This Man

Page 58


She strolls up to him, all confident and cocky, Matt’s lips curling into a snarl as she gets up close and personal with him. ‘She doesn’t want you, you useless sack of shit.’ Her tone is controlled and penetrating. ‘She’s got someone else, so go and crawl back into the hole you came from.’

Oh shit! Why did she have to say that for? I watch as Matt flicks his eyes to me for confirmation, but I don’t offer any. He hisses and spits a few times before stomping out of the bar.

Kate plonks herself in the chair opposite me, narrowing her bright blue eyes on me. I’m immediately on the defense.

‘He said he wasn’t okay. I thought someone had died!’

She shakes her head. ‘I’m really mad with you.’

I scoff and grab my wine for a welcome slurp. ‘I’m mad at myself. I didn’t need you to say that. Why did you say that?’

She grins. ‘Because it was funny. Did you see his face?’

Yes, it was a classic. But still, she’s throwing around statements that are simply not true. I haven’t got anyone else; I’m f**king someone else. There’s a big difference. My phone starts ringing, and I fish it from my bag, finding call number eleven from Jesse.

‘Who’s that?’ Kate asks, cocking her head up so she can get a glimpse of the screen.

‘Jesse.’

She frowns. ‘Aren’t you going to answer?’

I lean back in my chair, letting it ring off. ‘I cancelled him to meet Matt.’ I grumble.

Kate’s jaw drops open. ‘Ava, you really are very dim at times. And don’t take this personally, but when you were with Matt, you dialed down the fun factor so much, I was considering breaking up with you.’

I recoil at her speech. ‘That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?’

She laughs. ‘The truth hurts, doesn’t it?’

‘Yes, it does.’

‘You’ve been dragged through the mill good and proper, so I’m willing to let it go.’ She leans forward. ‘Have some fun. And anyway, I like him.’

Well, she made that pretty obvious, and he is fun. But I know this can only end in tears. A member of staff approaches with a dust pan and brush, and I offer a small apologetic smile, but I’m distracted when my phone starts to shout. I ignore it…again. I need time to think about this. I was so overwhelmed yesterday, I let a firm chest, hypnotising voice and soft lush lips derail my cognitive thinking. Who am I kidding? Every time I’m with this man, I’m derailed and distracted. He overwhelms me with his intensity, knocking all rationality right out of me.

‘Hello, hotty at three o’clock! Oh, and he’s looking. How’s my hair? Have I got any icing on my face?’ Kate starts frantically brushing her cheeks with her palms.

I turn to three o’clock and see the guy from the bar at The Manor. Which one was it? Drew? No, Sam. He has a big smile on his cheeky face as he raises his bottle of beer to me. I raise my hand and turn back to Kate.

‘You know him?’ she asks incredulously.

‘Sam, he was at The Manor. He’s a friend of Jesse’s.’

‘Fucking hell! Jesse’s a member of the hot gang.’ She giggles, her eyes widening with excitement. ‘Why have I never heard of this place?’ she asks. ‘I’m coming to your next site visit.’ she’s says determinedly, and I know she’s not joking. ‘Hey, he’s coming over. Introduce me, please!’

I shake my head at her. It’s one more first date for her to get her teeth into. Wait…I suddenly panic. Did he see me with Matt? Hang on…why am I worried about that?

‘Hi, Ava, how are you?’ Sam reaches the table, still smiling and flashing that dimple. He really is very cute, with his unkempt hair and twinkling eyes. He’s in jeans and a t-shirt again. Casual must be his thing.

‘I’m good, Sam, you?’ I finish my wine off. I could do with another, but Patrick won’t appreciate me returning to the office half pissed. ‘Been here long?’ I ask casually.

‘No, just got here. How’s Jesse?’ he enquires on a grin.

Why would he think I know that? Has Jesse told him? I feel my face blush, even though I’ve reached the swift conclusion that he’s playing with me. He’s Jesse’s mate, he should know how he is. I shrug, because I really don’t know what to say. And, in actual fact, I have no idea how Jesse is because I didn’t turn up for our appointment. When I left him yesterday, he was firing on all sexual cylinders, and I was panting like a desperate, wanton loser. Now, I expect, he’s slightly irate that I’ve cancelled our meeting. Ha! What’s he going to do? Sack me? He probably should. It will save me all of this brain ache and turmoil. I feel a sharp crack on my shin and look up to see Kate scowling at me.

‘Oh, Sam, this is Kate. Kate, meet Sam.’ I wave my hand between the two of them, watching as Kate turns all angelic, putting her hand out to Sam, who grins before clasping it.

‘Nice to meet you, Kate.’ he says smoothly, maintaining his grin and running his free hand through his mousey waves.

‘You too.’ She arches a brow.

She’s a brazen hussy! She’s flirting with him. She giggles as Sam compliments her on her wild, red hair, their hands still linked. My phone declares a text. To escape the blatant flirting exchange going on in front of me, I pick it up and open the message with one eye closed.

There better be a GOOD f**king reason for you standing me up. Someone had better be dying. I’m going out of my f**king mind, lady. NO KISS


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