Day 7! We've reached the halfway mark! Only a week to go until the big V-Day. If you're on your own, it's not the best time of year. And yet, it's always when one is looking in the other direction, the Prince Charming shaped bus turns up. Just for you...
Something Old Something New © Billy London
“We’re engaged!” Skye’s voice over Lou’s mobile, sent screams of joy through the air. Spontaneously, her friends began a conga line at Norbury station: “Skye is getting married! Skye is getting married! Nananana! Nananana!”
They were on their way to a singles night in Waterloo, in an underground disused rail station. Skye had been patient in locking down Charlie. Through his career change, moving briefly back home to cover his debts and putting up with his clearly shagging flat mates, Kath and the gorgeously bearded Alex. Despite being labelled a waity-Katie, Lou was especially happy for her friend.
“Lou!” Skye yelled. “Still there?”
She took her off speaker-mode to answer the phone. “I’m here, my darling! I’m so happy for you, I could burst!”
“Listen Lou, take me off speaker.”
“You’re off bloody speaker, woman!”
With a pause, Skye confessed, “You’re going to be my maid of honour. No one’s stuck by me like you. Love you Lou-Lou.”
Lou’s throat thickened. How sweet! “Absolutely! Love you too! Go, go and enjoy Charlie, before you’re swept up by wedding shit.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow! Have fun tonight.”
Well fuck, nothing could top an engagement. With a smile, she followed her friends to the party. It’d been a while since Lou had found the energy to talk to men. Not after her own relationship had broken down eight months ago. People kept telling her to get back on the relationship bike, but God, if men weren’t hard work. Lou had an idea that her Prince Charming wouldn’t wander up to Waterloo for a singles party and she was proved right. It was filled with screeching, inebriated women and aged, balding pot-bellied men. No Cael Murphys and certainly no Tejan Dembeles. They’d better win awards tomorrow, she thought. Sexy beasts.
Finding her limit with men her father’s age asking her if she wanted a drink, she escaped to the smoking area for a cheeky puff. Having sworn through January she was about to give up, it was slowly becoming one more thing she accepted she was addicted to. She really wanted a burger as well, but her dress was too tight for food.
In the cold night air, her mind went automatically to her ex. Where she’d be if they hadn’t broken up. What they’d be doing tonight. Oh, she’d know exactly where they’d be. The Bella Donna for dinner and the Tropicana after. Nothing changes, and yet… Skye was getting married. Everyone was getting married. She was sure he was out with someone, or at least out with his friends. People he’d known since he was born and could never imagine not seeing every single day. Remember how that frustrated you, she told herself, looking at the thumbnail picture of him, named under Don’t You Dare Call Him. Her thumb hovered over the phone symbol. If she called him, she was back to square one.
“Don’t do it.”
Lou looked up to see where the hell that voice had come from. Oh. Oh my. Prince Charming had arrived. Perfect hair, chiselled jaw, tall, oh god, so tall and she was Amazonian herself. “Don’t do what?” She asked, cigarette dangling from her perfectly MAC lipsticked mouth.
“Call whoever you’re going to call. Can I borrow one?” He nodded to the packet of cigarettes braced under her phone.
She held it out to him and he graciously took one. Yum? Tick. Yum? Super tick. Yum? God please don’t let him have a small dick.
He gazed at her underneath lashes so long, they were practically weaponised. “Who were you going to call? An ex?”
“How’d you guess?”
He gestured to her face. “I recognise that look. Who just got engaged?”
“Oh my god, have you been following me?”
He laughed. “Paranoid much? Listen, in the last eighteen months, four of my friends have got married. Three of them got engaged one after the other. Boom, boom, boom. Like an infection. And two just had a baby. I just escaped a first birthday party. Today. After all of that crap, someone had to give me a solid chat just so I wouldn’t do what you were about to. Call an ex. It won’t make you feel any better. Trust me.” He lit his cigarette with a heavy looking, chrome lighter and exhaled. “Am I right?”
“Unfortunately,” she admitted, tucking her phone back into her bag.
“So who got engaged?”
“My oldest London friend.” Lou admitted. “I thought her boyfriend would keep her on the hook for another two years at least.”
Prince Charming grinned. “Is that all you need? Two years?”
“Thereabouts. I can’t marry someone I don’t know. A year’s not long enough to know someone.”
“But do you ever really know someone?” His Hotness enquired, pointing the glowing end of the cigarette at her. “Take the ex you were going to call. Why’d you break up?”
“He wanted to stay in our home town. Forever. Never leave.” The thought of staying somewhere so quiet to live like hermits until her head turned white made her soul scream for escape. “What about you?”
“I think my ex and your ex should date. They probably are dating right now. Double dating with our cousins. And sheep.”
“Stop.” She chided, fighting a smile.
“I love this city,” he breathed out into the crisp February air. “I couldn’t imagine ever going back. Not for anyone. Well,” he cast her a sidelong glance. “Maybe for you.”
Exsqueeze? “Why would you say that?”
“You have the swag of London, purple hair, cool clothes, legs to the roof... But and don’t take this the wrong way... You remind me of everything I love about home.”
Not today, Satan. Don’t present a man in front of me, who’ll clearly do what I did to my previous.
“So if we got together, you know that’ll be the first thing to piss you off about me.”
“Nah, it’ll be your hair.” He nodded to the shaved side of her head. She cracked up.
“Sounds about right, yeah. What’s your name?”
“Morten. Small town escapee.” Taking one last drag of the cigarette and held out his hand to her. “Come on. Let’s brave this farce for a few minutes and then we can go and get a burger.”
Lou the cynic, Lou the practical, Lou who always looked a gift horse in the mouth, at that moment, fell hellishly in love.