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Chapter 10

I've been trying to keep busy, to keep my mind occupied because when I have nothing to do or think about my mind is drawn to him- like metal to a magnet. I can't help it, but now that he is gone everything I see reminds me of him and I feel my heart throbbing in pain just at the sound of his name. At first it was easy, I was so busy with my plans that I hardly had time to think about him but now…well now he's everywhere, all around me. So I do everything I can to put him out of my mind. It has only been two weeks since he left but it feels like two years. For the first week I kept a look out for him at every party, everywhere I went my eyes automatically search for him but as the days passed and the second week came I started to accept that he wouldn't be back for a while. Not that that made it any easier though…

So much is different yet it seems like nothing has changed. I can play guitar now, pretty well actually, probably due to the devotion of my teacher. I laugh to myself, not many teachers would even consider spending 5 and a half hours with a student in one day but Julio did, he's the one I choose to be my teacher and like all the others he's smitten. I almost feel bad for him... For the first time that I remember, I'm grateful for my beauty- it really does make a lot of things easier. I think it doesn't bother me now as much as it did before because now I am surrounded by things that challenge me, like my music and my disguises. Although its easy to get new songs its hard for me to remember them all or learn to play them so I constantly have to work at it.

I finally seem to be growing accustomed to myself, I am more content with myself now, yet I grow less and less patient with those who surround me. All these rich people who don't care at all that there are hundreds of people out there starving! They don't even try to do anything to help they just live their life like its not happening. It makes me so angry! And when I think back to the last few years of my life it makes me cringe a little because I did try to help out the poor but if I had used my beauty to encourage other more then I could have saved somebody's life. If only I had embraced who I am and used it more…but its never too late to start.

Other than that, things are going good, I'm learning more and more songs, I usually spend my afternoons walking around listening to the street musicians, the ones who stand on the corners singing hoping to get some money. I even used some of my followers to help; I would go to a party with the one who found the best song or the one who was the most generous to the poor. And I don't feel the least bit guilty, yes, they gave huge amounts of money to poor families just go have my company for a banquet or party but it was all for a good cause. Besides they would have spent the money on something stupid anyway.

As time passed I started to get nervous, I knew that I was basically ready to go out into Vermillion Street as "Adele" the singer and musician but it was scary. I wondered if I would be recognized, but I knew that I had to try, I would just take a deep breathe and tell myself it would be alright. Sometimes it helped. Sometimes not. This was something completely new to me, where ever I went at home people knew me and were impressed with whatever I did. But here, no one knew me and the only way I could win the crowd would be through my talent which was good but scary at the same time. What if I wasn't good enough? But I tried not to think of that, I could do this!

I had set my début for Friday, three days away; everything was ready, I had my clothes, my guitar, and I knew a bunch of songs by heart. I couldn't wait for Friday but then again I was terrified, what if they didn't like my singing? What if I messed up? What if the songs I had chosen weren't the type they liked? Waiting was driving me crazy.

Being Dare was the only part of the day I could really relax. The bar that I always went to, The Rooster, seemed to melt away all my fears and stress. Mary could always cheer me up and make me laugh with her jokes and stories and best of all I knew I could trust her, she never told anyone that I was really a girl. If there was no one around to elves drop I would talk to her about Tristan and she would give me advice about guys, it was so much fun and comforting to be able to tell some one everything. Unlike my mother or the other stupid girls I was surrounded by, she understood love and wasn't obsessed with marrying for wealth. Another advantage to being poor, I guess.

The strange part was that I felt more like myself at the Rooster disguised as a boy, than when I was at home. It would always make me laugh to picture my mother or my follower's faces if they had seen me as Dare in a cheap bar on Vermillion Street- I think my mother would have had a heart attack. But I didn't care, life seemed so much simpler there.

As the moments ticked by waiting got harder, I began to long for night just so I could get it over with. It was Friday morning and all I wanted was for the day to end. I was so jittery and tense that even my mother noticed.

"Deirdre dear, what's the matter?"

"Nothing, I'm just restless."

"Hmmm, sounds like my daughter is in love!" She sighed with a happy sigh. I rolled my eyes, and went back to reading. But after a few minutes I stopped because I was so distracted that I read the same sentence at least ten times. I decided to practice my guitar but after a few minutes I was bored of that too. I looked around and figured I mine as well go for a walk.

I went to the park and sat by a little pond where Tristan and I used to go. I stared at the moving water for a little bit and then my mind started to wander to him. I flinched as I felt my heart ache but I decided not to stop it, for the first time since he left I opened my mind and let myself think of him. Only him.

It hurt, it really hurt. I took a ragged breathe and gripped the edge of the bench, how could my heart hurt so much? I wondered how long I could stay like this, separated from him; it felt like I was dying. I never realized how much I was hurting, I had never really allowed myself to dwell on him before. Could I person die from missing some one so badly? Did he miss me? I hoped so...he loved me, didn't he? I knew he did, he couldn't have said all those things and not meant it! He was different from all the others, he actually loved me.

I more I thought about him the more I cried, but it didn't hurt as much anymore. It was more like a dull ache instead of the piercing pain, was I cured? I laughed to myself, I probably would never be completely cured but this was a start, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I just wanted to see him again, it seemed so cruel for life to bind us together then rip us apart but that's what life does. That's what love does to us but I didn't regret it, not a bit. I could bear this, I could deal with the pain of him leaving- he was coming back, he could be on his way back to me this very moment! I laughed to myself and looked at the time. I hadn't even realized that hours had passed, it was evening already! I smiled and headed home, trying to keep myself from running- I was so excited to go out, tonight I would be Adele, the carefree singer untouched by pain or sorrow.

I could hardly get my clothes on when it was time to go, I kept glancing around me- afraid I would forget something important. It took longer than usual to get ready but after that everything went as fast as lightning, I hardly remember my walk from my house to the Rooster. When I got there Mary was waiting, I had told her a friend of mine was a singer and was looking for a job the other night and she said she would be glad to let me play at her bar. Then she would decide if I was good enough to hire or not.

As I tuned my guitar and got ready all my nervousness fell away, the crowd watched my silently. They seemed surprised with my appearance, had I overdone me costume? I shrugged, it didn't matter now. I stood up and began playing, it was a simple well-known tune; the only reason I was playing it was to give myself a small warm up. After that I went from one song to another, my fingers did exactly as I wanted and my voice flowed perfectly with the melodies. I was surprised and disappointed when I realized that it was time for the bar to close, the crowd looked sad that it was ending too.

I hadn't realized until I was finished play how large the crowd had become, it looked like everyone one Vermillion Street had come to hear and see me! I had never liked the attention at home but here I loved it, I couldn't believe how nervous I had been! This was one of the best things that had ever happened to me, I didn't know how I would be able to face life back home after all this. Everything in my old life was becoming more and more boring, colorless, and lifeless; this was the life for me.

As I packed up my guitar Mary came over to me beaming,

"The Rooster hasn't been this full 'n ages! Ya got yaself a job!" I smiled and laughed, everything was going perfectly!

"When can ya come in?" She asked.

"Sunday nights for sure...Friday and Saturday night I can come in late. Maybe two or three week days each week." I hadn't completely thought this through before, I had forgot about all the parties I would have to go to back home... It will all work out, I told myself- besides I always knew of the events I had to go to in advance.

"Can ya be 'ere tomorrow night, dat's Saturday?"

"Umm, not tomorrow night. I'm so sorry, but I can be 'ere Sunday!" I said anxiously, afraid she would be angry.

"That's a'right, Sunday night's fine. Nine o'clock good for ya?"

"Perfect!" I would be able to pretend to be tired right after dinner was over, and still have more than enough time to get dressed and ready.

"Lovely! Come ova to the bar and I'll get ya something ta eat n' drink, ya must be famished."

"Thanks! I am rather hungry!" I said eagerly, Mary gave me a strange look but it only lasted a moment; then she bustled off to get me some food. That's when I realized I had let my accent slip for a moment. 'I am rather hungry'? That was not something anyone from Vermillion Street would say... hopefully she would forget about it, or not care as long as I was bring in business for her.

I could hardly move the next morning when the maid came to wake me up, I never remember feeling so tired! I guess signing takes more energy than I thought...or it could be the fact that I got at most 4 hours of sleep. Thankfully we didn't have anywhere to be so I told my maid to let me sleep and she did. It was at least 1:30 before I was up and dressed.

I was actually surprised how easy all this was, living two lives, my mother didn't seem to question that if I went to bed when I said I had then I would have had 17 and a half hours of sleep. In fact, I don't think she even noticed how late I slept in; I was so unbelievable happy when I got up that I walked around the house singing and practically dancing. I hadn't been sure how living a double life would turn out, I had envisioned it as unimaginably hard and hardly worth it but this was different. For once, seeing all those shallow, stupid people who called me their friend didn't seem so bad because tomorrow I would be back at the Rooster singing again!

I laughed, thinking of what Tristan would say when I told him everything I had been doing. 'You are so clever, Deirdre,' he would say, 'And your music is stunning, is there nothing you can't do?' I laughed, no he would probably be mad just like he was when I told him about Dare but I didn't care, he would understand as soon as he saw me as Adele, I couldn't to see him again. To kiss him and hold him, to be able to close my eyes and just listen to his breathing. He couldn't be gone too much longer, could he? It had been almost three weeks since he left! His business couldn't last much longer than that!

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