Chapter 77:

Interlude: A date by myself?

The Y-files [GL]

Belgian Trivia

Klara: Radio Klara is a national radio station that only plays classical, jazz, and world music. Mostly classical.Bookmark here

Interlude: A date by myself?Bookmark here

Mari Nade's POVBookmark here

It was almost noon when I got out of bed. I had gotten used to sleeping late because I usually worked late, and I rarely go to bed immediately after I get home. But today it was late, even considering my habit of sleeping in. I wanted to be well-rested because yesterday when I got home, I found an envelope with an invitation and an entry card for a classical concert. It said: BOZAR Gymnopedies 1-6 E. Satie. So Tory and I were going to Mr. Satie's concert as a date. In the card, Tory wrote:Bookmark here

Wear something nice, dress code: cocktail.Bookmark here

See you tonight my loveBookmark here

xBookmark here

TBookmark here

So I had a date to look forward to tonight. She must have passed by my apartment between school and her temp job at the brasserie. Tory really loved surprises. Realizing the effort she went through to surprise me put a smile on my face. But she could have just given this to me at work. What if I had overlooked the envelope in the income hall? Well, I did find it, so there was not really a reason to think of these kinds of what-ifs.Bookmark here

I had never been to a classical concert. Except for those dreadful initiations to classical music we were forced to watch in high school, so I did not really have an idea about what to expect. This made me decide to get a new dress for the occasion. That way they could help me in the shop to pick something suited for a classical concert.Bookmark here

I got up, ate some cereal for breakfast. They were honey bubbles. I know it is childish, and I should probably prepare something fancy as a chef, but come on, they are little honey bubbles and there is a cute bee on the box. The nostalgia from my elementary school days hit me when I saw that box in the store, and there was no way that I was not going to buy them.Bookmark here

After my breakfast, I took a quick shower and got ready to go to the stores. I headed to the city center and took a look around the small boutiques. They were all very expensive and above my pay grade but at least it gave me an idea of what I should look for in a cocktail dress. I could later go to a cheaper store and look for something similar.Bookmark here

While I was window shopping, a blonde lady approached me. “Don't you work at Femme Fatale? I am Thea. I am friends with Claire and Anna. Perhaps I can help you. You seem a bit lost.”Bookmark here

I looked at the woman and indeed recognized her as someone that had visited the apartment above Femme Fatale. I decided to confide in her and showed her the invitation I got, and that I was looking around to see what was in so that I could get something similar in a cheaper shop because all these stores were way out of my budget.Bookmark here

“Mari dear, that is a VIP card for a first-class seat at BOZAR. Those are hard to get by. I am afraid I cannot let you go to a cheap store when your girlfriend has clearly asked you to wear something nice. Come in, I will help you, and keep it within your budget.”Bookmark here

I could hug her. She was saving my fashion-blind ass.Bookmark here

“You own a store here?” I asked her, surprised.Bookmark here

“Well, that is my name above the door” she answered with a very dramatic pose.Bookmark here

“Thea Tralic” I read it out loud. Wait... I had heard that name before. “Wait, you are the Thea Tralic?”Bookmark here

She laughed at my remark. “Seems like you heard my name.”Bookmark here

“I know your name. I know that you are famous in the fashion industry, but I know nothing more. I had no idea what you looked like.”Bookmark here

We entered the boutique.Bookmark here

“I am sorry, but I have some more appointments later on, so we will have to do this fast.”Bookmark here

She took a ruler and started measuring me and feeling me up.Bookmark here

“I like the blue hair, tanned skin combination you got going on. I know you wanted a dress, but for tonight I suggest a slight hair restyling, and a female tuxedo. Because your girlfriend is coming in a cocktail dress, and we don't know what it is, it will be the only way to ensure the two of you look good together.Bookmark here

I had never worn something like a tuxedo, but if that was the advice of a fashion icon, I decided it might be best for me to just follow it. Tory always dressed stunningly so I had to make sure that I didn't cause her any embarrassment.Bookmark here

Thea called one of her employees and told her what she wanted for me, and then left us.Bookmark here

It took a few hours to finish up the tuxedo and adapt everything to my size. When everything was finished, Thea entered the room again. “Ah, you look splendid. Then all that is left is the matter of payment.”Bookmark here

I knew I could not afford this store, and she had said she would adapt the price to my budget, I hope she had not forgotten that, because we never talked about actual prices. Thea noticed my nervousness and said “Don't worry. I will not ask for money. In exchange I want you to work for my family as a chef when we require one. We often have dinner parties, for which we need kitchen personnel. Those parties are really well paid. So you can pay for the suit in three evenings. After that, if we are happy, and you like the extra income, we can discuss it further.Bookmark here

“Well, I guess I have to agree. There is no more time to change my mind.”Bookmark here

Thea smiled at my remark. “Well, isn't that the nature of doing business? We both got what we wanted.”Bookmark here

“I will say to you now, that I will not risk my job at Femme Fatale for this gig.”Bookmark here

“Of course. Don't worry. You will be informed plenty of time in advance so that you can make arrangements with your employer.”Bookmark here

“As long as that is clear.”Bookmark here

It seemed that we had come to an agreement. In the end, getting a chance to cook for a posh family's dinner parties, isn't a bad opportunity if I really wanted to become a good chef.Bookmark here

I wanted to leave, but Thea stopped me. “One more thing”, she gave me a card, “I took the liberty to arrange an appointment for you with this hairstylist, but you have to go there now. Don't worry about the cost, it is all part of the service you paid for.” The card Thea gave me was an address close to here. I decided to trust Thea's judgment. I gave her a hug and thanked her. She was clearly surprised by how thankful I was for her help, but to me, she had been a lifesaver. I am sure I would have made a fool of myself if she had not been there.Bookmark here

I went to the address and was surprised that it wasn't a salon but a regular house. I rang the doorbell, and a girl with permed hair and square glasses opened the door. “Ah you must be Mari, you can call me Lexy.Bookmark here

Then she put her palms to my cheek and started turning my head around. “Let's see what we have got to work with.”Bookmark here

She then led me inside and let me put on the tuxedo. “Yes, yes, Thea was right to accentuate that blue hair with that blue tuxedo. I am gonna go for a more mysterious look on you.”Bookmark here

She then started working on me. After she finished my hair, she continued by doing my make-up. When she was done and showed me a mirror, I was amazed at the make-over.Bookmark here

My tan was lessened, my hair was bound in a ponytail, but the strands of hair at the front of my head were still loose, making me indeed a little more mysterious.Bookmark here

I thanked her and noticed it was high time to go to BOZAR.Bookmark here

When I arrived I didn't see Tory anywhere. So I sent her a message. I waited in the income hall, I heard some gossip about the fact that we would be witnessing a new foreign talented performer that was a student of the famous Ans Semble. It had been the talk of the day on KLARA. This mister Satie really seemed to be quite something. It made me curious about what Tory was taking me to see.Bookmark here

When people passed me I noticed they were checking me out. I was not underdressed. If anything, I think thanks to Thea, I was one of the more stylish people here. I was used to people checking me out, but it never had been so obvious to me. Well, at least I would not embarrass Tory with my outfit.Bookmark here

My phone vibrated.Bookmark here

“You can go to your seat. You will see me soon. Don't forget to shut down your phone ;) XxX ”Bookmark here

Said Tory's message. Okay, I guess she will be here soon. I shut down my phone and made my way to the performing hall. It was the smallest venue in the building, with only 212 seats, but I had heard in the income hall that it was sold out. I heard some people complaining about the fact that they had not used a bigger hall for a star of this magnitude.Bookmark here

I started looking at the row numbers and noticed that I had a seat on the front row. Right in front of the piano. As time passed and the hall became fuller and fuller, the spaces next to me had been taken too. I had glimpsed that the numbers on their tickets checked out, so there could be no mistake. Wasn't Tory coming?Bookmark here

I wanted to go outside again and call Tory so that I could find out what the hell was going on, but the lights went out and an old man entered the stage. I sat down again, but could not really listen to the musician, who was explaining something about the history of the piece he was about to play. What in God's name was going on. Where was Tory?Bookmark here

But then the man clearly said very loud “Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, Ms. Tory Yaki.”Bookmark here

Grand applause went through the hall.Bookmark here

Tory was dressed in a magnificent silk evening dress in deep shades of Bordeaux red and black. My chin literally dropped, seeing her beauty and from the surprise of seeing her on the stage. I noticed a little chuckle on her face. She must have had some fun inside, teasing me like that.Bookmark here

She sat down in front of the piano, and the intensity of her concentration made the whole crowd shut up. The second the first finger hit a key, the tension was cut and we were transported into a dreamy melancholic world. Not really happy, not really sad. It felt like someone was reminiscing about good days that were gone for good.Bookmark here

When the song was over I started applauding, as it was beautiful, but nobody else did. The people next to me on my left side gave me a foul look. I noticed Tory was having trouble keeping herself from laughing. I stopped clapping immediately. I had made an embarrassment of myself, hadn't I?Bookmark here

The elderly lady on my right side gave me a program and whispered to me “We only clap at the end of an entire piece. So here and here. I did the same thing when I went to my first classical concert.”Bookmark here

Then she gave me a little wink.Bookmark here

Tory had once again built up the tension and started to play the second part.Bookmark here

Again a beautiful melody swept me away. I was truly mesmerized by Tory's melody and her beauty. The power emanating from her while she played was magnificent.Bookmark here

When it was finally time to applaud, Tory received a standing ovation from the entire hall. I felt proud that that was my girlfriend on stage. I noticed a little tear in Tory's eye. She must be really happy to have played here. I knew this hall had international fame so it must be some kind of accomplishment to receive an ovation here.Bookmark here

The hall emptied and the people with a VIP ticket were invited to a special reception. I wanted to go to Tory immediately but she was being interviewed by the papers and her picture was being taken.Bookmark here

When she noticed me, she excused herself and ran toward me and hugged and kissed me. That caught the eye of the reporters and they wanted to interview the pair of us together.Bookmark here

While we were talking, one of the reporters recognized us as the couple in the first video of the yuri Jeanne d'Arc. That was an angle that more reporters were interested in. Someone from a fashion magazine started asking about our well-chosen clothes. They thought we fitted together perfectly. I wanted to say it was a coincidence, but Thea had designed both of our clothes. Thea must have had her fun, fooling me. She knew exactly where I was going and what was going on. Tory seemed really surprised when she heard I was also dressed by Thea. It felt good to have at least one surprise for her today.Bookmark here

While the interview continued, silently in my head I was planning on how I would take revenge on Tory for throwing me in front of the lions like this, once we were alone. I would make sure to teach her what happens to naughty girls that tease and play jokes on their girlfriends.Bookmark here

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