A/N To Mac, Heather, Erin, TyTy and Katy: You ladies have had my back-now, you have my heart. To my readers and especially some very special reviewers: This one's for you.
Ultimately, the monsters we have to live with are the ones of our own making. But then, so are the angels.–From The Diary of a Vampire Hunter by Eric Yorkie
I'm hanging with Mike, George Yee and Donnie Casco in a corner. The prom committee has gotten the place all duded up with crepe paper and balloons, and it looks like at any moment someone is going to dump a bucket of pig's blood on some poor, pathetic loser who then goes ballistic and slays us all. There's even a disco ball, for crying out loud, and in the dark room, it sends shards of light flying around like a snowstorm.
The pants to my tux are way too big around the hips, and if I'm not careful, even with the belt, they may wind up at my ankles. My date, Samantha, is across the room with Lauren, Amy and Jessica, and they're all tittering behind their hands. They're sitting at a table rating all the other girls' dresses like they're the fashion police.
"So Tyler's just gonna show up at Bella's?" George asks incredulously.
"Yeah, what a dumbass," I say. "Like he'd stand a snowball's chance in hell." Anyone with eyes can see that Edward and Bella are in love with each other. I knew it from the beginning.
Suddenly, Mike straightens up. "Holy shit…"
"What?" Donnie and I both turn around to follow his gaze.
Holy shit is right. The Cullens are entering the room. Jasper and Alice arrive first, looking pale and beautiful like catalog models. He's ramrod straight with his blond hair slicked back, wearing a perfectly tailored tux, and she's in a black dress with these geometric cut-outs that show lots of skin. He offers her his elbow as they come down the few steps to the main floor, playing at being courtly. But it's the next couple that's causing a ripple among the crowd, like a force field spreading astonishment to the corners of the room. Rosalie Hale is in a red dress that stops time itself.
It's cut down nearly to her navel in the front, and it hugs her like a second skin down to her knees, where it flares out. She has her hair loose in gentle waves to her shoulder s and is wearing long, red gloves.
Marilyn Monroe, Jessica Rabbit, Madonna−they were all amateurs. Rosalie Hale makes them look like Catholic school girls. She descends the stairs to the main floor, her hips swaying like she's a red snake woman, exuding sex out of every pore. But it's more than just sex; it's feminine beauty, it's sensual elegance, it's the fantasy of the ultimate woman that's behind every teenage wank job. The IQ of every male in the room, and a few girls as well, drops by twenty points as the blood rushes from their brains to parts further south.
She's on Emmett's arm, of course–the Fay Wray to his King Kong. Next to her he just looks coarse and brawny. Well, maybe not. More like a pro football player at a charity event, trying to hide the muscles popping out of his skin with the flimsy material of a tuxedo. He escorts her over to the tables, and when she turns, I can see her dress swoops obscenely low in the back, and the material cups over her perfect ass like a hand, just begging for a real hand to clasp it in one's palm, cradling it gently. Damn.
Our dates have noticed our stupefaction because the girls come up to us, leading us off to the dance floor.
"C'mon, Eric," Samantha whines, grabbing my hand. "I want to dance."
I let her lead me out, while I surreptitiously watch to see how Rosalie is going to manage to sit down in the dress, and although I would never wish bad things on her, some part of me so badly wants to see that dress split down the back and fall off her like a pupae losing its cocoon so her nakedness can just fly gloriously free, dazzling the masses.
"Eric. Eric! I asked you a question," Samantha says as we sway in a small circle to the music.
"Uh, sorry. What?"
"Are you going to the Newtons' after this?" The Newtons are throwing an after-prom party.
"Yeah, I'll be there."
"Do you think Jeff will be there? Because Heather said if he was going to be there, there's no way she'd go. Every since they had that big fight at the dance, she…" She prattles on, but I've stopped listening. I was all set to go stag when she asked me to take her to the prom. I thought maybe I'd see some action from her, but basically all she's done is order me around. I'm hoping maybe at Newton's she'll loosen up. She's got a hefty rack stuffed into that dress that I'd love to get my hands on. Nothing like Rosalie's, but still…
It isn't too much later I see Edward and Bella enter the room. Her leg is still in a cast, but he carries her like she weighs nothing, assisting her down the steps. She doesn't look exactly happy to be here, but he murmurs in her ear and soon has her smiling. When they look into each other's eyes, there's a connection you can almost see, like a tractor beam between the two of them. I never thought I would see Sullen Cullen give a look that could be described as sweet and tender, but there you go.
Most of the crowd moves to the dance floor for the love song the DJ is playing when I see an unfamiliar face moving among the crowd. It's that Quileute guy, Jacob, whom I'd seen at First Beach, dressed in a shirt and tie. I switch Samantha around so I can watch as he approaches Edward and Bella. Very reluctantly, Edward steps away from Bella, and Jacob starts to shuffle around with Bella in time to the music. Edward stands on the edge of the crowd, fists clenched and watching the two of them dance, his pale face tense and hard.
Jealous much? It's just a dance, pal, I think. I maneuver Samantha a little closer to Bella and Jacob, but I can't catch any of their conversation. When the song ends, Edward nearly snatches Bella away from Jacob, who dejectedly leaves the floor like a wounded puppy. I wonder where he's headed. Maybe I should try to pump him for werewolf info, but he disappears before I can stop him.
It's when Edward leaves Bella at a table for a moment and heads to the refreshment table that I find the chance to sidle up to him. He and Bella have both been back at school for a few weeks, but every time I think about trying to talk to him, he walks away or ignores me. But this time, I've got him.
"Hello, Edward," I say.
"Hello, Eric," he answers, as he pours a cup of the red punch.
"Nice party." I pick up the ladle when he's done using it and get myself a cup of punch as well. "Doesn't look like there're any nomads here. Just a few wolves, if you get my drift." I am so smooth, forty-year-old scotch can't touch me.
He looks at me like I'm an alien artifact. Okay, forget the scotch. Suddenly I'm embarrassed, and I start blushing right down to my toes. "What are you doing, Yorkie?"
"Do you really think this is the place to have that kind of conversation?" He looks at me like I'm five years old, and now I feel that way, too. I shouldn't be playing games; this shit is too important.
Still, I have to know that people will be safe. "Edward, I need to ask you a question."
"Well, now's your chance. Spit it out," he murmurs.
That's right−mindreader. "Bella. She's going to be alright, yes?"
"I will do everything in my power to insure that," he says, never taking his eyes off her sitting across the room.
But, will you turn her? Make her one of you? I think at him.
"Never," he says. "She's…perfect the way she is." Across the floor, Bella picks up her head and looks right at us. Maybe some mind-reading is wearing off on her because the two of them smile at each other like there's this huge secret only the two of them know.
But it's more than just the two of them now.
He nods once. "Excuse me," he says, and then he glides across the floor back to her, returning to her orbit, like a meteor trapped by a gravity well as it passes a planet.
I'm sipping my punch at the edge of the dance floor when I see Rosalie rise from her table and start across the floor. She is the definition of undulation, all curves and movement, as she slowly sashays toward me. She's looking right at me, so I check behind me to see who she's looking for. But there is no one, and her cherry red lips curve in a small smile as she approaches.
"Hello, Eric," she says. My name on her lips almost gets me off by itself; it's a jolt of pure sex that heads from my ears right to my groin.
"I've been hoping you would come by and ask me to dance."
She's been hoping I'd ask her to dance? "I-I I'm sorry. I didn't know." I pause. She's been wanting to dance with me? With me?
She stands there a moment longer, her gaze on the floor. "So will you?"
"Will I what?" I'm just so taken aback by this whole conversation and that she even came across the whole room just to talk with me, I can't even think.
She smiles widely, and those dimples in her cheeks appear. "Ask me to dance."
"W-Will you dance?"
"Yes, thank you," she says, reaching for my hand and pulling me to the dance floor.
On the floor, she turns to face me. In her heels, she has more than a few inches on me. I'm getting a rather spectacular view of her cleavage. I raise my hands awkwardly; should I use my left or right to lead? Thank heavens she finally grabs my right, and hesitantly I put my left hand on her hip. I start to shuffle my feet. I'm dancing−yes, awkwardly as hell, but still−with Rosalie Hale.
Her shimmering blond hair, parted on the left, has slid over one eye, and with a perfect toss of her head, it falls back into place.
"How's your brother?" she asks.
"Danny? Oh, he's doing great." We shuffle a little more; maybe I should try to have a conversation with her. "He's going to be in the Special Olympics next weekend."
"He's a sweet kid."
"Yeah, he wants to run track−run fast, like Dr. Cullen, he says."
We both chuckle a bit. The music is a slow love song. I stumble a little bit, and, horrified, I realize I've stepped on her toes. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry." The most beautiful woman in the world is dancing in my arms, and I've stepped on her toes, the beautiful, sexy toes with the red-painted nails peeping out of the front of her open-toed heels.
She shakes her head. "Don't worry about it."
"Are you okay? I'm so sorry." Jesus Christ, I couldn't be any more mortified if I ripped off a huge fart right in front of her. I nearly drop to my knees to make sure those beautiful digits are okay.
"Really, Eric," she insists, lifting my hand so I have to straighten up. "I'm fine. No damage."
"Rosalie," I nearly moan. "Um…" I am blushing so badly, it's like I'm under the blast of a blowtorch.
She raises a perfect hand and presses an elegant finger against my lips. "Shhh. It's okay." She puts my left hand back on her hip, and we start dancing−or maybe it's just swaying−again. "You were terrific, you know."
"Out in the woods. The rescue."
"Oh." I don't really know what to say to that. I basically was just along for the ride. But she thinks I was terrific?
Her beautiful, tawny eyes capture mine. "You're very brave, Eric Yorkie," she nearly whispers.
I look at her, not sure if she's joking or serious or what. But her face is very serious, and she's looking at me with what I am guessing is admiration. I stop moving, I'm so astonished.
She steps back from me and lets our hands drop. Other people are clapping−the music has stopped.
"Thanks for the dance." She smiles and turns to go back to her table where Emmett is waiting impatiently. I watch that perfect ass sway under that red dress and sigh deeply.
"No, thank you," I call to her back.
Her head turns slightly, and as she's walking away, she glances at me over her shoulder. Her lips purse slightly in an air kiss before she turns to sashay back to her table where Emmett is holding out her chair for her.
Okay, it's official. Oh, she wants me. She totally wants me.
Thanks for coming along on this ride with me and Eric. May all your holiday wishes come true.