Poles apart, p.6
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       Poles Apart, p.6
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           Kirsty Moseley

  tracksuit bottoms, dirty trainers, and one of Rory’s black hoodies.

  Finding a pack of baby wipes on the side, I dragged one under my eyes to wipe the smudges away, and then ran my fingers through my hair, attempting to tame it a little. When I looked a little less like a homeless person, I grabbed my phone, purse and keys, and headed out to find Carson.

  AS I ENTERED THE MAIN ROOM of the club, my eyes settled on Carson immediately. He was sitting on a stool at the bar, chatting to Jason about racing. I touched his back as I got level with him, holding my breath, waiting for him to laugh at the way I looked and withdraw his offer of a lift.

  He smiled down at me, his face not dropping like I was expecting. “Hey, all ready?” he asked, slipping his arm around my shoulder as he stood up.

  I nodded and looked at Jason. “See you tomorrow night.”

  “Yep. G’night, Emma. Good night, Mr Matthews,” Jason replied, smirking at me knowingly.

  I blushed because of his accusing look. Did he think I was taking Carson home with me tonight? He knew how I felt about him, and he knew we had Sasha. I guess it did look a little like I was taking him back to continue the night.

  Carson frowned, looking at me with hard eyes before his hand closed over mine and he gave me a little tug toward the exit. I smiled and followed him out, both of us stopping at the coat desk in the foyer. He handed Jasmine, the desk clerk, a little orange ticket before turning to me. “No jacket?” he asked. I shook my head in answer, watching a disapproving frown line his forehead. He didn’t say anything else, just took hold of my hips, lifting me effortlessly to sit on the desk.

  Jasmine came back a few seconds later, holding out a black leather jacket and black helmet.

  I looked at the items curiously. Helmet? Wait, oh, God no! He came here by motorbike? Is he seriously expecting me to ride on a freaking motorbike with him? My eyes widened as he pushed the helmet onto my head, his hands instantly going to the straps at the bottom of my chin.

  “No. No way! Not happening, baby!” I cried, trying to pull it back off, but he held fast, pinning it on my head.

  “It’s happening, Emma,” he said sternly. “I’m not letting you walk home in the dark on your own while you’re sick.”

  I gulped as I heard the ominous click of the chinstrap. The helmet was a lot heavier than it looked. “I always walk home; it’s not a problem,” I countered, my voice slightly muffled because of the helmet going around my face. He smiled and grabbed the leather jacket, holding it out for me to put my arms through. I pushed it back toward him; he was only wearing a shirt so he needed that, not me. “I’ve got a jumper. You wear that.”

  “Stop being so bloody stubborn. Put the jacket on and let’s get you home. I’ve wanted to drive you home for a long time, but usually I drink so I can’t. Well, tonight I can.” He smiled and grabbed my hand, forcing it into the sleeve of the jacket.

  I sighed and nodded but felt my head sway forward a little too far. Note to self, don’t move head too much while wearing a helmet! Once I had the jacket on he helped me down to the floor, guiding me out of the building and into the car park located at the side. He stopped next to a terrifyingly large, black motorbike. I looked at it with wide, horrified eyes. The thing was huge and the seat came up to my waist; it was shiny and expensive-looking. I felt sick just thinking about riding on it.

  When he smiled and swung a leg over the bike, starting it up, I jumped at the roar of the engine. Oh, shit, I’m going to die! Should I tell him I love him, just in case we don’t make it to my flat? He turned and patted the seat behind him. Even though I was terrified, I couldn’t help but notice how sexy he looked sitting on that bike. His hair was all messy, a smirk resided on his full lips – he looked like the perfect bad boy. He gripped my hand and helped me onto the seat behind him.

  “Oh, God. Please don’t kill me!” I begged, wrapping my arms around his waist, probably squeezing the life out of him as I pressed my helmeted head into his back. He laughed and gripped one of my ankles, putting my foot on the little footrest, then did the same to the other.

  “So, where am I going?” he asked. He gripped my hands and pulled them off him, guiding me to grip my own wrists instead. “Maybe you could find something else to hold onto, instead of my skin?” He laughed.

  I gripped my wrist tightly and gave him my address, telling him which streets to take. He nodded and turned back to the road, twisting the throttle, and we took off. Fast. Whimpering, I squeezed him tighter as the wind whipped the bottom of my hair around. I looked at the street as we were driving, seeing the buildings whip past in a blur. Everything felt so fast, close and dangerous. My heart was hammering. I felt sick. I needed to stop. All I could think about was that if I died, Rory and Sasha would be on their own.

  “Carson, stop!” I screamed. My throat cracked and hurt but I didn’t care. “Stop! I want to get off!” I cried, digging my fingers into his stomach. Almost immediately, he pulled over and looked over his shoulder at me. I gasped for breath and pushed myself off the bike. My legs felt like they’d turned to jelly. I fumbled with the helmet, needing fresh air. I pushed it off and shoved it into his chest. “I can’t. I…I…I’ll walk,” I stuttered breathlessly.

  He frowned. “Emma, seriously, I promise it’s safe. I won’t let you get hurt.” He gripped my hand and pulled me closer to him, looking into my eyes. “I promise. Cross my heart.” He crossed one finger over his chest. “Trust me?”

  The streetlight cast a yellowish hue over his face, highlighting some of his features, yet covering others. The shadows somehow made him look even more attractive. I gulped. I didn’t want to get back on the bike but his eyes were pleading, begging me to trust him. He gripped my waist and pulled me onto his lap. Moving one of my legs so I was now straddling him, he scooted back on the seat slightly and stroked my face lightly.

  “I wouldn’t let you get hurt. I promise it’s safe,” he whispered, kissing my forehead. He gripped the helmet and positioned it above my head, pulling it down a little but giving me a chance to stop him. I didn’t move. I wanted to trust him. He did this for a living for goodness’ sake, and I knew he was a good driver, so I was being a total wimp right now. When I didn’t protest, he smiled and pulled the helmet down over my head again, clipping it back on. He took my arms and wrapped them around him before starting the bike up. “You just keep your eyes on me, okay?” he instructed, smirking at me cockily.

  Wait, I’m not moving back behind him? He’s going to drive with me on his lap like this? I did as I was told, keeping my eyes locked on his face and watching the small smile, which didn’t seem to leave his mouth the whole time. It felt like as soon as we started driving, we stopped again, but I knew that was just because I was sitting on his lap with my body wrapped around his, staring at his face.

  He cut the engine and looked down at me while he ran a hand through his windswept hair, obviously trying to fix it. He didn’t really need to, though; he looked as inhumanly beautiful as ever. I gulped and laid back against the handlebars, pulling the helmet off and breathing a sigh of relief that I would get to kiss my little girl goodnight. Closing my eyes and gulping in lungfuls of fresh air, I let my heart slow down to normal. Carson groaned quietly, and then his hand cupped the side of my neck. His palm trailed slowly down my body, brushing against my breasts before pushing against my stomach lightly, guiding the material of my jumper up and exposing the skin of my belly. I moaned at the exquisite feel of it. His fingers traced across my stomach, one finger dipping into my bellybutton before he bent forward and pressed his body to mine, making my legs instinctively tighten around his waist.

  He kissed the side of my neck gently, his finger still playing with my bellybutton. “Thank you for trusting me,” he whispered in my ear, nibbling on my earlobe.

  I smiled and stroked the back of his head. “Thanks for the lift home, even though you almost gave me a heart attack doing it.”

  He laughed and pulled back, his face inches from mine, making
my whole body hot despite the cold temperature. “You’ll get used to it. It’s all about practice; it’ll just get easier and easier each time.” He kissed my cheek and straightened up and I looked at him a little shocked. What was that supposed to mean? Was he planning to give me a lift home again another time? I wasn’t really sure how to feel about that. On the one hand, it was terrifying, but on the other hand, I liked seeing him outside the club; it felt different, more intimate, more real.

  “I don’t think I will,” I admitted.

  I pushed up and forced myself to get off his lap and onto the curb. I opened my mouth to thank him for the lift and say goodnight, but he swung his leg off the bike, too. My heart leapt into my throat. Was he assuming he was going to spend the night? I couldn’t let him do that. He’d see Sasha, and although he wouldn’t know she was his, he would still know I had a daughter.

  “I’ll walk you up,” he said, shrugging and slipping an arm around my waist, bringing my body closer to his.

  I glanced back at his bike and chewed on my lip. He really shouldn’t leave that there; the shininess to it practically screamed ‘steal me’. By the time he got back to it after walking me up the seven flights of stairs, all that would be left would be the tyre marks on the road.

  “Carson, don’t walk me up. Seriously, I’m fine from here. Thanks for the lift, but you really can’t leave your bike outside my flat.” I winced as I admitted how bad this area was.

  He laughed and shrugged dismissively. “It’s insured. Come on.” He guided me to start walking again, and I felt my heart sink. My block of flats was awful, and the shame of bringing him here made my face burn.

  When we got up to my door, I smiled apologetically. He must think I’m such a dirty hoe right now – a dirty scrubber who works in a strip club and lives in a hell-hole.

  “Want to come in for coffee?” I asked, praying he would say no.

  He smiled and nodded, looking a little eager about it. I guess, deep down, I was a little eager, too. If I got him in my flat then maybe he’d ease a little of this sexual frustration I was feeling inside. We’d just have to be really quiet and either do it in the lounge or bathroom so we didn’t wake Rory and Sasha.

  “I’d love a coffee, actually, unless you don’t want me to. You must want to get more sleep,” he replied, his tone sympathetic.

  I waved my hand dismissively and opened the door. Heading inside and motioning for him to come in, I silently hoped Rory hadn’t made too much mess while I was at work.

  Carson followed me into the kitchen and I tried not to pay attention to the look on his face, which plainly said he thought my place was small and crappy. I admit that, yes, it was basic, but it was all I could afford, and I kept it immaculately clean, so that was all that mattered.

  He sat at my kitchen table while I made coffee. I couldn’t help but make a direct contrast to him sitting there all beautiful and handsome, but yet his arms were folded on top of my cheap second-hand table, while he sat on a chair that creaked when he moved. He looked slightly odd being in my decrepit old kitchen wearing a Gucci shirt.

  Just as the kettle boiled, Rory walked in, wearing only boxer shorts. “Hey. You’re a little early,” he mused sheepishly. The table was behind him so he probably hadn’t noticed Carson sitting there; if he did then he hadn’t reacted to him in any way.

  I raised one eyebrow at Rory. I was a little earlier than usual. I’d left about five minutes earlier and the trip was only five minutes instead of fifteen. He probably thought he would have time to sneak to bed and pretend like he’d been there for hours before I got home. “Thought you’d get away with staying up, did ya? I bet you thought that as long as you were in bed by half-two I wouldn’t know any different, right?” I teased with mock anger as I slapped the back of his head.

  He winced and rubbed the back of his head. “Ouch! I was watching a film!” he whined.

  “What part of ‘don’t wait up for me’ don’t you understand, Rory?” I asked, rolling my eyes.

  He shrugged dismissively. Most of the time, he waited up to make sure I got home safe from work, even though I always told him not to. “Why are you making two coffees? I don’t want one,” he stated, frowning at the two mugs on the side.

  I smiled and looked back to Carson who, at this point, just looked a little confused as he took in a half-naked Rory standing in my kitchen. “A friend gave me a lift home.” I shrugged. Rory turned and jumped as he noticed another person sitting in our kitchen. “Rory, this is Carson Matthews. Carson, my little brother, Rory.” I waved a hand between the two of them.

  Carson smiled and actually looked a little relieved as he nodded in greeting. “Hey. Nice to meet you.”

  Rory smiled, his eyes flicking back to me knowingly. He probably knew I liked Carson; no doubt it was obvious when I watched him on TV or talked about him. I shot my brother a little glare, warning him not to say anything. He chuckled quietly and grinned at Carson. “Yeah, it’s good to meet you, too. I’ve seen you on TV and stuff.” He smirked at me and I tried to kill him with my eyes. “Well, I’m going to bed. See you in the morning, Emma.”

  I let out a relieved breath because he hadn’t made anything awkward between me and Carson. “Was everything okay tonight?” I asked curiously.

  Rory knew what I meant; I was talking about Sasha. “Yep, just like usual.” He kissed the side of my head and practically ran out of the room.

  When we were on our own again, Carson laughed. “He’s a little bigger than I thought he would be. When you told me you lived with your little brother, I was actually expecting something little,” he teased, grinning as I pushed the coffee mug toward him.

  “Yeah, he took off in the last year. He used to be small for his age.” I sipped my hot coffee, scalding my tongue, but I just needed to drink something because my throat was starting to hurt again. “Want to take these into the other room?”

  He nodded and picked up his mug, standing. I led him into the lounge and breathed a sigh of relief that Rory hadn’t trashed the place. As I sat down on the sofa, Carson sat next to me and hooked his arm under my knees, pulling my legs onto his lap casually, as if this happened every day.

  “These clothes are sexy,” he joked, pulling playfully at the leg of my trousers.

  I laughed and rolled my eyes. “They’re warm and comfortable. Usually no one sees me when I finish work.” I pouted at him, feeling like a dirty tramp again.

  He smiled and ran his hand up my leg, his fingers curling around the back of my knee. “I wasn’t joking, Em. These clothes are sexy on you. Though, maybe one of my hoodies would suit you better. I’ll bring you one, a team one. Then you can really show an interest in what I do, instead of the fake ‘I’ll turn the TV on when you’re done racing’ interest you normally show,” he teased, grinning.

  We chatted easily about random things for well over an hour. He was incredibly easy to talk to. He seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say, which confused me a little. We usually talked and stuff, but this just felt different for some reason, nicer, more intimate. The whole time we were talking, he rubbed my feet again gently. I sighed contentedly and rested my head against the back of the sofa. This would be a perfect life, sitting and chilling with Carson, our little girl asleep peacefully in the other room. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

  “So, about what you said to Jason about going to work tomorrow night…” he trailed off, frowning.

  “Yeah, are you coming to the club?” I asked, trying not to sound too hopeful.

  “Emma, if you’re ill you shouldn’t be going to work. Take the night off,” he insisted sternly.

  I shrugged, making a scoffing noise, which hurt my throat again. “Carson, I’d love to, really I would, but I can’t. This flat doesn’t pay for itself, my student fees are already building up, and Rory eats like a horse. I need the money.”

  He sighed. “How much do you earn a night?”

  I bit my lip. Did I really want to be having this conversation wit
h him? “That’s not really any of your business. I don’t ask you how much you earn.”

  “I’d tell you if you did. Want me to tell you?” he asked, smirking at me cockily. I shook my head quickly. I didn’t really want to know, because I didn’t really like to think of him as having money. To me, he would always just be Carson, the guy I met on the first night of my job, the one I fell in love with, the father of my angel. “Seriously, though. How much do you earn, on an average night?”

  “I don’t know really. I get paid about fifty quid for working a shift and then maybe a dance or two on top, but that’s not all the time.” I shrugged. That was why my life was so hard; sometimes I lived off the bare minimum and that wasn’t even enough to pay my rent.

  “How about the backroom?” he asked, frowning.

  I laughed and rolled my eyes. “You know how much I get for that; you’re the one who gives me the money.”

  He swallowed, still frowning and looking a little angry for some reason. “Other than me, Emma.”

  I shook my head. “It’s only you,” I replied, shifting in my seat uncomfortably. Did he think I slept with a load of guys at the club?

  His eyes widened and his mouth popped open in evident shock. “Just me? You don’t… not with anyone else?”

  I grabbed another throat sweet, popping it in my mouth and sucking on it as I shrugged. “No one else. Not ever.”

  Before I could protest, his lips crashed against mine. I went to pull back because of my throat, but one of his hands went to the back of my head, holding me still, his fingers tangling into my hair. He made a little moan, which seemed to set my skin alight with passion. My fingers curled, gripping his shirt as I pulled him toward me roughly, making him practically fall down on top of me, crushing me for a split-second before he gained his balance and pushed himself up to hover above me. He sucked on my bottom lip, asking for entrance and I couldn’t refuse him, not again. I opened my mouth, kissing him eagerly as his other hand cupped the side of my neck. I dug my fingers into his back as he kissed me deeply. The kiss was so good it made me go weak at the knees, and I was suddenly glad we were lying down because if I had been standing, I would have fallen for sure.

  He pulled back just as I was getting slightly breathless. His beautiful, dimpled smile stretched across his face. “You lost something,” he chuckled, opening his mouth and showing me the little red throat lozenge sitting on his tongue.

  I snickered awkwardly, feeling heat creep over my cheeks. “I’m gonna need that back.” I gripped my hand around the back of his head, pulling his mouth back to mine. I giggled against his lips as he pushed the sweet back into my mouth, his tongue tracing across
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