Casady entered the piano room, nervous and trying not to show it.
"Who are you?" Casady asked.
"I'm the woman in charge of placements for today," the woman responded, not offering her name. "Do you know which part you are?"
There was something about the woman's response that chilled Casady's bones. Yes, I think I was a tenor, he wanted to say. However, he had the feeling that doing so would somehow doom him. Instead, he shook his head. Let her interpret that how she wanted.
"Good answer," the woman said. "If you'd have remembered which part you were, we might have reason to be concerned."
"What would you have done?"
The woman laughed. "Don't you wish you knew. Come, now. Enough idle chatter. I want to tell you something."
Quite frankly, Casady was not interested in what the woman had to say. Something told him, though, that refusing to listen would be the wrong decision. "I'm all ears," he said, standing a bit closer to the woman.
"Your Song trainer is Vinnia Valdeza, yes?"
The woman's eyes flashed, and she looked away. "I want to warn you about her."
"Vinnia hasn't always been so unconventional, you see. The two of us used to be very close. Suddenly, though, she 'went off the deep end,' as the old cliche goes. One day, she seemed all fine and dandy. But the next, thoughts that are unfit to be repeated sparked in her brain, and she stirred up lots of problems."
Casady realized he'd been holding his breath. Anxious to hear the woman's next words, he tapped his fingers on the piano.
"I won't tell you what she said, as it's quite blasphemous against the Force. But suffice it to say that I got pretty upset with her. We parted ways. I married the most wonderful man in the world; she grew quiet and restless. There are other parts to the story, but we don't have time for those now."
"I have time."
"I don't," the woman replied. She smiled. "Just so you know, my name's Aretta. I'm twenty-six."
"That's nice," Casady said, uneasy with the turn of the conversation. "What part do you think I'll be?"
Aretta smiled again. "I guess we'll find out, won't we?"
There was something wrong. Casady watched as Aretta played a pentatonic scale on the piano and asked Casady to repeat it. At the end of it all, Casady was placed as a tenor, just as he'd hoped.
But there was something unsettling about Aretta, and Casady was eager to leave her presence as soon as he could possibly mange without seeming rude.
"Good to meet you," Aretta said, stretching out her hand for Casady to shake. There was a silly little smile on her lips.
You're married, and you're five years older than me! Are you really flirting with me? "All my pleasure," Casady muttered.
"I'll see you around, then," Aretta said, winking at Casady before leaving the room.
And all Casady could think was, Something's not right here.