Sure Thing(5)


by Jana Aston

It was very nice meeting you, love. Not sure I’ve ever heard it phrased quite that way the morning after, but very nice indeed.

I love women. I love taking them to dinner. Walking them to their door. Caressing their cheeks as I cup their jaws and kiss them before they invite me inside. Most of all, I love fucking them. I love discovering what gets them wet. What causes their breath to hitch and their toes to curl. What combination of moves will make a woman scream my name and come all over my cock.

Rose—or whatever her name is—is not what I’m here for, not at all. But she made me laugh. The way she lied about her name as if having an assignation with a stranger is a covert mission. Perhaps it was for her, but it still made me smile. And the way her eyes lit up when she asked if I was British, fuck. Later she asked me to “say something British” to her while we lay naked on the bed.

I shake my head and laugh out loud at the memory. And that ridiculous champagne cocktail she was drinking. Another lie. That drink isn’t hip in any country. And I can’t recall the last time a woman ditched me after sex.

Perhaps I’ll find her in the hotel bar again tonight. Maybe. Do I want to? I don’t normally look for a redo, but I wouldn’t pass on another night with that girl.

Why the hell did I let her run off this morning? She caught me off guard with her exit; I was still blissed out on sex, and catching up on the change in time zones. And then she was gone, the scent of coconut gone with her while I committed the vision of her wide-eyed smile to memory. The look on her face when I made her come—multiple times. The vision of her hair spread across my pillow. The way she hesitated for a moment while astride me and then ran her fingertip down my chest before flattening both palms against me and rocking herself to another orgasm.

I’m hopeful fate will be in my favor for another round with her.

But first: Nan. I’m here for Nan, I remind myself.

I finish dressing. Jeans and a t-shirt will suffice for today. I find my wallet on the floor with yesterday’s clothing and pocket it, dumping the clothing on top of my suitcase so housekeeping doesn’t trip over it. I glance at my watch and see I’ve got just enough time to make it to the lobby to meet Nan. Our guided tour of American historic sites this week didn’t include a stop at the National Gallery and she mentioned she’d be quite chuffed to go there, so off we go. Lord help me. Art’s not really my thing, but for Nan I’ll go along.

I groan at the thought of all the work I’ll be missing this week. I do not have time for tourism, but it’s my turn so I’ll make the time. I’ll figure it out. Besides, I have my laptop. Certainly I’ll be able to get some work done while the bus is transporting us from city to city so I can keep abreast of business in the UK.

I exit the lift at the lobby and make a cursory sweep of the bar with a quick glance. Not that I expect to see the girl sitting there at ten in the morning, but doesn’t hurt to look, does it?

Nan is waiting for me at the lobby entrance and I wrap my arm around her, her scent as familiar as England itself. Then I push the girl from last night out of my mind and focus on the reason I’m here.

CHAPTER FIVE

Violet

This is the worst idea Daisy has ever had. And trust me, over the years she’s had some bad ideas. When we were five she insisted we were allowed to paint our own nails, ending in our parents replacing the carpet in our bedroom. When we were ten she told me she didn’t need to study for a math test because our brains were linked and since I knew the answers she would too. When we were thirteen she convinced me to switch clothes with her in the bathroom during lunch before afternoon classes—and take her science exam for her. We pulled it off but I was a nervous wreck, sure we’d be caught and tossed into kid jail. When we were sixteen she impersonated me and flirted with a guy I was too shy to flirt with myself. She got him to ask her, pretending to be me, on a date. So technically he was asking me. I think. Anyway, I was the one who went on the actual date—and I had my first kiss with that guy, so I guess the plan wasn’t a total fail.

Following rules is my jam. Breaking them is Daisy’s.

So why did I go along with this?

This is sheer lunacy.

I’m twenty-six years old. Way too old to be doing what is essentially a twin switcheroo. I pull out my phone and call Daisy while eyeing the Sutton Travel tour bus sitting in front of the Sheraton.

“I can’t do this,” I tell her as soon as she picks up.

She sighs into my ear. “I’m so tired of your bullshit, Violet. Pull on your big-girl panties and just do it.” That’s my sister for you.

“Thanks, Daisy. That’s a very nice thing to say.”

“You’re welcome. Look, no one is forcing you to do this. If you want to go back to my place and sulk on the couch for another six months you’re welcome to it. In fact, take my room. I’m not home anyway.”

I sigh into the phone.

“Exactly, Vi. What you need is a kick in the ass. An adventure!” Her voice lifts on ‘adventure’ and I know she’s about to ramp up her sales pitch. “Aren’t you bored, Violet? You should live a little. Throw caution to the wind. Grab life by the balls!” She’s likely waving her arms around as she says this, knowing my sister. “You’re always the responsible one and really, where has it gotten you? Nowhere,” she adds unnecessarily. Because it’s true. I’ve always been the planner and yet here I am, jobless and living on her sofa.

I take a moment to feel smug about the secret one-night stand I had last night. Daisy doesn’t know about that, does she? Nope. And that was super-unplanned. It was a spontaneous home run, if I do say so myself, and I know I’m smiling like an idiot as I recall last night. I don’t have another one-night stand to compare it to, but I’m fairly certain it was exceptional. I still can’t believe I went through with it, it’s so not my thing to hook up with a stranger. I’ve never even come close to hooking up with a stranger before. I totally nailed the one-night stand thing. Pun intended.

I wonder if I might find him again tonight in the hotel bar or if he’s already checked out? Of course, if I sleep with him again it wouldn’t technically be a one-night stand anymore, would it?

“Hello, Violet? Are you listening to me?” Daisy interrupts my smutty reminiscing and I snap to attention.

“Yes, I’m listening.” I’ve really turned into a liar in the last twenty-four hours, haven’t I?

“So it’s no biggie, Vi. Do it or don’t. Stay or go.”

“It’s no biggie? You’ll get fired if I go home, Daisy. Because this tour starts in five minutes and you’re not here. Where are you anyway? Are you in an airport? It sounds like you’re in an airport. And how can you be so blasé about getting fired? Getting fired is a really big deal, Daisy.” I would know.

“Getting fired is not that big a deal. I keep telling you that. Perspective, Vi. You’re not homeless or hungry, and getting fired is not an ending, it’s a beginning. A beginning to something bigger and better,” she says in that dreamy way that only my sister can. “Life changes every single day. You never know what tomorrow is going to bring, believe me. Seize the fucking day.”

“What is so urgent that you’re willing to jeopardize this job anyway? It’s a pretty sweet gig for you.” Daisy’s main focus is travel blogging, but these tours essentially allow her to double-dip. She gets paid for doing the tours and during her downtime takes photographs and searches out hidden gems a large tour group couldn’t do, but which are perfect material for her blog. She’s built her blog from nothing to making a good income from ads and affiliate links and she works for herself so it’s easy to manage around her schedule with Sutton Travel. It’s ideal and she’d be crazy to give it up.

“I’ve got a thing to do,” she says breezily.

A thing. I’m not sure I even want to know.

“I’m hanging up now,” she says. “Just get on the bus, Violet. You can fake your way through this tour. You’ve seen me do it, it’s not that complicated. And I gave you step-by-step notes.”

“I’m gonna mess it up.” I swallow in dread. “How can I possibly give a tour I’ve only been on once?” I did tag along on this same tour last month when it was undersold and she had a few empty seats on the bus. I wasn’t really paying attention though. I spent most of that trip spying on Mark’s Facebook page, which is idiotic. But at the time it felt so necessary.

“They don’t know that, Violet. We’ve been over this. No one on that tour is going to know you don’t know what you’re doing. None of them are even American. You can tell them whatever you want. Just smile and make sure you don’t lose anyone during a bathroom stop and you’re golden.”

“You’re making the assumption that only Americans know American history?” I question her, for the tenth time. This idea is lunacy.

“I’m making the assumption that you don’t have a job and you could use the paycheck that Sutton Travel is going to give me for this tour. Which I’ll transfer to your account.”