Destined to Play, страница 1
For my mum, whose unconditional love, support and nurturing since birth has enabled me to live my dreams many times over
About the Author
‘Do you ever feel like you were destined to play?’
‘Only in my dreams …’
If I had known then what I know now, would it be any different?
I’m not sure why or how my life changed so dramatically so fast, yet it continues as if nothing has changed at all. It began with one weekend that perhaps, in hindsight, should never have happened, but deep in my soul I have a vague nagging that it was always meant to be …
This leaves me embroiled within a psychological and sexual tornado that landed without any advance warning or forecast — or maybe I just missed the signs? Either way, what has happened, has happened, what will be, will be. I just don’t know how it will end, or whether I will survive the journey.
‘No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night.’
— Theodore Roosevelt
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‘Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.’
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
‘It’s exciting, isn’t it? When was the last time we had an opportunity like this, to catch up, play, explore and talk into the early hours of the morning? It will be great fun. I have it all planned.’
His energy on the lounge next to me is almost infectious as I attempt to maintain a nonchalant demeanour with him.
‘I’m not sure whether that makes me feel better or worse.’ Although my comment is said lightly, there is a heavy truth underlying my words. He notices my fingers trembling again and my glass balancing precariously in my hand. He takes it from me, presumably as a precautionary measure.
‘Honestly, Alex, all will be well. I know this is a big decision for you but you know I would never hurt you and that deep down, we have both wanted this to happen for ages. We just haven’t had the opportunity. Let’s just seize the moment we’re in right now, as per Eckhart Tolle.’ He pauses as his grin steadily pries his lips open. ‘Thanks for the books by the way, there was a lot of truth in them.’
I roll my eyes in utter disbelief but can’t prevent the smile curving at the edge of my mouth.
I had sent him The Power of Now and A New Earth for Christmas a few years back. I remember talking to him on the phone, overflowing with praise for the books and their life-changing messages. Serves me right, I suppose; maybe it is karma coming right back at me, to challenge me. Here I am, thanks to Jeremy, well and truly living in ‘the now’ for the next forty-eight hours.
‘Okay. You win.’ I concede. ‘Let’s have another drink so I can at least take the edge off my decision.’
‘Your wish is my command.’
‘Hmm, I’m not too sure about that,’ I say, accepting yet another refill. The champagne is definitely going down far too easily.
‘Come here; let me show you around the rest of the penthouse so you feel more comfortable.’ I accept the offer of his hand as he lifts me from the lounge.
The penthouse is certainly impressive. It looks as though it has been recently refurbished in some funky, retro ’80s style, nothing like my place but it certainly works in this environment.
The master suite is decorated in an ultra urban-modern style and is a masterpiece in its own right. The king-size bed is encased with industrialised steel, the bed head is incredibly masculine, but its intricate detail gives it the sense of delicate feminine undertones — of thickened, metallic lace, almost. I can’t say whether I am relieved or disappointed at the existence of a similarly decorated second bedroom. I’ll worry about that later. The entire space is larger in size than the average house. After our tour, we finally relax into our friendly banter about old times and share a lot of laughs. This was the catch-up I was hoping for and my mind finally relieves me from worrying about the implications of my decision to stay.
Jeremy tells me about his research and the work he has been doing with certain global movers and shakers, which really inspires him. He says he’s had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people although others are just after glory, fame or money, sometimes all three. He looks a little agitated as he considers this.
‘But that’s the life I have chosen and I won’t let anything stand in the way of what I’m trying to achieve. It’s just too important.’ The determination in his voice is almost frightening. I sense there is more to it but the tension in his face prevents me from exploring further and he quickly reverts the topic back towards me.
He asks me about my work and study and seems exceptionally interested in the topic of the lectures I am giving. I try not to bore him with the details but he seems genuinely fascinated in our perceptions being directly influenced by each of our senses. He even wants to explore further the impact of visual, auditory, olfactory, kinaesthetic and gustatory senses on shaping our perceptions and experiences. He adds considerable medical insight to our discussion, which I value immensely. I had forgotten what a gracious conversationalist he can be, putting people at ease, encouraging them to open up and never making them feel inferior, even though his knowledge is so immense. It is the sort of discussion you can only have with a few people in life, those who know you well enough to question and challenge and who have enough intellectual and emotional maturity to be truly authentic.
With an active listener like Jeremy, coupled with my passion for the subject matter, our dialogue continues for some time. I figure I have had more than my share of air time so I stop to give him a chance to change topics. I notice again the mischievous twinkle in his eyes and his lips trying to hide a smile.
‘What is it? I’m sorry, I’ve been talking way too much. You should have stopped me.’
‘Not at all, you know I love to see you like this. Hearing you speak so passionately about your work is just wonderful. Not everyone feels that way, so it’s special when it happens.’ He smiles a bashful grin at me. ‘I just need to come clean about something and I haven’t yet.’
‘Oh, what’s that?’
‘I was actually there today.’
‘Where?’ I ask, not fully understanding.
‘At your lecture, this afternoon.’
I stare at him, eyes and mouth wide open.
‘You were there, today, at my lecture?’ I am completely astonished.
‘Yes, yes and yes. I know I should have told you earlier, but I just wanted to see you in your world.’ He turns to me gently. ‘You were fabulous, Alexandra, you really engaged the audience and stimulated such thoughtful discussion. Both the students and faculty were mesmerised by you and your work. As was I.’ His voice oozes sexiness.
This time I am truly speechless. The great Jeremy Quinn attended my lecture. Unbelievable!
I subconsciously pick up my glass and take a gulp that finishes the rest of my drink. Jeremy tilts his glass toward mine, gesturing a silent cheers and does exactly the same. I suddenly feel the full impact of the champagne in my head, which is quite pleasant actually, and more immediately, my bladder — not so pleasant. I excuse m
‘Have you become a clairvoyant as well in our time apart? Is there anything else I should know?’
He laughs. ‘I know you’ve had a big day and if I remember correctly, one of your favourite pastimes is having a bath. Also, I have a vested interest in making you feel as relaxed as possible, so I’d be more than happy to run one for you. Just like old times.’ Strange that his words sound so familiar given so much time has passed since this last occurred.
‘That sounds delightful. Are you sure? I’m more than happy to do it.’
‘Alex, please just do me a favour and go with the flow this weekend.’ He enters the bathroom.
‘I don’t want any resistance and I plan on maximising every hour I have with you. Now, it will be my pleasure to run you a bath, so why don’t you go and get your things together and settle in.’
Once again, I look at him, completely astounded. Am I dreaming? Is this really happening? I walk out and head toward the exceptionally large walk-in robe where my wheelie bag has been placed. I hear his voice over the running bath water as I take a moment to absorb the sheer opulence of the master suite.
‘Please unpack your belongings. I need to know you’re not going to run out on me this weekend.’
As I start doing exactly as he requests, I wonder whether he was always this directive. I suppose he was. Not in a bad way, just in a way that makes it awkward to go against.
Surprisingly obedient, I unpack my clothes, shoes, take out my toiletries bag, and leave my work papers in my briefcase.
I’m about to walk out of the room when I notice the phone on the bedside table. Given the noise of the bath running, I quickly go over to the phone and pick up the receiver. It won’t hurt to leave a quick message for Robert and the kids, just in case they haven’t quite lost reception.
A female voice answers. ‘Good evening, Dr Quinn. How may I help you?’
‘Oh!’ I say into the phone, taken aback by the voice at the end of the line.
I didn’t expect an operator and I’m obviously not Dr Quinn. At that precise moment Jeremy comes up behind me, wraps one arm around my waist and removes the receiver from my hand.
‘Sorry to disturb you, we don’t need any assistance at the moment and please don’t connect any calls from the penthouse suite unless I speak to you personally.’
I hear the lady say, ‘Yes, of course, Dr Quinn. Enjoy your evening.’
‘Thank you. I intend to.’ He gently replaces the phone.
I feel like an errant child who has been caught in the closet by a grown up eating someone else’s candy and immediately turn a deep shade of red. I have never been able to hide my embarrassment or shame from anyone, let alone Jeremy. I can’t believe I’m feeling so culpable about trying to make a phone call. I don’t utter a word.
He wraps both arms around my waist so I am entrapped in his strong arms, snuggles his face into the side of my neck and inhales deeply before saying in a low, quiet voice, ‘Try anything like that again and that cute arse of yours will be the same colour your face is right now.’
My heartbeats faster at his words and the blood pumps through my body, and to my surprise and horror, even my nipples can’t ignore the intent of his words through my blouse. How does he do this to me? He lightly kisses my neck and then leads me silently out of the bedroom.
As we walk back into the lounge area, I notice he has music softly playing in the background and there is a plate of voluptuous dark chocolate-coated strawberries on the round table. I decide it is probably wise not to acknowledge his previous comment.
‘May I?’ Indicating the strawberries.
‘Of course,’ he nods, ‘they are there to be eaten.’ How does he make his words sound so enticing?
‘They look delicious.’ I realise I have only had champagne since lunchtime. They taste as scrumptious as they look and the thick dark chocolate coating is delectable. I close my eyes, enjoying the sensation. Jeremy places a serviette to the corner of my lip, gently dabbing some strawberry juice that had obviously escaped. This simple movement feels so seductive that my legs quiver as my own juices begin to form between my thighs, even though I vehemently deny their existence in my mind. He smiles deliciously at me while offering the plate as if he is fully aware of the intentions of my body.
It is as if I have morphed on to the big screen and I’m playing the lead role in a sophisticated Hollywood romance. I let out a nervous giggle at the unlikelihood of the whole situation. It’s not as if this sort of thing happens every day when you are doing the washing up, the laundry and picking up the kids from school. He looks at me quizzically as if unable to decipher my thoughts.
‘Don’t worry, just reflecting on life for a moment.’
I’m relieved he hasn’t mentioned the phone call as I don’t want to spoil the mood.
‘Well, unless you would like more strawberries right now, your bath awaits.’ As he opens the door, the scene surrounding me is becoming more Hollywood by the second. Is this my once-in-a-lifetime version of Pretty Woman ? Would it be fair to stop now because of the nagging guilt I feel continuously tugging at the bottom of my heart? I literally have to pinch myself as I walk into the bathroom.
‘Wow, this looks truly … is completely … perfect … amazing.’ I am so taken aback by the romance of the vision before my eyes, I can barely articulate the words.
‘Stunning Jeremy, absolutely stunning.’ I glance around the bathroom, which has been transformed into a fairyland by sparkling tea lights. The smell is intoxicating but not overwhelming, with scents of lavender and jasmine, perhaps a hint of freesia — all my favourites. How could he remember such intimate details about me after so long? I feel delightfully light-headed with the whole experience he is creating for me.
‘Enjoy, it has been a big day for you. Now it is your time to relax.’
He gently raises my hands to his lips, places a light kiss on each and removes himself from the bathroom. Leaving me to stare in wonder at my surroundings. I carefully undress, slipping off my high heels, stockings, and skirt, finally unbuttoning my shirt. I slowly unclip my bra, remove it from my breasts and allow my underwear to fall to the floor. I don’t want to disturb the scene with any rushed movements. I can’t wait to soak my body in that gorgeous, steaming, aromatic bath. As I lower myself into it, my tension automatically starts to ease. There is nothing I love more than a bath at the end of a big day, and this day has certainly been full of unexpected surprises. As I melt further into the deep milky water, I notice it isn’t just my body that is tired, but I have been in an emotional whirlwind most of the day as well. I am very grateful to have some time alone to just relax and attempt to quieten my mind. I release a long sigh. As my body stretches out in the depths of the bath, tranquillity surrounds me. Exactly what I need, I close my eyes and let all thoughts dissipate from my mind … Pure bliss …
I’m not sure whether I drift off to sleep but I barely notice a soft ripple in the water, which is not enough to disturb my relaxing sensation and I keep my eyes closed until I feel a hand raise my foot from the bottom of the bath to commence a slow and steady massage. I open my eyes and I am stunned by the sheer audacity of the vision in front of me.
‘How did you? When did you?’ I stammer.
‘Shhh, just relax. You look so peaceful. I don’t want to disturb you, I want to add to the experience, not detract from it,’ Jeremy says gently, quietly.
‘But, but, you’re actually in the bath
Or am I? Is it such a shock that Jeremy would smoothly glide into a bath with me? Many years ago it was a very common occurrence and would not have been a shock at all. And if I am truly honest with myself, what was I expecting this weekend to bring? The memories floating around in my head are very different from the reality I am now experiencing. The present has far greater repercussions than the past we once shared. I am completely confused.
My surprise eases into a dreamlike haze with the aroma infiltrating my nostrils and brain, mystical steam entwining our bodies. Jeremy’s foot massages were to die for and their intensity hasn’t diminished over the years. Indeed, quite the opposite. His magic fingers work deeper into the soles of my feet at the other end of the bath. I relax my head back on the inbuilt cushion and let out a long sigh, succumbing to the experience. Who was I kidding?
‘That’s right, sweetheart, just let go … Stop fighting so hard. I will take care of everything.’
Although Jeremy is a massive physical presence, there is still plenty of room in the bath for both of us. It could perhaps fit three or four people, but I don’t want to think about that. As my other foot completely dissolves as well, releasing all pressure points under his meticulous touch, I barely notice that I am sliding effortlessly toward him. I am cradled between his legs in this exotic bath where the water between us is now a perfect temperature for two.
I’m in a complete state of lethargy given the heady combination of champagne, the heat of the bath, the candles, the aroma, now the foot massage. I can barely raise my voice in protest, let alone a limb.
Jeremy gently washes the length of my arms with a small velvet cloth, then my chest, slowly and carefully. I notice we are breathing in unison, and the water leisurely rises and falls as we inhale and exhale together. That is, until his hand begins to caress my breast. I tense as his fingers lightly flutter over my nipples, teasing them to attention. They instantly oblige. Once he achieves this desired result, he continues to massage my breasts in the fullness of his hands. My breath becomes short and my pulse quickens. I can no longer deny the impact his touch has on my body. I hear a sigh being released before I recognise it as mine; it is a strange sensation, as it seems to escape from my body without notice or warning. Was I already this out of control?