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Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

June 05, 2017 03:45AM
Author's note: I would've posted this yesterday, but the man in my life brought home a cold, which was then gifted to me, so I've been a bit slow this weekend.

Also, for those of you who are interested: I'm posting a slightly revised Beautiful Friendship (re-titled an Even Path). Anyone who wants to reread it, there are posts further down the board, and I'll continue posting it as a revise.
I'm posting a slightly longer version of Love's Adagio at a 2nd austen fanfiction site. Email me if you want the address for that.

For the new chapter below: don't worry, Jim's a temporary barrier. I wanted to give Georgie the chance to gain experience and to make a relationship mistake, since Jane Austen does.

Chapter 3

Tye Bertram worried.

He worried that there was no such thing as a total restoration for him. He worried that he'd spent too much of his formative years around scoundrels. He worried about shadows he would never shake off.

He wondered why so many tales featured aristocratic heroes. As the son and heir of a peer, he could say that every aristocrat he knew was a reprobate. His own father was the worst of them.

Tye worried about that, too. Something—thank God—always cut through this worry. His own mind could only cope with the weight of that for so long.

Often, his saving grace was music. A few measures of a symphony, the pure, sweet tones of an aria. Like a river current, music could pull him somewhere else. Somewhere clear and calm.

Today, his saving grace was his brother Edmund's attentive gaze.

"Need more coffee, Tye?"

"No, Ed, I'm fine."

Not for the first time, Tye wondered how dysfunctional Mansfield Park had managed to produce a man like Edmund. Edmund was upright, cheerful, and inherently good. He was also a newly appointed Reverend.

Years ago, Edmund had abandoned the career their father had forced him into. He chose seminary instead, and a marriage to Fay Price. Edmund's recent appointment to a village outside Cambridge seemed a natural fit. He and Fay had a small cottage to live in, and a modestly sized parish. Tye was proud of him.

Upon arriving, Fay and Edmund served Tye supper in their small dining room, then escorted him to the sitting room for conversation and coffee. Tye drank his cup slowly, studied the watercolor painting above the fireplace, and let himself listen.

Edmund spoke of the joys of his daily routine. Fay talked about the garden they were planning for the spring and their hope to start a family of their own some day soon. Watching Fay and Edmund's hands intertwine, Tye felt a bewildering stab of longing. What would it be like to have someone he trusted so completely to come home to? Did he trust himself to seek out that kind of happiness?

"I have a few tasks to catch up on before I head to sleep," Fay spoke at last, standing. "I'll let you two brothers catch up."

Tye stood with her, kissing her cheek lightly. "You always light up a room, Fay. I don't want to chase you off."

"You never do." Her smile was soft. "Welcome home, Tye."

He nodded. Even if England wasn't his permanent destination yet, this did feel like a homecoming.

When they were alone again, Tye settled back in his chair beside the fireplace.

“You have a lot waiting for you in Paris,” said Edmund. “It was nice of you to come north before you head to France.”

“I haven't seen enough of you and Fay these past few years. And Cambridge requested my presence..”

“Offering to conduct one class, receiving an honorary doctorate,” Edmund added slowly. “It's a boon for the university, getting your name associated with them. That's not a gesture you've ever felt compelled to offer them before. Year after year, they've asked you, year after year you've declined...”

Tye cracked a smile. “Maybe I got tired of the phone calls. Agreeing seems the only way to get them off my tail.”

“And the fact that Georgiana Darcy is enrolled there...that has nothing to do with it?”

“No. I mean...” Tye's next words came carefully. "No.”

“No, she didn't factor into your decision?” Edmund asked carefully, “Or no, she did?”

“To be honest, I'm not even sure what I'm saying no to at this point.” Tye rubbed his tired eyes. He'd been ignoring his jet lag for hours, but it was finally hammering into him. I'm in no state to talk about this right now, he thought.

He opened his eyes to see Edmund's raised brows.

“We've kept in contact," Tye said, "but it's never been complicated. Ever. We're six years apart. She's been like a little sister to me for a very long time. Everything I've done for her, I'd do for Julia and Mariah.”

“A long time has passed. How old is she now?” Edmund asked. “Twenty? Twenty-one?”

“Twenty.” Tye's answer was hoarse. “She'll turn twenty-one this autumn.”

“Nearly twenty-one. Not little anymore.” Edmund's pale eyes were watching him carefully. Tye leaned forward, snagging a piece of kindling from the basket by the fireplace. He started turning the dry twig between his fingers.

“I can guess what you're thinking,” Tye said, flaking bark from the twig with the hard edge of his thumb. “You can forget it.”

“I haven't said anything,” Edmund answered mildly.

“You don't need to. I can hear plenty in your silence.”

“The gift of a good composer, I suppose.” Edmund, too, leaned forward. “Look, Tye, I'm your brother, and I'm a minister. If you can't talk frankly to me about her, who can you talk to?”

He didn't want to do this. Not today. Not this trip. Not this year.

A dialogue about the possibility of him and Georgiana implied that he might consider the notion. Which he wouldn't.

“Tye," said Edmund, "if anyone knows what it's like to appreciate someone you've known for years in a brand new light, it's me. I knew Fay for years before we--”

“I can't,” Tye cut in. There was an edge in his voice. He was tired; his defenses were down. The daydream he'd had about kissing her was threatening to make its way back into his mind. “I can't think of Georgiana that way, Edmund. I never use to. I can't start now.”

“Georgiana's a grown woman. She means something to you.”

“She's not meant for me, Edmund.”

“Why not?” Edmund pressed.

“You want a list?”

“Absolutely.” Edmund straightened. “You can go chronologically or alphabetically, whichever makes you happier.”

Tye snorted. “I didn't know the church gave you a sense of humor with that clerical collar.”

Edmund grinned. “Yeah, it's in the fine print. A two-for-one deal.”

Tye broke his twig in half, tossing it into the waning fire.

“Well, if you won't start, I will,” Edmund said. “I'll bet the men at Cambridge University don't see Georgiana Darcy as too young for anything.”

“I expect that's true.” A furrow formed between Tye's brows. “I've always encouraged her to date. I'll continue to encourage it. She deserves those experiences. She deserves to be happy.”

“Certainly. That's healthy, especially when you were younger. I encouraged Fay to give Henry Crawford a fair shot. But you're both older now. Does it bother you to think of Georgiana with other men?”

“I don't think of her with other men,” Tye interjected coolly.

The swiftness of that correction had Edmund raising both brows at him again.

“What I'm saying,” Tye said more evenly, “is that it's not like that between Georgiana and I. It never was.”

He could honestly say, hand on his heart, that he'd never felt a twinge of jealousy over whatever Georgiana was doing with her dating life, or who she did it with. He felt protective of her, but not possessive. Never that.

“She's been seeing some lad named Jim,” Tye added quietly. “I'm happy for her. They've been together--on and off---for the last year.”

“That means it's not serious.”

“Ed...” Tye laughed, rubbing his temple. "How would you know?"

“It's couldn't be serious,” Edmund repeated. “At least, not long term. No one in love would settle for something on and off with a woman he was in love with.”

The course of Georgiana's relationship surprised Tye, too. He'd assumed that she'd meet her future spouse at Cambridge. Whoever she ended up with, Tye predicted that fellow would be a courteous intellectual, calm, dependable. A knight who would offer her the world.

He'd hoped this Jim Thorpe was cut from that cloth: kind, dependable, intelligent, and above all, consistently good. Someone like Edmund. The Edmunds of the world would deserve her. The Edmunds of the world would never break Georgiana's heart.

Of course, after a year of dating, Edmund would've proposed.

Maybe Ed's right, Tye thought, watching the fire. No man in love would settle for on-and-off with a woman he really loved. He'd want all or nothing.

“I never would've pegged you for a matchmaker,” Tye said at last.

Edmund shrugged. “You don't hang out with ministers very often then.”

“Just one. And he's always worth the trouble.” Tye's dark gaze slid back to his brother. “I know you want me happy, Ed...”

“I do. I always will.”

“Georgiana's not meant for me,” Tye declared frankly. “Our paths are too far apart. She has university to finish...I'll be working in France. I'm making my way back into the world. I'm set on staying sober. I can't be with anyone, Ed, until I have a handle on the rest of my life. She's with some other guy, and I'm happy for her. That's enough for me. It's how I want things to stay.”

“Well considered reasons,” Edmund said softly.

Tye managed another smile for his brother as he stood. “All those years of therapy, they better be.”

“I'll honor your choices, Tye.” Edmund, too, stood. “I just want you to remember one thing...”


“Whenever the timing is right for you, I want you to be open to the idea of letting a little love into your life.” Edmund squeezed Tye's shoulder. “I've kept you awake too long. The guest room's ready. Go get some sleep.”

The guest room was a short trip up the stairs, and down one tidy corridor. Fay's feminine decorative sense, and Edmund's habit for neatness, combined into a guest room that was both overwhelmingly frilly and very, very clean.

He was so bloody tired, he didn't care what the room looked like. Tye kicked off his shoes, tugged out of his clothes, dragged the quilt back, and dropped into bed in his boxers.

It was a relief when his head touched the pillows. His conversation with Edmund had sapped the last of his energy. He'd lost hours in the journey from Canada to England. He hadn't slept during the flight. The train trip northward had been noisy, and he'd fought a nagging headache through most of it.

Not a long trip northward,he thought, but a hard one to make on no sleep.

Tye had been honest when he'd said he'd come north to see Edmund. The men were opposites in many ways, but they were still brothers to the bone. He loved him. He enjoyed his brother's honesty, and relished being honest in return.
Every word he'd spoken to Edmund was true. He wasn't prepared to romance anyone---least of all Georgiana.

And yet he'd failed to mention his biggest reason for rejecting the notion.

Because, he thought as he drifted to sleep, she's good, and kind. She's never known a touch of darkness. Because she deserves more. She deserves better.


Upon entering her twenties, Georgiana Darcy had received a few words of wisdom from Will's wife, Elizabeth.

Some of your biggest changes will happen these next few years, Elizabeth had said. You'll feel less comfortable being called 'girl,' and more swift to call yourself a woman. You'll discover what you like and what you need. It will get easier to ask for those things. It's an exciting time, Georgie. Enjoy it.

Elizabeth was right. Georgiana felt herself maturing in such big leaps that even she could chart her own progress. She'd grown more comfortable with stillness, and less inclined to fidget. She'd learned how to speak up in a crowded room---it was still a challenge for her, but she was forcing herself to do it. She was slowly learning how, and when, to say no.

And she finally felt comfortable in her own body. She'd stopped hunching her shoulders and ducking her head. She'd discovered having a grown woman's body wasn't something she needed to be ashamed of, or apologize for. She'd discovered that it was okay to want to be looked at, just as it was okay to want to blend in.

She decided that she didn't need to go to crowded parties on nights when she wanted to be alone. She learned that staying home to read was a valid plan for a Friday night, and that it often made her happier than bright lights and loud noises.

She discovered that she preferred bare feet to high heels. She liked peaceful, orange-sky sunsets more than she enjoyed pale, early morning sunrises. She decided that white roses were her favorite flower, and that she'd buy a bouquet of them whenever she wished.

She'd grown into a woman who loved libraries and antique lace, one who wore her father's wedding band on a chain around her neck, and her mother's favorite perfume on her skin.

She'd shared some of these thoughts and changes with Tye in her letters over the past few months. His letters back to her had been attentive, intelligent, empathetic, and deeply interested.

Finally, after all these years, they'd reached a level playing field. And they both knew it.

She didn't know what to expect from his arrival in Cambridge. He'd sent her one text message late last night. Back in the UK. I'll check in with you tomorrow when I can.

That was it. Nothing else. She found herself tapping the dark screen of her phone after long stretches of time just to...check. She scrolled through her message box just to verify she hadn't accidentally missed a message from him.

Nothing. They hadn't been face to face since she was nineteen. She couldn't keep thinking the same circle of thoughts, wondering what he was doing and when she could see him. And yet that's mostly what she did, sitting cross-legged on the floor outside of one of Cambridge's main theaters until Margaret Dashwood planted herself beside her.

“I hate this building,” Margaret declared. “The hallways always smell like cat food.”

Margaret had recently finished a tutorial. Margaret’s fashion choice for today was a green tweed top and refashioned riding pants. The top, Georgiana realized with a quirk of her mouth, had been borrowed from Georgiana's own wardrobe.

“Not that I mind, but is that my jacket?”

“Yep." Margaret patted the garment. "I do think it looks better on you, though. No one does the sloane-y, undercover Duchess look quite as well as you do, Georgie.”

Is that how people see me? Georgiana wondered with a frown. Some sort of would-be duchess?

Her older brother had raised her to appreciate tailoring and fine fabrics. She'd never known anything else.

Everyone knew the Darcy corporate aegis. Yes, she came from money. A lot of money. More money than her family knew what to do with. The Darcy family had little interaction with the corporate megalith connected to them, though. They benefited financially, but each Darcy heir chose their own career. Will was a barrister; she'd chosen music. Will had raised her to believe that an idle life was a wasted life.

Her fingers retreated into her sweatshirt. She certainly hadn't dressed like a duchess today. The cold winter chill meant she'd opted for jeans, her cranberry red Cambridge sweatshirt, and a pair of old boots.

“I was hoping to catch Tye before the class begins,” Georgiana said.

“You might not want to wait out here too long. He's probably stuck in some room with the faculty. Professors, lecturers, directors, they probably all want a moment of his time. The rigors of the Cambridge chair, you know? That's not exactly a brief conversation, even when they're not cornering the most brilliant composer of the last hundred years. And you have to warm up, don't you?”

She nodded, looking down at her hands. She was so incredibly proud that Tye had been selected for an honorary Cambridge doctorate. He deserved that. She wondered if it was foolish of her to feel as if she, in turn, deserved even more of his time than the academic staff did.

“Do you think it's a great bother for him to have to carry on this friendship?” she asked. “Writing back and forth, coming all this way?”

“Georgie, I think any man who'd go across an ocean to visit you would never call you anything close to a bother.”

“He's here for the university, not just for me.” She reached for her backpack, sliding the object onto one shoulder as she stood. “I've missed him. I guess I was waiting for—I don't know, Margaret...”

“A private hello?” Margaret echoed kindly. “Look, Georgie, think of this from Tye's perspective. He's not much older than us, but the faculty still sees him as an equal. More than an equal, actually. They're doubtless begging for his autograph. Tye can't sweep you off your feet in the center of a concert hall, not with everyone watching. Do you know how many people would start talking about you if he did something like that? You're a student. It's the appearance of things, you know?”

“He wouldn't sweep me off my feet.”

No sooner had she said this than she realized he had once. Of course, she'd been drinking at the time. She'd never confessed that tale to anyone, not even to trustworthy Margaret.

“Well, he can't start now,” said Margaret. “And what would Jim say? I never know if you're together or apart these days.”

“That makes two of,” Georgiana murmured.

Dating Jim Thorpe had seemed like a good idea a year ago.

She'd jumped into a relationship with Jim because she'd been trying to move on with her life. She couldn't put her romantic life on hold while she waited around for Tye to notice her. She'd wanted to fall in love.

She'd been willing to try with Jim. Jim was very, very different from Tye. Jim was a sturdy, square-jawed man, built like a rugby player. Jim had brown hair, cut conservatively short, and a penchant for wearing chinos and polo shirts.

He wasn't innately artistic, or elegantly built. He wasn't quietly perceptive. Jim was a violinist, though, so they had music in common. He had loads of friends, all of whom had welcomed her.

There were roadblocks. Jim didn't share Georgiana's interest in literature, or history. Or fine art. Or gardens, or architecture. So maybe their conversations lagged a little? And sometimes Jim lacked maturity. He was more impulsive than she was. He was also confounded by her need for solitude.

Still, she'd enjoyed their time together. Jim was affectionate. He was also sincere, and he'd treated her kindly. He liked spending time with her. He'd even told her that he loved her.

She couldn't bring herself to say the words back to him. She hadn't managed to fall in love with Jim, and nothing that she'd done thus far---or, regrettably, talked herself into doing---could summon that feeling.

Why can't I fall in love with Jim? Georgiana squeezed her eyes shut, fighting off the wave of sorrow and guilt that always entered her when she thought about how things were going with Jim. Tye would understand this; he knew about regret. One look in Tye's dark, beautiful eyes and she'd feel his understanding, his compassion. Where's Tye? I need him.

She would see him soon enough. The concert hall was waiting for her, along with the rest of the assembled orchestra. The master class awaited.

She forced herself to say goodbye to Margaret and entered the main theater.

She could understand why Margaret didn't care for this building. Architecturally, it didn't fit with Cambridge's famous Gothic landmarks. The theater was modern, with a concert hall that was designed for utility, not beauty. The stage was pale wood. The audience seating was designed as an ascending amphitheater. The chairs were a jarring sky blue.

At least the acoustics are good, she thought.

She was the last to arrive. Orchestra chairs and silver music stands cluttered the stage stage. A maelstrom of musical notes filled the air. She heard soft arpeggios from the clarinetist, strident tones from the cellos. Nearby, one of the percussionists started a swift drum roll as she walked past him.

“Steve,” she laughed.

“Never hurts to make an entrance,” Steve told her with a grin.

She was among friends here. They kept the same long hours. They studied and labored over the same musical measures and fought through the same complicated counts. They stressed out over the same tests and complained about the same lecturers.

She felt comfortable here in a way that she'd never felt in any other school. It made her wish that Tye, too, had been granted a handful of years as an anonymous university student.

He wouldn't have had that chance, her mind swiftly realized. He was already a famous composer by fourteen. Cambridge wouldn't have wanted him here as a student; they would've pushed him into teaching.

His life wouldn't have been normal, even here in a place where so many others like me feel safe.

The sorrow she felt over that realization left her mind so completely clouded that she failed to notice the blonde flutist whispering in Jim's ear. It was Jim's laugh that pulled her focus. He had his arm draped over the flutist's music stand. Both were smiling.

Was he really interested in the flutist, or was it just a ploy to make her jealous? Could be either, she thought tiredly. She and Jim had shared coffee and bagels early this morning with a quartet of their musician friends: Yelena, Daphne, Viktor and Wei. Wei, Yelena and Daphne couldn't contain their excitement over Tye's presence at Cambridge. Even calm Viktor had looked awed by it.

It had left Jim moody for the length of the breakfast.

The flutist nodded in Georgiana's direction. Georgiana heard Jim's laugh.

I can't keep doing this with him.

A grand piano was stationed between the the string section and the conductor's podium. Georgiana dropped her backpack, sliding onto the smooth piano bench.

A piano bench was an unforgiving seat, cold and hard, but she'd always found a strange comfort in it. Whatever was building inside of her could always be released here.

She was accustomed to playing pieces for Tye privately, not with a full orchestra. She hadn't felt this frisson of nerves since her recital years as a teen. She rubbed her hands together, warming muscles and skin. Her palms were slick. Georgiana reached into her backpack, pulling out a small bottle of powder. This was rubbed swiftly on her damp fingers.

Warm up, she told herself firmly. Focus. Slow runs. An allegro.

She started playing. A shimmer of sweet notes sang out. She sharpened the notes, trying swift staccatos. Staccatos forced steadiness into her fingers. She raised her speed, letting the tips of her fingers warm up.

"So how long is this Bertram guy going to keep us waiting?"

That was Jim's voice.

"I'm sure the faculty have kept him busy,” she said. “Considering his accomplishments, most people would say Tye chooses when the class starts.”

"I don't need you rattling off Bertram's resume for me." Jim sat beside her on the piano bench. "I'm well aware of it.”

“Honestly, Jim?” Georgiana allowed herself a sigh, “you don't act like you are.”

“How do you think I feel when people go nuts over this guy? And it's worse when it's you. Every time someone mentions Bertram, your eyes light up.”

“That isn't--”

“It's not a lie,” Jim interjected. He placed one hand on the piano, aimlessly pressing keys. She heard a restless E, then D#, andC#. “The truth is...I don't want you spending time alone with him.”

Darcys never responded well to dictates. Her small, patrician frown came swiftly. "He's my friend."

“And I'm your boyfriend. I want all of your attention, Georgiana.”

“Jim, I can't...” Irritation and guilt warred inside her. “I can't offer you that. Not to the exclusion of every other man. It isn't fair of you to ask it of me.”

“I don't want to argue here,” Jim muttered.

“So let's not.” Georgiana touched his arm. “I need to finish practicing, and you need to go warm up.”

"I am warmed up." A moment of impulse, and Jim started kissing her neck. "Being near you makes me warmer."

"Jim...” Georgiana's shoulders tensed, “not here."

"No one will care." He feathered kisses near her neckline. "Everyone knows we're together."

“I care. This is my job, Jim. I need people to take me seriously. We're working.”

Jim's mouth snagged her ear. She started squirming. She didn't want to make a scene in front of half of Cambridge’s music department, but his movements felt...territorial. Brutish. He'd never been either before.

“Please,” she couldn't keep her voice low, “stop.”

“I'd recommend listening to her,” a low, clear baritone cut across the stage.

A hush fell over the assembled students. Jim pulled away from her. Tye Bertram was moving through the orchestra aisle.

“When a lady says stop,” Tye said coolly, “she means it.”

Georgiana wondered if every woman here found Tye as painfully beautiful as she always found him. He wore tailored wool trousers. A gray sweater hung loose on his frame. His gold hair caught in the stage light.

Tye's dark gaze landed on her. She felt her whole body heat up.

Beside her, Jim was turning tomato red. “She's my girlfriend.”

“Another reason to listen when she tells you not to do something.” Tye moved closer. “Your name?”

“Jim Thorpe.”

Whatever Tye had anticipated, this clearly wasn't it. Tye's jaw clicked.

“Take your seat, Mr. Thorpe,” Tye said at last. “I'm already late getting started. As for the rest of the orchestra: instruments ready. Scores out. I hope you all came ready to work.”

Jim slid promptly off the piano bench. Whispers were racing through the orchestra. Papers rustled. Instruments were picked up.

Tye paused at the foot of the piano. If he had the impulse to move any closer, he was resisting it.

“Alright?” Tye whispered to her.

Georgiana nodded. “Yes.”

Tye hesitated. She knew him well enough to know he didn't quite believe her.

That, unfortunately, was all the greeting they had time for. The rest of the orchestra was waiting. He strode up the conductor's podium. The students were playing Bertram's Piano Concerto Number Twelve. This would be the first and only time they had the originator of the piece conducting for them.

The group ran through the concerto's first movement. Tye stayed at the conductor's podium, both hands bracing his music stand, his head bent, listening. He said nothing. He looked to no one. He simply absorbed the notes.

When it was over, his head finally lifted.

"Who chose this piece for you?” he asked.

One of the trumpeters rose his hand. “It was the music department chairman's choice, Maestro."

Tye winced. "Call me Tye, please."

"Tye," the trumpeter repeated. The informality of the term was causing the trumpeter to blush. "We're playing it for our spring concert.”

A horn player raised her hand and added, “we're also studying it in music theory.”

“Huh." Tye grunted. "I would have chosen Mozart's Piano Concerto 27. I think it's more interesting. Anyway, I'd like us to take hard look at the second half, especially before we get to the cadenza. Give me a minute to find the section." Tye hesitated, dragging his thumb down the score. “Considering I wrote it, you wouldn't think it would take me this long...but I was seventeen when I looked at it last. There are large gaps in my memories of seventeen.”

Tye looked up again, surveying the group. A roguish smile curved at his mouth. “I'm guessing they don't mention that in the theory books?”

Laughter stirred up in the orchestra. It diffused the nerves building in the air.

The first two hours of practice flew by swiftly. Tye's corrections were both calm and confident. He'd instructed orchestras far grander than this one. He made eye contact with each player, never raising his voice, often using his hands to speak for him. Occasionally he'd mimic rhythm corrections with his body, tapping a beat out with his foot, or with a pencil.

When he grew warm, he pulled off his sweater and toss it into a nearby chair. He sported a t-shirt underneath. It looked like he'd acquired it from a rock concert.

In the mid section of the orchestra, a swooning sigh from the flutists was heard. Georgiana tried to ignore her flutter of annoyance.

Tye noticed none of this. He was chewing on the edge of his pencil and studying the score.

"Percussion,” his voice lifted, “from measure twenty five onward, you have to stay with me. That syncopation is essential. You're keeping us grounded while our string section crescendos. And strings, when you the jump from bar to bar, that's legato, remember? Don't rush the transition. Trust yourself to hold the length of the beat before Georgiana joins you in the next section. And principal cellist, I need to hear you more. Can you play for me, from the fifth bar in the start of the section? Just you, no accompaniment."

The principal cellist was young, blonde, and named Nina. Having acquired Tye's full attention, adoration and terror flitted across her face. He pushed down from his podium, walking towards her.

Nina forced herself to play. There was a slight tremble in her bow arm as she started.

"Okay." Tye's voice was soft. "It's alright. Your playing a little tight. Tight, we can fix. I'm not that scary, I promise."

Georgie watched him talk Nina through the next ten bars, gently correcting her posture.

"How many times does this motif repeat itself in the course of the concerto,” he asked softly. "Three times. Of course it's three, right? Because there are three movements; that's the shape of most concertos. But shape and action are different things. The concerto is a narrative. The beginning of any narrative isn't the same as the end of it. Inside here...” Tye pressed a hand to his chest, “your spirit, your heart, that's always changing. You have to reflect those changes with the theme. In this mid section, it's sweeter, and more mournful than it was at the start. Understand?”

His words, and the way his hand pressed hard against his chest, tugged hard at Georgiana's own heart. Somehow Nina managed one adoring nod for him.

“Good," said Tye. "This is dulce, isn't it? The beauty is in the connection you make from note to note. It's a preparation for Georgiana's next step. Try it one more time, and then Georgiana, I want you to come in with that cadenza."

Georgiana's fingers had been poised on the keyboard for the last ten minutes. She hadn't received a single correction from him for the length of the lesson. He'd offered the occasional, distracted, "very good, Miss Darcy." Or a, "yes, exactly. Then in the next beat, trumpets, I want you to--"

The rest of his focus had stayed elsewhere. She knew this was a compliment. If he didn't correct her, she didn't need correction. As her fingers touched the keyboard, she considered fudging this cadenza just to garner a little attention from him.

She couldn't do it. Her pride kicked in. She wouldn't just play, she'd play until the notes sang, until the rafters heard her. She'd play until she robbed the voice from him. It had always been a desire of hers to leave him a little speechless. If music was the only way she could do it, she would seize the moment.

She started playing. The notes skimmed out of the piano, light as the air. The section lifted, urging the harmony onward, guiding the orchestra. This had speed, but no bravado. It was sincere, searching. Longing spilled out. Notes descended and ascended, clear and pure. And then, with the great, surprising leap, it ended with possibility.

Her fingers stilled.

She'd played herself into own world. She hadn't noticed Tye stroll to the edge of the piano bench, now an arm's length away. The last notes hung in the air.

If she'd wanted to stun him, she'd done. It was a look of revelation. Shock registered on his face.

“Miss Darcy,” Tye cleared his throat, “that's the best I've ever heard that played.”

She let that compliment sink in. Tye wrapped up the rest of the session. When class ended, the orchestra slowly dispersed. Jim, perhaps sensing she needed a little space, chose not to wait for her.

She was grateful for that. She would have an honest conversation with Jim soon, but not now. Georgiana gathered her things slowly. When the last student had departed, Tye stepped down from his podium.

She stood, finally allowing herself to do what she'd craved for hours. She ran to him, giving him a quick, enthusiastic embrace.

“You played the life out of that piece,” he spoke against her hair.

“I wanted you to know that I could.”

“Believe me, Georgie, I never doubted it.” An honest grin dashed across his face. They hadn't managed to step apart yet. He drew back far enough to study her face. “You look good.”

“Oh?” Laughter bubbled from her. Tye meant her appearance as a whole, not her outfit specifically, but still she added, “well, this is an old university sweatshirt. Nothing fancy.”

He looked down, as if he hadn't quite noticed what she was wearing. When he realized what it was, a blush crept up his neck. Slowly, he stepped back. “Yeah, it's--” he cleared his throat, “familiar.”

Not quite sure what he meant by that, confusion entered her smile. “That was a marathon session you put us through. Where are you eating tonight?”

“I think it's my job to ask you that. Where can I take you that won't have an audience of teachers and students?”

“Worried about my reputation, Tye?”

“A little. People talk. I wouldn't want them to get the wrong idea.” Tye rubbed the back of his neck. “I think I know a good spot. It's a bit of a drive. Are you sure you don't mind?”

An uninterrupted evening with him? She couldn't answer fast enough. “Sounds perfect.”

Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

BernadetteEJune 05, 2017 03:45AM

Re: Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

TarynJune 09, 2017 10:12AM

Re: Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

BernadetteEJune 19, 2017 03:22AM

Responses smiling smiley

BernadetteEJune 08, 2017 03:22AM

Re: Responses smiling smiley

amfJune 08, 2017 01:13PM

Re: Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

LynetteJune 05, 2017 10:55PM

Re: Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

Lily - not logged inJune 05, 2017 10:54PM

Re: Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

Maria VJune 05, 2017 06:37PM

Re: Love's Adagio: Chapter 3

Trish1006June 06, 2017 04:32AM


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