Chapter 9

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"Over here! Jess!" shouted Tessa. Jessica smacked the ball with her hockey stick in Tessa's direction. Tessa took the ball and ran with it, deftly avoiding her opponent. She hit the ball right into the goal as the keeper dived in the opposite direction.

"Yes!" shouted Jessica. The team huddled together around Tessa as the referee blew the whistle.

It was Sunday morning, two days after Jessica's date with Kyle, and Jessica's team had just won their game against a team from a neighbouring town. There was a strong breeze which invigorated Jessica and took away the tiredness and stress of the week. The breeze wasn't the only thing that had invigorated Jessica. Since meeting Kyle, she had felt energized in a way she hadn't since she was planning her wedding. It was like he had breathed new life into her.

This hadn't gone unnoticed by Becky. "You've got something to tell me, haven't you?" she said grinning as they walked off the field. "You set up all those goals today. Something's happened to speed you up. And it can only be one thing. Which I want to hear all about in the pub this afternoon."

"Don't worry, you'll get all the details," said Jessica. "But first, I need a shower to get this mud off me."

An hour later, the hockey team were sitting at their usual table in the local pub. They occupied five tables along one side of the room. The rest of the tables were filled with families and couples, enjoying Sunday roasts. The team had lunch and drinks there after every Sunday game and practice session. It was the highlight of Jessica's week, and sometimes the only thing that got her through Monday to Friday.

"So, come on," said Becky. "I take it he wasn't a clone of Monologue Mike."

"No, thank God. He's Scottish, an architect, well, an out-of-work architect, thirty-five, brown hair, brown eyes, tall, seems to work out – I glimpsed a bit of muscle tone under that shirt – and well, just an all-round nice guy."

"But what's he looking for? A girlfriend?"

"No, fortunately not. He's just come out of a long-term relationship, and isn't ready for another one."

"Perfect. Sounds just like the kind of man you are looking for."

"I know," said Jessica, biting into a roast potato.

"So, I take it you are seeing him again?"

"We've agreed to, yeah."


Jessica shrugged. "We haven't decided anything concrete."

"Friday night," said Becky. "Have some fun. Something to look forward to at the end of the week. If you are both after a good time, it won't be long before you are sleeping together. Hey, it could even happen this week."

"Hold on, I've only just met the guy."

Becky took a swig of beer. "And? You're not dating the guy. You're having fun with the guy. There is a difference. So go and have some fun. Sleep with him on Friday."

Jessica laughed and shook her head. "And how do you suggest I bring that up?"

"Simple. Just mail him and say, 'Let's meet at your place on Friday.' He'll take the hint. Men do. Well, those with a brain do."

"Let me do this in my own time, OK? I'm sure it will happen, but I want to get to know him a bit first. I mean, I don't even know why his last relationship ended."

Becky put her glass down and looked at Jessica. "So? Why should you care? I'll say it again. You're not dating the guy. You're not looking for a relationship. You're done with those, remember? Who cares why his last relationship ended? I assume you haven't told him about yours?"

"Of course not."

"And he has no right to know. Friends with benefits. That's a good way to look at this one. You get on, you think he's attractive, he thinks you're attractive. Sounds like just what you need. Message him."

Jessica pulled out her phone. "Oh, there's a message from Kyle."

"What does it say? He's inviting you to his place?"

"No...he's inviting me to dinner on Friday night. Wants to know if I like Indian food."

She typed a message back. "Sure! Indian food? Love it!"

She put her phone back in her bag. "Date arranged. Indian restaurant."

"And then his place," said Becky.

Jessica smiled. "I'll decide when and how far I take it, OK? I know you'd jump him the first night you saw him, but we are not all like you Becks."

Becky shrugged. "Don't know why. Life's short, you know. Why waste time on preliminaries when you can just ask for and get what you want? Ask him. He'd bite your hand off."

"What are you two talking about?" asked Sue, who was sitting next to Jessica and had been half listening.

"Jess has a new man in her life."

"Oh good!" said Sue. "About time."

"It's just a fling though. She's not ready for commitment."

"Well, I don't think I would be either after all that poor Jess went through. So, what's he like?"

"Scottish, tall, brown hair, brown eyes, bit of muscle, good listener, out-of-work architect," said Jessica.

"Sounds perfect. Apart from the out of work bit. What happened there?"

"I don't know, and I don't care," said Jessica. "It's not like I'm going to be dating the guy or marrying him, is it? It's just a bit of fun. A bit of male company."

"Until you find the right one?" asked Sue.

"Sue, there is no 'right one'. I'm done with commitment. My life is going to be all about fun from now on."

"Starting with Kyle," added Becky.

"Yes, starting with Kyle," said Jessica.

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