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Meeting Mr Anderson: Chapter 18

“Honey, I’m home!” I call to Rach as I pull my suitcase in through the front door. I know she’s expecting me, as I called her when I landed. She can’t believe what’s been happening either.

“Holls!” She comes running out of the living room and crushes me into a hug, almost toppling us both over. For someone so petite, she sure is strong.

“This is some weird shit going on.” She draws back to look at me, her eyes wide.

“Tell me about it.” I sigh. “It feels so surreal,” I say as I kick my shoes off.

“You look knackered. Go, shower, get changed, I’ll put the kettle on,” Rach orders and pushes me toward the stairs.

“I love you,” I call over my shoulder as I pick up my case and carry it upstairs.

“I know, I would love me too,” her voice sings from the kitchen.

Fifteen minutes later, showered and in clean loungewear, I collapse back onto the sofa. Now that I’m back home in our little living room, LA seems a world away. The whole break-in and being followed feels like a bad dream. Only the sickness that’s still in my stomach tells me it’s not. I texted Jay as soon as I landed. It was super early there, but he was awake. He probably couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t either. We got three hours’ crew rest on the way home in the bunk beds. Usually I would sleep on a night flight from pure exhaustion, but this time I just lay there listening to the hum of the plane’s engines, unable to switch off.

Jay said they’d almost got the house back in order and the security company came and upgraded everything. Stefan stayed over for the night as they’d still been putting the house back in order until late.

“Here you are.” Rach hands me a steaming mug of peppermint tea and plonks herself next to me on the sofa.

“Thank you.” I smile. “You’re the best housemate, you know.”

“I know.” She sighs, stretching her feet up onto the coffee table, the red polish on her toes shining. “Has Jay heard any more from the police?”

“Not much. They took the guy, Ryan Baker, in for questioning. They’ve got him on camera breaking and entering. He won’t admit to taking anything, though. But he said he was paid to snoop around.”

“Paid? By who?”

“No idea. He’s not saying any more at the moment. It looks like someone paid him to follow me when I was in LA. Maybe to see when I was with Jay and wait until the house was empty, I guess.”

“Creepy, but why?” Rach frowns in confusion.

“I don’t know.” I shudder. “It’s Hollywood. I guess it’s not unheard of for actors’ houses to be broken into. Maybe he was just looking for a story. Nothing was taken though, so I guess he didn’t find what he was looking for.”

“Maybe it’s just about getting the latest scoop on what Hollywood’s golden guy is up to then?” Rach offers.

“Yeah, maybe. Although Jay is pretty open with the press. Stefan said if they get the frequency and content of interviews right, then it tends to stop them digging around so much as he’s always feeding out stories himself.”

“Smart and tactical, I like it.” Rach smiles.

I smile back half-heartedly. “Stefan knows what he’s doing when it comes to that. He’s been fielding calls about the break-in non-stop since.”

“Poor guy, busy day at the office.”

“Yeah, bless him; he’s working so hard. He’s such a nice, normal guy too. I can see why Matt likes him so much.” I say before having a sip of my tea.

“Oh God,” Rach groans, tipping her head back against the back of the sofa. “He’s so into him. It’s all I’ve heard about! The sooner they shag, the better, as far as I’m concerned. Might get him to shut up for a while at least.”

“You’re kidding? This is Matt.” I laugh.

“You’re right; he never shuts up.” Rach sighs.

“And we wouldn’t have him any other way.” I smile, looking at her.

“Speak for yourself,” Rach says, but the corners of her mouth curl into a smile.

“So, enough about creepy reporters; my head feels like it might pop,” I say, rubbing at my temples.  “Let’s talk about pantieloving men called Mr. X instead.” I elbow Rach and look at her from the corner of my eye as I take another sip of tea.

“Mmm,” Rach murmurs, acting unusually coy for her.

“Mmm, mmm?” I ask, “or just mmm?”

“Mmm, mmm, mmm,” she says and we both laugh.

“Okay.” She lets out a big breath. “So, I sent him the first pair of my special, personally designed panties that I got made in Shanghai.”


“And he loved it!”

“So, what’s the problem?” I ask, confused by the frown on her face.

“He started getting a bit funny. Wanted to know how many I had made and if I was sending them out to anyone else, even though I agreed in the beginning they were only for him.”

“Wow, so he’s jealous?”

Rach sighs. “Yep, seems so. I had to shoot him right down in my email back to him for not believing me and now I’ve not heard from him in five days.”

“So, he’s jealous and pissed?”

“Totally. He’s my best customer! I don’t want to lose him,” Rach moans in frustration. “Plus, and you better not tell Matt this…” She pauses.

“Of course not, you can trust me, Rach; you know that.”

“Well…” She fidgets around on the sofa. “His emails were kind of hot, you know? He made me feel like I was the sexiest woman on earth to him. I miss it.” She tucks a stray strand of her glossy dark bob behind her ear, her eyes staring off into space, deep in thought.

“I’m sure he’ll be back. If he’s that jealous he’s not going to want to give you up easily. Although, you still don’t really know who he is, Rach. Just be careful.”

“Oh, I know.” She sighs. “It’s just the way he writes; I told you before, didn’t I? He doesn’t sound much older than us. I reckon mid-thirties.”

“Maybe you ought to be the one asking him how many other girls’ panties and tights he buys to sniff on. Turn the question back on him,” I say.

“That’s another thing. He says I’m the only one. He was very insistent that there’s never been anyone else and he’s not been into that kind of thing before.”

“Why would he be so bothered about you knowing that? To show you’re special to him, do you think?” I frown as I try to make sense of it all.

“I don’t know. I just don’t know. It’s all a bit weird, isn’t it?” She turns to me and gives me a lopsided smile. “But weird or not, he’s my cash cow, and this baby calf needs some more milk!” she says, catching my eye, and we both erupt into giggles.

“You have such a way of putting things, Rach.” I lean over and squeeze her hand.

She smiles back at me, but I can sense this Mr. X stuff is getting to her.

“Hey, you should get packing,” she changes the subject. “Two weeks with lover boy coming up.” She raises her eyebrows at me.

“I know. He might be sick of me at the end of it. We’ve only ever had a few days together at a time, and then I’ve flown back home again.”

“As if, Holls. He’s totally love drunk when you’re around. Can’t keep his hands off you.”

“I think it’s the other way around,” I gush. “I’m the one who just can’t get enough. It feels so right with him. I trust him and the results are…” I trail off with a stupid grin on my face.

“I know, Holls. Bet he brings out the inner slut you didn’t know you had, huh?” Rach eyes me, looking amused.

“Oh my God, yes!” I whisper, even though no one else is here. “Has that ever happened to you?”

“No. I’m always a slut in bed, regardless of the guy,” Rach says seriously. “But Jay’s special, Holly. If he’s the only one who’s ever made you feel like that, then he’s your one.”

“My one?”

“Yeah, your soulmate of fucking.”

I laugh as I spit out some of my tea.

“My soulmate of fucking?”

“Yeah.” Rach shrugs. “You have no problem doing the dating and nice girlfriend shit, but no other guy has brought out your inner slut. He’s special.”

She’s right. I’ve had boyfriends before, not all as bad as Simon, thank God. But only Jay has ever made me want to do and say the things I have when we’re together.

I turn to Rach. “So, if you’re always a slut in bed, then does that mean you have a load of soulmates?”

“No. Mine will be when I find a guy that I actually want to go out on a date with like a normal couple. I’m fine fucking them, but I never want to stick around long. Once the sex is over, I don’t really see the point.”

“That sounds kind of sad when you say it like that.” The idea of sex without emotion is pretty alien to me. I study Rach’s face as she continues.

“I suppose it is a bit sometimes. Nothing another orgasm hasn’t been able to fix yet, though.” She smirks. “Maybe I’ll meet my soulmate of dating one day. Until then, I’ll just have to put up with plenty of hot, meaningless sex.”

“Sounds so tough when you put it like that,” I say, and we smile at each other. I can always rely on Rach to lift my spirits.

“Right, come on.” She grabs my hand and I’m hoisted off the sofa. “I’m helping you pack. Two weeks of outfits worthy of being fucked senseless in are needed.”

“Okay, okay.” I laugh as I follow her up to my room.

Time to pack and get back to LA. Back to my soulmate of fucking.

My flight lands on schedule and I step off the plane, back in LA once again. It’s starting to feel like I’ve spent more time here in the past couple of months than at home, but I guess I nearly have.

Rach helped me pack like she said she would and if I hadn’t snuck in some extra clothes when she wasn’t looking, I swear I would be wearing mostly underwear and dresses short enough to be T-shirts for the whole trip.

I glance down at my phone and re-read the text my sister sent me before I left.

Sophie: Enjoy the sunshine for two weeks, sis! Looking forward to seeing you at Mum and Dad’s when you get back. S

I called Mum and asked to postpone my visit until I get back from LA and she was more than happy to. There’s some local baking competition she wants to prepare for anyway. She sounded so excited about it. I sent her Sheila’s cookie recipe, and she was delighted, said they were so delicious that she’s going to use them as one her entries to the competition. Dad sounded more than happy to be the taste tester. Sophie managed to get a few days off work so we’ll both be there together, which will be lovely as I don’t get to see her that often.

My suitcase comes around on the baggage carousel, so I lift it off and make my way through customs, then out into arrivals. Scanning through the sea of faces waiting to collect people, a huge grin spreads across my face as a familiar pair of blue eyes catch mine.

Jay is standing there in a baseball cap, jeans, and T-shirt. The sleeves stretch over his biceps. In his hands is a homemade sign, which I read it as I get closer. The words ‘Pick Up for Berry’ are written on it in thick black ink. He sees me looking and turns the sign over so I can read the other side. ‘Missed me?”

I increase my pace and when I’m almost in front of him I drop my bags and jump up on my toes to wrap my arms around his neck, crashing my lips against his. His arms wrap around me and lift my feet off the floor. I kiss him and bring my hands to his jaw so I can run my fingers through his stubble.

“That’s a yes?” he says in his deep, sexy voice, his eyes crinkling at the corners underneath his cap.

“It’s a maybe. Perhaps if you show me what I’ve been missing later, then I can give you a fully informed and final answer,” I say cheekily.

“Oh, really? It’s like that, is it?” He leans forward and bites my bottom lip between his teeth.

A rush of heat fires through my body. I am total putty in his hands and I’m sure he knows it.

“This suits you, I like it,” I look up at his baseball cap.

He looks embarrassed. “Yeah, it helps me not get recognized quite so easily somewhere like this, where there’s so many people.”

I look around. He’s right, no one’s looking at him at all. I forget what it must be like for him sometimes. He’s just Jay to me.

“The only thing is…” I whisper in his ear, “I can’t run my hands through your hair when you’re wearing it.”

He swallows. “I think that’s probably a very good thing, Holly. Unless you want to be fucked right here in public,” he murmurs, nipping my ear with his teeth.

“I think the press would have a field day.”

“Mmm, as if we don’t have enough trouble with the press already,” Jay says.

His eyes are full of tension. He’s so stressed about the break-in.

“Have there been any updates while I was on the flight?”

Jay sighs. “Nothing much. Ryan Baker is still insisting that it was just a digging mission to try and get an exclusive. He was the one who photographed us at Fusion when we went for dinner. He got paid pretty well for those pictures.”

I remember the pictures. Stefan tried to stop them being printed. He was worried about my privacy and how I would feel if I got put on the reporters’ radars. Turns out he was right to be concerned. Look where we are now.

“But why did he break into your house and make such a mess?”

“Apparently, you being British and us meeting on a flight like we did, makes a good story. He said he was looking for things to add to it, photos of your flying ID, stuff like that.”

“That’s doesn’t make any sense though. He knew where my hotel was. He could have gotten pictures of me in uniform when we got dropped off there or broken into my room. Why go to your house?”

“I know,” Jay says, pressing his lips together and rubbing his chin with one hand. “It doesn’t make sense. He’s lying. He was looking for something. I just don’t know what. He was in my closet a long time where I keep personal things like family photos and letters, but nothing was missing.”

I don’t know what to make of what Jay’s just told me. Nothing was taken, yet there’s more to it than Ryan Baker’s letting on.

“The police are charging him with breaking and entering. It’s all they can do; there’s no other evidence. He was given bail until his hearing.”

“He was given bail?” I whisper, my stomach clenching.

Jay looks down at me. “Don’t worry. He’s got a restraining order issued against him. He won’t be coming anywhere near you or me.”

Jay’s voice is firm, and I’m reassured, slightly. I don’t want to think about it anymore right now. I’m back here with Jay and I want to have a nice couple of weeks. I look up at him and place my hands against his broad chest.

“Take me home, baby.” I smile.

“Yes, ma’am,” he says, tipping the peak of his cap toward me and picking up my bags. We head out of the terminal and toward the parking lot. As we pass a trash can, he goes to throw the sign he’s made into it.

“No!” I take it from his hand and zip it into the front pocket of my carry-on. “I want to keep it.”

His eyes sparkle at me. “Come on, Berry, let’s get you home. I want you naked and underneath me.”

I throw my head back and laugh. I’ve missed LA.


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