Buy Me, Sir(4)

By: Jade West

I grin. “Floor eighteen? For seat sniffing and rubbing one off on Alexander Henley’s desk?”

She laughs. “Hell to the yes.”

“You’ve got yourself a deal, partner,” I say.

My feet ache like a bastard when I kick off my shoes in the apartment doorway. That’s what you get for buying budget footwear. Blisters and anguish.

Dean’s voice is only just audible over the cartoon theme song sounding from the living room. “Lissa’s home, yes she is. Let’s go see your poor tired sis.”

My heart swells to bursting as Dean steps into the hallway and passes the smiling little guy into my arms. Ignorance is bliss.

It’s the best feeling, being home. Even better than smelling Alexander Henley.

“Hey, little man!”

Joseph smiles, but is clearly still far more interested in the cartoons than me. Tears prick at the relief that he hasn’t been crying all day, but it doesn’t stop the resurfacing of the guilt I feel. The first day away from him was always going to be tough ride.

I don’t really want to be doing this – palming him off on Dean every time I have a shift to work. I don’t want to palm him off at all, in fact, but the flip side is so much worse. A lifetime of benefit handouts and few prospects. That isn’t the life I want to introduce Joe to. It isn’t the life our parents would have wanted for either of us.

I drop him back on his beanbag and he stares at the cartoon dogs on screen.

“So?” Dean prompts. “How was day one?”

I head on through to the kitchen, and he follows me, grabbing two mugs from the side while I switch on the kettle. “Hard. Long. Tiring.” I pause. “Shit.”

“Shit? Really?”

I shake my head. “Nah, it’s not all that bad. I met someone. Sonnie. She seems nice.”

“A friend already?”

I nod, and then I smile. “And I saw him.”

“And did seeing his criminal-aiding ass in the flesh again cure the infatuation?”

I shake my head. “Not exactly…”

I want to tell him so much. I want to tell him that Alexander Henley smells just as good as I remember. I want to tell him the birthmark on Alexander Henley’s cheek is a perfect little circle, and his eyes have the faintest little lines in the corners, and that’s new. Newer than four years, new.

I want to tell him that I broke the rules and took the main elevator, and even though that’s strictly forbidden, he still held the door for me.

Dean stares, waiting for more, and I realise I’m grinning. Mute.

“He didn’t recognise me,” I admit. “But he wasn’t ever going to, was he?”

“Nobody would recognise you in that shitty uniform, Lissa. It’s God fucking awful.”

“Even so, it was years ago. He bummed me one cigarette, I’m sure he barely even remembers the school, let alone me.”

“Just don’t get arrested for stalking,” Dean says. “It’s not as if they don’t know how to prosecute.”

He’s joking, but not really.

He knows all about my stalker tendencies. He’s been an accomplice to most of them.

But not this time. This time he’s got to look after Joe while I go scrubbing toilets for money.

“So, what’s the plan?” he asks. “Don’t tell me you haven’t got one. You always have a plan.”

“I’m going to get to the eighteenth floor,” I say. “That’s where he is.”

“And then what? Hope he likes stripy caps and polyester?”

I shake my head, and it seems funny again. It all seems funny again.

I throw my crappy cap at Dean’s head. “And then I’m going to sniff his seat.”

He catches it easily. “I’m not even sure you’re joking,” he says.

I shrug. Smile. Make our tea, but say nothing.

Because, truth be told, I’m not even sure I’m joking myself.

Chapter Two


Brenda, my assistant, has a voice that makes my ears bleed. I’ve pondered it a great deal during idle minutes, and the closest comparison I’ve so far drawn is that of a poorly tuned trumpet, played through the nose.

It would be comedy, if she weren’t so thoroughly fucking prissy with it.

It would kill me to hear her squeal my name in the bedroom, and since my personal assistant is the very last person I want in my bedroom, that is fortunate. And quite possibly one of the main reasons I decided to hire her in the first place.

That and the fact she’s really fucking good at what she does.

Mr Austin is here to see you.

I’m sure her voice sounds even worse through the internal telephone system, as though some of the depth of tone is lost in transmission.

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