Old Friends, New Lovers (Regular Sex Issue 7)

BOOK: Old Friends, New Lovers (Regular Sex Issue 7)
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Regular
Sex 7 ~ Old Friends, New Lovers

By

Kitty
French

 

Welcome to the seventh issue of
Regular Sex, the brand new series of sexy half hour reads guaranteed to make
sure your weekend starts with a bang!

Enjoy, and remember to check out
issue 8 next Friday.

 

Happy reading,

Love Kitty x

 

 

Regular Sex ~ Issue 7 ~ Old Friends, New Lovers

 

‘Happy Birthday
to us, Mabes!’

I laugh as Fox
thrusts a glass into my hand, and I can tell from the glitter in his eyes that
he’s already had a couple of drinks thrust into his hand this evening, too.

My name’s
actually Mabel,
thank you mother
, but anyone who knows me knows better
than to use it. His name’s actually Luke Foxton, but he’s gone as Fox for so
long now that I doubt many people could actually recall his first name if
asked.

Mabes and Fox.
Fox and Mabes. We’ve been best friends since we were seven years old and forced
to sit together because the register was ordered by date of birth; although to
be honest, neither of us was much impressed by the other at the time. Even back
then he knew how to make his dark eyes drip with sarcasm, and I knew enough
about boys to make me hate him on principle. I have three older brothers who
farted their way loudly through their childhoods. I don’t think they ever read a
book between them.

Fox, though...
yeah, he was sarcastic, and it was an undeniable fact that he was male, but the
straps of his army rucksack were always frayed by the weight of the haul of books
he heaved around.

On the morning of
our ninth birthdays, he pushed a dog-eared copy of Swallows and Amazons across
our shared wooden desk. He didn’t say anything, just scowled at me and nodded
once, fiercely. I scowled and nodded right back as I lifted the lid of the
desk, shoved the book inside, and slammed the lid.

I think that was
probably the moment we fell a little bit in love.

 

‘Thank you.’ I
lean forward to kiss the angular slope of Fox’s cheek and feel the scrape of
his five o’clock shadow as I take the drink from his fingers. ‘You need a
shave.’

‘It’s my party
and I’ll grow a beard if I want to.’ He slings his arm around my shoulders as
he laughs, and I register the familiar warmth of his body pressed against mine
in the busy fug of our local pub. Our friends have turned out in force to help
us celebrate our thirtieth birthdays, packing the place out with their loud
laughter and warm bonhomie.

‘Does that mean I
have to grow one too?’

‘Is that your way
of telling me that you’ve grown yourself a big hairy bush, Mabes?’

I roll my eyes at
him. ‘Wouldn’t you just love to know.’

He raises his
eyebrows. ‘I think you’ll find that as of today, we’re technically engaged.
That gives me conjugal rights.’

I laugh softly. ‘You
remember, then.’

It’s his turn to
roll his eyes. ‘As if I could forget. You were eighteen in the tiniest
miniskirt you owned, practically on your knees begging for my hand.’

‘That’s funny,
Fox.’ I take a drink and enjoy the fizz of the bubbles in my throat. ‘Because
the way I remember it, you proposed in my birthday card and then took off around
the world for the next god knows how many years.’

Truth is, we both
know exactly what happened. Ours was a friendship so big that we didn’t dare
cross the line into romance because neither of us could handle the idea of
losing what we already had. Fox wrote me a jokey proposal on our eighteenth
birthday; if we’re both still single when we’re thirty, let’s just say fuck it
and get together. They were his exact words. Romance and Fox are clearly not best
friends. Worse still, he stuck a plastic ring from a Christmas cracker and a condom,
thankfully still in its silver wrapper, inside the card.

I met Brynn not long
after that, the man I very nearly married eighteen months ago, and Fox’s inherent
wanderlust made him hit the road. He’s always been a pirate at heart, forever
scanning the horizon for the next adventure. I’m just glad he came home a few
weeks ago and has stuck around long enough to celebrate our birthdays.

We’re both
distracted when an unnatural hush falls over the pub and my friends Laura and
Nat struggle their way through the crowd towards us with a huge candle-lit cake
balanced between them.

Everyone cheers
as we barge each other out of the way to blow out our candles like a couple of
kids, and when it’s time to make a wish Fox catches my eye and winks then taps
his bare wedding ring finger.

I wink right back
and unceremoniously raise my middle finger at him in reply, and all around us,
our friends laugh and cheer because they know as well as we do that we’re the
couple that never was and never will be.

 

‘Come on. I’ll
walk you home.’

Fox finds me as
the last stragglers leave and the clock behind the bar inches towards midnight.

‘I only live five
doors away.’

‘Why do you think
I’m offering? If it was any more you’d be on your own, girlfriend.’

‘So chivalrous,
Fox. I’m impressed. Someone taught you some manners on your travels.’

‘I’ve always had
manners, Mabes, you just never noticed them.’

To demonstrate
his point, he picks up my jacket and holds it up for me to slide my arms into.

Our eyes connect
for a second, and his complicated expression makes me bite back the pithy
response on my lips. Maybe he has grown up a bit without me noticing. To me, he’s
always been Fox, my handsome, sarcastic best friend, the guy who’s got my back
and whose girlfriends I used to ditch for him when he wasn’t brave enough to do
it himself.

Tonight though, I
see the man he’s grown into, albeit one with stubble and dark curls that would
need a cut if he moved in the corporate world as I do. He doesn’t, of course;
like all the best pirates, he lives his life outside conventional lines. I find
myself wondering how he’d look in a suit. I’ve barely ever seen him in much
besides worn Levi’s and a T-shirt, maybe a shirt at a push for a really special
occasion. And then I notice that tonight is one of those nights; Fox is wearing
a khaki shirt for our birthdays. It follows the lean lines of his body and
clings to his biceps in a way I’d find sexy on a different man.

I don’t try too
hard to talk him out of walking me home because I have a gift for him back at
my flat and I’d really like him to have it tonight. I didn’t bring it with me; the
pub felt too public a place somehow.

 

‘No surprise
birthday visit from Brynn, then?’ Fox looks down at me as I link my arm through
his on the short walk home.

‘Nope.’

I’m really
relieved Brynn didn’t show up. Our separation was hard on both of us for
different reasons. It was my decision in the end; I grew more and more stressed
every day as our wedding drew closer. I wasn’t worried about my dress, or my
flowers, or bothered about the table plan in case his aunt Ruth kicked off with
my gran again.

I won’t go into
the details, but let’s just say our engagement party went with a bang that had
nothing to do with the surprise firework display Brynn arranged. No, it wasn’t
the mundane intricacies of wedding planning that kept me awake at night. It was
the groom. It sounds trite to say I loved him but wasn’t in love with him, but
surely I wasn’t supposed to feel platonic towards the man I was about to marry?

He was a solid,
dependable man, and actually, he was a solid, dependable lover, too. My problem
is that I’m a romantic; whether it’s books, movies, or my own real life. A
solid and dependable husband was never likely to bend me backwards over the car
bonnet, was he? It probably makes me sound ungrateful for Brynn’s love, but I
don’t think I was. Our relationship lasted almost ten years, and I’d like to
think that we both walked away with some happy memories as well as broken
hearts. My parents almost disowned me. What kind of woman chucks a dentist with
his own practice?

Me, it turned
out.

‘You’re a regular
manslayer, Mabes.’

‘One man hardly
makes me a manslayer,’ I huff, in part because I don’t think I’ll ever feel
complete peace with myself for making a grown man beg for my love.

Fox looks down at
me, curious. ‘He isn’t the only man you’ve ever been with though, right?’

I go from huffing
to scowling. ‘It’s my goddamn birthday Fox. Do you really think I want to end
it on the recollection that I’ve only slept with one man in my entire thirty
years?’

Fox whistles
under his breath, a blatant expression of the oh-my-god words he doesn’t say as
we reach my door.

‘Come in for
five,’ I say, still surly. ‘I’ve got something for you.’

‘Is it your
barely perforated hymen?’

He starts to
laugh slowly, and I choose to do the same because he has an infectious way
about him that I’ve never been able to resist.

‘My hymen was
more than perforated by Brynn, thank you very much.’ I close the door behind us
and leave my coat on the hook. ‘Lots of times, in lots of ways.’

Fox smirks, nods.
‘That’ll be why you ditched him then. Too sexy? Was he wearing you out, Mabes?
A total beast in the bedroom? Did he make you dress up as his hygienist before
he drilled you senseless?’

‘I’m not going to
dignify that with an answer,’ I mutter, hanging up his coat beside mine. ‘Coffee?’

‘Beer?’

I shake my head. ‘No
beer. I have rum though, I think?’

He looks
impressed. ‘Very grown up.’

‘We’re thirty
now, pirate. We’re supposed to be grown ups.’

He drops down on
the sofa, his long legs sprawled in front of him. ‘Pirate?’

I flop down
beside him a moment later with the rum and two glasses.

‘It’s how I think
of you.’

‘As in Johnny
Depp?’

‘Don’t flatter
yourself,’ I laugh, giving him the tumblers to hold so I can slosh rum into
them. I don’t tell him that he’d make a better pirate than Johnny Depp, even
though the thought runs through my head. God, maybe I shouldn’t drink any of
the rum. The wine in the pub must have gone straight to my head if I’ve decided
that Fox is better looking than Jack Sparrow.

‘Pirate as in
someone who never stays around for long.’ I watch the amber liquid swirl in my
glass. ‘And as someone who drinks rum.’

Fox tastes it
slowly. ‘Maybe I’ve just never had anything to stay for.’

I look up then,
because the crack of vulnerability in his voice demands my attention.

‘You’ve always
had me.’

He snorts. ‘And you’ve
always had Brynn.’

‘I don’t mean
like that,’ I say. ‘You’ve been my best friend forever, Fox, whether Brynn was
around or not, or any of your zillion girlfriends, for that matter.’

He shrugs one
shoulder in response and takes another good glug of rum.

‘So, Mabes.’ He
slides his glass onto the coffee table. ‘Wanna marry me?’

I look at him over
the rim of my tumbler and laugh. ‘Are you asking me to be your pirate bride?’

He doesn’t laugh
back.

‘Can I ask you
something?’

The serious tone
of his voice has me knocking back half the contents of my glass. ‘‘Course you
can. Anything.’

Fox swallows loud
enough for me to hear it. ‘Do you ever wonder what it’d be like if we...’ he
pauses, and I start to panic because I anticipate where this is going.

‘Don’t, Fox.’

He takes the glass
from my fingers and places it beside his, and then he scoots close enough for
our knees to touch as he faces me.

‘Don’t what? Don’t
say the things I should have had the balls to say more than ten years ago?’

He’s serious now,
and so am I, because there’s way too much at stake here to mess this up. He
covers his hands over mine.

‘You’re shaking.’
He strokes his thumbs over my wrists. ‘It’s only me, Mabes, not Johnny fucking
Depp. Calm down.’

My half laugh
catches in my throat, more like a sob.

‘We don’t do
this,’ I say. ‘This isn’t what we do.’

He nods. ‘Not
even in your head? Because we do in mine, sometimes late at night when I’m
lonely. Or when I’m in the shower and I’m horny.’

‘Liar. You’ve
watched more porn than Hugh Hefner.’ My voice comes out less shaky than I feel
on the inside.

‘Porn helps me
sleep. Thinking about you keeps me awake.’

‘Fox...’ I don’t
know what to say to him because of course I’ve wondered sometimes what it’d be
like to cross the line with him.

‘Do you think I’m
handsome?’

I laugh softly. ‘Such
an antiquated term, but yes. You know you’re handsome. Women have been falling
at your feet like dominos your entire life.’

‘I’m not talking
about other women. I’m asking what you think.’

‘Fine.’ I puff my
fringe out of my eyes. ‘You’re good looking. There. I said it. Happy now?’

He looks at me
for a beat. ‘I think you’re the most beautiful woman in the whole world, Mabes,
and you know I’ve seen a lot of women and a lot of the world.’

He isn’t fooling
around. I know him inside out, and his words settle on me like tiny fluttering birds.

‘I can’t lose
you,’ I whisper.

‘Why would you?’

‘Because I’ll
fall in love with you and then you’ll leave again.’

‘You already love
me,’ he says.

‘Cocky bastard.’
I shake my head and fight the smile from my lips.

‘Cocky
pirate
bastard,’ he corrects. ‘I’m gonna kiss you now, and you’re not gonna stop me,
okay?’

I shake my head. ‘Don’t.’

His thumbs press
against the pulse points on my wrists. ‘Behave, Mabes. Here’s the deal. I’ll
kiss you, and then you can call the shots. If you want to call it a birthday
kiss and leave it there, then we’ll do that. We’ll drink some more rum and talk
about shit and forget about the kiss because to be honest, I’m not sure it isn’t
going to feel fucked up either. But we’ve come this far now and I’m not leaving
this house until I kiss you, so you choose. Kiss me, or live with me on your
sofa until you do, which technically is pretty much the same as us getting
married.’

I stare at him.
In fact, I think I gape at him. It was such an unexpected speech, and I’m
ridiculously turned on by it. This is
Fox,
for fuck’s sake.

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