"Where are we going?" Keziah asked when she realized Zack wasn't driving in the direction of her house. Zack smiled but didn't look at her. "Zack?" Keziah asked. He looked at her. "What time do you need to be home?" He asked. Keziah pulled up her shoulders. "Well, it's school tomorrow so I'm guessing eight at the latest," she said. Zack checked the clock in the car. "We've got almost two hours," he said and stopped in front of an open café. There was a white sign hanging above it with the words "The Mahogany Room" in big bold letters at the top. Zack got out and so did Keziah but more cautiously. She stared up at the sign. "What is this place?" She asked and looked at Zack. "You've never heard of this place?" He asked and raised an eyebrow.
Keziah pulled up her shoulders and looked around. It was a long, uphill street with little shops around. No major supermarkets, malls or shopping centers. Just a street with a deli, an antique shop, what looked like an art studio and a few other cafés and bed, and breakfasts. It seemed like a street people would come when they were on holiday. So quiet and so unfamiliar to her. "I don't think I've ever even been in this part of town before," Keziah said and looked back at Zack. "How do you know about this place?" She asked. "My family usually comes here when we're on holiday," he explained. "Ah," Keziah said. He gestured with his head towards The Mahogany Room. "Come on, this is my favorite place," he said. Keziah watched him jog up the three dark wooden steps to the café. Keziah followed. It seemed like a normal café. Round black tables with black chairs around them, a coffee menu on the wall behind the long counter and a few coffee machines. There were muffins, cakes and sandwiches on display in woven baskets. A man that seemed to be in his mid-twenties with a black t-shirt on, greeted us.
"Zack, welcome back, man," he said. Zack smiled. "Hey, Mike. This is Keziah." Zack gestured towards her. "She's another jazz lover," Zack explained. Keziah's eyes widened at Zack. There was no way he could've known that. He smirked. Mike nodded. "Well, she's just in time. They just finished setting up. You can go outside," he said. Zack nodded and gestured for Keziah to follow him. She walked behind him around one corner of the café. And then suddenly we were in some backyard. Keziah gasped. There were white lights hanging above us and a wooden stage in one corner. There were a few trees growing around and the ground consisted of neatly trimmed grass. A few people sat on the grass close to the stage as there was a band standing on it. There was an Asian girl that looked about twenty, standing there with a saxophone in the corner, a male drummer at the back, another girl on bass, a guitarist and a pianist on the stage.
"Hi, everyone," the pianist said. He was young, seemed fresh out of high school with a mini Afro and glasses. "I am Christopher and welcome to The Mahogany Room. I hope you all enjoy your evening and I wrote this first composition especially in honor of this fine open mike café," he said and sat down behind a keyboard. Zack gently pulled Keziah closer to the corner of the yard and we sat down at the roots of one of the trees. The bass and saxophone players started playing and Keziah felt her heart skip a beat. The saxophone dominating for a while but the bass and piano still coming through clearly. The beat was slow yet energetic. Keziah felt her body float at the gentle yet complicated music. They sounded amazing for such a young group. "How old is he?" She asked, referring to the pianist. "The composer?" Zack asked. Keziah nodded but still looked at the band. "Just finished high school last year," Zack whispered to me. Keziah's eyes widened. She took a while to answer, letting every note sink into her mind. "He's excellent," she said, meaning it and refusing to pull her attention away from the band on the stage.
The music seemed to move her. It had been a long time since she had listened to jazz but she was still in love with it. When the composition ended, Keziah was still stunned for a while before joining the little crowd with its clapping. The band immediately went onto their next song. Keziah took a breath and laid back against the tree. She felt Zack lift her hand lightly. She jumped a little and looked at him. He smiled and gently ran his finger up her arm. "I can see you enjoyed that first composition," he said. Keziah noticed the little bumps on her arm and the hair raising slightly. She looked at Zack. He raised his eyes to her and her heart skipped a beat again. She smiled. "I did," she said. Zack held her gaze for a while before sitting back against the tree with her and letting go of her arm. "Good," he said with a smile. The next composition was much slower, the deeper sort of jazz. Keziah moved closer to Zack and put her head on his chest. Zack's arm later came around her shoulders and she closed her eyes, feeling completely at peace as the music surrounded them.