Xaviera's Home: Los Angeles, California
Xaviera had another concert to go to. This one was third concert in a month in which she would be featured as a soloist in at least one piece, but, something about this time around was making her more nervous than she had ever been this month. Xaviera's old violin and viola mentor was coming to visit her in America after travelling from his home, Italy. He, Mr. Verdone, had promised her he would watch her perform.
She hadn't seen him such a long time. Although, she could very much remember his heavy Italian accent and his wife's heavy French accent and how curly his red hair was when he was younger. Xaviera remembered always nicknaming him "Vivaldi's doppelganger" because even though he came into a room with a smile on his face every day, he also could get very angry when he wanted to but also because of his uncanny likeness to the great baroque composer, Antonio Vivaldi.
In fact, one day in Rochester, England, fifteen years ago, they were walking out from a concert together, violas in hand. They were discussing, or rather, debating whether Lalo or Vivaldi was a better composer as they were crossing the street. Though they had the right away, a large van came accelerating down the road. Xaviera's mentor had pushed her out of the way and was hit instead. The man driving the van stopped and came out immediately, saying he was in a rush because his wife was having a baby. Xaviera rushed to his side too, helping him up. The viola was severely damaged, the base of the instrument had imploded, bridge and all. The man had repeatedly asked if he was OK, but for a long time, Xaviera's mentor had said not one word.
Then he finally spoke, "You...do you know what kind viola this is? This is a Stradivarius! One of the most expensive violin, cello and viola makers today! This viola is my prized possession and you've ruined it!"
After a few 'I apologize' and then so many sirs!'s and a few curse words from her mentor (some English some Italian) that Xaviera was not yet aloud to say herself, Xaviera realized something, "Uh, Mr. Verdone, sir? That was my viola." she held up the case in her hand, "This one's yours."
The driver of the van sighed a long sigh of relief. Xaviera's mentor straightened himself out, patting down his suit to free it of wrinkles and straightening his tie, "Excuse my blind anger...thank you for stopping to help me." He bowed nervously and turned to Xaviera who was crying and laughing at the same time.
"Ha-ha, ha-ha! My viola's ruined...nuh...ha-ha!" Like her mentor, she took music very seriously.
"Ha-ha," Xaviera laughed, "I will never forget that day."
Xaviera had just finished putting on her "little black dress" as some called it and went on to doing her hair. She looked curiously at the mirror. Her hair was so close to losing its "blonde-like" color. She wondered if her mentor would even recognize her. After all her hair naturally was dark brown, close to black, like her brother's. She frowned, "Maybe I've changed too much in these ten years." She tied her hair in a bun and took out her lip ring and set it on her drawer. Then, she proceeded to take out her cross earrings and replaced them with diamond ones. No way was she going to play in a concert looking like the modern goddess of death. Finally, she put on her engagement ring and stared at it for a few moments.
Xaviera was now ready to go. She breathed in and out slowly to relax herself.
I will make you proud my mentor!
Finally here. Inside the concert hall, Xaviera breathed it all in. She took in the elaborate beauty of the hall. The stage was large and had already been filled with chairs, which had not been filled in by performers and the only instruments were the few celli at the front and the piano. Naturally. Her face lit up as she noticed all of the faces in the audience and at the balconies. Xaviera marveled at all of the people readily willing to see and hear such fine art such as this. Magnificent.
Xaviera's stand partner and one who was concertmaster for most of this concert, Dylan Zhu had found her and immediately called her over to him. She ran to his side and went to the back room in the concert hall with the others to prepare their instruments.
After fifteen minutes, the youth orchestra came out onto the stage, readying themselves to perform. The conductor then came out and applause began. Xaviera was engulfed in the song even at the start of the first beat. The youth group was playing the entire Vivaldi's: Four Seasons. Very appropriate for today, no? After it was over, butterflies began to form in Xaviera's stomach. She watched the other performers go first then, since she was to perform a solo, she went last but before the conductor. As she walked out onto the stage and into the gazes of her audience, her eyes immediately searched for a sign of her mentor, but did not see him. A wave of disappointment flashed across her heart and it felt as if ten more pounds were weighing down her chest. The applause from the audience was drowned out by the disappointment.
She had remembered just then that not only was her old instructor supposed to be at the concert, but so was her fiancé, Beyond.
That's curious, she thought, he's usually here by now.
But then those thoughts of him were immediately expelled when she saw none other than…
He was up on the crowded balcony smiling down on her, waving his hand nervously at the sight of her gaze. It was incredible! He didn't look any older than 40! Even then, he didn't look forty! He was fifty and yet he looked like he was her age. It almost angered Xaviera.
He's twenty years older than me and yet he looks my age! So sad!
His hair was still red, but marked with some strands of grey and still curly, but not as curly as she remembered it. He still looked as skinny as a stick!
She turned back to the other members of the orchestra and shook the concertmaster and conductor's hands. She bowed to the audience and more applause began and crescendo'd in time.
After the applause settled, the piece began. It was the Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor op. 77 composed by Dmitri Shostakovich and Xaviera was to perform the solo. When it was her time to perform the solo, she closed her eyes, took a large breath, and played her best. The solo itself was at least ten minutes and Xaviera could feel herself getting tired...what she feared. Fortunately, she finished before her tiredness turned into pain. It was almost perfect. Her dynamics were off in the fifth bar. After the entire piece was over, the entire orchestra stood and the conductor bowed. Xaviera curtsied and left the stage with the conductor. The concert ended.
Xaviera had come back to the concert hall with her violin case in hand. She was talking with female bassist Wendy McDonald when a hand touched her shoulder, "Pardon my intrusion, but is this blonde haired beauty my old student?"
Xaviera turned to face her old instructor, "Mr. Verdone! My, is that really you? You haven't aged a bit!"
Wendy had said 'goodbye' and 'great job' and Xaviera replied, "See ya, Wen!" She turned her attention back to her long lost friend.
"Xaviera! You know better than to call me, 'Mr. Verdone' now. That's my father's name. Call me, Richard!" his Italian accent was still as thick as it was twenty years ago.
Xaviera laughed, "OK, Richard." It felt strange on her tongue, "what's your secret?" He raised eyebrow.
"How do you look so young?" Xaviera elaborated.
He laughed, "I'm not so sure. I think it's because since I've moved back to Italy I've been biking a lot. I get a lot of exercise that way. My dear, let's not beat around the bush. Your solo was quite terrible. Your legato turned more allegro at the end and your dynamics were sketchy."
"Unbelievable! I haven't seen you in twelve years and now the first thing you do is criticize my performance! Same old Mr. Verdone!" she frowned to show her disappointment.
"Well, I was your mentor Xaviera..." he changed the subject, "So; word on the other side of the pond is you've kept yourself quite the busy girl fighting criminals. What a noble effort Xaviera. I'm proud."
All she could do was smile...or cry, "Thank you, sir." As they walked out of the concert hall they chatted even more about what each other's lives have been like.
His next question caught Xaviera off guard, "So how's your brother?" He did know about L. He had been instructing her for fifteen years, when she and L had been living in England together. Though he had only seen L twice, he had asked about his health many times on their sessions together.
Since she hadn't seen L in five years all she could say was, "He's fine thanks for asking."
A clarinet player, Craig Huo walked speedily over to Xaviera and her mentor as they were saying their goodbyes, "Hey, Xaviera there's some guy wanting to speak to you. He sounded pretty anxious."
"Huh?" she mumbled.
"Well, Xaviera, that's my cue to go! I hope we can meet again someday!" Richard said. He hugged Xaviera goodbye and left out.
She followed Craig to the mystery person. He was standing at the feet of the stairwell...
...it was L. Or was it B? No way would L come to a concert in which she was performing. He hadn't been to one of her concerts in six years...in which time she had had one-hundred-three. It had to have been B. But there's no way he would show his face after missing all of it. She could usually tell the difference between her fiancé and her brother very easily, but this she found difficult. So yes, it was L. This was incredible! Unbelievable!
"Thanks Craig, see you next concert."
"Yeah sure," he replied and that was that.
She walked up to L glancing to her left and then to her right. Once she was within a foot of him she asked hesitantly, "L?"
"X, it's nice to see you again," L replied.
"What're you doing here? !"
"I have something to tell you."
"You came all the way to Los Angeles to tell me something?"
"Actually, I also wanted to see if you would accompany me downtown tomorrow."
Xaviera raised an eyebrow, "Why?"
"BB is in the hospital and under custody as the serial killer behind the Los Angeles Wara Ningyo killings."
"No...you're wrong! You're not always right!" Xaviera let her violin case slip from her fingers and let crash on the ground, causing people to stare.
"X...Xaviera, he was at the next scene. He set himself on fire."
"No...We were...we were supposed to..." she lifted her hand to look at the ring. Tears dropped from her eyes and onto the diamond. She knew he was right. He was always right. She just couldn't accept that the man she loved was a killer.
"I'm sorry Xaviera..." L said sympathetically. For the first time in a long time, she was happy he was here.
She looked him the eyes. She saw the sincerity, "When are you leaving?"
"Tomorrow morning at seven. There's someone I must get from the airport."
Xaviera nodded and began to pick up her violin. Then, the professional musician in her begged to ask the question, "You didn't come to a concert like this in that did you?" He was wearing his usual long-sleeve white shirt and blue jeans, tennis shoes, and no socks.
"I didn't even step into the concert hall."
Xaviera felt the impulse to slap him, but instead walked out without him and without a single goodbye.
Poorly written, I know. I apologize, this is old from the former version of this story with only a few changes. Next chapter will be much better I promise!