|The Overture of Sparks
Author: JohannaYuenSien PM
Second installment to the Music series, the prelude to Music that Binds, Music that Breaks. What circumstances brought them together? Will they survive the pains of prejudice and abuse? Will she finally stop drowning?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 8 - Words: 16,163 - Updated: 10-04-12 - Published: 09-02-12 - id: 3055177
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A.N. Hello and welcome to the second installment to the Music series. It serves as a prelude to Music that Binds, Music that Breaks, so if you haven't read it I would suggest reading it:) Before every chapter/new timeframe I will give a short intro so no one gets lost (I hope). Happy Reading! Please review if you can I am in desperate need for advice on how to amend and improve my stories.
Timeframe: Josephine first meets an enchanting senior, around her fourth (out of six) year of elementary school.
Josephine limped slightly as she made her way into the building. She had walked all the way from her house, carrying her brown-bagged lunch and her books. The journey had taken her an hour and a half, while her siblings woke up much later and were given a ride and money for hot lunch. She had woken up at the crack of dawn to do chores, like cleaning the house and preparing breakfast. Her hands were chapped and cracked from detergent and her body bruised and battered. There were belt lines across her back and upper legs, for they were always careful to not let the injuries show. She wore the clothes she had on yesterday, faded and ragged denim overalls over a white blouse that hung, too big, over her gaunt frame. She had been beaten last night, yet it came as no surprise. Though they had screamed at her countless times that she was not even worth the beatings they treated her to, the abuse still rained on her every night. They were punishing her for "influencing her older sister into cheating on her exam". She let out a sigh that sounded as if it caused her body much pain, a result of too much effort. She had not been safe in that home for as long as she could remember. Her parents treated her siblings very well, yet she was not even considered their daughter, despite the amazing results she got in school. Her escape was learning, as well as dance and music. With her fifth-hand run down tap shoes and a pair of drumsticks, she immersed herself in the arts.
It was her birthday, and her present had been to clean up the mess her baby sister had made in her crib. JoLea was the youngest of six thus far, and she was a year old. Already she was being taught to bully Josephine. There were children in her class who complained about the lack of expensive gifts or a cheaper cake, a smaller party or a inferior crowd. She had never celebrated her birthday in her lifetime. She had not even known when her birthday was or how old she was until she was screamed at one morning that since she was turning seven why couldn't she go to the shop to buy the cigarettes and booze. Josephine felt weighed down, by everyone, everything, the world on her shoulders and the sky falling around her. The only person who ever seemed to care was her grandmother. A shadow suddenly made shade over her, and her instincts told her to calmly back away. However, the shadow turned out to be a kind looking girl, about twelve, who quietly wished her a "Happy Tenth Birthday, Josephine" and gave her a new pair of polished tap shoes. Brand. New. In. Mint. Condition. She knew nothing of this senior, except that she was in Year Six. Josephine thanked her profusely, yet in some corner of her brain, she was trying to figure out why she was so nice. She didn't even know her, yet she bought her a present that she knew she would love.
To most of the school, they simply assumed Josephine came from a poor family, so she was never dressed well and she never had money for hot lunch. She never talked to her siblings in school, and her parents never met her teachers. It was a safe assumption to think that Josephine was poor or even an orphan. Josephine did nothing to disprove the thought, and no one cared to find out more. No one except this senior. She had realized how much Josephine looked like one of the girls in her English class, Joan, and her siblings, Joslyn, Justin and Jacob. It all just made more sense when she found that all five of them shared the same last name, Liew. In this school, Asians were hard to come by, and the fact that they all shared a not-too-common last name just assured her of her theory. The only thing that puzzled her was how different Josephine was from the rest of them. As head prefect she had the personal details of every student in the school, and so she decided to give Josephine something happy and hopeful in her life. She had noticed the way Josephine always seemed sickly or injured, yet she saw her tapping up a storm in the school dance studio even when injured. It suddenly struck her that not once, in all the lunchtime rounds she had done in the three years as a prefect, she had never once seen Josephine eat a hot lunch. When she had asked her little brother, who was in her class, about it, he said that she always had a brown-bagged lunch on the days she ate. In that brown paper bag, he said, there would only ever be stale bread and rotten fruit. Huiting was not one to stand for any form of neglect, and she was definitely against abuse. Josephine seemed like such a great kid, yet those are usually the ones who get abused. Today, she decided, she would have lunch with her brother Dezhuang, and he would bring her along. It was her birthday and she would have a hot lunch. She was giving up her hot lunch for that day, to give the girl a bit of joy.
Josephine was named by her grandmother. As the second of six kids, and the only one her parents never wanted, they just couldn't be bothered to name her. Her grandmother had loved her one half deaf granddaughter, the one who seemed to surpass all expectations of a deaf kid. She had named her Josephine in English, a good, sturdy name that would give her the strength and tenacity, coupled with the immeasurable passion of Jo March. Hao Ran, 浩然, noble spirit and moral force. A name filled with the attributes she wanted the young neglected girl to grow up possessing despite all the terrible examples her family showed. And she did. Even at ten, Josephine was more mature than someone twice her age. She knew the abuse was not her fault, and she knew the smart way to lessen it, even though she still had to be prepared for a beating every night. She had grown up to be a girl who went beyond the situation, who refused to be a victim of circumstance, who refused to let her near-silent world create a barrier that would keep her from succeeding. She would live up to her name, she would never let the one person who cared down. Everyday, in school, Josephine was the extraordinary little girl who worked so hard at everything, yet just didn't seem to win over many of the teachers. She loved music, and she had mastered a treasury of percussion instruments, being a particular virtuoso at the mallets and the drum set. Her gift for rhythm didn't just stop there, as she explored movement and dance through tap, entirely self-taught. Despite the terrible quality of her shoes, she danced so well, as if her feet were bound by the very nimble threads that bound the feet of Astaire and Rogers. She was always hungry, no doubt, but the hunger fueled her. She had learnt that the hunger would pass, and that she could always focus on other things first. She knew, if she kept at certain things long enough, they could take her away. Much like her namesake, she had a certain fervor for writing, not so much the gory operatic tragedies of the March sisters, but a trove a poems that brought the readers away from everything. She had always known she was different, not like the other girls. She was friends with none of them, only spending time with Dezhuang, the Shen boy. He was the only one who seemed to understand that she could not hear well, so he would exaggerate the movement of his lips when he talked so she could read them. It seemed he was as kind as the senior she had met that morning.
When the lunch bell rang, she grabbed her brown bag and followed Dezhuang to the cafeteria, where most of the students were queuing up for hot lunch. Just as she was taking out her stale bread and almost-rotten apple, the same senior from that morning slid into the seat beside her. "姐" . She heard Dezhuang greet her with familiarity and a sibling's love, and she realized they were related. Before she knew it, her lunch had been taken away, and in its place was a tray of the sloppy joe everyone else was complaining about. Looking questioningly at Dezhuang, he motioned for her to eat it.
"Really? But you've already done so much, and you don't even know me. What will you eat, then?"
"Please, eat it. I've been able to eat three square meals a day, every day, and I've never seen you eat a hot lunch once. You don't even get to eat this crap everyday, so you must be really hungry. I can eat when I get home. Missing one meal never hurt anyone. Eat it, Josephine."
Thanking the Shen siblings profusely, the lunch was further made enjoyable by the company. She was so thankful for the warm food, the food that tasted like ambrosia to her, despite every one else complaining. They talked about everything and anything, and she found out that this girl was Huiting, the head prefect of the school. She was quite tall, slim and tan. A healthy kind of slim, not the skin-and-bones combination that Josephine knew she was. Her brown eyes had such warmth and depth that they reassured Josephine so much, even though she never took well to new people - she was always suspicious - and they just made her want to trust Huiting. She felt drawn to Huiting, a kind of attraction she had never before known. Huiting seemed to accept the fact that Josephine had trouble hearing as if it was like someone who had the slightest of stutters, something that did not matter that much in terms of communicating with the person. Huiting was interested, she asked questions to find out about Josephine. She became a friend.
"Can I call you Joei, Josephine? I've heard everyone call you Jose, but they always seem to harbor a hint of malice."