The music for this chapter: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1Sjw51ZftYrKGniI09TgHv?si=a4451b09157b43c8
That evening while I was working on my scores, Nastya appeared nervously at my door with a book in her hand.
“I think this is it. My father’s sign.” Her mood was a bit peculiar. I could see she was excited, but at the same time, she looked a little shy, like she was asking me for approval.
I looked at the book. Sibelius’ violin concerto. A sharp headache assailed me trying to erase the presence of this score from my mind.
“What’s wrong?” Nasty said in a worried tone.
“N-nothing. Just a little headache.” I said as I sat myself down staggeringly. “W-What makes you think this is the sign.” I did my best to push the pain back. Another repressed memory? If she was right and this was the sign, it seemed like I would need to overcome whatever I was blocking out.
“Don’t you remember?” She looked shocked at me. I was clearly not remembering something important again.
“Remember what?” I decided to ask. Nastya looked at me with eyes of disbelief. I could tell that she taught I was pulling her leg. But after looking into my eyes for a second, she seemed to have concluded that I was being genuine and started explaining.
“Uncle Tim and my dad. They both debuted with this piece together. And since we are going to be playing a concerto together just like them, I really felt like this would be the only option for us to play. I could not see any other score anymore. The sensation was just like you described.”
So that was why my body was protesting so vehemently. I could not even remember the melody of this piece. Each time I tried the headache returned with sharp pangs.
“We can even have our school debut with the same piece our fathers did. That sounds like fate, doesn’t it?” Nastya continued excitedly.
I opened the book with shaking hands. The notes felt like they were assailing me. They felt strange and familiar at the same time.
“There was even a recording of that concert.” Nastya continued enthusiastically not realizing the inner turmoil I was going through. I had not heard any of my dad’s recordings ever since the accident. I just could not listen to them anymore, and I had completely repressed the very existence of Sibelius’ violin concerto, but now the memories had started to rush back in at high speed and the headaches were slowly becoming less painful. This had been my dad’s favorite piece. I remember him being proud of the album artwork that featured a small picture of him on the backside.
“I tried to warn you that this road would not be easy. We can still just vanquish him if you think you can't handle it. Actually, I would prefer that. It would be a lot less fussy than what we promised Nastya.” Rosalinde offered inside my head.
“No, don’t you dare. We promised her.” I said growing angry. “You don’t just start killing people because the other option is fussy!”
“Well, he is already dead, so it is not like it’s the same.”
“That’s enough of that.” Lise intervened. “You made a promise. You will at least give him a chance. I was so happy when you made that promise…” Lise sounded disappointed in Rosalinde. I remembered when she used to do that to me. It was time to give up if Rosalinde did not want all hell to break loose.
“Tsk. That’s unfair, and you know it. Fine, fine, fine!” Rosalinde said making a little tantrum while giving in to Lise. I guess she knew Lise really well in the meantime too. I felt a sharp pain in my gut as the feelings of jealousy assailed me. I never had a moment alone with Lise ever since she returned. Rosalinde had always been there too, and she was the one who got to spend time alone with Lise. I knew Rosalinde was the one who made it possible for the both of us to interact like this, but I really did not like watching those two acting so close all the time. I always thought I was the only one who was that close to Lise. I guess that had changed too. Everything seemed to be changing at such a high pace.
This whole intermezzo had made my mind wander and the distraction had somehow helped me by taking away the edge of the attack with headaches I was having before. I looked back at the scores, and immediately a memory popped up. I stood in front of my dad’s orchestra. The scores were full of little notes. They all made perfect sense to me. They were an accumulation of my hard work after all.
I took out a pencil and like possessed I started making notes on the score.
“FLEURE!” Nastya was shaking my shoulder. Where was I? What was happening? Had I fallen asleep?
I looked up at Nastya to see her eyes filled with worry.
“I’m sorry.” I apologized. Although I wasn’t really sure what I apologized for.
“Are you okay? You suddenly just started to scribble stuff onto the scores while mumbling some incoherent stuff. At first, I thought you were talking to me, but you stopped reacting to anything I said.”
What was she on about? I looked down at the score on my lap and noticed I made many micro-management changes to the score. How long had I been making these notes? And Nastya just stayed here and watched? This was so embarrassing. It happened again, and this time Nastya had been here to witness it.
I tried brushing it off “You know I get carried away sometimes.”
“This seems more than that though. Maybe you should rest a little. You have been working hard…”
“She’s right this was more than that.” Rosalinde then said ominously. “There was a presence just now. I think I managed to scare it off for now, but it seems like there is more going on than we thought. This type of presence is not like anything I ever encountered.”
“Well, nothing bad happened. So, I guess it is not that big of a deal.”
“I guess…” Rosalinde answered. But I could hear the doubt in her voice.
“Just be careful Fleure.”
“If there is anything I can do about it let me know.”
I looked up and Nastya looked worried at me. “Sorry, Lise and Rosalinde were talking to me,” I said.
“Then… What did they say about the piece? Is it the right one?”
“I can say there is something going on with it. But whether it is the sign or not, I would not be able to say until you perform it.”
Perform it… I looked again at the score and my heart rate shot up. We would have no choice but to play this piece to try and find out if it was the right one. A piece that had this kind of an effect on me. This was troublesome. They would compare both of us to our fathers for sure if we did that, and I really did not like it when people compared me with my father.
I looked at Nastya. She looked at me with hope in her eyes. I needed to get my priorities straight. This was necessary to try and keep Nastya, Lise, and Rosalinde safe. We needed to deal with that wraith before it dealt with us. This was not a moment to be petty about what people would say about me and my father.
I took a deep breath.
“I guess we know which concerto we are going to be playing.”
“Then it is the right piece?”
“She could not tell for sure, and there is only one way to find out.”
Nastya took both of my hands and looked me determined in the eyes. “Then let us do this together.”
I looked up into her determined eyes and felt her strength flow into me. I was happy that I would have her by my side to take this piece on. “Of course, we will. You know you can count on me.”
“Then let’s outdo our fathers while we are at it. I am done trying to play everything as he would have. This time I want it to be our version.” I could see that the competitive fire had been lit in her eyes. She was challenging herself to overcome a mountain that she had never passed before and she trusted me to face it with her. I could feel the strength of her resolve.
“Let’s give them something amazing that makes their jaws drop!” I said all fired up too.