Sheet Music - A Rock 'n' Roll Love Story (5 page)

“I'll be thirty-two on July 4
th
,” she offered, trying to break the empty silence that hung between them.  Michael continued to squirm like a nervous cat and appeared ready to bolt.  With her eyes, sh tried to beg him to stay.  If this was the only time she'd have alone with him, she didn't want the night to ever end.

“Do you write your own music?” he asked with interest.

“Oh, I’ve got tons of stuff no one has ever heard before and probably never will.”

“I’d like to hear it.”


You
want to hear
my
music?” Annie asked in disbelief.

“Why do you say it like that?”

“Well, for starters, you’re a huge rock star.  That alone, makes it hard for me to believe you would want to hear my material.”

“The whole idea of this project is to promote up-and-coming talent, like you, and give them a little extra help in launching their careers.  Man, I wish someone had taken Thrust under their wings when we were starting out!  We had to fight tooth and nail to get every scrap of acknowledgment we did get.  It was a long hard road.”  Michael’s voice trailed off when his gaze locked onto Annie.  His eyes fell to her mouth.

She watched his body language.  He seemed like he wanted to kiss her, moving closer and then backing away, as if he was changing his mind.  She wondered if she should make the first move or maybe she was simply misreading the signals.

“Can I hear some of your music?” he asked.

“Sure, but all I have to play it on is an old acoustic guitar and that probably isn’t even tuned.”

“That’s all right, I’ll check it out for you.”

Michael followed Annie down the darkened driveway and waited on the lawn while she went inside her apartment.  A few moments later she returned to the backyard with a pile of paper in one hand and a very worn looking guitar in the other.  Michael sat sideways on a chaise lounge chair in the grass, with her sitting opposite him in another chair, and draped the guitar across his lap.  She watched him pluck away at the strings, tightening, loosening, until he was finally satisfied.

“There, that should do it,” he said.  “This is a beautiful, old instrument.  It kind of reminds me of one of my first guitars,” he added, as he passed it over to Annie.  “Here, play me something.”

Annie sighed heavily.  “I’m not sure I can.  I’m too nervous.”

Michael leaned closer to her, his elbows resting on his knees.  “It’s just me.  I’m your captive audience.  Hell, if you can sing your ass off in front of a couple of hundred strangers in a club, this should be an easy gig.”

“It’s not the size of the audience, Michael.  “It’s the identity of the spectator that is making me nervous.”

Michael smiled.  “Well, I can’t change that.  But, what if I lay back and close my eyes; would that make you more comfortable?”  Michael crossed his long legs at the ankle and rested his hands behind his head, then closed his eyes.  “There!  I’m ready.  Serenade me.”

Several minutes passed before Annie began to softly strum her fingertips against the strings.  Her voice cracked at first until she gained a little confidence.  Closing her eyes she was able to block out everything around her and concentrate on the music and the lyrics.  She envisioned herself alone in her bedroom playing to no one except herself.  It worked.  Half way into the song she was feeling the same rage and frustration she had when she first wrote the song.  She was so involved she hadn’t even noticed that Michael was now sitting at attention as he listened.

“Wow!  That was intense,” he said after her song finished.  “I wasn’t anticipating something that gritty and raw but I loved it!  Dare I ask where the inspiration came for those lyrics?”

“Divorce.”

“You’ve been married?” he asked, as if that one word had broadsided him.

“Yes.  Why does that shock you?”

“I’m not sure why, but I guess it does.”

Annie took a deep breath and realized, now that the subject was on the table, she had to tell Michael the rest of the story.  “You know my ex-husband.”

“How could that be possible when I’ve only known you for a couple of weeks?”

“It’s Gary.”

“Gary from your band?”

“Yes.”

“Well, that sure explains a lot.”

“Gary was a lot different in the beginning but then his ego took control of his brain.”

“Is that why you broke-up?”

“That was part of it.  There were other circumstances too that were difficult for me to ignore.”

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly.

“Don’t be.  It was almost three years ago so I’m over it.  We’ve both moved on.”

“Oh, so you’re with someone else now?” he asked with regret in his voice.

“I was, but not anymore.  That ended about six months ago.”

“Do I know him, too?” Michael chuckled, stretching out on the lounge chair again.

Annie nervously shifted where she sat.  “Boy, you sure ask a lot of questions.”

“I’m sorry.  None of this is any of my business.  Never mind.  Why don’t you play me another song.”

“No, you don’t know him.  Joe is another local guy.  He plays drums for a rival band.”

Michael slowly turned his head toward her.  The moonlight reflected upon tiny tears that had collected on her eyelashes.  The sight made his heart ache.  Her sadness seemed so deep.  He sat up to face her.  Annie’s eyes dropped to her lap.  With his fingertips he reached and removed a wisp of hair that dangled in her eye.

“Annie, the man was a fool,” he whispered.

She raised her eyes to meet his and blinked, allowing the tears to cascade down her flushed cheeks.  There was a long silence between them as they stared into each other’s eyes.  Michael slid closer and dried her face with the pads of his thumbs.

“I
really
want to kiss you,” he said with a sigh, leaning forward and pressing his lips against her damp cheek.  The guitar slid off her lap and onto the grass below making an audible twang as it hit the ground.  Neither of them noticed.

His mouth moved to her forehead and then down to her other tear stained cheek.  Then his mouth found her lips.  He parted his slightly, catching her quick bursts of breath in his throat.  For a moment he didn’t dare move.  Her lips were on fire.  His own body was flooding with desire.  Then he felt the tentative tip of Annie’s tongue reach for his, as if to urge him on.

In a quick fluid motion, he slid his arms around her waist and pulled her from her seat.  She fell onto her knees between his parted thighs.  His leather coat fell from her shoulders and landed at her ankles.

“I’ve wanted to do this for days,” he spoke softly, and covered her mouth fully with his.  She met him halfway with her tongue and groaned shamelessly as he devoured her.  Her body throbbed as loud as her heart was beating.  His face dropped to her neck.  She wove her fingers into the thickness of his hair and gently pulled.  His tongue danced a lewd decent between her breasts, while his hands massaged her fleshy orbs between his cheeks.  Then abruptly, he pulled away.

“Damn it!  I can’t let his happen,” he blurted, breathing heavily.

“What?” Annie replied, with shock and regret that he had stopped his manipulations on her body.  Feeling rejected, Annie stood quickly and adjusted her clothing.  “It’s okay.  I understand,” she lied as she glanced toward the safety of her home.

“Annie, no.  I don’t think you do,” he said, raking his hands through his hair.  “It has nothing to do with you.”  As soon as the words left his mouth, he realized how lame it sounded.  It was all Annie needed to hear.  She turned away sharply and headed toward her apartment door.

Michael quickly stood and caught her by the wrist.  Then he spun her around to face him.  With a sudden jerk, he pulled her hard against his chest.  He felt her breath expel in a sharp, short burst.  Annie wriggled to free her hands, which Michael clung to tightly.

“Annie, look at me,” he commanded.  As soon as their eyes locked, Annie stopped her struggle.  Slowly, he bent his face toward her, until his lips were close enough to gently brush against hers when he spoke.  Then he suggestively slid her hand below his belt buckle and pressed it against the hardened mound of his manhood.  Annie gasped and attempted to pull her hand away but Michael continued to hold it in place.

“Like I said, my reasons for stopping have nothing to do with
not
wanting you,” he whispered against her parted lips and then he kissed her again.

“You don’t owe me an explanation,” she said, pulling away, attempting to put some space between them.

“It’s a legal issue,” he stated, dragging his tongue up the side of her neck and teasing her earlobe.  “The only exchange that happens between us is supposed to be strictly business.”  Then his mouth found hers again, his tongue delving even deeper until Annie thought she would explode from the pleasure.  “I don’t consider what we’re doing exactly businesslike, do you?” he sighed against her trembling lips.

“It not a big deal.  Really.  We can forget this ever happened,” she lied again.

Michael laughed.  “Then you must be made of stone because I know I won’t forget this happened.”

Annie’s head fell to his chest.  She could feel the loud thump of his beating heart and smiled.  It was a wonderful sensation to know his heart was racing for her.

“Believe it or not, I had to sign a contract stating I wouldn’t have any personal contact with any members of the sponsored bands.  I could get myself, and you, in a lot of trouble just by being here right now.”

He rubbed slow, deliberate circles on her back with his strong hands.  “If the press got a hold of a story like this, they’d say you slept with me in order to win the contest.”

Annie sighed.  She wondered if this was his way of politely dismissing her.  For all she knew, he had a girlfriend stashed away at his house.

He pulled her tighter against his body.  “You’re not saying much.  What are you thinking?” he asked.

“Honestly?”

“Of course.”

“I’m still having trouble believing you’re even here right now.  So, the fact that we’re having this particular conversation is a bit surreal to me.”

He pressed his mouth against her ear.  “I’d like nothing better than to take you inside and finish what we started,” he whispered.

Annie stepped back and studied his face with indecision.  “What makes you think I was going to invite you inside?  Or perhaps you were planning on grabbing me by the hair and dragging me inside like a caveman?”

He smiled sheepishly and dropped his head, slowly shaking it.  “Wow, well, I’ve been called a lot worse but I’m not a caveman.  I’m sorry.  I guess I was assuming something I shouldn’t have been.”

His eyes lifted to hers.  He seemed genuinely remorseful.  She tipped her chin in a sign of  defiance.  “I’m probably not like the other women you’re used to dealing with, Michael.  So I accept your apology.”

“You're
nothing
like the other women I've known which is why I find you so... intriguing.”

Annie placed her fingers over her mouth.  “Intriguing.  That’s a good word.  I like it.”  She gazed at him silent for a moment.  A slow smile ebbed across her face.  “You intrigue me, too.”

His lips curled seductively.  “I'm glad to hear that,” He stepped away and tried to adjust his pants.  “Maybe after the contest is over we can revisit this – that is, if you're still
intrigued
.”

Lightly, she reached out and touched his chest.  “I’ll take your offer under consideration and get back to you.”

“You’re such a smart ass,” he laughed.  “Well, I better get going while I can still walk comfortably.”  He bent in and kissed her softly on the cheek.  “That would be a guy thing,” he winked.

He stepped back from her and pushed his hands into the front pockets of his pants, trying to adjust himself again and make his pants more comfortable.  He noticed her watching and laughed.  “It’s a curse, what can I say,” he teased.

“Are you still coming to our gig tomorrow night?” she asked.

“I’m planning on it.  Sir Morgan’s Cove, right?” he asked, while walking backwards down the driveway.

“Yes.  I’ll see you then.”

Michael quickly turned away from Annie and headed toward his car.  Annie watched until she could barely make out his image on the sidewalk in the darkness.  Then she wandered back to the solitude of the back yard.  The night air made her shiver and it was then that she realized he had forgotten to take his coat.  For a fleeting moment she thought of running into town to give it to him.  But what would the point be?  She’d wait and give it to him tomorrow night. 

In the far off distance, Annie heard the roar of Michael’s car engine slice through the stillness of the night.  She closed her eyes and smiled, hugging herself tightly.  She shivered at the memory of his touch, collected her music and guitar, and went inside. 

She wanted him so badly and it wasn’t purely physical.  It reached beyond his kiss, far deeper than the burn he left on her skin from the touch of his fingers.  It was something she saw behind his eyes.  She felt like a moth to his flame.  Every time he looked at her, he drew her in deeper.  Every part of her body ached for him.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

 

Annie and White Rush hit the stage on time, just as Michael slipped in from the back door escorted again by his bodyguard.  He quietly grabbed a stool and sat stage left, out of view from the audience.  Annie’s face beamed with excitement when she saw him and quickly missed three chords in a row.  Michael skewed his face, grinned back at her, and teasingly shook his head in mock disgust.  Annie was relieved when the set was over and darted off stage to say hello to him.

“Aren’t you going to play solo while they take a break?” Michael asked.

“I wanted to say hello to you first,” Annie replied, feeling like a young girl trying to impress her teacher.

“Why don’t you play the song you played for me last night.”

“No way.  I can’t,” Annie shot back, shocked by his suggestion.

“Why not?  It sounded great to me,” Michael coaxed.

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