This man, p.26
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       This Man, p.26

         Part #1 of This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
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Page 26

  Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

  ‘Move the van, you stupid fucking cow!’ he bellows at me, waving his arms about.

  Oh shit. Kate, hurry up!

  ‘Who the FUCK is that?’ Jesse yells down the phone.

  ‘No one,’ I blurt.

  Big baldy kicks Margo’s tyre. ‘Move it, bitch!’ Oh hell, he’s a mad middle aged, balding man.

  I hear Jesse growl. ‘Tell me he didn’t just say that. ’ His voice is sadistic.

  ‘It’s fine. Kate’s coming now. ’ I lie on a squeak.

  ‘Where are you?’

  ‘I don’t know, somewhere in Belgravia. ’ I didn’t really take much notice. I was too busy being flung around in the back of Margo to take notes of street names.

  Big baldy shoves me. ‘Are you fucking deaf, you stupid bitch?’

  Oh shit, he’s going to crack me one. I can hear Jesse hyperventilating down the phone, but then he’s gone. I glance at my screen and see the call has ended. Snapping my head up, I look towards the steps that lead to Mrs Link’s house, but the front door is still firmly closed. I’m shoved in the back again by Baldy.

  ‘Please, give me five minutes. ’ I plead with the irate twat. If Kate was here, he would be on his arse by now.

  ‘Just move the fucking shed, you dopey cow!’ he roars in my face, making me recoil.

  I run onto the pavement, stepping on every stray stone on my way, and up the steps to Mrs Link’s front door.

  ‘Kate!’ I knock frantically, turning and smiling sweetly at Mr Baldy Jag, earning myself another torrent of abuse. This guy needs anger management. ‘Kate!’ I shout, banging again. Car horns are blaring all around, I’ve got the angriest man I’ve ever encountered hurling abuse at me, my arse is sore and my feet are being stabbed by fucking stones! ‘KATE!!!’ My throat is bloody sore now too. But then I have a thought. Has she left the keys in Margo? I gingerly run down the steps, back onto the street to check Margo’s ignition, going around the back to avoid baldy.

  It would seem that he’s not so willing to let me evade him, though, and I collide with his fat, sweaty body as I reach the driver’s door. ‘Oh!’ I cry, getting a waft of stale body odour.

  He grabs the top of my arm, squeezing hard. ‘If you don’t move that fucking thing now, I’ll slap your skinny arse all over this street. ’

  I lean back against the van as he tightens his hold on my arm to a point, so painful, I want to cry out. He’s a fucking psycho! I’m going to be bludgeoned on a posh, leafy residential street in posh Belgravia and be plastered all over tomorrow morning’s news. I’m never going to talk to Kate again. I feel my eyes welling up with panicky tears as I’m pinned to the side of Margo with not a clue what to do. This is an aggressive type – a wife beater, for sure.

  ‘Get your fucking hands off her!’

  The roar that pierces the air around me, blocking out all car horns and London traffic, makes my knees buckle with relief. I turn towards the direction of the most welcome voice I’ve ever heard and see Jesse running down the middle of the road, in his suit, looking murderous.

  Oh, thank God! I don’t know where he’s come from, and I couldn’t care less. The relief that washes over me is overwhelming. I’ve never been so glad to see anyone in my life, and the fact that it’s a man I’ve known barely a week should be telling me something.

  Mr Baldy Jag’s fat, ugly head snaps up in Jesse’s direction, a deep look of panic instantly invading his sweaty features. I feel his grip ease up. Letting go of me and stepping back from Margo, he starts weighing up the mountain of lean tallness that’s running at full pelt towards us. The intention to scarper is clear on his ugly face. He doesn’t get the chance to, though. Jesse charges him before he sets his short legs to work, taking him clean from his feet and sending him crashing to the tarmac.

  My God! I was wrong. Baldy isn’t the angriest man I’ve ever seen. I watch as Jesse’s fist collides with Baldies face before he kicks him in the gut, causing him to cry out.

  ‘Get off your fat arse and apologise,’ Jesse yanks him up from the road, presenting him to me. ‘Apologise!’ he roars.

  I look at Baldy, who’s huffing and puffing, his nose clearly broken, blood dripping down his slimy suit. I would feel sorry for him, if he wasn’t such a nasty bastard. What sort of man does that to a woman?

  ‘I…I’m s…sorry. ’ he stutters, looking completely dazed.

  Jesse’s fisted hand in Baldies jacket shakes him. ‘Lay a finger of her again, I’ll rip your fucking head off,’ His voice is menacing. ‘Now, fuck off. ’ He shoves the crumpled heap of a man out of his hands and grabs me, yanking me into his chest.

  I fall apart. I’m a stupid blubbering wreck as I sob all over Jesse’s expensive suit, while he holds me in his hard, warm chest.

  ‘I should have finished the bastard off,’ he grumbles. ‘Hey, stop the tears, I’ll get crazy mad. ’ He spreads his palm over the back of my head and sighs in my hair.

  ‘Where did you come from?’ I mumble into his chest. I don’t care, I’m just glad he’s here.

  ‘I wasn’t far, and you weren’t hard to find. It’s anarchy back there. Where’s Kate?’

  Yes, where is Kate? Mayhem has broken out and she’s still nowhere to be seen. I’m going to kill her! After I’ve had my fix of Jesse, I’m going to kill her.

  ‘Hey, what’s going on?’

  I emerge from Jesse’s chest and see Kate stood at the front of Margo, looking rather bewildered.

  ‘I think you need to move your van, Kate. ’ Jesse advises diplomatically. He’s not even broke a sweat.

  ‘Oh, okay. ’ She shrugs, completely oblivious.

  Jesse pulls back, running his eyes down my body. ‘Where are your shoes?’ he asks on a frown, his eyes darkening with rage again, clearly thinking I lost them in the ruckus with baldy.

  ‘They’re in the back of Margo,’ I sniffle. ‘The van,’ I elaborate, when his brow knits in confusion.

  He picks me up and carries me around to the pavement, sitting me on a wall outside Mrs Link’s house. ‘I’m not even going to ask how they got there. ’

  ‘I’ll get them,’ Kate shouts. She bloody should as well. She comes running over with my heels. ‘What happened?’

  ‘Where were you?’ I ask shortly.

  She rolls her eyes. ‘I got dragged upstairs for a showing of the party dress. It was way too small and pretty painful to watch. It took them ten minutes to stuff her in the thing. ’ She glances over at Jesse, who’s grabbing my bag from the front seat of Margo. ‘What happened?’ she asks again on a whisper. ‘He looks fuming. ’

  ‘I got roughed up by Mr Jaguar,’ I brush the gravel from the bottom of my sore soles and put my heels on. ‘Jesse called as it kicked off. I don’t know where he came from. ’

  ‘Ava, I’m sorry. ’ She sits on the wall and puts an arm around me. ‘Thank God for the Lord, ah?’ I can detect the suggestion in her tone.

  ‘Kate, you need to shift that van before war breaks out. ’ He strolls over with my bag, and I get to my feet. Damn, they hurt. I rest my bum back down on the wall again. I wince. Oh, my arse hurts too. Jesse frowns when he catches me flinching. ‘I’m taking Ava with me. ’ He watches me shift my aching backside on the wall.

  ‘You are?’ I blurt.

  He raises his eyebrows. ‘Yes, I am,’ he retorts in a tone that dares me to object.

  ‘It’s fine. I can go with Kate. ’ I suggest, anyway. I’ve probably disrupted whatever he was doing, with my Monday evening drama.

  ‘No, you’re coming with me. ’ He spells the words out, his lips pressing into a straight line. Yeah, I’m not arguing with him on this.

  Kate does a tennis spectator impression, looking to and fro between us, eventually getting up.

  ‘I’ll see you at home. ’ She kisses my temple and plants a big kiss on Jesse’s cheek, making his eyes bulge and my jaw drop.

/>   What’s that all about? As she strolls off towards Margo, with absolutely no urgency, she looks back, grins and winks. I flick a warning stare that she completely ignores.

  I look up at the tall, handsome beast in front of me – looking edible in his grey suit and crisp white shirt – and find sludgy green eyes narrowed on me.

  ‘Why are you flinching?’ he asks.

  I stand up, wincing again when my feet take my full weight. ‘My backside hurts,’ I rub my battered bum and reach to take my bag from him. ‘I was holding Kate’s cake up in the back of Margo. ’

  ‘You didn’t have a seatbelt on?’

  ‘No, you don’t get seatbelts in the back of vans, Jesse. ’

  He shakes his head and picks me up, cradling me in his strong arms, before striding off down the street. I sigh heavily and let him do his thing, resting my head against his shoulder and wrapping my arms around his neck.

  ‘You didn’t call me. I told you to call. ’ he grumbles accusingly.

  I sigh. ‘I’m sorry. ’

  ‘So am I. ’ he says quietly.

  ‘What are you sorry for?’

  ‘For not being here sooner,’

  ‘You weren’t to know. ’

  ‘Well, if you had of called, then I would have of known you planned on doing something so stupid. I would have stopped you. Do what you’re told next time. ’

  I frown into his shoulder and he looks down at me, as if sensing my response to his scold. He grins, brushing his lips on my forehead. My eyes close. I can’t ignore it. There’s definitely something here. And it’s knocked the wind right out of my singleton sails.

  When we reach the end of the street, I look up and see Jesse’s Aston Martin abandoned at an angle, from where he clearly couldn’t get through the traffic. A few passersby are floating around, admiring the deserted car. He drops me in the passenger seat and shuts the door before striding around to the front, sliding in behind the wheel and razzing off, leaving the chaos behind us. I sit happily admiring his profile as he dips and weaves through the traffic. He’s just dropped everything and come running to rescue me. I’d be lying if I said his actions were unwelcome.

  He glances over and places his hand on my knee. ‘You okay, baby?’

  I smile. I can feel myself slipping more with every minute I spend with him. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. Damn you, Jesse Ward, of an age I don’t know.

  He pulls up outside Kate’s. I’m not surprised that Margo’s not arrived home yet. The man drives like a loon. I let myself out of the car, but I’m soon scooped up and carried up the path to the front door.

  ‘I can walk. ’ I complain, but he ignores me, taking my keys from my hand when we reach the door and opening it himself before kicking it shut behind us. I wriggle and he places me on my feet, his hand wrapping around my waist, pulling me into him.

  I’m lifted so my feet leave the ground and my lips meet his. I sigh, linking my arms around his neck, letting his tongue roll around my mouth slowly and calmly. I’m screwed if I even think I can resist him. I’m totally fucking screwed.

  ‘Thank you for the book. ’ I say against his lips.

  He leans back, gazing at me, his green eyes twinkling with pleasure. ‘You’re more than welcome. ’ He drops a chaste kiss on my lips.

  ‘Thank you for saving me. ’

  He smiles that cheeky, roguish smile. ‘Anytime, baby. ’

  The front door flies open and Kate bowls in, larger than life, clocking us in our embrace.

  ‘Sorry. ’ she mouths, hastily retreating upstairs to the flat.

  Jesse laughs lightly and rolls his hips into me, unearthing a delightful drum deep in my stomach. My breath hitches as his forehead meets mine. He sighs long and hard, his minty breath invading my nose.

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