Sure Thing(11)


by Jana Aston

Daisy’s in the window seat, so she doesn’t have a chance to object when I slide into the empty aisle seat next to her. Her head snaps up from a notebook clutched in her hand, her expression turning into a scowl when she sees me.

“You can’t sit there,” she says.

“I think that I can,” I respond, unbothered by her sass. I slide my arm over the headrest behind her and lean into her ear. “Are you this rude to all the tour guests or just the ones you’ve slept with?”

Her mouth drops open and her eyes widen in shock before she recovers.

“Just you,” she states, narrowing her eyes at me before returning her attention to the notebook in her hand. She quickly snaps it shut and holds it on her lap, her fingers curled around the edge.

“What have you got there?” I nod to the notebook. In my mind it’s a journal, filled with dirty thoughts about me.

“Nothing. Just notes about the trip,” she says with a shrug.

“Ah.” I nod. The dirty notes were a long shot but still, I’m disappointed. “How long have you been a tour guide, Daisy?”

“Uh, a few years,” she says, but she won’t look at me.

“A few?”

“Yeah, a few. How about you? How long have you been mooching vacations off of your grandmother?”

“Mooching? What a brilliant word. I assume it’s an American term for getting a handout?”

“It is,” she confirms, unabashed.

I grin. “Well, I have been the apple of Nan’s eye since the day I was born.”

“Yeah, okay,” she agrees in a tone riddled with sarcasm.

“So what do you need the notes for? If you’ve been doing this a few years it should be old hat by now, shouldn’t it?”

“It’s a new tour,” she responds.

“Is it?”

She glances at me before quickly looking out the window. “Newish,” she replies with a shrug. “For me,” she adds.

She’s evasive about the oddest things, which only serves to intrigue me more.

When we reach the outskirts of the National Mall the bus stops and the group disembarks while Daisy confers with the local guide. George stays with the coach, which suits me fine. I still don’t like him.

Daisy does yet another head count, then ensures everyone has their headset on and can hear. The guide takes off while delivering her spiel on the history of the Washington Monument. I watch the guests follow along for a few minutes while Daisy lags at the rear of the group, making sure she doesn’t lose anyone. Nan’s group has positioned themselves near the front, keeping a careful eye on the local guide, headset boxes clutched in hands. There’s a couple from Scotland with professional-looking camera equipment snapping pictures every few feet while the majority of the group just use their mobile phones.

I pull the earbuds off and shove them into my pocket along with the radio box.

“What are you doing?” She stops walking and looks at me suspiciously.

“I’m more interested in observing you than the tour,” I tell her with a wink.

She groans.

I smile.

“Do you have a job, Jennings?” She squares her shoulders and looks at me as if she’ll be able to assess the truthfulness of my answer.

“I do.” I nod.

“Do you live with your mother?”

“I do not.” I shake my head once and bite back a smile.

“Okay,” she says, then pauses. “Do you live with your grandmother?” she asks slowly, her brow arched in suspicion as if I’ve found a loophole to avoid an honest answer.

“I do not live with my nan,” I confirm.

“Okay,” she finally says with a nod.

“Okay,” I agree though I’m not sure what conclusion she’s just drawn.

“We can have sex this week,” she announces. “Because you’re good at it,” she adds and starts walking again. “And because that accent of yours drives me wild and because frankly, I don’t need another reason.”

“Well then, glad that’s settled.” I don’t fight the smile this time. I can’t recall a woman ever telling me I was good in bed in quite such an… ineloquent way before, but it’s distinctly Daisy.

“Don’t make me regret this, Jennings. You seem like trouble and I’ve got a lot going on.”

“I’ll make you come with as little trouble as possible,” I promise.

“And for the record, I’m still going to count this as a one-night stand. Unless I have another one-night stand in the future, then I’ll use that one, but if I don’t then this one still counts.”

“Right.” I nod slowly even though fuck knows what that means.

“Okay then. We’ve got a deal.”

“A sex deal?” I ask, wide smile on my face. “How kinky.”

“You said you weren’t going to be trouble,” she says drily with a tilt of her head and a lift of her brow in challenge.

“Fair enough, that I did.”

“Go join your grandmother, Jennings. I’ll deal with you later.”

Oh, I should hope so. I shake my head with another grin, wondering what just happened. I don’t normally have women so reluctant to give me attention. Or speaking to me like I’m a lost dog. Yet I’m smiling and curious about what she’s going to throw at me next.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Jennings

There was a group dinner tonight—included with the tour package. Billed as a premier dining experience or some nonsense. It was an agonizing affair that took up the better part of three hours. George was there, which I’m sure is customary but nonetheless annoying. He sat at a table with Daisy while I was across the room with Nan and a couple from Japan. Daisy spent the dinner looking anywhere but at George, which was somewhat mollifying. George for his part just looked confused.

The restaurant was medieval-themed, complete with dim lighting and food served on wooden platters set in the middle of the table and drinks served in pewter tankards. It was awful. Nan, however, was delighted by the atmosphere and everyone else appeared to be having a good time as well so clearly the issues were mine. I’d have taken a godforsaken American chain restaurant with utensils wrapped in a paper napkin over eating with my fingers, but all that matters now is that it’s over. Thank fuck.

I spent most of the dinner forcing myself not to think about what Daisy looks like naked lest I get a hard-on. A mission accomplished, just barely.

But now we’re back at the hotel for the night. Finally, blissfully back at the hotel. Tomorrow the tour moves to Williamsburg, Virginia for two nights. But tonight, Daisy’s tour guide work is just about done and I’ll finally have her to myself.

I escort Nan to the lift and bid her a good night before retreating to the lobby to wait for Daisy. Circumspectly, of course. She’s busy answering questions for a couple from the tour so I pretend to be interested in a rack of promotional flyers located in the lobby. I pick one up for a duck tour—an amphibious vehicle that drives the streets of DC before splashing into the Potomac River and cruising the rest of the tour. I give thanks that I won’t be subjected to a ride on a hybrid car/boat and stuff the flyer back into the stand while watching Daisy nod along to whatever the couple she’s speaking with is droning on about.

Watching her makes me think of my first job out of university. It’s been… what, fourteen or fifteen years now? Fuck, was I ever twenty-two? For a moment maybe, a lifetime ago. My dad’s voice rings loudly in my head, asking me if I have any intention of slowing down. I wonder if he doesn’t have a point when I realize how fast the years are passing.

But they’re passing so damn enjoyably, I muse with a glance at the lovely Daisy. I catch myself smiling and I have to physically swipe a hand over my mouth to wipe it away. Why slow down when I’m having so much fun?

Besides, work keeps me busy.

My passion has always been success. At work and with women. Right now one very specific woman. I watch her talk to another guest from the tour and wonder if I can skip past offering to buy her a drink tonight. I know it makes me some kind of barbarian arsehole, but I don’t want to offer her a drink. I’ve been waiting for two days, I want her upstairs and naked.

Finally the last of the tour guests head towards the lifts and I note Daisy on their heels, as if I’m not standing here waiting for her. As if she’s just going to slip upstairs without a word. I don’t think so.

“Miss Hayden.” I lay a hand lightly on her arm to stop her from proceeding and she huffs a bit, a cross between a sigh and an exhale as she flicks her eyes to mine. “I believe we have plans,” I remind her.

“I’ve changed my mind,” she says with a tiny insolent shrug.

Changed her mind? Bloody hell. She can’t be serious. I look into her eyes, trying to gauge the situation, searching for a hint of mischievousness, but it’s not there. She’s serious? Why are women so irritatingly complicated? Was I not just musing about how much I enjoy them and now this? Vexing is what they are. Each and every last one of them is a different sort of exasperating, with their own unique combination of things that piss them off. A man’s got to be a mind-reader to decipher what they’re on about half the time, for fuck’s sake.