A/N Special thanks to my friend Jenn who was my first beta and helped me from switching tenses. Also BIG thanks to all the great peeps at PTB for their awesome help. I am a COMMA QUEEN!

Still don't own Twilight.

EPOV

I had some time before I had to leave the Renaissance Hotel and head to the venue in the Flats. I found myself staring out of the window of my hotel room, just letting my mind wander as I looked out over the Cleveland skyline.

I had been in Cleveland a few times before on tour. One of those times I had even managed to see my little brother Emmett, who played for the Seattle Mariners, play against the Cleveland Indians. It was a happy coincidence that he had a game here against the Indians the night after one of my shows. I didn't have another show for a few days, so I was able to spend an extra day here.

Emmett was one of the best outfielders that the Seattle Mariners had in the past several years. He loved his job and was very glad he wasn't considered a rookie anymore. The Mariners won that night, which made me even happier that I was able to see the game and share in his victory.

I sighed and my mind returned to the job ahead of me. I really did not want to do this tour. I loved to play music, to just sit with my guitar and sing or play but my soul was not in this tour. Unfortunately, the executives at my recording label were really put out with my behavior recently and this was the last straw for them. Either I did this or I had to find a new label.

A small part of me still cared, but a larger part of me was just tired, so tired of all of it. It was so much easier to just drink it away - to exist in a haze of alcohol. Then the screaming fans didn't bother me so much. The paparazzi cameras intruding on every part of my life didn't bother me so much. My life didn't bother me so much. The fans seemed to find me wherever I went and half of them didn't even call me by name. They called me by my characters' names, even at my concerts. Who was more delusional? Me, the actor and occasional musician on the road to alcoholism or some infatuated fan that thought a fictional character was real?

I took another drink from the glass next to my chair. After I drained the glass I refilled it from the bottle next to it. Should I even bother with a glass? I thought to myself. In denial still; I'll continue with the attempt at civility.

To be honest, I was terrified of it all. The screaming people, the mass of bodies all clamoring for a piece of me. They didn't want me, they wanted their perception of what or who I was - a fictional projection. Nothing real.

Some people thought I should be flattered over all the attention, and at first I was. I thought it was great. I was thrilled that I was finally getting recognition. People were coming to my concerts to listen to my music. People actually went and saw a movie because I was in it. But it just got so crazy so fast. I was only twenty-five and other people my age were just starting their careers. What did I possibly know at this age to help me deal with all this insanity?

I sighed again. It was so much simpler before - before the movies, before the blockbuster. I could just be me. I was able to focus on my music more. I could walk down the street and not be recognized. I loved to act, but music was my soul.

I remember my mother, Esme, encouraging me to take music lessons as a child. My father was a successful doctor and could afford to pay for the best lessons. When I showed an interest in piano and guitar, they bought me one of each for Christmas one year. A little extravagant, but they were like that with all their children at Christmas. Back then, living in a small town in Washington State, I was able to play for myself and my family, simply for my love of music. I was able to create. It was hard to imagine that such a sunless place like Forks, Washington would inspire such creativity, but it did all the same.

I shook my head. I couldn't remember the last time I wrote a new song. I started to wonder if I even knew how anymore.

My manager, Marcus, broke me of my dark thoughts as he walked into the room. Sometimes I just had this urge to punch him. He was my friend but a jackass at the same time.

"Time to go dazzle your fans." Marcus gestured towards the open door.

I glared at him and took another sip of my drink. "Go fuck off Marcus."

Marcus' eyes furrowed down to me, anger darkening them. "Edward, you need this. You know what will happen if you blow this off. Your music career will be over. No label will want to pick you up."

This was one of those times where I wanted to hit him.

I finished off my glass and set it down on the table as I got up. "I know, Marcus. Thank you for the friendly reminder about the status of my career," I retorted, my voice dripping with sarcasm.

Marcus glanced at the bottle on the table and looked at me with real concern in his eyes. "Edward, you need to cut this shit out. All this drinking is not good for you. If it was a glass of wine after a show to unwind, that I could deal with. But drinking half a bottle of vodka just to get going is not a good sign."

"Relax Marcus. I only had two glasses this afternoon. I started that bottle last night when we got in to Cleveland." I really wanted to punch him now. I really didn't care what he thought of my drinking habits.

Marcus' face visibly relaxed. "Good. Hopefully you'll actually have a good show this time. We've wasted enough time here. Come on, we really need to go."

I followed Marcus out of my room, picking up my guitar case on the way out. All these hotels look the same. Even the fanciest hotel looks like a roach motel after awhile. I shook my head to try to clear my thoughts and focus on my concert.

Marcus, my two bodyguards, and I walked into the parking garage at the hotel. Marcus walked towards the SUV to drive me to the Odeon. I stopped him before he got too far.

"I'm going to drive myself this time. I know how to get there. It would be nice to not be chauffeured around for once."

Marcus looked like he was going to object, but didn't after seeing something in my eyes. "Fine, just make sure you're there on time. If you take off before the show, I am done with you. Friends or not," he warned.

"Yes, dear," I replied, rolling my eyes. My two bodyguards got in the backseat of my rented silver Volvo when I hopped in the driver's seat. "See you in a bit Marcus."

I sped out of the parking garage and raced around Public Square. The Odeon was literally a mile from the hotel but I needed this. I needed to be in control of something for once. The vodka I had been nursing before no longer shrouded me in its protective haze. I had a few moments of clarity that I hadn't had in some time. This was a small bit of freedom before the shackles clamped down on my wrists, on my soul, on my life again.

Before Marcus could worry that I ran off on him, I eventually made my way down into the east bank of the Flats on Old River Road. Marcus was already there, anxiously looking for my silver Volvo to appear. When he finally saw me coming down the road, he directed me to a parking spot across the street from the entrance. It was still early enough that there was only a small crowd of people waiting to get in. There were a lot of cops around to help keep the crowd under control as it got closer to the start time. Once I got out of my car, the crowd went nuts. They all started shouting out at me. I grabbed my guitar and walked as quickly as I could to the venue entrance.

"Edward, I love you!"

"Robert! Robert! Robert!"

I fought the desire to yell out at them what my name really was. MY NAME IS EDWARD!

I was overcome with anger. I felt like a piece of meat on display at a butcher shop. It wouldn't matter what I told them. Their delusion was utterly complete and unbreakable. Some people could not separate Edward Cullen, the actor, from Robert Pattinson, the fictional character from a movie. Robert was only a character I played, it was not who I was. While I was thankful for the role that put me on the map, I still wished people could look past the character and see me.

Some of the girls in the front of the line started crying when they saw me. Come on now, really? I rushed into the Odeon followed closely by Marcus and my bodyguards.

Time for the sound checks.

I had always enjoyed the sound checks; it was the calm before the storm. It was when I was able to really be one with my music. There weren't tons of people around…just me, the house band, and the tech crew doing their rounds before the show. As always, it went by quicker than I would have wished.

After I was done, I waited in my dressing room, if that is what you could call it. It was pretty much a glorified closet with a mirror and a stool, but I didn't need anything fancy. My sister would probably have a fit at these kinds of accommodations. Thankfully she never went on tour with me. Evil pixie, I thought to myself, laughing. Nothing is every pretty enough for her. Thinking of my sister made me think about home again. Alice was a party coordinator in Seattle, and she had a thriving business making somebody's day as pretty and perfect as it could be. And, boy, did she love to shop. She was perpetually put out with me that I hadn't brought anyone home yet for her to go shopping with. She said she could only go shopping so often with Rosalie, Emmett's beautiful but vain wife. She needed someone new. I don't think she'd want me to bring someone home from the crowd I'm normally around, though. The Hollywood type girls and the groupies did not make for good relationships.

I stared at the reflection in the mirror. My bronze hair was a mess, as usual. No comb or brush could ever calm it down. It went where it wanted to when it wanted to. I did my best to just keep it off my face. My green eyes looked back at me, accusingly. I had circles under my eyes from lack of sleep. My eyes were somewhat bloodshot from the alcohol too. Great. I quickly tried to find some eye drops to try to minimize the redness. Seeing that they are only going to truly get better if I stopped drinking, I gave up and straightened my clothes out, trying to pull out an invisible wrinkle. Not like it matters with jeans, I laughed to myself. I stood up and stretched, trying to motivate myself as Marcus came in.

"Show time, Edward." He smiled at me, encouragingly, hoping that I would put on a good show tonight. The past couple of shows in the tour had gone okay but I think he was worried that the other shoe was going to drop.

"Let's get this over with," I grimaced. Already I could hear the fans outside chanting my name. At least this time they were getting my name right.

As I walked on stage with my guitar, the crowd erupted in cheers and screams. My mostly female fan base pressed as close to the stage as they could. The Odeon's security crew kept them back with about a foot to spare. I smiled, genuinely this time. I did enjoy playing. I truly did. I loved that the fans were so excited and supportive. When it went overboard is when I hated being up here.

I walked up to the microphone and smiled again, brushing my hair off my forehead. The crowd cheered again. "How is everybody tonight?"

The crowd screamed with delight, getting louder every minute.

I nodded to the band and they started the intro to the first song. I closed my eyes and tried to put myself into the music. I strummed my guitar and began to sing. The crowd cheered even louder, some even singing along with me. It was hard to hear myself over the din. I leaned closer to the monitors trying to hear.

We played a few more songs as I continued to struggle to keep my focus. I could barely hear myself think, much less sing or play over the crowd. The Odeon wasn't large and it was fully packed. The monitors on the stage were supposed to help us hear ourselves but I couldn't hear a damn thing. I started to doubt that the crowd could even hear me. I turned to the band and whispered to them to play a different song. All three of them looked at me in surprise, but finally nodded and started into a faster tempo.

I carefully watched the crowd as I started the new song. No one seemed to notice the change. That sickened me. I was playing a Brittney Spears song for Christ sake! They still cheered along, oblivious, actually getting louder. I stopped playing entirely. They continued to cheer. Even the band behind me continued to play. They couldn't even hear that I had stopped playing. I looked over the crowd again. One particularly enamored fan leaned over the security line and screamed "I LOVE YOU ROBERT!"

That was it. I was done. I walked off the stage, guitar in hand. I grabbed my stuff from my dressing room and headed out to my car. I could still hear the crowd from outside on the street as I looked up and saw my name on the marquee. I shook my head and got in my car and drove away. As I peeled around the corner, I saw Marcus run out of the Odeon. He was livid and had his phone in hand. I turned my cell phone off, stuck it in my pocket, and drove on.

I went north after leaving the Odeon, heading toward the lake. It was the one thing here that reminded me of home. Forks wasn't far from the Pacific Ocean and I had spent a lot of time at First Beach in La Push growing up. Lake Erie was just a hair smaller than the Pacific and didn't have the pleasant saltwater scent, but it was still water. When I could go north no further, I turned west. I wasn't sure where I was going, but I didn't want to lose sight of the lake.

I must have driven for about an hour, not really paying attention where I was headed, before I really started to take in my surroundings. I was driving through a small town, a sleepy little rural suburb. There were still people about the town but it definitely wasn't Cleveland.

As I drove, I passed a sign on the side of the road. "Welcome to Vermilion, Home of the Sailors"

Vermilion, eh? Reminds me of home. Small town, no hustle or bustle. No screaming, rabid fans out for blood.

I continued through town, enjoying the view, watching people go about their evening.

I hadn't even realized I had pulled off the road until I had parked in front of a bar, towards the end of the main drag of town. If I had continued farther west I would have left the city entirely and lost myself into the countryside. The parking lot was almost half full, which was not a bad turnout in such a small city. I got out of my Volvo and looked around. I felt my cell phone in my pocket and thought: I guess I should call Marcus before he sends out the army to look for me.

I turned on my phone on and laughed as my voicemail lights up with five new messages. All were from Marcus, of course. I dialed his number and prepare for the onslaught.

Marcus' voice spat out furiously from my phone. I think people across town could have heard him ranting. "Edward? What the hell? Where the hell are you? Why the hell did you leave? Do you know what the label is going to do-"

I cut him off before his tirade could go any further. "I'm fine Marcus, thanks for asking."

He sighed on the other end of the phone, exasperated.

"I'm in a parking lot of some bar. I just couldn't do it anymore Marcus. Those people, my alleged fans, couldn't even hear what I was playing. I actually STOPPED playing and they still screamed. And they weren't even screaming my name. I don't think they even cared that I was there. This is just insane. I need a break."

"What bar are you at Edward?"

I looked around to see if I could find the name. I found a sign by the main entrance. "I'm at some place called Midnight Sun."

"Where the hell is that?"

I didn't want to tell him exactly where I was at yet. I knew he would come looking for me.

"I don't know" I lied.

"What do you mean you don't know?" Marcus' voice ratcheted up in volume.

"I don't know. When I left, I just started driving. I need some time to unwind but I'll call you later. Please do not come find me." I hung up on him as he was starting to speak. I said what I needed to say. Before Marcus could call me back, I turned my phone off. I had a feeling he was already online trying to find this place. Hopefully he'll just be satisfied that he knows where I am.

I leaned up against the side of my car as my actions of the evening came crashing down on me. I had never bolted from a show before. What have I done? I looked at my guitar in the passenger seat of the car. The label is definitely going to drop me now. At least I can play for myself still. I glanced at the door to the bar again.

Might as well go in and have a drink.

A/N Please rate and review!