Word Count 495
By Josh McMullen
Elodie sat at the bench and played the piano softly, something she always did when she needed to get away from everything. Today, she needed to escape more than ever. People had found out about her secret and threatened to tell everyone. She couldn’t understand how they could be so cruel, so oblivious as to why she had to keep this under wraps.
While she was plunking out her tune, she hardly noticed her friend Leo sitting in the back of the auditorium, feet up against the back of the one in front of him, eyes closed, listening to Elodie’s melody. When she was done, he walked over to the piano and sat next to her. “What’s wrong?” he said. “You only come to the auditorium when you want to play the piano, and you only play the piano when something’s bothering you.”
She said nothing, and began another tune, this one slow and mournful. Leo had been her best friend for as long as she could remember, but they were polar opposites from each other. He might be at the forefront of most things – captain of the baseball team, lead in the school play – but she was content to sit in the background or on the sidelines, playing her music. She slowed the tempo just a little bit, as if waiting for him to push further.
“Come on,” Leo said, growing more disappointed. “We’ve been friends forever. You know you can tell me anything, no matter how embarrassing or off-the-wall it may be.”
Elodie stopped for a second and realized he was right – though, no one really knew that the two had been friends since birth. She knew he had a crippling fear of heights, while he knew she had a birthmark on her shoulder the shape of a star. But now, they knew something not even he knew, and the threat that they now held over her head made her shake with uncertainty.
Leo touched her shoulder and moved in closer. “You know you can say anything to me…I won’t get mad or embarrassed.” His comment was met with only silence, with a frenzy of indecision raging underneath. She began playing again, but this time the notes seemed as unsure as her thoughts.
Leo shrugged, giving up on trying to understand. “Okay…it must be something pretty big if you don’t even feel comfortable telling me,” Leo said as he turned to walk away. He was stopped, however, by Elodie’s hand on his arm.
“Wait a minute,” Elodie said. “I have something I need to tell you.”
She slipped her hand in his and looked up at him with the aquamarine eyes he had admired for so long, and suddenly, he knew.
“Oh…” he said softly. “Me too.”
She sat back down at the piano, now playing happily as he left for practice. Just like it had always been, where people sought to sow discord, Elodie and Leo found perfect harmony.