Shutting the door behind me, all noise ceases abruptly like a wall blocking the notes of a concerto. There are little groups of people packed into the corners of the halls, hushing each other to check over their shoulders before continuing their whispers.
Grasping my file folders closer to my chest, I tip-toe down the hallway from Personal History lecture and out of the nearest exit to the courtyard to escape the crackling hum.
Another door to shut, but now I can finally breathe. From a room where my instructors mindlessly repeat what my music style should be, to a hallway where the tension could snap a violin bow before it settles it's strings. Days like today, I wish for the deafness Beethoven has now been spared.
Forcing my chin up and away from its familiar perch on the tops of my music sheets, I set a course to my studio, pondering the source of the rumors.
Where did Martha go?
It was awfully strange for her to not make her rounds before ten last night to bid everyone sweet dreams. Absently my hand prods the bags under my eyes. The instructors had not been happy with them or my honest explanation. Although they did not answer my question regarding Martha's disappearance.
"She has bid a leave, probably for a vacation of sorts, and she'll be back soon, I'm sure. Now, get some sleep Mozart; Headmaster will not be pleased when her genius is not presentable for his next concerto."
Sighing, I drop a hand onto the handle of the Arts building door and breathe. "My concerto," I say in an exhale, and finally twist the handle to let myself in.
"Wolf! Wait up!"
Turning around I hold open the door for Marie and instantly my worries clear away when she smiles. I can still remember when I had caught her in my studio, hesitantly brushing the keys. She was embarrassed. Now she's a complete opposite from the girl who I had seen glimpses in the Personal History hallway.
"How is your opera coming along?" she asks, and I groan inwardly at the reminder.
"It's.. coming along. I have a concerto I also have to work on."
She nods understandably, and we walk in silence to my studio. With the glass doors shut, we head to my piano where she immediately seats herself on the bench and practices her scales while I start sorting the two pieces I am working on into their respective piles.
"Have you heard the rumors?" she asks nonchalantly without a break in her scales.
I cut myself on a couple sheets from my startle and plop my left index finger into my mouth. "About Martha?" I mumble around my finger.
She nods her wispy bun. "They're saying that she has gone off on vacation," she says with a snort. "But she wouldn't have gone without telling us, right? And anyways, the rumor is that she's finally gotten in trouble with Headmaster."
I suck on my cut as my heart drops from my chest to my belly. There is a dull thud of my heartbeat as I recall Headmaster's cold attitude towards Martha last week when she had complained that I shouldn't have to do a concerto and opera scheduled for this weekend.
"Salvador!" Marie calls abruptly and I snap my head up to see Salvador pass by the studio in the hallway. She's off the bench and opening the door to greet our friend in an instant. Her gasp resonates throughout the room. "Your eye, Salvador.."
He brushes off her comment with a shrug and I notice the dark bruise over his right eye, partially hidden by his long locks. His hair is usually swept up out of her face, but today it looks greasy and wild.
"What happened?" I ask, dumbfounded that anyone would resort to violence on campus.
"Nothing," he answers but he's not looking at either of us. His eyes are sweeping over our heads. "An instructor got on my nerves, that's all."
"Well, maybe Martha-" Marie starts, but stops herself.
At her dejection, Salvador finally turns to look at her and relaxes, placing a hand on her head to reassure her. I creep closer to them and grab hold of Marie's hand.
"Don't worry," he says, voice clear, and I'm surprised to recognize anger hidden underneath his words. "I'll find her."