“ Véronique, hi honey, er – listen, I'm really sorry but we can't meet today. Something's come up. I'll explain later, I promise. But now, I have to go.”
“ Is there someone with you Carla ? “
“ Yes – in fact it's my lover, my new man !”
“ Wha ...?”
“ I told you – I will explain, but later – OK ? He's someone you know of and I'm sure you'll like him.”
“ What's that supposed to mean ? I already know him but I haven't met him to know if I like him –Oh my God - is it someone famous ? ”
“ Véro, you're good ! OK you win : it's Dave Gahan. “
“ Oh my god ! Carla – I am utterly speechless ! ”
“Yeah, you're right there - he's a God, but... can I ask you to keep this quiet for now, please !”
“ Of course ! No one will get this information from me, but... how ? ”
“ Véro, please, I'll explain later, OK ? We can meet tomorrow at dinner time , OK ?”
“ Yeah, but you... you little beast ! You must tell me EVERYTHING !” she said and Carla could hear that her friend was smiling now.
“ Alright, dear. Then see you tomorrow” and she put the cell down.
“ Who was it ? “ asked Dave.
“ It was my friend, I told her I am with my man.”
“ Sounds good and it's the truth as well, I am your man. Does she know who I am ?”
“ She is a good friend of mine so I ended up by teling her, but I won't tell anyone else, not for a while and neither will she - you're my best kept secret. “
“ Am I ? Well, be ready for lots of attention when it comes out that we're together !”
" What kind of attention ? The press and the media? "
"Yep. They are everywhere. You won't be able to keep us a secret for long, if you stay with me. "
" I don't care, I just want to be with you. I'll handle all that when it comes. I just want to be your woman " she replied standing there with a serious look.
" Come, come here my beauty... " he reached out his hand for her.
“ I am here mon amour, and I am yours. Dave, may I ask something ? “
“ Go ahead, please ! “
“ Do you think our relationship will last David ? Do you believe in love at all ? “
Carla lay down next to Dave and they were both just staring at the ceiling when he said :
" Of course I believe in love - that it can hit you suddenly or grow slowly, that it can last a lifetime, with or without its ups and downs... or that it can wither and die if neglected, that it can even be lost if you can't trust someone completely, - er - did I leave anything out ? "
Carla laughed - " Yes, that it's the most amazing thing in the whole world ! " She rolled over and kissed him on the forehead, then stood up and walked towards the door.
" See you in half an hour, precious ! " she said in a sing-song voice.
" Eh ? " Dave sat up - " Where are you going ? "
" For my shower before you take me out to dinner, of course – oh no ! Don't tell me you've forgotten ? "
" No, babe, of course I haven't ! Our table's booked for nine, so we have all the time in the world. "
" So - try and impress me by dressing up for once, huh ? " she raised her head slightly as she gave Dave the challenge.
" Cheeky cow ! " muttered Dave and threw a pillow towards the door, which made Carla scream and duck.
She threw it back to him, laughing, and then locked herself in the bathroom for half an hour of pampering.
She heard Dave put on some music - he'd chosen the White Stripes, their "Icky Thump" album, and turned the volume right up before coming to the bathroom door.
" IS THAT LOUD ENOUGH ? " he yelled.
" THAT'S FINE - THANKS BABE ! " she replied at the top of her voice.
Carla opened the bathroom door quietly after a few minutes, and with the loud music it wasn't hard to sneak up on Dave. A big smile appeared on her face as she saw him singing and dancing to the music while he was looking over his clothes, now laid out on the bed.
“ I'm gonna sing around the collar,
I don't need a microphone !”
She stepped up behind him on tiptoes and grabbed him suddenly round the waist.
" Gotcha ! "
" So you've come to inspect my choice of clothes, yeah ? " he said, kissing her quickly on the cheek.
" Sort of - but I also missed you ! I just needed a few sweet kisses to keep me going until I'm ready, mon amour. "
She glanced down at what he had draped over the end of the bed. Black silk shirt, black and grey small-patterned silk tie, pale grey silk suit, but one she'd never seen before. The fabric had a subtle chevron effect in the weave, which made the jacket catch the light even more than his other suits did.
" Mmm - " murmured Carla raising the sleeve of the jacket off the bed - " You'll do." which she accompanied with a tiny smile in the corner of her mouth.
" So what about you ? Miss Baggy Jumper and Jeans ! " he challenged her, raising his head sharply. But then he took her in his arms and said softly: " Surprise me. " this was said more with his eyes than with his voice.
" I was going to ! " she laughed. Several more kisses followed - small ones all over his smiling face. Then she continued :
" Turn around and don't look ! " she ordered. When Dave obeyed, she went over to her walk-in wardrobe and quickly took out what she had chosen in her mind earlier that day : a long white dress split up the front of one thigh, with a low draped neckline which tapered to narrow halter straps, a very low back, a fitted waistline and a plain flowing skirt. She smiled - she had only worn this dress once, but it had got gasps from everyone.
The only underwear she could get away with was a flesh-coloured thong, which she took from her " thong drawer ", then under the hanging rails, she found her favourite silver high heeled sandals, bought to go with the dress from her number one shoe shop, near where Dave had given her that first sweet kiss – the one that had showed her who he really was.
To make sure she didn't spend the evening shivering, she reached up to the top shelf to find a recent, rare present from her Father - so different from her Mother's gifts ! - it was a beautifully soft, white, shot-through-with-silver pashmina shawl. All these things were chosen, she hoped, to make her new sapphire necklace stand out, to show Dave how much she loved it.
She walked back to him, her clothes behind her back, draped over one arm, and turned him round with her free hand before starting to kiss him, slowly, savouring him, gently probing with her tongue, tasting him as if it was their first kiss, making small contented noises in her throat.
After at least two minutes, during which Dave didn't increase the intensity of the kiss at all, letting her decide this throughout, just putting his hands in her hair behind her head and massaging her neck deliciously, she broke off and saw that Dave's eyes were closed.
He had enjoyed it as much as her then ! But suddenly his eyes flew open:
" Your bath water, babe ! " letting her go as he said this.
Carla ran back to the bath just in time – she had an inviting deep bath all ready for her, into which she threw in some perfumed bubble bath, then once she had tested the water, she put her hair up in rollers, so the steam would make it wavy, for a change.
Then she stepped into the bath, to relax for five minutes. She covered herself in bubbles and went down into the water up to her hairline, resting her head on a small inflated pillow gadget - a present from her Mother, who was always showering her with such little personal gifts, often without any reason.
She closed her eyes and started to think of her parents. She saw more of her Mother but had always got on better with her Father, especially since their divorce. Her Mother had become bitter towards her Father, blaming their growing apart entirely on him, whereas everyone who knew them said it was fifty-fifty, and many had predicted their separation. It had come as a total shock to Carla though.
Soon they would have to know about Dave - but first she thought she'd start with a few friends, to see what happened. Vero, for example, and her cute guy Justin.
Those two had been together for four years now and were always talking about rings, wedding bells, but never quite getting there. Vero's work was similar to Carla's - she even got about half her patients thanks to Vero's recommendations. She was an ear, nose and throat specialist, and had a flat and a practice not far from Carla.
They had met when Carla retrained. It was Vero's first career though, and she was six years younger than Carla, a year off thirty. Justin was older though, almost forty, but absolutely besotted with his Vero - and often took Carla to one side to ask if she really loved him. Carla was always able to tell him the truth - that Vero might seem fiercely independent, but loved him to pieces.
Her five minutes were already gone, and letting her thoughts wander had done her the world of good. Now she had to get ready without wasting a minute - not only was she dying to see Dave, but also to see what he thought of what she was about to put on.
She sponged herself all over and then rinsed off, getting out immediately to wrap a soft toweling robe around herself, then she patted the steam off her face.
She enhanced her light daytime makeup, paying attention to her eyes - silver and white eye shadow, some eyeliner extending slightly from the outer corners, plus another coat of mascara. She did her lips from scratch - liner then two coats of lipstick, plus a touch of gloss. No more kissing now – at least not until they got to the restaurant !
Only then, when she was dry, did she slip on her unique item of underwear, followed by her dress and shoes. She removed her curlers and shook out her hair, head upside down, letting the steam evacuate. Now she tried to decide how to do her hair, bunching it up then letting it down, in front of a mirror.
" The necklace, of course ! " she thought, and decided on "up" for her hair.
She loosely twisted up strand after strand of hair and pinned them high up, letting the ends unravel. She did the same thing all around her head, twisting the front sections more carefully, then stood back a little to check every possible angle with a hand-held mirror.
Good work! The ends of the pinned-up strands fell down into soft curls just short of where the necklace chain would come. She gave it all several quick bursts of hairspray, just to be sure there would be no stray wisps.
She attached her necklace, scooped up quickly when she'd gone back for her clothes, and looked at her neckline, then she tried shaking her head slightly, just to feel the earrings move and see them sparkle. Would Dave approve ?
A few dabs of perfume and she was ready to leave the bathroom to find out ....
Slowly she opened the bathroom door and tiptoed back to her room to get a small silver clutch bag, in which she would just have room for keys, lipstick and tissues and phone.
"Ready or not ! "- she thought, and walked, with the gait of a catwalk supermodel, hips thrown a little forward with her high heels, to where she knew Dave was. She had heard the clink of glasses coming from her kitchen, then a tell-tale champagne cork popping. He'd changed the music too - he'd put on that same John Lee Hooker album he'd chosen for that very first night !
After waiting for him to pour the champagne, still unaware of her arrival, she said :
" Nice music. " He stopped in his tracks and then turned to face her, head lowered, before slowly raising it to drink in the sight of her, while she subjected him to the same intense gaze.
" Carla - you're - just - " shaking his head in disbelief ...
" What ? You're starting to worry me ! " she said - a look of slight annoyance began to take over her sultry expression.
Couldn't he just say - " Very nice! " and save the details for later ?
" I'm sorry, babe - you are so very beautiful - I was literally speechless there ! You have - no idea - " he began to search for his words again, so Carla helped him out.
" And you are looking smarter than smart, Mr. Gahan! " She hadn't noticed his shiny black shoes before - he looked every bit the chic Parisian man. They smiled at each other as she walked up to him.
" I've ordered a taxi for quarter to. That gives us a little time to take care of some of this, what do you say ? " He offered her a half-full glass, then continued: " Whose turn is it to do the toast ? "
" Erm, I think it's yours - it was mine when you spent the night here first, and we haven't done any since. Remember that one ? " and she touched her forehead onto his, thinking herself of all they had crammed in to only two weeks !
" O.K. then, if you're sure, " Dave said as he raised his glass :
" To my angel coming in a brilliant white - better known as mon amour. Carla, I love you. " He bent forward to give her the gentlest of kisses on her red, red mouth, and then stepped up onto a bar stool, holding out his hand to help her do the same.
Carla got up onto the stool, and sipped from her glass, as she looked deep into Dave's eyes. " I love you too, you know! But now you've made me blush ! " she feigned a sulk.
" Well it suits you! You should blush more often ! " he laughed and playfully gave her cheek a little pinch.
They sat sipping from their flutes, Carla trying to guess which restaurant Dave was taking her to :
" You could at least tell me what their speciality is ! How can I narrow it down with no clues ? "
Dave shook his head but then he thought, tilted his head and said
... " Pigeons."
" Aha! Somewhere near the Place de la Concorde - or near Notre Dame Cathedral ? " Carla guessed, racking her brains, sipping her drink again.
" Cold, babe, oh so cold ! " Dave was smiling now. He had obviously prepared this well and didn't want to have her find everything out too quickly. This was all part of the plan. He too sipped his drink and let a bored little sigh escape from his lips, which were glistening with the champagne. He licked them teasingly, feeling Carla's eyes on him.
" I give up ! I don't wanna play any more ! I want my taxi and I want my dinner ! " She had jumped down off the stool and was stamping her foot to emphasize what she said, turned away from him now, refilling her flute, but not his. The curls in her hair caught the light as they bounced, echoing her movement.
Dave admired her smooth golden back - until then he had only really paid attention to the front of her dress. The beautiful curve of her spine made him catch his breath, and as he watched her shoulder blades move when she replaced the bottle in the ice-bucket, and then drank thirstily, he thought about covering every inch of what he saw in burning kisses.
But not yet. Dave began to laugh: " You have maps, don't you ? A computer ? You have to work for this dinner, honey ! " he was running his forefinger lazily around the edge of his glass. Then he continued, enjoying seeing the colour rise once more in Carla's cheeks - this time it wasn't a blush ....
" And if you haven't guessed where we're going before the taxi comes, I might just have to send him away ! " and he lowered his head in false disappointment here.
Carla stomped over to her laptop, set up on a little black lacquered desk, near the corridor that lead to her room. After checking the time, Dave decided to refill his glass too.
Carla tried a search for " restaurant - pigeon - Paris " and came up with several possibilities ...
Slowly she began to suspect what pigeon and restaurant could mean together, as her eyes skimmed down the list. Yes, she knew it now ! And she was confident enough to get up and walk away from the computer. He would be taking her to the very first place they'd been together, where poor Dave tried the fish and chips and after he had pigeon breast instead of the awful stuff he got. Yes, yes, yes - she jumped up and ran to David who was still occupied with his drink.
“ I know, David ! You're taking me to the place where we had lunch together on the first day we met. ”
“ Clever girl ! Bingo !. So, I don't have to send away the cab after all – talking of which I bet it's here now. “ he said it with a mischievous smile on his face.
And he was right, because as he finished speaking, the doorman used the intercom system to say that their taxi had just arrived.
Carla was curious to know Dave had planned for the evening in his handsome head. He had been too mysterious all day. Carla was examining his profile while she intertwined their fingers together, as they went down in the elevator. A little smile appeared on her face when she felt that Dave's long fingers giving her a little squeeze back.
The taxi journey took less than five minutes, and all the time, Carla kept squeezing his hands and begging him with her eyes for a sign, but there was none - Dave just watched Paris go by, and even tried to chat in his cute French to the driver, who had recognized him - and this eventually made her forget what she had been trying to do.
She let go of his hands and took out her phone from her little bag. She had an idea - if Dave was playing sneaky games, then so would she ! She texted Véro : " Doing anything ? If ur very discreet, u can come & see my man ! We're only going to our lunch bistro for a romantic dinner, & we're all dressed up ! Don't u dare laugh when u c me ! Be there in ten mins - Carla. "
She managed to send the text and put her phone away, all while Dave was talking football with the driver - of all things ! Just as the taxi arrived, her phone beeped - it was Véro : " O.K. C.U. There ! Can't wait !!! ;-) bisous V. "