This story was my contribution to the Fandom Against Famine compilation that was released earlier in the year. It was inspired by an adoption banner that FrozenSoldier made (and that she then let me steal). As always I own nothing and I really hope that everyone enjoys reading it.
I watch her out of the corner of my eye as she enters the club. In all fairness, she's pretty hard to miss. A model figure teamed with a bright dress that hugs her figure and an inviting smile are guaranteed to get her noticed.
I pretend to be oblivious, continuing to play with half my attention on the cues our drummer surreptitiously slips into the music and the other half on her as she circulates the room. When she reaches the bar, she turns away from me and leans over the wooden top to speak to her best friend, Bella, who's working tonight.
I nearly swallow my tongue as she does.
If I thought the front of her dress was appealing enough, let me tell you, it's got nothing on the back.
The fabric gathers at her finely-boned shoulders, only to drop away, exposing the lightly-tanned expanse of her back to me, before coming together again just above the swell of her ass.
I drop the next few notes I'm supposed to be playing as I stare at her, earning me a scowl and an eye-roll from our lead singer, Edward, once he discerns the reason for my inattention. I don't care about his approval though; all my body cares about is the stir of arousal I feel just from looking at her.
I can't do anything about it though. I've got to get through this song, and the next one, and the next...
I glance down, checking that my fingers are still where they're supposed to be, on my guitar. When I look up again, she's watching me. Her smile, so welcoming and warm as she entered the bar drops away, only to be replaced by a look of triumphant challenge.
I swallow hard. I know that expression; it sends chills down my spine.
She's going to try to make me jealous. No, not try, she is going to make me jealous.
She's going to taunt me and tease me and flaunt what I can't have right now in front of me. And she's going to do it all just because she can, because she knows what my reaction will be. I never was good at controlling my emotions; my momma always said that I had a short fuse.
She tears her eyes away from mine and begins to scan the crowd, looking for a willing victim, and although I really don't want to, I scan the crowd with her. I wonder what kind of man she'll choose this time: thin, built, tattooed, pierced. Once she chose a guy who could have been my twin. He irritated me the most out of all of them –if she had wanted someone like me then she could've just had me, there was no need to flirt and play with anyone else - and that night led to one of our biggest rows.
All of these nights lead to fights between us. Yet I keep coming back for more. She apologises so nicely and I love her so much. Edward thinks she takes advantage of me, he can't stand the way she treats me, and even all her friends look on me as an object of pity...and I know they're right.
But if it's a choice of only having part of her heart and just a little of her affection or not having her at all, then I would rather suffer.
She grabs a shot that Bella hands her, holding it up mockingly in a toast to me, before throwing it back easily. She doesn't cough or grimace like so many other people do when faced with spirits; she's far too used to the taste, to the burning sensation that runs down her throat.
It's a good thing that I've played these songs so often that the rhythms and key changes are ingrained in my head, as my fingers automatically still on the last note of the piece without me ever having to take my attention off of her. In the distance I hear Emmett count in to the next song and my fingers drift over the appropriate frets on auto-pilot.
She begins to move as the music started, her hips swinging gently in time to the music as she glides around the crowded room, her eyes following someone on her left. I immediately begin to scan all the available men in that direction, trying to work out which one she would choose – no doubt the one that she knew would rile me up the most.
I felt my brow furrow even deeper as she finally let her hand lay on the arm of her target, smiling brightly at him. I surveyed my competition. He was big, a tall Native American dude with huge biceps that were emphasized by the circular tattoo that marred his skin. His black hair was neatly cropped, almost military-style, and I crossed the stage casually, trailing the lead to my guitar behind me, as I try to catch a glimpse of his face. I wanted him to be unappealing, to appear harsh or cruel, with an overhanging forehead or a broken nose or cracked teeth, but instead I am greeted with a cheerful face filled with good humour.
It's not his fault but I already hate him.
He turns to speak to her with an easy smile and I flinch at the pleasure they take in each other's company. I want quiet so I could hear what they were saying to each other, want the music to pause for a moment and the crowd to shut up, but it's all to no avail. As it is, her laugh rings out over the noise of the speakers and the people in the room as she tosses her head back, earning her some appreciative looks from the men surrounding her.
She holds out her hand to him and he eagerly takes it, beaming at her as she leads him to the dance floor and presses her body against his.
My teeth grind together as he pulls her closer and she willingly allows him to take her in his arms. Edward takes advantage of an instrumental part of the song to wave at the crowd before stepping in front of me, blocking me from the sight of the audience.
"Pull yourself together, Jasper. You look like you're going to murder the poor guy," he mutters.
"I might," I grit out. "I don't know if I..."
He claps his hand on my upper arm, stopping me mid-sentence. "Two more songs and then the set is over. Control yourself until then." He smacks me across the shoulder in what looks like a friendly gesture to the audience, but actually hurts.
Two more songs. Surely I can last for two more songs.
My gaze returns to the striking couple in the centre of the floor. Their hips roll sensuously from side to side together, her arms are locked around his neck and his hands are slipping down from where they were clasping her waist to rest against the bare skin of her lower back.
I have touched her body there so many times – I know every inch, and I try to remind myself that although he gets to touch her now, he will never know her like I know her. He can caress her, but he doesn't know that under his left hand is a scar from where she had fallen over while ice-skating two winters ago. He doesn't know that his right ring-finger is positioned exactly where she has an adorable freckle in the shape of a heart.
Somehow, they manage to press themselves even closer together than they already are and I feel the heat of my fury rise in response.
I rejoice momentarily as she pulls away from him, only for my temporary euphoria to ebb away as she cups his cheek tenderly. He uses his arms to scoop her up off the floor so her feet don't touch the ground in response, and I am suddenly struck by the familiarity of the gesture.
This isn't some random stranger chosen to fuel my jealousy; they know each other.
My fingers pluck at the strings on my guitar more fervently, as I try to vent my fury without launching myself off the stage and breaking his neck.
Why has she picked someone she knew? Surely she understood that that would make it worse.
And then he kisses her.
And she doesn't stop him.
The ringing in my ears grows louder and then abruptly cuts off. There is only silence.
It takes me a minute to work out that the numbing quiet is not only in my head. The entire club is still, people gazing up in shock and confusion at the stage.
No, not at the stage. At me.
Edward's arm is around me as he drags me backwards, away from everyone's accusing eyes. My head bows and I catch a glimpse of my destroyed guitar, fibreglass and strings everywhere.
My arms ache from the force of throwing it.
Edward, now joined by Emmett, continue to drag me across the stage to the back door and I glance up, unable to resist one last glimpse of her.
She is no longer clinging to him. Instead she is now staring at me, just like everyone else, tears in her eyes, one hand clasped over her mouth, shock painted over her features.
...and a small part of me revels in the knowledge that I can make her hurt too.