Chapter 11: Dave’s dreams come true and angels sing
The tube had just pulled out of the station and I started to read “The Independent”. Unusually for the Indy the front page carried a real red top story. It was about sightings of “angels” and “gods” from all over the globe. The paper had dug up some professor of psychiatry to explain these sightings which along with local brightening of the skies were attracting massive media attention.
As I read the story a sense of excitement and anticipation welled up within me. I couldn’t explain why I was feeling that way.
On the next page a face stared out at me. It was Adrian. I was dumb struck.
The headline read “Journalist seriously injured as top computer project is destroyed.”
The article went on to describe how the journalist Adrian Proops’s heroic efforts to save the life of a student had caused a major explosion at a world renowned research laboratory destroying the world leading UK built and financed super quantum computer.
The article did not describe in detail what had happened other than there had been an electrical short circuit. The project leader Professor John Chambers detailed the extent of the disaster that had befallen the project. Years of work had gone up in smoke, the fear was that the team would break up and the UK would lose it lead in this field.
Dr Peter Cousins the top civil servant in charge of the project’s funding ruled out sabotage. The Dean of College Faculty was philosophical and stated that “The main thing to remember is that no one was killed. Mr Proops was badly injured but he will survive. We must be thankful for that.”
“Bloody hell”, I muttered under my breath. “Poor old Adrian.” And then I started to smile, “Jesus”, I thought, “not content with his wife being in the local rag – he has to top it and how.”
The train terminated at the next station, “operating difficulties,” we were told by the driver and we all disembarked onto the platform. As I was getting off a young woman in front of me tripped, catching her heel in the doorway of the carriage. She went sprawling and I rushed to pick her up.
She was an extremely attractive Indian girl. Couldn’t have been more than 25, with long jet black hair and coal black eyes.
“Thank you, I feel rather foolish.” She said.
“Are you hurt?”
“No, I don’t think so – just shaken up. Just my luck I have a meeting at 10 near King’s Cross. What with this and the train trouble – I’ll not get there on time.”
I just looked at her.
“The last time this happened to me: the delay not the trip we hung around for hours. In the end I walked to the nearest overground station and got to work nearly on time – just a few minutes late.”
“Why was I going on like this”, I thought to myself, “she doesn’t want to hear about my travel mishaps.” The truth was I didn’t want her to go. Anything to keep her near me.
“That sounds a great idea. I can phone the people I’m meeting and warn them I’ll be late.”
And with that she grabbed hold of my jacket sleeve and dragged me through the growing crowd on the platform towards the exit.
Once at street level we both phoned work and then headed for the nearest over ground station.
“My name’s Dave, nice to meet you.” I said as we walked down the road past the long queue at the bus stop.
“They’ve been here since last time”. And I pointed to the twenty or thirty people waiting impatiently for a bus.
“Oh, it’s nothing. It’s just that the last time I did this walk to the station I passed a similarly long queue. A feeble attempt at a joke I’m afraid.”
“That’s ok I like jokes first thing in the morning – prepares you for the rest of the day. My name’s Mysha. It’s good to meet you Dave. Is it far to the station? My shoes are for effect not for walking.”
She was right about that. Her sling back high heels showed off her exquisite ankles.
“Oh no, it’s not far: we’re already here.”
The station was empty and a near empty train pulled in. “This is too much of a coincidence”, I thought remembering the time I caught a similarly empty train with Adrian.
“What luck, we can have the best seats.” She said as we sat opposite each other by the window.
I had hoped to have talked to her for the rest of the journey, but she unzipped her attaché case and pulled out a wad of papers.
“Need to read up on the agenda items before the meeting,” she explained, “ Meant to have done it last night but…well, you know have it is.”
I said I did and began reading the paper. As I folded the front page back, she let out a gasp.
“I know that man! I discussed his re-mortgage with him only yesterday.”
“That’s so weird I know him too” and I went on to explain how Adrian and I had met and travelled the same route a few months ago.
“Do you believe in fate?” Mysha enquired, her dark eyes staring into mine.
“I didn’t,” I thought to myself “but now I don’t know.” I was rapidly losing my heart to her beauty.
“Yes, I suppose I do.”
“That’s good, so do I. We were meant to meet, I’m sure.”
“And..?” I formed the question silently in my mind.
“And, that means you’ll have to take me out for a fancy meal. I want to know all about you and Adrian and your adventures together!”
She laughed as she said that, and added
I’m not sure what I was feeling at that precise moment. Was she serious? Was she having a laugh, trying to confuse me? I was seriously non plussed, but I thought honesty would be the best policy.
“I’d love to take you out for a fancy meal. Not Indian I’m guessing.”
She laughed again.
”Too right, Dave, no Chicken Tikka Masala in Brick Lane for me. So where do you suggest?”
“Oh, I don’t know – “The Ivy”?
I had no idea where that came from. No idea how I could afford it. What a dork?
“Really, that’s unbelievable.”
She kissed me on my cheek and sat back to continue her prep for the meeting.
I left her at Liverpool Street Station but not before exchanging phone numbers, e-mail addresses (work and home) and a slight kiss on her cheeks. I said I’d phone her later that day to confirm the restaurant booking.
“Cool. You can afford it?”
“Of course.” I lied.
I stood watching her as she walked down Euston Road, heels clicking and I swear I heard a choir of angels somewhere in the sky.
“I don’t know about gods walking amongst us, but goddesses certainly do.”
Chapter 12: Christmas parties, the Dean recaps and Adrian gets burnt
To say the party was in full swing would be a considerable exaggeration. There were a few limp decorations, which appeared to have hung around since last Christmas, and balloons expiring on the ends of string. Greetings cards were scattered across desks and filing cabinets and a tinny hi-fi was spitting out Donna Summers’ “I Feel Love”.
It reminded me of the seedy office parties I’d attended years ago and thought I’d grown out of.
Sarah introduced me to her boss Peter and Fritz and to the Professor and his two key researchers, Anita and Andrew. The Dean had yet to arrive.
“Sarah tells us you write for a life style magazine?”……