Viva Voluptuous is out on Friday….and as a special treat, just for blog readers, here’s a sneak preview of the first chapter….
“Ell, I have to be honest, I really don’t want to come to Dublin with you. You’re a lovely girl and I would love to have met you when I was younger as I think we could of had a lot of fun. After what happened with Rachel, I just don’t think I’m ready for a proper relationship with you. I hope we can still be friends. Sorry. Mark xx”
My breath caught in my throat as I digested what I was reading.
I, Ellie Johnstone, had been dumped.
The perpetrator of the brutal dumping had done it out of the blue by email, while he was at work, knowing full well I couldn’t call him to make a scene. And I would make a scene.
Feeling slightly dizzy, I re-read the message that had just, quite frankly, ruined my afternoon.
How could he? I know we didn’t have the most conventional of relationships, but I was so in love with him I didn’t care that we’d been seeing each other six months and never actually slept together. We’d got close to it once, and when he said he wanted to take it slowly, I thought it was cute – when I’d got over the humiliation of being rejected, obviously – but after a while it just got…tedious. Our relationship seemed to consist of me feeling let down and a bit frustrated because of the numerous ways I’d try to engineer getting him alone in my flat, and the numerous excuses he came up with for not being able to come in. I blamed myself.
He blamed Rachel, his ex.
She was beautiful. I’d seen the pictures he still kept in his wallet. She had fallen out of love with him after being married for five years, except she’d neglected to tell him. He only found out when he’d discovered the text messages she’d been sending to her lover. Who also happened to be his brother. I made every excuse for his lack of interest in me physically, but deep down, I started to believe it was because I was a big girl and Rachel was younger, more glamorous and much slimmer than me.
I hated that he made me feel like that.
When we met, he’d said that he loved the fact I was confident about my body even though I was a size 20, but after months of going out with a man who quite obviously didn’t fancy me, my confidence was in shreds and I was having to stretch my own body-positive credibility to believe I was the sexy, voluptuous beauty I kept trying to tell myself I was.
I’d needed three very large glasses of Pinot Grigio to get me back to the bedroom with Mark that disastrous night. I’d been so nervous – he was the first person I’d got close to since I’d split from my ex-husband and I hadn’t exactly been around the block. In fact, you could count all the men I’d slept with on the fingers of one hand and still have fingers left over. Eventually, we ended up in my bedroom and just as things were about to get interesting, he sprung back like he’d just burned himself, shaking his head and muttering, “I can’t do this.”
He’d drunk too much to drive home, so he stayed the night, yet he couldn’t have slept further away from me if he’d been in the house next door. The next morning, he was out of the door at the first chirp of the dawn chorus. I pretended I was okay, but that kind of rejection? It stung. Convinced I was about to be dumped right there and then, I was straight on the phone to Zoë, as soon as it was sociable, bawling my eyes out. Only Zoë and Lauren, my two closest friends, knew that Mark and I had a celibate relationship.
Everyone else thought we were a lovely couple, they even commented on it. ‘You two are so lovely’ and do you know what? That was fine by me. I gave them the smug smile and let them think we were loves not-so-young dream. I thought he might be coming round to the idea of a ‘normal’ relationship, and by normal, I mean a relationship involving sex, really good sex, when he suggested we get tickets for Glastonbury in the summer – but now here I was, dumped, miserable and stuck with two tickets to the festival I wasn’t even that fussed about going to. I had bought them as a surprise birthday present for him, because that’s what ‘cool’ girlfriends do.
There’s nothing like being dumped to kill your ability to write.
My work for a beauty website may sound terribly glamorous, but being ‘Spa Editor’ for Glammazon sounds far more fabulous than it actually was. I did get sent on the occasional visit to a new spa or salon opening, or to try out a brand-new treatment, which definitely counted as a major perk, but most of the time I sat at home in my little flat, typing out pages and pages of dull copy for a website that was desperate to get to the top of the Google rankings, even if it made the content itself virtually unreadable.
I still hadn’t replied to Mark’s email.
Usually I’d be the first person to come up with something clever to say, but I was literally lost for words, which for a writer, is not a good sign. I kicked myself for suggesting a weekend in Dublin, because that’s what normal couples do, and we weren’t normal, were we? We were technically just a couple of mates who hung out, and I was his freaking agony aunt, listening to him whine on and on about his cheating bitch of an ex, her personality disorders and how much he hated his brother for sleeping with his wife.
I did start to write a reply, but when the words wouldn’t come, I simply typed, “Whatever. Have a nice life.” and hit send.
Muttering the word ‘arsehole’ under my breath, I logged onto my Facebook account, changed my status to ‘single’ and added, “Don’t ask. Just send chocolate.”
So I was single. Again.”
Buy Viva Voluptuous here.…