Her Boss by Day...(5)

By: Joss Wood

And he had lots of it.

Rob caught the eye of a bouncer, jerked his head and received a quick nod to go in, bypassing the queue. He slipped a bill into the guy’s hand in a slick movement as the rope was lifted and cursed when his mobile vibrated in his pocket. Stepping back from the door, he shoved his finger in his ear and answered the call.

‘Rob, it’s Gail.’

‘Hey, Snail.’ At twenty-two, his sister was ten years younger than him and the best thing in his life. ‘What’s up?’

‘Not much—just checking in,’ Gail replied. ‘Whatcha doing?’

‘About to go into a club.’

‘Have you met anyone yet?’ Gail demanded.

‘I haven’t even been here two days!’ he protested.

‘My man-about-town bachelor brother is slacking,’ Gail teased and he rolled his eyes.

‘I won’t have the time in Sydney and I don’t have the inclination,’ Rob retorted.

Gail’s laugh tickled his ear. ‘Did the screaming match with Saskia put you off? Judging by the way she flounced out of here, she obviously didn’t take it well when you told her that she’d hit her expiry date?’

‘Jeez, Gail! Her expiry date?’

‘I call it like I see it. You never go over the three-month-fling mark and she was due.’

Not as obsessed with the time-frames of his dates as his sister, Rob counted back. Yeah, it was nearly dead on three months. He’d started getting twitchy as Saskia started making noises about ‘formalising’ their relationship, dropping comments about needing cupboard space in his bedroom. She had left a box of tampons in his bathroom cabinet and he’d realised that it was time to bail. She wasn’t someone he wanted around long-term...

He’d never met anyone he wanted around long-term.

‘One day you’re going to meet someone who blows your socks off,’ Gail warned him.

He doubted it. Remembering that the best way to get Gail off the subject of his love-life was to comment on hers, he said: ‘Are you still dating the tattoo artist? Does he make enough money to take you to the movies occasionally?’

Gail sighed. ‘Well-played. Deflect and distract.’

‘I try. Don’t do anything stupid with this one, okay, honey?’

After witnessing the best and worst of love, he and Gail approached relationships from opposite directions. She thought that true love and happily-ever-after was just around the corner, and he knew that there was only one person he could ever fully depend on and that was himself.

He and Gail adored each other, but they didn’t understand the other’s choices when it came to the opposite sex.

‘How long are you going to be in Sydney?’ Gail asked. ‘This house is like a morgue without you.’

‘A month...six weeks,’ Rob replied. ‘Do not let Mr Body Art move in while I’m gone.’

Gail laughed again. ‘I’ll just move into his place... Bye—love you!’

Rob looked at his dead phone and shook his head. He was convinced that Gail only called him to wind him up and raise his blood pressure. That, he supposed, was a younger sister’s job.

Rob looked at his watch...ten p.m. here, and that meant it would be around two in the afternoon back home. Snail was home from her morning classes at uni and she was bored—and a great way to relieve that boredom was to take pot-shots at his love-life.

Revenge, Rob decided as he stepped into the heaving club, would be sweet and designed to embarrass her to the max. Because that was what his job as her older brother was.

Slapped in the face with the noise and smell of the club—alcohol and perfume and sweat mixed together in an almost palpable fug—he immediately asked himself what he was doing. Apart from the fact that he was still exhausted from the long flight from Johannesburg the day before yesterday—he really had to learn to sleep on planes—and the fact that he’d been working sixteen-hour days for months, he also hated clubs and clubbing.

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