Disclaimer: I don't own anything. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Once upon a time, jadalulu tweeted a .gif of Rob in a fedora and sunglasses – it'll be on my profile. And then, jadalulu had a birthday! So I sent it to her. I decided to post it here five months later. Read and enjoy. The title is from Purity Ring's song "Fineshrine" and the summary is from Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl."
Summary: The story of his Cinnamon Girl and her prettyboy Drummer.
The summer air weighs heavy and humid on us, an extra layer on my skin. We're elbow-to-elbow and knee-to-knee: close and comfortable, despite the heat. Red Solo cups surround our small group and a beer bottle is tipped over the table, the dregs drip, drip, dripping, onto the carpet.
His hair is chaotic in the dim halogen lights. It picks up the faux-yellow and looks golden. And when it catches the blue from the television behind him, it becomes a deep and glossy red. It's old-penny and new-penny; shiny and worn. Black sunglasses are mostly hidden in that tangled mess. The lenses reflect just a bit of the light back at me.
His hands tap his thighs in disjointed rhythm to whatever beats in his head. His long fingers sometimes hit the worn khaki; sometimes find that tiny hole, tangling in the frayed material, reaching through until it finds his scarred knees.
The conversations around me have become the dissonant companion to his tap, tap-tap, tap-tap that my heartbeat echoes and my breathing tries to slow. The fedora's brim shadows my curious eyes. The halogen lights are two distinct bright spots on his glasses.
"Bella." His voice is the finest whiskey – warm and smooth. It's best when he says my name.
"When am I gonna get my hat back?"
His fedora is tipped low over my eyes and still pushes his heat into my hair. Kate had plucked it off when he'd stepped off the stage and dropped it on my head. She thought she was being cute and funny in her tipsy manoeuvres but I had thrilled in it – even if his hat was sweaty and hot. I'd worn it gleefully, my heartbeat disjointed and leaving me breathless.
And as much as I enjoy wearing it (more than I should) I shrug and pull it off. Decent flirting is beyond me. I don't play coy well, I don't—can't—make myself demure. He lets it rest in his lap, his tie loose and undone around his neck sitting on the brim.
The setting sun hangs low in the sky, surrounding the houses with its lasting and fierce light. It hits the sliding glass doors, making me squint with every turn of my head to the left. It means I don't get to talk to Kate much, but since she's in Garrett's lap and her tongue is in his mouth, I don't think she minds.
Edward still tap, tap-taps at his knees, his drumsticks far away and drum kit even further. When he stands his movements are fluid and easy. Laidback and rhythmic: just like him. He pauses once at the door, taking in the people around him before looking at me and jerking his head towards the patio.
I wait only a few seconds before I follow him out. Each breath without him is kind of useless and I'm not one for waste. I'm thrilled to the point of stupid when I'm near him, but I don't really care. Edward knows me.
Summer presses on my chest and makes my shallow breaths even more hopeless.
"Can I have one?" I whisper; any louder and my voice will crack from lack of use and eagerness. Smoking will be a challenge, so close to Edward and stuck in this humidity but it'll give me a reason to be out here. A better one than just following him out, at least.
In one hand is the cigarette, the other that stupid fedora. He looks away, sunglasses already lowered but keeps his arms stretched outward. Our fingers don't brush so much as tangle around the delicate stick. We stay there, linked, before his hand twitches and withdraws.
"Thanks, Edward." I like saying his name as much as I like it when he says mine. He ignores the lighter on the railing, instead leaning in closer to me. I move when he does, his head dipping low so that I don't stretch. My hair brushes his forearm and his chest, clinging to his chest a bit, as I inhale when he inhales, his cigarette igniting mine. It lights, smoke curling from the end immediately. I pull away slowly, enjoying the smell of tobacco and Edward as I go.
I sit in the patio chair, despite its rusty seat and flaking paint chips overtop. The ashtray is the deck underneath; I flick every so often to the same spot. Whatever summer breeze there is moves the ash farther and farther, almost in a straight line.
It's easier to focus on this rather than him. His back is to me; smoke snakes out and above his head. He puts the fedora back on, pushing his sunglasses over his eyes.
"What'd you think of this afternoon?" His question is quiet, contemplative.
"It was good. Better than, actually." And it was. A local music festival asked them to perform for the morning crowds. And then squeezed them in for the afternoon.
"Really?" Hope, I think, burns in his voice. The kind of tone he uses when he doesn't want a soft lie to ease him from the truth.
Maybe it isn't hope then, but a way to protect him from it.
"Definitely." My eyes had stayed on him: his face as he counted his beats and measured the song, focused on the drum kit before him. He wasn't on that stage, but in his percussion-filled world, consisting of heavy, heady pulses and thrashing cymbals. I wondered then if he could feel me watching; if my obnoxious, intrusive staring was only that tense and intense for me. He'd looked at my spot once; I wasn't sure if it was me he was looking for. But he smiled and nodded three times, offbeat every one of them.
"It was… perfect." And it was. Because every time he plays for the public it's perfect. Edward gets better with every show; they all do. Confidence works the best kind of wonders for them.
His back straightens, and he slowly turns toward me. A smile plays with his lips, more with the right side than the left. His cheeks rise up and under his sunglasses and I can't see his reaction to my words.
Is he blushing, at my compliment? Do I have that effect on him he does me?
"Did you pay attention to any other bands?"
"Couldn't. I came in from work." I don't tell him I had to switch shifts in order to see him play.
He leans back against the railing, legs crossed.
"You missed some good stuff. Some decent, and some awful." His cigarette dangles from his lips, almost smoked to the filter.
"How long did you need to be there for?"
"Too damn long. It was lonely. I had to spend my time with those losers." Those losers are his closest friends, his confidants and band mates. He smiles as he speaks, a snarky snort two insults away.
I nod, not knowing how to respond. Instead, I let the suburban silence fill the gap: crickets communicate, there's a lawn mower off in the distance and children shouting at the nearby park. He flicks the butt over his shoulder; it flies in a log arc before landing in the grass.
I badly want to know what he's looking at staring so hard at the house that way. His face is distinctly blank.
"Fuck." His voice is raspy and muted.
He looks long and hard and I don't question where his eyes are now. The sun is his backlight, and he blends in with it as it sets. They're both fiery gold and fierce red, bright, attractive, and I can't help but gravitate towards them.
"I think I'm going to head out." He pauses, walking closer. "How about you?"
How about me, indeed? What the hell am I supposed to do with that? I'm too stiff and drawn in in this chair, my knees touching and feet apart. I want desperately to get comfortable, but being with Edward like this sometimes puts me on edge. I rest my head on my knees; feeling like my neck can't hold it up anymore.
Edward leans over me, his shadow becoming my shade. I don't miss his Setting Sun because I get him in real; I get him in human. And that's always, always better. He's so close, and he's squeezing my shoulder and his thumb is rubbing small circles into my collarbone. It runs along my skin every clockwise movement, and I swear he slows down for those few milliseconds.
"I'm getting bored of it here." He nods, pleased with my answer. He waits a moment, before holding a hand out.
My own moves slowly in the space between us until we're skin to skin, and I revel being in his calloused palm. My heart is there, my soul its cushion. He squeezes once, and my world becomes small tilted, swivelling. I am centered here. With him.
He lets go immediately, but it doesn't matter because I still feel his skin and I will forever.
He nods again, pulling the sliding glass door.
Alice cuddles with Jasper and Rose is draped across Emmett's back, his feet up in the air as they read Rolling Stone. The curly, short hair near his neck flutter with each of her exhales.
"Bella and I are heading out. Peace." And with that, he walks to the front door, waiting momentarily for me. He looks over his shoulder as he stands, his busy hands mindful of whatever beat in his head as he hits the wall and the door. I wonder if he even knows he does it.
"Bye, guys." I wave to no one and walk towards Edward.
We head west as we make our way to Edward's place, closer to the downtown area. We're in the middle of the road, at an easy pace and near enough. The setting sun isn't the only thing keeping my warm and safe. It's mostly quiet, with the occasional tuneless hum from Edward. He's somewhere not-here, I can tell: somewhere with endless sheet music and Composition notebooks and real instruments. I'm pretty sure he's close to playing air-drums to work out his problems.
"How was your day?"
I tell him. I ramble about work and the crappy day of sorting books. I explain his set at the festival in detail, complaining about the tall people around me, and the crowd in general. I contemplate aloud if the quiet and the connection that settled over us as the first song began, if it was in my head or if Edward's music worked like it was supposed to. I discuss the songs they played and Jasper's vocals. I don't mention that most of them were my favourites, and I definitely don't ask if that was intentional. And as I babble about nothing but the little things Edward moves closer and keeps silent. It's nerve wracking and aggravating, but that's how he is.
He could reach out only a little bit and we could be touching. His arms don't swing when he walks and my hands are tucked into my pockets, but it could happen.
I wonder if I should interrupt his silence. I'm comfortable in the now, but we're nearing his place and I don't know about then.
Edward is always in his head more than he is in reality. For all I know, he could've asked me to enjoy the walk with him, and that's it. Maybe he didn't even want me here. Maybe I read him wrong—the little of him I could read. Stupid, introspective musicians.
"Yeah." He scratches his neck as he steps closer to his house; it's a cozy duplex with roses climbing the trellises and ivy clinging to the house. The landlady is an avid gardener. I wonder if it lends inspiration to Edward, this riot of colours.
"Um." My eloquence is unparalleled.
Everything catches at the right moment. The sun is a halo around Edward, his hair a riot of vermillion and gold beneath the fedora. His sunglasses may block his expressive eyes from me, but his face is half-smirking and pleasant as Edward walks up to me.
His hands skim along my shoulders and down my arms 'til they squeeze my own once, twice, three times. He brings them up to his mouth and I'm helpless—hopeless—to stop. Not that I mind. My arms are boneless and I'm centered on his lips against my knuckles and his breath teasing my hypersensitive skin. My breathing is shallow; my heartbeat a dissonant tattoo that knocks my ribs.
I don't know what to do when he releases one hand but to let myself be pulled up the pathway, lined with pulsing and vibrant lavender bushes. Their cloying smell overpowers Edward's steady aftershave; my sight has narrowed to Edward's shoulders, neck and head. The bushes tall enough reach into my limited periphery, beginning to frame Edward in green and purple and white. They sweep along my thighs and calves and I tremble at the sensory overload. But still, still, I feel his warm and rough palm more than anything.
He leaves me in his doorway, immediately going for the docking station and pulling his iPhone out. I don't know the band that's pumped out, which doesn't surprise me. When Edward isn't playing or sleeping, he's usually combing the Internet and crawling through pubs and bars for new music.
As difficult to understand Edward in the present, sometimes, he's frighteningly easy to predict.
"Did you hear the Flo song with Kevin Harrison?"
He snorts. "Calvin Harris." The name drips with distain. "I wonder what Florence did to do… that with him?"
"I kind of like it."
He points to the door. "Bella." Edward's whiskey-shod voice is rich with contempt.
"I just like Florence Welch," I say, shrugging. He shakes his head before moving to the kitchen.
"What's your poison tonight? I have wine, beer and spirits." He's excellent at projecting his voice, I think, and allow myself a small tingle as it races through my spine.
"Spirits?" I chough on my laugh. "Whatever wine that hasn't fermented into vinegar."
I sit on his corduroy couch and enjoy quintessential Edward. One walls is filled with records, CDs, cassettes and a whole shelf is devoted to old forty-fives. Books and an eight ball or two act as ends to whatever classification system he uses. I once tried to figure it out; it took me two hours before I gave up.
His accent wall—as Kate called it—consists of his favourite records nailed into it. He made sure he had doubles before they went on, a proud display of his dedication to his heart.
Other walls are a cheery orange with countless posters and memorabilia. Edward has vintage Rolling Stones posters and a Ramones t-shirt his dad bought at a concert in the early '80s. Edward keeps few pictures of himself and his friends; they're mostly faux-headshots and stereotypical band-pictures: everyone's looking in a different direction, spread out over industrial looking staircases. Edward is laughing the hardest, always.
His ancient upright is coated with a tiny bit of dust, the single rose I got him dried up, the fallen petals a deep burgundy unlike the lush red when I first chose it. The rose's final resting place is beside a rare picture of the two of us; we're pretzel'd together underneath the stars and a flannel blanket from his alma mater. His fedora had been knocked off accidentally—maybe—by my searching hands for the short, softest hairs that always curl over his collar. His usual sunglasses and loose tie are in attendance, even if they can't be seen in the photo. I remember them.
Edward's kit is the focal point of his living room. It's underneath the bay window, constantly highlighted by the sun at all angles. It was his first and his favourite. Beside it, a few stands holding his small collection of guitars, magnificent in they're own right but secondary to his drum kit. The drumheads and cymbals are scuffed from years of creation and frustration. It bears the mark of the highs and lows of his life.
Drumming is Edward. His heartbeat is his percussion; it finds its cadence in whatever tattoo his soul creates. Dissonant, measured, loud and fiery or soulful and smooth, Edward is striking his own rhythm within himself.
The music changes; it's psychedelic and '70s vintage. Memories of swaying and arms clasped around my dad's waist make me smile. Moments of dancing with Edward, my feet on his as his breath rustles the hair at my neck make me shiver.
I cough. "No."
"Here's your wine." Edward smiles, sweet and slow and lasting. "Unvinegared, per your request."
"You're too kind," I reply dryly.
His music choices provide the conversation for us. One hand curls around his beer bottle, the other brushing his hair and scratching his ear. Edward stares down, past his lap and to his scuffed Docs and somewhere else entirely.
Sometimes, it's easy to be with Edward. He understands me more than most. He gets the silence I strive for. He knows when I need to talk, when I'm too muddled and inverted. He once told me being an introvert was like breathing, except you inhaled and inhaled until your lungs burned and you could feel them expand inside and push your ribs open. He said that every once in a while it was just okay to exhale and let go. But what he didn't know, what he couldn't understand was that the silence I needed I found with him, in the comfortable quiet between us.
Sometimes, though, it isn't easy. I'm tangled inside and no amount of exhaling will be able to relax me. I'm on an edge and I'm stiff with the fright of falling.
"I think," I say slowly. The words are heavy in my mouth and drag along my tongue. "I'm gonna head out."
Edward turns swiftly, looking at me intently. His eyes rove across my face; they're a deep sea green in this light, burning with his usual, internal intensity.
I put my wine down, the glass clinking loudly and awkwardly against the table. "Seriously. You're probably exhausted and…" I get up and move towards the door.
"Bella." His hands find my left one and I'm pulled quick and off balance, the only thing stopping gravity's duty is Edward's chest. I land with a soft thump.
He holds me and he looks. His hands leave my own and move; they're so at odds with his the rest of Edward. They start at my wrists and move up, up towards my elbows and cross over my shoulders. They hold my neck and brush against my ears and chin and cheek before his right hand moves and trails to my navel, via the valley between my breasts. From there, it reaches around my waist, and pulls me closer. We touch at the knees and at the chest. Our connection surpasses the skin at this moment, when our souls are twined together.
He doesn't kiss my lips first. It's a slow build that begins with my chin and my cheeks and my nose. He moves to my eyes slowly, pressing light kisses against the gentle skin, before moving to my temples and the skin beneath my ears in a spot that makes me shudder and knee-less. He drags his lips along my jaw, before finally, finally they reach my own. And the feeling is fucking fantastic: soft and firm and warm and perfect. It's easy and sweet and Edward. He's gentle, but I can tell he's worked up, too, as he presses my hips into his. One hand reaches up and curls around my neck, bending my head just enough to increase the pressure. He is lips are persistent against mine, and that's when I can taste him and the Sleeman's he had before we began this venture.
His breath breaks across my face and moves into me with every strained inhale until we're one in the same.
"Bella." My name is a prayer and a plea and its whispered against my neck. "Bella," he says again, his lips brushing the delicate skin there; he brushes open-mouthed kisses along my collarbone, his hair touching the kiss-sensitive skin of my cheek and jaw. I shiver.
"I…" am speechless. What happens now?
Edward raises his head, his green eyes glazed and beautiful. He looks long and hard, straight down to the marrow of everything. And that's what he says, "Everything."
He kisses me again, no longer with the sweetness and gentility of before. Edward's kisses are bruising and insistent, full of eagerness and want.
He pulls back, pulls me with him 'til his knees hit the couch and the rest of him—and me—follow. I sit up in his lap, knees pressed against his hips and along his thighs. His hands move across my body again, rapidly, as if to know me through memorization and repetition. My hands find purchase in his hair as his lips make a home of my neck. His ministrations create that coil in my stomach and I shiver with each new touch.
His hands chart the topography of my body. Fast and slow, long touches and short ones. His hands know the neck of a guitar and his drumsticks and the ivory of his piano: every inch, every grove, with ease and familiarity. And I want his hands to know my body as intimately as he does his instruments. With every brush against my stomach, my shirt is raised and eventually pushed over my shoulder and past my head. My hair tangles and raises with the static electricity, drawing a choked laugh from Edward. I don't question what's happening or what will happen. Because it is and I'm not dreaming and I've waited too long. And so has Edward.
He places a single kiss against each breast, catching my skin and the lace of my bra. "Beautiful, Bella. So fucking beautiful." His words become a mantra against my skin, etched there and seeping into my bones. I tackle the salmon-coloured Oxford shirt until it lies in a lifeless heap on his shag rug, before I attack the t-shirt beneath. I rub against his abs and pecs, charting his body for me.
"Just like cinnamon." His hands press against my hair and his tongue takes quick sweeps into my mouth. "Your eyes…" I feel his thumbs press against my eyelids. "Your taste…" He moves to my neck and nibbles. "You hair…" he groans as he tugs it gently.
I spend time over his heart. The intimate and ominous and on-the-cusp-of-darkness lyrics reside there: "cut open my sternum and pull, my little ribs around you." My lips kiss them, my lips trace them. Edward's head thumps against the back of the couch.
"I want you, Bella. I want you with me, around me, in me." I'm lying beneath him, my bra on his piano bench. My shorts and his stupid, stiff khakis the last bits to go. His hands run along my ribs and around my breasts, swirling around in smaller circles before he reaches the tip. And then his head is there and Edward's kissing and licking me there.
Edward's name escapes me on a drawn out sigh. He kisses me fierce, before lowering my shorts and my unashamedly get-lucky underwear. He groans long and low, and looks. His eyes trace the maze of my body, connecting me in new ways, connecting me to him. He just… looks and absorbs and breathes me in.
His eyes reach mine. "You sure?"
I nod, not enough air in me, around me to answer. I gasp as his fingers touch me gentle and quick, stroking and tightening the coil low in my belly. I moan his name, exhale it and sigh it as my eyes glaze over and fall away, fall apart in the best ways possible.
My senses are reduced to pulsing, divided parts. No longer do I get the entire feeling of this, but little flashes of taste as kiss and nibble his neck; of his whispered litany of my name; of his fingers stroking and grasping at my hips, my ribs, my breasts, my everything.
Edward's first thrust rocks me to the marrow. "Finally," I whisper. He groans against my mouth, a startled chuckle soon following.
"Finally," he repeats.
And then we're like the striking of a match: we're bright as we flare up and grow, in that moment, to something more than what I thought possible. We're alight until we're burning down, burning low.
I feel. Edward's breath that ruffles my hair and tickles my shoulder and neck. I feel the pleasing ache of being stretched, and him hitting deep. I feel the corduroy couch ease and soften around our bodies. I live for the burning in my thighs and hips and pelvis as I thrust up to meet him, every time.
Edward maintains his dissonant rhythm: slow and fast and frenzied and tender. He rubs my clit in disjointed movements, muttering, "Bella, Bella, Bella," over and over until he reaches his climax, and then I fall, again.
With Edward, it's always falling and I thrive on the feeling.
We lay entwined. Edward finally manages to shift, leaning against the back of the corduroy with me cradled to his chest. I press my ear against the lyrics over his heart, listening to his beat, and wondering if they match that song.
Every heart speaks its own language. Edward and I… we speak our own. It's dips and dives and poetry and ours. We speak in silent sounds that need to be understood when we're pressed together.
"Perfect," he says, his hand massaging my hip.
"That's been in the works for a while." His hand moves up to the underside of my breast.
I agree because it's the truth. I can't deny the emotions and the feelings that piled on inside me.
I notice his knees and snort. "You've got corduroy marks."
He flips me over and presses kisses to my backside. "So do you."
Edward's lips on my skin, the sunken sun playing with his hair and the peace that descends between us is everything.
Neil Young: "Cinnamon Girl"
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes: "Home"
Van Morrison: "Moondance" and "Brown Eyed Girl"
Florence + the Machine: "Heartlines," "All This and Heaven Too" and "Lovers to Lovers"
Purity Ring: "Fineshrines"
Givers: "Noche Nada"
Guilty About Girls: "Candy Candy"
The Lumineers: "Ho Hey" and "Flowers In Your Hair"
Mother Mother: "Lets Fall in Love"
School of Seven Bells: "ILU"
The Stills: "I'm With You"
The XX: "Our Song"
Author's Notes: One million gropey-hugs to stickybuns for being amazing and jogging my brain when it lagged. And for prereading. And for being amazing. I luffs her. What did you think of it? Stay classy. XX