Creative Original or Derivative Fiction: Derivative
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Prompt: Word Prompt: Sparkle
You have no right to be jealous, you idiot. That could be you, if you hadn't fucked up royally, Edward thought to himself as he watched Bella dancing with their senior editor. Everyone knew that Jasper was one of the most happily married men they worked with, but that didn't stop the knot that was coiling in the pit of Edward's stomach.
Married or not, he was making her smile as he spun her around the floor, putting the sparkle back in her eyes, even if only for a moment at a time. Bella was having fun, and he couldn't fault her for that; he only wished that he could have been the man to bring that out in her.
Then their gazes met once again and that look reappeared. He wasn't sure what was being said between them, but Bella quickly shifted from pained to nervous in the blink of an eye. And then she began walking toward him and his heart began to pound erratically within him, until she finally spoke and asked him to dance.
The thumping seemed to halt altogether with those words, and all he could manage in that moment was a nod.
When they reached the edge of the dance floor, she turned to him and slid her arms around his neck. His hands settled on either side of her waist and they began to sway back and forth to the slow beat of the music, their eyes never leaving the other's gaze.
"We're dancing, Edward. I'm pretty sure it would be okay if we were a little closer," Bella whispered and he felt her fingers twitching a little at the base of his neck, as if resisting the urge to touch his skin or maybe even toy with the ends of his hair.
Edward's arms slowly encircled her waist and held her close to him. She felt so warm and smelled so good, and the skin of her temple was so soft against his jaw, it took everything in him to restrain a groan of the longing he felt for her. Instead, he leaned down to whisper in her ear. "You look incredible tonight, Bella."
"So do you," she murmured back, her fingers linking behind his neck. "I have to keep reminding myself not to stare. Did my father scare you away?"
"Not even close. Quite the opposite, actually," Edward replied and Bella pulled her head back to gaze at him. "But even if he disapproved, it wouldn't change the way I feel about you."
Bella held his eyes with hers and took a slow, shaky breath. "Tell me again why we're waiting. I know we both had our reasons, but I'm having difficulty remembering what they were or why they were so important."
Edward pulled her closer again until his lips returned to beside her ear. "Because I need to earn your trust, so that you never have any reason to doubt how much I love you. And people would talk, Bella."
"They're going to anyway, if they're not already. So why does it really matter so much what people think or say?" Bella replied in a soft whisper and her breath on his skin caused him to shiver. "And how will either of us know any of that if we can never show each other how we feel?"
"But you said…"
"I know what I said last night, Edward. Every single word of it has been running through my mind ever since," Bella replied and her deep breath pressed her chest more firmly against his. "We've both wasted so much time being idiots and worrying about the wrong things. Haven't there been enough secrets without adding more?"
"Yes, but some secrets I can't share because they aren't mine to do so," Edward answered with a sigh. "I'm angry, but not spiteful."
"I'm not asking you to do that," Bella emphasized and brought her eyes back to meet his. "I would never ask that of you. And if you really think the wait is necessary, I'll do it. You're worth waiting for. But is it?"
"I don't know," Edward mumbled softly and closed his eyes. "I know that I don't want to keep you a secret. I could handle the talk. Heaven knows there's plenty of that going around already about me and Kate. But when it involves you, that's entirely different."
"No, it's not. You don't want to keep me a secret? Then you don't have to. I'm a big girl, I can handle it. If it means that at the end of the day we'd have each other, who cares what they say? It's not important," Bella replied with a shake of her head. "Are we going to lead the rest of our lives based on what others think or say? Isn't this all that matters when all is said and done? You and me?"
Edward was about to reply when the song ended and was replaced by something a little more up-tempo, and instead, chuckled. "I'm a really lousy dancer once actual movement is required."
Bella laughed as well and rested her forehead on his shoulder. "Me, too. When I'm not being led."
Edward kept his hand on the small of her back as they stepped away from the dance floor and over to the table, to where it was more private. "That is what's important to me, Bella. But I can't just think about what's important to me or what I want."
"What I want is simple. I want you," Bella replied, gazing up at him with those beautiful brown eyes. "Like I said, I've been doing a lot of thinking about this. People are going to talk, there's no way around it, regardless of how long we do or do not wait. And once the truth comes out, what will it have been for?"
"I know you're right, Bella. It's just hard for me to even imagine the things they'd think about you," Edward said, lowering his eyes. "You don't deserve that."
"All that really matters to me is what you think of me. So don't worry about that," Bella replied, stepping minimally closer to him. "We both know the truth. That this isn't some rebound from a bad breakup, so I don't know why I ever said anything like that. So aside from the talk, is there anything else holding you back?"
"No," Edward answered immediately, bringing his eyes back up to meet hers. "This is what I want. To be with you, Bella."
"Then, we can start slow. Maybe go out to dinner or something," Bella said with a shrug. "I'm not implying that we make spectacles of ourselves or have make-out sessions in my office. I'm really not that kind of person. I prefer to keep my personal life private, and I always have. And you seem to as well. But you said yourself that you wouldn't be able to hide the way you feel about me, and I'm not as successful at that as I thought, either. There are people that already know."
"I know," Edward answered with a soft chuckle, meeting her questioning gaze. "Your father."
Bella tugged at her lip with her teeth and shook her head. "He always was the observant one in the family."
"Well, if we're throwing caution to the wind, would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow night, Miss Swan?" Edward asked, his voice still slightly nervous.
"I would really like that, Mr. Cullen."