Music is Rue de Cascades and La Chute by Yann Tiersen
The Music in Me
"Oh, stop your silly whining, Bella. You're not an inconvenience," Alice chided as she glided effortlessly through the halls. Bella glared, though there was no emotion behind it. She enjoyed Alice's company very much and she knew very well that if she'd said she didn't want a tour of the house, that she'd be lying her mortal tail off. But despite what the little Cullen said, she still felt like she was putting the family out. Alice turned, as if she'd read her mind, and pointed a finger even with Bella's nose.
"And don't say you're putting us out like you were going to. Come on, Bella, see our side of this! We haven't had visitors in…oh, ever! The least you could do is accept our hospitality!" She threw her arms out wide for emphasis, giving Bella a smile that never ceased to make her melt. Despite her best efforts, Bella returned the smile and uncrossed her arms.
"Fine, you're right. From now on I'm a happy camper."
Alice opened her mouth to speak, only to draw back, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion. "Happy… camper?" Bella blushed, running a hand through her hair and pushing it behind her ears. However, before she could explain herself, Alice broke out into a melodic laugh. "You humans and your phrases never cease to amuse me. That's almost as funny as 'tubular.'" Upon saying the word she giggled again and proceeded to skip down the hall. Bella followed, shaking her head at the vampire. They only took a few steps before Alice stopped at the first door. She opened it widely and motioned for Bella to peek in. "This is Edward's room."
Bella had to refrain herself from gasping as she entered the room. Two of the walls were glass, exhibiting the forest around the secluded home. A brown couch was to the right of the room while loads of CDs and records littered the rest of the walls and floor. Cautiously, Bella looked to Alice for permission to enter. Alice nodded with a small smile and Bella stepped through, careful not to step on anything on the floor. Immediately she went to the shelves upon shelves of the CDs. A few of the names she was familiar with such as Beethoven and Young Jeezy. Others she'd never heard of like Yo-Yo Ma. Alice must have noticed my expression for she entered the room and stood next to me.
"What's got you scowling?"
"Oh," Alice laughed, "over the years you learn to embrace new music. Some rap is actually very inspiring."
"I'll take your word for it," Bella murmured as she put the CD back, turning to Alice. "Can I see your room?" For just a split second, Bella thought she saw something change in Alice's eyes. Like she was relieved to be leaving Edward's room or something of the sort. But before Bella could dwell on it, Alice grinned again and grasped her hand, giving in a squeeze before pulling her out of the room. Bella closed her eyes as Alice dragged her down the hall, noting how perfectly the pixie's hand seemed to fit with hers. They reached Alice's room all too quickly and although Bella was somehow saddened when she let go of her hand, it was quickly forgotten as she stepped into the room.
She couldn't deny that this room was very Alice-esque. There was a bureau to the right of the room made of wrought iron. It was twisted in intricate, floral designs and wedged in the mirror were assorted photos and notes. On the bureau were two brushes and some paper. Upon further inspection, Bella noticed that the bureau went with her bed. The sheets were a deep blue silk with black lace and four seemingly untouched pillows were at the head. It wasn't extravagant, but it was beautiful. Just like Alice.
"Wow, Alice," Bella began as she found her voice, "your room is gorgeous." She looked over to the vampire and watched as she gave a short laugh and hung her hand. If she had the ability, Bella was certain that she would have blushed.
"Well, thank you. I like it too. But come on, there's one more thing I want to show you!" she said as she grabbed Bella by the waist this time, racing her down the steps. Bella grasped Alice's hands tightly. She knew that Alice wouldn't allow her to fall but the sudden action had startled her. Her hands were cold and smooth. Subconsciously, Bella began to stroke them softly as Alice carried her into a new room of the house.
"Here we are," she chimed as she put Bella on her feet, though her hands lingered on her waist as Bella was still clutching her hands. Bella surveyed the room. It was entirely bare with the exception of a grand Baldwin piano that was situated in the middle of the room. Light flittered through the six large open windows that surrounded the room, bathing the piano in a golden sheen. Dust was nowhere to be found on it as the black shone against the sun. Bella couldn't really say why, but this was definitely her favorite room of the house. Suddenly, she felt a coolness rest against her cheek and sweet breath tickled her earlobe as Alice murmured into her ear. "I was wondering if I could have these back?" To show what she meant, Alice rubbed Bella's stomach gently, noting how Bella's hands moved with her.
"Oh, sorry!" Bella practically gasped as she jerked her hands off in an uncoordinated movement. Alice gave an airy laugh as Bella turned to meet her eyes. They stared at each other for a moment. Bella noted the soft honey color of Alice's eyes and how they looked so much like Edward's and yet not alike at all. There was something different about the way Alice stared at her. It didn't look so much like a feral need like Edward's stare did. It was more of a polite request. A request of what, she didn't know. Finally, just when it felt like their staring was lingering a little too long Alice looked away, her eyes drifting towards the piano. Bella, too, turned back around and gently traced the wood with one finger.
"Do you play, Alice?"
"A little now and then. Edward's the real musician. You have to ask him to play for you."
"Will…you play for me?" Bella blushed again, refusing to meet Alice's eyes. She didn't know why it felt so awkward to be asking these things. Alice was intimidating of course. Anyone who looked like she did was bound to make anyone feel insignificant; except for Rosalie, perhaps. But Bella had never been so inhibited around the vampire before. Luckily for her, Alice came to aid, pulling her from her thoughts and lightening the mood.
"Sure, I'll play for you, Bella. Come, stand over here," she answered as she extended her hand and led Bella over to lean against the piano. Then she let go of Bella's hand and closed her eyes, deep in thought for a moment. Then she smiled widely and opened her eyes. "I know, I'll play you one of Edward's favorites. He just wrote it."
"Yes," Alice nodded, "Edward composes the most beautiful pieces. I won't do it justice so just use your imagination. This is called Rue des Cascades."
Bella nodded and watched as Alice scooted the bench forward, placed her fingers on the keyboard, took a deep breath, and paused. She was now in the full light of the sun and Bella looked on in awe as Alice glistened in contrast with the onyx piano. Then she started to play. In all honesty, the song started so quickly that it made Bella jump. She could have sworn that she saw Alice smile but the vampire ducked her head as she played staccato like notes. "This is about you, you know?" she stated as she repeated the intro. Bella blinked for a moment, registering what she'd said.
"It's about me?" Alice nodded, looking up at her as she continued to play.
"See, this rapid part. This is love at first sight mix with thirst for your blood, hence this melancholy split," she said as the piano slowed just a bit to reveal the melancholy she mentioned. "But then it's sweet again. Love conquers all and always will. And thirst will never come between that. Though it's still there." The piano became rough again as she roughly hit the keys. Then her hand moved over to the left, playing low baritone notes. "It's scary sometimes. There's the fear of putting you in danger, the fear of slipping up. Touching just a bit too roughly, not hunting for days at a time, getting too angry…."
Bella closed her eyes, listening to Alice's voice and tapping her fingers to the rhythm of the song. It was all making sense, like it was so obvious. Then she opened her eyes again as the piano became softer, calmer, and watched Alice's small fingers glide effortlessly over the keys. "He loves you so much," Alice said as she closed her eyes. Bella watched her, wondering why her tone sounded so different from before. It was almost…disgruntled. However Alice continued to play, slowly plinking one note after another, rising higher on the keys. When she reached the final key, she let it linger, the sound echoing throughout the room. Then she sighed for a moment and eyed Bella again. "Happily ever after," she murmured before breaking into a sprightly but cheerful tune. As she played, she hummed softly in soprano, the sound flowing perfectly with the piano. Bella closed her eyes again, sighing heavily as the sound of the piano mixed with Alice's angelic voice consumed her entire being.
What seemed like only seconds, but was actually a few minutes later, Alice played the final note of the song, heaving a sad sigh as it ended. Bella opened her eyes, smiling down at Alice. "That was beautiful. Edward wrote that?" Alice nodded, looking down at the keys.
"I told you he was a good composer." She smiled up at Bella and scooted over on the bench, motioning for her to sit beside her. When Bella was situated, Alice wrapped her arm around her waist and gave her a brief hug. While random, Bella enjoyed it nonetheless. "Can you play the piano, Bella?"
"No," Bella shook her head sadly. "I've always wanted to but all that I can play is 'I Dropped My Dolly in the Dirt.'" Alice laughed, nudging Bella slightly with her hip.
"Well, we must teach you someday."
"Would you…play me something else, something softer? Edward's was lovely but so forceful…" Bella drifted, not wanting to offend Alice. Much to her relief, Alice nodded right along with her.
"Edward's music is very forceful. That piece is the lightest I've heard yet." She paused, her fingers lightly dancing over the keys as she thought of what to play. "Oh, here's one. It's lighter but more…somber," she said quietly as she adjusted herself over the piano. Bella made to get up but Alice shook her head, telling her to sit back down. "You're just fine where you are." The comment made Bella blush but also gave her a funny feeling in her stomach. Before she could dwell for too long on it, though, Alice started playing.
She reached across Bella, tapping one of the lower notes before hitting four troubled chords. She then struck a single note four times before hitting another gruff low note. Alice repeated the intro again and Bella watched as she closed her eyes, the corners of her mouth falling into a possible grimace. "What's this song about?" she whispered as Alice was so close, still leaning across her. Alice took a deep breath, repeating the intro for the third time before speaking again.
"This is about…wanting something you can't have," she whispered back before sitting upright again, the song breaking into something only slightly happier. "This was when she was seen from across the room. The feelings of your heart fluttering in your chest as your eyes meet, the sheer desire to be closer. It's the feeling that mars your entire thought process. Suddenly, nothing else matters. It's just you, and them and an empty room." She smiled softly as the notes carried higher. "In human terms, cloud nine."
Bella smiled as she watched her, so absorbed in her task. Feeling the music with every fiber of her being. Alice's notes took a different turn, still cheery, but something was amiss. "This is hope. Hoping that you're wrong, that it's just a figment of your imagination, and that it's you two that were meant to be together, not that other person." She scowled again, her forehead creasing as she played the notes roughly while not ruining the airy tone.
Bella looked on, lifting her hand to touch the vampire's cheek, only to put it back down for fear of tarnishing the song. She longed to hold Alice, to comfort her and tell her that it was alright. She didn't know that a song could do that to someone. Clearly, the composer of this song held more passion within their pinky finger than she had in her entire body.
And then, Alice quickened pace, her fingers moving so quickly that Bella could hardly see which one was hitting which key. This time, it sounded too happy. "This is denial. Everything's alright, everything's fine. It'll pass…. It's all just one big lie to yourself." Alice glared, her eyes still tightly shut as she moved around the memorized keyboard. "And then, the realization, the fall."
The notes began to fall, slowly losing tempo and cheeriness as she continued to play. Alice shook her head, her short hair moving ever so slightly with the vigor. "And instead of being sad, you're angry. You're angry when you've no right to be." The notes were low, quick, and angry, just as Alice had narrated. Then, she stopped, opening her eyes as she stared straight ahead into the wall opposite. "And then suddenly," she whispered in the silence of the room, "you're not angry anymore. You're sad, disheartened, crestfallen. It aches but you're too tired and weak to know how to heal yourself. So you allow it to consume you, repeating and repeating in your mind until you're nothing but a shadow behind your would be lover's eyelids."
She reached across Bella, playing the same opening, somber and heartbreaking. Bella leaned back, allowing Alice better access, and wiped the tears from her eyes. She'd never gotten so worked up over a song before. Then again, she'd never heard anything this beautiful before. Alice repeated the opening a few more times before her hand lay to rest on that last bass note. She continued to rest there, staring at her hand on the key, frowning. Bella sighed as the song finished and placed a hand on Alice's back. Suddenly, she wasn't so intimidating anymore. Alice sighed and stood back up, her eyes even with Bella's. As she studied Bella, her face fell into a look of concern.
"Bella, what's wrong?" she asked as she reached up and wiped a tear that Bella had missed from her face. Bella sniffed and managed a weak smile.
"That was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard."
Alice's eyes widened for a moment before she looked down, gently plinking the higher keys with her index finger. "I'm glad you liked it."
"I thought Edward was the ingenious composer."
Alice looked up again at Bella's eyes, feigning confusion before looking away, unable to meet her eyes. "He is…"
"Alice, you wrote that. I know because no one could get that passionate over something they didn't create," Bella whispered, placing a hand to Alice's cheek and turning her back around to face her. "Who was that song about?" she asked, her voice not even having sound but knowing that the vampire would hear it. Alice gave a sad smile and shook her head. She tried to turn away again but Bella's hand remained firm. With a great sigh, Alice faced Bella once more and rested her cheek in her hand, reaching out to touch Bella's also. Her fingers moved lower, gently tracing the contours of her cheek bone before pausing at her lips.
"You, Bella," she replied with a sigh, as if a great weight was lifted from her. In spite of herself, Bella felt herself breaking out into a large grin before leaning closer to the pixie.
"That's what I hoped," Bella responded. Alice's eyes went wide for a moment, before she leaned forward, her lips brushing against Bella's in manner so tender had Bella not seen the action, she probably wouldn't have felt it. Their lips lingered together for just a few moments longer before Alice broke away, her eyes glazed over as she stood from the piano. Bella looked up at her, worried that she'd made a terrible mistake. To her relief, Alice looked down at her and smiled, extending her hand. As she raised Bella up and embraced her.
"The others are on their way back," she whispered into her ear.
"Will…I, you?" Bella couldn't seem to get out what she wanted to say. Luckily, Alice always seemed to know.
"We'll have plenty of time to discuss this during our piano lesson."