The day of the wedding is here at last! Will Annabelle get through the day without a disaster?
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
On the day of his wedding, Robin Grainger was up very early. He had stayed over at his Uncle’s home in Marlborough, while Annabelle remained at his parent’s home. He read the text messages that Annabelle had sent to him during the night and smiled.
After a hearty cooked breakfast with his Uncle’s family, he was eager to join his cousin Alistair, who was his best man, to walk the family’s dog, Sultan, through the local woodland. He took a photograph of the bluebells to send to Annabelle.
They had an appointment with a barbour on Marlborough High Street. Sultan sat obediently besides the doorway while the two men were seated. Alastair laughed about how different Robin seemed from the day of his first wedding to Claudia. “You are completely calm today.”
“Annabelle wanted to invite Claudia to the wedding.”
“What! You’re kidding!” laughed Alastair.
“She’s like that, she just has the loveliest way of looking at everyone. When Claudia came back to Switzerland and met Annabelle she was civil for about five minutes, before she started fault finding. But Annabelle was oblivious to it. All Claudia’s sarcasm went completely over her head, she just kept smiling away at Claudia and telling her how grateful she was for helping me out over there.”
“If Annabelle likes Claudia, she has a heart of gold.”
“I’m marrying a woman who is so genuinely lovely, but needs so much reassurance.”
“Your mum treats her like a protégé. Did Annabelle always wear jodhpurs and Tweed jackets?”
“I’m not allowed to make fun of her about the clothes my Mum told her she should wear when we are down here. I think that’s what she needs though,” Robin laughed, “Annabelle knows it, she reckons my mother is her jedi master and she is a padawan learner.”
By midday Robin and his uncle’s family were ready to depart and their cars drove through Great Bedwyn, Shalbourne and Ham and onto St Laurence’s Church in West Woodhay.
Robin read a text message from Annabelle telling him that little Rosie, his cousin’s niece, who was going to be a flower girl, had gone outside into the garden with her pretty dress and come back with mud splattered all over her. Annabelle indicated they might be a little late, but Anna was helping her stay calm.
Chris Ward was also trying to stay calm. It hadn’t dawned on him how he was going to feel now that Annabelle’s wedding was so imminent. Hee and Gina had spent the day before with Burt and Pearl. The four of the had visited Highclere Castle, as recommended by Fiona Grainger, and had then spent some time wandering around shops in Newbury Town Center. It was there that Chris had bought a bottle of vodka without his sister noticing.
He woke up at the sound of his phone ringing. Gina asked him if he was alright. Chris mumbled down the telephone, “I’ve just woke up.”
“You’ve missed the hotel breakfast Chris. I sent you three messages before I went down with Burt and Pearl. They are wondering what happened to you.”
“It’s probably just the jet lag Gina.”
“Oh right, jetlag,” Gina was unconvinced, “Well, our cab will be here in an hour. Burt and Pearl are already on their way down to Inkpen. I’m going to order a sandwich or something from the bar for you and bring it up to your room. I hope I won’t be long. You better hurry up and get ready Chris.”
Looking around at his room, Chris to Gina, “I’ll meet you down in the bar in half an hour Gina.”
When Chris entered the hotel bar half an hour later, Gina had not arrived yet. Chris sat down on a bar stool and ordered himself a drink. Within a couple of minutes his sister Gina arrived. “Is that supposed to be breakfast?”
“Why am I here Gina?”
“Because you are a great friend Chris.”
“She’s hardly said a word to me since we have been here.”
“There is a reason for that I am sure. It’s always been kind of obvious she had feelings for you. Just let her have her day. She can’t be making a fuss of you when she is about to get married.”
“She seems so happy.”
“And I know that is what you want for her,” replied Gina. She looked at her brother’s tired eyes, “You look as if you’ve hardly slept a wink Chris. Have you been thinking about her all night?”
“Something like that.”
“Do you think you can function enough to take a photo of me in this dress. Mom wants some pictures of us at a classy English wedding.”
After taking some photos and selfies, there wasn’t enough time for Chris to eat anything before their taxi arrived. Chris sat nursing an aching head and dreading the rest of the day. Gina was much more excited than her brother to be on her way to Annabelle’s wedding.
“If I hadn’t come over here with you, I wonder if you would have even made it to her wedding,” frustrated with her brother’s lack of response as he slumped into the side of the car, Gina added, “Are you going to try to make an effort for her? Do you think she is going to want to see you sulking all day? Could you at least pretend to be happy for her?”
At Inkpen, calm had been restored now that Rosie was mud- free. It was time for the bride to make her way to the church at West Woodhay.
Annabelle and Burt were in a car with two young bridesmaids who were also related to Robin. In the other car Pearl joined Stephen and Fiona Grainger and little Rosie. In place of an adult bridesmaid, Anna had been helping Annabelle with her dress and now jumped into the Range Rover with Nick and Rosie’s parents to head down to the church.
Annabelle sat calmly smiling to herself. “Do you feel nervous Annie?” asked Burt squeezing her hand.
“I feel really calm Burt. I don’t know why, I just feel very peaceful at the moment. Maybe it’s because you are with me.”
“You know Ralph would have loved to have seen you on your wedding day.”
Annabelle pointed at her chest, “He is in here now. I think of him all the time.”
Burt smiled, “You look beautiful Annie.”
It was only a five minute drive to the church. Annabelle tried to soak in every moment. Everything seemed slightly surreal to her. She smiled to herself as Robin’s parents went in ahead of them to the church and Anna helped to line up the young bridesmaids and Rosie, the flower girl. While the others were still making a fuss ahead of her, Annabelle prayed silently within herself, “Thank you for letting me be here God. Can you help me today please? I don’t want to let anyone down, especially not Robin.”
Annabelle had to keep turning to look at Burt to convince herself that was happening was not just a dream. She wished she could see Robin. He would be waiting for her at the front of the church. Suddenly the recollection that he hadn’t seen her wedding dress, and would be seeing her dressed up as his bride for the first time, brought a painful sensation to her gut. A sudden wave of fear swept over her. What if he was disappointed in the dress she had chosen?
Then she saw someone who was very familiar to her. Just as she had told Robin, the date clutching Dean’s hand looked very different than she did on stage.
Dean headed over to Annabelle and kissed her on the cheek. He whispered to her, “Nan, you look stunning. It’s not too late you know. You and me could be at the airport in an hour.”
Annabelle laughed, “Thank you for coming Dean. It means so much.”
Dean analysed her face and detected her anxiety, “Hey, stay calm. You deserve this. You deserve to be happy ok.” Annabelle nodded and before a tear could brim over, Dean kissed her forehead and said, “I’ll catch you later on, after you’ve sealed the deal with him. Enjoy every minute.”
Dean and his date walked down the path and passed the bridesmaids to make their way inside of the church. Anna waved Burt and Annabelle over and excitedly said, “Everyone’s ready.”
Within a couple of minutes, music from the church organ had erupted and Annabelle entered the church clutching Burt’s arm. She began her walk down the aisle towards Robin. As soon as she fixed her eyes on him, the calm returned to her heart. Everything felt right. It was unmistakably a good feeling, as if her Creator was happy, and everyone who cared for her was happy.
She couldn’t see the one person who was really struggling to feel anything like happiness. He found that he couldn’t even look at her as she walked past the pew where he and Gina were standing. Instead, he looked at Robin’s face. Robin’s face which looked so proud and was beaming with joy as his bride walked towards him.
Chris had never intended to feel this way. But now he was here, watching the woman he had been in love with for a year, marrying someone else. Before meeting Robin, he had thought he was some kind of rogue to have left Annabelle on her own. After meeting Robin and seeing how Annabelle felt about him, Chris had been jealous and resentful. He wanted to find fault with Robin. But over time, he had gradually accepted that Robin did genuinely care for Annabelle and knew her better than Chris did. He had told himself over and over that perhaps Robin was what Annabelle needed.
Arriving in England and seeing the wealth Robin’s family possessed, stirred up fresh feelings of jealousy and resentment in Chris. He now saw this as Annabelle wanting to marry Robin because of his money. It was a farce. Now that he was here at her wedding, Chris almost despised Annabelle Riley who was in the process of becoming Annabelle Grainger. She seemed like a fake.
Throughout that day Robin and Annabelle and everyone else at the wedding were smiling and seemed happy. After the wedding ceremony, the guests made their way to the home of the Grainger’s, which was only a mile away, some of them walking, others by car. Throughout the walk along the Inkpen road, Gina tried to cheer her brother up.
Another part coming soon…
Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life has given us some great writing prompts. Several of them appealed to me, but I have only chosen one to work on for now, because I am still playing catch up with blogging, after my trip to Australia:
I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?