Interlude: An Artistic DemisebyJames Cody©
Under the glaring lights that flooded the stage, he sat at the looming dark beast's jagged maw. His calling was to soothe the beast and make it sing. He guided his long fingers across the cool surfaces of its still ivories and peered at the exposed filaments that characterized the anatomy of its specific voice.
Onlookers observed him, quietly noting the care he took before challenging them to hear the raucous wail of the black piano. On a sudden impulse, he cast a glance at the audience, meeting patient eyes and expectant brows -- he scanned them till he saw her. Nadya. Her eyes were calm, her hands resting on her lap. He then closed his eyes and allowed his instinct to rise -- the walls of the velvety concert hall rang vibrant with the initial call resonating from the elaborate instrument. Again and again his long, strong but elegant fingers found the patterns to make the piano sing with flourishing explosions of sounds mingled with somber and quiet interludes of pensive notes.
Nadya. That she would have contacted him after a 10 year separation filled him with a contradictory mix of joy and fear. How dare she find him after turning her back on him when he told her he loved her!
The ring of the piano now struck at the audience with unabashed violence; the conflicting highs and lows were melodic but jarring to the ears of the spectators who had always known him to be a calm, logical and controlled pianist.
Nadya. They had entered the School of Arts at the same time -- both in their early teens. He was a musical prodigy while she was the grace of dance incarnate. The first time they ever actually interacted was at the end of the first year and artistic fate threw them together where they had to create a moment of music and dance within a week. Their performance was legend even to this day.
Sound rippled through the audience as his fingers slowed their manic pace, seeking to quell the madness of his initial aural onslaught. He subjugated the listeners with a series of floating notes, each held like a loose leaf lifted by an autumn breeze.
Nadya. During their second year they had been inseparable. Each moment between classes was an orchestrated interlude where they discussed the intricate nature of art and how it was the manifest of humanity's transcendent nature. They talked about the future. They talked about their pasts. By year's end, he had told her he loved her. But she left the school and he never heard from her again. Until today.
The walls of the concert hall reverberated with the piano's interpretation of his passions and turmoils. His collar stood undone while perspiration sprinkled the ivories of the battered instrument. The audience erupted in applause and tears as their own emotions -- sadness, fear, anger, frustration, desire, melancholy -- swelled and added chorus to the finishing notes of his performance.
"Nadya." He worded her name as he pushed himself from the piano. The instrument writhed in sympathetic vibrancy under the weight of the audience's applause. The vibration spread through the stage floor and up his legs, filling him with a rapturous joy he had rarely felt since the first time he played for Nadya. He lowered his head in humility but peered at the crowd from beneath his furrowed brow. Nadya shined through them with the characteristic charisma that had initially drawn him; an easy smile swept across her Polish-Chinese features. He noted how her wide smile sept up toward the strong cheekbones that denoted her Eastern-European heritage, while he envisioned the almond shaped eyes hooded by reddish blond hair he once hoped look upon every morning.
After a few languishing minutes, the raucous crowd hushed. He saluted them with a victorious wave and leisurely exited stage left.
"My god, Aaron," his manager said as she pushed his long, dark brown hair back behind his ears to better look into his deep blue eyes. "I've never seen you play so ... so ... alive."
Aaron Cain examined his manager -- his mother -- intently, but was then momentarily lost to the blue eyes she shared with him. "That was her, mom. All her. She's always been the key."
"I see that now, how you feel about her. I never knew before."
He took a deep breath. "I'm not sure I know how I feel. Is she here?"
"Your dressing room."
He found Nadia sitting on the old sofa bracing the wall opposite the dressing room door. She had paused from sipping from the bottled water she had helped herself to -- Aaron stared blankly as the door he had opened with excessive force swung back in his face. But under the weight of her hypnotic brown eyes, he held the door open, slipped past the threshold and floated into the dressing like he entered a dream. She watched him as he carefully navigated the room, taking care to remove his jacket and hang it with diligence. His actions were measured and refrained, betraying the fear he felt that any brusque action would cause her to dissipate like some meager illusion.
"Aren't you going to say hello?" she asked wistfully.
"That would be a rather clichéd way to start this off now, wouldn't it?" Aaron commented as he went over to the small fridge next to the sofa and pulled out a bottle of water. He hoped the cool liquid would drown the edge in his voice.
"Well, clichés are like stereotypes -- they're rooted in truths and standardized social models," she claimed with a certain detachment. She took another sip of water while Aaron stared at her and she uncrossed her long, toned legs.
Aaron dropped onto the sofa next to her and lowered his face to his hands and shook his head. Within moments his exasperation mutated to desperate laughter and he threw his head back, allowing his chuckles to resonate in the small room.
Nadya put the bottle down and laid a delicate hand on his knee. Aaron covered her hand reassuringly, and when she saw the apparent joy he felt at seeing her, they toppled into each others arms for an embrace born of ten years of separation.
"Nadya ... where have you been? Ten years and suddenly a letter telling me you're coming to my performance?!" he hissed and suddenly shot up away from her arms and faced his rage and desperation in the mirror. Her reflection stared up at him as he fought to steady his ragged breathing. "I've seen you dance, I don't know many times ..."
"I know. I knew you were there but, I was ashamed."
Aaron turned to her and fell to his knees in supplication. "What do you mean, ashamed? Of what?"
Nadya cupped his face and he watched a tear run freely down the soft skin of her cheek. "What I'd done to you. Leaving you without saying goodbye. Leaving without telling you."
"Without telling me," he said, letting the words fall away while wiping her tear with his thumb. "There was nothing to tell. I told you I loved you and you left. Actions speak louder than words, you know."
"Actions. Words. They don't mean a damn thing without a context to frame them. Do you know how terrifying it can be to be loved by someone who has the utmost respect for you? It was easier for me to escape than to risk making any mistake that could make you lose respect for me.
"Aaron -- I do love you. But if I'd said it, it meant I'd committed myself to being perfect. I don't have that kind of strength."
"I never wanted you to be perfect," he said as he stood and leaned against the dresser. "Just you being Nadya was enough for me. How could I have loved perfection? I knew I was never going to be perfect -- I never wanted that from you. What I loved is how you made me want to be better. You were in the audience tonight and I played better than I have in years."
She stretched to her full 5'5 inch frame and drifted to the wall, her fingers lingering across its embossed surface. Aaron's eyes swayed across her toned physique, admiring how her strength of will incarnated itself in a body forged of passion and dedication. Thought she exuded the explosive power her dedication to dance had granted her, Nadya had lost none of the language of femininity: curvaceous hips and a rounded posterior, raptured in the bliss of movement; her B cup breasts stood firm and proud against the silk fabric of her simple, white summer dress. Her nipples punctuated her fear and trepidation. But Aaron was stricken by the pallid tint of her skin despite the stirring in his trousers.
"I saw -- I heard," she whispered. "I was proud of you tonight. Just like I was proud of myself when I knew you were in the audience and I felt I was dancing just for you. "
"See?" Aaron almost shouted as he griped her shoulders. "If we'd been together, who knows how far we could have gone? The beauty we could have created? There's so much beauty we can create now."
"I wish I had more time," she whispered as she pressed her head against his thick shoulder, the musculature strangely reminiscent of the strength of the music he created.
"What? Are you trying to torture me, just showing up and then disappearing again?"
"That's not it," she whispered while she pushed him aside and went back to the sofa." I'm sorry -- that's not it." Nadya cradled her face in her hands as she rested her elbows on her knees. "I wanted to ask you -- to tell you and to ask you ..."
"Aaron. I'm dying. I have a few months at the most. I didn't want to leave this place without feeling your touch." She faced his incredulous eyes. "I want to love you -- to dance to your music and make love to you at least once, while I'm still strong. After that it doesn't matter when I die, but I need to do this before it happens."
"Cruel -- that's what you are," Aaron grimaced as he backed away from her and fell against the wall and slid slowly to the carpeted floor. Color drained from his soft-spoken features while his blue eyes glazed over. "You leave me when I claim my love for you -- now you tell me you want to love me but I have no choice but to watch you disappear. Death shouldn't have made you crueler than life."
"Aaron, I ..."
"No. No more words. No more excuses. You're dying, I'm sorry -- I won't be your redemption."
He gestured to the dressing room door, his outstretched arm strangely strong and rigid like the frozen limb of an ancient stone carving. "Please. Leave. Switch off the light on your way out. Please."
Nadya stood, wavering lightly under his cool refusal, studying his frozen features. They had lost their gentle countenance. As she passed him she looked down as a single tear dived from from her cheek to his skin. She quietly exited the dressing room, fulfilling his wish by switching off the light -- but before she closed the door on his darkness, she heard a delicate sigh.
Nadya slammed the door with a hush.
Aaron stood on the stage, his eyes bearing down on the piano he had made love to only hours before. But in his mind's eye, his fingers had been moving to and fro on Nadya's lithe form. The keystrokes were the notes of her pleasure while her moans where the melodies of the piano and the crowd was the heavens bearing witness to his passion for her.
But now there was only a hole. She had come to him for solace, to offer him the final sparks of life she still held so they could experience what had been so long denied.
But he cast her away.
He had accused her of cruelty. He had pointed her in the direction of a lonely death.
Aaron felt a fool. He sat at the piano but when he reached for the ivories, a sudden chasm opened in his mind and he fell there -- a sudden spasm racked his body and he violently pushed away from the instrument. That was all he saw: an instrument. No passion. No drive. No Nadya.
The hole grew deeper and he understood then that it was not the prospect of Nadya's death that had burrowed it in his being, but his surrender to the inevitability that with her death so did his passion die. What she had offered him was the chance to immortalize her and commit her love for him as a living memory. Nadya had offered him an anchor against the struggle of love and art and he had preferred to drift aimlessly in sad indifference.
Aaron was the cruel one -- to himself and to Nadya.
He tore from the stage to his dressing room; he turned over every article he found till he discovered the letter she had written with delicate calligraphy -- in his turmoil the letters appeared to dance an elusive choreography meant to bewilder his search for the address of the hotel she had booked for the weekend of his performance. He took a deep breath to steady his hallucinations and he looked over the letter again; the address and the room number were now clear and present.
The Glenngrove's hotel was an ode to Art Deco. Aaron walked the hallway to room 1408 with a hesitant pace, pausing between fear that Nadya would refuse to see him and admiration for the arches and chevrons that marked the separation between the rooms. The walls themselves were lacquered with frescoes of tilted diamonds and tethering triangles of explosive reds, greens, yellows and assorted vivacity. This was the only place she could have stayed.
He followed the labyrinthine map supplied to him by the hotel auditor who had graciously allowed him in following a generous monetary reparation. It was the path that lead to the studio Nadya had commandeered. Studio 1408.
Upon his arrival, Aaron was again thwarted by a doorway separating him from Nadya. But it allocated him time to witness as she stretched her longs limbs to the sound of piano music and strings; he admired how her chiseled musculature rippled and undulated beneath her supple skin. Her hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail and she wore a black, sleeveless spandex top and matching leggings that stopped a few inches above her knees. On the mirrors that lined the wall he noticed the exaggerated strain on her face and the fatigue that taunted her body. He struggled with the thought that such beauty was condemned to an ephemeral passage.
The music was loud enough to drown his opening of the door and he recognized his music blaring from the iPod stand on a small table at the other end of the studio. Aaron roamed his eyes across the elements populating the creative space: an upright piano, a drum set and a series of exercising increments.
Nadya completed 2 pirouettes before realizing Aaron was standing by the music player, watching her. She froze and just stared at him blankly.
"Aren't you going to say hello?" he asked, echoing the first remark she made when he found her in his dressing room.
She took a tentative step towards him. "You're doing in clichés now?"
"It's the second time I walk in on you. A cliché was deemed appropriate."
"Aaron," she started, taking a second step closer. "Those things you said, I deserved them."
"I love you."
"I know but ... I am cruel. I had no right to impose on you ..."
Aaron moved forward and swept her up in his arms and pulled her close, crushing her to his chest. "No. No forgiveness. No regrets. Just love. Just art. Just us."
"Aaron." It was a sigh.
For Aaron, time slowed as the room melted away and Nadya's presence flooded his reality. His nostrils trembled under the aroma of her sweat and desire; his eyes surrendered to her desperate glare; his skin prickled as her pert nipples pressed into his chest; his ears rocked with the mingled pounding of their entwined hearts.
And finally his mouth -- it filled with the violent presence of her tongue as their lips connected in a storm of unleashed passion. Years of denied emotions translated into a kiss where their tongues sought to show each other the depth of the longing that had buried itself in the fabric of their being. As they pressed deeper into each other, they whispered their names like a hallowed prayers to sanctify a union too long denied. His flesh tingled as Nadya tangled her fingers in his long, dark brown hair; his lips moved from her mouth to forge a path across her cheeks to anoint her earlobes with his tongue -- she giggled before a startled moan gripped her throat when his teeth grazed the delicate skin of her long neck.
Aaron's breath became a succession of rapid exhalations when Nadya harshly pulled at the silk white shirt that was a hallmark of his performances. His heart pounded when her long nails dug into the firm muscles of his back and he felt the wet, serpentine voracity of her tongue tatter his neck. He responded by sliding his hands down her back with deliberate slowness, ensuring she knew that his fingertips enjoyed her sensual delicacy till he reached her firm derrière and he drew her against the rooted hardness of his sex.
"Oh, I want that," Nadya whispered with light-headed glee as she ground her Mons Veneris against his loins. "But there's something I want to do even more."
"Yeah. I want to dance for you -- I want you to play just for me."
Aaron eyes narrowed as he remembered how tired she appeared before he entered.
"Don't worry," she assured him. "With you here, whatever's killing me will just have to take a backseat."
Aaron smiled at her determination and walked awkwardly over to the piano, his erection interrupting his usually fluid gait. He ran his fingers over the cool wood surfaces of the standing instrument and relished the aged aspect of the keys -- it had been an instrument that had been played and had lived. It reminded him of the one he played when he first saw Nadya.
"Wait a minute," he muttered when he noticed the carvings on the seat. "Nadya, is this...?" he began to ask when he turned to her after realizing she had turned off the music player -- his voice caught in his throat as Nadya proceeded to remove her top and was sliding her leggings down her beautiful legs.
"The one from college. I bought a few years back when they were closing. I keep it here so I have a connection to you when I'm alone."
Aaron just stared at her, awestruck by the porcelain beauty of her pale skin -- what he had felt earlier during their kiss and what he had conjured in his mind over the years was now a solid presence. At the meeting of her legs he saw a lithe strip of reddish pubic hair and he followed it to the exposed, pouty, rose colored lips of her pussy. He then drifted his eyes to her equally rosy nipples -- they were small and erect, the crowning centers of her reddish aureoles.
"You did realize you were going to see me naked tonight, right?" Nadya asked with a mischievous gleam in her hooded eyes.
"What's a realization when faced with reality?" Aaron retorted. "But I thought gratuitous nudity was for later tonight."
"I want us to be pure when we play -- unfettered by clothing or restraints. Pure thought and body acting as one."
With that signal, Aaron stripped of his shirt. He was by no means an epitome of physical perfection that transcended the ages but he was proud of his broad shoulders and defined chest. He realized Nadya's eyes had locked onto his reflection -- through hers he saw that she licked her lips as she gazed over his toned body; he felt the veil of hair that covered his chest and arms bristle at her intense inspection. After his shoes and socks came off, he distinctly heard a gasp as he pulled off dark slacks and silk boxers -- his wolfish erection stood before him, bobbing up and down like a predator seeking scent of its prey while he moved to toss his clothing in a corner. He watched as Nadya observed him -- Aaron measured almost 6 feet tall and was blessed with long, thick fingers that would have been as comfortable swinging an ax as playing the piano. This sense of length was sown across his face, with a long, aristocratic nose and a strong, cleft chin. Length and thickness characterized his 8 inch cock.
"You know I want that!" Nadya exclaimed as Aaron turned his rigid protuberance in her direction and she pulled herself away from his reflection. "What were you saying about reality?"