Six of Hearts(7)

By: L.H. Cosway



Sure, I can be their friend. But their girlfriend? Well, that just never seems to pan out. My one and only boyfriend from several years ago unceremoniously dumped me by text, and that just says it all. I’m still scarred from the experience.

“Morning, Will,” I greet my colleague as a folder slides out of his half-open briefcase. He bends over to pick it up, and I’m greeted with his unimpressive rear end. Two flat fried eggs in a hanky.

What? I said my inner dialogue was a bitch. The important thing is that I’d never actually say something so mean out loud. We all have thoughts that we would never, ever vocalise. And people who say they don’t are liars.

“Hi, Matilda, could you be a love and make me a cup of tea? I’m parched.”

“Sure,” I reply. “It’s a good thing you’re a tea man, because the coffee machine’s on the outs again.”

He shakes his head. “That machine is broken more often than it’s functioning. I think it’s time to retire the poor old dear.”

I let out a mock gasp. “Don’t ever let Dad hear you say that. You know he never throws anything out until it’s well and truly dead.”

Will laughs and walks into his office. I register the next couple of appointments as they arrive and spend the hours before lunch carrying out my usual mundane administrative tasks. I’d much rather be at home working at my sewing machine.

By day I might be a legal secretary, but by night I’m a dress designer extraordinaire. I design and make my own creations, and sell them through Etsy. It doesn’t make me enough money to be a proper wage, though, which is why I work here.

Before she died, my mother was a seamstress, and one of my earliest memories was of her teaching me how to sew. The hobby stuck with me, and now it’s my true escape. I find it wonderfully therapeutic to lose myself in a new design. In fact, it’s one of the only ways that I can still feel close to my mum.

When I glance at the clock and see it’s almost one, I make a quick run to the bathroom to fix my hair and the little makeup I put on this morning, staring at my face in the mirror. If I’d known I’d be meeting someone like Jay Fields today, I would’ve made more of an effort.

My friend Michelle tells me I have great lips and that I should try to enhance my best features. Actually, her exact words were “blowjob lips,” and I blushed like a maniac. I tend to get along with people who are the opposite of me. Confident girls who take to men and sex like ducks to water. They paddle through the lake of dating without a care in the world. Michelle is one of those girls, and I admire that about her. There’s a certain bravery in not giving a crap what other people think and simply grabbing what you want in life.

I run a brush through my long dark brown hair, making sure to sweep it close to my face on the side with my scar. I almost always wear my hair down in order to disguise it. It’s just a few silver lines, and yet I’m constantly aware of their presence, hoping people don’t notice.

I can barely remember his face, and yet I hate the man who scarred me more than anything else in this world. And I hate him more for killing my mother. Hate is an ugly emotion, though, so I try not to let it consume me.

After swiping on one more layer of mascara to frame my light blue eyes, I pack up my handbag and walk back out to the reception. I stop in my tracks when I find Jay leaning against the wall, his arms folded casually across his chest. I hadn’t heard anyone enter the office, so I get a tiny fright, my hand going to my heart for a second. Damn, he’s got those super-silent ninja skills.

His eyes are on me, and I know it must only be one-sided, but every time our eyes connect, I feel a fire burning low.

What is it about this man? He’s incredibly attractive, yes, but there’s something else, and for the life of me I can’t figure it out.

He smiles at me, showing teeth, and jangles some car keys in his pocket. “You all set, Matilda?” he asks.

I take a deep breath and nod my head.





Two




The first thing I notice as we round the corner to where Jay parked is that he’s got a really nice car. A black Aston Martin V8. One of Dad’s favourite television shows is Top Gear, so I can’t help unconsciously absorbing useless car information sometimes. The second is that he seems to have all his worldly possessions packed in the back seat.

It’s bizarre to think that he’s temporarily homeless, and yet he’s driving around in a car worth well over 100,000 euros. It just doesn’t make sense. I slide into the passenger seat when Jay opens the door for me, savouring the feel of the leather. For a second I pretend I’m a sassy Bond girl about to be chauffeured by my spy lover to a swanky hotel for sweaty, passionate, over-the-top sex.

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