Maka grasp the ticket tightly in her hand, wary of every one around her in the ever-lengthening line. The damn thing had cost almost twice what she had expected and that wasn't even including the backstage pass she had ended up buying. A pass that would allow her a quick face to face with him. Soul. The red-eyed demon. She had to admit, after quite a few hours worth of Internet stalking, the name did seem fitting. A sudden gust of wind ruffled through the crowd, nearly pulling the ticket from her hand cold fingers. Letting out a gasp she pulled her hands back into her chest, eyes wide as a slight flush of embarrassment over the ridiculous overreaction colored her cheeks. She took in a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves even as her stomach twisted around nervously again and again. In her head she tried to run over the speech she had prepared for him but suddenly it sounded so very childish and just a little bit crazy. Really. But what was she supposed to say?
"Oh hi, we've never really met. Well we kind of have. You came to my shop and ordered coffee a few times, remember? That doesn't matter though. You see I can't see colors, but I can see your eyes. They are beautiful and…"
Yeah. That wasn't going to come off crazy at all. She would be lucky if he only laughed in her face and DIDN'T have security throw her out.
She shook her head as the line sluggishly began to move and she was ushered into the concert hall.
It was a big hall. Bigger than she had expected. As she found her way towards her seat, located near the back as they had been the cheapest, she began to note, with some dread, that her choice of dress was not exactly fitting to the people around her. While her modest black and white skirt and blouse had seemed quiet nice in her apartment, she suddenly felt horribly underdressed as the people around her seemed to have donned fine dresses and suits. Sinking lower into her seat she was extremely grateful as the lights began to dim and the stage was illuminated. Curiosity drawing her from her shameful position she leaned forward as a single man with pale, messy hair stepped out with a violin held lightly in one hand and a bow in the other. Giving the crowd an easy smile he bowed his head before flipping up the bow. Maka could hear polite clapping followed by loud screams from some of the more wild members of the audience located in the front as he flipped the violin up to his neck and began to play a quick, upbeat melody.
The song was light and happy and infectious. Without noticing it a smile crept onto Maka's face as she watched the lone Violinist continue, his fingers a blur across the instruments neck. She was so engrossed with his playing that she didn't notice it at first. It was quiet. Like rain falling onto a pane of class. Then suddenly, and with great gusto it joined in as a curtain on the left side of the stage was lifted and a piano player was revealed. It was him. Even from here she could see them, those red eyes burning like hot coals. The twinkling lights in the sea of monotony.
Soul's playing was nothing like his brother, the violinist. Even with her admittedly limited knowledge of music she could feel the difference. While Wes' melody had been like a cloud dancing lightly in the wind, the piano came hard like a thunderstorm. It was brutal and raw His hands crashed against the keys as a look of pure concentration marched across his face. On stage the violinist continued to grin, playing his own song as the two weaved together. It was hypnotic to listen to. It wasn't a fight between the two melodies; it was more like a complicated dance where neither partner was willing to surrender the lead. It wasn't until they reached the climax of the peace that Maka realized she had somehow moved up to the edge of her seat, hands tightly grasping the armrest. Blushing slightly she relaxed as the song came to a close. On stage the violinist dropped his bow arm down for a moment before turning to his brother and grinning. Soul did not return the grin, only scowling deeply as a girl somewhere in the front row screamed out his name. Undaunted by his brother's attitude Wes simply let out a laugh that echoed through the hall before lifting his arm up. On the right side the curtain rose revealing the rest of the symphony as Wes began to play again, now joined by the others.
Settling into her seat Maka felt herself relax as the music washed over her, though she never took her eyes off that red-eyed demon. As she watched him practically attack his instrument with what seemed to be hate filled passion she could only think yet again how fitting of a name that seemed to be.
Maka was honestly surprised with how calm she felt as she followed the directions printed on her ticket to the meet and greet room. The concert had been amazing. Wes, true to his angelic name, had been wonderful. He seemed to thrive on personal interaction, constantly talking between pieces or simply smiling for a picture. The man was practically made of smiles. It wasn't hard to see why Liz was so enamored with him. Soul however… well Soul hadn't looked happy the entire concert. His emotions had seemingly swayed from bored out of his mind, to cursing the world and everyone in it.
Turning down another corner Maka let out a squeak as she almost plowed through a pretty young Japanese women. She jumped back, already stammering an apology.
"Oh it's alright." The woman smiled. "Are you one of our VIP's?"
"Uh, yeah." Maka nodded, pulling up her ticket for the woman to see.
"Maka." She supplied.
"Tsubaki, very nice to meet you." Tsubaki gave her another smile. "Alright Miss Maka! If you would please follow me then?" without waiting for an answer she turned around and began to walk. Winding through hallway after hallway they finally came to an open room where two small tables had been set up and a group of people were already waiting. Falling into her place in the line she was again felt a slight heat flash across her cheeks as she looked at the clothing of the other patrons.
Most of them were young women around her age and apparently had not been given the memo about the dress code. Short skirts and low cut tops made up the majority of the crowd though she did note, with some gratitude, that at least a handful of the girls were dressed similar to her or better. She snapped her head up as suddenly a buzz went through the crowd and Wes entered into the room. Smiling widely at them he gave a cheery wave before sitting down at his designated table. After a few moments Soul followed, though he had long since removed his jacket and his tie hung loosely around his neck. Unlike his brother he did not smile, instead casting a gloomy eye over the crowd before letting out a sigh and sitting down.
The calm Maka had felt not minutes ago was suddenly shattered as the line began to move forward. In her mind she tried to find some part of her well rehearsed speech but it was nowhere to be found. Suddenly the line seemed much, much shorter than she remembered as each VIP was ushered through for their moment with the two musicians. In what felt like seconds she found herself in front of Wes, his eyes twinkling up at her from his seated position.
"Uh, hi." Maka ventured weakly as he continued to smile warmly at her. Not wanting to seem like a complete fool Maka forced her mouth to work.
"I'm Liz's friend, Maka. You were amazing."
"Oh Maka!" His eyes lit up as he held out his hand and gave hers a gentle shake. "Yes Liz told me about you. I'm so glad you were able to come to one of our shows. I wish you would have told me though, I would have gotten you in for free."
"Oh…" Maka was thrown by his enthusiasm. "That's okay. I don't mind, really."
"Ah well next time." Wes waved his hand. "But really, anytime you want to come just have Liz tell me, it's always my pleasure."
"Thank you." Maka mumbled as she realized she had likely already spent more time with Wes than she was supposed to. "I uh, should probably…"
"Oh right!" Wes shook his head as though their short conversation had been so riveting he had forgotten where he was. "Well it was a pleasure to meet you Maka. I'm sure I will see you again. Be sure to tell Liz I said-" he blew her a kiss "-and I'm looking forward to our next date."
In spite of the cheesy action Maka felt herself smile. Turning away with a small shake of her head she found herself face to face with the real reason she had come here. Blood red eyes glared at her from a shock of pale hair. Blinking rapidly she felt her mouth go dry and her voice turn into nothing more than a slight hiss.
"Well?" Soul asked. His tone was not as bitter as his face would have made him seen. Instead it was layered with boredom tinged with annoyance.
Maka swallowed hard. "Sorry. I just…"
When she trailed off Soul rolled his eyes. "What do you want, a picture?" She shook her head. "An Autograph?" She shook her head again, lips tight as she felt a swelling in her chest. She just couldn't say it, but she had to. Somehow. She tried to suck in another breath but found it nearly impossible to breath. Hands curling into fists she stood rooted to the spot until finally Soul let out a sigh. "If you don't want anything you can just leave, you know?"
Hot, wet tears began to blur Maka's vision as she nodded hastily before turning away. Walking quickly she wiped her hand across her face, trying to stop the rivets of water already beginning to run down her pale cheeks. Eyes blurry she worked her way out of the hall and into a lonely corridor. Leaning against the wall she used her sleeve to attempt to dry her face, through the tears kept coming. She had blown it. Her one chance. She had lost her once chance to understand why she was the way she was. The chance to figure out why she was so different from everyone else. Just because she was too afraid to speak up.
Every tear sent a fresh wave of white hot pangs of shame through her chest. She hated this. This hated crying. She never cried. Stupid rude boys and their stupid words did not make her cry. She was not that weak.
Lifting up her head Maka found a pair of worried blue eyes. Sniffling, she looked back down at the ground. "Sorry. I'm probably not supposed to be here, am I?"
"Oh no, it's fine." Tsubaki said lightly, reaching out touching the younger girl on the arm. "I just wanted to make sure you were okay."
"I'm fine." She said softly, finally able to ebb the tide of tears and wipe her face dry. "Sorry."
Tsubaki gave her a comforting smile. "I'm very sorry about Soul, he can be a little… rough around the edges, but really deep down he's a good guy. I think everything just kind of overwhelms him. He's really not such a… a…"
"Jackass?" Maka said.
Tsubaki let out a tinkling laugh. "That's not a bad way to put it. But honestly, I don't think he wanted to make you cry."
Maka bristled slightly. "I wasn't crying because of him."
"I wasn't." Maka repeated, though she could tell Tsubaki didn't believe her. "Well I mean I was, but it wasn't anything he said. It's just…" After a moment of silence Tsubaki gave her a questioning look, encouraging her to continue. "It's just his eyes."
"Ah." Tsubaki nodded. "Well, they are different."
"No you don't understand." Maka shook her head, feeling the weight of her words lying just on the tip of her tongue. With a slight hitch in her breath the weight became too much and everything came tumbling out. Her black and white vision. Her dull existence. Seeing him in the coffee shop. How she had wanted to tell him. To ask him. By the end her eyes were once again leaking salty tears as she finished with a lame "and I just couldn't do it."
"Oh Maka." Tsubaki shook her head before pulling the girl into a tight hug. "I am so sorry. Look, if you want I will take you to Soul right now. I'm sure if you explained everything he would understand."
Maka shook her head that was already developing a staggering headache from the stressful night. "I think… I think I just want to go home."
Tsubaki nodded. "Okay, I'll help you get out of here."
Maka nodded, allowing herself to be lead by the young woman through the maze of hallways and back to the front of the building. Upon finding Maka meant to take the bus home Tsubaki waved her off and ordered one of the waiting taxicabs to take her back to her apartment. Despite the blonde girls protests she was quickly coerced into the back seat as Tsubaki paid for her to be sent home. With a quick farewell Maka was soon on her way as Tsubaki slowly marched her was back into the music hall.
She needed to have a talk with a certain red-eyed client of hers.
As always I hope you enjoyed and please leave a review.
I will be trying to keep a steady update schedule as I get back into the swing of writing Soul Eater again, but no promises.