Conveniently His(4)

By: Penny Jordan

‘You’re going, then!’

Her mother made it sound as though she was leaving for good.

‘I’ll try and get down the weekend after next,’ she promised, aiming a kiss somewhere in the direction of her mother’s cheek and jumping into her newly acquired Metro.

Leaving the house behind her was like shedding an unwanted burden, she thought guiltily as she drove through the village and headed in the direction of Cambridge. It wasn’t her parents’ fault there was this chasm between them, this inability to communicate on all but the most mundane levels. She loved them, of course, and knew that they loved her...but there was no real understanding between them. She felt more at ease and comfortable with Jonathan, more at home in his home than she had ever felt in her own.

Of course it was impossible to imagine anyone not getting on with him. He could be exasperating, it was true, with his vagueness and his inability to live in any sort of order but he had a wry sense of humour...a placid nature...well, at least almost. There had been one or two occasions on which she had thought she had seen a gleam of something unexpected in his eyes. Best of all, he treated her as an equal in all respects. He never enquired into her personal life, although they often spent the evening talking when she was down at his home—which was quite often because, although he had an office in Cambridge, there were times when he was called away unexpectedly and he would summon Sophy to his side to find the papers he was always losing and to generally ensure that he was travelling to his destination with all that he would require.

It was through these visits that she had got to know the children, often staying overnight, and this was not the first time she had received a frantic telephone call from Jonathan informing her of some domestic crisis.

Her mother was right, she thought wryly, what he needed was a wife but she could not see him marrying. Jonathan liked the life he had and he appeared to be one of that rare breed of people who seemed to have no perceptible sexual drive at all. His behavior towards her for instance was totally sexless, as it seemed to be to the whole of her sex—and his own; there was nothing about Jonathan that suggested his sexual inclinations might lie in that direction.

In another century he would have been a philosopher, perhaps.

However much her mother might criticise his shabby clothes and untidy appearance, Sophy liked him. Perhaps because he made no sexual demands of her, she admitted inwardly. Her conviction as a teenager that she was ugly and plain had long been vanquished when she had gone to university and realised there that men found her attractive; that there was something that challenged them about her almost gypsyish looks. A friend had told her she was ‘sexy’ but if she was, it was only on the surface, and by the time she had left university she was already accepting that sexually there was something wrong. When a man touched her she felt no spark of desire, nothing but a swift sensation of going back in time to Chris’s bed and the despair and misery she had experienced there.

Just before she met Jonathan she had been involved with a man she had met through her father—one of his clients, newly divorced with two small children. She had been drawn to him because he was that little bit older...but the moment he touched her it had been the old story and that was when she had decided it was pointless trying any longer. Mentally she might be attracted to the male sex but physically she repulsed them.

When she brought her car to a halt on the gravel drive to Jon’s house, the children were waiting for her, David grinning happily. Alexandra at his side.

‘Uncle Jon’s in his study,’ David informed her.

‘No, he’s not’ Alex was looking at the house. ‘He’s coming now.’

All three of them turned to watch the man approaching them. He was wearing the baggy cord jeans her mother so detested and a woollen shirt despite the heat of the day. His hair was ruffled, his expression faintly harassed.

He was one of the few men she had to look up to, Sophy reflected, tilting her head as he approached. She was five-feet-ten, but Jon was well over six foot with unexpectedly broad shoulders. She frowned, registering that fact for the first time, totally thrown when he said unexpectedly, ‘Rugger.’

Her mouth fell slightly open. Previously she had thought him one of the dimmest men she had ever met when it came to following other people’s thought patterns and that he should so easily have picked up on hers made her stare at him in dazed disbelief. It really was unfair that any man should have such long, dark lashes, she thought idly...and such beautiful eyes. If Jonathan didn’t wear glasses women would fall in love with him by the score for his eyes alone. They were a dense, dark blue somewhere between royal and navy. She had never seen eyes that colour on anyone before.

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