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It was Saturday afternoon and Leona was waiting to meet up at their favourite pub in Nicholson Street. The lounge was crowded with a group of business people when she arrived. But after ordering a beer she managed to find a table in the corner.
She seated herself and recalled how she had met Aidan Riodan at this same table several months ago and she now found herself thinking of two men.
She knew she had strong feelings for Gareth and she wanted to talk to Jules about getting back together with him. She realized that Aidan meant nothing to her now.
With Aidan it had been a purely physical relationship and she had known all along that there had been no real affection on his part, that he had used her to while away the time between those business trips of his.
Somehow Gareth’s substance seemed to throw Aidan’s superficiality into relief. Aidan posed all the time while Gareth was always himself.
She looked up suddenly and saw that Aidan was seated at a table in the centre of the room, he was talking to three other men. Because of the number of people in the lounge she hadn’t been aware he was there.
He looked across at her as he stood up.
‘You took your time,’ – as he came over to her table.
‘What do you mean?’
‘Noticing me,’ – said smoothly.
‘I had no idea you were there,’ – defensively – ‘I thought you were still overseas.’
‘I got back late last night.’
‘Why don’t you let people know when you’re coming and going?’
‘I like to keep one step ahead.’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘To keep the other person guessing. It works well in business deals.’
‘And even in personal relations?’
‘True enough,’ – agreeing pleasantly. ‘Gives you an advantage. Allows you the element of surprise!’
At that moment a familiar voice rang out across the room. Jules was entering from the saloon bar pushing her way through the press of people.
‘Ah, there you are.’ Jules said. ‘I was looking for you in the main bar.’
Jules looked at Aidan, recognizing him, but he didn’t seem to know her. It was an awkward moment.
‘Aidan, I’d like you to meet my friend Julianne Walters.’
There was nowhere for Jules to sit as the table was only for two.
‘Can I get you something to drink?’ Aidan asked after a pause.
‘No,’ – smiling – ‘I’m meeting up with my brother,’ Jules informed him. ‘He should be here in a moment. I’ll order something then.’
Leona escort kartal froze. Gareth was coming here. The last thing she wanted was for him to see her with Aidan Riodan. But it couldn’t be avoided, she knew.
‘We’re having another beer,’ Aidan decided, standing up. ‘I’ll get it. Take my seat for the moment.’
He made his way through the crowd to the bar.
‘He didn’t know who I was,’ Jules said settling into his seat. ‘I only met him once. That was a month after he married Sandra.’
‘I don’t want Aidan to meet Gareth,’ – anxiously.
‘It’s going to be difficult not to,’ Jules answered. ‘I told him I was meeting you here and he said he wanted to see you.’
A few minutes later Aidan returned with two pots of beer and placed them on the table.
Jules rose to her feet. ‘You’ll have to excuse me. But I think my brother might be waiting in the other room. I’ll see if he’s in there.’
She made her way through the crowd into the public bar.
‘There’s something I want to talk to you about,’ she spoke quickly and nervously. ‘But not here.’
‘I got tickets for a concert tonight,’ Aidan ignored her remark. ‘I’ll pick you up at seven.’
‘I can’t go with you. I’ve made other arrangements.’
‘I can’t. I’ve got to talk to you. I went out with someone else while you were away.’
‘I hadn’t heard from you for over a month. I had no ideas when or if you were coming back. You made no contact with me.’
‘Let’s go out to my car. We’ll talk there,’ Aidan said rising and heading for the door.
Just as Leona was about to follow him to the street, Jules came back into the lounge bar followed by her brother.
Leona greeted Gareth who looked askance at Aidan.
‘What’s wrong?’ Aidan demanded of her.
Leona replied, ‘Oh, nothing.’
‘You know this man? Why don’t you introduce me?’
Jules came to the rescue and introduced Aidan to Gareth. The two men shook hands.
Aidan knew at once there was something between Leona and Jules’s brother. ‘Let’s go,’ he decided.
‘I’ll ring you later tonight,’ Jules said.
‘Come on,’ – insisting – and Leona followed Aidan out to his car.
‘We’ll talk when we get to your place.’ He swung the car out into the traffic.
And throughout the drive to her home, Aidan never said a word, and when he pulled up outside her apartment, he didn’t even turn off the engine. maltepe escort He turned to her; his face was a pasty white.
‘I’ll pick you up at seven.’
‘Aidan. I can’t go with you tonight.’ She opened the car door and got out.
‘Don’t argue. Be ready then,’ he said before driving off.
‘So what’s the deal between you and this dude, Gareth?’ Aidan wanted to know later that night.
Leona was temporarily relieved when Aidan had not shown up at seven as he had said he would. And it had been just before ten o’clock when he knocked on her door. She had been preparing for bed and was wearing a light terry robe over a flimsy nightdress.
‘No deal, at all,’ she said, answering his question.
Aidan always did the unexpected, she realized. Said he was coming at seven, arrived at ten. This unexpectedness was to destabilize the other person and to give him an advantage, he had once explained to her. He poured himself a double whisky from her decanter and she knew he had been drinking heavily before he arrived.
‘I’m a reasonably tolerant man,’ – saying as he sipped his drink. ‘But you’ll find I can be a very bad enemy.’ He had seated himself comfortably in an armchair in her living room and had placed the whisky decanter on the small coffee table before him. ‘So what’s this Gareth to you?’ – slanting her a glance of thinly veiled hostility.
‘We’re friends,’ – defensively.
She had moved to the opposite side of the room and had seated herself on the sofa.
‘Just friends?’ An ugly line curving his mouth. ‘Just friends. And that is all?’
‘No.’ A nervousness assailed her and she had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. ‘There’s something I must tell you. I have to admit I’ve been seeing Gareth while you’ve been away.’
‘You mean you slept with him?’ His voice was razor sharp.
‘I’m sorry, Aidan. I’m really not the cheating type,’ she said. ‘I’ve discovered that I really care for him.’
He stood up unsteadily and helped himself to another shot of whisky.
‘I can’t go with you any more, Aidan. I’m sorry.’
He made his way over to where she was sitting. ‘And so you’re just going to end things like that. And that’s it?’
‘I can please myself, can’t I?’ – a voice edged with ice.
‘And walk out on me?’ His hard blue eyes bored into her. ‘You play it very cool!’
Feeling intimidated, she had risen to pendik escort bayan her feet.
‘I’m sorry, Aidan. It has to be.’
He moved towards her, swirling the liquid in his glass. ‘I don’t intend to let you go.’
‘What do you mean? What do you want?’
He was now walking back and forth in front of her, his face livid with anger.
‘I want you. I don’t want to let you go.’ His arms reached out and he brought her close to his body. There was an avid possessiveness in his touch.
His hand moved in a slow caress up her spine. She stood her ground and didn’t move away.
But resentment against male domination lent acid to her tongue. ‘There’s a little matter of my consent. Or are you considering rape?’
‘Listen, don’t get me wrong …’
‘I haven’t got you wrong!’
She jerked away as he touched her intimately.
It was not so much that Aidan wanted her, she understood. He just hated losing. Anything.
‘I don’t love you, and I don’t want you,’ she said flatly.
‘Walk out on me, will you?’
He put his face close to hers.
‘Aidan. You’re frightening me.’
An icy inflection crept into his voice. ‘I’ll do a damn side more than frighten you.’ He grabbed her arm and held her in his grip for a few moments and she winced in pain. With his other hand he then slapped her across the face, then threw her to the floor. And then he was screaming, ‘Fuck you, you bitch!’
He slapped her other cheek, hard.
‘No,’ – crying out, and twisting round.
Aidan could not bear to have his will opposed.
‘Aidan. Stop, please stop!’ She had risen and jerked a knee up into his crotch. Then he hit her upper body several times with his fist.
He viciously slapped her face again. She cried out at the stinging pain.
‘You will never cheat again.’ And he punched her again, his fist cracking against her jaw. The force of the punch knocked her almost senseless. ‘Fucking whore,’ he cried, tearing the flimsy silk chemise open to the waist. He pushed her against the wall. She slumped to the floor.
She screamed out in terror. He was enjoying his power over her.
‘Oh, my God!’ – crying – ‘Oh, my God! Please leave me alone. Go, ‘ – sobbing – ‘please go.’ She groaned, her mind spinning away from her.
Aidan stood breathing heavily. Then he turned and made his way to the door.
‘I’m in terrible pain,’ she cried. She felt as if she had fallen down ten flights of stairs.
‘You’ll stay out of my life, from now on,’ – threatening but regaining control of himself. ‘And if you say anything to anybody about tonight, I’ll know if you tell any one. I’ll seek you out and I’ll come back!’ – shouting before slamming the door.
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