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Authors: Samantha Towle

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BOOK: The Mighty Storm
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She looks up at me.


Hi,” I say trying to exude confidence I am not feeling. “My name is Trudy Bennett, I

m here to see Jake Wethers.”

She smiles. It

s not real. “Of course you are. And I imagine he

s expecting you too.”

Ahh. Right okay. She

s being a bitch. She thinks I

m a groupie.

I reach into my bag and pull out my journalist I.D. badge and slap in on the counter.


I

m a journalist. I work for Etiquette magazine and I

m here to do an interview with Jake Wethers.”

She glances at me again, eyes narrowed, then picks the phone up and dials a number.


Good Morning. There

s a Trudy Bennett in reception to see Mr. Wethers … right … yes, of course.”

She hangs the phone up.


Please take the lift up to the roof suites, one of Mr. Wethers staff will meet you up there.”

I pick my badge up and walk away without thanking her. It kills my inbred manners to do so, but she was mean to me.

I just don

t understand snotty bitches like that. Do I look like a groupie?

God, I hope not. I stop and glance at myself in the mirror on the way to the lifts.

My hair

s frizzed up a bit with the humid morning air. I try to smooth it down with my hand as I run my eyes down myself in the mirror.

Well, I don

t think I look like a groupie. I look like an
über
professional journalist, in my … um … skater skirt, which is actually quite short

has it always been this short or has my ass got bigger?

Oh holy crap. I look exactly like a groupie.

I don

t remember looking like this in the mirror this morning. Obviously, I still had my

Tru looks awesome in anything

margarita goggles still on.

Fan-fucking-tastic. I haven

t seen Jake in twelve years and I

m going to see him, looking like some groupie chick in a desperately short skirt.

Good thinking, Tru. Get hammered the night before seeing Jake, then dress like you

re here for a party.

Resigned to my groupie fate, I stand at the lifts and press the button.

In a few minutes I

m going to be face to face with him. I can

t stop my hands from trembling a little.

The lift pings open.

It

s empty, so I wander in and with my still trembling hand, press the button for the top floor to take me up to the Roof Suites.

I stand there, foot jigging on the spot, fingers knotted together, counting the floors up. My stomach’s popping, the higher the number on the counter gets.

The lift reaches the top floor, stopping smoothly and the doors part.

There on the other side, is a scarily huge guy. Closely shaved hair, and at least six and a half feet tall, and about the same wide.


Ms. Bennett?” he says in the deepest voice I

ve ever heard.


Yes.” My voice comes out in a squeak.

He smiles at me. I relax a little.


I

m Dave, the head of Jake

s security team. Please follow me.”

Jake has a security team?

Duh! Of course he does.

I follow closely behind Dave. There doesn

t seem to be any people around. The rooms must be huge as we

ve only passed by one door on this hallway, and we

ve been walking a little while. I wonder if Jake has the full floor hired out for his people to stay in.

We reach the door facing us at the end of the hall. Dave knocks once, loudly on the door and moves aside, standing by the door, leaning against the wall, leaving me standing in front of it on my own.

I

m instantly self-conscious. And my face is burning up with worry and nerves.

What if Jake really doesn

t remember me and then it just becomes embarrassing and horrid.

Right here and now I

m making the decision to not say anything about our childhood or even acknowledge I remember him. I

ll just wait for him to say something first and then I

ll act all cool and nonchalant about it. And if he doesn

t say anything because he doesn

t remember me, then it

s cool as I won

t look like an idiot explaining who I am.

Or not.

Whatever.

I

m just not say anything first.

The door opens, and standing before me, is a sharply dressed man, in a designer suit and the shiniest shoes I have ever seen. And holy hell he is beautiful.


Ms. Bennett, hello, I

m Stuart, Jake

s PA. It is so lovely to meet you.” He gives me a warm smile and reaches out his hand to shake mine.

My cheeks flush red. Gorgeous and friendly. PA

s are usually not so nice to journalists, or this good looking.

I take hold of his hand and give my most professional

I

m a serious journalist

handshake. I just hope he doesn

t notice how badly my hand is shaking.

He gives me another smile, his eyes crinkling up at the corners.

Yep, he felt the shake and knows how nervous I am.


Jake is in the living room
waiting for you, please follow me,” he gestures.

I follow Stuart down the hall, the door magically closing behind me; Dave I

m guessing.

Stuart rounds the corner, I follow behind, and then I find myself in a huge living room, and standing across the room from me is Jake.

My heart lurches out of my chest, jumps across the room and whams straight into him.

I feel lost.

My eyes meet his, and I see it … the instant recognition.

He remembers me.

I feel absolute relief amongst my jittery nerves. Like little monkeys are swinging trees across my nerve endings.

He

s wearing fitted black jeans and a black V-neck T-shirt, and his hair is in its trademark style.

And he just looks so painstakingly beautiful.

Stuart moves aside, and I walk a little further into the room on seriously wobbly legs. I wish I

d worn flats now.

Jake

s eyes stay trained on mine. I think he looks a little stunned, and I

m not quite sure in this moment if that is a good thing or not.


Tru?” His voice. It sounds the same, just deeper, manly, and more American than British now of course, but still the same. I

ve heard him talk on the TV, but hearing him, here, now talking to me

it

s just Jake

the Jake I knew.


Trudy Bennett?” he repeats. “My Trudy Bennett?”

His Trudy Bennett?

My heart goes haywire as it returns safely to my chest. Thank god he can

t hear it.

He takes a step forward. “Shit, it really is you.”

I nod. “Yes. It

s really me.” I sound like his echo, but I don

t really know what else to say.

I wasn

t exactly sure why I was so terrified and nervous about seeing him. I just figured it was because of who he is now, his stature. But looking at him here, now, I know why I was so scared.

I was afraid that seeing him again after all this time would cause my old feelings to resurface.

And seeing Jake, looking like this, I just know that I am so completely and totally fucked.

Because I’m now fourteen year old Trudy all over again.

Chapter
Four

 


Holy shit,” Jake exclaims, his lips shaping into a heart-breaking smile as he takes another step closer to me. “When Stuart said the name of the interviewer was Trudy Bennett, I just thought

there can

t be that many Trudy Bennett

s here in the UK can there?

I mean there probably is but
–”
He laughs. Surprising to me, he sounds a little nervous.


But then I just thought it would be too much of a coincidence for it to be you … and shit … here you are.”


Here I am.” Still echoing, sounding like some lame fucking parrot.

He comes over to me. Each stride he takes closer, my heart whams against my ribcage.

Then he stops in front of me, only inches away.

Holy crap, he

s even more beautiful close up. And he

s so much taller now than I remember, but then he was fourteen the last time I saw him in the flesh. He looks even better than he does on TV.

Wow, he really has grown up.

He

s smells like of a mixture of cigarettes, aftershave, and mint. It

s a surprisingly alluring smell, and it

s doing all kinds of funny things to me.


It

s been what

eleven years?” he says, his voice quieter now.


Twelve.” I swallow.


Twelve. Christ, yeah, right.” He runs his hand through his hair. “You look different ... but the same

you know,” he shrugs.


I know,” I smile. “You look different too.” I gesture to the tattoos on his arms.

He grins down at them, then back at me.


But still the same.” I point my finger to the freckles on his nose.

Surprised by how much my fingers are itching to touch him, I draw my hand back.

He rubs his hand over his nose. “Yeah, no getting rid of them.”


I always liked them.


Yeah, but you liked the Care Bears, Tru.”

I flush. I can

t believe he remembers that.

It

s crazy that he, Jake Wethers, rock god extraordinaire, remembers that I liked the Care Bears when I was little.


You remember that, huh?” I murmur, cheeks flaming.


I remember a lot,” he grins, devilishly. “Come on let

s sit down.”

He grabs hold of my hand. A jolt of electricity fires up my arm, searing into me. His hand is so rough, his fingers calloused. Must come from his years of playing the guitar.

Jake leads me over to the plush sofa and sits down, letting go of my hand. My hand instantly feels cold.

I clutch hold of my bag and sit down beside him.

He turns his body toward me, resting his foot up onto his thigh. It

s only then I realise his feet are bare.

Seriously, what is it about men in jeans and bare feet which is so totally hot?

I take my bag off my shoulder and put it to the floor.


Do you want something to drink?” he asks.

I shift my legs toward him, turning my body slightly to face him. His eyes are already on my face.

I flush under his stare. “Water would be great, thanks.”

I could actually do with a neat vodka right now to calm my nerves, my hangover suddenly disappearing. But it

s 10am, and Jake is a recovering alcoholic.


Water? You sure you don

t want orange juice or something?”

I shake my head. “Water

s fine.”


Stuart!” Jake yells, making me jump a little.

Stuart appears a few seconds later through a door to the right of us.

Was he standing by the door waiting or something? Actually it

s only now I realise I didn

t even see him leaving before. The guy

s pretty stealthy.


Can you get Tru a glass of water and I

ll have an orange juice, please,” Jake says to him.

Tru
.

I love how his voice sounds when he says my name. It

s giving me the warm and fuzzies.

BOOK: The Mighty Storm
3.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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