I'm With The Band O/S Contest via Wayward Pushers - Second Place Winner!

Prompt Used: #Prompt 2 - Music is what feelings sound like.

Penname: BoydBlog

Rating: M

Pairing: Bella & Edward

Genre: Romance, AH, OOC

Word Count: 8295

Summary: Three intense and perplexing sexual encounters over four frustrating years. Is he the enemy, or is there a message in his seemingly hateful words? Will their mutual desires ever align? Have they evolved enough to be ready this time?

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Evolve

e·volve

verb (used without object)

to come forth gradually into being; develop; undergo evolution: The whole idea evolved from a casual remark.

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"It has to be Edward Cullen." I stated, unwavering, determined.

"No fucking way Bella! He's publicly blasted our albums. He called us 'contrived pretty girls with a lack of artistic integrity'!" Rosalie's face went crimson.

"Just calm down, both of you," said Alice curtly.

"I am calm. There is no other choice. It has to be Edward." I stated.

"Fuck Bella, are you serious?"

"Rose, there's no need to get upset." Alice reasoned, always the calm voice, always the need to pacify.

"His opinion is the only one that matters," I looked at each of my band mates.

Alice Brandon, keyboard and percussion – stage name Pixie.

Rosalie Hale, drums – stage name LeeLee.

Angela Weber, guitar – stage name Angel.

Victoria Marsden, bass guitar – stage name Vixen.

My band, the one I started seven years ago when we were all in high school. It was my vision and my determination that made us an overnight sensation. It was also my fault that the most highly respected and lauded music journalist in the country had never, ever, given us a decent review.

Edward Cullen.

I'd met him as a wide-eyed nineteen year-old. He interviewed me on the eve of our debut album release, having never seen us perform live. He'd challenged everything I'd said then he twisted the words I gave him and skewed the truth until he had written a scathing diatribe about what he termed 'the pathetic formula all-girl band with little talent'.

I cringed when I recalled the headline of his feature in Rolling Stone.

Laah-Laah, blah, blah – all looks and no substance

My name is Bella Swan, lead guitar and vocalist - stage name and the name of our band – Laah-Laah.

"Bella, I really don't think Cullen should be the one. He hates us, he always has. Why can't it be Gianna McCabe from NME? She'll be supportive. We've always been big in Europe."

I took a deep breath.

"Because Gianna McCabe is female, Ange. There's less credibility in her praising us. She's fully supported both our albums. The men in this industry don't give a shit about what any woman says."

"Bella, if Edward Cullen gives us another bad review, that's it. This will be the last album. We're taking a huge risk as it is. The record company will dump us, then there'll be no opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves," barked Victoria.

"It has to be Edward Cullen." That was my final word on the subject.

We'd just recorded our third album. I'd managed to secretly entice Marcus Blake – a highly sort-after genius producer – to work on it.

Our management and our record label had agreed that we could do one last round of stadium gigs before we took some time off. We would rake in as much money as possible on the tour and then that would be it. We'd only be expected to do the publicity circuit when the album was released.

Rosalie had been married for seven months to Emmett McCarty our tour manager; they wanted to settle down and have babies.

Angela wanted to follow the love of her life, Ben Cheney, to Canada. She said after the frantic pace of touring with the band, she needed time to herself, time to reflect.

Alice had just started officially dating Jasper Whitlock, the director of pretty much all our music videos. He wanted to take her away with him. Alice was desperate to travel and see more than the inside of a tour bus, hotel room, or a recording studio.

Victoria was kind of like me; single, career-focused, passionate. She wanted to continue with the band but, unlike me, she dated incessantly, a different guy every week, and she didn't want anything to change, not even the direction of our music. She was stubborn – and stagnant.

I wanted to move forward, try new things, evolve our sound and mature. I didn't want to tour any more, and I knew that with this new album, we wouldn't need to. Our audience had matured with us; we didn't need to thrash our hearts out at massive concerts. If all went to plan, we could do one or two big stadium shows a year. We could record, setting the schedule around our lives; hell, we could all actually have a life, after living and breathing the band for the last five years straight.

We were all twenty-four; we needed to distance ourselves from the festival tour circuit. We were burnt out. Eleven months of the last year was spent touring Asia, Europe and the U.S. Now was the perfect time to shed our skin, to say thank you to our loyal fans, and finally proceed in the musical direction I'd been aiming for. It was also possibly our last chance to do so. Our three-album contract was up. The record company may not offer us a renewal if this album was a dud.

In my mind, our plan was solid. We would invite Edward Cullen to cover our final concert in New York. He would be the first, the only person who hadn't actively worked on our new album to hear it in its entirety before the worldwide release two months later.

He could break us. His review could split the band, permanently, but I had something to prove and I wasn't going to back down.

Our new album was a complete departure from our previous work. The songs were a compilation of years of writing; the best eleven songs of my life, all of them reworked to perfection in the last six months.

I knew I was being demanding, insisting that it was Edward. I knew the band were perplexed by my reasoning – because they didn't know the full story.

It all started when Edward had come to see us perform live two years after that shocking first interview. I'd seen him, side stage, watching me, watching the audience's reaction. I put everything into my performance, determined to prove his prior headline a lie. He'd said we had no substance, he'd said we were 'pretty', so based on his opinion and his alone, I had rocked up my image, and made sure that my songs since that first album all had a message. I had commanded the stage that night. I was sure he would recant his public statement about our 'lack of artistic integrity'.

When Edward Cullen had been shown into my dressing room after the concert that night, he'd looked at me with such a lust-filled stare that I temporarily lost all brain function.

That was until he'd started to interview me. During the entire interview, a sexual charge buzzed between us; his questions were harsh, fast and provocative. I answered every one confidently. I wouldn't back down when he challenged me; I gave him thought out and intelligent answers. I wanted to prove myself, and win him over.

I was disappointed when the interview seemed to be finishing up. He stood up and said to me. "All the men in the audience, and quite a few of the women, want to fuck you. You were a fucking sex goddess on that stage."

My heart had shuddered in my chest as he stalked over to me, his eyes dark with lust and want. I stood up, motionless, desire coursing through me at the look on his face and the intense atmosphere in the room.

His eyes did not leave mine for one second as his long graceful fingers tugged on the top button of my leather pants and slashed the zipper down abruptly. He pushed the soft leather down my thighs, reached behind me desperately, to swipe a space on the dressing table, smashing make-up, perfume and a champagne bottle to the floor. He hoisted my body up, placed my ass on the table, while he continued to remove my leather pants and yank off my Jimmy Choo's. He ripped my lace panties from my body with a feral grunt and then, with a delicious lick of his perfect lips, he'd roughly pushed my thighs apart and lowered his head between my legs.

"Edward, Edward! Oh God." I thrashed and whimpered.

His tongue swirled around in a frustratingly exquisite game of hot and cold against me. My head was spinning; I was in shock, awe and experiencing the most extreme pleasure imaginable. My hands glided through his beautiful auburn hair as he fucked and caressed me with his tongue. His mouth was greedy, yet attentive and very, very determined.

"Ed-ward…EDWARD!"

I came hard, trembling, moaning his name; my body shaking with the aftershocks of the most intense and mind-blowing orgasm of my life. I let go of his hair as he raised his head. He was panting, his mouth wet, his eyes smouldering.

I wanted him. I wanted nothing more in my entire life than Edward Cullen to take my body, to make me his. The overwhelming emotions, the swirling dizzying effect of his tongue had caused my body to descend into blissful, euphoric shock. I was exhausted, sated. I fell back, propped on my elbows, legs still spread in front of him as he held my thighs, his thumbs slowly sliding back and forth. Edward stared at me for a long time as our breathing slowed. His eyes roamed my body as his tongue licked the evidence of me from his mouth.

When my mind finally gained some lucidity I pushed myself up to try and pull him to me. I wanted so desperately to kiss him, to see him naked, to feel more of him, to have him fuck me properly, to posses his body, to make him feel the euphoria I felt.

He stepped backwards out of my grasp.

"The performance was sexy debauchery, a visual feast, but the backing track was a sad accompaniment. It could have been so much more."

I watched in horror as Edward Cullen adjusted himself in his Diesel jeans, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, picked up his mp3 recorder, turned on his heel and exited the dressing room.

My body shook with violent sobs as I'd realized he'd just given me his review. The review to our concert - or was it a description of his experience of going down on me, of giving me the best orgasm of my life?

I was devastated for months after that. I never told the band. They could never know that Edward Cullen had worshipped my body, made me feel more in three minutes of heavenly cunnilingus than I'd ever felt; delivered his opinion and walked out without a backward glance.

Ten months later, after we'd toured for nine months straight, we finally returned to the studio. We'd laid down a new album that the critics were salivating over. Well, all but one critic.

We'd appeared at the MTV music video awards. Our last single won best rock video, best editing, and best direction. It was a bitter high. The awards were for Jasper Whitlock's vision, and our popularity; it seemed they had nothing at all to do with our music.

I'd given out the award for best female video and ended up in the green room afterwards, almost face-to-face with the man that haunted my every waking thought.

Edward Cullen.

He'd completely bewitched me. I didn't, no, I couldn't hate him. I wanted his praise, his acceptance, and his validation.

He ignored me at first, then watched me with his intent and unnerving gaze as I spoke to industry people and other musicians. But he didn't approach me.

After fifteen minutes of pure anguish at seeing him be so nonchalant, I strode past him to the restroom. I steadied myself against the basin. I was flushed, shaking with hurt, devastated. I closed my eyes as I recalled the pure euphoria his tongue had brought me.

Then I felt arms encircle me. My eyes flashed open to see that he was standing behind me. His warm hand slipped into the top of my dress to cup my breast. His eyes locked with mine in the mirror; the rough stubble of his facial hair spiking into the skin of my cheek. His musky masculine scent surrounded me, intoxicating me. I watched in shock and awe as his beautiful warm hand slowly massaged my breast under the gold satin fabric in a deliberately arousing circular pattern.

His other hand wrapped around my stomach as he slowly pushed his groin into my back. He closed his eyes and ran the tip of his nose along my cheek, then nuzzled my ear, constantly fondling my breast and slowly rocking his erection into me.

"Why?" I pleaded, desperate to understand. Did he hate me; did he love torturing me, making my body crave him like nothing else?

He tugged delicately on my nipple and pushed me into the basin. His tongue licked my neck, his hot breath in my ear.

"Why?" he questioned back, his voice husky with desire. "Why do you give them what they want? Why don't you do what you want? Give them what you're capable of, it would blow their minds." He kissed my neck and rolled my hard nipple between his fingers.

He turned me towards him, yanked aside my dress to expose my breast, stared at me for what seemed like forever then took my nipple into his mouth, moaning as he flicked his tongue. He suckled gently; his warm hands holding me tightly to him.

He pushed my ass into the basin and pulled one of my thighs over his hip as he pushed himself against me. He was impossibly hard and hot.

"Edward," I panted. I caressed his strong jaw and tied to pull his face away from my breast and up to kiss me. His eyes flashed me a look I couldn't decipher.

Then he pulled his hips and his face away as his hand slowly adjusted me back into my dress. Silently, he ran the backs of his warm fingers over my exposed collarbone.

"Music, it's what feelings sound like," he whispered.

He dropped his hand and stepped back just as the restroom door opened. I watched as he turned away from me again. The leggy blond that walked in smiled provocatively as Edward Cullen walked past her, and out the door.

I stood, locked in another daze of feeling. Edward's hands and lips on my breast; he'd kissed my neck, but not my lips.

What is he trying to do to me?

Eight months later, I was at a record launch after party, consuming too many glasses of wine; a party I'd only attended because I was sure Edward would be there.

He wasn't.

I felt wretched, a hollow gaping feeling in my chest. All I could think of was the way he'd made my body sing then how he'd walked away from me, twice. Once with that damning review and the last with the warmth of his hand imprinted onto my body and cryptic words that made my head hurt.

I stumbled, trying to find Alice, to tell her I was leaving to go back our hotel. That's when I felt a warm, familiar hand on my waist, heard his velvet voice and almost fainted in a panic of lust, longing and heart ache.

"Which hotel are you staying in?" he'd breathed into the crook of my neck. He slowly kissed under my ear, his hand digging firmly into my hip.

I tilted my head as he sucked on my neck. His body, tall, warm, pressed into my back.

"Chateau Marmont," I breathed.

He dragged me, his large hand wrapped tightly around my wrist, down the stairwell to the parking garage. He held open the door of a sleek black stretch limo. He walked to the drivers' window to tell him something then he slipped in beside me on the cool leather. He wrapped his arm around my waist, pulling me close, lifting my legs over his lap.

The confusion I felt was numbing. I lost all coherence. I was intoxicated; he was intoxicating. I couldn't focus. So many times I'd rehearsed what I would say to him if I ever got the chance, but now he was touching me all the words failed - my brain failed.

I pushed my face into his chest, breathing in the crisp clean smell of his shirt mixed with the spicy musky cologne he wore. I felt a rush of goosebumps trail over my body as I felt his hand slowly traveling up my leg, under my dress, along my thigh, slowly, painstakingly slowly. His long fingers stroked over the soft cotton of my panties. My head was spinning in a delirium.

I should stop this. I should stop him from doing this to me!

Those long, warm fingers were moving my panties aside and I gasped when I felt them slide inside me, pumping slowly, his thumb swirling with varying pressure all over my clit. The limo hadn't even driven out on to the street.

My hand grabbed his shoulder for support. I tried to reach up, to press my lips to his, but he held his head high, straining away from me, his long graceful neck, his prominent Adams apple moving as he swallowed and licked his lips, taunting me, as he expertly worked me over, higher, and higher and higher until I hit the peak.

"Ed-ward!" I panted as I came, cascading down in a spiral of dizzying ecstasy, slumping in exhaustion, shaking, completely spent and totally incredulous that this man could make me feel so much.

The car had stopped moving, my head was throbbing; I could feel my pulse everywhere. I heard the slick wet erotic sound of Edward slowly pulling his fingers out of me. He lifted my legs off him and released his hold on me to smooth down my dress and cover my legs. I still hadn't recovered from the second most intense orgasm of my life.

I stared at him through glazed eyes. An ache hit my chest as I silently watched him smell his fingers, eyes closed, before leaning down to my ear.

"One day, you'll give me exactly what I want."

He got out of the limo and walked into his hotel. He'd left me, again.

As I remembered, my eyes clenched shut and I felt a wave of nausea.

Beautiful, and frustrating Edward Cullen.

Would he even agree to do it? Would he accept the offer, to be a guest at out final performance, to hear our new studio album?

The band had evolved, and we as individuals had matured. We were no longer seventeen-year-old school girls in a band. We'd promised each other we would see where it took us; give it everything we had until we couldn't take it any further.

I didn't want to admit to myself that maybe we'd already reached that point.

"He said 'yes', Bella," stated Jessica, our PR Manager.

I closed my eyes. I squeezed the phone receiver tightly to my ear for fear of dropping it in shock, or was it excitement, elation or dread?

"He'll attend your performance at Madison Square Garden. He said we could give him the CD, he'll listen to it, then he'll interview you."

"No, that's not how it will work." I wasn't going to give him a chance to touch and run again.

"Jess, call him back. Tell Edward Cullen he'll have a VIP seat to see our show then he can come to my home the following day. I'll play him the new album in my home studio before he interviews me. It's that or the deal is off."

I knew it was a risk, inviting him on my terms, but I needed to end this game that we'd played for the last four years, regardless of the result.

In my heart I feared he didn't, could never want me. The touching was his twisted form of sexual torture. Was it just me? Did he do this to other women? Yes, he was gorgeous, he was confident. He was ten years older than me. He'd never once let me kiss him, never let me touch him. For all I knew he had someone, someone he actually wanted to fuck - someone he did fuck.

I hadn't been with anyone since I met him. He was all I thought about, he was the only man that had touched me since I was eighteen, and apart from my own hand, he'd been the only person to ever make me cum. I had to have him, or get him the fuck out of my system completely.

In the last six months I'd poured over his reviews. I'd tried to decode his words to me; the seemingly hateful remarks and quotes. It was my personal mission to work him out, and work out what he actually wanted from me.

The determination I'd felt, the desire to prove myself was uppermost in my mind, especially his words that haunted me, day-in, day-out.

'…all looks and no substance'

'It could have been so much more'

'Why don't you do what you want?'

'…what you're capable of, it would blow their minds.'

'Music, it's what feelings sound like.'

'One day, you'll give me exactly what I want'

Edward Cullen was the only person I'd met, apart from Marcus Blake, who hadn't been a complete sycophant when it came to Laah-Laah's music.

I had to admit to myself, no matter how hard it actually was, that I'd played the game. I'd deliberately sought to write marketable and popular songs to make the record label happy, to be popular, to be successfully commercial.

The second album was the same, but after that run in with Edward Cullen, it had been a sexed-up version with more of the rock influence I needed to perform. But still, it was a mish-mash of styles, trying to find a balance between what I wanted to do and what the label would find acceptable.

This album, Evolve, was my chance to do exactly what I should have done in the first place. It wasn't giving them what they wanted, it was challenging their perceptions and hopefully, it would be the album that defined a new type of sound, a new era of music that reflected what was happening in the world - fuck marketability. This album would blow their minds.

What Edward Cullen wanted from me, musically - I'd finally worked it out.

The concert went to plan. It was an extravaganza. We played all our songs from the last two albums. I rocked that stage, I was confident, commanding, and my voice never sounded better. I knew he was in the audience, watching me. It aroused me beyond belief, but my mind was made up. My dressing room was off limits to everyone. Not even a respected journalist from Rolling Stone was going to get backstage. I couldn't risk being alone with him, because I couldn't trust the way my body always responded.

Soon Edward Cullen would be arriving at my home, my modest brownstone in Chelsea, to interview me and hear the new album. At the last minute I invited the band and their partners to celebrate – Rose and Emmett had announced the night before that they were twelve weeks pregnant. We were all beyond excited for them.

It was a casual lunch; I busied myself all morning preparing a delectable buffet. Edward Cullen needed to see me as a person, not the wide-eyed naive teenager he'd interviewed five years ago; and not the sexed-up rock goddess he'd pleasured back stage. I wasn't even the glamorous awards presenter in the designer gown, or the inebriated rock chick that he'd expertly fingered to orgasm in the back seat of a limo.

I was me; Bella Swan. If he didn't like the album, then he could go fuck himself. I refused to continue to doubt myself on his account.

When the doorbell rang, Alice jumped up to answer. I couldn't fool myself into believing the thought of seeing him didn't affect me, but it felt easier being surrounded by my closest friends - my sisters - and the men they'd chosen to love.

"Hello," he said as he followed Alice through the foyer and into my large open plan living/dining room. He looked instantly aghast at the amount of people there.

Don't lose it, stay calm, I chanted.

He was, as ever, completely outrageously beautiful. He was wearing a blue shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his forearms. His black jeans hung low on his hips. His hair, a dishevelled sexy mess, that accentuated the green of his eyes and the lusciousness of his mouth.

"Thanks for coming." I smiled, surprised that my voice sounded so casual.

"Would you like a drink? We have wine, spirits or beer if you'd prefer?" asked Alice.

"Beer would be great." he said.

"Everyone, this is Edward Cullen." I said, smiling shyly. "Edward, let me introduce you. This is LeeLee - Rosalie - and her husband Emmett. Angel, aka Angela and her partner, Ben. Victoria, or Vixen as she's known to her fans. This is Jasper, who's with Pixie, or Alice as we know her."

"We've met before," said Jasper, shaking Edward's hand. "I was filming a video for that indie punk band."

"Vicious Pistols," said Edward. "I remember."

They were all kind and welcoming, the only tension seemed to come from Rosalie, whose handshake looked as limp as a fish while her eyes screamed scepticism as she took Edward in.

"Well Laah-Laah, so much for Edward being an overweight, balding, failed musician with a lisp and psoriasis!" giggled Victoria and everyone laughed.

I watched as Edward smirked. I felt the blush sweep up my neck and onto my cheeks. I hadn't told any of them about what had happened between us. I suddenly felt like a seventeen year-old, hiding the fact that I was sexually active behind my parents' back.

"I never discussed you, Edward," I assured. "I just chose not to correct you guys."

"Don't take offense Edward," said Emmett. "These girls have been best friends for ten years. They know everything about each other."

Little did Emmett know that Edward was the one thing that I'd kept a secret from the women who knew everything else about me.

"Can I ask about your stage names?" he said in an obvious tactic to change the subject. It did the trick, Alice jumped in.

"Our stage names are our nicknames from school," she said. "Rosalie, we called her LeeLee because she was embarrassed about her name, right Rose?"

"Well, yeah, I mean, Edward, I'm sure you can relate," Rosalie mused, her prior coldness dissipated. "It's pretty shit having such an old fashioned name in school! Right?"

"Yes, I agree." he stated, almost punctuating each word.

"Hell," bellowed Emmett, "try being called Emmett!" I watched as he wrapped his huge arms affectionately around Rosalie's waist.

"Ange, we just called Angel, because she was always giving us hope and motivating us," Alice went on.

Angela blushed and Ben kissed her on the cheek.

"Victoria, well, we called her Vixen because she always had her nose in a Virginia Andrews novel...we all thought she'd turn out writing romance or porn for a living, right Vix?"

"Yes, PIXIE!" she laughed. "We don't need to explain that surely? In High School she would flutter around and make everything right, she still does!"

When the laughter died down, I looked at Edward.

"And Laah-Laah?" he asked.

In that moment, I realized he'd never spoken my name. I was kind of glad, in a twisted way. What would I do if he spoke my name? Would it make me even more determined to have him? I was a fucking masochist for sure.

"Well, that's because Bella was only happy when she either had a guitar in her hands, or was singing. She'd walk through the school, and sing," Alice looked at Rosalie, Angela and then Victoria and they nodded their heads, "Laah la la, laah la la la laah," they chanted in perfect harmony.

His eyes were on me, staring. I had an instant flashback to when he'd desperately yanked down the zipper on my leather pants before he...

I couldn't help but ball up the damp cleaning cloth in my hand and pitch it right at Alice's head.

We ate lunch. He spoke to everyone, but he kept his distance from me. I couldn't help but feel a tug of insane jealousy when Vix started openly flirting with him. I had to excuse myself to the bathroom, splashing my flushed cheeks with cold water for way too long, hoping I could calm myself.

He wanted me to be true to myself, musically. That didn't mean he wanted me to show him how utterly insecure and inexperienced I was emotionally, and sexually.

When I walked back to the kitchen, there was a knock on the door and Alice went to answer it, coming back with a huge bouquet of flowers. Who would send these?

I looked up through my lashes at Edward to see his fists balled and his jaw tense. What's his problem? I opened the card and read it aloud.

"The last four months have been sensational. I miss you, and remember Evolve is a fucking masterpiece. You should all be extremely proud and I'm honored I could have shared the journey with you. Love Marc."

Thank God, just Marcus Blake our producer.

"Marc Blake," said Rosalie and I looked up. She was addressing Edward.

"He produced our album, the one you're going to hear today," she added matter-of-factly.

His facial expression screamed incredulity. Edward would be aware that the last five albums Marcus had produced had all won Grammys. He's probably wondering why in the hell Marc would agree to produce an album for Laah-Laah.

The rest of lunch wasn't as casual at it had been previously, the tension had crept in. Marcus's words, the flowers, meant nothing really. We all knew Edward could still write a scathing review and we'd be dead in the water. Even Vix stopped flirting with him. I knew they all considered him the enemy. That cringe-worthy review was still not forgotten after five long years.

In turn, everyone made their excuses to leave.

Suddenly, I was alone with Edward Cullen.

"So, should we start?" I said, trying not to sound nervous.

He simply nodded and followed me as I descended to the basement. It was my favorite place. I had turned the space into a recording studio, complete with acoustic soundproofing from floor to ceiling.

There was my Steinway, and I watched as Edward looked in wonder at my collection of guitars that were mounted in a spot lit strip against one wall.

"This room is amazing," he observed and walked to the piano.

"Do you play?" I asked timidly.

"I used to," he stated flatly.

"Play me something."

"I don't play."

"Please, anything, play me 'Chopsticks' if you want. I just want to–"

He turned abruptly to look at me.

"Sorry. That's not why you're here is it?" I said. I could feel my heart rate quicken.

I needed to be a professional, but I seemed to lose that ability when I looked at him. I straightened my shoulders and walked to the mixing desk.

I started to cue up the album while I spoke. "I know the plan was for you to listen to the album then interview me, but there's been a change," I stated confidently, hoping he didn't see my heated flush.

"I don't want to be interviewed by you Edward. What I say, it doesn't matter in the scheme of things. This is about the album, and not my justification of why I recorded it. I've already taken up your precious time today. Um, the get together was kind of last minute; Rose and Emmett dropped some news on us last night and we needed to have a proper celebration. So let me just play the album and leave you to it."

"Is that why your seven foot bouncer wouldn't let me get backstage last night?" he questioned.

I turned around to face him. "You...tried to see me?" I gushed, mortified at how desperate and excited I sounded.

Does he have feelings for me? No, he just thought he could touch me again, like last time.

"Yes," he stepped towards me. The look in his eye left nothing to my imagination. I'd seen that look three times already. I knew what he wanted.

"Stop!" I yelled and thrust my hands out in warning. "You can't do it to me again. I can't live through it again. You can't touch me, make me feel wanted, cherished and then...shut it down; make me feel worthless, cheap." I breathed, watching his reaction.

My hands were trembling and my mind was running a mile a minute.

"No, no, that's not– I didn't mean to," he said as he stepped forward again, and I stepped back, but there was no where for me to go; my ass hit the mixing desk.

"I never meant to...I couldn't control it. You are..." he dragged his long beautiful fingers through his hair. He looked really perplexed.

"Bella," he sighed.

I closed my eyes. Oh God, the way he said my name. In four years he had never spoken my name. Something clicked in my head.

"Play something on the piano, please, Edward."

He didn't say anything. I didn't look.

My resolve was set. It's my turn. My turn to be in control. My turn to touch him. I opened my eyes to see him sit down. He started playing a piece of music I'd never heard before. An original composition? It was beautifully haunting.

I can do this. All I want is him. I'm in love with him. If he rejects me, I'll try to survive it. Maybe actually having him will exorcise him out of my system.

~0~

EDWARD

I sat on the piano bench. I felt anxious, but a weird sense of familiarity took over. I hadn't played in years. Part of what Victoria joked about during lunch was true. I considered myself a failed musician. I hadn't had the guts to do my own thing; instead, I'd bowed to the pressure of a record company to make music that was less than credible. I'd failed. So I packed it all in and wrote about other people's music instead.

How could I explain to her that I didn't want her to fall into the same trap?

The song was a lullaby I'd written at age seventeen. Shit - that was seventeen years ago! I was more than surprised that I remembered the music, and could play it flawlessly. More than that was the exhilaration of actually touching the ivory. Why had I denied myself the pleasure of playing?

I could feel her eyes on me; burning into me. I could visualize her standing behind me, her beautiful wide brown eyes glistening; her cheeks flushed that perfect shade of pink. I pictured her demurely sexy jeans skirt that showed-off her perfect legs and her original 'The Clash' t-shirt. She is every bit the rock musician, the petite and beautiful personification of my ultimate fantasy.

I closed my eyes briefly as memories overtook me; the flavor of her on my tongue, the feel of her on my fingers, her smell, her moans of pleasure. I basked in the sensations as they bombarded my mind. I thought I'd be prepared to be alone with her, to act cool and distant, but now I was here, it was like she was an addictive drug and I needed a hit. My body shook with anticipation.

I'd shut down that feeling the first time I'd met her. She was only nineteen for fuck's sake! Instead I'd verbally tried to fuck her, challenging her thoughts, trying to snap her out of the media-trained mind frame, silence the standard answers that she'd been brainwashed into repeating.

The second time was the time I'd seen her perform on stage. She'd recently turned twenty-one. She was pure sex; she was a fucking rock goddess that had completely possessed me. Her sexed-up image was perfectly executed, but when I'd interviewed her, it was obvious again - that wasn't really her, it was mask she wore.

It didn't stop the effect she had on me though. I wanted her. I wanted to take her, to fuck her, to claim her. It had taken all my restraint not to. Instead, I'd tasted her, my tongue laving, absorbing, relishing her. The sounds she made when she'd come, fuck, I could still hear her calling my name, and every time I'd fucked a woman, it was her moans and her whimpers that I could recall with perfect clarity – I would always get off, always.

Then the night she'd been at the MTV awards. It was easier to pretend she didn't have any hold over me in a room full of people; that feeling lasted all of ten minutes. I tried to ignore her, ignore the pull to walk to her, to hold her. It was fucking insane; just knowing she was in the same room made me excruciatingly hard.

When I thought I couldn't stand another second she'd walked out. I followed her to the restroom and found her gasping, her shoulders hunched, clutching the basin.

Her skin, her warm soft skin. I kissed and touched her breast; I kissed her neck, both for the first time. My restraint was waning; I was seconds from hoisting up her dress and thrusting into her warm, wet, fragrant heat. The only thing that stopped me was the public location.

Her words snapped me out of it, her pleading sad tone. 'Why?'

I held her tight, the words spewed forth. I'd tried to communicate to her that she had to be true to herself, to stop being the sculpted marketable performer the record execs and her manipulative management wanted her to be.

I couldn't be seen with her intimately. Edward Cullen couldn't be seen with an impressionable twenty-two year old performer that had been blinded by the public representation of her and her music.

I stepped away from her in that restroom; I turned my back on her again after I'd quoted some inane song lyric, hoping she'd understand.

I recalled the last liaison with her. The back of the limo. I was going to relent; I was going to take her back to my hotel. I was going to make love to her all night. But after I'd touched her, I knew I couldn't. I knew if I had her, really allowed myself to lose myself in her – that would be it for me. There would never be another.

She was drunk. I wasn't ready.

Fuck!

Is she ready now? Is she really ready to be with me?

I felt her warm hands on my shoulders. "Don't stop, please," she whispered and I felt her soft lips caress my neck. My resolve melted. I couldn't deny my feelings. I couldn't make her feel anything but cherished and loved.

Love. Yes, I'm in love with her. I love her.

"Bella–"

"Shhh, just play and let me..."

Her hands wrapped around my neck and I felt her slowly undo the buttons of my shirt. Her lips were on my earlobe. I stopped playing so she could peel the shirt from my shoulders.

I heard her gasp.

My fingers stilled. I couldn't play. Every fiber in my being wanted to turn to kiss her, to hold her.

"So beautiful," she moaned. "Please keep playing." Her lips kissed my neck, then my shoulder. I couldn't stand it any longer. I turned in my seat to face her.

"NO!" she pulled back. "Please, you owe me this. I need to, show you. Please," she panted.

I started at her, shocked. "I don't understand," I said.

She swallowed, her face flushed, her eyes wide in the dim warm lamplight. "Every time we've met, well, every time apart from the first time, you've touched me, you've made me feel…I want to, let me, please let me give you pleasure. You owe me that much. Please don't deny me."

I closed my eyes. God she wants to give me pleasure. I wanted it too. I knew now, that I didn't want anyone else. Only her. Yes, me and Bella, forever.

"Yes, Bella, however you want. I'm yours." I slowly opened my eyes and my hands curled around the bench seat, forcing myself to stay seated.

She dropped onto her knees in front of me, her shaking fingers grabbed at my jeans. I was so hard, my desire coursed through my body in shudders and quakes in anticipation of her hands on me.

She tugged on my zipper, desperately. Her teeth dug into her bottom lip, her beautiful brown eyes glistened with lust. I lifted my ass off the seat as she tugged my jeans and boxers down, freeing me.

Oh fuck!

I tried to calm myself. It was no use. I moaned when she gently took me in her hand, the warmth of her touch encircling me. Oh god, she's going to...

"Uhgngh!" Holy fucking hell!

Bella's lips were soft, her tongue firm and flat as she took me into her mouth.

My arms shook; my elbows flew back onto the piano keys making a loud um-harmonious clanging sound as I felt her tongue swirling around me. She gently sucked.

"Bell-laah, Bella, GOD!" My voice didn't sound like my own.

No, No, NO, I wailed internally. I should be making love to her, slowly, in a bed, where I can savor her, bring her pleasure, taste, caress, make her cry out my name in ecstasy.

I should be kissing her. I've never even kissed her mouth!

I lifted my shaking arms to cradle her jaw in my hands as she sucked me. Her face was furrowed in concentration and...determination.

"Bella," I croaked; it sounded like I was in pain.

She released me, instantly.

"I'm sorry," she said in a panic, panting. Did she think she hurt me?

I slowly pulled her up, my fingers caressing her hair.

"Bella, I want..."

The look in her eyes had me speechless. It was a look of reverence; it was a look of longing and awe. It was the look that told me she felt it too. I couldn't pretend, or deny myself any more.

"Kiss me Bella."

I kept pulling her up as she straddled me.

"Edward?"

She's unsure, she doesn't believe me?

"Yes, Bella, please. I can't wait any longer."

Then her soft wet lips were on me. Slowly she kissed me, tasting me. Her tongue slipped out to run along my bottom lip. Her breath was sweet, hot, intoxicating.

We clutched each other, kissing, our embrace tight, devouring each other as our desire built. I wanted her like nothing else, and I could have kicked myself for what I saw now as the stupid reasoning behind me not having her before this.

"I want you." I breathed. "I want to make love to you Bella, now."

"Edward," she moaned.

"Your bedroom?"

She pulled back, her eyes wide.

"You haven't heard the album yet," she breathed. She sounded confused.

"I can't think about doing anything else right now except..." I stood up, pulling her with me. I lay her back on the piano bench. Thank God her shoulders and ass were supported as I sunk down and reached up her denim skirt to pull down her underwear.

"Edward, please," she moaned, but I knew she wouldn't stop me. It had been too long, I had to taste her, and touch her. I pushed her skirt up, held her legs as I took in the visual of her. So perfect, so beautiful.

Fucking idiot! I should have been with her, all these years; she should have been mine and only mine.

I drowned in the sweet taste of her, as her whimpers and moans sent shockwaves through me. She was just as mind-blowing as I remembered. I held her slim hips, my elbows pushing against her thighs as I caressed her with my tongue.

I could feel her getting wetter, her moans intensifying. Oh God yes...

"Edward, EDWARD!"

I slowly dipped two fingers in her as she came, my tongue still laving over her in firm circles. My dick was straining to be there.

Not here, get her upstairs in a bed. Make love to her properly, slowly, give her everything.

I pulled away from her. Her head was tipped back off the bench, her hair falling in a glorious cascade to the floor. I'd never seen anything so enticingly delectable as Bella Swan, post orgasm and flushed with innocent beauty.

I adjusted myself back into my jeans. I have to get her upstairs, to her bed.

She sat up and stared at me, her face instantly contorted in agony.

"You're leaving?" her voice sounded hurt, broken. Tears streamed down her cheeks.

"No, Bella. I want you upstairs." I said. "I want you in a bed. I'm going to make love to you. I'm going to kiss every inch of your body and–"

She dived at me with a ferocity of passion that winded me.

I held her as she kissed me feverishly, her slim thighs wrapped around my hips.

"Don't ever leave me again. Don't ever walk away from me again," she breathed in between kisses.

"I won't, I promise." I pulled her tightly to me while I ascended the stairs to the kitchen. "Which way?" I panted, feeling her lips attached to my neck as she sucked and kissed me.

"Top floor, the room at the front of the house." She panted.

The climb up two flights of stairs was easy, as the adrenaline pumped through me. The motivation was in my arms, she was going to be mine. The thought made my stomach twist, and my dick wept at the thought of being one with her.

I didn't even look around the room; all I saw was the bed. I sat her on it and instantly peeled off her t-shirt as she undid my jeans again. I kicked off my shoes as she pushed my jeans and boxers down my legs. I unhooked her bra and pulled her to standing so I could undo her denim skirt, pushing it down.

There she was, her beautiful body naked for me, for the first time. She was exquisite, only twenty-four, supple yet firm, innocent yet wise.

"You are everything to me." I said as I kissed her slowly. My eyes never left hers. I held her small delicate waist. I absorbed her kisses and moans and I lay her on the bed.

I tried to swallow but my mouth was dry, parched. Our bodies were touching, my dick pushed into her thigh. The room was alive with the afternoon sounds of her busy street; the drone of the traffic, the laughter of children, the familiar atmosphere of New York.

I didn't want to separate my body from hers to scramble through my wallet for a condom. She was clutching me tightly. She thought I was going to leave. She thought I'd suddenly shut her down and leave.

"Bella, I have to get a condom."

"Edward, I want to feel you. I'm protected. No one, except you, has touched me since I was eighteen." She admitted.

My heart literally shattered in my chest.

"What? Because of me? You haven't...been with anyone?" I couldn't suppress the shock in my tone.

"I only want you; I'll only ever want you."

In that moment, I knew, like I had known the first moment I met her – we were meant to be. My pride, my arrogance, my hatred at myself, had stopped me from making her mine.

"I'll make it up to you. Every day I'll make it up to you Bella. I'll never stop, for as long as we live, I'll make it right."

I positioned myself with a disturbingly calm clarity of mind.

"I love you," I whispered as I sank into her, absorbing the blissful feel of her, delighting in her moans of pleasure.

I'd found everything I'd ever wanted.

~0~

Laah-Laah

Evolve

Volturi Music

By Edward Cullen

Laah-Laah turned heads in 2005, not only with the power of their voice and guitar focus, but with the yet to be polished talent, hidden under the facade of yet another 'all-girl rock band'. The intervening years have found them showing little interest in being sexed-up teen idols. With this, Laah-Laah's third album, Evolve, front-woman Bella Swan leavens sleek rock songs with her warm-whiskey rasp, clawing in harmony with the explosive guitar in "Midnight Sun" and rocketing up the center of the galloping, tribal "Black Wolf." The mood may be sometimes dark, songs about hard times "Cliff Diving" and troubled romances "Say it" but the record is a model of musical egalitarianism. Swan's vocals blend beautifully throughout — sweet harmony that makes discord go down easy. Guru producer Marcus Blake brings a tight and uniform atmosphere to the recording; however, Evolve's chief aim isn't experimentalism so much as encouragement. "Be safe" may pivot on a thumping rock beat and a tense, minor-key strum, but its lyrics are hell-bent on emotion: "It's what my feelings sound like," Swan coos, as the storm builds behind her. That it can so nimbly navigate such contradictions is one of Evolve's cleverest tricks. This all-girl rock outfit continues to evolve.

~0~

A/N: Evolve came second in the voting poll! Thank you so much to those that read the stories and voted. I'd like to thank my wonderful beta, CandyTwi. I'd also like to the Wayward Pushers for hosting this fab contest!