Chapter 15

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When Maude walked in the Creation Room, the next morning, she found Matt behind the piano, his brow furrowed in dissatisfied concentration, his fingers sliding angrily across the piano keys. He stopped and not noticing Maude, started again, still unsatisfied with the result.

When he started over for the fourth time, Maude coughed indicating her presence.

He turned around, and Maude felt happy to see him startled for once.

“Surprised to see me?” Maude asked, laying her coat on the orange sofa.

“I didn’t know if you’d come back after last week,” Matt answered.

“You must have a pretty bad opinion of me. We still have an album to write, and I have no intention of bailing out on you.”

“I don’t have a poor opinion of you, Maude. Quite the contrary,” Matt said, rising from the bench and walking towards her. “I wanted to apologize for last week. I was totally inconsiderate.”

“I can take a little constructive criticism, Matt. I’m not made of porcelain.”

“That’s not what I meant. Jaz told me your parents had passed away, and I felt totally dumb for calling you spoiled. Jazmine said I was no better than Peter Longarm, which is probably the worst insult I’ve ever received in my entire life.”

Maude smiled.

“That guy doesn’t have an ounce of tact, and he purposely chose the words he uttered. You, on the other hand, didn’t know anything about me. So I guess what I’m saying is, I accept your apology. Besides, you were right about my having to dig deeper in my feelings. Thanks to your advice, I got the lead in La Cenerentola. Ms. Tragent posted the results yesterday,” Maude beamed with pleasure.

“Glad I could help,” Matt said with ease. He kind of liked having Maude thank him. It was definitely a positive change from having her angry with him. Although that was an inextinguishable source of amusement too.

“You know,” she continued, “I’m also sorry I made fun of your song ‘The Love Doctor’. I shouldn’t have parodied you the way I did. I­—”

“Don’t worry about that,” Matt grinned, moving towards the piano. “I actually took it as a compliment.”

“What do you mean?”

“It meant you cyberstalked me. I find it cute that you would want to know everything about me.”

Matt, who thought he was only teasing Maude, had no idea that she had actually spent some time looking up his background. She really wouldn’t call it cyberstalked him per se but preferred to see it as checking out his resume.

“I didn’t cyberstalk you,’ Maude protested, her cheeks burning. “I am not one of your groupies,” she stated firmly, crossing her arms.

“You certainly knew my lyrics by heart,” Matt pointed out, evidently enjoying seeing her squirm.

“Because they stuck in my head after five minutes. They really aren’t the most difficult lyrics to remember, you know. You might want to dig deeper in your feelings.”

“That’s what I did and I wrote ‘Burning Bridges,’ Lindsey Linton’s first hit.”

“I’m not surprised you got along with Lindsey,” Maude replied barely hiding her disgust. “You guys were made for each other! You two are probably the most conceited, arrogant, egotistic persons I have ever met!”

Undaunted, Matt just smiled and said,“There were rumors about us but—”

“You know what, Matt,” Maude interrupted angrily. “I really don’t want to hear about Lindsey, or anything that has to do with you or your love life. We aren’t friends, remember?”

“Right,” Matt replied in a lazy drawl that infuriated Maude further. “Because if we were friends, you wouldn’t have a problem listening to me talk about my love life like you obviously do right now. I guess you just can’t handle picturing me with another girl,” he finished, amused by the look of utter indignation that spread across Maude’s face.

 Her face was so expressive at that moment, she couldn’t hide a single feeling even if her life depended on it. She looked ready to pounce on him.

“As amusing as it is to annoy you, let’s try to act like professionals,” Matt suggested.

Maude nodded, too angry to speak and even angrier at herself for actually caring whether he might or might not have been in a relationship with Lindsey.

“I’ve been working like crazy this past week on three new songs:  ‘Leaving You Behind,’ ‘Reckless,’ and my favorite one so far, ‘Sunrise.’ Take a look at the score.”

She took the music sheet, relieved to change the topic. She quickly surveyed the score, her face slowly softening as she read the lyrics. She steadied her breath and started to sing.

You’re so peaceful while you sleep

I could watch you for a lifetime

Immersed in a slumber so deep

You don’t hear the clock chime


But suddenly daylight appears

The rays of light dance on your skin

Your morning smile chases away my fears

With you, the shadows can’t win

Maude stopped and faced Matt.

“It’s beautiful,” she whispered.

“I was inspired when I wrote it,” he said softly, his serious gray eyes resting upon her. He remembered the morning he had walked in on Maude practicing near the window and felt this song was the closest to expressing in words the image of the sunlight on her face.

Maude, thinking he was speaking about Lindsey, headed hastily towards the piano.

“So, which song was giving you such a hard time when I came in? Was it ‘Leaving You Behind’? We could work on it together if you like.”

As she sat in front of the piano, a bright ray of light softly rested on her face, her whole demeanor seeming almost ethereal.

Matt smiled calmly and said, “‘Sunrise.’ ‘Sunrise’is giving me a hard time. Let’s work on that one first, okay?”

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