His kiss deepens and becomes more urgent and I respond involuntarily, melting against him. Too soon he pulls away, leaving me breathless.
“So,” I say, drawing out the word to give my scattered thoughts time to recover, “how many combinations are there?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. I lost count after fifty! I didn’t want to give my number out to complete strangers so I did something I haven’t done for about ten years and I used a payphone. I got through to some real weirdos!”
I smile at the thought of Henry doing a Clarke Kent/Superman style spin in a phone box. “So if you still don’t have my number, how did you find me?”
“Well, I have your loquacious friend to thank for that. You’d think it’d be easy though, wouldn’t you? That I could just ask for the guest list details from the premiere, but Christ, no. That information is seriously guarded. I’ve driven all my friends mad these last few days asking for help but it didn’t make any difference in the end, as I had to go in person to S & M and prove to a rather austere lady at reception that I’m not an axe murderer. I didn’t get chance to do that until this morning and luckily, I saw Miss Mills whilst I was there. She told me where to find you, so here I am. I’m heading off again shortly, so, I just wanted to say hi and ask you if are free a week on Friday?”
He says all this rapidly and it’s all I can do to keep up with him. He saw Stacey this morning? What did she say to him? What did he say to her? Why didn’t I accept Stacey’s offer to help in the first place? I make a mental note to buy Stacey a big cream cake to say thank you and that Jackie, Stacey’s ever authoritarian receptionist, is due for a bitch-slap the next time I see her. Damn her too-efficient efforts in keeping this man from me! I marvel at his honesty and his determination to find me bowls me over anew. I feel like I’m floating on a cloud so high I’m getting dizzy from the lack of oxygen. I’m about to accept his offer, when my business head kicks in and pulls the cloud out from under me like a rug.
“Sorry but, no. I have a wedding that day.” I say with regret. “Not mine.” I add stupidly.
“That’s good to hear,” he laughs throwing his head back, “Saturday then? Sunday? Monday?” he spies my appointments diary on a table and casually opens it to a week in early July. “Any good?” he points to a blank day.
I nod, stunned and watch fascinated as he takes a biro from his jeans pocket, scribbles for what seems like an age and closes the diary with a certain satisfaction. I am transfixed by his strong fingers gripping the pen and can’t help imagine what they would feel like on my bare skin. He then takes a handful of my business cards, studies one for moment and then pockets those along with the pen.
“Good,” he says before he kisses me briefly once more. “I’m sorry I have to rush off again but duty calls. I know I said this last time but I can’t wait to see you again.”
He strides in that purposeful, masculine way of his to the door and as he reaches it, he turns and flashes one of those famous smiles. I realise I haven’t spoken for a while and mumble a garbled goodbye. I watch as he replaces his baseball cap before climbing with an easy grace into a waiting SUV and as the car pulls away, I pick up my diary and turn excitedly to his message:
Wednesday 3rd July 2013
Jeanna with a J,
I feel like we are constantly saying goodbye and that I never have the time to say what I want to. I have worked hard all my life to achieve success but when I’m with you it doesn’t seem to mean as much. I want to warn you that you may hear or see things in the next day or two that you may find disconcerting. I realise that I’m coming on strong and I understand if you don’t want to, but please spend the day with me.
I really want to know you. All of you.
P.S. This is my number. I won’t lie – I’ll be checking my phone every minute in the hope that you call or text!
P.P.S. You look beautiful
P.P.P.S. Call me. I’m not an axe murderer – honest!
P.P.P.P.S. Did I say you look beautiful?
Clutching the diary to me in a daze, I pick up the phone to call my best friend.
Several beers, two extra-large meat feast pizzas and a tub of Haagen Dazs later and Stacey, Craig and I are lounged on my sofa discussing the day’s events like giggly schoolgirls. I now know that Henry was waiting outside the locked doors of S & M at eight this morning and that he – according to Stacey – practically charmed the information out of Jackie in a mere two minutes.
“I’m telling you Jea, she was fucking putty in his hands. I know she’s a pain but she’s bloody brilliant at her job, she makes organising that reception look like pissing child’s play. I’ve never seen her act that way around a client. Normally I have to ask her to be a bit nicer to ‘em. Anyway I asked him what was he doing there and if I could help and that’s when he asked me where to find you. I told him about you liking wild flowers best. I can’t believe he actually gave you some. I wonder where the fuck he got them from.”
“It’s not where he got them that matters,” said Craig, “but the fact that he actually got them. It’s so sweet. He is absolutely into you, Jea. Let me read his note again.”
I pass him my diary, cheeks flushed from the beer-buzz and the thought of Henry Cavill being absolutely into me, on top of me, underneath me and all over me. Craig catches my eye and we both start laughing.
“You and your filthy mind as usual missy. I meant romantically. But yes, I’m sure he wants to fuck you into next week too. I mean, why wouldn’t he?”
“Oh, don’t start that again, please. I am not hot, nor am I a babe. I am just a normal looking person.” I look at both of my friends in exasperation.
“Jea, when are going to get it into that thick fucking skull of yours, that you are indeed hot and that you are a complete and utter dick magnet. Ok you talk too much and you say the craziest fucking things, especially when you’re drunk, you are blissfully ignorant about celebrities apart from Henry and you have a weird obsession with old shit – apart from all that you are quite the fucking catch really.” Stacey is vehement and Craig nods along like one of those dogs you see in the back of cars.
“Thanks a lot,” I say with sarcasm, “are you two ever going to allow me to live it down?”
“Nope,” they say in unison falling about laughing.
It’s true, I don’t read all the celeb magazines and I avoid gossip columns like the plague (with the exception of Henry, of course) but how was I to know Channing Tatum wasn’t a female? Surely it’s an easy mistake to make? Unfortunately for me, I happened to divulge this intelligence (or lack of it) at one of Stacey’s events. To Mr Tatum himself. I promised myself that I wouldn’t attend a premier ever again after that toe-curling embarrassment, but Henry proved to be too difficult to resist. Thank heaven I didn’t humiliate myself like that last week.
“Anyway, he obviously really does like you. I wonder what he meant by reading funny things about him though. Any ideas?” Craig asks.
“No. The only thing I keep coming back to was that phone call the other night. He seemed really angry about something. Like it was something out of his control and I kind of get the impression he likes to be in control.”
“Well you know what the press are like. Slimy bunch of bastards the lot of ‘em. Whatever it is it’s probably not true,” Stacey says sagely, “I wouldn’t waste my time worrying about it. It’ll all be some made up shit anyway. More importantly, where do you think he’ll take you on your date?”
“I have no idea. When I text him earlier to say yes, his reply was something about picking me up at 9am and to dress casual. I’ve got three weddings to finish before then and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to concentrate – all I can think about is him!”
“Jea. What’s all this about in your diary? In this note he wrote. He said you look beautiful and then he said it again. It’s like he’s acknowledging something.”
Craig’s powers of perception are the stuff of local legend and have earned him the unfortunate moniker of Mystic Smeg. He has been known to throw boyfriends out on the merest hint of cheating and he’s usually right. Realising I have to come clean, I explain the wedding dress scenario to my shocked and mercifully silent besties.
Stacey is the first one to speak, “So you were trying one of your dresses on when he walked in –
– And he kissed you and tells you you look beautiful!” Craig finishes.
I nod, the burn in my cheeks warmer than July.
“Fuck me Jea! He fucking loves you!” Stacey cries.