Please don't be engaged

Bernard Black threw open the door to the phone box, holding one hand to his banging head. Quickly, he dialled the number he knew by heart, muttering to himself.

"Please don't be engaged, please don't be engaged. Please, Fran, please."

He waited in sick anticipaition while the phone rang. Suddenly, he laughed. A bitter and harsh laugh; he had said these words before, late one night, meaning something utterly different. He had to tell her.

"Hello?" Fran's voice floated out of the reciver.

"Hi, Fran, it's Bernard. I have to tell you something. I-"

"Bernard! Guess what! I'm engaged!" Fran giggled.

Love you. The words caught in his throat. He sank down, against the hard glass of the phone box.


"C-congratulations! T-that's great!"

"I know! What did you want?"

"Just wanted to know if you'd seen Manny."

"Oh, he's over here. We're having a little party. I was going to invite you but I thought you'd be passed out by now."

"Yeah, well, so did I."

He'd wished he hadn't even thought about telling her. He wished he'd gone home and gotten drunk, same as any other night.

"Goodbye Fran."

"Oh, bye Bernard!" He listened to her hang up the phone, then sighed. He was too late. This was the best thing for her. She got Keiran, the good-looking, smart, sober man. Bernard was just a drunken, cruel, crooked wanker. It should have been him, though. They were perfect for each other. When Manny told him Keiren was going to ask her, Bernard went for a long rain walk. Still hungover from the night before. Was Fran? He had wondered.

When he stumbled home, the phone was ringing.

"MANNY!" Then he remembered Manny wasn't in.


"I love you, too."



"Don't marry him. Marry me instead!"

"Have you been drinking?"

"Of course! That's a stupid idea."

"I'll meet you in the bar in five minutes."

"Okay." She hung up for the second time. Bernard Black smiled.

Right, I've been watching too much Black Books. So, what do you think? My first Black Books fanfic. Likely my last.