SPARKS
(Saturday Night)


Student Name: Isabella Swan
Home Establishment: University of Washington
Visiting Establishment: City University, London


"I'm not sticking that in there."

"It's really not that hard, Bella. You'll feel it when it's all the way in."

"That's what he said."

"Real mature. You need to stop watching 'The Office'."

"It's not my fault you're uncultured."

"Just put the damn thing in already."

"What if I hurt myself? This thing looks dangerous."

"It's a socket. If anyone could suffer an electric shock and survive, it's you."

"I hate you, Alice."

"There's a whole wild and wonderful and sexy country waiting for us outside of this room. There are men with accents so hot our panties are literally going to drop off in anticipation. I'd like my battery to be charged so I can catch these delicious moments on camera."

"What about Big Ben and Buckingham Palace?"

"Those better be male strippers."

I think about what I've just said. "Not everything I say is an inneuendo."

"We don't have time for this. Man up and plug it in the wall. You lost 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' fair and square."

I grumble. "I hate that fucking game."

Alice just points to that wall and gives me her best bitch-face.

I eye the wall socket warily, before quickly jamming the plug adapter into the oddly shaped holes. When a surge of violent electricity fails to fry my insides, I let out a shaky breath. "You're doing that shit next time."

Alice smirks as the battery charger indicates it's successfully charging. "You'll thank me later when you have hot pictures to get off to."

"Jasper would be ashamed of you right now."

"He is well aware of my love for accents. He knows I can't resist. Besides, if I have nothing to gawk over my vagina will combust form non-use."

"The day your vag explodes from lack of orgasm, is the day I tell Charlie about my vibrator."

"Don't laugh, Bella. That day will be here sooner than you think."

Alice moves towards one of several suitcases crammed into a corner of the room. After dancing back and forth between two different ones for several seconds, she chooses the larger of the two and drags it to the space between our twin beds. That suitcase is full of fucking trouble. That's her "I'm going out to get shit-faced" suitcase.

"We're going out."

I called it. "Alice, we just got here. Your camera is charging. I think we should stay and make sure it doesn't start a fire or something."

"You should wear that black dress I bought you."

"Hell no. I'm not going anywhere."

Alice stops digging through the suitcase long enough to throw a high heel at my damn shin. I feel it all the way to the bone.

"Fuck you! That hurt, Alice."

"So does your lack of appreciation for fashion and for me." Alice holds up the shoe's matching partner and brings her arm back into throwing position. "I have plenty of ammunition, Swan."

"I'm really tired. I just want to stay in and read."

"You don't have a choice. We're going out and you can either wear what I tell you to wear, or I can continue impaling high heels into your legs. What'll it be?"

I kick her stupid shoe across the room and only wince slightly when I stub my toe on it. "We're going to a bar, not a dance club. And we're coming back by midnight. Together. Deal?"

Alice squeals and doubles her digging efforts into the mass of clothes and shoes. "It's going to be a great time! You won't regret it."

I plop down onto one of the beds and sigh dramatically so Alice knows how pissed I am. It was going to be a long fucking night.

An hour and several outfit changes later, Alice declares both of us acceptable enough to leave the dorm. If there was anyone in the world who could get me to put on clothes that made me look more like a girl, than Alice was the one. I bargained for skinny jeans and converse, but that meant Alice got her way and insisted I wear a skin tight sequined tank top. Alice preferred heels and a dress, which I thought was very stupid considering we had no idea where we were going or how long it would take us to get there.

"Could you put the battery back in my camera?" Alice calls from the suite's adjoining bathroom.

I slowly approach the outlet and mentally will the charger to expel itself from the wall in order to save me the grief. Obviously, that doesn't happen.

"Did you get it?"

"I'm working on it!"

"Don't yell at me, Bella!"

"Don't give me a reason to." I mumble under my breath while pulling the charger from the wall. A spark of electricity emits from the socket causing a mild buzz to travel through my fingertips and hand.

"Jesus Christ! That thing electrocuted me!"

Alice comes bolting back through the door and looks around wildly, only one earring dangling from her left ear. "What?"

I shove my right hand in her face in order to show her the damaged extremity in closer detail. "It's going all numb!"

"Is my charger okay? Do you think it fried the battery? What the hell am I going to do if my battery is messed up?"

It takes everything in me to only punch her on the arm and not in the face. "Really? That thing just fucking shocked me and you're only worried about your damn battery?"

"You know, you are really dramatic. Your hand isn't going to fall off."

"How do you know?"

"Because Bella, you just punched me with the same hand that got electrocuted."

Well, fuck me. I didn't have anything to say to that and Alice knew it.

Alice swings back towards the bathroom to finish getting ready. "We're leaving in five minutes."

I love Alice, but she could really get on my fucking nerves. My ideal night out in Seattle consists of planting my ass in one of my favorite chairs at Starbucks and quietly stalking Jake Black from my corner. Alice calls him "walking porn." He's this huge body builder that works part time slinging coffee beans and upgrading my order for free. I think he has a crush on me, but I just want to look: not touch.

Alice dramatically re-enters the room by grinding against the door and shouting "Woooohoooo!"

I throw her rhinestone encrusted clutch at her. "Careful, you might get herpes."

"Aren't you in a good mood? Let's get you drunk, Swan."

And that's exactly what Alice sets out to do. Once we're in the cab that Alice magically flags down, she tells the driver to take us to the "best drinking establishment within reasonable distance". The cabbie pulls up outside of The Anchor and Alice immediately orders four shots of Tequila upon arrival at the bar. We each do two and I'm suddenly feeling much better about the evening in general. From what I can tell through the Tequila, the bar is filled with a good mix of locals and tourists. Alice wastes no time and shoves an ice cold glass into my hand.

Alice shouts in my ear, "It's a Long Island!"

Both of us are packed into a pocket of drunkenness just past the bar and we decide its safe enough for the moment. The music blasting through the speakers isn't exactly dance inducing, but Alice starts to sway back and forth in a prelude to an all out grind session. She's eyeing any male in her near vicinity with the "fuck me" eyes and she's getting a reaction. A guy who just screams douche is swaying his way in our direction. Douche blatantly checks out Alice's rack and nods his head in approval. I try not to gag.

"Hey there," Alice says with a grin. She eats this shit up.

"You gals look lonely." Douche squints his eyes in a way I'm sure is supposed to be seductive. He fails miserably. His cute accent can't even save him.

Alice giggles. "Just enjoying the view." Now Alice is giving him the once over, staring a little too longingly at his package.

I tune them out and angle my body away from them. I know Alice won't actually leave me alone and go off with him, so I let her have her fun. She might barely remember this conversation with Douche in the morning anyways. I sip on my drink and peruse the bar, the throbbing music and hum of voices is calming and I start to enjoy myself. I'm in fucking London and I need to start appreciating that fact. I'm not here to mope. I'm here to have a bitchin' time.

Someone chooses that moment to knock into me, using my ass as a stabilizing point. I can feel the blood rush to my cheeks. It feels like electricity is shooting from his fingers, right on through my ass, and straight to my vagina. My whole body in buzzing and I feel anything but numb. Ass Grabber lets go after lingering far longer than is necessary, even if it feels amazing, and mumbles an unconvincing "Sorry." By the time I turn around, I only catch that ass of his snuggled into a pair of blue jeans and a black knit cap pulled over his head. Hot damn.

Alice starts laughing really hard when she sees the look on my face. I look over her shoulder, but Douche has moved on to sluttier pastures.

"You look like you enjoyed that."

"I'm shocked Alice, not horny."

Alice narrows her eyes and sips her drink. "If you say so."

I'm desperate to change the subject. "Where'd Douche run off to?"

"Who?"

I lower my voice and put on a British accent. "You gals look lonely."

Alice laughs again and waves her hand dismissively. "Douche, as you call him, was…well…a douche."

A particularly rowdy group chooses that moment to stumble through the door, singing some sort of song and spinning scarves over their heads. In order to avoid the stampede, Alice and I move further towards the back of the bar. We manage to find a recently vacated table, the contents of the previous bar hopper's drink spilled across the tabletop.

Alice bends down to sniff it and wrinkles her nose. "Scotch. Gross."

I keep my eye out for Ass Grabber, hoping to catch a glimpse of his front side. Is he young? Old? Orange?

The music is louder in this corner and Alice shouts over it to be heard. "I'm glad you're here with me, Bella!"

For once, I agree with her annoying ass. I know my smile is genuine when I reply, "Me too."

We're sitting enjoying the atmosphere, when I notice a guy with bright red hair eyeing our table hungrily. Ginger ambles over and knocks on our table twice with his lumpy knuckles. Alice leans forward on her arms and mashes her boobs together; it's her favorite trick in the book. Ginger's eyes widen and his mouth drops open.

"Can I get you a drink?"

Alice leans forward and impossibly increases her cleavage even more. "Sure. Two Long Islands?"

Ginger nods a little too excitedly and he starts frantically shoving his way to the bar.

"Be nice, Alice. Ginger is going to be all over you now."

"Who knows? He could be boyfriend material."

I roll my eyes. Alice's only boyfriend material is Jasper.

She gives me her bitch-face again. "At least it's a couple of free drinks. Enjoy it, Bella."

Our original Long Islands are long gone and I am a little thirsty. Also I'm a cheap ass.

Ginger is back with our drinks in no time. "Here ye are ladies."

Alice whips that charm right back out. "Thanks! My boyfriend wandered off and we're stuck waiting on him." She gestures to our new drinks. "These will help pass the time."

Ginger looks like he just got slapped. I feel bad for him. Kind of.

Alice reaches for her drink and makes a big production of swirling her straw around. When that doesn't send Ginger off, she opens her clutch and starts sifting through it like she's looking for something. Ginger hesitates for only a moment before he shuffles away. I don't have long to enjoy my drink though, because that's when I spot Ass Grabber's ass. I didn't notice earlier, but he's wearing really grungy boots. They're fucking hot.

Ass Grabber is leaning casually against a wall, occasionally reaching up to scratch the back of his neck or to readjust the knit hat on his head. From here it looks like he has really big hands. I love a man with big hands. He laughs and his head leans up towards the ceiling and his beer sloshes in his glass. I can feel my underwear trying to slide itself off of my hips. My panties know what's up.

Like he can sense I'm watching him, Ass Grabber suddenly turns his head in my direction. I can practically feel the spark from earlier shoot across the room and through my body. It's still hard to make out his face, but I can feel when his eyes slip away from me and back towards who he was talking to. For the second time I can feel my cheeks get red and my heartbeat picks up.

I try desperately to sink into my sticky chair and disappear, but Alice has other ideas. Not only has she managed to consume her drink in only seconds, but she's decided this is now the perfect time to call a waiter over for body shots.

Oh, fuck no. "Alice, I don't think that's a good idea. Let's just get another round of Long Islands."

Alice pouts. "You're no fun, Bella."

"It's our first night. Let's keep some of our dignity intact. Besides, you've already tricked some poor bastard into getting us free drinks. You need to take it easy on your prey."

"Fine. But we're each doing another shot of Tequila."

Alice recites our drink order when a waiter finally fights his way over to our table. After he blends back into the crowd, Alice turns her attention to the people swarming the bar.

"Alice quit eye fucking those guys. You look desperate."

Alice flips me the bird without taking her eyes off of the group that nearly trampled us earlier. They're doing shots and chasing with pints of beer. Ass Grabber isn't by the wall anymore. I don't know why that makes me sad. I'll blame it on the alcohol.

I finish my Long Island just as our waiter arrives with our next round of drinks. Alice reaches into her clutch and extracts some money, shoving the bills into the waiter's hand without even counting it. She quickly downs her shot, and with barely a glance at me, she takes my shot as well. "Alice Bar Watch" commences now.

"Al, maybe you should take it easy. I'm going to go to the bar and get you some water. My Long Island better be here when I get back." Alice just squints at me and giggles. She's already beyond words.

I force my way through to the bar and attempt to flag down a bar tender. Alice is so much better at this shit than I am. I'm still waving impatiently at them when I feel someone press their junk against my ass.

"Fuck off." I say as I shove my elbow into his gut. The grunt of pain I hear from somewhere behind me brings a smile to my face.

Turning my attention back to the bar, I try once again to flag someone down. A girl with curly blonde hair and the fakest boobs I've ever seen looks right past me and instead offers to assist someone behind me.

I feel another nudge on my ass and someone shouts in my ear, "What can I get you?"

"Ice water." Even though it pisses me off to concede to this guy, I need this water and I don't have all day for Inflatable Boobs to get choosy with her customers.

Asshole tells Inflatable Boobs that he needs water and a Guinness. He reaches around me to slap some coins on the bar as Inflatable Boobs slides the Guinness and a bottle of water towards us.

Asshole calls out "Thanks, Tanya" as he grabs his beer. Of course Asshole and Inflatable Boobs would be acquainted with each other. When I turn around to reluctantly thank my attacker, he's already moved on to his next victim. I'm halfway back to the table when I see Ass Grabber's backside again. He looks really agitated and he's yelling at a guy who is much shorter than he is. He looks so hot when he's riled up. He pulls his hat off and runs his hand through his hair. It sticks up in all different directions and I have a sudden urge to twist my fingers in it and pull. Is it obvious I haven't gotten any lately?

When I return to the table, Alice is singing along to the music while clinking the empty shot glasses together like tiny cymbals. I take the cap off and exchange the water bottle for one of the shot glasses clutched tightly in her hand.

"Drink this water slowly, Al."

I know she's trying to glare at me, but it just looks like her eyes are closed. She gives up and turns her attention to slowly drinking the water, accidentally dribbling some of it down her chin in the process.

I snag her clutch off of her lap and pull out her camera. I take a couple of pictures of her and the water stains on the front of her dress. Alice did say she wanted memories.

It's getting late, and more and more people attempt to shove themselves and their beverages into every nook and cranny of this place. A small group of people to the left of our table have started their own dance floor and are grinding against each other and unsuspecting patrons not in their dirty dance circle. Alice finishes her water and looks longingly at the group of guys and girls gyrating against each other.

"Don't even think about it Alice. I don't need you trying to drunk-dance in heels. You'll end up breaking your ankle and I'm not about to deal with that shit tonight."

With Alice in a liquor induced stupor, I was ready to get the hell out of here.

Alice senses my intentions and latches onto the seat of her chair with both hands, preparing herself for battle.

"Alice, it's time to go. There's no use in trying to attach yourself to bar furniture."

"Belly, I don't wanna goooo."

"Right now I have your purse. Inside of that purse is blackmail evidence. You're too drunk right now to stop me from going back to the room and e-mailing these pictures to Jasper."

Alice shoves off of the chair suddenly and tries to keep her balance. She chants "No" repeatedly, but it's a small price to pay considering I'm following her ass through the crowd and towards the door. I look around casually for one last look at Ass Grabber, but it's hard to see through the crowd. I'm such a lame ass.

Once outside, a haze of smoke surrounds us as varying degrees of drunk people light up. Alice waves her hand dramatically in front of her face as if her tiny hand is going to eliminate the heavy smoke. I grab her arm and pull her towards one of the several taxis lining the street. I shove Alice in first, making sure her dress doesn't end up scrunched around her hips instead of her knees. It doesn't take much effort before she nestles into the backseat, pressing her face against the cold glass and humming to herself.

The cab driver grunts, "Where to, love?"

I slam the door shut and look through Alice's clutch for our address. "Briset Street, please. The Liberty Court dorms."

Alice starts to sing "Bad Romance" really loudly. The taxi ride isn't long, but I tip our driver heavily. Nobody should have to listen to Alice and her tone deaf rendition of a Lady Gaga song. Alice manages to stumble and sing her way to the elevators and it's a short ride up to the third floor.

"Belly, you are the best friend…" Alice pauses to stare off into space for a moment while I try and dig out the keys to our room, "…and I love you long time."

"Poetic as always, Al." I heave Alice through the door and force her onto her bed. "Strip down to your girly things and go to sleep."

Alice salutes me before flicking off her heels and pulling her dress over her head. She dives under the blankets and mumbles to herself for a few seconds, before passing out cold.

I know she won't admit it out loud, but I really think she misses Jasper. Alice and Jasper are what I would refer to as "fuck buddies" and they certainly enjoy that arrangement. There isn't really a declaration of commitment, but I know it kills Alice to be this far away from him. Alice is built for long term relationships and I think this little fling with Jasper is simply a starting point. When she drinks she gets needy, and when she gets needy she'll latch onto any available guy. Hence the Douche and Ginger encounters.

The next morning, I wake up way before Alice and decide it would be nice of me to hunt down some breakfast for her hungover ass. I throw on a sweatshirt and some jeans, not even bothering to shower first. The sun is out and it feels warm on my face, making me almost forget about my headache and the rolling motion of my stomach. There's a Starbucks not that far down the road and the line inside the door isn't too long. I didn't expect this many people to be up this early on a Sunday. I'm suddenly rethinking my grunge look this morning as I pull the hood of my sweatshirt up over my tangled hair.

I'm contemplating a stain on my jeans that I didn't even know was there, when I feel that familiar hum of electricity enter the shop. I turn my head very nonchalantly and glance behind me towards the door. His head is down and he's exchanged his boots for a pair of Converse, but his black knit cap is the same: Ass Grabber. I turn around before he can notice me and I start to fidget with my worn sleeve. This cannot possibly be happening to me right now.

If my life were a romantic comedy, a chirpy little ballad would start playing quietly in the background as I came to the realization that Ass Grabber was only feet away from me. Then in a moment of comic gold, I'd somehow knock over a display of coffee mugs and draw the entire store's attention. Then Ass Grabber would chuckle heartily to himself, come to my rescue, and make a witty comment about my balance and to steer clear of china shops. I'd frown at him, but he'd help me up, offer to pay for my coffee, and then we'd sit and stare into each other's eyes for hours. The sun would be brighter and the birds would sing louder and I'd discover that I had a secret talent for cooking or some shit like that. Instant couple.

This isn't a movie. The line moves slowly and I keep my head down. The coffee grinder whirls behind the counter in short bursts and baristas call out orders for coffee, tea, and fucking everything in between in thick accents. The door opens and closes several times, allowing the sounds from the street beyond the glass to penetrate the room. The only music playing is from Starbucks own personalized mixed CD of slow jazz and piano instrumentals. The sound of clinking and grinding is loud at the counter and I feel like I'm shouting my order at the pompous girl at the register.

I wait for my order with my back turned away from the line, mentally chanting "Don't notice me" over and over again.

When the pompous bitch from earlier yells "Bella" extra loud, I grab both coffees off the counter and make my way towards the door. I look up to make sure I'm not going to trip into anyone and that's when I come face to face with him. He barely gives me a second look before focusing his attention on a spot over my shoulder. Am I the only one crazy enough to feel the heat radiating off of his body? To hear the crack of the electricity? His hair pokes out from underneath his cap and his eyes are green. There's stubble on his chin and he has a split lip. It looks like Ass Grabber got a little to grabby and paid the price last night. I move past him and out the door and the whole thing only lasts seconds. Inconsequential.

Alice is showered and looking much better than last night when I get back to the room. I hand her a Venti coffee and laugh when she rips the lid off and inhales deeply.

"You're a lifesaver, Bella."

"I know."

Alice starts talking about her rankings for The Anchor and deems it satisfactory enough for a repeat appearance. As she compares the quality of their Long Islands to others she's had in the past, I tell her I'm going to finally scrub my nasty ass in the shower.

As the warm water eliminates the remaining curl in my hair and removes the smell of cigarette smoke and alcohol, I can't help but wonder if I'll ever see Ass Grabber again. London is a big city and I'm not that fucking lucky. He probably has three girlfriends and a giant trust fund and is best friends with Prince Harry. Ass Grabber likes to mingle with common folk on the weekends by dressing down and grabbing unsuspecting girls in seedy pubs. Apparently he likes to get into fights and could care less about shaving. He easily forgets about the unsuspecting asses he grabs.

But fuck, I'd give anything to feel that spark one more time.