"Try it On Your Piano"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The song Edward sings to Bella is titled "Try it On Your Piano" (Irving Berlin: 1910).
Thanks to LakeGirl for her fabulous beta-read and to sillybella for her comments and suggestions! LakeGirl helped me make this a much more effective story with her suggested structural changes, and I'm very pleased with the final result.
Esme had thrown open all the downstairs windows earlier in the day, and as Jasper and Emmett were completely unaffected by the cool spring air wafting in, they'd made no move to close everything up. They both looked up from the baseball game when they heard the sound of the Volvo pulling up in the front driveway not far from the nearest window, followed by the sound of car doors opening and shutting.
"What do you suppose they're up to out there, anyway?" Jasper muttered to Emmett with a sly grin, several minutes later.
"Knowing Edward, I'd say nothing they shouldn't be if you get my drift," Emmett turned up the volume several notches and winked. "Say, do you think we should offer to give him the score? We probably owe it to Bella to give him some tutoring, 105 year old virgin that he is. . . ."
Jasper merely rolled his eyes. "He's lived with all of us for decades. He's not blind. Or deaf," he emphasized with a smirk. "But you go right ahead and offer to share some pointers, Emmett."
Emmett's eyes danced with wicked amusement. "Oh, I have some great tips!"
"I think humans in his day were a very uptight lot, so he's probably got more than just inexperience stacked against him. Repression. Prudishness. He probably wasn't allowed to be alone with a girl, let alone kiss one," Jasper mused.
"Can't you just picture it?" Emmett chortled. "Edward, decked out in a morning suit and hat, handing his calling card to the butler nervously."
"And so repressed that he probably didn't care that he wouldn't get the chance to so much as kiss the young lady," Jasper added with a chuckle.
"Repressed? Who, Edward?" Emmett collapsed back on the cushions, laughing. "Did I ever tell you about the time Rose and I decided that his piano was …."
"No, no, NO, I don't want to hear that," Jasper interrupted, sticking his fingers in his ears.
Emmett was pounding the cushions with his fist, oblivious to the flying tufts of stuffing, as he howled with laughter. "Oh my God, he was soooo freaked out, you could just tell. He didn't speak to either of us for a month at least! How were we supposed to know he'd come back from hunting so soon?"
"Oh hell, he walked in on you guys?"
"Right at ……erm…….the most inopportune time," Emmett gasped out. "That's why we didn't notice him coming in – we were into it, you know. I still don't know how he didn't realize what he was about to walk in on though," Emmett choked.
"Maybe you and Rosalie had completely blank minds?" Alice teased slyly from the doorway. Jasper laughed.
"I don't know, but you should have seen his face when he saw where we were; I can still see it!"
"You know he can hear your thoughts out there," Alice warned them as she plopped down into Jasper's lap.
"So where were we while the two of you had a romp on his piano?" Jasper asked, ignoring Alice's admonition.
"I dunno, you must have all been gone. We thought we had the place to ourselves, obviously," Emmett groaned.
"No, I mean, when was this, where were we living?"
"Oh!" Emmett thought for the briefest moment, before grinning again. "Oh yeah, we were in Maine. It was cold as hell, and Rose had draped her leopard rug over ….."
"Stop! Enough! I can't take it anymore. The image of his face!" Jasper was shaking with laughter.
"We can't forget that time in Toronto, now can we? Poor, poor Edward," Alice laughed.
"Details, please," Emmett grinned as he stretched out and put his feet up on the sofa.
"Well, it's not quite as egregious as doing the deed on his piano, I'll give you that," Alice began. "But, it was amusing." Jasper chuckled. "He was horrified I think," she laughed. "You know, we must not really have coherent recognizable thoughts when we're having sex, now that I think about it. In theory, he shouldn't have been at all surprised by what we were up to, but if we weren't thinking in the same way as we would normally, then . . . ."
"But why wouldn't he have heard other clues, if not our thoughts?" Jasper broke in.
"Who knows? What I want to know is . . . what are he and Bella doing out there all this time anyway? I can't believe he hasn't come in to give us his death glare yet," Emmett threw an evil grin at the others as he slid to the window and peeked out.
He let out a low whistle, "If he wasn't a vampire, those car windows would be steamed up by now."
Jasper and Alice glided quickly to the window, wherein a small scuffle for the best vantage point ensued. Meanwhile . . . .
"So, what gave you this idea? Been watching lots of "Happy Days" reruns lately?" Bella gasped. She and Edward were stretched out in the back seat of the Volvo, making out in the long-standing teenage tradition. She had unbuttoned his shirt so that it was open completely and was kissing up his chest.
He chuckled. "They didn't invent this use for a car's backseat in the 1950s, you know," he murmured as he unbuttoned the top buttons of her blouse and ran his nose along her collarbone. "You're blushing again," he accused suddenly with amusement.
Look, she's blushing! Wasn't that erotic in his day?" Jasper commented from the window.
Why? Alice wondered, just as Emmett laughingly noted, Bella blushes all the time. You're saying that's a turn-on to him?
"Well, I was just thinking that this must be very different for you, compared to your teenage years as a human," Bella admitted, running her hands over his back under his shirt and trailing kisses from his neck down his chest.
He shrugged slightly. "Well, yes and no. I didn't date anyone when I was human, but I could have." Where on earth did they get the idea that blushing was erotic? It's always made the bloodlust more unbearably acute, but erotic? No.
"Date? Didn't you call it "courting" back then?" she teased, looking up briefly from his chest.
You know, the blushing coquettish young lady was said to be signaling sexual interest with the blushing, Jasper replied, winking at Alice.
But, wasn't she seated a safe distance away from her caller, under the watchful eyes of a chaperone? Emmett laughed. How much of a come-on could it be in that case? You know I can't quite shake the image of Edward in a morning suit. Maybe he should wear one when he marries Bella. Hey, he turned to Alice, have you seen their wedding? What's he wearing?
She shook her head, grinning at him. You think he should wear a top hat too? That might scare Charlie though, she mused.
Edward raised his eyebrows and smirked. "Courting? I'm 105, Bella, not 150. What other notions do you have about my human years?"
"Well, I guess I pictured that you would have "called on" a girl in her parent's parlor."
Edward snorted briefly. "Myth. By the time I was a teenager, young people were dating, much like they do today. That whole calling on a young lady in her parlor gig was long past. What else?" A top hat? They must think I was born in the Victorian Age. Or else they haven't been paying attention in history classes for the last 75 years. He chuckled to himself.
"Nobody talked about sex? It was taboo."
"Myth. I'll have to find some sheet music for some of the old songs and play them for you. Next?"
So, you have or haven't seen their wedding? Jasper asked curiously.
Alice shrugged and smiled enigmatically.
What about a honeymoon then? Emmett pressed with a grin.
Oh, c'mon! Even if I had seen their honeymoon, do you really think I'd share those details, with him sitting right outside? He'd go ballistic. Besides, I try to avert my mind from those sorts of visions.
"A girl couldn't be alone with a boy without hurting her reputation?" Bella asked with a note of doubt.
"Myth." He unbuttoned another button on her blouse and trailed his lips down from her collarbone to her bra clasp. "I just said we were all dating. Next?" Good! She better not be looking at that part of my future. He suppressed a growl with some effort.
"Erm …. young people only went out in groups, with chaperones?"
"Myth." He opened up her blouse playfully. "This is new. The blue matches your blouse exactly." He grinned at her, his eyes dancing with amusement. "Is this what you were doing in Port Angeles while I hunted this weekend?"
Bella nodded and smiled. "I bought a few new things."
"It's lovely on you . . . ." Edward murmured in a quieter voice.
Did he just. . . .?" Emmett paused and raised his eyebrows at the other two.
I'm outta here, Jasper said with a grin and a shrug, backing away from the window.
Bella was struggling to focus on their conversation. "So . . . erm . . . you said young people were dating when you were a teenager?"
"Ummhmm." Finally, some privacy!
She gasped and let out a soft moan as he kissed up her chest and neck. "So you did go out with girls when you were human then?"
"Jealous, are you?" Edward laughed and kissed the tip of Bella's nose. "Sure, we went to the pictures, the theater, dance halls, roller rinks, ice cream parlors. We went ice skating in the winter and on picnics in nicer weather. Many of my friends had a car or at least access to one. I didn't have my own car, but I drove my family's car often, especially on Sundays. Like I said, young people didn't first discover the usefulness of a car's back seat in the 1950s, you know." He winked.
"You still didn't answer the question, though," Bella pressed. "You said you didn't date anyone, but . . . ." She blushed, and he laughed softly in her ear.
"I went out with groups mainly, but there were girls and boys in our outings. And we didn't have someone's great-aunt tagging along with us to chaperone, either." He paused. "But, if you're asking if I kissed a girl, the answer is no. I never kissed anyone before you," he murmured softly, kissing her very gently on the lips.
"All right, so you wouldn't have been handing a butler your calling card and waiting nervously in the parlor for your date and her chaperone, but you still wouldn't have been doing this though, right? Things were much more conservative then."
"You've been reading too many Victorian novels, Bella." She glared at him, as he laughed. "Believe me, plenty of people managed to have sex before marriage and lots more still who found ways to do exactly what we're doing and more. Don't tell me you've not read This Side of Paradise?"
"I could believe that of the 20s," she argued. "But, the pictures of the people from the Edwardian times … well, they look so formal, stiff even. It's hard to imagine."
"Hard to imagine them having a sexual impulse?" He grinned. "Trust me, they did. I've seen a good many years, but Carlisle has seen even more. And, as he would say, human nature doesn't change much. Things aren't so different from age to age. Besides, I wasn't a teenager in the Edwardian times actually. World War I had just started when I turned 13 after all. Things were changing," he caressed her cheek lightly and smiled.
I still say he needs some tutoring, Emmett said stubbornly. He's always been so uptight about sex. Well, at least he's seemed uptight when he's walked in on us . . . ., he trailed off.
Alice giggled. There was more than just the piano incident then?
Yeah! And why would that be? He can read our minds, for God's sake. Why on earth would he walk in on us?
Jasper looked puzzled but smiled at Emmett's indignant expression. There's been more than the one time with us too, actually.
Alice nodded. I always assumed his mind was somewhere else, but . . . .
"What about the flappers then?" Bella countered. "If things hadn't changed that much from say 1910, why were people so scandalized by the flappers in the 1920s?"
"Things weren't as open in say 1915 as they were a few years later," he agreed. "There was a certain amount of hypocrisy in my age, I suppose. People were much more subtle in those times; innuendo was an art-form. Not the coarseness of what you might hear today of course." He laughed exuberantly all of a sudden, and Bella started in surprise. "My siblings," he explained. "I've played a bit of a joke on them from time to time over the years, and they're just now trying to figure it all out." His shoulders were shaking with laughter.
"Are you going to explain?" Bella asked with a grin.
"To you or to them?" Edward chuckled. "I think I'll let them conjecture some more. You see, being the odd man out in a house full of couples, I decided long ago that some fun was in order. It got started when I discovered that Emmett and Rosalie were having sex on my piano one night; I was so upset that I decided to interrupt their fun. Their reaction was so amusing that I couldn't resist recreating the same basic scenarios again. So, I've pretended to "accidentally" walk in on them at …..inopportune moments – returning early from hunting, that sort of thing. They think I'm terribly embarrassed and uptight about it all, and they've wondered why it is that my mind-reading would allow this to happen at all." He laughed again. "But, I was just messing around with them all this time."
"Edward!" she said reprovingly, but she smiled in spite of herself.
"So, do I seem repressed to you?" he asked smugly as he pulled her into a sitting position, buttoned her blouse and pushed the car door open.
Bella laughed as she leaned over to kiss him. "Hardly," she smiled.
He pulled her close against his side and walked her into the house. As they came in the door, he suddenly began to sing:
While I don't
doubt that what you say is true,
I'm not tak-ing chanc-es with some love that's new
So Mis-ter Man-ner, try it on your pi-a-no,
But you can't try it on me." me."
Per-u-na for my ev'-ry pain,
For he who takes that will live to take a-gain
So try your brand up on a ba-by grand,
Be-cause you can't try it on me.
Alice and Jasper were choking with suppressed laughter as Edward grinned wickedly at Emmett, who glowered at his brother from afar. He got you with that one, Emmett, Jasper chortled.
He laughed softly at his siblings' chagrined expressions. "About those tutoring sessions you were prepared to offer? I don't think I'm in any need of those, thank you very much." He was still laughing as he took Bella's hand and began leading her up the stairs towards his room.