A Sentimental Heart Ch. 14bytotallyatease©
(Conclusion... but is it the end?)
"She can't leave... I'm in love with her... I'm in love with Miranda!"
Peter looked away uncomfortably after Marcus's heated declaration.
Suspecting his boss and his sister was one thing, but having Marcus laying his heart out on his sleeve like that, was just... well Peter was used to his boss being the cool calm and collected one, this side of Marcus was unsettling and discomforting for him -- he was not even sure what he was supposed to say in response.
The ringing of his mobile phone was a welcome distraction and Peter turned away with a quiet sigh of relief, which he sucked back in again when Miranda's name flashed up as the caller.
"Hello!" Peter answered his phone cautiously aware of Marcus just on the other side of the room.
"Peter, I've been back down to the job centre!" Miranda said excitedly.
"Miranda!" Peter exclaimed involuntarily and then glanced guiltily across the room at Marcus, who was already on his feet and ghosting across the room.
"I've lined up a couple of job interviews, down in London -- for tomorrow!" she went on enthusiastically.
Peter frowned at the racket the he could hear that seemed to be going on around his sister, he opened his mouth to ask her where she was, but Miranda was still talking.
"Any way I'm travelling up to London today, and I'll find a bed and breakfast or something to stay in overnight..."
Peter was painfully aware of Marcus hovering over him trying to hear the conversation.
"I just thought that I would call you so you don't worry and wonder where I've disappeared to!" she laughed lightly and a voice could be heard over some sort of loudspeaker. "Oh that's my train being called -- so I've got to go Peter... I'll see you tomorrow... and wish me luck!"
He didn't even get a chance to do that though, since the line went dead signifying she had cut him off.
Marcus stood in front of him.
"Well?" he demanded heatedly.
Peter shrugged uncomfortably. "It's like I told you, Miranda is making plans to move away... down to London it seems, she's arranged for a couple of job interviews for tomorrow and is even as we speak -- boarding a train to take her down there..."
Marcus stepped back and his expression went blank -- as though all the fight had just left him.
"She's not gone yet!" Peter stood up and tried to be encouraging. "Even if she is successful with one of the interviews -- she'll still be coming back home tomorrow."
It was a successful day in London for Miranda. Both of the job interviews went well, and offered her a position -- pending favourable references. Miranda gave them the name of John Harding -- her boss before working at Phillip's -- as her primary previous employment, she mentioned working at Phillip's very briefly, and gave Mrs Roberts, and her telephone extension as the person that she had been working under.
They both seemed to be happy with her explanation and impressed with her CV, and told her that she would hear within the week.
Neither position was due to start until the following month and so Miranda felt that she had time to chill out and worry about finding a place to live a little bit later... and to tell the truth, her heart really wasn't in to making that final commitment to move away from home -- from Marcus .
All the same she did pop into an estate agent -- who had a list of flats and bedsits available to rent, and so Miranda took a copy of the list with address and phone numbers on it.
She wasn't overly bothered about where she would live and the whole idea of coming down to London to work and to live -- still had a vague sort of feel to it -- as though it wasn't quite real, felt as though her future was just some sort of distant possibility.
The interviews had both been fairly early in the morning, and she found herself at a loose end for a few hours, and so she decided to treat herself to a little shopping spree -- to cheer herself up and make this London trip worthwhile.
She found a nice looked clothing boutique just around the next corner and once inside she quickly spotted a long cream coloured fit and flare skirt that she felt would flatter her figure nicely, and a blue sweater, which would go well with it.
She took the clothes into the changing room and tried them on. The skirt made her feel feminine as it swirled around her legs; and when she topped it with the deep blue soft woollen jumper, she found that it matched her eyes almost to perfection, and clung to her breasts, almost invitingly.
As she studied her reflection in the changing room mirror she wished that she could wear this outfit for Marcus...
She knew that it flattered her, and she could imagine his eyes darkening as they travelled over her.
He would take her in his arms and exclaim over how soft she felt with this sweater covering her skin.
He would pull her against him and she would feel how aroused he was by her.
And then he would kiss her.
Miranda's lips parted on a shaky gasp and her eyes grew misty as her imagination took over.
She slowly began to remove the outfit -- imagining that it was Marcus who was undressing her, and as she slipped the clothes back onto their hangers, she felt a little shiver as a tiny orgasm swept through her.
She pulled on her own clothes feeling unsettled and embarrassed. She really did need to get a grip and get over Marcus -- and not start to loiter in changing rooms fantasising about him!
But she couldn't quite shake that feeling, and as she paid for the clothes and left the shop -- more than one man turned to look at her, and the unconscious signals that she was sending out.
Her train wasn't due to leave until two thirty and since it was only just half past twelve, Miranda went in search of some lunch; a nice leisurely lunch, which she could take her time over, and really enjoy.
She liked the look of a pub on the corner, which served food as well as drinks, and so she went inside and found a nice quiet corner to sit in.
It didn't take her long to realise her mistake, as she was approached by more than one man -- before she'd even had time to order.
A woman sitting alone and looking the way that she did, was just asking to be picked up -- or so it seemed to those men who came and sat down across from her, to ask if she was all alone -- if she was in need of some company, if they could get her a drink, or... something?
In the end Miranda found herself almost running from the establishment without even getting the chance to order -- let alone eat or drink anything.
She walked down the street keeping her eyes down to the ground and making sure that she did not make eye contact with anyone.
The fast food place was full of people -- children and families, and people who had just popped in for a quick bite, before returning to their work places; and when Miranda strode in -- she wasn't even looked at twice... or so it felt to her.
She went to the counter and ordered her food and a drink and having paid, she took her tray and went in search of a table.
The one that she sat down at just happened to be right next to a table with several burly looking workmen sitting at it, and Miranda was aware of more than one of them watching her, as she sat down and busied herself with her meal.
She absolutely refused to make eye contact -- to acknowledge them in any way shape or form, and in the end they got the message and resumed their own meals and their own conversations.
It was nothing like the pleasant leisurely meal she had hoped to enjoy, but it was sustenance... of a sort.
She took her time over her meal, but still it was over before it had really begun and so she left the place and made her way to the train station.
An hour later she was sitting on her train making her journey home... to Marcus -- or that was how it was in her day dream -- the day dream that lasted for the entire two and a half hour journey.
It was later afternoon by the time that she got home, and she was feeling more than a little fatigued by her day in London, and so Miranda was rather dismayed to find Amanda waiting for her once more.
"Hello Amanda -- how nice to see you again?" she smiled tiredly at the younger woman.
Amanda blushed a little guiltily. "I know that you've probably only just got back from London, and I'm really sorry to disturb you like this, but..." she trailed off and Miranda bit back the nod of agreement as she sensed that the other woman needed to talk.
"That's okay, Amanda... my first thought was to put the kettle on for a hot drink anyway, so why don't you join me?"
Amanda nodded her thanks and so Miranda led her inside to her kitchen -- again.
She made them a hot drink and as she sat down across from Amanda -- Amanda began to talk, it seemed that she really did need to get something off her chest, and Miranda really wished that she had not come to her.
Peter was her brother and as Amanda hinted at things, her cheeks burned and her eyes dropped to her mug of steaming coffee.
Miranda could feel the heat coming to her own cheeks, and just knew that she would struggle to see her little brother in the same light ever again.
By the time that she saw Amanda out again -- Miranda felt exhausted.
Amanda had been vague and hesitant but she had alluded to enough that Miranda realised their relationship had become a physical one, it was just how physical?
She knew that Peter wouldn't be back for at least another hour -- maybe longer than that.
She put the kettle on to boil again, and then sat at the kitchen table, nursing another steaming mug of coffee.
Things were really steaming ahead now, and she realised that there would be no going back.
She sat listening to the silence around her, something that she was going to have to get used to.
She felt the utter stillness of the place, the empty hollowness, and tutted impatiently as she gulped back her coffee.
She was just going to have to get used to being on her own, and the sooner that she accepted that then the better off she'd be!
She marched upstairs, taking her overnight bag, and her new clothes -- up to her bedroom, and decided to have a shower; she could still feel the grime of London on her...
"Oh for heaven's sake get a grip!" she snapped impatiently -- she was planning to make her home in London, so she had better get used to that as well!
All the same she still enjoyed a nice leisurely shower, and was back in her bedroom and drying herself when she heard the slam of the front door.
"I'm just getting changed Peter I'll be down in a moment!" she called down to her brother.
She was feeling very depressed, as she sat down in front of her bedroom mirror, and looked at her tired face.
She was looking her years and then some -- she thought critically.
Miranda did not see her lovely complexion, the amazing blue of her eyes, her smile wasn't there but her lips seemed to want to tilt at the corners any way.
Her eyes held a soft wistfulness that just called out to others, but she didn't see that, she just saw the lines at the corners.
"You're getting old before your time!" she whispered huskily.
She brushed through her thick dark locks impatiently; pulling out the snarls and knots, and making it shine and crackle with life -- and static.
In a rather desperate bid to make herself feel better she pulled out her cosmetics and applied a slightly heavier amount than she would normally use.
The result was rather dramatic and definitely good for her morale.
She sprayed her body lavishly with body mist and perfume, and then slipped into the new clothes.
She stepped into her pretty high heeled shoes and after studying her reflection for a moment longer -- she strolled down the stairs and back into the kitchen.
"Hi there!" Peter had just finished pouring a drink for them both -- and turned towards the kitchen table. "I heard you moving around and thought you might be ready for a..." he paused to study her curiously. "Are you off out as well then?" he asked in surprise.
She smiled her gratitude for the drink. "What... oh no -- I just fancied making an effort... dressing up a bit..." she laughed lightly and gave a little shrug. "You know -- a girly thing!"
"Well I'll just have to take your word for that!" he exclaimed lightly, but for some reason -- Miranda thought that he looked... relieved.
"You're going out though?" she prompted shrewdly.
"Yes... I've a hot date..." it was his turn to shrug self-consciously, and Miranda hid a little smile.
Peter seemed awkward and uncertain -- and following her visit from Amanda, she had more than a small inkling about what might be troubling him.
"With Amanda I assume?" she asked with a straight face.
"Yes..." he looked almost embarrassed about it and Miranda's curiosity was peaked. Their relationship seemed to more physical and less communication from what she could gather.
"You've been seeing quite a lot of her haven't you?" she asked carefully trying not to pry into her brother's private life, but unable to suppress the curiosity, it was mostly because of her conversations with Amanda, she silently justified.
"Yes... I have," he said slowly, "we were just friends at first; everything was just casual, 'can you give me a lift here', and 'I would really love to go there but I've no one to go with...'" he tried to mimic Amanda which was just laughable since he was a man and she was a woman.
Miranda smiled but she could see he was feeling awkward about something, "But it's not casual anymore?" she prompted. "You're worried maybe about dating the boss's little sister?" she wondered.
Peter looked at her in surprise. "I'd not even thought about that, about how Marcus might view my relationship with Amanda... he's more than aware that I've been taking Amanda out, and he's never shown any animosity towards the idea..."
"So what's the problem then, Amanda is over eighteen years, she's what, twenty three -- twenty four now?"
"Nearly twenty four," Peter confirmed. "But it's not just about Amanda -- it's about how she makes me feel..." he looked embarrassed and extremely uncomfortable, and as curious as Miranda was, she was beginning to feel just as uncomfortable with the discussion.
She kept her silence and her face was sympathetic and non judgmental.
If he wanted to talk, then she would listen.
"She brings out the better part of me -- I think, stops me getting too... insular."
Miranda couldn't help but nod her agreement -- she had seen such a change in Peter since he'd been going out with Amanda.
"But she can bring out some other sides to me that are... disturbing I think!"
The colour winged across his cheekbones and he couldn't seem to make eye contact with her, and she was again remembering what Amanda had hinted at earlier.
"Oh?" she asked guardedly, "And how does Amanda view these other sides of you... has she spoken about it to you?"
He gave her a quick slightly sheepish look before looking down at the ground again.
"I think that she likes it," he muttered huskily, "I try to make sure that she has a good time, at least she seems to enjoy..."
"I don't think that I want to hear any more Peter!" Miranda cut in hurriedly, as she guessed from the little that he'd said and his whole posture and her little conversations with Amanda -- that their relationship had moved on, and in a surprising direction.
"No I suppose not, it's just that... I don't really have anyone to talk to about this sort of thing, and since you are a woman... well I rather hoped that you could give me a woman's point of view..."
"Well..." Miranda hesitated briefly, "Amanda did come and see me the other day... I guess that she needed someone to talk to as well... and she was waiting for me again today..."
"Oh... you never said anything?" he accused sharply.
"No well, I got the impression that she didn't want me to..." she shrugged her shoulders.
"So what did she say, what did the two of you talk about?"
"Well... the first time she came, she mentioned how she tried to kiss you and your reaction... but I get the feeling that that bit is all history now anyway -- judging by what you've just been talking about..."
"Yes... I can honestly say that we are truly beyond the just friendly not even kissing bit now, in fact it's all got rather complicated, and I'm a little bewildered by how it's all happening now..."
"Look Peter, I'm really sorry -- but I'm just not comfortable with this!" Miranda cut in again as she felt like he was going to tell her something really -- personal. "You have friends Peter -- so go and talk to one of them!"
He gave a forlorn sort sigh and his shoulders seemed to sag a little.
"I suppose so," he glanced at his watch and Miranda could almost see him donning another personality, she was again almost overwhelmed with curiosity as her easy going young and almost immature brother -- seemed to turn into a strong and domineering man.
She could see a sort of arrogance to him that she had never seen before; but that Amanda had told her about.
"I should be getting changed..."
"Well I hope that you have a good time Peter,"
Peter gave a low short laugh, and there was a gleam in his eye that Miranda had never seen before, and she was not sure she wanted to decipher it now. "Oh I'm sure that I will have a good time!" he muttered.
"Yes... well... as for me; I'm going to curl up on the sofa, and watch the movie that's on tonight."
Peter laughed but it was a more natural laugh this time. "You and your movies -- another slushy one -- I bet!"
She smiled and a little dimple appeared in her cheek. "Of course, I saw that it was on tonight and have been looking forward to it all week!"
"Well there's that bottle of wine still in the fridge... it's been opened and it would be a real shame to throw it away..."
"My thoughts exactly Peter." Miranda nodded with a dead straight face.
Peter drained his cup and placed it in the sink, before turning towards the door.
"As I said before, I'd better get cleaned up -- otherwise I'll be late!"
By the time he had showered and changed, Miranda was already curled up on the sofa and deep into her movie.
She heard her brother moving around, but remained where she was, as she sat riveted by the heroine's despair over her lost lover.
The tears were slowly trickling down her cheeks and she had a tissue scrunched up in her hand.
Marcus parked his car on the roadside and strolled up the path, the front door opened just as he reached out to press the door bell, and he smiled at the other person in greeting.
Peter gave him a wink and an encouraging smile, as they passed each other in the doorway.
"She's sitting in the living room... go in and see her, why don't you?" he advised in a low voice.
"I'm off out now Miranda -- I probably won't be back tonight so don't wait up for me!" he called over his shoulder.
Marcus heard her soft absent minded, "Okay!" and the door closed with a slam.
He slowly and silently dropped the catch and then made his way through.
Miranda had been indulging in her favourite hobby, wallowing in a soppy movie and her eyes were red from crying, and bluer than he could remember seeing before -- other than that one night...
He was swept back to the first night that they met, when he went to check up on her and found her watching a silly little chick flick.
Her eyes had been red from crying then too, and Marcus realised that that had been the moment. When he had looked at her, and had fallen head of heels, deeply in love with her.
A rush of emotion swept through him, and the adrenalin poured through his bloodstream.
"You would as well, wouldn't you!" he accused her angrily.
Miranda blinked up at him in surprise -- at his sudden appearance and the nonsense he seemed to be talking.