When Schroeder is sixteen, he buys a piano.
They have to break down his door to get it in the house. It dominates the practice room, even when Schroeder tries not to look at it.
"How is it that you can buy yourself a real piano," shouts Lucy the minute she shoves past the retreating movers and barrels into his house, "but you can't even get me anything for Christmas?" She looks like she's contemplating swinging at the concert grand with a baseball bat.
Schroeder keeps on hitting the keys on the toy piano. He's in the middle of the Moonlight Sonata. Schroeder has long given up on playing only Beethoven for the rest of his life, but there are some things you can only reach in the shadow of the master.
He isn't going to tell her that the money for the piano came from a few music contests he's won. These is nothing Lucy cannot take personal affront to.
Lucy looks at him, and then at the shiny, huge grand piano in the corner, then back at him. She sits down and leans over his toy piano, propping herself up on her elbows so she can stare right into Schroeder's face. Schroeder feels like he really shouldn't be so used to it. He ducks down and throws himself into the music with greater fervor.
It's getting more difficult to play on the toy piano, now that Schroeder doesn't seem to stop growing. His back reminds him that he's not eight years old anymore. He has to bow down to reach the keys.
He doesn't think about the grand piano, just a few feet out of reach.
"Well?" says Lucy. "Aren't you going to play me a song?"
Schroeder looks up at her. The smile on her face is the one she wears when she talks about "when we're married, Schroeder" and "have you ever thought about love, Schroeder".
He yanks the piano out from under her.
"Never ask a musician," she mutters once she's repositioned herself, "if he can play you a song."