Sunday, May 22, 2011
Massage Therapy, Chapter 13 - Transformation, part 3
Edward Cullen’s Little Black Notebook
Sunday, August 22 (cont’d.)
My hand tightened protectively around Bella’s for a moment until I recognized the voice behind the accusation.
“Look, Emmett, I’ve been meaning to talk to you,” I began, taking a few more steps toward my brother’s judgmental glare. Bella followed, her fingers still clutching mine tightly.
“I’m not treating Bella anymore,” I continued, looking Emmett square in the face. “I referred her to Katrina so there’s no conflict of interest if I see Bella privately now.”
Emmett’s face remained impassive save for a raised brow over slightly skeptical eyes.
“Edward would never do anything to put your practice in jeopardy,” Bella piped up in my defense. “He was nothing but professional every time I was in the office.”
Emmett snorted and shook his head at us like we we’d missed the point entirely.
“Honestly, it’s none of my business what you two do in private, as long as that’s where it stays. But you’ve been gone long enough that Dad’s on the warpath now, wondering why you aren’t around to support Mom on her big night.”
My fingers worried my hair as I let out a guilty sigh. “I did my Sing For Your Supper bit already. What else am I supposed to be doing that I wasn’t aware of?”
“Well, you missed the auction entirely, for one thing.”
“You always host that bit,” I argued.
“I know, and I did it with style and grace, as always,” Emmett said with a self-satisfied grin. “But that’s when Mom noticed that her favorite child was MIA, and when Mom’s worried, Dad is worried. To say the least.”
“I’m not her favorite,” I protested.
“You keep telling yourself that, Golden Boy,” Emmett said. “In the meantime, you’d better get your ass back to the festivities before Dad carves it up and serves it to the guests on a platter.”
“Fine. We’re coming,” I told him. He turned to lead the way and I gave Bella a smirk over the double-entendre. I was still trying to recover from the intensity of our “coming” just a few moments ago. I could barely think after our seismic encounter, let alone go face the ire of my father right now.
“Your dad seems so nice,” Bella commented as we followed my elder sibling back to the party. “I can’t even imagine him truly angry about anything.”
“You’re right. He rarely gets angry. But he gets disappointed quite often. He’s excellent at laying on the guilt with a trowel, nice and thick.”
“Ah,” Bella sympathized. “That ‘disappointed in you’ line--the ultimate chastisement. A parental standard since the beginning of time.”
“Or the advent of passive-aggressive behavior.” Of that, Carlisle Cullen was a master. He would deny it, of course. He always masks his disapproval under an impressive veneer of concern. But the day I dropped out of U-Dub, that mask finally cracked. He told me I was throwing my life away, right along with yours, Tanya.
I’ve never forgotten it. I’m still trying to forgive it.
“How are things going with Rosalie?” Bella called up to the hulking figure that stalked purposefully ahead.
Emmett slowed his pace until we caught up to him. “Things could not be better between me and Rosalie, actually,” he said, his face practically beaming. I wondered if that’s how I would look if someone asked me about Bella.
“I’m glad to hear it,” she smiled. “She’d probably kill me for telling you, but I know she likes you, a lot. I’ve never seen her like this before. She’s always humming to herself, with this smug little grin on her face. Like she’s got a really juicy secret.”
Emmett let out a hearty laugh. “Well, if she does, I wish she’d let me in on it. She likes me to play the guessing game, that’s for sure.”
“Well, no matter what she says, she can’t hide the fact that she’s just…happy. Really happy,” Bella told him. But her eyes were on me as the Mona Lisa smile staked its claim over her face. I gave her hand a squeeze as I smiled down at her. I knew I could get through whatever else the evening brought as long as she was there at the end of it.
I let go of her hand as we approached the light and noise of the gala, but I couldn’t let go of her. I put my arm around her waist, pulling her closer to me. She did the same, leaning into me and resting her hand on my chest. She looked up at me anxiously.
“Did we really miss an entire auction?” she whispered worriedly as Emmett spied Rosalie and left us to join her. “What kind of auction?”
“It’s not a big deal,” I tried to assure her. “We usually auction off a few antiques and some fine art. It doesn’t last that long.”
Bella’s eyes only grew rounder. “How long were we gone?”
I shrugged and shook my wrist free of the shirt and coat sleeves. “Less than an hour.”
“An hour?” Bella looked mortified.
“Really only forty-five minutes. Time flies when you’re having fun,” I grinned down at her. She did not look amused.
“Bella, honestly, don’t worry about it. For all anyone knows, we’ve been dancing this whole time. Look how many people are out there now.” I gestured to the jam-packed terrace and the lawn, where the tables had been pulled back to allow more room for people to dance and mingle. I thought I heard a familiar jangle of guitar riffing as we pushed our way into the crowd. Sure enough, Jasper had joined the orchestra and turned them into a jazz ensemble as he improvised a sweet solo. I hoped that the Java Noise execs were taking note. Alice certainly was, standing front row and center at the edge of the stage, cheering him on.
I maneuvered Bella into the throng and up to the front, next to my sister. Alice glanced over at us, her eyes growing large before narrowing up at me.
“Look at you!” she exclaimed over the volume of the music. “And you had the nerve to get on my case earlier!”
“What?“ I demanded in mock innocence, while Alice rolled her eyes. I smoothed my hair self-consciously and gave Bella a once-over for signs of our recent tryst. Her cheeks were still flushed and her hair was not quite as polished as it had been earlier, but her usually even-toned ivory skin was mottled in spots with a faint pink rash, probably from my beard stubble. I surreptitiously ran my hand over her brown locks, arranging them over her neck and chest to hide some of the evidence. Alice only grinned at us knowingly, probably thrilled at the way this evening was turning out. I was feeling pretty happy about it myself, I had to admit.
I looked around for Mom and Dad, anxious to get out of the doghouse with them as quickly as possible. I didn’t see them, but I did notice that Jacob Black was trying his hand at the timpani drums toward the back of the orchestra. He looked like he was having a good time, and Jessica was nearby, hooting and hollering in encouragement. I was happy to finally spot the Java Noise people, too, getting an earful of Jasper’s abilities. Between the fund-raising for the AHA, the advantageous networking going on, and the clandestine hook-ups for the Cullen clan, this had shaped up to be a pretty spectacular evening on all fronts.
I stood behind Bella and put my other arm around her, giving her a squeeze and holding her close. She leaned her head back on my chest and glanced up at me, her face all smiles. No one was paying us any mind, but it still felt good to show my affection for her in public instead of hiding it. I didn’t care if Jacob got an eyeful, either. Surely he had to have figured out what was going on by now, if Jessica hadn’t filled him in already.
The song came to a close; everyone cheered and tossed money into the hat at Jasper’s feet. I anteed up as well, throwing some cash into the kitty.
“That’s it, my friends--throw money! Just throw money and I‘ll play all night,” Jazz laughed. “You want to join me?” he added, raising an eyebrow at me.
“I think I’ll pass. You’re doing just fine without me.” Jasper’s skills on guitar were far superior to mine, and the only performing I planned to do was to play Bella’s song for her in private at the loft later on.
As the makeshift jazz ensemble continued, I scanned the crowd for Dad again. If he had sent Emmett out looking for me, it was possible he’d taken off to do the same. The last thing I needed was to have him ream me later on for sending a search party out on my behalf.
“I need to find my dad,” I whispered down into Bella’s ear, reluctantly letting go of her.
“I’ll come with you,” she offered, grabbing my hand. “Maybe he won’t get upset with you if I’m there.”
“Maybe,” I shrugged. But I was grateful to have her with me as I made my way through the crowd, scanning in all directions for either of my parents. I finally found them on the edge of the terrace, swaying slowly to the laid-back jazz beat that wafted over the lawn. Bella and I approached them together, a united front. I was unaccustomed to the feeling, but I liked it. I knew I could get used to it.
Mom was the first to see us. “Edward!” she exclaimed with a relieved smile. “See? I told you they hadn’t strayed too far.”
Dad turned and gave us a deceptively serene look. “You gave us a scare, there, son,” he said with a humorless smile. “It’s not like you to disappear on your mother’s big night, when she needs you the most.”
“Oh, Carlisle. The ball is pretty much running itself at this point,” Mom downplayed.
“I’m sorry. It was all my fault,” Bella spoke up, surprising the hell out of me. “I wanted to talk to Edward about something in private. I should have waited until another time.” Her cheeks flamed red with embarrassment, and my hand tightened reassuringly around hers.
I shook my head in denial at her words. “It’s not Bella’s doing. We needed to work some things out, and I’m the one who suggested a walk in the garden so we could talk. I’m sorry we were gone so long. I didn’t mean to worry you,” I added to Mom at the end.
“Honey, it’s fine,” Mom insisted. “Your father is a worrywart, you know that.”
“I just want to make sure you have your priorities straight, Edward. That’s all,” Dad said quietly. His calm cut more deeply than any raised voice could.
I tried to quell the irritation in my voice as I replied. “I’m well aware that this fund raiser is a priority, Dad. I’m sorry I missed the auction, but I did my part earlier. I don’t think anyone missed me.”
“Your mother missed you,” Dad interjected, a little more sharply this time.
“Carlisle,” Mom said reproachfully.
“I’m sorry that I disappointed you yet again,” I repeated, beginning to seethe inwardly. I tried not to let it show, but I knew my tone gave me away. “But Bella is a major priority for me now, so you might as well get used to it.”
“Don’t talk to your mother that way,” Dad ordered, his anger beginning to match mine.
“What way?” I asked, exasperated. “I’m just telling it like it is. You know damned well I mean no disrespect--at least not to her.”
Dad flinched as if I had punched him. In effect, I had. I think I must have looked as shocked as he did by my words.
“Edward, that’s enough.” The warning tone in Mom’s voice was one I took seriously.
My breathing slowed and I swallowed the last of my bile. “I’m sorry, Dad; Mom. It won’t happen again.” I turned and led Bella away, so grateful for her hand in mine that I wanted to weep. I was angry enough that the tears were already right under the surface, waiting for my permission to fall. I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.
I found a small, abandoned table in a dark corner of the lawn, near the garden, and sat down. Bella took the chair across from me and grasped my other hand in hers.
“I’m sorry you had to see that,” I said at last, embarrassed that I had let my dad push my buttons like that in front of her.
“I’m not,” she countered. I looked up at her in surprise. “I want to know what’s going on with you, Edward. I want to be able to help you, and be here for you. I can’t do that if you don’t let me in.”
I shook my head in disbelief at my good fortune, that this beautiful girl actually wanted to deal with my baggage. I rested my elbows on my knees, bringing Bella’s hands to my face and pressing them against my cheeks. Her skin felt cool and calming. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the feel of it.
“Edward,” she said softly at last. “Why are you so angry with your father?”
I looked up at her, only mildly surprised that she had figured out our little exchange was only the tip of the iceberg. I sighed heavily as I contemplated telling her the truth. I knew it would ruin the best night of my life if I did.
“He… doesn’t agree with my career choice,” I made my careful admission.
She studied me a moment. “He wanted you to be a doctor.”
I sighed once more. “Emmett and Alice told you I had planned to go to med school, right?”
She nodded. “But they didn’t tell me what changed your plans.”
I could feel the panic begin to percolate in my gut. I couldn’t let it bubble to the surface. Not yet. Not tonight.
“I know I owe you an explanation,” I began.
“No, you don’t. You don’t owe me anything,” Bella contradicted me. “But you can trust me with anything. I wish you would.”
“I do trust you,” I told her, and I meant it. I know I’ll get the courage to tell her everything, when the time is right. But last night was not that time.
“I’m asking you to be patient with me,” I continued. “This has been a really special night so far, and I want it to stay that way. I want the majority of our memories of tonight to be good ones. Great ones,” I added with a knowing smile, which she returned.
“I won’t argue with that,” she said, giving my hands a squeeze. I hoped she could tell my expression how grateful I was for her understanding.
“Well, don’t you two look cozy,” came a sarcastic comment over my shoulder. I already knew who I’d see standing behind me when I turned to look--Bella’s date for the evening. So much for having a trouble-free remainder of the evening.
“Jake,” Bella said weakly, her hands going limp in mine. She didn’t take them away, though. “You sounded great up there with that orchestra. Are you having a good time?”
Jacob Black planted himself directly opposite us, hands squarely on his hips. “I’m having a great time, considering that my date disappeared with another guy,” he said dryly, his eyes angry and accusing.
She withdrew her hands then. “I’m sorry,” she said, getting up from her chair to face him. “I tried to tell you that coming here tonight wasn’t like a real date. I told you how I felt about mixing work with my personal life.”
His face registered disbelief before he let out an incredulous laugh. “Apparently Cullen here doesn’t have a problem with that,” he snarled, giving me a disparaging glance. I shot out of my chair, fists beginning to form instinctually at his words. “No wonder you left out the part about hooking up with your masseur when you were explaining how that ‘business and pleasure’ thing works.”
“Watch yourself,” I hissed at him, fighting the urge to add “MonkeyBoy” at the end. He glared up at me, his stance ready for a fight.
“Not that it’s any of your business, but Edward hasn’t been my therapist for awhile now,” Bella retorted. “He doesn’t have anything to do with what goes on between you and me.”
“Doesn’t he? We’d probably be dating for real right now if he hadn’t entered the picture,” Jacob fumed.
“Well, he did. And I’m not going to say I’m sorry about that, because I‘m not,” Bella spat defiantly. I felt a prehistoric sort of thrill permeate my body at her words.
“But I will say that I’m sorry if I led you on,” she added in a more conciliatory tone. “That wasn’t my intention.”
“What is it they say about the road to hell, Bella?” Jacob taunted.
“You say one more disrespectful thing to her and it will be your last,” I warned him, my voice quivering with anger. I wasn’t above taking out some long-standing frustrations with my father on the convenient target in front of me.
Jacob’s tightening fists flexed the gym muscles hiding under his cheap suit. “You’re going to stop me?” he snorted derisively, even though I towered over him. “You and what army?”
“This army,” boomed a baritone from behind me. I’d recognize that cavalry call anywhere. I glanced over my shoulder to see Emmett at the ready, giving Jacob a bemused, challenging look.
“Come on, you guys, stop it,” Bella pleaded, her eyes beseeching as they traveled back and forth between us. “This is not the time or place for this.”
“I agree,” chimed another feminine yet forceful voice. I looked over to see Rosalie joining Emmett, taking one of his clenched hands in hers. I soon felt Bella do the same. I looked down at her tiny fingers pulling gently at mine, and my anger dissipated. I had no reason to attack Jacob Black. I had already won.
His face was still the picture of fury and humiliation when Jessica Stanley trotted up to our little group, another mojito in one hand and a beer in the other. She stared at as all for a moment, then rolled her eyes as if we were the most ridiculous bunch of morons she’d ever seen.
“Jesus H. Christ! I leave for two minutes to get drinks, and all the animals were let loose from their cages,” she exclaimed. “What the hell is wrong with you people? This is a party! Eat, drink and be merry. Here, this should help,” she suggested, handing the beer to Jacob. He begrudgingly took it and thanked her.
“That’s better,” Jessica smiled, taking a sip of her mint drink. Rosalie let out a bawdy laugh.
“I like this girl,” she grinned. “I think I’ll have another drink myself. Emmett?” she coaxed, linking her arm through his.
“Good idea,” he agreed with a smile, leading her away from the fray.
Bella looked up at me, imploring. “Give me a minute with Jake, okay?”
I looked at her warily, then at Jacob and Jessica. Jessica shrugged one shoulder and took a couple of steps toward me.
“Let’s go get you something to drink, Edward,” she suggested. “We’ll be right back,” she told Jacob and Bella over her shoulder.
I begrudgingly followed her, looking back repeatedly to make sure that little shit wasn’t so much as raising his voice at her.
“You need to let them clear the air,” Jessica told me as we approached the bar. “They go way back together, and they have to work together now. It’s better for them to hash this out than to let it end with hurt feelings.”
“I think it’s going to end with hurt feelings no matter what,” I said before ordering another gin and tonic. I also ordered a glass of their best cabernet for Bella. “He doesn’t have a chance with her.” I tried not to sound to smug.
“So things went well in the garden, huh?” she grinned, raising her glass in a toast. “I saw you sneak off with her. I don’t want to know a single thing about what happened. But let me just say, congratulations.”
“Thanks,” I replied, unable to keep the smile off of my face. “And thank you for the cutting-in suggestion. It worked out incredibly well for me. I just wish it had for you, too.”
“Oh, it was fine. Jake and I have been having a good time. He won’t be hung up on Bella forever,” she said with confidence. “The quicker they work it out, the better, for both of us.”
I scrutinized her deceptively vacant face. “You are surprisingly wise, Jessica Stanley. My brother was lucky to hire you. And I’m lucky to have you here with me tonight.”
“Aw, that’s so sweet of you to say,” she smiled. “So does this mean I get a raise?”
That drew a much-needed laugh from my lungs. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Awesome,” she grinned. She glanced across the terrace at the objects of our affection. “Okay, time’s up for that twosome. I say we go stake our claims.”
“Yet another excellent suggestion, Ms. Stanley.”
“Lead the way, Mr. Cullen.”
Bella and Jacob were seated and talking quietly when we returned. The minute Jacob saw me coming, he got up from his chair and caught Jessica’s eye as we approached. He ignored me completely as he offered his arm to her, asking if she wanted to dance. I wasn’t sorry to see them go, and happily took his seat.
“Are you okay?” I asked Bella, handing her the glass of wine.
“Yeah, thanks,” she said, taking a generous sip. I wanted to lick the heavy liquid from her lips.
“Did he say anything at all hurtful? Because if he was rude to you, I’ll make sure he can’t even open his mouth in the morning.”
Bella laughed and shook her head at me. “Boys and their testosterone,” she admonished. “Don’t worry, it’s fine. I explained to him that I wasn’t sure things were going to work out between us, and that’s why I never told him about you.”
“You didn’t owe him any explanations,” I interjected.
“I know. But I figured honesty was the best policy. It usually is. I never came out and told him I was interested in someone else, and I should have. I didn’t think I was stringing him along, but without anyone else in the picture, he was still hopeful. Now he’s… realistic.”
I reached out and ran my finger along the edge of her delicate jaw. “You’re pretty amazing, you know that?”
“Well, as amazing as you are, then if you say it, it must be true.”
I leaned in and tenderly pressed my lips to hers. “I can’t wait to kiss this lipstick right off of your face,” I murmured.
“What are you waiting for?” she teased.
“Mmm… I’ve waited this long. I can wait a little longer. I have special plans for that lipstick later on. In private.”
Her eyes widened with curiosity and, it seemed, a measure of lust. “When do we leave?”
I groaned softly as I let my hungry lips travel the side of her face to her ear. “Not soon enough. I think we’ll have to hang around until the party dies down a little, or I’ll have to deal with more crap from my parents.”
She let out a small laugh. “I like your parents. They obviously love you and want the best for you, even if they don’t always show their concern in a way that sits well with you.”
I studied her face for a moment. “I seem to have a lot of very smart women in my life to point out when I‘m being an idiot. I think that makes me a very lucky guy.”
“I think you’re right,” she grinned in agreement.
“Let’s go dance,” I suggested, standing up and tugging at her hand.
“I didn’t know you liked dancing that much,” she commented, rising and letting me guide her to the gaggle of couples swaying across the flagstones.
“I don’t. I just want an excuse to hold you close to me,” I whispered as my arm pulled her body to mine.
“I’ll let you in on a secret: you don’t need an excuse.”
We smiled stupidly at one another for a moment, lost in our little bubble of attraction.
“I want to know another secret instead,” I murmured.
“What’s that?” she asked, tilting her head back to gaze up at me.
“How are your panties holding up?” My grin was wicked and expectant.
One eyebrow shot up, but she didn’t miss a beat. “My panties are very damp. Soaking wet, you could say.”
“Hmmm. I wonder what could be causing that.”
“I don’t know,” she replied in a low whisper. I bent my ear closer to her lips. “There seems to be this thick, creamy substance between my legs. Just when I think it’s done, I feel more of it oozing out… it tickles. It just makes me even wetter.”
“Fucking hell, Bella,” I groaned, pressing the small of her back tighter to me. My growing erection struggled against my pants and pushed into her groin. “Do you have any idea what you do to me?”
A naughty-sounding giggle met my ears. “It’s hard to miss right now.”
I let out a small laugh myself. “You definitely won’t miss it later. I hope you get used to dripping with my cum, because I intend to fill you up on a regular basis.”
“You are shockingly vulgar, Mr. Cullen,” Bella informed me in a voice that sounded far more turned on than shocked. “You’ll be lucky if I ever let you near me with that massive dick of yours again.”
“’Massive?’” I repeated, wondering if that were true, or if Bella was just pumping up my ego with what every guy wants to hear. “Judging by the sounds you were making earlier, you were more than happy to accommodate my massive dick. Be nice to me or I’ll drag you back to the garden and bend you over the retaining wall.”
“Promises, promises,” she taunted me with a lusty gleam in her eye.
“Oh, that’s it. Now you’re getting a spanking before I take you from behind.” My erection pressed desperately against her.
“I look forward to it,” she said, her voice low and enticing.
“Fuck me,” I murmured with a sigh as I lost myself in her eyes.
“I’d rather you fuck me,” she replied, pressing her body into mine. I groaned as I moved in time with her to the music.
“I intend to. Repeatedly. Endlessly. You won’t be able to walk by Monday. And that is a promise,” I added gruffly, breathing gin and desire all over her face.
She said nothing, just stared up at me from under heavy lids that I was sure matched my own. Her hand gripped mine tightly as we danced; the other wandered up from my shoulder to stroke my cheek, my jaw, my neck. I wanted her so badly I couldn’t even see straight. I knew there was no way I’d last another hour at this fund raiser, no matter what reproach I’d face later from my family.
The song ended, and so did my patience.
“To hell with this. Let’s get out of here,” I decided. Bella nodded in agreement.
I made an effort to find everyone in my family, including my parents, to inform them of our departure. I ignored Dad’s judgmental look and took comfort in Mom’s benevolent one instead. The rest of our friends and family were too busy having their own fun to worry about ours.
I had managed to put my ardor on hold as I made the necessary pleasantries, but it simmered on the backburner of my mind and my body, ready to be brought to a boil the minute the opportunity presented itself. I wondered if I could keep it in check long enough to give Bella her final present of apology. Even though she insisted that she didn’t want or need them, I still felt the need to give them. I wanted to sing her the song I’d written. I needed to make her understand what she meant to me, if she didn’t already.
We were quiet on the drive back to my place. We talked briefly about the party, insignificant observations about what we’d seen and heard. Gravity hung thick in the air between us, waiting to be addressed and dealt with later. We were about to embark on something serious, something sacred. I no longer balked at the prospect. I welcomed it with open arms as I never had before. I couldn’t wait to begin it.
Our eyes were locked in promise as the service elevator groaned and wheezed its way to the third floor of the loft. I stared at her lips, and she parted them, inviting me to fulfill my earlier promise. But I only took her hand in mine to guide her out of the lift and into my apartment, where the song waited.
Lucky bade us noisy welcome as we opened the door, and I quickly dispatched him out the window in the hallway. Bella was the only audience I wanted now.
I led her through the living area and past my makeshift bedroom, turning on a few torchieres as I went. When I reached the piano, I stopped and let go of her hand. My eyes wandered between the keyboards and my guitar cases, deliberating how to proceed.
“The song I wrote for you and played earlier…?” I began awkwardly, looking to her for reassurance. She nodded, her eyes wide and expectant. “Well, that wasn’t the whole song. It has lyrics.”
She bit her lip nervously and waited. I could feel her anticipation, see it on her face.
“I didn’t want to sing them for everyone,” I explained. “They’re only for you. I want only you to hear them.”
She nodded mutely. I felt the usual nervousness flutter in my stomach as I again regarded the piano. I knew she loved it, but I had already played that version. I felt myself drawn to my favorite new guitar instead, a Martin D Mahogany acoustic with a sound so rich and buttery that I had to have it after I tried it out in the shop. The newfound feelings I had for Bella deserved to be accompanied by a new instrument.
I extricated the guitar from its case and motioned to the overstuffed couch, bidding Bella to take a seat. I tossed aside my cumbersome suit jacket, sat down next to her and checked the tuning on the guitar, making sure it was ready.
“I wrote this on the piano, but then I started playing it on the guitar. I like the rhythm version better, I think,” I explained as I warmed up. “It’s more hopeful. Optimistic,” I added hesitantly. She smiled in encouragement.
I took a deep breath and began.
Wasn’t looking for you
You weren’t part of the plan
Skimming over the surface
Only half a man
Never diving deep
Afraid of what I might see
A black, empty mirror
Where my soul used to be
You came and found me
Didn’t know I was lost
Scared to give in to you
Afraid of the cost
What I didn’t know
What I couldn’t understand
Was that you already knew me
Like the back of your hand
I can’t find the will or desire to fight
On the eve of such a beautiful night
There’s no darkness there in the depth of your eyes
Only the promise of such a sweet surprise
Bella Notte… my beautiful night
Bella Notte…my beautiful night
Loss has different weapons
But wounds you just the same
Makes you terrified to love
Makes you take the blame
But when I look into your eyes
Forgiveness is all I see
Makes me want to try again
To take back what was me
And I’m stronger than the fear this time
Braver than the guilt
I’m tearing down these useless walls
That self-protection built
I’m stepping out into the light
Though I can’t see the way
I’m putting my blind faith in you
To get me through this day
The brightest star couldn’t shed such a light
As my Bella Notte, my beautiful night
There’s no darkness there in the depth of your eyes
Only my beautiful blessing in disguise
My Bella Notte…my beautiful night
Bella Notte…my beautiful night
Bella Luce…beautiful light
Bella Notte…beautiful night
I pared down the impassioned chords to single notes at the end, slowing their pace to a stark and simple conclusion. I had only stolen glances at her while I played, too afraid that the song didn’t affect her nearly as deeply as it did me. Music was my way of laying myself bare when I couldn’t find any other way to do it. Naked and exposed, I let my eyes travel cautiously to hers, ready to cover myself if she didn’t respond the way I hoped she would. I held my breath as I braced myself for her reaction.
Nothing could have prepared me for it.
Her face was wet with tears when I was finally able to absorb it. She trembled as she leaned toward me, whispering my name, pushing my guitar gently aside. Wanting to kiss her, I reached for her face; but it was furrowed in concentration as she pulled at my tie and fumbled with the buttons of my shirt. I was a little surprised, yet not unhappy, that her instant reaction to my heartfelt professions was to rip my clothes off.
But when she had the first few buttons of my shirt undone, I saw what she was really after. She pulled the fabric over my left pectoral and pressed her hand to my chest, finding the rapid pounding of the heart that beat only for her. When she located it, she gave me a long, meaningful look before pressing her blood-red lips to the skin covering my heart. My hands found her face, gently pressing her to me. I fought my own tears, overwhelmed at her gesture of love for me.
When she finally lifted her mouth, we both stared at he perfect red imprint of her lips over my heart. No plan I’d had for her cherry lipstick even came close to this. I wanted to tattoo the image into my skin and keep it there forever, a symbol of our connection, of her ownership over me. I never thought I’d be so happy to be possessed.
“Bella,” I whispered as my hands lost their way in her hair. My lips found hers and tasted her wine at last, savoring the flavor and the feel as I kissed away the barrier between her mouth and mine.
There was nothing between us now. Nothing at all.