I’ve been wanting to use some of my travels as a springboard for writing for some time now, but I just haven’t. Last night, I just couldn’t shake the idea for Champagne Johnny, so I started writing. Let me know what you think of this & if you’d like me to continue. I’m going to pop in…weekly(?)…to either extend this story, or share another. Enjoy & please leave a comment!
Flirting in London was so much easier than in the States. Perhaps it was because she was only in town for a month and eager to scotch-tape enough memories together to hold her over until her next excursion. Or maybe it was because it was easier being a whore on the road. Either way, it was her last night in the Queen’s city and she was ready to burn a hole in her brain.
Jaylah ran around her hotel room trying to decided between the fuschia dress that showed off the creamy tops of her ample breasts, or the short black mini that exposed a dangerous amount of leg.
After remembering she planned on dancing like a wild 23-year-old dropping an obscene amount of E, she picked the pink number, brushed her hair into a lazy topknot, smeared on her lipstick, and ran out of the door.
After all, Jourdan–Jaylah’s new bestie–was waiting and she didn’t want to waste another minute of her last night in London on minor details like clothes; they were hopefully coming off anyway.
There were more important things she needed to tend to, namely Champagne Johnny, the beautiful man she was pressed up against on a dance floor the night before.
Like all of the other men she met in London, Champagne Johnny was slightly taken aback, but extremely intrigued by her forwardness. He had no choice.
When she asked him, “So do all of the black men in the city love white women or what?” instead of just saying hello, he knew she was unlike any woman he’d ever met before.
“Excuse me?” he said, completely caught off guard.
“Well, I’ve been here a month and I’ve seen y’all with everybody but black women. What’s up with that?”
Champagne Johnny chortled, “No…not all of us,” he said extending an easy smile. “I’m Johnny, what’s your name, love?”
She noticed the sharp angle of his nose then, causing her to stop and take him in. His eyes were disarmingly generous, the lights in the Mau Mau bar seemed to glide across his sable skin, and the hint of a decidedly un-British accent danced on the tip of his tongue.
“I’m Jaylah. Where are you from?”
“No, no. Before. Were you born in London?”
“No. Moved here from Ghana when I was four,” he pointed to her empty beer bottle, “Want another?”
As he walked away, Jaylah noticed the outline of his strong, sleek back and footballer’s body. She thought his arms were easily sturdy enough to lift her, and he moved with a quiet confidence that said he could own any room if he wanted.
In that moment Jaylah knew: she had to see him naked.
* * *
Jaylah’s heels clicked as she ran down Great Eastern Street to meet up with Jourdan before she got too pissed for having to wait. Although she journeyed to London alone to escape her mess of a life after she was unceremoniously “let go” (that’s how they put it anyway) from her writing gig at the LA Weekly and broke up with her vexingly bland boyfriend all in the same week, she was happy to meet Jourdan in line at the Pret.
Since their chance meeting, the two had become fast friends and had hit up every bar, lounge, museum, bashment, and flea market their too-tight budgets would allow.
“About time you got here,” Jourdan said with a wicked grin. “I was about to freeze to death waiting for your ass. Cute dress!”
“Sorry I’m late,” Jaylah kissed her friend’s perfectly polished cheek, “I was trying to sort out my outfit. You know, decide between showing the legs or the tits?”
“Uh huh, you’re trying to look cute for your man,” Jourdan teased.
An image of Champagne Johnny hungrily kissing her neck flashed through her mind causing Jaylah to smile in spite of herself. “My what?” she held up her left hand, “I don’t see any rings on these fingers.”
“Please. You know he’s coming. I thought I was going to have to pry him off you last night. I’m surprised he didn’t try to get you back to his flat.”
“He tried,” Jaylah smirked, “It might just work tonight, too.”
The pair laughed as they descended the stairs into Plastic People, a basement club known for its dim lights, tight corners, and massive soundsystem. A soulful house remix of Nina Simone’s “See Line Woman” was blaring through the speakers, and Jaylah quickly scanned the room for Champagne Johnny. No luck.
She was disappointed, but she knew he would show. At least she hoped so.
Although Jaylah wasn’t looking for anything serious, especially since she had just disentangled herself from boring-ass Marco, she ached to see Champagne Johnny with an urgency that surprised her.
Girl, chill, she commanded. He’s fine, but damn. Chill!
Jaylah was trying to stop herself from spinning into Crazy Town and creating an entire narrative about how Champagne Johnny was the one , and how years from now they will recount the story of their meeting. Calling it kismet and wondering what would have happened had she and Jourdan kept walking past the bar that night.
“Can you imagine?” she’d say to their friends over dinner, with Champagne Johnny’s arm comfortably draped around her shoulders.
“We could have missed each other. But look at us now!” he’d chime in right on time.
Jourdan tapped Jaylah on the shoulder, snapping her out of her daydream. “Ready to hit the floor?”
“Always!” Jaylah responded, a little too excitedly.
Just have fun, Jay, she thought to herself. You came to dance….not to fall in love.
Want to know what happens next? Read part 2 here!