The Rules Series

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Broken Rules 5: Aurora

Landon drives us into the centre of the city in the Lexus. It is a beautiful morning. The sun is shining and there is none of that awful city smog that my mother regularly complains about. I take the opportunity to take in the view. Although I’ve lived in London for most of my life, it is still one of my favourite cities. I love the architecture. I love the culture. I even love the underground, much to my parents’ irritation. Landon parks just outside a small opulent brasserie on the side of the river Thames. I didn’t even know that this restaurant existed; it was completely new to me, just like everything else Landon had shown me. That catches me off guard. I think I’m still in shock from all the things I’ve done with this man. My poor brain is still trying to process everything. “This is one of my favourite restaurants,” he tells me with a smile as he leads me into Thorpe’s.

“Landon,” a gentleman in a suite rushes forward and envelopes Landon in a bear hug, “good to see you mate. We weren’t expecting you until this evening.” He is an attractive man. He looks as if he was about the same age as Landon. He has a friendly, approachable face that makes you want to get to know him. His easy familiarity with Landon makes me think they must be good friends.

“Well, we fancied some breakfast,” Landon replies, pulling me closer as he does, his friend’s eyes narrow at Landon’s gesture. It’s unexpected. He’s confused. Has he never seen Landon with a girl before? “Jarrod, this is Aurora. Aurora, meet Jarrod. Jarrod is an old friend. He owns this restaurant as well as several others.”

“Part owns,” comes a voice from behind us. I turn to see another man in a suite. Fricking heck; what is with all the men in suites? Before last night I barely ever had the privilege of seeing a good suite, unless I was attending a charity function for my mother or meeting my father for lunch that is. And now, suddenly they are everywhere.

“Meet my business partner, Jack,” Jarrod laughs. “Anyway let’s get you both a table. It’s a pleasure to meet you Aurora.”

When we are finally left alone, after our orders have been taken, Landon grins at me across the table before asking, “these rules... how many did we break last night?”

“A few,” I blush again. Seriously! What was with this man that had me blushing all the time? And why is he so focused on the rules? Now that I’ve broken a few of them I just want to pretend they never existed but it doesn’t look like Landon is going to let me do that.

“Tell me,” he presses, “I want to hear you say it.”

“Err...” I really don’t know how much I want to tell him. “Well, I went home with you. That in itself was against the rules.”

“Going home with a stranger?” he askes, completely focused on me.

“Yeah,” I nod.

“What else?”

“The lift... what you did in the lift,” I’m not just blushing now; I am probably the colour of a tomato.

“I wanted to do more in the lift,” He tells me candidly.

“I wanted to too,” I whisper.

He breathes in heavily; I think I’ve surprised him again, much to my excitement.

“We had sex.”

“We did,” he nods, “was that against the rules?”

“Yes.”

“Because I’m a stranger?” he asks, his voice is husky and I think he’s turned on. It amazes me that this beautiful man is turned on merely by the thought of sex with me.

“No because we’re not married,” I tell him in a rush. This is possibly the most embarrassing part of my parents’ rules. Even though I think their reasoning is archaic I have done everything I could to honour their wishes.

His eyes dart wide in shock. He really wasn’t expecting that. “Do you mean to tell me... you’ve never...” He can’t finish what he was saying.

I shake my head, suddenly feeling incredibly anxious. I can’t help but fear that he will laugh at me. I really don’t want him to laugh at me. I straighten my back; preparing to receive a mockingly cruel joke but it doesn’t come.

“Oh,” he looks lost, “I didn’t realise. I guess we did break a lot of rules last night...” He gives me a cheeky grin, “and this morning.”

I laugh gently, “Yeah we did.” I let out a breath I hadn’t realised I was holding in.

“I broke a few of my own rules too,” he says as he leans across the table to take my hand. The easy admission makes me smile. I appreciate the gesture. “I never let women stay at my apartment and I certainly never take them out for breakfast or let them sleep in my bed.” As I try to work out what he means our food arrives and he lets go of my hand so that he can pick up his cutlery.

We eat in silence. It isn’t unpleasant or awkward, but rather quite comfortable. I’d never understood the concept of an easy silence, usually I felt awkward as if I had to make an effort to entertain the other person but this was different. I don’t feel like I have to try with Landon. I can just be.

Landon looks at me seriously as he finishes off his plate of bacon, sausage and eggs – a good old English breakfast. I get the impression he is making a decision, “I want to continue helping you with your little rule problem.”

I’m surprised by his words. Last night, I had got the impression he didn’t really date and his next words confirm my previous thoughts: “I usually don’t see the same woman twice but I want to see you again. Last night was...”

I’m blushing again as I recall exactly what last night was. “Okay,” I answer him, “I’d like to see you again too.”

“Good,” he glances at his watch, “I’ve got to get to work but I would like to drive you home, if that’s okay.” There’s no question in his tone; it sounds more like a demand. This is what he wants; he will have it.

I nod my head, too shy to tell him just how alright that is with me. I want to spend more time with him. He asks a waitress for the bill; pays it and then takes my hand once more as he pulls me out of the restaurant, not stopping to say goodbye to his friends. He opens the passenger door of his car and waits for me to slide in before closing the door for me. He joins me in the car moments later. The tension from last night is back. It’s like fire prickling my skin. I want him to touch me but his focus is on the road in front of him. My focus is on him. Just on him. He glances over at me and catches me watching him. He takes one hand off the wheel and places it on my thigh, drawing circles over the material of my jeans. Even through my clothes my body reacts to him powerfully. I’m barely able to restrain myself, aware that if I do what I want to do I’ll probably cause a crash. I don’t immediately notice when we pull up in front of my building. When I do, I’m surprised, “how do you know where I live?”

“Henry,” is all he says in response.

I give him a questioning look, waiting for an explanation. I need an explanation. There is a sudden, uneasy feeling in my chest and I really don’t like it.

“Henry is not just my driver but the Head of Security at my company. He found out where you lived so that I would be able to bring you home.”

I nod. I can’t decide if I’m surprised or not. Thinking about it, I know that that information is a matter of public record. All you would have to do is check the most recent census, but something about it makes me feel perturbed. I almost decide not to dwell on it when I realise that I never gave him my last name. “But... you didn’t know anything about me. You only knew my first name.”

“Aurora,” he looks unsure as if he’s trying to decide how to proceed. “It’s a small city.”

“It’s a small city?” I really don’t know what he means. It’s not that small a city. It’s the fricking capital. That isn’t an acceptable answer so I wait, an eyebrow raised. What the fuck isn’t he telling me?

He breathes out in a huff, “I recognised you last night. I think. I can’t explain it.”

“Try,” my tone has changed now. It’s not timid or shy. Instead I sound stubborn. This is not okay. I’m as far from comfortable right now as it is possible to be. If he turns out to be some sort of stalker or something, I am going to the police. He had been staring at me, watching me, with intense eyes and a brooding expression last night in the bar. What the hell have I got myself into. I’m panicking. Literally panicking.

He doesn’t respond. I look at him before sighing, “fine.” I open the car door and step out not responding when I hear him call me back. I’m proud of myself and when I finally get into my building I let out a haggard breath.

There’s a harsh knock at the door that I’m leaning against. “Aurora?” he asks loudly from the other side of the door. I don’t want him to ring the bell because then my friends will have thousands of questions and Cam will probably go all protective brother on his arse and someone will end up with a black eye and some bruised ribs. I breathe deeply; preparing myself for what is waiting for me outside the safety of my buildings hallway.

“My company does business with Stone Publishing,” the words are out of his mouth before I even have the door fully open.

“And...” I press. I’m not sure I like where this is going. This isn’t much better than the idea of him being my stalker.

“I’ve been to your parents’ house more times than I can count. I met your father when I was a young boy. My father helped him finance the publishing house in the beginning. They are friends.”

I really don’t know how to respond. “Our mothers do charity work together. Your parents talk about you often and their house is covered in photos of you and your sister. I’d recognise you anywhere.” That’s why I recognised his name; Peters. Lauren Peters; my mother’s friend.

“But last night...” I don’t know how to say what I know I need to say. This is not okay. He lied and I don’t like lies. Not because they are on my parents’ list of rules but because I just don’t like them. My family are very good at lies; very good at secrets. They make out they are all transparent and perfect; but they are not. They are far from it. My mother, the perfect Michelle Stone practically has a drinking problem and my little sister is estranged from our parents. Our family is very good at lying. They are also very good at lying to me. I don’t want him to lie to me too.

“Last night, I wanted you for myself so I didn’t tell you about the connection. You were trying to break their rules.”

I nod. I take a breath, “I need to go inside.” I can’t believe I told someone who knows my family all of that stuff about the rules. If he tells anyone I am so dead.

“Can I call you?” He asks suddenly seeming unsure of himself.

I really don’t know what to say, except that I know I want to see him again. Even though he’s lied to me, I want him. The air is still crackling with the sexual tension that is between us and I know that trying to avoid it would be pointless, so without saying anything, I kiss him softly on the lips. He leans into the kiss and the anxiety that has his body tense evaporates leaving him free to kiss me back. I pull back before things get out of hand.

“See you,” I say gently to him.

“We’re okay though?” the uncertainty is still there but it’s less apparent.

“It’s not okay that you lied to me Landon,” I tell him severely and I try to pretend not to see when he blanches, “but I still want to see you again. I still want to get to know you.”

“That sounds fair,” he steps back, running an anxious hand through his hair, “I better get to work.”

I nod. Not saying anything as I watch him walk away from me. He glances at me once before climbing into the front seat of his car. The windows to his car might be tinted but I get the feeling he’s watching me watch him. It’s as if we are staring into each others’ gaze somehow. The electric current that is between us is still present in the air around me as I feel his eyes on me so I smile at him before stepping inside in an effort to regain some of the control I’ve given away.

Cameron and Tallulah are sat on the sofa watching TV when I walk in. “Look who it is,” Cameron grins, “Dirty little stop out much?” He winks at me.

Tallulah hits him across the head, “says you! You only arrived back twenty minutes ago.”

Cameron shrugs “but we all know I’m a whore,” he grins before opening his arms for me invitingly, “come here my little school teacher.”

I make my way over and take a seat between them, leaning into Cameron’s hug. As soon as I’m sat down Tallulah pounces with questions, “soooo what happened?” she asks, “did you? How was it? He was hot! What was his name? You do know his name right? Will you see him again?”

“Breathe Lou,” Cameron chuckles, “one question at a time. Don’t scare the poor girl. Do I need to punch him?” That is the only question that he cares about; my protective big brother.

“No Cam, you do not need to punch him,” although I know that if I tell him everything he won’t agree with me. He’d be out the door in a shot, looking for a fight.

“His name is Landon,” I tell them, “he took me out for breakfast this morning.” I try to distract them from the details; Tallulah from the details of last night and Cameron from the details of my conversation just five minutes ago.

“Did you do it?” Cameron asks with a smirk, “Is our little girl all grown up?” He can be so teasing sometimes.

I blush. I think I might have blushed more in the last twenty four hours than I ever have in my life.

“You did!” Tallulah screams. “I knew it!”

I laugh, “I’ve got to get ready. I have a class in an hour. I need to get going,” I tell them as I get up to leave.

“This conversation isn’t over miss!” Tallulah calls as I walk out of the room. As I carry on down the hall towards my bedroom, I can hear her and Cameron talking, “what have you got planned today Cam?”

“Library and then I’m going to meet up with Zara tonight,” Cameron was telling her. I couldn’t help but wonder who Zara was. I’d never heard of her before.

“The girl from last night?” Tallulah asks.

“Yup,” Cameron answers both of our questions in one, “are you going to speak to the office; see if they’ll let you transfer?”

“Not today.”

“Lou,” I can tell from the sound of his voice that he is trying so hard not to ask her a dozen questions. “Tomorrow?”

“Perhaps…” he voice is quiet.

When I reach my room, I close the door and pull my phone out of my purse. The battery has died during the night and I haven’t got time to charge it now; I’ll have to charge it in the car. I pull out a pair of jean shorts and a navy jumper. It’s a beautiful day, so I decide to make the most of it. It won’t last; it’s November so I know the weather will only get worse until it is officially winter. Tallulah and Cameron will laugh at my outfit. They think I don’t feel the cold. Tallulah’s already got her scarf and gloves ready. I put a bit of make-up on, just a bit of foundation and mascara, and grab my notes for class. I spend about ten minutes searching for my car keys before finding them under my bed. I frown. I must have thrown them down there last night as I rushed to get ready. I hurry out of the room and down the hallway, calling out to Lou and Cameron when I reach the door, “see you guys later.”

I take the lift down to the car park and find my green BMW in my parking spot. As soon as I turn the engine on, I plug in my phone to charge it and put some music on. My phone comes to life. There are two missed calls, both from my mother and a couple of texts from Tallulah, asking about last night but there is nothing from Landon. I reverse out of my parking spot and leave the car park.

The traffic is awful and I’m almost certain I’m going to be late. The sound of my phoning ringing fills the car. I press a button on my steering wheel and answer the call. “Hello?”

“Hi darling,” I hear my mum through the car’s stereo.

“Hello mum,” I reply. “Sorry I missed your calls.”

“It’s okay darling. I just wanted to see how you were and ask if you are still coming round for dinner tonight.”

“Of course,” I’ve completely forgotten, “Is Ali coming?” I ask because I always ask. But she won’t be coming. She joins us for family birthdays and anniversaries and that’ about it.

“No,” my mother sounds disappointed, “Aileen is busy studying. She has a big test tomorrow.”

“That’s a shame,” I tell her, “Maybe next time.” Although I very much doubt that I’ll be seeing my sister at my parents’ house anytime soon. I don’t really know what she has against them but they really aren’t her favourite people at the moment.

I turn into the university car park, “I’ve got to go mum. I’ve got a lecture in a few moments. I’m going to head to the library after class and then I’ll come home.”

“What time should I expect you?” she asks eagerly.

“About five,” I tell her.

“Okay darling. Speak to you then,” she hangs up and the music starts up again just in time for me to turn off the engine.

I’m only two minutes late. The lecturer hasn’t even started, so I sigh in relief as I take my seat next to Grace. “Hey,” I say to her as I pull my textbook out of my bag.

“Hi,” Grace says quietly as the lecture starts, “what have you been up to?” She’s a pretty girl; mousey coloured hair that frames her face. Her eyes are dark and her skin has a rose complexion.

“Tallulah came home so we went out last night,” I tell her.

“Oh great,” Grace had met Tallulah and Cameron a few times. “Where did you go?”

I cover my mouth as I whisper back in an attempt to prevent the lecturer seeing us talking, “we went to the Kent Mockery. You know the new place on the Kings Road? I really like it there.”

“I went there the other night with Ayesha and Caitlyn. They absolutely loved it. The barman’s pretty hot too.”

“I can’t say I noticed,” I reply as I try to recall the bartender, “I was a bit distracted.”

“Really? By what?” She asks, “or was it a who?” She winks at me.

“I met someone,” I tell her quietly.

“Tell me everything,” she grins. I love Grace. She’s got to be one of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Nothing gets her down. She has two emotional states; happy and happier.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” I’m not sure how much I want to share. I look at my phone. No messages. “I stayed at his last night.”

Her eyes grow wide with shock, “nice. Are you going to see him again?”

“I don’t know. I hope so,” I tell her honestly. Although the more I think about it, the more unlikely it seems to become. He didn’t even take my number. Shoot; well that’s that then. For all his words maybe it really was just one night. Otherwise he would have asked for my number. The disappointment surprisingly floors me. I had really wanted to see him again.

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