Sitting in chair in the bar, her eyes were riveted to the man highlighted by the lights on the stage. Around her little pieces of the crowd could be seen by the reflected light, the edge of a cheek, a hand, the glint of glasses, but it all seemed muted, distant, blurred in comparison with the figure on the stage. He was tall, although she was not sure how tall; his hair was dark, although she was unsure of the exact shade; shadowed eyes revealed no colour, especially not from her position halfway back in the room. As she adjusted her hands where they rested on the table in front of her, fingertips tracing the base of her glass, she found herself unable to focus on anything but him.
And then he began to sing.
She heard the notes of his song begin to wash over her and felt an ache in her throat. At first she didn't even heard the words, just that voice, a little rough, sounding so impassioned, so full of life and feeling. As she listened the words began to penetrate through the sound and she let her head fall back slightly, her eyes nearly closed and a smile tilted her lips. Not that she could remember the words moments after she heard them, but she knew they were the right words, absolutely. The notes faded, the last one hanging in the air like the scent of warm brownies: rich, dark, and oh so tempting. The moment stretched like taffy and she wasn't sure if it was only a second or two, or an eternity.
And then she heard her name. It brought her chin down slightly and her eyes wide open. Staring up at him as he stood at the microphone on the stage.
The heavy sound of rain just barely penetrated the bar in the silence of anticipation. Every eye turned to follow his gaze, trying to figure out who he spoke to. Who the woman was that he was calling on, the lucky one whose name he knew, whose name he called.
She blinked, looking up at him, stunned. Was is really her he was calling on or was it someone else? She turned in her seat, trying to see. It was a common enough name. Surely it was another woman by the same name, a woman she envied for being familiar with him.
She heard his soft laughter, saw him put the mic back in its holder and walk to the edge of the stage before hopping down, one hand on the edge to steady himself. He wended his way between the tables and chairs full of bodies, grinning in her direction. That it was really her he was smiling at was no longer in doubt. The women behind her had looked just as confused, and he couldn't be looking at anyone in front of her. He was getting too close. The closer he got the more a sense of foreboding mixed with the attraction he held. A sense that he could turn her world upside down. It frightened her and drew her all at the same time. A feeling of being on the precipice that could mean flight or could mean a long drop with nothing good at the end. Glorious either way, while it lasted.
His lips parted as though speaking, but she couldn't hear him, even as close as he'd gotten. All she could hear was the pounding of rain mixed with the pounding of her heart. She stared at him, trying to puzzle out what it was he was saying, and suddenly she heard the edge of a whisper. She strained towards him, listening harder.
"You can't hide from me, Chelsie. I see you."
The words rang in her skull as the tiny sounds of the bar faded and the sound of rain overpowered everything. The sound of rain against the roof, and her bedroom window. In this moment between waking and sleeping she was unsure if she wanted to hide.
Her eyes opened to blackness, but her heart was pounding and her breaths came quickly. She didn't know if it was from fear or anticipation. He had been so close, this man whose voice spoke to her even without words, as though her soul resonated like the strings of his guitar had as he had strummed calloused fingertips and thumb over them. The words echoed through her and she had no idea if they were threat... or promise. Or perhaps just a little bit of both.
She drew a deep breath, feeling a flutter in her stomach, unable to sort out her own feelings. He seemed so familiar, but faces in dreams always do. She'd noticed that before, how someone she knew could have a different face in her dream and she would still know them, feel that had always been their face. Or other times it was a complete stranger, but in your dream you knew them.
Somehow, she knew this wasn't like that. This was utterly different, even if it seemed the same on the surface. She could still see that face if she closed her eyes, as though it was painted on the backs of her eyelids. Maybe not precise details, but the sense of him, the essence of his face. Of him. Could still hear his voice resonating in her ears and in the depths of her mind. She even knew how he smelled; it was a little like rain on hot pavement, and the smell on the wind when it changes direction. And sex. The fact that she knew his smell disturbed her more than anything because in her dream he hadn't gotten close enough for her to catch his scent. Was it only her mind inventing what a man like him would smell like, or was it truly a sensory perception?
She ran her hands through her hair, pushing it back from her face as she blinked blearily in the dark room. Turning her head, she searched for the slight glow of her clock. 2:00 am. She had four hours left to sleep before she had to get up for work. Could she sleep now? She certainly hoped so.
As she rolled over in bed she thumped her pillow, trying to push away the strangeness of the dream. Somehow she almost felt like crying that it was gone. As though she had lost something in waking. Her eyes closed, and she heard a whisper of his voice as she drifted to sleep. "I see you, Chelsie. I always see you." Somehow the thought was comforting despite her earlier fear, and she sank back into sleep easily.