Just a little piece I wrote a few months ago to make myself feel better after some unnecessary drama unfolded in my life. I hope you like it.
Juhi stood behind the red satin curtains, her knees knocking together. Her palms were sweaty as she clutched her piano score in her hands. Outside, beyond the thick satin curtains, past the stage and up along the aisles, she could hear the crowd whooping and clapping as Raleigh finished performing. She burst through the curtains, her face flushed with excitement. She was clutching her violin to her chest as she grinned at Juhi.
"It's such a great crowd! You'll love it, Juhi!" she exclaimed, her wavy blonde hair hugging her bare shoulders. Her white off-the-shoulder blouse sparkled underneath the backstage lights and the emcee announced, "Juhi Whyte will be performing on the piano next."
"Have fun!" Raleigh grinned as the event director pushed her towards the middle of the stage. Juhi nodded and tried to smile as the curtains parted. Polite applause filled the entire auditorium as a bright light was cast upon Juhi's trembling frame. She squinted, unable to see anything because of the almost unbearable glare. Somewhere in the distance, she heard her older brother and his friends.
"YEA, GO JUHI! USE THE FORCE, YOUNG PADEWAN!"
And her ever-faithful mother, who never missed a performance: "THAT'S MY BABY!"
Her legs were numb as she stumbled over to the grand piano that was sitting, intimidating and satanic, in the middle of the stage. Carefully, Juhi sat down and straightened out the pale yellow skirt her mum had made for her last summer. She placed the piano score on the ledge and looked out at the audience. The light had dimmed and she was able to see each and every face. Her white blouse was cool against her pale, freckled skin and she suddenly realized that she must look like a whitish-yellowish blob with auburn ringlets. The image was so ludicrous that it made Juhi grin. An elderly couple in the front row saw her smile and smiled back. The woman whispered to the man, "Now isn't she just a gem? Look at those curls."
Gently, Juhi leaned forward and placed her long, pale sinewy fingers on the piano keys. She looked down at them, adoration flashing in her eyes. Her fingers were her life; they had been creating beautiful music from their fingertips ever since she was ten years old. And now, at eighteen, she had finally learned to truly appreciate them.
The auditorium was dead silent and Juhi breathed deeply before setting her foot on the pedal. Then, as her eyes stared at the ivory pages before her, her fingers began their dance.
"Where's Lucien? Where's my husband?" Natalia sobbed in pain as she fell back against the pillows, exhausted and in pain. She had been in labor for three hours now and the baby was being difficult.
"He went to get you some ice chips, Mrs. Paradis, please, you need to relax." Dr. Pascal pleaded with her as she shook her head, crying heavily.
"I can't do it, I can't. It hurts," she sobbed as Lucien entered the room again. His thick brown hair, which was usually meticulously combed and perfect, was disheveled and resembled a haystack.
"It's okay, sweetheart, you're doing great."
"Where were you?" Natalia snapped, her eyes flashing. Lucien smiled affectionately.
"Getting you ice chips, babe." He reached into the cup and pulled one out. Gently, he pressed it to her lips but she swatted his hand away.
"I hate you! You did this to me!" she cried and he couldn't help but grinning. Even in her hasty, unexplained anger she looked beautiful, with her strawberry blonde hair matted to her forehead, and her chest rising and falling with each exhausted breath.
"Okay, Mrs. Paradis, it's time for you to start pushing. The baby's ready to come out."
Natalia grabbed Lucien's fingers and squeezed them. "If you leave me again I'm naming this baby Ringo-Banana."
Lucien laughed and kissed her forehead. "Ready to push, baby?"
"After this, you will never touch me again, do you hear me?"
Natalia began pushing as Lucien grinned widely.
The first notes fluttered around the auditorium quietly and Juhi kept her ebony eyes on her fingers. She took a deep breath.
"When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me," she sang clearly into the microphone that had been set up for her on the piano. Her voice, raspy and melodious, sounded undeniably innocent and fragile and the audience was captivated immediately, "Speaking words of wisdom, Let it be…"
Juhi closed her eyes and added more strength to her playing. Her fingers flew over the keys and she smiled.
"Fuck, I feel like I'm gonna explode." Tajh muttered to himself as he watched her. She was standing at the boulders with Edward. Her laughter trilled through the air and Tajh blushed. She was so beautiful. Her ebony black hair fell down her back in thick waves and her neck was long and chocolaty as she threw her head back in her laughter. Tajh felt his heart hammer in his chest as he stepped forward onto the gravel-pathway.
Edward saw him approaching first. He waved and Savannah turned around. When she noticed Tajh, her brown eyes lit up and she grinned. His heart nearly melted; her smile was so charming.
"Hey, Tajh!" Savannah greeted and Tajh smiled, shoving his hands in his jean pockets. His slightly large Rush t-shirt fluttered against his torso gently as a breeze wafted around them. Savannah's almost-curly hair danced around her shoulders slightly. Tajh watched, mesmerized. "Hey, Savvy…"
Savvy, only Edward and Tajh called her that all the time, blushed when she noticed Tajh staring at her. It made her feel self-conscious. Unknown to everyone, even Edward, who was her best friend, Savvy had the biggest crush on Tajh. It had started as a small, "Oh, he's kind of cute" crush to an "Oh my god, he's looking at me. I could just die" crush. It was very intense in Savvy's eyes.
"What's up, man?" Edward asked, curious about why Tajh was at the bluffs on a Saturday. He usually stayed at home with the family on the weekend.
"I uh… actually… wanted to talk to Savvy about something," Tajh rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably and Edward's eyes flashed with intuition. His heart surged with an unknown feeling that he suspected was jealously. He had never really been jealous before, but something told him that Tajh was about to be labeled as competition. He glanced at Savvy, who was smiling at Tajh shyly. His heart continued to surge until it became almost painful.
"Oh, sure." Savvy smiled and the hearts of both men fluttered excitedly. She waited, watching his face expectantly and Tajh cleared his throat uncomfortably.
"Um… alone, if you don't mind." He said, feeling slightly guilty. He had a sneaking suspicion that Edward, who was his best friend, also had a crush on Savvy. What he didn't know was that it was more than a crush, it had been love and everything beyond that for a long, long time.
"Okay." Savvy's smile seemed to be frozen on her face, "Sounds serious." She glanced at Edward, who shrugged.
"I'll be over there." He waved his hand in an unhelpful manner and sauntered off towards an empty bench.
"Wanna take a little walk?" Tajh asked and Sadie shrugged.
They began walking slowly down the gravel pathway and Edward glanced back at them. He turned and looked out at the setting sun, his eyes veiled.
The audience sat, listening intently, absolutely rapt by the beautiful girl singing and playing that beautiful song.
"And in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me. Speaking words of wisdom; let it be." Juhi opened her eyes and glanced at the audience. The faces were bright with enthrallment and she felt her heart flutter to her throat, "Let it be, let it be, let it be, oh let it be. Whisper words of wisdom… let it be…"
"When the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer; let it be."
People in the audience sat with their backs pressed against the soft seats, their hands at their throats or their chests, frozen as they watched the young girl in fascination.
"For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see. There will be an answer, let it be. Oh… let it be, let it be. Let it be, oh… let it be. There will be an answer, let it be."
Juhi's mother grinned proudly as she watched her daughter. Samuel, her brother, nudged his friend Derrick, who had a bit of a crush on Juhi and grinned. "She's singing to you, Der."
"Fuck you, Sam." But Derrick couldn't help but blush as he listened to Juhi sing and play.
"Let it be, let it be, let it be… oh, let it be… Whisper words of wisdom, let it be." Her raspy voice sounded utterly magical as her hands danced across the ivory white teeth of the piano.
The musical interlude was soft and touching and some members of the audience started to tear up. Juhi looked out at them from the corner of her eyes as she continued to sing.
"And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me," Her fingers pounded the keys passionately, "Shine until tomorrow, let it be."
"Owwww," Natalia screamed, grinding her teeth, "It hurts! Oh my God…"
Lucien mopped her forehead with a handkerchief and Dr. Pascal grinned up at her. "You're doing great, sweetheart. Just a few more pushes. Ready? One, two, three, go. Push, push, push!"
Natalia's entire body tightened as she clutched Lucien's fingers and pushed. Every nurse in the room counted with Lucien, "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one."
Natalia gasped for breath as she fell back against the pillows. Lucien pushed back strands of wet hair. Dr. Pascal offered them another smile. "One more big push, baby." She said kindly and Natalia sobbed, her bright green eyes swimming in tears, "I can't… please…"
"Just one more, sweetheart." Lucien whispered, kissing her, "And then you'll finally get to hold the baby in your arms."
"Ready, Natalia?" Dr. Pascal said and Natalia nodded, sobbing, "One, two , three, go!"
The countdown started once more and Natalia's keening inhuman wail soared through the entire room, bouncing on the walls and medical equipment.
"What's wrong, Tajh?" Savvy asked as they stopped walking. Savvy could still see Edward, but they were far enough that no one could hear their conversation.
"Nothing's wrong… I just wanted to ask you something."
"What is it?" Savvy looked worried and Tajh wanted to hug her fiercely and just carry her away.
"So we've known each for what, six years?" Tajh asked and Savvy rolled her eyes, smiling.
"You're an ass. We've known each other since I was five. So, thirteen years, you monkey."
"That long, eh?" Tajh felt comfortable behind his I'm-totally-a-jerk façade and Savvy knew that. It was something she ribbed him constantly for. But he always jostled her back, ranting about her Sailor Moon obsession or obnoxiously loud laughter, which he actually really liked, but he never told her that.
"Anyway… thirteen years. And we're pretty good friends, right?" he felt so shy and awkward standing there in front of her. It took everything he had not to just stand there and gawk at her like a lovesick boy.
"I'd say we're really good friends," Savvy nodded, blushing furiously, suddenly thankful for her darker skin. It would be hard for Tajh to see the color change.
"We can ask each other anything, right?" he asked and Savvy smiled.
He took a deep breath, working up every ounce of courage in him, promising God that he would donate his organs for future medical research if she said yes. "Then uh… I suppose it's okay if I ask you out on a date, seeing as how we're really good friends and all."
"I wake up to the sounds of music. Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom; let it be." Juhi grinned, her heart soaring. She had never felt a joy like this.
She had never sung a song this beautiful before; a song had never touched her heart like this one. She felt an absolute closeness to not only her fingers and the piano, but to the piano score, as well. The elderly couple in the front row held hands tightly and stared up at the young girl.
"Isn't she just a gem," the woman whispered and her husband nodded, "Just listen to that voice."
Savvy stared at him for a moment and Tajh suddenly felt like an idiot. He prayed to God that she didn't catch what he had said.
"I'll still donate my organs!" he screamed mentally and understanding sparkled in Savvy's eyes.
"What?" she finally managed to croak, after seconds of unbearable silence. Tajh rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably and cocked his head to the side. It was a gesture that Savvy had always found endearing.
"Nothing. What?" Tajh chuckled nervously and the stud in his right ear caught the sun and sparkled in Savvy's eyes. She gaped at him.
"You asked me out."
"I did not." Tajh said lamely and Sadie grinned, her blush deepening. Tajh noticed the color change finally and pointed a finger, amazed.
"You're blushing. I've never seen you blush."
"I'm not blushing." Savvy said unconvincingly and Tajh grinned. Savvy nearly turned into jelly. He shrugged and looked like a little boy as he flashed her a lopsided smile.
"So, okay, say I did ask you out. What would you say?"
"I'd say, about freaking time, Tajh Kyler… I've only been waiting like, two years." Savvy grinned bravely and it was Tajh's turn to blush.
"I'm a little slow, aren't I?"
"Fucking turtle, really." Savvy couldn't stop grinning.
"Let it be, let it be, let it be, ohhh let it be. There will be an answer. Let it be." Juhi felt tears sting her eyes and her throat started to close up as tears filled her voice. She felt her heart swell as her fingers flew over the keys gracefully, long and pale.
Edward turned and looked back at Savvy and Tajh. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but the ecstatic grin on Savvy's face as they walked back towards the bench told him everything.
"Hey, Edward, guess what?" Savvy called and Edward turned back to the setting sun. He felt his heart sink and shut his eyes painfully. What could he do? Nothing.
Sometimes, you just gotta let it be…
Natalia fell back against the pillows, unbelievably exhausted as a wail erupted from somewhere beneath her. She felt nothing and heard nothing except Lucien's voice.
"Oh my God, she's beautiful! Natalia, oh my God… Look what you brought into this world. You're a goddess." His lips were on hers briefly and Natalia opened her eyes and found herself staring at a tiny pink, shrieking baby. A girl. Natalia's hands trembled as she hugged her newborn daughter to her chest. She had caused so much pain and exhaustion, this small, beautiful little baby, but all of that seemed light-years away as Natalia smiled down at her, bereft of tears. After nine months of wanting and waiting, she was finally holding her daughter in her arms, and Lucien beamed, grinning a proud first-time-father smile. The sight warmed the hearts of every single nurse and doctor in the room.
It was on April 29th, 2008, on a warm spring night in Angouleme, France, that Rayna Tilley Paradis came wailing into the arms of her young and ecstatic parents.
"Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be, ooooh…." Her fingers pounded out the last few notes and when the music faded, Juhi lifted her hands gracefully off the keys and turned to the audience. Slowly, she stood, her legs trembling slightly and bowed into the silence. Derrick stood up and started clapping first. Then it was her mother, and then Samuel. Then the wave began, churning up the aisles and to the balcony seats, engulfing the auditorium with frothy applause. The clapping was overwhelming and Juhi cried as she laughed and smiled. She bowed again and the crowd rose to their feet. Juhi felt a tremendous surge in her heart and she waved at her beaming mother, who also had tears streaming down her face. It was her first standing ovation.
"And it definitely won't be my last." Juhi looked back at the piano, then down at her fingers. At that moment she realized that she really hadn't known true appreciation until this very moment. She smiled and looked out into the audience, into the Derrick's smiling eyes. Her fingers really were her life.
I know, I know- it's unbearably cheesy, haha. Review, please. :)