Extract from Chapter 3

That Friday, I walked out of Cardiff University with a bright beaming grin on my face. For the next three weeks, I didn’t have to worry about Acts, company law or the bloody UK Constitution. Exams seemed a world away and all I wanted was to throw myself into the Christmas spirit. A cold mid-winter sun added a shimmer to the barren branches of the trees that lined the campus and made the smooth grey paving stones glitter. I saw Rachel heading back to her room in halls.

“Have a nice Christmas!” I called to her. She smiled nervously and continued walking. She looked as though something was bothering her, but I had no idea what. She very rarely talked about her private life, which is why I never felt compelled to share mine with her. I caught the bus back to town and headed straight to Tom’s house for some quality couple time. OK, OK, so I wanted a peek inside the Beaverbrooks bag- can you blame me?! It’s not every day a girl gets proposed to and the sparkly engagement ring is easily the best part. After the whole spending the rest of your life with your soulmate thing, of course.

“Hiya!” I said brightly when he opened the door. I flung my arms round him, shrugging off the outside chill, and put my coat over the banister.

“Shall we go upstairs?” I asked, trying to water down the excitement in my voice. I just knew it was in his bedroom. The thought of it made my heart jump for joy. He nodded casually and I followed him up to his room. As usual, it was a complete and utter pigsty. Beer bottles were strewn across the window sill, pizza boxes were piled up next to the computer and a cluster of clothes had gathered at the foot of his bed. His mum was forever going on at him to tidy it, but he never listened and insisted he knew where everything was. I sat down on the bed with a strange air of nervousness. I felt like it was my first time in the house, even though I’d been there thousands of times since I was a kid. Tom and I had met on the first day of nursery school, when he tried to throw me off the rocking horse! Not the best start, but he gave me his jigsaw to do as an apology and we became inseparable. It took us ages to work out we fancied each other, though Jo said she knew right from the start. I looked at him as he sat down next to me on the bed. He really was perfect. Being Mrs Tom Keogh would be the best experience of my life. Of course, he still had to propose first!

“What?” he asked with an awkward smile. I realised I’d been staring at him for almost a full minute and shifted my gaze to his dark blue bed covers.

“Was just looking at you.” I smiled. “You make me really happy, you know that don’t you?” I shuffled across the bed and rested my head on his stomach. He began softly stroking my hair and I could feel his heart beating against my cheek.

“Yeah, course I do.” he replied. “What you saying that for?” I shrugged my shoulders.

“Just felt like it.” I said with a secret smile.

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