AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 21

in order to refocus away from her, shuffle their notes and ready for the next set, all the while with the audience lingering persistently in their hunger, poised to carry on. Madeleine turns to Constanze just as Constanze looks to her, and then they’re both falling over each other in relief, giggling like children.

“Well, it’s an absolute pleasure to meet you, Constanze,” Madeleine says after catching her breath, holding out her hand. “Leda Montaigne.”

Constanze takes it with an equally amused smirk and gently presses her lips to Madeleine’s palm. “The pleasure is all mine, Leda Montaigne.”

Her name’s never sounded so sweet, dripping from Constanze’s lips. They don’t say anything for a moment, simply immersed in each other’s company, and something sprouts in the wall of Madeleine’s chest. Tucked tenderly underneath her ribcage to tremble beside her heart, she breathes some kind of nameless longing; it’s indefinite and terrifying, and quells only when she looks away. Constanze lets go of her hand.

“Every honey bee… fills with jealousy… when they see you out with me…” Elsie sang, starting up again in tandem with low thrumming of the bass and delicate hits on the high-hat. “I don’t blame them. Goodness knows… honeysuckle rose…”

The ensemble is coaxed to life line by line, just as electric as it’d been all night, every night.

“She’s inexhaustible,” Madeleine stares outward, eyes flickering back to Constanze. “If you want, we could go to my apartment to talk.”

Madeleine blinks and she’s being spat out into the early morning air, tripping over herself at the end of Constanze’s grip. Her dexterity has regressed somewhat; Constanze, after tying her own coat and slinging her bag over her shoulder, buttons up Madeleine’s jacket for her and adjusts her hat anew.

“Shall I call a taxi?” Constanze asks.

Madeleine shakes her head. “I live nearby.”

The night carries a few good hours until dawn bleeds over the horizon, and throngs of people nevertheless roam the streets, resting on towering streetlamps or huddled together where the light strains to touch. In her vestigial drink-induced confidence, Madeleine hooks her arm in Constanze’s, straightens her spine, and squares her shoulders.

Constanze notices. “Are you sure you don’t want a ride?”

“Nothing’s ever happened, but René’s usually with me.”