Home > Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)(3)

Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)(3)
Sarah Mayberry

She could see the tension come into his neck as he stared at her in the rear view mirror. She lifted her hand and found the tab of the zipper hidden in the side of her dress. She raised her eyebrows.

Daring him to keep watching.

Martin’s lips pressed together and he shot his gaze to the front.

“Don’t worry. Vi’s a pro at getting changed in small spaces,” Elizabeth said.

“Yes. I’m sure she’s had lots of practice,” Martin said flatly.

Violet unzipped her dress and slipped the shoulder straps off before pulling the camisole over head. She let it slide down her body. Once she was decent up top, she began to wiggle out of her dress.

“As a matter of fact, Martin, I have. Lots and lots. So many tight places I’ve been,” she said as she shimmied the dress past her hips. “It’s hard for a girl to keep count.”

Martin’s gaze remained glued to the road ahead. She slipped her dress past her knees and ankles, then dropped it onto the adjoining seat before pulling her red spandex mini skirt from her handbag. Five seconds later she was smoothing the stretch fabric over the tops of her thighs.

“There. All done.”

Martin’s gaze flicked to the rear view mirror for the first time since she’d started changing. She felt his censure as he took in her new outfit, but he didn’t say a word.

“Won’t you be cold?” Elizabeth asked worriedly.

“Not once I start dancing.”

Elizabeth had twisted to face her and her eyes became wistful for a few seconds. “Remember that party we had just before we graduated? I could barely walk the next day I danced so much.”

“I remember, party animal. The miracle is that you do.”

The car slowed to a halt. Violet glanced out and saw the familiar red, white and blue sign of the Tube station.

“Can I leave my dress with you, E?” she asked as she reached for the door handle.

“Sure. I can drop it by the boutique on Monday if you like.”

“There’s no rush. But if you do come over, we can have lunch and discuss your hen’s night. We need to decide how many strippers to hire.”

In her peripheral vision she saw Martin roll his eyes. Hiding a smile, she slid from the car, slipping into her coat again.

“Thanks for the lift, Martin.”

“A pleasure, as always, Violet,” he lied.

She laughed as she shut the door. The moment she stepped to the curb he was gone, the car powering into the cold night. She stared after them for a moment.

He hadn’t looked once, even though there’d been moments there when she’d been almost naked.

Mr. Honorable to the end.

She turned toward the station, annoyed with herself. It wasn’t as though she’d wanted him to look. He was Elizabeth’s fiancé, for God’s sake.

And yet....

There was something so...controlled about him. From the moment she’d first met him she’d felt it—a sort of determination to prove he was worthy. Or something like that.

Suddenly it struck her that in many ways he was the male version of Elizabeth, who was also a master of the art of self control and people pleasing. Two peas in a perfect, tidy little pod.

Two people playing a part that ought to come naturally but doesn’t. Two people who don’t really know each other. Not in the ways that count.

Maybe that was why she was disappointed Martin hadn’t so much as batted an eyelid as she’d stripped in the back of his car—it would have at least made him human. Would have given her hope that underneath all that old-before-his-time fuddy-duddiness was a real person with flaws and faults and feelings.

She descended below street level, her high heels clattering against the stone steps. The smell of urine hit her as she made her way through the tiled tunnel. A train was pulling up to the platform as she arrived and she stepped straight into it. The carriage was barely a quarter full and she found a seat by herself and crossed her legs, adjusting her long coat so her legs were protected from the cold. The announcer told everyone to “mind the gap” before the train pulled away. Violet stared out the window, thinking about Elizabeth and Martin and their upcoming wedding.

It was a mistake, of course. Even though she was thirty years old, Elizabeth had barely lived. She needed a man who would challenge and stretch and inspire her, not someone who wanted to wrap her in cotton wool and admire her from a distance.

As for Martin, she had no idea what he needed—apart from a ton of TNT jammed up his tightly clenched backside.

She stirred, looking away from the darkness outside the train. She hated to see her friend settle. Hated watching her be buried beneath obligation and expectation. Orphaned at a young age, Elizabeth had spent her life pleasing her elderly grandparents—her payment of sorts for their kindness in taking her in. From where Violet sat, Elizabeth was living the life they wanted for her, not the one she might choose for herself, should she ever have the option.

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