Paper cuts and phone calls. I think our man will need a cake with his coffee... and yes, Gizzy IS the shizzy.
Over the next sleepy half-hour the events of the previous day slowly came back to him, one by one, and then he realised in shock that something wasn’t right. He reached out next to him only to feel the cool mattress. Where’s Victoria? he thought. Panicking, he swept his arm up and down the bed frantically, before feeling a sharp pain in his hand. It was then that he looked over and found a Post-It note stuck to the pillow, now with a slightly red edge.
Guy sat up slowly and read the note, sucking the paper cut all the while.
“Good morning, sleepy head! Sorry I’m not here right now, we had to be up early to head for the next venue. But I’m glad I stayed last night. Even though I had to carry you all the way back I really didn’t mind. Here’s my number, will you call me at some point? Missing you already. Vicky xxx”
And as promised, the number was on the back. Guy gave a sigh of relief. So it WASN’T just another crazy dream, then! He sank back under the covers, grinning happily to himself. He wasn’t keen on this Vicky business, though. For him it would have to stay Victoria, it sounded much nicer that way. And – oh no! It had been HER talking last night! SHE’D carried him here! How embarrassing! But despite this thought he was still very pleased with himself. The old Ripley charm had worked (at last).
He rolled over and re-read the note lazily. Something else caught his eye. Another number was scrawled underneath (how had he missed that?), with a little note:
“William Beckett gave me this just before we left; he said he wants to talk to you about something? Didn’t know you were such a high-flier!”
For a moment Guy was speechless. He stared at the note, and then let it slip from his fingers onto the quilt. He, Guy Ripley, actually had a famous person’s phone number! And of all people it was William! William Beckett of The Academy Is!!! A thrill ran up his spine and, abandoning any plans to be demure and sensible, he snatched up the note again and dialled the number. While it rang he was torn between impatience and anxiety. Impatient for William to pick up the phone, anxious about what he would say. This WAS his idol, after all.
A sleepy voice answered. ‘Hello?’ they croaked.
Too late Guy remembered that bands often had very late nights. Looking at the bedside clock he saw it was only 8:17am.
‘I-I’m so sorry to have troubled you… I didn’t realise –‘
‘Guy? Is that you?’
William recognised him! This was perhaps one of the best days of Guy’s life.
‘Yes, it is… Victoria gave me your telephone number… she said you wanted to talk to me about… something.’
‘Victoria? Ah, that explains a lot… she didn’t come back last night.’
The voice at the other end came across as faintly amused. Guy really wasn’t sure how to respond to that, being English and all. They’re all very sensible people.
‘N-no, William… I don’t think you – understand – it wasn’t, erm… you know… like… like that.’
Englishmen also weren’t used to bad language, or what they considered ‘rude’. So much so that sometimes Guy had difficulty understanding the kids:
‘Gizzy Is The Shizzy?’ he thought aloud, pointing to one girl’s homemade T-shirt. He knew he’d seen a similar word somewhere before…
‘Oh, I see! The shit!’
A laugh came through Guy’s phone, much like the ones that had followed that swear word. 'So nothing went on between you two?’
‘W-well, erm… I… William, what is it you wanted to talk to me about?’
‘Good conversation switcher,’ he chuckled, ‘but yeah, seriously. I wanted to apologise for being an asshole last night.’
‘Oh, really, William, there’s no need-‘
‘No, really, there is. I was really tired and dehydrated, y’know? I was having this weird illusion kind of thing, you looked exactly like… Well, it was bang out of order, and I’m sorry.’
This was a revelation to Guy.
‘Who did you think I looked like?’
Now it was William’s turn to falter. ‘O-Oh, no one… it’s cool. Forget I said anything. Listen, do you wanna go for coffee or something? I wanna see what you really look like!’
‘You – you want to go – for coffee? With ME?’
‘Yeah, sure, it’d be great. We’re sticking around in Pittsburgh for a while, the others wanted to head off for some time to look round Indianapolis before we play, but we were just so tired… Those Cobras have a lot of energy, y’know? Anyway… how does 11am sound? Starbucks OK with you? I know you Brits love your hot drinks.’
‘Y-yes! Yes, William, I’d love that, yes, that would be excellent!’ Guy managed to stammer out. Alright, now it was definitely the best day of his life.
‘Great, I’ll see you then? OK, later, man.’
Guy was left sitting on the unmade bed, wearing last night’s crumpled suit, listening to the dialing tone of the phone. Eventually he cut off the call and walked into the bathroom, looking at his dishevelled reflection. There was a serious amount of stubble on his face, his hair was slightly matted and dirty, and there was something in the corners of his mouth, probably the tomato sauce from yesterday that hadn’t budged, but also a giant grin.
‘Coffee…’ he muttered to himself...