Chapter 5

As the richly padded elevator ascended through the bowels of the mansion, Alison and Phil Collins stood in silence. Phil Collins seemed lost in thought, his expression as inscrutable as it was on the cover of his 1981 debut ‘ Face Value’.

“Where are we going now, Phil Collins?” breathed Alison, her bare shoulder crackling against the lustrous man-made fibres of the drumming legend’s smoking jacket.

“You’ll see, treacle,” said Phil Collins, in an avuncular yet sexy tone that made Alison shiver. Her black dress, still damp, clung to her figure, revealing her luscious, womanly topography.

As the ‘ Do They Know It’s Christmas rhythmist rocked on his heels and whistled along to ‘One More Night’, his steely eyes appraised her in the elevator mirror, with a glimmer of anticipation. “Imagine if I’d just employed you as a maid,” he muttered, shaking his head in wonder. “That’d be like owning a Ferrari and parking it outside a council house.”

Alison was still pondering this remark when the elevator juddered to a halt. The doors slid open, and she gasped at what she saw.

They were alone in a long, glass-fronted penthouse, commanding magnificent views over Lake Geneva, which shimmered in the moonlight. The room was quite bare except for a vintage gramophone and a long trestle table, covered by a purple silk cloth.

“This is where I come to be alone,” said Phil Collins, offering her a burly, silky arm, and leading her to the window. “Much like when I recorded my 1993 album Both Sides, on which I actually played all the instruments myself. Including the bagpipes.”

“Isn’t that the album of which you’re most proud?” asked Alison, consulting her smartphone. Phil Collins gazed out of the window and there was a long silence.

“Such a lukewarm reception by the critics,” murmured Phil Collins, tracing a finger over her bare shoulder, and letting it play across her pillowy, rose-coloured lips, as she sighed and arched her neck. “I’ll never understand it.”

“Are you hungry?” asked the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee suddenly. “We still haven’t eaten.” He turned and seized the corner of a purple silk cloth, whipping it off the trestle table. In the moonlight, Alison counted fourteen trays of identical white, semicircular delicacies. Their smell left her in no doubt.

“Devilled eggs,” she breathed. “Phil Collins, how did you know?”

“Alison,” said the sometime Eric Clapton producer, plucking an egg from the table and holding it to her lips, “don’t you know who you’re talking to?”

As her lips parted to receive the spicy treat, a great clatter of drums issued from the vinyl player in the corner. She shuddered with delight, both at the taste of the devilled egg and the familiar song.

“Oh Phil Collins,” she breathed. “It’s the b-side from your global hit ‘Sussudio’. But what is it called? I can’t remember.”

“How could you forget?” asked Phil Collins, advancing towards Alison as he swayed to the rhythm. “It’s called ‘The Man With The Horn.’ And tonight,” he added, as his smoking jacket fell to the ground, “it’s more relevant than ever.”

Emboldened by the heady combination of the moonlight, the spicy eggs, and the pumping 80s soundtrack, Alison let her eyes roam up Phil Collins’ manly form.

From his hairy thighs – toned from years of pumping a double bass-drum pedal – over the zebra-print posing pouch, and up his rippling, drum-toned torso. They came to rest on his grizzled, handsome face, familiar to millions, but tonight – hers, and only hers.

“Oh Phil Collins,” she breathed, as he gathered her in his arms. “No smoking jacket required.”

But as the music swelled and the ‘Sussudio’ hitmaker seemed poised to lunge upon her, they heard a distant sound. Somewhere, many floors below them, someone was banging hard and repeatedly on the mansion door.

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