“Oh my God! You did it!”
The sound of Aspen’s voice gave me a three second warning before she came crashing into me, squealing loudly. Grimacing as I fought to keep myself stable, I pushed her arms away from around my neck. “Did what? I don’t drive, so you’re not talking about my parking.”
“No, I mean, the auditions, results are posted,” she said breathlessly, a wide smile on her face. “You’re the first name on the list too! I don’t know if it means anything, but it sort of implies you were the best, doesn’t it?”
“I doubt that signifies anything…”
“Doesn’t matter, come look,” she urged, grabbing my hand and tugging me toward the music hallways.
True to her words, the audition results were posted on the announcement bored in the main hallway. A few students were milling about it, congratulating each other, but Aspen pretty much shoved them aside. I apologized to the other students, sending Aspen a brief annoyed look. She ignored me, pointing to my name, which was indeed at the top. “See?”
“Yep,” I responded, trying and failing to hold back a grin. So what if the top didn’t mean anything? I could pretend it did. My eyes drifted to the name below mine, and my smile grew. “And Elliot made it!”
“I’ve never actually heard him play,” Aspen mused. “Is he good?”
“Is he— he’s awesome! He’s beyond awesome; he’s brilliant! I mean, he plays like a God.”
“Oh, shut up.”
I jumped in surprise at the low mutter, twisting my head to see Elliot. “Hey! Congratulations!” I cried, throwing my arms around him.
“Allie—” Aspen started in alarm, but cut herself off, a look of confusion on her face. “Huh. So it is true. You guys are friends.”
Elliot easily pried my arms off him, shoving me none too gently away. “We’re not friends.”
I winked at him. “No need to be shy.”
“You’re annoying,” he informed me before squinting at the results. “Huh. Good job. But I knew you’d do good anyway.”
Praise from Elliot was like praise from the gods. I wanted to hug him again, but I managed to withhold myself. “You’re such a nice guy, Elliot.”
He rolled his eyes, but the corner of his lip twitched. “Whatever.”
“Can I hear you play?” Aspen asked hopefully.
“Aw, come on!” she complained, but Elliot was already walking away. Pouting, she crossed her arms. “Why does he only talk to you?”
“Well, he talks to Paul too,” I pointed out.
She furrows her eyebrows. “Paul…”
“Oh, I mean Mr. Rus—”
“The Paul you live with?” she inquired, interrupting me. Then her eyes widened when she heard what I said. “Wait a minute. Whoa. You live with some guy named Paul… Paul is Mr. Russet. You’re in piano… Oh my God.”