A/N: For mjinaspen, for her Birthday. We both know who this is really about. -)
He stares off into the darkness of the mountain that haunts the distance. Looming gray over his friend's house that he's crashing in. The tour just ended a month ago, and he needed to get away from everything and everyone for a while. Something shifted for him as this tour came to an end. Their popularity was at it's zenith, and while he loved it up on stage every night, playing his music, it was the in between times that were suffocating him. The guys in the band he loved like brothers, but like all families, his was breathing down his neck after so long in close proximity. They were starting to hover like maiden aunts.
Edward started dealing with the heavy crowds and keeping the friendly face everyone expected of him by the bottle more and more. He would never go to anything heavier. Not after...
Drawing his glass of scotch up to his lips, he takes a long drink. Even this quiet house seems too close at the moment. Grabbing his coat and his boots, he steps out into the fading light. He takes a path that he found a few days earlier that wandered into the woods behind the house. It was well cut. He wasn't sure for what, but he liked the crunch of the snow under his boots and the smell of pine around him. Breathing deeply, and trying to clear his mind, Edward bent down and picked up a bit of branch that lay on the path and tossed it into the trees ahead of him, listening to it crash into a tree, and quietly plop into the snow somewhere in the distance.
The sun starts to cut through the trees as it makes it's final descent for the day. Edward stops and enjoys the remaining colors of the day dancing over the horizon. Purples, oranges, and golds streak across the sky and set the snow covered peaks glowing. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out his pack of cigarettes, quickly pulling one to his lips and lighting it. He inhales slowly, deeply. So distracted by the view, Edward doesn't hear the soft footsteps approach.
"Shit!" He yells as he finds a dog sitting at his feet with the branch he tossed earlier. He clutches his chest and chokes on the smoke he had just inhaled.
"Sasha!" A commanding, yet feminine voice yells, as a woman comes walking down the path and the dog goes running back to her. "I'm so sorry. She saw the branch fly, and well, she is a dog."
"No problem," Edward replies as he waves off her as he still tries to calm his coughing. "It's my fucking fault for throwing the stick. Better him than a bear."
She laughs and it is as smooth and relaxed as the scotch he was drinking earlier.
"I didn't realize anyone was here. Don usually doesn't mind when Sasha and I do a little training back here."
"Sasha here is an Avalance Rescue Dog. She's a Belgian Shepard. She's smart and beautiful."
Like her owner Edward is thinking as he takes in the copper skin and short inky black hair that is poking out of the white ski hat. Her native heritage is apparent in her strong cheek bones and dark eyes that are almost black.
"I'm Edward," he says holding out his hand.
She smiles knowingly, but kindly just takes his hand like he really needs to introduce himself. "Leah."
"Well, we'll leave you alone. Sasha, come!" Leah begins walking away and flicking on her flashlight, for the sun has pretty much set by now.
"Wait! Would you and Sasha like to come back to the house? I have water for her, and just about anything you could want?"
"Um, thanks, but I think we'll just head home."
"I'm honestly not trying anything here, but it's dark now, and I have no fucking clue how to get back."
She laughs again, and this time he knows it is at him.
"Come on, rock star. Guess this is a working night for us after all, Sash."
They talk quietly about her and Sasha's work as they continue back to the house. She mentions how they are gearing up for a big training conference in Aspen coming up. He talks about the quiet. Without discussing it, they find themselves in front of the fireplace a hour later. Still talking about their lives. Sasha is curled up on the hearth rug, and Leah's feet are in Edward's lap while she talks about leaving this area to go to medical school at Yale, but how the mountains were always calling her back home.
Her family had always raised rescue dogs, and it was something to do with her spare time. She talks of men being intimidated by her because of her profession, or expect her to be a hard shell. Leah enraptures him and has him laughing with tales of her family and nephews she loves and spoils.
He in turns talks about his frustrations and loneliness. Stuff he has kept bottled up inside. She runs her fingers along the ink that adorns his forearms, and the bit that graces his finger listening intently.
On an on they talk, quiet touches that come naturally pass between them. They move with that familiarity of old friends and the ease of seasoned lovers.
Eventually, the fire fades and casts into darkness two strangers wrapped up in each other and the soft quilt on the couch. Soft breathing and sweet dreams.
In the morning, he zips her into her jacket and hugs her close. She leans in and leaves him with one soft kiss.
As she walks away, and glances back over her shoulder, he rubs his thumb softly over the spot on his bottom lip where hers just was and then flashes her a smile. She returns the smile, and then turns and walks away.
Slowly, Edward closes the door and wanders back into the house.
He plays an old guitar
With a coin found by the phone.
It was his friends guitar
That he played.