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Discovering Mr. X: Chapter 3



“You don’t have to leave, you know?”

I glance back at Chris, propped up against the pillows with the bedsheets tangled around his tanned legs, his eyes showing that calmness that comes not long before sleep.

I raise an eyebrow at him. “I know. You should also know that I never stay; it’s just not who I am.” I finish pulling on my boot before stretching up the bed and giving him a brief kiss on the lips, moving back before he can pull me back into bed. “Thanks for the company… again.” I smile as I grab my bag and head towards the door.

“Anytime, babe.” He yawns, stretching his arms above his head, his blond hair messy. “Call me whenever you need a friend.” He chuckles.

“You know I will,” I call back from the hallway as I head out the front door, letting it swing shut behind me.

“Rach, is that you?” I hear my housemate, Megan, call as I come through the front door.

“Who else would it be?” I say as I shrug out of my jacket.

“You’re home early.” Megan appears from the kitchen wearing her flannel pajamas with unicorns all over them, a glass of wine in her hand.

“Yeah, have I interrupted something?” I glance back over her shoulder as I kick off my boots, hoping to see a half-naked man, but knowing unicorn pajamas probably wouldn’t be in play if there was one here. It would take an incredibly special guy to appreciate those.

“I should be so lucky.” She giggles. “Nope, it’s just Nigel and me watching TV. It is early for you, though?” Her eyes land on my face suspiciously.

“I wasn’t really in the mood once I got there but stayed for one shag, so it wasn’t a complete waste of a cab fare.”

Megan snorts. “Only you, Rach. How’s Chris?” she calls behind me as I head into the kitchen and grab another glass and the rest of the bottle of red wine.

“He’s fine,” I say, heading into the living room behind her and sinking down into the soft cream sofa. Nigel, our house rabbit, hops over, so I lift his big grey fluffy body up into my lap, giving him a kiss on the nose as he settles on top of my ripped jeans. “You know Chris, he’s never one to turn down a booty call, even though he has to operate the early Washington flight tomorrow.”

Megan sits down next to me, her fingers absentmindedly twirling a loose curl of her long auburn hair around one finger as she sips her wine. “I think he’s nice. Whenever I used to fly with him, he was always so friendly.”

“Meg, this is Chris we’re talking about. Of course, he was friendly. He makes a new ‘friend’ on every flight,” I say as I stroke Nigel behind his ears where his fur is fluffiest, his little black eyes close halfway as he relaxes into my lap.

“Doesn’t that bother you?”

“Why should it? I don’t want to date him. Ugh,” I groan, “I can’t think of anything worse. Having to stay the whole night and make small talk in the morning. Them becoming all pathetic and needy. No, thank you! What he does is none of my business; I’m happy with our arrangement. At least I might get a dreamless sleep tonight with any luck.” I take a sip of wine.

“You’re so weird. I don’t know anyone else who has sex dreams about politicians when they need to get laid.” Megan shakes her head as she smiles into her wine glass.

“You call it weird; I call it unique.” I smirk. “Maybe it’s how wrong it is. They aren’t meant to be sexy, but once I get hold of them in their suits, they turn into right kinky bastards.”

“Ew!” Megan wrinkles up her nose. “I would stick with calling Chris, given a choice.”

I laugh. “You’re probably right.”

Megan eyes me over her glass. “I’m not sure I could ever have a ‘friend with benefits’. I quite like the idea of a hot man getting pathetic and needy over me.” She giggles. “That’s another thing I don’t miss about flying, all the random hook-ups so many of the crew have. It was never my thing.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing; it’s much simpler.” I watch Megan wrinkle her nose up again. “You know you’re always welcome to come with me on any of my trips anytime you feel like it, don’t you? Just because you don’t fly anymore doesn’t mean you should miss out.”

“I know, thanks.” Megan smiles. “If we can get someone to watch Nigel, then maybe I can come to LA with you and visit Holly and Jay before the baby arrives?”

“I would love that.” I sigh as I lean my head back against the cushions as my phone beeps. “Speak of the devil,” I say as I read Holly’s text out loud to Megan.

Holly: Thinking of you and sending you good luck for the auction. Think positive thoughts; your new home is just around the corner! Miss you, H

“She’s so lucky, meeting a Hollywood Heart-throb like Jay Anderson on a flight and getting swept off her feet.” Megan sighs dreamily. “Doesn’t it make you want it?”

“Want what?” I scratch at my wrist as I remember the day Holly moved out of this house to leave for LA permanently. I was so happy for her; I’ve never seen a couple as in love as her and Jay. I’m so glad Megan was looking for somewhere new to live at the time though, I hate the idea of living alone. We’ve become good friends over the past year, living together. Although we couldn’t be more different in our views on love and dating.

“You know, the whole romance thing? I would have loved for that to happen to me while I was working a flight. Too late now.”

I look over at her. She looks like a puppy that’s just been kicked with her big, sad eyes. “Meg, you don’t need that. You’ve got your own cool artist thing going on. You’re so talented. You don’t need a man to make you. Girl, you’re already doing it!” I cry enthusiastically, causing Nigel to open one eye and give me a dirty look. I swear this rabbit is really a cranky old man in the wrong body.

“I know, you’re right. It would just be nice to know I’m not headed towards being a single old cat lady.”

As she says “cat,” Nigel farts out loud. I swear he’s like no rabbit I’ve ever heard of.

“Nigel!” we both groan as he slides down my legs and hops off to his bed in the corner of the living room.

“Remind me again why we rescued you?”

“Aww, Rach. Don’t say that. Remember how sad he looked at the shelter? No one wanted him because he was so huge and old.”

I remember. I look over at Nigel, who has sprawled out on his cat bed. Because of the size of him, it was the only thing he fit in at the store.

“We love you really, old boy,” I call and blow him a kiss. “You’re the only man I can ever live with.”

Megan giggles as I turn back to her.

“Seriously though, Meg, how’s work going?”

She crashes back against the sofa. “Ugh. Well, it could be better. You know how I told you that my boss is a bit of an idiot?”

“A jerk, yes.”

“Well, he either totally mis-sold the job description to me, or I’m in some kind of initiation that includes getting his coffee and lunch and hardly doing any actual drawing.” She looks down, picking at the fabric of her pajamas.

“God, Megan! He’s such an asshole. It makes me so mad he thinks he can treat you like that!” My blood boils every time she talks about this guy. “You need to stand up to him. Take it higher if he won’t listen. What’s his boss like?”

“I can’t do that. I’m lucky to have the job as it is. There are so many illustrators and artists who never get the opportunity to work for a company like that.”

“It’s not right, though. You’re so talented, and you’re supposed to be using your talent and growing. Not running errands for a jerk who’s too lazy to get his own lunch,” I grumble, knocking back my wine.

“I know, I know. Maybe it’s just because I’m new. It’s only been a couple of months. I can’t expect to do all the exciting stuff straight away,” she says dejectedly.

“Just know that I believe in you and when you’re ready to tell him where to shove his coffee and lunch, I’ll be right there to back you up.”

“Thanks.” Meg smiles. “Well, it’s just as well you didn’t stay out too late having no-strings sex with Chris. It’s the big day tomorrow!” she squeals excitedly, changing the subject.

She’s right; tomorrow is a big day. I’ve been saving for as long as I can remember to afford a deposit to buy my own place, have something of my own for the first time in my life, and I’ve finally got enough. It’s not going to be a mansion, with the prices the outskirts of London attracts, but there’s enough for a small two-bed house, like the one we rent, so that Megan can move with me.

“You’re right.” I can’t help but smile back at Megan’s infectious grin. “Tomorrow is a big day. We’ve got to be at the auction early. If we miss the lot number, then I’m screwed. It’s the only one that’s in the right area with a guide price that’s within budget.”

“Just think, all those months looking at houses, and now tomorrow, you might finally get your hands on the keys to your own house!” Megan’s grin grows even wider.

“That’s what I’m hoping for. If the house weren’t up for auction, I don’t think I would have any chance of affording it. It’s a shame the old owner died. A family’s life had to get turned upside down for me to have a chance at my dream.” I sigh as I reach over to the coffee table and pick up the auction catalog. There, circled in red, is the house I’m bidding on tomorrow. My stomach knots at the sight of the pretty white terrace house, its shiny red front door glistening like a cherry on a cake.

This is it; this is going to be my house!

“It is sad, but you can breathe life into that house again. You can make it into a home. The house will be happy to be loved again.” Megan smiles at me.

I love the childlike innocence she has. Maybe that’s why she’s such a talented illustrator; she captures a kind of magic in her work somehow.

“You know, we really should toast someone who made this all a lot more possible.” Megan continues, raising her glass to mine.

“Oh.” I smile knowingly at her. “You’re right; there is someone who I am very thankful for. Without his valued business, there would be no house bidding at all happening yet. It would have taken so much longer. Who knew selling panties was such a lucrative business?”

“Who the heck knew?” Megan giggles. “To Mr. X, may he have a lifetime of scent-sational happiness.”

Excitement bubbles in my stomach, replacing the knots that were there just moments ago. Selling panties I’ve worn on my flights was never something I imagined happening, but I’m glad it did. The past eighteen months of emails back and forth to the mysterious Mr. X, along with his regular deposits to my PayPal account, brought me to this. The moment I’ve longed for my entire life, to finally have a home of my own. I can’t ever regret his part in making that a possibility. Although I’ve been saving hard, I would not have been in this position for years had it not been for him. He insisted on being my only client and paid more than double for the assurance that I dealt only with him.

“To Mr. X, whoever he is.” I smile as we clink glasses and drink.


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