I showered and got dressed to meet my brother. But I had some time to kill so I went out onto my terrace. As I stood watching the sunset over Manhattan, I thought about taking some more vacation—just to cross off a few more items from my blind bucket list. But the truth was, it was too late. I was staring down a tunnel and all I got was a vague hint of orange and red in the cloudy center.
The light at the end of my tunnel.
The lyrics to Metallica’s “No Leaf Clover” rolled through my head. Normally I would have kicked up the tune and listened to it now that the power was back up, but I knew it was best to keep my noise down. I’d pushed it a bit far with my “gift” and was skating on thin ice.
So instead, I stared out quietly at my shitty sunset, because soon enough that last bit of color would fade away forever.
My freight train.
About that time, a soft piano began to sing into the air. Thankfully, I was high enough above the city that it could still be heard over the traffic below.
I was no classical music buff, but from the first few notes I recognized the tune immediately, Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Anyone who had ears knew that damn song, since it had been played at nearly every wedding in history.
I craned my neck a bit further over the balcony, but not too far. I was blind, not suicidal.
I thought she played strings?
As soon as that thought flittered through my head, the strings hit. It was fucking glorious.
I knew it was Kennedy. No student was that good, at least not from what I’d heard over the past week. So, it had to be her. This was the first time that I’d heard her play. In that moment I would have given my left nut to be sitting in the same room, just to hear it better, and I was jealous as hell of whomever was lucky enough to accompany her on the piano.
I’d always loved the cello and thought it never got the respect that it deserved. Some would consider it melancholy, isolated, dark, and miserable—like listening to a reading of a eulogy, but not me. I found it deep, silky—like a long, seductive moan. And Kennedy made that cello croon.
After she played Canon, she went into another piece. No piano, just her. I’d heard it before, and I wished to God I knew the name of it. I wanted to say Bach, but I wasn’t certain. It was that one famous piece that’s played in elevators, lobbies, weddings, funerals and, well, pretty much everywhere.
The constant, rhythmic, beginning always reminded me of life beginning. It was magnificent, yet simple. As the piece progressed it became broken, stumbling, almost grievous. Like a deep loss I could relate to.
The main melody came back round, but faster, a triumphant return—the rise after the loss, and, somehow, I knew I’d be okay. I wanted to weep at all the beauty and tragedy of life summed up in the masterpiece.
I listened to her play me the sunset as the last traces of light disappeared on the horizon.
Then it was over, and everything was grey. I wanted to bend over the balcony and demand an encore, as if her music alone would somehow make the sun rise again. Actually, what I wanted to do was to go downstairs, kiss her until she had no air to breathe, then fuck her sideways.
Hello, my name is Kennedy, and I’m an addict.
Pills, booze—you name it, I tried it. I wasn’t exactly particular about it. Now, I’m two years sober, in a new country, and looking for a fresh start.
But my noisy, upstairs neighbor is testing the limits of my sobriety. He’s either watching an adult film marathon, harboring a hooker, or performing an exorcism in his flat.
Regardless, I don’t need beer goggles to see that Silas Graves is the finest bloke I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Hello, my name is Silas, and I’m going blind.
As a struggling actor, I’ve taken a lot of crummy roles. But this is one role I’m not ready to fill.
So, nightly I swipe right or left, because in my bedroom, I never feel blind. The lights are out, and it’s a level playing field. And oh, how I love pretending to be fully sighted.
Honestly, I deserve an Emmy.
But truth be told, all of this has left me feeling nothing but empty.
Maybe it’s time to stop hiding and chase after what I want.
And what I want is the girl downstairs.
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Avery Kingston writes sexy, emotional romance featuring wounded characters at a high heat level.
Avery is a wife to a man who’s demons play well with hers. Mom to a slew of crazy kids. Dog lover. Crazy cat lady. Artist. Free spirit. Lover of unusual beauty. Fitness junkie. Collector of boots and fonts. Angsty drama addict and avid wearer of yoga pants.
Avery is a military wife and a sucker for a good wounded hero story. She set out to write stories where the leading characters were smart, sexy, confident and strong. Avery began writing the type of romance novels she would want to read. Stories about real couples, wounded either physically or emotionally, with an open door into their steamy bedroom.
Avery loves her stalkers: