Jessica sat back on the piano stool and started playing. She genuinely could feel the freedom as her shoulders swayed with the movement of the piece. She felt as if the piano were leading her through the music rather than the other way around, and she was so lost in playing that she forgot that she was sitting in her underwear.
Miss Ashdown let Jessica play all the way through the sonata, and finally Jessica stopped with her fingers resting gently on the keys, her eyes closed, savouring the moment.
“You see what you can do?” she heard Miss Ashdown whisper. Jessica nodded and smiled.
“Now,” Miss Ashdown continued, “We know you can play with more freedom, but you need to play with more passion. I know it’s in you; it must be at your age. Come. I’ll show you something.”
Miss Ashdown took Jessica’s hand and she allowed herself to be led across the room.
“Look at this,” Miss Ashdown said, pointing at a framed black and white photo on the wall. It showed a young woman in a loose but low-cut evening dress with a plunging neckline and a long slit up one side. She was sitting at a piano and playing in front of what must have been hundreds of people inside a concert hall.
“That was me,” Miss Ashdown told her, “when I was only a few years older than you are now.”
Jessica looked at Miss Ashdown. She was used to thinking of her teacher as, well, a teacher. She might have said that she was attractive, if she was asked, but she had never even thought of it before. She looked back at the photo; she could see the passion on the young woman’s face, in the way her body was arched over the piano keys and by the graceful line of her calf as her foot just touched a pedal. It was an incredibly beautiful image, but also somehow an intensely sexual one.
“I was making love to the keys that night,” Miss Ashdown said, momentarily lost in memory, “And there wasn’t a man in the house that didn’t wish he was the one to escort me home to see where my energy would find an outlet next. And maybe a few women there did too.” Jessica looked up at Miss Ashdown who gave her a mischievous wink.