Two ~ Rescue
The first time I met Alastair will be forever ingrained in my memory. It was almost three years ago, shortly after we'd moved to Carringham—a small but affluent area in West London. At sixteen, I'd been blissfully unaware of the adult problems that everyday life entailed. Life was so easy, yet so boring.
Then I met Alastair Montgomery.
On our third night in the new house, his family came for dinner and I was smitten. Two years older than me, he seemed so mature—much more mature than boys my age—as well as being handsome, funny, and intelligent.
When our parents retired to the drawing room for coffee, we remained at the dining table, discussing politics. The topic came easily to me—we'd had similar debates at school—and Alastair listened intently. He acknowledged everything I said, offering convincing arguments to counter my own. Arguments that I later found out were not his personal views, but just an excuse to challenge me.
"I have a question, Rosa." He lifted the almost-empty bottle of wine to his mouth and tipped the remaining liquid down his throat. I watched him swallow, unable to tear my eyes away. "When was the last time you went against your parents' wishes?"
I considered it, but not for long. Just long enough for him to believe I'd given it thought.
"Why would I do that? They give me everything I want."
As soon as the words left my mouth, I realised how spoilt I sounded. That hadn't been what I'd meant at all, but Alastair saw right through me. He pursed his lips as his eyes flickered over my face.
It was an intense stare, one that made my heart speed up with nerves. Whilst I'd been taught how to communicate effectively, I'd never done so on such a personal level with a guy. Conversations usually revolved around current affairs as an opportunity to prove my intellectual value. No boy had ever taken an interest in my mind. Until Alastair.
We met regularly after that—first as a friendship, then a relationship. Alastair represented everything I longed for in life: excitement, unpredictability, intimacy and romance. He enlightened me on a whole matter of things, including the reason for his family's attendance that evening; his father was entering into business with my father.
Although I knew his family had money, I didn't realise the extent of their wealth until I hit Google. They were multi-millionaires who'd made a series of well-judged investments, predominantly in the property industry.
Apparently it was a big deal that his tycoon father wanted to invest in our company, and my mother reiterated this after we came clean about our secret romance. She wasn't keen at first—she warned me it could become messy when tangled with business—but she liked Alastair, and soon her acceptance of our relationship transformed into genuine encouragement.
It wasn't until we'd been dating for over a year that I acknowledged my relationship with Alastair had changed. Like our parents—and like my mother had warned—it intertwined with our families' businesses. I'd become less of a conquest to Alastair, and he'd become less of an addiction to me.
Our romance lived on in public, but sometimes in private, too. We had good days when we'd spend hours in bed, alternating between laughter, sex and cuddles. We had bad days when Alastair's work took up all his time, when we'd both make poor decisions or go a week without talking.
But we never discussed the state of our relationship, neither of us wanting to be the one to pull out the block that brings the whole Jenga tower tumbling down. We accepted that things worked a certain way. That things had to work a certain way, because we weren't the only two people in this.