Christmas & Chill

For the Love of Music

Nathan had no intention of leaving. Still he got up and walked into the room behind the couch. He remembered cuddling on the couch last year with Ariana and listening to her dream out loud about putting in a recording studio so she could do what she loved without leaving the house or even having to put on pants. He couldn’t believe she’d actually done it.

The studio was amazing, adorable just like Ariana but also such a fun, intimate space for creating art. He could only imagine the beautiful music that was going to come out of this place. As he sat down at the piano, it hit him like a wave how much he missed hearing her sing. Her voice was incredibly and to watch her perform, to see the passion and pure joy on her face, was a truly priceless experience.

He loved her. It had just taken him way too long to realize it.

He didn’t even think before his fingers found the pure white piano keys, sliding across the smooth ivory, and began to play. It was the song the media had buzzed about, the one they still hadn’t heard. The song about Ari. The label wasn’t sure it’d make a good single. It wasn’t upbeat enough or bitchy enough or sing-along kind of catchy. Nathan didn’t mind. Every time the release was pushed back was a little longer the song got to belong to him. He didn’t have to deal with everyone else’s interpretations and opinions. He didn’t have to explain himself, what his felt, what had happened between them. It just was.

Ariana slipped in quietly through the door so he wouldn’t hear her. She should have known better than to assume he would actually leave. He was stubborn when it came to things he was passionate about, she knew that. It was one of the many reasons she fell for him in the first place. Another was that ridiculous voice, soulful and earnest, full of honesty and passion. She’d never heard a piano respond to anyone the way pianos did for him. She’d also been jealous of that.

And clearly he hadn’t lost his touch. The song he was playing was pure musical poetry. The lyrics coming out of his mouth were beautiful too in a heartbreaking kind of way.

He finished the song and Ariana started clapping slowly. He turned around and turned bright red.

“Sorry,” he apologized in that perfect British accent of his. “You know I can’t resist a beautiful piano.”

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “That piano deserved it after all I’ve been putting it through.”

“I’m sure it’s been spoiled plenty.” He assured her, then paused. “Can I hear some of your new stuff?”

There were a million reasons why she should say no, not the least being that she had technically already kicked him out of the house and of course that amazing piece of music he had just finished playing for her. But for some reason she suddenly wanted him to hear it. She needed him to tell her she’d gotten better, that he loved the new music.

She walked over to the console and pressed play then winced as the song she’d just finished recording came out of the speakers. The song about Nathan. She knew it would be too hard now to switch songs without looking like a total doofus so she pulled her hands off of the controls and let it play.

Nathan got up off of the piano bench and sat down in one of the swivel chairs closer to the console. He folded his hands together and leaned over the board, listening intently to every note, every voice inflection, every lyric, his head nodding ever so slightly. Ariana knew his opinion didn’t matter. He was just her ex, not some music executive or close friend. But she still found it hard to breathe as she watched him listen to her song. Her eyes roved his face, his hands, even his tapping toe for some indication of what he was thinking, but the results were inconclusive.

When the song finally ended, she crawled into the other swivel chair and pushed it until its armrest banged into the one on his chair. She searched into his eyes and asked, “So?”

He didn’t answer, just pulled her close. And when her hand found its way to the back of his neck, he bowed his head and pressed his lips gently to hers.

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