I took Rosie out to a five star Mexican restaurant. When we got there we were seated and given leather-backed menus. I opened mine and just gaped at it for a while. There was a huge amount of choices available. We had never been given any choices at the orphanage; our lives had been completely mapped out for us so it was a big shock to see such an enormous amount of choices…how would I be able to choose from all of that?
I cleared my throat just as the waiter was about to leave. “Ahem, which would you recommend?” I asked.
The waiter paused for a second before answering. “Well sir, I personally prefer the tostadas and the chili beef burritos.”
I glanced at Liss, and she just shrugged and nodded. “Ok then, could we please have a tostada and a chili beef burrito? And please give us two extra plates so we can split them both.”
“Yes sir, your order should be finished in around twenty minutes.” The waiter replied before moving out of sight. I settled back into the brown leather cushions of the benched stall that Liss and I had been seated in. The restaurant’s ambiance was pleasantly quiet, with some Mexican-style music playing softly in the background.
I stretched an arm around Liss’s shoulders and she leaned into my chest happily. “This is amazing Kian.” She whispered.
I smiled contentedly, for once, things were going right. For once, I had a chance to just be happy with Liss. God was providing for us…I didn’t know very much about Him yet, but I knew enough to be sure that it was Him who was providing us with this time of peace and happiness. “Isn’t it?” I asked, “But you know, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good if you weren’t here. As a matter of fact, I don’t know how they manage to stay in business without you here twenty-four-seven.”
Liss smiled and pressed her head a little deeper into my tux. I smiled back and rested my cheek on her hair contentedly. I could have stayed like that forever because there is nothing quiet the same as knowing that the one you love is pressed safely up against you, and that they love you back. To feel their head pressed against your chest, their arms around your waist and your arms around theirs. To know that you are both needed and very much wanted. To know that somewhere, somehow, you belong. It’s one of the best feelings in the entire world. And only one word can even come close to naming it: love.
Eventually the food came and we both split it; which meant that I got ¾ of it because Liss couldn’t finish half of her half of the food. By the time we had paid the bill, changed back into a regular outfit, and were on our way to our new apprenticeship, we were both very happy. We walked side by side, my arm around Liss’s waist and her head leaning on my shoulder; I really didn’t want this time to end. All too soon however, the place where we were to meet our teacher soon loomed over us and we had to go inside. Just before we went inside I leaned down and pressed my lips against Liss’s. At first she startled, but she quickly leaned in and wrapped her arms around my neck. Shivers ran up and down my spine and I knew that when we pulled apart my breathing would be heavy and erratic. But I carefully stored every feeling away in memory, I was never, ever, going to forget this moment: our first real kiss.
“I love you,” I whispered when we pulled away and I had gotten my breathing under a semblance of control.
“I love you too,” Liss replied softly, plumbing into the depths of me with her beautiful chocolate eyes.
I took a deep breath before leading Liss into the building and up to the front desk. “Uh, hello, we were applied here for an apprenticeship?” I stated/asked the lady there.
“Ah the you must be Kian McLane and Felicity Power then!” the lady exclaimed. “Come right this way, your teacher will see you now,” she added as she got up and motioned for us to follow her down a hallway. She led us down the hall and into a suite of rooms off to one side. Inside she introduced us to a tall, old man with a head full of blindingly white hair. He sat proudly in an antique leather chair by a cheerfully crackling fireplace. “Mr. Dumont, the new apprentices have arrived.”
Mr. Dumont turned around to face us. “Thank you, you may leave now,” he informed the lady, who nodded and respectfully left the room. “Do you two like music?” he asked us once the door had been securely shut.
Both Liss and I nodded emphatically. “Good, because for the next several months, you are going to eat, sleep, and breathe it. You two will do everything I tell you to do, when I tell you to do it or you will fail the course, do you understand?”
I swallowed as Liss nodded reluctantly. “Yes sir, we understand,” I replied hesitantly,
“Very well, we will not be learning classical music like you might have thought we would be. Your agent signed you up for a modern music course, so you will be studying all kinds of rock, R&B, pop, rap, and electronic music. You will also learn how to play the drum set, electric guitar, base guitar, or piano. In addition to the instrument you choose, you will have voice lessons. Your day wills began at 6 a.m. with breakfast and then at 6:30 you will have voice lessons. At 9:30 you will move from voice on to the instrument of your choice. At 12:30 you will have lunch. At 1 p.m. you will learn about all the different forms of modern music, as well as learning a very small amount of the classics. At 6 p.m. you will have dinner. Then you will have your choice of either voice or instrument until 8 p.m., when you will both be sent to your room to sleep. You will share one room, and will only use that room for sleeping. On Monday through Saturday that will be you schedule. On Sunday you will have church and then the rest of the day for studying. On Thanksgiving and Christmas you will both have the day off, however those will be the only two holidays. If you manage to succeed in this apprenticeship, then you will be given a diploma that is as reputable as one from Julliard. Do you understand?”
“Yes sir,” we both replied in a state of awe. That sounded like a lot of work to me. More than I had ever done before, but if we did this, then we would be able to do just about anything music-related we wanted to do!
“Good,” Mr. Dumont replied, “Today you will be shown around and you will both pick your instruments.” With that he clicked his fingers then moved back to his seat by the fire. A man in his early twenties appeared and took us to a separate room. The room was filled with all kinds of musical instruments ranging from cellos, to flutes, to djembes, to drum sets! It was amazing!
“Alright,” the man said with a sweep of his arm toward the section of instruments used in more modern music, “take your pick!”
I immediately made a beeline toward a pearlescent black and white flame-style drum set. I had always loved rhythm and was normally able to keep up a good beat, so I figured I would be able to catch on pretty easily…that was my first mistake.