Chance Music @aushapasha
Chapter 13- Stand By Me


We have about four hours between shows, and Bella wastes no time. "Ang, there's a crew here willing to go live if you're ready."

I'm slightly appalled at the thought that Bella is springing this on the poor girl, but when I study her face for a moment, I see how wrong I am.

"That's why I'm here, and I got everything you asked for too. I think it's really going to make an impact," Angela says as she pulls a manila envelope out of her bag.

At that, Bella sends Rose to collect the crew and Tanya to set up the green room we have in the arena. When I seem confused and start to inch my way to the door, Bella stops me and explains that Angela wants us both with her, flanking her sides while she tells her story.

"What happens when they want to ask about us?"

Bella grins. "Exclusive interview; if they veer off topic, we fold." I pull her toward me and hug her tight.

"You're a little scary, you know that, right?"

She nuzzles my neck and presses a kiss just behind my ear and whispers, "You can handle me."

Rose walks in just as we pull away from each other with a handsome black man and a single crewmember. He quickly approaches us, and I tense when he stretches out his hand. "Ben Cheney, Access Hollywood. It's a pleasure to meet you. Could you introduce me to Angela Weber?"

He's polite, all business, and seems to set Angela at ease immediately. We all take our seats, and he pulls up a stool opposite us and smiles. "I wish we were here under better circumstances. I'd certainly love to interview the two of you." He laughs and we smile nervously. "But we struck a deal and I'm here to uphold it. Now, Angela, is there anything off limits?"

"No, I'm breaking my NDA, but this needs to be out in the open."

Bella pipes up, "We do have one request though. We'd like a copy to play on a loop in the arena as the fans arrive. Is that possible?"

Ben looks to his crewmember, and when he nods, he turns back to us with a smile. "We'll be good to go."

Ben asks open-ended questions to Angela, and she answers with poise and dignity. When he asks her about that night in this very arena five years ago, she needs a moment before she can go on. But when she reaches for Bella's hand, she straightens up and calls out her accuser.

"Attempted rape is rape. He tried to take something away from me that night, and for a long time, he did."

"What did he take from you, Angela?" Ben asks quietly.

"My confidence, my dignity, my autonomy. I had nightmares for months. I rarely left my apartment except occasionally during the day." Angela uses her free hand to wipe at her tears with a tissue I've offered her. "But then Bella showed up one day and said, 'we were stupid and you need help'; she directed me to therapy, and through that, I found victim advocacy, which is what I do now."

"Why now?"

Angela laughs. "My need for vengeance or my natural pettiness? I don't know. What I do know is that Bella Swan has been one of the truest friends I have ever had, a friend who helped me when no one else could, and to hear her name slandered by that creep is too much."

"Some would say that what you're doing right now is slander. What would you say to them?"

"Why would Anthony's lawyers pressure me to sign an NDA? I have the clothes he ripped in a bag in my closet with his puke all over them. So, if they want proof, I have it." Angela's face is red, and she crosses her arms over her chest.

"I think we're done here," Bella says gently and Ben nods.

"We'll cut that last bit a little. I'm sorry," Ben offers and Bella waves him off.

"You were just doing your job, man. We get it," I say, and he nods.

Bella pulls Angela, Tanya, and Rose off to the side, and they calm Angela down while I'm stuck with Ben and his crewman.

"I guess no luck in getting a backstage pass now, huh?" he jokes, and I laugh because we were going to offer him and his entire crew passes, but now I'm not so sure.

"For what it's worth, I thought it went really well," I tell him and shake his hand. Bella strides over and I fear the worst, but she smiles.

"Thank you, Ben. You did a great job," she says as she shakes his hand as well. "We'd like to offer you and your crewmembers backstage passes for tonight. We just ask that you leave all cameras outside. We only allow our official photographers and assistants to have cameras or even phones with cameras."

Ben looks to his crewmember, who shrugs. "We understand. Thank you. That's very generous."

"Well, remember that when we call on you for another favor in the future." She winks at me, and I laugh. "We need to think about getting ready."

After chowing down on some street tacos that Bella got one of the roadies to go pick up since we didn't have time to sneak away, then getting cleaned up and into new clothes and gear, we're listening to the arena noise from backstage as the interview plays on a loop.

It's almost silent inside the 16,000-seat arena. It's eerie and telling.

When the stage lights go down, everyone starts cheering, and Bella enters center stage by herself with her guitar. She sits down on a stool under a spotlight and begins to strum as images of women, children, and men start revolving on the screens.

When the night has come

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we'll see

No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darlin', darlin', stand by me

Oh stand by me

Oh stand

Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon

Should tumble and fall

Or the mountains should crumble to the sea

I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darlin', darlin', stand by me,

Oh stand by me

Oh stand now

Stand by me

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me

Oh stand by me

Oh stand now

Stand by me

Stand by me

"If you or someone you know needs help after a rape, please call this number," Bella whispers into the mic as the number for the San Diego Crisis Center appears on the screens followed by the national number.

Picking up the show from there is a bit of a struggle, but we manage, and it goes off without a hitch. During the show while Bella is letting a girl of about 10 or 11 sing her harmony while looking amazed, I realize it.

I've fallen in love with Bella Swan.

San Diego Crisis Center: 1-888-385-4657

National Rape Hotline: 1-800-656-4673

Stand By Me by Ben E. King, this arrangement by Skylar Grey

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