����������� The next afternoon, Janet sat on her bed with her
violin in her lap, thinking of ways to show Fosse how bad she
wanted to learn from him. She knew how greatly she wanted to be
taught but when it came to convincing the nix, her head drew up
blank. She absentmindedly stroked the smooth surface of her
instrument with her fingertips and gazed through her window.
����������� "Maybe Fosse could help me out." Janet said to no one
in particular before slipping out her window with her knapsack
and hurrying towards the loon.
����������� When she arrived at the calm body of water, the
water-man was no where to be seen and when she called out to him,
he did not appear. So Janet slipped off her converses and dipped
her feet into the creek, sighing as the chilly waters delighted
her toes. When she looked into the blue opaque of the water, she
could just about make out a couple of fish swimming side by side,
their tails waving behind them like banners. There were spotted
carps with various colored spots winking beneath the water and
gold fish with elaborate fins that swayed as they moved. A thin
burbot or as her father used to call them, eelpouts, stealthily
swam past the other fishes. Janet sprawled on the grass beside
the brook and rested her head on her arms, watching the
freshwater fish reel around. Her eyes began to droop as the
tranquility of the moment began to cast a blanket of blissful
slumber around her. With a serene smile on her lips, she dozed
like a lazy cat on a Saturday afternoon, feeling as if reality
were but a mere dream of a dream.
����������� Fosse rubbed his temple groggily with his
fingertips as he slipped out of his bed of algae and duckweed.
Sleep was scarce with him due to a reoccurring dream or rather a
nightmare. He was playing the violin in his dream. It was a tune
that brought the strongest men to their knees. ; A song that
would make the whole world silent enough for his notes to soothe
the most downhearted soul. A young woman with auburn hair was
nearby and the melody attracted her to Fosse whom was still
playing the violin. It lured the woman further into the water,
deeper and deeper until the depths swallowed her and brought her
to a lonely and watery death.�Then when he looked up, it was too
late. Fosse sighed deeply and swam to the surface, only to find
Janet asleep on the shore of the brook. He shook his head
sympathetically and waded towards her before shaking her shoulder
slightly to wake her up.
����������� Janet opened her eyes slowly, fighting off the
temptations of slumber that still clutched at her mind. When she
noticed Fosse above her, she briefly saw a halo of light around
his water bleached hair making him seem more like a celestial
being than a nix.
����������� When she found her voice, Janet muttered, "And so the
����������� She thought her words would humor him but in fact, he
frowned deeply and waded back into the pool. Janet pulled herself
up and idly stretched, rubbing her eyes with the side of her
����������� "Why didn't you come earlier? I called." Janet asked.
����������� "I was sleeping." he grumbled.
����������� "In the afternoon?"
����������� "Weren't you?"
����������� Janet grinned awkwardly and merely shrugged in
response. Fosse looked at her as he raised an impish brow and
inquired, "So what do you want?"
����������� Janet looked back at him and shook her head before
scoffing, "Aren't you a morning person."
����������� "One: Don't dodge the question please and two: it's
����������� The troublesome teen rolled her eyes and once more
dipped her feet into the water, replying, "I need help."
����������� "With what?"
����������� "Convincing you how much I want to learn." she
����������� "Looks like we're both morning people."
����������� Janet shot the nix a cross glare as she folded her
arms over her chest and said, "I really am stuck, though."
����������� The fair man swam back to the shore with an irritable
sigh and perched himself upon the grass, his feet still plunged
into the brook.
����������� "You're dismissing the whole purpose of you
proving me. Although I guess I could lend a hand." he
told her patiently, finally ridding himself of his peevish mood.
"I suppose, you have your violin with you."
����������� Janet murmured her thanks with a suppressed smile as
she pulled out her violin and bow from her bag and laid them
across her lap. Fosse cleared his throat, thinking for a minute,
before finally asking, "Do you remember the song that you played
the day that I popped up?"
����������� Of course she did. It was the song that she could
never finish because it was simply too painful to deduce. It was
her father's favorite piece. He had taught it to her when she was
young and because he loved the tune so much, Janet had played it
whenever she had the chance. Every time she had performed the
song, she had felt close to her father and so she assumed that if
she ended the song, then consequently that feeling would perish.
����������� "Well?" Fosse droned.
����������� Janet bit her bottom lip and nodded, her auburn hair
casting over her face, hiding the tears pricking behind her eyes.
Fosse waited a moment before querying,
����������� "Can you finish the song?"
����������� He solely received another hesitant nod.
����������� "Will you finish the song?" he asked.
����������� This time, she shook her head.
����������� Sensing Janet's distress, the fair man made a low
sound in his throat and frowned as he ran a hand through his
hair. He wondered why she was so anguished about the song. It was
silly really but since he knew next to nothing about her and the
melody, he couldn't judge any of it. It wasn't like he hadn't
heard Janet play the song before. In fact she had played it
multiple times but one day; she just never finished it and seemed
to leave it that way. Something had stopped her from ending the
song and he was determined to assist her in conquering it. Fosse
decided then, if Janet could finish the piece and over come her
obstacle, and then he would gladly take her as his pupil. But of
course, it wouldn't be easy.
����������� "Finish it." Fosse insisted sternly, putting as much
austerity as he could into his voice.
����������� Astonished by his intensity, she shook her head and
weakly uttered, "I told you, I can't."
����������� "Finish it…" he commanded her again, his features
growing darker with wrath.
����������� Newly built up tears began to haze her vision and
choke her words when she sobbed. "I can't. I really can't!"�She
shuddered violently, shaking her head, and began to weep into her
����������� Fosse stopped and looked at her compassionately,
frowning sadly as he saw her sob and tremble. Maybe force wasn't
the way to get through to her. Immediately, he calmed his voice
and climbed out of the water and onto the shore to place a
comforting hand on her shoulder. He knew that being out of the
water was a dicey decision but the young woman in front of him
was more important.
����������� "You can." he said evenly, "you're keeping yourself
from ending it and therefore torturing yourself by not finishing.
You say that you can't but really you won't. But try and maybe
this time with a little bit of encouragement; you'll conclude it
beautifully like I know you can."
����������� Janet looked up at him and peered into his eyes that
were now receding back to their comforting grey depths. She
couldn't say anything and didn't say anything as her cries ceased
and her quakes stopped. After a couple minutes Janet reassembled
herself and replied, "I can."
����������� With buoyancy in her heart, Janet wiped her tears
away with the back of her hand, and then placed the violin under
her chin while she began to play. At first, she was shaky but
after she closed her eyes and succumbed to the music, the
troubled teen began to loosen up and feel the music course
through her veins. She became so ardent with the song; Fosse was
scared that if he moved, then the atmosphere and her reverie
would be shattered. When Janet began to near the end of the song,
Fosse began to feel his skin and form dehydrate from being away
from the water for such a lengthy period of time. His nostrils
flared and his eyes watered as he willed himself to hang on a
little longer, so that he could hear the end of the surreal tune.
����������� While Janet approached the crescendo of the piece,
she told herself continually that her father would always be with
her in her heart even if she wasn't playing the song. "Watch me,
Papa. I can do it." she repeated in her mind as she had
said to him so many times when he was still alive. Sliding the
bow against the delicate strings and holding her breath, she
plunged herself into the last measures of the song with as much
gusto as she could muster. The notes exploded from the tiny
instrument, filling the surrounding creek with music and wafting
into the air like a bird's song sung high above the trees. The
climax ended, leaving only a soft consonance to drift the
listener to a sweet and steady resolution of gently played
chords. It may have been her imagination but Janet swore that she
could hear a distant echo of her father's voice among the last
notes of the melody, saying, "I am so very proud of you, my
little one." Her father was with her and would always be, nestled
into the very core of her heart. It took her a while to realize
that but now she finally understood. She had Fosse to thank for
that and she was about to if not for the pained expression etched
into the nix's face stopping her.
����������� Worry carved itself into her mind as she frantically
asked, "What's wrong, Fosse?"
����������� He didn't answer her although he weakly indicated the
brook with a nod of his head. When realization hit Janet with a
dense wall of force, she grasped the fact that he needed to be
back in the water. With fierce willpower and concern for her
friend, she began to drag him towards the creek, receiving sharp
intakes of breath from Fosse as she pulled. After Janet had
finally returned him to the stream, he sank to the bottom and
dispersed slowly like he had when she'd first encountered him.
Every minute seemed like hours as she waited at the brook's
shore, praying for the well-being of her friend. During those
minutes, the teen began to think and ponder about what had just
happened. Janet wondered why Fosse had never mentioned his flaw
but she assumed that was because she didn't know him or anything
about him. They had only met a mere week before and that week
felt like an eternity passed. She hoped that this wasn't the end
of the days spent with her newly founded friend and just as she
was about to lose hope, Janet saw Fosse's form arise gradually
from the depths of the water. She was so happy she found herself
wanting to cry out in relief.
����������� Looking him over to make sure he was still whole, she
asked anxiously, "What happened?"
����������� "I'm not supposed to be away from the water for that
long." He sadly replied. Janet could tell by the tone of his
voice that he was ashamed of his disability and immediately
����������� "Then why did you get out of the water?" she inquired
in a ludicrous voice.
Fosse faltered for a moment before replying quite frankly,
����������� "You were more important. I look after my prot�g�s."
����������� Janet's eyes retracted in surprise at his words and
she genuinely didn't know how to respond.
����������� "Do you really mean it? You'll teach me?" She finally
����������� "Yes but don't expect any mercy from me, Miss Janet."
He advised her with a bright smile. "Because I will work you even
to the point of collapse if I have to."
����������� Even though he was grinning, she knew that he was
serious and that she should probably regard his counsel. Janet
gave a curt nod of consideration before sincerely saying, "Thank
����������� He looked at her strangely, tilting his head to the
side in a peculiar fashion and then asked,
����������� "For what?"
����������� A deep pink colored the teen's cheeks and she rung
her hands in her lap, almost too embarrassed to reply.
����������� "Well," Janet uttered, "Thank you for helping me with
my song and giving me the courage to end the piece. You have no
idea how much that means to me."
����������� Fosse inclined his head regally and questioned, "What
was stopping you from finishing?"
����������� She then told him about her father and how she didn't
want to conclude the piece in fear of losing the proximity with
him that she had through the song.
����������� "I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your father"
Fosse said, "But I am also happy to hear that you have overcome
your problem and realized that your father is always with you in
����������� Janet smiled sheepishly and glanced at him, "Thanks
����������� He shook his head slowly and corrected her. "It was
you, miss, who finished the song so the credit should go
����������� The nix beamed at her and looked towards the sky that
was now a fiery red from the setting sun. "You should go. It's
����������� The teenager nodded as she stood up to brush off her
jeans and gathered her things.
����������� "Remember now, miss." Fosse warned, "Your teachings
will be tough and I expect you to work the hardest you have ever
worked in your life if not harder."
����������� And with those vigilant words of advice, Janet set
off for home, one step closer to her dream.