There are many ways of getting over nervousness. One, you can inhale a calming aroma such as orange peels and lavender, two, take a warm, soothing bath, three, drink a cup of tea, four…
Oh, screw this.
I closed the web browser and shut down my laptop with a groan. My stomach was in knots and was inhabited by strong, assertive butterflies. My heart was racing and I couldn't focus on anything.
Typical pre-show jitters.
I looked around the green room to the other members of my band, New Moon. Jasper, our bassist, was doing weird squats in front of a full length mirror. Emmett, the drummer, had his ears muffled by earphones and was mindlessly tapping his drumsticks on the wooden coffee table. Then there was Edward, our vocalist, who sang quietly to himself while looking at our set list and pacing.
This was what New Moonlooked like before any show we do: completely at ease, acting strange, or dead on nervous.
This was our last show in our European tour. Tonight, we were in Munich, Germany performing in the Olympic Stadium. When we first arrived here, I have to admit I wasn't this nervous, but when Rosalie, our manager, cheerfully announced that all the tickets were sold out, the sweat started to trickle down my back.
Being the only female in the band, I always felt like I needed to step it up and prove myself worthy of being in a world-famous rock band. When I first became part of New Moon,the media made a big sundae out of it. I mean, come on, it's not uncommon for a single girl to be in an all-male band, but then again, I don't know any other band with a lone female who's the guitarist.
My stomach did a little back flip suddenly and I felt like I was going to hurl.
"Bells, you okay?" Jasper asked as he walked over to me on the sofas. I nodded robotically. "I'm doing fine."
"You don't look fine." He observed. I eyed him enviously. Out of the four of us, Jasper was always the calm one. While I have a pounding pulse, Jasper just does his squats and feels absolutely normal. I tried doing those squats once and all I got were painful thighs.
"Nervous." I admitted.
"We all are." Edward replied as he stopped singing and leaned on the sofa's back rest. "I have this big fear of just not being able to make a sound later. At least all youhave to do is strum your little guitar with your magic fingers."
I slapped a throw pillow at his face. "You say it like it's so easy."
He chuckled and threw the pillow back at me. Before I could recover, he was already tickling me from behind.
For a moment, I forgot about my nervousness and my stomach was filled with a different kind of butterflies. My heart was pounding for another reason, too. For sure, my concentration was highly focused on Edward's touch.
A lot of people say that Edward and I look good together. And by a lot of people, I do mean Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and his wife slash band makeup artist, Alice. I have to admit, that fact stings a bit for me; that so little people believe we have a chance at being together. But then again, the public doesn't really see us as a couple because Edward was already dating someone.
Our record company head's daughter – and also the biggest whore you will ever meet – Lauren Mallory.
They just began dating early on this month, and I have to admit I wanted to kill someone because of that. Why? Because I knew Lauren was just a typical slutty hoebag who wanted to be famous. I can tell you that the feelings she had for Edward were nothing but lust.
Another reason – and the biggest reason, I suppose – was that though I wouldn't admit it to anyone, it's already pretty obvious and an unspoken truth.
I was in love with Edward Cullen.
"Stop it!" I laughed-shouted as his fingers found their way to my sides. "Seriously, I'm dying of lack of oxygen here!"
Edward chuckled and let me go as he jumped onto the sofa next to me. "Sorry," He said as he mussed my hair. "You're just too hard to resist."
I blushed. "You're tempting yourself." I teased.
"Time for the monitors!" Tyler Crowley, our sound guy, announced suddenly as he entered the room with the silver case.
"Edward, you go first." I said as I nudged him with my elbow. "The front man always goes first."
"Then you're coming second. The guitarist always does." He replied as he took my hand and pulled me up. Tyler handed Edward his pack and tossed me mine. He did the same to Jasper and Emmett, who almost missed it by a few millimeters.
As Tyler helped Edward fit his ear piece, the green room door opened and Rosalie sauntered in. "Heeeeey. How's my favorite rock band?"
"A wreck." I replied as I sat down on the coffee table.
"That's good." She replied with a laugh. "You guys are on in about twenty minutes or so, and let me tell you, the stands are absolutely packed! Alice and I went to see just now."
"Speaking of Alice, where is she?" Jasper asked.
"She went to get her bag. She'll be back, though. To touch you guys up if you need it."
I exhaled heavily as Tyler finished helping me with my ear piece. As Emmett was assisted with his, Alice danced in with her heavy looking black bag.
"Bella," she said the moment she saw me. "Aren't you going to put on any make-up?"
"I did place some eye liner." I protested. "Took me a solid hour to do it, but I have it on!"
"Well, that's not enough! Get your ass over here and let me fix you. You know, you are so lucky I'm around for this."
I sighed and sat down on the chair Alice patted. With just a few strokes of her hand, she had my face primped for the bright lights of the stage.
"There. Now you look reallystunning." Alice said with a smile as I stood up and resisted the urge to scratch my eyes.
"Uh, thank you."
"I'm serious! You look like a rock star! A really hot rock star at that."
"In case you haven't noticed, Alice, I already am a rock star." I laughed and felt the nervousness deepen. "Hey, Rose. How long before show time?"
"Hm? More or less seven minutes." She replied, looking up from her PDA. Edward let out a noisy breath from his mouth. "You know, I have this weird feeling something's going to happen."
Emmett nodded. "Yeah. Like Bella tripping on wires or something." He guffawed and high fived with Jasper.
"You are kind of a klutz, Bella." Jasper said while he plucked his Fender bass. I rolled my eyes. "Tell me something I don't know."
A knock came from the door. It was Jessica, the stage manager. "Guys, it's time." She said cheerfully. "Let's get going!"
I took a big and deep breath before picking up my guitar and following her out with the rest of the band. We stood at our designated spots below the stage. Already, I could hear the roaring crowd.
"You guys ready?" Edward asked.
"No." I replied.
"Great. Let's rock this bitch."
I heard our cue and the ground began to lift us up. The arena was still pretty dark when we were finally at the level of the audience, but I could still make them out. After counting to twenty like how we planned, I began with the powerful opening notes of our first song.
"That was a good!" Edward said, breathless as we walked backstage for some interviews. The four of us were sweaty, tired, but happy that the last show was successful.
I nodded. "Yeah. Though I have to admit, I was a bit freaked out by some of the signs out there. 'Bella, make me a baby'?" I shivered as I recalled.
"Yeah, but who can blame the dude." He replied. "You were hot tonight."
I blushed as we entered a room where cameras were already flashing and reporters were armed with their microphones, tape recorders and pens and papers. We all took our seats and plastered our usual smiles.
The interview was over in just ten minutes, which I was thankful for. My fingers were tired, sweat matted my back, and I could use a Coke.
We were ready to leave in after about half an hour and as we walked to our bus, the fans mobbed us as usual. I signed as many magazines, notebooks and hands as I could.
"My legs hurt so bad." Emmett whined as he sat down on the leather bench of the tour bus. He stretched his legs slowly. "This is what I get for sitting down for two hours."
"I just really need a shower." Jasper said as he made his way to the back of the bus.
"Where are we having dinner?" I asked as I took off my leather jacket. "I'm starving here."
"You fuckers seriously complain too much." Edward commented as he opened the fridge and got out a beer. "Stop being such girls." I glared at him. "No sexism intended." He added quickly.
"As if you aren't hungry either." I pointed out and as if to punctuate my point, his stomach growled. "Heh, that's what I thought."
We drove for a few miles before stopping in front of a mall. Rosalie burst through the door the minute we parked.
"Get your asses up and at 'em, fellas." She announced. "We're having dinner here."
Jasper peeked out of the window. "You do realize that at this time of the night, the mall is packed, right?"
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "You'll be fine. Besides, we don't have a choice."
"Where do you plan to park this bad boy, by the way?" Emmett asked. "We're doing a horrible job being inconspicuous." He looked out the window to see some people looking at our tour bus.
"Let us handle that shit." She insisted as she re opened the door. "Now get your asses moving if you want any dinner."
Reluctantly, we exited the bus in the most un-rock star like clothes we owned fifteen minutes later. Of course, just because they were the least rock band-looking duds doesn't mean that they're not rock band-looking.
We entered the mall with Rosalie and Alice, trying to act like we've been to this mall before. With Emmett engaging Rosalie in conversation and Alice shamelessly flirting with Jasper, I was left to walk the way with Edward.
"I don't understand any of those signs." He said with a laugh as he looked at the huge mall directory.
"I think I do." I said. "I speak a little German."
"Really?" he raised his eyebrows. I nodded. "Yep. That's what you get when you listen to Tokio Hotel too much. Their music's pretty catchy though, so really, you can't blame me."
We kept walking around the mall and it was just a matter of time until someone noticed us.
"Edward Cullen!" a blonde fan girl in a New Moonshirt shouted. Immediately, people began looking our way and before I knew it, we were plagued by fans asking for autographs and pictures. They all shouted things in German and English and some even sang our songs in the background.
"You're the greatest guitar player ever!" a red head kid shouted as he shoved his grey Jackson Warrior Electric Guitar to me. "And you're really hot, too!"
I smiled at the comment and whipped out a Sharpie pen, signing my usual loopy signature on the guitar's body.
I think I signed about thirty different somethings, posed for three dozen pictures and heard thousands of compliments. I was already getting really hungry so thankfully, our security was able to contain the fans somewhat and we still managed to get to a restaurant.
"Well, wasn't that fun!" Alice giggled as we sat down. She ran a hand through Jasper's blond hair. "I never knew my man was so wanted!"
"Not as wanted as Edward, though. Half the girls there were ready to dry hump you, man. And that's at the very least." Jasper laughed and shared another manly high five with Emmett. I laughed with them despite my feeling of queasiness due to mild jealousy.
We gave our orders to the waiter and he took them to the kitchen, but only after asking us for autographs himself.
"I can't wait till we get back to L.A." I said while we waited for our food to arrive. "Touring is fun and stuff, but I need a break!"
"Well, you better not get used to the easy life, missy." Rosalie teased. "You guys are going back on the road after two months for the world tour. Plus, in the two month break, we have interviews, photo shoots, TV appearances…"
"And aren't we releasing a new album soon?" Emmett asked as he scratched his head and stretched. "I'm itching to do new songs."
"Easy, bro. We'll do that after the world tour." Edward said just when the drinks arrived. The food followed soon afterwards and we dug into them like people who didn't eat for weeks, which is what we felt like anyway. Performing on stage really takes a toll on us like no other.
Once back at the tour bus, I took off my shoes and went to lay down on my bed or coffin as I'd like to call it. The rectangular shape of it ingrained on the wall gave me the idea the moment I saw it.
"Sleepy?" Edward asked as he went to lie down on the coffin across mine.
I yawned. "Maybe I'll fall asleep, but I don't know. We're just driving to the airport now." My phone vibrated from my pocket and I sat up to see who was calling.
"Hey, Jake. How's my house?"
"Nice to hear from you too, sis."
I laughed, glad to hear from my brother. Currently, he was living with me in Los Angeles, but lately I've heard that he got himself a girlfriend. I guess he'd move out soon to have more privacy, and that's beyond fine by me.
"What's up?" I said as I leaned against my pillow.
I could almost hear him shrug. "Eh. Nothing unusual."
"So why are you calling?"
"I…ah…just have a favor to ask, that's all. I've honestly been putting it off for a while but since you're coming home and all…I mean, you are coming home, right?"
"Yeah, yeah." I said, rolling my eyes. "On my way to the airport now. What is it, anyway? If you're going to auction off any of my guitars again, I'll – "
"No, no, it's not that!" Jacob quickly defended himself. I looked at Edward from the corner of my eye to see him laughing at the memory of the time my brother auctioned off my precious custom Gibsons last time I went away.
"Shut up," I murmured to him before sticking my tongue out.
"Hm? Nothing. Edward' s just being a jackass as usual. Nothing new there." I rolled my eyes again for his benefit.
"Hey, speaking of Edward, how's he doing? He isn't banging you too hard is he?" Jacob's voice turned all manly, like a father giving his innocent and naïve daughter the talk. "Because if he is, you can tell me and I can whoop his sorry a-"
"Whoa, whoa, Jake what the hell are you talking about?" I interrupted. "We aren't…he has a…I thought you knew…"
There was silence at the other end of the line. "Wait, you guys aren't dating?"
I gasped and laughed nervously, especially with the object of our discussions being at earshot. "No. What made you say so anyway?"
He cleared his throat and his voice turned shy. "Ah, well…you know what the tabloids can print…I don't pay attention to any of the crap they publish, but the pictures…"
I sighed and leaned further back so that I was slumping. "Don't let the pictures fool you, Jake. They aren't as they seem." I couldn't hide the disappointment in my voice. "So what favor are you asking again?"
"Oh. Well, I'm dating this girl, Vanessa, and…well, I was wondering if she could stay here…for a bit. Just until we find a place."
"We, eh? So this one's serious?"
His voice turned shy again. "Yeah, pretty much."
I laughed. "Yeah, sure Jake, she can stay over. Just make sure to keep your activities to the guest room. I don't want to have to disinfect my entire house."
After sharing a few more insults and jokes, I said goodbye and tossed my iPhone to the foot of my coffin. I was already tired and ready to sleep and the clear and straight streets of Munich weren't helping one bit. I was about to lose myself in deep slumber, until I felt something, or someone, sit at the foot of my coffin.
I opened my eyes to see Edward there. "So how's Jacob?" he asked.
I yawned and sat up, pulling my knees up. "He's doing alright. Found himself a girlfriend named Vanessa, apparently." I yawned again. "Must've gotten her by announcing he's Bella Swan's brother, you know, the one in that band with Edward Cullen."
Edward laughed and leaned to his right so that his head was resting on my knees. The touch made my heart jump and beat at double time.
Jasper passed by right at the very moment with a giggling Alice right behind him. He saw us, but Edward refused to hold his head upright. Eventually, Jasper had to clear his throat. "Uh, can you guys…move to that part of the tour bus?" he pointed to the front. "We…need some privacy."
"Bus sex." I murmured as I got up and followed Edward away from the coffins. We passed by Rosalie and Emmett in the dining area of the bus, talking, so we just went ahead and sat down at the lounge part at the front.
Edward's phone rang and my hands clenched into fists the moment I realized who was on the other end.
I got up from my seat and cursed at the bitch internally as I tried to think of a place to go. The coffin room was a big no, and maybe Emmett and Rosalie didn't want to be disturbed, so the kitchen wasn't an option, either. Still, there was no way in hell I was staying here while Edward spoke to that scumbag.
I started walking anyway, and since fate really hated me, the bus chose to stop abruptly at the moment.
"Whoa!" I shouted before landing face down on the rug. It was painful, no kidding, and I slammed my elbow accidentally against something hard.
"Bella! You, okay?" Edward asked as he dropped down to the floor and helped me up.
"'M fine." I replied, embarrassed and blushing. He laughed while he held my arms. "Always such a klutz."
I noticed that his phone was still active on the couch. "Aren't you going to…" I gestured to it. He looked at it for a while. "Nah."
I nodded and sat back down on the leather couch where I fell asleep until we reached Munich Airport where we thankfully had to wait in no time at all for our flight back to the US.
I slept through the entire plane ride back home. When we finally landed, I contemplated on how I was going to get home.
Thankfully, Jacob was there at the receiving area, waiting with a huge grin and – thank goodness – a big packet of M & M's. I smiled as I approached him and gave him a fraternal hug.
"How'd you know this was going to be my flight?" I asked as I released him. I didn't miss the paps snapping away, but I didn't care. Jacob didn't either. He shrugged. "I didn't. I've been sitting here with a bag of M & M's since," he looked at his watch. "Two hours ago."
I laughed and ruffled his hair. "Thanks. Now let's get my stuff and go home. I'm ready for my own bed."
Jake nodded and waved to the other members of New Moonas they entered the area as well. "Let's get your luggage then."
Once we were set and already making our way to Jacob's car, the paparazzi swarmed us again, so I pushed my sunglasses higher and tugged at my hood until we were zooming away from LAX and onto my house.
"So where's your girlfriend?" I asked as I opened the door into the kitchen. "Is she here? When can I meet her?"
"Tomorrow, when you're not jet lagged or tired." Jake replied. I nodded and stumbled up the stairs, leaving my brother to deal with my seven guitars and countless suitcases.
With only a week into this two month break, Rosalie was already calling us to meet up again.
I rode my Harley to our studio in West Hollywood after a quick breakfast sans Jacob and Vanessa. Looks like they had a pretty…busy night the night before, anyway.
I was the only one there when I arrived, but I was still let in anyway. I looked at my watch to see that it was just 10:00 AM. Well, of course no one would be here yet. Everyone seems to have a social life except me.
Rosalie had said last week that she needed us here at around 10 AM, and so I was there 10 AM. Jasper, Emmett and Edward all needed scolding for not following her instructions, but seeing as even Rosaliewas late, there was no point in doing so.
I set my helmet on the table and sat down at an empty chair, propping my feet up. The seconds ticked by.
"Oh, Isabella," I said to myself. My voice echoed across the large convening room. "You are such a loser. At age 24, your social life's still dead! I thought we talked about getting out of that rut when you were in high school. Hah, I bet you thought things would change when you joined a rock band, eh? Well, too bad! That's not the case!"
I didn't feel the least bit like an idiot as I shouted at myself in the empty room. Not like anyone could hear me anyway. And besides, it felt good to vent to someone who wouldn't whine about my bitching, AKA, no one.
"You don't have that much friends, no boyfriend, no nothing. Hell, your 20 year old little brother beat you to the chase!" I sighed and shook my head. "At least if you die alone, you'll die rich…that is if you don't spend whatever you're earning now on drugs or anything stupid."
I suddenly saw myself in those 'Where are they now?' shows and shuddered.
"You can never have Edward." I said quietly after a while. "You've been working with him for a year and a half and nothing has happened between the two of you. Face it, you two'll never happen, no matter what Alice or Jasper or Emmett say."
My stomach growled amidst the bitching and since it looked like no one would be coming anytime soon, I contemplated just going out and buying a burger or something.
"Screw this. No one's going to show up because they're all busy getting laid." I muttered as I picked up my helmet and began walking over to the elevator. It descended quickly and soon I found myself in the lobby, where I saw Edward enter.
"Bella? Where are you going?" he asked as he took off his jacket.
I shrugged. "Getting something to eat. There's no one up there yet."
He looked at his watch. "Really? Wow, I thought I'd be late. I had to rush on over here."
I nodded and began to move around him until he caught my arm. "Wait. How long have you been here?"
"Since 10." I replied dryly.
"Oh. Well what have you been doing up there by yourself?"
You want to know what I've been doing? Nothing, really. Just reminding myself of how much a loser I am and how you all have lives and I don't. Not to mention how you're never going to ask me out.
"Staring at the white walls." I said. "Did you know that there's a really tiny black dot there? It's only now I actually noticed that."
Edward chuckled and looked at his watch. "Where are you going now?"
To answer his question, my stomach growled quietly. "Starbucks. Or maybe Burger King. Anywhere where they sell edible things."
"You mind if I join you?" he asked with a small smile on his beautiful face. "I could use some post-breakfast pre-lunch eats."
I smiled back at him and nodded.
I was about to ask him if we were supposed to take my Harley or his car, but then that was the time Rosalie decided to show up. Her blonde hair was held by chopsticks at the top of her head and she had her 'serious' outfit on. She eyed us as she lowered her Chanel aviators.
"Nice of you to show up, Rosalie." I said.
She waved me off. "Spare me the scolding, Isabella. I realize I'm late and I'm sorry for that, but now that I'm here, let's get down to business. Are you two the only ones here right now?"
"Yeah." Edward said. "I got here five minutes ago."
"Well, then." She straightened her shoulder bag. "Let's go to the fifteenth floor so that I can call the other two yahoos to get their butts here."
My stomach made rumbling noises again as we ascended back to the convening room.
Rosalie and Edward turned to me. "Didn't you eat anything before you went here?"
I shrugged. "Yeah. Omelets, cereal, pancakes, waffles…Vanessa's French toast is pretty damn good."
"Then why are you still hungry?" Rosalie asked as she got out her vibrating Palm Pilot and began tapping.
"I don't know. I'm always hungry." I said before chuckling softly. "Appetite of a dude, remember?"
"It seriously doesn't show." Edward said with a smile. "You don't look like you gain any weight at all. What do you do with the calories?"
I thought about his question as we heard the familiar ding and we stepped out. "Nothing really. I mean, I eat what I want and then I…well, eat some more. I don't really exercise but carrying a heavy guitar around stage all night's good enough."
"Really? No bedroom activities?" Edward teased as he sat down across from me. I turned on my deadliest glare.
"No. I'm not dating anyone and as it looks, I won't be dating anyone for the rest of my life." I shrugged, trying to act like that didn't matter. "Self imposed celibacy."
"You don't have to date anyone to fuck them." Was his genius reply.
"For you, probably." I pointed out. "But just to remind you, we aren't all man whores like you."
"Alright!" Rosalie interrupted as she sat down at the head of the table. I hadn't noticed that she didn't really come with us when we entered the room. "I have good news and bad news."
We paused the glare contest and looked at Rosalie.
"Good news first. Practically every talk show and magazine wants a sit down with New Moon. Plus, we're leading in the MTV Music Awards with five nominations.
"Bad news is with all the work we need to squeeze within our two month break, you'll have no lives at all."
Well. Seeing as my life ismy job, I didn't have any problems with that.
Rosalie jumped into full descriptions of our interviews immediately and after five minutes of her just yapping on and on, Jasper and Alice showed up.
"Sorry we're late. We had to do some…ah…." Alice giggled as she took a seat.
I waved her off. "No need to go into the gory details."
Emmett joined us fifteen minutes later with claims of a girl stalking him and a paparazzi attack in Rodeo Drive. Rosalie ignored both entrances and just kept talking enthusiastically about how many magazines we're going to be in.
"So, what's the first gig?" Jasper asked.
"GQ. They want to do a spread of you guys." She got out her Palm Pilot again and ran her finger through it.
"And when is that?"
"Next Monday. It's in New York, though, so we're flying there this Friday."
"Nice. Another band joy ride." Emmett said.
"That's where Lauren's staying for the weekend. Perfect timing." Edward said with a smirk. My stomach clenched at the sound of her name and I bit into the inside of my mouth until I tasted some blood.
I looked over Jasper and Emmett. They hated Lauren almost as much as I did. I have to admit, it's pretty awesome to have the band on my side in this debate, including their lovers. Alice once said that she'd rather shave her own hair off than be friends with her and I couldn't agree more. Rosalie, on the other hand, keeps a plastic smile on her face every time she's around just so we wouldn't get on the bad side of her record producer daddy.
Jasper met my eyes first. He looked up to the ceiling and took a deep breath, just like what he usually did when he was annoyed. Emmett scratched his head and maintained a disgusted expression while Edward wasn't looking directly at him. I just maintained a face that would have looked like a poker face to some people, but to those whom I've worked with for roughly two years, it was my look of irritation.
There's a good band joy ride down the toilet.