Authors: M. J. Grace
a glance towards him out of the corner of my eye. He hasn’t taken his eyes off
the road. This I am grateful for, due to the fact that he isn’t hanging
around; though strangely I don’t feel scared by the speed we are travelling. He’s
handling the car well, and intuition tells me I can trust him with our safety.
car. What is it?” I enquire breaking the silence.
“McLaren 650S.” he replies
“Oh! Well I like it, but I’ll probably need help to get out of it.
Just pre- warning you.” I joke.
but don’t worry, I’ll help you out.” he says with a chuckle that turns my legs
I remember something he said earlier, and it doesn’t make sense.
When I opened the apartment door to him, he apologised for the flood. Why
would he do that? It’s not like it’s his responsibility. Razor would have just
rung him, and said it was an emergency. My mouth starts talking before I
comprehend what I’m saying.
did you mean, ‘You’re sorry about this’?” I ask turning slightly in my seat to
look at him. He briefly turns his head to glance at me with a frown.
“What?” Then returns his gaze to the road.
“When I opened the door to you, you said ‘Shit Jorgi I’m sorry
about this’ why would you be sorry? It’s hardly your fault.”
he mutters under his breath. He takes another quick glance at me, his eyes
guarded and presses his lips together. Okay, now I’m starting to feel nervous.
What isn’t he telling me?
my eyebrows I question, “AJ?”
observe as he grips the steering wheel tighter, and takes a deep breath in,
before glancing at me and proceeds to shock the hell out of me.
apartment.” he admits with a sigh. “Well, one of mine. I own several; most of
that block in fact, including the apartment that flooded, it’s a kind of side-line.”
I stare at him, torn between disbelief and incredible anger.
You’re kidding me?” I retort. I glare at him waiting for him to admit he’s
lying to me. It seems I’m waiting in vain.
apartment you were going to rent was a dump.” He explains. “It seemed sensible
to let you have one of mine. At least then we knew you would be safe and
comfortable, with good security and not in some dive. So that was the decision
we agreed on. Jen said you wouldn’t like it, so would never agree to it. So
we decided to keep it to ourselves. You were never supposed to find out.”
one problem Mr Fix-it, Jen was right, I don’t like it and I found out. I’m
going to kill Jen.” I snap loudly.
blame Jen. Raze and I talked her into it. I’ll take you to see the other
place. You’ll understand why we didn’t want you to stay there. Let’s get you
home, get some sleep, and we can sort it all out tomorrow.”
home? What do you mean get me home? Just take me to the nearest hotel. I’ll
sort out some other accommodation in the morning.” I remonstrate.
This is ridiculous.
How dare he be so high handed?
going to happen. You’re coming back to mine and like I said we will sort it
all out tomorrow. Now calm down, we’re nearly there, it’s only a few more
out of the window, and notice we are no longer in the city, but climbing up into
the hills surrounding LA. I’ve been so busy arguing, I haven’t noticed us
leaving the bright lights of LA behind. I can’t believe he’s being so high-handed,
but I have no choice but to wait until we arrive at wherever we are going. Maybe
then, I can phone for a taxi to take me to a hotel.
manoeuvres the car down what appears to be a private road, and pulls up in front
of some high gates. Removing a small remote from his pocket, he presses the
button, and the gates silently swing open. He drives through, and turning in
my seat, I watch as they automatically close behind us.
“Fort Knox.” I comment as he cruises down a long driveway.
a necessity, but the house is far enough away from them to not impact on the
front of one of four garages, he swings himself out of the car, and walks
around to open my door.
“Do you need a hand?” He smirks looking down at me.
No way am
I going to admit I need help, even if I do. I’d rather crawl out on all fours
than ask him.
thanks, I’ve got it.” I say as I climb out of the car; in what has to be said,
a not so ladylike manner.
the door down to close it, and we both walk towards the house, and I’m not sure,
but I think I hear him chuckle under his breath.
I let my eyes wander over the house. Unable to see too clearly due to the
darkness, what I can see, I have to admit is beautiful. A classically designed
building with large windows, some of which are lit up making it seem welcoming
and homely. It’s not the kind of home I would have expected him to have. I
thought he would have been more of a bachelor pad kind of guy. Not have a home
that seems to be crying out for a family to live in it.
him through the front door, I find myself in a large square reception hall,
with polished wooden floors, a large spiral staircase and high ceilings. Oh
my, it’s beautiful. I could never imagine living in a house like this. It’s
so large and airy it makes the house in Cornwall seem small and poky, which it
“Do you want a drink or anything before we turn in?” he asks.
we turn in! He makes it sound like we’re going to turn in together. My
imagination takes over as I visualise him lying in bed, bare chested, the
sheets pulled up to his waist.
fine thanks.” I say, keeping my face averted, avoiding his gaze, as I feel
myself blush and my traitorous body react with the thought.
“Are you sure?” At my nod, he continues “Right, this way then.” and
starts climbing the stairs.
behind him slowly, still taking in the décor. He has some amazing artwork on
the walls, and I make a mental note to remind myself to study them more closely
in the morning. Stopping in front of some double doors, he waits for me to
I say as I rush to reach his side. “I was admiring the artwork, they’re amazing.”
I’m not an art connoisseur. I just know what I like, and if I like it enough,
I buy it. This is you.” he says opening the door and turning on the light.
into the bedroom, taking in my surroundings. The room is huge, with a deep
pile cream carpet to match the beige toned walls, complementing the dark wooden
furniture; and taking prominence in the room is very large bed. Its stylish
and elegant and a total surprise.
through here.” he says, walking over and opening a door. “If you need anything,
I’m just across the hall. I’ll leave you to it. I’ll see you in the morning
for breakfast. If you turn right at the bottom of the stairs, it will take you
through to the kitchen.” And turns to leave the room.
“AJ.” I call and he stops, turning back to look at me.
for everything. I didn’t mean to sound so ungrateful honestly.”
talk tomorrow.” he smiles. “Try to get some sleep and I’ll see you for
breakfast. Goodnight Jorgi.” and closes the door behind him.
and look at the bed, suddenly overcome with a tiredness I never knew existed. It’s
been a long night. I quickly undress, turn out the light and climb into the
vast bed. I lie there incredulous; I’m sleeping in AJ Lewis’ home! So much for
calling a taxi to take me to a hotel. Oh well! I can sort everything out in
the morning. I snuggle under the covers and fall asleep within seconds.
Waking to sunlight streaming through the windows, I stretch myself out. I
have slept like I’ve never slept before, but then I’ve never slept in a bed so
big or luxurious. Glancing at the bedside clock, I promptly jump out of bed. Its
ten o’clock. I can’t believe I’ve slept so late. Heading towards the
bathroom, I stop abruptly, when I notice my suitcase and laptop at the base of
my bed. I have even slept through someone entering the room. Mortification
hits me, when I think I may have been dribbling, or even snoring. Closing my
eyes I silently make a wish that I hadn’t been doing either of those things,
when whoever it was entered. I grab some clean clothes and necessities and hit
just finished my make-up when my mobile phone rings out, and looking at the
screen I see that its Jen calling.
O’holder of the secrets. How are you today?” I greet sarcastically.
hold my hands up. At least you’re talking to me, I wasn’t sure you would be.”
she quietly replies.
jury’s still out on that, so don’t speak too soon. How could you Jen? Now I
feel beholden to the guy for the apartment. No wonder you and Razor wouldn’t
take the money from me.”
didn’t lie about the other apartment, it was the pits. When I told Razor he
told AJ, and before I knew what was happening, they had arranged everything
between them. I told them you wouldn’t be happy, but they kept saying you
would be safer, so in the end I agreed with them. Please don’t be mad, we all
had your best interests at heart. I nearly died when Razor told me what had
happened, and said he had rung AJ and you were at his place. Have you gone to
a hotel yet?”
through the lack of trying, but no, I’m still at AJs. AJ wouldn’t hear of it
and drove me back here. I’ll sort out a hotel today. Have you been to this
place? I can’t catch my breath.”
times; I have to agree it’s an amazing place. Listen, Razor and I will be
heading home today. Forget about the hotel, you can come and stay with us. Ask
AJ to drop you over there whenever you’re ready, and I’ll let Alice our
housekeeper know you’re coming.”
sort out a hotel. Don’t worry about me, everything will be fine.” I answer and
knowing she is going to argue, I decide to quickly end the call.
honey, I’ve just got up. I’ll have to go and have some breakfast and sort
things out. I’ll call you later, okay?”
Let me know when you’re sorted, but remember the offers still there. Speak
later bye.” and she hangs up.
down to breakfast, I pass all the paintings I briefly saw last night, and some
of them truly take my breath away. They are mostly abstracts; the way the
artists have worked the colours are breath-taking.
the bottom of the stairs, and as instructed turn right. I first come to a
large lounge area with comfy leather sofas, book lined walls and a huge
television hanging on the wall above a fireplace. Nope, this is definitely not
the kind of place I would have associated with AJ.
also not the kitchen. Noticing a hallway leading off the far wall I walk in
its direction, as it’s the only place that the kitchen could be. At the end of
the hallway, I reach a door and freeze as I am about to push it open, when I
hear AJ talking, presumably on the phone.
she’s not down yet. Don’t worry, I’ll be cool. No man, that’s not going to
happen. I’ll get it sorted, no hassle. Okay, talk later.”
mean to eavesdrop, at first I thought there may have been someone in the room
with him. Suspecting that he was talking about me, I’m now apprehensive about
going in. However, my stomach is letting me know that it’s been over twelve
hours since I last ate. So taking a deep breath, and gathering all my courage,
I push open the door and walk into the kitchen.
sitting at a breakfast bar, a coffee and some toast in front of him. He turns as
he hears me enter and smiles.
“Morning. Did you sleep okay?”
log thanks. In fact, I’ve never slept this late in my life. Sorry about
understandable. You had a late night. I’ve not been up too long myself. Coffee?”
he questions holding up the coffee pot.
Thanks for my suitcase and laptop by the way. I never heard them being
seat.” he points to a stool and I walk over and sit next to him. “I put it in
your room last night after Ross delivered it. I bet you’re hungry.” As he
passes me a mug of coffee.
God he brought it into my room. That means he has seen me sleeping.
you fancy? Eggs, toast, fruit, cereal, bacon?” As he stands and moves around
“Oh, just some toast will be fine thanks.”
as he walks to the toaster, and pops in some bread. With his back to me, I
can’t help but study him. He’s wearing faded blue jeans with a long-sleeved
Harley T-shirt. The sleeves pushed up, giving a tantalising peek at the tattoos
hidden beneath. Even dressed casually he takes my breath away.
toast pops up and on turning around, much to my embarrassment, he catches me
staring and smiles, placing my toast in front of me with some butter.
“There you go.”
“Thanks.” I murmur blushing, reaching for the butter.
smell of hot buttered toast is something that gets me salivating every time,
and this is no exception. With my mouth watering, I take a bite, close my eyes
my eyes I find AJ’s eyes resting on me, and feeling self-conscious I blurt out
the first thing that comes to mind.
you just love toast?”
crying out loud!
you just.” he comments smirking, and I feel even more conspicuous.
I’ll finish breakfast, and then call a taxi to take me to a hotel. Maybe he
can recommend one.
out of your hair shortly. As soon as I’ve finished eating I’ll call a taxi. I
don’t suppose you can recommend a hotel can you?”
in the kitchen suddenly becomes electric, and I look at him to find he’s
staring at me, and he doesn’t look a happy man.
not going to a hotel, you can stay here. Seems stupid paying money out when I
have plenty of room. I have a lot going on this week, so I won’t be here much
can I stay here. It just wouldn’t feel right. It’s bad enough he’s already
let me stay in the apartment. I can’t and don’t want to impose upon him
do that. Look, I’m really grateful for everything, but I would only cramp your
style. The last thing you want is me wandering around the place, or tapping
away on my laptop annoying you. I’ll just go to a hotel or I can even go to
Jens; I’ve just spoken to her and she’s offered me a room.” I sound desperate
even to myself, and that’s because I feel desperate.
more likely to cramp Raze and Jens style, than mine. I said I won’t be here
much. If this is about what went down at the party, don’t sweat it. I’m over
it and hope you are too. Let’s just move on. Come on Jorgi, why pay out money
unnecessarily because of a stupid argument. I’d like to think we’re friends,
and friends help each other out. What do you say?”
me backed into a corner. If I continue to refuse, it will seem like I’m
holding onto that confrontation we had, and refusing his friendship. There’s
nothing for it but to accept his offer. Maybe after a few days, circumstances
and the status quo will change.
you. I’d like to accept your offer, as long as you assure me, that at any time
you want me to leave, you’ll tell me. I won’t be offended honestly. Is it a
he confirms with a smile. “Now let me show you my home.”
been a few days since AJ and I called another truce, and true to his word he
hasn’t been around much. If he’s been here at all, it must have been before I
rise or after I go to bed. I haven’t even heard him around the house. I have
however, met his housekeeper Millie, when I walked into the kitchen to make
myself breakfast the next morning. I’d almost jumped out of my skin, not
expecting to come across anyone in there. However, we got on well, and even
though I had refused her offer of making me breakfast, she had brushed aside my
refusal, stating it was what she was paid for.
first morning when AJ had shown me around his home, my first thought was that
I’d get lost the first time I was on my own, as it is so large. Nonetheless, I
have become comfortable in my surroundings, and I’m really enjoying my stay
lying by the pool. After working on my manuscript all morning, it’s finally
finished. I’ve emailed it over to my publisher, and now I’m lying here in the
sun, wondering if I have the energy to swim a few laps. I decide that it’s
high past time I got myself some exercise, so I rise out of my sun lounger,
walk to the end of the pool and dive in.
feels wonderful. The waters cool when I first submerge, but I soon acclimatise
to the temperature, and move through the water, picking up the pace, pushing
myself harder. It’s been a while since I last swam so vigorously. Growing up
by the sea, I used to be a real water baby in my youth, but over the years my
inclination to swim has declined. It’s not so inspiring when you have to go to
the local pool, instead of the local beach, or have your own pool such as this
one. I reach thirty laps and stop at the end of the pool, resting my arms upon
the edge, trying to catch my breath.
well.” calls a voice.
around startled, my eyes fall upon AJ, sitting on the sun lounger I had
occupied. Damn how long has he been there?
thanks. It helps when you have sole use of a pool.” I respond with a smile.
I don’t see him for days and the day he turns up I’m in his pool. I want to
climb out of the water, but there’s no way I’m going to expose myself wearing
this bikini. So I clutch onto the side of the pool, trying to casually give
the impression that I’m having a rest. Yeah, right!
I’ve not been around, but I’ve had a busy few days.” he says.
you told me you had a busy week. I didn’t expect to see you.” I answer.
you managed to occupy yourself for the last few days?” he enquires.
I’ve worked on my book, then of course I’ve had the taxing job of sunbathing
and relaxing. It’s been so stressful, you just can’t imagine.” I tease
laughs out loud, and I find it’s a sound I like. I witness his face lighting
up with his laughter, his eyes sparkling.
smiling at each other, and it feels easy and comfortable. Until he blows my
equilibrium straight out of the water.
about I make up for your stressful day of sunbathing, by taking you out to
my smile slip away. Now I feel uncomfortable. I don’t want him to feel
obliged to entertain me, just because I’m staying here.
“I don’t think I like that smile disappearing.” he says. “Why don’t you
get out of the pool, and we’ll talk it over.” He says picking up my towel from
the lounger, and walking to the edge of the pool, reaching down to help me out.
have no choice, but to climb out of the pool in front of him; and I’m cringing
inside, knowing that there’s no way I’m going to be able to hide this bikini. Flustered,
I take hold of his hand and try to distract his attention by saying with a smile.
don’t have to do that. I’m fine, I was just going to grab myself something
from the kitchen. I’m sure you’re busy, and I don’t want to take up any more
of your time.”
me out of the pool, and standing behind me wraps my towel around my body,
seeming to keep his arms around me a little longer than is necessary, before
about you be ready for seven. I’ll take you to dinner. We’ll talk and get to
know each other a little better. We both have to eat, it’s no big deal.” He
replies, whilst moving towards the French doors that lead back into the house.
by the doors, gazes back at me, shows me those dimples smiling and says, “Oh
and dress up.”
that, he walks through the door and disappears. Leaving me standing by the
pool, dripping wet and totally dumbfounded. So much for talking it over. Shaking
my head, I strive to make sense of what just happened. Failing miserably, and
holding my towel around myself, I rush into the house, with the intent of
catching up with him and politely refusing his invitation. There’s no sign of
him. Talk about making a quick exit. That leaves me the choice of either
totally ignoring his invitation, and sneaking out and avoiding him. Or give my
confidence a good talking to, and start preparing for a night out. I decide on
the latter, head for my room and the shower, and start panicking about what I’m
going to wear.