Chapter 28

58.2K 1.3K 119

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

 

It was Maude’s first recording session and she was to start recording the piano arrangement for the first track “Sunrise.” Maude was alone in the live room, but could see, through the large glass pane, James Baldwin, Matt, and Sam, the sound engineer, gathered in the control room, listening and recording as Maude played the soft, moderato melody accompanying Matt’s lyrics. She had spent hours practicing this melody and knew it by heart. She could play it eyes closed. She barely tensed when she saw Alan Lewis enter the control room to oversee the recording although he knew next to nothing to recording an album.

To say he’d been upset upon hearing the news of Maude’s “public humiliation,” as he called it, would have been an understatement. Walking into the control room that morning, he wanted Maude to understand that he was keeping an eye on his investments and that he wouldn’t tolerate another faux pas. He listened to the melody and witnessed her graceful ease while playing but still left the room with a smirk on his face.

“Time to take a break. After the break, you’ll play the bridge again, but a little slower,” James, said in the microphone.

Maude headed towards the kitchen and was soon followed by Matt.

They hadn’t spoken all morning and Matt didn’t know how to break the ice.

“Listen, Maude, about last Saturday, I just wanted to apologize for—”

“There is no need for you to apologize for Saturday. I just wished you’d told me you didn’t want to come,” Maude interrupted tersely.

“I did want to come, I­—”

“Really? Then why did Jazmine have to call you to tell you to come over?” she asked.

Matt sighed.

“It’s complicated. But I made it as soon as I could. I’m sorry I wasn’t backstage with you before the show. I’ll do anything you want to make it up to you.”

“It’s okay. I just think we should be honest with each other from now on if this friendship is going to work. I just assumed you would come because you came to the pre-event ritual and everything. I really needed your support Saturday,” she ended, barely looking at him.

Matt’s heart clenched as her sorrowful eyes reminded of her haggard look Saturday on stage.

“I promise I won’t fail you whenever you perform in public again. I’ll be there before everyone else,” he promised.

“On another topic entirely, Cynthia was talking to me about a Baroque exhibition next Friday at—”

“Cynthia is too obsessed with museums for her own good,” Matt interrupted. “You should just tell her you don’t want to go, she’ll understand. I tell her all the time. I just can’t stand museums. My father forced me to go when I was little and to learn all the great artists’ dates of death by heart. I really hate museums,” Matt insisted frowning profusely.

Maude smiled.

“Actually, I’m the one who wanted to go the Met for an exhibition on European Baroque art. I was going to ask if you wanted to come, seeing as you owe me for completely and utterly abandoning me last Saturday. But seeing how much you viscerally hate museums, I don’t want you to do something you don’t want to do.”

Matt gulped and tried to think of unsaying what he’d just said.

“I don’t viscerally hate museums. That’s a strong word. Maybe we could—”

“Forget it. I’ll just go ask someone else, it’s fine,” Maude smiled gently.

She headed back to the studio, and Matt followed her, cursing himself interiorly for his blunt honesty.  

***

“Thomas Bradfield, you’ve got to learn to hold that D major. It is four beats, not two,” Ms. Tragent scolded. “Don’t just skip along to the next note! Class over. Out, all of you,” Ms. Tragent ordered as if she couldn’t stand their presence any longer.

Maude and Thomas hurried to get their things, but Lindsey blocked Maude.

“Is it true?” she asked coldly.

“Is what true?” asked Maude innocently although she had a feeling she knew where this conversation was going.

“Jazmine told me Ms. Tragent was going to give you private lessons.”

Maude smiled. Jazmine hadn’t even waited for them to tell Lindsey together.

“That’s right,” she replied.

 “If I’d known all I had to do to get lessons was run off stage, I would’ve done it a long time ago,” she remarked snidely. “I hope Ms. Tragent also told you that I saved the entire show and that I sang beautifully. Next time you have stage-fright, you might want to give your understudy a heads-up before the curtain goes up.”

Maude’s cheeks burned with shame, but she lifted her head a little higher.

“Why? Do you plan on being my understudy forever?” she retorted.

Lindsey smirked.

“You have no idea what’s coming at you, Maude. But when it does, I want to be the first to see your face,” she said as she walked haughtily away.

Maude looked at her strut away, an uneasy feeling building up in her chest. She followed Thomas outside, still mulling over what Lindsey had said.

“Don’t let Lindsey get to you. She’s just jealous. Besides, her performance wasn’t as great as yours would have been. I would much rather have done it with you than with her.”

Maude smiled gratefully at him.

“Still,” he pursued. “Getting private lessons with the most sought-for teacher in New York is something to celebrate, I should think. Are you free for dinner Friday night?”

Maude stopped in her tracks.

“Are you asking me out?” she asked, astounded.

“That’s exactly what I’m doing.  We could go to this awesome restaurant I just discovered and after, head to the new Baroque exhibition at the Met. I know how much you like art exhibitions.”

Maude’s smile widened. Thomas was decidedly nothing like Matt, she thought. Thomas was steady and trustworthy and always took her seriously while Matt never lost a chance to push her buttons and hated museums.

“Alright, I’m in,” she chirped.

“Cool, I’ll pick you up at seven.”

A French Girl in New York ( The French Girl Series #1)Where stories live. Discover now