Poles apart, p.10
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       Poles Apart, p.10
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           Kirsty Moseley

  I sniffed and wiped my face, turning away from him, watching the buildings whizz past. “Nothing. That was just weird.” My voice broke around my lie.

  He sighed. “Yeah, I know. I get used to this kind of thing happening. I’m sorry I dragged you into it, too,” he said, rubbing the back of my hand lightly with his thumb.

  I laughed humourlessly. He was sorry? I was the one with the dirty, nasty job, and yet he was apologising to me? “You don’t need to be sorry. That was my fault. I’m the one who’s gonna make you look like some kind of dirty pervert that takes lap dancers home for the night,” I muttered, chewing on my lip, fighting the tears threatening to pour down my cheeks.

  “Emma, just ignore them. They were just trying to get a story; it happens all the time. Everything’s fine,” he insisted, tugging on my hand, trying to get me to look at him. I looked over at him apologetically. He was watching the road but kept glancing at me quickly, smiling reassuringly. He squeezed my hand. “Everything’s fine. I don’t care where you work. What does it matter where you work? You’re Emma Bancroft to me and nothing else. You could sell fried chicken for a living, and I’d still come eat at your restaurant every weekend,” he teased.

  I giggled and rolled my eyes at his little joke about chicken. “Again with the fried chicken?”

  He laughed and raised my hand to his mouth, kissing my knuckles softly. We lapsed into silence. I didn’t know what to say, but to be honest it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence, so that was one thing to be thankful for.

  When we pulled up outside my flat, I turned in my seat and smiled at him. “Thanks for the lift. I had a really nice time tonight. Thanks for coming to meet me,” I said, my eyes flicking down to his luscious lips. I silently debated as to whether I could just ask him to screw me in the car. It had already been four weeks, and I needed him more than ever in case he never came to the club again. I needed one last time with him before his management forced him to stay away from me for his own good.

  He smiled. “I’ll walk you up.” He pushed open his door and headed around to my side before I even had the chance to protest.

  As he opened the door for me, I climbed out of his car and looked down at it for the first time. It was silver and small, and extremely expensive-looking: smart, sleek and beautiful. This car was Carson all over. I gasped and shook my head. “You cannot leave this thing out here! Wow, the bike was bad, but this…” I trailed off, laughing nervously. I knew nothing about cars but, damn, if I had to choose one, it would definitely look something like this. “What is it?” I asked, nodding at it.

  He smiled and lovingly ran his hand over the bonnet. “An Aston Martin Vanquish,” he replied, shrugging casually as if I should know what that meant.

  “Oh, yeah, of course it is,” I replied, pretending to know what he was talking about.

  He laughed and took my hand, weaving his fingers through mine. “Come on, let’s get you out of the cold before you sober up too much and don’t ask me in for coffee,” he suggested, giving me a little tug toward the entrance of my flats.

  I led him upstairs and glanced at my watch as we walked in quietly. It was after one in the morning. Thankfully, Rory was in bed; he had school tomorrow. Carson leant on the counter next to me while I made coffee and like before, we took them into the lounge. He pulled my legs onto his lap again, turning in his seat to look at me as he traced his fingertips over my shins lightly, making my breathing shallow.

  “I really am sorry about the photographers. I don’t know how they knew so much about you,” he said, looking a little confused.

  I blew the top of my coffee before taking a sip. “That guy was at the club last night. He saw you give me the necklace. He was asking all kinds of questions about you, but I didn’t know who he was so I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t realise he was a reporter,” I admitted, wincing as I pushed my mug onto the side table. Now that I thought about it, though, I had no idea how I missed it; he was asking so many questions about Carson. But I guess I wasn’t expecting a reporter, so I wouldn’t naturally jump to that conclusion.

  “He was at the club? Wow, okay. You don’t know who that was?” he asked, sipping his coffee, too. I shook my head in answer. Carson smiled sadly. “That’s Rodger Harris. He’s the most successful reporter for The Peoples’ Post.”

  I frowned. The Peoples’ Post was one of the most popular newspapers in England. They thrived on celebrities, dishing dirt, hounding them, and outing them of their wrongdoings. “Oh,” I mumbled.

  Carson smiled and gripped his hand around the back of my knee, his thumb rubbing the inside of my leg. “Like I said, don’t worry about it. That guy has a hard-on for me. He’s always got a photographer following me, trying to catch me doing something I shouldn’t be doing.” He shrugged dismissively.

  “You don’t think they’ll print that I’m a stripper, do you? I don’t want Rory thinking that’s what I do. I don’t want his friends giving him a hard time about it at school or anything.” I cringed at the thought.

  Carson shrugged, looking at me apologetically. “I’m sorry, Emma. I guess I’ve kind of landed you in the shit now, huh?”

  I smiled and scooted closer to him on the seat, pressing my lips to his softly for a second before pulling away. “It’s fine. It’s my job, not yours. It’s not like whatever they print will be a lie,” I said honestly.

  He stroked the side of my face lightly. “They may not even print anything. They might not have gotten any good pictures; we didn’t give them anything to print. We’ll see, okay? If it gets too bad then I’ll speak to my press agent and see if we can calm it down, all right?” he offered, smiling reassuringly. “So, did you get anything nice for your birthday?” he asked, obviously wanting to change the subject.

  I smiled. “I got a beautiful necklace from this eccentric millionaire I know,” I joked. “And Rory and Lucie bought me this dress,” I continued, gesturing to it.

  His eyes dropped to my dress. “It’s really pretty; it suits you,” he mused, rubbing the material of the skirt between his finger and thumb. “What about from your parents?”

  I frowned. “Er… I don’t speak to my parents. We had a big falling out.”

  “Really? Right, yeah, I guess that makes sense what with you living on your own, looking after your little brother.” He frowned and nodded. “You think you’ll make up with them one day?”

  I laughed incredulously and shook my head. “No. They don’t approve of me and my lifestyle. I left when I was sixteen, and they burnt the bridge straight after I walked across it,” I replied, trying to make light of the situation.

  A sad smile graced his lips. “I feel sorry for them.”

  For them? Why would he feel sorry for them? Shouldn’t he be on my side and feel sorry for me? “Why?” I asked, confused as to where he was going with this.

  “They lost someone incredible from their lives. I feel sorry for anyone that doesn’t know you.”

  Holy shit, that’s the best line I’ve ever heard in my life! “Damn, Carson, that was flipping adorable,” I congratulated, awestruck.

  He laughed, and his hand travelled a little higher up my leg. “I’m just trying to charm you into bed, Emma,” he joked, using his words from last night.

  I laughed. “Well, it’s definitely working, baby,” I whispered, pulling his mouth to mine and kissing him hungrily. He smiled against my lips, his hand heading even higher, brushing against my sex lightly. I gasped when I felt his fingers touch my flesh; I’d completely forgotten I wasn’t wearing underwear after he ripped it off in the gents’ bathroom.

  He laughed and moved his hand away, running his nose up the side of my jaw, his lips pressing to my ear. “How about I give you that birthday orgasm now?” he whispered seductively.

  I whimpered with need and bit my lip, nodding. I lay down, pulling him on top of me. His weight pressed me down into the softness of the sofa as his hard body pressed against mine. He kissed me deeply. I moaned into his mouth, unbuttoni
ng his shirt and pushing it off his shoulders, trailing my fingers across his skin.

  “Should we go to the bedroom, in case your brother comes in? I don’t want any more interruptions,” he growled huskily. He was already on his feet, pulling me up too before I realised what he’d said. I couldn’t go to the bedroom with him, Sasha was in there! I opened and closed my mouth, unable to think of a single excuse as to why I could say no. “You don’t want to?”

  I gulped. “Let’s stay in here. My bedroom’s right next to Rory’s, and I don’t want him to hear anything,” I lied, praying he would go for it.

  He smiled and shrugged, stepping back to me again, wrapping his arm around me and guiding me back down onto the sofa as his mouth found mine. We launched into the most passionate make-out session we’d ever had. It felt different because we weren’t in the club, and we were different this time. I prayed he felt the same. The kissing was getting so hot and passionate I was almost losing myself in it. Hours, minutes, or merely seconds could have passed but I had no idea, because all I could focus on was him.

  By the time he pulled away to kiss down the side of my neck, I was gasping for breath. My head was spinning, and my whole body felt hot. I rolled him onto his back, forgetting we were on the sofa, so we tumbled off the side, crashing to the floor. The split-second falling sensation made my stomach lurch. The alcohol I’d consumed was coming back to haunt me. Carson merely laughed and carried on where we left off, nibbling on my neck. I tried to ignore the way the room was spinning but, when I closed my eyes, I felt dizzy. When my stomach squeezed uncomfortably, I knew.

  Oh, God, I’m going to throw up!

  I pushed myself up quickly, straddling his hips and grabbing the bin, just about managing to get it to my face before I emptied my stomach into it. Carson gasped and also heaved before I pushed myself off him and threw up again. It was like a floodgate had been opened.

  “Oh, shit. Emma, I’m not good with sick!” Carson moaned, dry-heaving next to me whilst trying to rub my back at the same time.

  I laughed into the bin and pushed him away from me, blushing furiously as I ran to the bathroom. I could still hear him gagging and I just couldn’t stop laughing. Secretly, I prayed I was still drunk enough to blank this out in the morning, pretend like it never happened.

  A couple of minutes later, there was a knock at the door. “Emma, you okay? I have water here if you want it,” Carson said softly from the other side.

  I flushed the toilet and rinsed my mouth out with mouthwash before unlocking the door. He stood there looking at me sympathetically, holding out a glass of water. I bit my lip and smiled apologetically. “I’m so sorry,” I croaked, my voice husky from vomiting.

  He winced. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sorry, too; I’m useless with sick. Man, I’m really sorry, I didn’t help at all.”

  I burst out laughing as I remembered him heaving next to me. The laughing made my stomach lurch again; I shoved the glass back toward him and ran back to the toilet. Behind me, the bathroom door closed and I could hear Carson heaving on the other side of it. I couldn’t help but laugh again before expelling yet more alcohol from my system.

  Well, if the papers printing horrible things about him doesn’t scare him away, then this will!

  A couple of minutes later, muffled talking started outside the door. I flushed the toilet again, slumping down next to it and trying to catch my breath. I looked up just as the door opened, seeing Rory step in. A huge smirk covered his face as he folded his arms across his chest.

  “You’re setting such a good example for me right now,” he teased. I burst out laughing, holding my hand out to him. He gripped it and pulled me to my feet. “When I finally come home drunk and throwing up at two in the morning, you remember this night and no giving me hell about it,” he stated rather smugly.

  “Shut up, you!” I scolded playfully as he helped me over to the sink so I could rinse my mouth again. “Has Carson gone?” I asked, wincing because of how embarrassing the situation was.

  Rory chuckled wickedly and shook his head. “No. He’s in the kitchen looking a little green. I heard you throwing up and when I came out, he was gagging outside the door. It was hilarious. He’s too funny.” He laughed and I couldn’t help but giggle quietly, too. I’d never seen anyone have such a bad reaction to sick before; Carson clearly had a weak stomach.

  “Sasha didn’t hear me, did she?” I whispered, grabbing my toothbrush from the glass on the side and squeezing on some toothpaste.

  “Nah, she sleeps through anything, you know that.” He smiled reassuringly. “I’m gonna go make you some coffee so you can sober up.”

  I shook my head, spitting out the minty froth and turning the tap on to rinse it. “Don’t bother, I’m sober now anyway. It wasn’t the drink so much, it was the falling off the sofa,” I admitted.

  Rory raised one eyebrow. “Oh, I’m so adding that onto my list of things I can do when I’m older!”

  I scoffed and dropped my toothbrush back into the glass, wiping my mouth on a towel. “Don’t you dare! This is not an example; this is a rare birthday occurrence you are only allowed to do when you’re nineteen!” I teased, following him out of the room. “Go back to bed. You have school tomorrow. Sorry I woke you up, but thanks for coming to help me.”

  He smiled and kissed the top of my head. “No worries. I couldn’t resist seeing my big sister hurl and hug the toilet bowl.” He walked off laughing to himself.

  Steeling myself against the embarrassment, I took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen. Carson was sitting at the table, playing with his mobile phone, avidly texting someone.

  He jumped up when he saw me, looking both concerned and embarrassed at the same time. “Hey, you okay?”

  I nodded, wishing the ground would just open up and swallow me. “Yeah. Are you okay now?” I asked, trying not to burst into a fit of giggles again.

  He blew out a big breath and ran his hand through his hair. “I’m so sorry. I have a really shit gag reflex. I was totally useless, sorry.” He winced, shaking his head disapprovingly.

  I chewed on my lip and looked at him in awe. He didn’t seem to care that I had just thrown up in the middle of a make-out session, more that he didn’t help me. He really was just too incredible for words. “That was so embarrassing. I’m so sorry I did that.”

  He stepped closer to me and stroked my arm, smiling. “It was the Sambuca. You said you shouldn’t have drunk it,” he said, smirking at me slightly.

  I shrugged. “Maybe it was the kissing,” I suggested, raising one eyebrow playfully.

  He grinned and inched his face closer, rubbing his nose against mine, giving me a little Eskimo kiss like he always did. “I’ve never seen that reaction in you before from my kissing. Moaning, yes. Panting, yes. Sweating, yes. Heck, even swearing, but never throwing up.” He moved one hand to my neck, cupping it gently, his thumb tracing across my cheek. I laughed quietly, not meeting his eyes. Of all the people that could have happened in front of, it had to be him.

  “Sorry.”

  He kissed my forehead softly. I closed my eyes and savoured the feel of his hot, full lips on my overheated skin. “Don’t be sorry. I guess I should let you get some sleep, though. I’m glad you had a nice birthday, you deserve to,” he whispered.

  I smiled and gripped a fistful of his shirt, pressing my whole body to his. Was this the last time I was going to see him? Had I completely and utterly blown whatever small thing we had going on? “Thanks, baby.”

  He kissed my forehead again, then he held out a scrap of paper with a phone number on it. “This is my press agent’s phone number. I’ve just texted him and told him about Rodger Harris, so if you get any problems then you call him and he’ll help you. It’s too late to stop a story being printed tonight, but if they harass you or anything then you just call him and he’ll put a stop to it. Any fall back at all from this, then you call him, okay?” he instructed, looking at me sternly.

  I smiled gratefully a
nd nodded, reaching out and sticking the number on the fridge, using a magnet to hold it up. “Thanks, Carson.”

  “No worries.” He took my hand and walked to the front door, opening it before turning back to me and planting a little kiss on my lips. “I’ll see you next weekend at the club,” he said softly.

  My whole body relaxed at his words. He wasn’t running away from me; I hadn’t scared him away just yet. I nodded and couldn’t keep the happy grin off my face. “Okay, baby, see you then. And drive safe,” I instructed.

  He winked at me, stepping out the door. “I’m always safe.”

  I watched him walk off down the hall, heading down the stairs until he was out of view. I sighed at the irony. Once again, he was walking out of my life and all I could do was watch and wait until he would grace me with his presence again.

  I BARELY SLEPT THAT NIGHT; instead, I’d lain awake, staring at the ceiling and worrying what they might print about me in the newspapers. What Rory was going to say, the fall-out on our lives, and his friends teasing him about his stripper sister. I finally fell asleep at around five, only to get up just after six with Sasha.

  I sat helplessly in the lounge, having no clue what was going on in the outside world. There was nothing on the news as I flicked through the channels before settling on something Sasha would like. It was times like this I wished we could afford a computer or smart phone or something so I could go on the internet and search to see if there was anything written about me.

  When Rory got up just after seven, I made some excuse about wanting to get some milk before he left for school. I left him watching Sasha while I practically ran to the nearest shop, scanning every single page of The Peoples’ Post to see if there was a picture of me and Carson leaving the club, but there was nothing.

  As I got to the last page, the tension seemed to leave my body in one big gust of breath. I closed my eyes, and smiled as I leant against the wall outside the newsagents. Maybe they hadn’t managed to get any good photos of us together last night. When the flashes had started, I’d immediately put my hand up to shield my eyes from the light, so maybe I was covering my face or something. Then another thought hit me – maybe it was too late for them to be able to get the article in today’s paper. Maybe they missed the deadline to send it to print; maybe it would be in tomorrow’s instead. I groaned in frustration. I hated not knowing. No doubt this would cause me another night of missed sleep.

 
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