Chapter 28:

Results [vol. 1 END]

Phantom Adagio

As I was gently packing Lise & Rosalinde into their case. I decided I wasn’t going to walk around without them. Now that Lise was here, we would be together as much as we could.

Since I had been one of the last to perform, it would soon be the time when they posted the results of the exam. Since I already got what I came for, I did not really care how I did, but I was worried about Sara, she had put in so much effort just for today. I hoped that it would at least pay off. She needed a break.

“I see... So, you took her in then. You seem to care a lot about her.” Lise suddenly said. “I knew that would happen sooner or later. She was always asking about you. I just knew you could not resist a cute girl like that.”

Is this what Sara was talking about? Was she being jealous? I quickly defended myself.

“It’s not like that! She needed my help to prepare for the exam, and I gave it.”

“I guess so. Hmph.”

“You are worrying about Sara? Wait until you meet the other one….” Rosalinde interjected.

“What other one?” Lise immediately took the bait.

“You’ll find out soon enough. Fleure has been swarmed by cute girls.” Rosalinde teased her.

“Hey, stop making things up!”

I picked up the case and put it on my back and made my way back to the studio where I performed in the hope to meet up with everyone again only to hear Aunt Christina say, “What if Fleure finds out?” In response, Ms. Vanderstuck whispered the words “Because I fell in love with you,” dejectedly to Aunt Christina.

The pieces started to fall together.

“What? Out of everyone you have been dating my therapist?” I felt completely betrayed. I told her stuff I most certainly did not want Aunt Christina to know about...

Ms. Vanderstuck looked up with a confused fearful look on her face and Aunt Christina seemed troubled at my sudden arrival. It was clear that they had not intended to tell me, but here we were.

I felt like I wanted to take off and cool down somewhere and think things through but suddenly I heard Lise talk to me. “Stop. Don’t do that to her.”

“I would have been happy with anyone. But she’s my school therapist.” I answered in my mind.

“Was your therapist, you mean? You are changing schools after today, aren’t you? I know you know she’s a good person. Just imagine how you would feel if someone said we could not be together for some reason. I know it wasn’t right of them, but Christina has been alone like forever. She was always so sweet to you, and I can see she must really love her. Give her a break.”

My heart was being torn. I wanted to be angry and lash out. But it was Lise asking this of me.

“It’s your chance to finally do something for her. I promise it will turn out alright.”

“Oh, fine!” I shouted out frustrated.

Ms. Vanderstuck and Aunt Christina looked at me like they had managed to finally make me lose it completely.

I hugged Aunt Christina and said, “As long as you are happy, I am happy.” Then I turned to Ms. Vanderstuck and said, “Don’t make me regret this,” in a threatening tone.

She nodded in a way as if she had just been scolded. I knew I was holding her career in the palm of my hand.

“Fleure! Make up for that now!” Lise was clearly getting mad at me.

I sighed. “You have to give me something.”

“Now! Or I’ll be angry.” I knew Lise was really stubborn when she got like this. She always had to have her way when she felt morally justified. This felt so nostalgic.

So, I decided to give in. I sighed and said:

“For your next date, visit us. I will put on a private concert for the two of you.”

Aunt Christina looked at me with big eyes before I noticed a tear rolling down her eye and she pulled me and Ms. Vanderstuck in a group hug.

“Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me. I was so worried. But when I heard you like girls, I thought you might be able to accept it.”

“Wiiiiiiii. We did a good deed today!” I heard Lise scream and I heard Rosalinde giggle in the background.

I remembered her running around and making a crazy circle with her arms spread out like she was flying every time she got her way in one of her causes. Just imagining her like that put a smile on my face. I was glad that I could make Lise happy again with these simple things, and she was already helping me to cope with the real world. She had already solved the first problem that came my way.

When Aunt Christina released the hug, we were interrupted by Sara who shouted, “Sorry for interrupting your family moment, but they are starting the announcements!”

We joined up with the other girls, Sara’s mom, and Aleksei, who gave me a proud shoulder pat and whispered to me “Promise you will tell me what happened on stage the next time you visit me.”

In Studio 4, the big hall, Frank was standing on the stage with a microphone in his hand.

“Ahum” Of course he started by scraping his throat. “First, I would like to make clear that the level of musicians today was a lot higher than we expected, but unfortunately the places are limited. So even if you weren’t accepted, that does not mean you have no future in music.”

He then took a look at the paper he was holding before continuing. “As you know, we have 2 categories of students that made it. The bulk of you will be allowed to join our music high school, which is of a very high level, and I have to remind you all that that is already quite a big achievement. But as you all know, only the top 10 of today will be allowed into the special soloist training program.”

This was one of the reasons that this exam was so competitive. It wasn’t just about getting in. Only the ten best performers out of everyone here would make it into the special program which was the main reason that people from all over Europe were participating.

“I will now announce this top 10.”

The first name he called was a Swedish boy that played the tuba. I had not seen his performance, but Frank made a comment about how impressed he was at his level.

Then an Italian oboist was called to the stage. He also looked super proud of this achievement.

In seventh place, Sara’s name was called. I could see the surprise on her face when she learned she made the top 10. She had clearly been aiming toward just getting accepted. She was a lot better than she realized herself. When she arrived on stage her bright smile made all the effort I put into her worth it. Frank gave her 3 kisses to congratulate her. That old man was clearly abusing the situation…

“Seems like you will be spending more time with her then. Hmph.” Lise said. “My name has not yet been called you know.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous, if she is up there, you will be for certain.”

The girls around us started to gossip immediately about Sara and Axelle’s followers were talking about the fact that they had hung out with her as a friend all day. They changed their tune quickly…

While the gossip continued, Frank kept calling names until suddenly Axelle was called in third place. A bright smile came across her face. When she reached the stage, Sara gave her a big hug. Those two seemed to have hit their friendship off quickly.

Second place went to a Spanish girl who played the flute. But wait... That meant that either Nastya or I had not made it into the top 10. I looked at Nastya, who looked just as baffled as me.

“First place goes to Nastya Fjodorov!” Frank then called. He took the opportunity to give her three kisses to congratulate her. The sleazeball. Of course, he had only kissed the girls with that sleazy grin of his on his face. A cold rush went through me. I had thought that I did not care about the results, but I had clearly been lying to myself.

Aleksei looked furious and said, “You were by far the best that played here today. What is this travesty?”

Frank continued his speech by saying “These are this year’s top ten.” When Nastya suddenly shouted “What is this charade? Why isn’t Fleure here? This first place means nothing if she isn’t in this top 10.”

Sara and Axelle nodded to agree with Nastya, and I heard a displeased murmur go through the crowd.

Frank’s eyes flared up and he got a smile on his face. “Calm down. I was getting to that.”

The hall grew silent. The atmosphere was tense. A lot would depend on what Frank was about to say next and the number one questioning the ranking was probably unheard of.

A bit more nervous now Frank scraped his throat again. “To answer the outrage in the hall, I will skip a few parts. There was one student who did not only perform outstandingly, but she also made some very impressive arrangements of the works she played herself. But her most impressive feature was mentoring a rival into the top 10. Talented young musicians that strive to raise the level of the music, not only of themselves but also of those around them, that was the kind of atmosphere we wanted to create when we got together to create this school.”

The hall grew quiet. Even though I knew he was talking about me, the person he described sounded like a stranger.

“Since such a role model of our intentions on such a high level applied. We discussed it and agreed that we will create a special student position to train and hone all of these talents.”

He then got out a small box and called my name: “Fleure Bouts!”

I walked up to the stage. Everyone was applauding. “Outside of intensive cello training, we offer you to become the conductor of the school orchestra. We intended this role for a professional conductor, but instead, they will be hired to train you to do it.”

Conductor? Me? I have like 0 charisma. Images of watching my dad conducting the National Orchestra of Belgium flashed before my eyes. I felt myself freeze. Stepping into his footsteps… This was the last thing I wanted. It was not what I signed up to do.

“Stop fussing and just take the box,” Lise said. “You earned it.”

“I’m just not sure I want to earn it.”

“What do you mean, you’re stepping in your dad’s footsteps!”

Images of the accident flashed through my mind, and I could feel Lise’s tone become uncertain.

“He is the reason we aren’t together forever.”

“For crying out loud! Don’t be such a baby. Just take the box. Nobody is asking you to become your dad. Just do it your way!” Rosalinde interrupted. Her impatient tone, sounded like I was denying her something she wanted and was the push to put out my hand subconsciously.

In front of the crowd, I accepted the box with a conductor’s baton in it. I did my best to conjure up a fake smile. I just wasn’t sure about this.

As soon as I picked up the director’s baton, thunderous applause roared through the crowd and Frank shook my hand. No three kisses when it was ugly old me? I should be offended, but somewhere I was glad that an old man like him didn’t try to give me 3 kisses.

Nastya walked confidently toward me and said “As expected of my rival. Since we have no clear result, we will have no choice but to continue our rivalry.” She seemed really pleased with this outcome.

Then, out of the blue, she gave me three kisses to congratulate me. I felt myself freeze up and my cheeks turned completely red.

“What? Isn’t that how Belgians do it?” She said a bit shocked at my reaction.

“No, it is… I just didn’t expect it.”

“Ah, I see what you meant,” Lise said. “She’s a lot more dangerous than the little one, isn’t she?” Rosalinde replied.

Then Axelle jumped in to congratulate me with three kisses too. “It seems we all made it. I am curious to see if you are going to make me keep my word.”

Immediately my mind replayed that outrageous proposal of hers and my cheeks flushed red again.

“What the…! Sh-She looks just like me?! And how did you make her propose something like that? Where on earth did you find her?” Lise sounded really shocked.

“We met today. I was also shocked by her appearance.”

Sara then came and gave me a big hug. “I knew there must have been some kind of mistake!” She shouted with that irresistible smile of hers. “There was no way that you wouldn’t be the best!”

“It seems you have been busy since I was gone. Hmph!” Lise scoffed.


Hi everyone!

This is the end of the first volume of Phantom Adagio. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thank you very much for reading up to this point!

I have already finished writing volume 2 and am currently working hard on the final editing phase. For that reason, I will be taking a 2-4 week break (depending on the real-life hassle I have to deal with...) in my publishing schedule.

As soon as I got a view on when I will start releasing again, I will post an announcement of Vol 2 to keep you all updated.

Don't forget to like and comment!