31: Goody Two Shoes

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Ch. 31: Goody Two Shoes

 I arrived at the Copa at 1:30 and sat there staring at strangers for a half an hour, Brown students talking Derrida and Freud, some Rimconners discussing their recital, a few townie kids trying to be artsy, some part of me thinking that Bart wasn’t going to show. But he walked in the door at two o’clock sharp and pulled a stray chair up to the table. What he said caught me by surprise. “Daron,” he said, “You must be the sanest person I know.”

 I laughed in spite of how miserable I felt. “What?”

 “No, seriously.” He took his coat off. “At least I have a 99% chance of having a coherent conversation with you.” He grinned expectantly.

 “Jeez, how am I supposed to answer that?” I turned my empty coffee cup around in my hands. “Okay, how about this one, what’s the deal with you leaving school?”

 “I couldn’t tell you this with Roger the Walking Gossip Machine there. I’m getting out of town to avoid a scandal.” His eyes shone.

“What kind of a scandal?”

“The Dean’s Daughter kind of a scandal.” He kept his voice low. “I’m sorry I wasn’t totally straight with you. You know I’ve always hated music school.”

“I made some guesses.”

 “Well, I never told you the whole story of why I left Boston. I got myself kicked out there, too, thought that would be the end of it. But my father pulled some strings, got me sent down here, and I went ’cause I didn’t have anything else to do. But now,” he spread his arms. “I have reached the proverbial point of no return. I’ll never be able to show my face around here again. I’m sorry I never told you all this before.”

 “We,” I let myself smile as I said it, “We all have our little secrets to keep.”

“Cool.” He jittered in his seat. “At least I know you can keep one.”

I thought about that for a moment. “Won’t your running to Boston make it look kind of suspicious?”

“Of course not.” He tapped the table. “The official story is obvious. I’m throwing away a brilliant career in the symphony to start a rock band with my best friend. That’ll be scandal enough for my parents.”

 “Wait,” Too many things were trying to sink in at once. “You’re not going to live with your parents?” “No, I’m moving in with my girlfriend, Michelle.”

“Aha.” I sat back. “And what’s this band you’re starting?”

He smiled. “I’m not. You are. It’s called Moondog Three, and you’re going up there during the break to look for a singer, right?”

 I smiled back. “I’ll do you one better. I’m quitting school, too.”

“Why?”

I let my tongue roll out the words. “Roger convinced me.”

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