Ch. 03 - The Illustrious Student Council PresidentA Chapter by Seratha
Strange. Who else would be here so early?
My footsteps echoed through the vacant hallways, only to be drowned out by the chorus of rapidly firing piano keys. The tune was familiar. I knew this piece well. Deciding to take a quick detour, I passed the staircase and headed for the music's source.
Whoever it was, they were quite talented. They were almost as good as me. Almost.
The notes grew louder and faster as I approached the music room. The increasing tempo sent shivers up my spine. A thrilling chill. Such a beautiful piece! Simple, yet elegant. Its climax took quite a bit of skill to play, but when done correctly, it was a sound like no other. And this pianist, whoever they were, was executing it masterfully. I had to meet them. This person, who would grace a mundane morning such as this with one of Beethoven's most wondrous Sonatas!
By the time I reached the music room's open door, I was grinning from ear to ear out of sheer excitement. I clasped the doorway, only daring to poke my head inside out of fear of interrupting the player.
And there she was. The early morning's rays cast over the room's only inhabitant, who was engrossed in the keys of the grand piano before her. The girl's auburn hair rolled off her shoulders, shimmering in the sunlight. Her brow slightly furrowed above hazel eyes, she was lightly biting her lower lip in concentration.
The piece was coming to an end, but I remained at the doorway, entranced by her deftly moving fingers. This girl looked familiar. Given the gold bands lining her uniform's cuffs and collar, she was a year under me.
Yes, that was her name. Hannah, something.
As if on cue, Hannah keyed off the last note of the piece and let out a drawn out sigh. Exhaustion, probably. I clapped politely, allowing myself to enter the classroom now that she was finished. She jumped at my entrance, nearly falling out of her seat. I guess she didn't expect anyone else to be in school this early. Granted, neither did I. After regaining her composure, she looked in my direction.
She almost fell from her seat again, sputtering, “M-Miss President! I'm sorry, I didn't-!”
I waved my hand dismissively and smiled, “No, no. I was just enjoying the music. You play quite well, Hannah.”
“Thank you, Miss President,” she said quickly, nodding her head in appreciation.
I leaned against the piano, taking a moment to admire its craftsmanship. A magnificent instrument to play the most magnificent of music. From this close, I could see Hannah was fidgeting, wringing her hands in her lap. Her rosy cheeks were rosier than usual, and she periodically stole furtive glances to me and the piano keys.
“There is a recital next week, right?”
She only nodded rapidly in response. I stepped closer to the piano bench. She only grew redder. I smiled; she was much more timid than she let on.
“Will you be playing this piece for the recital?”
She nodded again, faster this time, if that was possible. “But-!” she blurted out, catching her hands at her mouth. Her nerves must be getting the better of her. “But,” she started, more calmly, “I still need more practice...”
I hummed in acknowledgement, tucking my skirt against my thighs before sitting down next to her. As I took my impromptu seat at the piano bench, I felt Hannah stiffen up like a board. Glancing at her chest, I could see she was hardly allowing herself breathe, either.
“I could help you practice. I also play the piano.”
I set my slender fingers on the keys in mock-play fashion.
“Y-Yes, I know...” Hannah said sheepishly, before widening her eyes in horror. She shook her head in embarrassment, her dazzling locks sweeping across her face like brown tendrils. “I mean-!”
I assume she wasn't supposed to tell me that. I laughed. A soft, polite laugh with one hand covering my mouth.
She looked away, her ears beet red, but she still managed to say in a quiet voice, “That would be wonderful, Miss President.”
“How about today, after school?” I said, getting up from my seat. This had been a lovely distraction, but class would be starting soon and I still hadn't gotten any work done. “And please, call me Claire.”
Hannah gave me an expression that was both ecstatic and terrified, but nodded furiously all the same. I smiled at her enthusiasm and left for the Student Council Room, on the third floor.
* * *
“Hardly,” I said curtly, breaking my normally pleasant smile to give Ven a sour look.
I had just entered the Student Council Room, but apparently he had gotten there before me. He was seated at the corner of an enclosure of desks that formed a square in the center of the classroom. It was meant to purvey a sense of equality among the Council members, but I really should get myself a bigger desk. Along with a better chair. One that swivels. I am the President, after all.
“I saw you getting friendly with that underclassman downstairs,” he looked up from the rim of his glasses and the pile of papers he was marking, his red eyes gleaming knowingly.
I narrowed my own, “You were spying on me?”
“Call it reconnaissance,” he let out his signature boisterous laugh, one that would light up any room he was in. Even I had trouble maintaining my glare of disapproval. Here, though, it only rang through the tiny classroom and down the vacant, linoleum lined halls of the third floor. “Did you at least get her to join the Council?” he said, still grinning but once again focused on his work.
“It was a personal matter,” I said stiffly. I ignored his chuckled response.
I took my own seat at the enclosure and inspected the damage. The damage, in this case, was the ever-growing mountain of paperwork that was piled onto each of the desks. Bills, receipts, referrals, requests, posters, flyers, and forms of every type were stacked and scattered in disarray. It was irritating, to say the least. I forcibly suppressed the urge to begin organizing everything. Unfortunately, everything needed to be marked and approved first. I rubbed my temples in exasperation. Quelling my baser instincts also gave me a massive migraine.
“We really need a Secretary...”
Ven only nodded in reply. His hands moved tirelessly from one paper to the next, creating a growing pile of finance papers on his right. Still disorganized, but I didn't voice my annoyance. He stopped only to push his thin, oval glasses back to the bridge of his dark blue nose. Ven is a Kelion, hence his red eyes and cobalt colored skin. A mess of spiky blue, just a shade darker than his skin, hair fell just past his ears. He kept his jaw locked in a stern expression, but normally, he's the life of the party, so to speak. Loud, constantly joking, and always with that infectious grin of his. Still, when it came to work, he was all business, so I was glad when he decided to remain as Treasurer of the Student Council this year.
The fact that he is also the only person I can call my friend probably had something to do with it.
Still, it didn't change the fact that we are understaffed this year. Most of the Council graduated this past summer, leaving only a handful of us behind. Ven and I are the only ones able to put in the extra hours, and given our ranks, we are obligated to. Despite that, the work keeps growing. It will be even worse soon, with the school trip coming up. More members would certainly help, but it was just a matter of finding the right person for the job.
I marked off an approval for the Chess Club's new flyer as Ven abruptly rose from his seat. “Can I borrow your water card? I forgot mine at home.”
“Sure,” I said, getting up to reach my bag, only to see Ven was already elbow deep inside it. He rummaged around for a few moments before pulling out a light blue card. I gave him a look that said “Don't go through my things”, but he only grinned and waved himself off.
I looked up at the holoboard on the opposite wall. The digital clock blinked for 7:15. Students would be showing up soon, with homeroom right after. I pressed my pen against a request for more equipment from the basketball team. You would think that with all of the recent advancements in technology that we would be moving away from all this paper. The fact that my father continues to read the Times on newspaper instead of a holoscreen, or even a computer, is a testament to the paper industry's resilience. Or perhaps its archaism. I sighed in resignation. This work isn't going to finish itself.
© 2012 Seratha