The swelling, bruising and the cut in her bottom lip had completely vanished. She looked like nothing had happened, but both of them knew that it had. Jonathan wanted to find out a bit more about her. It was the first day in all these weeks that he managed to be home for half the day, so he’d planned to cook dinner together with April and ask her a couple of questions, get to know her.
Patrick was still the only one on his team who knew about April. It wasn’t that he wanted to keep this from them, especially since it wasn’t something forbidden. If anybody asked him or overheard him talk about this, he would tell them. Probably not the whole “she tried to steal my car” thing, but that she was someone he’d met before, who’d needed help.
April had gotten more and more comfortable around the house. She knew where everything was, took care of cleaning, laundry, cooking, and more importantly: she smiled more often. He’d had a glimpse at what that looked like at the beginning, now he was more used to it. She always smiled at him, when he came home from a game and she had dinner for him. And dinner was always good.
“What are we cooking?” Jonathan stepped beside her pushing the sleeves of his black sweater up. April was barefoot in his kitchen because of the floor heating system. She was dressed in dark jeans and a grey shirt with the logo from The Who on the front. He’d noticed that she owned a lot of band shirts.
For a few seconds she looked up at him. Her lips curled up in a little smile and she looked at her recipe again. “We’re making pasta. With a cheese and cream sauce (I don’t know if there is an English word for that, so that’s just a description really).”
“Sounds interesting.” He scrutinized the ingredients laid out in front of him.
“I think you’ll like it.” She handed him a knife and a cutting board. “If you want to make yourself useful, you can cut up the ham and onion.”
“Okay, chef.” Before he started cutting, he turned on the radio, so that they had some music playing in the background. Maybe April would even start singing again.
“If you call me chef, I’ll have to call you Captain Serious. Do you want that?” Eyebrow raised in question, she turned towards him once again, barely able to suppress a smirk.
“Okay, okay. Let’s not go there.”
“Just what I thought.”
Jonny concentrated on cutting up the ham while April did whatever she was doing. He wasn’t really paying attention, because he had to handle a knife while thinking about the right question to ask her. So he went with the topic she was probably most passionate about. Music.
“What’s the story of the guitar in your room by the way?”
April put the pasta in the pan when the water was cooking. She’d already anticipated questions. She’d been living here for three weeks and they hadn’t talked much about personal stuff. It was bound to happen and right now she didn’t mind anymore. Jonathan hat been so nice to her, he deserved answers.
“I bought the guitar about ten years ago from money I had saved for months. I had done jobs around neighbors’ gardens, because I had seen that guitar. Ever since I was little I’ve always been singing or humming along to songs. My music teacher at school tried different instruments with me and I fell in love with the guitar.” April took the already cut ham from Jonathan and put it in a pan to fry. Everything she needed was lined up next to her. “When I came home with the guitar, my parents took it away from me.”
“Why?” Incredulous he stared at her. Why would any parent do that? It wasn’t like she’d wanted to play the drums. Every parent should be happy that their child actually wanted to play an instrument.
“They wanted to concentrate on school and not music. My brother was the best in his class and wanted to become a doctor. I did well in class, but I wasn’t interested in become s doctor, lawyer teacher or whatever. I wanted to do something with music.” After Jonathan was finished with the onion, April added that to the ham and stirred everything.
“You said you don’t have anybody here. Where is your family then?” They didn’t sound like the perfect parents, but they were still her family. They should have supported her in her wishes just like his parents had done.
“Still in Detroit. I haven’t talked to them since I moved to Chicago three years ago. I wanted to start over here. I got a job, occasionally sang and played in a bar… Until I met Dan.”
April winced. There, she’d said his name out loud. But Jonathan would never make the connection to Aviator Springs. At least she hoped he didn’t. She put everything into the pan, one thing after the other, while currently stirring the mixture. That way she didn’t have to look at him.
“Yeah that one.” She heaved a sigh. Johnny’s eyes were boring into her skull, but she still refused to look at him. “I was happy with him. I moved in after only a couple of weeks. Sharing rent for a nice, big apartment made a lot more sense. But with Dan’s band and my regular job, I didn’t have time to sing in the bar anymore. Dan made sure that I only had contact to people who were also friends with him. He called me at work numerous times, showed up and made scene, so that I got fired in the end. He was happy and I wasn’t. So when I decided to look for a new job, he freaked out and hit me.” She didn’t want to think about it or talk about it more, analyze it. It was over.
Jonathan realized that it wasn’t the right thing to talk about. He knew that her ex-boyfriend had hit her. If she wanted to talk about it, he’d listen, but she was uncomfortable with that topic. “What kind of music do you like to play then?” He leaned his butt against the countertop and crossed his arms over his chest after washing his hands over the sink.
“Mainly Springsteen. Queen, a little bit of Eric Church or Damien Rice.” April took two plates out of the cupboard. “I grew up listening to Springsteen a lot. His music got me through rough days and kept me sane. That’s one reason why I got the tattoo.”
“What tattoo?” He let his eyes wander over her body, curious about where this tattoo might be. April turned off the hotplates and prepared two plates for them. After she put them on the table she turned towards Jonathan again, who was still looking at her, curiosity shining in his eyes.
“I got a clef with the words “Should I fall behind wait for me” tattooed along my ribs on the left side.” She reached down and pulled her shirt up to reveal the tattoo as well as a part of her bra. “It hurt, but I love it. I’m not planning on getting any more, though.”
Jonathan stared at the exposed skin, for a few seconds distracted by the dark green lace of her bra. Maybe a few seconds more, but he tried to concentrate on what she wanted to show him. It wasn’t big, but it looked beautiful. Simple. Just the clef in black with the words around it.
April pulled her shirt down again and without looking at him turned towards the table. “I think we should eat, before it gets cold.”
“Yes.” He said a little too enthusiastic. “Sounds good.”
They both sat down at the table. All of a sudden Jonathan didn’t know what to ask anymore. His head was filled with the image of that tattoo and he didn’t even know why. Somehow it made him want to know even more about her, see if she had more tattoos on her body. If her skin was as soft as it looked.
What the hell? Get a grip, Jonathan.
“I told you something about me, how about you tell me a bit about you and hockey now?”
Yes. Good. He could do that. Hockey was a safe subject.