"Accueil, mon amie."
"Thanks," William said, walking in to the small entry way. His head spun a little. He wasn't supposed to be here. Well, technically, he was supposed to be here. But being here felt to weird. A day ago, he had been on a plane, nodding in and out of sleep and he hurtled to a different country and the women he hadn't seen in months. And now here he was. He was walking in to her small, grungy apartment. One room. A mattress on the floor. Beaded curtains in place of a door to the bathroom. No kitchen. Not the idea of glamour William knew that Penny wanted.
"The place is, uh, nice."
"Merci. I just moved in the other day. Did you know that Hendrix is doing a tour of Europe?"
"Yes. Yes I did."
"I knew you would. After all, you are The Enemy. Anyway, I met up with Sapphire and her and I were in Belgium for almost two weeks, on Jimi's card. Let me just tell you, the chocolate in Belgium-"
"Why didn't you call me?" The words escaped his lips faster than he had meant them too. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He was here on business. HE was here to interview Penny Lane for Rolling Stone, some human interest story about the girls behind the great bands. He wasn't here to question or reminisce, or ask her why she didn't call. He wasn't supposed to. But he did.
"What do you mean?"
"Don't play stupid, Penny. Please. That's not who you are. You're a Lady."
Penny looked down and smile. No one ever called her by her real name. It was a foreign name to her. Lady Goodman was a little girl with bows in her hair and buckles on her shoes who loved ponies and dolls and tea parties and was mommies little princess and daddies good girl. Penny Lane wore her hair down and loved tye-dye and camel-skin cotes and aviators, who slept with rock stars and fell in love and never talked to her mom or dad and loved music and drinks and going to the record store. Lady and Penny hadn't been the same in a long, long time.
"William, mon amie. Please, have a seat."
"I don't want to sit."
"Suit yourself." Penny turned and walked to her bed, across the room, lying down and cocking her head up on her elbow. "It's going to be rather hard to do the interview from this far away, but I suppose if I yell loud enough, we should be alright." Reluctantly, William smiled and walked across the room, sitting down on the floor against the wall.
"So tell me, Penny Lane, what was it like being with Russell from Stillwater? Do you believe you had any kind of influence on the music?" William continued to ask questions, and Penny continued to answer. She never gave a true answer, William noticed. She had long ago become the master of the double entendre, the misty eyed question as a response, the coy laugh and the refusal to answer. William wasn't sure how long the interview lasted, but when he looked up again, it was dark outside and he was ravished.
"I am in drastic need of sustenance," he muttered, opening Penny's one window, trying desperately to get some more air recirculating through the small apartment.
"Ah, yes. The need for food is one felt by many. How would you like me to take you to the best little French café in the area?"
"Would you do that?"
"Would I do that? You drastically underestimate my powers as a hostess, William Miller."
"I've never estimated your powers as a hostess. You've never hosted me before."
"Touché, my friend. Touché. Well, tonight consider me your hostess extraordinaire. I will show you the best restaurant, the best cocktails bar, and the best club this side of the rive Seine."
"Then just let me get ready." She shimmied off the mattress and walked to her bathroom, the only other room in the small apartment. Through the cracked door, William could see all of Penny's clothes hanging from the shower curtain, spilling in to the tub and out on to the floor. He wondered where she showered, but decided that he didn't want to know. He watched as she changed her shirt, the smooth skin of her back sliding up and down his spine. He watched as she fluffed her hair, smoothing on some lipstick and sliding a pair of aviators over them. Suddenly, she was standing in front of him.
"You know, you never did tell me why you didn't call. I was waiting to hear from you."
She took a hold of his hand and pulled him up, leading him out the door. As she turned to lock it, he caught the slightest trace of her perfume. The sent almost knocked him out. It was just so…Penny.
"All in due time, William. I promise you, all will be answered in good time."
I leave tomorrow night, William thought. Due time better come before then, or I might just go crazy.
Count the headlights on the highway.