The Jukebox Contest
Title: His Word is Good
Song choice: Hey There Delilah
Word Count: 2926
Pairing: Bella & Edward
Summary: Bella's friends are convinced Edward isn't faithful to her because he's always on the road. What will it take to prove to them he always has been, and always will be, true to Bella?
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or its characters, or the song that inspired this story.
It's hard being away from my girl, especially for stretches so long I'm sure I won't be able to survive another day before I see her.
Though I'm sure she knows I care for her, I try in every way I can think of to show her. But this, this is a big thing for me. I open a new e-mail and attach the file before I can change my mind; then, taking a sip of my coffee, I settle in to my chair and begin typing.
Tonight we're playing in New York City. I can't believe we're actually here, can you?
The guys have been really ragging on me lately because I keep staring at . . . Fuck, I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I keep staring at a picture I took of you last time we were together. Swear, Bella, there's no way the lights of New York can compete with the way your face was lit up when I snapped that picture.
Do you remember what we did?
We went to a stupid carnival, and I snuck a picture of you while you were tossing rings on - what the hell was that? Bottles? Whatever; it doesn't matter. What matters is that your face was completely lit up, and you were laughing your real laugh, not the one you give when you want someone to think you like whatever they said. You were perfect that day, and I lo-
"Uh, Bella? Can you please tear your attention away from your laptop for five minutes? I'm having a Jasper crisis, and I need your assistance."
I sigh and close my computer, promising myself that I'll read the rest of Edward's e-mail before I call him. School - and if we're being honest, my best friends - is really demanding lately, and there are more times than I want to admit when he refers to something he's written in an e-mail and I have to tell him I haven't read it yet.
"Alice, what kind of crisis can you possibly be having with Jasper that requires my assistance? I'm supposed to get a chance to talk to Edward tonight before their show, and I want to finish reading his e-mail before I call him."
"He won't talk to me, Bella, and I just don't know how much longer I can deal with this," Alice pouts.
I take a deep breath and try to quell the raging headache I feel coming. I love Alice, I really do. But she doesn't understand my relationship and is constantly complaining about her lack of one. She is "in loooooovvvveeee" with Jasper Whitlock, who is a senior and doesn't give her the time of day.
"And anyway, I really don't know why you waste your time with Edward. He's on the road constantly, Bella. Think about it."
"Yeah," Rosalie pipes up, "he's got to have girls hanging all over him every single night, and I'm sure they're throwing themselves at him. He's totally not my type, and even I can admit he's a hottie. Throw in that brooding musician vibe he gives off, and I bet there are cat fights every night to see who'll get to share his hotel bed."
"Edward isn't like that," I say quietly.
"You haven't given it up yet, have you?" Rosalie asks pointedly.
I blush at her question. "No, but we've done stuff."
"What kind of stuff?" Alice asks. "Like, in terms of bases?"
"I am not having this discussion with you two. Alice, why's Jasper ignoring you now?"
"If you haven't had sex yet, and he's not asking you to do it, I guarantee you he's getting it elsewhere," Alice says softly. "He really is on the road pretty much all the time."
"You've been dating over a year, Bella. How much of that time has he been away?"
"All but about four months," I admit.
Edward and I started dating just before he graduated, and shortly after his 18th birthday, he went on the road with his band. They are constantly touring and trying to get signed by a bigger and better label than the one they're on. I've gone to see him a few times, though, and he always seems really excited for me to be there. He constantly shows me off and always dedicates songs to me from the stage in this shy, covert way.
"Tonight I saw a girl who made me weak in the knees. This one's for her."
I turned fire engine red that time.
The next time I went to see him, it was much closer to home - Seattle - and lots of kids from Forks were there.
"This one is for my girl. How the hell did I get so damn lucky?" he smirked.
I attacked him with kisses after that show, and he definitely got to third base that night, not that I was going to tell Rose and Alice.
"It's like, a statistical fact that he's getting it somewhere else, Bella. I wouldn't stand for that crap if I were you. Kick him to the curb," Rose snarks.
"No. I'm not going to do that. Now, if you're through with your crisis, Alice, I'd like to finish reading Edward's e-mail." With a slight huff, I turn back toward my computer and Edward's sweet words.
You were perfect that day, and I loved you even more than I thought I could.
Hey, I attached a new song to this. I want you to listen to it whenever you're really missing me. I wish I could do more, like be home more often, but that's just not a possibility right now.
I miss you so damn much, Bella. I know you understand why I'm doing what I'm doing, but sometimes it doesn't make this any easier. Nights like tonight, I wish so much that we could just be together all the time, but I've got to do something to make a life for us, baby.
You have my heart, B. You always will.
# # #
"I loved the song," I say as soon as Edward answers his phone. "I think it's already in the running for most played on my iPod."
"So glad you liked it, baby." I can hear the smile in his voice. He is quiet for a beat, then he sighs, "I miss you so much."
It is all I can do to swallow back my tears before I softly answer him. "I know you do. I miss you, too. I . . . I'm playing that song every time I miss you, which is to say like every five minutes."
He laughs happily. "That's why I said what I said in the e-mail. So how's it going back home? How are Rosalie and Alice? Has Rose finally sunk her claws into Emmett yet?"
I immediately clam up. "Everyone is fine. I'm not sure what's going on between your brother and Rosalie."
"There's more. Tell me, Bella," he coaxes.
"They," I hesitate, choosing my words carefully. "They don't think you're serious about me. They think, well, it doesn't matter what they think." I bite my lip and don't really think before I blurt, "I bet a lot of the girls out there are really pretty."
"I'm sure they are," he says. "I don't really notice. The other guys . . . they hook up with girls at shows, but after I went off on Mike when he tried to bring a girl back to a room he was sharing with three other guys, they're usually good about going wherever the girl wants to go."
I'm shocked. "Eww, he did that?"
# # #
I'm sitting at this little cafe I've found in the city. None of the other guys are here, and I kind of like it that way, because I'm imagining you sitting across from me, sharing this ridiculously priced piece of cake I'm eating.
This city races, Bella. It's loud, and overpriced, and it's way too far away from you.
I long to hear his voice as I read his latest e-mail. I look at the clock when my cell phone rings and do a double take when I see the caller ID.
"Edward? What are you doing up? It's after one in the morning there."
"Bella? Baby? I have incredible news," he exclaims. It's really loud wherever he is, and I'm straining to hear him over the noise of the crowd.
"What? What's going on?" I'm less worried now because of the excitement in his voice, but still, part of me is wondering if he's calling to say he won't be home at the end of the month, when the entire band is supposed to get a month off.
"We got invited to play the West Seattle Summer Fest! Our time off got moved up because of it. Say you'll come see me. I know it's a long drive, but I'll make it worth it," he says, and I can hear the promise in his voice.
"Of course I'll be there!"
# # #
B, call me when you get out of school today. -e.
I'm already tearing up when I read the text message. Things are really happening for Rivalry, and I feel in my gut that something in his schedule has changed; he won't actually be back for Summer Fest.
"Bella, you're coming shopping with us later, right? I'm in desperate need of a new bathing suit," Rosalie says. Alice nods emphatically.
"Sure," I deadpan. Now I've got to deal with being in a car with Alice and Rosalie while I call Edward to find out what's going on.
When I get out of class for the afternoon, I place the call to Edward right away. His phone rings three times before he answers it, and I'm ready to hang up before his voice mail picks up when he answers, breathless.
I can't help but smile at the sound of his voice, even though I still feel like a stone has taken up residence in my stomach. "Hi," I say, climbing into Alice's car.
He sighs, and if I was skeptical before, I know now it's bad news. "Baby, I'm so, so, so, so sorry -" he starts.
I sniff; he curses softly, and Rosalie twists around in the passenger seat, arching a perfectly shaped eyebrow at me.
"I hate this, Bella." His voice is thick with emotion.
"It's okay," I try to reassure him. I really do understand what he's doing, even though my friends have never gotten it.
"You don't even know what's changed and you're telling me it's okay? God, I love you."
"Well, we're still playing Summer Fest," he says cautiously.
"But we won't actually be getting time off after. We're heading right back out on the road. I'm so sorry." I can hear in his voice that he actually is sorry, and I know him well enough to understand how hard it is for him to tell me this new piece of information.
"It's okay," I repeat. "I understand. We'll still have Summer Fest, right? You'll be there the entire weekend. I'll talk Charlie into letting me stay. I'll get a room with Alice and Rosalie," I say, shooting them both glares when they automatically start to protest.
"You are so damn good to me, Bella. Hey, I gotta go. We're getting ready to go on stage. I love you," Edward says before ending the call on his end.
"Love you," I whisper.
I have to give Rosalie credit. She waits a solid two minutes before she tries to lay into me. "So what's his excuse now?"
"It's not an excuse," I snap. "They're playing the festival, then heading back out on the road. They're really working hard to get a better label to pick them up, Rose," I say when she opens her mouth to snark at me.
"Tsk. Your relationship isn't as perfect as you think it is, Bella," Alice says. "I know Jasper and I -" At this point, I tune her out. I don't want to hear about the boy who won't pay attention to her when I know how Edward feels.
# # #
Summer Fest is perfect.
Rivalry is only scheduled to play once, early Saturday afternoon, and the guys arrive late Thursday night. Friday morning, Alice, Rosalie, and I make the trip to Seattle, getting there just before lunch.
I promise Charlie I will spend the entire weekend with Alice and Rose, though he knows Edward will be there.
Saturday night, after we listen to bands Edward wants to check out and eat entirely too much junk food, he takes me back the hotel before everyone else returns under the guise of missing me and wanting to spend as much solo time with me as possible.
I'm completely unprepared for what he's done.
He takes me to a room I didn't know he'd reserved, and everything is amazing, if not a little cliché. There are rose petals all over the room, a bottle of sparkling cider, and chocolate covered strawberries. We dance to a special playlist he made, undressing each other slowly. When the song he sent me months ago to listen to whenever I'm lonely comes on, he slides into me, and I'm overwhelmed with feeling.
It hurts, but only for a moment, and then we move together so beautifully, so smoothly until he is falling apart over me. He places kisses all over my face, across my collarbone and breasts, and finishes by kissing the place directly over my heart. "I love you," he whispers into the darkness, before I fall into a deep, dreamless, restful sleep in his arms.
# # #
"Shit, Bella!" Rosalie shouts as I feel the ladder slip out from under me.
Things are fuzzy after that. I hear people fussing over me, and I'm vaguely aware of someone saying ". . . ambulance will be here . . . " before I pass out again.
When I open my eyes again, I see the stereotypical drop ceiling of a hospital room. Rosalie and Alice are here, and I slowly become aware of the deep, booming voice of Edward's younger brother, Emmett.
Just after I close my eyes again, I hear Emmett and Rosalie arguing.
"Whatever." Rosalie is clearly pissed off about something. "He obviously doesn't care about her."
"He does care, Rosalie," Emmett retorts. "He doesn't know anything yet," he says quietly.
"Of course he doesn't know, Emmett. He hasn't bothered to call her in two days!"
I've been here two days?
"Oh, look at you, defending your big brother. You're such a good little sheep. Screw him," Rosalie snaps.
I hear Emmett growl, then the sound of his fingers flying over the keys of his phone.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"I sent my brother a damn text, Rose. Is that against the law?"
Rosalie huffs. It isn't long before Emmett's phone - it has to be Emmett's phone - rings. He steps into the hall to talk to whoever's calling, and I fall back into the drifting haze I've been in for, apparently, two days.
When I open my eyes again, I expect to see the same ceiling. Instead, I see green eyes - eyes I know so well.
He pushes my hair away from my forehead and kisses me gently. "Hey, you."
"Hey yourself." My voice is scratchy from lack of use, and he immediately brings a straw to my lips. I take a long pull of water, my eyes never leaving his face. "You're here. How are you here? You're supposed to be in San Francisco."
"I am," he affirms. "I got Emmett's text in the middle of an interview for Rolling Stone. The guys can handle it. I called Emmett to make sure you were really okay, then I booked it to the airport and got on the first flight I could to Seattle. I got in so late I thought I was going to have to rent a car, but you'll never believe who was waiting for me," he laughs.
"Rosalie." He lets it sink in for a minute before continuing. "Emmett was with her, of course, but once she found out I skipped out on the interview, well, let's just say she doesn't think I'm fucking around on you anymore."
"Finally!" I throw my hands up in the air. "It'll be nice to hear silence from her now." I lean up to press a kiss to his lips. "She's always been the more . . . vocal of my friends about your supposed infidelity."
He kisses me until I'm panting for air, and a nurse comes in to check on me. She gives him a stern warning against making the monitors go off again, then leaves, closing the door behind her. He climbs into bed with me, wrapping me in his strong, comforting arms.
He hums his response.
"You know none of that ever mattered to me, right? I've always had faith in you."
He tilts my chin up to look into my eyes, then kisses me until my monitors go off again. Another warning comes from the nurse, who shakes her head and mutters, "I'm leaving the door open this time," before leaving us alone once again.
"I love you so much," he whispers, giving me butterfly kisses all over my cheeks.
It doesn't matter that I know he'll have to leave again, because I know he'll always come back to me.
And that's all she wrote. REALLY. There will be no begging, borrowing, stealing, or cheating to get me to extend this one. JUSTSAYIN', SUE. ;)
Thanks goes to LyricalKris for the beta work. :sigh: I don't know what I'd do without her.