The doorbell continued to torture his sore head with another attack of shrill noises. A groaning next to him made him suddenly aware that he was not the only one in his bed, and a hand with long, sharp fingernails pushed its fingers into the flesh of his bicep. The sharp pain was stronger than the throbbing in his head, and it made him finally open his eyes. Through a thick mist of tiredness, he recognised a naked peroxide blonde, beautifully draped on his black satin bed sheets. The fact that her breasts served as additional pillows confirmed that it was not only her hair colour that wasn’t natural. It was useless to search his brain for a memory that didn’t exist, so he didn’t even try to remember the blonde one’s name or where he had met her after he had left the club alone. He had probably picked her up on the street, where she was either throwing up in the gutter or trying to get a mini cab, a mission impossible in the West End on a Saturday night—an experience he had discovered himself last night after leaving Maggie Dawes and her date behind in the club.
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Kevin Drake’s smug facial expression disappeared, and Maggie Dawes could see that she had rubbed salt into his wounds. She looked at him through her eyelashes, waiting for a reaction. It took him a few seconds to get his cool back, but then he just scoffed, “What, of Mr. Boring? I don’t think so. I rather feel sorry for you.”
“Oh good. At least now you know how I feel every time I see you with another blonde bimbo.” She knew that she was provoking him and his reaction left no doubt about that. He grabbed her hand, but before he could give her a coarse response, she looked at him with what must have been terror in her eyes. “You’re hurting me!”
Immediately, he let go of her and seemed to be mortified by himself. Without another word, he rushed to the door, threw it open, and was gone.
Maggie Dawes rubbed her wrist gently, not knowing what to make of what had just happened. So much anger and frustration had been in Kevin Drake’s eyes, but then at the same time, she had seen the same horror the night when it happened.
Maggie Dawes knew that deep inside, underneath the mask of cockiness and arrogance, Kevin Drake was not the coward he pretended to be, but was nothing less than somebody who had lost, just like her.
Tonight, however, was not like any other night. Maggie Dawes didn’t watch Kevin Drake enjoying himself, because she had hardly noticed him at all. Tonight had started completelyvdifferent than any other night. To begin with, she hadn’t arranged to meet Kevin Drake in the firstvplace. This was highly unusual for her. Even though the fact of Kevin Drake not having phoned her himself had given her heart a twinge, she had not given in, but had made her own arrangements. Finally, when Kevin Drake had called in the eleventh hour, she had just coolly told him that she had a date and would therefore not pick him up from home as usual.
Maggie Dawes had realised that this must have been quite a shock for Kevin Drake even tough she could only tell from the initial silence and finally his trembling voice. Kevin Drake was not the type of guy who was easily lost for words, but at long last she had managed to get a reaction from him. It had given her a tiny thrill of sensation as well as satisfaction.
Maggie Dawes had been his best friend for years now. She was the kind of woman who would always be there whenever he needed her. Regardless of whether he was suffering from a bout of the flu or from an unwelcome hangover, he could be 100% sure she would be at his flat no more than an hour later with either a welcome bowl of warm chicken soup or a couple aspirin, or, if he was extremely lucky, both. She would also be there for him when he needed somebody to decorate his flat with a nice feminine touch before one of his latest conquests came round for the first time, and she would happily assist him with sending out one million flyers for his latest business idea. Above all, however, she would be an enormous boost for his ego, as he could always be certain that in her eyes, at least, he would always be the sharpest, wittiest, and comeliest man on Planet Earth. Or at least so he thought. But tonight’s events alone had proved this theory to be wholly incorrect, as Maggie Dawes had brought somebody else along with her instead. Somebody she had previously referred to as being her ’date’. That had puzzled him deeply. Why did she have to have a ‘date’? Wasn’t he good enough ‘date’ material anymore?
Kevin Drake was, alas, that kind of person who would always put himself first, swiftly followed by a little more of himself, perhaps throwing in some blonde or brunette or redhead, a further dash of his own stunning reflection, and then, maybe, only maybe (and only if he’d either had a very good or very bad day) would he then notice anybody else. And he would also, invariably, notice that he himself was often the centre of attention. Mostly by the countless women who would all too easily hang onto his lips, eyes, and hips like ripe cherries on a tree. And although Maggie Dawes was not one of them, he’d become accustomed to the fact that she was always there for him – to both admire and adore him, and, most of all, for him to always rely upon.
But tonight Maggie Dawes had not come alone, and therefore it was no longer her, but him, who was currently standing next to the bar alone and watching from a distance.
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