Make A Wish…
Kat can’t help wishing there was more to life than this. What happened to her dream job? What happened with Nathan?
Summer is wondering where her life is going too… battling the developers of a controversial housing estate and working out why boyfriend Rob is increasingly distant.
When the developers win the battle and move into town everyone’s life is turned upside down.
Kat meets building site project manager Alex. She enjoys his company far too much, even though he’s on the town’s most hated list.
Summer meets Tom who has plenty of relationship troubles of his own, so things could get really complicated.
Soon everyone is keeping secrets, lives change and hearts are broken. Is everything falling apart, or does life just work in mysterious ways…
You can buy the book on:
Crooked Cat Publishing
Earlier I posted chapters one and two of How Do You Spell Love? on my blog, now here's chapter three...
“I don’t suppose you’ve got any green tights or leggings have you, love?”
Kat stopped trying to persuade the row of tatty paperbacks on the bookshelf to stay upright and turned to look at the man standing before her. He was around five feet tall and, to put it politely, overly rotund. Kat forced a smile onto her face. God, what on earth was she doing working here? She wasn’t even getting paid and she had to deal with weirdoes like this one asking for green tights – what had the world come to?
“I’m sorry, sir but we don’t often get tights of any colour donated here.” Seeing the look of disappointment on the man’s face, she added: “I guess it’s not really the kind of thing that people give to charity shops. Not terribly hygienic. We have some green jeans on that rail over there which might fit you; probably need turning up a bit but it’s worth a try…”
The man burst out laughing, shaking his head in disbelief. “Heaven’s above! I’m not asking for me, young lady! My granddaughter is playing a frog in her school play and her mother asked me to try to find some green tights for her.”
Sighing with relief – the thought of this man wearing green tights had frankly made her feel a bit ill – Kat walked over to the corner of the shop where they stocked the children’s clothing.
“How old is your granddaughter, sir?”
“She’s six years, a rather petite six though. Do you think you might have anything suitable?” The man had followed her over to the kid’s section and was eyeing row upon row of dresses, trousers and jumpers hopefully.
Kat nodded. “We get loads of stuff for kids, especially fancy dress costumes; hang on a sec, I think we’ve got a yellow chicken outfit which might just fit the bill, I’m sure that it came with green leggings.”
Flicking expertly though the clothes rail – she found it rather worrying that she knew the contents of this store inside and out – Kat swiftly pulled the chicken garment out for closer inspection.
The man grinned. “That would be perfect, the legs may be a touch too long but my wife can turn them up no problem. How much do I owe you?”
Kat checked the card label on the hanger. “It’s three pounds and fifty pence please. Shall I pop it in a bag for you?”
“That would be great, thank you, my dear.”
As the bell above the door tinkled noisily to signal the departure of another happy customer, Kat went back to sorting the paperbacks.
Today was one of her better days, one of those times when she could forget about the past and try not to dwell on her unrealised dreams for her future. All of those years spent slaving over text books to get a degree and for what? Kat sighed and pushed one of the paperbacks into an upright position more forcibly than necessary. All that time, effort and energy spent studying to end up, at 24 years of age, living back home with her parents, unable to get a job she loved and saddled with horrendous student debts into the bargain. Still, she really shouldn’t complain. There were those worse off.
“Kat! Can you give me a hand sorting through these bags?”
Kat sighed, wedged the paperbacks upright with a large and rather heavy cookery book and walked into the back storeroom where they kept all of the unsorted bags and boxes of donated items, from unfashionable clothing to naff videos and smelly shoes.
Summer had her head inside a large black bin liner.
“God, things aren’t so bad that you’re trying to do away with yourself by suffocation, are they?” Kat pulled up a chair and plonked herself down a few feet away from Summer, tugging one of the other bin liners of as yet undiscovered delights – or maybe not – across towards her.
Summer surfaced with her crazy spirals of orange curls in more disarray than ever. Today she was wearing bright red eye shadow and sporting lips the colour of crushed blueberries – a scary combination.
“As if! Anyway, I’ve a hot date tonight so I wouldn’t want to go topping myself now, would I?” She grinned as she delved into the bin liner again and then flung a cuddly Magic Roundabout Zebedee at Kat.
“Lucky for some, can’t remember when I last had a date, hot or otherwise.” Kat caught the grubby Zebedee and carefully set it to one side before starting to sift through the bin liner in front of her. She always felt strangely sorry for the unwanted cuddly toys that were donated to the shop – especially teddy bears; how could anyone ever throw out a cute little teddy? She certainly couldn’t, the top of the wardrobe in her bedroom was still a sanctuary to several scruffy bears from her childhood.
“That’s because you don’t get out enough. How’s your prince charming supposed to find you when you’re stuck in front of your parents’ TV every night, eh?” Summer pulled a colourful scarf from the bag, sniffed at it and then tied her unruly curls back with it.
She’d shared the tiny flat above a shop further along the High Street with boyfriend Rob for over a year now. Kat thought they were like love’s young dream. Despite living together they still arranged special date nights when they’d both get dressed up and then Rob would go outside and knock at the door as though he’d just arrived to collect Summer for their evening at a restaurant, the pictures or just the local pub. Apparently Rob was also a romantic; flowers often arrived at the STW shop for Summer. Nothing grand or extravagant, he was a librarian who loved to write poetry in his spare time so he wasn’t exactly swimming in money.
“Maybe Prince Charming doesn’t actually exist, ever thought of that?” countered Kat.
“Of course he does! You just need to get out more and stop being quite so picky! I mean, what was wrong with that blond guy that came in the shop the other week and asked you out? I would have said yes to him if I was you.”
Kat laughed. “You’d say yes to any man!”
Summer tried to look indignant. “Thank you very much! I’m involved, as you well know. Besides, I did turn down that man in his fifties the other week. Sadly, I suspect he was only joking when he asked me to go to
with him. Anyway, don’t try to sidetrack me, what exactly was wrong with the blond guy?” Barbados
“He had his daughter with him for goodness sake!”
Summer shoved some jumpers onto the top of the huge pile of clothes waiting to be hung up in the shop and scrunched up her now empty bin bag. “So what? Nothing wrong with that.”
“There is when he was married!”
“Well, OK, I’ll grant you that.” Ferreting around in one of the other bags, she asked, “Not heard from Nathan again, then?”
Kat stopped delving around in the contents of her bag, leaned back in her chair and shook her head. “No, not since that one and only letter.”
“Well, I suppose that’s what becomes of falling in love with your uni boyfriend.” Summer gave Kat a quick hug as she walked past her towards the retail floor of the charity shop. She paused in the doorway of the stockroom and turned to Kat. “Are you still in love with him, do you think? Is that why you’re rejecting any man who comes near you? I mean, no offence Kat but it has been nearly six months, hasn’t it?”
“Five months, twenty-two days and,” Kat looked at her watch, “… twelve hours. Give or take.”
“It’s definitely time you had another man on the scene. You’re coming out with me on the next STW gathering and no arguments,” shouted Summer as she disappeared off into the front of the shop.
Following Summer through to the shop – which strangely didn’t have the usual all-pervading dank and musty smell that most charity shops had; instead the STW store smelt quite floral and fresh, thanks to Summer regularly putting gorgeous smelling essential oils into a little electric aroma stone vaporiser – Kat leaned on the counter and tried to drum up some enthusiasm. Summer was known to be a bit of a wild one, very loud, often outrageous and basically didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her. STW meetings usually started off with a serious note but, by the end of the night, things had been known to get rather raucous in a pub somewhere.
Kat weighed up the pros and cons of a night out with Summer and the STW gang against another night at home in front of the TV with her disapproving parents. “Where are you going?”
Summer grinned. “The supermarket in town.”
“Supermarket? Seriously, Summer?” Kat raised her eyebrows questioningly.
“Yep. We’re going there tomorrow night. Be there by six if you can. The STW group are meeting in the store car park to protest about the way supermarkets are ruining the world with their importing foods, underpaying their suppliers and putting small, local shops out of business.”
“Is this the new campaign, then? You know, after…”
Summer nodded. “You can say it, you know. OK, so the Save Netherton Meadows campaign wasn’t exactly STW’s finest hour, but I still live in hope of protecting the allotments from the developers. Yes, our new main campaign is called Say So Long to Supermarkets.”
“There won’t be any trouble, will there?” Kat asked, leaning on the counter. “I know some of the group can get a bit carried away. I don’t want to end up getting myself arrested.”
“It’ll be fine. Alain’s organising it and I’m sure everything will be above board. You haven’t met him yet, have you?” she mused, a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Recognising this look, Kat shook her head. “No way! Forget it! I don’t want to be set up. Especially not whilst on a protest meeting against supermarkets.”
Summer shrugged. “Please yourself. Bet you’ll change your mind when you see him though. He’s tall, blond and gorgeous.”
Kat ignored Summer and set about dusting the shelves where they kept the motley selection of ornaments and bric-a-brac that were donated to the shop, pondering what would happen if she did end up going along to the gathering and getting herself arrested. Or, possibly worse, getting herself set up with Alain. She’d heard he was French and fancied himself more than he did anyone else.
A small wooden framed mirror wobbled slightly as she brushed past it with the duster and she reached to steady it, catching sight of her own reflection as she did so. OK, she was a bit pale about the face but overall she wasn’t looking too bad, was she? The big blue eyes that Nathan had once told her were wonderfully alluring, stared back at her. Maybe Summer was right; perhaps it was time that she started to move on, attempted to sort her life out. Forget all about Nathan.
She still wasn’t sure that Alain would fit the bill though. Her mind drifted back to Alex at the housing estate development and the way that he’d helped her unload the heavy trays of sandwiches. The way they’d laughed together and shared a bottle of orange squash earlier that day. If only things with Nathan hadn’t ended the way they had… they’d still be together and she wouldn’t be fighting a matchmaking attempt by Summer in addition to what she knew to be increasingly confused feelings for Alex.
Alex was the enemy; as she needed to keep reminding herself. OK, he was charming, good company, gorgeous… but she had to forget him, just like she’d been trying to forget Nathan for these past few months.
Turning to Summer, she said, “OK. Count me in. I’ll be there at the supermarket tomorrow night.”