‘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 f**k all! Damn, I want to see him.
‘Busy doing what?’ He’s shocked. Why wouldn’t I be busy? I have a life.
‘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.
‘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.