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Improvisational Harmony

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It was the weekend before spring break and Robin finally had her dorm to herself, her roommate leaving behind but the usual clothes on the floor and trash on the counters.

She opened the windows for the first time in months and took a deep breath of fresh air. Campus had cleared out the moment Friday ended and the dorms were pretty much abandoned, save for the occasional person who also hated to go home.

At least she could have this week to herself, cleaning and doing what she wanted instead of having a roommate constantly over her shoulder.

Robin practically jumped the width of her small room and plopped into her desk, succulents and books scattered around her laptop. She had a drive to clean, an absent partner, and a craving for trashy singalongs.

Search: High School Musical. Shuffle: on. Speakers: Loud.

And the gentle guitar of a dramatic breakup song started blaring over the birdsong and construction from outside.

Robin couldn't help but act as she began picking up leftover ramen from her roommate, cradling a styrofoam cup in her hand while flicking her long hair back.

“...Troy.”

With a tear in her eyes, she crumpled it and threw it into the empty trash can. The process was repeated as the verse began, overdramatic vocals matched in equal by the student.

“Life keeps getting in the wa-ay. Whatever we try somehow the plan, is always rearranged.”

Rovin picked up a plastic bag and started piling clothes into it. Shirts long overdue for a wash piling up more and more as the chorus hit.

“I’ve got to move on and be who I am!” a skirt was thrown onto the bunk. “I just don't belong here, I hope you understand.” She looked into the mirror on the wall, clutching her chest. “We might find our place in this world someday.” She threw her arms down. “But at least for now,
I gotta go my own way.”

It felt good to let loose, she thought, letting the second verse continue until she remembered the lyrics again. Humming along as the last of the clothes disappeared off the floor.

As the chorus hit again she found herself cradling her cactus as she moved to water it. Desperately telling the cactus and the wall behind it about how she just couldn't stay with him forever.

“But at least for now… I've gotta go my own way.”

And then there was another voice, from just behind the wall.

“What about us?” the muffled voice sang, having no issue hitting higher notes, catching Robin off guard. “What about everything we've been through?”

And she didn't miss a beat, increasing her volume. “And what about trust?”

She heard a thump against the wall. “You know I never wanted to hurt you.”

“And what about me?”

“What am I supposed to do…”

She hoped he knew how to harmonize, “I've gotta leave but I’ll miss you.”

And he did.

There was a beat with no lyrics, and she had to laugh. This was crazy!

And she could've sworn she heard a chuckle from the other side too.

It was probably the first time she's had fun in months.

“So I've got to move on and be who I am!” Robin flung her arms out, cactus precariously wiggling in its pot.

“Why do you have to go?!” the other voice replied in equal drama.

“I just don't belong here!
I hope you understand.”

“I'm trying to understand!”

“We might find our place in this world someday
But at least for now...

“I want you to stay.”

“I gotta go my own way!”

And so they finished, music slowly dimming into the background, breathless and tired, Robin carefully put her cactus onto the sink. Suddenly embarrassed. The song shifted over to something from the third movie she didn't know, and she hoped nobody else had heard their improved duo.

And then there was a knock on her door.

Robin felt her face flush with red. Looking up only confirmed she looked crazy, white hair frizzed up in the humidity from outside and her thrown together outfit somehow being tan shorts on a tan shirt. She hastily picked up the first jacket she saw, purple with gold trim, and put it on to open the door.

A gentle looking man stood there, blue hair contrasting the pink blush on his face. He was wearing a simple blue tanktop with gym shorts, she didn't recognize the face as being an assistant, so her only conclusion to why he was here was…

“Troy?”

He smiled.

“And you must be Gabriella?”

Now it was her turn to smile.

“Yea. Um. Nice pipes.”

“I could say the same.”

There was a beat, Robin noticing how blue his eyes were.

“So uh, I was just about to head to the dining hall before it closes the lunch menu. Want to join?”

Robin thought about it. She had eaten just before, but she also had never seen her neighbor before. And if she was being truly honest with herself, he had a kind of, aesthetic to him she enjoyed.

“Sure.” she said, taking her keys from their hook behind the door and closing it behind her as they walked down the hall.

“Oh uh, I'm Chrom by the way.” he said, holding the door to the outside.

“Robin, but if you want to call me Gabriella I don't think I'd mind all that much.”

As they walked out into the sunny spring day, she could have sworn she’d seen him before somewhere, maybe in a sport team photo.

But those were questions for another day, the only thing she cared about for now was simply enjoying the company of her neighbor for the first time.

And they both secretly hoped it wasn't the last.