I.1: Heat Wave
Even the heat can get to the most calculated of minds
Pushing sweat-spiked bangs off her face, Rhys peered into the hallway for the seventh time since pressing herself tight against the corner wall. A crucial decision hung in the balance, and for the eighth time she looked into the main studio halls, circumstance settled the choice for her. To her left were the music labs and to the right were the dance practice studios. Going back was not an option- it was a dead end, shower rooms and utility closets- but to go directly ahead was a form of suicide.
Juno's singing voice travelled through the paneled walls, radiating through the open spaces the same way liquid heat rose from the tiled floors. With his voice growing louder and his footsteps drawing nearer, it was now a matter of which studio she would take refuge in. Unfortunately for her, Juno's attendance in both categories in question were nearly equal, and chances could skew toward any direction. She wouldn't even know until the very last minute. And chance was usually against her for some reason.
Staring cross-eyed at the bead of sweat perched on her nose, she forced her ears to focus on the incoming sounds. Closing her eyes would have been more efficient, but she couldn't risk being found out so she kept her peripheral vision on high. Not that there was anyone else in the building for her to see or to see her. For the last three days, the whole studio had been emptied with no one willing to endure the worst heat wave to hit town. Ever. Not even the air conditioning inside the music labs provided any form of relief, especially not when the AC units broke down on a regular basis and the equipment had a higher probability of overheating.
She sneaked another peek from the corner, and still nothing. Had she imagined Juno, too? Just that morning she had a close encounter with a person that couldn't have been where he was when she saw him, but imagining Juno would be a first.
Even now as she looked further down, if she just so much as squinted her eyes, she could faintly see the moles on Ryan's left cheek, those large brown eyes shining at her and cupid bow lips smiling at her. But that was just scratching the surface of what other fantasies had touched her mind since coming back here from the past two months they had spent together on tour. Fantasies that were well along the lines of shameless, and thus in the standards of the fantasizee downright sinful. There was no way in heaven or hell and anywhere else in between that it would see the light it deserved. Unfortunately.
Thinking about it had been so easy. It still was.
Back pressed against the wall, Rhys closed her eyes and she was transported to a place found only in between dreaming and waking. A place where Ryan's arms would be wrapped around her, pressing her tightly against his chest with his hot breath whispering sweet nothings into her ear. Ever so slowly, his long, slender fingers would trace delicate patterns on her arm and his lips would skim the shell of her ear. So mesmerized was she by the thought, that the acute feeling of sweat trickling down her ear and down her neck sparked a coil of want inside her.
But the sad reality remained that Ryan failed at being a normal person. His lyrics of being an idealized on-demand lover were misleading. He was too decorous, too withdrawn, too emotionally distant to cater to her needs, but even then, she couldn't let him go. Even at the expense of hurting a good friend. A good friend who didn't just want to be a friend and was still waiting for her, hoping she would have a change of heart. But her heart wasn't even hers anymore, and no matter how frustrated she may have been at Ryan, nothing was going to change the way she felt for him.
A desperate thought sidled into that earlier fantasy: Ryan was currently an ocean away while Juno was just a few steps down. It would be so easy. Especially since Juno would only be so willing.