A/N: Dedicated to my piano teachers.

What does that say, Beca?

Two p's.

It means pianissimo – very soft.

And that's how it starts.

Fleeting touches, idle stares, gentle smiles, shaky fingertips.

An undertone, so quiet, creeping over you.

And you never forget that it starts out very soft.

What's that weird looking crossed out note?

It's a grace note, like this, a stumble.

Your gaze fixates on him, but it moves and as it settles on her instead, like a butterfly perching on an outstretched hand, your heart does a double take.

One moment that changes everything.

And you never forget that you stagger.

A whole rest lasts for how many beats?


Yes, a prolonged silence.

"What's wrong?"

A long pause.

Is that your answer? It's not really a proper response.

And you just want to forget that whole rest.

Let's start with a C major scale.

C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C.

No flats or sharps; the simplest scale.

And you thought he was like that, uncomplicated and jaunty.

That's what someone like you needs, right?

Your fingers smooth over ivory and you think of delicate pale skin, not yours, but also not his.

sF? Like San Francisco?

Beca, don't joke about subito sforzando! Suddenly loud.

"Chloe, open up!"

It slips out of your mouth, too forceful, too aggressive.

But she does as you say. And she's beautiful, an upbeat mazurka.

And you can't forgive your sudden outburst.

Accent marks mean…?

They're Italian?

Emphasis, Beca, emphasis!

"What are you doing here?"

The word she places stress on doesn't escape your attention.

It means you've hurt her.

And you never forget that accent mark over your head.

Do you have a favorite scale or key, Ms. Takahashi?

D minor, yes.


You still don't know why.

It can be the saddest of songs, emotion straining to express itself, but it can also turn bittersweet, like dark chocolate. Or maybe it's the easy transition to F major, or maybe it's the hinted chromaticism.

With her, you understand it, but not in so many words.

But you never forget that she's still minor, a heartbreak waiting to happen.

See this symbol?

An arc with a little dot under it.

Fermata, hold the note.

Your lips are on hers pressing firmly.

It's as if you can taste the music, the treble clefs, the legatos, the slurs, the squiggly half notes, everything. And you feel alive.

Had you been waiting your whole life for this? Maybe.

And you sustain the kiss because you need it.

I know this one! Staccato!

Yes, like a little hop.

Her fingers enter you and you gasp, a hitch in your breath.

So this is what desperation feels like, breathless and wanting. Always wanting.

And each thrust brings you closer to the grand finale.

It's a less than sign.

Only in math, in music it is a crescendo, gradually becoming louder.

And you can feel the ascension through her fingers, her mouth, her eyes, her whispers.

It builds lowly in your stomach, tensing and coiling, preparing for the finish. You plead and beg and ask.

At the forte you swear you see an explosion, oh not of stars no, but of color and sound.

And you never forget that she's made you see music.

Articulation, Beca! Dynamics! All of these together, please.

But why?

Without them, music means nothing. It will just be notes and sounds. It will be empty.

Before hearing her heartbeat, before experiencing such pure musicality, before this, you were okay with flat and empty.

But now?

You don't want to go back, not after this.

And you can't.

A relative minor.


Same key signature, but different tonic.

I still don't get it.

C major, no sharps or flats. A minor, no sharps and flats, thus relative minor.

"You cheated on me?"

You did.


You thought he was C major, but maybe he's the relative minor, ending on a bad note.

"I'm sorry," you say. "I should've said something."


You feel nauseous. How can you explain this?

"She makes me feel like I'm sitting on that piano bench in front of Ms. Takahashi again." Yes, but no, that's not why.

"She's my D minor." Yes, but no, that's also not why.

"Because pianissimos, grace notes, whole rests, sforzandos, accents, fermatas, staccatos, crescendos!" Yes, that's why.

He looks at you as if for the first time.

And even in the end, he's no sharps or flats.

This is music, Beca.

One more look and she gets it.

Maybe it strikes a chord within her, but she's next to you, warm exhales billowing in the air.


So you kiss her.

And you never forget that it started out pianissimo.

A/N: Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts ;)