The Replacement

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Chapter 3

Whilst wedged in between Craig Sharp (Scott’s soon to be Father in law) and John Wheeler, I find myself somewhat amused by the pairs rather detailed political debate, even smirking when the term ‘money sucking bastards’ is thrown into the mix. It would appear both men are at opposite ends of the political spectrum and couldn’t be any more stereotypical of the true representation of right/ left wing extremists. Their childish bickering is somewhat entertaining, not to mention educational in its own right.

“She’s another Maggie Thatcher if you ask me and we all know what she did to destroy our Country.” argues Craig, clearly sticking to his Northern roots by branding England’s past Prime Minister a total witch for having closed down the mines all those years ago. “And don’t get my started on Cameron. What a waste of space he was-.”

“Please, you’re just bitter.” accuses John; chubby cheeks visibly wobbling as he outrageously vocalises his opinion. “The Tories are the best thing for this County right now.” he adds, nursing his small glass of brandy by slurping on the burnt amber looking liquid.

Having insisted I join them for a business brunch at the Ritz, close enough to the office that meant no extortionate taxi fares, Scott ensured me that both men are somewhat considered hardcore drinkers and pre-warned me about their tendencies to get political very quickly. I was shocked at first. The well deserted downstairs restaurant allows for all opinions to be heard over the gentle hums of string instruments playing in the background and had I not been here to purely build relationships with the two very important investors, I would’ve told both men to put a sock in it.

Honestly. Drinking brandy at eleven o’clock in the morning; surely that’s taking the piss, no?

“What are your thoughts, Jessica. A young woman such as yourself surely has her head screwed on the right way.” encourages Craig, hopeful in his thinking.

He’s got to be at least in his fifties but with an olive-like completion and thick, deep roots that slightly lighten towards the end, I can’t help not notice the strapping ability he possesses by just merely sitting there. His wife is one lucky sod!

“Oh, I make it a habit not to discuss politics with strangers. I’ve previously found it’s not the best line of conversation to make whilst trying to create great first impressions and I’m under strict instructions from Scott to make you like me.” I smile, flashing both men my best show stopping grin, which in turn, makes them laugh. “Besides, I didn’t vote.” I add, certainly giving John something to mull over.

“See, that right there is the problem with the younger generation these days. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, young lady.” he bellows, spilling a drop of brandy onto the elegantly sewn tablecloth. “You must always vote. That’s what those women fought for. They suffered fighting for your right to vote!” he insists, voice shaking in anger.

“Correction, Mr Wheeler, they suffered whilst fighting for my right to chose to vote. You telling me I must vote is no different than those poor women being told they were unable to.” I respond, relishing in his smirk disappearing before me. “When the government presents a party worth voting for, I’ll be first in line at the polling station.” I smile, lifting my lime and soda up, offering the air surrounding me a silent cheers.

It doesn’t matter that I’m lying through my teeth. Of course I voted, but people who go through life shaming those who don’t piss me off. It’s in their right to chose whether or not they want to engage in modern day politics and being told otherwise is no different than telling someone they can’t.

Hypocrites, the bloody lot of them.

“Well, I must say Jessica, that’s quite the argument you pose there and I’d have to agree. Certainly a thought worth thinking about.” compliments Craig, seemingly absorbing my words through a rather large mouthful of liquor.

His statement meets my burning need for approval head on, filling me to the absolute brim with pride. I know it’s peculiar to seek such a thing from a complete stranger but when compliments happen to be coming from such senior positions, I simply cannot resist enjoying them.

It’s my biggest flaw in life; “Jess Turner, always so keen to impress.” That’s what my Mum used to say. Before she lost her mind, that was.

“Oh, look who it is.” comments Craig, suddenly starling me from my nostalgic thoughts.

The sound of the restaurants huge wooden door opening and shutting; the force in which it’s manoeuvred seeming far from friendly, shocks me into silence and the figure that emerges at the other end certainly helps in shutting me up.

“Spencer!” exclaims John, emulating the very essence of a true kiss-arse. “Over here, to your left.” he continues, attempting to direct the man who, although calm and collected, looks about as happy to be engaging with John as a man whose chips have just been pissed on.

From outside, I notice a middle aged man decked out to the nines in true ‘men in black’ style; his black car, dark suit and no hair combo only adding to his intensity. He appears to watch over Spencer’s every move and I soon come to realise this must be his job; perhaps hired to guide Spencer around the city at his every beck and call?

“John, how are doing?” questions Spencer, carefully dodging table after table as he saunters towards us. He must know this man well, having been able to recognise him by his voice.

I’m too busy watching Will Smith outside that I almost miss how positively edible Spencer is in slightly faded jeans and woolly jumper, the off-white colouring to it bringing out the green in his eyes. They glisten and sparkle under the elegant chandelier like two perfectly polished jewels and I struggle to wrap my head around the fact that they are so scientifically useless to him. Anything that looks that good surely has to be fully functional.

“I’m good, Spencer. Sorry to hear about the court order, you make sure to fight her on it.” demands John, clearly not a fan of Isabelle-soon-to-be-Branning-and-not-Michaels.

Not that that’s saying much, I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually is.

Spencer nods in awkward acknowledgement and slowly brings his gaze to rest on me, the tense ripple in his jaw making me nervous.

“Jessica.” he greets, shocking me in his doing so.

How the hell did he do that?

“Spencer.” I reply, the pair of us successfully alerting both men of our somewhat tense relationship.

I’m sure people who speak completely different languages are known to have more interaction than Spencer and I but when personalities clash, there’s only so much one can do. The fact of the matter is, we’re two completely different people and on this occasion, opposites certainly do not attract. At least not emotionally. Physically, I could eat him alive.

“How about a refill, John?” suggests, Craig, which roughly translates to ‘let’s get the fuck out of here, shall we’.

“Brilliant idea, excuse us.” replies the other man, practically bolting from his cushioned chair.

I watch as both men scramble towards the glass-inspired bar, having failed to fool Spencer in regards to their sudden departure. He simply arches a brow and smirks at their suit clad backs, amused beyond belief.

“Well, would you look at that, I seem to have scared off your dates for this afternoon.” he quirks, glaring those hypnotising eyes straight into mine on a strangely accurate gaze. “What are you doing with them, anyway?” he continues his interrogation, placing both hands, deeply, into his two front pockets.

The action causes both biceps to bulge impressively and although restrained by a thick jumper, I’m certainly not short on a show. It’s no secret his body is in shape and I can only imagine what the rest of it might look like.

“I’m supposed to be building professional relationships with them but you trampled all over that with your intimidating attitude.” I respond, slightly pissed off at his doing so.

“That I did, Miss Turner. It would appear I have a rather firm stick up my arse.” he smirks, repeating what I said to Scott about Spencer only days ago.

Great! Now I know where my boss’ loyalties lie. With flesh and blood, apparently.

“I’m not two faced, Spencer. I’ll admit to you that I find you disrespectful and frustrating but you are technically my boss so I’ll do my best to keep things professional-.”

“There is no ‘technically’ about it, Jessica. I own 50% of that business, I therefore own 50% of you during business hours.” he states, seeming to slightly enjoy that rather tiny, very bold aspect.

The idea of being owned should repulse me, yet as I clamp my legs together under the table and consciously swallow extra hard, I’m shocked to discover I’m thrilled by the prospect of belonging to someone, or more so, belonging to Spencer.

Jesus, Jessica! You need to get out more.

“How did you know I was sitting here?”
I question, drastically steering away from all conversation relating to his would-be ownership of me should the opportunity present itself.

“I saw you.” he casually replies, pulling out a chair and taking a seat. “Mind if I sit? I’m waiting for someone and it would appear I’m early.”

“What do you mean, you saw me?”

I ignore his question to sit and decide to hone in on the fact that he’s straight up trying to tell me he can see when the idea of him doing so is about as ridiculous as purple pigs flying.

Excuse me for being a Debby Downer, but I thought being blind meant you had no use of your sight.

“Exactly that, Miss Turner. I may be blind by all accounts but I can sense you, smell you.” Oh shit! “And under certain lighting, I can make out various outlines and shapes.” he explains, resting his forefinger against the plump flesh of his lips.

Ah, so not completely blind then.

I make a point to look around the space and notice by all accounts how the generous lighting offers the area a bright overall finish. It’s during this that I become suddenly aware of Spencer’s eyes on me yet again and knowing what I now do, feel slightly uneasy with him evaluating me.

“You can smell me?” I ask; mind seemingly focused on that minor piece of information.

“Hmm, from a mile away. You use strawberry scented shampoo and I can detect a slight lemongrass to your perfume.” he answers, suddenly leaning forward. “That, amongst other things.” he adds, whispering his statement.

“Other things?” I enquire, trying not to notice the quickening of my breathe.

Spencer smirks at my confusion, seemingly enjoying my inability to catch on.

“I wouldn’t want to embarrass you, Jessica but let’s just say I’ve developed certain tendencies since becoming somewhat limited in my sight. And you, my little mouse, got noticeably aroused when I expressed my 50% ownership of you. I could smell you, sweetheart.”

“What!?”

I slam my hands down on the expensive table and recoil in horror, utterly mortified by his insinuation. As a result of my sheer rage, I bang my leg against the table, crying out as I do so and cursing to the high heavens, above.

“You’re a pig, Spencer!” I tell him, nursing my leg back to health, seeing the sure signs of a bruise through my nude stockings. “Stay the hell away from me!” I demand, suddenly rising from my chair in the hopes of escaping this horrific situation.

“Ask yourself why you’re getting so flustered, Jessica.” he chuckles, voice booming. “You’re angry because I’m right, and you hate that I am.” he adds, still having the audacity to smirk.

The infuriating sod!

“Mr Michaels, the only thing you will ever arouse from me is a sexual harassment claim! Now if you’ll excuse me, you’ve interrupted a very important business meeting.” I reply, managing to gain enough composure to confidently state my departure.

“Of course Miss Turner, my deepest apologies.” he retorts, sounding as far from apologetic as humanly possible. “Try not to burn my business to the ground while I’m away.” he inputs, standing up from his seat and towering his lean body over mine.

“You’re a pain in the arse.” I scoff, leaving my place at the table and going in search of John and Craig instead.

I make it as far as two steps in my Mary Jane’s before he reaches out a clumsy hand and grasps at my elbow. “Not yet,
Mio piccolo topo, but I can certainly show you what one might feel like.” he breathes, sending his delicious threat straight to a place where I’d rather he didn’t.

I’m seriously concerned for my mental wellbeing when I discover the words behind his suggestion travel straight to my groin, soaking me from the inside out. I quickly pull away from his hold, desperate to put as much physical distance between us as possible and almost trip over as I do so. Why does the idea of Spencer inflicting pain appeal to me so much? Sure, if the roles were reversed I’d be all for it. The thought of punching him square in the face is actually rather appealing and I know given half the chance, I’d jump at the opportunity. Yet, roles aren’t reversed and I’m still drawn to the idea.

“Spencer? Spencer Michaels?” a small voice that would suggest its owner has yet to reach puberty squeaks out of nowhere, ending our heated discussion. “Hi, I’m Mike-.”

“Mike, you’re late! Not an attribute I’m look for in a lawyer, if I’m being honest.” bellows Spencer, whipping around in his stance and limiting the young man to a quivering mess.

“I- erm, yes my apologies, the traffic was a nightmare. Shall I get us some drinks?” he stutters, visibly shitting his pants.

“Good idea, I’ll have water, sparkling. Put it on my tab.” orders Spencer, wasting no time on pleasantries.

Mike, a scrawny looking red head, shoots me a curious glance before fleeing to the safety of the bar, ordering himself and Spencer two bottles of still water. Still, not sparkling. Rookie mistake.

“Jesus Christ, Spencer you can’t hire him. You’re about to fight a custody battle, not babysit some intern through his first major case.” I hiss, cautiously keeping my tone to a minimum.

Mike is about as able to win a child custody case as a named sex offender himself but I’m not about to hurt his feelings over the matter and certainly not in public.

“Careful Jess, you sound as though you actually care.” retaliates Spencer, sliding each word from his delicious mouth.

“It’s Jessica.” I respond, calmly so.

He quirks a mischievous brow, the thick, neatly positioned hair creating a sharp edge which does nothing but highlight his glorious face. It’s hard not to notice his every feature; his angular jaw, his straight, symmetric nose and plush, fleshy lips. Each one a blessing but at what cost. His wife took comfort in another man and for the first time since meeting him, I’m wondering what the fuck possessed her to do such a thing. Spencer is carved to absolute perfection as far as physical attributes go but then again, his personality does lack substance.

Was he always like this?

“Of course, forgive me, Mio piccolo topo?” he replies, using that phrase yet again.

I can’t quite place the language but I assume it to mean either something horrible or sarcastic. Let’s face it, the idea of him saying anything nice and actually meaning it is about as possible as purple pigs flying.

Yeah, I’ve used that metaphor twice now. I like it.

“Enjoy your business meeting. I’ll be seeing you again soon, I’m sure.” he states, parting ways with my sudden stunned expression. “Until then, Jessica.”


Mio piccolo topo.

‘My little mouse.’

Why is he calling me his little mouse?

That’s the exact thought that runs through my mind as I leisurely sip on my merlot and aimlessly stare at my open laptop screen. Alright, so I’ll admit I’m shamelessly stalking my boss’ brother and it took me roughly half a glass of wine to figure out Spencer had been talking to me in Italian. I vaguely remember reading somewhere about him and Scott having a grandmother from Italy; a descendent from their Mother’s side. It’s nice that they stick to their heritage by knowing the language but it certainly doesn’t help my growing attraction towards the infuriating man. Whether he’s a dickhead is irrelevant when all I want to do it lay him down and have my wicked way with him while he whispers dirty Italian words into my ear.

cazzo a me?

It means ‘fuck me?’ And yes, I googled how to say it and almost creamed my pants when an audio sample blared through my speaker. Turns out, sexy Italian accents are a huge turn on. Perhaps I should bring that up the next time he attempts to call me his little mouse. Surely that’d wipe the smirk off his lips.

Seriously Jessica. Get out more!

It’s purely sexual of course and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m simply deprived. It can’t be anything else because while Spencer is a gorgeous specimen, he’s about as charming as a motionless pile of sticks and the fact that I’ve not been intimate with another man in a long time certainly can’t go unnoticed. Neglected. That must be it, having not been in the company of another man in almost a year, a year for crying out loud! No wonder I’m mentally throwing myself at the Italian Stallion.

I slam my laptop closed with a tired sigh, though sleep is the last thing I want and instead, find myself pouring yet another glass of wine that goes down a treat. I drink it as if it’s the first drop of liquid I’ve had in weeks and enjoy the after effects it has on me as I curl up on my sofa with a great romance novel. It’s fruity taste glides past my tongue with ease and compliments the rather obnoxious Mr Darcy rather nicely. Then, quick to ruin a perfectly great book, is the alarming images of myself as Elizabeth Bennet and Spencer as my love interest; the signature four poster bed also present. The scene plays out in my mind like a literature fan’s wet dream and if that’s not a sure sign I’ve consumed too much alcohol, I don’t know what it is.

“Time for bed.” I tell no one in a particular, switching off the lamp and getting myself prepared for bed.

I brush my teeth and slip on a pair of fresh, silk pyjamas before venturing towards my wardrobe and picking out a red Chloé dress for work tomorrow. I match it with a pair of black, strapless shoes and instantly smile at the overall look; happy with its bold statement.

Spencer’s favourite colour is red.

Absolutely not the reason behind my choice, what so ever.

Thoughts surrounding my fashion tastes soon become irrelevant when my work phone comes to life on my nightstand; its alert a single bleep with an aggressive vibration. I purposely walk towards it and silently cringe as an email, titled, ‘URGENT!!!’ shows up from Spencer.

My finger cautiously hovers over his very corporate sounding email address, [email protected], slightly frightened at what could possibly be so urgent at 10.30pm in the evening. Deciding I’m being silly, I force myself to open the thread and discover four single words that, quite frankly, knock me for six.

<Goodnight, my little mouse.>

Having no idea hows best to appropriately reply, I settle for a rather respectable,

<Goodnight, Spencer. Sei ancora un maiale.>

Courtesy of Google translator.

Well would you look at that, I’m flirting with my boss’ brother and in Italian no less.

How scandalous!

How inappropriate!

How thrilling!

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