I’m a terrible writer, not talking about quality (although some Amazon reviews would agree on that one) but I have this thing where I can’t not write something I think of, recently this has been an exercise in delaying any work on Forgotten, the third book in the ‘saga’answers on a postcard as to what else I can call this as Quadrilogy doesn’t work and I hate ‘saga’ Basically, I should be nearly there, but because I have let Fallon back into my brain, she has been giving me these moments that obviously happened but never fit into either book. So here you go, if you have read Fallen, then you can read this, if not SPOILER ALERT! I’ll set the scene, this would be between the end and the epilogue, it’s a little something I wrote because I wanted to do something where they argue but at the bottom of it all, as per usual, they sort it out. I feel very strongly that these glimpses are a valid use of my time, they set a tone for my work and with Forgotten, some may even end up in there as flashbacks. So here you go…
Best laid plans…
Christmas and New Year have been, including a very enjoyable few days at The Hall for Ned and Andy’s stunning winter wedding, now we have to focus on our own. Because they’re on honeymoon, Abner has a week off from the bar, they’re just doing the basics there and so we are spending an increasing amount of time together, basically all the time that I am not at work, he is with me. We’re sitting at the kitchen table, supposedly making decisions for the wedding, so far, he has laughed at many of my ideas, because they’re simple and cheap.
“I can get us into a Cathedral if you want” he says, out of nowhere, we were just talking about the save the dates, I haven’t even consulted him on the venue yet, or my ideas for the venue. I look at him and hope to convey my confusion with a furrowed brow and narrowed eyes.
“Why would I want a cathedral?”
“You’re religious, you say ‘oh my god’ an awful lot, especially in bed” admittedly, he has a very sexy face on as he says this and the way he breathes the ‘oh my god’ at me sends a shiver through me, but it’s hardly a good reason to get married in a bloody cathedral. How many people does he think I’m inviting?
“You are Church of England, I am Roman Catholic, your cathedral wouldn’t work for the majority of my family” this isn’t precisely true, not that many of them are what youd call devout, but they are Irish and so getting married in a C of E Cathedral might be a push too far for them.
“Oh, Okay, where then?” he concedes
“Steps of the bandstand, 21st of June, we already decided that didn’t we?”
“I guess. Um Viola can get you an appointment with Vera Wang for your dress”
“Eva is designing my dress Abner, you knew that” Now I feel angry at him for not supporting the only really personal decision I made so far, not only is Eva a fantastic designer who specialsises in Lace, which is what I want, but she’s my friend and I love the fact she’s making the dress.
“Yeah but its Vera Wang” he says with a flourish, I honestly didn’t think he’d even know who she is, never mind have such a penchant for her dresses, sure if I didn’t know Eva and if I hadn’t settled on a dress, I might go for one of hers, except the dress is the only thing my Dad wont budge on paying for, he wants to and so it wont be bespoke world famous designer.
“I don’t think my Dad can afford Vera Wang and the la…fabric is already ordered” his eyes light up at my slip, he knows nothing about the dress and that’s the way its staying. Eva is forbidden from telling Joe too, he would blab to his new best guy friend.
“Lace?” he asks with a raise of the eyebrows, I shake my head and ignore the ball of excitement from knowing he likes my choice.
“Fabric” I say forcefully
“Ok, no to Wang” we both chuckle at the double entendre for a second and then I take a deep breath and hand him the save the dates.
“Good. Here are the Save the Date choices” he flicks through the five options one by one, shaking his head and grumbling as he does.
“Yuk” he says when they are all in a mess on the table top
“Yuk? You’re 28 years of age and you go with that?” he’s got my back up now, he hates my hard work, the first of many things I plan on designing myself.
“I don’t like any of them, they’re just not very me. If you like them, then it’s fine, you pick” he looks so disinterested that I might just cry now.
“I designed them, with both of us in mind. Thanks a bunch”
“It’s not like I knew that” he says, picking them up again and pretending to care as he looks closer at them.
“You’re so fucking tactless sometimes!” I shout exasperated, grabbing at the cards he has in his hands, he pulls them back and looks at me shocked.
“Calm down” he says quite forcefully, it’s times like these I remember we hardly know one another, he should know never to tell me to calm down.
“No! I will not calm down. Just give me those back” I try to snatch and yet again, he pulls them out of my grip, selecting one and holding it up.
“I like the black one” he says with a sigh
“No you don’t, you said ‘yuk’. Well I’m sure you know someone who knows Banksy’s true identity. You could get him to graffiti something as a save the date” I snap at him, finally getting the cards out of his hands, he looks like he has no clue how to handle me right now. Because he doesn’t.
“I don’t actually even know who Banksy is, never mind his ‘secret identity” never mind the air quotes he just pulled out to mock me, how the hell does he live in London and not have the slightest awareness of Banksy.
“You don’t know of Banksy?” I ask incredulous
“Well I do now, could he do them do you think?” he replies obliviously
“You are utterly clueless about the real world”
“Good Banksy, I need a coffee” I slide my iPad over to him and wander into the kitchen to pour a mug full, he bought me a new percolator for Christmas, it was so expensive I tried to make him take it back, but he refused, it was only one of many elaborate gifts.
“You’re very stressed out” he tells me, joining me behind the counter and filling his own mug, he has a mug here now, for a second my grumpy heart melts, but then I remember how much the mug cost him.
“Do you have any clue how much stuff costs? Like ballpark, a wedding dress?”
“About twenty grand” he says before taking a slurp from his coffee, it all clicks then, he has done this before, planned a wedding and he will have had to fork out for the more exclusive of things.
“Is that how much Marcias was? Was it Vera Wang?” I say softly, I will not lose my temper, I will not shout at him as it will get me nowhere.
“Um yeah” he says quietly, he didn’t think I’d realize and its written all over his face.
“Did you jilt her in a CATHEDRAL?” oh well, I’ll go with the anger now it’s here, shouting the word at him.
“A small one. She insisted” he shrugs and I know it isn’t his fault, he was just conditioned to think all that rubbish was absolutely necessary, yet I’m still irked that he wants me to have a carbon copy of the wedding he ran out of less than a year ago.
“How much do you think our wedding is going to cost?”
“Dunno, half a mill?” the blasé way he says this sends me over the edge, half a million pounds? I don’t even earn that in ten years, the fact that he thinks that is a disposable amount of money frightens me, I don’t know how much he has in his bank accounts and I never plan on knowing.
“Five hundred thousand pounds? I’ve got £13,000 to contribute, you can match that. £26,000, five percent of what you think a wedding should cost. Dad is buying my dress, but we have music, food, drink and a marquee to sort. Not to mention flowers, cake, bridesmaid dresses, photographers, god knows what else. I cannot afford Banksy or Vera Wang” I manage to maintain my voice and he seems to think I’m calm, this is not the case.
“The food is on my parents, spend whatever you want. I got you these anyway, just in case” he pulls an envelope from on top of the fridge and hands me it, opening it I find three shining plastic cards, all with my name on them, credit, debit and savings, they are platinum, need I say more.
“What are these?” I ask stupidly, of course I know what they are but I want him to tell me what he means by them.
“Cards, on my accounts, we’ll wait till we are actually married for the joint account. So practice your new signature” my heart melts at his face when he says this and I have already nailed my new signature, I did that when we first got together, but the patronizing tone irks me further. Placing them back in the envelope I hand it over.
“I don’t want them. I have money” refusing to take them from me he shrugs, this is nothing to him, but to me it is a principle, I have denied every offer of cash before, just because we’re getting married doesn’t mean I’m going to start spending his money with wild abandon.
“So why did the gas company call about the unpaid bill?” shit, he found out about that, so in December I spent more money than usual, what with the wedding and such, it’s only two weeks until my Christmas Bonus comes through and it’s huge so I wasn’t exactly worried.
“Niamh forgot…hang on, how do you know?” if he has been in my post I might actually kill him, he thinks his should be common knowledge and leaves them lying around on my desk, but I sort mine carefully, only barely out of my student debt I don’t want to slip back into it.
“I paid it, when they called. Also I set up the direct debit on my account, so you don’t need to worry about it anymore”
“You cant do that!” I shout at him, aware that Joe has peaked his head out of his bedroom to find out what the racket is all about.
“Seems I can, I live here now, so I will pay the gas and electricity”
“No!” I shout, it isn’t for him to do and I don’t need him paying my way, that has nothing to do with our relationship, the money is there, yes, but it isn’t mine and I don’t even want it.
“Fallon, calm down” he puts a hand on my shoulder but I shake it off, Joe is still watching, an amused look on his face, he’s seen me lose my rag plenty of times now, he knows whats coming next.
“No, you and your fucking money. You know money cant fix everything”
“I know babe” he smirks, to appease me and it fails, Joe snickers in the corner, he knows how much that look will have riled me further.
“Do you? It really doesn’t sound like it” I push past him and grab my leather jacket from the side, thank god I’m wearing Ugg boots, there is actual snow on the ground outside. I sling my handbag on my shoulder and locating my keys inside it, make my way to the door with a six foot one shadow at my heels.
“Where are you going?” he asks shocked
“Out” I snap, I mean does this man not apply logic to anything?
“It’s nine o’clock at night, it’s snowing” I feel like replying sarcastically that I hadn’t noticed the white stuff falling from the sky, but I don’t want to shout anymore, I just want to be out of sight for a while, away from him and all his bloody money.
“I don’t fucking care, you are doing my head in!” I flounce out to the hallway and onto the top step, I cant slam the door as he is now standing in the frame trying to pull his own coat on.
“Wait, just wait” he says, but I make my way down the stairs.
“No, leave me alone!”
“Whats that all about?” I hear him asking Joe who is laughing at the top of the stairs, he always finds my hysterics to be hysterical, they’re never about the big things, just what happens when I get really frustrated.
“Leave her mate, she’s fine and she wont be gone long” I hear the door close gently and carry on down the stairs and out into the freezing cold street.
“Hi” I say quietly when I see him standing in front of me, I have been gone about an hour, toying with disappointment that he didn’t chase me and delight that I have been left on my own to think for a while. It feels as though I never have five minutes to myself anymore, every decision is with him in mind, even if he isn’t with me at the time.
“Hi, you seem calmer” he finds me sitting on our bench, my backside is now completely numb, it was after the first five minutes I sat here and the hot chocolate I was carrying has long since run out.
“Just needed some time out” he sits beside me on the bench, at the far reaches of the other end. I haven’t made eye contact yet, if I do, I’ll either dissolve into tears or melt in his eyes.
“I thought I would find you here” he says softly and scoots closer, I look up at him and smile.
“I love our bench, it reminds me of a time before the lies and the stress” we have returned to this bench plenty of times since that first night, but there wont ever be a time as special as that was, I sat here for hours and fell madly in love, not that I even knew it was happening. I think I fell for him the moment I saw him, I just didn’t realize right away.
“You know I only wanted you to know you can have whatever you like? It’s not that we need to get married in a cathedral, or that it’s even what I would want. Just that if you want something, well I would pretty much move the stars to get it for you” a tear slips out of my eye and rolls down my cheek, he catches it with his thumb and pulls me so I’m right beside him, arm around my shoulders, bringing with it my favourite smell and his warmth.
“I don’t want Marcia’s wedding. I’m nothing like her” I sigh, because at the bottom of it all, things would be easier if I were no doubt, instant fit with the family and all the customs I’m going to have to learn when I marry my aristocrat.
“Very true, which is why I am marrying you. I didn’t marry her” he holds my chin and tilts my face up so I cant look away as he speaks.
“I don’t like all the flashy expensive things, I don’t need to go to Tiffany for my rings” for Christmas he presented me with tickets to New York at Valentines, promising he’d rectify the lack of ring in Tiffany while we are there. My heart sank, I was sure I was getting a ring for Christmas and still here I am, six weeks after the proposal with a bare hand and nothing to prove he asked me except the deeply ingrained memory.
“But I am flashy and expensive, I need you to wear a ring that suits us both, beautiful and expensive and yes, flashy. Is it that you don’t have one yet?” he looks at my bare hand and grins, I have protested that it didn’t matter, lying each and every time, because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
“Maybe, a little bit. I don’t feel like it’s all real yet. People don’t believe me when I tell them” even our Facebook status of engaged doesn’t fool people at all, of course I was married to Lola on Facebook for a while., I have had horrible comments from people accusing me of inventing him in his entirety, needless to say I deleted those friends.
“So we do something about that now” he fumbles around in the pockets of his parka and produces a cigarette packet, ripping the foil from inside he sets to work.
“What are you up to?” I ask peeking down at his hands as they work.
“Just you wait and see” he turns away from me so I cant see what he’s doing, obviously he’s conjuring up some make shift ring, but the details are invisible. He turns and holds it out to me to see. He’s twisted the foil so that it looks like a rope and twirled two strands together and tied a knot in the top to look like a ring, it’s very cute.
“Here!” he says with real happiness in his voice.
“It’s so sparkly” I giggle
“Give me your hand” I hold it out to him and he slips the itchy make shift ring onto it, I think it scratches me on the way down my finger but I don’t really care. I kiss his cheek and stare at it, I look engaged.
“Now I look marked, I love it” I hold my hand up and the streetlight manages to catch one of the holographic bits, reflecting light off it.
“Good, tell me your plans for the day” he pulls me back into his arms and I rest my cheek against the warmth of his collar, inhaling his scent.
“We’re putting fairy lights on the band stand, thent he chairs can go om the lawn. We’ll say our vows on the steps and then I don’t mind. As long as you don’t run away from me, I will be very happy and content” I picture him in a morning suit, his face when he sees me in my dress, if I keep it secret from him that is, and I feel so warm inside thinking about it.
“I’m going nowhere, ever. Tell me more”
“I don’t know what our song is yet” I admit, I cant believe of all the things we do have, we don’t have a song yet.
“A Beautiful Mess, Jason Mraz” he replies quickly, he’s right.
“Oh I love that song” I beam up at him, I listen to it all the time.
“Every time I hear it, which is often as you love him, I think of you, how the words fit you and it warms my heart. So it has to be our song, it’s perfect, I suppose it could have been Cry Me a River, but that would be too depressing”
“No, it’s perfect. Abner I’m really scared, of the wedding and telling you all my worries. I’m frightened that you’ll see sense and leave me. I don’t have money, or a title. I cant go riding with you like she did or dress in head to toe couture. I’m a simple girl, without many things to share with you”
“You’ve got everything I need” he says kissing my temple
“Your beauty, your mind and your heart, all I need to be blissfully happy” he’s such a dope, but I love him either way.
“I love you Scruff”
“Love you too Button, come on it’s freezing” standing up, he pulls me to my feet, wrapping his arms around my waist and resting his hands on my bum squeezing gently, I think we need to ‘make up’ for a while when we get home. It will definitely warm us both up, I shiver and he drops his hands running one over my cheek.
“Jesus, here you’re freezing” he takes his jacket off and wraps it round me, he’s got a polo neck jumper and a cardigan beneath them. I fold myself back into his arms again and kiss his jaw.
“Just doing my job ma’am” he says in a deep south accent like Andy’s before tugging my arm to follow him. The snow is falling and it cooling my hot temper right down, helped by the arms of my love around me.