Just a bit of fluff for CatMaster's birthday. Happy birthday hun, hope it's a good one. Love ya!
I was listening to Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto while writing it, it's what Edward is playing in the story. You can use the link below if you want to hear what he is playing, just replace the (dot) s with full stops. The link is to part one but will open a link to part two.
http://www (dot) youtube (dot) com/watch?v=JbsvPMbC55A
The lyrics at the start are Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi, they were the inspiration for the story.
Thank you to Weezy for red-penning for me. Love ya more! :P
An Ivory Tale
"Sitting here wasted and wounded at this old piano
Trying hard to capture the moment this morning I don't know
'Cause a bottle of vodka is still lodged in my head
And some blond gave me nightmares, think that she's still in my bed
As I dream about movies
They won't make of me when I'm dead.
With an ironclad fist I wake up and french kiss the morning
While some marching band keeps it's own beat in my head
While we're talking
About all of the things that I long to believe
About love, the truth, what you mean to me and the truth is
Baby you're all that I need.
Well I'm so far away each step that I take's on my way home
A king's ransom in dimes I'd give each night
To see through this pay phone
Still I run out of time or it's hard to get through
Till the bird on the wire flies me back to you
I'll just close my eyes, whisper baby blind love is true.
Now as you close your eyes
Know I'll be thinking about you
While my mistress she calls me to stand in her spotlight again
Tonight I won't be alone
But you know that don't mean I'm not lonely
I've got nothing to prove for it's you that I'd die to defend.
I wanna lay you down in a bed of roses
For tonight I'll sleep on a bed of nails
I wanna be just as close as your Holy Ghost is
And lay you down on a bed of roses."
Bed of Roses - Bon Jovi
"Jesus fucking Christ Masen, how many times?" Aro slammed his baton down on the stand and stomped over to the piano, snatched my score and glared at it for a long moment. "Yeah, guys he does have the same fucking music as everybody else, it's just apparently he 'interprets' it differently." His piercing blue eyes met mine, riddled with sarcasm and fuming. "It's a fucking B flat minor chord. I know that may seem odd to you in a piece in fucking B flat minor, but I assure you that's how the bastard is written so could you kindly play it that way?"
I cringed as he slammed the score back down in front of me, the sound reverberating around my tender brain, making every single cell ache and cry out for relief.
"Oh and Masen," I looked up into his furious face once more. "Lay off the fucking whiskey tonight ok. I know this is Scotland and they say when in Rome and all that bullshit, but we do have a concert tomorrow night and I'd be oh so fucking grateful if you didn't have a goddamn hangover."
I mentally flipped him the bird, while internally registering that the smug bastard was right. I had fucked up the same line six times now and I could feel the eyes of the entire orchestra on me, the stand of the stunning Steinway I was playing not doing a very good job of shielding me from their glares. I rolled my eyes and tried to force my focus back onto the music in front of me. For the first time since I was about 6, I realised what it must be like to look at a sheet of music and have no idea what the fuck it means. My whiskey addled brain couldn't decipher one note from another as all the tiny black dots just merged into a single giant black hole I wished I could jump into to save me the agony of playing through Tchaikovsky's 1st Piano Concerto again.
Yeah I'd lay off the amber nectar tonight. That shit was lethal, I could barely fucking walk this morning let alone play Tchaikovsky. I glared daggers at the chord that was fucking with me. I knew this shit, I'd been playing it for years, but no. A few glasses of some seemingly harmless British alcohol and I was rendered helpless in front of a piano.
I wanted to fucking go home. There was only one thing in the world I loved more than playing the piano, and she was sat three thousand miles away, waiting for me to come back to her. I stared right through the sheet of meaningless dots and lines, into my home where she would be just getting up now. She would be wandering around the kitchen with her eyes still half closed, tired and cranky until she got her morning coffee fix. She would run her hand affectionately over her swollen belly, telling it that mummy tried to give up coffee and failed spectacularly, and that one day she would teach it to make a perfect cappuccino and then mummy would never have to make her own coffee in the mornings again.
I couldn't focus on fucking Tchaikovsky when all I wanted to do was have her curl up on the piano bench next to me while I played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and waited for him to kick. He always kicked when I played that, and everytime my Bella would squeal with delight and pull my hand away from the keys and wrap it tenderly around the tiny foot of my son.
She was so fucking beautiful, her long chestnut hair cascading down her back in loose curls, her flawless alabastor skin contrasted against the deep brown pools of her eyes which lit up like fireworks when she was happy. I had sworn to myself that I would spend the rest of forever trying to make those lights stay permanently lit, to never be the reason that they were extinguished.
I tried to force my mind back onto the music, just one perfect run through and maybe I could get the hell out of there and go call her, I wanted more than anything to hear her sweet voice. Although my mind registered that at 7am it was more likely to be groggy and bad tempered, but I didn't care, I wanted her in all her moods. Pregnancy hormones or no pregnancy hormones.
I fingered the white ivory, trying to get my mind back on track, the perfectly weighted keys giving under the slight pressure of my fingers and ringing out the chord I had played incorrectly so many times.
"Halle-fucking-lujah, he's found the damn chord. Can we play this shit now please Masen, some of us would like to get home sometime today?" I fought back the urge to kick that dickhead's face in and nodded curtly. He raised his baton and I forced Bella's face from my mind and replaced it with nothing but the music.
As Aro's baton fell and the brass started to play I found my head finally in the right place and as my cue came and I pounded out the resounding chords which resonated around the empty concert hall in perfect harmony with the sliding melody of the strings. Then as the piano part slid into the old familiar melody I finally relaxed into the music and allowed my mind to wander back home to my Bella, her face swimming through my mind and pouring out into my fingers making the melody soar with emotion.
I allowed images of her to flash through my mind in a montage, her face the day I asked her to be my wife, the way her eyes had lit up as I got down on one knee and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me. Her giddy excitement the day she came home from work popping to tell me that we created a tiny life together, her hands shaking with happiness as she showed me the blue line in the most significant piece of white plastic we had both ever looked at.
I threw every ounce of love and devotion I felt for her into my performance, my fingers finally dancing effortlessly over the ivories. It was her all along, while I was busy pining for her and missing the hell out of her, I had lost sight of the fact that I needed her in order to play it. The music was just pointless notes on a page until her face in my mind brought them to life, until her tinkling voice in my head gave them the meaning they were meant to have.
As the movement drew to a close with rolling chords then tinkling triads fading out into nothing I sighed my loneliness into the final note. I couldn't believe how much I missed her, I missed her face, her smile, her laugh, her smell. God I even missed her bad temper at being so huge with our son growing inside her. The huge concert hall was filled with silence for a long moment, nobody wanting to break it after we finally managed a full run through without me ruining it for everybody.
The reverie was broken only when Aro tapped his baton loudly against his stand, running out a string of profanities about how we finally managed not to fuck it up and dismissing us for lunch to reassemble again for another rehearsal in the evening.
I was out of that seat so fucking fast I gave myself a head rush and had to sit back down again until the stars stopped circling irritatingly around my head. I jumped to my feet again, more carefully this time, and made my way outside into the biting cold and cutting wind. Why was it so fucking cold in this country? We had only been here for three days and I could already feel myself shrivelling up in the cold. I missed the beating sun and dry brown landscapes of our home in Phoenix. In three days in Edinburgh we had had gale force winds, driving rain and even a hail storm. Next time the orchestra played abroad I was campaigning for Hawaii or Greece, or somewhere they actually knew what the big hot yellow thing in the sky is for.
I shrugged myself further inside the thick duffel coat I had purchased on arrival onto this icicle of a country, bringing the collar up around my neck in a desperate attempt to keep out the wind, and set off in the direction of my hotel. My feet pounded along the street, splashing through the puddles with complete abandon, the only thought in my head was how much my proximity to the telephone in the hotel room was increasing with every step.
My need to hear her voice was now so strong it was like an entirely separate entity, driving me forwards towards my goal, towards that hotel telephone. We had never been apart for more than a day since our marriage three years ago, and it was fucking torture being so far apart now. When Aro announced that we would be travelling to Britain my initial reaction was excitement. I couldn't wait to show Bella the country where my father grew up. We could make a holiday out of it, stay on after the orchestra returned to Phoenix and travel down to Hampshire where Carlisle spent the first 14 years of his life before moving first to Washington and then later to Arizona.
Then I found out that she couldn't fly in her third trimester and almost pulled out of the whole thing. How the hell could I leave her when she was the size of a house and my son could come any time? But she told me I was being a fucking pansy and it was only for a few days, and basically to man the fuck up and deal with it.
That was my Bella. She always was the strong one in the relationship. It was her sass that had attracted me to her in the first place. When she got into a slanging match with my sister and Rose came off worse I think I fell immediately in love with her, and so did Rose. Not many people got into a fight with my sister and came away with their bodies and their dignity intact. We always joked now that our relationship was "love at first fight."
I almost ran into the glass doors of the hotel in my haste to get inside and get that phone in my hand. What sort of fucking idiot leaves their cell phone in the hotel anyway? I took the stairs two at a time, not having the patience to wait for the elevator at that point. It may have been quicker but I just felt that as long as I was physically moving that I was getting closer to my Bella and my unborn son. I knew it was irrational and that it was just a phone call, but it felt like Phoenix was so far away that every step, no matter what direction it was in, would bring me closer to home.
I fumbled with the stupid key in the lock, dropping it twice before I finally managed to match it to the hole in the door and flew into the room, charging for the night stand where my shiny silver cell phone sat, flashing with a missed call. I grabbed it quickly, my fingers all over the keys desperately trying to unlock them. The satisfying beep as I finally managed to open my chance at communication with the only person in the world I wanted to speak to right now made my heart rate pick up until it was racing in my chest.
The missed call was from my mother, I would call her back later, right now there was only one voice I wanted to hear and I wanted to hear it now. I had never been so grateful to have my Bella on speed dial as I was in that moment, my finger pressing and holding the number 1 key until it beeped to tell me it was connecting. My breaths matched the rings, five in total before her silken voice answered and allowed me to breathe again.
"Hello?" Her voice was the salve to my soul, soothing away every insecurity and every ounce of loneliness that had consumed me since we said goodbye at the airport in Phoenix. I sighed heavily, just taking in every nuance of her voice as she instantly recognised that it was me and bent her voice seductively around the syllables of my name.
"Bella," I breathed, finally where I wanted to be. In my mind, I was with her in the kitchen as she stood with the little red phone to her ear, twisting the spirals of the cord around her slender fingers the way she always did when she was talking to her father in Washington. Her white gold wedding ring would catch the morning sunlight streaming in through the window and send shiny patterns reflecting off the pale blue walls of the kitchen and the shiny white cupboards.
"It's good to hear your voice, Edward, I miss you. We both miss you." Three years later and her voice could still give me goosebumps. Three years and she still brought out the seventeen year old boy in me.
"My boy misses me?" I questioned in awe.
"Of course he does," she replied in her sultry morning voice. "Mommy tried to play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for him but she really really sucks at it. He wants his daddy to come home." I chuckled at the thought of her even attempting to play the piano. Her attempts were more likely to earn her kicks begging her to stop than encouraging her to play on.
I moved across the room to the portable keyboard I toted along with me everywhere, never comfortable being too far from a piano, even if it was just my trusty old yamaha.
"Put the phone to your stomach baby, I'll play it for him." I heard a beep on the other end, indicating that she had me on speaker phone. I chuckled, realising that it wasn't just my son who was missing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I sat down at the keyboard and caressed the keys lovingly, playing the song that would never ever be replaced as my favourite in the world.
As I heard the familiar squeal of delight as my boy showed his pleasure at daddy's playing I wished to God that I could crawl down the telephone wires into my home and feel his tiny feet against the palm of my hand. I continued to play to the soundtrack of my wife's excited squeals and giggles as his feet tickled her insides. I laughed as I heard her comment on how much better daddy is at it than mummy.
I finished up playing, leaving my hands on the keys for a long moment, listening to Bella talking to my boy, my heart feeling like it could burst with all the love it held for my little family.
I picked the phone back up after a moment, turning the speaker phone back off and putting it to my ear.
"God, Bella, I miss you so much. I never realised it would be so hard to be away from you. It's like my heart was attached to yours and now it's been stretched too far away and it really fucking hurts." She tutted loudly at my profanity, sarcastically telling me not to swear in front of the baby. I laughed loudly at the idea that my son would be born already with a rich dictionary of expletives for use in every situation.
"Sorry baby." She giggled and I could see her in my mind's eye, her eyes alight with happiness and her alabaster cheeks aglow with impending motherhood. "I swear to God, I am never leaving you again. Ever."
"That's fine by me." I heard her sigh gently as she responded, her voice cracking slightly and betraying her true feelings. I smiled at the thought of never leaving her side again. Next time Aro wanted me to go gallivanting off around the world just to play some music, if my family couldn't come with me then I wouldn't be fucking going. Simple.
"What you doin' baby? I mean what were you doing before I interrupted?"
She laughed sarcstically.
"Interrupted!" she scoffed. "I was just about to feed the coffee monster, but frankly he can wait, I'd much rather talk to you."
We talked about everything and nothing for a while, just enjoying each other while we had the chance. I would happily have spent the entire day on the phone to her, talking about nonsense just to hear the sound of her voice. Her tones were like heavenly music to me, she could have read me the phone book and I would have listened completely enraptured by her.
But she had to go do life, and I had to go practice if I was to get through the goddam concert without Aro inserting his baton into warm dark places I would prefer to remain empty of conducting implements.
"I love you both to the moon and back." I finished, before disconnecting the call. The moment the phone beeped I felt my heart constrict again, that dull, empty feeling washing over me and almost forcing me to redial the number, just to ensure that her voice only seconds before had been real and not just my imagination.
Fuck! When did I turn into such a pussy? I mean I knew I loved Bella from pretty much the first time I met her, but when did we get to the point where we couldn't be apart for more than five minutes without turning into shadows of our former selves? I knew if I didn't get my focus back then Aro would have my ass, especially if I fucked up the concert tomorrow night.
I set my mind to the music, fighting to block out everything else and just focus on the passage that I kept fucking up on earlier, trying to get it perfect. I played it over and over solidly for hours, never tiring of the sumptuous melody, my fingers and the keys like a single entity, flowing and dancing together in perfect harmony to create one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.
I fucking hate wearing tuxedos and shit. The bow ties always tickle under your chin and you look like a complete dick, but for some reason if you're a concert pianist that's what the world expects you to wear. I mean, in my mind it would make more sense to let me wear whatever the fuck I want to, that way I'd be comfortable, and surely a comfortable pianist is going to put in a better performance. But no. Fucking dinner suits, the works.
Aro was such a pretentious fuck. He spent most of his life in that disgusting brown t-shirt with "Mozart is my Homeboy" on it and a pair of jeans that were more holes than they were denim and had been since the 1980s which was probably when they were last washed. But every time we did a concert out came his fucking dickie bow and all the girls suddenly decided he was some sort of sex God for the night. Of course, when he reverted back to type the following day they all forgot they ever swooned over him until the next time he shook the moths of that damn suit and out would come the fucking smelling salts again.
I kept my Bella and the tiny dancing feet inside her in my mind throughout the performance, finding them both preferable to focusing on how much my stupid fucking suit was driving me insane. I imagined I was sat with them at home, and instead of Tchaikovsky it was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and instead of a dinner jacket and bow tie it was jeans and a comfy old t-shirt. And most importantly, instead of just the cold empty air of the brightly lit concert hall beside me, my girl was there, curled into my side, on hand on my shoulder, the other lovingly caressing her belly, waiting for the kicking to start.
The instrument I was playing was a truly stunning thing, a work of art in it's own right. The keys responded perfectly to my every whim, the melody flowing eloquently from each of the delicately formed ivory keys.
The hundreds of faces out in the chilly auditorium hung on every note as they danced from my fingers like the finest poetry from the pen of a great word smith. But each of those faces was meaningless to me. There was only one face I wanted to see smiling back at me from her usual seat at the end of the seventh row. I always offered her front row seats and every time she declined, always opting for the final seat in the centre of the seventh row, citing her need to "not distract me" as the reason. I had pointed out to her that I could never fail to be distracted if she was even in the same city as the concert hall I was playing in, never mind the same room, but she always insisted that the seventh row was where she would sit, and what my baby wanted my baby got.
I happened a glance at what would have been her usual seat, knowing that it could only garner disappointment, but still felt my heart sink in my chest when my eyes were met by the steely grey of an elderly woman in a peculiar purple hat, instead of the warm chocolate eyes of my wife. I closed my eyes to the stranger's form and imagined my Bella in her place, her lips turned upwards in a small smile, her eyes closed as she floated on the wings of the music I played only for her.
I let my fingers do all the work, pounding the familiar melody into the crowded room as I allowed my mind to take me away once more. It took me to the beautiful face of my brand new wife as I lay her gently down on the soft bed strewn with rose petals, her eyes radiating her love into my soul and setting it ablaze with my need for her, the night that she gave herself to me completely, the night she took my name and my body for her own. I loved her from the moment I saw her, but that night as I lay her down among the sweet scented petals and made love to her our souls intertwined and I would swear that the earth moved.
The sounds of applause ringing out around the large room pulled me from my reminiscences and sharply back to reality. Reality where it was only another few short hours until I could board that plane and fly home to my life and the baby she was carrying.
Eleven hours. Eleven fucking hours shut up in a goddam plane dying to see my girl and being blocked from the alcohol by that asshole Aro. The seat was all kinds of uncomfortable and I was whining like a bitch about how I would be kissing my ass goodbye by the end of this torture. The hands on my watch seemed to be deliberately tormenting me by going backwards, every time I checked no time at all seemed to have passed.
Every minute ticked by agonizingly slowly I wondered what my Bella would be doing? Where she would be? What she would be thinking? How she would be dressed? Did she miss me the way that I missed her? Was she counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until we were together again, the way that I was? Did she miss me so much that it actually caused her physical pain?
At every little bit of turbulence that we hit my eyes shot up to the "fasten seatbelt" sign above my head, praying to God that this time it wasn't turbulence but the plane finally starting to make it's descent into the Sky Harbour International Airport in Phoenix. My nerves were frazzled and my patience was shot to hell. All I wanted to do was get the hell off that plane and run like a crazy man until I found her.
When the pilot's pompous voice finally came bubbling out of the speakers informing us smugly that we were ahead of time and would be starting our descent in approximately ten minutes I nearly popped right out of the seat of death I had been captive in for ten and a half hours. I could feel Aro's disdainful looks piercing through me from his seat across from mine as I literally bounced like a schoolgirl at a Jonas Brothers concert, but in that moment I literally could not have cared less. Just because he wanted to live his life out as an unashamed bachelor and die alone survived only by his dogs and his unreasonably large music collection, did not mean that I wasn't allowed to look forward to getting home to my wife.
Baggage claim was fucking torture, standing around for what felt like hours waiting for the carousel to start moving, all the time knowing that my girl was standing just feet away through those double doors with "Nothing To Declare" in bold green letters above them. I was almost tempted to just fuck the luggage off and go, except that she would kill me if I did. She knew how much I hated shopping, and if I left my case behind my sister would feel duty bound to replenish my wardrobe and poor Bella would have to listen to me belly aching about it for weeks afterwards. So I stuck it out, trying to ignore the pull in my chest to those doors, like there was a piece of elastic attached to my heart trying to drag me through and back to her.
Finally, I ploughed through the swing doors, the supple leather of my luggage clutched tightly in my hand as I scanned the crowds of people for the only face in the world I was interested in. Then I saw her and the rest of the world just fell away, ceased to exist as I took her in from head to toe. Her long hair was hanging in loose curls down her back, liberated from it's usual pony tail prison, she was dressed in a simple pink shirt that hung loosely over her gigantic pregnant stomach and a pair of jeans. She was so fucking beautiful, I couldn't take my eyes of her. Her brown eyes found mine and we melted into each other's gaze as though there was nobody around but us, like we were the only two people in the world.
My eyes never left hers as I fought my way through the crowds of people all trying to reach the ones they loved. People holding placards with names splashed across them blurred in my peripheral vision as I focused solely on the only person that mattered.
Then her face was finally in my hands, the inevitable blush rising easily to her cheeks, staining them a beautiful shade of pink. I stumbled back a few steps as her body slammed against mine in a fierce embrace, her small hands clutching the back of my shirt tightly and her face nestled against my chest, her ear planted over my heart, no doubt listening to it's elevated beat.
I breathed her in deeply, the scent of her strawberry shampoo filling up my senses completely as I held her tightly to me once again. The busy airport continued it's dance around us as we just stood there refusing to drop our embrace.
Four days apart had felt like a lifetime and I swore I would never leave her for so much as a day ever again. Her body fit mine so perfectly, even with the bump of our son between us we moulded together like puzzle pieces. I couldn't hold her tightly enough to satisfy the need I had to be close to her.
I found her lips with mine and felt the usual electrical current run through me at the feel of her satin lips against mine. Our tongues danced together the old familiar dance taking on a new vibrancy after our time apart, the taste of her unique and perfect. I could feel all my tension from the last four days slowly melting away, leaving me with nothing but the overwhelming feeling of all the love I felt for her. This was where I wanted to be, here with my family. Forever.