The Prelude (A Musical Interlude Novel) - By Kasonndra Leigh


Lafayette, Louisiana

If I draw this guy’s face wrong one more time, I swear I’m just going to throw the damn pad out the window.

The eyes sit too close together, the chin looks too big, and the nose is crooked. The truth is I’m finding it hard to concentrate on any of my sketches. Art class has been particularly trying for me today. I keep getting that creepy feeling I always get just before my sister, Jada, and her psycho senior friends trick me into watching one of those exorcism movies that I hate so much.

My thoughts drifts back to the main thing weighing on my mind, the audition. I keep checking my cell phone, hoping that Jada will call again and let me know how everything went.

I stuff the phone back in my handbag and try to concentrate on my drawing. “I know what I’ll do,” I say to myself. “I’ll tell my parents about my decision to pursue a singing career on Sunday night after the Super Bowl ends.”

I know they won’t be happy. But Dad is always easier to approach after a good old-fashioned football game. Although my father was born in Nottingham, he has officially adopted the New Orleans Saints as his official team. It doesn’t matter to him that we live in Lafayette.

Sam, the boy I’m dating, sits at a table with the rest of the baseball players. They’re teasing him for some reason, and he keeps glancing across the room at me. His spiky hair is a soothing brown color and his eyes are a strange blue, a clear hue that plows right through me each time I glance into them. I truly enjoy listening to his English accent. It’s so much like my dad’s. After all these years living in the States, he never once lost the rhythm of his native tongue.

Sam’s accent is devilishly sexy and perfect on him. I hate to admit this, but it’s true. I’m as girly as they come. A British accent drives me nuts. The more I think about it, the more I realize my observations about myself rings with a hardcore truth. Jada doesn’t care for accents as much as I do.

My big sister is a mistress of the violin, the junior protégé who’s about to get accepted into a musical program at Julliard. I told her she’ll change her mind about her tastes in boys after she becomes rich and famous.

And me, I’m supposed to be heading off to design school in New York sometime after my senior year. At least, that’s my current plan of action. I’m sixteen-years-old. I have one more year of school left before I run out of time for making a decision. Jada and I might be on different career paths, but at least we’ll be together in New York.

My school’s chorus teacher keeps asking me to sing the lead in our upcoming production of Fame. He says he enjoys listening to my bird-girl voice. I don’t get it. In my opinion, birds sound squeaky, not soothing. So when somebody compares my singing voice to one it doesn’t make me feel all that great. All of this goes through my mind at once. These thoughts whirl inside my head, and only serve to heighten my anxiety about what Jada’s doing right now.

I glance around the room, checking out my classmates. A few of them are watching me for some reason. The teacher steps back into the room, her gaze focused on me. Did she ask me a question without me hearing it? My neck prickles with heat. It’s embarrassing to get caught off guard this way. But that isn’t why the teacher stares at me.

I have been so caught up in my worries that I didn’t see my mom standing outside the doorway. That’s weird. She never goes anywhere without my dad at this time of the day. And she never comes by the school for any reason.

All eyes focus on me. They’re waiting to see what kind of trouble I’ve caused. I’m almost sure of it. Even Sam stares across the room at me. I swallow and ignore my heartbeat thudding in my ears. This scene with Mom standing outside the door to my art class just doesn’t feel right.

Oohs and ahhs come from the students around me. “Oh shut up,” I mouth as I walk by the last table of kids, the baseball players sitting closest to the entrance.

The closer I get to the door, the harder it is for