Monday, 2 September 2013

Short Story: Three Wishes [Three Wishes Blog Blitz]


Today I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison! From 2nd to 6th September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine. All you have to do is follow my instructions below for winning the prize I have on offer, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well. How cool is that? Why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new romantic comedy release, I Dream of Johnny, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it cracked up to be…

 
 
 
 
 
‘Are you ready?’
Mel glanced up from her computer screen as her work colleague made his way towards her. Her hand slipped from her mouse as she allowed a small sigh to seep from her lips at the sight of Brendan. Distracted, she nudged her little pot of paperclips and, as she moved to right it, knocked over her long-forgotten cup of coffee.
‘Gah.’ Mel leapt from her chair as the cold liquid pooled on the desk and started to drip over the edge.
‘Here, let me.’ Brendan grabbed a handful of tissues from the box on the desk and mopped up the mess, dumping the sodden mass in the bin. ‘So? Are you ready to go?’
Go? Mel’s eyes swept across the office. She and Brendan were the only two remaining.
‘Not quite. I just have to finish –’
‘No, she doesn’t. She’s ready now.’ Joanna, Mel’s friend and colleague, marched into the office, her make up having been transformed from day to night in the ladies. ‘It’s Friday night, Mel. Come on or we’ll go without you.’
Duly warned, Mel shut down her computer and grabbed her coat and handbag. Joanna was right. It was a Friday night and the entire company had been invited to celebrate the Production Manager’s birthday in the pub.
‘We wouldn’t have gone without you, you know,’ Brendan whispered as Joanna led the way out of the building. The pub was a matter of feet away and, while Joanna and Brendan headed straight for the bar, Mel sought out the Production Manager to pass on her well wishes. Already sloshed, the Production Manager responded by squeezing Mel’s arse and trying his luck with a kiss. Leaping away, Mel collided with a table and sent three pints flying.
‘I’m so sorry. I’ll replace them.’ Mel’s cheeks were burning but her concerns were waved away.
‘Don’t worry about it. No harm done.’
‘No, really.’
‘I tell you what.’ The Production Manager clapped Mel on the back so hard, she stumbled and collided with another table. ‘If you have a dance with me, we’ll call it quits, yeah?’ Mel’s hand was clasped before she could respond and she found herself being dragged across the pub towards a makeshift dance floor where she was crushed by sweaty, roaming hands.
‘Mel! There you are. We’ve been looking for you everywhere.’ Brendan appeared by Mel’s side and plucked her away to safety.
‘What’s wrong?’ Mel asked as they hurried away.
‘Nothing. I saw Phil with his hands all over you so I came to rescue you.’
Her very own knight in shining armour! ‘Thanks. I didn’t know how to get away.’ They’d reached the table Joanna had secured and Mel dropped into a seat, accepting a glass of wine.
‘You’re too nice for your own good,’ Joanna told her.
‘It’s easy for you. All you have to do is flash your wedding ring. I have no valid excuse.’
‘How about telling Phil he’s a lecherous old toad?’ Joanna laughed at her friend’s horrified expression. ‘Maybe you could wish you had more balls.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean this.’ Joanna pushed an empty beer bottle towards Mel. ‘They’re magic wish bottles. You write your wish on a piece of paper, roll it up and pop it inside the bottle. Then you write your name on another piece of paper and scrunch it up to make a sort of cork to seal your wish in the bottle and to also let the universe who the wish belongs to.’
Brendan snorted. ‘What a load of rubbish. I can’t believe you fell for that.’
‘It isn’t rubbish. It’s magic.’
In fact, the ‘magic wish bottles’ were a load of rubbish, the gimmick concocted when the landlord realised the empties hadn’t been collected. Sick of the sight of the bottles cluttering his yard, he’d devised the plan as the pub began to fill up with customers, seizing the opportunity to rake in a bit more cash from the gullible by charging a pound per wish.
‘You’re not seriously going to give it a go, are you?’ Brendan was aghast as Joanna began scribbling on a scrap of paper.
‘Why not? What harm could it do?’
Brendan shook his head and turned to Mel, who shrugged her shoulders before picking up a pen herself. Giving a tut, Brendan picked up his pint, but a couple of sips later, he created a wish of his own.
‘There.’ Joanna wedged the paper cork into her bottle and sat back with satisfaction.
‘What did you wish for?’ Brendan asked.
‘I can’t tell you.’
Brendan snorted. ‘In case telling me makes the wish void? Well, I wished for a hundred more wishes.’
Joanna gasped. ‘But that’s cheating.’
‘Is it against the rules?’ Joanna shook her head. There hadn’t been any rules on the handwritten poster. ‘Then it isn’t cheating. What did you wish for, Mel?’
Mel pulled her corked bottle into her chest. ‘None of your business.’ There was no way she was telling Brendan – or anyone else – what she’d wished for. It was far too embarrassing to share. Gathering all three bottles, she rose from her seat and scurried across the pub to get another round in, eager to rid herself of the wish. Squeezing through the crush of bodies, she made her way to the bar, but froze when she felt a pair of hands on her behind. Whirling round to face Phil, the bottles somehow slipped from her grip, arching in the air before shattering on the ground.
‘Oops. I was only going to ask if we could finish that dance.’ Phil slinked away, leaving Mel with a mess of glass shards and bits of paper.
 
Joanna’s head pounded as she sat up in bed, her stomach swirling with the movement. She’d been woken by her phone, its ringtone too cheery against her hangover. Her husband stirred beside her, but didn’t fully wake.
‘Hello?’ She’d already seen Brendan’s name on the display but couldn’t imagine what he could want from her on a Saturday morning.
‘You sound rough.’
Joanna felt rough. ‘Did you phone me with the intention of insulting me or did you want something?’
‘Sorry. I’m concerned, that’s all.’
‘It’s only a hangover.’ Which, thinking about it, was partly Brendan’s fault. Joanna had only stayed in the pub so late for his benefit, knowing that if she left, Mel would leave too. The pair obviously fancied each other but neither had the balls to do anything about it.
‘So what did you actually want?’
Brendan cleared his throat and when he spoke, the words spurted out of his mouth in rapid fire. ‘I was wondering if you wanted to hang out today. We could go for lunch or something.’
‘You want us to hang out?’ Joanna smiled as Brendan’s true intentions dawned on her. It wasn’t her he wanted to hang out with, but he was too chicken to ask Mel directly. ‘Ok. Lunch sounds great.’
They arranged to meet in a smart café in town and hung up. Joanna phoned Mel and arranged to meet her at the café before prodding her husband awake. There was no way she was turning up alone and playing gooseberry for the afternoon.
The café was heaving but Joanna spotted Brendan immediately.
‘I’m so glad you could come.’ Brendan rose from his seat, leaning in to kiss Joanna on the cheek. He’d obviously gone to the effort of grooming as his skin was baby soft and he smelled delicious but he must have run out of steam when it came to dressing. He was wearing a nice pair of jeans but had teamed it with a hideously baggy jumper.
‘Put those away,’ Joanna hissed as Brendan produced a bouquet of flowers.
Brendan flushed as he clamped his arms across his chest. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘The flowers. She’ll be here any minute. You don’t want to ruin the surprise.’
Brendan was about to question Joanna when he spotted her husband lurking in the background. Narrowing his eyes, he leaned in towards Joanna and lowered his voice. ‘What’s he doing here?’
‘You’ve met Lee before. He’s here to make up a foursome. It’ll be less awkward that way.’
‘Foursome?’
There was no need for Joanna to answer as Mel announced her arrival by tripping a waitress and upending her tray of pastries and coffee. Luckily nothing but Mel’s cheeks burned, and that was due to embarrassment rather than scalding coffee. Why did she have to make a fool of herself everywhere she went? Especially in front of Brendan?
‘Something really weird is happening today,’ she said once she was seated and greetings had been exchanged. ‘I seem to be really lucky. Whenever I want something – poof! – it happens. I didn’t want to wait for a bus and I didn’t have to. It sailed around the corner as soon as I reached the bus stop. And then there was this annoying kid playing his music too loud on the bus. I thought to myself, I wish his music would stop and guess what? His battery on his phone died.’
‘Lucky you,’ Joanna said. ‘I don’t think my head could stand a bus ride of noise.’
‘Are you still feeling poorly?’ Brendan reached across the table to take hold of her hand, which Joanna discreetly removed.
‘I’m fine. Shall we order?’
They ordered lunch and an uncomfortable atmosphere fell upon the table. Brendan sighed and rolled his eyes whenever Lee spoke and Joanna froze when she felt Brendan playing footsie with her under the table.
‘I’m starving,’ Mel complained. ‘I wish our food would hurry up.’ The words were barely out of her mouth before there was a stampede from the kitchen. Plates and dishes were set in front of them in a whirlwind of activity.
‘Do you see what I mean?’ Mel asked as the waiting staff wandered back to the kitchen in a daze.
‘Wait a minute. Did you wish our food would hurry up?’ Joanna asked and gasped when Mel nodded. ‘It’s the wish bottles from last night. It’s come true.’
‘But that isn’t what I wished for.’ She hadn’t missed the adoration in Brendan’s eyes but it wasn’t aimed at her. ‘My wish hasn’t come true.’
Joanna looked down at her chest with a sigh. ‘Neither has mine.’ She picked up her fork but her appetite had vanished. The uncomfortable air remained.
‘You should give the flowers to Mel now,’ she whispered to Brendan.
‘But they’re for you.’
Joanna gaped at Brendan. ‘Why would you buy me flowers.’
Brendan threw down his fork, attracting the attention of not only his table but the entire café. ‘I can’t pretend anymore, Joanna. I love you. Please say you feel the same.’
Joanne spluttered. ‘Of course I don’t.’
‘It’s because of these, isn’t it?’
Lee, who had jumped to his feet to deck the idiot declaring feelings for his wife, paused and gawped as Brendan lifted his tent-like jumper to reveal a pair of DD breasts.
‘They disgust you, don’t they?’
Joanna covered her mouth with one hand while the other pointed at Brendan’s inflated chest. ‘You got my wish! I wished for bigger boobs but you got them.’
Mel’s face turned a ghostly shade as she took in the scene before her. ‘Brendan, what did you wish for?'
Brendan finally covered himself and sank into his seat. ‘I wished for a hundred more wishes. I’m an idiot. I should have wished for Joanna’s heart.’
‘It’s already taken, mate,’ Lee reminded him.
Mel dropped her head into her hands. Brendan had wished for a hundred more wishes, which she seemed to be benefiting from. Joanna had wished for bigger boobs, which were attached to Brendan and Mel had wished for Brendan to fall in love with her.
‘I know what’s happened. And it’s all my fault.’
Mel explained about the broken bottles and how she had bought three new replacements.
‘I just shoved the wishes and corks in at random. The wishes obviously got mixed up.’
Lee rolled his eyes. ‘You can’t be serious.’
‘Look at my chest,’ Brendan growled. ‘It doesn’t get any more serious than that.’ Lee shielded his eyes in case Brendan flashed again. ‘We need to find a way to fix everything. Maybe we could go back to the pub and buy three more wish bottles.’
‘We don’t need to,’ Joanna said but Brendan strongly disagreed.
‘You were the one who wanted to get these –’ He looked down at his chest with distaste. ‘These things. I want them gone.’
‘Me too. They’re really creepy.’ Joanna shuddered. ‘But my point is, we don’t need the wish bottles. Mel still has 97 wishes. She could simply wish we were all back to normal.’
‘Do you think it would work?’ Mel asked.
Joanna shrugged. ‘There’s only one way to find out.’
‘Ok, here goes.’ Mel took a deep breath. ‘I wish Joanna, Brendan and I were back to normal.’ She expected a flash of lightning or at least a fluttering of glitter, but nothing happened.
‘Wait a minute. My chest feels funny. It’s tingling.’
‘I think we’ve all seen enough of your chest, sir.’ The café’s manager had been summoned and didn’t look happy about Brendan’s disturbing display. The party were asked to leave, but Brendan couldn’t have cared less as he patted himself down once they were outside.
‘They’re gone! It worked!’
‘How do you feel about me?’ Joanna asked.
‘You’re a bit bossy but you’re alright, I suppose.’ Brendan punched the air. ‘Yes!’
They turned to Mel, who gave wishing another go. ‘I wish Keanu Reeves would appear naked in front of me.’ Nothing. She grinned at Joanna and Brendan and they exchanged triumphant high-fives.
As they wandered away from the café, Brendan pulled Mel away from Joanna and Lee.
‘So if all our wishes were mixed up and I ended up falling in love with Joanna, does that mean you wished for me to fall in love with you?’
Mel tried to brush the very idea off with a laugh but couldn’t pull it off and instead resorted to blushing furiously.
‘You wasted a wish there then.’ Brendan paused in the street and pulled Mel towards him. ‘Because I’m already in love with you.’
 
The End

 
***GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED***
 
I hope you enjoyed my short story. It was a lot of fun writing it!
 
And now for the giveaway. I'll be giving away an Amazon voucher (via email) of £10/US$15/AUD$20. To enter, fill in the rafflecopter  below and leave a comment telling me if you had one wish, what would it be?
 
The giveaway will end on Friday 6th September.
 
Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes! Good luck! Visit the official Blog Blitz post here: http://julietmadison.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/3-wishes-blog-blitz-official-post/
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

8 comments:

  1. That was such a lovely story! Gave me a much-needed smile before bed!

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  2. Great story! What a fantastic contribution to the Three Wishes blog Blitz.

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  3. My wish would be that I am always there to protect me daughter.

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  4. After reading Juliet's I Dream of Johnny, I'm thinking about my wishes a little more seriously - but I'd like my family to have awesome health (and that includes no trips to the dentist)!
    Thank you for the story and the giveaway!

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  5. My wish would be to have an unlimited supply of chocolate.

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  6. That people were always nice (frances hopkins)

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