Angelika must have fallen asleep for some time because when she finally awoke, the late afternoon sun was casting deep shadows on the linoleum floor of her room and she was alone. Where was Athena? she wondered, panicking, she can’t have gone away again, not now. Then a different nurse entered and checked her over. Angelika tried to smile at the nurse, but this woman was also apparently devoid of any emotion. Weren’t nurses supposed to be tender, caring souls? she thought. Angelika suddenly felt very lonely and on the verge of tears, but she wasn’t about to exhibit any trace of vulnerability to this robotic cow. And by the way, she speculated, almost as an afterthought, where the fuck was Ian?
“Excuse me, has my husband called?” Angelika queried.
“Who?” replied the nurse, curtly.
“Ian Thomas.” stated Angelika, joylessly, “That’s my husband.”
“You have a different surname.” The nurse gave her an ice-cold look.
“Yes, I kept my own,” she responded, “but that’s beside the point. Did he call?”
“Not that I know of, but I just came on duty.” Then the nurse almost smiled as she continued, “Look, I’ll ask at the desk when I have a break.”
“Thanks. I’d really appreciate it.” replied Angelika.
As the nurse left, she passed a smiling Athena, who was at that moment entering from the corridor. The nurse didn’t even give her a second glance. What a rude bitch, thought Angelika.
Athena sat beside her sister and asked, “You okay?”
“Yes,” replied Angelika, “a bit discombobulated. How long was I asleep?”
“A couple of hours,” soothed Athena “I guess you needed it.”
“Yes, all this rehashing is rather exhausting.” Angelika teased. “Are you sure you want me to go on?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Athena answered, “I’m riveted. You’d just got to the part when you’d met JC in Cannes.”
Angelika suddenly felt a bittersweet twinge of sadness. “Right, London. Early nineties. Let’s see. I quickly shipped everything over from LA and moved in with JC. We were crazy in love and it was such a fantastic time to be there. The Acid House movement had created an atmosphere of love and acceptance in London that was utterly joyous. I know that’s what people say about the sixties, but whatever, I was barely a baby back then. This was our sixties and it was a non-stop party.
“It wasn’t easy with JC’s career as he was on the road playing gigs most nights and he would rarely get home before the following day, and some of the clubs didn’t end until eight in the morning. I couldn’t always go with him, because I was modeling again, and I had to get some sleep. I wasn’t eighteen any more and I always wanted to retain my financial independence.
“Anyway, Luke and I had become the best of friends and partners in crime because poor Samantha was tied down with a newborn and you were well and truly married by then and being a good little wifey.” Athena shot her sister a rueful look at that, as Angelika continued.
“But being around Luke was great. We both loved dancing, house music, tripping around London from one place to the next on a constant quest for new experience, and we generally found it.” Angelika smiled to herself, relishing all those carefree memories.
“Didn’t that bother JC?” pressed Athena.
“Well, he did make the odd pointed remark, but I wasn’t about to pack my life in to follow JC around, and the time we did have together was precious,” replied Angelika, “In fact, it kept things exciting, or so I thought. I trusted him implicitly, so I automatically assumed that he trusted me, too. JC was my soul mate, the other part of me. I knew he’d never do anything to hurt me.”
Athena looked into Angelika’s clouded silver blue eyes and said gently, “So what went wrong?”
Angelika sighed and murmured sadly, “I’m still trying to figure that one out.”
The Ministry of Sound nightclub in South East London was a true phenomenon. The first London ‘super’ club to give a permanent home to Acid House, which had previously been an illegal underground movement; it was a cavernous industrial space which had been elegantly designed, had a state of the art sound system and which stayed open until whenever. Unfortunately, at its inception, the club didn’t have a liquor license, which was a bit of a gripe as far as Angelika was concerned, but if you’d necked an E or two, you didn’t really care too much about alcohol. It was all about the music, and the hundreds of people who clamoured on a nightly basis to gain admittance certainly didn’t seem to object to the extortionate cover price, the wallet emptying bottles of Evian water and the utter dearth of cocktails.
DJs clamoured to play at Ministry mainly for the sound. It was really fucking loud and due to the club’s remote location in a cultural and residential wasteland near the Elephant and Castle Underground Station, there were never too many complaints from the neighbours. JC was no exception, as he loved his music to be deafening, but then he would doubtless end up with extreme hearing loss, something about which Angelika constantly worried. She couldn’t quite picture him with a hearing aid just yet, but she sensed that one might be a feature in his not too distant future. Angelika often wondered if Philippe Starck happened to design medical appliances.
Angelika and Luke did quite enjoy Ministry if they were in that particularly hard-core frame of mind, but it was usually a bit of a last resort for them, due to its remote location. Plus, they shared a mutual fondness for the grape, which was never an option at Ministry, unless you were a working DJ, in which case illicit six packs of beer would miraculously appear in the DJ booth. Luke and Angelika generally preferred to party in West or Central London where the clubs were a bit more old school and funky and which always had fully stocked bars; and where their other DJ friends like Jeremy Healy, Craig Campbell, Alex Baby and Ben and Andy played, at clubs like Subterranea, Kinky Gerlinky and Quiet Storm which were the London in-spots at that moment.
Luckily, on this particular Saturday night, JC was spinning at Ministry. It was the earliest gig of the night for him, starting at eleven for two hours, and then once he’d finished there, he’d be driven north up the M1 by his assistant to Manchester where he’d play at the legendary Hacienda nightclub from 3 am until 6am, eventually to return to London at the earliest around 8 am, that is, if there wasn’t an after party in Manchester, because an after party could last until the following afternoon. It was a grueling lifestyle, but the payoff was fantastic. House DJ’s were the new rock stars and they were all coining it; JC could potentially make thousands of Pounds cash in a single night and he loved every minute of it, as JC had always had very expensive tastes and was also becoming hopelessly addicted to the fawning adulation he received from the ecstatically dancing crowds.
The lifestyle, however was really taking its toll on Angelika, because although she loved to party as much as the next raver, she would have preferred to have kept to a similar schedule to her lover. JC slept all day in order to get through the long nights, and Angelika was lately enjoying a surprisingly successful second act as an ‘older’ model, which was also very lucrative. It seemed that the only time they ever saw each other these days was when Angelika was coming home from a day’s work and JC was getting himself gussied up for his forthcoming gig. JC had always been quite the fashion plate and it took him hours longer to get ready than it did Angelika, and she’d generally sit watching him in amused awe as he’d throw together the most courageous of combinations. JC was no shrinking violet when it came to clothes, and the boy really liked to be noticed. There wasn’t an offbeat chapeau or an eclectic pair of shoes in existence that JC wouldn’t consider wearing. He definitely was one of the most interesting, outrageous and borderline girly men that Angelika had ever had the pleasure to meet. And she absolutely adored him.
Angelika and Luke found themselves jostled by the throng of loved – up suburbanites that made up Ministry’s core Saturday night crowd, as they danced to the Paul Oakenfold remix of U2’s “Mysterious Ways”, which was one of JC’s current favorites and a real crowd pleaser. Angelika and Luke had managed to get themselves pretty tanked up at dinner earlier, so they weren’t suffering too extensively just yet from the tragic lack of booze at the club.
Luke shouted something in Angelika’s ear, which was the only efficient method of communicating and which was regularly a losing proposition. How did single people ever hook up under these circumstances? She often wondered. Angelika supposed they just fell into each other’s arms, letting the rhythm and the Ecstasy do all the work, as there was absolutely no point in indulging in any flirtatious verbal badinage.
“What?” shouted Angelika to Luke; this being an atypical conversation for them.
Luke persevered, “Fuzzy, are you going up to Manchester with him tonight?”
Angelika shook her head and yelled, “Can't, going to Hamburg tomorrow for a commercial.”
“Jah Wohl.” screamed Luke, while incorporating a touch of funky goose step into his dance moves.
Angelika laughed and then she suddenly glanced up to the elevated DJ booth where JC was playing, hoping to placate her previously disgruntled lover with a supportive smile of encouragement. But JC was deep into an extremely animated conversation with a very sexy looking club girl, who Angelika had never seen before. He was smiling that devastating smile of his while grinding his narrow hips to the pulsing beat. The girl then started laughing and she placed her hand very intimately onto his upper arm. Suddenly, JC caught Angelika’s eye, and he immediately looked away. JC looked away. In that moment, Angelika’s stomach turned violently over, as she suddenly felt horribly nauseous yet stone cold sober.
Luke had witnessed the entire interaction. “I think you should,” he said, as gently as possible considering the decibel level.
Angelika was deeply torn. “Fuzz, I can't. I've got to get some sleep, he won't get back until eight at least. My plane's at eleven.”
“I'm just saying...” continued Luke, glancing up at the girl and JC who were definitely having some kind of a meeting of the minds. Angelika suddenly stopped dancing and aggressively faced Luke,
“I know. Okay? Look, I can't follow him everywhere. He doesn't want that. We trust each other.”
Luke looked up at JC and the laughing girl again and then said, “I know, Fuzzy...”
Angelika was slumped in the back of a black cab that was taking her home to their flat in Fulham; it was high summer and the sun was already rising, even though it was only 4 am. Under normal circumstances, she would have loved this drive, which took her all the way west along the Thames, and she usually adored London at this hour. The bridges spanning the river were magnificently imposing and the Georgian houses overlooking the Thames were staggeringly beautiful and elegant, conjuring up colourful visions of a graceful and romantic time that was sadly, long past.
The cab driver was yakking on about some mundane thing or another, but Angelika could only nod numbly in response as she stared unseeing through her own tired reflection in the cab’s window to the pink-gold river beyond. She had been endlessly mulling over the events of the preceding evening, and was now in the stage of reading meaningful nuance into every gesture. JC had given her a quick, rather parental kiss goodbye as he’d left for Manchester, accompanied by tonight’s motley entourage which consisted of Bob, the geek from the yacht, who had now attained his own personal nirvana by becoming JC’s assistant slash driver; Yao, a Singaporean club owner, who was definitely old enough to know better, his latest ‘girlfriend’ - a cute jail-bait Asian girl and the still categorically un-named sexy club girl.
JC had pointedly not introduced the girl to Angelika, hadn’t he? Or was she just being viciously paranoid? She prayed it was the latter. JC had always attracted lots of girls in clubs, because he was a star and a virtual god to both the drugged-up boys and the chemically amorous women in that scene; and he thrived on the attention. God knows, most other DJ’s did not have JC’s style, physique and sex appeal and he really knew how to work it.
Angelika had over the last few months battled endlessly with herself not to let childish jealousy get the better of her and also to allow JC his personal space, as she expected the same respect in return. They were both charismatic, sexy and flirtatious people, who thoroughly enjoyed the respective attention that they received from the opposite sex but that’s all it ever was, right? Harmless flirtation? JC and Angelika really loved one another, they understood each other and they always came together, as if by some kind of otherworldly erotic magic. Before meeting JC, she’d believed that the simultaneous orgasm was mere Cosmo propaganda, but no, it existed, they always experienced it and Christ, was it ever mind blowing.
After paying the cab driver, Angelika plodded tiredly up the stairs to the building’s front gate, unlocked the door to the flat and then walked in. JC’s studio was directly in front of her, which is where he practiced mixing records on his complicated sound system.
Angelika had heard quite enough hard house beats for one night, so she rifled through his collection for something a bit more soothing. Her ears were still ringing from the bass at Ministry and she really needed to chill. She found the promotional white label copy of The Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By” in a discarded pile of 12” vinyl records in the corner and she placed it on one of JC’s turntables. The cool, laid back hip-hop beat was exactly what was required and she started to feel a little calmer.
Angelika then went into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of Evian water from out of the fridge. She really needed to rehydrate and fast, if she was going to live up to the Germans’ high paying expectations in Hamburg tomorrow. Angelika hated going there as it was never any fun, but the bastards loved her look and they kept offering her more and more money to return and exploit herself. Typical, she thought, just like men. If you don’t want anything to do with them, they’ll crawl on their hands and knees for a moment of your time. It’s the ones that you really love that you have to watch out for.
Angelika gulped down half a litre of water and then she went into the toilet to pee. She couldn’t keep that nagging sensation from returning and tweaking at her already heavy heart. Why had he looked away from her when she’d seen him talking to that girl? It just didn’t feel right. Was this so called “women’s intuition?” If so, it stank and she hated it. No, she rationalized, JC loved her, and he was her soul mate and her best friend. End of fucking story. At that, Angelika defiantly flushed the loo and then she went into the white tiled bathroom.
Angelika looked at herself in the mirror and noted with mounting self-disgust that she was looking none too pretty in the harsh grey dawn light. They really needed to sort out the lighting in here, she thought, considering their respective nocturnal lifestyles. Nobody really deserved to be confronted by that guilt-inducing eyesore when they got home feeling wasted and vulnerable in the small hours. Angelika decided that she’d try and talk JC into painting, or rather getting Bob to paint the bathroom a warmer colour that was a touch more flattering to the old pallid English skin tones, and fuck his obsession with cold, hard minimalism. Anyway, the minimalist thing was a bit of a cosmic joke considering how recklessly untidy he was. Angelika permitted herself a giggle at that and then she thought that if she played on his not inconsiderable vanity, that she might be able to swing it.
Angelika opened the mirrored door to the bathroom cabinet and then reached inside for her cleanser. Suddenly, something small, round and tinnilly metallic dropped out and clattered down into the sink. Angelika picked up the item and looked at it for a long while. It was an inexpensive Rimmel concealer, which was not only not her brand but also most definitely not her shade. Had JC started wearing makeup? As far as Angelika was aware, JC had gotten over wearing makeup way back in the bygone New Romantic days and although nothing would surprise her about him, this somehow felt odd. That nagging twinge returned. Angelika quietly left the alien concealer out in the open on the glass shelf above the sink and made a decision to discuss it with him at another time. Right now, she really needed to get some sleep.