Saturday, June 30, 2007

Chapter Fifty Two - The OhNo Moment!

If Rob can make me tingle just by walking beside me beneath an umbrella on a cold, wet night - just imagine what he could do to me if we were alone.... between some cool sheets... in a candle-lit room... our skin touching. Brrr... Just the thoughts of it send a shiver down my back. Suddenly the night seems colder and I find myself unable to hold back any longer as I slide my arm through his and enjoy the closeness. I’m skipping inside when he doesn’t pull away or stiffen up. I SO want to kiss him! I have to instigate conversation or I’ll be stopping and cupping his face in my hands and planting a soft, slow kiss right on those gorgeous lips.
“I thought it’d be nice to see Tamsin.”
“Yeah. Nice.”
“She’s all over the place at the moment. I’ve felt really strange since she started going out with Adrian.”
“Well, em, ha, em, you know. The way that it all started off and me and him kind of doing stuff together and then how it all went wrong and I realised how he was just using me for the Geezer bet. I felt like shit.”
“Yeah, he’s a lousy fucker. You didn’t deserve all that shit. But, you know Soph, there are nice guys out there. And all this ‘promise’ about staying single for the year? I think that you really have put yourself in the frame for a lot of it.”
I have to stop walking and look him in the eye. I can’t believe he thinks that I asked for all those married guys and unsuitable, useless male chauvinist pigs to mess me about!
“HOW have I?”
Typical guy, he shrugs when under the spotlight, “I dunno. I just think that you agreed to go out with anybody who asked you. You weren’t sure what you were looking for in a guy and so just went out with whoever liked you. I mean, where was your choice then? All this about CHOOSING to stay single. How about CHOOSING to only date decent guys!”
“Rob. You think I was desperate?”
“Yeah,” he shrugs again and pulls my arm tighter into his own as we continue to walk, “I sort of do think that. Anyway, bet you’ve learned a few lessons about yourself, haven’t you?”
I hadn’t thought of that, but he’s right.
I have learned many lessons.
And I’ve met enough men, had enough disastrous dates, and received too many hundreds of emails from men who want ‘true love’ to be able to know what I want.
And it’s standing right beside me.
Which, to be honest, terrifies the life out of me!!!

We continue to walk and I have to admit that I can’t really concentrate on what he’s telling me about his work. I feel all tingly and a little teary. The realisation that I have kept my emotions under lock and key for ages is a frightening one, especially when it’s suddenly crystal clear that I have serious feelings for Rob. Paul Ashkuri was fun, Adrian was an intense situation that I’m always going to remember - but I need to be mature enough to see that he ISN’T the type to commit to a relationship. Rob is everything I want, rolled into the one package. If only there wasn’t the huge question mark of Jennifer hanging over the situation. I’m desperate to know what he really thinks of her. It’s obvious that she’s making a play for him and I’d love to know what he thinks of her. She’s pretty great looking - with her fake tan and her fake teeth and her highlights and her great body. I mean what guy wouldn’t want to get her into bed? But how do I ever find out what he really thinks of her? If I ask then it looks as though I’m jealous of my own sister! It’s a strange situation and I just don’t know how to find out how he feels! I’ll have to think about it over the next few days and figure how I can throw her into the conversation really casually, without sounding as if I have an ulterior motive.
“Rob. Do you want sex with my sister?”
Fuck! Where did that come from? So much for being casual and calculated. I’m glad it’s dark. It means he can’t see me blushing furiously as he throws his head back and laughs.
“Your sister? You think I’m after Jennifer?”
OK. It’s embarrassing. He’s virtually hysterical.
I stop walking and look at him and realise that we’re near the end of Tamsin’s street.
“OK, Rob. I’ll go from here. Tam’s only around the corner.”
He continues to laugh. Irritating! Wiping his cheeks with the back of his hand he stops laughing and then looks at me again and begins to roar one more time! I cut in,
“Rob! I’ll catch up with you later in the week. I’m going to walk to Tam’s on my own from here. I’ll be fine. Your tube station is only down the road.”
He’s clutching the umbrella handle and I grab it, tugging it from his grasp. He holds onto it, refusing to let it go so I pull it hard and shake my head at him.
“Thanks Rob. Glad it was so funny.”
I feel humiliated and stupid as I turn and leave him standing in the rain, still giggling. The sounds of my boots, hollow on the silent street as they march through the puddles - the sounds of one pair of feet now more obvious, strangely. I hadn’t even noticed the sounds of us walking when we strolled together, but then again I was caught up in the whole tingly thing and probably just didn’t notice. I feel sick. And embarrassed and like I just blew it.
I DID sound jealous of Jennifer.
And now he probably thinks I have severely low self-esteem.
What a fool I am.

I’m so busy wallowing in self pity and self deprecation that I gasp with shock as somebody grabs me from behind, causing me to drop my umbrella as they grab my face and pull me tightly to them. I can’t even really see who it is, kissing me deeply and gently, soft and firm as they push their lips onto mine and gently bite my bottom lip as they lick my lips and push their tongue slowly and probing into my mouth.
But I don’t need to see.
I know it’s Rob.
I’m melting.
And I’m getting soaked to the skin...


It feels like hours, and yet only seconds, later when he stops kissing me and pushes his hands into my hair, holding my head steady as he looks straight into my eyes,
“Sophie Regan. No disrespects, but I wouldn’t fancy Jennifer if she was the last woman on earth. You, on the other hand, are amazing. You intrigue me, you inspire me, you turn me on and make me laugh. I want you. I want YOU.”
I’m gob smacked.
Before I can reply, he kisses me lightly on the nose and then on the lips as he says,
“You go on to see Tam. I’ll talk to you later.”
It’s hard to break away from his huge hug, but I do.
I turn and can see Tamsin’s house from here. It’s right at the other end of the street, but it’s within view.
“OK,” my voice is light and shaky, “talk later.”


Ade was freezing. He’d pulled the collar of his jacket right up around his ears but still the rain was seeming to find a way to trickle down his neck and back. He’d marched, head down for what seemed like ages, toward Tamsin’s house reciting what he was going to say to her. He hated hurting anybody’s feelings but this had to be done! He’d pounded the streets trying to filter out what he was, and wasn’t, going to pick out as the most fair points. Or should that be ‘excuses’. He’d already decided NOT to mention her scruffiness and domesticated laziness. It was obvious that she was on the rebound and he was going to pull on that, rather than admit that he’d only agreed to go out with her in the first place in the hope that she was a direct route to Sophie. As he turned the corner for Tam’s street he looked up and saw a woman walking towards him. There was something about the way she was walking that reminded him of Sophie. But then again, it was difficult to get her out of his head these days. He thought every woman he saw was Sophie, or LIKE Sophie, somehow. It was hard to see, and he knew it was a long-shot, but it really did look like Sophie. Her face was masked somewhat by an umbrella, but then again it wasn’t a complete long shot. She could be coming to see Tamsin too.
He perked up as he squinted in the driving rain to try and focus.
And yes.
His luck was in.
It WAS Sophie!


Rob was relieved that he’d finally plucked up the courage to kiss Sophie. He’d waited and danced around it for months, trying to respect her ‘promise’ to remain single. He’d witnessed her despair and confusion at the hundreds of offers of love and devotion that she’d received, he’d been her shoulder to cry on and had SO wanted to kiss her on numerous occasions when he’d been holding her as she’d rubbed her forehead and wondered what to do next.
And now, he’d done it.
And it felt damned good.

He’d stood and watched her walk towards Tamsin’s house, having no intention of walking away until he saw the light come from Tam’s open front door and Sophie disappearing through it. He’d noticed the man walking toward her, hunched in the rain, and thought nothing of it. And then he noticed the strange way that he was dipping his head as if he was trying to look at the woman who was masked beneath the umbrella. Something was a bit odd about him and then Rob felt sick as he watched the man block Sophie’s path and as if in slow motion, she raised her umbrella and stood talking to him. Rob side stepped off the kerb and stood behind a white van, hiding as he watched Sophie and this man, who he could only assume must be Adrian, as they talked for a while and then walked onwards, past Tamsin’s front door, until they both disappeared around the corner at the far end of Tamsin’s street.

Chapter Fifty One
Chapter Fifty Three