Edward loves three things in life: His wife, his family, and his music. When the last of the three is in question, Bella cannot imagine a more superior being to exist. But when the master among pianists appears at their doorstep, Bella can only observe in awe as Edward is tutored by this grandiose, though slightly eccentric vampire. Music has never seemed so complicated before. Yet: Are musical notes really all this man weaves together, or is there something more involved? Something... Romanian?
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4. The Piano Lesson
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1030 Review this Chapter
The Romanian vampire marched back and forth on the stone floor, ignoring the displeased silence of his partner.
"Vladislav worries me. The whole operation is in his hands – and his failure would mean the loss of all our hope! Stefan, we must assemble another plan, in case our accomplice is unsuccessful."
"Vladimir, rest your mind," Stefan appeased him, "We have already gone through this. Vladislav is very passionate about his music, but he will do his duty as he said he would. Musicians are perfectionists."
"Passionate! Vladislav is zealous about all the wrong things, my friend. He should forget his petty jingles!"
"He is the best, Vladimir!"
"The best for us or for himself?"
Vladimir halted and turned to his coven brother. The ongoing argument had been gone through many times already, too many times to hold any interest for Stefan anymore. He was frustrated by his brother's distrust. After all, they had chosen Vladislav for a reason – a reason Vladimir seemed to have forgotten.
"You mustn't insult his music, Vladimir," the vampire said for the last time, "He is a pianist, and pianists are very thin-skinned when it comes to what they do. Vladislav will play – but while he plays, he will do his duty."
Stefan took a step away from his brother, knowing the argument would start all over again soon enough. Vladimir's doubt could not be taken away,
And as he'd suspected, Vladimir wasn't ready to let the matter drop. He followed Stefan out of the room, talking vehemently as they passed the many holes that had dug themselves into the ancient walls of their castle.
"Listen to me, Stefan. Our home has waited for its glory long enough. We are close to our goal – too close! The Volturi are growing suspicious. We need to act fast if we want to return to our rightful places as royals of the vampire world. Speed and security are crucial to us at this point, my brother! Vladislav is not dependable and he does not want to hurry. His music is more important to him than victory!"
"Must I repeat myself? Vladislav is passionate, but he –"
"Passionate! That's all he ever is in your eyes. But he is not passionate about this."
Vladimir gestured towards the splendor of his ruined castle, feeling anew the pain each hole had cost him and his coven. The palace, once so grand and celebrated, was now only a ruin, a memory of the lost days of brilliance. No more royal family housed here; the ruin was merely the home of rats now.
"This, Stefan," Vladimir continued, "This is passion. Vladislav can play his piano all he wants – he will never quite reach the zeal we have for restoring our home. What is music next to conquest?"
Stefan sighed, gazing over his destroyed home with his familiar pain of lost battles.
"Regrettably, my brother, music is victory for this man. But rest assured – he has as much to win as we do. If he succeeds, his music will sound in everybody's ears. His passion will not allow him to lose."
"Is Edward passionate enough, my brother?"
"I believe he is," Stefan replied,
"And soon his family's passion will fight for our side."
I imagined Edward laughing his head off upstairs – and gulped.
"Yes, Mrs. Cullen. Place your thumb over the middle C… Careful now, we don't want to break Edward's new piano, now, do we? Press the keys down."
I lowered my hand on the keys – all the time fearing the strings would snap inside the grand piano – and listened to the hum of the chord. It sounded right to my ears.
"Almost, Mrs. Cullen, almost. Press all three keys down at the same time."
"Um," I started, still not lifting my hand, "I did press them down at the same time."
The professor smiled.
"Not quite. Did you hear that that small… what shall we call it? Twitch? The G came a little later than the rest."
I glimpsed at Alice, who was sitting on the couch beside me, patiently waiting for her turn. She rolled her eyes.
"Let's try again."
The groan that was threatening to surface got stuck in my throat as the thought of Edward's pleading face reappeared in my mind. He had warned me not to anger his teacher; irritating him might mean the end of his piano lessons.
For Edward, for Edward, for Edward…
I pressed the three keys down again, being careful to hit them all together.
"Almost, Mrs. Cullen, almost…"
Alice sighed inertly as she watched her favorite sister struggle with the impossible task of pleasing professor Gerasymenko. She pitied Bella – all the while knowing that her turn would soon follow.
But knowing was the wrong word.
She had glimpsed into the future, afraid of what she might observe, and had been astounded to notice that her lesson was nowhere in sight. She'd searched further – but in vain, for all she could see was Bella sitting beside the pianist, still trying to get her first chord right.
Had the professor forgotten his promise to teach her, too? It certainly seemed like it. But Alice crushed the hope that was rashly spreading through her mind – She had to remember that if she was relieved of her lesson, Bella would have to carry the double of her burden.
So she searched on, still not perceiving an end to Bella's piano lesson. Not in ten minutes, not in half an hour…
Not in three hours.
In fact, now that she had a clear view of the entire day, Alice found that the endless piano lesson was precisely that – endless.
The professor wasn't planning to end his teaching any time soon.
No, she must be mistaken. Her sixth sense had been wrong before. The professor was just focusing so hard on Bella that all other options had faded from his mind and thereby from her visions.
So Alice said nothing, and continued to observe as Bella labored to get her very first chord right.
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