Chapter 10: What About What I Want?
Before going to bed, I’d brought my purse into his bedroom. Because of it, the sound of my phone ringing stirred me awake. While I groaned in protest, a strong embrace tightened around me.
“Leave it,” he ordered, groggy.
Disobeying, I crawled toward the edge to fish it out of my purse. Eyeing the screen, I saw that it was Jason. Shit! What time was it? We’d agreed to spend the day together, unpacking. He must be wondering where I was.
Hurriedly, I answered, “I’m fetching a taxi in two minutes,” while I climbed out of bed.
“Have you got any idea what time it is, love?” he replied, but I heard amusement latch onto his tone.
“No,” I peeped.
“It’s nearly three, Cara. You had me worried. This is the third time I’m calling you. Where the hell are you?” he responded, and he sounded like the elder brother he often behaved like.
“Doesn’t matter. I’ll be home soon,” I murmured upset and rushed to collect my dress from the floor when the sore feel between my legs momentarily distracted me. Around the bed, I counted four used condoms. Only then had he allowed me to catch some rest. Sexually, I would be inactive for at least a week. Turning toward the culprit, I found him staring at me with a sober expression on his face. Nevertheless, the beautiful view of him made me blush.
I could hardly believe I’d seduced this flesh of the divine. I must be wielding some black magic. For better and for worse, he was precisely my type, both physically and mentally.
“You’re with a man, aren’t you?” Jason enquired, humoured again.
“I might be. I’ll explain later,” I said and hung up on him before he got the chance to reply. “I’ve got to go. I’m running late.”
He sighed and rubbed his face, seemingly defeated. “Well... It was nice knowing you.”
My heart ached with reluctance to see this through. “Yeah,” I mumbled and looked away from him.
“I’ll see you out,” he uttered through a groan and pushed his duvet aside.
“No, don’t bother. I’d rather do without a goodbye like that. They make me feel awkward,” I explained while I zipped up my dress. I dared not imagine the stench of me. I was confident I reeked of sex, so I was definitely grabbing a taxi. Nobody should have to see me like this. Then again, I was no stranger to the walk-of-shame.
“What about what I want?” he countered annoyed.
I met his eyes, and they nearly paralysed me. I couldn’t believe I was rejecting this man. “You don’t get a say, I’m afraid,” I quoted him.
He glared at me, seemingly speechless. It made me chuckle. “That’s right. You can dish it out, but you can’t take it.”
“I’m going to miss your dreadful mouth,” he confessed, but I wished he hadn’t. My heart was acting up, and I wasn’t schooled in how to handle it. I’d never felt like this before. Disappointed and sad to leave a one-night-stand? What was wrong with me?
“Yeah, well, right back at you,” I murmured and reached for my purse on the floor.
“If you change your mind, you’ll know where to find me,” he told me as I went for the door.
“Don’t hold your breath.” It didn’t sound half as playful as I had intended for.
“Women,” I heard him mutter behind me.
When I’d turned the handle of his front door, I cast a last look behind myself and stored a mental picture of the place in my mind. I sighed to myself. Mercurial or not, I wished him all the best. Right man, wrong time, was what it was. Gutted.
Even so, a smirk grabbed my lips when I directed my eyes to the shredded textile of my knickers from last night. The pieces lay scattered around my feet, and deliberately, I chose to leave them behind. I may not have given him my name or my number, but at least I’d leave behind a tangible memory.
“Tell me,” Jason’s soft voice called when I entered through our front door half an hour later, “was he any good?”
“Best I’ve had,” I mumbled and headed straight for the bathroom as I was in desperate need of a shower.
“Really?” He sounded disbelieving as he rounded the corner, arriving from the living room. When he caught a proper look at me, he burst out laughing. “Christ, Cara. You look thoroughly tended to!”
Blushing profusely, I escaped into the bathroom to spare him the grief of having to catch a whiff of my scent.
While I wanted to shower for hours, only so that the warm water could fill me with comfort and soothe my troubled heart, I finished in mere minutes. I felt bad enough already. It was past three o’clock, and Jason had set aside his entire day for my benefit, so that we could unpack the mountain of boxes that I’d brought in during the move.
When I stepped out of the shower, I found him waiting for me in the grey sofa of our living room. Resembling Apollo himself, his dirty blonde hair glistened in the bright light of day. His blue eyes turned toward me, soothingly familiar.
Responding to impulse, I charged toward him. His eyebrows shot upward, surprised at my demeanour, before he spread his arms apart to welcome my arriving figure. Closing them around me, he hugged me against his chest and pecked the top of my head.
“You okay, sweetheart?” he asked worriedly.
“Yeah. Only a bit rattled. He was one hell of a character.”
“Livy called this morning, asking if you were home yet, since you weren’t answering your phone. When I said you weren’t, she explained you’d went with that bloke you insulted. Gave me a good laugh. I can always trust you to do the unthinkable, can’t I?”
“Jason, I don’t know what to say. He’s the most irritating man I’ve ever met, but somehow, he turned me on – more than I’ve ever been before.”
“Well, shit,” he commented impressed. “Did you still stick to your rules, then?”
I pouted up at him, horribly upset. “Yes.”
He frowned back at me. “You don’t look too happy with that.”
“I will be, eventually. Just not right now.”
He smiled knowingly, and I resorted to admiring the view of him. Though he was no William, he was surely one gorgeous man. Despite that fact, I’d never regarded him with even a trace of sexual interest. As far as I was aware, such was mutual. He’d taken me under his wing like an adopted sister from day one.
“Well, in other news, Dad called me today. It’s about the internship you applied for,” he said, and my heart stilled. I prayed they were good news. After rejecting William, I could use a boost.
John, Jason’s father and the founder of Day & Night, had been curious when I’d applied for their unpaid internship programme, to be completed over the summer. Jason had been the one to tell me to apply, before he’d went behind my back and recommended me to his father.
He cupped my cheek in his hand, probably to soothe me. “Don’t worry, Cara. He wants to meet you, so he invited us for dinner tomorrow, for an informal interview. Aside from that, he’s also curious to meet his new tenant.”
I gaped at him. “Oh, my God! Jason! If I land this internship, I’ll owe you my career!”
He laughed softly and smothered me against him. “You’ll get it, Cara. I assure you. He sounded very positive, and with Dad being the man he is, that’s quite the feat.”
I was reeling. Clasping his head in my hands, I placed a loving kiss to his forehead. “I don’t know how to express my gratitude, Jason. I’m overwhelmed.”
“I can tell.” He continued to laugh. “But please call Livy before you do anything else. She sounded anxious. Told me to tell you that she bailed last minute on some man you would know about.”
I sighed. Why wasn’t I surprised? “Ironic that she was the one looking to get laid last night,” I remarked.
“Ironic, but not surprising,” he responded, visibly amused. “Have you eaten, by the way? I could order us something before we get started on unpacking your things.”
I groaned with delight. “I’m starving,” I declared and patted my belly.
“What, didn’t he offer you any breakfast?”
“I left before he could.”
“Poor man. Was he gutted at the way you left him?”
I pouted, upset at the reminder. “Quite.”
“Again, poor man. I’m so glad I never fancied you that way when you’re as unattainable as they come.”
I scoffed. “Don’t be silly, Jason. Anyway, it’s okay. I don’t think you would’ve liked him. He’s very blunt, and rude.”
Jason was far too down-to-earth, and frankly idealistic in his nature, to tolerate a brutal force like William. If there existed a single person who could make Jason lose his temper, I was confident that William was that person.
“You’d be surprised. Is he a solicitor?”
“Points to you for guiding us to the right spot, because yes, he is.”
“Yeah, well, don’t forget that my dad founded a law firm. I’m used to their ways. I’ve collected the necessary patience with time.”
Amused, I watched him stand from the sofa. “Livy,” he reminded me and pointed in my direction. After I nodded my head, he pointed to himself. “I’ll mind the food.”