Interlude: Night RhythmsbyJames Cody©
She walked down the path that lead around the lake in the centre of town. Her head hung low, her eyes falling away from fellow walkers that followed the same path she did. She was coming back from the her doctor's and cutting through the park -- the echogram had showed she was going to have a son. She had heard the heartbeat; seen the fuzzy outline draw itself on the machine's black and white screen; heard the doctor ask her if she wanted to know the sex of the foetus; seen her reflection in the aluminum frame of the overhead light as she answered yes.
She would have a son.
She held on to that future son as she stopped and stared out at the lake. The opposite shore was bordered with premium condos and apartment buildings and a golf course. A cool breeze blew from that side of the lake and carried the smell of bar-b-qs and the laughter of children and content parents. It was the vacation season in this part of the country. Her long, red hair floated in the wind -- dressed as she was in a white camisole and black capri pants she stood out like a melancholic candle caught in a dreamy draft.
On a bench just behind her he sat and deposited the guitar case he had been carrying to that very same spot for the last four months. He opened the latches and pulled out a worn instrument that had known many a dark night playing in smoky bars -- like its player. The smoke and vapours from the alcohol had subtly deepened the already rich sound the guitar generated. He tightened the strings and looked up at the passer bys. A few recognised him from past performances and had already dropped some coins in the open case. Then he saw her slender frame as she stood and looked beyond the water. He had noticed her the first day he played on his bench since she always strolled by 3 times a week with the same purposeful stride. He had seen her hair go from light blond to this dark shade of red. He had noticed her small breasts grow fuller and rounder with each passing week. And he had witnessed her belly grow bigger as the new life in it gained substance and presence. But he had never seen her so still or so sad -- her head leaned forward and she held her shoulders. The only movement he could notice was her hair in the wind and how it looked like some poor, beautiful beast longing to escape an untold fate.
Inspired by her pose, he plucked a few times at the strings till he struck the right cord and started to play a slow and mournful version of "Hotel California." Under his expert fingertips, the notes floated from the guitar and stroked the base of her neck and she slowly turned around to see who had tickled her.
His eyes were closed as he inhabited the music he was creating. She kept her hands around her shoulders as her hair now fluttered around her face -- she had glimpsed him a few times on her way to and from her doctor's, but she had never really noticed him, though his playing had always been a soundtrack to her walking. She took him in for the first time. He was obviously tall -- his shoulders were broad and his waist slender. Beneath his shirt his chest seemed powerful but not overwhelmed with muscles. His jaw was square and his cheek bones high, but his long brown hair, slender nose and full lips softened his otherwise intimidating features. And there were his arms: the tendons that controlled his fingers seemed to vibrate in sync with the song of the guitar.
He felt her eyes on him and opened his to match her gaze. He was struck by her intensity as she stood immobile and absorbed his music through her every pore. Her green eyes glowed from beneath partially closed eyelids. Her lush red lips quivered as she seemed to fight the delight she felt as she tried not to desperately surrender to his music. She raised her eyebrows and her high forehead seemed to frown in displeasure.
"Why'd you stop?" she asked suddenly and took a step towards him.
"The song was over," he said as he eyed an elderly couple who plopped a few dollars in his guitar case. He smiled back in thanks.
"Oh," she said and instinctively went to her purse and pulled out a 5 $ bill. "You play very well."
"Thank you," he said as she handed him the bill. Their fingers lingered a bit longer than necessary as he took the money. "Why're you so sad?" The words had escaped his mouth before the filter could kick in.
"That's ... not ... How'd you know?"
"It's classified. If I told you I'd have to marry you." He winked.
She paused after he said that.
She remembered the other man's face after she told him she was pregnant. His eyes had gone dull and he had turned to the window and sighed. He had merely picked up his coat and walked out the door of her apartment. She had watched him from her window as he went to his car, got in and drove away, never once looking back. She had tried his cell for a few days but he did not answer and then his number was no longer in service. At that point, she had decided not to pursue him -- she would not tun into one of those desperate women clinging to a man as a buoy. She would raise the child alone, secure in the thought that it would grow up a better person than either of its parents were. But it was so hard to face the prospect alone.
"Would you ..." she whispered as she lowered her eyes and noticed an ant walking over his sandled feet.
"Excuse me?" he asked, concerned at her sudden distance.
"Would you ... play for me tonight?" she asked as she adjusted her meaning and the hair from her eyes. The wind had died down and the air was still.
"I don't usually do private gigs."
"Maybe you'll learn why I'm sad. And I will pay you. What's your price?"
He stood and held out his hand. He was tall -- she was 5'9 and he stood nearly a head taller. "We have a deal. But the money's not the deal maker."
She took his hand and marveled at his long finger and how soft his skin was despite the callous from the playing. It occurred to her that other parts of him must be... long. She then reached into her purse and grabbed a pen and a business card. She jotted down her address.
"My name's Nola," she said as he read the address and pocketed the card. "Around 8 PM?"
"All right." He watched as she walked away with renewed purpose in her stride. She paused and looked over her shoulder.
"Ethan," he said. She nodded and walked away.
Nola could not believe she had been brazen enough to invite a stranger into her home to play guitar for her. Oil sizzled and the smell of garlic filled her apartment as she tossed thinly sliced strips of chicken in to the heated wok. The fowl cooked quickly in the aromatic canola oil -- she manipulated the strips with dexterity as she scooped them up and ensured they were evenly fried.
But there had been something about him. He seemed soothing. His music made her feel good and the way he looked at her -- she had not felt him staring at any part of her in particular, but he had taken in as a whole. She had felt the stir between her legs when they touched hands. That fire had not even flared once since the father had left. In her mind's eye she had seen herself forever a mother to be cared for and cajoled, the other facets of her femininity overshadowed. But the Woman was still there -- that part of her that desired to be touched and kissed and made love to. The pregnancy had anesthetized it for a while, she realised, till she came across someone who had the key to unleash it.
She dumped the meat into a plate and put the wok back on the burner and tossed in a combination of red peppers, oignons, water chestnuts and mushrooms.
What did she want to have happen tonight? Was he going to even come? He seemed genuinely interested. What was he going to play? She felt a shift in her womb as her son changed position. She disliked being racked with so many questions, but it was like this ever since she first learned of the pregnancy. It was difficult to live for the day when her actions could impact someone she did not even know.
Nola tossed the cooking vegetables in the air a few times and when they fell back in the oil she sprinkled chili powder over them.
She decided she would let the evening play itself out. She had no real control over the emotions she was feeling as she bounced from one extreme to another -- she had no control over what Ethan would expect if he showed up tonight. Her only wish was that she would not regret surrendering to the present -- though she did not really regret the last time she did.
She touched her belly and she dumped the cooked vegetables in the plate with the chicken. Her appetite was hearty as she wolfed the meal down. If the kid expressed this kind of appetite after birth, she was going to have to buy a cookbook for the healthy hedonistic gourmet.
"Ethan," she whispered. She still had nearly 3 hours to second guess herself, even though she realised she did not even get his number.
Nola had been watching the clock as it passed 8 PM when the doorbell rang. She stood, looked over her simple black slip dress, admired the cleavage the squared off collar displayed as well as the length of leg the short hem let show and answered the door.
"Hi," she said as she showed him in. She took a deep whiff of his clean smell as he walked past her. "You're almost punctual."
Ethan observed her from over his shoulder as he set the guitar case on the ground, admiring the class and simplicity of her dress. It had a smoky quality that flowed when she moved -- she was mysterious and sexy and she glowed -- she was beautiful. "You can't expect a pretentious artist to be on time."
"Oh. You're an artist."
He winked and laughed at her insinuation. Nola was distracted by the depth of his blue eyes -- she also enjoyed how his black silk shirt and loose black linen slacks hugged his tall, sinewy body.
Ethan looked around her apartment -- the front door opened onto a large room that was made up of both the living room and the dining room. In the left corner of the apartment was a fireplace surrounded by a system of shelves full of books and magazines. The shelves ended where the passage to the kitchen and bathroom opened. The living room started on the opposite side of the virtual corridor left clear for access to the kitchen. The living room was dominated by a large wall unit layered with cassettes and dvds. There were only a few pictures of what he took to be friends and family.
"You have a lovely apartment, Nola," he said as he sat on a couch. "And you look very lovely as well."
"Thank you," she answered as she took a seat in the chair facing the couch. She took a sip from the glass of water on the table next to her.
Ethan got up and walked over to her collection of cds. He saw Jazz, blues, some light rock, folk ... all the kinds of music to soothe the soul and spirit on a lost and lonely night. He glanced at her and noticed how intently she was watching him, following each nuance of his movements. He felt his eyes connect with hers and they roamed over each other's bodies. From her eyes he travelled to the deep crevice of he swollen bosom, across the expanse of her life giving belly to the soft skin of her long, slender legs.
Nola knew he was admiring her body as much as she admired his broad shoulders. Now that she saw him from the back, she imagined how his muscles must flex as he moved and played. She also saw his ass, enticingly draped by the linen pants. The image of him pressed against her as he plunged deeper into her folds flashed for a moment and she let out a small gasp and shook.
"Are you all right?" he asked as he replaced the Miles Davis album in its storage space.
"I was just thinking about something ... nice."
He went back to the couch and crossed his legs. "I love your collection of music. It's funny ... with your collection, I don't know if my delusions of grandeur will live up to your expectations."
It was Nola's turn to walk to the wall unit. She touched the same cd he had toyed with and looked at him squarely: "Ever since I found out I was pregnant, and I watched the door close behind the father, I've given up on expectations. I've been wondering why I asked you here tonight, myself -- I have no real answer. Just play for me?"
Ethan quietly nodded and picked up his guitar and the song book stowed underneath it. He checked the strings, chose a black and white pick then ruffled through the book's worn pages. He plucked the first notes from the willing strings and went in to a rendition of "Riders on the Storm."
Nola closed her eyes and let the music inhabit her. Her instinct connected with the music and she let her body sway and express the mutual attraction as the two souls she carried were entranced by the rhythm.
Ethan's concert had lasted nearly an hour, with songs ranging from the Beatles to Springsteen to Santana -- he had witnessed her dance from one song to the next with an inextinguishable sensual energy he had rarely seen. Each performance punctuated Nola's evanescent sexuality and crystallised his desire for her.
But she was now sitting back in her chair and was sipping from her water. "If you want to take an intermission, you're welcomed to."
"Thank you," he answered and bowed. "Even greatness needs a potty break." Ethan set the guitar aside and walked passed her to go to the bathroom. As he reached her level, Nola took his hand and their fingers intertwined and he moved away gently until they reluctantly released their hands.
"Don't be too long," she whispered as she watched him go by. Her nipples had tingled when she noticed the growing bulge in his slacks. Part of her could not believe the possibility that she was the object of such blatant desire; the other part of her conjured images in explicit detail of what she would do with his rigid cock.
Ethan took care to properly clean and wipe his hard member -- it had barely softened to allow him to piss. He looked at himself in the mirror as he washed his hands -- Nola was over twenty feet away but she might as well be in the bathroom with him as her smell lingered and surrounded him. He smelled the part of his wrist where her fingers had skimmed before touching his. It was a light but spicy smell -- the hint of perfume was distinct but fading as her natural musk overpowered it. The scent released a torrent of lust through his veins and his cock twitched hungrily. He suddenly ran cold water, filled his hands and splashed it across his face.
Nola was still in her seat when he found the couch and his guitar. But her posture was much more provocative: her left leg was hanging across the armrest and the hem of her dress was pulled up to her mid thigh and tucked right at the edge of her panties. Ethan swallowed hard when he saw that the right spaghetti strap of her dress was off her shoulder.
"You look comfortable," Ethan managed to say before composing himself and giving her a slow smile.
"Hmmm ... yeah. I am very comfortable. Do you have any idea of how easy it is to trust you? How safe I feel around you?"
"There are times when you wonder if what you're doing is right," he said. "Then there are times when the question never even pops up. This is one them." Ethan walked towards her and kneeled. Nola smiled and closed her sparkling green eyes. She sighed when he kissed the nape of her neck; she moaned when his rough hands touched the flesh just above her breasts; she whispered his name when he cupped her face and pressed his full lips to hers. They kissed this way for a few minutes -- their lips took time the acquaint themselves with those little pockets of sensitivity that triggered shocks of lust to tingle their limbs.
Nola broke the kiss with a smile and pushed Ethan away despite his flirty protest. "There's one more song I want to hear."
"Anything," he said while going back to his guitar.
"Play the song you played earlier today. The one that made me see you and want you. The song that made you see me."
Ethan closed his eyes and pictured Nola the way he saw her that very same afternoon: trapped but thoughtful and strong and ready to break free. The song came naturally and the chords of "Hotel California" reached from the instrument to touch and caress her with their empathic vibrations. Nola was oblivious to her surrounding as she let her hands roam across her changing body. Ethan was fixated as this wanton creature exposed him to her intimacy. When he started the second verse Nola had slipped her hand into her panties and grinded against her fingers to the tempo Ethan had set. Her eyes fluttered as she spied him playing. She slipped her fingers into her wet pussy that would soon deliver life -- but for now it was a canal of pleasure. Each pluck of the strings pushed her to move against her moist cunt and swollen lips. She purposely stayed away from her clit for she wanted to prolong her pleasure till the end of the song.
When Ethan reached the second verse she was siting upright and her legs were clamped around her active hand. She was flushed and sweat beaded across her brow and her hair was loose and wild. His breathing was as heavy as hers as he fought to concentrate and play -- Nola had slipped her other hand into her dress and she caressed and squeezed her nipples. Her tongue ran across her lips when Ethan reached the bridge of the song and she found her clit and pinched her nipple harder.
"Ohhh play for me! Play for me!" Nola moaned as her fingers ran across her clit and into her pussy and upwards towards her g-spot. The walls of her cunt quivered in chorus to Ethan's playing as she feverishly drew circles with her fingers and traced the opening of her pussy.
"Ohhhhhhhhh YEEEAAAAHHHH!!!" Nola thundered as she released her juices across her hand and thighs. She came again and again as her fingers worked her clit and pussy into a gushing frenzy.
Ethan finished playing and set the guitar aside. Like an erotic automaton he had opened his pants to reveal his erect cock and was slowly stroking it as he watched Nola drowsily come down from her ecstatic high. His hand travelled with the lightest touch up and down his shaft as the musky scent of her come floated to him; he cupped his balls and sighed at the sight of the wet spot in her panties and the glistening liquid on her thighs.
Nola looked at him as he stroked his shaft -- it was even more appealing than she expected. Long and thick, a perfect cylinder lined with bulging veins and capped by a bulbous head emerging from his foreskin. His pubic hair was neatly trimmed and absent from his heavy looking ball sack. "Wow," she whispered.
"Oh, this?" Ethan joked as he batted his cock from left to right and allowed it to return to a standing position. "It's a ... little thing I picked up in my many travels. You'd be surprised by what you can find in Mexico. I though you wouldn't mind if I made myself more comfortable."
"I don't," she answered between giggles. "Am I beautiful?" she asked suddenly as she fought the welling tears. "I mean, you're obviously turned on. And I know it's silly for me to wonder about that now that were both in such a horny mood but... I need to know."
Ethan stood and removed his shirt and his shoes, socks and pants and boxers. He was naked and erect and walked towards her the way he did when they first kissed. He kneeled and removed her shoes and reached up and brushed her tears away with his thumb. "You are beautiful," he whispered to Nola as he caressed her face. She did not protest when he lifted her dress over her head and went and pulled off her soaked panties. She was as naked as he was and he marveled as her beauty.
"Don't," she did protest when he took her wrists and gently moved her arms from her laden breasts to the armrests. She was flushed and patches of red blotted her skin. She closed her eyes when he took her breasts with such a soft touch.