Broken Strings

Who was playing that day? And why can't Eleanor forget the tune?

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3. Obbligato

George stared at her. “But you always have your violin!” he exclaimed, taking her by the shoulders and staring at her. “I was tuning it last night and I left it on my desk...” she explained slowly as George’s spirits dropped. “Don’t worry, you can accompany me and I will play cello or something else! Or you could just play a solo!” she suggested, trying to reassure him and pulling him along.
“No Ellie. You won’t get scouted on anything other than violin. And you know that.” George said quietly. Eleanor turned around, “So what? You will, and then I will get scouted next time. It’ll be fine!” she tried to say in return, blinking back the tears from her eyes.

“Eleanor Bryce. The last musical scout to come to this school arrived 4 years ago; and hasn't returned until today. Don’t be an idiot.” George looked so serious it was almost unnerving.
“There isn't anything I can do about it George. It’s just my luck I guess.” Eleanor replied, shrugged and beginning to turn before George interrupted her; “No Ellie. You deserve this scholarship. I’ll go back and get your Violin.”

“Don’t be an idiot!” Eleanor said firmly. “You’ll miss your chance! I’ll go and get it!”
“You’re not fast enough! Go and postpone the scout and I’ll get the violin from your house!”

Eleanor stared into Georges dark brown eyes as they glittered with determination. He needed her to trust him.

“Okay. Take my keys.” She said finally, handing over the small crocheted key ring and hugging her friend tightly. “Thank you George.” She said quietly before letting go and watching him run down the corridor. “Promise me we’ll get that scholarship Ellie!” he shouted to her, his face lit up with a broad smile. “I promise!” she shouted back, her hand trembling with anticipation.

And then the rain started.

Eleanor was sat in a silent music room; the scout opposite her was checking his watch and staring out of the window at the rain as it hit the glass. “He’ll be here.” She tried to reassure the scout and herself for what felt like the hundredth time. “It’s about a 20 minute ride either way.” She added, hoping to lighten the mood as the rain fell increasingly heavier.
“Okay.” The scout muttered before resuming his silent state.

There was a knock at the door.

“Come in!” Eleanor called, standing up and waiting to hear George’s voice in return. But it was the headmaster that greeted her. “Eleanor Bryce?”  He asked solemnly, avoiding her eye contact and closing the door behind him.
“Um... Yes sir?” She replied, taking the seat he indicated for her.
“It’s about George...” The headmaster coughed awkwardly, still not meeting her eye line. Eleanor’s heart sunk slightly. The headmaster had never spoken to her before, and this didn't seem to be going anywhere positive. “W...What about him?” she asked, staring at the rain that had now accumulated into a storm. She didn't want to think about what the next words might be.

“He’s been involved in an accident about 10 minutes away from school... It doesn't look good.”

Eleanor sat in stunned silence. She knew what the headmaster had meant, but somehow her brain wasn't registering the information. She couldn't register the information.

That blindingly sunny day had turned into one Eleanor Bryce would never forget. The day of the accident.

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