Barefoot in Texas

for grabadietcoke, 4eva


I sit in the open doorway of the camper, just watching her. Always watching her. The fading sunlight catches the glitter she threw in her hair and creates a halo effect; no one is more worthy of being an angel than her.

Her hands reach up to the sky and she's laughing, twirling in her mini skirt with those ruffle things, threads hanging off the ends from such beloved wear. The cowboy boots she had on are cast off to the side, sitting lonely, waiting for her to reclaim them. But they don't know what I know, that she'll never claim them, she'll never claim anything.

Her laugh rides the breeze over to me, and the vision of her so carefree is one I will have to hold close because I know I might never be this close again.

She's my Bella. And in four hours, she'll be gone.

Chapter 1

"Life usually starts out as a plan. Two people decide to have a baby and there you are." - Anonymous

The first time I saw her, I found her peculiar.

She was popping out from behind the trees, taking pictures with a camera that wasn't there. She even said 'click' when she pressed the imaginary shutter release. People were posing, going along with her; no one seemed to find it strange. At one point she flung her arm around someone and held her arm away, they laughed at the imaginary camera and took a picture. She didn't say 'click' that time. It unsettled me and I was relieved she didn't approach me.

I watch as insects flit around the party lights, set up on makeshift poles and powered by a car generator you could still hear over the music. People dancing, seemingly trying to get a line dance going but unable, successful only in stirring the stifling Texas air. Drunkenness causing a more lazy stumble than any sort of symmetry.

"Last day of the spring semester man, feels so good!" Emmett's southern drawl rings out as he launches himself up on the bed of the truck, holding two beers. "This summer is gonna be awesome, I'm tellin' ya. Last summer before we have to become responsible! This is it E, our last hurrah. It's time for nameless fucks and behaving like the immature pricks I know we can be!" He jerks my shoulder and hands me my drink.

"Dude, you may be off for the summer but I have my internship with Judge Black starting 8am Monday. I can't be puking in bars and finding new ways to get laid, I have to nail this." Pulling the label off my beer, I sigh. "You know I need his recommendation to get into a good firm."

"No, your daddy is the reason you'll get into a good firm." Emmett belches and rubs his stomach. "Come on Ed, you haven't been in a relationship since you kicked Vickie to the curb, you've been acting like you're still all celibate and shit. It was a long time ago."

"I didn't 'kick her to the curb', it was a mutual decision between two adults."

"Yeah right. Pappa Cullen had nothing to say about it." Emmett lets that hang in the air before continuing. "Lord knows we can't have the future Governor of Texas married to the daughter of a stripper."

"Fuck you Emmett. The reason for the break up was incompatibility." And the fact that the future Governor of Texas couldn't marry the daughter of a stripper. I wasn't proud, but it was reality.

"Simmer down Lassie, all I'm saying is…NOW YOU ARE FREE TO GET SOME FRESH PUSSY!"

Laughing and slightly mortified, I stare as Emmett has made a point of standing on the bed of the truck to get that last part out as loudly as possible. Thankfully, this is normal behavior for my friend and no one seems to pay much attention.

Taking a quick glance around, I lower my voice. "Yeah well, any pussy I get will be one night stands if I can find the time."

Jumping down, he's laughing as he walks away. "Cullen, you've got so many chicks waiting in line for your Johnson, you'll have no problem. Hell, they're dying to perfect their walk of shame coming from your place." Crushing his can in his beefy hand, he turns to me. "Gettin' another, you want?"

"Yeah, alright." I admire his effortlessness as he goes, high-fiving and wrapping his arms around girls' shoulders as he makes his way to the coolers. It must be nice not to have to worry about how others perceive you.

The dancers seem to have given up and are basically just jumping while they hoot and holler, everyone relieved to be done for the year. I see who I think is the shutterbug in the mix, the headlights behind her causing her features to be blacked out by the backlight. The image is soothing, just a faceless, non-descript shape moving to the music, and I have the feeling she has no care in the world.

I'm hit with a sudden unnerving pang I can't identify.

The party is winding down, due to lack of beer and lack of consciousness. The music is softer, slower. The dirt of the dance floor trampled respectably.

Emmett's chosen not to bring someone home tonight, nor has he accepted any offers of lodging at theirs. He is quiet, for the first time all night, nursing his last warm beer.

"I miss Rosalie." He finally says.

"You do? I thought you were looking forward to a summer of immaturity and nameless fucks." I throw my empty into the garbage can across the way, watching as the can hits others and bounces off the pile to the ground.

"I was. I am. I just wonder what she's doing sometimes. We had a nice thing for a while." Emmett seems to be letting the beer blues get to him. If he starts crying, I'm out.

"Four months is pretty long for you." Someone else throws a can and misses completely. I go over to pick up the strays, my boots kicking up dust from the trodden dance floor.

"Fuck you Cullen. I can do the monogamous thing."

"No you can't." Wiping my hands on my jeans, I pull the keys out of my pocket, ready to go.

At that moment, an extremely drunk girl decides to fall at my feet. I bend down to help her up; her breath hits me, reeking of cigarettes and sour wine. She holds onto me and slurs "Heeyy you come into my coffee store to buy coffee (hiccup) from me."

I smile at her, helping her regain her footing while trying to get her arms from around my neck. "Yes I do, Patty, right?"

"Thaas right. You're fuckhot. My roommate's not home (hiccup) we could have some coffee" the next part comes out as a very loud whisper "and maybe something else."

"Aw thanks darlin', I appreciate the offer but I'm spending time with my friend tonight. Who did you come here with?" I look around to see if anyone wants to claim her.

A girl comes rushing up, apologizing, and takes her friend from me. After I assure myself that she's okay to get her friend home, I bid them both goodnight and hear Emmett behind me.

"What's that chick doing?"

I turn to see what Emmett is looking at, and it's her.

She's jumping and prancing. Catching fireflies barefoot in the muck and mud of earth and beer. Seemingly unaware of the spectacle she creates.

The pang. The pang is a weird sense of jealousy. Which makes no sense at all, since I still found her peculiar.

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