The weeks passed by quickly. I managed to not stay up very late most nights, and luckily the nights when I was up late, nothing weird happened. The house changing at midnight and the weird key and the freak at the dance club all seemed to fade further and further into a dream. They were all just weird coincidences, brought on by the move and quite frankly, I should have expected something weird to happen at the goth club. Otherwise, what’s the point? Thankfully Stefan was there to help me out.
I hardly ever saw any owls around the house. Sometimes in the early morning, there were a few at the edge of the woods, but they didn’t bother me at all. Chopin, the one from my dreams, had a pretty distinctive feather pattern, and I didn’t see it again. There are other great horned and barn owls nearby, of course, but not that one. It was another detail that made me certain that everything that had happened before was just a dream– dreams— brought on by my overactive imagination.
Things were settling down at this new house I had. I was getting used to living here, and actually really enjoying it. Work was going well, and I was getting my writing assignments done on time, and my editor seemed to like what I was doing. She knew I’d moved up to the mountain, and she seemed to think it had done a lot of good for my writing.
Silverthread Manor was definitely less distracting than the apartment complex had been. It was easier to make my own schedule when I didn’t have noise outside to distract me. I also didn’t have anyone downstairs from me to worry about, or anyone upstairs. The thing about having upstairs neighbors is they can be noisy walking around above you. And with downstairs neighbors, you have to make sure you’re not too loud for them. During the day, it’s expected that people are up and walking around and stuff, but if I’m staying up late, I have to focus extra hard on being quiet. Living on my own, I can be up late or sleep in if it suits me, and I won’t have anyone waking me up, or upset that I was still up.
The Friday came when I again cleaned up and secured the house before heading out onto the highway. I had my suitcase packed with my swimsuit because I’d heard there was an indoor pool at the hotel, a few changes of clothes, warm pajamas, and formal dress for the night of the symphony. I don’t usually do this, but I’d acquired a new dress for that evening. I’d seen something beautiful in one of the shops on Main Street, and I was glad to actually have a reason to purchase it. It was now the most formal thing I owned. As much as Stefan like seeing me in the black and green dress I’d worn to Club Nightshade, it wasn’t quite fitting for Symphony Hall.
The drive to Seattle wasn’t too bad, though it was pretty rainy. My phone dinged now and then with messages, but I didn’t dare answer them while I was driving. I stopped for snacks part-way there, and took that opportunity to check my messages and reply. Stefan was riding along with Killian and Larsa, since there was no point in taking two separate vehicles, and they wanted to get lunch together once we got to Seattle; good thing I hadn’t gotten a full lunch on my own yet. It would be a little too early to check into the hotel when we got there, but they had to be there early for a meeting with the symphony manager.
I pulled into the parking lot near Symphony Hall that Stefan had told me about earlier. It was a little bit busy with so many other musicians arriving, but I was able to find Killian’s car, with Stefan standing outside of it, leaning on the car. He uncrossed his arms as soon as he saw my car, I just started waving excitedly. They’ve managed to save a space for me next to theirs, which wasn’t too difficult since they hadn’t parked too close to the entrance. He hurried over to my door as soon as I turned off the engine, and swept me into his arms as soon as I stepped out.
“Leila!” he cheered, surprising me by spinning me around in a circle as he clung to me. “Leila, Leila, you’re here!”
“Yes,” I laughed. “Yes, I’m here. You’re certainly excited.”
“Thank Odin you made it,” he said as he set me down and grasped my shoulders. “Those two have hardly been letting each other breathe since we left Portland this morning.”
He pointed a thumb over his shoulder, and I peeked into the backseat of the car, we’re Killian and Larsa were very much preoccupied with one another.
I giggled and laughed, then looked back up at Stefan. “I’m glad they’re happy,” I said.
“I am too,” he agreed, “but for some reason they just can’t get enough of each other. Did you bring a crowbar?”
Another laugh, then I gave him a knowing look. “I think I might know what will do the trick.” I knocked on the car window and waved at them with a big grin once they finally looked up.
Killian rolled down the window. “Hey there, Leila.”
“Good to see you two again,” I told them. “So, I hear you have a meeting to get to, Killian.”
Killian gave me a slightly sheepish look. “Yeah, I guess I should get going. But…” He glanced over at Larsa. “But it’s so cold outside,” he whined. “Larsa here was keeping me warm.”
I shook my head a little. “Excuses, excuses. Larsa, how about I drag you off to the museum with me for a little while? Their meeting will be done before you know it. I think Killian has a warm coat that will do just fine.”
Larsa’s expression brightened and he gave me a wide grin. “A museum? Is it nearby?”
“Across the street,” I told him.
Larsa sat up quickly. “Yeah, that sounds great!” He looked down at Killian.
“Don’t worry about a thing,” Killian assured him. “I’ll be fine. You two go to the museum, and once our meeting is done, we’ll meet you there. Then we can get lunch, and after that it should be just about time for the hotel to start letting people check in.”
Larsa was out of the car in less than a minute. He ran around to my side and grinned up at me. “I’ve been wanting to go to the Seattle Museum!”
“I know,” I laughed as I pulled him into my arms. “Good to see you again.”
“You too, Leila.”
Within a few minutes, Stephen and Killian were ready to head inside Symphony Hall, and we exchanged hugs and bid farewell for now. I grabbed my purse and jacket from my car, locked up, and started walking with Larsa down to the crosswalk.
“You two are getting pretty serious, huh?” I said as we walked.
“Yeah,” he admitted with a blush. “He’s so nice!”
“He sure is,” I agreed. “Growing up with him and Stefan around was a real godsend. What about classes? Are those going well?”
Larsa nodded. “Thanks to Killian; he always helps me study.”
That made my heart even happier. “You’ll be ready to graduate before you know it.”
We went on talking as the light changed and we crossed the street. I was determined to help him enjoy the museum and explore as much of it as we had time for, and to get to know him much, much more.
Haydn has some beautiful minuets: