Silent Song (Ghostly Rhapsody)

Silent Song (Ghostly Rhapsody) by Ron C. Nieto Read Free Book Online

Book: Silent Song (Ghostly Rhapsody) by Ron C. Nieto Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ron C. Nieto
to his guitar. “Whatever.” As if his attitude hadn’t conveyed the feeling.
    I turned and headed toward the door, but for some reason my step missed its usual spring. I moved with an insecurity that I hadn’t shown—hadn’t felt—since kindergarten.
    “It’s just the enamel,” he said when I had almost reached the door. “She still plays.”
    I decided to overlook the way he referred to his stupid guitar as if it were a girl with way more tenderness and admiration than he’d ever aim my way, and retraced my steps. I tried not to think of the fact that engaging Keith in conversation in public went against every social survival instinct ever.
    “That’s great!” He gave me a dubious look and I added, “Isn’t it?”
    “It’d have been great not to hit her in the first place. But since the dumping is done, I guess there could be worse news.”
    “If it had broken, it’d have been a good excuse to buy a new one anyway, no?”
    Saying that was a mistake. A gross miscalculation. Keith had relaxed marginally, but he tensed again at once and shot me a look that said, in no uncertain terms, that he felt my worth was right up there beside the chewing gum stuck to the sole of his boot.
    “Of course. Everything can be fixed by buying a replacement.”
    “I didn’t mean it like that. It just doesn’t look new. If it had been new, that’d have been worse.”
    He stood up and placed the guitar in the bag. “She’s never been new. Second hand.”
    “Oh,” I said, in a show of intelligence.
    “And new or old, if it had broken, it’d be broken. End of story.”
    “Hey, I wasn’t trying to insult you or anything. You don’t have to get like that.”
    “Get like what? Like the Bitch Princess of school talking to me in an empty auditorium isn’t exactly the most normal thing ever?” Keith sighed and tried to rein in his frustration. It didn’t work. “Look, just go ahead. We don’t want your reputation tarnished. It’s bad form not to look at me over your shoulder. Haven’t you read the memo?”
    I opened my mouth, closed it again. How dare he talk like that?
    He snorted in the silence provided by my gaping. “Of course you have. You wrote it, remember?”
    I found my voice and latched into the first thing I could think of. “Bitch Princess?” I screeched.
    “Want to be the Queen? Go stage a coup against Lena.” He smirked, just a bit.
    And that made me smile, in spite of the joke wrapped around an insult. In the reprieve, I took a deep breath and said the one thing I had really wanted to say.
    “You… you’ll still play, right? I’ll talk to them.”
    “You must be kidding. It’s clear that I’m not wanted.”
    “No, that was Lena. The professor loves the music, and so does everyone else. Anna just went along with Ray, and I’m sure she’ll come around once that all-muscle, no-brain oaf is back to playing football.”
    “Again, I have to ask…” He shoved his hands in his pockets, lay back against the control table in the pit and regarded me coolly from under his unruly, straight hair. “What do you care?”
    No smart comeback on my part. I fished around for some excuse to throw his way, but I couldn’t concentrate on inventing an explanation to avoid the truth when I couldn’t make sense out of the truth either.
    What do I care, really? What is it to me, to have him stay after hours with the rest of us, alone among all the theatre people, playing that heavenly music of his?
    He smirked again, wider this time. “Is my house no longer enough for you?”
    I froze. Literally. My blood crystallized in my limbs and my lungs burned from lack of air. I guessed that I had gone either very pale or extremely red.
    “What are you talking about?”
    His gaze went down my body, all the way to my feet, and then up again. “I know it’s you.”
    “What are you talking about?” I repeated, my voice going shrill.
    “I’m talking about camping under my window for hours, listening in. I’d

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