This Man

Page 68

I turn to Jesse. ‘I need to sort my face out. I’ll see you out there.’

‘You face is perfect as it is.’ he reassures me softly.

I can’t help but smile. ‘I won’t be long.’

With no regard for the women still gawping at him, he walks over and kisses my forehead, looking at the dumbstruck women in the mirror. ‘Ladies,’ He nods, they swoon, and then he’s gone.

I shuffle over to the mirror to sort my face out, the silence painful as I re-apply face powder, eye liner and lipstick. In other words, I basically re-do my whole face; it’s a tear stained mess. I do all of this in an uncomfortable silence, as the two women shoot each other questioning glances every so often.

When I’m done, I wash my hands, smile sweetly and leave, hearing them coo and melt all over the ladies bathroom. I escape and find Jesse waiting for me outside. He holds his hand out on a smile. Of course, I take it, letting him lead me to the bar. I scan the dance floor as he pushes his way through the crowd, making a clear path by holding his spare arm out. I see Kate, Tom and Victoria, all still busting their moves.

‘What do you want to drink?’ he asks, tucking me under his arm and getting the bar man’s immediate attention.

‘Zinfandel, please,’ I inch closer to him. I can’t get near enough.

He gives me a quick scan over with his enquiring eyes, pursing his lips. ‘Your friends?’

‘Oh, Kate’s a wine, vodka and tonic for Victoria and a pina colada for Tom.’

His eyes widen. ‘Tom?’

I smile. ‘Gayboy, you’ve met him.’

Realisation dawns on his handsome face. He shakes his head in dismay, releasing me and turning back to the barman, who’s waiting patiently for Jesse to order the drinks.

Kate and Tom approach us, laughing and eyeing me up. I flash Kate a filthy look, but she just points her finger at her own chest in a moi gesture.

‘Jesse ordered your drinks.’ I inform them, while keeping my accusing scowl fixed right on Kate. She ignores me.

‘Oh…a God and a gentleman,’ Tom gushes, blatantly eyeing up Jesse’s arse. I don’t blame him; it is a very attractive jean clad arse.

Jesse presents the drinks to Kate and Tom, and I watch in stunned silence as Kate leans in to give Jesse a kiss on his cheek. What is wrong with that woman? I’m even more shocked when Jesse smiles brightly at her before whispering something in her ear. What’s going on?

She turns, winks at me and leads Tom back to the dance floor as Jesse hands me my wine, opening a bottle of water for himself. He slips his free arm around my waist to pull me close. I look up at him questioningly. What was that? Are they working in cahoots?

‘Hey, my man,’ Sam comes barrelling over with Drew, both taking the beers that Jesse hands them. ‘Ava, where’s the love?’ He leans down so I can peck his cheek, flashing me his cute dimple as he does. He’s cheeky, sweet and terribly good looking, but given Victoria’s revelation, I need to be wary on Kate’s behalf. Drew holds his bottle up as his hello, ever the shrewd, standoffish one.

I smile and lean up to Jesse’s ear. ‘I’m going to join the others.’ He’s with his mates and this is supposed to be a girly night out – Tom doesn’t count. He turns his face into my neck and steals a cheeky nuzzle, taking full advantage of my position.

‘I’ll be watching.’ he warns in my ear, nipping my lobe and slapping my backside. The soreness has abated, but there’s still evidence of my tumble around in the back of Margo. I pull away and pout playfully, earning me a huge smile and a wink. Is he watching for possible Cockneys, or is he watching me?

Leaving him at the bar, I find the others on the dance floor, all happily lapping up the music and drinks. I laugh at Tom, who’s in a world of his own, and as Justin Timberlake’s Lovestoned comes through the speakers, I’m welcomed to the dance floor with gasps and whoops. In my semi-drunken state, I stupidly down my wine and discard my glass on the designated drinks ledge. If there was ever a track to pull me out of my despair, even if it’s just for a few moments, it would be this one. The timing is impeccable. All bags are thrown, unceremoniously, into the middle, Justin shouts “Hey” and the crowd is thrown into a delirious frenzy.

I’m happily enjoying some moves and laughs with Kate, when I’m grabbed by the waist and spun around. I find Sam grinning at me and nodding over my shoulder.

‘Here he comes. I hope you’re ready for this.’ he says.

‘What?’ I shout over the music.

Sam’s grin widens, displaying his dimple at its deepest. ‘He thinks he owns JT.’

I have no idea what he’s talking about. He clasps my shoulders, rotating me on the floor, and I spot Jesse striding towards me. I’m suddenly worried that he’s going to cause a scene and drag me from the floor. For what, I don’t know, but he’s famous for flinging me over his shoulder as he pleases.

I watch him nearing, slowing my movements down as I concentrate on his approach. I’m not sure what to make of this. His expression is dark and hungry, and I’m completely engrossed by his tall, lean body getting closer. That bloody gait does serious things to me. By the time he’s stood before me, as close as he can get but without touching me, I’ve stopped moving completely. My breathing is heavy. He snakes his arm around my waist and hauls me up to his body, prompting my hands to fly up and grasp his flexing biceps as he rests his forehead against mine.

‘You’re going to get a lot of men dropped if you keep dancing like that. You like a bit of JT?’

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