Faith in Humanity

Today I feel sick, for the man who was killed yesterday, his family and friends, and the entire human race.  We live in a world where there seems to be a culture developing that Violence is some sort of action used to justify ones beliefs.  Where in reaction to these crimes people feel as if it is there right to cast a sweeping generalisation against a race or religion as a result of the acts of the few, not the many.

Yes, the men guilty of the murder yesterday appear to have been Muslim extremists, but the definition of extremist is:

Noun
A person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, esp. one who resorts to or advocates extreme action

Note: ‘A person’. Not ‘all people’

Let’s face it, yes there are groups and there are many, from different religions, races and walks of life, but even if someone instructed those men to do what they did yesterday under some misguided belief that it would get the ‘right’ sort of attention for their cause, two individuals had within them the capacity to commit a heinous crime.  It isn’t their religion that makes them do it, sure it’s a factor, their belief in it is obviously deep-rooted and allows them to use it as a reason for committing crimes against humanity, but it isn’t what tells them to do it.  There are quotes all over the internet today from members of the muslim community denouncing the actions of these two men yesterday, it isn’t whats written in their bible, it isn’t what they are taught, it’s the action of a few, affecting the lives of many, on both sides of this.  Those men did not commit the murder because their entire faith believes in what they do, they did it because they believe in it.  They didn’t do it because of where they were born, or the colour of their skin and for every person who has made that assumption, aligned themselves with that sort of bigotry and declared their own misguided beliefs, they should know that makes them not too dissimilar to the perpetrators of these crimes.

Growing up as I did, Irish and Catholic in the UK, I can tell you that it doesn’t feel good when someone asks your last name to make an assumption about you, as a child in school we had a student teacher and upon hearing her Belfast accent I was delighted there was someone else from where I was from, first thing she asked little old nine-year old me? What was my surname, she was sizing me up, she needed to know which side my loyalties lay and I can tell you, they very definitely lay on the My Little Pony side as opposed to the Barbie on, I was always sure of that.  My friends used to get upset when I said I was going home for the summer ‘but you’ll get blown up’ they’d say and I’d laugh, because I knew I would be fine, the army men at the check points always checked under our car with mirrors and smiled at me through the window (have always been a slut for a man in uniform) 

So how did that affect me? Did I decide to become a freedom fighter for Ireland? Did I hate British Soldiers? Did I shout abuse at my english friends at school for the persecution that happened so long ago that we aren’t taught it in schools here in the UK? Nope. Because my parents brought me up properly, Catholicism didn’t play too great a role in my life, no confession or communion for me, course as I got older and heard about the troubles I learnt more and yes, I am angry at the people responsible for violence that took relatives and people my family knew away from them.  But I wont be going out on a rampage, my religion, my place of birth and the colour of my skin have yet to make me a raving extremist and I don’t think it’s coming any time soon either.  Surely I’m living proof that the sweeping statements about a race are ridiculous, I’m not stupid nor an alcoholic but it doesn’t make me any less Irish than Paddy and Mick in those jokes people think it’s ok to tell every Irish person they meet (and it is, they’re funny, just go easy)

For me the bottom line is this, yesterday, two human beings, ok let’s be more specific, two Male Homosapiens, chose to take the life of another Male Homosapien, because they decided that it is in some way defendable if you quote a bible, a god that many don’t even believe exists (some people don’t believe in any god of any religion) those two men were wrong.

No matter which way you swing it, there is no right on this earth for one man to decide to take the life of another.  Just as I have no right to judge your beliefs and you have no right to judge mine.

Is it just me?

So yesterday I started listening to Miranda Harts Audiobook, Is It Just Me? and as she goes about telling me things and asking that question I repeatedly find myself saying, no, it’s me as well.  On a variety of subjects, obviously it isn’t every subject, but it seems that she’s quite like minded, which is nice, because up until recently I wasn’t convinced there were many other people like me in the world.

I’ll start by telling you what I think I am like…

  1. Quite open minded/liberal/lacking any real predjudices (unless you are a small animal living in my house rent free)
  2. Outgoing (once I get to know you, but shy and paranoid in the beginning)
  3. Funny (There, I said it, I do think I’m funny)
  4. Adventurous, at least that is my hope, to be adventurous, at the moment I am failing
  5. Young…

So you may agree, if you know me, that some of those things are at least partially correct, my best friend Becky is much the same and as we had coffee this afternoon and she told me of her plans to spend months working in Turkey (as of Friday, she hadn’t told me by text and due to the circumstances of my recent bureavement waited until today) I explained how I would love to be doing something different, not tied to a desk or a job, a car contract that holds me back and debt nowadays only up to my knees as opposed to a few years ago when I’m convinced it went over my head…

We thought about it, how different we seem to be from other friends our age, as she uttered ‘God Nic, you’re gonna be thirty this year’ and I didn’t slap her because a best friend can say such things and laugh with you, but that neither of us has (apart from my aforementioned financial ties) anything keeping us here.  Neither is in a relationship that holds us here, nor owns a property or has children, we aren’t career girls with clients that need us, even though we are both hard workers, the work itself is basically irrelevent. 

I wondered what type of people that made us, in the eyes of many of my friends I don’t doubt that I am a laughing stock failure, I mean I haven’t married a nice local boy and had children (nothing wrong with this, just not for me), there isn’t a mortgage or rental (I live with my parents), I don’t even own my adorable yellow car and will be handing it back in October.  My books are self published, you can’t buy them in the Northallerton Branch of Waterstones or WH Smith, the only time they were on Tesco’s chart bookshelves or ipads were when I rather naughtily placed them there to take photographs (even using my wifi hotspot phone to open the page on the ipads was rather adventurous, I didn’t try downloading them) I didn’t go to university, my job has no enormous prospects (but it is important, that I am sure of) and my teen dream of being a pop star didn’t ever come true, along with that of my marriage to Ronan Keating.  None of those things are failures, half of them were pipedreams, some need input from others and self publishing a book is harder than having an editor and a publisher helping you with it, that I am damn sure of!

So is it just me that thinks being 29, not having a clue where I want to be in 10 or 20 years from now, and not even really bothering that much about it, is not the worst thing in the world?

Am I happy? Yes, mostly, not lately but that’s circumstance and will pass with time.

Am I in love? Apart from with fictional characters? Not really, I could be, but I don’t think others are willing to invest yet.

Have I written two and almost three entire novels and put them out there for thousands, yes thousands, of people to willingly download onto their kindle? Yes I have and thank you, it was difficult and I am damn proud of it.

Am I normal? I think so, I mean what is normal? I think Normal is what you want to be and when you attain that, then yes, you must be normal and screw what everyone else thinks…

Is it just me? No, it’s not, everyone worries, everyone struggles, everyone has decisions to make and sometimes not the first clue how to do so…

 

Salvation in Strangers

Lately, well I haven’t been at my top, my writing isn’t really going anywhere, I can’t get away from certain aspects and so I just keep re-writing stuff I know I wont use (and therefore adding it here on the old blog) there has been salvation in the strangest of places, not the people I see every day, but the ones I haven’t ever met. I joined a Facebook group, Chick-Lit Goddesses (presumptuous that I’m honourable enough I know) and was accepted, from there I have forged bonds with several of the other writers, people who type a little comment when I need it, or tweet me some news, people who have read my book and reviewed it (when people I see all the time have yet to do so) and in doing so, they make my day a lot (not a little) brighter.

I haven’t claimed to be a talented writer, but I maintain I am a writer, I don’t claim be successful, but there is success in my sales figures, even if they are all on Free Promo days, the Goddesses and my Twitter community don’t care, they like my writing, or they like me, or they don’t, but what they do, is unilaterally support me and one another within the community.

So yes, when you are a small child and you are walking home from school, beware of strangers, but if one offers you a virtual olive branch on Facebook or Twitter and looks safe enough, go on and accept, it could make life lots better.

A New Year. A New Frontier?

laviebohemelil.jpgWow, I haven’t blogged since December 7th, last year…Sounds dramatic I know, but then you think, it’s only January 8th this year.

Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Feliz Navidad, Bon Noel….etc (excuse spelling etc…)

So its officially THAT year, yes, THAT year, the one in which alledgedly (or if you have any of my legal documentation) I will be turning Thirty. I blogged about this before, the things to do before list, which to be honest, I haven’t worried about too much, a lot of that list was trivial and as I am now a 29 year old responsible adult (when did that happen?!) I cant be bothering myself with worries of such things. I do however have a list, in my head I might add, of things I want to achieve this year, some of which may be private and never outspoken, or trivial, but to me, turning thirty in less than 11 months has made me think of 2013 as a year for action.

Step One – Take better care of myself.
I will join the gym, when my financial issues are sorted, I hate money. I will go as often or seldom as I choose, secretly I have these visions of being really good and becoming very fit quickly, the reality is more likely me looking like a whale in lycra on a spinning machine (I was as horrified as the next girl when I realised that spinning isn’t SPINNING. I mean I thought I would twirl with my arms out, switching occasionally to avoid dizzyness). I don’t care what the others think, really, no honestly, ok I care a bit, but fuck them (excuse my french)

Step Two – Use new found gym confidence to begin to find my Abner. He may be called Barry or something else, I dont care, but he has to BE an Abner, basically a sweetheart with long fingers…and sex hair, even when he hasn’t had sex.

Step Three – Use my new found love interest
For basically anything, carrying my shopping, inspiration to write, slave….Ok, I’m joking about this one, mostly….

Basically when the clock strikes midnight and December Sixth rolls in, I do not want to be simply the person I am as I write this, I want to be the person I want to be as I write this…

The end is nigh

So the worlds going to end on 21st huh? Have they specified how? I mean do I start buying rations in case we make it, or do I need to ramp up my list of things to do before I’m thirty to a list of things to do before I die?  Should I have bothered Christmas Shopping? I’ve spent a fortune and now I realise I could’ve invested it all in pre-apocalyptic joy, seeing films I’ve never seen or reading books I’ve never read, using up my holiday time and living a bit more before I’m not living at all.  It’s strange to think that in two weeks it might be over, mainly because I don’t think it will be, so the Mayans didn’t make a calendar past 21/12/12, I haven’t refreshed the diary pages in my filofax for two years, the world didn’t end then did it?  Here I am, sarcastically blogging about the end being nigh when in reality the end came two years ago for my teal book of dates.  I’m committing to it not ending and 2013 being the year I make something of myself, whether its climbing the ranks of my office (pretty much nowhere to go til someone retires) or getting recognition as a writer, meeting my very own Abner and settling down or running away and experiencing the world, I’ve pretty much decided that the end of the world could just be the beginning of mine…

When Abner met Fallon – Take Two

If you’ve read both of my books, you’ll maybe recognise this snapshot into Abner, the first time the grown man meets his love, even if he doesn’t really know her yet

Happy New Year my arse, twenty six years of age and stuck with Marcia, smoking like a chimney to get away from her while she tries to slink her way around my brother, angling for a midnight proposal.  I haven’t the heart to tell her that theres no way it’ll happen, even my family agree, but Mum slipped and told her I’d inherited one of my grandmothers rings and she is now convinced, or so she tells my sisters, that I will propose over the festive period.  I finish my cigarette, drop it to the floor and stamp it out, noticing the white toes of my converse could really do with a scrub and not really giving a shit either way, Marcia will no doubt tell me to throw them away because anything that isn’t bright, shiny and new is out of favour with her, I just wish the shine had worn off me for her.  Neds is jammed, after struggling my way downstairs past couples practically screwing on every step, I make my way through the crowded bar, past a group of friends who are squealing at a video camera, with no choice I rudely push past the guy holding the camera, ruining his shot, then someone shouts nice arse and for some reason I know its about me, turning I see the caller.  She’s tiny and seems to be restrained by a much taller girl in a bright orange gaudy dress, the girl looks mortified, her pale face reddens and as she turns away I see her shoulder length copper curls bounce, I give her a grin and head back to join Ned, Andy and Marcia nearer to the stage.

“Ignore her, she doesn’t drink much and when she does she has a very naughty side” my brother tells me when I glance back and the little redhead, she has her back to us now, an emerald green dress is fit to her generous curves, she’s rounder than I would usually be struck by, but there’s something about this girl that’s caught me.
“You know her?” I look to my brother who has a smirk on his face, he nods.
“She’s a friend, sweet kid, the whole gang of them are great, been coming in here a couple of years now I reckon, she’s looking over again” I turn to look at her, catching her eye for a moment, she’s beautiful, she clearly doesn’t know it though, her boyfriend obviously does, a stocky dark looking bloke I wouldn’t want to cross, has his arm around her shoulders and then she’s delivering some sort of speech into the camera in a very animated fashion.  Someone must have spotted me staring at her because suddenly their entire party, camera included, are pointed my way, I look away quickly and down at my feet, the dirt on the toes is annoying me now.

“They look like a bunch of chavs if you ask me, what did the dumpy little redhead shout at you?” Marcias disdain for ‘commoners’ irritates me enormously and despite my best efforts can’t be quelled, she looks down her nose at them and I feel a burst of protective instinct for the girl and her friends, they look like the sort of people I’d enjoy hanging around with.

“Nice arse, have to agree with her, to be fair, I do have a nice arse” I laugh at Marcias face, Ned doesn’t look happy at all, probably my arrogance.

“Um Marcia, that bunch of chavs as you put it, are my friends and for your information, the black guy, the blonde fella and the ‘dumpy redhead’ work in media, graphics design, very good at it too, she does a lot of my menus and stuff.  The blonde girl manages the Grosvenor Hotel in Piccadilly, the guy with the dark hair is a pretty prominent session musician, none of them are ‘chavs’” he really does know them and yet I can’t bring a single photo of her to mind, physical ones in his flat above the bar, or the experience of having come across her before. It’s strange, I’m here a lot.

“Oh, well, I suppose, the redhead shouldn’t be wearing that dress, she’s too fat for it” she casts her eye over the girl, who is dancing up against the boyfriend and squealing something that makes the others laugh with her, there’s always one of them focussed on her, she’s clearly the middle of the group.
“I think she’s beautiful” the words are out of my mouth before I can stop them, Marcia looks incredulously at me, oh well, I’m a man of the truth and that girl is gorgeous.
“Well said Abe, she is beautiful, inside and out, I can introduce you later if you like?” my brother offers me the very thing I was considering asking of him, I smile back and he gets it, he knows where my mind was.
“Sure, if they’re friends of yours”
“Excuse me, am I invisible?” she couldn’t be more obvious if she tried, tonight she decided an outfit made entirely by Burberry was required, meanwhile I wore a nicer pair of jeans and tucked my Thomas Pink shirt in, barely running my hands through my hair or shaving before leaving.
“Who said that?” Andy says with a booming laugh, receiving a grunt from Marcia in response, I steal a glance at the girl again, she spots me and yet again I look away. I don’t know what this game is that we’re playing, but I’m enjoying it immensely.
“Come on guys, it’s a minute to”
“Yeah” I’m enthralled by the girl, shes now attempting the can-can, being supported by her boyfriend on one side and the guy with the wholly impractically large afro hair on the other, she might be as drunk as me. They’ve formed a circle, the blonde in orange has the camera and is panning the group from the centre, they’re having a ball and I wish I could join them.
“Five, four, three, two, one. Happy New Year” Ned shouts and before I can turn to my girlfriend, little red appears, she jumps on me out of nowhere, wrapping her arms around my neck and her lips on mine, for a millisecond I’m in shock, the my body takes over, I wrap my arms around her waist and whole-heartedly involve myself in this midnight kiss.  She goes as quickly as she arrived, I catch her arm for a second, not sure what I’ll even say but I don’t want this moment to be over yet and she spins, flashes me a gorgeous smile and winks before running back to her friends who all collapse laughing around her, leaving the taste of her on my lips.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” Marcias overly manicured hand swipes across my cheek, it feels as if hes scratched me, I look at her and see her widened eyes looking my secret kisser up and down.
“Wasn’t that you? Sorry had my eyes closed” Ned and Andy are slack jawed behind her, I do my best not to laugh, it is funny, she thought midnight was going to be her proposal, hell I don’t even like the woman, she’s alright for someone to keep the bed warm at night, but she doesn’t give me the tingles like Little Red.
“You know full well that wasn’t me Abner, how dare you kiss another woman when we are out, celebrating New Years Eve?”
“Technically I didn’t kiss her, she kissed me” I reply with a shrug, I want another of those kisses, there was an electricity I’ve never experienced before and its intoxicated me.
“Appauling behaviour, I think you were wrong Ned, your little friend is clearly of a very low moral grounding” Little Red is now wrapped in the arms of the guy I thought was her boyfriend, surely not, he wouldn’t allow her to kiss a complete stranger would he? If she was mine I’d never let her out of my sight.
“Jesus Marcia, pull your head out of your arse, this is my bar, she is my friend and you are welcome to leave any time you like”
“Abner! Come on, we’ll go to my apartment” she actually clicks her fingers at me, I shake my head, the woman is insane.
“I’m staying at Neds tonight”
“If you don’t come with me now, then mark my words, this is over and you wont be able to cope without me, I am the love of your life”
“Lets not say anything we’re going to regret huh?” is all I can muster because this isn’t the time or place to correct her.
“Oh you disgust me, right, happy new year” she flounces off, barging past Neds friends as she goes, I look to m brother and Andy and shake my head. She can’t wander Camden alone, she has no clue about the real world.
“I’d better go, just to make sure she’s ok”
“You have an out Abe, take it, she’ll be planning the wedding by summer if you don’t”
“Nah, I think she gets the hint”
“No mate, she gets what she wants, that’s her trouble, go on, I get it, its comfortable.  To think, I was going to make the introductions”
“Whats her name? Little Red over there?” we all look over and she’s on the shoulders of the black guy, arms in the air, singing along to the music, its clear that everyone loves this girl.
“Doesn’t matter now, does it? I like Little Red, she’d like that name too, I think”
“She’s really something, isn’t she?”
“Yep, I love her to bits, sure you’ll meet her in here again some night, when you’ve been released from her talons”
“God help me” I say, taking one more look at her before reluctantly going to find Marcia. Happy New Year to me, my night was definitely more than I’d hoped for.

 

 

 

A little post from inside Fallons head (If you haven’t read Fallen, don’t read this!!)

So this is a little something that was floating around in my head, its sort of still during Fallen, pre-epilogue and its rough, but I had to jot it down…

Also both Books are Free on Amazon on Sat 24th!

“You ok sweetie?” Evas’ voice breaks into my daydream, snapping me back to reality and out of the lovely moment I was thinking about, but I have a smile on my face either way.

“Me? God sorry, I was miles away, literally, three thousand” I giggle, if she only knew, the fact is that nobody knows he almost called the engagement off or that we decided on that one day to try make a baby, that’s our secret.

“Whats up? Please don’t tell me you don’t like it, the wedding is tomorrow” I look down at Eva, adjusting the hem of my dress, sitting on her haunches as I stand on a box in the middle of her studio, then I look in the wall of mirrors ahead of me.  There’s a woman who looks beautiful in her bespoke wedding dress staring back at me, rounded belly and all, the reason for the last minute adjustments and when I smile, she smiles back, because the woman is me and I cant stop grinning.

“No! God no, I love it, I was just thinking about New York” My dress, she took every note I gave her and created something even closer to what I had in my imagination than I realised was possible, lace and satin buttons, sleeves and a deep v-neck, that only just hides my modesty and finished off with a full skirt, standing here in it as she takes out the pins I already feel like a princess, tomorrow, at our wedding, I will no doubt be floating on air.

“Ah, getting the giddy warm and fuzzies are we? I’m glad” everyones been waiting for me to melt down, even I have, but it hasn’t happened and I don’t think its going to.

“I cannot stop thinking about him, I haven’t seen him all day and I might not tonight, he got up before me this morning, said he had a present to pick up and I’m not even travelling up there with him tonight. I didn’t know I could miss him this much in a small amount of time. Am I weird Eva? Do you think its jitters or hormones?”  I’m so excited about the wedding, its going to be a great day, for me all I care about is getting the rings on our fingers, but I organised a day that all our friends and family can really enjoy and I’m so looking forward to it.  I think of his note, sitting on his pillows when I woke alone in bed this morning, in his typically scruff handwriting.

Button – Countdown until the law says you are mine – 1 Day.  See you tonight, cannot wait to really start our life together.  All my love – Scruff.  It made me smile as soon as I read it, even if he hadn’t woken me to say goodbye, he says he wont ever wake me if he can avoid it, because I’m a bear with a sore head, especially pregnant.

“Honey, calm down, you’ll work the bump up into a kicking frenzy.  I think it’s a little of all those things, not weird! I’ve worked with a lot of brides, some pregnant like you and you’re serene in comparison”

“Really? Oh I am glad, and so relieved that last growth spurt with bumpy was the last, I can imagine waking up with another inch tomorrow though, or just full on popping out” running my hands over the bump, not a stir from inside, baby is as lazy as I can be and its early afternoon nap time in there I think.  Who ever thought I would enjoy this rounded shape, I certainly didn’t and had I realised how much Abner would have liked it, I might not have freaked out when he first suggested babies.

“It’s a lovely neat little bump” she stands up and appraises it with a grin

“Low and all in the front, it has Abner convinced he’s right, but the secret is that I hope he is too, always wanted a boy first, so if I had a little girl she could have a big brother, like I sort of had in Joe”

“Well if it is, the little fella has made my job infinitely easier, the tiny panels are barely visible and look like a feature” since I announced my pregnancy, Eva has been monitoring my belly weekly, arriving with a tape measure, she only cut the fabric three weeks ago and she altered the design ever so slightly so she could add panels, which after this weeks measurement, she went ahead and did.

“Some women wake up and have popped out, what’s your plan for that?” I say with a  giggle, she may be unflappable with the odd inch here or there, but I could wake up and look full term tomorrow, this I found out during my hourly googling of pregnancy symptoms.

“Greco Roman sheet style dress” she giggles, picking up a leaf crown from her basket of accessories and popping it on my head, it doesn’t look half bad actually

“I like that, but I bought the flowers already!”

“I cant wait to see the full package tomorrow, shoes, hair, make up!”

“Me either, Abners worse, he literally told me he might scale the building for a peak in the morning.  That gave me a flaming palpitation, can I see him tonight do you think? I don’t know if I’ll sleep if I don’t see him tonight at least once?”

“Course, just not tomorrow” she replies, holding out a hand so I can step down, I hold the skirt of the dress up on one side and take a tentative step onto the floor.

“Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t have set the wedding to late afternoon, should’ve chosen early morning, then I wouldn’t have to spend as much time waiting to see him”

“You know I bet he’s saying the same things to Joe right now”

“Is Joe with him? Doing the thing that I don’t know about but I kind of have an idea about?” he promises that there is only one more surprise, that I wont have to deal with until after the wedding, but the fact that he needs Joe makes me think its big and I don’t trust him to have not gone overboard, if you cut him open he’d bleed flash.

“He is with him, doing something I know nothing about like you” she taps her nose and sticks her tongue out, she so knows what they are up to, then busies herself undoing all the buttons down my back to release me from my dress.

“Aw, Joe gets to see him”

“You’ll get to see him tonight sweetie and then every day for the rest of your life”

“That’s true, I might get sick of him”

“You might, but somehow I don’t think that is going to happen”

 

“Hello?” I say putting my phone to my ear, I know its him, but we play this game now, I’m in the back of the cab, heading home to pick up my things before my parents pick me up to go to Hagarth Hall.

“Hello, is that Miss Magee? Future wife of Abner, mother of his child? Love of his life and absolutely the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on?” my skin prickles at the sound of his voice and the compliments, possibly the goofiest man on the planet

“Hi” I coo at him

“Hi gorgeous, missed you this morning, had to skip out, but we are en-route and I will see you when you get here, Joe had a call from Eva suggesting you might want to hear my voice” bless her, Misson: Keep Fallon Sane is going well, what with everyone I know clearly playing a role in it, she must have called him as soon as I left her studio.

“I missed you all day and now its going to be hours til I see you and then I wont get to see you for 16 hours”

“That’s very specific love” he chuckles, I can hear the traffic, they must be in his Aston with the roof down and I hope to god Joe is driving and he isn’t trying to multi-task.

“Wedding is at four o’clock and tomorrow starts at midnight, its 3pm now and I wont be up there till at least seven” I realise I sound like a petulant child, but isn’t that allowed? I think up until today, barring the weeks when I didn’t know I was pregnant, I have been a very patient and acceptable bride, today I just miss him and want it all over with so we can get on with preparing to the baby to arrive.

“Ah but then you’ll be seeing me every day for the rest of your life”

“That’s what Eva said”  I smile, either she coached him or he’s just lovely.

“You haven’t got itchy feet have you?” I giggle as he gets it wrong, they are quite itchy to be honest, but in a literal I cant bend over to scratch them anymore way, rather than the cold way he means, my feet couldn’t be toastier about tomorrow.

“Its cold feet and no if anything they’re swollen and hot, you can rub them when I see you.  How are yours?”

“As cosy warm as can be, you’ve nothing to worry about on that score, I’ll be running down the aisle to carry you up it given half the chance.  How’s my baby?”

Our baby isn’t up to much, no fluttering at the moment at least”

“How was the fitting?” he says, waiting for me to slip up, if I have managed since my first appointment with Eva in January, why would I suddenly tell him the day before?

“Good, its amazing what black leather does for a pregnant belly”

“If you walk down that aisle in a spud sack tomorrow I will think it’s the most beautiful dress a man has had the pleasure of setting his eyes on, as long as its you in it, I won’t care”

“You are such a geek. Watch out for our car tonight?”

“I’ll be pacing the lane darling, don’t you worry”

“Did you get your hair cut?”

“Number one, all over” he says and I gasp

“Kidding, I’m kidding, a trim, centimetre tops”

“Ok. Um did you pick up the suits?”

“Yep”

“And erm, did you, err speak to the musicians?”

“Yep”

“Oh what about the florist?”

“Done, quit stalling, say you love me and hang up”

“I love you and hang up”

“Love you too” he says before the line goes dead and my heart swells

 

 

“Feeling alright there daughter?” My dad eyes me in the rear view mirror, I’m fidgeting and I have been fidgeting for the majority of the drive up here, with absolute adrenalin filled excitement, couldn’t care less about the wedding, I get to see him soon, less than 24 hours apart and I’ve missed him that much I could scream.

“Yep, I feel great, that was the mile marker, we’re almost at the gates!” I notice the sign at the side of the road and the giddy amps up further than I realised possible.

“Wow, you didn’t even ask are we nearly there yet” Mum laughs, I know my way here now, we’ve been around often enough making preparations with his Mum

“I know, because I know this place so well now, he said he’d be pacing the drive for me, but that’s silly” I say wistfully, imagining him at the front door instead, I text him from the last services and he said he’d be around when we arrived.

“Not so silly love, look” I look out the window and there he is leaning against the sandstone gatepost with his arms folded, as he does in doorframes at home when he’s observing me, or stalking me as I like to call it, his hair doesn’t look too different and my heart skips a beat.  Sometimes when I see him after we’ve been apart a while, like after work, I get shocked by how handsome he really is, just now he’s in jeans and a tee shirt, the same old Converse on his feet that he wore a year ago today, the day we met.

“Drive past yes? That fella looks a bit dodgy!” Dad says with a chuckle, he unilaterally loves Abner, they talk about music together and lately, they Barbeque.

“No, Dad! Stop” he stops the car before the gates, I’m out of the door before he can cut the engine and flinging myself into Abners arms, he manages to catch me too.

“Hello wife to be, missed me that much huh?” he says when he deposits me onto the ground, I keep my arms latched around his neck

“Hello husband to be, we have four hours and forty two minutes together and yes, I missed you that much”

“Do you want to get in Abe?”

“No, we’ll walk up if that’s ok Dad? Can you make sure the garment bag goes in before he sees it?” I nod at Mum, chief dress protector for the evening

“Sure thing sweetie, be good son, she’s not your wife yet” oh my Dad thinks he’s so funny, Abner laughs, less frightened of him I think.

“Absolutely James, honour is fully intact”

“Yeah, we know shes pregnant”

“Apart from that then, Mum and Dad are waiting for you and Ned and John are on baggage duty”

“Not the…”

“White Garment bag, I know love, go on, enjoy your stroll, we’ll see you up at the house” the car pulls off up the gravel drive, leaving it a moment before he lunges for me, pulling me tightly to him and clamping his lips down onto mine, guiding us in between the trees and the gatepost, it feels marvellous and illicit.

“So its my last night of freedom…” he whispers when we’ve split apart for air.

“Mine too, I was thinking about checking out a stable boy or something”

“Hmm, you are hilarious, come back here woman.  We must have literally spent every day together since your birthday, with exception of my Stag and your Hen, because I felt like I had a limb missing today.  Hi bumpy, how’s it going?” he runs his hands over my belly, even in my baggy tee shirt the bump is making its presence known.

“We have almost, me too, except you had my Joe”

“And you had your Eva and Lola” taking my hand we begin to amble the half mile up the drive, he swings our arms like a child, but the grip is very grown up.

“Not Lola, she had to work late, Eva is fitting her now and they wont be up for a few hours, did Joe come with you?”

“Nope, coming with the others, so its just us and the parents and my family for now, oh what about Niamh?”

“Alex is driving them all up in a mini van his Dad leant him”

“God, they’re making it into a full on Mini Break aren’t they?”

“Yes, its that much of an occasion I believe the boys mentioned tinnies for the journey” in my mind Cal and Dan are going to roll off the minibus and stagger into the beautiful stately home stinking of booze and possibly a whiff of marijuana.

“I don’t want to drink tonight, I’ve been so good, but the boys want to bring me to the Wagon and Horses for a pint and you know how that ends”

“Oh”

“You need sleep, so after that”

“I wont sleep tonight, I cant, I have so many things to check on”

“No you don’t, my mother and sisters did your entire secret list this afternoon, they sent me out on Mozart across the hills, bumped into Marcia, as you can imagine that was interesting”

“What had a last ditch go at getting you back did she?”

“Yep, rolled in the hay with her for a good five minutes before I realised you were definitely my favourite fiancée” I know he’s joking, so I make do with a light punch to his arm, he mock yelps and slows his pace.

“She told me something very interesting today”

“Did she?”

“Said that it had never felt quite right, like I wasn’t ever fully into her, which is true, but then she said the day she met you, a year ago tomorrow in fact, she saw something in me that she’d never seen before.  So I told her that I had loved you from that first moment and she said that it was obvious and I was very lucky, because during her facebook stalking of you, she realised how wonderful you really are and gorgeous to boot”

“She facebook stalked me?”

“Yeah, seems interested in Dan”

“Blondes really are her type huh?”

“But if she can see it, the way you make me light up, and she is supposed to hate you for ‘stealing me’ from her, even though you had no part in it, then I reckon the old nag is onto something.  So there you go, it must be love”

“Love, love” I sing to him

“Madness, I mighta known”

“Come on sir, we should eat something and then tomorrow I am making an honest man out of you”

“Want a piggy back?”

“I thought you would never ask”

 

 

I wake to hear shuffling at the foot of the bed, if its after twelve I cant look at him, that’s if it even is him, for all I know it could be Joe coming in to talk to me.  I hit the sack at ten after they all decided to go to the pub, I couldn’t face sitting with the girls and missing him, knowing I wouldn’t see him until 4pm tomorrow, but he said a very sweet goodbye, pretending that his arms were locked around my waist and he’d have to take me with him.  Then less funnily, he mimed a ball and chain around his ankle and the last thing I said to him was ‘piss off you knob’ before he pecked my cheek and ran off after the impatient men folk.

“Who’s there?”

“Its me, its only 11.50, we have ten minutes, get your kit off”

“No!” I squeal as the bed drops, he sits by my knees and flicks on the lamp, I take him in, face a bit red from drink, eyes a bit bleary, but he’s smiling and he smells delicious.

“Well you’re no fun are you?”

“You are funny, why did you wake me up?”

“Because I wanted to say goodnight properly and I was hoping you would change your mind about being so traditional because chances are I wont sleep without you”

“Not a chance, sorry, but here, for five minutes and then you are off to bed” I scooch over and he lays down beside me, face to face, he drops a little kiss on my forehead and yawns, he’s dangerously close to bringing us bad luck.

“I’m on a bed”

“Abe, its nearly five to, come on, stop annoying her” Ned pokes his head in the door and shakes it when he eyes his brother trying to doze off with me.

“Ned, its ok, for another minute at least” I tell him, because I don’t want him to go

“If I have to carry him out, I will do it”

“I am just tucking my wife into bed and then I’m coming”

“She isn’t your wife yet bro”

“Almost, almost wife, sixteen hours” he winks

“Two minutes, I’m coming to get you” Ned says before disappearing back into the common room, I can hear him chatting to the others, who are clearly concerned that Abner wont be able to leave me alone.

“So I just wanted five minutes with you before the sixteen hour ban is upon us, to tell you that I cannot wait to see you in all your finery tomorrow and I cannot wait to put another ring on this hand” he holds my left hand up to his lips and kisses my fingertips

“Me too, I can’t wait but now you have to go, because we don’t need anything cursing us”

“Fallon, I want you to promise me something?”

“Anything” I’m full of conviction, I would do most things he asked, apart from the obvious rude ones he jokes about, he and the baby are my reason to live now.

“Don’t run away in the morning, I have this feeling like you’re going to bolt and it would be all my own karma from doing it to Marcia” he looks so nervous, there is no karma for running away from her, he didn’t love her, it would have been worse to marry her and make her unhappy than to spare them both the misery as he did.

“Abner, don’t you realise yet that I’m not going to run away from you? You have too much money for that and I’ve become accustomed to it” he taps me playfully

“Hilarious aren’t you? Seriously, the feet are still warm and toasty? You aren’t in that scary place in your head either are you?”

“I’m laying on a bed with you, I couldn’t be any further from that scary place and tomorrow I get to marry you while wearing an adult sized replica costume of a telly tubby”

“Which telly tubby?” he says with mock interest, I don’t doubt he would find me beautiful beneath the costume, but it is fun to joke with him, anything to delay the inevitable of him having to leave me shortly.

“Um, La-la, that’s the yellow one isn’t it?”

“Sounds like you’re going to look gorgeous”

“Oh I will, the hair that will be frizzed to perfection under the head part is what I think you’ll like most, I mean it made sense that I have something with a built in belly, twas a cross between La-la and Pudsey”

“At least you could have been sponsored in Pudsey”

“Damn, never thought of that”

“Abe, come on, two minutes” Ned knocks but doesn’t come in, probably frightened he’ll witness something scarring, I laugh, he has no faith in his brother if he thought ten minutes was long enough.

“I have to go, I will see you in sixteen hours and two minutes, down there and you better not be late” he gets off the bed and straightens up, watching while I roll onto my back again

“Wont be, I might even be early. Keep those feet nice and warm for me please?”

“Absolutely, keep my baby all nice and cosy” he drops a kiss onto my belly, leaving a hand there for a moment while he goes goggle eyed, the anxiety might not be leaving me, but leaving his baby.

“I promise”

“I love you” he says before giving me a kiss

“I love you too”

“Abe, come on, Andy is going to come and lift you if you don’t come willingly” Ned steps in, apparently caring little about what he might discover, he’s pretending to be stern, arms folded across his chest, but he has the look of a man enjoying witnessing the romance.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah”

“Hey little bro, come on now, she’s knackered”

“I love you, I’ll see you tomorrow” one more quick kiss and he moves to the door, looking back waiting for my reply, I give it to him with an enormous grin.

“Love you too, sixteen hours. Go on, before we get smited”

 

 

“Morning almost little sister, I have a package to deliver from your betrothed”

“Ned! Its almost like seeing him this morning, getting to see you, can I have a huge hug and pretend?”

“As long as you don’t get frisky” he laughs wrapping his arms around me for a moment, I woke this morning, full of nervous excitement and cannot see the only face that I truly want to.  They have distracted me brilliantly, with make up and hair.

“Is he ok?”

“He is very calm, which surprised me, he wasn’t last time”

“Oh yes, I forget he’s done this whole wedding day thing before.  So he isn’t going to run?”

“If I was betting man I would be that as a no, don’t worry sweetie, you look so gorgeous”

“Thanks, they’ve been fussing over me for ages, only two hours to go though, so I can just about contain myself”

“Here you go, I had express instructions to leave you alone once I’d handed it over, see you in two hours down the aisle”

“Love you Ned”

“Love you too Fally, good luck”

 

 

To my almost wife, on our wedding day

 

This is just a little gesture, it cost almost nothing, so don’t tell me off when you see me at the alter, I don’t know the colour scheme, I don’t know if you are wearing a Lala costume or not, but it doesn’t matter.  I know how you love your Blue Butterflies and I saw this literally yesterday, just in a trinket shop, but its old, new and blue and I thought if I could get in on that action itd be like I was with you as you got ready. 

I woke up this morning after a lovely dream, you and I, in our completed (soonish I hope) home, with our baby, just spending a day together and the first thing I wanted to do was turn to you and tell you, which I know I couldn’t, but that’s fine, because I know that every day of the rest of my life, I can turn to you and tell you my dreams when I wake and you can keep on telling me yours.

All my heart is with you, see you shortly.

 

Abner xoxo

 

I lift the lid of the little blue box and find inside an old hair comb, its tiny, but at the top is a blue enamelled butterfly, holding my tears in, with a heart swelling with love, I step over to the mirror and slot it into my hair, feeling instantly better that he is with me until I can see him.  After everything we have been through in this year, today feels like the true beginning.