Ville Valo watched in pure enjoyment as his best friend Soya Toivonen walked off the couch to pick up the guitar Linde had left against the wall and put it over her shoulder before flopping back on the couch quietly strumming the instrument with a look of sheer pleasure on her face.
“And to what do I owe this private concert?” Ville asked as he sat down next to her, her fingers working over a melody that she probably heard only in her head.
“Mmm.” She looked over at him with a grin. “The entire time you and Linde practiced all I could do was wish that I was in his place.”
Ville laughed. “You know we have a gig next weekend.”
“Mmhmm.” She nodded. “Mige told me.”
“I’m sure Linde wouldn’t mind sitting out a few songs so you could indulge you’re guilty pleasure.”
“What guilty pleasure?”
They both looked up to see Linde standing in front of them with three bottles of water instead of the beers they usually drank. Soya smiled as Linde handed one to Ville, set Soya’s on the floor and kept his as he sat on the stool by the microphone.
She wasn’t a drinker, one because it wasn’t legal for her yet, seeing as she was sixteen, and two because she wasn’t fond of the effects alcohol had on even the calmest and shyest of people. The boys having noted her being uncomfortable around them when they were drinking made a conscious effort to keep from drinking when she was around.
“Soya’s guilty pleasure of playing guitar.” Ville said twisting the top off his water.
“What about it?” Linde asked as Soya grinned playing the opening chords to Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love causing Ville to grin.
“Ville has the absurd notion that you’ll sit out a few songs so I can play with the band during the gig next Saturday.”
Linde grinned himself at the idea. “I wouldn’t mind at all.” he said quickly. “But you have to be serious about it and not get my hopes up.” He warned her causing Soya to give a bark of laughter.
“You do realize that it would never happen.” She told them, looking over at both of them as her fingers naturally slipped from Elvis to Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell “My parents have micro-managed my life since I was conceived, my mother even held off giving birth to me because she swore it would be so much better if I were actually born on Christmas.” She looked at both of them again letting her fingers slip off the guitar. “Do you both even know where I told my mother I was going in order for me to hang out in the garage full of boys, and not only that but boys who are socially unacceptable?”
“Library?” Linde guessed with a smirk.
“I say museum.” Ville said knowing that she had used that one before.
“I’m at a lecture about the values that classical music has on youth.” She said seriously bending down to pick up her water.
Both boys burst out laughing as she glared at them. “You’re both lucky that Nathan likes you.” She said, referring to her driver that was usually in on her plans to visit her friends.
“Just don’t tell you’re parents.” Linde said with a roll of his eyes as if pointing out the obvious.
“That is easier said then done.” She said taking the guitar from around her neck and setting it so it leaned carefully against the couch.
“If you’re serious about playing with us for a few songs,” Ville said looking at Linde who nodded. “Then we’ll make it happen.”
Soya laughed again looking at both boys who seemed hell bent in getting her to play in front of a crowd. She shook her head in amusement as she looked up and saw Mige getting out of his car and walking over. “Okay, how’s this, since your plan of sneaking me out or even convincing my parents to let alone allow me to go to a bar but to play an instrument that is not Jonah or Elizabeth approved, is so very far fetched. If you succeed…” she bit her lip and looked at Mige who was walking into the garage hearing the tail-end of the conversation. “I’ll let Mige have my first kiss.”
They all stared at her, causing her to smirk. They all knew how seriously she took her firsts. They all teased her for romanticizing things that they’d just done without thinking.
“You underestimate us kulta.” Ville smirked.
“No,” she said with a laugh. “I just know my parents very well.” She laughed standing up and patting Mige’s chest who was still confused as to why he was going to be kissing her. “I have to go; I think three hours is long enough for a lecture.”
Linde reached for his guitar before holding it out for her with a smirk of his own. “Here, you’re going to need something to practice with for the gig.”
Soya laughed and took the guitar knowing Nathan would take it up to her room later. “Boys, as always it has been a pleasure.”
They watched as she flounced out of the garage with the guitar firmly in her grip before turning to each other.
“So what are we going to do?” Ville asked.
“I don’t know, but we better figure it out.” Linde laughed. “Mostly because I want to see Soya eat her words.”
Mige looked at both of them before speaking. “Why will Soya be kissing me again?”
Both Ville and Linde laughed before explaining.
Soya sat on the couch of the library in the huge palace her parents deemed home, putting her feet up with a groan. Three hours of warming up before actually practicing for another three hours for the dance recital she had coming up, it was torture on her poor little feet.
She flexed her toes and looked up at the domed ceiling, she loved dancing, she really did. It was something she’d been doing since she could fit into a pair of ballet shoes and something she could definitely see herself doing in the future. But lately dancing had become more of a burden then her passion, and knowing her parents as she did, she knew that even saying the word quit, no matter the subject just wasn’t in the Toivonen vocabulary.
She gave a snort of laughter, her father would probably stroke if she even talked about taking a break from dancing.
Soya lifted her head at her mother’s voice and promptly put her feet down, sitting up straight.
“I’m in the library.” She called back, preparing herself for the onslaught of criticisms her mother probably had for her.
“What is this?”
Soya looked up at her mother, her eyes widening when she saw Linde’s guitar that he had let her borrow two days ago in her mother’s grasp.
“Mamma.” She started as she stood up.
“What is this Soya?”
“A guitar, Mamma.” Soya said quietly, bowing her head.
“And why was it under your bed?”
“I…” she sighed. “A friend let me borrow it.”
“A friend?” her mother scoffed. “Those older boys you met at the music store are not your friends.”
“But mamma.” She started again trying to explain.
“I don’t want to hear it Soya, go to your room and stay there until your Papa comes home, because you know he’ll be hearing about this.”
Soya nodded silently, resisting the urge to wrestle the guitar out of her mother’s hands and went up the winding staircase to her room, silently closing the door. She flopped down on her bed and closed her eyes keeping the tears at bay waiting for her father.
Sure enough promptly at 5:10, she heard her father’s footsteps on the marble steps before her door opened without any warning.
“What’s this about a guitar hiding under your bed Soya?” her father asked, she looked up at him and noted that her mother hadn’t wasted any time in telling on her. Her father’s tie was still tight against his throat and his grey suit jacket was still buttoned. She looked higher and met his dark grey eyes that held anger while his jaw was tight as if trying to keep him calm and failing miserably.
Forget about him stroking if he found out she wanted to quit dancing, she was pretty sure he was about to at just the mere mention of her even touching a guitar.
“A friend lent me the guitar papa.” She said quietly as she stood up from her bed.
“Those boys you met at the music store last year, they lent you a guitar.” Her father stated more then asked.
Soya looked up in surprise. She was expecting a lecture on how it wasn’t proper for a young girl of her age to play an instrument that wasn’t considered classical. Piano, violin, cello, flute, all of those were considered classical to her family, all of which she’d learn to excel at. Guitar, bass drums, those were not even to be spoken about let alone thought about.
“Why Soya?” her father asked again. “Why did your friend loan you the guitar?”
Soya bit her lip, maybe if she told her father the truth he’d find it in his heart to allow her to go. “My friends have a show on Saturday and…” she looked up swallowing harshly before speaking again. “And they thought it’d be nice if I played a few songs, the guitar was lent to me so I could practice.”
She didn’t see her father move across the room, but she felt the slap he delivered. She resisted the urge to cover her now red cheek, and bit her lip harshly to keep the tears in. Instead she looked up at her father slowly.
“No child of mine will be playing any type of show that isn’t in front of a socially accepted crowd. This show was probably in a bar in front of people you have no business even associating with.” He said angrily. “You’re mother and I have let this friendship go on for far too long, I have every mind to go downstairs and break that damn guitar.”
“No, please.” She said quickly, knowing Linde prized his guitar more then anything.
Her father shook his head in irritation. “Your mother and I have worked too hard for you to go and ruin your reputation for one night of carelessness. What if someone had seen you Soya, prancing along with those men who are older then you, playing a guitar and in a bar of all places?”
“I’d ask what they were doing there.” Soya said, only to wince at her subordination. She looked up at her father who narrowed his eyes.
“Go downstairs, you’ll go with your mother.” He said pointing out the door.
“Where?” she whispered.
“You’ll be returning the guitar and ending the friendship Soya.” Her father shook his head. “Your mother and I have talked, we’re sending you away.”
“Away?” Soya asked in surprise.
“To America to study dance. Structure, discipline, rigidity, this is what you need. Not bad influences to ruin a pristine reputation. You leave Friday, now go.”
Soya stared at her father in disbelief, but his stern glare had her leaving the room defeated. She walked slowly down the steps and saw her mother already in her pristine red jacket over her pearl colored shirt and matching red skirt and heels. She walked out the door, her mother’s heels clicking behind her as they slid into the back of the black town car.
Nathan looked up at her through the rearview mirror before leaving the driveway and making his way through Helsinki to what she assumed was Linde’s house to return the guitar that was sitting between her and her mother.
She stared out the window before frowning when they made a turn away from Linde’s house; she turned to her mother who was sitting rigidly in the seat next to her. “Mamma, this isn’t the way.” She said quietly.
“Of course it is.” Her mother said, leaving the conversation at that.
Soya only frowned and stared out the window, only to sit straighter when she realized where they were going. Sure enough, ten minutes later they reached the Valo house, Nathan parking on the curb across the house, stepping out of the car to open the door for her mother. Her mother picked up the guitar and looked at Soya before she exited the car. Soya slid out after her mother and reluctantly followed her up to the house standing behind her as she rang the doorbell.
The door swung open to the smiling face of Anita Valo, only to have Anita frown when she saw them. “Elizabeth,” she looked behind Elizabeth and smiled kindly at Soya. “Hello Soya.”
“Hello, Mrs. Valo.” Soya said quietly, earning a stern glare from her mother.
“Please come in.” Anita said holding the door open.
“No, thank you.” Elizabeth said primly.
“All right.” Anita said leaning against the door jamb, she heard a squeak on the steps and turned her head slightly to see Ville standing at the steps with a frown. “What brings you by Elizabeth?”
“I found this under my daughter’s bed today.” Elizabeth said holding the guitar out for Anita to take. Anita took it before Elizabeth dropped it and held it out behind the door. Ville’s eyes widened and took the guitar from his mother standing near the door. “I want your son and his friends to stay away from my daughter.”
Anita rolled her eyes. “My son can do what he pleases, Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth glared at Anita. “It looks wrong for your twenty year old son to spend as much time as he does with my sixteen year old daughter.”
“Wrong for whom?” Anita laughed. “It’s not like they’re having sex.”
Soya looked up with wide eyes feeling her face heat.
“They sit around in the garage and play music Liz, not have orgies.” Anita said with a roll of her eyes.
Soya looked over at her mother who was glaring at Anita, “You would say that Ana, owning a house of ill repute.”
“Please,” Anita scoffed “It’s a sex shop; maybe if you used some of the toys we have, you wouldn’t be such a frigid bitch.”
Ville’s eyes widened at his mother’s tone, his mother never talked to anyone in that manner, not even the unruly customers at the store. She was the very picture of patience.
“I will not stand here and be talked to like this. You keep your son and his friends away from my daughter Anita, or there will be hell to pay.”
“I will do no such thing,” Anita shook her head. “You think that just because you married rich you’re better then all of us. I’m proud you clawed yourself out of the hell you lived Elizabeth I really am, but you forget who helped you get to where you are today.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I understand Lizzie, you want better for your daughter, but managing every second of her life isn’t going to help you do that. One of these days you’re going to have to let her go and for her sake I hope its sooner rather then later.”
Elizabeth turned on her heel. “Soya, let’s go.”
Elizabeth turned to her daughter. “Now, Soya.”
Soya looked at Anita, just as Ville came to stand behind his mother. He gave a small wave causing her to bite her lip as she turned to follow her mother to the car.
Ville watched with his mother as the car disappeared from view, before looking at her. “Do you think Elizabeth will listen mamma?”
Anita snorted as she closed the door. “No, Elizabeth is hardheaded and will continue doing what she’s doing. Sadly I understand it, not that I like it.” She patted her sons arm and looked down at the guitar. “Go, take it back to Linde.”
Ville nodded, and went upstairs to put on shoes, when his mother called back out to him. He turned around and saw her standing at the bottom of the steps. “Yes?”
“I know I don’t usually tell you what to do and who you can and can not see. Even less now that you’re twenty, but…” she looked away contemplating her words before looking back at her son. “But for Soya’s sake,”
“Stay away.” He said finishing his mothers thought, knowing she didn’t actually want to say it.
“Please.” She said. “I know you care for her deeply, you and all the others, but for her sake and making her life easier, please.”
Ville stared at his mother and couldn’t help but sigh before nodding. “All right.”
Soya stood against the wall of the elegant ballroom, staring at the couples dancing in the center of the room, her parents being one of the couples twirling around the floor. They were celebrating the dance recital that Soya and the company she was a part of had just been in as well as Soya’s own acceptance to The Juilliard School in New York. An honor she knew she hadn’t gained on her own merits, but with money and persuasion on her father’s part.
“Aren’t you going to dance sweet Soya?”
She looked over her shoulder at Mikko Takko, who was eyeing her body up and down. She shifted in the ivory silk strapless dress that fell down to the floor and moved slightly away from the dancer.
“Not tonight.” She said quietly. “I think I’ve danced enough.”
“Oh come now, a pretty girl like you should be twirled about the dance floor.”
She looked at her lead male dancer with disinterest. “I’m not some show dog to be trotted about.” She said shortly.
Mikko smirked. “Sure you are.”
Soya rolled her eyes, knowing that that wasn’t him talking but his parents ideas of what a woman was and the alcohol he probably had in his system. Instead of responding she turned on her heel and walked away, causing him to laugh and turn to his friends.
Soya walked around the ballroom, her gaze wondering to some of the people who were entertained and not paying her the slightest of attention before she walked out of the ballroom and towards where the cars were lined up.
She walked up to the town car that belonged to her family and slid in only to have Nathan frown at her. “Is that party over already Miss. Soya?” he looked down at the dash where the green numbers blinked. “It’s only ten thirty.”
“No, it’s not, do you mind taking me to the Valo’s?”
Nathan turned in his seat to get a better look at her. “Are you sure Miss. Soya?”
“Please.” She whispered. “I just need to talk to him before I leave tomorrow.”
“All right.” He nodded before turning back and starting the car, effortlessly slipping out between two other cars and onto the street.
Soya leaned back against the plush seat and sighed. She hadn’t heard from the boys since she’d left the garage last weekend, and made the small bet with Linde and Ville and hadn’t actually seen Ville since her mother had yelled at his mother.
She missed them, all three of them Mige, Linde and Ville, and she missed Ville probably more then she should. The idea of leaving in the morning without seeing him one last time, apologizing for the way her mother acted, hell apologizing for not stopping her mother, killed her.
“Looks like rain, doesn’t it Miss. Soya?” Nathan asked as he looked up at the sky before looking back at the road. Soya looked out the window, casting her eyes upwards; sure enough dark clouds were crawling forward slowly covering the night sky. She was sure that the rain would start in a matter of minutes; she looked back towards the city lights to see them already rolling past the neighborhood where the Valo’s lived.
Nathan parked in front of the house, as Soya glanced at the driveway. The Valo’s car was gone, then again Thursday nights were their usual date nights when Anita and Kari would go out and Ville would visit with his brother Jesse.
“Do you want me to go with you?” Nathan asked.
Soya shook her head as she slid towards the door. “No…” she sighed. “No, I have to do this on my own.”
Nathan nodded. “I’ll be here if you need me.” He assured as she stepped out of the car.
Her heels clicked on the stone walkway as she made herself up to the door, and sure enough the minute her knuckles rapped on the door Mother Nature opened up and let the rain come down in harsh waves.
The door blew open the reveal Jesse Valo’s smiling face, only to drop in surprise when he saw her. “Soya, what are you…?”
“Is Ville here?” she asked not bothering to notice that the rain was now soaking her silk dress through.
“Yeah, yeah, hold on.” He said stepping away from the door and calling out for his brother. Jesse disappeared seconds later to be replaced with Ville’s tall frame.
“Soya?” he asked, looking at her. “God it’s raining outside, come in.” he said, going to grab her only for her to shake her head vigorously, ignoring the way that her hair was now falling out of its elegant twist or that her makeup was probably running down her cheeks. “Soya?” he asked.
“I’m sorry.” She called over the harsh sound of rain that was pounding on the roof and on the pavement around them.
“Sorry for what?” he called back, shutting the door behind him, but standing under the eve to stay dry.
She shivered as she stared at the ground and then back up at him. “I’m sorry that my mother yelled at Anita,”
Ville smiled. “Soya there’s nothing to be sorry about.”
“I’m sorry that I can’t play with you on Saturday.” She said. “I’m sorry that I can’t hang around you guys any more.”
“Don’t be stupid.” He said. “Linde, he has a way of getting you to come out with us on Saturday, you’ll still be able to play.” He assured.
“I can’t.” she called.
“Don’t let your mother tell you, you can’t Soya, you’ve got this amazing talent that…”
“No!” she cried causing him to stare at her in surprise. “I can’t, I leave tomorrow morning.”
Ville stared at her, staggered by the confession. She was leaving. She was leaving. He thought with a shake of his head. “What do you mean?” he called out, taking a step away from the door immediately getting soaked by the rain.
“My parents are sending me to America.” She said stepping closer to him.
“When did this come about?”
Soya swallowed as she looked up meeting his green eyes with her grey. “Around the same time they found Linde’s guitar under my bed.”
Ville lowered his head, feeling guilt wash over him. “God if we hadn’t pushed you Soya, this wouldn’t have happened.”
“No,” she laughed, touching his now wet arm. “I don’t want you blaming yourself; my parents are…” she shook her head. “They’re cracked Ville, if they hadn’t found the guitar they would have found something else.”
“I’m so sorry Soya.”
“No I am.” She said tucking a wet strand of hair behind her ear, not even noticing the fact that rain was still pouring harshly over them. “I couldn’t leave without at least apologizing for how my mother acted Ville.”
Ville couldn’t help but laugh. “Trust me, we’ve dealt with much worse Soya, it’s in the past, I’m not angry and my mother is most definitely not angry.”
She swallowed again nervously, before looking away from him. “I…”
“Soya?” he asked, trying to meet her gaze.
“I also wanted to give you something.”
Ville chuckled as he looked her up and down; her silk dress was now plastered tightly to her body, outlining each and every one of her curves. Her dark hair was out of the twist he knew she probably had it in, and was cascading down to fall a bit past her shoulders “I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve got hiding in that dress of yours.”
Soya bit her lip and reached up to cup his cheek, her fingers playing with the hair that hung past his ears.
“Soya?” he questioned.
Before she rethought her choice she lifted herself up and pressed her lips against his. Ville stood shocked as her lips moved timidly against his not quite believing that she had actually given him her first kiss.
She pulled away, her eyes closed before she whispered. “I couldn’t stand the thought of Mige taking this.” She took a step back and looked back up at him. “I should go; my parents have probably figured out that I’ve snuck away.”
Ville watched as she took another step back, before he reacted the only way he knew how. He grabbed her hand and hauled her back over to him, his arms wrapped around her waist almost groaning at the feel of the wet silk underneath his fingers. He looked down at her surprised eyes causing him to smirk and lean down.
“You caught me by surprise kulta.” He whispered his lips only millimeter from hers. “That last one didn’t count, let me give you a real first kiss.” He didn’t wait for her response before pressing his lips back to her, and tightening his grip on her waist. He felt her hands grip his arms before moving up to cup his face tenderly.
He moved his lips slowly and softly against hers, before nipping on her bottom lip slightly, taking advantage of her gasp of surprise, he gently probed her mouth with his tongue causing her to moan in surprise and pull him closer to her.
Unwillingly he pulled away, nipping her bottom lip one last time before pulling away completely. He opened his eyes to find hers still closed. “Don’t leave.” He whispered.
She looked up in surprise, only to smile at him. “I wish it were that easy. I wish I could just…move in with you at your flat, travel with you when you guys make it big, not have to answer to anyone.” She shook her head in disappointment. “But it’s not that easy, especially not for me.”
“Fuck it, just…come inside.” Ville said quietly. “Stay.”
She shook her head again and pulled away from his grip. “I can’t.” she said taking a step back before smiling at him. “I’m not worried you know.”
Ville frowned at her. “What do you mean?”
Soya laughed as she walked back to the car still facing him. “I have a good feeling we’ll be seeing each other again Mr. Valo.”
Ville smiled back lightly. “I’m sure we will.”
Soya bit her lip before speaking. “Thank you.” She said quietly, though the sound of her voice still carried, before she got in the car.
“Back to the ballroom Miss. Soya?” Nathan asked as he started the car.
Soya shook her head. “Home, please.” She said looking outside and noticing that it had stopped raining, yet her cheeks were still wet. Touching them, she was surprised to find herself crying, feeling the need she looked out the back window and saw Ville still standing in front of his house, soaking wet, and staring at her car as it disappeared around the corner.
“You all right Miss. Soya?” Nathan asked.
Soya shook her head. “No, but I will be.” She stared out the window and could only hope that she would be okay. She knew leaving Helsinki would be hard; it was the only home she knew. Leaving Ville, however, she hadn’t counted on that being the most painful thing she’d ever experienced. She hadn’t counted on that at all.