I couldn’t have wished for a better friend.
This is for those long summer days out on the horses, for the laughs, the fun and the effortless communication. It’s for those crazy made-up field names and the stupid ideas which never quite worked out as planned.
But mainly it’s for the countless magical memories you’ve blessed me with. xx
The envelope icon continued flashing at the bottom of the screen, but I ignored it, along with the lingering glances in my direction. Rick was exceptionally talented in many areas, but subtlety wasn’t one of them.
He was twitchy, and it wasn’t from the copious amounts of coffee he’d been guzzling all evening, he was excited. Rick was usually excited, naturally wired with a high metabolism and the expressive kind of features you can read a mile off, but this was a special kind of excitement.
It was endearing. Although I’d never tell him so.
He pushed his chair away from his desk, spinning to face me, yet still I didn’t react.
I enjoyed the game far too much.
Our home office is intimate. The tension stretched until he broke, with a mock groan.
“Well?! Have you looked?!”
“No,” I said.
“Pissing hell, Carl, will you just look? Please?”
I angled my laptop screen down and stared at him, long and sternly, trying my best not to break a smile.
“I’m busy. Foster proposal. Tender deadline tomorrow.”
“Piss off. There’s always a deadline tomorrow. Five minutes, just check it out. I only need a yes. One little yes. She’ll get a yes, I promise.”
I sighed for effect. “Who is it this time? Another Penelope Pout? I want a boob job, and an Audi TT and world peace? No, wait… Another broke but talented artistic genius, seeking true love on Sugar Daddy Match-up? You like those…”
He coasted his chair across the floor, propped his elbows on my desk and jabbed a finger at my laptop. “Just look. She’s nothing like the others.”
“You always say that.”
He smiled. “Yeah, but I don’t always mean it.”
I minimised my document and called up his email. Sugar Daddy Match-up! You have mail!
I hovered over the link, then folded my arms. “So, give me the elevator pitch. Why this one?”
He rolled his shoulders, tipped his head from side to side. “Elevator pitch, you got it.” He held up a finger. “She’s hot, like really hot. Not a Penelope Pout, no fake tan, no epic contouring, not even false lashes. She’s just hot. Cute, too.”
“Blonde. Wavy. Natural. Blue eyes.”
I nodded. “Go on.”
“She’s local. Much Arlock.”
“Local?” I conceded a point to him in the name of convenience. Much Arlock was only a thirty-minute drive from Cheltenham. Hardly anything. “Ok, I’m listening.”
“She’s a little bit quirky, in a good way. Not all-out boho, just… she has personality.”
“I’d hope so, Rick. We want a companion, not a whore. Although a whore would be a whole lot cheaper.”
“Like I said, she has personality. She seems nice. Funny.”
I laughed. “You can tell that from her profile picture can you? Pulling the funky chicken is she?”
“Just fucking look, will you?” He pushed his glasses back on his nose, and smoothed down his beard, eyes twinkling.
Boho. Another one. Could I handle another trendy little free-spirit in the house? Probably. The thought didn’t altogether turn me off.
I clicked the link, and Rick leaned over, angled my screen so he could share my view. I resigned myself to the inevitable apathy, another pretty face in the catalogue of pretty faces looking for a healthier bank account and a nice rich cock. Or two. Two on offer didn’t seem to hinder our success any. Far from it.
The face that greeted me wasn’t out of any catalogue. Her hair was a cascade of natural blonde, tumbling over slender shoulders to rest at the curve of her vest top. Her eyes were alive and kind, pastel blue and full of mischief, and her smile was bright and genuine. A sweet little nose, with a sprinkling of freckles over glowing skin. Nice tits. Narrow waist. Long legs in faded denim, crossed under her as she leaned back, her palms splayed on the grass beneath.
She was beautiful. Beautiful and different from the others, he was right. A seashell necklace and two gemstone bracelets were her only adornments.
Bohemian, yes. But just a little.
Rick gave me the overview, but it sounded distant.
“Her profile says she’s twenty-two, not too young. Just about to finish up university. Worcester. Business degree. Still lives at home. Drives. Works two jobs. She’s outdoorsy, all-out natural, likes pizza and KFC, though. All the unhealthy stuff. Probably even likes service station sandwiches. You’ll get on well.”
“We can’t all pull a PJ party and work from home every day. Your de-humidified little veggie snacks hardly cut a day on the road.” My voice came out dry as my tone got serious. “This one. Does she know? Is she… suitable?”
I didn’t pull my eyes from the screen yet I knew he was rolling his.
“Don’t start. She knows some of it.”
“Some. From our profile.”
“So tell her the rest.”
He groaned at me. “Listen up, Mr tell it like it is, we need time. She needs to get to know us. We haven’t even met her yet.”
“Ok, so let’s meet her, and then we’ll tell her. Lay our cards flat on the table and see if hers match up.”
He shook his head. “Six months, you promised.”
“I promised three.”
“You said six, after Nicole from Northampton ran screaming for the hills, you said six. You sat right there, just where you are now, and you promised six.”
“Under duress. I’ve changed my mind.”
He clapped his hands in front of my screen, forcing my attention. “Six, Carl. We’re going with six months this time. I mean it.”
His tone tickled me. “Who died and made you Lord of Sugar Daddy dating? We all know who wears the trousers around here, Richard.” I smirked. “Don’t pretend you don’t like it that way.”
“I’d like it a whole lot better if we managed to coax a three-way just a smidge beyond your boar-headed negotiations. This isn’t some sales deal. It’s about… people, Carl, people…”