Shelby Flynn is the very successful conductor of the Oakwood Philharmonic Orchestra, with degrees from Boston University and UCLA. She recently turned forty, but somewhere in the back of her mind, she feels something is missing in her life. She hasn’t had a serious relationship in several years, and there doesn’t seem to be the right woman for her in Oakwood, California. She knows -- she's been looking for the six long years she’s lived there.
Maybe, when her contract expires this spring, Shelby should move home to Boston and look for a new position ... and better relationship opportunities.
Then her best friend Earl suggests she go see a woman he knows, a professional dominatrix who is a world authority on sexual problems. Perhaps Mistress can take away some of Shelby’s angst and problems.
But is Shelby ready for the consequences?
The symphony had been far better than I ever expected. It was like I was stirring a cake mix in a large mixing bowl. Every swoop of my hand, every swish of my baton moved the notes to where I wanted them and combined the sounds into the most amazing feast of music. It was like I had control of the entire globe. The final movement built and built, getting loaded and more forceful. The final note grew to an incredible column that I don’t think I’d ever imagined prior to tonight. The applause started even before the music had died down.
I had three curtain calls. On the third, the entire orchestra stood and applauded me. I stepped up to shake hands with Gail. I laughed as I hugged her, waved to the audience, took another bow, and walked backstage. The audience continued cheering after that, too, but I refused to take a fourth bow, even though the stage manager urged me to go back out. I went straight into my dressing room and took a series of deep breaths. I still felt high. How do I come down from this? I took a drink from the bottle of water sitting on my dressing table. What I needed was a good stiff drink, but I'd get that at the reception. I took several minutes and many, many deep breaths to try and center myself as I changed out of my sweaty tuxedo jacket and into a cooler cotton shirt.
There was a line of fans standing in the hallway when I came out of my dressing room. One after another shook my hand and complimented me. One hand, however, grasp mine tighter than the others. When I looked up, it was her. She leaned in and kissed me on the cheek and whispered, "Call me Janet."
I looked at her in surprise.
"I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the concert," she said. "There's a lot I want to discuss with you but I see that now is not the time. You have a lot of admirers. I'll wait outside until you're free."”
"I should only be a minute," I murmured. Was I slipping back into my submission-zone?
She hugged me and turned away.
Pull yourself up, Shelby, I thought, Don't let her push you down again ... not here.
I turned and shook the next hand ... and the next ... and finally the last.
I looked down the hall and saw her standing just outside the stage door. God, she was beautiful. She’s stood there in her dark green outfit, her bag over her shoulder. She was more stunning than I had imagined, more even than her photo on-line. Her long, dark hair was swept back and up into a relaxed French twist that highlighted her gorgeous green eyes.
What should I say? What did she want to say to me? I went over to her.
"I'm sorry ...” I began, but she stopped me.
"No need. I understand these things. I wanted to tell you how much I was impressed with the concert, and with you. That was extremely powerful conducting." She smiled at me and I saw her scan my body. "I'm hoping you'd come over tonight ..."
I took a deep breath. "Tonight? I'm not sure I have the money ..."
She stopped me again. "No, no," she said with a smile. "Not that. Just Shelby and Janet having a drink together. I have so many things I want to discuss with you. Do you have plans now?"
I grimaced. "I'd love to come over but I have to make an appearance at the Board of Trustees' reception. Would you like to come with me?"
She shook her head. "No, go and receive all your accolades. You can come over later."
"It shouldn't take that long."
"Take as long as you need." She smiled broadly at me. "Don't worry about the time. I'm usually up most of the night. There are so many things I want to talk to you about. This was a phenomenal concert and a most outstanding conductor. Come over for a drink so we can talk."
"What do you drink?"
"I usually drink a tequila gimlet, but anything except a martini would do. I'm not a big gin fan."
"I'll have whatever you want," she said. Then she smiled. "And you can ring the doorbell ... anytime."
She leaned forward and placed her lips on mine, lingering just long and hard enough to say it was a kiss, and not just a friendly peck. "I'll see you later, I hope," she whispered and turned and walked away.
My face must have been a sight! It took me a while to get myself and my breath under control.