Sidequest for Love - Page 95

His elbow brushed mine, and he coughed, pulling it back. “Sorry,” he muttered.

“You don’t need to apologise for brushing my elbow,” I said, then leaned close to murmur in his ear, “I’ve always liked it when you touched me.”

His Adam’s apple visibly bobbed in his throat as he swallowed. He looked a little embarrassed, so I relented and changed the subject.

“What’s the game plan for dealing with the old geezer? Do I need to charm him? I think I have some lipstick in my bag that I could put on.”

He cast his gaze to mine, his eyes running over me, and I felt his attention like a physical caress. “That won’t be necessary.”

I reached up to pull the elastic from my hair. “I can let my hair down,” I said as it fell around my shoulders. “Men like it when women wear their hair down, right?”

My hands were in the process of fixing my hair when he caught my wrist. I froze, sucking in a harsh breath as I glanced up at him. There was a storm in his eyes. “Don’t do that,” he said, voice thick as he let go of my wrist, and my hands fell into my lap.

“Sorry. I forgot for a second that you hate me right now and I’m supposed to be grovelling for forgiveness.”

Something I said made him frown. “What makes you think I hate you?”

“Well, you never responded to my voicemail for a start,” I reminded him, shoulders hunched. I felt defensive. I couldn’t help it. In the grand scheme of things, it had only been half a day, but I was hurt that he hadn’t made contact. Hadn’t he promised me just last night that he wouldn’t abandon me as the others had?

“I’m mad at you, Afric. That doesn’t mean I hate you.”

“And you have every right to be mad. Yes, a part of me is glad I was drunk enough to tell Leanne about Annabelle, mainly because it means we never have to see that bitch’s face ever again, but I’m also so, so sorry for doing it. It was a dickhead move. I am a dickhead.”

“I’m the only dickhead in this situation,” Neil said, exhaling. “And you’re right. A part of me is glad that you told Leanne and the secret is finally out in the open.”

“What is it then? Are you mad about the hacking?”

“I would be if it weren’t for the fact that Leanne gave you the go-ahead. It’s her relationship that would be affected if those screenshots ever saw the light of day.”

“So, what then?”

Neil’s jaw moved in a weird way, his expression broody. “What you did was fucked up, Afric. I need some time before I’m ready to forgive you for it.”

All those helium balloons I mentioned? Someone just stuck a pin in them. Several moments of quiet passed before I spoke tentatively, “Since you’re still working, I take it you didn’t get fired?”

At this, several emotions flickered behind his eyes, the most notable being guilt. “Yes, Callum and Leanne insisted I stay on.”

“That’s good news.”

He shook his head. “I’m going to resign. I just need to find a suitable replacement, train them up, and then I’ll hand in my notice.”

“But why? If they want you to stay on, then they’ve clearly forgiven you.”

“It’s not as simple as that. From a moral standpoint, it wouldn’t be right for me to stay on. And besides, I have other plans, and I’ve been using my job as a crutch not to pursue them.”

“Really? What sort of plans?” I asked, curious.

“The next stop is ours,” Neil said in a flat voice before standing and joining the group who were waiting to get off. I followed, a little miffed that he refused to answer my question. I stood next to him, making the mistake of not grabbing hold of a bar as the train came to a stop, which meant I fell right into Neil. His hands came up to my shoulders, steadying me, and I got a waft of his familiar scent. It was so powerful I had to close my eyes for a second.

“Afric, are you okay?” he asked.

I nodded and opened my eyes, glancing up at him. Our gazes locked, and I couldn’t look away. We’d been apart for less than a day, and it already felt like a lifetime. I missed him so much. The emotional wall he’d thrown up was the worst part. I wanted my Neil back, the one who tried not to smile too hard when I teased him or said something funny. The one who I’d catch looking at me with worship in his eyes when he didn’t know I was paying attention.

“I’m fine,” I whispered, and he nodded, eyes running over me.

Then he glanced to the side and swore. The doors had closed, and the train was on the move again.

Tags: L.H. Cosway Romance
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