This man, p.24
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       This Man, p.24

         Part #1 of This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
 
Page 24

  Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

  ‘Ha!’ she cries. ‘Do tell. ’ She bats my twiddling fingers away from my hair, looking at me expectedly.

  ‘Yeah, he’s a God. I can’t lie to you. He’s the new owner of the penthouse. ’

  ‘Fuck off! He’s delicious and super rich!’

  Yes, it would seem so. ‘Weren’t you worried about me? I left a message on your phone. ’ I can’t believe she’s not been worried about me.

  ‘I’ve not checked my phone. Anyway, the way he was looking at you, the only thing I was worried about was you not being able to walk this morning,’ She starts laughing as she chucks her dryer on the floor and makes her way into her super tidy bedroom. ‘And, if I’m not mistaken, there’s a limp. ’ she calls back.

  I am a bit sore, actually. Four rounds of Jesse Ward has taken its toll on my body.

  I follow her in, flopping on her perfectly made bed. ‘Jesus, Kate. The man has experience. ’ That sudden thought reminds me of all the many conquests that would have come before me. I screw my face up in disgust.

  ‘You wanted uncomplicated fun. It looks like you’ve got it. High five!’ She air slaps me and leaves the room. ‘And there’s no girlfriend?’

  Did I want uncomplicated fun? Will this be uncomplicated fun? ‘No, but she wants him. I’ve worked that much out. ’

  ‘Oh well, unlucky for her. I’ve got to beat feet. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon. What are you up to while I’m gone?’

  I roll off her bed and smooth the covers before leaving her immaculate room, shutting the door behind me. ‘I’m going to sort my stuff out. Have we got any bin bags?’

  ‘Hurrah! They’re under the sink,’ She grabs her bag from the top of the stairs and makes her way down to the door. ‘You’re more than welcome to borrow Margo. ’

  Is she kidding me? I’d have to complete a ten month leg muscle workout programme to build up the strength to use that clutch. I’ve got cramp just thinking about it. ‘I’m not going anywhere. Drive safe. ’

  By six o’clock, I’m sat in the middle of my room surrounded by bin bags. I’ve been brutal. Clearly, my last sort out was half-hearted because I’ve accumulated four sacks of clothes for the charity shop. If I’ve not worn it in the last six months, then it’s in one of those four bags. All of my remaining clothes have been washed and ironed, and are now folded neatly in an organised manner. I feel cleansed. I empty my waste paper basket into a rubbish sack. The calla lily that Jesse gave me tumbles out. It’s all shriveled and discoloured. I should have put it in some water, but back then, I didn’t plan on seeing the man again. I wanted to forget about him. Impossible. I smile to myself, tying the sack and carting it out to the bin.

  I collapse on the sofa with a bottle of wine and a family size bar of chocolate to catch up on Saturday night, crappy television.

  A few hours later, I’m staring at the last cube of chocolate and feeling slightly nauseous. I really need to start buying a regular size. I pop it in and chomp lazily as I flick the channels repeatedly.

  The sound of my phone drags me from the sofa, my heart giving a little skip. It could be Jesse. I groan. It’s Matt. What does he want? It’s Saturday night and he’s newly single to do what he pleases. Not that our relationship ever stopped him from doing exactly that anyway.

  ‘Hello?’

  ‘Ava, you okay?’ He doesn’t sound drunk.

  ‘Yeah, are you?’ What does he want?

  ‘Good, how did yesterday go?’

  My wine glass halts on its way to my lips. Why do I feel interrogated all of a sudden? It’s just a friendly question. What should I say? I had sex in the penthouse with the new owner; I went home with him; he fucked me up the arse; he’s older, I’m not sure how much older, but an absolute Adonis; I can’t walk properly today…

  ‘Really good, thanks. ’ I say instead.

  ‘Great,’ he chirps, but then there’s a long pause.

  Why all the sudden interest in my career? When I told him that I’d won the Lusso contract, he’d asked me what I’d done for dinner. I hear him draw breath.

  ‘Ava, do you fancy lunch on Tuesday?’ He doesn’t sound right. He sounds all nervous and timid, not the usual conceited, sure Matt that I know. What’s he doing in on a Saturday night?

  ‘Sure, is everything okay?’

  ‘Not really. I’ll speak to you Tuesday, yeah?’

  ‘Okay. ’ I reply hesitantly. I hope nothing dreadful has happened.

  ‘I’ll meet you at Baroque at one o’clock. Is that okay?’

  ‘Of course, I’ll see you then. ’ I hang up. He really doesn’t sound good. He might be an arrogant, cheating rat, and I might be well shot of him, but you don’t just stop caring.

  I flick the television off and take myself to my newly cleansed bedroom, retreating hastily under my duvet. I’m completely whacked. Being tucked up in bed at this time on a Saturday night is new territory for me these days, but after my recent exertions, the sleep is most welcome.

  ***

  I come awake to music and stretch in my bed. It’s a lovely satisfied stretch that tells me I’ve had a very restful sleep. I sit up. What is that? It takes a while for my brain to kick into awake mode, but when it’s does, I can still hear music. I brush my hair from my face. The music stops.

  Huh? Is Kate back already? I glance at my clock. Nine o’clock? Christ, I’ve not slept this late in years. I flop back on my pillow with a smile. It would seem that Jesse Ward is good for my sex life and my sleep.

  There’s that music again. The familiar sound of Noel Gallagher’s Sunday Morning Call penetrates my ear drums. I love that track. I frown, reaching for my phone and see Jesse’s name flashing on the screen. I smile as I connect the call.

  ‘How did you do that?’ My voice is husky from sleep.

  ‘Do what?’ he asks. I can’t see him, but I know he’s grinning that cocky, sexy grin.

  ‘You rigged my phone. ’ I accuse.

  ‘Where are you?’

  ‘In bed. ’ Recovering from you!

  ‘Naked?’ he asks – all low and husky.

  Oh no! I’m not getting into sleazy phone sex. I know where this is going. His voice does things to me. ‘No, I’m not. ’

  ‘I could remedy that. ’

  I shudder at the thought. How can he spark such reactions by being on the end of the phone? ‘How’s your new apartment?’ I need to change the direction of conversation quickly.

  ‘Full of Italian shit. ’

  ‘Funny. Where are you?’

  He sighs. ‘At The Manor, you said you would call. ’ He sounds slighted.

  Yes, I did say I would call, but it’s only been twenty four hours – ish, and I’m majorly uncomfortable with the fact that I really, really wanted to call him.

  ‘I got carried away sorting my room out. ’ I did. And it’s a good job done. I’m ignoring the fact that I purposely kept myself busy.

  ‘What are you doing today? I want to see you. ’

  What? Just like that? Christ, hasn’t he had enough of me? Obviously not, but is this a good Idea? Damn, I want to see him. I’m much too young for him. And I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw him. With his looks, confidence and talent in the pleasure department, he’s a sure fire way to a broken heart. I need a reliable, trustworthy man – a man who’ll look after me and walk on hot coals for me. I silently laugh. My expectations are ridiculously high, but given my last two relationships, I’m sticking to the plan. If Jesse wants to see me, it should be on my terms. I can’t be seen to be desperate.

  ‘No can do,’ I say dismissively. ‘I’m super busy. ’ Doing sweet fuck all! Damn, I want to see him.

  ‘Busy doing what?’ He’s shocked. Why wouldn’t I be busy? I have a life.

  ‘All sorts. ’

  ‘Are you fiddling with your hair, by any chance?’ His voice is full of humour.

  I pause, mid
-twiddle. How has he cottoned on to that? ‘I’ll call you tomorrow. ’ I inform him. Will I? I’m just about to hang up when I hear that cold, unfriendly voice I hate so much. What the bloody hell is she doing there? I’m uncomfortable with how uncomfortable that makes me feel. Why should I care?

  ‘Ava, wait a minute. ’ He must cover his phone because the voices become muffled, but it’s definitely her. I bristle all over, which is crazy stupid. ‘Sarah, just give me a second, will you?’ He sounds slightly pissed. ‘Ava, are you there?’

  I should just hang up. ‘Yeah,’ Damn me!

  ‘You’ll call tomorrow. ’ he says. It‘s a statement, not a question.

  ‘I will. ’ I hang up quickly. That was not how I wanted to end the conversation. He pretty much told me to call, and I agreed. That is not being on the front foot.

  I huff my way out of bed and take myself to the shower. What am I going to do all day, anyway? Kate’s not home and the house is spick and span, as usual. I need something to divert my unreasonable, jealous frame of mind.

  Chapter 14

  ‘Fucking hell!’ Kate’s stood in my bedroom doorway, open mouthed and wide eyed. ‘What happened?’

  I tuck my black shirt into my capri pants and marvel at how easily I locate my black, suede heels and gold belt. I really am very organised this morning.

  ‘How’s your Gran?’ I ask, feeding my belt through the loops of my trousers.

  ‘Still senile. What did you get up to while I was gone?’ She starts plumping a pillow on my bed.

  I gesture around the room, with a what-do-you-think look, leaving out the fact that Matt called and I agreed to meet him. Oh, I’ll also omit the Jesse call that resulted in me sulking for the best part of yesterday. How ridiculous!

  ‘What time did you get back?’ I ask. I’d given up waiting and pigged Kate’s half of the wine after I called and discovered that she was stuck at junction nineteen of the M1.

  ‘Ten. All of the commuters returning to the city were clogging the roads. I’ll do the train next time. Can I borrow you after work?’

  ‘Sure, what for?’

  ‘I’ve got a cake delivery I need some help with. ’ she says.

  ‘No worries. Pick me up from the office at six. ’ I grab my black bag from my newly organised bag cupboard and start transferring my things from last week’s bag.

  ‘Will do, have you heard from the God?’

  My head snaps up, and I find Kate grinning from ear to ear as she folds up my bed throw. I narrow my eyes on her before presenting myself to the mirror to put my gloss on.

  ‘You mean the Lord. He called. ’ I disclose casually, popping my lips and catching her reflection. She’s still grinning. ‘What?’ I gasp.

  ‘Have we established an age?’

  I scoff. ‘No, I keep asking and he keeps lying. It’s obviously an issue. ’

  ‘Well, the man’s landed himself a hot bird of twenty six. He probably can’t believe his luck. He’s thirty five, maximum. ’

  ‘He hasn’t landed me. It’s just sex. ’ I correct her, rather unconvincingly. I collect my bag, leaving Kate tweaking my bed covers as I head to the kitchen, pour myself some orange juice and take my phone off charge.

  Kate waltzes in as I’m feeding myself my pill. She flicks the kettle on. ‘You can’t beat a good screw with an Adonis to get you over a relationship. He’s your rebound fuck. ’

  I laugh. Yes, that’s exactly what he is. Not that I needed any distractions to get over Matt. That was pretty easy.

  ‘Correct,’ I agree. ‘I’ll see you after work. ’

  She leans over the banister as I run down the stairs. ‘Six o’clock!’

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
  • 17 486
  • 0
Add comment

Add comment