Flipping through the papers on my desk, I exhale heavily.
I can’t concentrate.
I’ve been alone with my thoughts since dropping Imogen off at school this morning, and it’s not a friendly place. One night stands are meant to be fuss free and easy—not resulting in a fucking baby.
I’ve not heard from Jolie either, which I find unnerving. It isn’t that I want her to be plaguing me with text messages and calls, but it’s a strange feeling to think a woman I barely know is carrying our baby around without wanting to communicate with me at all.
I’m not used to it.
The door swings open and Danny shuffles in, still embarrassed about the whole Layton James thing. His hair sticks up in tufts around his ears, despite the obvious attempt to plaster it to his head with copious amounts of gel. He should shave it off.
“Three sales already,” he says proudly, handing me the finance documents.
I raise an eyebrow, smiling at him politely.
Danny hovers, and I look back at him.
“Um, I wondered if I could request Friday off. It’s my sister’s birthday and Mum wants to take us all to Alton Towers.”
I’m not an arsehole. I like to think I’m approachable, and despite Danny acting like slick Rick last week, I give the kid a break.
“Yep, no worries. Let Angel know.”
His face colours at the thought of speaking to Angel, my twenty year old receptionist. Caramel skin and thick thighs, curves that command attention with every movement, and her Barbadian accent that reduces most of my men to wrecks. She’s a sweet girl, and I make sure none of the men fuck with her.
“Danny, get a grip mate.”
Danny’s eyes fly open as he nods, his head bobbing up and down frantically as he backs out of the room.
I return my gaze to the papers, but the door opens again. This time it’s Chris, one of my top mechanics. He’s a great bloke too, and I have a lot of time for him.
“Morning, mate,” I greet him, as he nods at me in response. “How was the move?”
Chris stretches his arms above his head, yawning.
“Not bad. Got a pretty sexy neighbour that needs some bodywork, though.”
“Yeah?” I grin, pleased to see Chris back to his old self. A recent break up has meant he had to move house, and he has been a miserable bastard for some time.
“On her car, but in so many other ways, if you get me.”
I nod, a chuckle escaping my lips. “Nice.”
“Can I bring it in as a favour?” He asks, stroking his jaw thoughtfully.
“Yeah man, of course. I’m assuming she isn’t paying?”
He laughs, and amusement dances in his eyes. Chris is the son of a notorious gangster from London, and his mother is a model from Argentina. Basically, he’s a good looking bastard with the charm of the devil.
Even I can’t resist him, so this woman has no chance.
“If that’s okay, boss.”
I wave my hand dismissively. Chris could earn a lot more money working elsewhere, so whatever I can do to keep him happy.
“She’s fucking beautiful.”
“Yeah. I dunno if she’s single, but… damn. I hope so.”
“Wait, you sound almost serious,” I arch an eyebrow at him. “What about Sia?”
His eyes flash with anger, and he shrugs his shoulders defiantly.
“Well, good luck. Go seduce her.”
Chris winks at me, rising from the chair with ease.
“She’s a nice girl. Plus she lives right across the road so I don’t wanna shit on my own doorstep.”
“Okay, well in that case, treat her nicely.”
Chris laughs, pulling the door open. I notice Angel watching him from her desk, licking her plump lips eagerly.
Chris can have anyone he wants. This girl must be something special.
My phone taunts me with it’s empty screen, and I chew on my lip. I don’t want to bombard Jolie, but she did agree to us getting to know one another. We have the scan Friday, but I want to see her before then.
For the babies sake, of course.
I don’t want a relationship, but I do kind of feel obliged to try, considering this will be my second child.
Hi, how are you today? Any chance we can meet up this week?
Not too desperate. Pleasant, and friendly. My stomach flips when she replies instantly.
Morning. I’m okay, considering it’s Monday and I feel as sick as a dog. I’ve got tonnes to do with work, but how about you come round for dinner on Wednesday?
I’m supposed to be seeing my old uni mates on Wednesday, but this is more important.
Sounds amazing. I’ll pick some food up on the way if you like? Sorry to hear you aren’t well, is there anything I can do?
Are you sure? And no, you’ve done enough ;)
I laugh then, shaking my head. Sense of humour, I like it.
Pizza? Chinese? Indian? You name it. Sorry, but you did ask for it.
Pizza? Don’t remind me. See you Wednesday around 7?
Don’t remind me? What was that supposed to mean?
Yeah, see you then.
The next day I’m still floating around in a bubble of whatthefuck. Marianne made my favourite meal of steak and chips last night, and I still wasn’t feeling it.
How has it come to this?
Two kids, two different Mums. Larah is great, and I’m thankful that despite everything we manage to remain good friends. I still miss her, though.
After Larah left me, I’d had three very pointless, shallow relationships. Each one was brief, and taught me a different lesson.
Helen was the psycho, proving that working in a library didn’t mean you were sweet and demure.
Jessica was insatiable, sex crazed and kinky as fuck. That was fine until I found her in bed with two other men.
Laura was okay, all beauty and fuck all brains though.
Which left me how I am now—sworn off relationships. Even Larah had agreed I was cursed in the relationship department, and most women only seem interested in my money and my looks.
I know I’m not ugly, but I’m not full of myself. Losing Larah showed me that no matter what you have, everything can be taken away from you in an instant, and you’re powerless to stop it.
I was drunk when Jolie approached me in the bar, but I’d already clocked her countless times. Taking her home hadn’t been a question, especially when I kissed her for the first time.
It was like taking a first sip of water after being dehydrated. I lost myself with her.
When I woke up and found her gone, I was half disappointed and half grateful. Who knew what that shit would’ve ended up like?
Chris barges in my office, a shit eating grin on his face.
“Someone’s happy,” I drawl, trying not to feel envious.
“You’ve got no idea.”
I wait, lifting my eyebrow for the details. “Well?”
“Nah she’s a nice girl. I’m not saying shit.”
What the fuck?
“You’re holding out on your boss, Chris?” I chuckle, shaking my head.
“A gentleman never tells,” he laughed. “But I’m having a housewarming party Friday night. Will you grace us with your presence?”
“Will I get to meet the amazing girl?” I ask, wishing I had Imogen this weekend just to get out of it.
“She said she’ll be there,” shrugs Chris, and I nod slowly.
“I’ll stop by.”
“Great. I’ll ask a couple of the guys, and maybe Angel.”
“Chris, you know she has it bad for you,” I remind him. “Probably not wise with your new thing on your arm.”
Chris waves me away dismissively, as Rad approaches the door. I nod at him, and Chris makes a hasty exit.
Rad isn’t the sort of guy who has many friends.
“Rad,” I respond, as he slumps into the seat before me. He looks like shit, and I wonder if him and his old woman have sorted things out yet. “How’s things?”
“I’m fucking tired, Jax. Tired of being fucking tired.”
“You’re burning the candle at both ends. You know having a legitimate job alongside well—the other stuff—is hard work. Sometimes one has to give,” I say quietly, as he gazes at me with a hard stare.
“Like you, you mean? I’m not the salt of the earth, Jax. I didn’t get the decent upbringing or the fucking bedtime story. The one good thing I had has gone, and I’m fucking tired of it.”
Rad and I have been friends a long time. He’s one of my closest friends, and I hate seeing him like this. Strangely, we had nothing to do with each other in a personal capacity. Our friendship existed within this office, and our dealings only went as far as the business.
I couldn’t even tell you his favourite colour.
“How’s the club?” I ask, and Rad cuts his eyes at me.
“Still standing. Rocky is as unpredictable as ever. He brought a fucking head in a bag to the meeting last night. Turns out some cunt cut him up at the lights and he beheaded him.”
Even I balk at this.
“Yeah. Stone is pissed. He thinks he’s a liability.”
Stone led the brotherhood in which Rad belonged to. I’d been there once, but left for Larah and Imogen.
Fat lot of good that did me.
“He’s reckless,” Rad continues, examining the paperweight on my desk. “But you know ever since Liza died—”
I nod solemnly.
“You did the right thing, Jax. Getting out,” Rad mumbles, pulling his phone out. “You’ve got a beautiful girl, man. You’re lucky.”
“I wonder how many kids you’ve got,” I laugh, and Rad shakes his head.
“I don’t think I can have kids man, I swear, not a single pregnancy scare.”
“How’s it going with the ex?”
Rad huffs, rolling his eyes at me.
“She’s being a real fucking bitch. Won’t even lay with me anymore,” he mutters.
“I’m sorry, man.”
“She’ll come around. Just needs time. I won’t fuck up again, I just need her to believe me.”
“You’re hardly short on women, Romeo,” I wink, and he smirks.
“Yeah, but she’s different. Can’t explain it. But she’s right though, we fight like cat and dog. But fuck like a devil and an angel, ya know?”
“She came back the other night from some dude's house. Smelt of fucking man,” he says darkly, his eyes clouding over with rage.
I don’t pity the guy, at all. Rad will kill him.
“None of my fucking business she says,” Rad growls. “Like she’s not mine.”
When did my office turn into a fucking therapy suite?
“Do I need to start charging you for this session man, or what? I’ve got a business to run,” I remind him, leaning back in my chair as he gazes past me, not hearing a word.
“I don’t know how to get her back, Jax.”
Rad sounds wounded, and I can’t help but pity the guy.
“Just tell her how you feel. If you can’t get her back, you can’t. Sometimes you have to accept it.”
“She ain’t a carpet muncher, Jax.”
“Just talk to her.”
But what he does with his ex is nothing to do with me.
I’ve got my own problems