How Do You Like Me Now? – Holly Bourne (Extract)

‘So remind me whose wedding this is again?’ Dee asks, with a croissant hanging out of her mouth.
‘Jessica. She’s a friend from home.’
‘And who’s she marrying? Do you know him?’
I bite my lip before replying. ‘Tim. He’s an accountant.’ I add.
‘Poor Jess,’ Dee says sympathetically.
‘Don’t judge him too quickly,’ I say, smiling. ‘I mean, he has told me, at least twice, that “he’s not like regular accountants”.’
Dee tries to grab the wheel. ‘Turn the car around, Tor. I am not going to this wedding.’
‘Stop it!’ I yell, laughing and slapping her hand away.
‘There’s going to be more than one accountant at this wedding, isn’t there?’
‘Probably.’ Dee’s hilarious wheel-grab means I’ve strayed into the fast lane. I smile and flirt with the male driver of the car that honked me, mouthing ‘sorry’. He still shakes his fist as he speeds past.
‘No wonder Tom bailed.’
‘He didn’t bail because of the accountants. He has this podcast thing.’
‘Yeah yeah, I know. Convenient though, isn’t it?’ My fingers tighten on the steering wheel. Dee finishes her pastry and brushes the leftover flakes onto my car floor like buttery dandruff. ‘Can we start a drinking game where we have to do a shot every time someone says, “I’m not like regular accountants”?’
‘We won’t be able to see by the time the speeches start.’
‘Precisely! Can we just make the whole day a drinking game?’
‘I don’t know. Livers are apparently quite essential organs. How is this game going to work?’
‘Simple!’ Dee digs in her black leather handbag and pulls out a biro and a receipt. ‘We have to drink whenever a wedding cliché happens. Like, umm, we have to drink if the bride stays silent throughout all the speeches.’ She starts writing it down in her loopy, cursive writing.
I grin and start thinking. ‘And if there’s a photo booth with hilarious props for everyone to use?’
‘Yes!’ Dee punches the air and starts writing that down too, using her croissant-littered leg as a desk. ‘And if someone makes a shit joke during the “if there’s any reason you shouldn’t get married, speak now” part of the ceremony.’
‘Brilliant. And if someone does that reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.’
‘If the best man makes a hilarious joke about the hilarious objectification of strippers during the stag do.’
‘If they’ve “done something a little bit different” with their wedding cake – like cupcakes!’ I put forward.
‘Oooh, yes! With novelty iced figures on top. This is great, all great.’ She runs out of room on the receipt and digs about for a new one. ‘Right, it’s on the list. Oooh, how about if the photographer takes photos of a) All the bridal party jumping into the air, and/or b) All the groomsmen holding this Jess girl up horizontally.’
I remember Jessica’s group shot from last night and know, without a doubt, that there will be a photo of the bridal party all jumping in the air. I nod in agreement. ‘If the groom says, “and you look so beautiful today”, or, “I knew from the moment I met her” during his speech.’ I point out my finger so she writes it down.
‘BONUS POINTS FOR CRYING,’ Dee shouts. ‘And, Tor, I’m telling you, if there’s a choreographed first dance, I will make both of us down an entire bottle of vodka through our eyeballs.’
I’m laughing so hard I almost veer into the next lane again. And I think, thank God Dee is here and not Tom. I don’t know what that means and I don’t have the emotional energy to even think about what that means right now. I take one hand off the steering wheel and pat her shoulder to let her know she is brilliant and amazing.
‘Are we terrible awful people?’ I ask her, still laughing too hard to sound like I care.

How Do You Like Me Now? is out in hardback on 14th June. Pre-order your copy today!