Notes: Been too long...

Featured music: Gotye - "Hearts a Mess"

Disclaimer: I own nothing Twilight. I merely play with the characters for entertainment. Songs and lyrics belong to their respective artists. No copyright infringement intended.


Your Heart Is A Mess

I was so surprised I didn't have time to think about what the proffered hand could mean, which in the end turned out for the better. I just put my hand in his.

His long, strong fingers firmly wrapped around mine and led me near the edge of the dance floor without a word.

He pulled me into his body holding me steadfastly and put his other hand down my back.

Again, I was thankful for those dancing lessons. I was definitely not the most graceful out here, but at least I could hold my own. I was determined not to make a fool of myself, or him in front of all these people.

I recognized the melody of the song starting to play. I was excited to hear something good and familiar until I realized what the song was about. Perhaps it was too appropriate.

Pick apart
The pieces of your heart
And let me peer inside
Let me in
Where only your thoughts have been
Let me occupy your mind
As you do mine

I tried to concentrate on my movements instead, but then I became acutely aware of my body and where it touched his.

You have lost
Too much love
To fear, doubt, and distrust
It's not enough
You just threw away the key
To your heart

You don't get burned
'Cause nothing gets through
It makes it easier
Easier on you
But that much more difficult for me
To make you see

I tried to focus on the background but as we spun around I saw faces and masks looking our way. It was disorienting.

Love ain't fair
So there you are
My love

Why did the music and lyrics seem louder and clearer? Was it my imagination or was the room quieter?

Your heart's a mess
You won't admit to it
It makes no sense
But I'm desperate to connect
And you can't live like this

I wanted to ignore the words but they were ringing in my ears and reaching into my heart.

Love ain't safe
You won't get hurt if you stay chaste
So you can wait
But I don't wanna waste my love

I felt dizzy.

My body was on the verge of faltering when I felt his hands and arms hold me tighter.

I had been looking everywhere else but at his face up to now. I didn't want to see his judgment, or his disdain, or his boredom, or his handsome masked face. But now I was forced to, or tricked into, looking at his face to search for some meaning.

To my bigger surprise Cullen was staring back down at me. No judgment, no disdain, no boredom. Just his handsome masked face.

His mask was a simple matte black. No detail or garnish to distract me from his eyes.

He hadn't spoken a word the entire time we had danced, and I hadn't felt the need to.

But now…

"I-I need," I grasped for words, "air. I need some air."

I pushed myself away from him and he offered no resistance. I kept my head down and worked my way across the room past the people to the doors. I didn't see if others were looking and I didn't want to.

But maybe keeping my head down and not looking where I was going wasn't the best idea because I didn't exactly make it outside. I did, however, manage to find some veranda.

I thought I had just made some excuse to get away, but the fresh night air was a godsend. I took a deep breath. And then I hit myself on my head with my palm as reality set in.

This air cost me my pride. I had cried "uncle" first. In the staring contest I just imagined us in, I definitely lost.

And worst of all, I hated that he made me feel… whatever that was just now.

I thought I was over this.


I spun around startled at the sound of my name.

There was a tall, dark figure in the shadows illuminated darkly from the back from inside the building. As he approached and stepped out from the shadow, I saw the golden mask and recognized him.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," Jake said pulling the mask off.

I shook my head and fibbed he hadn't.

"I saw you rush out. I wanted to see if you were okay."

"Always the consummate doctor."

He dropped his head down and lifted it up again looking apologetic as if I had just rebuked him. "I didn't mean to 'doctor' you. If you'd rather be alone I can leave." He started to turn away.

"No," I called after him. He stopped. "You just caught me off guard," I told him. "I'd like the company."

Jacob slowly and hesitantly approached me. His inexplicable sudden shyness was adorable. "How about that dance?" he said.

We closed the gap between us, and we started swaying. It took me a couple seconds to realize we couldn't hear the music out here, but it didn't matter.

Moments later we heard, "Bella, there you are!"

Jake and I stopped dancing to see Alice running up to us. My, I was popular. I must've worried Alice, too, rushing away from the dance floor like that.

I was about to tell her I was fine when she reached up her hand with a familiar object.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt," she quickly glanced at Jacob, "but your phone's been ringing non-stop. I think it must be important," she was saying when my phone still in her hand lit up and vibrated to illustrate her point.

I didn't recognize the number so I grabbed the phone from Alice's hand and hit the talk button.

"Hello?" I answered.

A man spoke, an unfamiliar voice. "Is this Bella?" I confirmed I was. "I'm Deputy Mike Newton, and I work with your father."

When I had hung up, Jake was looking at me worriedly. Alice, too, but she had a calmer demeanor. I guess my expression had changed to expose my confusion.

"Is everything okay?" he asked with concern on his face. I couldn't help but wonder if this was the face he always used to sympathize with his patients. Then, I silently admonished myself for thinking such an unkind thing about such a kind man. But thinking about my father always brought out the worst in me. And with this news, I was more off-kilter than ever.

"Yeah, I mean no. No, it's not okay," I shook my head to shake out the extraneous thoughts. I needed my wits about me, but I didn't know what to make of this. "My father's in the hospital. He's been shot."