You stop by your locker before you head to the rehearsal room to drop off your belongings. You set your satchel down and turn the grey metal dial as you enter the new combination to your locker. It takes you two tries to get it right, and it opens up with a very slight creak. You had to get it changed about two weeks ago since someone had managed to break into it and steal your iPod, your recorder, a library book—which you had to end up paying for—and a few of your other belongings.

Your locker had been thoroughly vandalized, with nothing but broken glass and what looked like lipstick streaks left behind.

The perpetrator still hasn’t been found to date, so the only thing the faculty head could do when it happened was make an announcement of the incident and arrange to have your combination replaced.

You suspected and still suspect that it’s someone in your class who did it—probably Wendy or Julianne—but you have no proof to back your theory up.

Besides, the Dastardly Duo aren’t your only suspects. There are quite a few classmates who really don’t care too much for your existence, and you guess that mostly has to do with the fact that you’re one of the top music students in the school and most of your professors seem to take a liking to you.

You were appointed lead vocalist earlier this semester, as well as lead pianist, and apparently, only two other students have ever held two lead positions in different departments at the same time in the music school’s history. It’s obvious that some of your classmates don’t think you deserve either of the highly-coveted positions, and certainly not both at the same time.

A lot of them have claimed everything from being the granddaughter of a legendary music composer to their assumption that you’re ‘part British’—which you’re not, and you don’t know why the hell that would even make a difference, but people will obviously use anything as an excuse—as the only reasons why you were given those positions. You frequently hear passing remarks like, “She’s just lucky her grandfather was famous and had connections here” and “It’s not fair! I can sing so much better than she does. What makes her so damn special?”

It’s crazy how much perception skews the truth. You consider yourself anything but fortunate, but no one would ever agree with you based on simple outward appearances. You guess you should have expected the disgruntled reactions of your classmates.

Like most classical art fields, classical vocal music is a highly competitive field anywhere in the world, and people will use any excuse they can come up with to discredit their competition.

You’re sure the classical ballet dancers across the hall have it much, much harder. You’ve seen firsthand how fierce the competition in their department can get, and you sometimes wonder if most of the dancers still enjoy dancing with all the pressure they’re constantly under.

Lord knows you wouldn’t.

You guess you just have to be extra careful and vigilant from now on. It’s not like you can afford to lose any more of your stuff.

You take your beanie and jacket off, shoving them into the medium sized locker, and your satchel soon follows. You remember to grab your new MP3 player from it before you close it. Okay, it’s not exactly new, but you feel like it is.

Trixie’s older brother, Drake, gave it to you last week, insisting that you take it when he heard about what had happened with your locker. You almost wish Trixie hadn’t told him.

You were extremely reluctant to take his music player when he offered it to you, even though it was exactly the miracle you needed. You absolutely hate feeling indebted to anyone, and you hate the idea of Drake feeling sorry for you even more. You also hate the fact that you like the guy, and although you’ve had something of a crush on for him for a little over a year now, you know you’ll never act on those feelings.

It probably sounds absurd to most people, and you’ll never admit it to anyone, but one of the greatest fears you have in life…is falling in love.

Yeah.

You’re kind of dysfunctional like that.

Your greatest fear isn’t dying broke or starving to death or being alone for the rest of your life. Not even the thought of having maggots crawling out of your nose makes your system shut down like the thought of being deeply in love with someone.

You don’t know if that’s sad or what.

You mean, most people crave love and romance and spend incredible amounts of time and energy searching for it.

But not you.

Every time love so much as tiptoes your way, you run from it faster than Usain Bolt ever could, and do everything in your power to eradicate any sign of it in your life. You’d heartily welcome the plague over it.

You weren’t always like this, though.

You thought you wanted love once upon a time, and on very few, rare occasions, you still think you might, but you know for a fact that you wouldn’t be able to handle being in love if a bucket of the stuff was thrown right in your face. You just wouldn’t; not after seeing what being in love did to your father.

Not after witnessing and being part of the toxic and destructive aftermath that resulted from that whole situation.

Your body shudders involuntarily, not from any remnants of the cold outside, but from unpleasant memories.

You actively push the depressing thoughts from your mind before they wander any further.

You scrunch your hair into a messy ponytail and put your earphones on as you walk to the back door of the rehearsal room, actively switching your focus to music so that you don’t have to think about your somber past. At least not for the next few hours.

***

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THIS MAKES ME FEEL...
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