Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga and all respective characters, names and related details are the property of Stephenie Meyer, Little Brown publishers and Summit Entertainment. The rest of this started out as a little dream of mine before I ever met Bella, Edward and the rest of the gang, but I like it so much better now that I was able to work them into it.
Warning: One more lemon shot for the road.
Approx: 11 Pages/ 4,339 Words
CHAPTER 51: CAN'T WAIT TO GET STARTED
It was Saturday: our make-it or break-it moment. We slept in late, opting to get as much sleep as possible before heading to the bar early to rehearse on stage.
I woke up to find myself alone in bed. Edward was not at the window greeting Bree, nor was he in the shower or the kitchen. My heart started pounding in my chest as I made my way outside to look for his car.
I found Edward huddled on the front step with his phone to his ear, his pen tapping nervously against his legal pad. He looked up at me in surprise. "Good morning, beautiful. I thought you were sleeping in late?"
I sat down on the step beside him, regretting it when the cold, damp concrete soaked through my silk robe. "Well, I was going to roll over and hug my boyfriend when, to my surprise, he wasn't there. What are you doing out here anyway?" I asked, hugging his arm, huddling next to him for warmth.
"I just wanted to take care of a few things for tonight without waking you. Why don't you go back to bed? I'll wake you up in an hour or so." He promised, kissing me on the cheek.
"Can't you come back to bed with me and take care of this stuff later? It's lonely in bed without you…" I pouted.
He wrapped his arm around me, tucking my head beneath his chin. "I'll tell you what, go back to bed and let me take care of business and I promise I'll make it worth your while when I wake you up."
I pulled away to look up into his beautiful green eyes. "Yeah, like that's going to help me go back to sleep now." I pinched his nose before jumping up and sashaying back into the house.
I sliced a grapefruit in half while the coffee brewed, enjoying the way the fragrances mixed in the air to help wake me up. I snuggled into the sofa with my breakfast, watching the news to see what the weather would be like in Port Angeles. They expected it to be cloudy with only a thirty percent chance of rain, so it looked promising that it wouldn't scare the crowds away, although I didn't know how many people might possibly come back after our last "big show".
I downed my coffee, anxious to get in the shower and wash away the bad memories that were suddenly flooding my subconscious. All had been forgiven, but I still blamed myself for screwing things up so very badly that last time. They didn't realize it, but I was putting all the weight on my shoulders to make sure that I was flawless for them tonight.
I will not be the problem again.
I shuffled off into the bathroom, the steam billowing around me as the water heated. I turned the water down a little after it scalded my foot upon stepping in. I lathered the pouf and began rubbing it over my body when I felt Edward step in behind me, his hands ghosting from my hips, up over my sides to my shoulders.
"I thought I told you to go back to bed and wait for me?" He husked.
"Couldn't sleep. I told you, the bed's too lonely without you and besides, I'm too nervous about tonight." He collected my hair, pulling it all over my right shoulder.
"Let's see what I can do to make you feel better." Strong hands began massaging my shoulders, firmly, but gently. "Someone did this for me the other morning and it felt absolutely wonderful. Had I not been overwhelmingly tired from being up all night, I like to think I could have thanked her properly."
I instinctively remembered the way it had felt to rub my hands along his magnificent body, to rock against his tight ass as I kneaded his tense muscles, to feel his strength between my legs.
I dropped my head forward as his hands moved over my slick skin, focusing on the knots that had developed in my neck and back, working them loose one-by-one. My breathing labored as his hands explored the tension in my body. Ironically, as my muscles relaxed beneath his capable hands, the tension and pressure flamed higher within me.
I was concentrating so thoroughly on his loving hands that I moaned without meaning to.
"Should I take it that you are enjoying this?" He mused. I could hear the smile in his voice.
"Mm-hm" I mumbled, beyond words.
I placed my palms against the cool tiled wall, my legs spread as he knelt down behind me, massaging my thighs and calves and ass. His delectable hands were driving me mad – feeling so heavenly, but never enough to quench my thirst for him.
He surprised me by skimming his nose up along my crack.
"Yesssssss!" The kinky serpent hissed from within.
His hands were cupping my ass, kneading and squeezing as he whispered kisses over my skin.
"Waaaaaaaant." It begged in my ear.
I pushed back against him, clenching my ass as he nibbled deliriously below my right cheek.
I pursed my lips as I groaned in delight, closing my eyes and biting my lip with uninhibited desire.
His hand slipped up between my legs as he began massaging my eager clit, my legs nearly giving way at the unexpected touch. His fingers continued to probe within as he rubbed delirious circles over my sensitive nerves.
Once his fingers were coated in my wetness, he slid them up along my crack, circling my hole deliciously. The pressure in my untouched backside was amazing, making me forget any worries I had about welcoming him there.
"Do you like this, baby?" He groaned, the leather seeping into his voice.
"Yes…" My confession came out in a whisper as I struggled to form coherent speech. Without planning it, my body pushed back against his hand, causing his finger to dip just slightly into my entrance. I gasped with unexpected pleasure at the intrusion.
It felt odd…foreign. I couldn't necessarily say that it felt good, yet I still found myself wanting more of it.
"Damn, so fucking eager." He astonished, under his breath. "We have to be careful, baby. We can't rush this…I don't want to hurt you." Although his words were kind and considerate, I could hear the gravel seeping into his voice. He was struggling to be patient just as badly as I was.
"It just feels so good, Edward. I want to feel you there. I want to feel you everywhere." I crooned, desperate as always for more.
He pushed his fingertip against my hole, moving it in tight circles that were driving me mad with desire. As the inferno began raging within me, he slipped his other hand up to rub against my center, one finger sliding back and forth over my quivering clit as his palm rubbed enticingly over my pussy.
I began thrusting against his fingers, eager for my release from the painful yearning; moaning and mewling in delight.
I could feel his breath on my backside as he grumbled with a throaty, animalist growl that was building in his chest. "Yes, Bella. Move for me, baby. I love the way your body dances to my touch. So fucking beautiful…" He mumbled, barely able to contain his own unquenchable desire.
My eyes were clenched, the warm water running over my neck and along my shoulders, dripping erotically off of my pert, hardened nipples. "Don't…stop…So…fucking…good…" I moaned as I rubbed against him eagerly.
"I have to have you, Bella." He roared suddenly, rising up behind me and bending me over to take me from behind.
"Yes Edward! Yes! So good, baby!" I crooned as he rocked into me again and again, our wet, heated bodies sliding back and forth against each other.
"God Bella! You're so beautiful. So amazing. I can never get enough of you. Never." He groaned as he pulsed deep into me, his thrusts growing more frantic.
"Faster Edward! Faster! I need to feel you so deep inside of me, baby. Give it to me harder. I want to feel you fill me!" I moaned as he bucked against me feverishly, my body clenching down on his engorged cock as he rammed into me with all his might. "Touch me, baby. Touch me there. It felt so good!" I begged with abandon.
He slid his fingers between my tight cheeks, pulsing repeatedly against my tight hole with a pressure that translated straight through to my pussy.
"Yessssssss!" I hissed euphorically, his touch pushing me towards my climax as my body seized around his.
"Yes Bella! God, I love you! I love you so much!" He shouted as he released inside of me.
As we rode out the waves of euphoria, he wrapped his arms around my waist, lowering his head to place lazy kisses all over my back.
As we settled back into our bodies, he pulled out, spinning me around so that we were clinging to each other under the powerful jets of water. "I love you, Edward. I love you." I chanted as he smoothed my hair out of my face, kissing me tenderly.
Best stress reliever ever!
Fifi was already at the bar, waiting for us when we got there around noon. Ali made sure that every last outfit was in the dressing room while Ro prepped for make-up, hair and jewelry. Em and Jazz focused on getting the instruments there and set up in pristine condition. I decided to once again set on cleaning the bar to a shine – polishing the table tops, vacuuming the stage – the works. Although I couldn't say exactly what Edward was doing, he sure looked busy enough.
"If you all are going to rehearse, I need you to start soon because I have some things to set up before the bar opens tonight." He explained. We jammed for two hours before calling it quits to make sure that I didn't kill my voice. It was enough – we had gone through every song once.
Every song except for the love song, that is.
I wanted to help Edward as much as I could, so the rest of the band went into the back to get ready while I stayed out to do whatever he would let me do. Edward had already recruited Felix for a lot of the work, which was nice because Fifi looked like he appreciated being included.
I was shocked when Phil and Renee came in around five carrying two large cardboard boxes. I ran over, greeting them anxiously. "What are you two doing here?" I asked happily.
"Working concessions." Renee smiled proudly. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. "Edward didn't tell you?"
I shook my head dumbly.
Phil sat down his box, using his keys to slice open the packing tape and pulling the flaps back to reveal a bunch of professional looking cd's, complete with Emmet's cover art. I clapped and jumped up and down gleefully. It was still our work, but the cd's no longer looked dinky and home made.
Phil moved over to Renee's box, slicing the tape open once again and pulling out a t-shirt with our picture on it, the word "Eclipse" scrawled across the bottom of the image in an edgy, purple font. I squee'd excitedly, wrapping my arms around them and hugging them with everything I had.
Edward came up behind us. "So, what do you think?"
I spun around, throwing myself at him to hug him fiercely. "You amazing, wonderful, incredible man!"
He laughed, sounding carefree. "I wouldn't go that far."
Just then, a familiar looking blonde haired man came into the bar, carrying some kind of lighting equipment and looking a little lost. "Where do you want this?" He called out to Edward.
"You can put it on the stage for now." Edward instructed.
"Where do I know him from?" I whispered.
Felix snuck in beside me, a gigantic smile on his face. "It's Max! From Hot Topic!" The big guy almost looked like he was ready to jump and clap like I did.
Tyler came in a moment later with his boyfriend, though I couldn't remember his name. Each of them carried more boxes of what appeared to be electrical equipment of some sort.
"Hey Bella!" Tyler smiled happily. He dropped the box off on the stage before coming over to envelop me in a warm hug. "You remember Laurent, right?"
I shook Laurent's hand, thankful for the reminder on his name. "What are you guys doing here?"
"Well, we ran into Eddie and Felix at the bar the other night, and they were telling us about your big break." Tyler started.
Laurent jumped in to continue. "Well, Eddie was talking about how he really wanted to help you go big. I'm a theater geek, so I told him that dramatic lighting could really make a big difference."
Tyler proudly hugged his boyfriend around the waist. "So, he told his professor all about you and the band and, voila! You have stage lights!"
"And what is Max doing here?" I asked, trying to make sense of it all.
"Well, I sort of went to Felix when I screwed up the other day." Edward looked ashamed. "He took me to the mall for…what did you call it?" He turned to Fifi.
"Retail therapy." Felix explained.
"Right. 'Retail therapy.' Anyway, we ran into Max and got to talking…"
"And he said that he had some experience running a light board back in high school. So he offered to help!" Felix jumped in.
Laurent shrugged. "Unfortunately, I'm better in front of the lights than behind them."
I turned to look at Edward, my eyes full of pride, love and wonder. "I know, I'm amazing, wonderful and incredible." He mumbled, embarrassed. "I'll find a way for you to thank me later." He winked. "For now, get back into the dressing room and let us handle things out here. Okay?"
I kissed him passionately, not caring who saw, thankful once again that this glorious man was mine. He swatted me on the ass playfully as I scurried off into the dressing room.
It felt like forever as we waited to be announced. It also felt like seconds.
Time was curving in on itself; past, present and future merging into a kaleidoscope of blurring moments.
Felix burst into the dressing room, breathless. "We're packed!" He shouted triumphantly.
"Woo hoo!" Emmet exclaimed enthusiastically.
"No, you don't get it…" Felix insisted. "We're over capacity. The bar is completely full and we still have a line of people going out towards the sidewalk that are waiting to get in!"
That knocked the wind right out of me.
"Are you serious?" Ali asked, dark eyes widening incredulously.
"Aro's tending the bar so Mike can help wait tables. Jessica and Angela are both out there and, if I didn't have to be on top of crowd control, I'm sure he'd have me in an apron too!" Felix explained excitedly. "The t-shirts are all sold out already. The execs walked in to find everyone wearing them, chanting for you guys!"
My legs were trembling. I couldn't believe it!
This was really it! This was really our big break!
"The execs are walking around, talking to people to find out what they think of you and how they like your music. They've even hit up Bree's parents for details."
Uh-oh. My chest was starting to ache and I was beginning to feel just the slightest bit dizzy. I knew this feeling. A minute or two longer and my lips would start tingling.
Not now, Bella! Keep it together! Not fucking now!
"Bella, baby?" I heard Edward call out from the dressing room door. I pushed through the others, anxious to get to him, lunging for him the moment he was in sight. "Baby, what's the matter?" He looked concerned.
"I need you, Edward. I need you!" I cried, fighting back the hysterics.
"I'm right here, baby. You're going to be fantastic, do you know that? They are absolutely going to love you." I clung to him, my ear against his chest, studying the steady, calming beat of his heart until the anxiety passed. No one else even saw it happen this time.
"I need to see you in the audience, Edward. Can you be there? Can you watch me?" I begged, looking up into his warm, vibrant, loving green eyes.
"I'll be wherever you need me." He promised, tucking my hair behind my ears to cradle my face in his large, masculine hands.
"Your table. Stage left." I responded immediately.
He nodded. "You got it. Stage left."
He slung his arm around my shoulders, walking me back into the room to initiate a massive group hug with Felix and the band. He even gave us a pep talk which got the adrenaline flowing freely, blocking out any feelings of anxiety or fear. He kissed me sweetly on the lips before wishing us all luck and pulling Felix out the door.
"This is it, guys…" I energized, gripping Jasper and Rosie's hands beside me.
"Let's woo them!" Emmet yelled as we all broke out in laughter.
We walked from the dressing room towards the dimly lit stage door, slinking in the darkness to listen as Edward introduced us. He briefly worked the audience up into a riot before announcing us. We burst through the stage door, running excitedly onstage.
The stage was lit more brilliantly than ever before. I wasn't used to the lights, so it was difficult to see out into the audience, but I could see enough to tell that Fifi was right.
The place was absolutely packed tight.
My chest started to squeeze as I realized that I couldn't make out any of the faces. Panic rose in me as I couldn't find a single familiar face in the crowd.
Something moved in the corner of my eye and there, kneeling to my left, just barely visible in the light that cascaded over the edge of the stage, were my green eyes.
The music started…and I sang…gazing down into those loving eyes whenever I felt like I might be losing it.
The audience response was deafening. They absolutely roared with delight at our antics, the applause sounding like a million thunder strikes at once.
Soon, I was floating on my adrenaline high, no longer dependant on my emerald fix. The rock star took over, working the mob into a frenzy as the girls and I swayed our hips mesmerizingly. Emmet gave the drums everything he had and Jazz was absolutely making love to his guitar on stage.
The group whooped and hollered as we excused ourselves for the break. In all truthfulness, we could have kept going strong right through the second set, but I didn't want to break away from the norm.
We yelled excitedly in the dressing room, jumping and dancing around anxiously, eager to get back on stage.
"They are loving you!" Edward enthused as he snuck into the dressing room, picking me up and spinning me around to emphasize his excitement. "You all are killing it!"
"Eddie, man…how did you do it? How did you get all these people here?" Em gawked.
Ever so humble, Edward shrugged his shoulders and bowed his head. "Well, the media helped. They took the original story and ran with it. All it took was a phone call to let them know about the execs being here tonight and most of them ran a follow up story."
Jazz shook his head. "I'm not buying it. There's got to be more."
Edward blushed. "Well, don't forget you already had a very large fan base. Jacob bought the entire Quileute nation with him. Momma Hale and Daddy C. are here, as is Charlie and a whole bunch of your regulars."
Rosie folded her arms. "Our regulars don't sound like that. Spill it." She ordered.
"Fine. Many of Phil's coworkers are here in tribute to Bree. Renee's contacted a lot of her old students. When Laurnet found out about the lighting issue, he spread the word around school and invited most of his classmates. Max passed the news around the mall. One of Bree's nurses read about you all in the paper. She remembered seeing Bella there and she got anyone who wasn't working tonight to come. It's a little bit of everybody. Everyone wants you guys to succeed." He shrugged his shoulders again, trying to belittle his part in all of it.
Happy, joyful tears stung at my eyes. "Rock stars don't cry, baby. It would ruin their make-up…and you already know how I feel about the Goth look." Edward teased, kissing each tear away.
"I gotta get back out there to help Felix keep the room under control. Keep it up and I promise you, you're on the road to fame and fortune!" He shouted as he strolled merrily out of the room.
We rode the euphoric rush through the second set, somehow managing to keep the energy in the room up, even during Bree's melancholy song. The energy shifted…but the audience stayed with us all the way.
Before long, we reached the end of our set with only one song left to go.
"You've all been a great crowd, so we'd like to thank you with something special. How'd you like to hear our newest song?" I teased.
They raged on excitedly, yelling enthusiastically.
"As you all know, we lost a very dear friend of ours recently. Bree Tanner was an amazing woman, and we were blessed to count her as one of our fans. Bree did more for me, personally, during her short time here on earth than I would think was humanly possibly. Most importantly, in addition to her friendship and the memories we shared, she gave me the greatest gift I could have ever imagined. She introduced me to someone who taught me that there were better things out there for me. To a man who taught me how to love myself first, and then taught me how to love him. No matter how hard I've tried, I've never been able to write a love song…that is, until now. Baby…I know you're out there. This is for you."
I scanned the crowd, attempting to look past the blinding lights to find his glorious face. I wanted to see him when he heard these words. I wanted to feel that same connection I had felt with him that very first night.
Once again, he stepped out from the shadows, sitting in the edge of the light that bathed the stage. My heart soared once again and I knew I would cry as I sang…but it was alright. Just last night, he had sat on this stage and poured his heart out to me in front of all these people.
Now it was my turn to do the same.
"So perfectly imperfect.
Impossible but true.
I had given up searching
That's when I found you.
And you're wrong in all the right ways.
So completely incomplete.
Just thinking of you
Makes my heart skip a beat,
'Cuz you're perfectly imperfect.
He smiled broadly, more than likely recalling the silly conversation that had originally inspired these words.
"I never wanted
Don't need Prince Charming
Or a shining White Knight.
I just wanted to find
That one man
Who can love and accept me
Just the way I am-
'Cuz I'm perfectly imperfect.
"You've got this crooked little smile.
It's an adorable quirk.
'Cuz there's a sparkle in your green eyes
That makes it work.
You make the silliest faces,
Yet I still can't help but stare.
Want to run my fingers
Through your unruly hair-
'Cuz it's so perfectly imperfect.
"You're the only guy
Who makes me feel
It's okay to be me;
It's okay to be real.
And everything I see
When I look at you
Is like my wildest dreams
So perfectly imperfect."
Tears welled in his eyes as I realized…he totally got it. I smiled, happy tears trailing down my face as I looked into the eyes of the man I loved.
Everything around us disappeared. The lights, The fans. The record execs. The band. In that moment, it was just him and me. He lithely jumped onto the stage, lifting me up to kiss me deeply, passionately and sweetly.
And in that way, we declared our love for each other for the first time in front of the world.
I don't know what will happen next. I don't know if we'll get our big record deal. I'm not sure if Felix will start a relationship with Max the surfer boy or go back to Demetri. Maybe Jacob will find his happily ever after with Renesmee. Then again, maybe he won't.
What I do know is how to experience the world's greatest pleasure – physically, emotionally and spiritually. I do know that a broken heart can mend. I know that it's okay to fall apart sometimes, as long as you're willing to let good people help put you back together, even if you end up with a few screws loose. I know that each and every person who enters our lives has something worthwhile to teach us; whether they take us out to a gun range or they lie silently in bed and listen to us talk. I know its okay to rediscover yourself from time to time; to keep the things you like the best about yourself and be done with all the rest of it.
I know how to write a love song.
And I know that what I don't know strongly outweighs what I do.
There's a lot of learning ahead for me – but the most important thing that I've learned is that Edward Anthony Cullen will be there by my side, each and every step of the way.
And I can't wait to get started.
A/N: My writing has had wonderful support ever since I was a kid. My parents have always encouraged me to pursue it. My family tried numerous times to convince me to give it a try. Most recently, my friends have joined in the epic battle to get me to write. I won awards, even skipped a grade to enter a writing magnet program at one time, but I always convinced myself that I couldn't do it or that it wouldn't be any good.
This was just a little story I came up with to see if I could follow through with it. It's no where near as brilliant as Stephenie Meyer's dream of a meadow, but it was a great experience for me anyway. I started this story on August 27th and finished it (rewrites, edits and all) on October 14th. That is 427 pages – over 195,000 words – in 9 weeks time. If this work doesn't meet with positive reviews…even if I never write again…I am so very proud of myself for having taken this journey and I thank, from the very depths of my heart, each and every one of you who has joined me along the way.
To those people who always told me I could, even when I didn't believe it myself…thank you.
To the genius who is Stephenie Meyer…thank you.
And, to the wonderfully supportive friend who held my hand as we walked down this road together…my Beta and Smut Dealer, whose friendship and love have taken me completely by surprise…thank you.
2013 UPDATE: Follow the adventure in the sequel, Projects, Lessons, Lost & Found