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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6. The Paint Job
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1203 Review this Chapter
The snowflakes fell to the ground slowly, as if in no hurry to join their brothers on the white blanket that covered the grounds.
Nessie was outside with Jacob – building a snowman, I liked to tell myself, and not making out under the snow-covered trees. Carlisle and Esme were upstairs, doing something, as were Rosalie and Emmett, who had disappeared along with the comfortable dryness that was now only a memory.
Everyone was enjoying their time with their second half. Everyone but us.
The tension between Edward and me greatly resembled the ice age outside – we both just sat there, avoiding each other's gazes while the snow fell and icy winds blew.
We had stopped talking about the topic a minute ago, but we were still very strongly in the middle of the argument, both too stubborn to let it drop.
"Do you want to go outside?" Edward proposed, still keeping his eyes away from mine.
My answering tone was just as frosty as everything else in the room.
"You can't feel the cold anymore."
"Yeah, I know. But it's snowing."
"Explain the difference, please."
"No difference. It's snowing. Frozen drops of water are falling from the sky. What explanation do you need?"
"I do need another explanation," my husband implied, "About something you said a minute ago."
I shook my head. We really didn't need to go through this again.
"You're not meeting Gerasymenko again. Period."
Edward jumped to his feet and finally looked me in the eye, a look of utter desperation crossing his face.
"Why, Bella? Why?" he bellowed, "I've been waiting for this for decades, and now you're forbidding me to go?"
I ignored the cutting tone in which he had formed his phrase and tried to soften my features up – if force wouldn't do the job, blackmail surely would.
"I just don't feel right about him. You should have seen him last week – he was nuts. I don't want my husband to be dangerously close to any madman."
"You know, in the course of history, many brilliant men were considered mad," Edward argued, "The professor is a genius. A madman? Maybe. Those two terms go hand in hand anyway."
I threw my hands in the air and turned away from Edward, noticing once again how our conversation was running in circles. I'd heard all his pleas, and he'd listened to all my arguments – to no avail.
Somewhere upstairs, a vase hit the floor – I could have sworn the sound came from Emmett's and Rosalie's bedroom.
It was unfair. We could have been enjoying ourselves, too, at the very moment, but instead we were fighting through an issue that would never find its end.
Twirling around to shout at Edward for the very last time, I filled my lungs with air that I knew I would need if I wanted to deliver the message.
"You will not take any more lessons from that man, not here, not anywhere! You can take lessons from someone else if you're so desperate, but they were a waste of time any –"
And there was a knock on the door.
Vladislav Gerasymenko stood on the stony doorstep.
Snow was falling around him – just like it always did in his home country in winter – and covering the dead grass of the large front lawn. It had been nearly difficult to reach his destination, for the traffic was catastrophic – an accident here, a dead road there....
One little snowfall, and the whole country was in chaos, the professor complained in his mind. In his home country, not even blizzards could throw the people off course. Such a storm was pathetic compared to some of the tempests he had seen in his life.
It took a surprisingly long while for Edward to open the door, especially considering his mind-reading abilities. Hadn't he heard him arrive? Highly unlikely. Edward was merely too idle to lift his precious behind from his wife's lap until it was absolutely necessary. Yes, Edward would have to learn some ambition if he wished to share his music with the rest of the world.
Without exchanging a word, a rather embarrassed-looking Edward guided the pianist into the light living-room. The patterns on the simple wallpaper interested the professor, as did the minuscule cracks in the wooden flooring. Ah, the lamps were also simply magnificent; the professor had never before noted the steadfast taste Mrs. Esme Cullen possessed.
"May we help you?" Isabella asked before her husband had time to interfere. Gerasymenko now understood Edward's tension – there had clearly been an argument only seconds before he'd arrived; the rigidity was still in the air.
"Good day, Mrs. Cullen. It is time for your husband's next piano lesson."
Edward opened his mouth to say something, but once again, Isabella struck before him, her attitude leaving a bitter taste in the professor's mouth. Women these days were just too liberated, he always said. Class and elegance no longer existed.
"It's Thursday. Edward's lessons are on Saturdays."
"Additional lessons never do any harm, Mrs. Cullen."
A most unusual look spread across Isabella's face – almost as if she doubted his words. Of course, she had many reasons to sus – ah, what a wonderful color! He would have to ask what shade the walls were, for his own apartment was badly in need of a new paint job. Beige would fit so well to the black piano that adorned his now still dark living room…
"Erm, professor, I… was intending to call you tonight. You see, my wife and I have talked about the piano lessons, and came to the conclusion that I should –"
"Continue, no doubt!" the professor exclaimed, "Naturally, with such great talent! And such a gifted daughter…"
The room fell silent.
"Gifted… daughter?" Isabella inquired, turning a peculiar shade of white that any painter would murder for.
"Why, yes," the professor answered, while simultaneously assessing the amount of snow outside – was it five inches? What a pathetic quantity. And this was what put the country in panic!
"What have you done to her?"
Smiling at Edward's attempt to stop his wife’s ridiculous accusation, the professor turned to look into the mother's blazing eyes.
"I have done nothing, Mrs. Cullen. Your daughter is at my quarters, going through some music I've given her. I was thinking Edward would like to have his lesson now so young Renesmee can decide whether she'd like to begin to play or not. I see some real potential in her."
The fire in Isabella's eyes burned on.
For one long moment, Edward stared at his wife with a look of understanding, then turned to his teacher and nodded.
"At your place?"
"At my place, Edward."
Worry crossed over the pupil's face.
"Perhaps Isabella and Alice should join us?"
The color of the walls was truly spectacular. Mrs. Cullen clearly had an eye for the arts. Would she help him refurnish his house, Vladislav Gerasymenko wondered. Yes, Mrs. Cullen had such fabulous taste.
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