Penelope examined her dress in the mirror. She wasn't sure if the light blue dress was a good combination with her olive skin. She turned around to Charlotte, her best friend.

"What do you think?" Penelope asked.

"Huh? What?" Charlotte's mind was miles away.

"Were you not listening to me? This is important." Penelope frowned.

She needed to find a dress and quickly. This big event she was managing tonight was the only way she was going to convince her boss she was serious about her job.

"Yeah sorry, I was just thinking about something."

"You mean you were thinking about James?"

James was Charlotte's boyfriend who she met straight away at university. Whilst Charlotte believed they were meant for each other, Penelope thought it was a bad idea to stay with just one person during your 'university' years. James seemed to feel the same way as he always had a wandering eye; Penelope noticed yet Charlotte remained oblivious. The only reason Penelope didn't totally dislike James was because he was the one who had set her and Michael up.

"No…let's just move on, please."

Charlotte was in denial about the breakdown in and James' and her relationship. It just didn't feel the same as it did the first time they met but Charlotte couldn't bear to get out of a relationship she had put so much effort into.

"My dress? Does it look nice?"

Charlotte scanned the dress.

"Pull your hair back first."

Penelope pushed her long black hair behind her so Charlotte could get a good look at the dress itself.


"Erm, maybe you should find another dress."

"I just bought this, and I don't have any other appropriate dresses." Penelope frowned.

She took the dress off and was about to fling it across the room but as she was about to, she looked at Charlotte and threw it to her. Charlotte caught it just before it went over her head.

"You should keep it. It goes well with your skin."

"No we'll just return it and buy you something better." Charlotte said reluctantly, the dress really did go well with her pale skin, which was accentuated by her brunette hair, but she didn't want to keep taking things off of Penelope.

Penelope was from a rich family and after the tragic death of her parent's she inherited everything since she was an only child. Charlotte, on the other hand, was barely making ends meet after a massive disagreement with her now estranged parents. Penelope came to Charlotte's rescue and invited Charlotte to move in with her. Charlotte accepted but after a year of being with James, she moved in with him; partly because she wanted to feel more independent but also because she didn't want to be separated from James.

"Just take it before I throw it away. There's a no return policy on it anyway." Penelope lied but it was a nice dress and would look even nicer on Charlotte.

"Okay then. Thanks." Charlotte smiled at Penelope as she folded up the dress and put it in her bag.

"I guess we will have to go shopping." Penelope said as she rolled her eyes.

She wasn't a fan of shopping at all, maybe it was because of the lack of space to breathe or how frustrated you get when you can't find anything nice and when you do, they don't have your size. Either way she was more of an online shopper, whereas Charlotte loved to hit the shops and always managed to persuade Penelope to accompany her.

"Don't worry, I'll find you something. I always do." Charlotte winked at Penelope and began to put her coat on.

Whilst Penelope was getting dressed, she heard a knock on the door.

"Oh that will be Michael, let him in for me."

"You still haven't at least given him a key? Jesus, you have been going out for two years!" Charlotte asked, baffled at how slow Penelope's and Michael's relationship was going compared to hers however but maybe it wasn't a good idea for Charlotte to compare her relationship with Penelope's.

"I'm not ready to let things get that far." Penelope simply explained, she didn't see the point in rushing things in a relationship.

"Just open the door for me please."


Charlotte got up and walked downstairs and unlocked the door. Michael walked in alone, much to Charlotte's disappointment.

"Where's James? I thought he would be with you."

Michael looked down and began to shuffle his feet. Charlotte knew where he was, with his friends: those 'bad influence' kinds of friends who kept James out till all hours of the night.

"Oh right, I see."

"They just have fun. It's nothing to worry about." Michael reassured Charlotte but she was too pissed off to listen.

"Hurry up Penelope!" Charlotte yelled.

She needed to get out and take her mind off of things.

"I'll just be two more minutes!" Penelope answered.

"Where are you two going?" Michael asked.

He told Penelope he was coming over to spend time with her and was beginning to get frustrated at the lack of commitment and effort Penelope was putting into their relationship.

"She needs a new dress for tonight so we're going shopping."

"What's happening tonight?"

"It's that event thing for work."

Michael, irritated, went upstairs and into Penelope's room.

"You could've told me that you were working tonight. Now I've just wasted my time coming here."

Michael gritted his teeth before he could carry on. Penelope looked confused at Michael's mood.

"I was going to ask you to come with me," Penelope knew she was going to regret what she was about to say but she carried on. "But you can just forget it now if you're going to be in a mood! Unlike you, I actually want to work and not just use up all of my parent's money."

With that Michael left, he hated Penelope's mood swings and the things she said during them - even if it was the truth. Penelope let out a big sigh and went downstairs and watched Michael storm out of the house. Charlotte sensed Penelope's frustration.

"Come on, let's go shopping. At least it will keep our minds off of everything."

Penelope picked up her car keys and went towards the door but Charlotte stopped her and took the keys off of her. Two things that didn't mix was Penelope in a bad mood and Penelope driving.

"Maybe I should drive." Charlotte suggested, as she carefully took the keys from Penelope's hands into her own.

After a successful session of retail therapy, Charlotte gave a calmer Penelope her car keys back. Whilst waiting at the traffic lights, they saw James with his friends. Charlotte saw they were accompanied by some teenage girls who didn't know any better.

"Urgh, that's disgusting! He's like 10 years older than them." Charlotte overexaggerated in disgust.

"He doesn't look interested in them. I think they're just tagging along." Penelope reassured Charlotte.

She saw the red light change to amber and made a swift getaway before Charlotte could gather up any more angst. As soon as they got home, Penelope noticed a change in Charlotte's mood.

"Why don't you stay here tonight? I'll try and come back early." Penelope suggested.

She didn't want a repeat of her and Michael happening to Charlotte and James.

"Yeah, I think I just might."

Penelope gave Charlotte a sympathetic smile and began to get ready for work. Charlotte helped, in order to take her mind off of things, but as soon as Penelope left she had nothing to do except play flashbacks of her and James the past few months. It was too much for Charlotte so she rummaged through Penelope's collection of alcohol and began to drink the painful memories away.

After many failed attempts at trying to unlock the door, Charlotte opened the window and stuck her head out to see who was at the door.

"Who is it?"

"Michael. Are you feeling alright Charlotte?"

"Michael!" Charlotte shouted with joy. "What are you doing outside?"

"Erm, you won't let me in…"

"Oh yeah, the key won't fit in the hole." Charlotte then laughed at what she had just said. "That sounded dirty."

"Charlotte, just give me the keys."

"Okay." Charlotte replied and threw the keys outside the window causing them to fall on the ground. The ground was like a sheet of darkness and Michael cursed as he realised how long it would take him to find them.

"No, don't drink that! It's mine!" Charlotte protested but Michael ignored her and drunk the last of the bottle.

Michael hadn't had this much fun in a long time and wanted to take advantage of the moment. Charlotte slumped back onto the sofa when she realised there was nothing left, Michael joined her after he finished his drink. They both began to slur out all their relationship problems; Michael complaining about Penelope's lack of effort in the relationship and Charlotte complaining about James' lack of commitment.

"At least he's living with you."

"I had to practically force him to."

Charlotte looked at her phone and saw there were no calls or text message from James. Michael noticed Charlotte's disappointment and pulled her closer to him, putting his arm around her. Charlotte looked up at Michael and soon they stared into each other's eyes.

"What did we just do?"

Charlotte was covered in shame and guilt. She looked at Michael who was emotionless, buttoning his top back up. She was in disbelief about his calm composition whereas she was an emotional wreck. What kind of person sleeps with their best friend's boyfriend? Charlotte felt the regret ripping through her stomach; she ran to the bathroom and threw up. Once she finished she heard the front door close. Charlotte froze. Then she heard a car start up. She looked out to see Michael drive off and saw the daylight creeping in. If it was already day then had Penelope come back home and seen her and Michael? Charlotte felt sick again but this was a feeling that she couldn't puke out of her system. Just then she heard her phone ring so she went to find it and saw it was Penelope. Hesitantly, she picked up the phone and heard Penelope scream.


Charlotte's whole body began to shake with fear.

"Guess who got a promotion last night!" Penelope gleamed.

Charlotte became confused, surely if Penelope knew she would have mentioned it by now.

"Did you come home last night?"

"No, I got a bit too drunk when I celebrated so I ended up crashing at a friend's house."

Charlotte sighed with relief, at least she could spare Penelope the pain of knowing.

"Oh right, I think I'm going to go back home."

"Noo, don't go home now! I'll be there in half an hour."

"No I seriously have to go home. Sorry."

Charlotte hung up the phone. As soon as she was dressed, she fled the scene as fast as she could.

A week had passed and Penelope hadn't heard one word from Charlotte. She began to worry and sent her a compilation of concerned voicemails and text messages. Penelope started to get paranoid, it wasn't just Charlotte who was ignoring her; Michael was being awkward and distant. Desperate to try and get some sense of what was going on, Penelope rang Charlotte for the umpteenth time that day. Charlotte saw Penelope's number flash up on her BlackBerry screen, she still didn't have the heart to face Penelope so she set the ringer off. After her night with Michael she couldn't face Penelope, guilt kept her a prisoner in her house. She was too afraid to leave the house in case she bumped into Penelope or Michael. James walked past Charlotte and out of the front door, he was sick and tired of Charlotte's unexplainable mood. Normally Charlotte would have confronted James about his attitude towards their relationship but she felt that the grounds she had to stand on had crumbled beneath her and she deserved whatever James had to dish out on her. After 5 missed calls, Penelope seemed to have given up; Charlotte felt awful but she didn't know what to do.

After 2 hours of trying to find a programme that didn't remind her of Penelope or even Michael, Charlotte heard the door unlock. She had been dreading James' return. She heard two muffled voices so she made her way to the front door. She froze in fear as she saw James and Penelope walk in.

"Penelope was waiting outside for you." James muttered.

Penelope took a look at Charlotte and saw a drained out Charlotte.

"You should've told me you were ill! I would've come and looked after you" Penelope smiled.

Charlotte wished Penelope would stop being so nice.

"I'm fine." Charlotte said bluntly causing Penelope to frown at her response.

"Then why haven't you called me back or replied to my texts? Is it because I left you alone that night?"

"I've just been busy."

This time James made a face; he had watched her mope around doing nothing productive. He couldn't understand why she would lie, especially to Penelope.

"Oh, well Michael and I made plans to go out tonight; do you two want to join us?"

Charlotte's eyes widened at the mention of Michael and she quickly declined. This added to James' curiosity.

"Come on Charlotte, it sounds like fun. We haven't been out in ages." James added.

"No I'm just too busy."

"Doing what, exactly?" James asked, with a questioning expression.

Penelope waited for Charlotte's reply.

"Erm, I'm looking for a job." Charlotte replied, it was believable enough and she really needed to start looking for a job.

"Oh right, well I'll just go."

Penelope walked slowly out of the house and back into her car. Penelope found herself becoming obsessed with trying to figure out what was up with Charlotte and Michael's behaviour: she couldn't help but wonder what she did to piss them off. She thought about her and Michael and knew what she had to do there; Michael wanted more commitment. Penelope thought to herself that maybe she should stop being so selfish and start to think about Michael as well as herself but she was clueless when it came to Charlotte. She had no clue what she had done to upset Charlotte. Just before she could think, she saw Michael already waiting outside her home. He was early which was unusual.

"What's up with you?" James asked, puzzled by Charlotte's recent behaviour.

He finally decided to confront her.

"Is this because I want to spend time with my friends and not stay with you twenty-four-seven?"

Charlotte laughed at James, he really didn't get it. She just got up and started to walk up the stairs but James stood in her way. Charlotte sighed and made her way to the kitchen. James followed her. As he was observing her in the kitchen, it all became clear to him. She was acting weird because she had done something wrong. Whenever James did anything wrong Charlotte would harass him about it non-stop.

"What have you done?" James asked Charlotte.

Charlotte halted. The expression on her face said it all. James turned away; he couldn't bear to look at her.

"Who with?"

"James, please."

Charlotte was too ashamed to admit who with. She saw James turn back around. He looked straight at her.

"Just tell me."

Charlotte was about to open her mouth but she closed it and stayed silent.

"Well?!" James yelled, angry with Charlotte's silence.

"It was a mistake!" Charlotte said trying to defend herself but she knew it didn't look good for her.

"Is it someone I know?"

Charlotte dreaded this part; she was stuck about what to do next.

"No, it was just someone I met that night."

Charlotte felt even worse about lying to James but she didn't want to lose him. James just looked down. A minute went past but it felt like a lifetime and they hadn't moved an inch. If only there was something to break the tension, anything. Suddenly, as if by magic, there was a knock on the door. Charlotte walked past James to get it only to find Penelope sobbing at her doorstep. This was all too much for Charlotte but she knew she had to help her best friend so she brought Penelope inside and onto the sofa. She saw James come in with concern on his face.

"What's wrong with her?"

Concern in his voice as well.

"I don't know. I'll have to calm her down first."

Charlotte put her arms around Penelope pulling away any of Penelope's hair that was glued to her face by her tears.

"What happened?"

Penelope didn't respond, instead she began to wail more heavily. Be then, James was sitting on the other side of Penelope comforting her as much as he could. He could be the nicest person in the world when he wanted to be.

"Just breathe and then tell us what happened." James said soothingly.

Penelope took a deep breath and fought her tears back.

"I told Michael that I was ready to make the next step in our relationship...and then I asked him to move in with me and..." Penelope's voice trailed off as she started to burst out in fresh tears.

"He said no?" James asked confused, he knew Michael and knew how desperate Michael wanted to move in and couldn't understand how it ended up so bad.

"He told me he slept with someone else!" Penelope blurted out and began to cry even more.

The colour of Charlotte's face faded at the thought that she had caused all of this. James noticed Charlotte's reaction and knew straight away what had happened. He got up and headed straight for the door. Charlotte panicked that James would come back in and reveal everything to Penelope. If she didn't already know then Charlotte wanted to keep it that way.

Penelope, frustrated and upset, threw her bag across the hallway. She couldn't understand why Charlotte was more concerned about James and why Charlotte would suggest it would be better for Penelope to go home. She knew they were going through a rough patch but what was more important, her or James' whereabouts. Penelope knew what she needed; to get as drunk as possible. She was about to go to the kitchen when she heard a knock on the door. She went to get it but then paused in case it was Michael. She hid behind the staircase and glanced through the window panes of the front foor and saw a tall figure with dark blonde hair replacing what she thought would have been Michael's black hair; it was James. She walked to the door and opened it.

"If you're here for Michael then you can forget it be-"

Before Penelope could say anything she was cut off by James. His lips pressed onto hers. He put his hands on her back and pushed her closer to him. The perfect revenge: if only. As soon as Penelope realised what was going on, she pushed James off of her and slapped him.

"What the fuck?!"

She was so confused. She didn't know what was going on, she wondered if James had a secret crush on her to which Charlotte found out and decided to take it out on her.

"Michael cheated on you so..."

Penelope's mouth dropped at James' response. He then took advantage of Penelope's silence and began to kiss her again. This time Penelope kicked James' manly pride and pushed him out of the door.

"Stay away from me!"

She slammed the door before James could protest. James had blown his chances of getting revenge as well as telling Penelope the truth, luckily for Charlotte. James couldn't take this defeat so he did the only thing he could to try and get back his pride. He drove back home and saw Charlotte's car was still there. As he walked in, Charlotte approached him cautiously.

"Where did you go?" Charlotte asked.

James just walked past and upstairs to their room. Charlotte followed him to find he was packing up her stuff.

"What are you doing?"

Charlotte knew her fate but wanted to hear it from James himself.

"Do you really think I'm going to stay with you after you slept with Michael?!"

"But I didn't mean to, it just happened. I'm so sorry James!"

Charlotte pleaded with James but he just carried on packing Charlotte's stuff up. Charlotte tried to stop him but he pushed her away. He then stopped and walked to the door.

"I want you out of here before the morning."

James grabbed his coat and walked out of the front door. Charlotte fell to the floor and looked around her. Everything was a big mess, a mess that she would have to clean up since she didn't want this to be the end of her and James. Charlotte was about to unpack her stuff until her phone began to ring: it was Penelope.

To: Charlotte Fields Charlottefields712

Fr: Michael Woods michaelwoods1

Subject: Important

Date: 26/01/2011

Charlotte, why won't you answer any of my calls? We really need to talk about this. It's a big thing so you can't just ignore me. Just call me or something please.


To: Michael Woods michaelwoods1

Fr: Charlotte Fields Charlottefields712

Subject: Re: Important

Date: 26/01/2011

Just leave me alone Michael! I knew this would be a mistake, I should have never told you about the baby. I don't want anything more to do with you and I don't know what you're thinking about because I'm definitely not going to run away with you so just stop calling me. And stop emailing me too!

To: Charlotte Fields Charlottefields712

Fr: Michael Woods michaelwoods1

Subject: Re: Important

Date: 26/01/2011

You can't just raise a baby on your own, I have rights as the baby's father and I want to be involved. Can we not just meet up and talk about everything and discuss what's going to happen? I don't want what happened between us to have been for nothing.


To: Michael Woods michaelwoods1

Fr: Charlotte Fields Charlottefields712

Subject: Re: Important

Date: 28/01/2011

Michael, I've made my decision and I'm not going back on it! You're Penelopes ex and James' best friend and even then, I don't want to be with you okay? So just piss off and leave me alone!

To: Charlotte Fields Charlottefields712

Fr: Michael Woods michaelwoods1

Subject: Re: Important

Date: 28/01/2011

Please don't tell me you were serious about what you said. We can make it work between us and maybe in time we can come back. You don't need to do anything stupid and that you will regret. Just listen to me please.


To: Michael Woods michaelwoods1

Fr: Charlotte Fields Charlottefields712

Subject: Re: Important

Date: 31/01/2011

It's too late now. There's no reason for you to talk to me anymore so don't.

Penelope set her alarm on snooze for the fifth time and snuggled back into bed. Just five more minutes and she'll definitely get up. Charlotte, already awake, went to Penelope's room and pulled the covers off of her.

"Noo, I don't want to get up yet!" Penelope whined.

Charlotte rolled her eyes, she did this every morning since they had been living together. Charlotte knew she couldn't be with James after his advances on her best friend and reluctantly decided it was time to move on. She would never stop feeling guilty for what she did to Penelope but Charlotte kept telling herself that she will make it up to Penelope. She just wasn't sure how.

"You're going to be late for work!"

"I don't care!"

"You will when you get fired, now get up."

Charlotte dragged Penelope out of bed.

"Why are you even awake at this time?"

Charlotte was the last person you would see awake before noon never mind before 7am.

"I dunno, I've not been able to sleep ever since..."

"Oh right, I see." Penelope said putting an end to that conversation.

None of them wanted to be reminded of the events that had happened. It was already a month later but it was still fresh in their minds. What Charlotte didn't tell Penelope was that the real reason she was up so early was because she was experiencing morning sickness.

"I'm, erm, going to come home a bit late today." Charlotte told Penelope.

"Why? I thought we were going to go out after I finished work."

"I just have to do something but we can go tomorrow?"

"Fine, I suppose." Penelope sulked.

She was looking forward to going out tonight, her first night out since Michael. Charlotte tried to smile at Penelope but Penelope just walked away to her car. Penelope drove to work and after getting out, she bumped into Matt. Matt was charming, handsome and interested in her: everything Penelope didn't want or need.

"Ready for work?" Matt asked.

"Pfft, no. I just want to sleep." Penelope complained.

Matt laughed and then he combed his hand through his hair as if he was preparing himself.

"I was wondering..."

Matt seemed nervous. 'Oh God, he's going to ask me out' Penelope fretted.

"Well since you and Michael didn't work out, and you don't want to be in a relationship just yet...that you would want to...just keep things casual."

Penelope was shocked. She knew Matt was known for his charming ways and long list of exes but she would never have thought Matt was that sort of guy. Penelope gladly accepted Matt's offer: a no-strings attached relationship. They decided to officially start their unconventional relationship that night since Charlotte was already busy.

Penelope was all smiles when she got back home. So much better than if she just went out with Charlotte. As she unlocked the door, she heard Charlotte's screams. She dropped her keys and ran to Charlotte's bedroom. She saw Charlotte rolled into a ball on her bed, clutching at her covers in pain.

"What's wrong?"

Penelope didn't know what else to say or do. Charlotte just pushed her face into the covers to muffle her screaming. Penelope decided to get Charlotte out of bed but as she drew back Charlotte's covers she saw Charlotte sitting in a small pool of blood.

"Jesus Christ!" Penelope exclaimed. "I'm going to call an ambulance!"

"No! Don't!" Charlotte grabbed Penelope's arm to stop her from going anywhere. "It's okay, I know what's going on."

"I'm confused..." Penelope then realised why Charlotte had been acting so weird. "Wait, you're pregnant?"

"I was."

Charlotte looked down as Penelope was trying to tie everything together.

"No, I'm sure we still have enough time to get to the hospital and they can save-"

"I got an abortion." Charlotte whispered.

Penelope's eyes just widened. Penelope didn't believe in abortion and thought Charlotte didn't either.

"Why? Who cares if you and James aren't together! I would've helped out."

Charlotte felt even worse; the date of conception was her night with Michael. Things had been so off with her and James that she was certain of it.

"I just didn't want it."

Charlotte started to cry, one stupid mistake led to all of this. Penelope stepped back to think of what to do next. She then ran a bath for Charlotte and changed her crimson-turned bed sheets. Charlotte felt even worse as she watched Penelope look after her. Once she was all cleaned up, Penelope took Charlotte to her bed.

"You can sleep with me tonight." Penelope smiled at Charlotte.

Charlotte could feel all her guilt and shame being brought back up. She wished Penelope wouldn't be so nice but that was just Penelope.

"Penelope…I have to tell you something."


Charlotte was trying to get the words to come out but she just couldn't.

"I love you."

"Aww, I love you too."

Penelope held Charlotte until they both fell asleep.