The Emotions Game

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Chapter Twelve~Semplice: Quick for Thought

Nerves of steel, images of embarassment.

Flickers of replaying images of Ella’s ‘accident’ at the carnival flashed in Ella’s head. Ella groaned while rolling around on her bed thinking about ‘it’. She could barely keep a straight face without adding a small grimace to every reoccurring thought of her embarrassment.

“God I hope Nate forgot about it,” she mumbled to herself. Who was she kidding? As if anyone could forget that kind of trauma. Laying sprawled out on her bed Ella stared up at the ceiling waiting for it to come down and collapse on top of her.

A knock came from outside Ella’s door along with the sound of her father’s voice, “Ella? You okay in there?”

“Just leave me to die,” Ella muttered

Her father must not have heard because he knocked again repeating his same question wondering if she was okay.

“I’m fine, leave” Ella shouted chucking one her pillows at her door. Hopping off her bed she walked over to tossed pillow and threw it back onto the edge of the bed. Padding around her room Ella noticed how messy it was.

Clothes were tossed over the lid of the piano while papers were scattered around the floor. “Wow, it looks like a tornado went through my room,” Ella mumbled still not even bothering to pick anything up. Instead, she nimbly moved across the room to her bathroom trying not to step on any of her mess.

It surprised Ella that her room was such in a state but nothing really had been the same since she met Nate. Rubbing the back of her neck Ella moved quickly through the bathroom in search of a brush only to find it under the bathroom sink.

The cast over her handmade trying to braid her hair difficult. In the end, Ella decided to just let it be in its natural mess of waves.

Grabbing the first shirt and pair of jeans she could she find Ella (though struggling) got ready to start her day. She couldn’t sit in her own filth forever after all.

Ella passed through the house trying to sneak past her father and probably his questions on her cast. Since he went cold turkey on drinking he had become more fatherly by watching over her and sometimes even making her snacks once in a while. One of the cons to his new fatherly love though was her new 11 o’clock curfew. Which she had proceeded to break by literally breaking her hand yesterday and leaving.

“Hopefully he didn’t notice” Ella whispered to herself

The door was in sight from where she was on the stairs. Not paying attention while grasping out for the door a low voice startled Ella, “And where do you think you’re going Ells? It’s not a school day.”

Ella couldn’t think of a good excuse, she had never been in this sort of situation before.

“Just going out for some air?” Ella asked

Honestly, she didn’t even remember why she got up. It would’ve just been easier to stay in bed all day though she’d also be laying in her pigsty of a room moving around in her own filth.

Ella shrugged at her father’s serious face and slowly started her trudge back upstairs.

She could hear her father asking where she had gone yesterday but pretending not to hear his little rant Ella closed the door to her room.

Sighing Ella leaned against her door sliding down and sitting. Lightly touching her casted hand she wondered how she was going to play. At this rate, she’d have the cast on at the Winterfest concert. How was she going to play?

She supposed she could play simple pieces but the duet with Nate would be impossible. Maybe she should just bail, it’d be for the best. Ella repeated this little mantra of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ and kept tapping her fingers on her cast.

Even then Nate might not want to even see her after the vomit incident. Her thoughts and worries set a growing pit in her stomach swallowing her up from the inside. Anxiety swelled in Ella making her heart start to race and making it hard to breathe. An anxiety attack, she had read about others having such attacks and the symptoms but never about how it truly felt for the victim. Her thoughts of piano and herself started to get darker and Ella felt she had fallen down the rabbit hole unable to get out.

Putting her head between her legs Ella clenched her eyes shut trying to make it stop.

“Stop, please stop,” Ella whispered to herself repeatedly until she finally passed out.

Finding Ella asleep against the door her father freaked forcing her to bed rest until further notice. It may not have been the logical response but at least he was trying, that’s what mattered.

Nate had come over the second day into her forced ‘sick leave’ to talk to her about Winterfest deciding that it would be easier to just to do a cover of another music piece. There had been less than a week until Winterfest and the idea of doing Emotion as their duet only brought up a bile in the back of her throat. It was too soon, gruesome figments of Vanessa’s last moments would go through Ella’s head making her freeze up.

The song they chose in the end for the duet was an easy enough piece to do with one hand for Ella, she had done it in the past when she was younger and her memory of how to play the song was still strong in her memory so she didn’t have to practice much to perfect her small part in the song.

Instead of going to school Ella tried to isolate herself in her room, instead of playing the old piano Ella started reading a book on the basics of the French language. For some reason every time Ella learned a new word she would feel a sense of warmth.

Finally, today was the last day before Winterfest and Ella had memorized most of the small novel on the French language. It was barely enough to live off of but enough to use if ever wanting to try and visit France for a short period.

Tomorrow would be the day. No turning back now.

Ella had gone through all the steps of a normal school morning. Only this time Ella tried to find the nicest clothes she owned. Normally she might’ve gone in sweats and tossed her hair in a bun to one of the school festivals but since she was actually performing this year she fussed more about everything. Hair, clothes, everything. It needed to look right, this was an important date. Well, not date exactly. The thought of going on another supposed date with Nate made a blush fan lightly across her cheeks.

Shaking it off Ella quickly grabbed her bag and speed walked her way to school. It didn’t take long to realize how much had changed in the time she had been gone. Winterfest seemed to take over not just the school but most of the town.

Blue and white colors lights shaped like snowflakes flickered while the wind blew them back and forth on their strings. The closer to the school Ella got the more extravagant decor got. By the time she finally arrived at the school she already felt sick of the winter season, it was just too much.

Walking through the schoolyard Ella could see the people swarming the makeshift stage seeming to do final touches.

“Ell!” A voice shouted from behind her

It didn’t take a genius to realize it was Nate, turning to face him she saw him decked out in a pure white tux and shoes.

“A little much don’t you think?” Ella chuckled

Nate only shook the comment off and handed her a black square box. There was no label on the front making it impossible to really tell what it might be.

“Just put this on okay? I promise I’ll do the rest.” With that, Nate ran off with no other explanation for what just happened. Slightly lifting the cover of the box a white dress matching Nate’s could be seen. Quickly Ella found the closest open bathroom to change in.

After fighting for the first stall Ella found she quickly open the dress box lifting the entire dress out. The white top of the dress Ella had seen earlier actually was an ombré that changed into a royal blue at the bottom. It took her breath away, she had never seen such a beautiful dress before. Ella slipped on the dress and slipped her old clothes into the box.

Picking up the bottom of the dress Ella was mindful not to let it touch the ground.

Walking back over to the stage in hopes of finding Nate Ella watched other students she recognized getting ready backstage. Walking through the disorganized backstage Ella kept turning her head back and forth in search of Nate’s familiar face.

A cold hand touched Ella’s shoulder making her jump and let out a small gasp. The person who touched her looked as equally surprised by Ella’s reaction. The girl was a head taller than Ella with straight blonde hair.

“Sorry to scare you it’s just that you weren’t paying attention. You and Nate King are on in 5.” The girl spoke quickly. Ella had barely even nodded her head in acknowledgment when the girl already started to run off. She watched the girl scanning through the people probably searching for the person who’d go on after her and Nate.

Hearing that there were only five minutes till their performance made Ella’s nerves tense and ready to snap. It also meant she needed to find Nate qucikly.

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