“Cassandra bears your anger rather well.” Lionel had snuck up on Chris. AGAIN.
“What do you mean?” He asked gruffly, not looking up from his computer.
“Well, most people respond to your anger with anger. She appeared mostly apathetic, if not bewildered.”
“Yeah well, she knows she’s wrong.”
“And what is it that’s she wrong about?”
“It can’t be ‘nothing serious’ if you’re this wound up about it.”
“Lionel, leave it alone. We’ll have it figured out by the end of the week. If not, then you have full bragging rights and I’ll take you out to dinner.”
“Fine. But if it’s not resolved in two weeks you’ll have to let me know what it’s about.”
“Fine. Now get out of my office. I have work to do.”
Cassy found herself rushing to get to rehearsal on Wednesday night, not because she was late, but because she NEEDED to be in the choir room before Chris woke up from his nap. He was punishing her with some particularly difficult pieces, and she really wanted to get some practice in on the grand. Her keyboard at home worked fine enough, but there was just something about the piano in the choir room that made it easier to practice. Unfortunately, when she got there somebody else was already playing on it.
"Lionel. What a surprise."
"Yes, I normally don't come here on Wednesdays."
"Any particular reason for your visit?"
"Chris mentioned that the choir would be singing one of my compositions soon. I want to know ahead of time that they'll be able to pull it off."
"That's... arrogant of you."
"I suppose. Have you been finding the music very difficult? I tried to make it complex, if only to annoy lesser pianists than myself."
"I'm finding it extremely difficult."
"Good. What part are you having the most trouble with?"
"Measures 14 through 26."
"Really? I would have thought the more difficult spot would be the key change at 78."
"That was easy to figure out once I considered the theory behind it."
Lionel stared at Cassy with a neutral expression.
"I can see now why Chris refuses to fire you, even when you're being impossible."
"By all accounts, he is the one being impossible right now."
"Not in his eyes."
"Yes, well, it will be resolved soon enough."
"I know. Though I am hoping it isn't."
"He promised me bragging rights and dinner if it isn't resolved by Sunday."
"I see. Well, for your sake I might drag it out a bit longer than I'd planned."
"I would be ever so grateful."
Any further banter was int erupted by a not-quite-awake Chris stumbling into the room.
"Lio? What're you doing here?"
"Just checking in on you. I wanted to ensure that you treated my child with respect."
"What child? Oh yeah, the piece... I'm sure the choir's up to it, even if the accompanist isn't."
Cassy burned with the desire to say something scathing, but nothing came to mind.
"Actually," Lionel replied with a charming smile. "Cassandra has just asked me to play it tonight. Said something about wanting to listen to a true master play."
"Did she now. Well, do what you want."
"Thank you ever so much Christopher. Your kindness truly knows no bounds."
"Shove it up your..." They were spared whatever vulgarity Chris could come up with by the arrival of the first choir member. Chris glared darkly at both Cassy and Lionel, but greeted the choir member with a smile. Soon, rehearsal was underway. Cassy surrendered the piano over to Lionel when they moved on to his song, and it soon became apparent why Cassy was the better accompanist.
"Measure 40, Lionel." "Just the parts please, Lionel." "SLOWER, Lionel."
When Chris had had enough of Lionel's inadequacies, they moved on to a different song, and the balance was restored. All in all, it had been a fairly productive rehearsal (despite Lionel). Cassy left the choir room after all the members had left, a small smile on her face.
"Chris is refusing to tell me anything for another week and a half. What did you tell him that's made him so snippy?"
"Nothing of true importance."
"You're both incredibly mean."
"You'll know soon enough."
"Soon enough isn't soon enough."
"If Chris said he'll tell you in a week and a half, then I'd only upset him by telling you now."
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say this was about me..."
"Who said it isn't?"
"So it is about me?"
"Less about you, more about his pride and opinions."
"What on earth did you say to him?"
"Nothing of true importance. Goodnight, Lionel."