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If only, p.10

If Only..., page 10


If Only...

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  “It’s not funny, Cole.”

  “It is, because I didn’t see them until you just pointed them out,” I tell her. “I was watching the five guys that are surfing. Two of them are wearing coral-coloured shorts, two are in black shorts and one guy is in a pair of trunks.” I watch her eyes narrow as she looks at them.

  “That could have just been a lucky guess,” she says grumpily.

  I’m not sure how to handle her because I’ve never seen Evie like this before. “What is this?”

  “I don’t know,” she says with a shrug. “I was just feeling a bit insecure, I guess.”

  “You have no reason to be insecure,” I tell her. I lean over and pull at the strings of her bikini top. It quickly falls down the front of her, revealing her perfectly pert tits. “Now those are a pair of tits that I would gladly stare at all day long.”

  She laughs and slaps my arm. “I’m sorry for being a pain,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit here and let you perv on me.”

  When she tries to cover herself up, I jump off the sunbed, throw her over my shoulder and run across the sand.

  “Shit, this sand is hot,” I say as it burns my feet.

  She giggles against my back. “Serves you right.”

  I slap her bum and run straight into the freezing-cold sea with her. She gasps when the water rides over her legs, and I feel her nipples harden against my back. I flip her over and dunk her into the water.

  She coughs when she resurfaces and splashes me with water. “I can’t believe you did that!” she shrieks.

  I pull her into me and feel her legs move up to my waist. “There is no other woman on the planet that could ever compare to you, Evie. I’ll gladly perv on you and you alone for the rest of my life.”

  She presses her salty lips against mine and kisses me.

  “Now, how about that siesta?” I ask.


  My feet are killing me. I’m wearing my brand new Kurt Geiger court shoes that haven’t been broken in properly, and the sandwich I had for lunch really didn’t fill me up. I’m pissed off, hormonal and hungry. Not the best combination on a normal day, never mind a day where your boss has snapped at you and your ex-boyfriend has constantly been an arsehole.

  I quickly flick through the receipts Cole left on my desk while I was at lunch and notice one for a meal for two that he had last night. I halve it and total the rest before sending an email off to the expenses department. Once I receive confirmation that it’s been sent, I log off my computer and switch my screen off.

  “There seems to be thirty-four pounds missing from these expenses,” Cole says when I stand up a short while later. I pull the skirt of my pale blue dress down and stare at him.

  “There was a receipt for a meal for two people in there,” I say. “I don’t recall anyone authorising you to pay for other people’s meals.”

  He leans back and smirks at me. “Have you done Gerard’s expenses yet?”

  “No. Why?”

  He shakes his head. “No reason.”

  I click my tongue at him and bend over to grab my bag.

  “Are you even wearing any knickers today?” he asks.

  I spin around. “I beg your pardon?”

  His mouth twitches. “I think you heard.”

  My mouth drops open. Did he really just say that to me? I look around to make sure no one else heard, then walk over to his desk and lean over it. “It’s none of your fucking business if I’m wearing knickers or not.”

  He looks up at me through lowered lashes and smiles that breathtakingly gorgeous smile of his.

  I feel panicked because I don’t know what to do with this new Cole. “I’m going,” I say.

  “I’ll walk down with you,” he says.

  “Don’t bother,” I reply, pulling my bag over my shoulder.

  I hear him shut his drawer and push back from his desk. He reaches me before I make it out of the room and pulls the door open for me. I slip through the gap without saying anything.

  He beats me to the lift and stabs at the button. It’s empty when it gets to us, allowing Cole to stride in and stand at the back. I keep my eyes down as I slowly step into the lift and stand near the front.

  The lift ends up stopping at every floor, and by the time we get down to the first floor, its almost reached maximum capacity. I move backwards to let more people in and feel my back smack against Cole’s chest at the same that that my bum brushes up against his crotch. I gasp when I feel him immediately harden, and then I quickly take a step away from him—but not quick enough.

  I felt him . . . and he knows that I felt him.

  I stare at the ground. I stare at the ceiling. I stare at every other person in the lift while trying not to listen to Cole’s breathing directly behind me. My body has disgustingly responded to his arousal. I can feel my heart hammering in my chest and there’s a fire in my stomach starting to burn.

  The lift finally reaches the ground floor, but no one seems to be in as much of a rush as I am to get out. I impatiently try to squeeze my way past, and just as I’m about to walk out behind the lot of them, Cole grabs my arm and pulls me back in until I’m flush against him. He leans around me and presses the button, closing the doors and sending the lift back up again.

  “Can you feel that?” he growls, curling his fingers tightly around my shoulder. “Can you feel what you still do to me?”

  I don’t say anything, and I don’t look at him. Of course I can feel it. It’s currently poking me in the back.

  “All it took was one innocent brush of your arse against my dick and you’ve got me so hard that I can’t walk out of this fucking lift.”

  “You’re engaged,” I finally whisper. What I should have told him was to let go of me. I should have told him that I was going to report him for sexual harassment. I should have threatened to tell Gerard all about his fake CV.

  “If I wasn’t,” he says, “I’d have had you by now.”

  The lift pings on the second floor and he pushes me off him until I slump against the side. I still haven’t looked up at him, because I’m too ashamed to admit that what just happened turned me on.

  “Excuse me,” he says as the doors are opening. “I need to go and beat off.”

  He walks out without looking back, leaving me panting as the lift doors slide closed. The thought of him wanking over me is too much. I pull my notepad from my bag and fan myself as the lift descends again.

  “What are you doing?” asks Steph as she walks into the living room with a towel wrapped around her.

  I told her all about the lift episode when I arrived home, and she got annoyingly excited by it all. “I’m looking for him on Facebook.”


  “I really don’t know,” I say as I type his new name in.

  “I thought you didn’t have a Facebook profile?”

  “I don’t,” I tell her, hitting the enter button.

  “So you’re on mine?”

  I nod. Within seconds, his face appears, and he’s snuggling against a very attractive blonde.

  “Is that her?” Steph asks.

  I click on his profile and immediately go to his pictures. “Looks like it,” I say, noticing her long blonde hair and pale blue eyes. “She’s pretty.”

  “Not as pretty as you.”

  I click on a few of his photos and show them to Steph.

  “He’s still a good-looking fucker,” she says.

  “He’s better looking, I think. I never would have thought that was possible.”

  “But what is it with these two?” Steph says, bending down to get a closer look. “Are they adrenaline junkies or something?”

  She starts to click through some more pictures, and I see what she means. There are pictures of them parachuting, jumping out of planes, bungee jumping and swimming with sharks. There were even more, but Steph has already clicked on his fiancée’s profile and is currently skimming down her news feed.

  “Nothing of interest
there, really,” she says. “They seem to go on holiday an awful lot. I wonder where he gets his money from.”

  So do I.

  “She keeps tagging herself at bridal shops and flower shops and stuff,” Steph points out.

  “I can’t stand the thought of him marrying someone else,” I confess.

  Steph moves away from the screen and turns to face me. “Have you talked about it yet?”

  I shake my head and shrug. “He’s not mentioned anything about it.”

  “I think you should tell him,” she says. “You’re pissed off and angry with him, and you blame him for Nico’s death. I get that—God, do I get that. But I think you know it was an accident, and I think you can forgive him for that. What you can’t forgive him for is how he chose to ignore you and everything else that was going on. Why didn’t he ask you about it the last time you saw him? Why hasn’t he asked you about it now? Why did he refuse to see you in prison when you requested a visitation?”

  It’s exactly what I’ve been thinking myself.

  “You’re clearly still attracted to him, but he’s marrying someone else now so that’s by-the-by. If nothing else, you can make sure he gives you what you deserve.”

  I don’t say anything because I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  “Look,” she says, nodding back at the screen. “Check out that status update. Seems Michelle is missing Cole.”

  “Okay, I think I’ve seen enough,” I say, just as Fabio’s picture fills the screen.

  Steph squeezes my shoulder and goes back into her room.

  “Hey,” I say when I answer.

  “Evie!” he says. “We’ve finally managed to get a signal. Sorry it took so long.”

  “Don’t worry,” I say. “Are you alright? Is Lucca okay?”

  “We’re great,” he says. “Lucca is having an amazing time. He’s been busy every single second of every day. He’s absolutely exhausted.”

  I smile at the thought of him conking out every night. “I’m glad he’s enjoying himself,” I say. “Is he there?”

  “Yeah, here he is.”

  Lucca’s big brown eyes and dark hair fill the screen, and I feel myself beginning to cry. “Oh, Lucca,” I say, sniffling.

  “Hey, mum,” he says with a big smile.

  “I miss you,” I tell him.

  “I miss you, too,” he says, “but I’m having loads of fun with Uncle Fabio. I’ve been picked for every game and I’m the highest goal scorer so far.”

  He’s just like Nico was at his age. “That’s brill, mate. I’m so proud of you.”

  “I’ve got to go, mum. They’re just about to pick people for the next team and then we’re going to the pool.”

  “Okay,” I say, trying not to let my disappointment show. “Speak to you soon. Love you.”

  He’s already looking away at whatever’s going on, but he suddenly appears on the screen again and blows me a kiss. “Love you more,” he says, and then I hear him squealing as he runs off.

  Fabio reappears and starts laughing. “I have to go too. Sorry about the quick call.”

  “That’s okay,” I say. “I understand.”

  “Shall we call you tomorrow for a proper chat? It’ll be around half ten at night your time though, because we’re at a show tomorrow night.”

  I nod. “Any time is good for me. Keep him safe,” I tell him.

  “Will do, Sis. Night. I love you.”

  I kiss my fingers and press them to the camera. “Love you, too.”

  The screen goes blank and I slump against the desk. Steph pokes her head back around the door and comes to sit next to me.

  “Are you going to tell Cole?”

  I shake my head. “Not yet.”

  “Okay,” she says. “I disagree, but I’ll support you with whatever you decide.”

  “He’s such an arse,” I say.

  “You sound like you’re being an arse back though, Evie.”

  Maybe she has a point. I push the laptop away from me, feeling depressed and miserable. Why does everything have to be so complicated?


  I mess with the collar of my shirt and look at myself once more in the mirror. This is the fourth shirt I’ve tried on, but I want to look just right. Tonight is Evie and Nico’s seventeenth birthday party, and all of their friends and family are going to be there. I don’t want to look like a knobhead in front of them.

  “Come on,” calls Evie from the bottom of the stairs. “You’re going to make me late for my own party.”

  I take a deep breath and squirt some aftershave on my throat. I walk from my bedroom to the landing and hesitate at the top of the stairs. Evie looks beautiful in a bright blue dress that gathers at the side, pulling snugly across her breasts, stomach and thighs. It couldn’t have fitted her better if it had been tailored for her. Her long dark hair is falling in big waves over her shoulders and down her back, and she’s wearing that smoky eye make-up that I like so much.

  “Wow,” I say, stepping down the stairs. “You look gorgeous.”

  She smiles and twirls around in her black heels. “Thank you.”

  I hold my arm out and lead her outside to my car. “Are you feeling excited?”

  “Yes,” she says. “I’m especially looking forward to the buffet.”

  I laugh because Evie seems to like her food more than I do.

  When we get to the party at a local five-a-side football club that Evie’s mum has hired out, Nico pulls me to the side. I make sure Evie is with her friends and then follow him to the boys’ changing rooms.

  “What are we doing in here?” I ask, wrinkling my nose at the smell.

  He starts to mess with something in his pocket, and then he beckons for me to follow him into the toilet cubicle. “What’s going on, Nico?” I push the door open a bit more to find him kneeling on the floor. “Are you alright?” I ask. “Are you feeling ill or something?”

  He doesn’t answer, so I push the door open further and lean over to find him sprinkling some white powder on top of the toilet seat.

  “The boys from football use it,” he tells me, pushing it all into a thin line. “It’s good, Cole . . . much better than pot. Do you want some?”

  “No,” I say quickly, shaking my head. “Don’t do this; it’s your party.”

  He laughs. “Party? This is lame compared to what I’m used to, Cole. I go to parties with supermodels where they serve bottles of champagne that cost over two hundred quid each and caviar on the buffet.”

  “This isn’t you.”

  He turns around to look at me over his shoulder. “It started after my dad died,” he says. “I needed something to take the pain away and this helped. It made the okay times better. I forget how much I miss him when I’m high.”

  “He wouldn’t want you to do this,” I tell him. “You know he was against drugs. He’d be ashamed if he could see you now.”

  He swipes his hand over the top of the toilet seat, knocking the drugs to the floor, and starts to cry. “It’s so fucking hard,” he sobs. “I didn’t mean what I said about the party. I’m grateful to my mum, but it’s like I’m living two lives. I come back here and I see him everywhere. I see how different my mum is, and I can’t get away from it.”

  I place my hand on his shoulder and squeeze. I don’t see Nico as much as I would like these days because he’s always away with football, but I didn’t know his dad’s death was still affecting him. He pushes up until he’s standing again and pulls me into a hug. I squeeze him as hard as I can while he cries into my shoulder, and we stay like that for a while. I find my own eyes tearing up, but I blink them away.

  “Do you ever think about your real dad?” he asks through his tears.

  “No,” I answer quickly.

  “Don’t you miss him?”

  “How can you miss something you never had?” I reply.

  He nods. “Do you miss the idea of him?”

  “The idea of a dad?”

  He nods again.

sp; “Of course,” I say. “I would have given anything to have a life like yours with a dad like yours, even if I had to lose him when I was sixteen. I would trade places with you right now to have the memories and happy childhood that you have.”

  He pats my back and pulls away from me. “We’d better get going. If someone walks in here right now, they’ll think we’re having an awkward guy moment.”

  I laugh and nod towards the sinks. “Wash your face and then come back out.”

  “Will do,” he says. “Thanks, Cole.”

  I wonder for a moment if I should stay with him or not, but then I hear Evie calling my name.

  “Go on,” he says. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

  “You’re okay?” I ask.

  “I will be.”

  I pull open the changing room door and find Evie standing right outside. She tries to look over my shoulder, but I let the door fall shut behind me.

  “What were you doing?” she asks.


  She folds her arms across her chest and narrows her eyes at me. “Who were you with?”

  “Nico,” I say. “We were just talking, Evie.”

  “Is he okay?” she asks, looking concerned. “He hasn’t seemed like himself the last few times I’ve seen him.”

  How have I missed it? “I think he’s okay,” I hedge. “Birthdays and special occasions are just a little bit harder, aren’t they?”

  She winces. “Should I go in?”

  “I think he’s coming out in a minute. Just washing his face and stuff.”

  “I miss him too, you know,” she whispers.

  “I know, babe. But he has to pretend to be okay so much more often than you do. You can let go and cry whenever you want, but you know what us guys are like. It’s hard to be cool all the time.”

  She rolls her eyes. “Neither of you have ever really been cool.” She smiles at me as she links her slim arm through mine. “Come on,” she says, tugging me back towards the party. “Everyone has been wondering where you are.”

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