Conveniently His(9)

By: Penny Jordan

He didn’t look surprised to find her in the kitchen, and she knew from his engrossed expression that he was totally absorbed in whatever problem was taking him to Brussels.

Jon was the computer industry’s equivalent of the oil world’s ‘trouble shooter’. She had once heard one of his colleagues saying admiringly that there was nothing Jon did not know about a computer. Although she knew that Jon himself would have been mildly amused by her lack of logic, she herself would have described his skill as something approaching a deep empathy with the machines he worked on.

As far as she was concerned the computer world was a total mystery but she was a good organiser, an excellent secretary and Jon found her flair for languages very useful. He himself seemed to rely entirely on the odd word, nearly always excruciatingly mispronounced from what Sophy could discover. But then, who needed words to communicate with a computer? Logic was what was needed there...and Jon had plenty of that, she thought wryly as she poured and passed his coffee. Only a man of supreme logic would propose to a woman on the strength of needing her to look after his wards and run his home. And also to keep other women out of his bed, Sophy reminded herself.

She didn’t ask him if he wanted toast, simply pushing the buttered golden triangles in front of him. He picked one up, absently bit into it and then, frowning, put it down.

‘You know I don’t eat breakfast.’

‘Then you should,’ she reproved him. ‘It’s no wonder you’re so thin.’ But he wasn’t, she remembered...recollecting that brief, unexpected glimpse of hard muscles.

She heard the sound of a car approaching over the gravel. So did Jon. He stood up, swallowing the last of his coffee.

‘I’ll ring you on Wednesday to let you know what time I get back. If anything urgent crops up in the meantime—’

‘I know where to get in touch with you,’ she assured him. She would have to drive into Cambridge later and leave a message on the office answering service asking callers to ring her here at the house. Her mind raced ahead, busily engaged in sorting out the host of minor problems her being here instead of in Cambridge would cause.

She walked with Jon to the taxi...sighing in faint exasperation as he forgot to pick up his briefcase, handing it to him through the open door and then turning to speak to the driver.

‘Ticket...’ she intoned automatically, turning back to Jon. ‘Passport, money...’

He patted the pocket of his ancient tweed jacket, a faintly harassed look crossing his face.

Registering and interpreting it correctly Sophy instructed. ‘Stay there, I’ll go and get them.’

She found them in a folder beside his bed, and sighed wryly. She remembered quite distinctly handing them to him yesterday and telling him to put them in his jacket pocket.

She ran downstairs and handed the documents to him, catching the driver’s eye as she did so. He was looking faintly impatient.

‘I’ll see you late Wednesday or early Thursday.’ She closed the taxi door and waited until it had turned out of the drive.

Back in the kitchen she munched absently at Jon’s toast and drank her coffee. She and Jon were to be married. It was incredible, ridiculous...only strangely it didn’t seem that way. Already she felt an oddly comfortable pleasure in the thought, as though some burden of pressure had been released. She wanted to marry him, she realised with a start of surprise...or at least...she wanted what marriage to him would give her. She frowned. Didn’t that mean that in her way she was just as selfishly grasping as Louise? But, unlike Louise, she did care about Jon. As a person she liked him very much indeed. As a man he was so totally unthreatening to her that she found his company relaxing. Marriage to Jon would be like slipping into a pair of comfortable slippers... But on Saturday? She comforted herself with the thought that it was hardly likely that Jon would be able to organise a special licence so quickly. In fact she doubted he would even remember about it once he got on the plane. No doubt the task of sorting out all the arrangements would fall to her once he came back but she would still prefer not to tell her parents until after the ceremony.

Coward, she mocked herself, hearing sounds from upstairs that meant David and Alex were up and about.

She told them about Jon’s proposal after breakfast. All three of them were outside, sitting on the lawn. Their open delight and excitement made tears sting her eyes. David flung his arms round her embracing her exuberantly, Alex hanging on to her arm.

‘I’m glad he’s marrying you and not that nasty old Louise,’ she told Sophy. ‘We didn’t like her, did we, David?’

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