Incandescence (Part I)

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Truths

Fortunately I’ve never been one to drink in excess. I woke up remembering everything that happened in the early hours of the morning; knowing full well I would need to get up and deal with my unwanted guests.

After showering I put on my gym gear which was made up of black tights a crop top and hoodie that I threw on last minute unzipped. I pulled my hair into a high ponytail and made my way downstairs. When everyone leaves, I’m going to hit the gym and enjoy a much-needed workout, I thought to myself!

It was 9:00am when I spotted Bradley seated in the corner of my living room, he was staring intently at his phone. He looked refreshed and wide awake; judging by his state it was obvious he hadn’t had much to drink the night before. He looked ready to take on the world. This got me thinking, why did he feel the need to spend the night at my place when he wasn’t intoxicated and could have easily made his own way home. Maybe he was just tired and needed somewhere to crash.

Breaking my thoughts, I greeted Bradley with a ‘Good Morning’ as I walked past him and into the kitchen. I didn’t look at him directly, nor did I wait for his reply. Knowing Bradley wasn’t one for conversations, I made my way to the kitchen and turned on my coffee machine. ‘Espresso?’ I casually called out to Bradley (remembering he ordered an Espresso at lunch at Poppy’s Café). ‘Thanks’ I heard him reply.

I made our coffees, grabbed some Portuguese Tarts, put everything on a tray and made my way to the living room to join Bradley.

‘Did you sleep well?’ I asked while handing him his coffee. I always struggled conversing with Bradley as he was never receptive. That said, I was genuinely hoping my guest, who was also my boss, slept comfortably.

‘Why do you live in such a large house?’ Bradley asked almost expressionless. His question seemed strange, he definitely made no attempt to answer my question, so I could only assume he slept well.

Before answering I considered his question. I couldn’t help but wonder what his house looked like, no doubt he lived in a multi-million dollar mansion; my home would pale in size by comparison. I felt I had paused long enough, so clearing my head of all other thoughts I replied 'I like the space and privacy my home offers. To me, this is homely, I grew up in a similar sized house and it’s what I always wanted.'

‘Fair enough’ came his reply. ‘I have business to tend to. Thanks for the coffee. I take it you can handle Jacob without me staying?’ Bradley stated and stood up.

I was getting head spins at how quickly Bradley’s train of thought would change. I was confused. How could Bradley be so successful in business when he couldn’t even hold a conversation without abruptly changing topics midway. I hated trying to psychoanalyze people, but Bradley was certainly a strange case.

‘Sure’ I muttered as I walked Bradley to the door and said goodbye.

I sat in my living room pondering the conversation I just had. I couldn’t understand why his behavior was so bizarre. I really was eager to find out what he and Jacob got up to yesterday when I left them at Poppy’s Café. Did they converse and if so, what did they talk about? Was Bradley actually able to hold a conversation? Was he bizarre around others or was it just me? I’d seen the way Mr Salvatore and Leonard acted towards other manager's that they disliked; yet they were friendly and civil towards me. Could it be Bradley just doesn’t like me and didn’t want to sit around in my home for any longer in my presence.

My thoughts shifted from Bradley to Jacob. The truth was, as much as I wanted to know what happened yesterday afternoon and evening; I really didn’t want Jacob waking up as that would mean spending time with him. These past few months without him, I had moved on. I really wasn’t in love with him and just wished he would understand. Yes, I enjoyed his company, but I really didn’t want to spend quality time with him. Truth be known, I actually enjoyed spending time alone.

I heard footsteps and looked up to see Jacob. ‘Morning’ I greeted him.

‘Hey’, he replied looking a tad confused. ‘Can I ask what I’m doing at your place?’

I just laughed and gave him a short summary of what had happened several hours earlier (conveniently leaving out his declaration of love to me).

Jacob put his hand in his pocket before cursing.

‘What’s wrong?’ I asked

‘I remember taking out my wallet and giving Bradley my Drivers Licence so that he could drive me home last night. Any chance you can call Bradley? I think my wallet is still in his car’

‘Sure’ I stated and dialed Bradley’s number before handing my phone to Jacob; they briefly chatted before Jacob gave me my phone back. After a few minutes I received a text message from Bradley saying he found Jacobs wallet and we could pick it up from the office.

Whilst reading Bradley’s message I had flashbacks to the night before. Had Bradley taken advantage of Jacob’s drunken state and deliberately brought him to my home even after Jacob had given him is Drivers Licence and home address? If that were the case why would Bradley do that and more importantly, how did Bradley know my where I lived?

I made my way into the kitchen to make Jacob a coffee as Amelia made her way down to greet me. ‘Where’s Bradley?’ I heard her whisper while looking around. ‘He left a while back’ I replied, giving her a sympathetic smile because looked disappointed.

‘He had to go to work, but the good news is we need to go there with Jacob to pick up his wallet; so if you help me out with something, I’ll let you join us’. And with that I had Amelia’s full support.

In the car Amelia did the talking. I was so grateful she was with us as I couldn’t handle being alone with Jacob. 'So' she started, ‘what did you boys get up to yesterday?’

I was focused on the road but listening intently to their conversation.

‘Gosh Amelia you can be nosey’ Jacob sighed. ‘But if you must know, after Tori left, we had a coffee and a chat. We talked mostly business. Then Bradley got a message from some friends and invited me to join. We had a few drinks before I told him I was going home. I was surprised when he left his friends and offered to drive me home' Jacob paused before continuing 'I gave Bradley my wallet so he could put my address in his GPS; but then he got another message and we agreed to stopped at a club first. I honestly don’t remember what happened at the club, but I found myself at Tori’s place this morning. Is my explanation enough Miss Nosey or is there anything else you want to know?’

‘Seeing you offered, there is one thing I’d like to know; did Bradley have a girlfriend’?

‘Amelia’ Jacob and I said in unison.

‘What? You offered Jacob, so tell me. Please’. Rolling his eyes Jacob told Amelia that he hadn’t met a girlfriend; though he did watch girls virtually throwing themselves at Bradley all night.

‘I think he’s a good guy’ Jacob stated out of the blue.

‘Why’s that?’ I found myself asking.

‘All night Bradley had girls throwing themselves at him. Whether it was because of his looks or his money, who knows. Not once did I see him take advantage of anyone. When I told him I was leaving it was because all the girls were annoying me; Bradley looked equally annoyed and I think that’s why he offered to take me home. I really think he just wanted to get away from them all’.

We didn’t say much after that. Jacob was acting like he had found his new best friend; Amelia was acting like she’d just discovered the love of her life and I continued to drive, wondering why Bradley’s behavior seemed so erratic.

Before I knew it, we pulled up at BL Corp. We quickly headed up to the 8th Floor and found Bradley in his office. I was actually embarrassed that my boss had to endure all the drama my life had presented over the past 24-hours. I wanted to be the professional manager and at the moment I felt like a problematic teenager.

Standing back, I let Jacob grab his wallet from Bradley; they chatted briefly before we left the office. Amelia and Jacob both needed to stop off at the shopping centre, so I dropped them off and headed straight to my gym. I was planning on spending the next few hours working out and de-stressing.

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