A/N: so while on a college visit I saw (but sadly never talked to) this very cute boy who was majoring in jazz studies and played piano. I think this piece, then, becomes quite obvious. read, enjoy, and review!!

Black and White Keys

The soft, clear notes had risen from the glossy black piano all those months ago, and as I had carefully placed the empty coffee mugs on my tray, I had realized that had been the first time I had ever truly listened to the music. It had always been there, I suppose, hanging in the background beneath the dim lights and drifting in the air that had the sharp yet hazy mingled scent of cappuccinos and cigarettes. However, the time I had glanced up and first recognized the beauty of the low, haunting melody, the player had glanced up as well, as if he had expected me to be watching him at that precise moment. He had tilted his head up slightly, the shadow of the brim of his black fedora exposing enough of his face to allow me to see the corner of his mouth pull into the faintest of smirks. I had swiftly cast my gaze elsewhere, flustered at being caught in a stare, even as I had felt myself smiling a small smile.

And now I sauntered to one of my tables, slinging the drinks down with careless, practiced ease and humming quietly along to the upbeat plinking of the piano keys, halfway between the dusky, smoky room and the dark, clear world that the music whispered existed. Tucking my empty tray beneath my arm, I pulled out my notepad and pen, scrawling the orders of some other customer, my eyes flicking every so often to the musicians in the back of the place. A tall, balding man plucked the strings of his bass, swaying side to side with the beat. The drummer, a short, thick man, tapped the glimmering cymbals expertly with the nylon brushes, his sunglassed head bobbing, keeping time with his drums. But as ever my eyes lingered on the young man seated at the piano, his head tilted down and topped with his signature hat, his hands moving in a blur of complete confidence. I shook my head slightly, denying something only to myself. It was strange, I decided, that he did nothing but play that piano and toss me that occasional smirk; even when the café closed, he would swagger out, hands stuffed in the pockets of his black suit pants, and only spare a grin. Nothing was ever said—just that hint of a smile, a flash of teeth, that I was forced to accept as all. I guess he communicated better through his music than with his words.

I peeled the top page of the notepad off, handing the order to the woman behind the counter, and leaned my elbow on the bar, waiting patiently for the order to be filled, for that piano player to finally do something beside glance and smirk. As I lounged there, I noticed that the song had changed, that now it was a lighter, slower tune, that the bassist and drummer were sitting idle as the pianist embarked on his solo, hitting more keys at once than should have been possible. And then, as the tinkling notes swelled, he began to sing softly, his voice husky and low, the words flowing smooth and deep. I suppose the French should've tipped me off that it was "La Vie en Rose". I didn't even realize that I was smiling until a minute or more had passed, and when I tried to bite it back, it would not disappear completely. Feeling utterly foolish at being so taken by the romantic lilt, I snatched up my drinks and delivered them to their respective owners, but as I turned from the last table, my gaze slid across the back corner of the café. I could not keep from smiling at the familiar sight as his last sung notes faded into the dim, smoky haze.

He glanced up from beneath the brim of his hat, his shadowed eyes meeting mine, and the corner of his mouth raised ever so slightly as his fingers danced easily across the black and white keys.

Fin