Title: You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band - #1 in the Fiddle-verse
Word Count: 7099
Disclaimer: Twilight and anything belonging to it is Stephenie Meyer's, not mine.
Summary: A fiddle, a fiddler, some Creepy Stalker Vampires and two (more or less) roadies. The perfect recipe to bring a non-conventional family back together. My submission for the Fandom for Oklahoma Compilation. Part of my growing Fiddle-verse . . . AU A/J One-shot.
AN: Thank you as always to BookwormBaby2580 for fixing my words. She makes everything much better.
And a special thank you to Ange De L'aube for creating such a beautiful banner for me! Please check out Ange de l'aube's website here:
“Ladies and—well , guys . . . “
An appreciative chuckle from the crowd.
“Tonight we have a real treat for y’all. Did I get that right? ‘Y’all’?"
Nods and laughs.
“Good. Tonight my long-time friend has agreed to do one number with Creepy Stalker Vampires!
Hesitant applause . . .
Bella could almost feel the complaining begin before Alice had even opened her mouth.
“Oh, what now?” Alice drew out the last word into one long whine.
Bella sighed. “Stop moaning, Alice. I swear, since your break up with James you've become a miserable old hag.”
“What?! Hey now, that’s a bit harsh.” Alice huffed. “I’m not the one who felt like coming to listen to my brother’s stupid band, with its stupid name, play at this stupid bar, with its stupid name! ‘Forking Fantastic’? Who the hell names a bar ‘Forking Fantastic’? Is that supposed to be a euphemism? A pun? Cause it’s not funny. You, Isabella Swan, dragged me here against my will. As if I haven’t heard the band play a million times. I thought that was the last number and that we could finally leave! I’m bored and I’m tired and I . . .”
Alice trailed off, distracted by something shiny on the stage. Bella looked up to see what had caught Alice’s attention and interrupted her god-awful whining.
Walking on to the stage, with a wicked grin on his face, was a tall, slender, yet well-built guy, dressed in jeans, a red plaid shirt covering a black t-shirt, black leather cowboy boots, a black leather belt with a large silver buckle, and to complete the ensemble, a black Stetson, tilted low on his head. The shine that had initially caught Alice’s eye was coming from the highly polished wood of the upper bout of the beautiful violin the man carried in one hand.
Looking back at her friend, Bella had to stifle a giggle. Alice looked entranced, but whether it was the instrument or the cowboy which held her in thrall, Bella couldn’t tell.
“Good folk of Lawton, please welcome the genius of Jasper Whitlock!”
The man, who Bella assumed must be Jasper—as Edward held out his arm toward him and then clapped his hands together, encouraging the crowd—took his place at the front of the stage, a little behind Edward’s left shoulder. He then lifted his violin up to his chin and waited. After taking his own place in front of the rest of his band mates, Edward cleared his throat, held up his hand, and then quickly brought it down.
Following the lead singer’s signal, Emmett, the drummer, began the number with four quick beats on his drums, and immediately the sound of Jasper’s violin filled the room. Bella heard Alice gasp. She could hardly blame her as the rapid notes Jasper was pulling from the violin were giving her goose-bumps herself, and the song had hardly began.
Suddenly, Edward started talking into the microphone, Emmett’s quick drumbeats and Rosalie’s interspersed piano chords backing him.
“The devil went down to Georgia, he was looking for a soul to steal . . .”
Bella sat back to enjoy the number, feeling the atmosphere in the bar quickly amplify as the fast tempo drew the crowd into the song. The rest of the band supplied backing vocals toward the end of the verse as the song tumbled onwards. Bella looked again at Alice, who had not moved a muscle, her expression absolutely captivated. Bella’s attention was brought back to the stage as she heard the strains of the fiddle quicken. Jasper was rapidly drawing his bow across the instrument with a look of glee on his face, tapping his toe in time to the infectious beat.
Bella had heard Edward singing something about a wager. The devil was betting a young man he could play better violin and the young man’s soul was at stake. Getting caught up in the story of the song, Bella turned her attention to Edward, who looked like he was having the time of his life up there. Bella always enjoyed watching Edward on stage. Or any time, really. At the lyrics, “and he pulled his bow across the strings and it made a evil hissss…” Bella looked at Jasper as he pulled his bow across his fiddle with a matching evil grin. Jake was striking heavy chords on his guitar while Rose started up a blues rhythm on the piano and all the while Jasper was making truly demonic sounds with his fiddle.
As the devil’s turn was over Bella looked back at Edward who started singing again. Jasper quietly walked around the back of Edward to take his place on the other side of the lead singer, just behind his right shoulder this time, gearing up to play the part of Johnny, the boy who’s soul was on the line. Bella was so caught up in the music and the story that she was no longer paying any attention to her dazed friend beside her. If she had, she would’ve seen how Alice’s leg was bouncing in time to the music, how her fingers were playing along on the table, and how her head was bopping continuously, her eyes darting between the fiddle and the fiddler.
As Jasper started playing Johnny’s part, the rest of the band joined in singing—one minute the fiddle, one minute the singing—in a kind of musical sparring match, Jasper leaning toward the band when it was his turn and the rest leaning toward Jasper as they sang. And then came Johnny’s fiddle solo, and if Bella had been looking, she would have seen Alice close her eyes in ecstasy. As it was, Bella was too taken up with the music herself—and she wasn’t the only one. The entire bar had broken out into a frenzy of toe tapping, square dancing, hand clapping, and singing along, and as Jasper performed magic on his instrument, the rest of the crowd was under his spell.
The fiddle music drew to an end and Edward, bowing his head over the microphone, continued in a serious tone “the devil bowed his head, because he knew that he’d been beat.” Bella could see that Edward was grinning while he sang, totally enjoying himself. But this time, Jasper took over when it was Johnny’s turn to speak and bellowed with relish in his clear southern accent “Devil jus’ come on back if you ever wanna try again. I done told you once you son of a bitch, I’m the best that’s ever been.” At that the whole crowd burst into laughter and a fresh bout of dancing and clapping and singing along, and when the song ended, everyone stood up and applauded the fiddle player, including all the members of Creepy Stalker Vampires. Edward had his arms around Jasper and the two of them were laughing while the rest of the band came to clap Jasper on the back. Edward thanked the audience and said goodnight, but Bella hardly heard him as she was looking at her best friend.
Alice had yet to take her eyes off of Jasper.
“Um—“ Bella started, trying not to show her amusement. “Do you know this Jasper, Al?”
Alice blinked, shook her head slightly, and then turned it towards Bella. “Huh?”
“I . . . uh, asked if you know Jasper.” Bella was really doing her best not to giggle.
Alice still looked dazed and confused, but she scrunched her eyebrows together as she attempted to answer her best friend. “Um. Yeah. We all kind of grew up together. In Chicago. You know, before we moved to Washington. Jasper and his parents moved to Chicago from somewhere in Texas I think, before I was born. Edward and Jasper were best friends from as far back as I can remember. They did everything together and Jasper was always over at our house. Our parents were friends, so you know . . .” She trailed off. “He was such a dork,” she muttered, shaking her head. “We all went to the same music teacher. Edward on the piano, me on the cello and Jas on the violin. They would play the most god-awful pranks on me—on everyone. They were really broken up when my dad got the chief of surgery position in Seattle. I knew Edward kept in touch with him, but . . .” She shrugged, as a sort of physical punctuation mark to her sentence.
Bella slapped her forehead. “Oh! It’s that Jasper! Of course, Edward talks about him so much. I should’ve realized. But he didn’t say a thing about playing with him tonight. I didn’t even know he was in Oklahoma.” Bella looked at Alice questioningly.
Alice simply shrugged again.
They both turned their heads toward the stage, and watched as the fiddler and the members of Creepy Stalker Vampires, left the stage. Most of them headed towards the bar, while Edward and Jasper walked toward the table where the girls were seated. Bella grinned up at Edward as he leaned down to kiss her.
“Gross, Edward! You’re all sweaty!” Bella slapped him on the shoulder before bringing him down for another kiss and then releasing him. She gave him her best arched eyebrow, looked pointedly at Jasper and then back at her boyfriend.
“Something you forgot to tell me Edward? Like how your bestest ever pal-for-life was in town?”
Bella would not have believed it possible, but Edward’s grin got even bigger. He slapped Jasper on the shoulder again, bringing him closer. “Bella, this is the mook who nearly got me expelled from Pritzker Elementary. Twice. Jasper, this lovely piece of womanhood you see before you is my Bella.”
Bella stood up, slipped one arm around Edward’s still disgustingly sweaty waist, and held her other hand out to Jasper, who took it and squeezed it warmly. “So this is the infamous Jasper? I have heard a lot about you, sir. Although not one word about your current location being exactly the same as ours.” Bella said with a wink.
“Sorry ma’am. My fault.” Bella could tell he was playing up his southern drawl. “I’ve been visiting my ma in Wichita Falls, and decided to surprise ol’ Eddie here. I knew y’all were travellin’ over the summer with the band and he told me Lawton was on the list. Well, Wichita Falls is only an hour away and I decided it was high time I dropped in on this sonofabitch. No offence to your mama.” Jasper tipped his hat at Edward.
Edward replied with a gleeful, “Ha!”
Bella liked the look of this guy. And if she were a betting lady, she would put everything on the fact that Alice liked the look of him as well.
Speaking of, Edward turned to his baby sister. “Al, you remember Jas, right? . . . Al? You okay?”
Edward had finally noticed the decidedly spaced out condition his sibling was currently in.
Once again Alice shook her head slightly, and then she nodded. She slowly got up out of her seat and walked the few steps around the table to where the rest of the group stood. Holding out her hand primly, she said “Yes. It’s good to see you again Jasper.”
But Jasper was having none of that.
“Ali-Bee!” He scooped up the tiny woman and engulfed her in a full body hug. Bella was amused by the nickname, as well as by the sight of her friend’s arms and legs peeking out around the tall man, flailing slightly, making her look like an Alice-shaped starfish.
“Aw, man! It’s good to see you girl! How’ve you been? Edward told me you’re playing with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Good for you, I was so proud of you when I heard. Hey . . . “ Jasper dropped his voice slightly, but Bella could still hear him say, “he also told me you’ve been through a pretty nasty breakup. Sorry. That good for nothing douchebag did not know what he had.”
Alice looked overwhelmed. She was blushing and stuttering as she tried to disentangle herself from all the man currently surrounding her. “Well.” She cleared her throat. “I see Edward has been telling you much more about me than him about you. I mean, than he’s been telling him about me. Me about you. Telling me about you. That is to say—Listen, what the hell are you doing here, Jasper? When? How? What . . .?”
Jasper finally let go of Alice, giving himself space to dissolve into a full-bellied laugh, while Alice looked between him and Edward, her arms crossed over her chest and her lips pursed.
“Aw honey.” Jasper said between chuckles. “It’s like I was tellin’ Ms. Bella over here. I was going to be near Lawton anyway and wanted to surprise y’all. I just didn’t tell Ed about my plans. As far as he knew, I was still in Detroit, working the music circuit there.” Jasper completely ignored the slap upside the head that Edward gave him along with an annoyed “Cut it out with the ‘Ed’ shit.”
Alice looked bewildered. She slowly brought a hand to her forehead, rubbing it as if she had a headache. “Detroit? Music circuit?”
Bella looked from her friend, to Jasper and then to Edward. “You know what? This has been a long day and an unexpectedly exciting night, thanks to you boys. How about we get out of this crazy bar, and go somewhere a bit quieter? Maybe get some coffee?”
Alice had dropped to a chair and was still rubbing her head. Jasper looked kind of concerned actually. Edward was his wonderful, oblivious self.
“What?” He looked at Bella. “Yeah. Hey, that’s an excellent idea. Jake and Emmett already promised to pack up the equipment, so yeah! Jas?”
Jasper nodded his agreement, smiling at Edward. “We sure do have a lot of catching up to do.”
Edward grinned again, hooked his arm with his friend’s, and proceeded to exit the noise and chaos that was Forking Fantastic.
Bella did not miss how Jasper looked back toward Alice. When he saw that Bella was gathering their purses and jackets and had her arm around Alice’s shoulders, he seemed to relax, winked again at Bella and turned his attention back to Edward. Bella fondly wondered if Edward was even aware that he had practically forgotten his girlfriend, his sister and his favorite worn-leather jacket behind.
Jasper directed them all to a 24 hour Starbucks nearby, and while the guys were getting the drinks, Bella found a table and sat her friend down.
“Are you alright?” Bella asked softly, rubbing her hand up and down her best friend’s back.
Alice looked up at Bella and seeing the concern clearly written all over her face, smiled. “Yeah. Yeah Bell, I’m fine. Just really surprised! Jasper was the last person I expected to see. I mean, I haven’t even really thought about him in ages.” Bella saw a glimmer of the naughty twinkle that had been missing from her friend’s eyes for the last few months. “And holy hell, will you look at that hunk of hot man-flesh!”
Bella grinned. “He is kind of attractive, isn’t he?” She nudged Alice’s shoulder with her own.
“Attractive? How ‘bout smokin’” Alice giggled. Bella had missed the sound and giggled with her as a steaming paper cup was placed in front of her.
“One Chai Tea Latte for you, a Caramel Machiatto for weirdo over there,” Edward teased as Jasper placed a cup in front of Alice, “a Pike Place Roast for me, and . . . what was it you ordered, Jas?” Edward asked as they both sat down.
“A Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino” said Jasper.
Three pairs of eyes looked at him.
“What? It’s yummy.” Jasper shrugged, as Bella and Alice broke into another round of giggles.
Jasper beamed at them. “Now, what were you lovely ladies cackling at before we sat down?”
“Oh,” Alice started between giggles. “We were just admiring your— instrument.” Bella snorted into her tea.
“Why, Alice Cullen. Was that a lewd joke at my expense?” Jasper pretended to look shocked, with his hand dramatically placed on his chest.
Alice blushed a little. “Me? Would I ever do such a thing?” She smiled. “No, honestly Jasper, that really was a beautiful instrument you had on stage. You’ve definitely upgraded since the last time I saw you.”
A look of sadness passed over Jasper’s face, but it was gone so quickly, Alice wasn’t really sure she’d seen it.
“Well hell, Ali-Bee. It’s been nearly 15 years since you last saw me. So yeah, this is definitely not the same violin I had then.” Alice saw Jasper gesture to the case at his feet. She hadn’t even noticed he’d brought it with him. “I saved up for a few years to get me one of these. It’s a Nagyvary violin. Old Dr. Nagyvary is a Hungarian who settled in Texas in the nineteen sixties, I think. He studied chemistry or some such, and eventually him and his partner found a way to closely recreate Stradivarius violins. They make the most gorgeous instruments with the most beautiful sound, as you witnessed tonight.” Jasper picked up his violin case and cradled it lovingly. “She’s my baby and she sure does sing sweet for me.”
“Would you two like to be alone?” Edward smirked as Jasper gently laid the violin case at his feet before punching Edward in the arm.
Alice looked a little dreamy again, after hearing Jasper talk about his fiddle. Bella smiled fondly at her before turning back to the guys and asking, “Well that’s great Jasper, but the far more important question, to my mind, is why on earth do you call Alice Ali-Bee? “
Jasper chuckled. “Cause she was always so busy when we were growing up. Always doing something, working on some new project, buzzing around and getting into everybody’s business. I started calling her ‘Busy Bee’ to rile her up and it just kind of morphed. She’ll always be Ali-Bee to me. And from what I hear from Edward, the name still suits her just as much now as it did then.” Jasper aimed another wink in Alice’s direction.
Alice blushed again in reply.
Bella tried to keep the assumptions that were rapidly forming in her mind from showing on her face, the most prominent one being, Aw, you like each other!
The small group sat there for well over an hour, chatting. Edward and Jasper had kept in contact through frequent emails and texts, but it seemed like they still had a lot of catching up to do, just as Jasper had said. While Edward knew that Jasper was playing in Detroit he had not known that Jasper’s mother had moved back to Texas after his father’s death a few years ago. He also had not known about Jasper’s love affair with his violin. But everyone in the group agreed that it was a very special instrument and spent a fair amount of time oohing and aahing over it when Jasper took it out of its case and reluctantly handed it around.
Eventually, though, the long night and the excitement of their reunion started to take its toll. Everyone was very pleasantly surprised to learn that Jasper was spending the night at the same hotel as the rest of the band, but no one more so than Jasper and Alice. At least that’s what it looked like to Bella.
The hotel was just a few blocks away, so they opted to walk there, taking advantage of the mild night. Within just a few steps the group had split into two, Bella and Edward leading, Edward’s arm draped over her shoulder, and Alice and Jasper taking up the rear, walking close enough that their shoulders frequently bumped. Bella looked back at them every now and again, a warm feeling growing in her stomach at the look of contentment she saw on her friend’s face.
“They seem to be falling right back into the same old pattern.” Edward sighed, after he’d caught Bella looking behind them for the fiftieth time.
Edward chuckled a little at Bella’s confused expression. “It’s just that even when we were young, those two always seemed to be just on the brink of something. They just clicked, you know? Even when Jasper was pulling her pigtails and Alice was hiding his bow to get back at him, there was always something more. Maybe we were too young at the time. Alice sure as hell was. I woulda punched Jasper in his stupid face if he’d tried anything with her back then.”
Bella laughed at Edward’s 12 year old self resurfacing to protect his little sister. “You’re not children anymore, Edward. And look at her. It’s been months since I’ve seen Alice’s eyes lit up like that.”
“Yeah. I know.” Edward shrugged. “Honestly, in the back of my adolescent mind I always kind of assumed they’d get together. But then we moved, and they never really spoke about one another and well, that was that.” Edward snuck another peak back at his little sister. “Maybe this is the best thing that could’ve happened,” he mused quietly.
“Let’s just see what happens, okay? No pushing, no pulling, just let them figure it out. Look at the disaster our meddling caused last time.” Bella grimaced, still feeling guilty that she and Edward had convinced Alice to give James a chance. What a bad move that had ended up being. No, she thought, Alice and Jasper were better off figuring out what was between them on their own. If there even was anything between them.
“No arguments there!” Edward agreed, vehemently. “But Bell, one night is not going to give them much time. We leave in the morning.”
Bella knew her boyfriend was right, but before they could discuss it any further, they had reached the lobby of their hotel. Alice and Jasper made plans to meet for breakfast the next morning, blatantly forgetting to invite Bella and Edward, and after hugs and goodnights were exchanged everybody headed off to their rooms—Edward and Bella’s was on the same floor as Alice’s, while Jasper’s was one floor above.
Bella wanted some time to talk to her friend, but when Alice just headed off to her room, chewing on her lip worriedly, Bella figured she wanted to be alone. Besides, Bella had thought of something that she wanted to discuss with Edward anyway. Hey, a little meddling couldn’t hurt. Right?