Chapter 7: 7

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Adult Romance  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

Reads: 291

Joel opened the cabinet on his bathroom wall and took out a small plastic tray. Opening the tray, he stared at the pills inside it. The seven rows in the tray were marked Monday to Sunday and each row had three small sections: morning, afternoon, and night. Each section contained 2 tablets.

After having a successful meeting with his therapist the previous day, the therapist had agreed he could start gradually reducing his medication. Taking six tablets a day, for depression and anxiety for nearly five years was taking its toll on Joel; he’d had enough of feeling like a zombie. Ever since he’d spent the weekend with Madeline, it had given him some strength to try to get some sort of normality back in his life.

Placing two pills in his mouth, he swallowed them with water and took out one pill from the afternoon sections of the tray and flushed them down the toilet. Taking a deep breath, he ran his fingers through his freshly trimmed hair as he stared at himself in the mirror. “You can do this,” he muttered reaching for his clothes and began to dress for work.

 

Eric lay in bed listening to Madeline moving around the apartment wishing he hadn’t made the, no sex for a month bet, with her. When he first made the bet, he was only joking and had pushed it too far. Madeline had taken it too seriously. When they’d returned home the previous night after buying a takeaway and a couple of bottles of wine, the evening had gone well until it was time for bed. Madeline changed into her nightclothes in the bathroom. When she’d got in bed, she gave him a quick kiss on the lips then turned her back to him and fell asleep.

 

Eric rubbed his face with both hands as he climbed out of bed. He slipped his dressing gown on to hide his hard-on and made his way into the living room to see why she was up so early.

Entering the living room, he was surprised to see her already dressed for work. “Why are you going to work early?” He curiously asked.

“I told you yesterday, I want that manager’s job,” Madeline said slipping her shoes on. “Even if I have to go in early and stay behind after hours, I’ll do that,” She stood up pulling her skirt straight.

Eric suspiciously stared at her, it looked like she’d made more of an effort than usual to go to work. Her makeup was perfectly applied, her long black hair fell loosely over her shoulders, and with the short black skirt and red blouse she was wearing, Madeline looked stunning. For a split second, he wondered if she was messing around with someone else but dismissed it straight away. He knew it wasn’t in her nature to cheat. “Maddie,” he sighed walking towards her placing his hands on her hips. “Are we ok? You’ve been off with me since I returned on Monday.”

Madeline stared at Eric slowly shaking her head. “I’m fed up with being shut out of your life. It’s obvious you don’t want me to help you with your mom,” she said moving his hands off her hips and reached for her handbag. “So, from now on, I won’t bother you anymore about it because I need to focus on getting that manager’s job.” She said walking towards the door. “I’ll see you later.”

Eric watched Madeline leave the apartment as he reached for his mobile. He knew what would keep him on her good side and keep her from being lonely at the weekend.

 

As Madeline walked along the corridor towards the staff break room, her heart began to race when she smelt coffee. Hoping that Joel was in there she ran her fingers through her long black hair to straighten it, took a deep breath, and entered. “Joel!” she said surprised staring wide-eyed at him. Joel’s hair was neatly cut but still quite long; he was wearing black trousers, a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the top button open.

“Hi Maddie,” He shyly smiled nervously running his fingers through his hair. His heart raced as he gazed at the beauty in front of him.

“Look at you,” Madeline beamed walking towards him and placed her hands on his arms. “You look great.”

“Do I?” Joel smiled the biggest smile. “I didn’t know if you’d like it.”

“It doesn’t matter whether I like it or not,” she smiled stroking his arms. “It’s more important if you like it.”

“I do but my neck was a bit cold on the way to work this morning,” He laughed. “Do you want a coffee?”

“Please,” she said placing her handbag on the table. “I was worried yesterday when you didn’t come to work.”

“You were!” Joel said surprised reaching for the kettle.

“Of course, I was,” Madeline leaned against the small sink. “Did you fake a sickie so you could spend the day pampering yourself?” She teased.

“No,” Joel laughed shaking his head. “I just asked for a day off and I was told yes.”

“Bloody hell, when I ask for a day off, I have to give every little detail of the reason why,” She laughed eyeing him up and down thinking how good he looked.

Joel stirred the coffee and placed the two mugs on the table next to them. “Why are you here so early?” he curiously asked as he sat at the table.

“Because I wanted to see you,” Madeline smiled sitting next to him.

“Really?” He beamed.

“Yes,” she nodded placing her hand on his. “I just wanted to make sure that we’re ok after what happened at the weekend.”

Joel’s heart sunk. “I told you we would be,” he sighed thinking she was going to tell him it was a one-off.

“Joel,” Madeline quietly said gently squeezing his hand. “Would you like to meet up with me again this weekend?”

Joel’s heart thudded so hard in his chest, he thought it was going to explode. “Of course, I would. But what about Eric; won’t he be home?”

“No, he’s going to his mom's again,” Madeline half-smiled feeling awkward now he’d mentioned Eric and wanted to change the subject. “I was thinking maybe we could go to the cinema on Friday or have a drink in the Three Tuns.”

“Yeah, we could do that,” Joel blissfully sighed as he gazed into her blue eyes. “Would you like to go for a drive somewhere on Saturday?”

“Where to?” She asked.

“There’s a place by the coast I like to go. It’s an hour’s drive from here,” Joel smiled reaching for his coffee. “It’s my go-to place when I need to clear my head. It’s so peaceful there. We could take a picnic with us and,” he suddenly stopped talking. “I’m sorry, I’m rambling on and you haven’t said if you want to go.”

“I would love to go,” Madeline laughed relaxing back in her chair. “With what’s going on in my head right now; I need somewhere peaceful to help clear it.” She said hearing her mobile ringing. Glancing at the clock on the wall, it was just gone 8.30am. Reaching for her mobile, she wondered who was phoning her so early in the morning. Taking her mobile from her handbag, she saw, dad, on her screen. “Hi dad,” she said when she accepted the call. “Is everything ok?” she asked thinking something was wrong.

“Yeah, everything’s ok,” he answered. “Eric’s just phoned me and asked if I was delivering anywhere close to Southport this weekend because my little girl is missing me.” He chuckled.

“I always miss you,” Madeline smiled. “So, are you in the area?”

“Yes, I am,” he answered. “I’m delivering to a farm in Stanton which is about ten miles from you. On my way to the next delivery, I could stop off and have lunch with you.”

“That would be great!” Madeline cried shuddering with excitement. She hadn’t seen her dad for two months. “When will you be here?”

“It’ll be Saturday afternoon.” He answered.

“Oh right,” she said looking at Joel, thinking she was going to have to let him down on Saturday. “What time?”

“Will midday be ok. We can have dinner together before I return home”

“That will be perfect,” She sighed with relief knowing she didn’t have to let Joel down. “Do you want to meet at The Harvester?” She asked knowing he liked to pile a mountain of carvery food on his plate.

“That’ll do for me,” He laughed. “I’ll phone you when I’m close by and I’ll meet you there.”

“Ok, I’ll see you Saturday. Love you, dad.”

“I love you too sweetheart,” he said cutting the call.

“That was my dad,” Madeline beamed slipping her mobile into her handbag. “He’s coming to see me Saturday.”

“That’s nice,” Joel slowly nodded feeling a little disappointed their plans were going to be canceled, but it was more important she saw her dad.

“Hey,” Madeline leaned forward placing her hand on his leg. “I’m meeting him midday so we can still go for that drive.”

Joel smiled as he gazed into her eyes. He wanted so badly to feel the warmth of her lips against his again. “Maddie,” he quietly said leaning forward.

Joel quickly stood up while Madeline quickly leaned back in her chair when the staff room door swung open.

Two female colleagues entered. “Wow, Joel!” One of them gasped staring wide-eyed at him. “You’re looking mighty fine today.”

“Doesn’t he just,” the other female cooed walking over to him and ran her fingers over his hair.

Madeline could see Joel looked uncomfortable with the attention as he awkwardly shuffled away from them. “Leave him alone,” she said standing up and stood next to him. “He doesn’t want to catch anything off you.” She grinned.

“That’s not nice,” one of the women frowned.

“So,” Madeline stepped forward staring her in the eyes. “Go and find someone else to maul.”

The two women looked Madeline up and down like she was a piece of dirt and walked out muttering to each other.

“Thanks for that,” Joel sighed with relief watching the two women leave the staff room.

“It’s ok,” Madeline said picking up her handbag and swung it over her shoulder. “I’d better go and get started,” she smiled. “I’ll see you later.”

Joel’s heart raced as he watched Madeline leave the room. He wondered if she stopped the girls fussing around him because she could see he was uncomfortable or was she marking her territory because she wanted him for herself? He hoped it was the latter.


Submitted: January 16, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Kitty Hall. All rights reserved.

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