Herewith as promised a short excerpt from May It Please Your Lordship Chapter 11:
It was a memorable week in my life as the pace quickened.I had been instructed to represent an eighteen-year-old yob charged with mugging a group of schoolboys and relieving them of their pocket money and a BMX bike. Without Bootsy’s firm hand on the tiller, the youth had decided to chance his arm with the jury, but it was an uphill struggle. I was pushed to make a fist of it, especially as the school kids all knew the defendant from earlier encounters in the playground, and the BMX was found in his auntie’s shed. But the best evidence came from a veritable vision of loveliness, Camilla Foster-Ward, who was on her way to a modelling assignment in her Audi TT and witnessed the whole incident. Unlike many who would simply drive on, she stopped to comfort the kids and left her name and address with Plod.
From the moment she swayed into court, the defendant’s fate was sealed. Whatever else the jury were going to make of the school kids, they were totally captivated by the fragrant Camilla and every word she uttered. The defendant went crashing down in record time.
To refresh my spirits after such a depressing ordeal, I popped into a nearby wine bar. Seeing Camilla, eating alone at a corner table, my heart skipped a beat, and taking a deep breath, I went over and introduced myself. Camilla didn’t seem hugely impressed, but nodded to the chair opposite and I sat down.
As the wine loosened my natural reserve, we chatted easily about this and that and, mercifully, very little about the case. Fortunately Camilla was in forgiving mood, after I had attacked her evidence as a tissue of lies. Not quite so crudely, but that was the thrust of it. In fact, she found the whole experience amusing and light relief from earning obscene amounts of money on the catwalk. I was smitten, not just by her natural beauty, but also by her confident and relaxed manner. Was it love at first sight? I thought so, but asking her out was a different matter entirely.
Camilla was way up there out of my league, but then, stranger things had happened, and I’d watched Four Weddings and a Funeral several times, where the fashion model in the big hat, had fallen for Hugh Grant, albeit by a very circuitous route. And what did Hugh Grant have that I didn’t?
I could see it all, the two of us snapped secretly by the paparazzi whilst cavorting on the beach in Barbados, or coming out of Stringfellows, or, better still, Annabel’s.
As she got up to leave, it was now or never. Offering to pay for her meal was a big mistake, and she made that very clear. She was rich, independent and only willing to be indulged on her own terms. But my gesture obviously struck a chord, and my invitation to dinner was not dismissed totally out of hand.
“Look,” she said casually, “I’m having a few friends round for supper tomorrow night. Why don’t you come along, that’s if you’ve got nothing better to do?”
I could hardly believe my ears. “Thanks, that would be great.”
Camilla gave me her address. “See you about nine,” and with that she was gone.
Fortunately for me, I was out of court the next day “working on papers” as the clerks euphemistically referred to unemployment, and I was able to concentrate on the evening ahead.
A gesture of some sort was de rigueur.
Perhaps a bottle of Chateau Plonk, wine you never dreamt of drinking yourself but which was passed on round the drinks party circuit like an unexploded bomb until eventually, with the off-licences and pubs closed, some unlucky sod actually uncorked the noxious liquid and passed out from the fumes.
A safer bet would be flowers and chocolates, not very imaginative, but less likely to cause offence. But a moment’s reflection exposed the folly of that idea. You don’t give chocolates to a model. What would Hugh Grant take, besides his enormous sex drive and smarmy ways? As I had neither, that was of no help at all.
Shortly after nine that evening, and clutching an expensive and elaborately presented corsage, I rang the doorbell to a delightful mews house just off the Portobello Road where the supper party for a few friends was in full swing.
Not what I’d expected at all. Some drop dead gorgeous I had never seen before opened the door, and leaving it open, swayed back inside without a word. I followed her into the living room, jam-packed with forty or fifty beautiful people straight from the pages of OK and Hello magazines, screaming at each other over the primordial beat of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath.
Glancing round the room, I spotted Camilla, draped across a sofa and being nuzzled by, oh My God, it can’t be! It is! Hugh Grant himself!
Camilla waved and beckoned me over. “So glad you made it. You know Hugh of course. Hugh, this is Toby, that absolute darling of a barrister I was telling you about. Very good and very grand. Had me quivering like a jelly!”
“Now that, my darling,” purred Hugh, batting his eyelids, “is something I wouldn’t have missed for the world,” and he gave them both his million dollar smile. “Good to meet you, Toby,” he lied. “Now, Millie, I must love you and leave you. Got things to do. See you next time around,” and with a long, lingering, parting kiss, he sloped out.