Just a rabid plot bunny spawned out of my music teacher's sudden desire that I learn how to play Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'. As usual, I own nothing. Ms. Meyer own Twilight and Vivaldi was a genius against whom I could never hope to compete. Also, special thanks to Daddys Little Cannibal for putting up with me and betaing my story. I hope you enjoy.
I don't know why people have garage sales on Friday. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Don't most people have jobs that require they work on Friday? And why would you have one in January? It's freezing!
Still, there was a garage sale going on at a small house that I drove past on my way to school. I wouldn't have bothered stopping had it not been for the music stand. It was one of those heavy brass ones shaped to resemble a lyre. I'd always loved them but they were usually cost more than I could afford. There was no need to put down extra money for a fancy music stand when the folding aluminum stand I had was perfectly serviceable.
I pulled over by the driveway and shut off the engine. The truck's too-loud motor rumbled down to silence. The curtain in the front window moved aside a little as someone with glasses and a head of white hair peeked out. I smiled and waved before walking over to the music stand to get a closer look. It was in good shape, very good shape. Only a few scratches in the surface and a couple peeling, fading stickers from cities like Seattle and Vancouver.
The door to the house opened and a stooped, elderly woman came out wearing a thick coat. "Can I help you with anything, Sweetie?"
"Yeah," I gave her another smile. "How much for this music stand?"
She was walking up to me, still pulling her gloves onto her knotted fingers. "Oh, that was my brother's stand. He played violin. Never was brilliant at it, but he did enjoy playing." She considered the stand carefully. "I could let it go for… five dollars?"
Bonus! "I'll take it." I started rummaging through my bag for my wallet.
"Do you play?"
I nodded as I found my money. "Violin actually, I've played since I was seven." I took out a five-dollar bill and handed it over. "Thank you. I've wanted one of these for ages."
"My pleasure, Sweetie." Her eyes considered me. "Maybe you would like some music to go with it?" She pointed over to an old, battered suitcase. "That thing is stuffed with it. I'm letting it go for twenty-five cents apiece, but I could let you have the entire thing for another five dollars."
I cast a curious look at the brown and red plaid case. "Can I glance through it first?"
"Of course, help yourself."
I smiled and walked over. The latches were old and didn't work as well as they probably had when they were new, but I managed to get them open eventually. The inside truly was stuffed with sheet music. Most of it was yellowed from age and there were notations and markings on much of it from where the past owner had scribbled down thoughts and reminders. Mozart. Beethoven. Wagner. I held my breath in reverence as I read the names of some of the greatest musical geniuses throughout time.
Then, about halfway down in my quick perusal I came across a true gem. 'The Four Seasons,' Vivaldi's most well-known and beloved work. I slid it out carefully so I wouldn't send any of the sheets flying with the wind, I opened the thick piece. It had the piano accompaniment with the violin part tucked inside. The complete work!
I grinned and put it back, shutting the case. "I'll take the lot." The woman smiled at me warmly as I handed her another five-dollar bill. Slinging my bag over my shoulder I carried the battered suitcase in one hand and my new stand in the other, hauling them over to my truck. Angling the stand just so I could get it in the front seat rather than putting it in the bed of the truck. The suitcase I wedged between the stand and the seat.
I waved goodbye to the woman as she watched me leave from the front step of the house and got back on my way to school. I hadn't taken too much time and would still be there at least five minutes before the bell sounded. Of course, that meant I'd get stuck with a lousy parking space.
When I reached the school I found that it wasn't a concern at all. The police were there, along with an ambulance. Frowning, I pulled into a space not too far from the nearest police cruiser and strained to see what was going on through the front window. It looked as though Tyler Crowley's van had lost its traction and careened into someone else's. Students milled about on the sidewalk in groups, watching.
A knock on my window made me jump. It was Charlie. I rolled down the glass. "Is everyone all right?"
"Yeah, should be fine, but where have you been? I about had a heart attack when I didn't see your truck here!"
I blushed. "Sorry. There was a garage sale going on and I stopped to check it out." I jerked my thumb towards the suitcase and music stand. "Sorry I scared you."
Charlie let out a breath. "It's all right. I'm just glad you're okay."
He turned back to the ambulance, but he was still talking to me. "He's a little banged up. They're taking him to the hospital to get checked out. The other car was empty."
That was good. Charlie gave my arm a pat through the open window before walking off. I rolled the glass back up and prepared to go in. I was just about to open the door to the truck when my eyes flicked back to the suitcase. On impulse, I reached over and cracked it open just far enough to retrieve the Vivaldi. I could look it over between classes and during lunch. It might just be enough to tide me over until I could get back home and actually try to play it.
Closing the suitcase back, I slipped the Vivaldi in with my notebooks and headed into the school. I played the full concerto inside my head as I walked, remembering the piece from a CD that Renee often liked to play. Beautiful. Light. Bouncy.
At least, that's how 'Spring' always sounded to me. The other seasons all have their own flair.
Several students were gone. Tyler was rather popular so there were a lot of kids who went to the hospital to wait for the news. Classes carried on as normal with those who remained behind. When I got to the cafeteria for lunch I found the entire crowd I usually sat with gone. They must have all went to check on Tyler.
That was fine by me. I would enjoy the solitude for once.
I got an apple, some cheese and crackers and a bottle of diet soda before finding a place to sit. Pushing my books out of the way, I pulled out the Vivaldi and slid the violin piece out. The paper cracked at the spine when I opened it and the pages were unblemished from any notations or scribbling. It didn't look as though the previous owner had ever gotten around to tackling it and I wondered how long it had been shut up inside that suitcase.
The black notes on the paper were meant mostly to be played on the A and E strings. Vivaldi had been known as a virtuoso of the violin and his work was always complex and beautiful. I ran over the fingerings in my mind, frowning a bit as I noted that early in the piece I would have to move from first to third positions. In fact, it looked like there were a lot of second and third position fingerings. I could do it, of course, but it wouldn't be entirely comfortable. I didn't have a decent shoulder rest, just an old dish sponge held onto my violin with a rubber band. It wasn't enough to keep the violin from digging into my collarbone.
I would have to see if there was a music store in Port Angeles. If not, I might have to go to Olympia or Seattle, but that was a long way to travel for a twenty or thirty dollar shoulder rest. If the school was big enough they could afford a strings program I could have hit up the orchestra director for one, but it was hardly big enough to have a band. Perhaps I could combine it with a shopping trip to beef up my wardrobe and make it more Forks, Washington friendly.
The voice took me by surprise. Looking up I found Edward Cullen standing next to me, his lunch tray in hand and his eyes on the sheet music before me. "Uhm… yeah, 'The Four Seasons'."
How had I forgotten about Edward Cullen? He'd been in my nearly every waking thought since the first time I had seen him, had been on my mind even more after he had returned from wherever and had actually tried being civil to me. Yet now that I was looking at him I realized he hadn't entered my thoughts once since I found that garage sale. It looked like music still outranked boys in the life of Bella Swan.
Edward was looking at me. "Do you play?"
I nodded. "Violin. Since I was seven." His eyes moved back down to the sheet music. "Do you?"
"Piano, for as long as I can remember."
Of course he played piano. He was perfect, wasn't he? I could never quite get the hang of the bass clef, let alone having one hand play one set of notes while the other did something completely different. "That's cool."
I looked back down at the music in front of me, but I looked back up when he sat down across from me. "I've never played this before. I love Vivaldi, but high school strings programs usually play watered down versions."
"That's because few high school students would have the skill level required to play something like this." He studied me. "Are you certain you want to tackle it?"
I bristled a bit. "Positive."
"That good, are you?"
I narrowed my eyes a bit. "Better than most, I took quite a few awards."
I thought a grin tugged at the corner of his mouth as he watched me. It was gone as quickly as it came before he reached out and touched his fingertips to the piano part. "May I borrow this?"
I blinked. The Vivaldi was my treasure! I found it! I got out of my heated truck to brave the freezing cold and icy walkways to get it! Why didn't he go get his own copy! "Uhm… sure."
The booklet of sheet music spun out of sight so quickly I would almost have sworn it had never been there. "Thanks. I'm rather fond of Vivaldi myself." He did smile this time. "Don't worry. I'll give it back."
I scowled at him. "You better."
He chuckled. He seemed to find my attitude amusing. Stupid music thief that can afford to drive around in a shiny Volvo but can't be bothered to find his own sheet music.
He got back up from the table, my Vivaldi tucked under one arm and his lunch tray balanced in the other. I watched him toss his uneaten meal and walk out, thinking all the while that if Edward Cullen knew what was good for him, he'd make damn sure that piece of music was still in pristine condition when he gave it back to me.
You do not mess up another musician's treasures.