"You want to go play the piano?" Edward asked me lightly. We had been together since the summer, and I had not left his side. We were getting tired of doing the same old thing every day, but not the company. His suggestion was not one I had heard yet; I hadn't heard him play the piano live for me since the first day I entered his house.
"If by 'you want to go play the piano' you mean me watch you play the piano, then yes." I corrected. I had no desire to see if I could recall any of my piano lessons from kindergarten that Renee made me take, in hopes that her daughter could be at least a little less musically inept.
He smiled his beautiful crooked smile, "Mostly you watching, yes." I knew there was something wrong with his sentence but I couldn't remember what it was as he leaned in closer and my mind fogged. He wrapped his arm around my waist and led me carefully over to the piano.
As he sat he guided me down to sit down beside him on the bench, just like last time. He took a deep breath and started my favorite song, my soft, sweet lullaby. My mind still felt fogged from his scent, but as the smooth melody filled the room, I felt so at peace and calm. Suddenly he stopped at looked at me, concerned, "What's wrong?" He asked.
That was the same exact question I wanted him to answer, "What? Nothing," for some reason he didn't believe me.
"Really," his eyes were smoldering, just like they always were when he wanted me to tell the truth.
"What?" I asked completely confused. I didn't know what to say; why did he think something was wrong?
"Your breathing…it's deeper when I play," his look was still concerned.
"Oh," I blushed; I was embarrassed to know that he realized my change internally when he played so beautifully. I shifted uncomfortably as his gazed was still locked on me, trying to read my thoughts. I searched for something to look at besides his flawless face, his perfect eyes. My eyes fell onto the keys of the piano and ran my fingers lightly over them feeling the smooth perfection of each.
He sighed and turned back. His eyes closed as he took another moment to gather himself. His fingers slid with acute precision over the ivory keys as he weaved my lullaby out of thin air. Once again a calm serenity flowed through me and I let myself feel weightless. Head spinning, I looked at his hands, watching with amazement at how they moved almost without him thinking.
He suddenly stopped again and I blushed already knowing his reason. But I still had to ask it, "What's wrong?" This time I was glad I was the one who got out the question first.
"You're breathing deeply again," he looked slightly annoyed, but also concerned and confused.
"Sorry," I mumbled, still too embarrassed to tell him how I felt when he played. "You-um…" I racked my mind for something to say, that could have some inkling of truth to it, "your senses must be more…in-tune when you play." He seemed amused by my answer, pausing for a second to think.
"Now that I think about it, I do kind of loose myself when playing. Maybe my senses become intensified when the tranquility of the melody takes me." I smiled to know that my excuse was actually a possibility. It really did seem that his senses were strengthened when playing, while listening to the song he would pick up other things, like my breathing. Turning back to the piano, he continued once more. I sighed quietly in relief, than caught myself, remembering he was listening to my every breath, more than normal.
As the song came to an end, the feeling of harmony that I'd felt inside me, slowly rose out of my heart and disappeared into the air. A slight sense of depression replaced it, and instead of feeling weightless my limps felt heavy and slow. He turned to smile at me, his perfect teeth gleaming in the soft light form the overhead lamp. I took a few breaths to surface myself in the silence as he was still reveling in the moment.
Turning back to the piano, he laid his hands on the keys. My curiosity bloomed, wondering what he would choose to play. This time, he took no deep calming breath, he just started. The tune was light…one that I recognized. He was only playing the accompaniment though, I realized. Yet I could still tell it was Heart and Soul. I smiled at his choice.
He looked over at me expectantly; I knew this was the part when the melody came in, but I didn't know how to play it. Almost frantically, I looked down at the keys, without a clue as to what one to hit. He stopped at looked at me with a smile playing around his lips. I sheepishly looked back at him, "I don't know how to play it."
"What note do you think it starts on?" He asked lightly. This was obviously what he had been planning on doing the whole time. I sighed, how was I supposed to know?
"I have no idea," I told him, looking down at the keys again. I hit a few softly, but withdrew my hand quickly as I already knew they were wrong.
"'C'," he coached me. I looked down at the infinite looking number of keys for a second.
"And where would 'C' be?" I was already exasperated. There was no way I could learn anything on the piano. I was enough of a klutz outside of music, but now he had to add to it by exposing my incompetence on the piano.
It was apparent that he was amused by me already, "This one." He pointed to one of the white keys. I slid my finger over it, not wanting to play, in case he laughed. "Go on…experiment. Try to find it out by ear." His encouragement was sincere, but I still had a feeling he was doing this for humor.
I hit the 'C' key four times, and then I knew the tune when down. I hit the next key down, then the next one. So far I was right. I hit the next one, gaining more confidence. I immediately pulled back; it sounded wrong. I started from the beginning again and this time went back up instead of down. Now it sounded right. I finished the first part of it by ear and looked up excited at Edward.
"You're doing good," he smiled, content with my expression. "Here," he moved my finger over on one of the keys, making goose bumps shoot up my arm at his touch. "When you strike this one, move your hand so you hit it with your third finger…your middle finger," he clarified with that crooked smiled of his, "and then it will be easier to continue." I nodded unable to find my voice. "See if you can figure out the rest."
I applied the same method to the next piece of the song, flinching every time I hit the wrong note. I continued after discovering each part, moving on to the next. Edward sat by my side, calmly watching me. He stayed stone still, his perfect face still held that beautiful crooked smiled. Every now and again he'd chuckle after I'd jumped when messing up, but to my relief, he didn't laugh at me. Finally I finished the song, finding all the right keys to hit.
"I can do it!" My excitement at being able to do something this simple, compared to what he could play, was probably stupid, but I couldn't help it.
"Good job," he congratulated me as he lifted his hands to his side of the piano. "Do you want to try it with the accompaniment now?" He asked. I bit my lip, unsure if I would be able to keep up my end if he played something different. He seemed to be able to read my mind, even though I knew he couldn't, "Don't really listen to what I play…just focus on your part. I'll follow you until you get used to it." I nodded, still unsure.
Nervously, I lifted my hand to the piano. I took a deep breath as he started to play his part, trying to clear my mind and focus on mine. I knew it when it was my turn to come in, so I started. I focused on the keys, trying to remember each next note that I had figured out only a few minutes before. He kept up his side of the song flawlessly, but I couldn't say the same for me. If I messed up, I'd rushed to get back on with him, even though he said he would follow me.
Soon I got used to the song, becoming more confident each time we went through it. Then he did something I wasn't expecting, he changed his part of the song. It was still the same thing, just a different way of playing it. It threw me off for a second, than I remembered that I was supposed to focus on my part of the song. I still couldn't help but listen to the new style in which he played after I got back on. It sounded jazzier to me. I would've smiled but I was too engrossed in playing. This was actually fun. I was so in sync with him, and the song we were making might not have been the soft, smooth lullaby he played before, but it was still pretty in its own way.
I was starting to listen to both parts, not messing up mine. My focus was still mostly on my fingers, but I now really heard how both of our parts fit together. Suddenly he slowed his part down. I decided to follow him this time and slowed down my part too. It took more concentration, I had gotten used to the normal speed, but it was working. I remembered how the parts had fit together before and now I was putting them back.
About half way through the song, after he had slowed, he sped back up. I followed him quicker this time. I had been listening for him to go back to normal speed so I was ready for him, but then he didn't stop speeding up. I got a little worried; I still wasn't that good at the song. Before I got frantic I realized that this speed was entertaining, I just had to get my focus back. When I messed up, my finger's had to work double time to get back to the right spot. This time, instead of flinching, I'd give a short laugh when I screwed it up. It sounded funny usually, adding the little extra notes and blimps here and there when I missed it. Eventually, though, he returned to normal speed.
He ended the song, and somehow, I stopped with him, even though I wanted to play more. He didn't seem finished either, and my stomach did a summersault as I saw his beautiful face with a wide smile. "Alright, you ready for more?" He asked casually. I didn't answer, half transfixed with his features, half scared to test my pianist limits. He took in my silence with another chuckle. His mood was so much brighter when he created music.
"It's really not that hard," he whispered to me softly his face closer to mine. "Will you try it…please?" His voice begged with irresistible edge and I couldn't say no.
"I guess," I mumbled very self-conscious.
"Excellent!" His eyes lit up. "Now all you have to do is come in with your left hand the second time." My mouth fell open a little; how was I supposed to do that? I couldn't even play with my left hand alone! "You don't have to," he pouted softly and looked away, his eyes downcast.
"I-I can try…" I managed to get out. I doubted very much I could, but how could I let down a face like that?
"Really…are you sure?" He looked at me carefully, his scent fogging my mind again. I opened my mouth to say something, but couldn't find my voice. "Just practice with your left hand only to begin with, then put them together."
"Ok," I sighed and turned to the piano again. I lifted up my left hand to play and was about to hit the first key when he stopped me. I let myself hope that he was letting me get away with only my right hand, but he only lifted them both so they rested on the piano and neither of them rested in my lap. I sighed again, this time because he was so close to me instead of in annoyance.
"Keep both of them on the piano, so it's not hard when the other has to come in," he informed me with soft authority. I nodded, and tried to tear my eyes away from the perfection of his features. After finally achieving to, I glared down at the keys, trying to will them to not make me sound bad.
As soon as a started to try to play with my left hand, I regretted it. It wasn't the song I was having problems with, it was the fingers. Yes, they were a little less responsive than my right hand, but that wasn't the main problem. It was the fact that instead of the fifth note being hit with my pointer finger, it was my ring finger. The song was now played completely opposite as before, that was what threw me off. It took me about six times until I could get through it without having to stop, and it still wasn't perfect.
"Now the second time you play through the song, use both hands," he instructed me softly. I nodded warily, doubting very much that I would be able to get through it this time.
He started the accompaniment again and my heart couldn't help but lift at the lightness of the song. I started with my right hand, yet keeping my left on piano as he had instructed. I barely had any problems the first time through, but then I had to start with my left hand. It was impossible. I tried to watch both, but they were too far apart, and then when I watched my left, my right messed up, and when I watched my right, my left hand really messed up. Somehow I managed to stay with his playing, as he had slowed down for me, and realized I had to play it again. He kept me playing it until I only messed up once or twice. I smiled, happy for myself.
Edward ended the song and looked over at me. "You did great," he wrapped his arms around me. I was still smiling…until I heard clapping. I turned my head to glance behind us and I felt my cheeks flush. My stomach jumped as I saw his whole family standing there watching. Jasper was leaning sideways against the left wall with Alice in front to him, his arm around her waist. Emmett was in an almost model stance with Rosalie: his left arm around her waist, her left arm wrapped around his. Her right hand was on his cheek, his right arm lightly held hers. His back was leaning against the wall and he held Rosalie in front of him. Carlisle and Esme stood in the center of the hall, Esme's eyes—almost impossibly tear filled—were compassionate. Carlisle was smiling at the two of us.
Edward had obviously heard them watching, heard their thoughts more like, but had done nothing to warn me. He probably knew that I would've stopped playing as soon as he told me, but still. I was embarrassed they had heard my piano trial, even though I had done pretty good…for me. I glanced over at Edward next to me, who was smiling with a gleam of mischief in his golden butterscotch eyes. The same look that Alice, Jasper, and Emmett held more evident on their faces. Rosalie's expression was stone hard, as she still hadn't warmed up to me, but I guessed that Emmett had dragged her along to listen.
No one said anything and no one moved. I guess Edward heard what everyone was thinking, but from my point of view, the room was utterly silent. I didn't want to get up, not wanting to leave Edward's side. I was still blushing, I was sure of it, my cheeks felt hot with embarrassment. Someone cleared their throat, the sound coming from Alice and Jasper's direction. I looked over, still embarrassed.
"I know you're really self-conscious, but if you keep blushing around me Bella… well, there's no telling when I'll go all 'vampire-y' on you." Jasper smiled smoothly. The other's looked cautiously over at him, Alice was the most worried. Instead of stiffening like he normally did when anyone in his family voiced their vampiric desires, Edward chuckled as Jasper snickered at my expression, which I felt was probably shocked and worried at the same time.
As I thought for a second though, I realized that it had almost sounded like something Edward would say, and I couldn't help but wonder if it really was Edward who had silently motioned for him to break the silence. As hard as I tried, though, I couldn't stop my blushing.
I caught a flick of motion out of the corner of my eye and glanced at Edward who was already half way through inclining his head every so slightly. I had picked up on a lot of his motions that he used while silently communicating with his siblings, but usually caught the tail end of them as they were short and mostly unexpected.
"Well, then," Alice was the second one to break the silence, "we'd better go upstairs if another girl is tempting you more than me." A teasing smile was upon her face a she pulled him away by the arm. I was almost positive that Edward was involved in this choice.
Rosalie turned to say something to Emmett but he cut her off before she even began, "No need to tell me twice!" This time Emmett was the one who was half dragging Rosalie upstairs, but he still managed to turn back to me with a smile and a wink before they disappeared totally from view.
"I think we'll leave you two alone," Esme said getting the hint. She walked away side by side with Carlisle, and for the first time I realized that the house was filled with couples. I couldn't image the loneliness Edward had felt before, being the odd man out in a house with three couples. I scooted a bit closer to him on the bench, feeling as if I belonged a little bit more. He put his arm around me.
I couldn't help but ask the question that burned inside of me, "Did you get them to leave?"
"Some things are better left unanswered," he said slyly avoiding my question. I knew that in his own way, that meant yes. I smiled in thanks as he wrapped his arms back around me in the hug that was interrupted by our audience last time. I sighed as I breathed in the scent of his chest. My perfect Edward could do anything, even teach his piano challenged girlfriend how to play a simple song.