The music grew louder and with a squeal Michelle reached out to stop him from pushing the button, but she wasn’t fast enough. Dark, sultry harmonics surrounded them, followed by faint drum beats. Slowly, the tempo swelled into a full orchestra with tones of a bass and electric guitar.
“This is exactly what I’m talking about. I didn’t know they were already doing it though. They looked at me like I was crazy.”
The way he shifted in his seat, his hand gripping the wheel a little tighter, Michelle knew he was excited about this prospect. Too bad. “Actually…they’re not doing anything. I didn’t want you to hear this, because I mixed it from various projects I’m working on.”
He pulled into a parking garage. They drove up five levels before finding a parking space. “Really? You’re mixing these sorts of things, and they don’t even know?”
She ground her teeth together, nodding. “Yeah.”
“Aren’t I lucky you’re the one they assigned to me.”
Time to break another expectation he had. “Look…I don’t do this for the label. In fact, if they knew I did, I’d probably be fired. So I’d appreciate if you kept this to yourself. Secondly, I do what they tell me. They listen to your album first, and if they don’t like what they hear, they’ll make me go back and re-do everything. I can tell you now, they won’t like this, so you’re going to have figure out a new style. You're not in the Rock industry anymore. You're in Classical, which has inflexible and stiff rules.”
“We’ll see,” he said, as he turned off the car.
Michelle sighed. “How much research did you do before making your decision? I mean, I know you have a past history with the piano. You were very, very good, but that talent, those notes and the way you play, they’re not the world I work in.”
He pulled the keys from the ignition. Michelle took them from the tips of his fingers as they dangled before her. “Walk with me.”
She shook her head. “No, I really need to get home.”
“You’re not working tomorrow and now I have questions, several actually. So please, walk with me.”
Headlights swept through the cab, the tires of the passing car sounded noisily. Michelle pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear; somehow she needed to figure out a way to say no. So far “no,” in and of itself, hadn’t done the trick. The problem didn’t come from the words, but from her heart. She didn’t want to say no. Now away from prying eyes, she no longer had an excuse. Other than, of course, what would happen once the sun rose. The dilemma however, was hours away.
Michelle didn’t speak, too afraid she’d say something stupid, like a refusal. Pressing her lips together and closing her eyes for strength, she slid her hand into the handle. The locks popped and the door opened. Damp, cool air swirled around her, and she opened her eyes. The silk of her dress caressed her ankles as she stepped out. The harsh clap of his door closing reverberated around the garage. A chill raced along her skin, caused by her decision or the cold evening she didn’t know.
The click of his dress shoes on the cement made her gaze rise, meeting his as he walked around the car. Michelle had been in this place enough times to know either she spoke her goodbye or shut the door and walked to him. The keys rattled in her hand for a brief moment. Alexander stood patiently beside the car, his hip rested against the side, arms crossed. His silence was what brought her to a final decision. Closing the door, she pressed the pad. The locks clicked into place. Alexander held his hand out, and Michelle slid her fingers into his. Choice made.