Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I only own my mistakes.
I had never seen Charlie cry before.
Charlie, my father, had cried when he dropped me off at school.
That's right. I was finally going to college, and majoring in music! My dream come true.
Fortunate enough to have been awarded a scholarship, I had nothing to keep me from fulfilling my dream. Well, nothing except my nerves and my general fear of performing in public. Which is why I'm letting Rosalie drag me to this open mic bar.
Rosalie, my roommate, is a theater major and the actual opposite of me. Where she confidently strides in high-heels and a minidress, I hunch under my hoodie and drag my dirtied Chucks. We are nothing alike, and I would be lying if I say I didn't almost have a coronary when I walked in what was supposed to be our room. Between the N'sync playing, coconut splash smell, and over the top decoration, I almost walked right out.
She's taken with me though, maybe as a charity case? I don't know. But I guess she isn't that bad... Faking an allergy, I have at least convinced her to cease with the fruit scented incense sticks. With her musical taste, I've had no such luck. Also, she talks — a lot — which would otherwise be annoying, except her anecdotes give my no-life-self something to tell my mother when she inquires about college.
Even just now, as we walk the four blocks from our apartment to Collegetown, she hasn't stopped talking. I nod and smile in her direction as she gives me a detailed description of what Prof MacCarty was wearing today.
Anyway… she says my "problem" is being unnecessarily shy, and the open mic was the only one of her ideas I found marginally acceptable, with the only condition that I wouldn't be forced to perform. She didn't leave me any choice, some of her options included hair curling and eyebrow waxing.
She did have a point though, people in open mics would just get up and sing, and I needed to learn how to do just that. But I'm not even remotely ready yet, and I'm still having second thoughts as we walk in.
The place is small but it's not too crowded. There's someone who's about to start singing, already sitting on a metal chair on the stage. A guitar in his lap, the mic lowered to his face. We take our seats on the back, and I roll my eyes at the two guys who immediately come to hit on Rosalie, one even has his back to me, completely unaware of my presence.
Bella Swan, forever invisible.
I forget about Rosalie and her two admirers as soon as the music starts at the other end of the bar. The singer's fingers move effortlessly, in a mesmerizing way, through the intricate chords of his acoustic guitar solo. My eyes trace his arm and the veins and tendons that become more apparent as he strums his guitar. The sleeves of a light-pink button up end rolled up at his elbows.
He begins singing then, and the melody slipping from his lips glue me to his face. His face... even though hidden under a fedora and Raybans is a sight to behold. A light brown mess of hair is sticking from under his hat, and dark sideburns run down almost to his earlobe.
His voice is raspy and captivating. The emotion sips through the lyrics. I don't know the song though, must be an original, but I am immediately taken to the tune.
This guy is good!
Another intricate guitar solo and he's not even looking down at his instrument, but right at me.
RIGHT. AT. ME.
Invisible Swan, no more!
Well, I can't really tell if he's looking at me or not, since he's wearing shades, but he's gazing in my general direction. It feels like he's staring at me.
What's with musicians and wearing sunglasses indoors?
I, of course, immediately blush and stare at my feet as he finishes his song.
Jesus, Swan, the ONE guy aware of your existence and you can't even hold his gaze.
I might have bigger issues than originally thought.
I pull at the sleeves of my hoodie and bite my lip, as people cheer for the fedora-wearing, Rayban and sideburns, majesty of a guy, while I gather enough courage to look up.
A short, dark-haired girl is with him now as he gathers his stuff and walk out of the stage side by side.
A pang of jealousy consumes me as I observe them carefully from my hidden spot at the back of the bar. She never touches him though, but walks very closely to him. She is speaking to him, narrating almost, without getting any answer from him.
What's with them?
Their body language is bizarre. She seems overprotective of him, like she's ready to catch him, as if she expects him to falter on the next step.
I wish she would just back off.
I roll my eyes at my silliness. One of the reasons I don't speak a lot is because I'm afraid to let out the atrocities that go on in my brain.
"Bella, you're drooling."
"What?!" I turn to Rosalie, my hand wiping my mouth out of instinct, even though I'm pretty sure I wasn't drooling.
"Go talk to him," she instructs.
"Why would I go talk to him?"
"I... I don't know."
"Either that or a Brazilian wax." Her eyes shine mischievously at her demonic suggestion.
"Do I even want to know what that is?"
"Jesus, Bella! Just go talk to the guy." She nods in the direction of the bar, where Fedora is now sitting by himself.
I start pulling at my sleeves again and biting my lip, considering if I should make an escape for the bathroom.
C'mon, Swan, new life, new me!
This is not Forks! No one knows me here.
I take a not so graceful first step aided by Rosalie's push on my back. I stumble my way around people until I reach his stool.
He is sitting facing the bar, both elbows on the countertop. Pixie-girl is nowhere to be found.
My heart is racing, my palms are sweaty, and my lip is starting to hurt from the constant attack of my teeth.
With one hand on the bar for support, I slowly make my way onto the stool next to him.
He tilts his head in my direction, but still looks at the back of the bar.
"Hello," he says, and I might have melted on my seat.
"Hi," I manage to get out.
He turns his head to face me, I can't see his eyes through his shades, but he's now definitely not looking at me, but somewhere over my shoulder. I'm tempted to look back, to see what he's looking at, but I realize he's waiting for me to say something.
"Er... Nice fedora!"
The corner of his mouth stretches on a one sided grin and I wish I could really be invisible now. I can feel my ears burning as I blush furiously.
"I mean... nice song."
"Did you write it?" I blurt out.
"I'm Bella." I go for it, extending my hand in front of him.
"Edward," he says with a nod, without taking my hand.
As my hand hangs there in front of him, I realize he is still not looking at me.
What is his problem?
Is he some kind of germaphobe?
I drop my hand, and wipe it on my jeans self-consciously, deciding I should just turn around and leave.
Over his shoulder, I see Pixie-girl approaching us.
"Ready to go?" she asks behind him, and he nods.
"It was nice to meet you, Bella." He turns to Pixie who extends her elbow to him.
Grabbing onto her elbow, he gets down from the stool.
"Step," she murmurs next to him, as they walk down a step and away from me.