I found myself by the music room.

I knew why. I hated why.

I never 'found' myself anywhere. Everything was planned; everything had its own rhythm. I had been spending too much time near a fleshy guitarist with a quick beat and matching heart. My rhythm became shaky, but, oddly enough, I didn't care.

I should've cared.

I cared how many steps it took to get to work.

I cared how many pieces of cereal were in my bowl for breakfast.

I cared about the angle of my mugs in the cabinet, how many there were, what color they were, if they were comfortable, and if I greeted them every morning and night.

I didn't care now, though, and that probably brought me to the room at the start.

I leaned against the cool plaster wall that vibrated from the chords being strum fluidly behind it. Abel Gibb, a senior ready to go off to college on a music scholarship played within this room after school, every Thursday. I listened on most of those, even though I got enough of his playing at my workplace. Some others did, as well. I usually spent ten minutes loitering around that room and trying to avoid contact with the few senior girls waiting to hug that big column of flesh—a sight I'd only seen once when I actually needed to stay after school, in that very room, and perform a piano piece for an interested teacher.

"Miles?" The familiar voice came from my right and my sight blurred when I swung my head. "Hey, Miles, what are you doing here?"

"Ava." Smiling, I pushed from the wall as my best friend ran in the way only she could, looking like the happiest person alive, while wheeling her bass and saxophone in the same mangled bundle behind her scrawny figure. She grinned, showing me large white teeth that flashed against her light brown skin. We met at camp "PlayATune" years ago and I came to this school because I knew she'd be here. I remember being awed by that smiling mouth that could do battle with the rain if it closed around a sax. "Are you trying to get close to that senior too?" I asked, glancing at the girls panting at the door, tongues lolling out to lap the dust off the floor.

"Huh?" She questioned laxly, still smiling. "Is that what you're here for? I don't recognize the playing... but he sounds good. Did you stay after to listen to him?"

I thought about that for a moment before words I couldn't quite catch slipped out of my mouth, "No, it is opposition."

Ava gave me a sour look. "You're doing it again, Miles." she worried, "Are you upset about something? Oh," her airy voice gained a slight realization, "is this guy off beat or something, Miles?"

He was. But I was beginning to think that it was all in my head. Maybe I was the one off rhythm; no one else seemed to think anything was wrong with the guy's playing, but he always sounded off to me.

"No, he's on beat... are you here to practice, or what?"

"Yeah, I am... hey, do you mind playing with me? This one piece keeps giving me trouble, and you're kind of the perfect person to help me with it. You're the best pianist I know, and you're rhythm's always been unreal. So, do you think you could...?"

She said this with a real smile but words plastered in praise. Praise she knew I'd give in to. If I prided myself in one thing, it was music. And, that doesn't mean that my heart would flutter with pride if any random hick off of the street came up and said I was great. But this was Ava, my fellow sophomore that already had college scouts begging at her heels. Even if it was thick, her praise meant a lot to me... it would to anyone.

"Yeah, I've got some time."

She smiled brightly and I opened the door to the music room, letting it hang ninety degrees from the wall as the continual strum of an off-beat song faded, and Abel looked at us with those bright blue eyes that had corners lightly stained with smile-lines. He sat in one of the plastic chairs strewn around the large room and stared silently, reminding me of an animal curiously watching the humans that neared its home.

I began to help Ava with unpacking her beautiful, upright double bass, letting the smooth finish float underneath my fingers as they slid past the graceful curves that were one of a kind to this instrument. Ava had this bass specially made. It was love at first sight, for me. Hand carved neck and body that still contained a perfectly symmetrical form. Even the signature, resting at the base of the bass, just before the endpin, was a single 'A', curving out at either end to hold the same shape on either side.

It was one of the most marvelous things I'd ever seen.

"Miles, if you're going to start drooling, could you move away from my bass?"

Ava's teasing voice tugged at my mouth, and I smiled, complimenting her kiddingly dull look aimed at me.

"Sorry, I couldn't help myself." I said, gently plucking the thick G-string and letting my finger graze it as it trembled

I handed the bass to her, with a slight reluctance as I let go of my dream instrument, and pulled the fold-up keyboard from its designated shelf between the many others saved for instruments of all kinds. They were a hellish temptation to my eager fingers, but the monochrome keys of a piano had a certain way of calling out to me that made it difficult to refuse.

Ava had already begun tuning her bass to match the notes my piano had already burned into her memory with how often we heard each other play. I set up my piano, and watched Ava pull out sheet music for a simplified version of Dittersdorf's Double Bass Concerto and place it on a stand. I pulled one of the many chairs bordering the room to fit just before my keyboard, and sat down as I noticed Abel, still watching intently, with big open eyes that made my insides stir. The guy's guitar laid forgotten on the floor and Abel leaned forward to rest that rosy head in his big guitar-player hands.

I began to play with Ava.

My rhythm may have been off.


Thanks to BlackSun21, Trip The Darkness, and Who's Frankly for reviewing. You guys have all my lavs.

Who's Frankly: Yeah, I agree with what you're saying. Dialogue and me are like a genius and an idiot. The idiot can never quite understand the genius. And yeah... when I read this back and realized how right you were about him seeming like a creeper... my stomach did a little curl. Thanks a lot for your wonderful review, it was nice to get some actual criticism. I have a lot of work to do.

Thanks For Reading!