Monday morning brought around another music lesson, and another opportunity for Felix to be late. Maddy had sat through registration looking at his empty seat and holding her tongue. She had walked the corridors to the music room with Liv and managed not to say a word. She had even managed to keep her comments to herself when, ten minutes into their lesson, he had dashed into the room, red-faced, muttering a hurried apology to the music teacher. What happened? Liv asked, as he dropped his bag down at their table. Switched my alarm clock off, didn't I? Felix sighed, as he took up a chair. Across the table, Maddy's brow contracted in a frown. She was fairly certain that she could smell a hint of smoke, which meant that Felix's alarm clock was probably perfectly functional. However, she kept true to her word and she said nothing. So what are we doing? asked Felix, unloading books and stationary from his bag. It's a free play session, Maddy informed him. Gibson's letting us work on whatever we want. Good, smiled Felix. I'd hoped that he'd be doing that today. I have a proposition for you both. We don't do threesomes, Maddy answered swiftly, winking. Pity, but not what I was going to suggest, grinned Felix. How would you like to earn a hundred quid for a couple of hours work? What kind of work? Liv asked, tentatively. You've suggested some pretty odd things in the past Oh, nothing untoward! replied Felix with an airy wave of his hand. No, it's for the aunt that my mum and dad went to visit this weekend. She's getting re-married and she wants some musicians to play for a bit at the reception. I figured a cellist, a violinist and a flute player would be able to make a pretty decent sound. I guess so, said Maddy, thoughtfully. When is this wedding? November the fifth, Felix responded. It'll all be indoors, so we don't have to worry about freezing to death.
Maddy turned to Liv, and the pair exchanged glances. An extra hundred pounds in their pockets was nothing to be sneered at. Liv smiled and gave a nonchalant shrug; clearly she didn't mind either way. Alright, Maddy agreed. It sounds like it could be a bit of laugh. What kind of music does she want us to play? Her exact words were something classy', informed Felix. Though, I'd imagine she'd want something quite mellow, and probably something people might recognise. Felix pulled a document wallet out from beneath a stack of books and reached inside of it, pulling out a thick sheaf of paper.
I think we could do an nice Mozart arrangement, he went out, laying out a sheet of music from his wad of paper. Everyone knows Eine kleine Nachtmusik'. The spring section from The Four Seasons' would be a good one to try too. Sure, shrugged Maddy. She glanced across at Liv, who nodded. We can give those a try. Great, Felix smiled. We'll have to get working on an arrangement, especially for Liv's parts, seeing as most of these pieces are for strings. He pulled a luminous yellow highlighter out of his blazer pocket and began to section out the different staves. Maddy watched him for a moment, wondering which part he was going to give to Liv. However, before she could ask, another question sprung into mind.
Did your mum mention anything about the house after we'd gone? she asked carefully.
No, Felix sniggered. Though she kept looking around the rooms and opening up cupboards as though she expected to see something messed up or in the wrong place. I think she had an inkling that something might have gone down, but she's not going to say anything about it. I mean, how can she? It's not like we didn't clean up. He pushed a copy of the music he'd been annotating towards Maddy.
Here, he said. I think it's best if we all follow the strings section at first, then we can modify it later for Liv as it's required.
Is this a good idea? Liv murmured. I mean, we've already got one lot of music to be practising for orchestra. Should we be getting involved in anything else?
It won't take much time to get to know these pieces, Livvy, Felix assured her. It's good to challenge ourselves anyway. I feel like we've barely done anything over the last week or so.
We haven't, Maddy reminded him, with a smirk. We ghost through practice. I could really do with getting my head down and learning these pieces better. And I could do with practising my vocals, Liv sighed. And I could do getting nine hours a day, doing four hours a night of homework and brushing my teeth for an extra minute before bed, Felix chipped in. But come on, we're eighteen years old! Speak for yourself, muttered Maddy.
Fine, he conceded. We're seventeen and eighteen years old. There's so much going on. We can't lock ourselves away in an attic to work on our scales all day, every day. Besides, we've got two rehearsals a week until March. That's plenty of time to get good at the competition pieces.
I guess so, smiled Liv. Though it wouldn't hurt to do a bit of work in my spare time.
Of course not, Felix agreed. It's all about balance. Maddy and Liv both beamed at Felix's words of encouragement. Maddy had been worrying about her lapse in devotion to her music, and now it seemed like she had not been the only one. Felic was right, of course they did not need to spend every waking moment bow in hand, bent over a music stand. However, Maddy decided it wouldn't hurt to put a bit more effort into practising.
How many people do you reckon we're going to lose this year? Liv asked, pensively.
What do you mean, hun? asked Maddy.
Don't you remember last year? Liv questioned. People in the year above started turning eighteen. And then, one by one, half of them just stopped turning up to rehearsals. They obviously discovered drinking and going out, and found it a better use of their spare time. #
Wow, Felix muttered. I hadn't thought about that. I guess that'll end up happening this year too.
What's the chance we might lose Felicity? Maddy asked hopefully, a wistful expression seizing her countenance. Liv and Felix laughed.
Sorry to disappoint you, Mads, grinned Felix, But I highly doubt she'll go. Her dad's too pushy.
I saw her dad last night on the way home, Liv commented thoughtfully. Driving around in his flashy car with some blonde on his arm. It makes me feel kind of sorry for old Flic.#
Ew, why? Maddy exclaimed, wrinkling her nose in disgust.
Well it can't be nice, can it? said Liv, reasonably. Imagine seeing a different woman at your breakfast table each morning. Or worse, hearing a different woman when you're lying in bed at night, Felix added, slyly. Maddy and Liv made identical noises of repulsion as Felix chortled with laughter. Hey! he said. At least you'd know if he was going to be in a good mood the next morning! Gross! Liv cried.
Yeah, that's rancid, muttered Maddy, shaking her head. I'd really rather not think about that. Let's just get back to the music, shall we?
Alright, smirked Felix. Shall we try a run through? We can go in the little practice room at the back.
Sure, chirped Liv and Maddy, in almost perfect unison.
The three collected their bags and their instruments and they set of towards the door to the adjoining practice room, a small, supposedly soundproofed chamber where one-to-one lessons usually took place. As they crossed the room, the happened by a cluster of chairs where Felicity Reed and her lapdogs were sitting, gathered around a music book. Maddy chanced a look in her direction and was rewarded with a stony glare from her dark-haired nemesis. She glanced away, wondering, for the millionth time, what she could have done to deserve such hatred.