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Ready To Love Again

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Your job couldn’t possibly make you any happier it was so great. Working as a choral professor made every day an incredible one, your students wowing you with their singing ability every class. What made your job so lovable though, was that you taught at the prestigious Gressenheller University, meaning you were surrounded and surprised by many talented youths at every turn. Even the faculty was full of incredible geniuses, you becoming fast friends with many of them. Of all of them though, you had become quite fond of Professor Hershel Layton. He is an incredible man after all, but due to past circumstances, you respectfully kept your relationship to a simple companionship.

Herhsel’s partner Claire had passed away quite a while ago, and you heard of the many traumatizing incidents he went through that reminded him of her. Though you only heard through rumours, you knew not to put sort of pressure on him. He wasn’t ready to move on, and you respected that boundary. You kept your fondness at bay and continued to be the best choral professor you could possibly be.

Quite often though, you found Hershel visiting your rehearsals quite often, usually on the second rehearsal you held in one day. It made sense, considering the last class he taught ended just before yours started. He seemed quite interested in your class, and it put a smile on your face to see him enjoying himself in his time off. Even Luke was a fan favourite of your classes, often visiting your class when Hershel was busy teaching his.

As the school year went on though, Hershel attended your classes less and less. The times he came were spread far and few between, and you knew exactly why. The anniversary of the passing of Claire was approaching, and he has gone yet another year without her. You could see it in his eyes how pained he was, and you just had to try and offer something to ease the pain for him. One day on your lunch break, you approached him in the faculty office, tapping him gently on the shoulder to get his attention.

“Pardon me, Hershel, do you have a moment?” You inquired.

“Ah, Ms. _______. Yes, I am free. What can I do for you?” He replied, turning to face you.

“I couldn’t help but notice you feeling a little down lately. I’m sorry if that sounds rude, but if you’re free, I’d like you to attend my choral concert next week.” You requested, presenting him with a ticked to the mentioned concert. “My students and I will be performing on the eve of Friday. I thought out music might cheer you up a little.”

Hershel couldn’t help but smile a little. Though it was a weak one, he took the ticket from your hand and nodded. “Of course. I would love to. Thank you _______.”

You smiled as well, pleased that he accepted your offer. “I have a few extra tickets as well. For Luke and Flora, I mean. I know the two of them enjoy our music as well, so I think they would also love to attend as well.”

“They would indeed. Thank you again, _______.” He said, taking the extra tickets.

With a nod and a smile, you gave him a quick little bow and ran off to go and prepare for your next rehearsal. You wanted to be perfect in hopes that it would indeed lift his spirits a little more.

Soon, the weekend passed, and Monday turned to Friday, the fated day of your concert. You had rented out on of the finest concert halls in London and dressed your best for the occasion. The theme of your concert was “Songs of The World”, and you had prepared seven intricate pieces for this evening, your students having worked hard to make this an incredible performance. When you stepped out to give your introductory speech, you seen Hershel sitting in the audience. He still looked a little sad, so you hoped that your concert would being him some joy.

“Welcome everyone! Thank you so much for coming. My students and I have prepared seven songs for you this evening, the theme of them being Songs of The World. Each are from different regions of the world, and they all bring something special forward about each region’s life and practices. We hope you enjoy the show everyone!” You announced, applause ringing though the concert hall as you turned to begin conducting.

Beginning right away you jumped into a Latin piece, the grace and sound of the language filling the concert hall. People were immediately captivated by the music, even sir Layton himself. You moved from piece to piece, engaging everyone even through the intermission as you conducted songs from the Americas to Asia and back again. The most interesting part was coming now, and it was the final piece of the night. If this didn’t lift Layton’s spirits, nothing would.

The audience began to look confused, as you had just stepped aside and put down your baton, picking up a small shaker instead. One of the students began snapping their fingers and the rest immediately jumped into song without hesitation.

This particular song is an African song, and you impressively didn’t conduct it and let your students take the reins. You sand with your students instead while playing the small shaker you picked up earlier, and another student played the djembe with incredible talent, laying down a comfortable beat for everyone in the room to sway to. The song’s premise was about your friends being your family and supporting one another, the rough translation being projected on a screen above the stage as was done for all the previous songs. As you sang and the choir’s volume increased, you found Hershel’s eyes in the audience and locked yours with his, shooting him a wide smile to cheer him up with. To your luck, it worked, him being unable to contain a chuckle and smiling back at you.

When the song finished the entire concert hall erupted with applause, everyone standing as they clapped and cheered for the incredible performance you and your choir had put on. You and your choir took a bow, earning one last round of applause before the students filed away behind the curtains and exiting the stage. The audience soon did the same, gathering their things and leaving the hall. All except Layton though. He approached the stage where you still were, gathering your musical scores and small instruments.

“Miss _______, you put on quite an amazing concert tonight.” Hershel praised, standing at the edge of the stage.

“Ah, thank you so much, Hershel!” You replied, pleased with all the feedback you’ve been receiving. “I hope it helped cheer you up.”

“It did. Thank you, for convincing me to attend.” He said rather quietly. “You’ve restored quite a bit of my happiness.”

“That’s great to hear.” You said with a smile. “Oh, shoot. I’m sorry, I must go help my students with the takedown. I’ll see you on Monday, Hershel.” You said abruptly, apologizing and quickly taking off backstage to assist in the takedown of the concert hall setup.

With that, Layton took his leave, exiting the hall while you worked. He did have more to say, but he didn’t want to slow you down. It was perfect actually, because he wasn’t exactly sure how to phrase the words he wanted to tell you. He had time to think about it over the weekend now, and that’s exactly what he ended up doing. Over Saturday and Sunday, he went over what he wanted to say to you, constantly thinking about you the entire weekend.

Then Monday came. Both of you taught your classes like normal, but once Layton had finished his, he went to attend your second rehearsal with something to say in mind. About halfway through your class he came in, standing in the back corner of the room. He again didn’t want to interrupt, so he waited for you notice him and approach him when you were ready. That’s exactly how it happened, and when you noticed him, you ordered your choir to sing on without you and quickly went to the back of the room to greet him.

“Hello there professor!” You greeted. “Sorry for running off on you Friday evening.”

“Oh, no problem at all. I understand that your duties are important.” He replied politely. “I did have something to say to you though. Do you perhaps have a room with a little more privacy in here?” He asked.

“I do, yes. Now I feel a little bad for making you wait all weekend.” You said sheepishly, leading him into one of the practice rooms a little further back. “What did you want tot tell me?”

“Well, I essentially just wanted to thank you for always trying to cheer me up, and for inviting me to your concert in another effort to lift my spirits. They all work by the way.” He said slowly, still finding it hard to speak despite being isolated by the soundproofing of the practice room. “I wanted to thank you for all you’ve done, so I was wondering if you would… Come with me for tea this weekend. Your efforts to always keep me happy have… have made me sort of, fond of you. You make me feel like it’s okay to… love again.”

You could only smile at the professor, his cheeks reddening and hands shaking.

“Hershel, I would love to. As long as you’re comfortable and ready, I’d love to.” You nodded.

“You just make me happy so often. I’d just like to, spend more time with you… if you don’t mind.”

“Of course not. I’d love to keep making you happy. As long as you’re ready, I’ll be here.” You said sweetly, taking hold of his shaking hand and offering him a smile of reassurance.

He smiled back, feeling content. He was ready.