Here is another of our popular short stories to read online. So why not make a cup of tea and take five to read this fascinating true story from guest contributor Wendy Darling…
After a long day at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, I was tired of choosing fabrics for my client. I had been in London trying to finish a big project I was doing in Cheltenham, and, as sometimes happens, my client was very demanding, every fabric I showed her was not quite right, and I was beginning to despair. The phone rang as I was standing on the platform at Paddington station, waiting for my train to arrive. Perhaps I will ignore it in case it is my difficult client with more demands! No, Wendy, that is not professional.
The person at the end of the phone said, “Don’t catch the train!” I didn’t really know the person on the end of the line, but he kept saying, “Paramount has asked you to work on Tom Cruise’s apartment!” I think that is what he said, but as my train pulled in, I was more anxious to find a seat than to worry about someone talking about Tom Cruise!
I found a seat and plonked myself into the seat when I realised I was still connected to the man on the other end. “Sorry,” I said, “what did you say?“ The person on the line simply repeated, “Paramount has asked you to work on Tom Cruise’s penthouse apartment near Harrods.” I stood up, almost in shock, and said. ”What me?” The voice at the other end just said, “ Catch a taxi and come to Knightsbridge now, Tom is waiting for you, and he doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
I just managed to get off the train as the whistle was blown. As I jumped off the train, I thought to myself, I hope this is not a scam!
A text came through with the address in Knightsbridge and an added note not to disclose the address to anyone. So when I caught a taxi, I asked him to drop me off outside Harrods as I had been instructed….it’s got to be a scam, surely? But by now, I was in a cab and on my way to this secret destination. Was this really happening, or am I having a bad dream?
Once out of the taxi, I walked back to Montpellier Street and stood at the corner waiting for more instructions. The phone rang, and the ‘voice’ gave me the exact address. He said someone would be waiting in the foyer to take me to my appointment. Really thinking back, I must have been an idiot to do this. I wondered if I should tell someone where I was going, but I had been told not to tell anyone…so silly as it sounds, I obeyed the ‘voice!’
When I arrived at the address, I just stood at the big doors and waited. Almost immediately, someone opened the door, and I was whisked inside. As I write this, I can hardly believe it, but it was true. An official-looking man said I should sit until Mr Cruise’s assistant came to fetch me. I was expecting to get frisked, but that didn’t happen. So I just sat and waited. Goodness only knows what I looked like after my long day, but it was not likely that I would be allowed to go and freshen up. After about 10 minutes a good-looking young girl came down in the lift and introduced herself, I can’t remember her name, by now I realised this was not a scam but the real thing.
We went up in a fast lift to the 6th floor, I think, and when we arrived, we were greeted by three other women who all introduced themselves, again I can’t remember their names, mainly as by now I was so nervous, and I think I was in a daze.
“Tom is in a meeting, so I will show you around the penthouse,” said the original woman. “Perhaps you could just take notes for now regarding the living area, but the urgent room is his bedroom as Tom can’t sleep with any light coming in, so everything has to have blackout lining.”
We went into his bedroom, and luckily I had a tape measure, so in order to look efficient, I decided to measure the windows and made several notes. Then we went into the other rooms, and I measured everything I could lay my hands on again.
Suddenly all hell rang out. “He is arriving.” We all moved towards the lift, and someone was on the phone saying, “He has entered the lift, he is now on the first floor, now arriving, stand by, smile.” I wasn’t sure whether to faint or burst into peels of laughter. Honestly, you would think God was arriving. Well, maybe a kind of film God was arriving.
Tom was given a small bottle of Kingfisher water; he beamed at me as we were introduced, I just smiled and said a feeble “Hi.” He wasn’t listening anyway, and all of us moved towards his bedroom. He explained what he wanted and how he could have no light coming into the room. He sat on the bed and beckoned me to sit down beside him. “Look at these fabrics, I like these, do you?” He had obviously been to Harrods to get some samples. I mumbled, “Very nice”, and he said, “Well, I will leave it up to you. I have heard good things about your taste.” Then he jumped up and left the room.
He jumped up so quickly that I nearly fell to the floor. I asked if he was coming back, and they said he was going to Ascot now, so he would not be coming back until later. “Is there anything else you need to discuss?” I couldn’t think of anything, and to be honest, I was still in shock. I was ushered to the lift, and it wasn’t until I was outside in the street that I started to breathe properly. ‘How utterly ridicules Wendy,’ I mumbled under my breath.
That was that! I got in a taxi and went back to Paddington station my head was buzzing, had that really happened, I thought to myself.
The next day there was a picture of Tom with lots of ladies at Ascot, so it was true he had gone to Ascot races, who would ever believe that just before the picture was taken, I had been ‘ON BED WITH TOM CRUISE’. I hasten to say not IN BED!
It didn’t take long to get the ball rolling, and I had selected several fabrics that I thought Tom would like and did some costings, which I was told to send through to Paramount Film Company. I sent the samples to the penthouse for his approval, and a few days later, I had the brief, he had chosen his fabrics and was happy. I was told speed was of the essence, as Tom can’t sleep. So the fabric was ordered, and the workroom was on standby, but as my own workroom was under pressure to finish two big projects, I decided to call a new well-known company in London to see if they could help me out. I didn’t mention the name TOM CRUISE as I wanted to have a sensible costing.
A few days later, everything was ready. We made the appointment, and the curtain makers had to get clearance. All was set up. The curtains were installed in his bedroom, and we stapled the curtains to the wall so there was no way any light could get in. At that point, one of the secretaries mentioned the name Tom Cruise. I saw a shock on the curtain makers’ faces, and they asked me to pay them at once, unlike my usual team when they just sent the invoice. So I said I would meet them in the car park to pay them. They had doubled the invoice, and when I queried it, they said, ”Well, it’s Tom Cruise, so he is rich!”
I couldn’t believe it. I paid them the extra money just to get rid of them, saying that I would never use them again. When Paramount paid, I made a profit of £28. Who would have believed it? I’m sure if Tom knew, he would be really upset as he seemed nice, but I think I will just stick with my demanding client in Cheltenham and my loyal curtain workroom in the future.
AS A SPECIAL OFFER TO OUR READERS WENDY IS OFFERING A SIGNED COPY AT THE DISCOUNTED PRICE OF £15 CLICK HERE AND USE THE CODE ‘HARRIET‘ AT THE CHECKOUT. We also have a review of Wendy’s book by BackPacking Granny, which is HERE.