Chapter 1: Compulsory Brunch
Red light after red light forced Adelie to be late as hell for her brunch with her mother and grandmother. She smoothed down her beige skirt and straightened her collar before getting out of her car and striding into the cafe, the clicking of her death-heels echoing as she speed walked.
A plump woman with blonde hair and judging blue eyes sat beside a gray haired much older woman with unforgiving green eyes. Addie quickly met them and kissed their cheeks before sitting down across from them.
“You are fifteen minutes late, my dear,” her mother tutted through dry pursed lips.
Addie fought the urge to roll her eyes and simply brushed her bangs out of her face, “Yes, I am aware. There was traffic on my side of town and I couldn’t find my keys this morning.”
“You really should take better care of your things, Adelie, be more organized,” Addie’s grandmother pitched in, sounding like she had cotton balls stuffed in the sides of her mouth.
“Yes, Nanna,” Addie replied dutifully.
“Do you want anything to drink, Miss?” A teenage waiter peered down at her with an obviously fake British accent in his voice and acne across his forehead.
Addie smiled politely up at him, “Just water, thank you.”
The waiter wrote it down – but how difficult is ‘water’ to remember? – and scurried away. Addie turned back to her mother and grandmother, “I apologize for my tardiness this afternoon.” She learned a long time ago that it was better to merely apologize and drop a subject rather than try and rationally talk it out. Stubbornness ran through the family. It was all part of their Irish blood.
“Well, there’s nothing we can do about that now,” her mother replied – which meant ‘all is forgiven.’ It may not have seemed like it, but her mother was always more nurturing than her grandmother. The waiter came with the water and took the ladies’ orders before the Spanish Inquisition commenced.
“So, Adelie,” Nanna started, “when are you going to get your life together and settle down?”
Addie almost spit out the gulp of water she was drinking, but composed herself like a lady, “Wow. Um, well you kind of need a groom for a wedding and seeing as I’m not seeing anyone, I don’t think--”
“Nonsense,” her grandmother interrupted her. “That tiny detail can easily be remedied.”
Tiny detail? Addie thought to herself in disgust. There were never any warm fuzzy feelings on her grandmother’s side. “The person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with isn’t a tiny detail, Nanna.” She kept her voice calm and controlled though it was difficult. Nanna was always trying to push her into ‘propriety’ and control her life. She had to be barefoot and pregnant and let her respectable husband make all the money and all the rules.
“We can find someone suitable for you, surely. I know of many young men looking for a mate,” Nanna said with a blank expression.
Mate. The word stood out like an ink blot on blank paper. It made Addie sound like one of her Nanna’s breeding dogs.
“Now, Siobhan,” Mrs. Brennan cut in, “Adelie is much too young to be thinking about such a commitment like marriage. She’s barely a woman.”
Ignoring the jab at her immaturity, Addie took the hidden rescue and bobbed her head along with her mother’s words.
“Psh,” Nanna spat, “she’s twenty-three. I was sixteen when I was married. And eighteen when I had my first child.”
“And I was eighteen when I got married and twenty-two when I had Adelie’s brother, Matthew,” Mrs. Brennan argued.
“And I do not want the pattern to continue,” Nanna said firmly, pursing her lips tightly, making the wrinkles around the pink skin become more and more pronounced.
Addie cleared her throat and folded her hands on the table masterfully, “As much as I appreciate your input... I will not marry someone I do not love, and I’ll wait as long as I have to, to find the one I will marry. And that is the end of the matter.”
Nanna glared ‘politely’ and tutted before the waiter returned with their food. Addie immediately took a bite of her food, so she wouldn’t be expected to begin another conversation. Luckily her mother took over and began one herself, “Have you heard from Marcus recently?”
Unfortunately, that was the topic of conversation she chose.
Addie swallowed her food and shook her head, “No, why?” She was lying through her teeth, but skills at deception was also something that ran in the family.
Her mother accepted this answer and went on to tell her all about her other older brother, Matthew, and his wife, Meredith. They were having their second child at the age of 29. They had their first when they were 24, after being married two months. Three guesses why they got married...
Addie’s train of thought was interrupted by Nanna exclaiming, “Oh! That’s so great. Another great-grandchild.”
Addie scoffed to herself and wondered how many great-grandchildren Nanna would truly see. She still hasn’t spent more than five minutes with little baby Aiden. So, why did she care if more Brennans were being born?
“I’m just worried that I’ll die before ever getting to meet any great-grandchildren Adelie will give me.”
Addie snapped back to attention at the mention of her name. She blushed and shook her head, “That won’t happen for a long while, Nanna.”
“And she must take all the time she can afford,” Mrs. Brennan chimed in again. “She’s much too young to be thinking of marriage and children. She wouldn’t know what to do.”
Addie glanced at her watch, seeing that barely any time had passed. This was going to be a long brunch.