They sat in silence for a moment, each searching for something to say. Lauren kept sipping her wine while taking stock of her companion.
She and Adam had known each other for about four years, but merely as occasional stand partners; their fingers would sometimes touch as they both reached to turn the pages of music, and Lauren would always momentarily lose her concentration. Gigs would come up in the District on short notice which required professional musicians. They’d met at a senator’s daughter’s luxurious wedding at the Ritz, as members of the small brass ensemble hired to serve the cocktail hour entertainment. Like now, Adam hadn’t been wearing his scarlet Marine Band uniform, opting instead for the standard concert dress of all black. It suited him nicely: he was tall, well-built, with dark hair in the standard crew cut, and had the most piercing blue eyes Lauren had ever seen. It surprised her that even now, at thirty-one years of age, she could succumb to the grips of a crush.
“Can I ask you something, Lauren?”
She blinked, jerking herself from her train of thought, which had steamed into the territory of whether or not Adam would be interested in tonguing parts of her, as opposed to his mouthpiece. “By all means. You know this is a judgment-free zone.”
“Right. Okay then.” He set down his glass and turned to face her. She shifted in her chair; those eyes were unnerving. “You’re single, right?”
She raised her eyebrows. “Wow, just want to get right to it then?” He nodded; she blinked. “Fine. Yes, I’m not seeing anyone. And you?”
“Well, I’m currently seeing you.” His face cracked into a wide grin.
She laughed and gently pushed his shoulder. “How did you know I love silly jokes like that?”
“It was honestly a lucky guess.”
“Well, you got lucky.”
He turned away, reaching for his glass. About a third of his drink was left. “I hope to continue getting lucky, Lauren.”
Lauren nearly spat out her wine. Is he serious? I doubt it; he’s probably talking about gambling or something. She gulped down her mouthful, then attempted to channel her inner coquette. “Lucky at what, Adam?”
He turned back to her. She found it impossible to look away from his eyes. “Essentially, getting to know you better. Spending time with you while not buried in music. Not waiting until the next wedding or gala to see you. Does that make sense?”
Lauren took a deep breath in an attempt to calm her nerves. She hadn’t expected to hear this from Adam. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that she hadn’t been expecting to hear this kind of talk from anyone, not recently at least. Fighting for a chair in the National Symphony Orchestra had eaten up much of her post-Master’s degree life. Now that she had her chair, she’d been trying to settle into a routine. “Frankly, this comes as a surprise.”
“Well, I mean…I’ve kind of been wedded to this whole NSO thing, remember?”
Adam reached over to take her hand. She became stiff, but didn’t move her hand away. “I know you have, Lauren. And it’s completely paid off, right?”
“Wouldn’t you say it’s about time you let loose a little?”
He slowly moved his thumb across the top of her hand; this gesture alone was enough to awaken parts of her that had lain dormant for quite a long time.
Entirely too long. She blushed again, finishing her glass of wine.
“Would you like another?” he asked.
She shook her head, tossing out a twenty-dollar bill onto the counter. Facing Adam straight on, she mustered the courage to be completely honest with him. “All right. You think I need to let loose a little? Perhaps I do. Maybe I’m reading you wrong, but I get the sense that you want to fuck me.”