Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 4: Episode 1

September 6, 2011

Ana opened her eyes blearily and looked around the room, not really taking in where she was. She had the strangest feeling like she was doing something today… something important? Then it hit her.

“Holy shit! I’m getting married.”

“Wassamatter?” asked Willow from somewhere underneath the duvet on her side of the bed.

Ana sat bolt upright and pulled the covers off Willow’s head.

“Wake up, wake up,” she sang, poking Willow in the ribs and jumping up and down on the mattress. “You have to wake up now!”

Willow peered at Ana, momentarily perturbed that someone could be so chirpy without having their requisite morning espresso. Then she too threw off the covers and sat up.

“You’re getting married today,” exclaimed Willow, jumping out of bed and shaking off the last vestiges of sleep.

She stepped into her fluffy slippers and joined Ana in her wild dance around the room until Mia knocked on the door. Mia had always been a morning person and looked as though she’d been up for hours, despite the fact that she was still in her pyjamas.

“Hey Ana,” she called, grabbing her hands and twirling her around. “You’re getting married today!”

The three girls fell onto the bed, giggling like a bunch of teenagers discovering what it feels like to have a first crush.

“We need food!” cried Willow, as though no-one before her had ever had such a good idea in their whole lives. “I don’t care that you have to fit into a wedding dress this afternoon, Ana! I’m making french toast.”

Ana didn’t complain. When Willow offered to make you French toast, you just thanked your lucky stars that you had tastebuds.

***

A few hours and multitudes of piping hot French toast later – with proper maple syrup and fresh berries – it was time for Ana to get ready. Her dress had been created by a local designer who specialised in ‘special occasion’ frocks. It wasn’t a traditional wedding dress per se: There wasn’t a meringue in sight, nor was there a veil, but Ana had opted for a beautiful, heavy ivory-coloured brushed silk that had been fashioned into a gown just perfect for her. The neckline swept across her collarbones, emphasising her flawless décolletage, and the fabric hugged her slim body to just below the knee. Down her back were a line of 55 silk covered buttons.

“Tom’s going to have fun getting you out of this tonight,” said Willow with a giggle as she meticulously fastened each with a loop of silk ribbon.

Ana swept her hair up and held it in place with an art deco white-gold and sapphire hair clip that she had picked up from an antique store only a few days earlier. As she hadn’t found her grandmother’s brooch, this would have to do for the something old, and the coloured stones would also act as the something blue. She applied a small amount of make-up, preferring to let her clear complexion show through, and stepped into the Louboutins that she had splurged on for the day, justified by the need for something new. Willow fasted a delicate white-gold chain bracelet around her wrist, a gift she had received from her parents when she graduated from university.

“There. Something borrowed,” she said, choking to fight back the tears.

Ana stood back and beamed at her friends. “Well?”

Mia and Willow were momentarily speechless. They had never seen Ana – or anyone for that matter – look as beautiful as she did right now.

A knock on the bedroom door startled them. It was Sarah, whom none of them had seen yet today as she’d been out at the hairdresser all morning.

“Oh Ana, you look incredible,” she gushed. “And I have a surprise for you.”

She held out her hand, which was closed into a fist, palm up. Very slowly, she opened her hand, one finger at a time, to reveal the brooch.

“Where did you find it?” Mia gasped.

“It was under a loose edge of carpet in my bedroom,” said Sarah, handing the piece of jewellery to Ana. “I found it this morning.”

“Oh my God, that is so lucky,” said Willow turning to Ana. “Isn’t that so incredibly lucky?”

Ana nodded, the sick feeling returning to the pit of her stomach. “Lucky.”

“Come on,” said Willow, “Lets put this on you, and then we have to go!”

“Don’t want to keep Tom waiting at the aisle now, do you,” added Sarah lightly, a frozen smile on her face.

***

Ana soon forgot about the brooch and Sarah. The ceremony was perfect – sweet and humble and by the end there wasn’t a dry eye in the place – and the afternoon champagne party they had opted for was in full swing.  Everyone was having a spectacular time, and for Tom and Ana it was so wonderful to see all the people they loved together in one place.
As expected, Willow had done an amazing job choosing an eclectic and delicious menu for the afternoon: Antipasto platters brimming with goodies; quinoa and pecorino risotto balls; single servings of warm borscht with creme fraiche; and champagne, lychee and vanilla miniature cupcakes were among the highlights of the day.

Johnny had organised an outstanding collection of wines including his friend Claude’s seductive pinot noir and a locally produced sparkling that was so good it made you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

After the speeches – which had everyone in peels of laughter – Ana announced she was going to throw her bouquet.

“We’re not sexist or relationship-ist here,” she laughed, giddy from the champagne and the love that was pulsating through the air, “I don’t care if you’re single, married, male or female. If you want a pretty bunch of flowers then feel free to fight for them.”

Everyone gathered behind her, each good-naturedly jostling the person next to them for what they assumed would be the prime spot. Ana tossed the flowers into the air and they sailed in a perfect arc over the top of the clawing hands and straight into the arms of Mia, one of the only people who hadn’t joined the throng. A cheer erupted from the crowd as Mia stood there blinking, not quite sure exactly what had happened, clutching the poesy.

“Guess we’re going to your wedding next,” shouted Tom as he wrapped his arm lovingly around his new wife and kissed her deeply.

Mia was grateful that the attention had been diverted from her, and she lifted the bouquet to her nose, closing her eyes and inhaling the sweet scent, a smile forming on her lips. Her eyes fluttered open as she felt someone staring at her.

Johnny.

She had managed – quite successfully – to avoid him for most of the day, not wanting a confrontation at Ana’s wedding. Instead of turning and scowling as she expected him to, he lifted his hand to his lips and – almost imperceptibly – blew her a kiss, before turning and disappearing back into the crowd.

From across the room, Willow was the only other person who had noticed this exchange.