One thing I loved about filming was the fact I was surrounded by some of my favorite people. I didn't realize until later in life just how I was spoiled with this assortment of people. Carl was renowned in his field as a director of photography and yet he always agreed to help me out on my small little projects. Magda was highly sought after as a costume designer but she always had time for me. And other people like Tommy and Kenny were nearly on the same level as I was during the Italian Revenge movie and every time I worked with them they rose a little higher on the ladder.
I was truly blessed.
Filming on the first day went well and even though I could feel my nerves bubbling up inside my chest; it wasn't from the trepidation of directing a music video for a now major artist. Liberty Project's fans were growing every day and the label had enough faith in them to put them on a major world tour next summer. Scott told me that they were finally able to play an arena as large as the Staples Center, the same place where the famous basketball team the Lakers played.
My nerves came from knowing that in just a few days I would be on stage in front of millions of people. Embry and I both had the choreography down but were still having trouble with being completely in sync which is really hard to do when you can't see the other person. Justin was still helping us but it was a trial.
The American Music Awards was going to be hosted by a late night talk show host and the award show would be at the Nokia Theater. I arrived on Friday with Embry and Justin to get ready for our first dry run. We had only ever rehearsed in Justin's dance room and so there were things that we needed to work out now being at the actual location.
The show was being produced by Dick Clark Productions and they had allotted a time for us to go over lighting and any other requirements needed. Even though I was upset for Embry putting me through this stress when he railroaded me into doing this performance; I felt content the day we showed up for the rehearsal knowing what a nice feather in my cap that Embry would be beside me for this. Just showing up with him and walking through the auditorium, you could see how people stepped aside for him and respected him.
Seth Clearwater was there as well as Stefan Vladic. Embry wasn't actually under WMG's label so his label showed up as well to watch and see how this performance was going to go. I was immediately nervous knowing that the suits were going to be watching us before we had a chance to really rehearse in the new space.
"Hey, stop it." Embry said to me.
"Stop what?" I asked.
"It's like your asshole just tightened up. Relax and don't think about them." He nodded his head toward where the suits had taken seats.
"Embry, in the future; could you not think so much on my asshole." I reprimanded him.
Embry laughed, "I'll work on that."
We had a brief conversation with the lighting and sound people over the performance. Lighting went up in their booth and gave us an example of what we wanted and sound outfitted us with mic's. Embry who had been used to holding a hand-held mic now had to get used to one being on him instead. I didn't have that problem.
I noticed that Justin had placed himself in the lighting booth to help facilitate the proper lighting. Overall we were given over an hour for the rehearsal and had yet to do one thorough run thru and the song was only three and a half minutes long. I hoped that tomorrow would be better. I was feeling slightly discouraged that we weren't able to get through the performance even once and I was worried that it wouldn't be ready in time.
"Bella, would you stop stressing out so much?" Embry and I were headed back to the house and I had yet to say anything.
"How can you not be stressing more?" I asked. "We haven't even gotten through the performance once yet?"
"I don't stress. Not about performances. You haven't had a lot of experience in this yet but you may feel like the whole world is coming down around you but come Sunday night when the lights go down and the music starts up; your adrenalin will kick in and as some kind of outer body experience you will sing and move exactly the way you have practiced, it will be perfect. Happens every time. Then depending on how you are, you may get a high from the performance and wish you could do it again or the music will end and you'll be standing there staring out over the people and could feel the need to puke."
I looked over at him in horror. He started laughing, "Don't worry, I won't let you puke."
"Don't say things like that."
"Haha, you should have seen your face, B."
"Let's talk about something serious for a moment." I tried to take my mind off the impeding performance. "We need to talk to the girls and tell them about your plans to move here. Also Emma has been doing some research on some suitable schools. I have been thinking that maybe we should keep home schooling them until after the first of the year and after we have found a proper institution."
"Of course I want the girls to go to a good school but I want to make sure that they have good security. I know how the paparazzi can be out here. One of the reasons why I kept them in the suburbs."
"Absolutely, I agree one hundred percent. I want to do everything we can to make sure they have a great education and of course safety is key. If it makes you feel better we can always hire Derrick to be their bodyguard." I laughed.
Embry gave me an uneasy look. "Bella, Derrick won't work as a body-guard anymore."
"Why not?" I asked.
"He was supposed to be there the night Eugene was killed. He was Eugene's body-guard. He blames himself. He hung around my house saying he was just helping me out and I have told him countless times that Eugene's death wasn't his fault but he took it kind of hard and decided to quit."
I sat there driving down Sunset for a moment in reflection. My heart sank for Derrick; I felt really bad for him. Derrick would sit around and find solace in wood carving until one day Embry had to beg him to come back to work…for me. But we'll get to that.
We arrived back home and Edward was there to greet me. He was a little upset that I asked him not to go this morning but I really wanted Edward to see the completed version of our performance on Sunday. In those first couple of performances he would do as I asked and not come to my rehearsals, it wasn't until after the Academy Awards when he would ignore my pleas for him to stay away. It was hard for me to understand why he was so upset with the Academy Award performance; the thing went off without a hitch. I didn't die and who cares if I kissed Scott Morell, I was acting after all but again I digress.
"How did it go?" He kissed me quickly.
I sighed and shook my head. Edward looked over to Embry.
"Ugh, Edward she seems to think that it was supposed to go flawlessly without a hitch and she's been obsessing over it all day." Embry explained agitated.
"I didn't say that but we were there for over an hour. You'd think we could get through it once." I complained.
"Bella, this is normal. Tomorrow you'll go through it a couple of times. You're just new to this." Edward tried to console.
"I just want to relax and spend time with the girls." I tried to leave them in their words of wisdom hall.
"When did you want to talk to them?" Embry asked.
"I guess now." I replied and he followed me up the stairs. I had already told Edward that Embry was planning on moving here and he was excited to know the girls would be near and could stay with us more often. He even told Embry the next day that he could stay as long as he like with us but if he did want his own house to let him know he could help him out with a fantastic Realtor.
Becky had been watching the girls for us lately when my parents weren't around. Savannah liked hanging out with her because she was in high school and cool. Gracie liked hanging out with anyone. She had always been easy to please when it came to friendship.
My mom thankfully had backed off a little on the wedding talk; I had a feeling that Edward may have talked to her. She had started to teach Savannah and Gracie during the day on their lessons. Having her here was a great way to keep the girls on track with their studies. My dad who retired a few months ago thought that staying at Edward's house was a vacation. He would sit around in our living room, eat and watch ESPN.
Embry and I found Gracie and Savannah in Becky's room.
"Hey, would you mind if we steal them away for a little bit?" I asked Becky.
"Sure. No problem." She replied.
"Savannah, Gracie. We want to talk to you for a minute." Embry called after them.
"Are we in trouble, Daddy?" Gracie asked.
Savannah and Gracie followed me to their bedroom and we all took a seat on Savannah's bed. Princess Meow Meow had gotten rather large since the time we brought her home and she now took up a portion of Gracie's bed and looked like the Queen of Sheba.
"I have been thinking lately that maybe it would be good for us to move to California for a little while?" Embry started.
Savannah's eyes started to light up, "Really. We can stay?" she asked.
I smiled to her and nodded my head.
Gracie scrunched up her little forehead, "Can Princess Meow Meow live with us in California?"
"Of course she can." I answered. "Your daddy and I want to go and look at some schools for you both and we were thinking you would start back up at a school in January."
"Can't we just stay home schooled" Savannah asked.
"Don't you want to go and make new friends?" I asked.
"No. I'd rather stay home schooled." Savannah looked sick at the idea of having to return to school.
"I want you in a school, Savannah." Embry said. I could tell there was something bothering her.
"Gracie, I heard your daddy is looking for a partner to play basketball with. Do you want to go down to the court and show him that new move you've been working on?" Embry looked over to me and I gave him a nod to go. He got up from the bed and Gracie cheered as she jumped down.
"I can't wait to show you what I can do, Daddy." Pulling Embry from the room, I was left with Savannah. I watched them leave and turned back to Savannah who was pulling at her blanket.
"Why don't you want to go back to school?" I asked.
She shook her head, "I don't like going to school…the other kids…they don't like me. They make fun of me. I don't have any friends. I just want to stay here. I promise I will do all of my work and even extra, please don't make me go back to school." She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and my heart broke because I knew exactly how she felt. I wanted to say yes and protect her from her peers but I knew that wouldn't necessarily be right either.
"Savannah, when I was young like around your age; I was made fun of too. I wish I could tell you that the things kids used to say to me didn't hurt me but they did. In fact I still have to fight with the mean things they said and tell myself today that it's not true. You're going to find people in this life whose sole purpose is to tear you down because it makes them feel better about their own lives. I look back on when I was your age and I wished I would have stood up for myself. When your dad and I go to look at schools I want you to come along and if you don't feel comfortable then we won't send you there. But please try to see. Just because you didn't make friends in New York doesn't mean you won't make friends here. I want you to have friends your own age because when you do find a friend; trust me that person can make you so happy. If you do go to a school and you hate it; please tell me. I will always stand by you and if you are miserable then we will figure something else out, okay?"
She nodded her head.
"Does being famous now help with what you had to go through when you were my age. I mean people like you now."
"Being famous wasn't a confidence booster. I still struggle with my self-esteem. Sometimes it makes it harder because people may love you but they will love you for superficial reasons. Your daddy is famous and someday you may find that a person wants to be your friend because of your famous dad. It's hard because you have to be able to be a good judge of character and to see if a person is sincere. People may look up to you just because of who your father is but you need to learn to use that influence for good."
"I will try school again." She replied.
"Good. I love that you love reading but I really would love to see you get out and do other things. Has there ever been something you wanted to take lessons in? Musical instrument? Dance? Art?"
"Well, I have always wanted to take riding lessons. I've never even been on a horse but I want to try."
"I've been a couple of times; it's fun. I will talk to your dad and maybe we can have you go riding and see if it's something you like. If you ever want to try something just let me know. Something that always got me through my school days was my family. It's not just your dad and me and your sister; Edward is here for you and Becky and Jacob. We are all here to love and support you no matter what."
I gave her a hug and Edward knocked on the door quietly. "Hey, did you guys want to come down and help with making pizza for dinner?"
Savannah jumped up from the bed and I followed her out. As I was passing Edward took a hold of my hand and stopped me for a moment. "Hey, try to relax tonight. I think it will be good for you, Bella."
I sighed, "I'll try."
My parents never had the pleasure of being in on one of Edward's famous pizza making lessons. Edward decided it would be far more exciting if we all made our own personal pizza. He made sure that all the ingredients one would ever want on a pizza were out and ready. It was a good thing we had put in an extra oven. I was a little surprised when even my dad rolled up his sleeves and got into the lesson. I of course had a barbecue chicken pineapple pizza.
The next day, Embry and I managed to get through our performance three times and Justin said that every time Embry and I were closer and closer to be in sync with one another. My high for the day gave me the confidence for tomorrow.
Marcus showed up early on Sunday morning with dress in tow. I suddenly realized that if I didn't like it or felt self-conscious in it; it would be too late now. But as always, I don't know what I was worried about.
Marcus pulled out a royal purple flowy dress. The sleeves were long the neck was plunging and it was short in the front and long in the back. I had never seen anything like it before but I thought it was edgy and perfect for the AMA's.
I had tried it on and Marcus was helping me and making sure it fit right in all the right places.
"Wow. You always know how to outdo yourself." I praised twisting in the mirror in front of me.
"Would you please stop moving, I need to see if I should hem it any further." Marcus scolded me.
He was down on one knee scrutinizing every little detail.
"Marcus, would you design my wedding dress?" That came completely out of left field but in that moment all I could think was who better? Marcus nearly stabbed me with a needle as he faltered on my words. He paused looking up at me with a serious expression. Slowly he rose to stand eye to eye with me, well not really since he was like six inches taller than me.
"It would be my honor." He replied softly.
I had never seen him so…choked up before. I smiled at him.
"Thank you." I answered.
Marcus walked around the other side of me and started to play with the dress a little.
"Isabella, I never will be able to repay you for the kindness you have shown me."
I furrowed my brow. "Marcus, you have done far more for me then I have ever been able to do for you. There is nothing to even think on repaying me. I wish I could do something to repay you for all you have done."
Marcus and I never were ones for serious conversations. Scratch that, most conversations we had were serious but both of us used sarcasm as a way of watering down our conversations. This was the first time where sarcasm took a back seat.
When Marcus was satisfied with his work he took leave after telling me that he would now be returning to his dungeon to start on designs for the wedding dress. You should have seen his face when I told him I would need it by February thirteenth. He thought I was joking, poor guy.
Getting my hair and makeup done I was suddenly frustrated of how easy men have it. They could literally get ready in an hour and wear the same suit over and over. I think I was trying to put my focus on anything but my impeding début.
This would be the first award show or event where I wouldn't feel nervous about the red carpet. The red carpet looked like a cake walk compared to what would be happening in t minus three hours. Edward and I showed up an hour before the show started to answer questions from the press and pose for pictures. I was so used to the normal arrangement Edward and I would go through. Get out of the car, pose for pictures, talk to the reporters and then stand by while Edward walked up and down the carpet signing autographs for the screaming fans on the opposite side from the press. This had always been our routine but today Edward pulled me with him to the screaming fans and it was the first time I would ever have people call my name and ask for my autograph.
Don't get me wrong, I had been asked for autographs before but never like this. I couldn't wrap my mind around people knowing me and actually liking me.
After twenty or so minutes, we were told that we needed to get into the auditorium. I walked hand in hand with Edward and said a few quick hello's to friends passing by.
"Coward." I said taking my seat next to Embry. Embry made it a point to me that he did not do red carpets and he usually took the side entrance into shows.
Embry rolled his eyes. "It's not my thing."
"I can't imagine how frustrated your label must be over you. Your album drops in two weeks; don't you think it be who of you to I don't know; do press and promote?"
"B, I don't need to promote it. There is a countdown clock on my official website where my millions of fans have known all about it for months now. Also Entertainment Weekly named my album one of the most anticipated albums of the year. That's all the press I need."
"Don't make me slap you." I replied put off.
The lights came down cutting off Embry's and my banter for the moment. Edward took my hand and I could feel the sweat starting as I mentally counted down in my head. I kept checking my phone every couple of minutes until Edward took it away from me. I could feel the fluttering in my chest begin and I was a little upset that I wasn't able to enjoy some of the amazing performances happening just a couple of feet away. I had great seats. Unfortunately my parents were sitting a little ways back but my mom assured me it was fine. I asked Edward if there was any way he could bring them up to our seats during our performance and he said he would work on it.
"B. We gotta go." Embry pulled me up with him and out of the fog I was in. I leaned over and kissed Edward.
"You are going to do amazing, baby." He said with one final hand squeeze. I nodded my head slowly and resolved. I went into my dressing room where my costume was set up and quickly got myself dressed and ready for hair and makeup. I didn't have much to do since I tried to get my hair and makeup to be close with what I wanted for the performance but still I needed touch ups.
Before Embry went to take his place; he stood in front of me and took my hands in his.
"B, we got this. We're going to do great."
I nodded my head, willing my hands to stop shaking. Embry pulled me in for one final hug and released me turning to go to his mark in the audience.
"Miss Swan, we're ready for you to take your mark." A man told me.
He followed me out to the stage. They were at commercial break and be back in just a minute. It was one of the worst moments in my life to see everyone sitting in the audience watching me as I went to my place on the step. I stretched one last time and tried not to focus on anything else but the song. I was running the whole performance through my head trying to make sure that I had it down. I saw my parents sitting next to Edward. My mom waving wildly at me.
I looked down and then heard the host come out and present us. I remember being worried that I was shaking so much that you would be able to hear it in my voice when I needed to start singing because right up until that music started I was almost shaking uncontrollably. But with that first note and the lights being placed on me; I became someone else and like Embry said, it was an outer body moment.
I went through the motions and sang my little heart out. I listened to every word Embry rapped and did my best to grasp the pain and feeling behind his words. The choreographed portion came and went and it felt like just another day. Nothing could be heard but the music and singing.
We came to the end of the song and Embry turned to me singing the last portion of the song. He placed an arm around me and it was over. Like someone had instantly turned up the volume all I could hear was cheers and screams.
No more nerves.
"So, you gonna puke?" Embry asked looking to me.
I looked out over the crowd and smiled up at him.
"No. Let's do that again."
And we did do it again; in fact Embry and I made a habit of working together as often as possible throughout our careers. He was a rap artist. A genre as far away from me as you could be but something about us; always made sense.
AN: Sorry I've been lame on the updates. I think my vacation took a lot more out of me then I realized. But I am back so hopefully I can update more now. I hope you are enjoying the story. I will say that these few chapters are just a warm up for drama coming. Thank you for reading and reviewing, I really do appreciate it and it does help with modivating me. :-)