AN:Things I own, six bucks and a Dr. Pepper. Things I don't own, Twilight, Edward, Rob, I think wewe get the picture. kwa the way, if wewe got that joke drop me line. I upendo Gee.
Why hello agian! I know, it hasn't even been that long. That's great right. I would just like to give a quick thanks to all my reviewers. I upendo hearing from wewe guys and repling. I'm not gonna lie, it makes me feel good. Big thanks also goes to State of Delusion for making this readable. Also, big thanks to Batgirl8968 and Multicolored Eyes from PTB for their help.
When Anger Shows?
In that moment wewe realize,
That something wewe thought would always be there will die,
Like everything else.
These thoughts I must not think of, dreams I can't make sense of,
I need wewe to tell me it's ok.
The black sedan handled the winding mountain roads better than I thought it would. Outside, the road fell off into a shear drop. If I'd had vertigo, I would probably have been sick kwa now. Instead, I found it darkly interesting. The mountainside was covered in bright green nyasi and the occasional fallen tree. It was pretty. The sky overhead was a clear blue with high, puffy, white clouds dotting here and there. My mother would have loved it up here.
We were still in France, about two hours northwest of Charmox. According to Eleazar, it would still be another thirty dakika before we made it to Edelweiss, and another thirty after that before we made it to the Palace. I wasn't sure I could stand another ten dakika in the car with Emmett, let alone an hour.
I glanced at Emmett; he was inayofuata to me and could not sit still. He kept bouncing his knee, tapping his fingers, and nodding his head to the beat from his earphones. He was worse than a ten-year-old on a long trip asking, "Are we there yet?" every five minutes. Yes, he had asked me that several times already. He was driving me insane with all the bouncing and jittering. Emmett really didn't handle car drives very well.
When he progressed to imba under his breath, the awful lyrics of whatever hip-hop song he was listening to, I couldn't take it anymore. "Emmett, could wewe please shut the hell up and stop fidgeting?"
He pulled an ear bud out and looked over at me. "What?"
Of course, he couldn't hear me over his music. "Never mind," I muttered, scowling down at my lap. Telling him to knock it off wasn't going to do any good anyway.
"What rodent crawled up your punda and died last night?" he asked. "You were in a great mood yesterday evening. Ever since wewe woke up this morning, you've been in a bad mood."
"I'm not in a bad mood." I rolled my eyes and then laughed because that's what I did when I was in a bad mood. Emmett laughed too, at me, not with me, no doubt. "I'm not in a bad mood. I'm just stressed."
"Why?" Emmett turned his mp3 player off and turned in his kiti, kiti cha to face me better. That was the great thing about Emmett, he was a big goof ball and an idiot, but if I really needed him, he was available with an open ear. "You've been waiting for this for months. I thought wewe were excited about this."
"I am." Excited was the only emotion I ever let him au my parents see. Inside though, I was a wild, swirling mess of emotion. I was excited, but I was also nervous and worried. I was worried that I wasn't doing the right thing, that I should have stayed in New York and got a job teaching au playing at small venues like so many of my Marafiki had done. I should have just stayed. I should never have come across the ocean to a place I had never even been, much less heard of. I was riddled with insecurity. "I am excited, but what if I'm doing the wrong thing, Emmett?" I was whispering so that Eleazar, who was sitting in the front seat, couldn't hear me.
I was going to continue, but Emmett laughed. I stared at him until he stopped and said, "Sorry. Really though, Edward, would wewe get a grip? What else are wewe gonna do? You're a composer - and a damn good one at that. wewe have to make money somehow. Carlisle can't support wewe forever. This is a win-win situation; wewe get to tunga and live without having to pay a dime. Now, if we could just get that stick out of your punda and make wewe human."
"Thanks, Emmett." I smirked. "That makes me feel so much better."
"You're welcome." His dimples were in clear attendance as he grinned. "Seriously though, loosen up. I have a feeling you're going to find everything you're looking for."
I decided not to grace that with a comment.
The countryside passed kwa outside the window. Emmett put his headphones back in since I was finished talking. I let my mind drift back to its usual musings as the green nyasi and blue sky passed kwa outside. I felt better having told someone about some of my worries. Emmett was right; this was the best chance for me. I could tunga and chase the muziki in my head to my heart's content. Besides, if I did discover that it wasn't worth it, I could leave whenever I wanted.
I took a deep, fortifying breath and was pleased to find it wasn't unsteady, as I had feared it would be. I leaned back into my seat, my course set. I just had to follow it. For the first time since we had left Charmox this morning, I took note of the scenery outside and how beautiful it really was. It was like the muziki to all the greatest symphonies; it soared and dipped, was soft and hard, hot and cold all at the same time. All different shades of green covered the mountainside, except where the sides were steep and exposed the steely grey rocks beneath the grass. We were passing through a path in the French Alps where the mountains rose on either side, preventing any kind of view of what lay between.
The car slowed down suddenly as we took another curve. I leaned over so that I could see out of the windshield. There was a gate barring the road just before another curve. A modest sized guardhouse inayofuata to the road as well. Our driver stopped before the gate, and a guard came out of the house and over to the driver's window. He rapped his knuckles on the glass, and the driver lowered the window.
"Sorry." The guard leaned down to place his head at the window. "But we're going to need some ID."
Eleazar handed him a card that the guard studied for a moment before handing back. "I'm sorry, Mr. Garcia, we weren't told wewe would be coming today. Just give me a brief moment, and I will let wewe through."
"Thank you, Colonel," Eleazar called as the guard turned back. A few moments later the red and white striped gate rose and the driver pulled through it, onto the curving road. Eleazar turned in his kiti, kiti cha to face Emmett and me. "Welcome to Edelweiss, sirs." He smiled back at us. "You'll be able to see the valley better in a moment."
The car took another turn before breaking out through the ridge and the trees. Before us stretched a wide, bowl-shaped valley, bathed in a light green. The majestic snowcapped mountains rose on every side, hiding the valley from the rest of the world. A blue ribbon ran though the valley floor, cutting it in half lengthwise. I could see the tiny dots on the valley floor, marking the towns and hamlets.
"In the spring, it's covered with white, because of the edelweiss. That's where it gets its name," Eleazar told us, as we started our descent down the edge. "The Palace is right over there, on the French side."
He pointed to the west and there, about a mile up, was a faint, glimmering marble building. I couldn't really see it very well, as we were too far off. I could, however, see a town laid out at its feet. It looked to be one of the larger in the valley. The Palace was inayofuata to a river as it came down out of the mountains. The town was built on either side of the river as it met the valley floor.
"What's that town there, underneath the Palace?" Emmett asked.
"Riviere de Montagne, it means Mountain River. The original settlers were not very creative." Eleazar grimaced, but I could tell that his dark eyes were holding humor. Eleazar pointed out several other settlements and points of interest, most with smooth, French names. I remembered from my studies that the small kingdom had originally been populated kwa both the French and Swiss, and, as a result, their culture was an amalgamation of both.
It took us another twenty-five dakika to drive around the edge of the valley to the Palace from where we had entered. Just as I had first thought, the Palace itself was made of pristine, white marble. It looked to be made in a circle, where everything flowed out from a central dome. The Palace was built on a flat shelf low on the mountain so that almost any view through the windows looked out over the valley. It faced east, toward the Swiss side of the valley, and the Alps beyond.
We came to a stop at a small ukumbi, portico on the south side of the Palace. "Welcome to the Palace of Edelweiss, my friends," Eleazar said, as we climbed out of the car and into the chilly mountain air. "She may not be much, but she's home."
"It's beautiful," I said, studying the clean lines and simple elegance of the building. My mother had a degree in architecture and had filled our apartment with plans and blueprints. She had educated me in the art of building, and had made sure her only child had understood what made a good building. She would have loved this one. It was regal in a non-fussy way.
"Thank you," Eleazar said. He came around the car to jiunge Emmett and me as we faced the portico. "It was built in the seventeen hundreds. The king then specifically wanted the Palace to be simple, a contrast to the other zaidi ornate and larger royal residences of the continent."
The French doors opened up, and a group of four men in simple, dark green uniforms came out and helped the driver remove the luggage from the shina of the car. A woman also walked out with them. She was fairly small with fine features and light tanned skin. Her hair was long and silky-black. She looked to be older than I was, maybe in her late thirties au early forties. She wore a fine, dark red dress that draped her body in a modest way. Eleazar grinned and walked over to her, pulling her into his arms and placing a chaste kiss on her lips. He guided her over and introduced her to us.
"Darling, this is Edward Cullen and Emmett McCarthy. Edward and Emmett, this is my charming wife, Carmen."
Emmett and I both shook her hand as she welcomed us to the Palace. She guided us inside, which I was thankful for; it was cold and the wind bit into me. It seemed the weather was going to take some getting used to. It got cold in New York, but this was something else. It was like ice cutting though my skin.
Carmen must have noticed me shivering violently, because she laughed and said, "You will have to get a thicker coat, Señior Cullen. It gets cold up here." Her voice held a thick Spanish accent. I was surprised to hear it here in this little valley wedged between France and Switzerland. I smiled grimly at her and rubbed my hands on my arms as I studied the room we had entered.
It was high ceilinged and oddly bright as the light reflected off the gleaming marble walls, columns, and tiled floor. The lobby was wide and open in the middle with doors that branched off to the sides. There wasn't much furniture in the room, just a couple of dark wood tables set against the walls that held vases and flowers. The lobby was obviously just meant to be a place to welcome guests who'd just come in from town, au had newly arrived, not a place to stay and conduct business.
One of the men who had come out to help carry our luggage inside had stopped to confer with Eleazar for a moment. As soon as he walked off, disappearing down the corridor to the left, Eleazar turned to us. "Queen Renee is entertaining at the moment. She has been told of your arrival. She understands that wewe are zaidi than likely tired after your long journey, but she would like to know if wewe would be willing to jiunge her in about an hour."
Emmett looked over at me, letting me make the decision. We'd have to do it at some point, better to get the introductions over with sooner rather than later. I wasn't very tired anyway. "That sounds good," I alisema awkwardly. I wasn't quite sure how to answer. Weren't wewe supposed to use some kind regal, flowery language?
Eleazar laughed - at my uncomfortable face no doubt. "Wonderful. We have time to get wewe settled in your rooms first. Follow me." He led us though the door directly across from where we entered. The hall was much the same as the lobby had been; the white marble continued, as did the paintings. Also along these walls were green, white, and even occasionally red, tapestries. They were bright against the plain white walls, but I could tell, as we walked, that they were likely much older than I was. The hallway branched off in several different directions. I knew it wouldn't take much to get Lost around here.
Eleazar took a right and then two lefts before stopping in front of a nondescript wooden door in the middle of a typical white hallway. He pushed open the heavy looking door and guided us into a sitting room. There were two couches and a coffee meza, jedwali set in front of a warm fireplace. To the left of this was a small ornate dawati and to the right was a black baby grand piano. Its glossy polish was immediately enticing; I couldn't resist a shiny piano.
"There is a muziki room in the palace that has better acoustics," Eleazar said, when he noticed where my gaze had fallen. "But we thought wewe might also like one to work on in privacy."
I was inordinately thankful for the thought. I did like to work alone most of the time, especially in the early days of a piece. It would be nice to not have to lose that. "Thank you," I told him.
I let my gaze travel to the rest of the room, taking in the details. The furniture was all thick and heavy, and the wood of the desk, coffee table, and mantle was all dark red. The walls were painted dark green and the carpet was the same color. The cushions were various dark greens and reds. It was clearly meant to be used kwa several men. There were two doors on the back wall, one on the left, the other on the right.
"Your rooms are back there." Carmen pointed toward the doors. "Señior McCarthy, wewe are on the left and Señior Cullen, wewe are on the right. wewe should find your luggage already inside. If wewe should need anything, there is a panel kwa the outer door, simply ring."
Emmett and I thanked them, and they left us to settle in, Eleazar promising to be back in twenty dakika to take us to meet the Queen. I immediately made my way over to the kinanda and reverently lifted the key cover. I hadn't had access to a kinanda since I'd left New York three days ago. I was looking mbele to being able to play again. I played a chord, just to make sure the magnificent instrument was in tune, and then launched into a simple melody I'd been playing for years. It was like riding a bicycle; it took no effort at all to send my fingers flying across the keys.
Emmett laughed, breaking my thoughts. I looked over at him, my fingers never ceasing their enchantments. "What, Emmett?"
"Nothing." He shrugged. "You might want to leave your new baby alone though and go unpack. That was my only thought."
I sighed and closed the piano. He did have a point. "Fine, Emmett, happy?"
"I'm not unhappy." Emmett laughed as he disappeared into his room. I shook my head as I went through my own door, which I was pleased to note, was the closest to the piano. The room was a good size, and the coloring was lighter than the sitting room. The queen-sized kitanda was covered kwa a pale blue duvet and pillows. There was a white fireplace with a wing backed chair in front of it and there was a nice bathroom to the left. "Home sweet home," I muttered to myself, and began unpacking.
I didn't spend long unpacking, merely pulling out clothes until I found a nicer button up than the simple t-shirt I had thrown on this morning and a pair of black trousers. I ran a brush though my hair, trying unsuccessfully to tame it. Giving up, I left the bedroom and headed out to the sitting room to wait for Eleazar. Emmett wasn't there and his bedroom door was closed, so I took to exploring the room. Knowing that if I sat down at the kinanda at this point, I would have to be dragged away from it, I meandered over to the fireplace. There wasn't a moto going at the moment, but I could see evidence of awali fires. The dark mantle was engraved with ornate swirls and circles.
I wondered who'd had this room before Emmett and me. It was clearly meant to appeal to men. Emmett would like it. For my tastes, it was a little too dark; I liked the lighter colors of my bedroom more. Nevertheless, this was nyumbani for the foreseeable future, so I would learn to live with it.
It was weird not having windows though. My apartment, and my parents apartment for that matter, in New York, all had lots of windows. Here, there were no views, no natural light. I wondered if it was because the windows let out so much warmth, au if it was just because these rooms didn't have an outside wall.
Emmett came back out into the sitting room, startling me from my thoughts. His brown curls were plastered close to his head. He had at least changed his shirt; he had been wearing a ratty, old band shirt. He now had on a baby-blue button down. He was still wearing blue jeans, though. "Blue jeans?" I raised my eyebrows questionably.
"What? They're nice jeans." Emmett honestly looked confused as to why I had questioned his jeans.
"Never mind," I muttered, letting it go. He wouldn't listen to me anyway.
He flopped onto the hunter green kitanda and placed his feet up on the coffee table. I suppressed a groan. That meza, jedwali was probably at least a hundred-years-old. Emmett didn't realize this, it seemed. He was merely making himself at home. Honestly, it was a little funny to see his burly, six foot four frame draped across the elegant, antique furniture. Most of it looked like it would break underneath his weight. I couldn't resist a snort.
"Fuck," Emmett swore. "No TV."
"I'm sure you'll survive, Emmett," I told him, leaning against the mantel. "And please remember to watch your mouth and not say the wrong thing to the wrong person." Emmett rolled his eyes at me and refused to answer. He thought I was being ridiculous; it was written all over his face.
A sharp rap on the door alerted us to the fact the Eleazar was back. I went and opened the door while Emmett got up from the couch. Eleazar and Carmen both came in. Eleazar studied Emmett and I closely. I was pretty sure he was checking to make sure we were dressed appropriately. He didn't say anything about Emmett's jeans, so I decided to let it go. If he got himself in trouble, it was his own fault.
Eleazar ushered back out into the hallway and lead us in the opposite direction from the way we came in, telling us, "In the future, until wewe learn your way around, there will be someone to onyesha wewe where to go. The Palace is rather confusing if you're new here. It's a lot like a rabbit warren."
I laughed and had to agree. With the lack of windows, it did feel like we were underground, and the halls spilt off every which way, giving one the feeling of being in a maze. I did hope it wouldn't take too long to learn my way around. I didn't want to have to be shown around everywhere.
Perhaps seeing the uneasy look on my face, Carmen reassured us that learning our way around the Palace was not as hard as it seemed. "With the exception of the royal apartments, all of the residences are close to the center. The dining rooms, libraries, studies, and parlors are on the outer sides." When she explained it like that, I could see how easy it might be.
I noticed that the closer we got to the outer parts of the palace, the zaidi people were in the halls. This was clearly where everyone went about the business of running a country, even one as small as this. A few stopped to say hello to Eleazar and Carmen, but most seemed to be able to tell that they were headed somewhere important, so they didn't bug them.
Eleazar stopped us in front of a cherry wood door. He knocked twice then waited a moment before the door opened. An attendant opened it just a crack, and upon seeing Eleazar, he opened it wide and ushered us in. We were standing in a well-furnished parlor in light spring colors. A warm moto blazed in the fireplace on the right wall, and on the ukuta opposite where we entered was a ukuta of glass. The windows looked across a garden to the ever-present mountains in the distance. A group of people, mostly women, though there were a few men as well, were sitting on couches and chairs close to the fireplace, where it was warmest. I took a deep breath and tried to settle my uneasy stomach. One of these must be the Queen. I had never been prone to nervousness before, but for some reason now I was. I didn't really know how to act properly around royalty. I was an American; we didn't really understand the concept.
Just be yourself. It can't be that bad.
A thin woman with dark reddish brown hair got up from the kitanda and came over to us. "Eleazar, I'm glad you're home." Her voice was high, and she spoke very fast. She kissed Eleazar's cheek and gave Carmen a hug before turning to face us.
"Your Majesty, may I present to wewe Mr. Edward Cullen and Mr. Emmett McCarthy." Eleazar pointed us out before turning to us. "Edward, Emmett, this is Her Majesty, Queen Renee Dwyer."
This was the Queen? She wasn't at all what I had expected. I thought she would be regal, stiff, and proper. Instead she was small with laugh lines around her thin lips, and clear blue eyes. Her dark red-brown hair was cut short so that it framed her thin face. She wore a frilly green skirt, upindo that ran down to her knees. A simple brown sweater, brown stockings, and boots completed the outfit. It was a far cry from the high collars and floor-length skirts I was expecting.
Emmett and I both made a motion to bow, but the Queen stopped us kwa coming up in front of us and placing her small, pale hands on our shoulders. "Really, that's not necessary. Although, my husband would say it was." She laughed, her blue eyes sparkling with mischievousness.
"Well, my Momma would say ‘never do what a man says,' Your Majesty." Emmett grinned, inaonyesha off his dimples. I cringed inwardly, but Queen Renee just laughed harder. Hum, maybe Emmett was right, I just needed to loosen up.
"Your mother sounds like someone I would love," she told Emmett.
"Well, she can kick my butt," Emmett told her. She laughed again before turning to me with a straighter face. "Come, there are some people I want wewe to meet." I was introduced to everyone in the room, most of whose names I would never remember. I did gather that they were the rulers of the different provinces of the Valley. I did my best to make polite conversation, though I was increasingly awkward. I had never liked to be around a lot of people I didn't know. It made me uncomfortable to have to force conversation. I was glad when the Queen pulled me to the side.
We watched Emmett unabashedly flirt and charm everyone in the room. Emmett was a natural when in a new environment. He was flamboyant and outgoing, along with being an oversized kid that naturally drew people to him. I couldn't help but grin and be a little jealous.
"Your friend is a quite a natural with the ladies." Queen Renee giggled at my side.
"He always has been." I nodded.
"He better watch out for the fathers around here. Though, I'm not sure they could do anything to him." She did have a point; at six foot four and thickly muscled, Emmett was a monster. The men in the room found him intimidating, while the women found him attractive. She was right; Emmett was in trouble.
"Then let me apologize here and now for anything he may say au do, Your Majesty." She laughed and shook her head.
"Nonsense, and call me Renee, please," she told me. "Now I know you're tired, but would wewe mind playing for us before wewe go? There's a kinanda in this room. It doesn't have to be anything grand." She looked up at me, begging me with her eyes. Tiredness was starting to seep in to my limbs, but I could play for a moment. To be honest, I could play in my sleep.
"I would be honored, ma'am."
She grinned and clapped her hands to get the room's attention. "Everyone, Edward has agreed to play for us briefly." She showed me to an old upright set against the opposite wall. I lifted the key cover to find that the keys had turned yellow, but other than that, it seemed to be in a good condition. I placed my feet on the pedals and let my fingers hover over the keys. "Any requests?" I asked, looking at Renee who stood inayofuata to my bench.
"Something original?" she asked.
That I could do. One of my earliest pieces, one I had written for my mother. Meeting Renee had made me think of her, though they were nothing alike. Gently I dropped my fingers down on the keys and slowly began building the melody for my mother's song. It was soft, sweet, and loving, everything that I saw in my mother. It was never very loud, didn't have some great crescendo, was simple, and just a little bit childish. I didn't mind, I had written most of this piece when I was five, so that was to be expected. I had changed it a little over the years, but it still remained much the same. This time when I played it, there was a hint of angst, my bout of homesickness and uncertainty seeping through my fingers and into my music. As I brought the song to an end, it was still the same as always, my upendo song for my mom.
My fingers stilled on the keys, and there was applause from behind me. This song never failed to attract the women in the crowd. Renee had tears in her eyes as she clapped. "That was beautiful," she gushed as I stood up, blushing. "Is there a story to it?"
"I wrote it for my mother," I told her.
"I wish my daughter, Bella, had been here. She would have loved it." She looked over my shoulder toward the door, her eyes widening in shock. "There's one zaidi person wewe need to meet before wewe leave."
She grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the door, Emmett following in our wake. There was a tall, dark-haired man standing kwa the door. He was dressed in a nice suit, and his sharp, brown eyes took in his surroundings with a calculating eye. His face looked hard until he noticed us. When he saw us coming toward him, he softened it purposely. Renee let go of my arm and went to stand kwa him, wrapping an arm around his waist.
"Phil, I would like wewe to meet Edward and Emmett. Edward is the pianist I was telling wewe about. Edward, Emmett, this is my husband, King Consort Philip." I saw a small scowl etch his face when Renee alisema "consort." Evidently he wasn't happy about the title but didn't want anyone to know it. He held out his hand, and we shook it. Phillip welcomed us and acted very generously, but I was good at kusoma people. I noticed how, as we talked, his eyes would narrow as he studied us. His gently probing maswali left little room in which to avoid them. It was clear where the real power lay. I wondered briefly how the two of them had gotten together. They were like night and day.
"One zaidi thing before wewe go," Renee said. "Tomorrow is our annual Fall Ball, and the two of wewe are expected to attend. I've already taken the liberty of having tuxedos fitted for the both of you. I'll send them to wewe in the morning. Good night."
With that, we were dismissed. Eleazar made sure we got to our room and then left as well. There was chakula in the sitting room kwa the time we got back. Emmett went at it like a starving kubeba while I merely nibbled. After he ate, he went to bed, and I went to sit at the piano. If there was a ball tomorrow, I might not get a chance to play then. My fingers dropped to the keys and played just little bits that came to my mind. They obviously belonged together, but they were disjointed as always. Much like how I had felt most of my life. I really wasn't in the mood to analyze myself tonight though, so I Lost myself in the notes and melodies under my fingertips.
Chapter End Notes:
Ugh, I upendo Edward. Have I mentioned that before? Yeah I thought so.
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Next, its the ball!!! So, so good if I do say so myself. Part 1 of it anyway. Tootles!