Hi, Everyone. Are we ready to see how the night at the dance club goes? I sure hope so!

Thank you My-Bella and Hope4More. I couldn't do this without you both.

According to anonymouslysufferingfromOCD, there might be a need for some tissues at the end...


Disclaimer:

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Stephenie Meyer owns anything and everything relating to Twilight and its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.

The original aspects of this story—all of the original characters, plot, names, nicknames are all the property of the author—eternally addicted. Unauthorized use of such material is plagiarism. In simple terms—it's theft. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise mentioned in this story. No reproduction, downloading, copying, reposting, or any other kind of redistribution of this story or its contents is permitted without my express written authorization.


September 18, 2011

*{Bella}*

It was now Sunday and for the past two days I had continued to ride the high I was on since I'd seen Edward while touring the hospital last Friday. Even right now as Al and Sky dragged me through the mall in search of the perfect outfit to wear to the dance club next Saturday night, there was nothing that could dampen my mood.

Since I was at a complete loss as to what to buy, I had given Al total reign over my outfit, but not before making her promise me she wouldn't put me in anything too over the top.

Browsing through the racks of clothes, I pulled out a couple of tops I thought might work.

"Those won't work, Bell," Al said after giving the items in my hand nothing more than a passing glance.

"Why not?"

"They're too big, too frumpy and so not dance club attire," she insisted and rolled her eyes at me.

"What about this?" Skylar called from the other end of the rack, holding up a black and red bustier type blouse.

"Now there ya go," Al cheered with a laugh. She knew there was no way I'd ever wear something so revealing.

"No way in hell," I fought back, just in case there was any chance, no matter how slight it might be, that she would entertain the idea of me wearing it.

"Oh come on, Bella," Sky encouraged in a playful yet somewhat sarcastic tone. "The black would look great on you. It would contrast great with your skin tone and Al and I could poof your hair and make you look like a real sex kitten."

"One problem, I'm not a sex kitten, nor do I want to be one."

"Chillax will ya! I only said look like one." Skylar sighed and rolled her eyes at me.

"Well I don't even want to look like one," I mumbled and walked over to another part of the store.

They had both already found their outfits and had done so with ease. I was beginning to get frustrated with the whole process. I didn't understand why Al hadn't found anything in my closet acceptable.

Flipping thought the rack at the back of the store a glint of blue sequins caught my eye. As soon as I untangled the hangers from the others and held up the top I knew I had found what I wanted to wear.

"Hey, Al," I called.

"Umpf," she groaned as we smacked into each other. She'd been right behind me and I hadn't seen her in my excitement over the top I'd found. Recovering quickly she asked, "What'd ya find?"

"This," I said holding the top up for her to see. "You said I needed something cute, with a little sex appeal, and some sparkle."

"It's perfect." She smiled and held it up against my chest. "It will look great with your new jeans and boots I gave you for your birthday and the leather jacket you got last Christmas. Plus…" she trailed off, pulling me over to the full view mirror by the dressing rooms and holding the shirt up in front of me. "It's going to hug you in all the right places and the neckline should be just low enough to give you a little sex appeal, but not enough that you're spilling out or look sleazy."

"I still like the one I found better," Sky interjected. "Edward would fall all over himself if he saw you in that bustier. In fact I bet all the guys there would."

"If you like the top so much, then you get it," I told her.

"I've already found my outfit. I just thought a little bare skin would drive him crazy. Get his attention," she replied, shrugging her shoulder.

"I don't want anyone's attention but Edward's and I shouldn't have to show skin to get his attention, Sky. Besides, he's seen me in a bikini that left a lot less to his imagination than that top does. And if I have to resort to dressing like Kelsey to get his attention, then something is very wrong."

"True. Sorry, Bella."

"No, worries," I assured her. I knew she meant well. As much as I wanted Edward back, I really didn't want to resort to those sorts of tactics to get him.

Didn't mean I didn't want him to think I was sexy.

We made our way to the checkout counter so I could pay for my top.

"My treat," Al said, shoving her arm in front of me and handing her card to the cashier.

"No. Al—"

"Shush," she ordered, placing her finger over my lips. "You need to save your money for important stuff. And since I'm making you go dancing, then I'm paying for your top."

"But…"

"No buts about it, Bell. Now get the bag and let's go get some lunch."

I sighed and did as she wanted. I knew her well enough to know there was no point arguing with her.

"So how goes the job search, Bella?" Skylar asked as we sat down in the mall food court.

"Not so good," I told her, picking the pickles off my Chick-Fil-A sandwich. "Unfortunately I'm too late for the work study program for this semester."

"Sorry to hear that," Sky said while Al nodded in agreement with her. "What other options do you have?"

"Not many at the school itself. My name was added to the list for next semester, but all the spots were filled either before or right after move-in by students that had expressed an interest in their college applications. Plus they told me that I'd only get called if someone graduated or left their job, that most students stick with the positions they get."

"You know, Bell, my parents' offer still stands," Al reminded me while dipping her fry in catsup.

"I know. I hope they understand how much I appreciate it, too. I just need to do this on my own. I still have the library job I applied for. Hopefully something comes of it."

"I'm sure something will work out," Sky said encouragingly.

"Have you heard from Edward since you saw him on Friday?" Al asked, changing the subject.

"Nope," I answered, popping the "p" as I did.

"Speak of the devil," Sky said, nodding her head in the direction behind Al and me. "And he's not alone, Al."

I watched as my best friend's head snapped around so fast I was sure she was going to have a massive kink in her neck from it. Her face then lit up like the brightest star in the sky, causing me to follow her gaze and see what had her so damn excited.

I shouldn't have been surprised to find her eyes glued to Jasper. From what she'd told me, they had spent a lot of time together and she was falling fast and hard for him. I had never seen Al so completely enraptured by a guy before. However, Jasper wasn't alone. He had Edward, Emmett and Rose with him.

"Gah," Al groaned before exhaling in a long sigh. "I swear if there was such a thing as swagger patrol, all three of them would be put behind bars."

"No shit," Sky added. "Just look at them. Every chick in this place is watching them."

I instantly noticed the heads of several girls at the tables nearby watching with wistful, lusty stares on their faces like they were watching some famous sex symbol movie star. But the girls in the place weren't the only ones gawking.

"There's a few guys looking too," I told them as I watched the four of them walk towards us.

It didn't seem to matter that Rose and Emmett were holding hands; they were both still causing heads to turn as they went by.

Turning my gaze back to Edward, it was impossible for me to take my eyes off of him. I was curious to see his reaction to the attention but he seemed oblivious to the stares they were garnering. However, I caught Jasper glance up at me and then turn his head towards Edward as he whispered something to his cousin. It was then that Edward looked up and noticed me watching him. He said something to Jasper before bumping him in the shoulder as his eyes found mine and remained there. I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks at getting caught watching him again. His lips turned up ever so slightly on the one side, into the sly smirk he'd had on his face the other day when he'd caught me watching him at the hospital.

Knowing Edward wasn't the type of guy to want so much attention on himself and him not reacting to any of the other stares he was receiving, I could only come to the conclusion that he enjoyed me giving him so much attention. That he wanted the attention from me alone and that had to be a good thing as far as I was concerned. It had to mean I had a pretty good chance of him still wanting to be with me.

As soon as the four of them reached our table, Al was popping up and jumping into Jasper's arms.

"Hey, princess," he said to her and placed a sweet kiss on her lips.

"Hi," she replied to him, grinning ear to ear. "What are you guys up to?"

"We came with Emmett to pick up Rosalie. Our mom has her car today and Edward and I tagged along to grab some lunch."

"That's what we just sat down to do. You wanna join us?"

"Sure," Emmett answered for the four of them, grabbing a couple of chairs from the empty table behind ours and pulling them up to the end of our table.

Sky scooted over to allow Rose to sit at the end of the table when the guys all started to grab a chair. But Jasper gave his cousin a playful shove in my direction as him and Emmett grabbed two chairs and sat down in them, with Jasper simultaneously pulling Al onto his lap, all like they had executed some sort of synchronized dance move, leaving the chair next to me wide open for Edward to sit in.

"Real subtle, guys," Edward said to Emmett and Jasper.

As Edward sat down, his leg brushed against mine under the table and it cause my body to tingle with the familiar surge of energy that had flowed between us since the first time he'd touched my hand on the airplane to the Dominican Republic.

Fighting the pull I'd always felt urging me to reach out and touch him, I smiled softly and said, "Hi."

"Hi," he returned after clearing his throat and running his hand over his head as if he'd forgotten he'd cut his hair. He looked just as nervous as I felt.

I wasn't sure what I expected when he sat down next to me. When everyone else around us started holding a conversation, I was worried that the two of us were just going to sit there uncomfortably. Thankfully that didn't happen.

"Oh, Bella, Alice told me that you're coming to my party on Saturday," Rose said, bringing me into the conversation they'd been having.

"If that's what you want to call it," I told her with a laugh. "I wasn't really left much of a choice."

"Please," Al huffed in a teasing tone to Rose. "Don't let her make you think that she wasn't excited at the possibility of seeing Edward there. Just because I pointed that fact out to her to convince her to go, doesn't mean I am forcing her to do it."

"Alice is right, you know," Sky chimed in.

"Just gang up on me guys," I shot back at them in an attempt to hide the blush I felt creeping up my neck over being outed at wanting to go to see Edward.

"Well, Eddie my boy, looks like you don't have an excuse to skip out on my girl's party. Emmett shoved Edward so hard he nearly fell out of his chair. If he hadn't knocked into me and grabbed the back of my chair, he'd be on the floor by now. As it was the force of him bumping into me shook my chair hard enough that it was a miracle that we both weren't sent tumbling to the floor.

"What the hell, Emmett! You could have caused me to knock Bella out of her chair!" Edward barked at his friend before turning his attention to me. "You okay?"

"Yeah," I answered, trying to smile and trying to hide the fact that even though I didn't want to see Edward sprawled on the mall floor, I was grateful for any reason that allowed me to come in contact with him.

"Ass," Edward mumbled as he gave Emmett a frustrated glare.

Preventing anymore fallout over the chair mishap, Rose quickly turned the conversation back to her party. She was now sitting next to Al and the three of us girls were completely engrossed in the details, while Emmett and Jasper were eating like starved animals and Edward was picking at the fries he'd gotten.

A few minutes later Edward excused himself to use the restroom. When he came back I was in the process of taking a drink of my soda when I felt something brush against my back as he sat back down. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw that Edward had his hand on the back of my chair and it was just barely touching me.

I tried to fight the thrill that shot through me at the thought that he was finding some little way to touch me, but I ended up shivering a little instead.

"You cold?" Edward asked, showing just how closely he'd been paying attention to me.

"Um, no. Must just be the cold soda," I said, setting the cup back on the table, trying to hide the real reason.

"So…are you really going Saturday night?" he asked.

"Yeah. It sounds like a fun time." I realized in that moment that he had never responded to Emmett's jab at him before. "Are you going?"

"It seems my best friend isn't leaving me any choice either," he said with a chuckle.

"Oh, you don't uh…have to go. I mean don't feel like you have to on my account."

"Would that be a bad thing?" he asked me, a smile forming on one side of his mouth.

"No. At least I don't think so."

"Me either."

His last comment had me grinning from ear to ear.

After that Edward and I were pulled into the conversation with everyone else. We talked about a lot of things including the fact he'd gotten his hair cut because it was getting long and flopping down in his eyes. So tired of it, he went as short as he could. The whole time we all chatted, his hand remained on the back of my chair and occasionally I'd feel his thumb against my back. I could have sat there all afternoon, but unfortunately our time there came to an end when Emmett announced he had to head home and mow the lawn before his mom got home from work.

We all said goodbye and the cloud I'd been floating on soared a bit higher as we walked to Al's car after Edward told me he'd see me on Saturday.

Saturday couldn't get here fast enough.

September 20, 2011

By the time Tuesday came around I was feeling brave. I'd had two positive encounters with Edward since our talk where I'd come clean with him about everything. I knew that I had told him I'd give him the space to make up his mind about what he wanted to do, but I missed him and after how he'd acted when I'd seen him at the hospital and then again at the mall, it gave me the courage to have Al see if Rose would give her Edward's new phone number.

Sitting down to eat a quick bowl of cereal, I sent her a text…

Bella: Good morning, my dear BFF.

Al: Good morning, Bell. What's up?

She knew me entirely too well.

Bell: I was wondering if you'd be willing to do me a favor?

Al: Sure. Whatcha need?

Bell: Will U C Rose today?

Al: Yeah, y?

Bell: Do U think she'd give U Edward's #?

Al: Probably. Want me to ask her?

Bell: Please!

Al: You got it dude. Tired of waiting?

Bell: A little. I've had 2 good run-ins with him, so just want to give him a little push him if I can.

Al: I think that's a great idea!

Bell: Thanks, Al, you're the best.

Al: I might not see her until my last class of the day, but I will let you know as soon as I do.

Bell: Ok. Thanks again.

Al: Anything for U. U know that.

Bell: I do and same 4 U.

Al: I know. Gotta drive now. TTYL. 3 U

Bell: TTYL 3 U 2

The rest of the day wore on almost as slowly as the day I'd met up with Edward had. Once again I found myself willing the clock to move faster. Only difference this time was I was bouncing with nervous excitement instead of squirming with nervous worry.

By the time late evening rolled around and I still hadn't heard from Al, I was beginning to think that she hadn't gotten Edward's number and was avoiding me so she didn't have to tell me the bad news.

"Shit, Al, where are you?" I mumbled to myself as I let my chemistry book drop to my lap in frustration.

I glanced at my watch and saw it was nearing eight. I knew she was home from school by now and had probably been for a while now.

Maybe she got distracted with Jasper and forgot to call.

Picking up my phone, I started to send her a text when one came through from her.

Al: Sorry I didn't get this to you sooner, Bell. My mom called and had me go get Cindy from school cuz she wasn't feeling well. They had plans they couldn't change so I've been with her all evening. Here's Edward's #. 630-813-2006 Rose said to tell you to not let him make you wait forever.

Bell: No worries. Hope she feels better and isn't being too cranky.

Al: Cranky is an understatement. This is Cindy we are talking about, Bell. Remember she is difficult even on her best days. LOL

Bell: LOL I remember all too well. Sorry U R stuck with her.

Al: Ok got to get back to her. She's whining for something to drink. Let me know what Edward says.

Bell: Ok I will. And thank you! TTYL

Al: U R welcome. TTYL

I programed Edward's number into my phone and then stared at it, trying to decide if I wanted to text or call him. After a couple of minutes, I chose to call him; I wanted to hear his voice.

Unfortunately all I got to hear was his voice mail message, so I left him a message asking him if he wanted to meet tomorrow for lunch in the college cafeteria or maybe for coffee after both our classes were over. I then left my number for him to make sure he had it, even though I had given it to him when we'd had our talk.

Afterwards, I finished up my homework and when it neared eleven and I hadn't heard from him, I crawled into bed and hoped that I would soon. Just before I drifted off to sleep, my phone lit up with a text from Edward that contained just one word—maybe.

For a while after I got the text, I tossed and turned a bit until I had finally convinced myself that it was better than him telling me "no", and eventually fell asleep.

September 21, 2011

The next morning on my way to class I contemplated sending Edward another text. I was still bothered by his one word non-answer and was hoping for something more concrete. In the end I decided I had reached out to him with my coffee invitation and now the ball was in his court.

However, later that day when I saw him in the cafeteria buying lunch, despite deciding I'd leave things in Edward's hands, I couldn't stop myself from going over to talk to him. I told myself that it had been late when he'd responded so maybe he'd been tired and just sent that quick text so he could sleep or maybe so he wouldn't wake me up.

"Hi," I said smiling widely as I walked up to him where he was standing at the cash register

"Hi," he replied quickly as he grabbed his change from the girl operating the register.

"Did you want to go for coffee or something later?" I asked, hoping he'd give me a concrete answer this time.

"I'm sorry I have to go," he called as he rushed off, leaving me standing there stunned, wondering what the fuck had just happened.

My encounter with Edward at lunch had set the tone for the rest of my day. I had been crabby and pissy with Sky, even though I didn't mean to, and short with some other people in my classes too.

So when my last class was over, I walked to my car with Sky, handed her my keys and said, "Here, take my car home. I'm going to head on over to the library and study there."

"You want me to pick you up later?" she asked.

"No. I think I'll walk. It's not really that far and it's nice out today."

"Are you sure, Bella? I know you've had a bad day, you don't have to go to the library you know," she said, pushing my hand with my keys back at me.

"I know I don't have to. But I've been a bitch all afternoon and I just want to be alone and the walk home will help me clear my head."

"Okay, but if you change your mind, give me a call." She took my keys and then gave me a hug before climbing into my car.

I promised her I'd call if I wanted a ride and waved bye to her as she pulled away.

I walked the couple of blocks distance to the library and let out a long sigh thinking I'd be alone so I wouldn't take my foul mood out on anyone else. But as I made my way back to the area where I liked to sit, I saw Edward sitting at the table with several books surrounding him.

He looked deep in thought over whatever it was he was working on as he thumbed through the pages of one of the thickest books I'd ever seen.

Probably a medical reference book, I thought.

Seeing him sitting there, I felt my anger over his cold behavior this afternoon swell within me again. I wanted to march over to him and yell at him and ask him what the fuck his problem was.

Problem was, that would only serve to get me thrown out of the library. So instead I sucked in a long breath of air, and straightened my back and walked right past him like he wasn't even there.

Take that, Mr. Cullen. Let's see how you like it.

I was almost past his table when I heard him.

"Bella, wait."

I paused and thought about it for a second. Without even looking back at him, I whispered, "I have a lot to do," and started to walk again. It was a hard thing to do, but right then, I couldn't help thinking he needed to see how I'd felt earlier when he'd walked off on me.

However I'd barely taken a step when he said, "Please."

"What?" I asked abruptly, turning back to look at him. The look of sorrow on his face and worry in his eyes had me immediately regretting ever being pissed at him today.

God, why does he have to have such a hold on me? On my heart?

Because you love him, dummy.

"Come here? Sit with me, please?" he asked, his voice soft as he begged me with his eyes to do as he wanted.

Sighing I nodded and went around to the chair he was already pulling out for me.

I sat down and immediately pulled my homework from my backpack. I might have sat next to him like he asked, but if there was going to be conversation between us, he was going to start it. I wasn't going to say a word to him unless he explained why he'd acted like he had earlier today.

After finding where I'd left off in my note taking earlier in class, I picked up my pen and started to write when Edward placed his hand over mine.

"I'm sorry," he said softly.

I remained quiet, glancing between his face and his hand covering mine.

He continued. "I was an ass earlier and I'm sorry."

"Well you could have just said 'no' when you texted me last night if you didn't want to meet up with me today," I replied, trying to control the frustration welling in me over his actions but not totally succeeding.

"It's not that I didn't want to," he sighed.

"Well that's sure how it felt," I huffed.

"You're mad."

"Yeah I am."

"I'm sorry. I know you have every right to be pissed after the way I blew you off and saying I'm sorry might seem lame. But I really am."

I wanted to stay mad at him, but seeing the sincerity in his eyes and hearing it in his voice, I couldn't. But I did think I deserved an explanation.

"Then why did you do it?" I asked.

"I've been overwhelmed yesterday and today with school, was running late, was already having a bad day and I…I took it out on you. I'm sorry. I know it wasn't right and I know you didn't deserve it, but I didn't mean to do it."

Realizing he'd done to me exactly what I'd done to Sky today, I knew I was going to forgive him. My school work was stressful enough for me that I could only imagine what he was probably going through with his.

"It's okay," I said, turning my hand over underneath his and gave his hand a squeeze to further reassure him I meant what I said.

"No, it's not. But thank you for understanding," he said, raising my hand to his lips and kissing the back of it. The feel of his lips on my skin sent shivers down my spine and made me wish that he'd kissed my lips and not my hand.

Attempting to shake off the effects his affections had on me, I laughed softly and said, "Well I sorta did the same thing to Skylar after I saw you today."

"You did?" His lips were now turning up into that smile I loved and his eyes were brightening. I could see the Edward that I had fallen so hard for over the summer surfacing in them.

"Yeah. I've been a grumpy bitch all afternoon and it's all your fault."

"Guess I owe her an apology too, then."

"Yeah, you do," I told him.

He nodded in agreement and then we began to talk about school for the next few minutes. It was great. It was like someone had turned back the hands of time and the walls that had been erected between us over the last several weeks were gone. We chatted back and forth occasionally as we both dug into our homework and I loved the tingle that would shoot up my leg every time his would brush against mine under the table.

The time seemed to fly by as Edward and I tackled our homework, side by side. We'd catch each other sneaking peeks at each other. He'd smile, I'd giggle and we'd dive back into our work. It was perfect.

That is until Luke came along and sat down at the same table with us.

"Hey, Bella. Edward," he, said sitting right across from me.

"Hi, Luke," I said quickly before turning back to my work.

"Hey," Edward replied to him.

Things seemed to be okay for a few minutes until Luke started talking to me. He would ask me about the weather, school, what I was working on, anything he could to get my attention.

I didn't want to be rude to him, I did consider him my friend, but it was beginning to get annoying.

I was about to ask Luke to please stop interrupting me when Edward reacted first.

"Look, if you guys are going to keep talking, then I'm moving," he huffed.

He picked up his backpack off the floor and rushed through closing all the books he had spread all over his side of the table and after stacking them rather loudly, he carried part of them over to a table that was on the other side of the room.

"Edward, wait," I called after him as loud as dared in the library.

"It's okay. Don't worry about it, I'll just move," he quipped as he came back for the rest of his books and walked away from me for the second time today.

"Well, fuck," I mumbled.

"Sorry," Luke whispered.

"Just…just let me get my work done. Okay?" I asked him gruffly.

It was pretty obvious to me that Luke had interjected himself into my and Edward's time together on purpose and that pissed me off. He knew where things stood, how I only wanted to be friends with him and if he thought sabotaging my chances with Edward was going to get him a chance with me, he was as warped in his thinking as his sister was.

"Yeah, sure," he grumbled.

I nodded and set my focus back on my homework, not saying anything else to him.

I wasn't sure how much time had gone by when Luke whispered to me, "Your boyfriend looks like he wants to carve my heart out with a spoon."

"What are you talking about?" I asked confused and frustrated he was interrupting me again.

"Edward. I've seen him look over here several times and each time he looks like he wants to carve my heart out. And knowing him, he'd probably use a wooden spoon too, making that shit hurt even more," he replied with a low snort.

"Well if it makes you feel any better, I'm not even sure if he's still my boyfriend anymore," I told him, not really wanting to admit it to him or myself. But until Edward made up his mind one way or the other for certain, it was the truth, I didn't know.

"Well judging by the looks he's given me tonight and the way the two of you keep glancing back and forth at each other with sad puppy dog eyes, I think there's a good chance he will still be your boyfriend."

"I don't know. He still has to forgive me for what I did first."

"He'd be a fool not to, Bella," Luke insisted.

"I hope you're right. I can't tell what he's going to do," I said softly, trying to not get all choked up.

"Well let me just say this much, Bella...I've heard the story from Sky. And while no guy likes to be lied to by the girl they care about, I get why you did what you did. I think anyone might have done the same thing in your place. If Edward can't see that, he's an idiot."

"Don't call him that," I snapped. It was beginning to seem like Luke was on a mission to piss me off tonight.

"Why? It's the truth. From what I've learned about you you're a pretty fantastic girl, Bella. You're smart, caring, loyal, and on top of all that, beautiful. If he can't get over his own hang-ups and see that, then that's his loss."

"Thanks," I replied, not knowing what else to say. Maybe I should have lashed out at him for barging in on Edward and me like he had, but in that moment all I could think about was that he had a point about everything he'd said about Edward.

"And, Bella," Luke said as he stood. "Just remember this, Edward isn't the only fish in the sea. You have options. And I am not just talking about me. I've seen guys watch you, and I've heard guys talk about you. If Edward doesn't want you, there are others who'd be more than happy to fill his shoes. Don't let him string you along and leave you hanging forever."

He didn't give me time to reply, he just grabbed his stuff and left. I glanced over at Edward just in time to catch him looking away from me.

No longer able to concentrate on my homework, I sat there rolling everything Luke had just said in my head. Was I doing what he'd said? Was I letting Edward keep me dangling on a string? It had only been close to two weeks since I'd told him everything. Was that long enough? Should he have made a decision by now? And how much longer was I willing to wait?

I got up and gathered my stuff together, determined to think about all the questions I'd just asked myself as I walked home. Hopefully I'd be able to come to some sort of conclusion and know what do to.

September 24, 2011

*{Edward}*

"Ed, you're gonna be drunk in no time if you don't slow down, bro," Jasper warned me.

He was right and I knew it. I was already on my third beer and we'd only been here a little more than an hour.

"I think he's trying to drink himself stupid so he can forget Bella is out there on the dance floor shaking her ass and driving him mad," Rosalie quipped with a wry smile.

"Or numb the reaction he's having in his pants because of her," Emmett shot at me.

"Cheers to that shit," Jasper added, raising his beer in a mock toast to Emmett's comment.

They were all pretty much dead on too.

From the moment she'd walked in wearing her tight jeans that hugged the curve of her ass perfectly and the leather jacket that gave her an edgier, sexier, almost a hint of a bad girl look, I hadn't been able to completely shut down the thoughts that were plaguing my mind. It had become even more difficult when she'd taken off her jacket and I'd seen the way the sparkling tank top she wore clung to her chest and dipped just low enough to give me a glimpse of what was underneath it.

Everything about her was calling to me tonight. The way her hair was hanging down her back and around her shoulders like the straightest strands of silk I'd ever seen. The way she was laughing and dancing so carefree. How she carried herself so full of life; her confidence made her so much more alluring and beautiful.

Sure she'd been gorgeous at the ball and sure I'd seen her in a bikini, but tonight she was so damn sexy I could hardly stand it. She looked fucking hot tonight, more than she had ever before and I was dying to pull her off the dance floor and kiss her senseless.

As a result it had been incredibly hard to keep my eyes off of her. I'd only been able to do so for very brief periods of time when someone would pull my attention away from her.

"Want some water or something?" Emmett asked me, pulling my gaze from the dance floor where Bella was currently dancing with her friends Al and Skylar. "I'm going to get another round for the rest of us."

"Yeah, water would be great," I replied quickly turning my focus back to where I'd last seen Bella.

My eyes began searching for her when I realized she wasn't where she'd been before. Scanning the area surrounding that spot, I eventually found her when she came bursting through the crowd of people with Al. They seemed to be excited by the change in the song that was playing.

"Fuck," I muttered to myself. She was completely mesmerizing and was absolutely clueless to it. I had been fighting the urge to join her on the dance floor ever since I'd arrived. Things weren't completely resolved between us yet and after what had gone down the other night in the library, I wasn't sure if dancing with her was a wise move or not.

"I heard that," Jasper said with a smirk as he passed me my bottle of water from Emmett, who had just returned with our drinks.

Taking a long swig of the water, I downed nearly half of it. However the drunk feeling that had been rising inside me had nothing to do with the alcohol that I had been drinking. It had everything to do with the woman I couldn't tear my eyes off of.

"Told ya he had it bad," Emmett piped in.

"He's not the only one," Rose added with a nod in her brother's direction. His eyes were fixated on the tiny little brunette dancing next to Bella.

Jasper may not have been looking at his sister when she spoke, but he certainly had heard her and had a remark of his own for her. "No more so than that big lug over there next to you is or than you are for him, Sis."

"Touché'," was her only response to him.

I snorted at their comments, knowing they all were right. Jasper had done nothing but talk about Al since he'd met her the night of the Black and White Ball, Emmett had spent more time with Rose and paid more attention to her than I'd seen him do with anyone he'd dated before, and well, I was pretty transparent myself when it came to Bella.

"How's that going so far?" I asked Jasper and nodded to where Al was out on the dance floor.

"So far, so good. Just taking things as they come and letting it happen naturally," he replied.

"Amen to that," Rose and Emmett chimed at the same time before taking a swig of their beers.

I was about to ask Jasper more about her when Emmett interrupted my thoughts by growling, "Oh hell no. Edward, man, you best go do something about that shit, right the fuck now."

"What?" I asked searching his face for some clue as to what he was talking about.

"Look," Rose sneered and pointed out towards the dance floor.

What I saw pissed me off to no end. I had only taken my eyes off of Bella for a few moments and that was all the time it had taken for Luke Mathews to move in on my girl.

I had been ready to rip his damn head off the other night in the library, but Bella seemed to have some attachment to him. What I didn't know, but I was certain kicking his ass would have only made things worse than they already were with her.

I watched as the bastard had the nerve to put his fucking hands on her. He had been dancing in the same area as her before, but he hadn't been touching her or really even dancing with her. Now he was behind her and had his hands on her hips with her pulled back against him, and grinding against her.

"Well?" Rose glared at me. "You just gonna sit there and let him feel her up in front of everyone on the dance floor, or are you going to get your stubborn ass out there and do something about it?" She cocked her eyebrow in the scariest bitch brow I'd ever seen and continued to shoot daggers at me from her eyes.

After downing the rest of my water in one swallow and taking another look out to the dance floor, I was sure I'd seen the fucker smirk at me as he spun Bella around so that both their backs were to me.

"Fuck no," I growled. It was as if some internal switch had been flipped in me. As if my body were on autopilot I quickly slammed the empty bottle down on the table and made my way out to where Bella was dancing.

As I approached them Bella still had her back to me, but Luke had turned so he was facing her and was looking right at me. He must have seen the anger I felt burning in me as I stared at him, because the sly smirk he was wearing faded the second his eyes locked with mine, causing him to remove his hands from her hips instantly. Good thing he did too, because the lusty way he'd been looking at my Bella, he was lucky I didn't knock the fuck out of him right here, right now.

Not even waiting for him to back completely away from her, I placed my left hand on her hip and slid my other hand around her waist and pulled her back against me. She tensed slightly at first, but as if she knew it was me she relaxed and started moving to the beat of the music with me.

She responded by leaning back into my body. I looked down and watched her eyes close and a smile form on her face as we started to move our hips and feet in sync to the beat of Usher's "Scream".

We continued on like this through the rest of the song and the next one too. It felt as if our bodies were perfectly in tune with each other's. It felt indescribable to have her in my arms, to have my hands on her, dancing with her like this. For each move I made, she followed and when I spun her around and pulled her up against my chest, she felt so warm and it was invigorating. I could have stayed like that with her forever.

I could feel our chests brushing against each other to the rhythm of our breathing, which was gaining speed the longer we stared into each other's eyes.

Unable to resist her any longer, removing my hands from her hips I reached up to cup her face. Holding her in place I leaned in and kissed her with everything I had. I kissed her hard, passionately, pouring all the emotions that were surging through me at the moment into the kiss. Everything around us faded away as if we were the only two people in the place. The music had become nothing more than a dull thud in the background as our mouths moved together hungrily but in perfect harmony.

Bella's hands had grabbed on to my shirt and she was holding me to her as if she was holding on for dear life. Her lips were so warm and soft and I couldn't get enough of them. It was by far the best kiss I'd ever had and it had been far too long since I'd kissed her. I never wanted this moment to end. However far too soon we had to pull apart for air.

"Bella," I whispered and placed another soft kiss on her lips.

"Edward, I…I" and before she could say anything else she was running away from me.

"Bella, wait up," I hollered so there was a chance she'd hear me over the music. But even if she had, she kept on running.

I took off after her. I didn't know what I had done to cause her to run off like she did and I had to find out. I made it to the front entrance in just enough time to see her slip out the door.

Following after her, I called out to her again, "Bella, please stop."

She did, but only to start pacing back and forth between two parked cars. When I got closer to her, I could see her wrapping and unwrapping her hair around her hand again and again as she continued to pace.

"Bella, what's wrong? What did I do?" I asked, grabbing a hold of her and forcing her to stop where she was. "I thought we were having a good time. Please, talk to me."

Her head snapped up and her eyes locked on mine. I could see many emotions flowing across her face and in her eyes before she finally spoke. "What are we doing, Edward?" she asked in demanding voice that took me by surprise.

"What do you mean what are we doing? I thought we were dancing, having a good time."

"No. Not here tonight…well that too, but I mean, you and me," she said pointing at herself and then me. "What's happening?"

"I'm not sure I understand what you mean, Bella," I answered still not sure what she was getting at.

"Then let me spell it out for you. What I want to know is, have you made a decision about us yet?"

"No."

"Well don't you think it's time you did? I know I told you that I would give you all the time you needed, but I can't do that anymore, Edward. I can't play these games anymore."

"Games? What are you talking about, Bella?"

"For the past week, you've been bouncing me back and forth between your hot and cold mood swings and I can't take it anymore. The other day at the hospital, you flirted with me right there in front of my classmates and yours. Then at the mall you were all warm and fuzzy and couldn't keep your hands off me."

I looked up at her and saw fire and determination burning in her eyes. I hadn't realized she'd felt me touching her at the mall. But I should have known she would. We'd always had an uncanny connection flowing between us and if my touch caused a reaction in her anything like hers did to me, then she most definitely would have felt it.

She must have seen the realization come over me. "Yes, Edward, I felt your thumb and your hand brushing against me at the mall, just like I felt your leg rubbing against mine at the library too. And that was a wonderful night until you flipped out."

"Yeah, well I didn't like the way Luke kept drooling over you and you sure weren't doing anything to stop him, just like you didn't do anything to stop him from putting his hands on you tonight," I threw back at her.

"He's a friend and that's it. Yes, he might want more, but he knows how I feel. He knows how I feel about you. I've been very clear with him about it."

"Really, cuz it sure didn't look that way to me."

"Did it ever occur to you that maybe I knew you were watching me, Edward? That I wanted a reaction out of you?"

"Why would you do that? Do you realize how close I was to introducing him to my fist?" I barked at her. "Fuck, Bella," I shouted as I let go of her, moved back a step and scrubbed my hands over my face. "I can't stand the thought of his hands being on you."

"Then it looks like you have a choice to make." She paused and sucked in a couple of long breaths and then took a step closer to me, placing her hand on my chest. "I love you, Edward, but I can't keep doing this, it hurts too bad when you act like things are perfect, like you did at the library and like you did tonight and then you pull away from me. I can't keep going on like this."

"You're the one who pulled away tonight, Bella," he interjected.

"I know I did, but don't you see I had to? You haven't decided what you want, so how much longer will it be before you pull away again?

"This up and down, back and forth, isn't good for either of us and I think I've been pretty clear on what I want so now it's up to you. You can love me, hate me, or even judge me for the things I've done. I only kept the things I did from you to protect you, Edward. All I ask is that whatever you choose to do, you do it honestly. Make sure it's what you really want because you're the one that has to live with your choice at the end of the day.

"I'll give you a little more time, but, Edward, I can't—no I won't keep waiting forever, and if you decide that you can't be with me, then…" her voice faltered and she sucked in a long breath of air, quickly blowing it back out, like she was warring within herself over her emotions. "…then I'll leave you alone and you can go on as if I never existed."

Without another word, she turned and walked away, leaving me standing there in the parking lot with my mind reeling as she made her way back into the club.

I suddenly felt cold and alone, as though I was lost, standing in the middle of nowhere and my last hope for rescue had just left. I longed to have Bella back in my arms, to feel her warmth against me. I hadn't realized how I had been confusing Bella with my actions. How I had been hurting her.

Had I really been stringing her along these past few weeks? If so it wasn't intentional. I'd never meant to hurt her, but I obviously had.

Her words echoed in my head, "I love you, Edward, but I can't do this anymore. I can't keep going on like this, it hurts too bad when you act like things are perfect, like you did at the library and like you did tonight and then you pull away from me. I can't keep going on like this…I'll leave you alone and you can go on as if I never existed."

Could I do that? Could I let her go and pretend as if she'd never come into my life? She'd said she loved me. Had I underestimated the depth of her feelings for me? Maybe I had. I had been so close to saying those words to her twice. Twice they had nearly slipped out. Was that what these feelings I had for her were? Was it truly how I felt about her? And if so why hadn't I made up my mind yet? Why was I still procrastinating?

Time to manup, Cullen, I told myself.

Bella had clearly reached her breaking point and I didn't know how much time I had left. Hopefully I would figure things out before it was too late.


What'd ya think? Is it time for Stretch to pull his head out of his ass and go get his girl? Can't wait to see what everyone thinks!

Don't forget to hop on over to my blog and check out what all the girls wore to the club.

Thanks for reading!

EA