The Last Dance

Jasper's entire body went stiff the moment he and the rest of the Cullen's, including Bella, stepped from the blistering cold and frigid February rain and into the warm, dry hallway. Alice shot him a worried glance when he stopped just inside the doorway and it was only a few moments later that the rest of the family caught on.

"What's got the puppy dogs so excited this early in the morning?" Rosalie muttered as she stepped into the brightly lit halls of Forks High, her wet hair looking like a deliberate style concocted by a fashion designer. She glanced around with disdain at the large groups of students, lumped in tight knit clusters every few meters down the hall. The sounds of excited voices crushed against them, their energy was almost tangible.

"Oh, Yay!" Alice suddenly squealed, looking at Edward expectantly, "When is it? What time?" she demanded.

"What's going on?" Bella asked reluctantly, already shrinking back from the excited student body, instinctively knowing she wasn't going to like what had gotten them so riled up.

"The twenty ninth, at six pm." Edward answered, casting a covert glance at Bella, tightening his arm around her waist when he felt her moving backward. He surreptitiously smoothed his hand down her hair, making her look less like a drowned rat and more like she had just stepped from a refreshing shower. She sighed and smiled up at him.

"Sadie Hawkins Dance, this Friday!" a flushed and excited girl said to them all quickly, handing out flyers, she went to hand one to Jasper but the look of sheer horror on his face made her reel back before moving on to the next group of flustered teenagers.

"I thought they were cancelling the rest of the year's dances after somebody spiked the pink punch bowl at the Valentines Dance?" Emmett questioned, frowning down at the piece of paper in his hand before scrunching it up and throwing it toward the trash can, getting it in with practiced ease.

Edward sighed and focused on the girl handing out the flyers for a moment before answering, "It seems that the Dance committee plan to hold a fundraiser to pay for the extra security guards, the school have demanded they hire at least six of them, one specifically to guard the punch bowl,"

"They have got to be kidding," Jasper said with distaste just as the bell sounded throughout the hall. Alice rubbed his back in comfort, her mind already churning through possible outfits and maybe a new hairstyle for Bella.

"Somehow, I don't think they are." Bella muttered, avoiding the overly rambunctious female students as Edward dragged her to their first class.

By lunch time the hype had not died down, infact, in the last few hours, the excitement surrounded the upcoming dance had seemed to increase.

"I cannot believe you sometimes, Emmett Cullen!" Rosalie hissed, sitting on the opposite end of the lunch table from her husband, glaring daggers in his direction. Her tone caused several close by students to look their way, but one glare from the deadly blonde had them turning their attentions quickly back to lunch.

"I think it will be fun, you know the saying babe – live a little?" Emmett grinned at her, pretending to take a sip from his soda, before carefully placing it back on the table.

"I would agree with you, dear, if you weren't already dead!" she practically growled in a tone so low no human could have heard her.

"What's he done now," Rosalie heard Bella whisper to Edward. Her brother gave her an evil grin before responding to his beloved.

"Emmett was asked if he would like to be auctioned off to the highest bidder and he accepted. The Dance Committee are all very excited to have such an enthusiastic volunteer helping them with their fundraiser,"

"Carlisle isn't going to like this," Alice sang smugly, watching as Rosalie became even more furious.

"No, he isn't. You are supposed to remain discreet Emmett. Putting yourself on a stage so a group of adolescent girls can throw their pocket money at you is hardly what I would call discretion." she ranted, running a hand through her perfect locks in frustration.

"The auction was supposed to go along with the dance, and they asked me so nicely," Emmett tried to explain, realizing that his wife wasn't going to be swayed on the topic any time soon.

"If I asked you nicely to throw yourself in front of a truck, would you do it?" she asked, before adding, "And don't answer that, you dolt,"

"So when are you going to ask me to the dance?" Edward interrupted, before the argument could go any further. He gave Bella a warm smile of anticipation.

"What makes you think I want to go to this dance? We didn't go to the Valentines Day one after all," she asked, blushing when she realized that everyone else at the table was now paying attention to their conversation.

"I made other plans that evening, but this dance is different, you get to ask me," he replied smoothly.

"I get that part … but I don't understand why we have a dance for a woman I have never really heard of," Bella explained reluctantly, going redder as she admitted her ignorance.

"You've never been to a Sadie Hawkins Dance?" Alice asked in disbelief.

"We didn't have them in Phoenix. I mean I have heard of them and know the basic concept …"

"It is more than a concept, it was and still is a cultural phenomenon," Jasper explained quietly, trying to calm her now agitated nerves, "Sadie Hawkins was a character from a comic strip called Li'l Abner,"

"I think it was nineteen thirty seven, when Sadie first appeared," Edward cut in, looking thoughtful, "In November if I recall correctly,"

"That's right," Rosalie smiled at the memory, "Sadie was the daughter of one of Dogpatch's earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins," her earlier irritation seemed to have been forgotten in favor of the story they all seemed to know quite well.

"The 'homeliest gal in all them hills'," Jasper recited in his soft southern accent.

"What did she do that got a whole day named after her?" Bella asked in rapt fascination.

"Sadie's father was desperate to get his daughter married off, you see, she was thirty five at the time and still a spinster living at home. In his desperation, her father called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it Sadie Hawkins Day", Edward replied.

"Sadie's father organized a footrace with all the eligible men, sending Sadie out to chase them. The first man she caught she had to marry," Jasper finished, smiling at some long ago memory.

"So this comic strip turned into a whole day?" Bella asked curiously.

"Back then it was practically unheard of that a woman make the first advance," Rosalie explained primly, her era and breeding shining through, "This was well before Woman's Liberation and Feminism were conceived, so the idea of a woman asking a man to a dance was a novelty that just took off,"

"It's amazing the tradition is still going strong today, despite the fact that its origins have been lost," Edward added, once again smiling at Bella expectantly, "So are you going to ask me, or should I just wait for some other human girl to make the first move?" he teased.

"I-I suppose, who am I to mess with tradition?" she stuttered, "Edward, will you go to the dance with me?"

"Of course," he smiled, picking up her hand and kissing it.

"Aw, this is going to be so much fun," Alice beamed, turning to Jasper and giving him a serious look in the eye, "My love, my life, my soul mate. Will you do me the highest honor of letting me take you to the dance?" she asked, the corners of her mouth twitching when he seemed to deliberate her question.

"I suppose," he gave a false resigned sigh and she jumped forward to kiss him eagerly. He responded back in kind and Emmett could be heard muttering something about the two of them getting a room, or a utility closet.

"Well?" Emmett asked Rosalie across the table, giving her a wide eyed innocent look.

"Yes?" she asked, pretending to take a bite from her slice of pizza, returning his look.

"Do you have something you want to ask me?" he beamed, batting his eyelids comically.

"Not that I can think of," she replied, making a house from the fries on her plate, carefully arranging the deep fried sticks to look like a perfect log cabin.

"I suppose some other desperate girl will have to ask me to the dance then," he said, looking around the room expectantly.

Rosalie shrugged, "I hope you have fun with her,"

"And who are you planning to ask them, since I suspect I will be taken very soon," Emmett asked, clearly trying to goad her now.

"Oh, I was thinking maybe Mike Newton, or that Yorkie kid," she replied flippantly, brushing her hair from her eyes as she completed her cabin.

"Well you had better hurry, Jessica Stanley is about to ask him," Edward laughed, watching the girl from the corner of his eye cross the room to where the group of boys sat huddled over a card game.

Rosalie gave him a sharp look before turning her most sultry smile first in Emmett's direction and then onto Mike's. Standing from the table she sauntered across the lunch room, gaining the large majorities attention. Completely passing Jessica with her long strides she came to stand in front of the table.

Leaning down so her palms rested on the shiny plastic surface she bit her lip and asked almost breathlessly, "Come to the dance with me?"

Mikes mouth opened and shut several times, his eyes blinked furiously and he made a small squeaking sound, "I'll take that as a yes," she hummed, leaning in and kissing his cheek lingeringly before turning on her heel and marching back to the table with unparallel grace.

"I can't believe you just did that," Bella whispered, wide eyed. Edward looked like he was about to burst out laughing, Alice was focused on the future, Jaspers attention on her. Emmett's face said it all, it was war.

"I never knew a dance could be so much fun," Bella giggled from the front passenger seat, Edward's suit jacket draped around her shoulders as he drove with his hand firmly on her knee.

Rosalie sat fuming in the back seat of the Volvo. Her evening had gotten progressively worse and Emmett had loved every minute of it. Right down to the point where Mike had spat his punch down her dress as he watched Emmett escort Jessica into the flashy red convertible. Her convertible.

"I think this one was an exception," Edward chuckled, giving his sister a glance in the rear vision mirror as he pulled into Bella's driveway.

Rosalie's phone rang as Edward was escorting Bella up the treacherous drive, his arm wrapped securely around her waist. She watched them with a sneer as she answered her phone, not bothering to check the caller ID.

"Hello?" she asked.

"Uh, hey, Rosalie?" a voice croaked over the line, and her attention snapped away from her brother immediately.

"Who is this?" she asked, dreading the answer.

"It's Mike. Hey, I know you left in a hurry and I didn't get a chance to ask if you wanted to go out again some time," he asked, "You know, give me a chance to make it up to you for ruining your dress?" he offered awkwardly.

"How did you get my number?" she hissed, completely ignoring his offer.

"Emmett gave it to me; I didn't have to ask him or anything. I didn't realize you guys had broken up, it's pretty good of him to be so okay …" the line went dead as she hung up on him.

Taking a few deep, unnecessary breaths, she slid through to the driver's seat and fired up the Volvo. Winding down the window she yelled on the air, "Make your own way home, I have a husband to kill!"

She wasn't sure, but she thought she heard Edward yell something back about not getting blood on the seats. Revenge would be sweet.

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