By late that summer, Angelika and Luke had forged a symbiotic alliance that noone but themselves could fully comprehend. Angelika had generally had Samantha to play with in the past, but Samantha’s life had taken a completely different path, what with marriage and a small child to contend with, and so she was never available for late night forays into the decadent underworld; but Luke was always up for it and he and Angelika made a fabulous pair of reprobates.
Luke had always been as sexually voracious as Angelika had so recently become, and he found that having the glamorous Angelika by his side increased womens’ interest in him exponentially; as many women evidently thrived on getting one over on another female, which Angelika already knew from hard won experience. But when Angelika went out on the town with Luke she had the perfect foil; he sensed exactly when to melt into the background and become ‘big brother’ if she really fancied someone, and when a guy was trying it on with her and she wasn’t interested, Luke materialized by her side as her ‘long-term boyfriend.’ It was a win-win situation.
But aside from this unconventional and co-dependent dating dynamic, Angelika and Luke really adored each other and they told each other everything. Angelika had stock-piled plenty of cash from acting in commercials by the summer and Luke was a sporadically successful artist, so neither of them felt any real financial pressure to work any more than was strictly necessary. Their languid liquid lunches would drift into Happy Hour and then eventually into dinner as they regaled each other with endless salacious stories and gossip, and strategized as to what or who they should do next. Luke was like the brother Angelika had never had, and his other major advantage was his seemingly limitless pool of cute friends of all creeds and colors, into which on more than one occasion, Angelika had dipped her scarlet – tipped toe.
Angelika had made an executive decision to confine herself to a single one night stand per fortnight, as although she welcomed the hit and run, no-commitment aspect of casual rumpy pumpy, generally the sex wasn’t that great, and getting away from the guy without exchanging numbers or promises had become a tiny bit of a chore. Plus, one can make some pretty misguided decisions when the hour is late, the club is darkly lit and the cocktails are unusually lethal.
One evening, Angelika had had her head briefly turned by a baseball cap-sporting young cutie in The Gardening Club in Covent Garden who she drunkenly thought bore a startling resemblance to Matt Dillon circa ‘Rumblefish’. Once they had arrived back at his place and started to make out, however, the hat had come off and he was as bald on top as a bald eagle’s accountant. What could she do? She shagged him anyway as she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she couldn’t wait to get out of the door and into the waiting cab the minute he was done, which mercifully for her had barely taken that long.
Angelika began to realize that she was on the verge of mutating into a young, female Hugh Hefner. She’d always been attracted to good-looking men, but she was fast becoming rather the jaded connoisseuse. Any remotely ordinary boy would never do and God forbid that they should suffer from any kind of physical imperfection. Baldies, hairies, wrinklies, short-arses and psoriasis sufferers need not have applied; bad clothing choices and lack of rhythm were also major deal-breakers; along with upper-class-twit behaviour, mentioning what kind of a car one drove, or how much money one made. Angelika had fully morphed into a beauty Nazi who had been obsessively amassing her own personal master race of handsome lovers and she had really enjoyed the experience, but the late summer pickings, it had to be admitted, were becoming rather slim. Angelika suddenly found that she had made of herself a victim of sexual overkill who was uncharacteristically afflicted with more than a little erotic ennui.
With crucially perfect timing, Luke and Angelika were invited to The Wedding of the Season. Top commercial director, Mark Denman and his lovely designer fiancee’, Elizabeth had rashly decided to throw in the towel of spontaneity and to shackle themselves to each other in perpetuity in the presence of five hundred of their closest, most glamourous and well-dressed friends. Angelika and Luke both clung to the age-old credo that weddings were the ultimate pulling grounds, as everyone was rolling drunk on free champagne and carried away by the false hope of everlasting love while wearing their best designer outfits; if you couldn’t pull at a wedding, they philosophized, you might as well tie a knot in it and hope for it to shrivel up like a walnut and to eventually drop off.
The wedding was to take place on a late Saturday afternoon at The Polish Club in Kensington, which was a historically listed, blue plaque bearing ex-embassy with a baroque bar, a rococo ballroom, sweeping staircases and a fecund rose garden. It couldn’t have been more glamorous if it was topped by a Philip Treacy chapeau and Angelika just had to dress accordingly. She knew that this wedding was not to be one of those stuffy, monkey-suit wearing occasions, and that it would be virtually impossible to overdress for. Half the crowd would definitely be in the fashion business, and the other forty percent would either be involved in movies, the arts or rock n’roll. God or Jehova help the last ten percent, who would doubtlessly be made up of intensely bemused Jewish relatives, standing about dazedly wondering whence all the yarmulkas had disappeared.
Angelika chose a spaghetti strapped, floaty black chiffon John Galliano mini-dress, a huge black straw hat and precipitous vintage red satin Charles Jourdan heels. She was very tanned from the fateful sailing weekend and all of the half-dressed lolling about that she’d done on the terraces and in the gardens of sundry Notting Hill eateries; and her body was at its fittest ever from all the nights spent dancing and indulging in extra curricular activities. She knew that she looked pretty darned hot, some of the more jealous among you might even have said ‘begging for it’ but Angelika had a way of making even the sluttiest of clothing look classy, so she could get away with wearing ensembles that mere mortals should never knowingly attempt. Many women had tried to emulate her louche style and they had all failed miserably, and in a couple of the more extreme cases, had managed to get themselves arrested.
So the great day finally arrived to find Luke and Angelika tripping their way elegantly out of the black cab and up the stone steps to the entrance to the star–studded reception. Angelika was desperately attempting to walk steadily, as her shoes were too fucking high and her skirt was too fucking short, which she was now realizing too fucking late; plus they had partaken of a few fortifying Bellini’s at Julie’s Wine Bar in Holland Park prior to the big event, in order to get them in the appropriate mood for battle. They signed in and deposited their wedding presents on the grumbling, heavily laden gift table - vintage Claret from Angelika, a small painting by Luke from Luke, and then they pushed their way through the A-list crowd to the champagne bar.
Angelika realized with a huge sartorial sigh of relief that for once in her life she had nailed it. She looked positively subdued compared to the trend-setting peacocks that were strutting around the place, and the men were possessed of even more dazzling plummage than the women. It was like the bloody Fashion Olympics.
Luke and Angelika knew many of the other guests both socially and she realized with an amused pang, Biblically. They’d both cut quite the sexual swathe through this set, or at least through the single section, as neither Luke nor Angelika was interested in messing about with the marrieds. It didn’t matter how alluring another’s spouse might be, an adulturous situation was potentially far too harmful and stressful, and that was neither sexy nor fun. Plus it was morally wrong and Angelika still clung to the few old fashioned ethics that lay semi-dormant beneath her patina of careless depravity.
Angelika couldn’t believe that there was absolutely noone left to shag in the upper echelons of fashionable London society; it was just too depressing a prospect, especially as it was still only the beginning of August. She was in the midst of mentally weighing up the pros and cons of retracing her steps with Harland, the handsome gallery owner who, she had to admit, did look more than usually fetching in his cerulean Oswald Boateng suit; when suddenly a cherubic, back-lit vision materialized in the doorway to the ballroom. Angelika gasped and her legs went all wobbly which although admittedly a good sign, was potentially lethal in those heels.
Steadying herself with Luke’s arm, Angelika turned her head as subtly as possible for a second evaluating look. Luke, noticing her sudden uncharacteristically self-conscious behaviour, her uncomfortable looking modeling pose and her painful, vice-like grip on his forearm, excused himself from chatting up a pretty bridesmaid, the jailbait daughter of a very famous and reclusive rock star, and turned to follow Angelika’s lustful gaze. He knew from experience when she had the scent in her nostrils and more often than not she had had to be myopically steered in another direction, but this time he had to concede, and arrow-straight as Luke most certainly was, that Angelika was definitely onto something here. In fact, the boy was so pretty that after a few hits of E, Luke might even be tempted to shag him himself.
“Death in Venice.” said Luke, cryptically.
“What?” mumbled Angelika, who was still gazing unheedingly beyond Luke.
“Remember the young boy that Dirk Bogarde spends the entire film drooling over?” continued Luke.
“Yes!” concurred Angelika as Luke was absolutely right. This creature, for the word ‘man’ could not begin to adequately describe his otherworldly perfection, looked like a Botticelli angel, or at the very least a character from a Visconti movie. He was extraordinary; his glossy black curls fell carelessly onto his tanned, green-eyed, chiselled face and his lips, my God his lips...
“Fuzzy!” said Luke sharply, in a futile attempt to bring his best mate back down to terra firma.
“Yes, sorry,” replied Angelika sheepishly, “got a bit distracted there.”
“He’s looking at you. Go talk to him.” Luke had always been a firm proponant of the direct approach, being a triple Aries Fire Dragon himself.
And he was. Although every woman and virtually every man, both homo and supposedly hetero was furtively casting lustful looks in the creature’s direction, the creature was most unequivocably looking shyly and invitingly at Angelika. Angelika nervously slugged back her glass of champagne.
“Go on, Fuzzy, you’ve got nothing to lose.” urged Luke. Angelika then emptied her glass, checked her teeth in a discarded knife for bits of half-eaten canape’, smeared on some more lipgloss and took a cleansing deep breath. Luke smiled encouragingly at Angelika and amicably squeezed her arse for good luck. “You’re a babe. Go get him.”
Angelika had never had much expertise on high heels, but she somehow managed to totter through the preening crowd without breaking an ankle. Suddenly He was standing in front of her, His beauty was blinding and then He spoke, “Ciao, I ham Rafaello.”
After successfully quashing the overwhelming urge to ask him what it was really like being a Ninja Turtle, Angelika delicately stretched out her hand to him, which he then kissed gallantly. She thought she must have somehow hit the sexual jackpot, as not only was he without a doubt the most gorgeous thing she’d ever seen, and that included the demi-god, Brad Pitt, he was Italian. Angelika had never shagged an Italian, but the experience had always been way up there on her to-do list.
“Ciao.” she simpered in response. After the requisite amount of small talk, seven and a half minutes to be exact, Angelika and Rafaello were passionately snogging up against the wall by the winding staircase, much to the amusement and envy of most of the other wedding guests. Between rabid bouts of tonsil hockey, Angelika discovered that Rafaello was on vacation in London and that he had met the bride and groom in Laos the previous summer. He was in college (score! thought Angelika), was studying business and just happened to be house-sitting a very expensive modernist loft on the Thames overlooking Chelsea Bridge.
Score! Score! Score! Nothing else Rafaello said really registered with Angelika, but he could have recited his two times table wrongly and she’d still have wanted to rip the elegant slim-cut Dolce and Gabbana suit off of his gorgeous back. Rafaello then shyly invited Angelika to dinner at the loft the following night, as he really wanted to cook pasta for her, his belissima.
“Si.” replied Angelika, who was almost smacking her lips with unabashed glee. With that, she said her impassioned goodbyes and with feverishly erotic thoughts whirling in her champagne-sodden brain, she tripped out into the hot, humid West London night.