I awoke to the irritating screech of my alarm clock, signalling it was nine o’clock and time for me to get my ass out of bed.
As the events of last night came crashing back to my mind with the force of a wrecking ball, I groaned and pressed my face deeper into the pillows as the alarm continued to pierce the comfortable silence.
After a few moments, I bolted upright and slapped the thing so hard I was surprised that both my hand and the clock were in one piece. I sat up and delicately rubbed my eyes so I wouldn’t tear my contact lenses.
I was lying on top of my bed, still in orchestra clothes and high heels. I must have really passed out last night if I didn’t even bother to get changed.
I kicked off the shoes that seemed to be causing the most pain. My head spun and I stumbled to the bathroom where I proceeded to vomit into the sink.
I wasn’t totally sure it was from the hangover, though. It might have been from the stress or how freaked I felt.
I turned on the shower and stepped into it without adjusting the temperature or removing my clothes. It was freezing! I forced myself to embrace the chill as it woke and sobered me up. I tore away the wet clothes from my body.
As the water warmed up I drenched my hair and removed my contacts, letting them fall to the floor of the shower and do whatever dead contact lenses do.
As I washed myself for fifteen minutes, I tried to lose myself from any thought of reality and hummed random notes that came to mind. As the sound echoed around my marble bathroom and the steam cleared my head, I relaxed.
I shut off the water and stepped out. I had come to a decision. I walked into the main room with purpose, grabbing the phone and dialling quickly.
I waited impatiently, holding the top of my slipping towel and ignoring the chill as my hair dripped down my shoulders.
“What do you want?” the tired voice of Tessa answered.
“Tess – do you know what the resignation terms are?”
There were the noises of a person stumbling out of bed on the other end.
“Alright, Miss Daae, what’d your Phantom do to ‘ya?” she demanded, “‘Cause I can tell you right now, mine was pretty good” she said, sounding oddly pleased.
“Tessa, please!” I was in no mood for her this morning, “What are the resignation terms?” I demanded.
She sighed. “Alright, but are you sure you want to? I’m sure whatever happened –“
“Yes, Tessa, I’m sure. I don’t think I can stand to be in that building ever again!” I said firmly “Now, do you know the terms?”
“One minute…” I assumed she put the phone down as she went to dig up some old contract or website, “Okay, so you can fill out the forms as soon as possible, but you have to do at least one more show before you can officially leave” she said with a sigh.
“Great – we’ll get there early so I can fill out the forms, I play tonight, and then tomorrow you help me find a new job – deal?” I asked.
“Felicia – don’t you want to think this through first? It’s a big decision” she said, sounding oddly like a grown-up for once.
“I have, believe me” I said with a sigh, putting my hand to my head- it had started throbbing again.
“Okay, then” she sighed, “Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to return to some much-needed beauty sleep…” she said, a small amount of annoyance crept into her voice that I wondered was directed at me and not the need for her to sleep.
I snorted, “Why, what were you doing last night?”
“I told you! I was with my Phantom…” she began.
“Right, well, you can gush tonight” I said, I wasn’t particularly interested in whatever cute waiter she had picked up, “Thank God there’s no show this afternoon” I sighed, I don’t think I could take going back to that building so soon, “See you then?” I asked, I wanted to make sure the two of us were still on good terms.
“See you then” she sighed.
In Tessa talk that meant ‘I’m pissed with you but I’ll forgive you later’
The line went dead and I smiled.
Deciding to distract myself and perhaps get a head start to finding a job, I dressed casually and began to wander around Southbank. As I admired the beauty of Melbourne, I pushed all thoughts of last night out of my mind.
I had already brushed my teeth six times, but I could still feel the lingering taste of him on my tongue…
Obviously, more distraction was necessary. I went to my favourite Asian restaurant in the food court and ordered fried rice, like I had ever since I was a little girl with my Mum.
I sat by the Yarra and watched the happy cruisers on the dirty water and ate my lunch, sipping a Mango Smoothie.
I was so absent minded that I started paying attention to a passer-by’s conversation.
“Did you like it?”
“Brilliant! Best show I’ve ever seen…”
“Pity that violinist screwed up in the beginning, though,”
“Mmm, yes. We should see it again just to hear it properly!”
“And hopefully the Phantom will actually get in the scene on time…”
“…and Christine won’t have delayed fainting reactions…”
God had a sick sense of humour.
I quickly stood and stared speed-walking quickly away from the young couple having the conversation. Apparently I had screwed up the whole show.
So much for distracting myself!
I wandered to the Crown Casino and admired the architecture of the fountains inside, staring in awe at the colourful lights sparkling off the many diamond tear drops hanging from the ceiling.
My Mum and I had always brought my little brother here…
I sat on the marble stair case and watched the dancing droplets with my head in my hands.
I was supposed to be thinking about my Phantom. Gerard Butler and how I had left things with him last night.
I was supposed to be thinking about how incredibly cool it had been that as we walked to Flinders Street station, he had asked for my number.
Of course me, being the cool cat I was had said, “I don’t give my number out to strangers”
To which he had asked, “How am I supposed to see you again?”
For which I had done the super cool thing of saying “You’ll figure it out” before I hoped on the train, with my cello.
Amusingly enough, I was pretty sure he didn’t even know my name…
But oh no! I wasn’t thinking about that!
I was thinking about how on earth someone could be so stupid!
What on earth was Felicia thinking in quitting the Orchestra? If she thought that would get rid of her Ben problem, she had another thing coming.
She didn’t see the way he looked at her.
Her leaving the theatre would accomplish nothing, except leaving her jobless.
He would still look for her. He would still look at her like a blind man seeing the sun, but most of all, he would still love her.
It was so obvious that he did. And it was so obvious that she loved him.
Yet neither of them could see it.
Sometimes I wondered if I was the smartest person earth or if everyone else was just really dumb?
Well, I wasn’t about to let her throw away the biggest opportunity of her life, that’s for sure!
I knew it sounded childish, but as soon as we got to the Regent I was telling.
I was telling on her big-time! And I knew she would be in big trouble with her Phantom.
I waited outside the Regent, violin at my feet, and tapping my toes against the light cement. At long last, Tessa hustled in with her cello, smiling apologetically.
“There you are!” I sighed.
“Sorry, sorry!” she said flippantly, “Swap instruments with me and you’ll see, taking this thing on the train is not pretty” she complained.
I rolled my eyes, stopping the tirade of ‘my life is so much harder than yours’ that would surely ensue, “Okay, okay – now can we please get a move on?” I asked.
Tessa rolled her eyes and followed me as we immediately went to the pit where Mr. Peg was preparing himself for tonight’s show.
I didn’t really know how a conductor was supposed to prepare, but he was just flipping through the gigantic score on his stand that I was surprised he didn’t have totally memorized yet.
When he heard us, he looked up and gave a slightly confused smile, “Ah, good evening ladies – may I ask what you are doing here so early?” he asked politely.
“Felicia wants to make a giant ass of herself” said Tessa loudly turning to look at me.
I glared at her murderously, I knew she didn’t agree with what I was doing, but she didn’t have to be so verbal about it.
Rolling her eyes, Tessa walked over to her chair and placed her cello down as I approached Mr. Peg.
“Good evening, sir. I came to inform you of my resignation,” I tried to stop myself from sounding rude by being overly professional… but it didn’t really work.
He blinked for a moment, seeming stunned before he composed himself, “May I ask why?” he asked politely.
“Personal reasons…” I said, that was my immediate response, but I could tell he wanted more, so I changed the subject, “Do you have the paperwork?” I asked.
He nodded, “Yes, but you will have to play tonight” he sighed.
“I know” I said simply.
“Alright, then. Let me go get them…” he wandered out of the pit, leaving Tessa and myself alone.
I robotically unpacked my instrument, tuning the strings quickly by ear and sitting in my chair. I heard Tessa snort from the other side of the conductor’s stand, in the cello section.
“You seem happy” I noted.
“I’m not” she snapped at me.
“Yes you are” I said, she had a certain glow about her that could only be from happiness.
“Fine, I am but it has nothing to do with you” she said pointedly.
I rolled my eyes, she began to walk towards the door and I panicked, “where are you going?” I demanded.
She turned around to look at me, “Why do you want to know?” she asked.
I smiled, I’d caught her, “If you think for one minuet that I am stupid enough to let you leave so you can run to him” I winced slightly, “you have another thing coming” I said firmly, folding my arms.
She glared at me, before her face rapidly smoothed, “I was just coming over here to steal some of Tony’s rosin” she said simply, leaning down to pick up the small golden cube.
I eyed her smugly for a moment, knowing I’ caught her before I went back over to my seat and sat down. I opened my music and began to softly play the first few lines, simply for something to do.
A minute later, Mr. Peg returned with a stack of three or four papers stapled together.
“Right, I’ll let you fill these out now…” he handed me the papers and a pen from his jacket pocket. I smiled in thanks. He nodded and returned to his conductor’s stand.
I flattened out my own stand and began to fill out the forms as the first few musicians began to trickle in through the small pit door.
After a moment I turned to Tessa, only to find her chair was empty.
Oh I was so not wearing the right shoes to be playing superhero.
I was currently wearing my black knee high boots, which had a considerable heel on them- if I was going to be impersonating Batman, I would have been more comfortable in converses.
Any moment now Felicia was going to realize I was gone, then she was going to spring out of nowhere wearing Joker make-up.
I wasn’t quite sure where I was going as I rushed around back-stage.
There were so many props, costumes and people rushing about that I had no idea where I was.
But I knew who I was looking for, and I knew he was nowhere to be seen and I was running out of time.
Quickening my step I got out of the props and people all moving about behind stage and came out into the hallway, bumping into someone.
I knew it was female as both of us screamed in fright briefly before I realized who it was, “Anna!” I said gripping her forearms, “I need you help!” I said urgently.
She frowned, “What’s going on?” she demanded.
“It’s Felicia!” I said, she continued to frown, “Uh, Ben’s Mystery Girl” I qualified, “She’s quitting the Orchestra” I huffed, I was slightly out of breath from running around so much.
“What? Why?” she demanded.
“Because she’s nuts” I said releasing her.
Anna looked down at her watch, “Crap I need to get ready” she said, grabbing my hand she towed me down a set of unknown hallways before she came to a door and opened it pulling me inside.
“Alright, we need to fix this” she said seriously as she closed the door, “we need to come up with a way to stop her from leaving” she said as she went to her dresser and began applying make-up.
“Smart thinking Batman” I smiled.
She smiled at me through the reflection of the mirror, “We need to get Ben to do something” she said.
“Yeah but what?” I asked desperately.
“Well what’s something they have in common?” she asked as she applied a thick layer of make-up to her face.
We were silent for a moment before we both seemed to come to the same conclusion, by all accounts there should have been light-bulbs above out heads, “Music” we said together.
Anna and I smiled at one another.
I was really beginning to like this girl.