“Giubilante Con Calore”
T H E I N F I N I T Y S E R I E S
* II *
Author: D. Sanders
The Rest of this un-proofread monstrosity can be Found here:
“Meet up at six for dinner at the Wayfarer Restaurant on the Wharf!” Beau said checking his watch. Everyone nodded and the group split off into two and went in separate directions to shop until they all dropped.
As they walked and gawked in festive bedecked windows Beau and Val educated Phineas on the finer points of Winterfest. What was expected, what wasn’t, what to look forward to and most of all what it truly meant, the meaning behind the season, it’s earthly roots from what was called Christmas on the home planet. It just so happened the settler’s from Earth landed on Pirotaine during the Christmas Season from their calendar, and how an even more ancient tradition of twelfth night became the Thanksgiving celebration on Pirotaine over the centuries since the planet had been settled. Phineas was dizzy with stories of Winterfest past and present. He learned that Val and Cris has married on the first day of Winterfest five years before and that Beau and Eran had been parted just before a Winterfest festival during the Tsionic Wars. He was listening with rapt attention as they passed the music store and all conversation halted as Beau bolted inside.
“Music store. Beau will never pass one without heading inside. My lovely little music geek.” Eran chuckled as the rest followed Beau inside.
Beau was already placing himself in front of a large Piano Forte, something he’d never manage to actually own but could never resist playing when he had the opportunity. He was playing a merry tune. “This song is ancient. Probably three thousand or more years old, it’s from Earth. We actually spent Winterfest there four years ago. There, like we said, it’s called Christmas, it’s a religious holiday there and oh God the music for Christmas is FABULOUS.” Beau swooned as Cris settled on the bench beside him.
“I think Beau and I bought every Christmas disk we could get our hands on. Play that one Val sings so well. White Christmas, sing for me gorgeous.” Cris purred and Val, never one to be able to tell Cris ‘no’ complied and sang the song Beau played on the Piano. Eran and Phineas were leaning on the large instrument, resting their elbows and listening to the impromptu concert. Val’s rich bass warmed you from the inside out when he sang, he could see why Cris had asked him to sing, Val made you smile whether you wanted to or not. The tone of his voice just brought out cheer from within the soul without even trying, he was full of natural good will and it came across in his voice.
Beau segued into “The Christmas Song” and Cris took the melody swaying in his seat beside Beau who supplied a higher harmony line during the chorus. Phineas was in awe he’d never heard anything like this in his life, and during the instrumental section of the song, Beau made the keys sing on the piano in a way that brought chills, the very best kind. Eran smiled, his eyes were closed, he was into the music.
A small crowd was beginning to form with the alien but cheerful music coming from the piano.
The next thing Phineas knew, even Eran was singing. He and Val took half the song and Cris and Beau sang the other half in a stirring rendition of “Good King Wenceslas”. Val and Eran sang the part of the song written for the King and Cris and Beau sang the parts of the King’s page.
The cheers were deafening as they finished and a lovely young woman with blonde hair piled in a bun on top of her head and very pregnant came walking over. “Beau, Val, Cris and Eran. You have not changed at all.”
“Serine?” Val asked hardly recognizing her.
“The one and only.” She smiled getting a hug and a tummy rub from Val.
“When are you due?” He asked cheerful.
“New year, one more month to go yet. When did you guys get back and why are you not singing out there where everyone can hear you? Our choir could use you.” Serine winked and hinted blatantly.
“I think we’re on holiday this time around.” Val said turning to Beau who nodded.
“Not this time, we’re just back for the season.” Beau said still playing softly in the background.
“What a shame. God you all look fabulous, it’s been what? Five years now?” Serine asked and Eran nodded.
“Exactly.” Cris grinned
“You still have hair I’d kill for you bastard.” Serine teased and Cris chuckled. “Well I’m ruining your concert with my interruption. Please carry on, what on earth are you singing though? I never heard any of those.”
“Earth Winterfest songs. They call it Christmas there. You take my seat before you pop and listen.” Cris said vacating his seat for the extremely pregnant Serine as they carried on singing. Sometimes as a male choir, other times one or two, sometimes just Beau on the piano, Phineas was sitting on another Piano bench off to the side his eyes closed and enjoying every note.
He truly felt like he was floating on air, time stopped and just music mattered. All four men had voices that were otherworldly to Phineas. Val’s Bass, Eran’s Baritone, Cris and Beau took turns which one sang first or second tenor, they had the same rather large range so sometimes Beau took the higher, sometime Cris, it depended on the song. Beau had a clear tenor that was perfect like a bell and Cris had a harsher, dirtier grungy sound. Both brilliant and pleasing and they blended wonderfully. Phineas mused that Val and Beau sounded to him like the classical highbrow stuff they played in the Platinum Casino and Cris and Eran were like the rock rage stuff they played in the Diamond Casino. Both were great styles, but different in very unique ways. They’d probably laugh at him and his weak comparisons, but it was all he had to judge the sound by, he liked both and he wasn’t about to remind them about the time, he was enjoying this far too much.
Beau began playing traditional Pirotaine Winterfest tunes and soon the entire shop was singing, packed full of people elbow to elbow and overflowing with spirit. A young girl Phineas’ age was sharing his bench with him singing along with the others. She had a remarkable alto, powerful and she sounded much older than she looked. Her voice for her age was incredibly mature. She was as pretty as her voice. She looked a lot like Farin. She had a small frame and her jet-black hair was bone strait and hung down her back to almost her knees. It shone almost blue in the light of the window. Her eyes were upturned and almond shaped and the shade was remarkable. Ice blue with a ring of dark blue around the iris edge. Her skin was porcelain white and flawless.
Beau paused and singled her out. “You my dear are fantastic. Do you know “Oh Fair the Skies?” He asked and she nodded shyly.
“Please sing it, I must hear you sing it.” Beau said going into the song and she sang the verses as everyone joined her in the chorus. Phineas was enthralled.
As the song ended Beau stood and gave her a standing ovation. “If you tell me you are going to be anything other than a musician when you get out of school I’ll weep.”
She smiled demurely and nodded. “I want to sing.”
“You had better, that’s a god given gift you have share it with the world. What’s your name?”
“Romi Nguyen". I’m from Earth; I couldn’t believe I heard you singing all my favorites. My father is from Earth and Mama is from here. I was just a little girl when we moved here, but I have all those songs on disk from when I was little. You made me very happy, thank you.” She smiled and Beau immediately went into another Christmas carol.
“With your alto, tell me you know this one.” Beau began playing “What Child is This?” and Romi smiled.
“Which version? The Christmas one or the original “Greensleeves” that the carol was based on?” Romi asked and Beau grinned.
“Oh dear heart you must sing me both since I didn’t know there were two versions.”
Romi laughed and sang both. Beau had a new favorite singer by the end of the both versions. “I desperately want you to come visit, I must make a recording of your voice before we leave, you are a real gem my dear. I’ll make sure you have copies to give to your parents for Winterfest, you are marvelous.” Beau fawned giving her his communicator number. “Call me the minute you have a day to spend with me. I’m serious, I am going to just die if you don’t humor me.”
“He’s serious.” Eran chuckled. “He is insatiable when it comes to unique singers. You’ve just made his whole year.”
“I’m honored. I was thinking the same thing when I walked in here, can I sing a few with all of you? Papa would love some Christmas songs.”
“It’s a deal dear.” Beau handed her his number and Romi pocketed it.
“I have to go now, but I’m off school I can come tomorrow, I’ll call you with a time okay?”
Beau nodded and Romi scampered off.
“God, look at the time, we have only two hours left, we blew a lot of time in here, we should head out too or we’ll never get shopping done.” Beau said going over to the counter to buy guitar strings, which was what he came in for in the first place.
“Son, you are excellent for business. Come back ANYTIME.” The shop owner said handing Beau his strings.
“I will. This is my favorite store in town.” Beau said with a wink as the crowd broke up and the group was once more on their way.
Phineas was having the best day he’d ever had in his whole life. He couldn’t ask for anything more.
The next stop was the toy store Val and Cris went crazy buying toys for Tovi. Phineas christened his credit disk buying presents for his sisters and Tovi with Beau and Cris helping him and counting his credits for him since he was on a budget and he couldn’t add or subtract numbers yet. To him he knew three hundred to be a good amount but he didn’t know how much the smaller numbers took away from his balance. He knew he’d learn eventually, he wasn’t stupid and he was grateful for the discreet help.
The next store he purchased a beautiful scarf, hat and gloves for Mandy, he thought the bright red would look wonderful against her hair and skin, he thought his knew mother was one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen, he was used to women who had seen hard times and were so strung out on drugs that Pirotaine seemed to hold one gorgeous woman after another in comparison.
For Farin he bought a new robe and slippers. He would have to ask Mandy or Farin to bring him out shopping so he could buy for the rest.
As they were leaving to head back to the Restaurant they passed a stationary shop that had art supplies in the window. Here Phineas paused and looked into the window like he’d suddenly seen Nirvana. Cris nudged Beau and they both walked over to flank him.
“What’s caught your eye?” Cris asked and Phineas smiled.
“All of it. How much is paper?”
“What sort of paper.” Cris asked and Phineas shrugged.
“There are different kinds?” Phineas asked staring in the window.
Cris and Beau took his elbows and dragged him inside and down the paper aisle.
“Oh. My. God.” Phineas gasped, all the colors of the rainbow, all different textures and weights. He walked over to a rack of sketchbooks; even those came in all different sizes. He picked up a small book of plain white paper.
“How much is this?”
“Just this small one?” Beau asked turning it over to look at the price. “Two credits.”
Phineas smiled that he knew was not a lot. He could count to ten on his own. “Dare I ask about a pencil?”
Beau and Cris just laughed and took him down an aisle of pencils, again in every shade of the rainbow. “I’ve died and gone to heaven. But I’ve never used any of these before.” Phineas walked up and down the aisle until he spied a cup of plain pencils he was used to and selected one.
He spent all of two and a half credits on himself and he walked out with just a small pad and two pencils in case he broke one.
“Dare we ask what you are up to?” Beau asked as they walked the wharf.
“I like to draw. I’m not very good, but I used to steal the paper placemats from the Diamond Bar and use those. Paper like this I never got to use I want to draw on real paper for a change and not on the back of a cheap placemat.”
“What do you like to draw?” Cris asked as the Restaurant came into view.
“People, buildings, whatever. I never got a lot of time to do it, but I like it.” Phineas shrugged.
Eran and Val who had gone to drop off the bags at the shuttle met up with them at the Restaurant and found Mandy, Farin, Mary and the girls already had a table and waved them over as they entered.
They hadn’t expected Mary, but it appeared she’d gotten fed up with Jack and called Mandy and met the rest for dinner instead of going skating.
The menus got handed out and Phineas turned to Mandy with a plea on his face, there were no pictures and even if he could read, he’d have no idea what any of it was. “Mom? What should I have?”
“Do you like fish?”
“Never had it. I’ll eat whatever, I’m not picky I’ve liked everything you gave me so far, except the mocha thing earlier.”
Mandy chuckled. “No mocha here, no worries. I think you’d do well with some grilled white fish steak with drawn butter and rice pilaf. The protein is good for you and the starch in the rice will help your sugar level. You’re just a tad low, but then you’ve not eaten in a while and you’ve been walking about all afternoon.” Mandy said and Phineas nodded.
Erin and Tovi were sitting beside him and he noticed they had crayons and were coloring the pictures on the child placemats and he grinned and watched them color Tovi looked up and handed Phineas the blue crayon. “You color my flower? I like how you color.” Phineas nodded and took the crayon and leaned over her shoulder and colored the flower, taking up the purple to give it a variegated texture then the brown and green came next for the foliage and shading. With just a few blunt crayons he made the flower pop off her placemat then handed her the crayon back.
“Me too! Me too!” Erin said shoving her placemat at Phineas. “I wanna red one!”
Phineas chuckled and colored hers like a sunset in Red, yellow and orange.
“Wow, that’s really good for just crappy crayons.” Cris said watching Phineas color.
“The Emerald Casino used to toss out all their blunt crayons from their restaurant, I used to bring them back for Tovi. She liked ‘em.”
“Phineas used to draw me pictures and I’d color them. He colors better but he let me.”
“I wanna color a picture, will you draw me one?” Erin asked and Phineas smiled and took out his new pad of paper as they waited for their meal.
“What do you want me to draw?” he asked taking out his pencil.
“Okay.” Phineas chuckled, thankfully he’d drawn cats a lot, there were a lot in the alleys near where he and Tovi had lived. He drew a simple tabby washing her face with her paw. A simple quick sketch and then tore it out of his book and handed it to Erin.
“That was lovely and it took you like a minute. What can you do when you really try?” Mary asked leaning over Erin’s shoulder to look at the picture. Phineas shrugged.
“Can you draw me something?” Mandy asked and Phineas smiled.
“What do you like?”
“Surprise me. I’d love a picture you put thought into, those are priceless.”
Phineas nodded and set down his book and pencil as dinner arrived. He’d think of something and make it one of her Winterfest presents.
Cris and Beau exchanged devious looks, they knew which store they were heading back to before Winterfest. Phineas had a hidden and under-nurtured talent after all, they were going to encourage it with enough art supplies to make the budding artist pass out in ecstasy.
It was their first glimpse of the inner Phineas, the part of himself that he kept guarded. Everyone had something they liked to do. Beau had his music, Cris had his music and computers, Val had his antiques and tinkering with gadgets, Eran loved to read, Mandy liked to cook, Farin liked old movies, it appeared Phineas liked art. They would give him the means to take his joy and build upon it.
The meal had several adults pondering gift ideas, Phineas was relishing his meal, he’d never had fish before and this was something he really enjoyed. He even had a glass of that red pop he’d said he’d liked and the waitress kept refilling it. He was in heaven, he’d never eaten in a restaurant, his new experiences kept filling his day, and he never ever wanted it to end.