Susan has no direction in life until the day a strange compulsion sends her on a journey to the lover she never knew she wanted.
As Si waits for his wished-for love to arrive, he thinks back over the strange events that brought him to where he is today.
Wish-Matched is a romance that ends with the lovers’ first explosive meeting.
“Susan, we’re going now.”
“We’ll be late, so please lock up. If you decide to have supper, clean up the kitchen afterwards.”
“If you need to get in touch for any reason, I’ve left the Hawkins’ number by the phone. You can reach us there at the afterparty.”
“Susan?” The door opened and Alicia’s impeccably made-up face popped into the gap.
“Did you hear what I said?”
“Yes, Alicia. I said okay.”
Alicia’s mouth tightened. “A proper acknowledgement would be more helpful.”
Susan considered saying okay again, but there was no point in riling her mother on purpose. She did it often enough by accident. “Sorry, Alicia. I did hear you, but I was working on my transi.”
“I see.” Alicia’s expression didn’t change, but Susan knew what she was saying inside her head.
“Good luck,” Susan said.
“Luck is simply planning, preparation and hard work.”
“Have fun, then.”
“I doubt it.” Alicia stepped in to give Susan a peck on the cheek, bringing with her a waft of champagne. Alicia had not been drinking. She always smelled of champagne and high-end perfume. It was a side-effect of being half fay. Her disapproval probably came from the same source.
Susan knew she was a disappointment to her mother. She’d inherited next to nothing of Alicia’s poise and presence, and she couldn’t cast a glamour to save her life. Alicia was an imperial court lady in manner and appearance and was always cast in duchess roles—and not the comedy duchess, either. She exuded aristocracy. Susan, if anyone would cast her at all, would be a walk-on maid in the second act. Alicia was an elegant heron of a woman. Susan was a finch. The comparisons went on, though no one made them aloud.
“Goodnight,” Susan said.
“Goodnight. Susan, have you given any thoughts to what we discussed yesterday?”
“I hope you will.”
Alicia withdrew from the room, and after a few seconds, Susan heard the clack-clack of her heels on the path as she stalked to the car with her long-legged model’s gait.
When her parents had gone, Susan sighed. Having a gap year made sense to her. They were moving north again at the end of the summer, after Alicia finished her current run of appearances. There was no point in starting a four-year course and having to transfer, or in getting a job and then leaving in a few months.
Evidently, Susan having a gap year didn’t make sense to Alicia. She’d made a number of suggestions designed to fill in Susan’s year. The latest, possibly made in desperation, was a six-month course in fashion design.
“You’re always messing about with drawings and fabrics anyway, and you can board for the last two months and then come over to us.”
Susan didn’t want to learn design. She had it welling in her soul. Ideas for clothes bubbled through her mind every day as it was. She’d been making her own clothes since she was ten, and she was good at it. They weren’t the sorts of clothes Alicia wore, but Alicia was forty-five, high maintenance and elegant. Susan was not like her mother or her clever father. She was, as Grandad McFee used to say fondly, your own self, my sky-maid. He always called her his sky-maid, but she’d never asked him why. Now it was too late. It had been too late for a long time.
Susan made clothes for the person she wanted to be. Sometimes she made them for others. Secretly, so far down that she’d never voiced the idea, Susan knew the clothes she made were magic. They brought luck and attention to her beautiful friends. They might do the same for her one day, if she ever found herself in the venue to show them off. As it was, people often did admire them, but she moved in such narrow circles her old schoolmates hardly saw her anymore.
“How did you make the bodice curve that way?” her neighbour Sarah’s mother asked, turning the seam this way and that.
Susan didn’t know. What she did, and how she did it, was almost as much a mystery to her as it was to Sarah’s mum.
“If you’re going to mess about with sewing, you should learn to do it correctly,” Alicia said.
“In the accepted way.”
Why should she? Her way worked. Why should she tame her creativity? It wasn’t as if she intended to make a living from sewing and design. She was much too sensible to think about that.
“And all that lace you put on everything. Less is more, darling.”