This man, p.64
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       This Man, p.64

         Part #1 of This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
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Page 64

  Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas

  ‘Were you really tied to the bed?’ I ask cheekily. The grin that spreads across her face tells me I wasn’t having my leg pulled. I’m not even that shocked. It must be the affect of the alcohol, or it could be all the steamy sex I’ve been getting myself lately. ‘I knew it,’ I laugh. ‘You need to tell him to put some clothes on when he’s wandering around the flat. I don’t know where to look. ’

  ‘Are you mad?’ Her eyes bug at me. ‘What a waste of a fine physic!’ Kate looks off into the distance, obviously recalling a mental image. Yes, it is pretty fine, but it doesn’t mean I want to look at it. I’ve got my own super fine physic to look at. Speaking of which, I’m drunk and I want to see him. I might call him. But then I remember…I’m not supposed to be drinking. Pah! I take another swig of wine.

  ‘What does he do, anyway?’ I ask. He drives a Porsche and never seems to be at work.

  She shrugs. ‘Rich orphan. ’

  ‘Orphan?’

  ‘Apparently,’ she begins thoughtfully, ‘his parents died in a car accident when he was nineteen. He has no siblings, no family, nothing. He lives off his inheritance and plays very hard. ’ She smirks again.

  God, Sam’s an orphan? I can’t imagine losing my parents at that age. Or any age, in fact. That must have been awful. And with no family to take him in? I suddenly see the cheeky chap in a very different light. You would never know something so dreadful had happened to him; he’s always smiling and joking.

  ‘How old is he?’ I ask.

  ‘Thirty,’ she answers, almost reluctantly, like she feels guilty for knowing the age of the man she’s screwing.

  I let it pass. It’s not Kate’s fault that I’m clueless. ‘What do you make of Drew?’

  Her eyebrows jump up. ‘He’s a bit straight and aloof, isn’t he?’

  ‘Yes!’ I exclaim. I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds him this way. ‘Not Victoria’s type at all. ’

  ‘Give it two dates, maximum,’ Kate points her glass at me, sloshing a bit on the table. ‘She’ll bore him to death with a run by run account of her latest visit to the tanning salon. ’

  ‘She’s getting more orange by the week. ’ I laugh.

  ‘That’s not orange, my friend. ’ Another splash of wine hits the table. ‘That’s mahogany. He’ll never be able to find her in the dark. And yes, she only does it in the dark. ’

  ‘No!’

  ‘Oh, yes. Something about cellulite and bed head. It’s pretty painful. The last bloke she was seeing said she got up an hour before him so she could have a shower, sort her hair out and get a full face of make-up on before he woke up. ’

  ‘That’s ridiculous!’

  She nods. ‘Hey, has Jesse mentioned anything about a party at The Manor?’

  ‘Yes!’ I blurt, seriously considering telling her that I’ve been bribed into going. Oh, please say Sam’s asked Kate to go. That will make my night a lot more bearable. ‘Are you going?’

  ‘Damn right I am! I can’t wait to see the place. ’ Her eyes dance with excitement. ‘I think a shopping trip is in order. ’

  ‘Oh, I’ll probably make do with something I’ve got in my wardrobe. ’ I shrug. I’ve just spent five hundred quid on this stupid, miniscule dress. I go to lean back on my stool, swiftly remembering there’s no back support, prompting me to I grab the edge of the table. My wine flies up in the air. ‘Shit!’ I cry, just managing to save myself from falling arse first to the floor.

  I join Kate in her helpless laughter, both our wine glasses swishing about as we titter and splutter like a pair of drunken teenagers, who’ve over indulged on cider. I need to stop drinking, right now. I’m on the cusp on falling over the edge of merriment and into the realms of slurring and staggering. With my unreasonable Lord due at eight in the morning, I need to ensure I’m hangover free.

  ‘I think we need to call it a night. ’ I hint in my most diplomatic tone.

  Kate nods her agreement around the rim of her wine glass. ‘Yep, I’m done. ’ She slips off the stool and staggers towards me. Okay, it looks like Kate’s already slipped into staggering territory. ‘Oh, I love this track. Let’s dance!’ she screeches, pulling me towards the dance floor so she can perform her own little Moves like Jagger.

  ‘Kate, there’s no one on the dance floor!’ I complain. There’s almost no one in the bar either.

  ‘Who cares?’ she argues, stumbling towards the music, taking me with her. ‘We’ll go after thi…Oh!’ She clatters to the ground, dragging me down with her on a yelp. ‘Sorry!’ she laughs.

  We both lay sprawled on our backs across the floor, giggling and looking up at the dim lights of the bar. I would be embarrassed…if I wasn’t so tipsy. What must we look like? Neither one of us makes any rushed attempt to scramble to our feet.

  ‘Do you think the bouncers will come and help us up?’ I splutter over my laughter.

  Kate wipes a tear away. ‘I don’t know. Shall we yell?’ She reaches over for my arm to support herself as she heaves her body up to a sitting position. ‘Oh, shit. ’ she curses, her tone altering considerably from mischievous to serious.

  ‘What?’ I push myself up to find out what we are oh shitting about, only to discover Jesse looming over us, arms folded across his chest, with an extremely irked look on his handsome face.

  Oh shit, indeed. I clamp my lips together for fear of laughing and pissing him off further.

  ‘Oh no, that’s me grounded for a month. ’ I titter in a low voice for only Kate to hear. She spits all over the place as she tries to suppress her laugh, and I lose the battle to restrain mine.

  We both sit on the floor of the bar like a pair of drunken hyenas, whilst the colour in Jesse’s face gets redder by the second. Kate laughs harder when Sam rocks up next to Jesse, rolling his eyes. Why can’t my man give me an eye roll, instead of standing there looking like he’s going to self-combust? I’m not even that drunk. My current location is only courtesy of my delinquent best friend leading me astray.

  A burly, skin head bouncer approaches. He looks evil. I nudge Kate with my elbow to signal our imminent ejection from the bar. ‘Kate, if they don’t allow us in for lunch anymore, then I’ll be really pissed. ’ I love Baroque’s BLT sandwich.

  ‘You’re already pissed. ’ she snorts, making another attempt to get up, using me as a prop.

  ‘Jesse, sort your woman out. ’ The bouncer drawls, clasping Jesse’s hand in greeting.

  ‘Oh, don’t worry,’ He hits me with his most menacing glare. ‘She’ll be sorted out. Thanks for the call, Jay. ’

  What?

  ‘Come on, you pest. ’ Sam jibes Kate, hoisting her up.

  She throws her arms around his neck, giggling in his face. ‘Take me to bed, Samuel. You can tie me up again. ’ She flops against him like a beanbag.

  I watch as Sam restrains his laughter at Kate’s performance, but he’s not suppressing the chuckles because he’s mad with Kate. Oh no, he’s keeping a lid on it because of Jesse. He’s trampling on my night again. I wasn’t expecting to see him until eight in the morning, so he would never have known that I got myself a little pissed. And what’s all this business with the bouncer calling him?

  I return my tipsy gaze to Mr Unreasonable, pulling my best hacked off face. His eyes are bulging. I follow his glare down at the ultimate taboo dress. Oh dear, I’ve contravened on two orders. I probably really will be grounded. I start giggling again.

  ‘Up, now. ’ he snarls through a ticking jaw.

  ‘Oh, lighten up, you bore!’ I chide, more confidently than I’m feeling. I put my hand out to him for some help, knowing he won’t leave me to struggle.

  He sighs, shaking his head in a demonstration to his exasperation, before reaching down to pull me up. His eyes widen further when he gets the full frontal impact of the taboo dress. I start giggling again. It’ll probably need a trip to the dry cleaners now, after I
ve rolled around on the dirty bar floor.

  I calm myself down. ‘Are you mad at me?’ I look up at him in my tipsy state, batting my eyelashes as I grip the front of his grey suit. Has he not been home at all today?

  ‘Crazy mad, Ava. ’ he says threateningly, grabbing my elbow and leading me out of the bar. I spot the bouncer who stitched me up and narrow my eyes on him when I’m guided past. He claps hands with Jesse, giving me a disapproving head shake.

  Oh, fuck off!

  We find Sam helping Kate into the front seat of his Porsche, holding the top of her head as he lowers her in. She’s still giggling. It sets me off again.

  ‘Samuel, tonight is your lucky night!’ she sings as Sam shuts her in. I might me tipsy, but I know there’ll be no action in Kate’s bedroom tonight.

  Jesse and Sam exchange goodbyes, Jesse keeping a firm grip of my elbow.

  ‘See ya, chick. ’ Sam pecks my cheek, flashing me a quick private grin. I acknowledge it with my own, while concentrating hard on not laughing and pissing off my unreasonable man any more than necessary.

  I’m lead to Jesse’s car, placed in the front seat, gently but firmly, and all in complete silence. He looks really mad, but I’m drunk and defiant, so I don’t care.

  He reaches across me for my seatbelt, and I insolently bat him away. ‘I can put a seat belt on. ’ I grumble moodily. I get landed with a don’t-push-me-look so, probably quite wisely, I place my hands in my lap, letting him lean across me to secure the belt. I steal an inhale of his scent. ‘You smell delicious. ’ I inform him quietly.

  He pulls back, his face still straight, his eyes still simmering with displeasure. But he doesn’t say a word. He’s giving me the silent treatment. How mature! He slams my door and slides in behind the wheel, pulling into the traffic haphazardly and with no consideration for other road users.

  ‘Kate’s house is that way. ’ I point out, as he roars off in the wrong direction.

  ‘And?’ Is the terse one word answer I get spat at me.

  Oh, for the love of God. ‘And… it’s where I live. ’ I state firmly. He’s not completely trampling my night. Kate and I have some of our best discussions over a post alcohol cup of tea.

  ‘You’re staying at mine. ’ He doesn’t even look at me.

  ‘No, that wasn’t part of the deal. ’ I remind him. ‘I have until eight in the morning before you distract me again. ’

  ‘I’ve changed the deal. ’

  ‘You can’t change the deal!’

  He slowly turns his face to mine. ‘You did. ’

  I recoil, giving him my most disgusted look, but I can’t think of anything to say. He’s right, I did break the rules of the deal, but that’s only because his conditions are so fucking unreasonable! I sit back in the soft, quilted leather and give up. It’s only eight-ish hours until eight o’clock anyway.

  We pull up at Lusso and I groan. The only time Clive ever sees me is when I’m drunk or being carried in from exhaustion. I open the door and take cautious steps, lifting myself to a standing position. Jesse is watching me closely. No doubt, waiting for me to stumble so he can scoop me up and give Clive the impression that I’m blotto again.

  Well, he’ll be disappointed. I shut the door softly and start walking towards the foyer. I must not stagger, I must not stagger. I reach the foyer, still in a vertical position, and give Clive a polite nod as I pass, but he doesn’t say a word. He nods back at me, and then flicks his eyes to Jesse. I know when he puts his head back down, without so much as a greeting, that he must have clocked Jesse’s fierce face. I huff to myself, enter the elevator and wait courteously for Jesse to step inside.
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