Jean was almost through with the day's cleaning, and her eyes fell to the piano. It wouldn't hurt to give the old thing a dusting. Taking her feather duster, she cleared away the light layer that had settled over the top, and then moved to the she was finished, she put away her duster, and moved to close the piano, but stopped just short of it, Checking the clock, she knew Lucien and Matthew were likely to be out for a few hours more. Perhaps she could…
Feeling a bit foolish, Jean looked around before she sat down, like she was checking to see if anyone was watching.
Jean hadn't had a single piano lesson in her life, but she had plucked out a note or two when she had the house to herself, and had certainly seen her husband play numerous times. As a child, she'd been fascinated by the church organist, enthralled by the sound of the piano at a party, but piano lessons were for children whose parents had plenty of extra money lying around. Not for poor farmgirls, and certainly not for Jean Randall. Placing her fingers hesitantly on a note, she tried to remember the little bit of Amazing Grace she'd worked out the last time she had done this. She hardly realized she was softly singing along to herself.
"A…" she played what she thought was a C. Really, she couldn't be sure. "...maz…" she touched a note one-two keys upward, but it clashed with her voice. One more, then. That was it. "..zi-" No. "...zi-ing…" Yes. "Grace." Same note as the first one in zing. Easy.
She stopped and started over with that same note. It was near the middle of the piano, just below the two black keys that were close together. She thought that made it C, but she really couldn't be sure. She didn't even remember who she'd picked that up from, if it was correct. She played very slowly, singing along with herself, and was quite pleased when she got to the end of those two words without a stumble.
How turned out to be the note in between zi and ing. Sweet was a step down from that. Her hands got less shaky with each note. The was two more steps, and sound brought her back to where she started. Could she do that from the beginning now?
Her chores forgotten, she worked her way through the first verse of the hymn, listening for the right notes and cringing when she heard something else. When she got to the end of a line, she started over, adding on bit by bit.
"...was blind...bu-ut now-" Wrong. She stopped, sighed, went back. "..was blind...bu-ut now, I see." She held the note for a moment, hearing the wavering vibrato of her voice wrap around the straight line of the piano's tone, and smiled, quite pleased with herself.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard someone clapping behind her.
"Bravo!" It was Lucien, of course. Jean stood up like she'd sat on something sharp, taking two steps away from the piano before she could think.
"Lucien!" she yelped, feeling her cheeks heat up. As she whipped around to face him, she found him standing in the doorway, leaning against the wall with a fond smile on his face. "How long have you been standing there?" she demanded, bristling at the thought of him just staring while she played horrendously. He may as well have walked in on her naked—she'd prefer it, actually.
"Not long," he replied. "I only caught the last line or so."
She huffed, smoothing out imaginary wrinkles in her skirt. "Well, I suppose it could be worse."
Lucien pushed off the wall and came toward her, leaning in to greet her with a kiss. She leaned into it, letting the feel of him melt some of her embarrassment away, and sighed happily when she felt his arms wrap loosely around her waist. "It was lovely," he assured her as he pulled back to look at her, keeping his arms where they were.
"It was not," she replied. "I was only messing around." She stepped back, still feeling a bit sheepish, and smiled at the pout he gave when he was forced to release her from his embrace. "You should play something, since you actually know what you're doing. You know I've never had lessons."
"Did you ever want to?"
She sighed. "Yes, I suppose I did. In the way that a little girl wants to be a princess, or win the lottery."
"Right." She watched his face fall, and could only imagine where his mind was going. She loved her husband with everything she had, but it was so easy for him to forget what different childhoods they'd lived, the privileges he'd had as the son of a comfortable country doctor. She knew he felt guilty about it sometimes, and so she rushed to change the subject.
"Anyway, that's a long time ago now. I think we both know who the musician is in this house. Cup of tea?" Content to put the topic to bed, she began to make her way to the kitchen, pausing at his side to place a quick kiss on his cheek. He grabbed her hand before she moved any further, and her arm stretched out between them until she was forced to stop, a bemused smile on her face. "What?" she asked him.
"Well, I was just thinking…" he turned his head once more to the piano and then looked back at her. "It's never too late to learn, you know. If you ever wanted, I could…"
"Teach me how to play?" she finished for him, feeling something lighting up in her heart. Something that felt a lot like a little girl who wanted to be a princess.
His shoulders curved into a half-shrug. "If you like?"
She smiled widely at that and nodded. Oh, she really did love him. "Yes," she said, squeezing his hand which was still in hers. "Yes, I'd like that very much.