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CHAPTER FIVE: “TOP FLOOR”
Jill woke up in a foul mood. At first, while still getting used to the daylight, as her sleepiness was subsiding, she couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but as soon as she happened across the framed photo of Stuart on their bedside table, she knew. He was already busying himself in the kitchen with the morning breakfast, judging from the clatter of the dishes seeping through the bedroom’s door left ajar – meaning she had some time to think on her own.
Of late, she felt progressively annoyed and frustrated – no, fucking pissed off! – with some things she’d been noticing about him. He was just dead gone on some of the girls at work. She didn’t mind him fucking the brains out of anyone – boy, he was good at it, just thinking of last night! – but what irritated her was that he seemed to fall for them, that Cupid part of him.
There was Susan; she caught him making eyes at her at the coffee machine just last Thursday. Then Winnie, whom he directly complimented on her “starry eyes” on that same day, in Jill’s own presence! And what about these girls like Jessica who he had fucked before he even got to know her? – the man couldn’t even help himself telling her about her “sweet lips” and she could see how he looked at her to this day! And then, of course, there was the bloody Katie! – that long standing friend of his from God knows how long ago, with whom he shared history so long she, Jill, could not possibly compete… he certainly worshipped her. Oh, she now became his slut now and again, like that evening when she came to see him when he watched that Debbie woman make it out with Ava… and then told her all about it at home—his eyes were definitely starry then!
He simply fell too much for too many women. Physical she could handle; but any romantic feelings she fumed about! She stirred, still lying in the bed, staring blankly at the ceiling. Why can’t the man just fuck them, feel nothing and love only her? Why did she constantly get the idea that he wanted to make love to them – certainly Katie. It was her, Jill, who was his girlfriend, wasn’t she? And why on earth has he started deserting her in the bed first thing without waiting for her to wake up? A few months ago, even, he would have never done that—Should she tell him? Or just watch him more? See what he does?
“Fuck!” she cursed in exasperation under her breath.
She got up wearily and slipped her morning gown on. She walked over to the mirror and did verify the fatigue clear in her expression. She shook her head, conversing with herself in thought. “No, I am not ready for that today. I wouldn’t even know what to say. Maybe it’s all just in my head? Maybe I’m just making it all up? I’ll wait a few days. Let’s just see what happens.”
Little did she know how much would change even before the same morning was over.
Lily was hovering on the corner of Church Lane and Grange Gardens in Pinner. It was 7 o’clock in the morning. She’d left her mum a note on the table, leaving secretly very early in the morning, claiming she had some early work at Buckley’s. She knew, of course, that one call to the florist would be enough to tell that was a lie. Lily didn’t care, though; she simply needed to see him again.
The morning breeze on this slightly overcast day pushed strands of her hair around; the braids with small pale-blue bows attached to them, which she had prepared at a ridiculously early hour, stayed in place. She wore a very elegant floral neckline dress: black at the top with pink and red roses printed at the lower end. This was the first time ever she had dressed for a man. She wished she could know what he liked.
After the previous night, she sensed she needed to see him again, even if he scolded her and even if Jill would be with him. She sensed it, not decided it. She simply needed to be here and try something; she felt it in her heart. What she would do exactly, she had no idea and her heart was pounding presto. She was determined to stand there, opposite the house, for as long as it took to see him.
Life seemed to move around her, passers-by with their cases, some dog walkers, some older children on their way to school and cars constantly whizzing by. Had she not been so preoccupied with watching the front door of the house, she would’ve noticed she was attracting smiles of some men not able to keep their eyes off this incredibly pretty, elegant young woman.
She had made absolutely no plan for what she’d do if her beloved and Jill would drive in a car in the morning, but she was in luck: when the door finally opened, at about 7.30am, they walked down the drive and began walking on the opposite side of the street. He was with Jill there, as handsome, or perhaps more, as the previous day. Lily felt dizzy just looking at him. They didn’t see her and words stuck in her throat, petrifying her for a moment. Seeing him walk away with Jill made her fully aware of her vulnerability ankara evi olan escortlar and it was only when they were threatening to disappear at the end of the street that she was sufficiently frightened into fast-paced walking.
It would be so terrible if she weren’t able to look at him and have him look at her; if she were to lose him again. Frantically, she endeavoured to think of something to say or do that wouldn’t be laughed at or scorned and when would be the best moment – and where.
Alas, the decision of where and when was made for her. In what felt like a safe distance for now, Jill, reached into her pocket, then into her handbag, searching for something. Lily only heard her sigh and then saw her stop abruptly. “Stuart, I must’ve have left my phone in the kitchen,” she turned around, “I’ll go back and—” That’s when she saw the sister.
A pause. An awfully long pause where Lily was stared at with large disbelieving eyes before hearing: “What are you doing here, sis?”
Stuart – so this was his name! – didn’t stare, but watched her with deep soulful eyes and Lily, despite suddenly being found out and anger lurking beneath her sister’s eyes, felt herself blushing.
Jill broke the spell. “I asked you a question! How did you find me here? What are you doing here?”
Lily felt defensive and whenever she did, she could at least try to be feisty. “I followed you here yesterday after work.” There was a defiance and pride in her nonetheless rather meek tone. “What are you doing working at a place like that?”
Jill mouthed words, repeating “followed you here” soundlessly. Then, “You – what?”
“Jill, sis—” Stuart’s eyebrow went up suddenly realising where the physical similarity between them came from. “—you break contact with your family, you ignore us – mostly – don’t tell us where you live… and then you work at that—place—” Lily hesitated. “Somebody had to.”
Jill was fuming. “You had no right! I have my right to live my life how I want and where I want! After years of denying me—” she bit her tongue; her shouting was beginning to attract attention in the street. “How did you even know where to follow me from?” she demanded, indignant.
“It was a coincidence. I saw you by accident leaving the building in Maida Vale. And then I thought, wouldn’t it be good to know more about my sister? – I’ve not seen her for months! It’s so unreasonable to leave your family like that—what if something bad happened to you? How would we know?”
“But it didn’t happen!” Jill snapped back. “I don’t want you and mum and anyone else to know, got it?”
Lily took a few breaths, trying not to make the situation worse. Despite the argument, she was very well aware of Stuart, standing just behind Jill, who could not see him. For the entire time, he did not take his eyes off her; she did not know much about how men, particularly men his age, looked at women exactly, but this much she sensed: he was enchanted, smiling at her all the time Jill went on with her tirade. He had not seen her the day before, but it was clear by the way his gaze swept across her figure, her legs, her floral dress, her partially exposed arms, her breasts, her shoulders and nose and eyes – that he noticed her now. He just kept looking – and it was a highly appreciative look. Jill, if she wasn’t that angry, would’ve noticed that her sister lowered her gaze and fluttered her eyelashes under his own admiring, penetrating look. Stuart and Jill were already talking wordlessly and the angry sibling missed it completely.
But even though Jill mistook her sister’s pinkish cheeks for stress, Lily still had to ask, boldly, but with fear, “And—this place you work at—Dreams—I saw you there?” She met Jill’s glare with decorum and style. “People say it’s a debauched, unchristian sort of place – how can you—”
She was interjected rather fiercely. “There we bloody go!” Jill tossed her head with fury. “Religion again! How many times before did I tell you, Stuart? They just want me to live their saintly lives, don’t they, and never let me do what I want!”
Lily had never seen her sister in such fury before and, quite frightened, stepped back. “Jill, I didn’t mean to—I am sorry— We love you, and I just wanted to talk—”
But love was the last thing on the vindictive Jill’s mind, venom spilling out of her now. “Talk, she wants to talk now, having stalked me halfway through London! After years of that inhuman torment in there! Leave me alone – leave me, I am good without you!”
The anger kept coming and Lily was next accused of not being on her side when she was 14 years old (!), of being somehow guilty of Jill’s first failed relationship and apparently “always siding with mum” when Jill wanted to talk about what she felt. Lily took these lashes without once responding back; Stuart, indeed enchanted with the girl, thought she was essentially turning the other cheek, finding it incredibly admirable. He was immediately ankara olgun escortlar overwhelmed by her girlish tender looks, sweet and very gentle deep eyes, delicate pink lips, rather obvious shyness (how she had managed to follow Jill to Pinner was quite beyond him) and slim, subtle and ethereal figure. She was a dainty goddess, in her floral dress resembling a young maiden from the Edwardian era.
Perhaps if Jill didn’t make this scene, it would’ve been different and he would’ve acted differently. And perhaps if she hadn’t acted so coldly around him that entire morning. But now she was being positively vicious; yelling, shouting, hollering and wrangling like some second-rate market-town huckstress, not the tender, pretty girlfriend he’d met in the first place. Or it was simply that her divinely and exquisitely beautiful and delicate younger sister charmed him within seconds. Particularly when she looked at him like that – fluttering her eyelids coyly, her cheeks rosy, playing with the ends of her blonde locks and her fingers touching her lips.
Even within the full grasp of her rage episode, Jill would have to be dead not to notice this exchange sooner or later – neither Lily nor Stuart had the mental means to stop themselves. But the rage was making Lily’s eyes begin to well up and Stuart’s protective nature kicked in. First, he found her eyes with his and shook his head ever so lightly as if to say Don’t cry, please. There was a gasp in her heart; he knew. And then he switched loyalties from his girlfriend to her sister. “Stop shouting at her. Please.” The last word was not a request.
She turned to him and despite the malice and wrath now ruling her, she saw it all in his eyes. Stunned and gaping, she turned to her and the yelling was replaced in an instant with puzzling, painful silence. She stared back at Lily, uncomprehendingly.
Then it hit her and she understood. “What are you-?” For a moment, she looked frightened like a little girl, before a new rage took place of the old. “What are you both FUCKING doing?!” The cursing terrified Lily, who stepped further back, finding a streetlamp to lean against, her eyes unseeing.
“I knew it! I should’ve talked to you before about this kind of thing!” She meant her suspicions of his other ‘girls’ he purportedly fancied. Lily had no way to understand fully what that shouted-out remark meant. She looked timid and intimidated, an innocent little thing and Stuart felt a strong urge to protect her. Seeing clearly that he wouldn’t be able to get Jill, who’d gone completely haywire, to stop shouting, he did the next best thing he could to halt this:
“We’ll go to work by car.” He didn’t shout or even raise his voice, but his tone was nonetheless unwavering, so much so it managed to stop her in her tracks, although she was still heaving and fuming when he pulled her by the arm, dragging her away from her sister back towards their house. “We will go to work by car and not make scenes,” he repeated firmly. Wrath and fits of temper were not Jill’s friends – they made her appear older and Stuart, for the first time ever, felt repelled by her. “Go.” She did, stamping like a ridiculous 2-year-old tantrum-possessed child.
He followed her swiftly, but not before passing Lily, whose figure shook in despair. Brushing his arm lightly past her shoulder, he said, “Go home, please, and try to forget if you can. I apologise for her.” For a short moment, half a second perhaps, their eyes met and she smiled at him radiantly while a single tear dewed her soft cheek.
“You’re gonna say sor—” Jill made another attempt at rage.
“Shut up and walk away. Now.”
Lily watched them disappear around the corner, unable to move, keeping on leaning against the lamppost. Romance, hope, nerves and despair mingled in her mind like in a steaming cauldron of emotional stew.
What now? Will she ever see him again? Will she ever dare come back here again? Stuart – what a beautiful name! – showed interest… her heart jerked at the very thought. But Jill shredded her to pieces – was she even her sister anymore? This raging, cursing, fuming woman? Will she dare come back here? How will she see him again? How to contact him? Perhaps he was just being nice and still didn’t really know she existed?
The palpitations of the heart wouldn’t stop for a while. There was no Stella that day to lend a hand to her, so she sat there, dejected, hopeful and deserted for a good while. Only God knew how long.
Ralph and Eve turned up at the reception at about 11am. It wasn’t typical for customers to be catered to in the morning or around midday; most people would arrive from late afternoon to late at night, but these two were different.
Joanna signed them up at the reception, noting to herself this couple couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried. Ralph was a robust chap in his mid-thirties, she guessed. Dressed in a red and black long-sleeved ankara sarışın escortlar shirt and a pair of blue jeans, he was kind of rugged in his physique, broad-shouldered, short dark hair, mostly shaved off near his ears and at the back. Not exactly tall, but she wouldn’t call him short, either. He looked quite muscular and athletic. Kind of hunky but not in your classic kind of way. He was attractive, but in a subdued, half-baked sort of way as far as she was concerned.
Not that Eve seemed to be bothered judging from the amount of giggling she was doing while at the reception. She was probably in her mid-twenties, very tall, very slim and very blonde. Natural blonde. Long straight blonde hair falling to her back well past her shoulders. She was slender; of the kind of slim that immediately draws attention due to a person’s height, but doesn’t look anorexic, just very healthy slim. Her impressively long legs, well epilated, invited any gaze to hover over her very girly, very shapely ass. Her white t-shirt and rather skimpy denim shorts didn’t really hide much and Joanna thought the rack on her, given her slender figure, seemed rather impressive.
“You really got us what we asked for?” Eve said, still giggling, but nonetheless with clear satisfied incredulity.
“That’s what we do, Ms—” Joanna looked at the confirmation on her desk monitor, “—Ms Craig. And Mr—” she scrolled down to read his surname, “—Mr Brooke.”
She looked at their hands, which they were holding together playfully. They had rings on them. “You guys married?”
Eve chuckled, “Yes, but not to each other, that’s for sure!”
This was correct. The application had said that these two, married to some other people, met at work and had been getting hots for one another over the last 3 weeks or so. Then they had this idea they’d take time off work on the same day and come to Dreams for some fucking; their fantasy was outdoors, but they were not sure Dreams could do this. They also asked that somebody takes lots of photos of them while at it!
The first part of that request presented no problems at Dreams whatsoever as the horny, giggling couple would soon find out. The second – the photography bit – did, however, and Hollie had spent a bit of time trying to figure out who could possibly do this. It was not their way to commission outsiders for whatever happened inside. Until it turned out that Joanna’s personal hobby was precisely that – taking photos with her Canon EOS every weekend, apparently.
It couldn’t be more perfect. The 25-year-old blonde receptionist, cheerful and optimistic though she was, suffered considerable boredom in the reception area and welcomed the idea with great delight when Hollie and Katie presented it to her the previous day. She was quite curious – to say the least! – about what went on in the rooms after she checked guests in, so this foray was ideal. Rather obviously, her boyfriend Simon knew nothing of this! But then he lived in Ipswich, far away, and for all he knew she worked as a receptionist in “a hotel in London” in her own words. For all he knew that morning, she was walking in the Chiltern Hills right now, taking photos of the AONB (note from the author: AONB stands for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a term used in England for certain areas, which are not national parks, but are nonetheless protected by the government). If he ever asked, the photos were taken, but she’d been there the week before—
“I’ll be your photographer,” she informed them, rather simply, with no emotion in her voice. Ralph’s eyebrows went up. She ignored him. “Come with me.” She logged off her machine, knowing no other customers were scheduled until mid-afternoon, and showed them the way to the lift, finding it already downstairs and getting inside it with them.
She pressed the button “The Roof” and explained, “What you want is on the roof.” Eve snorted in astonishment, now beginning to understand where their “outdoors” might be.
It was a quick journey that they spent in silence, Joanna just waiting, checking some settings on her camera hanging on a strap off her neck, and Ralph and Eve waiting in clear anticipation. He was already drawing circles on her shirt around her nipples.
The doors opened and they stepped out into dazzling sun. “Fucking hell!” Ralph whistled and Eve laughed, revelling in the view. This sure counted as outdoors!
The extensive roof top was bordered by railings all around it reinforced with panes of glass. The thing attracting the attention first was a large 25-yard-long azure swimming pool, shining in the hot brilliant sunlight. Eve’s jaw dropped as she examined the rest – a few armchairs, two coffee tables and a single-person leather bed on metallic legs with a long white towel covering it. Even more striking was the grassy area beyond the pool – with actual bushes, small trees in large pots and rows of multicoloured flowers of all sorts lining a few paths – a rooftop garden! Not to mention the view of London from the top – this being the highest building in the area, it was safe, with nothing overlooking them. Ralph walked over to the railings to take in the view, momentarily forgetting why they were here. It was not what he expected!
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