Love on the Menu Chapter 1

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A totally gorgeous and escapist rom com with a twist. Mimi Deb’s debut novel is available to pre-order now in paperback, ebook and audio.

Chapter 1



‘ What is she wearing?’

‘Weirdo. . . Velvet is so last year. . .’

‘Bet you fifty quid she’ll burst through those seams before the night ends. . .’

‘Obviously misread the dress code. . . or missed the memo?’

‘Theatre-smart or Cabaret?’

‘Or Cirque du Soleil. . .? Or Björk?’ ‘Who the fuck is Björk?’

Blah, blah, blah. . .

I should have wiped the seat and sat on the cold lid when I had the chance. Instead, I’m stuck on tiptoes, as I’ve been for the last seven minutes, balancing my hip with my left hand, while my right bunches the edges of my velvet dress into a giant scrunchie, as my black and gold sparkly tights inch, roll by roll, treacherously down my thighs. It’s not that I lack experience. I mean, squatting is  a technique I mastered in my formative years. But, staying still in cut-offs and rubber slippers is an entirely different proposition to stilettos and a bodycon dress, especially when you’re stuck inside a cubicle while a bevy of bitches rant about you by the sinks. As they continue to apply coats of mascara and gloss, the walls lean more and more into my shoulders. Thank God for the lavender squirters pinned on either side.

Outside, a phone rings, and the gossip trickles to a faint murmur just like it does when our boss, Juliet, steps out of her office and takes the long route to the kitchen for espresso shots. She only indulges in caffeine when trouble looms. It’s probably her now, calling to ensure everyone is en route to the Christmas party. She can be rather anal about time, and for once, I’m glad of it. This should get them going and allow me to escape out of this damn cubicle.

I hear a pouch being zipped shut but the phone continues to ring. Are they whispering now? I can’t be sure. The damn phone just rings on and on, bouncing off the walls and echoing into the silence. Why doesn’t someone just answer it? At least, put it on silent. Juliet can be unreasonable, but this is getting a bit ridiculous. And yes, my thighs are growing numb and my calves are begging to give way.

There’s a light flashing on my face now but I can’t find the source. The door is opaque, and around me is nothing but white walls and a white ceiling. And then, I spot it. My neon bag. It hangs off the hook in front of me, and blue light flashes through it. I don’t move. I probably can’t anyway. I continue to stare at my bag in horror.

No wonder it wouldn’t stop. All this while, the phone ringing on and on was mine.

I turn it off quickly, but obviously it’s too late. By now, the bitches will be under no doubt that I’ve been spying  on them from the inside. If only they would leave and save me the humiliation, but I know better. This is a chance they won’t miss. There is silence from the other side of the door. Clearly, they want me to make the first move.

I can always pretend I didn’t hear them. I definitely don’t want awkwardness at the party, and maybe this dress is a bit much? The waif-like salesgirl had badgered me to size up, and when I obliged, she had commented how curvy women are ‘so on-trend’. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, right? The bitches are understandably frustrated to  have  to spend the Friday before Christmas with their co-workers travelling down the Thames on a boat. Well, I made my mess, and now I’d better swim out of it, which in itself is ironic, considering I can’t swim. I pull the flush, start rolling up my tights and straighten myself, steadying my breath until the cistern trickles to a complete stop.

The moment I step out, all eyes  fix on me. I pretend not to notice and walk to the nearest sink. From the corner of my eye, I see their stares turn puzzled, even more so when I start humming a tune. They exchange glances, willing someone to break the silence, so I take my shot, and flick my hair back dramatically. ‘Didn’t realise anyone was still here. I thought everyone would have left for the party by now,’ I say, before removing the AirPods, one by one, and slowly, from my ears.

‘Why are you still here?’ Nelle asks, drawing out each word.

The pods still in my open hand, I think of a believable response, but I don’t need to because Hayley chimes in, ‘I love your dress.’

Hayley and Nelle are two-thirds of the dynamic sales trio at Claret Studio, a media company that promises invent- ive creative solutions to big brands. I even built my fantasy on that pitch: grabbing a bowl of organic oats before Uber-ing in to work, where I create ingenious ideas with my red Beats wireless headphones fastened on. After savouring the applause and appreciation from my colleagues, I head for an evening session of reformers pilates or stretch. On weekends, I attend matinees at the West End or Everyman, evenings are spent sipping cocktails or frequenting wine bars, and who knows, maybe  I holiday  in Mykonos. Unfortunately, that all remains a fantasy. I’ve never seen any new content, but the same old recycled copy and campaigns, ever since I joined two years ago. I don’t know why people love to make promises they can’t keep.

‘Here, try this,’ Kayla quips, handing me a nude lipstick.

‘I think it’ll really suit you.’

I don’t question if she means my dress or my complexion, but I apply it lightly on top of my bright pink topcoat. Obviously, I’ll do a touch up of the original once they leave.

‘Where’s the cab, babe?’ Nelle interrupts. ‘We should get going.’ Her words are directed at Hayley and Kayla, but her gaze remains fixed on me.

‘It’s at the roundabout,’ Kayla says, and as an after- thought, ‘You can join us if you don’t have a ride.’ Hayley and Nelle look just as surprised as me, wondering how this has turned into an initiation to the cool table.

‘We’re getting an UberXL. I’m sure you’ll fit,’ Hayley adds, the latter sounding a lot like a question. She was the instigator, the one who first brought attention to my  dress. I could flip her fifty quid bet back on her now and watch them all squirm, but that would mean confrontation, a skill I have never learned. Or I could play it safe and make an easy excuse, but then I’d miss Juliet’s big Christmas announcement. Or I could join them and hope that everyone has a good night. Isn’t this what I wanted? What I want? To belong? I’ve also just spotted my reflection in the bathroom mirror, and in the red velvet dress and golden star-spangled tights, I look fabulous. Damn.

As I step out of the Uber, I spot Jay from a mile off. Chinese and six-foot-three, he’s hard to miss, especially now as he waves from the deck of a decorated boat in an electric purple suit. If he’s surprised to see me with the glam squad on Embankment promenade, he doesn’t show it, but continues to wave until I wave back.

Jay is the remaining third of the sales trio and my only friend in Claret Studio. He’s also my only friend in London, even though we only speak at work. We tried hanging out on weekends a few times, but I couldn’t handle his insatiable appetite for amateur  stand-up  and  alcohol, neither of which would be a problem if consumed separately. Together, Jay jumps from audience to spectacle, and at a basement club in Shoreditch, I witnessed it first-hand. After a series of big laughs out of tired routines about women, bankers and the Irish – cue more rolling  laughter –  Jay  performed  his  signature  routine,  People  Like Us, created in the memory of his friend Eric. What followed was ten minutes of ridiculing Asians – the Chinese in particular – and had me slinking away from the stage, wondering if the sketch was self-lacerating or self- concealing, masking his insecurities behind comic timing. Oddly, the revellers thought otherwise, and his sketch got bigger laughs than even the acts before. Jay explained it’s not racism if the butt of the joke is the same colour as you, and no matter what people proclaim to believe, they always peg you into a box. They then enjoy watching you attempt to unbox yourself. I didn’t agree or disagree out loud, not then and not now, but after that night, I decided to spend my weekends at home with Pinot and keep Jay  as an ally only at work.

‘To match the dress,’ Jay says, handing me a glass of red wine as I step off the narrow gangway and onto the boat. ‘What took you so long?’ he asks, as we stop by the bar. ‘I cabbed it here with them,’ I say, as Jay’s lips turn upwards slightly at the thought of me wedged in the cool cab. The girls barely glance my way and disappear down- stairs to where the DJ plays on the lower deck. Obviously, I’m not offended. I’m not suffering from the illusion that, after a single car ride, I’m suddenly more than the girl at reception. They obviously missed the memo that I’m now a junior executive. It was never announced, and Jay insists that even if it had been, it wouldn’t have mattered. Juliet is famed for handing out promotions, instead of cash, as a bonus. A title means little at Claret Studio.

‘Where’s Juliet?’ I ask, glancing at the people around us. The company performed well this year, and surely it won’t hurt to chat with  Juliet about a raise, or at the very least,  a desk.

‘Boss has been glued to her phone on the upper deck for the past hour,’ Jay says, and leans forward. ‘Don’t look up but it looks serious.’ Of course, I do look up and Juliet stares back. Her eyes are puffy, her cheeks flushed.

‘I specifically told you not to look up,’ Jay says, barely holding back his laugh.

‘You knew I would,’ I snap. I hate prying, and hate being caught prying even more.

‘You should seriously look at your face right now,’ he says, flicking open a button of his velvet tux to expose a leopard print lining. Fashion is the one area we usually agree on: go bold or stay home. ‘No wonder you don’t wear make-up. One joke, and out comes the concealer for touch-up.’

‘For your information, I am wearing make-up.’

‘Chill, Tigress. That was a joke,’ Jay says, dryly. ‘No one can miss that lipstick. Now loosen up and enjoy the party. It’s taken me six weeks to organise this.’

‘You mean six weeks to gather freebies from all your clients. . .’

‘And you think that was easy?’ Jay asks. ‘It looks easy because I make  it look easy. Sales is a talent reserved for  a select few, Tigress.’

‘I’d be terrible at sales,’ I admit, and sneak a glance towards the upper deck. I hope Juliet is alright.

‘Yeah, you wouldn’t be great,’ Jay says, generously. ‘What was great was the menu I had planned for tonight. Vietnamese, Mexican, Indonesian and French canapés, on rotation, all night.’

‘Drinks only is my motto tonight,’ I say, as Jay’s brows draw close together.

‘That’s a fool’s plan for the lightweight that you are.’ ‘You’re mistaken. I can handle liquor better than most,’ I say, handing my glass to the bartender for a refill. I wait for the corny comeback, but Jay starts tapping his earlobe distractedly, something he does when he’s stressed or nervous, both of which are rare.

‘What’s wrong?’ I ask.

‘It’s all a disaster,’ he says dramatically and throws his hands in the air. ‘I wanted to make a big splash with the menu tonight. . .’

‘Because it’s on a boat?’ I ask, as Jay stares at me, unamused. ‘Big splash?’

‘Ordinarily, this is the point I’d walk away,’ Jay says with a sigh, and I almost wish he would because I’ve just clocked Juliet is no longer on the phone, and her usually perfect bun is in utter disarray. She’s also precariously leaning against the railing of the upper deck. ‘I would help you work on that humour of yours, but right now I’m more concerned about the menu. It’s a total failure.’

Immediately, I turn my attention back to Jay. The admit- tance of failure is again highly uncharacteristic. ‘The big variety on rotation all night?’

‘That was the plan,’ Jay says, and sighs. ‘Three of the restaurants cancelled due to eco-warriors gluing them- selves along the Strand.’

‘And they couldn’t take a different route? The tube?’ I ask, as Jay shakes his head. ‘How many restaurants did you order from?’


‘Well, two isn’t bad. You’ll still have some variety. Maybe increase the number of items?’

‘Not an option.’

‘Hmmm. . .’ There’s always an option. I also know how much this party means to him. Juliet entrusted it entirely to him because Jay never drops the ball.

‘We should probably head down to the real party,’ Jay says. ‘No point sweating over stuff that can’t be fixed.’

‘Unless. . .’ I’m trying to work out the viability of the idea forming in my head.


‘Condiments. Find out how many dips and sauces have accompanied the dishes, and how many are available in the kitchen. Even basic ones like mustard and mayo will do. There’s also an off-licence across the road. If you hurry, you can get some bottled ones and maybe even some garnish.’

‘You want me to serve people dips and sauces?’ Jay asks, mouth agape. ‘We’re on a budget, but that’s a stretch.’

‘Plate the canapés differently every single time and bring them out with different dips and sauces. It’ll give the illusion of variety visually and in taste,’ I say.

‘That’s genius!’ Jay says, before glancing at his watch. ‘Boat leaves in fifteen minutes. Want to join me for the shop?’

‘Why don’t you carry on. I’ll just slow you down, and anyway, I need to make a quick call.’

‘I can wait a few minutes,’ he says. ‘It’ll take more than a minute.’

Jay’s face breaks into a wide grin. ‘Your mother, is it? I know how they can be.’

‘Seriously, Jay, don’t wait for me. By the time you’re back I’ll be done, and then we can both go down and enjoy the party you’ve planned,’ I say, and clamp my teeth down into a smile. My words have the desired effect, and within seconds, the tails of Jay’s tux vanish off the boat as I turn back to the bar. This time, instead of a top-up, I order a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

On the upper deck, it’s colder. The wind blows from every direction, and there’s no heater in sight. A promenade walkway surrounds the entire deck and I drag my heels on the wood to warn Juliet of an upcoming interruption so she can compose herself. The walkway leads to a small sundeck boasting a retractable yellow roof and nautical canvas chairs, on one of which sits Juliet, a blanket wrapped around her. She looks relieved to see me, or rather the bottle. Next to her, another lies empty.

‘You’re a saviour,’ Juliet exclaims as I pour a generous portion of wine into her glass. ‘You look so festive!’

‘Thank you. I wasn’t sure if it was too much,’ I say, straightening my neck so the sprigs of embroidered holly around the collar are visible.

‘Nonsense,’ Juliet says, her voice shriller than I remember. ‘Christmas is all about excess.’

‘Well then, in the season’s spirit. . .’ I begin, raising my glass to hers, just as the boat’s horn emits a prolonged burst.

‘Hope everyone is on board? I’d hate to leave anyone behind.’ Her fingers tighten around the stem of the glass, as if that last bit wasn’t only a nod to the team. The last thing I want is to pry, but by not asking, I don’t want to come off as insensitive and rude.

‘Is everything OK?’ I finally ask.

‘Can everything ever be OK, Gia?’ she snaps. I flinch and she immediately looks apologetic. ‘Sorry!’

‘No need to apologise, please,’ I say, as we sink into another awkward moment, both turning towards the river. It’s overcast, and the moon shies from view, but the lights of the city surround us, casting shadows on the ripples  and frothing against the sides of the boat. Faint echoes of music from the lower deck alternate with the thrum of the boat as the silence between us grows steadily louder. This is probably not the best time to broach the subject of a raise.

‘How are you enjoying work? You’ve been here how long now? Two years?’ she asks.

‘Two years in January,’ I say, pleased she remembers. Maybe I could ask for a clearer job description at least.

‘How time flies,’ she says. ‘Now that you’ve had enough time to understand the company and analyse your strengths, is there an area you’d like to focus more on?’

‘Not client management. I don’t have the pull or energy needed to attract business.’

‘Nonsense,’ she says, and laughs. ‘Who fed you that bullshit? I asked what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do. You need to shift your mindset if you want to succeed. What about creative? It’s been heavily neglected these past few years, but I’d like to make some changes in the New Year, both at work and personally. Enough time wasted staying mediocre.’

‘You’re not mediocre. We’re all lucky to have you as our boss.’

Juliet laughs, her lips parting wide. ‘I wasn’t exactly talking about myself, but thank you for the vote of confi- dence. I doubt the others would agree with you.’

‘I know they do,’ I say, even though the entire ride to Embankment the bitches tore Juliet apart. Just another annual sham show. Bet there’s no announcement. Christmas on a barge! Why throw a party on a budget? Why throw a party at all? The company’s falling apart. She doesn’t care, she inherited the place. The party’s just a reminder who’s boss.

Juliet leans back and says, ‘This has been a tough year full of big life changes. I had to find a new place to live, which shouldn’t have been difficult considering this city has a million over-zealous brokers ready to help people without an issue with budget. But when you’ve only lived in one place and suddenly have to move, it’s not easy.’

‘I understand.’

‘Of course you do,’ she says, again apologetic. ‘This must sound so silly to you.’

‘No. Not at all. Some people move neighbourhoods, some move continents. Why should anyone decide which is easy, and which is hard?’ I ask, as Juliet stares back, her eyes now gleaming as she takes a sip of her wine. ‘Why did you move?’ I ask, even though I hope she feels no obligation to elaborate.

Her expression hardens. ‘Have you ever broken up with  a best friend?’ The question stuns me, not just because  the conversation has so suddenly shifted back to me, but because her words resonate with me so much. ‘Have you?’ she repeats, as I shake my head. This isn’t about me. ‘Or have you ever been in a relationship and realised what it really was only once it was over? Don’t allow life to blind you with too many surprises. Life is far too  short to  live in fear of being too alive, or too alone.’ This time, I nod, but her gaze has shifted back to the river as the boat leaves the pier.

I know I should say something, anything, but I don’t know what. I don’t want to sound ignorant or patronising, or worse, both. ‘I hope your commute in to work is shorter now?’ I finally ask, the futility of my words not lost to either of us.

‘I think we’re done here. You should head down to the party.’ Next to Juliet, her phone vibrates.

Electronic music pounds through panelled walls, as pink and green laser lights form geometric jigsaws on the acrylic dance floor. Groups of people flock by the bar, including the bitches, who shriek when they see me descend the stairs. Clearly, they have a head start on the tequila, as toppling towers of shot glasses lie strewn across the bar top.

‘Where were you?’ Kayla asks, handing me a shot, nearly spilling at the rim.

Hayley immediately places another shot, electric blue this time, in my other hand. ‘She needs to catch up. Don’t you, Gee?’ I’m as surprised by her concern as I am at the shortened version of my name, and readily gulp both shots down.

‘Easy, Tigress,’ Jay says, slipping through the ring of women and resting his hand protectively on my  shoulder.  I shrug him off and ask for a glass of wine to soothe the burn in my throat.

‘So, we had a bet with Jay earlier,’ Hayley says, slipping her arm through mine. Clearly, she’s a fan of wagers. Two in one night. ‘He gave us some bullshit about you talking to your mother, but I said no one talks to their mother at a party. That was just an excuse to get rid of him, right?’

I give Jay a look. There was really no need to tell them anything.

‘We said it had to be a boyfriend. No one talks to their mother for that long,’ Kayla says.

‘It was her mother,’ Jay says, smugly. ‘Brevity doesn’t run in their veins.’

This time I turn to him, glaring. ‘What’s with the constant generalisations? And why on earth would you ever think my mother is anything like yours?’ Jay looks scorched, and even Kayla’s smile disappears. Maybe I could have dropped that a notch. ‘Sorry,’ I whisper to Jay but he continues to looks down at his feet. ‘I was talking to Juliet, not my mother.’

‘What?’ he asks, as Hayley squeezes past him and hands me another shot.

‘I was talking to the boss,’ I repeat, slightly louder this time. ‘I can’t hear you,’ he says, tapping his left ear now. The music does seem louder than it was only moments ago.

‘Juliet,’ I shout over the techno track. ‘I was talking to Juliet.’ This time I know I was loud. Loud enough to be heard by all, and just as Jay had intended

‘Where is she?’ Nelle asks, scanning the room.

‘She was on a call. She should be here any second,’ I say. ‘Of course you would know about her whereabouts.

You’re the flavour of the month,’ Hayley chimes in. ‘What were you guys talking about?’

‘Nothing important,’ I say, though I’m intrigued by their sudden interest in my words.

‘C’mon, we’re just friends here,’ Hayley adds, squeezing my arm now. ‘Was it all shop talk, or does she have a life away from spreadsheets?’

‘Juliet was talking about her recent home move.’ ‘Boring,’ Hayley says, as collective disinterest creeps on every face.

‘She’s going through a bit of a rough patch. . . in her personal life,’ I say, enough to regain their interest.

‘Really? How?’ Hayley asks, softening her gaze and tone, our arms bonded tighter now than before. This does feel   a lot like a safe space with friends.

‘Juliet found out her current relationship isn’t a relation- ship,’ I say, hoping vagueness shows less a lack of knowledge than shades of loyalty.

‘She’s been roached!’ a voice squeals. It’s Annika, from audience research. She’s standing with the guys from accounts. I have no clue at which point the circle widened. ‘Roached?’ Thankfully, I’m not the only one confused. ‘No relationship is exclusive after a few dates or hook-ups unless it’s specifically spelt out. There has to be an entire proposal: a question asked, and a question answered,’ she clarifies.

‘When there’s a roach, a battalion is bound to follow!’ Hayley quips. ‘The dating game is always changing: keep up or fall behind.’

‘Maybe this isn’t our business,’ I say, turning to Jay for support.

‘You just made it everyone’s business, babe,’ Nelle says. I know she’s right, and I feel terrible, even more when I spot Juliet heading our way with a smile on her face.

‘Can we please not mention any of this to Juliet?’ I plead.

‘Only if you have another shot,’ Kayla says. I hurriedly grab two and seal myself an easy deal just as Juliet stops next to Jay.

‘Good job,’ Juliet says, admiring the disco lights strobing the walls.

‘Speak of the devil, and Prada arrives,’ Jay says, as Kayla breaks into the giggles. Jay is talking about Juliet’s envelope bag. It’s YSL, but the subtext isn’t lost on me.

‘There’s an excellent variety of canapés. We should get some to the table,’ I say, desperate to change the subject and get Jay back on my side.

‘Gia was just talking about you,’ Kayla says, turning to Juliet.

‘Was she?’ Juliet asks, her fingers twisting the chain strap of her bag.

‘No. Not really,’ I say.

‘That’s a lie,’ Kayla says, as my stomach drops. ‘Gia was saying we should all be grateful to you for this party.’ Juliet laughs, loosening her grip on the strap. ‘I think that credit belongs entirely with Jay.’

‘I couldn’t agree more,’ Jay says, and takes a tray of colourful shots from the bartender.

‘I’ll drink two to that,’ I say, grabbing two more shots. ‘Maybe you should take it easy,’ Jay says, attempting to

prise the glasses from my hand.

‘Who are you to tell me what I can or can’t do?’ I snap, throwing back the shots, and allowing the liquid to course down my throat.

‘Ouch,’ Hayley says, as Jay staggers backwards, hands crossed against his heart. Everyone laughs, and the awkwardness is lost. Even the music shifts tempo, and Beyoncé comes on. Immediately, I grab the hand nearest to me, as voices shout, ‘Gia is so fun!’ ‘So hammered. . .’ ‘You go, girl!’

The voices fade and music now thumps through the walls and beneath my heels. ‘I love Beyoncé!’ I shout, over and over, as my body moves to the rhythm, synchronised to each beat. Adrenaline flows through my veins, and my head feels light. Hayley whips her hair to the beat, swinging it left and right, as Kayla sings off-key, bouncing off her toes. It feels effortless here on the dance floor with them, not missing a single step, as if I’ve finally found my feet. On the other side of the floor, Jay is with Juliet. Their feet aren’t moving, their heads are tilted towards each other, and the more he speaks, the more the lines quadruple across Juliet’s forehead. What are they talking about? Her mouth and eyes now widen at exactly the same moment Jay starts tapping his earlobe. Are they talking about me?

Is he telling Juliet how I told the entire office she’s just been dumped? Jay wouldn’t do that. Not to me. I know what friends means to him, and how far he’ll go to defend them. Wait. Why is Juliet walking away?

‘Is that all the moves you got, Gee?’ Hayley asks, breaking my thoughts. My feet are no longer moving, even though Bey is belting out crazy high notes now. I tell Hayley I’ll be back in a second, and then squeeze my way through a cluster of sticky bodies to Jay.

‘How could you tell her?’ I shout, punching him on the arm.

‘Woah, Tigress. Tell what? To who?’

‘I’m not a fool, Jay. You wanted to get back at me, so  you told Juliet I spilled my guts about her love life to the girls.’

‘Get back at you? For what?’Jay asks,laughing unashamed- ly now.

‘For putting you in your place in front of the girls. Rupturing your ego.’

He’s laughing now. ‘C’mon, let’s dance. Don’t you like Beyoncé?’

‘Let’s not bring Beyoncé into this. . . I’m not dancing with you. . .’

‘You’re so pissed. We were debating sales numbers, not you,’ he says, and before I can say another word, Jay grabs my hand.

Another Bey classic is bursting out of the speakers now, and this time, I’m part of an outer circle. Hayley and Kayla are having a twerking dance-off in the middle, both clicking their heels and shaking their hips, all at the same time.

They sure know how to move. Annika and Jonah follow next, each with their hands flattened on their butts, squat- ting lower and lower, skimming the floor, before jerking back onto their feet. Behind them, a distance away, I spot Juliet leaned against the bar. She looks upset. Really, really upset. Now, that certainly won’t do. If this song – and tequila – has taught me one thing: women always build each other up.

After a short tug-of-war, Juliet joins the outer circle, and together we’re cheering the latest pair of dancers inside. The duo has commanded everyone’s attention, not just to their legs but their hands and ring fingers, as they repeat- edly hand-twirl, a move I happen to know very well. I deploy my own jazz hands with a twist of the wrist, keeping my fingers splayed as Juliet follows my lead. Soon, we’re no longer in the outer circle, but inside it, and everyone has surrounded us, clapping and whooping. My back grazes against Juliet’s as we twerk, arms stretched out on opposite ends, clicking our fingers. I feel like a rockstar, especially when a million cameras flash, shining down on us.

I wait for the beat; I know it so well. I jump at the perfect second and turn, just as the song belts out a last note, ready for the perfect landing. But my timing is off. Terribly, terribly off.

Between the change in song and the gasps that follow, I realise I’m in a moment I can never undo. I have landed on both feet, my lips slapped on Juliet’s.


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