This Man

Page 49


‘How old are you, Jesse?’ I shout after him.

He turns, walking backwards with a fraction of a grin tickling his lips. ‘Twenty four,’

I drop my shoulders, exhaling a long, exhausted breath. ‘How many times have I got to ask you before we get to your real age?’

‘Quite a few, lady.’ He lifts his glasses up a touch and winks before turning away and resuming sexy stride. Everything this man does is effortless and sexy as hell, the way he carries himself, all confident and virile. It’s no wonder women fall at his feet. He’s sex personified. And I can more than vouch for that.

The engine rumbles to life and he roars off like a teenage rally driver. Maybe he is twenty four. He certainly acts it sometimes.

I fly through the front door and up the stairs, finding Kate drying her hair on the landing. She looks flustered, which means she’s running late. When she spots me, she turns the dryer off and grins from ear to ear. I know I’m blushing from head to toe. It’s not going to help me if I choose to go on the defensive.

‘Good night?’ she asks on an arched brow. She doesn’t seem in much of a rush now. Her eyes are dancing in delight, and I can’t help the smile breaking out across my own face.

‘It was okay.’ I shrug, reflexively grabbing a tendril of hair. What an understatement. Try mind-blowing, drop dead worthy.

‘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 f**ked 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?


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