Chapter 0:


Bonded by Music

“So, have you made some advances in the article? If I remember correctly the deadline was in June, right?”

Eloy was really proud of himself when the exasperation he was feeling didn’t show in his face. He had reminded Cristina, his thesis tutor, several times that week about the upcoming project deadlines they had. And yes, it was true that there were a lot of ongoing projects, but he had even sent Cristina an updated calendar via email, containing all the important dates. Apparently, she hadn't bothered to check it.

“No, it’s at the end of May. On June 15 we have to submit the abstract for the conference.”

Cristina gasped loudly and placed her hand against her chest in a dramatic mannerism that Eloy got used to.

“Oh my god, then we don’t have much time! We only have one week to finish it.”

Eloy bit his tongue not to comment that the article would have been submitted long ago if she hadn’t changed her mind so many times. The funny part was that the (hopefully) last version was very similar to the very first he had sent her. But of course, he couldn’t mention that; not unless he wanted to prolong the meeting even longer.

After spending another forty-five minutes of reviewing everything again, Cristina finally appeared convinced that Eloy had the article and upcoming conference under control. Once she ended the call, Eloy let out a deep sigh and shut down his laptop. It was half-past seven, meaning that it was dark already. That was one thing he missed most about Spain: the fact that as summer approached, you could enjoy a few extra hours of daylight.

Eloy couldn’t help but smile, imagining the face his mother would make if she heard him say that he just missed that. But it was the truth. He religiously talked to his parents and little sister every week. In fact, they spoke more frequently now that he had moved to Tokyo, about nine months ago, than when he was living at home.

‘Speaking of the devil’, Eloy thought as his phone emitted the personalized notification he had assigned to his sister. He put his glasses back on again and grabbed his mobile.

[Eli] hey!! how did the meeting go??

[Eli] as useless as you thought?

[Me] I never said ‘useless’, Eli

[Me] just that it would probably be unnecessary

[Eli] yeah well, that’s an euphemistic way of saying ‘useless’, tyvm

Eloy rolled his eyes while smiling. His sister’s strong opinions were well-known among family and friends, so he knew it was useless trying to convince her that not all the meetings with Cristina were a waste of time. Maybe he wouldn’t mind if they were a little sooner, but he understood how busy the woman was. It was only natural for him to adapt to her schedule and not the other way around - an idea that his sister definitely disagreed with, of course.

They kept texting for a few more minutes before Eloy stood up from the chair and announced that he had to go outside to buy dinner.

[Eli] btw they fixed the fridge on your floor already?

[Me] nope, not yet

[Me] we still have to fight for space on the 3rd floor

[Eli] damn landlady

[Eli] with how much you’re paying for that tiny room she could at least offer a good service!

Eloy only replied with a shrug emoji. He hadn’t been completely honest with his family about how much he was paying for staying in that share house. Their parents weren’t used to the prices of a bustling city like Tokyo, so he didn’t want to worry them, not that they started sending him even more money.

Moreover, the scholarship that he had got was pretty decent. He wouldn’t have minded to stay in Kyoto instead, since there he would be able to save more money, but Cristina had insisted that going to the University of Tokyo would look way better in his curriculum, so there he was.

But well, it wasn’t as if he was scraping by. He could afford buying the things he wanted - while keeping an eye on his bank account, of course. And though the share house where he was staying was old, it was only a 30-minutes walk from Nakano Broadway, and he could reach Shinjuku in another 30 minutes by subway. So he couldn't complain.

[Me] well, Eli, I have to get going

[Me] don't want the best onigiris to run out at the store.

[Eli] ayah sh*t I knew I was forgetting to tell something!

[Eli] just a quick comment: guess who I saw yesterday when I went shopping

Eloy knew his sister well enough to fear those 'quick' comments that ended up being anything but quick. Out of habit he retrieved his headphones and hung them around his neck before leaving the room, even though the 7-Eleven was just around the corner and he wouldn’t have time to listen to a single song during such a short walk.

[Me] no idea, who?

[Eli] aww come on, it’s not funny like this!

[Eli] try to guess

Eloy sighed patiently as he walked towards the stairs leading to the main floor. He started descending them while texting back.

[Me] Eli, you know a lot of people

[Me] I’m not gonna figure it out…

[Eli] okay okay, hint: you had a big crush on him

Eloy opened his eyes more. He wasn’t a very open person, so matters like crushes were something he had always kept private. Or better said, almost always, which drastically reduced the options to just one person.

[Me] Victor?

[Eli] ding ding ding! see? it wasn’t that difficult!

A smile appeared on Eloy's face while remembering Victor: the talented and attractive music teacher who had taught him to play the piano. It had been almost five years since he had stopped playing, but he still remembered how amazing Victor’s playing was. He also recalled the satisfaction he felt when he finally managed to play a piece up to his teacher’s high standards. Victor had always been kind, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t a perfectionist, bordering on obsessive.

By then Eloy had reached the main door of the share house. He put on his sneakers and left the building. It seemed that Elia had gotten tired of texting and started sending audio messages, which Eloy received as he arrived at the convenience store. He grabbed a basket with one hand and put his headphones on with the other to listen to Elia’s audio, which kept rambling about ‘his super cliché crush’, as she liked to call it to tease him.

“, he is still playing with that orchestra in Berlin, but he usually comes to Spain to visit his family. And he asked about how you were doing! He mentioned again that he still remembered what a good ear you had. He even gave me his contact information in case you ever think about returning to music.”

Eloy snorted softly while continuing filling the basket with the things he needed. He brought the mobile closer to his lips to send a brief audio response.

“Yeah well, I think that it takes a little more than a ‘good ear’ to make a living from music,” he joked, talking in a low tone even if he was the only customer in the store at the moment.

He cursed under his breath upon realizing there were no tuna mayo onigiri left. He settled for a salmon one and approached the cash register. He left the basket there and checked his mobile while the employee started to scan the products. As expected, Elia had sent him another short audio.

“And I think that you’re never going to admit that you were really talented at it, but hey, I’ll still pass you his number. He’s still hot after all~”

Eloy rolled his eyes and began to type a response, saying that the last thing he needed in his life was romance, given how busy he was.

He didn’t get to send that text though, because at that moment a new customer rushed into the store, causing Eloy to nearly drop his phone.

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