The Touch Ch. 32byGreenFingers2015©
The rear area had obviously not been in use for some time as a number of now very warped wooden boards had been carelessly laid as a rough floor over ancient screeding, and there were several old plant containers, an ancient galvanised water tank and what looked to be about a million old plastic plant pots scattered about the roof. My first thought was that this rubbish needed to be cleared before the wind scattered it across the city.
I pulled my camera and tape measure out of my shoulder bag and spent twenty minutes snapping every angle, and putting the measurements to a rough plan drawn on a graph paper pad. I would need to have a serious think about the best design for this project, there were several drainage points leading to the main guttering and an old fashioned brass service tap by the stair housing which was a good start but there was little shelter from the wind and the roof would be a real sun-trap on a hot day. Any plants would need to be fairly heat and drought resistant and wind hardy.
The real bonus was that the roof was a naked canvas and I could start the designs from scratch without having to tear down or rebuild any existing structures. The big issue was going to be how we got the materials and plants up to the roof; carrying everything through the flat was just not going to be possible. We would need to investigate the possibility of bringing the stuff up from the rear mews either with a large cherry picker or by rigging some sort of lift or derrick on the roof, which could prove difficult and would definitely be expensive if it was to be done safely and would probably require permission from Westminster Council Health and Safety officer.
Sofia was leaning against the door housing smoking and watching me, and so I lit a cigarette of my own and wandered over. She really was very attractive and I noticed that she was not wearing a wedding ring.
"Have you always done this sort of work?"
She laughed, a deep throaty chuckle, "Oh no, only since I come to England to live.... In Poland I am a pharmacist... you call it a chemist, yes? In England I need to qualify again to work here, and this is very expensive and so I need to work whilst I study. Ms. Brookes has been very kind...she helps me with the school fees."
Something else surprising I had learned about Caroline.
I took another quick tour of the roof, pulled the dead plants from the containers and then tidied up a lot of the loose flower pots dumping them with the rubbish into the old waste bins. By the time I had finished I was happy that I had gathered all the information that I initially needed to start drawing up plans and was ready to leave.
"I do not clean up here on the roof... "Sofia commented matter of factly, "The owners before Ms. Brookes were old... I think perhaps they never came up here either... it is good that you make it nice for her...she work too much!"
It was starting to spot with rain when Sophia let me out onto the street and so I turned up the collar of my Barbour waxed coat and walked around the corner into Victoria Street and hailed a cab to take me the short distance to Oxford Street where he dropped me outside Selfridge's department store.
I am not, at the best of times an enthusiastic or imaginative shopper and so a shopping mall or department store is my favourite solution, everything under one roof and I knew that I could probably acquire everything on my mental shopping list at Selfridges.
My first port of call was the jewellery department. It was Emma's eighteenth birthday in two weeks time and I had been puzzling over what to get her as a present. My first thought had been to give her cash towards her first car, but I knew that she had already been saving money from her wages and intended using some of her inheritance money from our grandfather to buy a vehicle for herself.
I had discussed my dilemma with Gwen and Maggie who both agreed that a girl's eighteenth birthday is something important and special, more so than for a man, and close family usually gave 'keepsake' gifts which the recipient could treasure always and remember their coming of age. I knew that they were both giving her presents of jewellery, and had half decided to follow suit when I suddenly realised that Emma had never had a decent wrist-watch. She had a small cheap cocktail watch that didn't keep very good time that she wore to go out, but most of the time made do with an old Casio digital watch that had been mine but had been discarded as it was no longer waterproof.
I spent the best part of an hour with a very helpful, but very camp, young man who guided me through a maze of counters and hundreds of watches of all shapes and sizes, colours and designs before finally settling on an attractive, modern, quartz movement Omega strap watch which was modern but could be worn at any time but was hardy enough for her to wear when riding. Having made the most important purchase of the day I made my way through to the sports department and treated myself to new brown leather golfing shoes and shoe bag, a couple of gloves and a pair of plain black Pringle trousers and two golf shirts to match.
Buying the golf gear had made me think about Georgia and I remembered that her London office was only five minutes walk away in Wigmore Street and before I realised what I was doing I was halfway up St. James Street with the intention of asking Georgia out to lunch however foolish the idea might be.
The London offices of Craven, Olson and Partners were on the second floor of a white stone faced building sandwiched between two rows of red brick with a brassierie restaurant on the ground floor. I paused at the doorway leading to the stairs for the upper floor chambers and lit a cigarette and casually pretended to scan the restaurant menu whilst deciding if asking Georgia to lunch would be pretentious, I knew we were starting to develop a loose sort of friendship but I did not want to offend her by appearing to be hitting on her, or make myself look a teenage pratt chasing after a much older woman. Finally I flicked the cigarette stub into the gutter and mounted the stairs.
I had been there once previously with my mother when she had a meeting with Marsha Olsen about her divorce from Dad, and the receptionist was the same attractive young woman but not surprisingly she did not recognise me from that single visit.
"Would it be possible to speak to Ms. Craven, please?" I asked confidently.
"Do you have an appointment?" she asked formally, she looked a little vexed and was flicking through a business diary on the desk in front of her. She was a pretty girl, about twenty with short light brown hair and a largish engagement ring on her left hand.
"Er...no! This is just a spontaneous personal visit..." I ventured, "I was just passing and..."
"Oh, I am so glad," she said breathing a sigh of relief and smiled, closing the diary, "I thought perhaps you had been booked in by mistake.... Ms. Craven is out of the office all day today, I'm afraid."
I wasn't sure whether that information left me disappointed or relieved. "It is OK, it wasn't important... I will catch up with her some other time... " I started but was interrupted by a voice from behind me.
"Jamie...! What are you doing here, Jamie?" I recognised the voice and was starting to turn even as I felt a light touch on my sleeve.
"Hello, Kristen...what are YOU doing here?" It was a stupid question really I knew that she was staying in London with her mother. Both her parents were partners in the law practice and her mother, Marsha Olsen, worked out of the London office most weeks and was the divorce lawyer acting for both Gwen and Maggie.
"I'm working here.... I help out three mornings a week.... It's fun, I've never had a job before.... I just do filing and photocopying and such.... But Mummy actually pays me!" She was babbling and laughing, but that was Kristen, I thought she was a really nice girl but she was a bit of an air-head. She paused and then asked again, "I forgot, what ARE you doing here?"
"I just called in to see Georgia as I was passing, she is my solicitor now, you know."
"Oh, she's not here.... She and Mummy have gone to Birmingham for some big court case and won't be back until tomorrow." She turned to the receptionist, "It's OK, Selma, I will take care of this gentleman," she said haughtily and then took my hand and led me towards the open door from which she had obviously entered the reception. I looked back at Selma and mouthed a thank you and she smiled and winked as Kristen hauled me away.
The room was obviously a general office with a row of steel filing cabinets, three photo-copiers and a desk in one corner with an angle-poise lamp, a portable typewriter and a pink swivel make-up mirror, a make-up bag and assortment of brushes. It was noticeably Kristen's desk.
"This is my office," she said proudly. "Do you want to kiss me?" she added, cooing enthusiastically, "I have missed you Jamie.....please kiss me." She came up close and put her hands on my shoulders and offered her lips to me in a bright pink irresistible pout. The minute that our lips met she slid her arms tightly around my neck and leaned her whole body against me in a warm, soft caress that seemed to envelop me from neck to knees. The kiss lasted for several long seconds and left both of us lightly gasping, but she was smiling and her Scandinavian bright blue eyes were sparkling.
She looked really good... she still had the appearance of a come-alive Barbie doll, with her long shining silver blonde hair, large bright blue eyes and fabulous figure but had obviously toned down her normally flamboyant wardrobe for something a bit more suitable to work in a solicitor's office. She was wearing a mini-dress with short sleeves and a slash neck, of cream cotton with horizontal bold block stripes of red and black and a narrow black patent belt which emphasised her tiny waist. She looked really smart and sophisticated. What Kristen lacked in brains she certainly made up for by having a fabulous body and unlimited resources to buy clothes. The Olsens were not only top flight lawyers but came from old Swedish money and Kristen was the very over indulged only daughter.
"I am now finishing work for the day.... Have you time to have lunch with me... please say you have...?" she pleaded. She beamed up at me with a sort of cute puppy dog appeal that I guess nobody had ever been able to resist and I was no exception.
"I would love to," I replied, "I am not in any hurry at all... I hadn't planned on going back to Salisbury until this evening."
"Then we can spend the afternoon together," she gushed. She led me back into reception, "I'll just get my coat.." she told me and disappeared through another door.
Selma, the receptionist smiled at me sweetly, "I guess that you must be the secret, dark, handsome, man that she refuses to talk about..." she chuckled. I really did not want to imagine about what Kristen had been telling people about me. "I suppose you ARE quite good looking," she teased, "but none of the girls here believed that you really existed."
"I don't." I whispered confidentially zipping my lips with my finger and thumb as a gesture of secrecy. She nodded and smiled in acknowledgement. She probably thought I was a married man or something.
Kristen came back wearing a very fashionable rain coat of white with black polka dots and without a further word hooked my arm and guided me out of the office and down the stairs.
"We can have lunch here," she suggested, indicating the restaurant on the ground floor of the building, "It will be my treat.... I will charge it to Mummy's account; I often do when my friends come to see me..." I knew some of Kristen's friends, they were just the sort to bum a free lunch on her mother's expense account; I only hoped that Marsha Olsen didn't ask who the friend was on that occasion, although I suspected that loyal little Kristen would be unlikely to tell.
Lunch from the grill was excellent, we both ordered fillet steaks, mine with huge flat mushrooms, fried peppers and French fries, and Kristen had hers with salad and we shared a small carafe of the house red. I sat and listened to Kristen chattering away happily about everything and nothing but she was cute and amusing and I was contented to be there, her obvious happiness was infectious. We finished of with plain old fashioned vanilla ice cream and coffees.
"What would you like to do this afternoon?" I asked her eventually when she paused for breath.
She thought for a minute and then laid her hand over mine affectionately. "You could take me to Kew Gardens and tell me all about the plants and flowers and trees and things..." she suggested.
I surmised that she had come up with that idea because she thought that it would be something that would please me.... in normal circumstances, with somebody else it would; Kew is always a wonderland for gardeners, but I suspected that she would in reality be bored shitless very quickly and the rain showers would not help.
"No, you treated me to lunch and so you should choose what YOU would like to do this afternoon.... Anything you like!" I crossed my fingers and made a silent prayer that she would not choose an extended shopping trip to Harrods or a tour of the Oxford Street boutiques.
"Anything that I like... no matter how silly?"
"Yes," I laughed, "As long as it isn't life threatening or publicly indecent."
"OK... I would like you to take me to.... " she paused for dramatic effect, "Madam Tussaud's Waxworks! I haven't been there since I was a little girl... I've been meaning to go ever since I came up to London, but it's no fun on your own." The idea seemed to excite her and she exuded all the bubbly enthusiasm of a small child.
"Right! Madam Tussaud's it is." In fact I was quite enthused with the idea myself, it was years since I had been to the famous exhibition, it is one of the tourist things that everybody threatens to do when they are up in town but never get around to.
Madam Tussaud's is located on Marylebone Road, next door to The Planetarium and from Wigmore Street was less than a fifteen minute brisk walk along the length of Baker Street.
"Mummy's flat is only a couple of streets away in George Street, it's on the way and we can drop off your parcels rather than carry them around all afternoon," Kristen suggested. I welcomed the idea as I not only had my shoulder bag containing the camera and my notes and sketches, but the shopping from Selfridges in two large paper carrier bags.
The apartment was on the seventh floor of Bryanston Court a very exclusive early twentieth century apartment block. The marble reception hall resembled that of a hotel complete with a uniformed commissionaire who recognised Kristen immediately and took my bags to lock in the porter's locker for collection later.
The stop had hardly taken us out of our way and we were crossing Marylebone Road to the waxworks in about fifteen minutes; Kristen happily clinging to my arm and still chattering away.
I bought our tickets at the foyer and then both of us fell for the oldest ploy of waxworks exhibitions worldwide; we spoke to the uniformed attendant standing just inside the door only to discover that he was a lifelike wax dummy and then jumped out of our skins when the real attendant standing next in line moved and spoke, but it set the tone for a fun afternoon.
The waxworks was much as I remembered it although there were, of course a lot of new exhibits of politicians and popular entertainers, but it was the historical displays that we both enjoyed the most along with the famous Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors which was always great fun. Kristen was thrilled with the entire experience and clung to my arm laughing and pointing at details of the exhibits that caught her imagination. I genuinely liked Kristen and to see her happy and having fun made it a worthwhile afternoon.
To my surprise it was gone four o'clock when we left the building. It had stopped raining again and we were both ready for a drink, so walked down Baker Street to The Globe pub, one of the few City pubs to serve afternoon teas, and sat outside for a coffee and tea and cakes; and then strolled back to Bryanston Court hand in hand.
Kristen collected my shopping from the porter and then took my hand and tugged me towards the lifts. "You won't go yet, will you?" she pleaded, "Come upstairs... I may not see you again for months... please, Jamie." The lift doors opened and she pulled me in and pushed the button for the top floor then took advantage of both my hands being occupied with shopping bags and threw her arms around my neck and thrust her body hard against mine, grinding her groin into me with such lustful vigour that by the time the lift doors pinged open at the seventh floor she had rubbed up a serious erection.
We managed to scramble out of the lift just as the doors closed again. "Bloody Hell Kris, I hope there aren't security cameras in those lifts," I chuckled.
"Don't know...don't care!" she giggled and led me to a door and pushed her key into the lock.
The entrance hall led straight head into an open plan kitchen and I could see the large sitting room off to the left through open double doors, it was decorated with modern teak and glass furniture all very modern and expensive. The kitchen was enormous all fully fitted with pine units, the Bosch service machines, refrigerator, freezer, washing machine were all custom units with in matching beige enamel.
"Just drop your bags and coat anywhere..." Kristen told me, tossed her coat on a stool and then went to a set of double swing doors at the far end of the kitchen, turned back and beckoned me through into a short L shaped hall. "That's Daddy's room..." she told me indicating the open door of a smallish bedroom on the right, "Mummy has the big room at the front.... And this is mine..."
Her bedroom was pretty well what you would expect, very girly and decorated with pale pinks and mauves with a huge pure white, hairy sheepskin rug in the centre of the room. The bedroom units, fitted wardrobes, vanity unit and drawers were all plain white but the room had obviously been put together by a professional home designer. The curtains were pink with pretty mauve and white flowers and matched the duvet cover on the three quarter sized bed. There was a small arm chair in matching fabric and a long shelf over the fitted draws on which were a handful of books, some records and a row of soft toys and china figures all of elephants.
She noticed me looking, "I collect jumbos," she laughed, "I always have. I have dozens at home in my room at Salisbury."
"I don't know, I have always loved them, they just seem cute and friendly and ...... well just so big and strong and dependable." She moved up close to me and placed her palms against my chest, I could feel the burning heat through my shirt, "Just like you..." she added.
She kicked off her high heeled shoes and immediately became several inches shorter, her forehead level with my lips and I gave it a light kiss as she nuzzled her face into my throat sending a tingle rippling through my body with the sensation of her warm lips on my skin and her long soft silver-blonde hair against my face. I put my hands on her hips and gently pulled her in closer so that we were melded together, her breasts warm and soft against my chest and her pelvis and thighs rubbing gently against mine as she rotated her hips in small swirly motions, instantly rubbing up another erection for me.
I felt her move her head to look up into my face, "Oh Jamie, you ARE going to make love to me, aren't you?" she murmured, almost pleading. Oh, yes; I was, I certainly was, at that moment in time there was nothing I would rather do. I moved my face so that our lips came together in a soft roiling kiss our tongues flicking and touching and twisting in a abandoned dance of lust causing both of us to pant and gasp as we sucked the breath from each other.