I drifted into her life and before I knew it she was describing me as her bodyguard.
I watched visitors arrive and depart, some who were welcomed into her chic Sloane Square residence, receiving profuse kisses and generous hugs. Some who swarmed around, cameras slung round their necks, talking incessantly, who were rebuffed.
Julia Othello’s latest role as the lead in Sleeping Beauty on Ice was a Christmas Extravaganza and her classical ballet training combined with her flawless vocals , and a natural, compelling affinity with an audience had made her a star. The appalling weather, recording the longest period of snow since records began, was the only reason it was not a sell out.
But she always made time to acknowledge me and once, just once, my coal black eyes caught her ocean blue gaze and I melted from my stiff military pose. I wonder if she even knows my name I pondered.
On Christmas Eve she came up the path, overloaded with brightly coloured parcels trailing ribbons, twinkling with sequins, adorned with bows. She clung onto the decorative iron railings in order to mount the icy steps leading to her door keeping just ahead of the paparazzi. A plump ready dressed turkey escaped from its carrier and slid back down, gaining momentum on the ice like an itinerant penguin, only stopping when it hit me.
I winced and totally lost it when Julia danced down the steps and, after patting my sturdy frame several times and hugging me, oh so gently, asked “Are you alright?” Her rosebud lips so close to mine. My crooked lips connected with hers for an instant and suddenly the garden was ablaze with flashing lights, anorak clad men demanding to know if I was the new man in her life, the mystery lover.
Julia threw back her head laughing, “Oh dear”, she sighed “my secret is out,” and with that she left me, without a backward glance. They observed my dead pan face and abandoned me.
On Christmas Day the house sprang into life when her extended family arrived. It was a Hollywood setting, snow falling gently, a bright wintery sun, a clear blue backdrop of sky. They all stayed outside building snowmen, singing carols. The paparazzi were delighted but remained on the edges, not intruding today. I watched as her father, usually cast as an Italian hit man challenged his grandchildren to snowball fights. Julia’s mother, once a Bond girl, decorated snowmen with carrots for noses and shiny lumps of coal for eyes. During an energetic, laughter filled, snowball fight Julia crept over producing a tartan scarf which she snuggled around my neck.
“Merry Christmas,” she whispered.
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