Shall We Dance?
When Rosalie buys Bella and Edward two tickets for a dance lesson as a "pre-wedding" present, Bella is obviously worried... An hour of tripping over to music? What could be closer to hell? To console herself, Bella thinks of how she'll soon be perfect. How Edward won't have to come running every time she trips over her own stupid feet. But is that somehow endearing part of her something he'll miss? And if so, will 'changed' Bella still be Bella be enough for Edward? Fluff! BxE
1. Shall We Dance?
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2583 Review this Chapter
Shall We Dance?
“Dance lessons?” I asked, barely managing to hide the distaste in my voice.
Edward just smiled, knocking me breathless with his celestial contentment. He didn’t even have to look at me- he kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead as we drove towards my idea of living hell.
“Isn’t it customary for the bride and groom,” He stated aloud, stressing the last three words, “To learn something for their first dance together?”
I opened my mouth, waiting for a perfectly formed argument to pop out- but I was disappointed. I looked wildly around the car, trying to focus on anything but the two tickets for an hour long dance session that I held between my fingers. Edward began to notice my panic, but it was too late. I was heading for a tantrum.
“That may be true,” I began, trying to copy his perfect level of articulation and failing miserably, “but there isn’t much customary about us.”
I let out a loud, disgruntled sigh. “This is prom all over again.”
“You can’t expect me to do all the work,” he pointed out in a reasonable tone of voice. “I know you struggle with danci-“
“Struggle!” I exclaimed, cutting him off mid sentence. “I struggle walking across a room without falling flat on my face. ‘Struggle’ does not begin to describe how I feel about dancing!”
Edward shrugged, his smile fading slightly now. As if in reaction to our mood, the car began to slow too. Or at least, it became slow for Edward’s driving. The needle drifted to just below seventy. Perhaps I'd gone too far.
“Rosalie bought the tickets, as a wedding gift. I thought it only polite to use them.” He explained, deliberately not looking in my direction this time. He then took a hand off the steering wheel and lifted them out of my grasp. “No matter, I’m sure she’ll understand."
He smiled. "She’s seen you in gym, too.”
I could see that I’d upset him. The chance to miss it out, to let him sulk a little and spend the afternoon with him and the Cullens instead would be bliss. The idea hovered in my mind, golden and unattainable, for a few seconds. I shook my head to dispel the thought, and gave in.
“I suppose it’s not a terrible idea. If it reduces the chances of me falling on my face on the day…” I conceded, trying to sound a little bit enthusiastic. “I can’t have you doing all the work now, can I?”
My voice became a little higher in the last sentence as I struggled to keep the tone even. I thought I saw something in his expression shift a little, and bit my lip tightly to stop anything else coming out that would have an adverse effect on his mood.
“Bella,” He sighed, in his flawless angel’s voice. “You know I didn’t mean it like that.” Edward opened his mouth again to argue, but I just shook my head slowly.
“Didn’t you?” I asked quietly. I lifted my arm from my seat, and trailed my fingers slowly across the underside of his jaw. Understanding what I wanted, he turned his exasperated eyes to meet mine. We stayed like that for a few seconds, locked in our wordless embrace until I broke the silence. “You’d be right to.”
Almost angry again, Edward looked back out of the front windscreen again. His near-white lips pressed into a strong, hard line and he didn’t answer me. He put the tickets down on the arm rest between us and flicked off the radio, which had been giving out whiny pop songs as background noise. I pulled back my hand and crossed my arms. I then settled further into my seat, and had almost forgotten our conversation when he spoke again. I had been thinking of all the catastrophes I could manage to bring about in an hour long dance session…
“That’s madness, Bella.” Edward threw out angrily. His hands were gripping more tightly than usual onto the wheel, bleaching his already white knuckles of the little colour they had left. “I simply meant that you can’t expect me to drag you across the dance floor like I did when your leg was broken. I wasn’t referring to anything else.”
“I doubt I’ll learn a perfect rhumba in an hour session anyway,” I retorted sarcastically.
“Just stand on your own two feet and let me do the leading, is that too much to ask?” Edward sighed with a small, but no less glorious, smile. His eyes flickered over to try and meet mine, and I could tell he was trying to stifle a laugh. Whether it was just at our argument, or at the idea of me doing the rhumba, I couldn’t tell.
“Just wait until I'm like you.” I commented absent mindedly. “Then I won’t need you to stop me tripping over my own feet.” I thought that he would be glad, at the thought of not having to treat me like a cripple anymore.
Instead, the laugh died on his lips. Edward took his right hand back off the steering wheel and took my hand, forcing me to stop crossing my arms. As gently as I could imagine, he turned my arm so my open palm faced up, and lifted my wrist to his frozen lips. Through closed eyes, I could tell he was feeling the pulse that beat there. Perhaps he was already counting them down; the beats my heart had left.
Then Edward tilted his head, so that he was looking straight into my eyes through his long eyelashes. I shivered, but it had nothing to do with the temperature of the car.
“That doesn’t mean I won’t miss doing it.” He told me slowly. His expression cleared and we pulled into the car park of a building at the side of the road. A white sign over the doorway read ‘Karen’s School of Dance’ with a telephone number listed beneath it. I could almost the soft jazz that would surely be leaking through the windows, ready to torture me in tempo.
With a watery smile, I let go of Edward's hand and stepped out of the car.
* * *
Karen turned out to be a bossy woman in her late fifties. Her greying hair still had hints of showgirl blonde beneath it. It was only us and two other couples, who were also engaged, so there wasn’t much to keep her distracted from my terrible technique. I began to dread her claps, which told the entire group that someone was making a mistake.
“Bella,” She began exasperatedly after attracting the room's attention, “When he steps forward, you step back. That is the point of a waltz.” She pushed me aside, for what felt like the hundredth time this lesson and wriggled into Edward’s grasp. Gracefully, they did a perfect waltz around the room that caused one of the couples to applaud them. I gave them a dirty look, blushing tomato red, and waited for her to move aside.
She gave Edward a slight nod, enquiring politely whether he danced professionally. He just smiled and shook his head, obviously anxious to get back to me and gloat.
“Show-off,” I muttered angrily to him as the music started again. He took a step back, smiling smugly, as I tried to purposefully tread on his foot.
“Better, Bella!” Karen congratulated me with a smile. I looked back at Edward, with a wicked grin, and quickened my step.
“This isn’t really meant to be a dance of such passion, Bella.” He joked, as we whizzed around the small dance hall faster than any of the other couples. Karen’s face turned sour, but it didn’t take long for us to make an emergency stop. I caught my leg on a chair which had been pushed against the wall. Edward caught me in his iron grip before any part of me had the chance to come to harm, but he was laughing loudly as he did so.
“Patience, respect and love,” Karen called across the room to us as she decided to intervene. She clapped in time with each word, causing me to grind my teeth in annoyance. “The three things needed for both a good waltz and a good relationship.”
She started towards Edward again, fluttering her greying lashes, to show me where I was going wrong- but then she stopped. For the first time, she noticed the engagement ring that looped around the third finger on my left hand.
“Aren’t you two awfully young to be getting married?” She asked in a shocked tone of voice. She must have previously thought that Edward had brought me here on some twisted idea of a date, not realising that we were here for the same reason as the others.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.” I replied quickly, surprised to find that I could blush any more. The condemnation in her tone was only what I had been expecting, but it still unsettled me. The wedding was already a touchy subject for me- an hour of enforced dancing on top of that had not improved my mood.
Edward gave me a disapproving glance for my rudeness, whilst Karen muttered, “Sorry dear…” She didn’t even try to hide the obvious glance at my stomach she gave. Karen seemed to think this was some sort of shot-gun, teen-pregnancy affair. My lips curled into a grin as I wondered what she would think if she knew what was really going to happen after the wedding.
She wandered off to help one of the other pairs, so Edward and I were stood alone. He took my hand once more, his chin aloft, and placed his other hand on my waist. I just tried to put my head on his shoulder, but we were slightly too far apart for me to do so comfortably.
His eyes were far away, either thinking about something he had heard in her thoughts or read in my expression. We stayed almost on the spot, repeating the same movements Karen had shown us. I was just waiting for today to be over.
Suddenly, the music stopped. The CD changed, and a different beat changed the atmosphere almost immediately. I tried to turn around, but Edward had a tight grip around my wrists, like I was wearing handcuffs. I stared up, surprised, to read his expression. I was thrilled to see his was elation, and watched my favourite crooked smile brightening up his marble features.
“Quickstep,” He purred in my ear, and suddenly we were doing a very different sort of dance.
My feet were doing something I’d never taught them to do- Edward nudged them faster than Karen could see so it seemed like we were both doing the rapid, swaying motions the music begged for. He threw me to the side, gently as I could imagine, but with the illusion of haste. I twirled like a professional in his arms, my heart in my mouth from a mixture of his joy at my sudden talent. He spun me again, then pulled me back into his embrace. I clung to his shirt breathlessly- unable to believe the speed at which we were moving across the hall floor.
I turned away from him, and his hands lingered at my waist. He danced around me so we were facing once more- my feet were on fire as I somehow kept up with his staccato steps. I gasped, as his lips grazed my ear, but we kept perfect time. I never wanted to stop coiling, writhing, spinning around him in a way that fit the song exactly. It was as if the music was being played to fit our movements, not the other way around. I forgot about Karen. I forgot about the wedding. I forgot about how angry I had been in the car on the way here. Edward flung me to the side, again, and I moved with him instead of against him. I wasn’t resistant anymore. My spin slowly ran out, and came to an end in perfect time with the fading strains of the song’s final chords. I fell into his waiting arms, then burst into paroxysms of helpless, breathless laughter.
His amber eyes were only too quick to meet mine. I heard the stunned silence of the other couples and smiled. His icy lips were suddenly on mine, and the sweet taste of victory and bliss was evident on his breath. We were loathe to end the embrace, but I was short of breath as it was. Edward pulled back first and I slowly opened my eyes, anxious to keep this moment stretching out for as long as possible.
“Now that was a dance of passion,” He murmured ardently to me, sweeping a strand of hair behind my ear that had gone wild in our frenzied dance. The passion was there, still, between us. Then, like the music, it too faded away. My heart rate slowed and Edward’s expression became conserved and casual once more. He kissed me, not as strongly as he had when we had just finished dancing and then pulled away, keeping his careful boundaries, and I lost myself in his golden gaze.
I wondered too, if our lives would be like this. Fits of short-lived happiness set against the monotony, passion against the background of predictable, every-day life. I supposed that it had to be that way.
I tried to push the sudden tirade of thought away, but the questions had to be asked… Would he someday, perhaps not soon but at some point, tire of me? When there were no Volturi, no monsters with a score to settle chasing on our tales? When I was finally his, with no Mike or Jacob as competition (though in my eyes, they never were anything of the kind), would the thrill still be there? With our futures forever entwined, no eventual parting on the threatening horizon, no growing old and learning about life the hard way, I couldn’t see what there would there be to keep our lives interesting. With me beautiful, unbreakable, there would be no risk. With Edward so used to saving me, how would that affect our relationship?
Then with a flash, I remembered the two black haired children I had seen in my Jacob daydream, running away from me towards the woods. I would never feel what Renée felt when she had heard my first words, listened to what I had done on my first day of school, made me burnt toast to eat on the school bus. A small voice in my head asked if the knowledge that I could never be a mother, never be more than a high-school senior, would have its effect on our relationship
I was still looking into Edward’s eyes when the last thought came into my mind. I shook my head infinitesimally- I had already made my choice. An eternity with Edward was more than anything I could ever wish for, he was worth everything I was giving up, and so much more. I put my arms around his neck and pulled myself up to his lips for the millionth time. He was my forever.
“Bella Marie Cullen,” I breathed, when he pulled me up into standing position again. Edward looked up quizzically at the sound, and then realised that I was trying it on for size. His answering look was solemn yet somehow happy, filled with Karen’s three requisites- respect, patience and love.
"Do you think it sounds okay?" I asked, stepping back and swinging our loosely connected hands as I spoke.
“I do.” He smiled gently, kocking me breathless with his beauty, before spinning me once more into his wide open arms.