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Short Story : Tom Makes A New Friend

Short Story : Tom Makes A New Friend

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By Tom Hughes

short story : tom makes a new friend - knaresborough nowSnuggled up on the sofa with her iPad, My Dearly Beloved sat giggling to herself. I lowered my copy of What Camper Van to ask what was tickling her so.

“Oh it’s Steph, she’s just so funny.”

The mention of that woman’s name gave my heart cause to sink, for Stephanie was Sarah’s N.B.F. (New Best Friend) – a position to be treated with great caution. Cue eye rolling from yours truly. “Listen you big snob, just because you don’t go on Facebook, don’t sneer at those who do. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people. It’s not shallow at all.”

“And what snippet of whimsy is she imparting tonight?”

Sarah flipped her tablet round to show me a video of a cat on a skateboard. “Isn’t that hysterical?”

“I’ll throw all my Laurel and Hardy DVDs in the bin then, shall I?”

“Up to you, anyway don’t make any plans for Friday, we’re going out for dinner with Steph and Dave.” The idea of Steph invading our lives I had resigned myself to. But now Sarah was adding a Dave. I knew nothing of this ‘Dave’ person. I gave a little involuntary shudder. “Tom, what is the matter with you? He’s a nice guy. You and him could become friends.”

“I’ve already got friends thank you. We won’t get on, trust me. What does he do?”

“I think he’s a Management Consultant.”

“I’m not going.”

Sat in the car park of the restaurant, Sarah had some strong words for me. “Listen Tom, I let you wear that old shirt as a compromise. Steph and Dave have been married for nineteen years and she says a good marriage is all about compromise.”

“I want to go home.”

Sarah pressed on. “Just relax, and whatever you do, don’t crack that ‘You’d be out by now’ joke.”

“But darling, that’s my default gag.”

“Let’s just go in.”

Greeted by a handsome young man pretending to be from Sicily, we were shown to our table, at which the dreaded love birds where already ensconced. Noting that Dave (tall, trendy haircut, polo neck) had a micro check of his watch as we approached, I was greeted with a dreaded ‘man hug’. “Tom! So glad you could make it! (obviously a dig) Tom, I’d like you to meet the gorgeous Steph.”

Highlights, fake tan, white teeth, gym figure. “Tom! I feel as if we already know each other, Sarah’s told me so much about you.”

“Yes, and I’ve seen the pictures on the internet.” Cue frozen grin from Steph and icy stare from Sarah. “…on Facebook, obviously.” Minor crisis averted, Sarah, noting that the lovebirds were holding hands, grabbed at my wrist, thereby disabling my left arm.

Appalling muzak filled the restaurant. Dave gasped and, eyes swimming cooed, “Steph listen, this is our song – Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion!” Cue muffled sobs and double hand holding. I yanked away my arm and reached for the wine list.

Steph, smiling but with eyes narrowed asked, “So, what’s your song Tom?”

I slapped down the menu and proudly declared – “We haven’t got one. Dave, I believe you’ve been married nearly twenty years?” Dave beamed uxoriously at his wife. Ignoring the kick from Sarah I pressed on. “You’d be out by now.”

Dave’s innocent smile heralded the tumble weed. “Out from where?”

My throat tightened. “Prison, because if, instead of marrying her, you’d murdered her with say, an…axe?”

Sat in the car afterwards Sarah was justifiably furious. “Thanks for ruining yet another night.”

“Well they made me sick. Who are they trying to kid, acting like teenagers?”

Sat on the couch three weeks later, in an attempt to thaw relations I decided to offer an olive branch. “Sarah, why don’t you ask Steph and Dave over for dinner. I’ll cook. Really I don’t mind.”

“That’s going to be difficult, she’s unfriended everyone on Facebook!”

“Why?”

“She’s run off with her personal trainer. I never liked her anyway. Now make yourself useful darling and put the kettle on.” Sarah’s warm smile sent me to the kitchen, safe in the knowledge that no matter what, there would only ever be one girl for me.

Follow Tom @groomsdaybook

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Rachel Porter Knaresborough Now - A local community magazine which started in September 2010. I came on board in February 2011 as a co-owner for 3.5 years and then purchased the other half in late 2014. We produce our magazine on a monthly basis in both a printed and online format, celebrating local community, events and businesses. We are THE MOST COMPETITIVE advertising medium in the Knaresborough area and do our level best to support all local businesses with their advertising needs whilst also providing a valuable and readable magazine to our readers for free. We also host an interactive website with an online magazine, business directory and events calender to name but a few of its offerings.