The crowd bumps Edward like a pinball as he glides along the upper floor of the disco. In his peripheral vision, he watches the glint of a large glass ball that catches and disperses light. Smells are all around him – the chemical saccharine of perfume, the powdery scent of clean skin, the salty burn of fresh sweat. And blood. Lots and lots of blood.
It’s 1978, 60 years after he was turned, and he’s still pleased with how well he can control himself. The floor occasionally sticks under his feet. A woman in stiletto heels backs into him and he gets a mouthful of fur from her coat. It makes him think of hunting. He imagines sinking his teeth into warm, moist flesh and feeling the damp, invisible web of two spirits connecting. What a shame the animal had to die for vanity. Even if Edward could feed from that woman, he wouldn’t.
Fortunately, the coat is an exception. Everyone else wears sleek clothes and flared pants, and the women have luscious red lips and streaks of red blush on their cheekbones. He stops behind one and smells the sweetness of her mousse and the candy of her clean sweat, and with a deep breath, smiles at how he’s resisting temptation. Then his mind drifts to someone who can’t.
He’s not sure how long it’s been since he saw Jasper. It’s been 45 minutes, at least. Edward stood with him at the bar looking out at beautiful bodies shimmy across the multicoloured floor. Jasper reached over and rested his hand on the small of Edward’s back, and Edward closed his eyes and breathed in the moment.
He wonders how Jasper’s faring. He can imagine his eyes snapping as he walks through the crowd. The taste of human blood must be thick in Jasper’s memory. Edward quickens his step and stops at the upper railing, looking out at the packed dance floor. The beat merges into the inescapable “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees.
Bodies sway in time but Jasper’s not among them. If he was, Edward would sense Jasper’s dark thoughts whispering up to him, quiet but as sure as the synthesizer loop on the speakers overhead. He turns and heads back over the upper floor, past the bar with its gleaming, inaccessible bottles of booze. He can’t hear Jasper anywhere.
The song morphs into “I Feel Love,” and its eroticism licks at Edward’s insides. He pushes down the steps, stepping around people holding glowing cocktails, and cranes his neck when he reaches the bottom. He can hear Carlisle’s voice now. How could you leave him alone there for that long? You know he can’t control himself.
A shrill scream cuts through the dry ice, its waves carried through the room over a haze of coloured lights. Energy builds in Edward’s haunches, and he lurches forward, pushing toward the sound. He imagines the worst – Jasper crouched in front of a lithe looking girl, her neck torn open and blood covering his chin and chest.
He mumbles “excuse me” with increasing urgency until he reaches the dance floor, where someone is on the floor. It’s a girl all right, her skinny hips jerking toward the ceiling in a seizure, a thin trail of blood streaming from her nose. The crowd is forming a circle around her. Edward looks up and sees Jasper on the other side with his eyes like burning coals. Easy, brother, Edward thinks. If only he was the one who influenced feelings.
Jasper only keeps the eye contact for a moment before he stares at the girl again, shifting woodenly as he radiates nervous energy. “Jesus,” Edward mumbles, pushing through the throng until he reaches Jasper’s side and hears the hunger on loop in Jasper’s mind.
Edward leans close. “Come on.”
At first, Jasper holds firm when Edward tugs his sleeve. Edward gets a better grip and pulls him backward, and their bodies collide. Eventually, Jasper follows behind him, obediently holding his arm out when Edward clamps on his hand.
Edward pulls him to the back of the club where there’s a single restroom behind the stage. He pushes Jasper against the wall and sees his hardened jaw.
“I was fine,” Jasper says.
“Sure, you were.”
“I was.” Jasper pulls his arm away and veers left, back toward the dance floor, and Edward yanks him back and pins him against the wall again. There’s only one instinct they feel even half as strongly as thirst, and Edward covers Jasper’s mouth with his own to distract him.
The music throbs behind them, Donna Summer’s breathy groans vibrating through the speakers, and Edward pushes his tongue past sharp teeth. Jasper’s jaw slowly unhinges, and his tongue begins to move with Edward’s, a smooth, moist dance that ignites in Edward’s groin. They’ve only been doing this for six months, and it amazes him how quickly his body responds. It only takes a simple nip at his neck to feel his penis grow firm behind his zipper. A simple brush makes his hips strain against the contact.
Jasper grabs his hips and pulls him closer, and Edward feels the friction of their bodies together, the delicious longing of potential orgasm. He tangles his fingers in Jasper’s blond curls, feeling the traction of Jasper’s palm when he reaches down and rubs the crotch of Edward’s pants. A year ago, Edward was too modest for this. He’d smirk and fidget and pull away, too aware of the blank faces around them.
Now he groans into the kiss, struggling to keep up with the tense pace of Jasper’s hand, too distracted by the hope of fucking. Somewhere in the distance, the song changes, and a woman’s breathy voice sounds ready to coax him to orgasm.
He feels the spike of sharp teeth on his tongue, bursts of pain that explode like fireworks in his groin. He tastes the flood of venom and a ghostly hint of blood before Jasper sucks lovingly on his tongue. He stays in the kiss, wrapping his arms around Jasper’s straight, taut body.
When he pulls away, he sees Jasper’s lips curve into a smirk. The lights from the distant dance floor swoop past and paint pinks and blues over pale white skin.
Edward can’t stop himself. “I love you,” he mumbles.
Jasper’s smile is lopsided. Edward knows what he’s thinking but purposely ignores it. Jasper’s jangled nerves have settled, his hunger momentarily subsided, and he hooks his finger through the loop of Edward’s belt buckle. “Home,” he says. He’s making progress. Edward isn’t sure he can say the same for himself.
He lets Jasper lead the way through the back door, out to the dark London night. They’re in England this month, safe under the overhang of London’s autumn fog. They’re barely in the car before Edward feels sharp white teeth on his neck, and the melting merger of pleasure and pain.