Super special awesome secret second chapter, go!
Disclaimer: Re-read Chapter 1 (now titled Looking Out) if you need to get caught up, likewise for The Clothes Make The Man if you need the backstory behind it.
All characters of Phineas and Ferb are...well, you get the picture.
Music was suppose to be the calming factor.
The thing that would make him, at least for a moment, forget what was troubling him.
Baljeet shuffled his stool closer to the piano. It was a gift given to his mother after they had moved to America several years ago. It was a grand instrument (and also a grand version, ironically enough), and he always tried to take a little time every day to practice. He found that it helped him relax.
And boy, did he ever need it now.
The conversation he had with Mishti the previous day was still in his mind. That alone wouldn't weight his mind down too much, except for his thoughts on Ginger were landing directly on top of that.
He rested his hands on the keys, trying to think about what he wanted to play. There was always the recognizable Chopsticks, or if he felt adventurous, something by Chopin.
No, neither of those would do. It would have to be something that could distract him for a longer period of time. Something that complimented the situation-
"I meant what I said earlier. You do really look great."
Ginger's comment from Picture Day came flooding back to him. To be honest, he had been quite flattered that someone praised him for his looks, but he had not really thought about the context until now.
"Thank you for the compliment. It is very much appreciated. You...uh..." Baljeet paused, trying to think of a proper response. "You look very nice today as well."
Baljeet closed his eyes as the conversation played out in his mind. How did he remember all of this? Did he always have it in the back of his mind?
"It wouldn't matter if it was a suit or a costume. You would look great in it."
"In fact," Ginger murmured, her face pink again, "You would look great in anything."
He looked up at the ceiling, his stare boring a hole to the letter that he knew was sitting on the computer desk. It was just a gift, right? A rather nice gift, yes, but still a gift. In fact, he hadn't even confirmed that Ginger had given him the clothing. It could have been anyone who happened to know the contents of it, and know about the clothing details, and was attending the party at the time.
Baljeet sighed. Who was he kidding? The evidence was all there; what else was there to conclude? Defeated, he let his head fall onto the keys, the mishmash of notes joining together into one giant befuddled mess.
"...I do not think this is helping at all."
"Well, if you are expecting the piano to diagnose your problems, you are going to be sitting there for a while."
"Mother!" Baljeet quickly turned his head to see his mom closing the door behind her. "When did you get home?"
"Oh, a few moments ago," she said, setting her purse on the end table. "I heard you playing as I was walking up. It is unusual for you to practice when I am not here."
"I was not practicing, Mother," Baljeet replied. "I was just...tinkering, so to speak."
"Really? Did you come up with anything good?"
He hit a random key, the deep tone reverberating through the string. "Nope."
His mother walked into the kitchen to set her bags down, and then returned to her son. "Is everything all right, Baljeet? You seem a little down."
He said nothing, continuing to look at the piano, as if to seeing if an answer was written on them. His mother, curious, sat down next to him on the bench.
"This is about that gift you got for your birthday, is it not?"
Baljeet looked up at his mom, shocked. "How did you-"
"Oh please, Baljeet, I am your mother. I am contractually obligated to know if something is wrong or not with you." She put a comforting arm around him. "Not that there is an actual contract, mind you, but still."
"It is just..." He looked down at the keys, wishing something would come to him artistically. "I do not understand girls."
His mom let out a very unladylike snort. "I think that this is the first time you have ever mentioned girls to me."
"It is not a subject that I have really been curious about until...recently."
So Baljeet spent the next few minutes talking to his mother about the birthday gift (which she had known about ) and the details about Picture Day (which she had known some), as well as Mishti's advice in her conversation with him (which she had not). After he was finished, she chuckled softly, confusing the boy.
"You live a very weird life, Baljeet. I did not know you even had a girlfriend."
"Mother!" Baljeet exclaimed, his face getting red. "She is not my girlfriend!"
"I know, I know; I am just teasing you." His mom giggled at his denial. "Us Tjinders are not known for our subtlety."
He looked away, his face still blotched from the embarrassment. "This whole thing is unfamiliar territory. I just wish I knew what I needed to do."
His mom thought for a moment, resting her hand on the piano. "Baljeet, what do I always tell you in situations like this?"
"...Do not ever feed the tiger after midnight?"
"Well...yes. But I was thinking more along the lines of something more relevant."
She tapped the C and B keys in front of her a couple of times. She began to speak as the sound whistled through his ears.
"Just like a song on a piano, you cannot have just some pieces before you start playing it. You need to have everything in front of you so that it can be performed to the best of your ability."
Baljeet stared down at her hand tapping the keys. "But what if I do not all of the pieces?"
"Then you need to find them." She nodded to his end of the piano, where he started to tap on the deep C and D keys in rhythm with her.
"Sometimes it is not always the answer we want, but that does not change the fact that it is the answer. We may be confused, we may get flustered, but such is life. Answers are not always the end of everything. Sometimes...it is the beginning of another question."
Baljeet finished tapping on his keys, as did his mother, letting the tone die out before speaking.
"I do not wish to be stuck in a Mobius loop of questions, though."
"There is an easy solution to that, Baljeet," she said, putting her hand on his shoulder. "Cut the paper."
"...I had actually never thought about that."
"Problems and solutions are concrete. The process, however, is not. As along as we get to the answer, the process of getting to it is irrelevant. Provided you do not break any laws, of course."
"Do not worry, Mother; I do not plan on becoming a fugitive for the sake of possible romance."
His mom smiled. "Sounds to me like you have already been thinking about this."
"A little." Baljeet turned toward his mom. "By the way, is there any way you can talk to Dr. Hirano and-?"
"Baljeet, I am not going to do that. This is for you to figure out."
"Aww, not you too."
She chuckled again as she got up from the stool. "The greatest problem solvers did not have other people do the heavy lifting for them. They figured things out on their own. I will support you if you need it, but the end result will be better if you figure it out by yourself."
She stepped toward the kitchen. "I will have dinner ready in about twenty minutes, Baljeet. Try to relax for at least a little bit before then."
Baljeet watched her leave, then returned his gaze to the keys. It was almost the exact same advice Mishti had given him. That could not have been a coincidence, right?
"Find the pieces, Baljeet," he whispered as his finger came down on a random key. Satisfied, he poked at another. "Find the pieces, and you can solve the bigger problem."
He stopped momentarily.
"And I am talking to myself."
"I was right last night. Someone is going to write about this when it is over."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Gosh darn it, Baljeet. I'm getting to that. Just hold your horses. :P
Still not used to writing Tjinder. How do you even pronounce that, anyway? Tuh-jin-dur? Or just Jin-der?
After finishing with Window, I decided (after seeing my reviews) that it would be best to add just a little bit more insight before we get into the real deal. Also, a little throwback to The Clothes Make The Man never hurt anybody either. It does start this whole dealio off, anyway.
Baljeet's mom is someone who does not get very much attention or screentime, so I figured we would get some bonding time here over a subject that (let's be frank) she thought she wouldn't talk to him about. It's always nice to get a little parent/child time into a story.
I may or may not have something else coming out tomorrow. It's not another chapter to this story, but sort of a companion piece to it. You'll see if it's out tomorrow.
As always, read and review, if you like. Until next time, people.