‘Thank you, Mikael. Enjoy your trip.’
‘Goodbye, Ava.’ His long legs take him out of the snug.
Well, that was uncomfortable. I sit and finish my water while deliberating over my current emotional turmoil. If Jesse was as gracious as Mikael, then I wouldn’t be feeling so shitty right now. Never mixing business and pleasure has never been a rule because I’ve never had to make one. In the space of two weeks, I’ve had two wealthy and very handsome clients pursue me. One I’ve declined, the other I‘ve caved in on. And, as a result, I’m all over the place. Not mixing business and pleasure is now a firm rule and one I intend to stick to. Not that I need to reinforce it. Mikael took my decline rather graciously and Jesse hasn’t called since abandoning me. Abandoning?
By two thirty, I’m back in the office. I don’t mention to Patrick the strangeness of my meeting with Mikael Van Der Haus, mainly because I’m concerned that, in the name of business, he’ll demand I go to dinner with him. Patrick will assume it would be a business dinner, but Mikael made it perfectly clear that there would be no business involved. Instead, I just mention emails, drawings and his intention to show me the building upon his return from Denmark. This seems to keep him happy.
I get my phone from my bag, noting no missed calls. I ignore the pang of disappointment and start making a few notes on Scandinavian design. I know I’ll be basing my design around clean, white, easy living, but I’m comforted by the fact that it will be tranquil and warm, not sparse and cold.
My phone rings and I grab it, way too hastily. It’s Kate.
‘Hi.’ I greet in an over the top, chirpy voice. I don’t know why I bother. She sees straight through it.
‘Faking detachment, are we?’ she asks.
‘I thought so. Have you not heard from him?’
‘Liking monosyllables today, huh?’
She sighs heavily down the phone. ‘Whatever. Have you asked Victoria and Gayboy if they’re up for Saturday night?’
‘No. I will, though. I’ve just got back from a very strange meeting.’ I open my top drawer to grab a paperclip, noticing the calla lily squished down the side of my stapler.
‘Strange how?’ She’s intrigued.
‘I went to meet the developer of Lusso, well, one of them. He asked me to dinner. It was really uncomfortable.’ I grab the lily and chuck it in the bin quickly.
She laughs down the phone at me. ‘How old is this one?’
I bristle at her insinuation. He’s much older than Jesse. How much older is unknown, but he’s definitely older. I’ll probably never know now, though. ‘Mid-forties I guess, but extremely handsome, in a Scandinavian kinda way.’ I shrug to myself while guiding my mouse aimlessly around the screen. He’s nowhere near Jesse’s league, but he’s handsome, nonetheless.
‘You’re like a mature man magnet at the moment. Are you going?’
‘No!’ I screech. ‘Why would I?’
‘Why not?’ I can’t see her, but I know she has a questioning eyebrow arched.
‘No, I can’t, because I have a new rule…no mixing business with pleasure.’
‘MOVE!’ she screams, making me jump at my desk. ‘Sorry, some prat just cut me up. No mixing business with pleasure, ah?’
‘Yes. Are you driving and talking on your mobile, Miss Matthews?’ I challenge her. I know Margo doesn’t have a hands free kit.
‘Yeah, I’d better beat feet. See you at home. And don’t forget to tell Gay boy and Victoria the plans for Saturday.’
‘What are the plans?’ I blurt before she hangs up.
‘Get drunk, Baroque, eight o’clock.’
Get drunk. Yes, that’s a very good plan.
I leave the office at six with Tom and Victoria. ‘Saturday night, Guys?’
Tom stops abruptly, dramatically putting his palms out with a shocked expression on his smooth, baby face.
‘Oh my God, yes! I brought the most amazing coral shirt at lunch time. It’s divine!’
Victoria giggles, slapping his arse to push him onwards. ‘Where are we going?’ she asks.
‘Baroque at eight.’ I answer. ‘We’ll see where the night takes us.’
‘I’m in!’ Victoria sings at me. ‘But no g*y joints, Tom. It’s my turn to pull.’ she grumbles
Tom frowns. ‘What about me?’
‘You’ve had your feed. It’s my turn,’ she spits, ‘Besides, what about the scientist?’
‘You know, science is actually very boring.’ he grumbles.
We say our goodbyes at Green Park Station. I take Jubilee to Central, while Victoria and Tom hop on Piccadilly.
‘Morning,’ I know I sound like a miserable cow, but I’m trying really hard not to be.
Tom looks up from his copy of Interiors Weekly and lowers his glasses to the end of his nose. ‘Darling, why the long face?’ he asks. I can’t even muster up the energy to plaster on a fake smile. I slump in my chair, and Tom’s sprawled across my desk, like mature ivy, within a second. ‘Here, this will cheer you up.’
He presents me with a feature in the magazine he’s reading and there, sat casually on the velvet chaise lounge at Lusso, is me. ‘Wonderful,’ I sigh. I don’t even bother reading it. I need to eradicate all things relating to Lusso from my mind.
‘Man trouble?’ He gives me a look of sympathy.
No, not man trouble – there’s no man to be having trouble with. I sulk. I knew it would be the last time I saw him. When he stalked off, I knew deep down that I wouldn’t see him again. I’ve not been checking my phone every ten minutes, I’ve not been mooding over it and I’m not twiddling my hair as I think this. I reluctantly admit…I really miss him. How ridiculous. He was a rebound f**k.