Sleeping Arrangements

Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham Page A

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Authors: Madeleine Wickham
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    'I like the snake,' he said. 'Very sexy.' Jenna stared at him for a moment, then threw back her head in laughter.
    'Oh, you're desperate, aren't you?' she said. 'You're fucking begging for it.'
    Sam's face flamed.
    'I'm not!' he said hotly. 'Jesus! I'm just trying to . . . to . . .'
    'Get in my knickers. I know.'
    'Oh, for God's sake.' He turned away and stalked over to the gate leading to the road.
    There was a figure in the distance coming up the hill, and he focused hard on it, trying not to think about Jenna's mocking gaze.
    After a while, he realized that he was staring at a boy of about his own age, leading a pair of goats along the road.
    'Look at that!' He turned round, momentarily forgetting his embarrassment. 'Have you got a camera?'
    'What?' Jenna glanced over the hedge. 'You want to take a picture of him?'
    'Why not? It's cool. A guy and his goats.' Jenna rolled her eyes.
    'You're such a fucking tourist.'
    You can talk, Sam wanted to retort, but instead he turned back to the road.
    'Hi,' he said as the Spanish boy drew near, and lifted a hand in greeting. The boy paused and stared back. He was shorter than Sam, but stronger looking, with muscular brown arms.
    He grinned at Sam—and for a moment Sam felt his heart lift. It would all be cool. He would get to know this guy—and then hang out with him and his friends. Perhaps there would even be some really stunning Spanish girls who fancied English blokes.
    'Hijo de puta!' The boy drew back his head, and spat at the iron gate.
    Sam felt himself flinch in shock. He stared, aghast, at the boy, who lifted a single finger at him, then proceeded up the road, the bells on his goats' collars tinkling slightly in the breeze.
    'Did you see what he did?' Sam turned to Jenna, who was sitting on the ground, examining one of her toenails.
    'No, what?'
    'He spat on the gate! He fucking . . . spat on it!' Jenna shrugged, and Sam stared at her.
    'Don't you think it's a bloody . . . a bloody nerve?'
    'It's not your gate,' pointed out Jenna. 'Not your house.'
    'I know. But still. Would you spit on someone's gate?'
    'I might,' said Jenna. 'If I had a reason.'
    'Yeah, well,' said Sam after a pause. 'That doesn't surprise me.'
    Jenna looked up at him and grinned.
    'You're pissed off with me.'
    'Maybe.' Sam gave a sulky shrug and leaned against the gate. Jenna looked at him consideringly, then rose to her feet.
    'Don't be pissed off,' she said, walking towards him, her mouth twisted in a little smile.
    'Don't be angry.' Slowly she reached out and touched his chest—then trailed a cool finger down to the top of his swimming trunks. 'You never know—you might be in with a chance.'
    She took a step closer to him and her hand pushed its way beneath the elastic top of his trunks. Sam stared back in a sudden paralysis of arousal. As her eyes met his they seemed to glint with secrets; with promises of pleasure. Oh fuck, he thought. Oh fuck, this is really happening.
    Jenna's hand wormed further into his trunks. She pulled the thin fabric gently away from his skin and he felt himself responding helplessly, his mind racing with excitement. Where were they going to—what exactly was she going to—what about the—
    The snap of elastic against his stomach was like a bullet wound. The sound of Jenna's raucous laughter was another. As he stared at her in shock, she winked at him—almost kindly—then turned and walked off, the little snake wriggling as she went.

CHAPTER SIX
    Much later that day, Chloe wandered along the cool, pale corridor to the bedroom to change for dinner. The marble floor was like balm to her hot feet; the dark paintings and muted colours restful to her eyes after the glare of the sun. But inside, she still felt charged up; hot and rather agitated. She felt as though she had been slowly cranking up throughout the day to an emotional pitch which now had no outlet, which could not be easily dissipated.
    All day, she had been aware of Hugh across the pool. Outwardly,

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