SECOND CHANCES. – ch. 1.

I fingered the shiny piece of cardboard in my hands nervously, I sighed and threw it onto the counter where my flatmate Beth picked it up.

"Ooh.. fancy. What's it for?" she asked, and I sighed again. She wasn't getting the hint, the big glaring hint that told her to leave the piece of cardboard alone and if possible, me too.

"Go ahead." I conceded defeat.

She ripped open the invitation, and I rolled my eyes at the glitter and spangles that fell and scattered on the kitchen floor.

"A wedding! I love weddings!" she exclaimed.

"Good. You can go then." I grumped, crossing my arms over my chest. There was no way I was going, no way I could go.

"Amity Scott, Oh my God! Little Amity's getting married?" she exclaimed. I nodded. It only brought back the fact that I, as her older sister hadn't done it first.

"She's not so little anymore B." I spoke quietly, walking over to the refrigerator and pulling out the bottle of wine we kept for special occasions. I uncorked it, and poured myself a glass.

Beth shot me a glance as she continued reading the invitation.

"You sure you don't want a bowl?" she teased lightly, as I gulped the last mouthful and quickly refilled.

"Hilarious." I muttered.

"Well it says plus one.." she pointed out in a leading tone of voice, and I nodded.

"Sure, why not." I answered. Beth grinned and threw her arms around me.

"Excellent, free grog and cake." She enthused.

I finished my second glass, and put the bottle decidedly back in the fridge. I was disgusted with myself. Was this all it took to throw me headfirst into alcoholism? It had been five years, five long years since I had been there.

"Well, You and Paul have a good time." I told her, staggering over to the couch and flinging myself down.

I dug around in the couch for the remote, finally locating it under the cushions.

I flipped the TV on, and lay back, desperate for something to distract me.

"Are you sure that you and Brent don't want to go?" she called from the kitchen.

"Uh, no. Brent isn't in the picture anymore." I spoke quietly.

Beth walked into the lounge and sat down on the other half of the couch, not minding my legs.

"Ouch!" I protested, she merely shrugged and surveyed me with narrowed eyes.

"What happened this time?" she asked, clearly exasperated.

"What do you think?" I asked, lifting a cushion and pressing it into my face.

"Let me guess, he took you to that expensive restaurant you have been dying to go to, gave you a dozen roses, and asked you to marry him?" she offered,

I peeked out from behind the cushion. "How did you know?" I asked, and she rolled her eyes.

"Who do you think helped him organise it?" she asked, pressing a hand to her forehead. "I honestly don't know why I bothered." She continued, and I frowned.

"I'm not ready." I protested, but we both knew it was a weak excuse. I was almost twenty seven years old, I had a degree, a good job and a nice apartment. Marriage was the only thing left.

"Mmhmm.. Just like you weren't ready when it was Josh asking, or Ian. You know, I don't get you. You're fine until the question is popped. Then you freak out and run." Beth analysed, and I suddenly wished I hadn't passed up the third glass of wine. I could deal with a hangover better than the endless inquisition I was subject to by my best friend.

"I don't run." I protested, but her look silenced me.

"Yeah? Then why is it that I've seen you break out in a rash when I've brought home bridal magazines?" she pressed, and I closed my eyes against the onslaught.

"Fine. I do run. Obviously I'm not the marrying kind." I answered quietly. I ignored the memories that began to surface like debris after an explosion.

I had managed to run from those memories for the last five years and I had no intention of humouring them now.

"Have you ever thought that maybe they weren't the right ones?" Beth offered, and I knew she was feeling remorseful for having forced the issue.

I gave the notion some thought. She could be right, I hadn't had any trouble being engaged to.. My thoughts trailed off, the barricades I had slowly built up around the past beginning to rise.

"Perhaps." I agreed, Perhaps it wasn't a coincidence that I hadn't been able to commit to anyone since.. Since that time five years ago, that awful time.

The phone rang jarringly, and I jumped in fright. Beth, with quicker reflexes than my own, sprang to answer it.

"Hello? Oh hi Prudence, Yes. Yes it arrived today." I could hear her murmur of conversation as she took the cordless phone into the spare room. Having a flatmate as bossy as Beth came in handy when my Mother rang and I didn't want to talk to her. I groaned, and flicked between the channels. Beth would be asking, no telling my Mum right now that she and Paul could come to Amity's wedding.

It was madness in my opinion, Amity was barely twenty two, to marry so young, straight out of university. I hadn't met her fiancé, and I felt a brief stab of guilt. Was it not the duty of an older sister to offer opinions, support, in matters of the heart? I grimaced, I certainly was not qualified to give advice in that area.

Beth remerged moments later, a smile on her face.

"Is it settled?" I asked, flipping off the TV and rising to face her.

"Yeah Allison, It's all done." She answered, and walked into her room. I stared a moment at her closed door, now alone, I allowed the memories from five years ago to wash over me.

A/N- Just an idea I have been working on. Leave me a review to say if you like it or not.