Jameson Fox

By: Nina Levine

Adeline: No, leave it as it is.

Vanessa: I’m sorry, Adeline. This won’t happen again.

Adeline: Is everything okay, Ness?

Vanessa: Yes. I really am sorry I messed this up.

Vanessa has worked with me for four years and has never made the kinds of mistakes she’s currently making. I’ve been convinced for a couple of weeks something is going on that she’s not telling me about. Vanessa is the member of my team who usually starts her day with a recap of everything that happened to her since we saw her the day before. She loves to talk, but lately she’s been closed off.

I go back to my messages with Natalie.

Natalie: In other news, I’m seeing that mechanic again tomorrow night.

I sit up straight at the mention of this guy.

Adeline: Wait. Tank?

Seriously, Natalie meets the worst men. On her last date, the guy took her to a sports bar and proceeded to watch football with five of his friends who were also there to watch the game. He turned out to be a waste of her time, but she got on well with one of his friends instead. The mechanic who I nicknamed Tank because she couldn’t remember his name. They got drunk together on bad beer and stories about their worst first dates. They both have a history of bad dates in common.

Natalie: Yes. I found out his name is Ryan. He promised there will be no football in sight.

Jameson strides into the bedroom as I read Natalie’s message, his suit jacket in his hand, the top few buttons of his shirt undone. He ignores me completely and goes into his bathroom, leaving a trail of his cologne in his wake.

The scent causes memories of his body against mine earlier.

His mouth to my ear.

His hand on my stomach.

His arrogance as he told me I’m his for the next year.

You are mine, for twelve months, and you need to get used to that.

Anger burns through my veins again as the memory settles in.

Desire sparks right alongside that anger because I can’t think of Jameson’s body, or his hands on me, or his breath against my skin without those memories affecting me this way.

This only makes me more furious with him.

Adeline: Sorry to change the subject for a minute, but you’ll visit me in prison, right?

Natalie: After you harm MA? Of course. I’ll also bring all your favorite food. I’ve got you covered.

Adeline: Good. Now, back to Tank. Please have sex with him. I need to live vicariously through you for the next year.

Natalie: I can’t even fathom that you’re going to give up sex for that long. I mean, do you really think Jameson will go that long? Because I doubt it, and if he doesn’t, you shouldn’t have to either.

Adeline: IDK. I’m keeping a close eye on this situation.

Natalie: Speaking of keeping a close eye on situations, you might wanna keep an eye on Ian Swift. I saw Donna Hartford’s Insta story tonight and she was hooking up with him. He said something about you fucking Brax while married to Jameson. It was drunken ramble, but still, it could be damaging.

Jameson exits his bathroom as Natalie’s last text comes through. He sits on his side of the bed with his back to me and scrolls his phone reading something. Probably an email. From what I’ve seen, Jameson rarely looks at anything else on his phone and he certainly doesn’t have any social media accounts.

Adeline: Thanks for that. Gotta go. MA is here. Talk tomorrow xx

I pull up Instagram and search for Donna’s stories.

“Christ, do we need that right now?” Jameson says as I watch the videos she’s posted. I do my best to ignore all those muscles of his I can see thanks to the fact he’s now shirtless. I also do my best to ignore the way he just spoke to me.

“Ian’s spreading lies about me sleeping with Brax. I’m watching this to hear exactly what he said.”

He turns to look at me. “Ian’s a piece of shit who you don’t need to worry about.”

I stare at him, processing the way he minimizes so many things I mention, and once again I want to smash my phone into his face. Instead of doing that, I move off the bed and stalk into my bathroom without even bothering to respond to him.

Men who dismiss me and trivialize things that are important to me are men I don’t want a thing to do with. I was married for three years to a man who slowly chipped away at my confidence by repeatedly dismissing me, talking down to me, and treating me like I was less than him. He did it so insidiously most of the time that I didn’t even recognize it for what it was. I made a vow to myself that I’d never allow another man the same privilege.

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