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

My 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 my combination replaced.

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

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

I was 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 my classmates don’t think I 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 I’m ‘part British’—which I’m not, and I 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 I was given those positions. I 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. I consider myself anything but fortunate, but no one would ever agree with me based on simple outward appearances. I guess I should have expected the disgruntled reactions of my 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.

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

Lord knows I wouldn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah.

I’m kind of dysfunctional like that.

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

I don’t know if that’s sad or what.

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

But not me.

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

I wasn’t always like this, though.

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

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

My body shudders involuntarily, not from any remnants of the cold outside, but from unpleasant memories. I actively push the depressing thoughts from my mind before they wander any further.

I scrunch my hair into a messy ponytail and put my earphones on as I walk to the back door of the rehearsal room, actively switching my focus to music so that I don’t have to think about my somber past.

At least not for the next few hours.

***

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THIS MAKES ME FEEL...
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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