The fortune teller was wrong, I sniffed miserably. She had predicted a sparkling future with a dark haired man in my life. I had been confident it was Paul, but it seemed the old woman had made a gigantic error in her interpretation of the Tarot cards
It had been three days since I had heard from him; three long days since the email telling me we had been seen out together by his wife's friend and he needed a break from everything. This was more than enough time to conclude that he had made his choice and it did not include me.
Either that or she had castrated him and he had bled to death in a pool of gore.
Option two was looking pretty tempting... I just hoped it had been painful. It couldn't be any worse than the way I was feeling at this precise moment in time.
The bottle of vodka on the table before me was half empty, as was my stomach. I knew I should have eaten some dinner, but somehow I could find no enthusiasm for food. Even in the depths of my black depression, part of me imagined the glamour of my funeral and strived to create a suitably dramatic ending for my tortured soul. Wasting away from a broken heart seemed a fitting demise — I just hoped the bastard would then feel guilty about the callous way he had used me. It was an unlikely proposition though; he wasn't that sensitive.
I sobbed again and reached for a tissue. My arm knocked the bottle and it fell crashing to the floor, spilling its precious liquid all over the linoleum. Christ, I couldn't even do alcoholic poisoning right!
My head was reeling and I felt like death. I had intended to go out tonight. I had even gone as far as putting my party clothes on. But when it came to it, I just couldn't leave the house. Mandy had sighed in exasperation and left me to wallow in my misery. She had told me right from the beginning it would end in tears and she wasn't about to miss out on a night of clubbing because of my failed romance.
Nobody loves a know-it-all, I had retorted crossly. But she was right and we both knew it. I should have learned my lesson the first time round. He treated me badly then and still I took him back. Ten out of ten for stupidity...
Trying to quell the rising feeling of nausea, I lurched to my feet and stepped over the puddle of Smirnoff. Bloody expensive puddle, I thought irrelevantly. Balefully, I eyed my mobile sat on the worktop. It eyed me back and refused point blank to ring. Nobody loved me it seemed, least of all him.
"Fucking BASTARD!" I screamed pointlessly; he couldn't hear me. The sound echoed off the tiled wall and once again the room was silent but for the faint sound of next door's television.
I knew I should never have got involved with him. It was a mistake to believe that he would eventually choose to be with me. God what a fool I had been. I honestly thought he cared about me. All the bullshit about how badly she treated him, how he was so unhappy. It was all just a line. A line intended to arouse my sympathy and make me feel sorry for him.
And I did feel sorry for him. I wanted to make him feel better and naturally this involved sex. Not that it had done a lot of good. He still chose her over me. Better the devil you know, I concluded bitterly as I lurched into the living room on a cloud of vodka fumes.
The television wavered before my eyes. I debated turning it on and watching some inane crap — but I couldn't find the remote. Flopping down on the sofa, I thought about where I had gone wrong.
Was it when I replied to his text after nearly eighteen months? Or was it when I agreed to meet him again on the basis that I needed to see if I still had feelings for him? No, it was when I began to let my guard down and he slipped through my emotional firewall. From that moment I was doomed. I fell for him all over again and the writing was writ large on the wall — 'you will be fucked over big style'.
He was never going to leave her for me. He even fucking told me! But, being a typical woman, I ignored the obvious signs and persisted on writing my own happy ending.
I curled up miserably into a foetal ball and closed my eyes. The room was spinning and I felt sick to my stomach. The pain was so intense and I wondered if I would ever be able to move past this horrible moment in time. Love was never meant to hurt this much. Love was meant to be all white and fluffy. This was more like a vat of sulphuric acid thrown in my face — it hurt like hell and made me wish I was dead.
I must have passed out shortly after that nihilistic train of thought. The next thing I knew, the sun was shining directly on to my wan face and I was about to throw up. I scarcely made it to the bathroom in time. As the meagre contents of my stomach emptied into the toilet bowl I resolved never to drink again — ever.
"Coffee?" asked Mandy wryly as she stuck her head around the door. I nodded feebly and she vanished to flick the kettle on. God knew I needed more than coffee to make me feel better, but it was a start.
I splashed cold water onto my pasty complexion and looked at myself in disgust. My blonde hair was plastered to my head and my turquoise eyes were flat and dead. God I looked a state. How I hated him at that moment, but I hated myself more knowing he had driven me to such depths of self pity.
The smell of frying bacon slipped through the miasma of depression and a small twinkle of light flickered on in my brain. My stomach propelled me into the kitchen and Mandy smiled sympathetically.
"Eat this," she ordered and I immediately felt better. There was nothing like a bacon sandwich to restore one's faith in humanity.
A week passed and life went on. I felt like a zombie most of the time — functioning, but only on a superficial level. On the surface I was my usual efficient self at work, but beneath it all I was seriously losing the plot.
My heart was broken and I was scarcely able to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I knew all the clichés about time healing all wounds, but it felt like this particular wound was rapidly becoming gangrenous. If I had been able to cut my bleeding heart out, I would have.
Mandy was sympathetic to my desolation, but she knew there was very little she could do other than listen to my endless streams of diatribe. It was cathartic at least to spew all the poison out to someone who gave a damn.
"I thought he cared about me!" I wailed for the umpteenth time as we sat drinking coffee one evening.
"Rach, you should know by now men will say ANYTHING to get laid!"
"But I really thought he had changed this time..." I sniffed, looking away before the tears began to fall again.
Mandy sighed patiently. "It's not your fault you wanted to believe his bullshit," she said philosophically. "We all fall for it — we like to believe the best in men even when the fact they are total bastards is staring us in the face."
It was cynical, but true. I always saw the good in people. This probably explained why I was taken advantage of so often. Mandy on the other hand was the queen of cynicism. She never took a man at face value and always looked for an ulterior motive. Maybe this was why she always had men running in circles around her, when I on the other hand got shafted time and time again.
"That's it — I am not doing men any more!" I made this declaration passionately and Mandy bust out laughing merrily.
"Can I write this down for posterity?" she giggled. "You won't last five bloody minutes!"
"No, I mean it this time. No more men. I have had it with them — they are all wankers!" I honestly meant it too. I couldn't face the idea of dating again. The trouble was, I only wanted one man and if I couldn't have him, I didn't want anyone.
Jake, our neighbour, smiled at me when I stated my 'no men' policy again.
"Really?" He didn't look all that convinced and I was rather stung by the fact that he hadn't believed me.
"Yes! I am sticking to a life of celibacy from now on." I pulled a skimpy thong from the washing basket and pegged it onto the line. Well I won't need this anymore, I thought firmly. No more sexy underwear for me.
Jake shook his head and sighed. "What a terrible waste," he muttered before he turned away and walked back into his house. I watched him go in surprise; he had sounded rather sad for some reason.
Shaking my head in bemusement, I returned to my task. Anything mind-numbing to occupy my time was useful. If I had nothing to do, I ended up raking over all the pointless moments of my relationship with Paul. It didn't help one iota - it just left me feeling like shit again.
"Want to come next door for a drink later?"
I looked up in surprise at Mandy's question. "Why?" I asked curiously.
She rolled her eyes and said, "Does there need to be a reason?"
"Er... no, I guess not. But I didn't think you were that friendly with Jake?"
"He's a nice guy! I bumped into him at the corner shop and he mentioned he was having a few friends round later. He asked if we would like to pop round and I said yes. God knows you need cheering up, even if I don't!"
She was right. Despite my best efforts to appear happy, it sure as hell wasn't working. I seemed perpetually slumped in a quagmire of depression and even the guys at work had begun to notice.
"What's up with you?" Tony had asked in the kitchen the previous morning.
"Men," was my succinct response. I slammed the milk down on the worktop and proceeded to pour boiling water into all the mugs.
"Right..." Tony replied, hastily moving out of my way. "Well er... if you want to talk about it or anything, you know I'm here..."
My tears pricked with familiar tears again. If only it helped to talk about it. I felt like I had talked the whole subject to death and still it made no difference. I hadn't heard from him since that email. Nothing at all — not one text or phone call. My head knew it was over but my heart stubbornly refused to accept it. He was constantly on my mind and if I didn't think about him in the space of five minutes, I considered myself doing well.
I glanced down and realised the water had overflowed in one of the mugs and was currently dripping onto the floor. Sighing heavily I mopped up the mess. This was becoming ridiculous — if I didn't start to get a grip soon, I was likely to have a total breakdown!
"What time are we going round?" I asked Mandy, wondering if I could actually be bothered to wash my hair first.
"Oh, about eight ish. We don't have to stay for long — just long enough to check out the talent!"
God she was incorrigible! She had several blokes on the go and still she was keeping an eye out for replacements!
"I thought you were keen on Andy?" I asked curiously, forgetting all about my own problems for a minute.
"I am, but men are like tyres — it never hurts to have a spare or two!" she giggled and I snorted with laughter. It was hard to stay miserable around Mandy. She was too full of the joys of life. In many ways it was just as well she was here — I probably would have slit my wrists by now if she wasn't.
Jake's house was rather nicer than I had imagined it would be. Despite the fact we had been neighbours for several months, I had never been inside it before. We had exchanged greetings over the garden fence a few times and he had always been friendly, but I hadn't really paid him a lot of attention since he had moved in.
He was a Veterinary Surgeon at a local practice and he was out at work for much of the time. Mandy had eyed him up as soon as he bought the house next door, but I had been much too involved with Paul to really take any notice of eligible single men.
As far as I knew, Jake had no girlfriend. It was strange as he was actually a very good looking bloke when I finally took the time to notice. I studied him as he chatted with a tall, lanky guy in the kitchen while Mandy flirted outrageously with some other bloke. She stood twirling her long dark hair and fluttering her eye lashes. The poor man didn't stand a chance.
There were several bottles of beer on the worktop and I helped myself to one. Jake was waving his arms around animatedly as he recounted a story of an angry cow objecting to an examination. His arms were tanned and strong looking; his torso muscular beneath the tight tee-shirt. His brown hair was long enough to flop down over one blue eye beguilingly.
A faint sliver of desire curled inside my belly and for a sharp moment I forgot all about Paul.
"Rach, come over here and meet Steven!" Mandy gestured at me with a wink and broke my reverie. For a moment I was flustered, my skin prickling with an unexpected longing. I glanced back at Jake and noticed he was looking my way, an inscrutable expression on his face.
I turned away, suddenly unable to look at him. I felt my cheeks flushing with embarrassment and I wondered if anyone had seen me staring like an idiot. God I hoped not...
"Rach, Steven is single. He likes kids, animals and drives a BMW." I could have killed Mandy on the spot. She was blatantly match-making and it was the last thing I needed.
"Hello Steven," I managed to say through gritted teeth. "Pleased to meet you..." Politely we shook hands. His palm was moist and hot and I tried not to snatch my hand away rudely. Mandy was so dead when we got home soon. Naturally she melted away immediately and left me with Steven. He was pleasant enough, but I knew he was never going to set my world on fire.
As soon as I was able to, I managed to extricate myself from Steven and went to find Mandy. She was sat on the settee with Jake, talking animatedly about films they had both seen. For an inexplicable moment I was jealous.
They both looked up and smiled when I walked into to room. "Hey Rach, you okay?" Mandy asked with a smirk. "Getting along alright with Steven?"
"Yes, we had lots in common..." I glared at her and she had the shame to look slightly apologetic. "I'm going home now, are you coming?" I added with irritation.
"Yeah, I'll be there in a minute." She grinned at me blithely and returned her attention to Jake. It appeared I was dismissed.
Crossly I stalked out of the room and slammed the front door behind me. I vaguely heard Steven saying something as I left, but I pointedly ignored him. There was no way on earth I was about to give him my mobile number or indeed anything. He had hinted about taking me out whilst we chatted in the kitchen, but I had resolutely ignored his veiled suggestions. He wasn't my type at all. He was not Paul and therefore I wasn't interested.
The television presenter waffled on about holiday destinations as I tuned out. Mandy had returned from Jake's house and had managed to completely ignore my hostile complaints about her meddling in my love life.
"Look — Steven is single and he's okay. I figured it would do you good to get out on a date. You might actually enjoy it? Besides, it's about time you stopped mooning around the house because of that dickhead, Paul."
I glared her crossly. "But I don't want to be taken out on a sympathy date! I'm not a fucking charity!"
"That's not what I meant and you know it. You're a great girl Rach, but you are wasting your time waiting for dickhead to realise that. He's made his bed so just leave him to stagnate in it and move on."
I didn't to hear that. What I wanted was for him to come back to me and a happy ever after. My tea cooled on the table as I stared morosely out of the kitchen window. Mandy sighed in exasperation and turned away. I wondered when she would give up on me — I pretty much had.
"Oh by the way, we're going to the cinema on Thursday night, if you want to come."
"We?" I asked. My was curiosity piqued despite my best intentions.
Mandy turned the hot tap on to wash some dishes and her reply was almost lost in the sound of water running into the bowl. I thought I heard the name 'Jake', but surely I was wrong.
"Did you say Jake?" I yelled at her.
She turned the water off and turned to face me with an innocent expression on her pretty face. "Erm yeah. Fancy it?" she grinned mischievously. "I thought it might be fun."
"Haven't you got enough men in your life at the moment?" Honestly, if she strung any more men along, she would have one for every day of the fucking week!
"Well I wouldn't want to cramp your style," I said irritably.
Mandy rolled her eyes at me and grinned. "It's not what you think okay? He's a nice guy, but I don't fancy him. We just happen to have similar taste in films. It would be a laugh if we all went out, we could go for a drink after the film. You might even have fun if you let yourself!"
"Okay - just as long as you aren't trying to set me up with Steven," I warned her with a scowl. There was no way on earth I was falling for that one...
Thursday evening, Mandy appeared in my bedroom doorway looking very pale. I glanced up from my pile of ironing with surprise. "What's up with you?"
"I don't feel well..." she said mournfully. "You're going to have to go without me tonight, I think I've caught a bug — sorry."
She really didn't look well. As much as I was suspicious of her motives for inviting me along tonight, I didn't think even Mandy would deliberately feign illness to further my love-life.
This meant that it was just Jake and me going to the cinema. I didn't know if I could go now. Suddenly it seemed a little too much like a date and I wasn't ready for that.
"Mandy..." my voice trailed off and I stared at my face in the mirror. I was being stupid wasn't I? Paul was officially history and there was no real reason why I shouldn't be dating another man. I couldn't put my life on hold forever. Besides, Jake was an attractive guy and I rather liked him if truth be told.
"Are you going or what?" Mandy asked slightly impatiently. She was looking rather green and I sincerely hoped she didn't throw up all over my carpet. It had not recovered from the incident last New Years and there was still a suspicious stain near the bed.
"Okay I'll go." I said firmly. "But I'm warning you now, if this is a set up, I will kill you!"
Much to my relief Steven didn't appear when I went round next door. Jake seemed remarkably unfazed by Mandy's sudden illness and I felt a twinge of suspicion. But there was very little I could do without seeming churlish. Anyway, to all intents and purposes, it was just a trip to the cinema with a friend; nothing more and nothing less.
The fact that Jake and I were hardly friends was irrelevant. I supposed it was as good a time as any to get to know him. We were neighbours after all. And he was rather attractive, (in an understated kind of way). Not that I was looking of course — I needed another man like I needed a hole in the head.
The film he took me to see was a French subtitled one. It was about the suicide of a husband and the subsequent effect on his family. It was hardly uplifting and given my recent state of manic depression, hardly the best choice of viewing entertainment.
Jake seemed enthralled though. He sat glued to the screen while I watched him surreptitiously out of the corner of my eye. He had a classic profile; straight nose and high forehead. Kind of like a Jane Austin hero, I thought dreamily. Then I mentally slapped myself. What in God's name was I thinking? I had only just gotten rid of one low life bastard - I hardly needed a replacement just yet!
My attention was drawn back to the screen by a wailing woman. I knew exactly how she felt. Men were the bane of my life too. She and I could both do with some Prozac to help us along - that and a life-times worth of immunity against useless fuckwits.
Eventually the film ended, slightly more cheerfully than it had begun. We headed outside into the cool night air. I suddenly felt awkward. If Mandy had been there, we would have headed straight to the pub and had a few drinks and a laugh about the awful film. But she was at home allegedly ill and now I was tongue-tied all of a sudden.
"Erm... thanks, that was great!" I said with a bright smile.
Jake burst out laughing. "No, it was horribly depressing and we both need a drink to recover!"
I grinned at him in relief. "Yeah okay — you're right — it was a bloody awful film! Next time it's my choice!" I suddenly realised what I had said and blushed faintly. Next time? Oh very subtle Rach!
"No problem, next time you definitely get to choose the film." Jake glanced at his watch and said, "Come on, we can have a drink in the Three Legs down the road. My round as I forced you to sit through that film."
It was late when we finally said goodnight. I was surprised to realise that I had had a great time. I hadn't thought about Paul once which was a major break through. Maybe I was cured! Then a pang of regret hit me and I winced in renewed pain.
"You okay?" Jake asked. He must have noticed the change in my expression as we stood at the garden gate between our houses.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said firmly. Actually I wasn't fine but it had nothing to do with him.
"Mandy told me about your ex. I know it's none of my business or anything..." He paused for a moment and looked at me. "But I think your worth more than that."
I stared at him in surprise. Oh thanks a lot Mandy! Nice to know that all and sundry knew my business. God knew what he must think of me now. Affairs with attached men were hardly the epitome of virtuous women.
"I really hope you didn't mean it when you said you were giving up men for the rest of your life..."
Without warning, he leant forward and kissed me gently on the lips. I froze in shock for a moment, before I found myself responding to the pressure of his mouth. He tasted slightly of mint from the polo's he had eaten on the way home and I leant into him as we stood under the spotlight of the street lamp.
His body felt hard and muscular. It was obvious his job was fairly physical; he was also taller than Paul had been and I found myself tilting my head up more than I was used to. He didn't kiss like Paul, but the difference was enjoyable nevertheless.
When we broke apart, I could feel my heart racing and confusion was running rampant through my veins. What in the hell was I doing? I shouldn't be kissing another man! I pulled back, uncertainty smothering me in a dark cloud.
Jake must have sensed my abrupt change of heart and he took a step backwards. "I'm sorry," he said quietly. "I shouldn't have done that."
"No... it's not your fault." I sighed. "It's just that things are a little difficult at the moment. I'm just not ready for anything new. I need time..."
"Well when you ARE ready, give me a shout." With that, he walked away and disappeared inside his house, leaving me standing in a pool of yellow light feeling horribly mixed up.
Mandy was laid out watching television when I went in. She looked far better than she had when I left her earlier. I couldn't help wondering if maybe she had deliberately concocted an excuse to send me out with Jake alone. It just seemed too convenient all of a sudden.
"Feeling okay now?" I asked a little sarcastically, flopping down on the worn settee.
"Much better thanks," she grinned disarmingly. "How was the film?"
"Oh very entertaining — I felt really cheerful by the time it was over!"
Mandy smothered her laughter and I couldn't help but smile. "Bitch! You knew it would be bloody awful, didn't you!"
"No! I actually wanted to see that film..."
"Well guess what you're going to get for Christmas then — that film on DVD!"
"Never mind the film, how was Jake?" Mandy winked at me and I knew I had been set up.
"He was... er... nice?"
"Nice?" She smirked and suddenly looked very interested.
"Yeah nice... Right, I'm off to bed. Good night!" I waltzed out of the room, ignoring her protests for more information. I needed to sort out my own head before I told her about the kiss.
Lying in my bed I pondered what had happened. Okay so we kissed. I had to admit I enjoyed it and I found him attractive. The big question was, was I over Paul? I just didn't know. It hadn't been long enough really. I did not want to jump feet first into another relationship before the dust had settled on the old one.
I knew Paul was bad for me. I also knew he was never going to leave her for me. But I still cared about him. I groaned out loud, wishing for once I could have a nice, simple life. Why couldn't I be like Mandy? Have lots of men but keep them at a distance, just using them for my own ends.
Agghhhhh! Life was never fair. I fell asleep pondering that dismal thought.
A few weeks passed by slowly, my thoughts of Paul becoming fewer and fewer. It wasn't easy, but I was beginning to recover from the damage he had inflicted on me. I also had the distinct impression Jake was avoiding me. I had seen him a few times out in his garden, but whenever I ventured out there, he had vanished.
Mandy had talked to him, but she didn't divulge what had been said. This annoyed me immensely and I felt almost jealous that they had more of a friendship than he and I did. Of course that was ridiculous — he and I hardly knew each other. I couldn't help wondering if they fancied each other though. I tried not to dwell on that. It annoyed me more than it should have.
I had heard nothing from Paul. Not any kind of explanation as to why he had vanished off the face of the planet. There really was no excuse for his behaviour. I could only assume he had decided to make a go of it with his wife once again. It seemed unlikely that THAT would last long. Oh well, I was not going to be there for him next time. He had well and truly blown it with me.
Life went on. Work was busy and provided plenty of distraction from my love life. We had some new clients and I was flat out most of the time. Mandy continued to play the field and reap the fruit of her labours. It never ceased to amaze me that all her men did not seem to mind being one of a crowd. I had to admire her though; she knew how to play them to her advantage.
The house was dark and silent but for the television playing an old film. Mandy had gone off for the weekend with one of her current blokes, some posh hotel in Scotland apparently. She had texted me last night bragging about how much money he had spent on her so far — shoes, lingerie, jewellery. Frankly I was jealous, but I was not going to tell her that.
I was bored. The film was not really keeping my attention and I found my mind drifting off down memory lane. I couldn't help wondering what Paul was doing... Was he lying next to her, watching a film and whispering sweet nothings? I had no idea. All I knew was that I was beginning not to care quite so much.
A small movement out of the corner of my eye attracted my attention. I sat up and looked closely. Oh my god! It was a spider! I immediately pulled my feet tightly under me and began to shake.
For the whole of my life I had been a sufferer of arachnophobia. I was truly terrified of spiders and although the sane part of me recognised it was a totally irrational fear, the rest of me still screamed like a banshee when one appeared.
Mandy was the designated 'spider killer' in our house. She was not frightened of them in the slightest and had no qualms about fishing them out of the bath with a glass. The major problem I had now was — she wasn't here!
What was I going to do? The spider scuttled over the carpet towards the fireplace and I cringed. It was huge — thick hairy legs and a fat body. I was almost paralysed with fear. I could probably make it out of the room without having to venture too close. But then it might find its way up into my bedroom and... I just couldn't bear to think about it.
One way or another I needed to find some kind soul to remove it for me. The only person I could ask was Jake. I just hoped like hell he was in and still up. If he wasn't I was screwed!
He answered the door wearing an old pair of tracksuit bottoms, his chest bare. For a moment I was speechless as I admired his muscular torso. He looked at me with curiosity, no doubt wondering why I was stood at his door wearing a short nightdress, silky dressing gown and bunny slippers.
Now I felt really stupid. Curse that bloody spider! Why couldn't it have appeared when I was at least dressed in something more decent?
"Ermm... sorry to bother you," I stuttered feeling my cheeks turning pink. "I have a problem and I wondered if you could help me?"
Jake's eyebrow arched upwards in a look of amusement; no doubt his mind was working overtime wondering just exactly what my 'problem' was!
"What's up then?" he said with a lop-sided grin.
"I have a spider in the house and..." I glared at him darkly when he burst out laughing. "It's not funny! I am scared of them."
I huffed in self righteous indignation. Phobias were no laughing matter — I bet he was scared of something stupid too.
"Okay, don't get your knickers in a twist!" he laughed even harder as I became more and more cross. "I'll just put something on my feet and then we can go kill the big scary spider."
Now I knew he was taking the piss. Why exactly did I think he was a nice person? He was not a nice person — a nice person would have shown some sympathy for my plight!
I refused to venture into the house until he had promised me on pain of death that the spider had been vanquished. He assured me that he had placed it humanely outside in the garden. My sense of relief was palpable, the fear gradually began to recede and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
"Hey you really were scared weren't you? Jake said in surprise.
"Yes. I know its silly but I am frightened to death of them. My mum had the same phobia too and I think I inherited the trait." I pulled my dressing gown cord tighter around my waist, aware that I was hardly dressed in a respectable fashion.
"It's not silly. I'm sorry for teasing you — I thought you were exaggerating."
"Hey don't flatter yourself," I retorted crossly. "I'm not that desperate for attention!"
I moved to step past him and he grabbed my arm. For a moment I was caught between the worktop and his body. We stared at each other, my heart thumping in sudden anticipation of something I wasn't sure I wanted.
"Had enough time yet?" he asked evenly, his blue eyes suddenly serious.
"I... don't know." I admitted. I looked at the floor. If I looked into his eyes I knew I was lost.
"Not all men are like that, you know." He smiled at me gently. "Don't tar us all with the same brush."
"Yeah I know that — I just have the knack of meeting the wrong men!"
He moved closer and I suddenly found it hard to breath. I was acutely aware of my lack of clothing and his naked chest. The room felt unnaturally hot and my skin prickled with warm twinges of desire.
"Well don't assume I'm the wrong man," Jake whispered, his mouth millimetres away from mine.
"Okay, I won't..." I replied softy, before his lips kissed me, erasing all sensible thoughts from my head. Paul was but a distant memory as Jake pulled me into the circle of his strong arms.
I could feel the heat of his body pressing into me and my nipples hardened with sharp desire. It had been weeks since my last encounter with Paul and my body was crying out for attention.
Almost unwillingly I slid my hands up Jake's chest, brushing over the silky hairs and exploring the sharply delineated musculature. He kissed me harder in response to my teasing touch of his small nipples.
I could feel his erection pressing into my belly and I knew I had a very short interval in which to decide what the hell I was doing here. My head was frantically trying to call a halt in proceedings, but my body was saying, don't stop!
Would it be so terrible to let nature take its course? I knew I wanted him and he clearly wanted me. But could I trust him? Would he hurt me like Paul had? I didn't know the answer to that. Only time would tell. All I did know was that I couldn't shy away from intimacy forever. Life without sex was no damn fun at all!
"Rach..." Jake broke away, his breathing slightly laboured. "Are you sure about this — I don't want to rush things."
I gazed up at him through my fringe. "Shut up and kiss me again..." I demanded.
He growled and pulled me close, allowing me to feel the heat of his cock burning a hole through my nightdress. Our tongues duelled in a lusty sparring match as his hands swept up my body, brushing the sides of my small breasts.
My sex ached with unresolved tension. I could feel the juices seeping out as all the pent up passion of the last few weeks bubbled up within me. My hips rocked against him in a subconscious invitation; my body was firmly in favour of sexual gratification.
Jake pulled himself away from me long enough to lift me up so that I perched upon the edge of the worktop. I parted my thighs licentiously and he stepped between them. Watching my reaction carefully, he parted my silky dressing gown and slipped it off my shoulders, allowing it to fall in a pool of silk.
I almost stopped breathing as the tension of the moment reached an unbearable level. Jake's eyes darkened to an enigmatic navy blue colour and I licked my lips nervously. He stroked a finger down my cheek and traced the line of my jaw. Slowly, teasingly, he drew a path down my neck and across my collar bone.
His expression was inscrutable as he reached the edge of my nightdress. The lacy fabric barely covered my breasts and I leant towards him, desperate for him to touch me. My nipples were hard and I could feel them tingling as his fingers rested lightly on my feverish skin.
Jake pushed first one thin strap off my shoulder, then the other, the silky fabric slipping down to my waist. I moaned, almost without realising it, as he reached to cup my now exposed breasts. He rubbed his thumbs over the puckered crests, eliciting a gasp from me.
I reached to stroke his chest, paying particular attention to his nipples too. I was rewarded with a groan as I pinched the tiny nubs. The smile was wiped off my face when he bent to take my nipple in his mouth and sucked gently. My hands pulled his head close, the gentle sucking sensation making me want to scream out loud.
He raised his head and reached up to kiss me again. I pulled him as close as I could, my bare breasts rubbing against the light hair on his chest. His hands gripped my waist and I could feel the strength of his erection straining through his thin tracksuit bottoms.
"Rach," Jake said, pulling away to allow us to catch our breath. "I want you badly, but I need you to be sure about it. Shall I stay or go?"
I thought about it for a moment. I was about to have sex with another man. Was it the right thing to do? I didn't know if he would hurt me or not, but I did know I couldn't stop this now. I wanted him too much.
"Stay," I whispered softly. "That spider might return later..." I grinned to let him know I was joking and he smiled back.
"Did I mention the charge for removal of that spider?"
"No..." I giggled.
"Well let's go upstairs and discuss it further!"
He lifted me up and for a moment I wrapped my legs around his waist and gripped his neck. His hands supported my bottom and I could feel his fingers mere centimetres away from my aching pussy.
Reluctantly I dropped down and taking his hand, I led the way upstairs. I was beyond thinking about whether it was a good or bad idea. I didn't care anymore — I just wanted Jake to fuck me...
Jake sat on the bed in the light from the window. I stood before him and dropped my silky night dress to the floor. Naked and proud of my slim body, I allowed him to caress me with his eyes. He smiled in appreciation, reaching out to gently touch my breasts, before moving his fingers down towards my eager pussy.
I gasped sharply as he pulled me closer and dipped his hand between my legs. I was wetter than a river and I could feel the blood pulsing through my aroused sex. God I wanted this man. I couldn't believe how turned on I was.
Slowly he stroked the slick folds of my pussy, flickering over my clit with a teasing touch. It wasn't hard enough to make me cum, but it increased the level of my arousal to near stratospheric levels. I moaned softly, wanting to feel him buried inside me, but he seemed in no rush to do that.
He leant forward and took one small nipple in his lips, pulling gently as he pushed two fingers deep inside me. The sensation was so intense I nearly fell over. I pushed myself onto his hand, trying to indicate that I needed him to rub my clit but he deliberately chose to ignore the hint.
"What's up?" he asked laughingly as I muttered incoherently.
"Stop teasing me!" I groaned. His fingers rubbed harder over my clit and I swooned in pleasure. "Ohhh... I'm gonna cum in a minute!" I gasped, the heat rising as my orgasm toppled on the edge of insanity.
I pushed against his hand, slow spikes of pleasure spreading outwards in a rush of ecstasy. My whole body went into meltdown and I closed my eyes, lost in the sweet tidal wave. I was vaguely aware of moaning, before belatedly realising it was me.
I slowly came down from my high to find myself thrown onto the bed and Jake on top of me. He kissed me hard and I could feel his hard cock pressing urgently into the apex of my thighs. I wrapped my legs around his waist and pushed against him, seeking closer contact.
"I need to fuck you," he rasped into my neck.
"Well get inside me then..." I muttered. He slid off me and went to undo the cord on the waist of his trousers. With a grin I stopped him and knelt astride him. "Here, let me!" I smiled saucily.
He wasn't wearing any underwear and his cock joyfully sprang free from the confines of his trousers. It was lovely and thick, and my mouth watered in anticipation of feeling him inside my throbbing pussy.
I bent down and licked the head. A small bead of moisture leaked out to replace the one I had scooped up with my tongue. I could see Jake watching me, his eyes hooded in lustful expectation.
Taking his hard shaft in my hand, I bent and enveloped the head of his cock in my hot, wet mouth. He tasted delicious, a slight flavour of soap mixed with a male musky odour. I slurped my way up and down the thick length. I could hear his breathing growing ever more ragged and I reluctantly removed my mouth to slide back up his body.