…an excerpt of…
“There’s a concert grand in the living room. Come on.”
Anne followed him happily into a room with a soaring ceiling and low-slung couches; they were a design statement, and even she, small as she was, found them dwarfish and slightly awkward. Cliff played Beethoven impressively; Anne couldn’t name the piece but it was very dramatic, Germanic, the whole nine yards. When she unfolded herself from her seat and asked him why he wasn’t a pianist he said, “My assistant logs in at least a hundred calls a day for me. I’m too social; if I were up to performance level that would be a minimum of six hours of practice every waking day of my life, too much discipline, too much solitude.” Anne cocked her head up to listen more closely. She liked the sound of his voice.
He liked the serious, questioning, intelligence in her eyes, although it was a little unnerving. He wondered if those eyes were even bigger and more penetrating with her glasses off. Cliff, looking down into her upturned face, recognized a moral imperative forming in his frontal lobe that had to do with full disclosure, while something he wasn’t immediately aware of was brewing deep in his medial temporal lobes that resulted in a distinct snugness in his pants. “You can tell I’m off my game. When Chopin played, women would faint.”
“Like The Beatles?” Asked Anne. “Like Sinatra!”
“Like two-hundred and fifty kids out of their minds on X at Coachella?”
Cliff laughed. “You’re a funny little twisty. I like you.” Anne felt an ember deep down in her core, one that she had buried with years of emotional ash, and let it ignite.