sábado, 18 de enero de 2014

Singing your Shades. Chapter 5

Here you have chapter 5... I hope you like it!


“Here you are, next program schedule”. Ana told José, bringing him a manila folder.  “There you have the songs in order of appearance and some background. I’m sure we have them all in our archives”.
José took a look at them and whistled “Wow, Ana, you have done quite a work here. Oh... and are you sure about this?” José said pointing with his index finger to the very last part of the text.
“Yes, of course. We have to keep our audience interested... and it’s also something I have to do” She said smiling. José smiled too at the thought of listening to Ana’s beautiful voice again.
# # # #
The day after, Christian was sitting in his office, in front of his laptop, sipping from a glass of white wine. It was almost 23:00 h. He stood up and looked out of the window to Seattle’s skyline. Then, a radio jingle filled the space of the room. He took off his jacket and sat down, clutching both armrests with his hands.
“Good night guys, welcome to WSU radio, I’m Midnight Sun and we aim to fill your heart and souls with good music”.
Christian closed his eyes and felt that voice enveloping him like a warm breeze. It was the sexiest voice he could ever remember,  sweet and spicy all mixed in an incredible result, that made him melt. How was it possible, to get enchanted only with a voice, as in a siren’s call? He let go the breath he didn’t know he was holding and he relaxed immediately, loosening his tie and reclining in the armchair.
“How were your holidays? Mine were... interesting”. Ana paused for effect. She was thinking about that mysterious guy. Would he be listening to her? “Well, we have to thank you all for your incredible response to our last program. We never expected so many e-mails!”
Christian kept  lying on his armchair with his eyes closed. Would she be refering to his e-mail as “interesting”? And why the hell she didn’t expect people going crazy about her lovely voice? It was captivating for him...
“I want to begin this new year with a classic. You know I love classics. This song was written originally by Screamin' Jay Hawkins in 1956, begining as a song about the lost of love, and then transforming into a more violent thing, where Hawkins claimed his wife’s possession. It became quickly a success, and it has been versioned in many occasions by many different artists. Nina Simone’s is one of the most known. She transformed the tune into a thrilling love song, complete with horns and strings, and it had become one of her most well known songs. Enjoy this I put a spell on you... especially you, Fifty.
Christian opened his eyes abruptly, staring at the screen with his palms flat on the table, to reassure himself of what he had heard right in that moment. Did she just have mentioned him? He smiled widely, showing his perfect teeth and he leaned in the chair again, removing his tie and throwing it on the table, as the sexy notes of the song filled the room, making him feel sexy as well. He sighed. She not only was talking to him, but she was beginning a game, and sure as hell he loved to play!
Anastasia enjoyed the program very much. She loved the effect that music could do to people; from soothe your soul to inflame your spirit. She believed that, with only a song, you could go from hell to heaven; from lost to found. She prepared herself for the very last part of the show, plugging her keyboard to allow it to be heard through the radio sound system while Radiohead moaned in the background about wanting a perfect body and a perfect soul. She turned her head to José a little bit nervous, and he gave her a encouraging smile and the thumbs up.
Christian enjoyed the show. He liked the music she was choosing; it fitted him so well, as if she knew him. He also loved the comments she made about the songs. She seemed such an interesting woman, someone to spend your time with, chatting about whatever. He closed his eyes again, and began thinking about how would she be. Would she be tall or short? Slim or curvy? What would her hair colour be? And her eyes colour? He didn’t mind. He would love feeling her breath in his ear while hearing her singing softly. He felt a shiver through his spine thinking about it. And he was sure she smelt delicious, as her voice, sweet and spicy at the same time; sexy as hell. Suddenly, the scent of that girl, Annie, filled his nostrils, letting out a soft moan. He shook his head to recover his senses. Would he really want to face her? Would he really want her to know him, the real him? He wasn’t so sure about that. He wasn’t so brave.
Ana closed her eyes and took a big breath trying to steady her nerves. All these conversations with her parents these past holidays had made her think about her issues. And she had arrived to a simple conclusion; no matter what, she was drawn to him, to that grey-eyed boy. She was sure it had been an isolated encounter, one of these things that happen once in your life and remain recorded in your mind and soul forever. She didn’t expect much more from it, but she neither felt the need to move forward still. She was comfortable with it. She felt sentimental, but not sad. She had assumed that she could not expect anymore, and that was it. The radiohead song finished and she began talking again.
“Everyone needs a little bit of control, don’t we?” She said refering to the song that had already finished. “But we have to choose what control mean for us. I’ve been thinking lately... You, my lost boy, were like a shadow in a dream, the best dream I could ever have. I’m not upset or sad. Maybe I’m a little bit coward, but I just don’t want it to end. I don’t know why, but you make me feel good, so... why stopping thinking about you?”
Anastasia sighed and gulped. Christian was listening intently, trying to absorb every word as if his life depended on it.
“I’m borrowing, not stealing(*), this marvelous song by Gavin DeGraw. It’s from his 2011 album Sweeter and it’s called Spell it out. Pay attention to the lyrics, as always. It’s the best way I have to communicate with you”. Then she began playing the keyboard and singing the song, pouring her soul into the music.
With my eyes wide open / and with words unspoken / I still understand
And I'm reading your mind / using every outline / you're drawing in my hand
Feel your fingers /  I'm in way too deep
To wake up / Step out / Cause I'm really getting used to being in this dream / You know what I mean I / Can't find / Any reason I would ever wanna turn back now / Once you spelled it out”
Christian felt again the warm embrace of her sweet perfectly intoned voice. He felt a light oppression on his chest. It wasn’t a sharp pain; it was much more like a sweet longing. He looked at his hands, which were resting on his lap, and touched his fingertips. There She was again, piercing his heart with her deep blue eyes, so big and innocent. He imagined it was her who was singing for him.
“When I first met you / there were things I'd been through / that I would never tell
But it was almost as if / you already knew my language / cause you'd been there yourself”
Oh, Midnight Sun, you’ve hit the nail on the head again! He thought. He remembered the way She looked at him that day at the piano shop, like She were capable of seeing through him and knowing all the shit, but not wanting to leave. The song really suited him. He smiled sadly, with the longing he was feeling seized in his chest. She left, but it was for the best, for her best, he thought. At least he could share this longing with Midnight Sun. It seemed that she was in the same situation than him.
Ana poured all her longing at the song. There was so much to say. If only He were listening to her. Would this song make him feel better? Would He still be bearing all that anger and sadness? Would He acknowledge all the meaning of it? She felt his smoldering grey stare heating her core, unleashing her soul, accelerating her heartbeat. She even felt his scent and imagined him trapping her in a tight embrace.
“Come on, we can leave the world behind / Close the curtains, shut out the light / Just state the good / Don't let me go / Don't tell me I should
Wake up
Step out / Cause I'm really getting used to being in this dream / You know what I mean I / can't find / any reason I would ever wanna turn back now / once you spelled it out”
Ana felt drained after finishing the song, and she smiled while a single tear slipped through her cheek. She whispered her farewell.
“Well, it seems I have no control at all”. She chuckled. “I hope you like it. We’ll be back in two days. Be good and feel the music”.
# # # #
Grace was thrilled with Christian’s behavior during the last weeks. She was so happy, that she didn’t hesitate to share her bliss with one of her best friends, Elena.
“He’s calmer and a little bit more loving. He smiles sometimes. Even I saw him laughing at Christmas and New Year’s Eve!” Grace said joining her hands in her chest.
“Oh, dear, it is fantastic” Elena said with a fake smile. “And... do you know the reason of this change in Christian? Has he told you something?” Elena was really pissed off about Christian. He had not phone her in ages, and she knew about the end of the contract with Susannah. She suspected something or someone was interfering, and she wanted to know.
“I have no clue, Elena. You know my son is a very private person. I do not intend to risk upsetting him. For me, watching him happy is enough!”
“Of course, Grace”.
In that moment, Christian entered the room. Grace greeted him warmly, while Elena kept her coolness.
“Here he is. He is visiting us every Sunday for lunch since Christmas holidays” Grace said to Elena with joy. “How are you, sweetheart? It’s good to see you”. Grace approached Christian and kissed him in both cheeks.
“I’m fine mum. Elena”. Christian answered affectionately to his mother, and then nodded cooly towards Elena.
“It’s been a long time since we met, Christian. I miss you”. Elena got closer and kissed him in the cheek.
“You know, Elena, I’m a very busy man”. Christian felt something wrong about her. She was usually cool and arrogant, with that domineering halo that used to turn him on, but that day he could feel something more; some kind of restrained rage only visible for an imperceptible evil spark in her eyes. That look would probably scared him in the past, but in that moment it only pissed him off.
“I know you’re busy, but I need to talk to you about some issues of our shared business. Maybe we can meet this next Tuesday for dinner at the Mile High Club. You can pick me up at 7:00 h in the afternoon”. Elena ordered with a smirk, feeling pleased with herself.
“I’m always interested in my investments, Elena. If you have any problems concerning our business I will be pleased to help you, but not on Tuesday nor Thursday. We will meet on Wednesday. I’ll send someone to pick you up and we will meet at the restaurant”. Elena’s smile diminished into a thin line and her nostrils enlarged, showing her frustration.
“Of course, Christian. Until Wednesday, then”. Elena replied with a fake smile.
Christian waved his hand with a smirk and turned around to face his mother, who was completely oblivious of the give and take between Elena and Christian. He entangled his arm with hers and they went to meet the rest of the family.
# # # #
Ana stretched out her arms with both her hands joined by the fingers in front of her chest while she swirled her neck, and then she shook them loosely and sighed. The atmosphere was warm and filled with the discordant sounds of the different instruments of the orchestra; the high-pitched sound of the flute, the low-pitched humming of the cello, the sweet harmonic notes of the violin and the nostalgic moan of the sax, all of them weaving some kind of background jungle sound.
“Just missing the sound of your piano, Ana. Are you ready?” Mr. Clayton asked her with a warm smile.
“Yes, of course! I was only warming up my muscles and making relaxation exercises”. Ana answered. The last time they had played was almost a month ago, and facing the public was always something challenging for her.
“I’m glad you’re ready Ana... I have something to tell you”. Mr. Clayton said with a spark in his eyes. “Today there will be someone watching us from the stalls. Someone involved in Seattle’s music world, with a lot of contacts and influence. I’ve talked about you with him”.
“Really? Ana widened her blue eyes and touched her bottom lip with her fingertips (that damn habit again).
“Don’t get nervous, Ana. You always do good! Just be yourself”. Mr. Clayton reassured her resting his hands on her shoulders.
“Thank you Mr. Clayton. I’ll do my best”.
The concert was a complete success. Mr. Clayton, as the conductor, was thrilled and filled with pride for his pupils, specially Ana. She was such a complete artist; if only she could overcome her shyness. She kept stubbornly hidden behind the piano, at the back of the stage, always trying to go unnoticed. But when she began playing, she couldn’t help growing higher and higher, and it was impossible not to get lost in her magnificence. You could feel her soul, her love, her hate, her sadness and her happiness poured in the notes she effortlessly played, subduing the audience to her will.
Ana was chatting with her companions at the foot of the stage right after the concert, all of them glad for the good work done, when Mr. Clayton approached her with another man. He was tall and slim, his hair was red and put up in a pony tail and he was casually dressed, with small hoop earrings in both his ears. In fact, his appearance was the one of a bohemian artist. The thing Ana didn’t like at first was his stare; his dark blue eyes that shone with a devilish spark, and the arrogant smirk on his face.
“Ana, this one is my old friend Jack Hyde, the person I told you before. Jack, this is Anastasia Steele, an incredible musician and singer, and one of the people I know who knows more about music. She is also in her last year of English Literature major”. Mr. Clayton knew about Ana’s alter ego as Midnight Sun, and he didn’t want her to miss any opportunity it could bring her. Ana blushed at his words.
“Nice to meet you, Anastasia. It’s been a real pleasure listening to your performance. It was captivating...” Hyde told with a warm voice that differed so much with the chilly look in his eyes.
“Nice to meet you too, Jack. Thank you very much, the pleasure is mine. You can call me Ana”. Ana noticed the discordance between his first and his second demeanor, which was warmer. It felt odd, but she put it in back of her mind, taking importance away from the thought.
“Jack works as an editor in chief of the prestigious music publication “Everybody’s possession”, which has its headquarters in Seattle”. Mr. Clayton said patting Hyde’s shoulder.
“Oh, so you are that H.J., aren’t you?” Ana said noticing Jack’s smile. She knew his work. “I think it’s an incredible publication; so interesting and usefull. I’m a regular reader, mostly of its website” Ana stated.
“Do you, really? Ok, tell me what you like the most”. Jack said crossing his arms in his chest. He wanted to test her.
Everybody’s possession was much more than a music magazine. It was a platform used by many artists (musicians, singers and song writers), promoting useful connections to make collaborations and easing new artists to get to the public and to the music industry. It was also known that the best song writers were behind its articles.
“Well, where do I begin? First of all, I like the diversity of the music involved in the publication, and the honesty of the articles. They are not what people always expect, but much more. I’m sure that artists look forward to be interviewed for the magazine because it means they are considered authentic and genuine. I also like the educational section, I think it’s very useful to music students. Oh, and I like the title, too”.
“Good answer, Ana. But, what about the title?” Mr. Clayton asked amused.
“I like it, “Everybody’s possession”. It is from a John Lennon’s quote, isn’t it?”
Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it”. You’re right, Ana. I’m really impressed”. Hyde’s eyes darkened a little.
“I’m a music freak, I think”. Ana shrugged avoiding Jack’s stare.
“Well, Ana. I think I’m in need of music freaks. I’m sure you know how to write. I have you as a reader; I would like you as a writer too. Musicians are more comfortable with their fellows when they have to talk about certain things... What’s more, working in Everybody’s will provide you a lot of precious contacts. Make an application when you finish college. I will give you a 6 months try”.
Ana was shocked with the proposal. “Oh, thank you very much, Mr. Hyde. I’ll do it, that’s for sure. And you won’t regret it”. Ana offered her hand to Hyde and a chilly feel run through her spine when his hand made contact with hers.
Just after finishing the conversation, Ray, José and Kate appeared at the foot of the stage to congratulate Ana, and she explained to them with all the details her unexpected job offer.
# # # #
Christian was waiting for Elena at their usual table at the Mile High Club, situated in a more private zone. He was seated straight in his chair, with his left arm placed on the table and his right hand on his thigh, resting loosely. His grey stare was pointing to a undetermined spot on the wall in front of him, and his lips were slightly parted, a shy smile dancing on them. He was thinking about her. In fact, he was thinking about them both; Annie and Midnight Sun, put together in a mixture of perfection that made him go crazy.
“Christian? Are you alright?” Elena asked frowning. She was wearing a little black dress that perfectly fitted her, showcasing her curves.
“Oh, Elena. You’re here. I’m sorry, I was distracted” Christian replied, still smiling. That unnerved Elena, but she tried to hide it. Christian stood up and shifted the other chair, for Elena to sit down.
“May we order first and then talk about business?” Christian asked without waiting for an answer.
When they were finishing the main course Elena began her inquisition.
“Christian, you’re so different lately... maybe distracted is the right word”.
“Ummm, this word sounds too familiar to me lately...” Christian chuckled remembering Susannah’s words at the Playroom the last day they meet.
“Is it something wrong? You’re so distant. I think you need another submissive immediately. I will send you a list with some possible candidates tomorrow morning...” Christian stared at Elena raising an eyebrow. “Oh, I know, Christian. I know you finished Susannah’s contract”.
“And what is it up to you?” Christian demeanor changed from relaxed to belligerent.
“Oh, dear. I know you have needs...”
“You don’t know my needs anymore!” Christian growled interrupting Elena.
“No one knows you more than me. And you know it, Christian”.
“Don’t be so sure about that. Mind your own business, Elena. I won’t repeat it twice”. Christian stood up and left Elena shocked and enraged to the bone.
Christian arrived home and went to the shower directly. The hot water relaxed him immediately. After the shower, he put on his pajama bottoms and went to his office. He switched on his laptop and click on the “favourites” button of the internet browser bar. He had saved the URL some days ago. It was almost a routine. The past weeks, he had been e-mailing her regularly. And she had answered him in the only way she could; with her songs, at the radio. Always choosing them in the right way, reaching to his core. He felt as a teenager. It was thrilling, but sometimes he felt silly too. Would he be able to face reality? Would he be able to meet with her? And if they meet, will it be as perfect as he imagined?
He began writing:
Dear Midnight Sun,
What are you doing to me... 

 (*) Reference to a verse of a Gavin DeGraw’s song from the same album (Sweeter, 2011) titled Stealing “I call it stealing, you call it borrow”.

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