4 (3) – 2
A hollow, high pitched tune echoed in that vacuous cellar.
It was intended to have a bright and cheery tone, but it ended up coming out quite lonesome instead. Even though she was surprised that she managed to play the tune until the end, even if it was a little poor, there was no one there to congratulate her or play alongside her.
Sitting all alone in that cellar, Finne’s lips separated from the flute. She wondered just why she was here, practising fruitlessly all by herself.
There was no one that would hear her play anymore.
“Yo, you sure got better, huh?”
Then, from behind her, she suddenly heard an unexpected round of applause.
“Just when did you manage to play that tune till the end? Nice job!”
“It’s still not nearly good enough. She’s out of tune, her rhythm is all over the place and she never hits the highest notes properly!”
“Hey, come on now, one hurdle at a time alright?”
As that happy voice full of praise and the slightly harsher one critiquing her mingled together, Finne looked behind her at the source of those familiar sounds.
“Been a while, right? So I guess the true culprit of the underground noise this time was just Finne?”
The first person she saw was Klaus shrugging his shoulders. Beside him was Camilla, her eyes as sharp as ever. A little behind those two were Alois and Camilla’s maid, Nicole, still making their way down the stairs.
Finne blinked in silence, suddenly being confronted with the appearance of people she never thought to see again. But rather than surprise or relief, the feeling that beat in her heart was excitement.
Suddenly, that cold and lonely basement burst into life.
Over the past few days, Finne had snuck out of her family’s home to play once again.
“I haven’t seen the other four at all. My family doesn’t want me to see them either, they say they’re a ‘bad influence’…”
When Klaus asked her about what had been happening, Finne told him that with a sullen voice.
“Everyone else is probably in a similar situation. Victor might especially be in trouble since his fiancée Mia’s house isn’t very wealthy at all. I heard my parents discussing that maybe it was Mia who told the vigilantes where we were, maybe everyone else’s parents think the same thing…”
“What a farce.”
As Camilla frowned, Finne nodded sadly.
“We started doing this because we wanted to, right? But because it was for the sake of Mia’s wedding, our parents suspect her. Apparently, they’re even talking about the engagement being annulled. Or at least, that’s what my parents said…”
Hearing that unpleasant story, Camilla’s glare deepened. She didn’t find the irony of a marriage being put in jeopardy because of a band practising a song to celebrate it amusing at all.
“We really should have stopped when Mister Klaus found us out after all… We should have understood the danger.”
Finne wallowed in anger at herself as she said that, looking down at the floor. When Camilla first came to the basement, Finne was one of the young musicians who suggested that maybe they stop after all.
If they really had stopped back then, like Finne had suggested, they may not have ever been found out by the vigilante militia. The five of them wouldn’t have been censured, whilst Victor and Mia’s engagement wouldn’t be under threat either.
She understood her deep sense of regret.
But, Camilla still had a question.
“If that’s the case, then why did you come here to practice again?”
“It must not have been easy to find another flute like that. What’s more, if you’re found out again, you might not just get away with a scolding this time either.”
Even if her ‘crime’ was written off as a ‘flight of fancy’ the first time, there would be no such leniency the second time around. Even worse, Finne was actively deceiving her family in coming here. If she was discovered again, she might have her freedom taken away for good by being married off somewhere or confined to the family home.
“That’s… That’s right, isn’t it…?”
The way Finne looked as she said that, it was as if she only realized just how strange her actions were after Camilla mentioned it. She blinked a little, stupefied, then hugged her flute close to her.
“Just why is it… I feel like I can’t let it go. How happy I felt when I first managed to make a sound… Just how much happy everyone looked when they praised me…”
The first time Finne managed to blow a proper tune on her flute, her friends had cheered and clapped, gathering around her with big smiles on their faces. Camilla had dismissed it as ‘Just making a single sound’, but for Finne, it was much more than that.
Camilla felt a sense of discomfort remembering what she said as she quietly watched Finne. There was no one here to praise her like that anymore. Camilla had even argued against the words of praise that Klaus had offered just before.
“…Hey, just one more time, please play that tune for us. That sound of yours, I don’t hate it at all.”
“It’s not good.”
Finne was a little surprised at those words, but she still mumbled in self-derision. Seeing such an awful expression of self-loathing on the face of that quiet girl, Camilla inadvertently felt uneasy.
But, then she sighed with that signature tone of impatience.
“Good or bad, it does not matter. I simply think it’s sad that there’s a song that goes unheard, so play it for me, if you would.”
As Camilla returned to her haughty self, a small smile returned to Finne’s face. “Thank you very much,” she said, before lifting the flute she had been hugging to her chest.
Closing her eyes, Finne held it to her lips.
A sad and lonely tune, wrapped in an awkwardly played melody, once again echoed through the cellar.
But, when she said that she didn’t hate that sound, she wasn’t lying.
That honest sound, coming straight from Finne’s heart, Camilla didn’t think it was bad at all.
Edited by: ApoPie