Chapter 1 - London England
“Spot on Adrian we got ourselves a deal chap.” Said Barry Schuster the CEO of the Herman & Schuster.
“Thank you Barry glad to be doing business with you.”
“You have any plans this evening Adrian?” asked Peter Herman walking over to the bar fixing us all a round of shots.
“Nothing special I was just going out for a bite to eat and a few pints at the Flag & Lamb”
“Great pub Flag & Lamb. We have reservations at the Carbon Bar, do join us will you?”
“Sounds good to me” I said.
“Very good then, cheers gentlemen” he said holding up his glass as we toasted with shots of Gin.
The Carbon Bar, I thought to myself trying to remember where I heard of that name. There was an article about it in the British Airlines magazine on the flight over I remembered. The description read; it’s a stylish late night bar and club that has all the glamour you'd expect from a West End venue whilst maintaining an industrial elegance that would make trendy Shoreditch proud. With an impressive drink selection, stunning VIP area and a DJ booth to envy, Carbon looks set to be an excellent choice for the discerning drinker. Sounds like my kind of place.
The limousine pulled up to the valet entrance with a red velvet rope linked between to brass poles.
“Good evening Mr. Schuster your VIP room is ready sir” said the valet holding the door open for us as we filed out.
“Thanks Jimmy. After you gentlemen”
The club was everything the ad said it would be and nothing like I expected as we strolled through looking like we owned the place. The music from the DJ was flowing overhead; the stand up bar with its brass foot rail was lined with a wide assortment of business people and locals. Our VIP section was stunning with large sweeping wall length leather sofas and large cubed ottomans all around.
“So what do you think?” asked Barry as we stood at the bar ordering drinks
“One word Barry… WOW” I said
“You haven’t seen anything yet chap. Just wait until midnight” he said smiling “Just wait”
He took his drink and went over to greet the other arriving guest. I threw back my first shot hoping to relax in anticipation of what was going to happen at “midnight”. I looked at my watch. Two and a half hours before the magic hour I said to myself ordering another drink looking around trying to get a feel of the place.
“Cigars, cigarettes, mints” I heard a delicate voice from behind me approaching.
“Cigars, cigarettes, mint sir?” she asked walking up to me staring into my eyes intently. She’s a tall cute girl with jet black hair with a little cap tilted on her head wearing a red and black poodle skirt, a tray filled with an assortment of cigars, cigarettes, and mints and a strap attached to it looped over her shoulders
“Mints please” I said starring at her green eyes
“One pound fifty please.” she said.
I reached into my pocket, pulled out a wad of crumple European money and stuck out my hand. She smiled realizing that I was a foreigner and had no concept of what one pound fifty looked like. She fingered through the wad of bills and coin to help me out.
“There you go sir, one pound fifty. Thank you much” she said in a lilting English accent that just sent me reeling. ‘Wow, talk more to me’ I thought to myself.
“No, thank you Miss, I would have never figured out one pound fifty without your help” I said giving her a bill with the number five and the Queens picture on. She smiled.
“Are you sure sir, this is a very generous tip” she said keeping her hand extended out towards me.
“It’s for you. Please keep it. It’s the least I can do. After all I may need your help again” I said curling her hand up with mine and gently pushing back towards her.
“Very well then, just signal for me if you need my help again sir” she said putting the tip in her tip clip.
“Adrian, my name is Adrian Miller” I said hoping she would call me by my first name.
“Thank you Adrian. I’ll be around. Cheers” she said walking away.
“Cigars, cigarettes, mints” she kept chanting softly as I watched her slowly dissolved into the crowd.
“Cigars, cigarettes, mints.”
Chapter 2 – “It’s ten minutes to midnight”
Dinner was fabulous with the exception of the “mashy peas”. It seemed like mashy peas (English peas mashed like mashed potatoes back home in the U.S.) were served with everything. What the hell, I was having a great time with my new clients and becoming familiar with my surroundings enough to walk around on my own to check out the rest of the place.
It was getting close to midnight as I glanced at my watch. What was going to happen at midnight I wondered, some freak sex show or what? I needed a breath of fresh air so I headed for the front door.
“Coming back in sir?” asked the valet.
“Yeah, I’m with the Herman & Shuster party” I said flashing him Mr. Herman’s business card that he told me to hang onto and to use anytime I wanted anything at the bar or the club.
“Oh, pardon me sir.” Said the valet realizing that I was with them.
“No problem, I’m just stepping out for a little fresh air. I’ll be back shortly”
“Very good sir, see you shortly then”
I went over to the open patio where a few people were standing, talking and probably taking a break like me. I threw back the rest of my Jack and Coke and set it on the table.
“Are you still having trouble with our currency Adrian?” asked the familiar voice. I slowly turned around. It’s her, the cigarette, cigar and mints girl. She is standing in front me with a jacket on and her purse over her shoulder.
“Well, fortunately I haven’t had to pay for anything out of my pocket since I met you. My client is paying for everything.” I said smiling at her waiting to hear her talk to me some more with that British accent.
“Good on you then, you havin’ fun?”
“As much as could be expected, this bar is the bomb”
“I wouldn’t use that American phrase around here that much if I were you.” She said smiling
I realized what I had just said putting my hand over my mouth.
“You’re right. Sorry about that”
“It happens all the time with American tourist, especially with the teenagers. How long are going to be here?” she asked looking at my hands.
“For a week, I added on a few extra days to my business trip to do a little sight seeing and shopping. This is my first time here. Are you off work?”
“Yeah.” She said looking up at the stars.
“Are you coming back?” I asked hoping she would say yes.
“Do you want me to?”
“Yes. Who else could I count on to help me with my money?” I said jokingly with a smile
“Okay then. I’ll be back in an hour. If you really want to see me you’ll be at the Champagne room at one pm. If not it was good meetin’ you then”.
“I’ll be there, one pm, Champagne room. Wait a minute, what’s your name?” I said waving goodbye as she walked away turning around pointing to her watch and holding up her index finger signaling “one o’clock”.
I looked at my watch.
“Shit, it’s almost midnight” I said as I started walking quickly back to meet up with the rest of the gang.
“There you are” said Barry standing at the bar holding up two drinks.
“On time Barry, so what’s happening at midnight?”
Just as I asked the question the lights in the entire club went low. A fog began to creep along the entire floor of the club.
“What’s happening Barry?” I asked looking concerned at the creeping fog passing by our legs.
“Just wait” said Barry taking a sip of his drink with confidence.
“ARE YOU READY!” announced the DJ over the speakers. The crowd in the club went nuts! What in the hell is about to happen I ask myself looking around trying to see any sign of what’s to come.
“Can you turn my guitar on” said a voice in the dark lit club over the speakers.
“That’s good” said the unfamiliar voice
“Ladies and gentlemen the Carbon Bar brings you…” The club went nuts as the DJ paused before his next words.
“THE GOO GOO DOLLS!” the DJ screamed into the mic as the Good Goo Dolls started playing ‘Big Machine’ from their latest album.
I couldn’t believe me eyes; their on stage not ten feet away is The Goo Good Dolls! I was stunned. The place went as wild as did I.
“Surprised?” asked Barry shaking his fist and bobbing his head to the music
“Oh yeah Barry!” I shouted to him throwing back my drink reaching for another one.
“Good. We’re glad you here and looking forward to a long a prosperous relationship” he said clapping his hand pumping his fist.
This was unbelievable. Nothing like I could have imagined or dreamed up. The Goo Goo Dolls were playing just like on the album, only live and in front of me. We ordered more drinks, danced, screamed and sang song after song, absolutely unbelievable.
Chapter 4 ~ The Champagne Room
It was five minutes to one when I looked at my watch. I’ve been counting down the minutes to seeing her again.
“Pardon me, where’s The Champagne Room?” I asked a passing waitress.
“Just down the hall on your right you can’t miss it. She’s waiting for you.” She said smiling followed by a wink. “I’m her best friend Fran”.
What was that all about I started wondering as I made my way down a low lit hallway with photographs of Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. It was like I was going back in time. I could see a lit sign up ahead ‘The Champagne Room’. Other couples were going in too. The interesting thing though is they were dressed like people did in the fifties and sixties. The guys have on suits with thin ties and the ladies where in full length dresses and bouffant hair styles. This is too cool I thought to myself.
I stood at the door nervous as hell to open it. I knew I wasn’t dressed the part after seeing the others going in. ‘Okay, just open the door and go meet this awesome English girl that has been driving you nuts with anticipation all night’ I said to myself taking a deep breath.
I opened the door slowly. Then the song ‘Somewhere in Time’ started to play as if on queue. It couldn’t have been a more perfect song if I had to chosen it myself. There she was sitting in the far right corner with a bottle of champagne on ice, three lit candles, and a dozen red roses. I just stood in the moment not knowing what to say or what to do. She stood up then straighten her dress and smiled. We couldn’t take our eyes off each other as I walked towards her.
“So, am I anything like you were expecting?” she asked looking into my eyes smiling.
“Nothing like I could have ever imagined nothing like I could have ever wished for.” I said reaching out and holding her hands.
“My name is Trudy, Adrian”
“Hello Trudy I’m glad to meet you.”
“Was I worth waiting for?” she asked moving closer
“Like the moon waiting for the sun to rise knowing that such a moment could never last forever, but I’m not the moon, I am the sea the needs the sunrise and the sunset.”
“You’re making my heart flutter with such deep words Adrian” she said blushing
“Then let a thousand butterflies fly across your heart.” I said pulling her closer
“How do you manage to have the perfect words to unlock my heart?” she asked
“Because I have the perfect girl.”