The Call Of The City – Episode 33

daily serial the call of the city the people's friend

Grace stared into space after ending the call to her mother, a guilty dread curdling her stomach.

Perhaps she shouldn’t have involved her mum and put pressure on her when she was already so worried about Dad.

But Juliet really was acting strangely and Grace couldn’t get that awful envelope out of her mind.

Juliet hadn’t mentioned a word of it. She’d simply slipped the letter into her pocket and gone on making dinner.

“Is everything OK?” Grace managed finally to ask, but Juliet was curtly dismissive.

Things had been a bit tense between them for weeks now, ever since the night of the party, when Grace had urged her aunt to reconcile with her mother and Juliet had firmly put her in her place.

With a sigh, Grace reached for her backpack. She had 20 minutes to walk to Juilliard’s campus for her music theory lecture, and she didn’t want to be late.

Yet as she set off across Central Park, she couldn’t help but think about her mother and her aunt again.

Why were they so stubborn? They were like little children, digging in their heels and refusing to budge.

Grace recalled when she and Kerry had fallen out when they were little. Their mum had always made them make up as soon as possible, and even insisted they hug each other after saying sorry.

Sometimes they’d done so with a decided lack of affection, looping arms around each other for no more than a second before stepping away, but Meg had always been adamant.

“You’re sisters, and you need to act like it. It’s most likely the longest relationship you’ll ever have in life, so work at it.”

Why did her mum not take her own advice? Or had she given that advice because she knew she herself had failed at it?

Still, Grace had always considered her mother to be someone who was willing to own up to mistakes, not hold grudges. Why was she so different with Aunt Juliet? It seemed she wasn’t going to give Grace an answer.

Students were clustered around the noticeboard as Grace mounted the steps to Lincoln Center’s main plaza. She caught sight of Lewis in the crowd and her heart lurched.

Things hadn’t been as easy between them since that almost-kiss a couple of weeks ago.

Grace didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed that Lewis hadn’t brought it up. She hadn’t done so because she she still wasn’t sure how she felt.

Even so, the fact that it had been swept under the conversational rug stung a little. Did Lewis regret what hadn’t even happened? He seemed happy to move on, at any rate.

“Grace!” He jogged up to her now, his face flushed with excitement. “You won’t believe it!”

“Believe what?”

“The callbacks for the violin solos have been posted. We both made it!”

“Did we?” Grace stared at him blankly, too shocked to comprehend fully what he was saying. “How many people are on the list?”

“Only three. Can you believe it? Chloe Lovell is the other. I don’t know her.”

“I don’t, either.” Grace shook her head slowly. She’d never expected this; in fact, she’d written off her audition because she’d been so nervous that she was sure she’d missed a note.

“Aren’t you thrilled?”

Lewis took her by the shoulders, laughing, and for a second Grace was reminded of that moment in the kitchen.

But he dropped his hands and stepped away, shaking his head and smiling.

“I’ll give it a moment to let it sink in.”

“Yeah. Right.” Grace tried to laugh. She knew she should be thrilled, and she was, but something still felt as if it was missing.

To be continued . . .