Goodbye Girl Ch. 03Goodbye Girl Ch. 03

Amateur

Hello there! Here’s another chapter. I hope you enjoy it. I don’t think I’ve ever written a scene with as much dialogue as I did for this. Please vote, comment and like.

Thanks for reading.

***

Finally Orla plucked up enough courage to dial the number on the card Greg had given her. She hung up again, after only two rings. Eyes squeezed shut, she wondered, not for the first time, how on earth this guy had got under her skin so thoroughly. She was startled by the sound of her phone ringing. Of course it was him.

She stared, gripped with nerves, finally grabbing it and hitting the green button just before it went to answer phone.

“Hi, you called this number? I didn’t pick up in time?”

“Hi Greg, it’s Orla, from the community centre.” The one you had drunk sex with, six weeks ago.

“Orla,” she could hear the smile in his voice. “I hoped it might be you.”

Hearing him saying her name, his voice all deep and husky, did something funny to her insides.

She blinked and shook her head. He was waiting for her to speak.

“Sorry, I was ringing to invite you back for a meeting. Eleanor wants to hear about your ideas, but she’s still a bit cautious about the thought of having the kids in from the estate. She has some questions.”

He laughed. His voice was like honey. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to get a grip. “When is a good time?”

“The later the better for me, I can come after work. Apart from Tuesdays, I play football on Tuesdays.”

“We close to the public at six on weekdays, can you come about then on Thursday?”

“Should be fine.” He paused “So, how cautious is Eleanor, and how are we going to play this? You know her better than I do.”

“The best thing to do with Eleanor is let her think its her idea,”

He laughed again, he had a lovely laugh. “How do we do that?”

So, they hatched a plan, Greg was going to suggest a community day, Orla would ask Eleanor leading questions about activities for older kids.

*

She started when the buzzer went at five to six, and dashed to the gate. She wanted to be the one to let him in. He was clean shaven and smartly dressed. Orla on the other hand, had spent the day cleaning shelves and battling with staples on display boards, she felt dusty and grubby in comparison. It was unusually cold for the time of year, so the centre has been quiet and Orla had been indoors all day, clearing out the cupboard, renewing the invertebrate display and growing progressively more nervous.

He rested a hand on her shoulder and pecked her on the cheek. “Hi” he said with a glittering smile. Orla was still reeling from his arrival, the unexpected physical contact. He seemed to know the affect he was having. Greg was flirting with her, and she was struggling not to be swept up in his charm and confidence.

She led him into the small meeting room behind the office. Elenor and Ben were already there. Eleanor asked Greg if he’d like a cup of tea, he said yes, and Orla gratefully volunteered to make it. Happy to have a moment alone to herself to gather her nerves.

Once out of sight, she leaned against the wall, and waited for her breath to calm. She could hear them doing introductions on the other side of the door. Damn it. She’d been so keen to get out of there and gather her wits, she hadn’t even introduced them.

When she got back everyone was chatting away like they’ve known each other for years. The only available seat was on the tiny battered sofa, she sat down, grateful to be sharing it with Ben. Not sure how she would have managed, being in such close proximity with Greg.

As they talked she studied him. He was amazing; confident, enthusiastic and passionate about the kids. Perfectly happy to answer all of Eleanor’s questions. Maintaining a calm, demeanour even when Orla was inwardly wincing at some of the things Eleanor said. She knew from the brief chat she had with Greg that he would feel the same as she did about some of Eleanor’s views.

After a circular conversation about how to engage teenagers, Orla suggested giving away little kits, containing a butterfly spotting guide and those wild flower seed packets the RSPB sent them last week. She fetched some of them down from the shelf over the desk and put them on the coffee table. Greg must have been watching her, because when she turned back to face the room he looked away quickly. He was no longer wearing his jacket, he must have taken it off while Orla was in the kitchen. His sleeves were rolled up to reveal tanned sinewy forearms with a smattering of masculine dark hair.

“They might find wild flower seeds and butterflies a bit boring.” Eleanor said. Her voice was breathy and higher than normal. Orla wasn’t sure if Greg had noticed.

“There’s always an incredibly low take up when giving wild flower seeds out, who ever we give them to. But if only a few do it, it will be worth it, That patch of waste ground by the library would be perfect for a bit of wild flower guerrilla gardening. Besides, what else are we going to do tuzla escort with them all?” Asked Orla.

Ben laughed, “you’re such an idealist Orla. Teenagers aren’t going to be interested in growing wildflowers”

Orla felt her scalp prickle.

“Everyone likes getting free stuff”. Greg said quickly, “and you never know, some of them might plant them.” He leaned forward and smiled, inviting Eleanor, into his confidence, as he explained about the strange beast that was the urban teenager. The new angle meant the muscles in his back showed through his shirt. “Primarily, we’re trying to win their confidence, gain some currency with them. I think it could work”

Greg’g physicality dwarfed Ben. He’d always seemed reasonably well built, but next to Greg, Ben looked scrawny and insignificant. Orla mentally berated herself for being so superficial; she never normally noticed those things.

Eleanor was picking the wild flower seed packs up, turning them over in her hands, and nodding her head.

Greg flashed a quick, conspiratorial smile at Orla, while Eleanor was engrossed in the seeds. Bulky and muscular wasn’t usually Orla’s thing, but there wasn’t an ounce of fat anywhere on Greg and it was hard not to be aware of his rugged good looks and the overwhelming aura of masculinity that surrounded him. Especially since he’d turned on the charm to win Eleanor over.

As time had passed and her memories of that night had faded, she’d started to question her attraction to him. She wondered if perhaps it wasn’t as strong as she’d remembered? But she’d been wrong. As her insides warmed and the hair on her neck prickled, as the memories flooded her mind. She crossed her legs squeezing her thighs together. She could see now, why she’d found him so hard to resist. She could tell even Ben was a little bit impressed, despite himself.

By the end of the meeting Eleanor was sold on the idea of a community day, and even Ben, usually so stoic, was excited.

She felt proud. Partly of Greg, and how well he was handling himself; which was ridiculous really, it wasn’t like Greg was her boyfriend. But also because they have found a solution to the break ins. A solution that could actually work.

*

As they walked to the gate, Greg was regaling them with stories of working in London and the transactions he’d had with the moped gangs that were the scourge of his life there.

“So you’re from London?” Eleanor asked.

“Yeah, moved up here a few months back.” He threw a glance at Orla. Their eyes met and she could see by his expression that he’d figured it out; where she’d seen him before.

Eleanor locked up the gate and they walked to the end of the road,

“What made you move to Bath?’ Ben asked.

‘Fancied a change of pace. And it wasn’t all laughs.’

‘I bet it wasn’t.’ Ben replied.

When they reached the main road, there were continental style pecks on the cheek and gushing from Eleanor. A manly handshake and a pat on the back from Ben. Then Ben and Elenor walked in one direction, and Greg and Orla in the other.

After a short walk, they reached the junction where she turned off. Orla stopped, and faced him, biting her lip. The atmosphere between them thickened. “Thank you, for coming, it really helped. Eleanor likes the idea, she trusts you. I… I think its going to work”

“Come for a drink with me?” He said the moment she stopped talking.

Her eyes darted across to the pub, on the other side of the road and then back at him. “I don’t think thats a good idea, it’s late, and I have to work tomorrow.”

“Come on, just one drink.”

“Why?”

“So we can talk about you.”

She laughed nervously. “You don’t want to talk about me.”

He took a step towards her. Her stomach clenched in anticipation. Their last meeting must have caught him off guard, because clearly, he was back on top of his game today. And that infallible confidence that she found so hard to resist was back in full force. She looked up at his face in the fading light and noticed the dark blue of his eyes and was transported back to that first night when he cornered her in the Duke.

He’d insisted on taking her out for a drink then too.

“You can tell me about your favourite books, and the kind of things you like to eat, and your star sign.” He lifted his hand to her face and traced a line down her cheek with his thumb.

Her skin tingled where he’d touched, and a tightness was forming in her chest, but the thing she noticed most, was the arousal pooling in her stomach

‘You want to know what my star sign is?’ They were the only words she could form through the fog of desire, filling her head.

He took another step towards her, and there was that smile, that infuriating smile, and she wondered, how exactly, she was still standing.

“I don’t really want to know particularly, it’s just what you talk about.” He watched her, waiting.

She could feel her resolve cracking, he knew he was about to win this battle,

“Oh put that thing away.”

“What?”

“The tuzla escort bayan smug smile!” Orla giggled, despite herself

And as quickly as it arrived it was gone. ‘I want to talk about what happened.’

She owed him that much she supposed. After sneaking off in the morning before he woke up. ‘Okay, just one though.’

*

The pub was a grand old place. Greg had walked passed it loads, but this was the first time he’d been inside. The ornate green cornicing on the ceiling was beginning to crack and peel with. It complemented worn wooden boards on the floor. Once they had their drinks, he steered them towards a booth in the corner.

He watched, while trying not to look like he was watching, as she took a gulp of lager and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

“You knew I worked there didn’t you?”

“Yes” he replied, after a pause.

“But how? I didn’t tell you my surname.”

“Traced you reg number, found your file, it said where you worked.”

She nodded, digesting that new information. “Isn’t that abusing your position?”

“I felt guilty while I was doing it if it makes you feel any better.”

“Did you?”

“Maybe a little”

They gazed at each other. Orla took another gulp of her drink.

“Capricorn” She said, into the silence that threatened to grow awkward.

“Huh?” He asked, shaking his head.

“Capricorn, thats my star sign.”

“I’m Sagittarius. Does that mean we’re supposed to get on?”

“No idea.” She grinned

They did get on though, like a house on fire, they talked and talked and laughed and then talked some more,

“You recognised me because I was the desk sergeant on duty when you were arrested”

“Kilburn police station, March, twenty seventeen.”

“You have a good memory.”

“It was a pretty life changing even.”

He knew that Orla had never been arrested before, or since, but he decided not to mention that. This was already weird enough.

“They dropped the charges though.” He said instead

“I didn’t know they were going to do that at the time.’

Greg took a swig of his beer, finishing it off. ‘We should get some grub.”

“It’s pricey here”

“Then we’ll just share a plate of chips.”

“They don’t do chips.”

“They don’t do chips?” Greg surveyed his surroundings through narrowed eyes. “What sort of pub doesn’t do chips?”

“They do South Indian. They used to do more traditional pub grub, but they tendered the catering out to the ‘Kerala kitchen’ a few months ago.” Her and Tim had eaten there once, when it first opened, she’d loved it. He wasn’t so keen.

“Great!” The smile again, Orla’s stomach gave an involuntary leap “You like spicy food?”

She nodded

You like coconut?

She nodded again. “I do”

He came back carrying another two pints, and a wooden spoon with the number eight on it. He hadn’t asked her what she wanted to eat. “The bar maid said it’ll be another few minutes.”

She laughed. “Are you trying to get me drunk?”

“No, of course not!” He looked mortified. “Sorry I didn’t think, I should have asked.”

“If I drink anything else before I eat, I’ll be under the table.”

‘Well I’ll let you have it after you’ve eaten then’ He slide the pint across the table and out of her reach.

“Greg!”

“What?”

“You don’t have to be so high handed.”

“I thought it went rather well today, but you know Eleanor better, what did you think?”

“Stop trying to change the subject”

“I’m not trying to change the subject, its a genuine question”

“Yes you are, but you’re right, it did go well. Better than I’d hoped. I’m sorry about Eleanor. She’s not the most open minded person and she can be protective of the centre.”

“Perhaps she doesn’t have much experience outside of her own social circles.”

I don’t think she does, but she’s taken quite a shine to you, which definitely helped.”

“Shut up!”

“She has.”

“How do you know?”

Orla let out a breath and cocked her head to one side while she thought about it. “Her voice changes when she talks to you; she goes all breathy and girly.”

“Really?”

“You didn’t think she always talks like that do you? And she doesn’t laugh at everyones jokes that much either”

“Not everyone’s jokes are as funny as mine.”

“God you’re arrogant”

“That’s why you like me.”

*

Orla didn’t have a reply to that. Instead as they stared at each other, and a fine blush seemed to steal across her features. They were trapped in each others gazes. As the atmosphere grew weighty around them. Greg leaned in, tempted to capture her lips in his own.

She looked down at her hands.

‘Anyway, what about Ben?’

Her gaze snapped up, back to his face. “What about Ben?”

“He likes you”

“No he doesn’t!” But there was no doubt she was blushing this time, her face had gone bright red.

Greg snorted. He didn’t like that Ben bloke. He hadn’t liked the proprietary way he’d escort tuzla sat next to Orla on the sofa and spread out, stretching his arm out behind her as if he owned her. He didn’t like the way he answered questions Greg had intended for her, cutting her off mid-sentence more than once. He didn’t like the way Ben laughed when she’d mentioned the wildflower seeds. And who in the hell wore socks with sandals anyway?

*

Orla thought about it. Greg had a point. Ben had been different since things had ended between her and Tim.

“Okay, he might.” She finally said. “But I don’t like him.”

She tried to avoid meeting his eyes again; there had already been too many heated moments between them. But she couldn’t help it, she was curious to see his reaction to her words and she wasn’t disappointed. He was pleased. He wasn’t smiling, but she could tell by the way he watched her. And by the heated, smug expression in his eyes. She looked away again as her heart beat increased, and the coiling knot of arousal in her stomach tightened further. For a fleeting moment she considered making her excuses and leaving, but the food arrived. She’d forgotten for a moment that he’d ordered food. As the barmaid loaded the dishes onto the table her stomach grumbled and her mouth watered. He’d ordered a feast, most of which Orla couldn’t identify. It smelled amazing.

“This must have cost a fortune.”

“Not really.”

But she knew it had, this place wasn’t cheap. “Let me get half.”

“It was my idea. Besides I already paid.”

He was already putting a rolled up, filled pancake on her plate.

“What is this?”

“Its a dosa, don’t worry, it’s veggie, and you’re going to love it. Here, you need some sambar and some coconut chutney.”

She pursed her lips and stared at the plate of food in front of her. How did he know she was veggie?

“How come you know so much about South Indian food?” She asked.

“I spent a few weeks in Kerala with my sister last year, South Indian cuisine is my favourite. One of the things I miss most about living in London actually, I had no idea this was here.”

“She lives in Hong Kong.”

“Well remembered”

Orla closed her eyes momentarily, as uninvited memories of that night returned yet again. She opened them. Small doughnut shaped buns had appeared next to the bowls of sambar on her plate, she picked one up broke it into two and tentatively dipped it into the sambar.

“You like?” he asked, after she’d taken a bite.

She nodded.

They stopped talking after that, because laughter and eating in public places didn’t mix well. At first she was reticent, still uncomfortable about him paying for it all, but once she got going she soon forgot all about that. The food was delicious.

*

Watching Orla eat was like watching her dance. Could the girl do anything without incredible passion? When she finished eating, she looked up at him and smiled. “Thank you, that was amazing.”

He leaned forward and wiped a smidgen of coconut chutney from the edge of her mouth with his thumb. “Mucky pup”

And another molten moment simmered between them, until Orla said “You’re quite nice for a copper.”

Greg didn’t reply, he just looked at her, eyebrows raised.

“God sorry.” She covered her face with her hands. “That sounded so much better in my head.”

“You actually thought about that before you said it?”

“Erm, yeah?”

They both laughed and finally Greg did something he’d been meaning to do all evening. He asked about Winston.

Orla was predictably defensive. “What about him?”

“Who is he to you?”

“I thought we’d already established that’s none of your business.” She said through gritted teeth. She was aware she’d gone from happy and slightly tipsy, to fuming in well under sixty seconds. Greg always managed to bring out strong reactions in her.

“Forgive me,” Greg said “I didn’t mean to be pushy. I thought we’d reached the stage where it would be okay to ask”

Orla sighed. “He’s my cousin Marie’s boyfriend. And you didn’t need to arrest him. It was exceptional situation. Him and Marie had a row, he was upset…”

“They were only booking him for D and D”

“D and D?”

“Oh sorry, it stands for drunk and disorderly.”

“He can’t afford to get a criminal record for being drunk, he’s a teacher.”

“They would have released him without charge in the morning.”

Orla made a pifting noise.

Greg sighed. “It’s just an excuse to get them off the street, so they aren’t a risk to themselves or others. A night in the cells. Time to sober up. He would have been fine, nothing on his record. It wouldn’t have affected his job. Unless it keeps happening and then we wouldn’t drop the charges.” He wanted to ask about the other incident. The one at her place a few weeks earlier, but it felt too weird. He shouldn’t even know about that.

“Okay, I guess that’s reasonable”.

He gives her a sideways look. “We’re not monsters Orla, we’re just doing a job, trying to look after the community, give something back.”

She narrowed her eyes, obviously not convinced. “By chucking people in prison for poverty crimes? For stopping and searching young boys for being the wrong colour?”

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