©Nora Quick 2013
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I think I fell in love with John the first time I heard him. I'd walked into the Green Mill like so many others, tired after a long day of work. I'd wanted good music, good drinks, and the atmosphere of the old jazz club in Chicago's Uptown. It was a daily ritual after work, have two stiff drinks then go for dinner with friends or go home or to the gym. But always first a relaxing drink to ease me out of the stiff world of business.
I'd walked in from the late spring rain soaked, my dress plastered to me, and could only smile as the pianist was playing a jazzy arrangement of Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat." I'd entered just at the line about the woman's dress running like a water color in the rain.
The bar was half filled at the early hour, the lights low. The messy stage, always ready to change to suit the act of the night was filled with the stage presence of the pianist. His only backup was a drummer but the pianist owned the stage, his voice haunting as he sang the sad tune.
I took a seat at the bar where I usually sat and didn't even have to tell Steve the bartender what I wanted. He knew my drive from Northbrook into the city was a long one and my first order never changed. He brought my straight whiskey as I smoothed my long wet hair back and tried to ignore my reflection in the mirror behind the bar, lit softly with greenish light. Thanking him, I turned to the pianist.
He had the kind of voice that reached inside you and touched your soul, a beautiful tenor. His hands danced over the keys lightly, fascinating me. I'd always had a thing for men's hands. Don't get me wrong, the penis is a wonder of nature that I love dearly, but a man's hands could raise such delicious sensations that I often found myself on the train staring at strangers' hands and wondering what they might feel like on my body.
His were long fingered and dexterous, and I felt my body heat just watching him play. It was an odd selection to hear at the club, but one of my favorite songs and I had to admit he did it justice. He played the piano like I'd never seen, like his hands were caressing the keys, cajoling the notes from them rather than commanding.
Unlike I usually did I ended up staying through his set, longer than my usual two drinks. For the first time in my life I turned off my phone and blew off my best friend Beth and her boyfriend Jaques who were expecting me at dinner. I let myself sway on the stool to the music and joined in the applause when the pianist left the stage.
I introduced myself and bought him a drink and we talked. We got dinner from the taco shop next door. He was funny and sweet. When he spoke those hands, long, tapers, masculine, moved as he spoke about everything with a passion that was foreign in my world.
John was thoroughly average in looks. A few inches under six feet he was lean with the kind of body that had probably never been inside the gym nor a buffet. His coloring told me he was a mutt and his smile was crooked but endearing. His shaggy dark hair needed a cut but suited him. His eyes were dark and his face pleasing but basic. The only things about him that were spectacular were those hands and his voice. Even when speaking it was melodic and rich, a voice you could feel.
Three years later I loved him no less but things had changed. It had been an easy relationship. He was sweet, romantic, moody, all the things a musician should be. He was also forgetful, unreliable, and often scatterbrained. My mother had been a musician and I knew to expect this, but it didn't make it easy. She'd given it up when I was little and molded into the perfect north shore hausfrau and no longer showed much emption of any kind.
I'm sure I wasn't the best girlfriend. He often seemed embarrassed to explain to his friends I was an insurance claims adjustor for Allstate. Oh, he enjoyed my salary and the nice uptown loft it got us, the grand piano it paid for that sat in the middle of the loft like a stage of its own. He enjoyed his clothes, the food, all of it, but he was deeply embarrassed that it was all mine.
However I thought in black and white, numbers and math. He thought in dreams and tasted the world in colors. The differences between us had first seemed exciting but they began to drag as time went on. Still, the sex had always been perfect and I supposed that's why we lingered longer than we should have. The sex was in fact the best in my life, if it was a bit more slow and gentle than I was used to.
What finally made me wake up and realize it couldn't go on was his music. John was a gifted pianist and singer, but as a songwriter he was a train wreck. He'd never go anywhere in his career like that and most of the time I suspected he'd be homeless if not for me. I didn't mind carrying him, but like most people if I was going to care for him and pay all the bills I wanted it on my terms, and anyone who's ever tried to saddle an artist knows how impossible that is.
I'd asked him to stick to the jazzy arrangements of folk tunes he was so good at but he wanted to play and sing his own compositions which were at best mediocre and often kept him from repeat performances at the same club. He'd rail and rage when dropped from a club and ask rhetorically why, and I could never bring myself to bluntly tell him composition wasn't in his blood. So he never seemed to grow as an artist and it often felt like he was running in place.
Again, I was no better. Like most people I was aging and wanted kids, stability, a mortgage and car payments and day care fees. I spent a lot of the time at the gym trying to help my German genes triumph over the Italian which threatened to turn my love of pasta into a large ass. John had spent some of his college scholarship money on a vasectomy and still had nightmares of a bad childhood.
My friends played racquetball and golfed, his friends did body shots and partied until five a.m. on a Tuesday. I jogged two miles a day and John barely moved from the piano bench and had to be reminded to eat. My parents threw garden parties on the north shore where I'd grown up in privilege and his father was in jail, his mother in rehab, again. My brothers were partners in dad's law firm, his sister was a whore back in Detroit. We were just night and day.
But every night it didn't seem to matter. He'd play the piano after dinner and if he liked what I'd cooked he'd take requests. I'd sit in the chair listening until the throb deep inside was too much, then I'd take him by the hand and lead him to the bed up the ladder. Those marvelous hands were always so gentle and attentive and for the first time in my life every time felt like making love. For that alone I treasured the past three years.
But then things changed, and it was like waking from a dream. Somehow he'd been recruited by students at Columbia to cut an album in their studio. The recording students did this in teams, competing for the best album before graduation. Quite a few artists who'd participated had gone on to some measure of success.
It was a June night, the air promising rain, when his album had won. I had to admit it stunned me. I felt like an asshole for not having faith in him, but in all fairness he thought my job and family money made me "the man" and I was frankly sick of hearing how much he hated my money, even though it paid for the clothes on his back and the roof over our head.
He was right, I knew deep down inside. My family was stiff, formal. We didn't laugh, we didn't have passion. Sometimes I wondered how my very Germanic father had bled the natural passion of my Italian-American mother, but he had. We Walbergs lived for math and reason. Still, it was those abilities that told me John was setting himself up for major heartbreak and failure with his album.
We returned from the small party to celebrate his win dressed well. He was in a suit and had looked itchy all night. As love does, he'd become quite handsome to me, but I had to admit in the suit other women seemed to notice it well. His confidence on stage had grown and it was spilling over into his daily life.
The second we were through the door he pulled off his coat and tie, kicked off his shoes and rolled his sleeves up, unbuttoning three buttons at the collar. His hair was even longer, to his shoulders now, and it made him look so much younger. His crooked smile was endearing and his eyes sparkled with excitement and victory. I was twenty -nine and he was just twenty-six, but right then he stood on the threshold of great things while I felt it was time to make the closing deals on my life.
"Why don't I grab some champagne?"
"That sounds great, hon." He kissed me and went straight to his piano, vibrating with excitement.
I winced as he began to play one of his original songs which sounded like a butchered Neil Sedaka tune and would have suited a higher tenor better.
Kicking off my high heels Irolled my neck as I grabbed two glasses and found the bottle I wanted. John didn't care about labels but I'd been born into a world where only the best mattered. It saddened me to know he'd chug five hundred dollar champagne, but it was just who he was.
I popped it and poured, then brought it out. I placed the champagne on the placemat he'd put on top of the piano before I curled into the chair to listen. Surprisingly the bare brick walls and old plank floor worked for acoustics, but again I wished for a better song.
He ended and turned to me, grabbing his glass.
Smiling, I raised my glass to him. "Here's to new beginnings and success."
He raised his and smiled that crooked smile. We each took a sip- well, I took a sip and he drained his glass.
Sighing, I set mine down on the small side table. "Would you play something for me?"
"Year of the Cat."
He smiled. It was a song he'd always gladly play. He knew well and good the only foolish thing I'd ever done in my life was fall instantly in love with a man because he played that tune well. Every other moment of my life had been planned, scheduled, and calculated until the night I met him.
As always, it was beautiful. He seemed to sense my mood was off, so he didn't play his jazzy version but the original. My heart winced as his beautiful voice sang out the words. His voice alone could seduce any woman, and the way he held himself as he played told the world he was a commanding lover. The fact that he was always gentle was a pleasant surprise. That discovery had dazzled me on our third date.
At one time in my life I'd yearned to be free and wild, but it wasn't to be. That was for the artists of the world. For one mad week in college I'd considered deviating from the path until my father threatened to cut off my funding. Dreams of world travel, glamour, and intrigue had been crushed asunder by the weight of practicality. However, I could see John in some foreign corner of the world at a piano, playing his tunes to smiling young women easily dazzled. It was the life he was meant to live and I was just holding him back.
Still, for a moment in time nothing mattered but his melodic voice, those sensual fingers dancing across the keys. By the end of the song I was shivering, eyes closed, drinking in the music. When John played, he owned me body and soul, and I doubted he even knew it.
I opened my eyes and he was there, kneeling beside the chair. Without thought I reached out and grabbed him firmly by the shirt, pulling him to me for a kiss. I loved how he always let me take the lead without complaint.
That night I was in no mood for gentle. Kissing him I tasted champagne and that sweet almost honeyed taste that was John. I gripped his shirt and in my hands and pulled, happy when the buttons popped off and his shirt was ripped open.
"Julie?" he asked against my lips.
I bit his lower lip and felt the tremor in him, pushing my own arousal higher.
He pulled back from me, dark eyes questioning. "I thought you preferred it slow...gentle."
"I don't want to talk tonight, John. I just want to fuck you." Yeah, that was what I needed. A soulless fuck, emotional distance between us while I worked up the courage to do what I needed to do.
He smiled in a way I'd never see in all our three years. "All right."
He pulled me to my feet and holding my hand nearly dragged me to the small ladder to our lofted bed. He pushed me up it, groping my ass in a flagrant way that felt foreign, dark, exciting. Scrambling up behind me as soon as John crested the ladder he grabbed me and hauled me back against him, my back to his front.
"I hate this dress," he said with amusement.
To my shock he managed the shred the seams on the side and my very expensive, very nice Armani LBD was ruined as he tugged it and let it fall to the ground. "Like the underwear, though," he said, and turned us towards the oval dressing mirror in the corner.
His hair mussed, shirt open, he stood fully clothed behind me. In our stockinged feet he was an inch taller but I was so used to being in heels and taller it felt strange. He looked different, like a stranger behind me. There was a confidence in him that was new, making him look almost predatory.
I looked my usual self, lots of pale olive skin showing around my black bra and panties, my own dark hair pulled up and held in place with a silver clip. He lowered the cups of my bra and roughly palmed my breasts.
"Was this what you wanted?" He said harshly in my ear.
"No talking," I growled and turned, pushing him to the bed. Before he could collect himself I straddled him and pinned his body, claiming his lips. If he kept talking in that voice, let those hands dance over my body as gently as he was with the piano, I would lose my courage.
So I silenced his mouth with my own and stroked my hands over his body. He was lean, lean enough you could see the lines of his scant muscles. I'd often thought with a little work he could be gorgeous, but for the moment a part of me did want to remember him just as John was. He was an unfinished masterpiece, and soon he'd be completed, framed, and hung in someone else's gallery.
I got to his pants and had to shift down to undo his belt, sliding along his erection. He felt harder than usual and a tremor of responding excitement coursed through me. I undid his pants as I kissed his chest, moving down I slid his pants with me. He never wore underwear, something that had always seemed odd to me, but now I had to admit was quite handy. I pushed his pants just free of his cock and paused to admire him.
His cock was hard and pulsing slightly with his heartbeat. He was average, on the larger side, but it had always felt just right. His voice, his hands, and his cock seemed like magic to me. I wrapped my hands around his erection savoring the feel, like silk over steel.
His hands slid to tangle in my hair, pulling, and I nipped at him, growling. He just laughed and it struck me how odd this was. In three years never once had there been laughter in bed. Passion, intensity, respect, and caring, but never laughter.
Confused I ducked my head and took his cock into my mouth, just the tip. Licking I was desperate to hear that wondrous voice turn to low murmurs and moans. He was always vocal in bed, something rare and special I adored.
John was already wet and I licked the fluid from him, slowly tracing my tongue around the head seeking out his favorite spot. When I found it I sucked hard and he arched his hips, thrusting up, trying to fuck my mouth. Growling I took as much as I could and like never before I worked his cock. I needed time and space to get my head right, and driving him crazy allowed me that.
However, one thing John was always and forever was passionate. It surprised me when he moved his hands to my shoulders, hunched up, and rolled me with his legs.
"I don't know what's gotten into you, Julie, but I like it."
"You're talking," I grumbled.
"Well then, better keep my mouth occupied."
He latched onto one of my bared nipples and it was nothing like he'd ever been before. I felt teeth and the spice of pain made the suckling so much hotter. He lay between my legs and my hips moved, grinding against him, seeking relief.
He'd been cupping my breasts but now reached one hand between us, lifting a hip to slide it between our bodies. Jerking my panties aside those long, tapered fingers slid in, two of them. John was rough, thrusting his hand, his slight weight pressing me down as he sucked hard one on nipple and rolled the other in a continuous pinch.
He'd never been so rough, I hadn't felt anything like this since my days of dating half-drunk frat boys. But with John there was caring, and I knew he was doing this for my pleasure, not just his own. This was so unlike any other time with anyone, and it felt forbidden, dark, and beautiful at the same time. Despite my plans I loved him deeply, and on that odd thought I came wailing.
Still his fingers pumped relentlessly, the slick sounds of my cum ringing out over my moans. I gripped his shoulders, digging in my nails, thrusting so hard I lifted us both from the bed. On and on it went as if he was pushing me, even though his mouth and other hand gentled on my nipples, flicking, driving me higher until I was wrung out.
"Fuck me, John," I said with a growl as the shivers began to slow.
Without a word he pulled back and turned me over, raising me to my hands and knees. My heart was thumping. We so rarely used this position, he was always a face-to-face kind of guy. Without pre-emption he thrust in, deep. Still wearing his shirt and pants I felt the buckle on his belt press into my skin, but quickly it was gone as he began to thrust.
This way I felt him so deep, thrilling me. John felt so hard, and when he gripped my hips and jerked me back in time to his thrusts I felt light headed, nearly swooning with dark pleasure. "Yess," I hissed out, fists balled in the comforter.
Ever the gentleman, John slid one of those incredible hands around and buried his fingers against my pussy. His fingertips rubbed back and forth in syncopation pulling at the skin around my clit, and though he thrust his cock fast he began a soulful swivel in his hips I'd never felt before form any lover.
I came again, like a freight train, nearly screaming with the release as I shook. All through it he thrust, mesmerizing me, his own panting moans spurring me on. When at last my body was weak all he did was slide me forward onto my stomach. Never before had he taken the lead but in that moment it felt right.
He pulled back his hand to position himself, laying across me, still buried. At this angle he felt so deep it was as if he'd come to the end of me. John braced one hand on the low headboard and pulled back. As he slid in I moaned, defeated, undone. At that point, had he known my plans, if he forced me to promise to stay ten years I would readily agree so long as he didn't stop.
This was a slow slide, not a hot, fast, heady ride, but as soon as he was almost all the way in that swivel would happen again. He touched every hot, feverish part of me deep inside. I was filled completely, pressed down to the bed unable to move, but even if I could have there was no way I would do anything to escape this pleasure.
"Please, John, please!"
"What, Julie? What do you want?"
"Your hand again, please!"
He laughed, but I felt it slide between me and the mattress. The second he touched me I came again, and just as the orgasm hit me he began to thrust like a beast, making animalistic sounds as he fucked me like he never had before. When he came he nearly howled with it, his beautiful voice ringing out as I felt his hot cum fill me deep inside where I was already pleasantly sore.