___________ was glad to be back in town again. She hadn’t been there for years not since she left for college. She was actually forward to it. She’s been on tour for a year now and it was good to see where she started her music career. She came by herself. She went to see her parents, whom still thought she was a starving artist until she wrote a large check to repay them for the apartment she rented. They insisted that she stayed home while she was there but she had a better idea, the bed and breakfast in town. First thing that morning, she went to visit her old high school. She smiled fondly at the old places she used to practice but she left quickly. She found herself at Academy of the Arts where she honed her music skills. She couldn’t help but linger, even talking to Madame Collette, the founder and Headmistress of the school. She stayed there until the afternoon. She kept driving until she stopped at the Starlight Hotel. She made her way through and found the banquet halls. She went inside. It was empty. Perfect. This place would always old a very dear place in her heart. It was the place where for the first time she didn’t feel out of place, strange, or awkward. This was also the very place where her heart was stolen and melted by a mysterious boy whom would always be in her thoughts, always…
Being in an all girl school didn’t leave much to finding a date for the Prom. In fact, most girls got their Prom dates from guy friends they’ve known from family, friend, church, volunteering, whatever, but in ________ case, she was too career motivated. Senior year was her getting into music school. Her first choice had an excellent music program and she really wanted to get into it. She needed to go to auditions, she had countless interviews, and her final interview was a few days before her Prom. She didn’t know why she was going. Well, she did want to experience Prom before she regretted it. It was tough being a musician, a musician prodigy at that. There were days she was happy she could play five instruments, but other days she felt like crawling into her closet and just hiding. She was an okay student, her math grade messed her GPA all the time, then there were the “smart” students who loved to throw it up into her face that it was rather sad that an accomplished musician couldn’t do math but all of their comments meant nothing to her.
Although she apart of her music program at school, she was a student at the Madame Collette Academy of the Arts where students honed their skills. There were students there arranging from writers, painters, musicians, and actors. She’s been accepted into the academy when she entered middle school and a few later, he was. Since then her skills only had gotten better. She loved music so much even with the presence of her worst enemy, she still loved the academy. No matter how hard she worked, she constantly in the shadow of an arrogant, cocky, SOB, by the name of Roderick Edelstein. Madame Collette loved pairing them together on performances so they can work together but usually, by her choice, they split the work and work separately. Their peers adored him and he soaked it up. Because she was paired with him, many often say she was riding on his talent and that really angered her to no end. She wrote song most of the time but it didn’t matter. Only the adults knew the truth and of course she knew so it didn’t matter. She went to the academy every day after school and was always in her uniform, it was a plaid burgundy and gray skirt with a white polo shirt.
“Hello, Schätzchen,” she glared. Roderick was lounging in the practice room. She sat far away from him as possible.
“What do you want?”
“Well, I just thought you wanted to be the first Fraulein to greet me and my pure greatness,”
“In your dreams,”
“Ouch,” she took out her violin and started tuning it.
“Why don’t you buy yourself a violin?” she jumped. Roderick was behind her, “You rent that same one every year,”
“I just can’t okay?! And what it to you anyway?”
“I’m just saying, you go to private school can’t your parents afford one?”
“They can,” she said and left it as that. He quickly changed the subject.
“So Schätzchen, you’re going to Prom right?”
“I guess so,”
“So who’s the lucky man?” he really beginning to annoy her.
“I’m going stag if you must know,” she said hotly. Roderick looked a bit taken back.
“None of your business,” she snapped.
“Okay, okay, didn’t mean to piss you off!” only he could annoy her like this. She swear he did this on purpose. No one could be this dense. Soon everyone scrambled into class and they practiced their scales. This was strings class, which meant that all string instruments had to practice together. __________ lead the bow instruments and Roderick led the hand instruments. After class, she went to pack everything for woodwinds.
“It’s because you don’t have a boyfriend!” the class stopped and started at Roderick grinning, “That’s why you’re going alone to your Prom! It’s because you don’t have anyone to go with you!” she stopped. Her cheeks went red as she went to her violin.
“Not to mention she’s creepy,” said a girl
“Seriously! What guy would?”
“Oh come now Lieblings,” Roderick drapes his arm around ________’s shoulder, “I know there’s someone special out there for her. He may be closer than she—,”
“Just, leave me alone, alright?!” she shoved him off and walked to the bathroom to immediately cleaned her face. She didn’t want anyone to see her crying, especially not that arrogant Austrian fucker. It wasn’t her fault that she didn’t have time to make friends, let alone get a boyfriend. She had other priorities. She sighed. Priorities it was always putting things before a social life. Her family’s motto was “Rest when you’re dead”. She hated going to after and Saturday school college prep just to be that “creepy, weird, private school girl”. She sobbed some more before gaining her composure and going back out. She headed towards the woodwinds class.
“Whatever, she asked me to her Prom. How pathetic is that?” she stopped. That was Brandon’s voice. She asked him if he wanted to go to Prom with her. She didn’t want anything romantic, she made it clear and his family had everything ready for her, so hall he had to do was show up.
“Did you say yes?”
“Of course I did. But I ain’t gonna call her. I mean she’s weird,”
“Tell me about it! I’ve been avoiding her since. It’ll be social suicide to be seen with her. What are we gonna talk about music? Seems like that’s the only thing she knows and breathing,”
“I know right? Anyway, let’s go,” she waited until she heard them leave.
“I guess I’m going to my Prom alone,” she said to herself and walked to her mom’s car.
For the next week or two, she went on her normal routine and nothing really changed, she was getting fitted for the final touches on her Prom dress. She found a picture of a dress she loved, it was Victorian inspired. She wanted it to be (f/c) trimmed white. She loved the idea she got to wear a petticoat under it to add to the fullness of the skirt. She was actually excited about Prom a bit. She and her best friend were going to hang out and it’ll just be them at the table. This year, the Prom was going to be a Masquerade. She was very happy about that. She even bought a Venetian rabbit mask that was made of leather for the occasion. It was silver and gold and fitted in well with her dress. Now she just needed a date. But going stag was just as good.
“_____________?” she looked up. Dennis was a boy in her woodwind class. She played the flute and he played the saxophone. He was a handsome young man, tanned with dark hair and brown eyes.
“I was wondering, can I take you to the Prom?”
“Good, I’ll pick you up at eight. Let give me your address and whatever okay?”
“Okay! I can’t do it right now! I have piano now! I’ll stop by your locker later!”
“Whatev,” she was so excited. Dennis was nice in his right! She was going to have to brush on her conversational skills! She was so happy that she was playing perky melodies all day in class. She went to his locker, after class but he wasn’t there. She decided to go looking for him. She needed to tell him that everything was taken care of and he just needed himself. She finally heard his voice near the strings room. Now what was he doing in there?
“Okay Roderick, where’s my money,”
“In a moment,” he said taking out the money, “You asked her correctly right?”
“Yeah, yeah, just up it! I don’t see why you actually care if someone take her or not,”
“Seriously Roderick, why didn't you pay me?” said Brandon, "I would have gone for a price,"
“Because you’re a fucker. Look what you morons don’t realize is that she represents us as top chair in almost all of the instruments at this school. We don’t want her to quit because she doesn’t think she has someone who likes her,”
“Then she needs to stop being so fuckin’ creepy,” said Dennis, “Seriously! All she goes is come here and play! No one can talk to her! She talks about weird things, it’s not our fault no one can understand her! Seriously! Why can’t she speak like normal people?”
“Whatever, here’s your money,”
“Umm okay, just remember, show her a nice time and be nice to her,”
“Why don’t you take her out?”
“Because she hates me and too uptight for my tastes,”
“And I’d rather chop off my hands than to have you near me,” the three boys froze. ___________ was stand right behind them, looking visibly upset.
“Schätzchen…how long were you there?”
“Around the time where I was so creepy to be around with and you handing him the money,” she glared at Dennis, “He PAID you?!” he smirked at her and then looked at Roderick. He grinned stupidly for a few moments. Before he could say anything, Dennis spoke.
“It’s not like you could get a date either way,” Roderick glared at him. He looked up at ___________. He saw her immediately wiping her face, her eye area more specifically. He smirked and went to lay on the charm.
“Sweet Schätzchen, you have to understand, it’s not what it looks like, I mean as my concert partner—,”
“Save it!” she went to leave. She was hurting inside. Why won’t they just leave her alone? Just when she thought she had a date, it was just a rouse, a cruel, cruel rouse. Why the fuck can’t they, more specifically HE just leave her be?! She kept walking until she was in the main practice room.
“Wait can’t we talk about this?!” Roderick caught up with her.
“Come on! It was harmless! You needed a date!”
“I don’t need your help okay! Just leave me alone!”
“No! Stop being so uptight about everything! That’s the main reason why you’re still alone!” she stopped. Roderick immediately knew he crossed the line when she turned. He remembered seeing a furious face before a fist decked him in the right eye, knocking his glasses off. She glared at him. A few girls ran over to make sure he was okay.
“What’s the matter with you?!”
“He has to play the Summer Concert this year! Just because you can’t play doesn’t mean you have to—,”
“I CAN PLAY!” she barked, “And after what he did, I’m NOT sorry! He can go blind for all I care!” she stormed out. The Headmistress of the academy brought the pair into their office. After hearing both sides, she decided that the pair needed discipline.
“Roderick, for doing something so underhanded, I’m going to place you on probation for a month and ask that you stop messing with Miss (l/n). Also Miss (l/n) you could have seriously damaged Roderick’s eye. Both of you need to start working together for the summer concerts but I have no choice but to temporarily take you off the summer concert practices, just until I’m sure you’ll know the severity of your actions. As a lady, you shouldn’t have your emotions take hold of you and hitting someone, even if they clearly deserve it. I know you’ll be ready for the summer but you’re representing the school and even if though I’m going to let you off the hook, I have to make a slight example out of you,”
“Good, dismissed,” both walked towards the door. Outside Roderick tried to say something.
“Whew! We really got off easy—,” he went to place his arm around her. She shoved him away and walked faster.
“Stay away from me,” she said coldly.
“Come on, we should be happy that we got off the hook with nothing. You’re always so uptight, Schätzchen. It’s not good for you,”
“I’m not uptight! Just go away! It’s bad enough you’ve ruined my social life but you’re not ruining my career! It’s not like a self egotistical jerk like you care either way!” she ran off towards the exit. She couldn’t even delight in the fact that his eye was swelling to the size of an orange.
The day of Prom wasn’t too bad. She her dress, she got her hair done, and her mother hired a limo driver. In order to save her daughter from shame, she asked her best friend’s, grandchildren’s friend, Sanford, to take her to Prom. He didn’t even buy her a corsage; her father got one for her. The limo ride wasn’t so bad. Sanford wouldn’t stop bragging about how he could name every single jazz song just but listening to it for a few seconds. When they got to the hotel, he immediately ditched her and scoped out the other girls who went in groups. __________ found her friend and they laughed and talked.
“Don’t worry, I brought my cousin. There’s no shame in it! What happened to Brandon?”
“He never called me back,” she left out the other details.
“Oh __________ you’ll find someone better some day!”
“That’s just it! It wasn’t like I even had a crush on him or anything. I just wanted someone I thought was a friend to take me to Prom. I wish I came alone, the asshole I brought even ditch me,”
“I’ll stay with you,”
“Go have fun, I’m not let my Prom dinner go to waste,” she nibbled at her dinner as she tried to not notice everyone laughing and having fun. Then Moonlight Sonata started playing. She grinned and closed her eyes to enjoy it. She always liked this song. Then someone tapped her shoulder.
“Excuse me,” she looked up. A teenage boy smiled at her from behind the mask. He was wearing red and black and in a Victorian styled suit with a red jabot. His was wearing a black with gold inlays Venetian mask. It covered half his face so much she couldn’t even recognize him, “May I have this dance?” she blushed a bit and nodded and took his hand. On the dance floor, he kept a polite distance from her.
“Do I know you?” she asks, “You look familiar,”
“Kind of but I know you. You’re _________ from the Collette Academy. I’m your biggest fan,” he smiled. She noticed there were a few other students from other schools that were at the Prom.
“Biggest fan? I hardly do anything,”
“I’m in love with your music but I never got the nerve to tell you,”
“What’s your name?”
“Erick Reed. I know I’m easily missed. I’m barely on the rosters,” he said grinning, “Not like you. I look forward to seeing you every day,”
“You see me every day?”
“I’m a very shy person. When I see you I get tongue tied and I have no idea what to say. I guess with a mask on, I can actually say what I’ve been trying to do for years,”
“Oh? What’s that?”
“Talk to you normally,” she smiled. He started asking her questions about her favorite things, her favorite music, what she does other than play music, and even her taste in clothing.
“I love your dress, where did you find it?”
“I found a beautiful picture on Elfwood and well, I wanted it to be my Prom dress. My mom got it made for me. It’s from my favorite artist,”
“Shows you have good taste. It’s beautiful on you,” she blushed, “You don’t like talking about yourself much, do you?”
“I do it’s just that, there’s not much about me,”
“I think there is. You’re fascinating. I bet you have a lot to say but you just afraid to. Fret not though, I’ll get you tell me everything by the end of this night!” she giggled as they finished their dance. Then someone went over to Erick and whispered in his ear, “Oh… they want me,” he went towards the stage but took her wrist and took her with him. He pulled it on stage and passed over a guitar. She stared at it for a few moments. She didn’t recognize any of the people in the live band, since they were all wearing masks, and she became nervous. Erick moved behind her.
“Play this,” he hummed a melody in her ear. She blushed slightly, feeling the hot breath against her neck, “Got it dearie?” she nodded, “Good, follow my lead,” he looked at the crowd and smirked, “I’d like to dedicate this song to a very special lady tonight,” he strummed his guitar. She strummed her. He then started off with the melody. She quickly after and soon they started to sync. The room fell silent as the rest of the band started to play and Erick started to sing.
Your eyes staring into my eyes,
Who am I but a guy with two eyes on the prize',
And the prize in my eyes is ten times,
The surprise in your eyes as I kiss you goodnight.
Your smile is the fire that rocks my soul
Gonna remember it until I grow old,
'Cause life is too short we gotta do things right,
So baby let's just party tonight
Baby let's just party tonight.
Many of the girls giggled and swooned at the dashing young man. ___________ was still playing the melody. He looked at her expectantly. She looked at him. He nodded. She had to think of something quick. She went into a solo herself. He grinned and started for her to finish, then he started playing again.
We've come out on top, We're in front of the line,
We're here to rock out and have a good time,
'Cause the past is the past and the future is bright,
So baby let's just party tonight,
Baby let's just party tonight.
They played until the song ended. The crowd cheered. A few girls ran to the stage. Erick pulled __________ into his chest.
“Sorry ladies. I’m with someone special tonight,” a slow song started to play, “And they’re playing our song,” he pulled her to the dance floor. For a few moments they stared at each other. She looked at him in awe. He smiled at her and held her close to him. She never felt this eased before as he danced with Erick. The others looked at her with envy. Erick smirks and flipped them the bird. They spent the whole time laughing, talking, and having deep discussions in silent whispers. After the dance, he ushered her to take her Prom photo. The Photographer was in awe at the pair.
“I get to take the photo of the princess with her prince!” he said happily, “Seriously! You two are the talk of the Prom and you’re beautiful!” he snapped picture after picture after picture of them. They then went into the banquet hall again. Dessert was being served. She ate (favorite dessert) and he had the chocolate mousse cake.
“Enjoying yourself, sweetie?”
“Yes! I’ve never had this much fun before,”
“See? I knew you knew how to lighten up,”
“I do, it’s just that, I’m serious about becoming an accomplished musician and that’s why I work so hard. No one in my family supports it, even though I got into such an exclusive and prestigious academy. If it wasn’t for the fact I got a scholarship and it looks well on college applications, I would even be there. Music is far from my family’s mind, it’s just sports,”
“That’s terrible. I didn’t know,”
“No one does. I love working on my music. The reason why I stick to myself is because everyone thinks I’m creepy and well, I guess I just let them,” he gently puts his hand on hers.
“I don’t think you’re creepy. You’re just shy. Many artists have their strange quirks and being a mysterious musician is yours. I think it’s great because you are,”
“Please, I’m not that good,”
“Are you serious?! You’re only equal to that Roderick guy,” she sighs at the name but it wasn’t enough for him to stop, “Half the students at the academy would give their right arm to be that good. Your rivalry with him it’s nothing more than an epic battle between the titans,”
“Don’t let him hear you, it’ll go straight to that already big head of his,” she said dryly. She took a drink, a long gulp until all of her soda was gone. Roderick’s name almost always pissed her off. Nevertheless, Erick took her hand.
“Tell me, dearie, why do you hate him so much,” she was taken aback by this. She didn’t hate him, he irritated her to the bitter end but she didn’t hate him.
“I don’t hate Roderick. He just annoys the hell out of me,”
“Why? Seems like all the women within a mile’s radius throws themselves at him,”
“And that’s what annoys me,” she said, “He uses his gift, his amazing gift, to just pick up women and it gives him a sense of entitlement. And for some reason he’s been messing with me lately! It’s like he wants to make me miserable. I have enough of that on a daily basis without him helping. Those who work hard are overlooked because of him! I write music and it makes me feel so good but no one often wants to give them a chance because they don’t want to upset him. That’s why I go solo rather than being in a group. All the girls I’m with wants to impress him by playing something of his and think he’ll like,”
“When you play, all of that music is your own creation?” she nodded, “I loved it! I mean it’s so dark but earthly! I’ve always wanted to ask you if mind recording it for me,”
“Sure! I have a few copies to see how to improve it,”
“Don’t! I like dark,”
“Most people don’t,”
“Most people don’t want to admit they have a dark side. You embrace it. When a musician or any artist for that matter, try to adapt or please everyone, their own style suffers for it. Also, if it’s not fun, then it’s not worth continuing,”
“Exactly. You’re so easy to talk to. I have to admit, this is the first time I don’t feel like the outcast,”
“Outcasts are hot,” she blushed. That was when the clock struck midnight. She got up, “What’s the matter?”
“Time for me to go,”
“Well, Prom’s over and the limo driver is going to take me back home,” she really didn’t want to leave yet. She was having a great time. She looked for Sanford but he decided to do to an after party without her. Erick took her hand and walked her to the limo.
“Hurry up kid! The sooner I get you home, the sooner I can clock out,” Erick out a few bills and hands them to the driver.
“How about you take us to the White Swan? I’m not done with this evening yet,” the driver counted it and nodded.
“The White Swan?!” it was one of the most exclusive and fanciest places in town. No one could get in unless they were dressed in the proper attire and on the busiest nights, like prom, had a reservation.
“We’re dressed for. It’s Masquerade Night tonight and I made a reservation beforehand so I can take you, if you’ll have me,” she smiled and nodded. He helped her into the limo. Inside, she took her mask off a bit. She noticed that Erick didn’t take his off.
“Can I at least see your face tonight?” she reached over to take his mask. He moved back and held his mask close to his face.
“No, I’m sorry but your beauty will overwhelm my senses,” she blushed. She respected his wishes. They continued to talk and laugh the rest of the night.
It was around two when she finally got home. She was tired, happy that she didn’t have anything to do this weekend and full. Erick was a perfect gentleman. He walked her to her door. She hugged him tightly.
“Thank you for such a great evening,”
“Thank you for allowing me to grace your presence,” she reached up and pecks his cheek. He gently takes her chin into his hands and gently kisses her.
“Will I ever see you again?” he smiled and cupped her face.
“I’ll always be around you and I’ll show you when I’m near,” she blushed again. He chuckles darkly and ruffles her hair, “You’re so cute,” She opened the door. Her mother was there waiting. Before she was chewed out, Erick stepped in, “Her date left her alone to go to an after party. Don’t worry, I know her from the Music Academy and I decided to bring her home after I took her out for a proper Prom. Is that okay?” her mom nodded and lets her daughter inside. ___________ took a few more pictures in the living room before taking off her dress and going to bed. She couldn’t help but swoon at everything that happened tonight. She really hoped she’d meet Erick again someday. She couldn’t help but hum the song as she drifted to sleep. Erick lingered for a few moments before going back into the limo. He took off his mask and straightens himself. He was wearing an eye patch. The doctor said it was nothing serious but he had to wear it until the swelling went down and be back to his old self. Tonight was the best night of his life; he got to see her smile.
She found herself humming the song from that night. That night was very sentimental to her. She smiled. It was the first time she actually felt relaxed, escaping from studying, the pressures of constantly being the best.
“Your eyes staring into my eyes,” she looked up. Impossible. Someone was singing his song. Erick’s song, her Erick. She immediately followed it, praying she wasn’t hallucinating. She heard a guitar and ran faster, “Who am I but a guy with two eyes on the prize', And the prize in my eyes is ten times, The surprise in your eyes as I kiss you goodnight. Your smile is the fire that rocks my soul. Gonna remember it until I grow old, 'Cause life is too short we gotta do things right, So baby let's just party tonight,” her eyes widened. Roderick was playing the melody to the song. Tears rolled down her face. She couldn’t believe it. Not after all these years, it was him all along. He looked up when he noticed sobbing.
“Hi Schätzchen,” he smiled.
“I-It was you? You were that guy at the Prom?” he nodded with his cocky smile, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You hated me back then,” he said simply, “but I adored you. You were driven, you played from the heart and very soul and I loved you for it but I didn’t know how to tell you and we were always competition to the other. I heard you asked that fucker to the Prom and he stood you up and then that other bastard ignored you the whole night so I took the opportunity to be with the only person I wanted to be with,”
“Is that why I’m on tour with you?”
“Partially, another reason is you’re a talented musician who puts everything into her music so much that it’s beautiful. I would be crazy not to have someone who can play different instruments at any given time I need. Besides, it was a total sausage fest in that bus. Having a woman gives everything a touch of class,” she hugged him tightly around his neck. He wasn’t expecting that. He smiled genuinely this time. After all these years, he finally got her to lighten up a little and enjoy what life had to offer. She pulled away and pecked his cheek. He smirked and pulled her into a deep kiss. He strummed his guitar again and played another song, “Good Little Girl. Always picking a fight with me. You know that I’m bad, but you’re spending the night with me. What do you want from my world? You’re a good little girl,”
“Bad little boy. That's what you're acting like. I really don't buy, that you're that kind of guy. And…If you are...Why do you want to hang out with me?” he smirked and pulled her into his lap.
“You know you complete me Schätzchen,”
“I hate to admit it, but you complete me too,”