56. Music

Phillip was by no means a musician. Beyond air guitar when he was alone in his room, and that one time his sister dragged him to a karaoke bar (he was drunk, and never again), the most musical he got was listening to the radio. But, after about ten o’clock at night, he’d sneak into the back corridors of the music hall, to the practice rooms there. With the mirrors, and the fact they were mostly soundproof, they were absolutely perfect for practicing his speeches. He had been the next one out at nationals last year, his coach had told him. This year, he was determined to make it to that final round.

So, he slipped through the student entrance, able to use his ID card to get in. He was always silent as a mouse, just in case there were still other people roaming around. He frowned as he entered and noticed that his usual room, the first one right by the doors, was occupied. No matter how much a creature of habit he was, he couldn’t very well knock and demand the person leave. Then someone would know he hid here at night. Somehow, that felt worse. Phillip shook his head, turning to walk down to the far end of the hall.

He blinked when he heard sound, turning his head to the occupied room. The door was open just a crack, enough where it wouldn’t seem like it from the inside. What was impossible not to notice, however, was the beautiful music that came through it. All that Phillip could tell was that it was a string instrument of some kind. He paused in front of the crack, trying to peek in and see who was playing.

Not that he’d know whoever they were,though. And the musician wasn’t standing near the door, so all he saw was the glow of the fluorescent light inside. He shook his head, walking down tot he far end of the hall. he paused at the last door, to catch a few more notes. With a sigh, he firmly shut and locked the door behind him.

This went on for the whole of the next week. Apparently, Phillip lamented, someone else had discovered the time of night when the rooms are empty. And they were also a fan of his favorite room. Though it made sense. Right by the door. Easy in, easy out. Whoever it was, they were always there before he arrived, and stayed until after he had already gone. He really only knew because whoever they were still, apparently, didn’t know how to work a door. Most of the time, it was some classical piece. The third night, though, he was sure he heard the cords to a pop song. It caught him off guard, the way it still fit so well. He ended up with it stuck in his head and was unable to concentrate that night.

On the last night of the week, he came in to the door completely open. It was as he was leaving, close to midnight. The sweet sound of whatever piece the musician was playing echoed through the empty hall way. The door must have come all the way open since the person never bothered to check to see if it way closed. And there was just that one door to get him out to the parking lot, if he didn’t want to wander and get lost in the concert hall. He’d have to be quick and quiet then.

A few steps in, he since. He’d had to wear his heavy boots with the rain and snow they’d been dealing with so late in the winter. The echoing of his footsteps made the music stop. Clearly, the musician would now realize that, whoever they were, they had let the door come open. He pulled the scarf up, to attempt to hide his face better.

“Hey, worry about that, man! I didn’t think anyone else was in here. Probably messed you up, huh? Juries and all, I’m just a little-”

The violist stopped, looking over his shoulder and setting down his violin when there wasn’t an immediate response. His hair was long, red, and would likely be a wild mess if it wasn’t tied to stay out of the way. His eyes were dark, almost black. they seemed to sparkle when he looked Phillip up and down.

“You are…Totally not a music major. No instrument case…Unless you’re a vocalist?”

“You’re beautiful. Shit! I mean…The music thing…violin…thing….I’m a speech major. On the team and…stuff…”

“What the hell are you…Oh! Talking to yourself ticks the roommate off?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.” Phillip breathed a sigh of relief. “I’m Phillip.”

“Mason. So…Beautiful, huh?”

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