Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 2: Episode 10

May 3, 2011

Ana checked her watch. She was running so far behind time. She understood the concept of being fashionably late, but this was beyond a joke. The traffic was barely moving. She drummed her fingers impatiently on the seat next to her.

“Is there another route we can take?” she asked the driver, conscious that she was over an hour late. Her mobile phone battery had died while she was at the hairdresser’s and she didn’t want anyone to think she was leaving them stranded at the altar, so to speak. The driver shrugged apologetically and Ana was left staring out the window, cursing Stefan for taking forever to finish her hair. She had tried to hurry him along. He knew how important it was for her to be on time, tonight of all nights!

“But darling,” he had cooed. “You cannot celebrate such an occasion of love and commitment without perfect hair!”

Finally, the car arrived at its destination and she leapt out. Ana pushed open the heavy door and ran down the long corridor, noticing the beautiful fresh flowers that had been set out for the occasion. She took a sharp left into the room where she could hear the murmur of hushed voices.

“…we can see Catherine just emerging from the hotel as we speak…”

“Have I missed it?” Ana asked breathlessly, bursting through the door. “The hairdresser took forever!”

She was met by a chorus of “Ssshhhhhh!” from housemates Willow and Mia.

“She’s just getting into the car to go to the Abbey,” explained Mia, her eyes glued to the television.

Ana breathed a sigh of relief. Not that she normally got into these sorts of things, but all three of them seemed to have caught wedding fever – it had been going around, apparently – and Ana didn’t want to miss the moment when Wills and Kate tied the knot.

“I’m not sure about that lace,” said Willow, sceptically. “But maybe it’ll work when we get to see the whole outfit.”

There were murmurs of agreement from the other two. A break in the commentary enabled Mia to rush into the kitchen and grab some Champagne flutes.

“Ana, I thought you were never going to get here. We are dying for some bubbles. We thought you were going to leave us high and dry,” she said, adding, “hair looks great, by the way.”

Because she was going out to the hairdresser anyway, Ana had been charged with the very important job of buying the booze on her way home. Had she known that Stefan was such a fan of the British Royal Family she wouldn’t have mentioned her plans tonight to watch the wedding with her girlfriends, because as soon as she had, he had insisted on spending extra time making sure every strand sat perfectly. She handed over the bag of sparkling, laughing when she saw the girls had brought an Esky into the living room.

“It’s going to be a long night,” explained Willow.

In the spirit of the occasion, Willow produced a platter of cucumber sandwiches that she had prepared earlier. Mia bit into the delicate canapé and smiled, hardly surprised that Willow had gone to this much trouble. She’d rolled paper-thin bread and even cut the crusts off. They half-watched the wedding ceremony; more interested in the crowd and what everyone was wearing than the actual nuptials.

“Looks as though she’s planning on broadcasting to greater London,” said Ana, pointing to one of the Royals, who had a particularly ridiculous satellite dish of a hat on her head.

Willow took another swig of Champagne and picked up a sandwich. “Is your wedding going to be like this, Ana?”

Ana snorted, nearly spraying a mouthful of her drink across the room. “Yeah, I’ve got Sarah Burton on speed dial already. I’ve told her to spare no expense!”

“Maybe you could just borrow Kate’s dress. It’s not like she’s going to be needing it again.”

“We hope!” chorused Ana and Mia.

“Don’t do anything like this,” pleaded Mia. “I don’t think I can sit through another five-hour wedding extravaganza.” She shifted uncomfortably. “My bottom has gone numb.”

“Any plans for nuptials on the horizon for you then, Mia?” Willow teased.

Mia looked decidedly uncomfortable but tried to make light of the comment. “I’d need to find someone I wanted to marry first.”

“Not Nick, then?”

Willow and Ana made kissy-kissy faces and Mia laughed half-heartedly, barrelling them with cushions from the couch. She decided it was time to change to subject.

“How about you, Willow?”

Willow sighed. “Well Prince Harry did call the other day…” She broke off, grinning. “Nope. I’ve sworn off men altogether. They’re all lying, cheating, conniving bastards.” She said it with jest, but the others could tell she was still hurting after the Carlo debacle.

“Not all of them,” said Ana softly, patting her friend’s hand.

“I suppose Tom’s all right. And Nick too,” Willow added. “But the rest of them are bloody awful!”

Ana and Mia had been surprised at the relative calmness with which Willow had told them about Carlo. Given the strength of her feelings for him, they had been expecting weeks of ice cream, tissues and baked goods. But she had surprised them all by shedding only a few tears, rejecting ice cream all together and only baking one thing: a large sour cherry cake (they tried not to read too much into that). She had taken a sudden and severe disliking to Italian food, though. Willow was adamant that she had given up on men completely, and was perfectly satisfied in the knowledge that she would probably be alone for the rest of her life. Maybe with a cat. She reached into the Esky to grab another bottle of the delicious French bubbly, topping up everyone’s glasses.

“I am so glad that you are getting married, though, Ana,” she said. ‘I haven’t been to a wedding in ages. And certainly not of someone I love.”

“I don’t even really know what’s going on with it,” said Ana. “Tom’s been doing most of the planning. It’s like he doesn’t trust me to organise it or something.”

Mia and Willow suppressed smiles. Ana was fantastic at organising other people. She could manage an event at a day’s notice and it would be perfect, but when it came to planning anything for herself she was useless. Willow and Mia fondly remembered the time she tried to organise her own 30th birthday, realising four days beforehand that she’d ordered cases of Champagne, ample catering and decorations for the house, but forgotten to send out a single invite.

“I can’t think of anyone else who is even close to getting married at the moment,” mused Willow, thoughtful. They sat in silence for a while, each mentally ticking off the people they knew in their heads.

“Oh my God. Can you imagine Johnny getting married?” exclaimed Ana.

She and Willow broke into peals of laughter.

“He’ll get married when he’s 60,” chuckled Willow, “to a 21- year-old model named Bambi.”

“Who’ll fall in love with him because he is so mysterious and knows so much about wine,” continued Ana, between giggles.

They rolled around on the floor, the joke all the more hilarious because of the Champagne they had consumed. Mia tried to join in, but their conversation had made her heart sink. Although she knew that this was probably true, she still secretly hoped Johnny would miraculously turn up on the front door step and sweep her off her feet. Besides, what kind of stupid name was Bambi, anyway?

“I’ve got to go to bed,” she said, too brightly. “Early client tomorrow.”

The other two looked at each other. Why was Mia being weird all of a sudden?

“But you’ll miss the balcony kiss,” said Willow, indicating the television set. Kate and Wills had emerged from the Abbey and William was doing everything he could to avoid stepping on the hem of his new wife’s dress.

Mia shrugged. “It’ll be all over the papers tomorrow. ’Night.”

They heard her footsteps disappear upstairs.

“What was that all about?” asked Willow, baffled.

Ana shrugged, a mischievous grin spreading across her face. “Maybe she fancies Johnny.”

“As if!” snorted Willow.

Ana and Willow rolled around on the floor again, laughing uncontrollably at the ridiculousness of the prospect. Mia and Johnny. Now there was an unlikely couple!