Don't get too excited yet, this isn't a new chapter, just a teaser and an important announcement.
I have donated a Little Green and Easybella outtake to a fandom fundraiser that is dearer to my heart than any other before. Below you'll find a teaser of said outtake. It will be part of a compilation of more than 80 stories, some of them even written and donated by cherished writers who have come out of their fic retirement for this.
If you haven't heard about the StandUp4Katalina fundraiser yet, please visit
katalina . fandomcause . info / about (remove spaces)
One of the fandom's loveliest, most supportive readers, and a dear friend of mine, Katalina (kroseph here on ffnet) has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and was told she has about 6 months to live. When asked if there's anything that we, her friends, could do, she said, "I want nothing for myself, but... can we raise money for SU2C (Stand Up 2 Cancer)?"
So that's what we're doing.
I also wrote and recorded a song for Katalina with all download proceeds flowing 100% into the fundraiser, too.
bettis-art-house . blogspot . com (it's right on the front page, video incl.)
If you want to help a good cause, or get your hands on an amazing compilation with tons of stories, one-shots, outtakes and more, or if you just want to soothe my broken heart a little... all you have to do is visit one of the links above, download the song (1,29$) and/or donate a minimum of 5$ to SU2C (and send your receipt in so they know where to send the compilation – all info is on the webpage).
Donations are due October 25th. Song downloads have no time limit. I will forward every cent to the cause, as long as I am able to operate a computer keyboard.
And now... your teaser. Enjoy!
Closer – a Little Green and Easybella outtake for SU4K
(Benaroya Music Hall, Seattle, November 2012)
The hallway outside my dressing room is buzzing with euphoria. All those people… there's yelling, laughing, cheerful bellows and excited shrieks. Everyone is trying to make themselves heard over the cacophony of voices, stomping feet and banging doors.
I keep my eyes closed and try to shut the noises out. I wish they'd just stop, but of course they won't – not any time soon. The concert was a huge success, and everyone involved is animated by the adrenaline pumping through their systems. Musicians, singers, dancers, even the stage workers and handymen, all high on endorphins and celebrating themselves and the moment.
Not me. I have already arrived where everyone else won't get for a few hours: exhaustion. It's not really bad, but still bad enough to interfere with my mind's usually reliable ability to block unwanted stimuli. And underneath the growing fatigue pulse the remains of my own high.
Because, yes – I like the applause. It's an amazing feeling, when I finally detach my fingers from the keys, and then there are those precious, unfathomably beautiful two or three seconds of breathless silence, before the thundering wave of clapping and cheering washes over me. It's great, actually.
And I can see why everyone outside this room is trying to extend the moment as best as they can. Because when it's over, it's over. For me, it's over already. A memory, carefully filed away, like a moment in time wrapped in tissue paper. I have no desire to make it last until it becomes dull.
Bella squeezes my hand. I don't think she meant to; it was merely a twitch of her fingers. I guess she's getting nervous with me being so quiet. I'm thankful for her presence. If it wasn't for her holding my hand, I might just lose my grip on the physical universe. I feel lightheaded, sort of detached from everything… the chair I'm sitting on feels unreal. But Bella is grounding me. And she's been so patient, knowing I needed this time-out.
I open my eyes and I need to squint against the bright lights surrounding the mirror in front of me. Bella leans her head against my shoulder; I can only see her from her nose up in the mirror, even though both our chairs are the same height. Five or six ridiculously big flower bouquets that have been delivered before and during the concert from whoknowswho are blocking my view. I know one is from Esme and Carlisle. What am I supposed to do with all those flowers?
"Better?" Bella asks softly. "How are you feeling?" I can tell by those little lines appearing around her eyes that she is smiling at me.
"Good," I say without thinking, noticing a second later that it is true. I feel good because of her smile, her patience and her love, not questioning or pressing me.
"And tired," I add.
Her brows knit together a little. I turn my head to see her face because talking to her reflection in the mirror just doesn't feel right. It's not… close enough.
"Edward, you have every right and reason to be tired. You were amazing. The concert, seeing you up there, the music – oh my God, you have no idea! It was the most exciting, touching thing I ever experienced."
Her face is glowing. Her words and the way her eyes shine with sincerity make me shiver. A fresh wave of adrenaline courses through me, and I suddenly know that when I unwrap that mental tissue paper one day, it will be this moment showing up first. Not the music, not the applause, and certainly not what's awaiting me next.
"What is it?" she asks, sensing my impending anxiety.
I sigh. "How many hands do I have to shake?"
"What?" Bella chuckles. "I don't know. Many! They all want to see you, congratulate you and bask in your glow. That's part of being a celebrity." She winks at me, knowing very well that I don't like her to call me that.
"The weird, autistic wunderkind, that's more like it. They want to see how much I will embarrass myself out there." The amount of bitterness in my voice is surprising, even to myself. I'm really worn out.
"No, seriously… how many handshakes? Do you think there's a way to find that out before I have to go out there?" I really want to know; it would be easier for me if I could count them down while meeting all those strangers. I know how these after-show events work. There will be a lot of touching involved before the appropriate time to excuse myself has come. Arm grabs, shoulder pats, even some hugs. And too many handshakes. How many?
Bella straightens herself and cups my face with both hands. "Edward… Little Green, listen to me. You did so great today; you can do this, too. The people out there love you. You won them over in a blink, as soon as you entered the stage. And they were completely gone for you when you played. Nobody's going to make fun of you, or judge the way you talk or don't talk. Those people out there adore you!"
"I don't want that." I'm tired.
With a long sigh, she pulls my head down until our foreheads meet. "I know, love," she whispers. We stay like that for a moment. I close my eyes and feel comforted, calmer… just like that. The voices in the hallway are slowly dwindling, as more and more people are leaving to join the after-show reception down in the foyer.
"What do you want?" Bella wants to know.
Silence. Peace. Safety.
"I want to be naked in bed with you."
She pulls back, and I open my eyes. She smiles her Easybella-smile.
"Does this place have a backdoor somewhere?"
I nod my head yes. Backdoors and emergency exits were the first things I checked when the rehearsals began.
She takes my hand again and says, "Let's go."
The full outtake won't be published on ffnet before the end of January 2013.
As for continuing the main story... I know you guys are wondering, or maybe even mad at me by now. Little Green will remain on a hiatus of sorts until some time in November, due to personal health issues and medical treatments I'm undergoing right now. Sorry for that.
Then he will return. That's a promise.
Xoxo, Betti (heartbroken but still dancing!)