During the ride to ‚Fletcher Mansion’ we all remain kinda silent. I don’t know – it’s an odd situation still – and I don’t like it to be honest – though it’s me that should be most pleased with it as it only can develop to my advantage, doesn’t it? Come on Siv, you can’t be serious! Isn’t it already embarrassing enough? And now Andy will get involved as well – very well done! And what about Dave? He sits opposite me – yet he seems to avoid eye contact with me at the moment. Instead he keeps staring out off the side window. Kessler pretends to check some emails on his Blackberry. Argh, guys!
When the automatic gates close behind the limo I have to swallow. Wow, now that for sure is not just a house! I have not much time to scan the building and its environment as JK and Dave usher me to the entrance. It doesn’t take long and Fletch’s face appears in the door frame. How much does he know?
„Hi, get your bums in!“ We follow him through the hallway into a cosy living room. I love the English tradition concerning fireplaces! And this one is enormous! An Irish Setter rests in a basket near by. When we enter the room he jumps up and makes its way...straight towards me! With a loud yelp he rises and next thing I sense is his wet, sticky tongue in my face!
„Basil! Let go!“ Fletch tries to get the excited dog at its collar. Roaring laughter from Dave! Thank you very much! I start to wipe my face – eeek! JK fetches some tissues from a desk near by and hands them to me.
„I’m sorry - Siv, isn’t it?“ He looks at his dog again. „Must have a nutter moment, silly boy!“ Dave is still giggling. He starts to get at my already tensed nerves. I throw a definitely ANGRY look at him. He bites his lips, chuckling and reaches for another tissue, getting near to my face.
„Let me take care of the rest. Sorry, it just looked that bloody hilarious!“
Holy Christ! Where did I get myself into?!
Basil still looks at me with his big eyes, waggling his tail. Fletch shrugs his shoulders and offers us some seats on the couch.
„Mr. Fletcher, where can I powder my nose, please? I feel a bit – errr- sticky.“ Now Fletch starts to laugh.
„Luv, I’m Andy – or Fletch for you. And it’s the first door to your left back in the hallway.“
I hurry outside and find the place of my desire. Phew – keep cool, Siv! I still have the scent of his cologne in my nose – very pleasant smell. OK, not as hot as Dave’s...sheesh, now stop it!! I let some cold water run over my hands and wrists. Humh, my make-up could need a bit of restoration after the Setter’s attack.
When I return to the living room again the guys stop whispering. Ah, I knew it! And they seem to realize I recognized they were talking about me.
„Briefing due?“ I let myself sink into the next couch chair – ironic frown on my face. „Not that it surprises me – but could you be straight with me and talk into my face, please? I already feel like a piece of cake – and letting Andy know all the juicy details doesn’t make me feel more comfy – mind you it wasn’t me who lost control.“
A short moment of tensed silence – then Andy coughs.
„I understand where you’re coming from – but we guys are sorta family and it would have gotten to me either way. It’s not my intention to judge you or anyone here in the room – I’m just trying to help, OK?“ The eyes behind his glances twinkle slightly at me. The red of his hair still shines strongly against his pale teint – though a few hints of grey make their way through it already. All in all his expression is friendly and open. LOL – do I see a resemblance with Basil?! God, let us finish this! I already start to imagine things again!
„Siv, I’m terribly sorry – believe me. And a simple apology isn’t enough – we needn’t discuss that.“ It’s Dave again, who tries to keep things going. Hey, JK! Where’s your say? You’re the one...
Looking into his face I start feeling a tiny bit sorry for him. Didn’t expect him to go kinda weak. Not Mr. Tough Cookie!
„Mr. Kessler – let me make this very clear – it’s not in my interest to blow this whole thing up – especially as this would definitely have some side effects for Dave and the rest of the guys as well – and myself. As you told me after the Talk show – we do not need that publicity. And another thing. It’s as well way beyond my moral standards to expect some ‚good deeds“ from you now – yet I suppose a reasonable cheque for a women crisis centre would be an idea I could fancy.“
Do I see a yaw dropping to the ground there? Looks I got him defenseless – he wasn’t expecting something like that. Oh, evil me! He takes a deep breath.
„Well, I didn’t see that coming – but if it’s fine with you how could I complain? I’m awfully sorry I lost my composure! Errrr, I’m just a man you know.“
„ Oh, I must have missed that bit. We’re not into stone age where men dragged their females at their hair into a cave to have brainless sex with them.“ I can’t resist! Andy muffles a giggle.
„My respect! I think that’s a brilliant idea“ Dave nodds and fixes my eyes. Oh my, he’s doing it again! Looking at me with that dazzling smile of his!
„And Fletch, you better watch out – looks we found a worthy opponent for your verbal battles!“ He’s grinning at Andy now who’s still fighting not to burst into laughter, tiny tears glistening behind his design glasses.
„Well, now that this is sorted – could we switch to something more pleasant?“ Fletch looks around. „Anyone for some dinner?“
The glimpse to my watch tells me he’s not joking. It’s already 6.30pm!
„Umh, I’m not really hungry. Stuff like this usually upsets my stomach. I have heartburn since Starbucks.
He smiles at me, nodding. „I understand, but something light and warm perhaps will calm it down again. Not that I’m going to offer you chamomile tea now and porridge....“
„Fletchi, stop it! Or I’m going to be sick!“ JK shudders.
„Ah, it’s not that bad. Andy’s porridge is sorta legend!“ Dave can’t hide his amusement.
„Why do I have the feeling nobody in this room is taking me serious?“ Fletch pretends to pout. I can’t hide a smile now as well.
„Well, now that you offering it – why not granting me that treat? If I’m really going to be sick afterwards I have somebody to blame. But thanx concerning that tea – no way! Just the thought is giving me the creeps here!“
Fletchi chuckles and heads to the kitchen.