|The History of Now
Author: Chicklette PM
Life is a song, and love is the music. An FBG fic for Bookjunkie1975. Bella and Jasper, no Alice, no Edward.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Bella & Jasper - Chapters: 7 - Words: 21,340 - Reviews: 341 - Favs: 227 - Follows: 132 - Updated: 02-12-11 - Published: 02-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6715822
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This was written with love and affection for BookJunkie1975. You have no idea how much I appreciate you. I only hope you enjoy this.
The History of Now
Chapter One – You Do Now
"Gentlemen, if you would sign here and here?" The icy brunette taps her fingers against the paper with little "sign here" sticky arrows on them. Peter leans down to sign, then passes the pen to Em, who passes it to Riley, who passes it to me. I turn to look at Char, but she's checking her lip-gloss.
I look up at Bella Swan, the facilities steward for Eclipse, and sigh. When I'd first laid eyes on her, I thought there was some kind of mistake – she didn't look like she even liked music. She wore a stiff, white blouse and dark gray skirt that came just above her knees. Black stockings and black heels, and her hair was up in one of those alien pod things at the back of her head. She wore small, frameless glasses and kept looking over the top of them at us. I'd pegged her as pushing thirty, and even though her body was rocking the power suit look, I still wished we could just get the day done and over with.
I look back at the contract in front of me. "There's no place for Char to sign," I say. It irritates the fuck out of me. Everyone always assumes she's just a piece of scenery – none of them has any idea how integral she is to the band, and how maimed we'd be without her.
"I'm sorry. I didn't realize she was a member of the band. I'm afraid I'll have to draw up an addendum to include her on the list. I can have the paperwork done in about an hour."
I huff out a sigh of frustration. This was supposed to take ten minutes, leaving us all enough time to get home, chill the fuck out for a while, then get back to the venue in order to run sound checks. Instead, Isabella Swan seems hell bent on making our life hard. She made us run through a list of rules & regs, as if we were some sort of band with a rep for being wild, like we couldn't behave like grown folk indoors. She still wanted to give us a tour of the sound and lighting equipment, and at the rate she was going, we'd never get home before the gig.
"Maybe we can sign off before the show?" I'm getting desperate for a compromise.
"I'm sorry. The waivers have to be signed prior to delivery of equipment. She can be a guest, if you like?"
"No, she's not a goddamned guest! She's a member of the band."
I'm ready to tear this bitch apart. From the minute we walked in she treated us like we were scum, and I've about had my fill.
Who is she to look down on us? She doesn't even know us.
Ten minutes later we have a plan. Char and I stay behind while Swan draws up the addendum. The boys would go home, pick up our stuff, and then we'd meet at four for a sound check. It's the best of a bad situation.
Char bails out – there's some boutique shops down the street that she wants to see. I sit in the front office, waiting for Swan to be done with the paperwork. After thirty minutes I finally leave. I just need something to cut my nerves, and I picked the wrong time to stop smoking.
I walk into the coffee shop, not really wanting the caffeine, but needing something to do with my hands. Quitting smoking is a bigger challenge than I'd ever imagined, and on days like this, hours before a gig, all I want is to sit in an alley and breathe the poison in deep, feel it hiss around in my lungs a bit before the calm takes over.
I look up and spot Isabella Swan. Of all the fucking luck.
She's waiting for her triple venti mocha chai whatever, looking every inch the professional, untouchable bitch that she is, when a man walks up to her and starts talking to her. He's scruffy and disheveled, and at first, she blows him off. But then he says something to her, and I watch as she falls back on good manners. She smiles and tries to look away. She pulls out her phone and starts texting. A moment later, he says something, and before my eyes, she comes undone.
Her posture changes, weakens. Her eyes dart toward the door, the barista. I don't know how she misses me.
"She looks like a child," the man says, loud enough for everyone to hear. "Take off those glasses, let's look at your pretty face."
She quails, looking at the floor, the barista again, and then back to the man.
"Come on now, let's see," he says, and takes a step toward her. Her fingers fly to her face and she pulls off the glasses. Without them, he's right. She's just a girl. All of her toughness, the ice queen demeanor, it's gone.
Her eyes flick around the room, and there's a pleading in them, something that says, save me. So I do.
I stride over to her in three quick steps.
"Isabella, darlin'. I thought you were going to meet me outside."
I wrap my arms around her waist and pull her close to me, but keep an inch of space between our bodies. I'm surprised at how soft, how pliable she is.
"Play along," I whisper, into her ear.
She looks up at me, big, dark brown eyes, and something inside me clutches up.
"You order for me, sugar, or do we need to go stand in line?"
"Sorry," she says, her fingers fisting my shirt. "I wasn't sure what you wanted."
I kiss the top of her head, taking liberties, but I don't care. She smells great, girlsweet and good, and she's warm and soft under my hands. My whole body reacts. She's lucky it's just a kiss.
I pull away and take her hand, and we walk to the front counter. I order my drink and then stand with her while she waits for hers. As soon as the shabby guy clears the front door, I drop her hand.
"I hope you didn't mind," I say.
She shakes her head. We collect our respective coffees and I put my arm around her and guide her back to the venue.
I wave my hand to show her it's no problem.
Then she - she blushes. I mean, she turns pink from the collar of her blouse right up to the roots of her hair.
"The, ah, the tour," she says. "I can run you through, and maybe save you all some time?"
I nod and follow as she takes the lead, bringing me from one room to another. Finally, we're in the green room and I smile, because it's actually green. I can see PA's have already been through to set up. In another few hours, the food and booze will arrive.
I take a moment to look around. The walls are a hundred different shades of green. It varies from sea green to light green to something dark, and earthy. There are blue greens and yellow greens and every other color, in between. It's like being underwater, and my fingers touch the walls, tracing the bits of gold and silver that flash like mirrors, embedded in the paint.
"This is awesome," I say, meaning it in the true sense of the word.
"Like a hot dog?" she asks, and I laugh, thinking of the Eddie Izzard sketch.
Whoever Isabella Swan is, she's not the bitch I took her for.
"No, really," I say, my fingers dancing along the walls.
She blushes again, to her roots.
I look her over again. She's squirming in her suit, and all at once, it doesn't fit her.
"You did this," I say, and I'm not asking a question.
She smiles and ducks her head.
"Yeah. I, uh…yeah."
"This is incredible." I take her hand and look around the room again. "You're really, really good."
"I, uhm," she gestures to her suit. "This isn't my real job. I mean, I said I'd do this if they let me paint."
"Yeah?" I ask. This is good. She is good. "Why are you fucking around with this office shit? You're really good."
She blushes, and her fingers tighten around mine.
I like it.
I like the feel of this girl, touching me.
"Thanks," she says, and I can see her getting ready to say something else. She fusses, pulling her fingers away and smoothing her skirt, then she straightens and looks me in the eye.
I smile because I see it cost her something to say that to me.
A moment later, Charlotte walks into the green room, looking for us. And in that moment, the girl beside me disappears, and the woman reemerges. Her spine straightens, all the way up to her neck, and her head realigns itself toward the ceiling.
"One moment," she says, and leaves me and Char to the room.
"Sweet room," she says, looking around.
"Yeah," I say.
I turn around in this space she created and I wonder where the girl went, and what it will take to get her back.
Six hours later I come off the stage, lit up like a fire from the adrenaline. The show was amazing – our biggest crowd ever – and they loved us. We opened with a kick-ass cover of Maggie May, then launched into a small set of our own stuff. We played all of the fan favorites, then played a few covers, the some more of our stuff. Two encores later, and the house lights came up.
I sang, feeding off of the way the crowd responded to Char's words, feeding off of the energy that the band pumped out, and the way the crowd cheered and pushed it back to us. There's nothing like the high of coming off a good gig, and that was one hell of a good gig.
"Fuck! Yes!" Emmett shouts, jumping up in the air and doing a fist pump. "Did you hear them?"
Riley slaps us all with a round of high-fives, and Char giggles in the corner, sitting on Peter's lap.
"You're magic," he says, leaning in to kiss her ear.
"No," she says. "Jasper."
I laugh it off and Pete gooses her. Emmett is so pumped he's just jumping up and down, and Rye's already pulled out a bottled of Jack, passing it off to all of us.
We know we need to be packed up and out by one a.m., which is when the noise ordinances kick in, but right now, we're too keyed up to even think about leaving. We're too keyed up to do anything, but talk about how great we are, and take nips from the bottle that's being passed around.
The night feels like magic, like something from a movie, and when Bella stops by the green room to congratulate us, I find myself fighting the urge to swoop her up in my arms and swing her around the room.
Emmett doesn't. Fight it that is. He's a big guy, and he grabs her and wraps his arms around her and spins her around, until she's laughing and pushing at his massive arms, telling him to let her go. He puts her down with a kiss to her hand, then jumps up and tosses out another fist pump. A few people, friends of ours, start pouring in, and Bella pulls me aside.
"Look, if you guys need help packing up, Embry and Quil, the bartenders? They can help get your gear out and loaded. Just ask them."
"That's – thanks, that's great."
"No problem," she says. There's a soft smile on her lips as she slips out of the door while more revelers come in.
An hour later, we've come down enough to get to business. Quil and Embry help us get our gear out to the van and loaded, and Pete and Char are making one last pass through the stage and green room, making sure we've got everything.
I talk to them, then hunt around the theatre, looking for Bella Swan.
I find her, finally, struggling with a box of booze and a door.
"Here, let me help." I grab the box and bottles clink inside.
"Thanks," she says. "C'mon." She opens a door and we go up one, two, three flights of stairs. She opens another door with key from a key ring full of metal, like something a janitor would have, and then steps back to let me through. I wasn't expecting that, and I almost drop the box. We both juggle for it, and end up backing out of the door, onto the roof. We're giggling when the door closes, and Bella stops cold.
"Fuck." She looks at me, then looks at the door. "Fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!"
She walks to the door and jiggles the handle, but by now I've caught on and we're locked out.
"Shit." She says, and starts pacing the room. "Shit shit shit!" She feels the front of her skirt – I'm guessing it has pockets, and then swears some more.
"Wait!" She turns and looks at me. "You have a phone?"
I put the box down and remember that no, I don't. I left it in my car before the show. You never know who'll be lurking around back stage, and I hate having the thing on me during a show.
I wince and say I'm sorry, and she paces some more.
I go back to the door and start pounding. "Do you think if we yell someone would hear us?" I ask. "Aren't the bartenders still around?"
"No, I told them to help you guys out and then leave. That's why I was hauling that box of-" she looks at the side of the box. "-oh, God. Of Zima up to storage. That shit doesn't sell for shit."
I chuckle, because it really is funny, getting locked out on the roof with nothing but a case of Zima to show for my troubles.
"Come on," I say. "I'm sure there's a fire escape, or something useful like that. Hey, maybe if we yell at the people on the street, they'll hear us and call 911."
Bella groans and looks around for the fire escape. We find it…and it's got a padlock on it.
"Of all the stupid fucking – Billy Black, I am going to skin you for this shit, I swear to fucking God I will."
Bella swears and paces some more. I walk over to the storage shed on the room and try the handle. It's locked too, of course. Who the fuck runs a theatre with nothing but locked doors?
Bella stands in front of me with excitement on her face. "What about your friends? Aren't they still here? We could yell down to them, right?"
I smile and shake my head. "I told them all to go on ahead of me." I'd wanted to ask a pretty girl if she'd give me her number or maybe have a drink with me.
She turns and looks at me, her eyes wide. "Oh! That's right. Someone still needed to sign off on the check out. Oh man, I have so ruined your night, haven't I? I'm so sorry."
I grin at her a little, then shrug, because of all the ways I planned to spend this night, somehow being trapped on a roof with this girl doesn't seem so bad.
I walk over to the case of Zima and pull it open. I grab two bottles out and twist off the metal caps. They're warm, but hey, we've gotta pass the time somehow.
"Let's brainstorm while we have a drink," I say, and offer her one of the bottles. She stares at me for a moment like I've lost my mind, and then, just like from this morning, the woman flees and the girl remains. She grins up at me and takes the bottle I offer. We toast to warm summer nights and grimace at the taste – lukewarm, too-sweet and slightly fizzy.
She leads me around to the other side of the stairwell. There're two couches and a table, and couple of rugs spread out. I survey the scene and cock an eyebrow at her.
"Billy, the owner? He bought new furniture for the green room a while back, and I suggested that we put the old stuff up here. It's kind of nice," she says, taking a seat on one of the couches. "It's nice to be comfy and still be…out."
Bella lifts the hand with the bottle to gesture to the world around us. We're in the middle of the city, but the warm evening air is soft on our skin. She's right. It is nice.
I gaze at the girl a minute. She walks over to the edge of the roof and leans on the safety wall. She sets the bottle down, then starts pulling pins out of her hair. It tumbles down her back and it's long and wavy. It's beautiful and I want to curl my fingers up in it, pull her head back so that I can reach her mouth with mine.
In the time I've known her, she's been a hard ass, a professional, a girl lost, and an artist. What else will she be, if I just wait on her some?
Walking back over to the couches, she sits down. I sit across from her and we settle in. Between the two of us, we drink six, and then twelve of the bottles of the too-warm, too-sweet booze, and by number four, it's not quite so bad. Bella makes me turn around and then ducks behind the couch to remove her pantyhose. I wonder if she's the kind of girl who wears underwear with them, but that thought is taking me places she's not ready to go, so I cut it off.
Sighing, she drops her shoes on the rug, flexing her feet and wiggling her toes. "Those heels are killer, but Billy likes us all to be professional."
I nod, then sit on the coffee table across from her. I pick up one of her feet and she jerks it back, violently.
"Oh my god, gross! My feet are all sweaty! And smelly! Gross!"
She moves to tuck her feet under her, and I lean over, fighting to keep a grip on her ankle. In our drunkenness, we both lose our balance and tumble to the floor. We land, me on the bottom, her sprawled on top of me. She's got her hands on my shoulders and I have mine on her waist…and her ass.
She looks up at me and I feel…I am lost. Struck dumb by this girl, who is soft and warm on top of me, moonlight shining off her skin and her hair, her eyes so dark I can't find the pupil. We stare at each other for a moment, and I can't read the look in her eyes. Does she want me? Does she feel me in her gut, like I'm feeling her?
Biting her lip, she looks away, then presses herself up, and away from me. The loss is immediate, and physical, and I press my hands flat on the floor to keep from grabbing her and pulling her back to me. We sit back down on the couch and give in to nervous laughter. Before long, it's like it never happened. She gives in and lets me rub her feet, and the sound of her moaning makes me hard. Harder.
Bella talks a while, tells me about growing up in a metropolis, how Billy Black, the owner of Eclipse, is an old family friend, and how she ended up subbing as the facilities steward when the last one ran off with a band. Billy was hard up and Bella knew the business, she just didn't like doing it. Before long, I get her talking about her painting, and that's when she starts to soar.
Her whole face lights up as she tells me about taking something out of her head, and putting it down on canvas, or plaster, in a way that other people could look at it and see it too. She tells me about how gratifying it feels when someone would say "this makes me think of the ocean," when that's what she intended, or "this reminds me of when I was a child," when that's exactly the emotion she wanted to convey.
"There's nothing like it, nothing so satisfying, you know?"
I don't. I'm too much of a coward to put my real self out there. I can take Char's words and give them inflection, pull them out and cut them short, but she's the one who makes the meaning. She's the one who gives her heart.
The night stretches on. and the sky begins to lighten as dawn bruises the sky.
Bella shivers and runs her hands over her arms.
"C'mere," I say.
I open my arms and legs and she watches me for a moment, before she gives up whatever fight she had going on in her head and lets me hold her.
I run my hands over her arms, feeling her through the thin cotton of her blouse. "You're freezing," I say, then pull her closer to me. She's stiff in my arms for a moment, then she leans back, relaxes. Her body against mine feels like it was made to be there and that gives me pause. When I got off the stage, I was thinking about Bella Swan. I was thinking about her under me, yielding and warm as I used her to use up the excitement and energy that I'd absorbed from the crowd.
But now, here, it's different. I don't want to just fuck her. I don't want to stop touching her, and I don't want to think about the moment when I'll have to open my arms and let this warm thing go.
I massage her arms, her shoulders. I reach down and brush her hair away from her neck, over her shoulder. My fingers run from the bottom of her ear to the crook of her neck. She is so soft.
I can't breathe, so I swallow instead.
She leans her head back, and it's a light weight on my shoulder. She's breathing fast, and I am compelled. I press my lips to the soft skin of her neck.
"Should I stop?" I ask.
She shakes her head, and in a voice so soft, I almost miss it, says no.
If I couldn't breathe before, it's all I can do now. Suck her in and push her out, in and out until I'm so full of her, her smell, that there is nothing else.
I dip my mouth back to her neck again, and kiss. And then again. And then again. I kiss the warm and smooth of her until I feel her start to arch in my arms, pressing her ass into my hips and pressing her head back, into my shoulder. I want to unbutton her shirt, see her bare in this soft, dawning light. I want to look at her, take her in, so that maybe someday I can spin her back out, write her into words, into song, so that the whole world can see how she shines.
Her mouth finds my jaw and she places a kiss, small and hot, against my chilled skin. Her arms reach behind her and thread through my hair. Her nails on my scalp make me wrap my arms around her waist, pull her tighter, closer. Can she get closer?
With her eyes closed, she turns in my lap. Turns so her legs are tangled with mine, turns so her mouth is before me, pink and sweet and waiting. I bring my hand to her face, cup her cheek and it fits there, small and cool and soft, it fits there in my palm like it was made to be there.
She opens her eyes, but they're heavy with sleep and something more. Something hot.
She opens her mouth, but doesn't say anything before she sucks on her lower lip, and I see the flash of white as her teeth bite.
"Oh, no, little girl, I'm gonna need that." I stroke my thumb against her lip and she releases it. It seems like forever that we hover there, so close I can taste her breath. It seems like forever that she stares at me, and I try to read what she's saying in her eyes.
But then I give up, and so does she, because we both move at the same time. Her to me. Me to her. And when we kiss, when my mouth meets hers, there's nothing else. I feel like I've been holding my breath for an hour, just hoping she'll let me get this close. I feel like there's something hot and heady in my veins, something more than blood, sharper. Flammable.
Her mouth opens against mine and my body burns.
Her fingers stroke through my hair, pulling me harder against her mouth. My hands find her ass and I grind her into me. Part of me is embarrassed; I'm acting like a kid who's never been laid before. But part of me, the biggest part, just fucking needs this. Needs to crush her under me, feel the weight of her breasts in my hands, and taste her skin…everywhere.
Too soon, way too soon, she comes up for air. Her eyes are bright on mine, and she's panting. The lip goes back between her teeth and she looks…surprised?
"I don't date musicians," she says.
I take my hands off her ass and bring them to her hair. I rub my nails against her scalp and she sighs and presses her head back, into my hands. When I start to kiss and lick and suck on her neck, she moans and I feel it vibrate against my mouth. I tighten my hands in her hair, and she closes her eyes. She gives in.
I pull away and look her in the eye. "You do now."
AN: Much love and affection to FDM and Kris, who beta'd this baby. Zigster talked me through it. I love them a lot.
This will be a short fic – idk how many chapters but will update at least once a week, if not more. It's all written and beta'd, I just need to make the corrections and do the rewrites.