It’s just jazz baby

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It’s just jazz baby

 ‘To listen to your messages, press three.’

Then, I hear Joules’ voice carry across my room as I slide my blazer off the coat hanger and onto my shoulders – He couldn’t call until now, he’s sorry and do I want to go for cocktails tonight?

Kinda – yes – but I don’t like cocktails and he knows that – erm – I want to want to go, but I’m not sure I do – I should go? I’ve wanted this for a year…if it’s not a ‘hell yes’ it’s a ‘no’ Tilly, I say to myself in the mirror, my motto I vow to live by and Joules isn’t an exception to my cardinal rule, or at least he shouldn’t be.

I scribble Vic a note to let her know I’ve gone out for a ‘hell yes’ coffee with a ‘hell yes’ friend and stick it on the hall table next to the chunky lamp, minus the hell yes bit, Vic wouldn’t get it. One last dart back into my bedroom to find my keys and I’m good to go, finally…4.20pm. Darting back out of my bedroom I yell “bye” to Dotty, which turns into,

“Arrrgh” I scream coming to an emergency stop in front of the figure in my doorway.

“So, he’s a friend now? Vic says, holding the note in the air like she’s a holiday rep.

“Yes actually, he is and what is your problem with him? How do you even know I’m meeting Drew? It could be Erin.”

“I do now – and – he’s downstairs waiting by the fashion section.”

Oh. For the next five minutes heated banter on slues about how Drew is a player and I’m the latest on his long list of girls and she doesn’t want to see me get hurt.

We can’t agree, so Vic huffs and goes back to her bedroom and I practically skip downstairs to the store, where I recompose myself before stepping out of the lift. The sight of Drew though is enough to slow my girly skip walk.

He’s wearing black jeans, a short-sleeved burgundy shirt with three buttons undone. Not a baggy shirt, but one just fitted enough that when I smell him upon our greeting hug, it makes me want to run my fingers along the outline of it.

“You look great.” Drew says. Gesturing for me to spin through the revolving door first.

We stroll to his car that is parked by the square garden, which no one is allowed in unless you live around it. What is it with Drew…His style, his manor, his car? I think it’s just him, I’m not sure; it all merges into ever-increasing circles.

The glossy black MG with its roof down looks friendly. I swear it purred. A pack of Marlboro pokes out the top of the driver’s door pocket. Drew tells me it’s a late 1960’s MG, that was a 20thbirthday present from his parents and he calls it Pauline…beats a black Volkswagen Golf, which every young Londoner seems to drive.

He opens the dinky door and I aim to glide down the leather like a film star, except the lower than expected seat means I land on it with a thud, rather than film star grace.

I don’t care for more than second, as the chrome steering wheel whips my focus, along with dials, switches and buttons and suddenly I feel like a young child again wanting to touch and press everything.

“You seriously use this as your normal car?” I ask as the wind messes our hair…pumped I didn’t wear a hat, or any form of scarf and praying my eyes don’t water so my mascara doesn’t run.

“It’s normal for me. Why not?” Drew replies.

He makes a good point. I’m an ‘old school’ girl in a modern era, who loves true glamour and lives in a giant fancy bookstore. Hardly the social norm of living in a house with a Golf and a Volvo parked outside and just like that, I feel calm – relief – that maybe someone else other than my family gets me.  Do you know how good that feels? Do you know how rare this is?

The music on the stereo becomes louder as we slow down and roll into the car park at the back of Black Leather. A row of Harleys out-numbersthe cars and my relief is disappearing into a knot.

A wall of glass doors are wide open – London’s current craze of indoor/outdoor living, it works for around five days of the year when it’s not raining because, news alert, London is not Bali.

A man in a blue denim jacket and blue jeans, with a white t-shirt and long grey beard stands outside stubbing his cigarette out in an ashtray that’s on one of the tables.

“That’s Morris. Don’t be put off, he’s a sound guy.” Drew notes, as he turns the engine off, gets out and walks round to open the car door for me. “He looks like what’s-his-name from Sons of Anarchy.” I say.

“Didn’t think Sons of Anarchy would be your type of TV show?”

“It isn’t, but  – err – a friend of mine loved it and said I would too.”

“And did you?”

“No.” I say, as we both laugh.

The on trend café is bustling with baristas serving bikers and non-bikers.  Machines are hissing and bright fruits fill large wire baskets next to the juicers. Two girls with freshly painted eyebrows check Drew out as we weave to an empty table. Their doe eyes turn to a slanting glare when they spot me, and they return to indecisiveness over what to order from the chalkboard menu.

“Flat white is it?” Drew asks me…”and a black americano.” He orders with his barista friend.

Thick cube shaped tables and chairs made of weather beaten wood are scattered in one half of the café. The other half is stocked with biker accessories and clothing, to be fair the bandana range is noteworthy.

Drew brings over the coffees and introduces me to others there. Some staff, some regulars. All perfectly lovely people. I appreciate him bringing me into his world and buying me coffee and picking me up in an amazing car, but this place makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s most definitely not a French Boulangerie.

“Tell me the story about your dad’s new song then.” I smile sweetly to divert my weirdness.

He smiles, dropping his stare towards the tabletop before asking  “Do you like Jazz?”

“Not really. I’m more of a Lana Del Rey girl.”

“Nice.“

It transpires his dad, Curtis Scott, is a well-known Jazz singer with quite the fan base. His mum Sophia, plays piano, but mainly deals with the show production. SHOW PRODUCTION – I know – can you imagine my face?

I best start listening to a few Jazz songs and find a smoky old Jazz club with husky voices for research.

‘Are you an aspiring Jazz man too then?” I ask.

“Ha. No way. I can hold a note, but photography is my thing. We were all in Vegas last year…pops did some shows there and I was his photographer. It just jazz but it was like a nightmare reality show. We get on pops and me, but I won’t work with him again.”

I laugh, I think it’s cute. It’s interesting.

Unease continues to waft in and out until I am safely back in his car on the way home. People stare, sometimes doing double takes as we jovially tootle through central London and despite unease and a subsequent bloated stomach, the last two hours have been pure sunshine.

“You didn’t like Black leather did you?” Drew asks as we saunter to the back door of Harbours.

I don’t want to hurt his feelings but I’m a terrible liar…”It just wasn’t a ‘Tilly kinda place.” I say and he looks at me like I’ve just shot his dog.

It’s enchanting he’s gutted he got it wrong when he wanted me to love it… I told him, Black leather or not, the last two hours were like sunshine and happiness returns to his face, creasing his cheeks, letting his soul find his eyes again as they search for mine.

“If you will allow me to take you out again. We will go to whatever ‘Tilly place’ you wish. I’ll message you.”

Instead of the ‘romantic kiss on the doorstop’ I was hoping for, he slowly, softly pecked my cheek and out of nowhere, a power surge of energy rooted me to the spot and all of a sudden I can’t do a simple task like find my key.

Not only that, I now have to think of the place I always complain guys don’t take me to because, I don’t know what it is now that I’ve been asked…there’s irony in there I’m sure of it.

I manically press the lift button as if that will speed the thing up I need to get to my laptop, as I tear in through our main door I hear Vic yell. “Tilly. Your mum has been trying to get hold of you” I ignore her; I’ve more interesting things to do like hoping Drew doesn’t ghost me.

I flip open my laptop and type into Google – Curtis Scott. Drew Scott and OH. MY. DAYS. I call Erin.

“Erin, it’s me. You’re never gonna believe what’s happened today and I need you to tell me where you think I would love to go on date, a ‘Tilly kinda of place’?“

Annaliese

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