The warm May sun was shining in his eyes as he got out of his rental car, and parked on the side on the edge of the Byward market. He only had a couple of hours before his band did their sound check at the club, and wanted to buy a special birthday gift for his old friend, David. The temperature was unseasonably warm for the month of May, so he took off his leather jacket.
Ottawa was a city whose multicultural nature reminded him of his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. It was a pity with their busy touring schedule that he only had a couple of days here, and very limited time to enjoy it in. Such was the nature of being on tour.
Now David had accompanied him on a trip to Turkey recently, so he was thinking that perhaps an English translation of the Sufi poet, Rumi may be a thoughtful gift for his poetic friend. David was a Sufi Moslem yet despite their religious differences with Andrew, being a lapsed Irish Catholic, they had always been very close friends since they were children living in the rougher areas of Dublin.
He scanned around the market square for a possible place to purchase the book for his friend. Kitty corner from an Italian eatery there was a second hand and rare book dealer. That may prove to be a fruitful possibility to start his quest. David was a professor of Sufi literature at the University of Dublin. David had read him the following verse from Rumi, and what really struck him was how much the Sufi poet believed in the spiritual nature of love:
Love is from the infinite, and will remain until eternity.
The seeker of love escapes the chains of birth and death.
Tomorrow, when resurrection comes,
The heart that is not in love will fail the test.
The bell rang above the door heralding his entrance into the small bookstore. Shelves lined with leather and cloth bound volumes flowed from floor to ceiling. A wrought iron staircase wound his way up to a loft area filled with even more books. For a shop that looked small on the outside there was a lot within the space.
His eyes darted around the room trying to decide where to start looking. He gazed upwards at a young woman dressed in a white peasant blouse with a flowered print, black trousers and black ballet flats. He could see the outline of a curvaceous figure slightly underneath her gauzy blouse. She was petite, but was purposeful as she shelved books while standing on a wooden wheeled ladder. He could only see the back of her as she was paying full attention while she was merchandising.
He cleared this throat then in his Irish brogue said, “Excuse me, I could use some help finding something if you don’t mind.”
She hung on tightly to the side of the ladder as he had startled her by breaking her deep concentration. She took a breath then started to climb down the ladder. He could see now that she had a pixie hair cut, and soft green eyes rimmed by tortoise shell glasses. She was not a stunning woman, but he could feel himself starting to stiffen. There was something about her he couldn’t put his finger on.
“Sure what are you looking for?” she asked softly.
“Do have any books of poetry? I am looking for a birthday gift for a friend.”
She smiled at him. She noticed how very sparkling blue his eyes were, and the sound of his voice had a wonderful musical quality to it. The pit of her stomach began to flutter uncomfortably.
“We have lots of books of poetry. Are you looking for a specific author?”
“Yes, the book is for my friend David. He is a scholar of Sufi literature. Have you ever heard of the poet Rumi before?”
She nodded and guided him towards the spiral staircase. She grabbed for The Forbidden Rumi, and the book slipped out of her hands onto the floor. They both reached to recover the book, so their hands brushed each other’s lightly. She could feel a tingle up her arm as her heart started to beat a little bit faster. Her eyes met his as the heat rose up her cheeks. His heartbeat also started to quicken.
He was smiling at her as she was blushing. He thought to himself that he must see her again for he was intrigued by her. Charm had never been one of his strengths, but he felt that he needed to try. His body’s response to her was unusual for him, which made him curious about her.
“Thank you so very much for your help. David will enjoy the book of his poems.”
“You’re welcome. I’m glad that I could help.” She started to ring up his purchase at the cash register, and put the book into a brown paper bag.
“Look you did me a great favour by helping me find the book when I have such limited time today. Please accept this free ticket for my band’s performance tonight as a thank you. We go on tonight at 9 pm at the Mercury Lounge. I would like to buy you a drink once our first set is done.”
She took the ticket from his hand, and his fingers lightly touched hers. A slight shock went up her arm as she started to feel lightheaded. Perhaps she needed to eat something for lunch as she sometimes forgot to eat properly when she ran from work to her classes at the University of Ottawa.
“I have class tonight until 8:30 pm, but I will try to stop by to listen after I am done. Thank you for the ticket.”
He smiled at her, grabbed the brown paper bag, and turned to walk out the door. The bell rang again announcing his exit from the shop. She took a deep breath to steady her nerves then turned her attention to the box of books next to the cash register. It was a good thing that she had lots of work to distract her between now and then. He hadn’t even introduced himself and here she was blushing when she thought of those blue eyes.
A few hours later she crossed the university courtyard towards her English literature class. She jogged up the stairs to her 5:30 pm class on Gothic literature. A sign posted on the door indicated that her class was cancelled. She sighed, and headed out of the building towards the university residence.
She warmed up some leftover Subway in the microwave then tried to think of how she could spend the next three hours before heading for the Mercury Lounge. She tried to read some of her coursework, but she could not concentrate. Her mind kept drifting to his eyes, and the sound of his voice. Finally she took a warm shower, changed into a simple red dress and applied some makeup to her face. She made a face at herself in the mirror.
She walked across Byward Market until she reached the Mercury Lounge. It was about 8:45 pm, and there was a small line outside the club. She showed her ticket to the bouncer who waved her inside. She grabbed a seat close to the bar, and ordered a glass of red wine for herself. The band appeared to be almost ready to start playing.
He smiled to himself when he saw her sitting by herself at the bar. She had decided to come after all. Her curves filled out a classic a-line red dress, and she had a black bomber style leather jacket over it. She was a beauty, but not the common kind. He was glad that she came.
Andrew and his band Soul of Funk played for about an hour then the first set was done for the night. He noticed that she had ordered a glass of red wine earlier, so he ordered another glass for her and sat down next to her at the bar.
He extended his hand towards her. “Hi, my name is Andrew, and here is the drink that I promised you. My apologies but I realized when I left the bookstore this morning that I hadn’t introduced myself”
She took his hand to shake it, and that tingle shot up her arm again. “My name is Dawn, and it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. So is your band playing in Ottawa for very long?”
“No, we are only in town for a few days then we’re to play in Montreal. How long have you been working at the bookstore for?”
“I started last September when I moved to go to university here.”
“What are you studying?” he inquired. “You appear to know a lot about literature.”
She smiled and said, “I am doing a B.A. in English literature.”
He returned her smile, and said, “I would imagine then that working at a bookstore is an enjoyable job for you.”
She nodded, and asked him: “So how long have you been playing music for?”
“I have been writing and playing music since I was 13 years old. My Dad was a jazz musician at a club in Dublin, and I used to listen to him a lot when I was little. “
He noticed that the members of his band were starting to make their way back to the stage. Break time appeared to be over for now. He was almost sorry to leave her.
“I’m really sorry but I have to get back to the stage now. Are you going to stick around for a little while? I would love to hear more about you.”
She nodded as he returned to the stage to take his place in front of the microphone. She sipped on her glass of wine as she listened intently to the band play. They had an interesting sound that consisted of soul, jazz and funk going on. Andrew’s voice wasn’t great, but he sang with deep feeling.
Time passed quickly as the night went on until it was almost time for the club to close. Andrew’s band played their last couple of songs then he returned to sit next to her at the bar. He bought her another glass of red wine and also ordered one for himself.
“So what are you doing after the Mercury Lounge closes?” he impishly grinned.
She felt that strange flutter in the pit of her stomach again. “I was just going back to my dorm room to go to bed. Sorry I’m not that interesting.”
His heart sank then he had a flash of inspiration. “Have you ever been to the all night diner off of the market square?”
She shook her head no then thought to herself. When do I ever take a risk or try something new? The answer was hardly ever, so she took a breath and said, “Okay, I don’t have to work early tomorrow morning so we could maybe get a bite to eat.”
He grabbed his leather coat, and helped her off the bar stool. They walked silently outside of the club into the crisp night air. Even though they were silent it wasn’t an awkward or uncomfortable feeling. He felt very comfortable around Dawn.
The 1950s style diner was a favourite amongst those who loved the nightlife in Ottawa. Its red vinyl seats with chrome trim, the working jukebox, and the black and white floor helped the patrons think back on a simpler era. It was open 24 hours, and served the classics from a burger platter to huge breakfasts. One of Andrew’s band mates came here whenever they were in Ottawa to order their big breakfasts that reminded him of an Irish style fry up.
They both ordered a burger platter with a chocolate milkshake. He laughed when they said the same order to the waitress at the same time. He was beginning to like this woman more and more. They talked more while they were waiting for their burgers.
He learned that Dawn came from a small town near Ottawa, had one brother and one sister. She was not sure what she wanted to do after she graduated from university, but loved to write. He felt like he was coming home when he looked into her soft green eyes, and grew even more intrigued by her the longer that she sat across from him.
She learned that Andrew had been raised by his father, and his mother had died at a young age. His band in the past year had been touring extensively across Europe and Canada. He lived most of his life these days out of a suitcase.
“Don’t you find the constant touring lonely?” She asked.
“Most of the time I do enjoy playing music in front of a crowd, but yes it is sometimes lonely.” He looked at her soft lips as they pursed together when she was considering what he had just said. He wished that he could hold someone like her for even just tonight.
She dug into her burger and fries as by now she was very hungry. Her head was swimming slightly. Perhaps the glasses of wine were affecting her more than they normally did, or something was different about tonight. She was wondering what she would do if the night could be extended longer. Was there anything wrong with her going with him to the hotel? It was a thought which never crossed her mind before tonight. She could count her number of previous sexual partners on one hand.
After they finished their burgers Andrew went to pay the bill. Dawn went to the washroom to reapply her lipstick. She looked in the mirror at herself. She may never see him again, and wished to extend her time in his presence for as long as she could. Her heart echoed back to her why don’t you surrender yourself to the experience?
He looked down and shuffled his feet when she returned. “Would you like to come back with me to my hotel for a nightcap?”
Without hesitating, she replied softly, “I would love to.”
They walked without talking back to his hotel room. The door clicked lightly behind him. He threw his jacket casually over an armchair in the corner, and reached for two small glasses from the bathroom still wrapped in their plastic. He poured a glass of brandy for each of them. She allowed the rich smooth liquid to swirl around her mouth before sliding down her throat.
He cleared his throat before saying softly, “I want you to know that I normally don’t ask a woman that I barely know to come to my hotel room for a nightcap. I am normally very shy around women. For some reason I feel very comfortable in your company.”
He put his glass down on the bedside table then took her face in his hands. He caressed her cheek tenderly then he kissed her slowly on the lips then more passionately. A warm heat surged from her pelvis up her spine. She returned his kiss with even more passion.
He put his hands around her waist at first then both of their hands roamed over each other’s bodies. He took off his shirt then lifted her up as she put her arms around him. He brought her over to the bed and laid her down gently. He inhaled the flowery scent of her hair, and started to nuzzle from her neck down to her chest. His hand reached under her dress to lightly stroke her thigh. She felt a surge of electricity move from her thigh upwards and she moaned softly.
“Please let me pleasure you. You are so beautiful tonight.” She nodded her consent, and he reached under her dress to find black lace panties. He lifted up her dress a little further and kissed both sides of her hips. Her heartbeat grew faster as his light kisses caused her to grow hotter and wetter. He teased her clit through the lace then swiftly pulled her panties off. Her hands touched his hair as he nibbled, sucked and played with her sex. He slowly teased her for what seemed like forever with his tongue, and fingers until she was moaning with ragged breath. He removed her dress, and kissed his way down from her lips to breasts. He slowly sucked on each one then continued to kiss his way back down.
She was lying on the bed ready to explode out of her skin. “Please stop torturing me. I don’t think that I can take any more. Is there anything I can do to pleasure you?”
“Your moaning is driving me crazy enough.” He reached in the night table and put a condom on then he lied down on the bed. “Have you ever been on top before?” She nodded and mounted on top of him. They moved together in rhythm as the pulse between them surged up and down towards climax. Both were completely lost in the experience of each other. After what seemed like forever they exploded into one another at the same time. He wrapped his arms around her and they slept in a peaceful deep slumber.
(c) 2012 Amanda Wilson