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All characterizations, plot lines, backgrounds and details belong to the author. Plagiarism is theft. No copying or reproduction of this work in any language is permitted without the express written authorization of the author. Thank you. February 2010.

Many thanks to my wonderfully talented beta, xrxdanixrx.

Chapter 1

As the pulse of yet another dreaded techno-charged dance mix fills the bar, I'm left to watch from the sidelines… again.

The scene has become normal now. After five years of enduring it, I'm resigned that it will always be this way.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm thankful for them in my life. God knows, I would not have survived this long without them. But I'd like to be able to dance again. It's not as if I can't do it, I just can't bring myself to.

I used to love it. I used to love to do a lot of things before it happened.

Now, I don't want to do anything but run.

The fact that they've dragged me out to this dreadful bar, yet again, is excruciating. But I'd rather endure two hours of this than have to listen to Emmett for days.

I shake my head as he waves to me from the middle of the dance floor. I watch as he and Rose engage in some sort of erotic foreplay bump and grind.

Alice and Jasper dance close to them in complete contrast. It's all tender kisses and soft touches designed to slowly work each other into a frenzy before they announce their departure for the night.

I nurse my vodka cranberry and count the seconds before I can make a break for it.

Alice and Jasper arrive back to the table first.

"Hey, we're going to get going. Can you get home ok?" Jasper asks, never taking his eyes off Alice.

Of course I can. I'll be fine. Go and enjoy. No details tomorrow though."

Alice laughs at me and bends down to give me a kiss on the cheek. "Lunch tomorrow?"

"Yep, Rose and I will be there like always." She smiles before leading Jazz towards the exit.

I watch them leave, his hand never leaves her back and I smile at how close they are.

Emmett and Rose return after the song finally ends. He plunks down on the red velvet booth beside me and wraps his arm around my shoulder.

"When are we going to see you out on the dance floor again, B?" he asks taking a mouthful of his beer.

"Not in this lifetime, Em."

"Aw, come on. You used to love to dance." He gives me the look. The one I'm so used to seeing from him and pretty much everyone else now.

"He's right. You had some wicked moves." Rose smiles at me and takes a long sip of her martini.

"Thanks, but you both know it's not happening, so you should just stop trying."

She narrows her eyes at me, and I know that look. It's the patented I-never-back- down-from-a-challenge look that I grew up knowing and fearing. Rose and I have been best friends since grade eight when she came to my rescue one day at lunch when the over zealous Jonathon Tompkins decided he wanted to feel me up. She pinned him to the ground in some sort of slow motion ninja move and we've been inseparable ever since.

Alice moved in across the street from Rose in suburbia Vancouver that summer and literally bounced into our lives. I've never met anyone with as much energy and lust for life as Alice. She's able to take the most mundane of days and turn it into something you'll never forget.

I'd be lying if I said that being best friends with the goddess that is Rosalie Hale didn't do damage to our egos during the sheer hell that is high school. There's nothing like hearing- "Can you introduce me to Rose," -mere minutes after loosing your virginity to somebody you thought was different.

Rose tends to attract the attention of every red blooded male within a five mile radius. Alice and I, garnered attention simply by being in her general vicinity. The string of guys she went through is staggering. Most of them only lasting a few days if they were lucky.

After high school, we went to UBC together where Rose met Emmett at some dreaded keg party where she drank him under the table in a beer chugging contest. Needless to say, the string of guys came to a screeching halt after that.

Then there was the ill fated heli-ski trip to Revelstoke that Emmett insisted we go on that changed my life in immeasurable ways. Growing up in Vancouver, I was a good skier. Actually, I was better than good if I'm being honest. I was on the UBC ski team and actually won a few races. I loved to ski...well until it happened.

The trip wasn't a complete disaster, Alice did meet Jazz. She says there was a beam of light shining down on him when he walked into the chalet we had rented. The world stopped spinning and all that shit

Emmett removes his arm from my shoulder and stands up abruptly. "Dude, over here!" He waves his arms, motioning to the table and I glare back at Rose.

She shrugs her shoulders and tries to look innocent, failing miserably.

I shake my head and twirl my left over ice cubes around in the glass. I cannot believe he's done this again.

How many times do we have to go through this pathetic routine?

Every few weeks, we 'just happen' to run into some guy he knows, and I 'just happen' to be with him. Then he disappears, faking some call that needs his utmost attention, and leaves me with whatever poor soul he's decided to inflict upon me.

Inevitably, the guy lasts less than an hour before he runs for the hills.

I'm so not in the mood for this tonight.

He glances down at me and offers me his dimple filled smile. I'm fairly certain I actually growl at him before the guy gets to the table.

"Edward, man! I was beginning to think you weren't gonna show," Emmett says loudly.

"Sorry, the traffic is brutal," he says, letting out a stressed sigh.

I look up from my very empty drink at lucky bachelor number thirty-seven and immediately stop breathing.

Oh he is fine. Very, very fine.

He's got a distinct five o'clock shadow gracing his angular jaw. His hair is a complete and total mess, but somehow, he makes that work for him. And his eyes, they're this deeply intense shade of green. Actually, everything about this guy is intense.

How has Emmett not introduced me to this one before? At least given me something to look at for an hour before I'm inevitably left disappointed and unsatisfied?

"Edward, you know Rose already. This is Bella." He motions to me as if I'm some prize from a game show. I smile weakly back at him.

His lips curve into a small devilish smile and he nods his head towards me. "Nice to meet you Bella, finally."

"You, too," I mutter.

Finally? How long has Emmett been talking about me?

"Rose, let's dance." Emmett bolts from the table, grabbing her hand as they head to the dance floor.

I chuckle and shake my head as he sits down in front of me.

"Let's just get this over with, ok? I'll make it easy on you. You pretend to ask me questions; I'll look like I'm vaguely interested. I'll give Em the signal, and then we can both just go," I say, looking up at him from my drink and cocking my head to the side.

His eyes widen. "Is that what you really want to do?" he asks sincerely.

"It'll make this go a fuck of a lot faster." I stare into my glass.

"So, he does this a lot then?" he asks cynically.

"More than you can imagine," I answer flatly.

"And these little meetings you have, they always end the same way?"

"Always," I answer solidly and glare back at him.

"What if this time, it's different?"

"It won't be." I issue him the warning stare and he doesn't flinch. Not even one bit. I, however, do and resume watching the ice melt in my drink.

"How can you be so sure?" he asks, his voice turning cocky.


"You've never experienced me before." I look up at him and he's smirking at me, one eyebrow raised and looking incredibly hot. "Tell me something about yourself. Something nobody else knows."

I stare back at him, a little shocked by his request, but I feel absolutely compelled to answer. "I cry myself to sleep every single night."

His expression turns dark and I look away from him.

Where the hell did that come from?

"Why?" he asks, his eyes intently focus on me.

"I'm lonely."

"Why?" His voice is barely audible over the blasting beat that provides the backdrop for this insanely uncomfortable conversation.

"I never let anyone in." I look up and meet his eyes.

"Why?" he asks. He's not relenting.

"I've got nothing left to give."

"Why?" he presses. And that's it. I can't do this anymore. I refuse to waste any more time. I've got better things to do than to sit here and wait for the inevitable rejection.

"This conversation is over," I say acidly and begin to push myself up from the booth.

His hand shoots across the table covering mine. I sit back down slowly and scowl at him.

"Don't leave, please?" He sounds sincere, but I know better.

"There's really no point in me staying," I answer truthfully.

Some sort of panicked look comes over his face as he moves his hand up my arm. "Dance with me," he demands as he starts to pull on my arm. I yank it back from him forcefully.

"I don't dance."

"What do you mean you don't dance? Everyone dances," he says smugly. Oh he's so full of himself, so cocky and oozing with sex appeal. I'm sure women drop their pants in a nanosecond within this mans presence.

I narrow my eyes at him. "Not everyone dances."

"What, have you got a broken leg or something?" He laughs.

I let out a huff at him and shake my head. "Or something."

Well, that didn't last long. Less than ten minutes, I'd say? That's got to be a record or something for me.

I scoot over to the edge of the booth and rise up, reaching around for my cane.

His eyes grow wide and his mouth drops open slightly as I turn back to him.

"Edward, it was nice to meet you. I'm sure you're a nice guy. Emmett knows a lot of people. I'm fairly certain he can hook you up with someone much more suitable for you than me." He watches intently as I lean slightly on the cane and make my way for the door.

Fuck I hate having a new prosthetic. At least with my old one I could have made a graceful escape without a cane. But I just got this one yesterday and so the cane is making a dreaded appearance, at least for a couple of days. Actually, to be perfectly honest, I probably don't need it. But, I kind of expected something like this from Emmett tonight, and I am grateful that I brought it right now. Now I don't have to waste any time becoming more attracted to this dream-like man before he finds out and predictably blows me off, just like the long string of losers Emmett has paraded me in front of for the last five years.

Em turns his head from the dance floor and sees me struggling to leave. He pushes his way through the crowd to get to me with Rose following behind him.

"What's going on, B? Are you ok?" Emmett asks concerned.

"Yeah, I'm fine. I'm just kind of tired. I'm going to go home." I issue him the look. The one reserved that says 'back the fuck off and leave me alone'.

He nods his head and takes a step back. "I'll call you tomorrow." His voice is quiet and he knows he's in deep shit…again.

"See you in the morning, Rose." She hugs me tightly before I turn and limp my way through the pulsating bodies on the dance floor and back to my all too empty house.

Chapter End Notes:

Up next EPOV...he's got some issues of his own.

Thanks for reading and reviewing.