Gentle strumming and whispered words reverberated through the hollows of the art gallery. It wasn't something he'd written; it was something he overheard Riley listening to, and he'd worked out the chords in an afternoon. Colton was never able to practice there much, lest Giulio complain about the noise ruining his art, but when he was alone? The acoustics were lovely, and every chord seemed fit to shoot off the walls and ring out into the rafters above. Sometimes, his voice would pick up a little and boom over the worn strings before hitting a shaky note and lowering again timidly.
Colton wandered back and forth, lost in the sound of Riley's old acoustic. He wasn't especially great, and it desperately needed new strings, but he was at least able to get it in tune long enough to play it for a song or two. Colton didn't mind at all though; the weight bearing down on the strap against his shoulder and the pleasant scrape of the strings against his fingers soothed him. It kept his mind off heavier things, and he was learning quickly.
"How steady you bloom..."
Madeleine crept silently on tiny fennec paws through the west wing of the gallery. The sound of a beat-up guitar grabbed her big ears like little else. Such an odd, out of place sound for an art gallery, she thought. She was meant to be home by now, but—she had to know where the music was coming from first. Perhaps that meant being intrusive, but curiosity won out in the end.
"You left a bite I'd never seen before...and it was shaped like a moth wing..."
Colton didn't seem to notice her rustle behind a pillar holding up an overgrown fern. She could barely keep both her ears and her seafoam dress hidden behind that thing, but she tried her best. It wasn't so much the guitar she was curious about, but the bits of singing she heard in the release of the notes. It was a gentle voice, nervous and shaky even at a whisper. It fit his face, a young face, a slightly dirtied face.
One peek at it lead to another.
"Drawn like a moth to a flame..."
Madeleine was stuck. She wished not to spook him, but she was too fixed to stop peeking. Something about him made her intensely curious—his old, torn clothes, maybe, or the way he stared at the bridge of his guitar as his hands kept at it. That wasn't why she was so fixed, though. That—she couldn't quite explain.
As Madeleine moved back into her hiding spot, she leaned a bit too hard on the pillar. The fern wobbled, and Colton's eyes shot up to it. The last strum rang out and eerie silence followed.
Taking the quickest and most hidden route out of the foyer, Madeleine scampered down the hall, as quickly as her sickly lungs would permit. Colton wandered over to the pillar and checked around it, bewildered. He rested his arms on top of the guitar, and the thought of being heard pinched his nerves again.
Colton set the guitar down by the stairs up to Riley's loft before setting to leave himself. Giulio would be back soon anyway, he reasoned with himself.