Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Hi. I'm Lorraine and I currently live in the sunny climates of a pretty coastal town in Spain with my husband and two young children.
Due to years of monotonous (and pointless) office jobs and husband's nagging to find work in Spain, I have discovered a creative side that I never knew existed before.
I have two books out now so please check them out. My third book, 'You, Me and Other Stuff,' will be released in September. It's a feel-good, humorous story.
What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to write a feel-good love story based on a friendship around conversations and unrequited love. It's also inspired from the many childhood holidays in Ireland as a child.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“You didn’t want Toby; you wanted Declan?” asked Mark.
“I wasn’t certain at the time. I only knew I didn’t want Toby. We didn’t share any connection and I felt Declan drifting away from me. I didn’t want that either. And was this girlfriend real or not? If she was real, who was she? Then I found out by accident…”
Sarah’s split with Toby was amicable. As she thought, he didn’t make a fuss. Now it was time to concentrate on her school work. As a minor distraction, it was also time to find out who this mysterious girlfriend was. She kept a close eye on Declan at school but he hung out with the same old friends. There were no new girls on the scene. Whenever the phone rang at home, she leapt up to answer it first but it wasn’t anyone new. Unless it was a girl he met at the supermarket or maybe he was lying about her? One thing she did know, he wouldn’t talk about it.
The stress of the exhibition was also affecting him; he snapped whenever she asked about his paintings.
“Sorry, Sarah. I’m just worried. What if I don’t finish on time? What if nobody likes them? What if my mum thinks they’re crap?” he asked.
This was a rare moment of togetherness on the trampoline. She spotted him having a cigarette and took the opportunity to sit with him.
“Yes, I could just imagine Anne saying, ‘my god, would you look at this complete pile of shite. Just think I gave birth to that fecking eejit,’ ” said Sarah in her best Irish accent.
Declan laughed; “how can your Irish accent be so bad when you live with three Irish people?”
“Accents aren’t my thing,” she shrugged, reverting back to her own middle-class accent. “Don’t worry. I’m sure they’re brilliant. I’ve seen your drawings before, remember? Would you like me to come to the art room and give you a second opinion?”
“No,” he said a little too quickly. “No offence but what you know about art could probably fit on a postage stamp.”
“Hey, I have a good eye. I could say whether I like it or not.”
He thanked her but insisted there was no need.
“Does your art teacher think they’re good?”
He affirmed this with a smile. Well, that was that; he was worrying over nothing.
She was pleased they appeared to be back in a good place. The atmosphere cheered up when his mum, Anne, arrived to stay with them for a week. It also meant Declan was at home a little more. So in the evenings, the five of them ate together. Sarah’s parents even allowed her and Declan to have some wine with dinner. This made them both a bit silly and giggly at the table.
“It’s nice to see you two are such good friends again. I was worried you might not get on like you used to and then you didn’t and then you did. Honestly, I can’t keep up,” said Anne.
Sarah’s mum always kept Anne apprised of their fallings out although they never knew the exact details. Just silly kid’s stuff, they assumed. It was the Quinn/Murphy grapevine, joked Declan. He told Sarah her mum probably reported to his mum whenever one of them sneezed. She wouldn’t put it past them. They were always on the phone together, yapping for ages.
“Yes, we’re friends again,” Declan confirmed. “Even though she was a snob when she was little… still is,” teased Declan.
Sarah slapped him on the arm; “and you were a scruff.”
She smiled at him for a moment; “but you’ve scrubbed up pretty well since then.”
Anne agreed and stood up to kiss her son on the head.
“He’s grown into such a handsome young man. Don’t you think, Sarah?”
Declan looked embarrassed but Sarah agreed. His dark, skinny scruffy appearance from when he was little had now transformed into a dark, brooding more handsome look.
Declan, who didn’t like all this attention offered to clear up the table. Anne, who was slightly tipsy by this point, grabbed Sarah by the arm and told her she’d love her to be her daughter-in-law one day. Sarah’s mum told her to behave herself but the thought of having Anne as her mother-in-law wasn’t the worst idea in the world.
“I told you, Declan has a serious girlfriend now,” Bridget reminded Anne.
Oh yes, the mysterious girlfriend. Sarah had briefly forgotten about her.
“So when am I going to meet Tilly?” Anne asked when Declan returned to the table.
He glanced at Sarah; her face remained expressionless. Declan had his reasons for not being truthful and she wasn’t going to be the one to say anything. Declan made up some lame excuse for Tilly not being around at the moment but said she would be at the exhibition.
The evening of the exhibition came by. Sarah went to Declan’s room to check on his nerves.
“I’ve sneaked up some red. The three of them are drinking so much this week, they’ll never notice it missing.”
She opened the bottle and poured the drink out for them.
“It’s for your nerves,” she said. “Future doctor’s orders.”
“I’ll make sure you’re my doctor if you’re prescribing alcohol.”
“Just for my favourite patients,” she winked as they clinked glasses.
After a glass of wine, she insisted on straightening his collar; “there you go, all presentable now.”
She patted him on his shoulders and felt a surge of pride towards him.
Sarah was also dying to know if his girlfriend would be there. She should be; this was his big night. But whenever she asked about her, Declan snapped so she kept quiet.
Once they got to the exhibition – just as Sarah thought – his work was fantastic.
“Declan, I can’t give you all the art spiel but I do know one thing – I genuinely like it.”
He put his arm around her and squeezed her shoulder as they stood gazing at his artwork. Declan’s mum loved it. She vaguely recognised the scenery, although Declan painted it in a more modern style. Throughout the evening, Sarah kept her eyes open for any new women. Apart from a few older arty types, there was no one. Tilly turned up with her parents as well as a few other friends. And then there was his art teacher and the Head from school. Anne spent a long time speaking to Miss Taylor, thanking her for the time she had invested in her son. No, this mystery woman wasn’t there, which led Sarah to believe that maybe he’d been lying all this time. He’d probably been staying at his friend’s house at night. Maybe he’d been trying to make her jealous.
The thought of their kiss on the trampoline flashed through her mind. She tried to shake it off but try as she might, the thought wouldn’t leave her head. That night she was certain she’d like to repeat it. So she made a bee-line for Declan, determined to be by his side for most of the evening.
“Declan, I’m so excited for you. You’ve actually sold some paintings!”
She hugged him. He pushed her away gently; “steady on, Quinn. How much wine have you had?”
She linked arms with him and insisted she wasn’t drunk; “I’m just pleased for you. You’re making money from doing something you love.”
He unlinked his arm from her and took a step away.
“Well, it would be exciting except all the buyers are people I know. My mum bought the most expensive one. Your parents bought one as well as Tilly’s parents and the headteacher.”
This made them laugh. She tried to link her arm to his again but he moved away. Then he excused himself to go outside for a cigarette. He left her standing there wondering why he wouldn’t come near her. He usually had no problem with being close or linking arms. She decided to follow him outside in the pretence of wanting a drag of his cigarette. Quickly, she grabbed her coat and told her parents she was just nipping outside. As she left the building, there was no one there. A couple of voices could be heard around the corner, so she crept her way towards the sound and listened on the other side. One had an Irish accent. It was definitely Declan. She stood still and listened in.
“Listen Kate, I have no idea why Sarah’s all over me tonight. I’m not encouraging her. She’s just pleased for me, that’s all. Nothing’s going on, so don’t be upset.”
Who the hell was Kate? The other voice, quieter than Declan’s, began speaking. Sarah couldn’t make out what she was saying.
“Come here, I like it when you’re jealous,” said Declan.
And then the talking stopped. Sarah walked around the corner and that’s when she saw them – Declan and Miss Taylor in a passionate embrace. Her feet stuck to the spot, she knew she ought to get away but instead stared at the pair of lovebirds. Miss Taylor spotted her first, her eyes widened in terror as she pushed Declan away. The two of them stared back at Sarah as she spun around and made her way back inside.
Declan ran after her; he grabbed her arm but she flung it away.
“Sarah, please, stop. Talk to me. Don’t tell anyone,” he begged her.
He jumped in front of her before she could walk back into the building.
“Let me explain!” he pleaded.
Sarah tried holding back her tears; “there’s nothing to explain. You’re having sex with your teacher.”
“Please don’t tell anyone,” he pleaded.
That was the confirmation she needed. His art teacher had been the mysterious woman all along. She promised not to say anything as the tears rolled down her face.
“Why are you crying, Sarah?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I think I did have too much to drink,” she lied.
‘Silly,” he said as he embraced her. His body, close to hers, cold from the chilly evening air. She held onto him. Quickly, she wiped her tears away and composed herself.