Song 15 ♪ Betray and Disappoint

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The benefit for the children's hospital was held at a private venue. The Trinity kids were dressed in full uniforms, blazers and all, and even though all of them but me came from the rich spheres of the people that surrounded us, we stuck out like sore thumbs among the finely dressed people in attendance. Plus, the place itself looked straight out of a movie set and I just couldn't pick my jaw up from the floor.

We came in through a back door by the kitchens, so that we could carry our instruments and equipment in without disturbing the party. A couple of servers walked by me with trays of tiny food that was so perfect it looked plastic. All around me there was crystal, marble, velvet and swashes of champagne color. The whole space felt expensive.

Madison walked by me saying, "A fly's going to get in your mouth."

I snapped my jaw shut.

People ignored us for the most part as we set up, which gave me a false sense of security that they'd ignore us once we started playing too. Sister Louisa told me to stand by the piano and Lincoln joined me there. He looked at the instrument and nodded.

"Well, at least they brought me a good piano."

"How do you know?" I asked.

A corner of his lips lifted. "Near 18 years of experience."

I gave him a nasty look that he ignored. That was becoming a bit of a sore topic for me, my inexperience.

He pulled out his sheet music and arranged it in front of him. "Remember the order of the songs?"

"Yes." As I set up my stand to my height I added, "I hope."

The rest of the orchestra set up on the stage that had been prepared for us. With this configuration I was on the opposite end from Madison, which brought me some comfort. I stood between the piano and the rest of the orchestra, and had about five people between me and Ashton, which also made me feel pretty relieved. Being closer to him would've made me too nervous.

Sister Louisa made her way up and picked up the microphone that was meant for me. She faced the crowd and waited until she had their attention. This didn't take terribly long. It wasn't every day you were faced with a scene that looked straight out of The Sound of Music.

"In advance, we would like to thank you all for joining us tonight for this great cause," she started, to a modest round of applause. "As we entertain you with the music from the Holy Trinity High School Orchestra, we would like to ask you for your charitable donations to help the children in need that are fighting for their health." More applause that we all joined in. "And with that, please enjoy your evening."

She handed the microphone back to me and I felt bile rush up my throat as I set it back onto the stand. It was turned on, and the sounds of me fixing it in place echoed around the room. I turned it off and glared at it like it was my enemy. Or like it was a cockroach. Which was the same, really.

I couldn't do this.

I had to do this.

My lungs expanded as I drew in a deep breath after another. I caught Link's eye and he raised his eyebrows. A cough attracted my attention on the opposite end. I turned and found Ashton motioning for me to keep breathing in deeply. I did.

Sister Louisa raised her baton and conducted us to begin.

A moment of panic drew my mind into a blank, but the music started and I remembered that the first song was an easy one. The emphasis was on the instruments and not on the vocals. More of a melody meant for the background rather than a focal piece. It was an easy start for me then, because I didn't have to do a lot of effort aside from the accompanying verses. I looked out beyond the nun directing us and saw that hardly anybody was paying attention.

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