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WitFit Jan/Feb 2013
90's Sex, drugs and rock-n-roll
Midday traffic in downtown Seattle was an absolute nightmare. I tapped my fingers on the wheel and not-so-silently urged the cars to just move already. The clock on the dash told me I'd been sitting here for an hour already—which was just perfect. Edward was waiting on me, and I'd promised him that, today of all days, I'd be home on time. When a large van cut me off, I let the expletives fly.
It was so weird to realize that I was really, truly a grown-up now, one who preferred life in the 'burbs over the sprawl of an urban oasis.
Since, clearly, I wasn't going anywhere for a while, I dug through the bag of assorted nonsense I carried with me and found the CD I was meant to review, and popped it into the player.
"Ugh. Why me?"
Poppy, upbeat music filled my car and I rolled my windows up. I loved my work, I truly did, but there was no way in hell I wanted anyone to glance over and realize the sultry, manufactured tones of the latest 'good girl who really wasn't' were coming from the vicinity of my vehicle. Which was dumb—no one knew who I was, after all.
But . . . still.
Traffic eased up around track five and I put my foot to the floor, avoiding the spots where I knew the cops liked to run radar. Once I was home and in the garage, I grabbed my stuff from the backseat. The Apple Powerbook Edward had bought so I could work while on the road with him was so freaking heavy, but at least the portability made up for it.
After I graduated college, I was able to go on the road with the band whenever I wanted to. Peter, who saw the opportunity in a reporter 'on the front lines' of touring, gave me a title that matched my wanderlust, and it was a good fit for a long time.
The guys did well, but never on the level of some of the heavy-hitters. The first three albums saw a moderate success, and, while I would never voice it out loud, I wondered often if it would have been different had we not lost Ty. They had a loyal fanbase, though, and each subsequent album made them some money.
Then the bottom slowly fell out on 'the Grunge movement' and they had to struggle to stay relevant—but remain true to themselves—as the electronic wave of new-rock gained a foothold. The band spent most of their time touring, spending endless energy to get to the fans rather than making a deal with the devil—the record companies.
After almost a decade spent making albums and touring to support each release, the band had finally taken a year off to unwind. Jasper was off in Austin for most of the year, Alice at his side while he worked with two upcoming bands as a producer. Rose and Emmett, still together even after some bumps in the road, were building a house an hour away from ours. Ben and Leah—who'd had a disastrous, six month hookup that had almost brought things to a standstill for the band pretty early on—were each doing their own thing.
The weekly paper changed, too. Originally a plethora of information about the Seattle music scene, it slowly morphed into a weekly entertainment guide covering anything from plays to movie reviews. Peter left the paper to pursue his own dream of writing a bestseller, and the day he and Charlotte moved to North Carolina was the end of my tenure with The Rocket.
Now I freelanced. Spin and Rolling Stone had picked up some articles from me, and, while those were some of the coolest things in my career, I would always miss the place I started at. Hell, sometimes I even missed Marcus.
I set my work bags down next to the desk in the kitchen and on the counter, the few groceries I'd picked up at the market. As I was putting things away, I paused to listen for any signs of life in the house.
The soft plucking of guitar strings floated downstairs when I entered the kitchen. I smiled and put the last container of juice in the refrigerator . . . and cleaned up the remnants of a peanut butter and jelly lunch left on the counter. Some things never changed.
Kitchen clean once more, I headed up the stairs, calling out "Hello?"
Smiling, I popped my head in the door of the upstairs den and watched my two favorite people welcome me home. Edward, guitar on his lap and our daughter next to him, was working on something new.
"Hi, babe," Edward said, setting his guitar down and grinning at the sight of a little munchkin wrapping herself around my legs. "I was starting to worry about you."
"Sorry, I'm late traffic was a bi—pain."
Today was the first session they'd be spending making music together in twelve months. He was kind of nervous, kind of excited, and I was thrilled to see him so amped up.
"No big. Jas called a little bit ago because the studio isn't ready yet and I don't have to be there 'til two." His smile turned teasing. "If you would ever use that phone we bought, you'd have known that."
I picked my daughter up, winced at how heavy she was getting. "Hush it. I forgot. You know I'm not used to having a phone in my freaking car."
"Mommy, you're not 'apposed to say bad words."
"Yes, Mommy slipped. How about you go play in your room for a while so I can talk to Daddy?" I set her down in the hall and watched her scamper off, long bronze curls flying behind her as she went.
She was such a mini Edward.
"Not sure I'm ready to go this time."
I turned back into the den and went to sit on the couch next to my husband. "It's been a while. I wish we could go . . ."
With Eliza just starting school, though, that would be impossible. Neither Edward nor I wanted to take her away from the routine she'd only recently settled into.
"I wish you could, too." He slung his arm over my shoulder and pulled me in. "I think I forgot what going on the road is like with you two not there."
"Well, you won't have to stop at so many fast food places with ball pits."
"Emmett's gonna be heartbroken about that."
I nodded. "I think you're probably right."
Life had been so good to us in the early days. We went everywhere, got to travel to some places overseas that I wasn't sure I would have ever gone. I found out I was pregnant on the road, went as long as I could before I just got too uncomfortably huge to waddle from concert hall to concert hall. He was stressed that I was home alone and ending up canceling tour dates the last two weeks of my pregnancy. He was at my side when our daughter took her first look at the world.
Eliza had been brought up on the road, and it wasn't a bad thing because she was surrounded by people who loved her. We'd married in a small courthouse along the way two years ago, our baby held between us and a bunch of hungover rockstars as our witnesses.
We weren't conventional, and I was okay with that.
"Better keep the hollering to a minimum or you'll be a frog by the time you get home," I teased, poking his side. "You know, you're not as young as you used to be."
"You think you're so witty." He bent me backward on the couch and slid his hand up my shirt. "But you're really not."
"Mmm, much as I'd like to continue this there are little ears about twenty steps away right now."
"Better get the fun stuff done quick, then."
He kissed me and it was better than the last time he had. Every time was. There was something about us that never seemed to tire or grow dull, and I hoped it never would.
Over the years, Edward had done his best to hold up his end of our bargain. There were times he couldn't be there that I understood, and there were times he fought hell and high water to surprise me—my college graduation, for example. The whistles and catcalls my name had roused as I'd received my diploma had caught my attention and I'd looked up from the stage to see him, my family, and Rose and Emmett standing in the seats of Hec Ed Pavillion.
Because our daughter still didn't quite grasp what an inside voice was we had just enough time to straighten up before she burst in to the room.
"What's up, buttercup?"
"Daddy learned me one of your favoritest songs today." She stood in front of us, so, so serious, and said, "You play and I'll sing, okay Daddy?"
He grabbed his guitar and looked at her intently. "Okay. Ready?"
Over the top of her head we exchanged a look—it was one of those typical parents looks that illustrated how our daughter was the center of our world, how we were so amazed this tiny little force of nature had come from us.
When I recognized the opening chords, I froze, smile still on my face so Eliza wouldn't think I hated her singing.
"When I'm-a walking I strut my stuff . . ."
"Should we really be teaching her that one?" I whispered.
"Mommy, no talking, we's singing to you."
"Sorry, baby. You sounded so pretty."
"She doesn't know what the words mean, just that you like it," he said, trying not to laugh.
She put her little hands on her hips, staring down Edward until he started strumming his guitar again and she could launch back into the song. She flubbed a lot of the words, but that was okay because she was mine and she looked like Edward when she sang, closing her eyes at the high notes and holding her arms out, too.
He, of course, beamed at her, so proud of his first born.
During the last year he'd taken up photography. His eye for live action and outdoor photos was impressive, and with nothing in line for the band for a while, his need to be creative was appeased behind a lens. He found peace there . . . and we had about a gazillion pictures of our baby girl now, too.
I clapped when they were through with their song, and laughed when, with the true essence of a four year old, she ran out of the room squealing to burn off some of her energy.
"That was cute, Daddy."
"I'm glad she got my ability to carry a tune."
"Are you saying I can't sing?"
"Just stick to writing, Mama," he said flashing me his sexiest grin. "So, how did the teleconference go?"
"Alright, I guess. I'm kind of pissed though. They want me to cover all of this . . . crap. It's poppy and lame, and I know this is just a trend in music, but it's so not my thing. I'd kill for something about a struggling rock band from the trenches."
"Then tell them that. You're freelancing now so take the assignment or don't," he said as he plucked a few strings. I moved over to where he was sitting and he put his guitar aside as I settled myself under his arm.
"I've been mulling this idea to write a 'behind the scenes' piece on this band coming out of California. They're touring relentlessly right now, much like you guys did in the beginning, and getting most of their push from the fans. I can see them being a big thing someday."
"That sounds like a great idea. You can pop down to SoCal for a few days and do some research. We'll be okay here. We're not leaving for another three weeks."
I looked into his green eyes, so thankful that we had come so far. He never hesitated to support me in whatever I wanted to do and it made my heart swell inside of my chest. I leaned in to kiss him, smiling when he stuck his hands up my shirt. Again.
"You're so predictable," I said against his mouth.
"You love it."
"I love hearing you say those words." He leaned me back, fingers exploring my bra and then the skin underneath. And then he made my brain stop fluttering over all the reasons we shouldn't because he was right there and he smelled good, and his mouth was the best sort of fit to mine.
Things were just getting good when running footsteps pounded down the hall. We sprung apart in time to be piled with stuffed animals, Barbies, and a warning that she didn't have enough hands to hold her books, too.
And then she was gone.
"Blocked again," he said, holding up a tattered bunny.
I laid my head on his shoulder. "So . . . teaching her songs, huh? You trying to turn our kid into a musician?"
He grinned. "If she wants to do it, great, but I'm not going to force her."
I picked up a Barbie who'd seen better days. Poor thing had half of her hair missing. "What if she decides she wants to be like her mom and date the rock-n-roll boy?"
"Oh, hell no. Not my daughter."
I cracked up. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"She's not going out with any musicians."
"I did all right."
"Yeah. But you are an exception. She is another case entirely."
Just then she ran back from her bedroom and leaped into Edwards lap. She put her hands on his face to get his complete attention and kissed him on the cheek.
"Can I have some ice cream now?"
He looked at me out of the corner of his eye. "See?"
I held up my fingers. "Wrapped."
"By the both of you."
Thank you for reading and please leave a review to let me know what you think!
I started a blog that contains the playlists and videos that I used for inspiration over at: partofme dash luckyirishtart dot blogspot dot com
Songs: Wild Horses – The Sundays
Sweet Euphoria – Chris Cornell
*And now for the big note…
I would like to thank each and every one of you who took the time to pimp this out on Twitter, Facebook, The Lemonade Stand, Edwardville, and ADF among a few others. When I started this, I was kind of just wanting to get the idea out of my head since it had been rattling around in there for so long. Little did I know that it would be embraced like it was.
I would have loved to give you review replies every chapter but working full time and doing this everyday was a lot. But I loved every minute of it. Please know I appreciate every single review.
I also have to thank my friend, Nic, who gave me a lot of her time to talk and work ideas around when I was pinched. She helped fix my disaster of a chapter when I was on the road and couldn't get to a computer for which I am indebted. That's the beauty of this fandom, I have met so many amazing people who became my friends and look forward making more.