Title: The Gift of Music
“The Gift of Music” was always a mixed blessing for
Daniel Renard. Every year, the young composer, along with every other upper
echelon musician, gathered in New York City to raise money for musical charity
to the local schools. The concert had a love/hate relationship with the composer
because he loved to extend the love of music to every child he could. However,
the downside to that was a large three-hour benefit concert that had to be
planned, practiced, and performed in New York’s large Metropolitan Hall.
Daniel found himself musing these things for the hundredth time as he sat
in the thirteenth row from the stage, listening to various musicians complain
about acoustics or sound quality. He hadn’t stayed to listen to the bickering
of over-rated musicians, though. He had stayed to listen to a certain violinist
of whom he had been seeing a lot of lately: Joshu Laurent. He watched as the
young musician stepped out onto the stage to tune his violin before he began to
play. Daniel leaned forward his chair and propped his chin upon his palms,
intent on listening to the concerto he had written for his biggest fan and
Joshu looked up from his violin into the crowd of empty
seats and smiled as he spotted Daniel’s lone figure. Daniel smiled and watched
as his young gentleman friend blushed slightly. He could not comprehend
Joshu’s adoration of him not only as a composer, but also as a vampire. It
puzzled him to sit there in the thirteenth row and watch as Joshu picked up his
bow to not only play a piece that he admired, but a piece that he adored from
the many corners of his heart. It took Daniel a moment to realize that his beau
had begun the piece. He laced his fingers in silent concentration, but it was
only to his consternation that he found he could not focus on the merits of the
piece. He found himself concentrating, instead, on the gentle glides that the
violinist’s arm pushed and pulled the bow across the slippery strings of the
violin. His elbow lead Daniel’s mind’s-eye up his arm and to the
violinist’s soft, peaceful face. Daniel knew that the young violinist often
lost himself in pieces, but this time he wondered what thoughts ran across the
young man’s mind as his own eyes stopped at Joshu’s closed ones. Daniel
cocked his head to the side, and took in a deep sigh. Was the young musician
focusing on the notes and the merit of the piece, or was there something more
behind those closed eyes? The composer wondered if, perhaps, the man was
thinking about him. But what about him, exactly, was Joshu thinking? Daniel
shook his head, wondering if he merely looked too deeply into the situation.
Joshu then opened his eyes momentarily, looking down at the violin and its
peaceful movements. Daniel could swear he saw something there, but he could not
quite put his finger on it.
“Dammit…” He thought to himself, his frustration at
not being able to read into the music about to boil over. What was that?! What
was in his mind? There was a brief temptation to read Joshu’s aura, but then,
that would be cheating, wouldn’t it? Is this how his own audience felt as they
heard his own fingers dance across the ivories? The melodic sorrow wasted on
Sorrow. Was that what he heard in his lover’s song?
Daniel leaned in to listen closer. He had to know. If he did not discover what
was behind that slow, haunting melody, he felt he would die for a second time.
Maybe it was sorrow…with a bit of happiness? Daniel’s mind raced. Why was it
so important he knew? Was the young musician toying with the frayed ends of his
dangling nerves? Happiness and sorrow could not exist in the same moment…in
one daring note after the next. He must be hearing it incorrectly. He leaned in
again, watching his beau with such intensity that if he dared look any closer,
he feared burning a hole straight through him. He listened intently, but only
heard the same two emotions spring from the piece. He grabbed his fingers in his
hair, trying in some way to make sense of it in some way. He quickly stopped and
looked to see if anyone had seen him, and thankfully no one had, especially not
the young musician upon the stage. Daniel fell back into the chair and closed his eyes, rubbing
his temples in an effort to clear his mind. Note after note…pounding in his
head and in his heart.
His eyes suddenly burst open, letting the light into his
wracked brain. “Bittersweet.” He said to himself in a mutter. Bittersweet.
He acknowledged that thought clearly. It was not the notes he heard either, he
realized, but it truly was the man behind him. Daniel, once again, leaned
forward in his chair, this time trying to see through the man, but in the man,
himself. What was Joshu Laurent
thinking, and why did it remind him so much of himself?
The bow continued to slide across the strings of the
violin. Daniel rubbed one of his hands across his jaw thoughtfully, careful not
to betray the fangs that were hidden beneath his lips. Was this…a
message…about them? Was Joshu relaying a message about their bittersweet
relationship? Daniel’s heart sang and sank at the same instant. He…he was
playing about him, and as much as Daniel loved to hear that sweet melodic
happiness ring throughout the auditorium, his heart sank at the sadness that
seemed to intermittently rear itself within the unspoken notes. Was it just as
he had feared? Was he pulling Joshu into a world that he was never meant to
reside in? Would it all end as it had with himself, years ago?
Daniel shook his head, and had to restrain himself for fear of blood tears streaking down his pale face. After hearing Joshu’s testament, in his own “words”, would he be able to deal with the consequences? Would he be able to break Joshu’s heart, and tell him, for his own safety, that he would have to leave? Break his own heart, for that matter…. Daniel wrestled within himself for a moment, pondering these things with such intensity that his own thoughts drowned out the music once again. Throughout the red haze of self-loathing and pity, he found his eyes locked on the young man once more. He had finished playing the concerto and was looking up at Daniel for his approval. Daniel was quiet for a moment, causing the man on stage to cock his head. He could see Joshu’s lips mouthing his name, and he froze, realizing he was too selfish to give up this mortal. And then, Daniel Renard smiled as he realized that the song’s true meaning was: he realized that Joshu was too selfish to give him up either.