Categories > Celebrities > Guns n' Roses > Dying in the Waltz

The Garden

by RebelRose 2 reviews

Axl and Stella get to know one another, much to Beta's dismay.

Category: Guns n' Roses - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Humor,Romance - Published: 2018-01-04 - 3546 words - Complete

Chapter 2: The Garden

As Stella entered her room, she found her breath getting caught in her throat in the most unpleasant way possible. It was as though her entire world was caving in on her, the walls of the room that were meant to protect her were now closing in to attack her. Letting out a soft cry of distress, she sank to the floor and pulled her knees to her chest. She’d had anxiety attacks before but never one so intense. But then again, she’d never been in such a situation. Her father, the man who loved her and cared for her, was the ring leader of the biggest mafia in all the United States. How could this have happened? How could she have not known? Why hadn’t he told them?

After what seemed like hours of crying and trying so desperately not to draw attention to herself from any of Axl’s employees or even Axl himself, Stella finally managed to calm her erratic breathing and moved to her feet. She moved to the bathroom and splashed some cool water over her face, she needed to remain calm in this situation. She couldn’t do anything about the situation and needed to make the best of it. She just wished she were able to contact her mother, find out if everyone was alright, or at least alive but she’d been given strict instructions not to call. Calling could give away her hiding spot and cause the men after her and her family to come to Axl’s home.
She eventually found her way to the window, sitting in the chair that faced the beautiful ocean view. It was so bright, so blue, so different than anything she’d ever seen in New York.
She closed her eyes and listened to the sound of Axl playing his piano, letting out a soft sigh as she fully calmed down and thoughts of Axl soon filled her thoughts. He’d been so different from what she’d ever expected him to be and so different from what he once had been in interviews and on stage. He was quiet, bordering socially awkward, and intense. He held a certain sadness to him that Stella could see very clearly in his eyes. What could have possibly have happened to such a successful, talented, and charismatic musician that would cause him to hold such an intense sorrow in those green eyes? It appeared that he had everything anyone could ever want.
The sound of the piano music grew sorrowful and dark after a brief pause. The song seemed to match the entire atmosphere of the large and lonely house that sat away from all other homes on the mountain. Stella moved to the bed from the chair as the sun began to set. She was tired, ready for the awful day to end and the next day to begin so that she might be able to begin picking up the pieces of her life.

Axl woke in the middle of the night with a start, bolting straight up in bed. Another nightmare had plagued him, it had been happening a lot lately. Rolling out of bed, he moved to pull his robe on to cover his shirtless torso before heading quietly out into the hall and to the library. Reading always helped clear his head and allowed him to go back to bed after such a horrible dream. When he entered, he couldn’t help but notice the brilliant red hair peaking over the back of his favorite chair that faced the fireplace.

“Stella?” He spoke quietly, running a hand through his hair in hopes of making it look a little more tamed. “What are you doing up, its nearly three in the morning.” He said as he glanced to the grandfather clock that sat in the corner of the room.

“I could ask you the same.” Stella said, not daring to turn to the older man, not wanting him to see her crying. This struck Axl as odd and he moved to take the seat next to her, freezing when he saw the tears cascading down her cheeks and welling up in her eyes.
“You’re crying.” Axl grew concerned. “What’s happened?”

“I-I….” She paused and drew in a shaky breath before continuing, “it’s hard to function, much less sleep, when you’ve just found out your father is not who you had grown up thinking he was. W-When you don’t know when you’ll see your mother or siblings again.”
“Would you like me to arrange with Beta to contact them?” He asked, eyes never leaving the girl’s face, his heart aching in a way that he’d never felt before.

“It’s too dangerous. I don’t want them coming after you and Beta when you’ve been so kind to me.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, finally finding the courage to allow her green eyes to meet his. The feeling she’d had earlier returned and a sense of calm washed over her when their eyes locked.

“We will find a way to make your reunion possible, even if it is risky. Everyone deserves the chance to see their loved ones, especially after something so horrible has happened. Are you okay?” Axl asked, needing to know that the poor girl was managing to hold herself together in some form or fashion.

“I’m surviving.” She answered and wiped more tears from her eyes.

“Surviving.” Axl repeated, eyes not leaving hers. He’d only survived for years, he knew the awful feeling all too well, he just hoped she learned to live again.

“Why are you awake?” Stella asked, desperate to turn the conversation away from herself. She hated seeming weak and hated her problems being the center of a conversation.

“Woke up, couldn’t go back to sleep.” Axl lied smoothly and shrugged.

“Is that why you were shouting?” She asked, her green eyes beginning to pierce directly into Axl’s very soul and causing him to shift uncomfortably at the intensity of the gaze.

“I have nightmares occasionally. I had a nightmare tonight, I assure you I’m fine and I apologize if I disturbed you.” He said, ripping his gaze from hers and turning it to look to the fireplace in front of them.

“What are your nightmares about? You’re past? Indiana?” The question caused Axl’s heart to drop into his stomach, his pulse rise, and his cheeks heat up. So, she was a fan…. A fan who knew quite a bit about him. Great.

“I don’t see how that is any of your business. I suggest you keep those kinds of personal questions to yourself.” Axl snapped, sounding far harsher than he had intended. Instantly regretting it when he saw her flinch and shrink back under the intensity of his angry glare. He shouldn’t have been so harsh with the girl for asking such simple questions, but he couldn’t risk her running off to post it on Twitter. He didn’t know that she would, but he had nothing to prove that she wouldn’t.

“I was only asking. I figured we were having some sort of moment.” Stella said as she stood and moved towards the window and away from him.

“I don’t do soppy moments. I don’t like such personal questions being asked because I don’t like talking about what happened to me.” Axl tried to explain, trying to keep his voice leveled.

“I understand. My brother Thomas is the same way, not that he can help it.” She shrugged as she gazed out the window. “My father always gave him such a hard time that it’s only reasonable for Thomas to shut people out.”

“I can relate. Life with Stephen Bailey wasn’t a walk in Candyland either.” Axl let out a bitter laugh and clasps his hands in front of him as he leans forward. Stella glances back at him, a small and sympathetic smile crossing her delicate features.

“If you ever feel like talking about it, I’m a good listener.” She said as she moved back to her chair, a hand reaching out to touch his.

“Thank you, Stella.” He said softly as he offered a soft smile. “I hear you have a birthday coming up in a week. Is there anything you would like for such a milestone?”

“A song.” Stella laughed softly and leaned back slightly, moving her hands into her lap.

“Perhaps that can be arranged.” Axl laughed for the first time since Stella had known him. The laugh was just as musical as his singing voice, it filled the room and caused Stella’s heart to skip a beat. It was a sound that Stella would never tire of hearing and would do her best to make sure she heard that sound often.

“Make it a good one. No screeching, choir boy.” Stella teased as she stood, her hair falling forward as she looked down at the man who remained seated.

“Oh, now that was a cheap shot.” Axl chuckled and leaned back in his chair, enjoying the girl’s humor and finding no threat in her knowledge of him.

“I’m going to head to bed, try not to wake me again.” Stella grinned as she took a step back. “Goodnight, Axl Rose.” Stella bowed dramatically as she giggled.

“Goodnight, Stella Scott.” Axl said softly, a smile plastering his features. He was glad to see that Stella’s mood had improved and he hoped she would finally be able to rest.

The next morning, Stella woke to the sound of Axl’s piano, a happy song. It was far different from what she’d heard the night previous and couldn’t help but wonder if she had somehow contributed to his seemingly happy mood. She hoped she had. After a moment or two of listening to the cheerful song, she moved to get up and get dressed. She dressed in her usual dark jeans and lowcut top, she curled her hair as she normally did and applied the dark eye makeup and dramatic eyeliner she hadn’t had time to put on the previous day before school.
She moved down to the kitchen and noticed nobody had been in the kitchen since the previous night. It was in this moment that Stella was glad she’d taken those cooking lessons her mother had insisted she took. After a bit of searching through cabinets in the large kitchen to find the proper pots and pans, she got to work on making breakfast. After she’d prepared the breakfast, she set it on a tray and headed up to Axl’s room, knocking on the door.

“Come in!” Axl called over the sound of the piano. Stella opened the door and walked in, smiling softly as she held the tray out and set it on the piano.

“I made you some breakfast.” She said as she leaned against the piano, her eyes meeting his as they always did.

“You didn’t have to go through all of this trouble.” Axl said, looking at the beautiful meal in disbelief. Nobody had ever cooked him breakfast before, not without him asking at least.

“It’s the least I could do, seeing as you are letting me stay here and have been so kind to me.” Stella shrugged as she stole a piece of toast before pushing the tray towards Axl.

“Thank you, Stella.” Axl smiled as he stood to eat, starting on the eggs first.

“I was wondering if I could hang out with you today, considering I don’t really have anyone else to talk to and can’t access anything on my phone.” Stella said as she finished the piece of toast.

“I’d like that very much. I was hoping to get some gardening done, would you like to help me? I find it’s very calming.” He stated earning a surprised look from Stella.

“Mr. Big Time Rockstar gardens?” Stella raised a brow. “Well aren’t you full of surprises.”

“You have no idea. Not all rockstars snort cocaine and try to bed everything that moves, you know?” Axl gently nudged her causing Stella to gently bump him back.
“Fuck off.” She laughed.

The two sat and talked about random things as Axl finished his meal. It wasn’t long until Beta interrupted them wanting to make sure the two weren’t staring at one another they had been upon Stella’s first arrival. She couldn’t risk Axl falling for a girl so many years his junior. She knew he would never act on such feelings until the girl was of age, but she couldn’t stand to think what the press would think of such a young girl living with Axl. Not only would it hurt record sales and his reputation, it would also add to the long list of lies swirling around the poor man. Those lies affected him greatly and Beta couldn’t stand to think of her friend in that type of pain again, she’d seen Axl come close to suicide and she wasn’t about to let it happen again.

“Stella, why don’t you take the tray downstairs? I need to speak with Axl alone.” Beta said with a gentle smile, not wanting to upset the girl. Once Stella had made her exit, Beta turned to Axl with a disapproving look.

“Just what is it you think you are doing?” Beta asked and crossed her arms. “I heard you flirting up a storm in here, you need to protect your heart Axl. You know what people will say if any of the employees around here leak to the press that you are spending so much time with this girl. Keep your distance, she’s too young for you.”

“Beta, I’m not flirting! I’m simply trying to make her feel welcome in this home, isn’t that what you wanted?” He crossed his arms, green eyes piercing into the older woman as he waited for her to answer.

“I see the way you look at her, Axl. I’m not a fool.” Was all Beta replied before turning on her heel and leaving, she wasn’t going to argue with him.

Axl sighed in frustration and moved away from his piano, pacing along the length of his room. He wasn’t flirting with her! Well…Maybe he was, but only a little and he hadn’t even meant to. How dare Beta accuse him of such things, he would never act on any sort of attraction to Stella while she was underage and without her consent. He wasn’t his father nor his stepfather, he was a decent man who valued women and viewed them as his equal. Did Beta seriously think he would take advantage of her?

“Axl! I’ll be in the garden after I change!” Stella called from her room down the hall, pulling Axl from his thoughts.

“I’ll be down in a minute!” Axl called back, a grin spreading over his face as he made his way to his dresser to select clothes okay to garden in. Once he’d gotten changed, he headed downstairs and outside into the garden.

“So where do we start?” Stella questioned as she came outside in Nike shorts, tennis shoes, an older t-shirt, and her hair up. Even then she somehow managed to look stylish and managed to take Axl’s breath away.

“You can start by watering those plants over there, I’m going to start by pulling these weeds.” Axl said as he moved to his knees by the plant bed he was standing near.

“I think I can manage that.” Stella grinned as she moved to turn on the hose and water the plants. “Have you always enjoyed gardening?” Stella questioned as she worked on her task, glancing back to Axl.

“Not always, only in recent years have I found it has a calming effect on me. When I was younger, I was too caught up in my anger towards the world and too busy being a rock star to worry too much about flowers.” Axl said as he pulled a weed and set it in the pile he was making.

“Where did you learn how to garden?” Stella questioned as she turned the hose off and moved to help Axl in pulling up the unwanted plants.

“My mother. She loved gardening, Stephen used to force my siblings and I to help her. He said it built character or some shit.” Axl shrugged.

“You grew up in Indiana, right? There must have been plenty of places to garden in your yard. New York doesn’t have that…At least not unless you pay for a little space in Central park.” Stella said as she stopped to look at him. “Your garden is breathtaking.”

“Thank you.” Axl smiled,

The two worked in a comfortable silence for a while, the silence only being broken when Axl needed Stella to work on different tasks. With everything nearly finished, Axl gave Stella the task of watering one last section of the garden while he bagged the weeds and disposed of them.

“Hey Axl.” Stella grinned mischievously, pausing only long enough for Axl to turn around before she shot him with the hose causing Axl to yelp in surprise.

“Asshole!” Axl laughed as he advanced towards her to fight for the house, turning it on her and laughing as she yelped at the cold water hitting her face. The two fought for the house until Stella slipped, causing Axl to lose his footing and land in the mud right next to her; the pair a giggling mess.

“You pushed me, so I’d slip!” Stella accused as she laughed and threw a bit of mud at Axl.

“You’re such a liar.” Axl laughed and squished some mud right in her hair.

This playful exchange of mud soon turned into a full-on mud war, chunks of mud flying across the backyard as they separated to take shelter. This mud war lasted until they were both covered in mud and laughing so hard they couldn’t carry on.

“I won.” Stella stated matter-of-factly as she advanced towards him, only to be hit with one last bit of mud.

“I beg to differ. You went from red head to brunette, so I win.” Axl said as he reached out to take a strand of her hair and hold it in front of her face. “You look better as a red head.” He teased.

“Yeah? Well so do you.” She said as she squished mud in his hair.

“Oh please, I look good no matter what.” He stated in a fake cocky fashion as he gently elbowed her.

“You’re right.” Stella said, grinning a bit as she dropped the last bit of mud in her hands. It was the boldest compliment she’d given to the older male, but she felt comfortable enough around him to speak her mind.

“Alright, fan girl. Let’s get you cleaned up.” He threw his arm around her shoulder and led her inside.

“My god! What happened to the two of you?” Beta couldn’t help but laugh as they entered the house.

“Axl started it.” Stella grinned as she nudged Axl away from her, causing Axl to gasp in mock horror.

“No way! You started it with your hose attack.” Axl stated, chuckling when Stella stuck her tongue out him as she headed towards the stairs.

“You sound like children.” Beta laughed softly as she turned back to her work on the computer.
Once Stella was out of the shower and dressed, she heard the same beautiful and cheerful song she had heard that morning. She quietly moved from her room, down the hall, and into Axl’s room. She stood in the doorway listening as Axl played, his eyes closed as he allowed the music to flow from him. It was nice seeing Axl look so relaxed. It had been even nicer seeing him happy for a change.

The next few days passed rather quickly, Axl and Stella spending a lot of time together. Axl had come to learn of Stella’s love for writing and had agreed to read some of her poetry and in return, Stella got a sneak peek at a few of the songs Axl was working on. Much to Beta’s disapproval, the two were becoming inseparable but after a couple of rather heated arguments with Axl, she found it was best to let fate take its course and to allow whatever might happen to happen and had agreed to help Axl in making reservations at a private restaurant for Stella’s birthday that he’d spend days planning. It was clear to Beta that Axl cared for the girl and wanted to make her birthday perfect, she just hoped the press wouldn’t turn it into something horrible.

Little did they know that the press was the least of the horrors that awaited them the night of Stella’s birthday dinner.
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