Sugar on the Edge(6)

By: Sawyer Bennett

Looking up at Casey, I say, “How about giving me this guy’s contact information so I can call him?” Might as well nail down this job and hope it gives me some measure of peace that I’ll have some extra income coming in.

“Sure,” she says as she pulls out her phone from her pocket and flips through her contacts. When she finds what she’s looking for, she holds her phone out for me to see.

I dial the number as I flip my gaze back and forth between her phone and mine.

He answers on the fourth ring, just as I was expecting voice mail to pick up.

“What?” is all he says, but his English accent is clear in just that one word.

“Um… Mr. Cooke?”

“Gavin,” he grumbles into the phone and if I’m not mistaken, his voice is a little slurred.

“Uh… yeah, this is Savannah Shepherd. My roommate, Casey Markham, said you wanted me to call.”

There’s silence on the other line for a moment, and then he says irritably, “Who told you to call me?”

“Casey Markham… your realtor? She said you might want me to clean your house?”

I hear him hiss through his teeth, and he sounds even more irritated. “Fuck… yeah, I forgot about that. Look, I’m in the middle of something and can’t talk. Just be here tomorrow at ten, and we can discuss the details.”

“Ten in the morning?” I ask, just to clarify, because I have another house I have to clean starting at eight, and I don’t know if I can be done in time.

“Of course, ten in the morning,” he says, clearly exasperated at my question. “Do you clean houses at ten at night?”

“Sometimes,” I answer automatically, and I can tell he doesn’t have a comeback. “Look, Mr. Cooke…”

“Gavin,” he butts in.

“Gavin,” I acknowledge. “I have another job at eight and not sure I can be there by ten. Can we possibly—?”

He cuts me off. “If you want the job, be here at ten. If you don’t, don’t be here at ten. Choice is yours.”

He then hangs up the phone on me, and I’m stuck listening to dead space.

Putting my phone down, I glance up at Casey, who is watching me intently. “He really is an asshole.”

“Told you,” she says, while nodding her head up and down. “What did he say?”

“Told me to be there at ten if I wanted the job and then hung up on me,” I say as I start flipping through my contacts. I pull up the number for Grace Banner, the woman whose house I clean every Thursday at eight. “Guess I better see if I can be at her house a little early tomorrow.”

“Great,” Casey mutters as she watches me dial Grace’s number. “You’re trading in one douche employer for another.”

As the phone rings, I cock an eyebrow at her. “I’m not trading just yet. Looks like I’ll have two douche employers for a while until I can cut one loose.”

Casey nods at me in commiseration.

Boom, boom, boom.

The pounding in my head causes me to open my eyes slowly, because I know the sunlight filtering through the shades is going to hurt like a motherfucker.

Boom, boom, boom.

Christ, it seems to be getting louder, and I’m regretting polishing off that last half bottle of Macallan last night. I rub my eyes, which are caked with sleep, and turn my head to look at the alarm clock. Fuck… it’s only ten o’clock in the morning, and I was hoping to sleep past the majority of my hangover.

Painkillers… that’s what I need right now.

Gingerly sitting up and swinging my feet out of bed, I hesitantly put my fingertips to my temple and try to massage the pounding away.

Boom, boom, boom.

Fucking hell. That’s someone banging on my door, which causes the actual pounding in my head to skyrocket. Lurching out of bed, I stumble out of my bedroom, down the flight of stairs, and into the kitchen with my eyes only open to half slits because the sunlight isn’t helping the pain either. I manage to crack my hip against the counter, letting out a string of curses as I make my way to the front door.

Boom, boom—

I swing the door open forcefully and glare at the person standing there. “You better have a good excuse for pounding on my fucking door this early,” I snarl.

“Mr. Cooke? You told me to be here at ten,” the person says… a woman, I can now glean, even though I’ve yet to fully open my eyes.

Squinting at her hard, my eyes still blurry, I can make out a young woman with dark brown hair and unrecognizable facial features, as I’m sure I still have drunk goggles on. “I did?”

“Um… yes, to talk about cleaning your house,” she says quietly. Even in all my hungover glory, I don’t fail to notice that she takes a small step backward.

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