The not so secret emails.., p.18
The Not So Secret Emails Of Coco Pinchard (A Romantic Comedy), p.18Robert Bryndza
He owns a little ground floor flat off Baker Street, a modern cosy Victorian conversion with scrubbed pine furniture and wood floors. There was no sign of another woman’s work, a recently departed ex, etc.
He poured us some wine and I nosed round his living room whilst he put things away in the kitchen.
He has acres of DVD’s and books with a big cinema-style TV with some dark squashy sofas. The only visible alarm bell was a PlayStation with controllers and a stack of games.
I realised I had drunk all my wine when he was beside me topping up my glass. He squatted down to put some music on. As he put his arm out to grab a CD from the shelf, his shoulder muscles strained against his white t-shirt. I instinctively slid my hand under the collar and onto his warm back. He turned to look at me with a lopsided grin. He stood and began kissing me deep and slow.
I pulled off his t-shirt, he pulled off mine and expertly unhooked my bra. I slid my thumb under the waistband of his football shorts and pulled them down. Before I knew it, we were naked, our warm bodies pressing together. We sunk into the sofa and had sex, twice. I cannot remember the last time I did it twice. We drank wine and talked and Adam was just looking like he could go a third round when I realised it was nearly midnight and I had the meeting to prepare for. We hadn’t eaten any of the food we chose and I said I had to go. As I was pulling on my clothes, he looked disappointed, and, I felt a bit cheap. Should I have stayed?
I slopped home in my dirty wellies replaying our dirty evening in my head.
Tuesday 7th July 12:01
Chris has asked me to forward the minutes of this morning’s meeting to you. I am not sure he knows how to take proper minutes.
MINUTES OF MEETING TUESDAY 7th JULY.
09:00 Christopher Cheshire, Coco Pinchard and Angie Langford met at the Cafe Nero in Old Compton Street. But there were no tables available. It’s full of poofs in their workout gear, either going to or from the gym. We decide to move to the BMX Literary Agency office.
09:12 Angie Langford’s office (BMX Literary Agency). Proper introductions, I have never met Angie. (Nice shoes). None of us have met Jason Schofield our composer. He is twenty-one, handsome and plays a sample of Jackie Stallone’s Psychic Arses. He is hired. Yay!
09:35 Angie Langford unveils the poster image she has mocked up for the show. We have to submit this to the Edinburgh Fringe office to make the festival programme deadline, which is 5pm today. Angie says she will call the Carnegie Theatre after 5pm and tell them that the show is no longer going to be Anne Frank: Reloaded but Chasing Diana Spencer: The Musical.
09:50 Coco Pinchard who has been a bit mute up until now rushes from the meeting.
09:53 Meeting moves to ladies toilets. Coco Pinchard won’t come out of the lavatory cubicle, says she does not ‘get’ musical theatre, and says she was the only one in the audience who didn’t cry at the end of Blood Brothers.
09:59 Coco Pinchard is coaxed out of toilet cubicle. James Schofield reminds Coco Pinchard that she needs only to write an hour long musical, as this is the length of theatre shows at the Edinburgh Festival.
10:02 Coco Pinchard rushes back into cubicle wailing that she can’t get her whole book across in an hour. Angie Langford lights cigarettes.
10:03 Coco Pinchard calms down but James Schofield has a mild asthma attack.
10:15 Meeting re-converges in office. James Schofield by open window with his inhaler. Coco PInchard will write a rough draft of Chasing Diana Spencer: The Musical over the next few days. James Schofield will read the book. I, Christopher Cheshire will put an advert in The Stage newspaper for actors and Angie Langford will draw up contracts and set up a limited company so her accountant can fiddle the tax easier.
Tuesday 7th July 14:13
Hi, I just realised I don’t have a personal email address for you, just the one at your work in the Health and Safety Department. Could I have your personal one?
I had a wonderful time last night. I should have stayed, but I am new to all this and I really like you, and the last time I slept with anyone other than my ex-husband, in the same bed, was twenty years ago. When I mean sleep, I mean actual sleep, not that I have done anything else with anyone. Just so you know.
It looks like this musical is going ahead. I have to start writing it today as my agent Angie and friend Chris have zoomed into action and made a lot happen. I am trying not to freak out.
I would like to see you again.
Wednesday 8th July 21:34
The script is coming along very nicely. I spent the day up at the Allotment, absorbed in writing. Adam knocked on my shed door just after five; he had come from work with pizza and wine. I had promised myself to take it slow but we ended up having a re-run of the other night, in my shed, under the table of old flower pots. At one point Agatha and Len walked past, and they must have heard one of the flowerpots fall and break. They stopped. I heard her say,
“What’s that noise Leonard?” Footsteps came closer, crunching on the dry grass outside the little window.
“Look she’s left a whole pizza out!” said Len hungrily. I heard him try the doorhandle.
“Len!” hissed Agatha. “Come away!”
All throughout this, Adam had put his hand over my mouth, and carried on… It felt rather thrilling.
Afterwards he asked if I wanted to come back to his and chill out with a DVD but I had to keep writing. Now I’m really worried he thinks I am a slut.
Thursday 9th July 17:39
You’re going to see Nan tonight, aren’t you? Could you do me a favour and ask her if she is free tomorrow to help us to open and sort applications for Chasing Diana Spencer: The Musical? The living room is full of envelopes.
Thursday 9th July 18:44
You can tell your Nan thank you, but minimum wage is £5.80 per hour, not £10 as she is claiming. On this occasion, though, I can go up to £7 per hour to reflect, as she puts it, her “life experience.”
These are the roles we are casting for:
Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of England, the Commonwealth, the High Seas etc. etc.
Prince Phillip / Prince Charles (played by same actor with interchangeable prosthetic ears)
Camilla Parker Bowles
Lady Diana Spencer
Hans Von Strudel (Queen Elizabeth’s hunky Footman.)
Male Actor 1 To play various parts; servants, French, old and young.
Female Actor 1 To play various parts; servants, French, old and young.
Friday 10th July 19:24
We have just received a couple of CVs from your old drama school Principal, Artemis Wise, and his wife. They want to audition. He heard that the show is on in a 3pm slot, so he can appear in it without violating his court appointed terms. He is electronically tagged with a 7pm curfew until he is sentenced for embezzlement in the autumn. His CV is quite good, but apart from him being on bail, he is not right for Prince Charles, or his wife for Camilla Parker-Bowles. She is much more suited to Princess Anne, but I have had to cut Anne and her talking bulldog. I’ve also had to jettison some of the other minor Royals. The Duke and Duchess of Kent have gone, along with Fergie, Andrew, Edward, and Sophie. As in real life, they don’t do enough to justify paying for them.
Tuesday 14th July 10:00
Just spent the most hectic week writing in the shed. Adam has been visiting at the end of most days with food and wine, and then…
I keep telling myself I am a liberated working woman, who has to fit her sexual needs around her busy career, and if that means up against a gro-bag in a potting shed so be it. Adam has invited me to a work ‘do’ tomorrow evening, so that means something doesn’t it? I am not just
I finished the first draft of the play this morning, and when I got home, Rosencrantz was in the kitchen scraping mould off the last piece of bread with his Mach 3 razor.
“This is the only food in the house,” he said. Then he asked if he could audition for the play.
I have been dreading this moment. His ego is as fragile as an eggshell. What if he auditions and we have to say no to him?
He looked up at me with his gorgeous brown eyes. He was wearing his flat cap and jumper with holes in. Clutching his bread crust, he looked like a sort of Oliver Twist (be it one who has an iPhone and access to a fridge which makes ice).
“Yes, of course,” I heard myself say before I gave him a twenty and bundled him out of the door to get some decent food.
Wednesday 15th July 22:44
Adam phoned at lunchtime to confirm he would pick me up at seven for the ‘Summer Ball.’ He had said, ‘work do,’ the other day, not formal ball! I didn’t have time to have our first argument, so I said it was great and I would see him at seven.
I had meetings with Angie and Jason all afternoon about the auditions tomorrow, and I didn’t get away until four thirty. I raced over to Oxford Street where I had ordered Rosencrantz to meet me for an emergency shopping session.
I have spent most of the last two years in jeans so I asked Rosencrantz what’s acceptable/formal summer evening wear for women now. He showed me a picture from Heat Magazine of Nicole Richie, elegant in a white maxi dress and gladiator sandals. I was wary of white, especially maxi white but he insisted I would look great. We hit Top Shop and he found as close a match as he could.
However, in a white maxi dress and brown gladiator sandals, I looked like Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur. All I needed was a shield and spear. I think my tantrum was more to do with tiredness and lack of food but I stormed out of Top Shop, refusing the other things he had picked out.
We tramped around Oxford Street for a little longer but it was packed, sweltering, and mindful of the time, we called it a day and came home.
I ended up in my faithful old outfit. The one I used to wear for summonses to see the Headmaster or parent’s evenings. A close fitting black skirt, a flower print top that showed some cleavage and knee length black boots.
I had toyed with the green skirt but I’d already worn it three times with Adam. I still hadn’t had anything to eat, but I decided not to and keep my stomach looking flat until we sat down for dinner.
The doorbell went just before seven, as I was drying my hair. Rosencrantz came upstairs,
“There’s like a dude at the door, asking for you?” he said.
“Did you let him in?”
“No. I said I would check with you.”
“Well, did you ask his name?”
“Yeah. It’s Mr. Rickard.”
“That’s Adam you idiot!” I said. “Go and let him in!”
“But he’s like fit!” said Rosencrantz.
“No need to sound so shocked.”
“You’re dating him?” said Rosencrantz.
“Yes. Look, I haven’t got time to do this, and he is standing out on the doorstep.” We rushed downstairs and I let him in. He was dressed in a black suit, no tie and a white shirt with a couple of buttons undone to show some chest; handsome as anything. I introduced him to Rosencrantz and Adam was very relaxed and sweet.
As we left for the taxi Rosencrantz whispered in my ear, “Fucking hell Mum, like, way to go.”
“That’s enough from you,” I hissed back. “Watch your mouth. And do the washing up.”
We were dropped near the London Eye and we walked along the Thames Embankment holding hands.
“I want you,” Adam growled in my ear. My stomach unfortunately growled back louder.
The Summer Ball was held in a boat on the river, artfully draped with flowers and paper lanterns. Twinkly music drifted towards us. The tide was out, so the boat was grounded on the shingle riverbed.
With it being a Health and Safety Department Summer Ball, you might have thought this was ideal, no water to fall into, but no. The gangplank was now at a very steep forty-five degree angle so the ladies were being asked to take off their heels, in case they slipped. I showed the man on the door that my boots only had a slight heel but I was still ordered to take them off.
Adam looked mortified. I unzipped my boots but they wouldn’t budge. My feet had swollen in the heat. After much tugging, a queue had started to form behind us. Eventually I had no choice but to hold onto the rail with my legs in the air whilst Adam pulled. It wasn’t my finest hour.
The flowers and lanterns continued inside, but there were no tables.
“Where do we eat?” I asked Adam.
“Oh,” he said, grabbing some Champagne from a passing waiter, “It’s just drinks, I thought we could eat late.”
“Great,” I said, as my stomach growled its protest.
We weren’t permitted outside deck, of course, due to Health and Safety so we were all shut in the boat. It was sweltering. Adam took me to meet his work colleagues, introducing me as ‘Coco.’ Not ‘my girlfriend’ or ‘my date’ or even ‘my friend.’ He made me sound like some avant-garde uni-named performance artist. I was on my fourth glass of Champagne when we made it round the boat to Adam’s boss, Serena. Up until now, his colleagues had been a bunch of humourless men and territorial women, but Serena, a mature blond, had a twinkle in her eye.
“You must think we’re the ultimate Heath and Safety cliché!” she said looking at everyone sweating in the heat. “If I had it my way we’d be out on deck with our feet in the water.” She asked how long Adam and I had known each other.
“Oh not long,” I blurted. “He was wary about letting me into his pants. He said they might contain nuts!”
Serena’s eyebrows shot up into her hairline as she smiled blankly and excused herself. Adam’s face clouded over and he released my hand.
“What?” he hissed. “You’re talking about my balls to my boss?”
“It was a joke,” I said. “A Health and Safety themed joke… obviously off the mark but I should get something for making the effort. They’re a tough crowd!”
“You’re pissed aren’t you?” he said. I had never seen him look angry before.
At that moment the tide began to rush in and the boat started to rock. Inside was getting hotter and the mixture of no food, no sleep, and too much Champagne weren’t helping. I suddenly realised I was about to throw up.
“I’ve got to get some fresh air,” I gulped to Adam whose indignant mouth was flapping like a beached carp. He followed me out. To my horror, as I reached the exit, I began to heave. Everyone in the shoe queue stepped back in alarm as I gave a very good rendition of a cat trying to bring up a hairball. I gave an almighty retch and threw up all over the gangplank. I turned to Adam who looked disgusted.
I felt so ashamed and ran past the shoe queue. I didn’t stop running until I reached Waterloo Station and found a taxi. When I got in, I had a long cold shower. I thought being with Adam was too good to last.
Thursday 16th July 20:35
Thank you for being nice, but I am a screw-up. I shouldn’t have run away. There was no time to think about last night. I was up at six for auditions. Jason, our composer, had to be in college, so Chris hired his old music master from school to play the piano. Clive must be a similar age to Ethel. He was limping and unshaven in a long ragged winter coat.
“Will you be okay to play?” I said as he eased himself gingerly onto the piano stool.
“Yes, dear lady,” he said. “Doctor theatre will work its magic.”
We took our seats behind a long table and the first Actor came in. He was awful, but Clive seemed to come alive. As he thumped out a number from Les Miserables, I noticed a white tag on his wrist, and a blue gown protruding out from under his long coat.
“Has he come from hospital?” I wh
“Yes,” he whispered back. “But don’t say anything. He is very proud, and has fallen on hard times. I was glad I could help.”
The morning whipped past as actors came and went. Some were great. Lots were awful.
In a break, I told them about Adam. They said not to worry, and that they had all, at one time or another, thrown up over a lover without being dumped. Clive went one better and said that in 1964 he had thrown up on Princess Margaret’s muff at Ronnie Scotts. He said she was a great sport and refused his offer of dry cleaning money…
After lunch, it was Rosencrantz’s audition. I don’t know who was more nervous, him or me. I was going to wait outside, but the only things I had seen him do were the aforementioned chick in an egg in 1985 and a disco dancing Anne Frank, so I stayed.
“What a handsome lad,” said Angie, when he came in. He blushed, calmed himself and did the most beautiful speech from Henry V where King Henry is on the battlefield addressing his troops. He was so magnetic. We all gulped back tears when he’d finished.
His song - Hey Big Spender - was a little less impressive, but it showed off his voice, and they decided to cast him! I have just broken the news to Rosencrantz and he is so happy, which makes all of this recent slog seem worthwhile.
Friday 17th July 19:44
I won’t be home again until late. I am working on lyrics with Jason for Queen Elizabeth’s opening number. We need to find seven words to rhyme with Regina, but we are so tired, we can only think of one. The pressure is on as we start Monday.
Please eat well. I have bought some food. Angie has also given us a load of Tamiflu; she got some on the quiet from her doctor, should we get Swine Flu. It is all in the news about it being a pandemic but I just think its media scare mongering. Remember the SARS scare? I spent a fortune on white facemasks for you, your father and me and it came to nothing.
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