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Hey readers! I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a perspective story. I’ve seen a few other writers do it and I love reading them. So after reading this one, make sure you check out Perspective: His.
As always, feedback and comments are welcome. Thanks for reading!!
I looked myself up and down in the mirror, “This is silly, Maxine. Pull yourself together,” I sighed, talking to my reflection.
The annual Valentine’s Day couples dinner was in full swing and I was supposed to be in the church hall already. I had performers that needed me. The dinner was a big deal for most of the church congregation and the nervousness of everyone who had volunteered to sing was bound to be crippling. I was the accompanist. I was my duty to hold their hand and help them power through the stomach butterflies. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the bathroom.
I had seen him walk in with his grandmother on his arm and it was the most adorable thing ever. The gray haired woman strode proudly next her grandson, a look on her face that I hadn’t been there since her husband died last year. It was obvious how much she had wanted to come to the couples dinner tonight and even more obvious how thankful she was to have a good hearted grandson.
She’d been talking about it for weeks, and me being responsible for brewing the tea for fellowship every Sunday afternoon, I had heard each loving word. They were spot on, too. Her grandson was a looker. Tall, with a trained build and tonight he sported a perfectly fitted white dress shirt and slacks. If I had heard right, he was single and just turned twenty-five. A little older than me, but well within the parameters of an acceptable age variance I thought.
It was incredibly foolish of me, and I knew it, but I wanted him. I knew he was to be the only other single person here tonight and the stupid Cinderella like story line had been playing in my head since I knew he was coming. My last boyfriend had unceremoniously dumped me a year ago, and after that night, I had only dreamed that a man could bring me pleasure. But true to every pitiful stereotype befitted to girls my age, I dreamed that Geoff could be that man.
For weeks, I pined for him not knowing what he looked like, what he sounded like, but yearning for him. It was stupid. I was stupid. This was a fucking fairy tale and I needed to let it go. He wasn’t going to see me from across the room and immediately want me. In my skirt and sweater, my hair in a tight little bun, I looked like a church mouse. He wasn’t going to approach me and grant me any sort of kindness. I was a complete stranger and a nerd at that. And most of all, he wasn’t going to take me home and ravish me until I shook in his arms. That was impossible.
So I straightened my posture and patted away the wrinkles on my sweater. I pointed at my reflection, “Get your head out of the clouds, you fool. There’s a show to put on and people need you.”
I exited the restroom and Pastor Mike was already on the stage greeting the dinners as they snacked on dessert. As I found my way to my seat wondering just how long I had been in the bathroom, it was as if the world was mocking me. There was Geoff, standing by the dessert table, innocently chewing on one of the brownies I had baked for the event. I smiled and tried hard to look away. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and he looked like he was really enjoying that brownie. I snapped my stare away and rose to my feet upon hearing Mr. and Mrs. Perry talking into the microphone. They were the first to sing this evening and I was supposed to be at the piano already.
Thank goodness for the great comfort that comes from sitting at the piano. I relished the safe feeling that I get every time my fingers grace the keys. Though the surroundings may be different, the piano is always the same. My eyes wonder about the room, but the keys never change and the notes are always there for me. As of late, that piano had been the thing that I clung to in my horrid loneliness and self-denial.
The Perry’s sang, as well as the other four performers I had on the set list for the night. I prided myself in being the best accompanist I could be and while each of them sang their love out for the world to hear, I carried them. I brought them to each crescendo and held them until the fermata passed. The years I had spent padding my fingertips along the ivory gave me the ability to instantly bend and change the measures when someone came in too early or missed their cue completely. Every song sounded perfect to the audience despite the many mistakes the performers and I knew had been there. I was damned good at my job.
The night had fell into the usual state it always did. The couples danced and socialized, eventually leaving to tend to whatever plan lay solely for the company of each other. I had made my rounds congratulating each one of my performers and assuring those ankara eryaman escortlar who still seemed rattled by their performance. It helped for a while to distract me from the stupid girly feelings that were bubbling up inside me.
I had wished all through the set list that maybe, just maybe, he was looking at me and not those whose voices graced the church hall. I prayed that he had some musical appreciation and would somehow be drawn to the little church mouse sitting at the piano. It was incredibly stupid that I craved the attention of a man who didn’t even know me from any other girl on the street, but my fairy tale had rooted itself too deep. It was after nine, when the dwindling of the crowd became noticeable and he was nowhere to be found.
“Max?” a voice I knew to be from Pastor Mike came from behind me. “What’s eating you?”
I sighed. I definitely did not want to discuss the ridiculously unfounded disappointment I was going through. “Nothing,” I lied.
He sat at the empty table with me and we watched many members on the congregation say their goodbyes. “I remember being single on Valentine’s Day,” he whispered. “It was always torture.”
I turned to give him a sad smile. “You can say that again.”
“I can offer you my son for company?” he nodded to the left side of the room where his three year old was sneaking another brownie from the dessert table. Pastor Mike watched as his son filled his mouth with the brownie, getting copious amounts all over his face and fingers. “Although, I can’t say that’s a face anyone would want to kiss.”
I laughed, watching the three year old lick his fingers and run off to find some other form of entertainment. “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll be fine, really.”
Pastor Mike stood up and sighed. “It’s hard now, but you’re an amazing young lady and there’s sure to be some amazing young man that can’t wait to get a hold of you. Patients, Maxine.”
I smiled though the pity in his words cut deep. Why did I need consolation? There was a surge of emotions in my head and I needed to work them out. “Why don’t you take your family home? I can lock up the church.”
He gave me a confused look, but noticed my fingers twiddling around in my lap. “Ah, you want to practice,” he nodded in approval. “Well, I’ll leave you to it then. Have a nice night.”
There were a few bodies moving around in the hall, cleaning up and gathering tables together, but I was sure none of them would mind. It wouldn’t be too long before they were gone and if I was already playing I wouldn’t have to say anything about why I didn’t have a date to get home to. I took the two stairs up to the small stage and blinked away tears as I greeted my closest friend.
I wouldn’t need my sheet music. I knew what to play. I ran my fingers along the keys falling into the comfortable two-four melody of my favorite composer. The five sharps had once been extremely difficult for me to wrap my head around, but now they came naturally. Every note had been etched into my soul through years of playing it and at once I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort.
I began silently asking my piano, asking Chopin all the questions that had been plaguing my mind all night. What was it about this stupid holiday that made me all emotionally crazy? What was it about that guy that I wanted so much? Did I really want him or would I have settled with any decent looking man that took interest? No, that one I knew the answer to.
I fell into the second portion of the piece with the small runs coupled with the triplets, sextuplets, and leaps abounding in the bass. I wanted Geoff. I remembered the way his dark brown hair would have been just long enough to run my fingers through, and the way he looked once his shirt sleeves were rolled up. How content he had looked nibbling the brownie I had made. Would men ever understand the little things that drove woman crazy? I excitedly ran through the heart of the piece, past the fortissimo and into the finger blurring embellishments that marked the much needed return into the first movement of the piece.
Thank God, for they composition style of Chopin. Not done with my thoughts, I sank back in to the beginning of the piece, perfectly able to loop the ends together as if Chopin knew that I would need to play more. My friends and I, the piano and Chopin, were having a wonderful time and I was beginning to feel much better about my predicament. With every note, they assured me it would me alright and I closed my eyes and listened to their assurance gratefully.
“Whatcha playing?” an unfamiliar voice tried to interrupt. I was used to this. When I got particularly emotional it echoed in my playing, making me sound five times better than I would normally be.
“Nocturne in F sharp major. It’s Chopin,” I replied as if the interruption had never taken place. I assumed it was a church member lingering around. They would go away as soon as they realized I didn’t want to be escort etimesgut bothered. They always did.
“It’s nearly as beautiful as you.” The unfamiliar voice seemed to radiate an admiration unlike anything I’d heard before and it caught me off guard. I mucked up the peddling and stammered through the next few notes. What on earth just happened? I’ve always had the ability to play through any conversation. What did he just say?
I had to say something back, but no matter what I thought to say, it all seemed foolish. “I don’t believe we’ve met.” I turned my attention back to the comforting sight of my fingers. What a fool I was.
“And yet, I’m fascinated with you,” the voice sighed gently.
That was the icing on the cake. I’m sure Chopin was turning in his grave and the sound of my mucking up the beautiful nocturne. I had to stop playing altogether. I turned on the bench to face the one person in the world who had been able to faze me and my breath caught.
“My name, your highness, is Geoff, and what might I call you?” He made a show of bending at the knee and extending his hand. It was like all those historical movies where they made a dramatic display out of meeting someone pertaining to royalty. It was very cute and he had me hook, line, and sinker.
I had no choice but to smile and play along. “You may call me Max, for my name is Maxine.” I set my hand in his palm and waiting for the inevitable squeeze I was sure he would give, but apparently we were referencing different movies. He held my hand and bent to grace his lips to my fingers. For a pianist, that’s and extremely romantic thing to do. My stomach did flips and I struggled to keep a gasp from escaping my lips.
He continued with such a tremendous loveliness, “My fair Max, what marvelous talent you have. You have won my heart entirely at the grace of these magnificent fingers.”
“Oh really?” I giggled back helplessly. There was no way I was going to stay calm after he just kissed my hand, but I was going to do my best to be coy at least. “Such a strange thing to love my fingers. Are you quite sure you love them?”
“Don’t you already know, your highness?” With my hand still in his grasp, he bent a knee on the small stage and brought my wrist to his chest, placing it over his heart. I felt his rampant heart thumping relentlessly and my swoon was inevitable. He gave me a look of mock hurt continuing on, “Surely you can feel my love for you,”
“Whatever should we do, my lord? I fear your poor heart cannot take much more.” I couldn’t help myself. Maybe it was basic biology kicking in. The place over my heart was soft and squishy but the place over his was firm and muscled. I felt like he was some strong knight beneath my finger tips and I really enjoyed it. I felt no shame taking it a step further and tracing small figure eights on his chest.
“Tis but one thing to do, my lady,” He stepped up the rest of the way on the stage and to my disappointment removed my hand. “You must continue playing until I am affected no longer.”
“Oh, I’ll play alright,” I thought to myself turning my attention back to the keys. I settled back on the same nocturne, hoping that I could keep my fingers in line this time. I couldn’t believe the same guy I had been hopelessly pining over was standing over my shoulder wanting to watch me play. I’ve had people watch me play before, sure, but this was different.
He was a gentleman and kept a step behind me, probably figuring that he didn’t want to scare me or anything. I was amused at the thought and felt brave all the sudden. I scooted to the right side of the bench, attempting to do something I hadn’t ever done before. “Sit with me,” I beckoned dropping the little game we’d been playing.
His thigh was pressed against mine as I figured it would be, but it felt so much more natural than I had anticipated. I knew he’d feel great, but not having full range of the keys I would’ve thought it to be uncomfortable. To my surprise, he was very respectful and sat back, allowing me as much access as he could while complying to my request. It was wonderful and good heavens he smelt fantastic.
“I don’t think I could ever put into words how exquisite your playing is,” He barely whispered, his eyes never leaving my increasingly anxious fingers. “I feel very privileged sitting up here with you.”
I released a nervous laugh and afforded him a nudge, “Don’t be silly. I’m not that great.” One thing was for sure, I needed a simpler piece to play. There was no way I could keep up in six sharps at the rate my heart beat was pounding in my chest. I decided on a little rondo that I could repeat as much as necessary without much thought. I started thinking about what he said as my struggle to play Chopin faded. “Although, I haven’t ever permitted anyone to sit next to me while playing before, so I guess that would be a privilege.”
“So why am I up here then?” he asked quickly, batıkent escort keeping his tone even.
Once again, I struggled to keep my composure in his presence. I couldn’t lie to him, talk to him, and play the piano at the same time. Balancing the latter two had already proven itself to be quite difficult. “Did you ever imagine something completely farfetched, but still want it to happen?”
He sighed, “I know the feeling.”
“Well, your grandmother talks about you often and always fondly. She and I aren’t super close or anything, but word gets around and I always thought you sounded nice.” I was trying my best not to sound like the needy little girl that I knew I must sound like. The admission was going to make him leave. He was going to think I was crazy.
“Oh great, what did you hear?” He sounded worried and I understood. I would be worried too if someone had only known me from words of my grandmother. My grandmother describes me like I’m some virtuoso and that’s far from true. It wasn’t until that moment when I realized that some of the things I had heard his grandmother say might be a little stretched from the truth. I thought to hell with it. I was lonely and he was still sitting there, so why not? I could at least finish the conversation.
“It’s silly, but when I found out you were coming I realized that you and I were going to be the only single people here.” I could feel myself blushing as his eyes looked up at my face. This was embarrassing and I couldn’t believe that I was just going to tell him. “My imagination got carried away and I toyed with the idea of us being valentines. Weird right? I mean, I didn’t even know you, what you looked like, or even if you’d be interested in someone like me.”
His finger ran along my knee to the middle of my thigh, ending with his hand resting on my leg. I thought I was going to faint as all the feels in my body waved about within me like a tsunami. “Interested really isn’t the right word. It’s more like infatuated.” His voice was deep and a bit gruff, causing me to shiver. “I think being valentines is a wonderful idea.”
It had to stop playing. Even the simple little rondo had become too complicated for me to power through. I was astonished that after years of playing in all manner of environments, he defeated me. I was also very aware that the warmth of his hand felt like it was burning through the fabric of my skirt. All the sudden, like we were trapped in some romance movie, he moved his hand to my chin and brought my mouth to his. He paused inches from my lips and I could feel his arms snake around my waist and pull me in closer, but he still wasn’t kissing me.
Thoughts shot about my brain and ricocheted around, beating all the sense out of me. Why wasn’t he kissing me? Was I not good enough? Did he change his mind? The thoughts got louder and more desperate and I hadn’t even realized I started speaking out loud. “What’s wrong?” panic heavy in my voice, “You don’t want to kiss me?”
I searched his face for any clues as to why he just stopped so close of capturing my mouth. I fought hard to keep it all under control, but was losing. I felt mad that I had somehow thought he might actually want me and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Much to my surprise though, before any of those fragile drops could run down my cheeks, he kissed me.
Geoff was gentle and loving as his lips moved with mine. I had come to terms a long while a ago that being noisy was just a part of who I am from my piano playing to the way I moan in a lover’s embrace. My past boyfriend thought it was distracting, but even in the middle of the church hall, on a bench built for one, Geoff didn’t seem to mind. I lost myself in his tender embrace and molded myself against him. My arms found their way up around his neck and upon I opened my mouth to receive the attention of his tongue.
The kissed ended but he kept me against him. We looked at each other. I gave little thought to what he would say on account of what I was seeing. His limpid brown eyes bore into me with looks that I’d never received from any man before. I most certainly needed more.
I tried my best not to act a fool as I spoke, “I want to kiss you more, but not here.” My hand rose to his face and I traced the right side of his jaw with the back of my finger. “Would you mind taking me home?”
I was so glad he said yes. His eyes never left me as he followed me around the church, watching me lock everything up. He gently took my hand on the way to the car, making my heart skip a beat. I couldn’t wait to get home. The whole car ride over I was trying to thinking of ways I could draw it out and not tear his clothes off the minute we got inside the door.
With shaking hands I ushered him inside my apartment, immediately setting about my plan. My place was small and not much to look at, so watching him take it all in wasn’t necessary. There was nothing impressive about the mix matched furniture and I was anxious to get to the good stuff. I patted a spot on the couch, insisting he sit down while I found some music to put on. “Can I get you anything to drink?” I asked in attempts to be a good host.
“I’m good, but thanks.” His answer came slowly and I could feel his eyes on me.
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