“Piper slow down and stop making a nuisance of yourself,” Prue called out. “Anyone would think you’ve never been on a plane before.”
“Ooh, ooh I want the seat by the window!” Piper charged past Phoebe and nearly mowed down an old lady in the process, as she slumped into a heap in her treasured seat. This wasn’t Piper’s first time on a plane but she was always fascinated by them like a child with a new toy.
The flight was anything but perfect. But Phoebe couldn’t get the dream out of her head. Who was that girl? She found she couldn’t sleep either. It was turning out to be such a bumpy ride. Not only due to the turbulence of the plane and Piper’s stomach, but also because of her turbulent feelings. Attempting to close her eyes, her shoulders jerked but nothing moved in her face. Phoebe gave up all thought of shutting her eyes and pulled guidebooks and maps of London from her bag. At least language won't be a problem.
It was a dull, overcast day as they stepped off the plane. They expressly checked out of customs and into a black taxi. Black cabs were meant to be more reliable and safe.
“Where to ladies?” asked the driver in a cockney accent.
“Park Hotel, West End.” Prue answered as she smelt the sweat and aftershave and squinted her face. The taxi driver was partial to smoking. She sniffed the burned out tobacco on his breath.
Taxis and cars swished by on the slippery rain-drenched freeway, glistening in the yellow sodium lights like linoleum interspersed with oil. Their first glimpse of London was dismal and bleak.
The taxi ride was long and tedious. Nothing could be seen from the windows. Rain trickled down the panes of glass like sticky honey so they snuggled back into the seat and waited for journey’s end.
“£70 luv” the driver demanded.
“Keep the change,” Prue replied; “And personal hygiene costs nothing!” she muttered under her breath as she slammed the back door.
“That was uncalled for Prue.” Piper retorted.
Prue just shrugged.
The hotel was far from impressive. Static, sterile, antiseptic modern building with people scurrying about. As for their room. Phoebe remarked,
“It’s just like Halliwell manor.” Prue turned to peer owlishly at her sister.
“This is one of the best hotels around. It’s just off Oxford Street. One of the greatest places to shop. Famous rock stars stay here you know. Bon Jovi. Michael Jackson.”
“Yeah, all the archaic ones.” Phoebe chuckled as she hooked a chair with her foot, drew it close to the table and sat down.
“Admit it Prue,” Piper laughed, “You were thinking about clothes all along.”
“Well I do need something for the gala at the museum don’t I?”
Quick as a flash Prue grabbed her wallet containing her credit cards and was about to hit the stores big time. Nothing was going to stop her from her favorite ritual not even something termed jetlag, or the British weather.
“Anyone want to join me?” Prue asked.
“Count me out”, Phoebe insisted. “I’m going to chill out in your wonderful hotelroom and see if I can’t rest up. I’ve planned a major sightseeing tour for us and I for one am not going to miss out on the museums and waxworks. Madame Tussaud’s is an adventure waiting to happen.”
“Me too,” said Piper, “ I want to look at least presentable for tomorrow. I may want to check out the club scene round here too and remember don’t buy anymore bags.”
“Or boots!” Phoebe added sarcastically.