caroline muse

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


a first person flashback over two women, one a past lingering relationship, the other a seduction by an older woman with a little flavor of, "how we were in the early nineties."

Submitted: January 11, 2018

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Submitted: January 11, 2018

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I had been living in the old city for over twelve years and I was working for a company as a 'project manager' which had developments scattered about the old town. By the early holidays of February 2012 i was recently settled down as a family man in the big township. I had been alone in my fashionable duplex for about a week, my two girls who were 3 and 6 years respectfully had been taken on a road trip out of the city,by their mother. She is a very feisty half dutch girl, who is over a decade younger than me, likes to think she is very dutch and loves to play up to the part. Although i personally always thought of her as, about average looking. Being half dutch in the old city meant, she had a horde of admirers and followers, Who were always extending invites for parties and local events to her.

She had been gone again for days and I was aimlessly wandering through the house watching cable television shows and going outside on only necessary errands, mostly to acquire goods from shops.
Another whole vacation day had passed without much activity, I was sitting alone in the lounge and had received an email earlier from my good old friend Uyi, who lived in a different district of the same town and was always happy to reminisce about old times and made sure he had tit-bit info or pictures of our friends overseas, this time from my old flame Caroline, who was as he put it was "doing rather well and married in America."

I decided to round off that evening with a warm bath and I'd planned to sit and sock away my troubles in it, a while. As I languishing in the hot steaming scented bath, my mind drifted from the moment onto pondering my spouse and the women in my life.
As i thought more I got a bit frisky, as is sometimes the norm. My thoughts naturally were on my other half, who I hadn't seen for about four or five days. I thought of her physically as I often did, her breasts and the way she responded to me when we had sex, the way I often built up my excitement with her. Beyond having a purpose in mind, I found I was becoming slave to the thought of holding her and the pleasure being with her give me.

But then, rather than continuing to hold her picture in mind. Oddly, I thought of Caroline, who had fanned the flames of my young emotions those past years, before taking off for the more prosperous Americas leaving me broken hearted.
It was a mingled image, partly of Caroline as I knew and remembered her in London that glorious summer, when we had urgent vibrant sex in that small town apartment, just on the outer reaches of London's westend. But it was also partly of her, as she was today and as I had seen pictures older, stronger more knowledgeable. of-cause rather than fight off the images, I sat back to enjoy it.
I thought of her curves as I remembered it, her slender waist, the way she so drove my passion, those past years. Along with the laughs, sweetness and spirited joys of our mingled youth.
I did feel a little guilt from thinking of Caroline's femininity again though. Whatever would she think of me today, I was a little concerned also with how she was fairing with her family the other side of the world. But then quickly I waived resistance and let the guilt pass. Although I was surprised l could still have such strong emotions of her.
I shut my eyes and slumped back into the bath letting the apple and apricot scented oils, take over my senses and the warm steamy froff-soapy bath water do its work. As i did so, my mind drifted back, to the time and place it all happened back in nineties London.....

*********************

I had been having the same repetitive dream most of that summer of 93, "It usually started the same way."
I didn't know if what i saw was mirage, or if it was real. I shifted my gaze from her face to features back to her face again, her image was one of a sultry beauty, with a somewhat feisty spirit, with something so very hauntingly familiar, about  her.
But yet, aside from her disturbing good looks, she was wearing somewhat tattered cloths, practically a blue potato sack type cloth, against the crowded white countryside background.
Her beauty obviously belied by what seem the lack of decent circumstance. Quite obviously unfitting both her status or her rustic good looks. Although, she still somehow managed to make it look elegant. I found myself speaking up quite surprisingly loudly.
"somebody please give that girl what she needs, she richly deserves it!" "She has obviously earn it! and she deserves every bit of it!" "Look! how could you? She is wearing tattered cloths, rather than the pearls she deserves !!...."


I work up with a start in the middle of that meaningless jumbled dream.
As realization set in, I let out a slow sigh. The alarm bell by my bedside had been persistently buzzing its amber 7:30pm. "The Caroline dream, again?" i groaned to myself half awake. "Whatever is to become of me," I wondered.
I rubbed my eyes remembering i had decided to take a nap before preparing for my evening start. Uni had closed up, for the summer some five days ago and I had made plans to get extra work, doing shifts at a live music,bar-restaurant in the city center.

The yellowish light from the evenings street lamp outside, washed in through the shades of my window. Offering just enough illumination to show off both my lonely naked body and to see what was going on about the room. The white bedsheets i had covered up with, had somehow found it's way to the bottom corner of the bed while i slept. But i didn't miss it, the summer breeze which came through my windows was good enough without it.
From somewhere outside in the background i could hear faint folk music, coming from, my Irish neighbors i believe.

I loved my apartment so, that quaint, post-industrial working class, small town house, in its terrace setting. With its obligatory loud and friendly Irish neighbors, local Indian delly and off-license. All conveniently just off the main high road, which led to London's westend.
My neighbors were so like "the fighting Mulvanies" i called them,  who generally lived, worked and played together.They had a riving family business, a multi skilled contracting firm in construction. And I had often gathered with them to barbecue in their back garden, with proper working class Irish folk music.

I stretched my hands outward on reflex and yarned, as i made a conscious decision to get myself into action. I didn't have much time to make it to my interview, i told myself. I scrubbed up, dressed up in chinos and a shirt and had a partly eaten ham bagel in my hand, as i headed out the door, towards the main high road.

Such rich smells of leaves and trees, that always greeted me as i made my way through the westend, with it's Gucci clad elders and its ray-banned European tourists, with names like 'Alfonce' 'Pedro'and'James' and their more colorful chic fashion sense sockless leather shoes and accents that  belay whatever region they were from.
there were also a handful of east-enders here and there,"barrow-boys yuppies" who had obviously made money and were looking to escape the drudgery of the eastend. The swanky restaurants with loud street music and bustling bars, all teaming with life, laughter and the opportunity to mingle with the beautiful people.

I had very often drifted unnoticed, as i went through my daily chores and exercises. Just another nobody in the westend as i swerved and weaved my way through the crowds towards old Orleans.
As i walked through the crowds, my thoughts partly went back to my earlier dream of Caroline, of course my time with her was months ago now and she had left the scene and made for I'm told first Luxembourg,just off the English coast.
She always was "a little on the stylish side' and she loved to travel. We hadn't been in touch for a 'couple of months," but it wasn't unusual for me to think or dream of her. Especially in those wee small hours before university...
That I was sad about how things had turned out between Caroline and I was obvious enough, I had wanted her to stay. I had wanted to see, yet more of her. I had even tried reaching out to her number, to arrange her return but hadn't managed to. I was still very much bearing the wounds of her departure that summer of 93.

As I made to enter the entrance into the happy commotion that was Old Orleans Just off the charing cross road, London's westend. Imogene spotted and greeted me. "Haa Douglas!" she intoned,reaching out her open palms in a welcome gesture towards me.
I had met her previously when i came prospecting for the job, before being told to come back today for an interview. "Hey Imogene" i returned. The downstairs restaurant was a modernist decor with furniture rich with lavish colors, but also efficient and elegantly functional.

She was a very early thirty something voluptuous vixen, who had retained her tight curves. She was about 5ft 6" with a tanned completion and shoulder length woven hair. I imagined she religiously spent time in a gym and at her beauticians for such good looks. She had a habit for wearing hip-hugging riding pants with boots. Which showed off her curves, very nicely indeed.
She often topped it off with a light-fabric knee length coat. Which gave her that 'smoldering old-western look' and synced perfectly with her woven brown maim.
Although She looked every bit the country, horse-loving type. Imogene was far from it, she was quite the opposite in fact. her persona was more city slone, obviously a city babe from the kings road sw1, equipped with the drawling slone accent and all, which was quite disarming to listen to. I had decided on the earlier meet, although i didn't have much experience with older women. I found her clearly very exiting and I liked her a lot!! and that included the way she used the word darling! often.

From the pictures on the wall, i gathered Imogene had not only been good looking in her twenties, she had been quite the singer too. After a sporadic fame with a small band she had apparently slowed down facing a dwindling musical career. Her one dream had been to play covert garden, with her band and she had successfully done that.
Her small band had found a niche following which remained faithful to their distinctive bluesy-jazzy sound. They had been so popular during their day, she had played most of the popular westend venues from Covent Garden, to the strand,including Soho's popular chic nightlife spots for intellectuals and even 'Cafe de Tate.'  
As we walked past the various pictures and the bustling restaurant which smelt like roast beef and red wine mustard source had been popular on the days menu with its happy crowd.
Further into the entrance, tight hallway and managers office. i have to admit i was a little like a kid in a candy shop, ooh-ing aah-ing and asking questions.
"wow! Imogene' i intoned, is that you?' 'You guys must have been so popular!' "is that George Thompson, there was a fantastic blown up picture of her and Georgy Thompson' the actor at a party in Soho, which was 'quit Cool,' i was quick to add. or "when was that taken? I asked.
she seemed quite used to this kind of excitement, because she casually took it all in her stride, smiling softly and giving me short casual responses. 'Yes it is,' 'ahh, yes indeed we did.' 'That was about 7 years ago i think, darling.'

Her press pictures were a tribute to the fact that the parties which she threw following her shows were quite famous too. Her name had often been on the lips of barmen and socialites alike around town.
But somehow Imogene managed to retain a level head, within all the excitement about her. Her schedules as a reliable business woman prevailed over free rolling revelry making, of partying crowds. Something which was still evident about her business like manner, today.

As my attention switched from ogling her pictures to her, She was saying
"we have no great bones with the past, the band and I" and "we accomplished lots, it was a tribute to our time" while casually waving the pictures.
I found She was both very open and candid, but i thought also in a sweet and refreshing way. She in turn for her own reasons had decided, she liked me.
I made arrangements with her to work through to the Christmas months, after which i hoped to return to Uni. As the climate changed from those colorful summery September days, through the fall to the December chills.

With her celebrity now dwindled and invested majority owner at old Orleans, her goals were much less adventurous than previously, She explained. She told me she took pleasure in maintaining a fun efficient crew, but also still enjoyed holidaying about Europe "incognito" as she put it and intended to settle down with a good man and have strong sons, she laughed.
she teased me by asking "you think, I'm still young enough to do that, don't you?"
I very much wanted to reply "Absolutely!"
But instead I found myself making yet more continuous efforts not to stare at her sublime figure and her breasts, as I wallowed more in her company. My interview with Imogene lasted 45 mins, after which i was shown around and inducted. I was happily welcomed into the fold that was "the Old Orleans family" and their varied ways of doing things.

Thinking back today, i realize after those early Imogene days I didn't have the Caroline dreams for quite some time after.

The old orleans building is midway on the bustling and prosperous Monmouth and Charing cross road. with its collection of both old and new development buildings. Just blocks away from the revelous globe theater and the forever popular hippodrome nightclub, amidst other shops.
It was one of those classic multi story limestone buildings, which had withstood the test of time and survived London post the world war. The modern trend was to renovate these buildings and merge them with the new, which had been quite handsomely done with the old Orleans facade with its French style glass windows and its colorful red-striped overhanging canopy.
Imogene and her partners, had bought it When it was a fledging nightclub, a relic to mismanagement and the simple fact that 'people liked change, when things got dowdy," especially in the westend.
A resounding testament to change today, it is a popular two story eatery which on weekends, converted into a show hall for its bluesy band nights.

After my induction I served five truly great band-night weekends, with the old Orleans mob in which things went smoothly without much note.
Initially I was placed 'entrance bouncer,' which Imogene had thought suited my burley sporty frame, which she complimented and advised me to persist keeping in shape. I was both surprised and pleased as punch, she noticed.
In my first four weeks, i concentrated on quickly getting to know the regulars and a little something of the design-tech back stage skills, required for band night.

On band nights, a number of the staff from the eatery doubled over as set builders, stage technicians. which is a common work practice for most small show halls. Usually a great training ground for young budding 'theateries' as I fondly call them. who mostly read rolling stone magazine and avidly followed the trials of professional techies in the larger Live shows in town.
The only remaining functioning part of the eatery, on band nights was the bar. Which stayed open to serve the mases.

I found i was  becoming integral to the social group and also got quite used to the practice of "Crew get-together", after the band night Show.'unlike on week days when the managers simply closed shop after hours.' After show night closed and the doors locked, the crew would assemble a couple of tables at the rear corner by the downstairs bar. Although it was policy, no staff member could drank during proceedings. After show we did a lot of social mingling within the groups. The "crew get-together s" usually included Imogene, Steff 'Nickos' popadopa the barman, Peter adamsky the restaurant manager, myself, Josh the other bouncer, a number of waitress and tech extras in addition to which ever guests crew members invited to stay on after hours.

Both Josh and Steff 'Nickos' were European and quite flamboyant characters, who were naturally casual with people, especially the waitresses who most suspected steff had slept with at some point. Steff certainly knew how to cash in on his rugged good looks and he worked the bar, champaign circles and the ladies like a pro. Which made me believe there were many more advantages to being in the industry. He was quite relaxed with Imogene too and would often put his arm around her while talking to her, which she didn't always allow just anyone else and it always sent a pang of jealousy through me, because it implied they had more than simply friendly relations. Imogene had over two plus years groomed Steff into being less of a natural talent host and into the hospitality businessman he was today.

On the evening of my fifth week with the crew, Steff as usual sat at the top end of the conjoined tables closest to the bar. which although closed he kept watch over and left accessible for crew drinks. Beside him against the wall was Helen one of our waitress with josh beside her. Imogene sat opposite the table and Helen, on Steff left with me next to her and the various other crew and staff members scattered around the table.

Helen was saying "I think Italian men were incapable of being faithful." that was usually about the level casual conversation took after a full night's work. I think she was aiming the remark at Josh, who most likely had a brief fling with her.

Josh piped in and said  "I didn't agree sweetheart my father was Italian and he never strayed one day in his life."
Imogene added "I don't think it has anything to do with being Latin." "I have dated one or two celebrity types and some people simply can't keep it in their pants." she laughed and added,"its really all i ask of my lovers."
she turned toward me and putting her hands gently on my thigh, she asked sweetly
"you wouldn't do that though, would you?"
I quickly replied, "absolutely not imo" as the devotee of hers i had become.
Steff 'Nicos' added "the only thing thats important is to have good strong sons, the more the better, seven or so for a happy family"
"that is so Greek" someone added.

Josh said "well Douglas doesn't count imo, he is already nursing a broken heart over some 'Caroline!' isn't that right?"
Josh and i were often alone together and during those times we had open up on a number of things to each other. However i was a little uncomfortable he had found it so bluntly fitting to bring Caroline up this minute.

Imogene's eyebrows raised at the comment and she said "oh really? poor poor baby! a lady broke your heart, did she?"
Someone further down heard our retort and said "i'm always, loyal to my sweetheart" Peter the manager blasted him with "that's because you never have any money to take the ladies out, mate" and everyone laughed.

Imogene turned towards me and said in a low hushed voice "you know, if your broken hearted it usually passes when you meet someone nice" she held a steady gaze at my eyes and smiled.
AS we sat around the table chatting the evening away, I paid little heed to Imogene's retort as a signal, thinking she was just being her wonderful self, larger than life and my part in the roll, playing the adoring fan.
I had gotten to know Imogene along with everyone else a little more during these closed sessions and my first impression was right, i hadn't been disappointed in her at all.


Although most of my time at old orleans was special and varied. Two incidents, remained upper-most in my mind. Those being, what we called the 'car crash' and the 'police raid' crises.

The car cash incident happened in about my seventh band night weekend, while still a doorman bouncer. My co-bouncer Josh and I had been at the doors on what seemed a pretty usual band night, greeting regulars, asking for Id's fussing over little nothings. When on a quiet spell two girls headed towards us. At first i thought nothing offhand, getting ready to show them in. But then I noticed, they wasn't wearing any shoes, which wasn't too unusual for some girls inside, who liked to drink champaign and dance on table-tops, on groovier band nights. But also these girls were both walking barefoot outside in a somewhat exasperated and hurried pace.

I turned my puzzled gaze to josh who did his Italian shoulders shrug thing and then took steps towards the girls. As I slowly walked behind him to catch what they were saying, they gestured frantically towards the corner and main high road. "whats! th" I didn't have time to finish.
Josh told me to "follow them" and he said "I'll be right behind you, I just need to get Steff and something, extra!" and took off inside the building.

As I scrambled, following the girls towards the corner road. we came upon their car on the side walk pavement, off road. The girls had been drink-driving, after the days shop-feasting. Resulting in them running off road, between a fire hose and a parking block upright. The car was a two door saloon Peugeot which was now trapped between fire hose, on the left side and the block upright the other.
The girls had managed to climb out the windows themselves, but had been forced to leave their infant child in the back sit, crying!

I moved quickly towards the car and tried manually to free the doors with cheer physical effort, but was unsuccessful. I tried using my foot on the door, but it yielded little result too.  All this i did to to the tune of the girls calling out to the crying child "it's ok Charlie, honey! mummy's coming!"
As i prepared to try yet again even harder, Josh and Steff came hurriedly round the corner, Steff was wielding a fireman's ax in his hand.
He asked us all to step aside and quickly set to work on the rear boot door of the car, aiming his ax on the lock mechanism, which quickly sprang up, yielding to his blows. He then hurriedly opened the back door and scrambled inside to grab wailing the child.

The joyful cry of relief which came from the girls only resonated, what we all felt. As he handled the infant, now separated from child sit to its mother, we slapped him on the back saying "well done mate, good job Steff."
After we all returned to old Orleans someone came up with calling Steff "Steff 'Nickos' the Ax-man" a name which I believe would linger long after I'm done with the crew. we sat the girls down to coffee and waited for the police and their contact to come pick them up.
Someone was also went to the local super mart to pick up infant baby milk for the crying child. Josh and the second of the ladies 'the unmarried one' seemed to be getting on quite well. She Cooed, how she thought he was "such a hero" it seemed to me his accent was sounded even more Italian than usual as he replied "oh! I'm just a humble fellow" If only she knew i thought to myself.

The other incident which struck to mind, happened two weeks before my final weekend on a normal eatery night. None of us had taken much notice of a civilian clothed official. who had slipped in and dwindled quite casually amongst our regular guests. Apparently all the while observing our staff work culture and taking notes.  We were raided and breeched by police on the Friday who were informed by the official we were "a heaven for cannabis dealing" They came with a van to arrest workers and planned to shut down the eatery. Imogene wasn't on sight on that day, it happened. So we were left to the devices of Peter Stansky our country bred collage drop out restaurant manager to deal with things.

To all our Surprise, manager Peter sprang into action without hesitation or doubt, as the officers established their intentions. He squared up to the official in charge, asking to see their documents. He said, they were obviously wrongfully and unlawfully violating civil rights and disrupting a place of commerce reciting some studious sounding legal president!
The group of workers chefs and waitresses that had gathered in the restaurant looked at him in stunned silence. This was most unusual and contrasting behavior from peter, who usually was more of a dark horse in the mist of things.

Ego, he continued, we should be given actual proof of misconduct and some legal notice before any talk of closing our business. Which would mean substantial loss of revenue to us.
Further if we had been given some notice, he would have than happily arranged a time for any necessary inspections without disruption to business, which was clearly unlawful and we would certainly be suing them for the loss.

The official who headed the operation became much less bullish and paying more attention to Peter's legal outspill. He better elaborated, Bob one of our kitchen staff had been dealing cannabis to individuals in the local area after work on a large scale, he said. His phone conversations and activities had been monitored, what remained was to find out who else was involved and that bob would be arrested was a certainty.

Peter agreed, OK! That may well be. But if they was any more talk of closing the restaurant or anyone else being arrested without proof. he knew the local consular personally and he was going on his phone to call him and notify the press immediately. Till tomorrow i admit i did not know if peter was bluffing or telling the truth. But what mattered was. He was very convincing, convincing enough so that the officials had to take heed.

Their tune soon changed, "well" they said covering their tracks, "this will have be more lawfully processed, assessed and clearly they had their main man ." Maybe there wasn't need to disturb commercial activities.

We all of us stood wide eyed in disbelief, looking from Stan to the officials and back to Stan again. He actually had them on the run. "he's usually was so quiet" someone murmured.
Apparently it was revealed later on, After coming to the city he had been a paralegal for a Law firm before doping out of collage and had pick up a thing or two there.

With The officer's bigger plans dashed, they were forced to be reasonable and settled themselves with Bob, who they cuffed as they mobilized off sight.  
My final last weekend at old Orleans came much sooner than expected. My mood was somber, and i was sad to see things coming to an end. It had been a wonderful summer with the crew and most weekends had been like, well rehearsed parties.

Band night was five days before the Christmas holidays and Imogene had put efforts into  ending the year with a great bash. The facade outside was adorned with Christmas lights and a Christmas tree.  We worked had on the exterior for two days and finished it with a small red carpet outside the entrance. We also arranged for about a dozen people to look like casual tourists on the day, outside the entrance. Four of which were my Irish neighbors who i had wangled passes for into the big night.
Imogene was on the billboard doing her copy of 'half a mind' by the Suzie Arioli band, which i loved. The other billing was for a quite currently popular rock band.

The East Evoner ladies hockey team had been invited by Imogene to guest at the Christmas event. They were in town to play their rivals the north London ladies team at the seasons finals and had won spectacularly. They had been treated to a victors dinner at the popular 'ches cat' after which dropped by old Orleans for the Christmas show night.

Their slender well built athletic frames ware both a tribute to the physical goddesses that they were and a testimonial to the excellence we all physically might attain. With Their casual loopy post match strides and lavish flowing gowns, they moved with such style elegance and confidence, as they passed the red carpet into the dance hall. each one one of them a master piece, so certain and sure of both their welcome and adoration.

That Imogene still knew how to throw a bash and was a heck of a party planner was without question, that she was a good manager was also undeniable....
Champaign was drunk with dancing and revelry a plenty. The upstairs stage level buzzed with the live shows. while the sitting crowds in the packed downstairs section and bars followed the show on screen and speakers..
A lot of our usual regulars were simply happy to be in the buzz as to where the girls would be going next and they hastily scrambled to follow them onto a night spot for more drinks before their hotel. As our evening wound to a close.

After our last band night of the year, with the shows over and the doors closed. The staff members got together to quiet drinks and chats.
We all knew Imogene was planing to take off on her travels. she was going away for Christmas for a couple of weeks, Peter would be managing after Christmas. I too was saying my sad goodbyes, post my return to uni after the festivities.

As we all about nine remaining staff members drank and chatted happily into the night, I had a glass or two more than usual.Imogene who was sitting adjacent to me leaned over asked me to go to her office, she had something for me she said. I complied without too much speculation or forethought as i enjoyed pleasing her.

I leaned casually against the upright back of a guest-chair and her managers desk, for about four minutes, before she came in.  When she did she gave me a casual glance, but said nothing. Instead she squeezed past me and her desk, on to the file cabinet behind. She bent down to thumb through the file drawers, leaning lower down in search of something. She seemed to behaving problems opening it, because after repeated attempts to make it open,instead of turning round she said " damn thing" "you couldn't help me with this could you?"
I had to admit i had no problems with looking at her from that position. Her effect on me was as always immediate and indelible. As i centered on her her attributes.

As i I hastened towards to help her, she seemed to jimmy the lock, because she stumbled backwards right onto me. Creating something of an awkward situation. we both initially quickly made to speak but surrendered to silence instead, She turned round with a surprised look on her raised brows and face.
 
If were Caucasian i would have turned bright red all over, but instead equally stupidly i mumbled something utterly incoherent which sounded something like "i'm ahacgk". surprisinSly rather than putting attention on my embarrassment she said " what is that, is that for me?" the room seemed to go into a spin around me, as blood flowed away from my head towards where it was needed most steading my legs.

Then putting her index finger to my lips she hushed me "shhh!" and said simply "you better go lock the door, then shouldest you" i turned and took steps towards the door with a very surreal feeling about the moment. As I reached for the lock and door, i turned my head to glance back at her, she was undoing her blouse past her fantastic breasts and on downward. To say i was giddy with happiness, was putting it mildly i turned my eyes towards the ceiling and the heavens and mouthed thank you! She left me her private number in my breast pocket that evening and told me to call her when she returned from her holidays, in two weeks, we needed to talk...That was the beginning of my time with Imogene, an experience which was character changing for me..

**********************

As I stepped out of my bath i decided i was in the mood to listen to Imogene's cover of the Suzzie Arioli bands "half a mind" a copy of which i had kept and still very much cherished some twenty five years later.....

 

 


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