It's Sample Sunday today over on Twitter, so here's a sample of my romantic comedy, Fourteen Days Later...

‘Fourteen days,’ said Ayshe. ‘That’s all it takes to change your life for the better.’

‘You are joking, right?’ I arched an eyebrow. ‘Nobody can change their life in fourteen days.’

‘That’s not what it says in here.’ Ayshe held up the magazine she’d been flicking through, her finger underlining one of the articles.‘“Orgasms or Chocolate? What do women really want?”’ I read the headline aloud.

'What?’ Ayshe looked at the magazine and adjusted her finger. ‘Not that. This. “Turn Your Life Around. The Simple Fourteen Day Plan Anyone Can Do”.’

‘That’s ridiculous.’ Tucking my legs underneath me on the sofa, I picked at my frayed jogging bottoms.

‘No, what’s ridiculous is you still moping about over Justin. It’s been six months since you split up with him. You need to move on with your life.’ She rose from her chair and flounced down next to me, resting her arm on my knees.

I wriggled away from her. ‘I’m having another iced coffee; want one?’

‘It’s too cold for iced coffee. It’s the middle of November for God’s sake,’ she called out as I clattered around in the kitchen. ‘Anyway, I thought you’d promised to cut down on your caffeine intake.’

When I returned, I sank down onto the sofa. ‘I still haven’t managed to get a plumber out to fix the dishwasher. Either they don’t turn up when they say they will, or they won’t come out for anything less than a total bathroom refurb.’

Ayshe watched me in silence.

I sat it out for a while, her steady gaze drilling into me. ‘What?’

‘Trying to change the subject isn’t going to work. You can’t avoid this much longer.’

‘I’m not, it’s true. You can never get hold of a plumber these–’

She clamped her hand over my mouth. ‘You need to go out and do things – and don’t give me that rubbish about you’ll never meet another man – he was the right one – he was the love of your life. I know four years together is a long time, but everybody always says that when they split up with people. You will get over him, but not if you keep refusing to move on with your life.’ She pushed me on the leg.

I wasn’t expecting the jolt and spilt my coffee all down my attractive jogging bottoms.

My thoughts drifted back to the time I’d discovered a size sixteen Agent Provocateur thong stuffed into the pocket of Justin’s best work trousers during the usual laundry run. I was pretty sure his company hadn’t suddenly changed their dress-code. I mean, smart trousers, shirt, and thong, wouldn’t sound too good in the staff handbook. I was also sure he couldn’t have picked it up innocently – as he’d told me – because he needed to dust the photocopier and thought it was a rag. And I knew it wasn’t mine because I’d never really fancied a piece of dental floss chafing my bits and bobs.

She lifted her hand away from my mouth.

So what else does it say then, this article?’ I feigned interest, rubbing at the coffee stain with my hand.

‘It’s about trying to get more interests in your life if you’re stuck in a rut. It was written by one of those new trendy life coaches who try and get you to organize your life better. Apparently, you have to set yourself challenges to have a brand new experience every day for fourteen days, to gain more confidence; something to do with re-evaluating things and re-balancing your yin and yang – or your Hong Kong Fuey – or whatever it is.’

I snorted. She ignored me and ploughed on regardless.

‘The more things you do, the more confidence you gain, and you become a more focused and better person. You need to be more proactive with your life, and I think this is just what you need.’

I heaved a dramatic sigh.

‘It’s not just about meeting a man. It’s about changing your perspective. Come on, what is there to lose? Worst case scenario, you might discover things that you never knew before, or find something new that you like doing. Best case scenario…’ She shrugged. ‘You might meet a “the one”.’ 

I pretended to ignore her and fiddled with my hair.

'You never know if you don’t try, and you need to take every single opportunity you can to meet new people, instead of making the usual pathetic excuses you’ve been using for the last six months.’ Sitting back on the sofa, she crossed her arms over her chest. The lecture was over.

‘I don’t know if I’ve got the time for a Hong Kong Fuey experience. I mean what with…work…and…’ I tailed off, staring out of my flat window at the dreary, sludgy winter day outside. How much longer could I make excuses to keep my life on hold, waiting for Justin to come back?

‘Hellooooooooo! Earth to Helen.’ Ayshe poked me hard in the ribs. ‘The most important thing is to keep busy and keep your mind open to new things. Look, I’ll help you. We can even do some things together, but you need to get out of this flat and into the big wide world again and stop hibernating.’

I narrowed my eyes, deep in thought. ‘You’re marrying Atila in a few weeks. You’ll be too busy to baby-sit me. And anyway, I’m not hibernating.’

But if I was honest, truly honest, I knew she was right. I’d spent so much time drowning in self-pity and pining for Justin that I’d lost myself. I needed to find out what I wanted for a change. A fourteen day challenge to myself might not be such a bad thing. Would it change my life? I was pretty doubtful. Would it get my yin and yang back? I felt a flicker of excitement at the thought of unknown possibilities.

‘Actually…I haven’t got any more wedding photos to do until yours,’ I started with caution. No one wanted to get married in November anyway, so my diary wasn’t exactly heaving. ‘Maybe I could give it a try.’

‘That’s my girl. And you never know, come my wedding, you may have a new guy to bring, eh?’

I stood up, catching my reflection in the mirror. Anxious eyes like soggy limpets stared back at me. I must admit, I had let myself go a bit lately. My chestnut curly hair sprang out in all directions. I could do with a trim – maybe even a few highlights, and – aargh! – look at my eyebrows! Denis Healey eat your heart out. And as for my hairy legs and bikini-line – well, I was beginning to resemble a silverback gorilla. The only good thing to come out of it, I supposed, was that I had shifted a few pounds and was now a size twelve, although I wouldn’t recommend The Getting-Dumped Diet to anyone.

Copyright © Sibel Hodge 2009

If you enjoyed this sample, please check out Fourteen Days Later and The Fashion Police on my home page. 

Happy reading!

Sibel XX