"You nearly finished?" Tom called through the door. Ashley had been taking a shower, preparing to go to lunch soon with him and Jennifer; though he'd been taking longer than Tom anticipated.
"Yeah, one sec. I'm just finishing getting dressed." Ashley rushed out the bathroom, his top only half on; looking a little sheepish. He was rummaging through the cupboard, while his free hand pulled the rest of his top down. He took out a jacket, holding it over his shoulder; and turned to Tom; just shifting his hair into place.
"Ready. How do I look?"
"You don't have to worry about that." Ashley was unsure what to make of the response.
"Ok." He was disappointed, but shunned himself for expecting a different answer, or wanting a different one. "Well, Jennifer will probably be waiting, so we should go."
"You're forgetting she's female, we have at least another hour or so." They chuckled lightly as they left. Tom grabbed his key, and made sure to lock the door this time. "Well, where should we go for lunch? We could explore the area a bit, or we could go to the same place as earlier."
"I wouldn't mind seeing what other places there are, we may discover something amazing along the way." The two hurried down the stairs, eager to head out to the City.
Jennifer was already waiting in the courtyard, tapping her foot jokingly against the ground, "What took you guys so long?"
"Sorry, my fault. I needed to take a shower, and I took a little while getting ready." Ashley looked at the ground.
"Oh, I see." Jennifer smirked a little, but didn't say anything more about it. "Well let's go, I hear there's a really good Café just down the street."
"Yeah, we went there for breakfast; they serve really good food. However, we decided it would be better if we looked around first, see what else there is nearby. I hope that's okay." Tom looked over at Jennifer.
"That's fine, I'll have to try it out one day. But yeah, a walk doesn't sound so bad, at least it's a nice day." The small group headed off Campus, taking the path into town. They passed a few shops along the way, but one in particular caught Jennifer's eye.
"Oh cool!" She hurried in the shop, not waiting for the boys, though they glanced at each other then followed her in.
"... try one out? I haven't played in weeks." Jennifer looked like she was pleading with the owner, who just nodded his head, "Oh, thank you so much!" He shook his head while smiling as she skipped towards Tom and Ashley. "A piano shop! And he says I can try one, I hope you don't mind. You can head on if you like, just give me your number and I'll message you when I'm done."
"No, it's fine. I'd actually like to listen to you play." Tom was curious as to how well she played, and what she would.
"It'd be nice to listen, so yeah; I'm definitely staying too."
"Cool, I won't be a tick, I promise." She hurried off to the nearest piano. It was beautiful, a dark ebony upright; masterfully crafted, with intricate woodwork along the sides. It's price was equally staggering, though that didn't matter right now. Jennifer's fingers rested on the keys for just a moment, as if igniting some old memory, then they began to dance. Flitting gracefully along the keys, though with a dominant atmosphere about them, beautifully accompanied by Chopin's "Fantasie Impromptu". All within the room were mesmerised by the piece, each lost in the music.
When it ended, there was a momentary silence; then Ashley began to clap, quickly followed by Tom. "Wow, that was.. beautiful. It was amazing, I can't believe you can play so well."
Jennifer giggled a little, "Yeah, well I've had years of practice; thanks to my parents. My mum was actually a pianist. Just playing lets me lose myself in a world that's not my own, and I love it." Her eyes lingered on Ashley again, for just a moment; but he noticed. "Anyway, sorry; let's go and get some lunch." She looked back at the shopkeeper, "Thanks, I really appreciate it."
"Anytime, and I mean it, you may attract more customers with that playing." They chuckled lightly, and once more returned to the street.
"My stomach's just realised how hungry it is, so I'm ready to get back on the prowl." At that, Jennifer's stomach grumbled, "See? I'm such a lady."
The trio entered a small restaurant, it was cosy; but still rather open to avoid seeming stuffy. "This'll do nicely."
Jennifer piped in immediately, "So long as they serve food, we are staying. I don't think I can handle not eating another five minutes."
The group sat down at a table, and began to flick through the menus. "So, Jennifer. What brings you to Cambridge?" Tom asked, doing his best to act like an interrogator.
"Ugh. I'm studying law." She didn't seem to be too happy about it.
"What's wrong with that?"
"It's boring as hell. My Dad wants me to have a Plan B, to make sure I have something to fall back on; which in my mind is currently a massive waste of time. I want to become a professional musician, follow in my mother's footsteps; be half as amazing as her, not become some snot-faced lawyer."
"Well, doesn't your mum have a say?" Ashley was curious, though he feared the answer already.
"No. She doesn't," both Tom and Ashley got the impression she wasn't finished, "She died, it was quite a while back, five years now. I've kept having lessons since, I thought it'd be what she wanted, and now it's all for nothing. Apparently it's just too hard to form a stable income as a musician. I don't care what is safer, I want to do something I enjoy; something I will want to do my whole life, not this."
Neither of them knew quite what to say, or how she might respond; so they remained silent. Letting her wind down.
"Ah, sorry. I'm being a right buzz kill." She smiled a little, "I'm fine with it really, sometimes looking ahead just gets a little overwhelming."
"We all know that feeling." Tom agreed, then noticed a waiter heading their way.
After they'd ordered, the chatter began again, talking about things they might do over the weekend; and see what they could find. Tom interrupted the conversation, "Sorry, you'll have to excuse me for a moment."
"Yeah, sure. See you in a sec." Tom headed off for the toilet, as Ashley watched him leave.
"Right," he looked back at Jennifer; who was looking at him sternly, trying to hold back a smile, "Let it out."
"What? I don't -"
"You know damn well what I mean, you've been goggle-eyed for Tom since I saw you two come into the pool. And I heard you when he said you were just roommates."
"Look, we barely know each other; and only met earlier today. I don't think you reserve the right to make outrageous accusations like that."
"Well, do you like Tom or not?"
"What do you mean, do I like him? That's -"
"It was a simple question, anyone else would have just said no, not dodge around like you are."
"Geez, you are relentless aren't you." Ashley was beginning to get a little irritated by her now, but he knew he was losing. Jennifer simply grinned at his last comment.
"Hey, I'm not going to say anything, but I'm not dumb; so stop playing with me. I know you like Tom, and why the hell not? He's smoking hot! Had I not thought you two were a couple at the pool, I'd have leapt on you both like a rabid wolf." This solicited a small chuckle from Ashley, though he caught it quickly; at least he loosened up a little.
"What do you mean both of us?"
"Come on, you can't be serious?" Ashley just frowned at her, "Wow," she was a little surprised, "You're absolutely stunning, you're probably the most beautiful guy I've ever seen. That speedo dig was no lie, you looked hot. You do now." Ashley was blushing bright red, grinning widely; and looking down at his shoes. "Tom might be a little bigger, but you look just as amazing, you probably have girls drooling over you all the time; you just don't care enough to notice."
"Notice what?" Tom just reached them and sat back down.
"How amazingly hot he is." Jennifer had no shame in stating that.
Tom laughed quite loudly, "Oh, I joined in at the wrong time. She's not wrong though Ash, you probably have girls drooling over you."
Jennifer just smiled, "See? Told ya."
Ashley was bright red yet again, his smile never faded; "You really think?"
"Absolutely bud, especially in speedos." They all burst out laughing at the remark, even Ashley, who'd loosened up mostly; and Jennifer just winked at him.
Thanks guys. I had time today, so I decided to sneak in part 5 early. Please offer all criticisms and positive comments (if you have them). Also, if you feel the urge, please rate the story. I'd really like to know what you all think so far. Of course, the lack of sexual interaction as of yet may have left some of you disappointed, but building a story is my foremost objective, scenes of a sexual nature come included, but are not the focus of the series. Thank you for being patient enough though.