Sure Thing(7)


by Jana Aston

“They didn’t send Tom. They sent George,” I tell her, my voice low. Not that I think George can hear me from this distance, but you can never be too cautious. “And George definitely knows you. He said he switched to get this route because of you.”

“Huh,” she replies after a moment of silence. “Well.”

“Well?” I repeat, exasperated. “Elaborate, Daisy. I can see the airport from here. I don’t have much time. How well do you know this guy?”

“I’m thinking. Which George is it?”

I take the phone away from my ear for a moment to stare at it in disbelief. “I’m guessing it’s the George you know biblically, based on the way he was looking at me,” I say, rolling my eyes and returning the phone to my ear.

“Right,” she says, drawing the word out.

It takes me all of two seconds to work that out.

“You’ve slept with two bus drivers named George?” I hiss. “Who does that?”

“Probably a lot of girls,” she replies, her tone unbothered. “The Georges are hot. And don’t slut-shame me, Violet, you know it’s ineffective.”

“Obviously,” I respond drily.

“Anyway,” Daisy drawls, “which George is it? The hot one or the hot funny one?”

“How could I possibly know that, Daisy? I met him five minutes ago.”

“Hmm, true. I guess it doesn’t really matter which George it is. Just don’t sleep with him. That would be weird.”

“You think?” I reply sarcastically. We never ever date the same guys. We’re close, but not that close. “What am I working with here, Daisy? Is either George in love with you? Do you have a pet name I’m gonna have to answer to? Will I have to break his heart?”

“No.” She laughs and it comes out like a snort. “Neither George is in love with me,” she says. “Definitely not,” she adds and it sounds slightly sad.

“We’re at the airport. I’ve got to go,” I tell her. “You’re my pea.”

“You’re my pod. Love you.”

CHAPTER SEVEN

Violet

I’m exhausted. After the trip to the airport this morning I made sure the passengers got checked into the hotel and understood where to meet me this evening. Then I did the same thing all over again for the afternoon pickup. I tensed just a little every time someone asked me a question, worried I wouldn’t have the answer. Add to that, I had George to avoid. Avoiding people is hard work. You’ve got to know where they are every second so you can make sure you’re not in the same place at the same time. Or that if you are, you’ve got a lovely couple from Australia with you as a buffer so that the person you’re avoiding can’t offer you his room number. Just for example.

I’m gonna have to nip that in the bud.

I glance at the bed in my room and consider lying down for just a few minutes, but practicality wins out. I have an hour of free time before I need to meet the group downstairs. I look at my passenger list to triple-check I’m not missing anyone. We only picked up thirty-two from the airport today. The remaining nine made their own arrangements or came into town earlier, but the hotel tells me they’ve all checked in. So I can check that off my list.

Forty-one guests accounted for. Check.

I confirmed the hotel bar has a section set aside for our group tonight and will be serving a small buffet of finger foods promptly at six. Check.

I called the local guide we’ll be meeting tomorrow and verified the location our group will meet her. Check.

Satisfied, I flip open my laptop and check my email to see if I’ve heard from any job prospects. Nothing, I note while biting my lip. I blow out a breath and send a couple of follow-up emails to recruiters I’ve been working with before taking a quick look at my preferred job websites. I manage to send a couple of résumés out before it’s time to shut down and head downstairs. I step in front of the mirror and smooth my hands over my blouse. Daisy’s blouse, technically. There’s no uniform for the tour guides, thank God. The drivers have a uniform. Black pants, a dress shirt, a vest and depending on the weather a jacket on top of that. It’s actually rather attractive, if you’re into that sort of thing. Daisy’s obviously into that sort of thing, I think with a smirk. Gotta love my sister.

Anyway, the guides don’t have a uniform. They’re not allowed to wear shorts or jeans. No t-shirts. Business casual, Daisy said as she packed her suitcase and handed it to me. “I lent you a few things. That sundress you always borrow without asking and the pink skirt I just bought are in there,” she added while I stared at her like she was a lunatic. Obviously that exchange ended with me agreeing to this, so clearly I’m nuts as well.

For what must be the hundredth time, I cannot believe I agreed to do this. But it’s time I got my groove back. Daisy’s not wrong about that. And while impersonating my sister as a tour guide for Sutton Travel isn’t my idea of getting my life together, it’s a start. The pay isn’t bad and I desperately need the infusion of cash. Plus the tourists traditionally tip the guide and driver at the end of the trip and Daisy promised that adds up to a nice little bit.

Besides, I really needed to get off her couch.

Daisy’s got some great clothes, I muse as I twirl a bit in the pink skirt. I’m totally keeping a few of these outfits she packed for me. Bonus pay. She owes me that much for dumping this job on me, because her reasons are not entirely altruistic. If I know my twin, she’s up to something this week.

So I’m going to make the best of this. That’s kind of my motto anyway. Find a way to excel no matter what life throws at you. I’m done wallowing and I’m turning over a new leaf. The battery to my life needed a jumpstart and this is it.

That guy last night was one hell of a jumpstart, I think, grinning at myself like an idiot in the mirror. I can’t help it, I’m feeling pretty smug about how brazen I was. I feel oddly… proud of myself. Is that normal? To be proud of a one-night stand? Well, I am.

Last night life threw a sexy British guy my way and I made the best of it—and I didn’t even have a cheat sheet from Daisy to make it happen. Technically that article from the women’s magazine might have given me a push, but I did it. I walked into the bar and smiled at him, didn’t I? So yes, I’m a bit proud today.

I’m going to make this week my bitch. I’ve got my cheat sheet and my confidence back. I blow out a breath and straighten in front of the mirror. I’ve got a ton of résumés floating around. I sent a few more today and I’ve got two recruiters who believe in me and will call as soon as they have a job lead. They might even call me this week. You never know.

I grab the cheat sheet for the welcome dinner along with the complimentary Sutton Travel tote bags and lanyards for each passenger and head downstairs, a huge smile on my face. Things are definitely back on track and Daisy is right: No one is going to question it if I mess something up. They won’t even notice.

Mr. Magic Mouth. Who knew one night with that man would provide such a needed boost to my self-esteem? Dare I look for him again tonight? Would he want a repeat? Or is he already onto his next conquest with a woman more permanent than myself? No, not going to think about that. I wanted a one-night stand and I got it.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Jennings

At six Nan and I stroll into the small dining area attached to the hotel bar. There’s a sign indicating the area is reserved for our Sutton Travel group, so we find two seats at an open table and settle in. Three ladies traveling together from Canada join us shortly and Nan chats with them while I nod along and look at my watch, surveying the group I’m to spend the next week traveling with.

Retired couples mostly. This group of girlfriends on a girls’ holiday at our table. A few couples in their thirties, perhaps. One or two who appear to be traveling alone.

It’s interesting to watch a group of complete strangers from around the world forge an instant bond over a shared holiday. Bloody boring for me, but lovely for these people. The trip is off to a good start—people mingling and laughing, introducing themselves with a nod and a smile while exchanging notes about where they’re from and commiserating on long flights and travel exhaustion.

And then the girl from last night walks in. Straight into the area cordoned off specifically for the travel group. So I tune everything else out and focus on her.

She’s even lovelier than she was last night, if that’s possible. That glorious black hair is pulled into a ponytail, the ends of it curling in thick waves. Her lips are painted a pale pink and her eyebrows are slightly raised in concentration as if she might be looking for someone. Is she looking for someone? Her eyes dart about the room as I mentally run through the group I was just observing and try to match her with any of them. Who could she be here with? Traveling with a friend perhaps? I’ve noted a handful of solo travelers in the group but she doesn’t look like she belongs with any of them, nor did I observe any of them saving a seat.

She’s wearing a white cotton blouse. It swells slightly over her breasts and I most definitely want another go with her. Knowing what she looks like underneath that blouse is torture. Perfect rosy tits on that one. The way they felt resting in my palms and the sounds she made when I took them into my mouth. I need another taste.