Not Like Loving You (Mitch)byDenham_Forrest©
Not Like Loving You!
By Denham Forrest, The Wanderer
Now and again a particular song will suddenly grab my attention and just will not let go again. One morning recently I heard Nell Bryden's "Not Like Loving You" on the radio. I had heard the song before, but that day it just got to me. I knew that I wouldn't be able to do anything until I'd tried to write a short story around it. I hope I've done it, although I have had to take a few small liberties with the lyrics. However, anyone who knows the song well, should be able to pick them out in the same order they appear in the song. I'll admit that it leads to some pretty tortuous and confusing reading at one particular point in the story. But it is supposed to be a woman speaking at that point, so the average male will probably be able to understand it just as much as he does any other female when she speaks to him.
I thank my friends Sue, Angel and PapaGus for their assistance in preparing this short tale for posting.
Not Like Loving You!
I was hanging around Dallas/Fort Worth International airport. Having flown in from the west coast on an earlier plane, I was waiting for a flight to New York to catch my London plane later in the day.
I'd been visiting my sister in Sydney and, to be honest, things had gone a little awry on me. Out of laziness and overconfidence (I'd never had a problem before) I'd left booking my return flights until the last very minute. Only to discover that all flights from Sydney to London were fully booked for several days.
For contractual reasons I really needed to be back in the UK pretty smartish, so I'd been forced to make the journey in numerous hops on several different airlines. In brief my journey had been a bloody nightmare so far, and it looked like the rest of it was going to be the same way, even though I wasn't travelling tourist.
I'd exhausted all my reading matter on the flight from Sydney the day before and neglected to think about buying some more in San Francisco. Yeah well, I overslept and after the rushing to the airport, barely wangling my way onto my flight. I'd been lucky that an apparently influential official, who was by chance a fan (poor deluded soul), had recognised me and pulled some strings somewhere.
It had cost me, but a few pleasant words. And the promise of an autographed photograph, with a personal dedication, would be in the post the instant I got back to the UK. Not the sort of tactics I like to resort to, but needs must where the devil drives.
For some time by then, I'd been attempting to distance myself from the music industry and its associated celebrity. Eventually the glitter wears off notoriety for most people, well for me anyway. Fame and fortune have their benefits, but for every good thing they bring to your life, they can take away as much if not more.
Anyway I'm telling you all this just to explain why I was wandering around Dallas airport looking for something interesting to read. Eventually I found a bookstore and was perusing the stands for something to while away the hours during the rest of my convoluted journey home
I prefer to bury myself in a book when flying; it stops fans, or rather ex-fans, (or the "guess who we met on the plane" types) from asking for my autograph, or even dragging me into conversation about how things used to be, when I was on my way up in the music business.
I'd kind of accepted long before that I was a has-been by then, and I just wanted a little privacy back in my life.
Hey, I had nothing, or almost nothing, to feel sorry for myself about. I'd had more than my fair share of fame, and fortune. And being the cautious kind of a bloke that I am, I'd invested my earnings wisely. I would be able to live out the rest of my life in a little more affluent comfort than most people.
Some of the rest of the guys in the band, who had lived the high life, couldn't afford not to keep on touring around ever smaller and smaller venues, just to be able to feed themselves, or maybe their habit. I'd quit the band a couple of years previous, when our record sales began to take a dive.
I must have glanced up from the shelves loaded with mundane paperbacks for a moment. Because suddenly and quite unexpectedly, in the far distance, I caught sight of a figure that I thought I recognised. Not for the first time by the way, my eyes had often mistaken innocent females for the woman my unconscious mind was always looking for.
I had actually run into her on a couple of occasions. But as luck would always have it, she had always been hanging on the arm of her current beau. I knew from the gossip columns, that she'd been officially shacked-up with the guy for a good year or so by then. But even then, she was invariably described as having been my one time partner. I should imagine that must have got right up the guys nose sometimes; I know that it would have mine.
Pretending to be studying some paperback, I watched the figure out of the corner of my eye as she herself strolled towards the same bookstore, eventually stopping, to thumb through a magazine rack out front.
"You're not mistaken this time; that definitely is Nellie!" a little voice insisted in the back of my head somewhere.
"It can't be," my conscious mind argued, "wrong part of the country!"
"So what, you're in Dallas and you should be in New York. What's to say that Nellie isn't on a bloody mystery tour as well?"
With my heart in my throat, I walked around the display stand that I been all but hiding behind, to get a clearer look at the young woman. I noted that unlike a couple of the others, she was not featured on the front cover of the particular magazine she was thumbing through.
Having convinced myself that it was indeed Nell, I cautiously approached closer, then asked, "Nellie?"
She looked up from the magazine she was holding and promptly took a step backwards, surprise clearly visible in her eyes.
"Mitch! My god, what are you doing here?"
"Trying to get from Sydney to London. There was a bit of a cock-up over the flight arrangements and I appear to be making a mystery tour of the US on the way. I'm only here for and hour or so, to change planes."
"Yeah well, same here. I'm trying to get down to Florida, but... well our plane had a problem and had to put down here. Then it was withdrawn from service completely so that has put the cat amongst the pigeons. I'm supposed to be in Miami for a photo shoot first thing in the morning. They've managed to wangle me onto another flight, later today."
"God knows why it's so busy at the moment. I couldn't get a seat on a direct flight from San Francisco to New York until Sunday. And Frisco ain't my scene at the best of times. Besides the boys in the band have a royalty dispute going with our old manager. I really should be there when it goes in front of a judge."
For a few seconds we stood there, staring at each other in silence. I scratched around for something, anything, to say.
"Have you eaten?" I eventually found myself asking.
"Yes, I had a salad on the plane."
"Well, airline food isn't enough to get by on Nell."
"I'm on a diet Mitch, there was plenty enough for me."
"Oh yeah, I forgot, you don't eat much; hardly enough to keep a bloody rabbit alive. A drink then- maybe a coffee or something?"
Boy was I scraping the bottom of the barrel. There was so much I wanted to say and that I dare not. And that I didn't know how to put into words anyway. Really, I knew that the time for "talking" between Nellie and I, had slipped right between my fingers, several years before.
"Coffee would be nice. I doubt you'd get a proper cup of tea here."
"No, not something I'd ever risk. I wonder if the Yanks will ever understand tea?"
"I doubt it. Weren't it them, who came up with the tea bag idea in the first place?
"Probably," I replied.
Nellie and I were... well, we were waffling, trying our hardest not to show hostility towards each other, and to find anything to talk about, but ourselves and our past together. I have no idea why we do that with old lovers or sweethearts, but I'd heard other people doing the same thing in the past.
"You know, it's a real pain getting a proper cup of tea even in London nowadays," Nellie was saying as we arrived at an empty table.
"You've been over recently? I thought you lived in California now?" I replied as we seated ourselves on opposite sides of said table.
"We do, but I popped over to see my mum and dad last month. They asked after you, you know. They always do."
"I liked your mum and dad, no side to them."
"Yeah well, they like you to. Maybe you should drop in and see them sometime. You still live in London, don't you?"
Maybe unintentionally on Nellie's part, but she was straying very close to a taboo area, but I let her lead the way.
"Nope, Nell. I dropped right out of the scene when I left the band. I've got myself a nice little cottage down in the New Forest nowadays. Suits me just fine. I can make as much noise as I want, and enjoy the piece and quiet the rest of the time."
"Sounds lovely, I'd love to see it."
I wanted to say, "Pop in sometime when you're passing yourself, I'd love for you to see it as well." But I knew that Nell would never do that. After all, she was shacked up with lover boy -- a hot, film star heartthrob -- and living the high life in Southern California. So I let the comment slide by; then I threw the ball back into Nellie's court.
"So how's life in the Californian sun? You and ..." I purposefully didn't say the bugger's name, "gadding about at all the right Hollywood parties all the time, are we?"
"When he's in the country yes; you could say that." It struck me that Nell hadn't used his name either. "He's in Africa at the moment, making his next blockbuster movie."
An odd expression came on Nellie's face, one that I couldn't decipher.
"Good on him! Loads of dosh?" I enquired.
I didn't really want to know. Even my sarcastically expressed sentiment, was a lie, by the way.
"Don't all his films clean-up at the box office?"
Considering how close we'd once been, and for how long; it unnerved me more than a little, to discover that I was having difficulty interpreting Nell's facial expressions.
"Don't know, Nell, I've never seen one!" I replied, a little sharply, I suspect.
Nellie gave me another strange look that I really couldn't understand. I'm not sure; maybe a sort of curious expression had come over her face.
"Never, not even one of his films?"
"Ah, well now, I have seen films in which he's been in the supporting cast. But I appear to have a phobia about mere thought of him making love to a woman. I'm afraid seeing him slobbering all over some hot little starlet on the big screen. Well no... That just ain't my scene!"
A half smile came on Nellie's face. Now that was one expression I could recognise, and I was pleased to see it, for a brief moment.
"Mitch! I do believe you're jealous?"
I should imagine that on hearing those words my own expression took a dive. I'm not the sort of guy who can keep a poker face, even when I try.
"Come on, Nellie, what have I got to be jealous about. You an' me, we have been over for years now! No, I've just never taken to the bugger. Okay, when the press always bring my name into it when they talk about you and him being an item, it does get up my nose some. But that's got nothing to do with me thinking he's a... No, he's your life partner now. It wouldn't be right of me to go on about him to you."
"Well, the press always bring your name into it, because you so publicly punched him on the nose in that Paris nightclub."
"Yeah well, I was jealous back then. You hadn't long ditched me."
"No, Mitch, you effectively ditched me. You were... well, you were partying it up with the band and all those silly little... little groupie tarts!" An expression of annoyance came on Nellie's face "I couldn't let things go on as they were and still be able to hold my head up in public."
"I told you then, and I'll repeat it again now, Nell! The boys were... well, they were enjoying the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll scene, and I was at those parties, I can't deny that. But only because that was the bad boy image the band played up on. But I definitely wasn't part of them! Steve, our chief roadie and me, used to lock ourselves safely in a bedroom away from it all, and play cards together. Look, if you and me hadn't been sharing that flat in London... Well, damn it; word would probably have gone around that Steve and me were as bent as a couple nine bob notes. Even if the bugger had five kids. But no one dared infer anything, when I was shacked up with you."
"And I'm supposed to believe that?"
"Nell, it doesn't matter any more. It's over between us, and it has been for a very long time now. It really doesn't matter what you believe or don't believe any more. But tell me this one thing, what possible motive could I have to lie about it now; after all this time?"
"I don't know, Mitch. Perhaps you didn't like being called a liar back then, and you still don't now? But you are right, it's all water under the bridge and we should put it behind us.
"Let's be friends, Mitch. We had a good thing going there for a while, didn't we?"
"Sure did, girl, until you found someone else to fall in love with."
For a few moments Nell didn't reply. She just stared at me with that strange look that I couldn't read on her face again. Then her expression changed to a very serious one. She leant forward, placed both of her forearms on the table before her, and looked me right in the eyes.
"But it's not like loving you, Mitch." She almost whispered, "You were too good. Too bloody good sometimes! I think about you still, you know? More than I should really! Loving him is not like loving you, because nothing compares with what we had together. You know that no matter what he does, you are there somewhere, in the back of my mind."
I'll admit that I really wasn't at all sure that I understood what Nellie was saying, as she was speaking. Mind you that was nothing new, I can't claim to be able to understand any women half the time. I don't so much mean the actual words they are saying, it's what they mean by those words that confuses me.
"Mind you, unlike you, he always takes notice of what I'm thinking and he sees what I need. When I'm with him I'm guaranteed his total attention. Which am a lot more than I can say I ever got from you!"
I had to admit that that criticism was true. But then the band was on its way up back then. Long hours and late nights in recording studios were a regular thing. Life kinda rushed past, leaving me in a daze.
"And I'll admit that its fun when he wakes me up in the mornings."
That one was below the belt. Often I wouldn't be there when Nell got up in the mornings to go on a photo shoot, because I was still in some shitty recording studio somewhere with the band.
"But there's no real history there for me to cry about, Mitch."
Whoops, "Where's she going now?" I thought.
"Why would you want to cry, Nellie?"
"You don't know?"
"No, why should I?" Nellie had lost me completely.
And she didn't answer my question either, well not in words anyway. Instead an expression of what I can only describe as exasperation came over her face. Oh yeah, I'd seen that look before. When we had been together; too many times for my liking
But then before either of us could say anything else, her flight was called and Nell instantly stood up to leave. I had decided that I would walk her to her departure gate, so I rose as well and grabbed her hand baggage before she could do so herself.
Nellie gave me a smile that my heart certainly remembered; then we made the long walk to her gate together, in silence.
At the departure gate, Nell handed the stewardess her boarding card, then turned, put her arms around me and stretched up to kiss me on the cheek. For an instant I saw sadness in her eyes. But then she smiled and started confusing me again
"The next time I see you, Mitch... if he's with me... you might feel strange, or it might be hard for you to even see. But always remember, the smile on my face... Well, it means that he could never take your place. Because what he and I have got, is not like loving you; you were too good. I think about you still, so much more than I should do. No, my love for him is not like the love I had for you, Mitch. Nothing will ever compare to that! And remember that you will linger in my mind wherever I go," she said with that sad smile on her face.
Then after releasing me from her grasp she said, "Florida's nice this time of year, Mitch, you should try it sometime." Then she turned away and walked through the gate, leaving me standing there alone, for an instant. But celebrity shows no pity for the wicked.
"Excuse me, but aren't you Joe Mitchell?" A voice somewhere away to my left asked.
"No, I'm sorry, you've made a mistake," I replied, turning away from the gate myself and hurrying clear of the crowded area.
"Bloody clown, why didn't you tell her how you felt?" that damned little voice insisted in the back of my head.
"I couldn't! Nellie's moved on with her life. She's in love with someone else now!" the conscious part of my mind replied.
"You really believe that? You must be bloody insane! Didn't you listen to one word she said to you in that café? She's still bearing a torch for you Mitch; all you got to do is fan the flame."
"I messed her life up once. I'm not going to hurt her again."
"Then don't hurt her, love her like she wants you to love her. Christ, ask her to marry you, that's one thing you can be sure he hasn't done."
"And neither did I, when we were together."
"But you were on the road all the time back then mate. What marriage could have survived that? Jesus, you two broke up because she didn't like all those groupies hanging around all the time."
"That was the other guys not me. I steered well clear of the sex and drugs side of things."
"Of course, we know that, but Nellie never did. You did have to put on a bad boy act for the media, didn't you? She saw those lurid stories in the newspapers and well... eventually some mud had to stick in her mind, no matter how much she loved you."
I was pleased when shortly they called my flight for London; I had an excuse bring an end to inane the argument I was having with myself.
Somewhat dejectedly I walked to my departure gate and handed the stewardess my boarding card, thinking that very soon I'd be winging my way across to the other side of the Atlantic and far away from all further thoughts of Nellie.
Life goes on.
I snatched my boarding card back from the girl at the gate, and then ran back to the check-in desk as fast as I could.
The girl there looked up at me in surprise.
"Mr Mitchell, your flight has just been called. You do realise that you could have waited in the first class lounge, don't you? They would have come and found you in there."
"I'm not keen on first class lounges... er," I read the name on her little badge, "Stella. The paparazzi watch who's in them too much for my liking. I prefer to keep myself low profile nowadays, if I can."
"What can I do for you, Mr Mitchell? You'll have to be quick though. As I said, your flight has already been called."
"Well, Stella, I'm wondering if you could possibly switch me onto a flight to Miami?"
Life goes on.
This Denham Forrest tale is posted on Literotica with the permission of the author. I had some trouble persuading DF (DC or Dave to his friends) to allow me to post this one here, because he is working on a second version of it written from Nellie's POV. But because it is a personal favourite of mine (and his, as is the song itself), I've persevered and finally won the argument. Perhaps both Dave and I are old romantics, but I hope that some readers will appreciate what Dave has tried to do here. I think it does depend on whether one is familiar with the song though. RG