All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
This idea just popped into my head, out of the blue, and wouldn't go away. It's short, a one-shot, but I hope you enjoy.
The band played and the young people danced. The chaperones slowly patrolled the perimeter of the dance floor. In a corner of the church hall Edward Masen stood with his friend William.
"She's still staring at you," Edward smirked while William fidgeted with the cup of lemonade in his hands. He was looking anywhere but at the girl with big brown eyes who watched him from across the room.
"Don't be such a coward," Edward grinned. "Go and ask her to dance."
William shook his head. "No."
"What if she says no?"
"What if she says yes?"
William considered. "You know, that could be worse."
Edward was about to disagree, then stopped. "Actually, I've seen you dance. You could be right."
William glared while Edward smirked.
"Why don't you ask someone to dance?" William challenged.
"I was dancing with Milicent Armstrong before you got here."
Edward laughed. "It's true. We did the foxtrot."
William stared at Edward, sudden admiration in his eyes. "Did you just go up and ask her?"
"Weren't you, you know, nervous?"
"Terrified," Edward admitted, grinning. "My knees were knocking. I trod on her toes once, but she didn't seem to notice."
"Do you like her?"
Edward's grin faltered a little. He looked down at his shoes. "She's very nice."
"You know what I mean." William gave his friend a shoulder nudge. Edward smiled a little as he continued to stare at his feet.
"I don't know," he said.
He looked across the hall and found Milicent's blue eyes watching him from over the top of her cup of lemonade. She smiled and blushed and Edward found himself smiling back. All evening he had had a feeling of expectation, anticipation - a feeling that something special was going to happen. He wondered now if maybe Milicent would let him walk her home, and maybe hold her hand.
"Look at you two. I might be sick," William muttered and Edward elbowed him in the ribs.
Ignoring his friend now Edward began to walk across the hall.
"Where are you going?" William demanded.
He dodged the couples two-stepping around the floor and found himself a moment later standing in front of Milicent Armstrong.
He smiled a hopeful, crooked smile and held out his hand to her.
"Would you care to dance again?" he asked.
Milicent gave her cup to the girl beside her and took Edward's hand.
"I'd rather get some fresh air," she said and she looked up at him through her lashes. She fluttered them a little and Edward's heart started thumping hard in his chest.
He swallowed, glanced quickly towards the door, and thought about the importance of a girl's reputation.
"Do you think that's a good idea?"
Milicent giggled and nodded her head. "It's just a walk in the church grounds, Edward. What were you thinking I meant?"
"Nothing," he said quickly. "I didn't..." He stopped talking then and tucked her arm in his.
Together they walked out the door.
"Ah, that's better,"she took a deep breath when they got outside. Without really looking, Edward was vaguely aware of the way her chest moved up and down under the linen of her dress. "It was getting so stuffy in there." She smiled up into his eyes.
He smiled back. "Shall we walk?"
She nodded, so they headed away from the hall and around towards the back of the church. The night was overcast, very dark, with only a couple of stars out. Edward kept a careful hold so Milicent didn't trip and fall. She was small and petite, her head barely came up to Edward's shoulder.
"You are a very good dancer," she said suddenly. "Harry Granger stepped on both my feet."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"That you're a good dancer?"
Edward chuckled. "No, that Harry stepped on your feet. Although, I thought I stepped on your feet too."
She shook her head. In the shadows her auburn curls bounced around her face.
"You just grazed my ankle a little, that doesn't count."
Milicent sniffed a little and then gave a delicate, ladylike sneeze. Immediately Edward offered her the linen handkerchief his mother insisted he always carry.
"Thank you," Milicent said as she wiped her nose daintily.
"Keep it," Edward replied. "Should we go back in? Are you catching cold?"
She shook her head. "No, I don't think so. I feel fine. It's probably just dust."
Edward wondered what dust there would be outside but didn't pursue the point.
They walked on, past the small shed where the maintenance tools were stored, to the low stone wall that surrounded the grave yard. The clouds began to move across the sky, exposing some of the moon now.
Milicent sat on the wall. Edward sat beside her.
"It's a bit spooky here, isn't it?" she whispered.
"We could sit somewhere else," Edward suggested.
"No, it's alright. You'll keep me safe, won't you?" She giggled and through his jacket sleeve Edward felt her fingers grip his arm lightly. His heart beat just a little faster.
"I don't know much help I'll be if we're attacked by a ghost," he smirked, looked at the ground, and then suddenly he threw up his hands and shouted...
Milicent screamed and toppled backwards into the grave yard.
Edward reached for her quickly but not quickly enough. She landed with a thud and he leapt over the wall, panicked, swearing under his breath, to find her on her back, legs in the air, petticoats up around her middle and over her face.
"I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!" he gasped and frantically searched for her hand amongst the linen and lace while he kept his eyes averted.
"Help me up! This is so..." she was struggling with her petticoats and struggling for words. "Undignified!" she eventually blurted.
"Stop moving! Where's your hand? I can't find...it's too dark and you're moving too much, give me your hand..."
Her pale hand appeared, thrust upwards sharply, almost into his face, and Edward latched on. He pulled her to her feet gently.
"I'm so sorry. Are you alright?"
He went to dust her off but didn't know where to put his hands. He shoved them deep in his pockets when Milicent started doing the job herself. Then, very carefully, he helped her over the stone wall, watching her face closely, trying to tell if it was fright or the moonlight that made her look so pale.
Milicent was quiet, her breath was coming quickly as she clutched one hand to her chest.
"Are you alright?"
She gave him a hard stare, but then a smile began to tug gently at the corner of her mouth.
"I didn't think I'd need protecting from you," she scolded gently.
Relieved, Edward began to smile and pulled his hand through his hair.
"I'm so sorry," he smiled. "It was meant to be funny."
"What? Scaring me half to death?"
"I thought you'd laugh."
She scowled a little and shook her head.
Edward let out a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry. Do you want to go back inside?"
Surprisingly, Milicent shook her head again.
"No, not yet. Why don't we just go and sit somewhere else?"
So they walked to the other side of the church yard where there was a swing that the young children played on after Sunday school.
"Would you like me to push you?" he asked and Milicent laughed.
"I thought you just did."
Edward chuckled too. "No, that wasn't a push. You fell."
She eyed him keenly. "I think it was fine line, Edward."
She sat on the wooden seat and Edward gently pulled back on the ropes and let go. She giggled and swung her legs back and forth as he pushed her gently.
"Higher!" she called and Edward pushed her higher.
"Faster!" she cried and he pushed faster.
"I used to like jumping off in mid air...want to see?"
"No!" Immediately Edward dashed forward, meaning to snatch the ropes and stop her, but the seat swung back and hit him, catching him under the chin.
He was laid out flat on the ground.
Milicent was beside him, on her knees, his head in her lap.
"I'm so sorry. What were you doing? No, don't talk. Can you talk? Is anything broken? No, don't tell me, just lay still."
Once the world stopped spinning Edward was quite happy to lay still. Milicent's lap was soft and warm and he could almost ignore the throbbing pain in his face. He reached up slowly and carefully prodded at himself.
"Ow," he winced a little. But he moved his jaw back and forth and everything seemed in working order. He swept his tongue over his lips and there was no blood. There was the beginning of a headache, but that was to be expected.
"Why did you do that?" Milicent asked.
"If you'd jumped you could have hurt yourself," Edward mumbled and his mouth felt like it was full of marbles. His jaw felt like it had come unhinged and was moving on its own. He checked it again to reassure himself that it hadn't.
As his fingers prodded and probed Edward decided flirting was a lot more dangerous than he'd thought and wondered if it was like this for everyone.
"You were looking after me," Milicent whispered. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," he mumbled again.
Milicent ran her fingers through his hair and it felt nice. The promised headache didn't seem so imminent now.
They sat quietly for a few moments, listening to the sounds of music and dancing and people having a good time.
After a while Edward sat up. He was starting to feel better, and it wouldn't do if someone came outside and discovered him laying with his head in Milicent Armstrong's lap.
Milicent sat beside him, and Edward wasn't sure how it had happened, but she was holding his hand now. Edward wouldn't have to wait to walk her home, after all. His fingers curled around hers.
"I like it when it's your week to play the organ during Sunday service," she said.
She nodded. "The others make everything sound dry and dusty, but not you."
"Thank you." He smiled. "Do you play any instruments?"
He realised suddenly that he actually knew very little about Milicent. She went to a different school and lived on a different street, and it was only through church activities that they knew each other. But he'd been watching her from across the pews for a few weeks now, and it seemed she might have been watching him, too.
"I play piano, too," she said. "But not very well. I'd prefer the violin but mother says I'll get a permanently deformed neck from holding it under my chin all the time." She demonstrated, pulling a tortured face for added effect and Edward laughed.
"That would be too bad," he said. "You have such a pretty neck. And face."
She ducked her head and Edward couldn't be sure in the dark, but he thought she was blushing.
"Thank you," she said quietly. There was a heavy silence and Edward was keenly aware of Milicent's hand in his, their fingers laced together. His heart was beating harder again.
"How's your head?" she asked.
"Fine. How's your dignity?" Immediately he wished he hadn't said it, but Milicent laughed.
"All in tact," she said. "A very nice young man helped me out of my embarrassing moment."
"I'm glad. What about the cad that caused the embarrassing moment?"
"I got my revenge. I hit him in the head with a swing."
They both laughed, even though it hurt Edward to do so. He rubbed at his chin.
"I'm sorry," she said again, and gently ran her fingers along his jaw. He enjoyed her touch "You'll probably have a nasty bruise."
"It's not your fault," he said. "I shouldn't have walked into the swing."
She smiled at him. "No, you probably shouldn't. But I shouldn't have said I'd jump off. You're right, I could have hurt myself. Last time I did it I was seven years old."
She dropped her hand from his jaw and began plucking at her skirts.
"Will you go to college next year?" she asked suddenly and Edward took a second to get his head around the change in conversation.
"Not if I have my way," he said, shifting back a little now to rest against the huge old elm tree that shadowed over them, making them even more in the dark. He brought Milicent with him and she leant against the ancient trunk too. "I'll be eighteen next year, I'm planning to join the army."
"You want to be a soldier?"
He nodded. "There's a war on, I want to be a part of it."
"My father says the war is nearly over," Milicent said softly. "Would you still join the army even if it ended soon?"
Edward considered this. "I think I would. It's what I want." He looked down at her and shrugged. "But my parents want me to go into my father's law firm." That idea didn't sit well with Edward, and he'd fought with his father several times about it.
"Sometimes I wish I could see the future," Edward mused. "Then I could stop arguing with my parents. I could just tell them...this is how it's going to be, see?"
"What would you like to see in your future?" Milicent asked. She sounded fascinated and was staring up at him.
"I'm not sure," Edward said. He rubbed his hand over his chin, but it was a thoughtful gesture, nothing to do with his injury. "I suppose...a career in the army. Travel."
"Travel?" She made it sound like a foreign word. "Where would you go? We already have everything here."
Her comment surprised Edward. "Aren't you curious to see the Eiffel Tower, or the Tower of London? Or the Great Wall of China? The Pyramids?"
"Not particularly. I can look at pictures in books. And besides, travelling is too dangerous." She stiffened a little. "My aunt was on the Titanic, coming across from England."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Edward didn't know what else to say.
"Oh, she survived," Milicent clarified. "But it was awful for her."
"I just think...we should stay where we are. America has everything. We have trains to move across the country. And my father is thinking of buying an automobile, so we can probably travel around a bit in that."
"An automobile? I'd really like to have one of those one day," Edward enthused. He had hoped for some time that his own father would buy one, but so far Edward Masen Snr had resisted.
"I think that will be enough for me," Milicent said. "Trains, automobiles. No ships."
"Or airplanes?" Edward chuckled. Milicent shuddered.
"Now that's just wrong!" she declared. "Human beings are not meant to fly." She shook her head. "Next people will be thinking they can travel to the moon. Or under the sea."
Edward smiled but didn't quite agree with her.
"I'd like to go to the moon," he said and looked skywards. The cloud had moved right away now and the moon shone, round and bright.
Milicent scoffed loudly. "How would you get there?"
"I don't know."
"And what would you do there?"
Edward shrugged. "I don't know," he said again. But as he stared at the silver orb in the sky he felt a strange certainty that one day it would be possible.
Milicent followed his gaze.
"How far away is it? The moon?"
"I don't know. A long way."
He tilted his head, trying to make out the shadowy shapes on the moon's surface.
"People used to think the world was flat," he murmured softly. "We know that's wrong."
He could feel Milicent's curious eyes on him.
"What are you saying?"
"Just that, things that might seem impossible, or improbable, might not be."
"People say the moon is made of cheese."
Edward smirked a little. "I suspect that's wrong too."
Milicent laughed softly. "You're getting very serious now," she said and changed the subject. "I'm hoping it will be sunny tomorrow and I'll be able to go walking in the park."
She paused and Edward knew this was his cue to offer to accompany her.
"I have to play a baseball game in the morning," he said. "But if you were planning to walk in the afternoon and would like company..."
"That would be nice," she said and squeezed his fingers. Edward looked down at their hands, but then his eyes were drawn back to the moon. It seemed so bright now, so close, almost like he could reach out and touch it.
"It's almost a full moon," he said. "You know, there are stories about full moons."
Edward shrugged. "I don't really know any particular ones. I had a teacher once who told us that in some countries the moon is revered. Or at certain times of the month people fear it, and lock themselves indoors at night."
"Why? What do they think will happen?"
"I don't really know. I think it's supposed to have powers."
"To do what?" She looked nervously towards the graveyard. And then she sneezed again.
"Bless you," said Edward as she used his handkerchief once more. "Are you cold?"
But he took his jacket off anyway and draped it around her shoulders. She smiled her thanks and drew it close around her. She looked skyward too.
"You say it's not a full moon? It looks full."
"Not quite. See, if you pretend it's a clock, there's a small dip at about the ten."
He leant a little towards her as he pointed, their heads gently touched.
"Oh, I see. Well, when will it be full?"
"In a day or two. Today is September thirteenth, I'd say it will be full by the fifteenth."
Milicent nodded. "Do you really think people will go there one day?"
"Yes," he said. "I do." Then he began to grin. "And everyone will own an automobile. And an airplane. And there will be machines to do all the work and human beings will just lie around reading all day, eating ice cream."
"So there won't be machines to do the reading and eat the ice cream for us?"
"No! Where would be the fun in that?"
Milicent rolled her eyes as she giggled. "And when is this all going to happen, Edward?"
"I don't know."
"Not in my lifetime," she said. "Or yours."
"Perhaps not. But who knows."
"I think you're crazy."
Edward wondered if perhaps he was.
Milicent edged a little closer. She laced her fingers with his again.
"I've always believed that there's someone for everyone in this world, so, in this new world, this future you're thinking of, do people still get married and have children, or do the machines do that too?"
"There are still families," Edward smiled. "There is still love."
He heard Milicent's soft breath, but he hadn't been looking at her when he'd spoken - he'd been staring at the moon, and the stars. Milicent was speaking now but he couldn't seem to hear her words. As he gazed upwards at the silver moon and the tiny scattered diamonds of light, he almost felt as if the earth was falling slowly away from him, or as if he was leaving the earth - he couldn't decide which it was, but either way, suddenly Edward didn't feel like he was here anymore. He was there, but he didn't know where there was. He felt like the universe had shifted and he was suddenly out of step; he'd turned a corner while the rest of the world went straight ahead without him. It was very unsettling.
Edward shook his head gingerly. No doubt he was feeling the effects of his collision with the swing, that was all. He just needed to focus back on Milicent.
"Are you alright?" Milicent asked.
"Yes," he said and looked at her now. "Sorry, I was..." Somewhere else. He left the sentence unfinished and shrugged instead.
She reached across to touch his jaw again. He leant into her touch just a little.
"Not very much."
Milicent shifted, moving onto her knees, and she kissed Edward's jaw very softly. His breath caught. This was more than he'd anticipated. Much, much more.
She pulled back slowly and he stayed very still.
"Did that help?" she whispered.
"I...I think so."
"Do you need more?" She was biting her lip, her hands twisting nervously in the sides of her skirt.
Edward swallowed. His head span a little.
"I think so."
He leant towards her this time, meeting her half way but not sure what to do. He wasn't sure what she wanted. He wasn't sure what he wanted. He wasn't sure if he should do this at all.
His eyes fell to her lips. Then his gaze shifted to her eyes and found her staring at his mouth. He smiled, his heart pounded in his chest, his palms felt clammy, he closed his eyes as she closed hers...and he moved in.
Milicent's lips were soft and warm pressed against his and they felt nice. Edward waited for the fireworks, for the rush of something that he'd read about in books, but it didn't come. Instead their noses bumped against each others and he got a crick in his neck from the odd angle. When the kiss ended he felt disappointed.
Milicent was touching her lips, frowning.
"Have you ever kissed anyone before?" she asked.
"No. Have you?"
"Of course not!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to suggest..." He really couldn't get the hang of this romance thing.
"It's alright," she said.
Edward wondered what should happen now. He had just kissed Milicent Armstrong on the lips. Half an hour ago he would have been delighted, jumping over the moon, but now, for some reason, he didn't feel that way.
He decided again it was the bump on the head, and tomorrow he would feel differently.
"I wonder if it's always like that," Milicent murmured.
Milicent shook her head.
"Tomorrow, I've just remembered, I'm supposed to visit my cousin. I won't be able to go for a walk."
Her words were simple enough, but Edward had the feeling there was more to them. She wasn't looking at him.
"Have I offended you?" he asked, horrified now that he'd got it all wrong and his kiss had upset her.
"No, not at all," she said quickly. "I just..." her frown appeared deeper in the moonlight as shadows played over her features. She took a deep breath. "Edward, I'm really sorry, but I thought you were...and now I don't think..." Milicent stopped talking and Edward was confused and a little mortified.
"What have I done?"
"Nothing. I..." she took another breath. "There was no..." she waved her hands around a bit. "Was there?"
For a second Edward was at a complete loss, and then when Milicent unconsciously touched her lips again, he realised.
"Oh. No," he said. "There was no..." He waved his hands around a bit too. And suddenly he was surprised to feel a little bit relieved.
"I guess...you're not the right one," she shrugged. "Or I'm not the right one."
Edward gave her an apologetic smile.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"No, no, don't say that," she said and let out a long, slow breath. Then she smiled. "But, when you do find the right one, Edward, don't push her over in a graveyard."
He laughed softly.
"Alright, but when you find the right one, don't knock him out with a swing."
Now Milicent laughed too, and she took Edward's hand in hers. It was a friendly gesture and he was so glad she wasn't crying or calling him names.
The music from the hall stopped.
"Looks like the dance has finished," Milicent sighed. "Would you mind...please don't tell anyone about..."
"Of course not," Edward smiled.
He helped her to her feet.
"I'll walk you home," he offered.
They held hands as they walked back towards the hall.
As they walked Edward felt that feeling of anticipation and expectation return, but it was stronger now. Tonight he had the feeling the universe had something planned for him, some future he couldn't even imagine.
Milicent sneezed again.
"Are you sure you're not getting sick?"
"I don't think so. At least...I hope not."
Thank you for reading :)
The date Edward mentions when he's talking about the moon is significant - it's Bella's birthday, 13 September...just seventy years earlier.
Yes, Milicent has the early stages of Spanish Influenza. I guess Edward shouldn't have kissed her.