The Good, the Bad, and the Dumped by Jenny Colgan

Chapter One


Posy is wishing she’d checked the weather forecast, even if they are a bit useless.

Comment, Matt: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

Comment, Posy: Well, you would know.

Posy Fairweather wasn’t quite sure why she was at the top of a mountain.

Mountains weren’t exactly her thing—they hadn’t been here in ages—even though it was very beautiful up here, she supposed, the clouds shifting, sending patterns onto the fields and sheep. They really hadn’t done anything like this for yonks. Probably because she moaned too much about the weather. She turned to look at Matt in the clear light. He looked slightly effortful, his face pinker than the walk warranted.

Suddenly she had a flash of clairvoyance, and knew exactly what he was about to do. And her stomach lurched.

“What a view,” he said, looking nervous. “Are we right at the top?”

“Not yet,” she said, smiling, feeling her throat constrict as she said it. She would just make sure. “Is it really important that we make it all the way to the top?”

“Uh.” Matt looked conflicted. Obviously it didn’t, not really, if they were just looking for somewhere to have a picnic. But Posy suspected that, today, the small things like whether they were really at the top might actually matter.

“Come on, let’s just go,” she said, and he scrambled up the scree behind her gratefully.

The view, from beside the little pile of rocks, wasn’t much different, although with no more rock above them and nothing left to climb, she felt closer to the clouds than ever. The sky was a freshly washed blue. Posy watched as Matt tried to look innocent, although he was clearly waiting for another pair of walkers, in blue cagoules, to move away from the summit. Her heart pounded.

Finally they did and, jiggling slightly, he turned to face her. The dark bristle on his unshaven face suited him, she thought, made his jawline taut and his cheekbones more evident. He grinned at her, more awkwardly than he had since the first moment they’d met.

“Posy,” he said, swallowing.

And Posy found herself thinking, stupidly: I wonder how your face should look when you’re being proposed to. Happy? Obviously. Surprised? Sexily surprised? How would that work? Maybe pretend you’re getting an Oscar. No, hang on, don’t pretend it’s anything, this is one of the most amazing experiences of your life that you’re meant to remember forever! But then, the last thing you want to think of is whether or not you were making a pig’s face. Or even thinking about your face at all, instead of love, and the future, and the wonderfulness of it all! Why didn’t she put more lipstick on? What if he wasn’t about to propose and she’d got it all wrong? Maybe he was going to chuck her. But on top of a mountain? Who would do that? Maybe he was going to chuck her off the mountain?

“Uh, Posy, are you all right? You look like you’re about to be sick.”

Posy managed to hold it together. Vomiting was definitely not the look she was after. No. There was a long moment of silence, and in the distance a bird circled the sun. Posy turned to look at it, giving what she felt was a nice polite long stare. And sure enough, when she turned round again, Matt was very awkwardly perched on one knee. Suddenly, she didn’t have to worry about her face, because she could feel her heart leap straight into her mouth, and an uncontrollable grin start to stretch into her cheeks.

“Matthew Farmer!” she said, in a surprised tone.

Matt returned the grin, somewhat lopsidedly.

“You should know,” he said. “This is profoundly uncomfortable. I have pebbles sticking into me and, I think, some poo.”

“I shall remember these words until my dying day,” said Posy. Matt went pink.

“Sorry,” he said. “Hang on. I meant to be . . . Right. Hang on. I have it.”

Posy nodded expectantly.

Matt held up a blue box and popped it open. The noon-time sun caught the glint of the diamond inside, and it winked across the hilltops like a signal beam.

“Posy. If it’s not love . . .” He took a deep breath.

Posy caught her breath. Then, just to be equal, she knelt down too, in the sheep poo and small rocks on the ground. He proffered her the box.

“Do you mean it?”

“More than anything, Posy. More than anything.”

They stared into each other’s eyes; Matt’s blue and clear, Posy’s so dark they were almost black, with a thick fringe of lash.