I’ve got a real dilemma and I don’t know what to do about it.
It’s been a while since I talked about Mr E, or Ed as I referred to him in my first post about him. That’s because I only clean his palatial property once a month. I haven’t seen or spoken to him since I was last here.
I left the first post on a bit of a cliff-hanger and a few of my followers, particularly on Twitter, told me off – they wanted to know what happened next.
The problem was I wasn’t comfortable writing about it.
Today I am feeling the full force of that discomfort.
What do I say to him?
This has been the longest four hours or so of my life.
That’s how long I’ve been working away, cleaning his house.
I can’t tell you how delighted I was to find him not at home when I arrived. But my delight gradually turned to anxiety as the time passed and I realised he could return home at any moment before I finish.
And that would mean I’d have to talk to him.
What if he started asking questions!
It would be so much easier if he was a total arsehole of a person.
But he’s not.
He’s delightful, charming, humble, and being a professional sportsman he’s ruddy fit.
He’s a babe.
A total babe.
And he sure knows how to whisk a girl off her feet – literally.
I mean, he flew me in his private helicopter to a posh hotel in Scotland. He wined and dined me like I’ve never been wined and dined before.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so special – so appreciated.
As I say – whisked off my feet.
I really hope he doesn’t come home before I finish.
Please don’t come home.
Please don’t come home.
There are so many domestic cleaners out there who offer a poor quality service. They sell, for example, a two hour service but then only work an hour or so. I have to admit, it’s an easy trap to fall into. Nevertheless it’s not something I do. If I do leave early it’s only because there are extenuating circumstances, like my mother being ill – you know what I mean… something serious.
But today looks like it might be one of those days where I do leave early.
Can I justify these circumstances as ‘extenuating?’
I’ve rushed my work today.
I know I can justify ‘extenuating circumstances’ to myself.
I’m already close to finishing buffing his floors up with the burnisher.
But if asked, could I justify them to someone else?
Normally, I love buffing his floors. It’s one of the only aspects of commercial work that I miss.
I’m not sure I could…
I’ve already buffed the laminate flooring in the lounge and I’m positively racing the burnisher over the hallway floor.
Not wanting to talk to a customer would be a pretty unprofessional reason for leaving early… Unless it was John.
I glance at my watch, checking how much time I’m going to be cutting short.
But I really wouldn’t know what to say… if Ed asked.
It’s not as bad as I thought. I’ve done nearly four and a half hours.
I mean really – how do you tell someone…
I’m so lost in my anxious thoughts that I don’t’t hear the front door open. The sound of the door closing breaks me out of my reverie.
My heart drops.
The hallway is as long and as wide as a bus and Ed’s voice echoes cheerily down it. ‘Hi Carla. How are you doing?’
I let go of the control on the handle of the burnisher and it slows to a stop. I know before I finish asking that my voice sounds more like an accusation than a general question. ‘Wh… where did you come from?’
An amused frown furrows his brow. ‘I’ve just pulled up outside. You sound like you don’t want me here…’
Crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap crap.
‘No, no, it’s not that,’ I say. ‘It’s just you caught me by surprise. I was, in a world of my own.’
I hope that sounded like I meant it, although I suspect it didn’t, not fully at least.
Strolling down the hall towards me, twirling his car keys on his index finger, he looks every inch the confident, affluent young man that he is. Whilst I didn’t know him before he became a top sportsman I suspect he hasn’t let fame go to his head. I doubt he’s never been anything other than a lovely natured guy.
‘I’d better get finished off,’ I say. ‘Then I can get out of your hair.’
Get out of your hair.
What a really silly expression!
I wonder where on earth that came from.
‘You don’t need to rush off,’ he says, dropping his car keys into a bowl on a nearby sideboard. ‘I haven’t seen you in a month. Actually, come to think of it, you dashed off last time you were here too.’
He means when we got back from Scotland.
‘And…’ he continues. ‘You were really quiet on the flight back.’
I’m trying my best not to look flustered but I reckon I’m failing at it. ‘Well, it’s not every day a girl gets whisked away in a helicopter and wined and dined.’
He smiles at me. But it’s one of those smiles wrapped in a scrutinising look. ‘Why do I get the feeling that there’s something you’re not telling me?’
Because there is…
‘I’ve no idea,’ I say, knowing full well he’s totally sussed me out.
I activate the burnisher, turn away from him and attempt to carry on with my job. ‘I’d better get his finished.’
His footsteps ring out on the hard floor as he walks away and I find myself letting out a huge sigh of relief.
That went better than I expected.
It could have been a lot worse.
At that moment the burnisher grinds to a halt on the floor and stops working.
I pull the on/off lever a couple of times but nothing – totally dead.
I turn, my eyes following the lead, visually checking it all the way back to the wall socket.
As my eyes reach the socket I realise what the problem is. Ed is standing there looking at me, casually swinging the unplugged cable in his hand. ‘I think we need to talk…’
Ten minutes later I’m sat on the edge of his huge sofa, my hands cradling the coffee he’s just handed me.
He parks himself beside me, which makes me feel a little relieved. I don’t think I could have handled it if he sat opposite me.
‘Right Carla. Let’s have it. Talk…’
I know he’s a top athlete and that being a top athlete comes with it a sense of power and control, but he’s never spoken to me so dominantly before. If only he’d been like that a month ago – things might have been different.
‘What about?’ I say.
I’m stalling – but you got that, right?
I cast quick glances in his direction but I can’t bring myself to look at him.
‘Stop messing about,’ he says. ‘There’s clearly something on your mind, so spill it.’
Again with the forcefulness.
I kind of like it.
I take a deep breath followed by a sip of my coffee. All I really want right now is to lean back into this huge sofa and get swallowed up by the cushions.
Ed’s approach softens. ‘I feel like I’ve done something wrong, and I don’t like that feeling.’
I put my coffee down on the coffee table. For the first time that day I turn my eyes towards him and despite my discomfort I hold his gaze. I can see in his eyes that my holding out is hurting him.
And I don’t want to hurt him.
I clasp my hands in my lap, squeezing them together as though I’m trying to reassure myself that everything is going to be ok.
I’m really going to have to tell him.
I’ve never told anyone anything like this before. Quite the opposite. When this has happened before I’ve chosen not to see them again.
But I don’t really have a choice here.
‘You’re crap in bed.’
Oh fuck! I didn’t mean to be as blunt as that…
His eyebrows do that thing where they almost meet in the middle as his forehead furrows. ‘What?’
My heart pounds with a heavy mix of relief and anxiety.
I nod slowly. ‘You’re… You’re kinda crap in bed…’
Reaching out I take his hands in mine. ‘I’m so, so sorry Ed. You can see why I didn’t want to say anything… right?’
‘Although, I have to admit,’ I add. ‘It took me by surprise.’
He’s not saying anything.
He’s not looking at me either.
His eyes appear to be fixed on something amazing on the carpet.
Then his whole body starts juddering, heaving up and down.
Oh my god.
He’s going to start crying.
But sounds he makes aren’t crying.
His head moves from staring at the carpet and he fixes me with his laughing eyes.
The last thing I expected was to hear him laughing, but he is – loudly and in great bursts.
It’s quite infectious and the tension that was trapped in me needs to be laughed off too. Before I realise it I’m laughing along with him. The relief that he’s taken this so well brings tears to my eyes.
As his mirth begins to subside he reaches forward and wipes them from my cheeks.
‘I have to say, you’ve taken that much better than I expected.’
‘Well of course I’m probably going to be crap in bed,’ he says. ‘It’s not like I’ve got a lot of experience.’
‘No. I spend most of my time training to compete. There hasn’t been a lot of lady time in my life.’
‘I hadn’t thought of it like that.’
‘No wonder you were trying to avoid me,’ he says, grinning from ear to ear. ‘Mind you Carla, you were wonderful that night… I had so much fun. I certainly wouldn’t have guessed from the way you were with me that I’d been crap in the sack.’
‘I… I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings,’ I say.
‘Well as I say, it’s not really a surprise.’ He shuffles a little in his seat so he’s facing more towards me. ‘I’ve spent most of my life working on improving my sport, improving my game. There hasn’t been much time for anything else.’
I guess I’d never really considered what the reality of what his life had been like. I feel both impressed by his dedication and at the same time a little sad considering what he’s missed out on.
‘And for another thing,’ he continues. ‘Because I’m an athlete I’m used to getting both good and bad feedback from my coach and using it to improve my performance. What you’ve said to me is the first time anyone has ever given me feedback on my sexual performance.’
This sparks a smouldering curiosity.
‘How many girls have you been with Ed?’
He looks at me sheepishly. ‘Including you… three.’
‘Were you in relationships with the other two?’
‘One of them was when I was at school, and the other was a girl I met at a meet and greet. Neither of them lasted long.’
Sheesh – he’s practically a virgin.
I nod slowly not really knowing what to say next. It seems like he doesn’t either.
Then his face lights up with a big smile. ‘Hey! Maybe you could be my coach.’
‘You could be my coach?’
‘Yeah – my love coach.’
‘What?’ I say again. ‘A love coach. What the hell is a love coach?’
As soon as the words leave my lips I realise how stupid they sound. It’s totally obvious what he means – but as I say, he’s caught me by surprise. Thankfully he opts to ignore my daft question.
‘How about it Carla? Would you show me how to be better in bed?’
‘I’m not implying anything, but you do seem to know what you’re doing. At the very least you know what a girl likes and you could help me with that.’
‘I really don’t know what to say,’ I say. ‘I’ve never been asked to do anything like this before. Are you talking about practical lessons?’
He stops to think for a moment. ‘I guess that would need to be an aspect. I wouldn’t be a good sportsman if I’d only had academic lessons.’
I can’t sit down any longer and I get up and start pacing back and forth across the room. ‘So what you’re saying is you want me to teach you, to show you how to better in bed? How and when is this supposed to happen?’
‘I don’t know,’ he says. ‘This is new to me too. But hey, I have to pay my coach, so I could pay you too.’
I’m not sure whether to slap him or thank him.
‘You’re offering to pay me for my sexual experience!’
His expression plummets. ‘Oh shit! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I simply meant that I pay my coach to help me improve my game, and I don’t see any difference in paying you to help me improve what is essentially another athletic event.’
I can’t help but smile at his careful choice of words and I can’t deny the strength of his logic either – although, I’ve never thought of myself as an athlete of any kind, let alone a sex athlete. If there was an athletic event to do with eating snacks – snack athletics – I feel that would me more my game. After all, my favourite machine at the gym is the vending machine.
Would I feel comfortable taking cash to teach him, or anyone, sex skills?
He’s right – it wouldn’t work on a purely academic basis. We would need to have practical sessions too.
‘You’ve gone quiet,’ Ed says.
‘I’m thinking,’ I reply.
‘I can tell,’ he says. ‘I can smell burning and smoke is starting to fill the room.’
The cheeky sod.
He waves his hands in front of his face, as though wafting away smoke from his eyes.
Finally I make a decision. ‘I’m going to have to think about it Ed.’
Yes I know – it’s not much of a decision, but it’s a decision nevertheless.
He holds his hands up as though surrendering. ‘Of course… there’s no rush. Incidentally, while you’re thinking about it, I want you to think about how much you’d charge me. I’d expect it to be considerably more than I pay you for cleaning.’
‘Are you saying my cleaning isn’t worth that much?’
He laughs at my mock seriousness. ‘I think the sensitive nature requires greater compensation.’
As though his words triggered something he hadn’t thought about he puts his hand on his mouth, effectively stopping himself from saying anything else.
‘What’s wrong?’ I ask.
His eyes narrow, his expression serious and intense. ‘I might have to ask you to do something else before we begin. It’s just something you’ll need to consider…’
He looks away from me, clearly deep in thought.
What is it?
He’s got me intrigued.
Don’t you just hate it when someone leaves a conversation hanging… A part of you is dying to know what it is they have to say whilst another part of you doesn’t want to rush them in case it’s too sensitive an issue.
Oh, come on Ed. Out with it…
‘Well… what is it?’ I ask, unable to hold back any longer.
His eyes meet mine. ‘I might have to ask you to sign an NDA.’
I’m puzzled. ‘What’s an NDA?’
‘Sorry – I thought you might have heard of one before. It’s a non-disclosure agreement. Basically it means you’ll keep what happens between us, between us, and not go reporting to the press or anything.’
I’m a little hurt that he thinks I’d do such a thing.
‘Hey look,’ he says, seeing the expression on my face. ‘It’s nothing personal. They’re common practice for people with public facing reputations to maintain.’
‘Okay,’ I say.
I still feel a little hurt but I can understand why it’s important from his point of view.
‘Is there anything you want to know?’ He asks.
‘I really can’t think of anything right now, but I know loads of questions will pop into my head later in the day. As I say, I’m going to have to think about it.’
‘Of course. I totally understand.’
‘Right,’ I say, getting to my feet. ‘I’d better be making tracks.’
I’m just about to leave the room when he calls to me. ‘By the way Carla…’
‘I’m so glad you told me. I appreciate that wasn’t an easy thing to come out with.’
He’s damn right – it wasn’t.
And I sure didn’t expect to leave here today with an offer of more work.
And I certainly didn’t expect that work to be a sex coach!