Burn Me Once - Page 61

Challenge accepted.

‘And I’m going to fuck you right back.’

* * *

I have no idea what I’m doing.

Ally left an hour ago and I finally got rid of Natasha. Now, ensconced in my basement recording studio, which is coming together slowly, I need to be writing and instead I’m thinking.

About Ally.

About Sienna.

About what the hell I’m doing.

I’m thinking about the fact that I lied to her just now. I have no meeting with my manager. I just wanted to give her a taste of her own medicine. Why is she the only one who gets to decide when we see each other?

I’m thinking about the fact that I’m flying out of the States in a matter of days and that if I stick to the rules we agreed to I’m never going to see Ally again. That I was stupid to waste an evening just because I’m pissed off with our boundaries.

I’m thinking about the fact that I hate the thought of not seeing her after I leave. In fact the idea of not seeing Ally makes my skin crawl, and that, in turn, really pisses me off. Because Sienna and I broke up three months ago and, let’s face it, it was hardly a clean break. By rights, I shouldn’t be obsessing over someone new already, should I? Isn’t that disloyal to Sienna and what we were? Maybe. But I’m not sure I have much say in it.

I’m furious at Sienna. No, I hate her. But I loved her once—or thought I did.

And Ally? Where does she fit in to all this? When did convenient sex with no strings start bothering me more than the break-up with the supposed love of my life?

I can’t say. I have no idea what I feel for Ally.

But I know that I want her. And that three more days, three more nights with her, is not going to be enough.

I know that I wish we hadn’t made those damned rules.

And I know that I’m a rule-breaker from way back.

It’s time I remembered that.

* * *

It’s after eleven before I go to the hotel. It’s childish, but I feel like it’s important to make her wait. Just a bit.

When I step into the suite all thought rattles through me, threatening to drop right out of my head.

Ally is lying on the sofa, wearing a silky negligee, with a book in her hands. My book.

‘I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about,’ she says, and smiles, lifting Les Misérables up for me to see.

I had a speech worked out. A plan. I was going to seduce her and then, when she was weakened by desire, I was going to start a conversation. But I’ve seen her now and I blurt out, ‘I’m coming back in a month or so.’

She stands up quickly, her eyes locked to mine.

‘What?’

The word is not screeched, and yet it bounces around the room as though it were.

‘To New York?’ she says after a moment.

‘No, to Earth,’ I mutter sarcastically. ‘Yes. To New York.’

I move further into the apartment. Here it comes. The sentence I’ve spent days formulating.

‘I’d like to see you again.’

Abject fear crosses her face. It is unmistakable.

‘What?’

‘I’d like to see you again.’ I shrug. ‘I’ll be in London a few weeks. Maybe less. And then I’ll fly back here.’

‘Why?’

My eyes don’t lie. I’m not going to pretend any more. ‘Because I’m going to be missing the hell out of you by then.’

She practically jack-knifes across the room, the book in her hand as though it’s a lifeline, her tension a palpable force. Silence hangs between us.

‘No.’

It’s a softly spoken word. It’s a plea. And yet it’s emphatic.

I brace myself for her argument.

I brace myself for her doubts.

What I don’t brace myself for is the fury and rage which is obvious when she spins around a moment later, her eyes pinning me to the spot, burning me with irate contempt.

‘How dare you?’

It’s not what I expect. Did I think she’d be glad? Thrilled? That she’s been feeling the same growing sense of disbelief that our arbitrary deadline is drawing closer?

It takes me a moment to shake myself into responding. ‘I dare—’ my words sound coloured with anger ‘—because I don’t want this to end. I’m not ready.’

‘Oh, you’re not ready,’ she says sarcastically, slapping her palm to her forehead in an exaggerated and sarcastic gesture of sudden comprehension. ‘You’re not ready! How did I dare think you’d do the right thing and stick to our deal?’

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