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LOVE IS WHAT IT IS

 

CHAPTER 1 

Saturday

 

What’s not to like, another gloriously hot sunny day on the island. Thirteen hours of sunshine, one of the many great things about being here, along with never having to check the weather report before getting dressed in the morning. Getting up and knowing 100 percent it’s not going to rain. Funny how the simplest of things can make life feel so much better.

 

That’s not to say a few eyebrows weren’t raised, especially by mum and dad, when I suddenly announced I had dumped my boyfriend, quit my job, and was heading to the Mediterranean for a few weeks of fun in the sun with my friend Virginia.

 

Two months later, I’m still on the island sharing a two-bedroom apartment with Ginny in the centre of town. Our location is ideal since neither of us has a car. Our favourite restaurants and bars are within walking distance. We can walk around town and rely on taxis when needed.

 

It’s seven in the evening, and I’m making the ten-minute walk from our apartment along the promenade to meet Ginny at our regular haunt, Chris’s Bar. Lined with palm trees along the entire six-hundred-metre length, the promenade is bustling with families out for a leisurely stroll, children squealing with excitement as they stop to buy ice cream. Couples hand in hand. Even the oldies are out, cementing the fact that this is a great place to be.

 

As soon as I step inside the bar, I get the much-needed feeling of the air conditioning blasting away. The bar is already crowded with holidaymakers and some locals. Almost all the stools are taken at the L-shaped bar to my right, and it doesn’t seem like Chris and the two other bar staff are going to get any respite from the throng.

 

“Hi, Toni,” Chris calls out from behind the bar when he spots me. I love this place; you don’t feel intimidated walking in on your own. I can just walk in and there will be someone I know, a friendly face amongst the crowd.

 

“Hi, Chris. Is Ginny here?”

 

Busy serving, he gestures with a nod and says, “She’s at the back.”

 

Making my way through the crowd, I walk the length of the bar to the back and spot Ginny. It’s Saturday night and the band is due to play tonight. The pool table has been moved to make way for the band’s equipment, and Ginny is hanging with them while they set up. She waves as soon as she spots me.

 

“Toni, over here.” We greet each other with a kiss on the cheek, our customary ritual. She grabs my arm and drags me to sit at our usual table. “What have you been up to? I haven’t seen you all day.”

 

“I’ve spent the day at the beach. My body needed some vitamin D. I see Will isn’t here. He should’ve arrived last night. Is he going to be coming this weekend?”

 

Will is Ginny’s boyfriend who works in London, and since we decided to stay here indefinitely, he usually makes the two-and-a-half-hour flight to the island on a Friday night for the weekend. He works in investments, is tall, dark, extremely good-looking, and rich, all the requirements needed to keep Ginny interested, and he just so happens to be my best friend. That’s not to say Will doesn’t get anything out of it. Ginny is a tall, slim, leggy blonde, drop-dead gorgeous—we’re talking Victoria’s Secret gorgeousness—and although she plays dumb a lot of the time, she is highly intelligent. Plus, I’m sure it’s love. I’ve never seen my best friend happier.

 

“He was supposed to be here last night, but he’s been delayed. There’s a crisis at work, and he needs to do some damage control. Hopefully he’ll be here by the morning.”

 

“Great, it’ll be good to see him. I’ll go and get the drinks. The band should be on any minute now.” I nudge my way through the crowd and slide up to the bar trying to get served. Chris always drafts in additional staff on Saturdays due to the extra customers the band attracts. I finally manage to catch Chris’s eye.

 

“Usual, Toni?”

 

“Yes, please.” He hands me a gin and tonic and a glass of white wine. We aren’t big drinkers, we probably will only have three drinks each the whole night. “Thanks, Chris, on the tab as usual.”

 

“No problem.”

 

 It’s so crowded it seems that everyone is trying to get to the bar at the same time. Taking our drinks, I turn to make my way back to Ginny and… “Oh, for fuck’s sake. Great, that’s just… bloody great.” Now I’m annoyed. I’ve turned and gone slam-dunk straight into a guy behind me, and I am now wearing our drinks like an accessory. My nice, clean, black, skinny jeans and black T-shirt are now doused in alcohol. “I think you owe me two drinks,” I say, without looking up. I’m staring down at my nearly empty glasses in frustration.

 END OF SNEAK PEEK

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