Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 3: Episode 13

August 30, 2011

Ana let herself into her old house with the key that Willow and Mia insisted she keep. She felt a bit strange returning when she no longer lived there – almost like she was trespassing on her own property – but, the others had told her she could come and go as she pleased and although she wasn’t planning on doing it often, she felt OK about it today. She was spending her last night as a single girl there, because tomorrow she was getting married.

A smile played around the corners of her lips as Ana walked down the old hall, recollections of all the fun times the three girls had here flooding back: The multitude of dinner parties, watching the royal wedding, meals in the sundrenched courtyard, Willow’s many baking extravaganzas. Granted, a lot of the memories were a tad hazy on account of the amount of champagne present when said memories were formed, but the overall vibe was a good one. She was so glad that she was spending tonight with her favourite people in the world: Willow and Mia.

Well, second favourite, she thought, recalling Tom’s sparkling eyes, wide smile and strong, tanned arms. She felt a shiver of pleasure run down her spine, once again thanking her lucky stars that everything had worked out perfectly between them.

Ana had finished work a few hours early and had come over with the hope that she would be able to locate her grandmother’s brooch that had mysteriously vanished in the move. She still had a few boxes stored in the house and thought that perhaps she’d put it in one of those by mistake. She didn’t expect anyone else to be home this early, but as she moved towards the kitchen she heard footsteps thundering down the stairs as Mia and Willow toppled over each other to greet her.

“It’s the nearly-bride,” shouted Willow jumping up and down on the spot and clapping her hands together in excitement.

Mia joined in and soon all three of them were bouncing around the house in a crazy display of anticipatory delight.

“Where’s your dress?” asked Mia, pausing for a second to catch her breath.

“In the car,” Ana said. “Along with the rest of the stuff.”

I’ll ask them about the brooch later, thought Ana, as the girls bounded outside to help her carry her things in. I don’t want to bring the mood down.

***

Once the dress was unpacked and hung properly – followed by the requisite oohing and ahhing – it was unanimously decided that it was champagne o’clock. They adjourned to the living room, which Willow had set up with a picnic blanket and colourful lights. She’d made a playlist of their favourite girly songs that was already humming along in the background. Mia had constructed an amazing and unique nicoise salad for them to feast on – correctly assuming that Ana wouldn’t want anything heavy the night before her wedding – and had procured several bottles of French champagne.

“Here’s to you, Ana,” said Willow, raising her glass, “and to many happy years of marriage to your prince charming.”

***

It was almost 10pm by the time Sarah made it home. She had stayed in the office because Tom had worked late, wanting to get everything finished up before the wedding tomorrow. She took it upon herself to bring him dinner and then, later when he looked completely exhausted, insisted that he stop and share a beer with her to relax.

She heard giggling and music playing as soon as she walked inside and paused in the door listening for a minute, trying to catch the conversation. Padding silently down the hall she walked into the living room and saw the three of them sitting on the floor having a carpet picnic. Her entrance had been so inaudible that they didn’t notice her immediately, Mia squealing when she finally saw her.

“Sarah! We didn’t even hear you come in! Here,” she said patting the floor next to her, “come and join us.”

“Sorry I’m so late,” she said, accepting a glass of champagne. “We had so much on at work that we both had to stay back.”

“Both?” asked Ana, cocking an eyebrow.

Sarah nodded and took a sip of her champagne. “Tom and I. He’s so busy at the moment that I couldn’t just leave him there on his own. He wouldn’t even have eaten dinner if I hadn’t given him some of mine,” she added, laughing.

The other joined in with her laughter remarking on how typical it was of Tom to be working late on the night before his wedding. Ana felt a knot form in her stomach. Sure, her instincts had been wrong before, but it just felt like this new girl was… well, that there was something not quite right about the whole situation. She glanced at the faces of her friends wanting to know if they felt it too, but they had moved onto another topic and were giggling at something else that Sarah was saying.

“By the way,” said Ana as casually as she could. “You didn’t happen to find a white gold brooch in your room when you moved in did you?”

Ana was sure that Sarah’s eyes darted away for a fraction of a second.

“Not your grandmother’s?” gasped Willow, before Sarah had a chance to answer.

Ana nodded.

“But you’re wearing it tomorrow, aren’t you?” asked Mia.

“I will if I can find it,” she said, looking again at Sarah.

“Her grandmother gave it to her just before she died,” explained Mia to Sarah. “It was going to be the something old that she wears.”

“Oh Ana, that’s terrible,” said Sarah, her eyes opening wide and her hand flying up to her mouth. “I haven’t seen it, but you’re more than welcome to come and look in my room if you think you lost it there.”

***

 Hours later, Sarah lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling, watching the headlights from the passing traffic bouncing off the walls. She was light-headed from the champagne and was enjoying the feeling of the whole room swirling around her as she lay still.

Life was good.

She reached under her pillow and felt around until her fingers grasped the cool metal of the brooch. She held it in front of her, turning it gently in her hands so the fleeting lights sparkled on the purple stone.

It really was very beautiful.