Out of Her Class
There were few real stars
in music. At least, not in her kind of music. A star was someone whose name was
known to the general public, someone whose name could sell tickets or even
recordings. There were always a few of those, but they were very few indeed.
Sloan was a violist with
the New York Philharmonic. Getting into the 'phil' was a triumph in itself. It
was one of the big five orchestras in the United States that every classical
musician aimed for. There were over 1200 orchestras in the US but only the big
five commanded the prestige, not to mention the salary, to be called the best.
But no one knew her name.
Nor cared about her. She was one of many. And that was just the way she liked
it. Sloan had never been an attention seeker. Quite the contrary, in fact.
She'd been a shy, quiet girl while growing up in London, and spending as much
time as she had practicing had not helped make her popular with other children.
She had a rare talent,
though, one which saw her parents sending her for an audition at the Royal
College of Music – which she'd passed with flying colors. She was good enough,
in fact, to pass one of the periodic blind audition the New York Philharmonic
gave only eight months ago.
To get into the orchestra,
nobody cared or should care, what you looked like, how tall or short you were,
how fat or thin, how lovely your hair or whether you were bald, what your color
or ethnicity was, or your resume. All they cared about was your ability to play
music to near perfection. So auditions were done behind a blind. Those
listening had no idea whose music they were listening to. They only cared about
the music itself.
Again, this suited Sloan
perfectly. For even now in her twenties she lacked confidence in herself, if
not her music. She continued to be quiet, shy, though very poised and
dignified. She was not a social girl, cared little for society, fashion or
She cared about music, and
very little else.
All she desired of the
world was for it to allow her to play her music, and otherwise leave her to her
own devices. She wished to be treated politely and respectfully, which was how
she treated others, and had no interest in being singled out for either praise
And certainly not for her
looks, as attractive as many seemed to believe those were.
It was not her intent, when
she came to New York, to get into the Phil. She'd actually just come playing tourist
during the off-season, after a girlfriend had begged her to join her. She'd
only found out about the audition by accident and then, on something of a lark,
had gone for it.
Being hired had come as a
tremendous surprise! The salary had come as even more of a shock. American
orchestras paid considerably more – like double – what British orchestras did.
So while she'd at first been pleased and thought to turn down the offer, she
had wound up accepting it.
Who could turn down the
She'd been in something of
a whirlwind after that to get her visa and then find a place to stay. Even at
the absurd salaries the Phil paid rents in New York were ridiculous. She'd
eventually found a nice little apartment in New Jersey, which allowed her to
take either a ferry or a bus through the Lincoln Tunnel to get to midtown
Manhattan, where the Phil played and practiced.
Paying twenty thousand
dollars a year for a one bedroom apartment was absurd, but it was less so than
trying to find one in Manhattan larger than a broom closet.
And so it came to be that
on a warm September morning she found herself on the deck of a ferry, enjoying
the sights as it crossed the Hudson on her way to her morning practice at the
Warm days could be a trial
for Sloan. She preferred to wear black most of the time – and certainly that
was a requirement at the Phil, at least for actual performances. In cooler or
wetter weather she wore black trench coats in keeping with her decided lack of
interest in bringing attention on herself.
On warm, sunny days like
this, a jacket was simply too out of place. Indeed, black clothing itself was
out of place under the warm sun. Then too, she had no desire to seem out of
place among her fellow musicians either. Which meant dressing somewhat informally
Thus she was wearing a pair
of loose, light gray dress slacks, a white top and gray, linen blazer. That was
about as informal as Sloan got, at least in public. None of it was tight, and
the blazer – she wore jackets or blazers or sweater whenever possible – helped
to obscure the generosity with which nature had treated her with regard to her
Sloan had had a love-hate
relationship with her breasts since they'd sprouted. They drew attention to
her, often unwanted attention, and thus she had always worked to conceal them
as best she could. As they'd grown bigger that had become more difficult.
Though it had been easier in the generally cooler weather of the UK than here
in the United States.
But while she hated the
attention they drew, she had to admit that in the privacy of her own room,
before her own mirror, she found their appearance, and indeed, the shape of her
own body, to be... pleasing. She took a quiet, reserved sense of pride in her
looks, and in how toned and fit her body was.
She might not want to draw
unwanted attention to her appearance, but she nevertheless ensured her dark
brown hair was nicely styled, cut, cleaned and brushed, and usually held neatly
behind her neck in a long tail which fell halfway down her spine.
She had a slender,
egg-shaped face, with bright green eyes, a slim, aristocratic nose, high
cheekbones and full lips to go with porcelain skin. She was attractive and knew
it. She appreciated it, and even liked, to a degree, that others did too – so
long as they were discrete about their appreciation.
And that was a problem in
America. So many people were so... rude! She would not like to be thought of as
a snob, but honestly, it was as if a lot of Americans simply had no manners at
all! Especially men! The adolescent boys at school had been more polite in
As she stood at the rail
and watched Manhattan approach, a man came up beside her, also looking outward,
but then his eyes turned to scan her, and, her bad luck, a gust of wind blew
her open jacket apart a bit. She could almost sense his attention quickening.
She ignored him, of course.
She looked down at her watch, then up and over to the right, giving him only a
very quick glance.
He was about her height,
but she was tall for a woman. He was much broader in the shoulder, of course,
had thick, black curly hair brushed straight back, a neatly trimmed beard,
heavy eyebrows, and very dark eyes! The kind of eyes that looked at you before
killing you! He was wearing only a thin, tight, dirty t-shirt and jeans, and
his bare arms were covered with tattoos.
And he was looking at her!
She looked around, hoping
to see a policeman. This man looked like a homicidal killer! She pushed herself
away from the rail and went for a stroll, showing nothing, as calm as you
please, and thankfully, he did not follow.
She followed the rail to
the front of the boat, the bow, then continued along, however, and she sucked
in a breath of air as she saw him ahead of her, having crossed to the other
side of the boat. She resolved she would simply ignore him and continue along.
She was so intent on
ignoring him, however, that she failed to notice a bag another passenger had
left on the deck as they looked over the rail, and tripped badly. In fact,
since she was instantly focused on ensuring her viola case didn't hit the deck
– as opposed to her body – she almost fell flat on her face. That would have
been embarrassing, to say the least
A powerful hand shot out
and grasped her right arm just above the elbow, stopping her just above the
deck, and then hauled her back to her feet.
“Are you all right?” he
Sloan licked her lips, her
pulse having suddenly shot up as she had realized she was falling.
“Uhm, yes, thank you very
much,” she said. “I was... daydreaming, I suppose.”
“We all do that on a trip
we've taken so often,” he said. “And you take it every morning.”
She looked at him in
surprise. He wasn't smiling but simply looking at her with those dark eyes.
“I'm a crew member. I've
seen you before,” he said.
She had never noticed him.
Well, if he was a crewman
he probably wasn't a homicidal killer, she thought with some relief. And
sailors did tend to get tattoos, didn't they? So she supposed that wasn't quite
so strange. And he had been nice enough to stop her from falling on her face.
And... there was something
very strangely attractive about him. His eyes were so deep beneath those shaggy
brows, and his chest so thick! He was a very, very … masculine man! Not the
kind of man she was used to being around, much less conversing with.
The men she habitually
dealt with were educated, sensitive, fashionably dressed and most polite and
discrete. He was none of these things. He was a... a rough sort of man, she
concluded. A crewman on a ferry boat? Well, that's as one would expect.
“You're a musician,” he
said, nodding at her violin case.
“What do you play?”
“Well... mostly classical
music,” she said.
“Yeah? There a lot of money
“Uhm, it pays reasonably
“I play myself,” he said.
She looked at him in
“Yeah. My old man was Irish
and he loved playing the fiddle and taught me how.”
“Oh, really. That's nice.”
Anyone who referred to the
violin as the fiddle was clearly producing an entirely different strain of
music than what Sloan was used to.
“You're English, huh.”
“Yes, I'm afraid so,” she
said with a disarming smile.
“No need to be afraid. I
love the accent. It's very sexy. I'd like to go to England one day.”
He was hardly the first
here to say her accent was sexy, but she blushed slightly anyway. His interest
was so obviously sexual and very... very... obvious. He did not seem the type
for subtle seduction.
The idea, of course, was
absurd, and she sought a way to politely and discretely let him down. The
distance between them, culturally speaking, was enormous. There was, though,
something very indefinably 'sexy' about him, too. She didn't really understand
it. He was actually a bit scary, more than a bit daunting, and she felt wary
around him. Who knew what he was capable of!?
Some men, when you turned
them down, got very insulting, very rude and obscene. Some even got violent,
she understood, though none had with her.
“Well you could... get a
job on a bigger boat,” she said. “One that was going to Europe, I mean.”
“Yeah. Well, if all the
women over there are as hot as you it'd be worth it,” he said.
She flushed again,
“Could I see your fiddle?”
Sloan did not want to show
him her viola, but refusing would be... rude. Especially since he'd stopped her
face from a close interaction with the deck.
“It's... rather old and
uhm, delicate,” she said, reluctantly lifting the case.
“Over here. You can set it
on the vent.”
The vent, or whatever it
was, was about waist high, metal and projected up out of the deck. Sloan set
her case on it and then opened it.
“Oh! Be careful!” she
exclaimed as he took the viola out and examined it.
“She's a big one,” he said.
“Yes, it's a viola, not a
“Yeah? What's the
“Uhm, there are several.
The viola produces more of a mid-range sound, rather lower than the violin,
they uh, fiddle you're probably used to.”
“She's a beauty,” he said
appreciatively. “Just like you, huh?” he said, raising his eyes to her and
He took the bow out and
brought the viola up under his chin, then played a few experimental notes.
“Yeah, she's got a deep
voice,” he said. “Very soft and sexy.”
Sloan flushed again, for he
was looking at her as he said it.
He held it out at arm's
length briefly, examining it.
“Nice. Kinda glows,” he
said. “Nice curves.”
His eyes flicked to her and
Sloan felt her face heat further.
“They say the violin was
shaped to look like a woman,” he said.
He drew it up to his chin
and played a few more notes.
“Very mellow sounding,” he
“Yes, the viola serves to
emphasize and draw out the sound of the violin in an orchestra, to form a
bridge between the higher notes of the violin and the other strings. It helps
harmonize the string section.”
“You play in an orchestra,
“The New York
“Thought so. Classy chick
Sloan smiled uncomfortably
“It sounds kind of furry,
but in a nice way.”
“The strings are thicker
than what you're used to.”
He gave her back the viola
and she put it quickly away, placing the bow in next to it and strapping it
“Yeah, I've always been
into music,” he said. “See?”
Sloan snapped the lid
closed and turned around just in time to see him pulling his t-shirt up and
over his head. She blinked in surprise, then flushed anew at his extraordinary
chest. Not only was it immense it was half covered in tattoos!
He had what looked like an
eagle covering the right side of his chest, the head cocked back and the snout
pushing up against the right side of his neck. He also had a large treble clef
on the left side of his abdomen and belly. In fact, he had to push his jeans
lower so she could see the entirety of it.
Sloan noted the clef in
passing, her eyes somewhat overwhelmed with so much muscular male flesh so
close to them. She wasn't a virgin, but she had certainly never seen anything
like this up close! Tattooed or otherwise!
“Uhm uhm... yes... well...” she gulped.
“I got this one when I was
in the navy over in Thailand,” he said.
He put his finger on the
“This one I got in Hawaii.”
“I well, they're very...
colorful,” she said.
“You probably don't have
She looked at him in
“Not that chicks don't get
tattoos these days,” he said. “But you look too classy for that.”
“You uhm, don't approve of tattoos
“Nope. Especially gorgeous
ones like you. That's like painting graffiti on the side of a Porsche or a
Ferrari. Why would you want to spoil the lines and finish of something that's
Another rough looking man
“Hey, Mike. That cylinder
“Yeah, it's good to go,”
the man said, pulling his shirt on.
“Gotta go, babe,” he said.
Sloan felt a sense of
relief, but felt strangely deflated as he went, as if he'd taken some of the
light and energy with him and things were now duller and quieter. The man had
fairly crackled with energy, she realized.
Well, an interesting
experience, she mused. And an interesting man! Not the type to come to see the
orchestra, of course, and not the type she would really associate with. What
would they talk about anyway? What would they do together? Well, aside from
what she was certain was his primary interest!
And what would that
be like, she thought as she watched the boat dock. Not like any other physical
experience she'd ever had! The man was probably like a wild animal in bed. She
did not anticipate a lot of gentle, tender touching and kisses from a man like
Of course, her experiences
with sex, such as they were, had not exactly been overwhelming in terms of
their excitement or pleasure. She was sure the men had tried but... well, it
was probably her. She was simply not a very sexual person. Her primary focus
during sex was to ensure she didn't do anything to embarrass herself or make
her partner laugh at her inexperience or poor skills.
She doubted this man would
even notice. It would be like... like being ridden by a bull! Or a stallion!