Old Friends, New Lovers (Regular Sex Issue 7)

Old Friends, New Lovers (Regular Sex Issue 7) by Kitty French

Book: Old Friends, New Lovers (Regular Sex Issue 7) by Kitty French Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kitty French
 
    Regular Sex ~ Issue 7 ~ Old Friends, New Lovers
     
    ‘Happy Birthday
to us, Mabes!’
    I laugh as Fox
thrusts a glass into my hand, and I can tell from the glitter in his eyes that
he’s already had a couple of drinks thrust into his hand this evening, too.
    My name’s
actually Mabel, thank you mother , but anyone who knows me knows better
than to use it. His name’s actually Luke Foxton, but he’s gone as Fox for so
long now that I doubt many people could actually recall his first name if
asked.
    Mabes and Fox.
Fox and Mabes. We’ve been best friends since we were seven years old and forced
to sit together because the register was ordered by date of birth; although to
be honest, neither of us was much impressed by the other at the time. Even back
then he knew how to make his dark eyes drip with sarcasm, and I knew enough
about boys to make me hate him on principle. I have three older brothers who
farted their way loudly through their childhoods. I don’t think they ever read a
book between them.
    Fox, though...
yeah, he was sarcastic, and it was an undeniable fact that he was male, but the
straps of his army rucksack were always frayed by the weight of the haul of books
he heaved around.
    On the morning of
our ninth birthdays, he pushed a dog-eared copy of Swallows and Amazons across
our shared wooden desk. He didn’t say anything, just scowled at me and nodded
once, fiercely. I scowled and nodded right back as I lifted the lid of the
desk, shoved the book inside, and slammed the lid.
    I think that was
probably the moment we fell a little bit in love.
     
    ‘Thank you.’ I
lean forward to kiss the angular slope of Fox’s cheek and feel the scrape of
his five o’clock shadow as I take the drink from his fingers. ‘You need a
shave.’
    ‘It’s my party
and I’ll grow a beard if I want to.’ He slings his arm around my shoulders as
he laughs, and I register the familiar warmth of his body pressed against mine
in the busy fug of our local pub. Our friends have turned out in force to help
us celebrate our thirtieth birthdays, packing the place out with their loud
laughter and warm bonhomie.
    ‘Does that mean I
have to grow one too?’
    ‘Is that your way
of telling me that you’ve grown yourself a big hairy bush, Mabes?’
    I roll my eyes at
him. ‘Wouldn’t you just love to know.’
    He raises his
eyebrows. ‘I think you’ll find that as of today, we’re technically engaged.
That gives me conjugal rights.’
    I laugh softly. ‘You
remember, then.’
    It’s his turn to
roll his eyes. ‘As if I could forget. You were eighteen in the tiniest
miniskirt you owned, practically on your knees begging for my hand.’
    ‘That’s funny,
Fox.’ I take a drink and enjoy the fizz of the bubbles in my throat. ‘Because
the way I remember it, you proposed in my birthday card and then took off around
the world for the next god knows how many years.’
    Truth is, we both
know exactly what happened. Ours was a friendship so big that we didn’t dare
cross the line into romance because neither of us could handle the idea of
losing what we already had. Fox wrote me a jokey proposal on our eighteenth
birthday; if we’re both still single when we’re thirty, let’s just say fuck it
and get together. They were his exact words. Romance and Fox are clearly not best
friends. Worse still, he stuck a plastic ring from a Christmas cracker and a condom,
thankfully still in its silver wrapper, inside the card.
    I met Brynn not long
after that, the man I very nearly married eighteen months ago, and Fox’s inherent
wanderlust made him hit the road. He’s always been a pirate at heart, forever
scanning the horizon for the next adventure. I’m just glad he came home a few
weeks ago and has stuck around long enough to celebrate our birthdays.
    We’re both
distracted when an unnatural hush falls over the pub and my friends Laura and
Nat struggle their way through the crowd towards us with a huge candle-lit cake
balanced

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