Chapter Six- Bella:
"Training?" I asked
"You have to start learning how to control your thirst. We just have to find a way to do it safely." Jasper replied.
"Can't you just come with me and calm me down if I can't keep it together?" I asked.
"I could, but I can't always be with you. You have to learn to do it without me. And besides, I don't just spread emotions around; I can also feel what you feel. The last thing we need is for you to push me over the edge. We'll probably have Emmett or Edward go with you. They're they strongest. They would be able to stop you from doing anything... you know." Jasper sounded sympathetic.
"So, what's the plan?"
"We were thinking of going up to Mount Rainer. Alice says that is going to be sunny next week and we won't be able to go to school. It would be a good time to go. There's a good amount of hikers this time of year. We could hide easily in the forest staying far enough away so that you could get a good whiff and try to resist." He looked at me and could sense my anxiety. "Don't worry, we'll be right there with you. We won't let it turn into bloodshed. We will check with Alice first and there will be nothing to worry about."
For now, I would try not to dwell on it. There had been a lot of noise coming from the garage. Jasper had told me it was another project of Esme's projects. There was a room off the back of the garage that she was remodeling. A sun room he thought.
"It's one of her passions. She loves interior design."
"Do you think she needs any help?" I asked.
"No, she's already recruited Edward. They will probably be finished soon. Oh, and I wanted to let you know that I have a camera you can borrow, if you ever want to continue with photography. It is a really nice digital SLR. Very high quality."
"Thanks Jazz. I may take you up on that. Esme has been running out of things to keep me busy," I said smiling.
"She means well. She hopes she will keep you from dwelling on the past and she loves a fresh face in the house. You are bringing out the mother in her." He smiled back.
"Where is everyone else today?" I asked.
"Carlisle is at work, Alice is shopping and Rosalie and Emmett are, um... Let's just say, they're busy." He grinned. I caught his drift. Rose and Emmett were often busy. All of the couples in this family tended to make little disappearing acts every so often, but Rose and Emmett seemed to be missing the most.
"Alice is shopping again? Does she ever stop?" I asked sarcastically.
"Never. That woman takes her shopping very seriously. I know it seems a bit superficial, but she is the most generous person I've ever met. She doesn't often shop for herself and she spoils us rotten. Hey, would you like to play a card game?" He already had the deck in his hands.
"Sure, what are we playing?"
"I don't know. What do you play? Poker? Rummy? Go fish?" He laughed as he shuffled the cards.
"Let's play Rummy! I haven't played that in years." I said moving toward the table.
Jasper dealt the cards and we began to play.
"This is great. I can't play any kind of game that involves strategy with Alice or Edward. They both cheat so badly. I only play games with Emmett. He is super competitive and he hates to lose, but it usually makes for a good game. Oh, and you should probably know, Emmett loves to gamble. He'll bet any anything."
I threw down a card. "I like Emmett. He seems like a lot of fun to have around."
"He really is. He doesn't have any specials gifts, but he definitely has the ability to make us laugh. He can find humor in any situation. He is like the opposite of Edward." He said then picked up a pile of cards and laid down a straight. He was winning.
"Is Edward always so serious?" I asked
Jasper smiled. "No, not always. I suppose he is the most serious of the bunch, but he is the only one of us who doesn't have someone special in his life. He spends a lot of time alone and then there's you."
"He can't read you, doesn't know what to make of you. I thought he would have enjoyed the silence." He picked up a card and then discarded. "You see, Edward thinks his gift is somewhat of a burden. He can't turn it off or block it out. He hears all kinds of things that he doesn't want to hear and he feels as though is invading our privacy. I thought he would enjoy being around someone and not have to worry about that."
"I did open up my shield for him last night, just for a moment. to make it a little easier for him." I tried to hide my smile.
"I know." Jasper said then he put down a four of a kind.
"He told you?" I asked.
He nodded his head. "He really liked that, a lot."
Esme took my hand and led me to the door. She shook with excitement as she opened the it and motioned for me to enter. It had the same feel of the rest of the house. Matching hard wood floors and the far wall was all glass, with French doors leading to the yard. There were dark drapes hung to the side and a desk and computer along with an ipod docking station. The walls had been primed but not painted. I stepped into the room to take a closer look. That is when I saw the Pointe shoes Alice had bought for me hanging next to the closet door. I looked to Esme.
"Do you like it?" She asked grinning.
This was my room.
"Esme, I..." I looked around the room again and then turned and threw my arms around her. This is what she been working, my room. "I love it. It's perfect."
As we broke from our hug, she kept her arms around my shoulders. "I kept the walls bare. I hope you don't mind. I was hoping that we could paint another mural, but I wanted to let you decide."
"This is incredible. Thank you. Thank you so much." There was so much else I wanted to say. This was a feeling like a fairy tale again. This room was like something out of a magazine. Everything complimented each other. "I can't believe you did this in such little time."
"I had help." She winked at me.
"I'll have to thank Edward."
"And don't forget Alice. She is responsible for the closet." Just as she said that, Alice poked her head in the door.
I stepped to her immediately and gave her a big hug.
"I knew you would like it," she said with a smile. "But you haven't even looked in the closet yet."
She took my hand and zipped into a full walk in closet stuffed to the brim with clothing. "Oh my god Alice, this is too much."
This," She paused and looked around. "This is nothing. My closet is three times this size." Alice said.
"Thank you again." Jasper was right. Generosity is something Alice is never short of.
"Alice, I need to ask you a favor and it involves shopping."
And so I had a new hobby to add to my list. Edward had agreed to teach me to play piano. All of my time was being taking up with dance, art, and now music. Alice and I danced in the garage most nights and my thoughts would drift back to Edward. I had heard his thoughts! I didn't think he realized that I had. Did he? I had so many questions about my shield. When I put it over Edward, had I gained his power? Could I hear everyone's thoughts through his mind? Was his gift somehow mirrored by the shield? Should I tell him? I wanted to tell him because I wanted him to trust me, but I was beginning to think that this could be a fun to play with first.
Alice and Jasper had gone out for the night. I didn't feel like dancing by myself. Rosalie and Emmett had gone out hunting and Esme had gone to have meet Carlisle at the hospital. From my room I could hear Edward playing. Perhaps now would be a good time for a lesson. I stepped into the living room as quietly as I could, my back against the wall across the room. The song was slow, melodramatic, but lovely. Yet again, his eyes were closed as his nimble finger swept across the keys. I leaned against the far wall and listened until the music stopped. He stayed seated.
"Did you like it?" he asked.
"It was beautiful." I said and I started walking toward him. He didn't turn to face me. "I'd like to take you up on your offer."
Then he turned and smiled at me. "Come and sit with me," he said as he moved over and made room for me on the bench. I sat next to him and studied this exquisite instrument. I dragged my finger across the top, then across the keys. Edward put three fingers down to the keys and played a chord.
"Now you try." He gestured to me. I carefully placed my fingers down and played the chord. Edward changed the position of his hands and played another chord and I did the same. We went back and forth playing six different chords very slowly. I practiced the chords for a while. It didn't seem so hard.
"Ok, now we put them all together, like this." He began to play a pretty little song, using only the chords he had just taught me. Then he stopped and looked at me. I tried to move fingers gracefully, but the sounds coming from hands were choppy. I didn't sound anything like what Edward had played. I stopped, staring down at the keys frustrated, a nervousness beginning in my belly.
"Again." He said. When I hesitated, he played it again for me. I tried a few times with little progress.
"It will take some practice. Don't be discouraged. It is only your first lesson after all." He stepped away from the piano. "Well, don't just sit there. Keep at it. I'll be right back."
I sat and played the chords for a few minutes before Edward came back into the room. He sat on the couch behind me with a book. I continued to play, trying to bring the chords together smoothly, but I was feeling intimidated and nervous with Edward listening. As a matter of fact, I think I was playing worse than before. As hard as I would try, it just didn't sound good. I tried again and the notes came out all wrong.
Edward laughed from behind me. "I can't be sure, but I think you're over thinking it. Slow down and relax. It will come easier."
He was standing right behind me now. I tried again, but I couldn't concentrate. He stood just inches from me and I found it to be so distracting. I took a deep breath and his scent filled me. Had he always smelled this good? I pictured him standing behind me, watching me, reaching his hand out and running a finger down my back. Suddenly I couldn't think of anything aside from him. My mind was wandering, thinking about his hands, his fingers. I wondered how his skin would feel against mine. I wondered if his lips were soft and then I thanked god that he could not read my thoughts.
"Scoot over," he said bringing me out of my fantasy. He sat next to me and played the song with no effort. I wanted to try it again, but I could not escape feeling of insignificance. "Come on Bella, this is such an easy piece," he smirked as he played it again. "Just try not to over analyze what you are doing, just feel it."
"I'm not over analyzing." I was short in my response.
"I don't believe you," he said. "But, you could prove me wrong, you know." He was teasing me. Smirking and leaning into me, our arms touching. My god... Is he flirting with me?
I sighed and played it again better this time, determined to get this right. He watched twice and then played it with me, our hands moving in tandem as he started to hum a melody. I smiled at myself and continued playing more confidently. Proud if our song, it sounded good until our arms touched again and my fingers fumbled at our contact. He lingered for a beat before pulling away and I couldn't look at him but I swear out of the corner of my eye, he was holding back a smile.
"What's so funny?" I whispered.
"I want to know what you're thinking," he whispered back. I turned to him, biting my lower lips and meeting his gaze. His molten golden eyes burned with questions and curiosity. I guessed he was trying to read me again. I couldn't deny my own curiosity. I wanted to try and I didn't think it could hurt. I pictured myself protected by a bubble, focusing on Edward and my bubble slowly growing in size to cover him. Within my mind I felt a new sensation, a stretching and bending. I could feel him there, sense his presence in my own head.
Not wanting to lose sight of our goal, I placed my fingers back on the keys and thought about the notes, the placement of my hands, the timing and what it should sound like. I played the chords slowly in progression, concentrating on accuracy vs. speed as well keeping my touches gentile.
She is absolutely adorable when she's frustrated.
The bubble popped. That was Edward's voice, but he didn't speak.
He smiled wide. "I was right. You are over analyzing. I have an idea. Up!" He swatted my arm playfully and I jumped up in surprise. He sat in the middle of the bench and shifted himself so that he was seated on the very edge opposite of the piano. "Would you come and sit here?" he motioned for me to sit in front of him, in between his legs. I moved toward him and sat down gingerly. I felt nervous instantly. There was no way I could sit like this and relax.
"Put your hands on the keys," he said softly. As I did his arms covered mine, his hands hovering over my own.
"You have to relax or this won't work." As he spoke his hands went to my shoulders rubbing gently and making me want to melt. My shield slipping down and around him, his hands once again over mine. "Close your eyes," he whispered.
"Just relax. Clear your mind." He said. I tried to not think of anything. He started guiding my fingers with his, slowly moving with me and the music came so easily then. We played it again and again, gradually picking up speed. He started adding embellishments and subtle changes and before I knew it we were playing a song I hardly recognized.
He whispered to me again. "Good, now really listen." He increased the pressure of his fingers. "Feel."
I opened my eyes. We played new notes and chords and changed the rhythm. I was playing. We were playing together. I had a smile on face that was a mile wide. I could only see him out of the corner of my eye, but I could see that his eyes were closed and his head was down so very close to resting on my shoulder. He was smiling too. Our song continued and I had a sudden urge to move back and be closer to him, to feel his body against mine.
His fingers stopped moving abruptly and I pulled my shield back swiftly. Shit! I think he heard that
Then I was hyper aware of exactly how close we were and how his arms and fingers against mine felt so good. We started playing again slowly, his fingers moving above mine, his breathe on my neck. He shifted closer. So close
It had been so long since I had been this close to anyone. It was thrilling, electrifying. I wanted to launch myself at him.
That is when the door swung open. "What is going on in here?" Emmett asked, leaning against the frame of the door.
Edward was already standing up. "Piano lessons," he said looking down, trying to fight a smile. He looked up at Emmett and than ran his hand through his hair.
"Stop it Em. It's just piano lessons."
Emmett looked over at me than back to Edward. "Well, if that is how you give lessons. You are never teaching me how to play."
Jasper entered the room and I cringed. I knew he would be able to feel what I was feeling right now. Embarrassment washed over me. Jasper had an odd expression on his face. He took a good look at me and then at Edward. He promptly started laughing. Laughing hysterically
Emmett shook his head. "I Knew it. Piano lessons my ass."