Blessings (Piano Man chapter 4)

The weather had turned the following morning, and I woke up to the sound of soft rain trickling against my window. For once, I didn’t feel compelled to immediately leave the bed. The warm comfort of my duvet felt quite pleasing, as I let yesterday wash over me like the rain.

Yesterday. Tim’s parting words hummed in my head like a pleasant tune on the radio.

“I’m happy that I made you smile. If only for a while.”

It could have been lyrics from one of his songs, I don’t know. But it felt magnificent to wake up with an, albeit tiny, smile on my face.

I expected to not hear from him anymore though. His presence was a good, but fleeting one, and I’m glad I got to smile for a moment. I wistfully turned around in bed and let myself drift off to sleep again.

Only to be woken up moments later. Not by rain, but by a swift knock on my door. In my sleepwear, I stumbled out of bed, grumbling, to see who dared waking me up.

I was in for a very big surprise, because behind the door, holding a bag of sweeties, was Tim.

“Good morning! D’you want one?”

“How do you know where I live?” I stuttered, fully realizing that I must look like an utter frump in my sweats and sweater.

“Don’t you remember? I dropped you off here yesterday. Ah, how quickly she forgets the merry moments in life! Come on, let’s get cracking!”

“Cracking on what? It’s raining and I have work to do!”

“But what better way to spend a rainy day than to gaze at the silver screen at matinee idols both past and present?”

Confused, I looked at him, trying to understand what he was saying.

“We’re going to the cinema, precious Jem! Come on, get your gladrags on!”

I sighed. “Alright, but you’re going to have to give me time. I’m not decent yet.”

I retreated to my bedroom and started my morning routine. He wasn’t going to interrupt that.

Half an hour later, I emerged from my room to the distinct smell of coffee being made in my kitchen. To my delight, Tim was making breakfast.

“Voila! Croissants, both sugar and regular and some delicious eggs Benedict, coming right up. Hope you don’t mind?” he chirped cheerfully.

I didn’t. But the memory of David making countless breakfasts for me was a fresh one.

“Eh… no, I don’t. Thanks.”

Tim studied my face and, of course, he noticed a hint of sadness.

“Come on. Remember what I said! Have some lovely croissants, that will cheer you up big time!”

I sat down on my chair, and took a croissant, cutting it in half to put butter on it. He stopped me.

“Eat it without butter. It’s even better.”

Shrugging, I bit into it. And, oh dear, he was right. It was the epitomy of heaven, that croissant. Never had I enjoyed a piece of pastry as much as I did now. It made me tingle all over.

“Did you make these?”

“I sure did! Last night, I felt quite inspired to bake something that would make your tastebuds sing in delight. I figured un croissant was a safe bet with you.”

“I love these! What’s your secret?”

He smiled, biting into one of his own creations. He raised his eyebrows and said, “Un petit peu d’amour. Cheesy, I know, but what is life without a bit of cheese factor?”

With the expertise of a master chef, he plated up my eggs Benedict and served them to me with flourish.

“They’ll make you tingle in the knees, I swear.” he said, sounding quite cocky.

“Are you sure you’re not overselling your own food?”

He looked at me like a particularily vexed kitten. “Now listen, miss, these eggs are magical! Taste! Enjoy food!”

Yet again he was right. The eggs were amazing. But I wasn’t going to admit I was wrong.

After breakfast, we set about to another mystery location, supposedly a cinema. I tried walking as fast as I could, partly to keep up with Tim, and partly so that nobody would notice me.

We arrived at a very plush looking cinema, where the marquee stated something about morning shows. The choice was between two films. A very classic love story and a horror movie.

“Tim, can’t we go somewhere else?”

“What? Do you not like everlasting love? Or blood and splatters everywhere? Come on, who knows how bad these movies are? We can laugh at them and throw popcorn to the screen and all that sort of jolly!”

Jolly. Everlasting love and jolly didn’t fit in the same sentence. I pulled at his arm, trying to get him away from the cinema as soon as possible.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” he said, pulling me close enough to smell his sweet breath. I shivered, never having been this up close with anyone, let alone a man, before.

“I can’t watch everlasting love. It hurts my heart.”

“Then you need to watch it. You need to let your heart heal. Whatever happened, you must stay strong, my sweet Jem.”

And there, right in front of the Prince Charles Cinema, I let him hug me. I had known Tim for four days. And already he got under my skin more than any man ever could. Even David.

I was scared.

But sitting on the plush chairs in the cinema, the fear started losing its grip. This was mainly helped by Tim whispering running commentary in my ear. In the end, the movie turned out to be godawful, and we both walked away holding hands and giggling. Giggling, which was something I hadn’t done in forever.

“Well, my sparkling Jem, what do you want to do next?”

“Go home! I have so much work to do!”

“Oh come on! Work can wait, because it’s your heart that needs attention now.” he said, pointing towards my heart.

“But Tim….”

He impersonated me in a sing-song voice that made every hair on the back of my neck stand upright. I smacked him in the shoulder.

“Crikey!” he cried out, rubbing the hurt shoulder. “I get the impression you don’t like my impression?”

“Come on, take me home already.” I muttered.

“No! Come with me!”

He lead me off on another adventure, this time at the Ripley exhibit on Picadilly Circus. Between the oddities and rarities, he stood out as the biggest oddity. As he studied a diamond-studded car, repeatedly exclaiming that it was amazing, I studied him. I knew nothing about him, apart from his name. Why did I trust this stranger with healing my heart?

I shrugged to myself and joined him at the sparkling car. “All gems! Amazing, they’re all you!” he chuckled.

And I counted my blessings. I could have been off worse today.

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1 Comment

  1. Once again, you impress us with in-depth characterization, vivid settings and rich, real dialogue. We enjoyed this latest chapter and are very eager to read the next.

    Reply

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