I hear the sounds of the night calling me, its pitch black dark; the weather has changed and become somewhat menacing. I quicken my pace as the rain comes pouring down. The cold air seeps right through me. I can hear the sounds of thunder rumbling in the distance. I hear a shuffle close by and I still. I look behind me but there’s no one there. I feel like my every move is being watched. I have this strange feeling that something terrible is going to happen. I can feel my heart pounding, I feel suffocated, like all the air has been zapped out. The storm is building up but I am unable to move, and that is when I hear it; a loud gunshot resonates through me. I am screaming in fear, the fear is crippling me and finally I realise I am in my bed and covered in sweat. My own scream paralyses me. It’s the eighth time I have had the same dream. A dream, a nightmare I reassure myself; my own figment of my imagination. I scold myself to not watch any horror films so late at night but realised I hadn’t. I glance at my bedside clock, its 5:30am. I flick the lights on in the bath room. I look at my image in the mirror staring right back. I’m naturally tanned, with the darkest brown eyes, and thick raven hair.
I look exhausted. I blame Christina who happens to be my best friend and work colleague for living it up a few nights ago. I splash cold water on my face to take the feelings of the nightmare away, to put the fear at bay. I feel the need to have a shower, maybe which would ease the tension that has not yet subsided. I get undressed and jump into the shower. Once out the shower, I dress into my comfy clothes which are baggy and overgrown. I am thankful that it’s my day off. I decide to go downstairs and make hot porridge for my breakfast. I need something hot to soothe me. I check my phone to only realise there’s 3 miscalls from Christina. She was out last night from what I gathered. Christina or as I like to call her, Chrissie, unlike me is a party girl. She handles her drinks much better than me, where as some would say I am a light weight. I decide to call her. She answers on the third ring.
“Morning Missy, how are you?”
“I am well thanks, despite having that dreaded dream yet again, how was your night? Did you pull?”
I can hear her giggle and I can tell she’s been up to no good.
“Well for what it’s worth, I hope he was worth it. Did you bail out on him like you always do?” I asked.
“Hey Nadz, us girls really ought to have fun. Some guys do deserve to get their own dose of medicine.”
“Ok Chrissie, you have justified yourself as always.”
“Well I called to see whether you were keen to join me tonight to hit the town and go to Embankment. Ever been to that bar called opal?”
“Chrissie, when have you ever known me to know about decent bars around central? You know how useless I am which is why I trust you to take me to the coolest places in central. I have never been there before.”
“So tell me are you up for it? Make sure you dress up. When I say dress up, you need to go all out you know, getting the centre of attention blah blah.”
“Okay tell me what time to be there, where’s the meeting point?”
“Nadine just be there at 8pm on Embankment pier.”
“That’s sorted, will see you there. Right got lots to do in regards for the preparation for tonight.”
“Will see you there Nadz. If I am slightly late just wait for me or vice versa.”
I hang up and think to myself how does one handle their drinks as much as she does without getting plastered? I shake my head at her ludicrous behaviour. I just hope that tonight she does not embarrass me. Every night where I have decided to go out with her, we always rate guys call it childish but it sure helps us to enjoy the night that much more. Checking out what London has to offer us in regards to the men. My past experiences have not been bad, but then again they have not been great. I always tend to meet those who are married or those who do not know what they want, or those who love to waste my time. I had so much to do before Chrissie mentioned her plans. Time to get on with it. I rarely get time to myself but felt like cleaning my house from top to bottom. Hoovering, dusting, cleaning, and polishing. You name it, Chrissie seems to think I may be a tad ocd, obsessive compulsion disorder, but I totally disagree. I prefer to live in a neat and tidy place instead of one where there is so much mess. Once completed this task, I end up cleaning the kitchen, the room where I spend most time in, other than in my bedroom. I put the dirty clothes in the washing machine and end up preparing for tonight.
I head upstairs, on a mission to find an eye opener of a dress. My closet is filled with jeans, tops, blouses, a few cocktail dresses, all arranged and colour coordinated. All my shoes are sorted as well. I look at what cocktails dresses I own which I can admit I have never worn, since the time I have purchased them. One catches my eye; it’s a laced dress, crimson red, a figure hugging dress. This has to be it. Chrissie wanted to me to choose something out there and with this little number, I am sure it would be a hit. Right task one done, chosen the outfit. Now need to find the heels to match. I skim all the shoes I own, one of them at the far back stands out. Its crimson red just likes the dress and instantly I know it’s a definite match. Task two done. I focus on washing my hair, styling it in such a way to bring out the maximum effect I can get. Once dried, I end up curling my hair but the curls are very loose, giving it a wavy effect. I paint my nails crimson red, I feel the need to keep this theme up. Once my nails are dried, I jump in the shower. Time to get strapped up for the night I tell myself. The dress fits me like a glove on my hand. Showcasing all my curves in the right places, teamed with the red heels with a black hand clutch bag and a black shawl that I carry with me, just in case I get cold. Time for the final touches, I put on my makeup, minimal but effective. Foundation, eye liner, mascara, blush and a hint of gloss. I check myself out in the mirror and the person reflecting back looks so different to the girl from this morning. I have worn a diamond stud earring, which spark and draws attention to my face; it teams perfectly with what I am wearing. It’s amazing what a bit of makeup can do. My eyes are chocolate brown, fanned with long eye lashes, a stubborn nose, with full lips. I look like a million dollars but I sure as hell don’t feel like it. I grab my phone, my clutch bag, purse and keys and head out to meet Chrissie.
Once out of my house, I drop a text to Chrissie informing her that I have left my house that I should be there for 8pm. I live in Holland Park, Holland mews to be exact. I have lived here for as far as I can remember. I live 10 minutes away from the tube station so I always walk it to the underground station. Its Saturday night, the roads are populated. I blend in with the crowd, walking towards the tube station. I make my way, once inside the underground station I get the eastbound train to Stratford. The trains are packed especially on Saturday. With what I am wearing I know its attracting attention but I don’t let it affect me. I find a seat only to spot a few guys are sitting opposite me and eyeing me like a piece of candy. One of them smiles but there’s nothing special about him, I dismiss him by looking elsewhere. I count the number of stops before I reach Tottenham court road, to change and get northern line to embankment. Approximately 7 stops, then need to take the northern line southbound to embankment. For someone like Chrissie who lives near Gatwick, to know all the coolest places in London, puts me to shame. I overhear conversations in particular by a group of guys, who are clearly drunk; the 5 guys are talking about which one of them can pull the most. It instantly reminds me of what Chrissie and I do. Funny that us women to men are not as different as people like to think. I finally reach Tottenham court road, and get onto northern line. This line seems less packed, a few people are asleep, and those who are awake look like they will be hitting the town too. I check my watch and realise its nearing on 8pm. There are approximately 3 stops to embankment so I know I should get there sharpish. I hope that Chrissie will be there waiting already but due to being in the underground you never seem to get any signal on your phone.
As I’m stepping out of the train carriage, a fragrant of a man has engulfed me. I bask in the smell that has surrounded me. But there’s no point in trying to figure out who could it have been, as it would be like to trying to find a needle in a haystack; as there were so many men around me. I make a dash to exit the underground station, praying that I won’t be late. I step out in the cold air, grab my phone and drop a text to Chrissie informing her that I have reached. My phone chirps and clearly I had received a message from her, it read: Meet me where the pier is, come out and turn around you should see the London eye in the backdrop, its spectacular. Turn back and cross the road where you should see taxis and make your way to the pier. If you get lost, worry not as the locations are sign posted! Will see you in a bit x. As I come out of the station I do as asked and turn around to see London eye in the back drop, alight in the night sky. There’s so much that this beautiful city had to offer and yet I am so cooped up in Holland Park. The only places I know is my area and of course Gatwick airport. That’s where Chrissie and I met, at work. I make my way to the pier, noticing signs to direct me. Chrissie was not wrong, I’m sure the reason why things are sign posted is because this city attracts tourist like honey to bees. I make my way to the pier. The temperature has gone chilly; I take out my black shawl and wrap it around me. The river breeze has picked up. Despite the cold causing goose bumps on my skin, I admire the scenery. Throughout the pier, there’s a walk way which has been lighted, railings to make sure no one jumps over into the river, benches that are unoccupied. There are stars in the night sky and it’s a picture to behold. It’s an idyllic location for couples. I scan the entire pier, realising that Chrissie may be late. Christina is the same height as me, but much more slimmer. Bleach blonde hair with light brown eyes. I dropped her a message: I’m at the pier already.x.
I decide to sit on one of the benches, and wrap my shawl even tighter around me, checking my watch as I do so, it’s nearing 9pm. I can guess why Chrissie may be late; she must have missed her train from Gatwick. I hear my phone chirp, message from Chrissie: so sorry I’m running late, just reached embankment will see you in a few ticks. Whilst waiting, I take note of a guy who was sitting further down on another bench, I had not even notice him until now. How strange. He seemed in deep thoughts. I was looking at his profile, his hair was brown, styled to perfection, spiky yet messy, a chiselled jaw line, prominent nose, thin lips, and I could see a hint of stubble. Without realising he instantly turned in my direction. Our eyes met. His eyes were green. I turned away to find Chrissie silently watching what I had been doing, she had a grin of a Cheshire cat.
“Nadine Nixon, what did I just witness?”
“Well I was admiring the scenery” I lied.
“You are such a bad liar” she laughed. She hugged me and linked arms.
“Right lets go to opal bar!”
Whilst walking away, I glanced back to where I had noticed that stranger, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was determined to have a fun night out.
We reached opal bar, loud music welcomed me, and the lights were slightly dim. There were all genres of music playing with a dj right at the back. It was a nice change to be in central. Chrissie as always bought so many drinks, so many cocktails. I was taking it all in, the vibe of the place when Chrissie was eyeing me, I knew what was coming. She was so predictable.
“By the way missy, you listened to me. You look on fire. I see the theme of red.” I smiled at her. Christina always looked pristine; she was wearing a pale blue strapless dress with silver stilettos.
“As always Chrissie, you don’t look so bad yourself.”
“So tell me, the guy at the pier, he managed to get your attention.”
“Well in all honesty, I had not been aware of when he was in fact sitting there; I was intrigued to say the least.”
“You think you may bump into him again? Want to see who can pull the most tonight?”
“Seriously what are the chances of me seeing this stranger again? The chances are so slim, look how big London is. I did not even smile at him, let alone talk to him. So that technically squashes my chances. Tonight, let’s just have fun without any guys ruining it for us Chrissie.”
“I guess you’re right. But I have to mention how comes at work nadz, you always look immaculate? I am impressed for once you have pulled out a show stopper.”
“It’s tiring to maintain looking this good.” I smile at her beaming. We both laughed. We then grabbed more drinks. We had more cocktails; sex on the beach, mojito, cosmopolitan, disaronno on the rocks, sambuca. The opal bar was exceptionally packed when we made our way to the dance floor, we decide to let loose before we both made our way back home. The music was so loud, and the dance floor was over crowded but we soldiered on. When Justin Timberlake’s tunnel vision song came on, I was well into my zone. The drink had fuelled me, I was moving to the beat, moving my hips, seductively when I had the feeling I was being watched. I scanned the room but could not make out anyone due to the lighting being dimmed. Chrissie was still beside me despite a guy trying to get her attention to her far right. Once the song came to close, I had to raise my voice to Chrissie that I was keen to leave. I had glanced at my watch. It was nearly 2am. Wow time had gone so quick. We made a beeline to the exit of opal. Once outside the bar, there were loads of people smoking, waiting on taxis, guys totally drunk or couples making out.
I felt so cold to only notice that I had left my shawl inside. Ah what the heck. I was exhausted to say the least. I can always afford to buy another. It was no big deal. Chrissie and I decided to part our ways. I signalled a black taxi for both of us.
“Thank you for bringing me here.” My head was starting to feel light and knew I had far too many drinks to handle.
“Nadz you’re welcome, you look like a sex bomb in that red number. I’ll make my way shortly.” Inclining her head to one side, I sensed she was indicating that she won’t be going home all alone. The guy who was trying to seek her attention was waiting eagerly for her. He looked absolutely plastered. He was of pale complexion, blue eyes, fuller lips. He had chestnut coloured hair which was styled to one side. I found it comical. Chrissie would wake up thinking what on earth was she thinking.
“Let me know when you reach home, Chrissie, and use protection”
“Okay mother. Sometimes I do wonder about you, when it will be your turn to have some fun.”
“Unlike you Chrissie, my sex life may not be as booming, but I want more than a one night stand, I insist to hold out for as long as I can.”
“Take care of yourself and have a good night.”
I kissed her good bye and got into the black cab.
The black cab was warm; I looked out of the window to make sure that Chrissie had gotten into hers. No surprise that she had gotten in the cab with a total stranger. Just as my cab was moving off, I happened to have seen that same guy on the pier, he was holding something, and I tried to squint my eyes. He had my black shawl. We had driven right past him. Thinking that my hopes were dashed, I had faith that I will bump into him again. My cab driver was so friendly talking about life in London, but he’s efforts did not take my mind of that stranger. My eye lids were on the verge of closing when we came to an abrupt halt.
“Miss Nixon, we have reached, that would be £80”
I stifled a yawn. I had completely forgotten how expensive it was to get a cab from central to Holland Park.
“Thank you.” I handed £80 to the cab driver. Reached for my keys in my purse and made my way back inside my house.
I turned on the lights, illuminating my house; I dropped a quick text message to Chrissie telling her I had reached home safely. I made my way to the bathroom and turned the lights on. The reflection of myself was astounding. I looked tired yet the makeup was still intact. I looked like someone who was out on the night to pull, but not finding anyone did not bother me. Time to wash the night away, I removed the dress, and kicked off the shoes. I jumped into the shower; I felt beyond drained, once out of the shower, I got into my pyjamas, making my way to bed. My bed welcomed me to a deep sleep. In the distance, I could hear my phone alerting me of a message but my eyes were closing and I was in a blissful cocoon.