As Jillian leisurely walked around the resort, she found herself near the grand ballroom where the party had been held earlier. She looked through the immaculate glass doors. The party had been over for quite a while and the efficient staff had already cleaned the place up.
Her eyebrows furrowed when she heard the sound of a piano playing. There had been a live pianist playing during the party all night. Was he still playing this late? Unable to tamp down her curiosity, she pushed the doors open and quietly walked in the room.
She was instantly calmed by the music surrounding her. The music was filled with so many emotions: love, pain, angst, passion. She kept walking towards the piano. She couldn’t see the players face, because the lid was up, but as she got closer, she began to get that tingling feeling all through her body.
She paused mid-stride. It couldn’t be him!
She continued walking until she could see his face. His eyes were closed as he played. He looked as if he were a thousand miles away. His face had a content look. Her gazed dropped to his fingers that were moving sensually across the keys. They slowed down and when she looked back at his face again, she realized he was looking at her.
Cassius had a lazy grin on his face and he gestured for her to come closer.
Jillian hesitated for a moment, thinking she shouldn’t. She should turn around and go back to her condo. But she couldn’t. She was being drawn to the music. She was being drawn to him. It was almost magnetic.
She stood next to the piano and watched as Cassius continued to play. He looked up at her again then tilted his head down at the seat. He wanted her to sit next to him. He slid over and she sat down.
They were touching from thigh to shoulder. The heat between them was palpable. She could feel every movement he made as he stroked the keys on the piano. The music was filling her with a cluster of emotions.
Eventually, Cassius’ hands slowed and he finally ended his musical arrangement.
Jillian felt his body move as he let out a deep sigh.
She saw him glance at her from the corner of his eye.
Then he began to speak. “When I was a kid, my entire family would go on vacation to Galveston. Not just me, my parents and siblings. My uncles, aunts, cousins....it was amazing. Like a summer long family reunion.”
Cassius’ fingers began to lightly play the keys again as he continued to talk. “That’s where my grandparents were originally from. He started all of this,” he waved one arm around the room, “from one little bed and breakfast on the beach in Texas.”
Jillian nodded and quietly said, “I’ve heard the history of hotels.”
Cassius nodded. “At the bed and breakfast, there was a piano. I don’t know what it was but something always drew me to that thing. One year my Aunt Mary began teaching me how to play. I was hooked. When we came back to New York, I started taking lessons. I used to play for the guests at the bed and breakfast during our vacations." He chuckled quietly and shook his head. “My brothers and cousins would tease me because I preferred spending my time inside playing rather than spending all day at the beach.”
“You play beautifully.” She couldn’t stop the wavering in her voice.
Cassius looked down at the keys. “If you cry, Ms. King, I may not be inclined to play for you anymore.”
She turned and looked at him despite the water that welled up in her eyes.
“So we’re back to formal names?” Jillian teased with a weak smile.
“Isn’t that how you wanted things?” Cassius asked, still not looking at her.
“Don’t you think that it’s better that way?” she replied with a question of her own.
“Full disclosure?” he asked.
She nodded. He turned and finally looked at her. He reached up and wiped away the wetness under her eyes with the pad of his thumb.
He was quiet for several moments then finally spoke again.
“I can’t say that I want things to stay formal…or professional between us. Because it wouldn’t be true.”
“No Jillian. It’s hard to stay professional where your concerned, especially when you’re the reason I’m down here at three in the morning playing on a piano, when I haven’t touched an instrument in months.”
She looked up at him, eyes wide.
“Why would I be the reason you’re in here playing music at three in the morning?”
“The same reason I’ve hardly gotten any sleep since I met you. And I’m betting it’s the same reason you’re walking around here in the middle of the night too.”
She let out a sigh.
He gently reached for her hand. “I can tell you feel it too Jillian.”
She tried to pull away, but he held on tighter. “Cassius," she said, shaking her head and looking down and their hands joined together. "Don’t.”
“That’s the first time you’ve said my name,” he said, smiling. “I think I like it.”
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