It's Got to Be Perfect

Chapter One

I wouldn't say I'm jealous of Fionn. Just because she's getting her happy ending while I seemed to have morphed my life into one of those "choose your own ending" books with umpteen choices and no idea how to get to any of them.

She deserves her happy ending - I believe that entirely. But still I couldn't help, as I watched her walk out of the changing room in her stunning shot silk gown, her eyes misty with emotion, feeling a little green around the gills with envy (and the remnants of last night's vodka).

"She's gorgeous, isn't she?" the over enthusiastic shop assistant almost squealed, while I nodded.

"Do you really like it?" Fionn asked, her face begging me to say yes.

"I do," I said and I wasn't lying. It was a stunning dress which accentuated my friend's natural beauty but when I choked back a tear it was because I couldn't ever see myself in her position - no matter how carefully I had planned every aspect of my life.

You see I had this wonderfully crappy habit of messing things up. If there was a degree in being a fuck up I would have passed with first class honours.

"I'm so glad you like it," Fionn said, waving her hands in front of her face to try and stem her tears, "Because I really think this is the one. This is my wedding dress, Annie. My wedding dress." She emphasised the words while twirling around like some sort of demented overgrown fairy princess and the shop assistant actually did squeal with delight at this stage.

I just sobbed into my hanky. In a most undignified manner.


“Like a princess,” I said, sipping my wine. The buzz of the bar had lifted my spirits and Fionn and I were three quarters way down a very fine bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

“I was, wasn’t I? Like a Disney princess.”

“Hmmm,” I answered. “Cinderella.”

“Or Ariel. I like her wedding dress best of all the Disney princess wedding dresses. The way it sparkles in the sun when she kisses Eric in the last scene.” Fionn sighed dreamily, before sipping from her glass again.

I raised my eyebrow – or at least I think I raised my eyebrow. The wine was accumulating with the previous night’s vodka and it was possible that any facial gesture I tried to make at that moment looked more like I had developed some weird facial tick.

“Okay, okay,” Fionn blushed. “I know I sound like an eejit, but Emma is going through a particularly fierce and ferocious Disney Princess phase at the moment and it’s about all I can think about it. Every moment of every fecking day some cheerful tune is dancing through my head.”

I smiled. Fionn was not taking to motherhood all that well. That’s not to say she was doing too badly at it, but since she had moved in with Alex in the run up to the big day she was finding it challenging to come to terms with the demands – and viewing habits – of his five year old daughter, Emma.

“But I can’t just tell her I don’t want to watch it, can I? Because if I do, I’ll be the wicked stepmother and, believe me,” she said with emphasis, “I’ve seen enough of these movies to know that doesn’t fare well.”

“Emma loves you,” I soothed. “And it’s just a novelty having a woman about the house to indulge her princess fantasies so.”

Fionn nodded. “I know, but promise me this, the next time I come into work with fairy dust on my cheeks can you point it out to me before the ops meeting? I don’t think it does well to have me looking like an overgrown schoolgirl.”

“I don’t know about that,” I laughed. “I think Bob liked it. You brought a little colour to the office that day.”

Ah Bob. (Or Bawb as Fionn and I usually call him, in a faux American accent.) He’s our boss and obsessed with client portfolios and it seems little else. I don’t think he actually has a life outside of the office which is why he likes to exert as much control over his minions (as he has been known to call us) as possible.

Fionn shuddered. “I don’t want to talk, or even think, about Bob just now. It takes away from the whole wedding dress, fairy tale experience. And I don’t want anything to take away from that.”

Which is precisely the reason I didn’t explain to her how the last 24 or so hours of my life had been the most spectacularly painful of my existence. If she didn’t want Bob to ruin her dream wedding dress day then she sure as feck didn’t want to hear about Chewbacca.


Have you ever made a mistake? You know, a big, huge mistake which makes your heart sink to the pit of your stomach and the contents of your stomach try and escape through your mouth every time you think about it?

It was one of those things which seemed like a good idea at the time – I was wanted. I was fancied. I was irresistible. But that was then.

Lying there, in the stale air of my bedroom, with the exceptionally hairy arm of my mistake draped over my stomach – clammy with sweat – I felt my mind whir and my head thump. Yes, perhaps that’s what I had been thinking, or not thinking – too much vodka on an empty stomach – it was never going to end well.

I glanced to the clock on the chest of drawers and my heart thumped harder. It was 10.29. On a work day. So not only was I trapped under the weight of a man who was a walking “before” advertisement for a good back, sack and crack wax, I was also approximately 89 minutes late for work. On the one day where Bob would have been expecting me to be selling up a storm to beat our target.

I glanced to Chewbacca lying beside me. He was out for the count. I wondered briefly if he was actually dead. But the stench of beer breath blasting out with every exhalation was enough to reassure me that he was very much and alive – if slightly comatose.

I lifted his arm, weighed down by the sheer volume of hair on it, and inched my way out of the bed – doing my best to leave him sleeping. I wanted him awake, and out of my apartment – but preferably not while I was still naked. The last thing I wanted was him to wake and get a notion that there was a chance in hell of a repeat of the previous night’s performance .Even though my hazy memory told it had been quite pleasurable.

It was 10.33. I wanted (needed) a shower, but that would only make me even later for work and even further into the bad books of Bob who by now was probably half way to a stroke. I lifted my phone to call him, but then it dawned on me, I could just get ready and get to work as soon as possible. When he asked where I had been I would tell I’d been out meeting a client. It wasn’t unheard of, and it might just work. If only I could get Chewbacca out of my flat any time soon.

I slipped into my suit and dabbed on some foundation – although I doubted even the finest Clarins had to offer was going to make me look anywhere near human. Pulling a comb through my hair and tying it up into a top knot, I slipped my feet into a pair of court shoes and glanced back at the clock. 10.43 and he was still sleeping. I tried slamming a door. I even set off the alarm clock and had a very loud conversation with myself. Not so much as a flinch. I pulled the duvet off the bed – hoping the cool would shock him awake – but then I wasn’t reckoning for his carpet of self insulation.

It was therefore supremely ironic when it was my phone ringing, with a call from my boyfriend, that actually woke him.

“Hello,” Pearse said, his voice showing his confusion. “Where are you? I tried phoning you at work? They said you weren’t in yet? I tried calling last night too, you didn’t answer.”

Pearse liked to know where I was and who I was with at every hour of the day and night. Having gone off radar for the last 12 hours would not have gone down well with him. Not at all.

“I’m with a client,” I lied, my face blazing. I was sure he would know I was fibbing. He could read me like a book.

And it was at precisely that moment Chewbacca chose to shout, loudly, “Babe, do you know where my underwear is?”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...