Watching him walk back into his house made my heart shatter into a thousand pieces. This was horrific. I couldn't trust myself in his company any longer, and it was tearing me apart. I sobbed like a baby in the taxi, and when Julian spoke to me on the phone he thought I must be so ill he needed to call me an ambulance.
Hardly. Unless they treat a broken heart.
Julian eventually came home drunk, babbling on about Vada screaming the restaurant down when she found out Evan had gone. He said he didn't see the problem, until she said that he'd broken up with her. I'd cut off, eventually falling into a restless sleep. The following day was my dress fitting, and as much as I knew it wasn't right for me to feel the way I did, I knew I had to go anyway.
When I arrived at the bridal salon, I was astounded to see not only my mother, but also Sarah, Kate and her adorable little girl Anya. I immediately burst into tears, as we all fell into some kind of crazy group hug. My mum beamed at me with tears in her eyes when I thanked her for getting my girls together.
"Can I be your bridesmaid?" Anya demanded, her pale grey eyes widening as she gazed at me. I hadn't seen her in so long, I almost fell over with how beautiful she was.
"You absolutely can, wow," I glanced up at Kate who was grinning widely. "You look just like your mama, you beautiful girl."
"Daddy said it's because she's beautiful," she whispered in my ear, making my heart swell.
"Daddy thinks Mummy is beautiful?" I gasped, and she nodded at me.
"He tells her every time he sees her and she tells him to be quiet," she giggled, and I looked up to see Kate roll her eyes. It was no surprise when Kate found out Andrew was her daughters father, but he had wanted nothing to do with her. What was surprising was the bond that had developed between Harley and Kate, and he had stepped in and brought Anya up as his own.
"She's so cute," I gushed, and Kate nodded proudly.
"She sure is. She's also convinced you're going to buy her a dress today," she chuckled, and I held my hands to my mouth in mock shock.
"Well I'm not sure they will have a dress fit for a princess in here..."
Sarah picked Anya up, and I felt a pang of jealousy at how close they seemed to be. I had been out of the picture for so long I hadn't been around to see her grow up. But hopefully that would change now that I was moving home.
"You've lost so much weight," Sarah sighed as she pulled my arm skin between her fingers, her choppy red hair gleaming as she shook her head in disappointment. "I preferred you rounder."
"Thanks. I think..."
The seamstress Annette walked out of the back office breezily, holding her hands out for me to join her in the changing room. I followed her in, stripping off my clothes as she groaned.
"You've lost more weight Jain," she scolded, helping me step into the beautiful gown I'd selected a few months back, when everything had seemed perfect. The dress still fit, but clearly not the way Annette would have liked. She pulled it in and pinned it in places, before draping it around the floor around my feet. She lifted it up, sliding on some heeled ivory shoes in my size, before nodding proudly.
"Beautiful. Ready?" she whispered, and I nodded. She opened the doors and I heard my friends gasp, having not seen the dress before. I'd known I was having the wedding locally, but I hadn't expected my friends to see it until the big day. Kate and my Mum were crying, whilst Sarah just stared at me open mouthed.
"You have seen what you look like, right?" she managed to choke out, as I nodded anxiously.
"Do you like it?"
"No. I love it," she smiled, as Kate handed her a tissue. "I'm not crying dear. She doesn't look very happy," she pointed out, and I felt my features freeze. My mum lifted her eyes to mine, as Kate told Sarah to be quiet.
"Jain? Are you alright? You do look a little overwhelmed..." my mum trailed off, as I took a deep breath.
"I'm fine, just overwhelmed," I said reassuringly, gazing over my back to see the dress in the mirror. A bride stared back at me, and I noticed that she didn't look like all the others did in the magazines.
"That's completely natural, don't worry. Tiara?" Annette smiled kindly, as Anya ran up to me. She tugged at my hand, and I managed to lean down to hear her.
"Stop whispering, Anya, it's rude," chided Kate as I waved her off. I thought it was terribly endearing that Anya liked to communicate privately.
"Do you have a Prince Charming?"
My stomach flipped over at her innocent words, and I nodded.
"I think so. What does a Prince Charming look like?" I asked, as Sarah watched me carefully.
"He can look any way. Eric had dark hair, but I guess he could have any colour you want. He just has to make you happy, forever and ever," she smiled, her hands on my cheeks as she looked at me in awe. "Because you look like a princess. You look like Belle," she giggled, and I had to blink away tears.
"Happily ever after," I whispered, and she nodded.
"Yup. Then you can go and live in a castle and have lots of dogs."
We all started laughing then, to her dismay. She put her hands on her hips and pouted, before telling us all off.
"When I grow up, I'm going to marry my Prince Charming and we will live in a castle near the forest and live happily ever after. You'll see."
I caught Sarah watching me again, smiling broadly when I looked at her. I lifted an eyebrow inquisitively, before walking back to get changed. Afterwards we would all heading to the pub, and my mum had offered to have Anya for Kate and Harley.
"With any luck I'll be having my own grand babies soon," she chuckled, winking at me pointedly. We said goodbye, and made our way to the pub. As soon as we walked in I was greeted by Harley, who picked me up and twirled me around.
"Hey Harls," I smiled, as he held me back and let out a wolf whistle.
"Still beautiful, I see! Where's hubby to be?" he asked, glancing around us as I shrugged.
"Working. Sorry, he is really busy at the minute, especially with the wedding being so soon."
Harley nodded, before exchanging a look with Kate. It was really strange seeing him kiss her on the lips, before pulling her onto his lap.
"So have you told them?" he grinned, as Sarah headed to the bar to get our drinks. He was kissing Kate's hand as she groaned, rolling her eyes at me in mock despair.
"Why?" he demanded, pushing his hair back from his face. He was frowning now, and Kate chewed on her lip, before muttering something.
"Oh god, just tell them already. I'm too excited."
Sarah came back, dropping four pints of beer onto the table.
"Here we are, four pints of the strongest ale we have."
Kate shifted uncomfortably, and Harley smiled triumphantly.
"You're pregnant," I gasped, and Harley almost leapt up with excitement.
"Yes! We are!"
"Harley, sit down," Kate laughed, as he kissed her hard on the lips.
"No, I won't. I love you, Kate. I fucking love you, and Anya, and our baby. I want the world to know."
Tears pricked my eyes again, before Sarah elbowed me.
"That is not a surprise. Harley has banged on about a football team of kids since we have known him. The sadness in your eyes when you tried that beautiful dress on? That was a surprise. Not a good one, either."
I opened my mouth to protest when she pushed the two pints towards me.
"You're not pregnant are you?" she checked, and I shook my head firmly.
"Good. Now drink up, and start at the beginning. No bullshit either."
Sarah began to down her pint, and I sipped mine gingerly. Kate and Harley were oblivious to us, lost in their own world of adoration and parenting. I gazed at them, when I felt another jab in the ribs.
"Am I going to have to start guessing?" Sarah hissed, sliding her empty glass on the table as I stared at it in disbelief.
"Guessing?" I repeated, knowing I was playing a losers game.
"You're either fucking terrified or you're not in love with him."
I reached for my own pint then, drinking it quickly despite my tastebuds telling me to slow down.
"Sarah, please don't ask questions I can't answer. You on the other hand, look the happiest I've ever seen you. What gives?"
"Fuck that," she snorted, standing up to her another drink. "You tell me and I'll tell you, honeybunch."
She smirked as she walked up to the bar, ordering another round of drinks. I noticed this time there was one soft drink, and I smiled softly. I was so happy for Kate and Harley, but my secret was weighing heavily on my shoulders. Maybe it would do y good to tell Sarah, but not here.
When she sat back down, Harley began asking about work, and we all joked about how weird it was that I would be working at our old school. Sarah made eye contact with me a few times, but didn't seem to press the issue.
"Oh my god, Mr Silver still works there!" gasped Kate, as Harley made a face. "He's so gorgeous, and only thirty. He's with Vada!"
"What?!" scoffed Sarah, as she ripped open a packet of crisps. I noticed she didn't offer them out, and it made me smile. "God she hounded him. He never seemed interested."
"Lack of option I bet," drawled Harley, as Kate yawned. "Maybe his girlfriend got bored of him and he ended up with ole big tits. Hardly girlfriend material."
"Harley!" Kate scolded, as he held his hands up in apology.
"I'm just saying..." he muttered, and it was then that Sarah spoke.
"How do you feel about it? Working back at school?"
I shrugged, trying to ignore the well of panic that was growing in my stomach.
"It is what is it. It will probably be a bit weird-"
"Yeah, hot Mr Silver will be your colleague," Kate wailed, and Harley scowled.
"Ha, yes. I know," I said, sipping my second pint.
"Good job you're getting married. Vada would probably rip your throat out otherwise," Harley chuckled, before stealing a crisp from Sarah and starting an argument.
I tried not to respond, but the words echoed around my head.
Good job you're getting married...
Was it? We would see. Until then, drink.
This book is now on Patreon only.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, ʟɪɴᴢᴠᴏɴᴄWrite a Review