Rock Around the Clock

I knocked politely on the door, carfeul not to scratch the paint with my new Kara Harding ring. Edward was behind me, shaking out his hair like a dog, flicking water onto my back. Before I could turn around to glare at him, the door opened. "Hey, Alice," said Charlie, in surprise, his face lighting up. "Edward," he added, considerably less enthusiastically.

"Hello, Charlie!" I said, smiling widely.

"Charlie," said Edward, nodding.

I rolled my eyes. "Is Bella home?" Darn it, I saw that she wasn't.

"No, she's, um, actually at the store, right now. Picking up groceries." Mmmm, fun, fun, fun. "You guys want to come in for a minute? She should be back in ten or twenty."

Bella would be back in about thirty minutes, twenty-two seconds. Sometimes it was rather annoying to know the exact specifics of someone else's normal, human life. "We'd love to, thank you," I said, ushering Edward in with me. "So, how are you, Charlie?"

"Fine, thanks, sweetie." Charlie gestured lamely towards the living room. "You, uh, want to sit down?"

"Yes sir, thanks." Edward took the couch, and-- just to be proper, because technically we're not related-- I sat in the big chair to the side of the tv. On top of the television, an old radio was playing hits form the 40's, 50's, and 60's. "Do you have any plans for today?" I asked Charlie, although I already knew the answer.

"Well, I'm going to see--Billy Black, as a matter of fact. He needs some new sealant on his patio."

Ugh, the reservation. It's that I really have anything against the wolves over there, it's just a matter of principle, you know, since their whole purpose is to destroy us. "I see. Well, that sounds..." I didn't bother finishing. Charlie knew relations between us and the Blacks was shaky, at best.

"Where's his son, Jacob?" Inquired Edward, suddenly. I glanced suspiciously at him. What are you up to?

"He's out with some friends, I guess," answered Charlie, as suspicious as I was. "Why?"

Shrugging, Edward smiled. "I suppose it just seems like he would be helping his dad, that's all."

Shut up, Edward, I said, in my head. His mouth twitched but other than that, his face remained neutral.

Charlie had apparently had enough of the freakish Cullens. "Better be going," he announced, stretching. "You kids are welcome to hang around till Bella gets back. I'm sure she'll be glad to see you."

"Bye, Charlie," we both said, me loudly and Edward murmuring.

"See you." And he was gone, out the door with his keys jangling on his belt.

After Charlie left we simply stared at one another, listening to the cruiser pull out and crawl away. Charlie was as overly cautious as his daughter when it came to driving. Of course, he was the chief of police, so he had to be sure no one saw him speeding. Now that Charlie wasn't around to pass judgment, I shot over to the couch and sat next to Edward. He was my favorite brother, and it was a rare thing to have some time to talk alone with him.

Chuckling, Edward put his arm around my shoulders, completely at ease in the Swan home. "So, you care what the good Police Chief Swan thinks about the Cullens adopted, morally-depraved children?"

"I think he would have thought it was weird if we acted too comfortable around each other," I said primly.

"You're probably right. But why would you care?"

"Because, you want him to think you're doing something sick, like two-timing with your sister, or something? You know the Swans have a tendency to jump to conclusions." Hey, they're a lot like you in that respect, I added in my mind.

"You're very smug, aren't you?"

"I just didn't want Charlie to think you don't deserve Bella."

"He already thinks that," he said grimly, "but he wouldn't think the Pope was worthy enough for Bella."

"Ew," I wrinkled my nose. "The Pope is ancient." Edward just gave me a look. "Well, fine, he looks ancient!"

"You're so odd," sighed Edward.

"By the way," I said, socking his arm, "what was with asking about Jacob Black? Are you tracking his movements, ready to murder him at the opportune moment? Can I come, too?"

"Very funny, Alice. Hilarious."

"Tell me what you were doing," I growled, "before I start making Swan-assumptions."

"It's rather selfish of that wolf not to help his own father around the house, isn't it?" Edward mused. "Why should Charlie, an older man himself, have to do that kind of work?"

"I didn't hear you volunteering, Mr. Righteous."

"You know I can't go on the reservation, Alice. Don't be absurd." But I like being absurd, I thought wickedly, poking him in the ribs. "Besides," he grimced, "the Blacks would chase me off their property, anyway."

"Not to mention you wouldn't give them the time of day."

"Life's hard for werewolves."

"Don't be such a jerk!" I poked him harder.

"Alice, stop poking me."

No, I said defiantly, and poked him again.

"Stop it, I'm serious!"

"Make me!" I poked him in vampire speed, my hands flying.

He poked me back, then got a wicked smile on his face. "You asked for it." His fingers danced across my stomach.

"Edward, don't!" I shrieked, and leapt off the sofa.

I have got to be the only vampire in the entire world who's ticklish. Imagine: a ticklish vampire! That's all someone has to do to subdue me, tickle me. Luckily, tickling a vampire never occurs to anyone, especially not other vampires. Except for Edward-- he had read my weakness straight out of my mind. "No, no no!" I screamed, at the same time overcome with the giggles. I hated being tickled. Edward kept at it, and I did my best to dance out of his way, but he was too fast for me. "Please, please, I'll never poke you again, I swear!" I yelled, clutching my torso and nearly crying with frustration.

"Fine." Edward was kneeling over me on the floor, and I was gasping for breath I didn't need. "Just remember, I know the one flaw in your defenses."

"Yes, I'll remember, just don't tickle me anymore. At least Jasper doesn't know," I muttered. "And if you tell him, I'll kill you."

Laughing, Edward returned to the couch, sickeningly proud of himself. I just lay on the floor, recovering. Tickling vampires should be against the law. My brand new dress was in disarray, the leggings I had on under it twisted and bunched in unflattering places. My flats had come off at the first onslaught. "I'll get you back," I promised Edward.

"I love you, Alice," he said, grinning.

For five minutes we sat in silence, hearing the radio blaring out old tunes. I tapped my foot along to the rythm, while Edward drummed his fingers on the sofa. "I really loved this one," I remarked, as a particularly swinging song started to play.

Edward jumped up and picked me up off the floor, offering my his hand gallantly. "May I have this dance, ma Écouter?"

"Comme vous voudrez," I beamed, laying my hand in his. He was obviously appeasing me after my humiliation, but I didn't care; I can't resist a dance.

The song was hopping, with active beats and loud big band music. We both knew swing, so we went whirling around the room, Edward twirling me like an experienced showman. I added a few of my own moves, like flipping all the way over his back instead of coming down where I started. We tried to keep our pace human, just in case, but we couldn't stop ourselves from doing moves that would be impossible for most teenagers "our age".

The next song required the twist, one of my favorites. Edward was smiling as he led us, undoubtedly thinking about the times he had danced with Bella. I grinned back. Bella's cute, but she can't dance.

"I'd rather dance with her any day," he said, tweaking my nose.

"And I'd rather dance with Jasper," I snipped, "but I guess you'll have to do, for now." My feet moved in time with his, regardless.

A slower, more sappy song came on. "I never did like this one very much," commented Edward.

"Not as fun to dance to," I agreed. We were still revolving about the room, however.

When the next song, a 50's tune that had been very popular with the younger set, picked up the beat, we went at it again, this time making up the moves. Edward was an amazing dancer, really, even for a vampire. I kept up, following his invented steps with my own. "We haven't done this in years," I laughed, my hair flying and my dress swishing.

"Maybe because no one else in the family likes to prance around the living room. They all prefer to dance in ballrooms."

"This is better."

Here came the climax, a song we both adored. At the very last song, we just couldn't hold back. In a blur, the room spun around me as Edward reverted to vampire speed. We twisted, ducked, skipped, everything we could work into the dance. It brought back age-old memories of dancing in a large, echoing hall filled with teenagers. Jasper and I had been slow-dancing, our arms around each other. It was a moment I cherished, because it was one of the few times I had seen Jasper act so happy.

"Focus, Alice," teased Edward. "You're throwing off the rythm."

"Oh, stuff it," I said, but threw myself into the dance with more energy. I loved Edward's company-- he was the perfect dancing partner. I stared up at him, into those golden eyes so like my own. Edward was such a good person, it was nice that he could have fun. Occasionally. "Thanks for the dance," I said, as we made another round between the couch and the wall.

"Any time, for my sister."

"You flatterer." Our feet traveled over the carpet effortlessly.

And just as the next song began, our moves really in tune, we heard a gasp behind us. We whirled around, our hands frozen together in the air, to come face to face with Charlie. He had his keys and a can of varnish in his hand, his eyes wide. I assumed he must have forgotten the varnish and come back for it. But why hadn't I seen it? Then I remembered-- I had been busy thinking about Jasper instead of watching visions.

The music still played, now vexing rather than nostalgic. "Oh," I breathed, "hi, Charlie."

"Ummm, hey kids." Without another word, he stumbled back out to his car, looking dazed. How much had he seen?

Alone once again, Edward and I looked at each other. What had I been saying about ruining Edward's reputation in front of Charlie?

"Well," said Edward, "we just gave Charlie a weird impression of us."

"I'll say." I frowned at the door.

"There's nothing to do about it, now," said Edward in resignation. "So, you want to dance some more?"

I stared at him in disbelief. After we just got caught be Charlie? Oh, well, there wasn't anything else to do but wait for Bella.

"Sure." I shrugged, and we began again.