This Man Confessed (Page 53)

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‘I’m fine.’

She smiles a little. ‘Well, I think I’ll get one. I don’t think the management would be very happy about us taking a table up. Are you sure?’

‘Yes,’ I shake my head and watch her go quietly to the counter, ensuring she’s busy ordering before I pull my phone from my bag to text Kate. I need to vent.

The cheeky b***h has turned up at my office!

She replies immediately. Granted, it wasn’t the sort of text that you could cast aside with the intention to reply soon.

No!!!!! Really? Ava, stop talking in f**king code! Who’s the cheeky b***h?

I almost let an exasperated curse fall from my lips.


Her reply is instant again.


My fingers work fast across the pad as I look up to check that Sarah’s still being served.

F*****g yes!!!!! Will call u.

I go to slip my phone in my bag, but it chimes instantly again. I can imagine her gasping, her pale fingers flying across the buttons of her phone. She’s probably driving, too.

Call me now, put it on the table. I want 2 hear what she’s got 2 say!

I do scoff out loud this time, shaking my head. She would never keep her gob shut if she heard something that she didn’t like, and then I would be explaining the distant sounds of my screeching best friend.


I press send and smile when she immediately texts back;


I shove my phone back in my bag when Sarah approaches with a coffee, crossing my legs and maintaining a look of complete hatred. I do. I hate her. I hate everything she represents, but most of all, I hate her for inflicting pain on Jesse. I should stop thinking. I’m getting angrier. My moods are extreme these days.

She lowers herself and stirs her coffee gingerly, looking down at her cup. ‘I wanted to apologise for everything that’s happened.’

‘You do?’ I laugh. ‘Are you winding me up?’

She pauses and looks up at me, smiling nervously. ‘Ava, I’m so sorry. I guess I was a little shocked at your arrival.’

‘Oh?’ I say on a frown.

‘If you told me where to go, then I wouldn’t blame you. I’ve behaved dreadfully. I have no excuse.’

‘Except that you’re in love with him.’ I say frankly, and her eyes widen in surprise. ‘Why else would you behave like that, Sarah?’

She looks away, and I think I detect tears in her eyes. Oh, she’s really in love with him. Have I underestimated this issue? ‘I’m not going to fob you off, Ava. I’ve been in love with Jesse for as long as I can remember.’ She returns her eyes to mine. ‘It doesn’t excuse me, though.’

‘But you whipped him.’ I don’t get it. ‘Why would you do that to someone you love?’

She laughs mildly. ‘That’s what I do. I dress in leathers, hold a whip and thrash men before I f**k them.’

I wince. ‘Okay.’

‘Jesse was never interested in that.’

‘But you’ve still f**ked him.’ I say candidly. Jesse has admitted that to me, and I know he was never whipped before that horrible day when I found them in his office. She must have been in her element, especially when she managed to entice me to The Manor to witness the whole horror scene.

She looks surprised. ‘Yes, but just once.’ She’s definitely holding back tears. I’ve really misjudged this issue. ‘Funny, isn’t it? Even when he was smashed he didn’t want me. He’d take them all, but never me.’

I’m beginning to understand this now, even if I’m not overly happy about the reminder of Jesse’s history. He screwed all over the place, took anything, anytime… except Sarah. The Manor is full of willing women, none more than Sarah, and he never wanted her. ‘You were hoping he’d f**k you after you thrashed him?’ The words turn my stomach. I feel sick again.

She shakes her head. ‘No, I knew he wouldn’t. He was too screwed up over you. I never thought I’d see the day when Jesse Ward would fall to his knees for a woman.’

‘You mean you hoped you would never see the day.’

‘Yes, I hoped. I also hoped that you’d run a mile when you found out about The Manor.’

I did run a mile, but I went back. It didn’t take Sarah’s intervention to get me running after I discovered the drunken Jesse, though. I look at the woman across the table from me, and I feel sorry for her. I hate myself for it, but I do. ‘Sarah, he classes you as a friend.’ I can’t believe I’m trying to make this woman feel better after everything she’s done.

‘Yes, he does.’ She really laughs this time, but then she frowns and returns to stirring her coffee. ‘After what you did, and seeing how he reacted to that, it made me realise how stupid I’d been. He deserves happiness. He deserves you. You love him despite The Manor, what he did, and his problem with alcohol. You love him in his entirety.’ She smiles. ‘You’ve made him feel. I should never have tried to take that away from him.’

I’m sitting in a stunned silence, just staring at her, with not a clue of what to say in response. What do I say to that? ‘You want your job back.’ So I say that?

Her eyes widen. ‘I don’t think that can happen, do you?’

No, it couldn’t. Despite her confessions, I could never trust her or even like her. I can feel a little sorry for her, but I could never invite her back into our lives. I’ve never asked Jesse what happened when he fired her. He made it clear it wasn’t up for discussion and being delighted that she was out of the picture, I didn’t push it. But now, more than ever, I really want to know what happened during that conversation.

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