Standing in the mirror in only a fur hat, Nora adjusted the hat to include her overgrown curls. Still not satisfied, she searched the bathroom drawer of lipstick. Finally finding the right color she spread it over her full lips. Smiling, she removed the fur hat and wrapped herself in her favorite kimono – a beautiful find from Target. She placed the hat back into its original box. Its red and black lettering, read in Russian ‘Fragile’ and ‘Do Not Crush’.
Nora’s floral kimono fluttered hurriedly behind her while she tossed clothing from her closets and bureaus into a large suitcase seated on a hotel suitcase rack, in the middle of the bedroom. The wide plank hard wood floors drowned underneath the scores of designer shoes – Prada, Jimmy Choo, Calvin Klein, Salvatore Ferragamo, Alexander McQueen, etc. Jackson braved the shoe sea and joined Nora, now seated in the middle of the sea, deciding which favorites to bring.
“Sweetheart you’ll be gone a week. I don’t bring this much stuff when I do a world tour,” Jackson teased.
Her dark eyes danced laughing at his comment. Jackson kissed her thin shoulders peaking through the lazily draped kimono.
“It’s Russia honey, those broads right now are defining everything,” Nora revealed.
Jackson kissed her shoulder again and reassured her.
“Well you must be too, they invited you remember.”
Nora gathered up a few pairs of shoes and tried to cram them into the large suitcase.
“What did I pack?” she asked herself, “Crap!”
She scurried out to the hallway closet and from the top shelf, pulled down a smaller version of the suitcase in the bedroom. Dragging it back to the bedroom, Jackson met her half way and taking the suitcase from her, he carried it into the bedroom and set it on the floor.
“Nore, I don’t think you should bring so many items, it’ll make traveling for you a real hassle,” Jackson tried to tell her.
“Jacks, most of this crap is prototypes of my fall line. I need to be prepared,” Nora, explained.
Jackson shrugged and left the bedroom. Nora rolled her dark eyes and continued filling her second suitcase with favorites. Jackson quickly returned to the bedroom carrying a tray of champagne and a variety of noshes. Setting it down, he pulled the two flutes from the tray and crossed to her.
“Cheers,” he said holding up her glass.
Startled by his voice, Nora looked up seeing the champagne glass extended out to her. Confused she went back to her shoes and asked what the fuss was all about. Frustrated, Jackson gently grabbed her wrist and stopped her.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
He gently guided her to the bed, sat her down and handed her a glass of champagne. Dropping down on one knee, he asked her to become his bride. Nora pulled her lazy kimono tightly about her then slammed the champagne. Wiping her tears she leaned over wrapped her arms around Jackson’s neck and assured him that she wanted nothing more than to become his wife. From his pocket he pulled out a 3-carat princess diamond and placed it on her shaking hand.
“Of all the times, you pick today?” Nora groaned playfully.
Jackson played with a curl hanging in her eye and kissed her nose. He explained to his new future wife how his original plan to ask her to marry had been spoiled when Nora had received an invitation to collaborate with Russia’s newest couture darling, Rada Belov. He and his manager, Penny Dresser, planned to pop the question at Jackson’s CD release party. Over a month ago, Penny had arranged for the attendance of the biggest names in Indie-rock media –Pitchfork, NME, the Big Takeover, etc. Embarrassed with having to cancel, Penny gave Jackson a scathing reminder of how he needed to always put his career first because mishaps like this would serve to ruin him one day. Overwhelmed with nerves, Jackson took her shamed advise with a grain of salt.
Sipping on more champagne, Nora took his hand in hers and confessed,“I don’t think that I would have cared for being put on the spot like that, right?”
“Oh I don’t know sweetheart, it might have been pretty cool,” Jackson tried to convince her.
Nora slid her kimono over her slight shoulders and appeased her fiancé.
“Yeah, I guess. I gotta finish, baby,” Nora stood carrying the glass and went back to packing up for her trip.
Jackson continued, “It was just so hard not to tell you, I mean, I tell you everything, you know…and, uh…were you surprised?”
“Obviously, I was, I am,” Nora said.
Jackson grabbing the champagne bottle, walked over to refill Nora’s glass.
“Please be careful not to step on my shoes.”
Jackson arrived; shoes unharmed, and filled her glass. He toasted her, took a long sip then slipped his hand inside her kimono. His long fingers squeezed and played with her nipples. Nora’s breath quickened. She loosened the sash allowing the robe to fall fully open. Her fuchsia painted nails slowly disappeared up inside her. Jackson paused from watching his perfect beauty play with herself and took in a deep breath. In order to last, he closed his eyes and made a mental list of everything he’d have to take care of while Nora was out of town – water her plants, feed the damn cats, play with the damn cats, clean the cats litter boxes (litter boxes plural). Jesus, it hit him, he’d have to live with her cats for the next 13 to 15 years! While, Jackson amused himself with thoughts of how the cats could accidentally escape the flat, Nora slid her fuchsia nails inside his mouth.
He let out a deep groan and shuttered, “Oh, no.”
As if it would stop Jackson, Nora grabbed hold of him and begged but it was over. Jackson kicked her large suitcase off of the rack, allowed its contents to populate the floor, and quickly left the room. Nora tied her kimono shut, and dragged her belongings back into the suitcase. She locked up her luggage and carefully put her shoes back into their cubbies in the walk-in closet. In the other room, she listened to Jackson on the phone with Penny. Whenever he spoke with Penny, Jackson’s Texan drawl would reveal itself slightly. Whatever she was telling him, the news was good, her clue, Jackson was shouting. She hoped it was news to aid with holding his load.
“I just said ‘yes’ to that?” Nora said to herself, and placed her new ring onto the glass shelf, “It’s not worth it.”
“What’s not worth it?” Jackson spoke to her in the doorway.
“What?” startled, she lost control of her hands and watched them swing wildly and crash into the small glass shelf that rested above the toilet. Shards of glass scattered across the floor.
“Are you okay?” Jackson carefully assisted Nora out of the bathroom.
“I’m fine. What were you screaming about?” she spoke quickly to change the subject.
“Oh, Jesus, yeah…Nora we did it, we beat Dirty Herberts’ record in Europe!”
“Holy crap, no sir?” Nora insisted.
Jackson’s phone rang from the kitchen. Jackson left her to answer the phone.
“Hey! Dude I know, well I think Nora and I will be able to get that townhouse she wants over in Gramercy Park.”
Tightening her kimono she ran to the bathroom. Tip-toeing nervously through the tiny shards of glass spread throughout the floor, she hunted for her ring. From the kitchen, Jackson hooted and hollered with his oldest friend and guitar player.
“Shit,” Nora began to panic.
While she cleared the counters of their contents and hunted madly through the drawers, she stepped on a piece of glass. Hopping now on one foot she remembered that she had broken the glass shelf above the toilet. She reached over, lifted the toilet cover and at the bottom of the toilet bowl was her new princess 3-carat diamond. She reluctantly fished it out and rinsed it under hot water. Hearing Jackson coming down the hall, she quickly shoved it onto her finger.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Just admiring my new ring,” she answered.
“It’s not too much, huh?”
“Oh god no! It’s beautiful,” she admitted.
“You know how happy you made me?” he asked then kissed her.
“More so than beating Dirty Herberts?” Nora teased him.
Jackson kissed her and said, “That wouldn’t mean anything if I didn’t have you. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty fucking cool.”
“It’s amazing are you kidding!” she blurted.
“Sweetheart, we can probably put something down on that townhouse you liked,”
“Really? Oh god Jackson, are things really going this well for us?” Nora asked cautiously.
Jackson shrugged and assured her, “Yep and the shit’s just gonna get better! Did you step on some glass, honey? You’re limping.”
He lifted her up and carried her into the bedroom and laid her gently down onto the bed. He checked her foot and pulled out the tiny shard. Nora kissed him and then slowly untied her sash. Jackson stood quickly,
“Uh…I have to do an interview in like, 20 minutes, I should get ready,” he kissed her head then headed towards to the kitchen.
“Yeah, baby,” Jackson stopped.
“You really think we could do Gramercy?”
“Oh yeah sweetheart, easily,” Jackson said confidently.
“Congratulations love! You worked hard,” she concluded.
“Thanks Nora, I love you too,” he said then vanished into the hallway.
Nora fell asleep listening to Jackson chat with the BBC’s Radio One.