Hail and Farewell to Paris

La Muse malade

I found my lazy eyelids snap open when I heard that familiar American drawl,
“Look man I dunno, it’s just one of those things isn’t it?”
I smiled; he was on the phone to Tre. Billie had different ‘phone voices’ for whomever he was conversing with. This was either Tre or Mike…
“Oh Fuck off I’ll kill you when I see you never mind Sam, it’ll be you’re fuckin head through the bass drum...”
I withheld a grin, yes, definitely Tre.
I slowly turned my head to see him sitting right behind me, totally oblivious to me or anyone else around him who seemed to be staring at his face in an odd shock- filled fascination.
I nervously reached forwards and let my fingertips slowly brush across the skin at the back of his neck, Just at teh part where the black wisps of hair met his pale skin in small curls.
He jumped and I smirked, quickly whipping around and praying he was so distracted by his phone call he wouldn’t recognize me. By the lack of retaliation I assumed he didn’t, I giggled as I pictured him turning around warily to give me an odd look. This was naughty, but rather amusing.
Slowly I faced the back of his head again, this time tugging on the black hairs more harshly than before. He whipped around mid conversation and I wasn’t quick enough. Our eyes met and his jaw dropped. I chuckled as I heard Tre down the line,
“Bill? Bill? You there?”
Those green eyes blinked and he swallowed, “Yeah Tre man, I er…I gotta go.”
I shook my head as he closed his cell, turning fully around and leaning across the bench closer to me.
“Ava? Wh...What are you doing here?” He breathed.
“Oh I fought my way past security to see you take off”
“You didn’t?” He asked, shocked, his eyes blinking rapidly again.
I chuckled, “No Billie I didn’t, Mme Vale has let me have the weekend off for my birthday and well, if you’ll have me, I thought I could sample the Guinness with you in Ireland?”

Billie’s face lit up, “Seriously? Of course I’ll have you! Fuck Ava!” he started laughing as he lunged over the bench and kissed me softly.
He chuckled as he pulled away, “I love that woman! I knew she couldn’t resist my charm, I knew you’d come in the end.”
“Can I just ask is that how you'd normally act if someone was to pull on your hair like that?”
He frowned, “Hey a hell of a lot of people want to touch my hair I’ll have you know.”
“I don’t know why, it hasn’t seen a comb in five years”
Billie opened his mouth to retaliate but was shot across by the air hostess announcing the gate had opened across a crackling speaker.
Distracted, the singer took my hand as we began queuing up to board the plane.
“Where are you sitting?” He asked worriedly looking at his ticket then to my own.
Billie winced, “Ooo harsh, enjoy yourself”
My mouth dropped, “If you were a true gentlemen then you would swap with me”
Billie chuckled, “I like my leg room”
“You’re shorter than me!”
“No, I’m not, you just wear ridiculously high heels all the time”
“The point is I’m still taller and you should still swap with me because it would be the chivalrous thing to do.”
“Well I was going to upgrade you but since we’re living in an equal sex world I think it should be your turn to suffer, plus I finally wanna see what the sheltered English girl can handle.”
I frowned, my mouth dropping, “I can’t believe you have just said that…”
Billie tried to laugh it off, glancing at my face and realizing he may have gone a step too far.
"Okay, okay, if it means that much to you…”
My pride swam up into my throat, I was going to make him pay for that one, “Oh no Billie it’s fine, I’ve resigned myself to an eight hour flight with deep vein thrombosis.”
“Ava I was jok…” Billie gasped desperately as we neared the flight attendant who was tearing off people’s boarding passes like they were tickets to Disneyland.
“No it’s fine, I don’t care.”
“Don’t Aves me Billie, enjoy your leg room.” I snapped my eyes flashing as I was ushered to the opposite side of the plane to him.
I didn’t turn around as I waded through my fellow passengers but I could picture him looking at me in a mixture of exasperation and bewilderment.

Okay so maybe I went overboard, he was joking after all but it annoyed me. Now here I was because of my stubbornness, stuck between an old Chinese woman and a man in a dark green hooded top. I sighed and tucked the in- flight magazine back into the seat in front of me, wondering what on earth Billie was thinking and hoping he flet bad.
The Chinese woman turned to me and clicked her tongue, she obviously didn’t approve of me in some way, but right now I oculdn't care less.
Half an hour went by and I regretted this decision, after an awful glass of wine later the guy next to me had fallen asleep with his I-pod turned up full blast, the Chinese woman was doing a crossword and clicking her tongue every few seconds which was causing me to flinch with annoyance.
I wanted to scream.

“Excuse me?”
Looking up I was met with the plastic looking air hostess who smiled at me like I had a terminal disease.
“Err Miss Crawford? A gentleman asked me to give you this.”
I glanced down at the folded object in her hand.
Passing it to me she scooted off in the opposite direction.
The Chinese woman’s eyes followed the paper as I lifted it nearer my face.
On closer inspection I realized it was, indeed, a sick bag. I shook my head and unfolded it to see Billie’s scrawny writing.

Dear Ava
Sorry about before, I’m getting lonely here with the empty seat next to me.
Please come and join me, unless you have made some friends in coach who aren’t un-funny assholes.

P.s. Ignore the fact that this is written on a sick bag

I chuckled. It took him an hour to cave and me five seconds to accept his invitation. The stewardess came back and grinned at me again like I was a five-year old on a special day out.
“The gentleman in first class has paid for you to be upgraded Miss Crawford.”
The Chinese woman turned her head to me, giving me a huge snarl of disgust.
I stared at the air hostess numbly, taking in her words,
“So…err, would you like to follow me Miss?”
I sprang up like a shocked spaniel at the tone of her voice. She clearly thought I was quite mentally slow .
I was led through a thick red curtain that separated the different parts of the plane. Even the smell is different in first class, I glanced at the passengers, mainly business men in sharp suits before my eyes finally rested on Billie at the back of the plane. He sat flicking through a magazine and sipping from what looked like whisky on the rocks.

“Bit early isn’t it?” I asked loudly making him jump as the air hostess nodded at me and left.
“No” He replied, raising his eyebrow, “It’s never to early Ava.”
“However It’s early enough for an apology isn't it?"
I asked as he raised his eyebrows at me quizzically.
“Sorry for…well…being a bitch?”
Billie chuckled, “Sit down you moron.”
I sat down but frowned, “Don’t call me that”
Billie folded the magazine away and leant in towards me like he was going to give me a huge speech. Instead I felt his lips press against my cheek and his arms wrap around me, pulling me almost on top of him.
I sighed as my fingers grabbed at the fabric of his t-shirt; I loved this feeling, Billie encircling me, his whole smell feel and taste. My heart seemed to slow down in utter relaxation; I couldn’t wait till we were walking through the doors of the hotel room. So we had a small stupid fight, but how could this tarnish our whole weekend? We would be togther wouldn't we? Laughing about this tomorrow, how stupid we were...I want this weekend to go well.

Ireland was cold.
That’s the first thing that I thought when I stepped out of the plane.
The wind howled and the rain lashed down like a whip, it couldn’t be more stereotypical but that’s the first view of the Emerald Isle that I saw
Luckily, despite the weather, we arrived at Billie's hotel room quite quickly to be greeted by,
“Hello Tre” I chuckled as he planted a Guinness-smelling kiss on my cheek.
“Happy Birthday babe, man I’ve missed you guys, I really have, my only companion today has been the black stuff” He held up a half empty pint of Guinness that I just realized he was clutching.
“Tre why are you in here?” Billie asked, collapsing on the bed, “And where’s everyone else?”
Tre tapped his nose drunkenly before falling on the bed and crawling raunchily up to the headboard where Billie sat.
“Well I thought I’d stay and give you two a welcome present you won’t forget.”
“Tre as much as I’d love that, where’s Mike?” The singer sighed, eyes glinting naughtily.
The drummer flapped his hand before looking at me, “He took a shine to some Irish girl we met on the plane, they are having coffee.”
Billie frowned, “What?”
Tre chuckled, “Aw leave him man he’ll be a good boy, let him have some female attention without the claws.”
I sat down on the edge of the bed and Tre turned over and began to snore on the mattress, spilling his drink and leaving a dark circle of muddy brown on the sheets.
I rolled my eyes away from the stain to see Billie staring at me.
I shrugged, “He’ll be okay, he may have just clicked with her…”
“How do you think he got involved with Brittany?” Billie growled at me before rolling the drummer onto the floor with a huge thud.
"Fucking sheets, he forgets we are gonna SLEEP here. I'm gonna ask for more, I'll be right back."
Billie got up and kissed my head before leaving the room. I sighed, I had been told that Tre liked to stay in other people's rooms rather than his own. Hopefully he'll attach himself to someone else's before tonight. I sat listening to his soft snores as I flciked through my copy of Baudelaire.
I swallowed, Mike and Brittany were none of my business, but I couldn’t help but feel like this wasn’t going to end very well. Maybe Ireland wasn’t going to be the romantic weekend I had hoped. Being greeted by bad weather, a drunken drummer and a possible cheating bassist wasn’t a good sign.
I hope our small in-fligh bicker wasn't going to be the blueprint for the next few days.