Rewritten Dance/Fight Scene Noah's Point of View

(The dance scene retold from Noah’s point of view.)
I’d lost my fucking mind and from the perplexed glance the teacher who accepted my three bucks to enter this dance gave me, she was thinking the same thing.
Bass from a hip hop song pounded out of the darkened gym and a shadowed group of swaying bodies hung out in the center. Occasionally the colored lights would hit them and I strained to see if any of the girls in the sequined dresses was Echo, but I came up short.
Dancing—would Echo do it? The girl who called me out on my shit would. Bet that girl could move like no one I’d seen before.
I scanned the people standing on the sidelines and my jaw twitched. A few feet from me, he was touching her. That overgrown ape Luke Manning was holding Echo’s hand and leading her toward the bathrooms.
A wave of anger rippled through me. She chose to be here with him. With a fist through my hair I turned away. I was a fucking moron for coming here. An idiot that needed his brain rewired.
“Where are you going?” Echo’s upset voice caused me to freeze in my tracks.
“I told you, the locker room,” Luke answered.
A glance over my shoulder. She yanked her hand away and that anger brewing within me stilled, but a new dangerous undertow was quickly rolling in to take its place. What the fuck did he do to upset her?
“What happened to dancing?” she asked. “And then talking?”
“Yeah, sure, whatever. Later,” Luke shrugged her off. “We’re getting to the bottom of the barrel with our supplies. If I don’t go in now, I’ll miss my chance.”
My little nymph leaned into him, eyes blaring with anger. “Yes, you will.”
Good girl, not taking Manning’s shit.
A high like the one off a good joint coursed through me when the asshole misread Echo. His eyes lit up and when he kissed her cheek, I looked away to keep from tackling his ass.
“I knew you’d understand.” Then Manning walked away.
Echo collapsed against the doorframe, her arms hugging her stomach. I watched her, waiting for tears, waiting for her heartache, but all I spotted was disappointment.
She craved normal. To go to a dance. To act eighteen and not forty-four. To not have the weight of the world on her shoulders. To have someone understand and love her.
To have normal.
She craved it…and so did I.
Echo came here with him. She chose to be with him, but I also screwed up every opening she gave to me.
Normal. Was I even fucking capable of it anymore?
With a sigh, I forced myself to find out. “I told you that you deserved better.” I left the shadows and walked into the light.
Any doubt I had in coming to this dance disappeared as her face brightened.  “Noah?”
Echo was gorgeous in blue. She would have been gorgeous in anything, but the way that dress clung to her every curve and ended mid-thigh—I sucked in a deep breath. Damn, this girl owned me.
“Echo, you look…” Because she was too beautiful to not appreciate again, my eyes wandered the length of her body and then slowly back up. “Appetizing.”
She laughed. The type of laugh that caused me to smile with her. The type that caused people to look and be jealous because they weren’t a part of that contagious laughter.
“Like chicken wing appetizing or succulent hamburger appetizing?” she teased.
The memory of the night I suggested her expression resembled that of having an orgasm when she bit into the hamburger sprang to mind. I stepped closer to her, purposely invading her personal space. “Appetizing as in your boyfriend’s a moron to leave you alone.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” she said.
“Good. Because I was going to ask you to dance.”
A slow song started. Echo had given me chances before—at the arcade, in her garage. She told me what she needed, dared me to get past my shit, and each time, I turned her away. But not anymore. She wanted this dance, I’d give her this dance. I’d try to give her the world if she’d let me.
Right there, between the entrance of the gym and the locker room, I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her close. Her scent hit me first and I briefly nuzzled my nose into her hair, enjoying the sweet smell. In return Echo slid her arms to my neck, letting her gloved fingers skim my skin.
“I thought you didn’t do dances.” Echo locked those dazzling green eyes on me.
“I don’t. And, this afternoon, I had no intention of coming here.”  The words needed to explain…the emotions raging inside me…got hung up in my throat. This…coming here…it meant something and she meant something and the urge was to run away, but…“This dance seemed so damn important to you. And you…you’re important to me.”
An ache pushed through me. She was more than important. With each day that passed she was becoming more and admitting this…it gave her power—power to hurt me, but when I glanced down into those soft eyes I didn’t spot a potential landmine…I found peace.
“Echo, I can’t tell you what’s going to happen because I don’t know. I don’t hold hands in the hallway or sit at anyone else’s lunch table. But I swear…on my brothers that you’ll never be a joke to me and you’ll be much more than a girl in the back seat of my car.”
Echo’s perfect mouth dropped open and a small sound barely escaped. My heart beat with each second of silence. It was too much. My words were too much, but then she lifted her fingers from my neck and they tunneled into my hair.
I blinked with the teasing touch. She licked her lips and every cell in my body vibrated to life. Echo gently applied pressure to my head and I definitely had an answer to the silent question on her face. I wanted Echo, she wanted me, and it was time we finally stopped playing games and declared both of us too far gone to turn back.
“Get away from my girl, Hutchins.”  
Whiplash. A spike of anger at being so close and yanked away by the asshole who had caused her pain. I grabbed Echo’s hand, moved us into the hallway and tucked her safely behind me.  “She’s not yours.”
Manning’s face reddened and he fisted his hands. A few of his asshole friends stumbled out of the locker room. Their laughter faded the moment they spotted me and then my hand holding onto Echo. That’s right, she chose me.
Manning stared over my shoulder. “Come here, Echo.”
Did he just call her like she was a dog?
“We should talk. In the gym.” Echo inched toward the gym. She could go, but there was no way I was leaving. Not when he thought she was property to be owned.
One of the ape’s loser friends stepped up beside him. “It’s not cool to be up on another man’s girl.”
Echo gently squeezed my hand. “Noah.”
The movement tugged on my heart, but this was a confrontation that had been building for weeks. Manning craved this fight. I could taste it, and the only way I was backing down was if the world exploded around us. “Why don’t you go on in? I’ll be there in a few.”
“Um, no,” she answered. “Not without everyone else.”
“Yeah, go, Echo.”  Luke wobbled as he stepped in my direction. Great, the bastard was blitzed.
I relaxed my stance. I hated him, but I wasn’t interested in pounding a guy who couldn’t handle me sober. Right as I was about to open my mouth, Manning picked up speed and he collided into me, causing my back to slam into the wall.
“No!” Echo yelled.
His fist came fast, ramming right in my jaw, and pain throbbed at my lip. A metallic taste entered my mouth and what had been fury before calmed into a slow, dangerous anger. Luke Manning was fucking dead.
Manning swung back and I took the opening, driving my fist into his stomach, and when he doubled over, I pushed him away.  He stumbled on his feet, reminding me how drunk the asshole was. Such a waste. Such a fucking waste.
I wiped the blood from my lip. “Come on, man. You don’t want to do this.”
“I warned you to stay away from her,” Luke yelled and he threw himself at me again.
But this time, I saw him coming and went for his stomach again. He groaned, his knees went weak and I shoved him to the ground.  “Stay down, Manning.”
He glared up at me, his cheeks hot with embarrassment and hatred. Not only was I taking his girl, I was tearing apart his pride. But this fight was over. I knew it, he knew it, and it was going to kill him to admit defeat.
Manning staggered up and my fists tightened at my side as I prepared for round three. He raced forward, my guard went up. Movement out of the corner of my eye stopped my heart. Echo. I reached out to grab her, but I was too late. Luke collided with Echo.
“Echo!” My world went into slow motion. Echo collapsed to the floor, resembling a broken rag doll.
“Jesus...Jesus, I hurt her.” Luke raked a hand through his hair and began to tremble. He inched toward her, lowering like he was going to touch her. That wasn’t going to fucking happen.
I grabbed his arm and yanked him back, my eyes burning into his. “Get away from her, asshole.”
She was too still, too pale. Her cheek lay against the floor and her knees were pulled into her chest. Fear pulsed through my body. Not her. I couldn’t lose her too. I brushed my fingers along her cheek then lifted her red curls away from her face. “Echo? Are you okay?”
She sucked in a deep breath and some of that fear began to lift away. I took her hand in mine and then took a deep intake of air myself when she squeezed my fingers. She trusted me. Even though all the shit I’d put her through, she trusted me.  
“I’ve got you,” I whispered. “I promise.”
“What’s going on out here?”
Echo moaned and my eyes snapped shut. Damn, not what we needed. Mrs. Collins raced into the hallway, her heels clicking with each step. “Echo? Echo!”
She crouched down beside her and placed her fingers on her forehead. Echo blinked her eyes repeatedly and I sat back on the floor in relief, but still kept hold of her hand.
“Are you okay?” Mrs. Collins asked Echo.
“Yes,” she whispered as if every cell in her body was in pain. Echo gingerly picked her head up off the floor. I immediately laid my hands on her back and helped her into a sitting position. She looked like she was going to fall over again.
“What happened?” Mrs. Collins scanned the hallway, narrowly missing how Manning’s piss ass friends bailed on him. Guys like that are worthless. Eventually her eyes fell to my mouth. “Noah, you’re bleeding.”
I wiped at the corner of my mouth and, sure enough, she was right. “Yes, ma’am.”
“You’re Luke, correct?”
“Yes.” Manning sat at Echo’s feet and looked dazed as hell. Fuck, I probably rang his bell a little too hard and his parents were going to sue me.
Mrs. Collins sighed heavily, shaking her head. “I’m not going to like this at all, am I?”
“Nope,” I answered.
“I tripped,” Echo said and I had to bite back a laugh. My little siren knew how to lie.
Mrs. Collins’ lips tightened into a thin line. “And Noah’s mouth?”
“Me too.”
She regarded Manning like he was an alien. “And the nice bruise forming on your jaw is from?”
Manning absently rubbed his jaw as he stared down at Echo. “I got into a fight earlier tonight.”
“But not here, right?”
“No, not here.”
Mrs. Collins closed her eyes and sighed again. A small amount of nervous adrenaline entered my system. She was either going to nail us and I’d be suspended or she’d set us free. Finally, she reopened them. “Luke, why don’t you return to the dance? I’d like to speak with Echo and Noah.”
Manning continued to stare at Echo like he didn’t hear a damn thing Mrs. Collins said. I opened my mouth to ask him what the hell was wrong with him, but then there was a click in my head. The ape wasn’t just looking at Echo, he was staring at her arms.
The bastard—he’d never seen the scars before and he was doing a shit job of hiding his reaction. As fast as I could, I grabbed the glove that had dropped down Echo’s arm and slipped it back up.
“Keep staring, Manning,” I mumbled. “And you and I will be having a talk.” And this time, I wouldn’t be offering to let him walk.
I wrapped my fingers around Echo’s arm, over her scars, and glared at the bastard. Echo was beautiful. It was the people who surrounded her that were ugly. 
“Echo,” Luke said. “I’ll be waiting.”
His eyes flicked back to Echo’s arms, the disgust swimming on his face. Barely keeping a straight line, the ape left the hallway and entered the gym.
Mrs. Collins sat on the floor beside Echo and kicked off her heels. “Guess I’ll need to dry clean this dress. I hoped to avoid it. I have a habit of forgetting my clothes there and they end up chucking them.” She pulled a tissue from the purse hanging on her wrist. “Here, Noah. No need to bleed all over the place.”
I’d never understand the head shrink. Guess she wasn’t going to nail me to the wall for fighting, like any other adult before her would have done. I settled against the wall, and drew Echo into me. She sat between my legs, her back resting against my chest.
I accepted Mrs. Collins’ tissue, but then forgot all about the blood pooling at the corner of my mouth when Echo laid her head on my shoulder. Damn, I had no idea holding a girl could feel so good…so right.
“So, Noah, Echo’s the coat girl.” Mrs. Collins asked.
I had to chuckle. “Yeah.”
“Echo, is your father aware of this relationship?”
“Would you believe me if I told you I didn’t know about it?”
“Yes.” Mrs. Collins’ mouth twitched in humor, then she sobered up. “I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. So much for my intuitive powers. Anyhow, let’s get the two of you to the nurse’s office. She’s here tonight in case of sudden illness or accidents.”
“No,” Echo and I answered at the same time.
“I’m fine,” I said.
“Me, too,” Echo added. “Fine, I mean.”
“All right.” Mrs. Collins collected her shoes and lifted herself off the floor. “I expect the two of you to remain professional in your tutoring sessions. I’ve been extremely pleased with your attendance and progress reports from your teachers, Noah. I see a negative change and I’ll be in the middle before the two of you can say group therapy. Am I making myself clear?”
We both mumbled something, then watched as she walked into the darkened gym.
I didn’t know why I came here tonight, what I was expecting, but ending up in a fight then holding Echo on a dirty floor—that wasn’t it. I lowered my head and inhaled her unique scent. No, it was the last thing I could have imagined, but it was exactly where I wanted to be. “Truth, Echo. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Echo shifted closer to me, placing the soft and warm skin of her neck just a centimeter from my lips. I slightly moved my head, skimming her neck, fantasizing about opening my mouth and placing a real kiss there. A kiss that could cause both of us to fall over this edge we had been dangling on for weeks.  
“Noah?” Echo’s voice was just the right amount of innocent and sexy and my arms tightened around her waist in response.
“I need to talk to Luke.”
A bucket of frigid water might as well have been poured over my head. I stood, taking Echo up with me. “One-time offer, Echo. You and me, but you’ve gotta dump the ape. I’ll wait outside. You’ve got twenty minutes.”
And I hoped she made the right decision and it involved her leaving the dance with me.