Norwegian: Huset til den syvende menuetten
Larsa sat next to me and snacked on a granola bar as we chatted and watched the fountain. When the bells rang to signify that the intermission was ending, we headed back inside together. Evander sat beside me again, not saying another word until after the finale. The orchestra put everything they has into performing “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” and I was really proud of how well they did.
“A very good evening to you milady, young sir,” Evander said with a slight bow. “My thanks to you for your friendliness towards a stranger.”
“Good night,” I told him.
I was turning to go, but Larsa lingered. “Oh, are you going to the musicians’ banquet?”
“Ah,” he replied, looking between me and Larsa. “I am afraid my friend is needed elsewhere, and as the banquet is not a required event, we must be off.”
“That’s too bad,” Larsa said.
Evander smiled to him. “It’s quite all right, young sir. I do hope the two of your enjoy yourselves and the company of your friends, and I wish you well in all future endeavors.”
“Okay,” Larsa replied. “Stay safe out there!”
“Take care,” I added. “I hear there are all sorts of goblins in the night.”
“Ah, a trifling few, I am sure They are not likely to give you the least bit of trouble,” Evander said with a playful grin. “I bid you both a very fond farewell.”
I watched him go, taking my time before leaving the aisle with Larsa. I hooked my arm with his and stayed close to him.
“Did you like the performance?” I asked him. I didn’t know what else to say, so I defaulted to small talk.
“It was fantastic!” Larsa enthused. “I’ve heard many of those songs on the radio or CDs or online; hearing them live really… well, if really brings them to life!”
“That’s good to hear.” Seeing him happy was brightening my mood, especially with the reminders of Tierney Ríocht gone. I could keep making small talk until we met up with Stefan and Killian. “You haven’t been to a full symphony like that before, have you?”
He shook his head. “Usually we just play music together, or listen or dance, in the village square. I went to a couple plays and concerts, but they were pretty small. That’s why I was excited to go to the university and learn more about the world.”
“And you came all the way here!” I added. We rounded a corner and began heading up a flight of stairs.
“That’s one of the best parts,” he said. He looked truly happy about it. “My friends at Umeå University took me to a Dungen concert, and that was really fun.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of them.”
We paused after reaching the top to look out over the balcony.
“I would be surprised if you hadn’t,” he said. “Stefan is pretty obsessed with them.”
“Obsessed, huh?” I teased. I knew he liked Dungen, but not as much as certain other bands that had more of what he would call a Viking feel to them. “So, what have you been seen in Portland that kept you from seeing the symphony?”
“Um… I saw a band called Alien Boy.”
“Did you?” I laughed a little at the thought of that. Alien Boy had a funky sort of sound. “Well, if you can get Killian to take you to the ballet, you might just come out of college well-rounded.”
He gave me an excited grin. “I told him we should see ‘Firebird’ when it’s in town.”
“That sounds like a really good one,” I said. “I’ve been to a few ballets in my life, but not that one.”
“You should come, too!” he declared. “You and Stefan.”
“I don’t think anyone could drag Stefan to a ballet,” I told him. “Even for our humanities class, when we had to attend two out of four or five options, he would not choose ballet.”
“He’ll go with you if you ask him to,” Larsa insisted.
“You think so, huh?”
“Of course,” he said. “Stefan would do it if it made you happy, or if it was important to you.”
I gave him a sort of half-smile. “That’s a sweet thought, Larsa. I think I’ll save that card for something a little more important than ballet.”
“Card?” he asked, looking a little confused.
I tried to explain the reference as best I could, but I think I was doing a really messy job of it, because he only looked worse off by the time I gave up.
“Are you trying to explain another idiom to him?” a voice behind me asked.
I turned around to see Stefan’s face smiling at me. “You found us!” I said, and gave him a long, tight hug.
“You did a great job, Stefan!” Larsa told him. “And so did– um, where is Killian?”
“He had to take a bathroom break,” Stefan said, “so I told him I’d come find you both. I’m glad you enjoyed the music.”
“It’s always good to see you on stage.”
We chatted for a while, walking along the promenade until the banquet halls were available. The company had booked the Norcliffe Founders Room for most of the musicians and their guests, while the conductor and several of the star players had tables in the Octave Nine Raisbeck Music Center. There wasn’t enough space in either room for everyone, so they’d gone with using both rooms for the banquet.
Fortunately, it didn’t take too long for seating to open up, and the ushers showed us to our table, where there was a floral centerpiece and fine linen napkins and polished silverware. I sat between Stefan and Killian– after getting my hug in, of course– and Larsa sat next to him. Wine was soon brought around, along with light hors d’oeuvres. I was already starting to tell that this meal would have many courses, each of them fancy and beautiful.
After I took a sip of wine and set the glass down, I felt a hand blanket my own under the table.
“I’m really glad you’re here,” Stefan told me again.
I smiled back at him. “So am I. This banquet is beautiful. Do they always treat you like this?”
“Not always,” he replied with a shrug, “but Killian would know more than I would about the company. Leila, I wanted to add… if you ever have a special writing event– a book signing or– or I don’t know what else, but I’m always willing to be there for you. I hope you’ll let me know if there’s ever something I can attend.”
“That’s really sweet of you to say,” I told him. I didn’t have anything like that coming up, though. The only interesting thing that had happened with my writing recently was that someone from a place I’d never before knew existed knew about it, and apparently liked it enough that they wanted to talk to me more– and I wasn’t about to tell Stefan about Tierney Ríocht. Not even if he’d have believed every single word that came out of my mouth.
I chose a song with a little bit of a different feel for today; It’s a little darker and more mysterious.