Being In The Band
Being In The Band
It had been more than a month when Lizard returned from her short trip
to see one of her best friends. Well, if you consider it her best
friend. She found the music conservatory a peaceful place, and since
it was during winter break and no one was there except for a few teachers,
she was welcomed with open arms. Her old music teachers were happy
to see her, and let her have the run of the place without any questions
asked. She was one of their most prized students while she was there,
starting at fifteen and graduating all of her courses before she was seventeen.
She was a fast learner and had whizzed through every course they had to
offer in no time. She liked being there, playing the piano everyday,
listening to music everyday, and overall, just relaxing everyday.
When she returned, it was the end of January, and her mailbox was spilling
over with all her mail. She carried the handfuls inside and organized
it on her kitchen table, throwing away nearly three-quarters of it, keeping
the bills and personal letters. She tossed the bills on the counter
to look at them later and carried the letters with her to the bathroom,
sitting them next to the tub as she started running a bath. She stepped
in a few minutes later and sighed, relaxing. The conservatory was
in Boston, requiring her to take a long trip by plane. Well, it wasn’t
that long, but it seemed that way. She used the money she’d earned
from being on tour with…she gulped and shook the idea out of her head,
reaching for her letters. She hadn’t thought about the tour or anyone
on it since the day she left for Boston and she wasn’t about to.
"Let’s see what they want," she mumbled to herself, opening a letter from
Kevin and his girlfriend, Kristin. She smiled, reading it quickly.
"He finally proposed to her. Way to go, Kev," she said to the letter,
setting it aside to reply later. She opened the next letter from
Brian and found that he had proposed to Leighanne on Christmas Eve.
She sighed, they were all having happy endings. Yippee. Except
for her, of course.
"And now, Tommy’s letter," she said to herself, tearing open the second
to last envelope after glancing at the return address. She read it,
skimming over the explanations about Nick and Carla and anything having
to do with that night. She read over the last paragraph carefully.
"When you’d left, Brian, AJ, and I had found Carla practically beating
up Nick. He threw her out of his house and his life, they’re over.
You’d never know they were together to begin with now, he’s gotten rid
of anything having to do with her, even redecorated his house. It
looks great, a total Nick creation. I know you would love it, too.
Write back, Liz, or call. You know the number. Love you, Tommy."
Lizard sighed and put the letter back in the envelope, placing it with
Brian and Kevin’s letters. She picked up the last one and saw AJ’s
scribble in the return address corner.
‘Great, now AJ has to chew me out,’ she thought as she opened the letter.
She pulled out two pieces of paper, the first a drawing of her...a simple
charcoal pencil sketch that was actually very good. The second, a
short letter. What she read, though, wasn’t what she expected.
"Liz, I love you, please come back. I can’t find you anywhere, I
need you, I love you so much it hurts. Please call me or come to
my house as soon as you get this letter. I love you, Nick."
Lizard felt tears gathering in her eyes and threw the letter across the
bathroom, not believing that they would deceive her like that. She
quickly finished her bath and carried the letters with her to her room,
holding the towel around her as she crumbled up Nick’s letter and threw
it in the garbage, tossing the drawing on her dresser, face down.
She set the other three letters on her desk and pulled her silk robe out
of the closet. As she slipped it on, she relished the feeling of
the smooth fabric against her skin. It had been a present from her
parents…one of the last she’d received.
"Stop thinking, Liz, just don’t think," she commanded herself, tightening
the robe’s tie around her waist. She noticed how thin she had become,
she barely ate the last month and had lost the weight she’d been trying
to lose for the last few years. She sighed and walked across the
hall and to her piano, sitting down and closing her eyes as she placed
her fingers on the keys. She began playing Pacabel’s Cannon, smiling
as she finished. It was one of her favorites. She then started
with a simpler piece, Kevin’s solo piece that she’d learned from watching
him over and over again. After listening to it and watching him,
she got it instantly. She loved it, it was so sad and so beautiful
that she felt she had to learn it. And she had.
As she finished Kevin’s piece, she felt her fingers launch her into the
‘Moonlight Sonata’. She didn’t know how, but it just came naturally
to play it. She let her hands move, not thinking, just playing.
She opened her eyes and looked at the doorway as she heard someone clapping.
"The time at the Conservatory did you well," Tommy said quietly.
"How did you get in?" She asked him.
"Door was open, I heard the piano and let myself in. We’ve missed
you, but I didn’t want to tell them that I knew exactly where you were,"
Tommy replied, walking over and sitting behind her in the recliner.
"Cold and Snowy," Lizard replied, running her fingers gently across the
ivory keys in front of her, letting out the smallest amount of sound possible.
She turned to face Tommy. "You didn’t tell anyone?" She asked.
Tommy shook his head. "No, I knew you had to be alone, I knew that
if I’d told anyone, you would’ve been incredibly upset, so I didn’t," he
summed up. He gestured outside. "It’s been pretty nice here."
Lizard looked down. "I was happy to get back simply because of the
warmth," she admitted, crossing her legs at the ankle and crossing her
arms in front of her. "How’ve you been?" She asked.
"Ok. I got the cast off about two weeks ago, I’ve been playing as
much as possible since, and Brian always says that I play better than I
ever have, since my wrist is now permanently crooked," Tommy said, smiling
Lizard managed a chuckle. "At least you can play, Brian can’t even
plunk out ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’," she said.
"There’s the Lizard I know," Tommy said after he’d stopped laughing.
"Liz, why don’t you talk to Nick? It won’t hurt," he suggested quietly.
"Yes it will, more than you think, I can’t talk to him, I just need to
stay away from him and Carla, I won’t disturb them," she said quickly.
"They aren’t together anymore. I know you read my letter, I told
you they weren’t together anymore. He kicked her out of his house,
and we have orders against her that keep her from saying anything to the
press, she can’t open her mouth without getting a suit against her.
Just talk to him."
"What if I don’t want to?"
"What if I say you have no choice?"
"What if I say I do because it’s my life and I said so?"
"Then you’d be right, but I want to talk to you anyway."
Lizard froze and slowly turned her head to the door, seeing Nick leaning
against the jam, looking at her serenely. She gulped, nervous about
"Just talk to him. Hell, at least listen," Tommy said as he stood
up. He walked out of the room, patting Nick on the back as he passed
him. Lizard heard the front door close a few moments later and just
looked at Nick, waiting.
"Don’t touch me, please," Lizard said, holding up her hands as he advanced
to her, holding his arms out to surround her. Nick nodded and backed
off, sitting in the chair Tommy had vacated.
"Will you listen?" He finally asked after ten minutes of silence.
Lizard bit her lip, knowing she really didn’t have much of a choice.
‘But will you get the closure you need if you don’t listen to his side
of the story? Listen to what he has to say, Liz, then decide from
there,’ her conscience told her. She swallowed hard and nodded.
"Go ahead, Nick," she conceded. She saw him take a deep breath and
listened as the words started pouring out, starting from the very beginning,
before she’d even joined the tour.