Illusions of Love

An enthusiastic burst of applause followed, then high pitched whistles and stamping of feet. A spotlight shone center stage as the musician bounded on. The chanting began: "Bill-y, Bill-y, Bill-y."

A full house, Skye registered. Every table and chair was occupied. Standing room only. She and Creed had been lucky to have a table up front, prearranged by Billy, most likely.

Skye shouted over the noise. "You and Billy stayed in touch?"

"Through our agents mostly. Early in our careers we shared the occasional gig."

The subject of their discussion brought the shiny saxophone to his lips and blew a few tentative notes. The room quieted. Billy's tune began softly, slowly, building in intensity. Skye was mesmerized by his agile fingers, his mouth, the expression on his face, as he became lost in his music - totally absorbed. The notes trembled, then with crystal clarity, reached out and wrapped themselves around her soul. She relaxed, the tension slowly eroding, letting his music work its magic. Her eyes shifted momentarily to the people around her. They, too, seemed mesmerized as Billy made musical love to his saxophone and audience.

Skye finally dared look at Creed. He, too, had fallen under Billy's spell. He'd let his mask down and his expression reflected raw emotion. She'd never seen him so vulnerable. There was a tender side to Creed Bennet, she realized.

. . . Billy's tempo picked up. He blew short, sweet notes now, touching her emotions with his music, his fingers. He smiled and waved to them. Creed flipped a thumb up, acknowledging the musician's greeting, letting him know that he was more than satisfied. Billy's eyelids lowered, his head tilted back. His fingers stroked the saxophone, sensuality oozing with each movement.

"Let's get out of here," Creed whispered.