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Chapter One

“Denial” - a statement that something is not true, the action of denying something and the refusal of something requested or desired.

Elly Conway had feelings for Chloe Brennan and she was in complete denial about them.

Two weeks ago Elly Conway nearly became Elly Brennan. And no it wasn’t because she married her best friend. Instead she had married Chloe’s brother, Mark, but that fell apart long before she had even thought about changing her surname.

Five minutes. Elly had been married for all of five minutes before she’d run away from the venue and broke down in front of her new husband as she revealed that two nights before the wedding she had slept with his younger sister, Chloe. Elly wasn’t a cheater but when Mark took off, abandoned her to go stay in the outback after his best friend died and then cancelled the wedding by text message, Elly had a few glasses of wine and the next thing she knew she was taking comfort in Chloe and cheating on Mark.

Elly took comfort in the person that represented unconditional love for her.

Even though she had told Mark that Chloe was the woman that represented that for her she kept trying to forget the thought had ever entered her mind.

Now two weeks later Elly’s life was a wreck as she skulled her fourth glass of wine at the Waterhole. Skulling wine, such an attractive quality and not the best way to drink wine but she wanted to get as drunk as possible in very little time. She was in incredible pain and wanted to forget the last two weeks had happened. Truth was that day in particular had been the worst of them all and she wanted to erase it from her memory.

Yes, worse than telling Mark she had cheated on him, rejected Chloe, been told Mark wanted her to sign annulment papers to end their short-lived marriage, found out that she was pregnant with Mark’s child, Fay wanting to know why she let her night with Chloe happen, saw the devastation on Chloe’s face when she heard the pregnancy news, Mark’s insistence at ignoring their situation despite desperately wanting a child, then finally he started talking to her and whilst Mark made out that he was supportive with the idea of becoming a dad, he also made her feel like having a child with her specifically was not what he wanted.

Then this morning Elly had gone to her GP in the doctor’s office section of the local hospital. Elly didn’t feel comfortable seeing her brother-in-law, David, nor her Uncle Karl, so went to her own doctor.

False positive.

That’s what the GP had told her when she went back later that afternoon to get the results of her blood test. She wasn’t pregnant after all. She’d gone to see Mark to tell him the news that he was off the hook but in the end she couldn’t bring herself to tell him. This non-existing baby was the only thing keeping their marriage together.

The only thing keeping Elly from thinking that Mark would never have unconditional love for her the way Chloe did.

After lying to Mark that she would get the results back from the GP the following day because she couldn’t bear the thought of never having the chance to reconcile with him, Elly left Mark’s place and headed straight for the Waterhole. She was glad that none of the people in her life that knew she was ‘pregnant’ were present at the venue as it left her free of judgmental glances that she shouldn’t be drinking.

Sheila cut her off as soon as she placed the fourth glass of wine in front of Elly. Elly didn’t care; she wanted to keep drinking to further her denial in the situation she had found herself in.

Denial that she could make things right with Mark.

Denial that she was pregnant with his child.

Denial that Chloe meant nothing more to her than a best friend.

Elly left the Waterhole before Sheila could accost her to take a taxi home and made her way to the local nightclub. Elly fumbled her way into an appearance of been sober, making it past the security guy at the entrance and to the bar where she ordered three tequila shots. Downing them one after the other, Elly stumbled onto the dance floor.

Unafraid of been on her own amongst plenty of groups of friends, Elly danced the night away with a bunch of strangers who had no clue how badly she had messed up her life the past two weeks and how badly she could continue to if she kept Mark in the dark over the reality that they weren’t having a child together.

How badly things could spiral if she continued to deny that the comfort she had felt from her night with Chloe was something she wanted to feel again.

A couple hours later, Elly was exhausted from dancing amongst all the men that she could find in the club and feeling absolutely nothing for them, she found herself back in Ramsay Street outside the house she lived in with her sister, Aunt and Uncle.

Looking towards Mark’s house, she made the irrational decision to head to his place instead of collapsing into her bed all alone.

Elly knocked on the front door for several minutes. She wasn’t used to knocking on this door; she had a standing invitation to walk inside whenever she wanted. Elly now realised that the last time she left this house, after the night she slept with Chloe, meant that she would never truly feel that invitation belonged to her again, even if Mark took her back.

Nobody answered the door. Chloe had been kicked out of the house after the wedding. Aaron and David had just that day moved into No. 32 after purchasing the house and allowed Chloe to move in with them.

Mark wasn’t home, maybe he had begun back at the police station or maybe he was ignoring her desperate drunken pleas to talk to her and take her back. Elly soon realised how stupid that plan was, she was supposed to be pregnant and if Mark found her drunk off her face he would only think the worst of her.

Elly’s thoughts suddenly settled on the one person in the whole world that could never think the worst of her, Chloe.

Despite Chloe telling her off for thinking they could put their night behind them and go back to being friends, Elly knew deep in her heart no matter what she did Chloe had unconditional love for her. Despite the situation she had found herself in, denying that was becoming impossible and before she knew it she was leaning against the front door of No. 32, needing the doorframe to hold her up as she knocked on the door.

Elly licked her lips as she saw Chloe’s figure approach the other side of the door.

Denial isn’t working for me anymore and I want what I want.