Twelve Days The Beginning - By Jade Reyner


The door slammed shut, rattling on its hinges. She had left him. Finally. It was as simple and as complicated as that.

She walked on unfeeling legs to her battered run-around and got in, turning the key, putting it in gear, automatic pilot. She turned the steering wheel, praying she had time, praying her car would take her somewhere. Anywhere.

She needed a drink. Boy, did she need a drink.

But first, she needed somewhere to live.

Chapter One

Twelve days earlier

The music was pounding - The Communards ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, - and Elise allowed the beats to sweep her away. She loved this track; an absolute must-dance-to, guaranteed to fill the floor. As the track reached its crescendo, Elise raised her arms above her head and closed her eyes, allowing the music to wash over her, spinning round, losing all sense of her surroundings. The rhythm was pulsing through her from head to toe, allowing Elise to forget everything but this moment. This perfect synchronisation of mind, body and senses. She could feel herself getting warmer as she continued to absorb the music and was immensely grateful for her lightweight, short-sleeved black dress. A crepe material, which fitted on the bodice and then flared out at the waist to finish in a floating skirt just above her knees. She felt good and she knew that tonight, she looked good.

Suddenly a pair of strong arms grabbed her from behind, breaking her out of her music induced reverie and nearly causing her heart to fail.

“Jesus, Cole, you scared the shit out of me!”

She whirled around to face her work colleague and best friend Cole Andrews and punched him lightly on the arm. Her already racing heart felt like it was about to jump out of her chest – he had scared the crap out of her – and as her bright blue eyes met chocolate brown, she raised an eyebrow sardonically. He was struggling to hide his very obvious amusement and when she went to punch him again, he caught her wrist easily and continued to smile at her in his infinitely adorable way.

Cole was beautiful; there was no other word for it. He was the epitome of tall, dark and handsome with the most gorgeous brown eyes. His hair was a lighter shade than his eyes and flopped over his face in the most ridiculously heart stopping way. Elise’s breath hitched as she looked at him in the muted lights of the crowded dance floor, waiting for the now familiar attraction to pass.

When Elise had first begun working for Andrews & Andrews Accountancy, Cole - as the junior partner - had been assigned to train her and generally make sure that she didn’t mess up. It had been love at first sight for Elise and in the early days she had seriously struggled with her concentration. Every time he leaned over her she would have to hide her shudders and pretend that the computer programme that he was demonstrating really was the most interesting thing in the world.

As time passed they had started to spend lunchtimes together and soon realised that they both shared the same terrible taste in music, both hated exercising and both had a serious weakness for chocolate. The day they shared their first Dairy Milk was the day their friendship had been cemented and over the last five years, Cole had remained her one constant. He had picked her up and put her back together more times than she could remember and in return, she had rescued him from the clutches of some seriously psycho dates. In all that time they never once talked about the undercurrent of attraction between them although they were both more than aware that it was there. Neither of them wanted to ruin the friendship that they had built; both recognising the beauty of their relationship and so, by an unspoken agreement, things remained purely platonic.

There was also the fact that neither of them wanted to cross the line; - break the rules, so to speak. Their friendship remained exactly as it was for one very good reason and one very good reason alone.

Elise was married.

Cole was still grinning inanely at her as she shook herself out of her trance, belatedly realising that Jimmy Somerville had long since stopped asking her not to leave, and she was now being told to ‘Sit Down’ by James.

“Looking hot tonight, beautiful” Cole declared and Elise struggled not to blush under his intense gaze. Despite their understanding and her