“I’m getting married.” Alice casually announces as I am pouring some nude foundation onto a triangular makeup sponge. “Say something Oli. Don’t just stare at me.” She hates the way I stare into space when something like this takes me off guard. It’s a trait I get from dad; it’s my way of mulling things over in my head. To most people, it looks like I’m staring blankly into space, but I’m trying to compute the information I have just been given; and hearing her say she is getting married naturally, my brain goes into overload.
Emitting a nervous laugh, I say, “Don’t joke like that, Alice.”
“I’m not joking.”
“When to whom?”
“To Todd in September.” Todd, who is Todd, have I ever met him, how long has she known him, is he suitable, why the rush, what kind of person is he, why marriage? Simultaneously these questions rush through my brain as I try to make sense of things. Instead of asking any of them, I say, “Congratulations.” Setting my makeup sponge down, I reach over and hug her. My brain still racing; even more, questions flood into it. Where is he from, what does he do, does he drink, is his mother a dragon, does he treat Alice right, is she happy, where did they meet?
“Thanks, Oli. You’re the first person I’ve told.” Hugging her even tighter I say,
“This most definitely warrants a party, maybe at the beach house, we could make a weekend of it. If you like the idea.”
She smiles and replies, “I love the idea.”
“That’s settled than when suits you?”
“Next weekend perhaps.”
“Hmm, I think I have something bubbly in the fridge we could crack open.”
“At this time of day.”
“It’s non-alcoholic. I got it for Anna to celebrate when she hopefully gets her new apartment.” Alice looks at me, oh Anna hasn’t said anything to her about it, yet again I put my big foot in it.
“Oh, I had no idea Anna was considering buying an apartment, where?”
“One in the old mill just came on the market she’s thinking about putting in an offer.”
“No way,” Alice replies, nodding my head I say,
“Anyways let’s get that drink.” We head down to the kitchen Tabitha following; she meows up at me as I open the fridge door. Lifting out some king prawns, I run them under the warm tap, chop them into bite-size pieces and place them on her plate. She rubs her head against my ankles, purring loudly as she begins to eat.
“That cat eats better than I do,” Alice comments as she lifts two glasses from the cupboard. Tabitha looks up at her, squinting, “And looks at me as though she were plotting to murder me.”
“Don’t you listen to bad Alice.” Patting her on the head, she purrs even louder and goes back to eating. “It’s not cristal, but we’ll fix that next weekend.” Handing Alice a glass of sparkling pomegranate and alcohol-free raspberry wine.
“Thanks.” She says, taking a sip from the glass.
“So this Todd person does he have a last name?”
“Pendleton-Brookes.” Why does that name sound so familiar, it’ll come to me sooner or later. “His family own the stud farm on Warwick Road.” Oh, those Pendleton-Brookes, back in the day they wanted to run a hunt on the Abbeys grounds, thankfully dad refused them permission, much to Esther’s annoyance, she does love playing lady of the manor.
“So he works there?”
“Yes in a couple of years he’ll be taking over, his father wants to retire, and I’ll be working with him.”
“Wow seems like you’ve everything planned out.”
“Can’t wait to meet this Todd of yours.” Refilling our glasses, I drink mine down in one go wishing it was a stiff gin and not just sparkling wine. As I’m refilling my glass for the third time my phone rings, it’s Joey. “Hey Red what’s up?”
“We have a problem, Olivia; you need to get to the site immediately.”
“Gimme 20 I’ll be there.”