Chapter 4 – Part 1
In the non-smoking building, Nora secretly dragged her cigarette, and with Jackson screaming, gave thanks to the hysterical Dirty Herberts fans. She no longer saw the point in raising her voice to contradict him or justify her wanting to actually meet his nemesis or Sara’s dream boat. Who was this entrepreneurial self proclaimed king? Jackson continued to attempt his lord over Nora but she smiled, not listening and reminicsed about the dancing clump at Bryn’s and drinking wine again with Sara. Was this what all those shiny happy assholes were on about? Although not ready to admit to being one of them, she couldn’t deny her exuberance that morning when a pair of Jimmy Choo black lace and glitter sandals, magically appeared on her doorstep.
No longer an employee of St. Clair house, Nora ceased living in the world in which such designers ‘loaned’ fashion houses such coveted footwear. However, when engaged to Jacks, one of the perks she did enjoy was of course his bankroll which made such items, at least to Nora, still seem to come free. Now that she was single, she realized that without Jackson and thanks to her New York Daily exploits, she had become a regular schnook that would now have to clip coupons to afford the little extras. But that morning UPS had arrived on her doorstep with a package from Eva St. Clair. Eva had heard it through the fashion grapevine that Nora had spent the night partying with Bryn Harris, who throughout the early 1980’s graced the pages and countless covers of St. Clair magazine. The Fitch sandals were Eva’s way of saying hello to her favorite notorious freelance designer.
She listened to Jackson calling her name and admiring her shoes she finally replied, “Yes, I’m here…you sound stressed, are you okay?”
The crowd cheered endlessly for a second encore and Jackson said nothing. Nora held the phone to her ear and scavenged for her box of cigarettes or Slims as Sara had once referred to them. As she drew it to her lips, a large black shadow of shoulders appeared in the hallway. Nora quickly ripped the Slim from her mouth and asked Jackson whether or not he was going to make it. Laughing, he seemed to have relaxed a bit but after clearing his throat, he launched into his allegations.
“The record is dying and you’re gallivanting with the enemy…getting your goddamn picture and an autograph! You’re trending on Twitter – ” he paused briefly.
“I’m doing what to who?” unable to hear him, she was confused.
“Look, I know that we’re no longer together and I know that you wouldn’t be there if not for Sara but please…can you please try not to add any more loose rungs to my ladder?”
Two and half years ago Jackson, outside of Grandma’s Fabrics, had appeared from nowhere and literally knocked her over. Mortified, he quickly extended his long arms, reached down to the pavement, where Nora laid laughing and pulled her to safety. She had taken his hand without any inhibitions, she remembered, because his eyes seemed kind. But what she had never actually admitted, not even to herself was that she craved to do to someone what Nigel had done to her. She immediately knew that exploiting Jackson’s sincere concern for her and instant attraction could be yielding. It was stupid luck that he also was the lead singer and songwriter for the Shanty’s.
She immediately tried to become a part of his jet set lifestyle but Jackson rarely, if ever, wanted Nora on the road with him. He admitted that she would be too much of a temptation. The roadies and his bandmates, wouldn’t be able to keep their hands off of her and he didn’t want the headache of having to play referee every night. Doused were her hot Mick and Bianca fantasies, in the perfect photo op-ed, dressed fantastically in white. Instead, night after night she waited for his call from whatever exotic place he visited and listened to his complaints. Homesick and no longer interested in young groupies, Jackson, after just six months, asked his seemingly loyal girlfriend to move in.
On the phone, at Madison Square Garden, Jackson sounded tired and depressed. Listening to his latest LP, either the pain was from the overdose or most likely the publicity that had surrounded her explicit affair, it was quite evident that Jackson had been ripped apart. Gone were the bouncy funky inspired beats that were typically at the center of his songs, earning the Shanty’s the best indie “dance” band title. His faux affected but charming English phrasing was replaced with a depressed scratchy mournful blues impression. Although the critics couldn’t keep their tongues from the bands trousers, the fans, and radio stations could. And though he had played to a sold out audience at Wembley Stadium six hours before, the Shanty’s record was doing poorly. Jackson bemoaned that he feared that by taking an artistic risk, he had isolated his fans.
“What in God’s name are you doing back here? They’re about to do the final encore,” Sara discovered Nora outside their VIP booth.
Nora flashed her phone to Sara to show Jackson’s caller ID image and then motioned that she’d be off in one minute. Turning her back to her, Nora strained to listen. Startling her, Nigel, tapped her shoulder. Nora jumped, shrieking into the phone. She assured Jackson that she was fine and felt her heart drop to her guts. His sincere concern for her after all that she had schemed or all that she had put him through, was still alive. Staring at Nigel’s image in the dark, she told Jackson that she never deserved him. She promised that she would do her best not to make matters worse or uncomfortable for him, but she could not predict how the press would treat them. She genuinely wished him well, and hung up.
“Sara sent me to fetch you,” Nigel slurred obediently, “off we go then,” he said and started back towards the booth.
“Wait,” Nora looked around quickly then standing on her toes asked into his ear, “what happened at your hotel?”
In the darkness, Nigel scratched his unshaven face and glibly admitted, “Room service knocked on the door and by time I went to answer the door and came back, you had passed out in the bed relinquishing me to the living area to entertain two burgers and a full bottle of bourbon.”
Nora sighed a sigh of relief and trying to return to Sara, Nigel took her by the arm and led her further down the hallway. Placing her against the wall, he put his arms up on either side of her and kissed her. Nora let her head fall back and kissed him deeply. She was back in London, in Sara’s family house, with the bedroom door locked, making love to Nigel, while Sara showered, getting ready for their date. She let him touch her underneath her silk white blouse and down the front of her Marc Jacobs’ Mirah black leather jeans. He bent his leg, used his knee to spread her legs and swiftly ran his fingers inside her and rubbed her vigorously. Nora’s breaths escaped loudly and erratically. He quickly pulled his hand from her pants and covered her mouth.
“Shh, love, cut out the dramatics,” he warned then began to undo his belt. As he worked on his trousers, Nora tried to push him off.
“Don’t!” she mumbled.
Nigel ignored her and tried to get her pants down. Nora clawed at his wrists eventually getting him to stop. He took a few steps away from her and raised his hands in surrender. Sounding pathetic, Nigel explained that she had showed him at the hotel that she still wanted him, and in the shadowy dark hall, he begged her to be with him.
“You said you’d do anything for me,” he yearned into her ear and attempted once more at getting her out of her clothes.
“Stop it!” in the lull of the cheering crowd, her small voice echoed.
Stepping back yet again, he quickly glanced towards the booth then wiped her lipstick from his mouth and blamed too much bourbon for his behavior. Nora adjusted her clothing and in the darkness told Nigel that he was never to touch her again or she would tell Sara everything. And yesterday, she warned, while she and Sara were making up, had Sara not had a hair appointment, she would have known everything. Causing his head to spin, in another lull of silence, she admitted her deep regret of hurting his wife and Jackson. Not wanting to admit his own guilt, Nigel tried to continue his seduction.
Playing on her guilt, he cradled her face and told her of when he had sat with Robbie, in his suite at the Four Season’s and had been asked to play drums with this famous little shit he’d known since he was a baby. Comforted with the feel of her skin, he smelled her neck and amongst the concert noise, whispered to her how he had nearly turned the opportunity down because he knew that he could not live in the same city as she. No longer could he ignore that because of her, his marriage was failing and that for the past five years or maybe it was six, it had been a corpse that on a daily basis he had strung up, like a marionette, and by pulling on its strings forced it back to life.
Still cheek-to-cheek, Nora felt him growing against her hip. He kissed her neck lightly and meticulously opened her blouse’s tiny pearl buttons. By the small of her back, he lifted her slightly and shoved himself against her. Her large round breasts peaked outside of her blouse. Nigel grabbed her breasts and with his tongue drew circles around the pink erect nipples. Nora clawed at the concrete wall panting and moaning. He slid his hand inside her pant’s zipper and reminded her to keep quiet. His words brought her back to the days of her begging him to leave Sara and to stay inside her forever. Her begging, excited Nigel, he enjoyed his upper hand and to her requests he would shut her mouth either with his hand or a pillow over her face and finish. Now, it had been over ten years and here she was still being told to keep her mouth shut, pressed against a cold wall hidden in a dark hallway like a whore. She listened to Robbie Johns thank the massive crowd for the thousandth time then clawed the side of Nigel’s face.
“I told you that if you touched me again, she would know everything,” she hissed buttoning up her top.
She groped in the dark for her zebra print DKNY clutch she had let fall when Nigel first kissed her. Nigel, finding it in a patch of rare light, scooped it up and offered it back to her. Snatching it from him, she shook her head like a disappointed parent and walked down the hall. With his hand on his left cheek, he watched her meld into the darkness and listened in horror as the black and lace Choo’s clicked the floor taking her closer to his wife.
Image: Getty Images (from answers.com)