Haunted Prey Ch. 02bypurefire©
It hadn't taken him long to come to the realization that Alexis was evil. As Lindsay briskly walked down crowded Water Street, he replayed the 'advice' his older brother had given him. He knew that his brother had the ability to see certain things that were to happen, but it was a very rare instance in which his visions came true. This was mostly because Alexis' visions were determined by the decisions people made; all it took was a simple change of mind for things to be altered. But Lindsay hadn't changed his mind; he did in fact end up following the wind and listening to the music, a new habit he'd picked up in the past seven days. That didn't explain his brother's glowing eyes, however. In the years he'd known his brother, Lindsay never knew his eyes to glow for any reason. Which only meant that Alexis was evil. Why else would he suddenly be obsessed with standing outside a strange building every day, hoping to hear the music?
As was his usual habit, he found himself standing outside the red brick building, staring up at the window. There was music today, but it wasn't what he wanted to hear; the music was choppy, there were endless errors, and the tune was much too simplistic for his taste. Someone else was playing the piano today and while he praised that person for even attempting to play, Lindsay wanted the person who had him rooted in place.
"That one yours?"
Lindsay found himself looking down at a small elderly woman with wiry grey hair and soft brown eyes he found sweet. She glanced toward the building before looking back at him. He remained quiet, unsure of what she was asking about.
"I know that a lot of parents prefer to wait for their children outside. Some superstition about their presence being bad luck during lessons. My Julie has lessons every Thursday, but I like to come by and listen to how the other students are progressing."
Students? That certainly explained the amateur sound to the playing. "No, I'm just listening too." He glanced at the widow once more when the music stopped. A few moments later, a teen-aged boy walked out of the building, whipping out a cellular phone in the process. Lindsay listened as the boy mentioned the end of a lesson and felt his eyes narrow suspiciously. This was what Alexis wanted him to do? Piano lessons?
"You have a nice day, young man."
He looked down at the smiling woman and nodded quietly. As she walked away, Lindsay found himself staring at the simple, single paned glass door that displayed a staircase. He didn't know why, but he wanted to go up, had to see the person behind the music he listened to every night. It was the only logical way to get the whimsical feelings out of his system.
Alexis would pay for this.
Lindsay stormed toward the door and quickly ascended the stairs. He expected another door, and was surprised when he only walked into a large, open room. It looked a lot like a waiting room because of the couches and chairs lined up against the walls. Various pictures of sheet music, students, and who Lindsay assumed were professional pianists filled the walls and reflected the sunlight raining in through the unadorned windows. In the center of the room was a black baby grand; it too seemed to glitter in the sun. The top board was partially opened, and he was given a glance of the intricate detailing associated with the inner mechanisms of the instrument. In front of the piano rested a cushioned bench. It was a simplistic room, one meant to comfort the students, while at the same time, give the instructor the room needed to teach sufficiently.
"No, I absolutely will not talk to him."
Lindsay found himself craning his neck to the side ever so slightly to listen to whoever was in the back room. Because of his many years locked in silence, his hearing was better than many expected. Though the person in the back whispered, he was able to hear every word as if he was in the back room as well.
"It's been years. What could he want now? My help? Please, he should have thought of that before he walked out without a backward glance."
The person in the back room was female; there was no mistaking the feminine pitch or the lack of an audible husk. There was also the topic of the conversation; no man would reject the efforts of a reconnection with a man who'd walked out without dropping a few impolite words for effect.
"I don't care if his leaving had nothing to do with me. Where was he when I needed him the most?"
A woman scorned. A lover who'd decided he had enough and was cowardly enough to keep quiet about it. The lives of humans were always better than television.
"Mom, I know you want me to give him a chance, but I'm not giving him another opportunity to mess with my emotions. I've spent too many nights crying over him."
Whoever this woman was, she was strong, that was for sure. Good for her; she'd found her limit, and had no intentions of pushing it again. Her voice, while polite due to the fact that she was talking to her mother, was laced with anger and resentment, a sure sign that her old wounds had yet to be healed.
"I'm done talking about this. I won't see him, end of story, Mom. Yes, I'll be there. Seven-thirty. Yes. Yes. Ok, Mom, see you then. Love you too. Bye."
Lindsay immediately straightened and followed the sounds of her footsteps. She lingered in the back for a good ten minutes, shuffling through papers and rifling through filing cabinets. He had plenty of time to leave, and knew that he should have; he wasn't in the mood to deal with a scorned woman. But curiosity had gotten the best of him, and he wanted to see what she looked like.
He had to wait fifteen extra minutes before his rare bout of patience was rewarded. Her head was bent over a stack of sheet music, and she lightly hummed to herself, as if testing the sound of the music in her hands. Lindsay wasn't given a clear view of her face as her curly black hair hung down due to the angle of her neck. From her hands and arms, he able to appreciate her sepia colored skin. The way the sunlight bounced off her skin made her look otherworldly, an observation that annoyed him. She was only a human, and it was probably the fact that her skin seemed to glow because she wore a gold blouse over black slacks that he'd even noticed that about her.
She was on the taller side for a woman, and while she wasn't what he would consider average sized, she wasn't exactly full figured either. She still had curves for days, though, and the new observation only added to his annoyance.
Lindsay quickly grew tired of her lack of perception. He had to have been standing there staring at her for at least a minute or two, and she hadn't once bothered to look up from her sheet music. He wanted to look at her face and then leave so that he could give Alexis hell. "Hello." Lindsay watched as she glanced up at him before stopping dead in her tracks. Her jaw slightly dropped in surprise and dark espresso eyes bore into him disbelievingly. She had an oval shaped face, a trait that emphasized those eyes of hers and her seemingly perfect eyebrows accentuated her shock. A small, upturned nose led to full pink lips and a semi-dimpled chin that looked completely out of place. She was pleasant to look at, but her unwavering gaze made him uncomfortable. "Are you the instructor?"
She nodded slowly, terrified of blinking because she believed that he would disappear if she did. The giant of a man standing in her studio wasn't the most beautiful man she'd ever seen. He was... gripping. Mesmerizing. His hair was the most unusual shade of red she'd ever seen; it looked like dark cherry wood because he stood in a partly shaded area of the room, but the parts that were kissed by the sun reminded her of fresh black cherry juice. That kind of color had to be natural; the people who created hair dyes weren't that inventive. The man chose to wear his hair on the longer side; it was just long enough to be pulled back in a queue if he wanted, but at the same time, it didn't touch his shoulders. He wore it down now, and the locks accentuated the rectangular shape of his face. Thick sable eyebrows hooded over vibrant, grass green eyes. His nose was a bit on the large side, but it worked with his face. Thin lips rested over a hardened chin. Yes, this man definitely had what it took to be one hell of a distraction.
Lindsay was damned uncomfortable. She continued to stare, scrutinizing every tidbit of his face, and wearing his patience. Neither one of them had moved in the time they stared at each other which angered him. He felt so... on display. "Are you the one who plays at night?"
The question jarred her out of her stupor. She looked away from him as she cleared her throat. The last thing she expected was an angry neighbor. "Uh, yes, yes, I am. I'm sorry if it bothered you."
She nodded again and forced herself to look directly over his shoulder. If she looked at his face again, she'd end up staring even more than she already had, and the man already looked as if he wanted to file a restraining order. "Are you here for lessons?"
"I don't know why I'm here." Other than the fact that his son of a bitch brother gave him cryptic messages about wind and music. Lindsay watched the way she clutched the music in her hands and felt a mild sense of satisfaction knowing that she was more rattled by him than he was by her.
"Well, um," she stopped to lick her lips nervously. There was odd kind of energy wafting off the man. It wasn't dangerous, but it was intense. Dark. "We can have a preliminary session, if you'd like."
"How does that work?"
"It would be run just as any other lesson I give. It just gives me an idea on where you are musically, how teachable you seem to be, and whether or not I'm the best teacher for you."
"And if everything works?"
She suddenly felt as if she was being interrogated for murder. His gaze hadn't wavered and if it was possible, it seemed to bore deep into the crevices of her soul. "If everything works, then we'll make arrangements for weekly or bi-weekly lessons."
Lindsay nodded and frowned when she looked down at the ground. She was nervous. "When can we arrange this preliminary lesson?" He wasn't even sure why he was asking. It wasn't as if he planned on taking lessons from the woman. He had no interest in music, other than listening to other people play it for him.
She looked down at the watch on her wrist to check the time. "If you have an hour, we could just get it over with now."
Get it over with? So now she was annoyed and wanted him out of her studio? He narrowed his eyes as he walked toward the piano and sat down.
"We have to adjust you."
"What?" Lindsay watched her set her music down before she reached beneath the bench. She tried to pull it backward, and he almost smiled at the way her arms trembled as she struggled to move him. He knew that she refrained from asking him to move for fear that he would have taken offense and because of that, he lifted his body just enough for her to pull the bench backward.
"There," she panted. She rolled her shoulders backward a few times to ease the tension, then went to correcting her student's posture. "Back straight, shoulders down."
"They are down."
Burly man. She only nodded once before instructing him on the proper finger placement above the keys. "You always want your right thumb on middle C."
She looked at him for a moment and made note of his absolute lack of piano knowledge. "All right. We'll work on your basic keys and the C major scale. If there is enough time afterward, I'll show you one or two chords."
"Sounds simple enough." Lindsay watched as she pointed out the keys, but he didn't pay any attention to what she said. Her hands were absolutely stunning; long, delicate fingers led to feminine palms and waif-like wrists. She also smelled like pineapples; sweet, with a bit of a kick. He noticed that her voice was softer now that she wasn't angry, and entirely too pleasant for his comfort.
"Are you ready to try?" When he only stared at her blankly, she clarified her question. "The scale. Do you want to try playing the scale on your own?"
"You think that's a good idea?"
"Call me Lindsay."
Of course a man like him would have a name that was completely out of character. "Ok, Lindsay, I'm Alauria. If you expect to play, you need to learn the basics." She demonstrated the scale once more, then motioned for him to try. She nodded when he mimicked her actions flawlessly. She decided to show him a few more major scales before asking him to play the C major scale for her once more. He played it without mistakes, and went so far as to play the other scales she taught him. "Beautiful. You're a natural."
Yes a naturally quick learner. As long as he paid attention long enough to listen to what she said, he was fine.
Or so he thought until she began teaching him to play the scales with both hands. In a span of ten seconds, he'd developed an immeasurable respect for pianists; there was way too much going on when playing simple scales. Lindsay could not imagine playing actual music with both hands. Countless tries and many curses were said in his effort to remember finger placements and synchronization. It was ridiculous; he could take down a demon in a matter of minutes, but he couldn't play a damned C major scale with both hands. And then she decided to go for broke and ask him to play a chord while struggling through the damned scale. For the life of him, Lindsay didn't understand how he could pull off the task. He could play a scale with one hand beautifully. He could easily hit a chord. But both of them together? Insanity.
"You're not angling your hand enough." Alauria reached over his shoulder and placed her hand on his to show him the proper placement of his wrist. A second later, she quickly pulled her hand back at the sting associated with static shock. That was weird; neither one of them wore wool and the studio wasn't carpeted.
Lindsay only waited a second after she stepped back to abruptly stand. He knew for a fact that he'd inadvertently shocked her; he saw the small current flow from his fingers when she pulled away. This was the first time since he'd come into power that he'd shocked someone without even thinking to.
That wasn't a good sign.
Without a backward glance, he walked out of the studio and back toward his condo. Going up there was a stupid idea, but at least he finally appeased his curiosity about the person who played the music. Now he could get Alexis' idiotic words out of his mind and go back to the life he was used to.
* * * * *
"Mom?" Alauria pulled her key out of the lock as she walked into her mother's aroma-filled house. They would be having lemon chicken and Spanish rice, if her nose was correct. Her favorite meal.
Her mother was trying to butter her up.
"Mom, where are you?"
"I'm right here, Honey Bun."
Alauria smiled at the name her mother liked to use when they were together. The special title brought back fond memories of a simpler time. A time when she didn't have the stresses of her life to deal with. She walked to her mother and placed a soft kiss on her rich mocha skin. "You have a good day?" She smiled at her mother's brown eyes, eyes she inherited and hoped to give to her children when she decided to have them.
"It was quite nice." Her mother led her to the kitchen where their dinner sat waiting. "I went for a walk with Mrs. Gumpfry three doors down, worked on the garden, then made dinner."
Alauria nodded as he motioned her mother to sit down at the small round table set in the center of the kitchen. She quickly bent to the task of serving them both before she sat down. "Lemon chicken," she commented.
"Yes, it's your favorite."
"And you only make it when you want something."
"Yes, I want you to say Grace."
Alauria narrowed her eyes at her mother for a moment before she took hold of her hands and obeyed the request. She was quick in her prayer then remained silent as her mother began to eat. She decided to look at her surroundings, at the white cabinets that stood out against the yellow walls and granite counter tops. Everything had been cleaned, which meant that her mother finished dinner at least an hour before she arrived. Yes, she definitely wanted something and was making it impossible for her to say no. "What do you want, Mom?"
"I want you to eat your food before it gets cold."
"You know what I mean." Alauria bent to the task of polishing off her dinner anyway. She had to close her eyes at the succulent taste of her mother's cooking. Though she loved her independence, she missed not having such wonderful food at her disposal at all times. The downside of moving away from home.
The two women ate in silence for a few moments, Alauria, waiting for her mother to get to the heart of their dinner, and her mother, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. What she needed to speak about was quite serious, and would no doubt ignite her daughter's usually docile temperament. "Daniel called me today."
Alauria took a deep breath to calm her rising temper. The simple mention of that name was enough to send her into a rage. "I don't care."
"He really needs to talk to you."
"It's not my place to tell you."
"But you're pushing me to speak to him." Alauria placed her utensils on her plate before pushing it away from her. "I told you already, I won't speak to him."
"I'm not asking you to speak," her mother reasoned, "I'm asking you to listen."
"And like I said before; he should have thought of that before he did what he did."
"I did not raise such a hard daughter."
"No, you raised your daughter to be strong enough to know the difference between an asshole and a genuine person."
"Alauria Jaedyn Hawkins, you will not use that language in my house!"
Alauria was immediately contrite. "I apologize, but I really don't appreciate you taking part in his agenda."
"I am trying to do what is right."
"And I am trying to leave the past behind me." There was a moment of silence as the women both stared at each other. This wasn't what Alauria wanted when she agreed to have dinner with her mother. Her appetite ruined, she lifted her plate and placed it on the counter near the sink. "Fridge or can?"
"You know that we do not waste food in this house."
Alauria nodded silently as she pulled a drawer open to retrieve the roll of saran wrap. She quickly wrapped her plate before she placed it in the refrigerator. "This guy came into the studio this afternoon. Very odd."
Alauria put the saran wrap away and say down at the table before she relayed the story of her time with Lindsay. "It was like some weird kind of out of body experience."
"He shocked you and then he just walked out?" At her daughter's nod, she added, "You sure it was a shock and not sparks flying between the two of you?"
Alauria rolled her eyes heavenward. "Seriously, Mom?"
"You said he is handsome and that he seemed taken aback by the shock. Maybe you rattled his cage."
"A man like that can't be caged." Nor could he be tamed. Not that she was interested. As it was, she'd probably never see him again. The way he stormed out of the studio seemed quite indicative of the fact that he wanted nothing to do with her any more.
"Ok, so have sex with him a couple of times."
"MOM!" Alauria was mortified. The only mention of sex she wanted to hear from her mother was the 'birds and bees' talk. She was no longer five years old and had no intention of reliving that age any time soon. "For the love of God; never again."
"What? There is nothing wrong with a little physical-" She stopped when her daughter placed her hands on her ears and began to sing at the top of her lungs. When did Alauria become such a prude?