Fall Apart - Chapter One

Izzie Redpath stopped crying months ago. She was broken-hearted and she was depressed, but she didn't cry anymore. Too much to do and not enough time to do it, which was just the way she liked it. She was difficult to be around at first (Chlo wasn't shy in saying so), but gradually, she started to smile again. She loved going to work again. She could spend time with her family and friends, too, but most importantly, she didn't cry anymore.

That was, until Tom Clarkson professed his undying love for her.

Then, her whole carefully constructed world fell apart beneath her. Her heart broke more than she knew possible, and much to her annoyance, the tears started to fall again.

"It's the truth; I love ya."

Crying over Tom bloody Clarkson, of all people. What was she like?

She'd been absolutely fine for months. She was starting to settle into the mundane and simple life she was building for herself and that idiot knocked it all down in an instant. Of course she loved him! He was Tom, for God's sake. But he was her best mate's fiancé and Lorna always came first in her eyes.

She had been breaking her heart over the man for months, but Lorna had never been happier with him. She loved him back, but her feelings didn't matter here.

"Rubbish," was all she could say. Her eyes never left his, challenging him to keep up this stupid act. How could he love her when he had Lorna in his life? Lorna was a lot of things, but she was certainly a less complicated to be with than Izzie was. She was insecure and sad, holding back floods of emotions with a crumbling stop gate. Izzie was a fragment of the fun and lighthearted person she used to be, but she never thought there was anything particularly wrong with that. Not until Tom made her think about what she wanted for her life and how bloody much she loved the stupid man.

But Tom wasn't kidding.

In spite of all her character flaws, Tom Clarkson was in love with her.

In the days following Tom's admission, Izzie could feel that familiar sense of panic set over her. Mika's attitude was only growing worse, Chlo was going off the rails, and the closer it got to Tom and Lorna's wedding, the more and more panicked she was beginning to get. Never did she expect to be thankful for the distraction of Jimmy being his usual stupid self, but thanks to him, she had little to no time to worry about everything going on in her life.

On the day of Tom and Lorna's wedding, she decided to focus on her duties as maid of honour. Chlo's underage drinking and concerning relationship with Donte Charles didn't matter today; she had the rings to worry about. Mika's defiance towards her since Jimmy ran off with Shelley was irrelevant; she had to make sure Lorna's hairdresser found the suite with no trouble. She had even managed to convince herself that Tom loving her didn't matter, it was just last minute nerves on his part and he just needed a way out. She had convinced herself that he'd be happier with Lorna than her; Lorna was prettier, smarter, more confident and less complicated. Izzie was an absolute mess.

Tom didn't see it that way.

In fact, he made a point of saying so when Lorna slipped out of the room.

"Izzie, it's not too late. Seriously, just say the words."

She could only shake her head and open the nearest bottle of booze, albeit far too early to be drinking. How was she supposed to get through the wedding now?

By 1pm, Izzie was tipsy. She'd found Grantley in the hopes he'd be in a worse state than she was, but he seemed absolutely fine by comparison. He was dressed smartly, didn't smell of a drop of booze and was stood well behaved with his wife, who did not look impressed by her.

"See," he said, indicating to his colleague. "Izzie started early, she's celebrating."

Far from it, Grantley, she thought. Smiling instead, she replied, "Got Lorna a bottle, 'case she needed to calm the nerves. Seems I'm the only nervous one."

Looking around the hotel bar, she was right. Smiling faces all round, love was certainly in the air. She saw Lorna and Tom waiting, seemingly content. Jack and Steph. Kim and Andrew. She was the only one alone.

"I'm going to the loo before kick off," she said, receiving only smiling nods from the pair. Her heart pounded against her chest and the room started to spin. Why was she even letting this go ahead? Tom didn't love Lorna, hadn't for months apparently. Lorna didn't deserve this; she deserved someone who loved her.

Tom would love her, if it wasn't for you. You've ruined everything.

Izzie barged from the suffocatingly tiny room into the even smaller toilet cubicles next door. Why couldn't she breathe? She had to breathe. Just breathe in and out, in and out until she could face this stupid ceremony and get through the night.

She loved Tom, so bloody much. But he and Lorna were meant to be together and that was something she'd have to learn to live with; even if the mere thought of losing him killed her.