“I’m sorry I made a mockery of your shoes. I’m just so much used to seeing you wear sandals,” Leo apologized, a hint of playfulness still in his tone.
“You insulted my babies,” Marie said, placing her hand on her chest as she forged hurt. She sat up on her stool, stretching her feet out so her green converses where in plain sight.
“Apologize,” she said, pointing down to the shoes. Leo burst out in laughter and Marie joined in soon after, completely amused by her own words.
They were both in the general practice hall, seating at the far end, away from the discussing students at the center. Leonardo had his earpiece on as he tapped away at the piano keyboard app on his phone. Someone had already occupied the available piano and Leonardo had just had to improvise.
“Okay, on to a more serious topic. How’s your life been?” Marie asked, making Leo pause the app so he could give her his full attention. He sat up on his wooden stool, placing his feet on the floorboards before giving Marie a small smile before sighing.
Marie and Leonardo had been friends since he could remember. Their parents had put them in the same music class as children and they’d been attending the same schools up until now. Nothing had made them and their parents happier than when they both got accepted by Dansol to aim for a degree surrounding music. They even stayed in the same apartment complex and their parents addressed each other’s children as if they were their own.
“Well?” Marie asked again, her brown eyes twinkling with curiosity.
Leonardo smiled. There were a few times he was convinced he was head over heels in love with Marie. The feeling usually lasted a few weeks at a time fading of gradually until it was questionable. He never acted on it, considering he didn’t want to ruin things between them because of his own confusion.
“Fine, I guess. I’m getting into conducting really well, not that I had any doubt that I would,” Leo answered, earning an eye-roll from Marie. Marie was one of the only people who was not put off by his overconfidence.
“I heard that they asked you to take the school orchestra, wouldn’t that be stressful?” Marie asked, eyeing her friend with worry. Leonardo might not look like it but he didn’t do very well under stress. Marie couldn’t even count the number of times he’d blown up in complaints and groans when regular school work became too much for him- they were just that many. Marie usually let herself in his apartment and tried to comfort him by being someone he could vent to. His episodes were one of the few times he was ever temperamental.
“Yes, they did. Master Rutherford said that it’s a great way for me to practice although I’m not sure how true that is,” Leo muttered, sighing afterward. He soon felt Marie’s hand on his tight, offering a gesture of comfort.
“Most of the orchestra members are first-year students. In other words, they’re brats. Don’t let them crawl under your skin,” Marie advised, earning a nod from Leonardo.
“I know, I’m just hoping they’re a mature set,” Leonardo muttered earning a small smile from Marie as she swung her legs back and forth, displaying the green pair shoes Leonardo had jokingly insulted.
They soon got about to their businesses with Leonardo tapping away at his phone screen and Marie learning a new composition on her flute.
James was sitting at the back of the class with a frown on his face. His master had invited Kenneth to come and play with them. The six students in the room were harboring a look of irritation, but none of their looks matched the one James had on his face.
Kenneth irritated James to a whole different level. The dark-haired saxophonist had actually had the guts to come up to him and call his playing weak. James knew Kenneth did that to practically everyone, but James was already insecure about his playing and he didn’t need anyone, especially someone as vain as Kenneth telling him the exact same thing.
“Is something wrong James?” The voice of his grey-haired teacher soon brought him out of his thoughts. James shook his head, muttering a small denial but he didn’t bother to change his expression. In his opinion, Kenneth wasn’t worth pretending for.
“Okay then. Kenneth will be taking the lead in this piece...”
The master’s words soon faded into nothing in James mind. James didn’t pay much attention to what he was doing. He played carelessly and frequently messed up the arrangement. The whole class was soon frustrated with him, and the master had a red face from constantly correcting him.
“Why do you... Just see me after the class James,” The master muttered when James made yet another mistake. James nodded. His mood was still sour from Kenneth’s presence. The dark-haired man was just smirking at him in amusement. James didn’t see what was so funny.
When the bell went the other students left the class leaving James who had been asked to wait behind on the master’s orders.
He was sitting quietly on his stool, staring down at his lap as he waited for the master to address him.
“What’s wrong?” James soon heard as a hand rested on his shoulder. The curly red-haired man shrugged earning a sigh from his teacher. The master’s hand left James’ shoulder and he soon heard the scrapping of a stool’s base against the wooden floorboards as his tutor took a seat beside him.
“Is this about Kenneth?” The master asked in a low tone. James’ jaw went rigid and he refused to answer the question. The master didn’t need one, considering his reaction to the question spoke volumes.
“Jealously won’t get you anywhere James...” the master trailed, making James look up at him with wide eyes.
“I’m not jealous of anyone,” James muttered as calmly as he could. He was trying hard to control himself. He was talking to a master after all. There was no excuse for rudeness.
“You’re a good player James,” The master started ignoring James denial. “You should work on being more confident in your ability. It might help you overcome your jealousy. Being jealous will only destroy the gift you already have. Look at today for example. You were playing like you weren’t in your right senses.”
James just looked at the master with a small yet evident frown. He hadn’t heard something so out of context. So what? He hadn’t been in class. How did that have anything to do with jealousy? Frankly, James would rather dig a pit and die than to have any reason to envy Kenneth.
James opened his mouth like he wanted to say something but shut it after thinking about it, and decided on nod instead. He decided that the master had just misunderstood the situation, and he wasn’t ready to take part in a lengthy conversation concerning why he’d acted the way he did.
“I’ve heard what you said. I have a class in a few, I should leave,” James muttered looking away in discomfort. He hated being told off.
The master nodded dismissing him. James got up soon after, putting his things together before leaving the class.
His eyes widened in brief confusion when he walked out to the sight of Kenneth leaning on the wall. James frowned, realizing that he must have been standing there and shamelessly listening to the whole piece. James gave him a dirty look before continuing on his way to his next.
“You sucked more than usual today, what happened?” Kenneth asked on top of his voice in a mocking tone. It was loud enough that James could hear it, as well as other people walking through the halls. James didn’t turn back but he bit his lip in anger as he continued walking. He hated Kenneth, he hated him so much.