered that I wore this dress while Devlin and I did a Waltz.
Alice's expression changed to one of adoration as she ran her hands reverently over the dress.
"This dress is amazing, Bella," she said. I smiled at her because I knew she'd appreciate seeing these. She withdrew her hands, almost reluctantly it seemed, and made her way to the next garment bag. She continued in much the same way for several minutes while I just watched her. She seemed to be lost in her own world. After she had gotten about half way through the closet, she paused to look at me.
"Can I study these?" she asked. I gave her a questioning look, not understanding what she meant. "To get design ideas," she explained.
"Oh, of course," I told her. I knew she would be able to make some great designs for her fashion portfolio. I was fully willing to help her out because I knew how much she loved clothes, in general and as a career. I remembered her staying up for hours during the night before she graduated last year working on stuff for her classes. "Just be careful with them," I joked with her. I knew I could trust her with anything.
"What?" she said, placing her hand on her chest in a mockingly hurt way. "I would never do anything to damage them in anyway," she said completely serious.
"I know that, Ali."
"I'll finish looking at the rest of these later. Right now we need to get ready for tonight." She grabbed my hand, turned off the lamp, and pulled us back into the actual closet. I let go of her hand to close the door and push my clothes back in place to hide it out of habit, while Alice ran to her side of the closet to pick out what we were to wear to the club.
"Here, put these on," Alice said. I turned around to face her and was hit in the face with the clothes she had tossed at me. I barely caught them as I tried to reorient myself. I knew better than to argue with her, so I left the closet and headed into the bathroom that was connected to our bedroom.
I quickly changed into a simple black spaghetti-strap shirt and a red ruffled mid-thigh length skirt. A moment later Alice walked in, already dressed, and told me to sit down on the stool in front of the mirror. She quickly did my hair and make-up before heading back into the bedroom.
"Do you have shoes to go with those dresses?" she called out to me. I followed her into the bedroom.
"Yeah, they're in boxes next to the dresses." She moved back into the closet and headed for the hide-away space while I followed her.
"Are you sure you can wear them, Ms. Clumsy?" she joked with me.
"The clumsiness was all an act, Alice. Of course I can still wear heels."
"Good," her voice came from within the stacks of boxes. "These will do," she said handing me a pair of black strappy three-inch heels.
I went back into the bedroom and sat down on the bed to put on the heels. We headed downstairs to join the guys and after everyone was ready, we left the house to go to our favorite dance club. We'd been going to this club for about a year but mostly to hang out and drink. This time it would be for a different reason entirely...
The four of us all loaded into one car and drove to the club. We parked in the lot across the street and carefully made our way in between traffic to get to the club entrance. Passing the people standing in a line against the wall outside, we made our way toward the door.
"Hey, guys. It's been a while," Tony, the bouncer, greeted us.
"It's only been, what, a week?" Jasper replied, bumping fists with Tony, as per their usual greeting.
"You know we can't stay away for long," Edward added. Tony stood up straight and held out his hand in a very proper manner. It's a joke that has developed over the past year. I saw Edward roll his eyes before playing along.
"How do you do, Sir Edward," Tony said using a clichéd British accent.
"Very good, my fellow chap," Edward replied.
"Marvelous." They both broke down laughing. I looked around at the people standing in line and the looks on their faces clearly said they thought we were delusional. Once Tony had gathered himself together he moved on to Alice.
"Alice, my lady," Tony said trying to sound like Robin Williams. Alice giggled. "Slap me some tassel," he said holding out his hand. A while back when we still had to wait to get into the club, Alice and Tony had bonded over their mutual love of the Disney movie Aladdin. Since then they've always greeted each other with the hand shake Genie and the magic carpet use.
"Hey, Tony," she smiled hugging once their hand shake was done. Then Tony moved on to me.
"Miss Bella," he said holding out his hand. I grasped his hand and he twirled me around in a circle before placing a kiss on the back of my hand like he does every time we come to the club.
"Tony," I said, nodding my head in his direction.
"Will you be dancing tonight?" he asked hopefully. He has been trying to convince me to loosen up and have some fun for months now.
"Actually," Jasper jumped in wrapping his arm around my shoulders, "she will be." He leaned his head on the top of mine.
"Really?" Tony asked with raised eyebrows.
"Yes, he dragged me into it," I said grabbing Jasper's side to tickle him. He jumped a little and let me go to go stand next to Alice. "Let's just hope it doesn't blow up in our faces, shall we?" I said rather pessimistically.
"Loosen up, Bells," Tony said. "Have some fun. I'm sure you deserve it."
"We'll see," I said. We all waved and said we'd catch up with him later before heading inside the club.
The atmosphere in the room was one that I've always enjoyed. Everyone was so carefree and having a good time. I couldn't seem to get myself to enjoy it tonight though. There was too much on my mind. If something went wrong I wound never be able to forgive myself.
"Come on, Bells," Jasper yelled over the noise in the room. "Let's dance."
"What's your rush, Jay?" I yelled back. "I said I'd do it. I'm not going to back out now."
"Wouldn't you rather just get it over with?" he said putting his hand on my arm. I took a deep breath.
"I need a drink first," I said, heading towards the bar. I could feel Edward's hand on the small of my back as I worked my way through the crowd. When we got to the bar I saw that Alice and Jasper had come along too. I stood up on my toes and leaned over the top of the bar to get the bartender's attention.
"Hey, Tina!" I called to the woman mixing drinks down the bar. She turned when she heard me and broke out into a giant smile before heading our way. Tina and I hugged over the top of the bar.
"Hey, guys," she greeted us all. "The usual?" Tina asked grabbing the glasses she would need.
"Actually," I interrupted her, "give me a shot of tequila." She raised her eyebrows at me in a calculating way, then shrugged her shoulders and started getting together all of our ingredients. Alice put her hand on my arm and turned me around.
"Are you sure about that, Bee?" she asked, probably worried about the fact that I normally don't hold my liquor well.
"It's one shot, Ali. I'll be fine," I told her leaning into Edward who was standing next to me. "Besides, I just need to… loosen up a bit." I smiled slightly, attempting to reassure her. Edward placed his hand on my shoulder and squeezed me tightly, trying to help me relax.
"Here you go," Tina said, placing a shot glass full of tequila, a slice of lemon, and some salt on the bar in front of me. She also gave Alice, Edward, and Jasper their usual drinks.
I licked the back of my hand between my thumb and pointer finger and poured the salt over the part I licked. I picked up the shot glass and took a deep breath.
"Cheers," I said tapping my glass against Alice's. Licking the salt off the back of my hand, I tipped back my head and swallowed the tequila. I slammed the shot glass on the bar picked up the lemon slice and bit into it.
I closed my eyes as I sucked on the lemon for a moment, then put what was left of the lemon on a napkin on the bar and turned to face Jasper.
"Ready?" I asked him. He paused mid-sip to look at me wide-eyed. Swallowing quickly he set his drink down on the bar.
"Yeah let's go," he said grabbing my hand and pulling me out to the dance floor. I looked back quickly before we got lost in the crowd to see Alice grab Jasper's drink and head to our usual table on the second floor with Edward.
As Jasper and I got to the middle of the dance floor he turned to face me and put his hands on my shoulders. Looking into my eyes, he smiled brightly.
"Relax, Bella." He kissed my forehead. "Just have some fun." I smiled back at him and nodded. The sounds of "LoveGame" by Lady Gaga began to surge through the room. I took a deep breath and turned Jasper around so that his back was facing me. I decided to just let myself go for the first time in five years.
The music picked up and I danced around Jasper running my fingers across his chest.
"Do you know how to Samba?" I asked while shaking my hips to the beat of the song. He smiled at me.
"Of course," he replied. "You don't even have to ask." We both got into the fancy footwork of the dance making somewhat of a spectacle of ourselves. The crowded dance floor cleared as people took notice of us and chose to enjoy the show.
We did lots of spins and turns adding in more footwork in between and the crowd seemed to love us. At times we slowed down and accentuated our movements. Several times Jasper placed his hands on my hips as I swung them side-to-side either facing him or with my back to his chest.
As the chorus came on, Jasper grabbed my hand and placed his other on my hip with my back facing him. We really showed off our Samba skills dancing across the floor with complex steps and shaking our hips to the music. Then I turned to face him and we moved into a Samba roll, leaning forwards and backwards while we spun in circles.
As the dance progressed, our movements took on a sexier edge to them. We were constantly touching each other, dancing close together whenever we weren't doing some intense footwork.
The song was nearing its end and I was somewhat sad that it was almost over. I had forgotten how much fun dancing was and why I loved doing it so much when I was younger.
After a last display of some crazy dance moves, I spun around in front of Jasper to face my back to him and fell gracefully into a position similar to the splits. Jasper caught me before I reached the ground, effectively pulling off a spectacular pose to end the song in.
As the song faded away, loud cheers erupted from everyone in the club. With Jasper still holding me up, I placed my feet firmly on the ground and stood up. People gathered around us commenting on our dance.
"Oh my god, that was amazing!" a girl standing on my right said.
"Shit, dude. That was hot," I heard some guy say. I assume he slapped Jasper on the back because he bumped into me causing me to step forward. His hands helped steady me.
"Thanks for the dance, Bells," Jasper said holding his head next to my ear so that I could hear him. Then he kissed the side of my neck. Normally I wouldn't find this kind of affection that odd coming from Jasper because he's always been like that, but tonight had me on edge. I had to be sure.
"Please tell me that was an accident," I whispered but I knew he could hear me. He hadn't moved away yet.
"I couldn't help it," he whispered back in a way that conveyed he vaguely realized what was going on.
"Oh no," I shivered looking away to my right. I looked up to try to find Alice and Edward by our usual table, but I couldn't spot them. "Come on," I called back to Jasper, but I'm not sure her heard me. I started making my way through the crowd when I felt Jasper let go of my waist and grab my hand. I didn't think more skin contact would be good for him if my curse had started affecting him, but I was reluctant to let go because we needed to find Alice and Edward; quickly.
As we reached the edge of the dance floor, I headed for the stairs, and ran up them as quickly as I could pulling Jasper along with me. It was less crowded up here so I could see that Alice and Edward were sitting at our table talking animatedly with Edward's back to me. I quickly made my way to the table and as soon as Alice spotted me she jumped up and practically ran up to me. Edward turned around as she did and followed her.
"Ho-ly crap, Bella!" she exclaimed grabbing my shoulders and starring at me wide-eyed. "Watching you dance in person is so much better than in a video. You two were incredible!"
"Yeah, about that," I bit my lip. "I think we have a problem." Now that I was really paying attention, I noticed that Jasper had his hand on my back. Thinking back, I realized he'd been touching me in some way since we had been dancing. "Yeah, definitely a problem," I said nodding my head. Alice scrunched up her eyebrows looking at me, and then glanced at Jasper standing next to me before realization crossed her face.
"No…" she whispered looking back at me with a worried look on her face.
"How bad is it?" Edward asked.
"I have no idea, but I'd assume pretty bad since he can't seem to keep his hands off me," I said.
"It's hard not to touch you. It makes me feel like I would get hurt if I didn't," Jasper explained. "That's a bad thing, isn't it?" he asked slowly. I looked at him.
"Well, it's certainly not a good thing, Jasper," I said in a way that implied it should be obvious.
A tingling sensation went up my spine and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I turned to look out into the club and my eyes were instinctively drawn toward the bar.
My back stiffened as I spotted her. Jade, the witch who made my life miserable, was starring directly back at me with a pleased smirk on her face.
Jasper, who had placed his hand on my back again when I turned around, noticed my change in demeanor. I could tell he was trying to figure out what triggered the change, but he had no idea what he was supposed to be looking for.
"She's here," I whispered loud enough for Jasper to hear me.
"Who?" he asked as I saw him glance at me out of the corner of my eye. Alice came to stand beside me, probably wondering what was up, so she caught on to our conversation.
"Jade," I said while glaring down at her. I saw her smile at me then, I assume reading my lips as I said her name.
"The witch?" Alice asked in a worried voice.
"Yep," I replied turning around sharply and heading for the stairs. Jasper moved his hand to my shoulder so that he could follow me better through the crowd. I quickly made my way to the bar, a bit to the side of where Jade was sitting, ignoring her for the moment. I knew she'd come to me, not able to resist taunting me.
I stood at the bar waiting when I felt Jasper step in close behind me. I turned to face him placing my hand on his chest and pushing him backwards gently.
"Personal space bubble, Jasper," I told him as gently as I could while I was worked up. He nodded at me and placed a hand on top of mine resting on the bar to keep us connected. I sighed as I dropped my arm that had pushed him away.
Just then, Jade showed up.
"Is this your lover boy," she asked in a sickeningly sweet way, stepping in between us and running her fingers down Jasper's chest.
"Back off, Jade," I practically growled at her. She stopped what she was doing and turned to face me.
"Ooh, touchy," she said, clearly not bothered by my tone of voice at all. At this point Alice and Edward caught up to us.
"What do you want?" I spat at Jade. She stepped out from between us and walked around me to get to a clear spot at the bar. I turned to face her as I heard her order a margarita. She looked at me then.
"Just the satisfaction of seeing your life fall to pieces," she said sweetly.
"Oh, is that all?" I asked sarcastically.
"Listen, bitch," Alice stepped in.
"It's witch," Jade corrected her, as she picked up her drink and leaned against the bar.
"That too," Edward added.
"Why don't you take your crazy ass to some godforsaken country, and leave my friend the hell alone," Alice said getting in her face. Jade smiled menacingly.
Suddenly we were no longer in the bar, but standing in the middle of a giant, empty field.
"Is this better?" Jade asked.
"Where are we?" asked Jasper.
"This place is called the Burning Plains. It's a sort of… witch's playground, if you will," she explained.
"You are aware that by bringing us here you're giving us the ability to use magic too, right?" I asked her as though she was stupid.
"Well, it seems like you've done your research," she paused. "Good. That will make this more interesting."
By now Jasper had his arm wrapped around my waist. I needed him to let me go if I was even going to have a chance at stopping this, once and for all. I turned to face him, putting a hand on his cheek.
"Jasper, I need you to let me go." I looked in his eyes trying to get him to cooperate.
"I don't know if I can," he said beginning to get hysterical. I could see in his eyes that he was trying to fight the curse, but it seemed he was losing. I had to do something seen before something bad happened to him.
"If you want this to get fixed you have to trust me," I pleaded with him. "Don't worry." I glanced behind me to glare at Jade. "This won't take long," I said with more confidence than I had at the moment.
Looking back at Jasper, I could see him struggling. Alice and Edward came over to help. Once Jasper's grip on me had loosened enough, they pulled him away slightly. Edward kept a firm grip on him so that he couldn't get back to me, while Alice did everything she could to keep Jasper focused on her, to help him fight the curse's pull.
I turned back to Jade and stalked up to her. We began to circle each other, like vultures circling over their prey.
"You think you can beat me this game? In my own element?" Jade laughed sarcastically.
"By out smarting you? Yeah, I do," I said confidently. I had to, for all our sakes.
"Go ahead. I waiting," she taunted holding out her arms. I realized she was right. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had to try. I couldn't let her beat me.
I tried to make a move at her, but with just a flick of her wrist she knocked me to the ground. I stood back up and faced her again. I knew that I needed to burn her to end this. I just needed to figure out how to do that. I decided to buy myself some time so that I could think, so I started talking.
"I noticed your eyes are green." She gave me a look that said she thought I might have hit my head to hard. "Green with envy, perhaps?" I struck like a witty dagger. Her eyes turned murderously dark.
"You think I'm jealous of you?" she asked incredulously. "I have no reason to be." She was being defensive, so I knew I caught her. I was actually just fishing for straws. I didn't think I'd be right.
"That has to be it," I said. "Why else would you spend so much time and energy on a measly human like me?" She flung her arm our, sending me flying several feet backwards through the air before I crashed to the ground. She stalked up to me and bent down over me.
"How about red with rage?" she asked as her eyes flashed a brilliant red. "Is that any better?" I felt a tingling in my hands so I went with my instinct and pushed outward. Jade was knocked backwards and I just knew she'd be pissed. I looked down at my hands wide-eyed, not fully believing that I really just did that.
I heard Jade huff and glanced her way to see her push herself up off the ground. I scrambled to my feet quickly so she wouldn't have an advantage over me.
"You shouldn't mess around with things you don't understand, little girl," she sneered at me. My mouth gaped at her comment.
"Little girl?" I asked incredulous. "Wow, you must be really old to be calling me little." I was probably getting into dangerous territory here, but I needed more time to get a handle on what I could do here.
She screeched at me, throwing her hands up in the air. I was lifted at least ten feet above the ground before falling back down to the ground in a crumpled heap. That knocked the wind right out of me.
"Bella!" I heard Jasper shout off to my right.
"I'm all right!" I called out to my friends, struggling a little to push myself back up. I stood up painfully. I thought I might have broken a rib. I'd definitely have bruises for sure.
"Is that all you've got?" I tried to taunt confidently, though that probably wasn't a smart idea, but I think I fell a little short. I still couldn't figure how I was supposed to burn her.
Jade's expression darkened, if that was at all possible. Her eyes turned pitched black. The wind suddenly swirled around when there was no wind before. Clouds rolled in and the sky darkened, preparing for a storm. Rain began to fall hard, like tiny pellets speeding toward the earth.
I looked up through the rain to see that Jade had lifted herself off the ground so that she was floating, suspended in mid-air about five feet above the ground.
"You want more?" she shouted, her voice rolling in like thunder. "Well then I'd be happy to oblige!" Actual thunder started making a low rumbling sound that shook the ground under my feel. Lightning flashed from above my head, and I began to get really fearful. Jade had some serious power. The only reason I could do anything magical was because of where we were. I was like a kid trying to act like an adult where I had absolutely no authority.
I stumbled back a couple of steps but there was no escaping her. I had nowhere to run to; nowhere to hide. I took a deep breath, hoping to prepare myself for whatever she may throw at me when I was jerked off my feet and brought to hover in front of Jade, slightly lower than her.
"You have no idea what you're dealing with here." I felt something start to constrict around my throat but when I brought my hands up, nothing was there. Whatever it was kept squeezing and I had no way to stop it. "You play with fire, and you're going to get burned."
As she said that, lightning streaked across the sky. It suddenly dawned on me that maybe I could use the lightening to my advantage, if I didn't pass out or die of strangulation first. I squirmed and clawed at my neck trying to save my life while Jade just laughed victoriously in front of me.
I kicked out as I struggled and felt my foot collide with something before I was falling to the ground again. I figured I must have hit Jade and made her lose her concentration.
I stood up quickly and turned to face her while attempting to keep the rain from blinding me.
"You're right," I shouted up at her before she could strike me again. "Fire is a dangerous little thing." She slowly glided towards me until she was resting on the ground again. "And you know what, sweetheart?" I asked working myself up until I could feel the tingling in my hands again. "Right now it's going to end your existence and free me of this curse."
Before she could make a move, lightning flashed again. I raised my right arm to the sky, pushed the tingling feeling out like before, and brought my hand down in a quick, striking motion towards the person who caused so much destruction in my life. The lightning willingly obeyed my command and struck my target at her feet, igniting a fire that blazed with an intensity to match my determination.
Jade raised her hands to the sky making the rain pour down to quench the fire, but my fire burned on, growing bigger and stronger at every passing second. She tried blowing a gust of wind in to blow it away, but that backfired on her part, on helping to speed up the process.
"This isn't the end!" she shouted while she glared at me, her eyes blazing like daggers. "I will be back!" she promised.
The flames engulfed her entire body, and I could make out the shape of her throwing her head back, her long black hair flowing out behind her. She screamed so loudly as her life came to an end that I had to put my hands over my eyes to keep it from damaging my eardrums.
As the last of her body burned to a crisp the fire went out and she fell to the ground in a pile of ashes. The eerie silence surrounded me and it in that silence I could hear ringing in my ears, left over from Jade's dying screams. The wind came in and blew away her ashes as the sky calmed and cleared.
Suddenly we were transported back to the bar, exactly how we were before we left. The only difference was that Jade had disappeared.
I watched as the margarita glass she had been holding before she transported us to the Burning Plains fell to the bar and shattered, like the past was shattered. The remains of the drink spilled over the bar top and dripped down the side, sliding away like the taint of my curse leaving me.
Just then, Tina ran over to see what happened.
"I'm so sorry, Tina," I apologized for the mess in front of me that was ironically symbolic of my life up to this point. "It slipped?" I tried to explain, even though the drink was never mine.
"Don't worry about it," she told me with a smile. "I'll get it cleaned up." She reached under the bar to grab a rag and a small trashcan to clean up the liquid and glass. "You might want to check on your friends, though," she said tilting her head in their direction.
I turned to face them and saw Alice trying to talk to Jasper while he just had a blank look on his face. Edward came over to me and hugged me tightly. It was then that I realized I couldn't feel any pain from the injuries I sustained fighting Jade.
"Are you all right?" he asked me pulling away slightly. I nodded quickly before grabbing his face between my hands and kissing him urgently. He kissed me back just as passionately wrapping his arms tightly around me and squeezing me to him. I broke the kiss and rested my forehead against his with my eyes closed, sliding my hands down to his chest. I let out a slow breath relaxing into his arms.
"I'm so glad it's finally over," I whispered to Edward. He placed a kiss on my forehead.
"Me too. Don't ever scare me like that again."
"Don't worry. I'm swearing off epic battles for the rest of my life," I said trying to lighten the mood. I felt more than heard him laugh at that.
We broke apart and turned to our friends keeping our arms wrapped around each other's waist.
"Jasper, please, talk to me!" Alice pleaded with him because he still had a blank look on his face. He took a deep breath and licked his lips before looking down at her.
"I'm all right, Ali," he said. She quickly wrapped her arms around his waist in a fierce hug. He gripped her back just as tightly, placing a gentle kiss on the top of her head. He looked up at me then.
"It's gone, isn't it?" he asked even though I could tell he already knew the answer. He could probably feel that the curse was no longer affecting him.
"Completely broken," I assured him. He nodded at me before turning back to Alice who looked as if she was crying silently. Jasper lifted one hand from her back and placed it on the back of her head, resting his head on the top of hers. I reached my hand that wasn't around Edward to her back and rubbed it gently to help comfort her.
After we all calmed down and got a round of drinks, because god knew we needed them, we headed back to our table. We spent the rest of the night getting back into our normal routine here. We danced for quite a while too, not that we no longer had to worry that something would go wrong.
As we were leaving the club, we ran into Tony again at the door.
"So how'd it go? Did you have fun?" he asked me.
"Something like that, yeah," I replied.
"I've been telling you that for months."
"You were right." I smiled at him brightly. "We'll come by next weekend and I'll owe you a dance, promise," I told him. He nodded and I knew he wouldn't let me forget. We all said bye then got in the car and headed home.
As we walked in the house and everyone went to get ready for bed, I couldn't help but remember what Jade had said as she burned. This isn't the end. I will be back. I had a feeling her threat would eventually come back to haunt me, but for the time being I decided to put it out of my mind. I'd enjoy my free life until that time comes. And when it does, I'll be ready. Nothing is going to keep me away from the people I love and the life I deserve.
Once again I'm terribly sorry for not completing the story as I originally intended.
Please let me know what you thought. I enjoy feed back, it really does help me improve. Hopefully I'll get inspired again soon and maybe I'll attempt another story (and actually come through with that one).
Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate it.