Chapter Five - Kyla
It had been a few years since I’d seen the night life in full bloom. Work had capitalised most of my time, and it just wasn’t really my scene anyway. I’d partied in high school, and it seemed that had been enough for me.
I pulled into a carpark outside the address Dan had given me. He saw me before I saw him, because When I finally spied him he was already walking toward my car. He hadn’t been home to change, still wearing the navy blue suit he’d worn to work that morning. I frowned. I hadn’t meant to make him feel bad in the office, but I had and it had pushed him to go out.
He opened the door and sat down in the passenger’s seat.
“Evening.” He drawled, his words were ever so slightly slurred, but I could tell he wasn’t exceptionally drunk.
“I’m sorry about before.” I said straight away, I needed to clear the air. “About what I said.”
“Huh?” He mumbled. “You mean the sex thing?” He clipped his seatbelt in and shrugged. “You were probably right.”
“Oh.” I whispered turning the key in the ignition.
“I can handle a week without sex though. Don’t worry. I won’t try anything with you just because I’m horny.”
I felt my mouth drop open. Maybe Dan was more drunk than I’d given him credit for. I turned to look at him and shook my head. “I should hope not. I may not see him often, but I’m spoken for.”
Dan scoffed. “Yep.” He replied dryly.
I ignored his response and looked back at the road, glancing in my rear mirror to make sure the way to go was clear. “And aside from that. You and me, we’re not like that.”
“Well there was that one party in 10th grade.” Daniel mumbled.
For the second time in as many minutes Daniel Jackson had caught me off guard. I was surprised he remembered. We had both been drunk and the only reason it had happened was a game of spin the bottle. The bottle had landed on me and the then man boy stud Daniel had girls eating out of his hands. All of them except me. Of course, everyone knew this, so we were dared to do seven minutes in heaven.
Sitting inside a closet with a boy I despised was not my idea of fun. Daniel had made jokes about making the most of the time we had in there and I’d been grossed out enough to slap him across the face.
We didn’t speak again until the door opened and we spilled out. One of the girls complained that we hadn’t lived up to the rules of the game and insisted we kiss. It was the one time I succumbed to peer pressure, the one time I did something because someone else told me too. I leaned in to kiss him, just to shut them up.
And he had turned his head away, then laughed.
I promised myself then I’d only ever follow my own instinct, but I was faltering on that now, and it was because of him. Again.
“I’m surprised you remember.”
“Of course I remember. I was a jerk.” He muttered. “Especially to you.”
“Why?” I asked as I concentrated on the road. Drunk Dan was an honest Dan, and learning about the inner workings of his mind, I had to admit was interesting.
“Because I could never make you like me. You despised me, and within reason, but I thought I was god’s gift and untouchable.”
“Well high school was a long time ago. I don’t despise you anymore.” I said. “So don’t sweat it.”
“Well for the record. I’m sorry I was a tool.” He replied. “So you know how to get to mine right?”
“Yes.” I mumbled, slightly confused by the belated apology. I was well past anything that had happened in high school, and I wasn’t sure what had happened to make him think about something that bared little resemblance to the lives we lived now.
When we arrived at Dan’s complex he gave me his carpark card and guided me to the spare park. We took my luggage up so that I was able to get ready for the flight in the morning and walked into his apartment after a short ride in the elevator. The lights in the apartment switched on when we opened the door and the bleep from his alarm began to sound. He put in the pin code and wheeled my case over to the breakfast bar.
“Thirsty? I’ve got wine, beer, spirits.” He murmured walking into the kitchen. He pulled down a bottle of whiskey and took out a glass. I nodded and pointed to the bottle he held in his hands “I’ll have one of those?”
He raised his eyebrows and grabbed another glass. “I gotta warn you. It’s 86 proof. It’ll probably knock you on your ass.”
I shook my head. “I can hold my liquor Daniel.”
He poured the glass and held it out to me. “Well in light of our situation, let’s raise a toast.”
“The situation being going to London and lying to get a contract.” I replied, taking the glass.
“Or, if we look at it from another perspective, the situation being we’re being given the opportunity to show how solid we are as a team. Half truths aside.” Daniel countered raising his glass.
“Half truth is a bit of an overstatement Dan. But just this once I’ll overlook that.”
I lifted my glass and then we clinked before I placed the cool glass against my lips. I tilted it back and let the amber coloured liquid roll down my throat. It warmed my throat as I drank it, and despite its potency it was smooth.
“Thats a nice whiskey.” I said softly, placing the glass down.
“It’s rare. In fact you can only get it from a small town in new zealand. A guy brews and distributes it himself. It was a thank you for a favour.” He smiled.
Daniel had been to New Zealand for a month the year before to get a small talent agency on board. He’d been successful, in more ways than one. The whiskey was worth it, just on its own.
“Another?” He asked with a smile.
“Why not. Maybe I’ll stop thinking about tomorrow.”
Daniel poured the drink and then looked up at me. “Don’t worry about it. At the end of the day, you’ve got me. We’re in this together.”
I smiled and wrapped my fingers around the glass. For all intents and purposes Daniel’s words comforted me, and right now, that was all I needed.
The alcohol left me feeling warm, and surprisingly sleepy. Daniel gave up his bed for me once more, but this time, as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell asleep.
I woke early the next morning, and for a moment I was completely discombobulated. Waking in a strange room in someone else’s bed for a moment filled me with dread. I sat up and looked around, and remembered where I was. I picked my phone up off the nightstand it was 6am and noticed I had a message from Jeff. He apologised for bailing, and told me as soon as I was back we’d do something together.
With a smile on my face I got up and walked out into the living room. Daniel was still asleep, so I walked into the kitchen and began to brew coffee. We’d need to leave by 8 to get to the airport and catch our flight.
The sound and smell of the coffee brewing was enough to rouse a slightly hungover Daniel. He sat up and looked over the back of his couch.
“Morning.” He grumbled.
“How’s the head?” I smiled. “Do you have advil?”
“I’ve been better.” He replied. “And yeah. Top drawer.”
I smiled and opened the drawer, I took two tablets from the tab and filled a glass of water before walking over to the couch. “Here you go.”
Daniel took the glass and pills gratefully. “Thanks.”
“I might have a coffee and then shower.” I replied. “If that’s alright?”
Daniel nodded as he drunk the water. “Mi casa e su casa.”
We were on the road by 8am. Despite knowing it was a 7 hour flight, we’d both preempted meeting Mr Star after being collected from the airport so I was wearing a nice dress I had bought and five inch heels. Daniel was wearing a black armani suit. One that I hadn’t seen him in before. It was perfectly tailored.
When we arrived at the airport we checked our luggage and waited for our boarding call.
Once we were seated on the plane it occurred to me that we had never fully discussed “our story.” As the plane was taxing I had fears about us explaining it, only to explain completely different things.
“What’s our story?” I said turning to Daniel. “How’d did we meet?”
“High school.” Daniel suggested. “But we didn’t start dating until we started Kystar. We just kept it on the downlow to seem professional.”
“Sounds plausible.” I replied.
“Of course it does Kyla. The only thing that isn’t true is the dating aspect. Don’t overthink it Kys. We’ll get through this week. I promise.”
“You shouldn’t make promises you can’t keep.”
“I don’t make a habit of it Kyla.”
Despite the good nights sleep I’d had the night before I felt sleepy after an hour or so. I read for a bit, but then fell asleep at some point. It wasn’t until Daniel woke me that I even realized I’d been asleep. My head was on his shoulder, and as soon as I realised I sat bolt upright.
“Sorry.” I mumbled, wiping my mouth to make sure I hadn’t drooled in my sleep. Thankfully I hadn’t.
“Hey, don’t sweat it. Besides, we’re going to have to at least touch over the next week.”
I frowned. “I didn’t think about that.”
“A arm around the waist and a little bit of hand holding.” Daniel replied. “High school drama class level acting.”
I smiled, surprised he remembered that I’d even taken drama. “Okay.”
The plane landed and it was night time already in London. We walked off the plane and into the foyer. Daniel leaned and whispered. “Over there.” as he slipped his hand around mine. To our left there was a man in a suit holding a board with our names on it. We walked over to him and introduced ourselves before waiting for our luggage to come around on the conveyor.
He insisted on taking our luggage himself on a trolley, so we followed behind him. Walking hand in hand until we reached a black town car. We hopped inside while he placed our cases in the boot.
“I know I slept on the plane, but I can’t wait to climb into that cushy hotel bed.” I murmured.
“Hotel?” The driver said as he got into the car. “The boss advised me to bring you to the house. You’ll be staying there.”
Cold fear rolled through me. We were meant to be staying in a hotel. Tom had made arrangements for us to stay in a hotel. Separate rooms, separate beds. I looked Daniel who tried to show no emotion, but his eyes were as shocked as my own.
We drove to Warren Star’s mansion in silence. As the big steel gates opened and the town car drove into the compound my stomach dropped. We were really here and this was really happening and now to top it all off our sleeping arrangements had been pulled from under us. I pulled my phone from my pocket. I had an email.
Mr Star contacted me this morning by which time you’d already boarded. He enquired about your accommodation plans and I let him know you were staying at the grand. He insisted I cancel because he wants to get to know you both well.
I didn’t cancel, so if things turn to custard you have a place to go. But I got the feeling this wasn’t negotiable.
If you or Mr Jackson need anything, please let me know.
I shoved my phone into Daniel’s hand and watched him as he read the email. He frowned and handed it back to me. Already, one of my rules had been crushed into smithereens. I had gone against my instincts and now I was going to pay for it.
The car stopped and we exited. I didn’t even have time to catch my breath before A well dressed middle aged man and a tall svelte blond woman walked out the front door.
“Mr Jackson, Ms Hallister. Welcome to my home.” The man exclaimed as he walked down the steps of the grand house. “You’ve met Harry my driver, and this is Delilah my daughter. I apologise, but my wife Gina is away in Hawaii this week.”
Daniel placed his hand on the small of my back and we walked toward the two together. We all shook hands and once the introductions were over Warren led us into the house. He showed us to our room and mentioned that it was late and our travels had probably tired us. We’d get on with business tomorrow. The door closed behind us and i took a deep breath before turning to face a nervous looking Daniel.
“I’ll sort it. First thing tomorrow.” He said immediately.
I shook my head and walked over to the bed kicking my heels off as I sat down. “It would look odd.” I muttered. “We’re here now.”
He walked over to the bed and sat down beside me. “I’m sorry. I promised you this would all be okay.” He slumped over. “But I’ve already broken that promise. You already have to make sacrifices.”
“It’s really not a big deal.” I mumbled, surprised to find that I truly meant it.
“I’ll sleep on the floor.” Daniel offered
I looked down at the hardwood floor. It had underfloor heating, I could feel it beneath my toes, but it was still hard wood. I wasn’t happy with the situation, but I wasn’t going to make Daniel sleep on the floor either.
“One of us can just sleep on top of the covers.” I replied. “We need to be well rested for business purposes.” I reasoned.
“You sure?” Daniel replied.
“I’m sure.” I replied.
I grabbed my suitcase and pulled it into the bathroom. I changed into my pajamas, suddenly grateful I had chosen to bring a plain cotton set over anything silky. Once I had changed I walked back out to find Daniel in track pants and an old t-shirt. I thanked the pajama god silently and walked over to the bed.
“Good night Daniel.” I murmured, turning over and snuggling into the blankets. This wasn’t going to be weird. I wasn’t going to let it.
“Night Kyla.” Daniel replied. I felt his weight shift on to the bed. He moved down and then turned of his bedside lamp. I did too, and then closed my eyes and tried to fall asleep.
Except I couldn’t, this was weird and I wasn’t sure how on earth I was going to deal with it.