A strange buzzing noise sounded in Debra’s ears as she watched the couple as they exchanged a loving kiss and shattered her world.
She didn’t move toward them. Instead she stood behind a topiary bush, which was bizarrely cut into the shape of a temple. Strange the things you noticed when seconds before your life had been changed forever.
“Do you need to sit down? Drink milk or whatever? We need to celebrate.” His voice carried clearly across the foyer.
Debra glanced at the woman’s tear-streaked, but happy face and at the ear-to-ear grin on Braam’s.
“Parents. Orange juice, that’s it, and, well… Oh, God, I’m babbling. Come on.” Braam took the arm of the woman and walked toward to the lifts. “Hold on, what’s that by the plants?” He moved in Debra’s direction.
She had to get away. Without looking in their direction again, Debra headed for the other bank of lifts and prayed that one would be waiting. Her luck was in. Within seconds she was inside and pressing the floor button. The lift didn’t move.
Come on, come on, ah, shit and fuck.
She wrenched open her bag to get out her room key. In her agitation, she’d forgotten she needed to swipe it over the security panel to make the lift move.
Where’s the fucking key?
Her heart beat erratically and her pulse jumped like a flea in a circus as she hunted.
Think, woman, it’s in here somewhere.
Debra rummaged amongst the guidebooks, sun cream, tissues and whatever else lurked in her bag, before she remembered she’d put the swipe card into the zippered pocket in the lining of the bag. Then it took seconds to retrieve it, use it and set the lift in motion.
The feeling of upwards movement usually made her sway and feel hollow. Not this time. This time she was too busy controlling her erratic breathing to notice anything else. Her mind whirled.
Who’s the woman? How can Braam behave as he has? Why isn’t the woman sharing his suite? What the hell does this make me?
Cuckolded. The old-fashioned word popped into her mind and stuck there. Even though it wasn’t meant for a woman—it meant a man who was the husband of an adulteress—Debra couldn’t get it out of her head. She had no idea what, if anything, described her position, except maybe stupid, naive, gullible… The list of those sorts of words was endless.
The lift stopped at her floor and the doors opened. Debra looked out into the corridor somewhat warily. After all she’d seen the woman there earlier, with a man. So who was the man?
There was no one around. Debra left the lift and hurried toward her room. As she passed the other lifts, she saw the indicator showing that one was on its way upward. She’d never managed to swipe her key card and get inside her suite so fast in her life.
Once she had shut the door behind her, Debra lay back on it and panted. It was so stupid. Why was she hiding as if
had done something wrong? She hadn’t come on to someone else whilst she was in a relationship. Or about to be a parent.
“Bit on the side,” Debra said out loud. “Get used to it. Floozy.” She grimaced. “No, not a floozy, just an idiot who fell for the oldest trick in the book.” She pushed herself off the door, walked across to the bed and dropped her bag onto it. The now smoothed and pristine coverlet reminded her of how crumpled a bed could get and in spite of her misery and anger, her pussy contracted. It had been spectacular sex.
Do not think about sex, woman. No sex, no hanky panky, no fathers to be. Nothing. Pure as the driven snow from now on. Buy a new rabbit and call it Hector or something. Do not think about dishy Dutch/Portuguese/Chinese/English or whatever two-faced, two timing security assholes.
However, that was easier said than done.
Debra turned on the shower and stood under it until the tension had left her. Then she wrapped a towel around herself and wondered what next?
Braam was supposed to take her out for dinner. How could he now? A sudden thought struck her. What if the woman knew? What if they liked that sort of thing? Betrayal and—
No, do not go there.
Debra knew anything slightly less than all above board, ordinary sex wasn’t for her.
Define ordinary? Oh shut up, mind, I know what I mean.
But did she?
“No threesomes, no cheating and no jaggy implements,” she said out loud and got off the bed to get dressed. “And an explanation.”
As she was certain that there would be no romantic, intimate dinner for two, Debra pulled on a pair of casual trousers and a top and looked into the fridge. She’d manage to find something to eat, even if it wasn’t with fine wines and by candlelight.
The doorbell rang as she opened her laptop to check her emails and Debra glanced at the clock. Too early for it to be Braam, if he actually bothered to turn up. Had she forgotten to put the ‘do not disturb’ light on again? She walked to the door and checked the peephole. It
Braam and the bastard looked the same hot, sexy man as ever. Debra took a deep breath and put her hand over her heart for a brief moment.
Play it cool.
She took off the safety chain and opened the door. Braam leaned in the doorjamb and smiled. The smile might do stupid things to her insides, but Debra noticed it didn’t reach his eyes. They were cool and wary.
“You’re early.” She stood back to let him go past her into the room. He didn’t move.
“Yeah. Well, I’ve come to say I won’t be able to manage dinner tonight. Something’s come up.” His voice was low and he half shrugged.
Well, something certainly did. Your fucking cock in her pussy, you bastard.
“Yes?” She spoke with a query in her voice.
“Oh, dear. Well it’s obviously something you can’t—” or won’t her tone implied—”discuss.”
“No, er, yes. Well, no, I can’t discuss it. It’s not up to me and well. Oh, shit, I’m sorry, Deb. I’ll do my best to get away early and come up and explain. Okay?”
“Yes.” If he could be brief so could she. Debra held onto the edge of the door and hoped her white-knuckled grip didn’t show. It was either that or shout, scream, throw things, or maybe just fall down and cry. She’d never let a man see her cry over him before and she had no intention of starting now. “If you can’t, don’t worry. I’ll wash my hair and paint my nails.”
“Right.” He obviously didn’t understand the sarcasm. “Then, er, if I don’t get back, I’ll see you tomorrow around seven?”
Braam hesitated then moved away from the doorjamb.
“But I need this to keep me going.” He leaned forward and prized her hand off the door. “I need to feel you and be held.” Braam pulled her close and before Debra had time to remonstrate, he was kissing her. He teased her lips with his tongue and demanded entry to her mouth and stroked her cheek with one long finger. Debra melted. That single finger on her skin scorched her, branded her and held her in thrall.
When he trailed his hand down her spine, she shivered and gasped at the red-hot sensations that skittered behind it and into her core. The caress on her bum made her squirm. The tiny delve into the crease of her ass made her gasp and the triumphant sound he made—almost a groan—made her pussy damp.
“Oh, God, I need…” The sound of the lift doors opening filtered into the sexual haze that surrounded her. It seemed it had the same effect on Braam who pulled back abruptly. At least he looked as dazed as Debra felt.
“Shit, right, well.” He ran his hand over his hair. “I’m sorry, I need to dash. I’ll speak to you tomorrow. Shit, Deb, I’m so sorry.” He turned and walked down the corridor at a pace that made Debra feel giddy.
A good crying jag might make you feel like crap, but it had to be beneficial, surely? Not for the bloated face, red-rimmed eyes and the hollow tummy. But to get it out of your system, stop being sorry for yourself and get mad.
However, telling yourself something and acting on it wasn’t the same. Or as easy. Deb looked around the room and felt sick. What fool’s paradise had she been living in?
The room now seemed sordid. The pictures on the wall that a few days previously she’d thought charming mocked her and it was all she could do not to turn them to face the wall. She had to get away. Home, anywhere as long as it was away.
That wasn’t as easy as she had hoped. There wasn’t a seat on a London bound plane vacant that night. The standby list was overflowing and the next couple of nights were no better. It looked like the only definite flight home was the one she was booked on. Debra hated the sensation of spiders crawling over her skin and butterflies in her stomach that attacked her. There was no way she could stay in Hong Kong and not go head to head with Braam over his perfidy and she couldn’t allow herself to do it. There was a pregnant woman now in the equation who was blameless and didn’t need all the grief that would surely hit her. Debra knew herself well enough to know if she began she would go way over the top and not mince her words.
“Where do you have a flight to?” she asked. “I need a break.” Goodness knew if the woman thought she was deranged, or running to—or from—her lover. Debra didn’t much care.
An hour later and a sizeable amount added to her credit card, Debra packed her belongings. She’d gotten onto a plane for Singapore due to leave at the unhealthy hour of one thirty a.m., booked herself three nights in a hotel—not a Channing hotel—and planned her getaway. All she had to do was get out of the hotel and to the airport. She wasn’t going to check out, because after all the room was hers for another four nights if you counted the one she was in. She could pay her bill online, at the appropriate time. Her story was ready—‘off to see a friend for a night or so’—if she needed it, but with luck she wouldn’t.
The contents of her fridge made an unusual meal. The pâté, crackers and grapes would make a handy snack if she needed one. The chicken curry and rice she heated and ate while she planned her timings. Debra often commented that caution was best and this time she knew it was. She’d head out earlier than needed. After all, she’d sprung for a business class seat, knowing that she’d be able to then use the executive lounge if she arrived early. By eight p.m. she’d left her room and was hauling her suitcase along the corridor. As ever at that time of night, it was deserted, which she’d reckoned would be the case.
She took a deep breath and called for the lift.
Her luck was in and she made it all the way to the door of the hotel without seeing anyone except the doorman.
“You checking out, Mrs. Scotburn?” Was he inquisitive or the normal conversation? “You need me call you a taxi for the airport station?”
“Oh, no, I’m off to see a friend for a couple of days. I don’t go home for a week or so yet.”
Liar, liar, pants on fire.
“I’ll have a taxi, though, to the levels. She said she’d come for me, but what’s the point, eh?”
He shrugged and darted out into the middle of the main road to wave at every taxi that went past.
Debra began to sweat as the minutes ticked by. She was about to say ‘don’t bother, I’ll walk to the MTR’ when one swerved over two lanes of traffic and pulled up with a screech of brakes.
The doorman smiled in a relieved way and loaded her suitcase into the boot.
“See you in a couple of days?”
Debra nodded. “Yeah, this is too good a chance to miss.”
The doorman held her door open. “Good show. Great news for Braam, eh? He said you and he were old friends.”
So that’s what he called us.
Shit, does everyone know? What must they think of me
? She smiled. “The best. She looks radiant.”
“Been a long time coming. The levels, lady tell you where.” He spoke to the driver and banged on the roof. “Enjoy, ma’am.”
The car pulled away so fast, Debra reckoned half the tire rubber was left behind them. The way the driver wove in and out of the cars made her wonder if he was any relation to the bus driver of the previous day.
She’d concentrated so hard on ignoring the traffic, she’d forgotten that she hadn’t said where. Her mind went blank. “Oh, er, at the bottom of the Central Escalator will be perfect.” She could walk or get another cab from there. The driver grunted. It would be good and central for him and he’d pick another fare up there much more easily than in an obscure residential area.
Debra paid him, took her suitcase and walked toward the footbridge that took you up to the escalator. And turned in the opposite direction. Toward the MTR airport express. She’d even be in plenty of time to check her luggage in there instead of lugging it all the way to the airport. She didn’t know if you could do that anywhere else in the world but it was brilliant.
The aerial walkway about the busy streets was a godsend. Now she was away from the hotel, Debra was in no hurry. She meandered along and people-watched. It was busy, even though for Hong Kong it was too early for most people to be out and about.
At one intersection below, cars were backed up and the tooting of horns made several people go to the wall and look over. Debra joined them and chuckled at the sight of a lorry, which had somehow got itself stuck across the road. The driver gesticulated out of the window and shouted at several bystanders who seemed to be more of a hindrance than a help.
The onlookers from the walkway shouted down and added their suggestions and Debra stood back to listen. Not many of the comments were in English, but in whatever language, their meaning was clear. The driver was an idiot. She got the impression he’d be stuck there for a fair while. A police car drew up with its light flashing and two policemen got out, to point, blow whistles and try to make sense of the mayhem.
With a grin and the happiest she’d been since she’d seen Braam and his—his what?—Debra turned away and stared down toward the intersection. There was a couple that looked… She hid behind a tall man wearing a shocking pink tracksuit and bright green trainers and stared as best she could around him.
It was Braam and he was arm in arm with the pregnant ‘ohh, Braam, we’re having twins’ woman. Debra ducked backwards as he looked up and recognition showed on his face.