3 Sky and Chocolate
Rickie looked down at the young woman in front of him, then over to the wide-eyed girl a few steps away. The girl was clutching the bamboo flute so hard he was afraid it would snap in two. He smiled at her reassuringly, then switched his attention back to the waitress.
She was small, about 163 cm compared to his 180 cm, with her sable hair neatly tied up in a bun. He waited for her to look up at him, which she eventually did.
Small, delicate features. Warm eyes the colour of hot chocolate. A sprinkling of freckles dotting a slightly upturned nose. Full, unadorned mouth with a slight overbite. This was the quick impression Rickie got before the waitress stepped back and gestured for the girl to stand behind her. Before she quickly lowered her head again, her hands clasped in front of her.
"I apologise if you were bothered by the music," she spoke in a low tone, "It won't happen again. I'm very sorry." She braced her shoulders as if preparing to ward off a blow. Rickie raised his eyebrows at the defensive gesture.
"Actually, I was enjoying the sound, especially since it blended so well with the nighttime noises from the rain forest. Where did you learn to play the seruling?"At the gentle, almost soothing timbre of his voice, Meaghan raised her head again.
He looked like something out of a romance movie. Dark skin, shaggy, sun-bleached dark blonde hair over a pair of cool blue eyes the colour of a cloudless sky, a single diamond winking from his right ear. He had broad shoulders encased in an opened-collared white tuxedo shirt; the bow tie peeked out of the breast pocket as if absentmindedly stuffed there. Knife-pleated black pants and shiny black shoes completed the look of a cultured, high society male.
Meaghan gulped nervously and rotated slightly to see her sister smile shyly at the stranger.
"It was my grandma's," Tina said, "but I've never had lessons or anything. I just like to play it." And, surprisingly, she stepped around Meaghan and offered it to him.
Rickie cradled it carefully and examined the instrument. The finger holes were worn to a faint concave shape, the beak showing wear around the mouth. Still, it looked as if it was a finely-crafted, if old, piece. He handed it back to the young girl.
"You play it very well," he said, "Thank you for letting me look at it."
At that moment, Meaghan stepped up and took Tina's other hand.
"We will be going, sir. Sorry to have troubled you."
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And before Rickie could ask her anything more, she slipped away towards the main building of the resort complex, towing the girl behind. He watched them for a minute, his mood strangely lifted, then turned back to the soiree, where strains of classical music indicated that the meal was over.
Walking towards the stairs, he glanced over his shoulder, but the pair had already disappeared into the shadows.