My turn on Written Fireside!
On Valentine’s – Part 5
‘I take it you’re okay with dogs?’ asked Cat as Mongo barged the door to the cabin open and loosing traction on the wooden floor, skidded to a halt at the side of the sofa.
‘Mongo’s a boy,’ said Cat. ‘Be careful, he doesn’t usually like men.’ She thought back to Paul and how neither hound nor man had been fond of each other to say the least.
However, Cat wasn’t prepared for Mongo’s reaction. Amazingly, her faithful, protective canine, clearly delighted in the attention from his new pal, proceeded to lick Jed’s face and ears. Jed laughed and from his crouching position was bundled over to the floor by the over enthusiastic greeting.
‘What was that you said about Mongo not liking men?’ Jed’s chuckle turned into a full blown laugh. It was infectious and Cat found herself laughing along too.
Eventually, Jed managed to extract himself from under the dog. ‘I think a drink all round is needed. Mongo you could do with a bowl of water and I could definitely do with a beer.’ He stood up and looked at Cat. His eyes seemed to rest on hers longer than necessary as he asked her if she wanted a drink.
Cat gulped, her throat suddenly feeling dry. ‘A beer would be great,’ she managed to eek out. As she watched Jed amble over to the kitchen area and prepare the refreshments, she took time to analyse her feelings. Was she nervous because of being in close proximity to another man; another man who she couldn’t deny was mighty attractive or were her nerves down to her own insecurities? Paul had knocked her confidence sideways, even talking to another man when she was in his company, would incur his wrath. It had got to the point where she had avoided talking to anyone of the opposite sex when Paul was about.
She gave herself a mental shake. Why was she even thinking like this? For a start, Jed wouldn’t be interested in her. She was, after all, just a family friend of his mate’s. He had made it perfectly clear that summer, that she wasn’t even on his radar.
‘You look miles away,’ said Jed, breaking her thoughts and coming to sit on the sofa beside her. Fortunately, he didn’t press her for an explanation and continued to talk, offering her one the beer bottles in his hand. ‘I can’t see any painkillers so I guess a beer is as good. If not better.’ They chinked bottles and sat in a comfortable silence for a moment, enjoying the refreshing amber liquid.
‘So, without wishing sounding corny,’ said Jed, ‘what brings you out here to the lodge all on your own, well, apart from Mongo here.’
‘Oh, you know, this and that,’ said Cat. ‘Just nice to get away from it all.’
‘And by it, do you actually mean someone?’
Boy, he was perceptive. She looked at him, sat next to her. His eyes once again, holding a steady hypnotic gaze on hers. She nodded. ‘Something like that.’
‘A lot like it, I’m guessing,’ he replied before looking away and taking a long swig on his bottle. He turned to face her, resting an arm over the back of the sofa, his fingers grazing the tips of her hair. ‘Whoever, he was, obviously didn’t appreciate what he had. I might have made that mistake once upon a time.’
Cat gulped. The pain in her shoulder eclipsed by the hammering of her heart as it threw in an extra beat. ‘What do you mean?’ Her voice was practically a whisper.
To be continued next week by Mandy Baggot