Title: Nirvana Nights
Summary: The place he hadn't faced for a long time.
Notes: Fourth chap. This one is a bit AU. It is quite different from the other three.
Disclaimer: I know it. Don't rub it in.
He stared up, meeting the velvet sky of the calm night. No clouds, no stars. Just the plain darkness. He smirked, dark and hard, at the irony of it.
His gaze fell on the electric blue neon sign of the dimly lit marquee.
The place he hadn't faced for a long time.
It had changed since he first entered its shabby doors. The dust, the wooden ledge, the dusty frames…all replaced by something new, something à la mode. Obviously going strong, this business.
He stepped in, slowly, but without hesitation.
The images, they were vivid in his mind, almost alive. The flash of skin, the burgundy, glinting eyes, the perfect contours of that face. Blood, pulsing and flowing out. And the pain. The searing, blazing flames of pain.
But what was to be feared now? There was nothing, nothing to fear, he believed as he flexed his slightly muscled arms, his hard torso, his pale skin…
He smiled bitterly. Yes, there were definitely quirks in this field.
Ladies were scattered everywhere, in their tight, skimpy outfits. A girl in her adolescence looked at him and winked, crossing her legs and revealing more of the skin her short skirt hid. He quickly turned his head. Would her reaction be the same if she knew it was not hjer body but her blood which pulls him in?
He sat on one of the silver stools of the block especially designed for liquor, ignoring more fascinated stares which followed his trail blatantly.
And the face, the face of the bartender who heard his voice, was the face he was already used to seeing.
He turned to the source of the husky, but feminine voice.
A female human, in her early twenties, most probably, with soft, chocolate brown hair. Her skin shone against the lights, her eyes glinting ochre. She wore a decent top and silver boots, on her languid right hand was a lit cigarette stick.
"You seem to have problems more than I do."
She laughed, a chuckle which was thick with sarcastic humor, but he saw her fist clench at the corner of his eye.
"Is that the only reason why a young, gorgeous lady should be on a place like this?"
He smirked at her, knowing it was a distraction, but let himself ride with it. "Well then, is that the only reason why a young, gorgeous man should order a scotch at this place?"
She matched the curve of his lips. "You've made your point."
He found her left hand outstretched to him. And after not touching a human being since he ceased to be one of them, he responded instinctively and shook her hand.
Her eyes widened for a fraction of a second, and then her lips curved slightly to an astute grin.
"Got it from my great-grandfather."
The bartender appeared out of nowhere, with his drink on his right hand. With slight trepidation mixed with unexplained fear, he let the glass slide on the marble counter.
That was the common reaction humans have with him, after the moment of attraction, that is.
"So, what is it you want here? Dancing, the lights, the liquor, the girls, or sex?"
He chuckled at the candid question she offered him.
'Where I last found myself warm, unknowing, human…'
"What's so special about this?"
He paused for a while, then looked away.
"Nothing. Just memories. Memories I'd rather forget."
"But you faced them."
He turned to her. "What?"
She smiled, a genuine smile. "That's why you're here. You're ready to face those memories."
'Yes. After thirty years.'
"This is where I lost everything. Going to this place has been a mistake."
"What, raped?" she chuckled mutely.
'No, something worse than that.'
"No." he sneered. "Would you tell me what you want?"
She sighed and released a puff of smoke. "The liquor. And the lights."
Her gaze fell on him. "What why?"
"Why the liquor? Why the lights? Why not the dancing? Why not those bunch of men six feet behind us?"
She turned quickly to the said spot, and took glimpse of four men her age licking their lips at the sight of her. She turned again to him.
"The liquor's nice. The lights are nice. Dancing is not. The men are not."
"What's so wrong in dancing?"
She pointed herself, grinning. "I can't dance."
"Maybe some men would be willing to have you stepping on their feet for a chance to dance with you." He released a lethargic smirk.
"Maybe." She solidly stared at his face. "But that would mean I would have to enjoy some boys here. And my fiancée won't like that."
He raised an eyebrow.
She lifted her left hand. On her point finger was a gold ring with diamond embellishments.
"Getting married, huh."
She chuckled darkly, then she dropped her hand. "Not now."
He blinked. "Why?"
Her eyes, hard and cynical, penetrated his.
"He found someone else." She threw her cigarette to the nearest trashcan. "Someone much, much better than I am."
Her gaze fell to nowhere, outside the glass pane, to the bright city skyscrapers. "He's quite rare, you know. Stunning face, striking body…high-paying job, quite a personality too. I guess I had been lured into his web."
She took a swig from her shot glass. "And of course there were a lot of girls in the first place. He's a model and he's into business too…he meets a lot of people everyday. And I'm a writer in a magazine. We were worlds apart. But I thought I was different. Different from all the other girls, because I knew him well. I thought I could see through him, that I could decipher his masks and know what he's really thinking. I guess I only found out I was wrong when I saw him in bed with another woman."
He gazed into her face, but there was no anger, no bitterness at all. But there was repulsion, there was agony.
"I wasn't enough. I wasn't enough to hold him beside me."
"Or maybe it wasn't you."
She stared at him.
"Maybe it wasn't you in the first place. Maybe he wasn't just as good as he seems to be. Maybe he's just a plain bastard, which I assume he is."
She smiled weakly. "It's not helping. Pity isn't helping much right now."
"I know. I didn't want pity after what happened to me either…but this is not pity. You're beautiful, you know."
She smirked. "New way to pick up a girl when she's low?"
He grinned. "Maybe."
"Anyway," she said, standing and straightening her wrinkled clothes. "Thanks for the conversation."
She was already a block away from the saloon when she felt a cold, but reassuring hand on her shoulder. She turned only to find his face inches away from her, a sly simper on his lips but unadulterated earnestness in his eyes.
"Look, drinking and smoking aren't really the best cures for heartbreak. I think I have a better alternative."
She smiled at his guttural voice. "Can you help it?"
He smiled back. "I can try."
A/N: Look, I'd really understand if no one leaves a review. I planned it to be deeper, somehow. But it all ended up as dense, nonsense crap. I want to write more Aro/Bella one-shots right now, but I'm starting to lose ideas for it. I'd really appreciate some plot suggestions.