I am already finding it very hard to keep her out of my head all the time ... this is just making it worse for me.
... I swear I'm having a midlife crisis!!!
Slate is sat at the table as usual with the newspaper, like he does every morning, he always reads the newspaper from the day before and does the crossword while he's eating his breakfast.
He kills me ... he is so blind, he can't even see the looks and glances that me and Coral are exchanging with each other right under his nose, or that I can't tear my eyes away from his half naked girlfriend.
"5 letters - Reef Makeup?" Slate mumbles and I start laughing
"Deerr!! Now who's the thicko!!" I carry on laughing at him and he looks over the top of the paper and frowns at me "Try your girlfriend!!" he frowns for a second
"Of course ... Coral!!" he mumbles as he starts scribbling it into the crossword.
Coral stands behind him giggling and puts her hand on his shoulder and tried to kiss his cheek, he brushes her off saying "not now Coral" which really irritates me. He doesn't deserve her!! She smacks the newspaper and he looks up at her with an irritated expression.
"Put some clothes on ... you'll put Dad off his breakfast, if you haven't already" he snaps at her. I have to think about that for a moment ... there are two ways that could be taken, a dig at her or a dig at me ... has he noticed I can't take my eyes off her or is he saying that her body is a turn off? I know exactly how Coral is going to take that, as an insult ... women do!!
If she's walking around half naked for his benefit, if she's trying to get some attention from him it's definitely not working, he doesn't bat an eyelid, while me, I would so have taken advantage of the situation by now, not sat there reading the newspaper!!
I hate the way he treats her ... it's like he's taking their relationship for granted already, there is no romance, he hardly ever pays any attention to her unless he wants something ... Slate is too self absorbed!! If he's not careful he's going to lose that girl!! Maybe I should have a quiet word with him, he seems to have no idea about how to treat a woman properly!! Coral is a little drama queen, so she needs more attention than most, but Slate is not giving her any at all!!
I wander sometimes if it isn't my fault he's the way he is ... I spoiled him, he was an only child and he grew up without a mother, he's never really had any females in his life, because I've never dated anyone since his mother faded, that he saw, it's always been just me and him. I thought at the time I was doing the right thing for him, but now sometimes I wander, he knows how to interact with men, it's women he seems to have a problem with, I don't think he's realized yet they are a totally different species to us men.
I watch as Coral snatches their empty bowls off the table and she takes them over to the sink and starts to wash them up. She glances in my direction and smiles at me, she knows I'm watching her, so I smile then look away and try, as hard as it is, to pretend she isn't there and try to concentrate on the bowl of cereal in front of me.
Their relationship has been troubling me for a while, I've never really thought they were very well suited and it has become even more evident since Coral moved in here. Slate says he loves her but I don't see much evidence of it, they definitely don't act like a young couple who are in love, there is no excitement surrounding this wedding that they are planning ... sometimes I wander why they are even bothering ... if you ask me their relationship is never going to last!!
Slates phone starts ringing and he answers it quickly, it sounds like a call from the hospital. He stands up and takes his mug to the sink, just dropping it into the washing up bowl, the water splashes up all over Coral, she cuts him a dirty look which he doesn't even see because he still has his phone to his ear as he grabs his car keys off the side and walks out of the house without even so much as a goodbye to either me or Coral.
I watch her eyes following him as he walks out of the room without even a backward glance, too engrossed in himself and his phone call. I see she's watching him through the kitchen window, I hear his car start and when he pulls off the drive she stops watching him. Maybe she was waiting for him to wave to her, but by the look on her face I don't think he did.
I can't help but feel sorry for her, I can see she's upset as she stares down into the washing up bowl for quite a while before she carries on washing up.
I never used to leave the house without kissing Amber, Slate just took off like he seriously doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself. He has changed so much since Coral moved in, I'm seeing a side to him that I've never seen before, I've seen him show more affection towards his mates than I do towards Coral ... the cracks are already starting to show ... I'm not even sure he's happy any more ... and I can see she isn't!!
Coral walks closely past the table, letting her hand run casually across the top of the table as she passes by. My eyes follow her hand as it glides across the table top ... I've had more than one dream about those hands and can think of better things that she could be running her hand over ... me ... huh! I've seriously got to stop this!! I have to keep remembering she is half my age, she's my sons girlfriend ... I can't believe I'm even thinking or feeling this way!!
"Anything you need urgently washing?" she asks so I can't help but glance up at her again.
"No thanks, I did all mine yesterday to save you the trouble." I reply as I watch her start digging around in the laundry basket then throwing a load of dirty clothes into the washing machine. When she's set that going she stands folding up a handful of clean towels that she's just pulled out of the dryer, occasionally she's glancing in my direction. When she's finished folding up the towels she turns to stare at me, she has this strange look on her face, I look away and bury my eyes into my cereal bowl again.
Why would she want to walk round the house virtually naked anyway?, does she not think for one minute about me being here, does she not care? Surely she must know, I am a man, I can't keep my eyes off her half naked body especially when its so openly flaunted right in front of me all the time. And the way she moves that body in front of me .... she's killing me!!
I can't imagine that she would have walked around Mango's house dressed like that in front of her brothers, Uncles, Grandparents and Dad, I know Mango, he would never have let her, and he would probably hit the roof if he saw her doing it now ... so why does she do it here? That girl is hardly ever dressed lately.
"Don't forget Mom and Dad are coming round later ... wedding plans!" she says as she starts cleaning the kitchen table, lifting my bowl up to clean under it which I find highly amusing while I'm trying to eat out of it. "You are making a right meal of that cereal this morning!!" she laughs at me while I'm thinking yes I am because you are walking round with hardly any clothes on!!
I rest my hand on the table as I glance up at her, she's almost OCD cleaning. I feel her hand brush mine, the physical contact is broken quickly but her eyes linger on my hand for a moment, then her eyes dart to make contact with mine ... my stomach flips over ... the look in her eyes ... boy I hope I'm reading this all wrong!!
"Do you ever stop cleaning?" I laugh at her nervously, "I hadn't forgotten about tonight, I spoke to your Dad about it yesterday." she just smiles at me as she leans across the table directly opposite me, seriously leaving hardly anything to my imagination as far as her breasts go, I suddenly have then there at eye level, almost falling out of her loose fitting bra right in front of me as she carries on wiping the table with the damp cloth in her hand ... Man she seriously needs to put some clothes on because if she continues to carry on like this I'm going to be removing the few that she is wearing!!
I look up at her face and she's not watching the table like I would imagine, she is smirking at me as she is watching my face. Fudge!! I think she's just seen exactly what she's doing to me!! Mango's words keep echoing around in my head ... she's very good at getting what she wants that one!!
"Leave the table I'll do it when I've finished eating." I say to her, because I'm now starting to feel uncomfortable and need her to stop, but she doesn't listen, she finishes what she's doing, seeming to make a meal of cleaning that table on purpose, with a smirk on her face!!
Does she know what she's making this look like to me?!
I'm not complaining about all this cleaning that she keeps doing, far from it, because this house has not been this clean for years, but there is a time and a place, and she definitely could be wearing more suitable attire, especially in front of me.
She takes my almost empty coffee mug gently out of my hand, her fingers brushing mine again, I glance up at her ..... what is with all this eye contact?! ... I'm beginning to think that I haven't been imagining things ... she is flirting with me.
I start wandering what I'm going to do for the rest of the day, now I find myself trying to think of ways to avoid being in Corals company, not that I don't like her company because I do, its just lately ... the ways she's started acting around me, especially when Slate is not around, and the way I've started to feel ... I don't like it ... it's dangerous.
I have to shop for dinner, but after that I'm at a lose end, I stopped enjoy my days off work for a while, I used to enjoy them when Slate was younger and he depended on me for everything, he used to occupy my time, but now he's grown up he doesn't depend on me for anything, he's a man now with his own life ... and I started to get pretty bored when I'm not at work ... Since Coral moved in it's changed again because she generally keeps me company and we do things and go places together, but that has got to stop!!
After my wife faded in childbirth, I've spent every year since just throwing all of my energy into two thing, my career and my son, there is really nothing else to my life. Now that my son doesn't need me any more I seriously need to make some changes in my life, I need to start getting out more, spending more time with the few friends that I do have and finding myself some hobbies to occupy my time, even start dating again, something I've avoided over the years. Maybe dating might stop my mind from wandering to places where it shouldn't be wandering ... Coral.
Coral distracts me from my thoughts as she puts down the mug of steaming hot coffee, I can feel her leaning over me, her hand rests on my shoulder for a moment as her other arm goes round me as she places the mug on the table in front of me, my heart starts racing and I don't even dare look at her face. She picks up my cereal bowl which now just has milk swimming in the bottom of it, she places it in the sink then comes back to sit down in the chair next to me with her own coffee.
I feel her bare foot touch mine under the table so I move my foot quickly, what the hell is she trying to do to me ... is she doing this on purpose or is my imagination just running riot?!
"What are you planning to cook for dinner tonight?"
"Not sure, I haven't decided yet ... I'm going shopping later, I'll decide while I'm in the supermarket." I say to her as I stand up quickly without even touching my coffee, needing to get out of the kitchen, planning to sit in the living room away from her and read today's newspaper which I heard come through the front door a few minutes ago. I'm wound up like a coiled spring and I need to put some space between us.
I hesitate for a moment then say 'whatever' as I walk out of the kitchen and into the hall to pick the newspaper up off the floor. I really should have tried to discourage her from coming with me, I need to start keeping some distance between us. Me and Coral have spent quite a lot of time together since she's moved in, Slate works some strange shifts at the hospital, some nights it's just me and Coral, sat on the sofa together watching tv, the shopping trips, the wedding dress fittings, the nights out, the days out ... maybe we go out together just a little too much!! We get on well, we enjoy each others company ... obviously a little too much or I wouldn't have started feeling this way ... it doesn't help that she works from home, she paints like her Mother used to before her fall, so Coral is always here, there is really no escaping her.
I sit down on the couch and open the paper and start flicking through it. I roll my eyes at the centre spread, I might have known what it might be about. The Orchid family have been seriously dragged through the mud since Tapestry's disappearance. Mango has been torn to pieces because of his connection to the people who are suspected of being involved with the abduction of his son ... his eldest son, his ex-girlfriend and his Sister-in-Law ... if I didn't know him as well as I do I might have believed some of the crap they have written about him in the papers.
Not that I really believe anything in the newspaper ... I take a lot of things that they print with a pinch of salt, being in the police force I know the truth about a lot of the crime related stories that they run ... and most of them are just that ... far fetched stories and far from the truth. Today it seems it's Preludes turn, they are ripping him to shreds because of his wife Manderine and a lot of his and her dirty laundry is being aired for the world to read.
"What time are you thinking of going shopping?" Coral follows me into the living room sitting down on the couch right next to me. There are four other seats she could have sat on, why the one right next to me ... I can hardly breath!! I feel her hand on my shoulder again as she leans over to look at the page I'm readings, I quickly turn the page over so she can't see what I am reading, the last thing I need right now is for her to get all upset on me, which I suspect she will if she see's this newspaper article.
"I'm just flicking through the paper, taking a quick shower then we're fit to go." she giggles so I glance at her and frown, wandering what she might find amusing. She just smiles at me as she stands up.
"I'll go and put some clothes on then." she says as she places her mug down on the coffee table. I'm thinking - Good idea then maybe I might be able to relax!!
I can't help but watch her walk across the living room, she start making her way up the stairs slowly running her hand up the banister, there she goes with her hand again. I think she knows I'm watching because she looks back at me when she gets half way up the stairs and smiles ... but that was no ordinary smile ... she's playing games with me I just know it!!
When Coral disappears out of view I try to shake the naughty thoughts out of my head and flick back to the centre spread and carry on reading from where I had left off ... Manderine, Prelude and all their dirty laundry.
It's not that I'm interested in the gossip that is going to follow this news article, I'm looking for something, anything, that I can pick up on that might help with the case .... Tapestry's disappearance is now seriously starting to grate on my nerves. It is more for the fact that its been more than four months now, while Honey has returned home, Tapestry is still out there somewhere ... it's the failure of not being able to solve the case and find the boy that is seriously starting to get me down.
Of course I also feel like I'm letting my friend down, I'm having to watch Mango and his family being torn apart by all this ... knowing I am the one in charge of finding him and bringing him home ... but I'm not doing that. Since Honey was found, with her apparent amnesia and can't remember a thing after being snatched from the funeral, the trail has run completely cold, there is just silence coming ... no clues, no sightings, not the slightest bit of activity is coming up under any of their identities ... Sugar Valley, Apple Hill and Strawberry Falls where Manderine was born, all three towns we have torn to pieces and there is just nothing ... it's like the four of them, Tapestry, Maizie, Manderine and 'River' have just vanished off the face of the earth.
I finish reading the article and close up the newspaper, folding it in half and throw it on the coffee table a little disappointed.
There is nothing in that article that I didn't already know, both Prelude and Manderine have quite a checkered past, and only part of it has been highlighted in that article ... Manderines antics would probably have filled the whole paper just on there own even without Preludes past antics.
I stand up and start making my way upstairs to take a shower.
Coral's whereabouts is the last thing on my mind when I open the bathroom door, the abduction case still playing on my mind. I freeze as I walk into the bathroom, I hadn't heard the shower running from on the landing but I can now.
Coral glances in my direction and smiles at me, she must have heard the bathroom door open or was it me gasping in shock that attracted her attention. All I want is a big hole to open up in the floor and swallow me whole ... I'm wandering why she didn't lock the door like she normally would, while I can't believe she's just standing there smiling at me as she continues to cover herself in shower gel, squeezing it gently out of the bottle, her eyes not leaving my face.
As much as I want to I can't tear my eyes of the scene in front of me .... I'm just frozen, my feet rooted to the floor watching the hot steamy water washing seductively over her naked body, which she doesn't even try to hide from me ... she has now seriously left nothing to my imagination.
She carries on washing herself like I'm not even there ... she runs her hand slowly down her neck and across her breasts as she starts to lather the shower gel up on her body ... she smiles at me again, but this smile is different ... she knows exactly what she'd doing!! Now I know what she's been doing around me is not my imagination!!
Mango's words start bouncing around in my head again ... she's very good at getting what she wants that one!!
To right she is, she's playing a blinder!!
I can feel my own body reacting to what I'm watching ... I have to get out of here before I do something stupid ... I want to get into that shower with her ... I suspect that's exactly what she wants me to do, or else why would she be doing this ... but I can't even go there .... this is all wrong!!
I have to remind myself AGAIN ... she's Mango's daughter, she's young enough to be my own daughter ... she is my son's fiance for berry's sake!!
I step quickly out of the bathroom and slam the door behind me, leaning against the wall while I try to catch my breath and calm myself down.
I let myself slide down the wall, as I'm struggling to pull myself together, half of me wants to go straight back into that bathroom and give her exactly what she wants.
It doesn't need a detective to work this one out .... I've seen the way she looks at me sometimes, the eye contact, the way she keeps casually touching me every opportunity she gets, all this flaunting herself virtually naked in front of me, she knew I was coming up here for a shower ... I told her for berry's sake ... she wanted me to walk in on her, she didn't lock the door .... she's set this up on purpose!!
My phone starts ringing, I answer it quickly hoping that it will take my mind off what has just happened and what I could quite easily have let happen. I take the call from work which is pretty quick.
I snap my phone shut and jump up off the floor, making my way quickly into my bedroom to get dressed. I've decided to spend a few hours in the gym, I need to clear my head and run off some of this frustration that is building up inside me. I also need to pop into the station, some fresh evidence has just come up on Tapestry's abduction case.
After getting dressed and grabbing my gym bag I make my way back out onto the landing and nearly bump into Coral head on, who is dripping wet, wearing just underwear again and standing silently outside my bedroom door.
I stare at her for a moment, I can feel the sexual tension running between us, she looks up at me with wide eyes and smiles trying to make eye contact with me again, but I look away to avoid it happening. She doesn't say anything, but she doesn't have to!!
I've just walked in on her taking a shower ... and she is smiling at me ... she doesn't look the slightest bit embarrassed or upset when she should be. She set that up, she wanted me to walk in on her ... she almost looks disappointed that I didn't fall for it.
I need to get out of here and away from her!!
I take some money out of my pocket and hand it to her.
"You'll have to shop for dinner on your own, get whatever you think, you know what your parents like to eat." she frowns at me then stares down at the money I've placed in her hand, she spots my gym bag in my other hand but doesn't say anything as she continues to stare at it. "I've been called into work." I say making my excuses.
As I try to walk away from her she grabs my arm to stop me, I stop and stare down at her hand for a moment ... I can't!!! ...
I shake my arm free from her grip and start running down the stairs.
"Gravel wait .." she calls after me
I ignore her, walking straight out of the front door slamming it behind me.
Song = Sliding Doors - Olly Murs