Sunday, May 24, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 26 & Pics

Chapter 26 – Angels Looking After Me
I've been away,
Searching for a reason,
Another purpose to find.
I've sailed the seas,
Fought my many demons,
I've looked to gods in the skies.

I've stood in hell,
Where many had to suffer,
I stared the devil in the eyes.
Walked many roads to witness ancient idols,
And found the great gates of fire.

Had many storms question my conviction,
Gave armies reason to rise.
The hangman's searching for bones he can borrow,
While I escaped in the night,
Fight or flight.

Live again,
All roads end,
I'll be coming home.
Tend your light,
'Cause on this night,
I'll be coming home.

Escaped the hail of calculated mortars,
Then drank the blood of a king.
The desert rain has washed away direction,
Had angels looking after me,
So it seems.
“Coming Home” – Avenged Sevenfold
EDWARD
“You know, we could let Felix go home, Edward,” Bella stated, watching the man in question guard the door of the VIP lounge at the airport in San Francisco.
“Humor me, angel,” I pleaded, cupping her face. “Right now, he’s just about the only one I trust to keep you safe, aside from myself or Emmett.”
She sighed, her face breaking into a placating smile. “You’d think that the shock of it all would’ve worn off by now.”
Chuckling, I took a seat on one of the benches and pulled her to stand between my legs. “I did kinda throw it in their faces on global TV, baby.” When she chuckled, I pulled her in to kiss her inked finger, then that beautiful heart shaped E, and finally her lips. “Worth it, though,” I murmured against her lips, pulling back to look at her. “I’ll make a deal with you. Once you’re home safe, with my dad, Garrett, and Harry around, then you can give Felix a break, okay?”
“Good, ’cause he’s got a family he misses.”
“I’m aware. He’s also being paid very well to watch over the most important thing to me, so… He’s not exactly complaining, Bella. He’ll be able to put that kid of his through college without batting an eye. Plus, he likes you, respects you.”
She smirked my way, and I opened my mouth to continue to plead my case, but she placed her fingers over my lips. “I get it. We’re riding out the storm, Edward. I get it.”
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 25 & Pics

Chapter 25 – Every Girl Crazy ’Bout a Sharp Dressed Man
Clean shirt, new shoes
And I don't know where I am goin' to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don't need a reason why.

They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.

Gold watch, diamond ring,
I ain't missin' not a single thing.
And cuff links, stick pin,
When I step out I'm gonna do you in.

They come runnin' just as fast as they can
'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed man.
“Sharp Dressed Man” – ZZ Top
BELLA
“Miss Bella, it’s good to see you back with us,” Tony greeted with a big smile as he took my bags from me.
“Thank you, Tony,” I told him, standing up on my toes to kiss his cheek.
He tipped his baseball cap dramatically, which caused groans from all the guys – my brother and boyfriend included. Not boyfriend…fiancĂ©. The word caused a brief pause in every thought process I had, making me glance back as Edward set his own stuff down, except for his guitar case. He was dressed for comfort and travel – old, worn-out jeans with rips in the knees, a black T-shirt, and his usual Docs. Though, the latter would most likely be kicked off as soon as we got moving. His hair was still in a damp disarray as he rolled his eyes at Tony’s big grin.
“Work it harder next time, Tone,” Edward drawled sarcastically with a shake of his head when Tony popped his collar at him, all in good teasing.
“Dude… Cheesy much?” Mike laughed, squeaking like a girl when I gave him a wet willy as we trudged up the bus steps. “Augh! B! You know I hate that shit! Mase said something, too!”
“Yes, but you’re closer,” I told him, smiling when he scowled at me. “It’s not cheesy; it’s called manners. Didn’t Mom teach you any-damn-thing?”
“She taught me which fork is the salad one,” he said with a laugh at my eye roll. “You’re just cranky ’cause you were probably up all night.” He waggled his eyebrows, only to scream again and slam his hands over his ears when I put my finger back in my mouth. “It’s a long fucking way to Arizona, B!” he grumbled, dropping a backpack into the seat he usually took.
Sunday, May 17, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 24 & Pics

Chapter 24 – This Is My Life
This is my life
It’s not what it was before
all these feelings I’ve shared
and these are my dreams
that I’d never lived before
somebody shake me
’cause I must be sleeping
Now that we’re here,
so far away
all the struggle we thought was in vain
all the mistakes,
one life contained
they all finally start to go away
now that we’re here, so far away
and I feel like I can face the day
I can forgive
and I’m not ashamed,
 to be the person that I am today
“So Far Away” – Staind
EDWARD
Masen, do you have to testify in court along with Bella?
Masen! Masen! Is it true you won’t be re-signing with Volturi Records?
Will Radiant Eclipse produce their own music next album? Will there be a next album after what happened in Seattle?
Masen, is it true that you and Heidi Summers are engaged?
A foul, loud laugh barked out of me, and despite the fact that I’d successfully navigated the damn media to get to the hotel lobby, that last question was utterly fucking ridiculous.
Turning to the skinny kid with the iPhone aimed my way, I simply said, “No. Not true.”
Masen! Masen! Wait! Where’s Bella Swan? Are there plans to marry her?
Is it true Aro Volturi was forced into retirement?
James Allen is looking at three years jail time, what do you…
The hotel lobby doors slid closed, cutting them all off, and Emmett’s hand landed on my shoulder to guide me to the elevator.
“Wait, bear,” I muttered, gesturing to the front desk. “Bella’s flight will run late, and she’s coming straight here. I need to leave her a key.”
Sunday, May 10, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 23 & Pics

Chapter 23 – I Dub Thee Unforgiven
With time the child draws in,
This whipping boy done wrong.
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he’s known
A vow unto his own,
That never from this day
His will they’ll take away.
What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never be.
Never see.
Won’t see what might have been.
What I’ve felt,
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown.
Never free.
Never me.
So I dub thee unforgiven.
“Unforgiven” – Metallica
EDWARD
We faced the tables that were now completely full, and Bella walked to hug her brother, who was looking pretty pissed off, but I could see he was just simply relieved she was okay. He spoke softly to her, and she answered him with a small smile and nod.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this meeting, but I was prepared for just about anything. The only thing I wanted to make sure of was that Bella was protected in my absence. Outside of that, I didn’t give a shit what I had to do for the next six months.
Giving a quick head count, I could see only one person wasn’t there.
“Where’s Alec?” I asked, taking a seat next to my father and pulling Bella to my lap.
“With Carrie,” Rose replied with a smirk. “She’s close. He’s out of the tour…for now, anyway.”
“Okay, so we need a keyboardist,” Jasper stated with a nod. “Did you call in—”
“I’m…reluctant to call anyone in from the studio,” Rose stated firmly, glancing around the table. “So…we have a lot to cover. However, the temp keyboard player is the least of our worries, so let’s get started.”
Rose’s uncle sat forward, and I smirked at the ruthless bastard. Honestly, he was a pitbull of a lawyer. And he adored his niece, for which we were all grateful, never mind that taking us on as his clients had made him a shit-ton of money. Therefore, his loyalty could not be swayed. Ever.
He was a large man, with sharp eyes and a round face, and he slapped down a notebook and pen. He also pulled his laptop closer, only to look at his watch.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 22 & Pics

Chapter 22 – One Step Closer to the Edge
I cannot take this anymore
Saying everything I've said before
All these words they make no sense
I find bliss in ignorance
Less I hear the less you'll say
You'll find that out anyway

Just like before…

Everything you say to me
Takes me one step closer to the edge
And I'm about to break
I need a little room to breathe
Cause I'm one step closer to the edge
I'm about to break
“One Step Closer” – Linkin Park
EDWARD
I rubbed my wet hair with a towel at the same time I glared at my phone. “Well, damn…” I sighed, tossing the towel down onto the vanity. “Bella must be busy as hell.”
Emmett smirked but glanced at his watch. “Well, Harry would be on stage about now, so yeah…probably.” He grinned, pointing to my phone. “Call Dad. He should be there by now.”
“Oh, yeah,” I mumbled, shaking my head. “That’s gonna take some getting used to, for real. Dad being in my apartment.”
Emmett laughed but scrolled through his phone, most likely checking our flight information. We were all busting our asses to get to the Miami airport so we could get home, even if it was only for a few days. Home was fucking home, and we were all dying to see Seattle…and our girls. Poor Alec was just about to come out of his own skin with Carrie so close to having that baby. I had a funny feeling he wouldn’t be joining us for the second leg of the tour.
I dialed my dad, not really expecting an answer, but grinned when he answered with a chipper, “Hey, champ. How’s Miami?”
“Fucking hot!” I growled but chuckled at the same time. “Jesus, the air is ninety percent liquid, I swear to God.”
He laughed, and he sounded good.
Friday, May 1, 2015 | By: Drotuno

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 21 & Pics

Chapter 21 – The Price of Evil
Dragged ya down below
Down to the devil's show
To be his guest forever
(Peace of mind is less than never)
Hate to twist your mind
But God ain't on your side
And old acquaintance severed
(Burn the world your last endeavor)

Flesh is burning
You can smell it in the air
Cause men like you have
Such an easy soul to steal
So stand in line while
They ink numbers in your head
You're now a slave
Until the end of time here
Nothing stops the madness,
Turning, haunting, yearning
Pull the trigger

You should have known
The price of evil
And it hurts to know
That you belong here, yeah
Ooh, it's your fuckin' nightmare
“Nightmare” – Avenged Sevenfold
BELLA
The stack of papers and mail and receipts on my desk was scary. They overflowed out of my inbox, cascading to the desktop. Glaring at it with hate, I then sighed in defeat. I knew it needed to get done before my shift tonight. Otherwise, Tori and Garrett wouldn’t get paid, the lights would get shut off, and my bar would close.
Snorting at that last thought, I tried to find something bad in that, and my aching heart couldn’t do it. I missed Edward too much, and I’d only been back home a few days. My mother had picked me up from the airport, much to my surprise, but we’d stopped for dinner on the way home. I’d had an amazing time on tour with Edward, despite how cramped and nerve-racking it was. I wanted to go back. I wanted him home. I wanted anything that involved making time fly by in order to see him again soon. However, the reality was that I couldn’t.
Now, reality was staring me in the face, stacked up in a mountain. And reality sucked. Hard.
With a cup of coffee in my hand and my hair pulled back from my face, I turned on some music, opened my laptop, and sat down at the desk in my apartment to get to work. I was working on my ledger when my phone bleeped. I smiled down at a message from Edward.
I want you back. No one cuddles as good as you do.

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 20 & Pics

Chapter 20 – Wherever I May Roam
...and the earth becomes my throne
I adapt to the unknown
Under wandering stars I've grown
By myself but not alone
I ask no one

...and my ties are severed clean
The less I have the more I gain
Off the beaten path I reign

Rover, wanderer
Nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will

But I'll take my time anywhere
I'm free to speak my mind anywhere
And I'll never mind anywhere
“Wherever I May Roam” – Metallica
BELLA
Glancing up from the book I was reading on my tablet, I gazed around the bus. As bad as Edward had described it, it really wasn’t horrid. Sure, we were all packed in there, but it was quiet. We were all doing different things, staying out of each other’s hair as scenery dusted in snow drifted by out the windows.
Alec was stretched out along the back seat, eyes closed, earbuds in, listening to what was most likely classical music – something he and Edward had in common. My brother and Jacob were playing a video game up toward the front of the bus, and they were talking quietly into headsets as they blew up something or other on the screen. Emmett was sitting up front while Tony drove. Alice and Rose were sitting at the table, laptops open, gazes fierce, and nimble fingers on keyboards. It seemed those two never stopped working. The seat right behind Tony was occupied by Kate and Tanya, who seemed to be watching a movie on a tablet while cuddled adorably together.
Jasper was kicked back on the long seat across from me, acoustic guitar on his stomach and his legs stretched out. His feet were crossed at the ankles, and he was the epitome of laidback at the moment. Edward, however, was sitting at the end of the bench I was on. His long legs were stretched out in front of him in the walkway, while he, too, had his guitar in hand. Though, when he wasn’t playing, his fingers would skim over the skin of my feet and ankles as he kept them on his lap.

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 19

Chapter 19 – Dear God
There’s nothing here for me, on this barren road
There's no one here while the city sleeps
And all the shops are closed
Can't help but think of the times I've had with you
Pictures and some memories will have to help me through, oh yeah

Dear God, the only thing I ask of you
Is to hold her when I'm not around
When I'm much too far away
We all need that person who can be true to you
I left her when I found her
And now I wish I'd stayed
'Cause I'm lonely and I'm tired
I'm missing you again, oh no...
Once again

Some search, never finding a way
Before long, they waste away
I found you, something told me to stay
I gave in, to selfish ways
And how I miss someone to hold
When hope begins to fade...

“Dear God” – Avenged Sevenfold
EDWARD
I shut the shower off, grabbed a towel, and quickly dried off. Wrapping the towel around my waist, I tried to slow down and give Bella a minute or two with her brother in the next room.
The show had been one of our best since we’d started the tour. I was pretty sure I owed it all to the beautiful girl just outside the bathroom in the dressing room. The very second I set eyes on her, everything that had piled up on me faded away, leaving me free to give my all on the stage. Radiant Eclipse had ended up giving two encores.
Now…the night was free. We’d be in Manhattan for a couple of days before we took off for Columbus, Ohio, finally finishing out the old year in Nashville. I’d have Bella for little over a week. She’d fly home to Seattle from Nashville the first of the year. I wouldn’t see her again until well into February, when we’d come home for our first tour break.
With another towel, I dried my hair roughly, turning when I heard the bathroom door click. Smirking, I said, “Angel, I was trying to give you time with Mike.”
She grinned. “He needs a shower, too. How you guys don’t completely sweat away, I’ll never understand.”
Laughing, I shrugged, my eyes staying on her as she walked to the vanity. “You get used to it, I guess.”

Man Behind the Mask Chapter 18 & Pics

Chapter 18 – Turn the Page
Out there in the spotlight you're a million miles away
Every ounce of energy, you try to give away
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play

Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed
With the echoes from the amplifiers ringin' in your head
You smoke the days last cigarette, remembering what she said

Here I am, on the road again
There I am, up on the stage
Here I go, playing star again
There I go, turn the page
“Turn the Page” – Metallica (orig. by Bob Seger)
EDWARD
Good night, Manchester!” I screamed, tossing my T-shirt into the audience, and the pyro went off like bombs, only for the lights to shut down.
The scream of the New Hampshire crowd was loud, and the music was still ringing in my ears as security and staff guided us off the stage. As soon as we were behind the curtain, the house lights went up, allowing the fans to leave. My heart was still ramming against my ribs, sweat pouring down my face as Emmett grabbed my bare shoulder. He led me through the halls to the dressing rooms. The place was smaller, so we were all crammed into one fairly large room, but there were food, drinks, and places to sit. However, showers would have to wait until we got back to the hotel.
Tomorrow we’d head out early on the tour buses for Buffalo. From there, it was Manhattan, and that was what I was looking forward to the most. Not only was New York one of the best crowds and cities, but it was there I’d see my girl.