The Emotions Game

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Chapter Three~Agitato: Challenge

Skill is a talent, luck is fate.

Ella was still filled with a flowing rage when arriving at the door for her next class. Everyone had already pushed through the halls to their next class leaving Ella once again alone in the hallway. She gently rested her head on the grey colored locker beside the door making a cool sensation flow through her head.

Deep breaths Ella, he isn’t worth your anger.” She whispered to herself in a mantra trying to cool down as to not get the nerve to go back and do something she would eventually regret. Slowly her angry started to dissipate, leaving Ella with the return to her façade of calmness.

Opening the oak door sluggishly made the door creak alerting everyone to Ella’s presence. Odd stares and smirks followed Ella to the back of the classroom. A chill flowed through her making Ella turn to find who was cursing her presence in the classroom.

Although Ella wasn’t usually a superstitious person one thing she always believed was the chill’s were the body’s way of saying someone wanted to harm her, or of course that she was freezing. Due to the fact the room was hotter than a furnace Ella decided on the harming choice. Scrolling through the aisles with her eyes she saw nothing out of the ordinary, sure he usual sneers and bored expressions of being stuck in class, but nothing of malice.

Shrugging it off Ella walked past the rows of her peers all the way to the far back corner where she had claimed as her spot a couple years before as a freshman. Thinking back, all memories Ella had of the past three years were a blur of practicing, performing, and trying to be as emotionless as possible.

It had worked for the most part but she could remember some things that wouldn’t leave her mind. Her father’s mindless walking through the house with no true destination, the smell of alcohol the drifted to her nose whenever having to clean up after her father’s hangovers. None of the memories she could think of for the past three years had been good actually, in fact, none of the memories since her fifth birthday had been good.

Twelve years had passed since her mother’s death on her birthday and the only gift she had been giving was a drunken father to go home and take care of, it wasn’t perfect but it was her life. That’s why she’d make sure that she’d keep all household affairs involving money done well so social services wouldn’t try and take her away.

The shrill of the bell signaled for the end of class. The teacher who was red in the face heavily breathing looked as if he had accomplished something by finishing his lecture about another dead composer’s masterpiece before the bell. He must’ve not noticed no one was paying attention for the most part anyway. Lifting her messenger bag back over her head Ella stood up.

Gliding in with the rest of the fast-paced crowd Ella smoothly joined and went through the halls without much trouble. Her next class was a study hall made to practice with other top music students. Realizing that Nathan would probably be there she pushed herself to the left side of the hall, which was going the opposite way of her next class.

Ella kept following the crowd that was quickly starting to decrease to a few stragglers in the hallways running to their next class or other who, like Ella decided to skip. Eventually, Ella’s feet subconsciously brought her back to where the scoreboard was next to the latest new bulletin board.

Colorful papers smothered the board, each trying to entice the viewer to look their way. Ella smoothed over a partially crumpled blue paper on the bulletin and read the ad. In big bold letters read what Ella had been wanting since finding her second place scoring, a Winterfest music competition. It was the perfect opportunity for her to not only grab back her position as the best pianist in the program but also prove she was better than some strange newcomer who tried to be all friendly with her. Now finally something might actually be going her way.

Pulling the crinkled paper off the board with a hard tug Ella run towards the one place she knew Nathan might be at the moment. Jogging out of breath she finally reached the performance hall that was used as a makeshift classroom during the school day. Grabbing the handle of the door Ella wrenched the door open with her free hand.

Inside it was surprisingly empty except for the one person she was looking for, Nathan.

The eerie silence made Ella take a few breaths to calm her nerves. She wouldn’t dare let this chance slip through her hands, Ella would do what she came here for, redemption.

Walking over to Nathan she noticed why it was so quiet. Nathan had earbuds in and seemed to be sleeping. Some sort of vain jealously burned in Ella after seeing he had longer eyelashes than her. Realizing she was getting off track she pushed herself towards Nathan and pulled out his earbuds with a light pull.

His eyes shot open looking to find the cause for the sudden startle. Nathan quickly opened his mouth to speak but Ella wouldn’t allow him to even utter a word, at least not before she got her say. Tossing the flier for Winterfest carelessly to Nathan she tried to hide how important the flier truly was to her.

“This is the flier for the Winterfest performance help here in two months time, I challenge you to see who will be better,” Ella spoke softly staring everywhere but him. She felt a strange tug when looking at Nathan; she couldn’t deal with emotions right now, not at such an important moment. Tilting her head towards the lights on the ceiling Ella tried to compose herself.

“You want to have a competition with me, why don’t we practice together and perform together instead,” Nathan paused trying to finish his little speech, “we should be friends not vie for being number one.”

Ella snorted at that, mustering courage Ella leaning down to Nathan’s ear and whispered, “Seeing as you’re new, you must not know that you took my place, and I want it back. We can never be friends only enemies.”

With that, Ella pushed herself way from Nathan and walk out tugging on her messenger bag with newly created butterflies fluttering in her stomach. This was a new feeling for Ella, and she hated it.

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