Chapter 1Karen

Dammit, thought Karen as she stared at the stain on her son’s shirt, I only washed that yesterday. This was a common thought in the Douglas household — three kids, in varying ages from year 4 to year 10, tended to generate a lot of stains.

I bet Josie isn’t thinking about laundry, Karen thought with a touch of envy. She’ll be thinking about what she’s going to wear for the school reunion. She smiled, imagining the lengths her friend of more than 30 years would go to in order to make a splash at their 25-year reunion.

These last thoughts quickly brought her back to her own predicament. The 13 kilograms she’d gained since having three kids meant that, at 43, she was looking for jeans with high waists and tummy control. The muffin top spilling out from the low-rise jeans that everyone wore now was just too hard to disguise.

She had always been the pretty one at school and, while she was still considered attractive, she was no teenager either — and she just didn’t have the time or the inclination to work on herself the way Josie did. Of course, the fact Josie had no kids and wasn’t married made it all a bit easier for her. With three kids and a house to run, Karen just didn’t get the chance for much self-maintenance.

At times it was tough having a best friend who was so glamorous and, as they got older, Karen felt that even more. When they did manage to go out to dinner or catch a movie together, men still stared at Josie — and usually none of those men gave her ...

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