jueves, 16 de enero de 2014

Singing your Shades. Chapter 3.

Ana looked down to her sneakers and then at the high-heeled shoes of the girls around her. She fidgeted her fingers on her lap, thinking that she ought to have dressed up a little more. She was wearing her blue jeans and some rock-band t-shirt. "What was I thinking?" She thought. She glanced sideways to her right and left. Elegant girls with dress pants and delicate blouses surrounded her. Some of them even were wearing pencil skirts! She patted her forehead and sighed.
"Next one, please. Anastasia Rose Steele?" Ana rose up from the chair and smiled shyly to the man who had called her name. He was Mr. Clayton, a recognized musical director and an incredible sax player. There were also with him the dean of the faculty of fine arts and some other people Ana didn't know. She entered the auditorium with butterflies in her stomach. She sat on the piano stool and placed herself, making sure she was in the correct position to be comfortable with the pedals. With her eyes closed, she caressed the keyboard feeling the humming of the piano and automatically she reached her hand to her lips. This reminded her of him. After five years, she still could feel that soft touch. His features were a little bit blurred, but his strong presence, the pull between them and those beautiful grey eyes were etched in her memory. She took a deep breath and started the Scarvo moment of Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit. Her fingers flew along the keyboard, getting faster and braver, keeping a frenetic rhythm that showed all the passion that filled her heart. All the time she was thinking about him, her heartbeat growing fast, until she finished. She smiled and opened her eyes. Then, she looked at the astounded faces in front of her. The people that were in the room when she entered were open-mouthed, and now the door of the auditorium was wide-opened and the people that were at the corridor before, were now inside the room, staring at her, including Kate, who was standing with a wide smile and her thumbs up. Then, a huge applause began.
"I think that the brand new music band of WSU has found its piano player!" Mr. Clayton said, still clapping. "That was awesome, Anastasia. It would be an honour for me that you join us in this project". Ana flushed profusely to the ears, and with a tiny voice accepted the offer.
That night, Ana, Kate and José went to celebrate Ana's achievement. The three of them were having a beer and chatting while sitting cross legged in some comfy sofas in a corner of the club. Soft background music was played.
"If you could have only seen her, José. It was incredible; everyone in the room was open-mouthed. Our Ana is such a great musician!" Kate said to José with proud in her voice, making Ana blush hard.
"It's a pity I couldn't go and see you, Ana!" José said.
"Well, don't worry my dear. You will be able to enjoy my music in our next concert". Ana said making a reverence and winking.
"That's my Ana!" Kate said making a toast. "Here's to our last year at college and all our future successes!" They clinked their bottles and had a large gulp of beer.
"Where do you want to go dancing, guys?" Kate said excited.
"Sorry girls, but I have some work to do tonight at the radio. We have the music program from 23:00 to 1:00, so I can't go dancing with you". José said pouting.
"I love the campus radio. It's cool". Ana said nonchalantly. "You really enjoy your job as audio technician there, don't you?"
"A lot" José said grinning. In that moment, José's phone rang and he took the call almost immediately. He stood up from the sofa and paced back and forth with one hand at his hip. "Hi, Paul… Oh, no! You must be kidding! What the fuck? What shall we do now? Mmm, wait…" Ana and Kate watched him with curiosity, sharing suspicious glances. Then, José approached Ana. "You said the campus radio was cool, didn't you?" Ana nodded and frowned. "Ok, don't worry Paul. I have a fantastic solution. We have a substitute". José said to the other side of the phone line and hung up. Then, he kept staring Ana with a smirk.
"What happens?" Ana questioned frowning even more.
"You have to do me a favor. In fact, you will, because you are a really good friend of mine, and that's what good friends do". José said to Ana with pleading eyes.
"Ohhhh, what do you want me to do?" Ana said covering her face with both hands. These two knew her so well…
"Oh, Ana, I knew I could count on you!" José said grasping her hands and lowering them, revealing her face.
"You don't play fair…" Kate said to José, trying to hide her smile.
"For fuck's sake, let it out José" Ana said exasperated.
"I need you to run the music program tonight. The current announcer has called just a few minutes ago telling he won't come! We need someone to conduct the program. We need you!"
Ana's face changed astounded, denying with her head, and Kate began clapping her hands in excitement.
"Please, Ana. You will do great! Music is your life! You know everything about it, and you love it. During the program, it is all about choosing the right songs and making good remarks of them, and I can say that you're the person I know who knows more different kind of songs and authors. And don't forget you are a musician indeed. A great one".
"Don't flatter me, José. It doesn't go with you". Ana said pouting.
"Come on, Ana. I will be there helping with the technical details. You don't have to worry at all, just play your magic!" He kneeled on the floor just besides her, with both his hands together in front of his face, for the amusement of Kate and the rest of people near them, and Ana's embarrassment.
"Ok, I'll do it. I'll do it, but please, stop. Stop it!"
Christian put a fake smile on his handsome face and shook the hand of probably the hundredth person in the night. He was really pissed off. He was exhausted of the flattering men and the women who were throwing themselves all around him. He felt everyone in the room wanted something of him. No one wanted to really know him. No one really cared. In fact, neither he did.
"Oh, Mr. Grey! You have to tell us what your secret is; how is it possible that you have built such an empire at such a young age, and only in five years?" A woman in her forties said batting her eyelashes profusely.
"Mrs. Gardner, it's all about working hard and surround yourself with a good team. Half of my success is due to them." Christian answered maintaining the fake smile. He couldn't stand it anymore and wanted to get out of there right in that moment. He took out his blackberry from his pocket pretending a fake message. "Well, you'll have to excuse me; I have to solve something important at work". Smiling at the crowd that was surrounding him, he got out of the room. With a nod, Taylor followed him to the main entrance.
"Where do you want to go, sir?"
"To Grey House".
Christian relaxed in the car. He loosened his tie and undid the first two buttons of his shirt. He knew these parties were a part of his job, especially these ones near Christmas, but it was getting harder and harder to bear them. Anyway, people were softer around these dates, and it was much easier to make better deals. He needed to relax. He could phone his current submissive to make him feel better. He could fuck her mouth and fuck her hard until made her lose consciousness. But it was Tuesday and in fact, he was not in the mood. Maybe he was getting bored of this too. There was only one thing that really calmed him. He didn't want to admit it, but only thinking of those blue eyes, the bluest he had ever seen, he really calmed. The memory of her was still fresh on his mind. Her beautiful face. Her mesmerizing gaze. Her lovely voice. Her wonderful smile. Her soft lips. But he also remembered how he felt the moment he knew she had left. He didn't want to feel the same ever again. His heart shattered into a million pieces, although he knew it was for her best.
They arrived to the parking lot and Christian got out of the car without waiting Taylor. "Taylor, you can go to Escala now. I'll return on my own. The R8 is already parked here". Taylor was going to reply when the warning look on Christian's eyes stopped him from doing it. He knew better than pissing off his boss. "Ok, sir. Good night".
Christian reached out to the elevator and pressed the button to the twentieth floor, where his office was located. The hallways were dark, only the emergency lights were shining weakly, drawing odd shadows in the walls and furniture. When he arrived to his office, he pressed his forehead to the cool large window that showed the impressive Seattle's skyline. He looked down to the ground watching the tiny people walking in single file, like little ants. He observed the cars running as if they were searching for something or someone, in a strange race. All the bright windows of the surrounding buildings showing different private lives, hundreds of different stories behind them, as if in a theatre. He felt so small and distant looking that entire mesmerizing spectacle. He also felt sentimental. He felt something was missing. And he neither was in the mood for working.
Then he heard a sound, like a childish giggle, and music. He began walking, looking for the source of the sound and then he realized the information technology department was illuminated. Barney was there, sitting in front of his computer, chewing a blueberry muffin while typing on the keyboard, surrounded by empty coffee paper cups. He was listening to classical music that came from the computer.
"It's a little bit late today, Barney". Christian said with his arms crossed in his chest and a smirk in his face. He thought he had to revise Barney's salary if he kept staying so late very often. He liked Barney. He was a geek, and very peculiar, but he was extremely intelligent and efficient, and Christian always felt he could trust him. That was the reason he had appointed him head of the information technology department.
"Oh, good night Mr. Grey" Barney answered cleaning the muffin crumbs of his chest with the back of his hand. He wasn't surprised to see Mr. Grey at midnight in the office. He was such a workaholic. "I'm doing some background checks to our security firewalls that need to be done out of office hours".
Christian leaned his back to a column with both his hands in his pockets and his legs crossed. "I didn't imagine you liked this type of music. It is Bachianas Brasileiras number 5, isn't it?" Christian asked amused. He felt he could relax with this guy. They were two misfits; very different to each other, but misfits in the end.
"Oh, I think so. I mean, I didn't know anything about this song five minutes ago. But I really like it. In fact, I'm listening to a web-radio one friend of mine recommended me some weeks ago. In this program there's a girl who plays a very eclectic selection of different songs, and then she explains some background about them, about the author, or something related to the song. I think it's interesting".
"I really like this song already. What's the radio name?" Something had caught Christian's curiosity.
"It's WSU radio. It's conducted by college students. This friend of mine studies there, and he told me about this new program that began some weeks ago. It lasts from 23:00 to 1:00, every Tuesday and Thursday". Christian nodded in silence. He didn't know WSU had a radio. He was investing in the farming division, and also he had donated some money to create a music band at the beginning of the school year.
The music finished and a sweet warm female voice captured Christian's attention.
"Well guys, you have listened to the marvelous aria number 5 of Bachianas Brasileiras, a perfect mixture of Johan Sebastian Bach and the Brazilian folklore created by the singular Hector Villalobos". Christian gasped to the sound of that voice. It sounded familiar to him. "Now, I want to show you one last song to end tonight's program. Pay attention to the lyrics, as always. I'm Midnight Sun and this is Kelly Clarkson's Dark side. Dedicated to the boy with the most beautiful and sad eyes I've ever met. It's for you".
The song began with its music box first notes and Christian entered in a trance state. "It's for you…" Her voice was hypnotizing. "She always dedicates her last song to this guy. Midnight Sun, as in the Arctic Circle… It's cool, isn't it?" Barney said nonchalantly to Christian while typing in the keyboard. Christian shook his head and sighed.
Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Anastasia reclined in her swivel chair. "Will you tell me someday who the hell this guy was?" José told her through the headphones. She turned herself around with the chair and moved her index finger from right to left repeatedly with a smirk. Then, she turned around again and began singing. She loved that song. For her, everyone had a dark side, and a bright one. Like that boy with grey eyes…
José relished with her voice. She had a beautiful voice. She was beautiful inside and outside… but he knew he could not have her ever. For her, he only was a good friend, almost a brother. He felt a sharp pain in his chest. Then, with a wicked smirk, he pressed rapidly the necessary buttons to turn off the music and let Ana's voice show up to the audience.
"Like a diamond from black dust / It's hard to know what can become if you give up / So don't give up on me / please remind me who I really am / Everybody's got a dark side / Do you love me? / Can you love mine? / Nobody's a picture perfect / but we're worth it / You know that we're worth it / Will you love me? / Even with my dark side?"
"Don't run away. Don't run away / Just tell me that you will stay / promise me you will stay / Don't run away / Don't run away / Just promise me you will stay / promise me you will stay / Will you love me?"
Christian stiffened as he felt shivers down his spine. That sweet voice… He closed his eyes and concentrated in the voice and the lyrics. "Don't give up on me… Remind me who I really am… Everybody's got a dark side… Will you love me?" His heart was beating hard in his chest connecting the words of the song to the words that girl said to him five years ago… "You just have to keep trying". He looked at Barney, frightened he could hear the beatings. "Wow, she has a voice, uh?" Barney said nonchalantly. Christian nodded and took a deep breath. "Are you ok, Mr. Grey?" Christian took another deep breath and felt strange. A mixture of feelings were attached to his chest; a strange calmness with a hint of pain. But no more loneliness. "I'm not sure, but I think I'm ok".
When Ana realized what José had done it was late. She blushed profusely and she drew a line through her neck with her index finger towards José with a killing gaze. He laughed. "Well, guys, ladies and gentlemen, this was my Christmas present for all of you, the beautiful voice of our lovely and extremely shy Midnight Sun".
Ana sighed. "Well, yes. That was me". Ana covered the microphone with her hand and said "You are going to pay, José" but the sentence was heard by the audience in a strangled voice. Christian, who was listening intently from Seattle, felt automatically a feeling that began in his chest and ended in his face…hot and throbbing…, maybe jealousy? He pressed his lips in a hard line. Who was this José, that was teasing this lovely girl?
"Anyway, happy Christmas to everyone. The radio will remain closed due to the Holidays until January, so happy New Year too for everyone. And don't forget to share your comments, hopes and questions with us. You know, write to the radio email with the subject Midnight Sun. Be good and feel the music".
After cleaning up everything in the studio, José and Ana went home. They said goodbye to each other in the parking lot with a hug and Ana entered into her car. She remained seated in the driver seat. She took the lid off the driver's mirror and looked into her eyes. How likely was it that he was listening? Why on earth she had to do that every single night? She was a fool, but she needed it. Maybe… maybe someday she will find him again.
Christian entered the R8 to drive home. He remained seated inside the car and took the lid off the driver mirror. Two dark grey deep pools were staring at him. There was something… something in her voice, something in the way she talked and the things she said. "No more loneliness" he whispered to himself.

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