Brad needed a seat. He needed quiet, too, but a seat would do. The chaos of Regionals, surrounded by wannabe divas and drama queens – not to mention the glee club members themselves – was not the place for a pianist who valued tranquility.
In the wings beside the stage, he found half an old trunk that looked sturdy enough to sit on. The other half was already occupied by a brown, fluffy dog wearing a bow tie and tapping his hands – his paws? – in time with the music.
The paw-tapping was odd enough, but as Brad approached, the dog turned to him, nodded companionably, and smiled.
Brad couldn't help it. He gaped. And then the dog spoke.
Brad searched for – and found – his voice. 'Yep. You?'
'Last-minute replacement,' the dog replied. 'Name's Rawlf.'
'Pleased to meet you.'
Brad sat down. There was a moment of silence.
'You don't say much, do you?' asked Rawlf. 'Neither do I, these days.'
It was a statement that didn't seem to need a reply. So Brad didn't. He just sat back, relaxed, and tried not to worry about his state of mind.