Chapter 18 If I Wrote You a Symphony
"You sure know how to show a girl she's the one," I say, slipping my hand under Edward's T-shirt.
He shuts the journal. "I didn't think about the music being some sort of gesture. When I started composing, I had no idea I needed to make you believe I loved you. Sometimes guys are blind to what's going on when the girl doesn't come out and tell him what she wants from him. Sometimes he thinks he's doing what she wants when that's not really what she wants. I was lucky I had Rose set me straight, though."
Something tells me he isn't talking about us anymore.
"That's another thing I learned while reading this thing." I flick the journal with my fingers.
Edward kisses my temple. "Yeah, what's that exactly?"
"Rosalie and Emmett were always setting us straight. They might be the reason we got together in the first place." Our cousins did seem to have an agenda from the very beginning.
"We were destined to be together, baby." Edward laughs lightly. "No two people belong together more than you and me. But Rose and Emmett made sure nothing got in destiny's way. Sometimes things get in the way and we need to listen to the people who love us to help us get back on track."
I sit up. "I think I know why you wanted me to read the journal."
"Tell me," he says eagerly.
"Did you write in there about the night of the symphony?"
"A couple days later. I was a little busy opening night, as you recall," he says with a wink.
I remember and it makes me blush. I do an internal eye roll at myself because you'd think stuff like that wouldn't affect me that way anymore now that we do it all the time. "Read what you wrote about that night, I want to make sure you thought the same thing I did."
Edward's eyebrows scrunch together, but he finds the entry.
May 21, 2012
Everything is the best it has ever been. I feel like the guy who has everything he has ever wanted, or at least like the guy who knows he's going to get everything he ever wanted soon enough. The Seattle Symphony Orchestra is world class. I have played with enough to know they outdid themselves the other night. Bella was so beautiful and I could tell she got it. She heard it, felt it. She knows what the music was trying to say. Some things are simply meant to be. We are one of those things. There were some other revelations recently. My dad was right. I can't believe I am even writing those words down. It's true, though. I am meant for the world of music. I need the music and it needs me. I will never be truly me without it. What my dad didn't understand was the fact that I need other things in my life, too. I need friends and family. I need success and failure. I need love and a little heartache. I need to miss someone and experience the joy of being reunited. I need all those moments big and small. Because then the music can mean something. Then the music becomes more than just notes in my head. It becomes a real piece of me, something I want to share. When I ran away from home, it wasn't me who needed to find purpose, it was the music. Now Bella knows she doesn't have to give up anything for me. We can both be who we're supposed to be. Thankfully we can do that in the same damn state from now on. Just like Rose and Emmett. Together forever.
"You thought the exact same thing I thought," I say with a smile. "That was the night I realized this was forever. That we were never really going to be apart again."
"Is that it? Did the journal help you see anything else?"
"We're not the only ones who belong together."
"Finally, she gets it."
I get it. I know what he wants me to do and why I have to do it...
"That's the one," Rosalie said. She and my mom both are nodding.
"I don't know. Strapless? I don't really have the boobs for strapless." I turned to the side and looked at myself in the full length mirror. Okay, my boobs did look pretty good in this dress.
"Your boobs are fine. I've never heard Edward complain once," Rosalie said with a wink. I could have killed her. Lucky for her, my mother laughed, so I let her live another day.
"We're buying it," Mom said before scrambling off to find the saleslady who was helping us a minute ago.
"He's going to love it." Rosalie was smiling, which looked nice on her. She'd been smiling a lot since I got home from Cornell. Edward was still in Seattle until the first of June, so my days were spent with my cousin and Rosalie. Emmett was staying in Forks for part of the summer. The two of them seemed better than ever. Being together at school had been good for them. It was going to be good for me and Edward soon. I was going to tell him the night of the symphony that I wasn't going back to Cornell. Once I told him, I would find a way to break the news to my parents. I had registered for classes, but I was going to drop them. I knew I didn't have it in me to be away from Edward for three more years. I was coming home to stay even if that meant taking a semester off until I got accepted at UW.
"He wrote you a symphony."
My heart swelled and my cheeks hurt from smiling so big. "I know."
"He wrote you a fucking symphony and people are going to hear it."
"I know." Sometimes it was hard to believe, but Edward had the Seattle Symphony Orchestra chomping at the bit to perform his work and tomorrow night I was going to hear them play.
"I would marry Emmett on the spot if he did something like that for me."
I laughed. "You'd marry Emmett on the spot if he simply asked you tonight at dinner. I don't think he has to do much more to get the girl."
"True." She smiled that smile again. "I should totally make him work for it, shouldn't I?"
I shook my head. "Don't make him work too hard. He's sensitive to rejection, you know."
"Fine, not too hard. Just a little, though. You tell him. You tell him that he needs to do something big when he wants to ask me to marry him."
"Deal; although, I'm not sure how we got on the subject of marriage."
Rosalie put two hands on my bare shoulders. "Because my cousin wrote you a symphony. A symphony! Bella, if you don't marry that boy, I will never talk to you again."
I would marry him someday. That was something we could talk about when I moved back to Washington permanently. I couldn't wait to tell him. He wasn't going to believe it.
The night of the symphony was a bit chaotic. Edward's parents were in town. My parents were coming. Rose and Emmett, along with her parents were going to be there. Alice and her new boyfriend, who just happened to be the lead singer of some indie band she followed around last summer, were also in town. Edward's dad was not happy about this guy Alice was dating. It was kind of nice not to be the bad guy anymore. I mean, Edward did write the symphony for me. That definitely put me in the Cullens' good graces.
I had barely seen Edward all week. He had classes during the day and final rehearsals in the evening. I was lucky if I got two minutes to talk to him on the phone. I had butterflies in my stomach, which was ridiculous. It wasn't like I was going to be up there performing. I didn't have to get up in front of all those people and bare my soul like Edward was going to do in a few short hours. Still, it was overwhelming for me. He wrote this for me, about me, about us. Two hours of music all for me.
I got ready with Rosalie and Alice at the hotel we were all staying at for the night. This was bigger than prom even though it kind of felt similar to that. The dress, the hair, the makeup, the jewelry. If there was something between prom and a wedding - this was it. Significant. That was what it was. I felt like this night was significant in our journey.
"Are you excited?" Alice asked as she applied some blush to my cheeks.
"Yes, but more nervous for him. He's worked so hard. I want him to feel like it was all worth it."
She smiled at me as she set down the makeup brush. "The only thing my brother is going to care about is that you like it. Not one other opinion is going to matter to him."
"I'm going to love it."
"Then you have nothing to be nervous about." She winked and picked up some lip gloss. "When he hears that, he'll start writing you another one right away." She made me laugh, which was good. I needed to relax and enjoy this. "I'm serious. That boy is mad about you. I take back everything I said last year about having doubts about you two standing the test of time. You and Edward will weather any storm. I guarantee it."
She was right about that. The storms were going to be much easier to handle when we were both in Seattle in the fall, too. I kept trying to picture the look I'd see on Edward's face when I told him my big plan. Being together would make giving up Cornell easier. Cornell was great. Edward was greater.
Edward's parents had two limos pick us all up and bring us to Benaroya Hall. We were going to dinner after the symphony to celebrate. I sat quietly while everyone else chatted around me. I hadn't seen Edward all day and was eager to wrap my arms around him and tell him I loved him and we were never going to be apart ever again. Nothing else seemed more important than that.
We had the best seats in the house. I sat with Edward's parents on one side of me and my parents on the other. Rose, Emmett, Alice, Jasper, and Rose's parents sat in front of us. The other seats began to fill and my nerves began to get the best of me.
"Did you know that in ancient times thunder and lightning were connected with religious and mythical concepts such as the beatification of those struck by lightning?"
Mrs. Cullen looked at me funny. "I did not know that," she answered politely enough.
Of course she didn't know that. No one knew that except weirdos like me. Still I continued because I couldn't stop, "But in ancient Rome those struck were seen as unclean and were buried without any ceremony."
"Well, that's...really interesting." She forced a smile because she knew that was what Edward would want her to do. I chewed on my fingernail so I didn't say anything else stupid.
My mom patted my bouncing knee. "Don't be nervous, baby. Edward's going to do great."
"I know." I did know. I wasn't afraid his symphony wasn't going to be brilliant. I was afraid I wasn't going to get it or, worse, I would get it and be a crying, emotional mess in front of everyone.
My phone beeped in my clutch.
I love you.
Leave it to Edward to know what I needed when I needed it. He was getting ready for one of the biggest nights of his life and was still taking care of me. I quickly typed a reply.
I love you more because you wrote me a SYMPHONY!
He sent me one more before my mother told me quite motherly that I should shut off my phone.
I did but I think that proves I love you more ;)
I was the luckiest girl in the entire world, and suddenly, I didn't care if I cried in front of all two thousand people in the crowd.
The program book said we were here for Cullen's Symphony No. 7 - La Mia Bellissima Tempesta. I wondered what that meant at the same time my mother leaned forward and asked Mrs. Cullen if she knew.
"Most composers number their symphonies. This is the seventh one Edward has written. Sometimes composers will nickname the symphony and each movement as well. Edward nicknamed this 'My Beautiful Storm' in Italian."
He was too much. My Beautiful Storm? It was like he could read my mind sometimes. Did he know that was what I had called him the first night I met him? There was no way. My heart pitter pattered in my chest. He amazed me with how perfectly we fit.
My mother most definitely picked up on the significance of the name and grabbed some tissues from her purse. "That is so sweet and romantic, baby," she whispered to me while dabbing her wet eyes. "Isn't that sweet, Charlie?" Mom touched Dad's arm. He fiddled with his tie, looking uncomfortable in his fancy clothes and managed a shrug to answer her question. Edward could probably cure cancer and Dad would still have his issues with him. No one was good enough for his little girl. Not even the boy who wrote her a symphony.
But he was. I knew he was.
"Did you notice the screens there?" Mrs. Cullen pointed towards the stage. The chairs were arranged in a large circle and behind them were three white screens hanging from the ceiling. "I guess Edward has a video to accompany the music. I know he's very excited for Bella to see and hear it all." Now she smiled at me like I was her savior. Edward's parents were over the moon when they heard he had composed something of this scale and wanted it performed. Mr. Cullen was ready to sell it to every major orchestra in the world.
I sat in anxious anticipation as the musicians took their places. The concertmaster came out and received some lively applause. He cued the oboes to tune the rest of the orchestra. They began tuning their instruments and warming up. After several minutes of that, Edward finally walked on stage in his tuxedo with tails. It was quite a sight. Never in my life had I seen someone look so at home as Edward did up on that stage. His hair was smoothed down and he looked so grown up. He was not a boy but a man. A man who was about to command an entire orchestra.
The crowd applauded him as he took his spot on a small raised platform in front of all the musicians. He held a thin stick that looked like a magic wand at his side. Everyone got into position and on the screens behind them there was a panoramic view of a beautiful sunrise. The bright orange-yellow sun came up in the center screen while pinks and oranges and light blues and purples lit up the other two. Edward raised his baton and the music began.
Classical music isn't some three chord guitar riff along with pretty lyrics backed up by a catchy drumbeat. Classical music is this wonderfully layered sound, a complex combination of all these instruments working together. Any idiot could write a song, but a symphony? Not many people could create something of that magnitude and do it well. My boyfriend was one of those people. Cullen's Symphony No. 7 was a masterpiece. Edward put together a video of different weather events that matched the feel of each musical movement. From a gentle breeze blowing over a field of flowers to a powerful thunderstorm, the music made each video come to life and vice versa.
The first movement was fast. I had heard Edward use the word allegro before when he talked about the beginning of a symphony. To me, it represented our lively beginning, the playful friendship that developed first. The second movement was slow and melodic. This was us falling in love. Sweet and innocent. The third movement was like a waltz. Edward told me it was called a minuet. It made me think of happiness. When we were together, there was nothing but sunshine and butterflies. The final movement was similar to the first. The main tune was repeated but mixed with something new. I imagined this was the way he represented our last year - the ebb and flow of our ever changing emotions. Together, apart, together, apart. Happy then sad. Joy then despair. Surging and strong then delicate and soft. The video went from sunny day to tornado to rainbows to lightning strikes.
It was sensory overload. The music, the video, and Edward himself. It was hard not to watch him. He was in constant motion. His arms swung up and down and back and forth. Sometimes he barely moved at all, just the baton would move to the beat. Other times, his entire body was into it as he directed the different parts of the orchestra to play. He was powerful up there and it made me want him more than I thought possible. There was something about a man in charge.
Proper symphony etiquette says you aren't supposed to applaud in between movements, but it killed me to stay seated during the pauses in between. I wanted to stand and clap and holler and whistle. I wanted Edward to know how brilliant I thought he was. Instead, I stayed seated and wrung my hands until they hurt as tears rolled down my cheeks. I tried to stay in the moment. Take it all in. He loved me. He loved me like no one else could ever love me. He put our entire relationship to music and did it on this grand scale.
When it was all over, I was on my feet. My purse fell to the floor and I clapped my hands together louder than I had ever done before. The entire auditorium erupted in applause. Edward bowed and blew a kiss or two to the orchestra. A few of them stood and he came down from his platform and shook hands with a the concertmaster, a couple of the first violinists, and then one of the flute players in front. He motioned for the musicians in the back, the guys who played the trumpets and the basses, to stand and accept the crowd's applause. Finally, he turned around and faced us. It was impossible for him to find me, but I could see him trying. He bowed and mouthed his thanks. Edward was absolutely glowing, and again I was crying.
Getting backstage seemed to take forever. All I wanted to do was kiss that man silly. Our large group made our way through the crowd. Everyone had that look of pride on their face. Edward was ours and he had just conducted his own symphony. When I saw him, I broke out into a run. I didn't care about proper decorum or minding my manners. He readily took me in his arms, lifting me right off my feet.
"Did you like it?" As if he had to ask.
Words couldn't even describe what I felt or how I felt about what he had created. "I love you so much," I managed to get out.
He laughed. "Uh oh, is that your way of letting me down gently?"
His insecurity was completely unfounded. He set me down and I smacked his arm. "I loved it. Are you crazy?"
"Crazy about you." He grinned so big that it made me feel like I could fly. I pulled him down to me so I could kiss him, but the family caught up to us before I could truly enjoy him.
Edward's parents were so thrilled and it was hard to remember why there was so much tension between them before. I was happy we were past that and finally the three of them found some middle ground. There were a hundred different pictures taken and Edward introduced us to some of the musicians. Almost an hour later, all of us piled into the two limos to go to dinner. At dinner, Edward's dad said a few words. He spoke of the immense amount of pride he felt towards Edward. He also thanked his brother and Rosalie's family for being there for Edward the last couple years, for being what Edward needed when he could not. Lastly, he turned to me.
"And I don't think I can properly express how I feel about this young woman who has captured my son's heart. I feared all these distractions were going to hold Edward back. I thought without focus, he would lose what he needed to be the man he should be." Edward squeezed my hand under the table. "I was wrong. Apparently what my son needed was a muse, an ally who didn't force the music but helped nurture it quietly, naturally. To Bella, his beautiful storm, his muse, his love."
Everyone raised their glasses to me and drank. My mom and I were both busy sopping up our tears with our napkins. Emmett stood up and cleared his throat. All eyes turned towards him. He put his hand on my dad's shoulder.
"I'm going to make a toast from the Swan side of the family since I know my uncle's not a big fan of public speaking." Dad nodded appreciatively. "I think I speak for my entire family when I say tonight has been really special. I feel like it marks the beginning of this group of people not being two families but one. I've been in love with a Cullen of my own for a few years now and I have to say there's nothing better. Rosie and I knew from the moment Edward came to town that he and Bella would be perfect for one another. They tried to fight it at first, but Rose and I kept pushing them together until they gave in. Feel free to thank us later," he stage-whispered to me and Edward, making everyone laugh. "Tonight, you blew me away, Edward, and you made me believe that what you and Bella have is just like what I feel for Rosalie. And that's really saying something." He smiled down at Rose who was absolutely beaming with her adoration for him. Emmett held up his glass. "So, I say to Edward. You rocked the house, buddy."
Everybody raised their glass. "To Edward."
Edward's hand rubbed the back of my neck and I patted his thigh. I supposed Emmett and Rose did have something to do with getting us together. I would have to thank them for that someday because Edward was the best thing that ever happened to me. I wished I had a way to show him like he had done for me. Just then the need to tell him that I planned to stay in Washington washed over me. I wanted, needed to share my good news. Just before I spoke, Edward cleared his throat.
"Since we're making speeches or whatever. I guess now is as good of time as any to make an announcement," Edward said, garnering everyone's attention.
"Wait, I have something I want to say first," I interrupted, needing to tell him before I lost my nerve. I figured saying it now while everyone was on an emotional high would bode well for me. I hoped my parents would take it better now that they could see how perfect Edward was for me.
He motioned for me to speak first.
I stayed seated but tried to speak clearly and loud enough for everyone to hear. "Um, tonight has been one of the most amazing nights of my life. I'm not sure how anything can compare to this, but knowing Edward, I'm sure he'll find a way to top himself." He bowed his head and I could see his ears turning red. "I can't write a symphony or anything close to that to let the world know how much Edward means to me, but I have decided to do something." I took a deep breath for some added courage. "I've decided to drop out of Cornell and move back to Washington."
Both my parents gasped and everyone else's eyes went wide.
"The hell you are," Dad said.
My head turned toward my fuming and shocked parents. "I can transfer to UW in the spring. Everything will be fine."
"Bella, please tell me you didn't drop out already." Edward grabbed my hand, pulling my attention over to him. His green eyes were full of dread and worry.
"Not yet, but I plan to. I'm going to. I want to." Why did he look so unhappy about this? He was supposed to be excited. I was proving to him that he meant more to me than anything else in this world.
"But you didn't? You didn't withdraw or tell anyone at the University that you planned to?" Edward asked.
"Thank God," he said, relief flooding his face. His shoulders relaxed. "You're not dropping out."
"Thank you, Edward," Dad said as if it didn't matter what I wanted. "At least one of you has some damn sense."
"Yes, I am."
"No, you're not," Edward and Dad said at the same time.
"You don't want me here?" I was on the brink of tears. How could someone go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of seconds? I wished I hadn't brought this up in front of our families. I should have waited until we were alone to bear the brunt of this rejection in private.
Edward held my face. "I want you here for the summer, yes. But come fall, I want your butt in New York."
I shook my head even as he held me. "I can't do it, Edward. I can't survive another year, let alone three. I can't live thousands of miles apart."
He smiled and kissed my forehead. "Ninety."
My eyebrows scrunched together. "What?"
"Ninety miles," he said. His smile grew larger. I wasn't following. "That's how far we'll be in the fall. Ninety miles."
That didn't make sense. Not at all. "I don't get it."
"I'm transferring," he explained. "To Eastman School of Music in Rochester in the fall. I'm coming to New York and we're only going to be ninety miles away from one another as long as you stay in Ithaca. If you stay here, we're in big trouble." He laughed and I stared. Was he serious?
"You're transferring?" He nodded. "To University of Rochester?" He nodded. "Ninety miles from Ithaca?" He nodded again. "We're going to see each other all the time?"
"All the time, baby." He was grinning from ear to ear.
I held his face like he held mine and kissed him hard. I didn't have to leave Cornell. I could have Cornell and Edward. Somehow, he always managed to make things better than I expected. I wasn't sure how I was ever going to get used to that.
After dinner, we got back in our limos to head back to the hotel. The six kids went in one and the six parents in the other. Emmett pulled out a bottle of champagne from the bar.
"You think your dad would mind if we took this?" he asked Edward.
"I think my dad would buy us whatever we wanted tonight. He's happier than I've ever seen him."
"Because I've been left the sole rebel in the family," Alice said with a smile. "A symphony and you're going to Eastman? You really are Edward Jr."
Edward kicked at his sister's shins. "You were always better at the rebelling stuff anyway."
Alice covered her mouth as she laughed. "Dude. You sucked at rebelling. You are like the least rebellious rebel ever known to man."
"I love your good boy nature," I said, lifting my head from his shoulder to kiss him on his good boy lips.
"Get a room," Emmett teased.
"Oh, I plan to," Edward said with a wiggle in his brow.
"So when's the wedding?" Jasper Whitlock said from his spot next to Alice. This was the first time he had spoken without being spoken to.
Edward and I both laughed and looked at one another. There was no wedding in the near future. One step at a time for us.
"Not until after ours," Rosalie answered for us.
I shook my head and laughed. "I'm not sure if you are all aware, but Rosalie has rules. These rules state that you can't get married before her if you haven't been dating as long as she has."
"Really?" Alice said. "What if I said screw that?" She reached in her purse and pulled out a ring than easily slid on the ring finger of her left hand.
"Alice!" Edward grabbed her hand.
"We didn't want to tell Mom and Dad on your big day, but we're going to get married next summer after I graduate."
Everyone offered their congratulations and Emmett popped the champagne since we had two reasons to celebrate.
"Mom and Dad are going to flip," Edward said, clinking his glass against his sister's.
"Maybe. But there's nothing Cullens love more than a wedding. You'll see."
She winked and Jasper kissed her cheek. I smiled at the thought of all the Cullen weddings that were to come. Alice was going to get married first. Then Rosalie. Then Edward. Yes, someday it would be Edward and me getting married. I guess it was a good thing the Cullens loved weddings.
A/N: Thanks to momof4 and Mama Trouble for checking this bad boy over. That's your last look into the past. The last couple chapters will all be in the present day! Woo hoo. So, I'm back from Switzerland and I got to meet some Twifriends while I travelled. I also learned some weather facts while I was there and worked them into the story this week. Even on vacation, Stormy rules my world. LOL! Pictures and such on the blog.