Chapter 1

Love, love, love. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
~Skins, Effy Stonem

...

She has never been the lovesick, romantic type of girl. Well, she did love fairytale, even after she's turned into a teenager, but ever since she was a child, she finds magic much more realistic than true love for eternity. And maybe that's one of the reasons why she used to cut her hair short, unlike the rest of the girls.

It's not that she had dysfunctional family. Her parents loved her and she had plenty of friends. Most of the time, she could have anything that she wants. People believed this is why sometimes she acted so selfish, as if she's a freaking princess.

But then, like every other cliché love story, she finally met the guy. The one that softened her rigid heart, yet impossible to be hers.

.-_.

It all started with a piano from the ballroom, but both of them wouldn't realize that until some years after their so-called first encounter.

She was 15, months away from being a high school freshman. Her older brother had just graduated from high school and will continue studying in a university outside the country. She wasn't sure why, but she feared that this graduation ceremony is the last time she would see her brother in flesh for a very long time. He got accepted in some university in London and knowing him, she could imagine he wouldn't come home for quite some time.

The ceremony ended at 2 p.m., but the real party was held in secrecy. Since this high school was the best one in town, it had this big meeting hall that could be turned into a ballroom. The teachers used it once a year for their annual 'prom', while the juniors and seniors held their own prom somewhere else. Students were banned from entering the meeting hall, unless they were representatives for the school or other things like that.

But of course, as you can guess, that secret party is the place where the two of them should've first met.

.-_.

He was still in his graduation gown—navy blue with black lines, just like his school emblem color. He smiled unconsciously. This is the only day he could see everyone smiling and laughing at the same time. Even that creepy emo dude that used to sit at the corner of his Math class was grinning.
"Congratulations, Ace."
He turned his head, ready for another junior fans with timid smile and a neatly wrapped present (he had already got eight since 15 minutes ago), but standing there was his little sister instead. A smile quickly spread across his face, "Erry! Don't tell me you had just got here!" he hugged her quickly and gave her a kiss on her forehead. She smiled lazily, "You know me. I hate formal things. Besides, you said the real party won't start until, like, night or something."

A few teachers walked by and they both fell silent. After a minute or so, Ace handed her a red paper that looked like an invitation. "You'll need it to enter the ballroom. Well, not really, since I'm sure that they will recognize you as my little sister. But take this anyway."
Erry looked down at the paper, "It's just a blank paper."
"Nah. We put some hidden words on it that basically tells the guard that you are invited to the party. You can see it with that purple light thing, you know. It's written with that invisible ink. I wrote some of them since I'm one of the party's host."
"Ah," Erry slipped the paper into her purse. She looked around. Everybody seemed happy—maybe that's the effect of finally finishing 4 years in sweet hell, but there was something more. Some excitement. Erry smiled, "Looks like we'll party hard tonight."
"No kidding."

"Ace! Yo, Ace!" a boy with freckles across his face waved at their direction. Ace waved back shortly before turning to his sister, "Listen R…"
"Go. I'll see you at the party," she pat her brother's back and put on her sunglasses before turning around. Ace frowned, "Where are you going?" he asked, a little concern in his voice. Erry gave him a sideways smile, "You know, friend's. Bye. Oh, by the way, your friend's kinda cute," she teased him, her smile turned into a grin. Ace scoffed, "Don't get any idea. I'm not letting my friends being enchanted by you again."
Erry laughed and shook her head. She gave her brother a short wave before turning around again and walked away.

.-_.

The ballroom was already filled by 8 o'clock. Whoever decorated the ballroom really know what they're doing. There was a big disco ball hanging from the chandelier and the stage was set up for the DJ. There were sofas and tables scattered around the room, and a table with various foods and a little bar nearby, but they still left rooms for everyone to dance. And the guards outside were real guard from a famous nightclub. It was a school for rich students, so they have no financial difficulties at all.

Erry entered the high school building from a secret passage her brother told her in his text message. It took ten minutes for her to finally find the ballroom. She showed the guards her invitation and they shined the paper with a UV flashlight before letting her in. She grinned when she entered the ballroom. She's going to be a freshman in this school soon and this might be the only time she's going to see the inside of the ballroom.

She walked straight to the bar before looking for her brother. The bartender was a boy with a dark brown hair and she immediately recognized him. She sat on the stool and leaned forward, "Hi, Ash."
The boy looked up and his face lightened up, "Erry! You look great. Your brother is up there on the stage."
"No way, he's the DJ?"
Ash cringed, "If he was, the ballroom won't be this crowded. He's the cable guy."
Erry grinned, "I'll go to him later. You have beer?"
"You're 15," he said mockingly. Erry scoffed, "Shut up, we drank Tequila when you was in my house. And I was 14 at that time."

Ash laughed mockingly and came back with a bottle of Heineken. "And until now, I still can't figure out why a perfectly happy 14 years old girl would drink alcohol."
"Yeah, me too," she murmured. Obviously he didn't hear her, so she just gave him a lazy smile. "Well, I think I'm in the mood for dancing. Bye, Ash," she gave him a curt smile and he replied with a little wave.

Most of the seniors knew her, or at least her brother's friend. The boys knew her as Ace's hot little sister, the girls knew her as a little bitch. Little of them knew that she was 3 years younger because, well, she looked much more older than that. She smiled and waved at several people she passed by and ignored the girls' deadly glares at her.

Erry walked straight at the stage. Ash was right; her brother was the cable guy. He was squatting on the back of a speaker, fiddling with its cable. She approached him and smirked, "So, this is your definition of a 'host', huh?"
"Shut up," mumbled Ace without even turning around. "See that disco ball? I bought that, so thanks to me this party rocks."
"Where did you get the money? Dad hates giving you money."
"Unlike you who secretly spend all of your money on alcohol and cigarettes, I've been saving some of mine for something else," he stood up and jumped off the stage. Erry raised her eyebrows. "For a giant disco ball. Real wise."

Ace was about to say something, but another cable guy on the stage yelled his name, "Ace! Don't fucking slack off! Get your ass over here, I can't get this shit to work!"
He sighed and ruffled Erry's messy short hair, "By the way, I've told our parents that we're sleeping at Ash's house."
"We will?"
"Nah. After this, I'm taking you to my regular pub and we'll just sleep there," Ace grinned and jumped back onto the stage. "Have fun!"

She did have fun. She drank quite a lot and didn't get drunk, just a little fuzzy. She danced and laughed and kissed a lot of strangers. Yes, she didn't believe in love, but she still like boys. Especially those with good looks, and there were plenty there. At the end of the night, she had drunk 3 bottle of beers and countless shots of vodka. Her head was spinning, but she didn't puke and still half-conscious.

The party was really over at 3 a.m. Ace and some other so-called 'hosts', including Ash, had to cleaned up the ballroom because it will get cleaned up by the janitors around 6 a.m. Since she was too messed up to drive her car, she decided to just leave it in the parking lot and went to the pub with Ace's motorcycle. She would just get it in the morning.

Ace asked her to wait outside in the parking lot, so she staggered there, barefooted, her high heels on her right hand. Even the parking lot was awesome. There was a big fountain there with a woman statue on top. She sat on the edge of the fountain, feeling soft droplets of water touching her skin. And that's when she saw it.

Under a tree near the door that leads to the ballroom was a white grand piano. She blinked several times before realizing it was real. She dropped her high heels near the fountain and walked slowly towards the piano. The color was amazing, it was white with golden details, and the keys were shining, as if it's been polished. She sat down and pressed random keys before playing a simple song she had played so often in the past.

In latter time, she would remember this moment distinctly even though she was drunk by then. She even remembered the decorations on the piano, how the golden lines twist and turn and the picture of a golden sun on its music desk. She didn't have the chance to finish the song because Ace came out and half-dragged her into his motorcycle.

Oh, and another thing. She also remembered she went back to the fountain to pick up her high heels and accidentally ran into a guy. And, like the piano, she remembered this guy perfectly. His black hair, his cute face, his striking blue eyes, his muscular body, and his strong hand that held her body for some seconds.

Later when they meet again, she would think they were destined to be… something.
But much, much later, she would regret ever leaving the piano so soon and meeting him instead.