Leo glanced at the wall clock, wondering if Al had gotten to the next studio room. Al had told him that his sister would be helping him get to class today, but he couldn’t just help worrying. How was Al even fairing alone?
“He’ll be fine,” Claire muttered, making Leo turn to her. “Didn’t he say his sister would help him? If it’s him being bored you’re worried about then don’t worry. Al has been Master Rutherford’s only student for a few years.”
Leo sighed, nodding at Claire’s words. She smiled at him, running a hand through her new bob cut. It fit her perfectly. Her blonde hair curving around her heart-shaped face.
Claire dropped her violin beside the high wooden stool she was sitting on, swinging her legs back and forth in boredom as she watched Leo tune his violin.
The hall had emptied out a few minutes ago since people had classes to attend. The only people left in the hall beside them were the piano players at the corner and the group of three flute players that were practicing a song.
Master Rutherford wasn’t in the college that day so that’s why Leo could even spend Claire’s free period with her and help her with her piece. They both started going through a song together when Leo finished tuning his piano but they were disturbed by the loud bang of the door against the wall when it flung open.
Leo raised a brow as Kenneth walked into the practice room. He watched the man look about the place, and got only more confused when the man’s face seemed to brighten up when their eyes meet across the room.
“Great, what does he want?” Leo heard Claire groan. He turned his attention to his friend, watching as she read through the music sheets on her lap with a frown on her face.
He looked away to find Kenneth approaching them. He looked on as the man stopped in front of them, tucking his hands into the pockets of his grey trousers as he looked down at their sitting figures.
Kenneth had a small smile playing on his lips. He ran a hand through his shoulder length dark hair, corking his head to the side as he inspected Leonardo. He hadn’t seen him close up before. Blue eyes and blonde hair, how typical could he get?
“It’s nice to finally meet you face to face,” he muttered, widening his smile as he looked from Leo to Claire. She was the bothersome one that followed Leo up and down the place. He thought Leo changing streams would stop that but that didn’t look like the case to him.
Kenneth watched as a confused look cloud Leo’s face as Claire got up from her stool. She cradled her violin to her chest as she bent down to pick its case up.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be okay. I need to prepare for my next class anyway,” she said, answering Leo’s unasked question. Kenneth watched Claire leave; taking the stool she’d gotten up from when she closed the door behind her.
It was quiet for a while, apart from the sound of the piano the sophomore at the far end was playing. Kenneth could see the people that were in the room were giving them glances of curiosity.
“So what do you want to talk about? You’ve just been sitting there,” Leo said, as Kenneth felt his gaze on him.
“Ah, that,” Kenneth muttered, nodding his head. “I came here to propose something to you. There’s a contest that requires partners and I felt we could enter it together.”
“What instrument?” Leo asked. His voice sounded off, like he was wondering why Kenneth would come to him. Kenneth could see why. He was majoring in conducting while Kenneth himself was majoring in Saxophone playing, those two things didn’t cross paths often.
“The piano,” Kenneth answered with a grin. “I remembered that you used to be a piano major yourself.”
“You can play the piano?” Leo asked, looking at Kenneth with new interest. Kenneth frowned, giving Leo an irritated glare.
“Yes...” Kenneth trailed, taken aback. Everyone at Dansol knew about him. Didn’t Leonardo bother to keep up at all? “I used to have the same instructor as Alejandro. I’m surprised you don’t know.”
Leo shrugged, running a hand through his blonde hair as he adjusted on his seat. His back hurt, and his nasty habit of slouching on stools wasn’t helping much. “I mind my business so I don’t know much about anyone I don’t consider a friend. Plus, Alejandro has never brought you up in a conversation.”
Kenneth’s lip curved downwards in a frown. He decided not to address the fact that Leo had indirectly said he wasn’t important, and decided to question Leo about the contest instead.
“So, will you join me in the contest?” Kenneth asked. Leo looked at nothing for a moment before biting his lower lip in thought.
“No,” Leo answered, casing Kenneth’s frown to deepen. “I have a lot on my plate at the moment. I just switched to conducting so I don’t think I’ll have time for that.”
“But you could get scouted...” Kenneth trailed.
Leo shook his head, sitting up. “I’m taking conducting. Why would I want to be scouted as a pianist?” Leo asked. Kenneth thought about it for a while before nodding. It made sense. Personally, he didn’t mind what he got scouted for, but he didn’t exactly have a direction in the first place.
“Why don’t you ask Al instead?” Leo asked, bringing Kenneth out of his thoughts.
“Now you’re just joking,” Kenneth chuckled, his laughter quieting down when he noticed that Leo wasn’t laughing along but giving him a serious stare.
“No,” Kenneth started, letting out a sigh. “Al isn’t much of a player.”
“What are you saying? He’s one of the best players I’ve heard,” Leo said, frowning at Kenneth. “Are you honestly telling me you don’t hear or you can’t feel the raw talent in his playing? His music has something many people’s music lack; originality and a distinct tone. You should be asking him if you want to win and not me.”
Students in the practice hall were now staring at them full out. Who wouldn’t want to know what two of the college’s best students were talking about? Throw in the fact that they were an odd pair to see together.
Kenneth looked taken aback by what Leo said. “Do you really think that?” he asked, watching as the blue-eyed man sitting in front of him nodded.
“Honestly, I’m surprised you don’t think the same having learned with him under the same instructor,” Leo answered.
“I see...” Kenneth trailed, getting up from the stool. “I’ll be off then. Thank you for giving me some of your time.”
“You’re welcome,” Leo chirped, bending down to pick up violin from its case. Kenneth watched him test the bow on the strings for a while before he decided to leave the study hall.
On his way back to his studio he walked into Esterphina and Al in the hallway. Ester stopped talking to Al as he walked by, resuming her chatter when he was a good distance away.
He had to be joking. Kenneth thought to himself as his mind started wandering back to what Leonardo had said. All he saw in Al’s playing were patched remixed pieces. It was imperfect. He could remember working with Alejandro clearly. How could he forget when Al kept mismatching keys and drawing them back?
“What are you looking at?” Kenneth asked with a frown when he passed James in the hallway. The red-haired man returned the frown with equal intensity before looking away and returning his attention to the locker in front of him. Kenneth would have taunted him, but he wasn’t in the mood. Taunting the cute redhead could wait.
He got to his studio soon enough. He turned the knob, walking into the small room that was just big enough for four or so people. There wasn’t much need for space anyway considering he was the only student under his instructor.
He walked across the room, his feet making quiet throbbing noises against the polished wooden floor. He got to his sax case, removing the instrument before giving it an inspection.
Why did he change majors again? Kenneth let himself wonder as he put his lips against the mouthpiece of the instrument, blowing gently before using his fingers to adjust the sound with the keys.
He was playing Sweet Georgia Brown, an easy song in the F key.
Kenneth smiled against the mouthpiece when he heard the pacing sound that was coming from behind the studio’s door. He didn’t stop playing, but it amused him that someone was listening in.
It was pathetic to him how people could be impressed with such a simple piece.
He stopped abruptly, taking his lips away from his mouthpiece to bite his lower lip. Was that what Leonardo was talking about in regards to Al’s music?
Al sort to simplify music for his own ease, while everyone else was trying to follow music sheets to the last T. People even tried to complicate it to sound exceptional.
Was the simplicity of Al’s music what made it unique to Leo?
Kenneth frowned, shaking his head. He was disappointed with himself for even considering that. That was no way to reason.
When he started playing his sax again he strained his ears to listen for the uninvited listener. No noise was made and Kenneth eventually concluded that his listener had left.
As Kenneth tried to wrap his head around what Leo could see In Al’s music, he just came to the conclusion that it was a perception created by puppy love. There had been that irritating glint in Leo’s eyes when he’d talked about Al.
Yes, it was that. He thought as he started playing a different song.
There was no way someone as talented as Leo would think Al’s rubbish was actual music.