I finished off my second iced tea, and put my glass back down on the table. I glanced at my cell phone again. 2:37. He was now almost 40 minutes late. The waiter came by and took away my glass. He asked if I wanted another drink, and I started to think that maybe something a little stronger than an iced tea would help to pass the time.
I ordered a beer, and then looked at my phone again. Maybe he had forgotten the name of the place that we were supposed to meet. The waiter had just placed my drink down, and I decided that there was no point in waiting. I picked it up and started to take huge gulps. Then over the rim of my glass, I saw him walk into the restaurant. He was tall, slim, and slightly tanned with brilliant blue eyes and an excitedly nervous jitter about him. Yeah, that was Chris Martin.
“Finally!” I thought to myself. I saw him scan each table quickly, when his eyes finally locked with mine and he walked over to the small table that I was seated at.
“So… I see you’ve started drinking without me!” he said through a broad smile, as he slid into the booth. His expression changed to one of fear before he said “Wait, you are from Rolling Stone… right? Here to interview me?”
“Oh yeah don’t worry, you’ve got the right person.” I reassured him. He sighed and went back to smiling.
“I’m Charlotte, nice to meet you.” I extended my hand across the table. “I’m Chris, nice to meet you too”
I always found it funny when I interviewed a celebrity and they introduced themselves as if I didn’t already know who they were.
“I’m so sorry that I’m late, I was with playing with my kids and completely lost track of time. I don’t get to see them a lot with the tour, so whenever I’m home all I do is spend time with them”
“It’s fine, really.. you’re not that late. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to have to leave them.” I knew from my days and days of research that he didn’t like talking about his family, so I quickly changed the subject.
“So.. Are you ready for this? It’s going to be epic. 9 hours over 4 meetings. A huge feature.”
“Haha, I’m never ready for huge features. I don’t really like to talk about myself” He said.
“Don’t worry, it will be fun!!” I winked at him and picked up my beer again.
90 minutes, and quite a few drinks later and we were still there.
“I like the way you’re doing uhh conducting this..,” He said, already slurring his words. “It doesn’t even feel like an interview. Just like a conversation.”
“Good,” I said “that means I’m doing my job.”
Chris finished off his whiskey and handed the empty glass to the waiter who in turn handed him the check.
“So when’s the next time we do this? Ya know, the next bit of the interview?” he asked while signing the check.
“Hmm, Well you’re going to Japan tomorrow. And I think you’ll be there for a week.. Right? So in 8 days.. I am meeting you and the rest of the band at your studio… the bakery.”
“8 days?” His eyes opened wide “No… that’s too long. Too far away from now.” He stopped talking for a minute and sat back, he seemed to be brainstorming something. Finally he jolted forward. “Hey I’ve got a good idea.. Have you ever been to Japan?” He asked excitedly.
“Umm yeah, I went once to interview David Bowie in some fancy hotel in Tokyo.. But I only got to stay for one night and didn’t really get to see much.. Why?” I asked curiously.
“How about you come with us! Come to Japan, and we can do the interview there with everyone. It will be fun!”
I had heard about this. Chris Martin coming up with these absurd ideas of “kidnapping” journalists and bringing them all around the world on tour with him. This could actually be fun. A week in Tokyo with the biggest band in the world? Sure why not!
“I’d love to,” I finally said “But I can’t just pick up and go.. I’d have to check with my editor first. I’ll need 8 days off from work and I need someone to cover a piece I was supposed to start writing this week. Hmm, let me make a call.”
I picked up my cell phone and dialed my boss’ number. She was always nice and reasonable and I knew that it probably wouldn’t be a problem. I explained it all to her and she cleared me for the 8 days off, and told me to have fun.
“Okay,” I said after snapping my phone closed “Let’s go to Japan!”
My eyes open slowly and I’m staring at an unfamiliar ceiling. I blink a few times before looking around at the rest of the room. It’s sleek and modern with gray walls, white lamps and the bed that I’m in is over flowing with cream colored blankets and pillows. Then suddenly I shoot straight up in bed, and the events of the previous evening race through my head. I peek under the sheets, and sure enough there is nothing under there but me. The nightstand table has an empty bottle of vodka on it, and two glasses.
I see my dress on the floor by the window, my bra is hanging off the edge of a chair. I sit up further and reach for his shirt. It’s at the end of the bed, and I grab it quickly and throw it on. I get up and walk over to the huge floor to ceiling windows and stare at the skyscrapers surrounding me. Tokyo is breathtaking at 5 in the morning. The hotel suite is small, barely even a suite at all. Just a bedroom with an attached bathroom.
I hear the shower turn on and I quickly turn around to face the bathroom. Just as I do, the door opens.
Chris is standing there, wearing nothing but a broad grin.
“I’m going to take a shower.. Would you like to join me?”
72 hours earlier
I pack up the last of my bags and bring them down to the waiting car. Chris was nice enough to organize a car to come pick me up. The whole way there I can’t help but get lost in my thoughts.
Holy shit, I’m going to Tokyo with Coldplay!! I think to myself. I wonder what they’ll all be like. I wonder if Guy drinks as much as I’ve heard he does. Ohh I’ll get drunk with him, that will be fun!
I finally arrive at the airport and the car drives straight onto the runway and pulls up in front of the stairs to a small private jet. I get out and am greeted by a man who tells me that he‘s part of Coldplay‘s team. “Hi I’m Phil, nice to meet you. I understand you’ll be traveling with us for a while.”
“Umm, yes Hi… I’m Charlotte. Nice to meet you” I say nervously. This guy’s killer smile has me flustered. He assures me that my bags will be taken care of and leads me up the couple of stairs and onto the plane. He tells me to sit anywhere I like, and I chose a row in the middle of the plane. One by one the members of their massive entourage start to arrive. Assistants, tour managers, and then finally the band themselves.
First Will arrives. Phil introduces me. Will seems lovely, maybe a little tired but still very nice. He talks to me for a minute or two and then goes directly to the last row of the plane and busies himself with his laptop. Then Jonny arrives. He’s absolutely charming, so sweet and friendly. He takes a seat a few rows ahead of me. Guy shows up and immediately introduces himself. He asks if he can sit next to me, and of course I say yes.
Chris is the last to arrive but he sits down and talks on his phone for a while before saying anything to anyone. He finally comes over and says hello to me.
“So,” he says “Are you glad that you came?”
“Absolutely!!” I can’t help but smile. This is going to be unforgettable.
Part 2 of Lovers in Japan
I feel something nudging my elbow, and I slowly wake up. I lift up my sleeping mask and look to my left to find the source of the movement. There is no sign of Guy, instead I see Chris leaning over me, wide eyed and smiling. “Are we there already?” I ask sleepily.
“Nope not for another 6 hours. I was just coming to ask if you wanted to watch a movie with me.” he patiently waits for my response.
“Um sure, what are you watching?” I ask.
“Well that’s the problem, I only brought one. Back to the Future, and I’ve already watched it two and half times. Did you bring any movies with you?” he asks, eyeing my carry-on bag.
“Yeah I brought a whole bunch.” I lift my bag from between my feet and balance it on my knees.
“Hmm lets see, I brought ‘The Shining’, ‘Closer’, ‘The Departed’ … ‘Match Point’.”
“Oh a Woody Allen Movie!” he almost screams it. “Yes, lets watch Match Point.”
I take out my laptop and we decide to use headphones out of consideration for the people sleeping in the rows around us.
Half way through the movie, I start to nod off again and my head keeps drifting further and further to the left until finally I’m resting on Chris’ shoulder. He doesn’t seem to mind and I find it comforting to feel his strong arm underneath me. Slowly I fall back to sleep.
“Hmm okay go get me a little Jack Daniels one!” I tell Guy. This new game that we have invented is fun. It doesn’t really have a name but it basically involves going to the back of the plane and stealing the tiny bottles of alcohol that are back there. He obeys and brings it back to me with a sneaky expression on his face. We share it and then it’s my turn to do the stealing. “Hmm,” Guy says thinking hard “Bring me a tiny bottle of Jameson!!”
I tiptoe to the back of the plane and rummage through the flight attendants cart. The great thing about traveling with a big band like this is that they rent out their own private planes, so they come with all of the good stuff like alcohol but you don’t get any of the annoying stuff like flight attendants.
Soon both Guy and I are pretty tipsy, but it’s just as well because Franksy their tour manager announces that we will be landing in 20 minutes.
After the plane lands, Guy and I grab our carry on bags and stumble to the front of the plane. 4 black vans are waiting on the runway and we climb into the vans and soon we are traveling through the busy streets of Tokyo. After 10 minutes we arrive at our hotel. The hotel is gorgeous, modern and clean and I’m so grateful that Chris has organized for me to come along. I get up to my room, throw my luggage in the corner and climb into the huge inviting bed. It’s 9 am and the band are performing in 12 hours. I decided to catch up on some sleep and I’m sure that Coldplay & Co. are all doing the same thing.
It’s 8:00 pm and I’ve just finished talking to Jonny backstage at the arena that they are about to perform at. Jonny leaves me in the “Coldplay Family & Friends Room” and goes back to the dressing room to get ready for the show. I turn off my recorder and take my notebook out of my bag. Jonny just gave me some great stuff and I decide to jot down a couple of notes. As I’m writing, Chris walks in. He sees that I’m working and quickly says “Oh sorry, am I bothering you?”
“No, not at all,” I say while closing my notebook “What’s up?”
“Nothing much, was just looking over tonight’s setlist.” He takes a seat on the couch next to me.
“Oh cool!” I nod “Anything special planned for tonight?”
“Nope” he shakes his head “Just the regular setlist. “Why, what were you expecting?”
“Hmm I don’t know. Shiver is my favorite song.. Do you guys ever play that?” I ask hopefully.
“No, we don’t…But-”
Half way through his sentence he is interrupted by a knock at the door. Phil appears in the doorway.
“Showtime Chris, let’s go.” He waves him out.
“I’ll see you after the show Charlotte” Chris says as he walks out.
It’s 9:30, the show is about 15 minutes in, and they are playing their big hit from this album “Viva La Vida.” It’s honestly electric. I watch each of the band members and it looks so natural to all of them. To just be on stage and perform, it’s where they belong. The rest of the show is amazing, although the Japanese audience is a bit quiet, it doesn’t seem to phase the guys one bit. It’s nearing the end and they have just finished their encore. I gather my stuff and get ready to go back stage, when suddenly I stop. Chris has motioned Guy and Jonny to follow him over to Will, and they are all huddled around the drums. Then Chris walks back to the front of the stage and speaks. “Alright, we haven’t played this one in a while but we’re going to give it a go… Sorry if it’s shit.”
The band starts up the song and I realize that it’s Shiver! My jaw drops and I’m rooted to my spot. The song ends too quickly and I’m left there smiling like an idiot.
I slide the tape recorder closer to Will so that it can pick up everything that he’s saying.
“So you don’t think too much about the future of the band then?” I ask him.
“No, you can’t really do that. If you think too much about it then you get caught up in worrying about it all, and planning everything out. Like ‘Oh we have to have an album out by this date, and we have to be touring by this date.’ Getting our own studio this time round really gave us a lot of freedom. Of course we’d like to be able to do this for as long as possible, but right now we’re just enjoying it all day by day.”
He finishes answering and starts rubbing his eyes. He looks exhausted.
“I’m sorry, am I keeping you up? You look tired.” I ask him.
“What’s the time?” He asks.
I take out my cell phone. “Holy shit, it’s 2:50.”
“Yeah,” he says “I should probably get to bed.” He puts his beer down and stands up from the bar.
“Okay, thanks Will. Good night”
“No problem, yeah I’ll see you tomorrow Charlotte.” He walks over to the elevators, and I look around the hotel bar. It’s deserted and I decide that I should probably head to my room as well. It’s been a very long day. I got up and start walking towards the elevator. I’m on my way out of the hotel bar when I look to my left and see an amazing balcony overlooking the city.
The bar is on the top floor of the hotel, and along with it there is an observation deck. I decide to go out quickly and take a look at the beautiful city. I step out through the large glass doors onto a long patio that stretches the length of the whole 25th floor. The warm air hits me and I breath it in. There are small lights everywhere and glass patio tables and chairs. Instead of taking a seat, I go over to the edge of the balcony and lean against the railing. I stand there for a few minutes just looking at the lights, and cars and amazingly tall buildings. Then suddenly I hear a voice behind me and I jump.
“Mind if I join you?”
I turn around. It’s Chris.
Part 3 of Lovers in Japan
“Oh hey, god you scared me. No I don’t mind, come over.” I turn back around and face the beautiful city below us.
He walks over next to me, and leans against the railing just as I’m doing.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” he asks, turning to face me.
“Yeah, breathtakingly beautiful.” I reply.
“Do you see that a few blocks over? Those trees? It’s a really great park. Very calming. I go there whenever we’re in Tokyo. It’s amazing how it’s just in the middle of all of those skyscrapers and buildings, but once you’re within it, you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere.”
“Sounds amazing,” I say “ I’ll have to go before the end of the week.”
Chris nods and then is quiet for a few seconds before he suddenly speaks.
“Let’s go now.” His eyes light up with this brilliant plan.
“Now?!?!” I ask “But it’s 3:30 in the morning!”
“So what? I can never sleep and it seems like you’re having the same problem. Let’s go.” He says.
I think of how this is a wonderful opportunity to get some good stuff for my article so I accept his invitation.
“Hmm okay, but let me go to my room first and get a blank tape for my recorder.”
“No no, don’t. Just you. I don’t want any journalism shit tonight.” he says.
I look at him wide-eyed.
“Sorry,” he quickly apologizes. “ I just don’t feel like having to watch what I say. Just you, no recorder.. Please?”
“Of course, I understand. No recorder.” I nod my head. Poor guy. He’s probably so used to people trying to take advantage of him and just get a good story out of him. No journalist questions tonight, I think to myself.
We walk back through the sliding glass doors and towards the elevators. After we get down to the lobby, I start to wonder how we’re going to get to this park.
As if he can read my mind he says.. “Hmm lets take a taxi. Too far to walk I think.”
We leave the hotel and walk a block or two to one of the main streets. It takes a few minutes to get a cab, but when we do, Chris opens the door for me and I slide in. The ride is only 3 minutes, maybe less.
When we arrive, I get out and wait for Chris to pay the driver. When he’s finished, he comes towards me and puts his arm around my shoulder and we walk towards the park.
“Let’s go!” he whispers, as if we’re going on some grand adventure.
We start on the path through the park and I can see right away why he loves it. It’s filled with Birchwood, and cherry blossom trees. The gates that line the trail are covered in vines and roses. Every flower is pink and red and wonderfully alive. There are small lights lining the trail and we walk slowly and quietly. It’s so warm and peaceful and I want to remember it forever.
We reach the end of the path and the trees clear out slightly. I see a small pond with a waterfall trickling into it. We stop and decide to sit in the clearing. There are no benches around but Chris doesn’t seem to mind. He’s already sitting on the grass under the cherry blossom trees a couple of feet away from the pond. I walk over and sit down next to him.
We sit there for what seems like forever talking about everything. Music, writing, movies, time and ages. When I tell him I’m 23 he says that feels like he can’t even remember being that age. I don’t think I’ve ever poured out my soul to someone more than I did that night. We talk about culture, and traveling, and love and relationships. By the time we’re done talking it’s 5 am and my brain hurts.
“I’m getting kind of tired.” I say “ maybe we should go back.”
“Don’t you want to wait for the sunrise?” he asks.
“Ok sure, but I can’t keep my head up any longer.” I say, yawning.
“Here.” He takes off his hoodie and spreads it out on the grass behind us. “Lay down” he commands.
I lean back and rest my head on his warm sweatshirt.
“Move over a little” he says.
I slide my head over to make room for him and he lays down next to me on this makeshift pillow. We’re so close and I find it comforting that his leg is resting on mine and our arms are lightly touching. My hand is on the grass inches from his and suddenly he takes it. He’s holding my hand in his, then he lifts it to his face and kisses it. He smiles a goofy smile at me as if it’s just normal for him to show affection towards anyone. I don’t take it that way because I know that he seems a little flirty with everyone so I shrug it off and smile back at him.
But his smile slowly fades and he’s just looking at me. Directly into my eyes. Like he doesn’t see anything else. He props himself up on his elbow and leans over me. His face comes closer to mine until his lips meet my cheek. I pull back for a second but only out of surprise.
His face is still close to mine, our noses are almost touching. He kisses me again. So gently that our lips barely touch. Probably just testing the waters, I think to myself. I decide to reassure him so I kiss him back.
He shifts his body slowly so that he’s on top of me. He kisses my lips and cheek and neck. His hands slowly creep underneath my shirt. I feel him trace the small of my back and his hands go up further as he starts to unhook my bra.
“Wait, wait….. Chris.” I’m already out of breath “We …. are in… a… fucking…. park.”
“I know. I know..” he says.
“Let’s go back to the hotel?” I suggest.
I sit up and grab my bag and his sweatshirt. I stand up and take his hand.
“Come on. Lets go.” I say.
“Alright, I just need a second.. Ya know before I can get up and walk.” He mumbles, glancing down at his rising bulge.
“Ahhh okay. Alright.” I nod and wait, trying to be serious but soon I’m giggling.
“Hey, come on!” He says.
“Sorry, sorry.” I say shaking my head. I wait another minute and then ask. “Are you ready yet??”
“Yup lets go.” He replies. He stands up from the grass and takes my hand and we walk down the path towards the parks exit.
It’s easier to get a cab now because it’s nearly 7 am and people are starting on their way to work. We get in and I lean against him. His arm is around me and my head is resting on his chest. I feel so comfortable that I close my eyes and almost fall asleep. But after what feels like only a minute, we’re back at the hotel and Chris helps me out of the cab.
We walk quickly through the lobby towards the elevator when suddenly a voice stops us.
We both turn around.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Phil asks.
Chris and I walk over to him.
“Umm, Charlotte was just … interviewing me. We went for tea….. And…” Chris mumbles.
“Alright never mind.” Phil says. “Lets get going.”
“Where?” Chris asks.
“You have that radio interview. Remember?” Phil checks his watch impatiently.
“But it’s 7 in the morning.”
“It’s a morning show! Now come on, or we’ll be late.” Phil says, grabbing Chris’ arm and pulling him towards the door.
“Alright, alright. Let me just walk Charlotte to the lift first.” Chris says, pushing Phil away.
Chris turns back towards me and we walk slowly towards the elevators. They’re at the other end of the hotel lobby, and with Phil out of sight, Chris places his arm around me again. When we reach the elevators, Chris kisses me lightly on the lips.
“I’ll see you later okay?” He says, looking me in the eye.
“Yeah, see you later.” I watch as he turns and walks back to Phil.
I get in to the elevator and as it travels up to my floor, I realize that I’m still holding his sweatshirt. I put it on and smile. I can’t wait to be back with him.
I ♥ Will
"My dream is that Will suddenly says ‘I’m gonna be a flamboyant homosexual drummer and wear outrageous clothes and say outrageous things.’ I would love nothing more.” - CAJM