Author's Note: Hi again! This is my newest story for The Music Man! I'm still new, and this is my first real true work going beyond where the show itself left me! So do let me know how it is.
Continuing this note, these chapters are based on prompts given by our current cast and crew of Music Man, and the characters that will be described are exactly how they are cast in our version of the show. Keeping that in mind, read on! Post-MM.
Gracefully her fingers slid across the ivory keys. Her hands were faster than ever when she had to reach up to turn the page, her eyes never once going down to her fingers as she tore through the score. Even when there was no music left on the paper she kept playing. The house was filled with music and the smell of Mrs. Paroo's homemade strawberry jelly.
The door opened and closed and she heard running up the stairs. She knew that Winthrop was home from his fishing trip with Harold Hill once more. They went fishing once a week and Marian knew he enjoyed having a father figure again. She flipped the music back over and began to play again, letting the music sweep her away from the unseasonably warm October morning.
"You know, you'll have to teach me to play like that." She heard a deep voice from the doorway, making her look up from her music and jump a little from her stool. Harold Hill was in her doorway, watching her, his blue eyes looking lovingly from the piano back to her. "Can't have a music teacher outplayed by the librarian." He teased.
She smiled and quickly stood from her seat. "Then I suppose it's time you learned." She took his hands in hers and sat him down at the piano. "We can't have a music teacher that doesn't know anything about music, can we Professor?" He smiled and laughed halfheartedly. "Now here are the basics…"
"I just came by to make sure the boy got home safe, and to have some of that strawberry jelly." He quickly tried to get out of his lesson. The librarian's soft look hardened at his words. "Well… that's not all. I came to see you too." Flattery wasn't getting him out of his impromptu piano lesson.
"Do re mi fa so la ti." She recited, looking at a basic music book that she used for Amaryllis' lessons. "They're arranged on the staff. And this" She pointed to the high C in the book. "is this" Marian's index finger pressed the key of the matching note. "on the piano. Now you try."
Harold resisted that idea but didn't leave the piano. "No no, I can't." Marian raised an eyebrow, smiling playfully though her hands on her hips showed how serious she truly was. He tried anyways to play the piano, looking at the notes and trying to place them on the piano. After Marian helped him a little he understood a tiny bit better, which note went with what line or space. Marian sat down beside him and they continued their lesson in peace.
It wasn't until Mrs. Paroo called Winthrop down for supper that the two realized how long they had spent at the piano. She sat beside him, his arm reaching around her to the keys on the other side. Her hands only moved to correct his every now and then, but the rest of the time she watched and listened, quite content. "Well, my little librarian, we've wasted the entire day at this piano."
"I wouldn't say wasted." Marian smiled and looked at the music book as she closed it. "You finished the entire beginning piano book. Not a bad start." Harold too was impressed with himself. She placed a chaste kiss on his cheek. "Now how about you go and reward yourself with a little shepherd's pie?"
Harold couldn't turn down shepherd's pie, and it certainly beat another awkward dinner with Marcellus and Ethel and Ethel's uncle. Marian took his hand and led him into the dining room, sitting him down next to her and across from Winthrop. The little boy didn't say much at dinner, but he was all smiles for his mother and sister and Harold. Mrs. Paroo set out some of her homemade jelly and bread for dessert, trying to keep it light. It didn't make sense to set anything out though, because everyone was so full from their hearty portion of meat and potatoes. After he was thoroughly stuffed, Harold glanced at Marian. She was so happy he had stayed for dinner, it registered on her face. "I think it is best I get going, little librarian, those ladies will get the wrong ideas…" He whispered into her ear, not wanting to cause a scene in front of the boy and his mother.
"Why don't you play for Winthrop and Mama?" She suggested, returning the whisper. His smile fell. Playing in front of one of his students when he himself was just learning? It didn't seem right. She spoke out loud the second time, aiming her words at the two across from her at the table. "How about a piano concert from the great Professor Hill?" Winthrop grinned from ear to ear. If he had been shaking his head any faster it probably would have fallen off.
Harold shook his head and looked at Marian with a mix of happiness and anger in his eyes. "Now I'm sure I could never do justice to how this town's librarian plays. Perhaps her concert is better for this evening." The same fire that was in his eyes grew in her green ones. He smiled at her and her smile turned cross.
"How about both, Profethor?" Winthrop suggested, both Marian and Harold looking at the boy. It was a simpler idea than making an argument between the blonde and the brunette. Harold stood up and let her leave the dining room first, but she watched to make sure he made it into the other room.
Winthrop sat between his sister and mother on the couch as Harold nervously sat at the piano. He hadn't started to play yet, he just sat and waited for… well, perhaps if he waited long enough the piano would play itself! It was a lot easier to pretend to know what he was talking about… "Marian, I can't do this…" He turned around and removed himself from the piano, but with a glare from the librarian he turned back around. Marian sat beside him on the piano bench.
"Harold, just… think." Marian told him and he raised his hands back onto the keys. It was shaky, but recognizable. The Minuet in G filled the room briefly, and the smile of the little boy spread to Harold and Marian even though they didn't see his face. The piece ended shortly after, but he had played it quite well. Harold Hill had played his first concert. Harold started to leave before she played, but she grabbed his wrist. "Please, Harold, stay."
Marian played one piece, a small piece hand written onto a piece of staff paper. Harold had never heard it, but he liked it a lot. Mrs. Paroo held Winthrop close as they listened to the piano. The two shared the bench of the piano, her hands flying across the keys. Something so fast and difficult didn't make sense to him, how did she know where her hands went next without looking at the keys? As if by instinct he turned the page for her before she could reach it. Together she didn't even pause to go to the next page, it just… happened.
With the piano in front of them, they didn't even notice that Winthrop and Mrs. Paroo had gone up to bed. They had music and the light of the house lamp to keep them up, and they ended up playing the piano most of the night.
Winthrop ran downstairs before his mother to find his sister's head on the piano keys and Harold's arm around her, their faces turned towards one another. Winthrop thought to wake them, but instead looked at his mother to do so. She bent down to his level and whispered to him. "Now you go eat your breakfast, don't worry about your sister." He went into the kitchen without another word and she followed. There was no point in waking up the two lovebirds who spent the whole night playing the piano.
Author's Note: "Piano Lessons" was a prompt given by our lovely director, saying that it was (in his mind) 'the scene after the show'. Well, please do let me know what you think and have a great day! Please stay tuned for the next chapter.