You Had Me At Hello


Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.

It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.

They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.

Read An Excerpt From You Had Me At Hello

‘Did you get the tax disc?’ he asks.

‘Oh shit, I forgot.’

Rhys whips round, knife dangling in his hand. It was a crime of passion, your honour. He hated tardiness when it came to DVLA paperwork. ‘I reminded you yesterday! It’s a day out now.’

‘Sorry, I’ll do it tomorrow.’

‘You’re not the one who has to drive the car illegally.’

I’m also not the one who forgot to go last weekend, according to the reminder in his handwriting on the calendar. I don’t mention this. Objection: argumentative.

‘They tow them to the scrap yard, you know, even if they’re parked on the pavement. Zero tolerance. Don’t blame me when they crush it down to Noddy size and you’ve got to get buses.’ I have an image of myself in a blue nightcap with a bell on the end of it. ‘Tomorrow morning. Don’t worry.’

He turns back and continues hacking at a pepper that may or may not have my face on it. I remember that I have a sweetener and duck out to retrieve the bottle of red from the dripping Threshers bag.

I pour two thumping glasses and say: ‘Cheers, Big Ears.’ ‘Big Ears?’

‘Noddy. Never mind. How was your day?’

‘Same old.’

Rhys works in graphic design for a marketing company. He hates it. He hates talking about it even more. He quite likes lurid tales from the front line of reporting on Manchester Crown Court trials, however.

‘Well today a man responded to the verdict of life sentence without parole with the immortal words: “This wrong-ass shit be whack.”’ ‘Haha. And was it?’

‘Wrong-ass? No. He did kill a bunch of people.’

‘Can you put “wrong-ass shit” in the Manchester Evening News?’ ‘Only with asterisks. I definitely had to euphemise the things his family were saying as “emotional shouts and cries from the public gallery”. The only word about the judge that wasn’t swearing was “old”.’ Chuckling, Rhys carries his glass to the front room. I follow him.

‘I did some reception research about the music today,’ I say, sitting down. ‘Mum’s been on to me fretting that Margaret Drummond at cake club’s nephew had a DJ in a baseball cap who played “lewd and cacophonous things about humps and cracks” before the flower girls’ and page boys’ bedtimes.’

‘Sounds great. Can she get his number? Maybe lose the cap though.’

‘I thought we could have a live singer. There’s someone at work who hired this Elvis impersonator, Macclesfield Elvis. He sounds brilliant.’

Rhys’s face darkens. ‘I don’t want some cheesy old fat fucker in Brylcreem singing “Love Me Tender”. We’re getting married at Manchester Town Hall, not the Little McWedding Chapel in Vegas.’

I swallow this, even though it doesn’t go down easy. Forgive me for trying to make it fun.

‘Oh. OK. I thought it might be a laugh, you know, get everyone going. What were you thinking?’

He shrugs.


His truculence, and a pointed look, tells me I might be missing something.

‘Unless… you want to play?’

He pretends to consider this.

‘Yeah, ’spose we could. I’ll ask the lads.’

Rhys’s band. Call them sub-Oasis and he’ll kill you. There are a lot of parkas and squabbles though. The thing we both know and never say is that he hoped his previous group, back in Sheffield, would take off, while this is a thirty-something hobby. I’ve always accepted sharing Rhys with his music. I just didn’t expect to have to on my wedding day.

‘You could do the first half an hour, maybe, and then the DJ can start after that.’

Rhys makes a face.

‘I’m not getting everyone to rehearse and set up and then play for that long.’

‘All right, longer then, but it’s our wedding, not a gig.’

I feel the storm clouds brewing and rolling, a thunderclap surely on its way. I know his temper, this type of argument, like the back of my hand.

Nice words about You Had Me At Hello

  • I loved this: an original, genuinely funny, genuinely moving, modern love story

  • Very very witty and funny. Left me in awe … a total gem