If you missed chapter one you can find it here – Creative Writing
Book – Chapter 1.1
Her eyes darted around the bedroom taking in the massive pile of clothes strewn all over the bed, some inside out, some screwed up into a ball and others half dangling on the floor where they had been thrown haphazardly as she had tried on the entire contents of her wardrobe in an attempt to find something to wear for tonight’s evening out. It looked like a coach load of bargain hunters had just passed through a jumble sale.
‘I’ve got NOTHING to wear. How am I supposed to impress him in any of this?
She would have to snap out of her dream world pretty quickly as she needed to be at Regent’s Park tube station in an hour. She grabbed her favourite black trousers and teaming them with a clean and reasonably ironed t shirt she made for the bathroom still not entirely convinced of her choice. How would she know what to wear to his friends’ who lived in THE Kings Road in Chelsea? Everyone was bound to be looking absolutely wonderfully chic and she wouldn’t, she’d be seen as a fool. A penniless student, just out of college, wet behind the ears and totally out of place. Oh well, if that’s the case – so be it, her dad’s life phrases ringing in her ears. At least she would have tried.
“I’m lucky he asked me out on a date, I mustn’t read too much into it. I must just see where this goes and not get too involved. He’s Italian. He dresses in designer gear. I should be over the moon he’s even thought of looking at me, net alone asked me out! …”
And so the internal dialogue continued all the way to Regent’s Park underground and cigarettes were chain smoked in a failed attempt to settle the butterflies whizzing in her stomach. She thought back over the last week and smiled at the memory of following Giovanni and his friends down to the pizzeria on the ground floor of the Trocadero. Not only had she busted her lunch budget well and truly that day she could have also been done for stalking but how else was she going to get seen and remembered? She had played her very best ‘I always do this’ card and sat at a table close enough but not too close and pulled out a book as she ate the expensive bit of pizza and peeked at him from behind the safety of her paperback. It had been Fabrizio in his slow, lilting Italian voice with a hint of mickey taking who brought it up the next day.
‘Giovanni saw you in the pizzeria yesterday baby? You don’t usually eat there eh? You got rich all of a sudden and didn’t tell me?’ a mischievous twinkle in his eye, “he asked me to see if you wanna come with us tonight?”
‘Oh?’ a smile flickering on her lips and side stepping his pizza comment quickly, ‘Where are you going?’ (Am I coming? Of course I’m coming!)
‘My friend Eugeneo, he’s having a party at his flat in King’s Road, you know? In Chelsea?.’ the words hung for a millisecond in the air between them as she waited, not wanting to look over excited and jump down his throat..
‘yeah,’ her eyes pretending to weigh up the situation against other options available to her, ‘OK, what time are you going?’
‘I don’t know baby, maybe you come to our place in Regent’s Park and we go together from there?’
‘Fine, what time?’
‘Eight? Is that ok?’
‘You’ll have to let me have a map of how to get to yours from the tube station later.’
She escaped into the recesses of the shop to tidy up shelves of jumpers before she gave any hints away at just how excited she was about this turn of events and went over the conversation again and again in her mind, playing herself in a cool and calm manner when inside she was bubbling over with joy. She wasn’t supposed to be seeing Jack today, in fact their relationship had been more off than on in recent months after she’d discovered he’d cheated on her during his summer holiday with all the lads to Greece. It was only a matter of time before they broke up for good so she was perfectly entitled to move on and look for more out there. You never know where this may lead. It may fall at the first hurdle but then it may become more serious. She may even get to go to Italy! Just think about that!
As the train hurtled along the black tunnel seemingly about to run away with itself, she prepared herself for the unknown as the breaks were applied and the vehicle came to a shrieking halt at Regent’s Park. She stepped out of her carriage onto the platform amongst late commuters making their way home. She’d never been to this part of London and was curious to who lived here, she made her way out into the dark October night and looked around her to gain her bearings.
She heard her name and spun round to see Fabrizio standing, smoking a cigarette with Giovanni, another friend and a girl. She had seen the girl a couple of times with them before and couldn’t make out who she was with. Maybe it was Giovanni’s girlfriend and he was just being a polite by asking her to join them? Maybe he wasn’t interested in her at all and she’d made up the whole thing in her head?
‘Hello! Am I late?’ she smiled at the waiting crowd.
‘No, we were ready early so we came to meet you.’
‘I hope I haven’t kept you waiting long?’
‘No, no. No problem. Come on, I’ll flag a cab.’
Her stomach dropped as she heard the word cab. She had a fiver in her purse and that was for lunch tomorrow as well. Oh well, no going back now, she’d have to see how this played out she couldn’t afford to ruin the outcome of this evening on money problems.
There was a lot of loud Italian babbling as the black taxi made its way across the richest and plushest part of London towards the infamous Kings Road. Hands were given a new lease of life with this fast moving language becoming as important a means of expression as the words they were accompanying. She watched the people around her interact and could see the friendships were fun, open and there was lots of laughter. If only she could understand them. Giovanni paused to look at her, the girl sitting beside him and hanging on his every word.
‘We’re laughing at Fabrizio, he says he’s the boss in the shop.’
Glad to have been acknowledged at long last and convinced the girl was his partner she decided it would be good to make new exciting friends and along with Giovanni and his stumbling English, she started to join in the fun and take the mickey out of Fabrizio, imitating habits of his he had shown in the shop that made the others burst out with laughter as she took him off to a tee.
The cab drew up and as she was the last to get out of the cab she saw Fabrizio paying and went straight over to offer her share as was the norm in student land. Secretly relieved that he refused her monetary contribution she figured she would have to offer to pay for the trip home. The group made their way following Fabrizio and laughing noisily as they went and soon he was knocking on a door and conversing via the intercom on the wall until a buzzing and a loud click proved the door was open. Heading up the stairs they were ushered into a large, spacious white lounge area already full of people sitting and drinking. Light-years from the usual student party she would attend on a Friday night. She was introduced to Eugenio; a bearded man she later learnt was Jewish and was the brains behind bringing the infamous Benetton shops to the UK. Every item of merchandise passed through his hands making him a very rich man indeed. There were no sofas or seats available so the group found a free area on the floor and sitting down Sophie found herself opposite Giovanni and the girl. It was time to break the ice so she put out her hand to shake with the girls’ and introduced herself.
‘Hello,’ came the stilted reply. ‘My name is Chicca.’ She left it at that with an added shy smile apologising for her lack of English but happy to be acknowledged. Giovanni was listening and watching, silently encouraging her to say more.
‘She’s my sister. She’s come to England for the first time to study English.’
Sophie’s heart almost smashed through her rib cage open as she took in the words ‘my sister’. So happy was she to realise this man was most likely a free agent and therefore open to moves. Had her relief been so obvious?
‘Oh, your sister! Do you like England?’ she prayed the detour of question would cover up her relief and excitement.
‘Yes, very much.’ Sophie could see she would have liked to say more and patiently waited as she spoke in Italian to Giovanni in order that he translate for her.
The evening was a success, they drank wine, they laughed and they teased playfully. Sophie put her best pulling skills into gear and stepped up her game and it was only after a few drinks that she could feel she was being watched. She looked up and noticed a glamorous, perfectly groomed woman on the couch staring at her and chatting to her friend in the process. Sophie gave an acknowledging smile, after all she had no idea who this woman was and got a complete blank in return.
‘Who’s miss Frosty Knickers over there, a friend of yours Giovanni?’ she left the question dangling between them with a cheeky smile on her mouth and watched as he turned to see who she was referring to. She saw their eyes lock and watched Giovanni’s nod of recognition and knew there was something between them. A past girlfriend maybe, but how past? And was it definitely past?
‘Oh that’s my friend Patrizia, What did you call her? Miss?’
‘Frosty Knickers. She’s been staring at me for a while and talking to her friend. It just seems a bit rude as I don’t know her. What’s her problem?’
‘Shall we go? I’ve had enough here, we can go to the centre and walk maybe take a beer in a pub or something?’ Giovanni artfully turned the conversation with a very agreeable offer.
‘Yes, let’s go.’ There was definitely something here that needed investigating Sophie recognised and now she would hopefully have the opportunity to discover more. Pleased to see Chicca decide to stay at the party and remain with Fabrizio and company, together with Giovanni she left the room feeling two eyes bore into her spine. Eugenio was the perfect host and helped her into her cheap jacket. He hadn’t needed to ask which was hers; it stuck out like a sore thumb. How she wished to own gorgeous clothes like every other female in the room.
Eugenio was laughing and talking to Giovanni and completely took Sophie by surprise as he planted kisses on either of his cheeks. Were they gay? She had hardly completed the thought when Eugenio in perfect English thanked her for coming and kissed her too on both cheeks. Never had she felt so refined and thanking him for a wonderful evening the pair made their way out into the cold night air.
Finally alone their attempts to make conversation kept bumping into each other, with the ‘No, you speak.’ ‘No you,’ which followed killing it immediately. They misunderstood each other and had to back track over and over again but once off the start line there was no going back. Endless topics spread in front of them. Sophie hadn’t heard of the part of Italy he came from and in fact she realised just how little she knew of Italy and he was impressed to hear she had finished college and had her own rented flat in Vauxhall.
They found a pub in Soho and sat down to find out more about each other.
‘So what’s Miss Frosty Knickers’ story then?’ Sophie eager to get the topic out in the open dumped it on the table immediately.
‘Oh, we were together a while ago, I think she may still like me.’ Giovanni confessed sheepishly.
‘Yeah, that much was pretty obvious, how about you? Do you still fancy her?’
‘Noooo,’ a long drawn out no left no doubt to Giovanni’s intentions. ‘I just don’t want to seem a bastard to her, that’s all. She helped me a lot, I’m grateful for that but I don’t want to be with her anymore.
‘How long were you together? What went wrong?’ Sophie had to know and couldn’t stop the questions tumbling out.
‘A few months? She is older than me, I had nowhere to sleep, she invited me to her house and then she came on to me. She kept buying me expensive gifts and treating me like my mother so I left her house and went to live with Fabrizio. She tries to get back with me but I don’t want to.
Realising she had to let go or seem obsessed Sophie moved on and as the pub called last orders the pair had unknowingly sealed their first step to a lifelong commitment.
Once again the two kisses planted on her cheeks as they said goodbye at the tube station each heading in opposite directions.
‘Ciao.’ He said. ‘When can I see you again?’
‘Tomorrow?’ she giggled and raised her eyes inquisitively to see if he was playing the game, encouraged by the glasses of wine to be more flippant.
‘OK, lunch time then. See you tomorrow.’
I’m going to enter this into Josie’s Writing workshop this week under prompt one Due Date and ironically the title she has chosen for this week is Life on film – wouldn’t it be marvellous to have a film made out of something you had written, who would you cast as Giovanni and Sophie?