Home > The Idea of You(14)

The Idea of You(14)
Author: Robinne Lee

“’Ello, chaps!” Rory called, bringing the cart to an abrupt halt alongside us. “Where are you two off to? Hi, I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Rory.”


“Enchanté,” he said in a thick Yorkshire accent. He had a lopsided grin and random tattoos on his arms, and still I could see the appeal. The dark hooded eyes, the leather necklaces, the scruff on his otherwise youthful face.

“You have actually,” Hayes intervened. “In Las Vegas.”

“This year?”

“How was Switzerland?” Oliver asked, which threw me. We hadn’t spoken since that evening at the Mandalay Bay and here he knew my itinerary. It made me wonder how much these boys shared. My mind flashed back to the Crosby Street Hotel. What, if anything, had Hayes told him?

“Switzerland was lovely, thank you.”

He smiled, nodding slowly. I could not discern what was going on behind his gold-rimmed aviators.

“Good to see you, Solène.” Raj waved. In a polo and madras shorts, he seemed decidedly less business wunderkind and more sixth boy band member.

“Are you guys coming from the pool? Are the twins still there?” Rory raised an eyebrow.

“They’re not twins, you know, mate. They’re not even sisters,” Hayes laughed.

“Let me have the fantasy, man.”

“Simon, Liam, and the others are on their way back,” Raj said. “The match is at six. Benoît is grilling lobster. We can eat at eight. And Croatia and Mexico won’t start until ten.”

I felt like they were speaking in code. “What match?”

“Netherlands and Chile,” Hayes said. And when my expression indicated that I’d registered nothing, he added, “The World Cup.”

“Oh. Right.”

“It’s going to be a hell of a match,” Oliver said. “I hope you’ll stay.”

“We haven’t decided what we’re doing yet,” Hayes said, wrapping his arm around my waist in a manner that struck me as possessive. “We’ll let you know.”

“All right, we’re off!” Rory announced.

“Nice watch,” Raj called back as they peeled out.

Hayes laughed. “She’s keeping it warm for me. I can only wear one at a time!

“We don’t have to stay,” he said once we were alone again. “It’s going to be loud and crazy, and if you’d rather not, I certainly understand. We can go out for dinner. Or we can go back to your hotel, or … whatever makes you most comfortable.”

There was something about Hayes when he was being polite that was such a turn-on. The idea that no matter how famous he was he had this breeding that would endure.

“You know what? Why don’t we go to your room?” Even as I said it, I could feel my face flushing. It was not like me. But none of this had been. I was redefining. This was me trying to enjoy myself. This was me trying not to care.

His eyes widened. “Now?”

“Yes. Now. Why? Is it not tidy?” I smiled up at him.

“Oh … it’s tidy.”

“Well, good then.”

“I just thought you wouldn’t want to … see it … so early in the day.”

“Well, we’re just looking at it, right?” I said, polishing off the rosé.

“Yep.” He nodded, all dimples. “We’re just looking at it.”

* * *

It didn’t take long to trek back to the house and up to Hayes’s suite. It was, like everything else at Domaine La Dilecta, lavishly decorated: an eclectic mixture of furniture, various objets d’art, trompe l’oeil on the walls.

“So this is where the magic happens,” I said, tossing my bag on an armchair in the corner. There was a sunken alcove off the main room, bright with magnificent wraparound views.

Hayes laughed, setting down his wine. “Magic? No pressure or anything.”

“None at all. Goodness, it’s like Versailles in here.”

“I think they were going for a thing.”

“A thing?” I approached him.

“A thing,” he repeated, reaching out for my waist and pulling me into him. “You are so fucking beautiful.”

“You said the f-word.”

“You started.”

“Maybe.” I flinched. His fingers had found their way beneath the hem of my blouse and were surprisingly cool against my skin.

“Are my hands cold? Sorry,” he said, but he did not remove them.

I stood there, breathing him in. Wondering at how effortlessly he managed to span my waist, making me feel fragile, breakable almost. His thumbs tracing over my bottom ribs, and alternately fondling the material of my shirt.

“I like this top,” he said.

The blouse was white, sleeveless, sheer in some places, ruffled in others, and altogether very feminine. I felt like a girl in it, which is admittedly why I’d bought it for this trip. So that I would not look like someone’s mother.

“Are you just going to stand there counting my ribs, or are you going to kiss me?”

He smiled at that, his eyes decidedly green. “You like me kissing you.”

“Well, I did come all this way…”

“I thought you came to return my watch.”

“You want it back?”

He shook his head. “I just want to look at you for a moment.”

“You’ve been looking at me for over an hour.”

“Yeah, but before I was trying not to be obvious about it. Come here.” He led me over to the daybed against the far wall and pulled me onto his lap.

I could feel him through his pants. Oh, the wonders of twenty.

“You want to be kissed, Solène?” His hands were in my hair, pushing it off my face, cradling my neck.

“Yes.” I nodded. “You think you can handle that?”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

* * *

We had not been at it for five minutes when I was distracted by a series of calls coming in to my phone. I could hear it vibrating in my purse. Across the room, in the chair, while Hayes’s mouth was on my neck, his hands up the back of my blouse. I attempted to ignore it.

The calls then switched to the text signal, one after another. I pulled away from him for a moment, trying to do the math. What time was it in Los Angeles? Boston?

“Do you want to get that?” His hands were on my breasts, over my bra, his thumbs rubbing my nipples through the sheer material. Black, silk, ridiculously overpriced, purchased expressly for this trip. Getting that was the last thing I wanted to do.

Eight twenty-five a.m., I registered. Eleven twenty-five Eastern. “No.”

“You sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Okay.” He smiled and slowly lifted off my blouse. “Hiiii.” That face.

“Hi, yourself.”

His finger hooked beneath the shoulder strap of my bra, before running down over my breastbone and dipping inside the demi cup. Teasing. He looked up, as if to check in with me, before pushing the material to the side and lowering his head. My breath caught, his tongue on my nipple. Fuck fuck fuck. What was it about being with him that made me feel as if everything were happening for the first time?

My fingers entwined in his hair as he unhooked the clasp and cupped my breasts in his hands.

“God, everything about you is perfect,” he said. It was precisely what an almost forty-year-old woman wanted to hear about her breasts.

I was reveling in the smell of his hair and the feel of his mouth when I heard it again, my phone. Dammit.

I waited for two more text alerts before I attempted to stop him. “Hayes … Hayes.”

He lifted his head, slow.

“I should probably make sure that’s not an emergency.”

He nodded, his eyes holding mine as he completed removing the bra and placed it beside him on the bed. “Go,” he said, coy. “But come back to me.”

* * *

There were three missed calls and voicemails from Isabelle. Followed by five texts:

Where are you?

Please call me!!

It’s urgent!!!




“I’m sorry. I have to take this. It’s Isabelle.”

He was reclining on the daybed, arms clasped behind his lovely head, long legs hanging off the edge. “Do what you have to do. I’ll wait.”

She answered in a tizzy. Frenetic, which was not typical of her behavior.

“Heeey. What’s happening?”

“Why aren’t you here?”

“Because, honey, I had to come for Basel. You know that. Is everything okay? What’s going on?” I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that it had happened, that Daniel had proposed. And that I was going to have to be strong for her, six thousand miles away and topless. And that I was going to have to lie and tell her that it wasn’t going to change anything, even though deep down I knew it would. And that Hayes was going to be witness to it all.

I folded my arm across my “everything about you is perfect” breasts and prepared for the worst.

“You should be here.” She’d begun to cry. “I need you.”

“Izz … what happened?”

“I got my period.”

I sank into the armchair then, relieved. “Izz, that’s great. That’s wonderful. Congratulations!”

“It’s not wonderful. You’re not here.”

“I know, honey, I’m sorry. But we thought there was a good chance it was going to happen this summer when you were in Maine anyway.” This was me trying to deflect the fact that I was an absentee mother out gallivanting in the South of France with rock stars while my daughter was experiencing her first true coming-of-age milestone. I sucked.

She was quiet for a moment. I was staring out at the lawn, the long drive winding down the hill, so much green.

“It got on the sheets,” she whispered.

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