1: The Girlfriend Delusion

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1: The Girlfriend Delusion

There's something about love that's inescapable.

It hits you like a shot in the dark that somehow, some place, on some extraordinarily ordinary day, manages to strike the bulls-eye of the target that's your heart.

There's no way of stopping it from hurtling into you at full force, no matter how hard you try to push it away and try your best to step out of the shooting zone, before your whole world is changed forever.

But I suppose I should have known all of that the night that I met Griffin.

*

It was my leaving do.

After three years, I was finally leaving Light My Match (all of us that worked there admitted and agreed freely that the name sounded like a phone sex line or porn network, or something equally as sordid). It was the matchmaking service I had gotten a job at straight out of university, but I was moving onto pastures new, having been offered a place at a PR company situated in the centre of the city. Working somewhere new was going to be a massive change, but I was ready for it.

My work friends had dragged me to a club that Friday evening for my going away party. They were all slowly but surely becoming more and more inebriated as I watched on entertained, a bit tipsy but holding back, because I wanted to remember tonight.

I almost hated to admit it, but I loved drunk people. There was something about them that was carefree and kinder, and when I thought about it, it wasn't often that people were actually all that courteous to me when they were sober. As soon as people used to catch sight of my hair - which had been teal coloured until recently - they seemed to just recoil and run away with their noses wrinkled in disgust ninety-percent of the time.

Actually, I could vividly remember this one time when a child went so far as to burst into tears upon laying eyes on me, and the little bitch ran sobbing into its (that's right, it was an it, not a she) mother's lap, crying, 'THE SEAWEED MONSTER IS GONNA EAT ME!'

It was pleasant. Really good for the self esteem, in fact, especially when the mother had glared at me and started muttering angrily, as if it was entirely my fault for apparently looking like a legit monster. Maybe she should have concentrated more on making sure her child wasn't such a massively judgemental imbecile instead of bitching at me.

Regardless, I had dyed it back to its natural brown before going for my job interview at the new place a month ago, figuring it was finally time to let it go, though I missed it.

Sometimes when I looked in the mirror in the mornings or while I was in the bathroom doing my makeup, I would drag my gaze away from my own and my eyes would flit up towards my hair. The different shades and strands of brown were unfamiliar, as if they belonged to someone who I used to be and couldn't fully recognise. Whenever I imagined myself, it was always with the dark green mess of hair that my best friend Nova used to tell me made me look like a wild mermaid.

'Don't goooo! I'm going to miss you TOO MUCH, la-la-lovely Laina,' Freya yelled over the pounding music of Exult after she danced up to me with a drink in each hand, slinging her arm around my shoulders and smacking a kiss on my cheek, her feathery blonde hair tickling my face. I scrunched up my nose and slid an arm around her tiny waist, her small frame half draped across my lap.

Freya was probably my closest friend at work - although we were all pretty tight-knit - having started working at Light My Match a month after me. The two of us had witnessed the sobbing clients, the pervy clients, and the downright mental clients together, as I interviewed them and made them one of our (not going to lie, bloody genius) dating profiles which had a 97% success rate. She would sit in on the interviews, trying not to snigger or show her occasional disgust at some of the responses clients gave. More often than not, she'd fail and have to excuse herself from the room to stop from either crying with repressed laughter or slugging the client around the head with her chair.

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