Edward loves three things in life: His wife, his family, and his music. When the last of the three is in question, Bella cannot imagine a more superior being to exist. But when the master among pianists appears at their doorstep, Bella can only observe in awe as Edward is tutored by this grandiose, though slightly eccentric vampire. Music has never seemed so complicated before. Yet: Are musical notes really all this man weaves together, or is there something more involved? Something... Romanian?
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5. The Failure
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1161 Review this Chapter
Forty-five minutes, and still no end to the ordeal in sight.
I stole a desperate glance at Alice, hoping to meet her eye so that she could see just how worn out I was. The professor had promised to teach his two new pupils for an hour – but surely he hadn't meant one hour each?
It was Alice's turn to undergo the professors training.
But as our eyes met, the look on her face made the last of my hopes disappear. She looked as puzzled as I was – and that could mean only one thing.
She couldn't see her lesson happening yet. The end of my torture was nowhere in sight.
The professor continued to gibber in his craze, pointing at one key after the next as he tried to make me understand what he wanted.
"Play a C, Mrs. Cullen! No, not the middle C… two octaves higher, right there. Yes, yes! We are very close to playing music, my lady! Do you hear the harmony?"
Even Edward's face evaporated as my willingness dissolved.
I lifted my hands for the last time and turned to my appalling instructor, who was staring at the piano keys with a look of utter insanity.
Is that what they call passion?
"Sir, I think it's Alice’s turn now," I said to him, already resolved in not taking "no" for an answer.
I seemed to have startled my teacher, for as he turned around to face me, I nearly gasped at his wild expression. His ruby eyes were wide and absorbed, the bones of his face even more visible than usual. His scrawny hands still rested on the piano keys.
"Mrs. Cullen, we must continue. We are so very close to playing our first song! Just a few more hours and –"
"A few more hours?" I shrieked, forgetting all rules of courtesy.
"Yes, Isabella! You are doing so well… Please, let us not lose our concentration. Play the last chord again."
I didn't respond to his order, but glimpsed at Alice for aid. Her face confirmed my fears– this vampire was insane.
"Professor, we don't have a few hours. My family will be back in fifteen minutes. Alice hasn't had her turn yet," I tried to speak calmly, ignoring the way Alice was furiously shaking her head behind the professor's back.
But instead of pacifying him, my words seemed to have the opposite effect. His hands froze in midair.
I was too afraid to answer, for his expression was truly terrifying. The arrogant pianist was staring into space, a mad grin spreading across his face.
"Lost in my music… indeed!"
I contemplated standing up, but thought it better not to move. The professor looked like he needed some peace and quiet at the moment.
"It's so rare that I should be wrong, and someone else right! So peculiar…"
Alice and I exchanged another glance.
"And how right he was, this time!" the pianist continued, not speaking to anyone in particular, "And how powerful music can be! Does any other force on Earth succeed in ruining my concentration? I was focused… but music broke my walls. Hah! This is a loss for royalty but a triumph for music!"
He stood up and began rapidly pacing back and forth in our living room.
"My ladies, you cannot possibly know… or even imagine what a proof of power this is to me! I did lose myself in my music, after all. Passion towers over ambition!"
And with a quick goodbye, followed by a series of fanatical giggles, the pianist strode out of the room.
"Yes, you heard me right, Vladimir. I lost myself in my music. My first attempt failed."
Vladislav Gerasymenko gazed into the mirror, seeing only the reflection of the black piano behind him. This triumph had to be celebrated.
Vladimir, on the other hand, didn't seem to agree.
"Your first and last, Vladislav! We will send somebody else. Somebody with more perspective. You have heavily disappointed us – all royalties! Was musical domination not enough motivation for you?"
"Ah, Vladimir, you have found the core of my glee! Greed was not enough to suppress my passion."
"Glee?" the Romanian vampire hissed into the phone, "How dare you find delight in our defeat!"
"It is no defeat, my friend. A victory! A victory for music!"
"Your music does not interest me! We had an agreement, Vladislav. You broke that agreement. You cannot expect us to trust you again. Leave the country today – someone else will be there to replace you soon enough. For your sake, I hope they do not suspect anything. Your life depends on it."
The professor twirled around on his feet and walked over to his grand piano. His bony hand glided over the sleek surface as he imagined his next song; a melody of glory and conquest…
The Romanians knew nothing of magnificence.
"Vladimir, you disappoint me. How could you send anyone else when I'm the only man suitable for the job?" the pianist argued calmly, "I am the only one who can handle the mind-reader. You can only get to him through music, my friend. You and Stefan are rather weak in that aspect."
Vladimir didn’t answer.
"I have a new plan. Another week and authority will be yours."
"Another week?" Vladimir asked, calculating the chance of success in his mind.
"Without a doubt."
"And will your motivation be enough?"
"Trust me, my friend,"
The pianist's fingers glided over the ivory keys.
"My motivation has never been stronger before."
"One last chance, Vladislav. Only one."
Those foolish, ignorant vampires.
Gerasymenko hung up on his accomplice and took his rightful seat in front of his grand piano. The oppressing silence in the room was almost music in itself – the flawless sound of silence that could only be overpowered by music.
And not just anyone's – only Vladislav Gerasymenko could give music the glory it deserved.
Enjoying the calm for one final moment, the pianist let his fingers glide over the keys.
And as he played his novel tune, he thought about the events that had taken place that day.
Thanks to his mistake, the Romanian coven would be much more difficult to gratify in the future. The professor knew that he had strengthened their distrust by failing – but it was a price he was willing to pay.
He had been foolish to believe that he could snatch the two women without difficulties. He had been arrogant and too sure of himself – he had needed a rebuke.
And music had given him that.
The golden notes danced through the air as the pianist played, savoring his latest lesson.
He had known that hurry was pointless, but had not lived up to it the way he should have. His actions had proven his words right.
This time, he would not hurry. This time, he would use his head in the planning.
And this time, he wouldn't fail.
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