Chapter 15

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Jessica sat on her sofa, drinking her second cup of tea of the morning. Kyle had left at seven, and she had hockey practice at nine. She wondered how she was going to get through hockey practice on just three hours of sleep. Maybe the fresh air on the field would wake her up. She lifted herself up onto her knees to look in the mirror on the opposite wall.

"I look a mess," she thought. "The girls are going to be asking me questions." She smiled to herself. But still, it was worth it."

She slumped back into the soft sofa and sighed. Kyle had been her induction into the post-long-term relationship dating scene, and she liked it. A lot. Their parting had been slightly awkward. There was no promise of seeing each other again. They didn't even talk about contacting each other again. It was a "see you around" kind of goodbye, a quick peck on the lips, and then he was gone. Jessica knew she couldn't expect more, and she didn't want more. After all, she and Kyle weren't dating. They were just having some fun.

"He could even be on the dating app, looking for his next hook-up," she mused. "Maybe that's what I should be doing too. I don't owe Kyle anything. But still..." Jessica had been with James for ten years, and the way of dating had moved on since she was last on the scene. She had had casual relationships in the past, mainly when she was at university, but it felt new to her. "Especially at my age," she thought. "Most people have left the casual dating scene by thirty-three. Except for divorcees, or jilted brides." She finished her tea and went into the bedroom to get ready. The room still smelled of Kyle's cologne. She stopped for a moment to breath it in, then went to the window and opened it. "Don't go getting all sentimental over a one-night stand," she warned herself.

Jessica had been right to wonder how she would get through hockey practice. After fifteen minutes of sending the ball off the pitch, and tripping over her own feet and stick, the other girls were starting to make comments.

"Did you go out for a drink last night or something?" asked Louise when they were taking a break.

"Just one or two," said Jessica taking a long drink from her water bottle.

Becky eyed her with suspicion. "You've got something to tell me, haven't you?" she said.

"Oh yeah? What's that then?" asked Tessa.

Jessica blushed under the gaze of her teammates.

"She's blushing!" said Louise. "Come on, out with it. Who was he and what was he like? And would you do him again?"

"I am not telling you lot anything," said Jessica with a grin.

"Well, whoever he is, I'm glad that you're moving on Jess," said Louise.

"Thanks."

"Come on, back to it," said Becky, putting her water bottle in her bag. She followed Jessica back out onto the field. "You can tell me all about it later," she said.

Two hours later, showered and sore, Jessica and Becky were sitting in a city café having lunch. The café looked out across the river, where people were enjoying the autumn sunshine.

"The sandwiches are nice," said Jessica, taking a bite of the tuna and cheese roll on her plate.

"Yeah yeah, and the coffee's really creamy and the cakes look chocolatey, so come on. It's the Scottish guy, Kyle, isn't it?" said Becky impatiently. "You slept with him, had sex all night, and that's why you look like you've been dug up this morning."

"Right on all counts Beck."

"Good on you. Are you seeing him again?"

Jessica shrugged. "We didn't talk about it, no."

"And you've had no messages?"

"Not a thing. But he has got a new job, so I guess he's pre-occupied with that."

"Doing what?"

"Working in a bar."

Becky looked at her in surprise. "I thought you said he was an architect."

"He is."

"So what's he doing working in a bar?"

"No idea."

Becky nodded slowly. "I get it. He's not really an architect. He just said it to try to impress you. People on these dating apps lie about everything you know."

"Maybe, but I didn't get the impression that he was lying. But who knows, and who cares."

Becky smiled. "Ah," she said. "He really was just a bit of fun, wasn't he?"

"I told you. No more commitment for me."

"So you're going to start looking for someone else on the app today?"

"I don't know, maybe it's full of Monologue Mikes. Maybe I got lucky with Kyle. Do I want to go on dates with losers just for the sake of it? Maybe I'll give it a few weeks."

"You don't have to do anything. Nothing wrong with being single, and celibate. Well, for a few weeks at least. You wouldn't want to be celibate for longer than that." Becky shuddered.

"All I want to do now Becks, is sleep. I'll think about my next conquest when my head's a bit clearer."

"Come on, eat up then. You should get some sleep this afternoon. You're lucky we don't have a match tomorrow. In your state you'd be a liability."

"Thanks," said Jessica sarcastically.

"You know what I mean," said Becky. "And come on, even you can admit that you spent the morning falling over your own stick."

Jessica laughed and sipped the last of her coffee.

Jessica woke up and looked at the time. It was six pm. "I've slept for four hours," she thought. "I needed that." She got up and switched the light on. "I'm hungry. I wonder if I've got anything in to eat. Probably not." She looked at her phone and saw that the notification light was flashing. She picked it up and slid her finger over the screen.

"It's from Kyle," she thought. "Thanks for last night. Just on my break. Was wondering what you were doing next Friday?" she read.

Jessica felt a thrill run through her. "Why do I feel like that?" she thought. "He's just a hook-up. But I wouldn't mind another night like last night."

She wrote back "Not doing anything next Friday. Want to meet?" She pressed send. A few seconds later a reply came. "I'd love to."

She put her phone down and lay back on the bed. "I hope he doesn't think that we are dating or anything. No, he doesn't, surely. He said it himself, he was done with commitment. He just wants to extend our bit of fun into next week, that's all. Well, I'm up for that. Now, I need some food."

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