"I am the greatest, able to do least,
Yet most suspected, as the time and place
Doth make against me..."
-Friar Lawrence, Romeo and Juliet [5.3.209-211]
"Wow! This is where you stay?" I stared at the wide hallway, the winding stairs, and the wonderful paintings, instruments and flowers that decorated the white house. When Mark didn't reply, I looked up and saw him smiling at me. The smile triggered a hug. We laughed.
"Yes, little lady, I live here," he answered. "and from now on, so will you."
I yawned and hugged him tightly.
"Thanks, Dad." I said, already falling asleep. He brought me to bed and tucked me in. I may have imagined it, already half asleep, but I think he kissed my forehead and whispered, "Sleep well, my daughter."
This day had shocked me so much! I entered the dark room, got the chance to learn what happens there, but was denied. Then Mark, my Dad, – oh, how I love that word! – got me from Lee-kun, bought me new things – new things for myself – and now we're a family. He opens the doors of his HUGE mansion, and I see things I never thought were real. Big, colorful flowers that were actually alive and that smelled good, paintings that were actually painted and were not of curvy girls in skimpy bikinis, and different instruments, the cheapest of which were worth at least 5 thousand, used for display!
Now that I'm older, I wonder why there weren't any hearings or anything. An orphan should be adopted by a married couple – Mark, although engaged, was still legally single – and there should be hearings at a family court to formalize my turn over from, say, Lee-kun to Mark. I guess that would have complicated things, though, because Lee-kun was doing something illegal.
...I guess February was too late for me to enroll in school, so Dad decided to teach me an instrument.
The music room. It was actually a hall with 6 mini soundproof rooms filled with instruments. I peeked inside all the doors for something that looked and felt interesting. Before opening the last door, I blurted, "Is this the instrument you play?" to Dad. I pushed open the door and saw a piano. I squealed in delight and ran to the bench.
"How'd you know, kiddo?" asked my Dad, chuckling. He went over to the bench, opened the piano and watched me press keys randomly.
I grinned. "I want to learn what you know! I want to be like you and save helpless kids out there." I felt Dad freeze beside me.
"Now, where did you get that idea?" he whispered, almost dangerously, but I was too caught up in my excitement to take note of it.
"The lady earlier said you should focus on your music and not on saving helpless kids out there," I answered dismissively. "Do you think I'm helpless?" I asked out of the blue, but I didn't wait for the answer. I grabbed his hands and put them on the keyboard. "How does this thing work? Play for me!"
Dad blinked several times, looked at me tenderly, then played. I watched his hands move. They moved like those tiny insects around a light: fast, seemingly random, and very light. But unlike those insects that suddenly buzz and surprise us children, my Dad's running fingers made this warm, soothing sound that made me warm up to my toes. I smile widely.
He stopped, scooted over, and allowed me to press all the keys.
"What were you playing?" I asked.
"It's a piece called Fantasie-Impromptu, by a guy named Fredyryk Chopin."
"It's such a happy piece." I mumbled. Dad's laugh rumbled in his chest as he stood up and stretched. I took his place at the bench.
"Don't worry," my Dad said. "With the right instruction, you'll learn to play that in no time."
I don't know how I remembered his saying this because, at the time, I heard nothing but the sound of the piano under my fingers and my joyful laugh as the tune of the Fantasie came out of the instrument. I ended with a bang, jest because I felt the moment called for one. I smiled widely at my Dad. "Teach me more!" I said eagerly.
My Dad's grin was wider than mine, if it was possible. He suddenly hugged me tight. "Ellie, my daughter, you make me so proud! One day, they will say that you were far greater than your father ever was." He let go of me, and I was surprised to see that his eyes and cheeks were wet. "Wait here." He ran out and called out for the lady – Liz – to come quickly.
They entered the room and Dad told me to play again. Concerned, I reached up for his still wet face.
"Don't worry. It's okay. Just play like you did earlier."
I hesitantly and let go of him. Why was he crying?
"Don't be nervous. You're great," he crooned.
Oh. I'm never nervous. I looked at dad and Ms. Liz, and then played again.
"Such a strange person Dad is," I mumbled while playing, a grin working its way onto my face again. When I finished, Ms. Liz was staring at me like I was an alien as Dad smiled triumphantly at her. "Helpless, huh?"
Mark Thryein. My dad. A modern-day Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart. He's a composer, instrumentalist, conductor and playwright. Liz Vasco. Engaged to my dad. His manager. And now, mine, too!
These people were the family of Ellie Thryein. That's me! Six year old piano protégée, adopted daughter of Mark, his only student. I had the best months of my life with them: concerts, tours, games, food. Dad put me on a home-school program because he and Ms. Liz were planning numerous recitals for me. My first would be during Children's Month, tomorrow.
Dad never showed me off to anyone. He said he wanted the world to be surprised with my arrival. Tomorrow's concert was actually his, and I would be a guest performer.
We were finishing up Rachmaninov's Variation 18 on a Theme by Paganini when Ms. Liz entered. We stopped to look at her and she pointed at the clock.
"I want to hear your Fantasie one last time, then all of us are going to bed."
I pouted. "It's not good enough for you yet?"
"Your interpretation, miss," she told me sternly. "It's not an exercise piece, but one that tells a story."
I thought of a nursery rhyme and applied it to the piece. When I finished, Ms. Liz was smiling.
"Improving," she said. "But you could do better. Lights out!"
Before kissing me goodnight, Dad let me listen to a recording of the Fantasie. "What do you think of it?"
"It's really good!"
"Because… It made me feel what the pianist felt?"
"That's how you should play. With all your pieces. Understood? Sleep tight."
I woke up, coughing really hard. I was very sweaty and the air tasted and smelled bad. It also made my eyes itchy.
I sat up with a start. Fire! I gasped. I crawled to the Intercom beside my bed and rang for Dad's room. I tearfully waited for him to answer the phone, but it just kept ringing. "Dad," I called out. "Dad, where are you? Wake up. Please answer the phone. Please Dad. I need you! Dad!"
I went into another round of coughs, and when I couldn't breathe anymore, I hesitantly put the Intercom down and ran out of the bed to the sliding door leading to the balcony. I struggled with the heavy, burning glass and metal to the fresh air and squeezed myself out, only to fall into another fit of coughs from the change in temperature. The door in my room burst from the oxygen, which fed the fire, and started eating up my bed. I ran to the edge of the balcony, saw the long drop below, and tried again to call for my dad until my voice was worse than hoarse. It was useless. He never came out of the house.
A fireman saw me shrieking voicelessly for my dad on the balcony, I guess, and that was how I was saved from the burning mansion. I was shivering violently – October was cold that year – so they wrapped me in a blanket as I watched the house crumble in on itself hopelessly. They got Ms. Liz out and straight into an ambulance, but she died on the way because of the burns she received in trying to look for my Dad.
One piece of paper, a corner charred from the fire, flew onto my knee. I didn't mind it, determined to keep hoping that my dad was still alive, but a few seconds later, the paper still clung to my leg. I broke down then. My knees buckled under me, my head flew into my hands, and I wailed helplessly, crying for my dad, for Ms. Liz, for the piano, to save me, to take me with them.
I tore the paper from my leg.
Happy birthday, my little piano angel! You're seven today, and you played so well! You shall get many hugs today!
Love, Dad and Mom
I didn't even pay attention to the time as the night went by. Today would have been a big day for my family. It was my 7th birthday, the recital of my Dad and me, and the day he would announce his engagement to Ms. Liz.
I screeched at the top of my lungs, tore the paper violently, determined to remove its very existence from my life.
They sent me to an orphanage that afternoon.
No one knew me. I had no one. Once again, I was alone.
A/N: There you have it! There'll be a little more Ellie and a little less Andre from this point... I hope that's okay with you?Review! Comment! Criticize! I want to know what you think about this story. .
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and ESPECIALLY for taking time to review. XD
PS: If you have time, and you like sci-fi/fantasy, please check out "Moonless Sonata" and kindly review. :) THANK YOU.