This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
See this guy here on my left? All dressed up for the occasion in his custom-tailored dark suit, greyish tie, swanky haircut and a newly shaven face? With this idiotic blank stare, looking as he actually feels, at a very low ebb? That’s Pete. His wife left him on his thirtieth birthday. Took everything but the kitchen sink and a dog that pees all over the place. He still feels like shit.
And this guy here on my right? The one wearing a black tux, white tie, lapel flower and a wide stupid grin? That’s Jimmy. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. He still doesn’t know, but he’s also walking his first steps into the divorce proceedings ordeal: in two hours, maybe one and a half if we’re lucky, he will be married. To Linda.
Soon-to-be-Mrs Burke is actually a nice girl. But then again, they all are ─ right before they get to lay their hands on us and become our all-knowing wives, having our balls in a jar and making us bumbling, inept screw-ups. And after two dozen full-blown PMS rages everyone is jaded, hurt and resentful, and starts to hate each other as hard as they can.
Yes, that’s why we’re all here for: to watch Jimmy tie the knot and enter right through hell’s gate. I give it a year. Or two, maybe.
I’m Brian, Brian Anderson. I’m the charming guy here in the middle, supporting my best friend in front of a crowded church while the loving, sweet bride is doing whatever she’s doing. She’s thirty minutes late already. Seriously?! She’s probably instagramming her dress, her bouquet or the bloody lace garters, only god knows. Good lord, what an agonizing ritual.
Hell no, I’m not married. I’m neither engaged, taken, starting over nor in an ‘it’s complicated’ kind of relationship. No strings, no promises, no sorrows, no regrets ─ that’s my philosophy.
I’m single, very single, and I plan to stay like that. For a long time. And no, I’m not an immature, misogynistic prick either. I’m just realistic: marriage sucks and, as someone so wisely said, it’s the waiting room for death. All in all, I do believe such outdated institution should come with some sort of ‘choking hazard’ warning or something.
But for all it’s worth, I’m really happy for Jimmy: he adores her, he’s on cloud nine, clearly thrilled about all this. And apparently David Cameron is looking to offer tax breaks to those who get hitched, which as things are is always a nice perk.
Finally. There’s a slight commotion in the back of the church. Apparently the bride has arrived.
That same instant my mobile rings. The rhythmic sounds of One Way or Another echo throughout the entire church, interrupting the carillon bell notes that cascade upon us. Jimmy’s mother immediately frowns and throws me a disapproving squint.
My eyes scan the rest of the audience for their reaction as I quickly dig into my jacket pocket to pull it out and check the incoming call. Half church is shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. Only half, the other half is already too old and deaf to listen.
First advice: be clever and always invite a lot of elderly folks to your wedding. They’re the ones really loaded and, besides, you no longer will have to return the favour.
Anyway, good that Linda is faithful to the tradition and still hasn’t made her entrance ─ I can only conclude as I diligently swipe my finger to reject Josephine’s call.
Oh my, Josephine! She’s so hot, hot enough to trigger nuclear fusion. Long legs, small waist and big boobs. I just love her thick chestnut hair, her deep brown eyes and her full delicious lips. Oh that mouth, the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. The very same mouth that talks dirty to me when I wrap her in my arms and then pay a special visit to that special place where magic happens.
My mind processes these racing thoughts and my pants immediately feel a bit tight down there. (Some argue that men think about sex every seven seconds. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, an urban legend. Or maybe not.)
Where was I?
As I was saying, she’s one of the women on my shortlist and she sure does deserve that spot. Yes, I do have a list of special friends. Friends with benefits, if you will. There’re about three or four. Going out every single weekend looking to score big with some different girl is not really my thing; I usually prefer to call one of them.
I know what you’re thinking: if I were a woman, I’d be a slut. Well, but I’m not and it’s not my fault these gender discrepancies still exist. If you want to know, I think that’s totally ridiculous.
Besides, I’m nice to them, I’m a true gentleman who makes them feel very unique and special. And I’m pretty certain no one blows their socks off like I do. I really give them my all, I devote myself entirely to them ─ throughout the weekend they spend with me. Then, of course, it’s all over. I need to stay focused during the week.
On the other hand, if one day that disaster happens to me again and I fall head over heels for someone, I will know most of it beforehand, how women and their complex minds work. You know what they say: practice makes perfect.
I put my mobile on mute and slip it back into the pocket of my jacket as I make a mental note to call Jo right after the ceremony.
Or maybe not.
My eyes travel over the faces of the single female guests, just to assess what my chances are, to check if I should tell her to be on call or not later tonight. Hmm, maybe I could get lucky, I tell myself observing the fake blond seated in the second row.
In fact, and here goes another life lesson, you should never take a date to a wedding. It’s like taking sand to the beach, beer to the Oktoberfest or whatever. I’m sure you get my point.
Weddings are always a great place to score. Chicks are just in the right mood for romance, they all want to love and be loved. Most men have no clue what women want, but I’m proud to say that I do. They want to be romanced, they want us to do them things that make them swoon, that’s it. No big secret or complicated riddle.
Yes, I had told you that already, I sure do romance. I’m okay with the flowery stuff, sunsets, sappy music and scented candle lights; I can also marvel at the stars for hours and, most important of all, I can listen to them. I’m definitely not like that other guy, Christian-Fuckin’-Grey, whom ladies seem to be possessed by these days. I adore women more than anything in the world, I really aim to please them. Though if they ask, I may also blindfold and tie them up to the bed, that should be no problem.
Who the hell came up with the dumb idea that men aren’t supposed to like romance? Sure we do. But in our book it’s a slightly different thing. It’s mystery, it’s passion and sexy panties, or no panties at all, and of course never-ending sex. Note it down: that’s what makes our heart race.
That said, we just need to meet each other somewhere halfway and it’s done.
To sum it all up and getting back to my love life, the thing is, I have a lot of love to offer, therefore and as any good Christian is supposed to, I share. I almost see it as a moral duty or a public service if you will. You should see it the same way too, if it makes you feel better.
Linda’s ready. So I guess we are all set, good to go.
Jimmy’s eyes lighten up, his smile broadens even more and− What now? Oh no, he’s becoming all emotional, about to tear up, and I’m barely able to smother the chuckle. Oh shut the front door! What a sissy!
I shake his hand firmly and give him a tight comforting embrace and two slaps on the back. You’re on your own now, mate.
The first notes of Andrea Bocelli’s Con te Partiró begin to float in the air at last, and Jimmy takes a long and deep breath before he turns around to face the altar.
The little girls are lined up and ready to drop flowers as she walks down the aisle. Of course my 3-year-old niece Emma is the cutest of them all! I give her a wink and she twitches her eyes back, giggling. Out of the corner of my eye I still see her dancing all by herself, fishing petals out of the basket and throwing them up in the air, absolutely amused and absorbed in her own small world. I’m crazy about her, she’s such an amazing kid!
It’s time to return to my place, next to my parents. But before I do, I let my gaze drift over her again, over the fake blond. The boobs look fake too, but I’m in such a lousy mood today I couldn’t care less.
Damn. She sure does look good. She’s a solid seven, maybe an eight out of ten ─ I’d have to check her ass first. And if I’m lucky she’s one of those that looks tamed but makes the earth move with her screams. Let’s hope.
Her eyes meet mine and I offer a gentle nod and a warm smile. She brushes back her long hair, looks down and blushes a bit, the corners of her mouth twitching into a shy smile.
On second thought, maybe I could make my move right away and politely ask if I may sit next to her.
Yes, that’s an excellent idea. Good option to escape my mother’s sighs, who will surely give me that look. The look of disapproval, because all my friends are married by now and my sister has already given her four grandchildren and, sure, I’m a million light years away from that. And a good opportunity to open my way to take phoney blondie hard and fast against the wall. Because I will. One way or another.
MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...
Toria Danielle: I must congratulate Erin Swan on completing such a beautiful work. The Rising Sun is well rounded and leaves nothing to be wanted. ALL of the characters and their development are beautifully written. The plot is extremely well thought out. Creating a whole different type of universe is difficult ...
Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
Carolyn Hahn-Re: I really liked this story! The writing was well done, and the plot was suspenseful. I couldn't stop reading chapter after chapter, on the edge of my seat! The characters were well developed, and true to form. Thank you so much for this wonderful read.
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
Usagi Kita: This story is emotional from beginning to end. You get to watch the characters struggle and grow, maturing in different ways so that they come to be the people they are meant to be. Inea is insanely adorable, and his antics made me laugh more than once, and Kaedon is perfect for him in so many wa...
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tyleroakleyfan: thank you for writing this story I loved it. it was great I enjoyed every minute of it I couldn't stop reading you did a fantastic job. Thanks for killing ron he was starting to piss me off. he was being a dick. I love that you made it a gay love story its about time someone did. love it great job.
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."