Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise, I just use their creations to have my wicked way with them. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story would be nothing without my amazing beta-team, Jadsmama and Ladysharkey1.
Epilogue: noun 1. a concluding part added to a literary work, as a novel. 2. a speech, usually in verse, delivered by one of the actors after the conclusion of a play. 3. the person speaking this.
Two years later…
I couldn't fucking believe it.
My heart was hammering in my chest as I paced the small cage of a dressing room I was in before coming to a standstill in front of the dressing table that had probably been meant for more vain purposes than to become the exhibition place of both my most cherished treasure and my worst nightmare.
Drumming my fingers against the surface of the table, I studied the pages again, memorizing notes I already knew by heart because of an irrational fear of going out there and suddenly forgetting what the hell I was supposed to do.
I didn't want to make a fucking fool of myself—not that night—and not with so much more at stake than my own fucking future.
Tonight was about setting some things straight; about exacting revenge on the Stanley's and the Blake's of this world, who'd chosen to hide the truth even if it meant robbing the world of a true masterpiece.
Because it was a fucking masterpiece.
In the end, the score as it had emerged from the hidden vaults of history only needed some light sprucing up to connect the two parts of the story together and make them shine. Most of the time I'd spent between then and now, though, had been spent adapting the score for a full orchestra and composing the vocals to go along with it. The words that were added would do justice to the notes and their history without taking away from the beauty of the music.
It also happened to be my graduation project, which meant that the who's who of Julliard was going to be in attendance too, as well as the bunch of losers who graduated along with me.
The one thing that set me apart from all the other punks in my class, though, was that instead of having my adapted score performed by the Juilliard Ensemble in one of the school's recital halls, the Metropolitan Opera itself would be performing my piece. And instead of just my friends and family and those of all the fuckers in my year, my performance would be witnessed and judged by a crowd of almost four thousand of New York's richest and finest (or at least most curious) citizens.
Yeah, I'm nervous. Fuck you.
They'd offered it, not because of who my dad was or some other shit like my last name or zip-code. It wasn't even because they thought I was some Mozart-like genius or something. Nope, it was because of whose work was at the base of that night's performance that the conductor and concertmaster had practically begged to be the ones to play La Symphonie d'Amélie on its debut performance.
And I'd let them even if just because of the simple historic fact that they'd been the first ones to perform that other masterpiece of Johannes' as well.
That, and they were The Met and no little fucking upstart composer would ever say no to The Met.
As I stuffed my hands into the pockets of my dress pants in some act of leftover ant-establishment bullshit, my right one brushed along something hard. Frowning I pulled it out of my pocket, my brows immediately smoothing as my eyes fell on the oh so familiar scribble of my girl.
You've got this!
See you afterwards.
God, I loved that girl!
"You ready?" True to character, Tanya barged into the dressing room like she owned the place, not stopping to knock or even announce her arrival, the long train of her elaborate stage dress trailing after her.
I nodded, grabbing her hand. "Thanks again for doing this. It means a lot to me." Being the awesome friend she was, Tanya had taken time out of her busy performance schedule to help me out, adding her clear soprano voice to the symphony, enriching the sound and empowering the overwhelming love that spoke out of Johannes' music.
"Are you kidding me?" she joked. "Every music journalist in town is in that room, Edward. Imagine all the exposure I'm going to get from this!"
"Okay," I nodded, my heart hammering to the beat of an imaginary drum as a bodiless voice over the intercom announced that we had one minute until we were supposed to report upstairs.
To the stage.
"Come on, let's go." Using the leverage she had on my hand, she pulled me along, leaving me barely enough time to grab my baton as we went on our way.
To greatness or utter fucking failure.
The minute we walked up the stairs, I could fucking hear it; the sound of people buzzing around, performers tuning their instruments…the fucking anticipation in the air.
It was the life I'd always wanted but only, up until a couple years ago, never thought I'd have in a million years. Standing there, at the cusp of it, though, I realized it had all been worth it.
Every fucking epiphany Bella had forced from my mind over the past two years.
As much as I hated some of those steps, they'd all paved the fucking way that had led me here. To the life I had.
And to say I was fucking happy was the understatement of the year.
In the past two years, Bella had come to mean more to me than anyone ever. We'd helped each other through our ups and downs like just about every other fucking couple in the world. With the shit we were carrying on our shoulders, things just got a little more real whenever one of us was struggling with something.
We'd both made some big progress, though.
Through therapy and a fucking awesome circle of friends, my girl had come out of her shell a little bit more. Now that Banner and James van Leyden were behind bars, she'd managed to let go of her fear and live a little, even though it was still costing her a lot of fucking strength to put herself out there when she'd much rather stay stuck behind her desk at the Institute.
I, on the other hand, had managed to tone it down a little. Now that my dad and I weren't fighting all the time, I actually found out he was a pretty okay guy. We had spent a lot of time talking the past couple of years—both because my shrink ordered it to get past my anger with both my parents and because I really wanted to get to know the guy.
Bella and I supported each other through thick and thin even though at times I wanted to string her neck and she, in turn, probably felt like smothering me in my sleep. We had each other's backs and that was what was so awesome about being in a relationship; knowing there was someone out there who would love you regardless of whether to not they agreed with you and gave you a kick in the ass whenever they felt you needed it.
And hell, I just really fucking loved her.
If someone had told me five years ago that I would fall in love with a woman and that I'd want to be with her for the rest of my life, I'd probably have decked them. But even if we were nowhere near ready to discuss marriage yet, I already knew deep down that I'd never look at another woman again the way I did my girl.
She was everything to me.
Waking up next to her in our own apartment, still felt like Christmas morning every fucking day. Sure, we fought and there were moments—mostly due to the stress of the projects we were working on—when we hated one another's guts, but at the same time I knew I'd always come home to her.
Then, of course, there was the legacy; the inheritance we'd received almost a century after the legato had lost his life.
Dad had left me in charge of that, stating that he knew almost nothing about the world of music and the way Johannes' musical inheritance should be handled, whereas I had all the knowledge of it as well as the necessary contacts in the field.
No pressure or anything.
So for the past couple of years, I'd been liaising with the Institute—in other words Bella, though sometimes that slimy bastard of a boss of hers had to creep in and remind me that he was watching me—as I worked on the score while carrying the huge responsibility of protecting Johannes's' legacy. They fought hard to do justice to its history and the documentation of what Aro Volturi was looking to market as 'the greatest and most tragic romance that's ever been told'.
And no doubt earn a pretty penny from it.
"One minute," a stagehand announced as we waited. Tanya's hand squeezed mine as the adrenaline that had slowly been building started to erupt.
And then, there was the applause, followed by a slow walk through the sea of performers to the front of the stage while my heart seemed beat out of my chest.
The anonymous mass of people applauding as we took up our spots.
The small reassuring wink from Tanya as I cleared my throat and grabbed my baton.
Squinting, my eyes searched through the bright stage lights until they found Bella; her hands clasped into a tight knot and a soft smile gracing her face as our eyes locked and the world around us fell away.
Go ahead, do what you were born to do, her eyes told me.
My heart clenched. But what if I screw up?
You won't. It's what the whole 'born to do' is all about, remember? Her determined gaze reassured me. Now get your head out of your ass and show them what history has deprived them of for so long.
Fighting a chuckle I nodded my head slightly so that only she would catch its meaning, patting my hand against my pocket to let her know I'd read her note. She was right, just as she had been all along.
I was ready.
I was so fucking ready.
Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath as I steadied my nerves and let the love of some of the people I knew to be seated behind me—Bella, Dad, and my friends—steadying my back as I opened my eyes again, determined to see this through and do justice to the maestro, my great-grandfather, and his legacy.
From the first, soft notes I was carried away. My hands set the tempo for the orchestra as I allowed to music to do its work and enchant the room with the languid lento of the opening movements only to speed up into a lively allegretto as the violins started to take over from the cellos in the string section, soon joined by the flutes as attraction exploded into love.
The brass section added depth as the overture came to a thundering close. At my signal, the music stopped; the caesura lasting only as long as it took me to signal Tanya as well as the strings to be ready as the second movement started off. Violins laced with Tanya's melancholy soprano voice delicately as the love which had seemed so sweet at first, turned out to be unattainable.
The rest of the performance passed in a blur. The adrenaline kept me sharp and focused on the job, the acts of spreading my attention between the different sections of the one hundred piece orchestra, preparing those who would soon be joining the sound as my hands continued to set the tempo. After a while it started to become more natural to me as I felt myself relaxing and actually enjoying myself.
Until the finale, when the stretto of the final movement erupted in the grand finale as the happy ending Johannes and Amelia never had in this life, lingered in the air.
The eruption of the audience as the last note died down almost came as a shock, my mind still wrapped up in the emotion of the music as the first 'bravos' started to sound behind me, forced me back into my role as conductor. I urged the orchestra to stand and receive the praise before allowing the spotlight to fall on Tanya who, in turn, directed it to me.
Blinded by the bright lights, I let it all happen, my body in a state of shock as I stared out and bowed, probably looking like a rabbit caught in headlights.
It wasn't until the curtain started to close for the first curtain call that I saw the two unworldly figures standing in the wings. They were smiling; his face angled towards hers as their hands reached out to touch; the relief of finally being together again made their faces look radiant, even in spite of the burden they carried.
Now that the pieces of Johannes' last ode to the woman he loved were back together again and their great love had finally been revealed to all who cared about those two poor, unfortunate souls and the magic they inspired, their souls would finally be at peace.
After all of our hard work, history's imperfections had finally been wiped away.
The past had been made perfect.
And that's it. I know I could have written on and on about these two and their struggle to perfect the past but this seemed like a good place to end it. Next week, my new story will take the place of PI and I hope you'll join me for that one as well. It's completely different from this one – no creepy professors and greedy descendants, just a whole lot of relationship angst (and pastry) – but I hope you'll give it a go.
Before I hit the 'complete' button, I'd like to thank my beta-team, Jadsmama and LadySharkey1, from the bottom of my heart for polishing my words and holding my hand as I sometimes struggled through this one. Without those two, writing wouldn't be anywhere near as fun.
And: last but not least: thank you all for walking this crazy path with me, warming my heart with your words of encouragement or challenging my mind with your questions/suggestions. They make me feel proud to be a member of this fandom.
As always…I'd love to hear your thoughts.