"Come on, Casady! You can do better! You're not allowing yourself to hit those notes. What did we just finish talking about?"
Groaning, Casady finally allowed himself to show his fatigue. "I'm sorry, Vinnia. I can't Sing anymore today. I've had enough." He sat down heavily and raised a cold water bottle to his lips.
"We're not even close to being done. Unless your throat starts bleeding, we've got to continue."
Casady felt like spitting the water out at his Trainer to show his disgust, but he knew the gesture would do more harm than good. "Fine," he muttered, taking no pains to let his irritation emanate from his figure. "Just don't blame me if I drop dead."
"Why are you so insistent on making me win this, anyways? It's not like winning this competition will make me free again."
Vinnia opened her mouth to say something, then chose to riff her fingers across the keyboard. "Whenever you're ready," she finally announced.
Casady rose to his feet.
"Start at the beginning, Casady. Really let those notes escape your lips. Show your emotion; I know you've got more emotion than anyone else in this. Let yourself be the powerful instrument we both know you are." Vinnia's words stirred just a little more energy in Casady's heart.
"What exactly happens if I win this?"
"Maybe you ought to be asking what happens if you don't," Vinnia responded, fingers poised over the keyboard. "Come on, Casady. We haven't got all day."
"Will people hate me if I lose, just like they - " and there, Casady stopped, startled at what he'd been about to say.
"'Just like they' what, Casady?"
Shaking his head, Casady rattled his sheet music and held it in front of his nose. "I want to Sing now."
"You were going to say 'just like they hate you,' weren't you?"
Ashamed, Casady lowered the sheet music and sighed. "I don't know exactly what I was going to say," he improvised weakly.
"Do you think I'm stupid?"
For a moment, Casady didn't quite know what to say. No, he thought Vinnia was the furthest thing from stupid, but he didn't want to seem too loyal to the woman's cause. Finally, he shrugged and smiled. "No, you're not quite as stupid as you look."
A soft laugh escaped Vinnia's lips, and she shook her head smilingly. "I made the right choice in choosing you," she said cryptically before tapping the keyboard. "Come, now. Let's Sing. Start from the top."