The Sound Of Love




Chapter 1: Twilight

I walked onto the Twilight set not expecting much of a challenge. I was the Supervising Sound Editor, which meant I was responsible for every noise heard while watching the movie, including music and special effects. Vampires and love stories were not my specialty. I worked my way up through Industrial Light and Magic while they were producing the last two Star Wars movies, so I tended to get calls for Science Fiction. However, Cath, the director, was an old family friend and asked me to come on board. She was over the top excited about this movie, so I couldn’t say no. She told me that since my name was also Bella, it was clearly my destiny to work on this film. O-kaaay.

Normally, the bulk of my work comes in post production, but Cath was so determined to make this movie a box office phenomenon that she asked me to come on board right away and add sound for the daily screenings.

Vampires have never been my thing. I saw the stage version of “Dracula” when I was a teenager and didn’t sleep for weeks afterward. So when my friends told me about their teenage girls being addicted to the Twilight books, I was not tempted to read them. When Cath sent me the script, I reluctantly picked it up and could not put it down. I immediately went to Barnes & Noble and bought the series, and my life stopped while I read all four books in 4 days. After that, I would have begged Cath to let me work on the movie.

Cath sent me photos and bios of the cast as well as the resumes of the key crew members. I would bring my usual team on board a little later into production. I had seen Kristen Stewart’s work and thought she was the perfect choice for Bella. I didn’t know anything about Rob Pattinson except that he had been in a Harry Potter movie. However, Cath said she and Kristen knew right away that he was perfect for the part. My experience with young and handsome movie stars was that their egos usually far outweighed their talent. I hoped this movie would be different.

Cath spotted me, bounded over and grabbed me in a bear hug.

“Well, hello!” I said, when I could breathe again. “It’s good to see you too!”

“I’m so glad you’re here!” she chirped. “This movie is going to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m so excited!”

“You know, Cath, I’ve figured out why Stephenie wanted you to direct so badly.”

“Because of my awesome talent?” she asked.

“Well that goes without saying. However, besides that,” I replied.

“What?” she asked.

“You ARE Alice,” I laughed.

“I am not! How am I Alice? I’m not psychic. I don’t have spiky black hair. I’m not a vampire!”

“OK, I’ll concede those points. However, you do have more enthusiasm and joy oozing from your being than any other HUMAN on the planet.”

She laughed and put her arm around my waist as she led me to the conference room.

At the first cast meeting, it quickly became apparent that the actors were looking to Kristen to set the tone. Even at the age of seventeen, Kristen has already worked with some of the best and most talented actors in the business, so she was mature far beyond her years. She was extremely professional and business like, and the rest of the cast followed her lead.

The first time I saw Kristen and Rob together on the screen, I knew this movie was going to be big. I’ve only seen that kind of chemistry one other time when Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s chemistry made “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” a box office smash. I was very pleasantly stunned by Rob’s on screen image. In person, he was certainly handsome, but since he didn't see himself that way and was so down to earth, I didn’t expect the raw sex appeal that leaped off the screen.

A live feed monitor was in my studio, so I could get real-time film as soon as it was created. The constant sound of “Action! Cut! Do it again! Make up! Lights!” and the scurrying of the crew to move set pieces, the makeup crew to do touch ups or the lighting designers to change the mood, became like white noise in the background of my studio as I mixed the actor’s dialogue with special effect sounds and mood music.

However, on this particular day, my attention was drawn to the monitor when the entire set became quiet except for the sound of a piano. I took off my headphones and walked over to the live feed to watch and listen. They were filming the scene where Edward plays Bella’s lullaby. Since the score wouldn't be composed until after principal shooting was complete, Rob was improvising. He was deeply into character and his playing had gripped everyone in the room. I’ve worked on dozens of movies, and I’ve never seen a set go so still as it did in that moment. I realized they were shooting only two doors down and bolted to the sound stage. I quietly entered and watched the reactions of everyone on the set. The make-up artist and lighting designer were actually crying. Besides the utter stillness, the other unusual thing about this take was that Cath was letting Rob just play on and on. I’ve never seen a take last this long. Normally, the camera runs for a matter of seconds or a few minutes at the most before the director yells, “Cut!” and the scene is reset. However, Cath was as mesmerized as everyone else. He had hypnotized the entire set.

Time stood still until Rob finally stopped playing, broke character and looked over at Cath. She smiled and softly said, “Cut.” Still, no one moved for at least a minute. Finally, I heard Cath say to her assistant, “Go get Bella Jordan.”

“I’m right here,” I said, walking over to her.

“Did you hear that?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“That has to be on the soundtrack,” she said.

This was another first for me. I’d heard of actors having their songs on the movie soundtrack, but it was usually someone very famous in the music business making a cameo in a movie, like Beyonce in “The Pink Panther.” I’d never heard of an actor improvising a bit that ended up on the sound track. However, I knew Cath was right. What Rob just played was mesmerizing. I knew that with a little work, it would debut on iTunes top ten, and my predictions regarding song debut rankings were usually correct. I’ve been producing albums and concerts, literally, since I could walk. My Dad is Barry Jordan. His albums all went platinum in the seventies and eighties, and he went on to produce some of the all time best selling albums in the history of music.

By the time I was two, I refused to leave the studio when he was working. I watched and listened to some of the world’s greatest performers as they created magic before my eyes and ears. By the time I was twelve, I had produced my first platinum album, and ROCK-IT magazine described me as a protégé. By twenty-one, albums, I had produced had earned three Grammies and one Academy Award for best soundtrack.

My little brother is also in the business. Jack was one of the Disney kids. He had his own show at age ten, and by age twelve, he was selling out stadiums all over the country. He’s managed to reinvent himself every few years. He recently released a collaboration with JT, one of the rap artists Dad produced, and their album went platinum.

In other words, in the music world, my family and I are famous, envied and in demand.

After Cath said that she had to have Rob’s song on the sound track, I looked up to see Rob still sitting at the piano speaking to the Assistant Director, Mike. I wandered over and stood by the piano as I waited for them to finish. When Mike walked away, Rob looked up at me. At first, I knew he thought I was one of Cath’s assistants and could see in his eyes a look that said, “Please don’t ask me to try on another costume or read another line.” But after a second, I saw his eyes change, and I knew he was trying to figure out why my face looked familiar.

“Rob, I’m Bella Jordan,” I said, holding out my hand.

His face registered the recognition.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said, in an accent that immediately endeared him to me; my Dad is a Britt, so I’ve always had a soft spot for their accent.

“May I sit down?” I said, moving toward the bench.

“Of course, please do,” he replied.

“Rob, I’ve worked on dozens of movies, and I’ve never seen a crew become utterly mesmerized the way they did just now.”

“What are you talking about?” he said.

“Don’t you realize the magic your playing just worked on this room?” I asked.

He just shook his head with a look of confusion on his face.

“Wow,” I said, realizing how deep into character he must have been. He was concentrating so hard, he didn’t even realize what had just happened and how highly unusual it was.

I went on. “The entire set came to a standstill. No one moved. No one spoke. I saw two assistants crying. Cath didn’t stop you for over 30 minutes.”

“I was wondering about that,” he said. “I did finally notice that she wasn’t yelling, “Cut!” every three minutes like she usually does.

“That’s because she was hypnotized too.”

He just laughed.

“I’m serious. She wants your music on the soundtrack.”

He thought I was kidding.

“I don’t kid about music,” I said seriously.

He stopped laughing.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 2: iTunes

“Why don’t you go get out of costume? I’m sure you’re dying to get that make up off.”

I wanted to itch just looking at the inch thick layer of base makeup they had used to make Rob look vampire-esk.

“My studio is 2 doors up. Drop in once you’ve had a chance to become human again.”

He smiled, and I was surprised to notice my heart skipped a beat.

“Sounds great, I’ll be down in a bit,” he said.

I headed back to my studio and sent a copy of Rob’s song to my Dad, and then I called him.

“Hey Bella, to what do I owe the pleasure?” Dad asked.

“Hi Dad,” I said. “Do I have to have a reason to call my father and tell him how much I love him?”

“No, but it would be a first.”

“Note to self,” I thought. “Call Dad just to say, ‘I love you.’”

I laughed knowing he loved me no matter what. “Sorry, Dad, I promise to call more often.”

“It’s OK, Sweetheart. I’m just teasing. I know the movie has you tied up.”

“Dad, that’s actually why I’m calling. I just emailed you a song I’m considering for the soundtrack. Do you have a few minutes now that you could listen to it, then call me back with your thoughts?”

“Sure. I see it in my Inbox. I’ll call you back in a little while.”

“Thanks, and Dad?”

“Yes, sweetheart?” He asked.

“I DO love you.”

“I know Sweetheart. I love you too. I’ll talk to you in a few.”

Rob walked in just as I hung up. “Wow,” I thought. His hair was still wet from a shower. He had on faded jeans and an old concert T-shirt. Grunge had never looked so good.

I realized I was staring as Rob looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, hi,” I said.

“Bad time?” he asked. “I can come back later.”

“No, sorry, I was lost in space. I just got off the phone with my Dad.”

Dad didn’t have anything to do with my spaciness, but Rob didn’t need to know that.

I continued. “I sent him your song.”

“You what?” He asked.

“I hope you don’t mind?”

“No, not at all! It’s just that…”

“What?” I asked.

“I guess I am rather pleasantly surprised to learn that one of my songs is in the hands of one of the world’s most famous record producers,” he said.

I smiled. “Good. I’m glad you’re OK with this. I didn’t tell Dad anything about the song or anything about you. All I said was I was considering it for the movie soundtrack. He doesn’t even know what this movie is about. He’s not exactly in the Twilight target market.”

“No,” Rob chuckled, “not exactly.”

Just then, my phone buzzed. I answered, putting Dad on speaker.

“Hey Dad, what do you think?” I could hear Rob’s song in the background.

“I thought you said this was a horror movie?” He asked.

“I never said that Dad. Where did you get that idea?”

“Didn’t you say something about vampires?”

“Yes, but…”

He cut me off, obviously excited to tell me what he thought.

“It doesn’t matter. This song’s not right for a horror movie. But it would be perfect for a Romeo and Juliet type movie.”

I smiled as I saw Rob’s mouth drop open.

“What makes you say that Dad?”

“The longing, is obviously a reflection of unrequited love. No, wait, it’s not unrequited. That’s not the word. His love is requited, but he can’t possess her. He must love her from afar, and its killing him,” Dad said.

I saw Rob sink into a chair with a dumbfounded look on his face.

“Go on, Dad. Why did you say, “His love,” as opposed to her?”

“Oh come on, honey. I’ve told you a million times. I don’t care who wrote the song or what it’s about, but if a guy wrote it, there’s always a rift that says, “I know I should think with the big head, but the little one is leading the way.”

At this, I saw Rob choke back a laugh.

I laughed and asked, “So, Dad, what do you think about the person playing the song?”

“Honey, why are you asking me all these questions that I know you already know the answer to?”

“Because, Daddy, I need my father to confirm for me what I THINK I know.”

“Alright, sweetheart, I’ll play along. Obviously, the person who is playing the song is the same person that wrote it.”

Again, I saw Rob’s eyes pop.

“Why, Dad?” I asked.

He sighed. We’d had this conversation hundreds of times, but I wanted Rob to hear Dad’s thoughts.

He explained, as if talking to a five year old. “Bella, this song was an improvisation. It’s not done yet, right?”

“Yes, Dad,” I replied. “I just needed to get your opinion on whether it’s worth arranging.”

I saw Rob hold his breath.

“Bella, now you’re just wasting my time.”

Rob’s face fell.

“You know damn well this will top the charts as soon as you release your soundtrack!”

“Thanks, Dad! That’s all I needed to hear. I’ve gotta run. I love you!”

“I love you too. Call your old man soon.”

“I will Dad, bye.” I clicked “end” and looked at Rob. He looked stunned.

“OK,” he said. “Where’s the hidden camera?”

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“The one that is recording my reaction so they can play it back at the cast party and embarrass the hell out of me,” he said.

“Rob, there’s no hidden camera, look.”

I replayed the live feed recording and zoomed in on the faces of the crew that were listening while Rob played. When the camera panned the two crewmembers that were crying, I pressed, ‘pause.’

“Now do you get it?” I asked. “It’s good, Rob. It’s really good. If you work with me on it, I promise you, it will be on iTunes top 10.”

Chapter 3: Let’s Rock-N-Roll

Whenever Rob got a break over the next several weeks, he stopped into the studio, and we worked on arranging his song. I sent it to Dad, and he mixed in strings and base. We tweaked it until Dad and I were sure we had a hit. Rob was thrilled. Cath was beside herself.

“This is going to be so great for publicity. We’ll be sure to mention this in the interviews, and we just have to put this in the “Special Features DVD,” Cath bubbled.

“Always glad to be of service, Alice.” I smiled at her.

Over the past few weeks, I got used to Rob hanging out in the studio during his free time. I was almost sorry to finish the song since I enjoyed working with him so much. He really was a talented musician, he knew exactly what to mix to improve the song, and he had a great ear.

Then it hit me. That was only one song. I still had eleven more to finish.

“Rob!” I gushed. “I need your help!”

“Anything!” He said.

“You should be careful what you’re promising,” I smiled.

“Look, Bella, music is the most important thing in my life. If Twilight hadn’t come along when it did, I’d be devoting myself to music full time. I thought I might have what it takes to be a successful musician, but I wasn’t sure. Now you’ve given me the confidence to know I can make it. If I get sick of acting or if this movie bombs, I can do what I love! Therefore, I owe you, big time. When I said, ‘anything,’ I meant it.”

“Good, I’m glad you feel that way. I need you to help me produce the rest of the soundtrack.”

“What?” he choked.

“You heard me. We make a great team. You have one of the best ears of anyone I’ve ever worked with, and you know this movie better than anyone else does. If you help me, not only am I sure the soundtrack will debut at number one on iTunes, but we’ll be accepting a Grammy about a year from now.”

“God, you’re cocky as hell,” he said with a smirk.

“I’m not cocky. I’m my Dad’s kid. He’s the best, and I learned from the best. My Mom told me when she was pregnant with me, my Dad would lay down next to her stomach when they were in bed, and sing to me. She said she made him stop doing that when she was ready for sleep because it made me start to kick, and I wouldn’t stop for an hour.”

Rob laughed.

I went on. “After I was born, Mom told me that no matter how hard I was crying, if Dad picked me up and started to sing to me, I immediately stopped and stared at him completely mesmerized. She joked that the saying, “Daddy’s little girl” was invented just to describe me.

By the time I was two, I followed my Dad like a puppy. When he got up from the breakfast table to head over to the studio, I stopped whatever I was doing and followed him. My Mom just gave up trying to get me to play with other kids or go to pre-school. I just screamed and screamed until they let me go back to the studio. Since I just sat quietly next to my father entranced by the music and his every move, they let me stay. I’ve been by his side making music ever since.”

“And how long is that?” he asked.

“Are you asking me how old I am, Rob?” I smiled.

“Yeah, I guess I am. How old ARE you, Bella?”

“Ugh, I hit 26 just before filming started.”

“Oh, I see why that’s so upsetting. You’re ancient,” he joked.

I smacked him.

“You weren’t too ancient to be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue last year,” he said.

My head snapped up. This was not my favorite subject.

“Oh, so you’re a fine literature aficionado?” I smirked.

“No, just a lover of fine art,” he quipped back.

I laughed. “That picture was supposed to be a joke. If the photographer, Casey, weren’t one of my best friends, I’d sue their asses! Casey asked to do part of the shoot at the resort…”

“What resort?” He asked.

“My family’s resort.”

Rob looked confused. “Your family owns a resort?”

“Yes, you see, Dad knew that his artists performed best when their every comfort and whim was catered to. So he built the recording studio inside of a resort.”

“Wait a minute,” Rob said. “I read about this. Didn’t Pampered Traveler magazine rank it as one of the best places to stay?”

“Yes, they usually rate us in the top five every year.”

“OK, so S.I. visited your resort, and…?” he asked.

“Casey was hanging out on the beach setting up the shoot when I came out with my board…”

“Wait, you surf?” He asked.

“Rob, my mother practically gave birth to me on her board…”

“Your Mom surfs?” he asked incredulously.

“Are you paying attention? Yes! Mom surfs. Dad surfs. We live on the ocean. Everyone in Southern California surfs.”

“Sorry. You don’t have to get touchy about it. There are no waves big enough to surf near England.”

“God, I know! There are no waves, no decent pizza. How anyone thrives in your country, I’ll never understand!” I said with a smirk.

“Hey! No dissing my country! Now back to S.I.. How did you end up in the swimsuit issue?”

“Casey was setting up the shoot when I came down to surf. He told me he needed to check the light and asked me to pose for some shots. I said sure. I just stood there, while he snapped away, then he started joking around and talking to me like I was one of ‘the girls,’ saying things like, “Come on baby, show me what you’ve got.’ So I did.” I stopped talking and shrugged as if to say, “That’s it.”

“Wait, come on. There’s got to more to the story than that,” he said.

“Rob, you know who my Mom is, right?”

“Yes, Kelley Jordan.”

“And do you know what she does for a career?” I asked.

“She was a super model?” He asked.

“Please, my Mom is a super model. She has her own clothing line, make up line, and the magazines targeted at the over 40 crowd can’t get enough of her. Her career is stronger than ever. I hope I look one tenths as good as her at age fifty.”

“I don’t think you have anything to worry about,” he said.

I rolled my eyes.

He went on. “So you’re saying you knew how to play to the camera because you watched your Mom?”

“Right, whenever Dad had to tour, I would scream for a day and then resign myself to hanging out with Mom. Don’t get me wrong. I loved and still love my Mom. However, I was enthralled by my Dad’s music. I guess you could say it was “my own personal brand of heroine.”

“Ba dum ching,” Rob said, as he hit air drums at my joke. “You digressed again. So how did Casey’s pictures of you end up in the swimsuit issue?”

“As I said, we were just kidding around, and when he told me to ‘strut my stuff,’ I decided to channel my Mom. I posed the way I’d seen her pose hundreds of times. Casey is flamingly gay, and very open about it, and I’ve known him forever, so I wasn’t the least bit self-conscious with him. I thought we were just goofing around. Well, the next thing I knew my brother’s copy of S.I. showed up. I flipped through to see how it turned out, and saw my picture in the section describing the resort. I swear, I’m still considering taking out a contract on Casey’s balls.”

Rob laughed. “Why did it bother you so much? It’s a beautiful picture.”

“It’s a HORRIBLE picture! I’m not a professional! I had just rolled out of bed. I had no makeup on, and my hair was a mess.”

“But that’s what makes it so sexy,” he smirked.

I rolled my eyes again. I knew he was patronizing me. “My Mom is the one who is beautiful. I’m just average.”

“You don’t honestly believe that do you?” he said, incredulously.

I ignored him. “Talk about digressing! We started out talking about how you are going to help me finish the soundtrack. We have eleven more songs to finish. Are you in?”

“I’m in,” he replied.

“Then let’s rock-n-roll,” I smiled.

Chapter 4: Flashback

When Rob wasn’t shooting, sleeping or eating, he was in the studio. As I watched our final sound edit of the baseball scene, I knew this soundtrack would not only hit iTunes top 10, it was going to debut at number one. I never would have thought to use Muse’s Supermassive Black Hole for this scene; but Rob saw them in concert last year, and said the song kept running through his head while they were shooting the scene. It was perfect.

When principal shooting was complete, I invited Rob to the resort to finalize the soundtrack. He had a few weeks before the start of his next shoot.

Those few weeks were the best of my life. I originally agreed to work on Twilight as a favor to Cath; but as we got closer to finalizing the soundtrack, I knew this was going to be the best work of my career, and I had Rob to thank for that. We worked so well together that he knew what I needed before I asked, and we started finishing each other’s sentences. His ear was impeccable, and every suggestion he made was dead on.

When we weren’t in the studio, we took long walks on the beach, talking about everything and nothing.

Finishing our final edits was bitter sweet. I didn’t want this collaboration to end, but I knew this album was on its way to a Grammy nomination.

The night before Rob had to leave, we took a walk on the beach. It was one of those perfect Pacific coast evenings that make me thank God I was born a Californian. We strolled through the surf for a while, and I stopped to look up at the full moon, hovering so close it looked like I could touch it. I felt Rob’s fingers brush my cheek and turned to look at him.

“You are so beautiful,” he said.

Suddenly my head started to spin. I couldn’t breath. Everything started to go black.

“NO! NO! NO!” I thought. “Not now! I’m OVER this! I don’t want to live through another flashback! STOP!”

In my mind, I was suddenly twelve years old again:

I was sitting in the studio next to Dad. IceBreak was laying down tracks for their new album. Their lead guitar, Rage, was the hottest guy I’d ever seen. I just stared at him all day. Dad finally told me to go to bed when he saw my head drooping. I reluctantly dragged myself out of the studio, but was sure I could feel Rage’s eyes on me as I walked away. “How cool would that be if an older guy liked me?” I thought.

When I got back to the house, Travis, our dog, needed to go for a walk. I took him down to the beach and threw a stick for him to fetch. He bounded into the dunes after it, and then I could hear him tearing after some critter he’d uncovered. I started to follow him when I heard,

“Hey little girl.”

I jumped and turned around. Rage was right behind me.

“Ah, hi?” I stammered. “Oh great,” I thought. “That was a cool opening line.”

“Did you like our jams today,” he asked.

“Yeah, Rage, they were awesome.”

“I thought you liked them. I saw you staring at me.”

I turned pink with embarrassment.

“It’s OK, he said, I don’t mind it when pretty girls stare.”

I went from pink to a deep shade of purple.

Rage stepped closer and ran his finger along my cheek.

“You are so beautiful,” he said, and leaned in to kiss me.

“YUCK”! I thought. “This isn’t anything like what I imagined. What is that taste? Beer? Cigarettes? He tastes horrible!”

I pulled away.

“Ah, I have to find my dog,” I said, as I stepped back.

He grabbed my wrist.

“Your dog is fine,” he said pulling me back toward him.

I tried to wriggle my wrist free, but he wouldn’t let me go.

“Really,” I said. “I have to go. My Dad will be looking for me.”

“Your Dad is sound asleep just like he thinks you are. No one knows you’re down here except me. I have you all to myself.”

He shoved me onto the sand.

“No!” I screamed and tried to scoot away from him.

He dropped on top of me, knocking the air out of my lungs.

“So that’s how you want to play, is it little girl? You teased me all day with those ‘fuck me’ eyes of yours then pretend you don’t want it. Fine, I can play that game.”

“BELLA! WHAT IS WRONG? BELLA! PLEASE! TALK TO ME!”

I was back on the beach with Rob. I was on my knees, sobbing and shaking. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t breath.

Rob put his arms around me. “Please, please, what is it?”

“DON’T TOUCH ME!” I screamed at him.

He jumped back, and I saw the pain and confusion on his face. That just made me cry harder.

“Bella, please. You’re shaking. I think you’re in shock. We’ve got to get you back to the house and warmed up. Please, let me help you. I won’t hurt you. I would never hurt you.”

I looked up into his eyes. A battle raged in my mind. One voice screamed at me that he couldn’t be trusted. He’s just another gorgeous guy who will tear out part of my soul and walk away. The other, much calmer voice tried to soothe the little girl in my mind who was terrified of this man. “This is Rob. He’s your best friend. You adore him. He adores you. He has never hurt you. He would never hurt you,” I chanted in my mind.

This battle raged on for several minutes while I stared into Rob’s eyes. Finally, he held out his hand to me, and I reached for it. I let him pull me up off the sand, and buried my face in his chest while I sobbed. He carried me back to the house, and I saw Dad running toward us.

“Bella,” Dad cried, “What is it?”

“Ffflash...bback,” I stammered.

I saw Dad’s face contort with agony.

“I think she’s in shock,” Rob said. “We have to get her warmed up.”

Dad sprinted back to the house and turned on the gas fireplace. Rob curled up in front of it with me in his lap, while Dad wrapped us in blankets.

I continued to cry, but the sobbing was lessoning.

The entire time, Rob held me, he stroked my hair and murmured over and over, “It’s alright now. You’re safe. No one can hurt you. You’re safe,” over and over, until I fell asleep in his arms.

RPOV

After she fell asleep in my arms by the fire, I carried her to her room, and her Dad and I tucked her into bed. We sat down on the sofa in the corner and just watched her sleep, hoping she would get the peaceful rest she so needed.

After several minutes, I looked at Barry.

“Please, I’m losing my mind. What happened out there?”

“First, you tell me. What happened on your walk?”

I took a breath, and the past 2 weeks flashed through my mind. They had been the best of my life. I had never had so much fun working on a project nor had I ever worked with anyone as amazing as Bella. It was not an exaggeration to say she was a genius when it came to mixing and producing sound. It was obvious that the studio was as much a part of her as her arms and legs. She kept trying to tell me the soundtrack was so good because of my help, but I knew better. Her heart and soul were at the core of this album. When it won a Grammy, as she kept telling me it would, the award would be all hers.

All too soon, it was time for me to head out to NY for my next shoot. I didn’t want to leave. I never wanted to leave. The resort was paradise, and I was starting to think I’d found heaven in Bella. But she was so distant. I knew she loved hanging out with me, but whenever I flirted with her, she rolled her eyes.

Tonight was my last night here, and I had to let her know how I felt about her. I couldn’t go to New York wondering if we were just good friends and great collaborators, or if there was something more. I knew I wanted more.

“We went for a walk on the beach,” I told Barry.

“The night was perfect. I see why Bella loves the coast so much. We were barefoot and splashing through the surf. At one point, she stopped to look up at the full moon. The light reflecting on her face made me catch my breath.”

I stopped, and looked at Barry.

He nodded. “I know. She’s even more beautiful than her mother, if that’s possible.”

I went on. “I reached out to brush her cheek and told her how beautiful she was.”

I saw Barry cringe.

I looked at him questioningly.

“Just go on. What happened next?” He said.

“She turned to look at me, and in the next moment, she was kneeling on the sand screaming and crying.

I threw myself down next to her and kept yelling her name, asking her what was wrong. I shook her, but she wouldn’t look at me. She started to shake violently, and I was terrified. All I could think was, ‘What was wrong with her. What do I do?’

She finally looked up at me, and I reached to hug her. She screamed at me,

‘DON’T TOUCH ME!’

I jumped back.” I looked at Barry.

“I don’t understand. What had I done? Why was she so scared of me?”

“Go on,” he said.

“I kept staring into her eyes, and she held my look. I could see she was sorry she yelled at me, yet I saw the agony behind her stare. It was as if she were fighting an internal battle. I knew she wanted my help, yet she was terrified of me.

Finally, she reached for my hand. I very slowly took her hand and gently helped her up. She fell into me, sobbing into my chest, but she let me hold her. I carefully picked her up and walked back to the house.

That’s when you came out.”

I waited for Barry to explain.

“I thought this was behind us,” he said.

“What, Barry? What did you think was behind you? Please, this is killing me.”

Barry took a long, deep, agonized breath.

“She was only twelve, Rob.”

He choked back a sob.

“That son-of-a-bitch raped my little girl, and she was only twelve.”

He held his head in his heads and sobbed.

I was numb. How could anyone do that? How could anyone hurt her that way? I knew that if the man who did this were in the room right now, nothing would stop me from killing him with my bare hands.

“Where is he,” I growled.

“Dead,” Barry replied. “Drug overdose 2 years after it happened.”

We were silent for a minute, listening to Bella’s soft breathing.

“One of the hardest parts of all this,” Barry choked out, “is that I didn’t know. I didn’t know about any of this until five years ago.”

I looked at him in shock.

“It’s very common for rape survivors to not tell anyone what happened. They blame themselves.”

“How could she blame herself?” I demanded.

“It’s very common for abused children to think the abuse is their fault. She told me later that she remembers staring at him that day because she thought he was cute. Before he...,”

Barry paused, unable to say the word.

“Before he hurt her, he told her she’d been looking at him with ‘fuck me’ eyes all day, and he knew she wanted it.”

“Oh my God,” I moaned. “I wish he wasn’t dead so I could kill him.”

Barry gave me a grief stricken smile. “Believe me, I’ve wished that hundreds of times.”

“You said you found out five years ago?”

“She never told anyone, and then her subconscious blocked the entire thing. She said she didn’t remember anything about it until five years ago.”

“What happened then?”

“Well, after it happened, I noticed changes in her. She lost weight and wasn’t eating much. She had black circles under her eyes because she wasn’t sleeping well. I took her to the doctor, and they just gave her iron and vitamin supplements and wrote it off as hormone changes.

She was pretty wild in her teen years. I know I was too lenient with her. I couldn’t say no to her. Her Mom was traveling all the time back then, and wasn’t around enough to keep her under control either. I let her party with guys who were much too old for her. Even though I refused to work with anyone who did drugs, they sometimes hid it from me. One of the guys that Bella was into got her hooked on cocaine. She deteriorated before my eyes. My beautiful girl became a skeleton. Her hair fell out. She stopped coming to the studio. At one point, she disappeared for a month. I hired a detective agency, and they finally found her in a seedy motel with the guy who got her hooked. The detective agency put me in touch with a guy who specializes in getting kids back from kidnappers or drug dealers. He stormed their room, sedated her, and we drove her to a rehab. She stayed there for three months. She was seventeen then. She’s been clean for nine years. I’m proud of her.”

I looked at Bella. It was hard to imagine this beautiful, talented, amazing woman had gone through so much pain.

Barry went on. “When she got out of rehab, she was completely committed to staying clean. She did everything the rehab councilors and her 12-step sponsor told her to do. She came back to the studio and threw herself into work, and…” He paused for a moment. I could see that in his mind’s eye he was reliving that time.

“And?” I asked.

“She stopped dating. At first, I was relieved because she had always been attracted to guys who were so wrong for her. But then I saw how she ignored the attention of any man. After a few years of this, I pointed out that I didn’t think it was healthy for her to be hanging out with her old man so much. So just to appease me, she started to date once in awhile, but there was no one who truly sparked her interest.

Then about 5 years ago, all that changed. She was working at ILM, and met an actor from one of the movies. He was in recovery too, so they used to go to meetings together. They started to get serious, and she brought him here for a visit. They went for a walk on the beach, and she had a flashback. The son-of-a-bitch assumed she had relapsed and was tripping. He left her alone on the beach, came to find me, and walked out the door.”

“Oh my God!” I said. I wanted so much to make this better. I wanted to wipe this pain away for her.

“By the time I got her back to the house, she was in shock. I called an ambulance. She almost didn’t make it. When she woke up, she remembered parts of what happened when she was twelve. We found a woman who specializes in helping rape survivors deal with Post Traumatic Stress. Bella worked so hard for years, and we thought she had let this go, and put it behind her. But her therapist warned her that a lot of things can trigger a flashback.”

He paused and looked at me.

“One of those things is falling in love,” he said.

“You think she loves me?” I said hopefully.

“Son, I know she loves you. She just doesn’t know it. She’s so scared of being hurt.”

“Barry, I love her. I really, truly, deeply love her.”

“I know, son. I heard it in your music a long time ago – before you knew yourself,” he smiled.

I knew he was right. I think I fell in love with her the first time I walked into her studio.

“Rob, I want to thank you for what you did tonight.”

“What? Are you kidding me? I caused this to happen!” I choked.

“No, it wasn’t your fault. The therapist told us that sometimes when women who are rape survivors move on to a safe and healthy relationship with a man, their old wounds re-open. She called it another layer of healing. She said to imagine it as a deep gash. The first layer of healing, when a survivor sometimes forgets what happens, is like putting a band-aid on the gash so it’s no longer visible. But the wound is still there, and it’s not healing. It’s just covered up so she can forget about it and try to go on with life. Then something might happen to rip off the band-aid, and the pain comes scorching back into her life. With this layer of healing, the wound may scab over and appear to have healed, but underneath, it’s as if an infection has been festering. Sometimes, it isn’t until the woman is in a safe and loving place that she is willing to have the ‘emotional surgery’ required to reopen the scab and heal the wound at a deep level.”

He paused, looked at Bella, and then turned to me.

“Rob, I think your presence in her life can help her heal that last level. Some part of her knows it, and that’s why tonight’s flashback happened. The woman that she’s become trusts you and feels safe with you. She’s fighting the scared twelve year old little girl that never wants to trust again.”

“What do I do?” I asked him.

“You stay put. She’s going to try with all her might to push you away. But you have to know when she’s doing that, it’s the scared little girl and not Bella. I know she loves you. And when she sees you’re not going to hurt her or abandon her, she’ll know it too.”

He looked at me, his eyes asking if I could do that.

I thought back to a few hours earlier, holding a tortured, terrified and exhausted Bella in my arms by the fireplace. I knew in that moment that there was no way I would ever let her go. Every part of my being wanted to protect her, keep her safe, and somehow make this right.

I looked at Barry. “I’m not going anywhere.”

He nodded and stood up. “I’m going to try to reach her therapist.”

I watched him walk out of the room, and then walked over to Bella. I sat on the floor next to her and watched her sleep. I shut my eyes and asked whatever force it is that keeps me going in this life to help me help her. “Show me the way,” I said silently.

I must have dozed off because I woke up still sitting on the floor with my head resting on the bed next to Bella’s. Barry was tapping me on the shoulder. When I opened my eyes, I saw he was holding a phone and motioning to me to follow him out of the room.

When we were outside Bella’s door, Barry handed me the phone. “It’s Bella’s therapist, Dr. Carmichael. She wants to talk to you.”

“Hello, this is Rob Pattinson.”

“Rob, this is Dr. Carmichael. I’m Bella’s therapist.”

“Yes,” I replied. “Barry told me.”

“Rob, Barry filled me in on what happened tonight and what he told you. I imagine you’re pretty shaken up.”

“Yes, I guess I am. I’m so worried about her. I wish I knew how to help.”

“Would you like my advice, Rob?”

“God, Yes! Please,” I almost begged.

“Rob, I think Barry is right. This flashback happened when she was with you because part of her trusts you to help her heal. But the wounded little girl she’s buried deep inside is terrified you will hurt her again. She was obviously hurt deeply the first time, then, unfortunately, her boyfriend five years ago didn’t know how to handle her flashback and just hurt her again. She’s completely closed off to the idea of ever letting go enough to deeply love or trust again.”

“What do I do?” I whispered into the phone.

“Rob, Barry told me how much you love her, and that’s obvious by how well you handled her flashback tonight. I couldn’t have done better myself.”

“It doesn’t feel that way to me, but I’m glad you think I did the right thing,” I replied.

“I know it doesn’t feel that way now. But, believe me, Rob, you did handle it very well.”

“Thanks,” I said. “But now what?”

“Bella is not ready to love you the way you love her,” she replied.

“I know,” I replied.

“You may know that, but you have to think about whether or not you can live with that for awhile. You need to go very slowly. It would be very normal for her to try to push you away right now. The scared and hurt side of her will want to push you away before you can abandon her. “

“I understand,” I said.

“Under no circumstances should you push her into a physical relationship too soon. Even the simplest touch can trigger a panic attack right now. This has to be at her pace. But from what Barry has told me he’s observed between you two, I think if you can hang in there, and just support her for now as her friend, and not her lover, one day soon, you’ll help her to heal these wounds, and I know there’s a deep love just waiting to bloom inside Bella.”

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I would wait for however long it takes. I love her, and that is not going to change, I thought. “I want to help her through this. I will do whatever it takes.”

“I’m so glad to hear you feel that way, Rob. Is there anything you want to ask me before we hang up?” She asked.

“I was supposed to fly to New York today to start shooting a new film. I can delay for a few days, but should I withdraw from the film so I can be closer?”

“Rob, I think you need to see how Bella’s doing and follow her lead. Offer to stay, and see what she says.”

“OK, thank you for your help,” I said.

“You’re welcome, Rob. Good-bye for now. Get some rest.”

“Good bye,” I said, and handed the phone back to Barry who had been listening.

Barry looked at me. “Your look awful, kid. Go get some sleep.”

“I feel worse than I look. I don’t want to leave Bella alone. I’ll crash on her floor.”

“I’ll get you a pillow and blanket,” Barry said, walking away.

I went back into Bella’s room and sat down next to her bed again. I stared at her, willing her to be OK. Barry came back with a pillow and blanket and silently handed them to me. He walked over, pulled the blankets tighter around Bella, and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead. I felt tears stinging my eyes again when I saw the pain on his face. He looked at her for a long moment, turned, nodded his thanks to me, and left.

****************

I woke to hear Bella retching in the bathroom. I bolted to the door, but it was locked. I knocked and asked her to let me in.

“Go away!” she yelled.

“Bella, please. Let me help you.”

“No! Please go away.”

I started to open my mouth to say I wouldn’t leave, when I recalled Dr. Carmichael telling me not to push her. Instead, I said softly, “I’ll go get your Dad.”

I heard a sob from the other side of the door, and had to refrain from kicking it in so I could hold her. Instead, I forced myself to find Barry. I found him in the kitchen. He took one look at my face and bolted up the stairs to Bella’s room. I wanted to follow, but I waited in the kitchen.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and saw a speaker built into the wall. Thinking it was a sound system, and wanting something to help me relax, I flipped the switch expecting to hear music. Instead, I head voices. I immediately realized it was an intercom, and the voices were Barry and Bella. I reached up to shut it off when I heard Barry say,

“Bella, he loves you.” My hand stopped mid air.

“No, Dad! He doesn’t! How could he possibly love me after last night? I’m a freak! I’m broken. I’m a drug addict. I’m a mess. He’s just being nice because he thinks he owes me for getting his song on the soundtrack.”

“Bella, I know there’s part of you that believes that, but I’ve also seen how he looks at you, how he held you last night and how he refused to leave your side and slept on the floor in here to make sure you were OK. I’ve also seen how you look at him. This is happening because you feel safe with him.”

“No!” she screamed at Barry. I heard her muffled sobs, and imagined her crying into Barry’s chest. I heard Barry murmuring to her, and then he started to sing a soft melody I’d never heard before. Her sobbing started to subside, and by the end of the song, she was quiet again.

There was silence for a moment, and then I heard,

“Dad?”

“What, sweetheart?”

“Please get Rob for me.”

“I’ll be right back, sweetheart.”

I flipped the switch on the Intercom and turned around to see Barry walk into the room.

“She wants to see you.”

I took a deep breath and walked back to her room.

BPOV

I started to wake up and heard soft rhythmic breathing, like someone was sleeping near by. I opened my eyes, and saw Rob lying on my bedroom floor. “What is he doing there?” I thought. Then the memories of last night came flooding back. I hurled myself off the bed and into the bathroom, slamming and locking the door behind me before my stomach revolted at the pain I felt and tried to vomit it out. If only it were so simple.

I heard Rob knock.

“Go away!” I yelled. I knew it was only a matter of time before he abandoned me. How could he possibly want anything to do with me after last night?

“Bella, please. Let me help you.”

“No! Please go away,” I yelled. “Why is he doing this?” I thought. “He doesn’t want to be here. Why doesn’t he just leave and go to his damn shoot?”

He was silent for a minute, and then I heard, “I’ll go get your Dad.”

I rinsed my mouth and splashed water on my face then went back to curl up on my bed.

Dad walked in and sat down next to me.

“Why is he still here, Dad? His flight was supposed to leave hours ago.”

“Bella, he loves you.” I bolted upright in my bed.

“No, Dad! He doesn’t! How could he possibly love me after last night? I’m a freak! I’m broken. I’m a drug addict. I’m a mess. He’s just being nice because he thinks he owes me for getting his song on the soundtrack.”

“Bella, I know there’s part of you that believes that, but I’ve also seen how he looks at you, how he held you last night and how he refused to leave your side, so he slept on the floor in here to make sure you were OK. I’ve also seen how you look at him. This is happening because you feel safe with him.”

“No!” I screamed, and threw myself into Dad’s arms, sobbing against his chest. I could barely breathe as the sobs consumed me. I heard Dad murmuring, and then he started singing my song, the song he wrote the day he found out Mom was pregnant for me. It brought me back to the hundreds of times I curled up in his lap as a little girl and said, “Sing for me Daddy.” My Dad’s song was created out of the pure love he felt for me the moment he knew I existed. The love and warmth in his words and in his voice surrounded me; it found its way into the depths of my very soul. I realized the love embedded within the harmony was helping me to slowly reform that part of me that had been torn away so many years ago.

I felt the sobbing subside. I felt the air return to my lungs. When I opened my eyes, I was no longer looking through the eyes of a terrified twelve-year-old girl. I could once again see through the eyes of the woman I had become.

“Dad?”

“What, sweetheart?”

“Please get Rob for me.”

“I’ll be right back, sweetheart.”

Not more than a minute later, Rob appeared in my doorway. God! Even after the night we’d been through, he was still gorgeous. How did he manage that? He leaned against the doorframe and looked at me, and I could see the trepidation in his eyes. Of course, he was nervous! I’ve been a crazy person for the past twelve hours. But then he looked into my eyes and smiled. I couldn’t breathe. His eyes bore into my soul, and I could feel his love from across the room. I gasped. He stood up straight, and looked alarmed.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “What’s wrong?”

I jumped out of bed and ran across the room, catapulting into his arms. “Nothing, absolutely nothing is wrong right here and right now.”

He wrapped his arms around me, and I looked up to meet his gaze.

“Rob?” I said.

“What, sweetheart?”

“I love you.”

His eyebrows shot up, and he took a deep breath.

“You do?”

“I really, truly, deeply love you.”

I saw tears in his eyes. He looked up to blink them back, and then laughed.

“God! Bella! I love you so much!” He picked me up and twirled me around. We both laughed. Then he just held me in his arms for the longest time. For the first time in my life, I felt truly safe and loved in the arms of a man other than my Dad.

“What do you need right now?” Rob asked.

I thought about it, and then giggled.

“What?” he said, raising an eyebrow.

“I really need a cup of coffee and a bath, in that order.”

He smiled. “I’m on it. Barry!” He yelled. “We need an emergency cup of coffee up here.”

“It’s on its way,” yelled Dad.

“I’ll go draw a bath for you,” he said, disappearing into the bathroom.

Dad appeared and handed me my coffee. He stared at me while I sipped it, and I finally said, “What?”

He shook his head. “You look completely different from the last time I was in this room. You have color in your face again. You look…you look happy?” He asked.

I smiled. “I am Dad. I stood and hugged him. Your song, it’s magical.”

He took my hand in his. “That was my intention when I wrote it. I poured all of my love, hopes, dreams and a father’s protection and care into that song.”

“It worked, Dad. I’m starting to feel it’s possible to be whole again.”

I saw the profound relief in my father’s eyes as they filled with tears.

“Dad?”

“Yes, sweetheart.”

“I love him.”

“I know you do, Bella. I knew it the day you called me and asked me to listen to his song.”

“What?” I asked incredulously. “How could you have known then? You didn’t even know he had written it!”

“You’re right. I didn’t know that the guy in the next room drawing your bath wrote the song. But I knew you were in love with the man who wrote it.”

I thought about what he said and smiled.

“Dad, how is it that you know me so much better than I know myself?”

“That’s my job, sweetheart. That’s my job.”

Just then, Rob popped his head out.

“Ah, sorry to interrupt, but your bath is ready.”

I looked up at Dad. “Thank you, Dad, for everything. And for always being right. I love you.”

“I love you too, sweetheart.”

Chapter 5: I’m Sure

I spent the next two days being pampered and spoiled by Rob and my Dad. They wouldn’t let me lift a finger. I had never felt so cared for, but I was ready to get my life back.

Rob and I were sitting on the deck just watching the waves hit the beach.

“Rob?”

“Yes,” he gave me the raised brow look, and my heart skipped a beat.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at work right now?”

“I called in sick.”

I laughed. “How does that work, exactly?”

“I just called and said I had a family emergency and needed a few more days. They said they’d shoot around me.”

“You have to go,” I said.

“No, I don’t have to do anything. I could withdraw.”

I just stared at him. Had he lost his mind? Didn’t he have any idea what that would do to his career if he quit 3 days after principle shooting began?

“I can’t let you do that,” I said.

He started to talk, but I held up my hand.

“Let me finish. I really appreciate what you are willing to do, but I can’t let you sabotage your career. I’ll be OK, really. Dr. Carmichael has an outpatient intensive therapy group for women going through rape related PTSD. It meets five times a week for the next six weeks. She said she’s seen remarkable results from the women who’ve participated. That’s going to consume all of my time and energy.”

“But,” he said. I cut him off.

“If you were here, I wouldn’t be able to focus on my own healing. I’d be sitting in group talking about how guilty I felt that you just destroyed your career because of me!” I smiled.

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” He asked.

“Yes, I’m sure. Go get packed and get out of here!”

He looked into my eyes, and I swear that if someone had asked me my name at that moment, I would have been at a loss.

“I love you, Bella.”

“I know. I feel it. It’s helping me put the pieces back together. And I love you back, with all my heart.”

He stood, bent down and kissed the top of my head, then went inside to pack.

******************

My therapy group was finally over. It was the most grueling work I’d ever done, but it felt like I had climbed my way out of a very deep dark hole and could once again feel the sun on my skin. I was beginning to feel lighter and happier than I’d felt in my life. Dad had finished work on the Twilight soundtrack for me so it could be ready in time for the movie premier.

I knew the movie was going to be a success, but no one among the cast or crew was prepared for the complete, total and obsessive fanaticism that made up the devoted Twilighters, as they called themselves. I guess I should have known since everyone who worked at ILM was practically required to read Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero With a Thousand Faces,” which helped George Lucas craft Anakin and Luke’s mythic journey. Campbell proposed the idea that myths from all over the world seem to be built from the same elementary "archetypes." The idea is that everyone in the world is born with the same basic subconscious model of what a "hero" or a "mentor" is. It explains why Star Wars is now part of the collective human consciousness. Stephanie Meyer tapped into those collective archetypes when she created Bella, Edward, Jacob and Edward’s family. It explains the Twilight fans devotion and relentless adoration.

The movie opened when I was three weeks into therapy, and I didn’t feel strong enough to handle the crowds and put on my game face. So I bowed out.

I felt sorry for Rob and Kristen. They were both shy by nature, and the sudden onslaught of attention and continuous paparazzi stalking had to be hard. My heart ached when I read that Rob said he felt like crying when he was standing in a store and suddenly people were screaming around him.

I hadn’t seen him in two months, though we’d spoken almost every day. I finally felt ready to return to living my life, and I couldn’t wait to see him. I picked up my cell.

“Hey, sweetie,” he said picking up on the first ring.

“I miss you,” I said.

“Me too,” he replied.

“You know, I was thinking, you’re half birthday is coming up…”

“My half birthday?” He laughed.

“Oh yes! I invented this occasion when I was four. I figured out I got presents on my birthday, so why not celebrate my half birthday?”

“And your parents actually fell for this?” He asked still laughing.

“Oh yes, they loved any reason for a party! But I only got half as many presents.”

“OK, I like this new holiday. So what are you planning for my half birthday?” He asked.

“You don’t want to be surprised?” I asked.

“No, I’m more of an instant gratification kind of guy,” he replied.

I chuckled. “Guess who Dad is working with this weekend?”

“Do I get a hint?” He asked.

I started singing, “See the moonlight shining on your window pane…”

“NO WAY!” He screamed into the phone.

“Yes, way!” I said, laughing. I knew the Black Keys were one of Rob’s favorite bands. “I bet I could arrange a little jam session.”

“NO WAY!”

“Yes, way!” I said, laughing again.

“I’m so there!” He said, enthusiastically.

“Are you calling in sick again?” I asked.

He laughed. “Believe me, I would if I had to, but the Teamsters just went on strike, and we’re shutting down for the weekend.”

“Right, I forgot. That’s perfect. I’ll send Air Jordan to pick you up.” ‘Air Jordan’ was the tongue-in-cheek name for the family jet. I wanted to paint the Nike logo on the side of the jet, but our lawyer figured it would just get us into unnecessary copyright battles, so it’s a private joke.

“You are the best, you know,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “I’m so happy I’ll see you in a few days.”

“You have no idea how much I miss you,” he said.

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you back. I’ll see you in less than 48 hours, but who’s counting,” he said.

“Make that 47 hours, 56 minutes and 24 seconds.”

He laughed. “Bye sweetheart.”

I hung up and smiled. The last time I was this excited, I had just figured out my parents were actually buying into my half birthday idea!

I threw myself into planning for the upcoming Dave Mathews Band concert in Madison Square Garden. Dave was one of the guys I grew up watching work in my Dad’s studio, so he was like the older brother I never had. I was glad to have a distraction to get me through the next 47 hours, 55 minutes and 48 seconds!

When we were down to 13 hours, 59 minutes and 12 seconds, I sent Air Jordan to NY to pick up Rob.

Right after Rob called to say he was on his way, the Black Keys arrived. Dad and I welcomed them and were planning to let them relax in their villas first, but they wanted to start working immediately. Their limo driver unloaded their equipment at the studio, and we set up.

We were working through their first song when my phone buzzed. My assistant, Alex, texted me that Rob had arrived. I excused myself and ran to the studio lobby. I burst through the door and jumped into Rob’s arms. He swung me around.

“God! I’ve missed you so much!” He said as he buried his face in my hair.

He paused, put his hands on my face, and stared into my eyes. I knew he wanted to kiss me but was letting me set the pace.

“Please,” I said.

He smiled and leaned in.

When his lips met mine, I suddenly understood the origin of the world’s most epic poems and love songs. There are no ordinary words to describe this feeling. In that moment, I understand that only the prose or music considered ‘genius’ could come close to capturing this feeling. Then, as if planned by some cosmic hand that was guiding us, the Keys kicked into “The Lengths.”

I felt Rob smile into our kiss. He put his arms around my waste, and we slow danced around the lobby until they took a break.

“Did you ask them to play that?” He asked.

“No, I have a feeling Dad may have had something to do with it.” I smiled back at him. “Do you want to meet them?”

“I’d rather just stand here and hold you for the next three days, but I suppose we have to move out of this lobby at some point,” he said.

I smiled. “Come on.”

We walked back into the main studio and stood in the back since the band had started another take of their new song. Dad stopped them after a few minutes to make some suggestions. I took the opportunity to introduce Rob.

“Hey guys, this is Rob Pattinson. He’s staying here this weekend. I hope you don’t mind if he listens in?” I asked them.

“Mind? Hell! He’s an honorary member of the band,” said Dan, jumping off the stage to shake Rob’s hand. “Man, when you added ‘Lengths’ to your iTunes playlist, we broke into the top 100 for the first time. We owe this next tour to you!”

Rob laughed. “I’m so glad it helped. You guys deserve it. I’ve been listening to your music for years. When my friends and I were getting ready for a night of pubbing, we’d put on Rubber Factory, turn it all the way up, and start the party.”

“You should jam with us,” said Pat.

Rob was speechless. “Are you kidding me?”

“We don’t kid about music,” Pat said seriously, and I had to laugh.

Rob looked at me and raised an eyebrow.

“What are you looking at me for? Go play!”

He laughed and grabbed one of my Dad’s guitars.

When I could no longer hold my eyes open, I left Rob with the band. He was the happiest I had ever seen him. Jamming with the Keys was a dream come true, and I was so happy I could help make his dream real. I was exhausted, and could see they were so pumped they’d play all night. I slipped out and headed back to the house. I walked through the pool courtyard and hit the “on” button for the hot tub jets, peeled off my clothes and stepped in. “Ahh,” I sighed out loud. No matter how many times I slipped into this tub, I was always grateful for the instant relaxation that enveloped me and the peace that stilled my mind.

I had no idea how long I had been blissfully drifting in the whirling bubbles when I felt something brush my foot. I jumped and opened my eyes to see Rob smiling back at me from the other side of the tub.

“You scared the shit out of me!” I yelled.

“I’m so sorry,” he laughed.

“I thought you guys would be playing all night?” I asked.

“They finally quit. Dan wanted to rest his voice for the session with your Dad tomorrow.”

“Sounds like he’s finally taken Dad’s advice and is listening to his voice coach,” I said.

“Ahh,” Rob sighed, sinking lower into the tub. He started playing footsie with me, and I automatically batted his foot away with mine. He looked at me with a pained expression.

“What?” I said.

“I’m so sorry,” he replied.

“For what?” I asked.

“I know I’m supposed to let you lead the way,” he said.

The scared little girl in me blurted a reply before I could stop her. “Rob, there are at least 3 million other women on the planet willing to play footsie or play with any other body part of yours for that matter. I don’t think you need my feet to keep you happy!”

Suddenly he was next to me. “You can’t seriously think that I LIKE all of this attention. It makes me want to throw up when I’m in a crowd and women are screaming and clawing at me.”

Shit! I thought. Why did I just say that? What is wrong with me?

“I’m so sorry. I…I don’t know why I just said that. I think it’s that scared part of me that wanted to push you away. I know you hate all the attention. I’m so sorry.”

He brushed my cheek. “I know you’re scared. And yes, I realize I could fuck just about any woman out there, but I don’t want that! It’s empty and meaningless.”

“I know,” I said. I put my hand on his cheek. “I’m so sorry.”

He put his hand on mine. “I don’t want to just fuck a stranger. I want to make love. Bella, I want to make love to you.”

I couldn’t breath. I froze. “This was Rob. I’m safe. He loves me,” I chanted in my mind.

I shut my eyes. My head was spinning.

“Bella, please, look at me.” I opened my eyes again. “It’s OK. I can wait for as long as you need. We don’t have to rush anything. I love you, and I’m not going anywhere.”

His gaze penetrated my soul, and I felt it again - the love that brought me back from the brink two months ago. It surged through me until my only thought was, “MORE!”

“Rob, make love to me.”

He hesitated. “Are you sure?”

“I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”

He leaned in and our lips met. Nothing had prepared me for this. I forgot where I was; I forgot who I was. I was utterly lost in that kiss. His tongue trailed my lips then worked its way into my mouth and wrapped around mine. I slid my hands up his neck and buried them in that glorious mane of hair. I felt his mouth on my neck and every cell in my body was alive and screamed out for him. I wrapped my legs around his and ran my hand down his chest. As my hand rippled over his chest muscles, I had the fleeting thought that I’d never felt anything sexier in my life. That thought was immediately obliterated as I felt the head of his very hard erection brush my wrist. I was confused at first. My hand wasn’t low enough to be brushing him “down there.” “What the…?” I thought. Then the realization hit me, and I chuckled.

He looked at me. “What?” He said, still kissing me.

I whispered into his mouth, “It’s good to know that if this whole Twilight thing doesn’t work out, you can always fall back on being a porn star.”

He laughed and as he bent to kiss my neck said, “I’m so glad you approve.”

As I kissed him back, I realized the water was in my way. I needed to run my lips across those abs.

“Wait!” I said.

“Oh God, I’m sorry, are you OK?” he said.

I laughed. “I’ve never been so OK. It’s just that…”

“What?” He said. “What is it?”

I looked at him coyly. “It’s just that I want to run my tongue over every inch of you, and since I’m not a vampire and need air…”

He leaped out of the tub and grabbed a giant towel then held his hand out to me. “Come here,” he said.

I grabbed his hand and stepped out of the tub. He wrapped us in the towel and kissed me again.

I took his hand and led him to my room. We fell onto the bed, tangled in each other’s arms. Our legs wrapped together while our hands and tongues explored everywhere within reach. It was frenzied, passionate, gentle, and loving all at the same time. Never had anything felt like this. I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted more, and never wanted this to end. I wanted to make love to this man in this bed from now until the end of time.

When we both came back down and could breathe again, Rob looked into my eyes, and we both smiled then started to laugh.

“Oh my God!” he said.

“Yes, I agree. That was most definitely a religious experience!” I laughed.

He looked into my eyes. “I love you so much.”

I grabbed him and kissed him with all the love and passion I felt pouring from my being. I murmured between kisses, “And…I…love…you.”

I felt him slide back into me and smiled into his eyes. “I thought you weren’t really a vampire?”

“I’m not,” he said. “I’m just insanely in love with you.”

The passion and bliss continued for the entire weekend. When we did manage to leave my bedroom, we hung out in the studio so Rob could listen to the guys continue to work on their album. They smirked at us knowingly when we couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. It was somewhat embarrassing to excuse ourselves when we knew everyone, including my father knew where we were off to again; but when I glanced sheepishly at Dad while we practically ran from the studio, I saw only happiness and relief in his eyes.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 6: The Paparazzi

All too soon, the end of the weekend arrived. Rob was due back on the set in New York in ten hours, and as it was, he would have to sleep on the plane. We were in the limo on the way to the airport.

As Rob gently glided his fingers along my arm, he asked, “When will I see you again? I can’t imagine how I’m going to function without making love to you five times a day.”

“It was only four times a day,” I corrected.

He laughed. “OK, four times a day. Whichever, I don’t want to leave you.”

“I know,” I said, pulling him closer. “The Grammies are in two weeks. I’ll be in New York then.” Just as I had predicted, the Twilight soundtrack was nominated.

“I don’t think I can stand to be away from you for two weeks,” he said.

“I know, but I promised Dad I’d help him finish the guy’s album. However, once I get there, I’ll be staying! Remember, I’m working on Dave’s concert?”

“That’s right! Yes!” He said.

I climbed on top of his lap and kissed his neck. “Let me give you something to help get you through the next two weeks,” I said, seductively.

“Oh,” he smiled. “What did you have in mind?”

I started unbuttoning his shirt. “I’ll have to show you.”

I ran my tongue down his chest and across his abs. God! His ripped stomach drove me insane. While my tongue devoured his 6-pack abs, my hands were busy unbuttoning his jeans. “Ummm,” I thought. “No underwear.” I love it when he does that.

Several exits later, I heard Rob exhale and exclaim, ‘Holy Shit!”

I smiled. “Another religious experience, Mr. Pattinson?”

“Most definitely,” he said. He threw his head back and exclaimed, “I can’t leave! I have to call the studio and tell them I’m retiring!”

I laughed.

“Maybe your Dad will let me clean the studio floors?” He asked.

“I’m afraid not. Dad would never get rid of Carl. He’s been hanging out keeping the studio exactly the way Dad wants it for so long, I think Dad will have to retire when Carl does,” I laughed.

“Gardener?” He asked.

“Now that might work. Joe might be willing to take you on as assistant hedge trimmer.”

“Oh, I’m very good at trimming hedges,” he purred and kissed my neck.

“Yes, I know,” I said, smiling into his kiss. “I could definitely give you a glowing letter of recommendation.”

I stopped kissing him, put my hands on his cheeks, and stared at his beautiful face until he raised his eyebrow.

“What?” he said.

“You can not quit,” I said seriously.

“Bella, I was kidding!”

“I know that,” I laughed. “What I mean is, you were born to act. You can’t quit.”

He rolled his eyes.

“I know you don’t see yourself the way the rest of the world sees you, the way I see you, and that’s part of what makes you so charming and endears you to the fans. But your beauty is a gift.”

He just rolled his eyes again.

“When I first met you, I had the same thought that probably every other straight woman on the planet has upon meeting you, which was, ‘Wow.’ You’re gorgeous, but we know that already.” His eyes rolled again. “But the first time I saw you on the daily room screen, I was stunned. You’re beautiful in person, but you are ethereal on screen.”

He opened his mouth to argue with me, and I put my finger on his lips.

“Hear me out. Everyone in Hollywood is gorgeous. No one makes it in this business unless they are. But they all look the same on screen. You can exchange one gorgeous face for another, and it makes little difference. It’s only every once in a great while that an actor’s beauty creates a transcendent experience.”

“Now you really have to stop before I gag,” he quipped.

“I’m serious. Why do you think you cause hysteria everywhere you go?”

“Because Edward is a great character, and the fans connect me to the character.”

“Yes, that’s part of it. But why have people connected so intensely to Edward?”

“Because Edward is the classic hero archetype,” he recited as if reading from a textbook. He, Cath, Stephenie and Kristen had discussed their characters at length. He went on. “Edward personifies the conflict we all have raging within us, the never ending struggle to overcome our dark side and to let our lives and our actions be guided by the light – the part of us that is connected to the greater good.”

“Very good, Mr. Pattinson. That’s another reason why you are such a good actor. You do your homework. Tell me this. Where did Edward come from?”

“What do you mean? He came from Stephenie's head.”

“But before that. Where was he?”

“I don’t know? She said she first dreamed about Edward and Bella in the meadow.”

“Right, and where do our dreams come from?” I asked.

“Our subconscious,” he replied.

“Exactly, they come from our subconscious, where all those archetypes are supposedly hanging out. Stephanie said that after she had that dream, she was driven to write the book. It just poured out of her. That’s how all great art is created. I believe there is something out there, and my 12-step experience names it a Higher Power, religions call it God, psychologists call it the collective consciousness – whatever it is - that let’s us know we are not alone. We are all connected to something greater than ourselves. Great art helps us transcend our human experience and our egos which desperately want to believe we are alone and unique, and connect with that universal life force. That’s why the early Church created cathedrals that took generations of backbreaking labor to build.”

“I know what you’re talking about,” he said. “There are cathedrals like that all over Italy. When you walk in, the energy and beauty is instantly transforming. There’s no way to sit inside a church like that and think we are alone.”

“Right,” I said. “Italy is the perfect place to experience that kind of transcendence. Not only does it have the world’s most beautiful churches, but it has some of the world’s most transcendent art. No one can look at The David or the Sistine Chapel and think Michelangelo created those on his own. Even he said the art was already there, and all he had to do was uncover it. So, do you concede that beauty helps us transcend our human experience?”

“Yes, but I certainly don’t put myself in the category of The David,” he replied.

“I know you don’t, and that’s why you’re so lovable. Actually," I said slyly, "I wouldn’t put you in the category of The David either.”

He raised an eyebrow. He may not see himself that way, but it was obvious he didn’t mind if I did.

“You are much more well endowed,” I smiled.

He threw his head back and laughed. “Oh, I love you!”

“I love you too!” I looked out the window. We were pulling into the airport. I climbed off his lap.

“We’re here,” I sad sadly.

He buttoned himself up and pulled on a sweatshirt.

“You know,” he smirked, “our religious experience just now brings our count up to five times today.”

I laughed. “I’m only too glad to stand corrected.”

As we pulled up to the airport, Rob put on his sunglasses and flipped up his sweatshirt hood.

“You really have to get a better disguise,” I smiled. “This one isn’t exactly fooling the paparazzi.”

“Tell me about it,” he said.

We stepped out of the car, and as the driver put his bag on the curb, we held each other.

“I love you,” he said as his lips met mine.

“I love you back,” I said, not wanting to let him go.

Click. Flash. “Rob!” “Over here!” “Who’s the new girl?” “Where’s Kristen?” “Oh My God! It’s Robert Pattinson!”

“You’d better run,” I said.

“I’m sorry. I love you,” he said as he grabbed his bag and took off through the airport with a trail of camera flashes and screams following him.

One photographer lagged behind. I didn’t notice him until I saw the flash just as I brushed a tear from my eye.

“Shit!” I thought, stepping back into the limo. “That will be on Twitter in the next 30 minutes.”

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 7: GOSSIP

When I moped into the kitchen the next morning, Dad was already up, sipping his coffee and reading the newspaper.

“I thought you might be interested in this,” he said, handing me page 2 with a worried look.

The caption above a picture of Rob and I kissing at the airport read, “The Real Bella?” Next to it was the picture of me brushing a tear away. I read the article with dread:

Twilight superstar Robert Pattinson was spotted with the Twilight Sound Editor and Soundtrack producer, Bella Jordan. Pattinson’s Twilight character, Edward Cullen, is in love with the fictional Twilight heroine, Bella Swan. A source from the Twilight series revealed that his relationship with Bella Jordan is merely a publicity stunt.

“I can’t believe this shit!” I steamed, as I dropped the paper on the table.

My phone buzzed. It was Rob.

“Have you seen the paper?” I asked, as a way of greeting.

“I’m so sorry,” he said.

“Why are you sorry? You’re not the one making up this shit!” I said, still furious.

“Yes, but this is my life, and I dragged you into it. We never talked about how we would handle the press, the crowds, and the insanity that is my life…”

He sounded so sad, my anger immediately dissipated.

“Sweetie, I’m so sorry I sounded so angry just now. I’m not angry with you. I’m angry as these people who make their living writing lies about you. Let me start over. Good morning,” I said with false cheer. “I love you, and I miss you.”

He laughed. "I love you and miss you too. I’m due on the set in 10 minutes, and I haven’t even showered yet, so I have to run. I’ll call you later to talk about this.”

“OK,” I said reluctant to let him go. “I love you, bye.”

“Love you back, bye,” he said.

Just then, Alex walked in with a copy of GOSSIP magazine.

“Hi,” she said. “Busy weekend?” She added with a smirk, holding out the magazine.

The cover screamed, “KRISTEN DEVASTATED BECAUSE ROB DROPPED HER FOR REAL LIFE BELLA.” The same pictures that were in the paper were on the cover next to the worst picture of Kristen they had in their archives. I flipped to the article, and in this version, the “source” revealed that Kristen was inconsolable and actually QUOTED ME as saying, “I know I’m just another notch on the bedpost for Rob, but he’s the best lay I’ve ever had, so its so worth it.”

I was too enraged to even speak.

I heard my Dad say, “Bella, you’re turning purple. Take a breath, honey.”

“I’LL TAKE A BREATH! GET RANDY ON THE PHONE RIGHT THIS MINUTE!” I screamed at Alex.

She dropped the rest of her stuff and literally ran to my office.

I followed her in to hear our family’s life long press agent, Randy Spencer say,

“Hey Tink! I had a feeling I’d be hearing from you today.” Randy had called me, ‘Tinker Bell’ since the day I was born.

“Hey Rand, you’re psychic that way,” I replied.

“Sorry, Tink, I know it’s not any fun to be the subject of this trash.”

“What can you do about it, Randy?”

RPOV

The limo picked me up in front of the hotel, and I dodged the photographers as I jumped into the back. They seemed especially zealous today. “What’s up with that?” I thought. As the driver pulled away, I glanced at a newsstand and pinned all the way across the top were at least 20 copies of GOSSIP magazine screaming the headline, “KRISTEN DEVASTATED BECAUSE ROB DROPPED HER FOR REAL LIFE BELLA.”

“Stop!” I yelled at the driver. I jumped out, threw some bills at the newsstand guy and grabbed an issue. I was back in the limo before the paparazzi had figured out what was happening.

“Go!” I yelled again.

I flipped to the article and almost threw up.

BPOV

My phone buzzed again. Rob was calling back.

“Hi Sweetie,” I said. “Miss me already?”

“I do miss you, Bella, but that’s not why I’m calling. I want to warn you that we’re on the cover of GOSSIP magazine.”

“I’ve seen it. Alex stopped at the drugstore this morning and picked up a copy.”

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I’m still not used to this shit. I hate it.”

“Rob, you have nothing to be sorry for except allowing the studio to hire your press agent. They are taking advantage of you and Kristen. They let these rags print whatever they want to about you and feed them false rumors to keep the publicity for the franchise going.”

“I know,” he said. “I feel like I’m caught in a tornado, just spinning out of control. I don’t know how to get out.”

“Well,” I smiled. “I do. Dad put up with this shit for a few years, but when they started stalking Mom, he decided to put a stop to it. He called in several favors and was put in touch with Randy Spencer.”

“THEE Randy Spencer?” Rob asked.

“Right, back then he didn’t have the “THEE” in front of his name, nor did he own the most successful press agency in the world.” I smiled, then continued. “He was just starting out, but had already earned the respect of Dad’s friends. Dad had noticed that some of the superstars he worked with had managed to have a stratospheric career, yet they weren’t stalked by the paparazzi. Just as their albums were hitting the stores, their faces would be on the covers of respected magazines accompanied by flattering articles. When he asked how they managed it, he repeatedly heard, ‘Randy Spencer.’ Dad arranged for a meeting with Randy, and everything began to change. When GOSSIP published an obviously fake picture of Dad with some super model claiming he was leaving Mom, he blew up and called Randy. Randy had been best friends with Steve Sherman…”

Rob interrupted. “You mean THEE Steve Sherman?”

“Right,” I said. “But he didn’t have the THEE in front of his name back then either.” Rob chuckled. I went on. “Steve was also just starting out his legal career but had earned a reputation as a shark. Randy called Steve and told him to make sure GOSSIP never printed another picture of my Mother or Father again. By the time Steve was done with them, GOSSIP had printed a full retraction, donated $100,000 to Mom’s favorite charity and has never dared to print a word about my family again…”

“Until now,” Rob said.

“Until now,” I agreed. “They think you’re fair game because your press agent is owned by the studio. Rob, I don’t want to interfere with your career, but I’ve known Randy my entire life. He’s the best. He only works with Hollywood’s most famous, and he rarely handles new clients personally anymore. I called him this morning, and he told me if you hire his agency, he’ll handle your press personally.”

“Sweetheart, this is a no-brainer. I can’t allow the gossip rags to tear us apart.”

“Babe, nothing is going to tear us apart. These rags can print whatever they want to, and nothing will change how I feel about you. I love you.”

“I love you so much. I wish I could be holding you right now,” he said.

“Soon, baby,” I said, then I recounted my earlier conversation with Randy.

“By the time I called Randy, he had already talked to Steve. Randy said he’d figured I would call, and if I didn’t, he was going to call me. He told me, quite emphatically, ‘I’m not letting the daughter of the man who made my career be trashed by those rag sheets. Plus I have a reputation to uphold! No one touches your family on my watch!”

“Wow, he’s pretty ferocious,” Rob said.

“I know. That’s why we’ve kept him around for so long. It’s not an exaggeration to say my Dad made his career. Once my Dad started using Randy, all of his friends and clients did too.”

“So what did Steve say?” asked Rob.

“He’s sure that by next week, we’ll have a retraction and a million dollar donation to our favorite charity.”

“YES!” Rob yelled. “I LOVE YOU!”

I had to laugh at his exuberance at finally being able to retaliate against the people who were making his life hell. “I love you too! Have one of your admins call Randy’s office today and set something up. Your life is about to get a lot easier with him as your press agent.”

“Done. Have I mentioned yet today that I really love you and miss you,” he said.

“I think I do recall hearing that earlier, but I don’t mind it when you repeat yourself.”

“In that case, I REALLY love you and miss you,” he said.

“Me too, Sweetie. Talk to you later, bye.”

“Bye, babe.”

Steve was good on his word. The following week’s issue of GOSSIP had a large retraction on page two:

GOSSIP regrets that they mislead our readers when last week’s issue reported on the status of the relationship between Rob Pattinson and Bella Jordan. The issue mis-quoted Ms. Jordan as saying she was “just another notch” on Mr. Pattinson’s “bedpost.” Ms. Jordan never spoke to GOSSIP about her relationship with Mr. Pattinson, nor has she ever spoken to a representative of this magazine. The publishers of GOSSIP, Zane Industries, have agreed to donate one million dollars to the Twilight Cares Fund at Ms. Jordan’s request.

I was glad to see they included the emphasis on ever. Like I would ever stoop to speak to anyone from that rag sheet.

I spent the entire day on the phone. It never stopped ringing. Every single cast member of Twilight called to congratulate me and say “Thank you” for standing up to the people who stalked them and made their lives hell. Several of my musician clients and all of my closest friends called with variations of, “Way to go!”

In between, I put them on hold every time I saw Rob’s name light up my caller ID.

“Hi again,” I smiled into the phone.

“I know. It’s the 5th time in 6 hours, but I’m so...” He paused trying to find the words, then burst out with, “HAPPY!”

I laughed out loud.

“You did it! You got to those jerks! This is second only to meeting you in my life’s highlights!”

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Second? Beating these assholes at their game is better than making love to me?” I said with amusement.

“No, no, no!” He backpedaled. “Ah! You know what I mean!”

“Yes, Sweetie. I do know. I’m ecstatic too. Sweetheart, I’ve got Kellen on hold. Can I talk to you later?”

“Sure, babe. Tell him, ‘hi’ for me.”

“You’ve got it. Love you.”

“Love you back.”

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 8: Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 14th - Valentine’s Day. I was standing in the middle of Madison Square Garden running through the final sound check for Dave’s show tonight. He was playing two sold out concerts, one tonight, and one tomorrow. Rob had started filming New Moon and couldn’t break away until tomorrow. He was flying out for the second show and for a late Valentine’s Day celebration.

My phone buzzed.

“Hey Dave!” I said.

“I know I don’t need to be checking up on you because I know you have it all under control, but…”

I laughed. “But?”

“But I saw some highly questionable roadies at rehearsal.”

I laughed again. “The highly questionable, emphasis on the “high,” roadies have been replaced with sober ones.”

“Good. I knew you’d have it covered.”

“We’re all set. They’re finishing the final sound and light check now. You’re scheduled to be here at 5, right?”

“That’s what they tell me. See you then. Oh, and Bella?”

“Yes?” I asked, thinking he had a last minute change that would throw my perfectly timed and choreographed schedule out the window.

“Absolutely no jeans and T-shirts for you tonight. No crawling around on scaffolding. Make sure you dress up. It is Valentine’s Day after all,” he said mysteriously then hung up.

I stared at the phone for a second. That was bizarre. I’ve known Dave my entire life, and never once has he given a shit what I wore. “Oh, well,” I thought. It was his show. If he had suddenly devised a dress code for his stage crew, who was I to argue? At least I didn’t have to pick all the brown M&M’s out of a 4 pound bag like some stage managers I know!

The only problem was I had absolutely nothing to wear except the gown I wore to the Grammies, which was far more dressed up than Dave could have possibly meant, and the jeans and T-shirts he just forbid me to wear. I punched Alex’s number.

“Hey,” she said. “What’s up?”

“I have a fashion emergency.” I explained what Dave had said.

“I’m already on it,” she replied and hung up.

What did she mean, she was “already” on it? Whatever. I had work to do.

Two hours before the show, Alex showed up with the perfect outfit, a Nicole Miller hammered silk sleeveless black top with silver beading embellishments. It was paired with a royal blue mini skirt. Alex matched it with black tights and thigh high suede boots.

“I love it! It’s perfect.” I said. “Remind me to give you a raise.”

“I already gave myself one,” she quipped.

I found an empty dressing room and got changed. Alex popped in with the band’s stylist in tow.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Boss’ orders,” Lawrence replied. “I’m supposed to make you even more stunning than you already are, Girlfriend.”

“What is up with Dave and his sudden obsession with fashion and beauty? Did he buy stock in some woman’s magazine?”

“I don’t question orders, I just follow them,” Lawrence said, as he started rolling my hair.

“OK, but make it quick. I’ve got a show to call.”

“Honey, don’t worry. It won’t take a lot of effort to make you gorgeous.”

I rolled my eyes, still my knee-jerk reaction to someone complimenting my looks.

Twenty minutes later, I had to admit, I looked pretty hot. Too bad Rob was going to miss this. I’d have to get the camera man to take a picture. The entire show was being taped for a CD and DVD release.

I stepped into the booth where I had a good view of the stage and the sound board. I put on my headphones and listened to the chatter as everyone got into place. An intense debate was raging over what exactly Dave meant by the phrase, “Shake Me Like a Monkey.”

“Five minutes till lights,” I said. “No chatter, please.” The line went quiet except for the occasional request for a check or light queue and one final grumble, “it is NOT the same as slap the monkey.”

“Quiet please.” It was hard not to laugh into the headset.

“Kenny?” I said, checking to make sure the backstage manager was ready.

“Set,” he replied.

“Are the boys in place?”

“Check.”

“One minute to lights,” I said into the headset mic.

Exactly one minute later, the stage lights went black, and the band made its way to their instruments, except for Dave who held back for the big entrance.

“And 5-4-3,” I counted down. Carter and Roi hit the opening notes of Ants Marching, and the audience went wild.

“Spot ready?” I said.

“Check,” I heard Shaun reply.

Dave made his entrance, and the crowd was deafening.

About an hour into the show, Carter started his drum solo while the rest of the band left the stage for a 3 minute break.

“Hey Bells!” I heard Dave yell into someone’s head set.

“What’s wrong Dave?” In the 7 years I’ve been managing his shows, he had never talked to me during a show. When he walked on the stage, it was completely about the audience. I was panicked that something awful had happened.

“Chill Babe! I just want you to get down here.”

I started to say, “What? Why?” when Kenny was back on the headset.

“We don’t ask questions, Girl. We just follow orders. You heard the man.”

“What was UP with him tonight?”

I dropped my headset on the table and made my way backstage. Kenny spotted me and motioned for me to stand next to him. I started to say, “What’s going on?” When he just put his finger to his lips and made a zipping motion to indicate his lips were sealed.

Kenny handed me a spare headset so I could continue to call the show.

At the end of the next song, I heard Dave say, “Since you are such an awesome crowd…” They roared. “We have a special treat for you tonight.”

“What’s he doing?” I said to Kenny. “This isn’t in the script.”

Kenny just smirked. Why did I get the feeling everyone knew what was going on except me?

“There is a very special lady who made this show possible tonight, and I want to introduce her to you. Bella, get on out here!”

I stared at him. What the hell was he doing? I HATED being on stage. This is why I am always BACK stage.

“Ut Oh,” Dave said. “She’s glaring at me. I think I need your help convincing her she should come out here!” The audience went wild. I shook my head and walked on stage.

Dave gave me a hug. I turned to walk off and he grabbed my hand and said, “Not so fast.”

“Oh no,” I thought. “What IS HE DOING?”

“If any of you have been to the grocery store or passed by a newsstand lately, I think you know that Bella has a very popular boyfriend?”

The ear piercing shrieks were so loud; I could now empathize with Rob when he said he wanted to cry when he heard screaming.

“Calm down, ladies. Calm down.” Dave laughed.

I could see myself turning multiple shades of red on the video feeds.

Dave continued torturing me. “Bella, it’s Valentine’s Day. Where is your boyfriend?”

“He’s filming New Moon,” I said into Dave’s mic. I think my ear drum shattered as the level of screams escalated at the mention of the new movie. “But he’ll be here tomorrow night,” I added.

“Well, we actually have a little surprise for you. You see, Rob didn’t want you to think he forgot about you on Valentine’s Day, so he asked us to sing a song for you that he wrote.”

I gasped and my hand flew to my mouth. “Oh My God!” I said. The screams continued.

“And not only that, we have a special guest performer here to help us out. Turn around Bella.”

The lights came up behind me as I turned to see Rob standing there with a guitar strapped to his back. I flew into his arms, and he spun me around. I didn’t even notice the screams that threatened to cave in the roof. I only saw his eyes and heard him say, “I love you.”

Dave chimed in again. “Bella, we have a special seat for you over here.” A roadie had placed a stool on stage, and next to it was a stand with a single red rose.

I didn’t want to let go of Rob, so he lead me over to the stool. As I sat down, I heard the opening phrase of “You & Me.” Dave sang while Rob played and sang along on the chorus. His eyes never left mine. I had the thought, “This can’t be real. I’m going to wake up any second now.” But I didn’t wake up. He kept playing.

Wanna pack your bags, Something small Take what you need and we disappear Without a trace we'll be gone, gone The moon and the stars can follow the car and then when we get to the ocean We gonna take a boat to the end of the world All the way to the end of the world

Oh, and when the kids are old enough We're gonna teach them to fly

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby You and me together yes, yes

You and I, we're not tied to the ground Not falling but rising like rolling around Eyes closed above the rooftops Eyes closed, we're gonna spin through the stars Our arms wide as the sky We gonna ride the blue all the way to the end of the world To the end of the world

Oh, and when the kids are old enough We're gonna teach them to fly

You and me together, we could do anything, Baby You and me together yes, yes

We can always look back at what we did All these memories of you and me baby But right now it's you and me forever girl And you know we could do better than anything that we did You know that you and me, we could do anything

When the song came to an end, tears where streaming down my face. Rob came over and wiped my tears away, while the audience lost their minds.

Dave piped in again. “Bella, we have one more surprise for you.” I just looked at him. How could there be more? This was perfect already.

I noticed a roadie had slipped a headset on Rob and taken his guitar.

Dave motioned for the audience to quiet down.

Rob stood in front of me and looked into my eyes. “Isabella Elizabeth Jordan, I am truly and deeply in love with you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Suddenly it seemed like there were only the two of us there. I watched Rob drop to one knee as if he were in slow motion. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box. He opened it, and held it in front of me. “Would you please do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

Both ear drums definitely shattered. The entire building shook as the crowd roared and screamed. I stood up, and Rob slipped the exquisite diamond and sapphire ring onto my finger. I looked into his eyes and as tears streamed down my face, I realized I couldn’t speak, so I shook my head to indicate, yes, until oxygen reentered my lungs, and I could talk again.

“Yes! YES! YES!” I shouted and threw my arms around him. He spun me around and then kissed me, passionately. The building shook again.

I realized we’d been kissing for a very long time when Dave finally piped back in.

“Alright, get a room already, we’ve got a show to do,” he laughed. Rob pulled his head away, and beamed. I ran over to Dave and hugged him.

“Thank you! I said. “You’re singing at our wedding, you know.”

“Oh, I know,” he winked at me. Then he turned back to his microphone. “I’m singing at the wedding! How cool is that?” The audience roared again. I felt the stage shaking under my feet as I walked off with Rob’s arms around me.

The moment we stepped off stage, a very large man in a black suit, sunglasses and an earbud said to Rob, “This way, Mr. Pattinson.”

I looked at Rob, questioningly.

“Another surprise,” he smiled. He grabbed my hand and we followed the man I assumed was a security guard. We weaved our way through a series of empty hallways and tunnels until we came to an elevator. The guard pulled out a key card and scanned the pad next to the door. It opened, and he motioned for us to step inside.

“Have a safe flight,” he said.

“Flight?” I asked, looking at Rob.

“MmmHmmm,” he murmured while kissing me.

When the doors opened, we were greeted with a rush of wind, and a loud chopping sound. A helicopter stood waiting for us.

“That’s right!” I thought. I forgot about this helipad. This is how they get the VIPs in and out of the Garden.

We climbed aboard, and the helicopter rose above the Manhattan skyline only to descend a moment later on top of a building on Central Park.

We stepped out, and a man in a black tuxedo waited by the sky lobby door. He opened the door, and as we stepped inside, he said, “Welcome Mr. Pattinson,” and nodding to me, “and Ms. Jordan.” I smiled and said, “Thank you.”

We stepped into another elevator, and when the doors opened, we stepped into a penthouse that appeared to take up the entire top floor. The wall before us was all glass and a balcony beyond the windows stretched the entire length of the building. I gasped.

“It’s beautiful.”

“I’m glad you like it,” Rob said, kissing the top of my head.

The tuxedoed man said, “I’m sure you will be very comfortable here, Mr. Pattinson. Please do not hesitate to call me if you require anything further.”

Rob thanked him, and the man disappeared back into the elevator.

“Where are we?” I asked.

“Apparently this place is for rent at the right price,” he smiled. “Randy found it for me.”

“Of course,” I said.

“Thank you for saying, ‘Yes,’” he said. “It would have been kind of embarrassing if you had said, ‘No.’”

I threw my arms around him and kissed him, murmuring into his mouth, “No woman has ever been proposed to more romantically than I was. That was beautiful. No, it was so far beyond beautiful; there aren’t even words to describe it. It was…”

He covered my mouth with his, and I couldn’t speak. When he pulled his head away and smiled into my eyes, I said, “Yeah, it was like that.”

He took my hand and led me into the bedroom. I gasped. There were hundreds of candles and an equal number of roses. The bedspread was covered in rose petals. A bottle of sparkling cider was on ice along with two champagne glasses. Rob walked over and opened the bottle and filled our glasses.

“You know, you could have ordered champagne for yourself. It doesn’t bother me if you drink, even though I can’t.”

“I want to share everything with you tonight.”

We held our glasses up.

“To you, the future Mrs. Pattinson.”

“Mmm, I really like how that sounds, Mr. Pattinson,” I said, smiling. “To us.”

We clicked glasses, circled our arms together and took a sip. Rob took my glass and set them down. He took my hand and we walked over to the balcony doors. We were overlooking Central Park and the Manhattan skyline was beyond. I felt Rob’s arms circle my waist and his lips on the back of my neck.

“I love it when you do that,” I murmured.

As he kissed me, I looked at my ring. “Rob, this ring is the most exquisite I’ve ever seen. How did you know I loved sapphires?”

“I didn’t,” he said. “The color is the exact shade of your eyes when I’m making love to you. As soon as I saw it, I had to get it.”

“It’s beautiful. Thank you,” I said.

“You’re welcome. I’m so glad you like it.”

“I love it. I love you.” I turned around and kissed him.

“Alex did a good job picking out your outfit, you look gorgeous.”

“Wait. How did you know Alex picked out my outfit?”

“I knew you’d kill me if I had Dave drag you on stage in front of 75,000 people for a concert being recorded for a future DVD release, and you were wearing jeans and a T-shirt. So Alex was my co-conspirator. She picked out your outfit days ago.”

“Days ago! She never even gave me a hint of what was going on. No one did!”

“So you were truly surprised?” He asked.

“Yes! I had no idea! Dave kept making strange requests, but everyone kept telling me, ‘Boss’ orders. Just do what you’re told.’ It never occurred to me that you were behind his bizarre behavior. How did you get Dave to go along with this?’

“Your Dad,” he replied.

“My Dad was in on it too?” I asked.

He nodded. “I called your Dad about a month ago and asked his permission to marry you.”

“You’re kidding!” I said.

“No! I’m completely serious.”

“That is so sweet! How very ‘Edward’ of you!”

“Actually, I wanted his help, so I figured I’d better ask his permission first,” he smirked.

“He was ecstatic, and said, of course, which surprisingly, was quite a relief to me. Then I told him how I wanted to propose and asked him to put me in touch with Dave.”

“What did he say to that?” I asked.

“Son, you’ve got style,” Rob deadpanned, in a perfect imitation of my father.

I fell against him laughing.

“Remember the weekend you spent with your Mom?” he asked.

“Yes! She suddenly had an urgent need for me to go shopping with her in Manhattan, and absolutely would not take, ‘No’ for an answer!”

“Yes, she told me you were being quite stubborn. I was relieved you finally took the bait,” he said.

“When she promised to get me an appointment with Ricardo to design my dress for the Grammies, I couldn’t say, ‘No.’”

“Mmm. That was a nice side benefit to all of this. You looked delectable in that. It made it very difficult for me to even remotely pay attention to the show that night. I was consumed with taking it off of you,” he smirked and nuzzled my neck.

“So what did you boys do that weekend?” I asked.

Dave and I flew to your Dad’s studio. We worked on arranging the song. When we were done, Dave liked it so much he decided to put it on his next album. I signed over all the royalties to you, by the way. It’s your song.”

“Thank you, Sweetheart.” I had a thought. “I know exactly what to do with the income! Jack is friends with Drew Seeley – he’s the guy who stepped in for Zac Ephron during the High School Musical live tour when Zac had a conflict. Drew did a benefit for Hannah’s Hope Fund. Hannah is a little girl with a very rare disease called Giant Axonal Neuropathy – GAN for short. GAN is a rare genetic disorder that slowly takes away one's ability to walk, use one's hands, speak or swallow and is terminal usually by the time these beautiful children reach their twenties. The disease is so rare, there was no research or support going on when Hannah’s parents found out she had it. Of course, they were utterly devastated at first, but then decided that Hannah was going to be the first person to beat the disease. Drew told Jack that within months of getting the diagnosis, they had set up a 501C3 charity and hosted the first Worldwide Conference on GAN. Their family and friends are relentless in hosting continuous fund raisers, and they are funding genetic research. They’ve found that gene therapy research into other genetic disorders can be applied to GAN. Drew said Hannah is absolutely precious, and he asked Jack to help. I’ll have the Foundation funnel our song’s income to the Hannah’s Hope fund.” I had never actually kept any of the income I earned over the years. The trust fund my Dad set up for me when I was born was more than enough to pay for anything I could ever possibly want or need. When I started earning income of my own, I created a Foundation to channel all my income to charities.

Rob put his hand on my cheek. “I’m humbled that this song can benefit someone in such a meaningful way. That’s just another one of the endless things I love about you. You are always thinking of ways to give back.”

“That ‘Pay It Forward’ mentality was a value that was extremely important to my parents. They realized that among their friends who were very financially successful, those who ‘Paid It Forward,’ and realized that their success was a gift to be shared just continued to prosper. Then they sadly watched those who horded their resources out of fear or greed, and almost without exception, those people’s careers deteriorated. They taught us that it’s all about the energy we put out to the Universe. When we accept that gifts we receive are meant to be shared and ‘Pay It Forward,’ the Universe seems to say, ‘Ah, there’s an open channel for moving positive energy,’ and more positive energy keeps coming our way. Obviously it works, because all of us are very happy doing what we love and have more money than we could ever possibly need. I love knowing that the work I do benefits people like Hannah.”

“I really love that about you and your family. I’ve thought about this, too. In less than a year, I’ve gone from being almost broke to having, what feels to me, like unlimited financial resources. I don’t want to be someone who accumulates 10 porches just because I can. I love the idea of you and me ‘shopping’ for ways our resources can help people instead of wasting my time and resources shopping for more toys,” Rob said.

“And I love that about you,” I told him. “I wouldn’t have said, ‘Yes,’ tonight if you were the kind of person who collects status symbols. That’s just not who you are.” I stood leaning against him, savoring how exquisite it felt to be in his arms, pressed against his chest. “Mmmm. His chest,” I thought. God! He smelled so good. I love this cologne. I leaned my head back and looked at him.

“Rob?”

“What Sweetheart?”

“I don’t like this shirt.”

He laughed. That was not what he was expecting me to say.

“And what do you have against this shirt, exactly?” He asked.

“It doesn’t have buttons. I love unbuttoning your shirt and kissing my way down your chest.”

Instantly, his shirt was off. He threw it on the balcony floor.

“You’re right. This shirt completely sucks. I’ll never wear it again.”

I laughed as I kissed his chest. I took his hand and walked into the bedroom. I backed him toward the bed while I kissed him, and when he bumped into the bed frame, I gave his chest a gently push. He fell backward, pulling me on top of him.

“Much better,” I said, kissing his washer board abs. “This is definitely one of my favorite parts of your body,” I said as my tongue paid homage to his ripped muscles.

“Mmmm, and what are your other favorite parts?” He asked.

I ran my hand along the part that was currently my favorite. I kissed and licked along his waistband until he moaned,

“God, Bella, I can’t take it anymore! These pants suck too! Get me out of them!”

******************

As I drifted off to sleep, my body melted against Rob’s, I knew no one had ever been as intoxicated with happiness as I was in this moment. I would be falling asleep in his arms for the rest of my life. There was no where else I ever wanted to be and nothing I ever needed other than this feeling, right now. I sighed, exhaling pure bliss, and fell into the most peaceful sleep of my life.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 9: Oprah

After wrapping Dave’s second show, Rob and I flew back to Vancouver so he could finish shooting New Moon. Due to Twilight’s phenomenal success, the studio decided to film New Moon and Eclipse back to back. Due to my conflict with Dave’s show and CD, I had opted out of working on the new movies.

I was hanging out in the Greenroom waiting for Rob to finish for the day when my phone buzzed.

“Hey, Randy. What’s up?” I asked our press agent.

“Hey, Tink. Congratulations!”

“Thank you. I’m still floating.”

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he proposed to you! I’ve had requests for interviews from every talk show host and magazine in the U.S. and probably the majority of those on the globe.”

“Why are you calling me? Why aren’t you calling Rob’s admin?” I asked.

“Because they want to talk to you and him.”

“Well, that’s easy. No. Anything else?” I said.

“Bella! This is a great opportunity for Rob!”

“Yeah, Rand, that’s one thing Rob really needs – more publicity.”

“Tell me, Tinker Bell, why exactly did you hire me?”

“To get the gossip rags off our backs,” I said.

“And...,” he waited.

I sighed. “Because you’re the best.”

He gloated and went on. “You’re right in that Rob doesn’t lack publicity, but this is an incredible opportunity for him. His public persona will be critical to the roles he’s given in the future. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt started out as heart throbs too. But they hired me, and now they get their pick of roles. If they weren’t quite so smart and had hired, oh, let’s say, the Powers Agency, like Rob Lowe did...”

“Alright! I get it!” I said.

“I knew you’d see the light. Oprah wants to come up there and do a weeklong series on the movie. She’ll interview all the cast members, blah blah blah. The studio will roll out the red carpet of course, but she said she was only coming if we guaranteed an interview with you and Rob together.”

“Jesus Christ, Randy! You let her blackmail you with our relationship?” I yelled into the phone.

“Yeah, pretty much. She’s fucking Oprah. I’d give her my kids and my dog if that’s what it took,” he replied.

“I’m not going to speak for Rob. You need to discuss it with him,” I said.

“Funny,” he said.

“What’s funny?” I asked.

“That’s exactly what Rob told me to tell you”

*******************

“Oprah and her crew arrived the following week. Rob and I were scheduled to talk to her on Tuesday. On Monday night, she had a huge party for the movie’s cast and crew and her crew. When she stopped by our table to chat, I immediately felt like I’d known her my whole life, which in a way I had. She showed me a picture of me with my Mom and Dad when they were on her show. I was only 6 months old. Of course, this initiated the, ‘So when are you two going to have kids?’ line of questioning from everyone. Rob and I just smiled. We weren’t going there in front of Oprah. But later, while we were slow dancing, he kissed his way up my neck to my ear and whispered that he most definitely wanted a little girl who looked just like the one in the picture. I melted.

The moment was broken when the DJ announced that he had a special dedication in honor of our engagement. Everyone cheered. “Kellen and Jackson want to say thanks to Rob for being the brother they never had,” the DJ said.

“Ut-oh,” I said.

Rob shook his head. We both knew Kellen had three brothers and Jackson had four.

The pounding intro to Nickleback’s Next Go Round shook the room. Rob wasn’t feeling any pain by this point, and he wasn’t about to let Kellen and Jackson get one up on him, so he grabbed me, spun me around, then pulled me back and ground his hips into me while he sang along, and most definitely eye fucked me.

I wanna do it till the sun comes up

Till we're both so good and sweaty that we can't stand up

I wanna do it till we're both about to drop

As long as we got it together

Then we're never gonna stop

I wanna go until the neighbors all complain

Because they heard somebody screaming

And they think we're both in pain

I wanna go so long, your parents think you died

They're gonna call the cops, the CIA and then the FBI

Yeah, we're gonna love it when the lights go down

Hold on, here we go

Yeah, we're gonna go until our legs give out

Round and round we go

Yeah, we're gonna do it hanging upside down

Up and down we go

Yeah, we're getting ready for the next go round

Round and round we go

Shut the windows, lock the door, unplug the phone

For all intents and purposes, there ain't nobody home

Then we can do it till the batteries are gone

And borrow two from the TV remote to throw this thing back on

I wanna cover you with Jell-O in the tub

We can roll around for hours without ever coming up

I want you naked with your favorite heels on

Start John Deere across my ass and ride me up and down the lawn

If our Suite hadn’t been a quick elevator ride away, we would have been arrested for lewd and indecent behavior. It was the most turned on I’d ever been. When the song ended, we didn’t say a word. Rob grabbed my hand and bolted to the elevator. In response to Kellen and Jackson’s catcalls and whistles, he flipped them off and never looked back.

Thank God the penthouse had a private elevator because we couldn’t wait for 42 floors to go by. We attacked each other before the doors even shut. By the time they opened again, we fell into the room and continued what had to be the most intense fuck in the history of civilization. It only took minutes before I was writhing and screaming underneath him. After two more equally fervent explosions, I was begging him to come. A roar erupted from somewhere near his toes and shuddered all the way up his body as he exploded into me.

We lay, entangled on the floor for several minutes, trying to catch our breaths. When Rob could formulate a sentence again, he said,

“Holy shit, Bella! I was pissed at Kellen and Jackson. But now I think I’ll send them each a case of beer tomorrow to say, “Thanks!”

“MmmHmmm, good idea,” was as close to coherent as I could manage.

He laughed, stood up and reached his hand out to me. Come on, we’d better get our beauty rest for our ‘big interview’ tomorrow.

*******************************

Oprah wanted to use the set of the Cullen’s living room for her interviews. The studio was not going to argue with her. They reworked the schedule to shoot around that set. When we arrived, her assistant told us how the interview would flow. Oprah would show a few clips of the movie and we would “chat” as the assistant phrased it. Oprah arrived a couple of minutes later and asked, with a gleam in her eye, if we enjoyed the party. I nodded, and Rob met her eye and said, “Very much.” I think I saw her catch her breath.

“If you’re all set, let’s get started,” she said.

“Welcome back to Vancouver, British Columbia and the set of New Moon,” Oprah said into the camera.

She did the voice over while clips of Rob in Goblet of Fire and Twilight played followed by clips of me accepting a Grammy and my Academy Award. When she showed a clip of Rob proposing to me, she said, “In a moment that was clearly the envy of the majority of the world’s female population, Rob proposed to Bella on Valentine’s Day at a Dave Matthews concert in Madison Square Garden in front of 75,000 screaming fans.” When the clips ended, she turned to us and said, “Welcome Bella and Rob, and congratulations.”

We smiled and thanked her.

“Rob, you’ve got guts! How did you know she’d say, yes?”

“I didn’t! But her Dad told me she’d say, yes, and he’s never wrong, so I felt pretty confident.”

“So you asked her Dad for his permission?” Oprah asked.

“I did, actually, and luckily, he said, yes, too.”

“That was pretty Edward-esk of you,” Oprah said.

“That’s what I told him,” I laughed.

“So how else is he like Edward?” Oprah asked me.

“He’s incredibly sexy,” I said.

“I’m glad you think so,” he laughed, embarrassed.

Oprah said to Rob, “You’re still embarrassed by references to you being sexy? You’re not used to it by now?”

“How does someone get used to that?” He said. “It’s so bizarre! No, I’ll never get used to that.”

“So Bella, how else is he like Edward?” She pressed.

“I think he’s got Edward’s best qualities in that he’s considerate, loyal, and protective. And he’s madly in love with someone named, ‘Bella!’ But I always thought Edward was codependent and a control freak. And,” I said turning to Rob, “there’s nothing controlling about you. You’re laid back.”

“Yeah, I am, I really am,” he said.

“Your turn, Rob,” Oprah said. How is the real life Bella like the fictional Bella.

“Besides the fact that she’s incredibly sexy?” he deadpanned.

“Touché,” said Oprah.

“The best part about her is she’s not a fictional character.”

Oprah and I laughed.

“She’s far more talented than the fictional Bella. You’re also far more coordinated. You’re a great dancer.” I saw him trying to hide a smirk, as he obviously was thinking about last night.

“Bella, since you’ve been on the set of both movies, you’ve seen Rob and Kristen Stewart work together. Is it hard to watch a love scene between their characters?” Oprah asked.

“Other people have asked me that, and I find this question hilarious. You’ll have to film a behind the scenes look this week. I know you’re asking that question for your viewers because anyone who’s ever been on a movie set knows it’s easily one of the world’s least romantic settings.” I looked at Rob. “I was there yesterday when you were filming a scene in Bella’s room and Edward and Bella were supposed to kiss.” I looked back at Oprah. “When I walked on to the sound stage, there were easily 100 other people on the set. The makeup artist was retouching Rob’s face. A stylist was curling Kristen’s hair. Chris was giving them notes. Gaphers were scurrying around taping cables near Rob’s feet. The lighting designer was adding new gels to several over hanging lights. It looked like an ant farm.”

“What about watching the final, edited love scenes?” She pressed.

“Oh, well that’s an entirely different thing. I probably have the same reaction that the majority of the world’s female population has,” I laughed. “He’s hot! Come on!”

Rob buried his head in his hands.

“What is hard for me to watch are the fight scenes. I know it’s only a computer graphic of his face mapped onto his stunt double’s body, but the emotional side of me doesn’t make that leap across my brain’s synapses, and it feels like I’m watching him get hurt, even when I know it’s not real.”

“You never told me that before,” he said.

“It’s Oprah. She pulls all of my secrets out of me,” I said.

Oprah laughed, obviously pleased. “What about the love-crazed fans? Do they bother you, Bella?”

“The only ones who approach me are teenaged girls, and they are always very sweet. They ask probing questions like, ‘Does he smell good?’” I paused and added, “And for the record, yes, he smells intoxicating.”

“Ah! You’re killing me here!” He said, actually blushing!

“Well, it’s true!” I laughed.

Oprah continued. “Rob, I imagine the sudden super stardom and fan adoration is a bit overwhelming?”

‘No,” he deadpanned. “It is much more than a bit overwhelming. It’s hugely overwhelming! It’s terrifying! But mostly it’s baffling!”

“Why baffling?” Oprah asked.

“Because I just don’t see myself the way the fans see me. Obviously they identify me with Edward, and Edward was driving the fans crazy before I ever came along. So, it’s not really about me.”

Oprah and I looked at each other and shook our heads.

“Is he for real?” She asked me.

“Yes, he honestly believes that! It’s one of the many reasons he’s so charming, and part of why his fans worship him. He literally has no ego!”

He laughed. “No, not at all. I am truly baffled.”

Oprah had her staff queue up the photos from the GQ shoot. We could see them on a monitor.

“So when you look at these… and by the way, GQ reported in the issue following this one, that they had received more favorable letters in response to this cover than any in the history of their magazine. So when you see photos of yourself like these, you are still baffled?”

“Of course!” He said. “Who ever likes pictures of themselves? Actually,” he said, turning to me, “This was the shoot you gave me a hard time about.”

“Why did you give him a hard time?” Oprah asked.

“I wasn’t happy about the picture of him smoking. Whether he likes it or not, there are millions of teenaged girls out there who idolize him. He has a responsibility to do what he can to encourage positive behavior and discourage negative behavior among a very easily influenced group,” I replied.

“Yes, she’s right. I never thought about it when they asked me to pose with the cigarette. I just went through the motions. I need to think more about the potential impact of what I do,” Rob said.

“So honey, do you remember when we talked about it, we said we’d ask our press agent to help us figure out a way to counteract any damage that picture may have done?” I said with a conspiratorial tone.

“Why do I get the feeling I’m about to become even more embarrassed than I already am?” he asked.

Oprah chimed in. “Rob, we have a special photo for you to help you remember our interview.”

“Oh no,” Rob said.

The monitor showed an American Lung Association ad featuring a picture of a shriveled old man holding a cigarette with the caption, ‘Smoking Is Very Glamorous,’ except that my ILM friends had very kindly photoshopped Rob’s face into the frame, and then aged him. Rob literally fell off the couch laughing. When he caught his breath, he said, “That’s fantastic! I love it!” I knew he’d think it was a riot. He has such a great sense of humor. Just one more endearing quality to love about this man.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 10: Fantasy & Flight

Rob’s schedule was booked almost solid for the next two years. If we were going to get married before that, we had to do it after Eclipse wrapped, which wasn’t all that long to plan, what the fan magazines were already touting as the ‘Wedding of the Year.’ I reluctantly said good-bye to Rob and returned home to work on wedding plans.

I was sitting on the deck, sipping my morning coffee. “Was there anything better in life than the first sip of coffee in the morning?” I asked myself. I immediately thought of Rob. “Yeah, there’s a lot of things that are much better, but when it comes to inanimate objects, a cup of coffee is at the top of the list.” I watched the waves hit the beach and thought the only way to make this moment better would be to have Rob sitting next to me. God! It actually hurt when he was away from me. I wouldn’t have believed it was possible to feel physical pain at being separated from your lover, but I did! I actually ached. I smiled, shut my eyes and let the sun wash over me as I thought about making love to the man that People Magazine just named the second sexiest man alive. Second? Were they blind? Whatever. My fantasy was interrupted by Alex dropping a cover of CANDID magazine on the table next to me.

“Good morning!” She chirped. “I thought you might like to see who’s on the cover of this month’s CANDID magazine?” She handed me a copy.

I knew that Rob had done a photo shoot with them, but I didn’t realize it was coming out so soon. Randy was doing a good job. I picked up the magazine and caught my breath. This was spectacular!

“I bet this will have People Magazine rethinking that number one slot,” I said to Alex. “Wow. They must have a beard trimmer with settings for close, exact and ‘fuck my brains out.’

Alex laughed. “You should know!” She threw over her shoulder as she walked away.

I flipped open the magazine and realized this was the best photo layout I’d seen of Rob. I’d have to give Randy a call later to say, “Thanks.”

My phone buzzed.

“Hi,” I said, purring into the phone.

“Good morning, beautiful. I miss you.”

“You can’t even begin to imagine how much I miss you at this moment.”

“And why is that?” he asked with a smile in his voice.

“I’m holding a copy of CANDID,” I replied.

“That’s right. I forgot that it came out today. How does it look?”

“It’s spectacular. It is by far the best photo layout you have ever done. I thought the GQ layout was hot, but I keep scorching my hands every time I pick this one up.” He laughed.

“Besides scorching your hands, what have you been up to this morning?” He asked.

“Well, actually…”

I paused for effect.

“Yeees?” he asked, obviously curious.

“I was having an exceptional fantasy, in which you had the lead role, I might add, when Alex so rudely interrupted me to show me the magazine.”

“A fantasy? Starring me? Come on, share the details.”

“Where are you?” I asked.

“In my trailer. Why do you ask?”

“And you’re alone?”

“Uh huh,” I heard his voice get raspy because he knew what I had in mind.

“Where are you he asked?”

“Making my way into my bedroom so I have no more rude interruptions.”

“So, Bella, tell me about this fantasy.”

“I was lounging on the deck in a bikini...”

“Is this real Bella or fantasy Bella,” he asked.

“Both,” I replied. “I stretched out and felt the sun warm my skin and the ocean breeze in my hair.”

“Mmmm,” he said.

“I shut my eyes and ran my hand along my stomach, and down my thighs, wishing it was you running your hands across my body.”

“Oh God. You don’t know how much I wish my hands were on your body right now.”

“Then fantasy Bella heard a noise and opened her eyes. Fantasy Rob was standing there, watching her. You had apparently made a surprise visit.”

“I like this fantasy so far,” he said.

“I started to sit up to hug you, and you said, ‘No, stay right there. Don’t stop what you were doing on my account.’ You smiled at me. I leaned back, never breaking eye contact with you. I reached behind my neck and slowly untied my top and let it drop to the ground. I saw your eyes follow my hands. I could tell you were torn between taking over for me and enjoying the view. I saw your hand slide down to your jeans and slowly unbutton them. You weren’t wearing underwear, which I love by the way.”

“I’ll remember that,” he purred.

I paused. “Baby?”

“Mmmm?”

“What are you doing now?”

“I’m doing exactly what ‘Fantasy Rob’ is doing.”

“Good, that’s the idea.”

“And I hope you’re doing what ‘Fantasy Bella’ is doing?” He asked.

“Oh, believe me, Baby, I am.”

*******

Once all four of us had regained control, Rob said,

“Bella?”

“What baby?”

“Have you noticed that it physically hurts when we’re apart?”

“God! Yes! I can’t believe it. Every part of me just aches.”

“I’m sorry you ache for me, but I’m glad to hear I’m not losing my mind. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.”

“That’s it!” I said, “I can’t stand it anymore. I’m delegating the wedding planning to Alex. It makes no difference what she picks out, right? We’ll still be just as married no matter what color the table cloths are!”

He laughed. “Yes! I agree! Jump on ‘Air Jordan’ and get up here, PLEASE!”

“I’m on my way. I’ll call you before we land. I love you!”

“I love you! See you SOON!”

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 11: Reconnected

Alex was only too thrilled to take over the wedding plans. I had already agreed to hire her best friend from High School, Laura, as our wedding planner, so I knew the two of them would have a blast nailing down all the details.

“Just email me with lists and pictures, and keep me in the loop; I trust you. I know it will be beautiful.”

She was practically jumping up and down with excitement. “I promise you will love it!”

“Alex, thank you. I can’t stand to be away from Rob for one more second. You’re making it possible for me to be with him.”

“I know! I know! Now go get on the plane so you can get laid tonight!”

I laughed and gave her a hug.

I called Rob when we were in the air.

“I’ll see you in 2 hours,” I said.

“I scheduled a limo to pick you up,” he said. “Look for a driver holding a ‘Caldwell’ sign.” ‘Caldwell’ was my mother’s maiden name, and the name my family, and now Rob and I always used when we wanted to hide our identity.

He continued. “I wish I could be there in person, but we’re in the middle of a shoot. I should be done shortly after you arrive.”

“Don’t worry about it, babe. I understand. I’ll be in your arms before you know it,” I said.

“I can NOT wait,” he said. “I’ve got to run. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I said, and then pressed ‘end.’

Just as Rob said, when I entered the ground transport area, I saw a limo driver with a sign that read, ‘Caldwell’. I was about to walk up to him when I saw a group of teenage girls giggling and staring at me.

“Shit,” I thought. I forgot my sunglasses.

I could tell they were trying to get up the nerve to talk to me. I saw one approaching out of the corner of my eye.

“Excuse, me?” She said.

I smiled at her.

“Aren’t you Rob Pattinson’s fiancée?” She asked.

“I am,” I said. “I’m Bella Jordan.” I held out my hand to her.

She grabbed my hand and jumped up and down squealing, “It’s her!” Her friends came running over. “Can we have your autograph?”

“Sure,” I said.

As I signed their plane ticket receipts, they bombarded me with questions.

“You are SOOOO lucky!”

“Rob is so hot! What’s he like?”

“Does he smell really good? I bet he smells really good?”

“What does his hair feel like?”

“Does he still smoke?”

At that one I snapped my head up and stopped writing. “No! I said, pointing at the girl who asked. And make sure you don’t start! And yes, I am really lucky, but I have to run. I’m going to meet him now,” I said.

This set off a new round of squeals and apparently caught the attention of a photographer hanging out hoping to catch cast members passing through. Suddenly there was a flash in my face. I held up my hand temporarily blinded. I knew from years of watching my Mom, Dad and brother deal with the press that the best approach was to just smile and keep walking. I walked up to the limo driver holding the ‘Caldwell’ sign as the flash popped again. “We’ll have to come up with a new fake name, now,” I thought.

When I slid into the limo, I saw Rob waiting for me. I threw myself across the seat and into his arms and said between kisses, “I thought…you… had…to…shoot?”

“I lied,” he said into my mouth. “I wanted to surprise you.”

Instantly, we were pulling at shirttails and ripping off buttons to get as close as possible. We frantically and passionately reconnected.

Once he could breathe normally again, Rob said, “Bella, we have to plan our schedules better. I can’t be away from you. I need you, and I need to make love to you as much as I need oxygen.”

“I know,” I said, kissing him deeply. “Never again.”

As we pulled up to the hotel, I looked out the window and saw the paparazzi swarming like hornets. I looked at Rob, and he was frowning.

“Wow, there are a lot more of them than usual,” he said.

“Shit,” I said. “That would be because one of them caught me on camera at the airport. I stopped to sign autographs for some of your love-struck teenaged fans, and their squealing drew the attention of a photographer. He must have called in reinforcements.”

Rob pressed the button to lower the partition between us and the driver.

“Is there another entrance?” He asked.

“I’m sorry, Sir. There’s not one that will accommodate the limo.”

Rob looked at me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “Welcome to my world.”

“I’ll be OK as long as I’m part of your crazy world.” I smiled, and gave him a quick kiss.

“OK, here we go. Just hold my hand and smile,” he said.

“That’s easy,” I replied.

We stepped out of the limo, and the flashes were blinding. Reporters were shouting at us.

“When’s the wedding?”

“How long are you here for, Bella?”

“Rob, does this mean no more late night partying?”

“Bella, are you here to discuss wedding plans?”

“Bella, what do you think about Rob kissing Kristen?”

“Bella, is it true you’re pregnant?”

“She’s pregnant?”

We made it into the lobby, and the hotel’s security escorted us to a private elevator that led to the penthouse. Once the elevator doors closed, Rob put his arms around me. I realized I was shaking.

“Bella? Sweetheart, are you OK?”

A tear rolled down my cheek, and I looked up at him.

“Oh, Bella,” he said, anguished. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault. I’m just overwhelmed. This is the first time I’ve been through anything like that. How do you handle it every day?”

“It’s usually not that bad,” he said. “They haven’t had anything interesting to photograph or report in weeks. They just yell the same questions at us as we walk to and from the limo, so they are bored. You are their new toy. I’ll talk to studio security. The driver said there wasn’t an entrance to accommodate the limo. There must be another entrance that might accommodate a different kind of car where we can slip in and out more easily.”

“Thank you.” I said. “I’d like that.”

The elevator doors opened directly into the Penthouse. It took up the entire top floor of the hotel. I was immediately drawn to the balcony and its breath taking view of the city. I was about to open the French doors and step outside when Rob said, “Don’t.”

I looked at him questioningly.

There are cameras trained on this floor from the other towers around here. I’ve even seen photos of me standing on the balcony at night when I thought I’d be hidden by the darkness. But they use night vision lenses.

“God! I said. You’re like a prisoner.”

He put his arms around me. “I don’t mind being a prisoner if I’m locked up with you.” His lips met mine, and we stood like that, exploring the sweetness of each others mouths until my knees were weak. I pulled my head away and looked at his eyes then stepped back slightly so I could bring my hands to the buttons on his shirt. I loved undressing him. He looked at me and smirked because he knew it completely turned me on to remove his clothes for him. As I opened each button, I bent my head and kissed the spot of skin that was revealed.

“Mmmm, I missed this,” he said.

When his shirt was completely unbuttoned, I stepped back further and lowered my hands to his jeans. I slowly unbuttoned them and smiled. No underwear.

“Just like you like,” he said.

“No, baby,” I purred. “Just like I love.” I pushed his jeans to the floor.

“Your turn,” he said.

He unbuttoned my shirt while he nuzzled my neck. He must have used the “fuck my brains out” setting on his beard trimmer today, because when I felt it graze my skin, that was exactly what I wanted to do. His mouth made love to my breasts while he unzipped my jeans. As we fell onto the couch, I had the thought, “How is it possible that every time we make love, it is more passionate than the last?” We had joked about our “religious experiences,” but I was starting to realize that making love to him was a spiritual experience. Through the passion and pleasure, I was aware of being connected beyond our physical connection. I sensed the joining of our souls as well as our bodies. I looked into his eyes and knew that he felt it too.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 12: Victoria

The alarm on Rob’s phone started playing, “The Lengths.” I woke up curled in his arms. We were still lying on the couch. Last night, neither of us had wanted to move if it meant breaking the connection we felt.

“Ugh,” he said.

“Time to get ready for work?” I asked.

“Regrettably, yes,” he replied. “We’re filming the fight scene with Victoria today. I need to be on time since it’s a complex shot.”

“Then I guess I’d better not follow you into the shower,” I said coyly.

“You’re killing me! No, I guess you’re right. I’ll never leave if you do that,” he said.

He started to head for the bathroom.

“Do you want me to order breakfast for you?” I asked.

“Yes, please, coffee, scrambled eggs and wheat toast.”

“You’ve got it,” I called after him.

I wrapped myself in a fluffy robe and ordered breakfast for both of us, asking them to expedite our order.

Just as Rob stepped out of the bathroom, breakfast arrived.

“What are you going to do today,” he asked?”

“Well, I can’t work on Dave’s CD until my equipment gets here. Alex is sending the plane back with it today. So this morning, I’ll actually get to just hang out and relax. I think I’ll take a yoga class and get a massage before Alex starts calling me to confirm wedding details,” I said.

“That sounds nice. I’m glad you’ll be well rested and relaxed when I get back,” he smirked. “I’ll call you if I can break away and have lunch with you, OK?” I nodded. “The limo should be downstairs by now. I’m going to run. I’ll talk to you later. I love you.” He gave me a quick kiss, and then he was gone.

After he left, I realized I hadn’t unpacked anything. I went into the bedroom and just as I opened my suitcase, I heard a knock at the door. I thought maybe Rob forgot something and didn’t have his card key, so I opened the door without checking who it was. One of the maids was standing there. I was going to tell her to come back later, but then I looked around the suite and realized he must have turned away house keeping for several days. It needed a good cleaning.

“You can start out here, please,” I said. “I’ll be in the bedroom unpacking.” She nodded.

Once I’d finished unpacking and changed into my yoga clothes, I went back into the living room. The maid’s back was to me, but it was a different woman. The woman I let in had brown hair. This woman had flaming red, almost clown-orange hair.

“Excuse me,” I said.

She turned around, and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. She was wearing a wig and white base makeup so she looked whiter than Peter did when he was in character as Carlisle. She smiled, and my blood turned to ice. Her incisors were filed to a point and painted red.

Adrenaline surged through me and every instinct told me to get out of there. But she was between me and the door.

I forced a smile. “Hello,” I glanced at her name tag and became even more terrified. It read, ‘Victoria.’

“Oh my God!” I thought. This woman is insane. The red wig, the white makeup, the teeth...she thinks she’s the vampire, Victoria. Shit!”

“Ah, hello, Victoria.”

“Hello, Bella,” she said menacingly.

“Uh, I thought you were Rob. He’s due back any second.”

“Don’t you mean, Edward,” she said.

I forced a laugh. “Yeah, Edward. Are you a fan?”

“Ha!” She barked. “A fan!” She was shrieking now. “HE KILLED JAMES! HOW COULD I BE A FAN?”

I bolted for the door, and she slammed into me. I smashed my head on the corner of the coffee table as I fell. I turned to defend myself, and a knife was inches from my face. I froze.

“I’d rather wait until Edward returns so he can watch me slice you into little pieces, but I’ll start now if you try that again.”

I could feel blood dripping from where I hit my head. She reached out, ran her finger across the wound, and then licked her fingers.

“Mmmmm, delicious,” she said.

Everything else about her told me she was insane, but watching her enjoy my blood absolutely terrified me. I had to get out of this room. I could not let her sit here and wait to kill me and Rob.

“Are you going to be a good little human now?” she asked.

I nodded.

“Good.” She backed up a little. I saw something move over her shoulder. She had opened the French doors! “Please, please, please let the paparazzi be filming this,” I thought.

“Victoria?” I said. She glared at me. “I think I need to get some air. This cut is making me woozy. Can I sit by the door?”

She looked at me, debating internally what she should do. She seemed to decide. “I can’t have you passing out on me. I want you whimpering when Edward comes back. Go ahead.”

I stood up, keeping my eyes on her, and then made my way to one of the balcony chairs. She did exactly what I hoped she would. She stood in front of me with the knife to my throat.

RPOV

“Earth to Rob?” Kristen laughed. I looked at her and realized she had been talking to me.

“I’m sorry, Kris, what did you say?”

“I said you must be happy that Bella is here, but from the look on your face, you don’t need to answer. You’re the happiest I’ve seen you in weeks.”

“I am. I really am! I’m sorry I’m not concentrating. I, uh, didn’t get much sleep last night,” I smirked.

She laughed. “Yeah, that’s obvious. You might as well wear a T-shirt that reads, ‘I Got Some Last Night.”

“That obvious, eh.”

“Oh, yeah,” she laughed.

At that moment, David came tearing across the set with three security guards trailing him. His face was contorted in panic. It was obvious something was horribly wrong.

“Rob,” he said gasping, “It’s Bella. You have to come see this.”

I felt the color drain from my face as I bolted back across the parking lot with them.

We burst into the green room and everyone was staring at the TV. When they saw me, they looked horrified and stepped back. The room was utterly silent.

I looked at the TV to see the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen. Text was streaming across the bottom of the screen that read, “LIVE, VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA.” In the corner of the screen was a picture of Bella and me at the Grammies with our names printed under it. But in the middle of the screen was a live feed showing Bella sitting on the balcony of our hotel room, her shirt stained with blood. Standing in front of her was a woman with hideous orange hair and a face caked in white makeup. At that moment, she threw her head back as if she were laughing, and the camera zoomed in on her face. Her teeth were chiseled to a point and stained red. But the worst part was the knife she was pointing at Bella.

I stared at the screen. “Please, I said. Someone please tell me this is a really sick joke.”

Ashley came over and put her hand on my arm. “I’m so sorry. I wish we could. It’s real. One of the fan magazines has a camera trained on your room 24/7 hoping you or Bella will come outside. It’s set to automatically turn on if anything moves on your balcony. It sends a feed to the magazine. When they first saw this, they thought it was a joke. Then they realized it was real and called the police. They’re on their way there now.”

“This CAN NOT BE HAPPENING,” I screamed.

Just then, two police officers walked in.

“Mr. Pattinson, can we talk to you?” I nodded.

“Please come with us.”

Peter asked me if I wanted him to come with me, and I nodded. I didn’t want to be alone right now. I saw everyone’s pained eyes on me as I walked out and was grateful that the actors who played Edward’s family felt like my family at that moment.

“We’re going to drive you back to the hotel. We thought it would be useful to have you available on site in case the hostage-taker makes demands.”

“A hostage-taker?” I asked, stepping into the police cruiser.

“The woman holding your fiancée hostage has been identified. She escaped from a criminal psychiatric facility two weeks ago. Her name is Grace Savard. She has a long history of schizophrenia. A hostage negotiator is enroute to the hotel as well as the doctor who supervised her case at the facility.”

“What does she want?” I asked.

“There’s no way to be sure, right now. The cameras were able to zoom in on her and see that she is wearing a name tag which reads, Victoria.”

I choked back the bile that rose in my throat. Peter put his hand on my shoulder. “Oh God,” I choked, and put my head in my hands. The red hair, the white make-up, the teeth. I looked at Peter. “She thinks she’s Victoria.” Peter’s face turned white. He suddenly looked like he was in character.

The officer spoke again. “When we were briefed, we were told Victoria is a character in the movie you are filming. Who is this character?”

“She’s an evil vampire who is determined to kill my character’s fiancée,” I choked out the word fiancée. “My character’s fiancée also happens to be named Bella.” The two officers looked at each other, and I didn’t see anything in their eyes to give me hope.

We turned onto the block where the hotel was, and the entire street was pandemonium. Vans from every TV station in the city were set up. Fans were screaming and crying on the sidewalk. Police had roped off the area immediately in front of the hotel, and at least ten cruisers were parked in the middle of the street. Somehow this scene was not giving me much hope of seeing Bella alive again.

They cleared a space for our cruiser, and we pulled up to the front door. They ushered Peter and me immediately into a conference room off the lobby that they had apparently set up as their hostage crisis command center.

“Mr. Pattinson, we want to assure you we are doing everything possible to resolve this situation so your fiancée is not harmed.”

I nodded.

“We think you should see this.”

He nodded to a technician. The tech said, “This was filmed fifteen minutes ago. A long distance mic was brought in so we could hear what she was saying.” I looked at the monitor and saw the beast of a woman walk toward the balcony railing and look over the side. Sirens and crowd noises were in the background. The woman smiled and her face made my skin crawl. She walked back toward Bella and held the knife to her throat with one hand and yanked her head back by the hair with the other. She dragged Bella to the edge of the balcony and stood there looking at the windows of the nearby towers. She obviously spotted the camera because she looked right into it and smiled.

“Oh Edward!” She yelled in a sing-song voice that made the bile rise in my throat again. “I have Bella here with me, Edward.” I could see Bella’s head was bleeding. ‘Victoria’ turned, ran her finger along the blood on Bella’s face, and then licked her finger. I jumped up.

“No!” I screamed. Peter stood up and put his hand on my shoulder.

“Rob, it’ll be OK.”

“NO! IT WILL NOT FUCKING BE OK!” I roared, shrugging Peter’s hand off me.

The tech paused the video.

“Mr. Pattinson, she’s OK right now. We have an idea, but we need you to calm down and watch this because you’re the only one who can pull off this plan.”

“What plan?” I asked.

“Watch the rest of this, and we’ll fill you in.”

I sat back down and looked at Peter. “Sorry, man.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Peter said.

The video started again. “Victoria’ took her finger out of her mouth, pointed it at the camera then bent it toward her and said, “Come get her, Edward. I’m getting very thirsty.”

“Christ!” I yelled. “She’s out of her fucking mind!”

“This is the live feed,” the technician said.

The monitor showed an empty balcony. The door was shut.

“She took Ms. Jordan back inside after she figured out she was being watched. There are sharp shooters on the surrounding towers in case she’s dumb enough to step outside again. The windows have reflective glass so no one can see into the room under normal conditions. But the sharp shooters have scopes designed to counter the affects of the glass. It’s not equipment available to the public, so it’s highly unlikely she knows she’s being watched while inside. They have orders to take the shot if Ms. Jordan is clear.”

I shut my eyes. “Please, God, get Bella clear,” I thought.

“How does that plan involve me?” I asked.

“That’s not the plan I was referring to,” the officer replied. “Ms. Stewart is on her way here.”

“Wait, why? You can’t involve Kristen in this too,” I said.

“She won’t be in danger. Our idea is to film you and Ms. Stewart in character. If you can convince her that the ‘real’ Bella is with you, we will offer an exchange.”

I started to interrupt.

Anticipating my argument, the officer continued. “Ms. Stewart will never be in danger. One of our female officers is with the movie’s make up crew now. Another officer who is your size is also being made up to resemble you. We are going to send the two of them up to the room to subdue the woman. They’ll use a tranquilizer gun so Ms. Jordan will not be in harm’s way.”

“Alright, when will Kristen be here?” I asked.

“Rob?” I turned around and Kristen ran over to give me a hug. “Oh, God, I’m so sorry. Is she OK? Are you OK?”

“We’re both OK at the moment. Thank you so much for doing this.” I said.

“Of course, anything. When do we start?” Kristen asked.

“Mr. Pattinson,” the officer said, “I think it would be more effective if you were in makeup. The crew is in the room next door.”

I looked at Kristen. “I’ll be right back.”

I walked into the next door conference room, and felt like I had stepped into the Eclipse makeup room. Every makeup artist from the set was there. They had brought all of their supplies, mirrors and hair pieces. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, I had to choke back a sob.

My makeup artist, Leslie, saw me and ran over to give me a hug. “I’m so sorry,” she said.

“This is unbelievable you guys. I don’t know what to say. Thank you all so much for being here.”

Leslie led me over to a chair and began to transform me into a vampire. The officers being made up to look like Kristen and me were in the two chairs to my right. Peter’s makeup artist, Allen, was attempting to transform the officer next to me into Edward. Every once in awhile, Allen stopped what he was doing and consulted with Leslie while studying my features. I never appreciated their artistry as much as I did in that moment. I caught the eye of the officer being made up as Edward and said, “Thank you.”

“We’ll get her back,” he said. For the first time, I felt hopeful I would hold Bella again.

When Leslie was finished my makeup, she held up my contact cases. “Topaz or black?” she asked.

“Black,” I said. “Most definitely black.”

She handed another case to Allen. “Black,” she said.

She popped the contacts into my eyes, and I walked back to the command center conference room. A couple of hotel guests were standing in my path. They took one look at my eyes and shrank back against the wall. The lobby became silent, and every head turned and stared as Edward made his way back to the command center.

When I walked in, the officer in charge spoke to me and Kristen.

“We’ve set up this camera to run a live feed to the hotel’s cable channel. The hotel disabled the channel to all rooms except the penthouse. The hostage negotiator has been on the phone with ‘Victoria.’ He has convinced her to watch a message from you. He’ll tell her to turn on the TV when you are ready.”

“What do you want me to say?” I asked.

“You need to convince her that she made a mistake and the ‘real’ Bella is here with you.”

I looked at Kristen. I must have looked as terrified as I felt.

“You can do this,” she said. “You are a brilliant actor. Act your way through.”

I nodded to her. “Give me a second, I said to the officer.”

I shut my eyes and thought about the rage I was in touch with when we rehearsed the scene where Edward kills Victoria. It was very easy, this time, to let rage flow through me. If I could get my hands on the Victoria upstairs, I wouldn’t hesitate to break her fucking neck.

I opened my eyes and looked at Kristen. She nodded.

“Let’s do this,” I said.

BPOV

Victoria was on the phone with someone that I was praying knew what the fuck they were doing. They were keeping her talking which was a good thing. It meant she wasn’t tasting my blood. I thanked God when I heard the sirens and realized my plan had worked. Now, no matter what, at least I knew Rob was safe. They wouldn’t let him up here with this maniac.

Victoria put the phone down and picked up the TV remote.

“It seems we have a little in-house entertainment arranged for us,” she said.

She flipped the channels until I saw Rob and Kristen on the monitor across the room. Rob was in full make-up. Even his eyes were black. I assumed he left the middle of a shoot to come here. I stared into his eyes, and if I didn’t know that Rob was behind those eyes, I would have been terrified. His gaze penetrated the room, and I could feel the rage as he spoke.

“Victoria,” he said, using Edward’s accent, “James didn’t teach you how to track very well did he?”

“What the fuck is he talking about?” she screamed at the TV.

“You have the wrong Bella. The real Bella is right here.” Rob put his arm around Kristen and she leaned into him. He kissed the top of her head. “She’s safe, Victoria. You’ll never get to her.”

“NO!” Victoria screamed.

She looked at me and then dug through her bag. She pulled out a copy of the GOSSIP issue with the headline that screamed, “ROB DUMPS KRISTEN FOR THE REAL BELLA.”

‘YOU’RE THE REAL BELLA. IT SAYS SO RIGHT HERE!”

She ran to the phone.

“He’s wrong! I have the real Bella. The magazine says it right here. It has her picture.”

Victoria was silent, listening to the person on the phone. Then she said, “Send it up here. I want to see it. Just slide it under the door.”

RPOV

I saw the hostage negotiator on the phone out of the corner of my eye. I desperately wanted to know what he was saying, but the officer motioned for me to continue to look into the camera and remain silent. I focused on maintaining Edward’s icy stare.

I saw Peter jump up and run over to the negotiator. They spoke for a second, and the hotel manager flew out of the room. He was back seconds later with several copies of GOSSIP. Peter flipped through them and threw two of them at the negotiator. Moments later, the hotel manager flew out of the room again with one of the magazines.

BPOV

A few minutes later, the issue with the retraction slid under the door. Victoria grabbed it and flipped to the second page. She looked at me, bewildered.

“You aren’t the real Bella?” she asked.

I shook my head. “God, I hope that’s what they wanted me to do,” I thought.

Rob started talking again in his Edward voice. “You see, Victoria. You were wrong. You have the wrong Bella. The real Bella is right here, safe in my arms.”

I had to hold back a sob. “Please God, I thought, let me be in his arms again.”

Victoria screamed and ran toward the TV. Suddenly the television exploded off of the wall. At first I thought that Victoria had thrown something at it in her rage and shattered it, but then I saw her falling to the floor. Everything slowed down. My brain just couldn’t process what it was seeing. Why was Victoria lying on the ground. Why was the back of her head gone? Where did all the blood come from? Then everything went black.

RPOV

The hostage negotiator dropped the phone. “They took the shot,” he shouted.

Instantly, six officers ran toward the elevator, I jumped up to follow, and one of them tried to hold me back.

“Get your goddamn hands off of me! I’m going up there,” I screamed at him.

One of the officers holding a radio said, “It’s alright, they got her.”

When the elevator door opened, my eyes flew to Bella, and I heard myself screaming, “NOOOOO!” She was lying on the floor. Her eyes were closed. I threw the officer’s hands off of me and ran to her. “BELLA!” I screamed. I grabbed her in my arms, and one of the officers took her pulse.

“She’s got a pulse. I don’t see any injuries other than the cut on her head. Is she bleeding anywhere else?”

I held Bella close to me so he could look at the back of her head and spine.

“Nothing,” he said.

I laid her gently on the couch.

“I think she’s going to be alright,” he said. “I think she may have just fainted.”

At that moment, an EMT entered and ran over to Bella. I went to the side of the couch so he had room to check Bella’s vital signs. I held my head next to hers. I whispered to her, “It’s OK now. You’re safe. I’m here. I love you. Come back to me. She’s gone.” Bella opened her eyes.

I couldn’t hold back a sob of relief. She looked confused.

“It’s OK, it’s all over. She’s dead.” I said.

“How?” she said, still looking dazed. “The TV, it...exploded...then...she was on the floor...and...”

“Shhh. It’s OK. They had sharp shooters on the roof next door. They had orders to take a shot if she walked away from you. The bullet must have hit the TV after it hit her.”

Bella grabbed me and in between sobs, said,

“I...was...so...scared...I....thought...she...was...going...to...kill...you...too. I...got...her...outside...it worked?”

“Yes, baby. That was brilliant. You saved us both.”

“You...saved...me. You...were...Edward...?”

“Yes,” I said. “There are two police officers downstairs disguised as the ‘real’ Edward and Bella. They were going to offer to trade the ‘real’ Bella for you.”

“Rob, I’m so cold.” She was shivering.

The EMT said, “We need to move her to another room, get her warm, stitch up her forehead and give her some fluids.”

I picked Bella up. The EMT wrapped her in a blanket, and we took the elevator to the suite below us. I laid her on the bed and wrapped her up in blankets while the EMT started an IV.

“The hotel has a doctor on call. He’s on his way up. He’ll stitch her forehead.”

“Hold me,” she sobbed. “I can’t stop shaking.”

I curled up next to her and held her. The doctor came in and checked her vitals.

“Ms. Jordan, I’m going to add something to your IV to help you calm down. It will make you drowsy.” Bella nodded at him. The doctor injected something through Bella’s IV line, and moments later, she had stopped shaking, and I felt her relax into my arms. Once she had started to drift off, the doctor applied lidocaine to her forehead then stitched it. She seemed to barely notice as she dozed, curled up beside me.

Peter was in the suite’s living room, and I heard the doctor giving him Bella’s medication and its instructions. I thanked God again for the adopted family I’d found in my Twilight co-workers.

A little while later, I heard the living room door burst open and Barry’s very agitated voice. I heard Peter talking to him, then I saw his head appear in the door.

“She’s sleeping?” he asked. I nodded.

Just then, Bella stirred.

“Dad?” she said groggily, barely opening her eyes.

Barry was immediately at her side. “I’m right here, sweetheart. I’m going to take you home.”

“No, Dad, this is home,” she said groggily pulling me closer to her. I tightened my arms around her. “Home is wherever Rob is,” she murmured, as she drifted off again.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter 13: The Wedding

BPOV

I woke up disoriented. I heard the ocean and felt the warm breeze, so I knew I was back in my room. My head was on Rob’s chest and his arms were wrapped around me. “I am safe. I am alive. Rob is alive,” I thought. I opened my eyes to see him looking back at me. “I am so in love with this man,” I thought.

“How are you doing?” he asked. “Can I get you anything?”

“Don’t you dare move from this bed,” I said.

He smiled. “I’m not going anywhere.”

I snuggled further into Rob and thought about the past few hours. As soon as Dad found out about Victoria, he flew to Vancouver. By the time he arrived, it was over, and he insisted we return with him. David told Rob he’d shoot the wolf pack for the next few weeks and to take a break and take care of me.

On the flight back, Dad called Randy and told him to find out who the very best security people were. By the time we landed, some extremely serious looking guys in sunglasses, dressed completely in black, lead us to two black SUVs with tinted windows. I noticed a man with a camera start to walk toward us. One of the sunglasses dudes, who was the size of a refrigerator, strode purposefully up to him. When the photographer tried to step around him, ‘Fridge Guy’ blocked his path. No matter which way the photographer turned, “Fridge’ was there blocking his shot. When we were loaded into the front car, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw ‘Fridge’ get into the rear car. The photographer got a nice shot of what were apparently, our new SUVs.

Dad’s phone buzzed after we got in the car. It was Randy. When Dad hung up, he explained we were riding in the same type SUV used to transport the President. In other words, it was as close to vampire proof as we could humanly get.

“Oh,” he added, “and the ‘men in black’ are all former secret service, navy seals or army rangers. No one is ever going to fuck with my little girl or my future son-in-law again.

My thoughts came back to the moment as Rob gently kissed a spot next to my stitched forehead.

“You know,” he said, “I have a much deeper appreciation for Edward after yesterday.”

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“I always thought trying to commit suicide when he thought Bella died was really dramatic and codependent of him.”

I laughed. “Clearly the fans don’t agree.”

“At least, that’s what I thought until yesterday,” he added. “When I realized I might lose you, when I saw that maniac... I understood Edward.” I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t hold you in my arms.”

“I love you,” I said, reaching up to kiss him.

His lips met mine, and he whispered between kisses, “I...wish...we...were....married...right....now.”

“Me...too,” I replied between kisses.

“Wait!” I said. “Let’s just get married!”

“I thought we already were in a few months from now?” Rob asked.

“No, I mean, now! Let’s just get married now!”

“You mean hop on ‘Air Jordan’ and fly to Vegas?” He asked.

“No, no. I own a resort that specializes in catering to whatever whim our guests come up with. Well my whim is that I want a wedding – by next week – before you have to go back to work. And! We could take a quick honeymoon.”

“Are you serious?” he asked incredulously.

“Very. And! It could be a surprise wedding. We’d even trick the paparazzi that way. We’ll tell everyone we’re having a ‘We’re Glad We’re Alive’ party and invite them here for a weekend. When they get here, we’ll say, ‘Oh, and by the way, make sure you’re on the beach at 8:00 tonight.’ When they arrive on the beach...”

“We’ll be ready to say our vows.” Rob finished my sentence for me. “I love the idea, and I love you. I’d be fine with Vegas, but I do like the idea of having our friends and family there, so your idea is perfect.”

********

Six days later, I was sitting in front of the counter in my bathroom while Leslie applied my makeup and attempted to cover the stitches with wisps of hair. We let a few of our closest friends, and of course, our family, in on our secret. Rob wanted to invite the entire makeup crew, who had been so willing to help us, and we asked Leslie to arrive early, then filled her in on our secret and asked her to do my makeup and hair. She squealed with excitement and exclaimed, “I can’t wait!”

I told Alex that she and Laura had a new challenge. I expected them to fall over screaming and complaining when I told them they now had six days to plan a wedding instead of several months. They didn’t bat an eye. They just picked up their cell phones and went to work.

The morning of the wedding, invitations were slipped under our guests’ villa doors:

Isabella Elizabeth Jordan

and

Robert Thomas Pattinson

Together With Their Parents,

Kelly, Barry, Richard and Clare

Request the Honor of Your Presence as they exchange their wedding vows.

Please join us on the beach, this evening at 8:00 P.M.

That afternoon, Rob and I walked around the resort checking on all of Alex and Laura’s arrangements.

“God, your staff is good,” he said.

“I know. I can’t believe Alex and Laura did all of this in under a week. I once told Cath that I thought she was the real Alice since she’s so vibrant and full of energy, but I’ve changed my mind. Clearly,” I said, admiring the gorgeous flower arrangements, “Alex is the real Alice.”

Rob smiled. “I agree. Only a vampire could have pulled this off,” he said smiling.

We strolled the grounds, and I noticed that every tree was covered with twinkling white lights. The pathway to the beach was set with luminarias that would be lit just before the ceremony. Torches were set up near the water to light the area where we would say our vows. Chairs were arranged on either side of an aisle created by baskets of tropical flowers placed in the sand. There was a small stage overflowing with potted flowers. It held an arch, which was also covered in orchids, hibiscus and anthodium. A second stage was to the right. It was set up for Dave to play, “You and Me” as Rob and I walked in.

We walked over to where we would be standing when we said our vows tonight and faced each other. Rob put his arms around me. “I can not wait to be married to you,” he said.

“Mmm,” I said against his chest. “Me too. But if we’re going to get married, I need to start getting ready.”

“It’s four hours from now!” Rob complained.

“I know. Leslie wanted to start working on me two hours ago, and I had to get Alex to talk her off the ledge when I said, ‘No way!’”

He laughed. “Yeah, Leslie is quite the perfectionist. You’d better not keep her waiting. She’s not fun when she’s cranky and working under her self imposed deadlines and ideas of perfection!”

I turned to make my way back to the house, and Rob didn’t follow me. “Aren’t you coming?” I asked.

“I’m going to take a run,” he said.

“OK,” I said. “Enjoy.” Then I stopped and walked back to kiss him. “You know, this is the last time we’ll see each other before tonight. Leslie and Alex will barricade the door so you can’t come in.”

“In that case…” he said, and bent his head to kiss me. I felt his lips and tongue entwine with mine. I heard the waves hit the beach and felt the breeze on my skin. I had never felt more alive and at peace than in this moment. I realized we had come full circle. I was standing in his arms, near the spot I had been attacked and experienced flashbacks, but in this moment, I felt completely safe, beautiful and loved.

“You know,” I started to say, but choked up.

“What?” he said as he put his hand against my cheek.

“We’ve come full circle. I realized how much I loved you after I had the flashback right over there,” I said nodding to indicate a spot over Rob’s shoulder near the dunes. When we say our vows, I fully intend to ask the Universe to reconsecrate this land. Tonight is a fresh start.”

He held my face in his hands and stared into my eyes for several long breaths. “I don’t even have words. I am struggling to tell you how much I love you, how grateful I am, how beautiful you are, but those words are so inadequate!”

“I guess you’ll just have to show me,” I said, smiling.

He kissed me passionately again.

I thanked the Universe for the magic it had worked to align itself to create this moment, right here, and right now. This was bliss. And it was only going to get better.

********

I walked into my bedroom to find Leslie pacing the floor.

“Finally!” she exclaimed.

She practically threw me into a chair and attacked my hair with hot rollers. I didn’t want to wear a veil, so I had asked her to do something special to my hair. Once she was satisfied that the curls were perfect, she began braiding thin strands and wove tiny, white flowers into the braids. When she was done, I had a gorgeous crown of braided flowers along with a few braids with flowers woven into them flowing down my back. It was simplistically elegant.

“Now,” she said, we are going to make those stitches disappear.

When she was done, even I could barely tell where the stitches were. She had expertly covered them with makeup then let wisps of my hair strategically cover what the makeup didn’t hide.

“And finally,” she said with a flourish, “to make you glow like a vampire.”

When she finally stepped back, I had to admit, I looked spectacular.

I reached to hug her, and she yelled, “Air hug only! Watch the hair!”

I gave her an “air hug” and told her, “You truly are an artist. Thank you so much!”

“My pleasure, girlfriend. Congratulations, and enjoy tonight.”

“I will. Thanks again.”

A minute later, my Mom came in to help me into my dress. When we told her about our plans to move up the wedding, she was happy for us, but immediately became consumed with finding the perfect dress for me on a moment’s notice. “Over my dead body will my daughter wear an off the rack dress on her wedding day,” she said, as she strode determinedly into her office. Moments later, I heard her voice floating out of her office. She was speaking Italian.

“Oh good,” I thought. “I love Cavalli!” She had been one of Roberto Cavalli’s favorite runway models. A little while later, Mom called me into her office and showed me a picture of a stunning gown that was perfect. When Mom suggested that Cavalli express ship the dress and that we would have it fitted here, he would hear nothing of it. He had one of his assistants fly it to California to fit me and ensure it was perfect. When I expressed my shock at this, she said,

“Really dear, we are doing him a favor. Your wedding is the event of the year. He couldn’t buy better publicity, and every other designer will be positively green with envy that he dressed you!”

She had a point. She knew how to work more than a camera!

When she finished fastening the last clasp, she turned me toward the full length mirror. I caught my breath. I looked into Mom’s eyes, and they were filled with tears.

“Mom, I actually look beautiful,” I said amazed.

“Bella, if there were one gift I could give you today, it would be to see yourself the way the rest of the world sees you. You are so beautiful, far more beautiful than I ever was, and I mean that. This isn’t just a mother’s opinion; I am speaking from over 30 years of watching beautiful women, and you are one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I didn’t tell you that a lot when you were growing up because I saw how horribly uncomfortable it made you, and ...,” she paused, “now I understand why. But you must know, you truly are beautiful.”

I was trying desperately not to cry and ruin Leslie’s artwork. A few tears rolled down my cheeks anyway as I hugged Mom and told her how much I loved her.

“I love you, Bella, and I am overjoyed that you have found your true love. I know you will be so blissfully happy.”

“Mom, I already am. It will only get better.”

Just then, Jack walked in. Rob and I wanted to keep the ceremony simple and have only a Maid of Honor and Best Man. But I wanted to invite Jack to be in the wedding, and Rob wanted Kristen in the wedding since she had become his best friend. So Jack was officially Rob’s Best Man and Kristen was my Maid of Honor, but when Jack walked in I said,

“There’s my Maid of Honor!”

He smiled and kissed my cheek. “You look absolutely stunning, Sis.”

“Thank you, Little Bro. You look quite handsome, yourself.”

“I have to go meet up with Rob, but I wanted to tell you good luck, and I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too, Jack. I’ll see you down there in just a few minutes.” When I said that, my stomach filled with butterflies from the adrenaline and excitement I felt. I couldn’t wait to be married to Rob!

Just as Jack was leaving, Kristen floated into the room. Roberto had insisted on dressing her, and she was breath taking! She was wearing a sea foam green chiffon gown with only one shoulder. The dress truly did make her appear to float when she moved.

I wasn’t surprised to see my lecherous brother checking her out, but I was surprised to see Kristen checking him out. “Hmmm,” I thought. “I’ll have to remember to talk to Rob about inviting Jack to the set.”

“Kristen! You’re gorgeous!” I gushed.

“No, you are gorgeous. Rob is very, very lucky!”

“Thank you. And thank you for being our ‘Best Man.” She laughed.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for anything. We’d better start down there.”

My Mom escorted Kristen and I to our “spot.” Several potted palm trees had been placed about 50 yards from the wedding stage on either side of it. Kristen and I were to wait there until Dave started to play, while Rob and Jack waited on the other side.

My Mom kissed me and returned to her seat. That was Dave’s cue to start.

As the opening guitar phrase of “my song,” You and Me began, Kristen started walking across the beach, coming in from the front left of where our guests sat. Jack started walking from the front right. When they were about half way to the stage, Rob and I stepped out. We were supposed to stroll slowly toward each other, and I had to hold myself back. I wanted to sprint across the sand and jump into his arms. As I got closer, I looked into the eyes of our smiling family and friends and beamed back at them. “How am I going to hold back the tears?” I thought. I felt ready to burst with happiness.

I looked back at Rob and our eyes locked. He completely took my breath away. He was wearing a light tan suit that had been tailored to precisely fit his sculpted body. He had on a white shirt, and the top button was undone. I had to inwardly laugh at my one-track-mind as I thought about unbuttoning it the rest of the way.

As we approached the stage, we faced each other, entwining both of our hands together. Rob lifted my hands and kissed them both. He looked at me with utter adoration, and his eyes poured their love deeply into my soul. It filled me completely. Time stood still. I never wanted this moment to end. I could be happy standing here amid this bliss for all of eternity.

Eventually, my trance was broken when the last chord of the song echoed across the water, and our guests quietly clapped.

We asked Cath to act as our officiate. Since California allows anyone to be a registered officiate for one day, we decided Cath was the perfect choice since she had brought us together.

She began by welcoming our guests.

“Rob and Bella asked me to thank all of you for being here to celebrate along with them as they exchange their wedding vows. They also wanted me to thank you for being here on such short notice and for understanding the element of surprise that was required to avoid any uninvited guests.”

At that, our guests all chuckled, knowing that if the press knew about this ceremony, we’d be listening to helicopters instead of the waves hitting the beach.

Rob and I each chose a poem to be read during the ceremony. Jack stepped forward and read the poem I chose:

IN LOVE MADE VISIBLE~ By Mary Swenson ~

In love are we made visibleAs in a magic bathare unpeeledto the sharp pitso long concealed

With love's alertnesswe recognizethe soundless whimperof the soulbehind the eyesA shaft opensand the timid thingat last leaps to surfacewith full-spread wing

The fingertips of love discovermore than the body's smoothnessThey uncover a hidden conduitfor the transfusionof empathies that circumventthe mind's intrusion

In love we are set freeObjective boneand flesh no longer insulate usto ourselves aloneWe are releasedand flow into each other's cupOur two frail vials pierceddrink each other up

When he finished, Jack shook Rob’s hand and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Then Kristen read the poem Rob chose:

LOVE~ By Roy Croft ~

I love you, Not only for what you are, But for what I am When I am with you.

I love you, Not only for what You have made of yourself, But for what You are making of me.

I love you For the part of me That you bring out; I love you For putting your hand Into my heaped-up heart And passing over All the foolish, weak things That you can't help Dimly seeing there, And for drawing outInto the light All the beautiful belongings That no one else had looked Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you Are helping me to make Of the lumber of my life Not a tavern But a temple; Out of the works Of my every day Not a reproach But a song.

I love you Because you have done More than any creed Could have done To make me good, And more than any fateTo make me happy.

You have done it Without a touch, Without a word, Without a sign. You have done it By being yourself.

Kristen walked over and gave both of us a hug and kiss on the cheek.

Cath then turned to Rob and said,

“Rob, how is it that you wish to promise yourself in marriage to Bella?”

Rob took a breath and looked into my eyes,

“Bella,

I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.

I promise to respect you as your own personand to realize that your interests, desires and needsare no less important than my own.

I promise to share with you my time and my attentionand to bring joy, strength and imagination to our relationship.

I promise to keep myself open to you,to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost fearsand feelings, secrets and dreams.

I promise to grow along with you,to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting.

I promise to love you in good times and in bad,with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how.Completely and forever.”

Cath turned to me and said, “Bella, do you accept Rob’s promises.”

“I do,” I choked out in reply.

Cath turned to me and repeated the question she had asked Rob.

“Bella, how is it that you wish to promise yourself in marriage to Rob?”

I inhaled deeply and repeated the Dorothy Colgan poem that Rob had just recited to me and which we’d chosen for our vows.

Cath turned to Rob and asked,

“Rob, do you accept Bella’s promises?”

He stared into my eyes, and said, “I do.”

Cath turned to Jack, and he handed our wedding rings to her.

Cath began, “Over the past few days, Rob and Bella asked their families to hold their rings and add a personal blessing to each one. Last night, Rob added his blessing to Bella’s ring then slept with it on his pinky. Bella added her blessing to Rob’s ring and slept with it on her thumb.”

I heard the murmurs of “How sweet,” and “That’s beautiful.”

Cath turned to Rob and handed him my ring. We had picked out a diamond and sapphire eternity ring to match my engagement ring.

Rob held my left hand and slid the ring onto my finger. “Bella, this ring contains the blessings of all of those who hold you most dear in their hearts. It is a symbol of my eternal and never ending love for you.” He squeezed my hand. I didn’t want to let go.

Cath cleared her throat slightly to let me know it was time to give Rob his ring. Otherwise, I would have stood there staring at him all night! Cath smiled as I looked at her, and she handed me Rob’s ring. He had chosen a white gold Celtic band.

I took a deep breath and held his hand while I slid the ring onto his finger. “Rob, this ring contains the blessings of all of those who hold you most dear in their hearts. It is a symbol of my eternal and never ending love for you.”

Cath put her hands over ours and said, looking at our guests:

“This is the traditional English wedding blessing.” She looked back at both of us. “Rob and Bella:”

May your joys be as bright as the morning,your years of happinessas numerous as the stars in the heavens,and your troubles but shadowsthat fade in the sunlight of love.

“As you have exchanged your vows and placed your love’s wedding ring upon their finger in front of all you hold most dear, you are now one for all time.”

Rob leaned in to kiss me. “I am married to this man!” I thought. My mind and heart nearly burst as his lips met mine. The passion and love in his kiss flowed through me and surrounded us; it became one with the breeze and swirled around all of our friends and family until everyone there was encircled in its tender and loving embrace. After a moment, we parted and stared into each others eyes.

Cath beamed and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am overjoyed to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pattinson.” Everyone stood up and clapped and cheered. A brass ensemble began playing “Allegro Maestoso From the Water Music Suite,” as we made our way down the aisle between our guests.

The plan, according to Alex, was for us to walk to the pool deck where the reception had been set up. As we made our way there, Rob grabbed my hand and pulled me into the pool house. We crashed against a wall and passionately kissed. “I love you, Mrs. Pattinson,” he said.

“I…love…you…too…so…much,” I said between kisses. I pulled away and held his face in my hands and looked into his eyes. “Thank you.”

He laughed. “For what?”

“For being born. For being you. For loving me so much. For helping me heal. For making me so happy right now that I may explode!”

“Whatever you do, don’t explode! You’ll ruin your dress,” he laughed, then kissed me again.

“You’re welcome, my precious, beautiful wife. Thank you for loving me back.”

“Do you think they will notice if we skip the party?” I smirked.

“Definitely not, he said, kissing my neck. You look stunning, magnificent…there are no words. I literally had to remind myself to breathe when I saw you.”

“Thank you. I had a similar reaction when I saw you. I couldn’t believe that even walking down the aisle, so to speak, I was thinking about how much I wanted to unbutton this shirt the rest of the way,” I said, opening another button and running my finger down his throat to his chest.

“Ugh!” He moaned. “We’d better get out there now, or we will never leave this room tonight. And your dress is far too beautiful for me to be ripping it off you….” He paused, then added wickedly, “Yet.” He kissed me once more then held out his hand, “Mrs. Pattinson, are you ready?”

I took his hand and we strolled together through the doorway to start the rest of our lives.

The End.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Epilogue

BPOV

A year later, Rob and I were walking slowly toward each other on the beach again, but this time, we were leading the way. Kristen and Jack were behind us. It turned out I never had to play cupid. They connected at our wedding and have been inseparable ever since.

That night, as Rob and I were slow dancing, I pressed my cheek to his and whispered, “Do you remember the night before our Oprah interview?”

He pulled my hips against his and said, “Bella, if I ever answer ‘no,’ to that question, it’s time for you to check me into a nursing home.”

I laughed. “I know you remember that part. What I was wondering is, do you remember my baby picture?”

“Of course,” he replied. “There’s never been a more adorable baby.” He kissed the tip of my nose.

“Do you remember what you said to me after you saw the picture?” I asked.

“MmmHmm. I told you I wanted a little girl just like the one in the picture.” He smiled lovingly into my eyes.

“Do you still feel that way?” I asked?

“Of course!” He said.

“I’m so glad to hear that.” I stared into his eyes with a huge, knowing grin on my face. The light bulb finally went off in his head. He stopped dancing.

“Bella! What are you saying? Are you…?”

I shook my head, yes.

He grabbed me and spun me around as a shriek of joy erupted from him. Everyone on the dance floor and anywhere within ear shot stopped and stared.

“I love you so much!” He yelled. He realized everyone was staring and said, “I’m going to be a Daddy!”

Everyone around us erupted with cheers and congratulations.

Later that night after I had helped Kristen get out of her gown and made sure she and Jack were happily ensconced in the bridal villa, I went to find Rob. Most of the guests had called it a night and had wandered off to their villas. I started to head back to our room when I saw the lights on in the studio. I wondered why Dad was working so late and decided to go see what he was doing.

When I walked in, I heard a piano. I stopped and caught my breath when I realized Rob was playing. The song was heart wrenchingly beautiful. I walked over and slid onto the bench next to him. He continued to play while he leaned over and kissed me.

He suddenly pulled away and stopped playing. “I just realized that since every one of our family members and friends had to hug you after our announcement, I never had a chance to ask you how far along you are?”

I looked down and didn’t say anything. “What is it?” He said, lifting my chin with his finger.

I blurted out, “You’ve been filming and promoting the new movie, and I didn’t want to tell you over the phone…” The words were tumbling out of me. “…and then I didn’t want to take attention away from Jack and Kristen, but I couldn’t keep it from you any longer, and…”

He put his fingers on my lips. “Bella, it’s OK. I understand.” He smiled lovingly when he saw the worry in my eyes. “I have never been more in love with you than I am right now.” He put his hand against my cheek. “You are carrying my baby – our baby. Nothing could detract from the joy I feel. I’m glad you waited to tell me in person. So, sweetheart, tell me, how far along are you?”

“Twelve weeks,” I said.

“So you’re due…” he asked.

“In about 7 months,” I said. “There’s more.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“You know how you said you’d like a little girl…” I began.

“Bella, I only said that because you were such an adorable baby. I’ll be blissfully happy whether it’s a boy or a girl.”

“I know it’s not logical to think that what happened when I was younger could affect the baby, but I couldn’t stop worrying about it. So I had an ultrasound.” I put my hand on Rob’s cheek. “The baby looks completely healthy.” I teared up. “I asked the doctor to put the pictures in here,” I said, pulling an envelope from my pocket. “One of the pictures indicates the baby’s sex. I didn’t want to find out until we were together. Do you want to know now or wait?”

“Definitely now!” He said.

I handed him the envelope. “No, you open it,” he said. He wrapped his arms around me, placing his hands on my abdomen and looked over my shoulder. I pulled out the first picture. I was amazed to see that the baby’s eyes and nose were already so distinguishable. The next picture had a black dot in the middle of the baby’s chest. A line pointing to the center of the chest indicated it was the heart. I felt Rob hug me closer. The next picture didn’t seem to have any distinguishable features that I could see, but obviously the doctor saw something because the word, “FEMALE” was printed in the margin. I turned and beamed at Rob. “You got your wish.”

“Daddy’s little girl,” he said. As we looked at the rest of the pictures, Rob began to hum the song he’d been playing when I walked in.

Suddenly I dropped the pictures and gasped. I put my hands on top of Rob’s. “What’s wrong?” Rob asked in a panic stricken voice.

I turned to him, with tears streaming down my cheeks and said, “She just moved.”

His look of relief was palpable. He leaned in to kiss me and whispered into my mouth, “Of course, she did. She recognized her song. She knows the sound of love when she hears it.”

We sat there for several more minutes, marveling at the miracle our love had created. Then Rob took my hand, and we strolled back to our room. He made love to me with more tenderness than I had ever known. I wouldn’t have imagined it was possible to love him any more than I did, but looking into the eyes of my baby’s father, an entirely new door into the world of love opened.

As we were drifting off to sleep, wrapped in each other’s arms, I murmured, “The baby told me her name is Catherine Jordan Pattinson.”

“Oh really?” He smiled. “I think I need to check with her to be sure.” He put his head on my stomach and whispered, “Hello precious little girl. Your Mommy tells me that your name is Catherine. Is that right?” He paused, as if he was listening intently. He looked up at me and said, “That’s almost correct. Her name is Catherine, but she prefers to be called, ‘Kate.’”

“Ahhh,” I laughed. “Then ‘Kate’ she shall be called,” I said.

He laid his head back down on my stomach and began humming Kate’s song. I ran my hands through Rob’s hair and fell asleep listening to the sound of love.


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