So I'm finally posting my compilation entry for mostly_a_lurker's fundraiser! It was a pleasure to write for such an amazing cause! ;) Thank you to SerendipitousMC for helping organize this, and to Tkegl for the fucktastic banner she made for this story.
Big, huge thanks to suzie55 for doing an awesome beta job, and to akgrlinthesouth and Lo21 for pre-reading; each of their comments and suggestions helped make this a reasonable and better story for you to read.
-Love, Madness, and Music-
Rating: M for language and citrusy content.
Synopsis: Can two broken souls become whole again through a passion for music and each other?
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its characters; I just got inspired by Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die and wrote this one-shot for an awesome cause.
- Edward Masen -
Every Sunday morning for the last three years, I've woken up anxious to see her, to see Bella and today is no different. She has become the highlight of my entire week. And, even though our relationship is unconventional, it works for me
I got up from bed and showered hurriedly before eating breakfast. When I was done washing my dishes, I looked at the clock on the wall in my living room. It was too early to go see her, but I couldn't wait any longer, so I grabbed my music book and headed to my car.
As I drove to Volterra, I momentarily wondered if Bella would be excited to see me earlier, but I knew arriving ahead of time would most probably go unnoticed.
When I arrived, I walked into the garden and saw Bella sitting alone, lost in her thoughts as usual. Just as predicted, she didn't show any signs of surprise when she finally noticed me.
I smiled as I took her in.
She looked beautiful as always.
Her stark white dress was a bright contrast to the dark hair that framed her face. The sun shone brightly, illuminating the sprinkled freckles across her cheekbones, emphasizing the honey hue in her chocolate eyes.
I could spend days admiring her beauty and I would never tire.
Watching Bella walk silently toward the music room, I suspired and followed behind her. I took my time, allowing her time to choose if she wanted to play the piano, or if she wanted me to do it for her.
The answer was clear when I entered; she was sitting on the floor by the foot of the piano.
Bella wanted me to play for her today.
I closed the door behind me and locked it. Removing my suit jacket, I walked toward a chair in the corner of the room and draped it over its back, setting my music book on it. One by one, I cracked my knuckles as I walked back to the piano and sat on the bench.
A sorrowful sigh escaped from Bella's lips as I began to play Debussy's "Claire de Lune."
What I wouldn't give to know why that song affected her so...
Mostly everything about her was still a mystery to me, even after all these years. Bella didn't speak much because she was considered catatonic, or catatonically depressed, as they'd diagnosed her years ago.
When I first looked at her, it didn't seem plausible, yet here I was, playing the piano for her- trying to set her free. Every time we were together, she exposed another bit of herself to me. Little as it may be, it was huge to me. I was breaking through to her with my music, although I hadn't been able to make much progress in the last few weeks.
She had been diagnosed with catatonic depression when she was brought to Volterra - the elitist mental institution in Chicago. And although one of the symptoms was being still, Bella did move, but they came to that conclusion because she wouldn't speak.
Bella's family brought her here, seeking help, after she had a nervous breakdown due to her fiancé leaving her right before her wedding.
I was told that, in the beginning, Bella would cry and have nightmares - from which she woke up screaming - but soon after she became mute. All emotion was drained from her existence, diminishing her into the shell of the joyous woman she had once been.
She would spend her days in a zombie-like state, never acknowledging anyone or anything, causing her parents to feel helpless and become frustrated. They were bewildered with the concept of having her committed to a mental institution because that would stand out in their social circle, but in the end, they had no other choice.
Once she was admitted, Carlisle, the hospital's director, tried every treatment possible without any results. Desperate to find a cure, Bella's parents, Charles and Renee, authorized Carlisle to try unconventional therapy.
That's where I entered the picture; Charles hired me to come play the piano for his daughter, seeking her reaction to music.
Playing the piano had been her passion during her childhood and she'd only abandoned it recently when she began dating Jake, her ex-fiancé. It seemed as though he had taken her soul when he'd abandoned her, but thankfully, it wasn't that way.
Music did bring Bella back, even if it was just for small moments at a time, but it happened.
I closed my eyes, remembering the first time I came to Volterra...
Carlisle was waiting for me in his office when I arrived at the institute; he told me about Bella's condition and gave me instructions for handling her. He also explained that Bella and I would be alone since his presence would probably inhibit her. I didn't see a problem in that, yet I did fear what I'd do if she were to have a breakdown, but Carlisle dispelled those worries quickly, telling me that Bella hadn't had a reaction in almost a year.
I briefly wondered why they had thought that I would be of any help but I kept those thoughts to myself. If I showed any signs of hesitation, I'd probably lose my chance to test out the possibility of achieving a positive outcome and potentially making a difference in her life. The idea of this excited me.
After Carlisle told me why Bella had ended up at Volterra, I couldn't help but sympathize with her. Having had my heart broken before, I knew all about the depression that accompanied a break-up.
I, myself, had vowed to never love again after Tanya, my high school sweetheart, left me. What was the point if you were going to inevitably get hurt?
It was pointless to fall in love, I had decided.
So I went on with life, never dating and giving other women a chance, just watching other couples from afar, content and convinced I'd never find anyone to love.
When Charles Swan contacted me regarding this task, I agreed immediately. It's not as if I had anything better to do with my Sundays, so why not do what I loved most and help someone else along the way?
I hadn't even met Bella and already I felt compelled to help her; I'd meet her very soon, though, right after being led to the music room by Carlisle. He opened the doors and led me inside, telling me that she would join me in a few minutes, giving me some time to get acquainted.
I looked around the elegant room, which looked more like a library than a place to create music, yet the black, Yamaha grand piano that took up its left side proved that it was used for just that.
Taking music sheets from my portfolio, I placed them on the piano and played a few notes, testing out its tune. Bella entered the room then, silent and cautious, as she did.
She was dressed in white from head to toe, wearing a drawstring, scoop-neck shirt and shorts that showcased her long, lean legs perfectly. A jacket blazer, a contradiction to her summer outfit, was pulled over her shirt. I assumed she wore it for comfort since it wasn't cold.
She didn't acknowledge me as her eyes roamed around the room, absorbing every detail before walking to the right where a large shelf of books occupied the wall. She fingered the titles on the spines of the books as she read them, and then made her way to the fireplace, which was framed by a mirrored wall.
Bella looked at her reflection, a frown overtaking her face as she traced the dark circles under her eyes that marred her alabaster skin. She licked her lips and locked eyes with me through the mirror, and grimaced as I observed her.
We gazed at each other for about a minute until she turned, heading to the center of the room. Running her hand along the sofa chairs and a couch, she explored the material covering each piece of furniture, smiling wistfully, probably remembering something from her past.
Her gaze moved to the piano, which seemed to draw her in and pulled her toward it by some unseen force. She sat on the bench and sighed, closing her eyes as she began to play. Her fingers moved deftly above the keys, playing a doleful melody, while her face showed nothing but sorrow.
I looked at her in awe, admiring the devotion with which she played, wanting to take her evident pain away.
Tears streamed down Bella's face as the song came to a close, further proof that she had been affected by it. How was it possible that a beautiful creature like her could be trapped by the confines of her own mind?
Music was miraculous to Bella, and I was glad to be the one to share that experience with her. Bella's music had moved me a minute before, but in that moment, watching her, I realized that I would do anything to bring her back to life.
Gazing into her eyes and cupping her cheek, I said, "I could fall in love with you right now, and I know you won't say anything, but that's okay."*
Bella stood from the piano and kissed me gently on the lips before walking away, leaving me speechless...
A soft hand caressed my cheek, bringing me out of my reverie. I gazed at Bella and smiled as she stood in front of me.
"Hey," I whispered. Music therapy was a success this afternoon and it made me extremely happy to see Bella responding to the song.
During our time together, she had gradually shown improvement. Sometimes she would speak or play the piano, but most of the time she just sat and listened while I played. Maybe she would speak today, and if I was lucky, something much more than speaking.
She smiled back and took me by the hand, leading me to the couch in the center of the room. I sat and looked up at her face as she straddled my lap.
Bella cupped my face in her hands and leaned her forehead against mine, placing a soft kiss on my lips. "Thank you," she muttered.
"It was my pleasure, love." I kissed her, framing her face with my hands gently, before adding, "I missed you."
She hummed in acknowledgment, never admitting that she had also missed me. It was okay, though; I had gotten used to it by now.
Bella threaded her hands in my hair, at the nape of my neck, parting my lips with her tongue. I obliged willingly, moaning into her mouth as her tongue tangled around mine.
A few minutes passed while we kissed intensely with Bella rocking above me, spurring me into a frenzy and arousing me further. Breaking away from the kiss to breathe, I skimmed my nose along her jaw line.
"You're wearing too many clothes," she whisper-moaned, frustrated.
I chuckled against her skin. "Take them off then."
She began undressing me by undoing the buttons on my vest and following with the ones on my shirt while I continued kissing her neck. My tongue left a slick trail on her skin as I sucked and licked, making my way to her shoulder.
Once reaching my destination, I gently bit her shoulder and pulled the strap of her dress down. I looked up at her as I leaned down and took her pink, taut nipple into my mouth. Her gaze never wavered while I swirled my tongue around and sucked her breast before grazing my teeth as I released it from my lips.
"Do you like that?" I asked.
"Good," I simply stated, repeating the same action on her other breast once I exposed it. Bella arched into my mouth, moaning as I worked her breast with my mouth and my hand teased the other. Her hands tugged my hair as I was switching to the other breast.
"No more teasing, Edward, please," she begged.
"Okay," I nodded.
She shifted in my lap, tugging my vest along with my shirt, over my shoulders, as I undid the buttons of my cuffs. When she finally removed those articles of clothing, she tossed them unceremoniously over the back of the couch. Her hands were quickly back on my skin, tracing and exploring the muscles of my chest, as she made her way lower. My abs clenched in anticipation as she dragged her nails across them.
"I thought you said no more teasing, baby," I exhaled shakily.
Bella chuckled. "Sorry, I got carried away."
"It's okay," I said. "I also get carried away with you sometimes."
"Mm-hmm," she nodded, kissing me languidly.
I slid my hands to her waist, where her dress was pooled, and pulled it up and over her head, breaking our kiss. Bella quickly unbuttoned and unzipped my pants, tugging them along my hips as I pulled her panties down.
She stood for only a brief movement, stepping out of her underpants and pushing my boxers down to my ankles. I sat back down on the piano bench, anxious. In a swift movement, she straddled me again, sliding her wet sex over my hardness, teasing me yet again.
"Bella," I groaned. "Are you trying to kill me?"
She chuckled. "Only if it's death by release," she whispered in my ear, aligning her sex with my cock before sliding down on it.
I moaned as I felt her warmth enveloping me, shutting my eyes to block the flood of emotions that threatened to overcome me. Bella lifted herself up, swirling her hips as she lowered herself on me.
"Stop," I panted, afraid to fall over the edge too quickly.
It had been too long since we'd last been like this.
Too damn long, to be precise.
I kissed her languidly, trying to gain composure. Bella's hands tugged my hair once and again, tilting my head back, and taking my bottom lip between her teeth.
That was not helping my situation at all.
I tried thinking about dead bunnies, ugly women and fungus to cool down and it seemed to work. I placed soft pecks on Bella's lips before thrusting up into her slowly; she allowed me to take over, staying still as I rocked my hips against hers.
I kissed her again, pushing her down as I wrapped my arms around her shoulders, anchoring her to me. Bella rocked against me, swiveling her hips as she moved over my cock.
"Yeah, just like that, baby," I panted.
She increased her movements, weaving her hands in my hair once again, and gazing into my eyes. Unspoken words were trapped behind her hazel eyes, captivating and lulling me deeper into the mystery that was Bella Swan. There were many things that I didn't know about her, like her favorite food or color, yet I knew how she loved to be touched.
If I rolled her nipples while she rode me, it drove her crazy, so I did it. I slid my hands from her shoulders to her breasts, fondling her briefly before taking a nipple in each hand. My fingers twisted her peaks slowly at first, torturing her as she had done to me, and then pinched them a bit harder.
"Oh, God," she cried out.
Leaning my forehead against hers, I whispered, "You need to be quiet, love, or we're gonna get caught."
Bella rocked harder against me. "I don't give a fuck," she panted. "Just make love to me and forget about everything else."
And I did, surrendering myself to the moment and the feeling of her around me. I kissed and nipped her lips as we moved in synch and against each other, whispering along her skin my declarations of love for her.
Bella's rhythm never faltered, swaying her hips melodically in time with my thrusts like the sweet melody that her hands created on the piano.
As I felt myself getting closer to release, I snaked a hand to her sex and began circling her clit with my thumb. Bella trembled in my arms, panting and sliding faster on me, mumbling incoherent words. I thrust faster and matched the movements of my finger as Bella nestled her face in the crook of my neck; she tugged my hair and bit my shoulder as she climaxed, stifling her cries. Soon enough, I was following after her, grunting into her hair as I pulsed and released inside her.
Our erratic breathing was the only thing audible in the music room as we came down from our high. I pushed damp strands of hair from around her face, kissing her gently while gazing into her eyes.
Bella looked down and shifted uncomfortably. "I think you should go now," she said, standing up.
I sighed. Bella had unmistakably put up her walls, blocking the intense moment we just shared, and locking herself away from me once again.
It often troubled me to see her enraptured in a world that excluded me, and even though I should be used to it by now, I wasn't, yet it was pointless to dwell on it.
Patience, my heart murmured.
Patience was the only thing I held onto, as well as hope; those were my only two companions on this travesty. I had been right when I met her: I fell in love with her - irrevocably and unconditionally- making sure I did everything in my power to help her.
I would write new music, inspired by her, and I'd play those songs with my heart and soul when I came to visit her. If our sexual encounters couldn't express my love for her, music did.
I knew she could grasp that much… I had faith that it did.
I stood from the couch, pulling my pants and boxers on, as Bella dressed silently. She turned in the direction of the door and walked out without acknowledging me just as she had when I arrived. I exhaled loudly, walking around the couch to gather my clothes, slipping on my shirt and vest as I walked to the chair in the corner to retrieve my jacket. Placing my music book under my arm, I walked toward the door, adjusting my suit jacket and buttoning my vest.
Stepping out of the music room and closing the door, Carlisle approached me.
"Edward," he said. "How was therapy today?"
I blushed as he looked at me. "Good; it was good. Bella spoke today."
"She spoke today, huh? It's marginal progress, but progress nonetheless."
"Anything is better than nothing, Carlisle," I added, hastily.
Carlisle sighed and looked down uncomfortably. "Don't fool yourself, Edward. Bella's going to be here for as long as she wants. Her family has accepted it and it's time you did, too."
He was right; over the years, we'd discovered that Bella had led everyone to believe that her condition was much worse than it actually was. And although it was true that she had been affected by her fiancé's departure, it wasn't to an extent that would incapacitate her, or leave her transfixed in a catatonic state.
Bella had put up her walls, and trapped herself inside them, to avoid being hurt by the outside world; she'd allowed me to permeate through them, but nobody else had been able to.
Foolish as it may be, I still believed that maybe one day, with my help, she would free herself and enjoy life with me.
"I know," I sighed. "But just because I'm aware of the situation doesn't mean I've given up hope."
He smiled and asked, "Will I see you here next week?"
"Of course, I wouldn't miss this for the world," I replied, turning and heading for the exit.
"You're crazy," he teased.
I looked over my shoulder and smirked. "We're all crazy, Carlisle. Most people just aren't brave enough to embrace their madness."
A/n: The song that Bella played on the piano the first time is "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy.
"I could fall in love with you right now, and I know you won't say anything, but that's okay."* - Quote from Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
Thanks for reading! Lemme know what you think! ;)