I'm still floating on air as I walk to my band room and turn in my score. It took an hour in the library to put it through my computer program and print it out looking spiffy and nice, but it looks so pretty! My teacher gives me a look, obviously noticing the goofy grin on my face, but doesn't mention it.
"Thank you miss Andrews. Have a good break." He adds. I just nod and float out the door. I now know what a giddy school girl feels like. And then I feel guilty for having a crush on a teacher! But…that happens a lot doesn't it? All I know am I can hardly wait until rehearsals.
"Hey lady. You look happy." Landry smiles upon seeing me. "Things went well with Mr. Fantom I'm guessing." She adds.
"Oh Lan he's so cool! He's sweet and talented and really, really cute!" I exclaim sinking into the couch. She chuckles and sits next to me with a plate of snicker doodles.
"I think someone has a crush on a teacher." She waggles her eyebrows suggestively.
"So? That happens all the time!" I say defensively. She gapes.
"Oh my gosh! I was totally joking but oh my gosh! This is so funny! I have got to meet this guy." She sighs.
"Don't be such a drama queen Landry. Now, I have to go practice."
"Practice what?" she asks nosily.
"I'm the new pianist for the musical." I shrug. Again she gapes.
"Ellie! Congratulations! Wait, did Mr. Fantom get that set up for you?" she asks with a sly wink. I blush and ignore her, stalking to the music room. I pull out the score that Erik gave me and open to the first page. It's the overture to Phantom of the Opera. I've always loved the movie and the music, so I feel right at home playing this.
My fingers seem to do all the work so my mind wanders to Erik. His beautiful smile and sweet caring helpful attitude. The phone rings and I vaguely hear Landry pick it up. My mind is lost in how warm Erik felt when I hugged him.
"Ellie." Landry knocks loudly on the door, and effectively knocks me out of my trance. "They found Mia Lowry." She frowns.
"Mia. The girl who went missing. They found her."
"Oh. How is she?"
"She…she's dead. They found her in her dorm, stone cold and stiff." Landry looks close to tears. Despite not knowing Mia, I too am shocked.
"What? I don't get it." I frown. Wipes her eyes, despite the fact that she hasn't cried just yet. She walks off to start baking. That's her default setting, baking. Whenever she feels sad or helpless she'll make a superb chocolate cake to channel her emotions. I'm left to stare at the door. Dead. A student dead.
College students, especially popular ones, aren't supposed to die. We're supposed to go along with that whole Forever Young vibe that gets going on. Diamonds in the sun right? Poor Mia.
There's a knock on the door and I know Landry is in no condition to answer, so I stumble out of the music room and open the door. I'm shocked, and not just because I'm in shock, to see Erik Fantom at the door. He also looks close to tears.
"Ellie, thank god. Can I talk to you?" I nod, and open the door wider for him to come in. I decide not to tell Landry that the teacher of my dreams is in the dorm, so I motion for him to be quiet and sneak him across the room to my room.
"You okay Mr. Fantom?" I ask.
"Ellie call me Erik please. You're not really my student anyway. Hell, with your musical ability you're practically my equal."
"Okay. Are you okay Erik?" he sighs and shrugs.
"It's just…I heard about Mia. We worked together the last few works for her role in the musical. It's so weird to think…she's dead. I don't really know how to react." I motion for him to sit.
"It's understandable to be upset." I acknowledge.
"Upset…maybe that's it. I just…well I've been through some pretty tough times and…this still shocked me. And I immediately though I should talk to you for some reason. I haven't really made friends with the other teachers yet and after our session I think of you as a friend." he explains, blushing slightly.
"yeah." I nod.
"Well I just don't know what to do. It's terrible of course what happened. And also, I'm concerned about the musical. Is that horribly of me? That all I think of now is who will replace her and how long this will push us from our planned opening night?" he looks at me with large sad eyes and my soul melts a little.
"No! It's natural that you should be thinking about that. After all, it's your first year here and you're tackling The Phantom of the Opera as the musical. That's stressful enough, then to lose one of your main cast members…I can't imagine the weight it puts on all of you." He sighs and puts his head in his hands. He looks so little all the sudden. Just a small boy.
"Oh Ellie. What am I gonna do?" he asks, but it's one of those questions you don't really want an answer to. But I'm sure he wants comfort. I sit softly next to him and put my hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry to push this on you. After all, we've know each other a whopping 3 hours and I'm sobbing on your doorstep."
"Technically sobbing on my bed." I half smile. He chuckles slightly.
"Yeah." We sit like that forever. My hand on his shoulder, his head heavy in his hands. I wish there was something more I could do. But it's not like he's my best friend and I know every trick to make him smile."
"Hey Ellie, will you help me with this pan a sec?" Landry calls.
"Yeah! I'll be right back Erik." I say gently, and walk quickly to the kitchen. Landry's on the floor trying to hold up four pans to reach a fifth one, but it's not working very well. I reach up and grab the pan, and she lightly puts the others down.
"You okay in here?"
"I haven't set the house on fire yet have I?" she jokes.
"Don't get any ideas though." I smirk.
"So, who was at the door?"
"Oh, uh…Erik. Mr. Fantom." I say nonchalantly.
"What?! And you didn't tell me? I wanted to make fun of you guys mercilessly!" she pouts. I roll my eyes and hand her the pan.
"In your dreams Lan. He's a perfectly nice person but it's not like we're together." She cocks an eyebrow.
"I should hope not. You haven't even been on a date. Who ever heard of being an item before the first date?"
"Uh, every high school student in the United State…"
"Oh shut up."
"Ellie, thanks for the comfort, but I think I should run back to the music department to talk with Mrs. Teflen." Erik appears in the entry to the kitchen.
"Okay. See ya Erik." I acknowledge, praying that Landry won't say something embarrassing. He half smiles and heads out the door. "Landry…don't even start." I pray.
"Yeah. Dream on Ellie. So…where should I start?"