“You know I hate these forced social meetings.”
“If I had told you about it you’d never have agreed to come.”
“Damned right there, sister. I’m not.” I stood stock still on the red carpet, clutching my delicate beaded bag.
Her large brown eyes pleaded me to come in side. No doubt she had proclaimed my qualities as lyrically as she had just outlined Marcs to me.
I folded my arms and scowled at Suzanne. “Give the ticket to someonelse.” I waved my arm at the growing crowds around the carpet. “ I’m going for a drink.”
“You’re missing out Cheree. Mark will be very disappointed. Hes really nice”
She waved the tickets in front of me. “Gold Class opening night tickets to the biggest blockbuster out of Hollywood, plus the after party with some of the actors.’ The tickets flapped in front of my face. I had been desperate to see the movie, but with no strings attached. “ Come On! You can’t ell me you aren’t a little bit interested. Look. You don’t even have to stay with Marc all night – just be nice.”
Her insistent eyes began to irritate me. “Stop trying to set me up with Tonys drippy mates. I’m fine!”
Suzanne dropped her arm defeated. “Alright go back to your one bedroom flat with your psycho cat. And spend another Saturday night, Alone.”
She turned on her heel, a dark storm cloud looming over the friendship.
My heart squeezed as I watched her go inside, refusing to give me another glance.
She’ll come round in a few days I mused, I hoped.
I turned to look at the options in bars and nightclubs in the street around me. The loud beat from one reminded me that I was no longer young and able to cope with the constant pounding of the music all night. Unable to make any sort of conversation with anyone, these places were more of a marketplace for pick ups rather than a place to connect with someone. My black cocktail dress, heels and understated jewelry was hardly the garb to go dancing in either.
I opted for a small jazz bar further down the street, where I knew the pianist. The wood grain and the leather overstuffed couches gave it an opulent but intimate feeling; reminding one of the days of drawing rooms and gentlemen’s clubs. The lighting was always dim and although smoking was no longer allowed inside, the atmosphere remained foggy. Settling down on a padded stool around the piano I smiled at Marcel as he gave me a wink.
I sighed stirring my Brandy Alexander with the straw. Perhaps Suzanne was right. I did need to get out and meet men, and ending up in a tiny forgotten bar would hardly achieve this.
I watched Marcels fingers dance across the keys and drifted into a trance, carried off by his silken voice. I was vaguely aware of the warmth of another’s body as they settled into the seat beside me.
“Your Brandy Alexander” the waitress announced as she placed it beside my elbow.
“Oh thanks – but I didn’t order another.” I said confused as my hand reached for the stem of the glass.
“That’s because its mine”, a deep voice noted with amusement.
My eyes sprung open as a hot flush rushed over my face. Dark eyes, framed with long lashes and a shock of untamed hair smiled at me.
I stammered my apologies as I stared at the well dressed stranger.
He stirred the contents of the glass and looked up at me. “That’s alright, and before you say anything, I know Brandy Alexanders are usually a girls drink – but its my favourite cocktail, I’m alone and can’t see why I can’t order what I like!”
I laughed “You sound like someone who gets a hard time for your choices.”
He smiled a shy but genuine smile. “Well meaning friends are usually giving me a dig about one thing or another. Can I get you a drink of your own, or would you like to share mine?”
I laughed and offered my hand to him. “I’m Cheree and I am escaping another dreadful Saturday night set up.”
He stared at me. “ I’m Marc and I am doing the same.”
“Gold Class?” we both blurted and then erupted in laughter, the sound infectious to one another until we sat gasping for air.
“Well Cheree, It seems the universe has it in for us and we were meant to meet tonight. How about we make the best of it and just enjoy ourselves?”
“Deal” I said as we clinked our glasses together.