Thank you for reading! It's not beta'd so please forgive all mistakes like I forgive myself for eating sweets way too much.
See ya at the bottom.
Chapter 1- The Beginning Verse
"Cullen, bro, what the hell?" Emmett shouts across the empty bar. It's the second time today. "You better not sound like that tonight or Rose isn't gonna let me give you another gig. I think my ears are bleeding."
I sigh and I feel like kicking my shitty sound system. I wave my hand promising him that everything will be alright.
But he doesn't fall for it and I don't either.
But I can't fail tonight. It'll be the biggest and most important night of my life since I moved to Seattle.
This is it. This is the night I'll prove my father wrong. One good gig. One good song and I'll show him that this real not just some childish hobby.
It won't be like Led Zeppelin at Madison Square Garden in 1973 and it certainly won't be like Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock. I won't have a bunch of groupies screaming my name and I won't have police escort me out the building for my own safety. My sweaty concert face won't be on the cover of my live album and on t-shirts and nobody is going to record my performance on their cellphone so they can watch it again later.
It doesn't matter.
When I take stage tonight at Emmett and Rosalie's bar, I will single handedly rock the vodka and beer breath out of every person present and be the first and only broke college student from Las Vegas, Nevada to have ruled with my cheap acoustic guitar. They'll feel every chord and forming blister from my fingers in their skin. Tonight, they'll bob their heads to the beat and raise their hands up high.
Everyone has them.
But who is to say my dream can't become reality?
"Alright, Edward, get out," Rosalie tells me just as I'm about to start rehearsing again. "We have to close for now. Come back at six."
"But I'm not done," I tell her, even though I know she'll win and I'll leave.
"Dude, you'll rock it. You better rock it or you're gonna cost me money. Now get the hell out of here."
Rosalie Hale, sweet as can be.
I place my guitar in its case and head out. I jump in a bus, shove my iPod's headphones into my ears and watch as the rain drops hit my window. I protectively place a hand over my guitar as the ride continues, making sure it doesn't fall or gets taken. I tap the floor with my foot as the bass line of the song gets intense and slap my free hand on my knee to accompany the drums. I silently sing along, imagining every word and every bit of the story as my eyes wander around the city and as the bus gets closer home.
I take a chance and look around the bus. A little girl seems to be crying her lungs out while being ignored by her mother. A man and a woman a couple of seats away seem to be arguing. The homeless looking girl sitting on the seat next to them just stares out her window holding onto her raggedy orange backpack for dear life and talking to herself.
But I can't hear her.
But I can't hear any of them.
As I turn up the volume even more, I turn away from it all and return to my day dreams and rainy window.
"You really think this is going to work? It's ridiculous!"
"It might seem like that, Dad, but I really love it."
"You're crazy son. I will not stand around and watch you fail."
"What if I don't fail?"
"Then I'll be the first one to congratulate you and I might even pat you on the back."
I'm glad Jacob managed to give me the day off from The Music Box. It's nice to have a break from selling Justin Bieber and One Direction albums to teenage girls while holding back music lectures. I almost sold a girl a The Smiths album instead…but she caught on and walked out. She doesn't know what she's missing out.
The abilities to sing your life in words and strum away any pain are gifts from the music gods. A set of lyrics can change the world or even save a life if heard.
I can't imagine not having that.
I can't imagine not having music.
I would have nowhere to be. I would have nothing. I would lose my mind.
I spend the rest of the afternoon strumming my guitar and writing in my song journal. I've been trying to write my own songs. So far, I've only managed to successfully cover songs by other artists when I perform in front of friends and written some shitty songs. I know I can write my own and I think I'm pretty good at it, but Jake says I have to write that one song.
I have to create that one song that will give someone chills and make me known for time to come.
But my creative side of the brain is dead. It has been dead for months.
I don't know if it's the stress of working and going to college or if I just need a muse or a reason. I need something to write about. I'm tired of writing pissed off at dad songs and break-up lyrics about Lauren.
I don't even know why I ever liked her in the first place. She was strange to say the least, but I have to draw inspiration from somewhere…right?
Besides, I need more mature songs. I'm twenty-two dammit.
I shove cereal down my throat, drink some juice, play games on my phone and stare at the blank pages of my journal. Jake gave it to me as a birthday gift.
Two months ago.
I scribble a few words down and then end up erasing it all.
"Fuuuuck!" I shout into the emptiness of my small apartment. As my voice echoes, I shove my hands in my hair and close my eyes, hoping the words will come to me.
Hello, you are watching News Now with Kelly…
There it is again.
My neighbor always has her or his TV's volume all the way up. I don't know who this person is, but I hope their TV fucking breaks.
It happens every afternoon.
I sigh and hope he or she realizes how incredibly loud and obnoxious their TV is, but as the minutes pass my ears now listen to this Kelly WhatsHerFace talk about how the president is now worried about gun control and my eyes can't seem to move away from the blank pages that taunt me.
I grab my pen, stab it down and let the ink sink into the pages. I stare on at the blue liquid as it spreads into the crack of the journal.
Suddenly I slam my hands on my desk and head over to my neighbor's door. I take a deep breath and think about what I'm about to say.
I've never been much of a talker much less being into confrontations.
I nod to myself after deciding what I'll say. I'll make it clear that the sound is annoying and that she or he should be mindful of others.
Yes, that's what I'll say. I'll even throw in a crooked smile to show that there are no hard feelings.
Mom always said it worked miracles.
I knock again.
I pound my fist against the door…
"Hello? Is anybody there?"
I groan and head back to my apartment.
In the morning I'll talk to the landlord.
I don't care that I'll look like a whiny bitch. I want my silence back goddammit.
I forget about writing and instead play some records on as I mentally prep for my gig. I send a quick text to my dad.
"Hey, old man. Are you on your way?"
He doesn't answer right away. I assume he might be driving or something so I'll set my phone down and hope to hear it soon.
He and I haven't always seen eye to eye. Mom died when I was thirteen and he started working more after her death. I guess so he wouldn't have to think about her so much.
But then there was me. Some lonely awkward kid with a broken heart. While he was busy saving the world as Dr. Cullen, there I was crying and feeling miserable all alone.
Then I met Jake and Jasper. I was walking down my neighborhood when I spotted them having a garage sale at Jake's house. They sold me an old record player and some Doors vinyl.
I was never the same.
I got lost or maybe found in the lyrics, beats and rhythms of rock and roll. I would spend my allowance on albums and posters and when I turned sixteen I got a job just to buy more music.
Dad wasn't too happy when I told him I was going to study music in college and maybe even play in a band.
Actually, he hated the idea so much that he stopped talking to me for a while.
We've mended things…I think…over my birthday dinner. He even promised to come to my next gig so that I could prove to him why I was "wasting my money" on a major that wouldn't get me anywhere he wanted it to get me.
I stare at the poster of The Replacements as Kelly continues talking about the economy and the horrible shit that happens in our world.
Suddenly, her screechy voice stops.
My neighbor has turned off the TV. I hear footsteps heading out the door. I jump up and look through the peephole.
Who is this douchebag?
I wait a few minutes until I finally see the shadow and then the…girl?
I see waves of brown hair as she walks through the hall and into the elevator. I run over to my window, hoping to catch her face outside.
Impatiently I wait as she makes it down.
There is someone waiting for her inside a car.
I don't get to see her face, but now I know for sure that my inconsiderate neighbor is a chick. She's gonna get an ear full when I see her again.
She probably listens to One Direction.
Or Beyonce…or Maroon 5.
Yeah, she looks like a Nickleback fan.
After chugging down a beer, I strum my guitar backstage. Rose said she didn't have time to give me more than two songs so I have to nail it from the beginning.
The nerves are starting again. Sweat runs down my neck to the middle of my back and it's getting a little hard to breathe.
I check my phone.
He must have his phone dead. He always forgets to charge it.
I run my hands through my hair, over the curve of my guitar and along its neck as I wait my turn. Rose and Emmett's bar has been so successful. Mainly because they have different people performing music every night and some have even become crowd favorites. They'll come out and spend a fortune on booze while their favorites play a few songs.
When Emmett told me tonight is the night most people come out for drinks and a good song or two, I begged to get one or two songs in. They both hesitated. They usually let the best bands play on busy nights to keep the crowd coming. But being Em's cousin, Rose felt bad for me and let me have two songs.
I'm gonna show her. She isn't going to regret this.
"Cullen, you're up now!" Emmett tells me as he arrives backstage with a beer in his hand and a grin on his face. He gives me a nervous smile and a rough pat on the back. "You'll do fine, bro. You've been doing music since before your balls dropped. You got this. And if you fuck up, just know you're in a bar and you can get shitfaced. My treat."
I chuckle. "Thanks, dude."
He gives me one final rough pat and starts walking away.
"Hey, Em, have you seen my dad?"
"Uncle Car? Nah, man. I haven't seen him. Is he coming?"
I just nod.
Emmett chuckles and shakes his head.
Even he knows it.
Dad was never going to make it.
"Hello," I say so low that I wonder if anybody heard. The heat of the stage lights is making me sweat even more and suddenly my throat is dry. "My name is Edward Cullen and I'm gonna play two songs for you tonight. I hope you enjoy." The crowded room says nothing to me and only stares on while drinking and side talking.
I take one good look around the bar. No, my father isn't here, but the place is crowded. Maybe I can impress someone out of the 75 people.
He probably had an emergency or sick patient to go to.
I take a deep breath and jump when it's caught in the microphone. Some people laugh and I don't dare look up.
I direct my eyes to my fingers on the guitar neck and begin to strum my first song.
This is it.
This is the moment.
Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, The Smiths, Van Morrison, they all had this moment. They all had the first moment they opened their mouths to sing and played their guitar for the first time to a crowded room.
But suddenly I can't remember if any of them had a moment where they forgot the words to their songs…because I sure have.
I know I had picked bad songs.
What do I do?
I begin to hum like an idiot and finally look up.
People are making questioning faces and others are looking towards the door.
Come on, Cullen, think! So I go down in flames through hell's uhhh.
My eyes land on Rosalie and Emmett.
Emmett is looking away while nervously rubbing his neck. He got that from my grandpa and Dad
Rosalie is glaring at me. She's never going to give me another chance.
I move my eyes away and place them to the front of the crowd.
There in front of the drunken idiot laughing his ass off at me and next to the tattooed woman whose tits are hanging out is a girl.
She smiles at me. Her sweet smile is honest. It reaches her brown eyes and compliments the warm blush on her cheeks. She is bouncing lightly on her feet and sways from to side to side. She places a hand over her chest and closes her eyes. Her smile turns into a grin and suddenly going through this humiliation isn't so bad.
At least she isn't laughing at me.
I decide to end my debacle and skip the second song. I don't want to cause Rose and Emmett any more customers.
"Thanks," I mumble into the microphone.
Before I leave the stage I catch the sweet girl clapping encouragingly for me.
She's the only one.
"Rose is never going to let me play again," I say into my beer.
"Damn straight, what the hell happen, cousin?" Emmett asks and places his huge hand on my shoulder. It's awkward and not comforting and I can feel how clammy his hand is, but I thank him for trying. "You're usually a boss when you play at our home parties. You know Rose loves that song you sing about the end of the world."
"It's about the end of a relationship. The world is just a metaphor."
"Whatever, dude. Look, I'll try my best to convince Rose to let you play again someday, but I can't make promises. You just gotta get your shit together. So it was one bad gig and so you didn't change the world and you're not going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone anytime soon, but you know music. You just got put your nerves or whatever ghost is haunting you away."
"No problem! What are cousins for? Also, sorry about Uncle Car not coming. You know he's never been into the bar scene.
"He's never been into the 'me' scene."
He chuckles and roughly pats my back. I hold back a groan so he won't think I'm a pussy, but that shit hurt.
"Don't sound like that, man."
"Like a little shit with daddy problems. You know Uncle Car has always been a strict and uptight man. He's conservative and boring. He's never gonna like that you wanna play music so start getting over it."
"Thanks for the emotional help, Em. It's really strange that you're not a shrink or something."
He chuckles again. "You fuckface. Speaking of fuckfaces, you plan on getting one tonight? If so, drinks are on me!"
"Another reason for Rose to hate me."
He laughs loudly and gives me another rough pat before leaving me alone at the bar. Though I love my cousin, I'm glad he's left me to drown in my self-pity.
Sorry for not showing up, Son. I had to attend something else. Maybe next time.
"Sure thing, Dad," I mumble to my phone's screen.
"Nice song, dude. Maybe next time bring the lyrics," some asshole says.
"Thanks. I'll keep that in mind." I order another beer and take out my small notebook. I read over my words trying to see where I went wrong. It's not one of my favorites, but it's a decent song. I think of my idols and wonder about what they would think of my lyrics.
They would probably laugh.
Van Morrison captivated the world with a simple song about a pretty girl with brown eyes. Jim Morrison fucked with people's minds with lyrics that made no damn sense the first time around. Kurk Cobain made millions of teens and sad people relate to him and rock out.
And what do I do? I forget my words. I forget the most important part of the song. I forgot the story. I forgot the heartbeat and the life of my damn song.
Imagine Johnny Cash without the lyrics to I Walk the Line or to Folsom Prison. What would those songs be without them? Just great bass lines and guitar strumming.
Am I trying to hard? Are they missing heart? Its usually there but lately it's been MIA. I don't know if it's the fact that I'm going broke, or that I'm starting to hate ramen noodles and frozen pizzas or that I'm failing math in college or if it's…
I close my notebook with a snap and shove it in my pocket.
I'm just gonna drink myself to a better mind state, before I go bald or get an ulcer.
I chug my third beer and look around the bar. The band that is playing right now does remember the lyrics, but I hate their music. They're drum is too loud and you can't hear the singer very well. The guitar isn't tuned and the bass line is weak. Also, the chorus isn't good enough. It needs more heart, but the crowd doesn't seem to care. They nod and clap.
I mean I can't judge, I'm the one with the major chocking on stage.
My eyes keep wandering around and then suddenly, they find her.
They find that cute girl that smiled at me while I was making a fool of myself.
She's standing at the opposite end of the bar, wanting to get the bartender's attention but she's failing. She's so tiny and the idiots in front of her won't move even though they have their drinks already.
I grab my beer and head over to her, checking myself mentally.
No, I'm not drunk and I don't think I'm slurring yet. I won't act like an idiot. Maybe I can have one victory tonight.
"Hi, I'm Edward. Can I get you a drink?"
She ignores me and continues to look for the bartender. She has big brown eyes with a little green in them and fuck, I love them. This is what Van Morrison was talking about. It has to be. Her brown curls bounce with her as she tries to see over the big guys in front of her. She's tiny. She looks like a wind could take her.
"Look, I know you're probably tired of asshole hitting on you," I say and she finally turns and looks at me. Her eyes widen and she jumps back a little as if I've startled her. But after she wanders over my face once, she gives me a sweet smile with her plump pink lips. Her eyes then drop to my mouth. "I just wanted to thank you for being the only person here who didn't boo me. As I saw you smiling at me when I was up on the stage it kind of made it not as shitty…is that cheesy? I swear it's not a pick up line and I'm not a creep."
It takes her a few seconds to react, but it's still worth it. She gives me a huge smile and continues to stare at my mouth.
I wipe away with the back of my hand thinking maybe I have something on my lips and that it's ruining this for me.
"Do I have something on my mouth?" I ask.
"What is it?" I ask covering my mouth, but she doesn't react this time. She just bites down on her bottom lip and continues to look at me.
"Hey, back off," a screechy voice shouts. Suddenly a much tinier girl stands next to my brown eyed girl. She protectively wraps an arm around her, but I can tell Brown Eyes is a little annoyed by her as she gently pulls away.
"May I help you?"
"No, may I help you?"
"I don't know what you want, but Bella isn't interested."
I chuckle. "How do you know? You just got here."
She huffs and turns towards pretty Bella who is now staring at her friend's mouth. She must have some aversion to eyes or something.
"Bella, what are you doing? I have been looking all over for you," says the little one while making hand signals.
Bella then turns and looks at me worriedly. A deep blush takes over her cheeks and her eyes look disappointed.
She sighs and begins to hand signal back to the short dark haired girl. Her hand signals are a little stronger, but unlike her friend, Bella doesn't say a word.
"Well I think he knows it already, Bella. That's not something you can hide for very much time. Besides, you don't even know him," Alice says and signals at the same time.
Its then that I realize it.
I now know why she didn't boo and why she clapped for me even though I was horrible.
She couldn't hear me.
She can't hear me at all.
Ah! What did ya think?
Unlike NLG, this story is not angsty. It might have a few frowny face scenes, moments and it might have some drama, but you're safe reading it in public.
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