Odd One Out

"Good things come to those who wait."
How much longer do I have to wait?

Iris is different. She wants more. She wants to be free.
She wants love.
But no one understands her. Her only escape is through music.
She's the Odd One Out.
And then, she meets Blake...

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10. Nothing To Be Nervous About

Dear Love,

If life is just a song,

Then who's writing my lyrics?

Are you, Love?

Are you writing my lyrics?

Well if you are, please, make it better?

Write me a prince?

Write me love?

If my life really is just a song...

Please make it a love song?

Yours,

Iris x

 

"Iris? Mr Orwick wants you." Karen, the school receptionist hovers at the door of my maths class. As much as I'd love to miss maths, Mr Orwick doesn't sound so tempting. Mr Breecher looks over to me.

"You'd better hurry along then, Iris! Don't want to keep 'the big man' waiting!" He laughs a little. I nod, scooping up my jotters, pen and rubber and putting them in my bag.

"Bye," I whisper, heading down the long corridoor to Mr Orwick's room. What have I done? I've done nothing, that's what I've done! I've been good all week! I've been keeping quiet, doing everything he asked of me! I want to cry, but I don't. I guess good isn't enough for him. Sighing, I push his door open without knocking.

"G'morning, Mr Orwick."

He looks up, a smile licking acros his lips.

"Ah, Iris! You didn't knock."

"Sorry."

"Right, well take a seat."

I sit in the leather chair opposite his desk.

"How are you today?" he asks me, but I know he couldn't care less.

"Fine," I reply. He offers me a digestive, but I shake my head. "No thanks."

"Suit yourself," He says, biting into one, crumbs scattering across his desk. He tuts to himself. When he's all done, he looks at me, eyebrows raised, his hands curled together. "So!" He starts. "Mrs Muller has been telling me all about you."

My eyes flick up and I stare right into him. "Huh?"

"She says you're very talented, Iris." He rubs his thumbnail under his chin. "I've not heard you personally, but.." He clears his throat. "I was hoping you'd be able to play at a small open day at our school?"

Did I really hear him right?

He wants me to play at an open day?

"I've never played in front of people before, Mr Orwick," I whisper, unable to find my voice.

He smiles, cocking his head.

"If you're as talented as you're made out to be, you'll do just fine." He winks, and I really wish he didn't.

I try and smile back, but I already feel overwhelmed with nerves.
"I'm really not good with crowds and people," My voice trembles.

He looks down at his chubby hands. "Do you really not want to?"

"I don't know."

He sighs. "I can't force you."

"I know."

We sit in silence for a few seconds.

"I'm recording tomorrow," I tell him. He smiles properly.

"Charlotte told me." He hits his hand. "Mrs Muller, I mean."

I nod. "I'm nervous."

"And why is that?"

Why is it? I don't know. I sigh.

"Because...because it's..it doesn't seem real."

"Should that make you nervous?"

I think about it.

"No."

He smiles.

"Well there you go." There's a knock at his door. "Come in!"

It's a pupil, small and thin, greasy haired.

"Well Iris, do think about that performance. And keep up the good behaviour, it was nice speaking to you."

I guess that's my cue to leave.

"Thank you, you too, Mr Orwick."

So I get up and leave, the eyes of the young pupil following me.

***

Mrs Muller, Charlotte, has called me in for lunch to her room. I push open the door of Room 32, and she's playing a piano, notes scattering in places they shouldn't be. I don't tell her she isn't very good, because that would be rude. She stops when she sees me, smiling.

"Iris!" Her hands clasp. She stands, pointing at a seat for me to sit in near her desk. She takes a seat in her blue swivel chair that teachers tend to have. "So, tomorrow is the day!"

"It is indeed," I say, smiling.

"Are you excited?"

I think about what Mr Orwick siad to me about the nerves. "I guess I am, yeah!"

My hands tremble, so I hide them under her desk.

"Mr Orwick has talked to you I presume?" Charlotte says, scribbling something down on a piece of paper.

"Um, yeah."

"And?" She doesn't look up.

"I don't know.."

Now she looks up.

"Why?" Her velvety dark blue eyes pierce through me.

"I think I'm scared. I've never played to hardly...anybody."

She smiles sadly.

"Oh Iris, but.." She sighs. "You are so unaware of your talent and ability!"

Her hands flail in the air. "What can I do to convince you?"

Nothing. You can do nothing at all.

I shrug, staring at my fingers.

"Well, just think about it, yeah? Promise me you'll do that?"

I look up at her through my lashes.

And I promise her.

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