Chapter 19 The violin recital (2)

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Janet

Leslie gave quite the performance. When she was playing the violin, it didn't feel like she was playing it. It was like an extended part of her body and the concerto launched at her fingertips, sailing out boldly like a grand cruise ship.

The start was pensive, and slowly it gave way to a poignant middle part. The melody skipped on the floor like colorful beads, bouncing off the stage, and later melted into a celebratory finale. I was transformed to a dance, where it didn't end when she stopped playing. The notes hung in the air and in my head.

Sean was only concerned about when we could leave and eat. He and I hung around the lobby after the crowd had thinned, bickering good-naturedly as we waited for Leslie to come out.

"As a fellow musician, I really want to meet Leslie," I said. "Try to join in the conversation when we talk about how music enriches our existences."

He snorted. "I feel really uncomfortable classifying you and Leslie into the same group."

I hit him on the shoulder. "I'm an aspiring singer/song writer. And you know what? At least my materials are original. Leslie just plays whatever it was written on the music sheet. When you try to convert it, it's like she sings at Karaoke."

He laughed. "Right. But she can probably play one of your songs with blindfold on, considering the level of skills it requires."

Our banter went on for a little while in a silly manner. Sean knew nothing about music and he usually ate up whatever I fed him, and classical music to him was an expedition without a map.

He cracked a stupid joke and I playfully shoved him again. He fell back a few steps, laughing with his head tossed back. Out of the corner of my eyes I glimpsed Leslie walking towards us, and I held up my arm to wave. In that split second her face seemed to cloud over. When I looked again, she caught my eye and quickly smiled.

"Hey, that was amazing," Sean said as she neared. He didn't even see her until she was five steps behind him. "I know you probably don't need to hear this from me, but just for the record I really enjoyed it."

"You were wonderful! It was so rich and powerful," I said.

Leslie smiled. It was a little strained, like it tired her. "Thanks. I didn't know you'd be bringing company." She glanced at Sean, then her gaze switched to me and back at Sean.

"This is Janet. You probably know her already," Sean said. His tone was enthusiastic, but I meant judging by Sean's standard. He was generally not a very enthusiastic person. "She has her own band and she's really good."

"Hi," Leslie greeted tersely.

"Hey, I belong to the string family too." I put on my best amicable smile. There was something off with Leslie. "I play the electric guitar."

She nodded. "Violins and guitars are very different."

She did not sound condescending, I told myself. I must have imagined it. Musicians are weird people, after all.

"It was a success tonight," Sean said. "Do you want to go somewhere to celebrate? You can catch a ride with me and Janet."

"Oh, I thought..." Leslie hesitated. She bit her lips. "Actually, you know what? I think I'm going to pass. I just remembered I need to go over something with my teacher."

"Really?" Sean asked with wide eyes. He sounded very surprised. "We can wait for you if you want."

"No, it's fine. I'll talk to you tomorrow." She smiled. Her gaze lingered on his face. "Thanks for coming."

Oh my god. I couldn't pretend not to see it anymore. This girl totally had something more planned and she was hoping to spend the night with Sean. I was the unexpected factor that ruined everything. Sean and I ended up going to eat alone when originally we meant to celebrate Leslie's big night for her.

"You don't think Leslie is unhappy to see me, do you?" I asked.

"No, of course not," Sean answered a little too quickly. "She said before that she really likes you."

"That's funny, considering I've never spoken a word to her before, and we didn't really go very far tonight either." I took a bite into my greasy burger. "And the way she looked down on electric guitar..."

"I'm sure she didn't mean anything by that," he said. I suspected he noticed too, but Sean was very bad at convincing me. "Maybe she was just very stressed about playing on stage and she felt overwhelmed."

"No, I think Leslie only wants you for herself. She was definitely not happy seeing that you brought a girl."

"What girl?" Sean joked, avoiding the issue.

"Come on, you saw that. As soon as she knew I was going to hang around, she fled."

"Who cares what her problem is? We came to show our support and that part's accomplished," Sean said, picking up his burger. "I treat you to some good food like I promised and you get to hang with your best friend who you miss. Everybody's happy."

Not everybody. I knew someone was probably sulking backstage right now. I stuffed some fries in my mouth and felt my phone buzz.

Flora called.

"Jan, I don't believe this. Sean has never given me flowers before, and now he goes off showering Leslie Mayor with roses." Flora's voice was shaking slightly, sounding completely freaked out. "I feel so dizzy I think I'm going to puke."

"What? How do you even know about it?"

She groaned. "Leslie posted a photo on Facebook of herself hugging a bouquet of roses. The caption reads: an incredible night thanks to Sean Foster. Is that the creepiest thing you've ever heard or what?"

There. More proof. I could see why Flora would misunderstand, but I couldn't explain with Sean sitting right next to me. "What's creepy is why you're even her Facebook friend," I said instead.

"I'm not, but I'm friends with Lucia, so when she posts comments I can see the photo. Do you know anything about it?"

"It's not what you think. I'll tell you about it later."

"Okay, but I'll send you the photo for your reference." She hung up.

A minute later my screen lit up again and I saw a very dreamy-looking Leslie with her roses, as well as the very misleading caption. She looked so in love there was no mistake about it.

"What's the crisis?" Sean asked. "You look stricken."

I debated mentally for a moment. He wouldn't be able to see it himself because he didn't even have an account, but he should know about this.

"Here, see for yourself." I showed him the picture.

He leaned over to peer at the screen and smiled easily. "She looks nice."

"Nice? She looks in love, Sean."

"I admire your female's keen observation because I sure can't see it." He munched on. "I think she's just happy about the recital."

"Aren't you even a little offended? She clearly means to make people think there's something romantic going on."

"Offended? No, I'm not offended." Seriously Sean was so dense! "And it's not like she lied about anything."

"This girl is good, Sean. You really should be careful." Suddenly a thought came to me like epiphany. "I bet she faked the stomach cramps in the beginning so she could get you alone and talk you into breaking it off with Lucia."

Sean stared at me like I was insane. He stopped chewing for a few seconds, then he took a long sip of his coke. He set down the glass.

"Janet, please just eat your burger," he said finally.

***

dedicated with love to cedardrops for entering my KITEP one shot contest x

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