Shelter(ed) Day 10- Back to Havana

Shelter(ed) Day 10- Back to Havana

Chapter 10 – Dream a Little Dream of Me

TBD Illustration- Genetta and Nat singing in Club Room

Genetta was wrapping up her modelling shoot as the sun set over the Malecon. The last shots were usually what the photographers waited all day for. She was modelling for a Cuban dress designer named “Salome,” who had this wonderful knack for dressing Havana’s most stylish women in the sheerest of materials while maintaining a simple iconic look. 

The jewelry was from an avant garde designer named “Rox,” and the pieces were big, bold statements that started conversations without being ostentatious. They went well together.

As the “magic moment” approached, Genetta positioned herself on a large rock in the garden overlooking the Malecon, framed by the setting sun but nevertheless visible to most of the pool deck as well. The photographer loved her natural sense of drama and knowledge of camera angles. It was absolutely the perfect shot, at the perfect moment, one destined for billboards and print ads in both Havana and New York.

She turned her back to the camera, let the slinky silk gown fall to her hips, and spun the necklace to fall down her back. Her smile, as she looked coyly over her shoulder, flummoxed the photographer for a moment. Marilyn Monroe could not have done it better. 

As the whirring camera started advancing each frame, you could hear a pin drop at the Riviera Pool. And Genetta knew it. In a room full of stars, she had everyone’s attention.

Finn had returned from upstairs just in time to catch Genetta’s sunset performance. As she came down off the rock he offered his hand to steady her, with a shawl to cover her.

“All done?”

“Yes, when the sun sets, the models rest. How about a cocktail?”

She took his arm and drifted toward the bar where Francois, Gerard, Nat and William had transitioned from afternoon poker-drinking to early evening cocktail-drinking. In other words, they were loaded.

“Finn, we thought you’d miss the sunset show, mon ami. Turns out you had the best seat in the house! Well-played,” said Gerard raising his Pernod in their direction.

“Gerard says you sing,” said Nat, a little less boisterously than his friend. “Snowball is headed here shortly and we’ll be working on new arrangements for some old classics. Like to join us?’ 

She instinctively looked at Finn for approval, as if they had been together for years. He noticed this nuance, just as he would any body language at a card table, and smiled.

Sure, honey.”

They all had one more drink together, Finn having a cerveza while the others enjoyed Cuba Libres, before Nat escorted Genetta to the Cabaret. 

As Nat and Genetta walked across the pool deck through the sculpture- filled lobby, Finn had a moment: he felt he’d met the love of his life. The guys picked up on his staring and began to rib him. But any one of them, including perhaps William, would have gladly traded places with him. Genetta was a dream.

And he hadn’t even heard her sing. 

Sal was still in the lobby as Snowball came in the front entrance, but ducked into the Cabaret on the right before he noticed Sal sitting behind the [Eames sculpture]. It did give Sal an excellent vantage point out to the Pool where he saw Genetta and Finn canoodle at the bar before Nat walked her into the lobby.

It wasn’t long before the sounds of Snowball,warming up on the piano, came wafting into the lobby. Nat started with “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” and suggested Genetta join and make it a duet. She was ready for her moment, delivering a sultry but sweet rendition that may have rivalled Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong.

Stars shining bright above you

Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”

Birds singing in the sycamore trees

Dream a little dream of me

Finn walked in just as she hit that line and felt all warm and fuzzy. Women didn’t usually overwhelm him like this, but nothing she’d done in the 24 hours since their eyes met had not. He took a seat way in the back and enjoyed the private show.

Say nighty-night and kiss me

Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me

While I’m alone and blue as can be

Dream a little dream of me

William, Gerard, and Francois followed him in, and had nearly the same reaction. They gathered along the back wall so as not to disturb the pros at their work. Nat kicked into his lyrics, and Snowball kept up on the keyboard. They ended it on the first take.

“Not bad at all young lady,” said Nat. “Not bad at all. Do you know ‘Blue Moon’?”

“Do I? Hit it Snowball…… “

And then there suddenly appeared before me

The only one my arms will ever hold

I heard somebody whisper “Please adore me”

And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold!

Blue moon! 

Now I’m no longer alone

Without a dream in my heart

Without a love of my own

Finn was having a rare moment. He was totally falling for a girl after just 24 hours… after having arrived in town with someone else… travelling back in time… becoming a high roller… and hanging with celebs all day. And now he was listening to her first audition, singing duets with Nat King Cole.

As the song ended, she sensed it was better to leave them wanting more. She reached into her jacket pocket and felt the distinct Riviera keychain that came with the Penthouse Suite – a miniature of the sculpture she loved so much in the Lobby.  

She looked to the back of the room, catching Finn’s eye as he walked out. She wasn’t far behind him, and he held the elevator for her. 

That was probably a mistake. From Sal’s vantage point, he now had visual confirmation that they were not just ships passing in the night, or passing in the early Havana evening for that matter: he feared that Genetta would be squeezing juicy secrets out of Finn in no time…


Prefer to read the whole Book One? Here is the Table of Contents, with links.

I mentor two kids and several entrepreneurs. Similarities are coincidental.