The taxi pulled off the M8, and then roadworks diverted it to weave through sleepy mansions to Pollokshaws Road. Morvan loved the city at this time of night. It never slept, not completely. Night busses trundled up the quiet road, a crowd of students in dungarees zigzagged the long way home after a few pints too many, and scrappy foxes claimed the shadows.
'Just here is great for me,' she said as the sleeping hulk of Shawlands Arcade appeared. 'I'm up this way, just off Deanston Drive,' she murmured to Kilty Man, feeling a bit shy, which was ridiculous given what had just happened. 'I can walk from here.'
'I'll walk you,' he said quickly, fumbling in his sporran for his wallet.
Morvan tried to ignore the wee flush of pleasure fizzing through her. She whipped her card out quick as a flash and paid the full fare.
'Oh, no — I was going to —' He looked stricken, and Morvan smiled.
'I think we can agree I owe you one,' she whispered, and his ears turned pink. 'Daylight robbery,' she said to the cabbie, adding a generous tip.
'It's the middle of the night, hen,' the cabbie grinned.
They clambered out, and chilly air brought goosebumps to Morvan's arms. There was a stench of rubbish and something wonderful emanating from a nearby bakery. She was suddenly acutely aware that she didn't know his name.
'So —'she began, then laughed because he started to speak at the same time.
'I was just going to say there was a famous bakery up there. The family that lived in that mansion at the entrance of Queens Park —'
'No, the one actually inside the park. It's called Camphill House, it's flats now. But the family had a cotton factory that employed pretty much everyone from here to Cathcart Road. In the mid-1800s, the son who took over the business had these mad, newfangled ideas of treating workers well. Bread was really expensive and low quality, so he started a bakery to provide his workers with nutritious bread at a subsidised cost. It ended up becoming this huge business, and they said that Shawlands smelled of baking bread for decades.'
Men tended to scoff at Morvan's habit of announcing random facts or jump in with three of their own, all of which Morvan already knew. But Kilty Man seemed tickled. He was gazing up the road as though envisioning Victorian factory workers queuing up for their socialist bread. 'I've lived here all my life and didn't know that.'
'Well… now you do.'
'So I'm, umm — I stay up that way.' He gestured vaguely in the direction of Pollokshields.
Morvan had to admit she was a bit relieved he seemed as verklempt as she felt. As a general rule, she wasn't one for one-night stands. She found that men were simple creatures who required more detailed instruction than she could be bothered giving a random. Her vibrator was more efficient and didn't snore.
But Kilty Man required no instruction whatsoever. Heat tingled through her as flashes came back of those strong, masterful fingers deep inside her, that soft kiss that made her feel…
The word popped unbidden into her mind and she shook her head. She was being absurd. This man was a stranger. They'd had a hot session in a taxi, and it was excellent, but for heaven's sake get a grip.
Kilty Man seemed perfect only because she hadn't heard him snore, or moan about how much she worked, or expect her to remember his mum's birthday. The memory of tonight would streamline her next few vibrator sessions, which was perfectly adequate.
Except… she wasn't walking away. Say goodnight and thank you very much and have a nice life. Yet somehow, she was still standing there grinning at him like an awkward loon.
It was his smile. The way he was looking at her with such — kindness? Patience. He was letting her take the lead. Matters had been distinctly one-sided, yet he wasn't announcing it was his turn, nudging her hip with a demanding erection. She could wish him a nice life and go home to a mountain of toast without a backwards glance, but suddenly she very much did not want to.
I would fit perfectly into the nook of his shoulder.
What is the matter with me?
I really want a hug.
As though reading her mind, Kilty Man stepped forward and gathered her into his arms. Their bodies melted against one another as he held her tightly, burying his face in her shoulder as though he needed the hug as much as she did. He smelled like plain soap with a faint hint of spicy aftershave, and something else that was indefinably male.
'Right, then,' Morvan said quickly.
He blinked in surprise.
'Thanks for the — well, you know —' She had stepped back so far she was practically shouting from across the road. She couldn't be close to him. His scent was too tempting.
She took a deep breath. The smell of baking bread suddenly made her want to cry.
'Have a, uhh -- a very nice life.' She forced a grin. See? She wasn't bitter and cold and cut off. She told him to have a very nice life.
'Thanks,' he said. Morvan was sure she imagined the hurt in his voice as she started to walk away. 'You too.'
I could bring him home.
They'd practically done the one-night stand thing anyway. Why cut it off here? In for a penny in for a pound, and all that. He clearly had skills. What would be wrong about enjoying him for just a tiny bit longer before never seeing him again as long as she lived? Surely she owed him an orgasm, at the very least. That was just manners.
She firmly ignored the tiny voice that whispered she could also not not see him again for as long as she lived. She could ask him for a drink. Dinner, even. Didn't normal people do that?
Just as she turned around to suggest round two, she heard a metallic clink as something fell to the pavement. Kilty Man was crouching, feeling frantically around the filthy pathing stones. A glint caught Morvan's eye, and she saw what was lying on the pavement.
A noxious bile of horror filled her, tightening her chest. Her heart raced, anger and hurt thundering through her with such force it took her breath away. How dare he.
'I take it that's what you're looking for,' she snapped, kicking the offending item towards him. She whirled around, praying her wobbly legs would carry her as tears splashed over her cheeks.
Behind her, Kilty Man reached for his wedding ring.
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