Read Unbind Online

Authors: Sarah Michelle Lynch

Unbind (9 page)

“Jesus.”

His kisses deepened, his tongue swelled to overpower mine—I had to accept his display of possession. The thick, hot wedge of his arousal between my legs made me come apart so easily. It was just the delicious thought of where this could go, and how much we both wanted it. I burst beneath his touch, aching for what I knew was underneath his clothes. I had to use all my energy to stop myself crying out, instead pressing my lips together, pain etched in my features no doubt. His eyes drowned in pride and awe. I let my head fall back and he used his weight against me to stop me sliding down the tree like the sap I was.

“You look awesome when you come. My god, what are you doing to me?” He pulled away and his lips chased a path along my throat. “I can’t fucking believe this.”

“Believe what?” I whispered breathlessly, aware he still had me pinned against a tree and I was tugging at his hair like I was plucking a chicken. If indoors, we’d have jumped each other. For hours. I was hot enough to last for days, even.

“I have a confession. The first of many, actually,” he began hesitantly.

“Go on, then,” I nodded and stroked the satin skin of his nape, just above his leather jacket collar.

“I don’t need anything like this in my life. When I say I don’t need it, I really mean I don’t need it. That being said, yesterday I arrived at work early and stood in the kitchen making coffee. When I looked out the window, I saw this babe on the street staring up at the building, like she was looking right into my eyes.”

I giggled girlishly, throwing my head back. This was too cheesy but I loved it. He took his chance to breathe in the scent of my throat, groaning low against my skin. I pushed my breasts out so our chests were tightly contained in our embrace.

“…I saw her walk away and could have died with disappointment. Then she appeared in the building later on and I… was more than pleased. Now… I can not get you out of my head. I must be fucked up.”

I pressed a finger to his lips. “Fucked up because you don’t want a relationship, but think I will? Well, you’re a little wrong on that score. Notwithstanding, I have a date with a very neglected best friend but I do want to, you know,” I raised a suggestive eyebrow, “pick up with this again real soon.”

“Rain check? Definitely?” His face beamed with happiness.

I nodded repeatedly and he grinned, stroking his fingers through my hair. He gave me his last kiss, a core-clenching display of our appetite for one another, tongues lightly teasing and pushing between open mouths.

“See you tomorrow?” he asked, flattening his hair where I’d mussed it. He used two fingers to wipe the edges of his mouth dry too and I wanted to say he’d never be able to hide how aroused he was. Not when it was staring at me from between his legs.

He passed me my bag and squeezed my hand, our eyes locked over our shoulders until he was out of the gate.

When I got home and was incommunicable, Kayla passed me a glass of wine and insisted, “Your day was that bad, eh? Well we’re off out, chick. Get ready.”

THE flat was above a flower shop—much preferable to a curry shop—but annoying if you wanted to lie in and ignore the clattering of an early-morning delivery. The advantage of where Kayla lived, however, was its location only yards from Lila’s, an award-winning, stylish Italian across the road.

We went there that night and got sloshed, so sloshed. All the wood and chrome, the bulbous ceiling lamps—blurred in the background while we immersed ourselves in girl talk. I envisaged myself crawling across Portobello Market later—not a care in the world.

“This fucking music, I hate it,” she complained so the waiter overheard as he took our plates. Kayla preferred heavy metal and electro to the pop soundtrack streaming through the warm, yeast-scented atmosphere. I was immune to most music, except commercial dance. I could always go for that especially when I was working out. I gave the waiter an apologetic look and he shrugged. The other patrons didn’t mind it, all of them too busy mouthing off about their bad days. Kayla was wallowing and I knew it… I could see she was working up to telling me
something
.

At our table for two, it was only nine o’clock and we’d already had two bottles, a pizza we’d shared and individual desserts. She nodded for more wine when a waiter returned to ask, “Any more dri—” He probably hoped he was finally getting rid of us.

Another merlot meant I’d be fucked for getting up in the morning.

Between the swilling, chewing and snickering as hot waiters continually passed us by, we’d yet to get to the real stuff on our minds.

Kayla was an old friend from childhood and we’d roomed together during our university days in Sheffield. She and I had both modelled part-time but I gave up because of the scar and she gave up because she got a ton of tattoos which made it more difficult to get work. Nevertheless, she’d kept a little memento of those modelling days in the form of Grade A dickhead Rob, an underwear model who loved flinging his cock around town, if you know what I mean. She was a rebel and my god did I love her for it. I sometimes wished I was more like her. However, I wouldn’t wish Rob on anyone and he was gradually diminishing everything I loved about her.

Rob had given Kayla a place to crash in London when she graduated. She’d grovelled at the gates of Fleet Street until something came up. Some friend of a friend put a word in and she was now working for
Empire
, the lucky bitch.

She was a great girl and beautiful. Why she put up with that shit, I didn’t know. She had a figure I envied and her chocolate skin and glossy black locks were incomparable. Both arms displayed tattoo sleeves and she wore rocker gear. Tonight it was ripped black jeans so skin-tight and so torn, it was a wonder there was anything left. Black Converse you wouldn’t catch me dead in but she rocked the hell out of them. Plus, a batwing black jersey covered everything but the cleavage and had the word ‘gangsta’ embroidered in silver thread. The guys where she worked worshipped her, which was more than could be said of the douchebag she was continually calling ‘boyfriend’ when what he really should be termed is ‘Casual Fuck Fuckwit’. Or skank. He constantly blew hot and cold and despite the number of nights they spent together, she kept that crap bedsit because they had so many rows.

He often went cold on her for weeks on end and then would suddenly get back in touch. You know, probably between failed conquests. Kay was his backup girl and everybody knew it, except her. Surely if you’ve been on and off with someone for ten years, you’d have gotten past that stage and closer to talk of living together properly, not screwing whenever the mood struck.

She argued it was because their sex life was so exciting (the reason she couldn’t let go) yet I kept my mouth shut even when I sensed she might get a nasty wake-up call someday. It wouldn’t surprise me to know he had one for each day of the week. She even saw his wandering eye—but kept going back for more. Consciously, too!

“I love the dress, Chlo.” 

“Oh, this?” It was just a flowery Kate Moss thing from Topshop. I’d removed my soiled tights and replaced them with white leggings. “You can borrow it if you like, as long as you’re not gonna shag that wanker in it.”

She almost choked on her red and I grinned devilishly. There wasn’t much unsaid between us two (EXCEPT YOU REALLY ARE SCREWING A WANKER, KAY!).

“You might eat your words very soon, girlfriend.” She looked smarmy, pleased with herself even.

“Umm, will I?” I rolled my eyes.

“He asked me to move in… with him.”

The slight hesitation in her speech had me watching her closely and I noticed, she didn’t look all that happy. You know, like a girl should look when the man they supposedly love is asking them to make that first, big step in the commitment stakes. Why had it taken her a good few hours to tell me this news? In fact, why was I yet to tell her about Cai? Well, when you’re on the cusp of beginning something new and exciting and your friend is kind of not happy, you know… I was being sensitive to her feelings. Somehow I didn’t believe this new development meant that Rob the Deceiver had done a 180°.

“Why are we here drinking ourselves stupid if you’re happy about this?” I began, my cradled glass my only support.

She pursed her lips and stroked her long, black hair over one shoulder. She sighed a protracted, indignant, “Hmm. Supportive, much?”

“I’m not hot on him for a reason, Kay. As much as I love you, I can’t pretend. He makes you sad and… every time he leaves you feeling empty during one of his ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ spells… it kills me to see your sadness.”

What I wasn’t going to tell her was that said douche had made several passes at me over the years, none of which I’d told her about. Though if you think about it, one pass at the BFF was bad. Several, criminal. And if he was doing that with me, who wasn’t he trying it on with? The only reason I wasn’t deterring her was because she needed to find all that out for herself. If the past had taught me anything, it was to never sever bridges like ours.

She knew I had her back and reluctantly reached for my hand across the table. “I know,” she said, one side of her lip raised.

“Ever since I got here… you’ve had me drinking every night. I know something is going on!” I argued, demanding she give me the real dirt.

“There
is
more…” She rolled her eyes and wrestled with her tongue, trying to find a way to say it so that it didn’t sound so bad. In the end, she just admitted,“…I’m in trouble at work. So… I could lie to Rob and move in, maybe not be able to contribute to rent soon. Or I could fess up… and, you know. Risk pissing him off.”

I raised my eyebrows and sat back in my chair, assessing the remnants of my friend sat opposite. I thought for a moment how much happier she might look with a man who actually cared enough to ask the basics, such as,
How’s work? How’s you?
 

“It seems serious?” I began with the facts.

“Just,” her head sagged in her shoulders and she leaned on the table, “I turned up late a bunch of times. Got cocky with long lunches. Made a bad copy error. They think I’m not taking it seriously… they said I don’t seem to be there, even when I am.”

There was probably more she wasn’t telling me, after all, journalism is rather lenient on its own. I wondered whether she’d been playing truant.

“So what’s their policy? A warning? What?” I refilled both our glasses—it was the only comfort I had for her right then.

“I’m on a performance report thingy, you know. So at least I have a chance to fix it.”

I wondered as her friend, what was my job here? To give it to her straight? Ease her into figuring it all out for herself? Or what? For a 30-year-old professional woman to be in this kind of trouble was a bit ridiculous.

“I think you’d be much happier without
him.
You’d probably erase all that bad stuff by just getting rid of
him
.” Partially the wine was talking, but mostly me. I’d been a distant observer of her and Rob the Despot, but now I was seeing first-hand evidence of his shitty influence on my friend.

She slammed her glass on the table and glowered. “I can’t give him up. Won’t. We’ve been through this.”

Yeah, during several costly late-night phone calls… we’d been over, and over, and over it.

“I’m just saying. I’ve been in London with you since Saturday and not once has he—”
done or said something nice.
The list went on. Kayla moped about until he clicked his fingers for her to come running. “He can turn up late for shoots and doss about, it’s expected of him… but not you, Kay. Imagine this… he’s still doing that in his fifties, modelling old men’s pleated trousers, and you’re still dossing in a bedsit while he lives it up…”

My words shocked her but she fronted, her eyes brimming with tears. “Well, you wouldn’t know anything about love, seeing as though you’ve never given it a chance.”

I knew this was going to get nasty if I didn’t nip her anguish in the bud.

“We’ll talk more when we’re not drunk. Right now, all you feel is hurt,” I urged in a gentle voice.

All I knew was fatigue and annoyance. I’d kissed a really great guy and she didn’t seem to give a fuck about my day.

We settled the bill, though I ended up shouldering most of it. Then I helped her up from our table (with some guy’s help) and got her arms around my shoulders, walking us both back to the flat. So, not on our hands and knees, which might actually have been better. That would have been funny. Holding my friend up because a guy had drained all the sass out of her was not pretty, not in the least.

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