Conveniently His(6)

By: Penny Jordan

And yet for all his vagueness, Jon could be ruthless enough when the occasion demanded it, she mused, pausing for a moment—witness his dismissal of Louise.

She sat down in his desk chair, still half stunned that a girl as clever and as quick as Louise had honestly thought she could use her sexual allure to trap Jonathan into marriage. That must have been what she had thought. No girl as modern as the children’s nanny had been could possibly have believed that any man would marry her simply because he had been to bed with her.

Getting up, she made her way to the sitting room most used by the family. It caught the afternoon sun and she passed by the deeply sashed Victorian windows staring at the sunset as she waited for Jonathan.

‘Coffee, Sophy.’

For such a large man he moved extremely quietly. Frowning as she turned round, Sophy was suddenly struck by the fact that Jonathan was altogether deceptive. She always thought of him as clumsy and yet when he was working on his computer he could be surprisingly deft. She had thought him too obtuse and involved in his own private thoughts and his work, and yet he was surprisingly perceptive where the children were concerned and this afternoon, when he had answered her unspoken question. He sat down on the ancient, slightly sagging sofa, the springs groaning slightly as they took his weight. Standing up he often looked thin and faintly stooping but he wasn’t thin, she realised in sudden surprise as he took off his glasses and, putting them down on the coffee table, stretched his body tiredly so that she could see the way his muscles moved beneath his shirt, and they were muscles, too...

Still standing by the window she continued to watch him, faintly shocked to realise that in profile his features were attractively irregular and very masculine. Without his glasses he looked different from the normally aesthetic man he appeared to be. He ceased stretching and rubbed his eyes.

‘What have you got planned for the children, Jon?’

She sounded more belligerent than she had intended and she half expected him to jump uneasily in apprehension as he was wont to do when she complained because he had upset her neat filing cabinets. Instead, he smiled at her glintingly.

‘You sound like a protective mother hen. Come and sit down. I hate having to look up at you,’ he added, smiling again. ‘I’m not used to it.’

Knowing that she would not get a scrap more information from him until she did as he asked, Sophy took a chair opposite the settee. Beneath that vague exterior lurked a will of iron, as she already knew, but so far she had only seen it in force where his work was concerned.

Suddenly and quite inexplicably she felt tense and nervous, neither of them feelings she was used to experiencing in Jon’s presence. To cover them she said quickly, ‘Mother was saying only today that you need a wife, Jon, and I’m beginning to think she’s right.’

‘So am I.’ He started polishing his glasses, something he always did when he was nervous, and yet his nervous movements were oddly at variance with the tense determination she could almost feel emanating from him.

‘But not Louise surely?’ she began faintly, only to realise that it was hardly any of her business. And yet the thought of the pert, dark-haired young woman as Jon’s wife was oddly distasteful to her. She bit her lip and looked up. Jon was looking at her and it was hard to analyse the expression in his eyes. All she did know was that it was unfamiliar to her.

‘Not Louise,’ he agreed gravely, suddenly looking away from her, his voice once again faintly husky and nervous as he cleared his throat and said, totally out of the blue, ‘As a matter of fact, Sophy, I was rather hoping that you...’

Her? Jonathan was trying to say that he wanted to marry her! Oh no, surely she must be imagining things. She must have misunderstood. She looked across at him and saw from the hopeful hesitant look he was giving her that she had not.

‘You want to marry me?’ she asked disbelievingly, just to be sure. ‘You think we should get married? But that’s totally out of the question.’

She had expected him to accept her refusal immediately; even to be faintly embarrassed and perhaps a little relieved by it. After all, he could have no real desire to be married to her...but to her dismay he shook his head, and plunged on quickly.

‘No, no...listen to me for a moment. You love the kids.’ He paused and while she said nothing Sophy knew she could not deny it. She heard him clearing his throat again and held her breath slightly. ‘And, er...well...that don’t seem to have boyfriend at the present time.’

‘I don’t want to get married, Jon,’ she broke in firmly. ‘Not to you nor to anyone else.’

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