short and sweet: new chapter. couldn't fit the whole song title into the chapter title box so i improvised.

kudos to my reviewers: inu16kags, forevacullens, pushypixieAlice, isa90, vampirelover13, and Iceangel92003.

and extra kudos goes to riskyshapes because her review made me smile :)


Chapter Song: Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off

Artist: PANIC! at the Disco

Chapter Nine

How long I had been in the blackest and heaviest part of my REM cycle, I wasn't aware of. When my body finally decided to swim to the surface of consciousness, it hovered just underneath the surface. I felt a shift in the pressure of the bed and the disturbance of the sheets. Both were quickly ended, the sheets replaced to their former position of warmth. I rolled over onto my opposite side and swam back down a little bit deeper, hearing a soft laugh as I did. I wasn't ready to break the smooth surface and create turmoil on the surface by producing ripples and waking up. The further I tried to swim down, the closer I was pulled toward the surface by the sweet sounds of tinkering piano keys.

Some part of my subconscious told me to just continue swimming down, but my body was at war with itself. Breaking through the surface, I was greeted to the introductory notes of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune." Listening to the familiar composition, I kept my eyes closed, burrowing further into the sheets as bits of memory from the previous night flooded back to me. Waking up early and setting up the ballroom, Angela's arrival, many phone calls. Flowers, tablecloths, a dress, a speech…

Edward.

The name came hurtling forward along with the complete memory, bringing me out of my snuggly little dreamland. My eyes flew open as if to check that I hadn't dreamt it. My eyes stung from the concentrated amount of light in the room. It was another cloudy and dismal day outside; even though the curtains were closed, I could hear the rain pounding itself along the widows. Spying the source of the light, my eyes adjusted to find the sight of my wakeup call.

The set of French doors that were aligned with the middle of the bed that separated the master bedroom from the living room were wide open, the light and sound filter into the room. Through those doors, sitting at the bench of a black baby grand piano, wearing only a pair of charcoal colored flannel pajama pants was Edward. His back was turned toward me. His hair was more unruly than ever, but it never looked so delicious before, sticking in every direction but flat. As his arms moved across the ivory keys, I could see the muscles of his back ripple encased in his delicate skin. Seeing his pale body revived my memory of how resplendent he looked in the pale light of the night. My body shivered with pleasure at the though as a genuine smile stretched my features into an expression of happiness.

Hearing the piano playing was relaxing, it reminded me of when I was young and Renee would play. I leaned back into the pillows, tucking the sheets into my underarms as I readjusted to a comfortable position. I sat there watching and listening to him play while my mind drifted.

How was it that I had been able to get myself into this situation with two totally different spectral answers? The answers were straight to the point: James or Edward.

If only it were that simple, I thought to myself.

As Clair de Lune faded into its last notes, I looked away from his heavenly form to see a small pile of clothing neatly folded and sitting on the bottom corner of the bed. Atop the pile was a small piece of paper folded in half with my name written on it. Seeing the clothes made me suddenly self-conscious about my appearance.

My hair felt stiff and matted because of the hairspray used to hold my curls. From the feeling of uncleanness I received from my hair, I didn't want to imagine what my makeup looked like from the previous night. Deciding that I wanted to shower, I pushed the covers toward my feet to take the pile of his clothes. As quickly as I had moved the sheets away, I pulled them back up to cover myself. I felt my face and shoulders flush tomato red as I remember my clothing, or lack there of. Glancing through the doorway, I saw that he was too engrossed in his playing that he didn't notice I was awake. Realizing that he probably wouldn't look back anyway, I was still nervous of the possibility of him seeing me so scantily clad.

Too late for modesty, I thought in an offhand tone, remembering my brazenness from the previous night and the fact that he had already seen this much of me. Removing the bed sheet, I wrapped it around my body before taking the clothes and walking through the suite's huge closet to the bathroom.

The bathroom alone was the size of my apartment's living room and kitchen combined. Floor to ceiling, the entire room was covered in warm caramel colored marble, ivory veins of color running through. In the far right hand corner of the room, there was a huge whirlpool tub that was sunk into the floor. In the right corner closest to me, was the shower. It was made of glass and had a rain showerhead directly over the middle of the shower. On the left corner of the room closest to me were the water and linen closets. From the edge of the tub started a long counter with his and her sinks that sat atop the counter. Bending at a junction where two walls met, it continued out a little further to create vanity table with a small ivory stool tucked underneath. The counter continued until it reached the wall of the linen closet. Behind the vanity table was an ornate mirror, two small but bright wall sconces hanging on either side.

Opening the door to the linen closet, I pulled out two thick, chocolate brown towels. After turning on the shower, I placed my clothing and towels on the counter. Undressing, I stepped into the glass shower, heat surrounding me as I closed the door behind me. Even in the shower, I could still hear Edward's piano playing clearly. The song was unfamiliar to me, but even though it was a piano piece, it had an alternative sound to it. I listened to his playing until it stopped momentarily as I was washing my hair for the second time with shampoo. Hearing the notes of a new piece, I listened closely to the notes.

The song started off at a not too slow but not too fast pace. It sounded slightly complex and bittersweet, but the emotion was conveyed through in every note. The notes repeated in measures for about two minutes before changing. The sound slowly started to build and take on a lighter tone before sinking back down into the familiar measures. Once again, the notes started to build into a happier melody before changing again. Again it faded to the bittersweet, but the notes sounded as if they had a glimmer of hope in them. Again the notes started building, this time the notes sounded happier, almost relieved. Slowly, the notes faded out, a chord sounding every few seconds before the song completely ended.

Again there was a pause before he started into a new song. This time, the beat was strong and commanding. There was a slight angst portrayed in the notes. By now, I had finished cleaning myself and was sitting on the shower floor, just listening to him as the water washed over me. As the song came to an end, I turned off the water and left the shower. Using one for my body and one for my hair, I toweled myself off. Being thoroughly dry, I started to dress myself in the clothes that he had provided for me.

The pile consisted of a pair of gray sweatpants, a navy colored hoodie, a black wife beater, and a toothbrush.

How appropriate that he'd give me a beater, I though sadistically to myself as I dressed. Shaking my head with disgust for myself, I brushed my teeth and picked up my dirty towels. I dropped them into the hamper of dirty towels in the linen closet and walked into the living room. As I entered, saw him crouched down on his haunches next to the piano. He was placing a small black box into a worn leather messenger bag. He now was wearing a white t-shirt that lightly clung to his chest, hinting at the sinew that lay beneath it. Without turning around, he slid back onto the bench and started to play again. I curled up on the couch behind him and patiently listened.

He played well, his heart and soul pouring out as his fingers plunked out the notes. He closed his eyes while he played a smile always on his lips. His chest would swell and deflate as the music would crescendo or decrescendo. But, the best part would be when he struck the wrong chord or key. I would never have been able to tell it by listening, but the sound of his laughter gave it away. His laugh was beautiful, sounding like ringing bells. When ever he laughed, it made my heart beat a little bit faster and my arms ached to hold him. He looked to carefree when he played, so happy, so relaxed that I was mesmerized. I didn't say a word until I saw him open his eyes for the first time in what felt like hours.

"Please, don't stop playing."

"Good Morning," he said softly giving me a dazzling smile as he turned around. He looked slightly surprised to see me sitting there.

"Morning," I replied with a smile.

"I see you read my note," he said taking in my appearance. "Sorry, I didn't have anything smaller for you." He gave a small sheepish smile as he apologized, his right hand rubbing the back of his neck.

"Oh, no, they're perfect, really. Thank you."

"Come sit up here," he said as he moved over, gesturing to the open space next to him. I removed myself from my perch on the couch and sat down on the bench.

"What do you want to hear?"

I was quiet for a moment as I sifted through my brain for the name of a classical piece Renee used to love to play. I opened my mouth to tell him the name when my stomach let go a loud growl.

I felt my cheeks go scarlet and Edward laughed. I looked down at my hands and bit my lip as I hid behind my curtain of hair, embarrassed at myself. No sooner had he finished laughing did his stomach growl. I looked up and raised an eyebrow at him. Standing up from the bench, Edward walked out of the room momentarily to come back with a thin brown leather binder.

Handing me the binder he said, "Order anything your heart desires."

Instead of taking the binder from him, I turned to look at the clock on the nightstand in the bedroom. Its small phosphorescent numbers announced 3:28 post meridiem as the current time. Without looking at the contents the binder had to offer, I simply replied, "Cheerios."

I heard him mutter under his breath, "That was easy," before walking away to order. I could hear him in the entry way talking on the phone. Turning towards the piano keys, I started to play 'Chopsticks.' As I finished, he walked back into the room and sat back down at the bench.

"What would you like to hear?" he asked again.

"Anything."

He was still for a moment contemplating what play, his fingers hovering just above the glossy keys. He cleared his throat before setting down his fingers. Closing his eyes, he slowly started into the song. He started to play to play, 'I'll Be Seeing You' by Tommy Dorsey, the song we danced to the previous night. Once again, he sang it to me, his voice melodic and clear.

It was a fairly short piece, barely lasting over three minutes. When he ended, he cracked his knuckles in one loud snap before embarking into another ballad, one unbeknownst to me.

"I don't want to set the world on fire,

I just want to start a flame in your heart.

In my heart I have but one desire,

And that one is you,

No other will do.

I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim,

I just want to be the one you love,

And with your admission that you feel the same,

I'll have reached the goal I'm dreaming of, believe me.

I don't want to set the world on fire,

I just want to start a flame in your heart."

The song continued into a short monologue before returning to singing.

"I don't want to set the world on fire, honey. I love you too much. I just want to start a great, big flame down in your heart. You see, way down inside of me, darling, I have only one desire…and that one desire is you. And I know nobody else ain't gonna do.

"I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim,

I just want to be the one you love,

And with your admission that you feel the same,

I'll have reached the goal I'm dreaming of, believe me.

I don't want to set the world on fire,

I just want to start a flame in your heart."

As I listened to the words I was being serenaded with, the piano wires wrapped a little tighter around my heart, slicing in a little bit deeper to add to my mounting emotional pain. Why didn't I just walk away when I had the chance? Why did I keep hurting myself, hurting Edward? And if it hurt this much, why did it feel so right to be here with him?

It's just a song, my mind said, unconvincingly conciliatory.

Just as he finished, a knock sounded at the door signifying that room service had arrived. Wordlessly, he stopped playing and we both stood up. Before starting toward the door, he reached down and held onto my hand. With this gesture, I felt the wires wrap tighter and slip a bit deeper.

You don't feel guilty, you're scared. Scared of what will happen when he leaves.

Opening the door disclosed a man dressing in a maroon hotel uniform shouldering a tray. Walking into the room, he set the tray onto the coffee table in the living room before departing.

I felt depressed standing there in the foyer with Edward holding my hand…the dreamland that started last night was coming to an end, I could sense it. Pulling lightly on my hand, he guided us to where the tray had been set. For him, there was a plate of scrambled eggs and a slice of toast while I had a bowl filled with Cheerios, my milk sitting in a small pitcher. Releasing my hand from his grip, we both sat down on the couch and ate in silence. When we both had our hunger satiated, I was leaning against his side with his arms around me in a never ending hug when I remembered the title that Renee would play.

"Do you know 'Moonlight Sonata'?" I asked, pulling away from him to look at his face.

He nodded once before standing up and digging around in his bag to pull out a folder of sheet music. Sitting down at the piano again, he began the bittersweet and haunting melody. I let the familiar sense of calm the composition brought to me wash over me, trying to push away the feelings of guilt and hurt. Near the end, I reopened my eyes to find him watching me, his eyes hard, his expression emoting nothing.

He opened his mouth as if he was about to ask me something but was cut off by the shrill sound of a ringing phone. He ran his hands through his hair, his posture oozing frustration as he stalked out of the room to answer the call. When he was out of the room I made my way back to the piano and looked over the sheet music trying to remember how to play from my few poorly taught lessons on the instrument. I could read the music sheet fine, but my problem laid in my memory on the chords. I started into it, my fingers clumsy and forgetful stumbling every few measures. I removed his sweatshirt; the long sleeves kept sliding into the way of my fingers. Once I realized my mistakes, I started to play smoother, my brain shaking off the cobwebs. I could play smoothly until I reached this one cord, messing it up every time.

Suddenly, there were hands atop mine showing me the chord, "Like this," his mouth whispered against my ear. Edward was leaning over me, his arms covering mine, my small body comfortably fitting into the space on his chest between his shoulders. His face was next to mine, his warm breath sending shivers down my neck. My vitals went into over drive at the contact, my heart skipping beats. I felt all the blood wash into my cheeks turning them fire engine red.

"You look so beautiful when you blush," he said softly through his laughter for catching me off guard. He sat down next to me on the bench and continued to help as I played. After assisting me, I was able to get through the piece most of the piece without him. When I had finally played the piece through without help and was striking the final notes, he bent his head down and placed a small kiss on my shoulder.

My fingers faltered and the notes came out sour. I abruptly pulled my hands away from the keys and turned my head toward his. Meeting his eyes, I felt the piano wires snap my heart in half as they finally reached its breaking point. His eyes were a brilliant and fiery green, filled with thousands of emotions: hunger, pain, joy, tenderness, frustration….

"When did he leave?" he asked apropos of nothing. His eyes visibly changed from light and clear to cold and dark in a matter of a few short seconds. His voice sounded dead and flat.

I didn't know what to say or how to tell him. Sure, I was, by technicality, free. But with James in this picture, it was temporary.

Free in quotation.

'Free.'

I didn't want to have this conversation, not with him. Standing up from the bench, I moved back into the bedroom and flopped onto the bed before taking refuge under the covers. I heard him sigh from the other room. I didn't hear him enter the room until the sound of closing doors reached my ear and felt him climb onto the bed next to me. I didn't move. I just stayed balled under the covers hiding. I was waiting for him to break the silence as he wanted me to. Neither of us moved for a few minutes, but it felt like hours.

"Bella, please, don't hide your beautiful face," he finally said, his voice filled with anguish barely above a whisper. He peeled the blankets down from over my head to just past my shoulders before lightly brushing some stray locks of hair away from my face. I didn't answer him or even throw a glance in Edward's direction. I just stared at the panes of glass in the doors. Once again, silence descended upon us.

"Please tell me, I need to know this," he pleaded.

Silence.

"Why do you need to know?" I finally answered after a long time.

"I want to help you."

"I plead the Fifth." I said, my voice soaked with sarcasm at his statement. He looked incredulous. I rolled onto my side facing away from him, my eyes mimicking the motion.

"What?"

"You're a lawyer; you should know what that means." He exhaled angrily. I could picture him running his hands through his hair in frustration at the sound.

"Why do you always run?"

His voice sounded like he was confused and frustrated at the same time. With that, he finally broke through my defenses and hit me where it hurt. I could not hurt him in spite of the fact that he had brought up James. Edward had never done anything to deserve my anger.

"Don't do this."

"Do what?"

"Pretend that you just want to know about me."

"That's just it! I don't want to just know about you, I want to know everything about you! Your name is Isabella Marie Swan, preferably called Bella. Your birthday is September thirteenth, and you love books as much as a heroin addict does a fix. You're stubborn and self sacrificing and have more accidents in a single year than most people do in a lifetime. You brush your hair into your face when you feel shy or exposed. You don't have a favorite color; you believe horror movies are ridiculously funny due to poorly executed fake gore and acting. You drive a 1953 Chevy pickup because it was your first car and think it runs great. You hate receiving compliments because you view them as lies. You talk with your hands without consciously realizing you do. If someone you love hurts, it hurts you worse knowing they are in pain. You are the world's worst liar and love your parents no matter how harebrained they are. You talk in your sleep and hate shopping. Knowing this about you is nowhere near enough to satiate the thirst of my curiosity about you; I just want to break you down so badly and understand you." he said trying to make me believe. I couldn't think of anything to say so I relapsed again into saying nothing.

"Don't do this." I asked him again when I finally found my voice. It was thick with regret for what I said to him.

Several times he opened his mouth to say something, but the words always died before they reached his lips. When the words finally spilled out, I could hear every ounce of emotion that he had ever held back leaked through his voice.

"Bella, what if there was an us?"

"What?!" I said in utter disbelief.

"What if you and I…what if you and I were together?"

"That's not possible," I answered, my voice low. I could feel the tears start to build in my eyes. I would not let myself cry again in front of Edward, he had already seen too many of my tears.

"No."

"It could never happen," I reiterated, my voice thick with pain.

"Why not?"

"You know why! Because I'm a possession to him, a prisoner." I lied, indigently as I sat up. It wasn't the truth, he could see that.

"If you're a prisoner, how are you here alone with me?" he challenged me with a smirk. I could tell that brought him some satisfaction at having found the loophole in my speech, but I could still see the blackness of his mood.

"You have this illusion of smoke and mirrors around you that James will never come back but there is always that chance. Trust me, we could never have that."

My persuasion was a spiraling toward the ground, about to crash and burn. A dead look came into his eyes as I said this to him.

"So you mean to tell me that last night held nothing for you?"

His voice was flat and monotone and I was choked into silence with appall. How could I have done this to him? I had just fucked him over with words.

"Bella, I feel like everything is two steps forward to revert all the way back to square one. We both know what he did, there is not any way I can change that and it kills me. But what kills me in the worst way is when you push yourself away from me after saying you want this. You don't know what it was like for me to have to leave you there….Every single day I'd have to wake up knowing that he could be there hurting you. Every day I'd go to work or court and listen to battery, rape, and assault cases and hear the stories of the victims, each time picturing you, wondering if that had ever happened to you. By the time the day was over, I would get home and spend my nights in solitary confinement with a bottle of alcohol, drinking until I blacked out, just to get away from the thoughts that I couldn't do anything. It tormented me constantly to think of what could have been happening to you, the misery you were in.

"At the end of the first month, I felt like my life was burning in a black flame. The worst part knowing that I could have tried harder to convince you to get out of there. You're with me all the time. No matter where I go or how hard I try, you haunt my mind. He can't hurt you anymore, please trust in me when I say that. I just need to know where I stand."

I did not know how to tell him everything. In the three months I had alone, I had had an epiphany but I didn't want to register the fact. I had to tell him as best I could, he needed to know now. The time had already come and passed when I took a deep breath before dropping out into the unknown. I was ready for this, I had no doubt in my mind about it after last night. But what was I going to do when he was gone?

"I'm scared," I admitted my voice breaking. My guards were down for him to see everything, to see that I needed to explain myself to him.

"What are you afraid of?" he questioned softly, his voice filled with confusion and pain.

"There's a lot that I don't know, Edward—there's a lot that I'm still learning. I had finally started to let go of everything entirely when I saw you last night. But I was still hurting from what I had done to you—it made me want a resolution. I needed somebody to pick me up, somebody to help me rehabilitate what I had lost, but I was scared of letting anyone in. When you were here, I was scared of everything that was happening but I was complacent. When that moment was over, I froze. There was nothing to scare me, nothing to save me from slipping back into that coma. But the bizarre part was I could still hear the sound of your voice ringing in my ears telling me I was wrong. Then last night happened, resurrecting everything that I had done, everything I wanted. All I want is you, but I'm scared of what will happen when you leave."

This time, he was the one who was silent. His eyes fell closed and with the exception of his chest rising and falling, he was deathly still. He sat Indian style, his forearms resting on the tops of his knees. The silence was deafening in my ears and I wanted nothing more than for him to say anything, hurtful or not. A minute passed, turning into two minutes. Two minutes when to five and five soon became ten. After twenty minutes of silence, I could not take it anymore.

Switching to a kneeling position, I outstretched my fingers, tentatively brushing them across his knuckles whispering his name.

"Edward?"

At this he finally responded, opening his eyes slowly. They were cloudy and dark.

"Come here." He spoke softly, extending his arms out toward me. Without hesitating, I climbed into his waiting reach and molded myself into him. His chin rested atop my head and his arms wrapped around me tightly. One hand was tangled in my hair while the other was curled around my thigh. I pressed my left hand against his heart to feel its strong beat and took a fistful of his t-shirt of in my right. Turning my face toward his, I breathed in his scent. His scent was unique, nothing that I could place but was seemingly familiar. He smelled clean, like soap, warm skin, and rain. Sitting there, I could feel him twisting strands of my hair between his fingers as he began speaking again.

"I don't want you to be scared."

"But I'm not just scared, I'm happy, too," I said reaching out to touch his cheek. Turning his head, he pressed a kiss into my palm before ducking his head down to my level.

"How close is close enough?" His eyes were tight.

"I don't know–I just know that I'm ready."

"Is this too close?"

His lips brushed across mine.

"No, not close enough."

The sparks of electricity traveled down my spine and spread warmth through my body, my heart beating faster and faster.

"I won't ask of anything more," he said as he started to pull his lips away from me.

"Don't. I'll tell you when it is too close," I said twining my hands in his hair and pulling his face back to mine. My lips had barely touched his before he pushed me away from him.

"No," he murmured silkily.

"Why?" I asked.

"I don't want you to feel pressured."

"I don't feel pressured!" I cried exasperatedly.

"You just decided that this is okay, that you were ready. I don't want you to rush into anything because you feel like you have to."

My eyes felt too moist as they stared down into my lap, my stomach uneasy, and my cheeks red with blush. It took me a moment to realize that I was irrationally feeling rejected.

"Please? I'll tell you if it's too close, I promise I will. Please."

He exhaled unevenly to my surprise before turning his head away from me. My heart was sputter frantically in my chest at his torn expression.

"Please?" I asked a final time.

"Bella—" He said turning his head toward me; it didn't sound like denial but surrender. Taking advantage of the moment, I reached until my lips touched his. I felt his hands come to the sides of my face, expecting him to pull away again but I was wrong. His hands braided into my hair welding my face to his. His lips moved against mine with a new edge of desperation, one that I hadn't felt since the first time we kissed in my apartment. Breaking away from my lips, he slowly started to create a line of kisses from the hollow beneath my ear to the length of my jaw line before slowly trailing down the side my throat.

His hands brushed lightly down my spine before coming to rest on my hips, holding me in an unbreakable grip. I wanted him to hold me tighter. Tickling me, I felt his thumbs lightly brush against the skin of my lower back; the tank top he loaned to me had ridden up. Disentangling my hands from his hair, they quickly found the hemline of his cotton t-shirt before hiking it up to reveal most of his perfectly sculpted abdominal muscles. He arched his shoulders off the bed so I could pull the shirt off his body entirely. Pulling his lips back to my own, I realized that he was flat against the bed with me straddling him. His kisses became hesitant now as my hands traced movement of his muscles; I felt him shiver beneath me as his body broke out in goose bumps. His skin felt like it was on fire. I felt him smile against my lips before his hands locked around my wrists like iron fetters, stopping them as they traced down his chest.

"Not tonight," his said against my ear, his voice was warm and velvety. His lips were slower now against my cheek and jaw. All the urgency from before evaporated. Unlocking my wrists from his strong grip, he wrapped one of his arms around me and I placed my hands limply on his chest. Once again, my right hand had found its way above his heart. He laced the fingers of his left hand over the top of my right hand; this way my palm could still feel constant beating of his heart. As both our breathing slowed, I turned my face into his chest to hide it before he could see my hesitation and embarrassment.

"Edward?"

"Hm?"

"There's something I want to ask you," I said. I felt blood flood to my cheeks without even looking at him.

"You're blushing?" he asked sounding surprised as he felt the heat of my cheeks against his smooth, pale skin.

I bit my lip, reconsidering if I should ask him.

"Bella." His tone reproached me now, reminding me not to draw back into myself after I relapsed into silence.

"Will you swear that you won't leave?" I finally mumbled in a barely audible tone.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'll be right here as long as you need me," he promised before placing a soft and gentle kiss on my lips. We laid there listening to the rain fall and watching the sky get darker and darker, not speaking, just laying there when I finally gave him his answer.

"81 days."

"Thank you."


as always, i'm a sucker for happy ending chapter because i hate leaving you guys with huge cliff hangers.

READ&&REVIEW PLEASE!

peace out girl scouts.