Smiling nervously to herself, Katrina fingered a loose hair back into place for the umpteenth time. She'd spent the past week practising six hours every day and working with her piano teacher to come up with the best arrangement. And of course, the fervent daily prayer. In mere minutes, it would be hung out and dried for all to see.
Mr. Rogers, a tubby round-faced man stood and asked if everyone enjoyed their meals. The guests murmured a "Yes", and he rambled on with the usual pleasantries. Katrina tried to listen, but she could only hear the songs she'd be playing.
Oh God, please don't let anything go wrong, she practised a particularly difficult segue on an invisible piano. Please don't let anything go wrong. Please don't let anything go wrong.
A nudge from Mr. Harold, sitting beside her, jolted Katrina. She stared at him blankly, and out of the blue the guests started clapping.
It was her turn!
She didn't think her face could go any redder. Katrina got up, forced a smile, and stepped over to the piano. A few of the guests starting whispering to each other. Don't pay any attention to them. Imagine you're at home playing.
She started with a slow intro leading into Claire de Lune, probably one of her least favourite pieces. Nonetheless, it wasn't difficult and her confidence soared in no time. Already the familiar hush was descending upon the awestruck crowd.
It was strange; she actually felt more nervous before performing than during. Her fingers had taken on a life of their own now; she didn't even need to think about what to play next. A seamless segue into the more familiar Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy, one key higher to Ave Maria, then a jazzed-up Unchained Melody. Why, the crowd could even be yelling out requests for all she cared.
"Miss Williams, that was absolutely brilliant." Mr. Rogers grinned broadly and shook her hand after the party. "I mean it."
Katrina bit her lip sheepishly. "Why, thank you. I'm glad you liked it." Good thing she prepared an answer for that earlier.
"Guess Rick was right after all," he motioned to Mr. Harold. "You really could spice things up for the kids. Do you play more...um, contemporary pieces?"
"Sure I do," she giggled. "As a matter of fact, I prefer that to classical stuff."
"Wonderful! Can you come here again on Sunday afternoon? Say, two o' clock?"
"Sure." Oh boy, here it comes. He's gonna offer me that job.
"We'll be rehearsing for an upcoming staging of Peter Pan, and I'd like to try you out. Should I search around for compositions, or can you figure that out yourself as well?"
Yes! Katrina felt her heart do a little jig. "I'll work out the compositions myself, sir."
Mr. Rogers nodded approvingly. "My, my, what a gem you're going to be. So I'll be seeing you on Sunday afternoon?"