Summer has returned and the jazz club in the East Village where Brendan plays is packed with people, among them Sarah*, his new girlfriend of four months.
A full band plays as the audience bustles to old classics from the 30s and 40s. Brendan blows on the alto sax, the performers beside him all decades older than he is. The years don't seem to phase his musicianship. Sarah sways in the front of the crowd, a happy secret dancing in her dimples.
She sits at the bar after Brendan's set, a highball glass cradled by long, delicate fingers matching her similarly lengthy limbs. Brendan stands an inch or two shorter next to her chatting with the band.
There's an unidentifiable current passing between the two, one that seems to light them from a singular energy source. It gives them an edge that is alluring to those around them, one that Sarah notices and Brendan delights in, one that the others pick up on but say nothing about.
A student Brendan recognizes from his fall composition class taps him on the shoulder. At their side is another boy and girl from the same semester. They address him as “professor” and remark on his performance.
Brendan had always put out an open invitation for his students to come see him perform but this is the first time anyone has taken him up on the offer. For a split second he is jarred by his personal and professional world colliding.
His love for music and performance crossed by his teaching career met by his ultra sexy, secretly controlling girlfriend is an intersection he had never imagined operating so smoothly, yet it is.
Before he knows it, his fellow performers are making small talk with his students, and he and Sarah are temporarily forgotten by them. Brendan orders another drink and relaxes.
He loosens up with each sip, feeling himself drift further from the surrounding crowd and nearer Sarah, losing track of what's happening around him as she whispers something into his ear.
A look of breathless anticipation flushes his cheeks. Hurriedly, he dishes a card out from his wallet and lays it down on the counter aside their glasses. The bartender takes it and hands him a pen.
Sarah eyes him as he signs the receipt. She takes his wrist before he can replace the pen on the counter and slides off her own bar stool. The bassist grabs Brendan's shoulder as they hurry past the group. “Heading out already?”
Sarah responds before Brendan processes the question. “Yeah, he's got work in the morning.” The band looks to each other and laughs. “Work? Tomorrow's Saturday.”
“Different kind of work.” She winks at his colleagues. The older male performers face Brendan with raised eyebrows, awaiting his rebuttal. His students glare, the girl giggles. Brendan says nothing, but smiles in a way that lets everyone know him being dragged out of the bar by his girlfriend is 100% consensual.
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