Authors: Leigh Bennett
“Eight-thirty.” I got up to go again.
“We’ve got time,” he insisted while brushing his thumb
“What is it with guys and morning sex?” I retorted, pushing his hand away. “I need time to do my make-up properly.”
You don’t need it; you’re gorgeous without it.” His tongue flicke
d at my neck, compelling me to give in.
Half an hour later, I was finally in my car and on my way home.
I got back at a quarter past seven, fifteen minutes later than my normal
wake up time, so I showered, dressed, and only had time for a basic
make-up, hence my tiredness being so plain to see when I walked in
to the office.
As I sat at my desk, staring at my monitor, I thought of the previous
night's events; Scott said he could have sex with me all day every day
and well, I felt the same way about him. And yet I was forced to keep
an invisible barrier around myself whenever I was with him, lest my
feelings became more than a mere sexual attraction. If he had wanted
a girlfriend, it would just make everything so much easier. I knew I
would be up to the job. He was sweet and funny, and I felt so comfortable
with him. In another life, another situation, he would be perfect. We
had even decided to make Wednesday night a regular event. I pro
mised to keep it free, and he said he would be sure to keep it as a night off. I just needed to promise myself that I was going to keep my head on the job, so to speak.
ABBY! ARE YOU HOME?”
It was Saturday morning, and Kate was
desperately banging on my door, interrupting a rare attempt at guided
meditation. I had been hoping to get into a habit, but it seemed I was not to begin today.
”What’s wrong?” I asked anxiously.
“I’ve got the best news. I just couldn’t wait to tell you because I want you and Scott to come with us.”
“Huh? Come in. I’ll make some coffee.”
“I won a trip away for a weekend. For four. At the snowfields. In a cabin. I won it yesterday at work. “
“Congratulations,” I said, not as excitedly as I meant. She followed
me into the kitchen, and I switched on the kettle. "How come it's for four and not two?"
"My work is very family-oriented," she explained. "Except I don't know how it works when most of them at work have three kids, not two. A few were pretty pissed off that I won."
"I can imagine," I replied, "but why me... and Scott?"
“Well, Nathan’s coming, and I wanted another couple. Or at least
a sort-of couple.”
“I don’t know, Kate. It’s a little too… coupley, is that a word? I
don’t think Scott would go for it. Why don't you ask Dianne and Simon?”
“Nathan and I aren’t exactly exclusive ourselves, so it will be more fun this way. Besides, he said he’ll ask Scott... but then again, knowing
his memory, it might be better if you ask him.”
I shook my head and backed away from her. “No. Way. I’m not
asking Scott to go away with me for a weekend. It’s too much. He’ll
think I’m trying to turn our relationship into more than what it is. You
and Nathan are way more of a couple than we are. We don’t even
kiss in public.”
“I’ll do it then.” Kate settled herself down on the couch and picked
up my phone. “What’s his number?”
I looked at the clock. It was just after ten-thirty. “It’s too early; he’l
l still be in bed.” I hid my excitement. I honestly did want to spend a
weekend away, and it would be nice to have Scott with me; I certain
ly didn’t want to be the third wheel. I just didn’t want to be the one to ask him. I was actually thrilled Kate was taking it out of my hands.
“So we’ll leave him a message.” She looked at me expectantly. I
gave her the number and sat down next to her, pretending to study my nails. “Oh hello, is this Scott? Hi, it’s Kate. Kate Manning. Abby’s friend... Nathan’s... yeah. Did I get you up? No? Oh good.” She gave
me a thumbs up. “Um, has Nathan mentioned to you that I won a trip
away for a weekend? He has?” She was getting excited. “What do you think
?” She glanced at me and grinned. “I think she’d like to go, but
she’s too chicken-shit to ah- OW!” I had punched her on the arm. “Hang
on, she’s right here.” She handed me the phone and rubbed her arm. “That hurt, you bitch.”
“Sorry,” I whispered, bringing the phone to my ear. “Scott.”
“How are you?”
I melted at the sound of his voice. “Fine. What do you think about the
“Sounds fun actually. And I could do with a trip away from the
might get rid of some of my writer’s block. It’s in a couple of
weeks, isn’t it?”
“Um, I think so.” He knew more about it than I did.
“Great. Well, see you Wednesday I guess.”
“How easy was that?” Kate remarked after I hung up the phone. I was still taken aback. I'd obviously been overreacting. It wasn’t as if
we were going on a romantic getaway; it was just a weekend away with
friends. Nothing more, nothing less.
You’re not really used to this, are you?” Kate went to the kitchen
and finished making the coffee. “You’re obviously doing something
right because, as you can see, he’s not exactly threatened with the ide
of you being some psycho chick.” She handed me a steaming hot cup.
Don’t be so uptight, and just enjoy it for what it is. Honestly, it’s eas
as long as you keep your feelings in check. If you start to feel more
strongly towards him, then you either tell him or you finish it.”
I nodded. She was right, and she should know. I hadn’t known her to be with anyone you could call a steady boyfriend in the years we had been friends. But she was never short of male company, had
good friends and family, and she was happy. What’s more, she seemed to
stay friends with the men she had slept with, a bit of a foreign concept
for me. “So you and Nathan are the same?” I asked.
“Of course. We just handle it better than you do.”
“But you seem so lovey-dovey.”
“We’ve got nothing to hide. And neither should you. It’s not as if no one knows, anyway.”
“True. Luke isn’t exactly subtle, and obviously Nathan knows. I guess I’m just not into public displays of affection." Of course, Josh and I had our moments at the start of our relationship, but they had
tapered off towards the end. "It just feels a bit weird for me when he’s
not my partner. So anyway, what’s the deal with the weekend thing?”
“It’s a self-contained cabin with a couple of bedrooms, log fire, spa bath, kitchen facilities... made for skiers really, not that we’ll be
doing any of that.”
“Hmm, sounds nice.” I pondered the idea of a cosy cabin, snow falling outside, a burning log fire, just the two of us—oops, I mean four of us. Obviously I needed to get my shit together before then if I was to do this right.
“When Nathan and I were talking about it, we figured we can all
go in the one car. Scott’s van would be ideal, and we all just buy some
food and beer and wine, take turns cooking perhaps…”
“How about we do a Christmas in July dinner, with turkey and
stuff?” The idea popped into my head and out my mouth before I
had a chance think about it-– knowing with Kate’s limited kitchen
repertoire I’d probably end up cooking it. Hopefully one of the boys was Masterchef material.
“Hmm, yum.” Kate licked her lips.
My excitement had grown enormously. The thought of the mini- break reminded me of the weekends at cosy bed and breakfasts I had
taken with Josh. I hadn’t been away since we broke up. I felt a little
smug knowing I would be doing it all again with someone else. What’s
more, it wasn’t going to be a romantic weekend. By all accounts, it
would be the ultimate definition of a dirty weekend.
The week at work was increasingly interesting. Bronwyn stormed
out of Ray’s office and into her own, slamming the door behind her while Rachel and I looked on, eyes wide. She came out only minutes
later and announced she was going home and not to expect her for the
rest of the day. It was only eleven-thirty on Monday morning. In the
afternoon, I conscientiously spent my time in the photocopy room with
a pile of reports I had put aside for slow days. As the pages slowly
stacked up in their separate bundles, my mind tuned out to the thought
of the forthcoming weekend away with Scott, Kate, and Nathan; my
regular Wednesday night date with Scott, which I was looking forw
it definitely gave a new meaning to ‘hump’ day
and the apparent
-effects of my love spell, when I felt someone watching me. Startled
I whirled around to see Sean standing there, leaning against the doorframe
, observing me go about my business.
“Sorry. Did I scare you?” He smiled.
“No, I heard you,” I lied, wondering how long he had actually been
there and trying to decide if I found it creepy or exciting... or neither.
You must have good hearing.” He swaggered towards me. “How
long are you going to be?”
“You can interrupt this if you like.” I pressed the suspend button on
the photocopier and stepped aside, fanning the documents I was holding.
How’s everything going?”
“Fine thanks.” From where I stood next to him, I could smell his fresh, breezy aftershave as he placed his papers in the machine.
“You appear to have settled in well.”
I looked up at him, noticing the gold flecks in his dark blue eyes,
not as arresting as Scott's, but noticeable just the same. He gathered up
his papers and gave me a wink as he turned to exit; then he leaned
towards me to whisper in my ear. “Nice skirt by the way, looks good on you.”
Creepy? Or exciting?
“Umm, thanks.” I smiled, feeling my face burn yet slightly pleased
that he had noticed. I turned back to the copier and continued
my task as he walked out the door.
I invited Scott to stay at my place on Wednesday night in an effort
to avoid the weary Thursday mornings that usually resulted from staying
at his house. As we ate a casual dinner on my couch, our main topic of conversation was the weekend away in the cabin.
“I was thinking about having a Christmas in July dinner.” I slurped
my noodles messily then realised I was full.
“Sounds good. I don’t get to eat food like that much anymore.” He
got up and followed me into the kitchen, briefly scanning the phone bill I’d left on the bench.
“Abigail Williams.” He mused. “Bin?”
“That’s my name.” I pointed him towards the cupboard under the
sink, stuck my chopsticks into my uneaten portion, and placed it in
“Isn’t that the name of the girl who accused all those people of
witchcraft in Salem?”
“Yes, it is.” I’d noticed that when I’d studied The Crucible in hig
school but hadn’t thought of it since. I remembered the spell and smiled.
I guess my skills weren’t quite living up to her poor accusees' powers, whether they were real or not.
Back in the living room, I sat on his knee and gave him a long kiss
on his soft lips.
What was that for?” He grinned, moving a lock of hair off my face.
“Isn’t that why you’re here?”
“Hmm, yes I suppose it is.” He traced his finger down my cheek.
“I guess we’re in for an early night.” It was only seven-thirty in the
evening. “But it makes up for last week.”
Scott was familiar to me now. I knew every freckle on his skin, every hair on his chest, and I loved tracing the outlines of his Scorpio
star sign and RC (for
) tattoos on his arms as we lay quietly
together. I could predict where his hands were going to go next and
was familiar with the way his lips felt on every part of my body. I
knew exactly where to place my head when lying on his chest so we
were both comfortable, and the area on his back that made him shiv
er when I touched it.
“Can I cook you dinner next week?” Scott stroked my hair tenderly
as we lay naked under the covers.
“Are you trying to show me up after I only got takeaway tonight?”
He chuckled. “That wasn’t the intention, but yeah, okay then."
“That would be great. You can sample my culinary skills when
we go away. I’m saving them up.” I wasn’t a bad cook, but I couldn't present a cooking show, either.
And no, I wasn’t going to read too much into the fact that he wanted
to cook for me. I wasn’t going to think anything of it at all.
BRONWYN WAS BACK
to her normal self at work. She explained a
bad cold was the reason for her absence the week before, leading me to
wonder how much of it was true. She'd appeared pretty upset when
she rushed out. Sean was hardly in the office, but occasionally winked
at me on the rare times he walked past my desk, causing a gasp and a giggle from Rachel every time she noticed. I'd warned her to not be too loud or obvious, mortified that should Sean hear; he may think it
juvenile and that I was in on it, even though I was still not sure if I
was attracted to him.