Ash had been ready to go since they first sat down. He was willing to admit that he had been the tiniest bit curious, but after seeing that it was just a music rehearsal? No thanks. They had only been sitting for a couple minutes, but it already felt like ages to Ash. How could the others be so intrigued? Its only a music rehearsal. It wasn even a concert. In fact, he wasn even entirely sure why they all came in.

Those on the stage were taking their time, warming up, chatting with others, and generally hanging out more than practicing. Were they all early, or was this the extent of their ”practice ”? It was simply further proof that there was no real ”pull ” from rehearsal. Why waste time sitting around socializing when there was so much else to be done?

There was nothing that made him want to be part of this, nothing at all. Ash decided that he would have to give Grandmother an eye roll as proof. Just because people liked music didn mean that everyone had to want to be part of it, no matter what the batty old loon claimed.

Then, something strange happened. A sound washed over everyone: a single instrument filling the entire place. Ash snapped his gaze down from the intricately painted ceiling to face the stage, where the onyx-haired upstart was playing.

His eyes were closed as if there was nothing else around, as if there were no responsibilities or problems in the world, or at least, his world. Ash thought that he looked peaceful, which he found odd. How could playing a few notes appear to erase all of his worries and concerns? How could anyone ever forget about all their responsibilities with an instrument? To be able to not be plagued with duties and obligations?

When his rival reached the climax of the scale, he followed the notes back down as low as he could apparently go, not bothering with stopping after returning to his original note. Opening his eyes and removing the instrument from his mouth, he looked around, that peaceful look melting into one of resignation. But resignation of what, Ash didn know, though he found himself starting to grow curiouser and curiouser. That could be dangerous. Curiosity could lead to distractions. Their current location was evidence enough of that. And he did not need anymore distractions in his life. Or at least, not ones he didn willingly choose on his own.

Finally, a man whom Ash suspected to be the director, stood up and walked onto the mini podium with the fancy stand. He started to bang a thin white stick he held in his hand against the stand littered with papers in front of him. How did he know what he was supposed to be looking at with that mess? Everyones attention was immediately drawn to him, the banging resonating in the silent theater.

”Thank you, Kai, for quieting everyone so that we can begin, ” he nodded at the young man with a wry smile and chuckles sounded as Kai rolled his eyes. That was more emotion than Ash had seen from the young man, though he had to admit that their interactions were few and far between. Interestingly enough, his raven-haired peer didn look particularly thrilled to have been singled out. The chuckles quickly faded away as the director called for attention so he could begin their practice.

Despite Ashs hopes of leaving once the novelty of the newbies hidden hobby had been satisfied and made clear, his companions didn even bother to readjust in their seats. He was starting to think that would be here all night, or worse yet, not go to the club at all.

He leaned over to one of the others, the blonde that Clyde had been eyeing most of the evening. She was now watching Kai rather, and disturbingly, hungrily. ”Are we not going to the club? ”

”Sh, ” she harshly spat in his face, not even bothering to look at him. He looked at her in astonishment, taken aback. No one, not even his older sister, had ever shushed him before, and certainly no one had ever done so because of a rehearsal of all things. It wasn even a performance!

He sat back into the seat, his mood now shifted to something more than just irritation. He leaned back, glaring at the performers on stage, or more specifically, at the new, mysterious kid called Kai. His glare indicated that he thought it was their, or rather, his fault he wasn getting drunk right now. And honestly? It kind of was, though he could have been only mildly annoyed if little Ms. Pussy hadn shushed him.

Two hours later, they stood, the director having claimed that practice was now over. Ashs irritation had faded from boredom, but now it was rising again. The others simply stood by their seats, as if tethered to the blasted things. Ash was really starting to loose patience.

Eventually, he realized why they were simply standing there as they began to attempt to mingle with the musicians leaving the platform, though most streamed out of the back room where the majority had apparently left the cases for their instruments.

They finally found themselves waiting for the last person, who was talking to the director: Kai. This was not how the night was supposed to have gone. He should be poorly flirting with some other drunk stranger right now, if not doing something more, going somewhere else. He should not be sober and surrounded by peers.

”You, my bestie, are amazing! ” Clyde dropped a hand onto Kais shoulder as he came down the stairs off of the stage. Clyde and the others started talking about how amazing he was, though the onyx-haired classmate didn really acknowledge any of it. They instead herded him out of the theatre and towards Clydes truck. Now what?

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