Oh-So-Sensible Secretary / Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After. Jessica Hart
to dealing with everything, ever since I was child. I can’t help it, but Jonathan thinks it makes me bossy. He used to make comments about it. I thought he was being affectionate, but now I wonder if it really bothered him. Funny how a man is never bossy, isn’t it?’ I added in a bitter aside. ‘A man is always assertive or controlling, but never, ever bossy.’
‘I don’t think you’re bossy,’ said Phin. ‘You’re practical, which is a very different thing.’
‘Jonathan thinks I am. He just got bored with me. All that time I was telling myself how much I loved him, he was losing interest. I should have realised that he hadn’t invested anything in the relationship. He didn’t even leave a toothbrush at my flat. When he ended it, there was nothing to discuss.’
Oh, dear, here came the tears again. I groped around for the wet napkin until Phin found me another, and I scrubbed furiously at my cheeks before drawing a shuddering breath.
‘When Monique told me about Lori today, it just made me realise what a fool I’ve been about everything,’ I said. ‘I’d had this dream in my head for so long, and it was all wrapped up with being with Jonathan and feeling safe, but I should have known it was too good to be true,’ I said wretchedly. ‘He’d never want someone like me.’
‘But you still want him?’
I nodded. ‘I love him,’ I said, my voice catching.
‘Then I think you should go out and get him back,’ said Phin. ‘I didn’t have you down as someone who would give up as easily as that. What have you been doing since you split up?’
‘Precisely, and look where it’s got you. You’re miserable, and Jonathan’s dating a woman named after a truck. Lori? I mean, how serious can he be?’
I looked at him. ‘That’s a pathetic joke,’ I said, but I managed a watery smile even so.
‘I’m just saying you shouldn’t give up,’ Phin said. ‘Your trouble is that you’re too subtle. I had lunch with you both the other day, and I didn’t have a clue that there had been anything at all between you. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jonathan thinks you don’t care one way or the other. I suggest we have another drink,’ he went on, gesturing for the waitress to bring another round, ‘and plan your strategy.’
I considered that, my brow creased with the effort of thinking after two martinis. ‘You think I should tell Jonathan how I feel?’
‘Absolutely not!’ Phin tutted. ‘Really, Summer, you haven’t got a clue, have you? If you get heavy on him he’ll panic and think you’re about to drag him off to the suburbs via the nearest registry office—which is what you want, of course, but this is not the time to tell him that. You’ve got to reel him in first.’
‘Well, what do you suggest, if you’re such an expert?’ I asked, wiping mascara away with the napkin. What was the point of waterproof mascara if you couldn’t cry? I would have to write and complain. ‘If I tell him how I feel, I’m too intense. If I don’t, he won’t notice because I’m so boring and predictable.’ I lapsed back into gloom once more.
Another beer and a fresh martini were placed on the table. Phin pushed my glass towards me. ‘For a start, you’ve got to get this idea that you’re boring out of your head,’ he told me sternly. ‘You’re smart, you’re funny—not always deliberately, I’ll grant you—and you’re sexy as hell.’
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