Home > Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(3)

Tegan's Blood (The Ultimate Power #1)(3)
Author: L.H. Cosway

“Not in so many words.”

“Ah God, you can come in if you want, but I’ll warn you it’s tiny and cramped and messy in my place, so you won’t be very comfortable.”

“Let me be the judge of that.”

Inside my apartment Ethan looks around as if inspecting every minute detail. I notice that Nicky must have done some cleaning earlier when I was in bed because it’s a lot tidier than it had been.

“I’m going to make tea, do you want some?”

“Yes, thank you.”

When I come back with two cups I put them on the coffee table and sit in beside Ethan. I’ve only got a small two seat sofa, so suffice it to say things are fairly snug.

“Do you mind my saying that you look very young to own your own night club?” I tell him after taking a sip of tea.

“I’m not as young as I look.”

“Oh really, what are you twenty seven, twenty eight maybe?”

“Not exactly, how old are you Tegan?”

“Twenty one,” I answer before continuing, “Do you enjoy the night club business? I’ve always thought all night club owners were men in suits in their forties and fifties, mostly like mob bosses, that kind of thing. You look like you should be in a grunge band.”

“You shouldn’t stereotype darling, besides, I’m one of a kind.”

“I’m sure you are.”

“Would you like me to show you how unique I am?”

“Is that a come on?”

“What do you think?”

I laugh, and then he does too. He takes a gulp of tea and puts the mug back down on the table. He turns to me and says, “You’re cute, you know that?”

“Yeah, that’s me all right, cute as a button.”

“And vulnerable.”

“Sure.”

“And in a way, very sexy.”

“You must get off on vulnerability then.”

“Actually I do.” He leans into me and takes in a deep breath. “You want me, don’t you?”

“What I want is for you to get off me,” I lift my hands and push him back.

“No you don’t.”

I think I might have a heart attack when he moves his face to my neck and then presses his lips to my throat. I don’t understand why, but the gesture makes my heart hammer in my chest in some sort of fight or flight response. Strange. He places a hand on my bare leg and runs his palm over my inner thigh.

“Stop,” I breathe hoarsely. My nerves at war with my need to be touched, to be wanted.

“You sure about that?” he asks as he brushes the tips of his fingers over the cotton of my underwear.

“Yes.”

“All right then.” He answers primly, as he fixes my dress back down. “But don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy that, Tegan, because I know that you did.”

“Wow, modest aren’t we.” I roll my eyes at his ego.

“I enjoyed it too, honey,” he says, running his fingers through his floppy mass of blond hair.

My cheeks instantly redden.

“So shy,” he whispers, his lips touching my ear.

I get up off the couch and straighten myself. “I think you should go now.”

“If that’s what you want,” he says, his eyebrow quirked up.

“Yes, it is.”

“Will you drop by the club some time? I’d like it if you did.”

“Oh, yeah maybe.” I answer, anything to get him to leave.

“Please do, I’ll see myself out.”

And with that he’s gone as quick as a flash. What a beautiful bastard.

Chapter Two

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

There’s nothing worse than not being able to sleep until three in the morning and then waking up at seven-thirty even though you have nowhere you need to be. Even worse is the fact that I can’t get back to sleep. My apartment is freezing and a layer of frost covers the one tiny window in my bedroom. I really hate January.

I pull the duvet around me and get up, then I dash for the switch in the hallway to turn on the heating. I go into my living room and sit on the couch, waiting for the radiators to kick in. I’m not letting go of the duvet until the place heats up. I tip my bare feet onto the floor but then quickly pull them back up and tuck them under my legs, the cheap brown lino is absolutely freezing cold.

I switch on the television and watch the early morning news headlines, absorbing nothing. I hate the fact that I don’t dream anymore, all I get is random words and sentences that make no sense running through my head. Sometimes all I can see is an image of Matthew unconscious in a bath of red tinted water. I don’t know which is worse, because the words give me a headache and the image is horrific.

When I feel the place has warmed up I go to the fridge to see what there is for breakfast and the pathetic contents say it all, I really need to go shopping. Nicky has been doing my groceries for me every week, but I think it’s about time I took some of the burden off her. She’s helped me enough and I’ve been thinking that perhaps now it’s time I began helping myself.

I drink a glass of milk, and then on a whim I decide to wash my floors. I get a bucket out from under the sink and go through the motions of cleaning. In my purse I have exactly fifty-six pounds and forty-five pence. There are five days left until the next instalment of money gets transferred into my bank account from my dad’s. I really need to tell him the truth that I’ve dropped out of college. There’s no doubt he’ll be angry and that’s why I immediately decide to put it off for just one more week.

I decide to spend the money I have on food. I’ve been eating barely anything these days and spending the majority of my money on booze to drown my sorrows. No more spending my days in a drunken stupor just so that I don’t have to feel anything. I go into the bathroom and strip off to take a shower before I leave to go food shopping. I stare at the white, clean, empty bath for a moment and wonder if I’ll ever get into it again. Probably not, but thankfully I have a separate shower, otherwise I’d be going around like an unwashed hobo. Not that I’ve been very meticulous about my personal hygiene recently anyway.

I don’t have a lot of clothes in my wardrobe since I went a bit loony after Matthew passed. I was angry with everything, and I guess I took that anger out on my clothing. I took a knife to dozens of tops, trousers, skirts and ripped them to shreds. Then I stuffed them all into black bags and threw them out. Maybe it was cleansing. Maybe I was just mental. But now, as I’m freshly showered and clad in a clean towel, all I can find to wear is an old pair of black jeans that have seen better days and a white long sleeved wool cardigan.

It’s a twenty minute walk to the nearest Tesco, and I fill my trolley with all manner of items. I also get some deodorant, shampoo and shower gel. At the checkout a woman in her late thirties gives me varying degrees of dirty looks as she scans my items. What a bitch. I can tell that she hates her job, but that’s not my problem. The insides of my knuckles are red raw by the time I get home, the weight of the plastic bag handles having dug into them. My phone is already ringing inside of my apartment when I put my key in the front door. I hurry in, throw down the plastic bags in the hall and run to pick it up before it goes to voice mail.

“Hello?”

“Tegan, it’s Dad.” His tone is grim, which is not a good sign.

“Hello, um, how are you?” I reply.

“I got a letter from your college today,” he says, daring me to pretend I don’t know what he’s talking about.

“Oh, you did.” Shit, shit, shit! My inner voice screams.

“Yes.”

I draw a nervous breath. “Right.”

“They wanted to know if you’ve dropped out, since according to their records you haven’t been attending classes in nearly three months.”

“I – I’m sorry Dad.” Admittance and apology all in one, maybe he’ll go easy on me for the quick yet unpleasant reveal.

“So it’s true then?” his voice informs me that he’d really wanted the letter to turn out to be some kind of clerical error.

“Yes, and I really am sorry but…”

“Why haven’t you been going to college?” he interrupts, disbelief colouring his words. He’s been living in blissful ignorance of how far my life has gone down the toilet these past few months. I feel guilty for enlightening him, but it has to be done.

“It’s complicated.”

“Are you doing drugs?” Accusatory now, ah the old reliable.

Sometimes, my inner voice interjects, but I tell it to shut up. “No.” I answer, voice tight with nervous tension.

He lets out a low curse. “That doesn’t sound very convincing, Tegan.”

“I’m not lying to you Dad, I swear.”

“Then you’d better tell me why all of a sudden you’ve decided to turn delinquent.”

“I can’t. You wouldn’t understand.” And I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want you to know the sad reality of my life now.

“The hell I wouldn’t! Now you’d better start talking or else I’ll have to resort to cutting you off financially, because I’m not going to fund whatever messed up lifestyle you’re living down there.”

“Fine. Do that then.”

“I’m serious Tegan.”

“I believe you, and to be honest I really don’t care anymore. Cut me off. Go ahead.” I’ve become angry at his harshness. I could never tell him the truth, it would be too weird, and I really just want to forget about Matthew. It’s bad enough that my heart hurts every day. If I tell my dad I’ll have to re-live it all, explain to him what happened, and I just can’t go there right now.

“You’d want to start acting right, you know that?” he threatens down the telephone. “And I’m not sending you any more money until you get yourself back to college and your head on straight.”

With this he hangs up, and tiredly I put the phone back down on the receiver. My lack of sleep last night is beginning to catch up on me. For a few minutes I just sit there, dejected. I don’t feel up to going back to college just yet. I can’t do it. I need to go slowly. Maybe I can repeat next year or something. A moment later my phone rings again and I pick it up.

“Look I’m sorry…” I begin, but am interrupted.

“Sorry for what?” asks a smooth male voice.

“Who is this? Ethan?” I reply.

“The very man,” he answers happily.

“Oh. Hello.”

“Aren’t you going to tell me what you’re sorry for?” he asks, humour colouring his tone.

“How did you get my number?” I ask.

“That’s for me to know and – well, you know the rest.”

“Creepy, very creepy.” I say, irritable after my previous phone call with Dad.

“Not so much. I asked your blond friend for it when I got back to the club last night.”

Well, maybe the means aren’t so psychopathic after all. Still, I’m wary of his persistence.

“Oh.”

“You don’t sound too pleased.”

“I’m having a bad day.”

“Then you should come to the club tonight and unwind.”

“Not likely.” I answer in a tight voice.

“Suit yourself,” says Ethan with a soft laugh.

“Sorry. You just caught me at a bad time.”

“How so? Are you okay?” The concern in his voice is touching, seen as I barely know him. However this only functions to make me ever more suspicious of his motivations.

“I’m fine, I just – I’m having money problems, so I think I’m going to have to forget about going back to college and start looking for a job.”

“Interesting.”

“Why is that?”

“You need a job and I need a PA, why don’t you come and work for me?”

“No thanks, God knows what being your PA would involve.”

He laughs. “Well it would involve the usual, faxing, filing, answering the phones, taking bookings, relieving my sexual needs, etcetera.”

“Yeah I thought as much.” I tell him, my tone doing all the rejecting for me.

“Seriously though, the offer stands. Think it over.” He tells me in a soft voice.

“I don’t have PA experience.”

“I’ll teach you,” he says, in a tone that insinuates other things.

“Sure.”

He lowers his voice. “I think I’d enjoy teaching you things.”

“Can’t say I w-would enjoy it.” Yeah, right.

“You stuttered,” he says, and even though I can’t see him I can tell that he’s grinning.

“And?”

“Usually means a person is lying.”

“Or maybe you’re just making me nervous.”

“I am? Hmm, I think I like making you nervous.” This bastard thinks he likes a lot of things.

“What was it you were calling me about again?” I ask before he takes it any further.

“Will you have dinner with me tonight?” he says straight away, in a very gentlemanly manner. It takes me off guard.

“Oh – you want to have dinner with me?” I’ve never been one of those people who go on dates. It’s just too, I don’t know, pretentious I suppose.

“Very much so,” he answers.

“I can’t I – I’m broke at the moment, and I really don’t have anything to wear.” Nothing but the clothes on my back and some very dirty laundry.

   
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