Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I don't make any money from my naughty little stories. Sad day.
Genre: Extremely AU and just for naughty fun, takes place three years after most of the events in New Moon. Bella never jumped, but that doesn't mean she isn't broken.
They were in Alaska again, though not in Denali. Tanya's efforts to "distract" Edward had proven uncomfortable and persistent and he had insisted on leaving. The rest of the Cullens were happy to go with him. Tonight they found themselves on the streets of Juno. Edward was suspicious, since his brothers had been most carefully thinking thoughts they knew Edward did not want to hear. Gladly, he had skipped out of their minds.
Then they stopped and Edward finally read their intentions. He suppressed a groan, deciding that this was a new low – or perhaps high – in their machinations. Edward rolled his eyes when he saw where his brothers were taking him. Glancing at Emmett, Edward asked, "Are you kidding me?"
"Come on," Emmett urged while Jasper grinned. "It'll be fun. "
"And what would Rose say about this?" Edward asked slyly, his hand already closing around the cell phone in his pocket.
Emmett laughed. "Oh, it was her idea, so I'm guessing she's okay with it."
Edward sighed, seeing there would be no help from that quarter. He looked at Jasper in a last-ditch effort to avoid the evening's entertainment. "And Alice?" Perhaps all hope was not yet lost.
"Who do you think picked the club?" Jasper asked with a wicked smile. He put his arm around Edward's shoulders and dragged him toward the door.
For the past three and a half years, ever since they had left Forks, his brothers had made it their sole mission to keep Edward entertained. And if not entertained exactly, then so busy and distracted that he had less time to brood. Their efforts ranged a wide variety of activities – from ridiculous paint ball guns (Jasper was the best marksman while Emmett was the sneakiest opponent, even given Edward's obvious advantage) to skydiving. While the skydiving had been different, it had lacked the edge for him that the humans seemed to feel while jumping. After all, a vampire was hardly likely to die, even if a chute failed to open. There was no adrenalin rush. Still, it had been a different way to pass the day.
Though his family tried hard, nothing really took Edward's mind from Bella. Even while engaged in other activities, a part of his mind – and all of his heart – was back in Forks, firmly in the grip of a young, clumsy human girl.
Sighing, thrusting away yet more thoughts of her, Edward took a moment to try and appreciate the evening's agenda. "The Diamond Dust?" he asked Jasper in a whisper.
"The Diamond Dust: A True Gentleman's Club," Jasper corrected with a smirk.
"Oh for the love of all that's holy," Edward muttered as his brothers dragged him toward the bouncer. "This is beyond-"
"ID?" The bouncer asked in a bored voice.
Edward produced the very authentic looking identification card that verified he was indeed twenty-one years old. Emmett and Jasper did the same. The bouncer looked at Edward twice, then glanced at his ID for a long moment and finally gave a shrug. /Who cares? At least the kid's got decent ID./
They paid the hefty cover charge and were waved through.
Grinning at his brothers, Edward moved into the dark confines of the club. He winced at the music, which was both too loud and too bass. "Not very good acoustics," he noted.
"Edward, only YOU would comment on the acoustics when you're surrounded by naked tits," Emmett said with disdain, giving the girls on stage a smile of approval. Three of them, remarkably pretty and fresh looking, were gyrating on a raised platform in various stages of undress. Edward tried desperately to look everywhere except on the stage. Jasper seemed a bit shy (Edward was picking up the thought that he wished Alice was with him), but Emmett appeared to be enjoying himself immensely. No doubt he would later give Rose a rundown of the evening, minute by minute, and recreating Edward's look of discomfiture.
Rose would laugh herself silly for a month.
Jasper looked toward the girls. "I see why it costs so much to get in," he remarked. "The girls are actually good looking."
"I don't want to know how you're such an expert," Edward retorted. "And does Alice know about your unfortunate proclivities?"
Jasper smirked. "Why yes she does. She's even accompanied me a time or two." There was a wicked gleam in his amber eyes and Edward caught the ghost of a thought that he most definitely would have a hard time forgetting.
"I always knew she was a bad influence," Edward noted, wincing at Jasper's particularly vivid – and sexual - memory.
"Thank God!" Jasper replied.
Emmett tugged at Edward's arm then, indicating a small table tucked into a dark corner. Edward retreated there with gratitude, having been fairly certain that Emmett would insist on sitting at the chairs lining the edge of the platform upon which the girls danced. A waitress, who had apparently forgotten to get completely dressed, took their drink orders. The drinks were all part of their camouflage, of course, and besides, a two drink minimum was required. The waitress eyed the three of them and then gave Edward an extra warm smile.
Though he tried to block out her thoughts, he learned that she had failed to make enough tuition money for the semester (and her mom had even less money than SHE did, so there would be another semester lost!) and was a little bit worried that one of her clients might be waiting outside the club tonight. He'd been getting pushier with his attentions and she was beginning to get scared. He also heard, to his embarrassment, that she thought he was sexy and she wouldn't mind so much if HE waited outside the club for her tonight.
"This place is depressing," Edward grumbled.
"How can you be depressed with beautiful naked girls around you?" Emmett asked in disbelief. He frowned as he studied his brother. "Are you sure you're not gay?"
"Very funny," Edward muttered.
"No, I'm just saying, if you are, that's fine." Emmett nudged Jasper. "We'd understand right? I mean, so you don't like boobs, maybe you like…" He wriggled his eyes brows and let his pectoral muscles dance beneath his tight shirt.
"Emmett," Jasper hissed.
"What'd I say?" Emmett asked, clearly confused.
Edward sighed and shook his head. "No really, guys, it's all right." It wasn't as if Emmett's words had brought Bella to mind. She was already there, always there. He had come to accept it as a permanent condition.
The music changed the girls on stage left, moving to a small curtain to the right of the stage. Edward blocked out the obnoxious voice extolling the attractions of the next group of girls and wondered how long he would have to stay before he could leave without hurting his brothers' feelings. Probably not soon enough. Then he glanced at their waitress and promised himself he'd be waiting, out of sight, outside the club tonight. And if her overzealous admirer was there, Edward would do what he could to dissuade the man. That would solve one of her problems at least.
The music was still loud, still raucous, still annoying.
He had been concentrating on the waitress so hard that it took a moment for Jasper's and Emmett's thoughts to penetrate.
They were both thinking the same thing. The same word.
Edward turned automatically, following the direction of their gazes. At first, he saw nothing out of the ordinary. Two blondes and brunette were dancing. One of the blondes was already topless, the other might as well be. The brunette was shimmying a skirt down her slender hips to reveal a g-string. Her hair was long and swaying in time to the movement of her hips. Every movement was alluring, seductive, somehow masking the fact that she wasn't truly graceful, not that the dance required any particular skill. It was a strange dichotomy. Perhaps her grace came from the elegance of her limbs or the easy swing of her hair around her as she moved.
He looked up to see her face. She was young, heavily made up, and seemed disconnected from her body somehow. She danced, she smiled, she lured men to her, but she wasn't really there.
And then Edward realized why both Emmett and Jasper had been thinking the same thing, the same name.
"Bella?" he whispered. He got to his feet, ignoring the hands of his brothers as they tried to hold him in his seat.
Slowly, he walked toward the stage, and the pounding bass rhythm of the music seemed strangely like a heartbeat, coming up through his feet to thunder in his chest. It got faster and faster as he got closer, as if his own heart was suddenly beating again, almost as if he was alive again.
Then he was there, less than an arm's reach away from her. Her back was to him and he wondered what she'd say. Why was she here? What had happened to bring her to this place? This life?
Then she turned with a fragrant sway of her hair and the thirst ripped through him. God, she still smelled like temptation. Her eyes met his. No surprise in her gaze. No shock. No hurt. No joy. Nothing. Just that awful blankness he had seen in the other women's eyes.
"You got cash, buddy, or you are just gonna stand there?" Her tone was challenging and inviting at the same time.
He was unable to speak. It was her voice, but not her eyes. This woman's eyes were dead.
"Listen, handsome," Bella said. "You're blocking the view of my paying customers." She gave her hips a little extra wriggle as if to invite him to put some money in her g-string.
It was Bella, of that he was certain. He was also sure of one other thing, though how it was possible he did not know.
She didn't recognize him, not at all.