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If only, p.15

If Only..., page 15


If Only...

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  I fall down with her and kiss my way up her back while I untie her hands. When her wrists are free, I kiss each of her breasts and move up her neck until I get to her jaw.

  She blinks a few times when I pull the blindfold off and then smiles shyly at me. “I like experimenting,” she says, dropping a kiss on my lips.

  “That was amazing,” I tell her.

  “Have you always wanted to fuck me like that?”

  “Not always,” I say quickly, not wanting to offend her. “Guys are different, Evie. We’ve been watching porn since we were old enough to realise how great rubbing one out was. The guys in those films do the things that we think sex should be like, and some part of our brain tell us that acting like them makes us seem like a real man.” I shrug and trail my hand down her stomach until I reach her clit. I stroke her slowly, not quite believing how wet she is as she groans against me. “I think some of it’s quite animalistic,” I confess. “We’re the big, bad guy and you’re the timid, weak female.”

  A shrill ringing suddenly fills the room.

  “What’s that?” I ask.

  “Shit,” she hisses, pushing my hand away. “It’s your bloody quiche.”

  I sit up, smiling to myself as I watch her arse wiggle when she runs across the bedroom.

  I fucking love that girl.


  I prod at the stiches just above my eye and turn my face to look at the black bruise in the mirror. I look like crap. The sort of crap that no amount of concealer or make-up can cover up.

  “You not going in today?” Steph asks as she leans around me to grab her toothbrush.

  I shake my head. “I didn’t want the fuss.”

  “Sweetie, you were all over the front page of the London Gazette being escorted into an ambulance with blood pouring down your face. I think your colleagues fussing over you is the last thing you need to worry about.”

  I groan as I recall the headlines. The newspaper obtained incorrect information from what’s clearly an unreliable witness and reported my mugging as an attempted rape. They used a picture that someone must have taken on their smartphone, and I have to admit that I looked pretty horrific.

  “Have you turned your phone back on yet?”

  “No,” I say, leaning forward to check out a dark patch on the side of my nose. “Is this a new bruise?”

  “How did you ring in sick then?” she asks, peering over at me. “Yeah, I think it is.”

  “I emailed Gerard from my personal account.”

  She ruffles her hair with her fingers and licks her freshly brushed teeth with her tongue. “I found somewhere to live,” she announces. “I can be out of here by the weekend.”

  “That’s good,” I say, and then I quickly shake my head. “I didn’t mean it’s good that you’re not going to be here, but that—”

  “I know what you meant.” She laughs, pulling me into a hug. “But this is yours and Lucca’s apartment. You don’t want me here, bringing back my sexy woman and corrupting his young mind.”

  “I don’t want you corrupting my mind either,” I joke.

  “Ha, ha. Anyway,” she says. “I’ve been getting in your way for far too long.” The truth is I kind of enjoyed having her here while Lucca was away. It made me feel like I was young again and a lot less lonely. “I’ll sort out moving all my stuff on Friday night. That cool with you?”

  “Yeah,” I say, nodding. “I’ll miss you though.”

  “I’ll miss you too, babe.”

  “It’s been a long two months without him.” I quickly push my hair into a floppy bun on the top of my head and wrap a bobble around it.

  Steph sniffs and pulls a comb through her hair. “It has,” she agrees, kissing me on the forehead and then skipping out of the bathroom. “See you later,” she calls, and I hear her leave the apartment.

  I walk into the kitchen and flick the kettle on. It’s the beginning of September but summer is still trying to cling on, so I push open the balcony doors and let the breeze gently blow my voiles. I’m just thinking about putting some washing on when I hear a knock. As I’m walking to the door, I see Steph’s keys on the little sideboard and smile to myself as I pick them up.

  “This must be the fifth time,” I say, pulling the door open.

  “Oh, thank God,” says Cole, cupping my face in his hands. He forces his way into my apartment, kicks the door shut with his foot and crushes me to his chest. “Did he touch you?” he demands.

  “N-n-o,” I mumble, slowly pulling my face away from his hands. His thumb accidentally skims the bruise on my jaw, making me wince.

  “Shit. Sorry.” He gently moves his fingers over my face as if he’s checking to make sure the doctors didn’t miss anything. “I was so worried,” he says.

  “Why?” I breathe.

  His eyes snap down to mine. “What?”

  “We’re nothing to each other anymore, Cole. I don’t know why you were worried, and I don’t really understand why you’re here.” I can’t have him in here. He’ll see the pictures on the walls. He’ll see the toys and football awards that are littered all over the shelves. He’ll know that I share this place with a child. “In fact, I think you should leave.”

  Don’t look at the canvas on the wall. Don’t let this be how you see your son for the first time.

  He frowns, but he doesn’t make a move to turn away from me. “I loved you once, Evie. I cared for you more than I cared for myself.”

  Loved? Cared? I cringe at the past tense. He uses that a lot. I’ve noticed.

  “I just had to come and make sure that you were okay,” he continues. “If only I’d gone to get lunch with you, none of this would have happened.”

  “I’m fine,” I say quickly. “But I’d really like you to leave now.” I take a step back towards the door.

  “Evie,” he says in his deep voice. “Don’t do this . . . not now. Not after everything.”

  “Nothing has changed.”

  “I’m sorry about disappearing on you the other night,” he says. “It wasn’t because of anything you did or said.”

  “I didn’t think it was.” I turn and reach for the doorknob.

  “Good,” he says, nodding. “It’s good that you didn’t think that.”

  “Bye, Cole. I’ll see you in the office tomorrow.”

  “Did they give you some really strong painkillers or something?”

  “No,” I snap. “Just get out.”

  He sighs and starts to head towards the door, but then he takes me by surprise and wraps his arms around me. His fingers skim up my throat and then bury themselves in my hair. “You’re still my Evie,” he whispers. “Always.”

  My heart thumps wildly in my chest as my eyes roam over his face until they find his regret-filled eyes. “I’m not though, am I? I’m not that Evie anymore, and you’re definitely not the Cole you were.”

  He takes a deep breath and briefly closes his eyes, screwing his face up a little as if he’s in pain. “I wish you were,” he says. “I wish we could go back. I wish it never had to happen.”

  . . . had to? “Cole—”

  “I’m so fucking sorry,” he breathes, pinning me with his gaze. “You have no idea just how sorry . . . just how much I hate that you hate me. I know you won’t understand, but—”

  “I forgive you,” I interrupt.

  He freezes. His hands stop in my hair and his whole body goes stiff. “What?”

  Now that the words have been said, I realise how important they are, but I can’t bring myself to say them again. “You heard.”

  He untangles his fingers and pulls back just enough to leave a lingering kiss on my forehead. “Thank you.”

  I swallow and nod without saying anything else. Stepping aside, I gesture towards the door. The second he’s out of it, I slide down the wall and cry until I have no more tears left.


  It’s been four weeks since I got back from my trip with Nico and almost three weeks since I confessed to Evie what happened
on that trip. Which means it’s also been almost three weeks since we last spoke.

  She’s not normally the sort of girl that goes into moods and this is starting to feel like it’s more than just a mood. This is torture.

  “Cole.” When I turn around, I find a short girl with bright blue hair and three tattoos streaking down her arm, despite the fact that she only turned eighteen a few weeks ago.

  “What do you want, Steph?”

  Steph is Evie’s best friend and I’m convinced she’s a lesbian. Evie doesn’t believe me, but I’ve bet her all the money I have that she is. But because Steph is the friend that’s been encouraging Evie to experiment, I guess I should thank her or shake her hand or something.

  “Evie is throwing up.”

  I slam my bottle of beer down and look around the house. It’s the end of college, and some guy from one of my classes whose folks have far too much money decided to throw a party. “Where is she?”

  “In the downstairs loo. She hasn’t even had that much to drink.”

  Fuck’s sake. Steph follows me as I snake my way through the throng of people that are grinding against each other in the living room. When I get to the hallway, I notice a queue outside the toilet. “Evie,” I say as I knock on the door. “Evie, it’s me. Let me in.”

  “No,” she wails. “I don’t like you.”

  “Let me in,” I say again, trying the door handle. To my shock, it turns and the door opens. I slip in through the gap and find myself squashed up against the angled ceiling above me. There’s a tiny corner sink and then there’s Evie curled up on the floor with her head hanging over the toilet. “Fucking hell, Evie,” I say. I don’t know why I feel pissed off with her. Maybe I’m getting fed up with the silent treatment and the moods. She’s acting as if I actually cheated on her, which would be fine if I did, but I didn’t. I may have been off my face, but I still didn’t sleep with those girls. “You’ve only been here an hour. How’ve you gotten so smashed that you’re puking your guts up already?”

  “Go away,” she says, batting the air with her hand. “I don’t want you in here. I don’t want you seeing me like this.” She starts to cry, and all my anger instantly dissolves. I bend down and pull her hair back.

  “Come on,” I say. “Let’s get you home. Puking in your own toilet has got to be better than puking in here.”

  “You took drugs,” she cries. “You had half-naked women on your lap.”

  I roll my eyes, but I realise now isn’t the time for arguing. “I know,” I say, “and I’m sorry.”

  “You acted like a Cole that I don’t know. Like that’s how you’d be if we weren’t together.”

  I pat her back while I think about what she just said. I guess I would be different if I were single, but wouldn’t any guy? I don’t know why this upsets her so much. “But we are together,” I tell her. “And they may have been on my lap, but I was too out of it to know what was going on. I don’t even remember what they look like.”

  “If you were that out of it, then how can you be sure that you didn’t do anything?” she says, sobbing.

  I’m thinking of how to respond when she suddenly says, “Steph has shown me a porno.” What the fuck has that got to do with anything? “I’ve seen the women that you must look at and how different they are from me. I’m never going to have boobs like they do or be perfectly shaved like they are. I’m never going to want you to stick your cock up my arse while I lie there and pull my arse cheeks open for you. Is that what those girls were like? Were they telling you that they could do things to you that I couldn’t?”

  She has to stop to throw up again, and I pull her hair back and rub her back. “Get it all up,” I soothe.

  “Fuck off,” she hisses.

  “Now listen to me,” I say sternly. “I don’t give two shits what you’ve seen in a movie. You are the girl I love. You’re the girl who has stolen my heart and wrapped it around her little finger. You don’t need make-up and fake eyelashes. And I don’t want fake boobs. I want your boobs. You’re the most beautiful girl that I’ve ever seen, whether it’s in real life or on a screen.

  “But I am getting pissed off, Evie. Yes, I took drugs and yes, I feel embarrassed, ashamed and pathetic because I had a wobbly moment of weakness. But I was honest. I told you about it and I’ve accepted three weeks worth of silent treatment from you. I told you that I didn’t do anything, and I didn’t. You were all that I could think of. I want you. I don’t need to fuck some easy slut to make me feel better. I wouldn’t do anything to risk losing you. I need you to understand this.”

  “I feel like I’m losing you already,” she whispers. “I feel like I’m not fun enough or dirty enough for you.”

  “Why are you thinking things like that? Have I given you any reason to think that?”

  “I don’t know anymore,” she says. “I feel like we’re drifting apart.”

  “We’re not,” I say quickly.

  “You haven’t been right with me since you came back,” she says. “I think you’re keeping something from me.”

  I can’t tell you about Nico; it’ll break your heart. “Of course I haven’t been right with you,” I snap. “You haven’t fucking spoken to me in three weeks.”


  Gerard walks out of his office and smiles at me. “You still here, luv?”

  I gesture towards the flipcharts. “I’m just going to set up the room for the morning meeting, and then I’ll head off. I have to go the doctors first thing, so I won’t have time to get it done in the morning.”

  “You should have said,” he says, fastening the strap of his biking helmet underneath his chin. “I could have gotten someone else to do it.”

  I wave my hand at him. “It’s fine, honestly.”

  I watch him walk through the office and then lock my computer. I hate early-morning meetings, and I especially hate the ones that have thirty people who will be expecting slideshows and PowerPoint presentations and printouts and coffee. And I really hate it when I have to carry everything up to the next floor.

  I pull the cart from the lift and wheel it to the conference room. My other hand is full of rolled-up flipchart paper and marker pens, so I have to push the door open with my bum. When I turn around and step into the dark room, I find Cole sat on one of the chairs, talking on his phone. The glow coming from his screen is highlighting just one side of his face, but I see his eyes immediately snap onto mine.

  “No, no,” he says, “it’s fine. It’s just an office girl coming in to set up for a meeting we’re having in the morning.”

  Office girl? I glare at him and slap all of the stuff down onto the table as loud as I can.

  Cole laughs. “Yeah, that was her. Probably trying to make some sort of statement.”

  What the fuck? Does he want me to chop his balls off with a pair of blunt scissors? I move around the table, putting leaflets, printouts and pens at every seat, saving his for last.

  “She’s my PA,” he says. “And I think we’re going to be having a difficult conversation when it comes to her appraisal.”

  Cole is going to have a say in my appraisal? As much as I want to slap him or call him a dick right now, I don’t actually know who he’s on the phone with. It might be an important associate of Gerard’s, and I don’t want to let him down.

  When I get to Cole, he doesn’t move out of the way to let me by, so I have to lean around him. I arrange the papers on the table and pull a pen out of the pack.

  “Well, the problem we have is that she keeps wearing these tight, little skirts and dresses. Yes,” he says smoothly, “a cock tease would be exactly the right word for her, especially when she purposely bends down in front of me.”

  I freeze when I feel his hand on the back of my thigh. It travels smoothly up my stocking until it reaches the curve of my bum. Every muscle in my body tenses as my insides turn to hot liquid. Cole is touching me. What the fuck is he playing at?

  “Oh yes,” he says into the phone. “I’ve imagined
doing all sorts of things to her. Just haven’t had the right opportunity.”

  That’s bollocks. If the night we were dancing at the club wasn’t an opportunity, I don’t know what was.

  I want to push him off, to tell him to go fuck himself, but my body has other ideas. My body wants this. It wants him to talk dirty about me to whoever is on the phone. It wants his hands all over me, doing things that we really shouldn’t be doing at the office. My nipples harden inside my bra, and I feel an ache settle in between my legs.

  “I’m touching her right now,” he whispers. “My hand has travelled up her stocking-clad thigh and now it’s resting on the curve of her ass. What’s she wearing?” he says. “She’s got fuck-me shoes on, black stockings, a tight black pencil skirt and a red blouse.”

  His hand tugs at the bottom of my skirt, making it clear what he wants to do. I should stop this now. This is definitely all kinds of wrong.

  “I’ve pushed her skirt up,” he says. “She’s wearing a pair of black, lacy knickers that have tiny little bows at the side.” He laughs. “Yes, they are cute.”

  I start to turn around to tell him to piss off, but he pushes at my shoulders until my face and stomach are flat against the shiny table.

  “I’ve bent her over, and now I’m going to have to end this call because I’m about to fuck her into next year.”

  His hands start to gently roam all over my bum.

  “Yes,” he snaps. “Email it over to me and I’ll take a look later. Much later.”

  I hear him press a button on his phone and then the room plunges into darkness. My heart is still pounding in my chest as at least two minutes pass without either of us saying anything. His hand caresses my skin as it moves down my thigh until it reaches the edge of my stocking.

  “I’m going to fuck you,” he tells me confidently. “And you’re going to let me.”

  I don’t say anything. My brain is screaming at me to say no, but I can’t. I want him too much. I’m aching for him.

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