Something wakes me and I move with a jolt, “ouch” I grimace. I had promised myself I wouldn’t drink too much, that I had too much to do today and I didn’t need a hangover. What a night. Some of my mother’s power must have rubbed off last night; I had the men eating out of my hand. I certainly could’ve had my pick of the room, including the married ones; much to the annoyance of their wives. At least I won’t have to see any of them again. All in all, it was a good party. I must remember to thank my mother. As I turn over slowly to check the clock I realise that I am no longer wearing my couture gown. I know I was far too drunk to get out of it myself. Another thing to thank my mother for I suppose. As I lay in bed contemplating what to do with my last few days before my flight to London I’m stirred from my thoughts from a noise in the bathroom. Delicately, I raise myself on to my elbows and take in the room. My gown isn’t hanging up but strewn on the floor, my mother would never have thrown a £5000 dress on the floor, my mother would quite happily allow me to fall to my death I’m sure but the couture dress, she would climb over my rotting corpse to save, she certainly would not leave a dress like that in a heap to ruin. My shoes are haphazardly left in the middle of the room.
My lingerie is dotted around the room too, my mother definitely would not have removed them, but then I notice other pieces of clothing that definitely aren’t mine. A suit jacket on the arm of the chaise longue. Dark socks lying at the foot of the bed. A pair of Calvin Klein boxers swinging from the bed post. A familiar tie wrapped around the headboard. What the hell is going on? Who could possibly be in my bathroom? What have I done? I can’t think straight, only pieces of the evening coming together at a time. My brain feels like it’s on fire as I try to think back over the course of the evening.
I remember walking back to the house with Nathaniel and finding my mother with a look of sheer panic on her face. I was surprised she’d even noticed I’d gone. The introductions continued for the next two hours. In total, she’d arranged for sixteen eligible men from her array of connections to be there ranging from the age of twenty up to thirty-five to attempt the impossible and chat me up. I played along and pretended to be interested, touching their arm here, dancing with one there. A relationship is not on the cards for me yet, my career is too important at the moment and I am not prepared to throw it away for a man. I could see her watching my every move, taking it all in. Sometimes I think she wishes it was her all over again and so she’s living vicariously through me. But I know all of her dreams came true the day she met Lord Rupert Stanley-Forbes and very shortly after he proposed. They have had their up’s and down’s, who hasn’t, but mostly they are happy together. Or at least, that’s what everyone thinks.
The most intriguing thing of the night was what didn’t happen. I kept a watchful eye on Nathaniel throughout the evening. I am not sure why I expected Nathaniel to come and chat with me, it’s not like we are old friends but the way he always appeared to keep me in his line of sight made me feel safe, that I could flirt with the bachelors and that no harm would come to me. But he never came over and never asked me to dance. I suppose that was the result of my very eloquent introductory scream and falling off the bench fiasco earlier that evening. I thought once, only once, I caught a look of sheer contempt for one of the men I had been slightly over zealous with. I think his name was Cameron. We had just been discussing which Universities I had applied for when Cameron’s glass of Cristal spilt over my dress, by this time I had had far too much to drink and no longer cared. Cameron was persistent at trying to help me clean my dress, possibly a little too eagerly. It was at this point I had noticed Nathaniel move closer to us in the Drawing Room with a sullen look on his face. Again, my mother whisked me away for another chance of a love connection and Cameron was just another face in the crowd.
With steam pouring out of the bathroom door I could only surmise that someone had been taking a shower which must have aroused me from my drunken state. As I wrap the bed sheet around my naked frame preparing to make a quick exit, I hear the creak of the door as a Greek God walks toward me. His heaving muscular torso still wet, his masculinity truly on show. His modesty only hidden by a mere towel.
“Good morning”, he beams.
Again, I am lost for words, the hairs on my arms raised, shivers running down my spine. What does this man do to me?
“Umm, good morning” I reply pulling the covers closer to my face to cover my own modesty. I scour the blonde bronzed God for any sign of flaw, but at 6ft tall his biceps, triceps, pectorals and perfect six pack are all perfectly toned it is difficult to imagine there being one.
“It’s Nathaniel” he replies with a smirk. As if I could ever forget his name.
“Good morning Nathaniel” I reply shame faced. My mind is racing in the attempt to put all the pieces of last night together. How the hell did this happen? Surely I would/should remember it? He has a look of sheer delight on his face as if he is enjoying my pain. I am far too inexperienced in life let alone with men to deal with this situation. In my mother’s house for Christ’s sake.
“Oh God, my mother” I shriek. My mother has no qualms at entering my bedroom when she feels the need. My only saving grace is that she also partied hard last night so will presumably still be in bed.
“Don’t panic, no one in the house has stirred yet except the cleaner’s downstairs” he says obviously enjoying my panic attack.
“I guess you’re wondering what happened last night?” he says with a crooked grin walking closer to the bed. Christ he’s sexy.
“No Nathaniel, this is a regular occurrence for me to take men up to my room following a party” I answer sarcastically. He suddenly looks disappointed. Somehow I’ve managed to change the mood in the room in a split second from mocking humour to aggrieved silence.
“I’m joking” I add to lighten the mood.
“It’s okay Evelyn, nothing happened, we did not have sex. I would not dishonour you in that way. I am a gentleman” he says straight faced.
“What did happen last night? Everything’s a blur. My head is pounding. Did you undress me too?” I ask timidly, looking away from him.
“Last night took a different turn than expected for both of us I think. I never expected to fall…, you were hitting on…” he paused for thought “how do I say this mildly, you were an outrageous flirt last night which was certainly a sight to behold. One of the so called gentlemen you were becoming friendly with was not so honourable at the end of the night when everyone was leaving. I stuck around to make sure you were alright and that he left. I helped you to your room as you were, at that time, incapable of speech or walking. I removed your dress and your shoes and helped you into bed. You managed the lingerie all by yourself unfortunately” he says grinning at me once again. What have I done in life to deserve this? Things were just starting to look up for me, the traumatic past was behind me and a bright future beckoned. Is this how it is to continue, being embarrassed and ashamed of my actions?
“I can only apologise for my behaviour and thank you for taking care of me” I say mortification written across my face.
“It was no trouble Evelyn; I would not want to see you hurt” he says with sincerity. And in that moment, I had an urgency to make love to this man who had shown me more compassion in one evening than any other person my whole life. He kept me from harm and disgracing myself, I want to show him my gratitude but I know he doesn’t feel that way for me. The passionate look in his eyes that had been there briefly last night when we met has now gone.