Vanstein Copyright - Chapter 16
Chapter 16 – If We Played the Piano Together
“A rival is on the scene!?”
“Which do you like better, blonde or silver hair?”
“I’m devoted to Angela!”
As the audience boosted her with cheers, the silver-haired girl pushed Angela out of the way and settled into the piano seat. While she had pulled this much off in the heat of the moment, she still had to make sure her identity wouldn’t be discovered.
No worries, there are loads of girls out there who can play the piano. But I have to refrain from playing any pieces that are excessively complex.
“Um, are you sure you’re doing this?”
As if concerned about the girl who had not started to play readily, Angela called out to her from behind. The silver-haired girl ignored her and commenced her performance.
The piece was Chopin’s venerable Nocturnes, Op. 9. The beauty of the melody was so striking that even sent goosebumps down a person’s spine.
Both Angela and Adonis immediately recognized the expressiveness and proficiency of her execution, and their eyes were riveted to the stage.
However… for the regular old guys at “Crazy Louis”, the music selection was not well received.
For their spirits that had just been heated up by jazz music, a piece of orthodox classical music was like a cup of fine tea served after a glass of whiskey. Their feeling of disappointment was undisputable.
They even threw in some yells like, “Raise the tempo,” “I can’t get in the mood,” and “Bring me more booze!”.
For the silver-haired girl, this was her first experience to have her own performance subjected to disapproval.
As the audience’s boos grew progressively louder, her heart was inundated with frustration that her performance was not being appreciated, exacerbating the depths of her red eyes to moisten.
At that moment, Angela suddenly took a seat right next to the girl.
Jazz-like ad libitum was added to the nocturne’s music.
While the silver-haired girl maintained the steady cadence, Angela’s fast-beat ad-libs transformed the nocturne into a seasoned, jazzy tune.
As soon as the Four Hands began to perform a series of notes with Angela’s addition, the old guys drastically shifted their attitude and their cheers began to erupt.
“What… is this?”
Completely deprived of her initiative and no longer able to play anything but a simple melody, the silver-haired girl cast a bewildered look at the blonde girl beside her.
While Angela returned with a loving smile and a wink, more and more jazz arrangements were being produced in rapid succession.
The silver-haired girl had no experience with jazz piano. Nevertheless, by watching the movements of Angela’s fingers, she could somehow figure out the technique.
The chords that should be in the song were changed to other chords, bringing the piece together within a level of incongruity that did not collapse.
When she tested it out and attempted to reproduce the chord transformations that Angela had demonstrated, she was able to recreate the same chords, which turned out to be flawlessly executed.
Although she didn’t know which chord could be changed, if she could simply reproduce the chord transformation she observed before her eyes, she could do it.
With the silver-haired girl’s ad-libs, which she gradually became accustomed to, Chopin’s Nocturne already took on a different tune. Even the spectators were engrossed in the rhythm with their bodies.
Having only known classical music, the girl, feeling like a brand-new student learning a different musical instrument, wholeheartedly memorized the chord transformations and struck the keys with a sense of freshness.
By the end of the performance, the piano bar was brimming with applause and whistles as they concluded their performance with a jazzy touch.
The silver-haired girl stood up as prompted and responded to the cheers with a small wave of her hand, followed by an impassioned hug from Angela.
“Unbelievable! You copied my chords as they were and reharmonized them with chord rearrangements!? How in the world did you pull that off on the spur of the moment!”
Before Angela’s exhilarated blue eyes, the silver-haired girl let her voice trail off in embarrassment.
“I was simply imitating you… hey, how did you come up with that one?”
With a resounding noise, the heavy iron door was opened vigorously.
The one who entered was two large men, both about six and a half feet tall.
One was dressed in an orange suit and the other in a white suit. Despite having tough faces, the two men wore expressions of relief when they spotted the silver-haired girl.
When a fearless voice made its way to the piano stage, the silver-haired girl brought her hand to her forehead and turned over while being embraced by a startled Angela. It had completely slipped her mind that she was being chased.
“I’ve got to go. Angela, even though it was only for a short time, it was a lot of fun.”
After addressing Angela, who remained clinging to her, not certain whether she was frightened, astonished, or protective, she gently disengaged her body.
Then, with slow steps, she stepped off the stage and approached the large men.
“Come again anytime! Since we play the piano together, we’re friends now!”
The girl glanced at the counter bar while mulling over Angela’s words on her back. Adonis was nowhere to be found there.
Just as she was about to draw closer to the two large men, she was abruptly caught by a hand behind her back, causing her to turn around.
“… Are you okay? Is it fine to leave with those guys like this?”
From a distance, Adonis whispered in her ear, his short blonde hair almost brushing hers.
The two large men were about to hurry over to her, but she restrained them with her other hand, and the silver-haired girl whispered back.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back. At that time… will you welcome me as a friend?”
“… Of course, you are always welcome.”
Smiling, the silver-haired girl turned on her heel and was leaving with the large men.
“Excuse me! What’s your name!?”
Adonis’ question should have clearly reached her, but the silver-haired girl remained silent.
Instead, the two large men glared at Adonis in a way that made him shudder.
At the girl’s brief words, the two large men made no further move and headed out the door with her.
“Looks like some young lady has snuck in for some fun. Even her name can’t be mentioned…”
As Angela came up to Adonis, her gaze fell on the firmly closed iron door while she muttered.
“It is not necessarily so. But since she said she would be back, maybe she will share her name with us then?”
“That girl was very skillful. If she entered the London competition, I don’t think I could win.”
“Oh. It was a very atmospheric performance with great charisma. I would have liked to hear other pieces.”
While chatting and laughing, Adonis and Angela went back to their places.
On the wall, there was a poster for the London Piano Competition.
Adonis and Angela were oblivious that the pianist in the huge black-and-white photo had the same amber eyes as the girl.
＊ ＊ ＊
When she left “Crazy Louis,” a large four-horse carriage was awaiting her.
The silver-haired girl climbed into the carriage with a sense of resignation as she gazed regretfully at the sign of “Crazy Louis,” which was swiftly disappearing into the distance.
“Please don’t go anywhere on your own again, miss. What if you were to be found out and abducted?”
“… Anywhere, together…”
The large man in the orange suit was a chatterbox, while the large man in the white suit was a man of few words.
“That is exactly why! I hate it whenever the two of you accompany me and I have to be on the alert everywhere! With both of you in those ridiculously oversized figures and flashy suits, how can I even do any proper shopping in a store?”
“Miss, if you play the piano in a bar like that, everyone will recognize your identity in a flash.”
“Intimidating that number of people… is hard to do…”
“It’s fine since I only play songs that ordinary people can play. To begin with, if I maintain my natural hair, no matter how much I play the piano, no one will have a clue.”
She ran her fingers through her silver hair, which was in an outward bob cut.
“That man didn’t notice either, did he? The last thing he spoke to you…”
“Yeah. If he had found out I am Mabel Faze, then…”
The girl swallowed her words and bit her nails. I’m positive he wouldn’t praise… Angela so much.
“Forget about that, isn’t there a piano bar that we operate?”
“Yeah, well, I doubt there’s anything wholesome about it. If it’s a gambling den or an illegal club, there might be some places that are equipped with a piano.”
Mabel let out a broad sigh as if to convey to both of them specifically.
“I am not into that sort of thing.”
“… If you want to play the piano, the mansion…”
“Like I said, I hate it… about the gangs.”
In a mumpish tone, Mabel directed her attention to the scenery streaming past the window.
Only the streetlights were vaguely illuminated, and the fog was so dense that there was no way to determine which road they were currently on. Therefore, she kept repeating it over and over in her mind.
Paddington Street’s “Crazy Louis”.
How shall I make my way to that bar next time?
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