How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?
Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can't remember the last time she had a second date. It's a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.
Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two - she's in love with someone else. Someone she's never even met.
It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.
Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she's determined to unmask Mr Writer...and find out once and for all if he's Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!
I’ve hated weddings for as long as I can remember.
Everything about them sets my teeth on edge: the meringue-like wedding dresses, the cheesy first dance, the dreaded walk down the aisle and especially the quiet notion that the marriage will be over in a few months’ time. At those weddings, it can feel like all the fuss is for nothing, given that the happy couple will soon be battling it out in divorce court to see who keeps the cat.
So as you can imagine, I was less than thrilled to find myself as a bridesmaid at my mum’s seventh – yes, seventh wedding.
As the organ began to play the all-too-familiar bridal march, I walked down the aisle, clutching my bouquet of lilies so tightly that my knuckles turned white. I tried to keep my gaze on where I was heading, but couldn’t resist throwing sideways glances at the guests gathered in St Mark’s Church. Everyone on my mum’s side of the room gazed at me with a nostalgic fondness that misted their eyes and made them whisper shared stories with each other. On Boring Brian’s side, however, I was regarded with a silent suspicion. They’d made no secret about the fact they hated their beloved son’s choice of bride. It wasn’t her multiple marriages that bothered them though, it was me. I’d overheard his mum and dad talking about it at the engagement party.
‘She could’ve been married as many times as Zsa Zsa bloody Gabor for all I care; I don’t want our Brian having to bring up another man’s kid!’ his mum Rosemary had sniped.
At the time, I’d wanted to point out that at twenty-six, I didn’t need “bringing up”, least of all from Boring Brian, but I’d left it. No matter what my opinion of him and his awful family was, he seemed to make Mum happy. God knew she deserved it, after some of the things she’d been through.
I dragged my thoughts back to the present moment; namely so I could concentrate on not tripping over my teal bridesmaid’s dress. Mum would never forgive me if I ruined her big moment. The weight of everyone’s stares began to freak me out and I thought about sprinting the rest of the way to the altar. If there was one thing I hated, it was being the centre of attention.
Luckily, as I approached the end of my journey, I saw two familiar and very welcome faces: my best friends Max and Gwen. They’d both craned their necks to see me walk down the aisle and were both grinning like Cheshire cats. I breathed a sigh of relief as I reached the altar: I could never have got through today without them. When I took my place, I caught Max’s eye and he winked at me.
After the rest of the bridesmaids and the flower girls and pageboy had all walked in, everybody stood up and turned their attention to the back of the church. My mum was about to make her grand entrance. She appeared at the church doors and I couldn’t help but smile; she looked absolutely beautiful. Her ivory dress was made of satin, not at all meringue-like and elegant in an understated way. Yep, I thought, this was my favourite out of all her wedding dresses. Her face was perfectly composed as she floated down the aisle, despite looks of disapproval from her soon-to-be mother-in-law.
‘At least she didn’t have the nerve to wear white,’ I heard her mutter to her husband Brian Senior.
The muscles in my jaw clenched as I fought the urge to say something. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be part of their family, but at least I had the decency to keep my mouth shut about it.
Mum reached the altar and a bright, beaming smile swept across her face when she saw Boring Brian. His round face was beetroot red with excitement and I could see the joy in his tiny blue eyes despite his glasses being steamed up. All in all, he reminded me of a Percy Pig sweet.
Lynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She's an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she's sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)
A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.
When Lynsey's not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she's daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they're meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…
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