Chapter Five~Affettuoso: Duet?
It’s hard to win when your enemy, is yourself.
Sleeping, waking up, playing, and repeat. Days once again blurred into another week of practice since Ella found out she helped her so-called enemy’s little brother.
Ella knew it wasn’t healthy for her to stay cooped up inside the house but it was the only way to stay away from ‘him’. He had come multiple times in the past week to try and talk to her, only to be shot down when either no one answered or her father opened the door in one of his partially lucid moments only to shut the door once on him realizing Nathan wasn’t the mailman.
Surprising herself a small chuckle came out of her mouth remembering Nathan’s first meeting with her father and, from what she could hear from upstairs in her room Nathan didn’t know what to say when meeting her father at the door. Shoving her fingers through her unruly hair she checked her clock to see that she had a good hour until school started. Sighing she moved from her stool next to the piano to her dresser, the white paint was peeling off from being so well used over the years and scratch marks along with childish drawings were scattered along the top of it. Pulling open the top drawer Ella pulled out a pair of pastel blue jeans. Turning and looking around her floor she grabbed a black t-shirt that she couldn’t remember the last time wearing.
As much as Ella wanted to stay home in her own small paradise of peaceful silence it was time for her to face the music, literally. Today was the school’s traditional music and arts festival where freshman show their work while being given help to better themselves by seniors or whoever was in the top five in their category. Meaning even though Ella scored second and was a junior it was mandatory that she was there.
Walking down the stairs trying to miss all the soft spots that would make the boards creak and perhaps have her father wake up from whatever state he was in at the moment. Safely getting down the stairs in silence she snatched her bag and shoes before closing the house door. Ella threw her shoes out in front of her to slip on and began her tread to school.
The purr of a car pulling up behind her slowly made her turn to see who was driving. The glare from the sun onto the shine of the black sports car forced her to squint her eyes. Surprise, it was Nathan. Not that was really that surprising though since Ella didn’t know anyone else who would be willing to talk to her and she did help his brother out after all (even if she did it unknowingly).
Turning back to her route she could hear the car still dragging along behind her. Without looking back she spoke, “What do you want, Nathan?”
“I want to drive you to school,” he said pulling the car forward more so Ella could now see him through the window. Her stomach felt odd hearing him speak, she felt a spark of happiness surge through her wanting Ella to smile and accept him. Instead, she did what she did best and ignored him.
“Can I please take you to school?” He asked again
“How about, no?” Ella retorted back
Ella could see a flash of disappointment go through his face before his usual heart-melting smile was on his face once again. She couldn’t understand what she felt for this boy. At first it was undeniable hatred, but now, Ella didn’t know anymore. He seemed nice enough, but so did her father before her mother died, and currently he was a mess of emotions, something Ella kept trying to stop happening to herself.
“Please,” he paused before adding “think of it as a thank you for helping Jamie out. I promise you don’t have to talk to me on the ride to school.”
Suddenly stopping she turned, “Fine I’ll go.”
Pulling the car to a complete stop Nathan was doing a sort of happy dance in his seat while unlocking the passenger door for her. Pulling herself into the car Ella turned to Nathan, “Happy now?” she sighed.
Nodding while starting the car again he answered, “much.”
Laying her head on the window Ella looked out to the other students who were still stuck walking to school.
“Why do you hate me?”
Closing her eyes Ella crossed her arms and mumbled, “I thought we wouldn’t talk.”
“I only said that you didn’t have to talk to me, I can still talk to you.” He sounded so sure of himself that it made Ella wonder how he could be so confident in himself. Maybe it was his nature.
Ella leaned back in the leather seat and watched as the houses got larger and nicer the closer the got to the school. Soon enough glimpses of the school could be caught through the rows of houses. The modern black and white marble of the music wing glistened in the sun making it hard to see the whole school without worrying about damaging your eyesight. Each of the wings were made out of different materials to help direct new students to their right buildings for class.
Reaching as close as they could to the doors of the music wing the car came to a stop. Pushing out of the car Ella felt dozens of eyes following her inside the school. Even after entering the watchful gaze of others still didn’t end. Grasping her messenger bag tightly Ella made her way through the crowd.
“Ella wait up!” A voice yelled from far behind, echoing and bouncing off the large ceilings. Butterflies started in her stomach and she turned towards Nathan. Glancing around it seemed everyone had stopped to gawk at the scene playing out before them. Tilting her head slightly to the side as if to ask Nathan what he needed Ella stared at him.
“I get that we don’t know each other that well but,” Nathan paused furrowing his eyebrows probably thinking of what to say next. “Please practice with me!” Nathan yelled
Already Ella felt nervous and panicked being in front with so much attention on her and not her piano but what came next was icing on the cake, Nathan grabbed her arm and pulled her closer to him only to whisper in Ella’s ear, “Let’s sing a duet.”