The Beat of the Drums

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Some believe true love happens only once in your lifetime.

Submitted: February 02, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 02, 2012



The town hall clock struck one as she walked quickly through the narrow city streets.  The traffic moved slowly, their exhaust fumes adding to the heat of the day.  The day started warm and the humidity rose steadily clinging to her exposed skin like the steam in a sauna.  Her hair felt damp against her neck.  She was on a short break from her job as a typist at a solicitors firm and she needed to purchase some material for her mother.  Her job was non-stop and she could barely catch her breath between the constant phone calls and tasks being given to her.  She didn’t especially like the job, but at least it earned her money so that one day she would be able to move out of home.  But she kept these thoughts to herself for fear that it would get back to her family.

As she had crossed the street, she faintly heard the sound of music.  Its beat was fast and frenetic and unknowingly, her strides fell in time with its beat.  The music grew louder as she drew closer towards it.  It was like nothing that she had ever heard before.  She wasn’t allowed to listen to music at home that was not approved.  She felt drawn to it and she found herself walking towards it.  This made her feel anxious, as though she was breaking some unwritten law, a law that had consequences.

The music intensified and she could feel the deep beat of it vibrating within her body and as she rounded the corner, she saw the source.  She noticed the man on an upturned milk crate, strumming away on his guitar with a friend pounding away on bongo drums.  She couldn’t help but stop and listen.  The music was almost hypnotic in its beat, as though it was casting a spell over those in its presence.  As she watched, she saw more people being drawn towards it until the two musicians had a decent crowd.

The man strumming the guitar looked up and caught her eye making her inhale sharply.  His eyes were the colour of the sky on a bright summer’s day.  They held hers in the same way as the hypnotic trance of the music.  He never faltered in his strumming as he gazed at her.  His hair was the colour of chestnut and curled softly on the nape of his neck like a loving hand.  His skin was creamy brown and his face was unshaven.  She could see the small muscles in his forearm flexing as they strummed the strings.  He wore a blue t-shirt that had seen more than its fair share of washes and blue jeans.  The intensity of his gaze stirred something deep inside her, something she had never felt before.  She felt as though she was falling, unable to stop herself but she had not moved in the slightest since she had stopped to listen.  The magical spell of the music stretched out from him to her and encircled them both in its trance.  This scared her somewhat but she could not command herself to look away.  Then she realized that she actually didn’t want to.

The intense feelings of her emotions increased and made her panic.  Desperate for something to break the spell she pulled some change out of her coat pocket and stepped forward to drop it into the hat.  The man never took his eyes off her and as the money hit the hat, he smiled.  She found herself smiling.  He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen.

She slowly backed away and into the crowd, his eyes never left hers.  Other people moved in front of her and she lost sight of him.  The spell was broken, the connection between them gone.  She stood there for a moment, dazed.  Her heart was beating fast against her breast and her breathing was short and fast.  From that one glance she felt a flood of feelings; desire, need, want, yearning.  She didn’t know that these feelings could express themselves all at once as though cupid had shot them through the air and hit her with such force.  She had never felt this way before.

She slowly turned and walked numbly away from the man and his guitar.  She did not notice the music behind her stop or someone shout out.


Something about the voice, the deep baritone, made her turn.

The man with the summer blue eyes ran towards her.  He stopped just short of her and stared deeply into her eyes.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” she breathed.

“I couldn’t help but notice you back there,” he said, casually pointing to behind him.

She felt herself blushed, the warmth creep up from her neck.  She had never been in this close proximity to a man before that was not a relative or one of the partners at work.

“You play beautiful music,” she said, “I’ve never heard anything like it,”

He laughed, deep and low.

“Where have you been the last few years? It’s only the best thing being played all over the airwaves,”

She felt a little silly.

“I guess I don’t get out much,” she replied

“My name’s Joe”

“Ellie” she said.

He looked into her eyes as though searching for something.  He ran a hand through his hair and looked like he was about to say something.

“Tell me if I’m wrong, but did you feel what I was feeling back there?  I felt as though you and I were the only ones there.” He reached out and tucked her hair behind her ear.  She felt herself falling again.  No one had ever touched her like that before.  She took a moment before answering.

“When I looked into your eyes, I felt as though I was falling.  Excited and scared at the same time,” she whispered.

He stepped closer to her, there was barely any space separating them.

“Come and meet me later,” he whispered.

“I can’t, I have to get back to work,” she said.

“After work, I don’t care, I just want to see you again,”

She wanted to meet him so much, but knew that her family would never allow it.

“I can’t,” she said, “I’m not allowed,”

“What do you mean you’re not allowed?” he asked.

She didn’t know what to say.  She knew it would sound weird if she mentioned that her family would not consent to her meeting a man that they did not know.  They had other plans for her.

“What time do you finish work?  Perhaps I can take you home?” Joe said.

“Look, it’s not that easy,” she said, “at least not for me.  I still live at home and my family is very strict.”

“You’re an adult, they can’t rule your life.  You can be friends with anyone you want to,”

She knew that what she said sounded strange and right at this minute, they sounded strange and foreign to her too.  She was an adult, but only just.  She had to fight her family tooth and nail to even get a job.  Earning money from that job was her only way.

“You’re right,” she replied.

“Come on, they don’t have to know,” Joe said, “Why don’t you meet me tomorrow, at lunch.  I’ll wait for you on that corner,” he pointed to where he had been playing the guitar.

She looked at him and smiled.  How could her parents possibly find out if she met him here tomorrow?  She found herself smiling up at Joe.

“Okay, I’ll meet you,” she said.

He smiled and reached for her.  He slowly stepped forward, leaned down and kissed her tenderly on the lips.  His lips were soft and she instinctively responded.  The kissed deepened and her arms moved unconsciously around his waist.  He felt muscular and warm through his thin shirt.

He slowly pulled his lips away but left his forehead touching hers.

“Promise you’ll meet me?” he said softly,

“I promise,”

They slowly pulled away from each other.  Her arms moved back to her sides.  She felt a sense of loss without the feel of him beneath her hands.

As she turned away she failed to notice the dark haired man on the other side of the street.


Joe waited for her the next day, and the next and the next.  Beautiful Emily never showed.  He wished that he had asked where she worked, her last name, where she lived, but he had been too love struck to ask.  Bobby had wanted to move their gig to another corner due to the story in papers about the honour killing of a young woman not far from there.  But he convinced him to stay.  He found himself making excuses for her.  Maybe she was sick, or she forgot which corner it was.  But the excuses did not stop the hurt and loss that he was feeling.  He only had the sweet innocence of her kiss to remember her.

© Copyright 2020 SariBlue. All rights reserved.

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