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Here’s a short story I wrote a few years ago, and did nothing with, perhaps for good reasons! It does read a bit like a reprise of Gregory’’s Girl. But waste not, want not isn’t a bad motto for life, so here goes.

My phone gave out a ring. That was the phone call noise, so it could only be Dad. Even Mum knew that phone calls were no longer necessary or desirable. I’d just written a WhatsApp message to Lydia, asking her out for a meal at the most expensive restaurant in town the next Friday, before I went back for my second term at University where I was studying English Literature. I’d been screwing up the courage to do so all over Christmas. Lydia had been a yearbelow me at school, a quiet girl behind an interesting face, keen on Victorian novels. We’d spoken to each other in soft voices in the library. She’d never indicated that she remotely fancied me though, so I wasn’t optimistic. I was in two minds if the risk to my pride was worth it. I’d still not pressed the blue‘send’ arrow.

My Mum and Dad were separated. He’d always been a ladies’ man and to an extent I’d followed in the family tradition. The only difference was that he was good at it. That day, he’d been playing golf which had sometimes, when he’d lived at home, been a euphemism for extra-mural activities further afield. In the clubhouse afterwards, he’d learnt that Sam Taylor’s daughter, Serena, hada bit of a crush on me. He felt bound by his ‘good bloke’ code of ethics to pass this piece of confidential information on to me. That’s why he was ringing.

Serena was a much more forward girl than Tabitha, and was strikingly good looking. She was a year younger again, having just started her ‘A’ level courses. She’d started texting me recently, and I now knew why. With the age difference, I didn’t know her well, but if she was ready, I was more than prepared to be willing. Thoughts of Tabitha were put on ice. I sent a quick text message asking Serena for the same date as I’d been planning with Tabitha.

After I’d finished doing that, I went back in to WhatsApp, only to findthat the message to Tabitha had also been sent. Whoops! I must have nudged the blue arrow when shutting the lid. And she was the one I really wanted to go out with. I was carefully crafting another message to Serena, saying that something had cropped up and I wouldn’t be able to make it, when a message from Tabitha pinged in.

“Sorry, have another date next Friday. Try me when you’re back at Easter,” it read.

“Will do,” I replied in relief, after having first carefully cancelled the cancellation of Serena that I’d been about to send.

Serena’s reply came five minutes later.

“Would love to. Wait outside the restaurant for me, would you? I hate going in on my own.”

As the least shy girl I know, I was surprised at Serena saying that, but I can find posh restaurants intimidating too.

I stood outside the restaurant at the appointed hour. Two minutes later, Serena and Tabitha came round the corner together.

“We’ve taken the liberty of making it a table for three. You’re paying. I hope you’ve got enough money,” giggled Serena.

I didn’t know if my luck was in or out. They both chose expensive dishesfrom the menu. As they were both over 16, they were allowed wine if I ordered and they didn’t skimp on that either. I sat there in confusion, not knowing where to put myself. Serena did most of the talking, while Tabitha smiled sheepishly.

“In case you were wondering who your girlfriend is going to be after tonight, it will be one of us two, and it won’t be me,” Serena proclaimed.“You’re not my type. You’re far too serious, fanciable though you are. But Tabitha really likes you. And she’s my friend.”

“And I really like you,” I said to Tabitha.

“It’s as well the feeling’s mutual,” Tabitha replied. “Even if you are a total prat.”

After that, it was a great evening. Tabitha came alive and was just as noisy as Serena. The girls even offered to pay for their share of the meal at the end, but I certainly couldn’t let them. I just had to drink a lot less the next termto restore the finances.

I’m writing this four years later. Philandering isn’t my game. Tabitha and I marry tomorrow in the local Church. In the one change to tradition that Tabitha will permit, she’s being given away by Serena.