Vincent stared across the room at the warn bronze clock on the mantelpiece. He strained his eyes to read its face through the gloom.
It was late.
The court composer sighed, running his fingers through his wild brown hair. Still, his charge was nearly complete. It would be done by morning.
Staring down at the paper on his desk, he began to read. His tired eyes danced across the still-wet staves, while the bright notes on the page echoed in his head.
“Enfatico,” he whispered to himself, before scrawling an amendment in the margin.
Time passed and the candle on his desk gradually ground itself down to a dull stub; too dim for his delicate work. He scowled across the manuscript, before reaching for the ornamental box of fresh sticks.
He cried out as his cuff knocked the ink well across the desk. The blue liquid reached out for his work, indiscriminately covering each delicate quaver and crotchet; the tide swallowing his neat trills and soaring harmonies. Snatching away the paper, his face dropped as he surveyed the abhorrent masterpiece. He was ruined. It was ruined.
Vincent stood up and, tears welling up in his eyes, strode to the window overlooking the city. The earliest hint of dawn was beginning to peak around the cathedral’s spire.
He wondered how he could have angered his lord so.
Still, this was his gift to her and he must finish it. He returned to his chair and, bringing the candle closer, so close that the flames nearly licked his nose, began to rewrite his marriage proposal.
“Encore,” he muttered. “Encore.”
She glanced up at the wall while her hands dried under the warm air. The square room was blanketed with pages from a music book, stained sheets which had been covered in scrawls and comments from previous…guests.
She chuckled at one piece of graffiti, jotted on a page which dedicated the piece to a woman named Christine.
‘Should have just got her flowers and chocolates, mate,’ it read.