Being a mental mute comes in handy sometimes, particularly when you're planning a birthday present for your favorite mind reader.
I mean, what do you give the vampire who has everything?
It took a while (okay, just a bit more than a while) to go through Edward's music collection. And he was not kidding when he said there wasn't anything from the '70s in his library. Nothing.
The fading of human memories can be both a blessing and a curse. In this case, it was just a royal pain. There was a song my mom liked to play that dated back to the mid-70s, but aside from it having something to do with Chopin, I couldn't remember what it was.
It took only a very little looking to find it. Even less time to plan what I was going to do when I did.
I had a wonderful, beautiful, thoroughly wicked idea...
"Bella, no!" Alice protested. " I don't have a problem with it, but it'll take the rest of eternity for Edward to forgive you for that--"
Don't you tell him," I hissed. "It's about time his taste in music got an upgrade."
I bought a piano for Charlie; the best that would fit in his tiny living room. Everyone knew about it; including Edward, but I discounted my foray into profligate spending by saying the piano was actually for Renesmee, who wanted to play the piano at Grandpa's, now that Edward was teaching her. I learned at the same time she did by eavesdropping on her lessons, then disappearing to Charlie's to practice.
Unlike Renesmee, however, I was also taking singing lessons. Eavesdropping alone wouldn't help me here. The change in my speaking voice didn't carry over into an improvement in my singing ability—Simon Cowell would've had a field day with me before my change.
The night before Edward's birthday party, I overheard Jasper and Emmett taking bets—again.
"I heard her playing over at Charlie's the other night—overheard actually-- Edward's gonna freak."
"Is she that bad?" Jasper asked. "I know Alice knows what she's up to, but that's all."
"No, she's good. Nowhere near Edward, almost as good as Rose. he chuckled evilly. "Good thing Renesmee's playing first—that piano's gonna be toast."
"Oh, Emmett---" I called, sweetly.
"Before you place that order for a new Steinway concert grand, remember that if Edward gets one whisper—no, not even that—a lip-synch-- of what I've planned tomorrow—you're the one who's going to be extra crispy!"
"You wouldn't." he scoffed.
"Wouldn't I? No. I wouldn't. That's Rose's department."
He remained unimpressed.
"Debbie Does Dallas," I reminded him in the barest of whispers—and then I ran for it. Out of the house, into the woods and halfway to Hoquiam, Emmett hot on my heels.
Good thing I'm still a newborn. He never caught me.
The living room was transformed into a concert hall with seating for ten.
Renesmee played first, a couple of Edward's favorite classical pieces and then a sonata she'd composed just for him. He was positively glowing with delight when she finished, and his eyes were full of the same look he'd had when we'd taken our vows.
I played two songs that were part of our history: "Claire de Lune" and "Pachelbel's Canon."
And then the third.
I started softly with the stately chords of Chopin's "Prelude in C Minor." I heard a low chuckle from Emmett as I continued to play, but ignored him.
And then I began to sing, and the room was still but for the beating of Jacob's and Renesmee's hearts. I poured everything I had into it, all my love, into the soaring notes.
I became so lost in the music, in what I was trying to convey, that even my heightened senses didn't register Edward's presence as he came to sit next to me at the piano. It was only when his notes were added, that I noticed. He took the melody, augmenting it, changing it; it passed between us like fire leaping from tree to tree in a desiccated forest, growing brighter and fiercer, like desire, transmuting our lovemaking into music; the music the means of making love, the notes our kisses and caresses, chords holding and being held, the triumphant crescendo our climax.
As the final note faded into awed silence, he turned to me and smiled.
"I still don't like 70's music." he teased. "But I'll consider making an exception for Manilow."
A/N: If you add this story to your favorites list, please also review and tell me why. I'd really like to know!
For readers who are Bella's age or younger, the song is the album version of "Could It Be Magic."
A couple of links:
(Leona Lewis XFactor: Too uptempo for this story but this is close to what I imagine Bella's trained singing voice sounds like.
(Manilow's 1975 "Midnight Special" appearance).
Bella's version includes the line "You're my lifeline, angel of my lifetime." (from Lewis's performance). The last verse in Bella's version changes "Lady" to "Edward" and ends the verse with "I will love you, build my world around you, never leave you 'till our lives are done." Edward joins Bella at the piano during the long instrumental passage.