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Face the Music
Chapter One excerpt

Monday morning at the kitchen table, dithering in the dark, and cold to your touch now is your favorite coffee mug, the funny one, WORLD’S BEST MUSIC TEACHER. Mom’s idea of a gag-gift. Her acerbic wit has a way of cheering you up, so you might like to call her, but it’s way too early; the predawn hush is only now beginning to break. Soft washes of sound too elusive to pinpoint. Tiny creatures milling inside the walls? Hushed voices rising from inside your roommate’s bedroom? Or is it just inside your head? Hard to tell because your mental chatter this morning rings louder than usual.

     You reach once again for the cordless phone, absently running your thumb over the buttons, strumming its rubber; you want to call in sick but your nerve is as tepid as your coffee. You’re not the type, you say, who leaves others in the lurch, which is true, but neither are you a selfless person. Today’s the first day of school after Thanksgiving break, and you’re supposed to chaperone a field trip to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but you’re feeling groggy, jetlagged, and worn to a frazzle after your dreadful vacation to Washington DC with Stefan Linden, the man you’d been seeing since spring. Your tears of scorn have dried up but the pain lingers behind your eyes. And in your heart.


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