Interlude – Excerpt

Kerry was slightly disappointed when she saw Thanh leaving Axel's house. He smiled sweetly at her when he ran past, holding his sheet music close to him. Her own smile faded when she saw Axel resting his face in his hands while sitting at the piano. Abruptly, he looked up when he heard her step inside. Exhaustion crept across his happy expression.

"Hello," he said, scooting over on the bench for her to sit next to him.

Kerry took a seat as he began to play. The melody was soft and romantic. She never found out the name of the piece, yet she knew she would never forget it. Leaning her head on his shoulder, Kerry allowed the captivating music to entrance her.

After Axel played the last note, he stared silently at the keyboard. Kerry wanted to talk to him, but she sensed it wasn't the right time for words. Once more his fingers touched the white and ebony keys. He next played a sparse, delicate composition. The uncomplicated arrangement proved just as romantic as the first. While listening to him play, Kerry felt lost to the music. When the music ended, she reached over and gently caressed his hand.

Resting her forehead against his, their eyes found each other's. With his left hand he reached behind her head and unfastened her ponytail, allowing her hair to flow freely. He leaned closer to her, his lips faintly touching hers. Pulling slightly back, the warmth of his breath scorched the flesh on her chin and neck with his deep exhale.

"Why are you waiting?" she questioned, anticipating his kiss.

A grin burst through his expression. Kerry pulled him close for the kiss she so desperately wanted. She leaned back while slowly unbuttoning his shirt. Pulling it free from his strong shoulders, her fingertips flowed through the hair of his chest. Her palm lingered over the beating of his heart.

The sound of falling rain drew their attention to the open doors leading to an uncovered balcony at the rear of his house. Lush tropical trees, plants, and flowers gave the balcony the appearance of a Garden of Eden. Axel stood up and walked over to the doorway. He then removed his trousers, before stepping naked out into the rain. Kerry stood nearby, watching as he extended his arms out like the wings of a magnificent bird. Standing with his back to her, she noticed how the gentle rain washed over the contours of his glistening muscles. Tilting his head back, he allowed the rain to douse his face. Kerry sensed he had found a moment's freedom from what she guessed were troubled thoughts.

Turning to her with a smile exuding peace, Axel extended his hand while he echoed her earlier words. "Why are you waiting?"