A/N: I have decided to seperate this one from the last chapter. The spacing looks odd. And I have no idea how to correct it. So here it is, anyway. Enjoy! :)
Chapter 15: Rumour
Summary: A chat.
The day goes by at a blink of an eye. So does the next day, and another day, and yet another day. It is exactly two weeks later that Susan, not Katrina, comes to visit me in my studio. Speaking of Katrina, she has not been around the place for days. In fact, no one has seen her since that fateful morning that Miss Read paid me a little visit. I am so used to her criticisms that I begin to miss her (slightly!), and not to mention that the studio seems empty without her presence. My fingers halt over the keys and look up at my manager - Susan has not once enters this room since my first day at work.
"The recording is due tomorrow. Are you ready?"
"Yes, Susan," I nod. "I am still working on some…trivial glitches. But I assure you all will be perfect by today."
"Good," she smiles. "I am looking forward to a flawless performance." She hands over an envelope. "Katrina wants me to give this to you. I am sure you miss her a lot." Winking, she leaves the room.
Miss…what?! I stay where I am, stunned, with the letter in my hand.
The message is short and simple: "Auditorium. 5pm. Kat."
I have not seen her hand-writing before. But this message sounds convincing enough. If not, then I have to personally confront Susan and co by myself.
Rumours exist as early as the dawn of time. It is everywhere. You get it without making an effort to search for it. It is so much so that on my way down to the canteen I can't stop myself from overhearing the hushed conversation between the office staffs. Later that day, I pass by Eugene near the entrance. All he does is walk quietly away, his head sinks so low to his chest. Puzzled, I continue towards the canteen to grab some sandwiches, though it is hours after lunch. Sitting at two tables behind me are a group of part-time technicians, who are here today on a request to repair the various instruments and machines under this roof (At one other time they were called to fix a light bulb in a toilet).
"…a Samantha Grey, their new pianist…heard that she's the rebellious one."
"…glad that she finally has a life."
"You mean Kat?"
Rolling my eyes, I swallow the last few bits of sandwiches and leave the canteen, hurrying down the corridor. I can't believe that it has passed to people with minor relation with the company. I am sure that nothing here, besides she and I, knows that we had a dinner at my parents' place weeks ago. Besides, it is just a dinner, I scowl. And besides, those recurring dreams are not likely to speak with others, about how she would enjoy the kiss if I had not awakened too soon. Suppressing that terrible blush I pass though a door at the very end of the corridor, descend a flight of stairs, and reach my destination within two minutes - this is the shortest way down to the auditorium from the canteen.
Am I that desperate to meet up with her?
There is not a single soul in the auditorium. Excluding me, that is.
Oh yeah, this is it. Silly me. I am fooled. And it is not even April Fool's day! By now I can imagine the idiotic smile on that receptionist's moronic, ironed face, and those oh-so-kindly suppressed chuckles from Susan and co. Rumours spread like fire, and worst still, the whole building would think that I actually like (miss) Katrina a lot before the day could end properly! What am I going to do now, dig a hole and bury myself alive?
Broodingly, I shove my hands into the pockets, striding down the steep, narrow aisle towards the raised platform. The heavy curtains are tightly drawn together, just like the other day, blocking the audiences from view the stage at the other side. I halt before it and stare up at the curtains; my thoughts wonder back to that lovely piece of music, played through her fingers - yet fresh is the memory which lingers still in my mind that one would so be convinced that I have not once stepped out of this hall.
And there the piano is, gathering dust amid the dim, forlorn stage. Hitting some random notes after removing the lid from the keyboard, I move towards the chair and make myself comfortable on it. There is no reason I should stay. And it is not wise for a young lady to linger in such…deserted place. One thing, I realise now, as I start to play a short melody with a hand is: I am waiting for her. That letter might be false - a joke to make me look stupid. But…
"To hell with it," I say aloud, striking a wide chord with both hands.
"Tsk, never know you would say it," says a voice.
How can I best describe my feelings now? "Where have you been?"
Katrina comes into view. "There are some…private stuffs to do," she says, leaning at the side of the baby grand. "I heard that it's your big day tomorrow. So how's the work during my absence?"
"It is going fine," I reply.
We pass the next few seconds in total silence. I shift awkwardly on the chair, looking down at my hands on my laps. I have spent two week missing her company, but now I feel like getting as far away from her as possible. And disintegrating into the thin air sounds a good idea.
"My…father always wanted a daughter," she breaks the ice, clearing her throat. "But all he got are boys." She pauses. Seeing my intrigued expression, she continues: "My mother suffered from depression after giving birth to her fifth son. And to make the matter worst, she heard from a neighbour that my father's having an affair with another woman. But she's cool with it…"
"She committed suicide the same day father brought a baby girl into the house."
Oh. "And the child is…?"
She closes her eyes and nods. "I only knew of it after I met with an accident. My blood group doesn't match with either of my…supposed parents."
It must hurt a lot. So why is she telling me all these? I voice my thought.
She shrugs. "I guess I trust you enough to tell you."
And all the while I thought that she sees me nothing more but a blockhead. "I am glad I am appreciated." I wish I didn't make it sound too sarcastic.
"Oh, you don't know…" she shakes her head. Slowly, she comes forwards and sits besides me.
Somehow, I am reminded of my recurring dream.
Not that again! Clearing my throat (this comes out as a choking sound), I look away and pretend to be interested on the empty bucket beside the piano. "I am sorry," I mutter. Strange, but this is not the Katrina I know.
"I want to clarify a thing," she says in a slight tremor. "I drop by here so that I can tell you this and I want to tell you that I…"
I am not sure if I am prepared for what happens next. But as she turns me around and kisses me, I can think of nothing but her soft lips against mine - time seems to freeze then. That is imaginary, though. It lasts only for a short while before we are forced to part - not far off a door opens and closes: someone enters the auditorium. And the next thing I know is, while I am still seated on the chair stiff by that unexpected kiss, Katrina has left the stage with a hand over her mouth.