The Breakup DoctorI’ve never kept a secret from my best friend. Ever.

Until now.

And this is kind of the mother of all secrets. But I can’t tell her—Brook is in no place to hear something like this at the moment. I’ve never seen her this affected by the end of a relationship before—she’s my model for how to handle a breakup gracefully (not that I ever do it her way, but come on, really, who’s that together all the time? No one else but her). But this one is different, and I can’t even figure out why—it’s not like Kendall was the love of her life. All of us knew that—even her mom, as much as Ms. Ogden wanted him to be. Perfect on paper, but something about him gave me the willies.

So how come Brook’s knocked off her feet by his disappearance? When she called me the other morning after he didn’t come home all night, I was pretty sure I knew where that was going—Kendall has been hiding something from her, clear as vodka, and that’s usually only one thing: someone else.

But she sure as hell didn’t want to hear that. And actually, after I went through his apartment with her, I have to admit I didn’t find any of the usual giveaways—a crumpled phone number in the pocket of discarded jeans, dirty underwear hidden in a corner of the closet, long hairs in the drain.

Brook watched me tear through the place like she thought I was nuts, but come on. You can’t let yourself be naïve in situations like this and just hope for the best. Searching for evidence is just good common sense.

She thinks she’s holding it together—and she thinks I think so—but I can tell she’s hanging by a thread. That girl’s just a block away from Crazy Town, and if she keeps pretending she’s not, there’s going to be a hell of an explosion not too far down the road. I’m her best friend—it’s my job to keep that from happening.

And if I confide in her right now, it’s only going to push her closer to the breaking point—not that I can blame her. If anyone told me I’d be breaking a taboo like this, I’d have laughed them out of town.

And yet . . .

Getting ready for my date tonight is completely different from the way I usually do it. I’m not an idiot—I know what I look like, and I know guys like it, so all I really have to do is wear something that doesn’t leave too much to the imagination, and I don’t have to worry about whether a guy’s going to be attracted to me. That’s the easy part.

But there’s something different about this. Like, game-changing different. I’m not reaching for my usual date wear—a tight sheath dress and fierce heels, or a flippy little mini and a formfitting corset top that lets the girls peek out and say a flirty hello. I’m wearing a dress Ms. Ogden would call “elegant”: knee-length skirt that hugs but doesn’t advertise my hips, with a boat neck and cap sleeves, in the most demure tans and cream colors imaginable. And flats. Flats! Can a girl even feel remotely sexy and desirable in flats? Would anyone look twice?

But I’m not obsessing about that this time. I’m not really thinking that hard about how I look at all. I just can’t wait to be together again. To talk. Just to hold hands and laugh—god, we laugh all the time, so hard, and so easily. To just go out and relax and have fun and be myself.

It’s really not like any other relationship I’ve ever had. It’s different in the most amazing ways—I want to shout it to everyone I meet; want to publish it in my paper; and more than anything, I want to tell my best friend in the world that for the first time in my life, I think I might actually have found the real thing.

But you know when you can’t share your happiest moments with the person who means the most to you? When they’re at rock-bottom.

Oh, yeah—and when you know that the exact thing that’s making you better, happier, and more whole than you’ve ever felt before is going to tear your best friend’s world apart.

You can find out about Sasha’s secret—and more about Brook’s breakup—in Phoebe Fox’s The Breakup Doctor, the first in the series by the same name, available now from Henery Press everywhere books are sold.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 10 for a chance to win a print or digital copy of The Breakup Doctor. (US entries for print copy only.)

Meet the author
PhoebeFPhoebe Fox has been a contributor and regular columnist for a number of national, regional, and local publications; a movie, theater, and book reviewer; a screenwriter; an actress; and a game show host; and has even been known to help with homework revisions for nieces and nephews. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two excellent dogs.

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