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I kicked my legs idly against the stool as I watched the people passing by outside. It was a grey day in London, the end of a long cold winter, and the pedestrians were still bundled up in coats, jackets and scarves, hunched against the biting wind. Small patches of chill sunlight darted through the broken overcast up above, raising bright colours on the busses and taxis that crawled past.
I toyed with my food, ate another piece of sashimi, and then eyed my phone once more.
The email had arrived late the previous evening. My aunt June generally wrote to me infrequently, usually only to check that I was well and happy, and to send me occasional scraps of family news. This time had been different – my cousin Andrew would be arriving in London later in the week, and my aunt had asked if I could check up on him and make sure he got settled in.
I shook my head again, amused. Despite my uncle’s massive wealth, my aunt had never to my knowledge been to Europe, so her idea of the relative size of things here was sometimes skewed. I supposed she had no idea of the size of London, nor of the slim chance that Andy would wind up anywhere near my neck of the woods. I knew she’d give him my number and email address, and if he needed help I guessed he’d call.
Somehow, though, I doubted he’d need help; my memories of Andy were of a quiet, independent boy who simply got on with things.
I didn’t think that he’d struggle in London.
A brief squall of rain blew through, and umbrellas blossomed like multicoloured daffodils on the pavement outside. I saw one girl who’d not thought to bring one running for cover, already soaked. I shook my head in sympathy; she’d have a long afternoon in damp clothing to remind her next time.
I slid off the barstool, smiled a thanks to the chef behind the counter, grabbed my handbag and brolly, and stepped back onto the street.
My lunchbreak was over, and I needed to get back to work.
“So when last did you see him?” Sophie sipped her prosecco, waiting.
“Years ago, Soph. I think was twelve? We went through to South Africa for a big family reunion that his family were hosting at their mansion.”
“Is he hot?” she asked, hopefully.
I laughed. “You tart. I have no idea. Haven’t seen a photo of him recently. But there was potential, yes.”
“Mm,” she breathed. “You’d better introduce me to him when he’s here, Jo.”
“Why, so you can give him a rousing welcome to London?”
“Better me than some other slapper,” Sophie grinned. “Oh go on, Jo. If he’s hot, I call dibs.”
I topped up my glass of bubbles from our bottle. “Ok, if he’s hot and available, he’s yours.”
“Yay,” she mouthed. “You’re a great friend.”
The pub was dark, and full of City boys and girls unwinding after the day. Soph and I were jammed into a corner, and I had the better view of the others. Tall, well-groomed boys in their blue wool suits and gaudy ties, girls in their dresses or business suits, everyone suffused with a giddiness that went beyond the typical mid-week post-work hump-day happiness.
“I thought you were seeing that boy off Tinder,” I observed.
“Oh god, no,” she shuddered, laughing. “I met him once; all he wanted to do was talk about his watch and his shoe collection and the fact that he’d been in the same club as Rita Ora the week before. Total waste of my time. Wasn’t even as cute as his photo made him out to be.” She snorted, amused. “Suppose I should give it another try. How about you, Jo? Seen anyone nice?”
“Nah,” I answered. “We’ve got a really cute boy working at the office now, but he’s seeing someone and anyway, office is off limits.”
“The hell you say,” Sophie smirked.
“That was once, and I’ve regretted it ever since,” I laughed. “It was a stupid idea.”
“At least you got a decent shag out of it,” she grinned. “That’s worth something.”
“Not at the cost of my good name,” I replied.
“Do you see him at all any more?”
I glanced away. “No. It wouldn’t be a good idea. He has a baby now. I don’t want to be his bit on the side. He’s too nice for that.”
“Pity,” she murmured. “He really seemed to like you.”
“Ditto,” I sighed. “But it was… complicated. Life’s tough enough without drawing bad stuff to you, you know?”
“Mhmm,” Sophie agreed. “So when does your cousin arrive?”
“You going to go meet him?”
I pursed my lips. “Hadn’t planned to. Heathrow is far.”
“Poor lonely boy, arriving in a strange land, and his cousin is too lazy to come meet him,” she teased.
“Shut up,” I laughed.
“I’ll come with you,” she offered. “Got nothing else on, and my liver could do with a break.”
“Mm. Maybe. Ask me tomorrow.”
Her eyes glittered as she grinned and topped us both up again.
I staggered into the flat sometime after midnight, only just sober enough to kick off my heels and wash my face. My feet ached from the long walk from the station, and I cursed once again my inability to stay sober around Sophie.
I bahçelievler escort drank a glass of water, and popped some aspirin against the headache I knew was coming. I picked up my coat and hung it over my desk chair, then leaned my forehead against my bedroom door and reached behind my back to unzip my dress, leaving it carelessly crumpled on the floor as I stepped free. I slumped down on my bed, and groaned as I massaged the undersides of my feet through my stockings.
“You should really stop wearing those shoes,” I reminded myself. “You always forget how much they hurt.”
I pulled off my stockings, letting them fall to the floor as I slumped over onto my bed, and stretched out to dig my phone out of my handbag. The message light flashed, and I fumbled, grumbling, at the interface as I tried to enter my unlock code. I didn’t recognise the number, though I knew the country code was South African.
It was signed Andy, and I guessed that meant that it was from Andrew; I rolled onto my back as I tried to make out. It contained a flight number, a time, and some polite words to the effect that he was looking forward to seeing me again.
– Righto. Will be there to meet and greet you. x Joanna. –
I yawned, checked the time and made sure my alarms were set for the morning.
Then I lay there feeling the room spinning slightly around me as the minutes flitted by. I thought vaguely about the long-ago holiday in Johannesburg; the hot African sun burning overhead, the food, the huge pool in my cousins’ Liectenstein-sized garden, the massive Highveld thunderstorms that rolled through in the afternoon and dropped hailstones the size of golfballs. I’d spent most of three weeks there in a costume, and had formed a lifelong affection for the sun.
I wondered what Andrew had turned out like. He’d been lean and quick even at the age of fourteen. He and I had been firm friends by the second day. But people could change a lot in fifteen years; I had.
I shifted, slid out of my g-string and wriggled over onto my side to unclasp my bra. I brushed my underwear off the bed, briefly massaged the day’s ache out of my breasts and shoulders and then pulled my duvet over myself. My head felt stuffy, and I wished fervently that it were a bank holiday.
But it wasn’t, it was a normal Thursday, and I had a little over five hours before I needed to be up again, prim and proper and ready to deal with the lads at work, preferably without any visible signs of a hangover. The last thing I needed was the good natured teasing that would accompany my entrance if I looked like I’d had a big one. I loved my work, and the people I worked with, but some days I just needed a break.
Sleep eluded me.
I flopped back onto my back, and stared at the faint lines on the ceiling above me, highlighted in the orange glow of the outside streetlight. A scooter buzzed past, followed by a group of men discussing the charms of a girl one of them had met.
Almost idly I rubbed my left breast, trailing a finger over my nipple as it grew erect from the touch. I considered… I wasn’t really horny, but orgasms sometimes helped me when I couldn’t sleep. After a moment’s further thought I reached down, slipping my right hand over the sparse landing strip I’d shaven in a fit of whimsy and down to my lips, warm and soft to the touch.
As always, I shivered slightly at the first feel of my fingertip on my clit, and squeezed my hand between my thighs, savouring the moment.
I gently squeezed my right nipple between my fingers. I trailed a nail down over the curve of my breast and along my ribcage. Then slowly, gently, I began to stroke myself – I loved the feel of my clit and lips, smooth and small and neat; I loved the sensation of them under my fingers, the delicious silkyness as my slit slowly grew wet and my lips slipped and parted under my fingertips.
I loved the way my stomach spasmed the first time I penetrated myself, the way the desire ramped up in me so quickly.
I gently teased my entrance with the tip of my middle finger, and ground slowly against my palm. My left hand joined my right, and I played with my clit as I toyed and penetrated myself with first one and then two fingers, crooking them over slightly within me, pressing against myself, closing my eyes and conjuring up the sensation of someone else pressed against me.
I arched, moaning at the soft fantasies of hot guys; of being taken, licked and fucked, of the aching, glorious fullness of a proper cock in me. Of the sounds, the smells, the panting, the kissing, the moment when I could feel a man coming in me, the moment I knew I was going to come on him.
Golden, sensual memories.
I rolled onto my stomach, both hands still buried between my legs, and began humping down against myself with an increased tempo and greater force, gasping little breaths of air as I felt my body responding. My vagina spasmed on my fingers as I drove them in and out of me, and I moaned as I wormed bakırköy escort them deeper into my aching body; contorting, grinding my clit against my hand and squeezing my eyes closed, wishing I had a penis in me, sunk to the balls in me, slick and hot and hard, filling me in that way that turned my legs to rubber and my belly to fire.
I could feel my orgasm drawing closer, and I buried my face in my mattress as I writhed, fucking my fingers as if I were mounting a man and riding him through his own climax, filling me with his hot seed. I felt my muscles contracting, and then, drunk as I was, my fingers and the almost-real fantasy of penetration took me, pulled me with and flung me, crying out, over my climax off into a languid, cotton-wool satiation, leaving me panting as I slowly pulled my fingers out of me and rolled onto my side.
I pulled my knees up to my chest and lay there curled up as my heartbeat slowly calmed. Then I stretched, yawned, rolled over once more, and within a few short breaths, slept.
Morning came far too soon, and I staggered,wooly-headed, through my abbreviated shower and lengthy commute.
It was a bitterly cold day, and I huddled into my coat and tried not to curse as the cold wind stung my legs through my stockings. The District Line was rammed, and I stood, crushed into a corner of the carriage as we crawled our slow way from Southfields through to Monument.
Someone had jumped under a train at Victoria, and the London transport network was reeling from the backlog. I wondered how many of my coworkers would just stay home today because of the chaos.
“Good ol Jo, always coming in,” I muttered to myself during the walk to London Wall. “Dependable, solid, reliable Jo. Never late, always working late, no life, not even a cat waiting for her at home…”
I laughed at myself, and looked upwards at the buildings of the City, towering high above us. I popped into the Euphorium Bakery for my morning latte, paid with last night’s leftover change, and started to feel more human as I drank it during the last few hundred yards of my walk.
I’d been right, half the office weren’t in yet, and I got text after text from people saying they couldn’t get to work.
A text from Sophie arrived as well.
– Hope you’re not as ill as I am, lol. Woke up on our couch. –
I snorted, laughing. Sophie had left with some boy, god only knew what time the slag had staggered in the front door, no doubt fucked in more ways than one.
– Feeling really tender. Should have stayed in bed. Everyone’s staying home today because the tube is bollocksed again –
I replied, followed shortly with a
– I’m never drinking with you again. –
– That’s what you said last time 😉 xxx –
came her response, and I grinned to myself. Sophie was my dark twin, the person I could count on to get me out and into trouble. I loved her fiercely, and blessed the day she’d stumbled into my life.
My phone beeped again as I was fetching another coffee for myself. It was a simple
– See you soon – Andrew –
and I smiled. He seemed to have kept his politeness at least.
The day crawled by in a haze of specifications and design meetings; the developers could see I was feeling ill but were uncharacteristically gentle with me, I supposed they were saving it up for a really ribald bunch of teasing or pranking at some point in the future, but I blessed them for their kindness now.
Lunch was a Tesco curry and a latte that our twenty-three-year old Belarusian system administrator brought for me; the sweetheart always brought me and the other girls food if he could see we were too busy to go out ourselves. We repaid the attention by bringing him chocolates, cakes, and occasionally setting him up on dates with our male friends.
What can I say, the City works based on favours.
– Are you coming to Heathrow? –
I texted Sophie in the late afternoon.
– Can’t. Meetings. 🙁 –
came her response. I sighed. It was a long trip to the airport by public transport, and I felt a momentary flash of irritation. Then I found my Kindle in my handbag and my mood improved; at least I’d have something to do rather than watch my fellow commuters on the Piccadilly line.
– Where are you now? –
I texted him.
– Immigration. Several A380s landed at the same time. Border Guards are all pretty grumpy. –
I snorted, and sipped my coffee. Couples and families gathered in the concourse in front of me, laughing, crying in some cases, hugging and welcoming one-another to England. Taxi drivers and tour group operators gathered their charges and whisked them off, while others like myself lurked and waited for those we were greeting. The Arrivals hall was always busy and happy, and I far preferred it to Departures.
I glanced at my phone again, wondering how far Andrew was. I was curious to see what he’d become.
It had been years since I’d seen any of my southern cousins. başakşehir escort Mum’s first bout with cancer had cut deeply into our lives, and I’d been too broken after the second, fatal one to travel much. Dad had soldiered on as he always did, but once mum was gone he’d packed it in, bought the BMW motorbike he’d always dreamed about and ridden off into Europe. He phoned me once a week to let me know where he was, and sent me photos of the places he visited and people he met. He seemed at peace, and that made me miss him less.
So that left me by myself; I’d grown scar tissue over the hurt but it took Sophie and our rampages to really make me forget it.
I wondered, idly, how long Andrew would stay in the UK – so many people from the Commonwealth came, stayed a year or two, and then returned from whence they’d come.
I hoped he’d stay. Having a family member here, even if he were
just a cousin, would help.
A tall blond man walked through the gates, and stopped. He looked around, obviously unsure of where to go, and something in his profile clicked. I stood up and waved as I dialed him. He raised his phone to his ear, looking around.
“Joanna?” Andrew’s voice was lovely and mellow, and I felt a strange little zing in my chest.
“Andrew? You look lost.” I laughed down the phone. “Turn left about thirty degrees. I’m in the coffee shop, the girl in the blue dress who’s waving like a madwoman at you.”
I saw him laugh as he hung up. He walked towards me, and I stepped around the table. He stood his suitcase off to one side, and held out his hand. His fingers were cool on mine, and his eyes twinkled as he grinned down at me. “Hullo, Joanna. It’s good to see you again.”
“Likewise,” I breathed, somewhat shy. Andrew was slim, tall and gorgeous, with a square chin and a lovely smile. “It’s been a while, hasn’t it?”
“Ja,” he agreed. “Too long. We miss you guys.”
“I miss all of you too,” I said. “Would you like a coffee, or are you ready to go?
“I’m full of airline coffee,” he muttered. “Can’t drink any more right now. I’m sure you’ve had a long day; I don’t want to keep you out longer than necessary and really, you didn’t have to come and meet me.”
“I wanted to,” I replied, lying through my teeth. “Let’s go, then.”
“How is your dad?” he asked, as we negotiated our way down to the Piccadilly Line platform.
I sighed. “Coping, I think. Being away from here helps him. Nothing to remind him of mum.”
He looked gravely down at me. “Cancer is a whore.”
“That she is,” I agreed. “At least it was painless in the end.”
He shook his head. “I loved Aunt Ruth. She was always so funny when she phoned us on our birthdays. So English.”
I smiled. “Yeah, she was. She was always laughing. She always dreamed of moving down to South Africa to retire, but life got in the way.”
“It does that,” he agreed. He reached out and squeezed my shoulder, and I gave him a small, grateful smile.
I helped Andrew buy a ticket for the tube, and we clambered onto the next train, claiming seats near the door.
“Is this your first time in London?” I asked.
“Came here on a school trip once,” he replied, watching the other passengers as they climbed aboard. “But that was about eight years ago and no doubt it’s changed a lot.”
“Where are you staying?” I asked. “Do you have a room booked somewhere, or have you found something to rent?”
“My dad bought something here several years ago,” he answered. “He wanted a flat for when he travels here for business; he’s always hated hotels. It’s empty at the moment, so he said I should use it for now.”
“Nice, that will make it easy for you,” I observed. “Where is it?”
“Vauxhall,” he answered. “Some modern building I think. It’s named Riverlight or something like that. “
“I think I know the one you’re talking about,” I said. “They’re very nice.”
“So long as I have a place to shower and sleep, I don’t really mind. It was a long flight.”
“Well, we’ll be there in a little under an hour, if all goes well.”
He smiled, and I felt butterflies again.
“Wow,” I breathed.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he muttered. “My dad goes overboard sometimes.”
Chrome and glass and black stone surfaces glittered, and a huge balcony loomed outside the triple-glazed sliding door. I stood, hand pressed to the glass, breathless. The view was an uninterrupted arc from the southwest to the northeast, and I could see the Houses of Parliament and Westminster bridge laid out like a painting below us. Ferries and riverboats sped up and down the Thames, and beyond I could see the roofs of Whitehall.
In the distance lay the City and its skyscrapers, lit up like multicoloured magic lanterns.
“This view is to die for,” I told him. “Most Londoners can’t afford a view like this.”
“Now I feel even more embarrassed,” he muttered. “So much for experiencing London life.”
“With a flat like this, you’ll be the entertainment hub for all your friends and their friends,” I replied.
“I’ll have to make some friends here first, then.”
“What am I, chopped meat?” I laughed.
“You’re family,” he said, as he rummaged in one of the kitchen drawers. “Ah, I thought so. Here,” he said, turning to face me. He lobbed a set of keys to me, underhand. I snatched them out of the air, and stared at them, then up at him.
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