Food Coma Reading Material

Since the people demand it (okay, so one person asked) here’s an excerpt from The Harp and the Fiddle, for those of you who are browsing the internet while regret how much you just ate.

Excerpt from The Harp and the Fiddle

(c) Lila Dubois, 2012

Tim looked up from where he knelt behind the last row of chairs, his fiddle case open on the floor in front of him. A dark-haired woman emerged from a side entrance, carrying a harp. He rose, prepared to offer his help, but she carried it easily, curled arms cupping the sides as she walked sideways. She set it on the stage and took a seat. Now it was slightly taller than her, but not nearly as tall as the massive orchestral harps. Interested, he moved up the aisle that bisected the audience chairs, focused on the shape of the harp and the intricate roses carved into the base.

The first note hummed, vibrating with a purity of sound only the harp could produce. Then she sighed, a soft thing of pleasure.

For the first time, Tim focused on the woman who played.

She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen.

Waves of dark hair framed her face and fell over her shoulders, mingling with the black wool sweater she wore. Her skin was pale, her lips full. And her eyes, focused on the middle-space beyond the stage, were a clear, pale blue. Late afternoon sun beamed in the windows, highlighting the curve of her cheek as she sat with one shoulder towards the floor to ceiling windows behind the stage.

She ran through scales, her fingers plucking the strings with ease. Scales turned into a melody, a song he knew. “Lament on Con O’Leary’s Wife’s Death” was an old song and a sad one for all its beauty. Sad and beautiful, just the way he liked it.

The harp’s pure notes filled the air, but he found himself watching her, almost forgetting the music. Her face creased with grief, expressing the sadness of the song. Her body rocked in time to the dirge-like pace, every fiber of her being melded with the notes her fingers drew forth.

Retreating silently, Tim picked up his fiddle. She was improvising some, adding notes and refrains to the simple song. Tucking the fiddle under his chin, he forced himself to stop ogling her and hear the music. Some part of his brain was translating what he heard into letter-notes, the tempo into musical beats, but when he lay his bow to the strings, it was instinct and skill that let him join her. First matching her note for note, then taking off on his own path, turning her solitary song into a fiddle-harp duet as he walked the long aisle from the back of the venue to the stage.

She looked up, blue eyes bright and sharp. Their gazes met, held, and discordant notes sounded from both their instruments as something passed between them. With the next breath, she found the notes, brought them both back into the song. Shaking himself free of the spell of her sapphire eyes, he joined her on the stage, bending his body to her as they continued to play.

Her eyes, which had been assessing him, slowly closed, a faint smile curling her perfect lips as she rocked in time with the music they made.

They reached a natural crescendo, Tim closing his own eyes to focus. He didn’t need to see her, she was there in her notes, the melody. The musical fever rose, then broke, slowly fading to a smooth, sad finish.

Tim opened his eyes.

She had one cheek against her harp, her gaze clear and steady on him.

“You must be the American,” she said, in a sweet Irish lilt.

“Guilty.” Tim flashed her a smile, wondering who she was. He knew, or knew of, all the other musicians participating in Free Birds Fly, and she wasn’t one of them. At the same time, she was too good a musician to be a tech or a roadie—not that anyone playing this event had that kind of entourage anyway. Maybe she was one of the TV crew who’d let him into the building. That still didn’t explain why she was on stage playing a harp. “What gave me away?”

“You fiddle like an American.”

“I don’t know if I should thank you or be insulted.”

She rose, stroking her harp in a way that brought his attention to her hands. “No insult.”

“Well, then thank you. I’m Tim.”

She didn’t respond right away, instead her fingers crawled the strings, another scale. “I know.”

One of the main doors opened with a groan and Paddy, his best and only Irish musician friend, strode in.

“Yank, come on. We’re to check in, and I’m famished.” Paddy’s entrance shattered the moment—his shoes were clacking on the stone floor, his voice loud and boisterous after the music.

“Just checking to make sure she survived the trip.” Tim raised his precious fiddle, saluting his friend with it.

“I told you it would be fine. Let’s shove off, then.”

“Okay, let me…” But the girl was gone. Tim stared at the empty stage. Her harp was there, which was a good thing since if it hadn’t been, Tim might have wondered he’d just experienced some jet lag-induced hallucination.

“You play the harp now, Yank?” Paddy ambled up the center aisle to stand beside him.

“There was a girl.” Tim pointed at the harp with his bow. In the few moments he’d been talking to Paddy, back to the stage, she’d disappeared.

Paddy rolled his eyes. He had an unremarkable round face, curly brown hair and a voice that could make angels weep. “Ah, sure there was.”

Holding the neck of his fiddle and bow in one hand, Tim rubbed the back of his head.

“She was playing the harp, so I joined in. There was a girl, I swear.”

“Was she pretty?”

“Gorgeous.”

“Quiet-like?”

“Yea, how’d you know?” Maybe she was a musician who’d just been added to the program. That would make sense.

Paddy laughed. “Welcome to Ireland. We specialize in beautiful, mysterious women.”

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One Response to “Food Coma Reading Material”

  1. Great excerpt! Can’t wait to read more!

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