07| akumatized

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          « Oh, you're playing the violin? »

An unexpected voice speaks behind me. Facing towards the speaker, I find Sophie Martin, a pretty tanned ravenette of the same year as I but located in different classrooms. She is not one of the most popular students in the school, but she is definitely not unknown, either. I have learned from other classmates that she was not the friendliest person -very violent and irrational, to be exact-, specifically when it comes to being outshined by other people.

« Uh— yeah? » I confusedly reply with knitted eyebrows, wondering as to why she would ask me such a question until I noticed a gleaming new violin grasped between her fingers.

« Your violin looks very— old. You should have gotten a nicer and newer one to even participate in this showcase, » Sophie advises while staring at my instrument. « I'm playing right after you, and Jagged Stones will obviously prefer me over you after seeing my performance. »

Today is the day of the musical talent showcase, where students of all years in Collège Françoise Dupont have the opportunity to express and showcase their harmonious talents. And, surprisingly, Jagged Stones is present among spectators to collect fresh musicians and guide them to the music industry under his wing. The announcement about his visiting is what has truly motivated the students to participate, understandingly, since opportunities such as these are extremely uncommon.

« Sure. Whatever you say. » I scoff loudly at Sophie's comment with an eye roll as I return my attention towards the hanging black curtains separating performers from the platform.

« Juliette! Come, come. You're up next! » I see Madame Bustier motioning me to enter the staging, an excited grin visible on her features. When nearing the black curtains, I immediately take in a deep breath and exhale gradually to soothe my jittering nerves. I slightly jolt when a hand abruptly settles on my shoulder, and I feel my orange-haired educator giving a simple encouraging squeeze.

Stepping confidently onto the stage with my violin in hand, I instantly notice my energetic friends waving enthusiastically. Once maintaining eye contact, Adrien mouths 'you will do amazing' with two emphasizing thumbs up, producing a warm red-cheeked smile on my face.

After the heartfelt reassurance, I breathe out once more, then rest the violin on my collarbone and support it with my left hand and shoulder. Delicately placing the wooden bow on the string, I begin performing one of my favourite pieces, the Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor. Concentrating entirely on the instrument and the movement of my fingers, I play the music rhythmically and passionately. The quick thumping in my chest decreases as moments go by, and my spirit is finally at ease from every self-doubt and uncertainty I previously had. Adrien's brief encouragement appears to the mind, so I held onto his words until the very end of my performance.

I bow with a smile when hearing the audience's thunderous claps. I suddenly notice the green-eyed blond waving a hand towards me before patting the empty seat beside him, and I nod in acknowledgment while leaving the spotlight and returning behind the black curtains. Gently placing the violin in its case, a familiar voice interrupts me as I was about to carry the instrument.

« I think it is better to leave your violin here if you're going to sit with the audience. No one but us and the performers is here, so it is much safer. » Madame Bustier says, « Your initials are there, right? »

I muttered a small « oui » before running out backstage, and as I trudge towards the empty seat - that Adrien had thoughtfully kept for me- I realized I would be occupying the space between him and Marinette. The bluenette looks utterly dejected when she presents me with a faltered smile as I return it with a sympathetic one, knowing she wanted to be beside Adrien. Nonetheless, I relished the remainder of my time watching the other performers while chitchatting with the model.

Once the musical talent showcase was over, my friends tagged along as I retrieved my violin backstage. After holding the case in hand, my eyebrows knitted when detecting unusual noises emitting inside the case. In worry, I hastily unzipped the case, and my heart instantly dropped at the horrific sight. My cherished violin now smashed into pieces, and the bow snapped into two.

« It was old anyway. You should thank me, » the vile tongue speaks behind me as gasps erupt from my friends.

« You have no idea how valuable this was! » my voice cracked as I glared at her in absolute anger. My body is twitching to smash the intact violin within her hold, « this instrument passed down for many generations, probably over 200 years old! »

« Rot in hell, » I finally mutter.

« Juliette! »

Completely ignoring the desperate cry from Adrien, I ran out to the girl's bathroom with the case in hand and locked myself inside one of the stalls. Screaming in frustration, I sat on the toilet seat.

Suddenly, I see a black butterfly with purple accents landing on my broken violin. 

| to be continued

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