Written July 2001
Synopsis: Rain and jazz bring Operations and Madeline closer together.
Disclaimer: The characters within are property of LFN Productions, Warner Bros., and USA Network. The song featured is “Let’s Leave” by Jeremy Davenport with Diana Krall. It is on Jeremy Davenport’s album Maybe in a Dream and was written by Davenport/McLean. No infringement is intended.
A YouTube version of the song can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhYYXpVesyc
Paul pushed the door shut, protecting them from the wind and rain. He glanced around their new surroundings cautiously, squinting in the darkness. The faint scent of old cigar smoke filled his nostrils. He pulled his cigarette lighter out of his pocket and flicked it on. The only other illumination was the occasional flash of lightning that shone through the broken window. “This should do until the storm lets up.” He sighed. “I’m sorry our evening was cut short.”
Madeline shrugged slightly and stepped further into the room, her heels clicking softly on the worn wooden floor. “Do you have any idea where we are?”
“No,” he answered, “but it looks like an old bar or nightclub.” He gestured to the four tables, each one with a glass sconce for a centerpiece. “There are some candles.” He lit each wick cautiously, and the room came to life. “There we go.”
With the extra light, they were able to get a better look at their surroundings. To their right was a long, empty bar with three broken stools. The tables sat in the middle of the room, with the left wall completely bare. There was a piano at the far end of the bar, an elaborate candelabra on top. Madeline walked over to it. “This is amazing!”
“What is it?” he asked, following her.
“This piano is a vintage grand! Sohmer, probably 1920s…” She touched the dark-red mahogany wood gingerly. “This thing is worth at least nine thousand US dollars.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Does it work?”
“Let’s see.” She brushed the layer of dust off the bench and sat down. She touched the keys, applying light pressure to a few of them. “It’s out of tune.” Absently, she played the scales. “But it does work.” She sighed. “I can’t believe someone would just leave this here. They must know what it’s worth.”
“Unless no one’s been here since the 1920s.”
She chuckled. “It hasn’t been vacated for that long. But we are out in the middle of nowhere; maybe this place has been forgotten.”
He paused. “Well, play something.”
“Other than scales?” She gazed at him gently. “What would you like to hear?”
“Anything but ‘Chopsticks.'”
She flexed her fingers, taking a few moments for deliberation. Finally, she started to play a slow melody, fingers dancing from one key to the next.
Paul wasn’t sure what it was until she started humming the lyrics. It was a recent jazz tune, one they both knew well. He watched her, the way her body swayed in time with the music. It was beautiful, despite the improper tuning. He joined in the humming, straddling the bench and facing her.
She began to sing, her voice unusually breathy. “Let’s leave and go home.”
“Your place or mine?” he continued, grinning.
“Either one’s fine.”
“We’re safe, beneath the moon…”
“But the sun will be up soon.”
“Why should we go alone?”
“Let’s leave and go home…”
They continued their song, their voices blending together perfectly. The falling rain and occasional rumble of thunder provided accompaniment to the piece but went mostly unnoticed. Paul was completely lost to Madeline, and as she played the instrumental interlude, the world around him became hazy. The only thing he could focus on was her. He touched her arm, running his fingers to her neck, and watched as she closed her eyes. Gently, he turned her chin toward him, and she stopped playing.
He could still hear the tune in his head as he continued the song. “Let’s leave and go home.”
“I’ll loosen your tie.” Her voice was barely a whisper, and she kissed his fingertips softly.
“Don’t lose the gleam in your eye.”
“I’m certain you can close the curtains.”
Their faces inches apart, they harmonized for the last line. “We don’t have to leave…we’re home.” They stared at each other, lost in a trace created by the song. Madeline looked away first, chuckling slightly.
Paul tucked a lock of her dark hair behind her ear, brushing her cheek with his knuckles. He kissed her temple, allowing his lips to trail down her arched neck. She turned her head toward him, blindly searching for his mouth. He found her first, pulling her close and tangling his fingers in her hair. With his other hand, he lifted her leg over the bench until she, too, was straddling it. Knees and noses bumped into each other, and she wrapped her arms around his neck, sighing with desire. Paul leaned her backwards, pressing his arms against the keys of the piano and accidentally setting off a chorus of loud, deep notes.
Startled, he broke their kiss. When he realized what had happened, he chuckled and smiled at her. She ran her finger along his jaw line, and he could see the yearning in her eyes. It was reflected in his. “Come on, let’s leave.”
“Your place or mine?” she replied, the lyrics of the song still fresh in her mind.
He grinned broadly. “Either one’s fine.”