Hargreaves & Co. accountancy, a stuffy, weathered three floor office complex was situated in one of the streets from Piccadilly Circus. Outside the imposing office, evolution was in abundance, bringing forth new ideas to an ever changing world, whilst inside the accountancy building, lurking behind a defence of dusty blinds, lingered a stale smell of damp papers, forgotten over the years of brow sweating, arithmetic trading. From the sturdy grey filing cabinets to the oak panels that clung to the walls, the company image, not changed for so many years, portrayed old money, respectability, stability and stagnant thoughts. This also represented the state of mind of the current owner and head accountant, Simon Hargreaves.
Simon Hargreaves, a balding forty year old accountant, who had been burdened with the responsibility of the family firm, given to him by his father a few years previously, just after he had been diagnosed with cancer, sat behind his large oak desk and toyed with some important secret documents that he’d been working on for some time.
For some time now, Simon had been thinking of chucking everything in that he had work for over the years, to do something more challenging, exciting, dangerous and spontaneous. Though he’d never got around to do it as he was stuck in his old ways and had become a creature of habit.
How he hated his dull life. Nothing exciting ever happened to him, except his afternoon meetings at his gentleman’s club, ‘HH’, Henry’s House. Although saying that, he had just received an invitation to a special themed party organized by his club, which was great, but he had no one special to accompany him.
He couldn’t take his ex-wife, Daphne, the bitch from hell, as he affectionately called her with a heavy lashing of sarcasm that aggravated his ulcer and brought bile up to burn his thin chest. She had left him after their brief marriage and took with her the Porsche, the summer house down by the coast and his secret lover at the time.
Even though they were miles apart, Daphne still was continuing to squeeze a fortune from him every month and had him by the short and curlies. With just one small tug of his cuckolded cock, she would tighten the pressure occasionally to get what she wanted from him and Simon would reluctantly cave in, surrendering to her throttling demands as he struggled under the enormous burden of knowing that Daphne retained some damaging information that could ruin his precious career.
Though the damaging information she had on Simon had been dropped from her life ages ago, bored by Simon’s ex lover’s brain dead conversational skills and his poor bedroom technique. With the man out of her life, Daphne soon found herself an unused, slightly more intelligent toy boy, and not one of Simon’s secret cast offs’.
He knew he was stuck in limbo as she had him dangling on a piece of thread and was yanking him by the balls. But there was nothing he could do about it for the time being, only to continue to fund the extravagant life style to which she was accustomed to from his never ending bank account, just so that she could keep his secret safe, which was he enjoyed the company of young men as well as women. Though if his plans worked out correctly, his bottomless wallet would soon be a thing of the past and the bitch from hell would suffer an undignified fall from favour and endure a life time penalty of poverty.
But now, it was his turn to have some fun.
As he enjoyed plotting his revenge on Daphne in his head and not wanting to leave any data traces or electronic footprints that could incriminate him, Simon opened his desk draw, picked up his grubby little black address book and flicked through the grotty pages. His fingers came across a name that was underlined in red biro, Suzie. He dialled her number using the office phone and left a message on her voice mail, wanting to book her to be his escort for that Friday evening.
Having done that, he decided that he needed a break from the office in order to have some quality time with himself. He needed some light refreshment, but it wasn’t food he was after. He was hungry for the services from his club.
His club, Henry’s House was situated around the corner from his office in a secluded back street, which was extremely handy and perfect for him to flit in and out without being seen. From the outside of the building it looked like an ordinary house, tucked between some nondescript offices. The main entrance was guarded by a black solid door with the letters ‘HH’ engraved on a brass plaque.
Having told his secretary he was going to be out of the office for a while, Simon knocked on the shiny black door, adjusted his old school tie from his exclusive private school, The Willows and fiddled with his Boss cuff links, a nervous habit he had since boarding school, brought on by many a pleasurable afternoons of partaking in unofficial rituals that laid beyond the head boy’s private study door.
Enjoying the burning sensation that brewed inside his squawny stomach as he waited on the pavement, Simon was greeted at the door by an elderly gentleman, dressed in black tie, like an old style butler.
As soon as he stepped over the threshold and into the small elegant entrance, an icy chill ran up his spine and a twinge occurred in his three days caged nether regions as a reminiscence smell of musty library rooms and leather Chesterfield sofas gently seeped through the partially opened doors of the club and wafted up his nose. With each step that he took in his shiny Oxford shoes, he knew what was in store for him and couldn’t wait.
As a sense of excitement, mixed with nervousness attacked him, he thought of the wonderful pleasures that lay ahead, causing his stomach to churn as if a mass of butterflies were swarming about in it, chasing away his fears and unleashing a different, darker side to Simon. His heart started to pound with anticipation, his head began to whirl with delight and his palms began to sweat. But that was one of the fun sides he liked about the club. At last Simon had entered the only place where he could relax and be himself.
With each step he took, the enormous pressure of work slowly evaporated from his tired, gaunt body, lifting his spirits to a higher level of consciousness and transporting the seedy accountant on a journey into the murky depths of the unknown.
Simon felt at home and believed he belonged there. This was his part of London where his sanity could shine through. This was his sanctuary from the outside world, far from the screaming sounds of Piccadilly Circus and far from the hustle and bustle of the tramps, the dodgy street entertainers and rent boys. That world was dedicated to the trashy tourist industry and he was certainly not one of them, except when he dropped his high almighty I am perfect act and became a sexual perverted tourist along with all the other riff raff, pushers, pimps and Johns.
Simon believed he was far above that sordid world. He believed that he was a titanium card holding member of an elite society where clean morals ruled the way, not where scummy alley fighting and gutter morals with back biting feuds took place. He was too far up his own lace covered arse to see that his vicious fighting took place in the respectable board rooms, with pens instead of swords.
To him, that seedy world outside of the protective wall of Henry’s House seemed so far away. But now that he was in his club and nothing could spoil the peaceful ambiance and calm that had gently crept up on him and swamped his yearning body, swallowing up his pitiful soul and sucking out the extra pounds from his vintage leather Dunhill wallet.
In Henry’s House, there was no snobbery.
Everyone was treated the same, just like its other members, senior barristers, politicians and top financial businessmen. They were all degradedly brought down to the same level.
This was a club where discipline ruled.
This was a club where he wasn’t in control, someone else was.
This was no ordinary club.
The hottest property on the pop scene, reclined in her luxury white limousine and peered out through the tinted windows on the way to rehearsals for the The DNA’s, Deadly Nightshade Awards. Deep in thought as the passing scenery of London’s top designer stores and boutiques flashed by, Melody Starr, the dark, exotic soon to be 25 year old Diva, with her large brown eyes, chiselled cheeks, reconstructed nose, a present from her record company Deadly Nightshade after she had her first number one single a few years ago and her luscious lips painted pink, a fun colour from her own branded cosmetic range, felt as if her life was passing by too.
Sitting in the crowded vehicle, along with her obeying entourage, her manager Spider, a lanky Rod Stewart wannabe, her stuck up, tweed loving and Laura Ashley adorning personal assistant Felicity Pringle, Poppy Watkins, her ever so trendy Asian stylist, dressed to the nines in the latest gear and a handsome younger Idris Elba look-alike, her muscle bound bodyguard Spud, aptly nicknamed on account of his broken nose from his earlier boxing days on the amateur circuit around East London’s Bethnal Green, Melody snatched a few moments to herself and thought about her trapped miserable life.
Idly picking at her trade mark pink nail varnish and flicking the pink shavings onto Felicity’s lap, Melody’s frustration came to fruition, causing another outburst of her usual bile.
‘I can’t take any more of this shit Spider,’ she spat, stupidly allowing the pressure of stardom to get to her.
Lifting his dark shades briefly, Spider turned around and said, ‘Don’t worry babes. I’ll sort it out,’
‘You better, or otherwise I’ll walk.’
Spider chucked. ‘You wouldn’t do that you your old pal, would you?’
‘And you want to be sued for millions by the record company then?’ Spider leant his hungover head back on the leather seat.
Melody thought about the consequences.
‘Well, no. Shit Spider. What am I going to do?’ tears of frustration started to roll down her chiselled cheeks. ‘I’m so tired. I can’t carry on for much longer. I really need a break.’
Spider reluctantly moved beside her and cuddled his protégée. ‘It’s alright babes,’ he whispered. ‘Once the DNA’s are finished, you can have your break.’
‘Yeah really. But on one condition.’
‘I’d knew they’d be a catch somewhere along the way,’ she snivelled as she moved away. ‘Well, what is it?’
‘As the saying goes,’ he said, tapping his nose. ‘I have a cunning plan.’
‘I hope so. I really hope so.’
After many years of following a tight gruelling schedule, the strain had started to seep through the tough exterior, cracking Melody’s hard outer shell and attack her inner self. The tell-tale signs were synonymous with the fickle world of the pop industry: loss of sleep, no appetite, inexplicable mood swings ranging from the brink of ecstasy to sudden outbursts of rage and anger. All of which were known common symptoms but not just with her chosen profession, but with an unwanted association of her monthly friend. Her periods.
That was one side to the bad penny.
The other side was called fame.
The schizophrenic craved fame like a child desperately wanting chocolate. She would scream and scream and scream until some stupid sycophant would come along and give her what she wanted. But that wasn’t enough. Oh no. That didn’t satisfy her hunger one bit. She wanted everything and was determined to get it! Instantly.
But having to kowtow to the big chiefs, the producers and the record companies executives, which was something she had to do to get to the top and stay there, was a task she despised.
Day by day the purple people eater would rear its ugly head and spit at everyone in sight, covering the nearby defenceless scuttling creatures with her acidic spew. Though she didn’t care. She wanted the money and the fame and all she had to do was to click her fingers and the pitiful profession threw endless amounts of money at her by the bucket full. But all she wanted to do was to grab as many opportunities as possible, make a quick buck and control the ride.
But having too much too soon, Melody, the spoilt bitch that all the teeny boppers’ adored, copied by millions, fantasized about and wanked over by many, ached to escape the manacles that tied her to the Rock and Pop industry, away from the blood sucking demanding world of the wannabes, the has beens’, the do anything’s and the no hopers’.
Though there was something missing in her empty life. Something so simple that money couldn’t even buy. Even fame couldn’t compensate for what she yearned for. Desperately needed.
And that was love.
Deep down she needed someone to love and to love her. Not superficial, showbiz love. True love.
But it wasn’t as simple as that. The love was there, showered unconditionally from her grandparents and fans but it that wasn’t the kind of love she wanted. The love she wanted was missing. It wasn’t her fault, nor her grandparents fault. It was her precious daddy’s fault. He had never showed her any love. The ‘loving caring’ father couldn’t bare to go near his beautiful daughter, or to touch her. He couldn’t stand the sight of Melody. It hurt him too much. The pain ached in his heart. He missed his soul mate, his departed wife.
Melody hated her father, Harrison Whithers, as he left her alone to fend for herself in the big bad world. He blamed Melody for his wife’s death during child birth.
White Trash Scum, she called him. Oh yeah, he showered her with money to ease his conscience, but that’s not what she wanted. She wanted him to love her.
Harrison relinquished his duties as a father. He packed his bags to travel the world, never to contact Melody personally, only through the post by sending her Christmas and birthday presents. Each month he would deposit a considerable amount of money into Melody’s bank account, to help her through her school years and to further her career.
Cathy Deloris Whithers, as she was called then, was taken under the grandparents’ wing, until she was eight when the couple became too weak and frail to look after her.
After that, Melody was pushed from pillar to post, until she was old enough to be sent away to an exclusive boarding school in the heart of the English country side. When she was sixteen she was packed off to a top Swiss finishing school where she polished off her etiquette skills as well as learning how to become a first rate fucking bitch.
To be expelled from that institution was a delightful experience especially when she was the first ‘lady’ to be caught screwing in the library with the Head Mistress’ eighteen year old son.
Melody’s distant thoughts quickly vanished when her manager, Spider turned his iPad and watched her latest single Lush, set in a multi-coloured theatrical camp Bedouin style tent, over run with gorgeous guys exposing their half-naked glistening bodies.
She looked around the crowed car and scowled at its passengers. Everyone was glued to screen, watching the extravaganza flow across the screen on her YouTube channel. How she despised the pop industry, the parasites, the blood sucking leeches, the deathly sharks and wolves that lurked within in the fickle, vicious world of pop. But for now, she would have to suffer just a bit more until her bank balance was a lot healthier.
Wiping the burning tears away from her eyes, being careful not to smudge her eyeliner, ever the professional, Melody snapped at her fellow passengers.
‘Turn that fucking thing off. It’s doing my head in,’ she said as she grabbed a bottle of vodka and gulped down the clear liquid.
‘But babes. It’s such an electrifying performance,’ Spider gushed.
‘I don’t give a flying fuck. Just turn that fucking thing off!’
Felicity glared at Melody through her tortoise shell coloured glasses, disgusted at her spoilt outburst, her intolerable behaviour and perfectly controlling herself from wanting to slap Melody’s face, whipped out a stack of glossy publicity photos from her Louis Vuitton case and plonked them hard on Melody’s lap, causing the Princess of Pop to shoot piercing daggers back at her.
‘Careful bitch!’ Melody snarled.
Looking down her nose at the ungrateful cow, Felicity politely sneered, ‘Would you mind awfully signing these?’
‘I’m not signing anymore crap today. My wrist hurts,’ Melody said, waving her Pandora adorned covered wrist delicately in the air like a Drama Queen.
‘It’s your duty to your fans,’ hissed Felicity, looking forward to handing in her notice and going back into the Deadly Nightshade office.
‘Fuck my fans. I don’t give a stuff about them!’
‘Well you should. Because it was those poor buggers who put you where you are today,’ Spider said, checking his reflection for the umpteenth time in the tinted window.
‘Balls. It was you and all those other shits,’ she said huffily, resuming her gaze out of the window.
‘If you hate it so much, why carry on. I can easily find some other schmuck just like you and make them into a star.’
Melody glared at Spider, unable to retort back with a witty answer and returned to the fascinating window. She didn’t care.
Later that day she would be the centre of attention by performing at the Deadly Nightshade Awards and then soon at her birthday party. Her time would come and she would sparkle like a true star.
Then and only then, she would have a real blast.