Here it is, the last installment of the Fiona part of Dance Me a Match. As planned it falls on Teaser Tuesday. It really is best to read the whole thing, but I didn’t want an uber-long post, so I split it into three parts.
Things of note from DMaM:
– Fiona is on a show called Dance Me a Match, which is a cross between So You Think You Can Dance and a matchmaking game.
– The host, Bryan, made up a ghost story about a famous dancer whose house the contestants are staying in.
– Fiona is older in this book than in Fireflies
Here it is:
I start upstairs and meet Mark coming down.
“Oh, Fiona, what are you doing up?”
“Ghost hunting,” I say seriously. “Did you see her?”
“I… did not. Fiona, there’s no ghost. I was just looking for how Bryan managed to trick you girls into thinking there was. Here, come with me.”
I follow him upstairs. Bryan caused the ghost? Why would he do that?
He leads me to the chest where he takes out the fuzzy blue blanket that was sticking out of the corner of the chest in the video. “This is all that was holding up the lid, and see?” He shows me a corner with what looks like a refrigerator magnet. ” There must be a magnet under the bottom of the chest. He waits for people to come in and uses a remote control or something to move the other magnet, then the lid slams shut, and he’s nowhere nearby.”
“But she walks the walls, Mark. I can hear her.”
“There has to be some way to get in between the walls. Or he used the same sort of trick. Some device that sounds like it’s in the wall or on the ceiling.”
“That’s pretty far-fetched, Mark.” I wander over to the library.
Grace is with me. I can feel her.
She leads me to the piano, and I softly play scales, hoping not to wake up the room right below me… before I remember it’s mine. I play “Heart and Soul,” but stop when one of the notes goes flat.
“Piano needs tuning,” Mark says.
“She wants me to play.” I begin playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” but again, that one note plays wrong.
Mark puts his hands on mine. “I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have pretended there was a ghost. There’s not.”
I stare inside the open lid in the piano. “Do you think it’s odd that there’s one note that’s wrong and the rest are fine?”
I take my hands away and stand up to look inside the piano. “Look, Mark. There’s something in there.”
Folded up underneath one of the strings was a yellowing envelope, sticking up out of a seam in the wood. I stick my skinny fingers in there, careful not to touch the strings–it’s like playing Operation!–and pull out the envelope. It’s stuck in there good, but I get it out. “It’s addressed to Richard. Is that her lover?”
Mark takes the envelope from me. “Bryan must have put it in there.”
“No… I think his hands are too big to get it in without messing up the strings.”
He opens the envelope and pulls out a piece of pink stationary. I examine the bug on the design at the top, flying from flower to flower. I pretend it’s a firefly, even though it’s surely meant to be a bumble bee.
“She was leaving him.” Mark’s voice is shaking. “She was saying she couldn’t accept the piano as a gift because she was going to break it off.”
“What’s wrong?” I ask him.
“It could have been foul play. She was found here by him. The piano was here. I’ve seen pictures of the house from that day. If she sent the piano back to him, he brought it back. If she didn’t get a chance…, maybe she told him in person.”
“It’s all a mystery.” I wander across the room to the bookcase, where there’s a photo of Grace. She looks so happy in it, at the beach, running and holding a big straw hat on top of her head and smiling at the camera. “Maybe she’s looking for the truth to come out. Or just for someone to know that she didn’t want to be tied to him forever.”
I close my eyes and feel around for her to see if she’ll tell me the right answer, but she’s gone. “I think the latter, Mark. She’s gone.”
He looks at me.
“Can I have this picture, you think?” I show it to him.
“It, uh, belongs to the house.”
“Okay. I’m gonna put it in my room, though. I’ll return it.” I take it and head out the door.
“Wait, Fiona!” He runs after me. “My camera’s downstairs, but let me interview you about finding the letter. Since I couldn’t film you finding it.”
I keep walking, trying to see if I can find Grace again. It seems lonelier if I know she’s gone. “Can I do it tomorrow, Mark? Think I’m getting tired.” He doesn’t answer me before I wander into my room. I put the picture of Grace down next to my candle.
How odd that we are in a competition to find the perfect match when Grace’s perfect match wasn’t so perfect for her after all.
I wonder whether there is a guy remaining in this competition who is actually a good match for me.
I strike a match, relight the candle, and watch the light flicker across Grace’s face from my bead. Maybe she can be free now.
I fall asleep.
And there it was. The end of the only chapter in DMaM I really connected to, and the basis for Fireflies.
Lots of love,