Joel

"Rayne, have you looked at the lyrics to the song I wrote? I think it'd be good to sing next week at Shaken." I looked up from the guitar in my hands to the girl standing in front of me. Rayne's feathery brown hair was layered and filled with green highlights. She wore a black t shirt and an orange mini skirt with torn leggings. Her finger nails were painted black and her eyes were thickly circled by black eyeliner. In other words, she was the typical rock singer. Not much more to say there.

"Not yet. Just give me a bit, would ya? I'm busy, too."

"Hey, no need to hit a rough spot. Just wanted your opinion." So I won't do it again. I apologize and will repent my actions.

I went back to strumming the strings lightly, playing random chords to see if any went well together. There was something buzzing around the front of my mind and it was bugging me, there one second and gone the next.

Did it have something to do with school? Work? Friends?...

My fingers unconsciously moved up and down while I tried to grasp that stray piece of information.

It had something to do with music, I've known it's been coming for a while, and it is necessary I acknowledge it.

"Joel, I gotta go. Jared is expecting me at his place in ten minutes."

"Right, later. Wait, did I ever talk to you about me having to be somewhere important today?"

"Yeah, your sister's dance recital at that old run down studio, remember? Please don't tell me you forgot." Rayne gave me a pointed look and I ducked my head in shame. How could I forget Lucia's dance recital?

"Thanks!" I called back to her as I laid the guitar on my chair and raced out of the room, thankful that I already had my black and gray vans on. I ran outside into the snow and sprinted towards my black Mercedes.

It started up smoothly and raced down the road. I glanced at the clock, 6:45. The show would be starting any minute.

I pushed the pedal down harder, pushing the speed limit. Actually, running over the speed limit. But I didn't care. I was the only one Lucia had in life and I was missing her big day. How could I be so stupid to forget?

Lost in thought I didn't notice the upcoming traffic till I was forced to come to an abrupt halt.

Damn!

I honked my horn impatiently, but no one moved. Why did this have to happen tonight? I could always get out and run towards the building. It was only about a mile away. But I couldn't just leave Midnight here!

Yes. I named my car. If you don't like it, sue me.

A police officer was walking by. I rolled down my window and waved him down.

"What the hell is happening up there?" I asked, pointing my thumb towards the direction of the jam.

"Car crash, sir," the officer replied. I could tell he didn't know what to make of me. I admit, I was dressed a little bit like a punk. Black leather jacket, rough blue jeans, long shaggy hair, and earrings made a statement. But I had a nice car which spoke the complete opposite.

"Is there any way for me to get to Maria's Dance Studio quickly," my voice emitting my impatience. I didn't have time for this!

"I don't think so, sir. You look pretty blocked in."

"No, you don't understand, Officer. I need to be there right now."

"If there was anything I could do, sir, I would. But there isn't." The large man shrugged and began walking away towards another waving person.

I slammed my fist on the steering wheel, violently shaking the car. I pulled out my android and dialed Lucia's number. Naturally she didn't answer.

"Hey! It's Lucia! I'm busy right now, so leave a message and your number, please! Hugs and kisses!" The beep sounded and I took a deep breath.

"Lucia, it's me. Listen, I may be late to your recital. There's been a car crash and I can't make it through." I paused a moment, considering what to say next. There was no way that I could make this up to her. This was her big day, she'd been talking about it for months and I'd blown it for her. "Sweetheart, you'll have to give me a private performance. I'll be the only audience there. I promise."

The sea of colored vehicles moved forward an inch. Some jackhole bumped into me. I honked my horn in irritation and he flipped me off.

I hope that made him feel better, cause the face I gave him sure made me.

"So, I'll see you soon. I love you. I'm sure you did fantastic. Bye." I hung up, the guilt rising up in my chest. But knowing Luci, she would be just as happy to give me a secret show, like a novel or movie.

I turned up the radio and Shinedown blasted through.

Well I just saw Halley's Comet shooting,

said why you always running in place?

Even the man on the moon disappears,

Somewhere is the stratosphere!

I smiled at my favorite song, and began to sing along.

Tell my mother, tell my father,

I've done the best I can!

To make them realize

this is my life!

I hope they understand!

Finally! The people in front of me began to move. Slowly, but they were moving.

I'm not angry, I'm just saying!

Sometimes goodbye is a second chance.

Shoot! I forgot flowers! Looking around frantically I didn't see any flower shops. Only a Kroger's Market. That'd have to work.

Losing my place in line I turned left to the large brick store. If I hurried I could still make it to congratulate her.

Running inside I was relieved that bouquets were the first thing I saw. I grabbed one full of purple and pink flowers and moved to the self checkout. So far so good. I punched in the number on the back of the flowers on the keypad.

Why the heck does it say try again? Stupid machine.

I punch in the number again and hit pay.

Please see employee for assistance. What the…?

I bite back my irritation and wave down a skimpy blonde wearing the blue uniform.

"Yes, how can I help you?" she asks in her high, southern voice. I tried to ignore her eyes looking me up and down and focused on getting out of here and to Luci.

"It won't let me pay for these. I'm really in a hurry so if you could please-"

"Are those for your girlfriend? They're awful pretty. She should be grateful to you, my guys never buy me flowers."

"Miss, they're for my sister. So if you could please hurry up and fix this so I can go, I'd be glad." What was wrong with her. She gave me a bright hopeful smile and leaned in to check out the computer, leaving some cleavage showing in doing so. I fought the urge to roll my eyes in disgust.

After a minute she stood up straight again. "There ya go, all set!"

"Thanks," I lied.

"No problem, anytime! You'll need this," she replied, scribbling something in her notebook. She handed me the slip of paper and skipped off before I could object. Not before winking, of course.

I glanced down at the paper.

Rachel Williams. (375)-862-0024. Call me, anytime!

I visibly crumpled up the paper and threw it at the trashcan. I really hated girls like her, she probably had a boyfriend. No thanks! The less drama the better!

I hopped back into my car, the engine purred as I drove it out of the parking lot. The traffic had cleared up tremendously and I thanked Chuck Norris for that.

The rest of the five minute drive was smooth and easy, unlike everything else during my epic voyage. Yeah… epic.

I pulled into the parking lot and to my great dismay it was empty save a beat up old station wagon. Not a good sign. I raced inside the old brick building with the flowers in my hands.

Nobody was there.

"DAMN IT!" I shouted, my voice echoing off the walls. I punched the wall to my right, careful not to leave a dent in the dry wall. This couldn't be happening. Besides me she didn't have anyone that would show up to watch her. Especially not Mom or Dad.

I rubbed my eyes hard and turned back the way I came. I was only a few hallways in and the building wasn't too large.

On my way to the door I heard soft music playing. Not the kind the janitor would listen to, but one I remember hearing during my Music History course. Dark Waltz by Hayley Westenra.

I slowly and curiously walked towards the sound. The door which concealed it had light spilling out from behind it.

I pushed it open slightly to see the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my life.

Inside was a woman, her long lean body stretched out in twists and twirls. She danced to the sad wailing of the violins, making my emotions catch in my throat. Her movements mimicked the desperation of the lyrics, it was amazing. I wanted to reach out to her, hold her, comfort her.

She had white blonde curls that tumbled down to her elbows and rosy pink lips that shimmered in the dull stage lights. Her dress was a white asymmetrical dance costume with silver beads that reminded me of raindrops. The soft skirts swished around her legs, gently brushing her skin. She had on white ballet shoes and a heart shaped necklace, as well.

The most interesting part about her appearance, though, was her mask. The mask covered half of her face, going from just above her eyebrows to the tip of her nose. It was white with white feathers coming off the sides. Intertwined with the feathers were crystal snowflakes. Everything about her seemed so pure.

She was light.

I stepped forward and the old wood floors creaked, loud enough for her to hear apparently.

The young woman swung around to stare at me. Behind the mask I saw electric blue eyes filled with surprise and… fear? What was there to be scared of? Then again, I was staring at her from a doorway in a closed dance studio. Kinda a creeperish notion.

"H-hello," I said, giving her a small smile. She just started to take a few steps backwards. Was she not supposed to be here or something? She was only dancing.

"Wait! Why do you seem so afraid of me? I'm not going to tell anybody you were here. I promise. What's your name?"

Her perfect lips responded in an even more perfect voice, "That is none of your business. You shouldn't be here in the first place."

"I was just coming to see my sister dance during her recital," I explained.

"Well, you're a little bit late. Please, leave." With that she spun around and made a break for the other door.

"Wait! Tell me your name! That's all I want to know!"

As she left the room I barely heard her response. It was a soft and gentle reply, but I was happy to hear it.

"Baylie. My name is Baylie."