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When I wake and realise it was a cruel dream, I ache inside. I find I am drooling on his chest and I retract my hold on him immediately. It’s early but I roll away and let myself out of bed. I look back on him and see he’s still fast asleep so I leave him there and head to the bathroom, where I look in the mirror and see my cheeks are crimson.
I douse my face in cold water but nothing is helping to rid myself of this heat all over my body. Instead, I walk to the kitchen and down a tumbler full of cold water. I still feel as hot as hell. When I walk by the bed and see his chest uncovered by the duvet, I stare at what is before me. Yes, I admit, he’s a man I want and I want him more than anything else in the entire world. He makes me feel safer than I have ever felt before in my entire life.
Phew. Getting that out there with myself is a relief.
When he rolls over and pulls the blanket up around himself, I watch the expressions he makes in his sleep. His nose twitches and he grunts. A smile falls across my lips and I don’t feel too bad then. It’s just the same old Warrick, growling and snoring. One of my secret behaviours these days is to smell his pillow when he’s not here.
I sit at my desk and do the only thing that will occupy my mind ‒ marking. I congratulate myself that if I do it now, I shall have the rest of the day to relax.
When I get bored after the first batch are done, I get up and head to the kitchen to brew a pot of tea. I fill two cups and put one by his bedside.
He hears the stamp of the mug and his eyes twitch open.
“Tea for you.”
I turn and sit at my desk and place my own cup down. I try to keep working but the mirror of my desk/dressing table is reflecting his image. He sits up and stares.
“Just marking. Is that a crime?”
“You seem odd.”
“All normal then.”
I hear him take a big sip and he puts the cup back down and rolls over to stretch, but the duvet shifts with him. In the mirror I see the whole length of the back of his body, on show.
He’s tight. No hair where there shouldn’t be any. Muscles in his shoulders and arse, thighs and arms. I am falling for him and his body is an added bonus. Christ! If only I can get my act together and stop being a cock tease.
Next thing I know, he leaps up to dash to the loo and I watch his body as he walks. My eyes peel wide open.
He returns and openly sups from his mug, standing there in only his boxers still. I fight every impulse to look and I end up just randomly ticking every page of the books I am marking!
“I have a thing today.”
“My voluntary work. You know, the thing I dragged you to that time.”
“Ah, rule me out then.”
“I promised Joe I would drop in for Sunday lunch too. I do that about once a month.”
I don’t know why he’s fishing for my approval. He pulls on his jeans and a vest he must have been wearing beneath the mustard jumper yesterday.
“I’ll just go then?” he huffs.
I turn in my chair to face him, and bite my pen.
He shakes his wild hair out and his eyes look manic.
“Guess I just feel a bit like I am getting the brush-off here.”
“Look, I woke early. I often do if I have had an early night.”
He hops on his feet and I stare him out, refusing to get as irate as him.
“Stay. Make yourself breakfast. Watch telly. This is just my life, you know. I mark all the time.”
He sits on the edge of the bed and drinks the rest of the tea.
“Have you had breakfast yet?”
“No,” I murmur, making random ticks still.
“What do you want then?”
“There’s eggs. I like mine poached.”
“Yep.” I hand him my now empty mug.
He calls me for breakfast soon later and we eat at the tiny table, which he has laid properly and garnished with a flower from my bouquet of carnations in the kitchen.
I seat myself, though still in my nightdress and robe. I chomp through the food in my usual fashion and I see him watching me. He wants to know whether he outdid my day with Laurie.
I am not going to tell him that he most certainly did, nor in being here for breakfast and doing it all himself, he’s winning by miles.
“I have a favour to ask.”
“Yeah?” he cheers.
“We go on a half-term dash to Bruges every autumn, me and the girls. Betsy and Ruby. They’ve pulled out this year because, well, they hate me now I have implemented all the changes that Dickhead Jack imposed on us.”
“That’s sad,” he remarks.
“Ah, it doesn’t matter. I don’t work there to be liked. Look, anyway, I booked mine and can’t get a refund. My cabin was booked, you know, ages ago. It was a two for one thing, so if you want to come, you’ll go free but it’ll be with me, in a tiny cabin, for two whole nights. Otherwise I will be going alone. I mean, I don’t mind,” I swing my fork around, looking anywhere, “but I thought, well, you seem stressed from work and it would be free… for you. Seems a waste.”
“Friday next week? Sails late afternoon.”
He chomps down on some egg and toast and consults with his memory.
“I will have to do some begging but I don’t see why not. Just means I might have to work overtime in the evenings next week.”
“Oh, don’t put yourself out. It’s not essential.”
I toss off my disappointment.
“I’ll come,” he smiles.
“Course,” he replies.
He stands and collects the plates. I hear him washing up while I finish my marking.
When he comes back into the bedroom, he’s dressed and ready to leave. A hand drops on my shoulder and he kisses my cheek.
I grab his hand and halt him, “Thank you, for yesterday.”
I know I am blushing. I hate myself.
He smiles and the next thing I know, he’s out of the door and then the building. I miss him already. I’m falling heart-screamingly in love with him. That dream is going to be the undoing of me!