I can’t sleep tonight. I’m all churned up and anxious. I can’t get Paul Ashkuri out of my head and feel confused and suspicious about Trevor Malone too. He’d appeared from nowhere – both in my life and at The Dorchester and I’m puzzled at his sudden interest. Geezer magazine isn’t a great read – full of male ego and topless ‘babes’ – hardly the intelligent read of the year! My bed is warm and crumpled, uncomfortable now after being in it for the last 2 hours. I fling the covers back and stand up, grabbing the duvet and turning it – so that the hot side is now out side, and slide back between the sheets. I wish I could turn my head off. And just as I begin to relax, my phone bleeps. It’s Paul Ashkuri! Telling me how hot and horny he’s feeling!
HEY GORGEOUSSSS – IN BED AT DORCH FEELNG HOT N HORNY THINKNG OF U. XX
And how am I supposed to sleep after that! It makes me realise how I miss a man’s body in bed beside me, someone to snuggle up to, someone to touch their bare skin, their warmth and that great feminine feeling of sexual power. I lay there for a while, my eyes closed, remembering how great it had been for a while between Ben and I, and how he’d really been the one that had switched me on in bed. Before I know it I’m getting all hot and sweaty, until I can’t wait any longer before opening the drawer of my bedside cabinet and pulling out my newest buzzing buddy, thinking of how Ben used to gently pull my hair as he kissed me, soft and hard. It’s been way, way too long….
I must have fallen asleep mid flow! I wake up to hear a slow and intermittent buzz, convinced that a bee has flown into my bedroom and is tired and stuck somewhere. Something shakes on the top of my thigh and I leap from my bed and shriek. Then I see my Rampant Rabbit flailing, like a fish that’s been out of water too long, on my bare sheets. It’s on its last legs battery-wise and is barely limping along on last reserves. I grab it and switch it off, discarding it to the floor. It’s 4.15am and I have no chance of getting back to sleep now. Desperate to try, I get back into bed, staring at the insides of my eyelids as I worry how large the black bags will be beneath my eyes, just ready for my date with Paul Ashkuri later today! Typical! I must try and get some more sleep…
Thankfully I managed to get another few hours in, but one of the first things I’ve had to do this morning is talk to Tamsin. I ring her repeatedly as I curl up on my sofa, the cool leather sticking to my bare legs as I hold a cereal bowl to my face and spoon in huge mounds of Frosties and milk. Tam isn’t picking up; she’s obviously ‘busy’ with Pete. I can catch up with her later, but in the meantime I have to talk to somebody. I call Jennifer, against my better judgement.
“What the hell are you doing? Calling before 10 on a Saturday morning? Don’t you know I have yoga in half an hour and then I’m busy at the beauty salon all afternoon?”
“Sorry. Listen, I just need to run something by you.”
“OK, but make it quick. Or call me back on my mobile.”
“No,” I realise I’ve made a mistake even thinking that she’ll have anything positive to add to my confusion. “It’s alright, I’ll call you later.”
“Just tell me now, Sophie. What’s wrong?”
I steam in, “Well you know my deal about staying single?”
“Yes. Absolutely fucking ridiculous, but go on.”
“Well, what is single? If I go on a date have I broken my promise to stay single? Or do I only break it if I sleep with him? Or do I not even break it then? Not until I continue to see him as a ‘boyfriend’ on a regular basis?” I hear her huffing at the other end, “The bottom line is Jen, at what point in a relationship are you single and what point not!”
“This whole thing is insane. What are you trying to prove? Just go and get your brains banged out girl. Stop taking everything so seriously.”
There’s a moments pause before she adds, “Anyway – who is it?”
I can’t keep the smile from my voice, “Paul Ashkuri! Honest!”
“As in Paul Ashkuri and Keira Knightley?”
“Fuck off! You! How?”
“I interviewed him yesterday and he asked me to join him for dinner tonight.”
“Jesus, Sophie! You gotta go for that! Don’t even hesitate. Fuck the promise or whatever it is!”
“But don’t you think it’s all a bit weird? I mean, I’m not stupid Jen. I make this public ‘promise’ and all of a sudden I have the likes of movie stars asking me out! I’m not daft!”
“Who gives a shit, Soph. Go with it. Go with him. Make him fall in love with you.”
I should have realised she’d react this way. She’s so shallow – it wouldn’t matter about a guy’s personality or hygiene or integrity. As long as he was loaded – that’s all that my sister wants. To marry a bank account.
Rob was having a lay-in. He was sick of being up early 7 days a week, spending his life under car bonnets and oiled up to the neck. Tamsin had called in quickly last night to drop in the DVD of Sophie on the chat show. She’d kissed him on the cheek as she’d ran out the front door and he’d gone to the window, noticing Pete sitting in the driving seat of his Audi TT Coupe, his fingers drumming on the steering wheel as he waited. They were off for another weekend away and as Rob watched his sister get into the car he wondered what on earth she was doing tangled up in a situation like that.
An hour later he was still in bed and watching the Sophie DVD. He thought she was great; as natural and charming on camera as she was at home, although he preferred the at-home Sophie. He watched as hints of that Sophie, the one that had got under his skin with her great laugh and easy conversation as he’d painted her kitchen, shone through on his television screen. As he watched her recounting her horrendous dating stories and explaining why she’d decided to stay single, he thought how unjust it was that she’d been treated so badly. Women like her should be looked after and loved.
Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Seven