• I entered the quiet studio carrying the sleek, black viola case. I sat it down on the wooden floor with what I thought was gentleness but the resounding noise was much too loud to be classified as soft. Kneeling beside it, I unzipped it, ignoring the big window facing out towards the other buildings and city. It was snowing again and I only had a little while to practice before I had to get ready to meet Leon for dinner. I smiled fondly, remembering the day I met him. It had been the day that I had first emerged from the dorms to explore my new home. Sure, The Art Institute was nice and all, but I couldn’t be a recluse and live there constantly. I continued to unclick the viola case, not even having to think about it.

    I walked down the streets of New York, looking this way and that in complete awe. This city was so huge; I didn’t even know where to begin to look. My long hair had been tied up in a loose ponytail, two mahogany tendrils spiraling down to my chin. I had been so absorbed in my look-up-and-stare-while-walking session to notice I was standing still in the middle of a cross walk. The next thing I knew there was a blaring car horn and I was on the ground, a warm body on top of me. I opened my Hazel eyes, I hadn’t even known I had closed them, and was staring at the face of an angel. His dark hair was choppily cut and his bangs hung over one eye. Oddly enough, his eyes were a bright blue that contrasted his pale skin and dark clothing. By that time, I had enough sense to blush as he got off of me and helped me up.
    “You have to be an out of towner,” he mused with a smirk “Nobody from the city ever looks around like that and stops dead in the middle of a cross walk.” He flipped his bangs out of his eyes but they fell back an instant later. I let out a girly giggle against my will for the first time in almost six months.

    “I just moved here and I’ve never been to a city this spectacular before,” I nodded, a blush creeping up my neck. Was it that obvious that I’m not from here? I’d need to add acting lessons to my strings scholarship, my sub-conscious mentally joked.

    His eyebrow went up about an inch, his hands going into his black jeans pockets. I looked him over again, he was about a foot taller than her, and he liked The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus from the looks of his shirt. “Let me guess, you’re here for college?” he asked, guiding her towards a coffee shop nearby. “Let me buy you a coffee, you need it from the look on your face,” he glanced sideways at me, a smile gracing his features.

    I nodded again, “The Arts Institute about two blocks from here. I’m on scholarship for my talent with a Viola,” I followed him inside, passing him as he held the glass door open for me, the small bell tinkling as I entered with him behind me. “And I can’t let you buy my coffee, you just saved me from being road kill, let me buy my own,” My hazel eyes glanced at his grey ones.

    “Alright, you can pay me back but I’ll order and you can find a table,” he looked down at me; he seemed to be contemplating me. I would be too, I had almost gotten killed. “Sound good?”

    I nodded quickly, “I wouldn’t mind having a mocha, no whipped cream.” I told him, moving quickly towards a free two-seater table.

    He came over not three minutes later with the coffee. I fished out five dollars and pushed it towards him silently as he sat. The atmosphere of the little coffee shop was interesting. It wasn’t one of those chains, it was a normal coffee shop owned probably by a local family. One thing was for sure though; they really beat Starbucks for the best mocha.

    “You mentioned you played the viola and you’re on a scholarship, correct?” he asked, looking up from his coffee. His eyes followed my movements as I took a careful sip of the hot beverage.

    “Yes, I’ve been playing since I was nine. They offered me the scholarship on talent and saying ‘I was promising,” I explained to him. I had just met this man, didn’t know how old he was or even his name, and I was already explaining to him my life. Two is Better Than One was playing in the background.

    “I play the piano; in fact, I am going to the Arts Institute as well.” He looked at me and I felt my stomach flutter. Damn, I had butterflies. “Though, I’ve lived in the city all my life.”

    I stood, shrugging out of my heavy black faux fur coat and let it rest over the nearby chair. I smoothed the skirt of my black dress. I’d gone out and bought it specifically for tonight. The halter gave me enough support but it also had one of the most appealing waist lines I had seen. The beading was just right and dipped from the waist down the skirt in upside down arches, leaving about a two inch clearance from the hem of it. The bad part of the dress happened to be that it barely went to halfway on my thigh and Rebecca hadn’t let me wear leggings saying it was a “fashion no-no,”

    I tugged gently at my cherry viola, holding it gently in my hand and pulled the bow from the case as well. I had always been told to never touch the actual string part of the bow because the oils in my hand would ruin the horse hair the strings were made of.

    I held each piece of the instrument carefully being as gentle as if it were a newborn baby. I crossed the room, my black Lela Rose flats made no noise as I walked. I had gotten these shoes on whim a few months back. I was a sucker for anything that was flat and had a simple bow.

    I stared down at the city, smiling as I started to play the starting cords of Dimitri’s Brahms Viola Sonata. I enjoyed the viola more than the violin because of its middle tone. It’s a perfect fifth under the violin but still above the cello. The viola is also used for more harmonies and is mellower and has a richer tone than the violin. It was the perfect fit for me the first time I tried it.
    I stayed like that for about an hour, the grandfather clock behind me chiming seven o’clock just as I finished the final notes of Alledemande and courate in D major.

    My eyes almost popped out of my head when I heard the seventh chime. I gasped and stumbled towards the case. Leon was going to be upset if I was late. Though, he would understand. We both always got caught up in our music. As I bent, I mentally noted I had been lost in the music for close to two hours. At least I wasn’t going to be late like I was last time.
    I stored the viola quickly, clicking the safety locks and zipping it in record time. I straightened, slipping my coat on as I exited the small area. I jogged down two flights of stairs and pushed my way past the revolving door. The restaurant was only a block away…

    Walking quickly, I was careful to avoid the ice and snow that accumulated while I had been practicing. I would lose my final year of scholarship if I didn’t practice. Hurrying along, I tried not to let my coat open too much. I didn’t like people staring at me, even if it was of the male variety. My thick chestnut hair was pulled up into an elegant design; a few strands on either side framed my face.

    I didn’t have time to stop by my apartment because that was two blocks in the opposite direction that I needed to go and Leon would just have to wait if I had done that. I regretted it now, though, waiting for him outside of the restaurant. I was first this time; I mentally congratulated myself as I leaned against the hard, brick wall underneath the black overhanging canopy that stated the restaurant’s name.

    Glancing around, I peered down at my delicate silver wrist watch. Seven fifteen and still no sign of him, I was starting to worry, he was always five minutes early and it had been fifteen. As I watched people walk by, they were holding brightly colored packages with ribbons and other things as it began to snow again my sub-conscious reared her ugly head, giving me the worst possibilities. What if he was hit by a car? What if he got shot? I tried to calm myself as I wrapped the coat around myself. He’d be okay, I thought, He just got wrapped up in his music is all.

    Another five minutes passed and he still wasn’t there. I kept glancing at my watch, knowing if I left he would appear right as I went out of sight. I bit my bottom lip, slipping my hands into my pockets. Where was he? Why hasn’t he called? Were only a few of the million questions buzzing in my mind.

    As if on cue he strode around the corner, hands in pockets. He was dressed formally. A black jacket over what I assumed was a long sleeved dress shirt with a black tie that hung to about his navel. He grinned down at me, his hair the same as it had always been. Black, long and messy. I stared up into his brilliant grey eyes, already forgiving him before he had even asked.
    “I’m sorry I was late, Laurina, but I had to stop and buy some things to fix my viola.” He spoke softly to me, leaning down as he brushed his soft lips against mine apologetically.

    “You’re forgiven,” I murmur to him, giggling as I moved forward to hug him close to me but instead slipping on a patch of ice and falling into him.

    Leon caught me in his arms, straightening me as he chuckled to himself, taking my viola from me, slipping the shoulder strap on his shoulder. I hug him close, “Let me know next time you’re going to be late, I was worried something had happened,” I told him, smiling up at his beautiful face.

    “I’m sorry love, I didn’t mean to be late or worry you,” he apologized, taking my hand and leading e into the restaurant. It smelled heavenly inside. I looked around in awe as he spoke to the hostess, confirming the reservation had been held.

    He gently tugged at my hand, pulling me along as I followed obediently. This place had to be as big as the entire city but condensed into one small building. We were seated at a small table, the elegant lace cloth was draped over the table and one large white candle was burn with several smaller votives crowding around its base.

    Leon helped me out of my black coat. My faces flushed as he took me in and took a sharp intake of breathe.

    “Luarina, you look stunning tonight,” he murmured and helped me into my chair. I watched him as he looked around once, the only people watching him was myself and possibly one of the hostesses.

    He sat the viola beside the table as he bent down on one knee, reaching into the coat pocket of his fancy jacket. “Luarina, I’ve known you for four, almost five years now. I cannot imagine my life without you. Your beauty is breathtaking and your flaws brought us together,” he spoke only to me, my hands flew to my mouth as he continued, “Luarina, will you marry me? I’ve loved you since I first set my eyes on you that day I saved you. Will you make me the happiest man in the world?” My eyes brimmed with happy tears as I swiped at them with the back of my hand.

    We had gained the entire restaurants attention by now. I could only murmur one thing to him now and that was the only word that could express how I felt at this moment in my life. “Yes, oh my god, yes Leon! I’ll marry you,” I murmured to him, my arms going round his neck in a death like grip.

    He laughed as he hugged back, kissing my temple as he pushed me back just long enough to slip the silver band on my ring finger. It was a stunning ring. It had two small diamonds next to each other, about a centimeter apart. They were held in place by silver and the band wrapped around but never fully connected.

    I leaned down, placing my lips on his as I kissed him, the first kiss of a new life, a life of love and happiness.