Okay, new story…very close to my life. Kind of. Anyhow, I want to thank JeniK for the suggestion for the title. You rock, girlie and as promised, here's your shout out. Also, thank you for being such a valued reader. Your reviews always make me smile.
Anyhow, here's my new story.
Also, none of this belongs to me. Never will. I just like to play with the characters created by Stephenie Meyer.
Finding Love Through Music
"Mr. Cullen, please report to the main office. Mr. Cullen, the main office, please," came the disembodied voice of Mrs. Rowe, the principals secretary. I groaned and heaved my body away from my desk in my office. I was trying to finish my script for the annual madrigal dinner. I had most of it done but the ending was driving me insane. It just wasn't meshing.
I swiped a pad of paper and adjusted my tie before heading through the hallways of Springview Central High School. A number of students who were leaving for the end of the day bid me goodbye. I gave them my signature crooked smile as I walked through the hallways. But it wasn't a genuine smile.
I hadn't smiled for real in nearly a year and a half.
Not since I found my skank of an ex-wife was cheating on me with the athletic director in my school or when I found bottles upon bottles of pain medication hidden her purse. That she didn't need.
I hadn't smiled since I had to tell my angel, my Emma, that Mommy wasn't going to live at home with us anymore.
I hadn't smiled since my life was ripped apart.
Thankfully, I had a strong family. My parents watched my daughter while I was at work. My father, Carlisle, was a doctor, psychiatrist, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago. My mom, Esme, was a retired teacher who dabbled in interior design to earn some extra money. Not that we needed it or anything. My mom's father was a old oil tycoon and had pretty much set up her, her children, her children's children and their children for the rest of their lives.
When my parents were unable to take care of my angel, my brother, Emmett and his wife, Rosalie, helped out when they could. To say that they were busy was an understatement. Emmett was an orthopedic surgeon, also at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Rose, as she preferred to be called, was an assistant state's attorney, specializing in special victims. Women who were victims of rape, children who were victims of abuse and putting away the scum of the earth who did that to them.
I shook off my mind off my daughter and family. I walked into the main office. "I was beckoned, Mrs. Rowe?" I smirked.
"Yes. Mr. Smith wants to meet with you and the drama director of the spring musical," she said, cowering slightly.
I saw red. I'd been doing the musical as long as I'd been hired as the choral director at Springview Central High School. I pursed my lips and strode into Mr. Smith's office. Sitting across from him was one of the new hires. She was a petite brunette with a killer body and a pretty face. But she was not taking my spring musical away.
"Ah, Edward," Mr. Smith said with an amiable grin. "Thank you for coming down so promptly. How's the madrigal dinner script coming?"
"Almost done," I said tersely. "Music rehearsals have been smooth and all I need to do is finalize the ending."
"Excellent. I assume that Mrs. Rowe told you why I needed to meet with you?"
"Yes. Something about a drama director," I snapped. "Bill, I've been the director of the musical as long as I've been here."
"Relax, Edward," Bill said. "The show is still going to be yours but you need some assistance. I'd like to introduce to you Bella Swan. She's been hired as Sherrie's replacement in the English department. However, in addition to her expertise in English, she was also a theater minor in college at University of Washington. Bella, please meet our cantankerous but brilliant musical director, Edward Cullen."
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Cullen," she said in a deep, warm alto voice. However her eyes were riddled with sadness and anger. She sneered toward me as we shook hands. But when we touched, a jolt of something ran up my arm. I tried to hide the involuntary shudder I felt when our hands touched. "I know that you are used to running things on your own but Mr. Smith thinks that if we work together that we could make the spring musical something spectacular."
"Edward, this past year has been…"
"I know, Bill," I snarled. "In all of the madness, have I once taken time off?"
"The only day I had to take was the trial date to finalize my divorce. I was teaching by that afternoon," I said as I ran my hands through my bronze hair. "I'll admit that I bit off more than I could chew with Les Mis last year but I've chosen an awesome show for this spring."
"What?" Bella asked.
"Legally Blonde," I answered. "I jumped at the chance to do it once the rights opened up. I have to do some minor adjustments to the script but it'll be a lot of fun."
Bella laughed slightly. "I auditioned for the touring company of that show," she said quietly. "Was offered the part of Elle Woods."
My brows shot up to my hairline. Bill looked at me smugly, daring me to not accept the help. "Did you take it?" I asked.
"I had some family issues to attend to, so no," Bella replied, hiding behind her curtain of her mahogany hair. I found it difficult to picture this petite brunette as the bubbly, BLONDE Elle Woods. "Look, Mr. Smith told me that I am to assist you with your musical, Mr. Cullen. And that's what I'm going to do. In addition to being an English teacher, I'm also endorsed in music and can run choral rehearsals. I'm not good on the piano but I've been told that your students use solfege to learn their music. No piano needed."
"I'll leave how you two divide up the work up to you," Bill said. "But, this needs to be a fantastic show. If not, it'll be one of the first things that will be cut if we can't raise more money."
"There's the rub," I sighed. "It all comes down to dollars and cents, right?"
"We're a well-off district, Edward. But, this economy and the state are drowning in debt. The musicals are one of many things on the chopping block," Bill explained. "There's more, but I'm not at liberty to say. Any questions? Ms. Swan?"
"No," she said, blushing a bright crimson.
"No," I sighed. I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. "Are we done?"
"Yes. I'll let you two figure out what you are doing on your time. But, I will be checking in with you in at least three weeks for final rehearsal schedules and the proposed budget for the show. Comprende?"
We both nodded and got up from our spots in the office. Bella slipped past me and I saw a faint scar beneath her ear. She covered it with her hair and opened the door. We both left the office. She turned to look at me. "I'm not sure when you're available, but we need to meet and discuss this. When are your plan periods?"
"First period, the first half of fourth, and fifth," I answered.
"Hmmm, I'm teaching during those periods," she frowned. "We'll have to meet during lunch or after school. Are you available now?"
"No. I have to get home," I said, staring into her brown eyes. They were the most unusual shade of chocolate brown. The out rims were almost golden. But so sad. Like mine. What's your story, Ms. Swan? "The only day I'm available is Friday. I am staying with the Pep Banned for the first basketball game. We can meet then."
"What if I'm unavailable?" she asked, her eyes flashing with anger.
"Look, I have rehearsals every day after school. Today, I didn't have one because I was at a meeting at the district office that didn't take as long as I anticipated. Anyhow, I need to leave. I'll email you to confirm our meeting for Friday," I said angrily. "Come or not, it's your choice, Ms. Swan."
I didn't give her a chance to respond. I turned on my heel and went down to my office. I saved the work of the madrigal dinner script to my flash drive and logged off my computer. I slipped on my leather jacket and locked up my room, slipping out the back door in the rear of cavernous classroom. I walked to my car, my extremely safe Silver Volvo. After I put my briefcase into the trunk, I slid into the front seat. I tossed my cell phone into the cup holder in car. Turning the Volvo over, I eased out of the parking lot.
Once I was on the highway, I listened to the voicemail that was left on my phone.
"Hi, Daddy! I miss you and love you! I can't wait to show you what I drawed with Nana today. Nana says it's the best flower she's ever seen. It's for your office! Love you! Bye!"
I smiled as I listened to my angel's voice. She could always make me happy. Using the hands-free feature on my car, I dialed my mom's phone number.
"Hello?" she sang.
"Hi, Mom," I said. "I'm on my way to pick up my little Emma-bear."
"She left you a message earlier, Edward. She is so proud of her flower," my mom said excitedly. "She's got some talent. So unlike you and your brother. God, you never wanted to color in the lines."
"Still don't," I snorted. "Damn the man. I don't need to stay in the lines."
"Oh my liberal son," Esme giggled. "It's so ironic that your father and I are so conservative and yet, you and Emmett are as liberal as they come."
"Going against the norm," I shrugged. "Can I speak to my angel?"
"Of course, Edward. Hold on," Esme said. I heard her call to Emma. She squealed and I heard her feet patter to the phone.
"Daddy!" she shrieked. "Guess what I did when I got home from school?"
"Built a rocket ship?" I quipped.
"No," she laughed. "Guess again!"
"Went to Paris and tap danced on the Eiffel Tower?"
"Daddy! You're so silly," she giggled. "Nana and me painted. You have a new flower for your office."
"My students will undoubtedly love it. They always complain that my office is too white. I need some color in there, sweet girl," I joked. "What color is it?"
"I bet it's beautiful, angel," I smiled. "I love you, baby."
"I love you, more, Daddy. When are you coming home?" she asked.
"I'll be there in a little bit, sweet girl," I answered. "Can you put Nana back on the phone, please?"
I heard a rustle and a fumble until my mom came back on. "What's up, my youngest boy?"
"Nothing, I just wanted to thank you for watching Emma," I said.
"She's my granddaughter. Of course, I'm going to watch her," Esme said sharply. "I'm not going to allow she-who-shall-not-be-named watch her. I'd rather drink hydrochloric acid and puke it up."
"Mom, that's gross."
"It's the truth. SHE was a horrible woman. Only wanting you for your money," Esme spat. "Good riddance to bad rubbish. I hope she is enjoying her time in rehab with her new boyfriend."
"Mom, she's still Emma's mother. And still has parental and visitation rights," I grumbled. "I need to maintain a somewhat cordial relationship with her."
"No, you don't."
"Okay, I don't. But, stop. Please?" I begged.
"Fine," Esme huffed out. "Are you staying for dinner?"
"I don't think so. I have a lot of work to do on the script," I said. "Anyhow, I'm about to exit the highway. Be there soon. Love you."
"Love you, too, Edward," she answered.
A few moments later, I pulled up to my parents' home in the north suburbs of Chicago. I hopped out of the car and walked into the large, lavish home. My angel burst through the kitchen and hopped into my arms. "Daddy!"
"Sweet girl!" I said as I scooped her up. Her tiny hands wrapped around my neck and she held me tightly. She was such an affectionate and loving child. Unlike her cold, manipulative bitch of a mother.
"Come see your flower, Daddy," she smiled as she kissed my cheek.
I looked into her bright green eyes, nodding as I put her down. Emma Lily Cullen was a combination of all the best traits of myself and Jessica. If Jessica had good traits. My little angel was born seven years ago, a day before my own birthday. She had bright green eyes, pale skin and long, strawberry blonde curls. She was brilliant and so kind. Everyone in her class wanted to be her friend. She responded in kind by being friendly to everyone in her class. No one was too geeky or too cool for my little girl.
She dragged me by my hand to the kitchen table where a brightly painted canvas. It was beautiful. I was surprised that my baby painted this. It looked like a professional painting. "It's perfect, Emma-bear!"
"Nana helped a little," she said as she wrapped her arms around my thigh. "With the white part. I did the rest."
"I'm so putting this above my desk, sweet girl," I smiled. "But, we need to go. I have things to work on at home."
"Okay," she said as she skipped to get her book bag and coat.
"Edward, please promise me that you will not work yourself sick like last year?" Esme said a frown on her face. "You were so sick last Christmas break."
I was sick. I had honestly one of the worst cases of the flu that my father had seen in all of years as a doctor. Yes, he was a shrink but he could treat the influenza virus. However, I couldn't keep anything down and ended up being admitted to the hospital for three days to get my electrolytes back to normal.
"I promise I won't work myself into an early grave, Mom," I said. "I have an angel to feed and then a script to finish."
She nodded and attempted to tame my unruly, bronze mop on my head. I playfully swatted her hands away but she still fussed over my hair. Emma came back into the kitchen wearing her bright pink parka and pink Dora backpack on her shoulder. "Let's go, Daddy."
"Okay, angel," I said as I scooped her up in my arms. She giggled and wrapped her arms around my neck. I kissed my mom on the cheek and carried my daughter out to the car. I put her in the booster seat in the backseat and we drove to my townhouse fifteen minutes from my parent's home. I parked in the garage and we headed inside. Emma raced upstairs to her bedroom while I pulled out something to eat. I quickly made some stir fry while she worked on her homework, singing to Hannah Montana. I cringed at her musical selection. Jessica got her the CD on one of her whims.
"Emma! Come get dinner!"I called.
She bounced down the stairs and sat down at the dining room table. I made her plate and put it in front of her. "Thank you, Daddy," she said.
"You're welcome, sweet girl," I said as I sat down next to her. "How was school today?"
"Good. We had a test in spelling," she said quietly as she ate her dinner.
"How do you think you did?"
"Okay, I guess," she shrugged. "Miss Denali went over the answers in class. I think I got nine out of ten right. Is that good, Daddy?"
"It's very good, baby," I said. "Better than me. I'm a horrible speller. I think I'm the reason why spell check was invented."
"I know someone who spells worse than you, Daddy," she said in a conspiratorial whisper.
"Who?" I asked my eyes wide.
"This boy in my class, Jacob Black," she replied knowingly. "I sit next to him and I don't think he got any words right. Miss Denali always asks me to help Jacob. But, he doesn't get it. He's nice, though."
"Perhaps Miss Denali is having you help Jacob because he's struggling in school. You are so smart, baby," I said as I tugged on her ponytail.
"Like you, Daddy," she smiled crookedly. "You got a fancy degree in producting."
"Conducting, sweet girl," I laughed as I tweaked her nose. "And yes, I did get a fancy degree. Wouldn't it be cool if I was a doctor like Papa and Uncle Emmett?"
"Would you be able to fix broken ankles or help sick people?" she asked her eyes wide with curiosity.
"No. I'd be a doctor of music, baby," I answered.
"Dr. Daddy!" she giggled.
"That's me," I snorted. We finished our meals and I sent her up to her room to get ready for bed. I put the dishes into the dishwasher and trudged up to her bedroom. We had a nightly ritual. After my sweet girl had her shower, I'd brush her hair. That girl could get so many snarls in her hair. Let's face it. I'm a guy. I don't do bows and curls. But, I did try for my angel. After I brushed her hair, we'd read for a half hour and then I'd sing my baby to sleep. She would cuddle up on my chest, usually playing with my tie. When I got up from her tiny bed, I'd kiss her forehead and mumble that she loved me. I replied in kind and close the door. As per usual, we had our nightly routine. I read her story and hummed a lullaby that I wrote for Emma while Jessica was pregnant with her.
Jessica hated that I used to sing to her growing belly. I should have known that she would be a raving lunatic when she started complaining that she would lose her figure after she had this 'kid.' I told that the 'kid' was a combination of us. Of our love. Jessica rolled her eyes and called me a sentimental fool. We'd only been married for a year when she found out was pregnant. Jessica wanted to have fun, still. Not be a mom. The years following Emma's birth were trying but I needed to work it out for my angel. Obviously, Jessica didn't agree with that.
She'd been screwing around with Mike Newton, the Athletic Director at Springview Central. The only reason why I found out was because she needed to inform all of her past partners that she was being treated for gonorrhea. I kicked her out of my house. And I call it my house since I paid for it with my money; her name wasn't even on the deed to the house. I told her to shack up with Newton. Within a week after that, I had the house packed up and on the market. I found my townhome in the neighborhood by my parents' estate and moved in the following week, during my spring break.
I couldn't dwell on my past, as awful as it was. I needed to think of the future. The future for my baby, my sweet little Emma-bear. I kissed my daughters forehead and brushed her long hair from her face before heading downstairs to my family room. I swiped my laptop from my briefcase and flash drive, booting up my computer. I loaded the madrigal dinner script but decided to check my work email before I began working. I noticed a message from Bella. With a scowl, I clicked on it.
To: Edward Cullen
From: Isabella M. Swan
You should know that I am available for a meeting after school on Friday about the musical. It's not like I have a teaming social calendar or anything, but I would have liked to have been asked as opposed to being told. I'm not your slave. We're supposed to be a team and if you can't treat me respectfully, then we're going to have some major issues.
In regards to our meeting, we should probably divide up our responsibilities. We both have strengths and weaknesses and we should work within those parameters. We should also discuss rehearsal schedules, costume and technical schemes and choreography. Speaking of which, I am comfortable doing the choreography. I remember what the dances were from my audition and I can modify them for high school students.
I also have a friend (neighbor, really) who is a fashion designer and is willing to do the costumes if we can place an ad in the program for her business.
I know that you're not happy about having assistance, but I need to do this. Focus my mind on something other than my job or personal life.
I think that's it. I'm including my cell phone number if you need to get a hold of me. (847)555-1901. Where do you want to meet on Friday? Choir room? Media Center?
Ms. Isabella M. Swan
Springview Central High School
AP Junior and Senior English
I sighed as I rubbed my hand over my face. I was a douche to her. All those years of dealing with Jessica and her drama had made me…what did Bill call me? Right, cantankerous. She apparently knew her shit, though. Plus, if she could choreograph and have her friend do the costumes that would be big bucks that we could save. I replied to Bella's email, trying to sound contrite about my asshole-like behavior.
To: Isabella M. Swan
From: Edward Cullen
Dear Ms. Swan,
First off, you're right. I wasn't happy when Bill told me that you were being added to our directorial staff of the musical. I've done solo for long that I was wholly unprepared for what happened. I apologize for acting like a jerk. I never intended to be as rude as I came off and I hope you accept my apology.
Secondly, you seem like you know your stuff and I do look forward to working with you. Tailoring our rehearsals based off our strengths is an excellent idea. We could possibly team up and work from there for the actual blocking/choreography. I'm not a choreographer but I can pick up dance steps pretty quickly. I'd be happy to assist (also, get the guys to loosen up. If they see me look like an ass, then they'll be willing to move around.)
Finally, for our meeting, let's meet in the choir room. I have an office in there and we can also peruse the script, listen to the score and create a plan of attack for this beast, Legally Blonde.
Thank you for your contact information. I've programmed your cell phone number into mine and my guess is that we will quickly become 'BFF's' at best or arch enemies at the absolute worst. Anyhow, here's my cell phone number: (847)555-1918. I look forward to our meeting on Friday.
Yours in music,
Mr. Edward Cullen
Director of Choirs, Springview Central High School
Fine Arts/World Languages Department
As I proof-read my email to Bella, I scratched my head. There was something amiss about Ms. Swan. She seemed driven but incredibly detached. Almost fearful. She also appeared to not like being out of control or something. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
The only thing that I was certain of was that it was going to be a long few months during rehearsals if we couldn't get our shit together.
A/N: There's the first chapter. What do you think? Should I continue? Scrap it? Anyhow, I've got a blog…check it out. The link is in my profile. On there you'll find teasers, pictures, sneak peeks and other goodies. I would appreciate any feedback. Leave me some!;-)