Natalia stood in utter shock, her hands shaking as her brown eyes stared at the positive sign on the pee stick lying on the toilet floor that she had just thrown a minute ago. It was her 7th pee-stick that showed that dreaded positive sign that morning; almost convinced that all of the pregnancy test she took were all faulty; the main reason they were all on sale for $12 instead of the usual $18 (too much of a difference as far as Natalia was concerned) at the pharmacy nearby their house. Natalia was always one to be extra careful and always had extras in case she had missed her period. Being the super paranoid lady she was, having these pee-sticks at the ready to rule out pregnancy almost immediately was essential; hence the stash of them in her bathroom cabinet.
Shit. Her heart screamed.
Shit. Shit. Shit.!
Her world came to an almost complete standstill. Images of her pushing a stroller and having to juggle work via her phone on one hand, of her cleaning up baby puke that smelled of sour milk and baby rash creams, of the brunette arguing with Brandon on who should be cleaning up the baby poo,.... fuck.
How the HELL did it happened and how was she going to tell him?! He hated kids; loathed kids! She pondered and began calculating days to the morning when it happened; bloody Brandon decided to just 'wing it' without a condom DURING her ovulation time.
Jesus christ! The brunette let out a huge sigh. Natalia hated children; she wouldn’t ever be caught dead with a stroller in a million years or wiping off snot or be driving her mini-me to football practices or ballet classes! Her mind started panicking, her body tensed a little and before she could do anything, she felt the pits of her stomach rejecting her morning snack she had earlier and the next thing she knew was that she was puking her life out.
“Talia? You alright in there, honey?” His soft voice echoed in her ear, finally pulling her back to her current reality: It was 6:30am on a Sunday morning in The Gold Coast and Brandon had wanted to get breakfast before he hit the studio. This had always been their routine for the past one year of dating, and Natalia loved Sundays, except not today. No way was she feeling extra special, extra perfect and extra sexy.
“I’m fine, just my gastric’s hitting up, babe.” Natalia screamed back, sounding almost convincing. She washed her mouth and face with a bottle of Evian on the honey-coloured sink, her reflection staring right back at her as her eyes met the mirror. She slapped her face a little, whispering to herself, ‘Act cool, don’t tell him, we aint keeping it anyways so no worries’. With newly applied red lipstick and wiping off her worries, she smiled to the mirror and went out to find Brandon.
Brandon Parker was the definition of sexy, or at least to more than half of the population of the kids at uni. He was exactly how she’d imagined a piano tutor to be (if there were even anything of that sort), with dark brown, shoulder length hair, brown rectangular Gucci specs over sleepy, bedroom eyes. Brandon Parker listened to almost every single bloody genre of music and drove a yellow, vintage, 1995 911 Carrera. It was as if he’d came out of Natalia’s 16-year old dream! Except that he was even better than that; he had dimples and perfect pink lips. He was the most well - known music student and had a kick - ass band called 'Kryptic' which played at the nearby pub in West End every Friday night.
Brandon Parker was tall, standing at about 5’9”, smelled sweet like candies and marshmallows and vanilla (clearly not), and had beautiful fingers.
Brandon Parker was as perfect as the sunset and as sexy as hell.
Natalia was smitten, ever since the first time she laid her eyes on him which was exactly two years ago; during her first year at uni. Natalia was forced to take up piano classes as an elective as a dear request for Nathan; he had silently requested her to do so ever since he found out that she had stopped playing it since their real mother died.
Their first official meeting was in her first piano tutorial class of the semester; when the lecturer Mr Ogle announced the tutor - pupil pairings. The class was only limited to about 30 seats, and they had about 10 tutors. She wasn't actually too stoked about it, but a promise meant the world to her so she tagged along with the idea.
"And last but not least, Natalia Addams?" "Ya."
"Miss Addams you will be with Mr Parker in studio MZ06 , he will be your tutor for the rest of the semester."
The brunette nodded, before packing her stuff up and headed towards studio MZ06, located at the top floor at the very end of the corridor. Natalia almost never wanted to take up this subject. It was daunting. The rest of the kids were here to actually learn piano. Natalia knew the piano by heart; she could read scores and everything but she despised the piano more than anything.
"Hi. I believe you're Miss Addams?"
Natalia nodded weakly, almost ignoring the guy standing next to her; as her hands traced the outlines of the black and white keys.
"Alright. I am Brandon, Brandon Parker. So I'll only be tutoring you for the rest of the semester, so hopefully we get along fine." He breathed out, as he scribbled something onto his paper. He took a seat next to her, mouth half opened as he scribbled more and more.
Natalia smiled weakly, before pulling out the score of the Rachmaninoff 's piano concerto no 2. Brandon raised his eyebrows; nobody told him that he'd be teaching anyone something advanced; probably too advanced.
Natalia knew who he was, Natalia had always noticed him walking from the lakes to the studio, but at that very moment she just didn't feel like flirting or sounding interested. She just hated the piano so much and didn't seem to know or realise the intensity of the feeling until she was actually there.
"I have a fear of the piano." She blurted out, ever so casually, hoping that she didn't have to go through the usual ice breaking questions and shit.
"Oh. The irony. Then what are you doing here?" He answered; his eyes showing almost no remorse or empathy.
"My dear brother, Nathan. He wants me to learn it. I stopped playing it since.... something happened" her voice started to fade away, and then the next thing he knew was that the whole room echoed with the sounds of the piano; delicate and sad.
Brandon raised his eyebrows again, carefully listening to the girl's unsaid words. Impressed would be an overstatement, but she could play well, though sloppy, unpolished and probably too much emotions; reckless? Whatever it was, it was very clear: she's playing too well to even be in this class.
He then proceeded to play the piano next to her as a companion; only to be even more surprised that their chemistry was out of the roof! Sure, they weren't in sync 100%, but it was very difficult for people to get in tune with his playing style at all and she was indeed something different. Her music sounded very..... god he didn't know. He'd just never heard anyone play like that.
The concerto ended abruptly; as most do. Both of them were breathing hard, total silence in the air. Natalia brushed Brandon’s fingers, looking at him and smiling, before packing up.
"Wh-where are you going?" Brandon uttered, looking puzzled.
"But why? You played well. Probably I could write in a recommendation for you to be in advance classes"
"It's just annoying. "
"Sure. But it's such a waste"
"And why is that?"
"Your voice was very clear. I heard your thoughts through your playing."
"And what were they?"
"Sorrow. Pain. Tears. Unspoken anger"
Natalia startled on the inside, but chose to ignore the sudden argument in her head and proceeded to pack. Brandon got up and looked at the tiny brunette, her messy bun, her clubmasters resting on her head, her honey skin, her maroon-stained lips, her awkwardly formed fingers; and wondered what kind of life she had to go through for her to have played such an empowering song and making it sound so excruciatingly painful.
"I'll see you and your band tonight. The Three Monkeys, ey?" Natalia waved and went off. He stood there, shaking his head and headed back to the office; wondering what to explain to Ogle on why his tutorial ended an hour and a half earlier than it should've.
And the rest was history.
"You seem awfully quiet this morning. Anything bothering you?" He finally broke the silence between the two of them as he sipped on his cup of English Breakfast. Noticing that she had been awfully quiet, the brunette cleared her throat, sipped her apple juice and took a bite of her pancake, shaking her head convincingly.
"Nothing's wrong. I'm just feeling a bit feverish actually" She replied, holding Brandon ' s hand, convincing him in the process. Natalia was so incredibly happy with her life, until this morning of course. She woke up next to the love of her life almost every morning, she completed her degree a year ahead of her peers with a Grade Point Average of 6.8 and already received two job offers to work in world renowned engineering companies, volunteered on a yearly basis in Fiji and had everything going as planned.
Until this morning.
They continued talking about Brandon ' s career as a sound engineer for some time before agreeing on going their separate ways. Brandon was an introvert surprisingly, and so he needed more time to himself than anyone she ever knew.
Natalia had needed some time off for a while since she haven't seen David in ages. Brandon, of course, couldn't know this. He was probably the most jealous person Natalia knew alive; and David was the most precious person to her; regardless of the fact that she was clearly in love with Brandon.
"Talia. If there's anything you'd like to share with me, let me know okay? I love you"
He planted a kiss on her eyebrow before leaving her at the cafe. Natalia froze for a moment before smiling and waving back.
Shit. He knows.