Every book I've written has been close to my heart for one reason or another but I really love this one. There's something about it which just feels better than all the rest and I really can't wait to hear how much you all love it!
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Worst bloody Christmas of my life! In all my life I never thought I’d be so grateful to get back to work on the 27th of December. We’d been sat there at the dinner table enjoying what should have been a fantastic dinner with the people we loved, and he had to go and ruin it all. His mum had asked a simple question, one my mother was itching to ask too. A question I had hoped they’d leave off for at least another six months but when I heard it, I thought we’d behave like grown-ups and answer it reasonably. What I didn’t expect was for him to have said what he did. I was just as shocked as everyone else at the table, at a complete loss for how to respond.
“So, when will you be getting married then?” His mum had asked in a teasing tone as she elbowed him gently.
I’d laughed slightly and gone to answer the question myself. We’ve not thought about it, was on the tip of my tongue. It was the truth after all. Even if we’d been together since high school, we’d never once considered getting married. There were so many things to discuss before we could agree to spending the rest of our lives together, like if we wanted kids and how many. We’d never once discussed the future, and part of me believed it was because we both knew that we were just passing time until something or someone better came along. It wasn’t that I didn’t love him, I did. I loved him more than almost anyone else, but it wasn’t the way I imagined being in love. Something was missing and over the years I’d convinced myself that that was okay, that eventually, we might find that missing component. Darren had apparently disagreed though because this Christmas he dumped me.
“We won’t be getting married,” Darren told me and our families in tandem.
His eyes were glued to the table in front of him as he continued, “actually I’ve decided we need to break up.” I wasn’t upset at the prospect of breaking up, not really. It had felt inevitable. I was downright pissed that he’d taken it upon himself to make the decision, not including me at all. What was worse was that he’d decided to tell our parents without my consent and on fucking Christmas Day of all days.
“What do you mean?” My father had jumped to his feet, prepared perhaps to defend his little girl.
“We’ve grown apart and there’s no point in continuing this farce.” His tone was cold and unfeeling. It left my heart like ice. He could have at least shown me some kindness, after all, we were friends before we started dating. We’d been dating for five years; ever since our last year at secondary school and before that, we’d been friends for over ten years.
“Why are you doing this now?” My father was furious and I couldn’t really blame him. I wasn’t exactly happy myself.
In a much quieter voice than my father’s, I asked, “why didn’t you discuss this with me before bringing it to our families?”
For the first time since his mother brought up marriage, he looked at me, “I didn’t think you’d let me go.”
“Let you go? I’m not holding you hostage,” the pitch of my voice increasing as I spoke.
“I… I didn’t mean it like that.”
“Then what did you mean?” I asked sharply.
My mother dropped her hand to my shoulder and suggested that everyone leave us to discuss the situation, but just as everyone got up from the table and began to make their way through to the living room, Darren abruptly told them it wasn’t necessary and that he was leaving.
“It’s not as simple as that,” I told him as he gathered his things together, “what about the flat?”
“You can keep it. I don’t want it.”
“What?” I was astounded by his complete lack of feeling. “Where will you stay?”
“I’ll find somewhere.”
“What about your belongings?”
“I’ll ask mum and dad to come and collect them in the New Year.”
“Why didn’t you talk to me about this?” I tried to touch his arm, but he flinched away from me as if burnt.
“There was never a right time.”
“There’s no such thing as the right time… As a friend, as your best friend, as someone you’ve known almost your whole life, I deserved to be told properly.”
“I can’t give you what you want.”
“I don’t know what you think I want.”
“I never asked for that.”
“You didn’t need to.” With those words, he was out the door and I was left to deal with the aftermath. I had to apologise to our families for destroying Christmas, listen to his parents’ apologies, bear through all the absolute crap excuses that our siblings tried to make for him, and attempt to sooth my father’s anger. Worst Christmas of my life and it was all thanks to Darren Jacks. Thank fuck for being back at work is all I can say.