The Big Day

The Big Day Has Arrived At Last…

Summer, Year 5

Andrea is 26, Jared is 26, Riccardo is 23, Aaron is 21

Jared and Andrea had both been very busy. The week of their wedding had arrived and there was still a lot to do. Both wanted to have final parties before the big day and they wanted to meet with their family first. It promised to be very exciting!

Riccardo was looking after Andrea’s garden for her. With the preparations for the wedding, her small vegetable garden was beginning to look a little neglected and being a Biology student, Riccardo couldn’t sit back and let that happen.

Andrea had work to catch up on, emails to send off and plans to confirm. She’d contacted the restaurant in Brindleton Bay in the hopes of hosting the wedding there and they’d accepted. That was the first big relief; the venue was secured.

She was relieved the following morning when Aaron came round. The siblings had barely spoken since the previous autumn when he’d squealed to their parents about Andrea’s plan to intervene in Strangerville. Since then, neither had spoken about the mystery in the town and Andrea was keen to keep it that way.
“You look fantastic,” Aaron said as he hugged his sister. “Look, I’m sorry about-“
“Never mind that.” Andrea cut him off. “You’re family. It doesn’t matter. Look, come inside and keep Jared company. It’s my hen night tonight and it could be a long one!”

Andrea’s hen night was being held at the Shrieking Llama pub in Windenburg. Nearly all of her old University friends were going to be there and it promised to be a night to remember. She arrived early with Isabella and Justina. It was nice to see the two of them out for a night. Isabella hardly ever joined them for nights out any more.

It wasn’t long before the party was in full swing and the wine was flowing freely. Andrea was having the time of her life, catching up with a lot of her friends. The paparazzi soon turned up, following Hayley closely.
“You’d better make sure you behave tonight,” Hayley said laughing. “With the photographers all over the place, Jared would soon find out!”

The stripper for the party turned out to be in the infamous Don Lothario! Andrea watched his routine with amusement and joined in at the end. Why not enjoy one of her last nights as a single woman, surrounded by the friends she’d made over the years?

“You look like you’re having fun,” Hollie commented at the bar as Andrea finally collapsed back down with a glass in her hand.
“I am, yesh,” Andrea slurred slightly.
Isabella smiled. She glanced over at Javon, who’d ambled over to see if she was okay. “I’m glad to hear that, Andrea. I need to go but take care, okay? We want you in one piece at the wedding!”
“I’ll be fine! You go,” she mumbled as Isabella hugged her and left.

The party gradually wound down. It had definitely been better than she’d expected and every single guest had had a wonderful time.
Andrea herself was more than a little sloshed and was grateful when Ellie agreed to take her home.

The following morning, Andrea was awake bright and early. She’d invited her bridesmaids round to go over the plans for the big day and Jared had an unexpected visitor in the form of his sister, Tara. Andrea was pleased to see that. even though they’d moved further away from Jared’s family, his siblings still called round to see him from time to time.

Jared’s brother Alex also called round later that day. Andrea didn’t like Alex all that much – the boy was rude and unpleasant – but he was Jared’s family and he was a part of the wedding. So she sat back and said nothing.
“I’m sorry about him,” Jared said later, after their visitors had left. They were watching the television with Riccardo and snuggling up. “I don’t know what his problem is at the moment but I’m sure he’ll calm down eventually.”

The following day, Riccardo had invited his girlfriend, Lucia, to the house. They were going to hang out in Evergreen Harbour for the day, to give Jared and Andrea some space to focus on the last minute wedding plans.

“This is nice,” Lucia commented. “I’ve never been here before.”
“Nor me. Jared told me about it,” Riccardo replied, sleepily. “Apparently, it used to be a really busy train station, back in the day. Now it’s pretty much abandoned.”
“It’s a shame when that happens. I hate it when old buildings get abandoned; it feels like a piece of history is dying.” Lucia gazed up at the sky as the fluffy clouds drifted lazily above them. Everything felt so peaceful.

Meanwhile, Erica was making a start on the flower arrangements for the wedding itself. She prided herself on her home-grown flowers and was very much looking forward to showing her daughter what she had. She’d invited Andrea over for a visit and as if on cue, the doorbell rang.
Erica hurried out of the shed in the garden and went to see her daughter.

“Oh Mum, these are lovely!” Andrea exclaimed. “That’s so sweet, thank you!”
Erica beamed. “I know you wanted to do most of the arrangements for the wedding yourself, so I hope I’m not interfering.”
“Mum, you make some of the most beautiful floral arrangements. I keep telling you to give up teaching and become a florist. You’d do so well with a shop!” Andrea hugged her Mum. “Thanks again, Mum. You’re the best.”
“Did you want to stay for dinner?” Erica asked suddenly. She hadn’t seen much of Andrea and their relationship had become a little strained of late.
Nodding, Andrea grinned. “I’d love to. It’s Jared’s stag night anyway so he won’t be back until late!”

Jared’s party was a fairly demure, sensible affair in the end. He got together with his brother Riccardo, his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Aaron, his closest friend Caleb and a few other friends to have a relaxed celebration of his upcoming wedding at the tiny pub in Windenburg.

The day of the wedding arrived. The weather was stunning and the ceremony went off without a hitch, even with Jared’s brothers participating. Later, Andrea agreed the day couldn’t have been better and the wedding album was going to look gorgeous.

The newlyweds cut the cake together and got the party started. They had a large gathering of friends and family to celebrate with and the party was expected to go on well into the night.

Daniel hugged Andrea tightly as the reception got underway. “Congratulations!” He crowed.
“Let’s hope it’s you and Cristina next!” Andrea replied, hugging him back. “I’d love to see that!”
“So would I,” he whispered. “So would I.”

The party drifted into the bar of the yacht club as the afternoon turned to evening. Ethan and Daisy were making eyes at each other across the room but hastily retreated when Hollie entered with the rest of the bridesmaids.

“Ellie!” Gerald said in surprise as he bumped into his ex-girlfriend.
“Gerald.” Ellie gave a polite smile. “You’re looking well. Marriage obviously suits you.”
“Mhmm.” Gerald looked awkward. “You look fantastic. Your hair suits you long.” He turned to Andrea. “Congratulations, Andrea! You and Jared make a great couple.”
“Thanks Gerald.” Andrea beamed.
Gerald made his excuses and left the group. Ellie breathed a sigh of relief; that could have been a lot worse. Instead, she turned her attention to Jack, much to Marcella’s irritation.

Jared and Andrea didn’t have a honeymoon booked; they were saving money for their future family. But they did get home shortly after midnight to celebrate their wedding in style…

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