This Man

Page 64

‘Wow!’ she blurts. ‘Someone’s out to impress tonight.’ She jumps down from the worktop, slipping her feet into her gold heels. ‘Short enough?’

I arch an eyebrow at her, running my eyes down her dress. ‘Pot…’

She laughs her carefree laugh that never fails to bring a smile to my own face. ‘Here.’ She hands me a glass of wine. I take it gratefully, pretty much necking it. It’s very welcome. ‘The taxi’s here.’

I dump my empty on the side and follow Kate out to the taxi. I’m looking forward to my recovery night, but ignoring the fact that my recovery night is to recover from a few steamy encounters with a steamy male, and not to recover from the breakdown of my four year relationship with Matt. It’s ironic. I never felt the need to go out and get steaming drunk after my break up with Matt.

We walk into Baroque, spotting Tom and Victoria at the bar immediately.

‘What the hell?’ Tom exclaims, running his eyes up and down my black clad body on a grin. ‘Ava, you look lethal!’

‘Really good, Ava.’ Victoria adds.

It’s just a dress. ‘Thanks,’ I shrug, pulling the hem down.

‘What are you having?’ Kate asks.

Well, I’ve already had a glass of wine, so I guess I should stick. I did say I was going to have a good drink. ‘Rose, but make sure it’s Zinfandel, please.’

Kate orders the drinks, and we make our way to a tall table near the DJ. Tom’s wearing his new coral shirt and too tight jeans – he may as well have g*y tattooed on his forehead, and Victoria looks as pretty as always. Everyone’s really made an effort tonight, me included. Why is that?

As the wine flows down, my troubled thoughts flow away. We’re laughing and chatting, and I’m beginning to feel normal again. I feel foot loose and fancy free. I like it. My Mum has always said “Alcohol makes for loose lips and loose lips sink ships”. This, I have just discovered, is most certainly true because I’m totally lit up, and I’ve filled everyone in on recent events. Considering I wanted to forget about it, I’m doing a bloody good job of hanging on to the memories.

Tom is thrilled about all of the rebound sex I’ve had. ‘So, he just stalked off and you haven’t seen him since?’ he asks critically.

Victoria pipes up. ‘That’s really un-cool.’

Kate rolls her eyes, looking at the pair like they’re a sandwich short of a picnic. ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ she huffs. Tom and Victoria look at each other, then to me. I shrug. Is what obvious? Kate shakes her head. ‘You lot are dense. It’s simple…he wants her. No man behaves like that over a quick screw. I’ve told you this, Ava.’

‘Why would he disappear then?’ Victoria leans in, truly captivated by Kate’s explanation for Jesse’s behaviour.

‘I don’t know! I’m just saying. I’ve witnessed the chemistry. It’s way off the scales.’ Kate flops back on her tall chair in complete exasperation.

I laugh. I’m not sure if it’s too much wine, but that’s just…funny. ‘It doesn’t matter. He was a rebound f**k and that’s it.’ My explanation doesn’t seem to satisfy because they all carry on studying me with doubtful looks on their faces. I don’t even think I’m satisfied with my explanation, but it’s been four days and I’ve resisted the overwhelming temptation to call him. Besides, he hasn’t called me or made any further appointments, so that pretty much says it all. I’m moving on. I’m just massively pissed off with myself for relenting to his persistence, putting him in the position to drop me – and he has.

‘Oh, can we change the subject, please?’ I snap. ‘I’m out to enjoy myself, not to analyse the details of my rebound f**k.’

Tom stirs his pina colada. ‘You know, everything happens for a reason.’

‘Oh, don’t start with all that airy fairy crap!’ Kate chides him.

‘It does. I’m a firm believer in it. Your rebound f**k is a stepping stone to the love of your life.’ He winks at me.

‘And Matt was a four year stepping stone.’ Kate points out.

‘To stepping stones,’ Tom sings.

Kate joins the toast. ‘And shots!’

I finish my wine and raise my glass in agreement.

‘Yes, shots!’ Tom shouts, dancing off to the bar.

We sway down the road to our next destination, The Blue Bar. We make it past the doormen, although one does eye Tom’s shirt suspiciously. Tom and Victoria charge for the dance floor when they hear Flo Rida and Sia singing about Wild Ones, leaving Kate and I to get the drinks.

I order a round and take Tom and Victoria’s over, putting them on a ledge nearby under their instruction. The dancing is that serious; they could be some time. When I join Kate back at the bar, she’s talking to a man. She doesn’t know him. I can tell because she’s notched up her flirting by a few gears.

As I approach, she raises her voice over the music. ‘Ava, this is Greg.’

I smile, putting my hand out politely. He looks normal enough. ‘Hi, nice to meet you,’

‘Yeah, and you. This is my mate, Alex.’ He signals to a cute, dark haired guy next to him.

‘Hi,’ I shout.

He smiles confidently. ‘You wanna drink?’

‘No, thanks, I’ve just got one.’ Rule number one: Never accept drinks from strangers. Dan’s drilled it into me since I started going out.

‘Nah problem,’ He shrugs.

Kate and Greg move away from us, leaving me and Alex to make conversation. I didn’t really want this. I came out to be rid of men in general. Now I’ve been lumbered with one.

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