A year or so ago, I embarked on one of the funnest projects of my life: a chick lit novel called The Matchbaker. But things kept getting in my way — life, Regency novels, beach-themed novellas and short stories — so The Matchbaker took a backseat. Until now. I pulled it out the other night and decided I was going to revive it!
And, in light of my critique group’s recent discussion about the frustrations of weight gain, I’ve decided to post this excerpt from The Matchbaker…you don’t need to know anything about the book to enjoy this piece, so don’t worry about spoiler alerts :)…
I hope you enjoy!
I hop into the shower, trying to shake off the depression that’s setting in. I mean, I have no right to be depressed. He’s not mine, he never was, and to pursue him at this point would be absolutely reprehensible of me. Besides, there are plenty of guys out there, I just haven’t put any effort into finding one. I’ve been so career focused—and Colin focused—that I haven’t taken the time to even go out on a date.
That’s it! I have to start dating. I know my plate is pretty full with the bakery right now, but I can’t let that stop me. I’m going to get my butt back in shape and start dating.
I’m sufficiently cheered by the time I get out of the shower. So much so that I don’t even let the fact that Holly has sexy lingerie hanging in the closet get to me. It’s totally fine.
“Candy, what are you doing?”
I jump, startled by my sister’s voice behind me. “Holly, you can’t sneak up on people like that!” I shout, exasperated.
She ignores me. “What are you doing with my lingerie?”
Damn. She noticed. “Nothing,” I say as I pull it away from my body, where I’d been holding it against me and stroking the soft, pink satin. “I was just…trying to find something to wear.”
“I’m not sure that’s appropriate work attire.”
I give her a scathing look and roll my eyes. “I thought it was a camisole.”
She doesn’t believe me. I can tell.
Well, never mind her. It could very easily have been mistaken for a camisole. How tragic that my own sister thinks I’m a liar.
“Here, this should fit you.” She walks over pulls a mu-mu-looking top out of the dresser. I stare wide-eyed for two reasons: 1) I didn’t realize she had drawer space on top of having half the closet, and 2) I’m flabbergasted and down-right offended that she thinks the only thing I’ll be able to fit into in her wardrobe is a mu-mu. A mu-mu!
“Oh, well…” I turn back to the closet where there are a plethora of trendy pants and tops (my sister’s not one for skirts and dresses.) “I was thinking of these pants with this blouse. Do you mind?”
She looks dubiously at the articles of clothing I’m holding aloft, then she glances toward my waistline and raises her eyebrows. I don’t like to use the “B” word very often, but in this case my sister is being a huge B!
Well, I’ll show her. I can fit into this outfit just fine. I mean, it’s a size 6. I’m a 4 at most. “Do you mind?” I say, glancing toward the door.
Holly shrugs and leaves the room, closing the door behind her. I wait until I hear the latch click, and then I begin to get dressed. Thankfully, my bra and underwear survived the papier mache incident. I slip those on, then reach for the pants. They’re beautiful. The flat front has buttons down either side and then they flare out into a wide leg—a modern take on the sailor pant. The cream-colored blouse has tiny navy polka dots to match the pants and a ruffle down the front and on the cap sleeves. Frilly and girly, but still sleek and trendy. Maybe I’ll go sit at the coffee shop and pretend to read something smart while I’m really scoping out men. My dating mission starts today.
I put one leg into the pants, then the other, and hoist. Then I hoist again. But the damn pants won’t move past my hips. I seek out the side zipper. It must not be down all the way. I pull it and it moves. Hooray! I knew there was something wrong. Only, the zipper doesn’t move down quite as much as I hoped it would. A half-inch at most. But really, that should be plenty.
I hoist again, and the pants finally move over my hips. Ha! I knew that would do it. I put the shirt on next, since it needs to be tucked in. My arms slip easily through the armholes and I start to button it up. Only the top two buttons, the ones that button over my breasts, don’t come anywhere near the buttonholes on the other side. Shit. Something must be wrong. I mean, really. There’s no way my boobs have grown that much in the last two weeks.
I mash them down and let out my bra straps so they hang a little lower down, and finally, the buttons close. There’s a bit of a gap there, but I’m sure it will be fine once the pants are zipped. My hand reaches for the zipper and tugs. I suck in my stomach and hold my breath, and the zipper moves easily to the top.
Ah. There. Perfect.
“Candy, are you ready?” my sister calls from the other room.
“Coming!” I say as I grab my bag off the bed. “Do you have shoes to go with this outfit?” I emerge from the bedroom and ignore the look of dismay on my sister’s face as she gives me the once-over.
“Um, yeah…” She sounds a bit dismayed, but I can’t understand why. Obviously we’re the same size. It’s not as if I’m going to stretch out the clothes or anything. “Here.”
She hands me a pair of Kate Spade wedge espadrilles that have cream-colored crochet straps. They’re perfect for this outfit. I bend over to put them on, and all at once I hear two of the most horrifying sounds in the world. The sound of a pair of pants splitting down the middle, accompanied by the click of buttons hitting hardwood. Oh, my God.
I look up from my bent over position, afraid to move another muscle. Holly is staring at me, her eyes wide. Shit.
“Did you just…?”
Oh, God. What do I do? Do I play this off and blame it on sizing and fit models? Or do I let myself break down into tears, apologize profusely and promise to have it all repaired?
I’m desperate for Holly to make the first move. Maybe she’ll start laughing. I mean, it is pretty funny, me busting out of her clothes and all. Or maybe she’ll start yelling and say something horrible to me, at which point I can turn the tables on her and make it all sound like it’s her fault. Either way, I just want her to say something. Anything.
But she doesn’t. She just stands there, waiting on me. And then I can’t help myself. I burst into tears and wail, “I’m so faaaaaaaaaaaaat!”