2-2 Lewistown, Montana

After Vermont, we moved to Montana. The open prairie suited Jasper. It was different than Texas, he said, but it was far enough north that it was overcast all the time, and that delighted him. He could wander around when he wanted. Chase wild mustangs.

Esme painted the mountains every day, and she sang while she painted.

I learned that singing meant she was happy.

Edward’s piano wound up in the entryway, where light beamed across it in the middle of the afternoon. Esme installed a window hanging, but that only served to get the light to go across in stripes instead of one wide band, so that Edward’s hands shimmered as he played.

I liked the shimmering.

One afternoon, I sat down next to him, and for once, he just kept going. It was a long piece, and when he got to the end of it, he just slowed and stopped and put his hands in his lap and looked at me.

“That was nice,” I said. “It was like a lullaby.”

He stared at his hands for a long time.

“I think…I think my mother used to play those for me. Or with me. I’m not sure.” He turned so that his legs swung to either side of the bench, and he put his hands out flat and sideways.

Edward has large hands, and long fingers, with knuckles that curled over the edges of the bench as he gripped it. It seems like he was built to play the piano.

“I’m not,” he muttered.

“Not what?”

“Not built to play the piano.” He gestured to the keys. “I mangled them, when I was first turned. Carlisle brought me one, and I broke it into little pieces trying to learn to play.” He frowned. “He thought it was funny.”

Carlisle often thinks things are funny that really aren’t.

Edward nodded. Then he didn’t say anything for a long time.

“What is it called?” I asked.

“What is what called?”

“That. The music.”

His lips pursed. “Nocturnes,” he answered. “Chopin.”

I had heard of him.

“That’s why they sound like a lullaby,” he muttered. “That’s what they are.”

And I could imagine that. Imagine a woman, who looked like a cross between Esme and Edward, sitting at the piano. Her fingers would be long, like Edward’s, but her hair would stretch down her back. Carefully manicured nails would appear reflected in the shiny surface of the piano as they swept over the keyboard, and she would pedal softly, with a little, bronze-haired boy leaning sleepily into her side…

Edward vanished so abruptly the keyboard cover closed itself from the sheer force with which he flung himself from the piano.


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