Sitting at the piano, an instrument that had been so good to her over the years, it made her cringe to hear just how badly out of tune this one was. Thank God this isn’t mine; I wouldn’t even know where to find a good piano tuner. I wonder how many there really are any more anyways. It had always been a bitter resentment of hers that music was looked at to be a negative instead of a positive. It was a chore, a geeky hobby or worse, a place to cut a budget. They only time people really like music is when they blast what passes for music from the rolled-down windows of POS cars they basically used as compensation for all their shortcomings and inabilities.
I hate people she thought as she methodically began playing the same Hanon exercises she’d played every day since she’d begun taking lessons. Why is music the black sheep for everyone but pros? As the scales rang out, dissonant in some places due to the lack of tuning, all though of things outside the room melted away. She’d never really been good at composing but the music she played moved her enough to keep her happy. Be it narrow minded or cliché, Für Elise was still her favorite. And as she played, she swayed to the rolling of the melody almost becoming one with the keys.
As the last, dampened notes of the song began to fade a voice behind her made her jump. once again she had forgotten where she was and consequently, she had forgotten that she may not be alone. “You play beautifully. Have you studied long?”
Turning to the smooth, unfamiliar voice she answered, “Since I was nine. I’m a bit rusty though. I don’t get as much practice time as I’d like.”
She’d gone with a friend to the studios to listen to him record but as they were still working out the mixes on the sound board and the wiring of the amps there wasn’t much to watch. She’d wandered down the hall looking into the other studios and reading all the posters on the wall when she’s found this empty room and its lone occupant, this old Steinway.
“If that was rusty I wonder how you’d sound when well practiced.”
Smiling shyly she slid off the bench and started for the door. “I’m sorry, you probably booked this room. I shouldn’t be in here.”
His eyes widened slightly, was it shock? Surprise? Guilt? “No! Please, I interrupted you, don’t leave on my account. I do sometimes borrow this room, probably for the same reason you do, but I don’t have any official claim to it.”
He seemed sincere and he looked somewhat familiar but she couldn’t quite place him. Cautiously she said, “Well, I’d ask if you were sure but one of the reasons I’m not well practiced is because I don’t like playing in front of other people. I don’t want to ask you to leave, so it would be less awkward for me to.”
“I wish you wouldn’t,” he said softly. Looking down shyly, “I’d like to hear you play some more. I promise I’m not a difficult audience. Actually I’d like to play with you if I could.”
Seeing him look up at her with such soft inquisition made her blush. He was definitely attractive but until now she hadn’t thought much of it. Was he flirting? Men like him rarely if ever tried to flirt with her. Wondering why that was, she’d asked and been told repeatedly that she was intimidating, though she never understood that answer. Could he be attracted to me over my playing? She thought nervously.
Shaking her head a bit and looking down, she said with a shaking voice, “I’ve never played a duet before. Like I said I don’t really play in front of people.”
Smiling, he stepped towards her and spoke softly, “Neither have I. Maybe we could figure it out together.”
Stopping no more than a foot from her he offered his hand, smiled again and introduced himself, “I’m Rob by the way.”
Oddly unsure of herself, she felt her heart skip and seemingly stumble within her chest. Breathing nervously, shallowly, she realized she could smell him; and he smelled really, really good. Blushing again at the thought that she was taking forever to respond (although it was barely a second) she shook his hand a little spastically and stuttered a nervous, “Hi.”
Laughing a bit at her obvious unease he asked, “And your name is?”
“Oh! Uh, sorry. Andrea.”
“Well it’s nice to meet you Andrea,” he said placing his other hand over hers, trying to calm her jitters. Nodding towards the piano, he suggested, “Shall we?”
Still a bit red-faced, and still holding his hand she mumbled, “uh huh,” and walked back to the bench. “It’s a bit out of tune, but only in some places.”
“It always has been. No one ever really uses this room so they don’t bother tuning it. It’s only if someone specifically requests the use of the room and the piano that they’ll tune it. But even then money has to change hands.”
“I’m surprised they even bother to keep it here then.”
“The room itself doesn’t have upgraded sound equipment yet. Once they install new mixers they’ll renovate in here as well. Must make room for the electric musicians, you know,” he said with a wink. “So do you only play classical or do you know contemporary pieces as well?”
Easing a bit as she settled onto the bench where she felt comfortable, she said with a wry smile, “Define contemporary.”
Nudging her to slide over and sitting down beside her he smiled as well and began playing. She listened, a bit awkward with the closeness on the small bench. After a few minutes she realized she didn’t know the piece and shook her head, “Sorry, I’m not familiar with that one.”
“Probably. My definition of contemporary must be a bit broader than yours. I figure anything written this century qualifies,” she said laughing. “How about this? It’s still newer than Beethoven but I’m guessing it’s about thirty years older than that.”
As he slowly relinquished command of the keys she began the slow intro to one of her favorite songs. Having always been a fan of the Eagles it wasn’t long before she had tracked down the sheet music to Desperado and played it until she had not only memorized it but actually heard it in her dreams. As the song progressed, she closed her eyes and lost herself in it. Seeing her give way completely to the melody and recognizing the song instantly, he quickly found a harmonizing rhythm and followed her.
While the two of them played together, she sang the lead and he harmonized perfectly, the unseen audience within the sound booth watched and recorded. He was supposed to be recording for Rob solo but when they saw the girl in the room, Rob had told him to get her too. Neither of them recognized her but he seemed instantly smitten with her. Together they sounded pretty good too. Maybe this will work out for the kid in more ways than one, He thought.
Inside the booth, as the song came to a close, she slowly opened her eyes thinking the sexy, beautiful man named Rob had been a figment of her imagination. When she realized that he wasn’t, that he was actually sitting right beside her, smiling softly, his hands still resting gently on the now quiet keys she felt a shiver down her spine. Turning towards her he asked, “Why is it that you never play in front of people? Do you normally sing?”
“Oh no, definitely not, it’s just this song. And this booth. I forgot where I was. I also forgot you were here.
“Ordinarily I might be offended if a beautiful woman told me she forgot about me, but in this instance I have to say that I’m glad. You should forget about such meaningless things more often. The world is being robbed of your talent.” He leaned closer and whispered, “And your voice.”
“I don’t know about that. I really have a very limited range,” she said brushing her hair behind her ear. “Honestly, being female, I’m sure it’s not a good thing that I’m a sound-a-like for Don Henley.”
“You don’t sound like him; you just harmonize well with a male voice. It doesn’t make you sound masculine, if that’s what you think. On the contrary, you give the song an unrequited love feeling. The sound of a woman who’s felt the pain the song hints at.”
Appraising him, she was amazed that he heard the same thing she did. She normally fell under the impression that what she heard in her own voice was dry and flat. The affirmation from him, even though he was a stranger that she had no reason to trust, made her happy. She blushed again, smiling. “Thanks. I never would have really known that on my own I think.”
“Well, since you’re here now, what say we prove it? What other songs have you got in your memory bank?”
“Do you know Billy Joel? I can do Shameless.”
“Yes I believe I have heard that once or twice,” he said with a crooked smile.
They played together for another hour until she glanced at her watch and jumped off the bench. “Oh my god, I wasn’t even thinking about the time! I have to go, I was supposed to be down the hall watching John…” she trailed off as she tripped over a cord on her way to the door.
“Will I see you again?” he asked offering his arm while she stumbled.
“Um, I don’t know.” She answered, now beet red. “I don’t actually live around here.”
“Then maybe I could call you. You don’t live in Japan, do you?” he asked jokingly.
“No, just San Diego.”
“Really? Well that’s not so far away, I may even be able to come down and see you. If you’ll let me, of course.”
As she stared at him she looked into his eyes, looking for any trace of a lie, feeling defensive but still open. She wanted to see him again; he was cute and played the piano. He had the kind of voice she wanted to hear when she was having a bad day. “Yes.” She whispered, barely able to speak. He was so close to her now.
“Can I start with your phone number then?” he asked offering a pencil and a piece of sheet music.
She took it glancing briefly at the notes arrayed on the untitled work, and wrote her name and number at top. “It’s a cell phone so if I don’t answer you can leave a voice mail. I occasionally have bizarre hours.”
“I will. It was a pleasure playing with you Andrea. I do hope to see you again.” He took her hand and kissed it, opening the door of the booth with the other hand. Stepping into the darkened room with the mixers and couches he glanced around quickly to make sure they were alone. Letting out a breath, he walked her to the exterior door, still holding her hand.
As she stepped into the hall and turned to say her last good bye, he pulled her back into the darkness wrapping her arm around his back. As he brought his other hand up to brush her hair back with his fingertips he whispered, “I’m sorry, but I just wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I let you just walk away without having kissed you.”
Before she could respond, his lips were on hers and the feeling in her legs was gone. She couldn’t help it nor did she want to. She raised her free hand to touch his neck, her fingertips in his hair. As she touched him she felt him shudder and pull her closer. After what seemed like an eternity, he began to release her. Very slowly they parted just until they were able to look at each other straight both breathing erratically.
“You’d better get back to your friend; he’ll wonder where you are. I’ll call you.” He smiled, kissed her once more and let her go.
As she walked down the hall she felt dazed. She heard nothing, not even the voice of the friend she had originally come to hear. The rational part of her brain scoffed, like you’re guaranteed to see him again. Jeez, get a grip. If he calls then great, but don’t get your hopes up. She sat in the booth her friend was recording in and tried to focus but through the haze all she could see was Rob’s eyes. Shaking her head at the sound of her name she looked up to see everyone looking at her.
“Are you even here right now?” Her friend John asked. “Cuz I did ask you to come with me for this reason.”
“I’m sorry I was just day dreaming. What reason?”
Rolling his eyes and laughing he said, “What’s his name? Do I need to go find him and bring him in to get you to focus?
Eyes widening in embarrassment she stuttered, “What? Who? What are you talking about?!”
“Get up here and sing your part!” he said, still laughing. “I brought you here to sing, remember?”
“You never told me that! You know I don’t like to sing in front of people. Hell, you’ve watched me stumble over words playing Rock Band.”
“Okay well I’m telling you now, get over here and try to follow along.”
Grumbling, she got up from the squashy couch she’d been curled up on and slouched over to the second microphone and fixed her most penetrating glare on him. Looking at her and the angry face she made he bit back a smile and said, “You’ll be fine, try not to kill me.”
After a few hours the session ended. It only took a couple dozen takes to get everything in he’d planned but John seemed satisfied so Andrea was released. As she left, she paused ever so slightly at the room she had shared with Rob. She didn’t expect to see him but was still disappointed when she saw that the room was empty. Sighing she sulked down the last few meters of the hallway to the outside door. As she climbed in the cab of her truck she wondered again if she’d just imagined the whole thing.
Shaking her head to clear it for the drive home, she made a note in her planner of when John needed her back, grumbled and set to driving. Three hours, let’s just hope traffic is with me. She thought as she pulled away from the curb.
As she pulled into the parking lot of her apartment complex and killed the engine she began thinking of the following day. Back to the grind… It almost seemed surreal to think that just a few hours ago she stood in a recording studio next to a real live rock star, singing a duet and tomorrow she’ll go back to her normal day job. Oh but then there’s the romance in the empty studio. That was really hard to believe. She mused again over the familiarity of his face and thought briefly of trying to search him out on the web but decided against it since all she had to go on was a first name and a pair of gorgeous eyes.
My fantasy life is beginning to take over my better senses.. She thought as she checked the mail and trudged up the stairs to her apartment. Just a small one bedroom that she could barely afford on her own, it was what she called home. All the furniture therein was cheap second-hand and she loved it.
As she shuffled past the living room she stopped just long enough to check the CD in her player and, satisfied with the selection, press play. Going through the motions of unpacking she hummed and sang along with the songs. Absentmindedly, she placed her cell phone on the dresser and disappeared into her closet. After she unloaded her bag and started flipping through clothes for the following day her phone rang. Crap I forgot to call mom and let her know I was home. She thought as she ducked out the door and picked up her phone. Looking at the incoming phone number she decided against answering it since she didn’t recognize the number. Putting the phone back down on the dresser, she turned off the light in the closet and headed to the shower.
Stepping out of the shower, skin reddened from the heat of the water she walked back into her bedroom to get dressed. As she past her dresser she picked up her phone to call her mom. As she flipped it open she noticed she had a new voice mail. Cringing a bit, she connected and listened to the message. As the disembodied voice played, she sat on the edge of the bed, her legs going numb. She was in shock. That voice! It wasn’t just a silly fantasy, or dream! She played the message back three times before she fully believed it. “Andrea, it’s Rob. I know this may seem weird since we just met this morning and I guess there’s some rule about waiting two days but I couldn’t. I hope you aren’t turned off by this. I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about you. I’d really like to talk to you again so please, call me back when you’re not busy. If we don’t talk tonight, sweet dreams beautiful.”
It was real. She sat on the bed, dripping, trying to decide what to do. Ultimately she decided that she could at least call her mom.
Created: Jan 31, 2010Document Media