Authors: Brieanna Robertson
Tags: #General Fiction
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed
as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or person,
living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© Brieanna Robertson 2011
First Edition Purple Sword Publications, LLC April 5,
Prior ISBN: 9781936165902
Edition World Castle Publishing March 15, 2013
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This one is all
for putting up
with my eight billion text messages.
And for reminding
me that all great artists are crazy.
You are a friend,
and a man, without equal.
“A love song is just
a caress set to music.”
“Geez Louise, this is the oldest piece of music I have ever
seen in my life. Where did you get it?” Melody tentatively picked up the
tattered, yellowed score her friend had put on her table, afraid it might fall
apart in her hand.
“This big estate sale,” Nikki said. “There was all this rich
lady stuff there. Not really my style.” She shrugged. “But I saw that thing and
just had to get it for you. Can you still see it well enough to play it?”
Melody felt the color drain from her face, and she dipped her
head, pretending to be engrossed in the ancient score. Really, she wanted her mass
of blonde hair to fall in front of her face so Nikki wouldn’t see how pale she
knew she’d gotten. “The notes are still legible,” she muttered, steering away
from the actual
I can still play it
part of the statement.
She perused it a little longer, just to be safe, but when she
stood straight and looked back at her friend, she knew she hadn’t fooled
anyone. Nikki had known her too long.
Nikki was staring at her, hands on her hips, her lips drawn
into an unamused line. “Gimme a break, Mel. I wasn’t born yesterday. You still
haven’t played anything, have you?”
Her face, which had felt so colorless a second ago, flooded
with warmth, and she averted her gaze. “I may have played Chopsticks at one
Nikki snorted. “Awesome. A world famous concert pianist,
, played Chopsticks once, probably when you were
drunk. Alert the media.”
Melody scowled at her. “Gimme a break, Nik. I wasn’t world
famous by any means.”
“You could have been! Would have been if you had kept going!”
She huffed out a sigh, and her expression changed from annoyed to sympathetic.
“Melody, how long are you going to do this to yourself? They wouldn’t have
liked this. Music was their life. Aren’t you honoring their memory more by
continuing on with what you all loved doing together?”
Pain squeezed Melody’s heart, and her eyes burned, but she
knew tears would never actually manifest. She hadn’t cried since the accident.
Not even at the funeral. “I can’t, Nikki,” she admitted softly. “I’ve tried,
believe me. I just can’t. Every time I sit down at that piano, all I see is the
day before it happened. I see my dad busting one of his cello strings because
he’d been playing like a maniac. And then Mom broke into an impromptu
performance of Albinoni’s
Adagio in G Minor
while he replaced it, which
I accompanied her with on the piano. You know they played that song at their
funeral, right? That was the last thing I played. I sat there and played that
mournful, awful, exquisitely beautiful song with my mother the day before she
died. And afterward, my dad said, ‘There is no symphony in this world that
matches the beauty of my two girls.’”
Melody shook her head as the pain around her heart became
excruciating. “I played that with them and then they played it at the funeral.
I didn’t even know anyone had planned it. It had all been without my knowledge.
The entire flipping orchestra played it because it had been their favorite
piece of music. I can never listen to that again without seeing that day. And
every time I look at my piano, that’s what I remember.”
“But the memory you have is a good one, Mel. Of the three of
“The memories are linked now. I see Mom and me playing, and
then I see the funeral. I relive it every time I look at the piano. And, I
mean, honestly.” She huffed and held her arms out helplessly. “How can I play
with them gone, Nikki? All of this doesn’t mean squat without them.”
Nikki’s brown eyes filled with the tears Melody couldn’t shed,
and she sighed. “But Melody, this was your dream, too. Not just your parents’.”
“It was our dream together, and it died in that car crash
along with them. I hear nothing now. No notes. No chords. I feel nothing. It’s
all hollow now. Why should I play when I feel nothing but emptiness?” She
thumbed the frayed edges of the music score Nikki had brought her, desperate to
be away from this conversation and this subject.
Nikki worried her bottom lip between her teeth, obviously
fighting over whether or not to say something else.
Melody huffed. “Spit it out, Nik.”
“You were working on that composition before—”
“Concerto,” she corrected. “I wasn’t writing a thesis, I was
writing a concerto. And that was written with the purpose of featuring me, Mom,
and Dad. I’m not going to keep writing it when they aren’t here, no matter how
much the orchestra members and the conductor, and the freaking ticket salesmen,
and janitors, keep harping on me.”
Nikki held her hands up in a sign of surrender as Melody’s
voice rose in pitch and vehemence. “Okay, okay! I wasn’t trying to bug you, I
was just saying, is all.” She blew out a breath that sent the tendrils of brown
hair around her face flying. “At any rate, I bought that thing for you because
I thought you would like it. Play it, don’t play it, hang it on your wall, use
it for toilet paper. I don’t care.”
The irritation deflated out of Melody and was quickly
replaced by guilt. She glanced down at the score again and sighed. “I’m sorry,
Nikki. I didn’t mean to snap at you. I do like it. It’s beautiful.” She picked
it up and leafed through the fragile pages. For some reason, the worn paper
reminded her of herself. They were tattered and lonely, brittle and stained,
just like she was. Suddenly, the gift meant the world to her, and she clutched
it to her chest. “Really, I’m sorry.” She met her friend’s eyes and shook her
head. “I know you were only trying to help.”
Nikki waved her hand. “Don’t worry about it, Mel. I need to
learn how to mind my own business.” She gave her a gentle smile then raised an
eyebrow playfully. “On a completely unrelated subject, have you seen Rob
She rolled her eyes and, with great care, set the music score
on her piano. Maybe she wouldn’t play it, but it looked wonderful there. If it
was as old as it appeared, it deserved to sit in a place of honor. “He came by
yesterday, bothered me until I went to dinner with him.”
Nikki giggled. “How did that go?”
Melody shrugged. “All right, I guess.” She turned away from
her piano and met her friend’s gaze. “I don’t know. He’s nice enough…most of
“What do you mean, most of the time?”
“Well, he’s a little bit domineering for my taste. He orders
for me. It’s weird.”
Nikki laughed softly. “Well, there are worse things.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Rob was actually her neighbor who lived
across the street. He had moved in about a month ago and had been after Melody
ever since. At first, she’d found it annoying. She wasn’t really looking for a
boyfriend. She was still having enough difficulty getting through the day and
dealing with her grief over her parents. And they had absolutely nothing in common.
He was a football coach at a local high school, and liked to watch Nascar and
go to cage fighting competitions. He was bullheaded and wouldn’t take no for an
After a good two months of him not letting up, she had
finally agreed to go on a date with the guy just to get him off her back. She’d
been surprised that, though she had no interest in hunting, fishing, or dirt
biking, and he had absolutely no care for any kind of music that wasn’t
screaming guitar, they did have a small measure of chemistry between them. He
wasn’t her type at all, but maybe that was why she kept giving him a chance. He
had nothing to do with music, and therefore, nothing to do with anything that
caused her pain.
“Speak of the devil,” Nikki said, pointing her chin in the
direction of Melody’s front door.
She sighed as she turned and spotted Rob on her porch,
peering inside the screen door to try and get a look at what was going on. “Hi,
Rob,” she called, unable to sound as enthusiastic as he probably wanted her to.
At the sound of her voice, he stood up straight and grinned. Dressed
in denim shorts and hiking boots with a baseball hat and aviator glasses, he
looked like everyone’s All American guy. “Hey, Mel, you busy?”
She went to the door with Nikki, who sent her a wink and said
she would call her later. She moved past Rob and let herself out. Melody stood
in the doorway, not allowing Rob to come in, just because she didn’t want him
to think he had a right. He was pushy, and she was tired of him trying to bully
his way into her life. She enjoyed his company, was trying to let her guard
down enough to see if they could actually have a relationship, but something
about him still rubbed her the wrong way. “What’s up?” she asked, folding her
arms over her chest.
His grin never faltered. “I was wondering if you were doing
anything today? I was thinking of going on a hike. It’s a nice day, and I know
a lot of good scenic trails. Thought maybe you’d like to come with me.”
Melody mulled his offer over for a minute, then decided that
it couldn’t hurt. She wasn’t much for hiking, but it would give her something
to do. At least it was better than sitting at home with all the ghosts and the
skeletons in her closet. “Yeah, okay. Just let me put on some decent shoes.”
She moved away from the doorframe and held the screen open for him, finally
allowing him entrance.
Rob sauntered in and took inventory of her house like he
hadn’t already been there three times before. His eyes lingered on the pictures
in the living room, which were all black and white photos of her parents and
the orchestra. He frowned. “When are you gonna take these down?”
Melody arched an eyebrow at him. “I’m sorry, was I supposed
to?” She couldn’t have kept the sarcastic note out of her voice if she’d wanted
to. She opened up the hall closet and grabbed a pair of hiking boots.
He looked at her and shrugged. “Well, it’s just… I mean,
isn’t it kind of depressing to have those reminders everywhere?”
“It was part of my life for a long time, Rob. And it’s my
house, not yours, so I don’t need your approval.” She sat down on the sofa to
put her boots on.
He snorted. “Well, it isn’t really your house, is it, Mel?
It’s still your parents’.”
She frowned up at him. “No, it’s mine. They left it to me in
He rolled his eyes and indicated the pictures he had been
talking about. “No, I mean it’s still
. You haven’t changed a
thing, have you?”
Melody exhaled a measured breath. What was it with today?
Everyone was a freaking therapist.
He must have picked up on her annoyance because he held his
hands up the same way Nikki had. “Sorry, I’m not trying to stick my nose in.”
He met her gaze and his voice grew softer, if slightly patronizing. “All I’m
saying is that they’ve been gone for a year now. You claim you don’t want anything
to do with playing music ever again, yet you still have all these reminders
everywhere. I think it’s unhealthy.”
She finished lacing up her boots and stood abruptly. “Great.
I don’t remember asking you for your opinion, though.”
He took a step back. “Geez. Testy. Fine, I’ll put a lid on
“You do that. Otherwise, forget our date.” He muttered
something under his breath, but she couldn’t hear what it was because she was
on her way into the kitchen to grab a water bottle. Maybe she was being unnecessarily
witchy, but she was really sick of people trying to tell her what was best for
her. They weren’t her. They weren’t in her shoes. She didn’t care how
well-intentioned any of the unwanted advice was, it was still unwanted. And if
she didn’t keep Rob in his place, he would dominate the conversation and the
entire day. If she gave him an inch, the guy took fifty miles.