This evening was much like any other. I sat yawning at the dining table as Mother and my perfect little sister, Libby, discussed the wedding. I stress that this is definitely the wedding, and not just a wedding.
Oh no, Mother has gone out of her way to ensure that this is the social occasion of the year, the best day of her daughter’s life. Sixteen whole sides of freshly-smoked, Scottish salmon have been ordered for the wedding breakfast and the Vicar has been ordered not to trip over his words during the service at the expense of her family’s reputation – despite his years of experience.
In front of us sat a work of art, a common topic of conversation – the seating plan. I’ve heard six times this evening alone how Lady Bunty Larinstoff, the highly regarded President of the Lawn Tennis Association can not (NOT) possibly sit within two tables of Melissa Mcorkadale, or quite frankly, the whole day will be a total disaster. I sat dazed, until a shrill voice awoke me.
“And what about you, Sissy?” Libby, my perfect-in-every-way little sister asked smugly. “Have we got a name for your plus-one yet?” she smirked, pointing to the only blank space on the table plan, next to my name. “Who’s the lucky guy?”
What happened next, shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I don’t even know how it happened.
“I HAVE A FIANCÉE!” my mouth blared with the force of an opera singer. This revelation was met with two blank faces, who stared at each other for a moment. The room deathly quiet, my cheeks red with utter shock at what I had just said.
“YOU?” Libby exclaimed. “ENGAGED?”
Hysterical laughter followed from both my mother and my sister for what seemed like forever. Knee-slapping, snorting. Tears ran from Mother’s eyes.
“No, no, of course, Sissy!” Libby backtracked, fanning herself with her hand in an attempt to regain composure. “So when will we meet the lucky guy?”
“AT THE WEDDING!” I did it again. Why won’t I stop talking?
“Really?” both women asked in unison, still clearly baffled.
“YES. YES. YOU’LL SEE. BECAUSE I AM A CATCH” I attempted to string a sentence together as I swaggered towards the door, leaving the room and slamming the door behind me like a child.
It was the day of Libby’s wedding, and I was still a notorious singleton in my mid-thirties. I had approximately three hours and twenty eight minutes to find an utterly gorgeous man who I must convince to not only accompany me to a wedding full of people he has never met, but also to propose to me on the spot. What could possibly go wrong?
It was time for the wedding reception, time for my family to meet my mystery man. I had bluffed my way through the service itself by pretending that my gorgeous Prince Charming had popped off to the the bathroom – what horrific timing! But I couldn’t avoid the truth for much longer.
As the party walked towards the marquee I spotted a young, awkward-looking man amongst the sea of people. Pale, red-haired, not at all muscular. Not my usual type, but needs must. I ran towards him, abandoning my heels in the process.
I grabbed him by the shoulder and smiled. “ME, YOUR GIRLFR-FIANCEE. WE’RE IN LOVE. CANTEXPLAINANYMOREIMSORRY” He stared back at me with an expression of confusion, shock, and also fear.
As my sister approached me and my new-found beau (if only he knew), I glued a fake smile onto my face and clasped my arms around his body. He let out a small squeak.
“Here he is!” she squealed with excitement, an action I copied without really knowing why. “Lovely to meet you…” she trailed off, waiting for my future husband to reveal his identity as she shook his hand warmly.
“GEOFF…ERY” I screamed, before the poor man beside me had chance to reveal the truth. Libby staggered backwards at the volume of my introduction.
“Actually, my name’s M-Matthew” the red-haired stranger next to me stuttered. I froze in shock as he spoke “And I have no idea who this woman is. She’s unhinged!” He began to bawl his eyes out, clearly traumatised by this whirlwind romance.
He retreated, slowly.
“THAT’S IT, WALK AWAY. A REAL MAN WOULD RUN!” I rolled my eyes, met with a blank gaze by my sister, who was clearly trying to process what the hell had just happened.