Putney Bridge is in the distance, on my right, and I see a boat passing by, going towards the bridge. My attention is drawn to someone sitting next to me on the bench, with coffee in his hand. Another lost soul, most likely with related inner dialogue. Whoever it is, he’s almost touching my body and making me feel uncomfortable.
Without looking I lift myself slightly and move away a few inches. As I sit back I turn and politely smile in his direction, as if to say, “It’s okay, plenty of space for the two of us,” when I see who it is.
“Amelia.” Alexander greets me nonchalantly.
I am still slanted forward, turning my head away from him almost too soon; he’s not welcome on my bench. Connected by the sound of the river’s waves against the bank, we sit in silence for a moment.
“Look at me, Amelia.”
His deep voice makes me shiver. It’s verging on kind, almost pleading, but I ignore him; I know better. If I don’t look in his eyes, I’ll be fine.
“So…You’re the new boss,” I say indifferently, not moving my head. He needs to know I have a voice, that I’m not always docile.
“I’m sorry. I probably should have said something,” the wind conveys his scent my way and he smells tempting. He’s been so close but yet so far, I think I’m officially trained to get aroused by his scent. “Please, look at me,” his voice is gentle, apologetic.
I look down at my coffee cup and recline on the bench next to him, crossing my legs, my left shoulder inches away from his.
“The safest thing for me right now is not to look at you.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“I’m not, and please, let’s not do this. There’s no need for us to talk anymore. The embarrassment I went through is enough.”
Still staring at my cup, I try to stay calm. “Alexander…um…Mr. Reeves,” I correct myself. “To say I’m humiliated for what you made me do is an understatement. Please…just go.”
“Humiliated?” His surprise confuses me. “You think what I made you do is humiliating?”
“Masturbating all over the place for someone else’s pleasure? Yes,” I say quietly, trying to hide the indignity in my voice. “I performed inconceivable acts for you, no one else.”
“Is that what you’ve been doing? Performing inconceivable acts?” he replies scornfully.
I have a sour smile on my lips and I shake my head in disbelief. My eyes are still on my faithful cup. “Was I doing something else? Please enlighten me, if you think I was,” I say sarcastically.
“Mrs. Jones, I believe you’re a woman cloaked under your marriage, hiding. Condemned wife, equipped to increase the limit of penance that you find suitable.” He’s looking for my eyes but I don’t yield. They’re faithfully staring at my coffee cup. “You know…it’s not worth it in the long run.”
His words light up like a neon sign in my mind, the bare truth.
“Are you married, Mr. Reeves?” That’s the first thing that comes to my mind.
“I’m not saying you should leave your husband! I’m saying go out there and see what makes you happy!” Irritated I’m still ignoring him; he loses his patience. “And look at me when I talk to you for fuck sake!” he snaps.
“I know what makes me happy!” I sneer.
“I don’t think you do!”
Aggravated by his blatant behaviour and deprecatory comments, I look directly at his face, my eyes narrowed in anger.
His triumphant smirk slowly makes an appearance and he looks at me, confident. He knows the effect he has on me. We are inches apart in broad daylight and I cannot move. I’m mesmerized. I move my face slowly back toward my cup but my eyes linger on him, unable to sever the bond.
“Oh Amelia…trust me when I say I want to stay away from you…but it’s so damn hard…”
This game is all too familiar. Extracting my essence, leaving no logic behind, he’s savouring me with his eyes, rousing extraordinary feelings in me…just as he did this morning.
“Now, Amelia, I blame you for this…,” he moves closer, leaning towards me on the bench, lifting his brows. “Shall we see what makes you happy? Hmm?”
“Um… I…” Where is my voice?
“Uncross your legs for me.”