Six - A Full House

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Jaimee called in sick the next day. Ricardo woke up to a flurry of texts, all drunkenly typed out. He peeked down at the screen, head fuzzy, and tried to make sense of: nt comink in, veru sicc.

"Liar," Ricardo groaned through his hangover. He rolled out of bed anyway and tried to find some painkillers. He walked through his empty living room and for a second wondered if he'd been robbed in the night. Then he remembered that all his furniture was in storage until this afternoon. He sighed and made a cup of coffee. Without Jaimee, he was going to be very behind at work. A doubly shit day.

He got to the office at around 10, the earliest he'd been in since Melissa had left. He glared at the pile of work on Jaimee's desk and gave it the finger. He was going to need the touch of God to get through this day. He collapsed onto his own desk, considered taking a nap. Instead, he brushed his hair and downed some more water. Glancing at his watch, he had ten minutes until his meeting with Jared Ware, of Ware Industries, which gave him plenty of time to think about what he had done.

What he had done...antagonise the only person who actually knew his one biggest insecurity. He groaned and facepalmed. What the hell had he been thinking? He wasn't, was the answer. He wasn't thinking. The urge to ruin his own life was becoming rather inconvenient. He remembered the look on Jaimee's poor confused face, chin tipped to the ceiling, eyes wide, chest heaving. The warmth of his breath. That was, of course, until he ran from the kitchen, spewing obscenities. And Ricardo, suddenly uneasy, had just watched him go.

The worst thing about it all was that in that moment, Ricardo wanted to kiss Jaimee. He wanted to taste that same mouth that Tessa was obsessed with. He wanted to close the gap between them, to feel those lean muscles shift beneath his hands. The sensation of want had been so real that he hadn't even hesitated to taunt Jaimee. Hadn't realised what he was doing to the poor boy.

Now he was sat with a raging hangover, no secretary, and a desperate question pulsing in his head right beside his migraine. Am I gay? Of course not, was the obvious answer. Anyone could tell that just from glancing at his dating history. He was known as one of London's bachelors, and had a reputation as a Lothario. He was not gay. He had never lusted after another man, never in his life. He was not gay.

And yet he had been unable to think of little else besides Jaimee since last night. Even before that, he would occasionally find himself thinking of his PA, of the brightness of his eyes and that silver tongue. Ricardo grunted and pushed away from his desk. Enough. He had drunk way too much and that would explain away that.

His day crawled by as slowly as he had known it would. He tried to stay awake through the tonne of paperwork he was to sort through. He held his meetings with an ache right behind his eyes. He skipped lunch to ensure he got everything done. He filtered what he could to other legal secretaries and signed whatever needed his signature. By the time he had done enough to leave, he was exhausted. But he wasn't going home. He was wracked with guilt and stone cold sober - for once.

He was going to pay Jaimee a visit.

He lived in a quiet, suburban part of London. It was so quiet that Ricardo found parking almost immediately, almost directly in front of the house. It was a semi-detached, two storey with a full driveway. Above the door, incense was burning in a small pouch. It explained the scent of jasmine he'd walked into almost as soon as he'd stepped out of the car. He paused for a moment, to breathe and to think about what he was going to say, even though he had no idea what he was going to say. The drive over hadn't given him any ideas and now he was out of time. So he rang the bell and hoped for the best.

A woman opened the door, shouting over her shoulder. "Ma, don't you touch my rice!"

She turned to Ricardo and visibly exhaled. "Oh."

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