This Man

Page 72

I really am very drunk and car spin is beginning to set in, even though my eyes are closed. ‘It doesn’t matter how old you are.’ I mumble.

‘It doesn’t?’

‘No, it doesn’t. Nothing matters – I still love you.’

I hear a sharp intake of breath before I pass out.

Chapter 20


I squint at the bombardment of light that’s hammering at my sensitive eyes and snap them shut again. Oh, that hurts. Shuffling onto my side, I immediately realise that I’m not in my own bed. My eyes fly open, and I sit up. Oh, ouch!

My hands grip my head to try and ease the pain. It doesn’t work. Short of shooting my brain out, nothing is going to alleviate the thumping. This is a non-curable hangover. I know it.

I gaze around the room, recognising my surroundings immediately. I’m in the master suite of Lusso. Okay, I’m at a total loss at how I come to be here. I’ve never been so drunk that my memory has failed me. I try retracing my night, instantly remembering Jesse roughing up poor Cockney. Then I remember dancing. I also remember arguing with Jesse in the toilets. And then I remember dancing again. Oh, and I remember Tom having a hissy fit, but then…nothing.

I would ask myself how I come to be here, but I really don’t need to ask that question if Jesse was in the bar. I grasp the bedding, lifting the sheets to look under the covers. Well, I have my bra and pants on, so I can’t imagine any Jesse style f**king went down. I smile to myself.

Oh Lord, I need a toothbrush and some water, pronto. I gingerly push myself up, untangling myself from the bedding as I go, reveling in the waft of Jesse’s scent as it hits my nostrils. Every slight movement crashes into my poor head. When I’m on my feet, stood in just my underwear, I stagger. I’m still drunk.

‘And how is my lady lush this morning?’ His voice is smug. Why didn’t he stop me drinking? He saunters over to me, looking too f**king delicious in his tight, white boxer shorts and with his morning messy hair. I know I probably look awful, with my loose hair and crusty make-up.

‘Terrible.’ I confess moodily. Was that me speaking? I’m throaty. I hear him chuckle to himself. If I could coordinate my movements, I would swing at him. I feel his arms wrap around me, and I’m thankful for the support. I bury my head in his chest and could, quite easily, drift back off to sleep.

‘Do you want some breakfast?’ he asks, stroking my hair. Even his soft rubs against my skull are unbearably loud, and I nearly vomit at the thought of food. He must feel my dry heaves and body jerks because he laughs again. ‘Just some water then?’

‘Please.’ I mumble into his chest.

‘Come here.’ He scoops me up and carries me downstairs to the kitchen, placing me on the worktop gently.

‘Oh!’ Shit, that’s cold!

He laughs, easing his grip away slowly, like he’s afraid I might fall off. I might do, I feel God awful. I grab the edge of the worktop to steady myself and watch, through half open eyes, as Jesse opens almost every cupboard in the kitchen before he finds the one with the glasses in.

‘You don’t know where you keep your own glasses?’

He rummages through a drawer, pulling out a white sachet. ‘I’m learning. My housekeeper tried to tell me, but I was a little distracted.’ He rips the sachet open and tips it into a glass. The muscles of his back roll as he gets a bottle of water from the fridge, filling the glass quickly, before walking back over to me. ‘Alka-Seltzer. It’ll sort you out within half an hour. Drink,’

I reach to take it from him, but my arms won’t liaise with my brain. Without a word, he moves between my thighs and lifts the glass to my lips for me. I guzzle the lot.


I shake my head. ‘I’m never drinking again.’ I mumble, falling forward onto his chest.

‘That would please me so much. You’re very argumentative when you’re drunk.’ He strokes my back.

‘I am?’ I don’t remember.

‘Yes, promise me you won’t get in that state when I’m not around to look after you.’

‘Did we argue?’ I ask. I remember the toilet dispute, but we were friends after that.

He sighs. ‘No, I submitted power temporarily.’

‘That must have been a challenge.’ I reply dryly.

He reaches up, snapping my bra strap. ‘It was, but you’re worth the effort.’ He turns his face into me, kissing my hair before pulling back and focusing his stare on my semi-naked state. ‘I love you in lace.’ he says softly, tracing the top of my knickers. ‘Shower?’ I nod against his shoulder, wrapping my arms and legs around him as he slides me from the counter.

I’m carried back through the penthouse, upstairs into the bathroom and put on my feet outside the shower. I’m left briefly as he turns the shower on. I feel wobbly. As soon as he’s in front of me again, I flop forward onto his chest.

‘You are feeling sorry for yourself, aren’t you?’ He picks me up and places me on the vanity unit. ‘I have fond memories of you sat exactly here.’

I frown to myself, but then realise…our first sexual encounter happened in here on the launch night of Lusso. I look up into hazy, green eyes staring down at me. ‘You finally got me where you wanted me, didn’t you?’

He cups his hand on my cheek. ‘It was always going to happen, Ava.’ He grabs his toothbrush, squirts some toothpaste on and runs it under the tap. ‘Open.’ he orders.

He sets about brushing my teeth gently, holding my jaw in his free hand. I watch him concentrate on his small, circling movements around my mouth as my dance floor revelation comes back to me – the moment that I finally admitted to myself that I have, most definitely, fallen in love with this man. I wasn’t so drunk when that little realisation crashed into my wine drenched brain. My aim to avoid exactly this has been well and truly trampled. I’ve fallen in love with this arrogant, forceful, God like creature.

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