Ren stared at herself in the mirror, correcting her collar. While she personally thought this outfit - a simple sweater vest and tan pants – was appropriate for a casual outing, there was no harm in a second opinion. Stepping out of the bathroom, she held out her arms.
“Mozart? Do you think this outfit looks masculine enough?”
At the sound of his name, Mozart glanced up from his composition homework. He leaned back in his chair, giving Ren a once-over at her request.
“Looks fine to me. But, haven’t you got anything nicer than that? Anything more dress-like?”
“I don’t, and even if I did, I wouldn’t want to wear it! Now that I’m at Melite and we’ve been going into town more often, more people know my face. I don’t want to ruin anybody’s reputation.” She crouched down to pull on her loafers. “If you think I’m fine, I’ll see you later!”
“Be careful, and be safe!” Mozart called after her as the door swung shut. For a few moments, he tapped his pencil against the desk, chewing on his lip as he debated what he should do.
Finally, he stood up from his chair and opened the door. Pacing through the hallway, he went to the second floor window, looking down over the courtyard. He easily spied the person waiting for her, their tall height and build unmistakable.
Bach’s waiting for her. Good. He stared down at his classmate and friend, recalling that he was no longer the only one aware of Ren’s secret.
All too recently, Bach had discovered Ren’s secret. He wasn’t sure how or when Bach had managed to pull that off, but the knowledge brought the three of them closer together - to the point where Bach had asked her out on a couple dates now. Their relationship was a secret to all but Mozart, who told Bach in private that if he did anything to hurt Ren, he would never forgive them.
However, it seemed that he had nothing to worry about. Ren appeared in the courtyard a few moments later, all smiles. At the sight, Bach smiled as well, greeting her. The pair left together, walking side-by-side as they struck up a conversation.
“Just don’t get in trouble, now,” Mozart murmured, “and ruin everything.” Trying to ease his nerves, Mozart turned back towards his dorm, aching for a distraction from his worries.
Their conversation had started out as one about their mornings, but as always, their words spiraled towards music and school, talking about whimsical ideas or complaining about workloads. But as the well of words dried up, Bach filled the silence with his appreciation, instead.
“Thank you for coming out on a date.” His tone was low, despite the fact they were relatively alone on the street. “I was relieved when you said you could join me, last night.”
“Just because after you asked, you helped me finish the last of my homework!” She beamed up at him. “I’m really grateful.”
“You know that I am always happy to help you.” He smiled down at her. “Partially because it makes me proud to see you doing so well, and partially because it gives me a convenient excuse to spend more time with you without drawing attention to our relationship.”
“You know so much and are so organized, it’s only natural that you help me out. And I heard that you help Haydn manage his schedule, keep Beethoven’s room from getting too dirty… You do a lot for everybody.”
“It’s only natural to help people in need.”
“I would say you overwork yourself.”
Bach sighed at Ren’s blunt tone. “I have heard that before, yes. But I don’t mind. I get much out of it in return and I still have time for my studies.”
“That’s right! You still have to study during all that. You know so much about music and really help when it comes to filling in the gaps of my theory or my composition knowledge. I’ve come to realize there is so much more to music than the little bit that my father was able to teach me.” She stared ahead of them, her gaze distant. “I never would have guessed in the beginning that there would be so much to learn. And you manage it all so well.”
“Does school overwhelm you?”
Bach’s question pulled Ren back as they stopped outside their destination. She shook her head, turning to face him.
“No, not at all! While it’s a lot, I’m excited to learn all I can from Melite. There’s a whole world and language in music and I want to master it all. That’s why I’m happy you’re helping me.”
“Then, I will not stop helping you. In fact, I would rather prefer we continue meeting,” Bach said as he pulled open the door to the ice cream shop. Thanking him, Ren stepped inside, stopping a few paces away from the counter. Bach came up behind her, staring up at the menu board.
“Look! They have mint chocolate chip!” Ren pointed. “I’m gonna get that, I think.”
“Doesn’t the cookie dough sound more tempting?”
Ren debated his suggestion for a moment, before shaking her head. “No, I want mint chocolate chip. What about you, Bach?”
“I will just be getting coffee, I think. Something plain.” He smiled at Ren as she placed their order, reaching over her to pay before she could get her wallet out. He could not help laughing at her pout. “Just let me this once, as a thank you.”
She accepted, reluctantly, holding out his ice cream cup as she balanced a cone in her other hand. Bach winced as it began to drip, seizing a handful of napkins – but Ren was quick to stop the melting dessert as they left the shop.
“Since summer’s almost here, do you want to find someplace to sit in the park? The flowers might all be in bloom!” she asked. “Or do you just walk around town and look at the sights?”
“Whatever you want to do.” Bach followed where she lead, admiring the sights as they walked through the gate. The weeping willows around the pond grazed the water’s surface, creating ripples each time the wind blew. Ren was quick to guide Bach towards the fountain, digging in her pockets for a couple coins.
“Want to make a wish with me?” Her eyes shone as she held out one of them to Bach. He accepted it, turning to face the fountain. He already knew what wish he wanted to make, gripping the coin tight in his fist.
I hope we can go out on an outing like this again. And more often, too. Bach flicked the coin into the fountain, Ren’s plopping in moments later. Neither wanted to ask what the other wished for – instead hoping that they made similar requests and moving on. Their next destination unclear, they meandered through the park, finding themselves down a path lined by bright pink and white rose bushes.
“Your ice cream is melting faster,” Bach noted. Ren was, admirably, keeping up with it – but when she lifted her head to reply, Bach let out a slight chuckle. “But you have some on your face.”
“I do? Oh, no– !” Her hand flew to her pocket. “I didn’t grab napkins!”
Bach reached for the ones he took, opening his mouth to say that he had some.
Then, he glanced around. There was nobody with them in this area of the park. The two of them are completely alone, surrounded by bushes and tall, green trees. He stared down at Ren again, an idea forming as he watched her dig frantically for napkins she did not take. With a deep breath, he summoned a bit of courage and bent down.
Ren is shocked when she feels Bach’s lips, pressing softly against her own. She hadn’t expected it, hadn’t been prepared – she could hardly believe he was even kissing her. She tasted a hint of coffee on his lips, mingling with the mint and chocolate of her own. The kiss was warm and comforting, and Ren didn’t want it to end.
But all the same, Bach pulled away. He regretted ending the kiss so soon, but there were stars in Ren’s eyes, gazing up at him. Her mouth, open slightly, was devoid of ice cream.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I just thought that I might not get the chance for a while…” He dug for a napkin, holding it out. “I should have asked you first.”
Ren comes out of her reverie and shook her head. “No, no! It’s okay! Honest! I didn’t see it, but you did, and I’m glad… because… I r-really enjoyed it.” Her crimson cheeks backed up her truth. Bach sighed happily.
“I’ll still remember to ask, next time. Now, do you want to keep going?”
Ren nodded once. “Let’s go!” She falls inside step beside him as he begins walking, the two of them smiling for the rest of the date.