Andy's band is playing in town, and many of the girls are heading of a night at the bar. Others have dates, and still others are spending their night in the woods. another secret will be revealed so start reading sets.
"Where to, Miss?"
I sat inside a black cab, alone in the backseat. In front, the driver looked at me through the rear-view mirror, repeating his question.
"Town," I said, settling back in the leather seat. He pulled away from the manor in silence, leaving through the gates and heading towards the closest centre of anything resembling life. I looked out the window, unable to distinguish anything in the darkness. The drive was long, but not unbearable - it was twenty minutes later that we pulled into town. I paid the driver and hurried into the restaurant, greeted at the door by my company for the evening.
"Bon soir, cherie."
James was my not-so-French fling, a student at a nearby university, possessing the most intense blue eyes and the body of a professional swimmer - which he was. He led me further inside, pulling out my seat for me before he sat down himself.
"Well, you certainly are a gentleman," I commented, smiling slightly.
"We British are brought up well, Miss Gatsby."
I raised an eyebrow. "Are you implying something?"
"Not at all. You're the picture of grace."
"Such a charmer," I laughed. "Tell me, dear, what is it again that you study?"
"French literature," he informed me as the waiter poured two glasses of wine. So that explained his previous greeting. "What about yourself?"
"I'm at Yorkshire Manor, still."
"You aren't... underage?" he asked cautiously. I waved it off with a laugh.
"No, no, I'm eighteen. Perfectly legal for many things."
"Oh?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
Our banter went on for a while, until the restaurant closed, and we found ourselves out the front. "Dahlia, I think you're beautiful," he said, resting a hand on my cheek.
"You're awfully sweet, James."
He leaned in and kissed me, so softly at first, but then with a little more intention. "Would you like to come and see my apartment?"
"I must be getting back to the Manor before curfew."
"It's just around the corner..."
"No, James, really, I should go."
"I just bought you dinner!"
"Well, that's not an agreement."
"I thought that's what you do."
I pushed him away from me, striding to the curb to hail another cab. When I looked back, James was staring at me with a cigarette in his mouth, one arm folded across his stomach. I ducked into the nearest cab, settling back in for the ride.
I did whatever I felt like doing. And sometimes, that involved wat James was after.
But I wouldn't be told when to do it.
"Crystal!" I sang out, pushing open the door to her rehearsal room. It was dim, a few strands of light fighting their way through white curtains hanging from the wooden window-frame. There was no response. My heels clicked on the floorboards as I walked in slowly, peering around as I clutched a dress in my hand. Crystal had asked to borrow it, and told me she had rehearsal this morning, so I agreed to bring it to her.
"Anyone here?" I called again, walking over to the piano. It sat desolate in the center of the room, and I ran my fingers lightly over the higher keys, leaving a light tinkling sound.
The male voice came from the corner of the room, near a doorway shrouded in darkness. I jumped slightly, raising my hand to my heart.
"I didn't mean to startle you," he said softly, walking towards the piano. I recognised him as Crystal's voice coach, Andre, who I'd met a few days before. "Hello, Dahlia."
"I came to lend this to Crystal," I informed him, offering the dress. He took it, laying it on the piano bench.
"Do you play?" he asked, gesturing to the piano.
"Oh, no darling," I insisted, smiling. "Though I'm sure you do."
I placed my palms behind me on the piano, pushing myself up so I was sitting on it. I figured I had a few minutes to spare, and hearing him play wouldn't hurt. He smirked, taking a seat on the bench, and began playing a slow song, closing his eyes as he did so. When he was finished, I clapped lightly.
He grinned. "Let me show you." Taking my hand, he placed my finger on one key, before moving it to another, playing out a simple tune. I turned to rest my feet on the bench next to him, my legs hovering over the keys, on show beneath my short dress. Letting go of my hand, he played the rest of the song himself - well, until the door that I'd previously entered through was flung open, and Crystal strode in.
"Sorry I'm la-oh." She stopped en route to the piano, peering at me. "Dahlia?"
"I came to give you the dress," I said, pointing to it.
"Uh, okay," she stammered, her eyes flitting between Andre and I. He reached out to help me down from the piano, landing perfectly on my feet. I leaned in to kiss Crystal's cheek, the same height as her in my teetering heels, before leaving her to take my previous place at the piano.