Chapter 5-

"I'll see you next week, Sophie," Sam heard as she walked towards the studio's door. A little girl around the age of five walked out of the studio with her father. Sam couldn't help but smile; if she didn't know well, Sam would think that little was herself years ago with that bright smile after a piano lesson.

"Oh, Sam, come on in," the same man said. Sam's eyes turned over to her piano teacher and gave a light smile when walking in, her mother following her. The piano teacher was around the age of thirty-five. He had spent almost twenty years in the United States and still had not lost his British accent. His brown hair was cut short and had a light beard beginning to grow. "Hello there Mrs. Alvers," he greeted brightly.

"Hello James," Sam's mother replied plainly. Along with that dull greeting, Sam let a sigh slip out of her lips as her eyes rolled slightly. Those little actions let James know that the air in the room would become very tense. "So Sam, are you ready for those auditions? We still have about three months, right?"

"Yeah, that's about right," Sam replied.

"Which is first again, NYU or Manhattan School of Music?"

"NYU is first," Sam responded with a gentle nod. After her responses, there was a small gap of silence that either of them tried to fill. "Excuse me but I have a few errands to take care of," her mother said within seconds. "I will be back in an hour to pick you up, Samantha. It was a pleasure seeing you again, James."

"Oh—right then; same to you, Maria." Maria nodded and began walking out the door. Sam watched her mother in shock, and yet she tried to hide it. It had only been a few days since the "incident" occurred. Sam didn't expect her mother to get over it immediately, but she didn't think her mother would be acting like this in public.

"Wow, your mom is not staying for your lesson…is the fight that bad, then?" James asked once both were sure Sam's mother left. Sam turned her head towards give and gave a small nod, "Yeah…" The silence began filling the room again as the two stood there without any words to say. "Well, now isn't time to worry about that. Just take a seat next to this beauty and all your worries will go away," James replied as he walked towards the beauty—the Steinway. Oh, and what a beauty it was, a black grand Steinway piano that shined as if it was never touched. "Okay," Sam said instantly with one of her largest grins. For years, the piano was nicknamed "Dr. Steinway." The minute one sat at the piano, it was as if all their troubles were washed away. That was one reason why Sam had such a passionate love for music, it took any worry away.

Sam took her seat on the bench as she placed her music on the piano. She let out a sigh of relief and content now that she was seated. "I'm feeling better already," Sam said with a light chuckle. James gave a soft laugh as he crossed his arms across his chest. "Well, that's good. 'Dr. Steinway' is doing his job then." Sam smiled and nodded as she let her hands brush the pearl-like keys. She placed her fingers gently on the keys as she began to play one of her favorites. "I don't recall 'Nocturne' being one of your pieces for the auditions," James said as he watched his student.

"Well, maybe it should be. Besides, I need two contrasting pieces anyway. This can be the slow one I play. If not, let me just play right now. I need to hear something pleasant."

"Alright, alright, I'll allow it since it looks like all you have been listening to is that sharp silence of your mother's. What are you two fighting about anyway?" Sam sighed softly as her hands slipped away from the piano keys to her lap. "Boyfriend."

"Ah, of course—the classic argument of boys, I should have suspected."

"Very funny, she hasn't been talking to me for days."

"I guess it is bad then."

"Extremely," Sam replied and sighed as her eyes dropped to the piano. "She's so overprotective. It's like doesn't trust me at all."

"Sam, I'm sure she trusts you. I bet the one she doesn't trust is the boy."

"Sure," Sam said and shrugged as her eyes looked back up. "How about we start this lesson? I feel a bit rusty, I've had to spend days studying for SATs." James nodded and walked towards Sam's side. "Alright, let's begin then. Play the entire piece without stopping. Let's see just how rusty you've gotten."

"Hey kiddo, are you ready?" her father called from the front door. Sam nodded as she picked up her bag along with water, "Yeah, I'm ready." It was the first Saturday of November, which only meant one thing: SAT day. Sam had to spend the rest of her studying alone only with the help of Michelle and Laura in the sight of her mother. For days, she could not leave her mother's sight. Her mother's attitude was not only annoying, but her silence had made matters worse. Sam had spent so much time worrying about her relationship with her mother, that she felt she was no where prepared for this SAT.

"Do you have everything with you?" her father asked as they walked to the car.

"Yeah, I do."

"Pencils and pens, calculator, gum, water, phone?" Sam laughed lightly as she opened the passenger's door and entered the car, "Yes, Dad. I have all of that." Her father smiled and nodded, "Well, good; I'm just checking. I remember when I took the SATs, I was so nervous that I actually did forget a few things. I guess you can handle this much better than me," he commented, "Are you nervous?"

"Yeah, a bit," she said calmly. If only her stomach was calm. Sam was so nervous that she could finish eating her breakfast. Now she regretted leaving most of her cereal in her bowl. This was the beginning of the rest of her life---as most have said. She should be nervous.

"Well, don't worry. You will do just fine. "

"I guess so."

"You will. After all, you spent so much time studying."

"Ha, not according to mom," Sam muttered softly as she buckled her seat. Catching Sam's comment, her father let out a sigh and smiled sadly. "She means well, you know that."

"Dad, she hasn't said a word to me this entire week. She has never been this mad at me."

"She isn't mad at you; Sam…your mother just doesn't know how to deal with this."

"But there isn't anything to deal with, dad. I didn't do anything. We did not do anything," Sam replied defensively. There was no point; she thought as her eyes trailed off to the window, there was no point anymore. She's still mad at me. "Sam, I know, I know. If it means anything I believe you. I know you wouldn't do anything."

"She just doesn't trust me. How could she not trust me?"

"She does trust you, mija. She just doesn't trust Ryan."

"Yeah, and she never will. Is that it? Am I going to have to live with my mother not ever giving him a chance? He's a good guy, Papi. Do you at least believe that?"

"Yes, I do. I've seen how good he is in school, and he's very active in the school track team. I see all the good things he does, Sam; but, that doesn't exactly take away the fear a mother has for their daughter."

"I'm not a baby anymore. She needs to understand that and respect that."

"She will, just give her time," her father said as he looked to Sam and patted her shoulder lightly. "Alright?"

Sam sighed and nodded in defeat, "Alright." Her eyes looked up to the high school as they were approaching the entrance. "Well, we're here; and don't worry so much about your mother. I will talk to her. You just think about this test. By the time you're done, we can go out for lunch. We can burn those SAT prep books if you want. That sure satisfied me." Sam couldn't help but grin as she looked to her father. Even through the difficult times at home, he still tried being the peacemaker. Sam saw why her mother fell in love with him. "That sounds good, Dad. I should get going before I'm late."

"Go ahead, and remember: te quiero. Okay?" Sam smiled warmly and gave another nod, "Okay, love you too." She kissed her father goodbye and got out of the car. As she stepped out of the car, the heaving load of weight immediately dropped onto her shoulders. "Great, I feel sick already," Sam muttered to herself as she began taking steps towards the high school entrance. This was it; this was the "beginning of the end". Most would worry that the end of this college cycle would never end. What Sam worried about was that she wouldn't make it to the end.