A/N: I don't own this. We all know who does. What I do own is the fact that I'm probably boy crazy and have been my whole life. I think it's part of my whole obsessive personality thing... I can't help it. :D Although, I gotta say, at least I only ever liked pretty boys. :D
This one-shot was written for the No Kid Hungry charity event. I hear lots of money was raised, which is great. :) Thanks to all who were able to donate in one way or another. :)
MariahajilE beta'd this bad boy for me. She's wonderful and she fixes all of my extra slashes and dashes and commas and run-on sentences. She makes me better. I hope she knows that. :)
I can't forget, I'm drowning in these memories
It fills my soul with all the little things
And I can't cope, it's like a death inside the family
It's like she stole my way to breathe
So don't try to tell me I'll stop hurting
Don't try to tell me she ain't worth it
Cause you don't know her like I do
You'll never understand
And you don't know what we've been through
That girl's my best friend
And there's no way you're gonna help me
She's the only one who can
No, you don't know how much I've got to lose
You don't know her like I do
"You Don't Know Her Like I Do"
by Brantley Gilbert
He sat alone on a crate behind a thick black curtain. His guitar was strapped around him, and there was a pencil in his hand. He hurried to write down the words that were flowing through his head, desperate not to miss even one of them. The melody that accompanied them was haunting, and he knew if only she could hear it, she would come back.
The show was starting soon. He never went on with unrehearsed material, but this time would be the exception. She would be in the audience for maybe the last time. This would be his only chance to get her attention. It would be his only chance to win her back. He couldn't blow it. He had to be perfect.
"Hey, Cullen, you're on in ten!" the stagehand yelled to him.
He tightened his grip on the pencil and pushed it harder into the scrap of paper that he'd scrounged from the nearby trash can.
"Edward, you ready?" she asked, pausing to trail her fingers over his shoulder.
"Knock it off, Rose," he grumbled.
"Oh, come on. I don't know why you fight it. You know how good we are together," she cooed into his ear, letting her lips tease his earlobe.
"Rose, I told you that's not happening. It was a long time ago, but we're done."
She pouted her pretty red lips together, batting her overly done eyelashes as she tried to tempt him one more time.
"She's not even here, Edward. I don't know why you bother," she spat when she saw he wasn't falling for her charms.
"She'll be here. She said she would."
Rose smiled. "Yeah. Well, baby, even she can see I'm better for you. Why do you think she left in the first place?"
The leggy blonde sauntered away, making sure to swing her hips a little bit harder in an effort to attract his gaze. He didn't watch her. Instead, his eyes stayed focused on the words he continued to write. He needed Bella back almost as much as he needed air to breathe.
It had been over a month since she stormed out his life, and he'd only been able to see her twice. It was a misunderstanding, and if only she had stopped to listen to him, he could have explained it all that night. But she hadn't . She saw what she saw and heard what she heard, and that was all she needed to confirm her fears.
"Nice, Cullen! Saw Rosie grinding up on you. Must feel good to have a smokin' hottie like that all over you, huh?" Jasper said. He wiggled his eyebrows, insinuating that something was actually going on between Edward and Rose.
"It's not like that. I told you," he said, trying to nail down the bridge of the song he was busy composing.
"Yeah, well at least Bella's not around anymore. Damn, that cold fish was really cramping your style, dude. You're a hot newcomer in the business. You don't need some leech hangin' on you. Girls like her are just along for the ride. That's all. Trust me."
He stopped writing for a moment and took several deep breaths. Looking up at his manager, he did his best to contain his rage.
"You don't know her like I do," he seethed. "You'll never understand."
"Dude, what's there to understand? Malibu Barbie over there is killing herself to slide up and down your pole, and you're home baking cookies with Suzy Homemaker. What's that about?"
Edward looked back at the paper in his hand, skimming over the words he'd just written to Bella. "You don't know what we've been through. She's my best friend."
Jasper laughed. "Yeah, well I'm pretty sure any of the ladies in the audience tonight would be more than happy to be that for you. All you gotta do is ask, bro. Suck a little tittie and slap a little tushie, and you'll forget all about the ice queen who dumped you."
"You're joking, right?" Edward said, disgusted by what Jasper was suggesting.
"I can help you out, man. Let old Jasper here show you how to snag some tail at these kinda shows. It might be good for you to learn something."
"There's no way you're gonna help me."
Not many people told Jasper no. When you were a big name like he was, you got used to getting your way. "So what? You gonna sit around and wait for her to take you back? Isn't that a little pathetic, Cullen?"
Edward sighed a long, tortured breath. "She's the only one who can help me. You have no idea what I got to lose here."
"Whatever. I tried," Jasper said. "I don't know why I waste my time with you, especially when I got that little roadie, Alice, waiting in my bus. She's a sure thing every time, man."
Jasper started to walk away, then turned around to offer one more piece of advice.
"Cullen, if you know what's good for you, you'll let her go. She's not worth it, and it'll stop hurting a whole lot faster once your dick's dipping in another pussy."
Edward shook his head, trying to rid it of the vile things Jasper had said. He couldn't afford to lose his focus — not now, when she was so close.
He hummed the melody a few times, letting his fingers get familiar with the chords, then pocketed the paper. The words were still flying through his mind, and he knew as long as he kept his eyes focused on her, he would remember every one.
He peeked around the edge of the curtain as his eyes scanned the crowd. Finally, along the far side of the room, seated at a table with her sister, he saw her. Bella was there. His heart seemed to thump a little harder, as if trying to climb out of his chest to get to her. He had to stop his feet from carrying him toward her. He knew things had to be done right, and he knew he couldn't rush it. She needed to know his true feelings.
Bella had been with him since they were teenagers. When he was awkward and gangly, she found him handsome. When he was cocky and snobbish, she thought he was sweet. When he was worshiped and adored by women everywhere, she told him he was funny. When he was doubtful and lonely, she whispered softly that she loved him.
Edward never even saw it coming. That was probably just one of his many mistakes. Trusting the wrong people got him into a bad situation, but letting Bella walk out that night had been the worst decision he'd ever made.
The group that was singing began their final song. Edward stood in a dark corner, folding his hands in front of his chest as he bowed his head and said a little prayer. He prayed that Bella would hear him; not that she would hear the song but that she would hear what he was trying to tell her. He wanted her to hear all the things he couldn't say. As he kissed the little bell medallion that hung on a leather cord around his neck, he imagined her face and remembered when she had given it to him.
The audience began to clap, and he knew it was his moment. In a mere five minutes, he would know — one way or the other — how his life would turn out. Taking a deep breath and slowly letting it go through his mouth, he waited to be announced. He heard the roar of applause as he stepped out into the spotlight and saw what seemed to be a sea of country bunnies standing in front of the stage. They were at every concert cheering him on and always asking him to sign different body parts, so he wasn't surprised. But his eyes didn't see them. All he saw was her, and the way she was staring at the table in front of her.
Her sister sat next to her, speaking into her ear as she rubbed Bella's back. He could just imagine what she was saying to her as she tried to calm down the clearly upset girl. As the light caught a tear rolling down Bella's cheek, Edward nearly stumbled. He had to fix this. For both of them, he had to make things right.
He stood before the microphone, pulling up the stool that sat just behind him. As he situated himself on it, balancing his guitar on his knee, he cleared his throat.
"Thanks for coming out, everybody. We really appreciate the support tonight."
The girls screamed and jumped up and down. He knew they dressed in low cut tank tops because most of the guys on tour liked to watch their tits bounce up and down, but Edward never did. When he thought of breasts, he only though of Bella's and how they felt in his hands or tasted on his tongue. He remembered the way she used to squeeze them into her bikini top when they were in college and the way they'd looked in her prom dress in high school. That was the first night he'd ever seen them up close, and he would never forget it.
"I know you're all expecting a full show this evenin', but I think I'm gonna have to leave a little extra time for the band after me. I need to do something tonight that's important, and I hope you'll all understand."
There were several boos from the crowd, but Edward didn't let that stop him.
"There's a girl in the audience tonight that I wrote something for. Bella, this is for you. I love you, and I'm sorry."
He watched as her eyes flashed to his, holding his stare for a few seconds. Then his fingers began to move over the strings of his guitar. The melody was beautiful and haunting. It was sweet and loving, while giving off a hint of sadness and desperation. Then, after the first few instrumental lines of the song, he began to sing.
His voice was clear, and his eyes never left hers. They stared at each other as he poured his heart and soul out to her in front of the crowd that was gathered there. Every word that fell from his lips was perfect, and as he neared the end of the song, he knew she was hearing him. Finally, she was letting him say what he needed to say. And she was listening.
As his fingers strummed the final chord, the room went silent. He sucked in a quick breath before closing his eyes and preparing his heart for the worst. Suddenly, the crowd broke out in a thunderous round of clapping and whistling. When he opened his eyes to see her again, his stomach dropped. Her chair was empty. Her sister, Angela, still sat at the table, but Edward could tell that she was crying.
Had Bella left? Did she not want him back? Was it really over?
Just as he began to panic, he saw the crowd beginning to part a bit, and when he looked down, he saw a familiar brunette making her way to the stage. He pulled his guitar strap from around his shoulders and dropped the instrument to the ground before walking to the edge of the stage. The announcer came out from the behind the curtain, clearly concerned that maybe Edward really wasn't going to play any more songs. Edward didn't care, and when Bella finally reached the edge of the stage, the security guards moved to hold her back.
"No, wait," Edward told them as he knelt down on his knee and pushed at their shoulders.
Bella stepped between them and reached up for Edward's hand. Her eyes were wet, and he could tell that she was crying. The guards moved to help her up, and Edward took her hands as he pulled her onto the stage beside him. They stood before the crowd, just staring at one another for the longest time. She was wearing a flowered dress with a little sweater over the top of it. It was loose fitting, but when he looked down, he could see just the smallest hint of a bulge.
"I love you," she whispered. "I'm sorry I didn't listen before."
His eyes looked into hers again, and he lifted his hands to cup her cheeks.
"I'm so sorry, baby. I don't want any of this without you."
"I know," she said, smiling through her tears.
"Come back to me," he said so softly that no one but Bella was able to hear him.
She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his waist, pulling her body tightly against his. When their lips met, the audience around them was silent. They knew they were witnessing something much bigger than fame or fortune or talent. This was true love, the kind that only comes along once in a very great while. Several of the women in crowd began to "aww" and smile up at the two lovers. Neither Edward nor Bella noticed, but there was a shift in his fans that night. Before, women had been ruthless in their pursuit of Edward, which was always a sore point between him and Bella. They both knew it was a hazard that came with the job, but they knew they were strong enough to overcome it. Now, the women saw a man who was completely in love with a woman and that he was willing to put his heart on his sleeve for her. They respected that, and they wished it for themselves, too.
As their kiss broke and Edward's forehead leaned against Bella's, the crowd began to cheer. It was hard to ignore destiny when it was right before your eyes. Edward pulled her ring out of his front pocket and took her left hand, sliding it back to the place it belonged.
"Be mine again?" he asked.
Bella smiled. "I never stopped."
He held her hand for a moment, then let go and moved both hands to hold her waist. Moving them together, they paused over her stomach, where their unborn child was growing bigger and bigger.
"She's so big already," he whispered with a smile, looking into Bella's eyes. She met his smile with her own, and they both laughed as they heard the crowd gasp in surprise. The baby wasn't something they'd planned on just yet, and they hadn't told anyone, with the exception of family and a few close friends. Edward had thought his manager Jasper was one of those friends, but he'd been proven wrong. Things had gone completely out of control when Rose showed up, and Jasper booked her singing trio onto Edward's tour.
Edward and Rose had dated a year before he met Bella. It had never been anything serious, just teenage hormones and curiosity. But once Bella appeared, Rose didn't exist in Edward's eyes. The fact that she'd matured into a total bombshell didn't phase Edward, and it hadn't meant anything to Bella either, until she walked onto his tour bus one night the previous month and saw what she thought was her husband having sex with his old high school flame. As Edward laid in his bed — fully clothed, though covered with a sheet — a lingerie-clad Rose writhed on top of him, moaning and cursing and calling out in pleasure over and over again.
If Bella had looked closer she would have realized that Edward was asleep and that her screaming was what had woken him. It wasn't the half-naked blonde sitting on top of him. Bella would have seen him push Rose away as he scrambled to get out of the room. Bella would have known that he ran out into the parking lot searching for her but was met by Jasper, who insisted he'd just seen her speeding away in her sister's car.
Edward kissed her again, holding her as close to him as he could with her seven month pregnant belly between them.
"Come home?" she asked, to which he happily nodded.
The crowd continued to cheer and shout their congratulations as the couple left the stage, hand in hand.
Making their way toward the back door of the theater, Jasper caught them. He looked as though he'd been pulled away from a rather vigorous activity, his hair standing on end and his rumpled shirt untucked.
"Just what do you think you're doing?" he yelled to Edward.
"I'm going home with my wife. I'll see you in San Diego next week."
"You can't just leave the tour like this, Edward! Your fans are expecting you!"
"It's a family emergency. Deal with it."
They hurried through the parking lot to Angela's waiting car. She smiled at them as they climbed into the backseat and then sped away toward their home.
Things weren't always perfect, and sometimes they were horrible, but from that moment on, Bella never again questioned Edward's feelings for her. And the fact that his song quickly climbed the charts to become his best-selling single to date made her heart happy.
He was hers, and a few months later as she watched him cuddling their baby girl and singing softly to her, she knew she'd made the right decision. No one knew her like Edward did, and that was something she would never forget.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed my Musicianward. I don't think I've really written one of those before. :D And if you get a chance, check out the video for the song that inspired this. The guy's kinda hot, and the song's pretty. :)