Chapter 22: V is for Vulan
“I can’t, I’m busy,” I frowned.
“I have your sister’s wedding to plan, in case you don’t remember,” I said yawning, “And then I need to finalise the preparations with the venue, and the catering, there is so much to do and so little time,” and the usual stress before any event was here.
And this was a wedding. And every crazy bride wanted it to be just perfect, nothing less.
Thankfully the Andersons’ event was done, and Jenny was taking care of the other one which was in two days, so I could concentrate on the wedding. And running Satan back and forth from the vet was annoying, thank god for Liam, the free cat sitter. Not that he knew that.
“So you’re ditching me, for my horrible sister?”
I opened the draw, where the hell did I put the guest list Jenny gave to me? Shit, if I lost it she was going to kill me, it took her forever to plan it. There were too many “Who can’t sit next to who,” that who can sit where they want.
“Hmm?” Did he say something, oh right, “Well yes, it is her wedding. I’ll see you next week.”
“Next week?” I heard someone’s voice in the background, was that Dylan? “It’s already been three days, no fuck off, that wasn’t for you Violet that was for-no give me my keys back- oh you-” there was a lot of shuffling and I was sure phone hit the ground.
I raised an eyebrow looking at the caller ID just to make sure it didn’t cut off as I heard a lot of slamming and yelling, “What was I saying? Oh right, three days.”
I rolled my eyes, “Three days isn’t a lot, you’ll live.”
I ended the phone call with Reed placing my phone in my draw so it wouldn’t distract me and grabbed the folders taking them to the bigger table. There was still so much to do, and I know everyone works better under a deadline and procrastination but things like a wedding, you just couldn’t.
Spacing everything out I looked at the list of event organisers I had to call up to make sure they were still doing what I wanted them to do, and another list of back-ups, in case they failed, and the three page to do list I had to complete by tonight.
I slipped my shoes off, rolling up my sleeves and proceeded to tie my hair into a bun out of the way, it was time to get shit done.
There was knocking on my office door and I looked up half way through assigning job allocations for the hired staff on the day.
“Why is your door locked?” Jenny rattled the doorknob peering through the semi see through glass.
“Because you keep distracting me,” by entering my office every four minutes because she was bored and waiting for her client to call her back, and proceeded to keep eating my starburst lollies, or mess up my desk looking for something.
Sure, I wasn’t neat, but I still liked my desk in a certain way, and especially when I’m working, things had to be clean. Ignoring the mess of paper on the ground I kept throwing down.
“Urgh, fine, be that way.”
“If you’re that bored you can finalise your seating plan with the bride.”
I heard her shudder, “Yeah, I think I’ll just wait for Martin to call me,”
I shook my head waiting for her to leave before playing my music and getting back to work. And to think I wasn’t even half way through my to-do list and it was nearly four in the afternoon. Probably because I kept getting distracted by things.
A stapler collection I never knew I had, it was a wonder how many staplers you had in the office that you ‘lost’ and bought new ones only to find it a week later behind the rubbish bin.
Now my third desk draw was filled with staplers.
I frowned looking around my office, and noticed how bland it was.
There was a jar in the far corner, that had one pen in it.
Maybe I should get some flowers, or fill it up with lollies. No, I’ll eat the lollies and that’s not doing anything for my waist line and summer bikini season was nearly here.
Shit, and I wanted pizza for dinner.
No, healthy food.
I opened my laptop going straight to pintrest to google some healthy recipes. Maybe I should buy some more decor.
It wasn’t long before i got bored, and all the recipes and picture of food were making me hungry. I sighed standing up, raising my hands over my head stretching as I walked over to my desk grabbing my phone.
Just a five minute break, a five minute break that was going on for three hours now. I looked at the messages frowning. I had so many.
I nearly laughed when I saw half of them were from Reed, jesus, was he bored?
I’m just going to assume you’re dead now.
I’ll take care of Satan and Charlie.
I rolled my eyes flopping onto my computer chair kicking my feet up onto the desk typing in a reply.
I was working.
I logged onto the database to update what I’ve done so far, well, I had majority done. It was just final things, like the cake, the catering and the seating plan. Okay I actually got shit done, and that felt good.
Maybe I could call it a down, I had to go grocery shopping, Tonight I shall cook.
Yes Violet, you got this.
My phone buzzed with his reply and I looked down to read it, and rolled my eyes. Right, so now he was giving me the silent treatment.
He messaged me “lol”
Who messages someone lol.
So I replied with “k”
Because I could be just as immature as him. I grabbed my phone switching my computer off and walked over to the table to pack everything up. Which was more throwing what was on the ground onto the table, I can clean up tomorrow, I wanted to get to the shops before they closed.
I let my hair out of the bun, because god forbid if anyone saw me like this, and patted my hair down the best I could trying to look somewhat presentable.
Grabbing my last things I walked out the door, “Jenny?” I called out.
Jenny stuck her head out her office mouthing she was on the phone, I nodded, “Well here is your file, and bye,” I waved placing her folder on the counter. She waved a hand walking back into her office and I envied her pyjamas.
Damn it, I should drive here, that way I could wear my pyjamas too. Alight Violet, let’s just add that to your very ambitious to do list that never gets done.
Get a car
Do I even remember how to drive? Why did I even have a license?
Oh right, licence was my drinking I.D. Of course it was.
My phone buzzed again and I read his message,
I replied, Should do it again sometime
And this time his reply was instant, not in ten minute intervals like before.
Never go grocery shopping when you were hungry.
I eyed my full trolley confused, when did I start picking everything up, and why was there a snickers bar in my trolley, I told myself no choc-oh wait, it was on sale. But wait, I’m going to get fat.
But wait, sometimes you can indulge.
I grabbed it shoving it into a random spot in the aisle pushing the trolley down it I better get rid of half the things in here.
Why was everything on sale, why did Frozen meals have to be $2?
No Violet, put them back. I sighed turning my trolley around back to the freezer section, I should just buy what I need for tonights dinner, any extra food I bought for the pantry will just be in my thoughts and I would find myself sitting there at two a.m. eating it.
It was because they were calling my name.
Violet, oh Violet eat me they say.
Stopping the trolley in an empty aisle, I just grabbed the four items I needed for tonight, screw putting them back, that was too much work. I looked left and right, before turning around and running to the counter, that wasn’t me who did that.
Beside they were getting paid.
Wait, was there CCTV?
Oh well, too late.
“I don’t know Charlie, I get your point but, this saucy is still very runny,”
I stirred the pasta sauce again grabbing my phone checking the recipe, it said to add a cup, I added half, I wasn’t making it for four people, just for me. But yet it wasn’t thickening.
I looked at Charlie who was licking his paw not giving a crap about my dinner, why should he? He had his dinner already planned, fancy tuna in a can, not just any tuna, fancy tuna. I leaned into the pan taking a sniff, well it smelt amazing, holding the spatula up, I blew on it before licking the end.
Which was the best part about cooking for yourself, you didn’t have to worry about germs, “Well, it smells better than it tastes,”
It wasn’t bad or awful, but there was something missing. Changing the heat to a low I turned around, rather than the island bench being covered in food and dishes, it was covered in pages and pictures of the plans.
It was so I could cook and work but clearly I wasn’t skilled in multitasking.
“Charlie get off the bench you dirty child,” I waved a hand which Charlie ducked under as he curled up near the stove, just behind the sugar and coffee making me narrow my eyes at him.
“If you catch on fire and become a fire ball, don’t come crying to me,” not to mention I had to wipe the whole kitchen down again. Great, “You make me ashamed to call you my child,”
I threw a piece of onion which he decided he was going to play with, till I felt something around my feet and looked down, “Oh hey baby, time for your medication,”
Bending down I picked up Satan staring at her as she meowed rubbing her head against my neck, slightly ticklish, slightly comfortable.
Of course Charlie didn’t seem to be liking the lack of attention hissing at us, “Sheesh, I know she wasn’t planned but still, your sister,” I held Satan close for Charlie only to pull her back when Charlie stretched out his hand to claw her.
What a rude cat.
“Definitely not my part of the genetics.”
Now that she had her medication and could run around, Charlie was treating her meanly as always. “You act how my brothers are towards me,” I shook my head grabbing the blue box filled with her medication.
Her tablets were fairly small which meant they hid in her food pretty well, it was the easiest way, the cat inhaler was a hassle to use. Satan never sat still, and by the time I actually managed to make it work, I was the one who ended up taking most of it.
Patting her head I washed my hands before going back to stir the sauce before it caught the bottom of the pan and burned. The pasta was already made, it was just this sauce, and now the pasta seemed to be cold enough to be an ice-pack.
I’ll just stir it in and make it warm, who knew making a sauce from scratch was somewhat time consuming.
Stupid recipe said fifteen minutes, fifteen minutes my arse. The knock on the door pulled me out of my thoughts and I looked at Charlie as he opened one eye to see what precious sound disturbed his nap.
“I get I ain’t no chef, but you don’t need to order pizza and hurt my feelings Charlie,”
Great, now I was losing my mind talking to cats. I really was becoming a crazy cat lady.
Opening the door I looked up, “Who is-,”
I squealed, nearly tripping over if it wasn’t for the sturdy hands on my waist, the somewhat forceful kiss making me slap the culprit with a wooden spatula before I realised it was Reed.
“Jesus, woman! Do you like hitting me or something?” he grabbed the spatula pulling it away from my hold as I shoved him off me, I had neighbours.
“Is that how you greet everyone who opens doors? I think you bit me you animal!”
I touched my bottom lip as I kicked the door closed, okay no blood.
“Only if their name is Violet. Why didn’t you reply?”
“Too?” I asked confused as I walked back turning the sauce off, it’ll do, it was edible.
Charlie stretched on the counter, leaning back onto his hind legs before leaping off the bench onto the ground, rubbing his side against Reed’s leg.
“Oh I was busy and then I forgot, what are you doing here anyway?”
“I though I’ll come say hi since its been a..while,” He said looking around as he shrugged his leather jacket off throwing it into the chair.
“It’s been like...a day,”
Smell that, do you smell it, sounds like something (or someone) is whipped, and it ain’t whipped cream.
I could feel his gaze as I went back to cooking, this was getting to the point where I was about to give up and order take away because this sauce wasn’t working. I turned around looking at Reed leaning against the opposite counter.
“I give up. I hope you’re not hungry.” Well I was sort of starving but take out also seemed like far too much effort.
I just wanted to curl up on the couch drinking some wine, even though I hate wine. Reed kicked his foot off the counter propping himself up and taking the step to close our distance as he looked into the sauce, his eyebrows knotting.
“Did you add the flour?”
I grabbed the menu and read over it, “The flour will thicken it.”
How did I miss this step.
Reed chuckled as I rushed to the pantry shelf, did I even have flour? Of course I had it. I grabbed the plastic contained rushing back, no wonder the shit looked like water.
Add flour and milk, that made it thicker and also creamy so you didn’t need the cheese.
“Here,” Reed took the spoon from me and I stepped aside as I watched him add it to the sauce, “You can cook?”
He gave me a weird look, “Yeah, why?”
I shrugged, “I don’t know, I didn’t think you cooked,” actually I never even thought about it. I saw the corner of Reed’s lips go up as his eye flickered up to meet mine as he leaned over, “I also bake,” He whispered like it was some sort of secret.
I flinched as he tapped my nose before he walked over to the fridge getting out the milk. Damn, why was a guy cooking such a turn on.
Even Charlie had his head up watching Reed, okay maybe he was just paranoid like that cat always is.
The sauce was done much faster than I had even thought possible, it was like a miracle as it all came together and I drained the pasta throwing it into the sauce, the pasta felt like ice against my fingers.
“Done,” He said as I stirred it all together, victory was mine sort of. I had gotten to the point where I was so hungry that now I wasn’t anymore.
“Careful it’s hot, I’ll take it over,” he said as I attempted to grab it. I let him do that while I got some plates and glasses and nearly tripped over Satan who was too busy intertwining between my feet.
“Satan I nearly killed you,” I looked down at the white fluff ball frowning. Of course she didn’t care.
I carried everything over to the table, sitting down way too hungry to even have proper manners.
“How’s the wedding coming along,”
I grumbled wanting to complain but also, it was his sister and I wasn’t sure if that was appropriate, so instead I settled with, “Your sister has a lot of requirements.”
Reed had that all too familiar half smile as he shook his head, “Yea sounds like her.” and then he paused his fork mid way to his mouth.
“What, is it bad?” I asked concerned, I didn’t want to give him food poisoning.
“No, it’s good just, that’s so weird.”
“How we met, and how you turned out to be someone I knew,”
“Guess it’s just a small world.”
Reed’s phone vibrated for what seemed like the twentieth time and he sat up to get it form his pocket sighing, “I better go.”
I looked up already falling half asleep leaning on his shoulder as we watched some stupid documentary on wild cats, at least both our cats were enjoying it, wait, my cats. God damn it Violet stop assuming you own shit together.
“Already?” I asked even though it was a solid four hours since he came. But I couldn’t help it, his chest was far too comfortable to get up from, why was it so warm and huggable.
“Yeah the boys want me to fax the paperwork over.”
I wrinkled my nose as I stood up, “People still use fax machines?”
Reed stood up leaning over and picking Satan up off his arm rest, “Is she better?”
“Still on meds,” I said as I watched him interact with Satan, rubbing her fur before giving her a little kiss on her head that made my stomach spin, and Charlie jealous from the ground where he was watching.
“You want one too?” Reed asked noticing Charlie’s green eyes. Charlie hissed turning around. Yeah, that seemed like Charlie.
“I’ll walk you down,” I said grabbing my keys. I was in my pyjamas, but I lived here. And any excuse to spend a few more minutes with him.
“Be back kids, don’t kill each other,” I grabbed my shoes throwing them on before waiting for Reed to follow me. I walked him down the stairs to the parking lot and towards his car when I paused, wait, he brought his bike today.
“Oh my god,”
Reed looked up as he shrugged his jacket on confused, “What?”
I turned around looking at him way too excited, “Can you teach me how to drive it,”
His eyebrows furrowed in confusion before he realised what I was talking about, “The bike?”
I nodded, “Please, I won’t crash it I swear.”
“Yeah want to drive it now?”
“Nah it’s fine you have work to do, next time,” I waved an arm.
“It’s fine, I can do it later, come on,” he nodded towards the bike and I stared for a moment. Really? He was going to let me drive?
This is a bad idea
No, it’s a good idea, a very very good idea. I followed him excitedly as we stood near the bike and I looked at it.
I had to touch it, and drive it, breathe it.
“Alright, let me take us to a proper area, scoot back,” He climbed on first and I stared at the bike, okay that seemed easy, but when I tried it, it as much harder and I heard him laugh.
I grumbled trying to hoist myself, grabbing his shoulders to steady myself I finally managed, why the hell was that a workout?
“Put this on,” he raised the helmet over his head for me to grab.
“Don’t you need it more?” I asked, when he gave me another stern look in the side mirrors I rolled my eyes pulling the helmet on. Alright boy, I’ll wear it.
“Hold on,” He said as he started the bike and I moved closer till his back was pressed up against my chest, was the bike meant to vibrate like that, shit I was going to slip and die. Okay this was a very goodly bad idea.
It wasn’t till he pulled out of the parking lot I realised how cold it was and the fact I was still in my old woollen pyjama dress and my legs were freezing. Holy shit, why didn’t I change?
And it only got worse as he went up and out into the roads, the wind blowing the hair that wasn’t in the helmet everywhere so I couldn’t even see what was happening.
“Where are we going?” I called out, hoping he could hear me, but all I heard was the wind in my ears. How was he surviving without a helmet?
“There’s a park drive nearby, it should be empty,” I could barely make to what he said. The bike turned and I nearly squealed as I tightened my grip, shit I was going to fall. Nope, I wasn’t.
Why the hell was it so cold, I scooted even closer to get his body heat. He was like a mini heater radiating heat.
I slipped my hands back around his waist letting them slip under his open leather jacket to the warmth underneath, feeling his sculpted chest under my fingers I hummed a small sound.
Reed swerved, “Jesus woman,”
“I’m driving stop distracting me,”
“I’m not distracting you, I’m warming up my hands!”
“That’s distracting for me!”
“Oh grow up,” I mumbled a small smile playing on my lips.
“Did we have to drive all the way out here?”
“Well no, but I thought we should anyway,” It was a quiet abandoned road. Ah, ha, sure, probably a serial killer, this seemed like the perfection location for a horror movie.
I took the helmet off handing it to him and he placed it on the ground followed by his jacket, “Okay move forward,”
I nodded moving forward, as I patted my wild hair down, my feet barely touched the ground and were hanging loose, the bike had to be at an angle for me to even touch it.
Reed climbed on behind me placing the stand which held it still and my fear of falling was minimised. I was suddenly starting to doubt my want to ride a bike, “The right hand, is used for accelerating and braking,” he said grasping my right hand and placing it on the grip, “Twist it down, so towards you, for more gas,”
“This lever is the brake, its basically like a bicycle,” he said moving closer and leaning over my shoulder to show me. I nodded, this was fairly simple.
I got this.
I was Vulan, I so got this.
“Never yank the lever too hard,” he said before sitting back down the warmth from his body disappearing, no heater, come back “Your right leg, it goes here on the brake, the lever is the most useful way to use the brakes but this is here in case you need it,” his palm came under my knee, his warm hand on my bare skin making me forget exactly what he was saying, as he lifted it into position, “Alright, and don’t worry about the gears and clutch, you’re not going to go very far.”
He shifted himself to a better position and the next thing I knew was his hands over mine moving them forward to hold the handles with his fingers on top and his chest on my back. Oh god.
I could smell his familiar cologne and I didn’t hear a word he said after that, all I could feel was the warm breath on my neck, the enticing smell of his and his body against mine.
God he felt so warm, was he always this warm, it was like a blanket in the middle of winter “For what?” I asked, oh shit, “Uh Yeah, I mean yeah,”
He kicked the stand up with his left foot and I nearly squealed, “It’s fine I have my legs on the ground, no, gentle turn the handles towards you, add some gas,”
Why did I want to learn again? This wasn’t as easy as it looked. The bike was much heavier than I anticipated. The bike lurched forward and Reed pressed the levers before it went more than half a metre.
“Sorry,” I smiled sheepishly meeting his narrowed eyes in the mirror, “Gently,”
I nodded turning it down towards me , a bit, it moved, slowly. We went for a metre before I heard his voice, “Okay I’m going to put my legs up, and we can go faster,”
“I don’t think that’s such a good id-argh,” I screamed silently, which was more me screaming out air with my mouth open probably getting a bunch of bugs as the bike sped up and his body pressed against mine, if it was possible to even get closer, as he took over. Somehow still managing to reach for the controls from behind me.
He turned the bike around the corner and my eyes nearly bulged out at the tilt, “We’re going to fall!”
“If you keep moving we will, sit,”
I stopped wriggling and somehow the bike didn’t fall and was back straight. He turned it around and stopped and my eyes widened trying to calm my racing heart. Right, that wasn’t too hard. I could feel the adrenaline rush. I got this, Vulan got this!
“Okay let me take us back,”
He gave me a doubtful nod that I saw in the mirror and I turned the handle, “Oops,” My heart lurched as the bike did, “Gently I know,” I said before he could.
I increased the speed slowly, the road was smooth, straight and there was no traffic, and with every metre I was slowly more confident, till his hands left the handles.
“It’s fine I have one hand here,”
But two was better.
His left hand fixed the mirror before being lazily draped on my leg, a leg that was pretty much on full show. Why did I think coming bike riding in a dress was a smart idea?
I could feel wind where there shouldn’t be wind.
His palm was flat against my upper thigh, warm, and incredibly distracting as he moved it. Okay now I understood what he was saying before about distraction-
I looked up from the hand to realise there was a tree way too close and screamed letting go and covering my face, not the precious face.
Oh shit I just let go of the bike.
I heard Reed swearing before my body lurched forward as he grabbed the handles controlling the bike, swerving away from the tree and it bike screeched to a stop, and we both toppled over, straight onto the road.
Shit, did I scratch the bike? I was fucked. He was going to make me pay for insurance.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“I’ll pay for the paint job,” I groaned, I was definitely hurt.
“How hard did you hit the head, shouldn’t be too bad,” He got off first lifting the bike off me, pretty sure I flashed him my wonderful love hearted underwear. Why couldn’t I wear my sexy underwear today?
“I’m sorry about the bike.”
He crouched down and I winced as he pressed his finger agains my cheek, “Okay you’re fine,” he said running his hands over the back of my head, what the hell was he doing, messing up my hair.
No, I think my leg just died.
Fuck, why did the bike weigh so much?
I brushed my leg stretching it out when I heard his more angrier voice, “Why the hell did you let go?”
“Why weren’t you looking at the road?”
Cause it’s dark.
“You were distracting me!” I whined getting up crossing my hands, trying not to wince at my knee protesting.
“And she calls me weak,” He walked over turning the bike back on, “Get on, I’ll take you home,”
“I’m fine, I think I want to walk,” I stretched me knee in front of me, holy shit that was blood. I took a step forward and my knee nearly buckled.
“Can I call a taxi?” I asked looking at him.
Reed rolled his eyes putting the stand on as he walked the few metres back to get his jacket and helmet, handing it to me to put on, “I’ll take you home.”
I pursed my lips trying not to wince as he dabbed alcohol on my knee, which was only softly grazed. It wasn’t too bad.
“Well that was fun, do you want me to drop you home since I can drive now?” I asked as I sat on my bed as he crouched on the ground.
“You’re just jealous I’m a better driver,” I teased.
Reed’s green eyes looking up and I patted Charlie’s head that was in my lap, at least the cat let me squeeze him everytime the alcohol burned against my scratch. I guess he was a useful cat sometimes.
“You could have died,”
“Um, please, we were like going under five km per h,”
“With a bike thats six times heavier than you, its still dangerous,”
I scoffed raising Charlie onto my lap and taking his paws, leaning forward and poking Reeds cheek with his paw, “You’re just a shit teacher,”
I mean what type of teacher runs their hand down a naked leg? Yeah. A shit pervert one.
Reed muttered something putting the medicine back into the cabinet an I looked a Charlie, “Someones an angry puss in boots, ah boy?”