by Amanda Jones
a simmering hot chocolate with marshmallows
He watched her. He admired every part of her. The kink in her arms bent at the elbow to form an embrace with air. The pout of her lips with concentration. The gleam in her eyes, alive with the music. The erect back and supporting shoulder. The spread of her legs surrounding the body. Her young, supple fingers glided smoothly over the strings and the contact between flesh and gut or wire-bound nylon was extremely satisfying. He loved her with desire and hated her talent which prevented him from touching her now.
She was unaware of the face flickering with emotion beside her. She fascinated him with her tempting movements stroking the strings but was playing in innocence. She did not mean to fill him with lust and envy. She wasn’t aware of him as she caressed her harp.
It came from Wales. She lived in Swansea and had bought her instrument as a comfort. She had played a harp when she was younger, but it had been destroyed with fire when her parents divorced. Her father had burned with it. She knew her mother had set the fire up but so, so slyly that it was never arson. She rarely saw her now.
Music released her. She was able to escape from the stress presented at the office and problems displayed by Anna. Anna, how she loved her. She was four now and would soon be starting school, Anna.
Nick helped her, but she didn’t love him. He wasn’t the father of Anna. Chris had left her pregnant, he couldn’t face up to the responsibilities. She had to. Then Nick had come along. Nick had always helped her and loved her but she had never loved him. He insisted on visiting her daily although he despised her music. She wasn’t going to stop playing for him. Circumstances had stopped her before but not this time.
She earned enough money from working at the office and her house was beautiful with a colourful arrangement of flowers blooming in spring and summer. She had been working at the office for five years now. She had left school, done a brief typing course and now spent her life staring at a monitor. She always had headaches after work. Paracetamol was her only comfort apart from Anna and her harp.
Nick bought her things. She didn’t really want them but he insisted. She kept telling herself that she’d have to say goodbye to him but he was so persistent, persuasive and wouldn’t let her go. It would hurt him if she told him to go and she wasn’t totally insensitive to him. Besides, she liked him to kiss her.
He wanted to kiss her now but she was playing that bloody harp. Always producing such splendid sounds from the thing but ignoring him. He knew she didn’t love him but you could cultivate it, couldn’t you? Surely he’d be rewarded one day, she did like him to kiss her. That was a positive sign, wasn’t it?
So sweet. So crisp and flowing. If only everything was. She delighted in her music, it kept her alive and even Anna wanted to play. He thought, not two of them. It’s bad enough with one, even though he liked it secretly.
They were happy though. Nick often stayed and was a perfect father figure for Anna. How long could it go on without love on both sides? She’d love him soon, surely? But she seemed incapable of love since Chris left her four years ago. Maybe she didn’t trust him. She didn’t.
About the author
Amanda has ongoing work in horror, poetry, short stories and non-fiction. Author of the Missy Dog series for good causes, her book ‘Missy and the Whitts’ is the first, about her dog Missy who dreams about real history. The second book ‘Missy and the Old Fossils’ is being published online.
Her Go Fund Me campaign supports good causes through my Missy Dog Books.
Her books are available from the links below through Missy’s Matters and through Kindle.
Missy’s Matters is my Conscious Crafties Shop full of creative, handmade goodies with many donating to good causes. https://www.consciouscrafties.com/crafties/missys-matters/