26. Mamma Mia.

Charles and Jane exchanged their vows against the backdrop of a beautiful water feature tucked away in an unsuspecting venue that few knew about. It was officiated by a reverend and witnessed by close family members, a few relatives,the groomsmen and bridesmaids.

It was intimate and incredibly moving. It meant much more as Charles was the first of the Lucas cousins to wed and it tugged at everyone’s heartstrings when his voice became shaky and he teared as he read out his vows. He overcame it and Charles and Jane were announced as man and wife.

After this quiet afternoon event, we all headed home in preparation for the wedding banquet that was to take place that evening.

Charles had tasked me with receiving guests and checking their names off a soft-copy list on his laptop. I drove over to the venue early (the same seaside venue where we had the dinner tasting), with the intention of prepping the reception table (located just outside of the dining hall where the banquet would be held) and also to get my bearings. However upon arrival, Jane’s mother spotted me getting out of my car and promptly whisked me away to a changing room for hair and makeup.

***

I looked at myself in the mirror before leaving the room. It was a rather unfamiliar feeling, not being used to having hair or my face prepped in this manner.

I took a step back and carefully assessed my reflection and my choice of outfit. It was a huge gamble but I had agreed with Mother’s choice. She insisted on a pale pink number with silver embellishments. As I was trying it on in the changing room, she said that it went well with my skin tone. It was so difficult to admit it, but she was right.

With one last look at this strange but pretty well put together version of myself, I began my duty at the reception table.

***

As the sun set and guests turned up, I grew increasingly tired and flustered at attending to everyone who came up to essentially ‘have their attendance taken’. I was exceptionally flustered when it was from the bride’s side of the family, having to scroll through name after name on the laptop, feeling their impatience grow as I struggled to locate their name(s) and the table they were seated at. I had heard Charles’ voice earlier, I figured he must have swung by the reception area to say hello and take photographs. I should have taken the opportunity to ask him to get me some extra help, but I couldn’t find him from where I was seated.

Sigh, oh well, I thought.

Fortunately, and almost as if my thoughts were immediately read, the respite I needed arrived in the form of a spritely young lady from Jane’s side of the family. She asked if I needed help and pulled up a chair, I was incredibly grateful for her arrival. She took over the attendance taking duties and I slumped back in my chair.

After a few minutes, I stood up and looked out of the glass walls which framed the area where the reception table was located, it was the same scenery from dinner tasting evening, only this time it was made all the more beautiful with the backdrop of a setting sun. I smiled to myself that it couldn’t have been a more picturesque view for such an occasion.

‘Yes, a friend of Charles. I do believe I am seated with one of his groomsmen? His name is Leon.’

My thoughts were interrupted by these words spoken by a familiar voice.

I turned around and saw Darcy who was leaning over to look at the laptop screen.

He was dressed in a navy blue suit and he looked very different from dinner tasting evening. I worried about whether my heart could be seen attempting to pound right out of my chest.

Come on, Charlotte. COME ON.

He looked up and our eyes met. I nodded and smiled at him. He stood up straight and nodded in reply. He moved along the length of the table towards me and it seemed like he wanted to say something but this was interrupted by Leon who tapped him on the shoulder and requested for him to follow.

We locked eyes again for a brief moment and he walked off.

The girl who was helping me with attendance proudly announced that she settled the bride’s side of the family. At this time, Mother appeared out of nowhere and said it would be another 5 minutes before we all adjourned to the dining area.

 

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