Saturday, 19 March 2016

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Brooklyn was getting married to his childhood sweetheart Sandy…
I had mixed feelings about it – Brooklyn was my brother’s best friend and I’d always had a bit of a crush on him – but he was three years older than me and therefore kind of out of my league – particularly with my brother breathing down his neck… Oh, and there was the small fact that he was also straight.
We’d always got on really well though – and there was that kiss in the garden on my brother’s eighteenth birthday… I’ll never forget that – it gave me hope that maybe he wasn’t as straight as he thought he was.
Anyway, of course I was invited – since my brother was to be the best man and I was, on the one hand, delighted to go – to share in the best day of his life – even if it was up there with the worst days of mine – Nana’s funeral… fluffy getting run over… Yes, I was in love with the groom; had been since I was thirteen and he was first brought round by my big brother after they met at college. This guy had been the man of my dreams since then and I knew I’d be in love with him forever – and he was marrying someone else… bummer huh?
* 
So, there I was – miserably counting down the days with a feeling of dread and a heavy heart. The wedding was now only six days away, I was in the town centre absently stirring my latte and staring out of the window across to New Look, and trying to decide between the two pairs of jeans I’d just been trying on in there when something caught my eye. It was a very loved-up couple snogging each other outside the shop. I was a little disgusted at the amount of tongue he was thrusting (yes – thrusting – there was really no other word for it) down her throat. Ew, I thought, seriously get a room… that’s so totally gross.
It was then that I noticed with a thrill of horror who she was. Holy Hell! Is that Sandy?
I immediately got my phone out and snapped a photo of them – in fact I snapped about twenty – just to be sure.
The only thing was now – what did I do with my evidence? If I went and told Brooklyn he’d certainly never forgive me for breaking his heart – okay – she’d still be out of the running, but that didn’t really leave any room for me – the fiancé outer….
I decided to call my brother instead.
His cheery voice came through the receiver loud and clear, “Hey Shortcake – what’s up?”
I was so stressed it didn’t even irritate me that he was calling me Shortcake, “I’m having a nervous breakdown.” I said breathlessly.
I knew he’d be rolling his eyes at my drama, “What’s happened – broke a nail?” He sniggered. Ever since I came out he’s been making stupid comments like that.
I decided to be the grown-up between the two of us and ignored his childish comment, “No – I’m having a coffee. I was trying to decide between two pairs of jeans and then there were these really great shoes…” The shoes really were great – I just wasn’t sure if I could afford those as well as the jeans…
I didn’t get far with my explanation before he was taking the mickey out of me again. He sucked in a breath over his teeth, “Wow – that’s a toughie.” He let out a snort of mirth at my expense.
“Hilarious,” I deadpanned, “And I was just staring off into space trying to figure out which pair would match my new cropped top when this couple spoiled my vision.”
“Look, Mads, it’ really nice to talk to you and everything, but where are you going with this?” he asked, beginning to sound slightly irritable, “I’m at work you know – some of us do you know.”
I sighed, I was gonna have to stop beating around the bush and get to the point, “It was some dude with an unfeasibly long tongue and Sandy.”
“Sandy?” That had gotten his attention…
“Yes, Sandy,” I said beginning to sound a little hysterical even to myself, “– and she was on the receiving end of the unfeasibly long tongue if you catch my drift.”
“She was kissing the guy?” he really didn’t believe me.
I could have screamed. “Well, duh.” I can’t help it, whenever Stevie and I get into a conversation it always manages to revert us to being about nine…
“Are you sure?” See, I told you he didn’t believe me…
“Do you want me to send you the pictures?” I asked sarcastically.
He paused momentarily and I knew he was thinking about what to do for the best. He surprised me with his next words, “Actually – yes – please do – we can’t have our boy marrying her if she’s seeing someone else… What the hell’s wrong with her? Why would she do that?”
I thought about his questions for longer than I should have done and then I answered him far more candidly than I should too. “Honestly? I have no idea – I sure wouldn’t…”
“No, you wouldn’t,” he said softly, “Send the pics over and I’ll work out what to do.”
I sent them all – it took a while.
He called me back after half an hour. “Oh, my God, dude,” he said, “It really is her.” He sounded absolutely stunned.
I rolled my eyes, “I know that.” Jeez, sometimes…
He paused, “I wasn’t sure if you’d been mistaken – you know; wishful thinking and all that?” I could tell he was grinning.
I took a deep breath and tried to fight the lump in my throat, “I want him to be happy – yes, I have strong feelings for him…” What was wrong with me today? Blurting out all my best-kept-secret-feelings to my brother? “But I wouldn’t make something up just to try to get him to like me better… I’m not that pathetic. I know it’s never gonna happen…”
“I never said you were pathetic, Shortcake,” he said kindly, “And he likes you well enough anyway…” he trailed off, making me wonder if he’d ever said anything about me – but again, that was just wishful thinking… “I guess he just got caught up with her somehow…”
I didn’t make any comment about what he said with regard to Brooklyn liking me. I knew he liked me, but that wasn’t really enough… “Please,” I groaned, trying to change the subject, “– my name isn’t Shortcake – and I’m not that short anymore anyway…”
He chuckled. “Sorry mate – you’ll always be Shortcake to me.”
I rolled my eyes. “Great – I’ll probably always be Shortcake to Brooklyn too.”

There was silence at his end. Finally he spoke. “Yeah, maybe,” was all he said.

AVAILABLE NOW FROM AMAZON FOR PRE-ORDERING; RELEASE DATE 6/6/2016