All that Jazz.
8 pm and I still hadn’t left the apartment. Through the walls I could feel the bass and tunes of the jazz club downstairs and was happily giggling thinking at the fun I’ll have later in the evening. I was running between bathroom and bedroom trying to fix my dress and adjust my makeup. My phone was ringing furiously as my irritated friends placed call after call, forcing me to panic and place more drag on time.
I loved how the tight black dress was shaping my silhouette and my old Hollywood make up yet I couldn’t find my long gold earrings and I was trying to remember if I left them either in the bathroom closet next to my makeup or did I put them in my jewelry box in the bedroom’s dressing?
I know I’m late but I just can’t leave without my earrings! Not tonight!
In my despair I searched for a last minute alternative and found some pearls to replace my first option, quickly put on my golden sandals, grabbed my phone, purse and red lipstick and closed the door behind me.
15th Floor and the elevator was at 27.
This shouldn’t take long. Was admiring my wave low bun in the elevator’s doors when I realized that in my rush I had forgotten to add some lipstick as well. I pulled my lipstick out of my purse and by the time I finished with adding it, the elevator doors opened.
Happily I made two steps inside, pressed on ground floor then the closing doors button and set myself in the position to depart. It was then when I noticed a black cat passing, just before the elevator doors closed.
How strange! I didn’t know my neighbours had any cats! And what would it be doing in the foyer anyway?
By the time I hit ground floor I had already forgotten about it as my attention was focused more on how to distract my friends from being late. But then it hit me. How about if I use the black cat as a reason for being late?
Yeap! I might just do that!
So I waved goodbye to the doorman and displayed my most heartily smile as I caught the glimpse of Holly, Sienna, Isabell and Tyler. They were waiting for me with the car door open and just when they were about to slip in a word I started talking:
-Hi, guys! I wish you would’ve come up instead of waiting for me downstairs! It was such a mess what happened in my apartment! You would not believe!
-What was it this time? Sienna was not easy to trick. Was it the sandals or the perfume? What did you want to change? You are absolutely right, we just can’t believe how you manage to be late every single time!
-Oh you know me too well, darling! And I appreciate that you take time to note my habits, and I hope the positive ones as well not only my flaws, yet this time something incredible happened!
-So what was it then? Tell us, went Holly. Tyler was busy driving but turned slightly to hear better as he was smirking.
-Well as I was nearly at the door, adjusting my dress and on my way to put my sandals on, I heard noise coming from the foyer. I ignored it for a few moments but it kept going on and became louder, it sounded more and more like a cat’s meowing. So I opened the door curiously even more as I knew none of my two neighbours had any pets. And guess what?
-What? Was there a cat there? Isabell’s eyes lit as she was a cat lover.
-Yes! And guess where she was?
-Right in front of my door! There was a little black cat, I suspect at least a few months old because she is not a kitten but not an adult cat either. Anyway I looked around and there was nobody else and I just couldn’t leave the poor cat there. I went to my neighbours but none of them was home as I thought and hoped that maybe it was one of my neighbour’s so I took it inside with the intention to ask them tomorrow, when they’ll be home, and ask if they locked it out maybe? So I had to fetch her something to eat and leave it a small bowl of water. All the while you were calling me I was running around my apartment to leave things in order…so yeah, I guess I was late again.
Sorry, guys! I promise I won’t do it again!
-Yeah, yeah! Don’t worry, Mia, we know you. In fact we started calling you 10 minutes before arrival as we knew you were going to be late again, so no worries! But we do have to see that cat when we come back, I want to play a bit with it! Isabell demanded.
-Yeah, I bet you would like to! We’ll see when we get back! I just couldn’t continue with the story as I didn’t know what else to come up with and so decided not to think about it.
In about 15 minutes we were already at the Blue Bar, giggling all with excitement. This evening we were going to Blue Bar, a jazz venue where you had to book a table two months in advance as it was the “IT” place in New York. The night was set for dinner, good music, dance and laughter.
Tyler pulled the car in front of the restaurant where the valet opened our doors and greeted us. We were all radiating happiness and stepped confidently towards the entrance. We were guided fast to our table for eight as we were expecting some of Tyler’s friends and there we sat while chit chatting happily and throwing short looks here and there, to see who was present.
Shortly after we were joined by Alex, Jayden and Peter. Holly had insisted to arrange with Tyler an evening where her friends would join Tyler’s group, as we were all single except them two. I didn’t like much the idea but I knew Sienna fancied Jayden so I went along with them. Plus they were all lovely young men and a well spent evening can always be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The music wasn’t too loud yet and we could easily make conversation during our dinner. I was sitting next to Alex who was telling me stories about his growing up in Florida where he went diving to Key West, apparently taking three holidays a year to return and connect to his passion, source of energy…and spending time underwater!
I was interested in it, yeah, I thought it was beautiful but I had always been a person that enjoyed being high up in the sky. Paragliding for me, rather than diving so at some point I just wanted to put a sticker on his mouth and talk to Isabell because Sienna was hypnotized with Jayden, therefore unavailable. Just that Isabell was on the other side of the table so…oh well…I had to continue smiling and agreeing with Alex.
At a certain point I think he noticed my boredom, it was probably displayed on my face, because he suddenly stopped and asked me:
-Would you like to dance instead, maybe?
I was so deep into my thoughts that I didn’t really hear his question first time, then I saw the change on his face as I didn’t answer and felt the need to ask him:
-Sorry, what was it? I was rather forced to switch back to reality.
-Look, Mia…I probably was boring you with so many diving details, I was wondering if you’d allow me the pleasure to dance with you? Maybe you would prefer that?
-Sure, Alex…just excuse me a few minutes first. I need to adjust my makeup, if you don’t mind.
I surprised myself while saying this as it just came involuntarily. I did not have anything against the poor man, I didn’t dislike him, I just wanted to spend some time with my ideas and catch a breath of fresh air, I guess…
So I stood up in an elegant manner and gracefully walked away from the table. I didn’t know where the restrooms where so I decided to go back to the reception and ask the lovely blonde lady that had guided us to our table on arrival to point where I needed to go. She happily did it, anticipating my question as she saw me coming towards her.
As I was walking softly along the main bar to the corner where I was directed, I felt a strange gaze upon me. I hoped not to be Alex’s, coming after that dance he asked then I decided not to turn and look but keep on walking forward. Spent about 10 minutes in the restrooms and was thinking to stay there five more when Isabell appeared.
-Hi, love! Are you enjoying yourself in this cool place? I hope that big mouth Alex isn’t boring you to death with his diving details! I overheard your discussions at some point and I couldn’t stop myself from laughing realizing how uninteresting he must be for you, you who enjoy bungee jumping than any water sport!
-Yeah, true. But never mind me, tell me how’s your evening going? I wish we stayed a bit closer at the table so we can chat.
-It’s going. I’m not complaining, my partner isn’t allowed to talk much as I select the subjects I like and brag about them, laughed loudly Isabell.
Five minutes later we were walking together back to our table, passing again along the bar. I felt the same gaze as before upon me, again coming from somewhere behind then in next few seconds as I was swaying back to my place I heard footsteps coming faster towards me and someone saying determinately:
-Excuse me, miss! I believe you dropped something!
I turned slowly, to convince myself if it was addressed to me or someone else and in the same time curious to see what was dropped, yet to have the time needed to adjust my polite smile and flashy look.
The moment I turned I thanked myself for it. The man before me was a tall, broad shoulders, dark haired man in his 30’s wearing a black dinner suit and with deep dark eyes, displaying a smirk.
-I believe this lipstick is yours!
-And what makes you say that? I asked looking into his eyes and not to the object he was holding.
-I saw it dropping out of your purse as you were playing subconsciously with it while walking back to your table with your friend.
-Oh! I realized looking down that my purse had indeed opened and my lipstick was missing. Thank you, I guess! Although I am not sure I like to know people are watching me so closely and they know before I get a chance to introduce myself where I sit and who attends me.
-Allow me to introduce myself, then! I am Jacob Richards, miss..?
-Mia Brown, a pleasure!
– The pleasure is all mine, miss Mia! I assure you! He smiled broadly, and yes, he was truly handsome and those deep black eyes were hypnotizing.
-Well thank you for my lipstick Jacob but I have to return to my friends. Would you like to join us, perhaps, or you came here with someone?
-No, I came here alone and as a matter of fact, yes, I would love to join your party. As long as I don’t disturb you, of course.
-No, not at all.
We walked back together to the table where I introduced Jacob to everyone and where he asked a waiter to add an extra chair to accommodate himself. I felt sorry for Alex as the waiter found the inspiration, under Jacob’s careful instructions, to place the chair right between him and myself, putting an end to our diving discussion.
Nonetheless Alex was about to pick up from where we left, meaning the dance proposal, when Jacob intervened and while gently grabbing my hand and kissing it, he asked me:
-Would you have the pleasure to allow me this dance, miss Mia?
I caught a glimpse of Alex’s surprised face while I surprised myself again, saying:
I couldn’t stop thinking that I did not have anything against Alex, there just wasn’t anything to attract me to the poor young man. Instead, I couldn’t say the same about this Jacob. There was a mysterious air around him that was stirring something inside me.
His steps were so natural, I couldn’t feel any tension in his movement and how we walked together, just like he was levitating to the dance floor. Very strange, I thought.
We danced on at least half an hour, exchanging looks and smiles but not saying much, just feeling the music and enjoying the moment. On occasion I was noticing each of my friends dancing along us then disappearing to reappear again after a while on a different tune. The music was so good that I did not wish to leave and Jacob was a fantastic dancer.
-I can’t not notice how good you are to lead a woman, Jacob! You seem to enjoy it at least as much as I do! I didn’t know men were such devoted fans of jazz!
-It’s all merit of my mother, Mia! She has passed onto me the passion for all kinds of music, not only jazz! Plus you’re no stranger to dancing it seems, so it makes it easier for me! Perhaps next time we see each other we could try a different type of music club!
-That would be great! But for the moment I believe it’s time we get back to the table as we’ve been away for a while and soon my friends will complain I had abandoned them in your favor.
-Would that be such a bad choice to make?
-I don’t know yet, as I don’t know you Jacob.
-What is your feeling about that?
-My feeling is that you wouldn’t make me ignore my friends, that’s for sure.
-True, I wouldn’t make you ignore them but rather explain them you will become unavailable for a long period of time. Maybe for the rest of your life as I’m going to keep you busy. He displayed again his mysterious grin as he was saying the last words.
-Sweet, but I am rather that type that wants a life equally spent between partner, friends and family. I am not sure I could only dedicate myself to you, as tempting as that would be! Now let’s get back, please! I smiled back seductively while stepping towards the table, my hand was still in his, never letting it go.
-Tell me this Jacob, when did you notice me, honestly?
-Why do you ask?
-Just curious, I guess. His smirk appeared again.
-What’s your feeling about it?
-Again you ask me the same question. To be honest I feel you saw me long before I came out of the restrooms with Isabell.
-It’s true. I did notice you long before. You look ravishing tonight, Mia! It’s hard not to notice you!
I blushed and put on my seductive smile again. It was my favorite thing to do. Purr like a cat. Suddenly my mind flew to the black cat in the foyer back home and I realized it must be late and probably time to go home. I hoped that Isabell had forgotten all about it and not wishing to join me home.
I was right as at the table my friends were waiting for us to ask if we are ready to go.
-Could I take you home, Mia? Jacob asked politely.
-I’m sorry, I came here with my friends and I’ll leave with them. Next time!
-Okay, perfect! Next time it is then! Let me walk you to the car then!
The party was loud and cheerful so we stayed behind to be able to talk. He was guiding me by my hand.
-Do you have fear of heights, Mia?
-No, not at all! Why do you ask?
-I want to take you somewhere.
-Where and when if may I ask?
-When would you like?
-Hahaha, silly! I don’t know!
-When you feel like it? He smirked again.
-Again the same question! Is this a sort of game you play?
-No! I just think that feelings never betray you, that’s all!
-Yeah, sometimes! Maybe! I don’t know…never thought about it like that!
-Well, let’s then start from here. When you’ll feel like it, I will take you.
-And how would you know that? Wait for me to tell you?
-No, not at all…I’ll just know. You’ll see.
-Hahaha silly, again! Impossible!
-We’ll just have to wait and see, right? He winked, kissed my hand and held the door of Tyler’s car open as my friends were already in and waiting for me to say my goodbye to this handsome man.
-I’ll call you, he said.
-How? You don’t have my number. I got next to Isabell while looking into his dark black eyes.
-I have your name, though! Sweet dreams later and don’t forget to feed the cat, Mia! He closed the car’s door, smirked again and waved goodbye.
The smile on my face froze along with myself, dumb struck. I don’t remember telling him about the cat I saw tonight. I couldn’t have! Lying about it to my friends was enough, I couldn’t do it again with someone else! What the hell?
-What just happened, Mia? My friends pulled me out forcefully out of my reverie.
-Sorry, what was that?
-What just happened to you tonight? Isabell asked again.
Tyler was giggling while driving, Holly too and Sienna was in her reverie about Jayden so I didn’t count her in at all.
-I don’t know…strange, right? To be honest, at this moment I feel a bit dumb struck with this strange guy.
-Dumb struck? Asked Isabell looking puzzled. He is handsome but why dumb struck? He’s not the only handsome man you’ve ever seen or talked to or went out with! What’s so special about this guy to make you leave us for the whole evening to dance away with him?
-I don’t know, really. I didn’t even notice how time went by, really. Strange…this is why I am like this. It’s really strange…
-Well, never mind, we shall see him again surely and in time figure out what is it that attracts you.
-You think? I asked Isabell, yet looking at Holly who was looking back at me, smiling like a Cheshire cat.
-Oh, come on! He looked like he’ll never miss a chance if you decide to give him one. I hope you haven’t canceled our movie night tomorrow in his favor, have you? Isabell threw me an accusatory under eye look.
-Of course not! Would I ever do that?
-No, true…but with strangers you can never be too sure, can you? Isabell concluded.
I didn’t answer to that. I couldn’t as my mind got blurred on the appearance of his image.
Tyler pulled in front of my building and automatically I opened the door and stepped out of the car, waved everyone goodbye, hoping that Isabell had forgotten all about the cat. And she had because they all waved and the only thing she said was about the next evening.
The doorman held the door and greeted me and I took advantage to ask him about the cat, if by chance he knew anything about it. He wasn’t of much help.
I stepped into the elevator, pressed 15th floor and waited to arrive at home. Was hoping the cat problem was solved meanwhile, I would really feel sorry to know it got lost somehow and someone missed it.
The doors opened and I stepped out in foyer, looked around and saw no trace of the little animal. I sighed with relief.
Well her owner must have found her! Happy for the little one!
I slipped in my key, turned it and pushed my door, in the moment I lift my eyes from the door lock and into my apartment I thought I was going to faint.
On the couch in my living room in front of me there was a little black cat sleeping, with her face towards the door and her paws under her chin.
I blinked several times suddenly not able to force myself to make a step forward.