Hello lovely readers! Today, as part of the Almost Adults blog tour, I’m excited to be bringing you an extract from the book! I’ve included a synopsis too, so if you’re intrigued and want to read more, make sure to download the e-Book edition which is out today!
Mackie, Edele, Alex and Nat are navigating their chaotic and confusing twenties together. They have jobs and pay their own rent (well, most of them) but don’t know how to bleed radiators, defrost a freezer or test the smoke alarms.
With break-ups to deal with and major decisions to make, life can get messy especially when they’re still trying to get the hang of this ‘being a grown-up’ thing.
‘Nat, come in, it’s fucking January and you’re only wearing a T-shirt,’ came his voice from inside the flat.
The swearing took me back. I was the ‘swearer’ – Matt only swore when he was angry, or when he was watching Question Time. How dare he be angry right now. What gave him the right?
I was sitting on the roof, shivering in the cold and burning my throat with Johnnie Walker. The whisky was hot – hot on my lips, my mouth, my throat, and hot trickling down into my stomach – but my body was ice, the bitter seaside air whipping my hair back and biting at my skin. I remember liking the contrast. I remember everything about that night.
An hour earlier, I’d been panicking because I couldn’t get hold of Matt, and that hardly ever happened, even after seven years together. He’d been at the pub with his friends and wasn’t answering my WhatsApps asking when he was coming home, and if he could bring us a pizza from the Italian opposite the pub.
I didn’t think much of it – probably had one too many ciders to check his phone, I thought. Besides, I wanted to binge-watch The End of the F*cking World on Netflix with a glass of wine and zero interruptions.
I heard his key turn in the lock – a sound I loved – and dashed to the hall. ‘You didn’t message me, I was worried about you!’ I said with a relieved smile. Until suddenly, I clocked the look on his face, and I wasn’t smiling any more.
Matt’s expression, usually gentle and calm, was solemn, shell-shocked, etched with fear and panic and, for the first time in our seven years together, I felt like I didn’t recognise him. He stood in the door to our home, tall, beautiful and broken, limply holding a cardboard pizza box, and said, ‘Nat, we need to talk.’
I always used to laugh at those words in films – ‘How clichéd, who actually says that?’ I’d say – until I heard them. My chest turned tight and something thick stuck in my throat so I could hardly speak.
‘What about?’ I managed to mutter.
‘I can’t do this any more. I don’t feel the same.’
You’d think the natural reaction to this would be instant tears, angrily demanding answers, maybe even throwing an IKEA plate or two. But not for me. To me, it felt so unbelievable, so unreal, that my body relaxed a little, calmed by the thought that this was just too farcical to actually be happening.
‘You’re just drunk, right?’ I tried to reason, nearly laughing. ‘But don’t say things like that, we can just talk in the morning. Come to bed, it’s almost one thirty.’
‘No, Nat, you don’t understa—’
‘Of course I do! I get emotional when I’m drunk, too!’
Then suddenly his face turned stern, frown lines spreading across his forehead. ‘I’m not drunk, Nat. Please, listen. I’m sorry, but I don’t love you any more.’
The calm was suddenly snatched away. Then panic. Blind panic. The kind of panic that strikes your feet like a bolt of lightning and shoots up through your body, ripping through your insides as it goes, and eventually settles in your brain like a parasite. My body turned cold and I started to shake uncontrollably. I couldn’t understand it – this wasn’t happening. This didn’t happen to people like us. This didn’t happen to happy people. We were happy. Weren’t we?
Almost Adults is released today on e-book version, and in paperback on August 8th.