And sometimes I get nervous,
When I see an open door,
Close your eyes, Clear your heart, Cut the cord


I've stopped moving - completely still as the throng of people twist and turn around me. There are no spotlights here, only strobes and disco lights, but it feels like one is shining directly on me, lighting and heating my skin.

Someone, I don't know who, notices my sudden stillness. My arm is tugged and my eyes are drawn to my right.

"Bella?" Alice asks. "Are you okay?" I nod a silent yes. I don't want to tell her about Edward, don't want to ruin his enigma. But maybe she already knows?

"Do you need to sit down? Water? Bathroom?" she presses.

I shake my head. Rose looks at me with concern. I look back up and I can't see Edward any more. The song has changed, still quick paced and deep, but to me the energy has gone.

"I'm gonna get some water," I say, beginning to push my way off the dance floor. "I'll catch you guys up."

I don't look back to see if they're going to follow. The crowd is dense and I have to fight my way through. I brush past faceless people, seeing only clothes and make-up and hair and skin. Drinkers are waiting at the bar, lined up in rows of two and three. They talk over shoulders and push with their elbows. I'm small, plain and alone. Clearly at the disadvantage here. Eventually, I reach the sticky wooden bar top and get my water. I gulp it back, the coolness and freshness is more invigorating than any alcohol.

Fresh air. That's what I need. I begin to cross the treacherous journey to the smoking section outside. I'm alert and wary. Don't make eye-contact with anyone. God knows what kind of lecherous losers a young tipsy girl alone in the club will attract. I meet some people I know - two harmless boys from Spanish class, a girl from Alice's school, the younger sister of one of dad's buddies. The speak to me but I don't make the effort to hear them. I smile and nod instead, before going on my way.

I'm almost at the exit, when a warm hand grabs my elbow. I prepare to bat it away, but find Edward by my side. I smile at him and he smiles back. It's kinda goofy. He raises one finger to me, the universal sign for give me a second. I notice that his finger is long and tapered and his nails are short and clean. I like that.

I wait patiently while he finishes up whatever conversation he is having. It's with the dark haired guy from before and I figure he must be the one who's got the connections to the DJ.

"Shit," Edward mumbles as the guy heads back to the booth. "That was rude. I shoulda introduced you to Garrett. I told him all about your rant on the predictable music."

I flush with embarrassment. "In that case, I'm glad you didn't. How do you know him?"

"Oh just from around. His girlfriend is a wicked saxophone player. I've played with her before. He's into this experimental shit, mixing classic and modern. It's fairly cool, if you've got an open mind."

"Oh." I'm thinking again about how there's whole side of Edward I know nothing about. I'd like to, though. "How come he's working here then?"

"This shit keeps a roof over his head. He doesn't give a fuck for it really. Why do you think he let me mess around like that?"

"I thought you were really good."

He is nonchalant. "You said you wanted something different."

"I got that, didn't I?"

"And I noticed you seemed to enjoy it?"

"The whole place seemed to enjoy it." I am still red. How unattractive would it be to hold the glass of water to my forehead? Let the icy sweating droplets cool me down.

Edward takes a step closer. The heat of his body feels dangerous. There is a new look on his face, the cocky smirk has been replaced with something sweet.

"You did like it though?" he verifies.

"Yeah," I smile. "I did."

"Good. Where are you off to?" he asks.

"Just wanted some fresh air."

"I see. You must need to cool down after all that dancing."

I'm not embarrassed now. His tone is playful, teasing. I like this mischievousness between us.

"Something like that."

"Wanna get a drink first? Then I'll go out for a smoke with you," he asks.

"I'll wait," I say. "But I'm okay for a drink."

"No fucking way, Bella. You have to let me buy you a drink." Edward's hand finds the small of my back and he starts to lead me over to the other bar. Miraculously, he gets to the front of the scrum and catches the bartender's attention immediately, greeting each other like old friends. Why does that never happen to me?

"Seriously," I protest. "I'm okay for a drink."

He throws me a look of frustration tinged annoyance and grabs my glass from my hand. Then proceeds to tip the contents onto the ground.

His expression is triumphant. "Now you have to let me buy you a drink."

"That was just water."

His pride falters, just for second before he makes a quick recovery. "All the more reason."

"I can't believe you just tipped that onto the ground. Behaviour like that is just not socially acceptable."

"There was fuck all left in the glass." He is nonplussed. "Besides, that is not the first and it sure as hell won't be the last drink spilled here tonight. And don't give me bullshit about someone having to clean it up because this dive has a policy to clean nothing until it's closed."

I can't really argue with that. He finally deigns to give the poor bartender his order. I can barely make out the quick-fire directions he rattles off.

"…Premium…don't give me that generic shit….no ice…you call that a double?…it better be cold…Bella?"


"What do you want?"

"Vodka and redbull?"

He nods to the bartender. "Make that two." Then he flashes a charming smile, they both laugh and Edward hands over a big tip. I don't even try to understand. He knocks back his straight vodka with a satisfied gulp and I gag a little.

"How can you drink that straight?" I wonder.

He shrugs. "I never thought about it."

"Do you like the taste?"


The bartender sets our drinks down on the bar . I sip mine slowly.

"Then why did you order these as well?" I ask.

"You ask a lot of questions. Because I wanted to. Does there have to be a reason?" That was clearly a rhetorical question. Edward heads towards the door then, his warm hand guiding me along. I decide I like that feeling. The crowd seems smaller with him by my side.

Outside, smokers huddle conspiratorially under heated lamps. Edward leads me into an empty corner, all dark and shadowy. The din here is less intense -more of a steady buzz than a pulsating roar. It's easier to talk, though it's only just struck me that I could hear Edward perfectly well inside.

I try to be discreet as I observe him, wondering why the hell every little thing he does captivates me so. Ordinary things - fumbling in his pockets for the his cigarettes, holding the little white stick in lean fingers, and balancing it in the same hand as his glass, the way his head bows and his eyes close as he lights it. These things shouldn't be fascinating but they are. He offers one to me but I decline.

"Thought you were a social smoker?" He asks, cocking his head to the side and hair casting little shadows across his face.

"Only when I feel like it." I'm dizzy enough without adding smoke to the equation. Edward takes a sip of his drink and makes that cute little grimace again.

"This shit always makes me hyper."

I roll my eyes. "That's kind of the point."

"Whatever. It's so sweet. I can feel the sugar on my teeth."

He sure does complain a lot. It should be annoying, but I find it kinda endearing.

"You don't like sweet things?" I ask.

"No." Exhaling smoke, Edward runs his index finger along my collar bone where the skin is clammy. "I prefer savoury."

His tone makes me twitch. I sip my drink to try calm my nerves.

"What instrument do you play?" I ask brightly.


"Earlier, you said you play sometimes."

"Oh. Piano mostly. I mess around with some percussion stuff. I like arranging music - mixing, putting pieces together. That sorta thing."

"How come you're not in the school band?"

"Because they fucking suck," he scoffs. "I went to one practice when I first moved here. They played Mary Has A Little Lamb for two hours and they still sounded like a pack of dying cats."

"I didn't know you were so into music," I remark, still laughing at his kinda funny disparaging words.

"There's a lot about me you don't know," Edward says, with one of those sinful smirks of his.

"I wouldn't mind finding out." The words leave my mouth before I can stop them and they cause this tense silence, where he just fucking looks at me and makes my heart pound with the force of his gaze.

"I bet there's a lot about you that I don't know," Edward says after a long moment.

"Not really," I reply. "There's nothing strange or startling about me."

"I find that hard to believe," he murmurs, low and husky. "There has to be something. Hobbies. Talents. Skeletons in the closet…"

This is a hard question. It's not that I'm completely useless or pathetic. I'm just…ordinary. I like reading, cooking, watching tv and hanging with my friends. I mean, I'm not ashamed of that or anything. It's just normal shit. But to say that to a potential love interest sounds pretty damn boring.

"Let me think…" I trail off playfully. "I can roll my tongue."

"Wow. Fascinating." He feigns interest, pretends to be serious. "I think I need to see evidence if this amazing talent."

I willingly demonstrate. Edward's definitely a very good actor. He acts downright captivated by the silly sight of my tongue sticking out.

"Anything I do will just pale in comparison to that," he jokes. "Piano playing… Djing,…it'll never match that."

"Well I've never seen you play piano. Maybe that would be more impressive."

"I'll show you sometime," he promises. "Let you be the judge of that."

"I'll hold you to that."

I look around and there are multiple couples, leaning in and talking in ears, just like the way Edward and I are. Everyone knows the smoking area is where the real interaction happens on a night out. All these people, trading meaningless compliments in the hopes of making a connection, if only for a night. What makes us any different?

A shape lurches towards me, screeching and slurring my name and stumbling on the flat surface.

"Leah," I groan in greeting. "You okay?"

Edward looks at me like I just asked the world's most ridiculous question. Leah is very clearly out of her mind drunk. She clings to me too tight, leaning on me and depending on me to keep her balanced.

"You're my friend." Leah coos at me, her face too close to mine, her breath stinking of alcohol. "And you -" She pokes Edward in the chest. "You threw stones at my brother."

"I did what?" Edward asks, sceptically.

I address Leah slowly. "With, not at your brother." I turn to Edward. "Leah is Seth's older sister."

"I love you, Bella." She rests her head on her shoulder, gives me bloodshot puppy dog eyes.

"Sure ya do," I reply, looking pleadingly at a mildly amused Edward. Leah's head lolls against my neck, her long hair swishing down past my waist. We're attracting more than a few curious looks and I'm suddenly feeling very sober.

"You!" She jabs Edward with her finger again, missing his chest and landing somewhere around his elbow. "You better not hurt Bella. She's a nice girl, too good for this shit."

"I won't," Edward's voice is dry and bored. He doesn't even try to humour her. I look at him apologetically.

"Men are bastards, Bella. All they do is hurt you. They tell you they love you and then they go and get your cousin pregnant!"

I knew it!

I don't get to shout this though, as much as I would like to, because a deathly silence has overtaken the smoking area. I swear, if you try hard enough, you would hear crickets chirping above the music. Then blatant whispers and pointed looks are cast our way as the rumour mill goes into overdrive. I look at Edward - the only non-shocked face in the vicinity. He simply doesn't care about small town drama.

"I think I'm going to be sick," Leah moans, her cheeks puffing out ominously.

"Puke. Lovely," Edward comments.

"I better bring her to the bathroom."

"Yeah. I think that would be wise." His face is blank. "I should really check on Jasper anyway.

"Sorry." I say it though I really have nothing to apologize for. "About Leah."

"Me too," he says soft and full of regret.

I support Leah's weight and walk us over to the toilets. Mentally, I am fuming the entire time. Stupid Leah for interrupting us. Stupid Bella for feeling I have to look after her. Stupid Emily for forgetting to take her pill. Leah's not even really my friend. But I'm a good person and I can't just abandon her.

I deposit Leah into the nearest vacant stall and leave her at it. We're not close enough for me to hold her hair back. I'm not completely heartless though. I find a hair-tie in my bag and give it to her.

Might as well use the toilet while I'm here. And check my make-up. I refresh a little and then perch on the counter while Leah purges the alcohol from her system. The horrid sound of her retching soon sends the other patrons fleeing to the upstairs toilet.

Only one cubicle remains occupied, and I can see two sets of sky-high stilettos under the door. A telltale sniffing sound drifts out and those girls sure ain't crying. Leah is saying words and making noises that I can barely comprehend.

"…such a good friend….men are bastards….always pulled out when…going to be godmother…don't remember eating chicken…" Cough. Retch. Gawk. How can she speak and puke at the same time?

I murmur some encouraging sounds, hums and haws to placate her. Where the fuck is Claire? She brought her out, why isn't she helping her out?

I check my phone and see a text from Alice enquiring about my whereabouts. I send a quick reply filling her in on the situation. Before I can do anything else, the door of the other cubicle swings open and out struts Lauren and that Victoria girl. Great.

"Hey Bella." Lauren's voice is unnaturally high pitched and laced with saccharine sweetness.

"Hey girls." I flash an insincere smile right back at them, as they wipe the tear stains from shiny faces and dab at their glassy eyes. They keep sniffing and wiping under their noses. Discreet.

"Whatcha doing just sitting there, Bella?" Lauren asks. "Lose your friends?" This makes her laugh hysterically. I don't know why.

"Just admiring the view." Giving these wasters a straight answer is not a priority of mine. They almost look like they believe me, until the sound of particularly forceful heave from Leah echoes bounces off the grimy blue tiles.

"Looks like someone can't handle her drink," mocks Victoria.

"Looks like someone else should mind their own business," I reply. Leah might be an annoying harpy but Jesus, she's going through a hard time. Cut the girl some slack. That shits only okay when I say it.

"You're a feisty one." Victoria throws her head back and cackles, then leans close to my ear. "Want a line? It won't fuck you up like your friend in there."

I shiver. Lauren stops bouncing on the soles of her feet and looks at me agog. Did she seriously just say coke won't fuck you up.

"Nah. I'm good." I find myself pressing my back against the wall. "Thanks anyway."

"Suit yourself." She shrugs. "C'mon Lauren, lets go see if they're actually playing something we can dance to now."

The door opens then, letting in snippets of music and laughter as well as one angry looking girl. Please let there be no catfights in my presence.

Tanya saunters in, all natural beauty and piercing eyes, and gives Victoria a look that could kill.

"Did I really just hear you pushing drugs in here, V?" Tanya looks her straight in the eye. Lauren cowers in the corner. I wonder if there's anyway I could get Leah and I out of here before the shit hit's the fan.

"I have no idea what you are talking about." Victoria gives Tanya a patronising look, then stalks out of the room in a haze of indignation, arrogance, perfume and Lauren.

I continue to sit like a lemon on the counter, feeling awkward and intimidated by Tanya. I don't know her, not really. She's worked with Rose a couple times and she seems nice enough, albeit scarily beautiful. She's got that ice queen thing going on. I haven't seen her since all those rumours went around about her. Her perfect button nose wrinkles at the sound of another stomach turning retch and my own patience is wearing thin. Honestly, how much vomit can one person produce?

"I'm still need to puke but nothing else will come out," Leah whines between bouts of dry-retching. Guess that answers my question.

"For the love of God," I mutter, searching through my phonebook for Claire's number. She needs to get up here and take care of her friend.

"Give her this." Tanya hands me a half-full bottle of water.

"Thanks." I take it and pass it under the door to Leah. "Drink this. It'll help."

"Bella, right?" Tanya asks me, with a friendly smile. "Rosalie's friend."

"Yeah." I return her smile. "I don't think we've ever formally met before."

"You had the misfortune of putting up with the skank twins, I see."

"Don't you mean the coke twins? I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty damn relieved when you helped send them on their way."

Tanya shakes her head, strawberry blonde hair dancing around her shoulders. "It was nothing. I just hate the fact that Victoria would be more than willing to give that junk to another girl who wouldn't have the sense to say no."

I nod in agreement. What else is there to do? That fact is sad but it is undeniable true.

I see Tanya observe me out of the corner of her eye, the way you do when you're trying to get the measure of someone. I look at my feet, self-consciousness weighing me down, and all those rumours come flooding back.

"Don't worry, little Bee, I'm not checking you out," Tanya scoffs.

"I never though that you were." As if someone like her would want me.

"I wouldn't go after someone that was spoken for," she continues, all matter of fact.


"You're here with Edward Cullen right? I saw you two talking downstairs."

"No! I mean, I'm here with Edward. But I'm not with Edward. Not like that," I stammer and stutter. Tanya stands in front of the mirror, beautiful and perfectly poised.

"That's not what it looked like from my perspective," she says with a small shrug. "Little Bee, you might think you're not with Edward. But that boy is definitely with you. He couldn't take his eyes off you."

"Don't talk to her about boys!" Leah slurs from her spot on the toilet floor. "Boys should all rot in hell and have to sit on peed-on toilet seats for the rest of their existence."

I cringe but Tanya laughs heartily.

"I'm inclined to agree with you," she says to the closed door. "But I'm just stating a fact here. I've known Edward Cullen for a long time and I can safely say that he is bat-shit crazy about Bella here. The boy can't take his eyes off you."

"You really think that?"

"Come on girl. You'd have to be blind not to notice it."

"No," I say. "I mean, I get what you're saying. Edward is…confusing. But I totally feel this spark between us."

"Then why do you look so troubled?"

"I really like him. And I'm not the type of girl to just go around crushing on guys. This is a big deal for me…"

"But," Tanya prompts.

"But I don't want to be a distraction for him, or something to pass the time. We keep getting thrown together and there's all this tension…but I'm afraid that I like him more than he likes me. If something happens and it means more to me, I'll be devastated."

My worries spill effortlessly from my lips and I wonder why I thought before that Tanya was so intimidating. There's actually something very inviting about her. It's nice - to speak to someone that sees things from a different perspective. Alice and Rose mean well, but sometimes it's hard to believe them. Friends have to say nice shit. Also, all that vodka has definitely loosened my tongue.

"First of all," Tanya says with a hint of frustration. "If some boy likes you less than you like him, you will not be devastated. It would suck balls but you would pick yourself up and move on. Got that?"

I nod obediently.

"Second of all." Her voice is softer now. "Take it from me that Edward Cullen doesn't do casual distractions. That boy is sex on a stick and he could have any girl he wanted."

Way to make me feel better, Tee.

"But have you ever seen or heard of him having random hook-ups?" she presses.

I shake my head, not letting myself think of all the things I don't know about him.

"Exactly," Tanya continues. "He's too sensitive for that shit. Too intense. He wants to feel things and to know all about a person before he decides if they're worth his time. And it looks like you passed the test. And what I'm about to tell you next better not leave this room."

"Okay. Don't forget about Leah though."

Tanya laughs heartily. "Do you really think she'll remember this in the morning?"

"I guess not."

"So I'm a lesbian," she states. I am amazed at the casual way she says it. "Don't give me that look, little Bee. I know I've been the talk of the town for months now and to be quite honest, I couldn't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks of me. But I wasn't always so comfortable with it, as shocking at that may seem. I've known Edward for a long time; our families go way back. And I while I was having my little identity crisis, I went to him to help me make some realisations."

That really is too vague for my tipsy brain to comprehend. I wrinkle my nose in confusion.

"To be blunt, I cornered him at a family gathering and practically begged him to have sex with me. I offered myself to him on a plate and he shot me down in his signature odd sense of politeness and abrasiveness."

"He turned you down?" I ask in disbelief. Heck, I'd nearly swing the other way for her.

"I know. I couldn't believe it either." She is completely sincere.

"Did he know?" I ask. "That you're a…"

"A lesbian?" She gives me a look. "No. He didn't. It would have been less humiliating if he did. He just wasn't feeling it. I told you, Edward doesn't take these things lightly. So if he's spending time with you it means that -"

"He really likes me."

Tanya gives me a breath-taking smile, all white teeth and red lips and genuine happiness.

"Isn't that what I've been telling you?" Tanya asks. "No what are you dong hanging out in the girls bathroom?"

I jump down from my seat on the counter, full of drunken determination, and take a glance in the mirror to make sure I'm still presentable. Leah finally emerges from the stall, wiping her mouth and looking a little worse for wear. Her eyes are bleary and bloodshot, her face is shiny and her breath is gross. I hand her a stick of gum and my make-up bag.

"Thanks, Bella," Leah says.

"S'okay." I'm watching Tanya eye her speculatively.

"Your girl's a mess," she comments. "But she's a hot mess. If you want, I'll being her to her friend. Claire, isn't it? The little curly-headed girl."

"I don't want to put you out…" I begin, looking worriedly at the inebriated girl valiantly applying fresh blusher.

"Do you think I would offer if I didn't want to?" Tanya asks bluntly. "Don't worry, I'm not going to hit on her. Not while she's in that state anyway."

"It's fine, Bells." Leah waves at me dismissively. "Go. I'm after texting Claire and she's gonna meet me at the bar. It's cool."

"If you're sure…"

"Little Bee, go get your man." Tanya slaps me on the ass and I dash out the bathroom door, back into the club proper. The noise and the lights and the music all hit me full force. I'm disorientated for a second. I take a moment to blink and get my bearings before I begin making my way through the crowd. The air is hot and every inch of space is packed with energy and writhing bodies. I push and shove and manoeuvre myself until I finally reach our table. I'm shocked to find Alice and Rose sitting there, talking among themselves and looking decidedly glum.

"What's up guys?" I plop into the seat beside them.

"There you are," Rose pokes me. "I was about to send out the search party. Have your finished doing your Mother Teresa impression with Leah?"

"That's not nice," Alice pipes up. "You wouldn't like to be left in her state."

"I wouldn't get into that state." Rose is smug and all I can do is raise my eyebrows. We've all been there.

"Leah's got extenuating circumstances," Alice continues. Ah, the speed at which bad news travels in this town is quite amazing.

" True. Besides, I got talking to Tanya," I offer. "That's what held me up."

"Really? What about," Rosalie asks.

"Not much." I want to change the subject. "Where are the boys?" What I mean is, where is Edward but I'm not about to come right out with it.

"Gone home," Alice replies mournfully.

"What?" There is panic in my voice. "Why?"

"Jasper was feeling uncomfortable so he and Emmett left," Alice explains.

"And what about -"

"Lover boy?"


"He's still around somewhere." Alice waves vaguely off to her left and I scan the crowd for a glimpse of the only person I want to see. I look past some girls from school laughing like hyenas. I avoid looking at James, skulking in a dark corner. Then I spot him, taller than the rest and messy copper hair glowing under red lights, by the bar. He's talking to that barman from earlier, fiddling with a glass while his companion laughs along at something Edward's said. I want to know what he said, and to be the one to benefit from his jokes.

Edward turns his head. His eyes search the crowded room and come to rest on our table. He looks at me and smiles and I return his grin automatically. A quick goodbye nod to his friend, and he is moving - walking towards me without ever taking his eyes from mine. I think I hear one of the girls make vague mock-puking sounds but I can't bring myself to look. I've had enough of that for one night.

Edward sets a full bottle of vodka, ice and some glasses on the table. Guess it pays to have connections. Alice and Rose offer profuse thanks and admiration. I mumble something nonsensical. Drinks are poured, rough glasses make dull clinking, and my three companions knock back the icy-hot liquid. I don't think I can do it.

"What's wrong Bella?" Edward's voice is soft when he notices my hesitation.

"I can't drink it straight," I explain.

"Sure you can. You just think you can't."

"No. I'm pretty sure my weak stomach knows I can't."

"I can get you a mixer if you want." Edward leans close, whispering in my ear and making me tingle. "Or, you can drink this and I promise you'll like it."


Edward nods. "This is the premium stuff. Quadruple distilled. The good kind of burn. Named after one of my favourite composers. It's not meant to be diluted by some sticky soft drink." He holds the glass under my nose. "How does it smell?"

"Fine. Good actually. Not like nail polish remover, which is always a plus."

"True." Edward presses the cool glass into my clammy hand, wrapping my fingers around it. His other hand tilts my chin upwards towards him. "Try it," he urges.

I stop thinking, stop second guessing. I raise the drink to my lips and swallow every last drop.

It's good. Not delicious or anything, but good. It makes me shudder a little, heats up my throat and my face still scrunches up a little. But it's also clean, different, the aftertaste makes me smack my lips together. This may be acquired taste but I could get used to it. I turn and smile at Edward triumphantly. He wraps one arm around my shoulder in tiny celebratory hug. He squeezes me, crushing my body to his and I don't want him to ever let go.

"I knew you could do it," he murmurs, then pulls back with a twinkle in his eye. "How was it?"

"Not bad."

"Bella, that's a seventy dollar bottle of vodka."

"In that case…" I pretend to think about it. "It could have been a little sweeter."

"What am I going to do with you?" Edward tugs my hair playfully. "Perhaps another drink will help?"

"Maybe later."

"Bella?" Alice clears her throat. Shit. I forgot they were even here. "We're gonna go…for a walk."

Rose shoots her a look. "Dance. She means dance. Be back in a few."

They scuttle away from the table and okay, I get that they were trying to be subtle but the message is clear. They're giving me and Edward some privacy. I love them for it.

"Was your friend alright?" Edward's sudden question startles me a little.

"Yeah. She hurled an ocean worth of puke and I sent her off with Claire."

"I was starting to worry." He takes another sip of his drink. "You were gone an awfully long time."

"I got talking to Tanya," I offer, without thinking it through.

"Really? I didn't know you two were friends?"

"We're not really. I know her a little through Rosalie and she helped me out a bit with Leah. Then we got talking."

"What did you find to talk about?" Edward asks, too carefully.

"This and that. Girl stuff."

"Is that code for mind your own business Edward or a vague way of informing me that I was the topic of conversation?"

"Conceited much?" I nudge him with my shoulder. "I'm not going to answer that question. So where did Emmett and Jasper take off to?"

"Changing the subject much?" he teases. " They went home. Two worldly college kids like them are getting too sophisticated for a place like this."

"Okay." That's all I say, fully convinced that he's keeping something from me and waiting for him to go on.

"You know Jasper doesn't drink anymore? He just gets a little uncomfortable with all the crowds and the alcohol, so Emmett took him home."

"That's understandable," I tell him.

"It's just not something he wants advertised."

"Is that why he jumped up when you were going outside for a cigarette a while ago?" I wonder aloud, shouting over thumping soul-less music. My filter has been totally eradicated tonight.

"I guess so." Edward looks down into his drink and I watch him, staring blatantly. His eyes shine deep and dark shadows highlight the angle of his cheekbone. His skin is flushed and I can feel the warmth of his body.

A song comes on - one that makes you bob your head and move in time to the music. It's not a patch on what Edward played, but it's good still. Fun and free and all around, thumping in my ears and seeping into my bones. Edward taps one foot absentmindedly beside me, and I feel the rough brush of denim scrape against my thigh.

"Like this song?" I turn to Edward, his face closer to mine than expected.

"It's not bad," he answers casually.

"Wanna dance?"

Edward kind of smirks and glances towards the jam-packed dance floor. I'm getting claustrophobic just looking at it.

"I don't do dance floors," he replies. "But don't let me hold you back." His long fingers wrap around my wrist and tug me upright.. I almost stumble and have to grab onto his shoulder for balance. Then I am on my feet, and my body is fuelled by alcohol. The atmosphere is young and lively and all around me - lights and laughter and heat and music. I'm moving, my hands, my legs, my hips.

And Edward's eyes are on me, I can feel them and I feel his hands lightly dance along the back of my knee. I don't mind him watching me, I actually kind of like it, but I'm not putting on a show.

"You're not getting off that easy!" I bend low and pull him to his feet. He comes willingly, laughing in my ear and arms circling my waist. I'm dancing again and so is he and it feels so natural. I can feel his hands and his body and his rhythm. It's sensual and innocent and exhilarating.

We're close - breath on neck and hair on skin close. There's no-one else, we might as well be alone. My heart is pounding and if I lean just so, I can feel that his is too. I keep my eyes closed - if I open them I'll be blinded by beauty and light.

I realise that I like this feeling of not being alone.

Voice and music and blood rush in my ears and I want to feel this high forever. If I keep going, we'll keep climbing and everything will be okay and we'll get closer until there's nothing between us but want and admiration.

Edward grabs me, almost roughly, until my body is flush against his and all I can move is my hips. We're closer and closer. Just a breath between us. I open my eyes and find his blazing green down at me. I want. I need. I'm ready.

I exhale. I lick my lips. He opens his.

The music stops and the lights come on. Edward doesn't look away and neither do I. We can't.

"Guys!" I hear Rosalie's voice and reluctantly make myself look in the direction. "Um…sorry to, um, interrupt."

"It's okay." Edward's jaw is set and his voice is very steady. "We should probably hit the road anyway."

"Wait," I say, looking around. "How come you're alone?"

"I met Tanya and got distracted. I figured we'd all meet back here," Rosalie creases her perfectly arched eyebrows together.

"Then where's Alice?"


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