The Fate Of The Muse

By: Derrolyn Anderson

“What are we doing here?” I asked, irritated. I felt like I was being provoked.

“Why, I’ve made reservations for dinner… Megan tells me this is the best place in town,” she turned to greet Megan with a society hug and air kisses. “You look fabulous! I do expect a song from you tonight, my dear.”

“Uhm… I took the night off, but I guess I could see…”

Megan looked stricken, and met my eyes apologetically. Ethan just stood rigidly with his arms crossed and an angry scowl on his handsome face. The limo pulled away, leaving us all standing there awkwardly.

Evie greeted Cruz and Shayla warmly, ushering them inside, while Megan trailed behind, turning to look at us anxiously.

Evie paused at the entrance, “Aren’t you coming?” she asked innocently.

“We’ll just be a minute,” I said, looking over at Ethan. I went to him and took his hands as the giant wooden doors swung shut with a sigh.

“It’s okay,” I said gently.

“She did this on purpose,” he complained bitterly, his voice tight with irritation. “She’s still trying to come between us.”

“She wouldn’t do that,” I said reproachfully, “You heard what she said… and besides, I’m long overdue to come out here and see Megan sing…”

His jaw clenched and I could see that he didn’t believe it. I stepped into him and wrapped my arms around his back. “Please don’t be mad,” I whispered into his ear. He sighed and pulled me close, nudging my face up for a kiss. At least there were no chaperones out here on the street, I thought.

Cruz poked his head out the door, “Oh for God’s sake!” he scolded us, “Can you two come in and hear Megan sing already?”

We followed him into the restaurant, joining Shayla and Evie at a table in the lounge. Megan stood at the piano comfortably, holding the microphone casually, and addressing the room like she’d been singing there for years instead of weeks.

“I’d like to dedicate this to my good friend Marina,” she smiled wryly at me and launched into a song, “Somewhere, beyond the sea…” Knowing Megan’s sense of humor, I had to crack a smile. Ethan sat stony faced.

Megan sang beautifully, and with a whisper in the ear of the young man playing piano she launched into a jazzy version of “The Look Of Love.” I couldn’t help but notice the way the piano player was looking at her.

When Megan finished singing, the handsome gentleman that owned the restaurant came to personally lead us to our table. His eyes widened when he saw Evie.

“Mr. Samadi, this is Marina’s Aunt Evie,” said Megan.

“Charmed,” he said, as she reached out her hand to shake. Her eyes sparkled as he bent to press his lips to the back of her hand, “Please…” he stared at her intensely, “call me Omar.”

Cruz and I rolled our eyes at each other as he offered his arm to Evie with a flourish.

We followed them to our table and once again Ethan took the furthest seat from Evie possible. I doubt she noticed anything, for she had locked eyes with Omar and they seemed oblivious to everyone else around them.

“Come on, let’s go to the bathroom,” said Megan, taking my arm and pulling me up out of my seat.

“I’ll be right back,” I squeezed Ethan’s shoulder. He still didn’t look very happy.

When we got to the restroom Megan turned serious, “I’m sooo sorry! When she asked me about places to eat in town I just wasn’t thinking! I had no idea she’d take us here tonight! I mean, I knew she was coming to see us, but Cruz wanted it to be a surprise,” she paused, biting her lip, “Forgive me?”

“It’s okay,” I said, “I’m over it.”

She hugged me in relief, and pulled back adding, “Ethan doesn’t seem to be.”

I sighed, “He’s mad at Evie… He thinks she chose this place on purpose.”

Megan looked thoughtful, “Well, she probably should have known better.”

I shook my head, “I don’t even want to think about it,” I changed the subject, “So, what’s going on with you and the piano player?”

She looked shocked, “How did you know?”

I laughed, “I’m not blind,” I said with a knowing grin, “What happened to Brian?”

“That didn’t work out,” she replied with a twinge of regret, recovering rapidly, “But I did get inspired to write some really great songs out of the breakup!”

We laughed together, fixing our hair and makeup and joking around about some of the couples at the prom. I started feeling more like my old self.

Returning to the table, I sat down, scooting close to Ethan and taking his hand again. We endured an uncomfortable dinner, listening to Cruz chatter on and on about the dresses at the prom, design school, and his relocation to the city. He was set to move into my empty apartment in San Francisco after the upcoming finals week, and Evie was almost as excited as he was about having him as a neighbor.

“That reminds me,” said Evie, turning towards Shayla, “An agent friend of mine saw your pictures and would like some more test shots and an interview… How about we schedule a meeting for directly after we get Cruz settled in?”