Title: Is This For Real
Rating: M
Title of Song Used for the Serenade and Artist: "Dirty Blue Jeans" by Almost Amy
Word Count: 5553
Disclaimer: This story is rated M for language and a brief lemon. Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer, "Dirty Blue Jeans" belongs to Almost Amy, and the plot belongs to me.
Summary: Bella's always had a deep love of undiscovered talent, so what happens when the newest artist she finds touches her heart in a way she never imagined.

Thank you to everyone who voted for this story, it won 2nd place in the public vote! Knowing that you loved this story meant the world to me, even if you weren't sure who the author was at the time!

Also, I'm hosting a contest, called the "Share Your Inspiration Anon One-Shot Contest," for more info check out: http:/www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/u/2580394/


"Everyone has something that can turn around their mood. The thing you seek out when you need a good laugh, or a good cry, or you want to scream at the top of your lungs. For me, it's always been music. When I was in junior high and high school it was my CD player, now it's my I-Pod perpetually playing in my ear, soothing the savage beast.

That's why I love my commute. Ninety minutes each way, of non-stop music. It prepares me in the morning for my long day of answering phones and managing my bosses schedule, and at night, it's the therapy that puts me in a good mood so I don't snap at my roommates.

Rosalie and Angela know about my ritual, in fact they've been known to tape I-Tunes gift cards to my bedroom door when they've committed some major faux pas.

The other awesome thing about the commute is the variety of the street and underground musicians. Most are mobile, moving from train to train to avoid the cops, but the ones that go through the process to get the permit to perform at Grand Central or Pen Station are my favorites. I walk to Grand Central from my office for lunch just to hear some of the performers who go through the trouble of being approved by the city.

And I love discovering these artists, because they're not locked in by industry conventions, then when they make it big, the signed copies of self-produced albums are actually worth something. Some women have 30 purses, or 50 pairs of shoes, I have shelves of CD's from unknown musicians."

The little red light went off on the camcorder as Angela popped her head out from behind the tripod. "Okay, that should do it. I'll edit it and it'll be up on the site in a few days. Thanks Bella, I really needed a fun idea for the website portion of the article."

"No problem. Now, I'm going to head out early, how much longer do you think you will be?"

Angela hooked the camera up to her computer and then looked back at me. "An hour or so, I'll call you when I'm on the train."

With a hug, I jumped into the elevator and then walked over to the 2 train. It was rush hour, so there weren't any musicians on the subway, but I as I got to the bottom step in Penn Station, I heard his melodic voice over the crowd.

Walking through the turnstile, I entered the main concourse at the end of Penn Station where most of the musicians set up by the stairwell to tracks 20 and 21 next to the McDonalds. Sitting on a stool with a mic stand in front of him and his guitar resting on his strong thighs was the owner of the voice I'd heard. He smiled as he strummed the intro to his next song. His sound was that John Mayer/Maroon 5 type that so many attempted and so few actually pull off. Well, he definitely pulled it off.

I stood there mesmerized through two songs when I heard them announce my train. I looked at the board and then back at my stone fox rocker and said fuck it. Another train would leave in 30 minutes. His golden brown hair, which was shaggy and hung in his breathtaking sea-green eyes, just begged me to play with it. Except that doing so would have interrupted his set, a criminal offense for sure.

For the first time ever, I couldn't focus on the music, because the man producing it had me completely twisted up. I knew his hour was wrapping up and I needed to get a hold of his music so I could listen to it without the fog of his looks to blind me.

Watching him thank the audience, I walked over and smiled as he began packing up his gear. "Hey, your music was really great." I inwardly cringed at my lame comment, but he smiled and that killed my dead.

"Thanks, it's my first time playing Penn Station."

I looked at the different CD's he had sitting in the lid of his guitar case and motioned to them. "Can I get your CD?"

"Sure, which one?" He bent down to grab one and I took that opportunity to blurt out my answer.

"All of them." His head turned quickly and I blushed. "I like independent artists and I'd rather take advantage and get them now in case I don't catch you here again. They're $10 each, right?"

"$25, you get a break when you buy all of them. What's your name?" He now had one of each of the CD's in one hand and a sharpie in the other as he opened the top case.

"It's Bella." I blushed again, probably looking like an idiot in the middle of the train station.

He signed all three albums and then took my money before handing over the albums and shaking my hand. "I'm Edward Cullen, and for the next two months I'll be here every Friday from 6pm to 7pm. Come catch the show again if you like it."

I nodded again and then heard the announcement for the final boarding of my train, having never heard the initial warning; I jogged off to the stairwell for Track 17 and boarded the train back to Long Island.

At home that night, I began uploading his music as I listened to the first album. He had a few covers of rat pack music redone for his own style and then a majority of original music. Out of the first album, my favorite song had to be "Millions."

Looking at the jacket for his album, I saw his website, .com and shamelessly opened the link. And it was at that moment that I realized I was about to become a hardcore stalker. His bio told me all of those things that you let the world know, but I tried to read into the deeper meanings. Like when he said he wasn't classically trained, I wondered if there was something more to it, or if he simply didn't study it beyond learning the chords and such. In all honesty, the fact that he wrote like that without taking composition classes or studying with a pretentious teacher made his music that much more interesting.

I finished uploading his music and put it on shuffle, that way I never knew what song was coming next. When Rosalie and Angela got home a little later, they came upstairs to find me sprawled out on my bed with the lights off, listening to the playlist.

"Is it safe to come in, or are you enjoying private time?" Rosalie called through the door and I sighed, calling out for them to come in.

"Who's this, someone new?"

"He's the reason I missed my train, new performer in Penn Station."

I saw Rosalie walk over to my computer and gasp. "Oh my God, you little cyber stalker! He's already your background?"

"No he's not, I just added him to the screensaver." I rolled my eyes, she knew I put pictures of my favorite artists in a slideshow for my screensaver; heifer was just trying to get a rise out of me.

"So how many albums does he have?" Angela, always my favorite roommate, steered the conversation away from Rosalie's teasing.

"Three, they're shuffling now."

"You bought all three; doesn't that break some major 'Bella rule' or something?" Rosalie turned from her spot at my desk and I groaned at having to explain this.

"I was too wrapped up in his looks to really listen, so I decided to buy all of them and see if I was blinded by his looks into thinking the music was better than it was. It's not the first time I've done it; I just don't do it often."

Rosalie jumped on the bed and stole the extra pillow out from underneath my head. "I know, B. I'm just teasing you. You just don't get like this normally. Bella Swan doesn't get doe-eyed and tween girl over guys…so when does he play again?"

"Every Friday at 6pm, it's perfect timing really."

"Okay, well we have a week to demystify you so that you can actually enjoy the show next week." Rosalie nudged me and I knew that meant she wasn't ready to kick me out of my own house in exchange for a padded cell…yet, at least.

The next few days were heavy workdays, with our office being moved up to the executive floor. Which meant that after it was painted on Wednesday, while my boss was on a business trip, I had two days to move all of the files and personal items for the both of us upstairs, and have it perfectly organized by Friday when I left, on top of my normal work.

I was running around like crazy on Thursday finishing all the things that had to be handled before Monday so that Friday could strictly be used to reorganize the boxes that now sat in the middle of the office.

Needing to be comfortable, I dressed in a pair of torn jeans and a t-shirt on Friday morning, my favorite flip-flops getting their last day in the sun before it became too cold to wear them anywhere outside of the house and the nail salon.

I tore through box after box of files, slipping them into the cabinets around the office, finally finishing with all of that by lunch. I knew I had too much work to be done to take a real lunch, so I actually broke down and called the McDonalds near us that delivers and placed an order.

Getting back to work after my greasy, but oh so satisfying lunch, I started putting together my desk, knowing that all the knickknacks would be easier once the important things were handled.

I ran around like a madwoman in the afternoon, using photos on my phone to arrange my anal-retentive boss' office the way it was before the move. By 5:20, I was able to lock his office and my desk up and run to the ladies room to look at the damage. Pulling my hair into a ponytail, I applied a little make-up and grabbed my leather jacket and purse before heading over to the elevator.

Making the subway, I got to Penn Station at 5:55 and watched Edward finish setting up. I settled in next to one of the pillars and watched as he grabbed his guitar and got ready to begin.

"Hello everyone, I'm Edward Cullen and I'd like to sing a few songs for you if you don't mind."

As he began strumming the opening to "Millions" I smiled and sang along with him. I saw his eyes flash to mine and I smiled even wider. After that, he went into the bag of tricks pulling out "Sunday Morning" from Maroon 5 and John Mayer's "City Love." But it wasn't until "Love London" started that I got excited. It was my favorite of all of his songs and I was getting to hear it live today. As he started singing, I instinctually sang along.

I wake up on a Sunday,
thinking that it's a Monday.
I smile, ain't got work today.
Today, my head, it hates me.
Must be the JD they gave me last night, hung-over today.
And I make it out my door,
and I'm taking in fresh air,
and I just can't wait to get there, no.
And I know it is the cure,
I can't wait one minute more.

'Cause I love my London,
from the highest tower down to the water.
I love my London,
like every father loves his daughter.
If you're ever feeling down,
you can't go wrong in London town.

I've arrived,
with the sun beating down on my neck.
It's been a night out,
I'm looking like a wreck
but I'm fine... fine.
You know it feels sublime
taking a walk down South Bank by the riverside.
I've got all the time.
I'm not thinking about my steps,

I don't know where they'll take me next.
I just want to see the sites.
So through these streets I'll always roam.
I'm so proud that it's my home,
London baby never go.

'Cause I love my London,
from the highest tower down to the water.
I love my London,
like every father loves his daughter.

I love my London,
from the highest tower down to the water,
I love my London,
like every father loves his daughter.
If you're ever feeling down,
you can't go wrong in London town.

I love my London,
from the highest tower down to the water.
I love my London,
like every father loves his daughter.
If you're ever feeling down,
you can't go wrong in London town.

There was a sparkle in his eyes as he went back into some of his earlier music and I just laughed and sang along to the songs he played.

When the set was over, the crowd applauded loudly and a few people stepped up to drop some money into his guitar case. I saw his eyes dart over to me and I smiled, a blush creeping up my neck and going straight to my hairline. Walking over to him where he collected the money from the case and put it in a small bag inside his duffle, I stopped right in front of his mic stand.

"Great show, I love that you have that much variety."

He stood up and grabbed his guitar, locking up his case and folding its stand as he responded. "Even with the variety, you managed to sing along to one of the songs I didn't sing last week."

"I really adored them; my roommates were teasing me about how much they played at our house." I blushed again, realizing how what I said must have sounded.

"It's nice to have such a devoted fan, Bella. Most people pick up a CD and that's the end of it."

"Well I'm excited to hear more of the new stuff; you said on the website that the label's putting out a new album early next year?"

"You were on the website?" Edward smirked at me as he began winding the wire to his mic. Out of nowhere, a tiny dark-haired girl ran at him, nearly knocking him over.

"Eddie, that was brilliant! I got a phone call, otherwise I would have congratulated you as soon as you finished." She was still clinging to him and he wasn't upset to have her there, and I suddenly got a sharp pain in my chest realizing that he wasn't really flirting; he was only talking up a fan after his performance. I felt ill as I turned, hearing the final announcement for my train.

"It was great talking to you again, Edward." I muttered as I ran for track 17 again.

"Bella, wait!" He yelled after me, the sound bouncing off the stairwell as his feet drummed on the stairs a little faster than mine were. Clearing the landing halfway down, I turned and continued on, tripping and falling down the last few stairs and landing on the concrete. The tears started as Edward's voice got closer. "Please Bella, just wait! I can explain, are you okay?"

The last was a response to the noticeable limp I now had as I nearly dove on the train, the beeping sounding like the flat line that my heart must resemble as one of the other commuters helped me to one of the pull down seats in the wheelchair seating area. The glass muffled Edward's cry of 'Fuck' as I saw him fisting his hair just before the train pulled away.

The guy who had helped me sit down asked if I was all right and if Edward had done something to me, but I just told him that it was a big misunderstanding. Because in reality, it was. He was a singer I'd developed a crush on and I didn't really know him. I knew press releases and factoids on his website, liner notes from his albums, but it wasn't really Edward Cullen. That Edward Cullen was reserved for the tiny girl in four-inch heels, not the one in a messy t-shirt and flip-flops.

When the train pulled into town 45 minutes later, I limped home and climbed into bed with an icepack, and cried myself to sleep.

Rosalie found me at 7:30 the next morning, excessively happy for her normal personality. "Swan, don't make me belly flop on this bed, you broke girl code when you didn't wait up to tell us about what happened with Edward." I rolled over and I saw her face drop. "What happened?"

"Don't' want to talk about it."

"What happened?" She asked, refusing to budge.

"Not talking."

"What happ-" She tried again and I snapped.

"He has a perky little girlfriend and I ran away like an idiot and twisted my ankle. There, are you satisfied?"

Rosalie reached over and stroked my arm, "I'm sorry, hon. What are you going to do?"

"There's isn't much to do. He was a performer working the crowd. I'm just going to avoid Penn Station between 6 and 7 on Fridays for the next few weeks. Maybe we can grab dinner in the city to kill the time?"

Rosalie nodded and left me to my misery. When I did get up, I ran to the grocery store to buy food for the week. While there, I spent some extra time in the baking aisle and when I got home, I started baking. By the time Angela arrived around 4pm, I had seven types of cookies, 3 different cakes, brownies, and 2 loaves of Irish soda bread done, and was staring on dinner.

"Oh God, did someone die, or get engaged?" It was a logical question for the volume of food I'd baked, but I shook my head and went back to making the lasagna. Angela wasn't as pushy about the information that she wanted, but I told her the same thing, I'd been naïve to think that there might be some attraction there.

Going back to work didn't feel the same without Edward's voice in my ear, but I couldn't bring myself to listen to his albums yet. Someday I'd be able to look back and appreciate the amazing music, but not today.

By the time Friday rolled around, Angela was working on the big music issue fir TimeOut New York, which is usually my favorite time, but I just didn't want to go hear a bunch of showcases and barroom shows. I really wanted to go home and bake, and then eat my weight in chocolate. Rosalie had to bail on me too, some meeting at work, so I skipped out of work early so that I was out of Penn Station before 6pm.

When the girls came home after 8, I didn't ask if they had seen him perform, and thankfully, if they did, they didn't bring it up. After we ate dinner, Angela begged me to go to one of the larger showcases on Friday night. I was seriously considering saying no, but the puppy dog eyes did me in.

The next week went even faster and soon I was changing into clothes worthy of a night out. The girls met me at my office and we grabbed dinner at Junior's because I was craving some cheesecake, and then headed downtown.

The line at the bar was around the block, but a quick flash of her press pass got the three of us in the door as we made a beeline for the bar. Angela looked nervous and Rosalie kept checking her phone, two things that had me confused until I heard the announcement that started the show.

"Okay, ladies and gents, Once Bitten Records is really happy that you were able to make it here for our Fall Music Showcase. We have some fantastic artists lined up for you and to give you a taste, we'd like to bring out someone who'll be playing later to open the night. Please welcome to the stage, Edward Cullen!"

The crowd roared, including my now homeless ex-best friends, as Edward made his way to the mic looking a little apprehensive. "Thank you. I wanted to start the night with a song I wrote just a few weeks ago. This is the first time it's being performed anywhere and I hope to put it on my new album due out next year. Here's 'Dirty Blue Jeans.'"

As he began to play, he looked out at me before his eyes darted to the opposite side of the room. My heart was pounding erratically, and if it wasn't for the vice grip Rosalie had on my arm, I would have fled. Then he opened his mouth.

I'm closing my eyes
So I can see you standing there
Closing my eyes
And even though it's just a dream
I notice everything you wear

Dirty blue jeans with a rip in the right knee
A creased up gray t-shirt with no label
Your hair tied back behind that black hat that you stole from me

Hey, hey
These are the things that I remember
Hey, hey
How could I forget
You are the one that saves me
You are the one that helps me to feel
Can you believe it's happening
Is this for real

I know you know, taking time apart would be better at the minute
But, let go... hell no
I won't waste my time in this life unless you're in it
But I know why
I know why we're growing inside each other's eyes
I miss those eyes

Hey, hey
These are the things that I remember.
Hey, hey
How could I forget
Hey, hey
I wish we could relive September
Don't you know you're the best
You are the one that saves me
You are the one that helps me to feel
Can you believe it's happening
Is this for real
Is this for real

There's something in your eyes
You know it gets me every time
It makes me want you
It makes me miss you... and it reminds me
You are the one that saves me
You are the one that helps me to feel
Can you believe it's happening
Is this for real
Is this for real

Dirty blue jeans with a rip in the right knee.
A creased up gray t-shirt with no label
Your hair tied back behind that black hat that you stole from me

The audience applauded again as the final chord rang out, but all I could do was stare. He hadn't written that song about me…right? He had a girlfriend. Our eyes met again as he stepped off the stage, and before I could react, I saw him and the tiny raven-haired beauty walk over to us.

"Bella, I'd like you to meet my sister, Alice. Alice, this is Bella." Sister! Oh my God! I'm an idiot. I nodded to her and said a quiet 'hello' before I felt his hand reach out to take mine. "Can we talk?"

Nodding again, I let Edward lead me into the back to where all the musicians were hanging out and then through the backdoor of the club. When we were both out in the chilly fall air, he turned and looked at me with anguished eyes. "I know the other week upset you and I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to explain that my sister is a little overzealous before you got hurt. How's your leg, by the way?"

"It's fine." I didn't get to say more before Edward continued on his roll.

"Bella, there was something different about you. I could sense it that first moment we met and then talking and realizing how much you loved music, not to mention the video on TimeOut's website-"

"You saw that video?" I was shocked that he found that at all considering it wasn't on the main page; you had to read the article online and click on the video links to see it.

"Yeah, after Rosalie came and saw the show last Friday-"

"Rosalie saw you perform?" What the hell?

"Your best friend and my sister are sneaky. Rose evidently walked up to her, and pretended to randomly talk her up and as soon as she found out there was nothing romantic and that we were related, she started talking about you. And then Alice told her about how angry I was when you got away and that I'd started writing this song but I couldn't get it right because you were like a ghost that just drifted through, taking a piece of me with you. So they exchanged numbers and had been talking all weekend about this and when I finished the song on Tuesday, Alice told me I had to sing it. I didn't know you were going to be here until tonight; Alice didn't want me to sing the song without knowing that you'd hear it, but once I knew, I had to. I needed you to know how deeply you affected me."

I couldn't take it anymore; I needed to show him what he made me feel, so I took a step towards him and leaned up, kissing his perfect lips. Soon our arms were wrapped around each other and I was pressed against the brick of the building. His tongue was dancing with mine to the rhythm of our rapidly beating hearts and as we parted for air, his lips moved along me cheek, making their way to my ear. "Will you go out with me tomorrow?"

"Yes." He smiled and kissed me again before there was a knock on the back door.

"Cullen, you go on in 10."

We reentered the bar and I headed over to where the girls were waiting, begging for details I wouldn't divulge. It was my turn to keep a few secrets. Edward's set was phenomenal and when he finished he packed up his guitar and then found us in the same spot we'd been in all night and kissed me again in front of the entire bar, including the exec's from Once Bitten.

I found out that Edward worked for the label to help pay the bills, so we had to stay for the whole show, but it was worth it when he walked me to the subway. We exchanged numbers and I promised to text him when I got home and he told me that he'd call me in the morning about our date later that day.

Getting onto the train, I was nearly giddy and stayed that way until I sent the text to Edward, letting him know we got home safely. The message that popped up a minute later made me audibly 'awe' him.

Glad you got home safe. Sweet dreams and I'll see you tomorrow. Thanks for giving me this chance. 3 E

The next morning I was cleaning the house with Angela when my phone rang. I turned off the vacuum and ran out of the room so I could speak to Edward in private. "Hi Edward."

"Bella, hey. I didn't call too early, did I?" He sounded nervous and it endeared me to him even more.

"No, this is fine. I was just cleaning the house."

"Okay. I was curious if you'd like to go to dinner and then a movie. If you'd rather just hang out, we can do that too."

I smiled at how cute he was being before setting his mind at ease. "Dinner and a movie sounds great."

"Great. I'll meet you in Penn Station by the McDonald's around 4:30."

"4:30 it is. I'll see you then." Hanging up, I looked at the clock and saw that it was already 11:20. I finished my vacuuming and then went to shower. By 3:30, I was parking my car at the train station and getting on board to meet Edward.

The butterflies were multiplying the entire ride in and when I stepped off the train and walked up the stairs, I was blown away by what was waiting for me. Standing at the top of the stairs, Edward was dressed in jeans and a button down, a bouquet of flowers in his left hand. "Wow, Bella you look beautiful."

I blushed and took the flowers he was holding out for me, giving him a kiss before I responded. "You too. So, where are we going to eat?"

He smiled and dragged me down the concourse and away from the stairs. Two minutes later, I was laughing as we got in line at Rose's Pizza and ordered our slices before getting on line to get beer. Sitting down with a real New York tradition for our first date was great, and I loved that he didn't bring me to a fancy dinner when I was more comfortable with a slice and a beer anyway.

From there, we headed up to Times Square to see a movie at the huge theater between 7th and 8th. I knew Rose would laugh at me, but I couldn't even remember the name of the awful romantic comedy we saw because we were too busy acting it out in the back of the theater. I'd never been the person that made out in a crowded theater with a guy, but until recently, I'd never been the girl to have songs written for her either, but Edward was changing all that.

Walking me back to Penn Station and waiting with me until my train was called, I asked him to come to the Island the next day so he could see a bit of my world.

Over the next few weeks, my weeks were filled with work and my weekends were filled with Edward. We went to see live music and hung out at the park; we hung out on Long Island a few times and even went to the Statue of Liberty. He teased me relentlessly that I grew up in New York and had never gone, but it had always seemed like a touristy place to go, so when he insisted on taking me, I said what the hell.

I went to all of his gigs in Penn Station, standing front and center and singing along while he charmed the commuters that passed by, many stopping to hear a song.

Edward had just started recording his new album, which meant that we lost one of our weekend days to the sessions, so when he asked me to hang out with him one Saturday, I had assumed that he was off from recording for that day. Instead, he brought me to the studio and let me sit in the booth while he worked on "Dirty Blue Jeans." It took all day for him to get the track the way he wanted, but by the time we were ready to leave, all I wanted to do was go back to his apartment.

We made it to his building and I'd managed to keep my thoughts hidden from him, but once we got into his apartment, all bets were off. I kissed him as soon as the door was locked, pinning him against it as my hands explored his clothed chest. Edward lifted me by my ass as I wrapped my legs around his waist and let him carry me to the bedroom.

Our clothes fell to the floor as we raced to enter the last physical realm of our relationship. When Edward lay me down on the bed, I felt so loved that I almost cried as he entered me. His sweet beginnings soon turned into a passionate frenzy as we moved to feel more of each other, bringing our love making to new heights as we reached our crescendos together.

Lying in the afterglow, Edward stroked my face, kissing my temple. "What in the hell did I do right to get you?"

I sighed and spoke to him without looking up at him. "I've spent my life loving music and I finally found someone who not only shares that love, but makes some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard. Today I sat there and listened to you perfect the song you wrote about me when I was just a person standing in the crowd. You could have easily overlooked me, but instead you remembered everything, down to which knee was ripped on my jeans."

"I could never overlook you. That day, you were more beautiful in jeans and a plain t-shirt than some girls who spend hours getting ready, that's what I love about you. You don't go overboard to be what others might think you should be; you're comfortable in your own skin."

I rolled into him so that I could kiss him again as I settled into his chest. "That is why I love you. The way you see me, no one looks at me like that."

Edward held me closer and whispered into my hair. "And if I get my way, no one ever will again."