Authors: Kitty French
Knight & Play
Thank you so much for reading Kni
ght & Play.
s been a joy to write, even if at times the research has turned my internet history blue and my postman's cheeks pink
on twitter if you'd like to get in touch,
or better still,
and i'll find you. It's a
“How can I make my CV more interesting, Kara? Even
wouldn’t employ me if this landed on my desk.” Sophie sighed and flipped the paper around on the small café table for her friend to read.
“So sex it up a bit, then. Everyone does it.” Kara ripped the top off a packet of sugar and shook it over the froth on her cappuccino. She scanned the CV as she twirled the long wooden stirrer around in her cup. “Take this sentence here. You say: I have worked as a personal assistant for ten years for a company director.”
Sophie shrugged. “Well I have.”
know that,” Kara said, as if she were talking to a child. “But you have to make it sound cooler. Sexier. More fun.”
“It isn’t cool,” Sophie snorted. “Or sexy. Or fun. I spend most of my time typing up estimates for double glazing and fending off Derek’s wandering hands.”
“Work with me here, Soph,” Kara sighed. “What’s the job you’re applying for?”
“Another manager’s PA role, but it’s a much bigger company.”
“Another building firm?”
“Umm, no.” Sophie stalled.
they do, then? We can tailor your CV to whatever their business is.”
Sophie leaned in and lowered her voice so that no one else in the café would overhear. “It’s in the adult entertainment industry.”
Kara’s dark eyebrows shot into her heavy fringe as she started to laugh. “Holy cow, Soph! That’s some career move. Does Dan know?”
Sophie shook her head. Dan was away for a couple of days on business yet again, and it somehow hadn’t felt appropriate to tell him about the job advert over the phone. She could have told him before he’d left, of course, but he’d seemed busy and distant. If she were to be completely honest, she was holding off telling him unless it came to the point where she was actually offered the job. Why rock the boat unless she needed to?
Kara frowned. “How the hell am I going to spin the sex industry into your experience with a building company?”
“I have no clue.” Sophie bit the end off the flake from her hot chocolate and started to laugh. “You could always say I’m experienced with erections.”
Kara grinned and pulled her laptop out of her bag. “Now you’re talking. Come on. Let’s see what we can do.”
A couple of hours and two large frosted blueberry muffins later, Sophie slid her new, sexed-up CV into its envelope and dropped it into the postbox with a kiss for good luck.
Lucien Knight dropped the foul plastic cup of coffee from the vending machine into the waste paper basket and glanced over the CVs that had arrived in the morning’s mail. If any of them happened to mention their coffee making skills, they’d just earned themselves an automatic pass to the interview stages to be his new PA.
. The first CV followed his coffee into the bin.
The second one followed the first.
It wasn’t that he was ageist, or unsupportive of mothers. It was simply that he wanted a PA who would make him their number one priority, and in his experience, older women tried to mother him and young mothers were too distracted mothering someone else to make him number one on their list.
The third envelope seemed to be sealed with traces of lipstick, which was no bad thing in his book.
Sophie Black. She passed the age test, and made no reference to kids, or to a husband either for that matter. She did however, make a great deal of her excellent personal skills, and she’d made sure to mention how extremely open she was to new ideas. Girls who were extremely open to new ideas interested him a lot, as did girls who sealed their envelopes with a kiss. Despite the fact that Sophie Black didn’t allude to her coffee making skills, he filed her CV on the interview pile anyway.
“Kara! I’ve got an interview for that PA job at Knight Inc.,” Sophie whispered into her mobile. She glanced towards the office door where she could see Derek and one of the site foremen engaged in a heated discussion.
“No way! That’s hilarious!” Kara hissed back, obviously equally as unable to chat but desperate for the gossip.
As soon as the thick cream envelope bearing the Knight Inc. logo had landed on the doormat next to a ruck of brown bills that morning, Sophie had felt an undeniable fizz of excitement. Dan had glanced up from his newspaper as she’d come back into the kitchen with the mail in her hand.
“Not really. Bills. Flyers.” She’d dropped it on the work surface. “You know, junk.”
He’d looked down again before she’d even finished speaking, and for once she’d been glad of his disinterest.
“So when is it?” Kara whispered in her ear.
“After work on Monday. What should I wear do you think?”
“Err, a French maid’s outfit? Naughty nurse?” Kara’s laugh was pure smut down the phone line.
“I’m being serious, Kara. They’ll be expecting someone cool and sophisticated, and my wardrobe consists of a uniform of deathly dull chain store work suits.”
“Then you’d better thank your lucky stars you’ve got me,” Kara laughed. “I’ll come over on Sunday and sort you out.”
“You’re a life saver.” Sophie said, bolstered by her friend’s support. “I’ll get the wine in. Dan’s away again for ten days from tomorrow so we’ll have the house to ourselves.”
“You’re on, chick. Gotta go.” Kara mumbled. “Tosser Boss is eyeballing me.”
Several hours later, Sophie tipped a pre-bagged salad into a bowl and splashed a little dressing over it as she placed it in the middle of the dining table. A soft smile touched her lips as she laid a hand against the cool wood. Large and oak, she could well remember the day some years ago when she’d brought Dan a new tie and re-enacted Pretty Woman for him when he’d arrived home. He’d loosened his tie at the sight of her in just stilettos and his gift, and they’d christened the dining table, swiftly followed by the stairs.
Thinking back now, Sophie could barely believe it had ever happened.
Who were those people?
Dan had swept her off her feet from the first moment she met him at college, and when he proposed to her on her twenty-first birthday she hadn’t needed to think twice. Sure, they were young, but they were in love, and any attempts at guidance from their families fell on stony ground. And for the most part, it worked. Wasn’t it true for all long-term relationships that the excitement slows down once the first flush of lust fades away? Sophie had read enough magazine articles to know that she was in the majority when it came to having a love life that was more about routine than spontaneous sex on the dining table. And, if the truth be told, it probably wasn’t all Dan’s fault. Sophie knew she could just as easily be the one to instigate something, but what? And when? Dan was away so much that he could officially be classed as a part time husband, if such a role existed.
Which by default made Sophie a part time wife. The thought unsettled her, and she still had a frown on her face when Dan came through the door a few moments later.
“All right, babe?” He dropped a kiss on her forehead as he deposited his briefcase on the floor.
Sophie smiled and forced her melancholy mood aside. Tonight was their last night together for ten days; it wasn’t the moment to rock the boat. “I’m fine,” she said. “Hungry? I made pizza.”
Dan shrugged out of his suit jacket and headed for the stairs.
“Sure. Let me just go and get out of these and I’m all yours.”
Sophie sliced the pizza and put wine on the table, and she smiled when Dan came down in old jeans and a white T-shirt. His hair was still shower-damp, and his feet were bare. These were the times when he felt like he was hers again, the few and far between occasions when he didn’t have his suit on and his Blackberry glued against his ear. His rapid promotion through the ranks at work had been champagne moments at home, but every increment in wages had brought with it more responsibility and more travel.
“This is nice.” He nodded his approval at the table, complete with candlelight.
“I thought we could use a little romance.”
Dan laughed and reached for the wine bottle. “Steady on, Soph. I’m bloody knackered.”
Sophie’s smile faltered as she slid the pizza onto their plates. “Eat your dinner then. Get your strength back.”
Dan reached for his knife and fork and launched into a work-related story as they ate, and Sophie pushed her salad around with ever increasing despondency. The evening was ebbing away from them on a tide of meaningless chitchat, when she’d really wanted to make it into something more memorable to get them through the coming days. He reached for more pizza, and Sophie took advantage of the lull to change the subject.
“I’ve got a job interview on Monday.”
Dan looked up in surprise. “I didn’t realise you were serious about looking for something else.”
“I wasn’t really. It just caught my eye.”
Dan topped up their wine glasses. “What is it?”
Sophie hesitated. “Another PA role, just a bigger company.”
“Cool.” Dan yawned and rolled his shoulders. “Christ, I ache. This job’s killing me, Soph.”
“Yet you don’t want to leave,” Sophie said, pointedly. Dan moaned incessantly about his long hours, but she knew perfectly well that he wouldn’t be scouring the job ads for something else.
Dan shrugged and pushed his plate away. “I’m done. Better go and pack.”
Sophie nodded with a tight smile as she picked up the empty plates, then blew out the candle with a resigned huff as he disappeared. While she cleared down the kitchen, she reasoned with herself. She’d tried subtlety with her comment about gathering his strength and it had slipped under his radar. She took a good swig of wine and decided to up the ante a little. After all, it wasn’t fair to expect him to make all the moves. She flicked out the light in the kitchen and mussed her hair up in the hall mirror, then added a slick of lip-gloss to her mouth for good measure.
She could hear him zipping his bag upstairs, so she skipped into the lounge and sat down, her legs tucked beneath her in a ‘sit next to me’ kind of way. Glancing down at her blouse, she popped a button to give Dan a bird’s eye view of her lace bra when he joined her on the sofa.
Except he didn’t. He gave her a distracted smile when he came down and flopped down in his armchair, then reached out and swiped the TV remote from the coffee table. “Anything good on?”
Sophie tried to ignore the sting of resentment and reached for her wine glass with a neutral smile. “I’m not sure.”
Dan flicked the channel from the programme Sophie had half decided to watch and settled on a re-run of a reality cop show that she really couldn’t stand the sight of.
“All packed and ready to go?” she asked.
“Think so.” Dan didn’t look away from the screen as he answered her.
“Ten nights is a long time,” she said softly.
Dan flicked his eyes at Sophie and grinned. “Will you miss me?”
Sophie nodded. “Of course.” She paused, crippled with awkwardness. “Shall we, umm, have an early night?”
“Yeah,” Dan yawned. “You go on up if you like, I’ll lock up and be up in five.”
Sophie unwound herself off the sofa and picked up their wine glasses. As she passed Dan’s chair, she leaned down and brushed a kiss over his mouth. “See you in bed.”
Upstairs, she undressed slowly, leaving her lace underwear on for Dan to remove. In bed, she propped herself up and sipped her wine whilst she waited. After five minutes she fidgeted with her underwear and wondered if it looked too obvious and she should change into something else. After ten minutes she decided to pick up a book to pass the time. After twenty, she was battling to keep her eyelids open, so she gave up waiting and padded downstairs. Dan was still in the armchair, fast asleep with his Blackberry in his hand. She touched his shoulder, and he started awake and dropped his phone.