So come over here and tell me what I wanna hear
Better yet, make your girlfriend disappear
I don’t wanna hear you say her name ever again
She’s like so whatever
You can do so much better I think we should get together now
And that’s what everyone’s talking about
Hey hey, you you, I don’t like your girlfriend
No way no way, I think you need a new one
Hey hey, you you, I could be your girlfriend
The morning light filters through the trees and touches my face as I lay spread out in bed. Twice during the night we had woken up and made gentle love and I was amazed at how easily we stirred each other to a sweet climax each time. Sleeping with her is easy and natural and once again I think the words as I look at her, ‘how lucky I am to have found you’. That morning we met at the photographic shoot seems a lifetime ago and I try to reconcile the coolness she tried to portray with the warm creature snuggled by my side.
It is 5am and I can’t stay asleep. Zeus is still in the bedroom with us and I signal for him to stay so that if Kate wakes without me she will know that I have not gone far. I get up, use the bathroom and then cross the mezzanine room to the staircase. Stripping off, it is only a moment before I am doing lazy laps in the pool. After a dozen or so I stand up to wipe the water from my face and notice Kate standing at the window above me. I wave as she opens the sliding door and walks out on the balcony.
“Come on down, baby. Come swim with me.”
She laughs, “I don’t have anything to wear.” I am standing in waist deep water and I watch her carefully as she registers that I am not wearing anything. Her eyes widen. “Oh, there may not be much swimming if I come down there.”
“Just part of my evil plan, sweetheart.” I sink back down and start swimming lazily to the house end of the pool. Within minutes she is standing at the end of the pool clad only in a towel. Her smile is sultry and tempting as all hell as she drops her towel and stands naked before me. Holy shit, she is like a goddess with those decadent curves and that pale creamy skin.
I let out a long whistle of air. She pauses for a moment before executing a perfect dive and then re-emerges in the water sliding up my body. My arms wrap around her and pull her up into a soft wet kiss.
“Hi angel. How are you this morning?”
“Surprisingly refreshed given that you kept me up all night.” She giggles and then pushes away from me to swim to the far end of the pool. She cuts through the water in quick and agile strokes. I race after her and catch her just as she hits the wall. “Wow, Miss K, is there nothing you can’t do?”
She considers this carefully. “Well, you know I don’t cook and I am not really an outdoorsy type.”
“But you swim like an Olympian?”
“Well, that’s because I nearly was. I was offered a College sports scholarship for diving, came close to qualifying for Beijing. Hence my awesome swimming ability and gymnastics skills. I’m just not too flash on land. I turned it down to do what I love and stay closer to home.” I feel like I have never seen her before, Who is this woman?
“So you were a jock?” She looks suddenly shy about the whole thing.
“Yeah, I guess, but so were you. I researched you Mr almost football scholarship.” She slaps my chest playfully but I know that I have let the pain show on my face when she stops laughing suddenly. “Oh, shit, Elliot, I’m sorry.” Her voice is a whisper.
“Don’t Kate. It was a long time ago and I don’t need you to pity me.” I pull myself out of the water and begin walking down the other end to get a towel. She watches for a moment and then begins to swim fast down the other end to meet me. I’m surprised how quick she is. She goes straight for the ladder and climbs out of the water walking past me to get her towel.
“Look, Elliot, I didn’t think. I didn’t mean to make you angry.” She is pleading with me but I just shake my head. Any anger has faded quickly. I put my hands on her shoulders and pull her into my body.
“It’s okay.” I murmurs into her hair, “I didn’t have the grades to take up a scholarship, end of story. I try not to have any regrets about that and I was lucky that I got an apprenticeship that I enjoyed and could succeed in. It’s just sometimes I wish…”
“What baby? What do you wish?” Her voice is a whisper against my chest and then she pulls back to look up at me and I just know that she won’t think this is stupid.
“I love my work, I really do. But I have all of these ideas in my head and I just wish that I could have been smart enough to be an architect. You know…to be able to dream big for other people. I designed this place and I could get access to the people I needed to help me make those ideas come true but I really wish that I could do it for myself.” It’s a subject that makes me sad. I know I could do some really great things if I could just get through the theory. I can draw, my maths is fine and my engineering knowledge is pretty damn good. I love design, aesthetics, materials and I know where the industry is heading. I just know if you left me alone with an exam paper I would be fairly fucking useless.
“Wow, you designed this? I assumed that you built it but … wow. Elliot you are really good. This place is amazing.” She pulls away from me to glance around at the building.
“Yeah, well like I say, there are only so many buildings I can build for myself so I am kind of limited to working on the other side of the plans. Its okay, really.” I can see her formulating a thousand questions about how it is that I can function at all and right now I don’t want to answer any of them. It’s not like building and developing and running a business are completely free of the need for literacy skills but I make sure I have some really great people around me.
“But you read plans to execute them.” Her statement is more of a question.
“Yeah, I can read drawings and numbers. I don’t have to worry about design language because after all this time I recognize those words easily enough on the page. But there is more to it if I wanted to get qualified so …” My words hang in the air and I wonder again if she will be happy with a builder for a husband. I shake it off, after all I have a pretty successful company and it is growing all the time. I have Christian and Dad to thank for the business side but the management and execution, that is all me and I am pretty fucking good at it. “Look, I wish I had an ounce of Christian’s academic ability and I will never really understand how he could have walked away from Harvard like he did. Not that it wasn’t the right choice for him at the time but because I would have given my left arm to be able to go.”
“Elliot you are an intelligent and talented man. More than I could ever have hoped for.” Placing a small hand on my face she smiles through her words. “Christian saw that being academic was not going to be the best use of his talents at the time. You also do not need to feel less adequate when you can do such amazing things.”
“Yeah, well, I can’t wait to have this discussion with your father the famous media boss and your brother the almost Masters student. They are going to think I am a big dumb bore who is only after your body.” I know I am sulking a little bit and this is just a crisis of confidence. Dad has drummed it into me over the years that intelligence is not tied up with academic skill but I know that when other people know about me, I get judged. That bitch, Elena Lincoln is a fine example of that.
“Listen, you are going to be fine. They are going to love you as I do because you have so much more to offer the world than a diploma. If you were a big dumb bore then you could bet your ass I wouldn’t be hanging around.” I realize what she has just let slip and a smile hits my face like the fourth of July. She frowns at the change of mood. She doesn’t even know she has said it but I heard it. Love you as I do.
“So is it my money or my body that you’re after Miss K?” I waggle my eyebrows at her in an effort to change the subject.
She laughs. “Oh definitely the body Mr G. Now how about bringing it up to the shower with me and see if you can’t make me sing some more.” At that I hoist her over my shoulder and head up the stairs with her squealing as i slap her naked behind.
An hour later, after a shower and a quick breakfast we are on the road heading back to her apartment. This time she drives as we chat about what we need to take to Barbados. My phone buzzes as we arrive out the front of her building.
“Gia, hi, what’s up?” I climb out of the car. Kate goes to move away from me into the building.
“Hey, gorgeous. I got your message about Zeus. I will come by tonight and stay with you before you go. You know, give you a parting gift?”
“Um yeah, it would be great if you could move in tonight but I don’t think I will be there. I’m going to stay in town with a friend so I can be at Sea-Tac early in the morning.” Kate looks at me as if I have grown a second head. I reach out to touch her but her hands go up in front of her body as she fends me off. Shit. “You have your key right? You can let yourself in?”
Kate’s mouth hangs open in shock then she mouths, ‘she has a fucking key’? Stupid Grey, big dumbass…
“Come on, baby. Come home tonight and I promise I will make it worth your while. Then I will drive you out to SeaTac early tomorrow.” Jesus, Gia you haven’t offered a booty call for months and you choose today to do it? Fuck.
“No, honestly, I am going to pack my stuff this afternoon and then I will head back into the city. I’ll feed Zeus before I go okay? Oh and he will need a big run this evening. He will have been cooped up all day.”
“Zeus is at the house? You didn’t take him with you?” She knows that any other day Zeus would be right by my side at the building site.
I hesitate while looking sheepishly at Kate. “Ah, no. He doesn’t fit into my girlfriend’s sports car so I had to leave him at home.” I am pretty sure there is steam coming out of Kate’s ears and I know I am going to get a bollocking. This time, however, I think I probably deserve it.
Then Gia fairly screams down the phone at me, “Your girlfriend! Sportscar! You prick, why don’t you just get your new chicky babe to come and sit with Zeus.” Oh, Gia is pissed now.
I pause. This is bad. Real bad. Gia’s pissed, Kate’s pissed. I might as well cut my own balls off and send them one each.
“Well, she can’t because we are going away on a holiday together,” I reply with a cringe. There is another long silence.
“Great. Well, you have a nice time with your girlfriend on holiday and I will be waiting here for you when you get home.” Kate hears this perfectly as Gia’s voice drips with sarcasm. I feel like such an idiot. Why did I think this was going to be okay?
“Okay, thanks Gia. See you in a couple of weeks.” I hang up and put the phone in my pocket.
“Are you going to explain to me what that was about?” Kate asks, her arms folded defensively across her body while she taps her foot on the pavement. I look around and realize that I don’t want to continue this out here in public.
“Inside.” I grab her elbow and steer her into her apartment and I am hoping like hell that Ana isn’t there to witness this showdown. All I can think is I am such a fucking idiot to think I could ask Gia to do this or that it would be remotely okay with Kate. She lets us into the apartment and storms over to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
“Kate what are you doing?” I am worried sick where this is going to go and she is making fucking Earl Grey?
“I’m making tea. Do you want some?” She’s thumping around so much that I am certain something is going to get broken. She pauses after throwing the tea bags in the cups. “Well, explain yourself Grey.”
Oh, Christ. “Look, Gia is an ex.” She is paused with her back to me.
“Fuck. It’s Gia Matteo isn’t it? I’ve seen her in the society pages with you. And she still has a key to your place?” She turns on me accusingly.
“Yes,” I reply. “We do have a genuine arrangement about looking after Zeus and it has never been an issue before.”
“But the arrangement includes a quick fuck before you leave, right?” Now her eyes are cold with fury.
“No…well yes…but not any more.” I feel like a cornered animal. My eyes are on the floor I am so overwhelmed with embarrassment. All I can do is whisper. “I’m sorry, I didn’t think.”
“Jesus Elliot, you didn’t think. You dumbass.” I flinch at her words as she spits them at me. She pushes past me and stomps off to her room. I follow after her and stand in the door as she angrily throws on a pair of jeans and a singlet. Then she sits down to put on a pair of converse before standing and stomping past me back out to the kitchen. She tries to finish making the tea but then knocks one of the cups on the floor and it shatters. Next thing I know she’s on the floor sobbing.
“I have no idea why this hurts so much. You have no intention of sleeping with her, I know this. And she really is in the past for you, I get that. I just can’t …” She chokes on her sob.
“Sweetheart, no.” I kneel down beside her and wrap my arms around her pulling her into my lap. “Please baby. I’m sorry. She means nothing. She is just a friend who looks after my dog when I’m not there. I’m so sorry. I didn’t think.” And I can feel my own tears. Fuck, why does this woman get me so damn emotional? All I know is that I can feel her pain and it is pulling me apart.
“No, Elliot. She is some woman who you occasionally fuck, who looks after your dog. Who expected you to fuck her tonight before you went away. Who has a key to your house. Our house. Is she going to be sleeping in our bed?” She pauses for a moment and then I see a thought occur to her. “Jesus, did you live with her? Is that why she has a key and expectations?” Now the pain lances through my chest. Fuck, why didn’t I see this? Gia was part of that house, she is my tame architect, she helped me put my ideas on paper. But apart from that and a very casual sexual relationship there was nothing else.
“Kate, I’m sorry. No I did not live with her. Yes she has expectations that, no, I will not fulfill. Yes I imagine that she will be sleeping in our bed.” Shit, that doesn’t sound so good. The ‘our bed’ sounds wonderful but not having another woman there.
“Damn you Elliot. I don’t want to be this woman. This stupid jealous irrational shrew.” She smacks my chest and then buries her head. “I just don’t want her in our room. It feels like a gross invasion of privacy.”
“Sweetheart, how many guys have slept in your bed?” I ask as gently as possible, even though I don’t want to know the answer. I am just hoping to make a point.
“No, don’t you go there. No one who has ever slept in my bed has had a key to my apartment. That is not a fair comparison.” She’s right, that was unfair. This whole thing is unfair. I have to fix it.
“I will make another arrangement for Zeus. I could see if Mia would go out there, although she hates being on her own.” I think about this for a moment. Mia has just arrived back in the country and probably doesn’t want to be stranded alone at my place. Then there is Zeus, who needs to be looked after. He has his own expectations and Mia might not be so keen on taking him for a big romp through the countryside.
Then Kate sniffs as she looks at me and pulls her body away. “No, I am being unreasonable and Zeus needs to have someone who knows him well. But I swear Elliot, I will tear the bitch’s arms off if she is in our room. Isn’t there somewhere else in the house she can sleep?” It should shock me that she is laying claim to my house, my bedroom, my bed. But I am glad that she is thinking of it that way. That will be our home, where we will start our lives together. I have no doubt about that. We will raise our children there. Suddenly Gia cannot be a part of how she thinks about our home but I am relieved that Kate is backing down on this because the only other person I would ask to look after Zeus is my best friend, James, and he is going to be away for the next couple of weeks.
“I will call her and make sure that she doesn’t. Baby thank you, I promise you I will never ask her again. I’m so sorry.” She turns fully into my arms. “I love you and I love that you are already thinking of it as our place, our room, our bed.” Then I do the thing I love the most and kiss her hair. She looks up into my eyes, and I feel like she is finally laying claim to me.
“You are mine Elliot Grey and you better make damn sure that the world knows that or…”
I let out a relieved laugh. “Or what…?”
The devil takes over my angel and she stands up, reaches into the kitchen drawer and pulls out a knife. My eyes widen in faux shock and then we both crack up laughing and fall into each others arms. I kiss her thoroughly and it is so tempting to drag her off to her room but I really do have to get to work.
“Listen babe, I will have to take a rain check on the tea. Are we good?” Bending to stare into her eyes I still feel uncertain.
Finally she nods and then slides her hands under my shirt and pushes it off my shoulders.
“What are you doing, I said I had to go?” But she continues to remove my work shirt leaving me with the t-shirt underneath.
“I am taking this. If I can’t have make up sex with you then I want to have the smell of you on my skin today until you come home to me tonight.” She puts the oversize shirt on and ties up the tails around her taut stomach. I know it is going to take an act of sheer willpower on my part to walk away. I roll my eyes at her.
“And what about me,” I ask. “What do I get to help me through the day?” She looks up at me thoughtfully and then reaches around behind her neck and takes off the simple gold cross that she has been wearing ever since I met her. She slips it around my neck and fastens it. It looks ridiculously small and I feel ridiculously happy.
“I have had that a long time so take good care of it for me. For us.” She whispers against my lips as she kisses me.
“Of course, m’lady.” I feel like one of the knights of old and she is offering a token of her favor before I ride off to joust. I bow and she giggles while rubbing her fingers through my hair.
“Laters babe.” I kiss her nose and then turn to go out the door. Just as I get to the doorway I hear her reply.
“Laters Elliot” And it feels like a big fucking I love you.