Disclaimer: Not mine
A/N: Thanks for your reviews! Here's the next chapter! :P I rewrote this chapter so many times. It's kind of crazy.
Here's to Pretty Girls Who Went to Our Heads (line from Drink with Me)
This was not normal. I mean, I hadn't expected something like this to happen in my Broadway experience, but this was just mind blowing. I felt sick to my stomach, but in a thrilling way. My strong confidence, which Rosalie had instilled in me a long time ago, felt weak and wobbly like jell-o. Maybe it was the magic of Broadway.
No, it wasn't the fact that I was nervous, even though I hadn't practiced my solo yet. It was that guy. That one with the perfect copper hair and great bone structure. The one that made me slightly dizzy just looking at him.
The guy playing Marius.
I was going through heavy heart palpitations. It's not like I've never seen a hot guy before, trust me. I'm in the Hollywood and big-record-deal business, for goodness sakes. I know a hot guy when I see one. And Edward Masen was beautiful. Not only that, but he was a Broadway actor. Somehow, I always respected them more than Hollywood actors. They seemed more serious and had a stronger for respect for acting than Hollywood actors. And Edward was both this and a real life Adonis.
Carlisle introduced us, his eyes blinking from my eyes to Edward's, probably checking for chemistry. I freakin' blushed when Edward shook my hand. I mean, come on! I hadn't blushed in so long, and shaking an actor's hand did that to me. Carlisle noticed, I could see it in his eyes, but Edward seemed as hard as stone, his eyes professional. And he remained that way from then on, hardly a word or glance my way.
Okay, so I did feel a little hurt, even though all the other guy actors my age were also not looking at me. I tried to think that they were all being professional, trying to give me my space and treat me normally. I didn't even know what it was about Edward, because it wasn't just his looked. Hell, the guy playing Enjorlas…Jasper, I think, was as attractive and professional as Edward. Except he didn't make me feel…not normal.
Normal being my celebrity-state-of-being. The feeling I was feeling now was a new kind of normal for me. Like I was a nobody, and that there was this hot guy looking straight through me. I felt vain and stupid, but I was still a little hurt. If you lived the way I did for a few years, you'd feel the same way.
I was sitting in one of the audience chairs, reading my music sheets, but secretly watching Edward and the girl playing Cosette…Alice, I think, practice their song together. I felt my heart pang with jealousy every time Alice made Edward laugh.
Then it hit me: what if Edward was gay? Oh gosh, it'd make a lot of sense. Or what if he was taken? Wow, I hadn't even thought of those possibilities. Have I really become that vain and wrapped up in my own world?
Suddenly, Carlisle must have called a break, because Edward walked off the stage on one side, and Alice was walking straight towards my seat, her eyes curious and amused. She got right up to me a giggled.
"Trying to catch flies?" she teased. I noticed my mouth was open, probably at shock of my recent epiphany, and I quickly shut it. I smiled a little at her.
"We haven't been properly introduced," Alice said, grinning at me and sticking out her hand, "I'm Alice Brandon. I know who you are, of course."
I laughed a little and shook her hand.
"Nice to meet you," I said friendlily, "Congrats on getting Cosette."
"Thanks! Same for you, Miss Eponine," she laughed musically. I smiled again. She seemed nice enough.
"So, what were you staring at?" she asked, hopping into the seat next to me, "Was it Edward and mine awesome performance?"
"Well, it was pretty amazing," I said, playing along but laughing anyway, "No, I was actually thinking about something…"
"Er…it's kind of embarrassing."
"It's all right, can't be that bad."
"Ugh…well…" I drawled out the last word, taking a big breath, "Do you know if Edward is…gay?"
Alice looked at me incredulously, and then broke into laughter. I smiled shyly, looking at my feet and blushing slightly. Goddamnit! I blushed every time something with Edward was involved, and I didn't even know him! God, my day has been so weird.
"No, actually, he's not," Alice giggled, "I know, I was pretty shocked too, but I asked himself and he flat out told me that he wasn't. And I think he's single too. At least, that's what his friend Jasper tells me."
"Ooh?" I said, smirking at Alice, "Already chatting up the cuties?"
"Yes I am," Alice said, her eyes looking behind my head, at what I'm assuming was Jasper, "And don't even think about taking him, pop-star, he's mine."
"Pity that Cosette doesn't have a secret affair with Enjorlas," I teased. Alice turned to grin deviously at me.
"Secret is the key word there, babe," she said with a wink. I laughed at this. Alice was still ogling at him behind my head and I rolled my eyes. Her mouth was slightly open as she stared dreamily.
"Now who's catching flies," I teased at her with a giggle.
Carlisle had hopped right into things, which was pretty normal behavior for him. No time to get past the awkward meetings and relationship preliminaries. And it was okay for us, because we all had to practically memorize our lines and songs anyway before our first rehearsal. That way, we could focus more on blocking, dancing, and other technical things.
I, personally, had them down pretty pat. A few lines here and there needed tuning, as well as some of my songs.
And Bella was…well, I don't really have any words. Beautiful, of course. But there was something different about her, and it didn't have to do with the fact she was famous. She was sitting in one of the audience chairs, staring wide eyed at everything around her. It was like it was her first time seeing the world of Broadway. She looked innocent and completely reverent. And she treated us actors the same way:
Respectfully and…kind of stiff. Professional, I guess you'd call it. But she seemed a bit shyer than I'd expected and seen on some of her interviews. To me, at least, and I didn't know what to think of that. Still, we hadn't practiced any of our scenes together, so I didn't see first hand how she acted/sang yet.
As I practiced Alice and mine song (A Heart Full of Love), I saw her watching us from the audience chairs. She was on her break, and I let my eyes graze over her beauty a couple of times. I couldn't help it, really. It should be illegal to be that beautiful, and it was my guilty pleasure just watching her.
The light overhead hit her glossy brown hair just right, making her hair have an attractive glow, almost like a halo. Her chocolate brown eyes were hypnotic, and I feared if I looked at them I wouldn't be able to look away. She had smooth, porcelain skin that was just dying to be touched, and pink, full lips. She sat with her feet propped up against the chair in front of her.
When I broke away from my staring, I found Alice smirking at me. I gave her an innocent look and she shook her head. I chuckled lightly and quickly held out my hand, back in position for our stage movements. She took my hand, as Carlisle had directed, waiting for Carlisle's directions, but was rolling her eyes at me. I grinned.
After running through the scene, without singing along and just staging our movements, Carlisle allowed us a quick break, calling up the Lovely Ladies for their song and movements.
Alice ran off, straight to Bella. I felt my gut drop. What was she telling her about me? I tried not to gape, so I walked over to James. James was the piano player, and although he wasn't really needed for the first rehearsal, Carlisle still wanted him there just in case we needed to see how the piano played out with a scene. James was sitting on the bench, his black rimmed, circular glasses sliding down his nose as he leaned towards the music sheets in front of him. He looked up at me when I walked over and he gave me a small smile. We had already acquainted each other, of course, being fellow piano players. We had an almost immediate bond, of course.
"Hey Edward," James said, sitting away from the music, smiling stronger now, "What's up, buddy?"
"Laurent," I greeted with a warm smile, "What're you working on?"
"Ah, you know," he chuckled, "A failing composition of mine."
"Failing?" I asked, raising a brow.
"The old problems," he sighed, "No inspiration, of course."
"Oh? The boring atmosphere of a rehearsal not triggering enough for you?"
He laughed and I pulled up a plastic chair next to his small piano bench. I peered at his music, trying to imagine what the melody sounded like in my head by recognizing the notes. James laughed again.
"I don't think Carlisle would really mind if I played a little," James snickered. I rolled my eyes.
"Yeah, I know that, but I was wondering if you were ready for everyone turning to look at you the second you did."
James' smile was wiped off his face, and his eyes narrowed at me. I smirked at him and he scowled.
"Ha ha," he said sarcastically, "You're hilarious, Edward. Really, you're killing me, man."
"I wish I could help you…but, you know…"
"Yeah, piano composing is kind of private," James sighed, nodding, "It comes from too deep inside you for anyone to help."
"Mm," I agreed, "But I could help you with inspiration if you need any?"
"Oh?" James said, looking hopeful.
I nodded, scanning the room. I kept my eyes off Bella, who was laughing with Alice now, because I knew the second I saw her I would want to stare forever. Then I found someone. Victoria. The beautiful redhead who was going to play Fantine. I think I heard we were going to smack a blonde wig on her for the real thing. Anyway, this choice wasn't random, of course, because I've seen James glancing at Victoria plenty of times. He just wasn't clever enough to use her as inspiration. I sat back, beaming at a very curious James.
"Victoria," I said simply with a smirk. James went wide eyed, glancing at her and then back at me.
"What!? She's way out of my league!" he exclaimed, struggling to keep his voice low.
"Relax, man," I laughed, "I'm not asking you to ask you to marry her! Just use her as inspiration."
"That feels dirty," James said, scrunching up his nose, "Like I'm using her as a tool."
"Fine then. Not about her. For her," I corrected with a smile, "Pretend you're writing it for her. Maybe you could give it to her one day, you never know." He couldn't avoid my logic.
"But what would I- How could I-"
"Just admit it, she's good inspiration," I laughed. James rolled his eyes dramatically at me.
"She's totally going to catch me staring," he said, shaking his head.
I stood up, clapping him on the back and laughing.
"Just say 'thanks, Edward'," I snickered, "And don't worry, she'll totally fall for you. Especially after she's heard that piece."
James rolled his eyes again, shooing me away good-naturedly with a swish of his hand. I grinned and walked away. I looked up at the stage where Bella and Harold Banner (the man playing Jean Valjean) practicing their scene. It was pretty simple staging, but both Bella and Harold seemed to be executing it very smoothly for their first time. Carlisle looked pleased. Then he saw me walking by and gestured for me to get on the stage. Harold waved goodbye to Bella and Carlisle as he walked off. I heard he had to go to some appointment or something. Lucky Carlisle is such a smooth director, or Harold would never get away with missing rehearsal. I guess Harold's talent also had something to do with it.
I propelled myself onto the stage, putting one hand on the stage floor and swinging my legs on top so I landed smoothly on two feet. Carlisle wrapped his arm around my shoulder, pulling me towards him in a fatherly way.
"Ready for a rousing singing rehearsal?" he asked, his eyebrows raised at me.
I looked at Edward, who turned his head to me. A smile began to grow on his face, and my heart sputtered. Then he looked back to Carlisle.
"I'm always ready, Carlisle," he said smoothly. I almost fainted. His voice was so rich and velvety. Wow, the theater was really getting to my head.
"Just what I like to hear," Carlisle laughed, clapping Edward's shoulder. He waved towards everyone, clapping and ordering them to go towards the piano. The pianist, whose eyes were trained on something, looked shaken as he fumbled his music sheets around. We all walked towards the piano and the pianist wrung his hands nervously, his glance flickering towards Edward for some reason.
"Give them a few scales and warm up exercises, James," Carlisle ordered, crossing his arms and waiting for us to sing.
My throat felt thick suddenly, my palms sweaty. There was something about being on Broadway that shook me to my bones, more so than singing in front of thousands of people. Edward sidestepped, standing next to me. He looked over at me, smiling slightly. I smiled back, probably much wider than his. I reminded myself to keep my cool. He's just another guy…just another…
My mind turned from my swirling thoughts, focusing on hitting the notes in the scale as James' fingers moved across the piano.
God, I was going to have such a time doing this job correctly with him smiling at me like that.
I crossed my arms, leaning against the wall by the entrance to Bella's theater. I was worried about that girl. She was actually trembling when she left the house that morning. I mean, I haven't seen her trembling in so long. But, I guess this thing meant a lot to her.
I sighed, watching the hands on my watch tick by rhythmically. Twenty minutes left.
A sleek black car pulled up onto the curb. The door opened and out walked the guy with the best body I have ever seen. He was in a crisp white button down shirt, black pants, and a black dress-jacked hung over his shoulder with the hook of his thumb. He had curly brown hair that framed his perfectly and I almost died when he turned his gaze to me.
He stepped out of the car, waving to his driver as the car drove away. Swiftly, he slipped his jacket through his arms, adjusting it on himself as he walked towards me. A smile grew on his face and I'm almost certain my heart stopped.
But, of course, I kept my face calm and collected. I write an advice column for a popular magazine called Intuition, and I've learned that if you can pull off the calm, indifferent-look, you can definitely get a guy's attention. And I have been told that I can pull off that look.
"Hey, what's a beautiful girl like you doing waiting outside some dingy theater?"
We finished scales, and I got an earful of Edward's voice. It. Was. Amazing. Even more so than his talking voice, his singing voice was a luscious, velvety sound. And that got me thinking: what's a talented guy like him doing on Broadway when he could be making so much more money in the Hollywood business?
He turned to me after finishing scales and looked almost surprised.
"You have a wonderful voice," he said, a warm smile growing.
"Thank you," I said, fighting the blush away, "You too…but why do you seem surprised about that?"
"Ah, sorry," he said, laughing in spite of himself, "I'm a bitter man who stereotypes the rich and successful. The singers I've met never sound as good in person as they do on their CD…but you seem to sound better in person…"
"Oh," I said, the blush coming harder this time, "You've listened to my CDs…?"
"Radio mostly," he admitted, smiling sheepishly. I laughed. I actually didn't like too much the music I was making right now, but it gets me my fans and money. I know it sounds superficial, but that's the way to get my name out first. Then, maybe, I could try other stuff.
"So…" Edward said conversationally, "How's it feel to be back on Broadway?"
"Good," I said, involuntarily dreamily. Edward chuckled.
Then, Alice bounded over to us, saving me from my embarrassment. She came up to us, glancing between us with a smirk and I mentally rolled my eyes. She was planning something, that much I could tell.