Fall from India Place Page 42

A new feeling of unease met the one that was already growing inside me. I watched as his magnificent body, bite-worthy arse and all, crossed the room and disappeared into the hall.

A few seconds later he returned, completely at ease with his nakedness. Wishing I could believe in the softness in his eyes as he looked at me, I watched on, a little perplexed, as he crawled back into bed with me. And then he pressed a wet washcloth between my legs.

Surprised by the sweet gesture, I bit my lip to keep myself from saying anything as he took care of me. Afterward he disappeared for a few seconds again, returning to draw down the covers that were under me so he could put them over me. He slipped into bed, lying on his back, and his arm came around me. Without saying a word he pulled me into his side and I rested my head on his chest, my heart racing again.

“I don’t know if this changes anything.”

Marco replied on a huff of laughter, “Of course it does.”

For some reason I wanted to cry. I didn’t understand myself at all. “I should be lying here feeling happy, but… I’m not.”

The air in the room grew chilled. Marco sat up, turning so he could look me in the eye. I could tell by the hardening of his jaw that he was more than a little pissed off by my reaction to us having sex. “What the hell does that mean?”

I went for honesty. Well… sort of. “I have this sinking feeling about us.” I looked away. “I haven’t told you everything, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to.”

I felt the press of his fingers against my chin and he slowly turned my head so I had to meet his blazing gaze. “You will, eventually,” he said with a certainty I just couldn’t feel. “I haven’t told you everything either, but we’ll get there. And that feeling… I’ll make that go away. I’ll make that go away by proving to you that I’m not going away. I’m here, Hannah. And I want to be here.”

I wanted to argue further, I wanted to run far away before everything between us imploded and left me devastated. But when he kissed me, pushing me back against the pillows, determined to make love to me all over again, I understood that there was a much bigger part of me that had nothing to do with my brain and everything to do with my emotions, and it wanted this here with him even more.

The staff room was emptying out with only five minutes to go until lunch was over. I’d just walked to the sink to rinse my mug, still in a daze (and exhausted) from last night’s sexathon with Marco, when Nish hurried over to my side.

She ignored my questioning gaze to look over her shoulder. As soon as the last teacher walked out of the staff room she turned back to me, her dark eyes sparkling with excitement. “I heard things are going well with you and Marco.”

Annoyance made my pulse speed up. “And where did you hear that?”

Nish shrugged, looking weirdly smug, almost triumphant. “Well, Marco sent me a text this morning and all it said was ‘Thank you.’ Seeing the dark circles under your eyes, the flush in your cheeks, and putting it together with the cryptic text message, I can only conclude you two had sex.”

Great. “Are you an English teacher or a private detective?” I grumbled.

Nish laughed. “I don’t know what that grumpiness is for. If I was getting some from Marco D’Alessandro I’d die a happy woman.”

“You’re a married woman,” I reminded her, throwing my sandwich packet in the bin as I headed toward the door.

“That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a gorgeous specimen like Marco.”

I was admittedly confused over whether or not giving in to Marco the night before had been the right thing to do, but I had definitely enjoyed everything about his body. I shivered just remembering it.

“So.” Nish reached past me, putting her hand on the staff room door so I couldn’t escape. “Andy says he’s known Marco for a few years now and he’s never chased after a woman before.” Nish grinned at me. “He’s usually a love ’em and leave ’em kind of guy.”

I stared back at her impatiently. “Was that a question?”

“Well, yeah.”

Sighing, I pulled at the door so she had to move back to let me out. “We have history.”

“I’m getting that. What I want to know is, is it serious? Will I be hearing wedding bells soon?”

My shoulders hunched at the absurd question. “I’m not even sure if we’re together, Nish. Marco’s never been one for permanence.”

Cole was in his kitchen, grabbing me a glass of soda and some snacks, and I was just relaxing when my phone vibrated. I pulled it out of my purse, that unease back in my stomach when I saw it was Marco.

He’d called me five times and I’d ignored every single one. I’d also ignored the text message he’d sent. Instead of going home, where I was sure he’d only ambush me and force me to work out my feelings before I was ready, I’d gotten the bus to Cole’s flat on Leith Walk. It was a small place that he shared with a roommate. The furniture was worn and in need of replacement, the walls were yellow-stained, and it was perpetually cold because the old sash-and-case windows needed replacing

Shoving my phone back in my purse, I looked up as Cole returned to the sitting room. “Do you miss living with Cam and Jo?” I asked, gratefully taking the food and drink he offered me.

Cole shot me an “are you serious?” look. “I like the privacy. For all of us. Cam can’t keep his hands off my sister, as evident by that huge bump she’s carrying around these days, and that’s just something I’m glad I don’t have to walk in on anymore.”

I chuckled, glancing around the room. My gaze stuck on a plaque that hung above the old fireplace. On the plaque was a singing fish. “Still, your flatmate has the dodgiest taste.”

“Bigsie is dodgy, full stop.” Cole stared grimly at the fish. “Luckily I don’t see much of him.”

“Yeah, where is he?”

“Fuck knows. He pays the rent on time, that’s all that matters.”

“You could ask him to take the fish down.”

“The fish?” Cole snorted. “I take it you haven’t seen the blow-up doll in my bathroom?”

I burst out laughing. “No way.”

Cole closed his eyes as if he was in pain and nodded.

Giggling, I put my Coke down and scampered out of the sitting room and down the hall into the pokey wee bathroom at the back of the flat. As soon as I opened the door I was confronted by a life-size blow-up doll. She was sporting a cartoon face and a majestic bosom, and someone had covered her lower half with a hula skirt.

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