The Song Bird CH2

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Things had changed for me. The time on the road hadn’t changed; it was always this way except when I started it was for a week or three to four nights at the same venue. Now I was lucky if I got two nights. I didn’t bemoan my situation; I was still doing the thing I loved, singing. When I was young and fresh there would be small presents in my dressing room with offers to dine or to supply me with something that would relax me. Well you can imagine what they thought would happen after. It didn’t. I was a Rock chick that didn’t do the drugs and sex scene. Doesn’t sound possible does it? It’s true though. I saw early on what happened to the girls who went that way, the media trashed them, unlike the guys who, it seemed enhanced their profile with every spliff they smoked and every teenybopper who dropped their knickers for them, especially when the girls seemed to be under-age. It’s a man’s world and despite the efforts of the woman’s lib crowd, it still is. I became cautious of any entanglement. Oh, I did have some relationships, but my relationships worked themselves out over a period of months rather than hours.

When I married, it was to a guy in my backing group. I married for life; he married for security, believing that there would always be a place for him in whatever backing group I used. The problem with him was that he still thought of himself as freelance. He was free with his lance, and he had a Bill Clinton zipper. Getting divorced was not easy. The legal bit was a piece of cake, but the publicity was horrible. The tabloids could not believe that he would cheat on the beautiful, shapely girl he married without cause. So the rumours started, there was something wrong with me, I was frigid or perhaps I was a lesbian. He was guilty. Yet I was the one who was tarred.

My manager, the little shit, had guided me all through my career until two years ago. I was young and naive when I signed up. He moulded my appearance, introduced me to the right A and R men, chose what songs I would sing, looked over the contracts and showed me the dotted line where I signed. After twenty years in the business, I learned a thing or two and asked some pertinent questions of him. I read the music papers and was astounded at how much I was presumed to be earning, yet I didn’t have anything like that sort of money in my accounts. The answers he gave me were so evasive; I knew there was something wrong. Therefore, I went looking and found an unbiased accountant who specialized in investigating money trails. He delved for a couple of months and then laid it all out for me. Money was being siphoned off from all my contracts and was split between my manager and whatever agent was involved in the deal of that time. The returns to the Inland Revenue that my manager’s chosen accountant filed on my behalf were nothing like the value of the contracts. The Revenue came sniffing looking to recover tax unpaid from me. It was only after the Court case that they backed off, understanding that I had been the victim and that I had never received the full amount of my contracts. If my manager had revealed where he had stashed the money he stole from me, his sentence would have been lighter, but for reasons unknowable he stayed tight-lipped.

After all these bumps in the road, I had made it a rule that I would never make a quick decision. I would look at things and then think. Then I would think some more. So becoming friends with Jack so quickly was well out of character for me. Most men would have been incandescent at being cut up like that, but Jack just sort of shrugged his shoulders and offered me a drink. Usually I would make an excuse and leave at that point, but Jack had this aura of non-threatening composure. Ataşehir Escort Therefore, I sat down. Then when he asked me about ‘Sarfend’, I relaxed totally. It was great talking about our pasts as if we were old friends. Later when we moved on to music, I was in there battling for my style. He didn’t get upset when I as near as dammit called him an old fogey, he smiled and countered my words. He didn’t demolish my arguments he just got me to view music in a slightly different way. When he talked about what music meant to him I felt ashamed of myself. He was describing how I felt about music when I was in my teens. Somewhere along the way, I had lost that ideal. Could I ever get it back? As we talked, I got this impression of a genuine, self-contained man. A guy who would accept people for what they were and find interest in their ideas and ambitions. He didn’t have to throw his weight around or brag of his success to impress people, in fact I believed that he didn’t care if people thought him successful or not. He was what he was. Others may view wealth as the criteria of a man. Jack didn’t. His criteria lay elsewhere.

I was disappointed when I found that Jack was leaving the next morning as I was looking forward to another evening of talking with him. It would be talking, somehow I knew that he wouldn’t be making any moves on me until I gave him the signal that it would be acceptable. He was intuitive, one of the few men who could recognize the signal, one of many gestures that women used to indicate their interest in a man. Jack would not assume, he would wait for a signal, even then he wouldn’t pounce, instead he would take it gently. Why did I think that? He came across to me as one who didn’t play around, a gentleman who would always respect my limits. That was why I asked for his number, just because it would be great to talk with him again and for no other reason. When guys asked me for my number I would usually tell them there was little point as I was so rarely there, so I would ask for their number and if they wouldn’t give me a home number it was probably because there was a wife who could answer the phone. It was a simple test, but effective. Jack had no problem about giving me his home number, my vibes told me he wouldn’t. Strangely, as we said goodnight I had a moment of sadness. I wanted to go on talking with this man, something that had rarely happened to me.


The next few days were very busy for me. I travelled from the South West, where I had met Cate, to High Wycombe and then northwards to Long Eaton. Long Eaton was the happy hunting ground for me as there were more manufacturers of quality upholstery in that place within three or four miles of each other than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. If that wasn’t enough, it was close enough to my home that I didn’t have to suffer the dubious delights of hotel accommodation. I could drive there from my home in forty minutes.

I wondered if I would ever hear from Cate. There were so many reasons for her not calling. The disparity of our lives for one. We both travelled a lot, in fact, I spent just as much time away from home as actually living there. Cate, from what I knew would rarely be at her home. She was probably more of an itinerant that I. Moreover, she worked mostly in the evenings. I knew enough about the music industry to know that her days would be busy as well. There would be promotions, guest appearances on TV chat shows, rehearsals, sound checks, enough to keep anyone busy during the day apart from performing in the evening. There would also be a lot of time spent in the recording studio, although I cannot recall, now that I think about it, of her releasing much of late. As the days passed, I began to believe that Ataşehir Escort Bayan I would never hear from her.

A week at home beckoned me ten days later. Not a holiday, although I would get some time to relax. I needed to get my accounts in order for the annual audit by my accountant, prior to sending in my income tax return. This was the time when panic could set in as I searched for invoices, commission advices, receipts for items claimable and other documentation the Inland Revenue deemed necessary. I had found most of these and they were arranged in neat piles on my desk in date order when the phone rang. I picked up expecting to hear from one of my customers. “Jack Weston.”

“Hello, Jack. I’m surprised to find you at home. I would have thought you were out selling your fabrics.” The voice was instantaneously recognisable.

“Cate! How nice to hear from you. This is a paperwork day. It’s great spring morning so as soon as I have finished I can go out and enjoy the air.”

“I bet you were thinking that I would never call.”

I laughed. “Well something like that had gone through my mind. I mean you are so busy.”

“So busy I would forget a friend?”

“Eh. I don’t know.”

She was giggling. “Well you should know. I wouldn’t forget the guy who needs to be taught about Rock, would I?”

“If that is the case I need to teach this famous Rock singer about Swing.”

“Oh we do have a lot to talk about then.” She became serious.

“Jack I have got a three night gig at the Assembly Rooms in Derby. Is that close to you?”

“Yes. I live about ten miles from Derby. When is it?”

“Three weeks time. I can get you a comp ticket, but more importantly, I really would like to pick up on our chat before. I will be in Derby for five days. Would you have dinner with me one of days I am not singing?”

“I would love to.”

“Good. I will call nearer the time and we can get things arranged. I am stuck in my flat in London trying to sort out the mess my manager has left me. It does look like a nice day, but I doubt that I will get to see anything of it. Oh, by the way, I looked for Hulland Ward on the map; it’s almost non-existent. You must live way out in the country?”

“Yes it is. I have an un-interrupted view of rolling hills dropping gradually down to the valley of the River Dove.”

“You’re a sadist, Jack. Telling me of your idyllic situation. It does sound nice. The only view I have is of roofs of other buildings and occasional glimpses of the sky.”

I got up and walked to the window. “Yes I like it. It was just what I needed after the trauma of the divorce.”

Without thought, I opened the window. The breeze blew in and carried away those piles of neatly sorted papers on my desk. “Bugger! The wind has just blown away my paperwork. It’s taken me two hours to sort and now I shall have to do it all over again.”

Cate was laughing. “It’s comeuppance for you. Teasing me with the description of your home. I have no sympathy for you. A bit of envy, possibly. I shall have to come up and see it sometime.”

“You would be welcome.”

“Must go, Jack. The other phone is ringing. Talk soon. Bye.”

“Bye, Cate.” I wearily picked up those papers and started to sort them again. The call was interesting. I had thought that she would never call, or that if she did it would be merely a telephone conversation. The surprise was that first, she wanted me to be at her concert and second that Cate wanted to continue our conversation. The comment about her coming up and seeing the cottage was possibly a throwaway remark, or maybe an indication of more interest than I had thought. I had never been one for building castles in the air, so Escort Ataşehir the throwaway remark was the more likely and I thought no more about it.

Two weeks later Cate phoned again. This time in the evening. This was not the hurried conversation of out last phone call. I could tell that Cate was relaxed and apart from making our arrangements for the Derby concert, we talked of other things. Music to start off then our chat morphed into other topics. She was quite interested in the cottage. “You were kidding me when you said that you could see rolling hills descending into the river valley, weren’t you?”

“Honestly, Cate it’s true. The cottage was originally a farm labourer’s cottage. I bought it from the farmer, Harry Gill. I had it modernized and extended.”

“So you get water out of a tap, rather than pumping it up by hand?” There was laughter in her voice.

“You’ve got it. Of course, it’s difficult to fill the tin bath. I have to boil a lot of kettles to get enough hot water for that. Then there is the little wooden outhouse for personal things. But apart from that I am quite sophisticated.”

Cate was giggling nicely as she asked. “And I suppose you take your bath in front of the fire?”

“No. I go outside on the terrace. It’s easy to empty it then, straight onto a flower bed.”

“That I would love to see.”

“No way! A man’s got his right to privacy when he’s taking his bath.”

“Taking a bath outside is not exactly private, anyone could see you.”

“Not much chance of that, the nearest place is two miles away.”

“Two miles?”

“Yes. I’m in the back of beyond here. It also means I can play my music as loud as I like. There’s no one to complain.”

“That’s fantastic. I really must see this place of yours someday.” Somehow, I was not averse to that. When you meet someone and are able to talk to him or her easily and without having to watch what you say you know there is something more there. What that was I didn’t know, but I was looking forward to exploring.

“Well give me plenty of notice and I’ll dust and vacuum. That’s if I can find the vacuum cleaner. I know it’s around somewhere, I am sure I saw it about six months ago.”

Cate laughed uninhibitedly. “That’s cheered me up, Jack, to know that you are useless at something. You should get a cleaning lady in.”

“I did. But she kept getting lost on the way here, so I gave up in the end.”

“Is it that difficult to find then?”

“Not really. I make a joke about it. The lanes around here are not named and there are few signposts, so unless you know where you are going it’s quite easy to lose your way. It suits me as I don’t get those irritating people doing surveys for this that and the other, nor do I get the canvassers for the energy companies.”

“I don’t get those either, but in my case it’s because they can’t get past the porter in the entrance lobby.”

“Intimidating, is he?”

“I should say so. Six foot four of ex-Royal Marine. He’s lovely really but the canvassers who come through the door get his ‘I don’t take crap from anybody’ look, turn round and leave quickly.”

“The sign at my gate usually deters people.”

“A sign?” Cate asked.

“Yes. It says ‘Beware of the Bull’.”

“Is the bull dangerous. She asked through her laughter. “Or is that some kind of self-advertisement?”

“There isn’t a bull. Harry Gill put it up for me. He does have a bull, but it’s never in my field.” I hesitated for a moment but then it was Cate who had brought innuendo into the conversation. “I don’t advertise. I am very select and selective.”

I could hear Cate giggling. “Well that’s a change. Nothing like my ex-husband I am pleased to say.”

Our chat finished soon after that. We agreed that I would see her for dinner at the Ramada on the Wednesday night. Her gig was for Thursday through to Saturday evening. The comp ticket she had arranged was for Saturday evening.

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