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Da Capo al Fine

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She breezed into the classroom, her trenchcoat and scarf whipping behind her. She set her briefcase on the desk and removed all the outside winter clothing.

"Sorry, I'm late. Where did we leave off yesterday?" she asked, finally coming to stand in front of the classroom.

Everyone was silent.

"Hel-o. Where did we leave off?" she asked again.

The class was silent, some looking at each other.

"This is music class. You need to sing and you guys won't even talk?"

A girl sitting in the front row got out of her chair, fidgeting slightly with her hands.

"See, you have this thing that when we are late, we have to apologize," she said, sitting back down.

"And what, you guys want me to apologize?" the teacher asked amused.

"Yes," a guy in the back said.

"Well, if it'll get you all to open your mouths like usual; I apologize for being late and disturbing your conversations."

"Technically, it's concentration," a girl piped up from the mid-row.

"You were, for a fact, not concentrating on anything, except your conversations, now up." With a flick of her hand, she motioned them all up and out of their chairs. "Good morning, Charlie. Middle C?" she said to the guy sitting behind the piano. He hit the desired note and the students stood up straight.

As she guided them through the warming up of their voice, a little longer than usual because of the weather, nobody noticed the man standing outside the door, watching through the small glass pane, before moving on.

"Okay. Today I'll let you kids decide what we do this week, since I am not exactly in a torturing mood this moment." She turned to the bookrack next to the piano and rifled through it as the students shot out suggestions.

"Broadway television and movies."

"You've got yourself a deal, Nancy," she said to the student, taking out the desired musicbook. "And my first victim... any volunteers?" she asked, smiling.

A boy stepped forward. "Rainbow Connection."

A few students snickered.

"No mocking Kermit!" the teacher bellowed as the pianist started on the first notes of the song.


He sauntered into his classroom, not even the slightest surprised that the students were already working.

"Good morning, I see the message got through that I was going to be a little late?" he said, setting down his briefcase on his desk.

"It did, but when someone accidentally knocked over a tray of test tubes we got punishment from the other Chem teacher," a boy said, not even looking up from his work. The teacher smiled.

"Well, I appreciate it. If there are any questions, don't hesitate," he said, sitting down at his desk.

Soon enough, a few students were crowding around his desk with questions.

"Maddie, you just need to remember that the whole key to solving this is the maximum energy formula. That's it. I know you know it."

"Thank you," the girl said, walking back to her seat.

Suddenly a thermos was placed in front of him. He looked up to see his neighbor, Caleb, standing in front of the desk grinning. He looked up at the boy cautiously.

"Secret's safe with me, teach. Way to go, by the way. Enjoy it. Wasn't sure how you take your coffee, so I just left it black," Caleb said, before going back to his seat.

He smiled to himself and opened the thermos, taking a sip.

As he watched his students work dutifully, he himself decided to start grading their Physics exams.


When the bell rung announcing recess, she took her time putting away her things, cleaning her desk a little just to kill time. She left the classroom, locking it behind her, just as he walked and stopped where she stood.

"Good morning," she said to him, not able to smother her smile.

"Morning."

Together they walked to the teacher's lounge, and she could barely contain her smile when he brushed his hand along hers.

"Ms. Bonasera?!" an approaching student called out.

"Still on for after school?" she asked.

"Of course," he answered and watched her go, her curls bouncing with each step.

"Sorry, ma'am, did I interrupt something?" the girl who had called for the teacher asked.

"Oh, no honey, what did you want to ask me?"

"Well..."


Half an hour after all the classes had finished and nearly everybody was gone, he found himself walking down the hallways heading to the music room. When he arrived, he didn't immediately go in, opting to observe her through the glass panel in the door, watching as she played the piano and swayed to the music, her fingers moving flawlessly over the keys, singing slightly under her breath.

He pushed the door open, and she didn't stop playing, but did stop singing.

"Don't stop singing on my account," he commented, coming to stand right behind her as she was finishing off the piece.

His hands rested on her shoulders and he slowly started massaging her neck and shoulder.

She moaned and leaned her head back. He leaned down and pressed a small kiss to her forehead.

"C'mon, you were gonna teach me." She stood up and then made him sit where she sat moments before.

"So you know the basics?" she asked, and he nodded. "Alright, right hand thumb starts on the A and the left hand thumb starts on the middle C." She grasped his hands and guided them to the desired position.

He slowly started playing with a lot of hesitation and mistakes, and after a while she splayed her fingers over his and helped him out. She noticed he wasn't really paying attention and stopped.

"Got it?" she asked, amusedly.

"No." He smiled.

"You weren't paying attention!" she exclaimed, throwing up her hands.

"It's kind of hard to when your breasts are pressed up against back."

"Why Mr. Taylor, are you feeling turned on by this?" she asked, smiling widely when he blushed.

"I don't even know where we are," he commented, finally. She pointed to a bar.

"Right there, where it says ritardando." He looked at the music sheet and pointed out something else.

"What's that?"

"Da Capo al Fine. It means that when you finish this piece of music, you repeat it all the way to where it says Fine." She pointed to where said word was printed.

An hour later, he was doing much, much better, almost making it all the way without a single mistake.

Finally, he succeeded in playing it flawlessly, and she clapped for him. He stood up and bowed down, making her laugh from her seat in the classroom.

He stood up and walked to the stereo set, picking a CD and putting it in. He walked to where she sat and offered his hand to her. She happily took it and stood up. Guiding her to the middle of the room, he spun her around, making her giggle.

As the music started, they began moving to it, keeping perfectly in time with the beat.

With her forehead against his chin, she closed her eyes and trusted him to lead, giving way to the sensations in her body at being close to him.

"Love you," he whispered and felt her smile.

"Love you too," she replied.

"Stella?"

"Hmm?" she asked, her eyes still closed.

"Marry me?" Her eyes shot open as she leaned back, looking up at him. They had stopped moving and it was as if time had stopped.

She couldn't remember how to breathe.

She attempted to speak a few times, before resolutely closing her mouth back. "What?" she finally said, but no sound came out. He, however, saw her mouth the words.

"Marry me." He dug in his pant pocket and produced a small black velvet box. She gasped when he revealed the inside: nestled comfortably in velvet was the most exquisite ring she's ever seen.

He slowly sank down on one knee and looked up at her expectantly.

She bit her lip hard, to prevent herself from crying.

"Yes, Mac, yes!" she said. He stood back up, pulling her in for a deep, passionate kiss. "I love you," she mumbled onto his lips.

"I love you too," he said back, sliding the engagement ring onto her left ring finger. She looked down at it and smiled. "Let's go home."

She nodded and grabbed her things, while he did the same.

At the last minute he reached to the piano and took the music sheet with him.

He wouldn't ever get rid of it.