Love for Leona Ch. 07

Balls

The following Saturday morning the phone rang; it was Jules.

‘I want you to make up a fourth for dinner tonight, Jules was saying, ‘Nathan will be there and my brother Gareth who’s down from Brisbane, and I need an extra woman.’

‘No. Not tonight, Jules. I can’t,’ Leona said into the phone. She was tired and didn’t want to go out. ‘I’ve had a heavy day at work. I need to regain my strength over the weekend and …’

‘But I want you to meet Gareth. I’ve set him up specially for you.’

‘I never asked you for that,’ – peevishly.

‘I know,’ – confidently, – ‘but I also know you haven’t been seeing anyone lately.’

Jules didn’t know about Mike Follett. It had been a week since she had slept with Mike, one of the many in her series of one-night stands. She had broken the pact she had initiated with herself, that she would stay away from men for a time; she wanted to break her negative pattern.

‘I don’t want you setting me up like that, Jules’ – with some asperity – ‘I’m not seeing anyone tonight.’

‘But I’ve organized everything,’ – with persistence. Once you’ve met him, you’ll think differently. It’s my brother, Gareth, I want you to escort kartal meet, not a stranger. Gareth’s been through a terrible time since his wife died, and I can’t let him down.’ Jules’s voice was insistent. ‘It will do you good to get out.’

Leona didn’t want to see anyone. Didn’t want yet another meaningless one-night encounter. Sighing, ‘Jules … I am seeing someone.’

She wasn’t seeing anybody, but it made Jules pause a moment. There was silence on the other end of the phone and it made Leona uncomfortable.

‘You just said you’re not seeing anyone tonight,’ – with a laugh. ‘You even told me you’ve sworn off men. Look, I’m really stuck for this evening. I can’t let Gareth down … Just meet him. If you don’t like him, there’s nothing lost. Nathan’s coming too, so it’ll be a double date, and if for some reason you don’t hit it off, it wouldn’t be as awkward.’

Leona mulled over this thought. Jules did have a point. She didn’t have to take the guy home with her.

‘We’re meeting at the restaurant in South Yarra tonight at seven,’ – with enthusiasm, – ‘it’s a top class place with excellent food and wine. Nathan’s been there several times maltepe escort and he’s offered to pay for all of us. Don’t let me down,’ – pleading.

‘Listen to me …’

‘Jules cleared her throat. ‘Leona, come on.’ This was the closest she’d ever heard Jules come to begging. ‘I need a fourth, and it’ll be a good meal. I wouldn’t ask, but I’ve already invited him, and you’re my best friend.’

‘What did you say his name was?’

‘Gareth. Gareth Hamilton.’

Silence for a long moment.

‘Leona? You still there?’ Jules’s voice floated from the receiver.

‘What’s he look like?’

‘He looks like me.’

Laughing, ‘You call that a recommendation?’

‘He’s a spunk! Tall and good-looking. No exaggeration. But he’s a completely different personality from me. More serious. More like you.’

Leona gave a small sigh.

‘But there’s something I’ve got to tell you,’ – with a slightly lowered voice, – ‘eighteen months ago Gareth’s wife was killed in an automobile accident. He still hasn’t got over it. Tends to blame himself. You’ll need to go gentle with him for a while.’

‘That won’t be a problem. I’m not looking pendik escort bayan to getting involved.’

‘You seem bitter,’ Jules said.

‘It’s nothing. It’s just that I’m out of patience with men making use of me.’

‘Gareth won’t be a problem that way, I’m sure.’

‘That’s fine,’ – with another sigh.

‘You’ll come?’ – Jules was delighted – ‘to make the foursome?’

‘All right. I’ll be there.’

‘Good for you,’ Jules said easily as if there had never been any doubt about her friend’s eventual agreement. ‘It’s not much fun being on your own, girl!’

‘I’ll go along with this just this once. But if this turns out a disaster, Jules. I’m never letting you set me up again.’

‘Okay,’ Jules agreed. ‘Okay. You have my word. I’m gonna call Gareth right now.’

Leona shrugged and made her way to her bedroom. She wasn’t going to go out of her way to dress herself up, she told herself as she slipped off her clothes and stepped into the shower.

Perhaps the night wouldn’t be too bad after all, she considered as she dried herself. She wasn’t expecting anything.

She examined her face in the mirror. She was tired and would have liked an early night.

She brushed out her hair, donned a bra and a smartly tailored trouser suit. Despite her promise to herself not to doll herself up, she applied a subtle pastel make-up with meticulous care.

Presentable if not beautiful, she thought.

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