„Wake up – we’re nearly there!“ Claudy drags me out off my light sleep. I feel my back. This seat is not really ergonomic for my length as it looks like. I stretch slightly and look out off the cabin window. Down in the fading daylights I see thousands of glistening light dots...New York!
„By the way – Dave and his guys sit 8 rows in front of us – private area, wow! They have a security blocking access. I tried to use the lavatory down there – no way!“
I have to smile. So there’s business class and above. But he’s right paying for some more privacy.
Damn – all the images from the VIP-Lounge pop back into my conscience at once! My body was tired and gave in to sleep during the flight – but my brain just seemed to have rested in stand by modus.
As usual I have not much time to think as the landing procedure starts momentarily.
Down at the baggage claim I start to feel sort of dizzy again. Please, come on, luggage! A few moments later our gear was spit out of the dark hole at the end of the conveyor belt. Phew!
We grab one of those cabs to get us to our hotel. 25KM from JFK to the village – I don’t know how I will manage this, but the excitement to finally see Big Apple keeps me awake. I so much enjoy the sight from Brooklyn Bridge!
Reaching that cosy little hotel in the East village I let myself simply fall onto the bed – after at least brushing my teeth.
Next morning, after a so and so breakfast, Claudy checks for the way to the gallery. If I’m lucky enough they will display some of my work under commission. We have an appointment at 3pm – so still loads of time.
To distract me from my tenseness we both go on a little sightseeing and shopping hike. Pausing in a little park on a bench, having a soft drink in the sun, I accidentally slip my fingers over that tiny card in my purse. Claudy observes me.
„Well, now call him if you can’t resist. More than a polite rejection can’t harm you.“
„Errrm, but how does that look like? Calling just the next day!“
„Ah, come on, Siv! I know you better! And honestly – I’d like to see how far this goes.“ She giggles. „You know I like that guy as well – though George Michael is hotter!“
„Grrrr, stop that! I just don’t want to look silly, you know!“
She turns serious again.
„Look, darl – if you feel the need, call him. You usually follow your guts.“
I sigh and start ticking the number into my mobile. Then I hit the dial key. After a few dialing tonest the mailbox answers. Automatic voice message from the provider as it appears. Some things in life just should not happen. I shrug my shoulders, but Claudy urges me to leave a message at least.
„Hi, this is Siv. I tried to get you but apparently you’re busy. Just wanted to say ‚hi’ and assure you I’m fine. I hope the same’s with you. Take care! Cheers!“
I close my mobile with a snap and put it back into my purse. The walls of my stomach are clenching against each other.
„Don’t take it to your heart, sweetie. Heaven knows how many calls he gets every day. Let’s go on – I’d like to sneak into that fashy boutique around the corner. They had those hot stilettos on display!“
Gosh, Claudy and her shoe addiction! Though I have to admit she’s got an extremely good taste.
While getting up from the wooden seats my mobile buzzes. Hits me like a little shock. With clumsy fingers I tear it out and open it. Isn’t that the number I just dialed?!
„Hi, it’s Dave! Great you called. You must have missed me due to a meeting I had to attend. Blame Jonathan.“ He laughs. A shiver goes down my spine.
„I take it you savely landed. Time for lunch? I think I need a bit time off.“
„I’d love to, but I have an appointment at 3pm.“
„That’s still lots of time. Where do you have to go?“
I tell him the address.
„Oh, I know that place! It’s not that far from where I wanted to go for a snack. Hey, you get yourself into a cab and we will meet there.“
Sounds as if this is fixed already, humh.
„OK, see you then.“
„Claudy, tell me I’m sleeping having a weird dream! He just invited me for lunch.“
She bursts into laughter.
„I’m sure he meant YOU, all right, all right! I will shop till I drop and see you at the gallery then. And, please don’t mess it up!“ She winks at me.
I’m a bit nervous getting out of the cab in front of a posh looking Italian restaurant. So, where’s Dave? I have to smile to myself. I couldn’t expect him to lean against the wall waiting for me! He will be inside. I enter the building. Ah, ‚wait to be seated’ – nice! I hate this sort of places! A fashy guy in dark suit approaches me.
„Can I help you, Lady?“ He musters me from head to toe. Maybe my styling is not proper for this place? Though I’m dressed up for the appointment, make-up and all.
„I shall meet somebody here, a Mr. Gahan I suppose.“ I try to look confident and not like a female stalker or sort of.
„Oh, you must be Ms. Angel then! Please follow me, he’s already waiting for you.“
Ms. Angel?? Can’t hide a smirk. Ah, well – he doesn’t know my surname yet.
And there he is – sitting in a cosy corner on the back porch of the restaurant, sunglasses on.
Seeing me he gives me one of his dazzling smiles and gets up to offer me a seat.
„Nice to see you! Glad you could make it.“
The waiter appears around the corner and takes our drink orders first.
„I’ll have a large cranberry juice with mineral, please.“
Dave takes his usual diet coke on ice.
„How’s the jet lag?“ He recognized I couldn’t hide a yawn.
„Sorry, it’s not you being boring! Yeah, I feel it in my bones. And our hotel is a bit of – let’s say – noisy.“
When I tell him where we stay he has kinda evil grin on his face.
„Umh, not really a top address.“
„Well, it’s cheap and clean at least.“ I still see him grinning. „And they don’t rent rooms by the hour!“
The table is shaking from his laughter now. He finally takes off his Ray Ban and wipes his eyes. Not a good idea as now I can dive into his eyes again. He looks as if didn’t get much sleep either. Why do I wonder, come on!
„Have you made your mind up what to eat?“ He’s checking the menu card. „The pasta is great. Same goes for the rest if I’m honest. I think I’m already through all the dishes.“
„I think I’ll have a Caprese.“ „That’s all? Hey, you’re invited – go ahead. Nice starter.“
Now it’s me laughing. „Nah, I just don’t want to go stuffed to that interview. I’ll need all my brain capacity I’m afraid.“
Dave chuckles in amusement and calls the waiter. He’s for some green Tagliatelle with salmon and peccorino.
„Interview?“, he asks, as the dark dressed guy disappeared back into the building. I sip on my cranberry juice.
„Well, I have to convince those guys that they have to display some of my work. It shouldn’t have escaped you it’s a gallery.“
He twinkles at me.
„I thought so. You’re a painter then?“
„Actually I do paint and sculpt as well – yet this time it’s all about photography and photomanipulations.“
„I was wondering...“, he stops for a second, „...well, at the airport I was totally convinced you’re a doctor or something.“
I lean back in my chair.
„My life is a long winding road. And no, I’m not a doctor. I learned medical technicien and studied some terms of medicine, all right – but I had to stop for health reasons. I changed the subject again a few times to end up with photography and arts – and some paedagogics. Well, somehow I have to pay my rent, you know. I’m teaching primary kids at the moment. Though I wish I had more time fooling around just delving in arts and writing.“ I take another sip. „But I don’t want to bore you with such unimportant stuff.“
He takes my hands into his. I didn’t see that coming.
„Hey, you’re not unimportant at all!“
„I didn’t say that – I just...“ He stops me. „But you meant to.“
I don’t know what to respond to that. Seems pretty obvious he can read my thoughts.
His slender, long fingers gently squeezing mine.
„Come on, cheer up! You have your portfolio with you?“ He glances at the black folder I put onto the chair next to me. „Let me have a look, please.“
As the food did not yet arrive I have no real excuse and open the thing onto the table. He slowly flicks through the pages. No comments. He just seems to inhale what he sees. No idea what’s going on behind his forehead. Pokerface sorta. Then he looks up again. His eyes are deep and dark now.
„You know what? I’ll be going to that gallery shortly before you. When you’re into talk with the owner I will sneak a view over your shoulder into your portfolio and will make some nice remarks. I’m pretty sure you’ll get what you desire. How does that sound?“
My jaw drops under the table. He must be joking!
„Are those images that bad I’d need your celebrity status as support? I’m sure you could sell dust bins.“ Siv, stop sabotaging yourself again! I bite my lower lip. „Sorry, David! I didn’t mean to offend you!“, I quickly add.
Now he takes a sip from his coke first, before answering. There’s a warm smile on his face and in his eyes now.
„You have no idea how much I like your images. And you really should be much more self confident concerning that.“
„Yeah, I know I’m hopeless! Claudy, my friend and assistant, always tries to kick my butt concerning that. Actually she managed to get the appointment. She’s great in organzing things, my luck.“
„I see, so she’s your manager and friend sorta.“
„Haha, yes – a female JK if you want.“
We both have to laugh. I face him again.
„And you’re really up to fake interest in that bleeding gallery?“
„I don’t have to fake it, hun. And yes, I’m mad enough to do it!“
Thank god the waiter shows up now with the dishes. Have to admit I can need a bite now. And Dave was right – it’s delicious!
„Some dessert?“ I look up from my empty plate.
„Come on, they have some bloody great chocolate cake. Soothes tensed nerves very well.“ He winks at me again.