“It’s not what it looks like, I swear.”
Oh. So, she imagined him and her practice partner rolling in her new sheets. Snow waited a month for those sheets. The thread count was decent, and she loved the dark color. Now, the sheets were covered in dark wet spots. Sally was frozen; she didn’t take her eyes off of Snow.
“I’m leaving,” Snow said quietly.
It was all she managed before running from the room straight to the hall bathroom. Her lunch made its way into the toilet then tears followed soon after. Snow slapped the seat then possessed, she started knocking everything from the counter. She ripped down the shower curtain and kicked over the small trash can.
“Baby, let’s talk about this. Please,” Rob said, knocking on the door.
Snow snatched the door open and struck him across the face. His eyes went wide, and he stood there silently. All the late nights, not answering her calls, the weird scents, all of it made sense now.
“It’s over,” she said, going back to the room.
Pulling down her duffle bag, she started packing everything she could. Snow refused to spend another second with this liar. How could he do this to her? And now of all times. Her concert was tomorrow night, a duet with Sally. The last thing she grabbed was her prized possession, her father’s violin.
Rob didn’t try to stop her again. She was glad; she didn’t need to go to jail today. How she was feeling, it might still happen. Her head spun as she got on the elevator and punched the lobby button. The only thing she could hear was her heartbeat, which was strange. Usually, the elevator music overshadowed everything. Once the doors opened, she almost fell out of the small box. She had to lean on a chair to get her bearings. Easy breaths, Snow. She began to count and regulate her heart and breathing.
“Are you okay,” the doorman asked.
“I will be,” she said, heading for the door.
Her knuckles ached from how hard she was gripping the steering wheel. The car Bluetooth alerted her of a call. She debated answering it and gave in.
“You’re late again. So is Sally. If you don’t want the part, then tell me now. I’ll tap your understudy.”
Taking a deep breath, “I’m on my way now. Car troubles.”
“It’s always something with both of you. After tomorrow--”
His voice was drowned out by her thoughts. She casually stared out of the windshield until that billboard caught her attention again. Snow always wanted to go, but Rob hated flying and had no interest in the city or country. Maybe it was time for a change in everything.
“Are you listening to me,” his voice boomed.
“Yes. Once again, I’m sorry. I’ll be there soon,” she said, ending the call.
“Siri, what flights to Tokyo are available this weekend?”
The neon lights flashed by as they cruised down the street. Tonight was a rare occasion, a night off. It was one he was going to use to finish his tattoo and visit some friends. No telling when he will get another one with the Red Dragons sniffing around. A new upstart gang that’s been making a lot of noise lately.
“Do you mind if I listen to the concert,” Rin asked, already connecting his phone.
Classical music. Niko never cared for it; it was boring and dry to him. If he says no, Rin will undoubtedly sulk the whole evening then catch it on the internet, playing it non-stop for the next few weeks. It wasn’t a choice, suffer now and save himself from a month of torture.
“Just in time, I love her solo performances, but tonight she’s doing a duet,” Rin smiled.
Niko rolled his eyes and looked in the rearview mirror. A black car, the same one for the last few miles. The music began to swell within the tight confines of the vehicle.
“How did you find out about her? Planning on running off to America,” Niko laughed.
“I might just kidnap her and make her my wife,” Rin said.
Niko peeked over at him. It was supposed to be a joke, but he knew Rin well enough to know that he would do it. The tattoo shop came into view as he pulled into the parking lot. His phone went off, cutting off the performance. Rin glared at him as he picked up.
“You’re trying to get me murder, man,” Niko said, “Yeah, I’m outside now.”
“Niko, what the hell?”
“It’s fine. Just finish listening inside; I’m sure Haru won’t mind,” Niko said.
They would have the shop to themselves, one of the perks of being the next head of the Yakuza. Rin was already inside by the time he locked the car. Once he entered, Haru’s voice echoed through the shop.
“I’m not listening to that shit,” Haru said, rolling his chair between stations grabbing the last-minute items.
“Take a look at her, then hear her play. After, I dare you to tell me she isn’t an angel,” Rin said.
Haru peeked at the screen and rubbed his chin, “Maybe just a quick listen.”
Now, Niko was curious about what the woman looked like. He removed his shirt and folded it neatly. Haru wasn’t a person easily swayed by womanly charms. The buzz of the tattoo gun filled the room, and the familiar dull pain on his back returned.
The sad notes drowned out the buzzing. It was smooth; after a few minutes, his eyes began to get heavy until a shriek erupted through the speaker. Haru stopped the gun, and they glanced at Rin, whose wide eyes were glued to the screen. The sweet song became something you would hear in a horror movie.
“Oh, shit. What the fuck is she doing,” Rin whispered.
“What is it,” Niko asked.
“She’s going rogue. The conductor is turning red.”
If you didn’t know it was a duet, now you do. They were dueling with strings. One was sticking with the program while the other did its own thing. It was rugged and dark. His heart ached listening to it; he could feel the pain. This wasn’t classical music; this was anger. All of them sat in silence as the other instruments faded but her.
“Fuck. She’s going to lose her job for this,” Rin said, “But I’ve never heard her so alive.”
Her performance was reaching its climax; it was climbing high and fast. It was the sound of a beast breaking from its cage. Headlights shone through the front window. The hairs on his arm stood; it was that same black car.
Grabbing his gun, “Get down!”