Jameson Fox

By: Nina Levine

Holding my breath, I twist my arm around to the back of my dress to feel for a rip, and sure enough, I find it.

“Oh mother of effing God, why does this shit always have to happen to me?” I mutter as I stand. “I bloody told Poppy that I had a dress I could wear, but no, she wants me to wear this damn dress.”

“It’ll help you meet a man”, she’d said, as if meeting a man was the highest thing on my agenda. To be clear, it isn’t. No, my main priority in life at the moment is to meet someone who can print bank notes that no one would ever suspect of being counterfeit.

I kid.

Kind of.

Actually, I just need a job. That will pay me in bank notes. Rather than in casseroles cooked lovingly for me. See, at the moment the only “job” I can get is the one where I help my seventy-one year old neighbor, Muriel, with her art. God love her, she still paints every day. She doesn’t really need my help, but after I’ve dedicated hours each day to finding a job, I find myself on the couch in her art room reading books and chatting about life while helping her mix colours and cleaning up once she’s done. Muriel has the most amazing collection of books I’ve ever come across. About art, history, architecture, politics, travel and so much more. Some days I want to skip the job hunting and just curl up on her couch with a pot of tea and all those books.

My mother’s voice rings loud in my head—“you need friends your own age, Charlize, and a job. Get a damn job!”

Ugh. Parents!

I grab my bra and put it back on, ignoring the itchy welts I’m covering. I then wiggle my dress up and into place. It has a zip at the back that I carefully attempt to pull up. It plays nice; however, I can feel what the problem is. When I stretched to reach for my phone, the fabric has ripped on one side of the zip, right down to my ass.

Opening the door of the cubicle, I peer out and find no one else in the bathroom. As carefully as I can, I make my way to the mirror and turn to see how bad the dress looks from behind.

Oh. God.

It’s gaping open. Anyone who walks behind me will be subjected to my back, half my ass, and a flash of my red thong.

All this at the society wedding of the year.

I do the only thing worth doing right now.

I scream to let my frustration out.

It feels so good that I continue screaming until it kind of turns into a wail. No tears or anything, just a good old-fashioned release of the disappointment, resentment, and irritation filling me. This is something I should do more often. Hell, everyone should do this more often. Between screaming, wailing and having sex, I think the human race could probably resolve a lot of issues without resorting to violence.

A deep voice cuts through the air. “Jesus, are you okay?”

My mouth snaps shut as I catch sight of a man entering the bathroom. My body fills with anticipation at the same time that my knees threaten to give way.

This man is hot.

Really fucking hot.

Like, on a scale of I’d-throw-myself-off-a-cliff-to-avoid-ever-having-to-look-at-you to I’d-take-all-my-clothes-off-right-now-if-it-meant-you’d-just-talk-to-me, he has to be at the level of I’m-never-wearing-clothes-again.

He’s probably the best-looking man I’ve ever come across. And that’s saying something, because my bestie is one of the hottest dudes out there.

I’m even ignoring the way everything about him screams money. I’m not usually attracted to wealthy men in suits, but damn, this guy knows how to wear one. He also has just the right amount of scruff. And don’t get me started on the way his dark brown hair falls effortlessly into place. I’d bet all the money I have in the world—a huge risk because I currently have less than five hundred dollars in my bank account—that he’s had it styled, even though it looks like he simply dried it with a towel and let it do its own thing.

I grip the sink and throw out the first thing that comes to mind. “Do you always wander into women’s bathrooms?” I mean, I’m all for him doing that, just not when I’m in the middle of the kind of personal crisis that is threatening to send me to the brink. My dress is gaping open, and my ass is hanging out. That’s a crisis with a capital fucking C.

His brows arch as his gaze drops to my back, clearly taking in everything on display. When his eyes meet mine again, he drawls, “Only when I think a woman is in that bathroom possibly dying. You do realise you were screaming like a woman on her deathbed, right?”

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