If Only..., page 14
I almost did something really stupid. I almost fucked everything up.
Twenty minutes before it’s time to be at my desk, I find myself staring at my own reflection in the mirror of the work toilets. I’ve spread a smoky brown eye shadow over my lids and lined them heavier than I normally do. I’ve got a coating of blood-red lipstick covering my lips, and I’ve pinned half of my hair up and let the other half tumble over my shoulders and down my back. I’m wearing my favourite sleeveless grey dress with a black belt that sits tightly around my waist and a pair of plain black court shoes.
I don’t know why I feel so nervous about seeing Cole today. I’ve seen him nearly every day for the past three weeks, but today is different. Today we don’t have the safety net of his impending wedding to stop us from doing anything stupid. Not that I want to, but there’s something still simmering between us and I’m scared of where it’s going. Today, I just don’t think I’m strong enough to resist him.
When I get to my desk, I’m secretly relieved to find Cole’s desk empty. His briefcase is there though, so I know he’s in the office at least. I settle myself down and begin to sort through my emails.
“Evie, Luv,” Gerard calls through the intercom.
I hit the ‘send’ button on my latest email and lock my computer. When I go into his office, I’m surprised to find Cole already in there. He’s seated in the corner, his chin resting on his fingers as his eyes stare at something on the floor.
I can’t help but stare at his face. He has bags under his eyes and they’re bloodshot. He’s either been crying all night or drinking himself stupid.
“Evie, can you please arrange an immediate change of accommodation for Cole?”
“Of course,” I say. “Anything in particular you’re looking for?”
Cole’s eyes flick up to mine. He shakes his head just the once and then resumes his staring.
“An apartment might be more suitable,” says Gerard. “At least we’ll save on the expenses for the evening meals that way.”
His joke falls flat and he starts to drum his fingers on the desk as he realises neither of us are laughing. Gerard doesn’t really do awkward. He’s more of a get-it-all-out-as-fast-as-you-can sort of guy.
“I’ll look into it straightaway,” I say.
“Thank you,” says Gerard.
Cole starts to tap his foot impatiently against the floor.
“That’ll be all, Evie.” Gerard nods towards the door and I take my leave.
I sit back down and start going through my emails again until Cole wordlessly drops some receipts on my desk.
“Are you okay?” I ask, picking them up.
“Me?” He blinks at me in surprise, silently telling me that Gerard hasn’t let him in on the fact that I know.
“Yes, of course,” he says curtly. “Are you?”
“Yeah,” I reply.
He frowns at me, and then he turns around and walks over to his desk.
I start to do some research on serviced apartments that are available for corporate letting and find two that are on the same street I live. Not only that, they’re in the complex next door to mine. I carry on searching because having him next door would be too close. Far too close.
I ring some companies to find out if they have immediate availability. Three of the four properties that are within budget aren’t available for another two months, so I scratch them off my list. I need something sooner than that.
An hour later, I have three that are available by the end of the week. The one in the complex next to mine, one in North Greenwich and one near Convent Garden. I’m shocked at the prices, which makes me wonder what this company is willing to pay a week to keep Cole Bennett on board. I email the options to Gerard so he can have the final say, since there’s a couple hundred pounds difference between them. When I glance at my watch, I realise it’s only half ten, but I have meetings over lunch so I’ll need to pop out and get some food now. I grab my bag and stand up.
“I’m going out,” I say.
Cole stops typing and looks up. His eyes move suspiciously from side to side. “Okay . . .”
Why do I feel sorry for him? He did something I can never forgive him for. Yet I still can’t help but wonder what’s going through his mind. It must be awful to see what he’s seen, to feel what’s he’s feeling right now.
“I have meetings over lunch,” I tell him, “so I’m going to grab something to eat now.” He stares at me. “Do you want some?”
Both of his eyebrows quirk up in surprise. “Are you asking me to go with you?”
I shrug. “I suppose.”
“I can’t,” he says. “I’ve not long been in, and I need to catch up on what I missed yesterday.”
“Okay,” I say quickly, feeling a hint of embarrassment creep in. “See you in a bit then.”
I hurry down the stairs, feeling like a fool. I don’t know why I made myself so available to him. The last time I saw Cole he was rubbing himself up against me in a nightclub, and then he just disappeared. I shouldn’t give two shits about him.
I rush out the main door into the warm September sun and walk along one of the many side streets that runs through canary wharf.
I’m into bagels at the minute, and there’s a New York-style deli shop that’s tucked away from the main crowds just a few minutes’ walk away. There are a variety of breads to choose from, and you get to pick whatever filling or topping you want from an array of ingredients that are all laid out in little pots under a glass counter.
I duck under a bricked archway that belongs to a pub built about four hundred years ago and walk down the old cobbled alleyway. It’s a bit of a dodgy way to find the deli, but it’s quicker, and I only have to pass a couple of tramps and dirty waste bins before crossing another little road that leads to another alleyway.
I’ve just passed the first tramp when I feel a tickle on my ankle. I look down, expecting to find a cat, but there’s nothing there. I turn around, but the alleyway is empty behind me. The tramp is still sitting there, tucked under his dirty blanket. I shiver and increase my speed.
Just before I get to the street crossing, I feel a tug on my bag and then I’m yanked backwards and into the shadows. A man wraps his hand around my throat and continues to pull me back. My legs struggle to keep up with his speed and the awkward angle that he’s pulling me.
Goose bumps explode on my arms as a scream dies in my mouth. “Get off me,” I choke out. He smells gross and he’s touching me.
“Give me your bag,” he hisses into my ear.
He tugs harder and then forces me to crash into the wall so my stomach is pressing against it. I haven’t let go of my bag that’s still over my shoulder. “No,” I say.
“Give it to me,” he says, “and I won’t hurt you.”
“I don’t want to,” I say. “Please don’t hurt me.”
“Just give me your fucking bag then,” he growls.
“There’s nothing in it!” I shriek. “I can show you if you want. I have a tenner, that’s all, and you can have it.”
“What’s so fucking special about your bag that you’re willing to get shot for it?!”
Shot? “Just let me give you the money,” I say. “Please.”
He roughly spins me around, and then I see his face. He’s only a boy, well, no more than sixteen. His teeth are a pale shade of grey and his face is covered in thousands of rubbishy spots. I don’t know if it’s because of how young he is, but I find myself willing to fight him. I lift my knee and bury it in his crotch.
He groans and bends over, and I shove him away and make a run for it.
“Stupid bitch,” he says. “I was gonna let you keep your bag.”
He starts to chase me and I squeal. “Help!” I cry.
I run, but my heels are too high to be running. When I hit the cobblestones, my ankle twists and I crumple to the ground, skidding a little until I drop off a small kerb.
“HELP!” I call.
The boy yanks on my bag over and over again, but I don’t let go. My face is cut from my fall and I can feel blood dripping into my eye, but I still don’t let go. I know I probably should, but this bag is the last thing that Nico ever gave to me. He came home with an Italian designer bag, and I was so happy to have it that I didn’t even thank him properly for it. Later that day, he was dead.
“Somebody help me!” I scream. “Get off!” I shout at him.
He pulls at my shoulder until I’m half turned and then slams his clenched fist into my face. I’m so shocked at the stinging and the pain vibrating through my skull that I stop screaming. He hit me . . . and it fucking hurts.
This time when he tugs at my bag, it slips easily down my arm.
“Hey!” a man’s voice booms from above me. “Give that back.” The man chases the mugger and I see him rugby tackle him to the ground. I want to shout at him to not bother because the little shit said he had a gun, but the mugger gives the bag up easily and the man pins him to the ground by sitting on him.
I start to cry. Tears roll down my face, and as they plop onto the ground, I see that they’re tinged pink.
“Are you alright?” asks another man.
He steps in front of me and bends down. “I’m a nurse,” he says. “Let me take a look at you.”
He gently lifts my chin with his fingers and stares into my eyes. He has lovely pale blue eyes, I think to myself. He asks me to follow his fingers with my eyes, and then he tells me that they’ve called an ambulance.
“I don’t want a fuss,” I mumble, holding my hand against my jaw that’s throbbing from where I was punched.
“Sorry, too late for that,” he says.
Things start to blur at that point. I see black dots in the corner of my eyes and they stay there. I blink, trying to get rid of them but they don’t budge. The sky starts to spin above me.
I land back in England with a bump. The turbulence on the plane was nothing compared to how I’m feeling inside. I didn’t sleep with any of those girls, but I think I nearly did. I didn’t kiss any of them either, but I let them get close enough to me to whisper things in my ear . . . dirty, disgusting things. Things that they wanted to do to me. Things they thought I’d enjoy.
I hate myself now. I hate what those drugs did to me. I hate that I was weak enough to take them.
I know that I didn’t do anything with those girls that I shouldn’t have, but Evie still won’t like it. She won’t like the flirting, or the fact that they had their hands all over me and I was too out of it to push them off properly. She won’t like that I took drugs either and I know I should tell her.
What scares me even more is the thought of trying to tell her about Nico. He needs help. I don’t know if it’s grief or boredom, but he’s definitely not right. I was with him for four days, and each day he got hammered and snorted coke. It’s as if he was someone I didn’t really know.
After I’ve grabbed my suitcase, I pull it along behind me through the doors to the arrivals. As if I’m drawn to her by magic, my eyes immediately land on Evie and a little sign she’s holding up that reads: Best Boyfriend Ever.
I swallow hard to try and dislodge the choking feeling of guilt that’s constricted around my throat and rush towards her, throwing my arms around her neck when I reach her. It’s the longest we’ve ever gone without seeing each other, and because of how busy we were each day and night, I didn’t even get to speak to her as often as I wanted. I bury my face in her hair that smells like coconut and then kiss her cheek.
“I missed you,” I tell her, pulling my face up so I can look at her properly.
“I missed you too,” she says. “How was the flight?”
“Alright,” I answer, sliding my hand in hers.
“How was Nico? Did he show you the sights?”
“Nico was fine,” I reply quickly. “He was kept busy.”
The lie feels thick and clunky as it falls out of my mouth. I quickly glance at her out of the corner of my eye to see if she’s noticed a change in my tone or anything. Evie usually picks up on stuff like that, but she seems too happy that I’m back to notice.
“We’ve got the house to ourselves,” she says. “And I’ve made you your favourite meal.”
“Quiche?” I ask.
She grins and nods. “Real men like steak, but you like bloody quiche.”
I laugh and hurry towards the car while thinking that I’ll tell her the truth about Nico—and what happened while I was there—tomorrow. Today is going to be too nice of a day to ruin.
I wrap a towel around my waist then write ‘I love you’ in the steam on the mirror. When I emerge from the bathroom, I find Evie sprawled on my bed in nothing but a corset and a pair of stockings. My cock twitches under the towel as my eyes appraise her.
“I got these while you were away,” she whispers, slowly running her fingers across the hem of the stocking that finishes mid-thigh. “I know you probably want to experiment, and I want to too,” she says. “I just didn’t know where to start or what we should do.”
I grin and walk towards her. I haven’t spoken because I don’t think I can. The sight of her spread-eagled on the bed in kinky underwear is too much. I know that compared to what I saw on Nico’s phone, this would look like nothing to him, but this is everything for me. This is all I want. She’s all I want. And right now, Evie in a corset and stockings is all I want—all night long.
“You look beautiful,” I tell her as I crawl across the bed and straddle her.
“I was going for sexy.”
“You’re always sexy, Evie.” I bend over and kiss her. She flicks her finger at my towel, forcing it to unravel and drop to the floor.
“I got handcuffs too,” she whispers shyly.
“What are you doing to me?” I groan as I slide my tongue into her mouth.
When I pull away from her, she slips her hand underneath the pillow and pulls the handcuffs out. They’re black, furry and look as cheap as shit, but I’m guessing they work. She drops them on the bed beside my thigh and then pulls out a black blindfold. “Just to try,” she says. “I don’t know if I’ll like it.”
I nod quickly. I’ve thought about experimenting with Evie, but I wasn’t sure she’d be up for it. I don’t know why though; it’s not like she’s ever said she wouldn’t be. I handcuff both of her wrists and loop the cuffs around the bedpost.
“Not too tight?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “What’re you going to do?”
“Surely that’s half the fun,” I say, smirking.
She cocks her head at me but leans forward, allowing me to fasten the blindfold around her head.
“Can you see?” I ask, waving my hand in front of her eyes.
She shakes her head.
“Tell me to stop whenever you want,” I say. “But just keep in mind that having you all tied up on a bed with me being able to do whatever I want to you is a massive fantasy that I’ve had for about three years now.”
“Pervert,” she says, giggling.
I gently skim over her skin with my fingers as if I’m trying to memorise every single part of her. I decide to leave her stockings on. There’s something a bit naughty about fucking her when she’s still wearing them. I trail a line of kisses with my mouth, mimicking the route my hands have just been, all the while Evie remains silent and still. Occasionally, I see goose bumps explode over her skin and feel her shudder beneath me, but she remains quiet, her breathing calm and steady as if she’s concentrating.
I peel her knickers down her legs and throw them across the bedroom. She lifts her hips because she thinks I’m going to go straight there, but I don’t. I go back to touching and kissing her and telling her how gorgeous she looks being underneath me like this.
Then, without warning, I thrust into her. She gasps and arches her back, but I know she was wet enough for me. I could see her squirming, wanting it, but not saying anything.
“Fuck!” she breathes.
I absolutely fucking love it when she swears at me when we’re having sex. I lift her legs until they’re at a perfect right angle with her pelvis and buck my hips, sending myself deeper and deeper inside her until I can’t go any further. She feels delicious like this. It feels different than normal, and I think it’s because I know I’m completely in control. This is going to go down exactly how I want it to go down.
“I want to touch you,” she tells me.
“No, babe, this is my time.” I roughly flip the cups of her corset down and grab handfuls of her breasts. I squeeze with each thrust and then roughly pinch her nipples, making her cry out.
“I want to see you,” she whimpers.
I push my fingers into her mouth and tell her to suck them. I’m normally the dominant one during sex anyway, but this is like she’s given me the green light to act like a wild man. The sucking sensation on my fingers along with the squeezing sensation around my cock is unbelievable. It’s almost like I can close my eyes and convince myself that she’s sucking my cock at the same time.
“Oh God.” I grunt as I thrust into her again. I’m not normally this rough with her, but I need this from her right now. I don’t know why, but I do.
I pull out, flip her over and pull at her hips until she’s on all fours. Then I push my hand over the front of her and slide the tip of my finger across her clit.
“Okay?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says through a satisfied groan. “I like it like this.” She wiggles her bum a little as if hurrying me along, and I don’t waste another second. I slam into her, over and over again. My balls bang against her arse, and even that turns me on. I snatch my finger away from her and push my hands up her back until I’m holding on to her shoulders, and then I quickly pull her back against me at the same time I push into her. I do this again and again, speeding up and then slowing down while Evie begs me to go faster and harder.
“Cole . . .” She huffs in between each thrust. “Let me come.”
Those three whispered words are the trigger. I grip Evie’s shoulders harder and slam into her five more times before she’s convulsing underneath me. She cries out my name, tells me that she loves me and then collapses onto the bed.