So, I wrote this little thing last year to be part of the SU4K compilation. Thank you so much to anyone who was a part of that, in any way, shape or form. :-) If you didn't get the chance to read it, well, now you have it, lol.
I only submitted chapter one of this short story to the comp, so you'll get a little bit more here. And this will be something really short, four chapters total.
Also, the lovely Evilnat did a wonderful banner for this story, which you can see in the tiny square up here, lol, or on my profile.
Thanks again to my pretty beta Songster for her help.
I don't own Twilight.
'Lesson One: Flirting'
The drive to Port Angeles is pleasant enough this morning. After a week of non-stop raining, the weather finally took a break and let the sun shine with a vengeance. The scenery around me is so alive and green that, for a moment, I don't really mind I'm practically melting sitting here in my car.
It's Saturday morning and just as my friends are sleeping in, or passed out after partying all night, here I am, driving all the way to Port Angeles from Forks to my weekly dance lesson.
I sigh and rub the light scruff on my face. I should've shaved this morning.
It all really started four years ago, when I was in eighth grade. Back then, all I really wanted was to join the basketball team once high school started. It was the only sport I could imagine I'd be good at. I mean, no way was I playing football and baseball was just a concussion waiting to happen. Basketball looked like the safest choice.
Well, safest to me, at least.
So, weekends found me trying to practice in my parents' driveway - trying being the key word here – and just as I thought I might be getting better, I kept missing the hoop like nobody's business. It was quite a ridiculous and spastic sight, to be honest.
I can still remember the looks on my parents' faces when they saw me practice each weekend, as they tried to decide if I needed professional help for such level of un-coordination or just let me be, hoping that I might get better in time.
That last one didn't happen.
After I broke a window and hit my Dad in the nose - all in one shot I might add - my Mom had just about enough of it. It was a coincidence that a few days earlier, she had met up with an old friend for lunch, Renee Swan, a dance instructor with a school in Port Angeles. It seemed they talked and talked and my Mom was convinced that I should take dance lessons to help with my coordination.
To say that I resisted is putting it mildly. I hadn't had a tantrum like that since I was seven and my parents didn't get me the go-kart I really wanted. I cringe when I think of my 13-year-old self having a tantrum like that, but there was no way I was taking dance lessons. What would my friends say? And surely I wasn't that bad.
Later that day, my Dad came to my room and talked me into it; he said that I should at least try it and that in the long run it would be good for me. If I had better coordination, I could try out for the basketball team the following year and stop breaking his nose.
Damn him and his good points.
The following week, I reluctantly got inside the car and my Mom drove us to Port Angeles. That was actually one of the few good things about this whole 'taking dance lessons' idea: the place was far enough so none of my friends would find out.
When we got there, the first thing I noticed was that the studio was very different than what I had imagined: this was a small, brick, three-story building. They taught different types of dances: ballroom, salsa, ballet, tap. You name it.
Another thing that hit me when I got there that day was that I'd be the only kid in class. It was rather obvious, but I was sulking too much to think about it before that moment. I looked around the room and all I could see were old couples. Like really old.
I really didn't want to spend an hour week after week dancing with an old lady who smelled funny.
After being introduced to Mrs. Swan, we decided that the best for me would be to take a 'mixed' class. Those kinds of classes rotated different types of dances every couple of weeks, so I wouldn't be stuck with something I didn't like for so long.
When it was time for the first class to start, I got a little scared, if I'm honest. I had no idea what I was doing and I was worried about who was going be my partner? Looking around, I noticed that everyone was already paired up and ready to go. I was ready to bolt when the door to the studio opened and this petite girl entered. She had long black hair tied up into a ponytail and a big friendly smile that made me smile back.
That was the day I met Alice.
She was one of Mrs. Swan's two daughters and was studying to be a dancer. Apparently, she loved dancing so much that when her mother asked her if she wanted to be my partner every week, she agreed immediately. And she didn't even know me. Later on, I learned that was the way Alice was: non-judgmental and giving.
From then on the classes were not so dull. I absolutely sucked at dancing at first, flapping my arms and dragging my feet, but both Alice and Mrs. Swan were very patient with me and after a couple of weeks I was able to move with some grace and not step on Alice's toes.
She was a fucking saint.
Alice was very funny and we talked and laughed all throughout the lessons. It was probably a tactic to make me forget about counting steps and just let go, but it worked perfectly and in those few weeks of meeting her, we became fast friends. She and her sister went to Port Angeles for school, so we were only able to see each other on Saturdays, but it was good anyway.
After six months, my lessons were over and I did improve my coordination, which helped me make the basketball team at school the following year, even though it was only junior varsity at the time. Alice ended up moving to another city to attend a prestigious dance academy in order to become what she always dreamed of.
I didn't come back for more classes the next year; they served their purpose after all, however, I kept in contact with Alice via email. I hadn't seen her since then, almost four years ago, but I still smile when I remember those days. I also cringe a little with embarrassment from my un-coordinated first steps.
About two weeks ago, I was running an errand for Mom in Port Angeles when I bumped into Mrs. Swan. Although she wasn't Swan anymore and asked me to call her Renee from then on. I had heard this from Alice. Still, it was weird to have my ex-teacher asking me to call her Renee.
I was really happy to see her; she had been a great teacher. It was because of her classes that I not only made the basketball team, but they also helped me gain some confidence around girls and dancing at parties. Of course I wasn't mamboing my way through life, but I had my moves.
We talked for a bit about what I was doing, where Alice was, just catching up. She knew prom would be in a couple of months for me and in some kind of voodoo move she convinced me to take a few classes with her once again. To 'dust off my old moves' she had said. I had no idea how she did it, really, but I agreed.
And that's why now I'm heading to that familiar little building.
When Renee sees me enter, she beams so brightly, it makes me remember how she looked like all those years ago and how my Saturday mornings were spent.
I smile back at her, and suddenly taking classes again doesn't seem so bad after all.
I look around the room, just checking things out. It hasn't changed that much in four years: the same big windows facing the street, open so that people could hear the music coming from here; the mirrors in the back, the entire wall covered from floor to ceiling; the excited couples ready to start their lessons, brand new shoes and recently bought clothes just for dancing.
Seeing this familiar setting makes me a little excited as well; I truly hadn't noticed I'd missed this so much.
The sound of the doors opening and closing brings me back and when I turn, I see a girl walking in. Like Alice, she's also petite, wearing a green skirt that reaches just above her knees and a white tank top. She looks so natural and beautiful and just by looking at her, I know she's Renee's other daughter. They share the same face shape and skin color, but her hair is different. This girl has shiny brown waves falling gently down her back, bright from the sun coming through the windows.
She walks over to Renee, and they talk for a while. I can't stop looking at her, even though all I can see from where I'm standing is her profile. I see the glow of her skin, how her lips move while she talks and her hands fly around as if words aren't simply enough to make her point.
Just then, she turns and looks at me, straight in the eyes.
And holy shit, her eyes.
I can't break away from them, even though I probably look like a stalker since we haven't even been introduced yet. They are the darkest shade of green I have ever seen. It matches the color of her skirt and the evergreen from the scenery I had been admiring on my way here from Forks.
I'm even more convinced that coming here is a good idea.
Renee motions me to come over, and I slowly walk towards them. The girl's stare never wavers and neither does mine. It's impossible to turn away from those eyes.
"Edward. This is my other daughter, Bella. Bella, this is Edward, the boy you'd be dancing with." Just as I thought, she's Renee's other daughter. I like Alice but had I known this, I probably would've taken classes more than once a week.
The introduction breaks her gaze,and shaking her head, she extends her hand in my direction.
"Yes, hello, Edward. Nice meeting you." I hold her hand in mine and I feel a million things at once, jolting me: the softness of her skin and flowery scent that hits my nose; the warmth of her body close to mine and the tiny shockwaves that travel from her hand to mine. What is she doing to me? And how am I gonna get through an hour a week of holding her close to me if I react this way just from a handshake?
Her eyes widen and she gasps softly, but doesn't remove her hand from mine. Perhaps she's feeling something similar? I want to ask her but how the hell do I explain a 'tingly feeling' without sounding like a creep? Now that would be an awkward first impression.
We are only interrupted when the music starts to play, and we both turn our heads to the stereo, where Renee is standing. We hadn't noticed she had left us alone. I wonder how long Bella and I have been shaking hands.
This interruption also serves to remind us that we're here to dance and that we're surrounded by people. No time to ask her the million questions I have in my mind. For now, I just settle into the fact that she's about the most beautiful girl I have ever seen.
"Shall we?" I clear my throat, and when she nods, I lead her to the dance floor.
Recognizing the music, we take our positions: one of my hands on her waist and the other one holding one of hers. With her free hand, she grazes my shoulder with a soft touch.
And now I'm proven right: the contact with her is so overwhelming it's ridiculous. We're so close, if I bend a little we'd be nose to nose. Like this, I can see her face more clearly: the little lines when she furrows her brows; the slight darker shade of chocolate in her hair close to her neck; the unbelievable green of her eyes. I'm so fixated on her face, that when it's time to start dancing, I forget the steps and I stumble a little. Bella smiles softly at noticing it and she starts guiding me.
"I thought you knew how to dance." She looks amused and there is a glow in her eyes, one that makes them look so bright and alive, that right there, I vow to discover how to make them spark that way again. And again.
"Um, yeah, I do. You just caught me off guard." That's an understatement.
She hums softly, and we continue to move. This time I take the lead, since now I'm able to actually remember how to do this.
Close to her like this is amazing; I can feel how her body moves under my palm at her waist and I'm so aware of her touch, that the hand she rests on my shoulder is almost burning me. I never want us to stop touching. I don't care what kind of music we dance to. I just want to hold her close like this, with our hands on each other, feeling her body move through the fabric of her clothes.
When I twirl her, more little details about her overwhelm me: I feel her hair grazing my bare forearms, tickling me; I get a stronger scent of something flowery and sweet hitting my nose; and I feel the slightest contact of her skirt on my legs. That last one is ridiculous since I'm wearing jeans, but it's like I'm aware of every single detail about her.
It's fucking addictive.
"So, tell me, Edward, what did she say to make you come here?" she asks after a few movements. I take a big breath and I'm glad she interrupted the moment. I need to breathe and try to think straight.
"Your Mom? Well, to tell you the truth I have no idea. One moment we were talking about our favorite coffee and the next she's telling me to come on Saturday for classes. She'd be great selling used cars, you know," I tease her while an older couple passes us.
"You're right about that." She laughs, and even with the music slightly drowning the sound, I think it's the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. "And actually, Mom is an experienced saleswoman. You wouldn't believe the things she had us eat as kids with just a little convincing."
I nod and smile.
"I can see that about her."
We move between the couples in tune with the melody. Bella is a natural at this, probably because she has been dancing forever, and she makes it look so effortless. I'm not so bad myself, but today I'm in no shape to be any kind of graceful. I just can't stop thinking about how her body moves under my hand, and all I want to do is run it up and down her hips.
I have no self-control, but I must resist.
"So, Edward, tell me about yourself. Since we'll be dance partners, I'd at least like to know who I'm trusting to dip me when the time comes."
"What do you want to know?" I'll tell you everything.
" I know a little about you actually, from Alice, but I hardly think you still consider Cheetara hot. I hope." Fuck… Alice.
I laugh uncomfortably, because I see that I told Alice way too much back then.
"You can trust me, you know," I blurt instead, meaning that she can trust me to dip her and with anything she wants.
She stares for a moment, maybe trying to decipher what I meant with my words and smiles softly but doesn't say anything. I just love the way her lips curl right then.
"Well, not much to tell about me." I start talking. "I'm a senior at Forks High, and next year I'll be going to Northwestern University to study medicine. I play basketball and apparently, I'm easily convinced." I shake my head. In reality, more and more I'm thankful for Renee convincing me to come here.
"You might wanna keep that last bit to yourself. Someone might want to take advantage of your innocent side." She teases, but we are so close to each other, I can barely think beyond the little glint in her eyes when she said that.
"Innocent side? Then you don't know me, Bella. I can be very, very bad." At flirting, apparently. What the hell did I just say?
"Really?" Her voice is a whisper and had it not been that we are so close to each other, I would've missed it. It almost sounds innocent, like she really wants me to answer her how bad I can be, but the look in her face says something very different.
Her eyes widen slightly and I see her breathing a little more heavily, her tongue slowly licks her lips. Right then, I feel the biggest urge to kiss them, to taste her and check if she tastes as sweet as the scent that hits my nose every time she's close.
I'm so fucked.
"You have no idea how bad I can be," I say just as softly as her words and lean forward just a little. The words 'kiss her' are repeating over and over in my head.
That movement seems to break Bella's stare at me and, backing away, she shakes her head and smiles, leaving things at that. I feel a pang of sadness seeing her retreat like that, but what more can I expect? We've just met and trying to kiss her right now might not be appropriate.
So, we just keep dancing, but all that time I can't keep my eyes away from her face. She's so beautiful, and it's not even just about her features, there is almost an aura around her that makes her shine.
She stares at me as we dance, giving me a curious look from time to time, like she's trying to figure me out or something. I'm hardly an enigma to figure out and at this point, I'd tell her everything she wants to know about me. She just has to ask.
"I love this song," Bella says, turning her head to the speakers when a new song starts to play.
I listen and I recognize it as 'Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps' by Doris Day. The fact that I actually know this makes me cringe a little. That's just not normal.
"Oh, Doris. Long time friends, you know." I say seriously.
"Really? Maybe you can introduce us." She giggles.
Fuck… that giggle. Is it possible to be enamored with a giggle?
I have no idea what comes over me after that. That last giggle hypnotized me? The fact that I've been holding her close this entire time killed my apprehension? I don't know, but I right then, my next move feels right.
I bring her flush to me, starting to move my hips slowly in tune with the melody.
She gasps a little and her hands tighten around my hand and shoulder a little. I lead her slowly around the room, and she follows immediately. We've been in tune all throughout the class, always aware of what the other needs and how to move, almost anticipating every move. Right now is no different.
She keeps her eyes solely on my face, no one else matters. We don't need to see what's around us: the couples, her Mom, everyone vanishes from our little world. It's just me, Bella and Doris' words filling the air.
When the last notes fade into the air, we stop, but don't break our close position. I see curiosity in her eyes. She's probably wondering what the hell is wrong with me, and all I want to know is who she is and, once again, kiss those damn red lips that have been calling for me all through the class.
Without even thinking it, one of my hands moves from hers, slowly lifting to touch her soft-looking cheek. However, before reaching it, I come back to reality when I hear applause around us. I let my hand fall to my side, the other one still at her waist. It seems everyone has been watching at our little show. Renee looks smug in the corner with a happy smile on her face.
I duck my head and see Bella doing the same. I'm a little embarrassed, not only with people watching us dance around the room, but also because I was about to touch her in a way that might've made her feel uncomfortable. We've just met, after all, but she just makes me forget about everything.
"Alright, class. Nice work this week. That's it for the day, I'll see you next Saturday," Renee says to the group.
"Right, I guess I have to go now," I say without really moving. I don't want to let her go, but it doesn't look good to be holding her like this without the music. It does feel extremely good, though.
"Yeah, I have to be somewhere else as well." She looks a little sad, maybe mirroring what I'm feeling as well. I want to ask her about it, but then Renee shows up, giving her a hug. I have to release Bella's waist..
"Well done, my dears," she says to the both of us. "I knew you'd be a great match." The glint in her eyes tells me that there might be something else to this, but honestly, if it brought me here, I don't care.
"Thanks, Renee. It was fun getting back to dancing again," I say, sincerely.
"And you did wonderful, Edward. I can see you are a natural at this, you just need to loosen up a little bit." I smile and nod. I can tell that with Bella as my partner, I could loosen up just fine… or be a nervous wreck the next second from having her so close.
"So, I'll see you next week?" I ask not looking at her, but at Bella. Will she be back as well?
"Of course, dear. Bella and I will be here next week." Renee smiles and squeezes Bella's shoulder.
"Thank you, I had a nice time, Edward." I just love the way my name sounds coming from her. Now that the class is over, I can hear her much more clearly.
"Me too." We slowly shake hands and I gather my things. We meet at the door on our way out and say goodbye again. We head in opposite directions.
When I get home, nothing can ruin my mood. I even help Mom with the cooking. She eyes me for a few moments but smiles and goes back to her chopping.
For the next three months that is my Saturday routine: I wake up early, drive to Port Angeles and spend not nearly enough time with Bella.
That first class quickly transformed into teasing and easy conversations. She's so easy to talk to; I think it might be the Swan girls' way. Alice was similar, but she didn't hold my attention as Bella does.
Since we're not only at the studio to talk and tease, we also concentrate on our dancing. I'm actually getting much better and Bella is the perfect partner. However, I not only dance with her, we even swap partners at times.
Ever since that first class when we dance to Doris' song, people are eager to have us as their partners as well.. I dance with small wrinkled ladies that pinch my cheeks leaving me wincing, and Bella dances with guys that reminisce the good ol' times with her.
But it's always my time with Bella that leaves me the happiest. From the way she looks at me with those beautiful green eyes, I think she might feel the same way.
We dance salsa, her hips moving from right to left, her ass looking amazing from the view she gives me when I'm behind her; we dance the tango, her body moving in such a sensual way. I still have dreams of her touch and hot breath touching my cheek.
I always hate it when the class ends, and I have to go back home. But my time there has turned into the best of my week; we even started a small tradition. No matter what kind of music we are dancing to that day, we convinced her Mom to always end the class with Doris. We become bolder in our teasing and movements with that song, and even though it signals the end of my day with Bella, I can't help but feel excited when the beginning notes fill the air.
We laugh the entire time the songs play, singing softly or mouthing the lyrics at times. I always tease her with them, whispering softly to her.
A million times I've asked you,
And then I ask you over again
You only answer
Bella always smiles and leans to my ear to whisper the final words.
"Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps."
She then kisses my cheek and leaves, giggling all the way to the door. I live for that giggle.
I know more about Bella now that the months have passed: I know that she loves cinnamon and sci-fi books and is going to the University of Washington to be a social worker. She wants to help others, especially kids. We talk about everything and nothing, and I learn a lot about her by just seeing her, without having to ask questions.
However, we don't see each other for the rest of the week, because not only is school kicking our asses, but also, it's like Saturday at the studio is our world, each of those days a date just for us. Even in a room full of people, it's only the two of us in there, so we try to keep it light and fun, just learning about each other, not bringing in problems from outside.
I want to ask her out, God, I so want to, but I want to get to know her first, and with one day a week to do so, it's a rather slow process. We text during the week though, just silly jokes or little things we're thinking or doing at the time. They always make me smile and hope mine make her feel just as happy.
In a way, it already feels like we've been dating all this time… minus the kissing.
Man, I still want to kiss her badly.
During our classes, I also learn that she's flirty and playful, always moving a little more sexily when she knows I'm checking her out, which is a lot. I know she checks me out too, so I do the same. I just hope I don't come off as having a seizure, but from the way her eyes widen when I catch her taking a peek at my ass, I might be making the right moves after all.
We wink at each other, and I'm often the one blushing from that. Bella always wears dresses or skirts to class and I just love the way they fall down her body, the perfect outfit for our classes: they dance with her, swaying when she does.
She's nice and cares for others. I've seen how she helps older people at the entrance or how she dances with them, always patient. She loves her family; her eyes light up when we talk about Alice.
I simply can't stop being attracted to her, to anything she does or says.
It's with that notion and the fact that I can't stand it anymore, that I resolve to ask her out on a date. I like her and I know she feels something for me. I've tried to be patient and wait for the right time, but it will never come unless I make it the right time.
So, the following Saturday, I enter the studio with a new resolve: not taking 'no' for an answer.
I find her talking to a couple of ladies and when she turns to look at me, instead of finding the usual bright smile on her lips, I see a sad one, forced.
I'm instantly worried and I go to her, intent on finding out what's got her so sad.
"Hey." I say and take her hand. She lets me and for a spilt second, I forget that I'm worried about her.
"Hi, ready to start dancing?" Like her forced smile, this question sounds more like avoidance than real eagerness to start dancing.
"Bella, what's wrong?" I tug at her hand and guide her to the side of the room, trying to give us privacy.
"Nothing, let's just dance. Okay?" She tries to lead me back to the center of the room, but I won't let her, I won't let her tell me that she's fine when she obviously isn't.
"Bella, talk to me. We're friends, right?" When did the word 'friend' started leaving a bitter taste in my mouth? "There is something bothering you and I want to help."
She looks out the big windows to the outside; it's actually a nice day today, and she doesn't try to move us again. I stare at her profile and each second that passes makes me panic. What the hell happened? A few seconds later, her shoulders sag, and heaving out a big sigh, she turns to me.
Fuck, she looks so sad.
"I'm leaving, Edward, this weekend actually. Please don't ask me more questions, it's complicated and I'm still processing this." She shakes her head and runs a hand through her hair.
"What do you mean, you're leaving? What happened?" I know she asked for no questions, but what the hell does she really want?
"Please, Edward, don't. Let's dance today and forget about everything for a little while. Please?" Her eyes are shiny with tears and right then, I know I can't deny her anything, not even this.
I'm disappointed that she doesn't feel like she can tell me what's happening. I could ask Renee or even Alice, but if Bella doesn't want to tell me, then I should respect her wishes.
I'm sad to not be able to ask her out and see what we could've been together. Fuck, we could've been great, we could be great.
I'm angry for having waited too long to make a move. I'm so stupid.
With a sigh, I nod and lift her hand to my lips. It's useless to ask her more about it, I'd just be pushing her away.
The lesson is obviously not flirty as usual. There is a sad cloud above us all throughout the hour and often I can see that she wants to tell me something, but at the last moment, she decides against it.
The rest of the time we say nothing; we're both deep in thought, moving almost without thinking about it. We've done this enough times to pull it off. We just dance and let our movements do the talking instead: Some are teasing, like it's our thing; others are more desperate, where I pull her closer to me while she fists my shirt.
We don't let any space come between us; we just keep touching and dancing. The feeling of our movements is much more powerful than ever, and I revel in every touch of her skin, every short graze of warmth under my finger tips.
She looks at me many times while we dance, her eyes so sad but also with a glint that I haven't noticed before. I'm not sure what it is, but for just that tiny moment, she's the Bella I've come to know these past months: happy, beautiful, bright.
I'm about to ask her about it, I can't stand the silence between us anymore, when the music changes and makes us both still our movements and look at each other in shock.
It's the beginning notes of our song, the last song we will dance.
Slowly, we start to sway, mirroring each other's steps. If this is the last song, then I'll take advantage of feeling her close for one last time. I let my hands touch her body more freely, her hips, her waist, her back, and she does the same to my body.
I feel like we're alone in this moment, just dancing in an empty room, surrounded by words about a possibility. I move my hips and whisper the lyrics to her ear. Bella giggles, but her eyes are so serious.
So if you really love me
Say yes, but if you don't dear, confess
And please don't tell me
I once again mouth those last lines, only this time, it's not teasing; it's not letting myself being carried away by the song and by Bella. I feel like I'm telling her what I really feel, or the feelings that might've been.
I came today with a purpose, to see how she feels about me and see where we could go from here. Once again, a deep sadness tugs at my heart: all those times that I should've just simply asked her out, all the times when I wanted to press my lips to her.
When I look at her, her eyes are bright and happy for a moment; I've never seen them like that before and it makes me forget that she'll walk away in a few minutes. It also makes me smile.
Her lips form a word that I can't decipher, like she's willing words to leave them and when she makes up her mind, she leans and whispers into my ear.
"Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps." She kisses my cheek.
I move my hand to that spot, not believing that I finally felt her lips on me, even if it wasn't on my lips. It takes me a moment to realize that she left through the doors of the studio.
There are no giggles left behind this time.
And there ya have it. Don't be sad panda just yet. ;-)
Three more 'lessons' to go. Not sure when I'll post the next chapters, but it will be soon, since they're all written. :-)
Thank you for reading and see ya around, ladies.