He just continues to stares at me, the room completely quiet. As if finally noticing the yawning silence, he nods. “Nice to see you again, too, Felicity.” My name rolls off his tongue like he’s said it a thousand times before.
My father’s eyes go back and forth between us for a moment. “You heard Felicity play, didn’t you?” my father asks, and I wonder if he feels the tension, too. Or maybe I’m the only one who feels it at all. For all I know, Calder kisses hundreds of women and that one meant nothing. Maybe he was drunk and doesn’t even remember it at all. Which is disheartening. I can’t get any part of it out of my head. Every time I close my eyes, that moment is there again. I can still recall the taste of scotch on his tongue that night. I don’t think I’ll ever taste it and not think of him. It will be branded in my mind as long as I live.
“Yes, she was quite impressive.”
I feel myself blush at Calder’s compliment. My normal shyness comes to the surface like it always does. I’m sure he can see the blush hit my fair skin. I can’t hide it even if I want to.
“It’s not something she shares with many people. I’m one of the lucky ones. Seems you are, too, now,” my father boasts, making me smile over at him.
“But isn’t that what she goes to school for?” Calder asks, catching me off guard. My eyes go back to his, and I find his gaze still fixed on me.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Maybe teach,” I half-mumble, feeling a bit uncomfortable because every time I say this, I get the same response from people. Teaching is the one thing I keep coming back to. The only thing that makes me feel comfortable. Teaching or giving lessons to kids. My own teachers tell me it’s a waste of my talent. That I should be out in the world, sharing my music. I don’t even respond to the comments anymore.
“You don’t want to share your music? It was breathtaking.”
I shrug, disappointment lancing through me. I don’t even know this man beyond what I’ve found online, but something in me wants him to get it. That every time I send a piece of my music out into the world, it feels like I’m sending a piece of me out, too. Like willingly giving my diary out for anyone to read the pages.
A smile spreads across his face as if he likes my response.
“I hear you’re getting married, Mr. Cox.” The statement pops out of my mouth, even surprising me. I glance over at my father who looks equally surprised. Something about Calder has me doing things I don’t normally do. Maybe it’s to do with all these things he’s making me feel. I’m not typically one to ask the questions. I have to be cornered into a conversation or I’ll disengage myself.
One would think if I was crushing on someone, my shyness would be ever present, but maybe it’s the simmering anger I have pushing me on.
“Never been engaged.” That smile spreads even farther, his perfect smile shining through. I really feel the heat of a blush hit my face now. I’ve been busted. He knows I’ve been reading about him. It’s written all over his perfect face, and it makes my anger a little bit deeper.
“Oh, haven't popped the question yet?” I push on, the rage fueling me.
My dad lets out a deep laugh. “I don’t think anyone will ever get Calder to finally tie the knot. A confirmed bachelor at heart like me.”
“You got married once,” I correct my dad, knowing he married my mother and a quick silent divorce followed. She was gone just as fast.
“I’ve seen what marriage can be like first hand with my own parents. It’s not something I’ll put myself through. I sure Bill here would agree.”
I look over at my father who is looking at me. He might call himself a confirmed bachelor, but I’ve never seen the real roots of that. Women weren’t coming and going. I’ve never even seen him date. I have seen him make googly eyes at his secretary, though.
My father does the half-shrug I often do, before picking up his glass of scotch and taking a drink. It makes me smirk. Yeah, confirmed bachelor, my ass. Dad might be a hard lawyer out in the world, but he’s a gooey-soft family man when he’s at home. I think he’s faking the whole I-don’t-want-a-woman thing because of me. I always come first. It’s one of the reasons I don’t want to move back here. I want him to find someone. I know he wants it but just won’t say it.
I go back to eating my chicken. My father changes the topic to some company merger, and I just focus on my plate. Every time I glance at Calder, he’s just staring at me, so I eat fast, wanting to get away from this table before I snap another question at him. I feel hundreds bubbling inside me. Ones I really don’t want to say in front of my father.