A/N: Bear with me...there are a lot!
This time I really do apologize for the delay in getting this chapter up. Back-to-school with my kids has been much more stressful than I imagined. I have no other excuse!
That being said - I have been working on this chapter for about a month. I have watched several hours of Muse videos, listened to their songs over and over again...even buying 2 of their CDs and downloading even more from iTunes, plus reading up on them on the website - MuseWiki. I have never seen Muse live in concert, so I had to do much research to make this seem as real as possible. And boy - I hope someday I can attend one of the concerts. They are AMAZING!!
There are numerous links on my profile: Bella's outfit, a few songs links on YouTube, as well as the Muse concert that was a huge part of the inspiration for this chapter.
Thanks to shabbyapple who betas my stuff at a moment's notice. Love ya, girl!
"Oh my, Alice," I said. "Are you sure?"
"Absolutely Bella," she answered. "You are drop dead gorgeous! Edward will not be able to keep his eyes, or his hands, off you tonight."
I stared at myself in the full length mirror, hanging on my closet door. Alice had had it installed for me. She was appalled that we didn't have a full length mirror anywhere in the house. I was pretty sure Charlie wasn't concerned about how his uniform looked, and frankly, the little mirror in the bathroom was more than enough for me.
Alice had dressed me in a cute, fuchsia ruffle top, but it had a low neckline and I wasn't sure how comfortable I would feel in it. Alice, of course, had bought me the appropriate bra to wear as well. Pretty soon, I expected to see "Day of the Week" underwear in my drawer. The jeans were fine, except that they were designer and probably cost a fortune. Ditto for the shoes.
"Bella, it's fine! Quit worrying about it," she said, exasperatedly.
I turned to look at myself from each side, wondering if it was just my self-consciousness or my bad fashion sense that was revolting against shirt. Probably both.
"Ok, ok. You win." I sat down on the bed, checking my wallet again for the concert tickets.
"Bella, the tickets haven't gone anywhere in the last 10 minutes," Alice reassured me.
"I know. I still can't believe I was able to get tickets for tonight. It seems that concerts sell out within hours of the tickets going on sale."
"Are you sure you don't mind that we got tickets for tonight as well?"
I rolled my eyes at Alice.
"No. I just mind that you got your tickets so easily! You just got them like a week ago!" Stupid, connected vampires.
"Well, sometimes, it really does make a difference who you know," she trilled. "We're not all seated together, but pretty close."
"What time is it?" I asked.
"Almost 7. Edward & Emmett will be here soon," Alice said.
"Thanks for my outfit, Alice. You know, at some point, you're going to have to stop dressing me. I've dressed myself just fine before I met you."
"You're welcome, Bella," she answered, politely ignoring my request. "Let's go down, shall we? They're almost here."
Alice danced and I stumbled down the stairs to the living room. Charlie was there, getting ready to head over to the Clearwater's to watch the Mariners game.
"Hey, dad. Have fun at Harry's," I told him.
"You and Alice have a good time tonight. Be careful. I know how these rock concerts can sometimes get out of hand," Charlie cautioned.
"Charlie, we will be on our best behavior, as will Edward, Jasper and Emmett. Don't worry. We'll be fine," Alice promised.
"Thanks, Alice. Glad to hear it," he said. "Bella, please call if you're going to be later than midnight, OK?"
"Of course, dad," I said.
Just then, Edward pulled up in front of the house, followed by Emmett. I grabbed my sweater and umbrella, then headed out the door, into the pouring rain, with Alice. Edward & Jasper met us on our way to the cars. Jasper guided Alice to the Volvo.
"I thought we were riding with Rose and Emmett..." Alice said.
"Well, that was the plan, but the two of them were a little, uh, amorous on the way here, so I asked Edward if we could ride with them," Jasper told her.
I glanced over at Edward and he was trying hard not to smile. Leave it to Emmett & Rose, I thought.
Eventually, we arrived at the Key Arena in Seattle. As we were walking in, I was dumbfounded by the amount of sound and light equipment. Apparently, the wonder was plainly visible to Edward.
"What are you gawking at?" Edward asked.
"I cannot believe all this equipment and stuff. What are they going to do during the concert?" I said.
"Bella, haven't you ever been to a concert before?" Edward asked.
"Not really. I mean, my mom and I went to a few little local things in Arizona. But, I never went to a big concert at Sun Devil Stadium or anything. Why? How many have you been to?"
"Quite a few..."
"Exactly how many would that be, Edward?" He had me curious now.
"Well, I've seen numerous artists in various locations all over the world," he answered.
I raised my eyebrows at him, indicating that more of an explanation was necessary.
"Alright," he said quietly. "I'll tell you the big ones. I've seen Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel...I've also seen Led Zeppelin, one of the few tolerable bands in the 70's. I wanted to go to U2's concert in Sun Devil Stadium, but we tend to stick with indoor concerts as much as possible. However, I did catch up with them another time," he finished.
My jaw was hanging open and Edward reached over with his fingertip to close it. It had never occurred to me, until just now, that Edward would have been around when all these bands were in their prime. And I'm sure Alice, once she joined the Cullen's, would have been able to foresee which concerts would be worth the trip. Again, another reason I felt inferior to Edward. He had done so much in his time as a vampire and I had done, well, nothing.
"Bella, don't be upset. I really enjoy attending concerts and I haven't seen Muse yet," he said, trying to comfort me. Edward had his arm around me and was whispering in my ear.
"I'm not upset about that. It's just that I feel so insignificant compared to you. What you are, what you've done, all that you've experienced..." I trailed off.
"Bella, we will experience these things together! I will take you anywhere you want to go - concerts, vacations, shopping, museums - anywhere. Just name it and we'll go," Edward said.
I sighed and leaned my head onto Edward's shoulder.
"I don't want to have this conversation right now, Edward. It always ends up in the same place - you will do whatever I want, except the one thing I want the most," I said. Edward's body tensed when he heard where the conversation was going. "Let's save this for another time and place, OK?" I asked, reaching up to place a kiss lightly on his cheek.
"Alright, love," he agreed.
Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, and Jasper then came down to sit with us. They were laden down with concert t-shirts and posters, as well as concession food.
"Are you really that hungry?" I asked, laughing at them. Emmett had nachos, a hot dog, a pretzel, a box of M&M's, and a soda.
"Hungry like a bear!" Emmett boomed. I imagined that Emmett probably had eaten that much food when he was human. "Take what you want," he whispered as he went past me to his seat. "I'm just going to give the rest of this stuff away. I buy it because it's fun," he said, answering my unspoken question.
I took the hot dog and soda, settling back in my seat to eat.
"Emmett has a collection of paraphernalia from all the concerts we've attended," Edward said, in way of explanation of Emmett's souvenirs.
"Ahh," I said. "Bet he'd get a lot for that on eBay."
Emmett and Edward both looked at me, horrified.
"Joking!" I said, trying not to choke on my hot dog while Alice, Rosalie and I all laughed.
"Bella, that is not something we joke about around here," Emmett said in all seriousness.
"Oh Emmett, get over yourself. I hate all that damn concert crap," Rosalie said. "I finally had to have a separate area built for all of it because I won't allow it in our room anymore."
Emmett and Rose began a heated discussion on the issue. Alice, Jasper, Edward and I chatted over them until the concert started. When the lights went down, the screaming started and I got goose bumps. Edward grabbed my hand.
"I'm so nervous and excited," I told him.
"You'll love it. I've heard they put on a fantastic show," Edward said.
The lights and music began at the same time. The anticipation in the arena was palpable. Every now and then, a white light would flash on the stage and you could see the lead singer standing there with his guitar. Then the lights went out completely and everyone began to scream even louder. And WHAM - the guitar riff began and the concert was on its way! The sound was deafening and the lights were blinding...it was spectacular!
They began with a song I didn't recognize, but I liked it. I was nodding my head back and forth to the beat. Edward leaned down to whisper in my ear, "Dead Star."
I looked at him questioningly.
"The song...it's called Dead Star. It was only released in France and Japan," he said.
Of course Edward would know that. The only songs I really knew were from the CD Absolution. But I enjoyed everything I'd ever heard from them. This was no exception.
"He has an amazing voice," I said to Edward, pointing at the lead singer. He looked quite a bit more punk than I would have thought, with his very spiky hair. It looked like it could impale someone.
"His name is Michael Bellamy. He's brilliant. He is an amazing musician and his voice can span 3 octaves...with a lot of falsetto."
Well, wasn't Edward just a walking encyclopedia tonight.
"You've done your homework," I said.
"Yes, I have."
I continued looking at him for a moment, but he was focused on the concert.
At one point, a song began with a whole piano introduction. Once the rest of the band joined in, I nudged Edward in the side.
"Could you play that?" I asked him.
"Probably. I'll show you later," he said.
Hmmm, I thought.
They continued on with the music, going back and forth between songs from the Absolution CD and others I hadn't heard. I was really getting into it. This guy had so much energy, it was unbelievable! Then I heard a song I knew very well. I grabbed Edward's hand as soon as I heard those familiar words.
I think I'm drowning
I wanna break this spell
that you've created.
You will be the death of me
You will be the death of me
I won't let you bury it
I won't let you smother it
I won't let you murder it
Our time is running out
Our time is running out
You can't push it underground
You can't stop it screaming out
Edward lifted my hand up to his lips, kissed it, and began to sing along directly to me. This was one of my favorite songs on the CD, but hearing Edward sing it to me gave the song so much more meaning. As I told him in the cafeteria back after we'd first met, I often felt like Edward was saying good-bye to me when he was saying something else. This song seemed to epitomize those feelings. I felt like the time between us was running out - like I would not have Edward with me forever - and I wanted to savor every moment I had with him.
I wanted freedom
bound and restricted
I tried to give you up
but I'm addicted
Now that you know I'm trapped
sense of elation
You'd never dream of
breaking this fixation
This was one way of describing my feelings for Edward - addicted. If he were to ever leave me, I would suffer withdrawal symptoms comparable to any heroin addict on the planet. Before I knew it, tears began to well in my eyes. What was I doing? Edward was standing here in front of me, holding my hand and singing to me. I should be happy. I smiled up at him, then turned back to the stage while surreptitiously trying to wipe my eyes.
Thankfully, the band started the song Stockholm Syndrome and I was able to stop thinking so much. This was another one of my favorite songs and I did my best to move along with the music. I looked down the row at Emmett and Jasper watching their heads move back and forth. Good thing vampires couldn't get whiplash. Rosalie and Alice were dancing between Emmett and Jasper, trying to avoid getting head banged by the boys. Hysteria was the next song and it only got worse. I poked Edward in the arm.
"Edward, look at Jasper and Emmett," I laughed.
Edward glanced down towards the end of the aisle and flashed a huge smile.
"Not bad. Just wait a minute, though," he replied.
I wasn't sure what he meant by that, but then the guitar solo began. Emmett and Jasper jumped up on their chairs and began air-guitaring like I've never seen before. It was like a bad accident that you couldn't tear your eyes away from. Finally, I was able to turn my attention back up to the stage. Michael Bellamy was indeed much more interesting, and much less hysterical, to watch.
The final number was Apocalypse Please. The show ended with even more lights, lots of noise, and Michael Bellamy launching himself onto the bassist's back. Indeed, he had a lot of energy.
Edward and I walked out of the arena in a total daze. Jasper and Emmett were going on and on about the guitar solos. Alice and Rosalie were complaining to each other about Emmett and Jasper. I was glad that Edward was able to reign in his "inner guitarist" this evening. But there was something else I was interested in seeing...or rather, hearing.
"Edward, I still want to see if you can play that music from that one song...New Born. Please?" I told him.
He looked at me and flashed his dazzling crooked grin.
"Well, Bella, I was planning to make a little detour on the way home. I'm going to take you to my house first so I can perform for you...since you asked so politely," he said.
I looked at my watch and the concert hadn't lasted as long as I thought it might. We actually did have time for a detour...as I'm sure Edward already knew.
"Wonderful! I don't get to hear to play the piano nearly as often as I'd like to," I pouted.
Edward gave me a contemplative look, then turned around and nodded to Alice. I was about to ask Edward about this when some moron pushed his way through the crowd and knocked me into Edward. A low growl came from Edward and the jerk suddenly turned around, ready to pick a fight. That is, until he caught sight of Edward, flanked by Emmett and Jasper.
"Oh, geez, I'm really sorry. Are you ok?" he asked, turning towards me.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said weakly, rubbing my elbow.
"I didn't even see you there. I, uh, I didn't mean to run into you, uh, like that," he stammered.
"Make sure that you don't let it happen again. And please, treat the rest of these people with some respect," Edward scolded.
"Of course, yes. Again, I'm sorry," he said, trying to back away through the throng of people.
"Awww, Edward! I was looking forward to teaching that dude some manners," Emmett whined.
"Yes, well, Emmett, tonight is not the proper time for etiquette lessons," he said.
"Come on, Emmett. I'll let you teach me some proper manners," Rosalie purred as she hurried towards the car.
"Hot damn!" Emmett yelled, taking off after Rose. Somehow, he managed not to drop any of his souvenirs as he ran behind her.
"Are you and Jasper coming home with us again?" I asked Alice. She and Jasper had caught up to Edward and I.
"We were going to ride with Emmett & Rosalie," she said, eyeing the pair running towards the car, "but I think we'll take a rain check on that and ride with you guys again if you don't mind."
"You are welcome to ride with us, Alice. We are going straight to the house. I want to show Bella something," Edward said, winking at me. I don't know why he bothered. Alice knew exactly what we were going to do once we got there.
The drive home seemed much shorter than the drive to the concert. I must have fallen asleep because Edward was gently urging me awake while Alice & Jasper were getting out of the car.
"Bella, love - shall we do this tomorrow? You look exhausted," Edward murmured in my ear.
I turned my face to his and kissed him.
"No. I'm fine. I'm awake now," I said against his lips, my eyes still closed. I began kissing Edward again, more fervently this time. He puts his hands on my cheeks, but my eyes popped open and I sucked in a big breath.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," Edward said. "I wasn't sure if you were fully awake."
"Uh, well, I'm wide awake now," I said, trying to kiss him again.
Edward held my shoulders still.
"Are you sure you don't want to go home?" he asked.
"Very sure. Let's go. I want you to impress me with your brilliant piano skills," I cooed.
The next thing I knew, he was at my door, pulling me out by my hand. When we got inside, the house seemed unusually quiet.
"Where is everyone?" I asked.
"Alice knew what I wanted to do tonight, so she offered to have everyone give us some privacy. I thought it sounded like a wonderful idea," Edward answered.
Privacy with Edward. Could life get any better than that? Well, I guess privacy with Edward when he wasn't restricted by his insurmountable self-control would be ideal. But I was willing to wait for that.
Edward took my hand and led me over to the piano. It was still placed on the platform. A piano that beautiful deserves to be played only be someone who can produce music equally as beautiful. And Edward fit the bill perfectly. I sat down next to him on the bench and he began to play.
"Wow, Edward, that's amazing!" I gushed.
Edward stopped playing and turned to me with an impatient smile. He put his finger on my lips and said, "Shhhh..."
"OK," I whispered around his finger.
Edward began again and I listened quietly. After the intro, Edward continued playing and began singing!
Link it to the world
link it to yourself
stretch it like a birth squeeze
The love for what you hide
for bitterness inside
is growing like the new born
When you've seen, seen too much
too young, young
soulless is everywhere
Edward stopped playing then and looked at me. I sat there dumbfounded, my mouth hanging open. Edward playing the piano was amazing, but Edward singing was intoxicating.
"Wow. I mean...yeah. Wow," I managed to say.
"You liked it?" Edward asked.
"Did I like it? That's like asking if I like my truck. Of course I liked it. I loved it!" I exclaimed.
I threw my arms around his neck and began kissing him - hard. My lips would probably have bruises on them tomorrow. The music had unleashed something inside me that had taken over my body. I moved around and climbed on Edward's lap. When I began running my fingers through Edward's hair, a little moan escaped his lips. My kisses became more insistent, but I could feel Edward start to pull away.
"No, Edward," I begged.
"Bella, we can't," he said firmly.
Edward swiftly picked me up off his lap, carried me over to the couch and planted me there.
"Stay," he commanded.
"Fine," I grumbled back at him.
"Bella, be reasonable," Edward said. "I love you, but I will not risk your safety for my pleasure."
"Our pleasure," I corrected him.
He rolled his eyes at me.
"OK - our pleasure," he said. "Either way, it's not going to happen. Just stay there. I have another song I wanted to play for you."
Edward played another song that we had heard tonight. This one was more complex, but just as impressive. He didn't play the whole song, but trailed off somewhere in the middle.
"Even if I'd continued on with piano lessons, I never could have played like that. What was that one called again?" I asked.
"Space Dementia," Edward replied. "Not the happiest title for a song, but many of their songs are about abstract things. It fits their style."
I nodded my head, trying to stifle a huge yawn.
"We need to get you home. I don't want Charlie to send out a search party looking for you," he said.
Edward came over and sat down next to me.
"I'm sorry about earlier. I don't know what happened. My inner sex demon took over or something," I muttered.
"It's alright, Bella. I am flattered every time you begin to lose control. Even with all that I am and all that I have done, I know that you love me. And it's nice to know that you want me too. However, my own self-control is not infallible and I could not bear it if something happened to you. Please don't be angry with me," Edward said.
"Ok," I said, nodding my head in agreement.
Edward swiftly picked me up and carried me out to the car. It had started raining again, but Edward moved so quickly that I hardly got wet at all. When we got to Charlie's house, Edward walked me to the front door.
"Will you still kiss me goodnight?" I asked, feebly.
"Bella..." Edward said, exasperated and leaned down to kiss me. It was passionate, but tender.
"I love you," I whispered.
"I know. And I love you, with all that I am," he answered. "I'll see you upstairs."
A few more comments...
When Edward looks back at Alice after Bella mentions she didn't hear Edward play the piano very often...that was their silent agreement to give Bella a CD of Edward's compositions for her birthday.
This story is coming to a close. They each have one date left. Edward's birthday didn't count as a date for Bella. So probably 3 more chapters!
And just once more, I have to say...Muse is amazing!!
Please review - I love them and try to answer each one!