Ok, the story goes on... Rifka was an excellent beta. The title, Acciaccatura, was suggested by Actizera (it's something about dissonance, and music, and I liked it)
"He's a very good looking man, isn't he?" Elizabeth Beecher whispered into her grandson's ear. "Yes, certainly," Toby answered, flushing.
Elizabeth Beecher had called him four days ago at work; he'd listened to her with sheer incredulity.
"A master-class? Christopher Keller?"
"Yes, my dear; himself, here, for a whole week, teaching; and of course public is allowed to come and listen to the master."
She'd insisted. She'd reminded him how much he loved music, piano in particular and all the hours they'd spent together when he was a teenager; listening, comparing, how excited he got about it, and how he'd dreamt to attend a master-class someday, see a real pianist, a great one, for real, not only during a concert; something more... private, where he could share his passion.
"A man has to keep some priorities, Tobias; music is one of them."
His life hadn't been very exciting lately, he worked a lot and spent a lot of time alone, trying to analyse how his existence had turned into this boring mess; so he'd given in, cancelled his appointments for the day and she'd picked him home early, driven him to the new theatre that had been build on the new campus; very sober and modern architecture; an impressive place indeed but Toby had a weakness for the old theatre in the city center, with its red seats and the heavy curtain in front of the stage and the horrible little golden sculpted angels above the stairs; it held something magical; like Christmas and old churches. This new one, well... At least the sound was good.
He tried to keep still when the students rose respectfully to welcome their famous teacher and 200 other music lovers held their breath as the master entered the theatre with a cool animal stride, gave a look around, smiled, and shook hands with every student on the stage -ten of the most talented young pianists in the country who'd come here to learn from the maestro, hoping maybe to catch a little bit of his outstanding talent and make it theirs.
He held his breath like the others and released it slowly, a slight shiver running down his spine.
That was stupid, plain stupid and useless and what did he look like? Some groupie coming back for more? Geez, the guy had forgotten about that, now, it had been nearly 2 years since that night in the little room, and anyway what had it meant? Nothing, absolutely nothing; just a moment of distraction, madness.
But so much pleasure too that he could still feel it in his body, his mind, the same way he remembered the first -and only- time he'd done acid in Harvard, the rush in his brain, his cock hard and fiery hallucinating bliss for hours. That's what it had been, nothing more. He'd never tried acid again -too dangerous; same with this man.
Who are you kidding, Tobias Beecher? You knew who he was from the very moment he entered that bar, you'd been to the concert before, hoping to forget you'd lost a very important and very easy case; and you had forgotten all right; then in the bar you'd told yourself, hey, why not, must be fun to screw some kind of star like him, and he was hot. The only thing you hadn't foreseen was how much you'd like it. Just thinking about it makes you hard, so come on, give it a try. Maybe he'll screw you again.
"Why did you choose Ligeti as the main composer for this session?" One of the students, a young girl quietly sat in front of the maestro broke the silent, shy voice, cheeks red with embarrassment.
Chris Keller had said, "Before we begin, if there's anything one of you would like to ask... Just," he'd opened his hands and grinned, "not a date, please."
Discreet polite laughs, a silence and then the girl's question. Christopher Keller looked at her thoughtfully -wondering if he'll fuck her here and now or wait a little bit more, Toby thought. She was cute, very young, curly blond hair, dark eyes, lovely.
/Fuck. I'm jealous./
And Chris Keller was smiling to her.
"Well first thing, I'm lazy and I thought maybe reading Gyorg Ligeti's name on the program would discourage most of the candidates. Obviously," he gave a look around and shrugged, "I was wrong."
Everybody laughed at the joke; he was expected to act in this particular way, he was good at that. But behind the seemingly amused smile, there was something else; not boredom, no, but Toby could feel it and see the coldness in Keller's eyes. It didn't last, just a threatening shadow and Keller continued.
"No the real reason why I chose Ligeti's studies for piano -the first three books at least; are quite simple. First, they're very difficult to play -play well, soulfully, virtuously, they demand a lot of discipline and focus and every quality a good pianist should have; if you can't play Ligeti, you'll never be able to play Chopin, and even if I've always thought you should be wary with a man whose lover's name was George..."
Geez, Toby thought, don't, it's stupid.
"...second, it's unfair that they're so seldom played and I thought maybe some of you would be willing to spread the word after working on them; third, people around me thought the choice was very bad. That decided me."
Someone in the audience rose at the other side of the steps.
"You're known not to like Chopin and Liszt very much, can you tell us why?"
Toby wished he could run away; Neill was an old friend, a good musicologist, a witty journalist, but he was the most narrow-minded guy of the whole state, and politically correct as hell; it wasn't hard to guess how Keller would react; his eyes narrowed, his smiled hardened.
"Chick's stuff. Not for me."
In the silence that followed, Toby saw Neill Phillips shake his head in obvious disgust and exchange a few words with his neighbour who rested a soothing hand on his thigh.
Chris Keller's dark gaze stayed on Neill a little while longer before drifting away.
"Now, let's work."
And the working part was amazing. Those long supple fingers roaming effortlessly over the piano, with such raging and stunning virtuosity; the way he bowed his head, frowned in concentration, the intense focus, the music that seemed to flow from him in intense powerful waves... Amazing. And what he'd been talking about -the soul. Ligeti's music was known as arid, ascetic and, well... very boringly contemporary, mostly atonal, the kind of music that tended to discourage the local amateurs; but even Elizabeth Beecher was listening, approving.
"Very gifted. Provocative and I'd say... maybe not quite the kind of man I imagine behind a piano, a bit wild maybe but very, very gifted," she said, "God knows I don't like contemporary music that much but the way he plays it, well, he could make me change my mind."
Very talented and very handsome, sharp profile, powerful and lithe body, and Toby shivered, looking at him while he was correcting the students, his hands on their hands to show them the right position, his face near theirs, his mouth against their hair. And the pleasure, too, the pleasure he was taking in doing that, written all over his face, shining in his eyes, his bright smile, his laugh.
"No, no, no, young lady... Sorry, your name is?"
"Melinda..." He'd interrupted her in the middle of a musical phrase, shaking his head, and she'd stopped, frozen. "Melinda, you have to be a little tougher on that, emphasize it a bit more, this part is noted as "Molto vivace, vigoroso, molto ritmico", more rhythm, right? Would you start from the beginning again; well, not the beginning, just the last part; yes, from here..."
And she did, again, and he interrupted her, again, and it went on like that until he'd heard what he wanted; listened, eyes half closed, like a sated cat, nodded and congratulated her, making her blush; then same thing with another study, a slow and soulful one and another student, a young dark haired man who sounded more brilliant maybe, but Keller wasn't satisfied, he had the guy play it again and again until his forehead was covered with sweat; then Chris smiled at him and nodded, staring at the blushing exhausted face.
"I like that," he said in a low rumble and the mere sound of that stole Toby's breath.
It lasted for three hours, each of the 6 studies analysed, dissected, played by every student, Keller commenting, encouraging, guiding, explaining, laughing, growling; then at last he sat behind the piano and gave his own interpretation and it was something so alien, so above anything they'd heard before that they forgot to applause until Toby's grandmother did, and everyone after her.
"Thank you. I'm sure that someday one of them will overcome me."
And then he slammed his hand upon the shining wood of the instrument. "Over for now, we all need a break; you, I and those people who listened so faithfully. We'll resume the session at 3."
Toby was already rising, his throat tight -he needed to go out, right now. "Tobias darling," Elizabeth said, her hand resting on Toby's wrist, "I have to talk to Mrs Guenzel, you know, about Adam... Will you wait for me? I'll be back soon."
So he watched as the little crowd left the place, Chris Keller sitting on the stage of the university theatre, resting his hands on the piano, listening to the young angel-like student he'd seemed interested in earlier -would he screw her standing against a wall too? Toby guessed not, he guessed the man was smart enough to give each of his prey the proper treatment. He'd been good enough for a hard fuck in an anonymous room, but this girl deserved some unforgettable lovemaking session; she would get it, Toby saw Chris' fingers brush against her wrist and the girl blushed and stopped talking, raising an innocent and mesmerized look.
He rose and was about to leave, but glanced back, just once, a quick wistful glance; and Chris Keller's gaze caught his; Toby saw the surprise there, and a flicker of recognition, then an expression he couldn't quite decipher -run away, he thought and grabbed his overcoat, began to walk up, through the door and down narrow stairs, avoiding the crowd.
He'd made it down to the huge hall when a bruising hand grabbed his arm and stopped him.
"Hey, where do you think you're going?"
He was turned around, securely held.
"Jesus, I was right," Keller said, "It's you."
Then Toby was grabbed, dragged behind a pillar against the cold stone, hidden in the shadows, and kissed. Kissed hard, and deep, a warm mouth crushing his, a swift tongue parting his lips and invading his mouth; hands tightened on his shoulders and pulled him closer.
"I want you."
Toby pushed him back, trying to keep some composure, not sure to succeed, Chris' eyes roaming all over his face, so hungry, like he'd been starving; but that couldn't be, he could have whoever he wanted including all those students he'd accepted to coach for an unforgettable week.
"You remember me?"
"I remember every good fuck."
They were facing each other, mouth dry, cock hard.
"Listen, I don't know you..."
"2 years ago, you didn't know me either."
Fingers brushed against his jaw, he shivered.
"And I wanna know you better," Chris whispered, pressing against him, his hand still against Toby's jaw, burning.
Toby chuckled. "What did I do to deserve such an honour?" "Something nasty, certainly; I'm a demon." "Right," Toby said, snorting "demons are always alluring and hot. Angels are the boring kind."
Toby saw his grandmother come down the hall with the royal stride and this queenly bearing that made her so unique and he stepped aside.
"I have to go."
"I wanna see you again."
Toby hesitated, retrieved a card in the pocket of his suit, "call me. I'll find a safe place."
"Don't let me down," Chris Keller said "Don't you fucking let me down!" Hot lips' butterfly touch, hungry voice, the perfect arousing mix.
Later in the car, Elizabeth Beecher said, "I fell in love with a musician, long ago. Of course, nothing to do with Mr Keller, he wasn't such a celebrity; but I was young, he was talented; I thought of leaving with him for a while."
She slowed down when the light turned red, her gaze on the road.
"But you didn't."
"No. I was young but I wasn't stupid; I know the difference between love and... lust. Even if it's a wonderful experience, an orgasm is just that."
Tobias nearly choked, Jesus, had his grand mother ever said the word before?
"And what kind of future for me? He was rich enough, but he travelled a lot and of course love doesn't resist jet lags and exhaustion for long; besides, this young man loved sex much more than I did; I couldn't have kept him."
She didn't look at him and said nothing else; he didn't know what she'd heard or understood or seen, not even if she had actually seen something. So he kept silent.
A safe place. Toby gave a look around; his house was safe enough, and too big since Gen and the kids had left. Much too big; he'd lost some friends in the process, too; realized most of them were Gen's friends more than his own, he'd never been so good at socializing, let her do all the work, and in the end she'd been the one they cared for. He'd lost a lot of self-confidence, too, and even the women he'd managed to date hadn't made him feel better.
"Why don't you drive here and pick me up?" Chris had asked. "I don't drive. I... lost my license last year." "Too bad. I'll take a cab, then."
It didn't take long, it wasn't 9 yet and Chris was knocking at the door; a tribute to his desirability, or just boredom, Toby wondered.
His lips were cold and wet with rain, he smelled of cool air and leather. "Warm me up," he said, pulling him in a tight hug; kissing him roughly, then pushing him back to look at him.
There was no time for small talk, all the "want a drink?" stuff, or ready-made conversation about the weather and the work or anything; just Chris' hands on him, stripping him with spare, efficient motions, shiny gaze on the pale soft revealed skin.
"Beautiful shoulders, and arms, and back..." He punctuated each word with a kiss, his hands fumbling with the waistband of the pants, sliding over his ass. "And you ass, Jesus... So beautiful, and hot."
I should be worried, Toby thought, locked in a hot embrace, Chris' tongue fucking his mouth, his hips grinding against his crotch; I should be worried; he's obviously weird. But swift thumbs stroked his nipples and he lost breath, threw his head back and mewled; Chris gave a silent laugh; but said nothing, stroked again, harder, softer, looking for the right rhythm, the right pressure and Toby was so hard he cock ached, really ached, pressed against Chris' jeans.
A demanding mouth replaced the fingers as Chris began undressing himself, lips sucking, teeth biting and Toby moved against him to get some release, some impossible relief. A hard bite made him yell and he fell back to the couch, his knees grabbed, his legs pulled up and opened; Chris lubing himself, then teasing, rubbing his slick cock against Toby's ass, his scrotum, his dick, the inner side of his thighs; bending over, brushing the tip against Toby's parted lips, Toby's tongue instinctively licking, his mouth opening more to take the hard cock in but Chris moved back again and before Toby could even protest, thrust into his ass, deep and hard. Surprise and pain; Toby let out a cry.
Chris thrust again, his cock grazing against Toby's prostate, Toby arching his back to resist the excruciating pleasure, gritting his teeth, fighting his own need for release.
"Let go, just let go," Chris said, and thrust again, same wicked thrust to madden him and it worked, Jesus, it did, Toby closed his eyes, reached blindly for Chris' shoulders, making those noises that made Chris want to go deeper, harder, faster, and like the first time, Toby came, throwing his face back, growling like an animal, the veins on his forehead pulsing, his hands grabbing Chris' arms, bruising.
"Yeah, that's it, let go, I love that," Chris growled, thrusting harder, again and again, tearing every drop of pleasure off his lover until Toby lay limp, and then he froze, on the very edge of pleasure.
"I'm hard to deal with," he said.
"Tell me something I don't know!"
Another thrust, slow and mindful.
"It's just about sex. No commitment."
"Please end this."
"I love the way you smell. You smell like sin."
And he came.
They were sticky and soaked with sweat, smelling and tasting each other like animals, lost in those scents that were their own and not, licking someone else's skin, biting each other roughly, their fingers exploring, ready to go again.
"That's why I fuck men," Chris said; "I can be just myself, don't have to pretend about all that shit women call love." "That's what you get off on, rough fuck with nameless guys?"
Toby felt Chris' fingers enter him, he was slick and loosened but the sensation tore a cry out of him; three, then four fingers fucking him slowly, stretching, moving, twitching inside him.
"This is what I get off on; the look in your eyes right now. Ah, yeah, come on, baby, give it to me, give it all up to me, let me in deeper, take me in, come on..."
Skilful fingers snaked further until Chris' whole hand was inside him.
"Please, I'm gonna pass out..."
The hand stilled and Chris' voice slid against his ear.
"You're hard again... Do you want to fuck me?" "You'd let me?"
Wary. Chris smiled the wicked smile that promised so much and said "Yeah. Maybe. Wanna give it a try?"
The hand moved slowly, and Toby moaned, looked Chris deep in the eyes.
"Tell me something personal. Something you don't usually say to other people." "A secret?"
"Something like that."
Toby closed his eyes; he found it difficult to think with Chris Keller's hand buried in his ass; the sensation was... alien.
"Oh god, I... I drink too much," he said, "that's why I lost my license. I... Nearly killed a little girl last year, should've gone to prison; I swore I'd never drive again. And I... I suck at relationships, I guess."
He took a deep breath. "I don't like myself very much. I'm... I'm a loser."
Chris' free hand pulled his head back, fingers combing through his hair. "A beautiful sexy loser, then. Tell me more. What happened with your wife; you wore a wedding ring last time I saw you."
"She left me."
"Aw. Too many men?"
"What? No! No men at all, who do you think I am?"
Chris laughed at his outraged look.
"You didn't put on that much of a fight, ya know, so..." "Well, anyway. She just left me; never really told me why. We're still... friends, I guess. The sex was never that great." "How many other men?"
"Geez, what's that? An inquiry?"
"How many other men?" The fingers pulled harder on his hair, inside his ass the hand clenched into a fist, making him moan in pain and bliss; he felt a hard cock grind against his belly, blue eyes cold and dark roaming over his face; he shivered, lost. "You're the third, actually. There was that guy when I was in Harvard; and another one, 3 years ago. I was drunk."
That earned him a long thoughtful look, Chris Keller trying to absorb what he'd learned and find out what kind of man he was holding in his arms; or maybe it was a test and suddenly the grip in his hair loosened, the hand withdrew slowly and the gaze fixed on him came back to normal; he could breath again.
"Did I pass some kind of test?"
"Well. You're still alive, aren't you?"
He fucked Chris; delightful moment of power, illusory power but Toby didn't care, Chris letting him, allowing him, setting the rules of the games, wary, cautious, holding back, silent, just... letting him take what he wanted, not quite relaxed, and when pleasure flooded them both, Toby felt Chris' reluctance to let go and his pleasure sounded almost painful.
"I like you," Toby said after they'd cleaned themselves.
"Yeah? Why? Because I'm a good fuck?"
"Yes. That too. But no, not only that. Because you've got something inside that appeals to me."
They were curled up on the huge leather couch, naked and sweaty. Chris leaned forward, rested his chin on Toby's shoulder, breathing deep in Toby's neck, damp curls of hair brushing along his face; he loved that smell, he loved Toby's taste. After a while he sighed.
"I have to go. Get some sleep before next class. Tomorrow's seminar's about Bartok's sonata. Tough one."
"Stay the night."
"No. If I do, we'll spend it fucking; I need some rest."
"Want a shower?"
"I'll shower at the hotel. Wanna keep you on me until dawn."
He dressed, walked up to the door, turned back.
"OK. 'Nite, then."
He was about to walk out. He turned back, hesitated and finally said, "Don't let the piano thing blind you, Toby, I ain't no good."
And he was gone before Toby could answer anything.