Home > Tell Me Your Dreams(4)

Tell Me Your Dreams(4)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

"Stalkers and gardening and animals of Africa?"

"That's right," she said firmly.

Who knows? Maybe someday I'll have a garden and I'll take a trip to Africa.

When Ashley returned to the car, it began to rain again. As she drove, the rain beat against the windshield, fracturing space and turning the streets ahead into surreal pointillistic paintings. She turned on the windshield wipers. They began to sweep across the window, hissing, "He's gonna get you... gonna get you... gonna get you...." Hastily, Ashley turned them off. No, she thought. They're saying, "No one's there, no one's there, no one's there."

She turned the windshield wipers on again. "He's gonna get you... gonna get you... gonna get you...."

Ashley parked her car in the garage and pressed the button for the elevator. Two minutes later, she was heading for her apartment. She reached the front door, put the key in the lock, opened the door and froze. Every light in the apartment had been turned on.

Chapter Two

"All around the mulberry bush,

The monkey chased the weasel.

The monkey thought 'twas all in fun,

Pop! goes the weasel."

Toni Prescott knew exactly why she liked to sing that silly song. Her mum had hated it. "Stop singing that stupid song. Do you hear me? You have no voice, anyway."

"Yes, Mother." And Toni would sing it again and again, under her breath. That had been long ago, but the memory of defying her mother still gave her a glow.

Toni Prescott hated working at Global Computer Graphics. She was twenty-two years old, impish, vivacious, and daring. She was half smoldering, half firecracker.

Her face was puckishly heart shaped, her eyes were a mischievous brown, her figure alluring. She had been born in London and she spoke with a delightful British accent She was athletic and loved sports, particularly winter sports: siding and bobsledding and ice-skating.

Going to college in London, Toni had dressed conservatively during the day, but at night, she had donned miniskirts and disco gear and made the swinging rounds. She had spent her evenings and nights at the Electric Ballroom on Camden High Street, and at Subterania and the Leopard Lounge, mixing with the trendy West End crowd. She had a beautiful voice, sultry and sensuous, and at some of the clubs, she would go to the piano and play and sing, and the patrons would cheer her. That was when she felt most alive.

The routine inside the clubs would always follow the same pattern:

"Do you know you're a fantastic singer, Toni?"


"Can I buy you a drink?"

She smiled. "A Pimm's would be lovely."

"My pleasure."

And it would end the same way. Her date would lean close to her and whisper in her ear, "Why don't we go up to my flat and have a shag?"

"Buzz off." And Toni would be out of there. She would lie in her bed at night, thinking about how stupid men were and how bloody easy it was to control them. The poor sods did not know it, but they wanted to be controlled. They needed to be controlled.

And then came the move from London to Cupertino. In the beginning, it had been a disaster. Toni hated Cupertino and she loathed working at Global Computer Graphics. She was bored with hearing about plug-ins and dpi's and halftones and grids. She desperately missed the exciting nightlife of London. There were a few nightspots in the Cupertino area, and Toni frequented those: San Jose Live or P. J. Mulligan's or Hollywood Junction. She wore tight-fitting miniskirts and tube tops with open-toed shoes having five-inch heels or platform shoes with thick cork soles. She used a lot of makeup - thick, dark eye-liner, false eyelashes, colored eye shadow and bright lipstick. It was as though she were trying to hide her beauty.

Some weekends, Toni would drive up to San Francisco, where the real action was. She haunted the restaurants and clubs that had music bars. She would visit Harry Denton's and One Market restaurant and the California Cafe, and during the evening, while the musicians took their break, Toni would go to the piano and play and sing. The customers loved it. When Toni tried to pay her dinner bills, the owners would say, "No, this is on the house. You're wonderful. Please come back again."

Did you hear that? Mother? "You're wonderful. Please come back again."

On a Saturday night, Toni was having dinner in the French Room at the Cliff Hotel. The musicians had fin-

ished their set and left the bandstand. The maitre d' looked at Toni and nodded invitingly.

Toni rose and walked across the room to the piano. She sat down and began to play and sing an early Cole Porter number. When she was finished, there was enthusiastic applause. She sang two more songs and returned to her table.

A bald, middle-aged man came up to her. "Excuse me. May I join you for a moment?"

Toni started to say no, when he added, "I'm Norman Zimmerman. I'm producing a road company of The King and I. I'd like to talk to you about it."

Toni had just read a glowing article about him. He was a theatrical genius.

He sat down. "You have a remarkable talent, young lady. You're wasting your time fooling around in places like this. You should be on Broadway."

Broadway. Did you hear that. Mother?

"I'd like to audition you for - "

"I'm sorry. I can't."

He looked at her in surprise. "This could open a lot of doors for you. I mean it. I don't think you know how talented you are."

"I have a job."

"Doing what, may I ask?"

"I work at a computer company."

"I'll tell you what. I'll start by paying you double whatever you're getting now and - "

Toni said, "I appreciate it, but I... I can't."

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