Home > Confetti Hearts

Confetti Hearts
Author: Lily Morton






I come awake with a start from a dream about having to tap dance under the sea. It takes me a few seconds to realise that my phone is ringing. I fumble for it on my bedside table, jettisoning my diary, a box of tissues, my spare inhaler, and a packet of chocolate dragées onto the floor.

“Shit,” I mumble, and my fingers finally find my phone. “’Lo,” I say thickly into it.

Sounds of wild sobbing come through the airwaves. “Oh, Joe. Oh my god, it’s so awful.”

What? Who the fuck is this?

I raise the phone close to my eyes and squint at the display. Ah. Sally—one of my brides. It’s a good job I’m a wedding planner because that last sentence came across as far too much like Bluebeard for me to be comfortable.

“What’s the problem?” I say slowly, feeling like my tongue has been stapled to the inside of a dog’s basket. Fuck those last shots of tequila at the club last night. They’re looking like a very bad idea right now.

“It’s the cake.”

“The cake?”

What possible fucking cake emergency can there be at this time of the night?

“It’s the wrong shape.”

Ah. That emergency.

I rack my brain and memory dawns. “You had the five-tier, espresso-infused butter cake with Kahlua butter cream and chocolate ganache, didn’t you? That was a lovely choice.”

“You think so?” she says hesitantly.

“Of course,” I say in a confident tone that doesn’t let on that my favourite cake is actually a Mr Kipling’s Country Slice. The prices these people are paying, it wouldn’t go down well.

“It’s all wrong,” she says in a tone of doom probably last heard from the person on the Titanic who was tasked with trying to squeeze two thousand people into fourteen lifeboats.

I punch my pillows and drag myself up into a sitting position. Spying the Panadol packet on my table put there by Past Foresighted Joe, I poke a couple out of the blister pack and swallow them with a swig of water. Now I’m ready.

“Okay, what’s wrong with it?” I say over the sound of her heart-wrenching sobs. I’ve adopted my soothing voice. “Tell me.”

“It’s a s-s-square.”

Why is this a surprise?

“And we don’t want square now?”

“No. I read somewhere that it’s bad luck.”

Bloody Google.

“Well, they got that wrong,” I say smoothly.


“Absolutely. The symbolism of square cakes goes back to the Middle Ages,” I say, lying out of my arse.

“Did they eat cake then?”

Yes. And abstained from ringing poor wedding planners at three in the fucking morning.

I lie some more. “It was a different sort of cake. Heavier.”

Sally clicks her tongue. “Oh, that actually makes sense. So did they eat much square cake in the Middle Ages?”

“They did. It was preferred to the mundane round cake. It symbolised joy, affection, and endless mirth.”

None of which Mr Sally will be getting.

“Why square, though?”

“Oh, all those lines,” I say vaguely, hoping like fuck she goes with it. I don’t think I have much more of this in me.

“Well, that’s good,” she finally says.

I fist-pump. “Unless you’d like to change the shape?” I mutter, crossing my fingers because Babs the cake maker is going to make decorations out of my entrails if I try to change the shape of a cake two days before the wedding.

“Oh no, it’s fine.”

I sag against my pillow. Thank fuck, I mouth.

“So, are you okay now, Sally?” She may be off-the-scale irritating and have had more demands than Ivanka Trump over this wedding, but she’s one of my brides, and their happiness matters to me.

“I’m fine.” She sniffs. “Ugh. Oh, Joe, I wish I could marry you. You’re so kind and so bloody lovely.”

“Ah well, I don’t think my current husband would appreciate that.”

She giggles. “I bet he’s lovely, isn’t he? Someone like you would have the best bloke.”

I look at the cold half of the bed that used to house said husband and kick my legs defiantly over the empty space. We’ve been split up for eight months, and I’m still sleeping on my side like a sad twat.

But one of the main rules of a wedding planner is never, ever, under any circumstances, talk about your upcoming divorce with a prospective bride. It puts a little bit of a dark cloud over their sparkly marriage dreams.

“Oh yes. He’s wonderful. And so’s your other half, Gerald.” I’ve graduated from my arse to lying through my teeth now. Gerald is a mean-spirited wanker, but he’s Sally’s wanker, and that’s all that matters to me.

“Hmm. Well, actually he’s been a bit of a cunt tonight.”

I blink. “Oh, yes?” I say cautiously. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Please say no.

“Well, I woke him up before I rang you to talk about the cake, and he was very nasty.”

I’m not Gerald’s biggest fan, but I can’t say I blame him.

“I’m sure he wasn’t aware of what he was saying. It is the middle of the night,” I say delicately.

“Well, he seemed in command of his tongue when he asked whether it was normal to want to divorce your wife before you’re even married. Then he threatened to stick the cake up my arse and turned over and went back to sleep.”

I bite my lip to stop a snort of laughter. “Oh dear. Well, that wasn’t very nice, Sally, but weddings are very stressful, darling.”

“Which would be fine if it was me having a strop, but as Gerald’s main contribution to this wedding has been his five-day stag week in Prague which resulted in some very unusual credit-card activity, I’m afraid I’m not very sympathetic.”

“Oh no. You’re so kind, too,” I coo. “Come on. Tell Joe all about it.”

And off she goes. I listen, adding in the odd yes and no, but really that’s all that’s required of me. I hold the phone away and grab a Twix from the packet on my bedside table. Becoming aware that her voice has stopped, I bring the phone back.

“Oh dear. That’s terrible.”

“What? Why is Mummy going on a Caribbean cruise terrible?”

“Oh.” I search frantically for an answer. “Just that it will deprive Europe of her personality.”

“You’re so right, Joe. No wonder you’re so popular.”

And she’s off again. Twenty minutes later, I say goodnight and throw my phone back on the table.

I look around the room and wince at the mess. The wardrobe doors are open, displaying clothes hanging halfway off their hangers, and the chair in the corner is covered in discarded clothing. My treadmill has become the repository for my dry cleaning which is the most use I’ve got out of the fucking thing since I bought it.

It’s probably a good job that my ex isn’t here, and not just because of the mess which would have brought him out in hives. If Lachlan was here now, he’d be rolling his eyes and treating me to a lecture on client boundaries and how taking phone calls at all hours of the day and night is not the way to do business. I’d have also been treated to a truly excellent shag, but that’s neither here nor there now.

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