Miss Ryland left the office. Albert went from his piano to his desk and put his elbows on it, cupping his head in his hands. Lou hung his head beside him.
Rose walked in. "What did she want?"
"…She's gone, Rose. She terminated her contract, and now she's with that Tanager Music Corporation… What am I going to do?! Oh, Rosie…" He looked at her fearfully.
"Well, I don't know why you're so worried about the next two days," Rose said.
"Two days?" Albert asked. Lou looked up at Rose inquisitively.
"Yes, Albert. Two days. That's all you've got left with Almaelou, I've been keeping track."
"What are you…?" Albert trailed off, realizing what she meant. "Oh. Rose… you see… I-"
"You meant to keep going, didn't you?" Rose asked. Albert looked away from her.
"Didn't you?!" she repeated.
"Rose, don't you know how much time it takes to raise enough money to get even one year at NYU?" Albert defended himself.
"I know it takes a long while, Albert, but you promised me that you'd only spend a year on this music business, and isn't it an omen that Elizabeth left so soon before the time is up?" she insisted.
"She was a success, Rosie! On my first try, I brought someone up to fame, however small an amount. There's a lot of other potentials out there, and even if they all walked out like her, as long as I've got records and songs on the radio, I'll be making plenty of money to put into The Fund! Rose, don't you understand?!"
Rose folded her arms and sat on the piano stool. "Oh, I understand," she said coolly, "I understand perfectly."
Albert stood up happily. "Oh, Rosie, I knew you'd-"
"I understand," she interrupted, "That you care more about Almaelou than you do about me! Or about going to college."
"…What do you mean, Rose?!" Albert asked, surprised.
"I'll let you keep going with this business, but I think it's just horrible that you're giving up on your dream when you could very well have a great life for yourself that you told me you've always wanted!"
"Let me keep going?! Rose, I don't need my secretary's approval before I-"
Rose stood in a fury. "Your secretary?! Since when am I only your secretary, Albert? …Don't you even care about me anymore?" Her eyes filled with tears.
Meanwhile, Lou was sitting in the middle of the room, looking from Rose to his master when either spoke, listening intently with a concerned look on his furry face.
"Rose-" Albert tried to get a word in.
"That's it, isn't it?!"
"You have your business now, and that's taking all of your attention!"
"Well, that and your own self! And that awful mother of yours!"
"You don't care about me anymore!" Rose said passionately.
"Admit it! You don't care about me anymore!"
"I love you!" Albert shouted. Shocked at himself, he covered his mouth as if he'd cursed and, blushing, looked down at the floor. Rose stared at him, open-mouthed. Her eyes grew sparkly.
"You… you do?" she asked slowly.
Albert rubbed his neck. "Well, yes."
"Oh, Albert!" She ran to him and kissed him repeatedly between words. "You've never, mmm, said that to me before. Mmm… I love you, too… Oh, Albert!" she said again.
He stopped her. "Now, Rosie, we can't…" he trailed off and returned her kisses.
"Just because I'm your secretary doesn't mean you can't love me," Rose assured him.
"…It's unprofessional." When Rose gave him a pleading look, he said, "Why don't we drop it? I don't want to argue anymore."
"Fine." She lightly slapped his cheek and started walking to her part of the office. "But I won't pretend to forget what you said." With that, she closed the door behind her, leaving Albert incredibly confused and feeling ill. He looked at Lou, who gave a short growl.
"You think I'm being stupid, don't you?"