La Melodia d'Oro
by Mackenzie L.
Italian for "The Golden Melody." Carlisle hears his new son play the piano for the first time. Set in 1918. Told from Edward's point of view.
Written for Elizabeth.
*The Twilight Saga and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Nearly half of Doctor Cullen's thoughts were spoken in Italian.
He rendered the quasi-formed words with fluid haste, letting them twist among bits of injected English and occasionally French. At first it had been far beyond annoying. Now it was only mildly humorous.
He was an amusing fellow.
Access into Carlisle's mind was a curse as much as it was a gift. I had experienced it as both, but the latter became more the norm as time wore on. As I slowly accepted my disturbing new powers, I came to a begrudging agreement with myself over how to make use of them.
In all honesty, I couldn't complain.
If I ever wanted to visit the great lands of Europe, I had only to slip into Carlisle's mind and see what lay waiting for us in the outside world.
This morning, he had visited an elaborate garden. He walked a path of pale pink stones, his eyes wandering over elegant marble statues, his footsteps barely echoing in the flowery green jungle of Florence, Italy.
As he approached an arch of fragrant roses, the memory bled into another. And now he was lurking in the crowd of a grand golden ballroom, surrounded by the swirling masses of ambrosial blood. The scent was ripe in his memory, and my venom depressed in the wake of the dancing couples' putrid essence.
He spoke with countless kind and haughty faces alike. Wigged men smirking with the load of their whispered gossip, the sting of wasted wine on their breath. Decadently dressed women with powdered cheeks and scarlet lips, speaking foreign compliments meant to flatter the doctor into offering a dance.
His memories blurred through the heat of this strange, hectic party, finally reaching a cool point where the crowd had dissipated into the night and the candles had dimmed to slender blue peaks.
Even in his mind, Carlisle seemed to draw out a gentle hand, inviting me to witness the events of this ancient midnight.
And there, under a filigree of galactic brilliance, was the crowd gathered in silence around an orchestra in the garden. I could scarcely tell whether my own eyes were closed tight or wide open. I was looking into a deep, glazed dimension. The details were astounding after the rushed smearing and sneering of the dancers in the warm ballroom. It was crystalline and cool and delicious – rather the way I remember water tasting – only I felt it around my body like a translucent enevlope. I heard it in my ears like a sonorous chorus from heaven, filling the world with peace and hope at the surrender of Melancholia.
The stirring of the strings and the flutter of the flutes and the rich, mournful hum of the cello – all blossoming together like the fetishized roses in that glorious garden. It was an embryo of pure genius, developing in disastrous speeds before my eyes. It was a ship on the ocean, riding the waves in a storm without a worry. I was bathing naked in moonlight, my feet warm and raw where they touched the softened earth.
No, Carlisle was feeling these things – Carlisle had felt these things. Every sensation I felt now had been felt by him first. It was a distressing bond we had through this sharing of thoughts. His thoughts and memories became mine, overloading my head with everything from medical terminology to the most intimate of longings. I drank it all in like a salty sea, wishing to gag with the weight of it all, but enchanted by the strength of its taste all the same.
"Castano dorato" a low voice murmured in the recesses of his mind. It weaved through the strains of the symphony, touching his receptive ear.
"What does it mean?" I asked, half my presence still encased by the memory that emanated from the man sitting across from me.
Carlisle's voice was muffled as he answered, "Golden brown."
In vain I tried to smother myself with the memory, my gaze diving every which way to seek out the mysterious tone. "I don't see the color anywhere..."
"Do you not feel it?" Carlisle questioned, his voice bearing the husk of philosophy.
At his bidding, I did feel it.
I felt a color.
Even more than this, I heard the color. I heard "golden brown."
The images I had seen all swirled around me, smothering me again, even while I struggled to unravel them. At once I felt like a child lost beneath a blanket, flailing to find my way out of this dark, unseen space.
But it was warm here; I was protected here. It was a dream-world constructed by the living memories of this man's mind. I was living Carlisle's life, in tiny pieces that had been carefully picked for me. He had chosen the memories he wanted to show to me. He had chosen them for a reason.
It was almost as if he knew...
"Edward?" his voice was soft, frantic. "Where are you going?"
Oh, he must have known. He must have known when he'd seen my face the first time I walked in and saw the abandoned instrument, sitting alone in that dusty corner, grand and forgotten. My stride took me away from the blond doctor, who followed closely on my heels until we reached the spot where my heart had found its magnetic match.
With heavy hands, I lifted the lid and unveiled the eighty-eight reasons why I had been born again.
"Edward..." His voice melded with the music, still churning between our linked minds.
I had to bring it forth from this intangible dimension. It was my duty, I believed, to take what I heard and breathe life into it... just as he had done for me.
I sat before the piano with my head bowed low, savoring the smooth scent of the ivory, fingers grazing the gloss of the untouched keys. I was close enough to kiss the black and white, if only I'd bent a little further.
Each note echoed in my head, flowed down my arms, into my hands, and off my fingers. I heard what I touched, and I touched what I heard. I was immersed in a burning brew of senses I'd only dreamt of before. In my chest I felt a quake of proud purpose – and my body, mind, and possibly my heart rejoiced in having found home once again.
I, Edward Masen, was a maker of music. I held the power to recreate the beauty of song from another mind, another world. I had swiftly stolen the inspiration from another man's memory and bestowed upon it the right to resurface. And this was a gift – both to him and to myself.
I could hear the waves of the rich, tragic melody beating against him behind me. Carlisle's flawless memory of the night garden orchestra forced my hands to work in perfect timing. I followed the lead of his recollection, further encouraged by the utter astonishment that had overtaken his thoughts.
Overlapping the beauty of the music was his voice, stuttering in wonder at the miracle I had presented on black and white keys. I'd always thought it ridiculous how this man claimed everything to be a miracle. But now...
I had to agree with him.
This was miraculous.
A breathless smile stretched my lips, like a sunrise after a long, cold winter. It felt so awkward yet so wonderful. I'd forgotten how amazing smiling felt.
I'd forgotten how this felt. Playing the piano. Making music.
The orgiastic wonder of uplifting chords and heart-ripping minors. The gorgeous balance wrought by warring notes, sharps and flats, my fingers dancing in delight, and pressing all of my energy into the piece.
This unique high rivaled that of the taste of blood on my tongue. Just for a moment. Just a fleeting instant I thought I could live without that. As long as I had my music.
I wondered if Carlisle could tell as he watched me; I wondered if he knew how I felt, as I knew how he felt. I wondered if his eyes saw me as I saw myself – reuniting with a long-lost lover, spilling my suppressed passions after years spent in unknown exile.
Disjointed sentences of silky Italian entered my song, spoken by the hushed voice of my doctor. He had been a stranger in so many ways, but the thought that I had ever not known him now seemed sinfully preposterous.
I knew him too well now, listening to the very theme of his history, feeling the force of his unacknowledged desires - the pining for truth, the thirst for reason, the disdain for bloodshed. Every tender chord was a testimony to these crucial facets of his being. I knew everything about Carlisle Cullen, just from this one song, this one memory, this one symphonic miracle he had unwittingly begged me to resurrect for him. Tonight I was a willing protégé for his intense regards; I owed him my inspiration, the reminder for why I existed.
I don't know who I would be without this. I thought to myself, wishing he could hear my thoughts for just this one night.
As the thought finished, so did the song. Carlisle's memory faded into the present day, releasing me from the spellbinding clutches of the music he knew so well.
And as I looked up, I saw him, breathless in astonishment, his eyes shimmering as though holding back tremendous tears. I felt a pang of estranged need – a need to tell him just how grateful I was that he had allowed me this chance to find my true calling again. But his thoughts were clear, and I knew that anything I could have said to thank him would have been mute to his ears.
He is the greatest gift God has given me. His music, his glorious music – I have heard the song of heaven by his gifted hand. Is this boy truly mine? Is this miracle too wondrous to be real?
These thoughts broke me as easily as they had mended me. Carlisle thought of me as a miracle, brought to him by God. He called me a gift; he compared my music to heavenly glory.
Yet as harshly as I wished to deny him, I could not bear it. He looked so proud of me, so disarmingly appreciative. So...
It was there. There was love in his thoughts, even a flash of it in his eyes. It frightened me, but I could not callously send it away.
Why now? Why surrender to the unspoken emotion so suddenly? Was it only my music that had summoned it forth? What was it about this melody of golden brown that had touched our hearts in precisely the same manner and place?
I was motionless as I stared back at my sire, my fingers still poised above the keys where they had drawn out the final cadence. Carlisle's mind was untainted by all but my face, and the joy he felt from watching me, seated before the piano. In his mind, he saw me as willing to create music for him – and I was.
I would create all the music he asked for and more.
Because this was where I had belonged all along. Suddenly eternity seemed just a little bit more bearable. If I had this, what else would I need? How daring would I be to live on music and nothing else?
It seemed an appealing challenge to don.
Carlisle looked as if he would approve of anything I proposed in that moment. I had never seen him looking so thrilled, so elated, so... damned heartbroken.
One painfully sincere thought pierced the silence.
I acknowledged him with a smile I had not intended to show. Yet inside I mourned that he would never know our thoughts were one in the same.
I had thanked him just as fiercely for sharing the Golden Melody with me.