Annabelle is now married! The day is not over yet though. What will happen at her wedding reception?
These are the previous parts of Annabelle’s story:
The wedding reception, which was held in the gardens at the home of Stephen and Fiona Grainger, was delightful. After the wedding breakfast and speeches, there was some entertainment including an aria from Charlotte, and a performance from Oscar, playing the violin.
Annabelle and Robin floated around the marquee. Annabelle wanted to spend some time chatting with all of the guests at their wedding reception. She was meeting some of Robin’s family for the first time.
Annabelle was eager to make a good impression with everyone. She found that Fiona was particularly helpful in leading the conversation as she introduced Annabelle to various relatives.
Realizing that Robin had disappeared from view, Annabelle became panicky for a moment. But she was reassured by Anna appearing beside her. Anna whispered into her ear that she might want to freshen up in the main house, before they were called to cut the wedding cake and have their wedding dance.
On the way into the house with Anna, Annabelle crossed paths again with Dean who was coming away from the Grainger’s house and heading towards the marquee.
“Hey beautiful.” Dean greeted her with another kiss on the cheek, “Well done for not crying through your vows. I thought you were going to end up sobbing throughout the ceremony.”
“I almost started giggling when I had to say the whole of Robin’s name. Why does he need so many middle names?”
“You’ve landed on your feet here haven’t you? Mrs Robin Montgomery Seymour Randolph Grainger!”
“What were his parents thinking when they named him?”
“Ha ha, hey don’t knock your in-laws. I was just talking to your new father-in-law. He’s a clever man. I liked what he said about you in his speech – that you are a huge blessing and a bonus to Robin and the rest of their family. Don’t you ever forget that.”
“They are all so lovely Dean, the whole of Robin’s family. They’ve made me feel so welcome here.”
“Your father-in-law has just been telling me how much he thinks of you. Seriously Nan, he thinks you’re a treasure.”
Annabelle’s face flushed with mild embarrassment, “Have you seen Robin?”
“He was with his Dad in his study. Hey, I’ll introduce you to Lola later. You can do me a favour and big me up to her.”
After parting from Dean, Annabelle and Anna continued towards the house. Just before they arrived at the porch that led into the house, Robin stepped out and beamed as he saw Annabelle walking towards him.
“Hello Mrs Grainger,” he grinned placing his hands on Annabelle’s waist. Are you ready for your Christmas pudding?”
“Anna said now would be a good time to freshen up.”
“Yes, according to the timetable, it’s cake and then dance. Have a breather. I’m just going to go and find my mother. Little Rosie has been sick. Her Dad’s with her in the dining room, but she keeps trying to unwrap the gifts stacked up in there. I think she is frightened of me. I’m going to get Mum to find somewhere better for her to chill out.”
Annabelle found herself laughing, “I love your family Robin.”
“My family love you. Do you have any idea how proud of you I am?” he whispered into her ear before he made his way to the marquee. Annabelle headed upstairs with Anna, wiping tears away from her eyes.
On schedule, Robin and Annabelle were ushered towards their wedding cake and both the official photographer and guests gathered to take photos of them slicing into the cake together. Next to the larger cake was a small rounded cake. After slicing the larger cake together for the photographs, they cut into the Christmas pudding wedding cake that was just for them, Robin used a dessert fork to feed Annabelle some of the cake she had requested. She began to giggle as she tried to chew and swallow the large amount of pudding he had presented her with. She put her hand over her mouth to hide the huge munches she was having to take. Robin hugged her, “Happy?”
“It’s loaded with brandy. Have a taste,” Annabelle started to scoop some of the cake up with the same dessert fork.
“I’m going to make a confession to you Belle. I can’t stand Christmas pudding. I don’t even like fruit cake. The only slice of fruit cake I have made myself eat was the one Pearl and Burt had made together when I visited you in the States. That was only because I was trying to be polite.”
Annabelle stared at Robin, “Why didn’t you tell me? We could have had something different?”
“I wanted you to choose Belle. It was so important to me for you to say what you wanted. I love finding out what you really want and trying to make you happy. I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing exactly that.”
“What about the song for our first dance? Do you like that?”
“Yes I do, I think it’s a lovely choice. Really lovely. But what means the most, is that it is your choice. I need that Belle. I need you to tell me what you love, what makes you happy.”
Annabelle was glad to hear Robin say that he liked the song she had really wanted their first dance to be to. The only clear opinions she had given throughout the arrangements for the wedding were the request for a boozy Christmas pudding wedding cake and the choice of a song that allowed them to dance slowly together. She had her arms up around Robin’s shoulder as they danced together and was gazing into his eyes as he embraced her. She wanted to remember those moments forever.
Dean introduced her to Lola, the scandinavian pop princess he had met on their European tour and had been on a few dates with since. Annabelle chatted to Lola, learning that she had already spent a weekend over in Los Angeles at Dean’s home there. Annabelle spoke warmly about Dean without trying to include anything too personal. She asked Lola about herself, where she was from and about her career as a singer.
While Annabelle chatted with Lola, Dean spoke to Robin and drew Oscar, Robin’s cousin, into the conversation. Annabelle noticed Robin look rather uncomfortable at whatever Dean was talking to him about. But her curiosity was forgotten when she turned to Gina.
“Thank you so much for coming Gina,” Annabelle cast her eyes around the table, “I haven’t seen Chris yet.”
Gina looked slightly awkward, “Chris has just gone to get a drink. He will be fine Annie.”
Annabelle was a little confused. All the drinks were being provided by waiters who were topping up the supply of champagne and wine and soft drinks at each table, there was no open bar in the marquee. There was clearly plenty to drink at their table, “Is Chris alright?”
“You mustn’t worry about him. This is your day Annie and he wants you to be happy.”
Annabelle found herself glancing around the marquee in search of Chris, “Will you tell him please that I would like to speak with him?”
Gina took Annabelle’s hands, “He’s not himself today. He wanted to be here for you, but I think it was a shock when he saw you the other day and realized how happy you are without him. He just needs some time to accept that you are not going to be around anymore.”
While Robin and Annabelle continued to mingle and talk with their guests with music playing in the background, Chris was outside of the marquee.
He had sat through the speeches and toasts. Seeing Annabelle look so happy had stabbed at his heart. He didn’t want to be around to watch Robin and Annabelle cutting into their wedding cake or dancing together. He had already drunk almost a whole bottle of wine by the time Gina had told him to go and get some fresh air. Gina had not realized that Chris had collected another bottle of wine to take outside with him.
Chris had no idea how eager Annabelle was to find him and thank him for all of his support. By that point if she had found him, her words would have been completely wasted upon him. After the vodka he had drunk the night before and the wine he had been consuming at the wedding reception, Chris certainly was not himself.
Alastair, who had been Robin’s best man, took a microphone into his hand and soon his voice was heard throughout the marquee. It took a while for Annabelle to tune into his voice and understand the laughter that erupted from the Grainger family, as Alastair referred to the military operation that had been carried out to arrange the wedding within a three month period. Alastair then commented that the regimented timetable for the wedding reception didn’t really allow for surprises, but there was a guest at the wedding who said that Annabelle would appreciate his typical rock and roll style of upsetting the plan. He joked that Commander Fiona Grainger had eventually agreed to the change in the schedule for the evening.
It was soon clear that Robin had been aware of the surprise, as Oscar started to play on his violin chords that were very familiar to Annabelle.
Dean sang the song he had written about Annabelle when she was still a teenager. The song that had been Mildew’s first big hit, and had propelled them into the limelight. Accompanied by the violin, he sang the words to “She Dreams”.
Outside the marquee, Chris heard the tune of his favourite Mildew song and began to stagger back towards the wedding reception.
Robin had his arms wrapped around Annabelle as they stood watching Dean sing. He kissed the back of her head and whispered to her, “He wanted to sing the new song about you. He still says it’s his wedding gift to you. I told him there was no way he could sing about being tanked up on booze and cocaine at our wedding.”
Annabelle looked up at Robin with a broad smile, “Good call.”
As a loud cheer erupted, Annabelle turned to Harriette, Robin’s cousin who had been filming the performance on her phone and asked her to please forward the video to her. When Annabelle turned back towards Robin, he was a few metres away shaking Dean’s hand. As she stepped towards him, the guest she had been looking for all day appeared in front of her.
Annabelle’s face lit up at first, but soon her expression changed as Chris lurched towards her mumbling offensive terms. All Annabelle could really make out, beside the expletives, was the word “golddigger”. Before Chris could say anything more, someone rammed into the side of him and pushed him firmly right out of the marquee. Robin turned to look at what the noise was and saw Annabelle standing on her own looking shocked.
She didn’t answer his questions, but assured him everything was fine and she linked his arm firmly. She thanked Dean for singing the song that was so special to her. Dean seemed very happy.
During the next half hour, Anna came to tell Annabelle, that after Nick had removed Chris from the marquee, he had taken him to their cottage and Chris had calmed down. “He’s asleep now. One of the lads, hired as a waiter tonight, is watching him. Nick said it is probably best if he stays with us tonight, rather than him upsetting your other friends. Nick will take him back to the hotel in the morning.”
Annabelle nodded, “We need to tell his sister Gina.”
“I will speak to her,” Anna hurried off to explain to Gina where her brother was. Gina followed Anna out of the marquee.
The evening ended with dancing. After being reassured by Anna that it would be no trouble to them, and they thought it best for everyone if Chris just be allowed to sleep, rather than facing a journey back to their hotel, Gina returned to the marquee. Annabelle made eye-contact with her as she entered the tent. When she was near to Gina, the two women spoke briefly, “Chris will be mortified when he realizes what happened Annie.”
Annabelle sighed, “Gina, I never wanted to hurt him.”
“He’s a grown man, he knows that Annie. I should have kept a closer eye on him. It’s obvious he’s downed a lot of wine.”
Annabelle looked concerned, “I won’t see him now Gina. We are driving down to Beaverbrook in Surrey tonight, so that we are closer to Gatwick tomorrow.”
“I’m sorry about him drinking Annabelle. I’m sorry for him too. He’s missed out on a great party. He really will be mad at himself Annie. This is not what he would have wanted.”
Gina was able to enjoy some of the dancing. She danced with several men related to Robin, curious about a couple of them, as to whether they might be single.
Annabelle loved the reeling, but found herself dripping with sweat after a few songs. Looking around she realized that everyone dancing was red and out of breath, as much as she was. “Belle,” Robin whispered into her ear, “Have you had enough Christmas pudding?”
She looked up at him and asked, “If that’s code for “let’s get out of this joint”, then yes, I have had enough pudding.”
While the rest of their guests continued to dance, Robin and Annabelle were showering and changing into some other clothes to travel down to the hotel in Surrey where they would be spending the night.
They returned to the marquee hoping to say goodbye to Robin’s parents and to Burt and Pearl quietly. Dean made a quiet farewell impossible. By now he had drunk a large amount of wine and when he saw Annabelle he tried to pull her towards him to dance, “It’s not too late, it will never be too late for you and me.”
Robin was quick to intervene, “We are leaving now Mathers.”
Dean flashed an angry glare towards Robin. Ron was quickly besides him with his hand on Dean’s shoulder. Annabelle lent her forehead against Dean’s, “Thank you so much for finding me when I was lost. You and me are always going to be something special.” Annabelle put her fingertips against her lips and kissed them and then placed her fingertips against Dean’s lips. She wriggled back away from him and into Robin’s arms.
A loud cheer bid them farewell, as they left the marquee again with Robin’s parents. Soon they were on the M3 motorway heading towards Surrey.
You can read the next part of Annabelle’s story here:
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?