A Time to Smile


He couldn’t take his eyes off her.  He’d spotted her earlier in the evening, and wondered who she was.  He liked the way she smiled at people, the way she laughed, the brightness of her face when she talked with her group of friends, and he also liked the way her black velvet dress moulded round her curves.  Danny had put himself in a space apart from those around him at this event, in order to shut out the fawning and sycophancy.  His manager Mike, had persuaded him that it was time to lift his head above the parapet, and make some money from his glorious, but notorious past.  He was there this weekend to publicise the book of his life, and host a charity auction.  Mike said that it was a foot on the ladder to getting back into the public eye, but it was proving to be more of a struggle than either of them had realised. How Danny longed for the company of his late wife; being with the people he used to know, and with whom he could be himself, rather than with a bunch of boring but hand-picked strangers.  He watched this woman from a distance and more than anything, he wanted to know who she was.

The opportunity to meet her never arose on that Friday evening; he was too busy shaking hands and moving from one dignitary to another, acting the celebrity for their benefit and trotting out the same old clichés.  His fame had been with him for a long time now, but it was still an uneasy thing, and he hated that it was in the way of his getting to know someone that he liked the look of. 

The woman wasn’t even his type, whatever his type was; his wife Lisa had been tall and very elegant with long dark hair that she usually wore up, whereas this woman was of average height, fair-haired, curvy, and seemed to have less interest in dolling herself up than most of the other women at the event.  He couldn’t remember when he’d last seen so much bare flesh, diamante and Lurex on display. 

She’d smiled at him that night though, and it was a genuine smile.  She was in the reception area at the end of the evening, when he and his entourage were waiting for the lift to take them up to the penthouse suite.  He saw her heading towards the stairs, and he willed her to look round at him.  When she did; when she gave him that heart-warming smile, he’d wanted to push people aside and go to her, to ask her who she was and whether she’d join him for a drink.  The lift doors opened though, and the moment passed as she walked on up the stairs and he was propelled by Mike’s guiding hand. Looking around the empty suite when the lift doors opened, his loneliness had been temporarily lifted by the memory of that smile.  He sighed and wished the weekend was over, the book that he hadn’t written or even contributed to much, would have been promoted, and he could stop pretending to be someone that he no longer felt at ease with.

 Her name was Diana. His personal assistant Debbie seemed confused as to why he needed to know who this woman was, but she’d realised two days into her new job that it was easier to do as he asked than to demand an explanation.   Danny was determined to meet Diana at the fundraising event being held on the next day.  Once he’d found out more about her, he arranged for his book signing stall to be moved to a less prominent, but more strategic place where he could observe, and hopefully get an introduction.  The book publicist had kicked off a bit about changing things around, but just one of Danny’s famous glares had silenced any further objections.

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