Ah, he’s worried! My heart does an unexpected skip of approval, but then I snap myself out of my pathetic bubble of contentment, reminding myself that I’m not answerable to him. He certainly likes compliance. Besides, I didn’t stand him up; I delayed a business meeting. My poor bloody brain feels like it could explode. What’s happening to me? I put my phone on the table and look up to see Kate performing the best flirting act I’ve ever witnessed. She’s such a tart, and their hands are still clasped.
She drags her attention away from Sam to look at me. ‘Jesse?’ she asks unashamedly. I kick her under the table, feeling Sam’s eyes on me. I’ll kill her.
‘Jesse?’ Sam asks. ‘He just called. He’ll be here in a minute.’
Kate starts laughing like a hyena, earning her another boot under the table. Did Sam tell him I was here?
‘I’d better be off,’ I go to stand. ‘Kate,’ I smile sweetly as she gets her laughter under control. ‘Haven’t you got a two thirty appointment?’
‘Nope.’ She smiles back, trumping my sweetness level. She’s a pain in the f**king arse.
I narrow my eyes on her, picking up my bag and phone. ‘Well, I’ll see you later then. It was nice to see you again, Sam.’
He releases Kate’s hand and kisses me on the cheek. ‘Yeah, and you, Ava. Keep it real.’
I turn to leave, but swing back around, all straight faced and cool. ‘Oh, Kate. Dan’s back next week.’ I toss it into the air like a grenade and wait for the explosion. It takes just a nanosecond for her jaw to drop, like a huge lump of lead, to the table.
Ha! I fling her a don’t-mess-with-me look and turn on my heels with immense satisfaction. My smugness is short lived, though. Jesse is stood behind me, glaring at me like a rabid dog. I shrink on the spot
‘Who’s dead?’ he barks.
He’s really mad. ‘I was at work.’ I defend myself nervously.
He scowls at me, good and proper. ‘And that renders you incapable of answering your phone, does it?’ His voice is dripping with displeasure.
Oh yes, me not answering his calls might be a contributing factor to his annoyance. I turn and find Kate and Sam silently observing our little altercation. Kate starts looking anywhere and everywhere but our direction, and Sam struggles to regain control of his raised eyebrows, doing a really rubbish job of looking uninterested. I sigh, turning back to Jesse, who still looks like he’s about to hit something.
‘I have to get back to work.’ I say, sidestepping him and leaving the bar. This is beyond an over-reaction and dangerously in the realms of controlling and manipulating. Neither of which I want.
I walk out onto Piccadilly and into the lunchtime crowd. I know he’s following me. I can feel his penetrating green eyes stabbing at my back.
As I turn into Berkeley Street, the crowd thins out, and I glance back, finding him stalking behind me, his eyes full of fury. He does look delicious in his charcoal suit and pale blue shirt, though. I huff to myself and increase my pace. If I can make it to my office, I’ll be safe from his wrath. There’s no way he would cause a scene at my office, would he? He didn’t seem to give two hoots about scolding me in front of Kate and Sam. Can I risk it? The man’s so volatile. Why is he behaving like this, anyway? I’ve only had sex with the guy, not married him.
I quicken my pace, making it through the office door, but no sooner have I got to my desk, I’m hauled from my feet on a squeal, and I’m on my way back out.
‘What the bloody hell are you doing?’ I shout at him, but he ignores me, carrying on with his long, even strides out of my office. I brace my hands at the bottom of his back and look up to see Tom, Victoria and Sally, all gawping at me being manhandled into the street. Oh God, please let Patrick be out of the office. ‘Jesse, f**king hell! Put me down now!’
He lets me slide down his front – purposely slow so I feel every hard muscle of his delicious chest – stopping me before my feet hit the ground. He holds me around my waist so my lips are level with his, his blatant erection rubbing me in just the right spot. He’s mad and turned on?
A treacherous moan escapes my lips as he pushes himself against me, breathing his hot, minty breath on my lips. I’m supposed to be bloody mad here. Instead, I’m being held against my will – kind of – and wanting to strip my captor in front of all of my colleagues, who are all squashed at the office door, fighting for the best view.
‘Mouth. You stood me up.’ He presses his lips to mine before he pulls away, his sludgy eyes softening as he looks at me expectantly.
I can hardly tell him why I cancelled now. I imagine he’ll go up the wall. ‘I’m sorry.’ I sigh. Will he accept that? I need to get back into the office and sort my head out. No, I need to go home and sort my head out, preferably with a bottle of wine.
He shakes his head mildly, and then he attacks my mouth purposely, right in the middle of Bruton Street. My fingers thread through his hair as I surrender to his impossibly addictive mouth, without much thought at all. He’s unashamed and oblivious to the hustle and bustle of lunch time pedestrians passing and, quite probably, staring as he completely consumes me. He swallows me up every time. He thrusts his groin forward aggressively, coaxing a moan to escape my mouth. This is a look-what-you-missed kiss, and I’m beginning to damn Matt to Hell.
‘Don’t do it again.’ he orders, in a tone that dares me to challenge him. He releases me from his grip and my feet hit the ground, the loss of support causing me to stagger forward.