Just as the video window popped up on my computer, I heard Scott start playing drums. He’d mentioned them, but I hadn’t noticed them yesterday. I couldn’t see him on the camera, so I wondered if his drums were in another room. I knew nothing about drums, but he sounded fantastic. Loud… but fantastic. I lay down on my couch and listened. After about a half an hour of drum solos, I heard a doorbell. I got up to go get it, but couldn’t see anyone through my peekhole. Scott answered his door—it had been his door. After a murmured conversation, he shut the door and walked straight through his place throwing his drumsticks with a sigh. I followed his progress over to his balcony with my own steps.
“Juliet?” he called when I stepped outside.
“A famous musician wants me to illustrate a children’s book with an accompanying CD of music,” I said, sitting down.
“Who?” he asked.
“I don’t know, and I don’t find out unless I contract to do it.” I lay down with my back on the cement, staring up at the sky that was shades of purple and pink from the setting sun.
“I can see your hair—it’s beautiful.” I was pretty sure if my hair could blush, it was. “It must be long,” he added. “It looks just like it did in the sketch. It’s all wavy. That’s cool.” I could feel the soft tug of him touching my hair, but I tried to stay still.
I cleared my throat and said, “I have to go do it in his recording studio, though.”
“Hmm. Do what?” he asked, distracted.
I laughed and said, “You’re not listening anymore.”
“No,” he agreed. “I have a really short attention span actually. Your hair looks like the color of gold in the sunlight. How long is your hair?”
“It’s down to my waist.”
He stopped touching my hair and said, “Okay—sorry—musician—book—you don’t know who.”
I turned over onto my stomach, putting my chin on my hands. “I have to go to his recording studio in New York City to do them. He says it won’t be right otherwise.”
“Ohhh,” Scott said in understanding.
“My agent needs an answer in two weeks. He asked if I could try meds or therapy. If I don’t do it, the guy isn’t going to do it. He says his kids liked my books.”
“So, no pressure or anything, huh?” he asked dryly.
“I’m pretty sure this is entirely your fault,” I grumbled.
This surprised a bark of laughter out of him. “How is that again?” he asked.
“My life was boring and according to schedule before you came, and I was sort of happy with it.”
“I could leave,” he offered.
“No….” I sighed. “It’s too late.”
“Hmm. I didn’t think I could feel any crappier today, but being compared to the plague—managed it.”
I laughed and said, “No, well—I wasn’t really happy before, but I was convinced I was because I was finishing ‘to do’ lists. Actually BEING happy is a lot more complicated.”
“Well—that’s a little better,” he admitted.
“Your drum playing sounded really good.”
“Good… That was the end of it for a really long time. Apparently the man beneath me is homebound and has a heart condition. I know it’s not like a rock and roll drummer to cave to ‘the man’ but, drumming isn’t literally life or death for me.”
“Oh—your news is worse than mine,” I said. He clearly loved drumming. I wanted to help him. What could I do? “What about if your drums were up here in my apartment?”
“Do you play the drums?” he asked.
“Then, why would there be drums up there?”
“So, you could still play.”
“So, I would be up there with my drums?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, and then quickly followed it up with, “But not right now!”
He laughed. “Of course not—that would be crazy.”
I groaned and stuck my hand down. “Okay—here is my hand—slap your face against it,” I said in irritation.
It surprised me when he put his face against my hand, but my mouth dropped open when he kissed my palm. His fingers twined between mine, and he brushed his lips against my wrist and the tips of my fingers. My face felt hot, and my stomach started doing funny things. His lips felt really soft against my wrist. I looked around, thinking, “We’re out in plain sight… anyone could see what you’re doing to my hand.” His breath felt hot and sensual. Finally I just laid my cheek against the cool pavement, and closed my eyes. I was pretty sure it must be obscene—especially when his teeth brushed against my hand, but I’d been good for far too long anyway. Then he started taking nipping bites of my skin. I felt completely edible. Mmm. My heart was dancing. Wow. I’m pretty sure I’d never felt anything this good.
Then, he stopped.
He asked softly, “Juliet, can I come up?” and it brought me back to my senses, and my heart started pounding for a different reason.
I swallowed, pulling my hand up, while I sat. I could let him come up. My cheeks felt hot. No, I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready. It was too soon. No one new had seen me for—a long time. What if he didn’t like me? Sure—he seemed to like my hand, but my hand was a very small part of me. Plus, he’d just totally seduced my hand, and it was so hot—wow—it was hot. It would be strange and awkward to have him here after that, wouldn’t it? The seconds dragged on. We sat there, and I kept trying to convince myself it was going to be fine, but none of my limbs would listen.
He sighed and said, “Sorry—too soon still? I’m kicking myself right now.”