Tanya had the most disturbing dream yet that night.
She was almost certain it was real. She was performing that night on stage, singing, while Ernest conducted next to her, when Marcus came on stage, and stabbed her in the heart. It felt like real physical pain and she screamed. Ernest seemed not even to notice. She thought the audience was appalled, when suddenly she heard clapping.
"What? Is this all for show??" she thought. Losing her ability to breath, she woke up, and
All three Quartets were wonderful, and there was much cheering from the audience when it was over. Tanya sighed heavily, and smiling at Alex, gave him her hand as he stood up. They both bowed, and walked off stage promptly. Leah and David just came into the backstage area from the audience level, and they all began complimenting each other.
"It's over, almost," Tanya said seriously.
"Yes! We're done, but you got one more gig to go!" laughed Leah.
The night of the choral concert, Tanya planned out her outfit to the smallest detail: her red stilettos would not be appropriate, but her black satin shoes would do just well. A dark purple blazer, black skirt and stockings were a start, then silver earrings and her hair up in a bun. She looked absolutely professional, besides beautiful. She knew she had to be perfect, just as the performance would be perfect.
She never second-guessed why she was really doing this. It had all become instinct.
The day after, Tanya had her dress rehearsal with her chamber singers, and Alex came there too. It worked out splendidly, and Tanya's professor, Dr. Johnson, applauded her work greatly.
"What a privilege we have to sing new choral music here at our university! Thank you for sharing this piece with us, Tanya!"
"It's a pleasure!" she smiled brightly. "I want to thank Alex too, for making this all possible." She gestured to him, and he bowed as everyone clapped.
As much as Tanya could complain about how Marcus was treating himself, she couldn't say much better for herself. She had become very thin, almost too thin to look healthy. She was very sleep deprived, depending on caffeine to be normal through the day, but also alcohol every evening just to fall asleep. All of these features combined made her look very gaunt, even sick. Tanya's make-up and clothing produced an unusual combination of health and decay that she almost looked like one of those cadavers