“Well?” Harry bit his lip, knowing she had gone into the interview an hour and a half earlier.
“I want you to know that I’m calling you before Ella or Khenda. Harry, I’m calling you before my mother.”
“And I want you to know that I am standing at the door to a reception hall full of people waiting for my brother and I to walk through the door. Are you going to kill me with anticipation or are you going to…”
“I got it.”
“You got it!” He called out, immediately lowering his voice. “You got it?”
“I did! They want me to start on Monday. I’ll work three twelve hour days and have four off and the salary is fantastic and…Harry. I’m staying in London.”
“It gets better and better every time you say it.”
“I…wow. I’m going to go look for an apartment and…oh I wish you were in London. I want to see you.”
“Ohhhh….” He groaned. “Why are you doing this to me?!”
“I’m sorry!” She laughed. “Now go. I’ll talk to you later. You need to walk into that reception hall and do your job.”
“Okay, okay,” he sighed. “I’m so proud of you.”
“I’ll call you tonight.”
“I love you.”
“Hmmm….” He smiled. “And I you.”
“Hi Harry, it’s Maddie. I am guessing you’re still at the reception or…maybe on a plane or…I don’t know. But I signed a lease; on a two bedroom, two bathroom flat in this beautiful area by… The security is fantastic and I…Wow. I wish you were here. I am just…I have a job. And a place to live and I would love to show it to you and…Saturday, right? My stupid rules.” She laughed. “Okay. I’m going to go. Ella and I are getting dressed and going out. Have a wonderful night. Love you.”
“Hello?!” Maddie’s voice was loud, trying to call out over the music as she moved through the nightclub towards the deck out back.
“Hold on! I’m heading outside! I’m just…hold on!” Harry could hear music and talking and then suddenly she was back. “Please tell me you’re still there.”
“I’m still here,” he laughed.
“Thank God!” She breathed. “Are you back?”
“Only just. Where are you?”
“Some club that Bishop brought us to.”
“You’re with Bishop?! How did you end up out with Bishop?”
“We wanted to go out dancing. We didn’t know where to go. Ella called Bishop.”
“Me or Bishop?”
“Bishop! That man is my best friend and he’s out with my girl and…”
“Your girl?” Maddie snickered. “Did we just time warp back to the fifties. Your girl?”
“Make fun all you want Madeline. Just tell me where you are.”
“I don’t know.”
“Aw come on. Your message said you wanted to see me and…”
“I’m not being coy. I really don’t know where we are. Bishop picked us up and we’ve kind of been under his influence all night.”
“Stop calling Bishop names,” she laughed. “He’s been great to us tonight.”
“I bet he has.”
“And he said my place is a perfect place for you to run away to; secure and…”
“Hold on,” Harry shook his head. “Bishop has been to your place?”
“He picked us up there.”
“Have you been drinking?”
“A lot, yes,” she giggled. “And dancing. I’ve been drinking and dancing and Harry…”
“I miss you. I know I said I needed a week… But I miss you terribly.”
“I warned you.”
“I know,” she sighed. “I want you desperately.”
“If you tell me where you are, I will come there now.”
“I don’t know, remember?”
“Put Bishop on the phone.”
“I don’t know where he is.”
“What do you mean you don’t know where he is? He left you there?”
“No!” Her laughter increased. “I was dancing with him when you called and I came outside to hear you and…”
“You’re outside right now?”
“Tell me what you see.”
“I don’t know,” she looked around. “I see…I see lots of people. I see…I can see the bar across the way. There are some…streetlights and I can see water from here but it’s kind of hazy and…wow. I suck at this.” At least she could laugh at herself.
“Oh-kay,” Harry thought for a moment. “Can you go back inside?”
“Go to the bar, the one closest to the doors you just went out. Tell me what it looks like.”
“You really know the bars in London well enough to know where I am based on a description of the bar?”
“Let’s find out, shall we?”
“Are you really coming here?” She grew increasingly excited at the prospect of seeing him that night.
“Do you want me to come there? Be honest. I can take it.”
“I…” She took a deep breath, tossing her stance out the window. “I reallyreally do.”
“You sure? Because I don’t want you to regret this in the morning and…”
“Harry. Come to me. Please.”
“You’re going to kill me.”
“Not on purpose, I promise.”
“Please, go back inside and…”
“Going,” she couldn’t help the way her heart picked up as she moved back inside. Scanning the room quickly, she hurried towards the bar. “Okay. It looks like…it’s tall and there’s this half-door thing to the side and. You know what. What if I just ask somebody…”
“Can I buy you a drink?” A voice to her left cut in.
“I’m sorry, but I…” She turned towards the voice and about dropped her phone.
It was Harry.
“Your hair looks amazing.” He was close to gawking as he took in the new cut, the few highlights.
“Thank you,” she blushed, still speaking into the phone. “How did you know where to…”
“Bishop.” Harry was smiling wide; looking sexier than she had even remembered.
“That damn traitor,” Maddie grinned, letting her phone leave her ear.
“Yes,” Harry agreed. “But also my best friend.”
“You know, if Ella sees you, you’re in trouble.”
“Bishop is running interference for me. So, are you going to let me buy you a drink?”
“I don’t need another drink. Harry…”
“Who’s Harry?” He winked, stepping closer. “Harry was told to stay away from you for a week. I’m…Paul.”
“Yes. Come on. Dance with me.” His hand stretched out to her.
“I don’t know Paul. I have this boyfriend. He’s incredibly powerful and protective and…” Maddie’s thoughts were lost as he stepped even closer. Then she sighed and smiled up at him blissfully. “I’ve missed you.”
“You have no idea,” Harry shook his head; taking her hand in his. Walking backwards towards the dance floor, he pulled them into the sea of people. It was dark and the music was fantastic. People were moving to the beat and so caught up in their own worlds that he went almost completely unnoticed.
Not that Maddie cared. She didn’t. Notice, don’t notice; she didn’t care.
He stopped moving and pulled her closer; his hands moving around her waist as they began to sway. God, she thought, she had made the right decision. There was so much she wanted to tell him; the job, the apartment. But in that moment, his body dangerously close to hers, his eyes staring at her in that way, all she wanted to do was move closer. And closer still.
The music changed then; shifting to something a bit slower, more sultry; a teasing sort of a beat. His hands held her tight as he tilted his head slightly to talk in her ear; his warm breath tickling her skin.
“Come home with me.” She felt a chill travel over her skin.
“You can. You’ve been there before. I’ve made love to you there. I want to do that again. Come home with me Maddie.”
“You have no idea how tempting it is but…”
“Well, well, well,” Ella’s voice cut in as she and Bishop moved next to them.
“Ella!” Harry exclaimed, moving to kiss her cheek. “Don’t be mad, love.”
“I’m not mad,” she shook her head, her eyes narrowing in on her best friend. “You know you could have just invited the man over.”
“Yes, Madeline,” Harry grinned. “You could have just invited the man over.”
“Yes well,” Maddie shrugged. “I like to do things the hard way. Which reminds me…” She turned to Bishop then. “You…”
“Now listen,” he began his defense but was silenced as Maddie threw her arms around his neck in a hug.
“Thank you Bishop!” She giggled as he hugged her back.
“Thank you Bishop!” Harry laughed, tossing his arms around the both of them.
“Oh for the love of…” Ella shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Come on you three. We have less than an hour before they kick us out of here. Now. This isn’t the warm nights in Bendal, but the music is great and I want to dance.”
The group hug dissipated and they began to dance. Though Harry tried once more, Maddie could not be convinced. He was going home alone. And, though he liked to tease her, he was perfectly fine with that. He was fine with waiting a week. Hell, he would have waited longer had she asked.
Alerted to the presence of the paparazzi outside, Harry left first and he left alone; insisting that if she walked out the door with him now, she was not going to be able to shop alone the next day. Unfortunately he was right. So, as Bishop went out the back door with Maddie and Ella, Harry put on a smile and took the flashbulbs out the front door.
Seeing him had been brief but it had been exactly what she needed. That night she fell asleep with a wide smile on her face and, with a new job and a new place, this was becoming hers.