An attraction that can’t be denied ….
Ten years spent trying to forget.
Kyle returns to his home town following years away to discover Sophie nursing a broken heart after being dumped by her fiancé.
A decade before Sophie and Kyle hated each other, she thought he was an arrogant playboy and he thought she was a spoilt princess. A drunken kiss changed everything and they spent the summer before university hiding their budding relationship.
Back then he was the achingly attractive bad boy that Sophie couldn’t resist and now Kyle attempts to revive Sophie from her misery as her friend.
But is the one person she wouldn’t let herself have the only one who can save her?
The sun was shining on a Friday afternoon in May, and I was in an extremely happy mood, unusual for me. Especially since I had worked three late nights this week and Michelle had been whinging about moving in together again last night. Michelle was a great looking girl; there was no getting away from that, all tanned taut skin and legs that went on for miles. God, those legs were what attracted me in the first place and she always smelt phenomenal. The girl had a hell of a lot going for her but the issue was that when she opened her mouth she just plain irritated me. It wasn’t her voice, that was as smooth as honey; she was a backing singer, that’s how I met her. No it wasn’t the voice, it was the incessant moaning.
It had been two years since we met, she was the quintessential easy lay at first and we started seeing each other more and more, but with that came expectations. She wanted things to progress and I simply didn’t have the space in my life for a woman. Or perhaps the more she pushed, the more she whined, the less I had space for her … who knew? Anyway, she was hot, really hot, but it was getting to the point where the sex wasn’t worth the aggravation.
Geraldine, my assistant, liked her, everyone seemed to like her, and I suppose she was great on paper, but all I seemed to get from her were her expectations. Perhaps looking like that she could afford to call the shots, but with me I think I was her stereotypical bad boy to tame, only issue was I didn’t want to be tamed – at least not by her. Maybe one day, maybe with someone who wanted to have a laugh, not someone who was desperate to tie me down.
My dad and stepmum Mags were on their way to visit me for the weekend and Michelle had decided she wanted to meet them. I had told her they were coming so she would stay away for the weekend, but she saw me telling her as an invitation instead. I didn’t have the strength to argue so I caved and made dinner reservations for four.
My dad and I were still repairing the damage of my teenage years, but I loved seeing Mags, she was the mother I should have had. My own didn’t even send me birthday cards on time these days, and Mags never missed a special event in my life. Mags made sure they visited a few times a year and my dad always liked to time it with some conference or other he could look in on. This weekend there was a classic car convention nearby.
My mood was high because I was excited to see them and I didn’t have to wait long as they arrived shortly after five; I met them downstairs at the car park in front of my apartment building.
“The traffic was horrendous,” Dad blustered as he stepped out of the driver’s side of his high-powered BMW, wearing jeans and a pale sweater stretched over his rounded stomach.
“Oh ignore him.” Mags said with a smile, magazines in her arm from the journey. “He’s just grumpy because he had to leave work early, workaholic.” She nodded to him warmly.
I pulled her into a hug as she walked towards me.
“Good to see you both,” I sighed.
“You too,” she soothed, giving me a squeeze as dad followed us sighing heavily and moaning about the motorway.
“So we get to meet your lady friend?” Mags said later, she was a classic beauty, dressed in a simple black dress and her hair fell loosely to her shoulders. She sat on the sofa with a glass of wine as we waited for a taxi.
“One of …” Dad scoffed.
“Hey.” I smirked, “I’m a one woman guy but this one ….” I scrunched my face slightly, “I dunno, she’s hard work.”
“They all are.” Dad stated with a wry grin and Mags swatted his arm.
“Well we’re honoured anyway.”
“Don’t be,” I sighed, “she sort of forced her way into the situation.” I shook my head and the both looked at each other knowingly.
I think they assumed I was some bachelor who didn’t want a permanent fixture in my bed, but to be honest it was more that I’d never met anyone I could stand to be around for any great length of time. I wasn’t a cheater, and I wasn’t particularly short of casual sex if I needed it, so I didn’t need a long term girl but sometimes one stuck by accident. That was Michelle.
We set off in the taxi shortly after and picked Michelle up from her apartment on the way. I was taking my parents to a new swanky restaurant in the city centre and I knew Dad would love it. He loved extravagance and luxury.
The cab pulled up outside Michelle’s Camden walk up apartment that was a lofty space in an old white, Edwardian home… She looked amazing as she waved from the doorway, man those legs!
“Bloody hell,” Dad said as she locked the door, “she looks like a super model.”
“Mick.” Mags nudged him, “inappropriate.”
“What?” he held his hands up with a smile and then hugged her. They sat on the back bench seat and Michelle slid in next to me on one of the two folded down seats.
“Hi,” she said breathlessly with a huge grin.
“Hello,” Mags said extending her hand, “I’m Maggie.”
“Hello,” Michelle said.
“Mick.” Dad said also extending his hand out for a shake.
I put my hand on Michelle’s back as we walked inside the restaurant thirty minutes later. Everyone’s head swivelled to see her when we entered. I wondered if life would really be so bad having a ten out of ten girlfriend in the looks stakes, maybe I could deal with everything else. Maybe I could make this work?
. Once we were seated Dad ordered some champagne and we all chatted easily. We perused the menu and when the champagne arrived Mags smiled broadly.
“So, I’ve just been reminded by this lovely champagne, we have had some good news, and I really wanted to tell you in person.”
“Oh?” I asked, looking between them with curiosity wondering what could have happened, perhaps a lottery win?
“It’s Sophie.” Mags said, just the mention of her name made my heart thud instantly, we didn’t often talk about her, but when we did it was usually in passing and ended fairly quickly. “She’s engaged!” she said with a huge grin, taking a sip of her champagne.
“Oh.” I said again, trying to muster some enthusiasm. Trying to not look weird. “Oh that’s the news.” I said, studying my glass, my heart pounding involuntarily, my mind suddenly awash with memories. She flew back into my conscious, her hair, her smile, her smell and the way she had made me feel. Sophie … engaged.
“I supposed men aren’t bothered about weddings.” Mags tittered.
“Oh, erm sorry, yes that’s great news.” I said with more enthusiasm.
“It’s OK,” Dad chuckled, “I think it’s a woman thing, men just pay the bills.”
“Hey,” Mags gave him a disapproving look and he laughed.
“Who’s Sophie?” Michelle asked innocently.
Who the hell was she??? I hadn’t seen her for years, hadn’t been near her for longer than that, and hadn’t thought about her for long enough to feel like I had moved on.
“She’s my daughter,” Mags said cheerily, “Kyle’s step-sister.”
“Oh lovely.” Michelle said with a wide smile.
The rest of the evening descended into a thick cloud on my part, I don’t think Dad and Mags noticed, but every time Michelle tried to touch me I shrugged her away. I wasn’t upset, I wasn’t angry, but what the hell was I? I suppose disappointed …not for us, or even for me, but for her. What the hell was she doing settling for that idiot? I mean I didn’t know him, but I assumed he was a loser as I never heard them boasting about his career. He was just some guy who could never give her what she deserved.
Michelle placed her hand on my leg part way through the main course and without thinking I pushed it away, I couldn’t relax with her draped all over me and I was irritated. The conversation turned from marriage to work, to friends of my parents to God knows what. After the plates were cleared I excused myself to go to the toilet. and when I got there Michelle had followed me.
“What’s wrong with you, you arsehole?” she asked in a hushed whisper as we stood in a corridor off the main restaurant where the toilets were located.
I looked at her bemused and sighed, running my hand through my hair with frustration. “Nothing.”
“You’re being weird with me and it’s embarrassing”.
“Oh for fuck’s sake Michelle, why is everything about you and your needs? You drive me insane.” I growled.
“I drive you insane?” she huffed, “try dating someone who you have no idea if he even likes you most of the time, and when you try your best to squeeze an iota of information out of him he closes up. That’s insane.”
“So dump me then.” I said harshly; close enough to her face so she could see the anger coursing through me.
“I wish I could.” She lowered her voice once again but maintained eye contact.
I sighed, “Michelle I’m not right for you, I’m moody, angry and I don’t want what you want.”
She looked up through tears, “but I love you …” I saw the hurt and pain in her eyes, I saw her beauty and I saw her weakness but I didn’t love this woman. I didn’t love her at all. I liked her at best plus she was pretty good in the sack. I was annoyed that one conversation with Mags about Sophie had brought back all the unwelcome feelings that I didn’t realise I still harboured for her. I no longer wanted Michelle to touch me and I certainly didn’t want her telling me she loved me. I cared for her but I couldn’t imagine wanting her to stick around forever.
She nodded solemnly and left me to go to the ladies room; I did my business and made it back to the table before her.
I slid back into my chair and both dad and Mags looked at me expectantly.
“Not the one for you then?” Mags asked with a smile.
“How could you tell?” I asked taking a sip of my drink.
“Well the lack of interest in her was my first clue and the fact that she tried every way possible to touch you and you shrugged her off,”
“And the fact that she just left the restaurant a few minutes ago without saying goodbye,” dad finished with a chuckle.
“Oh God.” I put my head in my hands, “I’m so shit at this relationship stuff.”
“Don’t worry,” dad said patting Mag’s leg, “You’ll find the one for you soon enough.” I nodded and swigged my wine.
I watched them together with their easy smiles and the happiness that oozed from them and all I could think about was did Sophie have this with her fiancé? Did he set her alight like she used to do me? Did she have the settled calmness that came from knowing you had finally found the right person that fit you so perfectly? I had never had that and no one had ever made me feel as electrified as she had made me feel. Perhaps it was because it was forbidden or perhaps it was the way we used to clash. I wasn’t sure what had made me crave her so badly back then but I had.
The years allowed me to forget and gloss over that part of my life but whenever I saw Mags she reminded me of that girl and tonight she reminded me of exactly what I had lost and what I had been settling for.
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About the Author:
Hayley Oakes is a wife to a Manchester United fan and a mother to a three year old daughter both require patience and a sense of humour. She enjoys reading angst ridden romance and writing stories that she would love to read. She loves post apocalyptic movies and anything 80’s. This is her second novel.