Author's Chapter Notes:
LiveInDakota: Helloo! Welcome to our little adventure :)
A consuming love for a certain Mr. Jared Leto and, of course, our Edward brought this little fic to life. *Le sigh* at the thought of those two things being put together…Well, no need to imagine because it's here!
We both hope you enjoy this…we don't promise it to be all sunshine and flowers because if any of you know anything about J.L then y'all know his songs aren't exactly light and fluffy. We hope we do it justice and manage to convey just how hot this guy would be if he actually existed :P
We disclaim, of course…you know it's not real :P
devilsgenie: I think LiveInDakota covered the main points.
Just a quick thanks to Kherisma, jakeward & SassyGeminiMom for their wonderful skills.
We hope you like it!
She angled her head so that her dark, flowing hair created a curtain around her. She wanted to hide from the crowd around her, more than bored by their stares and fake civility. The alcohol in her hand was chilling her fingers, but she reveled in it, appreciating that she felt something soothing instead of biting against her skin.
She looked up; knowing a gaze not unknown to her was fixed on her bowed head. It felt familiar somehow, yet when their eyes locked, there was no personal familiarity between the two. Of course, she knew who he was, she doubted any person in the room didn't know who he was, but that didn't mean she knew him.
In her world, the two differed like night and day. They all had masks, projections and secrets, and each of them was as pretend as the next. She had found herself growing used to it, it was all she knew in her life now.
Isabella Swan had a serious past, her father, a decorated FBI agent had been gunned down during a raid, and after that, young Bella had to fend for herself. Her mother had been a good woman while her father was alive, but once he died, she turned to drugs, struggling to cope with a young daughter.
Bella grew up fast. Drug dealers and hard characters became a part of her daily routine; men making it look like a half-way house with their comings and goings. Bella knew what was happening but turned a blind eye. These were the type of men who lashed out at little girls who paid too much attention.
Mere months after her father's death, she had to then deal with her mother's. It seemed like no time at all after the measly funeral that she was in foster care. She was shipped from house to house, living with abusive, drug addicted or alcohol addled parental figures that made her into the fucked up person she became.
Once Bella turned eighteen, she went to live with the first of a series of abusive boyfriends. At first, Paul was like any other caring and doting lover, but it wasn't long before she pissed him off, that he slapped her around until she ended up in a corner looking like a ragdoll. Because Bella didn't remember much of what her father had been like with her mom, she thought that with being in a relationship, the abuse was a normal part of it.
Sick of the scene in New York, Bella bit the bullet and hopped on the red-eye to Los Angeles, leaving the latest of addicted abusers behind her. It wasn't long before she landed a gig as a rockabilly style clothes model for Stop Staring! She came out in a couple of their spreads, and a few months later was noticed by a number of agencies, namely Volterra.
Volterra. The hierarchy of modelling started with them right at the top. Alec Montage was the man in charge, the man who always got his way. A man of fine taste and used to never hearing the word no. From the moment she walked through those doors, he had set his sights on Bella Swan. She'd become the first woman to ever say no to him, and he took it as a game of cat and mouse.
Bella knew that Alec was the kind of a man that no one messed with, but she still decided to get involved with him. She knew it wasn't coincidence that the flood of phone calls and offers came through the same day a picture hit the web of her hitting a club on Alec's arm.
Companies and men alike wanted her in their music videos, on their catwalks and in their catalogues, how could she say no? She was living life fast and wasn't afraid of dying young. In fact, she welcomed and wished for death, just to take her away from the pain that had become her life.
In the beginning, everything with Alec seemed okay, as it had been with every other man in her life. They were always caring in the beginning, still courting and showing their supposed good side. Soon though, simple mistakes weren't just reprimanded with simple talk. They became slams against the wall, hair pulling, and punches to the gut.
With every slip of the hand, and every beating, there followed a showering of lavish gifts that, in her eyes, showed signs of remorse for what he'd done to her. Funny, it seemed that every time he flew off the wall, he never once touched her face. No, he always either went for the stomach or took it out on her roughly with sex, so rough that Bella would later cry when going to the bathroom.
Yet, after all that, she stayed. She knew that he had become her meal ticket. Leaving Alec would mean leaving the modeling world. It would mean finding a different means to putting food on the table, it would mean leaving the wonderful house Alec had 'let her borrow' in Malibu off the pacific coast. It would mean getting rid of all of the material things; the days spent at the spa, and the days shopping on Rodeo Drive.
Eventually Bella had realized that she was selling her soul, her body, and herself in order to keep and maintain the lifestyle that she was leading. Of course, in the public eye Alec was the perfect boyfriend, taking her out to dinner, and lavishing her with attention. The media played it up as her own dream come true, some sort of knight in shining armor who'd saved the girl. That was all it took for the world to turn a blind eye to the things he did behind closed doors.
When a picture surfaced of Bella changing behind the scenes of a shoot, her midriff black and blue, Alec had been first to speak out. She wasn't allowed to speak for herself, or convey her disgust over her invasion of privacy, because Alec had to be in control. When he opened his mouth, playing his part of the doting boyfriend perfectly, the world drank in his words. It would have seemed absurd to them that the man trying to protect her privacy, was, in fact, covering his tracks.
It became clear to Bella then, that it would always be her word against his, and that their "friends" and colleagues would always choose him.
With a quick shake of her head, Bella returned to the present. Showing up at one of the many party's that this rock band, Fascinate, had thrown just this year. Alec always told her that not only would it be good for her publicity, but to establish new contacts as well.
That's probably what he believed, too, she thought as she stood at the bar. However, when the rock star's eyes travelled to Alec by her side, they narrowed, and she could have sworn he knew. His piercing gaze seemed to drink her in when it floated back to her, from head to toe, as if he could see through the flowing gown on her body.
She felt warmed, even from a distance. She couldn't tear her eyes away from the kindness she found in the green depths on the other side of the dance-floor. Yet, she knew there was something wrong with that scenario. He had a reputation, too. How was he any better than Alec? At least Alec was faithful, she thought with distaste.
Bella bristled under her admirer's attention. She had to act the part in more ways than one, and turning her nose up at another man's attention was part of it. Her stance and posture screamed that she knew all about him, wasn't interested and couldn't care less that he was watching her from across the room.
Bella thought back to the day her best friend had found out about her life behind closed doors. Alice Brandon, designer extraordinaire, was visiting her at their mansion while Alec was still in the office.
Unbeknownst to the girls, Alec was having a terrible day at the Agency, with designers not wanting to pay what they'd promised, lawsuits going down the hole, and more models not taking enough care of themselves. He just wanted to go home, hoping to find dinner on the table and whiskey in his glass.
However, when he arrived, he saw Bella sitting on the couch, glass of wine in hand. Alec saw red when things weren't how he wanted, and on top of the bad day at the office, his anger boiled over.
He had grabbed Bella by her hair and screamed, asking why she didn't have dinner ready. Bella was trying to explain when he kneed her in the stomach, showing his distaste for excuses and more time wasting.
When Bella fell to the floor; he began to repeatedly kick her over and over, blinded by his rage. Alice walked into the room and screamed at the top of her lungs - she never would have believed that Alec was beating Bella if someone had told her, but her eyes weren't deceiving her.
Alice later told her she would never forget the crazed look in his eyes when he noticed her interference. He was frighteningly calm as he warned her not to mention anything, stating that he could destroy her career at the snap of his fingers.
She ignored him, grabbed Bella, and left without a word. She took her to her boyfriend's house, which she believed to be safe, hoping Bella would find some refuge to calm the storm of her life. She knew she'd failed in her duty as a best friend. She shouldn't have missed something of that magnitude, and she felt compelled to help any way she could.
Despite all of Alice's attempts to get Bella out of her relationship, she knew she was going to return, turning a blind eye to the dark monster within. Bella couldn't be budged, having accepted her horrible reality, and wouldn't be swayed by talks of something that would never be.
It only took two days before she returned to Alec. To say that she'd been beaten up that night would be a terrible understatement. She hadn't been able to get out of bed the whole day after. She knew it was getting worse, the abuse, and yet Alice seemed to see her skip on home anyway. She couldn't figure out why she would return, and was saddened that she could no longer see the girl she used to call her best friend.
Instead of jewelry, Bella was presented with a housekeeper, Alec knowing she could barely do anything. This was his way of showing his remorse, she thought. She tricked herself into believing he cared and he wanted to take care of her.
She looked at the man by her side, trying to forget the things Alice had said to her, the things she'd tried to convince her of. Alec did care, and he was a good man. Just the fact that he brushed his fingers down the side of Bella's arm while he stood deep in conversation proved to her that he knew she was there. He wasn't ignoring her or disrespecting her, he was simply a very successful, very busy man. She could appreciate that.
She smiled when he looked across at her and played the dutiful girlfriend, fetching him another drink and standing quietly by his side as he conducted his business. She tried to ignore her nagging thoughts as his eyes kept catching hers from across the room. He hadn't moved, and he seemed oblivious to the stream of women parading past him, hoping to be asked for a dance.
She also tried to forget the way Alec looked when he hit her, as if it somehow made him feel better. She believed he was sorry afterwards, but during, it chilled her to think he enjoyed it, that he got some sort of thrill from the control. She knew that things weren't normal if it didn't happen to every woman, and despite knowing Alice was right, she never spoke up.
She spent most of her nights lying awake, listening to the sounds of the ocean and Alec's snores. She tried to remember, or maybe even imagine a time when things weren't so complicated. She tried to remember her father, and tried even harder to remember the things he'd told her.
When she finally fell asleep she would have dreams that weren't quite clear, like they belonged to her in another life. Yet there she was, every night trying to remember how things were, how her father was, and how her father would feel about the man lying next to her. She was never able to come up with any solid answers. What she did discover was this burning rage, this fire inside her that wouldn't be extinguished easily, and she didn't know what to do or how to deal with it.
When she caught his eyes, again, she realized that her façade was slipping. She was usually so good at hiding her feelings, at pushing down the building anger inside her, but somehow she knew he was on to her, as if he could see everything she was trying to keep secret.
Edward Cullen was a smart, if not complicated, man with a haunted past. He wasn't unfamiliar with pain or suffering, either. He also wasn't a stranger to the law, carrying a criminal record over his head, having once been convicted of aggravated assault as a teenager.
Watching the dance floor, he found himself glued to the spot. There were plenty of conquests to be had that night, but he couldn't see any of them past her. Sure, he knew who she was, everyone knew that face, that body, but looking at her for the first time in person was telling him more than he'd ever have guessed at.
She was bottling something up, anger, if he wasn't mistaken. The fire bubbling below her surface was almost hypnotic to witness, and he found it hard to believe that no one else had ever noticed. Yes, that was it, she reminded him of himself.
It wasn't that Edward had anger issues; it was just that he was never one to back down from a fight, or from defending what he thought was right. The way Edward saw it, he never had a chance. His mother was a high class call girl that had gotten pregnant by one of her clients; at least that's what she told him. His grandmother told him it was because his mom was lonely and wanted at least one good thing in her life.
His mother Elizabeth decided to get pregnant by her most favored client, Edward Masen. According to his grandmother, Edward was a kind and gentle man who had lost all faith in relationships because of his past, but it didn't stop him from helping Elizabeth when she proposed conceiving his child.
Edward had offered to get Elizabeth out of the business, but she refused because it was the only life she knew. He later simply offered to help with the upbringing and care of her soon to be born baby, but still she told him that he didn't have to feel obligated to do anything. She just wanted someone to care for, to fill the empty void in her life.
When Edward Jr. was born, Elizabeth hoped that he would be much like his father. Edward Sr. helped her with money, and anything else that her young son would need. Despite the many times Elizabeth insisted that she didn't need his help to raise their son, there he was, quick to come over with some groceries or a new outfit for his him.
When Edward was four years old, his father died of a heart attack. He remembered going to the funeral, and what it meant to him and his mother. What he didn't understand when he was there, was why some people were looking at him and his mother the way they were.
The only people happy to have them there were Edward's parents, Esme and Carlisle. Esme and Carlisle had heard that their son had made them grandparents, and that the woman, Elizabeth, didn't want to marry him. They seemed to understand her decision, and were confident that despite not being ready for the commitment, both would be amazing parents to young Edward.
Edward always experienced the same crushing sensation, as if a lead weight was resting on his chest, when he thought about his family. Seven years later, at only eleven years old, his mother was on her way to pick him up from his grandparents' house when she was robbed at gunpoint.
The police later told him that she had tried to fight off her assailant, only to be killed by a stray bullet. Her attacker hadn't meant to kill her, but the jury saw it Edward's way. His mother was murdered, there was no sugar coating the loss he had experienced. James Hunter was sentenced to life, but it did nothing to quell the anger that settled inside him.
His grip on the glass in his hand neared crushing point as Edward tried to calm his erratic breathing and heartbeat. His base guitarist shot him a concerned look, but he was too busy studying Miss Swan to notice. When she looked back to him, he found the calm he needed.
Her heart-shaped face and troubled eyes reminded him of the
pictures he'd seen of his mother. Instead of making him angry, or sad, however, it settled something inside of him.
Edward had no way of knowing that while he set her on an undeniable edge, she had the complete opposite effect on him.
He knew he had begun to act out and was hanging with the wrong crowd after his mother's death, but at the time it was the only way to satiate the part of him that screamed for attention. He was too young to stop and realize that it was missing his mother that made him feel that way.
After ending up in juvie more than once, Carlisle had put his foot down and forbade Edward to see his thug friends from his old neighborhood. His grandfather had always taken great interest in Edward's musical flair as he grew older. He had witnessed the calming effects music had on his troubled young soul, and after another run-in with police, Carlisle had an idea. He had promptly enrolled Edward in music classes in hopes that his demeanor would soon change.
They didn't speak much after Edward's run-ins with the law, but that didn't mean that Carlisle didn't try every day. Edward had heard the time's Esme had begged her husband to have patience with their grandson; saying she knew he had a good heart, but it was Edward that needed to realize that. He'd only roll his eyes and block them out back then, but when he thought back on it, he knew their unwavering support was the only reason he stood where he was now: successful, famous, and surrounded by beautiful women.
As he'd learned to play and began toying with music, he realized he had a knack for creating new sounds. It was then that he met two guys that helped him realize the effective outlet at his fingertips.
Jasper and Stefan were two loners in a school full of social butterflies. Yes, they were talented, and knew that most of the performances that the school put together wouldn't have been half as successful had they not been in on it. Yet somehow, they both managed to be outsiders in a world where they would normally be kings. When they heard Edward playing his piano, they knew that there was something deep there, something they could use; something that they could all create together.
It wasn't his only instrument. Stefan would spend hours mocking him for the fact that he could play the violin, but further down the line, it helped them in writing their own songs. His piano ability only solidified the success they had at songwriting, so when Stefan picked back up on mocking his best friend, Edward would only laugh and allow him his fun.
When both Jasper and Stefan had approached him, he hadn't known what to expect. But on hearing their idea, he was more than curious to find out what they had in mind. After weeks of brainstorming, playing with different melodies and writing and rewriting songs, they finally had their first set.
He looked at the guys flanking his side and remembered the way they had practiced, played and performed - for what seemed like days - until they landed a spot at a local bar. They played their set of songs, and were asked by the manager to return the next week for another set. Playing at the bar had probably been their biggest accomplishment, but they always knew they were meant for bigger things. One night after their performance, they were approached by a record executive. Said record executive turned out to be Liam O'Connell, the same mastermind behind the Kings Of Leon and as far back as Nirvana.
The rest, as they say, was history. Liam had done more for them than anyone else in their path to fame. Men in suits and power hungry women alike had tried to approach the three of them, many had even tried to break them up, but Edward realized his two friends were the only thing real he had left in his life.
As he watched Jasper hit on yet another unsuspecting brunette, he smiled, knowing his life was good, knowing he had everything they had worked so hard for, and knowing his two best friends could always be there should he need them.
He disposed of his empty glass on a passing waiter's tray and kicked off the wall he had been leaning against. What was a party without a girl on his arm? Looking back to where the best looking girl in the room had been standing, he felt disappointment settle in his stomach when he noticed she had disappeared.
It wasn't because he cared; it was because he had wanted to rock the boat. Something wasn't right between her and Alec, and he had wanted to see her "boyfriend's" reaction to him spinning her around the floor a little too closely.
It seemed he wasn't going to get the chance, however, and settled on the blonde nearest to his arm. It was too easy, really. He flashed his smile, swept his hand through his hair and asked her for a dance with an appraisal that was far too obvious.
They're all the fucking same, he thought. Sometimes it felt too easy.
He smirked when Stefan did the exact same thing, and it didn't take long before the two of them had two girls each and were on their way back to the bar.
These were always long fucking nights, and Edward always hated them, but when in the 'business' you had to show your face and your appreciation – as Liam said, anyway. There couldn't very well be a ball for their contribution to music if they didn't fucking show up.
Edward had tried to argue that point, but Liam heard nothing of it. They had to be there, so there was no fucking way he was going through it alone. Let them say what they fucking liked, both girls who were battling their eyelashes and jutting out their fake tits were going home alone at the end of the night.
He threw back another scotch and headed outside for a smoke, needing to get the frustration out of his system. A couple of girls giggled annoyingly as he brushed past them, but he ignored it, sick of the whole scene, and picked his way through the crowd - he was leaving it all behind.
Author's Chapter End Notes:
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