Neither Annabelle, nor any of the Graingers, know why the Riley family have had a seeming change of heart and are now agreeable to celebrating the marriage of Robin and Annabelle. Will the reception in New York go well?
These are the previous parts in Annabelle’s story:
A month after they had returned from their honeymoon, Robin and Annabelle were on their way to New York with Stephen and Fiona Grainger.
Robin’s cousin, Alastair Grainger, who had been his best man at the wedding, had decided to go ahead of them, along his wife Claire, as they had friends they wanted to visit in New York. Stephen and Fiona had appreciated Alastair’s offer to join them at the reception arranged for the Riley family to celebrate Robin and Annabelle’s wedding.
The function went well. The dinner service was excellent. There was polite conversation at every corner of the table. The younger children all behaved well. Little Oliver even approached Annabelle to give her a hug. The Riley family were a little quieter than the Grainger’s expected, but they were all engaging and pleasant.
Annabelle was extremely nervous. Robin was resigned to the day being unbearable. But the day passed without any criticism or censure. The newlyweds were surprised and almost unprepared for how civil Annabelle’s family were throughout the afternoon.
Stephen and Fiona spent most of their time chatting with George and Carol Riley, while Robin and Annabelle, along with Alastair and Claire, spoke to the rest of the family. Alastair had arranged to show some of the wedding photographs. A hired projector displayed the photographs from his laptop.
Alastair had been busy since the wedding. His preparations for the reception with the Riley family in New York had been hurried. He had loaded all of the photographs he had taken that day onto his laptop without checking over them. Annabelle and Robin laughed as a photograph of the two young bridesmaids followed by one of Rosie opening wedding presents in the Grainger’s dining room appeared. There were several of Rosie pulling faces at the camera.
Some of the photographs caused the Riley family to look uncomfortable. There were several of Dean. At the church he was posing for the camera holding his hands up in horn signs. He was dancing with Fiona Grainger in another photograph. Then he was singing at Annabelle’s reception. Annabelle felt tingles of nervousness grip her neck realizing her family would not appreciate that Dean was present at her wedding.
But it was not the pictures of Dean that had the greatest effect on Annabelle. There was another photograph that appeared on the screen that startled her. Suddenly, magnified up on the wall, was a photograph of Chris Ward staring into the camera with a groggy expression while he clutched a bottle of wine.
As the display of photographs continued, there were more which had caught Chris scowling as everyone else was smiling. There was a picture of him sat outside on the grass outside the marquee drinking wine straight from a bottle. Then a photograph of Robin shaking Dean’s hand showed an angry Chris yelling at a shocked Annabelle.
Robin didn’t say a word to Annabelle until after the reception with her family was over and they had all parted on polite terms. They were staying in the same hotel where they had hired a function room for the reception. After spending the evening in the restaurant with Stephen and Fiona, Robin and Annabelle returned to their room.
“I didn’t see much of Chris at the wedding Belle.”
Annabelle pursed her lips, “Neither did I.”
“You clearly had a conversation with him at some point.”
“No, no, there was no conversation. Chris said something to me. Nick came along and removed him from the marquee before it could get any worse.”
Robin raised his eyebrow, “I didn’t know that anything unusual had happened. Other than Mathers little escapade in the swimming pool, which my parents were appalled by.”
“It’s not the first time Dean has been skinny dipping in someone’s swimming pool.”
“I told Dad the pool should be covered over in case any of the children fell in. But their thought was that it looks great when it’s all lit up. What Mathers did proved my point,” laughed Robin. Lowering his tone he asked, “What happened with Chris? I don’t know if my parents picked up on the photos of him this afternoon, but I did.”
Annabelle sighed, “Gina said he found it harder than he had expected to see the wedding. She said he would feel awful afterwards. He drank a little too much. I didn’t see him all day and then he came stumbling towards me babbling. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. But Nick decided not to give Chris the chance to finish his little speech.”
Robin held Annabelle’s hand and played with her fingers, “Have you heard from Chris since the wedding?”
“No, he’s not been in touch at all,” she commented. Pulling her face she added, “I will send him a text or something eventually. I just thought it would be best to wait a while.”
Robin cast his eyes down and ran his finger over the edge of Annabelle’s dress, “Perhaps it’s something you would want to talk to him about face to face?”
“I might not ever have chance to. I don’t think he’s going to be rushing back to England any time soon. By the time we see each other it will all be forgotten.”
“Well we might be in Blackwood some time soon. You could see him then,” Robin suggested.
Annabelle snuggled into her husband, “It would be nice to visit Burt and Pearl sometime Robin. We talked about it at the reception. I said to them I hoped that in a year or so, we might be able to go over there.”
“A year hey? That’s a long time to wait to visit your closest friends – don’t you think?”
Annabelle crossed her eyebrows over, “Well, I didn’t know what to say Robin. Pearl was getting upset about me not living with them anymore. I said that I hoped we would be able to visit at some point. It was just off the top of my head that I said it would be about a year.”
“So do you think they would forgive you if we dropped by sooner?”
Annabelle laughed and pinched Robin’s side, “You’re just teasing me aren’t you? Are you in such a funny mood because of seeing my family today?”
“I am amazed at how well today went Belle in all honesty.”
“Not more amazed than I am! Your mom must have been very persuasive with my parents for all the family to fall in line like that. Everyone was civil weren’t they? Even after the photographs of Dean. Oh my goodness, I am glad there were no photos of Dean in the swimming pool.”
“Hah! That would have been interesting. You’d better have a chat with Alastair about making sure those photographs of Dean don’t end up on his Facebook account.”
“Oh, yes, you are right. Can we call him?” Annabelle became alert to the potential trouble some of those photographs could cause for Dean.
“We’ll speak to him tomorrow Belle. Alastair and Claire were off to the theatre tonight.”
“Alright. Don’t forget though. It’s really important.”
Robin smiled as Annabelle rested her head against his chest, “About tomorrow Belle. When we are at the airport tomorrow. It turns out that my parents are on a different flight than us.”
“Really? Was it because we had to book the tickets so close to travelling?”
“I was going to surprise you in the morning, but I think it might be better if you had some time to think be prepared for who you might see tomorrow.”
“What do you mean?”
“When we planned this visit to see your family, I told my parents that after today, I would like to take you to see your friends in Blackwood.”
Annabelle looked at Robin in disbelief, “Oh Robin – thank you. Thank you thank you. She kissed his chest again and again.”
“We are going to be guests at Burt and Pearl’s home tomorrow night. Now we are married, they are happy to have me stay in their home.”
Annabelle raised her eyebrow, “I’m allowed to have someone in my bed. Being married is so cool.”
Robin shook his head in amusement at Annabelle, “There was talk of Chris being there for dinner. After whatever occured between you two at the wedding, I thought you might want to be prepared for the possibility of seeing him. I trust he will be civil to you the next time you meet him.”
“Oh I see,” Annabelle stated emphatically.
“Better I told you now?”
Annabelle let out a gasp of frustration, “Yeah, now I can stew on what to say to him all night and end up not sleeping a wink.”
Robin put his hands around the back of Annabelle’s hands, “What made you think I was going to let you sleep tonight? I have other plans for you Mrs Grainger.”
You can read the next part of Annabelle’s story:
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?