Over the next few days we traveled into Greece and stopped at cities along the eastern coast of Italy. Beautiful people and wondrous things to eat, see and do. It was one of the best experiences of my life. We had been gone for some time and I could feel that the trip was coming to an end.
I could tell because I could see a change in Edward. He seemed almost sad and I could tell that even our love-making had shifted as well. He was no longer making love to me like it was the first time; he was making love to me like it could be the last.
"What's wrong, Edward?" I finally asked him as he served our dinner quietly.
He didn't respond.
"I can tell there is something wrong. I wish you would talk to me. I thought you wanted us to communicate to each other all of our feelings."
"We're pulling into Venice tomorrow. It's the final destination for our trip. The family will be there…we will spend a few days and then return to California and…go on with our lives." He replied solemnly.
"Venice." I whispered the word like I was trying it out for the first time but we had been to Venice before however last time we weren't able to do all the romantic things that couples do because we hadn't gone public yet.
"Just because our trip is ending doesn't mean that it's all over. We…are still married and that's important right…and you can still look forward to…children…I…"
I was having a hard time at hearing Edward's confession and not taking it personally. I know what he said but what I heard was now that the fanfare was over, what now?
"Bella, god I'm sorry…I'm not…I don't want you thinking that I'm disappointed. God, this trip has been probably the best weeks of my life. I'm sorry…I'm having a hard time because I know the reality and the reality is that once we head back to California, we…our lives are going to change. I'm not going to see you as much. I have to leave soon to film in Chicago and you'll be busy with whatever projects you take on. There will be people coming in and out of our lives and I don't want to share you."
I placed my hands on his and gave him a little smile, "Edward, if we have children, you're going to have to learn how to share."
That earned a smile.
"I don't know if that is a lesson I will ever learn when it comes to you." He replied.
"This time away from everything has been more amazing than I could ever have imagined. Even with being seasick it was still great because you were with me. But I know that if we stayed on this ship for the rest of our lives eventually it would start to cease being special and meaningful…we would find things to fight over and maybe even become bored with one another. I think that our everyday lives and all the crazy keeps us sane and gives us the opportunity to really appreciate how vacations like this are special. So please don't be sad and tonight when you make love to me, don't think of what you are losing…love me…celebrate our time together and as your wife I want to say, stop ruining the final moments of our honeymoon with your….moodiness." I huffed.
He gave me his famous smirk and leaned in for a kiss.
"Happy wife, happy life. Okay, my darling. No more moodiness." He kissed me good and deep and there was no more sadness or desperation just joy.
Our night was perfect, just like every night before but as we sailed up to the dock I could feel the full weight of what Edward felt before. We were returning to civilization where decisions, hasty meals and schedules were going to begin once again.
It was early evening and I started to pull my bags up to top deck to disembark.
"Leave them. I have someone coming to pick those up." Edward took my hand and we walked from the boating dock to a smaller dock where there was a gondola all ready for us.
"Oh Edward…we get to be the sappy love couple now." I squealed
Riding in a gondola with the person you love in Venice would definitely be on my list of must do's. The sun was setting and the canal lights that led the way were starting to turn on and even though we were not alone, it was the best way to end our honeymoon. I sighed and couldn't help the tears that formed as I pondered how perfect this moment was and how yes all good things must come to an end.
Edward's arm wrapped around me kept me warm from the cool air. There were faint sounds but for the most part all I could hear is the water and the boat creek as our gondolier pushed on.
"Recognize this?" Edward whispered into my ear.
I looked around but unfortunately no I didn't recognize anything.
"Look at that door, right there." He replied as he pointed to my left.
We were coming up on a group of homes that were rather close to one another and one was three stories high painted in yellow with white shutters. I gasped as I finally realized what I was looking at.
"Oh my god." I bounced a little. Just like Edward had promised on my last birthday, we would spend the last part of our honeymoon in the house he bought for me for my birthday gift. The painting he gave to me to represent this home but I had never stepped foot in it or seen it in all it's true glory until now.
The gondolier slid right on up to the dock outside and Edward helped me up and out.
"Mommy." I turned to see Gracie come flying out of the house.
"Hey! You don't run on the dock, Gracie. You'll fall in." I heard Embry shouting from the door.
"You're back! You're back!" She went on not even listening to her father.
I picked her up and gave her a kiss.
"Yes. We are back but you should listen to your daddy. You shouldn't run out here." I lightly scolded.
Gracie climbed over to Edward's arms and we started to walk towards the house. When Edward said that family would be there, that meant Embry, the girls, my mother, Jacob and Becky. All of which gave us an amazing reception as we entered the house Edward gave me.
Having only ever seen the exterior in a painting, I was immediately in awe as I looked at the high ceilings with chandeliers and the walls with my favorite crown molding that Edward had throughout the home in Bracciano. The airy feeling when you walked through that felt like peace and harmony and for a quick moment I found myself imagining Edward and I coming here to raise our baby.
The idea of a baby wasn't as scary as before. I had a couple of weeks to process it and I couldn't help but feel that with all the sex Edward and I had, I just had to be pregnant by now. I didn't even notice that I had placed my hand on my stomach until I saw Edward give me a knowing smile and it broke me from my thoughts.
"So how was the trip?" My mother asked.
"Amazing. Beautiful. It was perfect." I replied gushing.
"What did you do?" Gracie asked and immediately everyone gave those knowing looks and smirks.
"Uh…well…we read your book." I jumped at the opportunity to tell Savannah and I could see her eyes light up. "And by the way we may need to discuss your extra-curricular reading in the future."
It was a light argument that Edward and I had when we got to a rather steamy chapter and I realized that my nine-year old had read this. Granted it was more innuendo's then anything but still some of the subject matter had me questioning where or who gave her this book even if Savannah was reading almost to a high school level.
"But wasn't it just so incredibly sweet? I want to have a best friend boy when I go to high school." She replied.
"Maybe you should stick to Tianna for now." I replied slightly shuttering at the thought.
"Reading on your honeymoon? Didn't realize I needed to have the talk with you, Edward." Jacob grinned widely.
"What kind of talk could you ever give? That special moment when you get to get to first base?" I scoffed.
"Awe, you know how I just love to round bases." He retorted suggestively.
"Okay, that's enough guys. There are children. Shame on you." My mother waved her finger at both of us.
"I'm going to take Bella on a tour. We will be back down for dinner." Edward intervened and pulled me away from the situation.
As Edward took me from room to room, he told me of all the different upgrades he had asked to be put in after he bought the place. His taste was absolutely exquisite but he did leave room for us to add on so that I would feel it was truly our house.
"I love the view from the Bracciano house more but I have to say there is something about this place that completely captivates me. I love all the little touches here and there. You did an excellent job." I praised.
"I'm so happy you like it. Now, I think it is maybe time to christen the house." Edward grabbed me and I squealed as he threw me over his shoulder and took me to the bedroom.
"I thought you were supposed to carry me over the threshold in a more romantic fashion." I laughed.
"I'm done with romance for the moment."
Our honeymoon had sadly come to an end. So many wonderful memories that I cherish from that trip but sadly it was the disappointment I felt when we arrived home and the first opportunity I had to procure a pregnancy test, my results were negative. At the time I will admit that it did put a damper on the whole experience as I could only focus on the negative, figuratively and literally.
I was sure that we had enough sex to result in a positive but as I stared at that damn white tester I felt like a failure. I didn't share my news with Edward because stupidly I felt embarrassed. Like there was something wrong with me. I say stupidly because it took a few years for me to understand that there truly is a time for everything.
Unfortunately the couple of months it took for all the pieces to come together, for that perfect moment were taxing and it was hard on me mentally. We were home and I put on a brave face for Edward because the last thing I needed was for him to worry with me. I knew he would do the right thing and tell me that it will happen when it happens or any other positive antidotes he could come up with but I knew in his mind the same thoughts would plague him too.
Thankfully I had something to help occupy my mind as the moment I got back and checked my messages, there was one reminding me of the wager I had placed with Tanya Denali and are performance that was going to be taking place in a week's time in Las Vegas's Mandalay Bay at the House of Blues.
Everything was set but I still hadn't worked out my song. Yes, I would definitely have something to occupy my mind for the next week.
"Na Na Na Na… Watch me work this crowd…No. I will work you out of that job…"
It was a warm day so I decided to sit in my brand new backyard oasis that was another present Edward had surprised me with when we arrived home. He was starting to get really ridiculous with his presents and I told him as much but he countered that nothing would ever top my gift to him and I will admit it did sting when he reminded me of the childless stomach I had. But like all strong women do, I brushed it off and smiled at him fondly.
I had already written the music for this new song but now I needed to write the lyrics. Something in the past that never troubled me but maybe I was just so unfocused that having to get back in the game was harder than I thought. I needed to win this one and prove to Tanya that she wasn't as beloved as she thought. Maybe then she would realize that a little grace and manners could go a long way.
"Na Na Na Na Na Na." Jacob belted out loudly from behind me and nearly scared my panties to shit.
"Jacob." I huffed. He laughed and took that as his cue to sit down and begin the pester.
"I need to work." I replied irritably.
"Awe, come on. Maybe I can help." He offered.
"Yes. You can. You can leave."
"Geez, I would have thought you would have been in better spirits now that you were finally married. After all I did." He sighed sadly.
I rolled my eyes at his pathetic excuse for a puppy dog face.
"It won't work on me. I have a five-year old and she is by far cuter then you." I continued scribbling on my yellow pad that looked like something a serial killer had marked up with all the ink splashed everywhere.
"Come on. I'm bored." He complained.
"Here. Read this." I handed him my copy of Two Moons that I had been using as a harden surface to write on. "I think you will like it. I could maybe see you play one of the characters."
I smiled to myself just thinking about it.
"Ugh, I hate reading." Jacob flipped the through the pages with his nose all scrunched up and stopped somewhere in the middle.
"I can tell. It's been awhile, huh? You're supposed to start on the first page of the book." I teased.
"Hey, if you keep interrupting me then I will have to start bugging you again." He leaned back in his chaise lounge and let me work in peace. Every once in a while he would pipe up and say "I like that" or "No, Bella" when I would try out a lyric. I guess it did help having him there.
A week later, a couple of us boarded Edward's plane to set off for Vegas. Embry really wanted to go with but since the girls were back in school we had to ask my mom if she could stay with them. We would only be gone for twenty-four hours but I still felt guilty.
"Nervous?" Edward sat down beside me in the cushy leather chair and put on his seat belt.
"Pet peeve of mine: Being asked if I am nervous when I most clearly am." I retorted.
"Come on, you'll be amazing. You always are." Edward leaned over and gave me a peck on the lips. "So, I was thinking…maybe a Vegas baby." He whispered.
"Great. We can name him Elvis." I paused. "I don't think I want to have to tell my kid someday that they were conceived after a drunken night in Vegas…just doesn't sound very loving."
"Well, it doesn't have to be a drunken night."
"Edward, I am nervous. If I lose this bet…I may need to drown my sorrows in a little somethin, somethin. If I win, well I most definitely will need to celebrate. Win or lose, I believe I should be drunk in t minus seven hours." I paused a moment to ponder, "Maybe less if my tolerance has weakened."
"So I guess this means I will be on babysitting duty tonight."
"No, it means that you should have a couple of drinks with me and then take me back to our hotel room where you can take advantage of my weaken mental state to get baby Elvis in this belly so that one day we can tell our son that the reason he is in therapy is because he was conceived on a drunken Vegas night."
"Well if I must, I must." Edward championed.
We checked into our hotel room and I started to go through the outfits I had brought and put something together while I ran through the song in my head over and over again. I was pretty happy with it but still wasn't sure if it would win a crowd over. Sure my albums did well and it seemed that public opinion of me was positive but would it be enough to rival a teen princess pop star? Also I was banking on Tanya having to actually sing her song. It had been years since she ever actually sang. Whenever she would show up for an award show or performance, she was famous for lip syncing.
At nine p.m. we both showed up to the venue and waited backstage. I could see her team of people still prepping her as Stefan talked with her and Seth talked with me. It was almost like a boxing match with each of us in our corner getting last-minute advice from our trainers.
I could hear the crowd out in front of the curtain all waiting to find out who the surprise mystery guests were. They were not going to be told that this was a completion. Seth had a sound meter and was going to take a reading of the crowds cheers the moment our music finished. Whoever rated higher on the sound scale would win the wager.
Now just a flip of the coin would determine who would go first.
"All right ladies. We have explained the rules of the completion. Good luck to both of you. Tanya since you are the seasoned artist, you can call the coin toss." Stefan announced.
"Heads." She hadn't spoken one word to me all night but she loved giving me piercing looks every second she could.
Stefan flipped the coin into the air and it spun over and over before it landed to the floor.
"Save the best for last. She can go first."
All right. Here we go. Just step up to the mic and sing. Not much to it, right?
I hear the crowds get louder and louder as the MC announces a special performance tonight. You can tell he is getting the crowd all riled up and sure this is probably to my advantage but all I can think of is dear God Bella, what did you get yourself into now.
I look over at Tanya as her team is still prepping her and for a moment I see something. I can see her eyes filled with doubt and suddenly I feel sorry for her because it's not her fault. She was merely a product of her environment. Think about it. How many people do you know could be thrust into the spotlight at such a young age and still be able to come out normal a decade later? The entertainment industry is filled with every single enabler you can find. No one to tell you no because they're too busy kissing your ass to make sure they still have a job tomorrow.
I hear my name but I can't think of this song. I see Tanya Denali not as the rude woman clinging on to the hope of a comeback; I see Tanya Denali as a young innocent teenager who worked her way up from mall shows to be one of the biggest stars of her generation. I see the young innocent teenager who had her childhood ripped away from her and exchanged for parties and a drug habit.
Her eyes flash to mine and all traces of self-doubt leave instantly and is replaced with loathing. She loathes me because I am making her go out and perform live and she knows that her past drug abuse has taken its toll on her vocal cords. She knows that unless I mess up major, she will not win.
But I don't mess up. I sing the song. I get in the crowd's good graces and see them dancing and jumping around like maniacs and I know that I will win my wager. As I watch Tanya take the stage and dance her ass off like her life depends upon it, she sings with all the finesse of a cat in heat. She hopes her fame and dance moves will carry her but they don't and it doesn't take long after to know that I won my wager and I feel horrible for it.
"Tanya, wait." I run after her as I see her charge off back stage. I can see the fury roll off her but I can't help but try to make this right.
She flips around and for a moment I wonder if she's going to attack me.
"Look, I'm sorry. I will still help you write a single as long as you are willing to work with me." I am practically panting trying to get it all out before she takes a swing or something.
"I don't need your help. Do you honestly think I care about that group of losers out there? Fuck them. Bunch of fucking idiots." Tanya lashes out.
"Ladies." A poor sound guy tries to intervene but Tanya isn't about to let anyone stop her now.
"Must drive you insane knowing that you have to work your ass off for peanuts and all I have to do is show up and I'm adored. Do you hear me? I am fucking queen of pop and if I were to shit on an album I could sell ten million copies to those idiots out there. Fuck you." She continues.
"Tanya, please just…" I try to get a word in. Talk her down. I didn't want to also be responsible for her running off and drowning her sorrows in alcohol just to get over what I put her through. I wanted to teach her a lesson. She needed to be respectful and understand that you get more bee's with honey and all that shit.
"Ladies!" The sound guy yelled a little louder.
"WHAT?" We both yell at the poor sound guy.
"Your mic is still on, Miss Denali." He informs.
Suddenly Stefan and Seth come charging back stage also out of breath as the room takes in what just happened. Tanya's fury, if at all possible turns to rage as she rips the mic pack off her back and the small microphone off her head. She throws them to the ground and runs off with Stefan chasing after her.
Yes, the audience heard her. Someone must have had out their phone at the time to make a recording because within hours it was splashed all over TMZ that Tanya Denali had a breakdown and called her fans a bunch of fucking idiots.
I didn't celebrate a win or mourn a loss with alcohol like I had planned just a few short hours ago. Even though Edward said he was proud of me. Embry said my song was the shit and many told me that I had done great. I drank the alcohol to try to forget what I had done that night with this performance. I felt horrible but my night was just starting and it was Tanya Denali's reaction to "losing" to me that would begin my first war in the entertainment industry.
AN: Thank you all so much for being patient with this update. I needed to take some time off and I am happy to report that it was very beneficial and I feel rested and ready to write again. I want to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year and hope that 2014 will be good to you!