books · Latest · Reading · short-stories

On the Star Clipper – part II

Chapter III from the book DESTINATION DESIRABLE

Jules was busy conversing with Nia, and Walt asked Lulu if she would like to join Paula and him for a drink at the Piano bar.

A chilled version of the song “Killing me softly” was playing.

Danny was already sitting at a table, so the three sat next to him.

“How about Dirty Martini?” Walt asked.

“Well, I stick with champagne,” Danny replied. Cheering his glass accompanied a smirky smile on his lips. His eyes were already on the piano player.

“Okay!” Walt replied and walked over to the bartenders.

 “You and our captain know each other, right.?” Paula asked, curious. They all had recognised that Lulu seemed mental somewhere else since they had met the captain at the table. Although they all knew Lulu’s co-star from the movie “Celebrity”, they did not associate the captain with the celebrity as he had been known as Julian with his official name. Lulu was not sure if she should explain the situation or not. She had come to this cruise to leave her past love affairs behind and focus on her career remake. Now an even deeper past which she had tried to bury a long time ago surfaced. If she would now explain that Jules had been her film partner, they all would get involved in the hype of their than love romance. But, as Jules also had not given any explanation or had attempted to link their connection, she decided to do the same.

“Why do you think that we know each other? I don’t think so.” She looked at Paula. “But well, he is a damn attractive guy, isn’t he?”

“Well, yes, I wonder how old he is,” Paula replied with a guessing look.

“He is, indeed! And straight,” Danny added. 

“Ah, you already checked this out?” Paula wondered

“That was not necessary, the way he had his eyes on Lulu.” Danny had a dreamy look in his eyes. He admired Lulu and adored her looks.

“Ah, just like you have your eyes on this piano player, don’t you?” Paula teased.

“Well, I hope he doesn’t disappoint me with a straight note, either.” Danny sipped on his Champagne.

“I think your chances are good.” Paula tweaked an eye. Walt was still at the bar and lost in a chat with a young woman.

 Nia and captain Jules joined the piano bar while still discussing the ship and Nia’s environmental project. Jules suggested meeting some excellent contacts and friends at their next Singapore stop. If she was interested, he could arrange a dinner. They both stood not far away from Walt, who was still busy with his flirt, while Paula and Danny exchanged their dreams about what they wished to experience on the trip or the nearby future. Paula told Danny about the time with Walt in the middle east and that Walt wanted to settle down while she did not really were in for settling, not yet.

“I see some couples like our neighbours where the husband is all day out and the woman is busy all day running after their kids, everything she is talking about is oh my husband, and I have to do this for him, he wants it like this, what will my husband say, will he like this. Or she talks about what she has to do for her son, her daughter or again for her husband.” Paula tried to explain her feelings. “All she talks about and does is like her husband and kids like she has no own life like she somehow does not exist.”

Danny listened and nodded. He knew this feeling just too good. After his first star height when he had won a casting show, he had experienced the same feeling. Suddenly everything he did was just about to maintain the image the management wanted to sell. And after a year, he had felt so burned out. He could not see himself anymore. The person he saw on stage or when he looked in the mirror, he hardly had recognised himself anymore. Everything he had to do or say was about matching the image the management had created. Even the music he had to sing was not what he wanted anymore. He had felt trapped in a situation where the management would not allow him to grow anymore.

“Do you think I am too egoistic?” Paula asked, “But I hear this from all those mothers, and I somehow don’t want to give up my own life. I love the work with such environmental groups or humanitarian work. Yet, I feel like I would need to give this all up, not having time for myself anymore and submitting myself completely, running after other people’s interests. Is this what life should be?”

Danny laughed, and Paula had to laugh out loud, too.

“I understand very well what you mean. I had a perfect friend, one of my besties, to be honest. But, once she married and had her first kid, there was no time for anything else anymore. We almost lost contact. We might meet once around Christmas time, and that’s it, and then it is all about the kids, and it feels like there is no connection anymore.” Danny agreed.

“Well, this is what women get told that if they want to follow their interest, they are egoistic,” Danny added thoughtfully.

“That’s so true!” Lulu agreed, “But then when you take care of your kids only, people will tell you, what don’t you have something on your own to do like you have no own life.”

“Either way you do it, it is not right.” Danny laughed. “But you almost vanished from the big screen after you had your children, didn’t you?” He asked Lulu.

“Yeah, that’s right, while they were young and up till my husband’s first official affair, which later became his second wife,” Lulu explained cynically.

“Oh, dear, the way you say this sounds kind of bitter.” Danny wondered.

“Yeah, this was a nasty issue at the time.” Lulu looked up.

“I don’t want to be too indiscreet, but what did happen at the time? I remember an interview where you said the kids would stay with their Dad.” Paula asked.

“Yeah, that’s right. This whole story inspires the script I am preparing for at the moment.” Lulu sighed. “This woman blackmailed me. She claimed that I had stolen jewellery from her, pieces that my Ex-husband had gifted her. She had manipulated a scene and had made it look like I had it taken, and my great than-Husband believed her. They were threatening me that if I insisted on the custody, they would press charges against me and end my film career.” Lulu told.

“They did what?” Paula and Danny were shocked.

“And your Ex-husband believed her?” Danny was shaking his head.

“Yeah, as they say, love makes blind.” Lulu nodded. “But he finally reaped his dark misery with his gold treasure.”

“He got divorced in a bitter rose-war, didn’t he?” Paula asked.

“That’s right, and this went through the press. She claimed that he had beaten her and sued him for an enormous amount. In the second instance, he was finally acquitted and set her upkeep to a minimum. In the end, a video had shown up. She was triumphing, reporting to a friend how she won the claims with her lies and dirty games, her final confession.

“Wow, I had heard about some of the games.” Walt, coming over with Jules, commented and joined the “ladies” at the table. Jules looked at Lulu, offering her a glass of champagne. “Real life or a scene from your new script?” Jules asked with a sweet smile.

“Both, actually. But the real rose war is over now.” Lulu stated and took the champagne glass that Jules offered her.

“Than let’s cheer to new shores.” Danny shouted and they cheered their glasses.

“Well, I will do my best to make your life here on board as pleasant as possible.” Jules promised.

“So far, this is achieved by 100%.“ Danny complemented. “The ship and the service here on board is really excellent.”

“And the ocean views are priceless” Walt added.

“Indeed, they are. Have you finished your little flirt?” Paula was teasing Walt but somehow it did not really bother her at all.

“Sure, I did, and have you finished your elephant research, yet?” Walt replied a little snappy.

“Mmmh, I guess I haven’t really started, yet. So why are you jealous on an elephant?” Paula questioned jokingly.

I met quite some nice human beings here on board so far, as you can see.” Walt looked Paula in the eyes.

Somehow it seemed neither of them got jealous about what the other person was doing, but did they also prefer spending time apart rather than together?

Originally, they had planned the trip to figure out how to plan their future together in London or possibly on a new project. Now it seemed that they preferred spending time on different undertakings, best apart from each other. As the evening got tense between the two, Walt and Danny decided to check out the nightclub onboard. At the same time, Paula had gone back to the cabin on her own, leaving Lulu alone with Jules. It was another awkward moment as they hadn’t left at best terms when they split up and haven’t talked since. The two looked at each other. So many unspoken words were in the air, and neither of them was sure where to start right now — leaving it all behind or initiating talking about old times.

The lightness of their conversation in the group had vanished. Jules looked at Lulu. He was still astonished at how beautiful she looked, so natural. Lulu still had this incredible smile and some sassiness when talking. She flashed the same features on him years later, which he had fallen in love with when he had first met her. He wasn’t sure about Lulu, how she took the whole situation that they would spend the next week together on such limited space.

Lulu was looking at her drink which was almost finished. Somehow, she neither knew how to keep the conversation going. Maybe the best thing was to go back to her cabin rather than start a discussion of old times. Although she would have loved nothing more than to hug Jules and throwing her arms around his neck. She never forgot how good that always had been supposed to feel his body close to her. He had been a fantastic lover at the time and sure still was. Jules did not want to let this moment slip unspoken and then asked.

“Well, you want a little walk outside along the deck, enjoying some of the fantastic ocean views from the railing?” He smiled at Lulu. “I know some of the best spots here on board. “

“Oh, really, you do!” Lulu asked, and she loved the idea of a breath of fresh air, especially with Jules right next to her.

The two walked up the staircase outside through the lounge door, walking along the deck towards the railing where they stopped. Jules was looking at Lulu.

“I was so surprised to see you here on board.” Jules started.

“It’s a situation I had never expected. Sorry that I was so cool at the dinner like I do not know you.”

“I was surprised, too. It sounds like it was no pleasant surprise for you?” Lulu questioned.

“When this came across like this, I am sorry.” Jules took a deep breath. “It is rather the opposite, I guess.” He confessed. “The moment I saw you, it took me all back to the time we once had; somehow, a feeling came up again. It is such a long time ago.”

“It is.” Lulu was quiet.

“You never replied to my calls after that night in Cannes. I even tried to call you later when I already had been here in Thailand.”

“Oh Jules, I know, but I was hurt after I had seen you with this B-tress and singer. She came up to me, smearing her affair with you in my face, and I did not want to hear any of such excuses. You had success with that hit, and she was promoting in all media that she was with you, just as she did at the award night. It was all over the newspaper, the new dream couple, while I thought I was your girlfriend and that we had something special.

“So that’s when you went off with this Italian guy, the next morning?” Jules looked at Lulu “You really believed this and did not even give me a chance to explain?”

“Well, at the time this looked so real that I thought whatever you would tell me would be just lies which I did not want to hear. “Everyone was teasing me with this story that I was not sexy enough for you, that he needed a real woman not such a kid as me “the girl next door” some kind like this.”

Jules looked headshaking at the water than sighing.

“Well, so I thought the best thing to prove was to get away with a hot Italian guy. Was this so wrong?” Lulu looked in the air.

“And you could not think of that this whole thing was a made-up story for the press by this woman?”

“To be honest at the time? No!” Lulu confirmed. “I thought this was it. And by the time the truth came out, you were already gone, and years had passed.”

Jules turned around, putting his hands on Lulu’s arms. He bit on his lips then swallowed. Then, with ironic laughter, Jules pulled Lulu closer and wrapped his arms around. Lulu’s head was resting on Jules’s chest, and he pulled her even tighter.

“How could I lose you because of such an intrigue?” There was no difference between what he felt right now for Lulu and how he had felt about her when he met her the first time. There was a connection to Lulu he had never felt with anyone else than her. Lulu felt the same about him. He looked at her, then stroking a hair out of her face. He kissed her head, and the two looked at the vast dark sea. Waves splashing against the boat. For a while, the two were standing at the railing while he had his lips close on Lulu’s ear so that she could hear his breath. A feeling so intense as if they would try to fill in all the lost years in one moment. Lulu leaned her head on Jules’s chest, and she felt like coming home. Jules also wished that moment would never end. They both felt so much comfort in each other, and he wondered how such a misunderstanding could get two people to drift so far apart. He had spent his last thirty years with a woman but had never felt such a moment of comfort as he felt right now. He, too, had two grown kids, and their family life had slowly fallen apart after the kids had left the family home and he and his wife were living separated. His wife Jiê preferred living in the city centre rather than at the seaside, and they had hardly seen each other in the last years. Jiê was either travelling in Europe visiting their children or in her Bangkok apartment with friends.

Like they had never been separated when Lulu turned around, Jules pulled her closer and kissed her. So intense, Lulu almost forgot where she was losing herself in his kisses until they reached Jules’ cabin and early sunrise.

Lulu opened her eyes. Jules’s arms wrapped around her. She felt his body close on her like they were one. The early morning sunlight met her eyes, and Jules’s soft kiss touched her hair.

“Do you enjoy the morning view as I do?” The two were looking outside the bullseye from Jules’s master cabin. A smooth blue ocean with a rising sun in the East along the horizon.

“Insane, this is so wonderful.” Lulu was still breathless. Wrapped in silk sheets and Jules’s arms, she felt like in paradise. Jules rolled over and kissed her good morning. Whenever she was with Jules, she felt this intriguing feeling of harmony like nowhere else.

“Today, we will arrive in Singapur. I think you will go on land and take the day tour, don’t you?” Jules smiled at Lulu while already dressed in his Uniform. His shift started at seven a. m., and he had to be on time. They had a strict protocol for the management, especial at the bridge.

“Yeah, I think we leave at eleven o’clock.” Lulu was stretching herself, still covered in silk sheets.

“I would have loved to show you the city. I have some special places there. But, unfortunately, today, I am in charge, and we have meetings with the crew. But the evening, I am off.” Jules explained while he wished nothing more, just taking time off and spending the rest of the day with Lulu.

“How about tonight? We could have dinner. I know some beautiful spots in Singapore, where we could stay overnight, simple but lovely. We have two days here before we move on to Kuala Lumpur.”

“Wow, I book a cruise on a luxury boat, and then you ask me to a “beautiful simple spot” on land.” Lulu laughed.

Jules walked over and sat beside Lulu while stroking through her hair and kissing her.

“You will have more than enough time here on board to explore venues. So think about it and let me know. But this will be the most time off that I have here on this trip, and then I have a week off in Bali. So most of the daytime, I will be pretty busy.”

“I was just joking.” Lulu looked at Jules with a sweet smile. “Of course, I prefer spending the time with you only enjoying the simple things of life on the most basic spot on Earth rather than hanging here on board with a drink lamenting about old times with guests. Despite the group I am here with, they are gorgeous people.” Lulu looked at the blue ocean.

“So, you’re with me? I’ll pick you up here at seven, the time when you guys return from your trip.” Jules smiled.

“Can’t wait.” Lulu kissed Jules before he left the cabin. Time was short and precious.

*

Paula got up early, prepared an instant coffee, and sat in front of her laptop. She read an article about a Singapore-based charity, ShinyCoats, known for innovative production processes and helping fairtrade. Paula had previously contacted one of the organisation’s founders to contact her as she hoped to meet him during their two-day stay here in Singapore.

Walt came out of the shower with his steeled body, only a towel wrapped around his waist. Walking towards Paula, he kissed her good morning, stroking her hair. She looked up with a snappy face.

“And what are you up to today? I will meet this guy here later in the afternoon. I just got a reply. Do you want to join the meeting?”

“Well, I had a different idea in my mind? How about some romantic time along Sentosa Island, we could stay there overnight?”

“Didn’t you hear what I said? I want to meet this ShinyCoats guy from the charity. We won’t have time to get to that island then. We can do this romance thing when we are in Bali, don’t we? There we can have endless times.”

Paula pointed at some photographs with Elephant rides in Bali that popped up as an ad on her laptop screen. Walt also had thought maybe spending the morning a bit longer in bed and kissed Paula gently at her neck.

“Oh, I am not in the mood, Walt. Just let me go through this here. I can book this Elephant ride in the Resort for us if you like.” She pulled her head away and started replying to the ShinyCoats guy.

“Wow, is this how this trip is going to be? You hanging in front of your laptop looking for charity projects? I thought we would take this time for us to get clear about settling down.”

Walt was disappointed he had imagined a different reaction from Paula. He put some training stuff on and went to the cruise gym. He would try turning his anger into positive energy in the gym for the next two hours.

*

Danny woke up in his King size bed, stretching his body within the silk sheets and felt full of comfort. Still stunned by the cabin’s interior, everything looked so perfect. After taking a shower, he stood in front of the mirror, having some self-talk. “Today is the day.” So he was telling the face in the mirror. While others had booked sightseeing tours and beach parties for their stop in Singapore, he had scheduled a doctor’s appointment. He would use the two days for a bit of surgery that would help him to transform his life and leave the past behind. He got dressed and went to the deck for his breakfast. There was a small outside café that also served breakfast to guests. Paula and Nia were also sitting outside. Paula absorbed her research for ShinyCoats, while Nia wrote a blog post for her lifestyle blog. Reporting about last night’s events, the dinner, the piano bar, and of course, she served her other social media channels with stunning views from her breakfast table.

“Good morning, ladies!” Danny greeted the two girls. “This is what you girls do? Digging your head into your laptop screen, you should enjoy this one-shot sea view, ladies!” Danny swung his arms in the air, throwing his head back to strike a Diva-like pose near the railing. “Oh, this is my sky, my cool, my skin, my shining.” Danny enjoyed his pose for a view more seconds before he joined the girl’s table.

“So, how are you girls going to spend your Singapore time? Have you booked any exciting trips?” Danny asked.

“Well, I am going to meet the guy from this ShinyCoats project, and then we will see. I am sure we have a lot to discuss. “Paula finished her first cup of coffee.

“Oh, well, this guy probably has some insider tips on what to do in Singapore,” Danny replied.

“Yeah, I think so, too. We will see. Walt is not so excited. He wanted to go to one of those phoneys, tourist islands, exactly not my idea of a local Singapore night.”

“Well, I am invited to a party at Sentosa Island tonight, and I am going there. I can’t wait.” Nia was excited she had a special invitation for a party at a luxury resort. “I actually can bring a friend if someone is interested?” Nia asked with a shiny spark in her eye, and her lips pointed.

“We definitely won’t meet tonight but thank you, Nia. These phonies are so not my cup of tea. I wonder that you are going there.”

“Well, I would love to join.” Danny interrupted, “but I already have a rendezvous tonight.”

“Oh, you have a rendezvous?” Paula questioned, “Who is the lucky one?”

“Well, that’s a secret.” Danny did not want to share the real reason, but he would need to stay overnight for his surgery.

The girls finished their breakfast. Danny stayed a little longer and then decided to visit the boutiques on the first level where he had seen such stunning dress the day before when they had checked in. 

The boutique displayed designer, haute couture dresses. Danny couldn’t get enough of it. He loved such glitter, silky fabrics, and he went straight to the black Strapless gown with side split and sweep train, a dress designed by Scarlett Perla with a feather-trimmed décolté. Exactly the kind of dress he had dreamed of, and he already knew on which occasion this dress would have his premiere. The salesgirl came over with a smile on her face complementing the dress and its exclusive materials. 

“The figure-flattering silhouette of the gown highlights the natural curves.” The salesgirl put on her sales talent. 

“Oh, I love how it flares into this elegant sweep train with this knew-high side split.” Danny was ecstatic.

“Would this be the size of your girlfriend?” The sales assistant asked.

“My girlfriend?” Danny asked, surprised, then he flashed a smile. “Oh, my girlfriend, yes, it is a present for her, and yes, this fits her size a perfect 10!”

 Of course, the salesgirl could not imagine that this dress was not for another woman but for his new transformation, his new life that he was planning carefully and what this trip was for. He wanted to leave his old life behind and start fresh as Chloe. Therefore, he planned his surgery to transform his body and get some breast implants. When they would arrive in Bali, he would get some cosmetical corrections and then return as Chloe to Bangkok with a new life. As he had quite an androgen physical shape, his face also had some feminine features. Therefore, it did not need much makeup to look like a woman. Almost a year ago, he had started a Youtube channel with cosmetic tips and had built up quite an audience. No one had questioned if he was a woman, and he also had snatched a contract with a cosmetic company as ambassador. So now, he wanted to complete his female image by getting his body into the right shape with DD for his chest size. He planned to disappear on this travel and return as Chloe the Fashion/Beauty Influencer.

Danny purchased the evening gown and had the sales girl wrap it as a gift for his future self. Then, he returned to the cabin and placed the box in the cupboard. While Danny would have loved to try on the dress and shoot some photographs for his Instagram channel, time was short. He had to rush to pack a bag for his stay in the clinic.

Singapore – Exploring the city

At eleven o’clock, people left the cruise ship for their land trip. Paula and Walt went with a separate coach to the ShinyCoats organisation. Paula was highly excited, explaining to the taxi driver the reasons for their trip. Walt pretty pissed off, biting his tongue. He could not understand why they were now spending all day talking about a charity project.

Want to read the full story? Grab your book copy here DESTINATION DESIRABLE

books · Latest · Reading · short-stories

On the Star Clipper – part I

Chapter III from the book DESTINATION DESIRABLE

With the tour guide’s excellent advice, the three finally arrived safely at the port in Laem Chabang after a four-hour ride with a private coach. They stood in front of the Star Clipper. A vast white sailing yacht with a decoration in the spirit of maritime tradition.

“Wow, this is a sailing ship!” Danny stood there with an open mouth staring at the boat.

“Yeah, a Voilier traditional four mâts with 115 meters in length,” Nia looked at the sails; adventure was waiting for her eyes, “and 85 double cabins.”

“And a pool!” Lulu added with a smile on her face. She could not wait to lay at the pool, feeling her skin kissed by the sun a soft breeze.

*

Paula and Walt had just boarded the cruise, and Paula was already researching, surfing the internet. After she had stumbled about some nature project, she decided to stay in their cabin following her study on environmental and social issues in Asian regions. Not the idea Walt had how to spend the evening, but rather than starting a discussion, he decided to leave the cabin to get some fresh air on deck.

Danny was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, taking a critical look, then his mouth changed into a smile, and he did what he always found a bit of scary thing, talking out loud while being all by himself. But he told himself confidently, “You are getting there!” He then carried on unpacking his stuff. His cabin was quite spacious, the interior a mix between the comfort of maritime tradition and timeless luxury. He threw himself on the king-size bed and closed his eyes for a moment letting the past year review. Headlines that had run through the media appeared in front of him. When he opened his eyes again, he knew that he had made the right decision leaving it all behind. He was looking forward to the trip and his new fortune. He went to the bathroom to get ready for dinner.

*

Nia was so curious, and before she was unpacking, she wanted to see the whole ship. She got a quick introduction by the skipper who had welcomed her. They quickly discussed the project topics she would be writing. The skipper explained to her the winds for setting the ship at sail. She then moved on along the spacious teak wooden deck. She was breathing in the fresh air filled with sea salt, looking back at the city around the port. Nia passed by the open pool walking to the back of the ship.

Walt was standing at the railing, looking at the water and further beyond, trying to grasp the horizon when Nia joined him.

“Already inspecting the ship, Nia?” Walt asked.

“Yeah, it is fascinating. I had a welcome drink with our Skipper,” she smiled “well, I mean our Captain at the navigation bridge. He gave me a short introduction.” Nia could not bear a smile. “The guy looks more like a movie star than a skipper.” She laughed.

“Oh, well, you are single, aren’t you? So maybe that’s your holiday flirt?” Walt joked.

“Well, yes, if the guy wasn’t at least double my age.” Nia tweaked with one eye. ”Then for sure.”

“Oh, such a pity, but maybe you find one of the other 180 guests where one might be closer to your age range.” Walt laughed.

“Well, if I were looking for a flirt, I probably would find someone here, but this was not the purpose of the travel. I am not looking for a holiday fling.” Nia sighed, looking at the blue water, sky, and slowly sinking, setting sun.

“Oh, no holiday fling? How could I forget, for you, this is a business trip. You are actually at work here. A workplace where others make a holiday with fascinating views and stunning sunset. What a dream!” Walt was winding her up.

“Yeah, this scenery is priceless, and this ship. These sailings look so majestic, so vast. I have seen only this outdoor deck and my cabin, but the interior must also be impressive. I am excited about the restaurant tonight; it reaches over three floors.“ Nia looked forward to the dinner.

“I haven’t seen it yet, either. Paula immediately switched on her laptop, surfing the internet. She is already looking for the next project.” Walt explained.

“Ah, so for you guys, this is as well a business trip you are looking for new projects?” Nia asked.

“No, not really. I got an offer from the UN in London, and I want to settle in London. I have been around the world for the last ten years since I graduated. I had no job longer than two years in one country. So, I think for me it is time to settle somewhere. But Paula, I think she is more interested in moving on to a new project abroad. We wanted to make this trip to get clear about what we are going to.”

“Oh, wow! She is surfing the net for new projects, and you are watching the sunset on your own.” Nia summarised the relationship status.

“Mmmh, well, I am not watching the sunset alone, am I?” Walt smiled, looking at Nia. “Paula is the one who is missing out on this natural wonder, not me.”

Nia could understand that there comes a time when one wants to settle. She was also travelling a lot for her job, and she loved it, but she also knew the downside of travelling around the world. She knew that at some point, you wanted a place to belong.

“I understand, I also love travelling, but I also need some base, a place where I can go to feeling kind of home. For me, it also has the time come where I want to settle, and I am starting more thinking about getting a partner and family planning rather than some holiday fling or affairs.” Nia looked at the stunning sunset.

“So, when was your last relationship?” Walt asked.

“Well, the last guy I was with had an affair. It turned out that I was the affair. The guy was married. And, of course, he had no intention ever to change this. And I wasn’t just his only affair.” Nia swallowed.

“My kind of superpower, getting on the wrong guy. They are either married, cheat, turn out gay; there is always something.” Nia joked.

“Or are your double age?” Walt laughed. He laid his arm around Nia, hugging her. The two watched the sun slowly disappearing behind the ocean.

*

After unpacking, Lulu had taken a bath in her lushly appointed en-suite bathroom, which included features of marble surroundings as well as a dressing table. She was impressed by the interior of this beautiful spacious cabin: antiques, vintage Thai silks, Jim Thomson’s fabrics and a gorgeous reading nook.

She was now sinking into the lounge chair; her face was still covered with her fresh-up mask sheet and eye pads, looking like lemon wedges. The mask had to stay on for another fifteen minutes. In the background was playing some beautiful lounge music with Asian ambient sounds. At the side table, she had placed a glass filled with champagne. Lulu took a sip from the Dom Perignon, and she cheered to herself. Finally, she had made it happen to split from her husband and took the courage to start all over again. She took a second chance at her career and looked back at her past thirty years.

Her marriage had become a low-impact shimmy on a greyscale with vibrations of sadness, a monotonous everyday life filled with waiting for her hubby. Better said a waiting game for his phone call, when he would bring up some lame excuse why he could not make it. Lulu wasn´t sure about the time when they had been this happy picture-portrait family. These days had passed a long time ago. Since the kids had gone their ways, their daughter was at University, now at her finals, one more year, and she would start working as a lawyer, while her brother had stepped into his father’s career to become a movie director.

Lulu knew that her husband’s excuses were often long nights discussing new projects including spending the nights with new, aspiring, female talent half her age. Sometimes she did not know if this waiting game had just become a habit, a kind of addiction. Remembering when she had met her husband on the film set, the time she had been the young, promising talent. For her husband, the career had developed like an ageing vine, and he was still prominent in business, while for her, the profession had had an expiry day by having had her first child. In terms of technology and a change in the film industry, she now had the chance to come back with an offer to cast the main character in a new streaming show on Netflix. She had finally drawn a line under her marriage.

*

Lulu was standing at the majestic three-level Atrium Dining Room staircase, which featured single-sitting and open-seating dining. The open Atrium started at the Piano Lounge on the Main Deck with a spiral stairway hugging the Atrium’s perimeter, accessing retail shops, two decks of passenger cabins and, ultimately, ended at the centre of the Dining Room three decks below. An ivory-coloured piano positioned high above. Lulu had spied her table where Paula, Walt, Nia, and Danny were already seated. The group was sitting at a table together. The design inspired a festive atmosphere but without feeling intimidating. Lulu took one more deep breath to take in the whole ambience. Before she walked down the staircase, the ship’s surroundings were splendid, joining her group at the table. “Ah our beautiful Lulu,” Walt complemented Lulu while a Stewart was adjusting her chair.

“Oh, thank you, Walt.” Lulu smiled into the group, where everyone looked at their best after resting in their luxurious cabins and had taken the time to dress up for the welcome dinner.

“Thank you for giving me a seat at this star table.”

Placed at the table where the captain would later join and usually sit for dinner, including unique service. Almost no wish was unfilled. While reading the dinner card, their eyes lightened up with each line they read.

“Smoked Salmon and Caper Beery on Herbed Crisps, Eggplant Caviar topped with Salmon rose and Seafood Dim Sum with Plum” Danny read the Starters from the Dinner Card.

“Mmh, here we have wild sweet leaf salad from Isan with red ant eggs from Korat. Anyone who goes for the traditional Thai menu?” Nia was asking. Everyone at the table showed a quite irritated look with a smile on their faces.

“Ant eggs, seriously?” Paula was wondering, “What size do they have? They are going to beat the Caviar. I am just going to order it for the look of it.”

“You probably will need a zoom to identify the red ant eggs.” Danny was joking. “What size are they, and do they have these living ants here on board?”

“These ants are the most venomous insect in Thailand. They can be dangerous for kids as these ants have the ability, unlike other insects, to sting more than once, but usually, it just results in a trip to the school nurse. A sting from these might increase your temperature, and it swells, similar to a wasp sting, and it will cool down after a few days.” Paula gave her expertise on insects.

“And I do not think they have the living ants on board. These eggs are bought in bulks as they are a delicatessen here in Thailand.” She added.

“Well, I will go with the classic caviar, I guess.” Danny laughed.

“Me, too.” Lulu joined Danny’s choice. “I am not so experimental on food, to be honest.”

“Well, I order it, and you guys can have a taste if you like,” Paula suggested.

“Oh, that’s great!” However, Nia was not so convinced by the traditional Thai cuisine.

“Can I get your O-Tones for my article then? I can change your name if you like. But it would be great if I have authentic feedback about the whole cruise experience, including the Thai cuisine, of course.”

“That’s okay, you do not have to change my name.” Paula giggled. “I am happy to share my experiences with you.”

Of course, there was also a buffet, and apart from the menu, there were choices a la card.

“King River Prawns Tom Yum Soup modern style” Walt continued on the menu. “I wonder what modern style means?”

“Maybe the art they catch it, rather than how they prepare the dish”, Paula questioned. “This would be interesting how they treat these living creatures. I would feel much better knowing how they catch this seafood and if they are wild ocean living or if they are from such prawn farms filled with antibiotics.”

“Well, if you want to enjoy this dinner, you better don’t question these things.“ Lulu suggested. “Best you go for the vegan menu.”

“Yeah, you are right.” Paula laughed. “But the red aunt eggs are for the excitement when food becomes an adventure.”

They all cheered their glasses, ready for the feast.

“Yeah, I will go to the buffet, maybe having the chance of a plain simple burger.” He laughed.

The buffet exceeded anyone’s expectation from traditional Thai cuisine such as Thai steamed Red Curry with crab from Bang Taboon and seaweed from Andaman, organic Rice Berry rice, organic Jasmine Rice or Roasted Cherry Duck Breast with sweet tamarind sauce from Phetchabun to an international kitchen with spicy dishes like Chili Curry with Angus Beef Rib from Buriram. Yes, there was a simple dish like Burger with crisps as well. So no disappointment for Walt, and he returned triumphing to the table like he had hunted the beef himself.

“Oh, you are such a philistine!” Paula shouted, “We are on a Thai cruise with the most delicious traditional foods, and this is what you go for?”

“Yes, this is what I go for, some plain fare beef.” He grinned. “I feel like I am surviving on appetizers since we left London, some dim sum here, a crab pastry there. I need something sustainable once in a while.” He laughed. “I still have the whole week time to try each dish.”

They cheered their glasses again. “To a wonderful trip! How about we make a competition about the best Thai dish at the end of the week?” Paula suggested

“Oh, no. please, no competition here on board, I just want to enjoy and relax without any competition pressure or whatsoever.” Danny immediately intervened.

“Yeah, you are right. We are on holiday, for pleasure only.” Lulu agreed.

And at this moment, the captain joined the table.

“Only for pleasure and holiday.” The captain repeated.

“Well, these are some of my favourite words. I see I’m at the right time at the right table.” Looking around, Jules’s gaze suddenly stuck on Lulu’s eyes, and the two stared at each other. Lulu was starring in Jules’s eyes, eyes that were quite familiar to her and which she hadn’t seen since shortly after the Cannes festival almost thirty years ago.

“Lulu?” Jules swallowed. He usually knew all the guests’ names who were on board. As Lulu had registered with her common family name Heloise Richard which was still her husband’s family name Jules did not know that Heloise was Lulu.

“Yes, that’s me, Captain,” Lulu responded in a sharp tone of voice with a sweet smile.

The captain, Jules, was kind of perplexed for a short moment. This situation was nothing he had expected, and he was unsure how to continue the conversation to explain why the two knew each other. So far, he had avoided showing off his past reputation as a film star. His guests would mostly know him as a captain and sailor. He decided to continue with his regular introduction without explanation.

Meanwhile, the board program presented a performance of classical Thai dance followed by a cabaret — both allowing a short break for digestion. Finally, the dinner finished with dessert. A muskmelon parfait was with lavender ice cream served, a toddy palm cake and mango sticky rice.

The captain, Jules, told some little anecdotes about the cook, how they had met the first time and his passion for the sticky mango rice, which was not everyone’s favourite. He also explained the ship’s amnesties, the evening program, and the activities on board for the next day. In his charming voice and good looks, he had all the cruise guests’ attention the second he spoke. Lulu listened attentively, and she was still impressed by him. Jules looked stunning. He had been remarkably handsome in young years but even know the grey in his hair did not take a thing off him, it made him look even more attractive. He had aged like a good vine. Lulu had imagined any role Jules could have played, but she had never seen him as a cruise ship captain. But in his white dinner jacket just like thirty years ago at the Cannes Festival, the same feeling overcame her, like the day when she had first fallen in love with Jules when they were shooting for the “Celebrity” movie.

Read the full story here  DESTINATION DESIRABLE

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Bangkok 24 h

Chapter II from the book DESTINATION DESIRABLE

Twenty-four hours later, including an almost twelve-hour flight, Paula and Walt already spent the first impressive hours in Bangkok. They had kicked off the afternoon in the infinity pool surrounded by floating candles, champagne, and a sweeping view over Bangkok.

In the evening, they followed the invitation by the cruise organiser at the Bangkok welcome dinner, which would take place at the glasshouse with Cantonese culinary specialities. They would also meet some more guests who would join the cruise.

Ready for the welcome dinner, Paula and Walt walk down the hall. The hotel lounge with an international flair was busy. Like Bangkok itself, the city contrasts with action at every turn. From glamorous couples, tourists to global and local business people, others arrive to spend unforgettable days in extravagant luxury. While treating themselves in luxury malls, strolling through a sea of boutiques and markets, some prefer exploring local areas. From the marvel of gleaming temples, bustling Chinatown to visiting floating markets by boat and, of course, its’s famous nightlife with bars, nightclubs, lounges and exotic red-light shows, Bangkok never fails to amaze.

Also, Thailand offers excellent business opportunities for solid export and import companies and a rising start-up seen such as for rice, sugar, maise, rubber to electrical machinery, mineral fuels the city was also a great place for discussing business.

The glass house was decorated in a modern, clean chic style with huge glass fronts, an indoor garden and a water lane in the middle that split the restaurant into two main seating areas, one including a bar, and which were connected by a bridge. The waiter crossed the bridge and Paula and Walt followed towards the welcome group’s meeting point at the bar. A tall, woman with a brunette Brigitte Bardot inspired shag, dressed in a navy blue, floral, satin wrap dress turned around and welcomed the couple and introduced herself as Héloïse Lilou, a French actress better known as Lulu.

“Life is beautiful, isn’t it?” She asked with a charming smile pointing towards the indoor garden and the scenery that was behind the huge glass front, the flickering city lights fusing fairy-tale romance and cosmopolitan chic.

“Wow, indeed, it is!” Walt was astonished by the outlook, not just the beautiful brunette woman but also by the scenery she was pointing. He’s never seen such a skyline before.

“So impressive, spectacular!” Paula was standing there with her mobile in her hand, trying to capture the breath-taking moment with her camera.

The three were having their welcome cocktail while watching the astonishing scenery when another person, a mid-thirty something handsome guy with an outdated, medium-long hairstyle from the late 80s and probably a problematic past, joined the group. He introduced himself as Danny, a previous celebrity from London who had reached fame through a national casting show and made the headlines ever since. No matter what he managed to do, if it was a car accident into a sausage van, a new business in solar energy that had managed to make him millions, the media always knew how to tear him to pieces. Finally, he explained that he wanted to join the cruise to get away from it all and that he planned to spend a few months in a retreat after the cruise.

Paula and Walt agreed about how cruel the media sometimes could be, and they remembered some of the headlines about Danny.

A member of the crew, Sue, who would be the tour guide, joined the group, and they moved over to their table. The second round of aperitifs was served. Each member gave a short introduction and their motivation to participate the cruise. Almost everyone was at a cross-road. Lulu had just left her family, she had lived with her partner and their kids, who by now grown-up adults were going their own way. At the same time, her partner had found new adventures with some younger women. She needed a change of scenery. She explained she also had been offered a new role and wanted to take the time to prepare for the role.

Walt was impressed and he remembered some movies decades ago in which Lulu had played. “This sounds almost like one of the stories you played in the early eighties, didn’t you?” he asked. “What was the name of the movie “Celebration”, wasn’t it, the guy cheating on his wife, where you played the daughter who fell in love with this musician guy.”

“Oh, yes, this is ages ago. You remember that movie?” Lulu smiled. “This was the beginning of it all, one of the first movies that hit the box offices. In the movie, I played the loving couple with Jules and my film father was cheating and left the family.”

“I loved this movie!” Paula laughed. “This was the love story of the year. I remember at school. Every girl was in love with this guy, your film partner, Jules.”

Everyone laughed. “Oh, yeah, this was a time.”

“Guess I missed it.” Danny joined in. “But I have seen the movie, too. The story was incredible. You guys were so funny. I loved the movie, too.”

“This wasn’t just a love story in the movies, wasn’t it? So, you guys were together in real life, too?” Danny asked.

“Yeah, that’s true. I remember when we were at the Cannes Film Festival, together with where we got an award for the movie.” Lulu was reminiscing, but she did not want to go down memory lane right now.

“Well, this was a time, and shortly after, we broke up.”

Luckily, they were interrupted by a new member who would join the cruise, Nia. She was a blogger and would report about the cruise. She was also working on an environmental project collaborating with the cruise and other travel companies. The ” ClickATree ” project designed for tourists would allow each tourist to make an ecological impact. When booking the tour, they also provide a share to plant a tree. Participants could decide that a percentage of the travel price was added on top, covering costs to plant trees to create nature reservoirs within the region they travelled. Nia was also looking for further co-operations, and she would meet a new famous influencer from Bangkok who would help promote the campaign.

Impressed by the project, Walt supported the idea, making an environmental impact while travelling, and so was the rest of the group attracted to that idea. Finally, the dessert was served, a bomb of sweet creations from juicy mango, rice hearts, coconut crepe, just anything one could imagine, to indulge in, and satisfy one’s sweet tooth. The group decided to end the day in the hotel’s night club, known for its charming, diverse nightlife scene, awesome laser shows, and one of the world’s best clubs.

For the next day, Paula and Walt had booked a sightseeing tour through Bangkok while the three other cruise members, Danny, Lulu and Nia, had decided to take a local tour guide and explore the city by a TukTuk. Nia originally was supposed to meet the influencer to discuss their campaign, but the influencer cancelled the meeting at shorthand. The influencer was on a trip, and they rescheduled an appointment for a date after the cruise. Nia had planned two more days after the cruise before returning to London.

*

The views were impressive breath-taking on the 78th floor along the Mahanakhon Skywalk, standing on the glass tray at the height of 310 meters. Paula and Walt took some photographs and enjoyed the birds-eye view of the beautiful skyline below them. They then went on for a snack at the King Power Mahanakhon Sky Lounge, which offered a true escape from the busy city below before moving on back to the hustle of city life to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Sitting in a long crowded boat, they passed by the ships where people sold food, fresh vegetables, fruits, one of the oldest traditional ways of selling goods to customers. Paula felt like in a dream where she was living in a different century when sitting in such a boat would have been luxury. Floating through such dreamy scenery, through a maze of canals, the so-called “Khlongs”, and a sea of colourful fruits and vegetables, the contrasts of the city between ultimate modern skyscrapers, latest technologies and old traditions were hard to grasp. As major tourism attractions, such markets, of course, contributed well to Thailand’s tourism industry, one of the country’s dominant income sources.

*

Danny, Lulu, and Nia had followed the hotel’s recommendation and took their sightseeing trip via the traditional three-wheel vehicle; well, their vehicle was a more modern version of a motorised Tuk-tuk. A private tour with stops that also shows some hidden gems and the everyday life of Bangkok apart from typical tourist attractions.

Their first stop provided a stunning view of Wat Traimit; the temple is known for housing the 5.5 tonnes seating Buddha statue, a gold sculpture dating back to the 13th century before they headed to the temple itself.

Their ride continued to the market in Chinatown, a food hub packed with stalls, eateries, shops, and Chinese temples. They then crossed the Memorial Bridge over the Chao Phraya River, taking a lunch break. Next, they aimed for Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple complex famous for its reclining Buddha. A temple, also known as the birthplace of Thai massage.

Back on the Tuk-tuk, they followed along busy streets to reach the Golden Mount (Wat Saket), a man-made hill topped with a gold stupa. Again, a place with phenomenal outlook where they enjoyed a 360-degree view of Bangkok.

Eventually, they had taken a boat ride from Phan Pa Klong, enjoying scenes of local life along the canals. Their tour ended with a drink near the hotel. The group enjoyed a late afternoon in a small outdoor bar, and their tour guide told some anecdotes and what spots to avoid in Bangkok. He also strongly recommended taking the hotel shuttle to the port instead of a regular taxi. Bangkok’s taxi drivers were well known for inflated prices, overcharging their guests by not turning on the taximeter or taking unique routes that ended the double duration and, with this, the doubled price. The guide also mentioned the Entertainment shows, go-go bars and ping-pong shows in some infamous districts in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya. People would be scammed into the upper floor of the bar and not be allowed to leave until they paid a massive amount of a bill.

On the Star Clipper

With the tour guide’s excellent advice, the three finally arrived safely at the port in Laem Chabang after a four-hour ride with a private coach. They stood in front of the Star Clipper. A vast white sailing yacht with a decoration in the spirit of maritime tradition.

“Wow, this is a sailing ship!” Danny stood there with an open mouth staring at the boat.

Read the full story here

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Leaving London

Chapter I from the book DESTINATION DESIRABLE

Paula was looking at the picture displaying her and her boyfriend Walt. The afternoon at a friend’s home in Beirut in 2015 when a friend took a photograph, the weekend they had met for the first time. Paula was working as Social Worker in the Lebanon, and Walt worked on a Freedom project for the UN as Human Rights Officer. Both worked for three years on the same mission, and they shared the same love, Asian food. That’s how they had met in an Asian food store in Beirut.

In 2018 Paula was pregnant at the time, they had decided to move back to London, but later on, she had a miscarriage.

Paula now wasn’t sure if she would want another child. She had an offer for a new project, again in Lebanon. In contrast, Walt wanted to stay in England and hung on to family planning. He also was about signing a new contract for an environmental project with an office in London.

Standing at a crossroads, both had agreed to take a holiday to get a clear mind before deciding.

So, Paula had just booked an exclusive cruise around the Gulf of Thailand with the Seven Seas Explorers on the Star Clipper.

A trip that would start in Bangkok move on to Thailand, along Port Klang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Singapore to Jakarta, Java, Indonesia, with the final destination in Bali. They would spend the weekend before in Bangkok and with an extension week in Bali, where they would enjoy a week of chilled Island and beach life to allow their souls to recharge.

Paula was packing, she had travelled to many countries so far, but it had often included moving. So, packing for a simple three weeks holiday was different this time. But she was ready, and in the evening, they would depart.

Walt had arrived. He was arranging the last bits still on the phone, making arrangements about the ongoing work offer. The taxi was already waiting outside, and finally, he made it at 7:30 pm. They were ready, together on the way to the airport.

“You remember the last time we sat together in a cab?” Paula asked. Walt was looking deep into her eyes. He did indeed, and it hadn’t been a fun ride.

They had been on their way to the Beirut airport as Walt had a trip to Kabul and Paula wanted to accompany him. As they travelled through the back streets, bullets smashed against the car’s windows. A sniper had had his focus on them. They had sat in a bulletproof vehicle, but they were aware that the number of shots the car could take before the glass would break was limited. One of Walt’s experiences led to the decision to move back to England.

Bangkok 24 h

Twenty-four hours later, including an almost twelve-hour flight, they already spent the first impressive hours in Bangkok. They had kicked off the afternoon in the infinity pool surrounded by floating candles, champagne, and a sweeping view over Bangkok…

Want to read the full story? Grab your book copy here

Latest · Poems · Quotes

Sweet Valentine

When his sunset appears in her timeline

It’s sunrise on her horizon

The very spark that fills her heart

A light through the day, before chimera enlightens the dark

Her yearning for belonging

A place in his arms, the look in his eyes

To be her home

Her paradise

with saccharine love

Latest · Reading · short-stories

But first, coffee!

from the book Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

A week had passed. On a Friday afternoon, Pippa picked up Tess from the airport and Tess couldn’t stop talking about the amazing time she had had with Gibson who was now heading off to New York where he had to discuss a case with one of his mobster clients. Pippa laughed about who Tess called gangster some people from well-known institutions. They arrived at their Belgrave home and Pippa joined Tess for dinner.

Early Saturday morning Tess walks over to the kitchen. While preparing her first cup of coffee she is checking the latest news with a bad surprise. She reads the headline of the front post, Asian multimillion merger with global network failed. She puts the coffee down than shouting out loud: “This son of a bitch!”

The text below stating Ms Wonder Woman enjoying her Mediterranean cruise and had a blast on Tuesday nights VIP party in Magaluf. Followed by party pictures and a picture from the dinner with Marcos. Below the line stating. Just a business dinner? Jackie’s lawyer Marco who defends her in the Asian Media companies prostitutes Scandal and Miss Tess who arranged the merger between Asian Media and NW.

Tess is jumping in a square while she reads the full article that says that the network has backed off from the deal because of leaked information and obvious taking advantage of insider information. Tess is speechless. The picture shown from the dinner are the pictures she had been posted on her Facebook account. But she could not believe that any of her close circle would have done that. Disappointed she walks over to Pippa knocking at her door and. A half sleeping Pippa with a sixties-I -just-woke-up look opens the door.

 “Need some coffee or egg?” Pippa asks.

“No!” Tess replies shortly.

 “Anything else missing?” Pippa keeps asking. Tess is again answering with a no.

Tess holds her phone with the article under Pippa’s nose.

“Look at this, the Network rejected the deal because of this nice article.”  Pippa looks at the party pics.

 “Who the hell did that, where do they have the dinner pic from, that’s the picture you posted to me, didn’t you?” Pippa is now fully awake, and anger rises in her.

“Exactly, I only posted it on Facebook, privately to you and a view more. And I do trust them all. None of them would leak it, and certainly not to the press, I have worse photos from all of them.” Tess thinks further.

“Well, I guess at least one will sit with his greatest pleasure reading this article, Ryan, he never liked me on those deals.” Somehow, she has a sense that he would be really the only person who would love to see her failing a deal and wonders.

 “I wouldn’t be surprised if he has anything to do with it!” She shouts out. “Damn! With this scandal I can look for another job! Prostitution within media station who promotes projects on social welfare and poverty in far eastern regions.  But I don’t believe this is true! I know Eileen, she leads that Media agency, this cannot be.” Tess is upset.

 “Wow, this is really at high stakes, what are you going to do about it?” Pippa asks.

“I will talk to Eileen and then, yes, contact my new best friend who I have jiggery poker on boat trips with, Marco!” Tess responses snappy. “Yeah, that could be an idea, he might be the right lawyer for that.” Pippa replies cynical with a smile. “A dinner with your boyfriends business friend can be a real crime nowadays. I’m sure you are in good hands with him.” Pippa continues.

 “Yeah, posting pictures on Facebook! They did not get those pictures legally, these were private pictures, taken on a private location. I wonder how they got them. Someone is trying to frame me, and I bet I know who.” Tess still upset.

“Ryan’s girlfriend, the Editor in Chief of that paper who published this bullshit first!” Tess shouts. “I don’t get it, what’s her interest in ruining this Asian Media channel? They really do great work on woman work force and environmental issues in Asia.”

What’s her interest about it, to screw you?” Pippa asks. “Well, being with Ryan might not be such triumph as it seems. Maybe she found out that it is rather disappointing being with him than an asset to have! Well she should know, who screws me gets it twice as bad back.” Tess gets back to normal.

“Okay honey I got to make some calls, to sort this out and find a new investor. I guess you are busy, too, aren’t you? You have the new project running and you are involved in the Award event planning, aren’t you?” Tess asks while taking a sip of her coffee.

“Yes, I have to make comparisons for all the offers and prepare bids.” Pippa replies. “Oh, I need to do this as well. I need to find a good fit!” Tess says walking back to her flat and continues her work.

“I wish I had an app for that an it would take me only one click.” Tess swarms. When Tess was upset, she really reached her high on inspiration and her ideas were just flowing. An app that was a great idea, Pippa thought. This was something she could easily program, and it was for both one for finding investors this one she could use for her study project and she could use that basic idea as well for her job for managing those merchant offers, that was a great idea. She immediately started some research for all essentials necessary for finding investors.

By Sunday evening she had the first version ready, knocking on Tess door. She joined Tess for dinner, the two ordered Chinese and Pizza and Pippa encouraged Tess to download the prototype of her app, helping her to find a new investor. Tess was screaming for joy.

 “That is amazing, darling, this brings up really good sources. Let’s get in touch with media one. I think Marcos knows the CEO, let’s play our jiggery poker, as we do it, even we don’t do it, so we can use the whole story to make something out of it.” She dials Marcos number who picks up the phone.

“Hey, Tess how are, you, I hope you are not hiring prostitutes again, don’t you?” Marcos jokes.

 “No, I moved on to hiring IT programmers, they work more decent at night and pay their taxes.” Tess replies.

 “OK, good, my dear, I see you make better choices now, don’t you?” Marcos asks.

“Well, I try my best to keep it legal.” Tess says.

“So far, I have some information about your lovely ex, who seems to be a key figure in this whole thing, and I promise you to get him. But the deal is probably gone I think there is nothing to get the Network back on.” Marcos replies.

“Yes, I know, this is why I am calling! I am looking for a new investor, and actually, my neighbor programmed an app for this, something else we need to talk about as this works amazing. We came up to Media One now, and I think they are really a good match.” Tess introduces her plan.

“I would love to have your advice on it, and to ensure we won’t experience another blow like with the network.” Tess says.

 “Yes, leave it to me, I know them quite well, I will figure it out and let you know, but yes, this is an amazing fit, well researched!” Marcos complements.

“Thanks to that app!” Tess replies, “I would not have thought of it to be honest.” Tess confesses.

“Yes, that’s excellent we have to discuss this further, I will get back to you as soon as I know more.” Marcos says and they put down the phone. Tess turns to Pippa.

“Congrats, darling, he will figure it out, I am sure we get a new deal and he is interested in the app! I guess you’ll be set for the year, financially” Tess hugs Pippa and fills some champagne glasses.

 “Wow, then I can kick my super part-time job with this asshole, yeah!” Pippa throws in.

“Well, darling, I would suggest you, to hang in there, if you do that app for that agency you really can make yourself a name for it. You got to overcome that bastard. He got all the contacts you need. You have to make use of that. I don’t know how he does it, but he is really good at that.” Tess advices.

“Yeah, you’re right. I will suggest him to run this whole process through the app.” Pippa agrees.

“Good girl!” Tess compliments. “Oh, and that coming from the badass girl?” Pippa jokes.

 “Well, good girls are bad girls never caught.” Tess replies then adding “And have a good lawyer.” She smiles and the two cheer their champagne glasses.

 “Let’s chill and cheer!” Tess says and the two throw themselves on the sofa, turning on the TV and watching an episode of “Dancing with the stars.”

Read the full story here Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

books · Reading · short-stories

Nights out, Charity & boat trips

from the book Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

A week later, Pippa was sitting on her study project a case study for a new female tech gadget while clicking some likes from Tess party pictures and a sunny day on her cruise. The pictures looked amazing and she could almost get jealous, but Tess really deserved this break and the two looked so happy together. Pippa’s messenger popped-up. “Hey, how are you?” Brendon, the study colleague who had joined the Java Programming course the week before a course Pippa took as a minor subject in addition to her design studies. Brendon had previously studied in San Francisco and had just lately moved to London.

 “Hey, hanging on this marketing strategy for my nature products, what’s up?” Pippa writes back.

“Uh, on a Friday night?” He asks.

 “Well, yes, on a Friday night, when else?” Pippa replies.

“Wow, yeah, you are pretty busy I’ve seen. How is your new part-time job?” Brendon asks.

 “My, new job? Don’t remind me!” Pippa writes “Not on a Friday, night, please!” she adds.

“And what are you doing on a Friday night?” she asks. “Chatting?” he replies.

 “Oh, yeah, obviously, and anything else?” Pippa questions.

 “Well, I got an invitation for the Icetank party tonight, I was wondering if you want to join? Alexa will be there, too she was asking if you might like to join?” he adds a smile.

“Being spontaneous? Yes, why not.” Pippa confirms the invitation, the Icetank parties are always amazing and the invitations are always very limited handed mostly to the It-people and the celebrity kind of crowed.

“Ok, ten o’clock, I pick you up?” Brendon asks.

“Yep, sounds great!” Pippa writes with a blink.

 “Cool.” He replies.

Pippa quickly jumps under the shower. She puts on her Vata dry oil an Ayurveda oil with almond and basil to re-vitalize a little. She was almost falling asleep as she was sitting on her study.

Now standing in front of her open walk in wardrobe she has quickly to decide what to wear, dress or trousers? No question, she puts on the new Lipsy trouser with a white blouse combined with a lace top underneath and her high heels with the red sole.

The doorbell already rings. “I am coming one sec!” She shouts. Taking off the shoes again to get quicker to the door.

“Oh, hey Brendon, time passed so quick, already ten, is it?” She asks.

“Yes, it’s already ten.” He says with a smile.

 He’s looking damn good, Pippa thinks, and can’t help to bite her lips, she swallows than in a stuttering voice. “Yes, I will be ready, give me a minute.”

She still has no make-up on and rushes into the bathroom and has just time for a mascara. She gets all her stuff together, grabs her coat than stops in the corridor with a critical look in the mirror and quickly puts some lipstick on. She turns around looking at Brendon: “Ready!” she says.

“Wow, you are looking beautiful, let’s go.” He replies, and they walk over to his car and make their way to the Icetank at Covent Garden.

Brendon and Pippa are standing on the buffet chatting with Alexa who takes a refill for the empty champagne classes. Her boyfriend Hendrik, the initiator and sponsor of the party one of the most popular and elitist events in town held once a year but who is on a business trip in Asia, so the party is on Alexa’s patronage. “I just welcomed our Russian special guests you know Victor and his precious wife Anastacia? I will introduce you later to them, they are responsible for the draw that we will hold at midnight. You won’t believe the first prize. Actually, you might want to help me to get some more tickets out. You moving your sexy ass through the crowed, is going to double the charity’s revenue.” Alexa jokes.

 “Or triple it.” Brendon laughs while taking a look at Pippa’s backside.

 “Well okay, I see the conversations go flat here, so let me help you out, darling.” Pippa replies and smacks her hip on Alexa and they all have a good laugh.

Pippa starts giving out some tickets and the people are very generous. They buy tickets in total from 500 to 1000 pound per couple at least. Pippa talks to a Chrissy a US model who Pippa had met on her last holiday in Ibiza who currently is on a Europe trip with her boyfriend an international lawyer who also has to do some business in Brussels.

“Oh, let’s meet next week, I really would like some advice on our new apartment, you got such great style Pippa, I would love to go for a shopping tour with you.” Chrissy suggests.

 “Of, course sweety, I’m quite busy, apart from my study I just started a new part-time job and you cannot believe what kind of asshole I have to work for. I will make some space for an afternoon, a shopping tour with you and nice dinner would be lovely.” Pippa agrees and they set a date.

Pippa turns around and looks straight into the eye of exactly the asshole she was just talking about.

“Good evening Mr.” she pauses. “Oh, Toby, what pleasure to meet you here.” Pippa forces herself to a smile.

“I wonder, what someone like you is doing on this party.” He then looks at the draw. “Ah, you are working here, of course, I would doubt you ever being on the invitation list of that event.” Toby comments with the utmost condescending look at Pippa.

“Well, I’m sure you want some draws supporting the charity, helping some less fortunate people who did not grow up with all the advantages you have, don’t you?” Pippa asks pretending a sweet smile on her face. Knowing that he must have tricked himself into this party, probably by stealing his boss’ invitation or any other kind of scam. Knowing that buying even one single ticket of the draw would hurt his empty pockets. He was the kind of guy who everyone new came from a low social background who tried too damn hard to play like he was a rich guy. With his whole attitude so overdrawn and who had the generosity of a small man with his biting marks on everyone he could not imagine could have a much better fortune than himself. Exactly like he was now standing opposite Pippa trying to make her small with every word that came out of his plebeian mouth not even knowing that for her this was just a favor, a small gesture to her friend.

“Well, I take one, yes, to support the less fortunate people like you.” Toby demands with his bold lip. Pippa puts a smile on.

 “Just one?” Knowing how expensive the tickets are and knowing that he talks much bolder than his pockets are. “Oh, come on Toby, no one, went under ten here, I am sure you want to be on top of the sponsor list, don’t you?” Pippa keeps teasing.

“Of, course, then give me ten.” He strikes a pose and continues in his arrogant tone of voice.

“Sure, that’s a five than.” Pippa smiles. “Toby opens his purse and pulls out a fifty pound note.

“Oh, honey, I mean five thousand, it is fife hundred per ticket. That’s a problem?” Pippa asks.

“Are you sane, are you putting this money in your own pocket, if you want to rip me off, you got the wrong one.” He grabs Pippa’s arm.

 “I will report you, that you tried to rip me off.” He drags Pippa over to one of the security guards.

“This girl tried to get money out of me by selling me overpriced draw tickets. She demanded five thousand pound. She’s a criminal, who is responsible for this draw?” Toby lifts his nose, looking around. Even the security guards know who Pippa is and they know the price of the draw. They hardly can hide their laughter.

 “Well, yes, leave this to us, we will take care of that.” The guard pauses.

“Mistake.” He puts his hand in front of his face to hide his bursting into laughter. “Go back to your more important business talks.” The other guard suggests.

“Well, thank you.” Toby, nods and turns around disappearing back in the crowed.

“So, you little criminal!” The guard claps on Pippa’s shoulder “how could you?” They burst into laughter. Meanwhile the other guard informed Alexa who is already on her way and joins the three with a tablet of champagne glasses in her hand.

 “Need a drink?” she asks. “Who was this asshole? How did he got an invitation to the party?” Alexa looks at Pippa.

“He is the asshole, I have to work with at my new part-time job for the One Event agency.” Pippa explains.

“Jesus, and who is he?” Alexa keeps asking.

 “He must have taken the invitation from Sarah the director, he does her mail.” Pippa suggests.

“Well, thanks for the entertainment.” Alexa cheers the classes.

“Let’s chill and cheer. I’ve seen you made already over a million in the first half hour, with the draw. Unbelievable. Take a break and watch out better, that you don’t hit another of such low puns.” Alexa jokes and the two walk back to meet some guest from Asia.

An hour later the tombola is announced together Alexa and Pippa present the winner and the prizes. The first price goes to an Italian couple who just lately had married. They are screaming out of happiness when they hear their name. They win a week’s cruise on the superyacht Joy.

The turmoil let go and the evening gets a bit quieter Brendon comes over to Pippa.

“Wow, you are pretty busy, what a prize, a honeymoon on the Joy, I wish would win that.” He smiles at Pippa.

 “Yes, that cruise is amazing.” Pippa agrees. They both walk over to the dancefloor the music has slowed down and they have a dance together. As she leans her head on Brendon’s, which feels good by the way, looking over Brendon’s shoulder, Pippa sees how a guy disappears through the front door, the shadow of Toby. By now he must know that Pippa was not just a servant on the party and Pippa senses that this will have quite an impact on her work with Toby at her part-time job and probably not a positive one and she knows that she better puts on her knight’s of armor next time she enters the office. But for now here on Brendon’s shoulder she can rather strip off and she turns her head around Brendon is looking at her, coming closer with her head, she looks into his beautiful shiny eyes and then she can feel his lips touching hers and she get’s lost in a long kiss. He is pulling her a little tighter and they dance away in the rhythm of the night.

*

Waking up in Brandon’s Chelsea apartment. The day couldn’t start any better. Brandon was still sleeping. Pippa hushed out of the bed, grabbing the jumper on the floor, Brandon’s, pulling it over and walking barefoot over to the kitchen to make some coffee. Secretly she loves the instant Nescafe coffee and she knows despite there is a bright selection of Nespresso on the shelve that every English habitant had a hidden Nescafe glass somewhere in their kitchen shelve. And there it was, Pippa takes a tablespoon of Nescafe and waited for the water in the cattle to heat. She takes a look out of the window starring in the flat opposite the street. She sees how a couple is arguing, an older man with a British look in his morning robe and a somehow younger latin looking woman heavily gesticulating, than the men is walking toward the woman hitting in her face. He looks over to the window and seconds later the curtains are pulled to cover the window. Pippa is shaking her head while peering the hot water on her coffee. This was the kind of relationship that was an absolute taboo to her, but some woman would take just anything. The woman surely was capable to make her own money but instead she would accept that to live a good live. If any man would hit her in the face she would be so gone if she would not even hit first.

Pippa nipped on her coffee checking her email, she had received a text message from Tess who had had her own kind of magic dinner night.

Tess’s new boyfriend Gibson had invited Marco and Letitia to a dinner night on the boat. Marco was in politics and Letita a known journalist, the two were together for a long time. Gibson and Marco new each other from old times as they had studied at the same University Stanford. Some of Marco’s clients were high ranking politicians as well as celebrities and during the dinner, he had told his anecdotes from his latest case one of those prominent divorces. Probably one of the reasons why he would never get married he said. Some couples have contracts you would not need to get married with that kind of contract in the first place. But unfortunately, this couple had not such a contract. The guy an actor had married one of those Latin girls and would now need to pay a hell of money but of course Marco tried his best to keep the guy’s Millions together. The woman was much younger and had only married the guy for money and now wanted the divorce. She claimed violence from his side and betrayal that he would cheat on her. But in truth she was the one who used every opportunity when the guy was on set or traveling and had been seen with some other guys. She also was friends with one woman who was known for a divorce scandal where the truth had revealed that the woman had made up all allegations. This was the situation Marco had now to prove that his client was the victim and not his wife. Which was not easy as she was so shrewd, but he had a strategy, as Ms Olivera was not the actor’s first wife. Whereas he had reputation and history of woman but none of them had ever reported any violence. So, his strategy bringing them up in court as witnesses was part of his strategy while the actor felt quite embarrassed about the situation meeting all of the woman again. But this was still better than losing it all to this woman. Tess could understand she would not like to meet all her ex-lovers again. But Marco found it kind of exciting.

 “Wow, I will meet all Hollywood’s beauties and some other of the World’s top models, he had had them all!”

 A comment that was followed by a side-punch from his girlfriend sitting next to him.

“I will join you on each of them when you interview them.” Letita suggested not all, too serious. “Actually I like the idea, I could make some contact which could get me some good interviews to write about, would you mind, darling?” She teased.

“Ah, here there is the synergy of our relationship. Of course, my sweetheart knows her own way how to get her slice of the pie.” He snugged a kiss on her cheek.

“My win of the case on the front side of our number one newspaper and media cover at best times, is then mine, isn’t it, sweety?” Marco looked at Letitia and they both couldn’t hide a smile and they all burst into laughter.

They were really the perfect couple, Tess thought, and she exchanged a look with Gibson who pulled her a little closer for a long kiss.

They all had another bottle of champagne before everyone went off in their cabins.

Tess had sent beautiful pictures from a Majorcan coast. They had set the sails in the morning and would be in a little bay in Paguera in the afternoon where they had another dinner with some of Gibson’s friends. They had arrived in the afternoon and Tess had jumped straight from the yacht into the blue ocean. They had spent an amazing candle-light dinner with a private piano concert and had returned at their yacht at around ten. The next day was a short turn to Magaluf where they had an official party to attend from one of Gibson’s business partners a massive pool party including caviar, champagne and VIP’s from all over the world. Also, Chrissy and her husband had joined the party.

Read the full story here Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

books · Latest · Reading · short-stories

New Beginnings

from the book Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

A week had passed. Pippa had worked all week on the designs for an event agency who had planned a massive opening party in spring. Pippa had created the whole concept including the Artwork. These were the kind of jobs you could get on the internet. You would work like a hundred hours not knowing if the client finally approves the work and if he did you would end up with a few hundred bucks paying a tenth of what the work would be worth.

Pippa was proud on her piece of work and it had been approved. But these jobs would not be enough to keep her running alive during her study and she would not have the time to work non-stop on a project she also had to do the homework for the study. She also had applied for a part-time job with one of the most prestigious event agencies in London. She would start in two weeks. The job was paid well for a student job, enough to pay the rent and avoiding the risk of starving. Tonight, she had planned to go for dinner with Tess, and later on, they would meet some friends in a bar.

Tess and Pippa had enjoyed their dinner at the Arcadia, a colorful restaurant with Italian food. They were at their Tiramisu and a cup of cappuccino while Tess were reporting from her last date that she got through her dating app. The first date had been a nightmare, but the latest guy in her dating series somehow had blown her away. She was sitting there full of excitement:

“We went to this place near Lancaster gate, the new restaurant Fire. He had been waiting there already on my arrival, but I did not even recognize him. So, I had taken a seat at the bar and ordered a Martini. After ten minutes I started texting him, where are you? And he wrote back, I am already here I am waiting for you, I am the man who is sits next to the window near the open fire-place.”

 “Wow, you did not recognize the guy?” Pippa was laughing.

 “No! He was wearing a suit and on those pictures on that app he had been wearing more casual T-Shirts and sunglasses.” Tess laughs.

 “Was it a disappointment without sunglasses or does he look that good?” Pippa questions with a bright smile on her face.

“He is handsome, damn handsome, he looks amazing – he actually is amazing.” Tess couldn’t stop she was absolutely impressed by the guy.

Tess had had her date on Tuesday with Gibson and they really had enjoyed it. He was one of those financial sharks who worked for one of the prestigious financial companies. They had met again just the day before and had spent the night together. She had left his apartment on Belgravia this morning as he had been heading off to a business trip.

Tess was sitting opposite Pippa flying on cloud seven and swarming about Gibson like a teenager. They both giggled while Tess were talking what he had done to her last night. Gibson had also sent Tess an email just before she had left the house to meet Pippa saying: “I hope you give me a reason to come back.”

The two women finished their drinks and moved on to meet their friends Michelle and Alexa at the Lobby Bar at the foot of The Strand. A shiny light filled space with classy drinks and an even more classy clientele. The four spent a sophisticated time out. As they haven’t seen each other since the last semester they had a lot to tell. All of them had had major changes in their relationships and were now single except Alexa she had just gotten engaged flashing off her ring and was about to marry in summer. Michelle was already flirting with one of the guys on the neighbor couch while Alexa, Tess and Pippa disappeared on the dance floor.

By the early morning hour around five Tess and Pippa arrived at their apartment house standing on the corridor. ”I will see you tomorrow?” Tess murmured while leaning at the door.

 “Yes, good idea, or maybe the day after tomorrow, in case I sleep a little longer.” Pippa grinned than opening her apartment door and disappeared.

The weekend had past and Pippa was sitting on another project for the event agency she worked online and was on the last edits as the deadline was set for five pm in the afternoon. She had worked out the whole marketing plan, including the graphical parts, venues, contacts and much more. So, her rent was saved for this month.  The following day university started again, and in the afternoon, she had her first day at her new job at the prestigious event agency. The receptionist opened the door for her, and she got introduced to the team. Two girls both around their early thirties, one from South London the other girl was speaking in an Eastern block country accent. The head of digital was not in, like most days he would delight with his absence. Last, but not least, Pippa got introduced to the Digital director’s assistant who on the other side would shine with his presence even more. He would be the one Pippa would work closest with to her delight which she already knew the moment he shook her hand with such a soft arrogant, dismissively handshake.

 “Welcome Pippa, we are already expecting you I got lots of projects already waiting for you, show us how you will delight us here.” Toby the assistant pointed to his desk. “Well, you might want to have a seat.”

Pippa could only feel how her stomach acid rushed up and she swallowed it down. Yes, this was exactly what she was looking for; working with the asshole assistant.

“Thank you, Toby.“ She smiled. “Nice to meet you, I am so excited.”

Pippa took a seat and Toby started explaining his role, since when he was in the company and what important work he was doing, which prestigious clients he worked with and that Pippa’s forerunner had been from the Netherlands and had returned to his study and he wasn’t really sure if Pippa had what it takes to talk with his important clients.

“But we will see, I have a number of projects in mind you could work with and then we will see where you fit best.” Toby suggested. Pippa agreed in a friendly manner and repeated.

“Yes, well, let’s see what fits best.” She was impressed what asshole this guy was, how someone that age could talk with such arrogance and she was wondering what his capability was apart from talking bullshit. It seemed like as more asshole the people to work with, the better the pay. Pippa forgot about the thought to simply go for another job as it was hard to find a job that fitted to the hours and that was paid that well. Otherwise she would need to ask her father to support her with her living costs which she wanted to avoid under all circumstances. She was so glad not needing to ask him to support her, despite of course he would pay her lots of extras that made life damn comfortable and allowed her to live in such an area. She would rather have to find a way how to get along with this assistant director. Toby kept talking himself into heaven. In between he was looking at Pippa.

 “You are in your third year of your design studies, aren’t you?”

“Yes, and in programming as well.” With her proud voice.

“Very good, I need your help with this than.” Toby nodded. “We are working with a designer and programmer they are specialized in this and I need a list of all those activities and the payments.  Can you work with excel?” 

Wow, what an eloquent question, Pippa was stunned sitting on her chair, trying to fake her politeness with a smile.

 “Excel? What is this?” she asks jokingly. “Well, we do a lot of calculation, what did you study?” Toby was asking with his missing sense of humor.

“I was just joking, it is like you ask a drawing student if he knows a pen, isn’t it?” Pippa replies.

 “Like a pen?” Toby repeated. He was lacking the link to Pippa’s comparison and she thought, let it be.

 “Well, yes, I am quite familiar with excel, Toby. I work daily with the program, for calculations, forecasts, budget calculations, things like that.” Pippa explained and couldn’t hide her non-excitement about calculations.

“Good, we will see.” Toby replied. “But entering some data shouldn’t be too difficult, I guess.” He commented. “So, well I have a meeting now. You will come tomorrow afternoon. Here is what you can start with, you will sit at the side to Rebecca at the reception, she will show you the computer.” Toby finished.

Pippa couldn’t believe her luck about this new job. This was going to be like working in hell. She said good bey and left the office texting Tess: “Ready for a drink? Meet me at the Kay’s Bar!”

A Victorian bar in South Kensington that somehow had become Pippa’s second home during the last summer semester.

“Will be there at around six. I’m with a client here.” Tess replied.

“See you, there. Drinks waiting.” Pippa wrote.

Pippa was on her second Martini when Tess arrived.

“Hi sweety, how is it going, you are impressed by your new job as I see aren’t you?” Tess asks ironically.

“Yeah, I’m so impressed, you can’t believe what kind of asshole this assistance guy is who I have to work with, unbelievable, a total sexist!” Pippa states with anger.

“Well, you better get used to this, when you enter the working sphere, that’s the first thing they will pick on, after all it is all about competition, honey.” Tess tries to calm Pippa down. “You have no idea what I experience with my colleagues even in our law firm, half of the energy goes into fighting against our colleagues. Jim lately sued Kathrin for dealing with one of her clients and that’s within our own firm. Imagine that!” Tess keeps going.

“How do you get through that?” Pippa asks. “Every morning, when I look in the mirror, I tell myself, it’s best time. You can do this, if you want to drive a Maserati, you better be bitch.” Tess said.

“You say what?” Pippa laughs out loud.

“Yes, that’s what I tell myself every morning, and it works.” Tess says, “and don’t take things personal, darling. That’s rule number one. People don’t do all this because they are against you, they do it because they are for themselves.” Tess continues.

 “Well, I was thinking changing this job, looking for another one, but this again takes time and I am in my final year now, so I don’t want to waste too much time on job hunting.” Pippa says.

“You know most of these bricks are just insecure or feel threatened by you in some way, that they might don’t appear that smart. That’s the main reason why people bully. There is always the one, the one asshole. Get your own strategy how to get along with those idiots, you will find your way. This event company is good for you to work with. Rise above it, just think about the money and know your why, your study, you are not doing this for him! You do it for yourself!”

They both have another drink and change the topics. Tess is again reporting the details and latest news about her new lover and they are big. “He asked me for a boat-trip. Can you imagine?” Tess giggles.

“A boat-trip?” Pippa asks and was astonished by that idea as most guys would simply ask for a weekend-trip to the country-side.

“Yes, he suggested a turn from Mallorca to Ibiza, he has an invitation on a party in Magaluf, one of his friends is throwing a party there. It sounds amazing and I really would love to go there, but I have this case with that merger running so I don’t know if it is a good idea to take the whole week off.” Tess says hesitating.

 “Well, come on, you are almost through with this case, can’t your associate do this paper stuff, you will be back at the opening day.  Imagine what a great time you will have there, go for it, girl!” Pippa keeps motivating her as she worked so hard since the break-up and really deserves a good break.

“Yeah, you are right, it is just the paperwork that needs to be sorted and the form of order sought is through already, you’re right. I should go for the trip.” Tess agrees with a big triumphing smile on her face. “I’m going.” Tess was working along on a merger between a global media company and an Asian production company and it had taken her endless nights to get the deal finally together but it was all set and it seemed like it was never the right time for taking time off for a holiday, so if it wasn’t now, then when.

Read the full story here Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

books · Reading · short-stories

Between the years

from the book Blend 37 – Pippa Bow

Pippa arrived at her Belgrave apartment. She knocked at her neighbor’s door. Tess, her neighbor opened.

“Oh, Pippa, Merry Christmas, you are back, that’s great!” Tess looked at Pippa but she did not seem very happy.

“Hey, how are you, do you want to come over and we have a chat and a glass of vine?” Pippa asks.

“Oh, yes, or maybe two, you won’t believe what happened. Ryan and I broke up.” Tess tells upset.

“Oh, no, seriously? Come over, you got to tell me, what happened!” 

Two hours later Pippa and Tess are sitting on Pippa’s sofa, an empty bottle vine and a pizza box left with one slice are on the table.

 “Yes, who is Ryan anyway!” Tess rustles, now shamelessness. Tess had told the whole story how Ryan has cheated on her all the time of their three year’s long relationship. Which also explained why he did not show much interest in Brenda’s effort to get a child. After she had lost her six-months pregnancy in a car accident when she was on a summer holiday with Ryan. he had often found reasons, why he would not make it for the weekend. He always had found an excuse why he had no time. Now she had found out the real reason, another woman, and which was actually laying in Tess’s bed when she had returned earlier from her Christmas break which she had spent with her parents in Madrid. Tess was heavily disappointed as she was at the end of her thirty’s and she had put so much hope in this relationship but obviously she was just a comfort zone for this guy in a popular city making the guy’s lifestyle easy. So best she could do now was to forget about Ryan, he was just not the man for a relationship and family planning.

Tess and Pippa were now spinning alternative options about a 39-year old single female who wanted a child but without a men showing up on the sphere. They were running through plans from “Made in Mallorca” which was a clinic specialized on fertilization, to going back to her ex-boyfriend who would just wait for her to come back but which would be the next drama as there was a reason why she had left him. The night ended with the idea that Tess would throw herself back into the dating market. The two were scrolling through the internet for the best dating site options in town, creating a new profile on one of the most popular dating apps. Just an hour later the first hearts were flying in and Tess had arranged already two dates for the forthcoming week.

While Pippa was looking for some extra income and had applied for some online design jobs she had closed the deal for two projects for an event agency and would be busy for the days up to New Yea’s Eve with some designs.

New Beginnings

A week had passed. Pippa had worked all week on the designs for an event agency who had planned a massive opening party in spring.

To be continued…

Read the full story here Blend 37 – Pippa Bow



Great Writers · Reading · short-stories

Seventh Story – What Took Place in the Palace of the Snow Queen, and what Happened Afterward

The Snow Queen – A Fairy Tale
by Hans Christian Andersen


The walls of the palace were of driving snow, and the windows and doors of cutting
winds. There were more than a hundred halls there, according as the snow was driven
by the winds. The largest was many miles in extent; all were lighted up by the
powerful Aurora Borealis, and all were so large, so empty, so icy cold, and so
resplendent! Mirth never reigned there; there was never even a little bear-ball, with
the storm for music, while the polar bears went on their hind legs and showed off their
steps. Never a little tea-party of white young lady foxes; vast, cold, and empty were
the halls of the Snow Queen.

The northern-lights shone with such precision that one
could tell exactly when they were at their highest or lowest degree of brightness. In
the middle of the empty, endless hall of snow, was a frozen lake; it was cracked in a
thousand pieces, but each piece was so like the other, that it seemed the work of a
cunning artificer. In the middle of this lake sat the Snow Queen when she was at
home; and then she said she was sitting in the Mirror of Understanding, and that this
was the only one and the best thing in the world.
Little Kay was quite blue, yes nearly black with cold; but he did not observe it, for she
had kissed away all feeling of cold from his body, and his heart was a lump of ice. He
was dragging along some pointed flat pieces of ice, which he laid together in all
possible ways, for he wanted to make something with them; just as we have little flat
pieces of wood to make geometrical figures with, called the Chinese Puzzle. Kay
made all sorts of figures, the most complicated, for it was an ice-puzzle for the
understanding. In his eyes the figures were extraordinarily beautiful, and of the utmost
importance; for the bit of glass which was in his eye caused this. He found whole
figures which represented a written word; but he never could manage to represent just
the word he wanted, that word was “eternity”; and the Snow Queen had said, “If you
can discover that figure, you shall be your own master, and I will make you a present
of the whole world and a pair of new skates.” But he could not find it out.
“I am going now to warm lands,” said the Snow Queen. “I must have a look down into
the black caldrons.” It was the volcanoes Vesuvius and Etna that she meant. “I will
just give them a coating of white, for that is as it ought to be; besides, it is good for the
oranges and the grapes.” And then away she flew, and Kay sat quite alone in the
empty halls of ice that were miles long, and looked at the blocks of ice, and thought
and thought till his skull was almost cracked. There he sat quite benumbed and
motionless; one would have imagined he was frozen to death.
Suddenly little Gerda stepped through the great portal into the palace. The gate was
formed of cutting winds; but Gerda repeated her evening prayer, and the winds were
laid as though they slept; and the little maiden entered the vast, empty, cold halls.
There she beheld Kay: she recognised him, flew to embrace him, and cried out, her
arms firmly holding him the while, “Kay, sweet little Kay! Have I then found you at
last?”
But he sat quite still, benumbed and cold. Then little Gerda shed burning tears; and
they fell on his bosom, they penetrated to his heart, they thawed the lumps of ice, and
consumed the splinters of the looking-glass; he looked at her, and she sang the hymn:
“The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet, And angels descend there the children to
greet.”
Hereupon Kay burst into tears; he wept so much that the splinter rolled out of his eye,
and he recognised her, and shouted, “Gerda, sweet little Gerda! Where have you been
so long? And where have I been?” He looked round him. “How cold it is here!” said
he. “How empty and cold!” And he held fast by Gerda, who laughed and wept for joy.
It was so beautiful, that even the blocks of ice danced about for joy; and when they
were tired and laid themselves down, they formed exactly the letters which the Snow
Queen had told him to find out; so now he was his own master, and he would have the
whole world and a pair of new skates into the bargain.
Gerda kissed his cheeks, and they grew quite blooming; she kissed his eyes, and they
shone like her own; she kissed his hands and feet, and he was again well and merry.
The Snow Queen might come back as soon as she liked; there stood his discharge
written in resplendent masses of ice.
They took each other by the hand, and wandered forth out of the large hall; they
talked of their old grandmother, and of the roses upon the roof; and wherever they
went, the winds ceased raging, and the sun burst forth. And when they reached the
bush with the red berries, they found the Reindeer waiting for them. He had brought
another, a young one, with him, whose udder was filled with milk, which he gave to
the little ones, and kissed their lips. They then carried Kay and Gerda, first to the
Finland woman, where they warmed themselves in the warm room, and learned what
they were to do on their journey home; and they went to the Lapland woman, who
made some new clothes for them and repaired their sledges.
The Reindeer and the young hind leaped along beside them, and accompanied them to
the boundary of the country. Here the first vegetation peeped forth; here Kay and
Gerda took leave of the Lapland woman. “Farewell! Farewell!” they all said. And the
first green buds appeared, the first little birds began to chirrup; and out of the wood
came, riding on a magnificent horse, which Gerda knew (it was one of the leaders in
the golden carriage), a young damsel with a bright-red cap on her head, and armed
with pistols. It was the little robber maiden, who, tired of being at home, had
determined to make a journey to the north; and afterwards in another direction, if that
did not please her. She recognised Gerda immediately, and Gerda knew her too. It was
a joyful meeting.
“You are a fine fellow for tramping about,” said she to little Kay; “I should like to
know, faith, if you deserve that one should run from one end of the world to the other
for your sake?”
But Gerda patted her cheeks, and inquired for the Prince and Princess.
“They are gone abroad,” said the other.
“But the Raven?” asked little Gerda.
“Oh! The Raven is dead,” she answered. “His tame sweetheart is a widow, and wears
a bit of black worsted round her leg; she laments most piteously, but it’s all mere talk
and stuff! Now tell me what you’ve been doing and how you managed to catch him.”
And Gerda and Kay both told their story.
And “Schnipp-schnapp-schnurre-basselurre,” said the robber maiden; and she took the
hands of each, and promised that if she should some day pass through the town where
they lived, she would come and visit them; and then away she rode. Kay and Gerda
took each other’s hand: it was lovely spring weather, with abundance of flowers and of
verdure. The church-bells rang, and the children recognised the high towers, and the
large town; it was that in which they dwelt. They entered and hastened up to their
grandmother’s room, where everything was standing as formerly. The clock said “tick!
tack!” and the finger moved round; but as they entered, they remarked that they were
now grown up. The roses on the leads hung blooming in at the open window; there
stood the little children’s chairs, and Kay and Gerda sat down on them, holding each
other by the hand; they both had forgotten the cold empty splendour of the Snow
Queen, as though it had been a dream. The grandmother sat in the bright sunshine, and
read aloud from the Bible: “Unless ye become as little children, ye cannot enter the
kingdom of heaven.” And Kay and Gerda looked in each other’s eyes, and all at once
they understood the old hymn:
“The rose in the valley is blooming so sweet, And angels descend there the children to
greet.”
There sat the two grown-up persons; grown-up, and yet children; children at least in
heart; and it was summer-time; summer, glorious summer!