Chapter IV: Lucia's Love Note
Third period. Music - Instrumental. Some people had lunch now. Priscilla had lunch now. I wanted a bathroom break. I wanted to go to the cafeteria for just a second, and warn my sister. For all I knew, that bony little jerk might share her lunch period.
Forty students. Instruments in hands and on lips, music upon black stands with white-out graffiti. My stand had a company name across it: MANHASSET. But someone with a gel-pen had carved lines between it and added letters. So now it pointed out, with a keen grasp of the obvious: MAN HAS SETs of balls. Sometimes, I really do hate my classmates. Some of them, at least. Nothing in their brains but mush. Hate 'em.
But not Edward. I pushed the thought into my playing. Emotion blurred my fingers as I let out a flourishing trill, the band rising to a crescendo.
I liked the front row, too. It offered a clear view of the conductor, our teacher's assistant, waving his hands in four-four time. All the while, my fingers danced over black holes and silver buttons, my lips tight upon the oboe's double-reed. For six minutes, I was music. I was emotion. I was caught up in it.
Then, he silenced us. Every flute on my left and clarinet on my right. Every saxophone, trumpet and all else behind me. Cut off like a criminal at a guillotine. No more music. No more emotions. No more.
"I'd make you play that again, but in your insolence, I reckon you'd ignore the ritardando a third time." he told us. "When I hear it again, tomorrow at practice after school, I expect to hear a ritard rather than a retard."
The music class burst into laughter, and he cut them off again with that same flourish of his baton. But I just kept laughing. One sole giggle in a tight-lipped room. Too bad Kipp isn't in here. He'd be the retard among us. Beside me, Lucia nudged an elbow.
"Is something the matter, Clarice?" Mr. Demaurier looked up from his desk, past the T.A. and directly at me with venom in his eyes. They always hate us double-reed players.
Would the principal want your little pet calling us all retards? I drew blankness to my face, "Nothing, sir."
"Now," began the teaching assistant, who was taking the lesson for the day, "I want to try something new with you today. I am going to hand out cards. One to every two students, so partner up. On the card, will be a word. An emotion. You're going to have to express it, and express it well. Mr. Demaurier will not only be marking me on this, but you as well."
Okay, I thought, so he isn't such a smug jackass. This might be fun. Lucia nudged me once more. We got the third card: LOVE. And as I turned to her, I wished I had one of my siblings here. Then, we could read her mind. Surely, now, I could find out what Freddy wanted to know. That was our deal. He'd do the same for me, with Edward, if he could. And better her for him than Kipp, right? I don't need telepathy to figure something out!
"Take your partners to the practice rooms." Mr. Demaurier added. "If the vocal students are using them, or anyone on their lunch break, kick them out. We have the rooms reserved. You have twenty minutes to put something, anything together."
Twenty minutes! I gulped. Adequate time to warn Pris, maybe even bring her back here to read Lucia with me.
Lucia looked at me, her eyes thick with eyeshadow and mascara. Her bleach blond hair, and that make-up, made me think of Avril Lavigne just now. Fitting, considering the number of times I've woken up the lingering memory of Freddy's dreams of that pop princess sucking on... oh, you don't need to know! Really, you don't.
"Bathroom," I said, turning to go.
"May I tag along?" Lucia asked, putting down her flute.
"Sure, we can discuss emoting it on the way."
She followed me out of the music room, the piece of paper in one hand and her silvered flute in the other. I could sense appreciation and glee, but no vivid thoughts upon her mind.
"Who are you thinking about?" I asked, rounding a corner.
"My father," she said, waving the LOVE paper at me.
"Oh, c'mon," I teased, "really? Haven't you got someone special?"
We walked the halls calmly, and I wasn't surprised when she took the lead and I found myself at the cafeteria anyways.
"Hmmm..." Lucia began to walk slower.
I focused, eyes closed, as I walked. I got a blurry visual. Dark brown hair. A face. The body seemed lanky. Almost, like a tower about to fall. Frederic?
"I saw this cute new guy before class started," Lucia confided. "Looks a lot like your brother, but not on so many steroids."
"Kipp's the name."
I remembered the attendance sheet from English class. I was paranoid, taking it down in the middle of the test. Kipp was born ten months before us. And the resemblance! He was like a malnutritioned Frederic!
Lucia turned, because I had stopped in my tracks, "Is something wrong, Clare? I didn't offend you, did I?"