Good Enough to Trust(5)By: Zara Stoneley
“Emmet?” I had to ask, even though a part of me was screaming out, too many words already.
“Y’know, a grockle, tourist.” His tone was steady, but he definitely had his mind on something else.
“And there was I thinking you were a nice boy.” I tried to look judgemental and probably failed.
“I am. I just saved you from my bullocks.”
Which made me think of something I didn’t want saving from.
“And you were, technically speaking, trespassing. Path goes way over there.” He waved his stick in the general direction of the hills behind me.
“Ah.” I knew I should have grabbed a map, but I’d thought it couldn’t be that difficult to find my way. It had been easy enough last time. When I had Ollie holding my hand and the warmth of the sun against my back making me feel all languid and sexed up.
“Why would a girl like you be heading up there anyway, specially this time of year?”
Now there was a question, and one I wasn’t sure I could answer. It was the start of sorting myself out, the place I thought might give me some answers, help me think. When I’d been there last time there was something so calm, so other-worldly about the place, it had struck me as somewhere you could find peace. And that was before it had all gone so very wrong. But I couldn’t say any of that to him, now could I?
“It was nice last time I went, I promised myself I’d go back.” I shrugged and shifted my feet awkwardly. “I forgot Cornwall was so damp this time of year.”
“I can take you if you want?”
Which took me a bit by surprise.
“Shouldn’t you be doing whatever you do with your bullocks?”
“I’d rather be doing something with you.”
He looked almost bashful for a second, almost. Who’d have thought a man in wellies could be so direct?
“You’d risk being seen with an emmet?” I gave him my mock, horrified look and he went back to what I took to be his normal laidback relaxed state, which made me wonder just how he’d be in bed. No rushing this man would be my guess.
“Nothing ventured. Anyhow you don’t strike me as much of a tourist, and you’ve come the wrong time of year to qualify. You know why they’re called emmets?”
“Come for a beer and I’ll try my best.” He straightened up which took him another couple of inches away.
So, no quickie against the wall with his wellies on. Which was kind of disappointing, but probably for the best.
“I’m Will by the way.” And he held out a big meaty hand, which kind of fitted in with the rest of him.
I took it and the strength of those short, blunt fingers seeped straight through me and headed even lower than the swirl in my stomach, and I had a sudden inkling he probably could surprise me.
He didn’t let go of my hand, just pulled me in the direction of his slightly battered Landrover.
“I’m Sophie, Soph.”
“My first girlfriend was called Sofia, met her in Italy.”
He opened the car door and watched me clamber in. Yeah, I was sure he could surprise me; Italian girls definitely hadn’t been on my radar.
“So, what happened?”
He started up the engine and gave me a quizzical look.
I grinned, because something told me she’d left a mark. “With Sofia?”
“I met her big, Italian momma and saw the future.” He laughed a low, deep chuckle that made me sure he was thinking about more than the momma. “It was just a first love thing we both grew out of.”
The engine leapt into life and my new friend, Will, shoved it into gear and started a not-so-slow trundle across the uneven field, and I hung onto the seat and the door, and anything that looked like it wouldn’t move and did my best not to turn into an untidy bundle in the foot well. Talking was not an option.
We were sitting in the snug of a pub with beer on the table before he said anything else, and when he did it wasn’t quite what I expected. I mean, why are you here? Where do you come from? That kind of thing is normal isn’t it?
“Ants, that’s where the word ‘emmet’ comes from. Whole place gets invaded in the summer, a swarm.” He curled his fingers round his pint as though he wasn’t sure what he should say next.