Chapter 59

Two years later….

The lights were pounding in time to the music and Emmett had the crowd enthralled.

Radio City Music Hall. New York Fucking City.

He'd done it. He was here. Three sold out shows.

Clapping. Shouting. Roaring. Even to my deaf ears, it was stunning. I felt it in every bone.

He commanded the stage much like I did back in the day, but let's be honest.

No one was ever going to be as good as me when I was up there.

I had no jealousy towards him, even if there was a small pang of want every time he went on stage. He deserved it, though. I wasn't going to take that away from him.

I couldn't be the only Rock God forever. There's no way to sustain that. Hell, I'd followed the greats - Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain - the list went on and on, and always would.

We had room for Emmett.

I was feeling the beat more than hearing it, having had to take my implant out, but it didn't lessen the excitement I had for him. And watching someone live my dream from this end of the stage didn't make me feel as bad as I once feared it would.

He'd gained momentum quickly after that first single came out. Bella remained his overall manager, but now with the added help of Carlisle as tour manager, Rosalie acted as publicity, and me, well, I just kind of hung out, pitched in when I could, talked him through it when he'd be feeling nervous, or helped him tune his guitars.

Bella ran past me with her Bluetooth in her ear and folders in hand. She gave me a quick smile and kiss on the cheek, and I managed to swat her ass pretty good as she ran to do whatever it was she was doing.

When she swung back around the next time, I made her stand there next to me, a possessive arm over her shoulders. "Just enjoy what you and that kid have done for just a moment, Bella. You don't get many firsts in life, and this is one of them."

I'm sure she thought I was talking about his first major show as headliner, but I wasn't.

Emmett brought the crowd down an octave or two, lulling them into a new song. The guitar picked gently, just him and his acoustic. All his backup musicians sat waiting for their moment to join.

It was a trick I'd taught him well. Make them wait for you.

"What is this?" Bella asked, confused. Her mouth pressed right against my semi-good ear.

"He's breaking set. It's okay, his band is ready."

We listened to a few beautiful, soulful notes. The music he had no words for in that coffee shop so long ago. The melody that stayed with me. The tune I played over and over as he sat patiently in my hotel room, helping me play again.

The song I wrote the lyrics for, because I couldn't get them out of my head and it was a shame for them to go to waste.

It was Bella's song that Emmett started singing.

Can I believe you?

Can I believe you?

Can I ever know your mind?

Am I handing you mine?

Do we both confide?

I see it eat through every word I sow

See what you need to, do you doubt it's yours?

Now I'm learning the ropes

Never get this close

I've been wounded before

Hasn't let me go

It never got less strange showing anyone just a bare face

If I don't, well, nothing will change

Staying under my weather all day

Can I believe you when you say I'm good?

I didn't need to when I wished you would

No, it isn't enough

Never held that much

Now another way up

Been a row too rough

It never got less strange, showing anyone just a bare face

But if I don't, well, nothing will change

Staying under my weather all day

Lately I'm wondering too

What type of desire I can break

When I'm one way with them, one with you

What half is it of me rearranged?

Can I believe you?

Can I believe you?

I want to need you

I want to need you

Can I believe you?

Can I believe you?

They were the words I thought after she'd told me she'd love me forever on a mangled bus in the middle of nowhere. Scarred cheek and bleeding heart with too much love for me - a bruised and battered, imperfect man - who was too scared to take it.

I'd never be scared again.

The End

** "Can I Believe You" Music and lyrics by Fleet Foxes

So, if you skimmed over the song lyrics, I would really like you to go back and read them.

I heard this song one night after I'd finished the chapter where Bella whispers into his ear she loves him. I was stunned at just how perfect the words were, I couldn't believe it. The band's lead singer said that he wrote it as he was driving aimlessly back and forth from his apartment in NYC to the Catskills during the pandemic, alone with his thoughts. If you listen to the song, it has a certain loneliness that I just equated with this Edward. I listened to it all the time while writing, which I myself also picked up again during the pandemic, feeling alone with my thoughts.

I think it sums up Edward's headspace beautifully. The wanting and the pushing away at war within himself.

You might have noticed I didn't have any comments on any chapter. No author notes, no announcements, no thank you's. There was a reason behind it, as I felt that with the short chapter layout of this story it would just muck up the works, especially for anyone reading straight through.

… Which I hope you choose to do someday.

This story in my opinion really works on a different level as a continuous read. You might find yourself feeling differently about some things. Maybe not. Shrugs.

Anyway, without any A/Ns from me, it doesn't mean I didn't have eternal thanks to give to my own two rock stars, CarrieZM and LayAtHomeMom. They knew my intentions and were fine without receiving the praise they deserved after each chapter. These two continue to work so hard for me, listen to me whine, and generally keep me going. I will say what I always say, I could not and would not do this without them, and I love them with my whole heart. And once again, CarrieZM was the perfect muse and idea generator, so you can thank her for this.

For those of you that were annoyed by the chapter length (yes, one chap was 18 words LOL) it was completely intentional, I understand how that could be annoying as a WIP, but I sat to write it as it came to mind… an action and then what the other might be thinking about the same thing without having a POV that rehashed all that happened already. A continuous conversation or thought process in my head, which is exactly what I wanted to present. I had no idea it would get up to 59 chapters! I appreciate you sticking with it and letting me do my thing.

Until next time…

xoxo PB