"Killing Me Softly With His Song"
Title: If You Can't Sleep
Penname and FFn Link:
Title of the song used and artist: Lullaby (Goodnight, My Angel) – Billy Joel
Word Count: 2, 560 words
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the pen and composition book that this started in. The characters are Stephanie Meyers. The songs belong to Kenny Loggins, Jason Mraz, and Billy Joel respectfully.
Summary: Insomniac Bella is having trouble sleeping. At his wits end, Edward tries singing different lullabies to help her sleep.
***IF YOU CAN'T SLEEP***
Sleep would be lovely right now, she thought to herself. Warm milk doesn't work. Nyquil gives me acid trip dreams. I am afraid of that damn Ambien butterfly. I fear my only option is a warm bath.
She slid from bed quietly, ignoring the angry red numbers on his alarm clock.
I get it. I should be asleep by now. Go harass someone else.
Stealthily moving about the bathroom, she lit a soothing lavender candle, filled the tub, and turned out the lights. Before climbing into the tub, she cracked the door to the bedroom open one last time to make sure that overheated log she now shared a bed with is still floating blissfully in dreamland.
Just because I can't sleep doesn't mean he should be deprived of the same.
With a heavy sigh full of envy, she turned back to the steaming bathtub. Slowly allowing her body to acclimate to the heated water, she took her time sliding into the tub. The enamel of this tub was not as comforting as the cool, smooth porcelain of her old claw footed bathtub. But she gave that up, along with the other more feminine amenities of her Victorian duplex, to live with him. And he was worth it. She would willingly sacrifice every single luxury of life for him, though he would never ask.
"So this is why you spent all that time scrubbing the bathroom clean earlier, huh?" His voice wakes her from her inner monologue. Her brown eyes immediately seeking out his emerald orbs. He looked sleepy as one hand ran through the hair at the back of his head and the other scratched his stomach above the waistband of his boxers.
She smiled at the gorgeous man as he lowered himself to the bathroom floor near where she sat in the tub.
"I spent all that time scrubbing because it was filthy; no ulterior motive beside a concern for my own health," she giggled and reached a hand out to run through his hair, as he leaned against the side of the tub.
"Mmmmhmm, then why are you taking a soak at three in the morning?" he asked, leaning into her hand like a cat as she scratched his scalp.
"Can't sleep. Trying some home remedies," she replied. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"Too late for that. Let me join you," he said while standing and removing his boxers.
She raised her eyebrow at him.
"No hanky panky, I promise." He raised his hand in scout's honor.
She scooted forward and let him sink in behind her, before leaning back into his chest as he wrapped his arms around her waist.
"So tell me, love. Why are you in here, instead of sharing our bed on our first night of living together?" he asked giving her an extra squeeze around her waist.
"I told you I can't sleep," she sighed, snuggling into his chest.
His practiced silence encouraged her to say more, though her stubbornness had her fighting to keep it to herself. He nudged and tickled and squeezed until she relented.
"I don't know," she sighed. "I couldn't get comfortable and tossed and turned on the lumpy mattress. Then my mind just wouldn't turn off … first night in a new place combined with this time of year…recipe for disaster."
She felt him nod his head behind her and remain quiet for a moment before answering. He pulled her closer to him still, rubbing one hand lazily across her abdomen.
"So you are telling me I asked 'The Princess and the Pea' to move in and now we need to buy a new mattress?" he joked, avoiding the touchy subject looming over her head.
She giggled with him, but remained silent.
"I didn't even think about this being the anniversary of your dad's death, love. Why didn't you say something? Moving in could have waited. At the very least, I could have been here for you."
"It's been five years, Edward. I thought if I replaced a sad memory with a happier one, I could make it through. I should have told you, I am sorry," she replied.
"I just want to be here for you. We just need to be honest and open with communication, Bella. Don't shut me out, we can get through this together," he reassured her, resting his chin on her shoulder.
They stayed like that for a while, letting the weight of the day melt away with the heat of the water.
"So tell me," he whispered into her ear. "All those years that it was just you and your dad, what would he do to help you get to sleep, when your mind wouldn't turn off, or the bed felt to lumpy?"
The memory alone brought tears to her eyes, and for a fleeting second, she considered not telling him of her most treasured memories.
Wiping the tears from her eyes before they started to fall, she took a deep breath before sharing with him.
"He would sing to me. He would come into my room and gather me into his arms and sing 'Blackbird' to me. Sometimes he would have to sing it five or six times, but eventually my eyes would get heavy and his voice would lull me into a comfortable sleep."
She could still hear Charlie in the back of her mind as he would repeat the chorus over and over until she was fast asleep.
"Would it help if I sang you 'Blackbird' to help you fall asleep?" he asked. "Or maybe we could find our own song?"
"'Blackbird' is my song with Charlie," she replied without hesitation. "Would you mind if you choose another song?"
"Of course, love. Let's see, how about some Loggins and Messina?" he asked before starting in on 'Danny's Song.'
"People smile and tell me I'm the lucky one, and we've just begun
Think I'm gonna have a son
He will be like she and me, as free as a dove, conceived in love
Sun is gonna shine above
And even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with ya honey,
And everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning when I rise, you bring a tear of joy to my eyes,
And tell me everything is gonna be alright"
She turned slightly to face him; with a wrinkled nose of disapproval, she shook her head.
"Try again, huh? Ok, I know you like Jason Mraz," he mused.
"I'm dreaming of sleeping next you,
I'm feeling like a lost little boy in a brand new town
I'm counting my sheep and each one that passes
is another dream to ashes
And they all…"
"No," she interrupted. "No Mraz."
"Well, let me think. You have me a little stumped…" they laughed together and she snuggled back deeper in his arms.
He started to hum a slow lullaby melody. The deep vibration radiated through his chest and into her body. She could feel the comfort of his voice from her hair to her toes. She turned her body so she could fully lay her cheek against his chest, and she brought her hand up to lay over his heart.
As he rearranged his arms around her so he could hold her as best he could inside the tight space of the tub, he leaned to whisper in her ear.
"Is this a winner?"
"Can I add words, now?"
Closing her eyes, she nodded again and quickly fell asleep as he sang Billy Joel's 'Lullaby' quietly in her ear.
"Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away"
The pillow beneath her cheek was damp and covered in mascara and eyeliner. She tried to muster the energy to care enough to move, but she couldn't.
It was her first real job out of college; a job with health insurance, vacation days, annoying co-workers, and a horrible coffee maker. She loved working for a non-profit organization, feeling like every day she was doing work that helped people, work that made a difference. And now it was gone. She was fired because of politics, because of that stupid, frizzy haired bitch.
This started a fresh wave of angry, mournful tears.
Edward had helped her get this job, he helped her fight for it, he listened to her argue and complain over the politics of working for a board of directors instead of one boss. As she heard him enter their apartment and call out her name, she knew he would be so disappointed in her when she told him.
Hours earlier when she had come in the door, she dropped her cardboard box of personal items by the entrance to their apartment, her keys landed on the buffet, and her coat was thrown over the arm of the couch.
She heard him follow her Hansel and Gretel trail into their bedroom, where he paused in the doorway.
He sat down on the bed next to her, and stroked her hair as she cried. Words weren't needed at this point. They could deal with the 'What Now's' and financial questions tomorrow. Right now she needed to cry and she needed to sleep.
He stood and moved to her feet, slipping the navy pumps off her feet and dropping them to the floor. Next he removed her tights. His touch wasn't sexual, she noted. It was caring and tender. She sat up so he could help pull the blue sweater dress over her head and pull the bobby pins out of her hair.
Gently, with one hand behind her head and the other behind her back, he lowered her to the bed and pillow, before pulling the down comforter over her and up to her shoulders.
She heard him moving around the room, but didn't look around. The tears had dried as he undressed her, and now she was simply exhausted. The cold air on her back indicated that he was going to slide into bed with her. Soon enough the heat of his skin was warming her deeper than her bones and into her soul. He wrapped himself around her and they both felt the immediate relief of the secure contact and embrace.
She felt him singing before the words reached her ears. Every time he sang this song, she felt comfort and warmth vibrate through him and into her. This was their lullaby, their song of comfort, their serenade.
When he reached the second verse for the second time, she felt her eyes give their final heavy droop of exhaustion. The last thought that entered her mind as he sang was that everything was going to be okay.
"Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The waters dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me."
The loss of heat, and a shift in the bed, slowly roused her from her deep sleep. A tiny voice was calling for "mama" from the other side of the baby monitor. Though they have been beyond middle of the night feedings for a months now, Olivia still required a midnight cuddle once or twice a week.
It's my turn; I should get up and let him sleep. She thinks as she tries to move her body into sitting position. As she moves to stand, voices on the baby monitor stop her.
"Dada! Dada!" a tiny voice exclaims with too much energy for one in the morning.
"Well, look who is wide awake!" Edward chuckles. "Come here, my Livvie Bug. Let's have a snuggle and get you to sleep before your mama wakes up."
Bella lays her body back down in the bed, thankful that he is content to take care of their daughter again tonight, and more than a little curious as to what will be said on the other end of the monitor.
"Ouch! Livvie Bug, that is Daddy's nose. I know it's big and is screaming for a tug, but it is attached. Be a little gentler, my love bug." Edward coos.
The gentle grunt and sigh, along with the soft sounds of rustling fabric, indicate to Bella that they have settled into the cozy rocking love seat in Olivia's nursery.
Olivia babbles incoherently for a while before she slowly starts to quiet. She is up to three basic words now: mama, dada, and what sounds like "ObOb" for their terrier Jacob. She is magnificently advanced for a 10 month old.
Though that could just be parental pride talking, Bella muses to herself.
"You are fighting sleep tonight tooth and nail, huh?" Edward chuckles. "Maybe a story will help. How about 'The Princess and The Pea'?"
"Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince who was very lonely. He wanted to marry a princess, but she had to be a perfect princess. There were plenty of nice princesses, and pretty princesses, but none were the perfect princess he sought…"
Edward's storytelling was interrupted by babbling from Olivia that got louder as he fought to tell the story.
"I guess someone isn't in the mood for Daddy's mad storytelling skills," Edward cooed at his daughter. "So tell me, my lovely girl, what can I do to help you get back to sleep?"
Sing to her. Bella thought. Sing to her like you sing to me, no woman can resist your voice and lullabies.
As if there was a direct line from her brain to his, he mentioned the same idea to Olivia.
"Okay, my dear. What if I sing you to sleep, like I sing Mommy to sleep sometimes? Would you like that? You know I sang her this song when you were in her tummy? Maybe you will remember it," he explained to their daughter.
A he sang their lullaby to Olivia, Bella remembered every time he had sang those words to her. The night before Olivia was born. The night they moved into their first house. The night she lost her first job. The night he proposed. The night she first moved in. And then she started to recall all the nights her own father sang to her the way that Edward was singing to Olivia.
And as Edward's deep, soothing voice caressed her softly, she drifted back to sleep, hoping that someday, a long day from now when Olivia was grown, she too would hold onto the memories of her father singing her sweetly to sleep.
"Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on…
They never die
That's how you