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"Just take your turn, Collier," Sooz says. "I'll never get another go at this rate."

Jamie grins and shakes the dice repeatedly in his hand, "anything but a four, just avoid a four."

I nudge Alex to get his attention. "You look like you're having a wank, Jamie."

"Shut up." Jamie finally throws the dice getting 1 and 5. "Hallelujah."

Sooz who owns Park Lane is disappointed that she won't be collecting the high rent. "I'll get one of you," she says as she takes her own turn and lands on a square she already owns.

Sasha's turn lands her on Just Visiting and she passes the dice to me before turning her attention to Jamie. "Do you have that same look of concentration when you wank?"

Jamie glares at Alex, "this is your fault."


He points at me and I just give him my best innocent smile back.

"You went and fell in love with him. He's your responsibility."

Jamie rolls his eyes when Alex kisses me. I don't really seem them as Alex's friends after three years. They're sort of mine now too, them and all their dysfunctions. There's still a vibe between Jamie and Sooz sometimes but tonight you'd never know it. I look at Alex, then take his hand and kiss his knuckles.

"Wish me luck, Al." After I throw, I move my iron along the board one square at a time much to the annoyance of Sooz who is turning out to be quite ruthless. I count my money to see if I can afford Trafalgar Square. "Loan me a tenner, Al. I'll thank you for it when this lot leave."

"Ugh," Jamie says. "You two are disgustingly sappy. I miss that and no loans."

Alex pats him on the shoulder. "Sorry, mate, but just because you're single, doesn't mean we can't be happy. My turn."

When Alex lands on Pentonville Road, Sooz leans across and grabs her rent.

"No manners," Alex says with a smile. God that smile of his. I whisper in his ear and Sasha stands up to go get more drinks for everyone, not that I think drunk Monopoly will be any less competitive.

"What did you say?" Jamie asks.

"That you and your and hand must be very happy."

Sooz laughs and Jamie turns to her.

"Don't pretend that you and your hand aren't well acquainted."

Sasha comes back with the beers. "She's probably got a battery operated boyfriend. Being single sucks sometimes but I don't have to get dressed up for my vibrator or get a wax."

I blush even though I know these people have no boundaries. Think I'd be used to them by now. "Isn't it Jamie's go again?"

Jamie gets this evil grin on his face, the one that I've learned to be wary of.

"No. You ain't getting off lightly. I bet you still wank."

"He doesn't have to answer," Alex says.

"Sweet," says Sasha in her bitchiest tone. "He don't need a bodyguard."

"Yes, you happy? Wanking's great, course I do it. Now can we get back to the game?"

Alex puts his arm round me. "Nobody gets out of this group unscathed."

His tone is playful but I know what Sasha did to Rob and how he and Nicki almost didn't get their happy ending. I was there for the fallout of Sooz doing the dirty on Jamie, took him so long to get over it. This group has torn one another down and built one another back up. Even my lovely boyfriend cheated on his ex who cheated with Nicki. I'm not perfect though, having messed Alex around - albeit unintentionally. I'm just so glad I have him now, that I realised what I was missing. Jamie takes his turn and lands on the same square as Sooz. She tries to put her top hat on his dog and they laugh. Sasha catches my eye and smiles and Alex squeezes my shoulder. I lean into his touch, looking forward to getting him all to myself later.

When I was on the fringes of this group, I thought they were fucked up. It's no less true now that I'm one of them but I get why they all stay friends. They all love one another and I couldn't give a shit if I never saw anyone from school again. Jamie was the first person Alex came out to and I wish I'd had someone like that who I could have told. Jamie teases like a big brother but they all accept me because Alex loves me. He jokes that nobody else would put up with them but there's nowhere I'd rather be. I give him a peck on the cheek, not caring if anyone makes a smart remark. So what if it's sappy. I'm so lucky to have him, so so lucky.