Things Happen Due to the Beginning of Time
For the next week, I had to grasp the concept that I was going to marry a man I had only known for a week. Nancy also taught me a few of the basics about cooking and how to professionally present a dish. She told me “To be a good cook, all you need to do is read the recipe, understand the recipe, and process the recipe.”
My impression of Nancy now was that she was a bubbly old woman who was smart and knew how to work the world. John was still a policeman to me. I thought of him as my hero, though.
On my wedding day, I wore a long, white frilled dress with real silver diamonds around the waist. Apparently the dress was expensive according to Nancy, but worth buying at the same time. She wanted me to look my best for her son and leave a good impression on him. I was waiting in the back of the church for the doors to open. As nervous as I was, I was happy at the same time. I always dreamed of my wedding day. I also used to dream of love. This was going to happen today.
The church bells began to ring. The large, wooden doors opened. I was expecting a big crowd as John had told me that my wedding day was a surprise. Instead, there was just David’s parents, the priest, and a few of David’s old friends. I didn’t know the maid of honour or the ring man, but at least I had them. John hadn’t told anyone in the room about my secret, and I was glad. I felt secure and welcomed.
I didn’t have anyone to walk me down the aisle, so I approached the priest and David myself with care. David smiled happily when he took my hand.
After a few minutes of the ceremony, the priest asked, “Do you, Sir David Wilfred, take Greta to be your wife?”
“I do,” he said.
“And do you, Greta Shorts, take David to be your husband?”
“David, you may now kiss the bride,” the priest said, grinning.
Before we knew it, David and I were running out of the church into the white, flashy limo provided for us. Usually, you would expect two married people to go on a honeymoon, but we returned to his parents’ house. I went back to work and studying cooking and presentation.
I lived up to John’s expectations. The days were tiring. I never really spoke to anyone those weeks. I just read and read and read. Then Nancy would show me a trick or two in the kitchen. I would go to bed late, then wake up early to start all over again.
By the end of the second week, Nancy had proposed a task for me.
“Greta dear, we are having a banquet this weekend to welcome you into the family with some of David’s cousins, uncles, and aunts. You are to make the feast. I will organise the rest,” she said.
“Sure. Do you think I’m ready, though? I could make a mistake.”
“You’re ready, dear. Some of my relatives are chefs too, so they might employ you. My sister lives here in this small town and has a large restaurant at the back of Paul Street. She is looking for employees too as she runs a very popular business, so I will hook you up.”
I was happily smiling. I never thought that in about three weeks, everything could fall into place. I’m not sure if anyone would ever dream that everything they ever wanted would happen in three weeks. This was a large opportunity, and I knew that my cooking and presentation had to be flawless in order to impress Nancy’s sister.
“Wow. Thanks so much,” I said. “You have no idea how much this means to me.” Tears slipped down my cheeks.
“Dear Greta, I understand well enough from the news and my son. You deserve a lot more in life due to your childhood, and I would do anything for you to feel welcomed and start earning money. You don’t have to be upset for that,” she said, handing a soft white tissue to me.
“Mum is right. She has always been right. I said I would help you too and look how far this has come,” David said calmly, grabbing my hand.
“Let’s go out for lunch as a family. Give Greta a break. The girl’s been working hard,” John said.
We all agreed to go out to lunch. A small fish and chip shop was down the road. I would have rather gone to bed, but going to lunch seemed like the right idea.
“Did you go out much with Luke when you were at school?” Nancy asked me.
“Mum, please. I think Greta would like to forget her past experiences,” David said quickly.
Nancy rolled her eyes. “Here we go again. John, I think our son doesn’t know how to shut his mouth. I didn’t ask for your answer, David. Just please be quiet,” she snapped.
David sighed and turned his head to face me, leaving me with an evil smile. Was I supposed to answer Nancy?
“Not really. I was sent to jail every day,” I said quietly with no second thoughts.
“Well, this isn’t a story I’ve heard of before,” David joked.
“Shut up, son,” John yelled, slamming his hand on the table.
“What do you mean? What jail?” Nancy said.
Sitting at the table was getting awkward by now. I just wanted to stand up and walk back to David’s house. People were staring.
“It was just at my school downstairs. A guy had set Luke and me up. It wasn’t great,” I said.
“I am so confused. I have never heard of a school having a jail before,” John said.
“Boys, please. Just be silent for a few minutes. Maybe we need to find out more so we can help Greta,” Nancy said.
“I don’t need any help. I am quite fine on my own. I wish to leave,” I said hesitantly.
“There is no need for that. You are married now. If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine. I just don’t understand. Feel free to tell me later,” Nancy replied.
I stood from the table and ran out the door. I didn’t want to hear another word. Tears dripped down my face. I did not stop or turn around.
I figured David’s parents stayed in the café. I heard David calling out behind me to stop.
“Greta, please stop. My mother is sorry. You don’t have to tell us anything,” he shouted.
I just kept running.
I ran all the way to the park and stopped to rest on a bench, trying to catch my breath. I had only been running for about five minutes, but it felt as if I had been shot and I was ready to die. David arrived and sat beside me, also panting. Once he recovered, he talked.
“Greta, I’m sorry if my family offended you in any way. We just want to help you,” he said, his hand on my shoulder.
“No, you don’t. I’m sorry, but I cannot stay here any longer. This is all too much for me, I just want it to stop,” I raged.
Without another word, David was kissing me. Boys always do this to shut girls up. But it certainly does work.
“Don’t say another word, Greta. You mean the world to me. If you believe you are a strong woman, you can believe that. I won’t hold you back. Just promise me you won’t run away. You’re the best thing that I have ever had in my life, and I cherish you for that. I’m here when you need me.”
After a tight hug and a nod of my head, he took my hand and walked me back to his parents’ house.
After changing and showering, I went straight to bed. I made no communication with anyone that night. I slept in the spare bedroom with the door locked. I was to have no distractions. I just had to relax and sleep.
The weekend of the banquet finally arrived. I was excited and up extra early getting ready for lunch. While the boys were in the backyard helping Nancy with all the decorations, I was busy inside making the food. I couldn’t see what the others were doing outside, as there was a wall blocking my view and a shutter on the other side of the room. I guessed I would just have to be surprised when it was time to serve.
I made quiche and spring rolls for the entrée. For the main, I made chicken frisky, beef stir-fry, and lamb shanks. By the end of my six hours in the kitchen, sweating and dehydrated, I had nearly forgotten the dessert. For dessert, I made a raspberry and blackberry cream pudding with many layers. I had just enough time to wash up the dishes and clean myself up before the banquet started.
“Ready, my dear?” David asked.
Guests had already started arriving. They made their way to the back where the party had been set up.
“Yeah. I suppose. How am I going to dish all the food out though?” I said to David.
“I’ve got some assistants,” he said, waving over three girls dressed in white and black.
“Greta, meet my old school friends Fiona, Felicia, and Fantasia. They are all sisters. They are going to be the waitresses tonight. You have to come meet my aunty now and ask her about her restaurant.”
“Thanks, ladies,” I said, being dragged out of the house.
Outside was amazing. There were streamers, balloons, singers, dancers, and a water fountain. There was a jumping castle for the children, and beautiful smelling roses had been planted in freshly made garden patches. The air was clean and fresh. The sun shined brightly. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful afternoon.
“David, you and your parents have done a wonderful job.”
“Well, we wouldn’t be getting any credit if you weren’t around,” he said cheekily.
“Thanks,” I said, giving his shoulder a nudge.
We approached a small lady who looked a lot like Nancy, but this woman had darker hair.
“Aunt Sienna, this is my wife, Greta Wilfred. Greta is the one I was talking about,” David said.
“Oh Greta. I have been so excited to meet you. It’s a privilege to meet such a professional chef in this small town. Don’t have many around here,” she joked.
I gulped. “Yeah, you too.” I had no idea how to reply to the remark about me being a professional chef.
David left Sienna and me to talk.
“So when did you get into the cooking industry, Greta? I’m dying to know.”
I paused before I realised she was staring deep into my eyes. She was intentionally trying to creep me out. She seemed like a strange, crazy woman. Nowhere near as calm and fragile as Nancy was. I said what John had taught me to say.
“I first started cooking with my mother when I was a child. When I was fourteen, I got my first job as a coffee assistant. From then on, I just gained more experience. In grade eleven, I had to quit my job because my studies were so excessive. I haven’t applied for a job since.”
“Well, isn’t that a drop of the pennies. I’m glad to hear that. Makes me so proud and happy when people have been trained from a young age. Let’s just see if you can be better than the rest, hey.”
Sienna had an accent. A cowgirl accent, I think. I couldn’t describe it, but it was ticking me off. She seemed nice, though.
“Well, many people say that I’m quite something, so I guess you could put me to the test.”
“Oh baby girl, you rhymed with me. Oh, we going to have so much fun together. Listen, here is my card and number. You can start on Monday.”
“But you haven’t even tasted any of my food yet,” I said hesitantly.
“We don’t need to do that if we have the looks and experience, darling. We can make a mistake or two on the way, but this don’t count us as bad. We just got to fix it up next time. Got to go anyway. Only came to meet you. My kitchen counts on me.”
She walked away before I could say goodbye. I was so confused. I could have put dirt on a plate and she still would have hired me. I swear, this day could not get any weirder.
“How was she, Greta? Powerful and bubbly, right?” David asked me.
“Yeah. I like her. I got her card and number. I am hired for Monday.”
“That quick? Wow, that woman is unexpected. She has always been like that. But make sure you know that whatever she said to you, if you make too many mistakes, she won’t like you.”
“Okay. I get it.”
“I know you will. You’re perfect for the job, even though you just started three weeks ago.”
“Thanks, David. I really do appreciate it,” I said, laying a kiss on his cheek and making my way back into the kitchen.
I dropped to the floor, and that was the last thing I remembered.